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IKO NINI BWANA SEED

All eyes on President Kenyatta as Senate passes BBI Bill

President Uhuru Kenyatta during a past function at the State House in Nairobi.

Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) will submit the Bill to the President for assent as detailed in Article 257 of the Constitution. All eyes are now on President Uhuru Kenyatta as senators on Tuesday joined their colleagues in the National Assembly in approving the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The move means that Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) will submit the Bill to the President for assent as detailed in Article 257 of the Constitution, which details procedures of amending the Constitution through a popular initiative. Having styled it as his legacy project, the President now holds the key on the date of the referendum.

 

Article 256 (5) provides that before assenting to the Bill, the President will have to request the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to conduct a referendum within three months.

The time will start running the moment he receives the Bill and forwards it to the electoral commission. Moving fast and transmitting the Bill to the commission as soon as he gets it will indicate the President’s support and could determine how soon the country will go to a referendum.

A total of 65 senators voted in all the three stages – second reading, amendments stage (Committee of the Whole) and the third reading. In the second reading, 52 senators voted in support of the Bill while 12 opposed and one – Mary Seneta – abstained in all the three stages. In the final two stages, 51 senators voted for, 11 against.

And for the umpteenth time, Deputy President William Ruto and his Hustler Movement were left leaking their wounds as they fell short of shooting down the Bill, as umbilical cord of President Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, proved too strong. It was a double tragedy for the Tangatanga senators as they soon found themselves on the back heel after the vote on the second reading.

Soon after the vote, it dawned on them that they had lost one of their own after the Speaker implemented the decision of the Political Parties Tribunal which upheld the expulsion of Nominated senator Isaac Mwaura as a member of Jubilee party.

Senators Aaron Cheruiyot, Kipchumba Murkopmen, Susan Kihika, Irungu Kangata, Kithure Kindiki, all dyed-in-the-wool supporters of the DP railed at the Speaker, accusing him of taking the decision to remove Mr Mwaura even though the senator had a preexisting court order.

 

Mr Mwaura had attended the morning session and even voted in support of the Bill during the second reading. But tables were turned when at the resumption of the debate on the Bill during the afternoon session.

Tangatanga Mps raised questions on the validity of his vote because the notice in the Kenya Gazette indicated that the senator ceased being a lawmaker on May 7, four days earlier.

The Ruto group also claimed Mr Mwaura had a preexisting court order which stayed the findings of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal. which upheld Jubilee’s decision to expel him.

The party, which is divided between the forces that support President Kenyatta and DP Ruto, has accused the senator of violating the party’s constitution and membership oath by describing it as a dead party and shifting loyalty to the United Democratic Alliance.

What happened

Mr Mwaura’s troubles started in December last year, following his remarks against President Kenyatta in Kwale, during Msambweni MP Feisal Bader’s homecoming ceremony.

He was among the other six senators who had been kicked out by the party’s top organ NMC over indiscipline. He honoured the summons by the party for disciplinary proceedings, which ended with an expulsion recommendation by the National Management Committee (NMC).

The Party’s national chair Nelson Dzuya complained he had the senator had been disloyal after he pledged allegiance United to Democratic Alliance, a party associated with Dr Ruto.’

Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki described the action as a travesty of justice and urged Mr Lusaka to reconsider the move. Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen accused the Speaker of disregarding a court order and threatening democracy.

 

“I can confirm that I had not seen or disregarded any court order by the time I came here,” Mr Lusaka said in his defense amid further accusations of acting at the behest of powerful people outside the Senate.

“I will [present] all documents related to the notice in the Kenya Gazette on Tuesday next week.” It took the experience of minority leader James Orengo and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula to save the Speaker’s blushes.

While defending Mr Mwaura, Mr Orengo reminded the House that the role of the Speaker ended with the publication of the notice in the Kenya Gazette and that he had no powers to overturn the decision.

“Your role has ended and there is nothing else you can do. You can’t recall your decision in this instance,” he said, while advising Mr Mwaura to seek redress at the High Court. – nation.co.ke

China’s digital currency adds support for AliPay

China’s digital currency adds support for AliPay – the Alibaba payment app with over 700 million users

Alibaba’s controversial financial services arm, the Ant Group, has been welcomed into trials of China’s digital currency. China’s state-controlled media on Monday reported that the Alipay app has added a feature allowing transactions in the Digital Yuan. Alipay has over 700 million monthly active users in China alone.

State-backed journal China Securities Journal reports that functionality to link to a bank is currently limited, and that no merchants are listed. Nor has the feature been made available to all users. But the Journal reports that real-time, anonymous, transactions are possible.

A second Journal piece reports that an Ant-Group-backed bank has also linked accounts to the Digital Yuan, as have some other banks.

