Saturday, May 22, 2010

United Nations News

Source: UNMIL daily news summary

UNMIL Boss to Lecture at IBB
[The Inquirer]

• The Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) of the United Nations in Liberia, Ms. Ellen Margrethe Løj has accepted an invitation from the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Liberia to serve as a visiting lecturer during this current semester.
• Ms. Løj will bring her experience to the IBB Graduate School stemming from over 33 years of experience.
• For the first time in the history of the graduate school, someone with the esteem of the SRSG who currently heads the UN Mission in Liberia is a visiting lecturer at the school.
• Her first lecture brought together professors, students from other universities to come and witness first hand Liberia’s SRSG lecture on UN Peacekeeping Operations: Some Lessons from the UN Mission in Liberia.

Local News on Liberian issues

Threshold Bill Case Partially Withdrawn From High Court
[The Inquirer]

• The group of lawmakers who took the Legislature to the Supreme Court on the threshold bill has withdrawn their case.
• The decision followed days of consultations with the complaining lawmakers.
• Senate President Pro-tempore Cletus Wotorson made the announcement Thursday during the sitting of the Senate.
• The lawsuit by the lawmakers was in connection with what they considered the illegal treatment given the first veto by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on the threshold bill.
• Meanwhile, Senator Wotorson says discussions are ongoing with the other complainant, the Concerned Setor Youth to withdraw the case.
• The case by the group represented by one James Doe has already been forwarded to the full bench of the Supreme Court with a conference slated for May 28.
• The group is contesting the 2008 census which it claimed was poorly conducted and must not be used to set the threshold for constituency representations.

Government Condemns Ex-AFL Widows’ Protest Action
[Heritage]

• The government has condemned the protest action by aggrieved ex-Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) widows in Monrovia, demanding unpaid benefits supposedly owed them by the government.
• The ex-AFL widows, in what seems to be an unwavering protest action, are demanding over US$5 million in unpaid benefits to their deceased husbands.
• The women have been staging sit-in-action for the last two days at major streets and intercessions in Monrovia to draw the attention of the government and the international community.
• But at a news conference Thursday Deputy Information Minister for Public Affairs, Jerolinmek M. Piah, said the action by the aggrieved ex-AFL widows was obstructing the normal flow of traffic thus infringing on the rights to movement of other people.
• “We want to condemn the action of our mothers and sisters. Their action to block traffic is in violation of other people’s rights,” Piah said.

NEC Releases Timetable for River Gee By-election
[Front Page Africa, In profile Daily, The Informer, The News, Public Agenda, Daily Observer]

• The National Elections Commission (NEC) has released the official timetable for the pending River Gee County District Number Three by-election.
• The release of the timetable followed a notification the Commission received from the House of Representatives declaring a vacancy in the House as a result of the death of River Gee Representative Albert Toe.
• NEC Chairman James Fromayan told a news conference Thursday, the River Gee by-election is scheduled for Tuesday July 20 and announcement of official results from the first round would take place on July 23rd while a possible run-off date would be set for August 3rd, 2010.
• According to Mr. Fromayan, individuals wishing to contest the process would begin filing their nomination letters from May 27 to June 10.
• The NEC Chairman said replacement of lost or damaged voter cards is June 12-22, while political campaign would begin June 26 to July 18, 2010.
• The release of the election timetable was done simultaneously with the issuance of the writ of elections as required under section 4.3 of the new Election Law of 1986.

CDC Caucus Dismisses Merger Speculations
[Front Page Africa, Heritage, Daily Observer]

• The Legislative Caucus of the opposition Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) has ruled out any possibility of a merger with the ruling Unity Party (UP).
• The Chairman of the Caucus said the CDC as a grassroots political party will not join the UP under any circumstance.
• Montserrado Representative Rufus Neufville made the statement in reaction to reports that the party has merged with the ruling UP describing it as black lies and work of detractors.
• Representative Neufville said contrary to the reports the CDC is strategizing to defeat the governing UP in the 2011 elections.
• He also confirmed the arrival of CDC political leader George Weah into the Country.

