Mau Forest: Ruto, PM rift narrows as Cabinet meets

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The battle to save the largest water tower, which is the fountain of 12 main rivers, was half-won as the list of beneficiaries was made public ahead of the Cabinet meeting today.

It was the culmination of strident debate by politicians, religious and conservation groups, as well as the media, on the need to save Kenya. Never before have Kenyans debated an environmental issue with so much fire and passion, after years of treating global climate change as an alien ‘animal’ in outer space that would not affect them.

The triumph of conservation therefore appeared to take its place on the list of what should worry Kenyans — even as those who tried to inject the poison of fractured politics mellowed.
It was also the turning point in the war that had been spiced by politics, largely between Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Agriculture Minister William Ruto. The two leaders appeared to strum same strings and sing same tune.

Apart from releasing the names, Raila told Parliament the momentum to clear human settlement and end farming and logging in the Mau was unstoppable and he would not be intimidated.

The popularity of the decision, tucked away in Mau Forest Task Force awaiting Cabinet discussion and possible adoption, was discernible from the foot thumping that greeted Raila’s statement in Parliament when he said he was standing on the side of the truth.

But the struggle appeared half-won when the biggest hurdle was surmounted — with Ruto maintaining the peasants have to be resettled, but not the big firms and the VIPs behind them. Raila, on the other hand, said all title deed holders would be compensated, the process would take long, but will be systematic, and the big beneficiaries are on their own.

Blackmailed

Raila spoke on Mau Forest settlement in Parliament with confidence, which appeared to suggest he had outfoxed his Rift Valley critics. "I will not be intimidated. I will not be blackmailed. I am ready to pay the price. I am doing this for Kenya. It is a matter of national interest. I am on the side of the truth and it never fails," said the PM, adding the momentum to remove human settlement from the largest water tower was unstoppable.

He was explicit: "In my meeting with Rift Valley MPs we agreed everyone with a title deed, whether legal or illegal (but given by the Government) would be compensated.’’

Raila then drove the knife behind his critics’ backs — the MPs who were criticising him were dishonest and seekers of cheap political publicity. That sent Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto and Cheragany MP Joshua Kuttuny, asking more questions.

That was in the afternoon, but in the morning Ruto seemed to climb down on his no-eviction-without-compensation stand — saying instead that perception he was against the evictions was false.

Water tower

"We are not madmen to oppose the conservation of Mau water tower. We know and feel the consequences of destruction. Any efforts to portray Rift Valley MPs as opposing conservations are cheap and primitive," said Ruto.
Ruto then dropped the bombshell: "Those ones with hundreds of acres are on their own. They do not have our support."

Raila also said the net would be cast wider: "Environmental degradation is not in the Mau only. We will tackle each case with the seriousness it deserves. We are going to pay attention to other water towers as well. But the Mau problem is acute and serious".

He added:" The entire ecosystem is now under threat. The destruction of Mau is a symptom of weak enforcement of the law... The Government is acting now but we don’t want a repeat of 2005 when security forces were sent to terrorise people. We want to be more systematic and humane."

Ruto, on his part, said: "The Government cannot afford to be inhumane by evicting small scale farmers who genuinely acquired land. What we are asking is that they be compensated and offered alternative land. On this I stand by my statement."

He added: "I wanted to set the record straight. Political detractors are taking advantage of the debate to drive a wedge and brand a section of Rift Valley MPs as tribal chauvinists who are primitive and insensitive to conservation."

Big question

With Raila and Ruto agreed on who should be compensated and who should not, and on the biggest question of the day which is human habitation and activity in Mau has to stop, the ball is now squarely in the Cabinet’s feet. The only factor remains time — or the questions when and how? And so the stage was set for the replanting of Mau Forest’s trees to cover the patches that are now tea, maize, bean and sukuma wiki farms. Eldama Ravine MP Moses Lessonet appear to capture the mood of the 18 Rift MPs when he rose the PM, "and so where does Mau Forest start and end...?

Raila’s responded with glee: "I don’t know whether you want longitudes or latitudes. I have presented a map and the Hon Member can look at it."

Probably he asked the question after weighing the possible extent of the upcoming removal of human settlement in the forest that was parcelled out to peasants and high-profiled personalities who squeezed their names among those of squatters and other landless groups — including Ogiek’s forest community — to get a new home and thousands of acres to farm or simply add to his inventory of property empire. Prime Minister Raila Odinga was forced to table a list of hitherto faceless landowners in the Mau forest saga.

Raila said he was doing so "reluctantly" after Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale demanded it, asking the Chair to deal with the PM for ‘evading the question’. The PM also tabled maps detailing the water towers’ destruction.
The Public Accounts Committee chairman had told the House the Government degazetted parts of Mau in 1996, marking the beginning of the destruction.