While news that Ant’s banking interests have been favoured with access to the Digital Yuan suggests a thawing between Beijing and Alibaba’s fintech arm, news of Alipay integration suggests otherwise because the QR-code-based payments system has become all-but-ubiquitous across China. If Beijing wants to use the huge installed base of the Alipay app to boost the prospects of the Digital Yuan, that will happen.

And just like that, the digital currency could be closing in on a billion users. A decent number of those users could be outside the Middle Kingdom, because Alipay is already used by many merchants around the world.

The Register has encountered differences in opinion over the matter of whether China wants the Digital Yuan to disrupt existing cross-border payment systems and maybe even the US Dollar’s role as the world’s default currency.

Some argue that China is moving fast to establish a digital currency plus a supporting ecosystem, so will therefore have first mover advantage and attract those who wish to find new ways to move money around the world without involving the ticket-clippers in the payments system.

Others suggest the Digital Yuan is aimed at local consumption, in part because it will allow Chinese authorities to shrink the cash economy and make more transactions trackable. That’s an outcome China would like, as quashing corruption is a major theme of Beijing’s plans.

Beijing’s offered few hints about its strategic intentions but adding the Digital Yuan to more banks and Alipay shows it’s certainly happy for the digital currency to be more useful for more everyday transactions. ®

Zuck gets tough just as Germany blocks privacy policy roll-out

WhatsApp users who refuse to make some of their personal information available to Facebook’s internet empire will slowly but surely be cut off from the chat app, the social network has confirmed.

In January, WhatsApp users were told if they wanted to keep using the software, they must agree to an updated fine print that allows their data to be passed onto not only WhatsApp’s parent Facebook but also its subsidiaries as and when decided by the tech giant.

This information includes names, profile pictures, status updates, phone numbers, contacts lists, and details about mobile devices and connections, though not the contents of encrypted messages and calls. Those who did not accept the terms and conditions would not be allowed to use the application from February.

BBI Bill sails through in Senate Second Reading

Senate during a session. [Courtesy]

Senate has voted in support of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Bill during the second reading. Fifty-two senators voted in favour of the Bill while 12 opposed while abstained.

Nominated Senator Mary Seneta, who is facing expulsion by Jubilee, abstained from the vote while Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki and Wario Golich (nominated) were absent.

The House is set to reconvene in the afternoon for the Committee of the Whole House, where they will scrutinize the Bill, clause by clause, before taking another vote at the third reading of the Bill. Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka also ruled that Senate cannot amend the BBI Bill.

“Senators will vote for BBI as a whole and not a particular clause and will vote either yes, no or abstain,” he said. The Speaker said senators voted for the Bill on grounds that it espoused the rule of law and contributed to good governance.

The Senate is expected to go for a third reading this afternoon as the Bill proceeds to Committee stages. During the second reading, divisions rose within some sections of the House as allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta, ODM Leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto took turns to explain why they voted Yes or No.

Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata seemed particularly fired up as he took to the dais to vote. He went on to explain how Murang’a had been sidelined before he was stopped by the Speaker.

Speaker Lusaka: “Senator Kang’ata, you know the whole world is watching us. Vote.”

Kang’ata: “You cannot stop me, Mr Speaker. Murang’a got one constituency, Tharaka Nithi got four. I vote no!” he shouted.

Kang’ata came up again when it was Senator James Orengo’s turn to speak and took over the mic.

“You did not allow me to speak. You are being unfair,” he told the Speaker.

He was however silenced and Orengo who went on to vote a resounding Yes.

