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Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

 

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Wolves' unhappy new year sees 2-0 defeat by Palace

* Wolves progress halted by a 2-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace

* Two late goals sealed Wolves’ fate

* Jordan Ayew scored his first Palace goal in 83rd minute

* Luka Milivojevic then struck home a penalty in stoppage time

* Wolves missed the chance to go seventh

* Palace moved well clear of the relegation zone

* Roy Hodgson’s men dominated a goalless first half

* Wolves visit Man City next, Palace host Watford (Updates with quotes)

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 0 CRYSTAL PALACE 2

Jan 2 (Reuters)- Wolverhampton Wanderers’ impressive Premier League campaign hit the buffers on Wednesday as two goals in the dying minutes enabled Crystal Palace to take all three points with a 2-0 win at Molineux.

Looking out of sorts at the start of the year, Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves had only needed a draw to become the first promoted team to garner 30 points after 21 matches in a top flight season since Birmingham City in 2009-10.

Instead, their hopes of rising as high as seventh were spoiled as Palace deservedly took the spoils with Ghanaian international Jordan Ayew firing home his first goal for the club in the 83rd minute.

Luka Milivojevic then converted from the penalty spot, five minutes into added time, after Ryan Bennett had brought down Wilfried Zaha.

It gave Palace consecutive away wins in the same Premier League season for the first time in two years and Roy Hodgson’s team were well worth the points.

“I thought we were the team pushing for the goal and when we eventually got it I think we can say we deserved it,” Palace’s former England manager told the BBC.

Of Ayew’s goal he added: “Jordan worked so hard and it was fitting he could score the goal that has eluded him and us for so long.

“I’m really pleased with the performance, discipline and delighted to win a game away from home because it makes the Christmas period quite a good one for us.”

Palace dominated the first half, with only their profligate finishing letting them down – with Andros Townsend’s dismal ballooned right-footed shot and James Tomkins’ missed header proving the most glaring examples.

Wolves, as befits their reputation this term as second-half revivalists, looked much sharper on the resumption, creating more chances in the opening four minutes after the break than in the entire first-half.

Having now overseen five defeats in their last seven home league games and watching his side muster only one shot on target all night, Nuno understandably sounded concerned by this latest Molineux setback.

“There’s no excuses. We didn’t perform well. Palace had one day less to prepare than us, so there’s no excuses,” the Portuguese told the BBC. (Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Alison Williams and Pritha Sarkar)


Embrace smart home technology in government’s housing agenda

By LETTER
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In implementing President Uhuru Kenyatta’s housing pillar of his ‘Big Four’ agenda, the government ought to embrace smart home technology to address issues such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, the welfare of people living with disabilities as well as the elderly, and security.

That would involve total use of solar or wind power — or both — to meet all the energy needs of the homes and not rely on the national grid, which primarily running on hydropower, a non-green source of electricity.

Smart devices that switch off electronic appliances when not in use would save a lot of energy.

Incorporation of electronically controlled ramps and other utilities needed by the disabled and the elderly would improve their quality of life and reduce the cost of hiring nurses for them.

The technology makes it easy to use space only when needed.

INNOVATIONS

In Australia, a technology, “bright green home”, involves the use of building blocks connected by hinges. This makes it possible to ‘fold’ a house when necessary into fewer rooms.

This is economical use of space and land, which is a critical but limited aspect of production.

Smart technology would also entail automatic opening of windows to ensure sufficient ventilation.

This involves the installation of sensors to detect indoor changes in temperature, which is then regulated to ensure the occupants are comfortable.

Regulation of temperature is also critical in checking indoor air pollution. Growth of fungi and release of fungal spores and mycotoxins (which are carcinogenic) is largely dependent on indoor temperatures and moisture, which are modifiable through use of smart home technology.

In the United States, a green building council (www.usgbc.org) serves as the central hub to the American green building industry.

Kenya should take a leaf from such innovative hubs and make smart home technology a critical aspect of our building industry through the necessary legal and policy frameworks.

The use of smart home technology makes a home an appliance, not a container, and is one of the most appropriate ways to pre-adapt vulnerable populations to climate change and to mitigate global warming.

Dr P.M. Mutua, Makueni.

It is increasingly becoming impossible for landowners to protect their property.

There have been invasions of both public and private land in several parts of the country, leading to protracted conflicts and costly demolitions amid an acute shortage of housing.

