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Dual citizenship holders locked out of envoy jobs in new law in Kenya

Dual citizenship holders locked out of envoy jobs in new law

Career diplomats will be required to have served within the Foreign Affairs ministry for at least 10 years. The National Assembly has been grappling with the dual citizenship question in the appointment of Kenya’s ambassador to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi. Kenyans who hold dual citizenship will not be appointed as high commissioners, ambassadors, diplomatic and consular representatives in new laws to streamline the Foreign Service.

 

The proposed Foreign Service Bill, 2021, states that a person nominated by the President to such posts will not be citizens of another country during the period of their appointment.
The Bill, which is awaiting the First Reading in the National Assembly, says nominees will also have to be of reputable character and standing within the country.
Career diplomats will be required to have served within the Foreign Affairs ministry for at least 10 years.

Where one is not a career diplomat, the Bill sponsored by Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito spells that they will be required to be suited for training or have at least 10 years’ experience in public affairs.

The National Assembly has been grappling with the dual citizenship question in the appointment of Kenya’s ambassador to South Korea Mwende Mwinzi.

Mwende’s assumption of the post sparked outrage as the august House had rejected her appointment on grounds she refused to renounce her US citizenship.

 

MPs led by Mosop’s Vincent Tuwei questioned why the Executive ignored recommendations of the House to rescind the appointment.

Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo said there can be no other way around provisions of the law that require that an appointment takes effect with the approval of the House.

The concern is that having dual citizenship holders as envoys exposes the state as it is difficult to know where one’s allegiance lies.

Mwinzi maintains that one cannot change the place they were born, as place of birth gives one an inalienable right to citizenship of the particular country.

It is these issues that the Metito-backed Bill, drawn by the government, seeks to address in a substantive law that also stands to change the terms of Foreign Service.

“The object of the bill is to provide for establishment, management, administration, accountability, and functioning of a professional foreign service,” Metito said in the Bill’s memorandum.

 

Envoys appointed prior to the commencement of the proposed law will serve the remainder of their unexpired term in office unless recalled or removed as per the law.
The staff of the ministry prior to the commencement of this Act shall be the staff of the Foreign Service (to be created by the Bill),” the proposed law reads.

Among other provisions is that envoys of any rank will serve a term of four years, but can be reappointed by the President in line with the previous approval by the National Assembly.

“The reappointment of a high commissioner, ambassador, diplomatic or consular representative shall not require the approval of the National Assembly,” the Bill reads.

When not reappointed, career diplomats will be recalled to the MFA headquarters to be assigned roles by the principal secretary. “In any other case, he or she [envoy] shall be recalled but shall not continue to be employed by the ministry.”

Also proposed is a Foreign Service Academy to undertake training and programmes aimed at “enhancing skills, capacity, and professionalism of officers in the service.”

 

The academy would also undertake foreign policy research and disseminate information on Kenya’s foreign policy as well as advise the national government on foreign policy.

It would also establish a databank of all present and past Foreign Service professionals, the same law providing for reimbursement to the ministry for cash used to evacuate Kenyans abroad.

Mission or their respective heads, the proposal says, may be accredited to one or more states and international organisations.

 

It also provides for the appointment of Honorary Consuls by the President – being persons of independent means, high standing in their country, and with contacts beyond the host country’s government.

The lot would be required to actively pursue the country’s foreign policy objectives and act as official representative of the republic at official functions in the host country.

The Foreign Service will be responsible for maintaining good relations between the republic and other states and governments. – The Star

Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip dead at the age of 99

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, has died at the age of 99, Buckingham Palace has announced. A statement from Buckingham Palace said: ‘It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. ‘His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.’ Other members of the Royal Family have been informed of his death and it is expected that flags across the country will be lowered to half mast. Mourners have already begun laying flowers outside Buckingham palace, where Royal household staff have placed a framed plaque announcing the Duke’s death. Police on horses moved people along as small crowds stopped to read the sign.

 

Buckingham Palace said further announcements will be made in due course, adding: ‘The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.’ The Duke, the longest-reigning consort in British history, had recently been treated at King Edward VII Hospital and St Bartholomew’s Hospital for an infection. He returned to Windsor Castle on March 16 to be reunited with the Queen after spending a month in hospital – his longest ever stay. He initially received care for an infection but then underwent heart surgery for a pre-existing condition. Philip – father to the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – was just two months away from his 100th birthday in June. Over the coming days funeral arrangements will be made for Philip, who was married to Queen Elizabeth II for more than 70 years.

