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Kenya celebrates 50 years of freedom with challenges ahead

Kenyans mark half a century of independence from Britain on Thursday, celebrating progress of the regional economic powerhouse but also struggling to shake off a legacy of corruption, inequality and ethnic violence. Celebrations got underway at midnight Wednesday, with the Kenyan flag raised in Uhuru Gardens -- meaning "freedom" in Swahili -- in a reenactment of the moment 50 years earlier when Britain's rule since 1895 came to a close. Climbers are also raising another flag on the snow-capped peak of Mount Kenya.

Key dates since Kenyan independence

Here is a compilation of key dates in Kenya since it won independence in 1963. - December 12, 1963: Kenya, under British administration since 1895, gains independence following the Mau Mau insurrection that left at least 10,000 people dead, with some estimates far higher. - October 10, 1978: Daniel arap Moi is proclaimed president following the death of Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first head of state, and begins a long, iron-fisted rule. - June 9, 1982: Kenya is officially declared a one-party state.

Kenyan rangers kill 2 poachers, recover ivory trophies

Kenyan rangers kill 2 poachers, recover ivory trophies ISIOLO, Kenya, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) rangers have killed two suspected poachers and recovered ivory and a firearm as other suspects escaped with gunshot wounds during a fierce battle in Samburu, northern Kenya. KWS Isiolo KWS Warden Michael Gichure said Wednesday the rangers managed to recover five elephant trophies worth millions of shillings during the battle with poachers on Tuesday night.

Kenya expands military command to tackle terrorism

Kenya expands military command to tackle terrorism NAIROBI, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday expanded the military's role in tackling security threats in the East African nation. A statement from the Ministry of Defense said Kenyatta created the new command for the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) to be named the Nairobi Metropolitan Command to deal with drug trafficking, threats emerging from terrorism and proliferation of small arms.

US concern over 'restrictive' Kenya media bill

The United States voiced concern Friday about a controversial bill in Kenya that would see journalists and media outlets policed by a special quasi-government body. Despite amendments to the bill passed in October but sent back to parliament with some presidential changes, Washington remained concerned it could "discourage public debate," a US official said.

Hague court judges reject Kenyatta's bid to stop trial

By Thomas Escritt AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Judges rejected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta's bid to halt his trial on crimes against humanity, saying his accusations that prosecution witnesses colluded to mislead the court were not serious enough to prejudice proceedings. The decision on Thursday means the trial should go ahead as planned on February 5 and will likely further strain relations between the Hague-based International Criminal Court and the country.

Kenya breaks ground on big, new airport to serve as regional hub only 4 months after fire

NAIROBI, Kenya - Only four months after a raging fire engulfed the arrivals terminal at Kenya's main airport, Kenya's president on Tuesday broke ground on new construction that officials hope will cement the country as East Africa's transportation leader. President Uhuru Kenyatta said the goal is to make Jomo Kenyatta International Airport one of the world's leading air terminals. The revamped airport will serve 20 million passengers a year, up from 6.5 million passengers currently. Construction on the new $635 million terminal is expected to last until 2017.

Kenya's wind farm gets funding

Kenya's wind farm gets funding NAIROBI, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The African Infrastructure Investment Fund 2 (AIIF2) and Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) said Tuesday they have signed a 150 million U.S. dollars agreement to construct Kenya's wind park project. The 60.8 MW Kinangop Wind Park project comprises the construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a 60.8 MW Greenfield wind park located in the Kinangop region, about 80 km northwest of Nairobi.

Kenya refuses to give up Kenyatta records

The International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor on Monday accused Kenya of failing to hand over records which she said were "relevant to critical issues" in President Uhuru Kenyatta's crimes against humanity trial. "The Office of the Prosecutor requests the Chamber to find that the Government of Kenya has failed to comply with the April 2012 request to provide financial and other records of the accused," Fatou Bensouda said in papers filed before the Hague-based court. "All of its previous attempts to secure the records have been exhausted," she added.

Chinese firms set to build 20 mln passenger terminal in Kenya

Chinese firms set to build 20 mln passenger terminal in Kenya NAIROBI, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Two Chinese construction companies are set to construct a 20 million passenger terminal in Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi. The 178,000 square meters terminal, which is expected to cost about 645 million U.S. dollars, will give JKIA an extra handling capacity of 20 million passengers annually, boosting the airport's status as a regional hub of international standard.
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