News from around the country, within the region and across the globe
KENYA TO HOST 2018 AFRICAN CHAMPIONSHIP CUP
The Confederation of African Football announced that Kenya will for the first time host the African Nations Championship (CHAN) football tournament in 2018. The announcement was made following an executive council meeting in Cairo last Friday. Kenya’s Harambee Stars will get an automatic ticket to participate.
CAF said Kenya was awarded the rights following “receipt of necessary government guarantees and the complete dossier including the required infrastructure and security.” The tournament is distinct from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) as it features exclusively African-based players of qualifying teams while AFCON features both African-based players and abroad –based ones.
“We are extremely gratified and indeed honoured to have successfully bid for this great showpiece that gives the Kenyan people m opportunity to host the continent using the game of football.” Last year, Kenya hosted the Council of East and Central African Football Associations (Cecafa) Senior Challenge Cup in Nairobi, Mombasa and Machakos. CAF did not disclose the “necessary government guarantees” Kenya presented in its bid.
ANALYSTS PREDICT FURTHER WEAKENING OF SHILLING
The shilling exchange rate is always watched closely by the market because it is an important indicator of whether all is well, or if pressures on the local currency would lead to tightening in monetary policy. Lately, the local currency position has not been that strong, with market observers predicting its weakening to a low exchange rate of KSH90-92 to the dollar on account of the country’s widening current capital deficit and profit-taking by foreign investors who fear the return of Capital gain Tax.
Economists and foreign exchange dealers have expressed fear over the likely loss of value of the local unit that could spell doom to importers, households and businesses owing to the likely increases in the prices of essential commodities. This comes as overall inflation.Market gurus are attributing the depreciation of the local currency to widening current account deficit and the government’s proposal to introduce Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on property owners and investors at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). It is also emerging that foreign investors who are afraid to have their capital gains taxed by the Government are already fleeing the country.
LUPITA, RIHANNA AMONG OTHER CELEBS GRACE THE FRONT ROW AT MIU MIU’S FASHION SHOW IN PARIS
Paris Fashion Week is undeniably one of the most glamorous events of the entire year, with incredible runway looks and stylish stars to gaze at in the most romantic and charming city in the world.
Miu Miu fashion show proved to be a big hit among the celebrity set, drawing fans like Rihanna, who stepped out in a wild two-toned fur coat, thigh-high stockings, and a tiny sweater dress with an eye-catching chevron pattern. The singer sidled up next to Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, who looked absolutely adorable in a burgundy cropped jacket layered over a bejeweled blouse.
Other celebrities who graced the event included Jared Leto Elle Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Bella Heathcote and more to the front row. The famous fashion label sent a series of whimsical looks including pretty pastel ensembles, quilted textures, brilliant brocade finishes and sparkles aplenty down the runway for all to admire.
KENYANS SCOOP 5 TROPHIES AT AFRICA MAGIC AWARDS
Kenyan productions scooped five awards at the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards held on Saturday in Lagos, Nigeria. “Nairobi Half Life”, a drama film about the life of hardship of a gang of five youth in Kenya’s capital stole the show winning four awards out of the seven nominations.
The film’s Elayne Okaya won the Best Makeup Artist award: Mohamed Zain was named Best Lighting Designer as Barbara Minishi scooped the Best Art Director award. Christian Almesberger was also crowned with the Best Cinematographer award. Njoki Muhoho, was another proud Kenyan when her production “Mama Duka” was awarded in the category of Best Indigenous Language Movie (Swahili).
Nairobi Half Life’s director Tosh Gitonga was however unlucky as he missed out the Best Director award that went to Shirley Frimpong-Manso for the movie “Contract” which was also named Best Movie 2013. “Nairobi Half Life” also missed out on three awards for; Best Movie Drama, Best Movie Director and Best Indigenous Language.
ICONIC AUTOMAKER’S GRANDSON WILLIAM CLAY FORD DIES
William Clay Ford, grandson of automaker Henry Ford and figurative father of the Detroit Lions’ NFL franchise, died Sunday morning after battling pneumonia. The 88 year-old served at the Ford Motor Company for 57 years as an employee and board member. His son William Clay Ford Jr. said he will remember his father as a “great business leader and humanitarian” as well as “a wonderful family man.”
The news about Ford hit especially hard among those associated with the Lions, which he became president of in 1961 and purchased two years later. He was the team’s chairman at the time of his death. The team president, Tom Lewand, said,” no owner loved his team more than Mr. Ford loved the Lions.
He leaves behind his wife of 66 years Martha Firestone Ford, three daughters and his one son, 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
MALAYSIAN AIRLINES FLIGHT MH370 MISSING
Debris thought to be from the missing Malaysian airlines flight has been found in waters 80 km southwest off Vietnam’s Tho Chu Island. Officials are waiting for daylight to examine the discovery, with the debris yet to be confirmed as connected to flight MH370. According to investigators, lack of concentrated debris means the plane may have disintegrated at 35,000 ft.
Interpol confirmed that at least two stolen passports were used to board the flight at Kuala Lumpur’s international airport. The international policy agency said it was examining additional suspect passports used on the flight and said it was of “great concern” that no checks were made of its database. Counter –terror authorities in US, Malaysia and other countries join investigation into suspect passengers. The White House is examining the details surrounding the two stolen passports as officials confirm that plane may have tried to turn around over the South China Sea.
Fears are growing for the fate of those on-board as families and friends of the passengers await information in Beijing.The massive search mission grows to 45 ships and 34 aircraft, 48 hours after the plane first disappeared off the radar. Nearly two-thirds of the 227 passengers on the plane are from China, with others from the US, Ukraine, France and other countries.
MYSTERIOUS MAN-MADE GASES POSE THREAT TO OZONE LAYER
Scientists have identified four new man-made gases that are contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer. Two of the gases are accumulating at a rate that is causing concern among researchers. Worries over the growing ozone hole have seen the production of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases restricted since the mid 1980’s.
The ozone layer, which lies between 15 and 30 km above the surface of the earth, plays a crucial role in blocking harmful UV rays, which cause cancers in humans and reproductive problems in animals. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey were the first to discover a huge “hole” in the ozone over the Antarctica in 1985.
Three of the gases are CFCs and one is a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), which can also damage ozone. "Our research has shown four gases that were not around in the atmosphere at all until the 1960s which suggests they are man-made," said lead researcher Dr. Johannes Laube. The scientists discovered the gases by analysing polar firm, perennial snow pack. Air extracted from this snow is a natural archive of what was in the atmosphere up to 100 years ago.
DISTELL’S BRANDY FESTIVAL
Distell’s Brandy Festival was back and better than ever this year, with an incredible experience for the 200 spirits enthusiasts on the exclusive guest list. Conducted in the wild of Nairobi National Park, this festival started off on an exciting – and entirely unique – note, an hour-long game drive where guests were able to spot some of Kenya’s incredible wildlife. But after the thrill of bumping around the park in a Land Rover, it was time to relax and learn a bit more about brandy.
With the guidance of Distell Winemasters Distillery Manager, Sean Nieuwoudt and Distell Winemasters Cooper Stafferd, Neville Ebrahim, guests were able to not only sample some of the finest brandies available today, but also to understand the unique processes behind creating each of them.
On offer were Viceroy Premium 5 Year Old Brandy, Van Ryn’s 10 Year Old Vintage Brandy, Van Ryn’s 15 Year Old Fine Cask Reserve and Oude Meester varieties, as well as three Bisquit cognacs. In addition to the brandies themselves, Tamarind Chef Ngugi demonstrated some of the ways in which brandy can be used in cooking, like strips of beef filet mignon cooked with peppercorn and Dijon mustard, then flambéed with Oude Meester for that something special.
Entertained by the sounds of Jazzique and sipping at brandy cocktails, Distell’s Brandy Festival was certainly one to remember for its guests.
AFRICA’S RICHEST MAN TO DONATE USD 1.2 BILLION TO FOUNDATION
Africa’s wealthiest man Aliko Dangote is cementing his position as the continent’s most generous individual. Dangote said the endowment will be funded from his personal cash reserves, and he will also transfer shares from his listed companies into the foundation he founded in 20 years ago to support initiatives in education, health and Youth empowerment in Nigeria.
The initial endowment is to ensure that Dangote foundation has secure and steady funding to carry out its mission. The foundation is headed by Adhiambo Odaga, a Kenyan national who previously served as the Ford Foundation’s chief representative in West Africa, runs a cash transfer programme which complements the Nigerian government’s poverty alleviation programmes.
The Foundation disburses small grants usually within the range of USD50 – USD80 to very poor rural women and youths who want to start small businesses. An USD80 grant, as miniscule and as insignificant as it may seem, could be a breakthrough for many rural dwellers in Nigeria require such small amounts to start low-cost businesses like roadside catering, shoe repair, and other similar concerns. The Foundation also funds the construction of University libraries and hospitals across Nigeria.
OSCAR NOMINEE BARKHAD ABDI STRUGGLING TO MAKE END MEETS
Getting an Oscar nomination is a great honor, but as Barkhad Abdi is learning, it doesn’t pay bills. The 28-year-old, who made his acting debut opposite Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips” is reportedly struggling to get by. The former limo driver was paid just USD65, 000 for his work on the entire film which went on to make almost USD 218 million.
While he won a BAFTA award and scored Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG nominations, the Somali native was living in L.A for awards season and wore loaner clothers. According to the New Yorker, he even asked not the stay at the fancy Beverly Hilton, but at a hotel near Los Angeles airport so that he could be near a friend who would drive him around for free.
Abdi, who was working at his brother’s mobile phone store in Minneapolis but quit after “Captain Phillips” came out, is planning to move to L.A to pursue an acting career.
US HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY PASSED ELECTRIFY AFRICA ACT
The legislation will improve access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa, through a comprehensive U.S government approach to electricity projects in the region at no cost to the U.S taxpayer.
"This important legislation offers a market-based, strategic framework to bring affordable and reliable energy to many of the 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa who currently have none. With nearly one billion consumers, the African continent has great economic potential." Said Committee Chairman Ed R. Royce”.
The bipartisan legislation would establish a U.S strategy to support affordable, reliable electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa in order to improve economic growth, health and education in Africa, while helping job creation in the United States through greater exports.
INDIANS TO SETTLE ON MARS
Millions of hopefuls have applied to the Dutch non-profit organisation Mars One in 2024 to voyage on the one-way-trip to mars. The organisation hopes to send selected individuals to build a community of settlers on mars with no plans of return to our home planet.
So far a recorded 1, 058 applicants have been shortlisted for the mars mission and have cleared two rounds of a rigorous clearance process with two more rounds to go. At the end of the process, 24 candidates will be chosen to go to the ‘red planet’. These 24 candidates will go through a seven year training and survival course which will enable them to adapt to the psychological and social aspects of living in a small society. India has the largest number of applicants, 62 out of the 1, 058, with a range of people from all walks of life.
The survival of the mars candidates is still unsure and further research will be done within the next few years to tackle issues such as how to combat Mars ’thin and cold atmosphere, exposure to radiation and the likes. Funding for the project is also unclear says Nobel physicist Professor Gerard Hooft, as it is an expensive venture. Hopes are still high for Mars One co-founders who hope to raise funds through high profile donations.
Vinod Kotiya, a candidate for Mars One says “This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I want to grab it anyway”
UN GIVES MIXED REPORTS ON DRUG USE IN KENYA
The United Nations report on Tuesday commended Kenya for being “only a handful of countries in Africa that have made reliable assessment of the drug-abuse situation.” However the government was criticised in other respects in the UN annual International Narcotics Control Board.
The annual report discussed the increase in blood borne diseases as a result of injected drugs. According to the report, injected drug use is responsible for 4% of new HIV infections in Kenya. Heroin and other injected drugs appear to be more and more available and accessible in Kenya, particularly in coastal regions and urban cities. Youths appear to be taking to these drugs more in the past few years than ever before and the largest risk facing Kenyans now is the sharing of injections to administer these drugs.
The UN found that drug control legislation has not kept up to date with the new ways in which drugs are being transported into the country and/or manufactured within the country. The UN calls to Kenya to update their surveillance of drug trafficking, selling and purchasing. However problems within the national drug-control authority was identified 12 years ago and still no change has been made.
SECOND HIV-POSITIVE BABY ‘CURED’
Us researchers have revealed another baby carrying the HIV virus which leads to Aids, may have been cured through early treatment. Antiretroviral drugs were reportedly administered to the baby in California just four hours after birth. The unidentified nine-month-old child is now said to be HIV negative. No trace of the virus can now be found in the infant’s blood or tissues, the doctor revealed.
This is the second case after an HIV-positive Mississippi infant brought into remission following early treatment was reported in 2013. This calls to action for us to mobilize and be able to learn from these cases, John Hopkins University paediatrics specialists Dr. Deborah Persaud said at a Boston medical conference.
Researchers have estimated that the human immunodeficiency virus has infected more than 34 million people worldwide.
BAMBOO BIKES TURN AROUND WOMEN’S FORTUNES IN GHANA
Durable, shock resistant and most of all, growing in a ready-to-use tubular form, it’s a wonder bamboo hasn’t always been used to make bicycle frames. The prototype for a bamboo-framed bicycle was first developed as early as 1984. This caused a minor sensation when it was unveiled at a London technology show at the time, the idea never took off.
It is now 120 years later and a small but determined outfit in Ghana is working hard to change all that. “We can’t keep (up) the demand with the orders for our customized bicycles, explains Bernice Dapaah, the executive director of Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative. “ We are hoping to go into mass production by June this year.
Their first prototype came out of the factory more than four years ago and is still in operation. Dapaah said the bikes are remarkably durable and there's every indication that the first model will continue for many years to come. With just two sticks of bamboo enough to make one bicycle, and six regions in Ghana where bamboo grows abundantly, the Ghana Bike Initiative is unlikely to run out of raw materials.
30,000-YEAR-OLD GIANT VIRUS ‘COMES BACK TO LIFE’
An ancient virus has ‘come back to life’ after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, scientists say. It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it was thawed it became infectious once again.
The French scientists say the contagion poses no danger to humans or animals, but other viruses could be unleashed as the ground becomes exposed. The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Aix-Marseille in France, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen a virus that’s still infectious after this length of time.”
The ancient pathogen was discovered buried 30m (100ft) down in the frozen ground. It belongs to a class of giant viruses that were discovered 10 years ago. The virus infects amoebas but does not attack human or animal cells. They are all so large that, unlike other viruses, they can be seen under a microscope. And this one, measuring 1.5 micrometres in length, is the biggest that has ever been found.
CONAN O’BRIEN TO HOST MTV MOVIE AWARDS
The funny man, Conan, will host the 2014 MTV Movie Awards for the first time, he announced Tuesday night on his show “Conan”. The 50-year-old joins other comedians, including Rebel Wilson, Russell Brand and Jason Sudeikis, who have helmed the awards in years past.
And though nominees won’t be revealed until Thursday 6th March, the late night talk show host is sure to be in good company at the reliably amusing event which drew A-listers Zac Efron, Kerry Washington and Brad Pitt among others last year.
MATATU PROTESTS CRIPPLE TRANSPORT ACROSS NAIROBI
Matatu operators rippled transport across the city on Wednesday morning as they blocked key roads into the capital city against a recent increase in parking fees from the city council of Nairobi.
The busy Thika superhighway was among those affected as matatu crews barricaded the road at Pangani, bringing traffic to a halt. Queues stretched back several kilometers as motorists were caught unaware. Jogoo road also experienced similar delays as matatus formed convoys into town and refused to allow other motorists to pass through.
Commuters were forced to walk into the city centre as motorists caught in the chaos stood outside their cars awaiting the police to take action. Traffic Commandant Samuel Kimaru warned that they would move in and restore order. He said, “We will use all means to clear blocked roads, including force. They know (where Nairobi Governor Evans) Kidero’s office is, they should take their grievance there instead of inconveniencing innocent motorists and other Kenyans.”
US FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA TO STAR IN US SITCOM
The First Lady of the United States is set to appear on cult television comedy “Parks” and “Recreation”. Her White House office confirmed Mrs. Obama will star in the NBC show’s season six finale. Her cameo, in an episode titled Moving Up, will center on her campaign against child obesity.
The show also tweeted, "Time to get real about Pawnee's obesity… @FLOTUS is coming to town for our #Parks and Rec season finale Thursday, April 24!," FLOTUS is an acronym for First Lady Of The United States and Pawnee India is like the fictional town where the show takes place- home to public servant Leslie Knope.
Mrs. Obama is not the first US politician to appear on the show - US Vice President Joe Biden made a cameo on the show in 2012. Three other senators, including presidential runner John McCain, have also guest starred in the show, which is currently in its sixth season. Executive Producer Michael Schur told the Hollywood Reporter last month that he was still hoping to persuade Hillary Clinton to make an appearance on the show.
GREAT WALL OF CHINA GETS GRAFFITI ZONE
Part of the Great Wall of China is getting a designated graffiti area to prevent visitors from writing on the famous monument. Mutianyu, 40 miles (70km) north-east of the capital Beijing, is one of the most popular and best –preserved parts of the Great Wall, and officials are annoyed that tourists insist on leaving their mark, despite the warning signs that forbid the practice, according to China Daily newspaper reports.
Visitors will now be able to leave graffiti at the special zone in the Wall’s Number 14 Fighting Tower building, with plans underway to open two more areas if the initiative works. An “electronic graffiti board” has also been mentioned, although it is not clear what this might actually entail.
"As many tourists like to carve words on buildings, we will develop the graffiti writing area as a new scenic spot of Mutianyu," a Great Wall administration official told China Daily. Another official said giving visitors an approved place to leave their mark would better protect the ancient buildings in the long run.
According to the newspaper, English is the language most frequently seen on the monument, but a host of other languages are also represented.
AKON’S AFRICA LIGHTING PROJECT
R&B star Akon has launched an ambitious environmental project in Africa to provide electricity to one million households by the end of 2014. The 40-year-old has teamed up with charity officials and bosses of local corporations for the Akon Lighting African campaign, which aims to have homes across the continent equipped with solar panels to provide electricity and promote energy sufficiency.
The singer embarked on a nine-country tour across Africa earlier this month and has been meeting with top politicians in his native Senegal and places including Mali, Guinea, Ghana, Gambia, Gabon and Burkina Faso in a bid to win their support.
Asked how the campaign is going by a fan on Twitter, Akon responds, "Incredible! We are getting a great response from many of the leaders I met with. We've got to keep up the momentum".
NFLUENTIAL CHINESE BUSINESS LEADERS JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST IVORY TRADE
More than 30 business leaders in china have taken a public stand against the ivory trade by signing a pledge to never purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift. The group includes Charles Chao, CEO of Sina Corp, China’s largest Internet Portal, Liu Chaunzhi, chair of Lenovo and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba group.
“As China grows up, Chinese companies should do the same and take on more social responsibility,” said WildAid Chair, Huang Nubo who spearheaded the campaign.” This is why we are joining efforts to protect our planet’s wildlife. We hope this ethic becomes engrained in us and is passed down to future generations.”
The Chinese government has crushed more than six tonnes of its ivory stockpile this year and is considering ending legal ivory sales, which have been shown to enable laundering of poached ivory.
AFRICA MAGIC VIEWERS’ CHOICE AWARDS 2014
The second annual Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice awards are to be screened live from Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday March 8, 2014. Nominees for the 28 awards in 26 categories include:
Nigerian film – “Living Funeral” with 8 nominations
Tanzanian film – “Siri Ya Mtungi” with 7 nominations
Kenyan film – “Nairobi Half Life” with 7 nominations
HAVING A HOT TEMPER MAY INCREASE HEART ATTACK OR STORKE RISK
According to American researchers who trawled medical literature, rage often precedes an attack and may also be the trigger. The researchers identified a dangerous period of about two hours following an outburst when people were at heightened risk.
People who have existing risk factors, such as a history of heart disease, are particularly susceptible, they told the European Heart Journal. according to the data from nine studies and involving thousands of people in the two hours immediately after an angry outburst, risk of a heart attack increased nearly five-fold and risk of stroke increased more than three-fold.
The Harvard School of Public Health researchers say, at a population level, the risk with a single outburst of anger is relatively low - one extra heart attack per 10,000 people per year could be expected among people with low cardiovascular risk who were angry only once a month, increasing to an extra four per 10,000 people with a high cardiovascular risk.
“It's not clear what causes this effect. It may be linked to the physiological changes that anger causes to our bodies, but more research is needed to explore the biology behind this” said Doireann Maddock from the British Heart Foundation.
BILL GATES RECLAIMS FORBES TITLE OF WORLD’S RICHEST BILLIONARE
Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates was propelled to the top spot primarily because of a rally in the software company’s stock, said Forbes. In the annual list of the world’s richest billionaires published by Forbes on Monday, Gates, is now valued at USD76 billion, compared to USD 67billion last year when he was second on the list.
Carlos Slim Helu, who has been listed top for the last for years, was valued at USD 72billion from his controlling interest in telecom company America Movil, which dominates the landline and mobile phone networks in mexico.
Gates and Slim are followed by Spanish retail mogul Amanico Ortega, worth USD 64 billion, Berkshire Hathaway, CEO and renowned investor Warren Buffet at USD 58.2 billion and Oracle founder Larry Ellison, USD 48billion.
The list goes on and on this year, because there are more billionaires than ever, according to Forbes. There are 1,645 billionaires, which is 268 more than the previous year. This is the largest annual increase of billionaires.
SINGAPORE NAMED THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE CITY
Singapore has been moving up the ranks of the world’s most expensive cities to live in over the last decade. It has topped 131cities globally according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Singapore topping the list has replaced Tokyo which was top in 2013.
The city’s strong currency combined with the high cost of running a car and soaring utility bills contributed to Singapore topping the list. It is also the most expensive place in the world to buy clothes.
Other cities making up the top five most expensive cities to live in are Paris, Oslo, Zurich and Sydney with Tokyo slipping down to sixth place. The top 10 cities this year have been dominated by Asian and Australian cities as well as some in Europe.
The EUI’s worldwide Cost of Living Survey is a relocation tool that uses New York as a base. It looks at more than 400 individual prices.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN’S AUTOPSY RESULTS REVEALED
Hoffman died from a toxic mix of heroin and other drugs, according to the autopsy report released by the New York City medical examiners on Friday.
The 46-year-old actor, who was found dead in the bathroom of his apartment in New York on 2 February, passed away as a result of combining acute amounts of heroin,cocaine,amphetamines and psychoactive drugs such as Librum.
A spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner confirmed that Philip's drug overdose had been ruled accidental and law enforcement officials added that the father-of- three was found with a needle in his arm and at least 50 empty packets of heroin in his Manhattan apartment.
Investigators are still trying to find out where Phillip had obtained the drugs from and if anyone was with him at the time of his death.
RAZZIES NAME “MOVIE 43” WORST FILM OF 2013
As the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rewards 2013’s worthiest films at the Oscars, the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation took a moment on Saturday night to recognize film achievement on the other end of the spectrum at the 34th Annual Razzie Awards.
The sketch comedy anthology “movie 43” was the big ‘winner’ garnering the Razzie for worst picture of 2013. Additional prizes were spread generously among the film’s creators, with its 13 directors sharing the worst director prize and 19 writers earning worst screenplay.
Tyler Perry also made a strong showing in the awards, earning the worst actress prize for his portrayal of the title matriarch in “A Madea Christmas” along with a worst supporting actress award for Kim Kardashian in Tyler Perry's “Temptation.”The Lone Ranger was selected as the year's worst remake/rip-off or sequel.
This year's gold spray-painted trophies were handed out during an hour-long ceremony at Hollywood's Ignited Spaces. The Razzies were created in 1980 by “Everything I Know I Learned at the Movies” author John Wilson. Prizes are determined by online votes from Golden Raspberry Award Foundation members and RottenTomatoes.com users.
DANCING WITH THE STARS!
