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Archive for July 1st, 2008

PAN-AFRICAN BANK TO FINANCE MULTIMILLION SHILLINGS LAKE VICTORIA WATER AND SANITATION PROJECT

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo

A major water and sanitation project covering 15 towns in the Lake Victoria basin is just about to kick off.

The project is worth euros 994,000 {USD 1.4 million}. It falls under the East African Community {EAC} Lake Victoria Basin Commission and it aims at improving access to clean water and proper disposal of swerage in the towns concern.

Lake Victoria Water and sanitation project, according to the commissions executive secretary Dr. Tom Okurut will not only address the needs of population in the urban centres, but also contribute to the management of the ecology of Lake Victoria.

An agreement between the Commission and the African Water facility, an arm of the African Development Bank {ADB}, will be signed later this month to facilitate the start of the project. Its first phase will take nine months and will involve urgent action on water and sanitation.

The second phase, according to the commissions whose administrative secretariat is based in the lakeside city of Kisumu, will focus on training while the third one will address long term solutions. The first phase is set to begin in two months time.

Among the interventions included in the project are improvement of water supply and sanitation, solid waste management and drainage as well asare improvement of water supply and sanitation, solid waste management and capacity building and sanitation issues.

Dr.Okurut was also recently quoted as saying that three secondary towns in each of the five member states of the east African community, namely Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi would benefit from the project.

The towns will be identified during the launching of the first phase and the preparation stage, which will also include preparation of investment plans for the towns.

The executive secretary said that among factors to be considered while selecting the towns are the level of risk that the towns poses to Lake Victoria ecosystem and the willingness of the local communities to pay for water and sanitation services after the infrastructure is set up.

This multimillion shillings targets rapidly growing urban centres in the lake Victoria Basin regions that play6 in increasingly important role in development in the agricultural sector.

The fragile ecosystem of Lake Victoria also suffers due to pressure, he said, adding that many waterworks and sanitation projects focus on setting up waterworks while sanitation services are left out or simply ignored.

In the envisage projects to be undertaken by the Commission in towns, located within the Lake basin regions, the emphasis will be laid on improvement of sanitation in th urban centres and major towns.

Already, another set of water and sanitation projects is on going in Homa-Bay and Kisii towns in Kenya, Mulaba and Bukoba in Tanzania, and Mutukula and Kyotera in Uganda.

The project are being implemented by UN-Habitat. The same UN-Habitat will also be closely involved in the new project and will channel its input through a project steering committee whose membership will also include the EAC This committee will guide the work of the consultants, co-ordinate input by all parties, and supervise the formulkation stage.

The overall aim of the project, according to Dr. Okuut, is to help achieve the Millenium Development in provision of water supply and management in provision of sanitation services.

The project comes at a time when East African Countries are undergoing radical water-sector reforms aimed at improving performance, having incorporated principles of integrated water resources management in provision of water supply and sanitation services.

Dr. Okurut said the Lake Victoria Basin commission s aim is to provide th development agenda around Lake Victoria using the water resources.

Ends

leoodedaromolo@yahoo.com

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API

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Why didn`t Kimunya sell that hotel to the kenyan public?

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

To all Kenyans,

Let all good thinking Kenyans come to together against the scandle Mr. Amos Kimunya is trying to pull now. Let us all demand for his resignation, whether the grand regency Hotel dill is revoked or NOt. No one no matter how rich he is should keep on being Kenyan finance minister after this stupid thing.

Why didn`t he sell that hotel even to the kenyan public?. Why was he selling the grand regency hotel in the first place?. Was the hotel going under financial difficulties?. can he give the figures the hotel was bringing interms of profits yearly?. And how was the new owner going to gain, when the government can not gain from it?. Was the hotel management under trouble?. How many secret dills Mr. Kimunya has done without the public`s knowledge?. This Mr. Kimunya should just resign.

Let all Kenyans from all walks of life demand his resignation. We do not want more thieves in that 10Th. Parliament after all they do not even want to pay tax from their salaries, so how comes it that they still have the courage to steal people`s tax again. where is the morale of normal life ?. Why should the public keep on paying tax which is going directly into some tribes men pocket?. Kenyans should demand also MAJIMBOISM so that every community can manage their own tax income, instead of feeding one tribe all the time when others are going to bed without food or even basic medication they need for survival. Why should Kenyans apply mob justice to a boy in the street who just pick pockets for survival while people like Kimunya who pick pocket as a hobby or proffesion are left to go free?.Isn`t this the type of law Mr. Ruto said the other day that Kenyan law is applied selectively. The law is directly stressed onto the have nots while the the rich are getting it all.

By Paul Nyandoto

API

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The Alex Jones Show (RADIO) 6-26-2008

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

Posted by Catherine Mills

Alex talks with Prison Planet editor and webmaster Paul Joseph Watson about new policies in the UK that will mandate parents get government permission to kiss their children. Alex also welcomes Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist, author, syndicated columnist, and former NSA analyst Wayne Madsen. Aaron Zelman and Larry Pratt will talk with Alex about the Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment.


http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=976_1214558526

Justice Must Be Seen, To Be Done.

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API

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Embassy in India sought ‘security evaluation’

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

Police in India reportedly are boosting security around the Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi, after embassy officials asked whether more protection was needed around the diplomatic compound. They fear a terrorist attack, reports an Indian newspaper.

The Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi had asked for a new security evaluation.

PHOTO: FOREIGN MINISTRY

Police in New Delhi told newpaper Express India that they received a letter from the Norwegian Embassy asking for more protection. The embassy reportedly had received intelligence that indicated that the threat of an attack by radical Islamists had grown.

Norway’s ambassador in India, Ann Ollestad, confirmed that the embassy has been in contact with Indian police and requested that the level of security around the embassy be re-evaluated.

Ollestad told news bureau NTB that the request, however, came after the recent attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad. She said it wasn’t based on any new direct threats against the embassy.