 

Prince Philip’s school years were spent in various private institutions in Europe.

It was while he was away at one British boarding school that his exiled family began to fracture.

In 1930, when he was eight years old, his mother, Princess Alice, was committed to a secure psychiatric centre after suffering a nervous breakdown.

His father, Prince Andrew, retreated to the French Riviera with a mistress. Later, his four sisters married and moved to Germany.

Philip’s maternal relatives in the UK helped raise him and he later adopted their surname, Mountbatten – an anglicised form of the family name Battenberg.

By the time he went to Gordonstoun, a private school on the north coast of Scotland, Philip was tough, independent and able to fend for himself.

Its founder and headmaster was Jewish educational pioneer Kurt Hahn, who had been forced out of Germany for condemning the Nazis.

Prince Philip loved the school and its ethos – a focus on community service, teamwork, responsibility and respect for the individual that laid the foundations of how he wanted to live his life.

The UK’s political parties have suspended their campaigning for May’s local and national elections. The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have all paused their campaigns, as have the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

 

The Duke of Edinburgh has made such a huge contribution to the success of the Queen’s reign. The Queen and Prince Philip were quite different in terms of character – the Queen, quite cautious and reserved, whereas the duke was full of self confidence – but together the partnership really worked.

He in support, a role which he adapted to and adjusted to and found he was rather well-suited to – he was utterly loyal in his belief in the importance of the role that the Queen was fulfilling – and in his duty to support her.

It was the importance of the solidity of that relationship, of their marriage, that was so crucial to the success of her reign. King Philippe of Belgium (here with Queen Mathilde last month) intends to speak to the Queen when possibleImage caption: King Philippe of Belgium (here with Queen Mathilde last month) intends to speak to the Queen when possible
A number of European heads of state have expressed their sympathies on the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh.

King Philippe of Belgium has conveyed the condolences of the Belgian Royal Family to the Queen in a private message. A public message will be released soon, but the King hoped to speak to the Queen in person when it was possible.

 

King Carl Gustaf of Sweden has said he and Queen Silvia are “deeply saddened to learn of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh”. “Prince Philip has been a great friend of our family for many years, a relation which we have deeply valued. His service to his country will remain an inspiration to us all”.

Taoiseach of Ireland Micheál Martin said he was “saddened to hear of the death of HRH, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with Queen Elizabeth and the people of the United Kingdom at this time”.

Malta’s prime minister, Robert Abela, said he was “truly saddened by the loss of Prince Philip, who made Malta his home and returned here so often. Our people will always treasure his memory”.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said: “It is with great sadness that I learned about the passing of Prince Philip. May his soul rest in peace. I extend my deepest condolences to Queen Elizabeth II. In this hour of immense loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you & the people of the UK”.

Latvian President Egils Levits said: “My deepest condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family on the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.”

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, won widespread respect for his steadfast and constant support of the Queen.

 

It was a desperately difficult role for anyone, let alone a man who had been used to naval command and who held strong views on a wide range of subjects.

Yet it was that very strength of character that enabled him to discharge his responsibilities so effectively, and provide such wholehearted support to his wife in her role as Queen.

As male consort to a female sovereign, Prince Philip had no constitutional position. But no-one was closer to the monarchy, or of greater importance to the monarch, than he was.

Other political leaders from across the UK are among those paying tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh. Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster offered her “deepest sympathies” to the Queen and the Royal Family “at this sad time”, while Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill extended her “sincere condolences”. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said he was “incredibly sad” to hear of the duke’s death.

“He served the crown with selfless devotion and will be sorely missed by the people of Wales and the many organisations he supported,” he said in a tweet.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has sent her “personal and deepest condolences” to the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family. “I am saddened by news that the Duke of Edinburgh has died,” she says in a tweet.

 

“I send my personal and deepest condolences – and those of @scotgov and the people of Scotland – to Her Majesty The Queen and her family.” As a young boy Philip’s family were drive from Corfu, the place of his birth, and were living in exile in Europe. In Paris, he lived in a house borrowed from a relative; but it was not destined to become a home.

In just one year, while he was at boarding school in Britain, the mental health of his mother, Princess Alice, deteriorated and she went into an asylum; his father, Prince Andrew, went off to Monte Carlo to live with his mistress; and his four sisters married and went to live in Germany. In the space of 10 years he had gone from a prince of Greece to a wandering, homeless, and virtually penniless boy with no-one to care for him.

