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Archive for January 17th, 2012

Goldplat pours first Kenyan gold bar

Posted by Administrator on January 17, 2012

Africa-focused gold producer Goldplat has poured the first bar of gold from its Kilimapesa mine in Kenya, marking the beginning of production in the east African country’s first gold project, the company said on Tuesday.

London-listed Goldplat said this followed the commissioning of the Elution plant, which enables Kilimapesa to smelt and produce bullion on site.

“Kilimapesa’s first gold pour marks a significant milestone for both the company and Kenya as we continue to develop the country’s first gold project … into a profitable mining operation,” Goldplat Chief Executive Officer Demetri Manolis said in a statement.

Goldplat targets an expansion of its resource base towards the 500,000 ounce mark and an increase in gold production towards 10,000 ounces per year, Manolis said.

The initial smelt produced 399 ounces. The company did not provide a current estimate of current reserves of the mine.

The first bar was sold to Rand Refinery Limited in South Africa.

Goldplat has assets in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Last fiscal year, the company reported total production of 28,185 ounces of gold in its annual report.

Source: Reuters UK

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Massive cyber attack hits 100 State websites

Posted by Administrator on January 17, 2012

Photo/FILE The hacker claimed his “mark” on them, by defacing the front pages of the websites.

Photo/FILE The hacker claimed his “mark” on them, by defacing the front pages of the websites.

An Indonesian hacker on Tuesday attacked and defaced more than 100 Kenya government websites in a major cyber security breach.

The hacker, referred to as Direxer, broke into the sites and defaced them to show that he had managed to access them.

The websites included those of various government ministries, departments and local authorities. (READ: Some of the sites that were affected)

Notable sites affected included the ministries of Finance, Education, Public Health, Youth Affairs, National Heritage and Roads; as well as sensitive departments such as Administration Police, Immigration, Prisons and various city, municipal and county councils.

By Tuesday night, E-Government officials had shut down some of the sites as they tried to establish how the hacker managed to access them.

They were also working to guard against a repeat attack. The hacker claimed his “mark” on them, by defacing the front pages of the websites.

When opened, the website had the hacker’s name on it, with a message, and a song playing in the background, referring to his “victory”.

“We are making every effort within our resources to restore the websites and protect them from future attacks,” E-Government Directorate secretary Katherine Getao told the Nation.

Returned connection error

Dr Getao added that the directorate was capable of handling the restoration, saying that the hacking was a low level attack that did not warrant involvement of the Cyber Incidence Response Team based at the Communications Commission of Kenya.

Attempts by the Nation to log in to the affected websites returned a connection error reading:

“The gateway could not receive a timely response from the website you are trying to access.

“This might indicate that the network is congested, or that the website is experiencing technical difficulties.”

While others simply returned a “website could not be found” error. However, other sites were opening normally.

The hacker is part of an online Indonesian security forum known as Forum Code Security.

The news of the hacking was first exposed on the site code-security.net/archives/114, a forum on code security.

The title on the website read: “Joint Discussion — Forum on Code Security”.

The hacker claimed to have used tutorials from the site to hack into the government websites.

A message he left on the same site said: “show off by me… thanks for tutorial in www.code-security.com all… i have exploit from cs web, and i attacking to server Government Kenya,,,, and then,,, success full… this is deface in this night…”

E-Government officials assured citizens that the government’s main data was safe from the attack.

Source: Daily Nation

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Deaf preacher with gifted hands

Posted by Administrator on January 17, 2012

”]Boniface Okutoyi at his carpentry shop. Initially, he used his disability as an excuse to engage in crime, but now he is exploiting his talent for the good of others. [Photos: Kevin Tunoi/Standard]Boniface Okutoyi has an option of picking a tin, sitting at a strategic corner in one of the Eldoret streets and asking for alms.

But the 34-year-old, who is deaf, will not walk that path. Instead he goes out of his way to help needy Kenyans.

For example, during last year’s ‘Kenyans for Kenya’ initiative, Okutoyi joined a group of well-wishers to collect food which they distributed to hungry residents of Pokot County.

When there is no such cause, he regularly identifies less fortunate people and uses his own resources to help them. To him, giving is a virtue.

When he rose above his disability, Okutoyi says God has uplifted him to a status he never thought he would get to.

He is today a pastor and counsellor, preaching to the able-bodied and disabled people. He is also a talented carpenter who runs his own workshop in Uasin Gishu County.

