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Archive for April, 2010

Revealed – Country’s 25 New Envoys

Posted by Administrator on April 30, 2010

The closely-guarded list of 25 new ambassadors is no longer secret.

Saturday Nation can reveal the identities of the envoys whose appointments have been kept under wraps over the past two weeks.

The appointees have been undergoing training in Nairobi and Mombasa, where journalists have been kept away.

Mystery surrounded the appointment of the new envoys, who replace those recalled earlier this month, as reports emerged that they had not been cleared by the National Security Intelligence Service.

Vetting by the intelligence agency is mandatory before top government positions such as ambassadors and high commissioners are filled.

Among those appointed are Dr Josephine Ojiambo (deputy resident representative, New York), Mr Benson Ogutu (Tokyo), Ms Monica Juma (AU headquarters in Addis Ababa), Mr Ken Osinde (Berlin, Germany), Mr Kipyego Cheluget (Lusaka, Zambia), Mr Paul Kibiwott Kurgat (Moscow, Russia), Mr Mohamed Ali Saleh (Riyadh), Mr Galma Boru (Doha), Mr Rashid Ali (Tehran), Ms Josephine Gaita (Rome, Italy), Mr Peter Kirimi Kaberia (Brazil), Mr Elkanah Odembo (Washington DC, US), Mr Anthony Andanje (deputy resident representative, Geneva), Ms Josephine Awuor (Harare), Ms Jean Kimani (Great Lakes), Mr Dave Arunga (Cairo), Ms Salma Ahmed (Paris), Mr Samori Ang’wa Okwiya (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Mr Bramwel Kisuya (Madrid), Lt Gen Augustino S.K. Njoroge (Tel Aviv), Mr Peter Gitau (Windhoek), Ms Makena Muchiri (Kigali), Mr James Ochami (Kinshasa), Mr Cleland Leshore (Juba, Southern Sudan) and Mr Anthony Muchiri (Tripoli).

On Friday, Nation traced the envoys to Neptune Beach Hotel and Resort in Mombasa where they were moved from Crowne Plaza Hotel in Nairobi, but a manager there said that they had strict instructions not to allow journalists in.

Sources who talked to Saturday Nation on condition that they are not named said Foreign Affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka was supposed to close the training course on Friday evening.

Contacted, Mr Onyonka said he was in Mombasa but would not divulge his mission.

Early this year, the government recalled 14 envoys and more than 100 junior staffers without giving reasons from Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Zambia and the United States among others.

Those recalled include Joseph Muchemi (UK), Dr Sospeter Machage (Russia), Mr Mutuma Kathurima (Germany), Mr Rateng Oginga Ogego (US) and Ms Ann Nyikuli (Italy). Others are Mr Mwakai Kikonde Sio (Spain) and Mr Lazarus Amayo (Zambia) in what Mr Onyonka described then as a normal.

“It’s a normal requirement after end of duty. The ministry has no problems with any of them,” Mr Onyonka was quoted.

The ambassadors and high commissioners who have been recalled are expected back by May 2 while the junior staff, who include education attaches and accountants are expected to return by June.

On Friday, Government spokesman Alfred Mutua, described reports of new ambassadors as rumours.

“Those are rumours and the government cannot comment on rumours. Whenever there are appointments, the government always makes an announcement,” he said.

However, Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang’ula confirmed earlier this week that the government was replacing ambassadors and high commissioners.

Additional reporting by Mwakera Mwajefa

Daily Nation

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Kenyan journalist seeks help for surgery

Posted by Administrator on April 30, 2010

Eliud Abong'o at the Nairobi Hospital/CATHERINE KARONG'O

Eliud Abong'o at the Nairobi Hospital/CATHERINE KARONG'O

BY CATHERINE KARONG’O

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 30 – He is lying on his hospital bed, spitting on a bowl every so often as his wife offers a hand.

Eliud Abong’o cannot eat and is now on Intravenous Therapy where a patient is given liquid substances directly through the veins.

Although the young radio Journalist is trying to put on a brave face, one can easily see and tell the pain he is going through.

Elly, as he is known to many is suffering from colon cancer which comes with cancerous growths in the colon, rectum and appendix.

