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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.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO&PHOTOS: Pomp and color as Kenyatta hosted for dinner by KQ in New York

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

Kenyans are the most generous people

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Despite the erupting cases of corruption, news of murders and updates of hopelessness that litter social media pages, Kenyans remain the happiest people in East Africa.

According to the 2019 survey released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network on Wednesday, Kenya outperformed East African nations when parameters of happiness were measured using global standards.T

he report that was released to mark the World Happiness Day bases its ranking on six key variables: gross domestic product per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity and freedom from corruption.

This year’s focus was on how community affects happiness, how it has been changing over the years, and how information technology, governance and social norms influence communities.

Social systems

The chief researcher John Helliwell had an explanation for what makes countries like Kenya happy despite the many sad events that dominate their news.

“What stands out about the happiest and most well connected societies is their resilience and ability to deal with bad things,” said Helliwell.

Interesting to note from the survey is that social systems in Kenya seem to be crumbling. Compared to the 2018 report, more Kenyans responded in negative when asked: “If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them?”

READ ALSO:   US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley quits

source:standard.co.ke

 

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Africa

PHOTOS: Uhuru all smiles in Namibia as drought crisis persists in Kenya

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President Uhuru Kenyatta led a high-powered delegation to attend Namibia’s independence day celebrations, despite the raging drought crisis in the country.

Pictures shared on the State House social media accounts show the head of state and those on his entourage all smiles during the celebrations that were held at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek.

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek to Namibia’s independence day celebrations. PHOTO | COURTESY

“President @UKenyatta arrives at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek to join the people of Namibia for celebrations to mark 29 years of their country’s independence,” read the caption.

Some of those in his delegation included his daughter Ngina, personal assistant Jomo Gecaga, ministers Monica Juma (Foreign Affairs), James Macharia (Transport) and Mwangi Kiunjuri (Agriculture), among others.

President Uhuru Kenyatta is welcomed at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek to Namibia’s independence day celebrations. PHOTO | COURTESY

At least 10 people have been reported dead as a result of the drought that has hit a number of counties.

The worst-hit are Baringo, Turkana and West Pokot.

Senior government officials, including Deputy President William Ruto, Interior CS Fred Matiang’i and his Devolution counterpart Eugene Wamalwa have, however, claimed that no Kenyan has died from starvation. They say the situation is under control.

READ ALSO:   VIDEO&PHOTOS: Pomp and color as Kenyatta hosted for dinner by KQ in New York

SOURCE: Nairobi News

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Africa

Zambia High Commissioner dies while receiving treatment in Nairobi

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Zambia High Commissioner to Kenya, Her Excellency Brenda Muntemba-Sichilembe has died.

The 49-year old High Commissioner has been receiving treatment since she was involved in a fatal road accident at Machakos on February 26.

Foreign PS Macharia Kamau has confirmed the death.

Ms Muntemba-Sichilembe was initially admitted at the Machakos Level 5 Hospital, and then flown to Nairobi and operated on to stem internal bleeding where she was admitted in Intensive care unit (ICU).

Prior to her appointment to this role, she served as Chief Program Officer at UNESCO in Zambia.

More to follow…

READ ALSO:   Kenyan marries another man in USA
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