Kenya’s Kosgei Shatters Radcliffe World Record In Chicago Marathon

 

Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei shattered Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old women’s marathon world record Sunday, winning the Chicago Marathon in two hours, 14 minutes and four seconds.

Kosgei broke the mark of 2:15:25 set by Radcliffe in the London Marathon on April 13, 2003 as she won in Chicago for the second straight year.

Kosgei, the 25-year-old who won the London Marathon in April and clocked the fastest half-marathon in history this year of 1:04:28 at the Great North Run, quickly separated herself from the women’s field as she ran with two male pace-setters.

She crossed the finish line alone, with Ethiopians Ababel Yeshaneh and Gelete Burka a distant second and third in 2:20:51 and 2:20:55.

While the IAAF recognizes the 2:17:01 clocked by Mary Jepkosgei Keitany at the 2017 London Marathon as a “women only” world record posted without male pace-setters, it’s Radcliffe’s mark — so long untouchable — that has been the grail for female marathon runners.

Kosgei’s performance continued a remarkable weekend in the punishing event, coming a day after fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to break two hours at the distance when he clocked 1hr 59min 40.2sec on a specially prepared course in a Vienna park.

Kosgei signalled her intentions with an astonishing first five kilometers in 15:28 — so far inside Radcliffe’s world record pace that it seemed she might have ruined her chances out of the gate.

But she settled into a more sustainable pace and powered relentlessly to the finish line.

Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono won a men’s race that came down to the wire in 2:05:45 — barely edging Ethiopia’s Dejene Debela who was second in 2:05:46 with another Ethiopian, Asefa Mengstu, third in 2:05:48.

Last year’s winner Mo Farah of Britain was never a factor — finishing a distant eighth in 2:09:58.

It was a disappointing end for Farah to a week that began amid a hail of questions about the scandal surrounding his former coach Alberto Salazar.

US distance running guru Salazar has been banned for four years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for a string of doping violations.

Salazar has denied wrongdoing, but Nike shut down its Oregon Project running group headed by Salazar, and four-time Olympic gold medalist Farah arrived in Chicago for his defence to find himself again denying any irregularities during his time with the coach.

Kenya’s Kipchoge Breaks Two-Hour Marathon Barrier

Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge (white jersey) celebrates after busting the mythical two-hour barrier for the marathon on October 12 2019 in Vienna./ AFP

 

As he prepared for Saturday’s historic assault on the two-hour marathon barrier, Eliud Kipchoge stayed true to an austere lifestyle that belies his fame and fortune.

The Kenyan superstar, who holds the marathon world record and is reigning Olympic champion, became the first man to run the 42.195 kilometres in under two hours, clocking a jaw-dropping 1hr 59min and 40sec in Vienna.

“That was the best moment in my life, it is the time to make history,” the 34-year-old said after crossing the line to be embraced by his wife Grace.

Despite his status and wealth, the 2018 world athlete of the year leads a monastic existence at a spartan running camp in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

With the 30 or so runners living at the camp, Kipchoge sets off at dawn for the first of two daily training sessions.

The rest of his time is spent resting, reading and eating, with a focus on simple Kenyan food staples.

“I don’t think I am different. I am trying my best to live a modest life,” he said in the run up to Vienna.

“I am a simple person, I try to stay calm and focus on what I do. There are no distractions.”

At least not until the eve of his record attempt.

“I had a lot of pressure yesterday (Friday), I received a lot of phone calls from the president of Kenya… I received a lot of calls from all over the world… and when you receive a lot of calls from high profile people it’s a lot of pressure!”

Kipchoge, 34, went close to breaking the two-hour barrier when he was 25 seconds too slow in another staged run, at Italy’s Monza race circuit in 2017.

That time was not sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) because a vehicle and a squad of pacemakers aided Kipchoge in controlling his speed.

The same conditions prevailed for the Vienna attempt, preventing his time from being validated as a world record.

– ‘No human is limited’ –
Kipchoge had said breaking the two-hour mark would be like “man landing on the moon”.