Prince Philip married Princess Elizabeth in 1947, five years before she became Queen, and was the longest-serving royal consort in British history. The couple had four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Their first son, the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, was born in 1948, followed by his sister, the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, in 1950. The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, followed in 1960 and finally the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, in 1964.

Boris Johnson ends his tribute by saying the Royal Family have lost “not just a much-loved and highly respected public figure, but a devoted husband, a proud and loving father, grandfather, and in recent years, great-grandfather”.

 

The prime minister quotes the Queen as once saying the country owed her husband a greater debt than “we should ever know”, adding that he was sure that estimate was correct.

“We mourn today with Her Majesty the Queen, we offer our condolences to her, and all her family and we give thanks, as a nation, and kingdom, for the extraordinary life and work of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” he said.

In his tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, Boris Johnson said, “he helped to steer the Royal Family and the monarchy so that it remains an institution indisputably vital to the balance and happiness of our national life.”

He said he was an environmentalist and a “champion of the natural world long before it was fashionable”. Prince Philip also “shaped and inspired the lives of countless young people” with his Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, the prime minister said, and at literally tens of thousands of events “he fostered their hopes and encouraged their ambitions”.

He said the duke would also be remembered above all for his “steadfast support” for the Queen – not just as her consort but as her husband, “her strength and stay for more than 70 years”. “It is to Her Majesty and the family that the nation’s thoughts must turn today.”

A framed notice of the death of Prince Philip has been placed on the railings of Buckingham Palace in central London.

 

The notice reads: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. “Further announcements will be made in due course. “The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

Reacting to the news of Prince Philip’s death, leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, says: “The United Kingdom has lost an extraordinary public servant in Prince Philip.

“Prince Philip dedicated his life to our country – from a distinguished career in the Royal Navy during the Second World War to his decades of service as the Duke of Edinburgh.

“However, he will be remembered most of all for his extraordinary commitment and devotion to the Queen.

 

“For more than seven decades, he has been at her side. Their marriage has been a symbol of strength, stability and hope, even as the world around them changed – most recently during the pandemic. It was a partnership that inspired millions in Britain and beyond.

“My thoughts are with the Queen, the Royal Family and the British people as our nation comes together to mourn and remember the life of Prince Philip.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it is “with great sadness” that he received news of Prince Philip’s death from Buckingham Palace.

Paying tribute, he said the Duke of Edinburgh earned the affection of generations in the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world.

“He was the longest serving consort in history, one of the last surviving people in this country to have served in the Second World War where he was mentioned in dispatches for bravery.”

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen were married for more than 70 years and Philip dedicated decades of his life to royal duty, serving the nation at the monarch’s side.

He was the longest-serving royal consort in British history and officially retired from public engagements in the summer of 2017.

In a statement Buckingham Palace said: “It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

 

“His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. Further announcements will made in due course. “The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss.”

Prince Philip was born on the Greek island of Corfu on 10 June 1921 but was not Greek – his ancestry was Danish, German and British.

His father was Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark, a younger son of King George I of the Hellenes.

His mother, Princess Alice, was a daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten and a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.

His family was driven into exile in 1922 when King Constantine of Greece was deposed in a coup.

A British warship took the prince’s family to France when he was 18 months old – the young prince ferried to safety in a cot made of an orange box – and his early years were spent wandering as his family moved from country to country.

The young prince attended several European schools, including Gordonstoun, in Moray – where he later sent his sons – before becoming a cadet at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

 

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, has died aged 99, Buckingham Palace has announced.

The Duke of Edinburgh “passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle”, the palace said in a statement.

One of Britain’s richest men has been found stabbed to death in Dorset, UK

Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 83, suffered stab wounds in attack at £2million home near Gillingham in Dorset

Multi-millionaire hotelier Sir Richard Sutton, 83, is stabbed to death and wife in her 60s fights for her life after attack at their £2m Dorset mansion as man ‘known to them’ is arrested after being tracked 100 miles to London.

One of Britain’s richest men has been found stabbed to death in his country mansion, it was revealed today. Hotelier Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 83, was attacked inside his £2million home in north Dorset, last night.

The Baronet – whose family title dates back to the time of King George III and whose property empire is thought to be double that of the Ministry of Defence – is estimated to be worth £301million.
A woman, thought to be his second wife, named locally as Anne Schreiber, is also believed to have suffered knife injuries in the attack at the home, named Moorhill.

Sir Richard – described as an ‘old English gentry land owner’ – recently ranked at number 435 on the Sunday Times Rich List and owned the five-star Sheraton Grand on London’s prestigious Park Lane and the luxury Athenaeum in Piccadilly.

