International Sources

Details of Trump & Peter Tabichi’s Meeting at White House

Renowned Kenyan teacher, Peter Tabichi on Monday, September 16, 2019 met US President Donald Trump at the White House.

In a photo shared by White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham‏, she showered praises on Tabichi, acknowledging him for his sacrifices. 

“This morning, President Donald Trump met with Peter Tabichi, the recipient of the 2019 Global Teacher Prize

“Peter is a science teacher who gives away 80 per cent of his monthly income to help the poor in his home country of Kenya,” she posted on Twitter. 

President Uhuru Kenyatta with teacher Peter Mokaya Tabichi, the 2019 Global Teacher Prize winner when he called on him at State House, Nairobi.
President Uhuru Kenyatta with teacher Peter Mokaya Tabichi, the 2019 Global Teacher Prize winner when he called on him at State House, Nairobi in March 2019

Ms Grisham continued to tell the Kenyan tutor that he inspires Trump’s administration. 

“His dedication, hard work, and belief in his student’s talent has led his poorly resourced school in Kenya, to emerge victorious after taking on the country’s best schools in national science competitions.

“Peter, you inspire us all! Thank you for your commitment to your students,” she added.

The renowned teacher is scheduled to speak at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, that will take place from September 17 to 30, 2019.

Brother Tabichi will recite the popular St Francis prayer before the start of the general assembly, according to Brother Tony Donald from Ireland.

“This is a big honour for St Franciscan brothers. It shows that the UN recognises our order as it plays a key role in the development of humanity,” he said.

The teacher is also expected to give brief remarks on how he made it to the top in the teaching profession.

Kenyans were also not left behind in celebrating the award-winning teacher. 

“Good for him!! I hope trump can learn a few lessons on humility and decency from this great teacher! As a matter of fact it should be trump visiting Tabichi,” posted on Erick, a Facebook user. 

“Peter Tabichi is standing a great man not because of wealth or rank, but a teacher with rarely overwhelming generosity . He demonstrated to the world that generosity pays in any work or leadership,” commented Peter Tonui. 

Peter Tabichi (c) reacts after winning the 2019 Global Teacher Prize in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on March 24, 2019.
Peter Tabichi (c) reacts after winning the 2019 Global Teacher Prize in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on March 24, 2019.

Texan girl, 10, dies of rare brain-eating amoeba

WASHINGTON,

A 10-year-old girl has died in the hospital, her family said in a statement on Monday, after she contracted a rare brain-eating amoeba while swimming in a Texas river.

Lily Mae Avant swam in a river and lake over the Labour Day holiday weekend earlier in September, then suffered a headache and a fever the following weekend.

Her health quickly deteriorated, and she was taken to a local hospital, then transferred to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth.

GLOBAL SUPPORT

Her fight for life attracted support from across the United States and around the world. 

The family said in a statement on Facebook that Lily Mae was “in the arms of Jesus.”

“Words cannot begin to express how overwhelming this past week has been for our family,” they said.

“We have been flooded by your love and support and feel incredibly humbled by how many lives have been impacted by our sweet and sassy Lily Mae.”

RARE CONDITION

The Texas Department of State Health Services told local media that she had primary amoebic meningoencephalitis, a brain infection caused by the so-called brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri.

The first symptoms of the infection typically appear about a week after the amoeba enters the nose.

“The amoeba is present in freshwater across Texas and elsewhere in the US, and there’s no particular body of water that would present a greater risk,” agency spokesman Chris Van Deusen told television station KWTX.

“Cases are extremely rare, despite the millions of people who swim in lakes and rivers every year.

Confusion as Mugabe’s family, government squabble over burial site

Zimbabwe ex-president Robert Mugabe’s family and the government squabbled over his burial on Thursday, with the place – and even its date – still unclear after relatives snubbed a plan for him to be entombed at a national monument.