Pharrell Williams got the 2014 Oscars off to a lively start, when he took to the stage at L.A’s Dolby Theatre to perform his Academy Award-nominated song “Happy”. He was joined on stage by energetic dancers who danced around him as he sang.
Midway through the performance, he enlisted the Best Supporting Actress winner LupitaNyong’o in an impromptu little boogie before moving on to two other nominees Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.
SOUTH AFRICAN ATHLETE’s MURDER TRIAL BEGINS
Mr. Pistorius, who shot ReevaSteenkkemp, 29, his girlfriend, a model and reality TV star, at his home in Pretoria on 14 February 2013, has pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial for the murder. State prosecutors allege the killing was premeditated, but he claims he mistook her for an intruder.
For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial will be televised live. Media interest is high, as the arrest of the national sporting hero astounded South Africa. The 27-year-old double amputee won gold at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
ACADEMY AWARD WINNERS
Hollywood’s brightest stars converged at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this year’s Oscar winners.“Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” emerged top with seven and three awards each.
Lupita Nyong’o emerged winner as she was awarded the Best Supporting Actress for her role as Patsy, in “12 years a Slave, while Jared Leto scooped the Best Supporting Actor award for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club”. The film “Gravity”, which took the lead with most awards, was awarded for Best Directing, Best Cinematography, to best video editing and Best Visual Effects among other awards. “12 years a Slave” was also a big winner of the night with the prestigious Best Picture Award and Best Writing Award. Other winners of the night were Matthew McConaughey who won the Best Actor award for his role in “Dallas Buyers Club” and Cate Blanchett who also won the Best Actress award for her role in “Blue Jasmine”.
For full list of winners go to cnn.com
AND THE OSCARS GO TO….
It’s that time again, to pull out the ballots and read the tea leaves and see who’s going to take home the trophies at Sunday’s 86th Academy Awards. Oscar forecasting is a lighthearted palor game for many, and a “who cares” shrug for others.
Will it be “12 Years a Slave,” Leonardo DiCaprio, “Let it go” from “Frozen”? lets wait and see who gets what. To studios, agents, managers and many of the nominees, winning an Oscar is not only first –line-of-the- obituary recognition, but it also means “cold, hard cash” as an Oscar winner Wendy Hiller once bluntly put it, in box-office receipts and future contracts .
Some of the Nominees include:
- American Hustle
- Captain Philips
- Dallas Buyers Club
- 12 Years a Slave
- The Wolf of wall street
Best Actor in a Leading Role
- Christian Bale ( American Hustle)
- Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
- Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street)
- Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
- Matthew McCoaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Actress I a Leading Position
- Amy Adams ( American Hustle)
- Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
- Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
- Judi Dench ( Philomena)
- Meryl Streep ( August: Osage County)
To see the full list of nominees and vote, go to Oscars.com
MILA KUNIS ENGAGED TO ASHTON KUTCHER
The two started off as costars on “That ‘70s Show” and now Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis are set to be one, as they are engaged! Following the widespread speculation that they would walk down the aisle soon, Kunis, 30, stepped out with a diamond sparkler on her ring finger while shopping on Thursday.
Kutcher, 36, and Kunis were first rumored to be dating in April 2012, and from then on, the former costars appeared to be inseparable, enjoying some well-documented PDA and lavish vacations together.
KSH 8.5 MILLION TO FUND ALTERNATIVE POWER SOURCES IN KENYA
The United States African Development Foundation (USADF) and General Electric on Thursday awarded three renewable energy companied grants amounting to KSH.8.5million each to create alternative power sources to communities that are not served by the traditional grid.
Shari Berenbach, president of the fund said, “our focus is on the rural communities because we recognize that it is going to take many years to get power to them yet the answer as to how this is achievable lies in entrepreneurs in those same communities.” She also states that the partnership is to identify who is developing new innovative models to meet the energy access needs to marginalized communities.”
US Agency for International Development (USAID) Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz added that the venture will assist the government provide an additional power to the country.
“We are supporting very closely President Uhuru Kenyatta’s efforts to add 5,000 megawatts to the Kenyan grid from the current 1.600 megawatts over the next 40 months. We want to make sure that communities are taking advantage of the resources that they have. Controlling ones energy destiny is not up to the government solely but also on the people living in those communities.” Herscowitz said.
NATIONAL GEOGRPHIC MAGAZINE NAMED “BEST MAGAZINE” FOR 2013
In a contest sponsored by Pictures of the Year International, National Geographic magazine won two first-place awards for individual photographs in the feature and science and natural history categories and two more first-place prizes for story photography in the sports story editing,news and issue story editing categories. Their website also won special recognition on Tuesday for its Serengeti Lion project.
sara Leen, director of photography for National Geographic magazine, says the winners "are a statement to the type of relevant and powerful stories we share with our readers."
Organized by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism, the annual contest began in 1944 to showcase photography taken during World War II. the contest's mission remains "to empower the world's best documetary paphotogrphy to provide a visual portrayal of society, and to foster an understanding of the issues facing our civilization."
SOUTH AFRICA COULD BECOME THE NEXT HOTSPOT FOR HOLLYWOOD PRODUCTIONS
Filled with miles of sun-kissed beaches, breathtaking mountains and lush rainforests bathed in ethereal lights – South Africa’s varied and dramatic landscape has provided a photogenic background for an increasing number of Hollywood productions.
Executives from Disney, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros Pictures and the Producers Guild are touring the country until March 1st.They will be visiting potential filming locations for movies and TV, and meeting with government, industry representatives and industry players. They will also make a stop on the set of the new “Avengers” movie scenes which are currently being shot in Johannesburg.
The visit comes as South Africa steps up its efforts to promote itself as a premier set location for major productions and boost its image as an emerging force in international filmmaking.
ALISON WILLIAMS IS ENGAGED!
The 25-year-old TV star may play a struggling single, but in real life she couldn’t be more in love. She’s engaged!
Alison, who stars in “Girls” is set to wed her boyfriend of three years Ricky Van Veen as confirmed by her representatives. The daughter of NBC’s news anchor Brian Williams met the College Humor co-founder through mutual friends and told glamour earlier this month that she would “walk away from” her career in order to have kids.
KATY PERRY’S “DARK HORSE” SAID TO PORTRAY BLASPHEMY
Katy Perry has been accused by some Muslims of “portraying blasphemy” in the video for her single, “Dark Horse”. The video features the pop star as an Egyptian queen who transforms suitors into sand by disintegrating them.
Shazad Iqbal from Bradford has started an online petition for the video to be removed from YouTube after he spotted one of the suitors wearing a pendant with the Arabic word of God on it. More than 600,000 people have already signed the petition saying the clip is offensive.
The “Dark Horse” video has attracted more than 34 million views since it premiered on YouTube on Feb., 20. Perry's record label and YouTube have yet to respond to BBC requests for a comment on the petition.
DATA SHARING SET TO STEP UP WAR AGAINST POACHING
A new report by INTERPOL on poaching has recommended the need for greater information sharing to enable a more proactive and effective law enforcement response against trafficking syndicates.
The 2013 report by INTERPOL’s Environmental Security Unit highlights the need for increased intelligence analysis in order to provide sound evidence for multiple count indictments where trafficking is linked to fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.
Among the report’s key recommendations is the creation of National Environment Security Task Forces to encourage multi-agency cooperation and intelligence analysis as well as investigation units dedicated to tackling wildlife crime.
The report further proposes for deployment of INTERPOL Investigative Support teams to provide assistance in evidence collection and analysis for elephant poaching and ivory seizures; and increased use of INTERPOL’s notices system to enhance transnational law enforcement cooperation in combating ivory trafficking.
COUPLE MINTED AFTER STUMBLING ON MILLIONS IN GOLD COINS
A hoard of buried treasure was found by a California couple as they walked a dog on their own property in 1800s gold-rush region. The rare mint-condition coins are said to be worth USD$ 10 million.
The face value of the gold pieces adds up to about USD$ 27,000 but some of them are so rare that coin experts say they could fetch nearly USD$ 1 million each. “I don’t like to say once in a lifetime for anything but you don’t get an opportunity to handle this kind of material, a treasure like this, ever,” said numismatist Don Kagin, who is representing the couple. “It’s like they found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”
The coins, in denominations of 5, 10 and 20 dollars, were stored more or less in chronological order, McCarthy said, with the 1840s and 1850s pieces going into one canister until it was filed, then new coins going into the next one, and the next one after that. This made it unlikely they were salted away in the ground progressively rather than swooped up all at once in a robbery.
Kagin said the pair were remaining anonymous but would be loaning some coins to the American Numismatic Association for its annual show in Atlanta on Thursday before putting most of them up for sale.
NASA’S SCIENTISTS DISCOVER 715 MORE PLANETS
To the list of planets orbiting distance stars, another 715 have been added according to the observational data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope. “We’ve almost doubled the number of planets known to humanity,” said Jack Lissauer, a NASA planetary scientist, announcing the discovery during a teleconference on Wednesday with reporters.
The new planets are all in multi-planet systems and are relatively modest in size – most of them are smaller than Neptune. Four of the new planets are about twice the size of Earth and are in orbits that put them in what is considered the habitable zone of their stars, at a distance that could allow water to be in a liquid state at the surface.
The findings will be published in March in two scientific papers in the Astrophysical Journal.
SAMSUNG OFFICIALLY UNVEILS THE GALAXY S5
Samsung has unveiled its new flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone armed with a fingerprint scanner and a built-in heart rate sensor to defend its place as the world’s industry leader. Taking centre stage on the opening day of the world’s biggest mobile fair in Spain, Samsung revealed a connected bracelet for health-concerned customers.
Samsung made about 30 percent of all smartphones sold in the world last year, nearly twice the share of archrival Apple. The phone has a light sensor on the back that gives a heart rate reading when the user touches it with his or her fingertip. Additionally, it is water and dust-proof, has a full high definition 5.1-inch screen, and a 16-megapixel camera.
Source: Daily Times
KENYA MAKES IT TO THE TOP 10 FINALISTS AT THE GOOGLE CONNECT COMPETITION
The Africa Connect competition is an initiative by Google, aimed at discovering and promoting amazing successes achieved on the web across Africa with an ultimate goal of educating and inspiring many more people to get connected on the web to achieve their own success.
Kenya has made it among the 10 finalists with two contestants. Nigeria came first with 3 and one person each from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Senegal, Ghana and South Africa. The competition categories included technology, entertainment, arts, sports, NGO/community, and small businesses.
WHICH COUNTRY HAS THE HIGHEST TAX RATES
Tax rates vary dramatically depending on which country you live in. The accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) has crunched the numbers for the G20 nations.
For each country, they calculated how much a high earner on a salary of $400,000 in 2013, with a mortgage of $1.2million would have left after income tax rates and social security contributions.With the assumption that this person is married, with two children one aged under six, they found that in each country a person takes home the following portion of their salary.
Italy- 50.59% (takes home $202,360 out of $400,000 salary)
United Kingdom- 57.28%
Unites States-60.45% (based on New York state tax)
South Africa – 61.78%
Saudi Arabia – 96.86% (so one can take home $387,400 out of the $400,000 salary)
To see other rates and more details on the story visit: bbc.co.uk
CANADA JOINS EA IN THE FIGHT AGAINST ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE
The Canadian government announced on Tuesday its commitment of KHS.155.9 million towards fighting illegal wildlife trade in East African region. Canadian High Commissioner to Kenya David Angell called for combined global inter-departmental efforts in stamping out the vice saying that it was not unique to environmental agencies alone.
The Canadian envoy also lauded efforts by the Kenyan government to curb the illegal wildlife trade. “I want to acknowledge the extremely important work undertaken by the First Lady Her Excellency Margaret Kenyatta in bringing public attention in a way that Kenyans understand just how important a resource that they have.”
Speaking at the Canadian Residence, Manager of Interpol Environmental Crime Programme David Higgins called for innovative ways to combat poaching. He said in a statement, “We need to change the way we react to the threat. The way we have been doing it will not result in a different approach or result. We need to go back to what we were taught as children and that is using our imagination, being innovative, pushing forward, having impact and measuring success.”
FRANCE’S PANTHEON OPENS TO ALL (SELFIES WELCOME)
The mausoleum that is the final resting place for 72 of France's renowned men — and just one woman — will get a little more ègalité during two years of renovations. The French government on Tuesday announced that the faces of thousands of ordinary people will be on show in a huge art installation there.
Anyone can upload a photo for inclusion and JR, a photographer known for his giant street-art portraits, is also traveling around France to find people who want a place in the building that houses the remains of Victor Hugo, Voltaire, and Marie Curie, among others.
The installation will begin April 22.
SALMA HAYEK'S BROTHER IN FATAL CAR CRASH
Salma Hayek's younger brother was involved in a fatal car crash on Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the paper, Sami Hayek, 40, lost control of his Ford GT sports car and collided with a 2011 Toyota Tacoma truck. His passenger, Grammy-award winning art director Ian Cuttler Sala, 43, was killed at the scene. He "sustained major blunt-force trauma to his body," CNN reported.
Sala won a Best Art Direction Grammy Award in 2006 for his work on Johnny Cash: The Legend box set. He worked for Sony Music for nine years, and created visual campaigns for stars like Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Marc Anthony, and Billy Joel. Hayek suffered several broken ribs. No charges have been filed from the incident.
Source: Us Weekly
Image: Us Weekly
'AMERICAN IDOL' IS SET TO LOSE MONEY ON SEASON 13
TMZ reports that the popular singing show will lose money this year, for the first time in its 13 season run. The deficit will come as a result of decreased ratings and sky-high salaries as Jennifer Lopez is making $17.5 million for her appearance this season, while Ryan Seacrest will nab around $15 million in his position as host.
The show also reportedly spent $5-7 million on a new set, and is continuing to pay two executive producers who were fired at the end of last season. Despite this, "American Idol" will almost definitely see a 14th season, owing to the fact that in "The X Factor" was so recently cancelled.
Source: Huffington post
Image: Huffington post
COMEDY LEGND HAROLD RAMIS DIES
The legendary Harold Ramis died early Monday at the age of 69, surrounded by his family after suffering from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. This is a rare disorder that involves swelling of blood vessels, as his wife, Erica Ramis explained.
Ramis was best known for directing and writing “Caddyshack,” "Groundhog Day” and “Analyze That”. He also played the role of Egon Spengler in “Ghostbusters,” which he co-wrote with Dan Aykroyd.
KENYA ROLLS OUT DATA CHIP NUMBER PLATES
New vehicle registration number plates fitted with identification features will be commissioned by the end of this year, according to Transport Secretary Michael Kamau.
Addressing journalists after touring the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison where the plates are being manufactured, he said the number plates will be fitted with a micro-chip that will hold the personal information details of the car owner.
Mr. Kamau said that this will help reduce crime since the micro-chip will also be fitted on the windscreen making in futile for criminals to change car plates when they commit crime.
LEGO MOVIE SEQUEL CONFIRMED FOR 2017
Warner Bros Studio has confirmed that a sequel to the year’s most startling critical and box office smash, The Lego Movie, will find a way to cinemas in 2017.
The $60 million animated adventure from writer-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller has racked up $275m worldwide in under three weeks on release. Little is known about the planned sequel other than a release date 26 May 2017. There is no word as to whether the directors Lord and Christopher will return for the second film nor whether voice talent such as Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman among others have signed up for another outing.
OLDEST KNOWN HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR DIES
The world's oldest known Holocaust survivor has died aged 110. Alice Herz-Sommer, who lived in London and was originally from Prague, survived two years in the Nazi camp in Terezin, or Theresienstadt, in Germany during the Second World War.
Ms Herz-Sommer was a talented musician and an adept pianist and a film about her life is nominated for an Academy Award. "Alice Sommer passed away peacefully this morning with her family by her bedside,” her grandson gave a statement on Sunday.
Source: Daily Mail
IT’S YET ANOTHER WIN FOR LUPITA NYONG’O!
The 30-year-old actress took home the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her work in 12 Years a Slave on Saturday evening at the 2014 NAACP Image Awards.
Lupita Nyong'o showed off some skin with her plunging neckline on the red carpet at the awards held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on February 22. Lupita beat out her co-star,Alfre Woodard, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘s Naomie Harris,Fruitvale Station‘s Octavia Spencer, and Lee Daniels’ The Butler‘s Oprah Winfrey for the honor.
Source: Just Jared
Image: Just Jared
NETFLIX SIGNS COMCAST STREAMING DEAL
Netflix has agreed to a deal with Comcast, the biggest internet service provider in the US, that will see its videos streamed faster and smoothly. This deal will see Netflix servers connected directly to Comcast’s network, removing third parties that slow down streaming speed.
Comcast however said Netflix will not get “preferential network treatment”. The terms of the deal, including whether Netflix was paying for it, were not disclosed.
"The companies have established a more direct connection between Netflix and Comcast, similar to other networks, that's already delivering an even better user experience to consumers, while also allowing for future growth in Netflix traffic," Comcast said in a statement.
NICKI MINAJ SUED FOR $30MILLION OVER WIGS
A former hair stylist for Nicki Minaj is suing the start for $30m, accusing her of selling wigs based on his designs without permission. Terrence Davidson,began working for the rapper in 2010, creating multiple wigs for high-profile events and her Super Bass music video.
Mr. Davidson claims he had previously discussed a joint business venture with Minaj to launch a line of wigs. He says the star is now copying his wig designs and selling them online. Mr. Davidson’s other celebrity clients include Patti LaBalle and Jennifer Hudson.
According to legal papers filed in Atlanta, the hair stylist says he also turned down a contract for a reality TV show on the advice of one of Minaj’s representatives, with the promise of creating his own reality show with the star about being a celebrity wig stylist.
PIERS MORGAN’S CNN SHOW TO END
Piers Morgan’s prime-time talk show on US TV network CNN is to end. The former daily mirror editor told the New York Times it had been “a painful period” for the show, which has suffered lackluster ratings. CNN’s audience had tired of hearing a Briton weigh in on American cultural issues, he said.
The show is being axed by CNN after its ratings slowly collapsed. In his defense, Piers said, “ look, I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns, which has been very polarising, and there is no doubt that there are many audiences who are tired of banging on about it.”
He said he would like to do fewer appearances that have more impact.
OPRAH WINFREY HELPS HER LONG-LOST SISTER
For 25 years, Oprah Winfrey gave away everything from iPads to automobiles to her studio audience. Though her talk show has ended, her generosity hasn't. And this time, it hits close to home.
Winfrey, 60, has been quietly aiding her younger half-sister Patricia Lofton, paying for her education and, according to multiple reports, even buying her a new $490,000 house in Wisconsin. It's all to help Lofton, who is nine years younger than Winfrey, reach one of her lifetime goals. "Patricia's greatest dream was to go to college and become a social worker," says Winfrey's spokesperson. "Oprah wants to support that dream."
Three years ago, Winfrey shocked everyone when she introduced her newly found half-sister on her talk show, calling it "one of the greatest surprises of my life."
KENYAN ARTIST, WYRE NOMINATED FOR WORLDS BEST MALE ARTIST
The 2014 World Music Awards nominees list is out! Wyre has been nominated for the World Music Awards under the category World’s Best Male Artist. Wyre, who is a Kenyan dancehall artist, has been nominated alongside Jay Z, Kanye West, P Diddy, Chris Brown, Rick Ross and Justin Beiber among others.
There are over 30 nominees competing for the awards in the same category. The World Music Awards is an international award that honours the best-selling recording from every continent, the awards are accredited on sale merits and voting is left to the public, which is done online.
Here’s a link to vote for Wyre: http://bit.ly/1ggFMIz
KENYAN YOUTH SPENDING A FORTUNE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Kenyan urban youth spend at least KSH2.2billion ($250million) annually to purchase data for accessing Facebook and Twitter on their mobile phones, a new study shows.
The Consumer Insight study titled Holla says interviews with 1,301 residents aged between seven and 25 years from Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu cities and Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyeri and Meru towns revealed that 87 per cent strictly use internet for social media with 57 percent using it to download music, while only 55 per cent used internet to send emails.
“The face to face interviews we conducted using structured questionnaires gave us a surprise because it appears what most people consider standard for internet, form a distant second group of uses in the 50 per cent range for the youth ,” Consumer Insight's senior research executive Ruth Ruigu said.
The trend means that the estimated data expenditure could be higher considering the high population of youth in rural areas, while the study was conducted in urban and peri-urban areas.
The findings bear relevance with the latest statistics by Communication Authority of Kenya, which estimated the number of internet users at 19.1 million during the first quarter of 2014 and mobile internet subscriptions at 11. 5 million users, at the end of September last year.
LEWIS AND HARIS NAMED BEST ISLAND IN EUROPE
The Scottish island Lewis and Harris has been named as the best island in Europe by an international travel site. It also beat rivals in Thailand, Chile and Madagascar to be included in the top five islands in the world.
Based on opinions of travellers who had visited the islands, TripAdvisor compiled the list which had Scotland feature several times with Orkney and Isle of Mull in the top 10. Scotland also dominated the top UK island list with six of the top 10 islands found north of the border. Skyem, Arran and Islay took fifth, sixth and eighth place respectively in the UK list of winners.
Lewis and Harris, in the Outer Hebrides, is Scotland’s largest island. Lewis forms the northern part of the island and Harris the southern part, although both are often referred to as if they are separated islands. Mike Cantlay, chairman of Visit Scotland said: "With hundreds of islands, each with their own unique character, diverse landscape and rich wildlife, it's no surprise that these islands have been recognised in the TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Islands awards.
RIHANNA COVERS VOGUE FOR THE THIRD TIME: “I NEVER WANTED TO BE FAMOUS”
Third time is a charm! A smiling Rihanna graces the cover of Vogue’s March 2014 issue for the third time.
The singer, who turned 26 on February 20, looks low-key yet beautiful in a pair of faded, embellished jeans and a see through, mesh fringe top by Louis Vuitton. Unlike Rihanna’s previous Vogue covers (November 2012 and April 2011) – which featured the singer giving fierce and pouty looks into the camera- the star appears relaxed and happy on the latest issue.
The Grammy-winning singer admitted that she’s still entirely not comfortable with her worldwide celebrity status:” I never wanted to be famous,” she told Vogue. “I just wanted my music to be heard all over the world. Then it happened and the fame came with it. I can’t ever imagine feeling used to it.
COLDPLAY TO OPEN ITUNES FESTIVAL IN THE US
Coldplay will play at the opening night of the iTunes festival, taking place in the US for the first time next month. The event which will be held in London for the 7th year in a row will be staged alongside the South by Southwest (SXSW) music showcase in Texas.
Among those on the bill for the five-day festival, whose shows will be streamed online in full via iTunes, are Grammar, Imagine Dragons and Keith Urban among many others.
Apple executive, Eddy Cue said they has struggled to find the right venue to stage a US version of the festival before settling on Austin’s Moody Theatre.
Coldplay said it was a “great honour” for the band, adding “we hope everyone had a fantastic time”.
The festival will run from 11th -15th March.
NIGERIA’S CENTRAL BANK HEAD OUSTED
Lanido Sanusi, Nigeria’s Central Bank governor, has been suspended by the president for “financial recklessness and misconduct”. This comes after Mr. Sanusi caused shockwaves in Nigeria after he alleged that $20billion in oil revenue had gone missing.
Nigeria’s state oil firm has denied failing to account for the money, saying the claim was “unsubstantiated”.
The allegations by the highly respected Mr. Sanusi who was also named Central Bank governor of the for 2010 by Banker magazine, threaten to expose high level fraud in Nigeria’s notoriously opaque and corrupt oil sector. Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil producers.
In defense Mr. Sanusi said, “the reality is anyone who challenges the oil sector is striking at the heart of the vested interest that control the Nigerian state and one should be ready for the consequences.
A SOCIAL MEDIA LIE DETECTOR IS BEING DEVELOPED
The ambition for a computerized system that will be able to sort truth from lies on Twitter and elsewhere is reported to being developed. According to the Sheffield’s new release, the system will aim to “classify” online rumours into four types: speculation, such as whether interest rates might rise; controversy, over the MMR vaccine; misinformation, where something untrue is spread unwittingly; and disinformation, where it’s done with malicious intent”.
