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US does not want ‘precipitous’ withdrawal from Afghanistan: senator

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Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who sits on the influential Senate Armed Services Committee that oversees the US military, also stressed that women must have a place at the table as the US tries to negotiate with the Taliban.

President Donald Trump last year told advisors he wanted to slash America’s 14,000-strong troop presence in Afghanistan by about half, prompting criticism he was seeking to rush a withdrawal.

“What we’ve heard here (is) that whatever negotiated settlement ends the conflict, that it be done in a way that’s very deliberate, that ensures a transition that all sides can participate in, and that there should not be a precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Shaheen told reporters at the US embassy.

Congressional colleagues agreed, she said, adding “that’s the position of the administration as well”.

“There is a deliberate position that may not always be reflected in the tweets that come from the White House,” she said, referring to Trump’s penchant of firing off unexpected foreign policy messages.

Shaheen also sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and is the only woman on the panel.

She said it is vital for women to be included in talks with the Taliban, whose regime shredded any Western notion of women’s rights and executed women for allegations of adultery.

“What we know from the data is that when women are engaged, there is about a 35 percent more likely chance that those negotiations will … endure for a longer period of time,” Shaheen said.

It’s important that “whatever comes out of any peace negotiations, that we support having women at the table.”

A fresh round of talks is expected to take place later this month between Afghan political leaders, including some officials from the Kabul government, and the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha.

The Taliban have long refused to speak officially with Kabul, dubbing the government a “puppet” of the West, and the militants have insisted that government officials are attending only in a “personal capacity”.

The makeup of the delegation has not yet been announced, but an initial list reportedly only had two female participants.



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Njugush, Dj Mo start Travel companies, clash with Bonfire Adventures

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Dj Mo, Simon Kabu and Njugush [Photo: Courtesy]

The travel industry is blowing up with eye-popping deals to dream destinations around the country and the world.

In fact, tour firms have made a kill over this Easter holiday with most of them recording maximum bookings mainly at the Coast where most holiday lovers are whiling away the long weekend.

And it is not just your ordinary tour firms fighting for a slice of the lucrative venture. Lately, showbiz personalities have taken up the space with a dozen having registered their own tour companies.

For example Akothee Safaris, a tours and travel firm run by celebrated music star Akothee has been offering irresistible travel deals both to the Coast and other leading destinations around game reserves and national parks.

And also in the game is veteran MC and events guru Christopher Kirwa and his wife Cate who run ChrisCate Management Company. The two have started off a unique tour mission that mostly involves couples.

Using their experience in events management and the goodwill they have been enjoying from their numerous clients, these two could be the next big thing in tours and travel.

But while the newcomers enjoy relative tranquillity in an environment that is known for its brutal deals with the big boys protecting their turf, trouble seems to be brewing between celebrity stars DJ Mo, comedian Njugush and one Simon Kabu who introduced them into the world of sweet travel deals.

Many will recall photos of Njuguna and his wife Celestine Ndinda aka Wakavinye on their honeymoon on a lucrative trip with Kabu’s Bonfire Ventures.

Just like many celebs among them Eric Omondi and his fiancée Chantal Grazioli, Bahati and his Wife Diana as well as Vera and Otile Brown, Njuguna was a target with offers from Kabu’s team.

That was before Bountiful Safaris took the couple to Dubai. As Bountiful Safaris emerged, around the same time came Trippy Go Tours, which is said to have a popular personality- a leading comedian and radio presenter- on board.

Now, there is beef brewing between these two companies and Kabu’s Bonfire Ventures.          

Trippy Go Tours and Bountiful Safaris have both gone to court; they are suing Bonfire Ventures for buying domain names that are similar to their websites.

The three companies organise budget getaways for individuals and groups where you pay a certain amount and they take care of your travel expenses and accommodation as well as other logistics.

They have been working hard to promote local tourism and, by making it easy to take trips to Dubai and Zanzibar with competitive rates, they appeal to youthful clients.

The two companies use ‘.com’ websites but are accusing Bonfire of using their names to register ‘.org’ and ‘.net’ websites, which when searched were redirecting back to the Bonfire website which uses a ‘.com’ domain. The fight for who has the better travel deal has been abandoned and the gloves are off as the three battle for visibility and relevance.

According to Trippy Go Tours and Bountiful Safaris, the domains bought by Bonfire are set to expire next year, which may lead unsuspecting customers to the Bonfire website, which then hurts their business.

The Marketing

With its owners, Simon Kabu and his wife Sarah, Bonfire has been working hard to be visible by coming on board anything that gives them publicity. They’ve gone hard on their marketing by working with celebrities with a large following online and sponsoring their trips to dream destinations.

In return the influencers post on their social media and give the company favourable mention. Bahati is seen as one of their loyal customers but his influence online is what the company really taps into from their relationship.

His dalliance with the Kabu’s is easily noticeable. They have been more than willing to make appearances at his events and he has been busy posting thankful messages to them.

Comedian Timothy Kimani aka Njuguna, his wife Celestine Ndinda aka Wakavinye and Samuel Muraya aka DJ Mo would easily be seen as ambassadors for Bonfire Ventures, just like many other celebs are. However, with the brewing differences, this might not end up well.

And this brewing war has also touched on the purchase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) tickets where some travel companies are rumoured to be buying and holding tickets to Mombasa during high seasons arguably because they want to benefit from the clients at the expense of others.

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Arsenal, Chelsea through to semi-finals

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Arsenal keeper Petr Cech says his side made a “very difficult” trip to Napoli “look easy” to seal a 3-0 aggregate win and reach the Europa League last four.