Mugabe died in Singapore last week aged 95, leaving Zimbabweans torn over the legacy of a leader once lauded as a colonial-era liberation hero, but whose autocratic 37-year rule ended in a coup in 2017.

MUGABE’S FINAL WISHES

Tensions erupted after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government proposed a burial at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, while the family said he would be buried at a private ceremony, possibly in his homestead of Kutama, northwest of the capital.

“His body will lie in state at Kutama on Sunday night… followed by a private burial – either Monday or Tuesday – no National Heroes Acre. That’s the decision of the whole family,” his nephew Leo Mugabe said.

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In a statement, the family accused Mnangagwa’s government of trying to strong-arm them against Mugabe’s final wishes.

Some relatives are still bitter over Mugabe’s ouster and the role played by Mnangagwa, a long-time ally who turned against him.

Mugabe fired Mnangagwa as first vice president in 2017 – a move many perceived as an attempt to position his wife Grace to succeed him after nearly four decades of iron-fisted rule.

Grace Mugabe sits at funeral wake of her

Grace Mugabe sits at funeral wake of her husband the late former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on September 12, 2019, at the Blue Roof mansion in Harare. PHOTO | ZINYANGE AUNTONY | AFP

Soon after, Mugabe was toppled by protesters and the army in what was seen as part of a power struggle within the ruling Zanu-PF party between pro-Mnangagwa factions and Mugabe loyalists siding with Grace.

Mnangagwa, who praised Mugabe as a national hero after his death, sought to downplay tensions on Thursday, saying he was still in talks with Grace.

Women dressed in colours of the ruling Zanu-PF

Women dressed in colours of the ruling Zanu-PF party, dance on September 12, 2019 at the Rufaro stadium in Harare where the body of Zimbabwe’s late President Robert Mugabe is expected to lie in state later in the day. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP

“We said we will bury him on Sunday, but how, it will be decided,” Mnangagwa said, addressing mourners at Mugabe’s Blue Roof residence.

“The family will have the final say.”

Leo Mugabe said later there was no feud, claiming the burial would be private. But he said there was no plan for the ceremony on Sunday and the date was still not set.

“The obvious situation we are having here is there’s only one Robert Mugabe,” he told reporters.

“They (family) don’t want you to know where he is going to be buried.”

An attendee at the memorial service held by

An attendee at the memorial service held by South African political party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in honour of the late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe takes pictures with a wax model of the former president in Soweto, Johannesburg on September 12, 2019. PHOTO | GULSHAN KHAN | AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping, Cuban former leader Raul Castro and a dozen African presidents, including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, are among those expected to attend Mugabe’s state funeral on Saturday in Harare.

The former leader had been travelling to Singapore regularly for medical treatment, but allies say his health deteriorated rapidly after his ouster.

Mugabe’s body arrived from Singapore on Wednesday at Harare airport.

Several thousand people gathered in the 35,000-seat Rufaro stadium in Harare on Thursday to file past Mugabe’s open coffin under a white tent in the centre of the sports field.

A brief stampede broke out and several people were slightly injured as supporters rushed to see the coffin where the former leader’s body lay in a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie, an AFP correspondent said.

“Mugabe is the only president I had known all my life until 2017 so I had to pay my last respects,” said Viola Musviba, 44, a hairdresser, wearing a faded yellow Mugabe T-shirt.

Jonas Nekati, a truck driver, paid to get to the stadium.

“I have no money, but it was worth it because the man was a good man. Of course he made mistakes on the way but we are all human,” he said.

Mugabe took his oath of office in the same stadium when colonial Rhodesia handed over the reins of the country. He hoisted the new Zimbabwe flag and lit the independence flame on April 18, 1980 – bringing hope for a new era.

But Zimbabweans have been split over the death of a man once hailed for ending white-minority rule and bringing more access to health and education to the poor black majority.

Many Zimbabweans remember his tyrannical leadership and economic mismanagement that forced millions to escape a country crippled by hyper-inflation and shortages of food, drugs and fuel.