At Athi River, for instance, government land is said to have been invaded and sold. The forcible takeover is more complex and elaborate than gangs marching into unoccupied land and hiving it off.

Land ownership records and documents should be safeguarded to avert a crisis.

Edwin Kariuki, Mombasa.


Quest for formal education defies age hurdle

By STEPHEN MUNYIRI
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If you are wondering what age is appropriate for an elderly person to go back to school, just take it from Mzee Simon Muchoki Ndirangu, 62.

He has taken the next step in his quest to acquire new skills after a 45-year gap since his last formal schooling.

This might sound a perfect happy ending but it is, in fact, a new beginning for “mzae”, as he is fondly referred to by his classmates at Mukurweini Technical Training Institute in Nyeri County.

Most of his classmates are the age of his grandchildren. The institution has an unusually high turnover of aged learners.

Thanks to an accommodating and supportive management, the Mukurweini Technical Institute has, since its inception three years ago, attracted a growing number of aged learners most of them above 40 years.

Mzee Ndirangu, who joined the institution in September this year to pursue a career in electrical engineering – after spending more than four decades as a struggling subsistence farmer – is not alone in this educational journey.

Among his college-mates is 57-year-old Cecilia Wanjiru Mwangi and about 30 others, who are out to whet their appetite for an education late in life in a bid to fulfil their long-held dreams.

When the Nation visited the institution, Mzee Ndirangu was seated in a class of about 30 students and was conspicuous; his greying hair visible from afar.

He was busy undergoing some electrical engineering tutorial, which he has started as an artisan under his instructor Maina Murage, who describes him as respectful, a fast learner and an obedient student.

Mzee Ndirangu, a father of five, the eldest being 35 years old, had no reservations about going back to school.

“I am the oldest in the group of students studying this programme. There are indeed challenges, like spending five to eight hours each day in a classroom after being out of school for decades.

“Nearly all my classmates are in their early 20s. In terms of advice for older students, I would say that you should treat the younger students as your peers. You even find that your tutors are younger but you need to give them just as much respect,” he says with a radiant smile.

Mzee Ndirangu, who dropped out of high school in Form Three, says his ultimate goal is to fulfil his dream of acquiring a degree in electrical engineering, which he could not achieve in his youth owing to various hurdles, including lack of school fees.

Ms Mwangi joined the institution early this year after sitting her KCSE exam at the neighbouring Gikondi Secondary School at the age of 56 last year; she scored a D-.

The mother of three went to the institution seeking to be enrolled but, unfortunately, there was no programme that could fit her grades, according to the Principal, Mr Patrick Muchemi.

Touched by her plight, the principal introduced a procurement course, especially for her, and she started studying storekeeping in the hope that she will advance to the next level.

She could not afford the tuition fee, forcing Mr Muchemi to negotiate with the Higher Education Loans Board which could not advance her a loan because her age was beyond their eligibility bracket.

“Too old for school? Absolutely not! I was anxious about going to school with children more than half my age. I am a dedicated and serious student.

“I’m not worried. My classmates are respectful. Most of them call me mum. I am gratified that they have accepted me in their lives,” Ms Mwangi – whose dream of becoming a senior procurement manager has just started – says.

But according to Mr Muchemi, there are challenges dealing with overage students.

He says older learners need more support to encourage them because of society’s prejudices against them.

He says that aside from honing their skills and inspiring the younger generation, studying is an effective way for the over 60s to tackle the spectre of isolation, loneliness and depression, which can come with old age.


Schools in crisis, even as Knut calls off strike

By EDITORIAL
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Schools reopen today for the first term amid a cloud of uncertainty and anxiety.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers has agreed to obey a court ruling stopping a planned strike by its members to protest the massive transfer of headteachers and their deputies in a delocalisation programme being carried out by their employer, the Teachers Service Commission.

However, the planned rollout of the new curriculum by the Ministry of Education — after hiccups — smacks of unpreparedness.

Had the strike taken effect, it would have dealt a terrible blow to learners and their parents. It was bound to be disruptive, rancorous and murky.

The financial costs would have been enormous. So much time would have been lost and learners subjected to undeserved mental torture.

All the same, the persistent acrimony between the TSC and Knut is disastrous for the education sector, which requires singularity of purpose to achieve the common goals.

