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Archive for October 6th, 2009

Some illegal immigrants to be held in old hotels, nursing homes

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

Los Angeles – A new initiative by federal authorities to temporarily house illegal immigrants in converted hotels and nursing homes is the latest effort by the Obama administration to overhaul how the US treats people being detained for entering the country illegally.

In June, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directed local law enforcement to release on their own recognizance illegal immigrants caught on minor charges and not deemed a national security risk.

Tuesday, DHS and one of its agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, released their plans for further reform. A statement says the measures focus on creating greater federal oversight of the detention system for illegal immigrants in order to improve detainee care, ensure uniform standards at detention facilities, and sort detainees by the threat they present to the US .

Immigrant- and human-rights advocates have argued that illegal immigrants are being held in inhumane conditions. But critics argue that the reforms go too far.

“We seem to be moving from detention to hospitality,” says Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). “The administration doesn’t seem to be all that serious about enforcing laws against anyone unless they are hardened criminals and that is the problem,” he says.

“While you want people housed in appropriate facilities, it also has to be kept in mind that they must be kept in custody until removed – and these are not facilities designed to detain people,” he adds.

Immigrant-rights groups, however, welcome the attempt to improve the conditions of detainees, though some see it as only an interim step. “These measures, albeit positive, will, at the end of the day, only relieve some of the suffering our community feels as they are torn apart by our unjust and inhumane immigration laws,” says Jorge-Mario Cabrera, spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

More broadly, however, some academics suggest that the problems facing DHS point to the need for reform of America’s immigration laws.

“That DHS is having trouble finding enough room for all of the detained immigrants … suggests that rounding up all illegal immigrants is not at all feasible,” says Tomas Jimenez of the New America Foundation. “This latest news speaks to the logistic difficulty and the cost of doing so, and I think it points to the need for a more comprehensive overhaul of our immigration system – one that includes some pathway to legal residency for certain unauthorized immigrants.”

The idea of some form of amnesty is politically explosive. But critics of current US immigration policy note that the immigration detention system is the fastest growing segment of the US criminal justice system.

Princeton University professor Doug Massey calls it the creation of “the new American gulag.”

“Detaining and deporting 400,000 people per year for non-violent immigration infractions is a bad idea,” he says. “Where these people are housed is less important than the fact that so many are incarcerated.”

But a “pathway to citizenship” for illegal immigrants – an idea backed by President Obama – is not the answer, says Mr. Mehlman of FAIR.

“We need an expedited process from the time they are apprehended to until they are moved out of the country,” he says. “The more you let them sit around and file frivolous appeals, the more problematic the process becomes because you are filling detention beds.”

Source: The Christian Monitor

Posted in Immigration | Comments Off on Some illegal immigrants to be held in old hotels, nursing homes

Welcome to Kenya: Discover the Magic of Africa

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

Well…it’s about time we saw these more and more. Of  late it’s been Tanzania left and right. This is wonderfully done. Enjoy!

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Opening of DV-2011 Diversity Visa Lottery registration announced

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

The US State Dept last week announced the opening of the registration period for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa Lottery. The online entry registration period is between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Friday, October 2, 2009, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Monday, November 30, 2009.  The entries must be submitted electronically and paper entries will not be accepted. Kenya was listed as fifth in the list of countries which had the highest number of lottery winners for the DV-2010 Diversity Visa Lottery. Kenya had 4,619 winners trailing only Ethiopia-5,200, Bangladesh-6,001, Nigeria-6,006 and Ghana who scooped the top spot with 8,752 winners.

Below is the press release by the US Department of State in Washington DC.