 

He also owned other hotels in Bath, Cheltenham and Windsor, and had farming and property businesses.

The millionaire landowner, who is divorced from first wife Italian Fiamma Sutton, has two children, son, David, 61, and daughter, Caroline, 55, as well as five grandchildren.

Last night police arrested a 34-year-old man, known to Sir Richard, on suspicion of murder.

Detectives had earlier tracked a Range Rover more than 100 miles across four different counties to Hammersmith in London, where they made the arrest.

The female victim, who is aged in her 60s, was airlifted to the Southmead Hospital in Bristol. Her condition was today described as ‘critical’.

Pictures of a car accident in Chiswick, London, showed a Range Rover driver being carried away in a stretcher after he was found to have suffered ‘a number of serious self-inflicted injuries’.

The man was pulled from the vehicle after suffering five stab wounds, according to an eyewitness.

 

He received medical treatment for more than an hour, by police with a defibrillator to begin with before paramedics took over.

The motorist was eventually put on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and taken to hospital in an ambulance.

A police statement said: ‘At approximately 22:30hrs on Wednesday, 7 April, police stopped a vehicle in Chiswick High Road. When they approached the vehicle, officers discovered that the lone male occupant had sustained a number of serious self-inflicted injuries.

‘First aid was commenced immediately and the London Ambulance Service were called. The male was taken to a west London hospital. His injuries have been assessed as non-life threatening.’ The Metropolitan Police operation involved armed police, police dog handlers and the force helicopter.

An eyewitness told MailOnline this evening: ‘I counted about 17 police cars and two ambulances. The whole street was bathed in flashing blue lights.

‘There had been two or three large bangs, which drew me to the window.

‘I saw what looked to be a Range Rover that had come to a stop between two police 4x4s and a BMW X5.

‘The police swarmed around the Range Rover and the driver was brought out and laid out on the road.

 

Hotelier Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, 83 – who owns twice as much land as the Ministry of Defence – is estimated to be worth £301million. He is a baronet, a hereditary honour awarded by the monarch.

It is the lowest-ranking hereditary title, but baronets are able to use the prefix ‘sir. The Sutton Baronetcy of Norwood Park in the County of Nottingham, dates back to October 1772.

It was created by King George III for politician Richard Sutton.

He was the second surviving son of the distinguished diplomat Sir Robert Sutton.

The latter was the grandson of Henry Sutton, brother of Robert Sutton, 1st Baron Lexinton.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the family seat was at Benham Place. However, the house was sold in 1982.

Sir Richard Sutton’s estates is still worth several million pounds.

‘He was clearly in some distress, the police crowded around him and began to assess his injuries.

 

‘They cut his clothes off, his shirt and trousers, and then wrapped him in a silver foil wrap as they administered first aid.

‘I saw an officer go to the back of the X5 and bring out what looked like a defibrillator. The ambulances showed up a short while later.

‘The paramedics took over the medical treatment. The driver of the Range Rover appeared to be conscious as the officers were talking to him and I could see him move slightly.

‘After maybe an hour to 90-minutes he was placed on a stretcher with an oxygen mask over his mouth and placed in the back of one of the ambulances.

‘The police remained at the scene all night. My flat is directly above the Chiswick High Road and I could see a senior officer briefing his officers afterwards.

‘I heard him say “five stab wounds” which I took to be the injuries of the driver they’d stopped.

‘It was a big, big operation. There were armed police everywhere and a dog unit. At least two helicopters hovered overhead.

 

‘The forensics arrived in the early hours and were searching the scene of the stop. They were there until about 4am this morning.’

The crash was captured on camera by resident Maureen Kane, 50, whose flat overlooks the street.

Ms Kane, who works in video marketing, told how up to 40 police officer attended the scene.

She said: ‘I just heard a loud screech of cars swerving and then crash sounds.

‘Then I looked out of my window and saw lots of armed police jumping on top of a car and aiming guns at a man and all around his car.

‘He was a white male in his 30s and seemed to be injured.

‘It looked pretty bad but I’m not sure if he was injured in a crash or if police shot him.

‘He was naked as they ripped his clothes off and pulled him out of the car.

‘I was scared as I thought it was a terrorist and there were so many police officer with guns.

‘About 10 policemen surrounded him until an ambulance arrived.

‘Then I saw another 30 or 40 police cars arrive and lots of people were shouting with guns.’

The ambulance arrived within 30 minutes, Ms Kane said, adding: ‘Police were still in the road and had all the roads blocked for hours after this until I went to bed at 2am.

