Happening Now: Renowned Online Media Is Facing Backlash From Kenyans For Using Sensationalized Picture To Represent Deadly Event

As Kenya reels from the deadly attack on an upmarket hotel in capital Nairobi that killed 14 people, a controversy over a New York Times (NYT) article has added to the anger. Many Kenyans have taken to Twitter since Wednesday evening to express their feelings on the assault on Dusit Hotel complex, claimed by the armed group, al-Shabab.

Using the hashtag #WeShallOvercome, Kenyans tweeted messages of solidarity. However, another, angrier hashtag soon emerged in response to the NYT coverage of the tragedy. An NYT article by its East Africa bureau chief, Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, showed the aftermath of the attack, including images of wounded people and dead bodies.

The article drew ire of some Kenyans who used a slightly harsh hashtag – #DeportKimiko – to protest the images of graphic violence against black Africans, calling them disrespectful and biased. They argued that such images would never be used in the coverage of tragedies in the United States, where the NYT is based.

Soon, another hashtag #SomeoneTellNYTimes began trending, with many tweets showing photos of people providing the victims aid after the assault.

In response, the NYT tweeted a statement expressing its respect for those affected by the attack but also defending its use of the images.

“It is important to give our readers a clear picture of the horror of an attack like this. This includes showing pictures that are not sensationalised but that give a real sense of the situation.”

However, The Red Cross on Thursday said 19 people remain unaccounted for, two days after Somali militants attacked a hotel complex in Nairobi, killing no fewer than 21 people. Al Shabaab, a Somalia-based al Qaeda affiliate fighting to impose strict Islamic law, said it carried the assault on the upscale dusitD2 compound over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

A woman cries after identifying the body of a relative at the Chiromo mortuary in Nairobi, Kenya on January 16, 2019 after a blast followed by a gun battle that rocked the upmarket hotel complex the day before.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on January 16, 2019 that all Islamists who had stormed an upmarket hotel complex had been “eliminated” after an almost 20-hour siege that left several dead.

BREAKING!! Dashed Hopes As ICC Halts The Release Of Ex Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo After Acquitting Him Earlier

On Wednesday, the International Criminal court (ICC) dashed the hopes of ex Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo of obtaining a swift release after he was acquitted by the court over charges of crimes against humanity. Laurent Gbagbo, along with his right-hand man Charles Ble Goude were to be set free after the court ordered for their immediate release since they were cleared from having any role to play in the terrible wave of post-electoral violence in 2010-2011 that killed 3,000 people.

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Celebrations erupted outside the court and Gbagbo’s daughter said he planned an emotional homecoming to the Ivory Coast, after seven years in detention.

But prosecutors filed a last-ditch challenge late Wednesday to keep the pair behind bars while the ICC looks at an overall appeal against Tuesday’s decision to acquit them.

“Pending the decision of the appeals chamber on this prosecutor’s request… Mr Gbagbo and Mr Ble Goude shall remain in ICC custody,” an ICC spokesman said.

The Ivorian pair can themselves appeal by a deadline of 1100 GMT on Thursday.

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Prosecutors say there is a risk that if released now, Gbagbo and Ble Goude will refuse to return to face justice if the court later decides to overturn their acquittal.

The court’s decision to clear the two men had come as a major blow to ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, as it was the latest in a series of failed cases against former African leaders.

Gbagbo and Ble Goude have been on trial since January 2016 over the bloodshed that gripped the former French colony after Gbagbo refused to concede defeat to his bitter rival, and now president, Alassane Ouattara in a presidential vote.

Judges stopped the trial midway on Tuesday due to an “exceptionally weak” prosecution case, and earlier on Wednesday they rejected an initial bid by prosecutors to keep Gbagbo behind bars.

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‘Overwhelmed With Joy’
Gbagbo’s daughter Marie Laurence had said her father planned to return home after his release.

“We are so overwhelmed with joy, we are proud of Dad. He went through it with dignity,” she told reporters outside the ICC following the earlier decision.

“We think that it was for a cause and that the message was clear — an innocent standing for Africa. Justice prevailed, the truth came out,” she added.

“We assume that the plan is to go back to Ivory Coast. We don’t know how long it will take for all the paperwork.”

In Ivory Coast, however, Gbagbo still faces a 20-year jail term for “economic crimes” imposed by a local court last year.

“Any decision lies with him. We have no comment to make otherwise,” said government spokesman Sidi Tiemoko Toure when asked about a Gbagbo homecoming.

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He added that the government “urges calm, forgiveness and reconciliation” and that Ouattara “and the government are thinking of the victims” of the crisis.