The journalist says he developed this problem in early 2008.  “I went to Kenyatta National hospital where I was diagnosed with colon cancer,” Elly explains.

According to medics, the symptoms of colon cancer depend on the location of the tumor in bowel and whether it has spread elsewhere in the body. Symptoms and signs are said to be divided into local, constitutional (which affects the whole body) and metastatic (caused by spread to other organs).

Elly says he underwent one surgery of the colon at Kenyatta hospital to make a bypass but three years down the line the disease seems to be progressing. He has also been on chemotherapy, a form of cancer treatment that uses chemical agents to kill cancer cells.

“I would go for sessions after every 21 days but now I have stopped as I await further medical treatment. Last year I went for eight sessions of chemotherapy which cost me about Sh800,000. This year I have gone for four which have already cost me Sh650,000,” he says.

“You see, the disease has finished me financially and what remains cannot cater for the house needs and everything else.”

The young father of one explains that his condition deteriorated about a month ago, when he was reading news at the BBC studios here in Nairobi.

“I was in the middle of the bulletin then all over a sudden I could not project my voice but you know I had to read the news and finish. People in the London office were listening and they said that is not Elly’s voice unless something is happening,” he remembers.

“By the time I was coming out of the studio there were so many people standing by the door asking me what happened but I was not able to speak and I felt weak,” Elly says.

Elly was rushed to hospital where he underwent a scan and the oncologist advised that he undergoes surgery, to remove the part of the colon that is affected. This type of surgery can only be done in India.

He now needs to raise Sh4.5 million to get the treatment in India where he is expected to stay for six to eight weeks.

With assistance from the media fraternity in Kenya, he is currently admitted to the Nairobi Hospital where he is on nutrient drips because he is unable to eat before he is flown to India.

“It seems as if now I need to go beyond drugs and have surgery,” he says.

Elly is now appealing to well wishers to help him raise the amount to enable him undergo the surgery.
 
Donations can be sent through ABONG’O MWIKOMA ELIUD ACC NO: 1116152320 KCB UNIVERSITY WAY.   You can also email abosske@yahoo.com or call CELL: +254 720 238034, +254 720 482252 for further information.

A major fundraising is also scheduled for May 4, 2010 at the Panafric hotel, Nairobi.

CAPITAL FM

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Kenyan man dies in Alabama

Posted by Administrator on April 30, 2010

The late Roy Nganga Kuria of Alabama

The late Roy Nganga Kuria of Alabama

A Kenyan man has passed away in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Roy Nganga Kuria after a short illness.

Roy Nganga Kuria was the son of John W. Kuria and the late Teresa W. Kuria, brother to Carolyne Kuria, Rita Kuria and Denis Kuria. A memorial will be held in Birmingham, Alabama and the details will be announced soon.

 In the event you will not be able to make it for the memorial, contributions will be greatly appreciated.

Please send contributions to:

 Chase Bank, Rita Kuria,

 Routing Number- 322271627,

Account Number- 3122640598.

For more information please contact Rita Kuria — 909-964-1356

 Carolyne Kuria—- 0722609950 (Kenya)

 or Denis Kuria— 612-623-94315 (Australia).

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National ID Card Included In Democratic Immigration Bill

Posted by Administrator on April 29, 2010

Democrats pushed forward on an immigration overhaul on Thursday evening with no Republican support, as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) continues to hold out, arguing that the divisive issue will make progress on climate change legislation impossible.

The Senate is also in the middle of debating Wall Street reform, which is expected to take up the next few weeks of floor time. Reid, however, said that the chamber would be able to handle the task. “We can do more than one thing at once,” he said.

The Democratic proposal includes increased money for border patrol and drug war agents, equipment, helicopters and unmanned drones. It would create a national ID — which is dubbed a “biometric social security card.” Though Democrats insist that it is not an ID card and can only be used for employment purposes.

The proposal would also include a crackdown on employers who hire undocumented workers. It works to deport some immigrants who are not in the country legally and creates a limited pathway to citizenship for others.