"Powerful individuals formed companies to get a share of the Mau," Khalwale said. "Because of the chest-thumping by some politicians, I ask the PM to table the list of original allottees who are the genesis of this problem."
Thanks to Standard

99 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Twitter. In the short time Twitter has been around, it has pretty much changed the way I do business. Right up until the time Google let me back into their index, Twitter was my biggest referrer of traffic and one of my main money makers. In my quest for Tweeting knowledge, I came across a book call 99 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter. This is not an eBook but an actual book you can buy at Amazon.com.
99 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter was written by the editors of GEEKPRENEUR. What started off as a introduction to Twitter eBook has turned into a 376 page reference guide.
Last year, we released our twitter ebook as an introduction to using Twitter. We could not have anticipated that our ebook would become one of the most downloaded Twitter ebooks or that Fortune 500 companies would be contacting us to include the ebook in their corporate intranets. But what we DID anticipate is that Twitter would be a strong and viable business and marketing tool. And so we assigned our entire writing and research staff to work towards releasing a Twitter business book. The result is 99 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter.
As you know no doubt guessed, 99 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter shows you 99 ways to make money with Twitter. Some of the ways are pretty obvious (like put affiliate links in your tweets) but there are many other ways that I guarantee you’ve never thought of before. Each chapter comes with a rating system to rate the difficulty, skill and income potential for each of the 99 methods.
99 ways to make money using Twitter
In addition to the key ratings, 99 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter features handy tips for success and best practices model for each method. The books offers tons of information and doesn’t have to be read in a linear fashion. Just choose the method that appeals to you and read it. 99 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter is ideally suited for individuals, businesses and Internet marketers. It’s a handy reference guide that you’ll want to refer to again and again.
99 Ways To Make Money Using Twitter is available from Amazon.com in both hardcover edition ($34.95) and Kindle edition ($19.95). Every Twitter user who’s serious about improving their business or social media income should get a copy. It’s well worth the read and I’ve picked up a lot of great ideas from it that is going to make me far more than the book price.
Thanks To John Chow

The World’s Largest iPod

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The World’s Largest iPod

large ipod
Jonathan Ive, the man behind the design of Apple iPhone and iPod, recently created a giant iPod model that he sent as a gift to British fashion designer Sir Paul Smith on his birthday.
While a device of that size may not be very practical, ft.com has revealed that Apple is actually working to release a large-screen iPod sometime during Christmas.
Apple is racing to offer a full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season. The touch-sensitive device will have a screen that may be up to 10 inches diagonally.
It will connect to the internet like the iPod Touch - probably without phone capability but with access to the web, and to Apple’s online stores for software and entertainment.
The price of the new 10" Apple iPod Tablet could be anywhere between $600 and $1,000 according to the same report.
Thanks To Amit

Kenya: Seacom Link Promises New Telecoms Era

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Kenya: Seacom Link Promises New Telecoms Era



30 July 2009



Kenya's second international fibre optic cable link goes live today (Thursday), heralding the start of a new era in the telecommunications sector.

Telecoms firms that have bought capacity on Seacom are already able to access connectivity, meaning that end-users expect to enjoy lower Internet and calling rates as soon as their respective providers are ready to offer them.

"Testing is complete, meaning Seacom broadband capacity is now available at the relevant countries POPs (points of presence) and can be accessed by our customers.

They will in turn resell the capacity to customers such as Internet service providers, local loop operators, cable operators, and so on," said Kevin Kariuki, who is a director of the project as well as the head of infrastructure at Industrial Promotion Services (IPS), Seacom's largest shareholder.

Seacom is a $650 million privately funded fibre optic project that promises increased access to communication services for Kenyan companies as well as providing a new gateway for international firms who are keen to tap into the under served African markets.

The cable is the first in the country to start commercial operations, with Dr Karuiki saying some Kenyan end-users were already accessing the cheaper broadband offered by the cable.

Early this week, Safaricom, who has leased 4 STMi of Seacom's capacity, said it expected to end tests on its network in four weeks time and then pass on the connectivity to consumers. The last year has seen a flurry of activity within the local telecoms sector as players attempted to position themselves ahead of the arrival of two international fibre links.

The country's other fibre optic link is TEAMs (the East African Marine System), which is a public-private partnership between the Kenyan government and local firms.

TEAMs hit the Kenyan coastline in early June, and services are still being tested on the system. It is anticipated it will start offering commercial services in the next 10 weeks.

The biggest benefit to consumers on the arrival of fibre optic links is the availability of cheaper communications solutions.

Fibre is a cheaper mode of transport for data than satellites, which were the country's main means of gaining access to telephone and Internet services.Using satellite can drive up the cost of communicating by as high as 10 times, say industry players.

Kai Wulff, managing director of Kenya Data Networks, which has bought capacity on both TEAMs and Seacom, said he hoped to see a reduction in pricing of at least 75 per cent once the cables were activated.

Fibre optic cables are also expected to allow consumer access to new services such as high definition TV, video conferencing, IPTV, and high speed Internet.

Analysts anticipate the arrival of the link will provide unprecedented access to foreign companies eyeing a share of Kenya's Internet market, which is pegged to double in size from the current three million users as a result of the cable landing.


"With Seacom also landing in countries like Kenya and Mozambique, which are key business areas for us on the continent, the investment will also benefit African business substantially," said Hillel Shrock, Business Solutions Director at Internet Solutions South Africa.

Seacom links much of sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, Mozambique, Madagascar, Tanzania and Kenya who will be inter-connected.

