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The loss of a Russian plane in Syria reveals how Putin is strangely powerless to protect his own troops – Politics – Pulselive.co.ke

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  • Russia’s ally Syria shot down one of its planes on Tuesday, and it exposes how Russian President Vladimir Putin is strangely powerless to protect his own people or do much more than enforce the status quo.
  • Russia has suffered a number of humiliating defeats in Syria while its economy has entered a downward spiral.
  • Putin portrays himself as powerful, but he has failed to protect Russians time and time again.

Russia grappled with a tragedy on Tuesday after its ally, Syria, mistakenly shot down one of its planes flying above the Mediterranean, and it shows how Russian President Vladimir Putin is strangely powerless to protect his own people.

After Russia’s Il-20 went down on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry quickly blamed Israel for the downing of the jet by a Syrian missile. Israel had attacked Syria with low flying jets evading and jamming radar during a prolonged missiles trike.

Syria missile defenses, unable to get a fix on the Israeli fighters, instead spotted a large, slower-moving Russian spy plane flying overhead, locked on, and killed 15 Russians with a Russian-made missile.

“With so much congestion in the Syrian air, it’s not surprising at all,” Anna Borschevskaya, a Russia expert with the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, told Business insider. “This is not the first time when Putin looked like he couldn’t protect his people.”

After Russian generals blamed Israel and promised “countermeasures” in response, Putin called it a tragic accident and attributed no blame and promised no retaliation.

The skies above Syria remain combative and congested. Russian planes continue their routes. Syrian air defense officers remain jumpy on the trigger, and there’s no indication this won’t happen again.

Paper tiger Putin


In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, two Russian SU-25 ground attack aircrafts take off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria.play

In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015, two Russian SU-25 ground attack aircrafts take off from an airbase Hmeimim in Syria.

(Associated Press)

Russia entered the Syrian conflict with a roar in September 2015. Russian air power saved Syrian President Bashar Assad from a backsliding civil war that promised to crush him.

Russian missile defenses protected him and their servicemen all but ensured the US wouldn’t raise a finger against the Syrian dictator no matter how badly he battered his own people.

But three years have passed, and though Assad remains in power, Russians are still dying in Syria, and the country itself has become isolated and weak. Russia has lost nine fixed wing aircraft and an untold number of helicopters in Syria. The US devastated a column of Russian mercenaries that approached its position in Syria, killing 300 or so with superior air power.

Recently, when the US threatened Syria with further punishment for chemical weapons attacks, Russia threatened again to hit US forces in Syria. The US responded with live fire drills, and Russia soon backed down off the threat.

After US strikes on Syria in April 2017 and 2018, Russia threatened retaliation or to cut communication with the US both times. Both times, nothing happened.

Putin has time and time again asserted himself as the a powerful figure by exploiting the void left by the US’s refusal to engage with Syria’s civil war. But time and time again, Putin has failed to protect his own people.

“Putin filled a vacuum in Syria, but he didn’t need to be super powerful to do that,” said Borshchevskaya. “Presence is often relevance, and that’s what happened in Syria.”

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While Russia has openly taunted the US to intervene in Syria, Putin has merely correctly estimated the US’s complacence, rather than having legitimately scared off a determined foe. Putin masterfully played off this lack of US political will to convince many European US allies that the US was scared.

“So many people in the West were so worried of risking a war with Russia over Syria,” said Borshchevskaya. “That was never going to happen. They don’t want to fight a war with us. They know they can’t win it.”

Russia strong and weak at the same time


Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria December 11, 2017. Picture taken December 11, 2017.play

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit the Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province, Syria December 11, 2017. Picture taken December 11, 2017.

(Thomson Reuters)

While Russia projects strength with a raggedy aircraft carrier in Syria and a three-year-long military campaign that’s managed to secure a status quo without definitively beating pockets of unsophisticated rebels, it’s own people felt the hurt.

Putin’s aggressiveness in dealing with Syria, Ukraine, and his links to international instances of Kremlin critics being poisoned has led to Russia getting sanctioned and isolated the world over.

In August, Putin broke a 2005 promise not to raise the retirement age, reminding many Russians that due to low national life expectancies, they would die before they saw a dime of their pensions, but had lived to see that money spent in Syria and Ukraine. Mass demonstrations broke out across the country.

Russia has done well to achieve its limited objective of keeping Assad in power in Syria. But when it comes to protecting Russian lives, the loss of the Il-20 points to a “hugely embarrassing” trend for Putin failing his people, said Borshchevskaya.



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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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