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As it happened: Uganda Today - Monday March 11

By Joseph Kizza

Added 11th March 2019 07:02 AM

A Ugandan Police officer, CP Christine Alalo, was on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed Sunday, killing all its 157 occupants, Police say.

As it happened: Uganda Today - Monday March 11

A Ugandan Police officer, CP Christine Alalo, was on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed Sunday, killing all its 157 occupants, Police say.


Presented by Joseph Kizza



(Scroll down for earlier stories)




Good evening

That's all for today's live page. Stick around HERE for more stories.

A reminder of our motivational quote today:

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice." - Bob Marley






Plane crash victim Christine Alalo 'loved her job'

According to the information from Police, CP Christine Alalo, who was killed in Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines plane crash, was serving as the Acting Police Commissioner in AMISOM.

Her tour of duty was expected to end in June this year. She joined the Police as a cadet in 2001, going on to serve in various capacities of command.

"She was a highly respected member of the Force who loved her job," Police says in a statement Monday. "She died while on duty and ably carried the image of the Force and our country Uganda to greater heights and will be sadly missed."

Police adds that Alalo has left behind two sons, Emmanuel and Alvin, "and we stand by them, all relatives and friends, during this difficult time".

Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines earlier released a list of the nationalities of flight ET302 casualties and their tally, with Kenya (32) and Canada (18) having the largest number of victims.

Uganda was indicated as having had one national on board.







The Uganda Police Force has confirmed that one of its own, Commissioner of Police Christine Alalo, was on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on Sunday, killing all the 157 people on board.

She was working with the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as acting Police Commissioner.

According to a statement posted on Police's Twitter page evening, Alalo was returning from Italy to the Somali capital Mogadishu and "was one of the victims in the Ethiopian Flight ET 302".

Her immediate family have been contacted by the Inspector General of Police and told of the sad news.

"The relatives have been further notified that the positive identification process and other protocols at the African Union will probably cause a delay in the arrival of the body remains of the officer. The Director Police Health Services is expected to travel in advance with an immediate family member to Addis Ababa to support the identification process," says the statement issued by Police spokesperson Fred Enanga.





Strategy to fight 'inevitable' flu pandemics


The World Health Organization has today launched a strategy to protect people worldwide over the next decade against the threat of influenza, warning that new pandemics are "inevitable".

Influenza epidemics, largely seasonal, affect around one billion people and kill hundreds of thousands annually, according to WHO, which describes it as one of the world's greatest public health challenges.

WHO's new strategy, for 2019 through 2030, aims to prevent seasonal influenza, control the virus's spread from animals to humans and prepare for the next pandemic, WHO said.

"The threat of pandemic influenza is ever-present," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement.


The world has suffered through a number of devastating influenzas pandemics, including the Spanish Flu, which in 1918 killed tens of millions of people globally.

Three pandemics have occurred since -- in 1957, 1968 and in 2009 -- when the H1N1 swine flue pandemic claimed around 18,500 lives in 214 countries.

"Another influenza pandemic is inevitable," the UN health agency said, adding that "in this interconnected world, the question is not if we will have another pandemic, but when."

Launching the new strategy, the WHO chief stressed the need for vigilance and preparation.

"The cost of a major influenza outbreak will far outweigh the price of prevention," he said.

While pandemic preparedness is estimated to cost less than $1 per person per year, WHO said responding to a pandemic costs roughly 100 times that amount.

The new strategy called for every country to strengthen routine health programmes and to develop tailor-made influenza programmes that strengthen disease surveillance, response, prevention, control, and preparedness.

WHO recommends annual flu vaccines as the most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease, especially for healthcare workers and people at higher risk of influenza complications.

It also called for the development of more effective and more accessible vaccines and antiviral treatments.

Due to its mutating strains, vaccine formulas must be regularly updated and only offer limited protection currently.

But Martin Friede, WHO's vaccines coordinator, urged broader use of seasonal vaccines, which help protect vulnerable populations but also help prepare countries to rapidly deploy vaccines in the case of a pandemic.