The Department of State announces the opening of the registration period for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery. Entries for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery must be submitted electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Friday, October 2, 2009, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Monday, November 30, 2009. Applicants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon EST on November 30, 2009.
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 and provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” Section 203(c) of the INA provides a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random lottery drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. Within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.
For DV-2011, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:
BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.
No countries have been added or removed from the list of eligible countries. The list of eligible countries remains the same as for DV-2010.
The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the DV process more efficient and secure. The Department utilizes special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries.
For detailed information about entry requirements, along with frequently asked questions about the DV lottery, please see the instructions for the DV-2011 DV lottery available at www.dvlottery.state.gov .

Posted in Immigration | Comments Off on Opening of DV-2011 Diversity Visa Lottery registration announced

Kenyan who fled NZ after killing to be charged in his absence

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

A man who fled to Kenya after a Christchurch slaying last month is likely to be charged in his absence, police say.

Freezing worker Stephen Mwangi Maina, 39, was found dead in a Christchurch house on September 14, while his friend Lydiah Munene, 34, was found with severe injuries in her bed nearby.

Munene’s estranged husband, Samuel Ngumo Njuguna, flew to Kenya soon after the incident leaving the couple’s two sons with a friend.

Police have since been trying to trace him over the slaying and assault.

Detective Inspector Greg Williams told The New Zealand Herald that police now had a “clear understanding of what took place”, and charges could soon be laid in Christchurch in Njuguna’s absence.

He says New Zealand police were continuing to work with authorities in Kenya to establish legal grounds to have Njunguna extradited.

New Zealand does not have an extradition treaty with Kenya.

Munene is still recovering in hospital, having recovered enough to talk to police and visitors.

Maina’s body was flown to Kenya and buried near Nairobi last week.

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Modern man? Not in Kenya as wife beating goes up a notch

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

A man engaged in wife-beating. The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-09 to be released soon found 39 per cent of married, divorced or separated women aged 15-49 have been physically or sexually abused by their husbands or partners. Photo/File-Daily Nation

A man engaged in wife-beating. The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-09 to be released soon found 39 per cent of married, divorced or separated women aged 15-49 have been physically or sexually abused by their husbands or partners. Photo/File-Daily Nation

Kenyan men have carried over the bad habit of wife-beating into the new millennium, having managed to beat almost half of their wives — some barely 15 years old.

This shame, currently being discussed behind closed doors within government and donor offices, will soon be laid bare for all when the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics releases the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-09.

But sources privy to the contents of the interim report say that despite modernisation, the Kenyan male seems to be becoming more violent.

The researchers, said to have interviewed more than 8,000 women in 10,000 households, found 39 per cent of married, divorced or separated women aged 15-49 have been physically or sexually abused by their husbands or partners.

The previous report done in 2003, indicated that a third of women had been abused in the past two years. However, going by the current study, violence against women seems to be on the rise.

The women are not just endangered in the home — a significant number of them report to have been sexually assaulted elsewhere.

Reason for divorce

Our source indicated that women, particularly in Nyanza and Western provinces, appear to have a higher risk of violence than those from the rest of the country.

More than anything else, violence appears to be the biggest reason for divorce or separation since majority of women from such unions report to have been violated, especially those with the least levels of education or none at all.

But despite this drawback, some members of the team preparing the final document say that unlike the previous study which was all gloom and doom the new report is a more positive document.

The researchers say that according to the health indicators, there is strong evidence that the decline in the quality of life experienced in the past few months is being reversed.

The latter is curious since almost all recent studies have been pointing to increasing fertility rates with some predicting a population explosion by the year 2030.

But the new report, it is understood, puts the fertility rate at its lowest ever, with one woman estimated to get about 4.6 children. Actually, a woman living in Nairobi is most likely to get 2.8 children compared to about six children for their rural counterpart in North Eastern.

If confirmed, this would mean that the country’s fertility rates may be returning to a decline observed in the 1970s. However, it is not clear at the moment whether this declining fertility rate will be reflected when the recent census results are announced.

But one thing the researchers are sure of is that the Kenyan married woman is expressing a strong desire to delay, plan and space her births. Over half of married women, 54 per cent, say they don’t want another child while almost a quarter others want to wait at least for two years before another birth.