It also plans to automatically categorise sources to assess their authority such as news outlets, individual journalists, experts, potential eyewitnesses, and members of the public automated bots. It will also look for history and background, to help spot where Twitter accounts have been created to purely spread false information.
Source: the guardian.com
FACEBOOK BUYS WHATSAPP FOR $19BILLION
The mobile messaging app that uses the internet to send text messages, photos, video, audio messages as well as share their location using the phone’s in-built GPS was bought off by social media giant Facebook for $19billion, in a deal described as “incredibly valuable” by Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerburg.
The value of WhatsApp to Facebook is its users. WhatsApp has more than 400million users around the world and claims it is adding more than 1 million new registered users a day. This could be due to their conveniently affordable services which cost only $0.99 a year, after a whole year of free subscription.
By acquiring this App, Facebook has successfully removed a potential future competitor from the table. This is the social networking giant’s biggest acquisition to date.
CEE LO GREEN IS LEAVING THE VOICE
It sounds like Team Cee Lo may be no more. After four years as coach on The Voice, Green, 39, won't be returning to the singing competition.
"I'm not coming back, guys," Green told Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday. "I don't want to wear out my welcome there." But it won't be the last you see of him. "I'm going to continue my relationship with NBC. I have a television development deal with them as well, and hopefully some other talk-show opportunities later in the year," he said. He'll also focus on his own music.
Season 6 of The Voice returns Monday with veteran coaches Shakira, Usher, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton.
EXCITEMENT OVER KQ’S NEW CARRIER PLAN
For a business or leisure traveler, it might soon become more attractive to take a flight from Nairobi to Kisumu, Mombasa or Eldoret rather than use road transport, following the introduction of low-cost carrier Jambo Jet from Kenya Airways.
Kenya Airways will launch flights from Nairobi to Kisumu, Mombasa and Eldoret at KSH 3,000 one-way. Passengers currently pay between KSH 1,600 and KSH 1,800 for a bus ride from Nairobi to Mombasa. This announcement comes at a time when night bus travel ban is still in force, a situation that is inconveniencing businesspeople who need to travel often.
“I believe the market in Kenya is ripe for low-cost carriers. The economy is growing and there is a fast growing middle class with IT penetration and credit/debit card usage much more widespread than in many African States,” said Dr. Elijah Chingosho-secretary general, African Airlines Association. In an email interview, he said most middle-class people currently travel by surface transport. A low-cost carrier will result in reduced ticket prices and this will make air transport more affordable.
RIHANNA TO LAUNCH HER FASHION LABEL SOON
Rihanna is set launch her fashion label soon. Although the singer has revealed little else about what the line might involve, she thinks that fashion has played a large role in the success of her career.
“It’s not all down to my voice,” she said. “There’s people with way more talent than I when it comes to singing; bigger voices. But people want to know who you are. Fashion is a clear indication, a way to express your attitude and your mood.
Rihanna has created collections for two fashion labels before that’s: Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans in 2011 and River Island. She is also currently the face of Balmain and counts an impressive list of designers as fans, from Tom Ford and Peter Dundas to Alexander Wang.
CHINA OVERTAKES INDIA AS TOP GOLD CONSUMER
Gold’s wild ride has shaken investors but in China, buyers just keep stepping up to the plate. The strong demand for metal amid the price drop has helped the nation take the crown from India.
Chinese demand for gold bars, coins and jewelry soared by 32% to record levels in 2013, even as the price of gold slumped 28%. "When prices drop, there'll always be buyers," said Jiang Shu, senior gold analyst at Industrial Bank in Shanghai.
The surge in buying saw China overtake India as the world's top consumer of physical gold, importing 1,066 metric tons of the metal to India's 975 metric tons in 2013, according to new data from the World Gold Council. (A metric ton is equal to 2,204.6 pounds.)
In India, consumption increased by 13% but further growth was curbed by import restrictions aimed at narrowing the country's current-account deficit. The council estimates around 200 metric tons was smuggled into the country.
China's lead over India as the world's top importer is likely to be sustained, said Marcus Grubb, the council's managing director of investment strategy. “China is 10 years behind India in terms of deregulation and growth of demand,” Mr. Grubb said. “Given last year was such a strong year, it will be hard to equal that again in 2014, but the stock of gold in China is less than half of that in India, so we think there’s plenty more room to grow.”
A GROWTH IN KENYA’S MIDDLE CLASS OR AN INCREASE IN LOANS CONSUMPTION?
The Africa Development Bank (AfDB) reckons that about 6 million Kenyans could be in the middle class. Representing 16.8 percent, the figures include people with an annual income exceeding KSH 335,400 (USD$ 3,900) and expenditure averaging between KSH 172 (USD$ 2) and KSH 1,720 (USD$ 20) a day.
However, the World Bank admits that less than 2 percent of Kenyans can spend between 10 and 20 dollars a day, with 45 percent earning USD$ 1.25 (KSH 107.5) a day. This means nearly one in two Kenyans is classified poor, while the official unemployment rate stands at 45 percent.
Mr David Cowan, an economist for Africa at financial services group Citi, defines the middle class consumer as someone earning at least USD$ 13.70 (KSH 1178.20) per day or KSH 35,346 a month. At this level and above, people can increase their purchasing of large consumer durables, notably autos and houses.
21 DIE IN UKRAINE FIERY CLASHES
Downtown Kiev was aglow with fire early Wednesday, as demonstrators undeterred by a bloody day on the streets staked their claims to the heart of the Ukrainian capital and – they hope – the heart of the country itself.
What began with protests over President Viktor Yanukovych's backpedaling from a trade pact with the European Union – a move that the opposition maligned, accusing Yanukovych of trying to cozy up to Russia rather than the West – has spawned into something much larger.
Such fiery barricades have been constant for three months all around Kiev's Maidan and Independence Square but the flames grew more ominous on Tuesday as at least 21 people died in fresh clashes between government forces and activists.
In addition to new elections, the opposition is calling for constitutional reforms to transfer more power from the presidency to parliament.
KATY PERRY NAMED WOMAN OF THE YEAR AT ELLE STYLE AWARDS
The 29-year-old pop princess was crowned Woman of the Year at the Elle Style Awards on Tuesday night.
The “Roar” hitmaker took to twitter soon afterwards to share her excitement with her 46.54 millionfollowers.
The event, which was held at One Embankment in London, England, saw other celebrities from around the world take home awards from various categories.
To see the full list of winners, visit dailymail.co.uk
WHEN THE HUNTER BECOMES THE HUNTED
A Kentucky pastor who starred in a reality show about snake-handling in church has died of snakebite. Jamie Coots died on Saturday after he refused treatment, Middleborough police said.
On a “Snake Salvation”, the Pentecostal fundamentalist said that he believed that the passage in the Bible suggests poisonous snakebites will not harm believers as long as they are anointed by God. The practice is illegal in most states but it’s still live primarily in the rural South.
Coots, who was a third-generation “serpent handler”, aspired to pass the practice and his church, Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name, onto his adult son, Little Cody someday.
NAIROBI HOSPITAL DONATES MEDICINE TO SOUTH SUDAN GOVERNMENT
More than 800,000 internally displaced South Sudanese will now have access to better medical treatment following the donation of medicines by The Nairobi Hospital to their government.
Speaking when he received the medicines, South Sudan Ambassador to Kenya Majok Guandong said that they will help alleviate a medical crisis that was fast spreading across camps as people remained there even after the ceasefire announcement. “Many people are yet to be convinced what the ceasefire will hold and their continued living in the camps has put immense pressure on our medical supplies,” he said.
The medicine worth about KSH3.5million will be used to treat several hundred thousand internally displaced persons taking shelter in makeshift camps and in the United Nations compounds with little access to water, toilets or medical services.
MICHELE SAVOIA, BROADWAY COSTUME DESIGNER DIES
A designer who did costumes for such Broadway shows as Swing, Promises, and Evita died after he apparently fell into the Hudson River while trying to board his boat in Manhattan, police say.
The 55-year-old’s body was discovered by police divers in the icy waters of Chelsea Piers on Sunday afternoon. He was last seen leaving the Marquee nightclub around 4a.m. Thursday. The New York City medical examiner’s office said more tests are needed to pinpoint the cause of Michele Savoia’s death.
ASTEROID ZIPS BY EARTH
An asteroid with an estimated diameter of three football fields zoomed by Earth late Monday, missing it by about 2 million miles, which could only be considered a close call in space.
The asteroid, which traveled at some 27,000 miles per hour, came just about a year after a relatively small asteroid blew up over Russia. The roughly 60-foot space rock plunged into Earth’s atmosphere and exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk with the force of about 30 nuclear bombs.
"On a practical level, a previously unknown, undiscovered asteroid seems to hit our planet and cause damage or injury once a century or so, as we witnessed on June 20, 1908, and February 15, 2013," said Bob Berman, Slooh host and astronomer.
Berman added: "Every few centuries, an even more massive asteroid strikes us -- fortunately usually impacting in an ocean or wasteland such as Antarctica.
"But the ongoing threat, and the fact that biosphere-altering events remain a real if small annual possibility, suggests that discovering and tracking all NEOs (near-Earth objects), as well as setting up contingency plans for deflecting them on short notice should the need arise, would be a wise use of resources."
INDIAN “SKULL MAN” ATTRACTS HUGE CROWDS
Hundreds of people have flocked to a hospital in the Indian City of Calcutta to see a man holding a sizeable chunk of his head in his hand.
Doctors say a section of Sambhu Roy’s skull fell off on Sunday, months after he suffered severe burns. The electrician has now become the center of public attention as the man who literally can “hold his head in his hands”. There have however been some questions from the medics on whether he has been left holding part of his skull or part of his scalp.
Mr. Roy got an electric shock while repairing a high voltage wire last October. The doctor who treated him insists that his patient underwent an extremely rare medical phenomenon. “When he came to us late last year, his scalp was completely burnt and within months it came off, exposing the skull,” said Surgeon Ratan Lal Bandyopadhyay. “Later, we noticed the part of his skull was loosening due to lack of blood supply to the affected area, which can happen in such extensive burn cases.”
EABL STOPS DAILY BREWING
East African Breweries Limited (EABL) has stopped daily operations at its Nairobi plant after the brewer posted the slowest first-half sales growth in four years. The brewer says its Ruaraka plant is now running for five days a week Monday to Friday as opposed to a seven day operation because of the downtown in one of its top-selling products, the low-end Senator Keg beer.
The 30% cut on operation days is aimed at cutting costs such as staff overtime pay, raw material orders and plant running expenses like electricity bills. EABL said duty imposed on Senator Keg has slashed sales volumes on the brand, warning that the slump would help curb profit growth this year as it mulls the viability of the lo-end beer.
“The reduction in the number of working days is one of the measures to ensure we do not expend more money than we need in our operations,” Group finance director Tracey Barnes said Friday after EABL reported a five per cent increase in first-half profit to KSH3.9 billion.
“We intend to synchronise our production volumes with the forecasts of what is needed in the market. Several hundred employees will be affected to the extent that they will no longer have to work overtime during weekends.” She added that the regional brewer will make further cost savings by reducing wastage in the brewing process, packaging and logistics, adding that EABL cannot afford to “stand still” in the second half of the year.
The brewer’s administrative expenses jumped 26.5 per cent to KSH4.5 billion, mainly due to one-off restructuring costs.
WORLD’S MOST LUXURIOUS SKIING RESORT
North Korea may not have any athletes at the Sochi Olympic Games, and skiing is not the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about the isolated nation.
This however is contrary to the fact that North Korea’s luxury new Masik Pass has been named “the most exotic ski resort on Earth”. Located in Kangwon province, the hotel and resort- the only one of its kind in the country –opened January 1 after a series of reported setbacks.
Earlier this year, CNN Travel reported on the experience of one of the visitors to the resort, Simon Cockrell, from Beijing –based Koryo Tours, who found Masik Pass to be “fancy and comfortable.”
Along with the 11 ski runs, there are 120 hotel rooms housed in two buildings, a swimming pool, bars, cafés, billiard tables, a karaoke room, steam room and a dry sauna.
The resort is "clearly built for locals," Cockerell said, although it was expected to draw some foreigners coming with tour operators such as his own. "The number of local Korean skiers was a surprise, considering that [before Masik opened] there was just one ski slope in the country -- and in a very remote and hard to reach area," Cockerell said.
SIMON COWELL WELCOMES HIS NEW BORN SON, ERIC
Famed British judge and TV producer Simon Cowell welcomed his son, Eric, with girlfriend Lauren Silverman on February 14.
Cowell is a proud dad to little Eric who weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces. The new father, 54, named his first child after his late father.
WORLD WINNING PRESS PHOTOS REVEALED
Syrian rebel fighters desperately running for cover amid flying debris and shrapnel, two bodies hanging from a bridge in Mexico and a terrified family hiding during the Westgate massacre in Nairobi have all won a place in the World Press Photo contest.
The top spot, for the World Photo of the Year, was scooped up by US photographer John Stanmeyer who took a late night photo of African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city, in February 2013.
Jillian Edelstein a jury member had this to say about the photo, “It’s a photo that is connected to many other stories - it opens up discussions about technology, globalization, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity. It’s a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image. It is also subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.”
CAN JACKIE CHAN COMBAT RHINO POACHING?
In an effort to combat the illegal trade in rhino horn, a communication campaign aimed at Chinese and Vietnamese audiences was launched on Thursday featuring popular Chinese film star and martial artist, Jackie Chan.
Chan’s influence was demonstrated recently by his association with a campaign to save sharks. It resulted in an 18% drop in the consumption of shark fin soup in China. Chan is particularly popular in Vietnam, a region where rhino poaching is highly practiced.
The campaign includes: a 40 second film and a series of billboards which will be released in China and converted to Vietnamese for release there in March. The film is called “Tools of the Trade” and will also been released online in Mandarin, Vietnamese and English. The campaign comes at a time when there is increased international effort to combat illegal wildlife trafficking.
AU COMMENDS KENYA FOR PROMOTING PEACE
The African Union (AU) has commended Kenya’s role in promoting peace, security and stability in the continent.
Speaking on Saturday at State House, Nairobi, as he accompanied East African Ministers of Defence for a courtesy call on President Kenyatta, AU commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, said Kenya’s commitment to peace, security and stability on continent was exemplary.
“It is glowingly actualized by its intervention in Somalia within the framework of the African Union Mission (AMISOM), its peacekeeping role within IGAD and most recently its accession to the Regional Oversight Mechanism on the implementation of peace, security and cooperation framework for the DRC and the region, Chergui said.
President Kenyatta pledged his support to the standby force, saying it was important for Africans to solve their own problems. “As Africans, we must be able to come to the aid of fellow Africans whenever they face serious challenges, including violent conflicts,” President said.
GRAVITY EMERGES WINNER AT THE BAFTAS
“Gravity” has been named the best British film at the Baftas which were held on Sunday in London. The awards were hosted for the ninth time by actor, Stephen Fry.
The film was honored for visual effects, cinematography, best sound and original music. Alfonso Cuaron also won the best director.
“12 Years a Slave” won best film with its star Chiwetel Ejiofor winning best actor. Ejiofor also received the Bafta Rising Star award from US actress Uma Thurman after a seven year nomination. “12Years a Slave” was awarded best film which was accepted by director Steve McQueen who thanked his “one and only mother for having faith. Never give up”.
Cate Blanchett picked up the best actress for “Blue Jasmine”. In the supporting categories, “Captain Phillip’s” star Barkhad Abdi won as well as Jennifer Lawrence for “American Hustle”. The actress was not at the ceremony which left director David O Russell to accept the award on her behalf. Russell also received an award for best original screenplay for the 1970s crime drama about two con artists who got entangled with the FBI.
For full list of winners go to bbc.co.uk
WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT VALENTINE’S DAY
Flowers, candy, red hearts and romance- that's what Valentine's Day is all about, right? Well, maybe not.
Three hundred years after the death of Jesus Christ, during the reign of Emperor Claudias, there served a roman priest by the name of Valentine, who went against an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people.
It was believed unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers were afraid of what might happen to their wives or families if they died. Valentine however, flouted the edict and secretly married couples. He was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second.
On February 14, Valentine was beheaded, not only because of his stand for Christian marriage, but also because he had performed a miracle. He supposedly cured the jailer's daughter of her blindness. The night before he was executed, he wrote the jailer's daughter a farewell letter, signing it "From Your Valentine." This is why St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a day of romance and the coming together of lovers.
We at DM, would like to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!
“HOUSE OF CARDS” SEASON 2 PREMIERES TODAY
It’s official. Valentine’s Day is pretty much going to be a washout for House of Cards fans. All 13 episodes of season 2 are available exclusively on Netflix.
‘House of Cards’ is an American political drama television series, whereby a Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.
LIL’ KIM IS PREGNANT WITH HER FIRST CHILD
Surprise! Lil' Kim is pregnant with her first child.
The 39-year-old announced the news during MAC Cosmetics and The Blonds Fashion Week after party in New York City Wednesday. "I'm a mom, but I can turn it up a little!" the rapper said as she rubbed her baby bump. Caressing her belly, she told E! News, "My little boo boo is coming! My little baby boo, my sunshine!"
The self-proclaimed "Queen of Rap" is keeping her baby daddy's identity private for now.
Source: E! Online
SLEEPING BEAUTY FOOTAGE RECOVERED AFTER 55 YEARS TO SCREEN ON BBC
Unseen for 55 years and thought missing is a classical ballet scene that should melt hearts- the moment when a handsome prince leans over and wakes up Margot Fonteyn’s Sleeping Beauty with a quick but tender kiss.
Timed to coincide with Valentine’s Day, the BBC announces, that the rediscovered scene would be shown as part of a spring ballet season. Lottie Gazzard, who hunted down the lost broadcast said, “It’s very romantic and dreamy and beautiful. It is very tastefully done.”
Sleeping Beauty was broadcast live in collaboration with the fledging Royal Ballet and the BBC in 1959, five days before Christmas and to great acclaim. Shot in a TV studio, the shortened production starred Fonteyn, then 40, and one of her regular dance partners, Michael Somes.
The ballet is being cut to an hour to be broadcast on BBC4 but the full 95-minute version will be available online. It will also be shown as part of a wider ballet season on BBC2 and BBC4 in March.
LUPITA NYONG’O IN ASKMEN.COM'S LIST OF MOST DESIRABLE WOMEN
Get ready for things to get a bit steamy courtesy of AskMen.com! The Internet's premiere site for gentlemen released its 2014 list of the 99 Most Desirable Women. The list features plenty of our favourite actresses, singers and even a CEO who are not only sexy but smart to boot.
Some of the favorites include: Sofia Vergara (no.40), Jennifer Lawrence (no.4), Rihanna (no.19), Beyoncé (No. 11) – please note, she has been on the list 11 times, Kerry Washington (no.7) and last but certainly not least, our very own Lupita Nyong’o (no. 22). And guess who took the 99 spot? Miley Cyrus! To view the entire list: http://bit.ly/1mfkHWi
So who landed the No. 1 spot? Here's a hint: she is the Mother of Dragons.
Source: Huffington post
KENYA’S FIRST INTERNATIONAL CONDOM DAY
Kenya held its first international condom day on 13th February this year. The event will now be held every year with the goal to realize the dream of zero new HIV infections in the country.
“The annual event strives to promote condom use as a way to prevent new HIV infections in the country and also remind partners of the need to protect themselves and their loved ones from sexually transmitted diseases especially on Valentine’s day when there is a lot of love in the air,” said Dr. Sobbie Mulindi Deputy Director National AIDS Control Council (NACC).
The event, which in Nairobi, was along Tom Mboya Street, was hosted under the theme “Love is the Best Protection,” meaning that one’s love for themselves and their partners is motivation for safer sex. The event also included distribution of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), LOVE -branded condoms.
This event took place in over 65 cities worldwide last year.
BEIJING BECOMES “BARELY SUITABLE” FOR LIFE
Severe pollution in Beijing has made the Chinese capital “barely suitable” for living, according to an official Chinese report, as the world’s second largest economy tries to reduce often hazardous levels of smog caused by decades of rapid growth.
The smog has brought some Chinese cities to a near standstill, caused flight delays and forced schools to shut down.
China’s government has said it will set up a $1.65billion fund to fight air pollution, offering rewards for companies that clean-up operations. Beijing will also shut 300 polluting factories this year and publish a list of industrial projects to be halted or suspended by the end of April.
ARRESTS MADE OVER ILLEGAL SALE OF BANNED FILM
Dozens of pirate DVD traders have been arrested in Kenya for selling banned copies of “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
The Kenya Film Classification Board banned the Oscar-nominated film in January for its “extreme scenes of nudity, sex, debauchery, hedonism and cursing.” Eva Mbuni, corporate communications officer at (KFCB) told BBC that at least 30 traders had been arrested in less than a month as part of an ongoing crackdown on the distribution of the restricted and unclassified film. “We are doing this for the sake of the children and women,” she said.
Most of the traders due to be arraigned in court are from Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Eldoret. They could be fined or sentenced for a maximum of five years in prison.
EAST POKOT RESIDENTS TURN TO WILD FRUIT AS FAMINE RAVAGES
Residents of Cheptunoyo Village, Baringo County, have turned to wild fruits as their source of food as famine in the area strikes harder, the ground is sun-scorched and bare and the soil under the foot is as hot as a cooking oven.
The residents have abandoned their homes to line up along the banks of the dry seasonal River Nginyag their feet buried in the sand, trying to cool their feet in the “river” sand. Some residents have been forced to eat cactus fruits and other wild fruits, some of which are said to be poisonous.
Others prefer to make a traditional brew by the name busaa from the two kilogram maize ration given to them by the Government every six months. Their argument being if they cook Ugali with the maize, it will only last the beneficiaries a day. When they brew busaa they get machicha - remnants of the busaa brew- to eat and alcohol to sell which they call “killing two birds with the one stone.” With this, they get the machicha, which are the remnants of the busaa brew, as food and money from selling the brew.
The residents in this village are ignorant to the health risks they could face after consuming the wild fruits and the brew remnants all in a bid to save their lives.
DECLARATION ON ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE SOUGHT
Leaders from 40 states are gathering in London to discuss the illegal wildlife trade with an aim to draw up a global declaration that will tackle animal trafficking.
Prince Charles and the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, will be among those attending the meeting hosted by the government. Conservationists say poaching has reached a crisis point: tens of thousands of elephants, rhinos and tigers are being slaughtered each year.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that the animal black market is worth $19billion a year. Delegates from China and Vietnam will be attending the meeting held at Lancaster House on Thursday, joined by representatives from African states, where the bulk of poaching takes place.
Interpol, the international intelligence agency, which will also be present at the meeting, says most of this being driven by organised crime syndicates, who have moved from narcotics and guns onto wildlife.
COLIN FARRELL’S SON, AN ABSOLUTE STUD
“James, is an absolute stud”, said Farrell while attending the “Winter’s Tale” premier in New York City on Tuesday. The actor’s son with Kim Bordenave, lives with Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that’s known to impair speech, movement and balance.
The proud father says, James, 10, is always reaching new milestones. “Every day just breaking down boundaries,” said Farrell. “He’s an amazing boy.”
Farrell says fatherhood was one of the main reasons he checked into rehab for drug and alcohol abuse in 2005, and James has offered his actor dad a lot of inspiration. “Everything he’s achieved in his life has come through the presence and the kind of will that is hard work. He’s a lot to be inspired by,” Farrell told PEOPLE in October. “Things like walking and talking and eating and feeding himself, all those things that so many of us naturally take for granted because they come so easily, to James, they come somewhat harder. I remember the days when he couldn’t watch 10 minutes of a film because he couldn’t sit still, but now he can.”
SECOND GIRAFFE AT RISK OF BEING PUT DOWN IN DENMARK
If you’re a giraffe and your name is Marius, this might be the best time to vacate Denmark. Days after the euthanasia of a healthy young giraffe at a Copenhagen zoo sparked controversy around the world, a second Danish zoo has announced that it is considering a similar fate for another giraffe, also named Marius.
