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Death toll rises to at least 207 in Sri Lanka coordinated attacks ‘targeted on Christians’

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A series of eight devastating bomb blasts ripped through high-end hotels and churches holding Easter services in Sri Lanka on Sunday, killing more than 160 people, including dozens of foreigners.

But the BBC in their latest update said at least 2017 people have been killed.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe condemned the attacks — the worst act of violence since the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war a decade ago — as “cowardly”, as the government imposed an immediate and indefinite curfew across the entire country of 21 million people.

SUICIDE BOMBERS

The powerful blasts — six in quick succession and then two more hours later — wrought devastation, including at the capital’s well-known St Anthony’s Shrine, a historic Catholic Church.

At least two of the attacks were confirmed as being carried out by suicide bombers, according to police sources and a hotel official.

Hospital sources said British, Dutch and American citizens were among the dead, with Britons and Japanese also injured.

A Portuguese man also died, the country’s LUSA news agency reported.

An AFP photographer at the scene at St Anthony’s saw bodies lying on the floor, some draped with scarves and clothes.

Much of the church roof was blown out in the explosion, with roof tiles, glass and splintered wood littering the floor along with pools of blood.

At the Shangri-La hotel, an AFP photographer saw extensive damage on the second floor restaurant, with windows blown out and electrical wires hanging from the ceiling.

The injured flooded into local hospitals, where officials reported hundreds of wounded were being admitted.

ATTACK ALERT

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the blasts, but documents seen by AFP show that Sri Lanka’s police chief Pujuth Jayasundara issued an intelligence alert to top officers 10 days ago, warning that suicide bombers planned to hit “prominent churches”.

“A foreign intelligence agency has reported that the NTJ (National Thowheeth Jama’ath) is planning to carry out suicide attacks targeting prominent churches as well as the Indian high commission in Colombo,” the alert said.

The NTJ is a radical Muslim group in Sri Lanka that was linked last year to the vandalisation of Buddhist statues.

The government ordered a nationwide curfew to start immediately and last “until further notice”, and a “temporary” social media ban was imposed “in order to prevent incorrect and wrong information being spread”.

The first blast was reported at St Anthony’s, followed by a second deadly explosion at St Sebastian’s, a church in the town of Negombo, north of the capital.

“A bomb attack to our church, please come and help if your family members are there,” read a post in English on the church’s Facebook page.

HOTELS ATTACKED

Soon after, police confirmed that a third church in the east-coast town of Batticaloa had been hit, along with three high-end hotels in the capital — the Cinnamon Grand, the Shangri-La and the Kingsbury.

An official at the Cinnamon Grand, near the prime minister’s official residence in Colombo, said a suicide bomber blew himself up at people at the hotel’s restaurant.

“He came up to the top of the queue and set off the blast,” he told AFP.

A police official told AFP that the death toll after the first six blasts was at least 156, including 35 foreigners.

Later in the afternoon, two died in a strike at a hotel in the south of Colombo, while a police source said a suicide bomber hit the suburb of Orugodawatta in the north of the capital, killing three and bringing the overall toll to at least 161.

GLOBAL CONDEMNATION

President Maithripala Sirisena said in an address that he was shocked by the explosions and appealed for calm.

On Twitter, Wickremesinghe wrote: “I strongly condemn the cowardly attacks on our people today.

“I call upon all Sri Lankans during this tragic time to remain united and strong. Please avoid propagating unverified reports and speculation. The government is taking immediate steps to contain this situation.”

The Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Ranjith, described those behind the attacks as “animals” and called on the authorities to “punish them mercilessly”.

US President Donald tweeted his condolences on the “horrible terrorist attacks”, and Pope Francis in his Easter address at the Vatican spoke of his “affectionate closeness with the Christian community, attacked while it was at prayer”.

‘HORRIBLE SCENES’

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution, Harsha de Silva, said he had been to two of the attacked hotels and was at the scene at St Anthony’s, where he described “horrible scenes”.

“I saw many body parts strewn all over,” he tweeted, adding that there were “many casualties including foreigners”.

“Please stay calm and indoors,” he added.