‘I’ve not heard anything about it from my neighbours or anything since.’

 

Sir Richard was found with fatal stab wounds following the attack at his large detached home near Gillingham, Dorset. He bought the Moorhill country estate, set in the tiny hamlet of Higher Langham, in 2014 for £1.4million.

Sir Richard, who inherited his estate with his baronetcy in 1981, has today been described as an ‘old English gentry landowner’.

Alongside his two Park Lane hotels he owned a swathe of property and farms across the country. In total he and his family own close to 7,000 acres of land across the UK – more than double the amount owned by the MoD.

A spokesman for the Sir Richard Sutton Limited (SRSL) said today: ‘We are deeply saddened and devastated by the sudden death of Sir Richard Sutton, announced this morning.

The property is a large detached home in a tiny hamlet, near Gillingham, Dorset. Pictured: Flowers left at the scene today, as police continue their investigation +22
The property is a large detached home in a tiny hamlet, near Gillingham, Dorset. Pictured: Flowers left at the scene today, as police continue their investigation

A woman, believed to be his wife, also suffered knife injuries in the attack at the home, named Moorhill. Pictured: Police at the scene today +22
A woman, believed to be his wife, also suffered knife injuries in the attack at the home, named Moorhill. Pictured: Police at the scene today

‘Sir Richard was a caring, generous and warm family man, who genuinely regarded those who worked for him as part of his extended family.

 

‘Sir Richard was passionately devoted to both his company and its people, setting the highest and standards for quality in the hotels, farming and property interests within the group.

‘His loss will be felt by everyone within the company, those who worked with him, and his family who have lost an incredible individual. Our thoughts are with the Sutton family at this tragic time.’

Today three police vans were seen at the entrance to a long drive which leads to the remote property, while forensics officers were observed inside.

A neighbour said: ‘The Suttons live there. They have two grown up children and grandchildren.

‘It is just awful. You would never imagine something like this could happen. They are lovely people.’

 

A local farmer said: ‘I saw a search helicopter with a spotlight overhead last night and then an air ambulance landed. ‘The people who live there is an old English gentry landowner and his wife.’

Another neighbour said they were aware of police helicopters flying over the house for a number of hours. – dailymail.co.uk

Covid: Deaths in England and Wales fall 92% since January peak

Weekly deaths involving coronavirus in England and Wales have dropped 92% since the peak of the second wave in January, according to official figures.

Meanwhile, the total number of deaths registered in the UK over one week is 5% below the five-year average.

It comes amid continued efforts to reassure the public over the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s possible link to rare blood clots.

Earlier, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the jab remained safe.

He urged those who had received one dose to take up their second and said the UK was on track to vaccinate all adults by 31 July.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics showed there were 712 deaths involving Covid in the week ending 19 March, down from 8,945 in late January.

 

The largest falls were seen among the oldest age groups, with deaths falling 92.9% among those aged 80 and over and 93.4% for the 75 to 79 age group, compared to 83.7% for those aged 60 to 64.

Separate figures showed the number of deaths registered in the UK in the week ending 26 March was 11,439, which was 5% below the five-year average. Last week, deaths were 8% below the 5-year average.

 

 

Blood clot victim’s sister urges people to get jab

Adults aged over 80 were the second priority group for vaccination, followed by over-75s and over 70s. The government says everyone in these groups was offered a jab by mid-February.

Figures on Thursday showed the UK’s vaccination programme had recovered after a lull over Easter, with an extra 408,396 second doses administered and 99,530 first doses. The number of people fully vaccinated is now over six million, while 31.8 million have received just one dose.

Another 3,030 confirmed cases were reported, along with 53 further deaths within 28 days of a positive test.

Seeking to reassure people who have received a first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab, Mr Hancock said there was “no evidence” of the rare blood clots after the second dose of the vaccine.

The UK changed policy on Wednesday to offer under-30s an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, after weighing the benefits of vaccination compared to a potential very rare risk of blood clots.

 

There had been 79 incidents of the clots and 19 deaths among the 20 million Oxford-AstraZeneca doses administered, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said. That equates to a one-in-a-million risk of a fatal side effect.

It said there was no proof the vaccine had caused the clots but the link was getting firmer. Both the MHRA and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said the benefits of the jab outweigh the risks, however.

Mr Hancock said people should have confidence in the safety system for vaccines because it was “able to spot this extremely rare event”. The risk was about the same as taking a long-haul flight, he said.

 

And he said there was “more than enough” doses of vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna due to arrive to offer an alternative to the 8.5 million UK adults under 30 yet to be vaccinated.

