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Police retrieve bodies of five pupils

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The bodies of five children who drowned in Murang’a County at the weekend have been retrieved. Two of them drowned in Kandara on Saturday while the other three drowned in Kiharu on Sunday.

In the Kandara incident, bodies of Silvan Chege, 11, and that of a girl, 16, were retrieved and moved to General Kago mortuary in Thika on Saturday.

Chege drowned as he tried to rescue the girl after she was swept away by the rising waters of Thika River.

He was a Standard Six pupil at Waitua Primary School.Kandara Sub-county police commander Paul Wambugu said the two drowned during an expedition.

In Kiharu, bodies of the three children who drowned in Mukungai River during a school swimming expedition, were retrieved on Monday.The three, aged between 11 and 13, were pupils at Weithaga Primary School.

By Standard

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Health

Coronavirus: I fear for my life, says KQ whistle-blower

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Gire Ali, the Kenya Airways employee who was suspended for filming and sharing a video of a China Southern Airlines plane landing with 239 passengers at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Wednesday, now says he fears for his life.

In suspending him, the airline accused him of going against company policy in exposing poor handling and management of passengers arriving from coronavirus-ravaged China.

The video caused uproar, with Kenyans accusing the government of exposing the country to the virus.

On Friday, Mr Ali confirmed his suspension as social media went abuzz with the news.

“Yes, what is trending is true. They have suspended me,” said Mr Ali.

In the letter to him signed by chief human resources officer Evelyne Munyoki, the airline says it took the action because of his involvement in distributing the clip.

“It has been determined that you be suspended from duty with effect from 27th February 2020 in accordance with provision of clause 16.5 of the Company HR Policy,” Ms Munyoki said.

“During the period of suspension, you will be required to avail [sic] yourself to the investigating team, your manager or any other person in authority as and when required.

“You are therefore required to remain contactable and within easy reach during the period. Also note that the suspension will be on full salary.”

Mr Ali said he feared for his life after he exposed the airline.

“They have been calling and I’m yet to go and meet the team because someone warned me that my life might be in danger and that they were watching me. I handed over my work identification documents through the fence and left. I fear about what could happen to me,” he said.

A video that went viral on social media shows Southern China Airlines’ Flight CZ 6043 landing at JKIA at 7.29am to a hostile reception that saw medical officials at the airport refuse to screen passengers, who were not allowed to leave the plane for almost an hour.

According to a source, it took the intervention of senior government officials to end the standoff.

“All 239 passengers were screened on board, cleared and advised to self-quarantine for the next 14 days,” the Ministry of Health said later.

But Mr Ali says they had earlier this month raised the health safety concerns with the employer but nothing had been done.

In a letter seen by the Saturday Nation, ground crew who handle the Chinese airline wrote to their supervisor on February 2 expressing their fears and asking to be issued with protective gear but got no response.

“As you are aware, we have a duty to provide security services to China Southern from the time of arrival up to departure,” they wrote.

“We’re required to maintain security presence on this flight as long as it is on the ground. Our staff are badly exposed since we do not have protective gear while discharging our duties. We kindly request that similar masks be provided to our staff working on this flight.”

Our calls and text message to get a comment from Dennis Kashero, head of Kenya Airways communications and public affairs, went unanswered.

Kenyans fear that some of the passengers could have contracted the infectious disease, which has spread to over 45 countries, killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 83,000 worldwide, with the vast majority in China.

Kenyans have been furious with the government for allowing flights from China.

They have been calling for the unconditional reinstatement of Mr Ali, calling him a hero for being a whistle-blower.

BY Nation

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WATCH LIVE: Mt Kenya BBI rally happening now [VIDEO]

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The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rally in Meru kicked off shortly after 12pm Saturday.

Governors from all the Mt Kenya counties including Meru, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Tharaka-Nithi, Embu, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Laikipia, Murang’a and Nakuru are in attendance.

ODM leader Raila Odinga is the chief guest.

The meeting is expected to, among other objectives, provide a political solution to the future of Mt Kenya politics.

MPs allied to the Deputy President William Ruto are expected to attend the meeting.

But , several meetings held across the region in the run-up to today’s rally were boycotted by some MPs who support Ruto.

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Business

Pricey tomatoes push up the cost of living in February

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The high cost of tomatoes contributed to a spike in the cost of living in February with overall prices of goods and services in the economy increasing by 6.37 per cent.

This was a nine-month with the increase in general prices of food and non-alcoholic drinks standing at 10.58 per cent, year-on-year.

In January, inflation rate, or the annualised percentage change in price in a basket of goods, stood at 5.78 per cent.

Price of a kilogramme of tomatoes, whose high price has been the butt of many jokes online, increased by 62.4 per cent from Sh82.4 in the same month last year to Sh133.8.Another foodstuff that saw its price rise at a fast rate was maize grain (loose), with a kilogram retailing at Sh50.8, an increase of 42.8 per cent compared to the same period last year

.A kilogramme of onions touched Sh110.29 from Sh89.41, according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

“The increase in inflation was driven by increase in prices of several food items outweighing decrease registered in respect of others,” said KNBS.

Sukumawiki

“Notably, the prices of tomatoes increased by 62.4 per cent in February 2020 compared to the cost in February 2019. However, prices of mangoes and loose maize grain dropped by 8.39 and 1.3 per cent respectively.”While the heavy downpour depressed the supply of tomatoes, it was a boon for other foodstuff such as Sukuma Wiki.A kilogramme of sukuma wiki retailed at an average of Sh40, this was 15.4 per cent lower compared to Sh47.3 in the same month in 2019.

Mangoes, potatoes, carrots and spinach also saw their retail prices decline during this period.House rents went up, with the index on housing, water, electricity , gas and other fuels increasing by 0.47 per cent.

“However, during the same period, the cost of electricity consumption kerosene dropped,” said KNBS.

A litre of petrol retailed at Sh113.3 last in February, an increase of 12 per cent, from Sh101.13 in January.An inflation rate of 6.37 per cent remains within the Central Bank of Kenya’s target of between 2.5 and 7.5 per cent.

By Standard

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