Having made history he said: “I’m the happiest man today that the message that no human is limited is now in everybody’s mind.

“That if you believe in something and you put it into your mind, and in your heart, and in your mouth, then it can be realised. So I’m happy.”

Kipchoge was born in Kapsisiywa, Nandi County in western Kenya.

At 18 he beat two legendary runners, the Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele, to became 5,000 metre world champion in Paris in 2003

In 2012, after failing to qualify for the London Olympics, Kipchoge switched to marathon running.

With his compact silhouette and unwavering stride as the miles tick by, Kipchoge is perfectly suited to the longer distance.

Out of 12 marathons, he has lost just once: in his 2013 debut in Berlin, against compatriot Wilson Kipsang, who broke the world record that day.

Kipchoge set his world record, 2hr 1min 39sec, in the Berlin race in 2018.

He had met coach Patrick Sang in 2001 and joined the fabled running stable in the foothills of the Rift Valley a year later.

– ‘Sense of sacrifice’ –
Kipchoge enjoys no privileges at the Kaptagat camp where he is nicknamed the “philosopher” for his love of reading. The camp is a few hours’ walk from his home village, Eldoret. On weekends, he returns to his family.

Coach Sang, an Olympic runner-up in the 3,000m steeplechase in 1992, remains impressed with his student’s determination.

“He has continued to amaze me with his self-sacrifice and dedication. He has given 100 percent of his ability and total commitment to what he does,” he told AFP.

The champion’s often mischievous gaze hardens when the subject of doping arises. Kipchoge has never been caught up in scandal, but the reputation of his Kenyan compatriots has raised questions.

Kipchoge, who will defend his Olympic title in Tokyo next year, was fixated on Saturday’s challenge, skipping the Berlin marathon and world championships to concentrate on Vienna.

“I have visualised it. I have put it in my heart and my mind that I will break the two-hour barrier,” he said.

He kept his word.

Seven Children Killed, Scores Injured In Kenya School Building Collapse

A group of slightly injured pupils of a school that collapsed earlier in Nairobi wait to be picked up by their parents, on September 23, 2019, at the Kenyatta national hospital. Seven children died and scores were injured early Monday when a school building collapsed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, in an accident blamed on shoddy construction. PHOTO: SIMON MAINA / AFP

Seven children died and scores were injured early on Monday when a school building collapsed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, in an accident blamed on shoddy construction.

“So far we can confirm that we have seven fatalities and 57 others are in hospital,” government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said at the scene.

Hundreds of angry residents of Dagoretti, a poor suburb where many live in makeshift homes, swarmed around the site where rescuers picked through the rubble.

People stand on debris where a classroom block collapsed at Precious Talents primary school in Nairobi’s Dagoretti constituency on September 23, 2019. Seven children died and scores injured early today when a school building collapsed in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in an accident blamed on shoddy construction. PHOTO: TONY KARUMBA / AFP

 

An AFP reporter at the site said books and desks were strewn through the debris of the two-storey building, a semi-permanent structure made of concrete, iron sheeting and timber.

“I had just dropped my son to school and heard screams on my way back, and that is when I found people assisting them out to hospital,” said Margaret Muthoni at Kenyatta National Hospital, whose four-year-old son was injured.

“I am just lucky my son survived with injuries. It is a very unfortunate incident because some children have died,” said Muthoni.

Kepha Otieno said he lost his five-year-old daughter to the tragedy.

“I just can’t believe. It is too hard for me and the family,” he said.

‘Disaster waiting to happen’

Evanson Kamuri, the chief executive of the Kenyatta National Hospital, told journalists that two of the injured children were in critical condition, while others had soft tissue injuries or light wounds and were being examined.

Dagoretti MP John Kiarie told KTN television that it appeared the first floor had collapsed on children on the ground floor — however details were sketchy.

The school was a private institution. Kiarie said the area had no public land on which to construct a proper public school.

