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Kenya Launches New Commuter Rail Service

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Kenya has launched a new commuter rail service in the capital, Nairobi to deliver faster journeys and increased passenger capacity. Two new stations have also been built.

Kenya railways says at least one and a half million persons commute to the city’s central business district everyday by various modes of transport.

New diesel mobile units and commuter rail buses will serve passengers on the revamped rail network.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, said at the launch on Tuesday, the rail service should reduce over-reliance on road transport.

He also said it would be extended to the country’s main airport within a year.

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Two Million Fall Into Poverty In Kenya

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A report by the World Bank says two million Kenyans fell below the poverty line between March and June this year.

Within the period, the rate of unemployment in east Africa’s largest economy increased from 5% to 21%.

This widened the number of people living below poverty line by 4% to two million. Poverty line is $1.90 per day

Factory workers and those working in tourism and agriculture are reported especially affected.

Kenya’s debt stands at 65.6% of the gross domestic product. The country’s tax revenues have reduced but debt servicing requirements have increased.

The national treasury is in the process of seeking another $2.3bn from the international monetary fund to help fund the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Suspected Boko Haram Attack Kills Four Chadian Soldiers

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Four soldiers have been reported killed in south-west Chad when a boat exploded. Dozens others were said to have been injured when an explosive device placed at the bottom of the boat exploded.  The device was thought to have been an improvised bomb.

The blast happened on Tuesday night near Ngouboua, around 25km from the Nigerian border.

A district administrator said authorities are trying to find out if this is a new technique of Boko Haram.

The Boko Haram insurgency began in north-eastern Nigeria more than a decade ago. The UN says violence has spread to neighbouring countries, killing more than 30,000 persons and forcing two million from their homes.

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Ethiopia ‘Begins Final Stage’ Of Tigray Assault

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Ethiopia`s government has progressed with its offensive operation on the northern Tigray region. Many countries, Africa Union, European Union and the United Nations have all called for de-escalation but prime minister Abiy Ahmed has said federal troops have begun the final phase of assault operation on the northern Tigray state.

At least 600 persons are reported to have been killed in the ongoing conflict that has lasted three weeks. Thousands more have abandoned their homes and fled to neighbouring Sudan.

In a statement, prime minister Abiy Ahmed said “great care” would be taken to protect the residents of the region’s capital, Mekelle, from harm as his troops head there. But he also warned residents to stay indoors.

He said thousands of Tigrayan forces and militia had surrendered in compliance to the 72 hours ultimatum. Tigray officials are yet to respond to the claim. It has been difficult to verify claims from either side because of a communications blackout. Abiy had given Tigray forces a deadline to peacefully surrender which ended on Wednesday.

Abiy Ahmed has continued to reject international intervention in Ethiopia’s internal conflict and said the Tigray situation would be resolved in accordance to laws and international obligations.

The un had asked the Ethiopian government to protect civilians as it expresses fears about their safety and welfare.

Meanwhile, Africa Union mission has arrived in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, to try to mediate between the federal government and the northern Tigray state after three weeks of conflict.

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