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Former US president George H.W. Bush dies at 94

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George Herbert Walker Bush – the upper-crust war hero-turned-oilman and diplomat who steered America through the end of the Cold War as president and led a political dynasty that saw his son win the White House – has died.

George W. Bush called his father a “man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for,” in a statement announcing his death.

“The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”

BARBARA BUSH

Bush’s passing comes just months after the death in April of his wife and revered first lady Barbara Bush – his “most beloved woman in the world” – to whom he was married for 73 years.

The 41st American president was a foreign policy realist who navigated the turbulent but largely peaceful fall of the Soviet Union in 1989 and assembled an unprecedented coalition to defeat Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein two years later.

But the decorated war pilot and former CIA chief suffered the ignominy of being a one-term president, denied a second term over a weak economy when he lost the 1992 election to upstart Democrat Bill Clinton.

His favouring of stability and international consensus stands in sharp contrast to the provocative bluster of fellow Republican and current White House occupant Donald Trump, a man whom Bush did not vote for in 2016.

BUDGET BATTLE

Bush presided over economic malaise at home, and infuriated his fellow Republicans during a budget battle with rival Democrats by famously breaking his vow: “Read my Lips: No new taxes.”

But he was the respected patriarch of a blue-blood political dynasty – son George spent eight years in the White House, and son Jeb served as governor of Florida.

At the time of his death, Bush was the American president to have lived the longest.

Jimmy Carter was born a few months later, so he could quickly reset the record.

OBAMA MOURNS BUSH

“America has lost a patriot and humble servant in George Herbert Walker Bush. While our hearts are heavy today, they are also filled with gratitude,” former president Barack Obama said in a statement.

George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts into a wealthy New England political dynasty – the son of Prescott Bush, a successful banker and US senator for Connecticut.

Bush had a pampered upbringing and attended the prestigious Phillips Academy in Andover, but delayed his acceptance to Yale in order to enlist in the US Navy on his 18th birthday and head off to war.

WORLD WAR II

He flew 58 combat missions during World War II. Shot down over the Pacific by Japanese anti-aircraft fire, he parachuted out and was rescued by a submarine after huddling in a life raft for four hours while enemy forces circled.

Bush married Barbara Pierce in January 1945, shortly before the war ended, and the couple went on to have six children, including one, Robin, who died as a child.

Instead of joining his father in banking upon graduation from Yale University, Bush headed to bleak west Texas to break into the rough-and-tumble oil business.

OIL DRILLING

He surprised many with his success, and by 1958 had settled in Houston as president of an offshore drilling company.

In the 1960s, Bush, now independently wealthy, turned to politics.

He was a local Republican Party chairman, and in 1966 won a seat in the US House of Representatives.

He served there until 1970, when he lost a bid for the Senate.

Over the next decade, he held several high-level posts that took him and Barbara around the world: head of the Republican National Committee, US ambassador to the United Nations, envoy to China and director of the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was praised for restoring morale after revelations of widespread illegal activity.

REAGAN’S DEPUTY

He served as vice president to Ronald Reagan after losing to him in the 1980 Republican primary, an eight-year period of hands-on training for the top post he would go on to win by a solid margin in 1988, as the Cold War was coming to an end.

In a major test of the post-Cold War order, Saddam’s million-man army invaded Kuwait in 1990 and looked set to roll into Saudi Arabia, which would have given the Iraqi strongman more than 40 percent of the world’s oil reserves.

Bush famously vowed: “This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait.”

He assembled a coalition of 32 nations to drive Iraqi forces out in a matter of weeks with a lightning air and ground assault.

GULF WAR

Some 425,000 US troops backed by 118,000 allied soldiers took part in Operation Desert Storm, decimating Saddam’s military machine without ousting him from power – a task that would be accomplished 12 years later by Bush’s son.

Buoyed by his victory in the Gulf, Bush and his hard-nosed and widely respected secretary of state James Baker cobbled together the 1991 Madrid Conference to launch the Arab-Israeli peace process.

The conference was mainly symbolic, but it set the stage for the Oslo Accords two years later.

In late 1989, Bush sent US troops to Panama to oust strongman Manuel Noriega. He also set the groundwork for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

TAXES

Domestically, however, the economy stalled and Bush broke his pledge not to raise taxes in order to reach a budget deal with Democrats – a cardinal sin in the eyes of Republicans.

