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Saturday, October 19th, 2019

 

National security adviser to Obama, Susan Rice reveals what a “Gross” Trump said to her

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock (10436174g)
President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, in Washington
Trump, Washington, USA – 04 Oct 2019

 US President Trump insulted
Susan Rice as she appeared in an interview with Real Time with Bill Maher.
Susan Rice criticized Trump’s Syria policy on the show egged on by host Bill
Maher.

President Donald Trump called her a “disaster to
President Obama as National Security Adviser” and singled out the Obama
administration’s “red line” in Syria as a failure.

“Susan Rice, who was a disaster to President Obama as National Security Advisor, is now telling us her opinion on what to do in Syria. Remember RED LINE IN THE SAND? That was Obama. Millions killed! No thanks Susan, you were a disaster,” Trump wrote.

On August 20, 2012, President Barack Obama used the phrase
“red line” in reference to the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian
civil war, saying, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also
to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a
whole bunch of chemical weapons moving.

Former national security adviser and Ambassador to the U.N.
Susan Rice hit back at President Donald Trump on Twitter as the two clashed
over U.S. foreign policy in Syria.

The Obama administration said the use of chemical weapons
would have been a “red line” for military intervention, but after
Syria used chemical weapons against rebels, President Barack Obama hoped to ask
Congress for authorization of military force, rather than order a military
strike. 

Rice minced no words in responding, revealing an anecdote
from her book, “Tough Love.”

According to Rice, Then Donald Trump came up and hugged her
at the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, despite never having met Rice
before, which she found “totally gross.”

Rice said Trump whispered in her eat that she “had been
‘very unfairly treated’ over Benghazi and ‘was doing a great job for the
country.’”

Donald Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from northern
Syria in advance of a Turkish invasion of the region drew bipartisan
condemnation from lawmakers who said he had abandoned Kurdish groups allied
with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State.

Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday
strongly condemned the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw US troops
from northern Syria, calling it a “grave strategic mistake” in a
blistering op-ed.

McConnell’s public criticism of the Trump administration is
rare, but he has been vocally opposed to the President’s decision to withdraw
US troops from Syria following an October phone call with Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Some lawmakers have made that opposition clear during
phone calls with Vice President Mike Pence’s office, according to a source
familiar with the phone calls. 

Turkey and the U.S. announced a five-day ceasefire on
Thursday, but by Friday, Kurdish groups said Turkey had violated the ceasefire

The post National security adviser to Obama, Susan Rice reveals what a “Gross” Trump said to her appeared first on The Maravi Post.


Opinions are about principles, not ethnic group


Why eating junk food should not be celebrated as progress

MAKAU MUTUABy MAKAU MUTUA
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It befuddles me why we exalt over American vices and turn them into “our” virtues. One such case involves so-called fast food, which is actually a euphemism for junk food. In my global travels, I’ve often found that the opening of an American fast-food chain in Asia, Africa or Latin America is regarded is a sign of “development” and “progress”.

In some parts of Europe, especially the former Soviet bloc countries, American junk-food chains are highly coveted. Somehow, junk food is chic and hip.

It’s unclear how junk-food mania enveloped the globe, but like most things American, many other cultures now deem it sexy. Let’s interrogate how this modern American abomination became a global craze.

BURGER KING

First, let me disclose why — among many important reasons — I am devoting a column to an issue that’s not a part of public discourse in Kenya.

A couple of years ago, Burger King, the quintessential American fast-food joint, decided to switch to using chickens that aren’t raised without antibiotics considered “critically important” to human medicine.

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Burger King didn’t say it would eliminate all meat and dairy produced with antibiotics, but only those produced with “critically important” antibiotics to human medicine. Translation — meat and poultry at Burger King still has antibiotics.

But Burger King would only apply the new policy to the United States and Canada. Kenyans — and other lesser humans — would continue to consume antibiotics-laden food.

Why is the reduction, and elimination, of food produced using antibiotics necessary to human medicine important?

HUMAN INFECTIONS

Get this first — about 70 per cent of all antibiotics that are key to fighting human infections as well as ensuring the safety of invasive procedures such as surgeries, are used by farmers in the raising — and production — of livestock, dairy and poultry.