Embassies in Colombo warned their citizens to shelter in place, and Sri Lankan Airlines told customers to arrive at the airport four hours ahead of flights because of ramped-up security in the wake of the attacks.

Only around six percent of mainly Buddhist Sri Lanka is Catholic, but the religion is seen as a unifying force because it includes people from both the Tamil and majority Sinhalese ethnic groups.

There have been no attacks in Sri Lanka linked to foreign Islamist groups, despite local media reports that a 37-year-old Sri Lankan was killed in Syria in 2016 while fighting for the Islamic State group.

In January, Sri Lankan police seized a haul of explosives and detonators stashed near a wildlife sanctuary following the arrest of four men from a newly formed radical Muslim group.

-Agencies

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VIDEO: Machakos First Lady ‘Tetema’ dance moves leave Kenyans asking for more

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Machakos County First Lady Lilian Ng’ang’a has excited the online community after showing off her dancing skills during a meeting with students.

Lilian, dressed in a flowered green dress, put her best foot forward as she jammed to Tanzanian bongo star Rayvanny’s hit song ‘Tetema’.

In her speech, she urged the students to embrace their talents in addition to fulfilling their academic dreams.

The online community had a lot to say about her dancing skills, with a section expressing their disappointment for her underwhelming dance moves.

“NTV do you even know what dancing is, this is like a pliers fitted in a trouser, very rigid and dry,” said Killy Emmanuel.

“Leave alone mutua thing. The mama in black skirt is doing the real tetema,” wrote Innocent Favoured Nzola.

“The only thing ina tetema hapo ni salary Na allowances,” commented Abdul Aziz Mohammed.

“Sijaona mtu anadance hapo labda anafanya mashoweshi,” stated patience Ashley.

“Am not a good dancer but I can do better than this,” added Ann Karanu.

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University education isn’t everything: 12 lessons from Bob Collymore, Safaricom CEO

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Robert 'Bob' Collymore

Robert ‘Bob’ Collymore may not have a college education but he is at the helm of Safaricom, a company that is arguably one of Africa’s finest and a trend setter in the world of communications.

1. University education isn’t everything

There tends to be a lot of reliance on paper qualification. We stuff ourselves into universities, then we come out and there is very little difference between us and all the other people who also did the same.

In this industry and many others, if you are not a learning treadmill, you will be left behind very rapidly. The advances that we are seeing in technology such as in artificial intelligence, robotics – I do not have to go to school to learn about it.

I can learn about it because the resources are there. I can buy a book on Amazon in two clicks.

So get into continuous learning instead of relying on the old things you learnt in university – things have moved on.

2. Be adaptable

I have done many different types of jobs but I never anticipated that I would become the CEO of a mobile phone company in Africa.

Just because you went to university and studied law doesn’t mean you become a lawyer.

You need to go into the world knowing that what you learnt in the university was how to learn. You must be adaptive.

3. There is no shortcut

Millennials believe that once you get employed, it will take you a matter of weeks before you get the corner office and get the land cruiser.

We forget that in all ages, especially in this one, everything takes time. Whether you want to become a basketball player or a CEO, you have to put the hours in.

You do not become a good photographer if you do not do 20,000 hours behind that camera. Shortcuts tend to lead people to a lot of problems, often legal problems.

My earnings are not a secret to Kenyans, but you can see that I am not hugely wealthy, compared to other people.

But do I consider myself a failure? Of course not. I do not want to find a shortcut to riches because they are not the goal. Unfortunately, a lot of people think there is a shortcut to it. You have to work hard.

4. Be hungry

Grab opportunities. Opportunities sometimes present themselves only once and you have to grab them.

Because at later stages, what you regret is not the things you did, but the things you did not do. All my regrets are of things I did not do.

Luck also has a big role to play, so again, don’t sniff at luck. When luck presents itself, just take it. When you get a good fortune, just take it.

5. Learn the art of gratitude

We tend not to be grateful these days. Be grateful for what you have. If you wrote down the things that you are grateful for, you would be amazed.

Grateful people are much more agreeable than people who grow up thinking about how they did not get a break.

If I look at my own background, coming from a broken family, a single mother, being the only black kid in the school that I went to in the UK, not going to university – there is a whole lot of things that I can stack up and say are all the reasons I should not be doing the job I am today.

