Flying taxis coming to Nairobi, but you'll pay Sh800 per minute - Kenya Satellite News Network
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Flying taxis coming to Nairobi, but you’ll pay Sh800 per minute

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Nairobi has been identified as one of the launch cities for an ambitious flying cars plan. The McFly.aero blockchain project is starting the set up of infrastructure for air taxis service in 23 cities in 13 countries, including Nairobi.

It is a two-part business incubator, the first spanning a technological consortium of 12 companies that is developing the elements of the city air taxis, across the flying cars with Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOLs), energy and traffic management infrastructure.

The second part involves building local communities called McFly Chapters, aiming at community engagement that gets people to share information on the project, getting industry experts to share research and entrepreneurs to establish local connections with manufacturers, with real estate partners for landing pads, and even with government bodies for registration.

It is expected the project will open new business for entrepreneurs, engineering and drone experts, and manufacturers of hardware and software for the blockchain-powered IOT for the urban air taxi infrastructure.

“The VTOL autonomy will be implemented over time as users and regulators become more comfortable with the technology and see statistical proof that autonomy provides greater levels of safety than human pilots,” he said.

The idea is that passengers will be picked up at the nearest helipad or heliport to their pick-up point and dropped at the nearest pad to their destination, and will take a 5-10-minute walk at either end.

Unlike helicopters, the cars will be efficient in fuel use, noise and safety, said Bezhko.

He said the initial production cost will be $120,000 (Sh12m) per vehicle, but will come down to $30,000 (Sh3m) to $40,000 (Sh4m) once they go into mass production.

As far as fares go, the rides have an indicative price of $8 (Sh800) per minute, but pricing will be based on the grid’s load, and transactions will be made in McFly tokens on the blockchain.

The use of blockchain comes as the ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has set up an 11-member taskforce headed by former Information principal secretary Bitange Ndemo to explore the use of distributed ledger technology and artificial intelligence for development in Kenya.

Other countries that have been targeted for the McFly launches are the US (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh), France (Paris), Ukraine (Kiev, Dnepr, Znamenovka), Belarus (Minsk, Vitebsk), Russia (Moscow, Tarusa), India (Srikakulam, Surat), Australia, Japan, Nigeria, Panama, Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, and Nepal.

For traffic control, one of the consortium members is working on a traffic management system that will use city airspaces for up to 1,000 metres above ground, which is the maximum flying height for the VTOLs.

Before any VTOL operates, they will need to meet all the registration requirements for the relevant authorities in each city of operation.

Two- of four-seaters, the vehicles will either be on autopilot or have the passenger pointing directions, Bezhko said, adding, so far, there are two designs: Bartini, flying at 300km/h and Hepard, which flies at 150 km/h. Both designs have a flight time of 30 minutes, he said.

The market for air taxi services is projected to reach $1.2 trillion per annum in the next few years, with more than 20 companies, including Daimler Ventures, Boeing, Geely/Volvo, Tencent and Atomico Ventures, now working on VTOLs.

They will be electric or hydrogen powered and manufacturers will have the first test flights between March and May 2018.

– African Laughter

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PwC man who ‘fell’ from 17th floor mourned his mother for a year, cousin reveals.

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Friends, family and colleagues are painting different portraits of Stephen Mumbo,  the Price Waterhouse Coopers Forensic manager who fell from 17th floor of Delta offices which house the international audit firm.

Mr Mumbo was born in 1977 ,was the last born of two girls and three boys in Kisumu Nyamasaria, a hot, dry and humid area where black cotton soil sucks life from a crop.

Only determined weeds survive.  In the absence of his father, Arthur Waore Mumbo, an administrator at Kemri Busia who died in 1992, it was his mother, Mrs Waore, a teacher at Nyamasaria Primary School, who had the most influence in his life.

But after his father’s death, Mumbo was brought up in Alupe, Busia, by his uncle Mzee Obura, a doctor at Kemri in Alupe.

Fred Obura, a cousin, recalls that the father died when Mumbo was joining form one and his family took him.

But “when his mother died five years ago,” recalls Fred “he snapped in the office and couldn’t work. He took a one-year unpaid sabbatical to mourn his mother.”

Indeed, that Friday morning when he committed suicide, it was the huge photo of his mother in his bedroom that he last saw when he slept, and the first he saw when he woke up.

Fred attended St Paul’s Amukura with Mumbo who was ahead of him but he recalls that Mumbo was the class prefect in form one and two and by form three and four, he was the library prefect.

“Mumbo was deeply religious and never missed church,” says Fred. Other schoolmates, too, had their own recollections.

St Paul’s Amukura was an academic giant in Busia County where it was founded by Catholic priest Father Louis Okidoi in 1962. Mumbo was the shy brain box with an awkward gait.

In the school’s achievement board, mounted proudly in the administration block, Mumbo narrowly missed being immortalised by one point. It was A- in one subject, Kiswahili, that did him in.

Charles Ekirang, his classmate, says Mumbo was expected to succeed in life since “in an age where we chased girls we nicknamed Marios, from St Mary’s Amukura, Mumbo was chasing after whoever had the key to the library.”

Caleb Etyang, a year ahead of Mumbo, says the studious boy “wasn’t a guy to go for sports or drama outings, he was much more at home in the school and the library.”

He recounts a new, beautiful teacher who drove the boys crazy when she reported, but Mumbo was unmoved with her curves.

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VIDEO: See daring officer and why Kenyans want him feted

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It is a video clip that has gone viral on social media sites, on Facebook and Twitter.