Most of the women were found to be using some kind of family planning method, with the injectables being the most popular.

Breast feeding

But it is also regrettable that the majority of these mothers to be, do not get professional healthcare while giving birth though this differs between regions.

In Nairobi, almost all women, 89 per cent, will get some professional assistance while only 25 per cent and 17 per cent in Western and North Eastern provinces, respectively, will do so.

Women are commended for breast feeding their children longer, but they spoil this by introducing complementary foods as early as after four months.

The study is said to have found out that more than 60 per cent of children aged four to five months were already in complementary foods, including plain water or milk.

This poor start and increasing episodes of food shortage explain what happens next — more than a third of children in the country are stunted, a significant number of them severely.

This means a third of the country’s children may never be able to engage competitively with their richer counterparts in education and other progressive pursuits.

According to the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) Education for All Global Monitoring 2009 report, about 1.5 million children in Kenya are disadvantaged because of poverty and malnutrition.

The Unesco report says malnutrition is a major barrier to universal primary education in the country. The report calls this an epidemic with long-term consequences on physical and mental capacity and ability to learn.

National epidemic

While the problem is bad in Nairobi, according to the expected KDHS report, with 29 per cent of children malnourished, this figure rises to 42 per cent in Eastern Province. This means almost every other child in Eastern Province is stunted, qualifying this as a national epidemic.

And just like previous reports, the KDHS 2008/09 report is said to have recorded high awareness levels about HIV, but that this knowledge is not being translated into safe sexual behaviour.

Men were found to be more likely, over 30 per cent, to engage in high risk sex compared to women and only a similar percentage reported using condoms during such acts.

But contrary to the growing belief that married couples are now the most active in extramarital sex, the study does not verify this. In fact, says the team, married women and men are far less likely to report having two or more partners in the previous year than are those who have never married or who are divorced, separated, or widowed.

They point at declining infant deaths as a result of high levels of immunisation, use of mosquito nets and declining fertility rates.

By GATONYE GATHURA Posted Tuesday, October 6 2009 at 22:00

Daily Nation

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Kenya Pioneers New Way to Transfer Money

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

Mobile phones in Kenya can be used to transfer funds. Photo by C. Majtenyi

Mobile phones in Kenya can be used to transfer funds. Photo by C. Majtenyi

In Kenya, sending money home to villages and farms from the city used to be problematic. Many people in rural areas do not have access to banking, making it difficult for them to receive and send money. But a revolutionary mobile telephone system is making it easy to move money, changing Kenyan society. The system was the first of its kind in the world.

Stephen Mbugua. Photo by Cathy Majtenyi

Stephen Mbugua. Photo by Cathy Majtenyi

As Stephen Mbugua works on his farm a half-hour drive from the capital Nairobi, his mobile phone beeps. He is getting a text message saying that his son has sent the elderly farmer some money – through the mobile telephone.

Mbugua is a customer of a service called MPESA, offered by a mobile phone company called Safaricom.

People who wish to transfer money through their mobile phones can do so at locations across Kenya.

And that is good news for Mbugua, who says the service saves him time and money. “I used to go to Nairobi or to any bank to pay my bills. But right now, since MPESA came, I do not go to Nairobi, I just pay my bill from here,” he said.

Phelister Omari, 22, who works in a hospital in Nairobi, is sending money to her mother. She fills out a form with the amount she wishes to send, plugs that amount into her telephone, and gives the clerk the amount plus extra for charges.

People who are sent money go to the agent with their mobile phone, sign a form, and receive the cash.

Phelister Omari. Picture by Cathy Majtenyi

Phelister Omari. Picture by Cathy Majtenyi

Omari says she appreciates the service. “It is very fast. The MPESA, they are available everywhere. Once you are going somewhere you can drop and get some cash and you proceed. If there is a problem upcountry, you can save those people. Once you have sent them 1,000 [or] 2,000 (shillings), that is enough for that time,” she said.