He said the disaster highlighted the lack of “regulation of educational institutions, especially those in informal settlements… regulations that pertain to the construction and stability of educational institutions.”

“It is the highest level of irresponsibility and greed when you look at this structure that came down, and even the ones standing. It is another disaster waiting to happen,” said Shadrack Okelo, a local resident.

Moses Nyakiongora, an official with the National Building Inspectorate said at the scene: “This school was not properly constructed. It is totally substandard.”

Education Minister George Magoha visited the scene, and vowed to build a public school in the area.

“What has happened here today is regrettable but investigations have been launched,” he said.

“I have inspected the rest of the classrooms and they look stable.”

“But the one that collapsed was substandard, it should not have been allowed to be there.”

Numerous buildings have collapsed in Nairobi and other Kenyan towns with deadly results in recent years, as the country experiences booming growth in the construction industry, with contractors cutting corners or bypassing regulations through corruption.

In April 2016, 49 people were killed in the collapse of a six-floor building in the north-east of the capital.

AFP

Seven Children Killed In Nairobi Classroom Collapse

 

Seven primary school children died and dozens more were injured when their classroom collapsed on Monday morning in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, a government spokesman said.

“So far we can confirm that we have seven fatalities and 57 others are in hospital,” government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said at the scene.

Hundreds of angry residents of Dagoretti — a poor area where many live in makeshift houses — swarmed around the site where rescuers picked through the rubble of the classroom.

Read Also: Three Children Die In Delta Flood

An AFP reporter at the site said books and desks were strewn through the debris of the semi-permanent structure, made of concrete, iron sheeting and timber. The structure had been partly raised up to add a storey.

The building collapsed shortly after 7:00 am, as pupils entered the classroom.

“Seven pupils dead, several injured after a classroom collapsed at (Precious) Talent Academy in Dagoretti,” St John Ambulance — whose rescuers were involved in the search and rescue — wrote on Twitter.

Tanzania Not Sharing Information On Suspected Ebola – WHO

Health workers participating in an Ebola preparedness drill. AFP photo.

 

 

The World Health Organization has accused Tanzania of failing to provide information on suspected cases of Ebola in the country, potentially hindering efforts to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

East African nations have been on high alert over an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has left 2,103 people dead. Four people were diagnosed with the virus in Uganda and later died.

The WHO said it had learned on September 10 of a suspected case of the disease in Tanzania’s port city of Dar es Salaam, and information emerged that this patient’s contacts had been quarantined, and that the person had tested positive for Ebola.

Two other suspected cases were also unofficially reported.

“Despite several requests, WHO did not receive further details of any of these cases from Tanzanian authorities,” the organisation said in a statement issued Saturday.

On September 14 Tanzanian authorities officially reported there was no Ebola in the country, but declined “secondary confirmation testing” at a WHO centre, the global body said.

Then on Thursday, the WHO was made aware that a contact of the initial patient was sick and in hospital.

“To date, the clinical details and the results of the investigation, including laboratory tests performed for differential diagnosis of these patients, have not been shared with WHO.”

‘Very high risk’

The lack of information received by WHO meant it cannot determine the cause of the illness, it said.

“The limited available official information from Tanzanian authorities represents a challenge for assessing the risk posed by this event.”

The WHO determined that because the initial patient travelled widely in the country and due to uncertainty around the cases, the lack of information and the fact that, if confirmed, it would be the first-ever outbreak of Ebola in the country, “the risk was assessed as very high at national level”.

“At this stage, WHO is not aware of signs of a widespread transmission of any illness related to these cases, however investigations, including with the support of WHO Collaborating Centres, should continue to reach a diagnosis and further inform the risk assessment,” said the statement.

They also warned of a high risk for the region.

The ongoing Ebola outbreak is the second-worst in history after more than 11,000 people died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia between 2014 and 2016.

But the containment efforts have been hindered from the start by conflict in eastern DRC, as well as attacks on medical teams tackling the haemorrhagic fever amid resistance within some communities to preventative measures, care facilities and safe burials.