Mugabe’s legacy is also marked by a crackdown known as Gukurahundi, which took the lives of an estimated 20,000 alleged “dissidents”.

Later his seizure of white-owned farms helped ravage the economy, sent foreign investors fleeing and turned Mugabe into an international pariah – even if his liberation hero status still resonates in Africa.

Zimbabweans still struggle to survive with the economy mired in crisis.

Mnangagwa himself is under pressure after promising more investment and jobs in a post-Mugabe era, with little success.

A fuel price hike this year sparked nationwide protests which led to a crackdown on opposition and clashes in which at least 17 people were killed after soldiers opened fire.

Robert Mugabe died a ‘very bitter’ man, nephew says

Robert Mugabe’s nephew has said the former Zimbabwean leader died a “very bitter” man.

Mr Mugabe, who died aged 95 last week, led Zimbabwe for nearly four decades until he was ousted by a coup in 2017.

“Imagine people you trusted – people that were guarding you, looking after you – [turning] against you,” Leo Mugabe said.

“He was very bitter and it dented his legacy,” he told the BBC from his uncle’s rural home.

“It was not an easy thing for him to take,” he added.

Initially praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority, Mr Mugabe later used violence against his political opponents and presided over Zimbabwe’s economic ruin.

He was removed from office after he fired his deputy, with many fearing he was preparing for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him.

His former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, then became president after the army intervened and forced Mr Mugabe to step down.

The long-serving president’s legacy has been the subject of fierce debate since he died.

A man buys a daily newspaper at a stand on the streets of Nairobi following Robert Mugabe's death
Image captionRobert Mugabe’s legacy has been fiercely debated since his death in Singapore last week

When will the funeral take place?

Mr Mugabe’s death at a hospital in Singapore on Friday followed a long illness. He had been receiving medical care in the city since April.

Close relatives and government officials have travelled to the city and his remains are due to be returned to Zimbabwe on Wednesday.

His body is expected to be taken to his home village, which is about 80km (50 miles) west of the capital Harare, for an overnight wake.

His official funeral will take place on Saturday at the 60,000 capacity National Sports Stadium in Harare, according to government officials.

Media captionZimbabwean and global reaction to Mugabe’s death

But there has reportedly been disagreement over where Mr Mugabe will be buried.

Some of his relatives want him to be buried at his rural homestead in the village of Kutama in Mashonaland West province. But government officials have pushed for a burial at a shrine near Harare.

Most of Zimbabwe’s national heroes – those who fought against white-minority rule – are buried at the Heroes’ Acre shrine just outside of the city.

“The [traditional] chiefs will bury him on Sunday, where I don’t know,” Leo Mugabe told AFP news agency on Monday.

If Mr Mugabe is buried at his rural home, it would represent a final snub to the comrades he believed betrayed him, the BBC’s Shingai Nyoka in Harare says.

Who was Robert Mugabe?

He was born on 21 February 1924 in what was then Southern Rhodesia – a British colony, run by its white minority.

After criticising the government of Rhodesia in 1964 he was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial.

Once released, he headed to Mozambique, from where he directed guerrilla raids into Rhodesia but he was also seen as a skilled negotiator.

Political agreements to end the crisis resulted in the new independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

Media captionMugabe: From war hero to resignation

With his high profile in the independence movement, Mr Mugabe secured an overwhelming victory in the republic’s first election in 1980.

But over his decades in power, international perceptions soured. Mr Mugabe assumed the reputation of a “strongman” leader – all-powerful, ruling by threats and violence but with a strong base of support. An increasing number of critics labelled him a dictator.

He famously declared that only God could remove him from office.

He was forced into sharing power in 2009 amid economic collapse, installing rival Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister.

But in 2017, amid concerns that he was grooming his wife Grace as his successor, the army – his long-time ally – turned against the president and forced him to step down.

Tricked by family members, widows in rural Kenya left landless

Two years ago, Alice Ciamati was living comfortably in a house on a plot of land she had recently inherited from her husband.