Seacom is 76.25 per cent African owned by Industrial Promotion Services (26.25 per cent), an arm of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, Venfin Limited (25 per cent), Convergence Partners (12.5 per cent) and the Shanduka Group (12.5 per cent). The remaining 23.75 per cent is held by Amercain firm Herakles Telecom.
Thanks To Kui Kinyanjui

EU piles pressure on Kenya over poll trials

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Besides the human toll, property of unknown value was destroyed during the post election violence. Photo/FILE
The European Union on Monday told the Kenyan Government to quickly form a special tribunal to try election violence suspects.
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In a critical and wide ranging assessment of the Grand Coalition, the EU council of ministers asked Kenyan politicians to stop divisive talk and speed up reforms to protect Kenya from election upheavals in future.
The meeting, in Brussels, Belgium, said the slow pace of reforms — caused by lack of political will — could hurt the country. The EU, however, said it was ready to help in the reforms.
Increase pressure
The EU is one of Kenya’s most significant trading and development partners and its ministers’ statement will increase pressure on the Kenyan Government to act against those who organised or funded the post-election violence in 1,133 people were killed and another 650,000 displaced from their homes and property of unknown value destroyed.
“It (EU) considers that prompt implementation of the agreed reforms are of critical importance for reconciliation, nation-building, development and prevention of further conflict in Kenya,” said the statement.
The renewed pressure comes at a time when the Cabinet is divided over how the suspects should be tried. Though President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have tried to unite Cabinet ministers to back a local tribunal, there is little evidence that their efforts have borne fruit.
Some ministers support a special tribunal but say it must meet standards set by the International Criminal Court — which includes stripping the President of immunity against prosecution.

Others want suspects to be tried at The Hague while a third group would like to only appear before the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).
The Cabinet has failed twice to reach an agreement. It meets again this Thursday to try and strike a compromise in the face of local and international pressure.
US President Barack Obama has expressed his misgivings about reforms and last month chose to visit Ghana, which has made more progress in building a stable democracy.
Besides the human toll, property of unknown value destroyed in the violence. The movement of cargo to the region was also disrupted, affecting the economies of Kenya’s neighbours, a factor alluded to by the EU ministers.


Politics

Besides the human toll, property of unknown value was destroyed during the post election violence. Photo/FILE 


They said reforms were important not just for Kenya’s sake, but for regional stability. “The council calls for the establishment of a credible, independent, constitutionally protected local special tribunal to end the impunity of perpetrators of the post-election violence,” the EU ministers said.
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They supported the decision by chief mediator Kofi Annan to hand over the secret list of violence masterminds to ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.
“The council also welcomes the Kenyan authorities’ cooperation with the International Criminal Court and fully supports Kofi Annan’s efforts to facilitate results,” they said.
Under the agreement, signed by ministers Mutula Kilonzo, James Orengo and Attorney General Amos Wako, the Kenyan Government will ask the ICC to take over the prosecution if laws establishing the local tribunal are not enacted by end of September.
Similar urgency, the EU ministers said, should be applied to constitutional, judicial and police reforms which are detailed in the National Accord signed by President Kibaki and Mr Odinga on February 28, last year, to end nearly two months of violence.
Even though some measures have been taken such as setting up of taskforces and commissions, the EU ministers said the Kenyan Government should move with greater speed “with priority given to comprehensive constitutional reform, electoral reform, police and judicial reform as well as enhanced measures to put an end to impunity for crimes related to violence and corruption.”
The ministers, who were also critical of Kenya’s human rights record, called for action against those guilty of violating the freedoms of others.
“The council expresses its deep concern over reports of human rights violations and threats against human rights defenders as well as reports on extrajudicial killings.
Unlawful killings
“It calls upon the government to promptly investigate and bring to justice all perpetrators of unlawful killings, including perpetrators within the security forces,” their statement said.
Even if the Cabinet agrees on a local tribunal, it faces an uphill task in getting the necessary laws passed in Parliament, which has rejected a similar law in the past.
 Thanks to Nation

Michael Jackson estate 'to support mother'

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LOS ANGELES — Executors of Michael Jackson's estate said the late pop star had provided full financial support to his mother when he was alive and his estate should continue to do so after his death, The Los Angeles reported Sunday.
The daily newspaper said that in court papers filed Thursday, the administrators of the estate asked for approval to pay a monthly allowance to Katherine Jackson, 79.
The specific amount requested was not disclosed, the report said.
"The special administrators are informed and believe that Mrs. Jackson has no other sources of income currently available other than Social Security income," lawyers for administrators John Branca and John McClain wrote in the filing, according to the paper.
Jackson's mother is caring for her son's three children, and the administrators requested an additional monthly allowance for them.
According to the court papers, the Jackson children are beneficiaries of an insurance policy "but the insurance proceeds have not yet been collected," the Times said.
The allowances are among the issues Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff is to take up at a hearing August 3, said the paper

3 foreign aid workers grabbed on Kenya-Somali border

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MOGADISHU — Three foreign aid workers were kidnapped overnight in a Kenyan town close to the Somali border by armed men, who took them into Somalia, a Somali government official told AFP Saturday.
The three were snatched from their office in Mandera, in northeast Kenya.

"We have been told the Somali militia kidnapped three aid workers from inside Kenya and entered Somalia and we are investigating the incident by tracing the kidnappers," Sheikh Adan Mohamed, a senior official in the neighbouring Somali town of Bulohawo told AFP by telephone.

The nationalities of the three and the organisation for which they worked were not immediately known.
"We haven't seen them yet, but they have crossed the border," an elder in Bulohawo, Adan Wardhere told AFP, saying the kidnappers had seriously injured a security guard during the abduction.

Foreigners are regularly kidnapped in Somalia, which has been mired in civil war since 1991, and usually freed in return for a ransom. Journalists and aid workers are particularly targetted.

Two French security agents were kidnapped on Tuesday from their hotel in Mogadishu.
Canadian journalist Amanda Lindhout and Australian photographer Nigel Geoffrey Brennan, who were snatched on August 23 last year, are still being held by their abductors.