"In a perfect world, everyone would be vaccinated," Friede told reporters in Geneva.

Tedros said progress in recent years had made the world better prepared than ever for the next big influenza outbreak.

"But we are still not prepared enough. This strategy aims to get us to that point," he said.

WHO said it would expand partnerships to increase research, innovation and availability of new and improved vaccines and other tools to fight influenza.

It insisted its new strategy would also have benefits beyond the fight against influenza, since it would also increase detection of other infectuous diseases, including Ebola. 






  Ethiopian Airlines: Africa's largest carrier



Ethiopian Airlines, whose jet crashed on Sunday after takeoff from Addis Ababa, has grown into Africa's largest airline as it has used its modern fleet to serve destinations across the continent.

Founded in 1945, it has in recent years outgrown its continental rivals South African Airways and Kenya Airways, both of whom are losing money while Ethiopian has ordered new planes and opened new routes.

The state-owned carrier serves 119 international destinations with a fleet of more than 110 planes based in its Addis Ababa hub, including the ultra-modern Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Ethiopian's website said it operates the youngest fleet of aircraft in Africa.

Besides serving global hubs like Beijing, Paris, London and Washington, Ethiopian flies to smaller African cities with few international connections like Enugu in Nigeria, Nosy Be in Madagascar and Mbuji-Mayi and Lubumbashi in DR Congo.

The strategy has paid off, with revenue hitting $2.7 billion (2.4 billion euros) in 2017-2018 and Addis Ababa overtaking Dubai last year as the main transit airport for people arriving in sub-Saharan Africa.

Addis Ababa airport has recently undergone a large-scale revamp to serve as major transit hub, with a $345 million passenger terminal wing opening earlier this year.

With around 65 aircraft on order and new routes announced regularly, Ethiopian has made expansion its goal.

The Sunday crash of Flight 302, which plunged into the ground and killed all 157 onboard minutes after take-off to Nairobi, is a setback for the carrier.

In response, it's grounded all six of its Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, the model involved in the disaster.

Boeing has faced questions over the 737 MAX 8 since last October, when that same model operated by Lion Air crashed after takeoff in Indonesia, killing all 189 people onboard. 

The Sunday crash was the first fatal incident for Ethiopian since February 2010, when 90 people were killed after a flight to Addis Ababa from Beirut crashed off the coast of Lebanon.

The airline has seen less severe security incidences in recent years.

In 2014, the co-pilot of an Ethiopian flight hijacked the plane and forced it to land in Geneva so he could claim asylum.

An Ethiopian court later sentenced him to more than 19 years in prison for the takeover in which no one was injured.

In 2015, the three-person crew of an Ethiopian cargo jet was injured when the plane skidded off the runway after landing in Accra, Ghana. 






  Scene of death

Rescue team carry collected bodies in bags at the crash site near Bishoftu.


A bulldozer digs next to the debris at the crash site.


A part of a passenger's shoe at the site.






ETHIOPIAN PLANE CRASH: Flight recorders found


Ethiopian Airlines says it has recovered the digital flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder of the crashed flight ET302.

This is undoubtedly an important step in the ongoing investigations.






  AFCON QUALIFIERS: Cranes begin non-residential training

Uganda's national football side, The Cranes, Monday started non-residential training at the StarTimes Lugogo Stadium in Kampala.

Uganda, already through to the finals and guaranteed a top-table finish, will be looking to wrap up the group stage unbeaten when they meet Tanzania later this month (March 24) in Dar-es-Salaam.






A breather.





  Uganda's first mobile laboratory van

The vehicle, unveiled by the Dairy Development Authority, is for quality control and regulation for milk. The mobile lab was one of the "landmark achievements" at the exhibition stalls toured by President Yoweri Museveni recently.





 UN environment talks open under shadow of Ethiopian plane crash

 oyce suya acting executive director of  speaks during the 4th  nvironment ssembly at the  headquaters in airobi Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of UNEP, speaks during the 4th UN Environment Assembly at the UN headquaters in Nairobi



A UN environment meeting opened in Nairobi Monday under a dark cloud cast by the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people, including at least 22 United Nations staff, many heading for the annual event.