Jyllands Park Zoo, in Western Denmark, currently has two male giraffes, but has been approved to participate in the European breeding programme. If the zookeepers manage to acquire a female giraffe, seven –year-old Marius will have to make way.
Like his namesake in Copenhagen, the giraffe is considered unsuitable for breeding, and the zoo said there was a high risk that Marius would have to be put down as it would be difficult to find him a new home.
Janni Løjtved Poulsen, zookeeper at Jyllands Park, said it was not clear when the park would acquire a female giraffe and that the decision on Marius's future would be taken by the breeding programme co-ordinator.
BAFTA AWARDS ANXIETY INTENSIFIES
Anticipation is building ahead of the BAFTA s on Sunday night after the starry guest list of attendees was revealed to include Hollywood names like Leonardo Decaprio, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock alongside British talent including Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, and Emma Thompson.
Prince William will present the night’s most prestigious award, the Academy Fellowship, to Helen Mirren. She played his grandmother in 2006’s The Queen and won an Oscar for her performance.
A major rival on the night is “American Hustle” matching “12 Years A Slave’s” 10 nominations.
The ceremony, hosted by Stephen Fry, will be shown on BBC One from 9-11pm on Sunday evening.
US BANS COMMERCIAL IVORY TRADE
The United States has banned the domestic trade of elephant ivory as part of a new drive to help African countries stem the rising treat to wildlife from poachers. The Whitehouse administrative action prohibits all commercial imports of African elephant ivory, including antiques, and all commercial exports, except for bona fide antiques and other items.
The outlawed ivory trade is mostly fueled by demand in Asia, and the Middle East, where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used in traditional medicine and to make ornaments. Poaching has risen sharply in Africa in recent years where, besides targeting rhinos, poachers have slaughtered whole herds of elephants for their tusks.
“This ban is the best way to help ensure that US markets do not contribute to the further decline of the African elephant in the wild”, said the White house in a statement. The statement also said that federal departments and agencies would immediately take actions to, among other things, clarify what constitutes an antique.
BRADLEY COOPER INVITED TO DINE WITH FRENCH PRESIDENT
Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper joined President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama- and 349 other guests-at a state dinner honoring French President Francois Hollande at the White House. Other guests included Stephen Colbert, J.J Abrams, CNN head Jeff Zucker, Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, “The Mindy Project’s” Mindy Kaling, MSNBC’S Rev. Al Sharpton and Tennis Channel’s Ken Solomon.
With the midterms looming, the first couple threw one of its biggest social affairs ever, abandoning the traditional White House dining rooms for a tent on the South Lawn.
AFRICA’S FIRST CLITORAL RESTORATION HOSPITAL SET TO OPEN IN MARCH
A UFO cult is behind Africa's first clitoral restoration hospital in Burkina Faso, set to open in March, which will offer a controversial surgery to victims of Female Genital Mutilation.
The Raelian sect believes that humans were created by extra-terrestrials to experience joy. It promotes world peace, democracy and sexual satisfaction. This mission has led them to actively campaign against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and offer a controversial reconstructive surgery for victims.
The centre is called the Kamkazo, or "the house for women," but is nicknamed "The Pleasure Hospital." The operations, which last about 45 minutes, will be free of charge. There are already 300 women on the waiting list, coming from Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali, and Ivory Coast.
Source: Yahoo News
CANADA’S BEER FRIDGE “BEST THING IN SOCHI”
Introducing one of the most amazing stories to come out of this year’s #Olympics2014 in Sochi, Russia is; Canada’s special beer fridge. What makes this beer fridge so special you ask? All you have to do is swipe your passport and boom… Free beer!
And who doesn’t like free beer? But there’s just one catch, only Canadian passports can open up the special beer fridge. Those crafty Canadians have it all figured out. It has been dubbed the greatest thing at the Olympics in Sochi.
US X FACTOR SHOW CANCELLED AFTER SIMON COWELL’S EXIT
The US version of TV talent show “The X Factor “ has been cancelled following judge Simon Cowell’s decision to return to the UK show. The Fox network show has been unable to match the ratings success of Cowell’s previous singing contest “American Idol.”
The X Factor USA’s audience dropped from 12 million to 6 million last year. The news follows Cowell’s announcement that he will be back on the UK version in the autumn after three years away. “I’ve had a fantastic time over the last 12 years both on the X Factor and American Idol,” Cowell said in a statement about the show’s cancellation.
US PRESIDENT OBAMA WELCOMES FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE TO THE WHITE HOUSE
Mr. Hollande was greeted by a military honour guard and a 21-gun salute, ahead of a grand state dinner later.
The French leader later said mutual trust had been restored since revelations of US National Security Agency snooping. Their diplomatic ties soured in 2003 when France opposed US President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq.
At the White House press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Obama said they had rebuilt a bilateral relationship that “would have been unimaginable even a decade ago”. The leaders discussed the conflict in Syria and Iran’s disputed nuclear programme.
They also talked about French military operations in the African nation and the Central African Republic – the US has provided some help for both missions.
OVER 100 DEAD IN ALGERIA PLANE CRASH
An Algerian military transport plane slammed into a mountain on Tuesday in the country’s rugged eastern region. A civil defense officer said 102 people on board were killed but one managed to survive.
The Hercules C-130 crashed about noon near the town of Ain Kercha, 50 kilometers southeast of Constantine, the main city in eastern Algeria. Commander Farid Nechad, who is based in Algeris but was, coordinating recovery efforts, told the Associated Press that 103 people including the crew had been on the plane but only 55 bodies had been found due to the difficult conditions at the crash site.
He did not give any further details about the survivor except to say the person had been taken to Constantine hospital.
“Unfavorable weather conditions and storms accompanied by snow in the region were the causes of the crash,” said the Defense Ministry.
SHIRLEY TEMPLE: HOLLYWOOD’S ORIGINAL CHILD STAR DIES AGE 85
Shirley Temple, the actor, singer, dancer, and politician, who became famous as a child star, has died at the age of 85.
Temple began her career at the age of three, becoming one of the most famous child stars of all times. She found early success with films such as “Curly Top” “Heidi” and “Bright Eyes” – films that featured one of Temple’s best-known performances, a rendition of Richard A. Whiting and Sidney Clare’s “On the Good Ship Lollipop”.
As a child, Temple’s popularity rocketed during the 1930’s when she became an iconic figure of America’s great depression. Her roles as a cherubic tomboy were hugely popular with audiences and the young actor was credited with saving the depression-hit Fox studios. In 1936 the then seven-year-old was earning up to $50,000 ($800,000 today, adjusted for inflation), while a Beverly Hills barman reportedly developed the popular non-alcoholic cocktail that shared her name.
Temple left the film business in 1950. She returned for a brief stint in television, before developing a career in international politics. She was US representative to the UN General Assembly during late 1969 and went on to hold two US ambassador positions - as ambassador to Ghana from 1974-77 (under Gerald R. Ford) and to the then Czechoslovakia under George H.W. Bush from 1989-92.
KENYA’S FIRST MOCKUMENTARY TAKES ON THE NGO WORLD
Anyone working in International development for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) over the past few years has likely had experiences such as witnessing an external consultant or boss being flown in from abroad to “manage” the field office, shocked at the lack of ethics in workplaces where the aim in “helping other people”, or working for or interacting with NGOs that serve no apparent purpose.
Finally, a new TV show exists to highlight some of the absurdities of the international aid sector. The slyly named “The Samaritans” is a comedy about the perils and pleasures of the “NGO world”. Created by a Kenya-based production company, it chronicles the work of Aid for Aid an NGO that, in the words of its creator, “does nothing”.
You’ll recognize the stock characters. The new Aid for Aid Country Director, Scott, who lacks any experience working in Kenya makes his debut in the Pilot with this brilliant introduction, “many of you will be asking who I banged to get this position…I’m not as wet behind the ears as some of you may think, I’ve worked for my mothers’ NGO since I was six years old.” With two master’s degrees from the U.S. and an internship to his name, why shouldn’t he be running the organisation? Then there is the mistreated intern, the pill-popping Deputy Director, and of course a male employee who calls everyone “sweetie”, etc.
DESIGNS OF THE YEAR SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED
Folding helmets, smoke alarms that send you text messages and a pyramid-shaped school that floats on a lagoon in Nigeria are among the innovative solutions that make up the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year shortlist.
From architecture and fashion to transport and digital design, the 76 nominations include the usual global stars – Zaha Hadid and John Pawson, David Chipperfield and Miuccia Prada- alongside smaller startups and student initiatives. Together they provide a barometer of emerging trends and common themes, from the ubiquity of the smartphone to the growing number of independent designers and inventors turning to crowd-funding to see their ideas realized.
Other clever innovations from the healthcare sector include the ABC syringe, which remains colourless when stored in its sterile pack, but changes colour when opened. Once exposed to the air, the syringe has a 60-second treatment window before turning bright red, to alert patients if it has already been used, while a faceted barrel design means that the piston will break if someone tries to replace it.
Developed in partnership with the NHS, the Chair 4 Life brings a similarly intelligent approach to the children's wheelchair, with a basic frame designed to grow with the child, featuring a lightweight chassis that can be adapted and augmented with a catalogue of attachments and bespoke parts.
CRUISE TOURISM ON RECOVERY AS A SECOND SHIP DOCKS IN MOMBASA
A cruise ship docked at port of Mombasa with 362 tourists and 168 crew members Monday, giving a sector hit hard by a piracy, a boost.
The MS Hamburg was the second cruise ship to dock in Mombasa this year after MS Nautica brought 600 tourists last month. Last year, only two cruise ships arrived in Mombasa with about 1,000 holidaymakers compared to more than 12,000 cruise visitors who came in 2010.
Cruise tourism has been on the decline following increased piracy of the Kenyan coast. However, in recent years, piracy levels have dropped following frequent patrols by international navies.
The ship from Bahamas brought in tourists from Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia and Italy. The visitors arrived from the Comoros Islands and Zanzibar.
Kenyan Tourism Board (KTB) managing director Muriithi Ndegwa said the tourists were expected to head to Tsavo East National Park and Shimba Hills Game Reserve for game drives and lunch. Others expected to visit Haller Park at Bamburi and some excursions in Mombasa. Mr. Ndegwa said the arrival of the ships was a boost to cruise tourism which has been in decline in the last three years.
JULIA ROBERTS' HALF-SISTER NANCY MOTES DIES OF APPARENT DRUG OVERDOSE
Julia Roberts' half-sister, Nancy Motes has died of an apparent drug overdose at age 37, the family said in a statement to the New York Daily News on Monday. "It is with deep sadness that the family of Nancy Motes confirms that she was found dead in Los Angeles yesterday of an apparent drug overdose," the statement read.
The body of Motes was apparently discovered on February 9 and officials reported: "Nancy Motes was found dead at a residence in the bathroom, pronounced dead by the LA Fire Department at 2:12 PM on Sunday. Not sure whose residence it was. She was found in a bathtub that had water in it. We're taking it as a suicide, not a drowning."
An autopsy is yet to confirm the actual death.
Source: Us Weekly
EARLIEST FOOTPRINTS OUTSIDE AFRICA DISCOVERED IN NORFOLK
Scientists have discovered the earliest evidence of human footprints outside Africa, on the Norfolk Coast in the East of England.
The footprints are more than 800,000 years old and were found on the shores of Happisburgh. They are direct evidence of the earliest known human in Northern Europe. They have been described as “one of the most important discoveries, if not the most important discovery that has been made on (Britain’s) shores,” by Dr. Nick Ashton of the British Museum.
The markings were first found in May 2013 during a low tide. Rough seas had eroded the Sandy beach to reveal a series of elongated hallows. Such discoveries are very rare. The Happisburgh footprints are the only ones of this age in Europe and there are only three other sets that are older, all in Africa.
NEW YORK FASHION WEEK
The Spring/Summer shows of this year’s Fashion week have proved more playful than past seasons. The most exciting category being Street style fashion, which debuted on day four.
An interesting array of patterns and colours have been seen in the form of dresses, pants and fur coats. Of course this being New York Fashion week, some editors will stick to the obvious and timeless chic of the monochrome palette.
In honour of the classics, here is a round-up of the best black and white street style from day four of NYFW.
TREASURY ISSUES KSH 88.9BILLION FOR COUNTY DEVELOPMENT
The National Treasury has distributed KSH. 88.9 billion to all 47 counties to support development projects and other services. According to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, this is the fifth tranche set aside and approved by the senate.
“In this regard and pursuant to the County Allocation of Revenue Act 2013 and in consultation with the Controller of Budget, the National Treasury has released the 5th tranche of the equitable share of county governments. This is based on the cash disbursement schedule approved by the Senate,” he said in a statement.
Nairobi was given the largest allocation withKSH. 4.4 billion, while Lamu had the lowest with KSH. 690 million. Turkana was the second highest with 3.5 billion followed by Mandera and Nakuru with KSH.3 billion each.
The money is expected to make it possible for governors to initiate development projects after being on the spot for months over spending in recurrent expenditure, including salaries, travel allowance and emoluments for officials.
PRINCE CHARLES AND PRINCE WILLIAM TEAM UP AGAINST ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE
Prince Williams and his father Prince Charles are part of the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
In a video, they speak in Arabic, Vietnamese, Spanish, Swahili and Mandarin, to urge the world to unite for wildlife. William, 31, speaks in Vietnamese and Swahili while Charles, 65, takes the others.
A spokesman said, "The Duke of Cambridge has for many years been a passionate advocate for endangered wildlife and has campaigned tirelessly to help stop the illegal poaching of rhino horn and elephant tusk. His track record in this area speaks for itself."
Soon after leaving active service in the RAF last September, William launched a fresh bid to save rhinos and elephants from organized crime gangs hunting them for their ivory. He also says in the video released Sunday, "This year I've become even more devoted to protecting the resources of the earth for not only my own son but for other children of his generation to enjoy, I want them to be able to experience the same Africa that I did as a child."
Charles explains, "We have come together, as father and son, to lend our voices to the growing global effort to combat the illegal wildlife trade – a trade that has reached such unprecedented levels of killing and related violence that it now poses a grave threat not only to the survival of some of the world's most treasured species, but also to economic and political stability in many areas around the world."
They highlight the enormous scale of the issue, which saw 30,000 elephants killed last year, and 62 percent of African forest elephants have now been lost.
‘SLUM JEWELER’ TWISTS THE KNIFE, FORK AND SPOON
In a world where so much goes to waste without a moment’s thought, Kenyan artist Njee Muturi has made a livelihood out of upcycling rejected cutlery and transforming it into striking and inimitable jewelry,
Out of old and unwanted knives, forks and spoons, Muturi crafts artistic and unique rings, bracelets, necklaces, as well as other household items. From his Nairobi home he trades under the name “Zanji Art,” derived from Arabic, meaning “Black Art.”
“Everywhere you go you will find that there’s something that people throw away and they don’t know it can be used,” he says. Muturi gets the old table-wear from his brother who is also an artist abroad, sorts it, choosing which items he can work with and putting the rest aside. He then proceeds to clean them and takes them to his workshop within Kibera, where he solders them, before returning home to craft the pieces. Once done, he has to tumble and polish them to give them a clean finish and fresh appearance.
Muturi sells his durable pieces at competitive prices ranging from $5-10 for the smaller pieces, such as the rings, and $20-40 for the bigger pieces, like the weighty necklaces and bracelets. For his diverse clientele, the chief attraction is that each piece is unique, its form dictated by the form and patterns on the cutlery from which it is crafted.
WORLD’S FIRST SELFIE BULDING IN SOCHI
Like a digital Mount Rushmore rising from the Winter Olympic park, London architect Asif khan has designed a pavilion that morphs into the shapes of visitor’s faces.
While the paint might not have dried, nor the hotel floors quite been laid, the Sochi Olympic park now boasts a magical white box that morphs into the shape of its visitors’ faces, bulging their profiles through the surface of its rubbery skin, forming a kind of digital Mount Rushmore for the Facebook age.
Khan, who also dreamed up the “playable” Coke Beatbox pavilion for the London Olympics, a cloud of inflated pillows that allowed visitors to mix different music tracks said: “Selfies, emoticons, Facebook and Face Time have become universal shorthand for communicating in the digital age. My instinct was to try and harness that immediacy in the form of sculpture, to turn the everyday moment into something epic.”
FAKE GORILLA CAPTURED BY JAPANESE ZOOKEPERS
This week, staff at Tokyo’s Ueno Zoo practiced capturing escaped animals by chasing around one of their colleagues wearing a gorilla suit.
Visitors gaped as helmet-wearing keepers surrounded the “gorilla” with cars and nets. Staff then pretended to tranquilize their co-worker, who swooned dramatically and collapsed to the ground. The acting ape was immediately wrapped in a large net and hauled away on a track.
The escaped animal drill at the Tokyo zoo is conducted every other year, and this time zookeeper Natsumi Uno was chosen to wear the animal costume.
If you can’t catch a wild gorilla, try a person dressed in a gorilla costume.
VITAMIN C KEEPS CANCER AWAY
Vitamin C has long been used as an alternative cancer therapy. In the 1970’s chemist Linus Pauling reported that vitamin C given intravenously was effective in treating cancer. However, clinical trials of vitamin C given by mouth failed to replicate the effect, and research was abandoned.
However now research suggests that, high-dose vitamin C can boost the cancer-killing effect of chemotherapy in the lab. Given by injection, it could be a safe, effective and low-cost treatment for ovarian cancer and other cancers, says US scientists reporting in Science Translational Medicine.
The researchers injected vitamin C into human ovarian cancer cells in the lab, into mice, and into patients with ovarian cancer. They found ovarian cancer cells were sensitive to vitamin C treatment, but normal cells were unharmed.
BUSHFIRES SPARK EMERGENCY ALERTS IN SOUTH-EAST AUSTRALIA
Dozens of bushfires are sweeping across southern Australia, fanned by hot weather and winds. Officials say an unknown number of homes have been destroyed and a firefighter has been injured in the state of Victoria.
Some residents have been ordered to leave and flames have spread to outer suburbs of Australia’s second biggest city, Melbourne. Authorities say that conditions are at their worst since 2009 when the wildfires killed 173 people and destroyed 2,000 homes in a disaster dubbed ‘Black Saturday’.
Cooler weather should help the massive firefighting effort, says the BBC’s Phil Mercer in Sydney, although strong, gusty winds continue to fan the flames
More than 70 fires are burning across Victoria and 15 emergencies are in effect with up-to date local information available on the Victoria Emergency website.
JAY LENO LEAVES TONIGHT SHOW AFTER 22 YEARS
The long time host of the Tonight Show Jay Leno left the show yesterday after 22 years. It has been 22 years since he took over for Jonny Carson at NBC’s venerable late night show from beautiful downtown Burbank, not counting seven disastrous months in 2009 when Conan O’Brien helmed the program.
When asked how long it has been, he said, "Here’s how long, when I started hosting, marijuana was illegal and you could smoke cigarettes anywhere you wanted."
Now leaving to make way for Jimmy Fallon, and a new city – News York, the 63-year-old said on his final show that this time it was his decision. “I don’t need to be fired three times” he joked. “I get the hint”.
Leno became tearful as he recalled what has happened through those 22 years, and paid tribute to all those who worked with him. He also said, “I’m really excited for Jimmy Fallon. It’s fun to be the old guy and see where the next generation takes this great institution.
PRESSURE ON PARLIAMENT TO REVIEW VAT ACT
Parliament is expected to discuss amendments to the VAT Act, 2013 when it resumes sittings this month. This is after mounting pressure to review the Act. Tax on basic commodities consumed by low-income groups such as milk and processed food items has seen the cost of living rise.
“With an expansion in the VAT bracket, there could be a reduction in the rates when the next budget is presented,” said Kwame Owino, Chief Executive-Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). The remarks were made during the 2014/15 pre-budget hearings. The process will involve drafting a memorandum to be presented to Treasury.
The proposed law seeks to exempt infant milk, processed milk, mosquito and fishing nets, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides from VAT. Other goods and services to be exempted from taxation include vegetables, newspapers, journals, postal and water drilling services. If successful, the amendment will also exempt electricity supply to households and services offered by the Rural Electrification Authority.
RAIN-LUSHED PENGUINS GIVEN ANTIDEPRESSANTS
Penguins in a British sanctuary are so fed up with the miserable winter weather, they are being given antidepressants to try and raise their spirits after weeks of relentless wind and rain.
Wild Humboldt penguins are used to withstanding inhospitable weather in the coastal weather of South America, but those living in captivity in Scarborough are struggling with the constant wind and rain lashing the country.
Staff at the Sea Life Centre, have become so concerned they have started to administer the medication as a pick-me-up. According to staff, misery can lower the penguins' natural defenses even more easily than in humans. That has led them to prescribe "uppers" to try and head off any more serious symptoms.
"They're doing the trick so far, but we are all praying for the weather to change and at least a few successive days of sunshine to give the penguins the tonic they really need," said Lyndsey Crawford, the centre’s display curator.
Source: the guardian.com
OLYMPIC GAMES OFFICIALLY OPEN IN SOCHI
The costliest Olympic Games in history officially open today with 98 medals to be won over 16 days.
Sochi will welcome about 2,900 athletes in 15 disciplines as the opening ceremony begins at 20:14 local time. The build-up has been overshadowed by security fears human rights concerns and delays to preparations.
At 10billion Euros, the cost of these Games is more than the combined total of all other Olympic Winter Games to date.
UNEXPLODED 2,000- POUND WORLD WAR II BOMB FOUND IN HONG KONG
A 2,000 - pound unexploded bomb from World War II was found at a construction site in Hong Kong on Thursday, prompting the evacuation of several hotels.
Construction workers found the bomb while they were digging an underground section for a new hotel by the Emperor Group.
SELENA GOMEZ LEAVES REHAB
The 21-year-old star voluntarily admitted herself to The Meadows recovery centre in Arizona on January 5 but not for substance abuse. The centre is known to treat people aged 18 to 26 years old who are struggling with emotional trauma.
A representative of the star said 'It's important to remember that Selena had worked in Hollywood non-stop for six years. She was exhausted. Selena was smart enough to understand that she needed to take control of her life. It just got to a point where she needed to get out of Los Angeles, get away from 'the scene' and the pressures of Hollywood, to also get away from those who had, admittedly, become a bad influence on her.”
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY JOINS GUS VAN SANT’S ‘SEA OF TREES’
The Oscar-tipped actor is set to star alongside Ken Watanabe in the film, “Sea of Trees”, about a pair of men who meet in a Japanese ‘suicide forest’.
In the film the men travel to the Aokigahara forest in Japan, a popular location for suicides – but instead of killing themselves, their meeting prompts a reflective journey. Ken Watanabe, the Japanese actor known for his roles in “Inception” and “Letters from Iwo Jima,” will play the second man.
Gus Van Sant, director of “Milk” and “Good Will Hunting,” most recently made “Promised Land” starring Matt Damon as a natural gas company worker who sees the impact that flickering will have on a small community. His producer for “Sea of Trees” is Gil Netter, who last week also signed to produce Forest Whitaker’s next film, an adaptation of Christian self-publishing sensation “The Shack”.
Source: the guardian.com
JOURNALISTS AT SOCHI LIVE-TWEET THEIR GROSS HOTEL EXPERIENCES
Amid continued debate over whether or not Sochi is prepared to host the 2014 Olympics, which begins Thursday, reporters from around the world are starting to check into local hotels – to their apparent grief.
Some journalists arriving in Sochi are describing appalling conditions in the housing there, where only six of nine media hotels are ready for guests. Hotels are still under construction. Water, if it’s running, isn’t drinkable. One German photographer told the AP over the weekend that his hotel still had stray dogs and construction workers wandering in and out of rooms.
CVS CAREMARKS STOPS SELLING TOBACCO
The U.S. based major pharmacy chain CVS is breaking the habit of buying cigarettes with a prescription refill. The pharmacy announced on Wednesday that it will stop selling cigarettes and other tobacco products at its CVS pharmacy stores by October 1 of this year.
