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US restricts visas to unmarried gay diplomats

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The United States is denying visas to the partners of more than 100 gay diplomats unless they get married, a move termed by some as discriminative.
This comes as President Donald Trump’s administration chips away at protections of the LGBTQ community, although officials cast the decision as motivated by legal reciprocity rather than an anti-gay agenda.

Under the new guidelines, diplomats regardless of sexual orientation will need to be married in order for their partners to receive visas.

A UN spokesman said that about 10 staff members in New York were affected and have been asked to show marriage certificates by the end of the year.
“This is a US policy, and as with other national policies in countries where staff is based, we will have to comply with it,” said UN spokesman Farhan Haq.

Under a previous policy implemented by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the United States issued visas to same-sex partners regardless of their marital status.
Around 105 families are affected by the decision, of whom 55 are posted at the United Nations or other international organizations, a State Department official said.

Diplomats can still obtain visas for their partners if they get married, including if they do so while in the United States.
The Human Rights Campaign, the leading US gay rights group, called the decision “unnecessary, mean-spirited and unacceptable.”
“This is an unconscionable, needless attack on some LGBTQ diplomats from around the world, and it reflects the hostility of the Trump-Pence administration toward LGBTQ people,” said the group’s government affairs director, David Stacy.

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A US official countered that the policy creates the same conditions for visas that the State Department sets for its own diplomats serving abroad in light of the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage across the United States.
“It is not meant to be an attack. It is not meant to be punitive. It is a recognition and a codification of the fact that same-sex marriage is legal in the United States,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The official said the United States was aware that many gay couples faced a lack of acceptance in their home countries but that the United States wanted to “ensure equal treatment and reciprocity.”
Most diplomats affected come from countries where same-sex marriage is legal, another official said, without providing numbers.

-Monitor

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Africa

BREAKING: Legendary jazz musician Oliver Mtukudzi has died

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Veteran jazz musician Oliver Mtukudzi has died, TshisaLIVE can confirm.

Mtukudzi’s record label Gallo Records confirmed the news on Wednesday afternoon but said there were no details available.

The musician’s family is set to release a statement later this afternoon.

An outpouring of tributes has already flooded social media.

During an interview with TshisaLIVE a year ago, Mtukudzi spoke about his excitement of releasing his 67th album.

He said the most significant thing about his upcoming album, Hanya’Ga (Concern) was the message.

“My 67th album is meant to share a message of introspecting and I’m hoping people learn a thing or two from it. It’s an album I wrote last year after I realised that the world keeps getting tangled up in ‘unnecessary’ problems.

“All because we are focused on competing and being better than the next person. In so doing we keep stepping on each other’s toes but that is not how God created us. God meant for us to compliment each other, that’s why he didn’t duplicate talent,” he said at the time.

Source: www.timeslive.co.za

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Africa

FBI agents arrest three Kenyans in US over links to Isis

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Three Kenyans were on Tuesday arrested in the United States for their links to terror group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

The three were nabbed by Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) agents. They were identified as Mohamed Salat Haji, Mohamud Abdikadir Muse and Muse Abdikadir Muse.

The three were arrested in Lansing, Michigan. They are said to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic state.

Mr Muse Abdikadir Muse was nabbed while on transit to Somalia.

“He was checking in for a flight on his way to Mogadishu, Somalia when he was arrested,” a statement by the FBI released on Tuesday stated.

Mr Muse Abdikadir Muse had earlier this month purchased air tickets to travel from the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Michigan.

CO-CONSPIRATORS

The US Department of Justice said his other two friends, described as co-conspirators, had assisted him in getting the ticket.

“They aided in the purchase of the ticket and drove Muse Abdikadir Muse to the Grand Rapids airport, each knowing the true purpose of the travel was for Muse Muse to join and fight for ISIS,” read the statement.

According to the FBI, the three recorded videos pledging allegiance to the group where they narrated their desire “to kill non-believers, and even to potentially use a car for a martyrdom operation to run down non-believers in the USA.”

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Despite their arrest, the American Government is yet to find them guilty of the charges.

Their arrest comes exactly a week after terrorists led by a Kenyan identified as Salim Gichunge attacked dusitD2 hotel and killed 21 people.\

NairobiNews

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‘Please help me return home,’ Kenyan legend runner living in the US pleads

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Kenyan distance running legend Henry Rono a broken man. He has been living in the United States of America for the last 32 years, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Rono who is now 66, on Tuesday reached out to Nation Sport and sent a passionate appeal:

“I wants a ticket back home, please.”

“Yes, I would like the government to help me get back home by getting me a ticket… I can’t afford living in the USA. I’m getting old… Also, being away from home for over 32 years is too long,” added the legend.

The legend is currently a security guard at the Albuquerque airport.

“Yes, I did retire, but these other jobs are stressful and I’m too old,” he said. “Like now, I’m sick from working hard. Many of my fellow Kenyans are dying from stressful hard working jobs,” said Rono, who was given a lifetime achievement award by the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2008.

“I have been given another award in Belgrade but I’m able to attend because of stressful work. Like now, I’m in the bed and I’m unwell.”

But Rono’s daughter Maureen confirmed she had spoken to the legend, and that he has been unwell since last week. “He has been coughing for the last week, and I’ve been in touch with him. If he asked you to send out an appeal for help, you can go ahead and publish,” she said.

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Athletics Kenya President Jack Tuwei, meanwhile, said his association would be ready to help the legend.

“He did a lot for this country and we can’t fail to get help for him,” said Tuwei. “We need information such as costs of tickets, who he could be travelling with and other details, and then see how we can support.”

The Washington State University star alumnus had taken up coaching after his running career, this after alcoholism dented the highlight years of his spell that saw him shatter world records in the 3,000 metres (seven minutes, 32.1 seconds), 5,000 metres (13:08.4), 3,000 metres steeplechase (8:05.04) and 10,000 metres (27:22.47), all within 81 days across USA (California and Seattle) and Europe (Vienna and Oslo).

Source: nation.co.ke

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