Four European employees of the French non-governmental organisation Action Faim and their two Kenyan pilots, kidnapped in early November, are also still being held.
 AFP

NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center MOON SHOT: The Apollo 14 landing site in a photo released Friday with labels added by NASA. NASA orbiter offers images of moon landing sites

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NASA orbiter offers images of moon landing sites

Moon shot
NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center
MOON SHOT: The Apollo 14 landing site in a photo released Friday with labels added by NASA.
Two days before the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, the space agency releases the photographs of astronaut work sites. The pictures could aid future moon colonists.
By John Johnson Jr.
July 18, 2009
With the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing just two days away, NASA on Friday released the sharpest images ever taken of astronaut work sites on the moon, showing hardware and soil disturbances left behind by the 12 Americans who visited the lunar surface between 1969 and 1972.

The images, taken over the last few weeks by cameras aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, include some of the 10-foot-tall landing structure called the descent stage. It was left behind when the astronauts returned home and is seen casting long shadows over the pale surface of the moon.

 
"It's fantastic to see the hardware sitting on the surface, waiting for us to come back again," Mark Robinson, chief of the camera science team, said in a news briefing in Washington, D.C.

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched June 18 on a mission to map the lunar surface in preparation for the planned return of astronauts to the moon in 2020. It carries instruments designed to search for ice deposits in sunless canyons and crevices; those deposits could be a source of water and rocket fuel for future moon colonists.

The cameras started clicking away in the last few weeks, as the spacecraft settled into an orbit that brought it as close to the surface as 18 miles. Over the years, Japan, China and India have all sent probes to the moon that have focused on the old Apollo sites. But the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter's images of the hardware left behind are the sharpest yet, NASA said, resolving features as small as 3 feet wide.

The reconnaissance orbiter took pictures of five of the six landing sites, missing only that of Apollo 12, which launched on Nov. 14, 1969.

Some of the best images are of the Apollo 14 landing site, where a set of scientific instruments can be seen, along with marks in the topsoil, known as regolith, left by the astronauts walking around in their spacesuits. The pictures also show the tracks of the tool cart the astronauts towed behind them, Robinson said. Apollo 14 launched on Jan. 31, 1971.

As impressed as they were by the images, NASA officials said they expect better quality after the orbiter finishes commissioning its instruments, a process similar to tuning a new musical instrument to get the best sound. Images of the Apollo 11 landing site, for one, are expected to be twice as good in the future, officials said.

Referring to conspiracy buffs who question whether the moon landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin really occurred, one reporter asked if the images show the American flag planted by the astronauts. Robinson said that would be difficult to resolve from space.

"If it's standing, it would be very, very narrow," he said. "We might be able to see its shadow at some point."

But he said he believed the flag was knocked over by the exhaust from the Apollo 11 lunar module's ascent engine as Armstrong and Aldrin lifted off for the trip home. The mission ended on July 24, 1969, when the module carrying Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins parachuted into the Pacific Ocean.

Aside from the curiosity value connected with the images, NASA said the pictures could be important to future moon colonists. Changes in the surface, in the form of new cratering, would help scientists understand how often a particular region on the moon is hit by rocks from space. That information would be important in designing habitats.
Thanks To The LAtimes.

The lunar images can be viewed on the NASA website, at www.nasa.gov .

Virtually Safe: Five Real-Life Pitfalls of Online Worlds -- And Some Safer Alternatives

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Depending on exactly how you define the term, virtual world games have an audience that's somewhere in the region of 20-30 million players around the world. The vast majority of them, whether they're into World of Warcraft, Runescape, or Club Penguin, enjoy healthy, safe, and relaxing entertainment -- but these pastimes aren't without their dangers. From addiction to theft to divorce, careless behavior in virtual worlds can lead to real consequences. Here's a few recent headlines, and a few tips on how to keep yourself (or your family) safe.

Is World of Warcraft "the most dangerous game"?

World of Warcraft
Virtual worlds are designed to be addictive. That's how the creators make money: if its players get bored, they give up and quit paying. Nothing wrong with addictive games in moderation, but when obsessed players put virtual rewards over real jobs, relationships, and chores, lives get ruined. World of Warcraft, merely by virtue of being the biggest and most successful virtual world to date, is the chief culprit -- so much so that one Swedish researcher called it "the crack cocaine of the computer gaming world" in a government-backed report. "Some people are literally unable to drag themselves away and will play it till they drop," he said.

"Age of Conan" too violent -- even for Arnie

Age of Conan
Most online worlds tend to favor cartoony violence and stylized combat over the explicit violence that's a common sight in other game genres. 2008's Age of Conan, however, did the Conan brand proud, releasing with copious lashings of swords-and-sorcery sex and violence. Although the game is licensed from the pulpy books that originated the Conan character, not the subsequent Arnie movie, the game's content put Governor Schwarzenegger in a curious position. Schwarzenegger, together with California senator Leland Yee, has pushed for harsher legislation controlling access to violent games like Conan, and although as his spokesman Aaron McLear was keen to stress to the San Jose Mercury News, Schwarzenegger has no association with the game, it's still hard not to smile at the irony.

Gamer steals from virtual friends to pay real debts

EVE Online
Eve Online, a ground-breaking space sim that focuses on interstellar commerce and conflict, made headlines recently when a player embezzled over $5,000 in in-game currency from a player-run bank. Eve's laissez-faire, almost-anything-goes rules system means "Richard" wasn't banned until he tried to exchange the in-game money for real currency via a third-party web site.