Delegates arrived at the sprawling compound to see the UN flag flying at half-mast and the usually colourful display of national flags removed.

As they wondered aloud who among their colleagues may have been on board the ill-fated Boeing, some hugged and comforted one another.

According to Maimunah Sharif, head of UN Habitat, at least 22 UN employees were among those who died when the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed early Sunday just six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

"I stand before you on the first day of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEP), which has officially commenced today in the wake of this tragedy," she told delegates.

"We will not forget this tragedy, nor those who perished. Let us reflect that our colleagues were willing to travel and to work far from their homes and loved ones to make the world a better place to live."

Kicking off the opening plenary, UN Environment Assembly President and Minister of Environment of Estonia, Siim Kiisler asked delegates, many dressed in black and some in tears, to observe a minute's silence.

"I would like to express my condolences to those who have lost loved ones in the crash," he said.

A member of the UNEP secretariat told AFP it was "still trying to consolidate" the number of staffers who died.

Among the UN staff were some who worked for the World Food Programme, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration and the Food and Agriculture Organization, the agencies have said.

The annual UNEP assembly gathers heads of state, ministers, business leaders and civil society representatives to work on ways to slash pollution and build a greener global economy.

Delegates in Nairobi must get to grips with a series of UN reports outlining in stark terms the damage mankind is doing to the planet.

One briefing on the eve of the summit said the cost of ecosystems loss through agriculture, deforestation and pollution was a much as $20 trillion (17.7 trillion euros) since 1995. 





Health minister mourns trade ministry PS

The health minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, has paid tribute to Amb. Julius Onen, the permanent secretary of the trade ministry, who died Sunday.

She posted her condolence message on Twitter:





168kg of poop per household!

That's how much load you send down the sewers every year if you are a household of five people!

The National Sanitation Week has kicked off today and will climax in Maracha district in the West Nile sub-region. It is themed: 'Good Sanitation - My responsibility'.

Focus is on latrine coverage and handwashing, according to the health ministry at a monthly media breakfast meeting in Kampala.

While the national latrine coverage is 79%, that of Maracha is 91% and while the handwashing coverage across the country stands at 36%, it is 65% in Maracha.

As many as 132 villages in the district have been declared open defecation-free. According to Julian Komuhangi, the commissioner of environmental health, almost every household in Maracha district has a latrine. Karamoja sub-region has the lowest latrine coverage in the country.






 Ethiopian plane crash: What we know

Here is some information about the plane accident involving the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302:

- The plane ploughed into a field 60km (37 miles) southeast of Addis Ababa. It came down near Tulu Fara village outside the town of Bishoftu.

- The Boeing 737-800MAX was brand new, delivered to state-owned Ethiopian Airways on November 15.

- The plane is the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air jet that crashed last October, 13 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

- CEO Tewolde GebreMariam said the plane had flown in from Johannesburg earlier Sunday, spent three hours in Addis and was "despatched with no remark", meaning no problems were flagged.

- The senior captain, Yared Getachew, had some 8,000 flight hours under his belt.

- Ethiopian and American investigators are probe the crash.

- The last major accident involving an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was a Boeing 737-800 that exploded after taking off from Lebanon in 2010, killing 83 passengers and seven crew.





Ill-fated planed dropped from radar 6 minutes after takeoff

It crashed less than 10 minutes after taking off from Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.





With 18 Canadians dead, Trudeau calls Ethiopia crash 'devastating'



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday deplored the "devastating news" that 18 Canadian nationals were among the 157 people killed in the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines jetliner.

"Devastating news from Ethiopia this morning," Trudeau said on Twitter. "Our thoughts are with all the victims on Flight ET302, including the Canadians who were on board."

His office later issued a statement. "We join the international community in mourning the loss of so many lives, including those countries who have also lost citizens in this devastating crash.

