Speech: Kenya’s democracy is at a crossroad: Article signed off by Heads of Missions

first_imgKenya is special. As diplomats living here, we see and admire daily the determination and creativity of the Kenyan people; the energy and innovation of Kenyan business; and the inspiring democratic journey that Kenya has made since independence. These and Kenya’s many other achievements have made it a hub for the region and indeed for the continent and the world.Like all democratic countries, including our own, Kenya’s democracy is not perfect. But it can and should remain a source of strength, and an inspiration to all of us.That is why, as friends, we are deeply concerned by recent political developments in Kenya. Both the government and the opposition have taken steps that have undermined Kenya’s institutions, and driven wedges among its citizens.A father of multi-party democracy has made unsubstantiated claims about elections and unilaterally sworn himself as “President”, in deliberate disregard of the Constitution for which he so proudly fought.The government, which should be the guarantor of liberty and freedom of expression for all under the law, has shut down television stations, seized the passports of opposition leaders, refused to obey court orders, and deported a prominent opposition lawyer. These events follow two elections that left many Kenyans dead and many more livelihoods disrupted.For friends of Kenya, alarm bells are ringing.The ambitions of politicians are fundamentally weakening institutions, and breaking the bonds of shared citizenship, which Kenyans have built up patiently over decades.We are concerned not because we presume to dictate how Kenyans should regulate their country’s affairs – we don’t. But as fellow democracies, we know our freedoms and rights were hard won, and how carefully we must cherish, strengthen and protect them if our nations are to thrive and prosper.For democracy to work, leaders must govern justly on behalf of all citizens. When citizens disagree with the decisions leaders make, they dissent peacefully. Opposition provides a check on governmental power. A free media and civil society keep the public informed and facilitate dialogue, and that dialogue improves the policies and programs that leaders deliver to their citizens.Institutions and Constitutions are not abstract things of interest only to lawyers. They are the only way to ensure that everyone can get justice regardless of gender, religion, wealth or personal connections; can build a better future for their family; and can have their voice heard in the decisions that affect their lives.Today, Kenya stands at a fork in the road along its democratic journey. Its leaders need to take the right path for Kenya to succeed.We strongly urge the government to comply fully with court orders and follow legal process in appealing or contesting them. Freedom of expression, freedom of the media, and all civil rights need to be protected. When individuals are arrested, their rights should be respected and due process followed. Citizens have the responsibility to protest non-violently, and security services should avoid unnecessary or excessive use of force. Whatever the conduct of others, the government has a special duty to protect democratic institutions and adhere to the Constitution and the rule of law at all times.Meanwhile, the opposition must accept the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the election of October 26. Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto are the legitimate President and Deputy President of Kenya. The opposition needs to accept this as the basis for the dialogue that it and many Kenyans want. Stoking and threatening violence are not acceptable, nor are extra-Constitutional measures to seize power.As partners, we will do all we can to help; but only Kenyans can resolve the country’s problems. We again call for an immediate, sustained, open, and transparent National Conversation involving all Kenyans, to build national cohesion, address long-standing issues, and resolve the deep-seated divisions that the electoral process has exacerbated.We are investing in Kenya and have great hope for the future. But Kenyans must summon now all their strength and resolve, reaffirm the Constitution, and put the country back on the path to democracy, prosperity, and security.This op-ed was signed off by:Nic Hailey High Commissioner for the United KingdomRobert F. GodecAmbassador of the United StatesJutta Frasch Ambassador of GermanyAlison ChartresHigh Commissioner for AustraliaSara Hradecky High Commissioner for CanadaMette KnudsenAmbassador of DenmarkAnna Jardfelt Ambassador of SwedenVictor Conrad RønnebergAmbassador of NorwayFrans Makken Ambassador of the NetherlandsTarja Fernández Ambassador of FinlandKim RamonedaChargé d’Affaires a.i, Francelast_img read more