LAUNCH DATE

There is confusion over the implementation of the new curriculum after several blunders by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

In less than three weeks, she has made three different pronouncements that have caused utter confusion.

At first, she had decreed that the curriculum would be put on hold due to lack of adequate preparations.

She then announced that it would start in 2020 to allow time for piloting and proper preparations.

A few days later, she made an about-turn and declared that the syllabus would set in this year.

Yesterday, Ms Mohamed met top national and regional education officials and directed them to begin the rollout right away.

But the fact of the matter is, the implementation is bound to be chaotic. Not all the teachers have been trained for it.

Learning and teaching materials are not available. The Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has just asked for bids for the publication of textbooks and other materials. Clearly, they will not be ready anytime soon.

The government has not allocated funds for the new programme. Counties, which are responsible for pre-school education, have categorically rejected the commencement, saying that they do not have the funds and logistical requirements to execute it.

Add to that the fact that there is no policy framework for the new curriculum — the sessional paper to anchor it is yet to be tabled and discussed in Parliament.

Then we are talking of a muddy execution of what was otherwise a well-thought-out programme and which could have succeeded if things were done differently.

Also, schools will reopen without government funding, whose disbursement has, in recent years, often delayed.

Collectively, the education sector is operating precariously, compromising quality. We ask for better management of the education sector.


Use public funds prudently

By EDITORIAL
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The best news for the 47 counties so early in the New Year is the announcement that the National Treasury will release additional funds to them.

A total of Sh36.9 billion will be available to counties in loans and grants. This is a vote of confidence in devolution as a vehicle through which the development of the entire country from the grassroots can be enhanced.

It’s hardly surprising as devolution has been touted as the most significant change in the country’s governance since independence five decades ago, having seen substantive resources moved from the centre to the regions.

The extra resources are now available following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s assent to the County Allocation of Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2018.

It is a New Year’s gift to the counties, whose programmes have often been hampered by the late release of annual allocations.

However, the leadership in the counties must realise that a substantial amount of these funds is loans.

They must, therefore, be managed prudently and channelled into the projects for which they were intended. How they manage the funds will largely determine whether or not they will get more.

While the general consensus is that counties have great potential to change the face of the country by implementing projects that improve the people’s lives, worrying trends have been noted.

Some have become notorious for the wanton wastage of resources and the monster of corruption has also been, literally, devolved.

Quite encouraging, however, is the growing competition between the counties in their development programmes.

Though taking more resources to the counties is welcome, the question of its prudent use remains.

They must ardently fight corruption, prevent waste and pilferage and put the resources to good use.


Soccer-Wolves' unhappy new year sees 2-0 defeat by Palace

* Wolves progress halted by a 2-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace

* Two late goals sealed Wolves’ fate

* Jordan Ayew scored his first Palace goal in 83rd minute

* Luka Milivojevic then struck home a penalty in stoppage time

* Wolves missed the chance to go seventh

* Palace moved well clear of the relegation zone

* Roy Hodgson’s men dominated a goalless first half

* Wolves visit Man City next, Palace host Watford

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS 0 CRYSTAL PALACE 2

Jan 2 (Reuters)- Wolverhampton Wanderers saw their impressive Premier League campaign run into the buffers as two goals in the dying minutes enabled Crystal Palace to take all three points with a 2-0 win at Molineux on Wednesday.

Looking out of sorts at the start of the year, Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves had only needed a draw to become the the first promoted team to garner 30 points after 21 matches in a top flight season since Birmingham City in 2009-10.

Instead, their hopes of rising as high as seventh were spoiled as Palace deservedly took the spoils with Ghanaian international Jordan Ayew firing home his first goal for the club in the 83rd minute.

Luka Milivojevic then converted from the penalty spot, five minutes into added time, after Ryan Bennett had brought down Wilfried Zaha.

It gave Palace consecutive away wins in the same Premier League season for the first time in two years and Roy Hodgson’s team were well worth the points.

They dominated the first half, with only their profligate finishing letting them down – with Andros Townsend’s dismal ballooned right-footed shot and James Tomkins’ missed header proving the most glaring examples.

Wolves, as befits their reputation this term as second-half revivalists, looked much sharper on the resumption, creating more chances in the opening four minutes after the break than in the entire first-half. (Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Alison Williams)


End of an era as Tiger Power dies aged 72

By LILYS NJERU
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Years ago, Conrad Njeru Karukenya, also known as Tiger Power, dared any African man to engage him in a strength contest. Nobody did.

