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Tough visa rules for students from Kenya, other countries seeking to study in US

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President Donald Trump’s government is planning to bar Kenyan and other  East African students from pursuing degrees in the US by limiting their stay in the country.

The move which is contained in proposals by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will also see students from a majority of African countries barred from getting student visas longer than two years.

This means that the students will be unable to pursue education in American universities where degrees and other certifications take about four years of study.

“If DHS’s new proposed rule goes through, international students from countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Vietnam, and the Philippines would be effectively banned from getting four-year degrees in the US,” US Immigration lawyer Aaron Reinchlin-Melnick, who is a Policy Analyst at the American Immigration Council, warns.

According to the new DHS proposal, students from countries on the State Sponsor of Terrorism List (Iran, Syria, Sudan and Northern Korea) and citizens of countries with over 10 per cent overstay rate will be limited to the two-year student visa.

“Most of those countries would be subject to restrictions because of the “10 per cent visa overstay” threshold,” Mr Reinchlin-Melnick tweeted.

The majority of the affected countries are in Africa and others in war-torn countries in Asia. The list seems, however, to avoid countries dominated by white people, especially in Europe.

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Students who will be affected by the new rules include those from Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

Other than the East Africans, students from countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo, and Zambia are affected.

Others are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Guyana, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Syria, Tajikistan, Tonga, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and Yemen.

Although the students would be able to ask DHS for an extension of their visas past two years, those extensions will not be guaranteed.

In its explanation, the Department says that its intention is to fix a major problem on students overstaying their welcome in the US.

But an analysis of the Department of Homeland Security points that only 32,023 people were suspected of overstaying a student /exchange visa last year.

Overstayed

Whereas the Trump government argues that the rule to restrict some countries is based on the percentage of students who overstayed, countries with the highest number of overstays like China, India, Brazil and Canada are not included in the punitive list.

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A downward trend is also developing as fewer students from other countries are enrolling in US colleges and universities, according to a study published recently by a State Department bureau and Institute of International Education, a New York-based NGO.

Last year’s 0.9 per cent drop in new enrolments of international students continued since the start of the Trump administration in 2017.

A spate of gun violence in a number of States especially targeting black population is also reported to have a number of parents reconsider sending their children to the US.

Kenya ranks third among sub-Saharan countries and the first in East Africa and followed by Ethiopia in the number of students attending US colleges or universities.

Nigeria leads the pack with a total of 13,423 students last year, an increase of nearly six per cent from the 2017-18 academic year followed by Ghana.

In July, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that students on non-immigrant F-1 and M-1 visas who attend universities that operate entirely online amid the Covid-19 pandemic may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. It meant students under the category were required to return home.

The order was however rescinded after a public outcry.

-The EastAfrican

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Africa

Man praises stepdad for being amazing father

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Thabani Nhlengethwa, a South African man, has shared a touching story on Facebook about the man who raised him.

Thabani Nhlengethwa praised his stepdad for making him the man he is today. Photo credit: Facebook/Thabani Nhlengethwa

Thabani Nhlengethwa owes every success he will experience in the future to his stepdad. Photo credit: Facebook/Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

In a post written on #ImStaying group, the young man praised his stepdad for being an outstanding man and amazing human being.

He said he owes every success that he enjoys in the future to his dad, Jita.

According to Thabani, Jita met his mom back in 1996. He was only four years old at that time.

Jita accepted Thabani and his siblings who were all sired in previous relationships.

Man praises stepdad for being amazing father, exceptional husband

Thabani hopes to give his stepdad the world one day. Photo: Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

The kind man schooled them, fed them and protected them as if they were his own flesh and blood.

The netizen owed everything he knew to the man who raised him and hoped that one day fortune would knock on his door and enable him to treat Jita like a king.

He added that at the moment, the fanciest thing he can do is take his stepdad out for breakfast, but soon things will change.

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Man praises stepdad for being amazing father, exceptional husband

The man said his stepfather was the breadwinner and did not mind providing for them. Photo: Thabani Nhlengethwa
Source: Facebook

“I love and owe every success I might have in the future to this amazing gent right here. Jita met my mom in 1996, I was only four-years old by then and my mom already had 4 kids from her previous relationships.”

“Jita took all of us under his wing, took us as his kids and loved us. He took us to school and we all were able to finish matric because of him. My mom was not working and so Jita was the breadwinner,” he said.

In a related story by TUKO.co.ke, a young lady took to Facebook on Monday, June 15, and shared a beautiful story about the hero of her life.

At the age of three, Portia Thabisile’s biological father decided to leave her and her mother.

Thankfully, her mother met a wonderful man who raised Portia as his own daughter.

She shared her inspirational post via the I’m Staying Facebook group.

“I am staying because of my daddy, he took me in when I was three years, after my biological father left me and my mum, he gave me love till today,” the lady wrote.

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Africa

Uhuru names Amb. Martin Kimani new envoy to NY as he moves to cement his legacy in foreign affairs

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has either moved or nominated envoys to fill 12 positions globally. In the new line-up, Uhuru  has settled on a member of the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) taskforce Amb Martin Kimani as the new Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations who will be based in New York.

The position fell vacant when Amb Lazarus Amayo moved to Washington DC as the envoy to US.