The MPESA service was launched in Kenya in 2007. Similar services have since been introduced in other countries.

“What MPESA provided is a safe and affordable way of doing this instantly from your phone so you longer have to have a third party,” said Betty Mwangi-Thuo, the chief officer of new products for Safaricom.

Having a money transfer system that goes directly from phone to phone is changing Kenyan society.

Sociologist Beneah Manyuru Mutsotso says that, while MPESA has not closed the rich-poor gap, it has allowed people to increase their social and financial status. “One, to own the phone enhances status. Two, the fact that you have money in the mobile phone in a kind of bank in which you have total control, full control, with almost no charges, and the fact that it works almost, I would say, 24 hours. It has no limitations; it has no obstacles and constraints of time or other physical constraints [such as] the fact that you don’t have to queue for long,” Mutsotso said.

Mutsotso says people no longer have to go without food or other basics if they can reach out for help through the telephone.

Posted in Kenya_Technology | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Former Kenyan Political Detainee: ‘Don’t skimp on housing’

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

Andrew Wasike. Picture by Christopher Thomond

Andrew Wasike. Picture by Christopher Thomond

Andrew Wasike knows better than many the realities of modern – or not so modern – social housing. Through his work with the Leeds Tenant Federation, he goes inside a lot of homes, and is often worried by what he sees.

Wasike claims that the government’s Decent Homes commitment – to ensure that by 2010 all accommodation is warm, weatherproof and has reasonably modern facilities – has turned out to be “merely cosmetic”, with only a handful of homes in each area getting attention. But with a financial squeeze on the horizon, he is adamant that completing the project must be a priority, and that it will end up saving resources elsewhere.

“Some families are living in very poor conditions,” he says. “We’re in the 21st century; we need proper standards. It affects people’s health. The cold weather goes straight through the walls. If these were insulated, people would reduce the amount of visits they make to their GP with problems like asthma.”

Having lived in the Netherlands for seven years, Wasike, a former political detainee who left his native Kenya in 1999, is keen for the government to look to other European countries for solutions.

“In the Netherlands, central government gives every local authority money that is supposed to maintain houses,” he says. “It has to be used for that work, and any money that is left has to be returned. Councils have an obligation to see that it has improved standards, and if it is judged that it hasn’t then the councils will be held responsible and made to pay back the money.” That incentive, he says, makes all the difference to delivery.

Wasike is keen for tenants to take a greater stake in the upkeep of their homes. “We should find a way to educate tenants to maintain their homes and keep them in good shape, so it’s not only housing associations or councils who are responsible. Residents need to work as a team with them. Landlords should walk around and see if their houses are well maintained. If they’re not, they should be asking why that is.”

Rachel Williams and Shanthy Sooriasegaram

Source: The Guardian-UK

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Kenyan policeman turns man eater

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – A city businessman is nursing injuries after he was allegedly bitten by a traffic policeman in Nairobi on Saturday.

Mr Mohammed Abdullahi Abdirahman, 36, who is in the construction industry says he was bitten after a confrontation with a policeman who had stopped him at the Nyayo Stadium roundabout.

“The traffic officer stopped me and said I had (illegally) changed lanes and insisted on getting into my car as he ordered that I drive to the nearest police station.  When I refused to allow him into my car, he started pushing me and even forced me out of the car,” he told Capital News.

Mr Abdirahman said the officer even tried to switch off his car engine, while pushing him away.

“That is when I was bitten by the traffic police officer in full view of his colleagues,” he said.

During the confrontation, Mr Abdirahman said the officers eventually forced their way into his car.

“They inconvenienced me because they finally entered my car by force and compelled me to drive to the police station where I explained the issue to a senior policeman there who allowed me to take my wife to hospital before I returned to record a statement,” he added.