"I am reaching out to President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed to express my condolences for this tragic event."

People holding passports from more than 30 countries and the UN were on board, but Canadians, with 18 victims, trailed only the 32 Kenyans who died in the crash, according to the airline.

The plane plowed into a field southeast of Addis Ababa, the airline's CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told journalists in the Ethiopian capital, lamenting the "very sad and tragic day."

The crash came on the eve of a major assembly in Nairobi of the UN Environment Program.

A UN source told AFP that more than a dozen people affiliated with the world body had lost their lives.

State-owned Ethiopian Airline had taken delivery of the Boeing 737-800 MAX plane on November 15. It was of the same type as a plane that crashed in October after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.





Parliament mourns plane crash victims

The Ugandan Parliament joined the rest of the world in paying tribute to the fallen victims of the ill-fated Ethiopian plane crash on Sunday.





Leader of Opposition urges government to support youth talent

At the weekend, Betty Aol Ochan, the Leader of Opposition in parliament, held a thanksgiving ceremony for her appointment to the position. This was in Gulu district, northern Uganda. Several Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party members attended, including seasoned presidential flagbearer Dr. Kizza Besigye.

Aol replaced Kasese Woman MP Winfred Kiiza as LOP in August last year in a reshuffle in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party.

Aol presided over a football match in Gulu, after which she urged Government to support youth talent development.





Boeing 737 MAX safety record questioned

 eople have a moment of silence for the victims including 19  workers of thiopia irlines crash before the 4th  nvironment ssembly at the  headquaters in airobi People have a moment of silence for the victims, including 19 UN workers, of Ethiopia Airline's crash before the 4th UN Environment Assembly at the UN headquaters in Nairobi



For the second time in less than six months, a Boeing 737 MAX 8 has crashed minutes after takeoff and killed everyone on board, raising fresh questions about the safety of a model that is crucial to the US giant's future plans.

On Sunday, the 157 passengers and crew members of a 737 MAX operated by Ethiopian Airlines were killed. Last October, the same model of plane, operated by Lion Air, crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.

China -- an important market for Boeing -- became the first country to ground the 737 MAX 8 on Monday. Ethiopian Airlines did the same, saying the decision came as an "extra safety precaution."

Only the flight data and cockpit conversation contained in the doomed aircraft's two black boxes can provide tangible evidence of what may have caused the latest accident -- technical problems, pilot error or a combination of factors.

"The pilot mentioned that he had difficulties and he wants to return. He was given clearance" to turn around, Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Tewolde GebreMariam told reporters in Addis Ababa.

Weather conditions were good in the Ethiopian capital at the time of the flight.

While Teal Group expert Richard Aboulafia said it was "too soon to make any kind of meaningful comment," another industry expert stressed the similarities between the two incidents.

"It's the same plane. Like Lion Air, the (Ethiopian Airlines) accident took place shortly after takeoff and the pilots signaled they were experiencing problems, then the plane crashed. The similarities are clear," the expert added, requesting anonymity to speak freely on the matter.

Chinese aviation authorities also noted the "similarities" between the two deadly incidents, saying operations would only resume after "confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety."

Boeing has delivered 76 of the aircraft to Chinese airlines, and another 104 are on order, according to data from the company's website.

But Michel Merluzeau, director of Aerospace & Defense Market Analysis, noted that "these are the only similarities, and the comparison stops there as we do not have any other reliable information at this juncture."

In both cases, the air carriers have solid reputations.

(Read full story here)




'Investing in Uganda is a correct decision'


President Yoweri Museveni spent most of Saturday touring factories in Mbalala in Mukono district, before later commissioning a bus-assembly plant in Namanve. The 49 factories, which are employing over 50,000 people, are manufacturing mattresses, plastics, shoes, rubber, lubricants, steel, iron ore.

The President tweeted updates of his tour, saying "all these developments are happening because of the government's deliberate move to create an enabling investment environment".