In 1992, Bush lost his re-election bid to Clinton – whose aide coined the now famous slogan “It’s the economy, stupid” – as eccentric third-party candidate Ross Perot syphoned off conservative votes.

The elder Bush’s cautious realpolitik would later be contrasted to his son’s far more costly ambition to transform the Middle East, but “Bush 41” refused to weigh in on the debate, insisting he was proud of the presidency of “Bush 43.”

SKYDIVING

After retiring from public life, Bush fulfilled a wartime pledge to one day jump out of a plane for fun and famously went skydiving on his 75th, 80th, 85th and 90th birthdays.

He joined Clinton to raise funds for victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. In 2011, Obama awarded Bush the highest US civilian honour, the Medal of Freedom.

He worked with Carter, Clinton, Obama and son George to raise money for hurricane victims in Texas in 2017.

In 2001, Bush became just the second US president after John Adams to see his son become president.

Son Jeb made his own presidential run in 2016, but fell short in the Republican primaries against Trump.

AFP

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Africa

VIDEO: I was also diagnosed with Cancer before Collymore took over Safaricom, Michael Joseph opens up

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Acting Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph says he battled cancer during his stint at the telecommunications company between 2000 and 2010.

Joseph shared details of his battle with the disease during an interview with K24 TV on Tuesday evening.

Joseph, who has returned to the mobile service provider as interim CEO following the death of Bob Collymore, said he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2003.

He was declared cancer-free after undergoing treatment for several months.

“Not many people know that am also a cancer survivor and that I was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 while still CEO of Safaricom. I am now a cancer survivor,” Joseph said.

Joseph was responding to a question about his plans on cancer, which has claimed the lives of many people in the country including former Safaricom CEO Collymore.

Collymore died at his Nairobi residence on Monday morning after battling with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a rare type of cancer, for about two years.

“I don’t have any direct plans to do that (set up a cancer center) although they should probably know that Safaricom Foundation has spent a lot of money in the health field.”

“I am sure in the memory of Bob (Collymore), we will do more now in terms of preventing and helping the treatment of cancer,” stated Joseph.

In an earlier interview with The Standard, Joseph said he at some point run the company from a hospital bed.

“It was a long drawn out affair and for some time, I ran Safaricom from a hospital bed. People would bring me advertisements to approve and all that and then they would be worried because I had tubes running all over my body,” Joseph explained.

 

 

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Beauty queen speaks out on ‘rape ordeal’ by ex-President

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A 23-year-old former beauty queen in The Gambia, Toufah Jallow, has said she was raped in 2015 by ex-President Yahya Jammeh when he was in office.

Her testimony is part of a Human Rights Watch and Trial International report that details another alleged rape and sexual assault by Mr Jammeh.

The BBC tried to contact Mr Jammeh, who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea, about the allegations.

A spokesman for his APRC party denied the accusations made against Mr Jammeh.

“We as a party and The Gambian people are tired of the steady stream of unfounded allegations that have been reported against our ex-President,” said Ousman Rambo Jatta, in a written statement to the BBC.

“The ex-president has no time to react to lies and smear campaigns. He is a very respectable God fearing and pious leader who has nothing but respect for our Gambian women,” the deputy APRC leader said.

Ms Jallow told the BBC she wanted to meet Mr Jammeh, 54, in court so he could face justice.

“I’ve really tried to hide the story and erase it and make sure it’s not part of me.

“Realistically I couldn’t so I decided to speak now because it is time to tell the story and to make sure that Yayha Jammeh hears what he has done.”

She said she also wanted to testify before The Gambia’s Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC), which has been set up by President Adama Barrow, who won elections in December 2016.

The TTRC is investigating human rights violations alleged to have been committed during Mr Jammeh’s 22-year rule, including reports of extrajudicial killings, torture and arbitrary detention.

He was forced from office in January 2017 after regional powers sent in troops when he refused to give up power.

‘MARRIAGE REFUSAL’

Ms Jallow said she was 18 when she met Mr Jammeh after winning a beauty pageant in 2014 in the capital, Banjul.

In the months following her coronation, she said the former president acted as a father figure when they met, offering her advice, gifts and money, and also organising for running water to be installed in her family home.

Then at a dinner organised by an aide to thePpresident, she says he asked her to marry him. She refused and rebuffed other enticements from the aide to agree to the offer.