Alexandre Lacazette’s first-half free-kick into the top corner earned victory on the night after the hosts had had the better of the early chances.

“We controlled the game really well and defended really well too,” said Cech.

The Gunners will host Valencia in the first leg of their semi-final on Thursday, 2 May.

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Cech, who is retiring as a player this summer, saved well from Jose Callejon, while Arkadiusz Milik had a goal ruled out for offside – but otherwise, the Serie A side struggled to make an impression.

“Napoli are a fantastic team who always score a lot of goals, especially here at home, so to keep two clean sheets is obviously something [positive],” added the 36-year-old Czech.

“It was a very difficult game but we made it look easier because we played really well.”

It ensured a comfortable night’s work for the Gunners as Unai Emery marked his 50th game as their manager.

Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has criticized his players’ sense of urgency after half time, despite their 4-3 Europa League quarter-final victory over Slavia Prague.

Chelsea were 4-1 up at the break, but two goals from Petr Sevcik shortly after half-time got Slavia back into the match, with Chelsea holding on to advance to the Semi-finals on a 5-3 aggregate.

Pedro scored twice for Chelsea as they beat Slavia Prague 4-3 in a thrilling game at Stamford Bridge, to progress to the Europa League semi-finals.

The Spaniard gave Chelsea an early lead before a Slavia own goal extended the hosts’ advantage.

Olivier Giroud scored Chelsea’s third on the night, with Slavia pulling a goal back before Pedro added Chelsea’s 4th.

Shortly after half time, Petr Sevcik netted two quick goals to give the Czech visitors hope of a comeback. However, Chelsea progressed to the semi-finals on a 5-3 aggregate, and will now play Frankfurt over two legs on May 2/9.

Frankfurt beat Benfica 2-0, to qualify on the away goals rule.





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I will get Noti Flow pregnant vows Colonel Mustafa

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Colonel Mustafa and Noti Flow [Photo: Courtesy]

It is a month since Noti Flow and Colonel Mustafa made up after a bitter split and now, speaking exclusively to ‘Pulse’, the ‘Lenga Stress’ singer says he wants to have children with the rapper.

Pulse: In a nutshell, are you back together or you are just positing videos and pictures together for show?

Mustafa: We are back together and not just back, this love is hot. This is all I have wanted all my life. Noti Flow is like no other woman. She completes me.

P: Are you sure you are not using this hype for a comeback?

M: Comeback? I never left. Mustafa has been releasing songs and has been a household name whether it’s because of Nairobi Diaries drama’s or haters saying I retired and I am selling ‘mitumba’ clothes. It’s nothing like hype. We are in a serous love affair. In fact, we are inseparable.

P: ‘Inseparable’ is a big word. You were once in love and had a bitter break-up that also involved Prezzo. Why would you give each other a second chance?

M: Even God gives people second chances. See, when we were both in Nairobi Diaries, things were a bit different. There were so many wars and women were really backstabbing each other and that led to a serious problem. She was told many bad things about me and I opted to let it be so. I think time is a teacher. We both know better.

P: Do you see a future in the two of you?

M: I see a future and the future is now. We are a perfect match. She has suddenly made me change my perspective of things when it comes to matters love. People might not understand Noti Flow as they perceive who she is from a very uninformed way.

Colonel Mustafa [Photo: Courtesy]

P: What makes you a perfect couple?

M: The fact that we love each other, understand each other and accommodate each other’s feelings and preferences. She is an artiste and I am too and so it is easy to relate how we both live. The last relationship was troubled because we wouldn’t work things from the same page.

P: But we heard you were married, in fact we heard it from Noti Flow herself…

M: After we separated about a year ago, I had to step aside and reflect on my life. I had someone but the point is that the relationship was not working. It was like that Marya case, I mean sometimes I feel like I am jinxed when it comes to relationships. I trust this will last.

P: Marya was also a singer. She would have understood you as an artiste. Why didn’t that last and why should this last?

M: You know the story. Marya was difficult to work with, difficult to understand, difficult to please. Noti is very open. She says it as it is and I like that a lot. I learned that when we were doing Nairobi Diaries. She is also an independent mind.

P: You want her for a wife?

M: If she is ready, I am ready.

P: The other day she teased her followers on Instagram asking them to guess whether she was expecting a boy or a girl. Is she pregnant?

M: If she is pregnant for me then that is my joy. If she is not, I am ready to get her pregnant. We have been having a lot of intimate time. That is one thing she had missed after she left me. Sticks. You can’t get this treat anywhere else.

Colonel Mustafa [Photo: Courtesy]

P: Stick?

M: Yes stick, ‘miti’. A man has to have game. I am the real G and she is naughty. We have to find a way to soften each other and there is only one way. Should I continue?

P: So if she is pregnant you guys are ready to move in under one roof?

M: I would give Noti Flow a kid anytime…In fact, I would have her carry twins for me. I am doing everything in my ability to make this work. I am not perfect but I am willing to accommodate even on areas where she could have weaknesses. That is what affairs are all about. I want her to get pregnant, deliver and go to gym like Cardi B. I want her to make records as I make records. See, this relationship can be good business like it is for Kanye and Kim.

P: Beyond the Instagram videos of you falling over each other, what else don’t we know?

M: The n**gas have been calling her since I came back. They want her and are offering her anything to get her. It’s crazy. That is f*** up. Where were they all this one year I was gone. I should simply warn them. I am a real G and we don’t take such jokes seated.

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