The retailer said the move makes CVS pharmacy the first chain of national pharmacies to take tobacco products off the shelves. "Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health," said Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark. "Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose."
CVS Caremark is the largest pharmacy in the United States based on total prescription revenue, according to the company. It operates more than 7,600 CVS pharmacy stores nationwide, in addition to more than 800 Minute-Clinics, which are medical clinics within the pharmacy locations.
PAUL WALKER’S ENTIRE $25 MILLION ESTATE LEFT TO DAUGHTER
Paul Walker died a wealthy man, and he left his entire estate in the hands of his 15-year-old daughter Meadow.
The Fast & Furious star, 40, who was killed in a fiery crash in November, was worth $25 million, according to his will. But according to the documents, the inheritance came with complications.
Walker’s dad, who is the named executor on the will, petitioned to have the court appoint the late actor’s mom Cheryl as Meadow’s legal guardian. But Walker’s daughter currently leaves with her mom, Rebecca Soteros.
"He told me recently he was the happiest he'd ever been," Walker's close friend Brandon Birtell said shortly after his passing. "It was directly because of the growing relationship with his daughter and the clarity that brought to his life."
VANITY FAIR USHERS IN ITS HOLLYWOOD ISSUE
For the first time in 20 years, Vanity Fair’s special Hollywood issue features a three panel foldout cover with six actors of color.
This year, not only are half of the features dozen actors non-white, two are on the front fold – the part that’s visible on the newsstand. Chiwetel Ejiofor, nominated for an Oscar for “12 Years a Slave,” is seated next to Idris Elba, who played Mandela in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” and is holding first-timer Julia Roberts on his lap. George Clooney completes the quarter.
Showcased on the center page are: Michael B. Jordan, who played a young man killed by Oakland police in the true story “Fruitvale Station,” Oscar nominee and red carpet smash Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”), Naomie Harris, who played Winnie Mandela in the biopic about her late husband, and Chadwick Boseman, who played Jackie Robinson in “42."
The other four actors are: Oscar nominee Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”), Margot Robbie (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Lea Seydoux (“Blue is the Warmest Color”).
NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA AGREE TO FAMILY REUNIONS THIS MONTH
North and South Korea have agreed to hold reunions later this month for families separated since the Korean War.
If they go ahead, the meetings of divided Korean families would be the first to take place since 2010. The reunions of about 100 people from each country are scheduled to take place between February 20 and 25, the South Korean Unification Ministry said, following face-to-face talks between the two sides.
Reunions were due to take place last September, but Pyongyang cancelled them with only a few days’ notice, accusing Seoul of souring ties between the two countries. The reunions are an emotive issue. And time is running out for many of the surviving members of the families that were split by the 1950-53 war between the two Koreas. A lot of them are now in their 80s and 90s.
PARKING FEES IN NAIROBI CBD IS NOW KSH300
Motorists in Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD) started paying Sh300 for parking from Wednesday morning, after an appeal against the increase failed on Tuesday.
Nairobi City Council Head of Parking Tom Tinega said that the amount will also apply for public parking in Westlands, Ngara, Industrial Area, Karen Shopping Centre, Nairobi West and Community areas.
Tinega said that the increase is to facilitate the County Authority in efficient service delivery and will ensure infrastructure development, lighting of the city, repair of roads and even payment of salaries to staff.
“The monies from this will be used to improve other areas of service within Nairobi City. It will enable us to service city residents in a more efficient manner,” he said. Tinega further revealed that he had set up systems to ensure they implement the new law. He explained that the initiative will increase City Hall’s monthly collection from parking section to more than KSH200million.
Parking in other areas out of the CBD like Buruburu Shopping Centre, Muthaiga and Eastleigh will be KSH200.
BLONDIE TO RECEIVE HONORARY NME AWARD
US band, Blondie, is to collect an award for their life’s work at the NME (New Musical Express) Awards in London later this month.
The Veteran group who are celebrating their 40th year together, will receive the magazine’s ‘Godlike Genius’ award at a ceremony on 26th February.
“It’s out of proportion, but it’s nice to be recognized,” said the lead singer of the band Debbie Harry. “I find it very interesting that there aren’t many Americans who’ve been given this award before, so that’s flattering,” she added.
Previous recipients of NME’s lifetime achievement accolade have been largely British and include Joy Division, Paul Weller and Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.
NME’s editor Mike Williams said the band had been chosen in their anniversary year adding; “They rewrote the rule book in the late ‘70’s by dragging punk rock to the top of the charts”.
The band is due to perform at the NME awards ceremony in Brixton, South London.
MICROSOFT NAMES NEW CEO
India-born 46 year old, Satya Nadella, has been named as the new CEO of Microsoft, replacing the long –time serving CEO Steve Ballmer.
Nadella is the third person to lead Microsoft since the company was founded 39 years ago, only co- founder Bill Gates and Ballmer have headed it. But in the last few years the company has looked flat-footed as rivals Apple, Google and Facebook have dominated and innovated in hardware, online services and social media.
In a nod to Nadella’s low profile outside the company, Microsoft introduced him with a sleek web page that was heavy on biographical details including the revelation that he relaxes by reading poetry.
As part of the announcement, Gates said he would step down as chairman to assume a new role as a founder and technology adviser. John Thompson, the Microsoft board member who oversaw its search for a new chief executive officer becomes chairman. “During this time of transformation, there is no better person to lead Microsoft than Satya Nadella,” Gates said.
PRESIDENT UHURU KENYATTA LAUNCHES CASH TRANSFER PROGRAMME
President Uhuru has launched the Jubilee government’s Cash Transfer Programme, disclosing that KSH 12 billion has been allocated for the programme this financial year.
He said the programme – expected to benefit 454,000 households- must succeed, warning that no inefficiency or corruption will be tolerated. The programme targets orphans and other vulnerable children; those with severe disabilities, vulnerable elders aged over 65 years and the urban poor.
“Government officials and grassroots leaders involved must protect purse and ensure fairness in the identification of beneficiaries and in the administration of the funds. Any malpractice will be punished severely,” President Kenyatta said.
He said the Jubilee government is focused in making a difference in the fight against corruption.
Deputy President William Ruto said the expanded Cash Transfer Programme will create a safety net for vulnerable Kenyans so that they are not left behind as the rest of the country moves forward.
CANCER “TIDAL WAVE” ON HORIZON WARNS WHO
The globe is facing a “tidal wave” of cancer, and restrictions on alcohol and sugar need to be considered, say World Health Organization scientists.
The WHO said there was now a “real need” to focus on cancer prevention by tackling smoking, obesity and drinking. The numbers of cancer cases are predicted to reach 24 million a year by 2035, but half of that number could be prevented.
The World Cancer Research Fund said there was an “alarming” level of naivety about diet’s role in cancer. Fourteen million people a year are diagnosed with cancer, but that is predicted to increase to 19 million by 2025, 22 million by 2030 and 24 million by 2035.
The developing world will bear the brunt of the extra cases.
‘HER’ AND ‘CAPTAIN PHILIPS’ SCOOP WRITERS GUILD PRIZES
‘Her’ and ‘Captain Phillips’ have won the main prizes at the Writers Guild of America (WGA) awards in the US.
Spike Jonze, writer and director of ‘Her’, was the winner of Best Original Screenplay.
Captain Philips – a film about piracy, starring Tom Hanks – won writer Billy Ray the Best Adapted Screenplay prize.
The WGA awards are the last major leg on the Hollywood film awards calendar before the Oscars are handed out on 2 March.
Both ‘Her’ and ‘Captain Phillips’ are in the running for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but neither are considered front runners for the accolade.
The Guild, however, has correctly predicted the screenwriting Oscars for eight of the past 10 years.
Many of us use lifts several times a day without really noticing. And yet the way we behave in lifts, or elevators as they are known in the US, reveals a hidden anxiety. Most of us often shut down. We walk in, press the button and stand perfectly still.
Taking the lift could be the least memorable part of one’s journey to work, but Dr. Lee Gray of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has made it his business to scrutinize this overlooked form of public transportation. People refer to him as the “Elevator Guy”.
"The lift becomes this interesting social space where etiquette is sort of odd," he explains. "They are socially very interesting but often very awkward places."
Conversations that have been struck up in the lobby tend to be extinguished quite quickly in the thick atmosphere of the office elevator. We walk in and usually turn around to face the door.
If someone else comes in, we may have to move. And here, it has been observed that lift-travellers unthinkingly go through a set pattern of movements, as predetermined as a square dance.
On your own, you can do whatever you want - it's your own little box. If there are two of you, you take different corners. Standing diagonally across from each other creates the greatest distance.
When a third person enters, you will unconsciously form a triangle (breaking the analogy that some have made with dots on a dice). And when there is a fourth person it's a square, with someone in every corner. A fifth person is probably going to have to stand in the middle.
Now we are in uncharted territory. New entrants to the lift will need to size up the situation when the doors slide open and then act decisively. Once in, for most people the protocol is simple - look down, or examine your phone. Why all this awkwardness?
Read more on: bbc.co.uk
CHINA’S BIGGEST GHOST TOWN; ORDOS
In Inner Mongolia, a new city stands largely empty. Ordos was founded about 20 years ago at the beginning of the great Mongolian coal rush. Its desolate state suggests that the country’s astonishing period of economic growth is over. Ordos is China’s largest ghost town.
A huge statue of the mighty warrior Genghis Khan presides over Genghis Khan Plaza in Ordos New Town. Flanked by two giant horses, raised on their hind legs, that dwarf the great Genghis himself. The square is vast, fading into the snowy mist of the steppes beyond. The only thing missing, from this expansive vista, is people.
Most of the new town buildings are empty or unfinished; the numerous apartment blocks are full of unsold flats.If you want to find a place where China's huge housing bubble has already burst, then Ordos is the place to go.
MEET THE MAN WHO HASN’T SHOWERED IN 60 YEARS
80-year-old Amou Haji from Iran claims he hasn’t bathed for the past 60 years. Furthermore, he smokes animal poop and is called the world’s dirtiest man. He claims cleanliness brings him sickness.
He subsists on rotten porcupine meat and says that the thought of a bath after all this time makes him very angry.
He said he adopted his extreme, isolated lifestyle after suffering a lot of emotional setbacks in his youth.
ANIMALS FOUND DEAD AT SOUTH AFRICA’S AIRPORT
More than 1,600 animals were discovered crammed into two crates at the OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa. 400 of the endangered amphibians and reptiles died from dehydration and improper shipping an animal inspector has said.
The animals were found on Wednesday after an inspector from the National Society for the Prevent of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) noticed "a bad smell" during a routine cargo inspection and found that some of the animals in the boxes had begun decomposing and some were barely alive.
The animals were from Madagascar and had been without food and water for at least five days. The surviving animals are being treated at a local zoo.
FIRST SUPERBOWL TITLE
The Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl title Sunday, crushing the favored Denver Broncos 43-8.
The Seahawks led 36-0 before Denver finally scored on the last play of the third quarter.
Manning was 34 of 49 for 280 yards, but most of that came after Seattle had all but put the game away. He was flustered by Seattle's fierce defense for most of the first half, throwing two interceptions.
In Seattle, after the game, fans blared horns and launched fireworks in celebration of the city's first major sports championship in more than 30 years.
MANDELAS’ WILL REVEALED
The dying wishes of South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela were revealed yesterday, the Constitutional Court has announced.
“The executors in the estate invite you to a media briefing on the contents of his last will and testament,” the court’s vice president, Dikgang Moseneke, said in a statement on Sunday nearly two months after Mandela died.
Mandela became South Africa's first black president in 1994, after spending 27 years in prison.
OSCAR-WINNING ACTOR PHILIP SEYMOUR FOUND DEAD OF APPARENT DRUG OVERDOSE
Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday of an apparent drug overdose, law enforcement sources said. Hoffman, 46, was found on the bathroom floor and pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators found a needle in the actor's left arm and two bags of what is believed to be heroin, officials confirmed.
"We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone. This is a tragic and sudden loss and we ask that you respect our privacy during this time of grieving," Hoffman's family said in a statement.
Hoffman was last seen alive at 8 pm on Saturday. He was expected to get his children on Sunday, but didn't show up. Hoffman won an Academy Award for best actor for the 2005 biopic "Capote."
RUSSIAN MEN DIE IN THOUSANDS FOR THE LOVE OF VODKA
A quarter of all Russian men die before they reach their mid-fifties and their passion for alcohol, particularly vodka is largely to blame, according to a research published on Friday.
A study of more than 150,000 people found extraordinarily high premature death rates among male Russians, some of whom reported drinking three or more bottles a week of the potent clear spirit. Perhaps unsurprisingly, deaths among heavy drinkers were mainly due to alcohol poisoning, accidents, violence and suicide, as well as diseases such as throat and liver cancer, tuberculosis, pneumonia, pancreatitis and liver disease.
“Russian death rates have fluctuated wildly over the past 30 years as alcohol restrictions and social stability varied under presidents Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin and the main thing driving these fluctuations was vodka,” said Richard Peto of Britain’s Oxford University, who worked on the study.
More recently, since Russian alcohol policy reforms were introduced in 2006, consumption of spirits has fallen by about a third and so has the risk of death before age 55, the researchers said - although that risk is "still substantial".
For this study, published in the Lancet Medical Journal, researchers asked 151,000 people how much vodka they drank, and whether they smoked, then monitored them for up to a decade.
OBAMA DINES WITH 50 OF KENYA’S FINEST
50 of Kenya’s most promising young leaders, will have an opportunity to learn about what makes what has been touted the world’s greatest democracy tick. This is through what has been dubbed as the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders-YALI.
The flagship programme which will last for six weeks between June and July will instruct 500 Africans mainly between the ages of 25 and 35, in the three areas of Civic Leadership, Public Management and Business & Entrepreneurship. At the end of the six weeks, all the fellows will have the opportunity to dine with President Obama in a summit that will be the culmination of the fellowship. “This is something President Obama in particular is passionate about. As you know he is committed to supporting youth and providing youth with opportunities to support their countries,” said Mark Feierstein the associate administrator at the US Agency for International Development
“We have received over 2,500 applications and it’s going to be tough whittling them down to 50 but hopefully we’ll have more slots available next year. Even the folks in Washington were astounded by the interest YALI had generated,” America’s Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec has said.
FASHION GIANT H&M COMES TO KENYA
The world’s second- biggest fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) will open a manufacturing plant in Kenya to feed its global empire of more than 3,000 stores in 53 countries.
The Swedish multinational says it has signed deals with local factories to make its fast-fashioned clothing under its famous H&M brand. The firm outsources production to about 800 factories in Europe and Asia that are controlled by designers at the retailer’s head office in Sweden.
Low cost production in places like Bangladesh and China has helped H&M cement its position as a top fashion house and its Kenya operation looks set to benefit local textile manufacturers who have been hit hard by cheap imports from Asia and second-hand clothes. The sourcing of garments from local manufacturers by H&M will offer new demand for the sluggish textile industry whose earnings and production have dropped significantly from its peak in the 1980s.
Helena Helmerson, the head of sustainability H&M said they will start producing more clothes in sub-Saharan Africa and has placed orders in Ethiopia and Kenya. In Africa, H&M only has shops in Egypt but has talked of plans to open stores in South Africa by next year.
JUSTIN BEIBER UP FOR DEPORTATION
With over 100,000 signatures collected by “We the People” the white house is now obligated to respond to the petition “Deport Justin Bieber and revoke his green card”.
The petition, which was created on Jan 23, the same day news broke that Bieber, 19, was arrested for alleged DUI and drug racing, states that “We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked”.
“He is not only threatening the safety of our people but he is also a terrible influence on our nation’s youth. We the people would like to remove Justin Bieber from our society.” The petition continues.
The white house reviews and usually responds to petitions that get more than 100,000 signatures within 30 days.
OSCARS: BEST SONG CONTENDER REVOKED
Bruce Broughton, a contender for this year’s best song Oscar has had his nomination annulled after it emerged that he was contacting voters. The Academy said his emails, though “well- intentioned”, had created “the appearance of unfair advantage” and that his actions were “inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations.”
In a statement by Broughton, he said he was “devastated” by the Academy’s decision. I indulged in the simplest grass roots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention." The ousted track will however not be replaced by any other contender, leaving four compositions to compete for this year’s award for best original song. Broughton, who was previously Oscar-nominated for his score for 1985 western Silverado, is a member of the Academy's music branch executive committee.
It is not unprecedented for nominations to be rescinded. In 1973, Nino Rota's score for The Godfather was disqualified after it was deemed that he had reused music from one of his earlier scores.
The 2014 Academy Awards will be held on 2 March at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
KENYAN WOMAN ARRESTED IN THE US FOR SMUGGLING QUAIL EGGS
A Kenyan woman was arrested on Monday at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona for smuggling quail eggs. The woman was on a flight from Nairobi via London.
The authorities reported that they found the eggs in her suitcase. “We found 103 small eggs in a small plastic container,” read a statement released by the US Customs and Boarder Protection Officials in Phoenix. She explained that she had intended to use the eggs as medicine for her heart condition. An airport official who spoke to KVOA, a local TV channel, said the eggs were destroyed and the woman reprimanded.
Importation of some agricultural products into the US is a serious Federal crime whose conviction can attract hefty fines or long jail sentences.
Source: Daily Nation
AFRICA’S CONTINENT DISRUPTION BY MOBILE REVOLUTION
Africa’s mobile phone adoption curve has been very impressive. In a little over a decade, the continent has become the world’s second most connected region by mobile subscriptions, has witnessed the fastest growth in mobile subscribers in the world and is on track to hit one billion subscriptions by 2015 according to Informa Telecoms.
Rapid smartphone adoption in large mobile phone markets like Nigeria and Kenya is already quickly birthing significant changes in the lives of the continent's tech savvy youth, ushering in revolutions in a myriad of sectors.
The first significant revolution has been the swift ushering of the information revolution on the continent. The impact of Internet access via mobile devices on the continent has been a game changer.
Access to social networks has given youth a platform for self-expression and civic participation in ways that are having real impact on elections, governance and accountability.
Mobile phones are revolutionizing financial services in Africa. Much has been written about M-PESA’s runaway success in Kenya -- a true global success story in the field of mobile payments with over 18 million active users.
In East Africa, mobile banking has leapfrogged traditional banking, enabling previously unbanked consumers to receive remittances and also to send money to their loved ones.
For more information go to: http://cnn.it/1n0RrgY
MADONNA JOINS MILEY CYRUS FOR MTV ‘UNPLUGGED’
Madonna and Miley will for the first time perform together at the MTV Unplugged which aired on MTV on the 29th.
During the recording of the unplugged, the two joined forces on Miley’s “We Can’t stop”, and Madge’s “Don’t Tell Me”.
Both girls wore Western-inspired ensembles, Madonna in black and white and Miley in blue denim studded with sequins.
“That was pretty cool, you guys,” Cyrus said. “It sounds super-lame, but for a pop star it’s pretty cool performing with Madonna… Today was one of those days that it was really easy to get out of bed.
Backed by a five-piece band and two backup singers, Cyrus performed 11 songs (most from her new album Bangerz and a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”) for an audience of about 220, including Scandal star Gulliermo Diaz and Darby Stanchfield sitting in front row seats.
MAN FIGHTS OFF A SHARK
A New Zealand doctor, James Grant recounts how he fended off a shark and stitched up his own wound on the beach before enjoying a pint of beer at a nearby pub.
Grant, who was spearfishing with his friends near Colac Bay at the base of New Zealand’s South Island on Saturday, was attacked by what he believed was a seven-gill shark.
The 24-year-old was in about 2 meters (6ft) of murky water when he felt a tug on his leg, which he initially thought was a friend playing a trick on him. "I looked behind to see who it was and got a bit of a shock," he told Radio New Zealand.
He didn't see the shark and had no idea how big it was, he said,adding that he thought it could have been about 20cm (8in) across the jaw. However, he felt no fear. "i thought bugger, now i have to try get this thing out of my leg," he said. He already had a knife in his hand and stabbed at the shark. "I am not sure how effective it was. I guess it let go so something must have happened, i put a few nicks in it."
Source: the guardian.com
ARTCAFFE AQUIRES DORMANS
Dormans coffee shops in Nairobi have been acquired by the rival Artcaffe for an undisclosed amount.
Artcaffe will increase their four outlets to 11 by acquiring the seven shops from Dormans. This will give them presence in more shopping malls like Yaya Centre, Karen, and City Mall in Mombasa where Dormans shops were located.
Dorman’s disposal of its coffee shops signals that the firm will now concentrate on coffee processing and export.
People with knowledge of the deal say Artcaffe will re-launch the Dormans branch and will officially take over the rival’s operations on February 1.
KENYAN BBC JOURNALIST DIES OF CANCER
Anne Waithera, a Kenya-based BBC broadcast journalist, has died after battling with cancer for the past two years.
The 39 year-old who was described as among the most talented Kenyan journalist of her time joined BBC in 2009 after many years with local TV and radio stations. She was the first BBC bilingual (English and Swahili) reporter to be appointed to the Ethiopia capital, Addis Ababa.
BBC Africa editor Solomon Mugera described her as "a brave, well-organised and talented journalist". A moment of silence was observed by BBC Africa staff of Nairobi, London, Dakar and Abuja in her honor.
CCK INTENDS TO COMMERCIALISE “.KE” DOMAIN
The communications commission of Kenya has proposed an overhaul of the management and administration of the “.ke” domain name in a bid to grow its popularity and uptake.
The telecoms industry’s regulator is now planning to relinquish its board position at the Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC), which will transform the centre into an independent entity, with CCK playing a regulatory role.
“The proposal is to change the current arrangement of administration of the Dot KE Domain Name Registry Services by KENIC into a delegated regulatory structure, similar to the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) model,” said CCK in a statement.
The proposed changes are expected to see KENIC change from a non-profit organization to a commercial entity.
MAASAI MASTER CHEFS COOKING UP A STORM
While the known Maasai delicacy of blood and milk cocktail may not be everyone’s cup-of-tea, a new class of young Maasai are becoming master chefs and cooking up something special.
Young Maasai apprentices are tackling haute cuisine from around the world as they strive to become gourmet chefs at a local Maasai school. The school which is run by the Karen Blixen Camp, in the Masai Mara, teaches its students how to master culinarydelights from all over the world including French, Italian, Indian and Mexican, as well as refining local delicacies.
Inka Kanae Simion, 21, graduated last year after leaving his job as a butcher and joining the camp in 2012. He said: "It was my dream to be a chef. [When] the school opened, I decided that I would not go and look for other schools in Nairobi. The cuisine that interests me the most is French; for instance coq au vin.”
CHINESE IVORY- SMUGGLER FINED KSH 20 MILLION
A Kenyan court has fined Mr. Tang Yong a record of twenty million shillings for smuggling ivory, under the new anti-poaching laws. The Chinese man was caught last week with an elephant ivory tusk weighing 3.4kg (7.5 pounds) in a suitcase at Nairobi’s international airport while on route to China via Nairobi.
Kenya banned trade in ivory in 1989, but there has been a rise in the illegal practice in recent years. A spokesman of the Kenya Wildlife Service, which manages the country’s national parks, Paul Udoto, welcomed the verdict saying, “It’s a landmark ruling that sets a precedent for those involved in smuggling”.
If he is unable to pay the fine, he will be sentenced for seven years. He is the first person to be sentenced under the new laws which came into force in December 2013.
GHOSTBUSTERS STAR BECOMES A SHERIFF IN MISSISSIPPI
Dan Aykroyd has been appointed as the new Deputy Sheriff of Mississippi. The 61-year-old Canadian native joined the department’s reserve unit on Friday.
The new Sheriff approached the department after spending time in the Magnolia State while filming “Get on Up”, a James Brown biopic in which the he plays the late singer’s manager, Ben Bart. However, this is not the first time the comic actor has joined legitimate crime-fighting forces: He served two law enforcement agencies in Louisiana for almost 16 years.