“Due to the stigma associated with disabled people, I found staying at home in Butere difficult and finally ran away. That was in 1996 and I became a street boy in Eldoret,” he explains his life story.

Being away from his family and anyone he was answerable to, Okutoyi found himself picking bad behaviour in the streets.

“I started engaging in crime, alcoholism and smoking as well as sniffing glue. When I was drunk, I was the one relied on to beat up people in the streets when they refused to co-operate with us,” says Okutoyi, through an interpreter, Dickens Owade.

Back then, he was unaware he had talent that would change many people and resigned to his fate, believing society had no place and time for disabled people like him.

“If you would have told me then that I would become a sought-after pastor and talented carpenter, I would have probably beaten you up for deceiving me.”

When he was sinking into the depths of the underworld, Okutoyi met Pastor Albert Nasiali who encouraged him to quit street life.

Nasiali says God used him as vessel to reach Okutoyi. “I didn’t know it was his time, the time he was about to turn his life around,” says Nasiali.

Quit street life

In the year 2000, Okutoyi returned to Pastor Nasiali who headed a church in Kidiwa, Eldoret town, and sought salvation.

“I quit street life and decided to lead a clean life. I haven’t looked back,” says Okutoyi.

Nasiali and other well-wishers immediately enrolled him in a vocational training institute in Eldoret where he learnt carpentry, welding and masonry.

Today, he is a role model to many.

Beautiful products

Five years later, Okutoyi started his carpentry work in Eldoret town and word spread across ridges about the beauty of his products.

“People did not believe that a deaf person would produce such masterpieces. Some even came to just watch me make the furniture from scratch to believe that indeed I had moulded them,” he says.

Okutoyi’s sofa sets, dining tables, school chairs and desks, wall units, wardrobes, stools and beds fetch him a good income.

It is not hard for him to communicate with his clients and grasp exactly what they want him to do for them.

“An interpreter makes it easy. Also, some customers use a ‘little’ sign language which I understand. With others, we write down what we want to express. I am used to it,” he says.

While we are still at the workshop in Ainabkoi, a teacher comes to check progress of his sofa set which Okutoyi is making at Sh30,000.

Eunice Rop believed in Okutoyi’s dream of becoming a preacher and learnt sign language to be his interpreter.

“Whenever he is called to preach, we accompany him and interpret for him. He touches people’s lives with his ministry despite his handicap and we thank God for him,” says Rop.

We met him and Rop preaching at Kessup Girls’ High School in Keiyo North District. Rop is also the school’s Christian Union patron.

“She and others like Jack Chelagat and his wife understand me and my messages. Apart from interpreting for me, they also support my ministry,” says Okutoyi, who is unmarried as he is waiting “upon God to give me a good wife”.

SOURCE: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/InsidePage.php?id=2000050242&cid=4

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Uhuru: I’m in the 2012 race, Hague or not

Posted by Administrator on January 17, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta maintains that not even a war crimes case at The Hague can pull him out of the race to succeed President Mwai Kibaki.

Kenyatta, who is awaiting a verdict from the International Criminal Court Pre-Trial Chamber on whether he should face trial over the 2008 post election violence, said he would press on with his presidential campaign regardless of the ruling which is expected by January 23.

The Finance Minister said his desire to become Kenya’s president is driven by a vision to improve the lives of all Kenyans.

“My campaign is not built around the ICC; my campaign is built around an agenda and a vision which I have for a country called Kenya and that is what is important,” Kenyatta told reporters on Tuesday.

The Gatundu South MP asked Kenyans to maintain peace regardless of the outcome of the ICC process.

“I don’t think it will change anything in the political scenario, those who have declared their interest will continue (with their campaigns); that is the main reason why I am saying what we need most in this country is just peace and co-existence,” he said.

Gilbert Bitti, a Senior Legal Adviser to the Pre-Trial Division of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday stated that the decision would be announced on or before January 23, which marks the end of the 60-day period allowed under the Rome Statute, after defence teams made their written submissions following the conclusion of the confirmation of charges hearings in September.

Political alliance formations have already begun, in part as a response to the ICC proceedings.

The two most prominent suspects, Kenyatta and former Cabinet Minister William Ruto, as well as Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and many other like-minded politicians, are exploring the possibility of uniting behind one candidate.

The fact that the court will hand down a decision on all charges on the same day will be crucial step to help defuse a rise in ethnic tensions.

Kenyatta played this aspect down and instead urged Kenyans to maintain peace regardless of the outcome.

