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Congo Ebola deaths surpass 1,000 as attacks on treatment centers go on

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By REUTERS
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The death toll from an Ebola outbreak in Congo rose above 1,000 on Friday, with attacks on treatment centers continuing to hamper efforts to control the “intense transmission” of the second-worst epidemic of the virus on record.

The World Health Organization said it expected the nine-month outbreak to continue spreading though the east of Democratic Republic of Congo, and announced plans to expand vaccinations in the coming weeks once a new treatment by Johnson & Johnson is approved.

The WHO is already using another experimental vaccine made by Merck.

Michael Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said supplies were plentiful but hostility towards medical staff was making it hard to get to affected communities.

He told reporters in Geneva that 119 attacks had been documented since January, and as a result, “we are anticipating a scenario of continued intense transmission”.

More than 100,000 people have been vaccinated so far, and the treatment has been highly effective, the WHO says.

The Merck vaccine will still be used in “ring vaccination” of people exposed to the virus and their contacts, Ryan said, but the WHO is also studying use of a single dose to stretch supplies, an option experts would review on Monday.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be deployed outside the rings in surrounding areas to protect people from infection, “as a way of laying down a barrier to the virus”, Ryan said.

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Congo’s Health Ministry said on Friday that 14 new Ebola deaths had been recorded, taking the toll to 1,008 deaths from confirmed and probable cases.

Only the 2013-2016 outbreak in West Africa has been deadlier. More than 11,000 people died then out of 28,000 who were infected.

Despite significant medical advances since then, including the vaccine and experimental treatments, health officials have struggled to control the current outbreak because of the violence and community mistrust in eastern Congo, where dozens of militias are active.

Militiamen attacked a hospital treating Ebola patients two weeks ago, killing a senior WHO epidemiologist and wounding two others.

“The numbers are nothing short of terrifying,” said Jeremy Farrar, an infectious disease specialist and director of the global health charity the Wellcome Trust.

“This epidemic will not be brought under control without a really significant shift in the response,” he said. “Community trust and safety, as well as community engagement and ownership of the response is critical.”

There was an attempted assault on an Ebola treatment facility in the city of Butembo on Thursday, but nobody was injured and the assailants were captured, the WHO’s Ryan said.

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KENGEN’s Olkaria Geothermal Plant Lower Evacuation Costs Causes Competitor To Lower Electricity Tariff

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Kengen’s Olkaria Geothermal plant which has low evacuation costs hence providing low power tariff to its customers has ignited its competitor to reduce its power tariff to set up factories in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Olkaria, Naivasha.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said it had approved the tariff deal for the large industries that will set up base in the special zone.

The KenGen Green Energy Industrial Park, which has four zones had set the pace by offering direct connection to cheap electricity in addition to the connection to Mombasa port via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.

KenGen recently moved to diversify its revenue streams by inviting investors to set up export-only textile and apparels plants on the 309-acre industrial zone in Naivasha.

It said the Olkaria property is divided into four plots: Site A (70 acres), Site B (82 acres), Site C (100 acres) and 57 acres reserved for Site D.

“Under the lease, the manufacturing/processing firms (locators) will be supplied with utilities such as geothermal steam and brine (hot water) as well as raw water,” said the electricity producer. Factories around the SEZ will also be served by the just-completed Naivasha-Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), easing connectivity.

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This will enable them to import raw materials which will be delivered directly to their factories and later have manufactured products exported to other countries like Europe and the Americas with ease due to access to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as well as the Port of Mombasa.

Among the targeted companies are the labour intensive export-only textile and apparels plants. Kenya has been expanding and simplifying the tax incentives it offers for investment in special economic zones in a bid to attract investment into those zones.

In July 2019, the government designated 9,000 acres of land in Naivasha, Mombasa, and Machakos as SEZs in efforts to boost manufacturing. The SEZs are designated areas aimed at promoting and facilitating export-oriented investments. Kenya recently improved its global ranking among the world’s largest geothermal powerhouses after it completed the testing of the first unit of the Olkaria V project.

