Sunday, September 15, 2019

EU in coming Justice Commissioner accused of money laundering in DRC

FILE PHOTO: Belgian minister Didier Reynders visits Belgian soldiers deployed to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence battle group at Tapa military base, Estonia April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium’s candidate for the incoming European Commission, Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, faces a preliminary probe into accusations of money laundering in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Belgian authorities and two newspapers said.

The accusations were made by an ex-member of Belgium’s intelligence services, Brussels’s state prosecutor’s office said late on Saturday, declining to give more details. It was not available for further comment on Sunday.

First reported by Belgium’s L’Echo and De Tijd newspapers on Saturday, the investigation is at a very early stage but comes as Reynders bids to become EU justice commissioner, which is responsible for ensuring rule of law across the bloc.

Reynder’s office was not immediately available for comment.

Hearings at the European Parliament into the suitability of the next group of commissioners start on Sept. 30, with European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen seeking a strong mandate to challenges including climate change, better ties with Washington and a more assertive China.

USA: Dem presidential candidates call for Kavanaugh’s impeachment

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh during the announcement of his nomination to the Supreme Court on July, 9, 2018.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Brett Kavanaugh Fit In With the Privileged Kids. She Did Not.

Deborah Ramirez’s Yale experience says much about the college’s efforts to diversify its student body in the 1980s.

Ms. Pogrebin and Ms. Kelly are reporters with The Times and authors of the forthcoming book, “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.”

Deborah Ramirez had the grades to go to Yale in 1983. But she wasn’t prepared for what she’d find there.

A top student in southwestern Connecticut, she studied hard but socialized little. She was raised Catholic and had a sheltered upbringing. In the summers, she worked at Carvel dishing ice cream, commuting in the $500 car she’d bought with babysitting earnings.

At Yale, she encountered students from more worldly backgrounds. Many were affluent and had attended elite private high schools. They also had experience with drinking and sexual behavior that Ms. Ramirez — who had not intended to be intimate with a man until her wedding night — lacked.

During the winter of her freshman year, a drunken dormitory party unsettled her deeply. She and some classmates had been drinking heavily when, she says, a freshman named Brett Kavanaugh pulled down his pants and thrust his penis at her, prompting her to swat it away and inadvertently touch it. Some of the onlookers, who had been passing around a fake penis earlier in the evening, laughed.

To Ms. Ramirez it wasn’t funny at all. It was the nadir of her first year, when she often felt insufficiently rich, experienced or savvy to mingle with her more privileged classmates.
The yearbook photo of Deborah Ramirez in The Yale Banner in 1987.
“I had gone through high school, I’m the good girl, and now, in one evening, it was all ripped away,” she said in an interview earlier this year at her Boulder, Colo., home. By preying upon her in this way, she added, Mr. Kavanaugh and his friends “make it clear I’m not smart.”

Mr. Kavanaugh, now a justice on the Supreme Court, has adamantly denied her claims. Those claims became a flash point during his confirmation process last year, when he was also fighting other sexual misconduct allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, who had attended a Washington-area high school near his.

Ms. Ramirez’s story would seem far less damaging to Mr. Kavanaugh’s reputation than those of Dr. Ford, who claimed that he pinned her to a bed, groped her and tried to remove her clothes while covering her mouth.

But while we found Dr. Ford’s allegations credible during a 10-month investigation, Ms. Ramirez’s story could be more fully corroborated. During his Senate testimony, Mr. Kavanaugh said that if the incident Ms. Ramirez described had occurred, it would have been “the talk of campus.” Our reporting suggests that it was.

At least seven people, including Ms. Ramirez’s mother, heard about the Yale incident long before Mr. Kavanaugh was a federal judge. Two of those people were classmates who learned of it just days after the party occurred, suggesting that it was discussed among students at the time.

We also uncovered a previously unreported story about Mr. Kavanaugh in his freshman year that echoes Ms. Ramirez’s allegation. A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. (We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier.)