The UK has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 17 million of the Moderna jab and also has agreements with several other companies for jabs that are still waiting for approval, including 100 million doses from Valneva and 30 million from Janssen.

A government scientific adviser said communication of the benefits and side-effects was “critical” to avoiding a loss of confidence in the vaccines.

Prof Stephen Reicher told BBC Radio 4’s World at One that having a Covid jab is “actually one of the safer things you do in the day”.

“Something like 30 or 40 people drown in the bath every year, something like 1,000 people die falling down the stairs, something like 200 die from choking on their breakfast, and that’s many, many more deaths than we get from these vaccines,” he said.

Uhuru commissions small arms factory in Ruiru

President Kenyatta said the new factory will help deal with the high cost of weapons acquisition

The commissioning of the factory is significant given that Kenya has been importing most of its firearms. President Kenyatta said the project seeks to enhance Kenyan’s self-reliance through local production of security equipment.

The president further said the project is in line with the Big Four agenda, noting that the initiative is part of his government’s efforts in supporting local technological advancement.

 

“Most of us are aware that Covid-19 pandemic has taught us the hard way that international supply chains are vulnerable to disruption. That is why we are adding another arrow to our security quiver,” President Kenyatta said. President Uhuru Kenyatta when he commissioned a small arms factory at National Security Industries in Ruiru, Kiambu County on April 8, 2021.

The president further noted that the project is meant to set the stage for the progressive domestic manufacture of security equipment used by the country other than relying on external markets.

President Kenyatta also noted that the new factory will help deal with the high cost of weapons acquisition and provide the security sector independence and allow Kenya to produce high quality weapons.

 

“Our major target in venturing into this initiative is a sure way of self -reliance and strengthening of local capabilities and lucrative jobs for our youths,” he said.

The project is also expected to provide 100 direct employments and 1,100 indirect employment in form of supply of raw materials among other benefits.

The president said local production of guns will reduce the country’s dependence on imported machinery by up to 60 per cent and save the country from the expenditure. During the commissioning exercise, the head of state was accompanied by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and among other government officials. – nation.co.ke

Revealed: Treasury to borrow another Sh780bn in Eurobonds

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani.

IMF has revealed kenya plans to borrow an additional Sh1.3 trillion that includes at least two Eurobonds from the international financial markets in the next 18 months. Kenya is not planning to slow down its borrowing appetite any time soon despite mounting public pressure on the government to slow down on its borrowing spree.

This is after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revealed that the country plans to borrow an additional Sh1.3 trillion that includes at least two Eurobonds from the international financial markets in the next 18 months.

According to the National Treasury’s borrowing plan contained in its submissions to the IMF, Sh528 billion ($4.8 billion) of government external borrowing will be concessional compared to Sh253 billion ($2.3 billion) in commercial borrowing (Eurobond issuance) for project financing. In total, the Eurobonds alone will net the country a total of Sh781 billion.

Debt management

IMF notes that the borrowing plan under the programme allows for another Sh550 billion ($5 billion) Eurobond issuance to be used exclusively for debt management operations, which could include a refinancing of the 2024 Eurobond and retiring of relatively expensive syndicated loans.

“Given Kenya’s financing needs, the domestic market is projected to be an important source of public financing, particularly during the early phase of the programme,” the document notes.

This now explains the current push to increase the debt ceiling beyond the Sh9 trillion limit. By the end of 2020, multilateral creditors accounted for about 40 per cent of external debt in Kenya, while debt from bilateral creditors represented close to 33 per cent.

Loans from China

Of Kenya’s bilateral debt, about 63 per cent is owed to non-Paris Club members, mainly loans from China to finance construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) project.

IMF says the Kenyan government has shifted its financing strategy to prioritise concessional financing, and with the recovery of market access in recent months, the authorities plan commercial borrowing — in limited amounts — to safeguard external debt sustainability.

“While Kenya is at high risk of debt distress and subject to zero limits on non-concessional borrowing, the authorities have requested, and staff supports, non-zero limit exceptions for project financing and debt management operations,” the IMF says in the report.

In this context, commercial borrowing will be used to finance projects that are critical for Kenya’s development strategy and have high economic and social returns and for which concessional financing is not available and to proceed with liability management operations. This approach is consistent with the Fund’s Debt Limit Policy.

Treasury said last month that Kenya would use proceeds from a fresh Eurobond to retire expensive loans and refinance the old Eurobonds, if it fails to secure cheaper concessional loans.