"Recently, some criminal elements were trying to sow fear among our investors but we are handling that. Uganda is stable. I have said before that those who try to destabilize our country do not know our capacity. It is big. Once we mobilise, you cannot survive if you are a trouble-maker," said Museveni.

"About wages, we are making progress. Parliament has just passed the Minimum Wage Bill. But wage must be linked to the cost of production and negotiated scientifically not emotionally.

"To help lower production costs, the government is pushing for more electricity generation and sold cheaply, working on rail and water transport while offering cheap credit through the Uganda Development Bank," said the President.





 Teryet finally taking shape

New Vision's James Bakama

The High Altitude Training Center in Teryet is many years behind schedule. But during a visit to the center last week, I was nevertheless relieved on realizing that the center is finally taking shape. Initially supposed to be ready by the 2012 Olympics, the first phase of the project will now be complete seven years after. A number of factors have been given to explain the delay.

Lack of a proper road, electricity and water plus relocation of schools in the area and compensation were cited as the main reason for the delay in the initial years. Then even when all this was sorted, there remained a challenge of accessing the area in the rainy season. But like they say, Better late than never. The project is finally steadily progressing.

Many a Ugandan project have started off as brilliant ideas, only never to take off. We should be thankful that there is finally progress in Teryet.





Today's Ras sports toon

The first phase of the High Altitude Training Center in Teryet, in eastern region, will be completed next year. It was supposed to be ready in 2012.





Today's Ras toon

A traditional healer who took Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to court for alleged breach of contract has withdrawn the case.






 The new Boeing 737 MAX: two crashes in six months



The 737 MAX, a new plane from US aircraft manufacturer Boeing, faces fresh scrutiny of its safety record after being involved in two crashes in six months.

The single-aisle airliner, which undertook its first commercial flight in May 2017, came under the spotlight in October last year in the wake of a fatal accident in Indonesia.

Lion Air Flight 610 vanished from radar shortly after taking off from Jakarta on October 29, crashing into waters off the north coast of Java Island and killing all 189 people onboard.

About 30 relatives of the crash victims have since filed lawsuits in the United States against Boeing, alleging that faults with the new airliner, including with its anti-stalling system, led to the deaths.

Questions were raised by experts and a pilots' union in the US about whether pilots had been properly trained and whether Boeing had fully shared data about changes made to the on-board control systems.

Boeing responded by saying that the 737 MAX was "as safe as any airplane that has ever flown the skies."

There is no indication that a technical problem was to blame for the crash of the Boeing 737-800 MAX operated by Ethiopian Airlines on Sunday which crashed minutes after taking off from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi.

An investigation by aviation experts and analysis of the blackbox flight recorders is expected to shed light on the causes of the crash.


Boeing is struggling to keep up with demand for the new aircraft, which offers far better fuel efficiency than earlier versions of the 737, the world's top-selling airliner.

Around 350 planes have been delivered to customers, with another 5,011 orders taken by Boeing, according to figures at the end of January.

Component suppliers and particularly the manufacturer of its engines -- CFM, a joint venture between US-based General Electric and France's Safran -- have struggled to keep up with demand.

Forced to announce delays in deliveries to clients, Boeing has sent some of its own employees to work alongside CFM workers with the aim of increasing production from its current rate of 52 planes a month to 57.

The 737 MAX family of planes includes versions with different seating capacities, with a maximum 230 for the MAX 9.

The price per plane ranges from 99.7-129 million dollars (89-117 million euros), though discounts are usually given to clients for large orders.

Its main competitor is the Airbus A320, which is also designed for short and medium-haul flights.





Trade ministry permanent secretary Onen dies

Meanwhile, the script of tragedy continues.

Here in Uganda, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives, Amb. Julius Onen, has died. The ministry announced the news of his death on its Twitter page Sunday.





Identifying the victims

Ethiopian Airlines says it is working with stakeholders to conduct forensic investigations and identify the identities of the victims. Once the identities of the dead are established, Ethiopian says the bodies will be delivered to their families and loved ones.

The carrier also says it has already contacted the families of the casualties.





