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Student dies in Bahati PCEA dorm fire

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A Form Three student has died in a dormitory fire at Bahati PCEA Secondary School in Nakuru County.

Education director Lawrence Karuntimi said the girl was pronounced dead on arrival at the county hospital following the incident on Saturday night.

Mr Karuntimi said the cause of the fire was yet to be established.

“The only thing we know is that there was a girl in the dorm, which had been closed. When the fire was put out and the dorm opened, it was found that she fell and was overwhelmed by the smoke. Investigators are gathering more information,” he said.

“The scene was processed today. A team from the public works department will do its assessment tomorrow and [report on whether] the place can be inhabited. They will look at the structure and advise us.”

Earlier, Nakuru North deputy divisional police commander, Mr Francis Mwangi, said the girl was the only one in the dormitory when the fire started.

“The dorm had been locked from outside but the girl was left inside … It is a puzzle we are unravelling,” Mr Mwangi said.

“She inhaled a lot of carbon monoxide and was taken to Bahati district hospital but was referred to Nakuru Level Five Hospital. She had no burns on her body, which means she only inhaled the smoke.”

He noted that the school had enough extinguishers to put off the fire.

The officer said all the other students at the school had been accounted for.

Several were injured while trying to remove their belongings from the building.

Some were taken to the Bahati facility and others to Mediheal Hospital in Nakuru town.

“The other girls who were treated for shocks and pains are stable,” Mr Mwangi said.

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US embassies start denying visas to people they believe will be a “burden” to taxpayers if allowed into the country

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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security today implemented the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule. Under the final rule, DHS will look at the factors required under the law by Congress, like an alien’s age, health, family status, assets, resources, and financial status, education and skills, among others, in order to determine whether the alien is likely at any time to become a public charge. The rule now applies nationwide, including in Illinois.

Self-sufficiency is a long-standing principle of immigration law. Since the 1800s, inadmissibility based on public charge has been a part of immigration law. Since 1996, federal laws have stated that aliens seeking to come to or remain in the United States, temporarily or permanently, must be self-sufficient and rely on their own capabilities and the resources of family, friends, and private organizations instead of public benefits.

“President Trump continues to deliver on his promise to the American people to enforce our nation’s immigration laws. After several judicial victories, DHS will finally begin implementing the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “This rule enforces longstanding law requiring aliens to be self-sufficient, reaffirming the American ideals of hard work, perseverance and determination. It also offers clarity and expectations to aliens considering a life in the United States and will help protect our public benefit programs.”

The final rule defines “public charge” as an alien who has received one or more public benefits (as defined in the rule) for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period.

The final rule defines “public benefits” to include any cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, most forms of Medicaid and certain housing programs.

Applicants for adjustment of status who are subject to the final rule must show that they are not likely at any time to become a public charge by submitting a Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, when they file their Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

To determine whether an alien is inadmissible on the public charge grounds, USCIS will not consider, and applicants and petitioners do not need to report, the application for, certification or approval to receive, or receipt of certain previously excluded non-cash public benefits (such as SNAP, most forms of Medicaid, and public housing) before Feb. 24, 2020. Similarly, USCIS will not consider as a heavily weighted negative factor receipt of previously included public benefits (such as SSI and TANF) before Feb. 24, 2020, in a public charge inadmissibility determination.

The final rule requires most aliens seeking to extend their nonimmigrant stay or change their nonimmigrant status to show that, since obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or change, they have not received public benefits (as defined in the final rule) for more than 12 months, in total, within any 36-month period beginning Oct. 15, 2019. Due to litigation-related delays in the final rule’s implementation, DHS is applying this requirement as though it refers to Feb. 24, 2020 rather than Oct. 15, 2019. Therefore, with respect to applying the public benefits condition to applications and petitions for extension of nonimmigrant stay and change of nonimmigrant status, DHS will not consider, and applicants and petitioners need not report an alien’s receipt of any public benefits before Feb. 24, 2020.

Certain classes of aliens are exempt from the public charge ground of inadmissibility (such as refugees, asylees, certain VAWA self-petitioners, U petitioners, and T applicants) and therefore, are not subject to the Final Rule.

