China envoy urges EU to develop its ‘strategic autonomy’

first_imgBRUSSELS (AP) — China’s European Union envoy is urging the 27-nation bloc to deepen its ties with his country even further and says he hopes the EU’s desire for “strategic autonomy” will guide its foreign policy in the future. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner and they are also economic competitors. But Chinese Ambassador Zhang Ming said Wednesday that China-EU ties have “stood the test of time.” The term “strategic autonomy” has sown confusion over Europe’s intentions. Some see it as a by-word for acting independently from the United States, others for greater trade protectionism or even for breaking away from the NATO military alliance. EU foreign ministers are still trying to establish exactly what it means.last_img read more

Tree planting tips

first_imgStep 2: Prepare the site. If there are no other trees nearby, the planting area soil should be tilled. If there are trees within 50 feet, cultivate soil carefully just in the area where the new tree will be planted. If there are trees all around, check to make sure the new tree can get at least three hours of full sun every day in the summer, and then do not till or cultivate the soil widely. Any groundcovers or grass should be pulled back many feet from the planting area. If other plants are in full sun, they will compete with the new tree for water and essential soil elements. Keep other plants away from the planting site for many years. Getting trees started correctly makes all the difference in the world for healthy trees. Inserting a tree properly into your landscape’s ecological system is critical. Fortunately, the best way to plant a tree involves only a few steps. Step 1: Get a good start. Trees mirror the sites in which they live. Poor sites mean poor trees. Sites baked by the sun and surrounded by buildings, pavements and desolate soil are poor choices. Choose a large space with plenty of room for growth. Look out for underground or overhead obstacles. Give trees plenty of open soil surface area in which to thrive.A tree site must allow for plenty of water drainage. Water must drain away from roots or your new tree will sit in a soil bathtub and drown. Step 3: Scoop out a planting saucer, not a hole. Many people make a terrible mistake when planting a new tree – they dig a hole. Trees dumped in a hole, buried too deep and drowned will die. Always scoop out a shallow saucer in the soil. A tree-planting saucer should be three to five times wider than the extent of new tree roots. The saucer should be one to two inches shallower than the depth of the actual root ball. Trees should be planted high in the landscape in a wide saucer void of gavel, sand or any other soil amendments. All the soil removed from the saucer should be broken up, crumbled and saved. Only the soil that came out of the saucer should go back into the saucer. Do not mix it with any other materials. By Kim CoderUniversity of Georgia Step 4: Gently place the tree. Remove all plastic, paper, burlap, wires, ties and straps from the new tree. Some of these materials, if left around the tree, will damage the tree. Packaged soil should be gently pulled away from the roots as much as possible, but not rigorously stripped or cleaned off.Place the tree in the middle of the shallow planting saucer. Always lift a tree by the root ball, never by the stem. Keep the stem straight up.Use your hands and fingers to gently push in soil around and under roots. Do not twist, bend or break the roots. After backfilling and gently firming the soil around the roots and over the tree base, add water. Step 5: Finish strong. Place a thin layer, no more than two inches thick, of a low density, organic mulch well beyond the edge of the saucer. Water the whole area, making sure soil is not washed away, exposing new roots. After the first site-wide watering, water often over the root ball area. Do not prune or fertilize until the tree has adjusted to its site. New trees planted correctly will be low maintenance, healthy, long-term assets to any site. With just a small amount of care and maintenance, they will continue to be a proud investment in any landscape.last_img read more

CS Kagwe downplays claims that COVID-19 funds have been misappropriated

first_imgHealth Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has downplayed claims that funds meant to fight the coronavirus pandemic have been misappropriated. Health CS Kagwe while appearing before the Parliament Health Committee chaired by Murang’a Woman Representative Sabina Chege said the Ministry had only received Ksh 23 billion which accounts for 15 % of the total money allocated by the government.Mutahi maintained that the funds allocated to his ministry had been prudently spent and that he was ready to account for every coin. Kagwe dismissed claims that the COVID-19 billions can’t be accounted for as built on “theories and innuendos that are just fiction.”Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153 “Reports from media are not part of proceedings of this House. We are not going to rely on innuendo or newspaper reports but a report by investigative agencies,” he said in reference to an expose by a local media outlet.Also Read  KUPPET calls on parents to prepare for early reopeningOn KEMSA, and the senior management suspensions, the CS said the activities which sparked the probe have been ongoing on for a long time.“I, therefore, can’t comment on ongoing investigations.”Kagwe said the Health ministry has little say on what goes on at the agencies under its umbrella.“The ministry does not micromanage institutions. It only comes in at the policy level, and not micro level. The Kemsa probe will be carried out and in due course, Kenyans will know the results.”Also Read   Time to re-open schools in Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEFWhile breaking down the figures, Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache also noted that there were 464 quarantine facilities with 11,952 beds in the country and only 15 counties had met the 300-bed capacity requirement.PS Mochache also said Ksh 3 billion of the ministry’s supplementary budget is what was disbursed for treatment to the various facilities across the country among them Coast General Hospital (Ksh 500 million), JOOTRH (Ksh 400 million), Kitui hospital (Ksh 300 million), Mandera hospital (Ksh 300 million), KNH (Ksh 600 million), MTRH (Ksh 400 million) and KU Hospital (Ksh 500 million.)The PS added that MOH received Ksh 1.5 billion from Treasury which it released to KEMSA for the provision of testing kits and reagents.Also Read  Uhuru extends curfew ahead of his address Tuesday next weekThe ministry then received another Ksh 300 million which it also transferred to KEMSA for the procurement of reusable masks to vulnerable people.Treasury yet again disbursed a further Ksh 200 million which was meant for operations in quarantine facilities.PS Mochache added that the ministry received Ksh 5 billion from the national government which was disbursed to all the 47 counties as conditional grants.“As MOH released the funds, it communicated accordingly to counties that the money was expected to be spent on counties to prepare emergency response plan, building capacity for isolation and quarantine support and training of health workers,” she said.last_img read more