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The biggest warship in British history just met the F-35 for the first time – Politics – Pulselive.co.ke

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This week, for the first time in eight years, an aircraft landed on a British aircraft carrier.

The plane was an F-35B, the Marine Corps’ variant of the Joint Strike Fighter that is capable of vertical take offs and landings, and the ship was the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the UK’s largest warship.

Neither is entirely new — the UK got its first F-35 six years ago, and the carrier took to sea in 2017 — but bringing them together has been touted as a new era for British military power.

“The largest warship in British history is joining forces with the most advanced fighter jets on the planet. This marks a rebirth of our power to strike decisively from the seas anywhere in the world,” British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a release. “It is also a statement of Britain’s determination to promote peace and prevent war.”

Below, you can see the two F-35s working in tandem with crews on the Queen Elizabeth.

The first landings took place on September 25. The Queen Elizabeth is able to hold up to 24 of the jets, and more than 1,400 sailors, flight crew members, and Marines have been working aboard the carrier during this deployment.


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Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

The F-35’s first landing ever on a British carrier is “a tremendous step forward in reestablishing the UK’s carrier strike capability,” said Commodore Andrew Betton, commander of the UK carrier strike group.


Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.play

Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

The Queen Elizabeth left Portsmouth in August, heading to the Atlantic, where the trials are taking place. Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray became the first British pilot to land an F-35 on the carrier, followed by Royal air force squadron leader Andy Edgell. Afterward, Gray became the first pilot to take off on the ship’s ski-ramp.


Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.play

Two F-35B Lightning II fighter jets during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

The F-35 landing and take off were “just Day One of a two-month, arduous testing process, which will continue again next year,” Betton said. “The objective over the next two months is to establish the operating envelop for the F-35 to operate from HMS Queen Elizabeth and then build up our war-fighting capability.”


An F-35B Lightning II fighter jet during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.play

An F-35B Lightning II fighter jet during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

The landing itself was the first one in eight years, but the operation is the latest step in a process that began 20 years ago, when the UK announced plans to replace the Harrier jet and upgrade carrier capabilities, said Vice Adm. Ben Key, the Royal navy fleet commander.


An F-35B Lightning II fighter jet during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.play

An F-35B Lightning II fighter jet during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

“On one level, it’s just a pilot landing a jet on a ship, and in the fleet arm we’ve been doing that for over a hundred years, but on another level, just what it represents, it’s the next chapter of a long journey,” Key said. “There’s a lot of emotion coursing through veins at the moment, but all of it is phenomenally positive.”


An F-35B Lightning II fighter jet during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.play

An F-35B Lightning II fighter jet during testing aboard Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

The British navy developed HMS Argus — the first flush-deck carrier in naval history — during World War II to launch torpedo bombers.

But it wasn’t launched until December 1917 and was commissioned in September 1918, which was only a few weeks before the war ended in November that year.

The F-35 has been plagued by technical problems and cost overruns. The Queen Elizabeth, which was specially built for F-35B operations, has also been the subject of derision over its lack of an air wing — including jokes that the British navy had built an aircraft carrier with no aircraft.


Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray makes the first F-35B Lightning II landing ever aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.play

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Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray makes the first F-35B Lightning II landing ever aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

Source: The Economist

“It’s a brilliant day,” said Air Marshall Stuart Atha, deputy commander of operations for the British air force. “The combination of the ship and the aircraft, the potency of this is something that is way beyond the individual services.”


The Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during testing with the F-35B Lightning II, September 25, 2018.play

The Royal navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth during testing with the F-35B Lightning II, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

“For the next few weeks we’re concentrating on developmental tests as the pilots really begin to explore [and] develop the flight envelop for the jets operating from the ship and [as] the ship learns what’s require to operate the jets,” said Key, the Royal navy fleet commander.


Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray makes the first F-35B Lightning II takeoff ever on the HMS Queen Elizabeth's ski-ramp, September 25, 2018.play

Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray makes the first F-35B Lightning II takeoff ever on the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ski-ramp, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

2019 will see continued testing to make sure the capabilities of the ship and its jets are “in the right place,” Key said. “That allows us then in 2020 to bring it together and develop an operational package, which the government can then deploy in 2021.”


Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray makes the first F-35B Lightning II takeoff ever on the HMS Queen Elizabeth's ski-ramp, September 25, 2018.play

Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray makes the first F-35B Lightning II takeoff ever on the HMS Queen Elizabeth’s ski-ramp, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

British pilots have performed landings and takeoffs on US carriers over the past eight years in order to stay proficient. Gray and Edgell carried out training on the F-35 with US airmen and contractors in the US earlier this year.


An F-35B Lightning II piloted by Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray on the deck of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.play

An F-35B Lightning II piloted by Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray on the deck of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)

Source: The Economist, Naval Technology

“Everything about this project is collaborative [and] interoperable,” said Betton, the strike group commander. “Whether it’s been the training of people to man and equip the ships or the training of the crews on the deck and specifically the pilots, getting ready for today is all about cooperation.”


Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray in his F-35B gives a celebratory thumbs up after successfully landing onboard the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.play

Royal navy Cmdr. Nathan Gray in his F-35B gives a celebratory thumbs up after successfully landing onboard the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, September 25, 2018.

(UK Ministry of Defense)



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Kenya: Hope in Kenya as Covid Rate Slows to 3.6%

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Nairobi — Kenya’s COVID-19 positivity rate slowed down to 3.6 percent Monday after weeks of a sustained increase.

On Monday, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said only 66 new positive cases were logged from 1,833 samples tested since Sunday.

This represents the lowest figure in nearly two months and is below the five percent threshold recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

President Uhuru Kenyatta re-opened the country on May 1 when he lifted a partial lockdown placed on five counties, including the capital Nairobi. The others are Machakos, Kiambu, Nakuru and Kajiado.

He also allowed the resumption of hotels and restaurants for sit-in services while reopening bars which had remained closed since last year. They close at 7pm.

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Kagwe said there were 1,122 patients admitted in various health facilities countrywide with 4,783 patients on the Home-Based Isolation and Care program.

Another 134 patients are in the Intensive Care Unit including 23 who are on ventilatory support, 85 on supplemental oxygen, and 26 who are under observation.

“Eighty-nine patients are separately on supplemental oxygen with 83 of them in general wards and 6 n High Dependency Units,” Kagwe said in his daily updates on the disease.

He said 917,068 people including 280,876 who are aged 58 years and above, 143,684 teachers, 77,417 security officers had been vaccinated by May 10.

Total confirmed positive cases stood 163,620 out of the 1,721,122 cumulative tests conducted by Monday 10.

Majority of the cases were spread across Nairobi(32), Kisii(11), Meru(5), Uasin Gishu(4) and Nakuru (3).

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Ugandan security official arrested in possession of 3 pieces of ivory worth Sh3M – The Informer

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Senior Security Officer from Uganda has been arrested in possession of three pieces of animal trophies worth Kshs 3 million street value.

Kennedy Wabwire, a lieutenant working in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UBDF) in Uganda was arrested on Friday at around 2.00 pm through a tip off from members of the public.

According to the Busia DCIO Benard Wamalwa, they got information that some Ugandan Nationals were on a mission to traffic ivory into Kenya with the aim of selling.

“Police officers liaised with the informer and lured the suspects that the buyer was waiting for the items at one of the Mosques in Busia town,” he said.

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“The suspects arrived in two motorbikes and we managed to arrest one as the other one fled.”

Wamalwa says that efforts are underway to arrest the other culprits who escaped on another motorcycle with a sack of ivory.

According to him, the suspect disclosed that they used the Mariachi route to access the Mosque.

He urged local residents to report suspected people dealing in the any illegal activity, adding trade in ivory was affecting both Kenya and Uganda negatively through loss of revenue that could be gotten from tourism.

Further, he said that the boda boda rider who was carrying the suspects has also been arrested and has recorded statements with the police as a witness.

The suspect has been taken to court and will be charged with being in possession of wildlife trophies contrary to Section 95 of the Wildlife Conservation Management Act of 2013.

