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Archive for January 1st, 2012

Lost but Found Personal Documents for Gladys Wacheke Njuguna

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

Message from Kenyan Embassy New York:

Gladys Wacheke Njuguna’s  ‘Kenya Driving License’ together with her other Special Personal Documents were sent from California to Kenyan Embassy New York.

She is/was a resident of Boston Area and either visited or relocated recently to California.  She needs to contact Kenyan Embassy New York to get her documents. Please pass this message to the above mentioned person if you know her or pass it out via Kenyan Community and Friends.

Bsp Karaya CCF Lowell

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US based woman dies while on vacation in Kenya

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

The late Jane Njeri who passed away in a car accident in Kenya while on vacation

The late Jane Njeri who passed away in a car accident in Kenya while on vacation

It is with deep grief that we inform you of the sad demise of Jane Njeri of Edgewood, Maryland. Jane left for heavenly abode on December 30, 2011 at around 2125hrs after being in a road accident in Kenya along Mombasa Rd near the Voi Junction in Voi.

Jane is survived by her husband Waithaka John, two beautiful children, C.J. and Chiru, brothers, sisters, relatives and beloved friends.

Family and friends are meeting daily at 612 Harbor Oaks Dr, Edgewood, MD, 21040 as from 7pm for funeral arrangements and prayers.

Kenya: Burial arrangements are taking place at All Saints Cathedral at 6:00pm on Wednesday 4th. Friday 6th and on Monday 9th January, 2012 and at their home in Bahati, Nakuru.

Contacts
John Waithaka 443-851-7530
Carol Muthoni: 443-939-0101
Gloria Nyambura: 410-371-9996

Posted in Diaspora News | Tagged: | 14 Comments »

Video: Robbers make merry on Nairobi streets

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

Posted in Kenya | Comments Off on Video: Robbers make merry on Nairobi streets

Can White Wedding Gowns Create Opportunities for Kenyan Women?

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

An Ottawa woman wants to give brides in the Kenyan slums the opportunity of a  lifetime. Carol Waters, who volunteers with Project  Hope for Africa, is collecting wedding dresses to take to young brides in  the Marthare slums of Nairobi. Waters brilliant idea will allow young women to  feel very special on their wedding day and then turn their wedding dress into a  small business.

When she is in Africa, Waters teaches young women how to sew so that they can  earn an income. On her last trip there, she noticed that they didn’t wear the  same type of white wedding dresses frequently worn in North America. She asked  the women if brides ever wear fancy white dresses and they told her that only  very wealthy women are able to do so.

Out of that conversation, Waters came up with a great idea. She planned to  collect wedding dresses in Canada and take them to the women in the Kenyan slums  so that they could feel very special on their wedding day. But there is more to  her plan than that. Waters also wants to help the women turn their dresses into  a business renting them out for $5 a day. She told the CBC:

The girls could make some money, I would teach  them how to wash them,  put false hems on them, they could alter them and maybe  it would give 10  girls on a Saturday a special day in their life.

Waters idea is a small, but simple, micro business opportunity for these  women. While one dress won’t last forever, it will provide them with some income  and also help them hone their sewing skills and their business skills. Marriage  is sometimes perceived as a mechanism by which women become submissive to their  husbands. With Waters plan, these women’s wedding days will mark the beginning  of new entrepreneurial opportunities.

Source: http://www.care2.com/causes/can-white-wedding-gowns-create-opportunities-for-kenyan-women.html#ixzz1iDybaKjM

Posted in Kenya | 2 Comments »

Diaspora want assurance they can vote

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

File | NATION IEBC chief Isaack Hassan says the commission is doing everything possible to ensure the daispora votes.

File | NATION IEBC chief Isaack Hassan says the commission is doing everything possible to ensure the daispora votes.

The hope among some three million Kenyans living abroad that they will vote in the upcoming General Election hangs in the balance.

There is already a caveat over their heads before registration and subsequent voting is granted to them for the first time in Kenya’s history.

In an interview with Sunday Nation in Mombasa on Tuesday, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Isaack Ahmed Hassan said the elections body was drawing up legislation to enable Kenyans living abroad to participate in the elections.

“The new Constitution gives them the right to vote, but there is a caveat that should be addressed before they can vote,” he said.

Section 82(1) of the Constitution says that “Parliament shall enact legislation to provide for—(e): the progressive registration of citizens residing outside Kenya, and the progressive realisation of their right to vote.”