Ollestad also said she had “full confidence” in the Indian authorities’ handling of the security issue, and that she didn’t see any reason to over-dramatize the situation.

The security concern is rooted in the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed, in Denmark and Norway.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Famed pianist has low media profile at home in Norway

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has been called “brilliant,” a “genius,” “eminent” and “fabulous” by media reviewers the world over. Back home in Norway, however, Andsnes attracts much less media interest and coverage than local sports stars.

Gifted Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes wins glowing headlines abroad, but doesn’t get nearly as much media attention at home.

PHOTO: KNUT FALCH / SCANPIX


Leif Ove Andsnes (left) recently has been in the coastal town of Risr, working with the Chamber Music Festival 2008 and Lars Anders Tomter.

PHOTO: CARL MARTIN NORDBY


Leif Ove Andsnes’ latest Mozart CD also has won rave reviews, not least from the New York Times.

Just this past spring, for example, Andsnes won front-page accolades in newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle for concerts held during a solo tour. The Washington Post also ran rave reports of Andsnes’ concert appearance in the US capital, while respected French newspaper Le Monde wrote two years ago that reviewers should stop referring to Andsnes simply as “one of the best pianists of his generation.” They should rather agree that Andsnes is “the most important pianist of our time.”

All the media hype almost makes Andsnes himself blush. He’s arguably much more famous overseas than he is at home, but he takes it in stride. In a revealing portrait of the artist as a still-young man, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Nringsliv wrote over the weekend that Andsnes doesn’t mind the lack of media hype at all. He does find it puzzling, though.

Not least since Andsnes just wrapped up a stunning international tour this spring, during which he played 24 solo concerts with the best orchestras on the world’s most important classic stages. He can command fees of up to USD 40,000 for an evening, wrote Dagens Nringsliv (DN) and he can pretty much play what he wants to play.

“But the entire solo tour proceeded without a single telephone call from Norwegian media,” Andsnes reflected. “Not even after I’d played before 2,800 people at Carnegie Hall in New York.

“That’s absolutely OK for me,” he told DN. “I just think it’s odd, compared with the massive coverage given to sports. Art is often only in the news if it’s in connection with a competition. We’ve become so incredibly results oriented.”

Born to play
Andsenes, who hails from the west coast island of Karmy, is said to have hands that were designed for playing the piano. He’s been playing since childhood, with some time out for a marching band. He’s now 38, has been traveling more than 200 days a year for the past 20 years and maintains a schedule that can be booked for years in advance.

He spent the past week in the idyllic southern coastal town of Risr, where he is artistic director for the annual Risr Festival of Chamber Music. He won rave reviews there as well, but could wander down the town streets without attracting a lot of attention.

He seems to be trying to spend more time doing such things, living life beyond the countless hotel rooms where he sleeps when he’s not at his homes in Bergen or Copenhagen. He admitted to being seriously involved for the first time in a romantic relationship, with a sweetheart from northern Norway, but he also remains committed to his work as a pianist.

“I can’t imagine another life,” he told DN. “To be able to go so deep into something, that’s a privilege.”

Andsnes studied at the Bergen Music Conservatory under Czech professor Jiri Hlinka. His web site says he’s also received “invaluable advice” over the years from the Belgian piano teacher Jacques de Tige, who, like Hlinka, has greatly influenced his style and philosophy of playing. Last year, Andsnes himself became a professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo.

When time allows, Andsnes escapes to the Hardanger mountains where he reportedly enjoys walking, skiing and the peace of Norwegian nature.

Andsnes will be playing at another chamber music festival in Lofoten next week and in Oslo on July 20. Then its off to performances in Copenhagen, Germany, Switzerland, Salzburg and Milan, before he leaves for Brazil in September, Japan in October and other concerts around Asia in the autumn.

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API/Aftenposteng

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Father jailed for forcing daughter to marry

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

A 50-year-old man who immigrated to Norway from Iraq has been sentenced to four years in jail, after he was convicted of forcing his daughter to marry a cousin back in northern Iraq in 2004.

The defendant’s daughter testified in court about threats and violence.

PHOTO: DAG W GRUNDSETH

The man had been indicted under Norway’s laws against forced marriages (tvangsgift) and also for kidnapping his daughter and taking her back to northern Iraq in 2005.

Forcing anyone to marry is punishable by up to six years in prison in Norway. The sentence handed down Monday is the harshest recorded so far.

The defendant’s daughter, now age 20, testified in court about being subjected to violence and threats. Her father allegedly threatened to kill her if she refused to marry her cousin.

When her family made plans to travel back to northern Iraq for “holiday,” the daughter contacted Norwegian authorities. She said she feared her father would leave her in Iraq. She did return to Norway after that trip, only to disappear a few months later. She was finally found in northern Iraq earlier this year, taken to a safe place and eventually brought back to Norway.

Her father’s defense attorney claims the marriage between his daughter and her cousin was voluntary. “This is very difficult, both for himself and his family,” attorney Dagfinn Hodt told news bureau NTB.

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Teen held in fatal stabbing

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

An 18-year-old male was ordered held in custody on Monday for at least four weeks, after he stabbed and killed a 17-year-old friend on a playground in suburban Brum Sunday afternoon. Shocked witnesses included small children.

The stabbing shocked witnesses on Sunday.

PHOTO: KYRRE LIEN/SCANPIX


The stabbing victim was just 17 years old.

PHOTO: OLAV RLI


Watan Faramarzi, age 17, died from a single stab wound in the chest.

PHOTO: PRIVATE

The stabbing occurred after the two friends reportedly had quarreled at a party the night before. They agreed to meet on the playground in a housing complex in Rykkinn, to settle their differences.

The meeting ended with the older teen stabbing the younger. The victim died on the scene after being stabbed in the chest.

A witness saw the assailant throw down a knife and run off. He turned himself in to police just a few hours later.

