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  • Trump sacks Rex Tillerson, replaces him with CIA's Mike Pompeo

    Trump cites differences with Rex Tillerson as reason for his departure as secretary of state.



    US President Donald Trump has sacked Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, citing differences, and replaced him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

    "Mike Pompeo, director of the CIA, will become our new secretary of state. He will do a fantastic job," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service!" the president added.

    According to the Washington Post, Trump asked Tillerson to leave the post last Friday. 

    Tillerson cut short his trip to Africa on Monday and returned to Washington, DC prompting questions about his future at the State Department.

    In a statement on Tuesday, Trump said that "a great deal has been accomplished over the last 14 months" with Tillerson as the US' top diplomat. 

    Trump also said on Twitter that Deputy CIA Director Gina Hapsel will replace Pompeo as the head of the agency. He added that she is "the first woman so chosen". 



    Trump-Tillerson differences

    The move by Trump is the biggest shakeup of his cabinet since taking office. 

    Reports surfaced last October that Trump was looking to replace the embattled Tillerson with the CIA director.

    Tillerson, a former top executive for the energy giant Exxon, took office on February 1, 2017. 

    The US president and now-outgoing secretary of state have not seen eye-to-eye on a number of issues including the Iran nuclear deal and the Gulf crisis. 

    "We disagreed on things," Trump told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday, adding that the pair "were not really thinking the same".  

    Tillerson has criticised Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - which cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017 - from the onset. 

    He urged the Gulf states to ease the blockade, which contradicted what appeared to be Trump's initial support for the move. 

    According to US media, Trump wanted to have a new team in place before talks between the administration and North Korea began. 

    "The president wanted to make sure to have his new team in place in advance of the upcoming talk with North Korea," AFP news agency quoted a unnamed senior US official as saying. 

    Last week, it was revealed that Trump had accepted an invitation to meet North Korea's Kim Jong-un, following months of a diplomatic standoff that saw the two leaders exchange fiery military threats and personal insults. 

    Mike Pompeo praised by Trump

    Trump said on Tuesday that Pompeo has a "proven record of working across the aisle". 

    He added: "I have gotten to know Mike very well over the past 14 months, and I am confident he is the right person for the job at this critical juncture." 

    Pompeo has been a controversial figure since first becoming a Congressman from Kansas 2010. 

    In 2013, he was criticised by Muslim community and others for saying that their silence on violence committed by "extremists" was "deafening". 

    "Instead of responding, silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts, and more importantly still, in those that may well follow," Pompeo said. 

    Pompeo has been a staunch critic of the 2015 landmark Iran deal, which Trump has called the "worst deal ever made". 

    Pompeo has called for the scrapping of the deal, saying in October that Iran was "mounting a ruthless drive to be the hegemonic power in the region". 

    He is known to be one of the most hawkish voices on North Korea in Trump's inner circle, according to Reuters news agency. 


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  • Ethiopia: All-female crew to take flight on Ethiopian Airlines’ new Buenos Aires route


    In celebration of International Women's Day, Ethiopian Airlines will today launch its inaugural flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina, that will be operated by an all-female crew


    In November last year, Africa’s biggest airline Ethiopian Airlines, deployed its first all-female operated flight from the capital to Bangkok, Thailand.


    The progressive move was aimed at promoting women empowerment in the aviation industry and it was widely celebrated the world over.

    The airline is doing it again today, as it launches five weekly flights to the Argentinian capital.



    “We are all the more happy that the flights will be launched on 8 March, International Women’s Day. To mark this important occasion and as part of our commitment of mainstreaming gender into our core business, the inaugural flight on 8 March will be an all women-operated flight,” Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said.

    “From the check-in counter all the way to the cockpit, you will in the capable hands of women aviation professionals, as we launch our service to Buenos Aires. We want to dedicate this special flight for the African girl to inspire her to believe in her dreams,” Gebremariam said.

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