Second Life affair ends in divorce

Second Life
Anyone who's spent any length of time involved in the social dimensions of online worlds will tell you that attachments formed in-game can be just as convincing and satisfying as real-life friends. Nothing wrong with that...as long as you can keep it in perspective. Unlike this British couple, who split after husband David Pollard was caught being unfaithful -- but not in the regular, messing-about-with-the-mailman way. No, Pollard was caught in flagrante with a virtual call girl in online world Second Life. Undaunted, Pollard's ex moved on -- to a relationship with a man she met playing World of Warcraft, according to CNN.

Dutch teens do time over Runescape theft

Runescape
Even free online worlds aren't immune from these shenanigans. Two Dutch players of "Runescape" -- one of the most popular free online games around -- were sentenced to hundreds of hours of community service after a judge found they'd coerced another youngster into transferring in-game items to them.
Thanks To Mike Smith. 

Tribunal: Government blamed for dragging its feet

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Kenya came under increasing pressure to set up a local tribunal to try post-election violence suspects, as Western envoys joined the fray.
It came as Agriculture Minister William Ruto was criticised for his proposal that suspects be subjected to a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC).
European envoys led other diplomats in Nairobi to register their displeasure at the way the Government has been dragging its feet in setting up a special tribunal to try perpetrators of the violence, that broke out immediately after President Kibaki was declared the winner of the 2007 heavily disputed election.
Then, ODM — led by humiliated presidential candidate Raila Odinga — claimed that the election had been stolen, and asked its supporters to defend democracy. Flexing muscle, a defiant PNU side — which by now had named a partial Government — deployed the might of the country’s security forces to quell the countrywide protests.
It took the intervention of Dr Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary-General, and the international community to broker a way out of the crippling crisis.
Remedy for impunity
On Thursday, the Western diplomats — who have become increasingly vocal on Kenyan affairs — ruled out the TJRC as "a remedy for impunity", and asked politicians to focus efforts on enacting the special tribunal.
As this was happening, the International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno-Ocampo, in a statement posted on his website, said the situation in Kenya had been under preliminary examination by his office since 2008.
Joining the onslaught on Ruto, Gichugu MP Martha Karua and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi rubbished the proposal to have suspects appear before a truth commission.
On Wednesday, Ruto led seven MPs from the Rift Valley in declaring that the handing over of the Waki envelope — that has the names of suspects bearing the greatest responsibility for the violence — to the ICC would not solve problems linked to the violence.
Ruto and his Roads ministry counterpart, Mr Franklin Bett, said it was upon Kenyans to solve issues affecting them through the TJRC.
Ruto said there was need for Kenyans to reconcile instead of wasting too much time focusing on The Hague and involving the international community in problems that could be addressed locally.
"Ocampo, the ICC Prosecutor, and US President Barack Obama will not provide us with answers relating to what happened after the 2007 General Election," said Ruto.
Differing voice
But on Thursday, Mudavadi offered a differing voice: "We had issues that emerged during our Serena talks, and TJRC was an option to be used for conceptualisation (sic) of other issues."
Mudavadi added: "Now some people are suggesting that the same (TJRC) be used. We now leave it to the public to judge whether TJRC is the best option."
The Local Government minister reminded the country that Parliament had adopted the Waki Report, which had only two options: The Hague and a local tribunal, or both.
"It is a question of collective responsibility," he added.
Karua, the former Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister who bolted out of Cabinet claiming his mandate had been countermanded by President Kibaki, said the perpetrators would have to face criminal justice, and the TJRC would not be an option.
Karua said those talking about a stolen election should have come out and handed that evidence to a court of law or to the Kriegler Commission.
"They must stop dancing in circles because those who committed crimes will have to be dealt with through the criminal justice system, and there are no two ways about that," added Karua. The EU envoys were joined by the American, British and Canadian counterparts in demanding that the National Accord — as initiated in 2008 — must be implemented fully.
The envoys did not mince words: "To gain the confidence of the Kenyan public and to attract international support, the Special Tribunal will need to follow the Waki Commission recommendations and meet international standards," said Ms Anna Brandt, the Swedish ambassador who chairs the EU presidency in Kenya.
"We encourage the Kenyan Government and Parliament to establish the independent Special Tribunal urgently, but if they are unwilling to set up a special Tribunal expeditiously, we urge the Government to refer the situation to the ICC at The Hague."

Jakarta Indonesia Ritz Carlton and J.W Marriot Bombing:-Suspected Hotel Bombers Stayed at Marriott