Immigration Bureau Dismisses Six Officers
[The Inquirer, Heritage, National Chronicle, The News, Daily Observer]

• Authorities of the Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization (BIN) Thursday dismissed with immediate effect six of its officers for facilitating the escape of six Bangladeshi nationals.
• The six Bangladeshis were being held for human trafficking.
• Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Immigration Commissioner Chris Massaquoi said the escapees have been rearrested following a swift and vigorous search operation.
• Commissioner Massaquoi said officers which include Major Solomon Geh, Captain Yancy Karlu, Major Paul Dweh, Augustine Kollie, Captain Roosevelt Weaye, and offer Emmanuel Berrain have been charged with conspiracy and criminal facilitation.
• The BIN boss said the six officers have been turned over to the Justice Ministry for persecution.

LTTP Supports University of Liberia’s Teachers College
[Front Page Africa, In Profile Daily]

• The Liberia Teacher Training Project (LTTP) says it would work with the William V. S. Tubman Teachers College at the University of Liberia to increase its capacity.
• LTTP Chief of Party said increasing the capacity of the college will enable it extend its services and speed up the human resource development.
• Dr. Johnson Odharo speaking Thursday when his entity donated assorted items to the college noted the venture will be a huge capitol investment.
• The items which include three Dell Desktop computers, a Printer with cartridge, one Dell laptop computer and a Dell projector with screen is put at over US$4,000.
• The money to procure the items was provided by the United States Aid for International Development, USAID.
• Receiving the donation, the dean of the college, Professor Euphemia Abdullai expressed gratitude to USAID and LTTP for the gesture.

Opposition Politician Accused of Donating Expired Medical Supplies, But…
[Heritage]

• The chief medical doctor at the Jallah Lone Medical Center in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County has accused Dr. Togba Nah Tipoteh of distributing expired medical supplies at the hospital.
• Mr. Massabory Kamara claimed the medical items donated to the hospital by Dr. Tipoteh a fortnight ago were expired since almost three years and as such, had no medical value.
• Mr. Kamara, who is also the County Health Officer of Gbarpolu, asserted that the donation by the veteran opposition politician was not properly done and described the donation process as lacking what he calls total verification.
• He also asserted that the donation by Dr. Tipoteh has the propensity to destroy the lives of patients at the hospital if they were not observed carefully before use.
• But Dr. Tipoteh commenting on Mr. Kamara’s accusation described the action of the chief medical doctor to reach the press without consulting him as premature.
• He said Susuku, which is the main distributor of those items, has covered other counties in the country without any problem that has been alleged by the Jallah Lone Medical Center.

Star Radio (News monitored today at 09:00 am)
Threshold Bill Case Partially Withdrawn From High Court

Bong Lawmaker Wants Increment in Allowances for Education and Health Workers
• Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor has called for an increase in the allowances of education and health workers in the country.
• In a letter to the Senate, Senator Taylor proposed a two million dollar allotment to target the allowances of education and health workers in the draft budget.

Auditor General Exposes River Gee Representative, But…
• Auditor General John Morlu has released a strongly-worded letter in Monrovia warning River Gee Representative Elijah Seah against interfering in audit matters.
• In the four-page letter, Mr. Morlu warned Representative Seah to stay clear of all audits of the General Auditing Commission (GAC).
• The communication is in reference to a meeting negotiated by Representative Seah through the River Gee County Legislative Caucus with the Auditor General to get the basis of his request to the President to revoke the induction of River Gee Development Superintendent, Alexander Yeaher.
• The letter detailed how during one of the meetings, Representative Seah allegedly made a one-on-one proposal to Mr. Morlu in the fraud case involving Mr. Yeaher.
• The Auditor General claimed he rejected the proposal by Representative Seah something that prompted the lawmaker to leave his office in anger though he did not elaborate.
• He also described as a sad commentary, the intervention of the River Gee Legislative Caucus in audit matters with the aim to protect Mr. Yeaher.
• But Representative Seah said the letter by Mr. Morlu is intended to blackmail him and vowed never to stay clear of GAC audits once a River Gee citizen is accused.
• According to him, the meeting with Mr. Morlu was intended for Mr. Yeaher to be heard and given a copy of the audit reports which indicted him of fraud.

