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Kenyan official says security situation under control after hotel attack

by admin   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

Military in Nairobi, Kenya | Reuters

The Kenyan government said Tuesday the security situation in the country is under control after an unknown number of terrorists attacked an upmarket hotel and office complex in the capital of Nairobi, and killed at least six people.

Security teams have evacuated scores of Kenyans and other nationalities from the buildings after a nine-hour operation, according to Fred Matiang’i, Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of the National Government.

He said Tuesday evening that the government was in the final stages of mopping up the area, securing evidence and documenting the consequences of the unfortunate event, adding that the country is now secure and that the nation remains calm.

The DusitD2 Complex which houses several multi-national offices and a hotel is located in the leafy Riverside area of Westlands, Nairobi.

About four gunmen armed with rifles and grenades drove to the 14 Riverside Drive at around 15:00 local time and staged a deadly attack, leaving a trail of destruction.

Police said the gang arrived at the entrance of the DusitD2 hotel and alighted before one of them started to shoot aimlessly.

Al-Shabab terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying its fighters conducted a terrorist attack in upmarket Kenya, killing 47 people inside the hotel. — Reuters

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House closely working with intel units for Duterte’s 4th SONA security

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, July 12th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Joint Session of the 17th Congress at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives Complex in Constitution Hills, Quezon City on July 23, 2018.
(Image courtesy of PCOO/KARL NORMAN ALONZO)

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Thursday said it is closely working with government intelligence agencies for the security of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.

House Sergeant-at-Arms Retired Major General Romeo Prestoza said they are directly coordinating with relevant intelligence units to evaluate any risks to the House or President Duterte during the SONA.

He said the increased security follows the recent bombings that rocked Sulu in Mindanao.

“Well part of it kasi, sa experience ko kasi I’ve been an intelligence officer for 27 years, those things talagang kinoconsider namin. Hindi namin pinapabayaan, tinitingnan namin,” Prestoza said in a press briefing about the SONA 2019 preparations.

“That’s why we initiate ‘yung direct na contact with the NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency), ISAFP (Intelligence Service, Armed Forces of the Philippines) and other intelligence units to see kung meron talagang connection or possibility na umabot dito,” he added.

However, Prestoza assured they have yet to see substantial security threats to the upcoming SONA, which Duterte will deliver at the Batasang Pambansa.

“When it comes to security threats, wala pa namang substantial, meaning talagang wala pang nakarating na actual na threat,” he said.

He also emphasized that the House security is prepared and well-equipped to handle security issues.

“We have extensive training and seminars to include simulation exercises and tabletop exercises para in case na meron nga, we would be prepared. Even ‘yung protocols, when it comes to emergencies ginagawa din namin,” Prestoza said.

When it comes to directing signal jammers on SONA day, Prestoza said the Presidential Security Group (PSG) shall be responsible for it based on their assessment of the proceedings.

“Kung kailangan nila or they feel they need to initiate na the jamming procedure, sila makakapag-dictate noon. I cannot dictate it,” he said.

In the same press briefing, House Acting Secretary General Dante Roberto Maling said that preparation activities for SONA remain on track and are the same as in previous years.

“Basically, the preparation has been the same through the years except siguro for very minor details, mga maliliit na arrangements lang. It doesn’t really deviate from what has been happening from the past years,” Maling said.

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Kenyan scientists reveal possible link between hot food, esophageal cancer

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 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)

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PNP all set for security during elections

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Monday, April 29th, 2019

The Philippine National Police (PNP) is all set for the implementation of security for the May 13 elections.

Two police officers will be deployed per polling precinct in areas with high security threat, according to PNP Chief PGen. Oscar Albayalde.

The deployed policemen will be 50 meters away from the polling precinct. They also cannot enter the polling precinct unless it is allowed by the electoral board.

“We already gave instructions to our police officers to coordinate with the different EBs or electoral board especially so in critical areas so that even before the conduct of the actual voting ay iyong mga pulis natin ay makalapit na (our policemen can come closer to the premises) with permission of the EBs,” Albayalde said.

Albayalde also met with the head of different units to monitor election-related violence and the deployment of policemen in training for election duty.

READ: Over 29,000 join local absentee voting

The PNP also aim to prevent vote buying. Albayalde advise voters to vote for the right candidate and not rely on bribes. He also cited the importance of voters education.

“Kung hindi po mabantayan ng pulisya ang vote buying, tanggapin nalang siguro natin ng tanggapin iyong pera, pero iboto parin natin ang nararapat, I think the best thing here is voters education malaman ng mga tao kung sino ang dapat iboto hindi yung kung sino ang nagbigay ng mas malaking pera sa kanila yun ang iboboto nila (If the police cannot monitor vote buying, maybe just accept the money but still vote for the right candidate. I think the best thing here is voters’ education. Vote for the right candidate and not who will give more money),” Albayalde said.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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