Week educates students on positive body image

first_imgNext week, Saint Mary’s annual Love Your Body Week will educate students on how to maintain a healthy and self-accepting lifestyle in connection with National Eating Disorders Week. Sophomore Kelly Gutrich, co-chair of Love Your Body Week, said 2011 alumna Christina Grasso inspired the planning committee to incorporate eating disorder awareness into the Week’s events. Grasso co-founded the New York chapter of Project HEAL: Help to Eat, Accept and Live, which promotes self-acceptance and positive body image. Grasso said members of Project HEAL work as mentors and consultants to diminish society’s obsession with body image, which is a common cause of eating disorders. Only one in 10 of the approximately 24 million Americans suffering from eating disorders receives the necessary treatment, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. As an undergraduate at the College, Grasso helped begin Love Your Body Week in 2011 and spoke about her own battle with anorexia at one of the first events. “I am more than willing to get a little uncomfortable in front of a crowd disclosing parts of my own experience for the good of others,” Grasso said. “I battled an eating disorder for 10 years, and it gives great meaning to my journey to know that I have made the lives of others even slightly easier.” This year’s events related to Project HEAL’s mission will begin Monday with a panel discussion titled “Biting Back” at 7 p.m. in Madeleva Hall. Assistant professor of phsychology Bettina Spencer and 2011 alumna Gina Storti will speak Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Vander Vennet Theatre in the Student Center, presenting their research in a talk titled “Love your body? Body image at SMC compared to ND.” On Wednesday, assistant professor of communication studies Terri Russ will lecture on “Beautiful Body Battles, Why Are We All Chasing Unicorns?” at 7 p.m. in Carroll Auditorium in Madeleva Hall. These events are in keeping with the Project HEAL mission to promote positive mental and physical approaches to body image among women. “As an organization, we strive to raise awareness about eating disorders and raise funds to provide scholarships to send applicants to eating disorder treatment,” Grasso said.  Grasso said Project HEAL assists women who cannot afford treatment for these disorders. This treatment costs between $500 and $2,000 per day and is not usually covered by health care, according to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health. “Since our launch five years ago, we have raised over $200,000 and sent seven applicants to treatment, all of whom are doing well and reclaiming their lives” Grasso said. “Inpatient and residential treatment for eating disorders are often imperative for survival and recovery. Visit theprojectheal.org for more information on Project HEAL. For more information on Love Your Body Week, visit saintmarys.edu/love-your-body-weeklast_img read more

Magic Mountain opens ownership to skiers

first_imgMagic Mountain Ski and Snowboard Resort,Magic Mountain, a classic ski area located in southern Vermont, has announced that it is officially selling shares of the mountain effectively offering ownership opportunities for skiers, snowboarders and enthusiasts of the mountain. As the second ski resort in New England to ever offer ownership to its pass holders and customers, Magic Mountain shareholders will enjoy an equity position in the mountain, season pass discounts, reduced ticket prices, and voting rights in operational decisions.  Modeled after the Mad River Glen ski area co-op, the opportunity for individual ownership aims to increase customer loyalty, and fund significant upgrades to the resort. After reviewing the success of Mad River Glen, we realized that we had a tremendous opportunity to allow loyal fans of Magic Mountain to invest in something special and participate in saving and reviving a classic Vermont ski area, said Jim Sullivan, President, Magic Mountain.   In addition, this offering makes perfect business sense from a capital growth perspective in this current economy where it is difficult to garner support from large investors.  This opportunity brings the dream of owning a piece of a ski mountain and having a say in how it is run to individual ski enthusiasts and in particular those who love Magic and what it represents.Magic Mountain aims to raise $3 million and invest it in the snow-making system, as well as upgrades to lifts, grooming equipment and the main lodge.  The resort is now issuing 1,000 shares priced at $3,000 per share, which will enable the setting up of an LLC whereby the new share holders will own 60 percent of the mountain.To purchase shares of Magic Mountain and review the current business plan, click here: http://www.magicmtn.com/alpineupdates.php(link is external)Magic Mountain is also hosting an open meeting for anyone interested in being a shareholder on Sunday, July 5.  To learn more about this meeting, click here: http://www.magicmtn.com/event.php?day=05&month=07&year=2009(link is external)About Magic MountainFounded by Swiss born ski Instructor, Hans Thorner, in 1961, Magic Mountain is a classic southern Vermont ski mountain located in Londonderry, VT.  Known for its challenging terrain, old-style slopes and woods/glade skiing in a low-key, family setting, Magic Mountain is the ideal ski destination for purist skiers and snowboarders.   To learn more go to: http://www.magicmtn.com/(link is external) Source: Magic Mountain. LONDONDERRY, VT June 29, 2009last_img read more

Joint Animal Services: Collie Mix Dog and Silver Tabby Cat Are…

first_imgDogHello, I am so excited to tell you about me! I am a 1-2 year old male Collie mix! I love to play! I love to run! I love to jump! I especially love to play fetch! I am very playful and full of energy! I am smart and I even know sit! I might need some time and patients to get past my excitement, but it’s worth it to see my loving side! I came into Joint Animal Services as a stray and I can’t wait to find my forever home! My # is 80011! You should totally come down and meet me! I would love to meet you! You could call 360-352-2510 to get info also! Thanks for reading about me! Facebook6Tweet0Pin1Submitted By: Joint Animal ServicesCatHello, I am a male grey and silver tabby cat. I am a fun cat to have around. I enjoy people and am always ready to be petted or to play. I am very handsome with grey and silver strips and bright yellow eyes. I am very friendly and look forward to sharing my love and fun with my family. I came into Joint Animal Services as a stray and am looking for a forever home. Come down and meet me or call 360-352-2510 to get more info about me. My # is 79984.last_img read more