After today, USCIS will reject prior editions of affected forms, including in Illinois where the rule remained enjoined until Feb. 21, 2020, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the statewide injunction. If USCIS receives an application or petition for immigration benefits using prior editions of the forms postmarked on or after Feb. 24, 2020, then USCIS will inform the applicant or petitioner of the need to submit a new application or petition using the correct forms. For applications and petitions that are sent by commercial courier (such as UPS, FedEx and DHL), the postmark date is the date reflected on the courier receipt.

For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), Instagram (/uscis), YouTube (/uscis), Facebook (/uscis) and LinkedIn (/uscis).

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Slain officer sent money to father, wife at night

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The family of a policeman attached to Deputy President William Ruto’s offices yesterday said they unsuccessfully tried to reach him after receiving money from him through mobile phone transactions.

Sergeant Kipyegon Kenei, 33, was found dead in his house in Villa Franca estate in Imara Daima, Nairobi last Thursday at about 4pm, with a bullet wound to the head.

His father John Chesang yesterday narrated how his son sent him Sh10,000 through M-Pesa and did another Sh35,000 to his wife, Judith Yegon.Kenei did not, however, answer or return phone calls they made to him to find out what the money was meant for.

The money was transferred from Kenei’s Equity Bank account a day before his body was found in his house.

According to the data obtained, Kenei spoke with his wife on Tuesday February 18 at 9:41pm before he sent her a message 10 minutes later.

The Sh35,000 was transferred from the bank’s account on February 19 at 12:25am while Chesang received Sh10,000 at about 7:32am on Wednesday.At 12:25am on Wednesday, his wife sent him a nodding emoji and asked what the money was for, but there was no response.

At 4:50am on Wednesday, his wife sent him another message, in question marks, seeking to know the purpose of the money, but there was no response.

Kenei’s mobile phone was off for the better part of Wednesday until 9:25pm when his wife sent a message to him seeking to know where he was.

Speaking to The Standard from his home in Chamasis village in Rongai yesterday, Chesang wondered why his son would send them money then refuse to answer calls or reply to text messages.

No communication

“It is hard for us to comprehend if my son sent us money or someone used his account, because there was no communication. We received the money unexpectedly and there was no urgency for it,” said the father.

Efforts to reach out to Kenei through his social media platforms were also futile, as his accounts, including Facebook and Twitter, were deactivated, leaving the family in distress, Chesang said.

Ms Yegon also frantically tried to reach him through WhatsApp, but he still did not respond.Chesang revealed that the highest amount of money Kenei would send to his wife was between Sh2,000 and Sh3,000.

“The Sh35,000 was very unusual to us,” said the grieving man.

He said he suspected that his son, the fourth in a family of seven, might have been in distress when making the transaction.

Chesang said it was unlike Kenei to communicate to the family at night, unless he was facing a pressing issue that required immediate attention.He said normally his son would switch off his mobile phone at around 9pm every night, saying he needed time to relax after work.

Demanding job

“He would tell us that his job was demanding and that he needed time to relax after 9pm, and that is why he would switch off his phone,” Chesang said.

He added: “The death of my son has taken a toll on our family. We suspect he was tormented, forced to send us the money by assailants who killed him.”

Kenei was scheduled to record a statement with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations in connection to a Sh39.5 billion fake firearm tender.

The officer was said to be on duty when former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa hosted two foreigners at Harambee House Annex building.Chesang said the family was dissatisfied with investigations and questioned why Kenei’s body was moved from the crime scene without thorough investigations then later returned.

It took the intervention of the DCI boss George Kinoti to have homicide department take charge of the crime scene.

“How did police carry my son’s body to the mortuary and leave the pistol that lay next to it? Didn’t we have investigators to comb the house?” he asked.

Kenei’s elder brother, Kimutai, said they suspected he might have been killed by assailants who later dumped the body inside his house.

Kimutai questioned why there were no blood stains in the house whose door was found open when the body was found.In addition, the family wants the DCI to retrieve Kenei’s last communication and its content.

“We want to know who was calling him and the message they were having. It is such information that will lead to key suspects in his mysterious death arrested,” said Kimutai.Homicide detectives yesterday revisited the officer’s house and reconstructed the scene using experts.Mr Kinoti led the team including doctors and a cartoonist to reconstruct the scene.