How they voted

1. Fatuma Dullo – YES

2. Ali Abdullahi – YES

3. Issa Juma – YES

4. Mercy Chebeni – YES

5. Samson Cherargei – NO

6. Aaron Cheruiyot – NO

7. Christine Gona – YES

8. Abdulkadir Haji – YES

9. Ali Farhiya – YES

10. Abshiro Halake – YES

11. Hargura Godana – YES

12. Iman Falhada Deko – NO

13. Imana Malachi – NO

14. Gertrude Musuruve – YES

15. Moses Kajwang – YES

16. Margaret Kamar – YES

17. Irungu Kang’ata – NO

18. Silvia Kasanga – YES

19. George Khaniri – YES

20. Charles Kibiru – YES

21. Susan Kihika – NO

22. Mutula Kilonzo Jr – YES

23. Kimani Wamatangi – YES

24. Ephraim Maina – YES

25. Christopher Langat – NO

26. Lelegwe Ltumbesi – NO

27. Mithika Linturi – NO

28. Loitiptip Anwar (Lamu)- No

29. Petronila Were – YES

30. Stewart Madzayo – YES

31. Mahamud Maalim (Mandera) – YES

32. Beatrice Kwamboka – YES

33. Cleophas Malala – YES

34. Naomi Shionga – YES

35. Michael Mbito – YES

36. Ochillo Ayacko – YES

37. Alice Milgo – YES

38. Okongo Omogeni (Nyamira) – YES

39. Gideon Moi – YES

40. Philip Mpaayei -YES

41. Beth Mugo – YES

42. Kipchumba Murkomen – NO

43. Agnes Kavindu Muthama (Machakos) – YES

44. Paul Githiomi (Nyandarua) – YES

45. Mwaurume Johnaess (Taita Taveta) – YES

46. Isaac Mwaura – YES

47. Mohamed Faki (Mombasa) – Yes

48. Nderitu Kinyua – YES

49. Ndwiga Njeru – YES

50. Rose Nyamunga – YES

51. Sen. Ledama Olekina – YES

52. Millicent Omanga – NO

53. Sam Ongeri – YES

54. James Orengo – YES

55. Fred Outa – YES

56. Judith Pareno – YES

57. Samuel Poghisio – YES

58. Victor Prengei – YES

59. Sen. Johnson Sakaja – YES

60. Mary Seneta – Abstain

61. Amos Wako – YES

62. Enoch Wambua – YES

63. Naomi Jillo – YES

64. Sen. Moses Wetangula – YES

65. Agnes Zani – YES

66. Kindiki Kithure – Did not participate

67. Walio Golith- Did not participate,
Source: standardmedia.co.ke

Covid: What’s the roadmap for lifting lockdown?

Small group meeting indoors

A further lifting of lockdown rules in England has been confirmed by the prime minister.

Having friends over and drinking inside a pub are among the changes coming next Monday, 17 May.

Changes to lockdown rules in Scotland and Wales are expected the same day.

What’s changing on Monday 17 May in England?

Meeting up

People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
Six people or two households can meet indoors, with overnight stays allowed
Up to 30 people can attend weddings, receptions and other life events
Number of people who can attend a funeral no longer capped, but determined by the size of venue
Up to 30 allowed to attend a support group or parent-and-child group (not counting under fives)
Care home residents allowed up to five named visitors, and more freedom for visits out of the home
Social distancing with close family and friends will be a matter of personal judgement. But people are asked to remain cautious around close contact, like hugging.

Social distancing will remain in place in social care, medical, retail, hospitality and business settings

Leisure and entertainment

Pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to open indoors
Indoor entertainment such as museums, cinemas and children’s play areas can open
Theatres, concert halls, conference centres and sports stadiums can all reopen
Organised adult sports and exercise classes can restart indoors
Steam rooms and saunas may reopen
Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen

Education

Face coverings no longer recommended in secondary schools for pupils
All remaining university students eligible to return to in-person teaching

Travel

People will be able to travel abroad to green list countries without having to quarantine when they return
What can you do from 21 June in England?
It’s hoped all legal limits on social contact will be removed
Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen

What can you currently do across the UK?

There are some things you can do anywhere – although exact rules may differ between nations:

All shops and retail outlets can open
Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants can all serve food and drink outside
Hairdressers, nail salons and other close contact services can open (appointment only in Scotland and Northern Ireland)
Gyms and swimming pools are open for individual exercise
You can travel freely between England, Scotland and Wales (but not Northern Ireland)
You can stay in holiday cottages with members of your own household or bubble
Driving lessons and tests have resumed
Communal worship is allowed
You can socialise with people from other households outdoors (numbers vary between nations)
Most outdoor visitor attractions are able to open
Weddings can take place (rules on guests – and receptions – vary)
In England, Scotland and Wales, care home residents can have regular visits from two named people (rules differ in Northern Ireland)

How are lockdown rules changing in Wales?

From Monday 17 May (subject to government approval on 13 May):

Pubs, restaurants and cafes can open indoors
Cinemas, theatres and museums can reopen

What’s recently changed?

Gym exercise classes, and other organised indoor activities for adults, can resume for up to 15 people
People can form extended households again, allowing two households to meet and have contact indoors
Community centres can open
People in a street in Scotland alongside a sign on Covid protection rules
How are lockdown rules changing in Scotland?
It is hoped restrictions can be eased further in the coming months:

From 17 May:

Up to four people from no more than two households can socialise indoors in a private home
Up to six adults from three households can meet in an indoor public place (such as a bar)
Up to eight adults from eight households can meet anywhere outdoors
Hospitality venues return to “greater normality”, possibly serving alcohol indoors until 22:30 – customers may be asked to book two-hour slots
Outdoor adult contact sport and indoor group exercise to restart
Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls to reopen

From 7 June:

Up to six people from up to three households to socialise indoors in a private home
Up to eight people from three households to socialise indoors in a public place
A maximum of 12 people from 12 households to socialise outdoors
Hospitality can remain open until 23:00
A maximum of 100 people at weddings, funerals and other life events

What’s recently changed?