But who is Ambassador Martin Kimani? He was the Director of Kenya’s National Counter Terrorism Centre and Special Envoy CVE, and once served as the Permanent Representative and Head of Mission to the United Nations at Nairobi and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Kimani holds an MA and PhD in War Studies from King’s College of the University of London and is a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and the Aspen Global Leadership Program.

He was also the 2013 Distinguished African Visiting Fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Learn more here:

 

Kenyatta has also nominated three former IEBC commissioners for deputy head of mission positions in the latest appointments.

Connie Maina, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwanchanya have been picked as deputy heads of mission in the latest changes made by the Head of State.

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The list of nominees features 25 people who are expected to fill up the positions of high commissioner, permanent representative, ambassadors and deputy heads of missions.

According to an Executive Order signed by Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, and released on Thursday evening; the group will join the country’s foreign service in various capacities.

The order states partly, “His Excellency the President has on this fifteenth day of October 2020, caused nominations and appointments to the senior ranks of the public service for persons to serve the nation as Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Permanent Representatives in Kenya’s Embassies/High Commissions/Missions abroad. The persons who by dint of the Presidential action will join our nation’s esteemed foreign service…”

Former IEBC vice chair Consolata Nkatha has been picked as the deputy head of mission in Rome, Italy. Her colleagues, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwanchanya will occupy similar positions in Moscow (Russia) and Islamabad (Pakistan) respectively.

Below is the list of individuals nominated for the positions of deputy heads of missions:

In the order, Amb John Tipis who headed the Directorate of the African Union heads to Canberra as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Australia. Immaculate Wambua has been picked as Kenya’s High Commissioner to Canada, and she will be based in Ottawa. Closing the list is Amb Catherine Mwangi who will be Kenya’s High Commissioner to South Africa. She will be based in Pretoria.

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In the list of appointments are 12 people who have been picked for ambassadorial positions. They include Amb Jean Kamau (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), Linday Kiptiness (Bangkok, Thailand), Amb Tom Amolo (Berlin, Germany), Amb Lemarron Kaanto (Brasilia, Brazil), Amb Daniel Wambura (Bujumbura, Burundi), Stella Munyi (Harare, Zimbabwe), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Samuel Nandwa (Juba, South Sudan), Maj. Gen. (Rtd.) Ngewa Mukala ) Khartoum, Sudan), Amb Benson Ogutu (Moscow, Russia), Joshua Gatimu (Tehran, Iran), Amb Tabu Irina (Tokyo, Japan) and Amb Jean Kimani (UNHABITAT).

Resignation from IEBC

The three former IEBC officials announced resigned from the commission on April 16, 2018, claiming that their boss Wafula Chebukati was incapable of running the IEBC affairs.

“For far too long and way too many times, the commission chair has failed to be the steady and stable hand that steers the ship in difficult times and gives direction when needed,” the trio said in a statement.

They added: “Instead under Chebukati’s leadership, the commission boardroom has become a venue for peddling misinformation, grounds for brewing mistrust and a space for scrambling and chasing individual glory and credit”.

But on August 12, 2018, Justice Wilfrida Okwany ruled that the commissioners did not legally tender their resignation and were still adjudged to be in office. The court ruled that the trio ought to have resigned in writing rather than in the press conference.

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“As I have already found in this judgement, the issue of the alleged resignation of the four commissioners was a matter that was neither here nor there and was not proved by any tangible evidence,” said Okwany.

-Standardmedia.co.ke

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Africa

Kenyan entrepreneur among top 10 finalists of Jack Ma Foundation competition

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Kenyan entrepreneur Chebet Lesan is among the 10 finalists of Africa’s Business Heroes, a competition organized by the Jack Ma Foundation to identify and recognize the continent’s top entrepreneurs.

Chebet is the founder of Bright Green Renewable Energy, a social enterprise that turns urban waste into clean burning charcoal for households, schools, farmers, hospitals and many others.

She is now among the 10 finalists who will pitch at the competition’s grand finale in November for a chance to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.

Speaking to Nairobi News, Chebet said being among the top 10 is a humbling experience for her as they were up against strong competition.

For Chebet and the team at Bright Green Renewable Energy, a win in the competition will be a win for more than 800 million people in Africa who cannot access clean energy.

“It will mean that the problem we are solving of energy poverty across Africa, that the voices of 800 million people in Africa who still don’t have access to clean cooking fuel have been heard and are going to get the support they need to be able to improve their situation,” Chebet said.

For Chebet to win, As Kenyans you can support her by sharing your first Ugali experience using the hashtag #ugaliyanguyakwanza

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https://twitter.com/lesanerick/status/1316076593492701185

The finalists were chosen from a pool of more than 22,000 applications across all 54 African states and key sectors, including agriculture, fashion, education, financial services, healthcare and renewable energy.

The top 10, an even split of female and male entrepreneurs whose average age is 34, represent eight African countries: Kenya, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

On November 13 and 14, Africa’s Business Heroes will host its Grand Finale and winners of the 2020 ABH prize will be announced on November 14.

During the online Grand Finale pitch, the top ten heroes will present their business ventures, as well as their vision and leadership profile, to the finale judging panel that includes Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Group, Ibukun Awosika – Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group, Strive Masiyiwa – Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group and Joe Tsai – Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group.

All of this will be part of ABH brand-new business entertainment televised show due to air in five episodes from November 21-December 19 across Africa.

BY NN

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