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Archive for December 23rd, 2010

Herb halts spread of HIV in blood

Posted by Administrator on December 23, 2010

Dr Michael Odotte exhibits his products at a recent Kenya National Academy of Science regional conference in Nairobi. Photo/NATION CORRESPONDENT

Dr Michael Odotte exhibits his products at a recent Kenya National Academy of Science regional conference in Nairobi. Photo/NATION CORRESPONDENT

A vine which grows wildly in western Kenya and found to have antiretroviral properties is among a handful of neglected inventions in Africa with the potential to change the continent’s health landscape.

Imbasa as it is called locally in Emuhaya, or Tylosema fassoglensis botanically, also grows in parts South Nyanza and Maseno Hills.

It has been the subject of intense study by researchers from Kenyatta University, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Maseno University and North Carolina University in the US.

Using an extract from the climber, researchers led by Dr Michael B. Odotte, have developed a food supplement called Sunguprot now under commercial incubation at the Kenya Industrial Research Institute.

“It is a protein based protease inhibitor, meaning that it stops the replication of HIV in the body, and has been certified by the Kenya Bureau of Standards as fit for human consumption,” said Dr Odotte.

Last week Sunguprot was part of a slew of papers published by Canada’s McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health identified as having the potential to offer Africa a home grown health solution.

Sunguprot, says the paper published in the UK-based BioMed Central, is a promising product but it is being held back by lack of advanced scientific equipment to isolate compounds and funding to carry out large clinical trials.

Writing a forward for the papers that included innovations by the Kenya Medical Research Institutes and the Nairobi based International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Kenyan scholar at Harvard University Dr Calestus Juma says this has come at an opportune time.

“The publication has come at a time when firms in industrialised countries are rethinking their global strategies, especially in relation to the location of new research and production facilities. These papers show that some African countries could be viable partners as they seek to become part of the global knowledge ecology.”

Sunguprot, which was featured in the Nation last year, and comes in the form of flour for porridge, is described as a herbal food supplement with both antiretroviral and nutritive properties, ideal for people suffering from HIV/Aids, the malnourished and the aged.

Talking to the Nation, Dr Odotte said safety and efficacy studies had been carried out in conjunction with the Kemri and it had been found to be safe in primates and significantly lowered the HIV in the blood.

“We were funded by the National Council for Science and Technology to carry out limited clinical trials but we would still need to carry out larger studies,” Dr Odotte said.

He said, they are working with Maseno University on how to domesticate the wild plant for both commercial and conservation. “Already some farmers in Nyatike and Rongo are growing the plant on experimental bases.”

The limited trials carried out under Prof John Mecham of the Department of Biology, Meredith College and Prof Michael Otieno, Department of Pre-Clinical Sciences, Kenyatta University,

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Herb%20halts%20spread%20of%20HIV%20in%20blood%20%20/-/1056/1077820/-/7im3l4z/-/index.html

Posted in Kenya, Kenya_Health | 4 Comments »

Extradition sought for Kenyan accused of murder in New Zealand

Posted by Administrator on December 23, 2010

Lydia Munene who survived the attack in 2009

Lydia Munene who survived the attack in 2009

 A formal extradition request has been made to Kenyan authorities for a man wanted for the attempted murder of his estranged wife and the murder of her male friend in Christchurch.

Samuel Njuguna is alleged to have murdered Steven Maina and attempted to murder Lydia Munene in her Avonside home on September 12, 2009.

All three were Kenyan nationals. Njuguna flew to Kenya the day after the attack, before it was discovered by a concerned friend on September 14. It is believed he is still in Kenya.

Detective Inspector Greg Williams, head of the investigation, said he made contact with Njuguna’s brother in Kenya during the first few days of the investigation.

“His family there felt that he should return to New Zealand and be held accountable.

The family purchased a plane ticket for Mr Njuguna and he was due to return but, at the last minute decided not to.”

Williams said authorities have been working on extradition proceedings since a warrant for Njuguna’s arrest was issued in October last year.

Williams said Njuguna is being sought by Kenyan authorities and, once located, would be extradited to New Zealand in accordance with Kenyan law. “As is the case here, extraditions in Kenya involve a judicial process, which can be time-consuming.

There is no need for an extradition treaty between Kenya and New Zealand in order for Mr Njuguna to be extradited.”

Williams said Police were hopeful that once Njuguna was located he would be sent back to New Zealand without delay.

Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/4493194/Extradition-request-for-Kenyan-murder-accused

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Kenya-born U.S. Judge Outraged at Vote to Pull Out of ICC

Posted by Administrator on December 23, 2010

A U.S.-based Kenyan law expert has described to VOA as ridiculous a decision by members of Kenya’s parliament to withdraw the country from the Rome Statute following a unanimous vote late Wednesday.

Joab Okello, administrative judge for the U.S. State of New York, also called on Kenyans to protest and renounce the decision by the legislators not to cooperate with the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

“I was very outraged by that move because Kenya cannot afford to be a pariah state. We are one of the most important countries in Africa and we’ve maintained that for years. And, for the parliament to pass this bill, just because six people have been indicted, is outrageous,” said Judge Okello.