Police speaks out alleged death of senior officer in Ethiopian plane crash

Following the news of Sunday's plane crash in Ethiopia, as details of the number of casualties emerged, there were reports that Commissioner of Police Alalo Christine was the Ugandan who had been killed in the accident.

Hours later, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga issued a statement to clarify on the claims. Here goes:

The Police would like to inform the general public that the information circulating on social media that Commissioner of Police, Alalo Christine, who is serving under the African Union, as Deputy Police Commissioner, is the sole Ugandan victim, on the Ethiopian Flight, ET 302, that crashed this morning killing all passengers and 8 crew members, is still not confirmed.

We are aware the senior officer traveled to Italy and was scheduled to return to her duty station, in Somalia today. The Director Peace Support Operations, who coordinates all Peace keeping activities, is in touch with our Liaison Officers in Nairobi, Kenya, and in Somalia; and is yet to obtain any information surrounding the status of our Senior Officer, through the Office of the Senior Resident Commissioner, AMISOM.

The Police will quickly share any information upon obtaining details from either her duty station and or the management of Ethiopian Airlines, who have not availed any details. We continue to pray and hope for good news and kindly request the public and in particular her family to remain calm as we wait for any new developments.





Ethiopia observes national day of mourning


Ethiopia is observing a national day of mourning Monday as investigators search for bodies and clues into the crash of a Nairobi-bound Boeing minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board.

Ethiopian Airlines said it will work with Boeing, the national civil aviation authority and international experts in trying to unravel what caused the brand new plane to come down just six minutes into its flight.

Eight crew and 149 passengers from 35 countries perished when Flight ET 302 ploughed into a field near Tulu Fara village outside the town of Bishoftu, some 60 kilometres (40 miles) southeast of Addis Ababa.

A witness told AFP Sunday the plane came down in flames.

"The plane was already on fire when it crashed to the ground. The crash caused a big explosion," Tegegn Dechasa recounted at the site, littered with passenger belongings, human remains, and airplane parts around a massive crater at the point of impact.

"The plane was in flames in its rear side shortly before the crash. The plane was swerving erratically before the crash."


A local farmer, Sisay Gemechu, said: "The plane seemed to be aiming to land at a nearby level open field, but crashed before reaching there."

Among the dead were tourists, business travellers, and UN staff, including some who worked for the World Food Programme, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the international Organization for Migration.

The IOM said in a statement early indications were that 19 staff members of UN-affiliated organisations perished in the crash.

Many were headed for an annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, which opens in Nairobi Monday with some 4,700 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, senior UN officials and civil society representatives.

Ethiopian Airlines, the continent's biggest carrier, said "the search will continue in the morning".

"A committee comprising of Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and Ethiopian Transport Authority has been set up to carry out the investigations," it added.

"Once the... deceased are identified, their bodies will be delivered to their families and loved ones."

The US National Transportation Safety Board said it would send investigators to assist, and Canada, which lost 18 citizens, said consular officials were "immediately deployed" to Addis Ababa to determine the facts.

Ethiopia's parliament declared a national day of mourning for Monday amid a global stream of condolences.

"Deeply saddened by the news this morning of the plane crash in Ethiopia, claiming the lives of all on board," tweeted UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.





 Tributes paid to Ethiopian plane crash victims


Glowing tributes continue to flow for the victims of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302/10, with social media users posting messages of support for Ethiopia and the countries whose nationals were killed in the air accident. President Yoweri Museveni is among the people that have written condolence messages for "all those affected by this tragedy".


Uganda's Minister of Foreign Affairs in charge of International Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, also paid tribute to the victims.

"Our thoughts and prayers [go] out to families of the victims," he tweeted Sunday.


At 32, Kenya had the most number of casualties on the plane. President Uhuru Kenyatta also took to Twitter to send his condolences.


Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed delivered his condolences in a televised address. Earlier in the day, he visited the accident site and expressed "profound sadness at the loss of life" and wished "healing to the friends and families of the bereaved". According to his office, the Premier "provided direction to ensure full and timely investigation and communication of the cause".