"It's an honor to join these ranks today. I understand the challenges that law enforcement face in today's world," Aykroyd said at the swearing-in ceremony. He received a badge and uniform before heading back to the movie set.
HELEN MIRREN TO GET TOP HONORS AT BAFTA
The award winning actress will be presented with a fellowship award next month which is the BAFTA organisation’s highest honour.
The British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA) will be awarding her for her “exceptional contribution to film” during this year’s ceremony on 16th of February.
The presentation will see Mirren join the star-studded roster of BAFTA fellows that includes the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Sean Connery, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave and Martin Scorsese.
Mirren’s movie career began in the 1970s. She also has a long history with the BAFTA’s, receiving four BAFTA awards, including one for her turn in “The Queen”, a role for which she also won a best actress Oscar.
Mirren said: "This is the greatest professional honor I can imagine, certainly one I never dreamt of as a schoolgirl in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. To join that list of legendary names is overwhelming."
AL QAEDA BOMB MAKER WALKS FREE THANKS TO HIS “HUMAN RIGHTS”
An Al Qaeda- trained bomb maker walks free in Britain’s streets under a cloak of state sanctioned anonymity. The fanatic was among seven men who this month were released under Government anti-terror control orders, under rules meant to protect their human rights.
Ministers say identifying men who have been subject to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (T-PIMS) would breach their rights by compromising their privacy or safety. However, MPs have opposed this saying it is a risk to the public.
The 41-year-old undertook training in Pakistan and was named as an alleged terrorist by an American supergrass whose evidence helped to foil a massive UK bomb plot. BM, which is the only identification he has until the end of his life to protect his safety and privacy as per the court order, was also part of a London group of Islamist extremists who planned to blow up Bluewater shopping center.
Security officials also say that he had contact with an Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan between 2001 and 2004 and having access to explosives.
OPERATION STOP THE WORLD CUP PROTEST TURNS VIOLENT
Security forces in Brazil are working to restore order after violent clashes broke out during organized protests against the cost of the upcoming World Cup. The protests seen 100 people detained while thousands of others still filled the streets.
The Anonymous Rio protest group, who organised the protests using social media, called it Operation Stop the World Cup. The group described it as this year's first act of protest against the football tournament.
Many in the football-mad country said they are not against the World Cup, but are outraged to see hundreds of millions of dollars spent on preparing 12 host cities for the sports event.
"We are seeing huge amount of money being spent on the World Cup, but health, education, public transport and housing - all those basic rights of Brazilians are being taken away and not guaranteed," Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo quoted one protester in Sao Paulo as saying.
GRAMMY AWARDS 2014: THE WNNERS
The 56th annual Grammy Awards took place Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show, which was hosted by L.L Cool J, kicked off with amazing performances from Jay Z, Beyonce, and Lorde among many others: Among the winners were:
Record of the year: Get Lucky - Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers
Song of the year: Royals - Lorde
Best new artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Best pop solo performance: Royals - Lorde
Best R&B performance: Something -Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway
Best R&B song: Pusher Love Girl - Justin Timberlake
Best R&B album: Girl On Fire - Alicia Keys
To see the full list of winners go to: grammy.com
J. LO & PITBULL PART OF WORLD CUP ANTHEM
Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull will be joining Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte in the official World Cup anthem “We Are One” according to FIFA.
The announcement was made at an event held at the Macarana Stadium in Rio. Pitbull, a Cuban-American rapper said, “We are here to break down barriers and show that through sports and music we are one.” Leitte said the song would show off her country’s love affair with musical and sporting rhythm.
NEW RIVER DOLPHIN DISCOVERED IN BRAZIL
Scientists in Brazil have discovered the first new river dolphin species since the end of World War I. The dolphin was named after the Araguaia River where it was found, and it is the only fifth known of its kind in the world.
River dolphins are among the world's rarest creatures and according to the IUCN, there are only four known species, three of which are on the endangered species list.
TERROR ATTACK PLAN IN JERUSALEM
Israel's internal security agency has stopped an al-Qaeda terror cell from executing a coordinated attack that included bombing the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
The Shin Bet intelligence agency has confirmed that three men have been arrested in connection to the planned attack.
“THE WOLF OF WALL STREET” BANNED IN KENYA
The Hollywood film featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese’s has been banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) in an announcement on their Facebook page. The board has banned the sale, exhibition and distribution of the film in the country.
The statement on their Facebook page read: “There is a LIMIT to everything and we believe the Kenyan public deserves better. WOLF OF WALL STREET has been RESTRICTED. The film is NOT for sale, exhibition or distribution in KENYA.Violators shall be PROSECUTED.” The film has been banned due to its “extreme scenes of nudity, sex, alcohol, drug taking and profanity.”
Source: standard media.co.ke
OSCAR AWARDS: AND THE NOMINEES ARE…
The much anticipated 2014 Academy Awards are just around the corner. This year’s awards ceremony, scheduled for March 2nd, will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. Oscar contenders were announced on January 16th by Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth. And the nominees are:
"12 Years a Slave"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
"Dallas Buyers Club"
Bruce Dern -- "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor -- "12 Years a Slave"
Matthew McConaughey -- "Dallas Buyers Club"
Leonardo DiCaprio -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Christian Bale -- "American Hustle"
Amy Adams -- "American Hustle"
Cate Blanchett -- "Blue Jasmine"
Judi Dench -- "Philomena"
Sandra Bullock -- "Gravity"
Meryl Streep -- "August: Osage County"
Best supporting actor
Barkhad Abdi -- "Captain Phillips"
Bradley Cooper -- "American Hustle"
Jonah Hill -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Jared Leto -- "Dallas Buyers Club"
Michael Fassbender -- "12 Years a Slave"
Best supporting actress
Jennifer Lawrence -- "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o -- "12 Years a Slave"
June Squibb -- "Nebraska"
Julia Roberts -- "August: Osage County"
Sally Hawkins -- "Blue Jasmine"
To view the complete list go to http://oscar.go.com
JKIA TO HAVE MCDONALDS
The Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) is seeking global fast-food chains such as Kentucky Fried Chicken -which opened shop in Kenya in 2011 and US-based Subway, which opened its first outlet in Nairobi last year, McDonalds, Burger King, Naked Pizza and Nandos to open shop at the new terminal unit at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
The new unit will also host a mini-supermarket, in a bid to ensure that it meets global standards as the airport races to cement its status as a regional commercial hub. Unit 4 is the extension of the exiting airport and is expected to handle 2.5 million passengers.
14.9 BILLION RELEASED FOR FREE EDUCATION IN KENYA
The Ministry of Education has released 14.9 billion shillings to finance free education for both primary and secondary schools for the first half of the year 2014.
Of the funds released, 4.5 billion has been ear marked for primary schools to cater for 8,766,026 students while 10.4 billion has been allotted to secondary schools and will cater for the 2,033,362 students enrolled.
Implementation of the free education has led to tremendous increases in enrolment in both primary and secondary schools.
The transition rate from primary to secondary schools has improved, making Kenya amongst the few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to be on the verge of attaining Education for All (EFA) goals by 2015.
CATHERINE SAMBA-PANZA CAR'S INTERIM PRESIDENT
Central African Republic lawmakers on Monday elected the mayor of Bangui, Catherine Samba-Panza, as interim president. She will face the task of ending the country's turmoil and months of sectarian violence as she heads a transitional government.
She replaces Michel Djotodia, the leader of the Seleka rebels who seized power in March but stepped down 10 days ago, under pressure, after failing to halt the escalating violence in the country.
EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES TO PAY MORE TO NSSF
Workers in Kenya will start paying increased rates to the National Social Security Fund when the amended law governing the pension scheme comes into effect.
Under the new rules, pensionable earnings above KSH18, 000 per month will contribute KSH1,440 to the fund, while the lowest income earners with pensionable earnings of up to KSH3,000 will pay a total KSH180 monthly, with employers matching each contribution.
The Kenya Revenue Authority had been tasked to collect the contributions on behalf of NSSF to enhance efficiency and transparency.
Source: The Daily Nation
PRESIDENT UHURU INVITED BY OBAMA
The White House announced on Tuesday that President Barack Obama will host the first US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington in August and President Uhuru Kenyatta is said to be on the invitation list.
The reported inclusion of the Kenyan head of state, who is facing indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity, marks a decisive turn for the better in relations between the Obama and Kenyatta administrations.
President Obama's former chief diplomat for Africa had a year ago warned in thinly-veiled terms that Kenyatta's election would have negative “consequences” for ties between the two longstanding allies. The US president then snubbed Kenya during his three-nation Africa tour in June and July last year.
Source: Africa Review
LUPITA FOR THE OSCARS!
Lupita Nyong'o, Mexcian- born, Kenyan- raised actress and daughter of Kenyan politician Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, has became the new Hollywood "It Girl". After her breakout role as Patsey in the movie “12 Years a Slave” in which she plays the object of her master’s obsession, she has made rounds in fashion magazines, rubbed shoulders with Hollywood celebrities and received rave reviews and a host of nominations including best supporting actress for the Oscars. Lupita who has already won a SAG award for female actor in a supporting role is all set for the Oscars and putting Kenya on the global map.
Go Lupita Go!
Image: Just Jared
Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana are set to star in the next three Avatar Sequels which begin production this year. Worthington will continue starring as former marine Juke Sully, while Saldana will play Na’vi huntress Negtiri. This will be a continuation of the original film which was released in 2009.
The 2014 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards held on the 18th of January at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition, saw major Hollywood players emerge as winners. Matthew McConaughey took the outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role for his role in “Dallas buyers’ club” while Cate Blanchett took the outstanding performance by a female actor in a leading role for her role in “Blue Jasmine”.
The awards also saw Lupita Nyong'o get the first award of the night as she was named the best supporting actress for her role in “12 years a slave”, while the award for the best supporting actor went to Jared Leto for his role in “Dallas buyers’ club’’. During these awards, American Hustle, a film directed by David O. Russell, won the honor of outstanding performance by a movie cast.
Launched in 1995, the SAG Awards have become one of the industry’s most prized honors. The only televised awards shows to exclusively honor performers, it presents thirteen awards for acting in film and television.
Source: Sagawards.com and BBC
Happy Birthday 50th Michelle Obama!
Michelle Obama celebrated turning 50 with a star studded birthday party on Saturday night that went on into the wee hours of the morning. The guest list included stars like former NBA superstar Magic Johnson, singer Smokey Robinson, actor Samuel L. Jackson and Beyonce.
Guests have said that Beyonce brought the house down with several of her hit songs including some of the first lady's favourite songs.
Welcome to club 50 first lady.
Source: Huffington Post
BBC World TV’s presenter, Komla Dumor has died
It has been announced that Komla Dumor, the BBC World TV presenter died suddenly at his home in London due to a heart attack. The 41 year old Ghana – born presenter was known widely for BBC world news and its Focus on Africa Progrmmes. Komla featured in New Africa Magazines’ November 2013 list of most influential Africans. He also established himself as one of the emerging African faces of global broadcasting. Source: BBC
POACHERS SWITCH TO HI-TECH GADGETS
Poachers in Kenya are now using guns that have silencers to kill wildlife according to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS).
KWS Director William Kiprono said that poachers are also using satellite systems to locate the animals making it very difficult for them to be tracked down and making it easy for them to prey on animals.
“Rhino horns are now more in demand than elephant tusks and that will affect the endangered rhino species,” said the KWS boss.
Kiprono noted that unlike before poachers are targeting rhino’s and not elephants. Kenya currently has around 1,000 rhino’s.
Source: Standard Digital
NAIROBI AMONG TOP FIVE AFRICAN CITIES WITH LARGEST CONCENTRATION OF MILLIONAIRES
Nairobi is the fifth among cities with the highest concentration of dollar millionaires in Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa tops the list with 23,400 millionaires residing in the city.
Cairo, Lagos and Cape Town follow Johannesburg with 12,300, 9,800 and 9,000 respectively. Nairobi has 5,000 dollar millionaires according to the New World Wealth survey that was carried out early this year.
The Kenyan capital was second to Accra, Ghana in the list of fastest growing high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs). It was followed by Durban, Casablanca, Pretoria, Luanda and Algiers.
The presence of a larger group of super-rich individuals in a city is seen to be a key growth driver arising from robust demand for luxury goods, prime properties, art and services like wealth management and private banking.
Source: All Africa
SCHOOLS CLOSE AFTER CAPE TOWN GANG BATTLES
The provincial of Manenberg suburb, Capetown, South Africa, Helen Zille has called on the government to send the army to reinforce the police following the death of 50 people at the hands of criminal gangs.
Schools have been closed in the suburbs following increasing incidents of people being shot dead. Recently, a caretaker of one of the schools died after being shot by a stray bullet.
SETTING UP BUSINESSES IN AFRICA MADE EASIER
Registering a business just got easier thanks to icommerce an offline registry that makes it possible to register a business within seconds.
Icommerce is the brainchild of The Gambia and is the fastest way to register any business in the world.
The initiative will provide an enabling business environment for African countries by providing a unique combination of cutting edge technology and an attractive business environment.
The government of The Gambia in partnership with technology specialist, Ifini Africa Group will deliver the icommerce registry using advanced cloud based technology for faster, more secure and cost effective delivery of corporate services including incorporation of limited companies, trusts and foundations.
The service is available 24/7, all year round and is the first phase in a project that will see a number of new facilities becoming available in The Gambia offshore centre over the next 12 months.
These include The Enterprise Zone which includes the development of a technical institute offering tuition in software engineering and technical design services for business. It will also encompass a media development complex with modern facilities for pre and post production.
KENYAN CHARGED WITH RECRUITING MILITIA FOR REBEL GROUP
A Kenyan was charged in a US court with recruiting Kenyans to join an Islamist rebel group in Syria. Mohamed Hussein Said, 25, is charged with 25 counts involving a conspiracy to send militants to fight alongside the al-Qa'ida-affiliated al-Nusrah Front in Syria; charges he pleaded not guilty to.
He was arrested in South Arabia early this month and transferred to Florida, USA where he was arraigned in court Tuesday. He is charged alongside US citizen and Saudi resident Gufran Ahmed Kauser Mohammed who also faces 15 counts involving a conspiracy to send militants to fight alongside the al-Qa'ida-affiliated al-Nusrah Front in Syria. They were both denied bail and face up to 15 years behind bars for each count. One of their recruits was allegedly behind a grenade attack in Nairobi.
Source: Daily Nation
FUEL PRICES RISE
Kenyans will have to dig deeper into their pockets to purchase basic commodities as fuel prices increased. The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) increased prices of Kerosene by KSH4.44 per litre, Super Petrol by KSH 2.74, and Diesel by KSH1.58 for Nairobi residents.
"Taking into account the weighted average costs of imported products and products refined locally, the prices of fuel will go up in Nairobi, maximum prices for other towns have been adjusted accordingly," read a statement from the commission.
Source: Standard Digital
RHINO BUTCHERED BY POACHERS IN NAIROBI AS KWS RANGER IS INJURED IN NAKURU
Poachers on Friday killed a white rhino at the Nairobi National Park adding to the growing numbers of animals who have lost their lives as a result of poaching. The poaching incident brought to 35 the number of rhinos that Kenya has lost to poaching since January this year. Last year poachers killed 29 rhinos.
The remains of the rhino – which had gunshot wounds – were discovered by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers on patrol. The poachers made away with the horns of the slain animal.
In a separate incident, a KWS ranger is recovering at a Nakuru hospital after he was shot by suspected poachers in Lake Nakuru National Park.
The poacher and his colleague encountered two poachers at the park and a shootout ensued. The poachers escaped with injuries and one .458 rifle, six rounds of ammunition and one spent cartridge were recovered.
A meat cutter saw, two cell phones, cleaning rod, pull through, fresh chapatis and Yoghurt, several polythene covers were also recovered.
ELEPHANTS GET MORE LAND
Elephants in Amboseli National Park will have more land to roam in after Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF) signed 700 new land leases. The leases translate to 7,000 acres of land in the Amboseli ecosystem which is home to about 1,400 elephants is too small for them and other animals to freely search for food and water.
The newly leased land will extend elephants’ range between Amboseli south across the border to Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park in Tanzania. This area, known as the Kitenden Corridor, provides elephants with the space they need to freely and safely move out of the park as they follow rains and search for food.
“By extending the Kitenden Corridor, we aim to reduce conflict and provide both communities and elephants with a more peaceful existence. We have found that partnering with communities to find innovative solutions to securing critical wildlife habitat is the most effective way of conserving land and protecting wildlife while also benefiting people. This is a win–win situation where wildlife get the habitat they need, and communities are given a payment for ecosystem service in exchange,” said African Wildlife Foundation Vice President for Conservation Strategy, Kathleen Fitzgerald.
TEEN CHOICE AWARDS
Below is a list of the winners of this year’s edition of the Teen Choice Awards that were held on Sunday at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, USA.
Ultimate Choice: Ashton Kutcher
Choice Movie, Drama: The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Choice Movie, Comedy: Pitch Perfect
Choice Movie Actor, Comedy: Skylar Astin, Pitch Perfect
Choice Movie Actress, Comedy: Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect
Choice Movie Actor, Drama: Logan Lerman,
The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Choice Summer Movie Star, Female: Sandra Bullock, The Heat
Choice Movie Villian: Adam DeVine, Pitch Perfect
Choice Movie Chemistry: Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, The Heat
Choice Summer Music Star, Female: Selena Gomez
Choice Summer Song: Miley Cyrus/We Can't Stop
Choice Breakout Group: Emblem 3
Choice Breakout Artist: Ed Sheeran
Choice Female Artist: Demi Lovato
Choice Single by a Female Artist: Demi Lovato/Heart Attack
Choice Rock Group: Paramore
Choice Summer Music Star: Bruno Mars
Choice R&B Artist: Bruno Mars
Choice Music Group: One Direction
Choice Music Tour: One Direction
Choice Single by a group: One Direction/Live While We're Young
Choice Love Song: One Direction/Little Things
Choice Breakup Song: Selena Gomez/Come and Get It
Choice TV Show, Drama: Pretty Little Liars
Choice TV Show, Comedy: Glee
Choice Summer TV Show: Pretty Little Liars
Choice TV Actor, Sci-fi/Fantasy: Ian Somerhalder, Vampire Diaries
Choice TV Actress, Sci-fi/Fantasy: Nina Dobrev, Vampire Diaries
Choice TV Actor, Drama: Ian Harding, Pretty Little Liars
Choice TV Actress, Drama: Troian Bellisario, Pretty Little Liars
Choice TV Actor, Action: LL Cool J, NCIS: Los Angeles
Choice TV Personality, Female: Demi Lovato
Choice TV Female Scene Stealer: Miley Cyrus,Two and a Half Men
Choice TV Male Scene Stealer: Chord Overstreet, Glee
Choice TV Actress, Comedy: Lea Michele, Glee
Choice TV Actor, Comedy: Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory
Choice Summer TV Star Male: Keegan Allen, Pretty Little Liars
Choice Summer TV Star Female: Lucy Hale, Pretty Little Liars
Choice TV Villain: Janel Parish, Pretty Little Liars
Choice TV Breakout Show: The Fosters
Choice TV Breakout Star: Blake Jenner, Glee
Choice Female Hottie: Selena Gomez
Choice Female Athlete: Gabby Douglas
Acuvue Inspire Award: Nick Jonas
Candie's Fashion Trendsetter Award: Miley Cyrus
JKIA CLOSED AFTER INFERNO
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) has been shut down indefinitely following a fire that broke out Wednesday morning at the arrivals unit.
All departures have been cancelled while planes that were scheduled to land at the airport have been diverted to Moi International Airport, Mombasa and Kisumu International Airport.
Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) head of security Eric Kiraithe has called on the public to allow emergency workers to do their work. No casualties have been reported following the incident. The cause of the fire is yet to be established.
Source: Standard Digital
DIGITAL MIGRATION SET FOR DECEMBER
All analogue televisions in Nairobi and its environs will be switched off on December 13 this year. Information Communication and Technology Principal Secretary Joseph Tiampati said that Nairobi will be the first followed by Mombasa, Kisumu,Malindi, Nyeri, Meru, Webuye, Nakuru and Eldoret on March 30 next year.
“The switch off will be a phased process, Nairobi being the first, in order to allow for smooth transition ahead of the global deadline,” he said.
The last phase that will cover the rest of the country will be done on June 30, 2014.
Source: Daily Nation
TWO BROTHERS STRANGLED TO DEATH BY A PYTHON
Two brothers aged five and seven lost their lives after they were strangled by a snake that had escaped from a pet store.
The two were asleep when a 16-foot python slithered into the apartment they were staying at in Campbellton City, Canada through a vent and attacked them. They were sleeping in an apartment above the pet store.
They were staying with Jean-Claude Savoie, who owns the pet store that is home to crocodiles, tarantulas, tortoises and snakes.
Savoie said that he walked into his living room at 6:30am and found the boys lying dead and the snake coiled in a nearby hole.
“My body is in shock. I don't know what to think,” he said.
The boys’ mother, Mandy Trecartin, had left them in the care of her best friend, Savoie, when the incident happened.
Source: Daily Mail
CHEF FACES EXPULSION FROM NEW ZEALAND FOR BEING OBESE
A South African chef residing in New Zealand can no longer live in the country because he is ‘too fat’.
Immigration officials in the country declined to renew the work visas of Albert Buitenhuis, who weighs 130kgs, and his wife saying that he did not have an acceptable standard of health. This is despite the fact that he weighs 30kg less than he did when he moved to the country in 2007.
Buitenhuis and his wife applied for the renewal of their work visas in May but this was declined with the immigration spokesman stating that his obesity put him at significant risk of complications including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
"It is important that all migrants have an acceptable standard of health to minimise costs and demands on New Zealand's health services," said the spokesman.
Buitenhuis' wife said that they have renewed their annual work visas without any problem in previous years despite the fact that her husband was heavier.
KENYA GETS A KSH 13 BILLION LOAN FROM THE WORLD BANK FOR WATER INFRASTRUCTURE
The World Bank has loaned Kenya KSH 13 billion for the construction of water infrastructures in the country.
The credit will enable the government to develop new water infrastructure such as water storage and irrigation projects. The first beneficiary of the money will be an irrigation scheme on the Lower Nzoia River in Siaya and Busia Counties in Western Kenya.
Construction and improvement of water infrastructure will improve food security in the country as well as improve economic growth.
Source: Daily Nation
PASTORALISTS OPPOSE TULLOW OIL PROPOSAL
Communities in Turkana have opposed a move by Tullow Oil to move to a new exploration site in Lokichar basin, Turkana South saying that the exploration has interfered with their grazing land.
"As much as we need the oil, they should also respect our way of life. They should consider that our animals need pasture," said Paul Ekai, a Turkana elder.
They demanded consultations with the oil company before they are allowed to explore for more oil in the area. Turkana South MP James Lomenen said that the company should slow down on exploration until the dispute on the land is resolved.
Source: Standard Digital
GLOBAL FOOD PRICES DROP
Global food prices fell by two percent in the last four months according to the World Bank Food Price Index. The decline is the third consecutive one and is as a result of declining imports in the Middle East and North Africa – lower demand pushed prices down 12 percent from their August 2012 peak.
The bank said that improved weather conditions will help boost the production of wheat, while maize production is expected to reach a record high this year.
"Poorly designed food subsidy programs that lack transparency and accountability in implementation do not benefit poor people," said Jaime Saavedra, active vice president for poverty reduction and economic management at the World Bank.
Source: Business Daily
GENOCIDE SUSPECT TRANSFERED FROM ARUSHA TO RWANDA
The International Criminal Court Tribunal (ICTR) transferred detainee Bernard Munyagishari from Arusha, Tanzania to Rwanda Thursday.
Munyagishari was arrested in DR Congo in 2011 and was charged with genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, complicity in genocide, murder, rape and crimes against humanity. He had petitioned for a Stay but this was dropped by the court and before being transferred he was the last genocide suspect to be held at the court.