“There is no reason for panic or alarm, Kenyans should continue with the business of building and developing their country,” said the DPM.

Kenyatta is a suspect alongside MPs Ruto and Henry Kosgey, Public Service chief Francis Muthaura, former Police Commissioner Major General (Rtd) Hussein Ali and Kass FM presenter Joshua Arap Sang.

The suspects are accused of murder, forcible transfer, persecution, rape and other inhumane acts that led the loss of 1,333 lives and displacement of close to 500,000 others, mainly in the Rift Valley Province following a disputed presidential election contested by Kibaki and his main rival Raila Odinga.

SOURCE: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2012/01/uhuru-i%E2%80%99m-in-the-2012-race-hague-or-not/

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You must resign if indicted, Mutula tells ICC 3

Posted by Administrator on January 17, 2012

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo says Uhuru Kenyatta, Francis Muthaura and Maj Gen (Rtd) Hussein Ali should relinquish their government positions should the International Criminal Court (ICC) send them to trial over the 2008 post election violence.

Kilonzo told Capital News that a combination of Chapter Six of the Constitution and the Public Officers Ethics Act required that such officers resign from public office until they were cleared of any wrong doing.

While citing Articles 10 and 75, he added that the Constitution placed a high credibility threshold on all public and State officers regardless of their social or economic standing.

Kenyatta, Muthaura and Ali are State officers who are among six Kenyans under probe at the war crimes’ court.

“As far as I’m concerned this is a non-issue. The people who should be anxious are the ones who are guilty because as they say the guilty are afraid. If you are innocent, you must remember that you are protected by the Constitution,” he said.

“The only thing is if you hold public office you must step down if the charges are confirmed,” he added.

Kilonzo further explained that Chapter Six of the Constitution bars those with pending court cases from vying for public office. He noted that the provisions under Chapter Six only cleared persons of high integrity for both State and public offices.

He added that the crimes facing the six Kenyans bore significant weight and it would not be easy to dismiss them.

Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto have already declared their interests in the presidency in the next elections.

“This is not about theft or cutting Mutula’s trees or stealing his paintings; it is not a traffic offense! I mean if these charges are confirmed it will mean that they (suspects) are indicted on a charge of international crime against humanity,” he argued.

Meanwhile, Kilonzo said he would seek amendments to the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) Act arguing that the current version was too watered down to facilitate the country’s war on graft.

He maintained that the current EACC Act was defective as it lacked provisions guiding the transition period between the now defunct Kenya Anti Corruption Commission and the EACC.

While accusing MPs of mutilating the Act, Kilonzo noted that the current version took away the EACC’s ability to prosecute graft. He also accused MPs of victimising the three candidates, who had been nominated for positions at the EACC arguing that the faulty law was to blame.

“The law on the fight against corruption is inadequate, flawed and incomplete. Parliament is merely practicing what we call deference such that since you are a thief when you see Mutula you think he behaves like you do and he is also a thief,” he retorted.

He also asked MPs to confirm the appointment of Mumo Matemu, Jane Onsongo and Irene Keino before the EACC law could be revised.

“Parliamentarians demolished our anti corruption proposals. Why didn’t Parliament tell Matemu that if he wants to become a commissioner in EACC he must be passionate? At least then we would have been able to define passion,” he argued.

SOURCE: CAPITAL FM

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I was blind, but now I see

Posted by Administrator on January 17, 2012

PHOTO/EMMA NZIOKA Final check up for Jennifer Gateru before surgery with Dr Khan.

PHOTO/EMMA NZIOKA Final check up for Jennifer Gateru before surgery with Dr Khan.

On November 29, the Daily Nation published the saddening plight of Kenyatta University law student Jennifer Gateru, who suffered from severe keratoconus and risked total loss of her eyesight if she did not undergo a cornea transplant.

“Jeniffer is suffering from bilateral severe keratoconus with central cornea opacity. Her vision is very suppressed for both eyes.

“She is advised to pursue corneal transplant under general anaesthesia that costs Sh350,000 per eye,” a medical report by Dr Mumtaz Hirani, an eye specialist at the Aga Khan Hospital, indicated at the time.

In a bid to save her, fellow students had started an initiative dubbed Amina Drive to raise funds for the operation.

By the time the Nation published the story, the initiative had fundraised over Sh400,000. But students were about to break for December holidays, leaving Jennifer with little hope of raising the remaining Sh300,000.

That article, less than 700 words, attracted hundreds of emails from individuals and corporates willing to help.

