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All hawkers to be registered using biometrics kits as Gvt postpones ‘Car Free Days’ plan

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The Kenyan government has announced that due to security concerns, all hawkers will have to be registered using biometric kits.

In a statement Wednesday,  Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said this would mean that the implementation of the “car-free” days plan in Nairobi’s city centre remains postponed indefinitely.

Macharia said the registration is yet to be completed, prompting the indefinite postponement of the trial run of the plan aimed at decongesting the city. The decision, he added, was taken to allow for the registration of hawkers who will be operating on the designated streets.

MATATUS

The announcement came shortly after the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) threatened to sue the ministry over the proposal.

In a letter to the Attorney-General on Wednesday, LSK chairman Allen Gichuhi said the directive did not go through public participation.

“While this is an idealistic, laudable attempt at beginning to solve the problem, it is impractical and unlawful in its execution in the absence of public participation,” Mr Gichuhi said in his letter.

Meanwhile, matatu operators have announced that they will not pay next month’s seasonal parking tickets until they reach an agreement with county officials.

FEES

The Federation of Public Transport Operators on Wednesday said the new parking fees are “illogical and unfair”.

READ ALSO:   Kenya buys 12 US helicopters amid rising concern, hue and cry over public debt

“Matatus carry very many people while small cars ferry one or two people. It is unfair to increase our rates,” the federation’s organising secretary Dickson Mbugua said.

However, Transport executive Mohamed Dagane said parking fees for PSVs have not been raised.

-Nation.co.ke

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Diaspora

US Government Announces Eligible countries for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs in 2020 and Kenya is not among them

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of State (DOS), have announced the list of countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in 2020. The notice listing the eligible countries will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 17, 2020.

For 2020, the acting secretary of Homeland Security has determined, with the concurrence of the Office of the Secretary of State, that the countries designated as eligible in 2019 will remain unchanged.

DHS maintains its authority to add countries to the eligible countries list at any time, and to remove any country whenever DHS and DOS determine that a country fails to meet the requirements for continued designation. Examples of factors that could result in the exclusion of a country or the removal of a country from the list include fraud, abuse, denial rates, overstay rates, human trafficking concerns, and other forms of noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the H-2 visa programs by nationals of that country.

The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs, respectively. Typically, USCIS approves H-2A and H-2B petitions only for nationals of countries that the secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible to participate in the programs.

READ ALSO:   Utabeba msalaba wako mwenyewe, Uhuru awaambia maafisa wake

However, USCIS may approve H-2A and H-2B petitions, including those that were pending as of the date of the Federal Register notice, for nationals of countries not on the list on a case-by-case basis only if doing so is determined to be in the interest of the United States.

Effective Jan. 19, 2020, nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas:

Andorra Finland Malta Serbia
Argentina France Moldova* Singapore
Australia Germany Mozambique Slovakia
Austria Greece Mexico Slovenia
Barbados Grenada Monaco Solomon Islands
Belgium Guatemala Mongolia South Africa
Brazil Honduras Montenegro South Korea
Brunei Hungary Nauru Spain
Bulgaria Iceland The Netherlands St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Canada Ireland Nicaragua Sweden
Chile Israel New Zealand Switzerland
Colombia Italy Norway Taiwan**
Costa Rica Jamaica Panama Thailand
Croatia Japan Paraguay* Timor-Leste
Czech Republic Kiribati Papua New Guinea Tonga
Denmark Latvia Peru Turkey
Dominican Republic* Liechtenstein Poland Tuvalu
Ecuador Lithuania Portugal Ukraine
El Salvador Luxembourg Romania United Kingdom
Estonia North Macedonia Samoa Uruguay
Fiji Madagascar San Marino Vanuatu

*Moldova, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic are eligible to participate in the H-2A program, but they are not eligible to participate in the H-2B program.

**Regarding all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” 22 U.S.C. § 3303(b)(1).

READ ALSO:   Kenya buys 12 US helicopters amid rising concern, hue and cry over public debt

Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in the regulations governing whether nationals of a country are eligible for H-2 program participation, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(5)(i)(F)(1)(i) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(6)(i)(E)(1), are read to include Taiwan. This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.

This notice does not affect the status of H-2 beneficiaries who currently are in the United States unless they apply to extend their status. It does apply to nonimmigrants changing status in the United States to H-2A or B. Each country’s designation is valid, subject to removal for failure to meet the requirements for continued designation, from Jan. 19, 2020, until Jan. 18, 2021.

For more information on these programs, see the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers and H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers pages on our website.

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Rare migratory bird lands in Kenya after flying 6,948 kilometers from Finland

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By JUDITH GICOBI

A rare species of a migratory bird has landed in Kenya from Finland Northern Europe after covering a distance of 6,948 kilometers (4,317 miles).

The Osprey bird species perched in West Imbo in Bondo, Siaya County, on January 20th, 2020. The rare bird was seen by Walter Oloo and reported to the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) team in Siaya, Citizen Digital reports.

The bird was found in a fishing net where it was caught, but it seemed to have struggled to get itself out. It had bruised legs that still looked healthy despite losing some weight and being dehydrated. 

It was then taken to KWS Veterinary Department on Thursday and treated by giving IV fluids, a proper diet and monitored before being returned to the wild.

Going by the refereeing ring on its leg, the origin of the bird was established. It indicates it was ringed in Finland (Museum Zool, Helsinki Finland, M-68528).

Head of Veterinary Services Dr. David Ndeereh, said KWS will try to obtain more information about the bird by sharing the information with the East Africa Bird Ringing Association. 

READ ALSO:   Utabeba msalaba wako mwenyewe, Uhuru awaambia maafisa wake
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Education

Needy, disabled boy admits self to school in rags with no school fees

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By JUDITH GICOBI

A disabled boy staying with his sick grandmother made a bold move to walk to Mabole Boys Secondary School in Butere Constituency, alone and sought an admission from the school administration. 

John Emitati mother abandoned him after being born with a disability, and he has lived with his maternal grandmother in Eshisakha village.

The boy takes care of his 86-year-old grandmother, who got a stroke a few years ago. The 14-year-old sat his Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination last year at Eshisakha Primary School, where he garnered 333 marks.

Since he did not have any relatives to cater to his school fees, Emitati walked three kilometers to school last Monday, where he had been selected to join Form One.

He got to school and was taken to the principal’s office by the gatekeeper. The headteacher was shocked to see a boy in old dirty and torn clothes at his door.

Emitati explained his plight to the principal and that he did not want to lose a chance to join a school that emerged fifth in Kakamega County in last year’s Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams.

The principal verified the boy’s claims by sending the school messenger to verify the claims which were true. He was allowed to join the school as a day scholar since he didn’t have any shopping or school fees. The principal is seeking for help to assist the boy in settling fully.

READ ALSO:   Utabeba msalaba wako mwenyewe, Uhuru awaambia maafisa wake
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