New York City ‘intentional’ explosion, injures 29 people.

NEW York .​At least 29 people have been injured in an explosion in a crowded district of New York City.

The cause of the blast late on Saturday in Chelsea remains unclear. Mayor Bill de Blasio described it as “intentional” but said that there were no known links to terror.

The force of the blast blew out windows and could be heard several blocks away.

Another device, reportedly a pressure cooker rigged with wires, was later found in the same district.

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None of the injuries is life-threatening but one is serious, New York’s fire commissioner said.

Most of those hurt suffered cuts and other minor injuries from glass and other debris.

The explosion occurred around 21:00 (01:00 GMT on Sunday). Witnesses said people ran in all directions following the “incredibly loud” blast.

Unconfirmed reports said the blast went off in a dustbin. Several blocks have been closed down by police.

“The initial indications is this was an intentional act,” Mr de Blasio said.

But he added: “We also want to be upfront saying that there is no evidence at this point of a terror connection to this incident.”

Law enforcement officials said that the device found at the second Chelsea location appeared to be a pressure cooker attached to wiring and a mobile phone. Police said it had been removed safely.

Chelsea is among the most fashionable districts of Manhattan and its bars and restaurants are usually crowded at the weekend.

Rudy Alcide, a bouncer at a nightclub in the area, said the blast was “extremely loud, almost like thunder, but louder”.

RJ Demello, who was nearby at the time, said “we were in disbelief while it was happening, saying like how, why would anybody do this on purpose, especially in this part of town”.

President Barack Obama is being kept up to date on the investigation, a White House official said.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told reporters she had been in touch with New York officials.

“Obviously we need to do everything we can to support our first responders and pray for the victims,” she said.

“I’ll have more to say about it when we actually know the facts,” she added.

Speaking at a rally in Colorado before police had commented on the cause of the blast, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told supporters that a “bomb” had gone off.

He said: “Nobody knows exactly what’s going on, but boy, we are living in a time – we better get very tough, folks.”

The blast comes after a pipe bomb explosion in neighbouring New Jersey hours earlier along the route of a planned charity race.

No injuries were reported, and Mr de Blasio said there was no evidence of a link.


Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg makes surprise visit to Kenya.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg eat lunch with Kenya CS Joe Mucheru at Mama Oliech’s in Yaya, Nairobi Photo/Zuckerberg Facebook

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is in Kenya.

The 32-year-old Internet entrepreneur and philanthropist announced his arrival via his Facebook page where he pointed out that his mission is to meet with Kenyan entrepreneurs and developers and learn about mobile money.

The post read: “Just landed in Nairobi! I’m here to meet with entrepreneurs and developers, and to learn about mobile money — where Kenya is the world leader.

I’m starting at a place called

iHub , where entrepreneurs can build and prototype their ideas. Two of the engineers I met — Fausto and Mark — designed a system to help people use mobile payments to buy small amounts of cooking gas, which is a lot safer and better for the environment than charcoal or kerosene. It’s inspiring to see how engineers here are using mobile money to build businesses and help their community.”

Zuckerberg was also spotted at Mama Oliech’s eatery in Yaya, accompanied by ICT CS Joe Mucheru and PS Victor Kyalo.

“I had lunch in Nairobi with Joseph Mucheru, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary of Information and Communications. We talked about internet access and his ambitious plans for connecting everyone in Kenya.”

The billionaire praised Ugali, a popular Kenyan food, ” We ate at MAMA Oliech Restaurant. — a local place everyone recommended. One of my favorite parts of traveling to a new country is trying the food. I enjoyed ugali and a whole fried tilapia for the first time and loved them both!”

Zuckerberg’s surprise visit to Kenya comes after the one in Nigeria where he staged a surprise visit to the country’s economic capital Lagos on Tuesday.

Will she be the first Somalia female President?

Fadumo, 43, has been a refugee having fled the violence in the horn of Africa nation. It was until she was 14 years old that she was able to access education. She holds three master’s degrees in health sciences and public health and is doing a PH.D in women’s governmental participation and empowerment in post-conflict regions.

Dayib was born in Kenya but tensions between Kenya and Somalia lead to the arrest and deportation of her family back to Somalia. Her family sought refuge in Finland where Dayib got the opportunity to get a proper education.

The mother of four left her Children in Finland for Somalia in 2005 to run for Presidency.

