Thursday, October 23, 2008

United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) News

23 October 2008

· UN Deputy Envoy, Mr. Jordan Ryan, has assured Liberians that the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) is committed to achieving the broader agenda of peace building, consolidating the rule of law, and strengthening national institutions by providing support to the Liberian government.
· Mr. Ryan made the statement when he awarded UN peacekeeping medals to 300 officers of the Ukrainian Aviation Unit for their contribution to peace and stability in Liberia. Commending the peacekeepers for their support, the UN Deputy Envoy said the peacekeepers’ contribution to UNMIL is befitting of Ukraine’s legacy in UN peacekeeping.
·“Liberia and the UN will always remember your contribution in maintaining peace and security in this country, because your deployment has ensured the safe transportation of colleagues, cargo and supplies throughout Liberia,” Mr. Ryan noted. The DSRSG paid special tribute to the Contingent Commander, Colonel Taras Shliukharchuck, under whose able leadership the officers have performed satisfactorily.
·Since their arrival in Liberia in January 2004, the members of the Ukrainian Aviation Unit have flown mission personnel and VIPs, delivered cargo, organized medical flights, and provided observation flights and air escorts to force movement totalling 27,550 flight hours.

IMF Holds Closed Door Meeting With “Embattled” President Pro-Temp
(The News, The Inquirer, The Analyst, Daily Observer)

· In the wake of leadership crisis at the Liberian Senate, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Wednesday held closed door meeting with the ‘suspended’ President Pro-tempore Isaac W. Nyenabo at the Capitol. Yesterday’s meeting between the IMF delegation and Pro-tempore Nyenabo lasted for half an hour.
·The meeting followed a letter addressed to Senator Nyenabo which was dated October 21, 2008 requesting a meeting with him at his office. The meeting was intended to discuss IMF program development and the status of debt relief.
· According to the IMF Resident Representative, Mr. Michael Tharkur, the delegation was in the country to conduct Liberia’s Article IV Consultation, and the first review of performance under the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility (PRGF). Speaking to reporters following the meeting with Senator Nyenabo Wednesday, Mr. Tharkur said discussion centered on the IMF program development and status of debt relief. The IMF Resident Representative praised the Liberian government for the tremendous efforts in its economy recovery program.

President Sirleaf Addresses White House Summit
(Daily Observer, The News, The Inquirer, The Analyst, The Informer, National Chronicle)

· The media reports that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on development partners to see Liberia as a “Laboratory for Innovation”. President Sirleaf said Liberia was well on its way to rebuilding institutions of government and welcoming the return of a vibrant civil society, a dynamic market-based economy and an open press.
· She pointed out that Liberia’s progress has been possible because the country was out of conflict situation and is being seen an emerging democracy in Africa. President Sirleaf made the statement during a White House Summit on International Development on Tuesday.
· The summit was attended by U.S. President George W. Bush, First Lady Laura Bush, Secretary of State Rice, U.S. government officials and members of the diplomatic corps. Speaking on the theme “The Importance of Country Ownership and Good Governance”, the Liberian leader recalled that during the period of war, Liberia was associated with terminology like “child soldiers,” “blood diamonds” and warlords.

Liberia Battles Unemployment - Launches “Cash for Work” Employ Scheme
(The Inquirer, Daily Observer, The News, The Monitor)

· Vice President Joseph Boakai will today launch the Liberia “Cash for Work” temporary employment project.
· The project is intended to provide income support to vulnerable households in rural and urban areas.
· Under the project 17,000 persons will be employed for a period of two months over a two year period nationwide.
·The Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment(LACE) is to implement the project
· A release said beneficiaries of the project are expected to engage in simple work in response to the needs of their communities.
· Government and the World Bank signed an agreement in June this year to support Liberia in response to the global food price crisis.

Africa Will Have It Tough Under Obama – Two U.S. Resource Personnel Predict
(The News)

· Two American resource personnel have predicted that Africa will have it very tough under the Democratic Party’s candidate Barack Obama’s presidency. “It will not be all love, love; it will be tough love (for Africa)”, they said. Journalist Eduardo Cue, a stringer correspondent for the U.S. News and World Report and Steven Rudy Ekovich, Associate Professor in the American University of Paris’ International and Comparative Politics Department made the prediction Wednesday during a Digital Video Conference (dvc) involving representatives of some of Liberian political parties, university students and journalists. The dvc was held live between the American Embassies in Paris where the two panellists are based and Monrovia where the audience was. Speaking under the theme “United States 2008 General Elections”, Cue and Ekovich said opinion polls have put Obama ahead of his Republican rival John McCain. But in response to a question as to how an Obama presidency would impact Liberia, both men pointed out that although Obama’s ancestors are (partially) Africans, Obama is an American, and as an American President, Obama will protect and put America’s interest above all other considerations. Journalist Cue and Associate Professor Ekovich said America’s policy for Africa will “not change; neither Obama nor McCain presidency will change American policy toward Africa; reading both Obama’s and McCain’s plan for Africa is like reading the same script twice.”

Radio summary

Information Minister on Progress Made by Government after 1000 Days in Office
· In an interview, Information Minster Lawrence Bropleh has admitted that everything is not well in the country but that government has made some progress in addressing the plight of Liberians.
· Speaking as government celebrates one thousand days in power, Minister Bropleh said the salary of civil servants was increased following the identification of more than 17,000 ghost names on the civil servant payroll.
· He also spoke of reforms in the mineral industry with the setting-up of the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative and said government was committed to the fight against corruption.
· The government of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power in 2006, with a promise to improve the living condition of Liberians and fight corruption.
(Also reported on Truth F.M. and ELBC)

Final Argument in US$500M Cocaine Cast Takes Place Today
· Final arguments in the US$500 million cocaine case were due to have taken place today at criminal court “C” at the Temple of Justice.
· It case involves nine Ghanaians arrested onboard the “Blue Atlantic” with 92 barrels of cocaine.
· Defense and Prosecution lawyers will try to convince jurors hearing the case to arrive at a verdict in their favour.
· The prosecution during the trial said it found that the vessel has been engaged with drug trafficking across West Africa and beyond
· French Navy troops arrested the nine Ghanaians and their vessel in an area where they found the cocaine floating at sea but the Ghanaians denied any involvement.
(Also reported on Truth F.M. and ELBC)

TRC Accused of Bad Labour Practice
· A group of aggrieved employees of the Truth Commission has accused the commission of human rights violation and bad labour practices.
·Two spokesmen of the aggrieved workers, Mohammed Cammue and John Toe said the commission terminated their contracts without giving them severance benefits.
· They also alleged the TRC has refused to pay them their transportation allowances in the tone of US$200 each for the period of seven months.
· Cammue and Toe further explained all attempts to prevail on the TRC to provide them their just benefits failed as the commission remains insensitive.
· The TRC aggrieved employees said they have since taken the commission to the Labor Court for redress.
· When contacted, TRC’s Media Officer Richmond Anderson said the commission was prepared to settle the aggrieved employees but the matter was in court.

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