Since then, he has been referred to as Kenya’s “strongest man” thanks to his extraordinary stunts such as breaking a six-inch nail with his finger.

But Tiger Power is no more. According to his brother Ansemoli Kathuri, the 72-year-old died on Tuesday night while receiving treatment at Consolota Mission Hospital in Kyeni, Embu County.

“He has been battling different ailments since 2015, the reason he had to quit powerlifting. He has had kidney failure, lung and heart complications.

“However, when we were taking him to the hospital on Monday, he was still a man of strength. He even called his children alerting them that he was going to hospital,” he told the Nation.

GRADUATION

Tiger Power’s popularity rose when he let a Land Rover roll over him unscathed.

In different instances, he pulled stunts such as lifting eight huge men without much effort and pulling a car with his teeth.

At Kevote, Embu County, where he lived with his family, he was a household name for many years during Embu ASK shows.

Last year, at 71, he graduated from Kenyatta University with a Bachelor in Education (early childhood education) and aspired to build his own school.

“Before his demise, he practised farming at his home in Makengi, Embu,” he added.

He was awarded a Head of State Commendation by former president Mwai Kibaki.

But it wasn’t all rosy for him as he once appealed for financial aid as he struggled to settle a Sh7,000 medical bill.


Guterres, “enormemente preocupado” por los ataques a defensores en Colombia

Aún queda mucho para consolidar la paz, aseguró el Secretario General en un informe sobre la implementación del proceso en el país; al tiempo que expresó otras preocupaciones como los atentados mortales a los exmiembros de las FARC y a varios grupos étnicos.

El Secretario General de la ONU sigue “enormemente preocupado” por la impunidad con la que se producen ataques contra líderes sociales y defensores de los derechos humanos en Colombia, según aparece en el último informe trimestral sobre la misión de la ONU en el país.

Desde la firma del Acuerdo de Paz en noviembre de 2016, se han verificado 163 asesinatos de líderes sociales y defensores y se ha informado de 454 casos en total. Estos asesinatos se concentran en tres departamentos: el Cauca, el Norte de Santander y Antioquia. La mayoría tuvieron lugar en zonas abandonadas por las antiguas FARC-EP y donde la presencia del Estado es limitada.

António Guterres asegura que la situación de los líderes indígenas merece especial atención, porque se ha producido “un serio aumento” del número de asesinatos, amenazas, casos de confinamiento, desplazamiento forzoso y reclutamiento forzado.

El Secretario General recalcó que las alertas tempranas de la Defensoría del Pueblo han puesto de relieve que las víctimas suelen ser personas que participan en actividades como la defensa de la tierra y los recursos naturales; la implementación de partes del Acuerdo de Paz, en particular del programa de sustitución de los cultivos de coca y los planes de desarrollo rural; la restitución de tierras; la denuncia de narcotraficantes y grupos armados ilegales así como la trata de menores; la protesta contra inversiones específicas de los recursos públicos; y la política,

Además, la seguridad en los territorios étnicos sigue siendo motivo de gran preocupación. “En las últimas semanas se han producido múltiples asesinatos, que han afectado particularmente a los pueblos awá, embera chamí y nasa en los departamentos de Caldas, el Cauca, Chocó, Nariño y Valle del Cauca”, expresa el informe.

El asesinato de los desmovilizados

Asimismo, el Secretario General también señala el “homicidio de 14 exmiembros de las FARC” entre septiembre y diciembre de 2018, con lo que se llega a 85 desmovilizados asesinados desde noviembre de 2016.

Los departamentos más afectados siguen siendo Antioquia, Caquetá, el Cauca, Nariño y Norte de Santander. Hasta la fecha, se ha detenido a 27 personas en total en relación con ataques perpetrados contra exmiembros de las FARC-EP.

Guterres informó que se ha establecido una mesa redonda sobre la investigación de ataques contra exmiembros de las FARC-EP con la participación de la Subdirección Especializada de Seguridad y Protección de la Unidad Nacional de Protección, la Unidad Especial de Investigación, el partido FARC y la Misión.

La paz está lejos de consolidarse

El titular de la ONU resaltó que “queda mucho para consolidar la paz” y que para ello se requerirá nada menos que un esfuerzo coordinado del Gobierno y las instituciones del Estado, los partidos políticos, el sector privado y la sociedad civil, con el acompañamiento de la comunidad internacional.