“And when I was going to Mogadishu in January, I sat them down and I told them that I’m leaving you, but I’m not sure I might come back. And if I don’t, then you have to know that you are also expected to do this. When the day comes and you have the capability to do so, you must fight for democracy. We must not let evil overcome goodness. And they understand why we need to do this for Somalia because they share the love that I have for Somalia.” Said Dayib to NPR.According to media reports Dayib has already received death threats, but that has not killed her dream of becoming Somalia’s first female President, of from running in the upcoming elections, which are due to be held in 2016.

Raila Odinga’s speech on the importance of democracy in Africa, Kenya’s experience.

“From the pessimism of the past when Africa was seen simply as a basket case ruined by conceited and ruthless dictators, Africa has now become a puzzling case of rapid economic growth in the midst of promising political changes.

Nonetheless, this “new dawn” may easily be jeopardized by reluctance to embrace far-reaching democratization at the political level and progressive reforms at the economic level.

Both require committed political leaders with long term visions that were typical of our founding fathers like Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and, more recently Nelson Mandela.

Yet democracy is in jeopardy in Africa in the second decade of the 21st Century. Many pro-democracy activists in Africa are no longer sure they have the support of the West.

Many are not clear if it is still the policy of the West to stand only with regimes that promote open, free and fair elections, transparency, good governance and human rights or we are in the era of anything goes.

There are indications that the West is turning its back on democracy by cutting funding, endorsing regimes with dubious records and abandoning democracy activists and civil society.

But let me begin with what democracy has done in Africa.

When the Berlin Wall fell, only three sub-Sahara African countries were classified as democracies—Botswana, Gambia and Mauritius. Elsewhere, presidents for life and single party dictatorships held sway.

A seismic change has since happened. Out of 55 countries that make Africa today, over 25 are considered democracies of varying degrees.

Africa had 22 competitive elections in 2012 alone. At least a dozen sub-Saharan African nations have held or are due to hold presidential or parliamentary elections this year.

One of the shortest-lived military coups took place in Burkina Faso early this year. It was the country’s seventh military coup in 50 years and was staged by presidential guards loyal to deposed ex-president Blaise Compaore. It lasted just seven days.

The Financial Times newspaper quoted one of the coup leaders saying “we realized the people were not in favour of that. That’s why we quite simply gave up.”

As the Burkinabe repulsed coup leaders, in Nigeria, voters elected Muhammadu Buhari as President, making him the first opposition candidate to defeat a sitting Nigerian president through the ballot. And the defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonatham, conceded defeat.

The gender trap too is giving way in Africa’s politics. The US is having its first female Presidential candidate in Mrs Hillary Clinton. The UK has its second female Prime Minister in Madam Theresa May.

Africa on the other hand has had three female heads of State this century: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in Liberia, Joyce Banda in Malawi and Ameenah Gurib-Fakin in Mauritius.

Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa are currently witnessing lower economic growth rates than those seen over the past decade as a result of the continued adjustment to lower commodity prices and higher borrowing costs.

However, for much of the past 20 years, some of the world’s ten fastest-growing countries have been African. Even with slowed growth, Africa is still growing faster than developed economies.

Secondary-school enrollment in sub-Sahara Africa grew by 48 per cent between 2000 and 2008 while malaria deaths declined by 30 per cent in some countries and HIV infections dropped by up to 74 per cent.

Life expectancy has also surged by between 20 and 42 per cent across Africa since the year 2000.

Of the 37 countries to have seen life expectancy rise by more than 10 per cent since 2000, 30 are in sub-Saharan Africa. In Malawi for instance, life expectancy rose from 44.1 years in 2000 to 62.7 in 2014, according to the World Bank.

In the past decade, real income per person increased by more than 30 per cent. In the previous 20 years, it shrank by nearly 10 per cent.

The World Economic Forum places Ivory Coast as Africa’s fastest growing economy, with expected GDP growth of 8.5 per cent. It is followed by Tanzania at 7 per cent, Senegal at 6.6 per cent, Djibouti 6.5, Rwanda 6.3, Kenya 6, Mozambique 6, Central African Republic 5.7, Sierra Leone 5.3 and Uganda 5.3.

The message is clear: countries that have adopted accountable and democratic governance systems have made strides on the social and economic front.