Which means we are ingesting important antibiotics every time we eat eggs, beef and chicken, or drink milk.

Health experts, including the world-leading Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, United States, believe that the overuse of these antibiotics is contributing to drug-resistant “super-bugs”. These are bacteria that antibiotics are powerless to treat. Imagine that — a plague isn’t far off in our future.

In the US alone, two million people are infected by drug-resistant bacteria and 23,000 die. If that’s the case in America — the most medically advanced nation on earth — only God knows how many Kenyans are victimised by eating such foods.

Burger King isn’t alone in creating what’s essentially a public health emergency. Other American global fast-food chains are guilty as well.

FOOD SAFETY

A study produced by the most reputable food safety advocacy organisations — Center for Food Safety, Consumer Reports, Food Animal Concerns Trust, US PIRG Education Fund, Friends of the Earth, and Natural Resources Defense Council — fittingly gave 22 of the top 25 burger chains, including Burger King, McDonald’s, Five Guys, and White Castle — a failing “F” grade.

Unsurprisingly, only two chains — Shake Shack and BurgerFi — received an “A” from the consumer protection watchdogs. Wendy’s, another ubiquitous American fast-food chain, received “D-”. This is an indictment not only of Burger King but virtually the entire fast-food industry.

It is clear corporate responsibility isn’t the strong suit of the fast-food industry. It’s decided in defiance of irrefutable science to put profits before people.

The data isn’t even disputable. Fast food has been directly linked to colorectal cancer, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and depression, a leading cause of suicide. Most fast foods, whose recipes are made purposely addictive, tend to be high in saturated fat, sugar, salt and calories. This is a recipe for an early death.

Fast food wasn’t initially invented to be glamorous or faddish. It arose with the advent of the humongous working and middle classes in the United States who toiled for long hours and either didn’t have enough time to cook or were too exhausted after work or pressed between shifts to cook.

PRE-COOKED FOOD

It was “food on the go”. It’s mass-produced commercialised pre-cooked food. The hamburger with fries, the pizza slice, or a piece of chicken are signature for fast food. It’s usually greasy, fatty, loaded with cabs and taken with the abominable sugar-loaded pop soda. It’s an injection of cholesterol. It beats me how this vice is now a virtue in places like Kenya, where all cancers are now an epidemic.

The problem with all junk — read trash — foods is that they are addictive, especially if you grow up with it. Children reared on it crave it. It’s like a drug — cocaine or other life-destroying chemicals. Once you are hooked, you are hooked. Obesity soon follows.

Then all the problems that flow from being obese. We euphemistically call those problems “lifestyle diseases”. But the truth is that they are killer diseases.

If Burger King and other chains won’t clean their act, then Kenyans need to unhook their children from their fast foods. Don’t ingest poison, or feed it to your child, and then wonder why you, or they, are prematurely dying.

Makau Mutua is a distinguished professor at SUNY Buffalo Law School and chairman of KHRC. @makaumutua.


Age dilemma and the storm over ex-MP Mary Wambui’s State job

GITAU WARIGIBy GITAU WARIGI
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Of the list of powerful women who have circulated within both the Mwai Kibaki and Uhuru Kenyatta administrations, few are as intriguing as Mary Wambui (wa Munene).

She has had her controversies, like that of the Artur brothers saga, or more sensationally her claim to be Kibaki’s second spouse.

Her ever-mutating persona — from Kanu to Narc to PNU to TNA to Jubilee “activist” and latter-day MP — is emblematic of a woman intent to remain inside the sphere of power despite the shifting tides of politics. Nor does the advance of age deter her.

MARITAL IDENTITY

For now, let me not dwell too much on her contentious marital identity. But who can forget that she was always at the centre of the most gripping family dramas of the Kibaki presidency (“I have only one dear wife, Lucy”)?

Her appointment to the National Employment Authority (NEA) as chairperson has unleashed a firestorm. I fully appreciate the public rage, though minus the typical Kenyan hypocrisy. Her age, her lack of known professional credentials, all look wrong for the job.

