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Press Review: The day’s top stories

Today, Wednesday, November 9, President William Ruto is expected to host South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa at State House Nairobi for bilateral talks.

Information, Communications, and Technology CS, Eliud Owalo will today launch a free internet WiFi hotspot at the City Market to facilitate digital commerce in Nairobi.

Here is what is making headlines.

KQ pilots agree to return to work

The Kenya Airline Pilots Association called off their strike notice on Tuesday night after a ruling by the Employment and Labour Relations Court ordering the pilots to resume work.

In a statement, Kalpa withdrew their strike notice and urged their members to resume duty today, November 9, 2022, at 6 am.

“Members are also urged to report to the Executive Council any incident of victimisation or disciplinary action that may be taken contrary to the court’s orders,” Kalpa said.

The pilots association said they regretted the disruption and inconvenience to KQ guests and urged their members to immediately restore normalcy to operations.

The pilots began their strike on Saturday, November 5. despite a court order barring the strike.

17 counties on the spot over development spending

A report by Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o for the financial year 2021/22 notes that some 17 counties recorded an absorption rate of less than 50 per cent of their development allocations.

According to Nyakang’o, the less absorption of development funds is hurting momentum in the execution of crucial plans on roads, water, agriculture, and health.

The 17 counties are Garissa (29.3 per cent), Nairobi (29.3 per cent), Kisumu (31.5 per cent), Machakos (32.6 per cent), Taita-Taveta (33 per cent), Narok (33.4 per cent), Vihiga (33.5 per cent), Busia (33.8 per cent), Kilifi (35.4 per cent) and Mombasa (37 per cent).

Also on the list are Turkana (39.5 per cent), Nyandarua (39.8 per cent), Murang’a (41.7 per cent), Baringo (43.9 per cent), Bungoma (44 per cent), Kisii (46.1 per cent) and Laikipia (47.6 per cent).

As of June 30, according to the CoB, only Mandera, Kakamega and Marsabit attained an absorption rate above 70 per cent at 73.4 per cent and 70.8 per cent, respectively.

“The low absorption of the development budget indicated that counties did not prioritise the implementation of development projects in FY 2021/22.

London Distillers win KES 3 Billion tax dispute with KRA

In a KES 3 billion tax dispute with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), London Distillers (K) Ltd. prevailed after the alcohol producer’s appeal was accepted by a five-member tribunal.

The tax appeals panel overturned the taxman’s demand because KRA had not met the Evidence Act’s requirements for proving charges of tax evasion against the manufacturer.

The tribunal stated that it was not persuaded that an input-output analysis of bottles, as claimed by KRA, without taking into account actual production data at the facility, was a solid foundation for increasing the tax assessment.

“The tribunal is also aware of the glaring fact that in as much as the respondent (KRA) has computed an assessment based on bottles purchased and used, the respondent has neither stated how the product that was supposedly packaged in the said bottles was produced nor whether the said product was sold in the market with or without excise stamps,” the tribunal chaired by Eric Wafula said.

The taxman said it conducted investigations into the manufacturers’ tax affairs between 2019 and 2020, focusing on banking, excise stamps, and bottles.

Sports

Awarding Qatar World Cup rights was a mistake, Sepp Blatter

The decision to give Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup was a “mistake,” according to former Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

When Qatar was given the opportunity to host the event in 2010, Blatter, 86, served as the head of the organisation that governs world football.

For its attitude on same-sex relationships, human rights record, and treatment of migrant labour, the Gulf state has drawn criticism.

Blatter claimed that his statement that the tournament “should not go” to Qatar in 2022 was “correct” at the time.

Blatter said in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that “football and the World Cup are too large for it” and that Qatar is “too little of a country” to host the event.

The Qatar World Cup is being held from November 20 to December 18. It is the first time in the 92-year history of the competition that it has been held in the Middle East and during the winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

When Russia was chosen to host the 2018 event, the Fifa executive committee voted 14-8 to award Qatar the right to host the tournament in place of the United States 12 years prior.

Blatter says he voted for the United States and blames then-Uefa president Michel Platini for swinging the vote in Qatar’s favour.

“It was a bad choice and I was responsible for that as president at the time,” he said.

“Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his [Uefa] team, the World Cup went to Qatar rather than the United States. It’s the truth.”

Curry inspires Warriors to end five-game winless strike

Golden State defeated Sacramento, ending a five-game losing streak, as Stephen Curry scored a season-high 47 points, including seven three-pointers.

“Steph was breathtaking,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “He’s one of the greatest players of all time. He plays well on so many nights. this even seemed like something special for him.”

For the Warriors, Andrew Wiggins scored 25 points and Klay Thompson added 16 before Curry sealed the victory with two free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining.

Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, and Wiggins all returned to the lineup after missing Friday’s game against New Orleans. Thompson will not play on consecutive nights in 2019 and 2020 due to anterior cruciate ligament and achilles tendon problems. Green is also restricted due to a back ailment experienced last season. Curry was resting due to elbow pain, while Wiggins was resting due to a bad left foot.

Lauri Markkanen scored 23 points and Jordan Clarkson added 22 as Utah defeated Los Angeles for the second time in four days.

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