Mr Abdirahman said when he arrived at the Nairobi hospital with his wife, he discovered that some Sh50,000 that was in one of the compartments in the car were missing and went back to find out from the officers.

“I asked them and they all denied.  I have since recorded a statement at the Nyayo Stadium police post and I am demanding action,” he said.

“I was instead asked to write a statement and ordered to appear before a Kibera court on Monday where I was charged with a traffic offence,” he said and added that he had paid a bond of Sh5,000 after denying committing the offence.

Capital News independently confirmed that the report was made at the Nyayo Stadium Police Post under Occurrence Book (OB) Number 12/3/10/09 on October 3.  The incident occurred at 9.30 am.

Medical documents seen by Capital News showed that Mr Abdirahman was treated at the Aga Khan Hospital under Registration Number 554618 on the same day.

His injuries are classified in the medical documents as grievous harm inflicted on the left arm.

“I went to hospital and I was treated, I was even placed on ARV’s. I am still taking the medicines,” he said.

On Monday, the businessman recorded a statement at the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), a copy of which was also seen by Capital News.

“This is a serious issue, I am pursuing the matter and I will have to seek justice,” he said.

Mr Abdirahman has now recorded yet another statement at the Lang’ata police station where an inquest file for the assault claim was opened on Monday.

His lawyer Mr Mohammed Bulle told Capital News his client is “traumatised because of what he underwent.”

“We have reported the matter to the police and we expect action, we want the officer responsible to be arraigned in court,” he said when reached on telephone.

“As you understand, my client is now nursing very serious injuries and has sought treatment in hospital where he has been placed on ARV’s.  That alone is enough to traumatise him,” he said.

source: Capital FM

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Kenyan policeman turns man eater

Girl, 10, victim of murder most foul

Posted by Administrator on October 6, 2009

LIMURU, Kenya Oct 6 – A 10 year old girl was raped and strangled to death at a village in Limuru on Monday night.

The body of Catherine Kihika, a standard three pupil at Manguo primary school was found dumped in a neighbour’s compound, about 50 meters from their house on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway.

“It was discovered at about 6am on Tuesday by a neighbour who had gone to milk her cows,” the officer in charge of Tigoni Police station Joseph Kyoyo said.

“It had strangulation marks and it appears she was raped,” he said and added that there was evidence showing the body was dumped at the scene on Tuesday morning.

As investigations got underway, four suspects – among them a form two student – were immediately arrested to assist unravel the mystery.

The deceased girl’s mother Lucy Nduta said she last saw her at about 4 pm when she returned home from school.

“She changed her clothes and went to play outside but never came back.  We looked for her the whole night but we could not find her,” she added.

A granny who lives in the neighbourhood revealed she had seen the form two student with the girl late on Monday.

The boy is reported to have denied seeing the girl but changed his statement on Tuesday morning and claimed she had been to his house briefly, but left.
“We strongly believe he is a prime suspect because he has been giving inconsistent statements.  We have also established that he has not been going to school for the past three days,” area Member of Parliament Peter Mwathe said.

“With the help of residents here, the boy has been traced and arrested alongside three other suspects and are now assisting in the investigations,” the legislator said.

Mr Mwathe said initial investigations had shown that the Form Two student had been seen watching pornographic materials lately, whenever he failed to go to school.

“We blame all these on peer pressure, with reports that the boy has been watching pornographic materials, it is likely that he was becoming a spoiled boy,” said the MP who arrived at the home to console the family.

The deceased girl’s father Peter Kihika said occupants of the home where they suspect the girl may have been killed were not cooperative when the girl was being sought.

“I was away when my wife telephoned me to inform me that my daughter was missing, I kept telling them to check in the neighbourhood but they told me they were not cooperative enough,” he said.

The deceased girl was the last born in a family of four.

“I have lost my only girl, it is so sad because it is too difficult to believe she is dead,” he said.

Others arrested over the murder include a worker in the neighbourhood and two other young men in their twenties.

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