His defense attorney, Vidar Lind Iversen, said the two had been good friends for a long time and his client denied the killing was premeditated. “He is very sorry about what happened and claims it was a deeply tragic accident,” Lind Iversen said.

The stabbing was witnessed by many residents of the area and children, who were out in the sunshine Sunday afternoon. One resident, a man who sat on his balcony and heard the pair arguing, ran to help after he saw the stabbing and the victim fall to the ground. His wife told newspaper Dagbladet that he was well-trained in first-aid, but couldnt stop the victims bleeding.

Family members and friends of the victim gathered at the scene Sunday evening, to lay down candles and flowers. The victim emigrated as a child from Iran to Norway, and his assailant was Norwegian-Pakistani. An acquaintance of both told newspaper Dagbladet that one had said unpleasant things about the other’s family at the party Saturday night, “and that’s forbidden in these circles.”

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API/Aftenposteneng

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Pain of being a billionaire for a week

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

Nation sports writer CHARLES NYENDE was in Harare to cover the Kenya-Zimbabwe Football World Cup qualifier a week before the controversial presidential election run-off that saw President Mugabe sworn in for another term.

A vendor receives a new Z$200,000 note from a buyer in Harare. Zimbabweans have been trying to cope with the hyperinflation ravaging the southern African country. Z$6 billion is equivalent to one US dollar. Photo/REUTERS

As Kenyas Harambee Stars struggled to contain the Zimbabwean attack, word filtered into the packed Rufaro Stadium that Morgan Tsvangirai had quit the presidential contest because of the raging violence directed against the opposition.

There was a roar of disapproval. Suddenly, in unison, the fans started raining from the jam-packed stadium tens of thousands of glossy, full-colour magazines extolling President Mugabes achievements. The campaign literature had been distributed at the gates to all entering the stadium.

As the papers wafted down slowly in the swirling wind, some being blown onto the playing pitch, it was a spectacular show of what some of the people in Zimbabwe thought of their leader.

Just not right

I had arrived in Zimbabwe with the Kenya team a day before the match. The moment you enter Harare International Airport, you sense something is just not right. The airport is small and modern, glass and carpet. But it is eerily empty with little activity in the duty-free shops, the corridors and the lounges.

The workers in the airport appear distracted. You feel some sort of sadness or fear, or both. Zimbabwe was facing a presidential election rerun with President Mugabe having vowed never to hand over power to his opposition challenger Tsvangirai who had won the first round but missed out on an absolute majority.

The army, the police and ruling party militias were on the rampage against opposition supporters, with nearly a hundred having been killed and tens of thousands run out of their homes.

Changing currency

As I filled out the immigration entry form at the airport, I was struck by the requirement that I declare the foreign currency in my possession. In all my travels in Africa, Asia and Europe, this is the first time in ages I have come across such a requirement.

Maybe it is because I am here with the Kenya national team against the home side, for, mercifully, I am not asked to show the foreign money as I clear with immigration. It does not amount to much anyway.

The only bank changing currency into Zimbabwean dollars (Z$) at the airport indicates it is exchanging $1 for an astronomical Z$7.4 billion!

I salivate at the prospect of becoming an instant billionaire, but opt to carry out my exchange in the city in the hope of a better deal. It is a decision I later regret.

The black market rate in Zimbabwe is around $1 for Z$6 billion. Authorities, I am informed, have pushed the official rate higher than the street trade to attract much needed foreign currency.

We hit the street and I am amazed at the infrastructure and aesthetics of Harare. The roads are wide and smooth. Buildings are spruce. There is plenty of space, parks and gardens. It is a well-planned city, such a contrast to the chaotic Nairobi!

My taxi man, Bebe, informs me with pride that there are no slums in Harare. This is surely a result of the brutal government demolition of shantytowns in 2005.

The drive from the airport to town takes about 20 minutes. In a normal bustling African city, it could have taken much longer. But not here. There is hardly any traffic, vehicular and human. The city appears deserted.

Millions of Zimbabweans have fled to other countries because of the political situation.

Most people chose to stay indoors. The situation is not good. There can be violence at any time particularly in the densely populated areas, Bebe tells me.

There is little trading activity in the streets. Hawkers and roadside traders are scarce here. On a few streets, you come across green grocers selling vegetables and fruits. Business does not look brisk.

Interestingly, the only itinerant trader you see with frequency is the mobile phone airtime seller for the three providers Econet, Telecel and Net-One. It is mainly carried out by young men who brandish the cards like priceless items.

Wireless telecommunication is one of the fastest growing industries in Africa. But in Harare, unlike Nairobi, Dar or Kampala, you will be hard-pressed to spot mobile phone shops. Getting a SIM card is near impossible despite the demand. One can hire or buy one on the black market for $100 (Z$600 billion, Sh6,200). Line congestion is common.

At the hotel, I pay for my accommodation in US dollars. It is a requirement for foreigners to settle their hotel bills in foreign currency, a notice on the wall proclaims.

At my first breakfast, I am served tea without milk, and not by choice.

Sorry, we could not get milk today. Maybe tomorrow, the helpful waiter said as he served me another cup of strong tea nonchalantly. I am only entitled to two slices of bread. I have no complaints with the rest of my meals though.

Ugali, called sadza, beef and chicken are available. Such a meal will set you back Z$40 billion at an average priced restaurant.

You will not see a starving person in Harare but, ironically, food commodities are scarce. Shelves in shops are empty. Long queues for bread are common. The bread costs Z$2 billion.

Foreign papers

Some people buy all the bread in the shop and then sell it at a higher price on the streets, Bebe explains. I have no need to line up for bread, but I am forced to go to the black market for a newspaper. I fail to get the Z$200 million Herald, a government owned daily, at the news vendor. The security guard at my hotel manages to get it for me for Z$1 billion at the black market, five times more than the official price.