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Granted, Wambui has done lots of political campaign work for Uhuru since the TNA days, using her own considerable resources and deploying herself mostly to rural women in Nyeri County who understand her language but who get confused by Jubilee’s artificial, “digital” tales.

Unlike with other non-executive parastatal board chairmen, the law requires the NEA chairperson to be professionally qualified, in this case in human resource management.

ELECTRICITY

A 2017 video clip of Wambui showering praises on the Jubilee administration while speaking in a language vaguely resembling English went viral immediately her appointment was made public.

Here’s an extract: “If you go round in the village, people have got light, and actually like now, it is not like before, when we used to be told we cannot get light, that the light is going to be divided; this time if you go, you get the light during the night and during the day.” I suppose in this case “light” meant electricity. “To be divided …” is trickier. My guess is Wambui was talking of power rationing.

To be honest, my low opinion of her NEA appointment has less to do with her qualifications, or lack of them, as it has to do with the extremely poor optics Uhuru displayed in flaunting her appointment.

It’s not Wambui who is wrong here. She’s merely the lightning rod for the deep public discontent — especially among the youth — with the Jubilee government. Can’t there be something else more useful she can do for Uhuru, behind the scenes? Like perhaps helping the pro-Kieleweke Embrace women team connect with the grass roots?

After all, those who know her attest to her formidable mobilisation skills, low education notwithstanding.

POSTING SELFIES

Let me be considerate to the 69-year-old lady. Age should not really matter. What ought to matter is effectiveness.

I’ve seen so-called youths in public jobs spending all their time posting selfies on social media whereas there are 70-year-olds who get state appointments and really put passion into those jobs.

My preferred measure is to ask myself if, with her limitations, Wambui will be in a position to inflict harm in the docket she has been assigned. There is always the possibility we could have ended up with somebody else truly horrible.

The youth who are baying for her scalp are far from spotless. Jaguar, the Starehe MP pushing for legislation to fix the public-sector retirement age at 50, had some months back been criminally charged with hate speech. Other state-employed “youths” we know all too well are just overhyped, um, “slay kings”.

What should concern us here is that NEA has a director-general as CEO. Any damage Wambui can do in that office, whose mandate is to keep a database of the unemployed and to find jobs and internships for them, will be limited.

We surely could have done worse, such as to get another Mulu Mutisya, who in the Nyayo regime was trotted through a variety of parastatal boardrooms where he could not read a single word of the written minutes.

POIGNANT MOMENTS

I am a charitable fellow and I know ma’am has gone through a lot. I specifically recall certain very poignant moments in her public life: Her being blocked by (Kibaki) presidential guards from a public function in Othaya in February 2013 that Kibaki was attending with Mama Lucy; or her inscrutable expression at a 2007 PNU campaign rally in Nairobi when Lucy was dancing herself lame with a PNU women troupe at the high podium as if to spite Wambui, who sat watching quietly at a lower stand.

Above all, there was that unforgettable press conference where Lucy stood with a baleful look as Kibaki painfully read a statement to the media about her (Lucy) being his only dear wife. Oh my.

Wow! But who are we to begrudge Mama Winnie her new job? As the latest marathon-inspired hashtag goes, #NoKenyanIsLimited!


Try harder to end bullying

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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A report by the Ministry of Education on the high incidence of bullying in schools just confirms what has all along been known about this menace.

Some of the incidents have resulted in death, but the problem persists, defying the strict enforcement of the policies to make the institutions safer for all learners.

Even more disturbing is the news that Kenya has been ranked among the African countries where the vice is prevalent.

This dubious distinction has thrust the country into a veritable list of shame. In 2017, the US Centers for Disease Control led a survey that established that Kenya is among the worst countries in this regard.

DRUG ABUSE

Also, according to the National Education Sector Strategic Plan 2018-2022, some 57 percent of all students are bullied on one or more days in a month.

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It is one of the really serious problems, including drug abuse, teenage pregnancies and disappearances linked to recruitment into extremist organisations that schools have to grapple with today.