“We would like to thank the ICTR generally for the significant vote of confidence it has given to the Rwandan justice system, and for the smooth execution of this transfer. What happens next is following the Rwandan laws, particularly the law on transfer of Genocide suspects from ICTR and other jurisdictions," said the spokesperson of the Rwandan Prosecution, Alain Mukuralinda.
Source: All Africa
KENYAN MAN WANTS JUSTICE OVER JESUS’ DEATH
A Kenyan man has gone to the International Court of Justice to seek justice over the death of Jesus Christ.
The Hague-based court constituted a panel to hear a case filed by DolaIndidis challenging the unfair trial, sentencing, punishment and death of Jesus Christ.
He had first filed the case in the Nairobi High Court on behalf of the Friends of Jesus in 2007 but the court said that it had no jurisdiction.
“The court has communicated to me. I am now waiting for the date of hearing. I filed the case because it’s my duty to uphold the dignity of Jesus and I have gone to the ICJ to seek justice for the man from Nazareth,” he said.
Source: Standard Digital
METROPOLIS HEALTHCARE SETS UP TWO LABORATORIES IN KENYA
India’s leading multinational diagnostic chain Metropolis Healthcare has set up two laboratories in Nairobi in a bid to provide laboratory services to Kenyans who are increasingly seeking medical attention from abroad.
The two laboratories,which will be known as ‘Star Metropolis’, have the capacity to deliver 4,500 different pathology tests; from the most basic the advanced. The labs are located in Upper Hill and Parklands and will take care of 80 percent of the genetic testing workload locally.
“In its next phase of expansion, Metropolis plans to set up five more such labs in Kenya and another five labs in the neighbouring countries at a cost of KSH 250 million. The central idea of this expansion plan is to make the Kenyan labs the hub for serving the entire East African region,” said Ameera Shah, Metropolis CEO, during the launch of the laboratories.
Metropolis Healthcare was incepted by an eminent pathologist Dr. Sushil Shah in 1981. It has grown to become India’s leading multinational chain of over 105 diagnostic and 700 collection centres across India, Sri Lanka, Africa and the Middle East.
A CELEBRATION OF THE CHIVAS BROTHERS SCOTCH WHISKIES
Sankara Nairobi partnered with PernotRicard Kenya to celebrate the world renowned Chivas Brother’s Scotch Whiskies in a recent tasting.
The four course tasting at The Champagne Bar served Chivas Regal 12 Years, Ballantines Finest, Glenlivet 12 Years and the Chivas Royal Salute 21 Years, all of which went exceptionally well with dishes prepared to match their unique flavours, including fresh oysters, chicken and raisin pate, smoked salmon mousse, seared steak, brie, dark chocolate ganache and coffee mousse tartlet among others.
Smooth, rich, creamy, smoky and fruity tastes were explored in the portfolio of the award winning scotch whiskies.
It was a delight to note the hint of honey, chocolate, hazelnut, butterscotch, vanilla and apple in the skilfully-presented, diverse whiskies that were diluted with a dash of water. A blend of the finest whiskies with the delectable pairings was definitely a pleasant surprise to the senses.
NAIROBI POLICE SEIZE EXPLOSIVES IN A BUS
Nairobi police Wednesday seized a consignment of explosives in a Mombasa bound bus at a stage along River Road. The explosives were packed in two cartons and were being sent to Mombasa as a parcel. The owner of the parcel had said that they contained textbooks.
Though police managed to reach the suspect through his mobile phone, he has since escaped and law enforcement officers have launched a manhunt.
Source: The Nation
MOVIE REVIEW: MCCARTHY AND BULLOCK ON FIRE IN THE HEAT
When Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids burst onto the scene in 2011 it was a stunning example of what a strong script and an incredible ensemble cast could do for women-driven comedies and there’s no doubt that he struck director’s gold with the film. So it’s not surprising that he chose to follow that up with The Heat, a buddy-cop film with the twist that its main characters are women, namely Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.
But it was perhaps an unfortunate choice for an immediate follow up, as The Heat is certainly not Bridesmaids-with-police-instead-of-a-wedding. Instead, it’s a mediocre though serviceable script that serves as a platform for the comedic genius of its leading ladies – who do not disappoint.
Don’t misunderstand, The Heat will be an absolute delight for those looking for a comedic night out (though it would be irresponsible not to note that those even mildly uncomfortable with language should stay away – I can’t recall a Boston movie with as much swearing since Scorsese’s drama The Departed, and I’d wager that The Heat gives it a run for its money). The issue that The Heat runs into is great expectations for a game changer in the cop-comedy genre, while instead it’s more of a wink-and-nod to the standard tropes, made fresh by the great chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy.
As the film opens, we see Bullock’s FBI Agent Ashburn outsmarting and emasculating both suspects and her fellow agents in a raid, setting the tone for her competent yet cocky and socially inept character. Working towards a big promotion, Ashburn is told, through the rather blunt delivery of her superior Hale, played by DemianBichir (“None of the other agents like you”), that she needs to work on her cooperation before she’ll be put in charge of anyone. Sent to Boston with a strict warning to play nice, Ashburn quickly collides with McCarthy’s Mullins, a Boston police officer who, through tough talk and crass manners, has the run of her precinct.
The two are forced to work together to track down an infamous drug lord, and as you’d expect from a buddy-cop film, they do eventually become, well, buddies. The beauty of the film comes in the form of quips, riffs and brilliant comedic timing, which both women have shown their expertise in time and again. And while McCarthy and Bullock aren’t exactly reinventing themselves with these roles, there are significant contrasts from their past performances that they cope with exceptionally well. McCarthy’s plays a tough, street-smart woman similar to her roles in Bridesmaids and Identity Thief,but this time with more vulnerability and charisma, making her infinitely more likable and funny. Bullock, on the other hand, spends most of the film as something of a miserable harpy, making her pitiable but not beloved – a notable turnaround for America’s Sweetheart.
All in all, The Heat is an extremely enjoyable film, granted you’re expecting a slightly crass cop-comedy and not a revolutionary film for the promotion for women’s comedy. While there are a few throw away lines about the difficulties of women in a male-dominated workforce, I’d make the case that the film works much better taken at face value – as a funny cop movie. The Heat works just as well for a date night film (men will love it as much as women) as it does for a girls’ night out, and if you’re not afraid of some language it’s a great time at the cinema.
Visit Century Cinemax at The Junction to see The Heat for yourself. For show times and ticketing information, call them at +254 20 802 2073, +254 700 326 726, or +254 739 173 643 or visit their Facebook Page, http://www.facebook.com/CenturyCinemaxTheJunction
MINERALS WORTH USD $62 BILLION DISCOVERED AT THE COAST
The Kenyan economy is set for a boast after a company announced that they had discovered rare mineral deposits in Kwale County.
This is by far the largest mineral deposit in Kenya and the find at Mrima Hill will make Kenya one of the largest rare earth producers in the world,” said David Anderson, managing director of Cortec Kenya Mining.
The hill has one of the largest deposits of rare minerals in the world and currently has deposits of niobium worth an estimated USD $35 billion. The government will earn three percent in royalties from the niobium project and five percent from other mineral deposits.
Source: Business Daily
FOUR EAST AFRICANS NAMED IN THE 10 YOUNG AFRICAN MILLIONAIRES TO WATCH IN 2013 LIST
Four East Africans are among the Forbes 10 young African millionaires to watch in 2013. The list, which is compiled by Forbes Magazine, ranks people below the age of 39 who have built multi-million dollar enterprises while in their 20s and 30s.
This year, Gerald Wamalwa and Ken Njoroge from Kenya are ranked fourth and eighth respectively on the list while Mohammed Dewji and Patrick Ngowi from Tanzania are ranked first and seventh respectively.
Wamalwa, 38, quit his job as a field civil engineer 10 years ago and started his company Mellech, an engineering outfit. The company is now one of the leading construction and infrastructure companies in East Africa. He also owns ACP Telecoms, a company that provides turnkey telecommunication network infrastructure solutions.
Njoroge, 37, is the founder of Pan-African mobile commerce company, Cellulant. The company provides mobile banking, mobile payments, music, and information services among other mobile related services. Together with a Nigerian partner, Goke Akinboro, Njoroge founded the company—which currently has a presence in eight African countries— in 2004.
Mohammed Dewji, 38, runs a manufacturing company founded by his father decades ago. The Tanzanian businessman and politician is the CEO of Mohammed Enterprise Limited (METL), one of the largest industrial conglomerates in East Africa. The group records a turnover of close to USD $2 billion annually and employs more than 24,000 people.
Patrick Ngowi, 28, is the founder of Helvetic Solar, East Africa’s leading renewable energy company. The company’s revenues are expected to hit USD $7 million by the end of this year.
South Africans dominated the list taking up five slots while the remaining slot was taken up by a Nigerian.
BRITISH MOUNTAIN CLIMBER RESCUED AT MOUNT KENYA
A British national who fell ill while climbing Mount Kenya has been rescued to safety and is recuperating at Nanyuki Cottage Hospital.
Twenty five-year-old Kate Pettit developed Acute Mountain Sickness when she and a group of tourists were on a mission to scale Mount Kenya’s Lenana peak.
She got sick on Thursday night while at Old Moses Camp which is 3,300 feet above sea level. Her colleagues called Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rescue rangers who safely evacuated her from the mountain. The other 19 tourists she was with are well continuing with the journey to Lenana peak.
MEET THE WHITE SOUTH AFRICAN MALE WHO CHOSE TO UNDERGO TRADITIONAL XHOSA CIRCUMCISION
Dozens of teenagers lose their lives every year after undergoing traditional circumcision but a 17-year-old Brandon de Wet braved the extreme nature of the ceremony to join his friend of 13 years in the traditional Xhosa circumcision ceremony.
"It was a really tough road and was like nothing I've ever experienced," He said about his three week experience.
He added that going through the experience with his childhood friend would strengthen their relationship even further while acknowledging that the experience was mentally challenging.
Once Xhosa boys reach between the age of 15-17, their parents often take them to an initiation school where they are under a traditional surgeon and nurse. Initiation ceremonies often take place during the June school holidays or in December when initiates are taken deep into the mountain where they are taught how to become outstanding men.
"I can understand a bit of Xhosa but my surgeon would explain the details of what was going to happen and why it was important in English," said Brandon.
After circumcision, boys enter a specially built hut where they live together throughout the initiation period. They dress only in loin clothes and their bodies are covered in mud. Once the initiation is over they take a bath in a river to symbolize the washing off of their old life.
Read De Wet’s full story here.
MANDELA TURNS 95
Former South African President Nelson Mandela turned 95 Thursday but spent his birthday in hospital where he has been admitted for over a month.
Mandela’s birthday is also Nelson Mandela International Day, a day declared by the UN to recognise the reconciliation efforts of the first black president of South Africa.
Millions of school children sang happy birthday to the former president while volunteers marked Mandela’s 67 years as a lawyer, activist, prisoner and president by renovating schools and orphanages, cleaning hospitals and distributing food to the poor.
South Africans were urged to mark his birthday by performing 67 minutes of charitable acts.
The day was also the 15th anniversary of his marriage to his third wife, Graca Machel.
PROTESTS ROCK INDIAN STATE OVER THE DEATHS OF CHILDREN
Violent protests rocked the Indian state of Bihar following the deaths of 23 children and the sickness of dozens after they ate a free school meal.
The Mid-Day Meal Scheme provides lunch to schools across India, reaching an estimated 120 million children in 1.2 million schools, but reportedly also suffers poor hygiene in the handling of the food.
A doctor at the local hospital attributed the deaths to possible pesticide contamination of the food while a cook at the school said that they had recently purchased a new type of cooking oil that looked discoloured.
The oil had allegedly been bought at a shop belonging to the husband of a new teacher at the school, who was in charge of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme. The owners of the shop however fled after the incident.
About 47 children fell ill after consuming the meal at a school in Dharmasati Gandaman.
"When the children were clinically examined, we saw that there was severe congestion in the chest, and their pupils were dilated. These are symptoms of organo-phosphorus poisoning. Organo-phosphorus is a compound also used as a pesticide for crops. It is very dangerous. Even a small quantity of it would prove fatal for small children. Looking at the critical condition in which they were brought to the hospital, it seems like there were large quantities of poison in the food that they consumed," said one doctor at the Chhapra district hospital.
Meanwhile, 19 of the children who lost their lives have been buried with three of them being laid to rest around the school's grounds.
Children in other schools in the district are now refusing to eat the free lunch as officials struggle to resolve the issue.
BRITISH MAN CHARGED WITH SEX OFFENCES AGAINST KENYAN CHILDREN
A British man has been charged in the UK with sexual offences against two Kenyan children. Simon Harris,54, was charged under a legislation that allows UK Nationals to be prosecuted for sexual offences committed abroad.
Harris, who hails from Herefordshire, was arrested at his home on Saturday and will appear before a judge at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on a later date.
He is accused of attempted rape and sexual activity with a child.
JK ROWLING REVEALED AS THE AUTHOR OF THE CUCKOO’S CALLING
British author JK Rowling has been revealed as the author of crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling.
In the critically acclaimed novel, which has sold 1,500 hardback copies, Rowling uses the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. On its release, some critics had raised concern that the book was too accomplished to be a debut novel.
"I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation, and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name," she said.
Book sales have since risen by 500,000 percent.
Source: The Guardian
KENYANS WILL GET PASSPORTS IN FIVE DAYS
Kenyans who apply for passports with the right documents will get them in five days, down from the previous waiting period of 10 days. The Director of Immigration Services Jane Waikenda announced the move saying that the government would also intensify security on the Kenyan borders by revamping the existing border points and building new ones.
Previously, people waited for more than a month to get a passport before the waiting period was reduced to 21 days and then to 10 days. The director also said that a major reshuffle was being conducted in the immigration department to curb complacency.
Source: Daily Nation
SEVEN KENYAN JOURNALISTS SHORTLISTED FOR THE CNN MULTICHOICE AFRICAN JOURNALIST AWARDS
Seven Kenyan journalists are among the 27 finalists from 11 countries shortlisted for the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards. The finalists of the competition – which is in its 18th year – were announced by the chair of the independent judging panel, Ferial Haffajee.
The winners will be announced at an Award Ceremony and Gala Evening in Cape Town, South Africa, on Oct.12. This year’s competition attracted entries from Journalists in 42 countries.
The journalists from Kenya are:
Thomas Otieno Bwire – Pamoja FM
Florence Dallu – Freelance for Koch FM
Judy Jeptum Kosgei and Mauritius Oduor – Citizen TV
Brenda Okoth – The Star
Roseline Wangui and Wambui Kurema – NTV
MISS KENYA 2013 CROWNED
Wangui Gitonga, a 23-year-old student, beat 10 contestants to be crowned this year’s Miss Kenya. In a ceremony held at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, the linguistics student at the German School also walked away with KSH 1 million.
Sophia Umwanza was the second runner up taking home KSH 50,000 while Leah Tesfamarian was the first runner up taking home KSH 100,000.
Gitonga will represent Kenya in the Miss World contest that will be held in Indonesia in September.
Source: Standard Digital
POACHERS KILL FOUR ELEPHANTS IN TSAVO
Four elephants have lost their lives after they were shot by poachers using poisoned arrows in Tsavo Conservation Area (TSA). The deaths of the elephants come at a time when KWS is treating an average of four elephants every week that have been wounded by poisoned arrows.TCA Assistant Director Robert Obrein said that poachers have resorted to hiring trained hunters to kill elephants using poisoned arrows.
“KWS doctors are using enormous resources in treating injured elephants and this is not good for the country. Relevant stakeholders should all join hands in dealing with the poaching menace,” said Obrein.
He added that it has been difficult for poachers to use rifles because of the increased surveillance, so many have resorted to using arrows.
Source: Standard Digital
TOPE FOLARIN WINS CAINE PRIZE
Nigerian writer Tope Folarin is this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing winner. The US based writer received the prize for his story Miracle which is set in a Nigerian evangelical church based in Texas USA.
The story’s main theme is religion and it is centred on a congregation that gathers in a church to witness the healing powers of a blind pastor.
This year four of the shortlisted writers were from Nigeria with the other candidate being from Sierra Leone. Nigeria has won the prize for the second consecutive year.
Source: Africa Review
ETHIOPIA TO CONSTRUCT AFRICA’S TALLEST BUILDING
Plans are underway to construct Africa’s tallest building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by 2017. The tower, which will be constructed by Guangdong Chuanhui Group- a Chinese private developer, will have 99 floors and house offices and hotels.
Currently the tallest building in Africa is the Carlton Centre in Johannesburg which is 50 storeys tall. There are currently only 17 buildings in Addis Ababa that are taller than 12 storeys. On completion, the building will be named Meles Zenawi International Centre in honour of the country’s former Prime Minister.
Source: All Africa
MIRAA (KHAT) FARMERS UNHAPPY WITH BRITAIN'S DECISION TO BAN THE STIMULANT
Khat farmers in Meru have expressed anger over the decision by the British government to ban the stimulant popularly known as ‘miraa’.
The farmers from the region have demanded that the government shuts down British military training camps and Farms owned by British nationals as a retaliation for the ban.
Britain classified the stimulant as a drug in early July and banned Kenya’s exports to the country. The move came after the Netherlands banned miraa in January this year.
Source: The Daily Nation
DESMOND TUTU CALLS FOR THE END OF MANDELA FAMILY ROW
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called on the Mandela family to end their row saying that they must not "besmirch" the name of the former president.
"Please, please, please may we think not only of ourselves. It's almost like spitting in Madiba's face," Tutu said.
His remarks come at a time when Mandela’s grandson Mandla Mandela launched an attack on the family after a court ordered him to return the remains of his father and two other relatives to Qunu from Mvezo where he moved them two years ago. The remains were reburied in Qunu Thursday afternoon.
Source: All Africa
ADULT BREAST FEEDING-THE NEW TREND IN CHINA
There is widespread uproar on social media in China after it emerged that rich people were paying to drink breast milk. The new trend is a luxury for the rich with firms offering wet nurse services to adults.
These firms provide wet nurses for newborns, the sick and other adults who pay high prices for the milk's fine nutrition according to the Southern Metropolis Daily.
Adults can drink the milk directly from the breasts or through a breast pump if they are too embarrassed. The nurses are paid USD $2,600 Ksh (224,640) a month for their services and those who are perceived as healthy and good looking could earn even more.
Source: Fox News
BANKS TO USE FINGERPRINT IDENTIFICATION TO CURB ATM FRAUD
A new line of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) launched Thursday by American tech company Diebold, and Kenyan IT solutions firm Tracom Services will enable ATM card users to be able to use their fingerprints to access their accounts. The biometric technology will see the reduction in ATM fraud conducted through identity theft. ATM users will have the option to either use a PIN number or to use the fingerprinting system increasing the security of ATM’s.
“The biometric sensor will be optional on ATM machines as per the requirements of the banks and their customers,” said Mr Koffijberg Diebold, product Marketing Manager of ATMs. The ATMs will also come with a sensor that detects whether an object other that an ATM card has been inserted in the machine and will also have a safety lock that will prevent the insertion of jammers.
Source: Business Daily.
LEWA WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY AND THE NGARE NDARE FOREST TRUST NOW UNESCO SITES
Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust in Mount Kenya region have been recognised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and included in the Mt Kenya World Heritage site. The two are connected to Mt Kenya via the elephant corridor which is used by hundreds of animals every year. World heritage sites are places of universal importance to humanity that are inscribed on the list to be protected for future generations to enjoy.
“Through the protection and management of endangered species, initiation and support of community conservation and development programmes and the education of neighbouring communities in the value of wildlife, Lewa has become a model in Kenya for wildlife conservation on private land and a favoured destination for low impact tourism," said Lewa Wildlife Conservancy chief executive Mike Watson.
Other world heritage sites are the Galápagos Islands, the Taj Mahal, Fort Jesus, Lamu Old Town, the Grand Canyon the Acropolis and the Pyramids in Egypt.
Source: Business Daily
TULLOW STRIKES MORE OIL IN KENYA
British multinational company Tullow has announced that they have discovered new oil deposits in South Lokichar, Kenya and said that they have also doubled oil production estimates in two others.
In a statement they said, “These results are an important step towards understanding the commerciality of the Lokichar Basin and, as we advance towards the commercial thresholds for development, Tullow continues to work in consultation with the Government of Kenya on development options.”
The company struck oil in Etuko-1 following drilling that has been ongoing since May this year. They have also increased the oil estimates in Ngami-1 and Twiga South-1 and the two wells are now estimated to be able to produce 5,000 each per day. The company first discovered oil in Kenya in March, 2012.
Source: Daily Nation
ENDANGERED RHINO CONCEIVED THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION BORN
The first Indian rhino to be conceived through artificial insemination is living and thriving a month after he was born.
The rhino, christened Ethan, was born after his mom, Jeta, was inseminated with a thawed frozen semen sample from a male rhino called Himal. This was after the two rhino proved to be too hostile towards each other to mate naturally.
The technique was pioneered by Dr. Monica Stoops, a reproductive physiologist and was collaboration between the Montgomery Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife-both in the US.
Ethan was born at on June 5 at the Montgomery Zoo and is the first Indian rhino calf to live and thrive after conception using the technique and has gained 4-6kg’s since birth and now weighs 50kg’s.
Dr Stoops started working on the technique in 2004 with her first two attempts failing.
Source: Today Pets
GENOCIDE SURVIVORS TO START A TRUST FUND
Survivors of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide will start a trust fund, which will run like that started by the ICC, which will help vulnerable survivors.
“To date, the funds allocated to survivors from UN Agencies totals USD $250,000 annually. This contrasts sharply with the USD $30million the same body spends on a single suspect at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). With the fund, we intend to pressure UN to allocate more funds for the survivors,” said Albert Gasake, the legal advocacy project coordinator for Survivors Fund (Surf).
In 1998, the Rwandan government established the Fund for Support to Genocide Survivors (FARG) which is allocated five per cent of the Rwandan budget. There are estimated to be 300,000 genocide survivors in the country with 98 per cent of them saying that they are satisfied with how the fund has helped them access education.
Source: The New Times Rwanda
OBAMA ARRIVES IN TANZANIA
US President Barrack Obama arrived in Tanzania Monday to a welcome by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and traditional dancers. He was also welcomed with a 21-gun salute to honour him.
Tanzania is the third and final country Obama is visiting in his tour of African countries.
Tanzanians began to gather in the country’s capital Dar es Salaam early morning for a chance to see the leader of the free world who will visit the Ubungo power plant, after unveiling a new USD $7 billion programme to boost African electric power networks.
He will also hold talks with the president as well as lay a wreath at a memorial for those killed in the US embassy bombing in 1998. A street in the capital will be named after him.
Source: Daily Nation
OPRAH IS THE MOST POWERFUL CELEBRITY
After two years in second place Oprah Winfrey has reclaimed her position as the most powerful celebrity despite making USD $88 million less than last year.
The list of the 100 most powerful celebrities is compiled by Forbes and factors in how much money a celebrity has made in the last year, their popularity on the internet, how they are viewed by people as well as how often they are mentioned in the media.
This year, women dominated the top slots occupying six of the top 10 spots. They are: Oprah (first), Lady Gaga (second), Beyonce (fourth), Madonna (fifth), Taylor Swift (sixth) and Ellen Degeneres (tenth).Women took 35 out of the 100 slots.
The four men in the top ten are: Steven Spielberg (third), Bon Jovi (seventh), Roger Federer (eighth), and Justin Bieber (ninth).
Jennifer Lopez ,who was number one last year, is ranked in position 12 this year. The drop is believed to be because she was no longer on American Idol. She however still managed to make USD $45 million between June 2012 and June 2013.
Madonna is this year’s biggest earner having made USD $125 million from June 2012-June2013.
ONLY SEVEN KENYAN UNIVERSITIES IN TOP 100 AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES
South African universities dominated the list of top African universities with only seven institutions of higher learning in Kenya making it to the list. The universities from South Africa took the top five positions with
University of Cape Town being ranked the best by World University Web.