The askari tells me that there is a scarcity of print paper and that foreign papers, mainly from South Africa, are in higher circulation than local ones. Indeed, it is easier to get the Mail and Guardian of South Africa than the Herald even though it is the Government mouth piece.

Zimbabwe is reeling under hyper-inflation. On my first and second day, I was charged Z$10 billion per hour at the business centre in the hotel. On the third day, I was informed the rate had gone up to Z$30 billion per hour.

There is a joke here that when you enter a Harare bar, you order several rounds of beer at ago to avoid suffering a price increase in between rounds. Jokes aside, night life in Harare is almost non-existent. Most restaurants close early to allow their workers go home safely. Night spots are sparsely patronised.

A group of Kenyan visitors and I were the only revellers in one recommended town centre bar and restaurant. With a bottle of beer costing Z$16 billion, we could say we had drank billions at one sitting.

Because of the high inflation, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has kept on printing money in ever increasing denominations. The highest valued note is now Z$50 billion. Smaller denominations exist of Z$10 million, 100 million and 500 million.

If you get change in Z$10 million, a bag will be handy to carry the stack. A close look at the bank notes shows although it is legal tender, it actually carries an expiry date. I came across some notes of Z$200,000 discarded in the streets. Little wonder. They were expired (May 2008) and their value was also worthless. At the current rates, the notes were the equivalent of Kenya cents 0.2!

Every bank you pass by in the morning has long queues of people hoping to withdraw some money. The banks only allow a few billion Z$ to be withdrawn by people backed by Zanu-PF slogans.

For a person who has been following the political campaigns in Zimbabwe, I was struck by the lack of a visible opposition presence. Campaign posters and billboards of Tsvangirai were completely absent.

Little persuasion

International media reports were heavy on the violence in Zimbabwe, but I never came across fighting.

I had, however, been warned not to walk on the streets with a camera or venture outside town. I needed little persuasion. Occasionally, youth in Zanu-PF bandanas could be seen on the streets.

Other images in the media showing Mugabe greeting ecstatic crowds at his campaign rallies pointed to a divided nation.

My impressions were captured by words from one of the Zimbabwe football players who travelled to Nairobi for the first tie against Harambee Stars.

I was in Nairobi some years back. There is a lot of difference. You people have gone up. In Zimbabwe things have just been going down, he said.

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API/Nation.ke

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Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe ‘a hero’, say African leaders

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

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Vote to hold oil companies accountable for oil prices

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

CONTACT: Public Relations

866-670-VOTE (8683), ext 3

Public.Relations@e-VotingBooth.com

Press Release

June 29, 2008 Release #09-2008

Many initiatives have been launched over the last few years regarding same sex marriage, both for and against. Most have been at the state level. Now a bill has been introduced in Congress proposing a Constitutional Amendment specifying marriage shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman.

If you feel strongly about this issue take action now: vote on U.S. Senate Joint Resolution 43 on e-VotingBooth.com. The bill was introduced June 25 by Senator Roger (R-MS) for himself and eight other co-sponsors.

e-VotingBooth.com is the only website where all Americans can vote on any pending bill in Congress, said Steve Thompson, founder and president of e-VotingBooth.com, converting the United States from a republic to a direct democracy. The site allows America to switch the focus fromthe individualswe elect to the legislation itself.

Americans can vote at any time on any bill (once introduced), they’re not tied to the voting schedule of any bill. They can even vote bills already enacted.

While Americans have historically been able to write their Congressman or President, these actions are relatively diluted because they are only contacting individuals, Thompson said, whereas voting on e-VotingBooth.com aggregates every single Americans vote in that one respective bill, amplifying their power. No other action is faster, easier or more effective than pulling up a bill and voting in e-VotingBooth.com.

In addition, e-VotingBooth.com will be extremely valuable to Americans in making election decisions because the first enhancement to the website, being developed now and available before the election, is the Voting Scorecard. It will compare elected officials votes right alongside citizens votes, Thompson said. For example,if a voter findstheir Representative, Senator or President voted against his or her votes 90% of the time that voter is far more likely to vote against him or her for re-election than if they had voted 90% with the voter.

Also, continued Thompson, this election will be historical in that it will be the first election in history where citizens will be able to use e-VotingBooth.com, via our Voting Scorecard, to compare their personal voting record against both presidential candidates to make a quantitative and objective voting decision for the office of the President of the United States of America. They would want to register and start voting in e-VotingBooth.com as soon as possible to build the largest and broadest set of votes for comparison before the election.

It is common knowledge our Founding Fathers built a government designed on the principle of limited government and protection of citizens rights: democratic power emanates from the people.

But our Founders also understood participation by all citizens would be necessary to ensure our government works as designed.

Now e-VotingBooth.com goes far beyond helping citizens vote for representatives, it enables all citizens to participate in the legislative process directly and communicate voting results to Congress.

e-VotingBooth.com is a non-partisan, private and veteran-owned company that assumes a fiduciary responsibility to provide this public trust asthe onlytool for all Americans to participate in the legislative process of the U.S. Congress. We also believe e-VotingBooth.com is the perfect tool for all organizations and individuals who wish to remain neutral or apolitical, yet encourage their members to participate in the governance of our country, said Thompson.

Editors Note: Steve Thompson, our founder and president, is available for interviews. Please call 866-670-VOTE (8683), ext 3 to arrange a call.

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API

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Spain ready to salute Euro heroes

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

Iker Casillas holds aloft the Henri Delaunay Trophy

Casillas is the first Spanish captain to lift a major trophy since 1964

Spain’s triumphant Euro 2008 squad are expected to receive a euphoric welcome when they arrived home on Monday.

They arrive at Madrid Barajas airport early in the evening, before heading to Colon Square to show off the trophy.

Sunday’s 1-0 victory over Germany was Spain’s first major tournament win in 44 years and captain Iker Casillas lavished praise on coach Luis Aragones.

“Aragones has done a great job,” he said. “He made us believe that it could be done from day one.”