Mr. Kavanaugh did not speak to us because we could not agree on terms for an interview. But he has denied Dr. Ford’s and Ms. Ramirez’s allegations, and declined to answer our questions about Mr. Stier’s account.

Yale in the 1980s was in the early stages of integrating more minority students into its historically privileged white male population. The college had admitted its first black student in the 1850s, but by Ms. Ramirez’s time there, people of color comprised less than a fifth of the student body. Women, who had been admitted for the first time in 1969, were still relative newcomers.

Mr. Kavanaugh fit the more traditional Yale mold. His father was a trade association executive, his mother a prosecutor and later a judge. They lived in tony Bethesda, Md., and owned a second home on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As a student at a prominent Jesuit all-boys school, Georgetown Prep, Mr. Kavanaugh was surrounded by the sons of powerful Washington professionals and politicians. He was an avid sports fan and known to attend an annual teenage bacchanal called “Beach Week,” where the hookups and drinking were more important than the sand and swimming.

Ms. Ramirez grew up in a split-level ranch house in working-class Shelton, Conn., perhaps best known for producing the Wiffle ball, and didn’t drink before college. Her father, who is Puerto Rican, rose through the Southern New England Telephone Company, having started as a cable splicer. Her mother, who is French, was a medical technician.

Before coming to Yale, Ms. Ramirez took pride in her parents’ work ethic and enjoyed simple pleasures like swimming in their aboveground pool, taking camping trips and riding behind her father on his snowmobile. She was studious, making valedictorian at her Catholic elementary school and excelling at her Catholic high school, St. Joseph.

She and her parents took out loans to pay for Yale, and she got work-study jobs on campus, serving food in the dining halls and cleaning dorm rooms before class reunions.

She tried to adapt to Yale socially, joining the cheerleading squad her freshman year, sometimes positioned at the pinnacle of the pyramid. But Ms. Ramirez learned quickly that although cheerleading was cool in high school, it didn’t carry the same cachet at Yale. People called her Debbie Cheerleader or Debbie Dining Hall or would start to say “Debbie does … ” playing on the 1978 porn movie “Debbie Does Dallas.” But Ms. Ramirez didn’t understand the reference.

“She was very innocent coming into college,” Liz Swisher, who roomed with Ms. Ramirez for three years at Yale and is now a physician in Seattle, later recalled. “I felt an obligation early in freshman year to protect her.”

There were many more unhappy memories of college. Fellow students made fun of the way she dropped consonants when she spoke, but also ribbed her for not being fluent in Spanish. They mocked her knockoff black-and-red Air Jordans. They even questioned her admission on the merits. “Is it because you’re Puerto Rican?” someone once asked her.

“My mom would have preferred me to go to a smaller college — looking back at it, she was right,” Ms. Ramirez said. At Yale, “they invite you to the game, but they never show you the rules or where the equipment is.”

It wasn’t until she got a call from a reporter and saw her account of Mr. Kavanaugh described as “sexual misconduct” in The New Yorker that Ms. Ramirez understood it as anything more than one of many painful encounters at Yale.

Ms. Ramirez also did not see herself as a victim of ethnic discrimination. The college campuses of the 1980s had yet to be galvanized by the identity and sexual politics that course through today’s cultural debates.

Years after graduating, however, she started volunteering with a nonprofit organization that assists victims of domestic violence — the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, or SPAN. She became a staff member for a time and continues to serve on its board. Gradually she embraced her Puerto Rican roots.

This awakening caused Ms. Ramirez to distance herself from the past. She fell out of touch with one Yale friend — who had asked Ms. Ramirez to be her daughter’s godmother — after the friend’s husband made fun of a book she was reading on racial identity. The husband, a Yale classmate, was one of the students she remembered being at the dorm party that difficult night.

“If I felt like a person in my life wasn’t going to embrace my journey or would somehow question it,” she said, “I just let them go.”

Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings were wrenching, as he strained to defend his character after Dr. Ford’s searing testimony. Thousands of miles away, Ms. Ramirez, who was never asked to testify, also found the hearings distressing. Her efforts to backstop her recollections with friends would later be cited as evidence that her memory was unreliable or that she was trying to construct a story rather than confirm one.

Ms. Ramirez’s legal team gave the F.B.I. a list of at least 25 individuals who may have had corroborating evidence. But the bureau — in its supplemental background investigation — interviewed none of them, though we learned many of these potential witnesses tried in vain to reach the F.B.I. on their own.

Two F.B.I. agents interviewed Ms. Ramirez, telling her that they found her “credible.” But the Republican-controlled Senate had imposed strict limits on the investigation. “‘We have to wait to get authorization to do anything else,’” Bill Pittard, one of Ms. Ramirez’s lawyers, recalled the agents saying. “It was almost a little apologetic.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island and member of the Judiciary Committee, later said, “I would view the Ramirez allegations as not having been even remotely investigated.” Other Democrats agreed.

Ultimately, Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, concluded, “There is no corroboration of the allegations made by Dr. Ford or Ms. Ramirez.” Mr. Kavanaugh was confirmed on Oct. 6, 2018, by a vote of 50-48, the closest vote for a Supreme Court justice in more than 130 years.

Still, Ms. Ramirez came to feel supported by the very Yale community from which she had once felt so alienated. More than 3,000 Yale women signed an open letter commending her “courage in coming forward.” More than 1,500 Yale men issued a similar letter two days later.

She also received a deluge of letters, emails and texts from strangers containing messages like, “We’re with you, we believe you, you are changing the world,” and “Your courage and strength has inspired me. The bravery has been contagious.”

College students wrote about how Ms. Ramirez had helped them find the words to express their own experiences. Medical students wrote about how they were now going to listen differently to victims of sexual violence. Parents wrote about having conversations with their children about how bad behavior can follow them through life. One father told Ms. Ramirez he was talking to his two sons about how their generation is obligated to be better.

Ms. Ramirez saved all of these notes in a decorative box that she keeps in her house, turning to them even now for sustenance. One person sent a poem titled “What Is Justice” that has resonated deeply with her.

“You can’t look at justice as just the confirmation vote,” she said. “There is so much good that came out of it. There is so much more good to come.”

This essay is adapted from the forthcoming book “The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation.”

Robin Pogrebin is a reporter on the Culture Desk, where she covers cultural institutions, the art world, architecture and other subjects. She is also the author with Kate Kelly of "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh: An Investigation." @rpogrebinFacebook

4K KYOTO [viewTV-99] 高台寺 アンドロイド観音 マインダー ”Android Kannon Mindar in Kodaiji Temple"

4K KYOTO [viewTV-99] 高台寺 アンドロイド観音 マインダー ”Android Kannon Mindar in Kodaiji Temple"

いまだ苦悩する多くの人のため、 観音菩薩は《アンドロイド観音マインダー》として、京都の高台寺にその姿を現しました。 撮影:株式会社VIEW Shot by VIEW Corporation

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 Adagio Un Poco Mosso

Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73 Adagio Un Poco Mosso

this is one of the most relaxing songs i know, nice for meditation, or just some relaxing after a long day. i think it's Performed by the London Festival Orchestra with Sylvia Capova (she plays piano..?)

Kenya's first oil sale shrouded in secrecy as State withholds details

Alpine Loyalty tanker transports Kenya’s first consignment of crude oil from Mombasa to Malaysia on August 26, 2019. President Uhuru Kenyatta pledged that the country’s oil windfall would be put to good use. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Days after the tanker carrying Kenya’s first crude oil export docked at the Malaysian port of Dickson, mystery over the manner in which the sale of the crude was carried out remains thick, with the government remaining choosy with the details to divulge.

Online tracking of the MV Celsius Riga show that it docked on Wednesday with the cargo from Mombasa for onward ferrying to China, but a number of details over just how the crude was sold remains opaque.