Ms Jallow said the aide then insisted she attend a religious ceremony at State House in her role as beauty queen in June 2015. But when she arrived, she was taken to the President’s private residence.

“It was clear what this was going to be,” she said, describing Mr Jammeh’s anger at her for rejecting him.

Ms Jallow says he slapped her and injected her in her arm with a needle.

“He rubbed his genitals in my face, pushed me down to my knees, pulled my dress up and sodomised me.”

‘PROTOCOL GIRLS’

The young woman says afterwards she locked herself at home for three days and then decided to flee to neighbouring Senegal.

Once in Dakar, the Senegalese capital, Ms Jallow sought the assistance of various human rights organisations. Weeks later, she was approved protection status and moved to Canada, where she has been living since.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Trial International say Mr Jammeh had a system in place to abuse women, where some were put on the state payroll and worked at State House as so-called “protocol girls”, who had some clerical duties but were mainly on call to have sex with the President.

The BBC could not verify the allegation, but a former Gambian official, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said he was aware of “inappropriate things” happening at the presidency: “Protocol staff were mostly women and they were hired to satisfy the President’s fantasies.”

He remembered seeing Ms Jallow at State House, sometimes at “odd hours”.

Another woman, hired as a protocol officer at the age of 23, told HRW she was forced to have sex with Mr Jammeh in 2015.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said that one day the president called her into his room: “He started undressing me and saying that he was in love with me, that he will do anything for me and my family, that I should not tell anyone because if I do I will face the consequences.

“I felt I had no choice. That day he slept with me without protection.”

‘HONOUR’

Another woman who worked as a protocol officer said that they knew if one of them was called it was for sex.

“Some wanted it. They felt honoured or wanted the money,” she told HRW on condition of anonymity.

She described how she was sexually assaulted by the President at his summer house, Kanilai, in 2013 when she was 22: “One evening, a presidential aide called me and told me to come with her to the president’s private apartment. He asked me to undress.

“He told me that I was young and needed protection so he wanted to apply spiritual water on me.”

In an encounter the next day, she started crying as Mr Jammeh began to touch her body. He became angry and sent her away.

She says she was later sacked and a promised scholarship cancelled.

TRRC’S FOCUS

The TRRC’s mission is to establish a record of abuses committed during Mr Jammeh’s 22-year rule when it is alleged there were arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and torture against critics

Its 11 independent commissioners can grant reparations to victims.

Backed by the UN and funded by international donors, it began hearing testimonies in November 2018. Its motto is “Never again”.

TRRC’s Executive Secretary Baba Jallow has told the BBC that the commission, launched eight months ago, will focus on sexual violence in September.

“We are aware of allegations involving Jammeh but we have not heard victims on the record yet. Investigations have already started but at this stage we can’t say who is involved and how many victims there are,” he said.

Ms Jallow wants to create an atmosphere where women will feel safer to talk about rape and sexual assault: “It’s a step-by-step thing and the first part is to acknowledge it happened.

“When many other women speak up and it becomes safer and safer,” she told the BBC.

President Barrow has said he will await the report of the TRRC before considering whether to pursue Mr Jammeh’s extradition from Equatorial Guinea.

Source:nairobinews

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Conversion of Kenyan currency suspended in Uganda

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The governor visited Dr Ruto at his office at Harambee Annex, Nairobi to deliver the serial number 2 currency notes. Serial number 1 was given to President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 1, 2019, during Madaraka Day celebration. PHOTO | DPPS

Uganda has joined Tanzania in suspending the conversion of Kenyan Shillings as a measure to tame illicit cash flows.

In a statement issued on Monday, Bank of Uganda said it had been informed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) that they have issued new banknotes effective May 31, 2019.

“Bank of Uganda will not accept Kenya Shillings at its counters with immediate effect,” Bank of Uganda said in a statement.

“Please be advised that changing Kenyan currency from old to new banknotes can only be done in Kenya,” the statement further read.

COUNTERFEITS

On Friday the Bank of Tanzania also suspended conversion of Kenyan currency to Tanzanian currency.

According to Tanzanian financial institution, they were advised to freeze the exercise by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in a move to tame illicit cash flows.

“With a view to combat illicit financial flows and counterfeits into the Republic of Kenya, the Bank of Tanzania has been advised to freeze CBK Currency Collection Account with immediate effect,’’ the statement read in part.

Source:nairobinews

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