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  • Nasa's Kepler telescope has discovered more than 100 Earth-sized planets orbiting alien stars.

     It has also detected nine small planets within the so-called habitable zone, where conditions are favourable for liquid water - and potentially life.The finds are contained within a catalogue of 1,284 new planets detected by Kepler - which more than doubles the previous tally. Nasa said it was the biggest single announcement of new exoplanets. Space agency scientists discussed the new findings in a teleconference on Tuesday.

    Statistical analyses of the expanding sample of worlds helps astronomers understand how common planets like our own might be.

    Dr Natalie Batalha, Kepler mission scientist at Nasa's Ames Research Center in California, said the calculations so far suggested there could be tens of billions of potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way.

    "If you ask yourself where is the next habitable planet likely to be, it's within about 11 light-years, which is very close," said Dr Batalha.

    Astronomers said they consider planets that are 1.6 times Earth's radius or smaller are likely to be rocky, and may therefore be potential targets in the hunt for life.

    Future telescopes such as the James Webb Space Telescope could analyse the light from the atmospheres of exoplanets for potential markers of biology.

    Dr Batalha said the Kepler mission was part of a "larger strategic goal of finding evidence of life beyond Earth - knowing whether we're alone or not, to know... how life manifests itself in the galaxy and what is the diversity".

    She added: "Being able to look up to a point of light and being able to say: 'That star has a living world orbiting it.' I think that's very profound and answers questions about why we're here."  Read more

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  • Malawi dismisses its diplomats from Ethiopia

    (by Andegna Tube) Malawi has ordered suspension of two senior officials at its Embassy in Ethiopia on allegations of defrauding government money amounting over US$30,000.  

    Deputy Ambassador Doreen Kapanga and the first secretary Fletcher Chowe, are the two officials who have been recalled from the Malawian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, according to Nyasa Times report that the diplomats have been on their way back to Malawi on Thursday.

    Foreign Minister, George Chaponda said that he has ordered the suspension as one way of showing seriousness of issues to do with looting out corruption. “What was happening was that the officials were writing cheques in their names for the news I immediately took action,” Chaponda told the media on his arrival to Malawi from Addis Ababa.

    The Foreign Minister traveled to Ethiopia on his first trip as Chairperson of Ministerial Panel of African Union. 

    According to related report citing Malawian officials, there were ongoing audits at the Brussels mission in Belgium and the mission in Germany, while they are processing audit for New York, Harare, South Africa, Nairobi and Maputo which in the end all embassies will be audited. 

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  • ‘African countries trust Americans, Asians and Europeans than Africans themselves’

    (by Andegna.com) “African countries trust Americans, Asians and Europeans than African citizens,” this was said during the launching of African Regional Integration Index Report 2016, on the weekend in Addis Ababa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Center.

    Regional integration has been impeded in the continent due to limited movement of Africans across many countries, according to the report which a continental ambition of increasing borderless Africa has still gaps. For Africa, the visa-openness is more a security issue than business that the African Union Commission urged member states to be decisive on making movement of Africans easy. 

    Senior Trade Expert of the African Development Bank Group Jean Guy says visa issuance is mainly related to the security, especially threats of terrorism.

    “Nations also fear flood of foreign employees if they (governments) allowed it,” said Jean.

    For Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) allowing visa is the issue of trust among Africans, because, “African countries trust Americans, Asians and Europeans than African citizens,” said a representative from ECOWAS, which is the highest performing regional economic community on free movement of people, according to the Integration Index Report.

    All ECOWAS countries implemented the free movement of people’s protocol, which enables citizens to travel to all member countries without visa, while Rwanda and Seychelles are also granted a free visa service for Africans.

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  • New report states governance playing corruption in Africa

    (by Andegna Tube) 4th special edition of the African Governance Report launched this weekend in Addis Ababa themed ‘measuring corruption in Africa: the international dimension matters’, criticized poor governance putting corruption a big issue in the continent.

    Corruption remains one of the key economic governance challenges and become broad in its state that the Governance report urged the continent to address issues of transparency and accountability, weak oversight institutions, limited enforcement mechanisms and insufficient capacity to stop corruption itself. 

    In order to effectively address the problems of corruption in the continent, according to Finance Minister of Namibia, Calle Schlettwein, “African policy makers and partners are encouraged to focus on broader economic governance issues and institutions that are critical for the continent’s structural transformation and sustainable development.”

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  • Italy pledges 630,000 Euros to support refugees in Gambella

    by Andegna.com) The President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella pledged to the two United Nations humanitarian agencies with a new contribution of 630 thousand Euro, during his visit to the Teirkidi refugee camp in Gambella, on Wednesday.

    The total amount of the pledge aim to support the International Organizations in tackling the refugees’ emergency to increase access to clean and safe water with an amount of 430 thousand Euro to UNICEF for the hosting communities of Itang, and another pledge of 200 thousand Euro to UNHCR is utilized to improve the quality of education in the camps both in terms of infrastructures and school materials, said the Italian Embassy on statement.

    The President visited a water supply project, co-funded with other development partners, and supported also by the Italian Government with a contribution to UNICEF of 450 thousand Euros, aiming at supplying water to Teirkidi and Kule camps as well as to the hosting community of Itang.  

    According to the Embassy, the overall number of people who benefit from the project is approximately 150,000, considering both refugees in the camps and hosting surrounding communities.

    Furthermore, he paid a visit to one of the Child Friendly Spaces providing psychological support to the children, which is managed by Save the Children International and overall coordinated by ARRA in collaboration with UNHCR. He was warmly welcomed by children, teachers and aid workers from different agencies operating in the camp.

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