They staged a mock shooting to confirm if the gunshot could be heard and how far. Neighbours said they did not hear any sound of gunshot from the house where Kenei lived. [Mercy Kahenda, Cyrus Ombati and Jennifer Anyango]

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Olekina: I’m a radical rights defender, not a tribal warlord

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“I am an extremist for freedom and liberty and radical for the gentles’”

That was Narok Senator Ledama Olekina  in an interview with Spice FM this morning.During the morning talk show Situation Room hosted by Charles Muga, Eric Latiff and Ndu Odoh, Olekina explains his utterances during the Saturday’s Building Bridges Initiative rally in Narok on Saturday.

The youthful senator stirred the audience when he said that the Maa people had been sidelined and their plight needed to be addressed.Olekina called on the BBI steering committee to solve the land issues in the Maasai-dominated areas such as Narok, so that the local people could maintain a steady income.“On matters of food security, what will our people eat if you take our land? They must remain as agricultural land, use legitimate process if you want to subdivide them,” said Olekina.

“So long as I live, I will pursue justice for these people who I represent,” he said.His utterances, which had already lit debate in social media got the backing of Kakamega Senator Cleopas Malala and Suna East Member of Parliament Junet Mohammed. Malala, for instance, said that Maasai people needed to have a chance to produce more leaders in their areas for inclusivity.

“If we Luhyas in Western Kenya lead our people, and it happens in other communities as well, why don’t the Maasai people be given the opportunity to produce their leaders? It is not fair to fight for their few seats,” said Malala.Their statements ignited even more dissent especially from leaders drawn from North Rift areas.

War of words

Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony yesterday lashed at Mr Olekina’s sentiments.Chepkwony said that even though the plight of the Maasai was an issue of concern to be addressed, it would not be a wise move to violate the rights of legal landowners.

He said that Olekina’s sentiments amounted to warmongering.“We call upon the president to intervene as the trend is leading the country in the wrong direction,” he said.Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui also added his voice terming the leaders’ statements at the BBI meeting as retrogressive.

“Utterances attributed to a section of leaders during the Narok BBI meeting in relation to non-indigenous land owners and reclaiming land across three counties were ill-advised,” said Kinyanjui.But, Senator Olekina remained unfazed and said that he was being misunderstood.

He said he was fighting for the rights of his constituents whom he described as ‘children of a lesser god.’He said: “BBI has given us an opportunity to come out and air our problems. If people are not willing to handle the truth when we say ‘this is our problem’ then they don’t live in the 21st century.”

Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina, Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu and Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana at Narok Stadium during BBI meeting in Narok. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Clearing the air

While explaining his utterances, which have been considered to be inciting, Olekina said that he was rather championing for re-look of land policy and not barring non-locals from settling in Maasai regions.He said that contrary to how his critics perceive him, he is not against any particular community. “I have no problem with the Kipsigis in fact I have eight people from Kipsigis community working in my farm,” he said.

He argued that non-locals were buying land meant for agriculture, subdividing it and selling the same to make huge profits. For example, he said that in interior places, some people could buy land for as low as Sh70,000 per acre then they subdivide and sell for at least Sh350,000 per acre.Olekina said that the practice was denying locals economic progress the subdivided land cannot accommodate a huge population.

He also argued that pastoralists ended up restricted they cannot move to seek for pasture.“If you want 20 acres, use it to grow food so that we can buy it from you,” he stated.

He accused Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony and his Senator Aaron Cheruiyot of applying double standards in handling issues.“Those people who are still in their tribal cocoons keep pointing fingers at me. Why should a governor of Kericho call a press conference and say this guy is a tribal warlord?” he posed.“The big communities do not want to hear about inclusivity if it touches them. But as long as it doesn’t touch them, they are ok.

”He accused a section of North Rift leaders, whom he did not name, of hypocrisy. He claimed that same leaders relentlessly fought for one of their own to be installed as the vice chancellor of Moi University, but conversely, pointed fingers at him.“I am not fighting the other tribes…They were up in arms fighting for one of them to be the vice-chancellor at the university,” he stated.

Supporting Sen Olekina on the land policy question was a former Permanent Secretary who also vied for the Presidency in 2013 Prof Joseph Ole Kiyiapi.Prof Kiyiapi said Ole Kina “is being criticised for not being politically correct at JKLive but in fact, he provided deep insights of sentiments at core of tribalism in Kenya. True national cohesion must be based on the deeply ingrained culture of inclusivity and integration programs,” he tweeted on February 21.

By Standard

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