Man Drowns While Trying To Propose Underwater

 

An American man has drowned while proposing to his girlfriend underwater at an idyllic island off the coast of Tanzania, a luxury resort said in a statement Sunday.

His girlfriend Kenesha Antoine posted on her Facebook page footage of Steven Weber proposing to her through the window of their underwater hotel room at the luxury Manta Resort in Zanzibar.

“You never emerged from those depths so you never got to hear my answer, ‘Yes! Yes! A million times, yes, I will marry you!!’,” she wrote Friday in a post confirming his death.

Her video shows Weber swimming up to the window, and pressing a handwritten note against it which read: “I can’t hold my breath long enough to tell you everything I love about you, but everything I love about you I love more every day. Will you please be my wife, marry me.”

He then pulled out a ring as Antoine squealed with joy while filming.

It is unclear what went wrong during the proposal at Pemba Island, a popular honeymoon destination.

“We never got to embrace and celebrate the beginning of the rest of our lives together, as the best day of our lives turned into the worst, in the cruelest twist of fate imaginable,” Antoine wrote.

“Knowing him, always quick with an off-color joke, he’s probably entertaining someone with a story about how he royally screwed up that proposal and died while being extra.”

Manta CEO Matthew Saus confirmed to AFP in an email Sunday that “a male guest tragically drowned while freediving alone outside the underwater room” on Thursday.

“The accident is currently under investigation by the local Zanzibar police authority.”

The couple were staying in the resort’s famed “Underwater Room”, a $1,700 (1,500 euro) a-night floating structure offshore in crystal clear waters, where the bed is surrounded by glass windows looking into the ocean.

Kenya Becomes Third Country To Adopt World’s First Malaria Vaccine

Laboratory Scientists Commit To Eradication Of Malaria In Nigeria

Kenya on Friday became the third country to start routinely innoculating infants against malaria, using the world’s first vaccine to combat a disease that kills 800 children globally every day.

The vaccine — RTSS — targets the deadliest and most common form of malaria parasite in Africa, where children under five account for two-thirds of all global deaths from the mosquito-borne illness.

Kenya, which is rolling-out RTSS in the western county of Homa Bay, joins Malawi and Ghana, which earlier this year commenced their own pilot vaccination programmes supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“This is the most advanced malaria vaccine that we have today. It has been in the making for the last almost three decades,” Dr Richard Mihigo, WHO’s co-ordinator of immunisation and vaccine development programme, told AFP before the Kenyan launch, which will expand to other malaria-prone areas of the country.

“Children are the most vulnerable group to this severe disease that is malaria, so protecting children can make a big impact in preventing malaria.”

The vaccine will be added in these pilot areas to the other routine shots given to young children under national immunisation schedules.

RTS,S acts against ‘Plasmodium falciparum’, the deadliest form of malaria, and the most prevalent in Africa, where illness and death from the disease remains high despite some gains.

The shots, administered over four doses, have been shown in clinical trials to significantly reduce cases of malaria, and malaria-related complications, in young children.

The vaccine prevented about four in 10 cases of malaria and three in 10 cases of the most severe, life-threatening form of the disease, within the trial group, WHO says.

RTS,S will be considered for use more broadly as a tool to fight malaria, alongside other preventative measures such as long-lasting insecticidal nets.

The disease kills more than 400,000 people around the world every year. Of these about 290,000 were children under five.

WHO says a child dies roughly every two minutes from malaria somewhere in the world.

Most of these are in Africa, where more than 90 percent of the world’s malaria cases — and fatalities — occur.

AFP

Tanzanian Arrested With Tusks From 117 Elephants

In this file photo taken on March 20, 2015 an elephant splashes at sunset in the waters of the Chobe river in Botswana Chobe National Park, in the north eastern of the country.

 

A Tanzanian man has been arrested after authorities found a stash of ivory buried under his house, estimated to come from around 117 elephants, authorities said Thursday.