Democrats brought out their heavy hitters for the announcement: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.); Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who’s been leading the push for immigration reform; Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.); Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

The crackdown on employers relies on the creation of national identity cards. “These cards will be fraud-resistant, tamper-resistant, wear resistant, and machine-readable social security cards containing a photograph and an electronically coded micro-processing chip which possesses a unique biometric identifier for the authorized card-bearer,” reads the bill summary.

Broadly, the proposal includes:

1. More Border Patrol officers
2. More Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, worksite inspectors, document fraud investigators and drug-war agents
3. The “installation of high-tech ground sensors throughout the southern border and for equipping all border patrol officers with the technological capability to respond to activation of the ground sensors in the area they are patrolling.”
4. More prosecution of drug smuggling, human trafficking and unauthorized border crossing
5. “[I]ncreases in the number of sport utility vehicles, helicopters, power boats, river boats, portable computers to track illegal immigrants and drug smugglers while inside of a border patrol vehicle, night vision equipment, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), Remote Video Surveillance Systems (RVSS), scope trucks, and Mobile Surveillance Systems (MSS).”
6. All prisoners will be checked for immigration status and deported if found to lack documentation.
7. DHS will “identify, investigate, and initiate removal proceedings” against folks who came here legally but didn’t leave.
8. The bill would create “a broad-based registration program that requires all illegal immigrants living in the U.S. to come forward to register, be screened, and, if eligible, complete other requirements to earn legal status, including paying taxes.”

Huffington Post

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Kenya apologises to UAE for gaffe

Posted by Administrator on April 29, 2010

Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ told the Nation that he was expecting a report on Friday from a team of Immigration officials who had travelled to the Gulf state to sort out the visa debacle. Photo/ FILE

Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang’ told the Nation that he was expecting a report on Friday from a team of Immigration officials who had travelled to the Gulf state to sort out the visa debacle. Photo/ FILE

By NATION Reporter
Posted Thursday, April 29 2010 at 22:40

Kenya has apologised to the United Arab Emirates for an immigration blunder that saw top UAE officials deported.

A UAE newspaper, Gulf News, reported that Kenyan officials had met their Abu Dhabi counterparts and apologised for the diplomatic spat.

The paper quoted Sultan Al Qurtasi Al Nuaimi, the director of consular affairs at the Foreign ministry, saying the two governments were working on the new visa requirements for Kenyans.

There had been an outcry over requirements that one has to have a degree to fly into or through the UAE. Gulf News quoted Sultan Al Nuaimi saying this week’s visit by the Kenyans “was to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries”.

“The two countries maintain deep-rooted relations and Kenyan visitors are always welcome in the UAE,” he said.

Immigration minister Otieno Kajwang’ told the Nation on Thursday that he was expecting a report on Friday from a team of Immigration officials who had travelled to the Gulf state to sort out the visa debacle.

Mr Kajwang’ was optimistic that the rules could have been relaxed “as some very senior government officials passing through Dubai got a visa and no questions were asked.”

He said a PS and two parastatal chiefs had been granted visas with no demands for proof of degrees. But by the time we went to press, we had not verified this.

Overzealous officers

Similarly, government spokesman Alfred Mutua said a report from the delegation would be available on Friday morning. Attempts to reach Foreign Affairs minister Moses Wetang’ula failed as his phones were off.

Aides said the minister was in China with President Kibaki. Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Thuita Mwangi was also said to be in China.

Meanwhile, the UAE has denied reports that one of the four people deported from Kenya was a member of the royal family. Sultan Al Nuaimi said the deportations were a result of “misconduct by airport officials.”

The diplomatic row and visa debacle was sparked by overzealous officers from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit in Mombasa during the Easter weekend.

-Daily Nation

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HIV-positive people who can hide AIDS virus baffle researchers

Posted by Administrator on April 29, 2010

Scientists strongly believe with such an ability to stop the virus from infecting new cells, these people could hold the key to developing an effective AIDS vaccine. Photo/FILE

Scientists strongly believe with such an ability to stop the virus from infecting new cells, these people could hold the key to developing an effective AIDS vaccine. Photo/FILE

 

By ARTHUR OKWEMBA
Posted Thursday, April 29 2010 at 22:13

She is HIV positive, pregnant and has lived without drugs for nine years. And scientists are watching her with keen interest because the virus in her body is undetectable.

