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East Africa mourns 'beloved leader' Mandela

East African leaders mourned the loss of South African liberation leader Nelson Mandela Friday, with Tanzania declaring three days of mourning. "The world has lost one of its greatest citizens," Tanzanian President Kikwete said, calling Mandela "a voice of courage, a source of inspiration and a beloved leader to us all." In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta said Mandela "embodied the power of hope and believed in the power of forgiveness." The 95-year-old died late Thursday.

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 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.

Roundup: Kenyans laud plan to build standard gauge railway line

Roundup: Kenyans laud plan to build standard gauge railway line By Bedah Mengo NAIROBI, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The launch of the plan to build 14. 1 billion U. S. dollars Standard Gauge Railway in Kenya has won praise among Kenyans, both on the streets and cyberspace. The railway that will run from Mombasa, at the Kenyan Coast, through Nairobi, the capital, to Malaba on the Kenya-Uganda border, is expected to radically transform the transport sector in East African nation.

Kenya eyes trade benefits from planned Chinese-built railway

MOMBASA, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenya's president inaugurated the country's biggest ever infrastructure project on Thursday, pledging his support for the construction of a $13.8 billion Chinese-built railway that aims to boost regional trade and cut transport costs. Construction is due to start shortly on the standard gauge railway that will link Kenya's Indian Ocean port of Mombasa to the town of Malaba on its border with Uganda. It will also be extended to Uganda, to Tanzania and by 2018 to Rwanda.

Kenya launches $13.8bn China-built railway to boost trade

Kenya launched construction of a Chinese-funded 13.8 billion dollar (10-billion euro) flagship railway project Thursday, hoping to dramatically increase trade and boost Kenya's position as a regional economic powerhouse. The key transport link, to run from the busy port city of Mombasa inland to the highland capital Nairobi, is eventually hoped to extend onwards to Uganda, and then connect with proposed lines to Rwanda and South Sudan.

International court members agree on trial exceptions for top leaders

By Thomas Escritt and Michelle Nichols AMSTERDAM/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The International Criminal Court's member states on Wednesday agreed to changes to the court's trial procedures that could help defuse tensions between the court and the African continent regarding the approaching trial of Kenya's president. The changes approved by the court's 122 members will make it easier for suspects to participate in trial proceedings via video link and create a special exemption for top government officials, Western diplomats said.

ICC to allow video hearing for some defendants

Defendants at the International Criminal Court may be allowed to attend their trial through video-conference rather than in person, member states of the court decided Wednesday, amid a bid by Kenya's leaders to be excused from their trials. "An accused subject to summons to appear may submit a written request to the Trial Chamber to be allowed to be present through the use of video technology during part or parts of his or her trial," the document approved by the 122 state parties of the court said.

Kenyan president rejects controversial media bill

Kenya's president on Wednesday rejected a controversial media bill passed by parliament that critics have slammed as an attempt to muzzle the press. Last month, MPs voted to set up a special quasi-government body to police the media, with the power to slap huge fines on journalists and outlets if they violate a code of conduct. The bill provoked a furious reaction from Kenya's vibrant independent media, with front pages declaring that democracy and free speech were under attack.
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