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Article 602: May 2009: Virgin boss on a mission to sell Kenya
Richard Branson
Virgin Atlantic has rolled out a Sh30 million advertising campaign to woo UK tourists back to Kenya. The drive, which begins today, will be used as an initiative to get tourists back to Kenya, and focuses on the migration of the wildebeest. Virgin Atlantic president, Sir Richard Branson, gave Kenya a clean bill of health and vowed
to help the country get back on track and increase tourist numbers. "Kenya is a fantastic and safe place to come. We need to get tourism back on track," he said. The campaign will appear on London’s underground mainline railway, as well as the national Press.

Branson made the announcement at Sarova Mara Game Camp at the Maasai Mara on Saturday. Tourism minister, Mr Najib Balala, has said Branson’s tour was a clear indication that Kenya was back on the recovery path. Branson regretted that post-election violence was a major setback to tourism, especially the airline industry.

"The violence was disastrous to the airlines, hotels and to the people of Kenya. Virgin was also affected, but we decided to be faithful to Kenya and not switch to other routes," he said. Branson, however, warned that the airline would pull out of the Kenyan route should violence erupt again. "If politicians mess the country again, we will not stick here. We will move out," he said.

According to Kenya Tourist Board (KTB), tourism earned Sh8 billion between January and April, way below the expected Sh21 billion. KTB Chairman, Mr Jakes Grieves Cook, expressed optimism that the tourist arrivals would improve.

Virgin Atlantic is one of the world’s leading long-haul airlines and flies daily to Nairobi. It flies to 30 destinations worldwide from its headquarters at London Heathrow and London Gatwick. The aviation industry will get a boost as Branson re-launches the Nairobi-London route with the introduction of another aircraft, which will also mark the airline’s first anniversary.

A delighted Kenya Tourist Board Managing Director, Dr Achieng Ong’ong’a, said Branson’s visit was a blessing. "He came at a time we really needed someone of his stature to send a message to the world that Kenya is back to normal," Ong’ong’a said.

On Saturday, Branson opened two dormitories at Sekenani Primary School, a co-ed institution at the Maasai Mara, built by the airline at a cost of Sh8 million. The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Gold Card volunteers collectively contributed £30,000 from sponsorship and donations to the project. More On Richard Branson>

Article 601: April 2009: Kenya is Now Open For Business...
President Mwai Kibaki
While the political crisis and civil unrest have definitely ended, with peace and calm restored across the country, the leadership recognised that the new government has to focus on some important tasks to re-establish Kenya in its former position as one of the continent’s most stable and economically successful
nations. President Kibaki called for the speedy resettlement of the internally displaced Kenyans who are living as refugees and indicated that this will be a priority for the government. The new Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, pledged to lead a campaign to ensure that violence is ended and particularly mentioned the activities of the Mungiki sect which has been involved in demonstrations and clashes with police in the past week, urging that violent acts should stop immediately so that ordinary Kenyans could go about their daily lives in peace.

Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, who had played such an important role in bringing both sides of the political divide together to resolve the crisis, was present to witness the swearing-in ceremony and expressed his pleasure that a peaceful settlement had been achieved, urging Kenyan political leaders to continue working together to achieve the implementation of all aspects of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act which is the basis of the power-sharing arrangement and Grand Coalition. Uganda's President Museveni of Uganda and other East African leaders were also in attendance together with international diplomats.

US Ambassador Michael Ranneberger congratulated the new government and commented, “This was very positive for Kenyans and the agenda that has been laid out is very challenging. The signs are good and the United States will be present to give its assistance. More About Kenya >

Article 600: April '08: Zanzibar Is. Could Disappear in 100yrs!
Indian Ocean Islands
Scientists believe that the islands of Zanzibar and Mafia are likely to disappear under water by 2100 due to a rise in sea level triggered by global warming. The islands off the Tanzania Mainland coast could be submerged in the ocean following a catastrophic rise in the sea level caused by the melting of polar ice.
Scientists revealed this startling information in Arusha during the official launch of the International Year of Planet Earth for Africa and a conference that followed.

They said the scenario was “very possible” because there were known cases of islands in the country which had since disappeared or were in danger of being submerged. This means that Tanzania could be among countries that would be hardest hit by climate change, a phenomenon associated with global warming due to increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

Islands known to have been submerged include Maziwi, near Pangani in Tanga Region, and Fungu la Nyani, on the Rufiji River estuary. Other gravely threatened sites are Ras Nungwi, at the northern tip of Zanzibar island, which has lost almost 100 metres of its beach to sea water, and Bongoyo and Mbudya islands near Dar es Salaam.

Mr Eric Mugurusi, the director of Environment Division in the Vice-President’s Office, says Tanzania has already started to feel the impact of climate change, and gave the example of the melting of the snowcap on Mt Kilimanjaro.

The experts were of the opinion that only “bold measures” could save Zanzibar and Mafia islands, which are among the leading tourist sites in the country.

“This period is not a long time at all especially for people who care much about the future of their grandchildren. That would depend on how we address global warming and climate change,” warned one of them.

“Our concern is not what would happen in 2100, but the gradual rise of sea level taking place now,” said a marine scientist who cited tourism, fisheries and mariculture as the economic sectors that would suffer most. The impact of sea level rise will be big because more that 25 per cent of Tanzania’s population is found along the coast.

In addition, Scientists say the icecap volume on Africa’s highest mountain has dropped by 80 per cent in the last 100 years; from 12.1 square kilometres in 1901 to only 2.2 square kilometres in 2000.

The loss, he said quoting experts, was most disturbing from 1970. Some scientists have predicted that the mountain may lose all its ice in 20 years’ time given the rate at which it is depreciating.

Mr Carlos Mbuta, a senior environmental management officer with the National Environment Management Council has, however, said that there were other factors behind the sea level rise.

On the Mt Kilimanjaro glaciers, the official explained that research carried out for 15 years by a German scientist indicated that out of every 1,000 tonnes of water from the mountain, 400 tonnes originated directly from the ice caps and the rest from the forest belt ... More About Tanzania>

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