Administration Police Constable Joash Ombati is seen cornering a white car in a not so busy road in Westlands, Nairobi, where he swiftly fires in the air before ordering the suspects out and making an arrest. This looks like a well scripted scene from a movie.

Scores of Kenyans, awed by his skill, mill around the scene, urging Mr Ombati to shoot-and-kill the suspects who are alleged to have violently robbed their victim, whom they threw out of a speeding car.

Si wameangusha mtu huko wakaua. Piga ya kichwa. Ua. Gonga risasi uue. Wamalize bana. Nipatie bunduki nipige. Piga risasi bana wataenda kuongana watoke (They have already killed their victim. Shoot them in the head. Kill them. Shoot and kill them. Finish them. Give me the gun I shoot. Shoot and kill, if taken to court they will bribe their way out,” some angry Kenyan men are heard telling Mr Ombati.

But the officer that he is, Mr Ombati stays calm and pleads with the crowd: “Wachana na mimi bana, wachana na wao (Leave me alone. Leave them alone).”

The two male suspects, one of Asian origin, while lying on the road are seen uneasy, pleading with the angry mob not to harm them.

The original post on Facebook made Nyauma Mokaya says that officer on Wednesday afternoon saw a man being thrown out of a moving vehicle shouting wezi wezi (thieves, thieves).

“Mr Ombati decided to help the man, so he took a taxi and gave the vehicle a chase. He managed to intercept it at the junction of Westlands and Mpaka Road. Mr Ombati was able to recover Sh400,000, a vehicle KBJ 614J, Toyota NZE, white in colour and arrested two suspects namely, Mr Sameer Abdulaziz Kassim and Peter Kavoi Musili.”

ONLINE DEAL

The suspects have since been detained at Parklands Police Station and face robbery with violence charges.

Mr Ombati said the complainant Mr Amos Charo went to the station and reported that he had Sh732,000, and had come from Voi to Nairobi to buy cheap construction materials from people he interacted with in the online shopping website OLX.

Police reports show that the suspects took Mr Charo to Westlands to meet a man whose name was only given as Mr Patel.

“They then took the money and threw him out of the vehicle and drove off near NIC bank,” reads the police statement.

Mr Ombati, 34, hails from Kikuyu town and is a married father of two.

ONLINE LOBBYING

Following Mr Ombati’s display of bravery, Mr Mureithi wa Lucy send an appeal to President Uhuru Kenyatta and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i on this year’s Mashujaa Day: “Salute to the AP cop. He should be promoted, and recognised by Matiang’i and Uhuru. Joash Ombati is indeed a Shujaa.”

Mr Nyauma Mokaya added: “As the State House compiles the list of those who should be awarded HSC awards on 20th Oct, they should also consider awarding this man for his [bravado] and sacrifice. We don’t want to see individuals like Ben Githae and Githeriman who have contributed nothing for this country.”

Hashtags #IfikieBoinnet, #IfikieMatiangi have been trending since the post went online in Kenya’s Buyer Beware Facebook page as many netizens celebrate the rare gesture by a cop, while others dared the president to learn from Mr Ombati.

nation.co.ke

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The baby market of Pumwani maternity

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Children are being sold like bananas at Pumwani Maternity Hospital, Nairobi, Kenya’s biggest maternity facility.

A group of brokers tout infants and haggle over prices as if the children are merchandise.

Last evening, a 27-year-old woman was detained by police in Nairobi for attempting to sell a newborn to undercover journalists.

The woman, Ms Caroline Kathure Gitonga, spent the night at Shauri Moyo Police Station after a joint investigation by the Daily Nation and NTV exposed her attempt to sell the baby, whom she claimed was hers, shortly after being discharged from the hospital.

The investigation exposes a well-oiled and daring baby theft and smuggling syndicate operating within the corridors of the hospital.

It was not clear whether the hospital staff are part of the syndicate, but the brokers claim to act on behalf of mothers and they operate freely within the hospital.

MONEY WOES

In a dramatic probe that started from Nation Centre on Kimathi Street in the city and ended at Pumwani Hospital,  journalists who posed as buyers sealed the purchase for the eight-day-old baby for a meagre Sh50,000.

The day of drama started with a mid-morning call to the undercover journalists indicating that a broker had identified a woman who was willing to sell her baby boy.

Journalists rushed to the hospital, but Ms Gitonga said she was uncomfortable discussing the “deal” within the hospital, and so she had asked to be discharged.

She had travelled from Meru to Nairobi to deliver the baby, who weighed 2.8 kilogrammes at birth.

Our team waited for her to be discharged while at the same time alerting police officers and child welfare staff of the impending transaction.

Outside the hospital, Ms Gitonga explained to the journalists that she wanted to sell her baby because she had financial problems. She has two other children, she explained.

“Niko na shida, na sina wazazi (I have a lot of problems, and I am an orphan,” she said.

DEAL

Ms Gitonga initially asked for Sh70,000 for the baby, but after a short session of bargaining, held at a restaurant near the hospital, agreed to Sh50,000.

She had her name tag and hospital documents to show that the baby was hers, but she had not named the little bundle of joy she cradled in her arms.

Asked what we should name him, Ms Gitonga answered: “Mtampatia jina wenyewe. Si sasa ni wenu? (You will name him as you wish. He is now yours.)

Reporters kept Ms Gitonga engaged after reaching the sale agreement, convincing her to wait a little longer for the money since the full amount was not available immediately, and that someone was bringing the balance.

Unknown to her, reporters were waiting for child welfare officers to come and rescue the baby.

Ms Gitonga was arrested and her baby taken into the custody of the emergency rescue and rapid response officers as police investigate whether the baby is, indeed, hers.

nation.co.ke

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