Kerry in Kenya calls for unity to defeat terrorism

US Secretary of State John Kerry called for unity in the face of terror attacks Monday, as he visited a memorial in Kenya to the 1998 bombing of the US embassy.

The embassy bombing by Al-Qaeda was the worst attack in the east African nation by Islamist militants, killing 213 people.

“The terrorists who struck on August 7, 1998 failed utterly in their purpose, which was to implant fear in the hearts of the Kenyan people and to divide America from the citizens of this country,” Kerry said.

“They failed for the same reason that terrorists will always fail. Yes they can reduce a building to rubble, and yes they can even deprive innocent people of their lives, but they do not give anyone anything of what really makes life worthwhile.”

Last month Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab gunmen massacred close to 150 people, mostly students, in a raid on a university in the northeastern Kenyan town of Garissa.

The raid followed a string of other massacres in the northeast and Muslim-majority coastal areas, and after the September 2013 siege of the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi which left at least 67 dead.

“We know that the struggle in which we are all engaged now is not going to be over soon — nearly two years ago at Westgate mall, five weeks ago at Garissa university and at other times,” the top US diplomat said.

“Words are not sufficient to express our sorrow, our outrage, or our wish that we can somehow reverse time and bring all the victims back.”

Kerry arrived in Kenya on Sunday for talks on security cooperation and ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit to his late father’s home country.

The fight against Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab militants features high on the agenda, with Kenya struggling to stop increased cross-border attacks by the militants even though it has thousands of troops in southern Somalia.

“We do have however the power to fight back, not only with our military and law enforcement, but also through something that may be even more powerful and that may make a bigger difference in the end, and that is our unity and the character of our ideals,” Kerry said.

“Unlike some we do not define ourselves in terms of hate. We are builders, we are teachers, we are dreamers, we are doers.”

Photo Credits : AFP

This is why U.S President Barrack Obama will visit Kenya in July

President Barack Obama is set to visit Nairobi in July for Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Africa and globally.

In a statement said by the U.S ambassador to Kenya Bob Godec, the white house wants to hear ideas on how to start the spark of entrepreneurship in Africa.

It said that this was to empower marginalized groups, especially women and youth, through entrepreneurship.

Applications for the Global Entrepreneurship competition ran in conjunction with the US Department of State closed on   March 20, 2015 .

This competition is the flagship program of the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Initiative. The competition, is focused on young scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs, aged between 18-40 years old, who have either an idea or start-up in the subject areas of Agriculture, Energy, Health or Information and communication technologies.

U.S approves powdered alcohol

Officials in the US have sparked controversy by approving a powdered alcohol that can be mixed into drinks, snorted or even sprinkled onto food.

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau said issues that had been preventing the granting of approval had now been addressed.

A Spokesman of the bureau said that four varieties of Palcohol had been approved.

Individual US states can regulate the sale of alcohol and several have already announced plans to prevent the sale of Palcohol.

Concerns have included abuse of the product by young people, the potential to snort the powder and whether Palcohol’s portability and light weight would make it easy to sneak alcohol into public events or spike drinks.

Palcohol-Packets
Image courtesy of www.independent.co.uk

Kenya tells U.S to back off over security bill

A senior Kenyan official at the State House has criticised the United States for raising concerns about anew kenyan law aimed at fighting “terrorism”.

Munyori Buku said in a statement on the presidential website that Kenya’s new law had checks and balances, unlike US security laws that have created the Guantanamo Bay detention centre and given the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and intelligence officers “a carte blanche in the fight against terrorism and biological warfare”.

On Friday, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the law his government says will help fight terorism. The president said the law will protect the lives of all citizens. But critics in Kenya have said it will be used to crush dissent by curbing civil liberties.

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday said the US was concerned about the move.

“We’re…concerned about provisions that appear to limit freedom of assembly and media, and access to asylum for refugees.”

Kenya’s main opposition group, the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy. said the real target of the new law was not terrorism but to reintroduce the police state and political hegemony, and would hand the president sweeping autocratic powers.

The controversial measures extend the time police can hold “terror suspects” from the current 90 days to nearly a year, increase sentences and give more powers to tap phones.

Journalists could face up to three years behind bars if their reports “undermine investigations or security operations relating to terrorism,” or if they publish images of “terror victims” without permission from the police.

-Aljazeera