The suspect, who had been sought by authorities since 2016, had in his possession 338 pieces of elephant tusk, and 75 whole tusks, the minister of natural resources, Hamisi Kigwangalla, said in a statement.

He was arrested along with seven alleged accomplices, and the tusks are believed to have come from Tanzania and Mozambique.

“Until his arrest on Tuesday, he was unable to move this stock, because we have become extremely vigilant,” said Kigwangalla.

READ ALSO: Two Aid Workers Killed In ‘Ambush’ In Western Ethiopia

“I am giving a period of grace of one month for any person in possession of elephant tusks to hand them in to authorities without facing prosecution.”

Since 2016, around 1,000 poachers, some heavily armed, have been arrested in Tanzania whose elephant population plunged 60 percent between 2009 and 2014 due to poaching.

In February a Tanzanian court sentenced Chinese citizen Yang Fenlan — dubbed the “Ivory Queen” — to 15 years in jail for her role in trafficking tusks from more than 400 elephants.

Poaching has seen the population of African elephants fall by 110,000 over the past decade to just 415,000 animals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The slaughter is being fuelled especially by demand in Asia, where ivory is used for jewellery and ornamentation.

Six Bodies Recovered After Flash Flood In Kenya National Park

 

Kenyan authorities said Monday they have recovered the bodies of six of seven members of a tour group who were killed in a flash flood at the Hell’s Gate national park.

“Six bodies of the flash flood victims have been recovered, leaving one tourist missing,” the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) said on Twitter.

The KWS manages the park, the location of the 2003 film “Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”.

It said the search and rescue operation was continuing and the authorities have sought to contact the next of kin.

Six tourists – five Kenyans and a foreigner — and their local guide were swept away in the flash flood as they were visiting the park on Sunday, part of a group of 13.

READ ALSO: Rocket Fire Injures Four In Libyan Airport

Two survivors from the group alerted park rangers who sent out a search party.

The deep gorges of the Hell’s Gate park are often lashed by heavy rains. In 2012, seven young Kenyans drowned at the same spot in the Ol Jorowa gorge in the south of the park.

The tour guides have “been trained to detect storm water flowing downstream towards the gorge,” the KWS said.

“Every group is usually accompanied by experienced guides who are able to alert tourists of impending emergencies and direct them to exit points.

“Since the last similar tragedy in 2012, we have created clearly marked emergency exists along the whole gorge as escape routes in case of danger like the flash floods.”

It said on Sunday that the gorges were closed to the public as the rains are continuing.

Hell’s Gate, named by 19th-century explorers, is around 100 kilometres (60 miles) northwest of the Kenyan capital Nairobi and just south of Lake Naivasha.

Its spectacular scenery inspired the Disney animation “The Lion King”.

The park, established in 1984, is also home to three geothermal stations.

AFP

Cattle Rustlers Kill 12 In Kenya

 

At least 12 people, including three children, were killed in two attacks in northern Kenya at the weekend by cattle rustlers suspected to be from the Borana ethnic group, Kenyan police said Sunday.

The attacks on two villages in Kenya’s Marsabit County near the border with Ethiopia were on cattle breeders from the Gabra ethnic group, long-time rivals of the Borana, police said in a statement.

“Five male Gabra adults were killed and three others were seriously injured” in one small village on Saturday evening, police said.

The attackers, who took around 500 head of cattle, were “suspected Ethiopian Borana cattle rustlers”, the police said.

In the other attack, on a nearby village, four Gabra adults and three children between the ages of 13 and 15, including one girl, were killed, with four people injured.

The thieves took around 1,000 goats in the second attack, in which one of the raiders was killed.

Kenyan police units are “pursuing the criminals and holding ground to prevent further attacks and killings,” the statement said.

Kenya started conducting its first national census since 2009 on Saturday, and the authorities said the exercise would continue in Marsabit.

The theft of livestock — and deadly attacks to carry out the crime — are common between cattle herding communities in northern Kenya.