A day before it was revealed that the Turkana crude had been sold to a Chinese petroleum multinational at Ksh1.2 billion ($12 million), Tullow Oil had declined to name the buyer, citing ‘non-disclosure agreement.’

The firm, however, insisted there had been a bidding process and seven bidders expressed interest.

The ministry of Mining and Petroleum, which later named the winning buyer as ChemChina Limited, the oil buying arm of the Beijing-based ChemChina Petrochemicals, put the number of bidders at eight.

Who bid, and for how much, remain among the growing list of secrets kept by the government and Tullow Oil as the oil project progresses. For close to a month, Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau has been promising to disclose the oil companies but he changed his mind this week, dismissing the queries as unimportant.

“There is no opaqueness. You know the winning bid and you know the volume. What else is important?” Mr Kamau stated while dismissing the concerns of transparency in the process after weeks of promising to disclose the bidders, including asking for time to consult the firms that bid for the crude on whether they wished to be named.

The PS also said the shipment was 240,000 barrels, and not the 200,000 that had been planned, and which was announced during the flagging off.

As much as the selling price of the crude of Ksh1.2 billion ($12 million) was given prominence, it remains unclear just how much has been spent in the scheme, which was supposedly audited.

The government has also kept the details of the audit under tight wraps, with estimates from Tullow having indicated that the bill might go as high as Ksh500 billion ($5 billion) by 2022.

A coalition of 16 civil society organisations under the Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (KCSPOG), which has been pushing for the disclosure of the Production Sharing Contracts, decried the growing number of secrecies in the project after the first sale of crude was ushered into the long list of opaque dealings.

KCSPOG coordinator Charles Wanguhu told Sunday Nation that the failure to prove how the resources which are classified as public assets were disposed, is unconstitutional.

“Can you imagine if it was any other government asset that has been disposed without following that transparent procurement and disposal procedures? It would cause an uproar, but it remains unclear what exactly transpired before the crude oil was sold to ChemChin, unless full disclosure is made,” Mr Wanguhu said.

The concerns over the failure to disclose the sale process joins other deals the government has entered into without making public disclosures, including the multibillion shilling contract to build and operate the Standard Gauge Railway and the contested running of a container terminal in Mombasa by a multinational shipping line.

The government plans to ship another consignment of crude in March 2020, according to PS Kamau, who also maintains there will be a ‘fresh round of bids.’

The August 26 flag-off has been a long journey since 2013 when it was first conceived as a revenue earning journey as Kenya saw fortunes in the then $90 plus per barrel when there was an oil price boom. The crude prices would later tumble from a high of $108 in 2013 to lows of $28 in 2016.

The changes in the international market dynamics were, however, nothing compared to the changes in plans for Project Oil Kenya, as it came to be known. From plans to use the railway line to ferry the crude and revive the then struggling Rift Valley Railways to the building of a joint pipeline with Uganda, Kenya finally settled on trucking by road over hundreds of kilometres to ‘test the market’ before full field development.

KCSPOG, which had termed the project a loss-making experiment, said it remains unclear what the shipping of the crude to the overseas market has achieved with all the required data on the qualities of the oil having been obtained even before EOPS started.

According to Mr Wanguhu, the scheme had overlooked the long-term goal for the Kenyan crude which has plans to pipe the oil to Lamu from Lokichar. This essentially means the current plan, which has seen the government spend billions in setting up storage facilities in Mombasa, may go to waste once the full field development through a pipeline commences.

“Lokichar-Mombasa route is not the proposed route for the full field development. In the full field development, the proposed pipeline is from Lokichar to Lamu. If, as expected, the number of loads to be exported via Mombasa are 1,000,000 barrels of crude upon completion, the refurbishments at the refinery shall serve no purpose for the full field development, and while the trucks may have a limited use for transportation of goods related to the development, upon completion of the Early Oil Scheme, they will be redundant, especially if you add the push to transport all goods by SGR,” Mr Wanguhu said.