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Five hurt as squatters and rival gang clash over land

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Kalama Omar after getting treatment at Jamii Bora Hospital in Mombasa. He was attacked by armed gangsters at Kinunguna, Otange area in Mombasa. Amana Weda Tsori, his brother, says the attack was due to a land dispute in the area. May 9, 2021. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

A clash between two rival gangs over the ownership of 100 acres in Rabai, Kilifi County left five people seriously injured.
The bloody conflict at the Nyika Reserve land on Sunday morning marks an escalation of alleged politically instigated land invasions and evictions that have hit parts of the Coast in recent days.
A witness said a gang of about 60 youths with machetes and other crude weapons invaded the land at about 10am and started to sub-divide it among themselves.
A rival of about 20 youths, also armed, confronted them, sparking a war that left the five with deep cuts on the head, hands and their backs.
“The 60 armed men came from Bamburi in Mombasa at about 10am and started to sub-divide the land among themselves,” said Aman Weda, a brother of two of the injured men.
Weda said his brothers, Kalama Tsori and Katana Tsiro, were among the group of 10 men that have occupied the land for many years. It is the two and their group that confronted the new gang.
Ownership contested
Weda said several “professional squatters” have since March 14 tried to invade the land after the county government said it would finance its adjudication, survey and allocation to the squatters.

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Kilifi County Commissioner Kutswa Olaka and Coast Regional Coordinator John Elungata’s phones went unanswered, but Governor Amason Kingi decried increased cases of land conflicts in the county. 
Ownership of most parcels of land in Kilifi, Kwale, Tana River, Lamu and Taita Taveta is contested between private developers and squatters. Although the squatters claim the land belonged to their ancestors and use old graves or trees as proof of ownership, others invade private land under the claim that leases have expired.  
Kingi called for a stop to the evictions, saying the national government was working on two proposals aimed at ending the conflicts.
“That matter (evictions) has been brought before me and several meetings have been held to try and solve the squatter problem in the area,” said Kingi.
In Kilifi, most parcels whose ownership are in dispute are in Malindi, Magharini, Kilifi North and Kilifi South where cases of land evictions and invasions have been reported.
Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa, however, blames the police for allegedly implementing court orders without considering the plight of the squatters being thrown out of their houses.
“We want the DCI to investigate how the police are providing security for people who are evicted from their homes especially during this rain season,” she said last week when she visited squatters evicted from the Bakshweini land.
For the last five days there has been chaos in Malindi-Sala Gateroad after hundreds of squatters were evicted from a 360-acre farm owned by the Bakshweini family.
The famous Bakshweini family has been fighting to wade off squatters from their farm prompting them to sell off part of it.  
Salim Bakshweini, the family spokesman, said their father bought the land in 1955 and the family has been carrying out farming activities on it before squatters invaded it.
On May 7, 2015, the family ceded 58 acres to the squatters but Bashweini said others have again started to invade the remaining part.
“The squatters were not satisfied and in 2006 they invaded the remaining part of the farm, slashed several animals, burnt buildings and tried to burn me inside my car,” he said.
On Monday, National Land Commission (NLC) said emerging land conflicts at the Coast was a “security threat” and warned politicians against inciting people to invade private land.
“There are emerging conflicts between squatters and private land owners. We also have cases where squatters are fighting over public land,” said NLC Commissioner Kazungu Kambi.
He said the fights over land schemes in Kilifi were because both the county and national governments have intensified the process to allocate them to the squatters.
“We intend to propose that a moratorium be introduced so that these squatters cannot sell the land once allocated. They sell and start to invade it, claiming it has been grabbed.
“Over 60,000 title deeds are uncollected in Kilifi alone. But President Uhuru Kenyatta is personally overseeing the process of buying huge tracts of land like that of Mazrui to resettle the squatters,” said Kambi, adding that already an initial Sh600 million has been allocated for the exercise.
Other parcels that squatters have invaded are in Takaungi area of Kilifi South, where two private developers are on the verge of losing about 7,000 acres.
Last week, the Agriculture Development Authority said over 300,000 acres at Galana Kulalu in Tana River and Kilifi had been invaded and sub-divided by unknown people.
Other parcels invaded and where squatters are facing eviction include Kagaa, Kakanjuni, Malindi Salt and Kisiwani farms in Kilifi North and Malindi areas.
In Mombasa, according to the records from the NLC, several parcels in Kisauni and Nyali constituencies have also been invaded by squatters.
In Kisauni, 527 families are battling with the family of Gladys Njeri Kagiri for plot number 423 measuring 135 acres. 
Ms Kagiri is said to have sold most of the land to various buyers and now remains with seven acres, but the squatters claim ancestral rights to the land. 
In Taveta, 3,000 acres in Machungwani farm, AFC farm, Voi sisal estate is also known as Voi Point Limited, have been invaded.  
[email protected]     

 

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