If I had let them hold me back, I would still be working in a shop like I used to.

6. Lose the sense of entitlement

I never had the sense that I could not work in the shops because I had completed my A-levels. I was a delivery chap delivering furniture, I used to stack shelves – I never imagined I was too good for any job.

I did a lot of things and I said, “It’s a job. I will do it and I will take my lessons from each and every one of those jobs.”

If you look at how I engage with people working in shops when I go shopping, my interaction with them is shaped by that experience because I walked in those shoes. I worked behind that checkout. I know how dehumanising people can treat you sometimes.

I hold those people with huge admiration and respect. Don’t have a sense of entitlement. You are never too good for anything.

You are never too good to sweep floors and all. That is the thing about opportunities. They may not present themselves as you expect them to.

7. Move with the times

We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, where we are looking at the internet for everything. The fourth industrial revolution plays to older people because it makes things easier for us.

However, it does not play to young people because it will definitely take away jobs. In Africa, we need to create about a million jobs every month, which is about 10 to 15 million jobs every year.

That is a huge number. Even here in Kenya, I estimate that we need to create about 3,000 jobs a day.

That’s a scary thought and it is because that’s how fast the population is growing.

Foxconn, the people who make the iPhone, reduced their workforce by half because of robotics.

In Africa, we have a narrow opportunity to take some of the manufacturing from China, but that opportunity is not going to be there for long. We should be grabbing those opportunities now.

What we are seeing is that the people grabbing those opportunities are from places like Vietnam, so if we do not grab them now, by the time we come around we will be out of the game.

8. Are your skills important in today’s world?

Get to the front of the curve. Read. I always tell my team, “I mustn’t know more about stuff than you. You have to be smarter than me.

If you aren’t smarter than me, then why would I need to hire you?” You need to stay ahead of the curve and there is no excuse for not doing it because everything is online these days. You need to ensure that you are skilled to do the jobs that exist today.

source:SDE

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Ugandan Woman who has been serving food to Kenyan men in a restaurant while kneeling is making some women envious

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Stella Mteyo, a 23-year-old waitress from Mbale in Uganda, is reportedly driving Kiambu men crazy with her charming manners.

Mteyo runs a hotel, Stella Vienyanjas, in the heart of Kiambu town where she serves customers her specialty food of Ugali with Omena, which goes for Ksh70 and Ugali with fish, which she sells at Ksh100.

All this she does while kneeling and her amused male clients flock the joint just to receive her king-like treatment.

Mteyo revealed that she once worked as a housegirl but her boss kicked her out because she thought she was snatching her husband. Her employer did not like the idea of her serving her husband food while kneeling.

A file image of Stella Mteyo serving her customer while kneeling

However, she maintained that in her culture, a woman can’t serve a man without kneeling down because to them, it shows disrespect.

According to one regular customer, Aston Mutembei, he is addicted to Mteyo’s eatery considering the fact that she appreciates her clients.

“She makes you feel like you are in charge. She is not like other women who just throw your food on the table without caring if you will eat or not.

“This is how it’s supposed to be, a man should be treated like a king. For sure she knows how to cook, I always feel pampered and well taken care of,” Mutembei confessed urging women especially from Kiambu to emulate Mteyo.

Another customer, Richard Ngige, also applauded Mteyo noting that she was beautiful and courteous. He added that when he is at the hotel, he feels cherished and loved unlike when he is at home.

Mzee John Wainaina, one of Mteyo’s loyal customer, praised the Ugandan culture stating, “Ugandan women are very respectful compared to our women. In Kikuyu culture, women used to respect men and they would bring you food covering themselves with shuka or wearing a long dress to show respect, but today, they no longer do that.”

But Joan Wambui is not amused. She tweeted: “Sasa mzee wangu akionyeshwa mambo haya, atarudi nyumbani kweli?”

Jennifer Akinyi says: “I really don’t have the time for that nonsense. Kwani ni Mungu? Huyu mama anataka kutunyang’anya wazee wutu. Shindwe!”

A woman kneels before her husband during a Ugandan wedding

-Kenyans.co.ke

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