There are about 100 trucks currently ferrying the crude to the coast with more plans underway to refurbish storage tanks to hold the waxy crude which has to be kept under heated conditions. It is not even clear how long the trucking will continue since the exact date of start of the EOPs has been a subject of dispute following the July 2018 interruptions when the project started as the local communities demanded to be involved in the project.

Tullow has been blaming the government for the failure to make its deals public.

UGANDA: Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) - COMMUNICATION Module - Interview tips

Remember that Omar is gonna edit all this into in the final material he sends out.
To register for VLA and learn from volunteers dedicated to EAC youth, contact Omar Kalingye Nnyago.
This concludes our Communication Module. 
The information I provide below also applies to all those who must present their cases for funding.  Remember IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.  
Sunday, January 24, 2016Job interview tips for our new graduates - #Uganda
So you sent out a killer CV and get called for an interview. On this one I want to tell you that I sent out 100 CVs by snail mail and these days you can do it because you can email them. I got 4 replies. One company told me that Canada was going through a recession and could not hire. The other 3 called me in for interviews. So you make a very big mistake to think that you can send out 5 applications and lament about not being hired.
There are many types of interviews and here is a link to give you an idea of some of them. It is not conclusive, just some types.
Let me address the Behaviour based interview which many good employers use.
Do your homework prior to the interview. Dress sharp. Women must not wear skimpy clothes showing their chest or legs. Men must be clean cut. Wear a suit (red, orange, pink are called shouting colours so make your suit non intimidating. Black, blue, beige and brown are more acceptable. You live in Uganda so beige and brown works better for women. However for men, any colour is okay. If you do not own a suit, borrow one or rent it. Owino has some too.
The reason why you need to do your homework is to learn about the company which is going to interview you. Also prepare 2 printed copies of your CV and cover letter. The interviewer might say “I do not have a copy of your CV, do you by any chance happen to have a copy?”. You hand one over. This shows organisational skills and preparedness.
Some typical questions on a Behavior based interview:
1: So tell me about yourself.
Answer: I am 24 years old. I was born in Bududa. I really need a job. WRONG!
Better answer: I am graduating from the University of Toronto with a Masters in Information Science. I have a bachelors in Business from Trent University. I worked as a Computer Advisor while in both universities and I am looking forward to how I can contribute to your company and grow with your company.
2: How do you describe yourself as a fit for this job?
Answer: I work hard and I really need this job. My parents have nothing and I need to help them. WRONG!
Better answer: I have taken many computer programming courses and even helped other students in this field. I look forward to working in an environment which can help me to get better at what I have learned, a company that will give me more learning opportunities and the environment which will make me contribute fully from what I have learned.
3: Tell me about a time when you were faced with conflicting situations and how you resolved it.
Answer: I cannot think of such a thing but I am sure I can handle. WRONG!
Better answer: While working on a project in a team, one of our team mates had a death in the family and had to go home. We all chipped in to finish the project. The conflict was him not being there to do his project but we had to finish the project on time in order to get our marks so we had to all work together.
4: What are your weaknesses?
Answer: I have a hard time waking up so I liked the job ad which said that you have flextime (arrive whenever you want). WRONG!
Better answer: I tend to focus too much and work long and hard sometimes forgetting to rest or eat. I will however work on this weakness because all work makes John a bore.
5: Can you summarise your strengths in one sentence?
Answer: Let me think about it for a bit. WRONG!
Better answer: I am a continuous learner, hard working, team player and always looking to the future and its possibilities.
6: Do you have any questions for me?
Answer: How much do you pay for this job? WRONG! Never ever discuss salary in the first interview. Most companies already have a pay scale for each job.
Better answer: I read in the news papers that your company is going through some restructuring and I am hoping you can tell me about that.
Notice that all the above has touched on presentation, preparedness, communication, organisational skills, team work, project management and delivery and knowing about the company.
Martha Leah Nangalama
Moncton, Canada
If you need a sample of a 1 page CV since you are just a graduate, please request by emailing me.
The writer has experience in coaching people for interviews.
You can find many tips on CVs, Social Media guidelines, interviews, job search, etc. on my blog.