Albino Teen Found Dismembered In Burundi

 

A 15-year-old albino boy has been found dismembered in Burundi a week after going missing, the first such killing in the country in three years, a local albino group said Sunday.

Albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder that causes the absence of pigmentation, are killed regularly in some African countries for their body parts, which are used in witchcraft rituals.

The teenager was found dead late Saturday in the northwest of the country along the Rusizi river separating Burundi from DR Congo, not far from his home village.

“The young albino was killed atrociously… His murderers cut his right leg off at the knee, his right arm, and his tongue,” said Kassim Kazungu, the head of the local association Albinos Without Borders.

READ ALSO: Indonesia Police Shoot Suspected Militant After Station Attack

More than 20 albinos have been killed in Burundi since 2008, with the last case in 2016 when a five-year-old girl was found dismembered after being taken from her home.

Kazungu said a four-year-old albino boy had been missing since October 2018 from the village of Cendajuri near the Tanzanian border, but that he had “no hope” of finding him alive.

Some experts believe the demand for albino body parts in Tanzania — where such attacks are the most prevalent — has fuelled such killings in border areas.

Kenya’s Finance Minister Pleads Not Guilty To Graft Charges

Kenya’s Finance Minister Henry Rotich (R) sits at the Milimani Law Court in Nairobi as he attends a hearing to face corruption charges, on July 23, 2019. SIMON MAINA / AFP

 

Kenya’s Finance Minister Henry Rotich pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to corruption charges linked to the construction of two dams, a rare example of a sitting minister facing court in the graft-wracked country. 

Rotich and about a dozen top officials appeared in a packed Nairobi court to be charged with financial crimes including fraud, abuse of office and receiving bribes, to which they replied in turn: “not true”.

Rotich handed himself over to police on Monday after the country’s top prosecutor ordered he and 27 other officials be arrested and charged over an alleged multi-million dollar corruption scandal.

READ ALSO: Former Gabon MP Jailed For Six Years Over Electoral Violence

Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti has said he will seek arrest warrants for suspects from an Italian firm contracted to build the dams, and for those in Kenya who have not yet handed themselves in.

Chief Magistrate Douglas Ogoti set bail for Rotich and his top administrator Kamau Thugge at 15 million shillings ($140,000) in cash or the option of a bond worth 50 million shillings.

He also ordered the two to stay away from their offices, which were “considered a scene of the crime”, during the trial.

 ‘Riddled with irregularities’ 

The two dams at the heart of the scandal were to be built in western Kenya to provide much-needed water and electricity to residents.

But chief prosecutor Noordin Haji said the conception, procurement and payment processes for the project was “riddled with irregularities”.

“Investigations established that government officials flouted all procurement rules and abused their oath of office to ensure the scheme went through,” he said.

The contract was awarded to Italian firm CMC di Ravenna in a manner Haji said flouted proper procurement procedures, and despite financial woes that forced the company into liquidation.

The same company had previously failed to complete three mega-dam projects.

According to the contract, the project was to cost $450 million (401 million euros), but the treasury had increased this amount by $164 million “without regard to performance or works,” said Haji.

 ‘Breach’ of trust 

Some $180 million has already been paid out, with no construction to show for it.

Another $6 million was paid for the resettlement of people living in areas that would be affected by the project, but there is no evidence of land being acquired for this, the chief prosecutor said.

“I am satisfied that economic crimes were committed and I have therefore approved their arrests and prosecutions,” Haji said Monday.

Rotich has held the finance ministry since 2013.

“The persons we are charging today were mandated with safeguarding our public interest and deliberately breached this trust,” according to Haji.

“Under the guise of carrying out legitimate commercial transactions, colossal amounts were unjustifiably and illegally paid out through a well-choreographed scheme by government officers in collusion with private individuals and institutions.”

Dozens of top executives and government officials have been charged since last year, with President Uhuru Kenyatta vowing to combat corruption.

Kenyatta is the latest in a string of presidents to declare war on graft, but with a history littered with unsolved cases, many Kenyans see the scourge as an unavoidable fact of life.

AFP