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — Jakarta's police chief says several suspects in the bombing of the Marriott were staying at the hotel.
Maj. Gen. Wahyono said the suspects stayed on the 18th floor of the hotel where un-detonated explosives were found after Friday's twin explosions at the J.W. Marriott and neighboring Ritz-Carlton.
Wahyono told reporters, "There were several perpetrators."
"They were disguised as guests and stayed in room 1808."
He said the attacks killed 8 and wounded 50, including 18 foreigners. Earlier the security minister said nine people died, but that number was later revised by authorities.
It was the first major terror strike in Indonesia since three suicide bombers hit restaurants on the resort island of Bali nearly four years ago.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Suspected suicide bombers set off explosions that ripped through two luxury hotels in Jakarta Friday, killing nine and wounding at least 50 more, ending a four-year lull in terror attacks in the world's most populous Muslim nation. At least 18 foreigners were among the dead and wounded.
The blasts at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, located side-by-side in an upscale business district in the capital, blew out windows and scattered debris and glass across the street, kicking up a thick plume of smoke. Facades of both hotels were reduced to twisted metal. An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw bloodied bodies being shuttled away in police trucks.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the attack was carried out by a "terrorist group" and vowed to arrest the perpetrators. He said it was too early to say if the Southeast Asian Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, blamed for past attacks in Indonesia, including a 2003 bombing at the Marriott, was responsible.
"Those who carried out this attack and those who planned it will be arrested and tried according to the law," a somber-looking Yudhoyono told a news conference.
The Marriott was hit first, followed by the blast at the Ritz two minutes later. The attacks came just two weeks after presidential vote expected to re-elect Yudhoyono who has been credited with stabilizing a nation previously wracked by militancy.
Theo Sambuaga, chairman of the parliamentary security commission, said "there are indications of suicide bombs" at the two hotels. "That is being investigated."
Local MetroTV reported that investigators suspect the attackers may have been hotel guests, who smuggled explosives past security checks. An unexploded bomb was found on the 18th floor of the Marriott after the blasts and removed by an explosives disposal team, said an investigator who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
But top anti-terror official Ansaad Mbai told AP it was too early to conclude suicide bombers were responsible.
Security Minister Widodo Adi Sucipto told reporters at the scene the hotel blasts happened at 7:45 a.m. and 7:47 a.m. (0045 GMT, 8:45 p.m. EDT) and that "high explosives were used." He said at least nine people were killed and 50 wounded.
Alex Asmasubrata, who was jogging nearby, said he walked into the Marriott before emergency services arrived and "there were bodies on the ground, one of them had no stomach," he said. "It was terrible."
Anti-terror forces with automatic weapons were rushed to the site, and authorities blocked access to the hotels in a district also home to foreign embassies.
"This destroys our conducive situation," Sucipto said, referring to the nearly four years since a major terrorist attack in Indonesia — a triple suicide bombing at restaurants at the resort island of Bali that killed 20 people.
The security minister and police said a New Zealander was among those killed, and that 17 other foreigners were among the wounded, including nationals from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea the U.S. and Britain.
The dead New Zealander was identified by his employer as Timothy David Mackay, 62, who worked for cement products manufacturer PT Holcim Indonesia. He was reportedly attending a business meeting at the Marriott Hotel when the explosions occurred.
Noel Clay, a U.S. State Department spokesman in Washington, said that several American citizens were among the injured.
Earlier, South Jakarta police Col. Firman Bundi said that four foreigners were killed, but gave no details.
Manchester United football team canceled a planned visit to Indonesia. The team had been scheduled to stay at the Ritz on Saturday and Sunday nights for a friendly match against the Indonesian All Stars, the Indonesian Football association said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but terrorism analyst Rohan Gunaratna said the likely perpetrators were from the al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah.
"The only group with the intention and capability to mount attacks upon Western targets in Jemaah Islamiyah. I have no doubt Jemaah Islamiyah was responsible for this attack," he said.
There has been a massive crackdown in recent years by anti-terror officials in Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim nation of 235 million, but Gunaratna said the group was "still a very capable terrorist organization."
Police have detained most of the key figures in the Indonesia-based Jemaah Islamiyah, and rounded up hundreds of other sympathizers and lesser figures.
But Gunaratna said that radical ideologues sympathetic to JI were still able to preach extremism in Indonesia, helping provide an infrastructure that could support terrorism.
Jakarta chief of police operations, Arief Wahyunadi, said the blasts were in the Ritz-Carlton's Airlangga restaurant and in the basement of the Marriott. He gave no details on what kind of bombs were used and whether they were suicide attacks.
Government spokesman Dino Patti Djalal told CNN the scene of the blasts were "eerie," when he arrived.
"The bodies I saw, some were being collected, some were on the floor," he said. "What we know, of course, is this was a coordinated attack."
When asked if Jemaah Islamiyah was behind the attack, Djalal said: "We always knew there are terrorists out there. But we've had a number of very good successes; no major attacks since the Bali bombings."
He was referring to the October 2002 bombings of two Bali nightclubs that killed some 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.
"This is a blow to us," Djalal said, but said the government would find those behind the attacks.
"The president has built his reputation on ... anti-terrorism policies," he said. "Make no mistake, he will hunt whoever is behind this."
Because of past attacks, most major hotels in Jakarta take security precautions, such as checking incoming vehicles and requiring visitors to pass through metal detectors. Still, international hotels make attractive targets, since the nature of their business requires them to be relatively open and accessible.
On Friday, Australia and New Zealand updated their travel advisories, which had already warned against unnecessary travel to Indonesia because of the risk of terrorism.
"We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Indonesia due to the very high threat of terrorist attack," the Australian Foreign Ministry said on its Web site. Those in Indonesia were warned to exercise "extreme caution."
New Zealand urged its citizens in Indonesia to keep a low profile.
Britain also updated its travel warning, though it did not raise its alert level.
Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini and Ali Kotarumalos in Jakarta and Tanalee Smith in Adelaide, Australia, contributed to this report.

Here Is a Sneak Preview of Ubuntu 9.04 Beta, Dowload It Here.

Posted On // 1 comment

Ubuntu 9.04 Beta

 
Ubuntu 9.04 Code Named Jaunty Jackalope.


