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Democrat Warren enters 2020 White House race

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Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren — an outspoken critic of Wall Street and nemesis of Donald Trump — entered the 2020 race for the White House on Monday.

The 69-year-old progressive announced she was launching an exploratory committee for president, becoming the first major candidate in what is set to be an extraordinarily crowded Democratic primary, united by a singular focus on unseating the Republican Trump.

The move will help Warren raise funds and hire more staff early in the campaign cycle — an effort in which she already leads most other potential Democratic candidates.

Her announcement came 13 months before the Iowa caucuses that launch what is expected to be a boisterous primary season.

“America’s middle class is under attack,” said a video message from Warren, who has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 2013, crafting a reputation as an economic populist.

“Corruption is poisoning our democracy,” she said. “Politicians look the other way while big insurance companies deny patients life-saving coverage, while big banks rip off consumers and while big oil companies destroy this planet.”

That, she said, is why she is launching her exploratory committee.

A former public-school teacher and then Harvard law professor, Warren has been a vocal advocate of consumer and workers’ rights. But Americans may know her best for her frequent sparring with Trump — which has had mixed results.

Warren’s searing criticisms of Trump’s trade policies, erosion of consumer protections, and openness to authoritarian regimes — not to mention her call in September for Congress to use a constitutional maneuverer to remove him from office — have drawn his attention, and his disdain.

Reacting to her latest move, Trump said he was unsure whether Warren could replace him at the White House. “You’d have to ask her psychiatrist,” he quipped in an interview with Fox News.

“We’ll see how she does. I wish her well, I hope she does well, I’d love to run against her.”

At his election-style rallies, Trump took to mocking her claim to have some Native American heritage by dubbing her “Pocahontas,” a derisive reference to the 17th century Native American who lived in what is now Virginia.

When Trump offered to donate $1 million to Warren’s favourite charity if she took a test proving “you’re an Indian,” she eventually did so, hoping to put an end to his ridicule.

Instead, he seemed to relish the fact that the test showed her with only a sliver of Native American heritage.

But another encounter with a powerful male politician gave Warren a place in political folklore.

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After she clashed in 2017 on the Senate floor with top Republican Mitch McConnell over the nomination of Jeff Sessions as attorney general and refused to back down, his phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” was quickly adopted by feminists — and turned into T-shirts and bumper stickers.

As talk of a possible presidential run grew, Warren has worked to build her foreign policy credentials, taking a seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She favours cuts in military spending and a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Her domestic policies are reliably liberal: She is staunchly pro-choice on abortion, supports gun control and has urged Democrats to go on “offense” to expand health care coverage for Americans.

But her bread-and-butter issue has been the defence of ordinary Americans against abuses by those with wealth and power. She sharply criticised Wall Street after the 2007 financial crisis and helped establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“How did we get here? Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more of the pie, and they enlisted politicians to cut them a fatter slice,” she said in her video.

With as many as three dozen Democrats weighing possible presidential bids, the road to the nomination will be arduous.

Among those who have already declared their intention to run are Julian Castro, a former housing secretary in Barack Obama’s administration, Maryland Representative John Delaney and Richard Ojeda, a former army paratrooper currently serving as a state senator in West Virginia.

Polls for now show Warren trailing veteran politicians like former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, both in their 70s — as well as rising young star Beto O’Rourke, who is 46.

But analyst Nate Silver said on Twitter that Warren “probably has a better chance than Sanders of bridging the gap between the left and the party establishment.”

“She’s always raised a ton of money. Voters know what she stands for. Women did well in the 2018 primaries,” Silver added.

Warren has built the framework of a serious campaign, with a staff of more than 70 people, $12.5 million left over from her successful re-election effort, and a nationwide network of contacts and supporters.

As she seeks to raise her profile, Warren likes to tell how she grew up in the Central Plains state of Oklahoma, in a family she said lived “on the ragged edge of the middle class.”

After her father suffered a heart attack, she went to work at age 13 waiting tables in a restaurant — life experience she says gives her a visceral connection to ordinary Americans.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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