Now, she can be found roaming the shopping centre in the small village of Chera in Tharaka Nithi County, central Kenya, hunched over a walking frame and begging for food. At night, she sleeps on the streets.Ciamati, 62, blames her nephew for her destitution, saying he travelled from the capital Nairobi to trick her into giving away the title deed to her two acres (0.8 hectares) of land, then secretly sold the land and disappeared back into the city.“He told me the title deeds were being checked (by the government). So I gave them to him.

I was very happy when he returned them to me,” Ciamati told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, sipping tea at a kiosk in the shopping centre.But when the new owner came to evict her from her land wielding a copy of the deed, she showed her title deed to the area chief who had accompanied him. The chief confirmed hers was fake.“It was the worst day of my life. I could not believe that my nephew had secretly sold my land,” she said.“I will never forgive him, even in my grave.”Cases like Ciamati’s are becoming more common in rural Kenya, said local assistant police chief Lawrence Micheni.

Records at the county criminal registry show there have been about 11 cases of land fraud in Tharaka Nithi since January, almost double the amount for each of the past four years.Although the registry data does not distinguish which land fraud cases involve elderly widows, there has been a noticeable increase in “homeless grannies”, who say their land was stolen by family members, said Micheni.

Usually the familial fraud is committed by young, jobless relatives pretending to be visiting, only to trick widows into giving up their land deeds, he explained during an interview at his office.“They use the original documents to forge new ones and give (the fakes) back to the widows. Then they sell the land secretly and disappear.”Catching the perpetrators and bringing justice to the victims can be a struggle, Micheni noted, as his office does not have the power to settle land fraud cases, which are under the purview of the county courts.

The best the local police can do for widows who have been evicted from their land, he said, is offer them three kilogrammes of maize each month, which is donated by the county government.

FAMILY FRAUD

Josephine Muriuki, director of social development at the labour ministry, said the Kenyan government is trying to find a nationwide solution for growing land fraud against rural widows.In 2017, the state established the Inua Jamii cash transfer programme, which acts as a general welfare fund for all Kenyans aged 70 and above and supports many widows financially, he said.But, land rights activists say more needs to be done to protect victims.“(Inua Jamii) is only a short-term solution,” said Kamau Ngugi, executive director of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, a Nairobi-based land advocacy group.

 “What Kenya needs is proper land reforms to make it cheaper and faster for justice to be served to the poor.”While Kenya’s census data says there are close to 900,000 widows in the country, a report by the Loomba Foundation, a global widows’ rights group, puts the number higher, at more than 1.4 million.Kenya’s constitution states that all women have equal rights to own property, but this often does not trickle down to social norms, with most land in Kenya still held by men.Only about 1% of ancestral land title deeds in Kenya are held by women, according to charity HelpAge International.

“Destitution of the elderly is a big problem, not only in rural villages but also among urban populations,” said Erastus Maina, country programme manager at HelpAge in Kenya.“In most cases, it is relatives who are worsening it by exploiting the ignorance of the elderly to take their property for themselves.”

VULNERABLE

For victims of land fraud, emergency relief and food donations can only provide temporary solutions, said Joyce Wanjiku Kairu, head of Purity Elderly Care Foundation, a Kenyan charity.There is a need to seriously address the longer-term effects of widows losing land and, in some cases, becoming homeless, such as the increasing rates of mental illness and even suicide among victims in rural Kenya, she added.

“Society expects the elderly in the villages to be taken care of by the young, but (the elderly) have been neglected by their kin, who comfortably live in the city. This is why they have become vulnerable to land fraud,” Wanjiku said.Ciamati, wearing a patched brown dress with a basket slung over her shoulder for collecting food scraps, said her advanced age has weakened her ability to pursue justice for her land.

Her only wish now is that her nephew does something to benefit the community with the money he got from selling her land.“In my heart I know I cannot forgive him. But I pray that he will use the money to do good things that help other people,” she said.