The patient, who cannot be named for confidentiality, is now four months pregnant and doctors want to see if she can deliver a HIV-negative baby without using ARVs or Caesarean Section, the key interventions used to significantly cut-down chances of a mother transmitting the virus to her baby.

“We are doing CD4 and viral load tests in close frequencies to establish how they are before we decide how she will deliver,” says Dr Surendra Patel, an expert in infectious diseases at MP Shah Hospital. “If the viral load remains undetectable, then there will be no justification to intervene with ARVs or Caesarean Section during birth.”

Her CD4 count — immune cells used to fight infections — is 1,200 and the viral load is below 40 copies/mL, the level at which the virus is defined as undetectable. CD4 count for an HIV-negative healthy individual is over 410. The woman is one of the seven other HIV-positives who have kept the virus at undetectable levels many years after being infected.

A similar phenomenon is being studied by scientists at the Kenya Aids Vaccine Initiative, where out of the more than 200 people they have kept tabs on for several years, three may hold the key to a broadly neutralising antibody vaccine. “So far, we have isolated a few individuals who have very promising results and now they are being studied to understand how their immune system is able to neutralise the virus,” says Prof Omu Anzala, virologist and Kavi director.

This phenomenon is evident in men and women who have been screened in Nairobi. Dr Patel has monitored his patients for over five years to establish what makes them tick. They have neither used any anti-retroviral drugs nor been attacked by opportunistic infections despite living with the virus. Of the eight people, one has CD4 count of 1,800, with the viral load below 40 copies or undetectable level.

“In the next 18 months, we hope to complete the follow-up and issue a statement on our findings,” Dr Patel says. These cases are what have come to be known as the Elite Controllers — people whose immune system is able to control the HIV viral load to less than 40 copies/mL compared to over 30,000 copies/mL of HIV in a person without such antibodies.

Only five per cent of all the HIV infected people globally, are categorised as elite controllers. Kenya is one of the countries with some. They are of two types. One is the Aviramic Elite Controllers, whose viral load is always undetectable. The other is the Viramic Elite Controllers, whose viral load has stabilised at about 1,000 copies. Because of the undetectable viral load, the infected can not transmit the virus to their partners.

Scientists strongly believe with such an ability to stop the virus from infecting new cells, these people could hold the key to developing an effective AIDS vaccine. The director of the National Aids and STD Control Programme (Nascop), Dr Ibrahim Mohamed, said the government was aware of a cohort of HIV-positive people with stable CD4 count and a low viral load who may not need any intervention for now.

“There are long-term non-progressors who are able to manage the virus without our intervention with anti-retroviral drugs.” The reasons these people manage the virus without medications are varied. He thinks besides producing neutralising antibodies, the virus might have mutated to develop into a weaker virus unable to replicate, or their CD4s have receptors.

Virus disabled

The latter are specific sites on the cell, which HIV uses to bond and infect the cells. Without them, the virus is disabled. In fact, some of the ARVs are known to interfere with this process, making it difficult for the virus to enter the cell. In 2008, Prof Anzala’s team announced that it had identified 10 Elite Controllers with powerful antibodies that neutralise the virus.

On being screened, the individuals were found to have high CD4 counts and very low viral loads — amount of HIV in the body — which was uncharacteristic of an infected person. They also had very low possibilities of transmitting the virus to another individual and progressing to Aids, the last stage of the disease where opportunistic infections reign, killing the individual if not well managed.

Of the 1,700 HIV-positive people who have been screened in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zambia, 170 have HIV neutralising antibodies. “What we are experiencing now is phenomenal and provides critical information of how we move forward,” says Dr Wayne Koff, of International Aids Vaccine Initiative.

Millions of shillings have been invested in research around this new phenomenon and four antibodies have been identified which can neutralise the virus. Now, the initiative is studying them to see which ones have the ability to neutralise different types of HIV strains such as A, B, C and D, also circulating in Kenya.

The Aids initiative has set aside between 30 and 50 per cent of its budget on the identification and development of a vaccine which can elicit these antibodies. They have also developed what they call Protocol G, whose sole objective is to help scientists identify elite controllers across Africa and other parts of the world.