Cafes, pubs and restaurants can open indoors – until 20:00 each day, no alcohol can be served, groups of up to six people from two households
Indoor attractions like galleries and museums can reopen
Non-essential informal childcare can restart
Non-essential work can resume inside people’s homes
The number of people who can attend funerals and wakes has risen from 20 to 50

When are the next changes in Northern Ireland?

More restrictions may be lifted on 24 May, including:

Reopening of indoor hospitality, including pubs and hotels
Indoor group exercise
Some indoor mixing of households in private homes
Reopening of B&Bs and hotels
Restarting of wedding receptions and funeral wakes
Reopening of indoor visitor attractions

What else has changed in Northern Ireland recently?

The closing time of 23:00 BST for takeaways and 20:00 for off-licences and selling of alcohol has been removed
Competitive outdoor sports and squad training has restarted
Static band practice and rehearsals allowed in agreed outdoor locations
Care home residents are allowed two one-hour visits per week.

KCSE results: Murang’a’s Simiyu Robinson Wanjala emerges the best

Robinson Wanjala Simiyu of Murang’a High School, the top student in the 2020 KCSE exams, celebrates with his father following the announcement of the results on May 10, 2021.

Simiyu Robinson Wanjala, a student of Murang’a High School, is the best performer nationwide in the national secondary school examinations of 2020. Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha made the announcement on Monday, while releasing results of the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams.

Mr Wanjala attained a mean score of 87.334, CS Magoha said, adding that the second best candidates were Wasonga Allan Udoma of Agoro Sare Secondary School and Sharon Chepng’eno Terer of Kenya High School, who both had scores of 87.173.

They were followed by Rob Moriasi Ong’are (Alliance High School, 87.139), Mbugua Esther (Kenya High School, 87.133), Kipkoech Mark Kogo (Alliance High School, 87.106), Kenneth Oranga (Kapsabet Boys’ High School, 87.049), Henry Madaga (Maranda High School, 87.049), Patience Chepkorir (Kenya High School, 87.046,) and Edith Musomba (Machakos Girls High School, 87.013).

The next best performers were Lesly Loise Wanjiku, George Pitron, Kiprono Ogor, Debra Jelimo and Daisy Buluma. The minister noted that out of the top 15 candidates, five were from Kenya High School.

 

The top special needs candidate was Kipkemoi Miriam Chelating Moi Girls’ High School in Eldoret, whose mean score was 84.8 (A plain). Prof Magoha noted that the candidates performed well considering the disruptions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He announced that 143,140 (or 19 per cent of the candidates) scored C+ and above, attaining the minimum university entry mark, compared to the 125,747 recorded in 2019.

In 2019, a total of 125,747 candidates attained C+ and above, representing 18 per cent of the 697,222 candidates that year. A total of 893 students scored A plain, an increase of 266 from the 627 recorded in 2019.

“This is the clearest indicator that the candidates have performed at par, or better, compared to 2019, despite the negative effects of Covid-19,” he said at Mitihani House in Nairobi.

“Their battle was fought with resilience and worn with grace,” the CS added, noting they will join teacher training colleges, technical and vocational education training institutes, medical colleges and universities at the same time, and without delays, to prevent a backlog.

This, he explained, is under the government’s zero wastage policy also known as 100 per cent transition policy where opportunity for academic progression has been created for all.

“I assure all candidates that they have a bright future full of hope and shorn of despair. All candidates have a place in our education story,” he said.

“The government has ensured that every child in the country has a place to pursue a career. We believe there is no insignificant child and that no one should be left behind.”
The CS further noted that 652 students sat their examinations in hospital after giving birth.

The counties with the highest number of cases of teenage pregnancies were Bungoma (43) Meru(38), Nakuru (36) Kisii and Nandi. “The number of candidates sitting exams (pregnant) was the highest in history,” said Prof Magoha.

Cancelled results

 

A total of 747,161 candidates sat for the examinations at 10,565 centres across the country, according to Dr Mercy Karogo, the acting chief executive officer of the Kenya National Examinations Council (Knec). The number was higher than the 697,222 recorded in 2019.

Some 752,891 candidates registered for the KCSE exam but 5,730 of them missed the tests. The exams were marked by 25,135 examiners. CS Magoha also reported that more girls than boys registered in 15 out of the country’s 47 counties.

Turkana had the highest number of overage candidates while Bungoma had the highest number of underage candidates (those aged 15 years and below).