Cancer now ‘leading cause of death’ in rich countries

Cancer has become the leading cause of death in rich nations, overtaking heart disease, according to the results of two landmark, decade-long global surveys of health trends released Tuesday.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of mortality among middle-aged adults globally, accounting for more than 40 per cent of deaths, the data showed.

It was thought to have been responsible for around 17.7 million deaths in 2017.But in richer countries, cancer now kills more people than heart disease, according to the twin studies published in The Lancet medical journal.

“The world is witnessing a new epidemiologic transition among the different categories of non-communicable diseases, with cardiovascular disease no longer the leading cause of death in high-income countries,” said Gilles Deganais, emeritus professor at Laval University, in Quebec.

He said his team’s study showed that cancer was the second most common cause of death globally in 2017, accounting for just over a quarter (26 per cent) of all deaths.

Deganais said that as heart disease rates fell globally, cancer could become the leading cause of death worldwide “within just a few decades”.The study followed more than 160,000 adults, in high-, middle-, and low-income countries over the course of decade. It determined that people in poorer nations were on average 2.5 times more likely to die from heart disease than those in richer ones.

It conversely found that non-infectious diseases such as cancer and pneumonia were less common in low-income states than in richer ones.

A second study, also by researchers in Canada, and looking at data from patients in the same 21 countries, found that so-called “modifiable risk factors” accounted for 70 per cent of heart disease cases globally.These included diet, behavioural and socioeconomic factors, they said.Metabolic risk factors — high cholesterol, obesity or diabetes — caused more than 40 per cent of all heart disease, and were by far the biggest determinant of disease in richer nations.

But there was also a strong link between heart disease in developing countries and household air pollution, poor diet and low education levels.”A change in tack is required to alleviate the disproportionately high impact of cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income countries,” said Salim Yusuf, professor of medicine at McMaster University.

“Governments in these countries need to start investing a greater portion of their gross domestic product in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular disease, rather than focusing largely on infectious diseases.”

Actor Kevin Hart injured in Los Angeles car accident

Actor Kevin Hart suffered major injuries in a car accident in Los Angeles early on Sunday morning, the California Highway Patrol said.

Hart, 40, was being driven in a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda shortly after midnight on Mulholland Highway when the driver lost control of the car and it tumbled down an embankment, CHP said in a statement.

Kevin bought the car for himself on his 40th birthday. Photo: IG

CHP did not elaborate on the nature of Hart’s injuries, but TMZ reported that he injured his back.

The driver, Jared Black, also suffered major injuries in the accident, CHP said. He was not under the influence of alcohol at the time, CHP added.

Hart, who is known for his stand-up comedy and comic roles in movies including “Ride Along,” was able to leave the scene of the crash with a second passenger, who was not badly hurt, and head to his home nearby to get medical attention, CHP said.

Hart was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center and the driver was taken to another hospital.

The wreckage. Photo: TMZ.

Hart’s publicist did not respond to requests for comment.

US billionaire Jeffrey Epstein ‘signed will two days before killing himself’

Jeffrey Epstein signed a will two days before killing himself in his New York jail cell, US media reports say.

Court papers filed last week in the US Virgin Islands valued Epstein’s estate at more than $577 million (Sh58 billion) but listed no details of beneficiaries, the Associated Press reported.

The will, details of which were first reported by the New York Post, directs Epstein’s assets to be put into trust.

Epstein died while awaiting trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

The New York medical examiner found that the 66-year-old, whose body was discovered on August 10, died of “suicide by hanging”.

BENEFICIARIES

Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and was being held without bail. He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

The former financier put all of his holdings into a trust called The 1953 Trust, according to a copy of the will published by the New York Post. He signed the document on August 8.

No details of any beneficiaries are included in the document, which lists assets including more than $56 million (Sh5.6 billion) in cash, more than $14 million (Sh1.4 billion) in fixed income investments and more than $18 million (Sh1.8 billion) in “aviation assets, automobiles and boats”.