Among those was Lions Sightfirst Eye Hospital, which offered to get Jennifer the cornea she desperately needed free of charge.

The hospital’s CEO and Chief Ophthalmologist, Dr Fayaz Khan, a lively chap with greying hair who has done over 40,000 eye operations, invited us to witness him lead a team of eight to replace Jennifer’s cornea on November 14.

This is how it happened.

6:00 am A nurse wakes up Jennifer from her hospital room to start preparing for the surgery.

By 6.30 am, her blood pressure and weight is already checked before nurses shave her eyelids.

“My eyes feel naked. Why now?” she laments about the loss of her hair. She does not take breakfast.

8:30 am A nurse carries out a routine check on Jennifer to verify whether she is ready for surgery.

She is asked to stand straight to establish whether she is shaking out of fear, but she says she all geared up for the big day.

Her sister and a friend, Raphael, are on hand to encourage her.

8.52 am Jennifer undergoes another pre-surgery routine to establish whether the cornea is clear.

Eye specialist Dr David Kibingo explains that in this stage macular oedema, which affects eyes, can be detected.

Generally, oedema is the medical term for fluid retention in the body.

9:10 am Final check up before surgery with Dr Khan, who explains that the rest of the eye is fine, and that only the cornea has problems.

Using a model of an eye, Dr Khan explains that instead of Jennifer’s cornea being gently curved, it is rough and broken from the inside.

That means she has an inherent weakness in the front of her eyes, but surgery will only remove about 80 per cent of the problem. They have to replace the cornea.

Because chances of rejection are high, only one cornea will be transplanted today and the other one after six months.

9:40 am Jennifer goes back to her room to wait for surgery, scheduled at noon.

In the meantime, we visit the Kanubhai Babla Lions Eye Bank, where donor corneas are stored.

This is the only eye bank in the country, and Dr Khan is among the few who have pledged to donate their corneas at death.

No black Kenyan has ever donated a cornea to the facility, we learn, but a few members of the Asian community have heeded the call.

Thus most of the corneas here are shipped in from the US, the UK and India.

Because of a severe shortage of these replacements in the country, the hospital prefers to operate on only one eye for the old. But even then, priority is given to young children.

The facility receives six to 10 corneas monthly, a very poor record of local harvesting.

12.00 pm There are three corneas ready for the transplant, but doctors decide to use one shipped from Yale Avenue, Seattle, Washington because it has a high cell count compared to the others harvested locally.

That cornea arrived in Kenya on November 13 and cost $1,200 (about Sh100,000) to ship.

It looks lifeless although it keeps moving from side to side within the small bottle that is its enclosure.

Were this cornea from a local donor, the operation would cost between Sh30,000 and Sh40,000.

Doctors start the procedure by measuring and cutting the donor’s cornea to size. The same measurement is then used on the patient.

13.08 pm Jennifer heads to theatre. The last one hour has been a bit difficult for her and she has visited the washrooms a number of times “so as to take the fear out”.

She has a reason: Some of these operations backfire while others end tragically.

A cornea transplant patient had his replacement pop out of the eye recently during a scuffle in a matatu.

13:18 pm Nurses disinfect the eyes before applying anaesthesia.

13:38 pm The operation starts. We are four journalists from the Nation Media Group, but the doctor says only two of us will be allowed inside the theatre.

Jennifer cannot feel anything in her right eye. Dr Khan loves to do his work with some music playing in the background.

Today he is listening to Taarab.

The donor cornea is placed in a preservation bottle.

Doctors at the hospital say they cannot reveal who donated it, but the preservation bottle, marked ‘Sightlife: Helping the World to See’, has all the details we need.

These are the records on the bottle:

Time of death: 12/7/2011

Preservation: 12/8/2011

Expiration Date: 12/21/2011

The cornea was shipped from Yale Avenue, Seattle, Washington, and records indicate the donor was “non-reactive for HBsAg, HIV Ab, HBcab, HIV- 1 NAT, HCV NAT, HIV -1/HIV-2, and Syphilis”.

(Cancer patients can donate their corneas, but those suffering from syphilis, HIV, Hepatitis and TB are discouraged from donating).

Dr Khan places the donated cornea in a plastic tube and measures its diameter, which is necessary to evaluate what size of Jennifer’s cornea to cut.

He says only about 80 per cent of Jennifer’s cornea will be cut out and replaced.

Dr Khan prepares Jennifer’s eye before he begins the procedure of cutting out the affected cornea.

