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Ethiopian increases flights to Cameroon, Gabon with the Boeing 787

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Ethiopian airlines have announced an increase in its weekly flights to two Central African cities. Cameroon’s Yaounde and the Gabonese capital, Libreville.

Ethiopian, the continent’s largest airline group, said with its sixth weekly service to Yaounde and Libreville, it will be flying all week to the destinations except on Sundays.

An announcement of the increased flight along the route was made in late October 2017 but the service officially started on November 3, 2017. The said flights will also be operated with its latest and environmentally friendly aircraft, the Boeing 787–9.

They are the first operators on the continent to take delivery of the Boeing 787-9 dreamliner. The airline currently flies to over 50 African cities in what is the largest network by a national carrier.

Two major decisions made recently by the carrier include switching fully to digital processes in its operations and also the provision of free Wi-Fi access for travellers using its main hub, the Bole International Airport in the capital Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian – a member of the Star Alliance group in its seven decades of operation has become one of the continent’s leading carriers in terms of efficiency and operational success.

They command the lion’s share of the pan-African passenger and cargo network operating the youngest and most modern fleet to 95 international destinations across five continents.

24 Hours Across Africa

Samsung embroiled in ‘One China’ row after K-pop star pulls out

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The world’s number one smartphone maker Samsung Electronics became the latest global brand to face criticism Wednesday for damaging China’s “territorial integrity”, with a Chinese K-pop star ending an endorsement contract.

The row broke out after Chinese viewers noticed that the South Korean tech giant offers different language versions of its website for users in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan — in English, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.

All three appear as choices in a list of ‘countries’.

Beijing is very sensitive about anything it perceives as portraying semi-autonomous Hong Kong and Macau or the self-ruled democratic island of Taiwan — which it views as a renegade province awaiting reunification — as separate countries.

Hong Kong has become a particularly thorny issue for Beijing in recent weeks with the financial hub plunged into months of pro-democracy protests.

Chinese K-pop star Zhang Yixing — popularly known as Lay, from the boyband Exo — on Tuesday cancelled his agreement with Samsung for it allegedly “hurting the national feelings of Chinese compatriots” by maintaining the separate websites.

The hashtag “#ZhangYixing Ditches Samsung#” went viral on China’s Twitter-like Weibo with his cancellation notice being viewed 840 million times in the 20 hours after it was posted.

“Its act of blurring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country has seriously hurt the national feelings of our compatriots, which we strongly condemn,” Zhang’s Chinese agency said in a statement on its official social media account on Weibo.

Zhang had been a Samsung Electronics brand ambassador in China since December. The firm declined to comment when contacted by AFP.

The move comes days after several luxury retailers apologised for labelling the semi-autonomous cities of Hong Kong and Macau and the self-ruled island of Taiwan as separate countries.

Austrian jewellery company Swarovski apologised Tuesday for “hurting the feelings” of Chinese people after calling Hong Kong a separate country on its website.

Luxury brands Versace, Coach, and Givenchy also all apologised this week for making perceived affronts to China’s national sovereignty with T-shirts listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.

The row also cost them the support of their Chinese brand ambassadors as the companies scrambled to minimise any potential damage in the lucrative mainland market.

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24 Hours Across Africa

‘Develop viable gemstones, jewellery market’

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Experts have urged the federal government to develop an environment conducive for marketing gemstones, and jewellery, to increase their contribution to the national gross domestic product, (GDP).

They also said this would mark a milestone in the quest to build a vibrant mining sector with a wide variety of gemstones and precious metal for making ornaments for local and international markets.

According to experts at Stakeholders Consultative workshop on gemstones and Jewelry industry in Nigeria, the industry presents tremendous opportunities for investment and value addition and can employ people at different levels along the value chain, such as miners, goldsmiths, dealers etc.

Prof. Theo Smeets of the University of Trier, Germany, said the government has a lot to do to boost both local and international markets for precious metal, especially with the growing population of women.

He also noted that legal frameworks will equally galvanise the industry, and instead of exporting raw materials, citizens will be able to process them in-country and get more products in the local market.

Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Abdulkadir Muazu, disclosed that the industry could generate a total of $350 million worth of foreign exchange on an annual basis.

He also said Nigeria was so endowed with precious metal, “the key policy question we have asked ourselves is: ‘why has Nigeria not been internationally-recognised as an important gemstone destination?’”

According to him, Sri Lanka has a long history of gemstones, but it was its government’s commitment to reforms that began over three decades ago that has given her a globally-competitive edge.

“There is a huge international market potential for Nigeria’s gemstones, but it is losing vast business opportunities, value and revenue to illegal activities and smuggled to Germany, China, Brazil, U.S., etc.”

Contributing, Project Coordinator of MINDIVER, Utsu Linus Adie, said they are trying to reverse unfavourable market trend for gemstones, and create a robust jewellery market and promote export.

He equally said the government intends to develop a skilled workforce by creating community jewellery market in all the states of the federation within a five- year period.

“Our target is to emulate is India, who are today the global leaders in gems and jewellery, contributing 29 per cent to world jewellery consumption. We only generate $2 million worth of it.”

Reviewing gemstone resources, Niron Ajibade, maintained that there are many products, and when adequately harnessed will grow the nation’s economy; create jobs and wealth.

Ajibade therefore called on the government to build a sustainable jewellery industry by organising training programmes; create linkages, quality and assurance markets as well as finance the gemstone sector.

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