Thousands of fans celebrated their country’s victory and are expected to line the streets as the players return to parade the Henri Delaunay trophy and Casillas added: “We have done a great job together as a team.

“I think we needed to prove a point in Europe. We have done our nation proud.

“I don’t think what we have achieved will sink in for another few days.”

Aragones has always said he would step down after this tournament and the 69-year-old’s comments after the final suggest he has no intentions on going back on his word.

“The only thing I have to say to the manager who comes after me is to please treat them (the players) well and let them do their job,” he said.

Despite seeing their side slip to defeat, German fans turned out in huge numbers to welcome the players home when they arrived back in Berlin on Monday.

An estimated 300,000 people were in front of the Brandenburg Gates, after 600,000 fans had cheered their country on the night before.

“I don’t think we’d have gone so far without these great fans,” said captain Michael Ballack.

“We all saw the TV pictures of what was going on back here and it felt like we had an extra man on the pitch all the time.”

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API/BBC

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Will Raila’s summons be respected by any Kenya cabinet member?

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

Raila summons Cabinet team over hotel saga

By Isaac Ongiri

Prime Minister Raila Odinga entered the Grand Regency controversy with the announcement that he has summoned a Cabinet sub-committee on Finance and administration to discuss the matter.

And the heat was upped on Sunday for the beleaguered Finance Minister Amos Kimunya as it emerged that he faces a tough week ahead even as he remained defiant last night, showing no signs that he would buckle under pressure to pave way for investigation. He is lined up for grilling by a House watchdog committee on his role in the scandalous sale of the hotel; an MP is preparing to bring a censure motion against him while some MPs plan to hold a demonstration against him and the Libyan Embassy.

Kimunya is expected to appear before the committee on Tuesday at Parliament Buildings, Nairobi.

The Finance minister himself is a member of this committee as is Mr Amos Wako, the Attorney General and Ms Martha Karua, the Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs minister. On her part, Karua has demanded full disclosure of the transaction. Wako has also made statements that seem to suggest he wasnt in the loop. These positions begin to give a hint at just how heated the session could be.

Spill the beans

But things are bound to get even murkier if Imenti South MP Gitobu Imanyara, a 1990s reformist who has now teamed up with up to a dozen other legislators pushing for the formation of a Grand Opposition in Parliament, files a censure motion against the Finance minister.

The motion is likely to provide MPs with the privileged opportunity to ventilate their anger as they reprimand the beleaguered minister. In this kind of scenario more lids are likely to be opened, beans spilt and personalities named and shamed.

Other than expressing their displeasure the MPs actions may not amount to much because Parliament cannot take any action on the Finance minister.

But speaking at a thanksgiving party for Kiambaa MP Stanley Githunguri at Karuri Trading Center in Kiambaa, Raila warned: “I do not want to blame anyone on this matter for now but let it be known that no Cabinet minister is indispensable.”

Kimunya is in trouble because the entire Grand Regency sale seems to have been shrouded in total secrecy. When it became clear the facility located in central Nairobi had been sold he first responded with a denial, dismissing the claims as bar talk.

His final admission made before TV cameras and the stunning revelation that the asset, whose market value experts put at about Sh7.5 billion, was disposed at a miserly Sh2.9 billion left the public bemused. There was even a tinge of cynicism when the minister seemed to assert that it was the best deal the taxpayer could get from the sale of the hotel built suing funds that were stolen from public coffers by Goldenberg architect Mr Kamlesh Pattni.

The deal is said to have been a Government-to-Government transaction between Kenya and Libya and is understood to have been quietly executed mid-last year.

MPs demand action

A cross-party parliamentary caucus at a press conference in Mombasa called for his unconditional resignation and also that of Kenya Anti Corruption Commission Director Aaron Ringera, Finance PS Mr Joseph Kinyua and CBK Governor Prof Njuguna Ndungu from public office.

Imanyara who read the statement said Mr Cyrus Jirongo (Lugari), Charles Kilonzo (Yatta), Julius Kones (Konoin) and Mr Mithika Linturi (Igembe South) would give a formal notification today to police on the planned protest marches over the hotels sale.

The MP said they would march to the Grand Regency Hotel on Tuesday to demand cancellation of the sale transfer and reclaim hotel possession.

“We will request Lands Minister James Orengo and other Ministers and MPs who are against theft of public assets and resources to join us,” Imanyara said.

Other protest marches lined up by the group of MPs include a march to the Libyan Embassy on Loita Street next to Loita House on July 2 to demand the unconditional return of the hotels title deed to the people of Kenya.

In the signed statement the MPs said they will on July 3 at 2 pm march to Co-operative House where the ministers office is located and evict him.

Yatta MP Charles Kilonzo said that anyone who thinks and believes that the Grand regency hotel sale deal was good is daydreaming.

Carry own cross

In Kiambaa, Raila reiterated that war on corruption was key in the Grand Coalition, adding that Kenyans will keep the fight against the vice without fear.

“Our mission as government is to reinstate the rule of democracy, where corruption is intolerable,” Raila, who was accompanied by Cabinet ministers Joseph Nyagah (Co-operatives), James Orengo (Lands), Prof. Anyang Nyongo (Medical Services) and Dalmas Otieno (Public Service) and 13 MPs, stated.

The ministers led the MPs in demanding for Kimunyas immediate resignation to pave way for investigations into the matter.

Nyongo and Otieno said the law was flouted in the disposal of the hotel that had become a public asset after Pattni returned it to the state.

He warned that corruption was threatening the survival of the grand coalition government that he warned “might not survive in an environment friendly to graft”

“There are legal structures that ought to have been followed when selling a public asset like Grand Regency and Kimunya is aware of this, let him tell us which law he was following,” Nyongo asked.

Members of Parliament from Central Province who were present told Kimunya to carry his own cross.

The MPs who included Githunguri, John Mututho (Naivasha), Peter Bayia (Githunguri) and Ephraim Maina (Mathira) said the minister should not expect to be defended by leaders from the region.