Our eyes well with tears as he goes about his business, but the doctor seems imperturbable.

The doctor uses a tool called a triphine to cut out the cornea. The tool has trims which are used according to the severity of a condition.

Dr Khan uses the high measure of 7.70mm because, he judges, Jennifer’s condition requires a higher trim.

Jennifer’s cornea is cut out leaving the eye spreads out. The ‘naked’ eye without a cornea has a whitish and blackish colour.

The doctor fixes the donor cornea in Jennifer’s eye.

There are artificial corneas, but these are used only in very extreme cases — like when both eyes are almost completely blind.

When the new cornea is perfectly in place, stitching begins.

The stitch being used is a 10-0 nylon. It’s so thin that it requires a microscope with a magnification of 10x/228 to view as one stitches.

Dr Khan will stitch Jennifer’s new cornea to the eye 16 times. The stitching takes about 35 to 45 minutes.

Performing an eye operation is easy, Dr Khan says, but stitching is the most difficult and important thing.

“The rest anyone can do,” he says. “If a stitch does not look perfect, you remove it and do it again. If it’s too tight, it’s not good and will result in astigmatism, an eye condition that occurs when your cornea, which should be spherical, is actually oval-shaped.”

The condition causes blurred vision, difficulty in focusing, eye strain and headaches. If too loose, it will start leaking and result in a bacterial infection.

Tension management is key. A good cornea transplant is that which leaves the patient with nice, smooth and evenly spaced stitches.

Soon the operation is over and Jennifer is injected with an antibiotic combined with steroids to help in the healing process.

The steroid is used because it suppresses immunity and inflammation.

For the next six months, she will take medicine daily. After that, doctors will do another cornea transplant for her other eye.

It will take one and a half years before Dr Khan removes the stitches from her eyes.

Jennifer was able to distinguish colours a few days after the operation and could see light, although not very clearly.

Last Monday, she said she could see a person 10 metres away clearly. She has reported back at Kenyatta University, and hopes to go for the next transplant mid this year.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/Features/DN2/I+was+blind+but+now+I+see+/-/957860/1309006/-/15h5qc5z/-/index.html

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35 yr old man defends marrying a ten-year-old

Posted by Administrator on January 17, 2012

A 35-year-old man stunned a Kirinyaga court on Monday with claims that he was legally married to a 10-year-old girl.

Mr James Maina from Kiangai Village in Ndia Division told Kerugoya senior principal magistrate Hannah Ndung’u that he was betrothed to the girl by her parents.

He denied that he had abducted the girl and was unlawfully living with her as a wife.

“I would like the parents of the girl to be summoned so that they can speak the truth,” he said.

But the magistrate entered a plea of not guilty and released him on a Sh150,000 cash bail until February 2, when the case will be heard.

However, the accused could not raise the bond and was remanded in prison.

The court directed the children’s department to the take the girl to Murang’a Juvenile Home until the case was heard and determined.

This followed an application by the prosecution that the minor needed care and protection as she was a key witness.

Mr Maina is accused of defiling and subjecting the girl to early marriage since August last year.

The minor was rescued from his house on Thursday last week after police were tipped off by villagers.

The girl was said to have been married off by her parents after receiving a Sh5,000 bride wealth.

There was scanty information on the district or exact location in Coast where the girl came from.

At the same time, two young men who pleaded guilty to charges of gang raping a woman before a Nyeri court will know their fate on Tuesday.

Mr Kelvin Kiragu and Mr Henry Gwandaru were accused of raping the woman at Gachatha trading centre on December 30, 2011.

They are said to have raped the woman in turns.

Nyeri senior principal magistrate Daniel Ogembo had insisted that they consider their replies to the charges carefully.

He instructed the court clerk to read the charges to the pair thrice, both in Kikuyu and Kiswahili to ensure that they understood the gravity of the charges facing them.

Each time the two answered that it was true that they raped the woman.

However, Mr Ogembo directed that the two be remanded overnight at the Nyeri Police Station to allow an age assessment test to be done on Ngari because he did not disclose his age before the court.

Elsewhere, two men denied stealing livestock worth Sh305,000 from a farmer in Kieni.

Mr James Gicheru and Mr Richard Murage were accused of stealing 61 goats from Mr John Mwangi on December 14, 2011 at Karagaini Village.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Man+defends+marrying+a+ten+year+old+/-/1056/1308278/-/item/1/-/6d7xxl/-/index.html

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