Gbagbo’s wife Simone, dubbed the Iron Lady, was granted an amnesty by Ouattara last August from a similar 20-year jail term.

Ivory Coast faces fresh elections in 2020 to elect a successor to Ouattara, who has said he will not stand for re-election after serving two five-year terms.

Gbagbo has been behind bars since 2011, when he was captured by Ouattara’s troops, aided by UN and French forces, and sent to The Hague.

Violence after the November 2010 election turned Abidjan into a war zone and destabilised the African economic powerhouse, the world’s largest cocoa-producing nation.

Let us know what your thoughts are as regards this story in the comment section below.

Just In: Theresa May Narrowly Escapes  Second’ No Confidence Vote With 19 Votes

Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, has survived the second vote of confidence in just a space of five weeks. The first vote of confidence, which held in December 2018, was in her leadership and ability to continue as prime minister, while the second was in her government.

On Tuesday, May suffered the biggest loss in the history of the United Kingdom , losing at parliament by 230 votes, when she presented her Brexit deal.

After the huge loss, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party called for a vote of no confidence in her government, which she welcomed for discussion. On Wednesday, the votes were cast, and May’s government survived by a mere 19 votes, as MPs voted  325 to 306 that they have confidence in May’s government, despite refusing Brexit deal.

After winning the vote to continue in Number 10, May called on leaders of opposition parties to put self-interests aside and work for the progress of the UK.

“We will continue to work to deliver on the solemn promise we made to the people of this country to deliver on the result of the referendum,” May said.

“I would like to invite the leaders of parliamentary parties to meet with me individually, and I would like to start these meetings tonight.”

Corbyn did not show up for the meeting, after losing the vote at parliament. “I am disappointed that the leader of the Labour Party has not so far chosen to take part, but our door remains open,” May said to Corbyn’s absence.

In her address to the nation after the vote, May said she remains committed to the decision of the British people to get out of Europe.

“I understand that to people getting on with their lives away from Westminster, the events of the past 24 hours will have been unsettling.

 

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“Overwhelmingly the British people want us to get on with delivering Brexit and also address the other important issues they care about.

“I believe it is my duty to deliver on the British people’s instruction to leave the European Union and I intend to do so.”

What Would China Do? Suspense Worldwide As Canada Plead With China To Grant Death Bound Drug Trafficker Clemency

On Tuesday, Canada urged Beijing to grant clemency to a Canadian Citizen that was sentenced to death due to drug trafficking after his sentence reignited a diplomatic dispute which started last month.

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Ottawa has warned its citizens about the risk of “arbitrary enforcement” of laws in China following a court’s sentencing of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, to death on Monday, increasing a previous 15-year prison term.

The sentence came during a clash between Ottawa and Beijing over Canada’s arrest in December of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei, on a US extradition request related to Iran sanctions violations.

“We have already spoken with China’s ambassador to Canada and requested clemency” for Schellenberg, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters in Sainte-Hyacinthe, Quebec.

Earlier, Beijing said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had made “irresponsible remarks” for saying China chose to “arbitrarily apply” death penalties.

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Freeland recalled Canada’s long-standing opposition to capital punishment.

“We believe it is inhumane and inappropriate, and wherever the death penalty is considered with regard to a Canadian we speak out against it,” she said.

Asked if Beijing would consider the clemency request, the foreign ministry said China is a rule of law country.

Citing the Chinese constitution, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Wednesday that the court and procuratorate “exercise independent judicial authority and prosecutorial power according to the law and will not be interfered with by other administrative organs”.

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Human rights groups say Chinese courts are not independent and can be influenced by the Communist Party.

Beijing had earlier said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had made “irresponsible remarks” for saying China chose to “arbitrarily apply” death penalties.

In a move observers see as retaliation over the Huawei case, Chinese authorities detained two other Canadian citizens — a former diplomat and a business consultant — on suspicion of endangering national security.

The timing and swiftness of Schellenberg’s sentence, and the inclusion of new evidence raised suspicion among observers.

Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said China was “playing hostage politics.”

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In response to Canada’s travel advisory on China, Beijing issued a similar response, urging its nationals to “travel cautiously.”

China executes one or two foreigners every year — nearly all for drug offences, according to John Kamm, director of the US-based Dui Hua Foundation rights group.

(AFP)

What do you think China should do in this situation? Let us know with your comments in the section below.

Insurgency: Government Declares Victory Over Al-Shabaab After Deadly Siege

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced the end of the terrorist siege on a hotel complex in Nairobi, with all the Al Shabaab terrorists killed.More than 700 civilians were also rescued from the attack, he said in a televised address.