The Kenyan universities that made it on the list are University of Nairobi at number 17, Strathmore University at number 44, JKUAT number 56, Kenyatta University number 61, USIU number 77, Egerton at 80 and Moi University at number 85.
Source: The Standard
DHL DELIVERS NINE GORILLAS TO BATÉKÉ PLATEAU NATIONAL PARK, GABON
DHL is known to deliver packages world over but recently the logistics company delivered a very unique package; nine Silverback gorillas from Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, England to Batéké Plateau National Park, Gabon. They were flown in a specially equipped Boeing 767 from the UK to Brussels, Belgium, to Lagos, Nigeria and then to Franceville, Gabon.
They were then transported to their new home in the national park by a helicopter. The animals had a combined weight of 620 kg’s and were accompanied by 1,200kg’s of food and veterinary equipments for their 9,000km journey.
NEW HIV/AIDS INFECTIONS IN KENYA DECREASE
The National Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infection Control Programme (NASCOP) has said that new cases of HIV infection in Kenya have dropped by 40 per cent in the last five years. The director of NASCOP, Dr William Maina, said that 70 per cent of people living with the virus are aware of their status as compared to 36 per cent in 2007.
Of the estimated 6.3 per cent of Kenyans living with the virus, 610,000 are on antiretrovirals while 92 percent of pregnant women are provided with integrated services to prevent mother to child transmission. However, 1,300 newborns are still infected with the disease annually.
“We are now focusing on prevention of mother-to-child transmission to keep the mother alive so that she can take care of the baby. We usually follow the mothers found to be HIV positive and keep them on treatment,” Dr Maina said.
Source: Daily Nation
FOUR PRISONERS EXECUTED IN NIGERIA
Nigerian authorities in Edo State in the Southern part of the country hanged four prisoners Monday in the country's first execution since 2006.
The Justice Commissioner of the state Henry Idahagbon told AFP that the prisoners were convicted of murder and robbery. A fifth prisoner who was found guilty of crimes dating back to the military era is due for execution by a firing squad as officials were not well prepared for his execution.
“The court gave the judgement this afternoon that the execution could go ahead and the prison authority went ahead,” said· Idahagbon.
INTEL TO INVEST IN KENYA
Kenya will be the first country in Africa to get a investment boost from semiconductor chip manufacturer INTEL. The boost from its global Software and Services Group (SSG) will facilitate the creation of a programme to help developers in the country.
Later this year the corporation will sponsor three Kenyan technology start-ups for an online training and mentorship programme conducted by University of California (Berkeley) faculty members and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
As part of the boost, Intel will provide developers with design tools, resources and give them consulting services and hopes to reach over 400 developers and help develop 100 applications for phones and tablets in the next six months.
The company has announced intentions to collaborate with the University of Nairobi and Strathmore University to build a student developer partner programme and integrate high-performance computing into the curriculum of the universities.
“We are very excited about the growing developer engagement in Africa and seek to increase collaborations with tech hubs, independent software vendors and universities,” said Intel East Africa GM Danie Steyn in a statement.
Source: Tech Central
WORLD WAR Z TO OPEN MOSCOW FILM FESTIVAL
Brad Pitt’s latest movie will be the opening film at the 35th Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) which begins today and closes on June 29.
The Russian premiere of the movie will be part of the festival's grand opening and Pitt, who will be visiting Russia for the first time ever, will be in attendance. World War Z is directed by Marc Forste and is based on a novel by Max Brooks.
The MIFF is one of the oldest film festivals in Europe and attracts entries from Russia, Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Switzerland, Japan, Georgia, France, Serbia, Germany, Hungary, South Korea, Brazil and UK.
FATE OF KENYANS DETAINED IN NIGERIA UNKNOWN
The fate of Kenyan officials who were detained in Nigeria after deporting Nigerian business man Anthony Chinedu remains unknown with both governments keeping mum.
Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said that the Kenya government is in negotiations but did not provide details of how far the negotiations have come while Foreign Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohammed, has not commented on the matter.
Sources indicate that the Kenyans who escorted the businessman and the flight crew were asked to surrender their passports and cannot leave the country.
For more information go to Daily Nation
AL SHABAAB ATTACK UN COMPOUND IN SOMALIA
Members of the Al Shabaab announced Wednesday that they had forced their way into a key United Nations Compound in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu.
“Our commandos have attacked the UN compound… we set off an explosion and have entered the compound, where we are fighting with the infidel forces,” a senior Shabaab official told AFP.
The attacks are said to have started after a suicide bomber killed himself outside the compound and reports indicate that gunfire could be heard inside the compound.
A United Nation’s source said that all the staffers of the humanitarian organization were in a safe room within the compound.
For more information go to Capital FM
SOMALI REFUGEES IN KENYA TO BE REPATRIATED
Plans are underway to repatriate Somali refugees in Kenya back to their home country by the end of this year. Kenya will in August 2013 host an international conference that will discuss the modalities of returning over one million Somali nationals back to Somalia.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohammed, confirmed that a group of International organizations are already mapping out a safe place for the refugees to be resettled. There are currently over one million Somali refugees in Kenya with 600,000 of them being formally registered.
What I am happy about is that 50 percent of these are willing to voluntarily return but we want to do it in an orderly and most humane manner which upholds the dignity to our visitors,” said the minister.
Source: The Standard
POACHERS KILL 137 ELEPHANTS AND 24 RHINOS IN KENYA THIS YEAR
The Kenya Wildlife Service(KWS) has said that 137 elephants and 24 rhinos have been killed by poachers in the first half of 2013. Kenya Wildlife Service director, William Kiprono said that half of these were killed in Tsavo National park by poachers who were pretending to be herders.
He said that rangers had so far arrested 123 suspected poachers, recovering 5,842kg of ivory and rhino horns, 22 firearms and 1,141 bullets. Currently there are 40,000 elephants and 1,025 rhino’s in the country.
Source: Business Daily
CHILD LABOUR RAMPANT IN KENYA
Seventeen per cent of minors in Kenya are child labourers according to the European Union. The EU estimates that the country has 1.9 million child labourers with majority being employed in the agriculture and domestic sectors. Of these, 82 per cent of those employed as domestic workers are rural girls working in towns.
D’Agostino Ogendo from the EU, who was speaking during the World Day against Child Labor Day, said that there are 220 million children worldwide who are victims of child labour.
Source: The Standard
SOMALIA EMBARKS ON POLIO VACCINATION CAMPAIGN
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud led his countrymen in a polio vaccination campaign that will see at least four million people vaccinated from the disease.
The country has embarked on the vaccination campaign after the disease recently reappeared even after the country was declared polio free in 2007. The vaccination exercise will take place for a week in which time the government hopes to vaccinate four million people.
Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari and Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon were also vaccinated against the disease.
Source: Africa Review
AFRICAN COUNTRIES TO BENEFIT FROM VACCINATION AGANIST CERVICAL CANCER
A vaccination project funded by the Global Access to Vaccines Initiative (GAVI) will see the number of deaths from cervical cancer in Africa reduce. Targeted countries will receive funds for a vaccination program against the human papillomavirus (HPV) to protect more than 180,000 girls from the disease.
GAVI will work in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline which manufactures Cervarix and Merck which manufactures the Gardasil vaccine. Kenya and Tanzania are the only East African countries among the first eight countries in Africa that GAVI will provide funding for. The other six countries are Ghana, Lagos, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger and Sierra Leone. The program has already been rolled out in Kitui County in Kenya.
Rwanda was the first East African country to introduce HPV vaccines, immunising school girls nationwide with vaccines donated by Merck in 2011.
Source: The East African
KENYA’S PRESIDENT ORDERS ALL FOREIGN DRUG DEALERS DEPORTED
Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta has instructed security forces to arrest and deport all foreigners who are suspected of being involved in drug trafficking in the country.
The president, who was speaking at a National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse (NACADA), said that it was time the talk about drug abuse ended and action began.
Source: The Standard
KENYA BUZZ WINS GOOGLE INNOVATION AWARD
KenyaBuzz has won The Google Innovation Award in Tourism 2013-2014 for the android App KenyaBuzz Raha.
The awards are sponsored by Google East Africa and aim to showcase the innovative ways that people are using technology to run business, in education, for entertainment and their daily activities.
KenyaBuzz Raha is free to download for all android phones and is targeted towards anyone who wants to know about and actively participate in the rapidly growing social scene in Kenya.
It is also available for dowload from kenyabuzz.com/raha
UGANDA’S DOOR-TO-DOOR HIV TESTING
Uganda has from today embarked on a door-to-door HIV testing campaign. The exercise will take place in Kampala and be conducted from a mobile van for free HIV/Aids Counselling and Testing (HCT).
The van is equipped with a laboratory, reception and two counselling rooms and will take the services to those who need them other than people having to go to health centres for testing.
It will move in slums, streets, clubs, car parks, among others, targeting the most at risk population such as boda boda (motorcycle) taxi operators, mechanics, commercial sex workers, and bus and taxi drivers. The 2011 Uganda Demographic Health Survey revealed that the prevalence of HIV had risen from 6.4 per cent in 2010 to 7.3 per cent in 2011.
“Many people shy away from visiting health facilities for early testing and this puts many at risk of contracting the epidemic,” said Prossy Kayiira, the HCT coordinator at Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG).
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Source: Africa Review
GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT THE MUSIC INDUSTRY IN KENYA
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to support the music industry in the country. The President was speaking at The Groove Awards ceremony held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) where he told players in the industry that the government is open to discussing with them on how to grow the industry.
The President acknowledged that the industry played a major part in promoting the talents saying that his government would help the youth exploit and promote their talents for the country to progress.
“I know that if we give our young people the chance and opportunity, they have the capacity to make this nation great,” he said.
He also said that the government would address the piracy problem that threatens to cripple the industry. He urged artists in the country to work closely with relevant government agencies in ensuring copyright criminals were apprehended and prosecuted.
Groove Award honours players in the East African gospel industry.
Source: Capital FM
SUGAR SHORTAGE IN RWANDA
A sugar shortage is looming in Rwanda after the sole sugar miller closed down. The miller which is owned by the Madhvani Group closed after the Nyabaronga River flooded part of its plantation destroying the sugarcane.
For the past four months, Rwanda has had a sugar shortage but with the closure of the miller things may get worse. Currently a 50 kg bag goes for USD 53 (KSH 4,255).
Half of the Nyabaronga plantation has been covered by water. The plantation is 1,700 hectares where sugar has been planted with 800 hectares having been destroyed by the water.
Source: The East African
TAG OF WAR BETWEEN SRC AND MP’S
Barely a day after Kenyan MP’s approved a motion that paves way for them to increase their salaries, the Salaries and Renumeration Commission (SRC) has said that it will sue anyone who attempts to increase their salary.
Commission chairperson Sarah Serem said that MP’s contravened the Constitution by nullifying the salary gazette notice.
“Anybody who acts outside the law in pursuant of payment will have acted unlawfully and faces the risk of being held liable to abuse of office and aiding in misuse of public funds,” said Serem.
The Kenyan MP’s on Tuesday approved a motion that they believe rescinds the salary gazette notice. SRC said that the notice still stands despite the motion.
MP’s accused the SRC of undermining them by paying some state officers who they have an oversight role over.
CHINUA ACHEBE BURIED
Literary icon Chinua Achebe was buried in his home town of Ogidi in Amambra state, Nigeria. Achebe died in March in Boston, USA, after a short illness. His body arrived at Enugu airport, in Southern Nigeria, from the US on Wednesday and was received by his family and Nigerian officials.
The writer moved to the US in 1990 and was involved in a road accident on arrival, which left him partially paralysed. He frequently travelled to Nigeria. Achebe is regarded as the father of African literature. He died at the age of 82.
KENYAN ECONOMY GREW BY 4.6 PER CENT IN 2012
A new report indicates that the Kenyan economy recorded a growth of 4.6 per cent in 2012. This year’s Economic Survey Report shows that agriculture was among the largest contributors with a growth of 3.5 per cent from 1.5 per cent in 2011.
The report which was handed to the cabinet secretary Devolution and Planning, Ann Waiguru, also shows that the communication industry grew by 5.3 per cent from 4.3 per cent in 2011.
The NSE 20 share index grew by 29 per cent from 3,205 in 2011 to 4,133 in 2012. Last year also saw 659,400 new jobs created, representing a 5.5 per cent growth.
The tourism and transport sectors saw a decline with tourism dropping by 1.9 percent and transport by 0.7 per cent respectively. The country earned KHS 96 billion from tourism in 2012 compared to 97.9 billion in 2011.
Tourist arrivals also decreased from 1.8 million in 2011 to 1.7 in 2012. The economy is predicted to grow by six per cent by the end of this year.
Source: Capital FM
SUSPECT IN BRITISH SOLDIER MURDER WAS ARRESTED IN KENYA THREE YEARS AGO.
The government of Kenya has admitted that it had arrested and released the main suspect in a British soldier’s murder.
Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki said that Michael Adebolajo had been arrested in late 2010 for questioning over links to Somalia terror group Al Shabaab.
He said that the government had denied ever arresting him because of the confusion in names. Adebolajo had been arrested under a fake name and questioned for two days in Nairobi and Mombasa. He was later released for lack of evidence.
He was captured by a CCTV video in London on Wednesday carrying bloodied knives and a meat cleaver after an attack. He said that he had murdered an off duty soldier, Lee Rigby, because the British troops were killing Muslims.
Source: Capital FM
NAMIBIA STRIKES OIL
The government of Namibia announced that they had found oil off the coast of the country.
The government together with a Brazil oil company HRT announced that they had found what they termed as "two well-developed source rocks" and "several thin-bedded sandy reservoirs that are saturated by oil".
This is the first such discovery in the country although the oil is not in commercial volumes. Though the country does not have proven oil reserves it has proven gas reserves of two trillion cubic feet.
Source: Africa Review
OSAMA BIN LADEN’S PICTURES WILL REMAIN SECRET
A federal appeal court in the US has ruled that the pictures of slain terrorist Osama Bin Laden’s dead body remain in the custody of the government.
The court agreed with the Obama administration that, “that the images are so potent that releasing them could cause riots that would put Americans abroad at risk.”
The case was filled by the Judicial Watch which wanted the government to release the over 50 photographs and videos taken during his capture and slay.
In a statement, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said that the ruling “would allow terrorists to dictate our laws."
The organisation has said that its lawyers are considering what step to take next.
BRITISH HEIR’S KILLERS STILL AT LARGE
A year since British Heir Alexander Mason was killed in Kenya, the family is yet to get justice. The 28-year-old son of Baron Nicholas Mason died on May 18, 2012 after being arrested and detained by police for what they claim to be possession of drugs.
He is believed to have died from injuries sustained from either being beaten by police or by fellow cell mates. A year after his death his family marched to Diani police station demanding for justice for their son.
His mother, Hillary Martin asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and help the family and others facing the similar situations to get justice.
“I am a Kenyan mother suffering like many others. The loss of my beloved son at the hands of murderers, who are living amongst us free to kill again, is unwarranted. A year has gone and nobody has been charged,” she said.
An autopsy on Alexanders body showed that he had died from blunt force trauma to he head.
The family has set up a petition to Justice for Victims of Police Brutality. To participate please log onto :http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Justice_for_Victims_of_Police_Brutality_in_Kenya/?pv=1&fb_source=message
Source: The Standard
FRAUDSTERS STEAL SH 1.5 BILLION IN ONE YEAR
Bank fraudsters have stolen KSH 1.5 billion in one year from Kenyan banks alone. The main perpetrators of the crimes are tech survey bank employees who use their knowledge to rob the banks. Half of the fraud cases reported in banks are linked to bank employees.
Data from Banking Fraud Investigations Department (BFID) reports that KSH 1.49 billion was stolen from customer accounts between April, 2012 and April, 2013. Only 530 million was recovered with officials saying that the figure is only a small portion of the money that is lost by banks.
This is because many banks chose to deal with matters of fraud or attempted fraud internally so as to protect their reputation.
Benjamin Nkungi, CEO at the Association of Microfinance Institutions said that active accounts are the most affected as people rarely keep track of their transactions.
“Financial crimes have become a huge risk to institutions. The losses are substantial,” he said.
Source: The East African
POLICEMAN IMPLICATED IN PORNOGRAPHY RING IN NAIROBI
An Anti- Banking- Fraud unit officer and a senior city policeman in Nairobi have been linked to the pornography industry in the city.
Police say that the officer is a major investor in the sector and uses the police officer to protect his interests. The investor is purported to have given the police officer KSH 140,000 as protection money in the last four months. The pornography business is thriving in the city with many blue movies being shot and duplicated along ‘River Road’ in the central business district. The street is also said to have a “recruitment agency” for blue movie actors.
The news comes just a few days after police busted a Swiss man and 11 girls who were allegedly committing bestiality in the coastal town of Mombasa. The group has a case pending in court.
Source: The Nairobian
VARSITY MAKES ZULU COMPULSORY
All first year students attending the University of KwaZulu-Natal will have to study the Zulu language. The University has said that starting next year Zulu will be compulsory at the institution.
This is in a bid to promote nation-building and bringing diverse languages together. South Africa has 11 national languages. About 23 per cent of the population speak Zulu with the language being spoken by 83 per cent of the people living in KwaZulu-Natal.
The University’s Deputy-Vice Chancellor Renuka Vithal said that this would help build the communication skills of the students.
This is the first time a University in the country is making it compulsory for students to learn a local language.
Source: The Standard
PRINCE HARRY IN THE US
British Royal Prince Harry is in the US for a seven day official tour where his first day saw him join American First Lady Michelle Obama in honoring military mothers. He visited the White House to meet the First Lady as well as a group of children who were making mementoes to honor their mothers.
Among the things on his agenda include promoting British interests in the country, promoting his charities as well as attend the Warrior Games.
Source: The Guardian
TANZANIAN CONTROVERSIAL MUSLIM CLERIC FREED
A controversial Tanzanian Muslim cleric has been freed by a court after seven months in custody, to the jubilation of his funs. Sheikh Ponda Issa Ponda was acquitted together with 49 others for trespassing, conspiracy, criminal possession, theft of building materials and occupying land owned by Agritanza Company Limited. He allegedly committed the acts on October 18 2012.
Resident Magistrate Victoria Nongwa stated lack of enough evidence by the prosecution as the reason she released the cleric. She however sentenced him to a 12 month suspended sentence for forcefully entering a property owned by Agritanza Company Limited.
Ponda and his followers were arrested following clashes in October sparked by rumors that a 12-year-old boy at a Christian school had urinated on the Koran.
Source: Africa review
STARS SUPPORT ANGELINA JOLIE’S DOUBLE MASTECTOMY
Just a day after Angelina Jolie wrote to the New York Times informing the world that she had undergone a double mastectomy, celebrities, women and breast cancer survivors have come out in large numbers to support her decision, most notably musician Sheryl Crow who is a breast cancer survivor. She wrote, “I commend Angelina Jolie for her courage and thoughtfulness in sharing her story today regarding her mastectomy. So brave!"
Others who commended her were Kristen Bell, Nina Dobrev, Elizabeth Banks, Octavia Spencer and Giuliana Rancic.
Her partner Brad Pitt termed her decision to undergo the procedure as heroic.
"All I want for is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children," he said.
In her write up Jolie said, "I choose not to keep my story private, because there are many women who do not know that they might be living under the shadow of cancer. It is my hope that they, too, will be able to get gene tested, and that if they have a high risk they, too, will know that they have strong options."
Source: Los Angeles Times
DEMONSTRATION AGAINST KENYAN MP’S PAY RISE DEMANDS
On Tuesday May 14th, civil society activists in Kenya staged a protest outside Parliament buildings to campaign against Kenyan MP’s who are demanding a huge pay rise.
They used pigs branded “MPigs” to protest the demand by the MP’s who have rejected the salary of KSH 532,000 that was proposed by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. The MP’s also want the commission to be disbanded.
President Uhuru Kenyatta had asked them to drop the demands for higher wages saying the recurrent expenditure is unsustainable.
The protestors caused a scene outside Parliament by pouring animal blood on the tarmac and releasing the pigs to feed on it. The pigs appeared to be undeterred even when police fired tear gas to dispel the protestors. Ten of the demonstrators were arrested by police.
Source: Standard Digital
Developments and containing the virus have seen rapid improvement in treatment and life expectancy for infected patients with access to antiretroviral drugs that essentially stop HIV from developing into AIDS – as long as they are consistently taken. But scientists are also working on a cure, at least a functional cure, that would allow HIV-positive people to stop taking daily medication, and there have been exciting developments in the last few years.
Going back to 2008, there was the ‘Berlin Patient’, Timothy Ray Brown, who received a risky stem cell transplant to treat both his Leukaemia and his HIV-positive status. The donor for his new stem cells was a person who was naturally resistant to HIV – a rarity estimated to comprise only half a percent of all HIV-infected persons. While Brown is still HIV-positive, his immune system now contains the virus on its own. This breakthrough, while incredible, had limited application in the real world due to the price of the procedure and the rarity of naturally resistant donors.
More recently, in March this year, a baby who was born HIV was functionally cured of it by heavy doses of antiretroviral drugs early in her life – a development that is extremely promising for other infants born with the disease.
This newest development, however, looks to help infected adults. The virus typically entrenches itself on ‘reservoirs’ in cells, where it hides out from the body’s immune system. This treatment would flushes the virus out and, due to a separate vaccination, makes the patient’s immune system stronger and more able to cope with it. Trials on human skin cells have already proven successful, and the treatment has moved into the human trial stage.
The researchers are confident that the virus will be flushed out of the cells’ reservoirs, the issue is whether or not the patients’ immune systems will be able to deal with the virus. While they are hopeful, sceptics maintain that even if the initial trials are successful, a cure within months may be a bit optimistic as most clinical trials last five to eight years.
Samsung Launches New Smart Phone
Ever since Apple’s announcement and release of its first iPhone, Samsung has been working to undermine their stronghold on the mobile industry. It hasn’t been a pretty fight either, with copyright infringement battles being in the courts for years now. But Samsung has clearly established itself as the leader in the smart phone market, with sales increasing to nearly 80 million in the first quarter of 2013, compared to Apple’s 37.4 million.
Experts have attributed Samsung’s success in the smart phone world to their range of phones, including low-end models that allow a wider segment of global populations to access their products. The iPhone, however, has typically outshone their higher-end models due to a reputation for innovation and the Apple aesthetic.
With the S4, however, Samsung hopes to corner the high-end phone market. While Apple’s iPhone 5 left many customers unsatisfied due to incremental developments, the S4 promises sweeping technological changes, including a bigger screen, a better camera, a faster processor and improvements to the Android operating system via Google.
Additionally, Apple is not planning to release their next instalment of the iPhone until September or October and are notoriously tight-lipped about the developments they’ll be offering. While this tactic builds excitement among their incredibly loyal fan base, it also means people trying to choose between the S4 now and the next iPhone later don’t know what they’d be waiting for.
All in all, Samsung has an excellent opportunity to take even more of the market share from Apple, though the profit margins on their phones remain far below Apple’s with the iPhone.
US Offers Reward for Kony
American Secretary of State John Kerry has offered an award of USD $5 million for Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. The leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army is wanted for human rights violations including kidnapping children and forcing them to be soldiers.
Thought to be hiding with between 200 and 500 soldiers in the Central African Republic, Kony has been wreaking havoc in Uganda and its environs for two decades. He claims to be possessed by nine spirits that advise him, and his stated goal is to turn Uganda into a theocracy based on the Ten Commandments and his Acholi tribal traditions.
Since the founding of the LRA, Kony and his chief aides have been accused of various human rights violations, including the use of child sex slaves and child soldiers. In 2005 the International Criminal Court indicted him on charges of crimes against humanity and there have been multiple operations designed to catch him since then.
The Ugandan Army, backed by other African nations and US special forces, has recently stopped their African Union mandated pursuit of Kony, citing hostility from the Ugandan government. Kerry has no misconceptions about catching the warlord, admitting that he “will not be easy to find.”