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Gospel musician Papa Dennis found dead in apparent suicide

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HILLARY KIMUYU

By HILLARY KIMUYU
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Award-winning Kenyan gospel musician Dennis Mwangi, popularly known as Papa Dennis, is dead.

Police said Saturday that the musician fell from an apartment building in Pangani on Friday night.

The ‘Makekes’ hitmaker shot to the limelight when he released his hit banger ‘Foundation’ featuring Daddy Owen.

The gospel artiste was signed under the Maliza Umaskini label owned by business mogul Sadat Muhindi.

Papa Dennis collaborated with different musical superstars across Africa. Some of the stars include Nigerian Korede Bello and Chidinma and Mr Flavour.

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The artiste was known for exhibiting flamboyance, sporting expensive designer clothes, watches and shoes.

Papa Dennis, however, dismissed claims that he was a braggart.

“I don’t boast or brag, I just show appreciation to what God has blessed me with and, at the end of the day, all these riches are only earthly and not heavenly,” he told the Nation in an interview in 2018.

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In the interview, the artiste said the monies used on the audio-visuals were not from his pocket, but his manager’s Sadat Muhindi.

“I don’t decide what to spend on shooting a video, my manager Sadat and his team do. Besides, he is one person who believes in quality and will never settle for anything less,” he said.

Papa Dennis was born and raised in Kitale.

He won several awards, including a trophy in the 2015 Mwafaka Awards, 2016 and 2017 Pulse Music Video Awards, the 2018 African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) and the 2019 Dear Awards.

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Experts: A strange random call could be cybercrime attempt

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DANIEL OGETTA

By DANIEL OGETTA
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If you woke up to several unattended calls from an unknown number, what would you do? Call back? Text? Ignore? Contact your service provider?

The fashion in which the calls come in – one-ring then drop, and with the several missed calls – creates an air of urgency about it which you have to wonder how the caller got your contact.

The urge to call back a missed call becomes irresistible. Especially when they are numerous missed calls from a strange international caller. However, to some, it makes more sense to call their service provider.

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, when most people’s minds were tuned to the rhythm of love, random international callers with +243 prefixes contacted several Kenyan Safaricom subscribers, taking psychological advantage of the moment of affection.

Alan Mwenda, one of those contacted, reached out to Safaricom – the service provider, but he was advised to “share such numbers on SMS to 333 (free) for investigation and look up the “One Ring Scam.”  However, the telco is yet to share their stance.

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But, what really was happening? How potential is this type of cyber security threat? Who exactly are these callers?

One ring and drop nature of the calls has been dubbed ‘Wangiri’ by America’s Federal Communications Commission report that derived it from the calls’ characteristic nature of calling and hanging up immediately, leaving a missed call notification from an international caller.

Mr Fred Wahome, vice chair of Kenya Cybersecurity and Forensic Association and an information security expert explains: “The calls are computer generated. It takes one to have an algorithm that can generate random numbers with their target telco’s prefix, say, between 070 and 079 as the instance with Safaricom, then the computer makes random calls to the unsuspecting subscribers.”

He adds, “The goal is not always to make you answer the call. It is persuading you to call back.”

Calling the fraudster would activate the exorbitant charges which then generates cash to the fraudsters. The best way to deal with such, according to him, is to ignore the allure of returning the call.

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Service providers, he says, are mostly not able to track down these numbers as call data records may not have recorded them, because the computer generated algorithms make massive calls simultaneously to their subscribers.

When the victim calls back, then that would be considered as cyber fraud.

Dr Bright Mawudor, a cybersecurity expert at Internet Solutions Kenya says that the number, if at all not an algorithm, could be calling from anywhere in the world and not necessarily from Kinshasa.”

The ‘international caller’, he explains, could have purported to be calling from Kinshasa. “It could even have come from right here in Kenya. They usually change the phone dialing proxies to fool target user accounts, and make their attack plans easier to execute,” he expounds.

Vodafone, a global mobile communications provider, operating in 26 countries advises subscribers not to return international calls that they don’t recognise.

