Two arrested over Nairobi hotel attack

admin   •   January 18, 2019   •   1414

Police officers, people on site after blast, security presence at scene on January 15, 2019 | Reuters

Two suspects in connection with Tuesday’s terrorist attack in an upmarket hotel and office complex in Kenya’s capital Nairobi are in custody, reports Kenyan police.

The Inspector General of Kenya Police Joseph Boinnet informed the press on Wednesday that they have arrested two suspects, and the investigation is still underway.

“In subsequent investigations by the DCI (Directorate of Criminal Investigations), we have arrested two individuals, whom we have very strong reasons to believe facilitated the attack, and are in our custody assisting the police with the investigations,” said Boinnet.

Boinnet also reviewed the number of lives lost to 21 from 14 on Wednesday, saying new bodies had been retrieved from the scene of the attack.

“This is the final tally as of this evening: six other bodies were found at the scene, and one police officer succumbed very sadly to his injuries when undergoing treatment. Five terrorists were eliminated. These are the nationalities of the persons who very sadly lost their lives: 16 Kenyans, one Briton, one American, and three persons of African descent whom we’re yet to identify,” said Boinnet. — Reuters

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Balloon internet service flying high over Kenya

UNTV News   •   July 9, 2020

Alphabet Inc began offering the world’s first commercial high-speed internet using balloons to villagers in remote regions of Kenya’s Rift Valley on Wednesday (July 8).

The technology has been used before, but not commercially. U.S. telecom operators used balloons to connect more than 250,000 people in Puerto Rico after a 2017 hurricane.

The project aims to provide affordable fourth generation (4G) internet to under-covered or uncovered rural communities and has been more than a decade in development.

The service is run by Loon, a unit of Google’s parent Alphabet, and Telkom Kenya, the East African nation’s third largest telecoms operator.

“Kenya is the first country… to have base stations high up in the sky. Now we will be able to cover the whole country in a very short span of time,” said Information Minister Joe Mucheru after launching the service.

According to Loon, the airborne base stations have a much wider coverage, about a hundred times the area of a traditional cell phone tower. The large balloons carry a solar panel and battery, and float in the upper atmosphere, high above planes and weather.

They are launched from facilities in California and Puerto Rico and controlled via computers in Loon’s flight station in Silicon Valley, using helium and pressure to steer.

They also have software equipped with artificial intelligence to navigate flight paths without much human intervention.

During the launch of the service in the vast, semi-arid county of Baringo in the heart of the Rift Valley, Mucheru placed a video call to President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Locals used to travel more than 60 km (40 miles) to the nearest towns for an internet connection.

Details of the commercial agreement between Loon and Telkom Kenya have not been made public. (Reuters)

(Jackson Njehia, Duncan Mriri)

Kenyan scientists reveal possible link between hot food, esophageal cancer

Robie de Guzman   •   May 7, 2019

Preliminary findings by scientists suggest that people who like their food and beverages to be warmer than 60 degrees celsius are at a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer.

In Kenya, hot food is widely believed to be healthier, while cold food is viewed as dull and unsatisfying.

“Most people prefer hot or warm food because this is the cold season. If you eat cold food, it will affect you. But if you eat hot food, you will feel warm and energetic,” said Nairobi resident Regan Dennis.

For years, researchers have sought to establish the effects of very hot food on the esophagus, the tube through which food travels to the stomach. A study published in the journal “cancer epidemiology” identified thermal injury from hot food and beverages as a possible cause of esophageal cancer.

“It’s an irritant, the heat. You are causing ulceration of the lining. The lining of the esophagus and the throat. And once you cause this constant damage to the lining, it leads to mutation and finally leads to cancer. So, it’s carcinogenic to cause constant irritation of the mucus lining,” said ENT Surgeon John Muiru.

Researchers found that tea drinkers who like their tea to be warmer than 60 degrees celsius and drank more than two large cups daily have a 90 percent higher risk of developing esophageal cancer.

This is bad news for tea-drinkers in Kenya’s western region, who are among those taking the hottest tea in the world. Their beverage is usually 72.1 degrees celsius.

“The ideal temperature is the body temperature, which is about 37 degrees centigrade. Anything above that will be damaging the cells. The cells are designed to survive within the body temperature,” Muiru said.

Esophageal cancer accounts for 11 percent of new cancer cases in Kenya. The latest discovery has had a jarring effect on tea-lovers. But the studies are not conclusive and researchers suggest that the evidence should be evaluated further.

As scientists seek a conclusive answer, tea-lovers begin to grapple with the idea that hotter might not be better after all.

“Food shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. It should be warm,” Saidi Gitau, a Nairobi resident said. (REUTERS)

Rare black leopard caught on camera in Kenya

admin   •   February 14, 2019

Still photograph of ‘Black Leopard’ in Laikipia Wilderness Camp | Will Burrard/Camtraptions LTD via Reuters

A rarely-sighted black leopard has been captured on camera in Kenya by a wildlife photographer who told Reuters it was a “stunning subject to photograph at night”.

The cat is described as ‘black’ because of the higher levels of melanin or dark pigment in its fur, but the characteristic leopard spots can still be seen on the animal’s coat.

Will Burrard-Lucas took the pictures in January 2019, by setting up sensors to detect the animal and then automatically triggered the camera and flash to capture the images, Lucas said.

A San Diego Zoo researcher who was in the area took video of the animal and confirmed the sighting of the creature.

The zoo also said that most observations of the animal had been in Southeast Asia up until this point. — Reuters

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