“People should respect the law, if Kimunya broke the law he swore to respect, then he should carry his own cross and leave the Kikuyu community out of it,” the Mathira MP said as the crowd cheered.

“I am a businessman and I know this hotel could have cost about Sh10 billion. If they wanted to sell it at Sh2.9 billion, they could have told the people of Kiambaa to raise even Sh3 billion to buy it and we could have done that,” Githunguri said.

His sentiments were backed by Kangundo MP Gemstone Muthama who warned Cabinet ministers against indulging in questionable deals.

Assistant ministers Orwa Ojode (internal security) and Joseph Nkaissery (Defence) said he procurement and disposal of public assets act was not followed.

Orengo who sparked the debate last week when he revealed that the hotel had been sold did not comment on the matter.

Assistant ministers Elizabeth Ongoro and Wavinya Ndeti and former Kabete MP Paul Muite were also present.


COMMENTS

1. On Monday June 30, 2008, 10:37 AM , Normah Asimba, Kenya wrote:
Action should be taken against the minister and this is not a time to side based on tribalism but to see this whole issue as an offence of the law.
2. On Monday June 30, 2008, 9:55 AM , Raphael Kamau-Thiong\’o, United Kingdom wrote:
The Grand Regent Hotel is Kenyan and that should be foe ever. So many big hotels in Kenya are forign-owned so there should be an end to Kenyans handing every good thing to foreigners. Mr Orengo please take that hotel back.
3. On Monday June 30, 2008, 8:59 AM , Prof. Sir Abukuse Vincent Mbirika, United States wrote:
Gone are the days when government officials broke the law with impunity and went about scotch free. Kimunya is well aware he has taken the law of the land in his own hands and has taken wananchi for granted. He must resign immediately, or be put on trial and if found guilty, be dismissed from from the government. The government and Grand Regency hotel belong to us, not to Kimunya alone. The sale to Libya should be cancelled at once, since it was against the law of the land. Put the hotel back on market and allow us, Kenyans, to bid on it.You shame us greatly by begging for a mere pocket change from Libya. Can\\\’t some of us Kenyans buy this thing? Please,Kimunya, go away. Even a mere smell of corruption is unacceptable.
4. On Monday June 30, 2008, 7:15 AM , FRANK OCHIENG, Kenya wrote:
I think people of Kenya should not be shocked when such a thing is happening to us. Kenya is a country of two parties: the master and the slave whereby any master can wake up one day and decide on anything leaving the slave to dance according to the set pace. Corruption in Kenya is like this where the victims are always our masters( the rich persons/ the leaders) How then will a slave have a say to his master? Is this the first case to happen in our naked eyes? I am persuaded that this is the lifestyle in Kenya. My question is, does it mean Kenyans cannot run such an asset? I feel ashamed because it is a clear indication tha we are still trying to adjust or to be informed and this is the reason why Kenyans cannot manage their own resources.
5. On Monday June 30, 2008, 7:12 AM , Muga J. O, Kenya wrote:
To our PM, the Hon. Raila, we trust in you. And we believe in you by your words. Fulfill your promise to Kenyans on corruption. This is the right moment. Please save Kenya from these shameful deals.
6. On Monday June 30, 2008, 7:11 AM , Enock Aloo Nyagol, Kenya wrote:
Minister Kimunya has ashamed us Kenyans with this Grand Regency saga. It is difficult to believe that a professional like him would lie to parliament without batting an eyelid only to own up a few days later. The most reasonable thing is for him to resign and leave us alone. We do not need such saga at a time when we are yet to recover from the post election violence earlier this year.
7. On Monday June 30, 2008, 6:48 AM , Charles Otwoma, Kenya wrote:
if he was to sell the hotel, then we kenyans are capable of buying it. he should stop playing arround with lives of poor kenyans
8. On Monday June 30, 2008, 5:03 AM , Bushdokta kipkeles, Byelorussian SSR wrote:
Am mourning the return of our beloved country to the the jaws of corrupt! We can censor,jump and shout but Kimunya will never resign! Because the final word is with the president and he deliberately did it to create a smoke screen so as to continue sipping the country\\\’s resources as we are busy chasing kimunya down the street!
9. On Monday June 30, 2008, 1:24 AM , ALI YONIS, United States wrote:
KUDOS Orengo, and great warrior for common person. This was not possible 5 years ago, Orengo could be out of office over 1pm news if it were few years back, its a Grand Step towards Govt for the people.
10. On Sunday June 29, 2008, 23:06 PM , Akach Martin, Congo wrote:
It is a tragedy, a myth that barely few months after violence the finance ministry as done it again, my question to Mr Kimunya is how could he undermine at national and international level the very fundamental ethics that he vehemently swore to abide by, how could he deny in public the very notion of illegal sale while reasserts later that the so called sales took place? it is a betrayal of the collective agenda and he should\’nt try to hide under the backdrop of his community, please carry your own cross and resign to pave way for way for investigation for the manner in which he can deny and accept a scandal is in itself scandulous.
11. On Sunday June 29, 2008, 22:32 PM , Joash Omandh, United States wrote:
This is a real test of the coalition and how the two leaders handle it will determine the destiny of the government. One thing am happy is that many leaders including those believed to be close to Kibaki have come out condemning the sale. There is a new paradigm shift among the Kenyan citizenry to fight corruption. I remember Kimunya invoking the wise counsel he learnt from his mother during his speech at Minneapolis Minnesota last year to always be forgiving and apologising for any wrong. I would want him to use the same advise and resign honourably and make a full disclosure of the sale. Continuing to defend a known fact is futile and Mr. Kibaki should read the signs on the wall. Kenya badly needs a corrupt free government.
12. On Sunday June 29, 2008, 22:03 PM , Patrick Muigai, United States wrote:
It does appear that something fishy has happened here. Kimunya needs to explain very cleary in order for accountability and transparency to be respected.