Epstein’s collection of fine arts, antiques and other valuables is yet to be appraised, the document says.

DAMAGES

Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have said they will go after his assets for damages following his death.

Reports about Epstein’s will came as US Attorney General William Barr announced a major leadership shake-up at the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). The acting chief, Hugh Hurwitz, was removed and former BOP director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer named as his replacement.

“Under Dr Hawk Sawyer’s previous tenure at the Bureau, she led the agency with excellence, innovation, and efficiency, receiving numerous awards for her outstanding leadership,” Mr Barr said in a statement.

He also named former agency official Thomas Kane as her deputy.

Who was Jeffrey Epstein?

New York-born Epstein worked as a teacher before moving into finance. Prior to the criminal cases against him, he was best known for his wealth and high-profile connections.

He was often seen socialising with the rich and powerful, including US President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and the UK’s Prince Andrew.

In a 2002 profile in New York Magazine, Mr Trump referred to Epstein as a “terrific guy”. But in comments this year, Mr Trump said that he was “not a fan of Jeffrey Epstein”.

What was Epstein charged with?

Epstein was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

He was arrested on July 6 after landing in New Jersey on his private jet. He avoided similar charges in a controversial secret plea deal in 2008, and instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

That plea deal was closely scrutinised in recent weeks and, last month, US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned over his role in it.

Prosecutors also accused Epstein of paying large amounts of money to two potential witnesses ahead of his trial, which was scheduled to take place next year.

Nineteen dead in explosion due to Cairo car crash – ministry

CAIRO (Reuters) – Nineteen people died and 30 were injured in an explosion resulting from a car crash in central Cairo, Egypt’s health ministry said on Monday.

There was no official statement indicating that the explosion was an attack.

The blast happened when a car driving against traffic on Cairo’s Nile corniche road collided with three other cars, the interior ministry said in a separate statement.

It triggered a blaze that forced the partial evacuation of a nearby hospital, National Cancer Institute, the health ministry said.

Shortly after the explosion, blazing cars could be seen in the roadway as passers-by struggled to help the injured.

Later in the morning, investigators scoured the scene amid a heavy police presence. The hospital building showed apparent damage up to the third floor, a Reuters witness said.

Egypt’s public prosecutor is investigating the incident, sources told Reuters.

A priest, a car crash and bags full of stolen parish money

LOS ANGELES

Emergency workers responding to a car crash in a California town last month found a priest with a fractured hip and, much to their surprise, bags of cash he allegedly stole from the local parish.

The Diocese of Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco, said in a statement on Monday that $18,000 in church collections were found in Father Oscar Diaz’s car at the time of the accident on June 17.

HISTORY OF THEFT

It added that further investigation revealed “a prolonged history of theft,” with more than $95,000 stolen from parishes where the 56-year-old Diaz had served over the past 15 years.

“I am deeply grieved that this has happened and am deeply saddened that the parishes he was sent to serve have been harmed,” Bishop Robert Vasa said in a statement.

“The full extent of the theft is not known and may never be fully known but the Diocese is committed to determining as fully as possible the extent of the theft from each of these parishes.”

Vasa said that Diaz, who has been a priest for 25 years, told the emergency responders at the time of the crash that the bags of cash were his salary.

But a hospital employee uncomfortable with the amount of money Diaz brought into the emergency room contacted police, who alerted the diocese.

Vasa said a search of Diaz’s office and the rectory where he lived uncovered a large number of collection bags containing cash. A further probe revealed that Diaz had also deposited a number of checks made out to parishes into his personal bank account.

Vasa said Diaz had admitted to stealing church collection bags for some time.

“Father Oscar is presently suspended from priestly ministry,” he said. “There are no plans at this time for ministry in the Church and his future is uncertain.”

He said the diocese was not planning to pursue criminal prosecution at this time, in part because of the cost involved.