When befell by the same fate, the report also prescribes various means to ensure that would be employed to minimalise chances of the getting scammed.

Users must check out for the identity of the caller before receiving any call, even international, dismiss the temptation to answer or call back missed calls from unusual international numbers.

“You should ask your service provider to block incoming international calls on your line after any suspected attempt to breach your phone security.”

In 2017, Kenya’s digital economy lost Sh21.1 billion to cybercrime, which increased by 39.8 per cent in 2018 to Sh29.5 billion according to pan-African based cyber-security and business consultancy Serianu.

Heavy finances have been invested in cyber security infrastructure, but the menace keeps chopping off millions of shillings from companies’ profits, and stealing sensitive data from targeted senior employees.

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Walls, mud packs and monkey removal for Trump in India » Capital News

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Preparations are in full swing at locations like the Taj Mahal for President Donald Trump’s first official visit to India © AFP / Pawan Sharma

, Ahmedabad, India, Feb 23 – US President Donald Trump makes his first official visit to India on Monday and work has been going on around the clock to spruce things up — to the annoyance of some locals as well as monkeys.

The photo opportunity highlights of the 36-hour trip include a rally of 100,000 people at the world’s largest cricket stadium and watching the sunset with First Lady Melania at the Taj Mahal.

A long wall has been hastily built, along the route in Ahmedabad in western India to the new Sardar Patel Stadium in order, locals believe, to hide a slum, although officials deny it.

Sardar Sarania, a resident of the slum, is disgusted at what he sees as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to conceal reality.

Scores of banners and hoardings with pictures of Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been put up across Ahmedabad in western India © AFP / SAM PANTHAKY

“So Modi has supposedly made everything good and there’s development everywhere, right? But he’s hid us behind here,” Sarania told AFP.

“We’re made invisible. So the gutter we live in, he (Trump) won’t see us. That’s why they’re building this.”

Scores of banners and hoardings with pictures of Trump, Modi and Melania Trump have been put up across the city, projecting the “Namaste Trump” rally as a historic event in US-India relations.

The route will be lined with thousands of people — well short of the 6-10 million Trump says he has been told will attend — as well as stages for performers and images of independence hero Mahatma Gandhi.

Authorities are rushing to lessen the pollution around the Taj Mahal ahead of Donald Trump’s visit © AFP / Pawan Sharma

Ahmedabad officials are also keen to avoid a repeat of when then-US secretary of state John Kerry’s cavalcade hit one of India’s ubiquitous stray dogs during a 2015 visit.

The local Cattle and Dog Nuisance Control Department (CDNCD) has constituted a crack team to remove dogs and errant cows — another common sight in Indian cities — in a three-kilometre radius of the route.

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A local NGO and the state forest department have also been roped in to keep birds and bands of monkeys out of Air Force One’s way on the runway at Ahmedabad airport.

“In the past 10 days, we have caught 45-odd monkeys. They come in search of food,” Raag Patel from the Nature Conservation Foundation said.

The captive monkeys are put in cages with food, sent to a “distant location” and released, Patel said.

– Make Agra great again –

Next stop for the Trumps will be sunset at the Taj Mahal in Agra, south of New Delhi, and here too workers have been busy making the world-famous Islamic mausoleum more beautiful still.

The stops during Donald Trump’s 36-hour trip to India include a rally of 100,000 people and watching the sunset at the Taj Mahal © AFP / SAM PANTHAKY

Back in the 17th century, some 20,000 labourers, sculptors, calligraphers and stone cutters, along with 1,000 elephants, took 16 years to construct the white marble monument.

Time, and also air pollution, have however taken their toll, turning parts of the Taj Mahal yellow, necessitating several rounds of treatment with coatings of mud packs that are then peeled off.

For the Trumps, the replicas of the graves of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal — for whom the Taj Mahal was built — are getting the beauty treatment too, and for the first time.

“We completed the mud-pack treatment on Thursday,” Vasant Swarnkar from the Archaeological Survey of India told AFP.

“It was already planned but the treatment was brought forward for Trump’s visit.”