Bassa Institute of Nursing Bill Introduced in House
• A bill seeking the establishment of the Grand Bassa Institute of Nursing Studies has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
• The bill is under the sponsorship of Grand Bassa Representative Baron Brown.
• Representative Brown said if enacted the bill would pave the way for people with interest in the nursing in Grand Bassa to acquire the required basic medical training.
• According to him, the institute will educate young people to become mid-wives, physician assistants and registered nurses.
• Representative Brown said it was important to pass the bill to make the health sector more viable and meet the medical needs of the Country.
• The bill has meanwhile been sent to the House Committees on Health, Judiciary and Ways, Means and Finance for review.
(Also reported Radio Veritas, Sky FM, and ELBC)

Information Minister Off to China
• Information Minister Cletus Sieh has left the country for Shanghai, China to participate in a meeting of World Expo 2010.
• The meeting is of the Steering Committee of the World Expo 2010 of which Liberia is a co-chair.
• The thirty-two nation committee meeting is expected to deal with issues surrounding the Expo 2010 which takes place sometimes this year in China.
• Minister Sieh is expected to preside as Liberia has been asked to chair the Shanghai meeting.

NEC Releases Timetable for River Gee By-election

CDC Caucus Dismisses Merger Speculations
(Also reported Truth FM, Sky FM, and ELBC)

LTTP Supports University of Liberia’s Teachers College

New Higher Education Curricula Validated
• Senior stakeholders in the higher education sub-sector have validated the revised and synchronized curricula for universities and colleges in Liberia.
• The newly standardized curricula would be used for freshman and sophomore students at various institutions of higher learning in the country.
• The chairman of the committee constituted to draft the curricula Arnold Hill, President of the Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary said the new curricula have created the space for the smooth process of education.
• According to Mr. Hill, the curricula would allow students transfer from one institution to another without difficulty.
• The Director General of the National Commission on Higher Education Dr. Michael Slewion expressed satisfaction over the validation.
• Dr. Slewion said the new curricula would be enforced beginning the next academic year.

Radio Veritas (News monitored today at 09:45 am)
Immigration Bureau Dismisses Six Officers
(Also reported Truth FM, Sky FM, and ELBC)

Truth FM (News monitored today at 10:00 am)
Rights Activist Says Claims of Sexual Harassment Is Political
• A rights activist, Rev. Emmet Hoff has termed claims of sexual harassment against Auditor General John Morlu as politically motivated.
• Rev. Hoff, a former commissioner of the Township of Johnsonville said the allegation of sexual harassment is intended to weaken the General Auditing Commission’s (GAC) ability to fight corruption in the country.
• The rights activist said it is important for the government to begin taking decisive action on the audit reports instead of what he calls fighting back.
• He however concurred with the GAC that the claim of sexual harassment by the Auditor General is being sponsored by the Executive Mansion and the Finance Ministry.

International Clips on Liberia

Supermodel Campbell must testify in Taylor trial, prosecutors say
www.earthtimes.org