President Uhuru Kenyatta also gave the death toll as 14 from the Tuesday afternoon terrorist attack at the 14 Riverside Dusit complex in Westlands, Nairobi.

“The security operation at Dusit is over and the terrorists eliminated. As of this moment, we have confirmation that 14 innocent lives were lost trough the hands of these murderous terrorists with other injured,” said Mr. Kenyatta.

In the same vein, An evacuation of a hotel complex in the Kenyan capital Nairobi is still ongoing, hours after suspected Islamist extremists launched an attack killing at least 11 people, including a US citizen.

Tuesday’s coordinated assault by armed gunmen on the Dusit D2 compound, an upmarket cluster of shops and hotel facilities, represents the most high-profile terror attack in the East African country in several years.
Authorities reported that “scores” of Kenyans and foreign nationals had been evacuated from the compound, and that the site had been secured, but sporadic gunfire continued to be heard hours after the all-clear had been given.
A source at the hotel assisting with security called the death toll “conservative” and expected it to rise. “I saw six dead on the footpath exit over the river and five more at the secret garden cafe,” said the source. The US state department confirmed a US citizen was killed in the attack, but provided no further details.
The attack began at a bank inside the compound Tuesday afternoon, with an explosion targeting three vehicles in the parking lot, followed by a suicide blast in the Dusit Hotel foyer, where guests sustained severe injuries, Joseph Boinnet, inspector general of Kenya’s national police service, told reporters.
Heavy gunfire and an explosion sent people running for their lives. Footage from the scene showed armed officers escorting office workers and injured people to safety as the sound of shots rang out. Cars in the compound could be seen aflame as a helicopter flew overhead.

After over 5 years trial, Ivory Coast ex-President, Laurent Gbagbo freed by ICC

Former President of Ivory Coast, Laurent Gbagbo was on Tuesday discharged by the International Criminal Court over post-electoral violence in the West African nation in a stunning blow to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Judges ordered the immediate release of the 73-year-old deposed strongman, the first head of state to stand trial at the troubled ICC, and his right-hand man Charles Ble Goude. The pair hugged each other after the decision was handed down while supporters started cheering wildly and clapping in the public gallery of the court, prompting head judge Cuno Tarfusser to order them to sit down and “behave”.

“The chamber by majority hereby decides that the prosecution has failed to satisfy the burden of proof to the requisite standard,” Tarfusser told the court.

He added that the court “grants the defence motions for acquittal for all charges for Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Ble Goude and orders the immediate release of both accused.” The pair each faced four charges of crimes against humanity over the 2010-2011 bloodshed in which around 3,000 people were killed.

Prosecutors said Gbagbo and Ble Goude, 47, clung to power “by all means” after he was narrowly defeated by his bitter rival and now president Alassane Outtara in the elections in the world’s largest cocoa-producing nation.

But the judges said there was no evidence of a “common plan” to foment violence. Their release was suspended until Wednesday to give the prosecution time to respond to the shock judgment.

The highly divisive case has tested the court’s avowed aim of delivering justice to the victims of the world’s worst crimes. It comes after a series of setbacks for the tribunal, which began life in 2002.

Just In: Man Gets 84 Years Sentence For Killing 15-Year-old student

A judge on Monday imposed an 84-year prison sentence on a Chicago man who fatally shot a 15-year-old honor student a week after she performed at President Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration festivities.

Cook County Judge Nicholas Ford handed down the punishment to 24-year-old Micheail Ward five months after Ward was convicted of murder and aggravated battery in the killing of Hadiya Pendleton.

“I am upset that I’m the one that’s going down for a murder that I didn’t commit,” said Ward, asserting his innocence in court Monday. “All y’all had to do was take time to investigate it. . Y’all would have seen what happened.”

Ford, a former prosecutor, said it was Ward’s own words — both at his sentencing and in a videotaped statement to police after his 2013 arrest — that sealed his fate.

“What you have noticed in his remarks was a complete absence of empathy,” said Ford, standing at the bench as he delivered his remarks often in a raised voice.

The defense contended detectives manipulated Ward into making a false statement. His lawyers told jurors that Ward was wrong about key facts about the shooting, which they said proved he was innocent.

Pendleton became a symbol of Chicago’s gang violence when she was caught in the crossfire of a gang feud she had nothing to do with. Obama spoke of her death during his 2013 State of the Union address, and then-first lady Michelle Obama attended her funeral.