In terms of irregularities, CS Magoha said the results of 287 candidates were cancelled as there was sufficient proof of malpractices.

He said 211 of the students had unauthorised materials in exam rooms and that authorities confiscated 45 mobile. The CS added that there were also cases of impersonation and collusion.

Professionalism

Knec chairman, Dr John Onsati, said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the council was able to administer credible examinations. Dr Onsati said Knec put in place sufficient measures to ensure professionalism throughout the process.

“Staff worked round the clock to ensure exams were administered on time,” he said. Teachers Service Commission chief executive Nancy Macharia said teachers involved in cheating will be removed from the register if found guilty.

Ms Macharia noted that the commission does not support any form of unethical conduct by teachers, and that the worst of them relate to exams.

“We will act decisively and conclusively on errant teachers while upholding the rules of natural justice and the principle of due process as stipulated in the Code of Regulations for Teachers,” she said. – nation.co.ke

Scottish independence referendum: Nicola Sturgeon tells Boris new vote is ‘when, not if’

Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has told the prime minister it is a “matter of when, not if” there will be another vote on Scottish independence. Her party narrowly failed to win a majority in this week’s Scottish Parliament elections, but with the Greens there is a pro-independence majority in Holyrood.

In a call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday, she said another referendum on Scotland breaking away from the UK was now inevitable once COVID recovery was on track.

Her spokesman said: “The first minister made clear that her immediate focus was on steering the country through COVID and into recovery, and that a newly elected Scottish government would work with the UK government as far as possible on that aim.

“The first minister also reiterated her intention to ensure that the people of Scotland can choose our own future when the crisis is over, and made clear that the question of a referendum is now a matter of when, not if.”

The SNP has vowed to introduce legislation for another vote, but this could be challenged by the UK government in court. A Downing Street statement on the call made no reference to the prospect of another referendum.

It said the PM had congratulated Ms Sturgeon on securing “the largest number of seats in the Scottish Parliament” and “concluded by emphasising the importance of focusing on COVID recovery at this time”.

 

Mr Johnson has invited her and the leaders of the devolved administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland to a summit on the recovering from the pandemic.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove also refused to be drawn on the prospects of a repeat of the 2014 vote during interviews on Sunday.

People of Scotland ‘have right’ to another vote
Appearing on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday, the cabinet minister said the SNP’s demand for another vote revealed a “skewed set of priorities” while the UK concentrates on COVID recovery.

Asked if the UK government would seek to block a second border poll in the courts, Mr Gove told Ridge: “No, we’re not even going there at the moment.”

He added: “To start speculating about this type of legislation or that type of court hearing and all the rest of it, it’s just a massive distraction. “I’m not interested in going down that blind alley.” Scots voted against independence by 55% to 45% in the 2014 vote, which was meant to be a once in a generation event.

But SNP supporters argue that circumstances have changed dramatically due to the Westminster decision to hold the Brexit vote, which pulled Scotland and the rest of the UK out of the EU.

US GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF THE GREEN CARD

(CNN)The State Department on Saturday announced the winners of the 2022 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as “The Green Card Lottery.”

The program benefits upwards of 55,000 people per year, allowing winners to apply for visas from countries with lower levels of immigration to the US.

This year’s program has taken on new meaning as restrictions put in place by former President Donald Trump were struck down by President Joe Biden. In 2017, Trump took a series of actions aimed at barring individuals from Muslim-majority countries from coming to the United States. The one that was ultimately allowed to take effect — Presidential Proclamation 9645 — placed varying levels of restrictions on foreign nationals from eight countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen.

On his first day as president, Biden issued a new presidential proclamation — “Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States” — that ended the restrictions under Presidential Proclamation 9645.

“Pursuant to President Biden’s proclamation, the State Department will undertake a review to ensure that individuals whose immigrant visa applications were denied on the basis of the suspension and restriction on entry imposed by P.P. 9645 or 9983 may have their applications reconsidered,” the department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, which handles visas, says on its website.

According to State Department data, tens of thousands of applicants for immigrant visas — including diversity visa applicants — were refused visas in fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 under the Trump administration’s policy.

Visa lottery entrants can check the status of their application at the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

What is it?

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program awards up to 55,000 individuals per year a visa for a green card, which bestows permanent residency in the US and is a path to citizenship.

Opponents of immigration complain that the program brings people to the US to compete for jobs, and even supporters of immigration acknowledge the program does not tailor applicants to needs in the US.

Visas are awarded by random selection in select countries to qualified people to promote immigration from countries with low levels of immigration to the US.

How does it work?