“With regards to the Eurobond, we have plans to access the international financial market for two reasons. One is to refinance some of the expensive debt,” said Dr Haron Sirima, the director-general, Public Debt Management Office at the National Treasury.

He said the second reason why the government is contemplating accessing the international financial markets was in the event it does not get cheaper credit elsewhere, the Treasury will have to go for another Eurobond to repay previous Eurobonds.

“In the event that we will not be able to raise concessionary funding by June, we may need to raise additional resources to breach that gap,” Dr Sirima added that the rules governing Eurobond issuance bar countries from telling the market in advance when and how much the borrower plans to borrow.

Expensive debt

He said retiring expensive debt would give the government some breathing space by reducing the interest repayment pressures. Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the country has no challenges with Eurobond repayments because it is going to be rolled over. He said the government has also made provisions for servicing and also replacing.

Rolling over is a debt strategy where, instead of repaying the principal of a loan when it falls due, a country decides to enter into a new agreement with the lender to give it a new loan to repay the first debt.

Though it is a preferred mode of refinancing debt worldwide, it comes with a roll over risk where the new loan can come at a higher rate, thereby forcing the borrower to pay more in interest repayments.

Kenya went for its first Eurobond in June 2014 where a total of Sh280 billion was borrowed in five and 10-year tranches. The government went back for another Eurobond in 2018 year where it netted Sh202 billion in 10 and 30-year tranches.

Kachumbari bond

In 2019, Kenya was back at the international markets where it raised its Sh210 billion in its third Eurobond named the Kachumbari bond that also repaid other loans and funded unspecified infrastructure projects.

The loan was issued in a dual tranche, one maturing in seven years and the other after 12 years. In total, the country has raised about Sh692 billions in Eurobonds alone, which started maturing last year all the way to 2024.

For some time now, Treasury has also been exploring various alternative financing options such as private placement, diaspora bonds, Islamic bonds (Sukuk), and issuance of sovereign green bonds over the medium term to finance climate friendly public projects.

By the end of December 2020, Kenya’s debt had grown to Sh7.2 trillion, which is equivalent to 65.6 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Total external debt was Sh3.7 trillion while the domestic debt was Sh3.4 trillion.

The Public Finance Management Act, 2012 sets the statutory debt ceiling at Sh9 trillion. At the current borrowing pace of about Sh1 trillion per year, this ceiling is going to be hit before the end of the next financial year. Mr Yatani said experts at the debt office under the National Treasury are working hard to ensure that the country restructures its loan portfolio to ease the burden. – nation.co.ke

Myanmar ambassador to UK ‘locked out’ of London embassy

Myanmar’s ambassador to the UK Kyaw Zwar Minn (R) speaks to a police officer outside the embassy in London

Myanmar’s ambassador in London says he has been locked out of his embassy. Kyaw Zwar Minn said staff were asked to leave the building by Myanmar’s military attaché and he was told he was no longer the country’s representative.

“I have been locked out,” he told Reuters news agency. Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup on 1 February, sparking weeks of protests and escalating violence. Kyaw Zwar Minn has called for the release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

More than 500 people – including dozens of children – have been killed so far as pro-democracy protesters demand a return to power of elected leader Ms Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party. Kyaw Zwar Minn described Wednesday’s events as “a kind of coup, in the middle of London”, Reuters reported. “This kind of coup is not going to happen,” he added. The ambassador was pictured standing on the street outside Myanmar’s embassy in London’s Mayfair speaking to officers from the Metropolitan Police force.

Police were reportedly called to stop staff re-entering the building. Protesters have since been gathering outside the embassy. In March, Kyaw Zwar Minn called for the release of Ms Suu Kyi and told the BBC that Myanmar was “divided” and could be at risk of civil war. He maintained that his remarks were not “betraying the country”, adding that he was standing on “middle” ground.

The ambassador, who is a former military colonel, was praised by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who commended his “courage and patriotism”. Deputy ambassador Chit Win is said to have taken over as charge d’affairs in London, Reuters reported, citing diplomats with knowledge of the matter.

A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office told the BBC that it was “seeking clarification on the current status of the Myanmar ambassador in London, in line with diplomatic protocol”. Myanmar’s military seized power in the country after overthrowing the government and declared a state of emergency.

Just days later, a protest movement began to emerge, which quickly gained momentum, leading to hundreds of thousands of people taking part in street protests. Last week, Ms Suu Kyi was charged with breaking a colonial-era official secrets law, which carries a term of up to 14 years in prison.