'My lucky day': Being late saved him from Ethiopian plane crash

A Greek man has said he would have been the 150th passenger on the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines Boeing  plane that crashed killing all on board, except he arrived two minutes late for the flight.

"I was mad because nobody helped me to reach the gate on time," Antonis Mavropoulos said in a Facebook post entitled "My lucky day" in which he includes a photo of his ticket.


Mavropoulos, president of the International Solid Waste Association, a non-profit organization, was travelling to Nairobi to attend the annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, according to Athens News Agency.

He was supposed to board the plane but he reached the departure gate just two minutes after it was closed.

He booked a later flight but was then prevented from boarding by airport staff.

"They led me to the police station of the airport. The officer told me not to protest but to pray to God because I was the only passenger that didn't board the ET 302 flight that was lost," Mavropoulos said in his post in which he admits being in shock.

The airport authorities explained that they wanted to question him because he was the only passenger booked onto the doomed flight who wasn't on board.

"They said they couldn't let me go before cross-checking my identity, the reason I hadn't boarded the plane etc." 

The Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 crashed just minutes after an early-morning takeoff Sunday from Addis Ababa.

People holding passports from more than 30 countries  were on board including a number of UN workers.

State-owned Ethiopian Airline had taken delivery of the Boeing 737-800 MAX plane on November 15. It was of the same type as a plane that crashed in October after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.





China orders local airlines to ground Boeing 737 MAX 8



Relatedly, China has ordered domestic airlines to suspend commercial operation of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, citing the Ethiopian Airlines crash and another deadly accident of that same model in Indonesia.

Noting the "similarities" between the two accidents, China's Civil Aviation Administration said domestic airlines had until 6:00 pm local time (1000 GMT) to ground all 737 MAX 8 aircraft.

Operation of the model will only resume after "confirming the relevant measures to effectively ensure flight safety", the administration said in a statement.

The aviation authority will contact the US Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, it said.

The statement cited the Kenya-bound Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board, including eight from China.

It also mentioned the Indonesia Lion Air flight, which crashed after takeoff from Jakarta in October, killing all 189 people on board.

China is an important market for the US aircraft company, accounting for about one-fifth of worldwide deliveries of Boeing 737 MAX models.

The company has delivered 76 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to Chinese airlines, which have ordered another 104, according to data from the aircraft maker's website updated through January.

Boeing and joint venture partner Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) operate a plant in the eastern city of Zhoushan that completes the interiors of 737 MAX planes for Chinese airlines.

The factory delivered its first MAX 8 plane to Air China in December. The planes are assembled in Renton, Washington state, and taken to Zhoushan to finish the interior work, according to Boeing.






 Ethiopian Airlines grounds B-737-8 MAX fleet

Ethiopia's flag carrier has been giving updates on its Twitter page following the fatal crash involving one of its planes Sunday.

In its latest update, which is a few minutes ago, the airlines has tweeted that is has decided to ground all B-737-8 MAX fleet effective Sunday (the day of the accident) "until further notice".

It says the move has been taken "as extra safety precaution".







It's been a particularly rough past few days for Africa's aviation industry.

Only mid-last week, flights ground to a screening halt at East Africa's busiest air traffic hub, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, when workers expressed their anger about the planned partial takeover of the airport by national carrier Kenya Airways.


Located in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, JKIA is operated by state-run Kenya Airports Authority. Hundreds of travellers were left stranded and some were treated for tear gas exposure, as the striking workers and police faced off at the airport.


Less than a week later, on Sunday, a Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines plane from the capital Addis Ababa crashed minutes after an early-morning takeoff, killing everyone on board - eight crew and 149 passengers.

Tourists, business travellers, and at least one delegate to a UN meeting were on the Boeing 737. One of them was a Ugandan.


Hours since the deadly crash, investigators are search for bodies and clues into what happened.





  Good morning - here is today's motivational quote

Not sure which mood this Monday morning finds you in, but let's start it off with some dose of motivation . . .

"You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice." - Bob Marley




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