Last year, a jury concluded Ward, who was 18 at the time, was guilty of firing the fatal shot that struck Pendleton in the back. A separate jury found the man accused of driving the getaway car, Kenneth Williams, guilty of first-degree murder as well. Ward and Williams also were convicted of aggravated battery for the wounding of two others.

On Monday, Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Brian Holmes called Ward “a sociopath,” noting Ward was on probation in January 2013 when the shooting occurred. He added that Ward “is the face of senseless gun violence in Chicago.”

Pendleton’s mother and brother gave victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing. “Hadiya is serving a death sentence  and the whole family is doing life as a result of her death,” Cleopatra Cowley said.

Nathaniel Pendleton Jr. said he still regrets not being able to come to his sister’s aid, although he was not with her at the time of the shooting.

BREAKING!! Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo Acquitted By ICC

On Tuesday, former President of the Ivory Coast Laurent Gbagbo was acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the post-electoral violence that erupted in the Country. this judgement by the ICC serves as a huge blow to the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

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Judges ordered the immediate release of the 73-year-old deposed strongman, the first head of state to stand trial at the troubled ICC, and his right-hand man Charles Ble Goude.

The pair hugged each other after the decision was handed down while supporters started cheering wildly and clapping in the public gallery of the court, prompting head judge Cuno Tarfusser to order them to sit down and “behave”.

“The chamber by majority hereby decides that the prosecution has failed to satisfy the burden of proof to the requisite standard,” Tarfusser told the court.

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He added that the court “grants the defence motions for acquittal for all charges for Mr Laurent Gbagbo and Mr Charles Ble Goude and orders the immediate release of both accused.”

The pair each faced four charges of crimes against humanity over the 2010-2011 bloodshed in which around 3,000 people were killed.

Prosecutors said Gbagbo and Ble Goude, 47, clung to power “by all means” after he was narrowly defeated by his bitter rival and now president Alassane Outtara in the elections in the world’s largest cocoa-producing nation.

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But the judges said there was no evidence of a “common plan” to foment violence.

Their release was suspended until Wednesday to give the prosecution time to respond to the shock judgment.

The highly divisive case has tested the court’s avowed aim of delivering justice to the victims of the world’s worst crimes.

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It comes after a series of setbacks for the tribunal, which began life in 2002.

(AFP)

What do you think about this judgement rendered by the ICC? Let us know with your comments.

Tragedy Hits Family As Three Children Were Found Dead In Unplugged Freezer

In what seems to be negligence on the parts of the guardians, Three children have died after getting trapped in an unplugged freezer while playing outside, police in Florida have said. According to the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office, the youngsters could not be revived by the time they were found in the garden of a home in Live Oak on Monday.

Two of the children – a six-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl – were siblings and lived with their grandmother, and the third was a four-year-old girl who lived with her mother. The two women are roommates at the property. One of them had been sleeping at the time the children got trapped as she was preparing for a night shift, and the other was in the bathroom.

She could not find them upon returning, prompting the pair to carry out a search. Eventually they found the children in the chest freezer, which had been recently bought but not yet plugged in and had spent four or five days sat outside in the garden. Police and fire and rescue crews were called to the scene as the women tried to perform CPR on the children, but efforts to resuscitate them failed and they were pronounced dead in hospital.

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An investigation into the deaths is ongoing, with post-mortems still to be carried out. So far police have revealed that the freezer was second-hand and had a hasp installed on the lid in order to secure a padlock, which had not yet been fitted. When the lid slammed shut after the children had climbed in, the hasp fell shut and trapped them inside.

At a press briefing, Suwannee County Sheriff Sam St John said: “Words can’t describe how heartbroken I am.

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“Any time you deal with children and something like this and when they die from something like this nature, it just tugs at your heartstrings. Words can’t describe this and the only thing we can do is go forward.”

Terrorists on rampage AGAIN as more than 40 wounded in fresh car bomb attack

More than 40 people have been wounded in a fresh car bomb attack near a foreign compound in the east of Kabul on Monday, officials said, in the latest attack to rock the Afghan capital.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the blast had targeted Green Village, where some foreign workers are based.

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Health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said on Twitter that “more than 40 people are wounded”.

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Until recently some UN staff lived and worked at the compound, but Danish said the area was now largely empty and “only a number of guards” were left. “Residential houses nearby have sustained heavy damages,” Danish said.

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“Special police forces’ units have been deployed to the site to check if there are more attackers.” The latest attack comes as US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad visits the region for meetings aimed at bringing an end to the war in Afghanistan, which by some estimates was the world’s deadliest conflict zone in 2018.