The Hague - Supermodel Naomi Campbell should be forced to provide incriminating evidence about an alleged "blood diamond" gift she received from former Liberian leader Charles Taylor, who faces war crime charges in The Hague, prosecutors said Friday. Prosecutors at the Special Court for Sierra Leone were told about the gift from actress Mia Farrow, who was also present at a reception at Nelson Mandela's South African home in 1997 attended by Campbell and Taylor. Farrow told prosecutors that Campbell had told her about being woken up in the middle of the night by "two or three men" and being given a "large" rough diamond on behalf the former president. Campbell has not denied receiving the diamond, but told the Oprah Winfrey Show on May 3 that she did not wish to be involved in the case. "He has done some terrible things and I don't want to put my family in danger," according to an ABC television transcript quoted in a subpoena request dated May 20. Prosecutors say that evidence about the gift is "central" to their case since "it supports the Prosecution allegations that the Accused used rough diamonds for arms purchases for Sierra Leone." Prosecutors in The Hague say the notoriously temperamental supermodel should be forced to provide the evidence in court since their "repeated efforts to interview Ms Campbell about this event have been unsuccessful." A number of phone messages and emails sent to her solicitor went unanswered, prosecutors said. "Ms Campbell's consistent refusals to speak to the Prosecution voluntarily and her statements that she does not want to be involved in the case justify the Trial Chamber's issuance of a subpoena," prosecutors have told judges. The judges must now decide whether to grant the request for a subpoena - a writ issued by a court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding. Were Campbell to defy such a writ, she could faces charges of contempt of court.

Business Opportunity for Small and Minority Businesses in Liberia
PR Log - Global Press Release Distribution

American small and minority owned businesses will have a chance to learn about conducting business on the global market. American small and minority owned businesses will have a chance to learn about conducting business on the global market. “Runway Liberia” Trade and Tourism Exhibition presented by Lonestar Cell-MTN, the number one cellular service provider in Liberia, West Africa will take place on Friday, July 23, 2010 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Silver Springs, MD. Liberia has made great strides in economic development since 2005 and is actively promoting its interest in having American businesses participate in its economic re-development. Liberia, a nation slightly larger than the state of Ohio, with a population of approximately 3.4 million people is rich with natural resources such as iron ore, rubber, timber, tin, gold and diamonds. In recent years, the Government of Liberia has reported that it has discovered sizable deposits of crude oil along its Atlantic Coast. Agriculture is one of the largest sectors in the country. Liberia produces coffee, cocoa, sugarcane, rice, cassava, palm oil, bananas, plantains, citrus, pineapple, sweet potatoes, corn, vegetables and beverages. Runway Liberia is committed to building a brighter, prosperous and sustainable future for Liberia.

International Clips on West Africa

Guinea

World court 'satisfied' with Guinea massacre probe

Guinea (AP) - The head of an International Criminal Court mission to Guinea says the judge investigating the September massacre of more than 150 people at a pro-democracy rally is working independently and free from official interference. Amadi Bah told reporters Friday that 200 people have been interviewed about the massacre, including women who were raped. He says he is satisfied with the progress of the investigation and is confident Guinean authorities will find and punish those responsible. A U.N. commission investigating the deaths has said the killings and rapes may constitute crimes against humanity and may have been ordered by officials. An interim government was established with help from international mediators in the aftermath of the massacre and an assassination attempt against the junta leader now in exile.

Ivory Coast

UNOCI provides human resources and logistical support to transport grey list and documents related to the appeals process

Côte d’Ivoire/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Deputy Spokesman of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), Kenneth Blackman, announced that the Mission had finished transporting the grey list to 19 regions throughout the country during UNOCI’s weekly press conference on Thursday in Abidjan. Mr. Blackman explained that UNOCI continued its support to the electoral process by providing logistical and human resources support. «The Mission had to mobilise land and air transportation for this operation with the participation of the civilian, military and police components of UNOCI» he said. Also as part of its support to the electoral process, the Deputy Spokesman announced that the Mission had transported consignments of claim forms and methodology guides for the processing of appeals to various regions. The regions included the Vallée du Bandama (Bouaké), Savanes (Korhogo), Moyen-Cavally (Guiglo), Denguélé (Odienné), Worodougou (Séguéla) and Bas Sassandra. In addition, Mr. Blackman said that ONUCI FM had provided sensitisation and information for the people concerned through it interviews and reports. «We also hope that the level of sensitisation will increase in order to give ample opportunity to those who have a right to have their names on the provisional electoral list’ » he added. Earlier, the Deputy Spokesman said that the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Côte d’Ivoire, Y. J. Choi, was in New York to take part in a high-level internal meeting which will discuss various issues, including the Ivorian peace process.

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