Through the initiative of Kenya’s ambassador in the United States of America Elkana Odembe, IBEC commissioners visited the US and met Kenyans living in different cities where the issue of registration and voting was discussed.

The commissioners also met different African ambassadors in the US to share their experiences of conducting such elections abroad, especially those of South Africas, Angolans and Zambians.

According to the chairman, their experiences were an eye-opener for the commissioners.

“We want to assure Kenyans abroad that they should not be worried as the commission will make every effort to ensure they are going to vote,” he said.

The electoral commission chairman spoke days after a group of Kenyans living in the US said they were sceptical  whether they would be able to vote in the General Election.

A US-based group, the Kenya Diaspora Vote, has already established an Internet presence to collect signatures seeking assurances from the Kenyan government that they will not be denied their constitutional right to vote.

Mr Peter Kerre, who is spearheading the push, said the petition can be found on http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/kenya-diaspora-right-to-vote.html.

Mr Hassan told the Sunday Nation that presiding over the next General Election would be an arduous task but said his team was prepared to deal with the challenges.

“Based on what happened following the 2007 elections, I must say it will be quite a challenge and heavy burden, but I am comfortable with the team of commissioners I have. We shall overcome this and conduct free and fair elections,” he said.

On civil servants planning to enter  politics, Mr Hassan explained that the law was clear that they should leave office this month if the elections are to be held in August or in May if the elections will be in December.

He said the IBEC was bent on implementing the letter and spirit of the Constitution and other relevant laws to ensure that Kenyans get quality leadership.

“We must follow the new laws on elections to the letter so those civil servants interested in political seats must leave office after the court declares the polls’ date in January,” he said.

The chairman dismissed the notion that there were new elections rules being set up, saying the commission was using only  the existing laws of the new Constitution to ensure a free and fair election.

“As Kenyans we should look back and ask ourselves what happened in 2007 so as to make sure it does not happen again because we have confidence and faith in our reformed Judiciary,” he said.

He noted that with the expected changes of the security sector for the appointment of the Inspector General of Police, two deputies and CID director this would build more confidence and faith among Kenyans.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/politics/-/1064/1298224/-/view/printVersion/-/eb4ywc/-/index.html

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Remittances by Kenyans hit Sh6.9bn in Nov

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

File | NATION A customer receiving cash sent from abroad at a Western Union outlet.

File | NATION A customer receiving cash sent from abroad at a Western Union outlet.

Kenyans abroad sent home about Sh6.9 billion in November 2011, a 43 per cent increase over November 2010 figures.

Additionally, cumulative funds for the 12 months ending November 2011 were 37.8 per cent higher than a similar period in 2010.

Although there was a Sh43 million drop between October and November, the data points towards a generally positive trend.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has attributed this trend partly to better remittance monitoring processes.

“Since December, 2010, improved data collection techniques and proper classification of remittances by some commercial banks have contributed to this increase in remittances inflow,” said CBK’s research director Gitari Koori in a statement.

Diaspora remittances were ranked as Kenya’s fourth-largest foreign exchange earner in 2011 after tea, horticulture and tourism.

Despite this, there have been allegations in the past that Kenya’s faulty record keeping has been vastly underestimating the true worth of remittances.

A report released by the World Bank last year put the amount of money sent in 2010 at about Sh154 billion while the CBK reported only  Sh54.5 billion.

Mr John Maina, who advises the Prime Minister’s office on diaspora affairs, places the number even higher at Sh220 billion.

“CBK does not account for money transferred through informal channels. If a migrant asks a friend to bring back a couple of dollars to family, that’s still remitting,” he said.

If the World Bank figure were accepted as more accurate, diaspora remittances could eclipse top forex earners like agriculture and tourism.

The lack of accurate figures greatly impedes policy making and national planning.

“We need to have a whole picture of what is going on if we are to develop good policies,” African affairs consultant Michael Orwa said in a past interview.

In its statement, the CBK also noted increased engagement of Kenyans living abroad as a contributing factor to the positive figures.

A recent conference entitled the Diaspora Homecoming Conference informed Kenyans visiting for the holidays about their rights under the new constitutional dispensation that guarantees dual citizenship.

Additionally, calls for bids for Treasury infrastructure bonds have taken Kenyan emigrants into consideration.

However, industry players say that more needs to be done with some suggesting the implementation of a diaspora bond, as has been the case in India and Israel.