For testing only! This is a pre-release version of Ubuntu and is almost ready for general use. If it is important that your computer run reliably please continue to use the current stable release (8.10) until this version is ready on April 23rd, 2009.

Upgrading from Ubuntu 8.10

To upgrade from Ubuntu 8.10 on a desktop system, press Alt+F2 and type in "update-manager -d" (without the quotes) into the command box. Update Manager should open up and tell you: New distribution release '9.04' is available. Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions.
To upgrade from Ubuntu 8.10 on a server system: install the update-manager-core package if it is not already installed; edit /etc/update-manager/release-upgrades and set Prompt=normal; launch the upgrade tool with the command sudo do-release-upgrade; and follow the on-screen instructions.

Download

Get it while it's hot. ISOs and torrents are available at:
Local mirrors are also available:
AfricaAsiaEuropeNorth AmericaOceania/AustraliaSouth America

New features since Ubuntu 8.10

These features are showcased for your attention. Please test them and report any bugs you find on Launchpad:

GNOME 2.26

Ubuntu 9.04 Beta includes the latest GNOME 2.26 desktop environment with a number of great new features, including:
  • brasero, developed by Philippe Rouquier and Luis Medinas, as an all-in-one CD burning application
brasero.png
  • Improved handling of multiple monitors with an updated gnome-display-properties by Federico Mena Quintero.
gnome-display-properties.png

X.Org server 1.6

The latest X.Org server, version 1.6, is available in Jaunty. A number of video cards have been transitioned to free drivers as part of this update.
The -ati driver has received numerous fixes and performance improvements. It now uses the EXA acceleration method by default. 2D acceleration support for the newest R6xx/R7xx family of cards is also available. 3D support is available up to R5xx cards for -ati. An updated -fglrx proprietary driver is available for R6xx/R7xx users who need 3D support.

New style for notifications and notification preferences

Included in Jaunty is a simple menu which can be used to set preferences for notification icons, such as where they pop up on the taskbar. Ubuntu 9.04 beta also includes a whole new notification system, as shown in the Flash movie here:

Boot performance

A number of improvements to the Ubuntu start-up process bring significantly improved boot performance to Ubuntu 9.04 Beta. Please open bugs if you experience any degradation, and tag them with boot-performance.

Linux kernel 2.6.28

Ubuntu 9.04 Beta includes the 2.6.28-11.37 kernel based on 2.6.28.8.

Ext4 filesystem support

Ubuntu 9.04 Beta supports the option of installing the new ext4 file system. ext3 will remain the default filesystem for Jaunty, and we will consider ext4 as the default for the next release based on user feedback. There has been extensive discussion about the reliability of applications running on ext4 in the face of sudden system outages. Applications that use the conventional approach of writing data to a temporary file and renaming it to its final location will have their reliability expectations met in Ubuntu 9.04 beta; further discussion is ongoing in the kernel community.
Ext4 support in GRUB was provided by Colin King. If you choose to upgrade your / or /boot filesystem in place from ext2 or ext3 to ext4 (as documented on the ext4 wiki), then you must also use the grub-install command after upgrading to Ubuntu 9.04 Beta to reinstall your boot loader. If you do not do this, then the version of GRUB installed in your boot sector will not be able to read the kernel from the ext4 filesystem and your system will fail to boot.
Ext4 support in gparted has been provided by Curtis Gedak.

Cloud computing

Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition makes it easy to experiment with cloud computing. Eucalyptus, an open source technology which is included in Ubuntu as a technology preview, enables you to use your own servers to deploy, experiment and test your own private cloud that matches the Amazon EC2 API. You can dynamically create virtual machines, configure multiple clusters into a single Cloud and even provide an EBS (elastic block storage) equivalent and an S3 compatible storage manager.

Turn-key mail servers

The dovecot-postfix package in Ubuntu 9.04 Beta provides an easy-to-deploy mail server stack, with support for SMTP, POP3, and IMAP with TLS and SASL.
dovecot-postfix was packaged by Ante Karamatić.

Testing wanted

There are a number of specific areas of focus in Ubuntu 9.04 where the developers could use from more feedback from users. Read on to find ways that you can use the beta to help to improve the Ubuntu 9.04 final release.

Suspend/resume testing

The Ubuntu kernel team has been gathering information about what laptops do and don't suspend and resume correctly. If you are running Ubuntu on a laptop and would like to participate to help make sure the kernel team has accurate information about Ubuntu's support for your hardware, please see KernelTeam/SuspendResumeTesting.

Hotkey testing

Hotkey handling has been a source of difficulty in the past two Ubuntu releases. Significant improvement has been made to the range of hotkeys supported in Ubuntu 9.04, but more user feedback is still needed, to help identify those hotkeys that are not yet supported. If you have a keyboard with a hotkey that doesn't function as you expect, please see Hotkeys/Troubleshooting for directions on reporting this problem in the right place.

Kerneloops

With the Ubuntu 9.04 Beta release, we invite you to install and test the kerneloops package. kerneloops is a daemon that collects kernel crash information and then submits the extracted signature to the kerneloops.org website for statistical analysis and presentation to the Linux kernel developers. Additionally, a bug report regarding the crash in question will be filed within Launchpad for tracking purposes.