The 82.7 megawatts project pushed Kenya above Iceland to position eight in the global rankings as the country continues its advancement towards green energy. “We are delighted to announce the completion of the first unit of Olkaria V geothermal power plant and subsequently injecting 79 megawatts to the national grid,” said KenGen Managing Director Rebecca Miano last year.

 

 

 

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Moi’s body leaves funeral home

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The body of former president Daniel Moi has left Lee Funeral Home for Parliament Buildings.

Kenyans of all walks of life will have three days from Saturday to Monday to view the body, which will be lying in state at Parliament Buildings.

Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua said President Uhuru Kenyatta will be the first to view the body at State House on Saturday at 10.15 am.

The body will leave the Lee Funeral Home at 8 am with the casket draped in the national flag.

The funeral procession is snaking through Valley Road to Kenyatta Avenue and on to Parliament Road after which a military parade will be mounted in his honour.

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President Kenyatta’s tribute to former leader Daniel Moi

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UHURU KENYATTA

By UHURU KENYATTA
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It is with a heavy heart and a profound sense of personal loss that I make this tribute, in honour of the life of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, who rested on the early hours of Tuesday February 4, 2020.

Today, as the solemn procession of the late President Moi proceeds through the streets of our Nation’s capital, to lie-in-state at Parliament buildings; we commence the final journey of a great son of Kenya, a cherished brother, a loving father, a mentor to many, a father of our nation, a champion of Pan-Africanism, and the Second President of the Republic of Kenya.

The question that we all should ask ourselves is: “How does one mourn an iconic leader?” A leader who spent almost his entire life in service to our nation, whose story of heroism, sacrifice and service, began in the pre-independence era.

How is a man who achieved so much more than is expected in a lifetime – be celebrated? 

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What would be a befitting send off or national honour for a man who built Kenya, in large part by the works of his hands?

A man who, together with other iconic leaders, helped Shepherd our Country out of the shackles of Colonial Rule; and into the Freedom and Self Determination of our modern independent State.

How else can a grateful Nation celebrate the life of a man whose calm and steady hand reassured a young Nation and her Allies, during the peaceful transition into the Second Administration?

The sun has set on a truly extraordinary man.

A masterful yet thoughtful leader.

A suave yet firm Diplomat.

One who served the nation with dignity and honour.

One whose wisdom and diplomatic finesse kept Kenya, both relevant and neutral, even as the whole world was in the grips of the Cold War.

“A passing cloud” that served with distinction for 24 years. A decisive and courageous Commander-in Chief of formidable achievements, who chose well and always put the country first. 

A balanced leader who during the clamour for multipartisym, on listening to both sides – chose well, setting the stage for national rebirth through the reintroduction of multiparty politics.

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A tactful leader, who during the quest for a new constitutional order, listened and quietly chose what was best for the country.

A visionary leader who, in 2002, when his party – and, I as their candidate – lost the Presidential election, left office with a gracious last word of advice to those who, thereafter, took up the heavy responsibilities he had borne for a quarter of a century.

Today, we to celebrate the life of a patriot who wherever in Kenya he found himself, he would calm fears and raise the hopes of everyone who heard him. 

No part of Kenya was strange to him, and nor were her citizens. Deep in his D.N.A, he understood and prized our culture and national character.

To his last day in office as President, he remained committed and ready to defend Africa and her people. He believed, deeply, that we had the answers to the questions that troubled our continent.

Our Nation is not alone in mourning the passing of President Daniel Toroitich arap Moi. The whole of Africa is mourning with us. We continue to receive messages of sympathy and admiration for the life and service of Mzee Moi from around the world.

We celebrate the life of a teacher for life and a mentor to many – myself included. One whose ingenuity bequeath our Nation many projects.

President Moi was a mortal man, whose works and legacy are immortal. The Republic of Kenya, the community of East Africa and the great continent of Africa, bears his indelible mark, which, I am convinced, will endure long into the future.

May Mzee Moi’s memory live as long as our Republic endures; and may we, to whom he has left the care of the Republic, prove ourselves worthy of his bequest.

We commit Mzee Moi’s Soul to the Almighty God, thanking the Creator for sending to us His Servant, whom after nearly a century of selfless and steadfast service, now rests in His Glory and his well-deserved reward.

God bless you and our beloved Nation – Kenya.

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