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US denies pushing for coalition government in Kenya

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US denies reports it is pushing for coalition government between Uhuru and Raila

By ALLAN TAWAI

The United States has been forced to repudiate media reports that it was pushing for a unity government between Jubilee and the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA).

This follows reports that US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec was pushing for power sharing between President Uhuru Kenyatta and NASA leader Raila Odinga following prolonged dispute over the 2017 general election.

NASA co-principal Moses Wetang'ula

NASA co-principal Moses Wetang’ula

Through his tweet, the US says that it is committed to seeing what it terms a national conversation involving all Kenyans to resolve the current political impasse. It says it wants to see long-standing issues arising from elections being resolved and divisions created by the 2017 election addressed.

The NASA leadership has insisted that it would not agree to sharing power with Jubilee and has demanded for talks to bring electoral justice. But their Jubilee counterparts have refused to engage in any talks based on electoral justice insisting that it will only talk about development based on Vision 2030 blueprint.

Godec met NASA co-principal Moses Wetang’ula recently before reports emerged that he was pushing for a unity government. Wetang’ula has since denied having talks on the same saying NASA’s resolve to end electoral injustice was on course.

 

 

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Uhuru signs Sh180 billion deal during visit to France

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BY KEVIN KOECH

President Uhuru Kenyatta kicked off his France visit at Elysee Palace on Wednesday the 30th of September 2020, where his host Emmanuel Macron warmly welcomed him.

Shortly after 9 PM local time, Uuru inspected a guard of honor by the French Military marking the start of an elaborate state reception ceremony.

The two leaders then witnessed the signing of three bilateral agreements before they led their delegates to a State banquet.

Macron had held the celebration in honor of Uhuru as the visiting leader.

The two heads of state then retreated for private talks.

The two leaders reached a Private Public Partnership (PPP) for the Nairobi-Nakuru-Mau Summit Highway construction, signed between Vinci Concessions and KeNHA.

This Summit Highway is among the largest PPP projects in East Africa.

Kenya’s ambassador to France, Prof Judi Wakhungu, also explained that this highway would decongest the existing road.

She further noted that this highway is essential since it facilitates the transportation of goods to other countries.

“We hope that extending this highway, which is going to be about 200km, again, it will ease traffic on that particular very, very important route. I need not remind Kenyans that this is a major highway that connects Mombasa, Nairobi, and all the way to Uganda, Rwanda, and other parts of Central Africa,” Prof Wakhungu said.

The leaders also agreed on the commuter railway from the Nairobi CBD to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

According to Wakhungu, the railway will ease the movement of people in the city.

She also expressed her hope that businesses along the rail will boom.

“Our aspiration is to see that this commuter railway line eases traffic in Nairobi but also eases the movement of people within Nairobi. We hope that along the route and the surrounding areas, other businesses will be able to grow,” Prof Wakhungu said.

Uhuru and Macron also reached an agreement on the 400KV Menengai-Rongai electricity transmission line.

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Health

First man cured of HIV dies of cancer

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The first person to be cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown — known as the “Berlin Patient” — has died after a battle with cancer, the International Aids Society (IAS) announced Wednesday.

Brown made medical history and became a symbol of hope for the tens of millions of people living with the virus that causes AIDS when he was cured more than a decade ago.

He had been living with a recurrence of leukaemia for several months and received hospice care at his home in Palm Springs, California.

“On behalf of all its members… the IAS sends its condolences to Timothy’s partner, Tim, and his family and friends,” said IAS President Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

“We owe Timothy and his doctor, Gero Hutter, a great deal of gratitude for opening the door for scientists to explore the concept that a cure for HIV is possible.”

Brown was diagnosed with HIV while was studying in Berlin in 1995. A decade later, he was diagnosed with leukaemia, a cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

To treat his leukaemia, his doctor at the Free University of Berlin used a stem cell transplant from a donor who had a rare genetic mutation that gave him natural resistance to HIV, hoping it may wipe out both diseases.

It took two painful and dangerous procedures, but it was a success: in 2008 Brown was declared free of the two ailments, and was initially dubbed “the Berlin Patient” at a medical conference to preserve his anonymity.

Two years later, he decided to break his silence and went on to become a public figure, giving speeches and interviews and starting his own foundation.

“I am living proof that there could be a cure for AIDS,” he told AFP in 2012. “It’s very wonderful, being cured of HIV.”

‘Champion’

Ten years after Brown was cured, a second HIV sufferer — dubbed “the London Patient” — was revealed to be in remission 19 months after undergoing a similar procedure.

The patient, Adam Castillejo, is currently HIV-free. In August a California woman was reported to have no traces of HIV despite not using anti-retroviral treatment.

It is thought she may be the first person to be cured of HIV without undergoing the risky bone marrow treatment.

Sharon Lewin, president-elect of the IAS and director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia, praised Brown as a “champion and advocate” of a cure for HIV.

“It is the hope of the scientific community that one day we can honour his legacy with a safe, cost-effective and widely accessible strategy to achieve HIV remission and curs using gene edition or techniques that boost immune control,” she said.

By AFP

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Lifestyle

Madaraka Express resumes full service

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All is set for the resumption of a second Nairobi-Mombasa passenger train, with the first locomotive expected to leave the capital city on October 1 at 2.15pm.

In a notice, Madaraka Express operator Afristar said standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger train services will resume following the lifting of partial transport restrictions in Nairobi and Mombasa by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The firm released a new schedule for the trains that shuttle between the two counties.

KR has been operating two passenger trains between Nairobi and Mombasa, but from Thursday, it will operate four.

SGR passenger services resumed operations in July, a week after President Kenyatta relaxed measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Afristar will now have trains leaving Nairobi and Mombasa at the same time in the morning and two other trains leaving in the afternoon.

Morning trains from the two cities will depart at 8.00am, with one train departing from the Nairobi terminus for Mombasa and vice versa.

Thereafter, two other trains will depart Mombasa and Nairobi at 2.15pm.

The train services will be operating under strict coronavirus protocols.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the SGR will operate at 50 per cent capacity, with an extra coach for isolation.

To facilitate the smooth resumption of services, Afristar has deployed 10 coaches, including eight economy and two first-class coaches.

This is in line with Mr Macharia’s statement that 10 coaches should be provided to ferry close to 600 passengers on a one-way trip.

Additionally, all customer-facing employees must wear masks and gloves.

As of this morning, all passenger service staff serving customers have tested negative for Covid-19.

SGR passenger services were suspended back in April after President Kenyatta announced the cessation of movement into and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area, Mombasa County and Mandera County.

On Monday, the Head of State announced an extension of the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew for an additional 60 days.

He, however, adjusted the curfew time from 9pm to 11pm with the new directives taking effect on Tuesday, September 29.

By Nation.co.ke

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