Individuals in countries that are determined by a formula to have a low enough level of immigration to the US can apply for the visas at certain times each year. Most of the lottery recipients live outside the US, but a few are in the US legally on other visas.

According to the formula set out by law, countries that have had more than 50,000 natives immigrate to the US in the previous five years are ineligible.

The visas are distributed further by regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America (other than Mexico), Oceania, South America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. The program is run by the State Department.

While individuals are selected for visas randomly, they still must meet security and eligibility requirements that all immigrants must clear to actually get their visas.

Diversity recipients specifically must also have at least a high school education or equivalent and must have had at least two years of experience working a job that requires at least two years of training or experience within five years of the date of the application. They must also be admissible to the US — categories of inadmissibility to the US broadly include terrorism connections.

The process also includes an in-person interview.

“In order to immigrate, DV selectees must be admissible to the United States,” a State Department information handout for applicants states. “The DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, electronically, and the consular officer, in person, will ask you questions about your eligibility to immigrate under U.S. law. These questions include criminal and security related topics. ”

How did it get started?

The program was established in a bill passed in 1990 known as the Immigration Act. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — then a New York congressman — was one of 31 co-sponsors of the House version of the bill, spearheaded by then-Rep. Bruce Morrison, a Connecticut Democrat.

Schumer was credited with the concept of giving visas to countries with low admission rates to the US, which he developed in a different bill that he sponsored that was rolled into the broader law.

Morrison also promoted the bill as a way to legalize Irish immigrants, according to a 1990 report in The New York Times and an analysis of the development of the program from the group NumbersUSA, which advocates for sharp cuts in overall immigration.

The final bill passed the Senate 89-8 and the House 264-118. – cnn

Goldman Sachs Formally Establishes Cryptocurrency Trading Team

Investment bank Goldman Sachs has officially formed a cryptocurrency trading team, according to the firm’s internal memo. Goldman Sachs says it is working to broaden its market presence in the crypto space and is currently selectively onboarding new liquidity providers to help expand its crypto service.

Goldman Sachs has officially set up a cryptocurrency trading team, according to the bank’s internal memo seen by CNBC Friday. The publication described that this memo was the first time the New York-based investment bank officially acknowledged its involvement in cryptocurrency trading.

The memo, entitled “Formation of Cryptocurrency Trading Team,” was written by Goldman partner Rajesh Venkataramani.

“I am pleased to announce the formation of the firm’s cryptocurrency trading team, which will be our centralized desk for managing cryptocurrency risk for our clients,” he wrote. “The crypto trading team will be a part of Global Currencies and Emerging Markets (GCEM), reporting to me, within the firm’s Digital Assets effort led by Mathew McDermott.”

The executive elaborated, “As part of our initial launch, we have successfully executed bitcoin (BTC) NDFs [non-deliverable forwards] and CME BTC future trades on a principal basis, all-cash settling,” noting:

Looking ahead, as we continue to broaden our market presence, albeit in a measured way, we are selectively onboarding new liquidity providers to help us in expanding our offering.

“In addition, yesterday we launched our Digital Assets dashboard which provides daily and intraday cryptocurrency market data and news to our clients,” he continued. “We invite you to highlight the dashboard to your clients.”

Venkataramani also clarified that “the firm is not in a position to trade bitcoin, or any cryptocurrency (including ethereum) on a physical basis.”

The crypto derivatives Goldman traded, bitcoin futures and non-deliverable forwards (NDFs), are settled in cash. Bitcoin News reported Thursday that Goldman Sachs hedges against the volatility of bitcoin by trading on CME Group, using Cumberland DRW as its trading partner.

Besides Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley is already offering some bitcoin investments to wealthy clients. Citigroup is reportedly considering offering some crypto services. Meanwhile, hundreds of smaller banks are said to have signed up to offer clients the ability to buy, sell, and hold bitcoin using their existing bank accounts.

The plot, the blunders and killing of Kiru school principal

Ms Muthoni suspected that her husband was cheating on her with a young woman running a mobile money shop.

After failing to eliminate her husband Solomon Mbuthi’s perceived lover, Jane Muthoni turned to the very men who had chickened out of killing her competitor, Margaret Kimindiri, with a new target and more money.

Ms Muthoni, who is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of killing former Kiru Boys High School Principal Solomon Mbuthi, had for long suspected that her husband was having a relationship with Ms Kimindiri.

She initially wanted Ms Kimindiri murdered. The plan, however, collapsed after her assassins claimed that the target’s shop in Kiriaini, Murang’a was too close to a police station, making it difficult to abduct her.

But unaware that she had hired amateurs to kill Ms Kimindiri, Ms Muthoni, who now wanted her husband killed, once again tasked Isaac Nganga alias Gikuyu and Joseph Kariuki alias Karis with the new job. It was a catastrophic failure which, as she would later find out, made it easy for the police to link her husband’s murder to her.