Authorities have also released vast volumes of water into the Yamuna river flowing adjacent to the Taj in order to lessen the usual whiff of raw sewage and industrial effluent.

“This move may not make the Yamuna’s water fit for drinking, but could reduce foul smell from the river,” said Arvind Kumar, an engineer from the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board.


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Hamburg votes amid German political tumult » Capital News

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Hamburg goes to the polls on Sunday © AFP/File / ODD ANDERSEN

, Hamburg, Germany, Feb 23 – Voters in the German city-state of Hamburg head to the polls Sunday, with the centre left expected to hold its own against the environmentalist Greens, who have been enjoying rising popularity across the country.

Federal politics in Germany has appeared particularly chaotic in recent weeks, with a regional vote in the former communist east indirectly bringing down Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chosen successor.

Over the longer term, the progressive, ecologist Greens look set to replace the centre-left Social Democratic Party as the main national rival to Merkel’s CDU conservatives, with support for them surging last year and now almost twice as high as for the SPD.

But things are not so gloomy for the centre left in Hamburg, where despite the Greens’ gains, the SPD looks set to maintain its grip on the mayor’s seat.

In opinion polls in this wealthy “Free Hanseatic City” last week, support for the SPD was well over 30 percent, a lead of more than 10 points over the Greens and three times higher than the CDU.

The lead candidate for the centre-left SPD, Peter Tschentscher, is currently Hamburg’s mayor © AFP/File / Patrik Stollarz

“We have to hold our ground against the federal trend,” SPD lead candidate and incumbent Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher, 54, told AFP.

In part, the centre left has done so by adopting policies with a distinctly “green” feel, including a proposal to convert a massive coal power plant to natural gas to slash greenhouse emissions.

Meanwhile, the far-right AfD — which enjoys strong support in the east of the country — is struggling to gain ground in prosperous Hamburg where it could even fall short of the five percent hurdle to enter parliament.

At just under 3,000 euros ($3,258) per month, incomes in the port city are somewhat higher than the national average.

– Havoc in Berlin –

On Friday, the Greens’ national leader, Robert Habeck, said that the prospect for the ecologists doubling their score in Hamburg from the last vote in 2015 was “phenomenal”, even if they fail to unseat the SPD’s Tschentscher.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg joined a massive “Fridays for Future” demonstration in Hamburg attended by around 10,000 people © AFP / MORRIS MAC MATZEN

Should the opinion polls prove correct, the port city will likely retain the “red-green” coalition that has ruled since 2011, sparing Berlin the political earthquakes provoked by other recent regional votes.

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Earlier this month, Merkel’s conservatives were shaken by the apparent alliance of their regional branch in the eastern state Thuringia with the far-right AfD party, voting in a liberal politician as state premier.

The breach of a historic political taboo provoked a nationwide outcry.

As a result, CDU leader and Merkel’s heir apparent, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, announced her resignation, throwing open the question of who will succeed the veteran chancellor following elections next year at the latest.

Meanwhile, the SPD’s failure to recover from disastrous showings in federal elections in 2017 and in subsequent state polls has seen nervous party members chew through multiple leaders.

The party finally settled on a duo of relative unknowns last year after a long and divisive selection process.

The pair, Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken, have been notable by their absence from Hamburg campaign events.

– No island –

While Hamburg’s political make-up is unusual, events in the final week of campaigning showed that the port city is far from insulated from events in the rest of Germany and Europe.

A “red-green” coalition of SPD and Greens has ruled Hamburg since 2011 © AFP/File / Patrik Stollarz

On Friday, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg joined a massive “Fridays for Future” demonstration in Hamburg attended by around 10,000 people, according to police.

Weekly marches across the country by the school strike movement last year helped force Berlin to raise its climate ambitions and fix a binding end to coal power generation by 2038 in law.

At the same time, support for the Greens has surged across the country.

Meanwhile, both the SPD and the Greens cancelled final campaign events on Thursday, after a racist gunman killed nine people with migrant backgrounds in the city of Hanau.


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