Couple transform home that hasn’t been touched in 30 years and add £45,000 to value

The couple’s finished home

A couple who bought their first home in for £155,000 managed to add £45,000 to the value in just six weeks with a radical makeover. The property, in Rugby, Warwickshire, hadn’t been decorated in 30 years so there was lots of work to do. Buyers Ewelina Mejka, 36, and husband Przemyslaw, 33, completed in May 2018 and transformed it themselves. ‘The state of the house was really bad,’ Ewelina, a healthcare assistant, said.

‘An old lady was living here and she passed away – I think she hadn’t done anything to the house for 30 years.’ Most of the work was cosmetic as all of the electricity and piping was in good condition. Keen to get the job done as quickly as possible, the couple, who are parents to daughters Amelia, 12, and nine-year-old Lena, took time off of work so they could dedicate the hours to decorating. They removed all the carpets and wallpaper, and took out the original kitchen and bathroom. Przemyslaw skimmed the walls and Ewelina spent time painting the entire house – three times – one white coat and then two of the chosen colour for each room.

The couple spent £5,300 on new windows and a new front door, as well as £2,200 on a new boiler. The kitchen, which they purchased from IKEA, cost £3,000, and Przemyslaw fitted it himself. The downstairs wooden flooring cost £2,000, while the upstairs carpet set them back £1,300. They spent around £4,200 on a new bath, sink and toilet, linoleum floors in the kitchen and bathroom, and paints and plaster. – metro.co.uk

‘Do not travel to Kenya,’ US gov’t warns its citizens over COVID-19 risk

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

The United States government has issued a travel advisory asking it’s citizens not to travel to Kenya due to increased risk of COVID-19. This is after the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) once again assigned Kenya a Level 4 alert, which is their highest risk assessment level for COVID-19.

A Level 4 alert means that American citizens should avoid all travel to the country because there are very high chances of contracting COVID-19. In the alert, the US agency notes that international flights and businesses are still operating in Kenya albeit restricted.

“Do not travel to Kenya due to COVID-19… International flights are still operating, though limited. Internal flights are restricted, and road and rail transportation are limited geographically and by curfew. Most businesses are operating, but with significant restrictions on the dining and entertainment sector,” reads the alert.

According to data from the World Health Organization, the US has so far recorded over 30 million COVID-19 cases with more than 500,000 having succumbed to the disease. Meanwhile in Kenya the caseload stands at 141,365 with cumulative fatalities being 2,276.

US citizens in Kenya not to travel to the Kenya-Somalia border and some coastal areas due to terrorism as well as areas of Turkana County due to crime. The US government further warned its citizens to “reconsider travel to Nairobi neighborhoods of Eastleigh and Kibera at all times due to crime and kidnapping. Be especially careful when traveling after dark anywhere in Kenya due to crime.” In December last the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had also assigned Kenya a Level 4 alert. – citizen.co.ke

2021 Study Reveals Surprising Truth About UK Cremations And Funerals

We plan our careers. We plan our holidays. We try to prepare for many things throughout our life. But there’s one important matter that most of us fail to get ready for. It’s something that’s certain to come and cannot be avoided…

Death

 

A recent study from YouGov found out that only 6% of adults set up a prepaid funeral or cremation plan¹.This creates a problem for their family and loved ones.

Because the time comes and planning is no longer an option, many end up stressed with years of debt because of all the costs on their shoulders.

In fact, the cost of the average funeral in the UK has increased 122% in the last 15 years . In 2018, the total cost of dying was an alarming £9,204 per person². An online study reported the average cost of a burial is £4,321 and a cremation is £3,250³.

The final price will vary depending on the plan chosen and several other factors, but generally cremations are cheaper than burials because there are fewer costs involved.

No matter the final price, smart consumers in the UK save money by comparing quotes before choosing a plan. It may not be a motivating task, but it’s worth it.

And by not taking care of this in advance, it may have serious financial consequences and cause unnecessary stress to your loved ones. It’s more important now than ever to lock in a rate that won’t grow over time.

Projections published by the UK government in a Funerals Market Study found that funeral costs increased twice as fast as inflation⁴. With proper coverage, your relatives will be safe from this burden.

The good news is that Reassured are helping a lot of people save money by arranging prepaid plans with funeral and cremation providers.

This new method offers cost-effective plans that allow you to cover funeral costs without the burden of emotional stress.

There’s no medical exam required or need to get your health checked to qualify. Coverage is guaranteed for UK residents aged 18 and above.

To search for a plan, simply select your age below to avoid using time and effort to call multiple providers to find the perfect plan.