Just a regular guy

Gikuyu was just a regular guy who sold miraa from a kiosk in Gatundu. Icaciri Secondary School, where Ms Muthoni was a principal, is also located in Gatundu. Karis, on the other hand, was a tout in one of the matatus plying the Ruiru-Nairobi route. None of them had a criminal history or record with the police.

So incompetent were the would be assassins that Gikuyu was found with Mr Mbuthi’s size 10 CAT sports shoes after the Kiru Boys principal was murdered. Karis, on the other hand, cut a deal with the prosecution and spilled the beans about how the murder was planned and executed. In return, he earned a reduced sentence for manslaughter.

The initial meeting to plan Mr Mbuthi’s murder was held at Tree Shade Hotel along Thika Road sometime in June 2016. Present at the meeting was Ms Muthoni, Karis, Gikuyu and Nelson Njiru Magati. Mr Njiru, who was also Ms Muthoni’s lover, is the one who recruited Karis and Gikuyu for the job.

Advance payment

Karis and Gikuyu were, during the meeting, given Sh50,000 each as advance payment for the job and also to keep them interested. It would, however, take another five months for the plan to be executed “Njiru would call me occasionally to inform me that the job was still on,” Karis would later tell the court.

After months of waiting, a date was finally set for carrying out the murder. It was to take place on the Friday night of November 4, 2016. Njiru called Karis and Gikuyu informing them that they were to meet at Texas bar in Kimbo, Ruiru before proceeding to Kiriaini where Ms Muthoni would sneak them into her husband’s compound.

Once in the compound, the three — Njiru, Karis and Gikuyu— were to remain hidden in the car with a rope, waiting for a stupefying drug that Ms Muthoni was to administer to her husband to take effect. The drug was later identified by Joyce Wairimu, a government chemist who performed a toxicology on Mr Mbuthi’s body, to be xylene, a powerful sedative used in veterinary treatments.

“Once the drug took effect, Ms Muthoni was to call me and Gikuyu to come with the rope and finish the job,” Karis told the court.

Hired car

A car for the job, a white Toyota Sienta registration number KCF 405R, was immediately hired for the job by Njiru from Robert Kimani. In his statement to investigators, Mr Kimani said Njiru was supposed to return it the following day.

“He kept changing the time he was to return it but he eventually brought it on Monday, November 7,” recalled Mr Kimani. After getting a car and with a plan in place, Karis, Njiru and Gikuyu left for Murang’a with Ms Muthoni on the wheel. Karis and Gikuyu were seated at the back, safely hidden by the car’s tinted windows, while Njiru sat on the front passenger seat.

Second major blunder

This was their second major blunder in the mission they were to carry out. Mistake number one was communicating several times using their mobile phones on that day before meeting at Texas bar. Then, the fact that the four of them travelled together and with their mobile phones on would later be used by investigators to easily place them at the scene of the murder.

Evidence produced by Faisal Juma, a Safaricom Law Enforcement Liaison Officer and Vincent Mbaabu from Airtel were able to place before Justice Joel Ngugi credible evidence on how the four were tracked from the time they left Ruiru to Kiriaini and back.

“Basically, in order to route calls or texts to a phone, cell towers (masts) “listen” for a signal sent from the phone and “negotiate” which tower is best able to communicate with the phone. As the phone changes location, the antenna towers monitor the signal, and the phone is “roamed” to an adjacent tower as appropriate,” explained Mr Juma.

“By identifying which cell tower a particular phone used to communicate, one is able to approximate the location of the phone,” he said.

A tracking of cell phones belonging to the four showed that they all left Ruiru shortly before 6pm and arrived in Kiriaini at around 10.30pm. This is where Njiru was dropped, leaving Karis, Gikuyu and Ms Muthoni to head to Kiru Boys High School located about 3 kilometres away.

At the gate they were let in by David Gachoka, a security guard. Since it was the principal’s wife driving in, Mr Gachoka did not bother to carry out a security check on the vehicle or check whether there was anyone else inside the car.

“She requested us not to let the security dogs lose since she would be going out again. I immediately informed the other guard on duty, Mr Peter Wachira, of the request by the principal’s wife,” Mr Gachoka told investigators.

Request for milk

Two hours later, at about 12.30am, Mr Mbuthi called Mr Gachoka requesting for some milk from the school kitchen. The security guard did as instructed but when he went to the principal’s house, he found Ms Muthoni seated on the driver’s seat of the Toyota Sienta she had driven in at the parking lot. On seeing Mr Gachoka, Ms Muthoni instructed him to leave the milk at an adjacent house.