“The six individual must still answer to the ICC. What they are trying to do is protect these people so that they are not arrested. So, that means the ICC can only arrest the individuals if these individuals leave the country. But, if Kenya was a signatory, (to the ICC), then Kenya would have to arrest them if needed.”

Recently, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor of the ICC, named six high-profile suspects he believed were masterminds of Kenya’s 2007 post-election violence that left more than 1,300 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands. The suspects, Moreno-Ocampo said, would be charged with crimes against humanity.

The six, high-profile suspects include Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, who also serves as Finance Minister, Cabinet Secretary Francis Muthaura, former police chief Hussein Ali, suspended Higher Education Minister William Ruto, Henry Kosgey, chairman of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), and Joshua Arap Sang, a journalist at a popular local radio station.

But, in voting Wednesday, the legislators suggested that Kenya’s local judicial system should handle the cases involving the post-election violence.

Judge Okello said that it is clear the legislators want to protect the high-profile suspects.

“Most Kenyans that I have talked to are outraged by this move (vote), and I hope that the two principals (president and prime minister) will not sign this bill. There has to be a way to reverse this action because Kenya cannot be a pariah state,” said judge Okello.

“I think Kenyans must express their outrage as soon as possible so that this vote is reversed. I can’t see it standing.”

Meanwhile, a recent poll shows over 85 percent of Kenyans support the ICC prosecution of the suspects.

Source: http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Kenya-born-US-Judge-Outraged-at-Vote-to-Pull-Out-of-ICC-112354854.html

Posted in Diaspora News, Kenya | 5 Comments »

Kenyans in US fall prey to credit card swindle

Posted by Administrator on December 23, 2010

Some Kenyans living abroad planning to travel home for Christmas are the latest victims of a credit card fraudsters.

The scandal, which involves the purchase of air tickets from a ‘travel agent’ in Kenya apparently paid for by credit cards stolen in the US, could reinforce the perception Kenya is a hub of international crimes.

It also comes at a time several Kenyans are serving prison sentences in the US over tax evasions and credit card frauds.

A Mr Eric Omollo, whose mobile phone contact is shown by some of those he has conned, is advertised abroad as offering the cheapest airline tickets.

Even though he has no physical contacts, it is believed that thousands of people have used his services.

“He doesn’t have an office or a web site. You call him on his cell phone and give him the dates you propose to travel. He tells you the amount for a return ticket, which usually ranges between $1,000 (about Sh80,000) and $1,300 (about Sh104,000). Once you agree, he asks you to wire $300 via Western Union. The rest, he tells you, you will pay as soon as you land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. As soon as you wire the money, he will e-mail you the e-tickets, fully paid for,” said Morin Kisia, a Kenyan living in Upper Derby, Pennsylvania.

Checked out

Morin, who returned to the US after travelling to Kenya to attend her son’s graduation, told The Standard that immediately she checked out at JKIA, he was there waiting. Asked whether she had suspected anything, Morin, said she did.

“There were inconsistencies in the ticketing matter. I learnt later the actual price for my ticket was $2,500, but I had only paid $1,000,” she said.

She added: “My card was listed as a Master Card bearing names that are not even Kenyan, with an address in Seattle. I’ve never had a Master Card since I came to the US 15 years ago.”

Morin, like many other victims who live in Delaware and who spoke to The Standard, agreed that even though they suspected something was wrong, they couldn’t ‘pass on’ the deal because it was too good. “Where can you get a ticket to Kenya for between $1,000 and 1,300?” said a victim, who sought anonymity.

Expensive airline

The current reasonable price for an airline ticket to Nairobi ranges from between $2,500 and $5,000 especially on British Airways, which is one of the most expensive airlines.

Until recently when the British Airways officials at the Philadelphia International Airport noticed discrepancies in the names of the travellers’ tickets and that of the credit cards used to pay, the scandal had gone unnoticed for years.

In the recent past, scores of travellers have had to be turned away from boarding flights to Kenya because the information contained on their e-tickets from Kenya, the home contacts and the names and numbers on the credit cards purportedly used to pay for their tickets were at variance.

“Before we issue boarding passes to our passengers, it is standard procedure that we verify information contained on their tickets and travel documents like passports. It is true that of late, we have had serious issues with people travelling to Kenya especially those whose tickets originate from there,” said a British Airways official at Philadelphia Airport, who requested not to be named.

Last week, more than four members of a church in Delaware who had purchased tickets as a group were turned away when they presented their tickets for processing.

Name and address

“They asked me how much I had paid for the ticket and I said $1,000. They told me the actual amount paid was $2,500 from a Discover Card bearing the names and address of somebody who lived in Oregon. I was shocked!” said a victim.

Some victims have made statements at the New Castle County Police and it is believed the officers have sought the assistance of the FBI.

It is believed Omollo, who has since disappeared into ‘thin’ air following this discovery, is part of an elaborate syndicate of international cons stealing cards and identities.

Omollo’s number and e-mail address are still listed even though he is not responding to inquiries.

Source: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000025332&cid=4&

Posted in Kenya | 5 Comments »

 
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