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Ethiopians describe hunger and rape in Amhara



The pictures on her phone are all that Ethiopian mother Habtam Akele has left of her three-year-old daughter Saba

Three-year-old Saba died from malnutrition in Ethiopia’s Amhara last month. Conflict in neighboring Amhara has spread to the region, forcing thousands to flee their homes – carrying with them stories of hunger and brutality. David Doyle has more.

Saba was just three years old when she died of malnutrition.

That was last month, as her mother tried to flee violence that has spread from Ethiopia’s Tigray into neighboring Amhara.

Pictures on her phone are all Habtam Akele has left of her daughter, having pleaded with doctors to save her child.

“They told me she was severely affected by malnutrition and they could not help. Then they gave me some syrup and tablets. She passed away exactly a week later on a Sunday.”

Saba is just one victim of the hunger and violence that has swept through northern Ethiopia since war broke out between the federal military and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front nearly a year ago.

In July, having taken back much of Tigray, the TPLF pushed into Amhara – whose forces have been fighting alongside federal troops

The Tigrayan advance sent around 250,000 people fleeing their homes, the United Nations says.

Habtam is among thousands who arrived in the town of Dessie, escaping bloodshed further north.

She says there was little food in areas under Tigrayan control and that Tigrayan forces took scarce medicine from local pharmacies.

Getachew Reda, spokesperson for the TPLF, denied Tigrayan forces had looted local pharmacies.

He said they’d set up a generator to alleviate water shortages in Habtam’s area.

Reuters was not able to independently verify Habtam’s account as her home is in an area off-limits to journalists and phone connections are down.

But people don’t just have hunger to fear.

At a camp in Dessie, Saada says she was raped.

That attack was carried out at her home by an armed man in plain clothes speaking the Tigrayan language, she says, in an area under Tigrayan control.

“After, he yelled at me ‘get dressed now!’. I was so afraid at this point that I was going to lose my life and quickly said ok. Then he grabbed his gun and left my house as I was getting dressed.”

She provided as evidence a card showing she had visited a hospital in Dessie for treatment.

When asked about the rape, the TPLF’s Getachew said any reported incident would be investigated and that the actions of one man should not implicate the Tigrayan forces in general.

Both sides in the conflict have accused the other of committing atrocities and each side denies allegations against them.

The TPLF says the Ethiopian military recently launched an offensive to dislodge the Tigrayans from Amhara.

The military and government have not answered calls seeking information.

But diplomats are worried the renewed fighting will further destabilize Ethiopia – and for Tigray and its surrounding areas, deepen the crisis of hunger and violence.

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Top travel tips to avoid jet lag



These travel tips will help you reduce jet lag the next time you travel abroad

We all love a holiday but, unfortunately, when you’re travelling long distances it often comes with a side of jet leg.

So what causes it and are there any ways to avoid that drowsy feeling?

After years of lockdowns and travel restrictions, people are finally back in the skies and venturing to destinations right around the world.

The term “jet lag” describes the physical and cognitive symptoms people experience when traveling quickly across several timezones.

Before you leave, you’re synchronised to your local time and once you enter a new timezone, your body’s rhythms are thrown out of whack.

The experience of jet lag varies between people because we all have our own internal rhythm.

Most have a natural daily cycle of about 24.2 hours.

But some people have slightly longer cycles than others, and this could play a role in how a person experiences jet lag.

Research shows if you have a longer cycle you might adjust quicker to westward travel.

We also get a little less resilient as we age, so the older you are, the worse the jet lag may be.

So does the direction of travel matter? Scientists think so.

Many people find westward travel easier. This is when you, essentially, gain time.

But that’s not always possible – so here are some tips to help you through the pain, or even avoid it, in the first place:

1. If you’re trying to shift your body clock, you should start on the plane. Do this by setting your watch to your destination’s timezone and line up your activities, like sleep and meals, accordingly.

2. Next, keep your caffeine and alcohol intake low on the journey to help aid both sleep and hydration.

3. When you arrive, try your absolute best to sleep during the local night time and rest during the day as needed.

4. You can take a nap – but make sure it’s 30 minutes or less.

5. If you’re prone to or experience tummy trouble while traveling, stick to small meals and only eat when you’re hungry.

6. Finally, you should also expose yourself to sunlight throughout the day when adjusting to your new timezone.

Happy travelling! #trending #featured

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Young people join protest in France against pension reforms



Young people are taking to the streets in France as Macron pushes ahead with raising nation’s retirement age

Huge crowds have gathered in France in recent weeks to protest a controversial rise in the country’s pension age by two years to 64.

Some of the marches have turned violent.

While the reform is most relevant to those approaching retirement, many young people are also taking to the streets.

But why might that be?

The French youth have joined the protests in growing numbers since the government bypassed parliament to push the plans through.

Every night for the past few weeks, 18-year-old Charles Chauliac has been making his voice heard. Not just for his parents, but for himself.

“I am against this reform simply because I have two parents who are killing themselves at work and damaging their health and I don’t want to see them die at work. My father, he works every day, he gets up to get on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle airport at 5 a.m. to load the planes. I find it difficult to imagine myself at 64 getting up at 3 a.m.”

Chauliac is part of groups started by university students to organize unauthorized demonstrations, which are usually carried out in the evenings.

While a few protesters have been seen torching bins and throwing rocks at police, Chauliac insists he hasn’t.

Opinion polls show a wide majority of voters are opposed to the pension bill.

They are further angered by Macron’s leadership style and the government’s decision to skip the parliamentary vote.

“For young people like me, we grew up with the hope of being able to influence our society. And when we see that decisions are made without consulting the people who make up this society, that takes away the possibility of being able to change things.”

Many students, like Chauliac, have been joining private groups on social media which help students mobilize for spontaneous protests.

He says they help prevent the groups being noticed by police.

But does Chauliac worry about the repercussions, should the demonstrations get out of hand?

“I wonder about that, because I know what can happen to us too, we see the images and we see what happens to fellow protesters, but that wouldn’t prevent me from demonstrating, because I’m so outraged that it surpasses potentially endangering myself.”

Macron recently said he would press ahead with the reforms.

Unions have called for regional action, and the continuation of nationwide strikes and protests. #trending #featured

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Facial recognition has been used a million times by U.S. police



Controversial facial recognition has been used a million times by police to help track criminals

As facial recognition becomes more prominent, the founder of tech firm Clearview says his company has run nearly a million searches for U.S. police.

It’s also been revealed the company has scraped 30 billion images from platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, taken without users’ permissions.

The company has been fined numerous times in Europe and countries like Australia for breaches of privacy laws.

In the U.S., critics say the use of Clearview by authorities puts everyone into a “police line-up”.

The company’s high-tech system allows law enforcement to upload a photo of a face and find matches in a database comprising of billions of images it has collected.

It then provides links to where matching images appear online.

The tool is considered to be one of the world’s most powerful and accurate.

While the company is banned from selling its services to most U.S. companies, there is an exemption for police. #trending #featured

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