News roundup: Colin Powell dies, Huduma Namba halt, Uhuru in DC, drone lungs

Colin Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, has died of complications from COVID-19, his family said on Facebook. He was 84. Powel served as President George W. Bush’s secretary of state from 2001, becoming the nation’s highest-ranking Black public official to date. He was forced to resign following Bush’s re-election in 2004 after he published faulty intelligence in order to justify the Iraq War—an act he later conceded would forever leave a “blot” on his record in office.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to visit Kamloops, B.C., today, where the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation announced it had found what are believed to be some 200 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school last spring. Monday’s visit comes after Trudeau apologized to Tk’emlúps Chief Rosanne Casimir earlier this month for not having accepted invitations to attend the nation’s event marking Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30. He faced backlash for travelling to Tofino, B.C., with his family instead of appearing at any in-person events to honour survivors of the state-sponsored residential institutions where Indigenous children were torn from their families and abused.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and US President Joe Biden discussed financial transparency during their White House meeting on Thursday, as the East African leader faces scrutiny over revelations that he and his family stashed millions of dollars in hidden offshore accounts. Kenyatta is one of more than 330 current and former politicians identified as beneficiaries of secret accounts revealed in recent reports known as the Pandora Papers. Biden announced at the start of his meeting with Kenyatta that the U.S. will donate 17 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine to the African Union.


The High Court of Kenya halted the launch of the country’s identification system, the Huduma Namba, over violations of the Data Protection Act, Nairobi News reports. The government planned its ID card rollout before performing a required impact assessment under the DPA. The Huduma Namba system combines an individual’s national ID, passport, driver’s license and more into one centralized profile. Justice Jairus Ngaah ordered the government to perform an impact assessment before proceeding with its rollout.

Police in Kenya arrested the husband of record-breaking runner Agnes Tirop after she was stabbed to death, in a case that has shocked the country and the world of athletics. The 25-year-old two-time world champion bronze medallist was found on Wednesday morning lying on a bed at her home in the town of Iten, with stab wounds in the neck and abdomen, local media reported.

High Court has declared a law requiring all Member of County Assembly (MCA) aspirants to have university degrees unconstitutional. In his judgement, Justice Antony Mrima on Friday afternoon has declared the amendment of the law (Elections Act) by Parliament in 2015 unconstitutional saying that there was no public participation. The decision comes after several petitions were filed by the County Assembly Forum and six others arguing that the law that was set to take effect in the 2022 polls requiring contestants for County Assembly (MCA) seats to have university degree qualifications is unconstitutional.


Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon arrives Sunday in Berlin to begin her first international visit on behalf of Canada in the German capital. May Simon’s four-day state visit will include a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, and she will represent Canada at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair.

Iqaluit water crisis: State of emergency declared as city receives 1st water shipment. The Nunavut government has declared a 14-day state of emergency in Iqaluit after water in the capital was deemed undrinkable and potentially tainted with petroleum.  Now, the City of Iqaluit says testing shows a high concentration of fuel in a tank that supplies water to the Nunavut capital, but long-term health effects are not a concern. Officials at a news conference Friday said the fuel could be diesel or kerosene. Residents of the community of 8,000 people were told Tuesday not to drink tap water after it was discovered it may be contaminated by fuel. The Nunavut government has been flying in shipments of potable water, while many residents have collected fresh water from a nearby river.

The United States is set to reopen its borders to fully vaccinated travellers by air, land or passenger ferry starting Nov. 8. Air travellers will need to show proof of vaccination on arrival in the U.S. but will still need to show a pre-departure negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of boarding their flight. Non-essential travellers crossing at a land border will be required to show proof of vaccination or attest to their vaccination status upon request by a border agent — but unlike air travellers they will face no requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test. Canada is still requiring all travellers entering the country to provide proof of a negative test, regardless of their point of entry.

Canada’s first big-city Muslim mayor Naheed Nenshi has decided to not seek reelection and is leaving office in just a matter of days. After 11 years in office, the Calgary Mayor will be setting down that title on October 25. Nenshi received many awards for his leadership over the years, including being named Best Mayor in the World in 2015.

Good news

Flying lungs by drone: In a medical first, an aerial drone quickly and safely transported donor lungs for transplant between two Toronto hospitals. The flight took just six minutes and is the first time a lung has been delivered via drone anywhere in the world. The lung, originally at Toronto Western Hospital, was flown to Toronto General Hospital  – the site of the first lung transplant in 1983, and double lung transplant in 1986 – where 63-year-old Alain Hodak would become the first person in history to receive a pair of drone-delivered lungs. The lungs, however, are not the first organ to take to the skies. A kidney was delivered by drone in Baltimore in 2019, while corneas and a pancreas have since made an aerial journey.


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