Ethiopian minister about Renaissance dam: 'a reality no matter what'
Published 2016-05-28 12:34:02| Amwal Al Ghad English
Ethiopia's communication minister said Friday that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has become a "reality," and "no matter what happens, things will not change," Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported. Minister Getachew Reda, speaking to London-based newspaper in Khartoum, said that 50 percent of construction work on the dam had been completed and most of the dam's civil engineering projects were complete. “When turbines are installed, 70 percent of the project will be complete,” he said. Egypt has repeatedly expressed concern over the dam's possible effect on the country's supply of Nile water. Ethiopia has denied the dam would negatively affect Egypt, but the two countries, alongside Sudan, have agreed to conduct impact studies on the dam.
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In Japan, ostensibly to cover Prime Minister David Cameron's talks with other G7 leaders, traveling reporters had other things on their minds -- mainly next month's vote on whether Britain should ditch its membership of the European Union. With the June 23 vote looming, British "hacks" who had paid thousands of pounds to watch Cameron's every move in Japan and to try to quiz him and his team on "Brexit", were frustrated to be swept off to a Japanese dance and music show miles from the summit venue. Obsessed with one of the biggest events in modern British politics which was dominating the headlines at home, the disappointment of some in the press corps was palpable. "We usually get decent access to both the prime minister and his team," one senior political journalist at a national newspaper, who declined to be named, grumbled. "This time we've got neither, it's a bit of a joke." The situation was compounded by the fact that Cameron's media team, determined to concentrate on the official agenda of the Group of Seven talks, lacked his head of communications, who had been seconded to the "In" Europe campaign. With his official spokeswoman also not able to be with him due to a personal commitment, Cameron was accompanied by less experienced press aides so the timing of the summit was less than ideal for both the prime minister and the journalists. Cameron, joined by close aides including Europe adviser Tom Scholar, sat in the front section of the plane for the private charter flight to Japan, separated by a curtain from the around 20 members of the national media accompanying him. Towards the end of the 14-hour flight, Cameron came back to the press, setting out his aims for the summit before taking about 10 minutes of questions. In a sign of their jumpiness, Cameron's team asked in advance what topics would be asked.
U.S.-led coalition strikes supporting Iraqi forces in the recapture of Falluja have killed 70 Islamic State militants including the group's commander in the city, a U.S military spokesman said on Friday. U.S. Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State, said the coalition had carried out 20 strikes in support of the campaign over the past four days. Maher al-Bilawi, commander of Islamic State fighters in Falluja, was killed two days ago, Warren said. He said the killing of Bilawi and the other militants "won't completely cause the enemy to stop fighting but it's a blow." The final battle to recapture the Islamic State stronghold near Baghdad will start in "days, not weeks", a Shi'ite militia leader said on Friday, as new reports emerged of people starving to death in the besieged Sunni city. The first phase of the offensive that started on Monday is nearly finished, with the complete encirclement of the city that lies 50 km (32 miles) west of the Iraqi capital, said Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Iranian-backed Badr Organization. Wearing military fatigues, Amiri spoke to state-TV from the operations area with Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi standing by his side in the black uniform of Iraq's counter-terrorism force. At the end of last year, Abadi said 2016 would be the year of the final victory over Islamic State, which declared a caliphate two years ago in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria. Falluja is a bastion of the insurgency that fought the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Shi'ite-led authorities that replaced Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, a Sunni. It was the first city captured by Islamic State in Iraq, in January 2014, and is the second-largest still held by the militants after Mosul, their de-facto capital. Amiri said this week the Shi'ite paramilitary coalition known as Popular Mobilization would only take part in the encirclement operations, and would let the army storm Falluja. It would only enter the city if the army's attack failed. The army has defused more than 250 explosive devices planted by the militants in roads and villages to delay the troops' advance, state TV said, citing military officers.
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