Identifying and understanding the broadly neutralising antibodies as the most effective way of preventing HIV infection remain a most difficult aspect. Scientists admit that HIV is tricky to contain because of its HIV immune evasion mechanisms, is sexually transmitted, and has high capacity of recombination, among other factors.

Still, they believe a vaccine that produces both broadly neutralising antibodies and cellular immune response would be a most effective way to control the virus. This encouraging information has led the Aids initiative to establish Neutralising Antibody Consortium, whose responsibility is to pick-up more antibodies with the ability to prevent HIV infection.

Established in 2002, the consortium has grown from four academic institutions to 18; but to accelerate the development and testing of a viable vaccine, researchers need incentives.

— An AWC-Feature

Daily Nation

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Jilted lover sets himself on fire

Posted by Administrator on April 29, 2010

Smoke billows at the scene where a 25-year-old man set himself ablaze after a love affair turned sour. Photo/ MACHARIA MWANGI

Smoke billows at the scene where a 25-year-old man set himself ablaze after a love affair turned sour. Photo/ MACHARIA MWANGI

By NATION Correspondent
Posted Thursday, April 29 2010 at 22:30

A love affair turned tragic when a 25-year-old carpenter set himself ablaze and, in the process, burnt 150 shanties.

As a result, 600 families were left homeless at KCC Estate in the outskirts of Naivasha Town on Thursday.

The man had been living with his lover for months and when the woman decided to end the relationship, he decided to commit suicide.

He went back to his one-room timber structure, where he doused himself in paraffin and struck a match.

The fire quickly spread to adjacent houses, said Mr Francis Mtunde, a landlord who lost 30 shanties in the fire.

The jilted lover was from Kimilili in Western Province and had lived in Naivasha since 2003.

His burnt body was taken to Naivasha District Hospital mortuary.

 –Daily Nation

 

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Baby killed as parents fight over meat

Posted by Administrator on April 29, 2010

A baby was killed on Thursday when a man and his wife quarrelled over a quarter kilogramme of meat.

The father of three had brought the meat home and was roasting it when his four-year-old son asked for a piece.

The father hit the boy with a stick for his trouble.

And when the boy’s mother, who was holding a nine-month-old baby girl protested, the man tried to hit her with the stick but missed and struck the child, killing her instantly.

As the couple quarrelled, the meat burnt to a cinder.

Marakwet East District police chief Elijah Maina said the man had been arrested and would be charged in court.

In Kaptia village, Baringo, a drunken man killed his wife with poisoned arrows.

The man had quarrelled with the woman over food.

He grabbed a bow and arrows and shot her five times in the stomach.

He then fled into the bush in the Kerio Valley escarpment, where police are searching for him.

Daily Nation

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Kenyans to help swing UK poll

Posted by Administrator on April 28, 2010

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (C), opposition Conservative Party leader David Cameron (R) and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg shake hands after taking part in the second of Britain's leadership election debates, in Bristol, southwest England. Photo/REUTERS

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown (C), opposition Conservative Party leader David Cameron (R) and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg shake hands after taking part in the second of Britain's leadership election debates, in Bristol, southwest England. Photo/REUTERS

Fifteen thousand Kenyans residing in Britain are among millions of non-British citizens who could swing the UK elections.

Figures published by the Royal Commonwealth Society suggest that the Kenyans, who are part of more than one million Commonwealth citizens living in the UK, could vote in next week’s general election.

Labour Force

According to the figures based on information from the UK Labour Force Survey, for the last quarter of 2009, the Kenyans have been living in Harrow West and Brent North areas of London, and Leicester East.

All adult citizens of Commonwealth countries who are resident in the UK, even if they are not British citizens, are eligible to vote in the UK elections.

But most citizens of the European Union, except those from Cyprus and Malta, are unable to vote in UK national elections.

Potentially representing more than 2 per cent of the UK electorate (roughly 45 million), these Commonwealth nationals could swing the election.

Daily Nation

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Texas legislators plan bills similar to Arizona Immigration law

Posted by Administrator on April 28, 2010

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