Diaspora Bond

“A vehicle that has been missing and which holds lots of potential is a Diaspora Bond. This could be used to mobilise money for long-term investment in infrastructure and social amenities,” said Kenya Community Abroad secretary Leonard Mwamba.

High costs continue to be prohibitive factors to people who send money. According to the World Bank, Africa is the most expensive region to remit money with a single transfer costing an average 10 per cent of the amount send.

However, the CBK has noted that increased competition among money transfer services is cutting down on the costs.

In November, the World Bank launched an online portal for migrants to compare pricings across different services thus encouraging competition and transparency in the sector.

Meanwhile, M-Pesa has gone international encroaching on the turf of older players such as Western Union and Money Gram.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/business/news/Remittances+by+Kenyans+hit+Sh6bn+in+Nov+/-/1006/1298148/-/12j2q0q/-/

Posted in Kenya | 2 Comments »

Five dead in Kenya New Year blast

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

GARISSA, Kenya — Five people were killed in a New Year’s Eve hand grenade attack and shooting in a bar in the eastern Kenyan town of Garissa near the border with Somalia, police said Sunday.

It marked the latest in a series of such attacks since Nairobi sent troops into Somalia to fight the Islamist Shebab.

“There was an explosion in a club in town shortly before midnight (Saturday) and five people died,” a senior police officer at Northeast provincial headquarters told AFP.

“After the explosion in the club there was shooting outside and people were running all over. It appears they targeted New Year celebrations,” the officer added, asking not to be named.

Regional police chief Leo Nyongesa told AFP: “We are investigating. We are looking for the attackers.”

Residents voiced fears that the attackers might have been Somali Shebab insurgents or their sympathisers, intent on creating a divide between Christians and Muslims in the region.

Peter Mwathis, a guard who was wounded in the attack in the garrison town, described the assailants as four men dressed in military uniform.

“I was confronted by a man in full Kenyan army uniform who asked me to open the gate. When I saw he was holding a grenade I ran into the bushes,” he told AFP from his hospital bed.

“Then I heard a big blast and the place was sprayed with bullets. I thought I had escaped but later on I felt a sharp pain in my chest and realised that it was a bullet wound.

“I heard people cry loudly as more bullets rent the air targeting those fleeing from the bar,” he added.

Mohamed Abdikadir, the provincial director of public health, said a total of 21 people injured in the blast are being treated at Garissa hospital; two are them are in critical condition while the rest are out of danger.

There were unconfirmed reports of two police officers among the dead, one who was shot at the entry to the bar and the other who was hit in a taxi a short distance away.

The predominantly Muslim town, the capital of Northeast province, lies just 100 kilometres (60 miles) from the Somali border and 70 kilometres from Dadaab, a complex of Somali refugee camps.

Nairobi sent troops and tanks into Somalia in mid-October to fight the Shebab which it accuses of staging a series of attacks on Kenyan soil.

Since the deployment, Kenya’s northeast has been the focus of a series of attacks, often blamed by the authorities on sympathisers of Shebab militants who control swathes of central and southern Somalia.

On Christmas Eve, a grenade explosion in a bar in Wajir, another town in the same region, left six people wounded.

Garissa has been one of the worst hit by the violence. On November 24, two grenade attacks there killed three people and injured 27. On November 5 a grenade attack on a church in the town killed two people and injured four.

Kenyan police had announced on Saturday that they would be circulating photographs of 15 people they believe can provide information on the Shebab.

Police spokesman Eric Kiraithe told journalists the nine Kenyans, two Asians and four Somalis are believed to have left Somalia and that some were thought to be in Kenya already “with the intent of engaging in criminal activities”.

Source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hj2-4amb3G4hRDcj9yWGSiODT85Q?docId=CNG.68549e5b7090410afa9fad1feb23abf1.71

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Romney would veto immigration “dream” act

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

(Reuters) – Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said on Saturday he would veto a proposal granting U.S. citizenship to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children, a pledge that won hearty applause from Iowa conservatives he hopes to win over.

A young woman asked Romney about the bipartisan proposal known as the Dream Act, during an appearance at a crowded restaurant in Le Mars, a conservative Republican stronghold in western Iowa.

“The question is if I were elected and Congress were to pass the Dream Act, would I veto it and the answer is yes,” Romney said.

“For those that come here illegally, the idea of giving them in-state tuition credits or other special benefits, I find to be contrary to the idea of a nation of laws,” Romney said.

“If I’m the president of the United States I want to end illegal immigration so that we can protect legal immigration. I like legal immigration.”