Not long ago, the entire country was stunned by the news of a 15-year-old Form Two student who was brutally assaulted in a Nairobi school and suffered brain damage. It brought to the fore the grim reality of this widespread vice.

Worse, the culprits were prefects, bringing to scrutiny the glaring inadequacies of a system that has over the years complemented teachers’ efforts to enforce discipline.

Another heart-rending incident was the reported suicide of a 14-year-old girl after she was humiliated by her own teacher in front of her fellow students for soiling her uniform during menstruation.

SELF-ESTEEM

In other research, the African Mental Health Foundation found that secondary schools experience high levels of bullying that affect self-esteem and individual academic performance.

Of the 1,012 students interviewed in public secondary schools in Nairobi, last year, between 63 percent and 82 percent said they had suffered one form or another of bullying.

The majority said their belongings had been snatched by classmates or seniors. Others complained of being beaten up.

Besides deaths or horrific injuries, bullying can also drive students into missing classes, avoiding school events, playing truant, or worse, dropping out.

It is, however, possible to stamp out the vice if the education officers, school heads, other teachers, non-teaching staff, the students themselves and parents fully collaborate to fight it.


Mashujaa Day: Tackle barriers to progress

EDITORIALBy EDITORIAL
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Kenyans mark yet another Mashujaa Day today, an important milestone in the nation’s calendar. It is the day the country remembers the heroes and heroines who fought gallantly, took risks and made personal sacrifices to secure independence.

Previously known as Kenyatta Day in honour of the founding President Jomo Kenyatta, who was arrested alongside five other illustrious individuals in October 1952 and later jailed for leading an uprising against the colonial administration, it was renamed Mashujaa Day through the Constitution to recognise all who contributed to the liberation struggle.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Looking back over 56 years of political independence, there is every reason to celebrate, as the country has made remarkable achievements in realising the ideals of the struggle.

Attaining self-rule was in itself a major feat and being able to set up structures and systems for a stable and progressive nation is worth celebrating.

Whereas many African nations faltered and succumbed to cyclical military coups with consequent political and economic turmoil and humanitarian crises, Kenya has remained relatively calm.

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But the country has equally gone through turbulent moments that on occasion threatened to tear the fabric that holds it together.

Coup attempts in 1971 and 1982, ethnically orchestrated violence in the 1990s and post-election violence in 2007/8 stand out as some of the most tempestuous periods in the nation’s history.

But in each case, the country was able to come to terms with itself, overcome momentary madness and pick up from the ashes, demonstrating remarkable resilience and stoicism.

After the 2007/8 turmoil in particular, the country was forced into introspection and that culminated in the recreation of governance through the adoption of a new Constitution, widely acclaimed as progressive because of robust civil liberties provisions and democratisation of institutions.

But the country remains on a slippery path. Political intolerance, ethnicity and nepotism define national politics. Corruption, pilferage and wastage characterise economic management. The country is reeling under heavy debt due to poor fiscal management.

Whereas the current administration has delivered some infrastructure projects, billions have been lost through other dubious and unrealistic ventures.

The war on corruption that began aggressively a year ago has died and the masterminds of larceny are back in full swing.

POLITICAL PROGRESS

Already, there are dissonant voices about the current governance structure, with a growing push for a Constitution review to restructure the architecture of government.

Politicians have already hit the road campaigning for the presidency when elections are three years away. All these point to defects in governance.

An occasion like today should provide opportunity for reflection on the state of the nation and concomitantly, get the citizens and particularly the political leaders to redirect energies and deal with matters germane to socio-economic and political progress.


Ruto, allies warn Raila against politicising BBI

EVANS KIPKURABy EVANS KIPKURA
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STANLEY KIMUGEBy STANLEY KIMUGE
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Deputy President William Ruto and his allies have warned ODM leader Raila Odinga against politicising the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

Mr Ruto, who spoke in Soy, Keiyo South, Elgeyo-Marakwet, maintained that the Jubilee Party stood for the unity of the country.

“Those who want to create new faultlines as we work towards building bridges for the unity of our nation in order to eliminate hate and divisions, those who want take us that path will fail miserably,” he said.