He did as he had been told and left. What the security guard did not know was that a major crime was taking place right at that time and under his nose. Hidden behind the tinted windows of the car the principal’s wife was in were two assassins who had been brought to kill Mr Mbuthi.

As for the principal, he had already been poisoned an hour before with xylene and was probably asking for milk in order to lower the pain he was feeling. Nevertheless, the plan did not work as Mr Mbuthi did not become sufficiently stupefied for Karis and Gikuyu to be summoned to strangle him.

After the failure of the plan, Ms Muthoni drove Karis and Gikuyu to Othaya in Nyeri for them to board matatus back to their homes in Kiambu. Along the way they picked Njiru who was waiting for them in Kiriaini.

The next day (Saturday), however, Njiru called Karis informing him that the plan was still on and that he would connect him to a contact who would sell him a better stupefying drug that will be administered to Mr Mbuthi.

Meanwhile, Mr Mbuthi and Ms Muthoni had travelled from Kiriaini to Icaciri Secondary School where they arrived in the evening at about 6.30pm. Apparently, the couple was supposed to view some plots at Uriithi in Kiambu on Sunday before Mr Mbuthi travelled back to Kiriaini where he was needed to pick KCSE examination papers which were to start on Monday.

Once they arrived in Icaciri, Ms Muthoni excused herself saying that she was expecting a parcel which had not been delivered. She immediately left and drove to Muigai Inn in Juja, 31 kilometres away.

Apparently the contact person that Karis had been directed to pick the stupefying drug from by Njiru was the same one that Ms Muthoni was going to meet. Ms Muthoni arrived shortly before Njiru at the location. In fact, Karis arrived as Ms Muthoni was picking the drug.

“I saw Ms Muthoni sitting in the Toyota Sienta while a stranger opened the front door, and left. I assumed that a transaction involving the mchele (street name for stupefying drugs) had taken place between her and the stranger,” recalled Karis.

Dazed

On Sunday at about noon, Njiru called Karis informing him that there was work to do and that he should proceed to Kenyatta Road. Shortly after, Ms Muthoni called Karis telling him that they should meet in Ndarugo at Uriithi plots. He proceeded there as instructed. Karis was the first to arrive. Ms Muthoni and a dazed Mr Mbuthi arrived shortly after in the Toyota Sienta.

“Maliza kazi (finish the job),” Ms Muthoni instructed. When Karis hesitated, Ms Muthoni barked, “Kwani wewe in muoga (are you a coward)” to which Karis responded, “You might as well kill your husband.”

Angered by the hesitation by Karis, Ms Muthoni got back in the car and sped off. She, however, returned shortly and told Karis that her husband was already too drugged and there is no way she was going to take him back home.

She then asked Karis to find out how far Gikuyu was. Karis called Gikuyu and it turned out that he was not very far. When Gikuyu arrived, the three of them entered the car and drove towards Karakuta coffee farm.

After driving in silence for some minutes, Ms Muthoni suddenly stopped and said in Kikuyu, “Ni hau (It’s here). As if on cue, Gikuyu, who was seated behind Mr Mbuthi according to a testimony by Karis, swung into action.

“He suddenly took the rope which was in the vehicle, put it round Mr Mbuthi’s neck and pulled it,” recalled Karis.

Dragged into thicket

They then dragged the school principal for about 100 metres into a small thicket where they instructed him to sit down. Gikuyu tied Mr Mbuthi’s hands, took some three soiled gunny bags which he had come with and used them to cover the school principal’s head, upper body and legs.

Before leaving the scene, Gikuyu took off the gum boots he was wearing. He also took Mr Mbuthi’s shoes, tried them on himself and found they fitted him well. The two walked back to where they had left Ms Muthoni but did not find her or the car.

They walked using a short-cut, to Kenyatta Road and went their separate ways. Karis and Gikuyu never saw each other again, neither did they meet Njiru or Ms Muthoni who were supposed to pay them the balance for the job.

Mr Mbuthi, who the next morning (November 8), was supposed to pick KCSE exam papers at the Murang’a County education office, failed to show up, triggering an alarm to search for his whereabouts. Naturally, media houses sent journalists to Icaciri Secondary School where they were met by a teary Ms Muthoni.

“It is not easy. I don’t know whether you want me to use Kikuyu or English but it is not easy especially for me as a mother,” Ms Muthoni told journalists.

Mr Mbuthi’s body was discovered four days later. His widow and Gikuyu were arrested eight days later.

They will be sentenced on May 18 after being found guilty of murdering Mr Mbuthi.

Meanwhile Njiru disappeared without a trace and is still missing four years later. – nation.co.ke