“El creciente rechazo de la violencia en toda la sociedad colombiana y el deseo cada vez mayor de los colombianos de aprovechar las oportunidades que ofrece el Acuerdo de Paz son señales alentadoras de que precisamente ese esfuerzo es factible”, asegura el informe, que agrega que el proceso de reincorporación ha tardado en cobrar impulso en muchos aspectos.

Guterres explicó que numerosos exmiembros de las FARC-EP siguen profundamente preocupados por lo que perciben como condiciones precarias desde el punto de vista jurídico, físico y económico y dijo que admiraba la perseverancia de la gran mayoría que sigue colaborando en el proceso de paz y que está firmemente comprometida con su culminación.

“Lamento que también continúe la polarización en torno al proceso de paz. La reconciliación nacional sigue siendo incipiente, a pesar de los alentadores comienzos del sistema de justicia de transición, cuya autonomía debe respetarse”, dijo.

Al respecto, el informe destaca “el compromiso de continuar con el proceso de paz” del presidente Iván Duque. Su administración ha elaborado el plan “Paz con Legalidad”, cuyo objetivo es estabilizar y desarrollar las zonas más afectadas por el conflicto.

“Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con su valoración de que la lucha contra la violencia y la pobreza en estas antiguas zonas de conflicto se ha convertido en una cuestión de seguridad nacional. No puedo sino subrayar la urgencia de traducir estos nuevos planes lo antes posible en medidas eficaces que cambien las realidades sobre el terreno en las zonas y para las personas más afectadas por el conflicto. El sueño de una paz duradera en Colombia depende de ello”, asegura Guterres.

Finalmente, el Secretario General agradeció a Jean Arnault por su trabajo en la Misión, y expresó plena confianza en su sucesor, Carlos Ruiz Massieu, que el 23 de enero presentará su primer informe ante el Consejo de Seguridad.


Tropical Depression Usman affects 191,600 people and displaces 79,600 in the Philippines

National authorities in the Philippines report that 85 people have died, 20 are missing and 40 have been injured following Tropical Depression Usman which made landfall near Borongan, the capital of the province of Eastern Samar, on 29 December.

Read the full article on OCHA


Importers get 90-day reprieve on higher SGR cargo charges

By BONFACE OTIENO
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Importers who ordered goods ahead of December 31 have been spared the 79 per cent rise in cargo charges on the standard gauge railway (SGR) from Mombasa to Nairobi.

The importers have been given until end of March to ferry their goods on the discounted SGR cargo rates amid a petition from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) to delay the new rates, saying the higher charges will increase the cost of doing business.

The cost of transporting a 20-foot container from Mombasa to Nairobi increased Tuesday to $500 (Sh51,275) from Sh35,000, a 46.5 per cent rise.

Hauling the larger 40-foot container will cost up to Sh$700 (Sh71,785), from the current Sh40,000, reflecting a 79.9 per cent rise.

“Those who ordered for [sic] goods before December 31 will enjoy the promotional rate until March 31,” said a source at Kenya Railways who sought anonymity. “We will use the bill of landing to identify those who qualify to enjoy the lower rates.”

The bill of landing is a shipment receipt that shows the type, quantity and destination of the goods carried as well as date of shipment.

The SGR cargo sector has struggled for business in the face of competition from truckers, prompting a sustained government campaign to drive cargo to the rails in the push to make sense of the SGR investment.

Kenya requires additional cash from the railway business to ease the taxpayers’ burden of paying the Chinese firm managing the SGR.

China Communications Construction Company runs the SGR cargo and passenger business at an undisclosed management fee.

The Treasury also expects the SGR business to generate more revenue to help offset loans borrowed to build the multi-billion shilling railway line, which become due in July after the end of the five-year grace period.

Kenya will pay Chinese lenders Sh82.85 billion in the year starting July, up from Sh36.2 billion in the current year.

The loan will be repaid in 15 years.

Those transporting cargo from Nairobi to Mombasa will pay $250 (Sh25,637) for a 20-foot container, up from Sh25,000, while a 40-foot container weighing up to 20 tonnes will cost $350 (Sh35,892) and $375 (38,456) for those weighing between 21-30 tonnes. Kenya Railways has been charging Sh30,000 to transport a 40-foot container from Nairobi to Mombasa irrespective of weight.