Mr Ruto said he and President Uhuru Kenyatta were committed to uniting the country.

“Let us talk about unity of Kenyans, not these sideshows that create unnecessary enmity, ethnicity and division within the Republic of Kenya. That is where President Kenyatta and I stand,” he said.

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“We want to make sure that the future of this country is not based on this community vs that community, or personality against another personality but ideas that bring Kenyans together,” said the DP. He added that through unity, they would transform Kenya.

“Our core mandate as leaders whether in opposition or in government is to bring people together.”

Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen accused Mr Odinga of pushing his own interests using the BBI initiative.

“If the BBI is good, why are they pushing it hard down people’s throats. We heard the President saying that he supports BBI but he never talked about changing the Constitution. He (Odinga) should first consult the President before lecturing us about BBI,” said the Senator.

2022 ELECTION

He also accused the opposition of using the BBI to sideline Mr Ruto ahead of the 2022 election.

Leaders present included MPs Daniel Rono (Keiyo South), Kangogo Bowen (Marakwet East) and Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar. Others were Elgeyo-Marakwet Deputy Governor Wesley Rotich.

The Kimwarer dam issue also dominated the function, with leaders pleading with the DP to intervene for the project to resume.

“The Kimwarer and Arror dam projects must go on as planned.

We will not accept the money to be scaled down in the Arror project … all these projects might delay but one thing I am telling you is, they will be built to completion,” said Mr Murkomen.

He also questioned why the projects were said to be costly while others were going on as planned.

“We are witnessing projects being launched everyday countrywide with their initial budgets intact. We are demanding back the Kimwarer dam project to be reinstated. We are also demanding that Arror dam be scaled up to its initial budget,” he said.

Mr Murkomen said he would ensure that the projects are revived.


Civilian casualties in Afghanistan spike to record-high levels

CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN AFGHANISTAN SPIKE TO RECORD-HIGH LEVELS – UN REPORT

KABUL – Figures released today by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) showing record-high levels of civilian casualties in the third quarter of 2019 indicate an urgent need for all parties to the conflict to do more to protect civilians from harm.

Overall, in the first nine months of 2019, UNAMA documented 8,239 civilian casualties (2,563 killed and 5,676 injured) – similar high levels of harm experienced by Afghanistan’s civilian population in the corresponding nine-month periods from 2014 to the present. And in the latest quarter, UNAMA documented an unprecedented number of civilian casualties.

Verified civilian casualties from 1 July to 30 September increased by 42 per cent in comparison to the same period in 2018. Moreover, in July, UNAMA documented the highest number of civilian casualties ever recorded in a single month since the United Nations began its systematic documentation of civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2009.

After overall civilian casualty numbers declined in the first six months of this year, largely due to a decrease in the number of civilian casualties caused by anti-government elements, the sharp increase in the recent quarter is due most of all to the civilian casualties caused by anti-government elements. There is also the increase from 1 January to 30 September of civilian casualties caused by aerial and search operations undertaken by pro-government forces.

“Civilian casualties at record-high levels clearly show the need for all parties concerned to pay much more attention to protecting the civilian population, including through a review of conduct during combat operations,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan.

“The harm caused to civilians by the fighting in Afghanistan signals the importance of peace talks leading to a ceasefire and a permanent political settlement to the conflict; there is no other way forward,” said Yamamoto, who is also head of UNAMA. “Civilian casualties are totally unacceptable, especially in the context of the widespread recognition that there can be no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.”

During the nine-month period covered in the report, the combined use of suicide and non-suicide IEDs was the leading cause of civilian casualties, making up 42 per cent of the overall total. Ground engagements were the second leading cause of civilian casualties (29 per cent) followed by aerial attacks (11 per cent), which caused the majority of civilian deaths during the period.

The report indicates that from 1 January to 30 September, anti-government elements caused 5,117 civilian casualties (1,207 killed and 3,910 injured), accounting for 62 per cent of all civilian casualties during the period. UNAMA found that pro-government forces caused 2,348 civilian casualties (1,149 killed and 1,199 injured), a 26 per cent increase from the same period in 2018.