——————–

API/Standard.ke

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Childcare related issues

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

Posted by Catherine Mills

I respectfully submit my findings regarding the CAFCASS CORAM Partnership.

CAFCASS are required by Law to be independent of all childcare related organisations and legal institutions.

Their sole purpose – to ensure that the child’s interests are held paramount at all times.
Their latest published annual returns acknowledge payments from government in excess of

104 million. Willinglypaid by the UK public with theassurance that CAFCASS will always maintain the principal of in “The Best Interest of The Children”

The UK publics current perception of CAFCASS, due to their performance, stats, in addition to the latest OFSTED report, is at an all time low. The would prefer them

replaced with the assurance of the new organisation retaining the primary objective

of their very existence “Ensuring and Safeguarding Our Children’s Future”.

CAFCASSjoined in partnership on April 4th 2008 by Coram aregistered charity,

(Annualturnover in (2005-2006) of 18 million).

No mention has been made available regarding Coram’s background.

Coram


Coram began as a Masonic refuge for orphaned children and widows by Thomas Coram in 1739 and claimed status of charity under Royal Charter on 17th. October 1739 and further acts of parliament of 1740, 1885, and 1936.


Status ofCoram 2005-2006

After Coram acquired their latest Adoption Centre 1st. April 2005 from the

Childrens Society Renaming it Ebony Care, East Midlands
Coram then claimed to be the 3rd largest adopter of children in the UK.

They provide children for adoption to married, single parents, same sex couples,

employment not essential, homeowner or tenant, not an issue, childrencan also be adopted to be resident out with the UK.

They promote their new adoption program – Concurrent Placement, which advocates placing a child at birth with the potential adopters until the Legal case is finalised in an effort to promote the Bonding Process with the adoptive parent.

They assist in the process of obtaining the current rate of payment for Foster Carers for the potential adopters.
Their only condition appears the potential adopter must pass the “Enhanced Disclosure” check and sit Corams specifically written – “Parenting Skills Training for Adopters,

A program written in conjunction with their partner Anna Freud Centre with the aid of the Webster Stratton book The Incredible Years



As stated on their web-site www.coram.org.uk they would consider adoption an option in cases where –

(1) Parents cannot agree on residence.

(2) Parents cannot agree on contact.

No mention is made throughout this advertisement of any threshold criteria to be reached, or more importantly any Child Protection issues, only disagreement issues.

Coram facilitated and was reimbursed for over 200 contact sessions on behalf of CAFCASS in the recorded year.

Coram taught school personnel to spot the Early Signs of Neglect, and Child Abuse signs.

Coram taught Social Service Workers Child Protection issues based on their again exclusive self-written courses.

In essence – Coram teach the professionals how to address Child Protection issues.

Coram designed and obtained an AQA for their program Life & Social Skills Programme designed to assist their young homeless people live their life.

Coram had current agreements with surrounding Authorities

Camden, Brent, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Westminster, Kilburn,

Tower Hamlets, Milton Keynes, Southwark, Thamesmead

.

Coram has numerous separate companies; some related and included in their charity ventures. Some not e.g. their financially successful Research Unit

Examples of Corams Ventures

Sure Start High view

Sure Start Holloway

Sure Start Roundwood

Sure Start South Kilburn

Sure Start Kings Cross and Holburn

Sure Start Barking and Dagenham

Sure Start Camden Wide

Milton Keynes Family Support Service

Ebony Care, Adoption Centre, East Midlands

Coram Services

Parent Training

Working in Schools

Young Parent Projects

Parent Education

Drop in Crche facilities

Outreach Workers

Personal Advisory Service

Supported Accommodation

Mentoring and Education

Fathers Work

Youth Offending

Work in Communities and schools

Coram supply

Management of Local Authority Adoptions

Specialised training for Social Workers involved with family placements

Coram provide

Adult Consultation

Child and Adult Psychiatry

Adult Psychology

Mental Health

Corams partners the Tavistock Centre assist with the psychology and psychiatry aspects.

2005-2006 Coram began to fund a future venture, recorded comments include

Funding major challenge facing Coram in coming year to find best workable solution to attaining long term financial viability

The reconstructing is an ongoing process which planned to be completed during 2006-2007

Providing better value for money to our funders in Social Services and supporting people

Coram began to train Lawyers and Foster Carers for supervised contact.

Review and upgrade all policies and procedures.

Coram today –

Coram provides training for Social Services.

Work in total partnership with CAFCASS

Provide training courses for professionals in Child Protection Roles

Provide Parenting Classes for parents and potential adopters

Provide babies from birth for their Concurrent Placement scheme

Oversee Contact sessions

Provide legal representation for family court procedures.

Provide assessments with the assistance of the Tavistock Centre

Coram even offer a comprehensive service to such adults and birth relatives seeking information after the adopted person turns eighteen. For some this may even lead to contact with a birth relative.

In 2005-2006 Coram was able to assist 81 people seeking information about their life history.

62 Adoptions versus 81 Adopted adults now seeking their life history.

The information contained in these three pages is a condensed version of part of the background of the Coram Charity.

Which fact contained in this factual recorded report, even in part does not contain an element that is not a total Conflict of Interest?

Personal View

It is my understanding we are still entitled to our own personal opinion in this country.

In addition to be entitled to voice our opinions and views, In fact I believe this to be Law.

I claim that right now as a British Citizen.

I believe that Coram have in conjunction with other agencies planned, funded and made ready for this partnership since 2005-2006. Prepared and ready for Carcasss inevitable fall from grace. It is my belief that Coram has now total coverage of the potential for the adoption of children who are in the legal process here in the UK.

Consider these facts, CAFCASS deal with 100,000 app. contacts a year, at present Coram deal with 6,000. They recorded 62 official adoptions.

What percentage of these cases that Coram appear to have an element of control over, including their physiological assessments, contact, legal debate and access, will appear in next recorded Adoption figures.