Known issues

As is to be expected at this stage of the release process, there are several known bugs that users are likely to run into with Ubuntu 9.04 Beta. We have documented them here for your convenience along with any known workarounds, so that you don't need to spend time reporting these bugs again:
  • A bug in an Ubuntu-specific patch to X server logging code will cause X sessions to crash after they have been running for longer than a day. Users encountering this bug should upgrade to the latest version of the xserver-xorg-core package, which will be available immediately after the beta release. 328035.
  • Some users of Intel i8x5 video chipsets are unable to load X, getting an error message of "Fatal server error: Couldn't bind memory for BO front buffer". As a workaround, use the VESA driver by logging into a text console, running "sudo nano /etc/X11/xorg.conf", and adding the line Driver "vesa" to the Device section. An alternative (experimental) workaround is to use the UXA acceleration method (see below). If in doubt, please do not upgrade to Ubuntu 9.04 Beta yet. 304871
  • Users of Intel video chipsets have reported performance regressions in Ubuntu 8.10 compared with previous releases. (252094) Although these performance issues have not been resolved by default in Ubuntu 9.04, a new experimental acceleration architecture option, DRI2/UXA, is available for Intel graphics users. Our testing has found this provides significant performance improvements for many users, but has also shown risk of severe stability problems, thus we are not yet providing to the general public. You can opt-in to enable this by running "sudo gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf", and adding Option "AccelMethod" "UXA" to the Device section of your xorg.conf. Users wishing to maximize stability should stay with the standard default acceleration method, "EXA".
  • Ctrl-Alt-Backspace is now disabled, to reduce issues experienced by users who accidentally trigger the key combo. Users who do want this function can enable it in their xorg.conf, or via the command dontzap --disable.
  • Ubuntu 8.10 systems installed from the desktop CD mistakenly had the lilo package installed as well as grub, although grub was used for booting. If you use the recommended Update Manager upgrade method, then the lilo package will be removed if it does not appear to be used. If you upgrade using some other method and are sure that you only use the GRUB boot loader, then we recommend that you remove the lilo package manually. 314004
  • On the timezone map in the desktop CD installer, the markers for cities are displaced from their correct locations. Users should be aware of this issue when selecting their timezone. This bug will be resolved for daily builds immediately after the 9.04 Beta. 334284
  • If any filesystems are mounted when starting the desktop CD installer, then a dialog labelled "Unmount partitions that are in use?" will be presented. Unfortunately, the buttons on this dialog box are poorly named: "Continue" attempts to unmount filesystems and then repeats, which will often just display the same dialog box again, while "Go Back" ignores this condition and continues. This will be corrected for the final release. 346589
  • On desktop installations from USB disks, such as typical Ubuntu Netbook Remix installations, the installer displays a warning about the fact that the installation medium itself (often /dev/sdb) is mounted. This warning is unnecessary, because the fact that it is mounted is completely normal, and does not interfere with the user's ability to install the system to devices other than the USB disk itself. You should ignore this warning; note that in order to do so you will need to select "Go Back", due to the issue above. 347916
  • In some cases, the "Prepare Disk Space" screen in the desktop installer displays obviously incorrect partition sizes in its graphical disk previews. This is only an error in the preview and does not reflect a problem with the partitioning changes that will actually be applied. 336203
  • The mythtv frontend in mythbuntu fails to render fonts correctly when using video drivers other than the Intel or closed-source nVidia drivers. This issue is expected to be resolved for the final 9.04 release. 341898
  • When installing to a system with another OS previously installed, the migration assistant will offer to migrate settings and documents even when the entire disk is being overwritten. The migration assistant will not be able to preserve documents when using the entire disk for installation. 339898
  • Users who were running eCryptfs on the Jaunty Alpha milestones are advised to re-encrypt any encrypted files. An upstream 2.6.28 kernel bug caused random kernel memory to be written to eCryptfs encrypted file headers. The fix has been applied and deployed to Ubuntu users in the Jaunty Beta kernel. Ubuntu eCryptfs users running this kernel should re-encrypt each encrypted file using /usr/bin/ecryptfs-rewrite-file. For more information, please see ecryptfs-rewrite-file(1). See 345544.
  • Users of Compaq Smart Array controllers will be unable to remove existing LVM volumes using the partitioner in the installer. 341928
  • The mdadm package in Ubuntu 9.04 Beta will fail to assemble RAID10 arrays on boot. Other types of RAID are not affected; investigation of this issue is ongoing. 316670
  • Booting degraded RAID may fail in virtual-machine setups where the host is running with cpu frequency scaling enabled, due to a non-deterministic race condition, 334994. Booting degraded RAID on physical hardware should not be affected, since the cpu frequency is constant through the hard disk detection process.
  • Upgrading a desktop system using an ATI video chipset with the fglrx binary-only driver may result in a warning that the driver needs to be replaced. There is a bug in the driver replacement logic, so if you see this prompt, please cancel the upgrade until this is fixed, which will happen immediately after the beta release.

Reporting bugs

It should come as no surprise that this beta release of Jaunty Jackalope contains other bugs. Your comments, bug reports, patches and suggestions will help fix bugs and improve future releases. Please report bugs using the tools provided.
If you want to help out with bugs, the Bug Squad is always looking for help.

Participate in Ubuntu

If you would like to help shape Ubuntu, take a look at the list of ways you can participate at

More information

You can find out more about Ubuntu on the Ubuntu website and Ubuntu wiki.
To sign up for future Ubuntu development announcements, please subscribe to Ubuntu's development announcement list at: 
Courtesy of the UBUNTU official site,Linux for Human Beings.