In addition to detailing civilian casualties and their causes, UNAMA’s latest report indicates that 41 per cent of all civilian casualties in Afghanistan were women and children. In the first nine months of 2019, UNAMA documented 923 women casualties (261 killed and 662 injured) and 2,461 child casualties (631 killed and 1,830 injured).

“The impact of Afghanistan’s conflict on civilians is appalling; every verified number is a person, someone’s relative – mother, father, daughter, son,” said Fiona Frazer, UNAMA’s Human Rights Chief. “The United Nations will continue its advocacy work with all parties to the conflict until Afghanistan reaches the only acceptable number of civilians killed and injured in the conflict: zero.”

The United Nations reiterates its call for all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations to protect civilians from harm and strictly adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, at all times.

The full UNAMA Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 2019 quarterly report is available here: http://unama.unmissions.org/protection-of-civilians-reports.

UNAMA’s verification methodology and the standard of proof

For the purposes of its protection of civilians reports, UNAMA only includes verified civilian casualties. Civilian casualties are recorded as ‘verified’ where, based on the totality of the information it has reviewed, UNAMA has determined that there is ‘clear and convincing’ evidence that civilians have been killed or injured. In order to meet this standard, UNAMA requires at least three different and independent types of sources, i.e. victim, witness, medical practitioner, local authorities, confirmation by a party to the conflict, community leader or other sources. Wherever possible, information is obtained from the primary accounts of victims and/or witnesses of the incident and through on-site fact-finding.

These forms of fact-finding are not always possible, primarily due to security-related constraints affecting access. In such instances, UNAMA relies on a range of techniques to gain information through reliable networks using as wide a range of sources and information as possible, all of which are evaluated for credibility and reliability. These techniques include examination of digital evidence gathered at the scene of incidents such as still and video images as well as audio recordings; visits to hospitals and medical facilities; reports of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security and other United Nations entities; accounts by secondary sources; information gathered by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other third parties; and the parties to the conflict themselves. UNAMA proactively consults sources of different genders, as well as individuals belonging to minority racial, religious and ethnic groups, and marginalized sectors of society, to ensure a variety of opinions and reduce risk of any particular bias.

Where UNAMA is not satisfied with the quantity or quality of information concerning civilian casualties, it will not consider it as verified. UNAMA’s reports do not include unverified incidents. UNAMA shares information about incidents with parties to the conflict to ensure accuracy in its reporting, to assist the parties to take preventative and mitigating measures, and to promote accountability, including providing compensation to victims.


Gold Pot a sitter for Kenyatta Cup

DEJA VUBy DEJA VU
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Gold Pot is a 1,200m specialist. The four-year-old, should have no problem shovelling aside Pharoah’s Advocate, Caen, Zodi West, and, Flash Harry, in the Kenyatta Cup at Ngong racecourse, 4.20 pm Sunday.

Apprentice, Charles Kimani, has the exalted seat, so he only needs to jump quickly for sweet desserts.
The Conference Cup has a bunch of classy stayers, all of whom will enjoy soft going. Should be photo finish material.

Maybe Clothes Horse and White Dragon are slightly stronger, being 40 plus raters. Still a dandy event.

Unforgettable, from Joe Karari and Captain Oruya’s camp, are definitely going to cause Chicago to infuse something extra in the Chemurkeu Hot Springs Handicap. She displayed notable moxie last season. Chicago is also a select, improving, individual.

SELECTIONS

12.40 pm White Dragon, Clothes Horse

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1.15 pm Jordan River, My Sam

1.50 pm Chicago, Unforgettable

2.25 pm Comic Star, Chyulu Hills

3.05 pm Moonlight Shadow, Quickfire

3.40 pm Respectable Jud, Emmy Award

4.20 pm Gold Pot, Pharoah’s Advocate

4.55 pm Karowe, Risque


South Sudan rebel leader in Juba for talks as peace deal falters

South Sudan’s exiled rebel leader Riek Machar and President Salva Kiir signed a peace deal in September last year.