These countries are reaping the democracy dividend that ensures sound management of public resources and political stability through regular, credible elections and peaceful and predictable transfers of power.

These gains created a prolonged period of stability that allowed a new wave of investment.

However, as I said at the start, these gains are threatened by absence of sustained momentum for deepening democracy in Africa.

I want to agree with former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan who said… “Democracy is not just about one day every four or five years when elections are held, but a system of government that respects the separation of powers, fundamental freedoms like the freedom of thought, religion, expression, association and assembly and the rule of law … Any regime that rides roughshod on these principles loses its democratic legitimacy, regardless of whether it initially won an election.”

Hollywood Actors to Sign a petition against  Trump 

USA: Hollywood actors and music stars, from Lena Dunham to Moby, have signed a petition against what they say is the “hateful ideology” of Republican White House hopeful Donald Trump.

“We are a coalition of artists who, today, are joining millions of Americans in our commitment to defeat the presumptive Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump,” the online pledge reads.

“We believe it is our responsibility to use our platforms to bring attention to the dangers of a Trump presidency, and to the real and present threats of his candidacy.”

Among the hundred stars on board include actors Kerry Washington, Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette, Jane Fonda and Woody Harrelson, and music stars Russell Simmons, Michael Stipe and DJ Spooky.

Keen to throw a spotlight on potential threats posed by Trump, they warned that the billionaire real estate mogul “wants to take our country back to a time when fear excused violence, when greed fuelled discrimination, and when the state wrote prejudice against marginalized communities into law.” US voters, the group said, should “use the power of our voice and the power of our vote to defeat Donald Trump and the hateful ideology he represents.”

Did Hon. Raila and Mudavadi make a political deal? 

Cord leader Raila Odinga on Monday met Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi on the sidelines of the Democratic Party convention in Philadelphia, USA, raising speculation of a possible political deal.

Although both sides were quick to downplay the significance of the meeting — which was also attended by Narc Kenya leader Martha Karua — sources close to Mr Odinga and Mr Mudavadi said the two discussed political developments in the country.

“It was not a scheduled meeting, they just happened to be at the same place at the same time,” said a close aide of Mr Odinga’s who requested anonymity. “It is, however, also true that allies of the two have been trying to broker a political deal.”

Mr Mudavadi, said that he and Mr Odinga “coincidentally met” at the Democratic Party’s National Convention where Mrs Hillary Clinton was to be endorsed as the party’s flagbearer ahead of the November election.

Mrs Clinton will face off with Mr Donald Trump of the Republican Party and several other candidates from smaller parties.

“We have not heard any formal meeting as such so there is nothing to talk about. By the way, we are staying the same hotel,” Mr Mudavadi said.

The Monday meeting comes against the backdrop of heightened political activities in western Kenya, where both enjoy considerable support but where Mr Odinga is facing rebellion from Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba and his Funyula counterpart, Dr Paul Otuoma. Mr Namwamba earlier this month resigned as Secretary-General of ODM while Dr Otuoma quit his post of vice-chairman.

Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula, who also hails from the region and is a close Odinga ally, also caused a stir after calling on Mr Odinga to withdraw from the 2017 presidential race and support him or their other ally, Mr Kalonzo Musyoka of Wiper.

New Ford Kenya, which also draws its core support from the region, has dissolved in readiness to join the yet to be formed Jubilee Party, to be headed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, Mr William Ruto.

Koffi Olomide imprisoned for one year.

Koffi Olomide while being arrested at his home in Kinshasa.

Congolese Singer Koffi Olomide has been jailed for a year for assaulting a female dancer in Kenya, reports indicate.The Rhumba maestro was arrested on Tuesday at his home in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo.It was reported that he was taken to court shortly after and charged with the crime. He was found guilty and sentenced to a year in jail.Olomide denied assaulting one of his dancers identified as Pamela. His lawyer George Wajackoyah also accused police of manhandling the musician.The singer apologised in a Facebook post on Monday, terming the incident a “moment of madness”.He has faced widespread condemnation and outrage since the video of the incident at JKIA was shared on social media.Kenyans on Twitter called for his immediate arrest and deportation after the assault.

Olomide was deported to Kinshasa, DRC, by Kenya Airways after spending a night in police custody last week.

The singer’s show at Zambia’s Agricultural And Commercial Society, where he was scheduled to perform at this year’s 90th Show, was cancelled as a result.