The UK government withdrew their embarrassing Forced Adoption Targets April 1st 2008. Coram joined in partnership less than 4 days later.

Is this meant to reassure the UK public, whose views of Social Services are at rock bottom?

My understanding due to recent media coverage is that our government has recently funded for our Social Service Departments to receive further training, I believe Coram will provide this training.

I believe this, as I know of no other organisation that trains already trained to a standard of acceptance by the Social Work Governing Bodies.

May I state the obvious?

Why are we training already fully trained professional Social Workers that may have already had a say in our courts regarding our childrens futures?

If they were not trained to the extent that is required due to lack of education, there may potentially be cases that have been processed wrongly?

I, as a UK citizen am outraged that a registered Adoption Charity, with an annual turnover

Of 18 million can re-locate and facilitate a replica charity in the US including a University in Dallas Texas, all relating to adoptions and fostering.

A registered Charity who owns a Fostering Company, who own a financially successful Research Company whose research is primarily Child related.

In addition I am shocked that a Charity located in such close proximity to children

Facilitate partnerships with worldwide known organisations e.g. Tavistock Centre and Anna Freud Centre, who gained this notoriety for their documented trials on children, using drugs and mind control techniques, all to achieve the result of control.

————–

API

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Trouble is brewing between James Finlays Tea Company and the County Council of Kipsigis over Kabianga farm workers

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

Discontent is mounting between about 80 tea pickers which were employed by the James Finlays Tea Company to maintain the 400 acres Kabianga tea farm, located in rural location in Belgut Constituency in Kericho district.

According to the information reaching us, the workers have been declared redundants and told to leave their places of work on 1st July 2008. But the workers have complained that their terminal benefits are yet to be worked out.

The 400 Kabianga tea farm, which was for many years was part of the Kabianga Farmers Training School. When the school was closed decades ago, the farm riverted to the ownership of the County Council of Kipsigis as a public enterprise. The Council later leased its day to day management to the Kericho and Bureti based multinational tea company, former known as the Africa Highland products Limited .

But a source in Kericho has told us that the management agreement between the County Council of Kipsigis has come to an end. The company has declared its workers who for many years have been maintaining the tea farm redundant. But the workers have read a malice, saying the would not leave the facility until they are paid their terminal benefits

The Kericho branch officials of the Plantation and General Agricultural Workers Union could not be reached for immediate comment over the issue.

The Kenya Tea Growers Association KTGA, which usually handled and liaise between the workers and the union in the tea industry could not offer any comment immediately.

There were bitter complaints that the Kshs 25 million, which this tea farm is bagging every month is not helping in financing various projects being undertaken by the Council and that the money may be lining the pockets of individuals. The 400 tea farm was handed to the Council by the government so that the profits accrued from the sales of its green tea leaves could be utilized in financing development activities in Kericho district.

Some politicians have also voiced their concern over the way the tea money from the farm was not being properly audited and utilized for the mutual benefits of the residents of the three constituencies in the district, namely Belgut, Ainamoi and Kipkelion. It was also not clearly stated that once the management contract between the Council of the multinational tea company come to an end, Kabianga tea farm willstop selling its green tea leaves to the company for processing or it will now send its tea to the nearby KTDA managed factory.

ByMonday afternoon, both sides were not willing to talk about the burning issue. But the workers spokesman, but one of the workers severely criticized the union for not articulating their claims to the best of their knowledge. The Union Secretary General is Mr. Francis Atwolli, who is also the outspoken Secretary General of the [Cotu. K} was also not available for comment..

Efforts to obtain any comment from the James Finlays tea Company were fruitless.

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

—————-

API

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Corrupt medical workers transferred: Rachuonyo residents grateful to the government

Posted by African Press International on July 1, 2008

By Leo Odera Omolo

Residents of Rachuonyo welcome transfer of some medical personnel at the district hospital following perpetual outcry over missing drugs and negligence.

Led by Oyugis mayor Cllr. Pamela Owidi, the resident expressed a sigh of relief hoping the new officers posted to the health facility, especially the would be in charge of pharmacy will ensure that drugs are always available to patients.

Three weeks ago complaints by members of the public prompted provincial medical officer Dr. Jackson Kioko to make an impromptu visit to the hospital only to find everything in a mess.

This followed instruction by Minister for medical Services Prof. Anyang Nyong’o calls for investigation over lack o drugs despite a steady supply by the government.

What beats the logic is that other rural facilities in the district have drugs, while the district hospital can hardly have drugs for more than three days after the receipt of the delivery.

Patients always complain of negligence and arrogance exhibited by the staff when seeking services.

They say whenever prescription is done patients are referred to particular chemists in Oyugis town to purchase the drugs.

Rachuonyo medical officer of health (MoH) Dr. Jeremiah Okatch accused the pharmacist during the inaugural meeting of thefts of drugs before PMO- Dr. Kioko.

These people are stealing drugs, there is no excuse about it; said Okatch.

In a letter dated June 18, signed by PMO and copied to PS for medical services affecting 58 personnel in Nyanza province, Dr. Crispus Nyongesa, from Kisii South is the new Rachuonyo MOH while Rachuonyo MOH Jeremiah Okach moves to Kisii South in the same capacity.

Dr. Amos Macharia from Kisii General Hospital replaces Dr. Omondi Owino as the new medical Superintendent for Rachuonyo district hospital. Dr. Omondi moves to Nyamira promoted as MOH taking over from Dr. Hezbon Oluoch who moves to Homa Bay in the same capacity.

Dr. Mokaya of Homa Bay proceeds to post graduate studies.

The pharmacist at Rachuonyo district hospital, Dr. Lawrence Omondi is redeployed to provincial general hospital Kisumu as Dr. Bob Onkoba from PGH-Kisumu takes over as the new pharmacist at Rachuonyo district hospital.

—————

API

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