Under the Dream Act, which was brought up in the Senate in May, young undocumented immigrants who have lived most of their lives in the United States and graduate from U.S. high schools would be eligible for a conditional six-year “path to citizenship” if they earn a college degree or serve two years in the military.

Romney also said he would secure the U.S.-Mexico border with a fence and enough Border Patrol agents to guard it.

The remarks drew vigorous applause in Le Mars and at a later appearance in Sioux City. Romney said he would eliminate the “magnet” that draws illegal immigrants by cracking down on employers who hire them.

“We need to give those employers the tools they need to determine who’s legal and illegal,” he said. “But if they have those tools and don’t use them, we’re going to go after them just like we go after employers who don’t pay their taxes,” Romney said.

He said he would continue a provision that grants a fast track to citizenship for foreigners who serve in the military.

Romney has led in the opinion polls ahead of Tuesday’s Iowa caucus, which kicks off the state-by-state contests to choose the Republican presidential candidate who will challenge President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the November 2012 general election.

But he has not sealed the deal with some Iowa Republicans who doubt his conservative credentials because of his history as governor of left-leaning Massachusetts.

“We need a staunch conservative to the max and I just don’t see it in anybody other than (Rick) Santorum,” said Pat Renken, a Le Mars resident who manages a grain elevator. He turned out at a Romney rally despite planning to vote for Santorum, a conservative former senator from Pennsylvania.

“There’s nothing that turns me off about him (Romney),” Renken said. “I just like Senator Santorum more.”

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/01/us-usa-campaign-romney-immigration-idUSTRE80001O20120101?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=71

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Voter photo ID, E-Verify laws to take effect in new year

Posted by Administrator on January 1, 2012

(Reuters) – Laws that require voters to present photo identification at the polls, recognize same-sex civil unions and aim to restrict illegal immigration are among the state measures taking effect on New Year’s Day.

Measures passed in 2011, which numbered nearly 40,000 across the country, often reflected the priorities of Republicans, who held majorities in most state legislative chambers and held the highest number of seats nationally by the party since 1928.

“When Republicans finally got in control in many states … they were able to put those things on the table and pass them pretty quickly,” said Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Immigration was a big issue in 2011. A number of states enacted crackdowns geared toward driving away illegal immigrants, only to see key parts of those efforts halted by federal courts.

But starting on Sunday, many businesses in Louisiana, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia will be required to enroll in the federal E-Verify program to determine whether their employees are eligible to work in the United States.

On the flip side, a new law taking effect in California will prohibit private businesses from being required to use E-Verify except in cases where federal law mandates it.

The National Conference of State Legislatures said more states are expected to pursue curbs on illegal immigration in 2012, with lawmakers looking to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law in its upcoming term for guidance on how expansive state measures can be.

“They’re extremely frustrated by the lack of action by the federal government on this issue,” Conference spokesman Jon Kuhl said.

VOTER ID RULES

Kuhl said additional states were also likely to follow in the footsteps of Kansas and Tennessee, where voters will now have to show photo identification before casting a ballot, or Rhode Island, which will require a non-photo identification from voters.

Well over half of all states already require some form of identification from voters. Proponents say such measures help prevent voter fraud, while critics argue the laws disproportionately affect minorities’ ability to vote.

The Justice Department last week blocked South Carolina’s new voter photo identification law due to such concerns.

“With the presidential election coming up, it’s certainly not an issue that’s going to be going away,” Kuhl said.

New laws in Delaware and Hawaii will make same-sex couples eligible for civil unions in the new year and allow them the same legal rights and benefits as married couples, the NCSL said.

And a first-in-the-nation law in California will require public schools to teach students about the historical accomplishments of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, as well as people with disabilities.

California will be the first state to bar teenagers under age 18 from using tanning beds, while North Dakota will prohibit drivers younger than 18 from using cell phones in their cars and all drivers from text messaging.

A Nevada law will also ban all drivers from texting and using handheld phone devices.

Low-wage workers will see their hourly pay increase on Sunday in the eight states that automatically adjust their minimum wage at the start of each year to keep up with inflation.

Wage increases will take effect in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Experts said 2012 is likely to bring more state budget cuts and legislative agendas that are easy on the wallet.

“The budget situations are just so tough in so many states that they are going to be looking for things that don’t cost a lot of money,” Burden said.

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/31/us-laws-idUSTRE7BU0E220111231

Posted in US News | 2 Comments »

 
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