The recent statement by United States Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Christine Elder, expressing absolute confidence in NEC and urging the parties to proceed to the runoff without delay, has sparked broad criticism and concern among Liberians about unwarranted outside interference with the legal and judicial processes of the ongoing probe into complaints of fraud and gross irregularities in the October 10 elections.Ambassador Christine Elder’s stance, according to sources quoting remarks by former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and former U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Linda Thomas Greenfield, was not approved by the State Department in Washington, which in other words means Ambassador Christine Elder’s views are but her personal opinion and cannot as such be interpreted as the official U.S. position on the Liberia elections. “Ambassadors do not have to get approval from Washington to issue a local statement, ever,” said former Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield.Be that as it may, Ambassador Elder’s remarks tend to reinforce widely held perceptions the world over that U.S. Ambassadors usually find it difficult building meaningful and authentic relationships with ordinary people because too often they perceive the local environment through the eyes of the host government. According to Sarah Chayes, author of the book “Thieves of State – Why Corruption Threatens Global Security,” it is a legitimist reflex which distorts U.S. understanding and its conduct of foreign policy.This is exactly what obtains in the Liberian situation. For the last twelve (12) years U.S. Ambassadors accredited near this capital have consistently turned a blind eye to the avaricious and pernicious plunder of the Liberian state by a kleptocratic ruling elite led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Over two-thirds of all concession agreements passed into law and signed by President Sirleaf have all been found to be bogus or illegal.And despite the country’s vast riches plus US$16 billion investments and tens of millions in bilateral and multilateral grants infused into the country, Liberians wallow in poverty, while President Sirleaf has been a recipient of many international awards from foreign governments and institutions. Not once ever, to the best of this newspaper’s recollection, since the inception of this government in 2006, has any U.S. Ambassador made such blatant intrusion into our national affairs as Christine Elder has now done.And her intrusion bears ill intent because it invokes threats of holding back future assistance and investments if the Supreme Court Bench refuses to be corralled (caged) into making wrong judgments by ignoring very strong evidences of gross irregularities and apparent fraud presented by the challenging parties, the All Liberia Party (ALP), Alternative National Congress (ANC), Unity Party (UP) and Liberty Party (LP).This newspaper holds the view that were this Ambassador genuinely interested in fair, transparent, free and open elections in Liberia, she would long since have adopted a proactive kind of engagement with both NEC and the public, particularly when alarm bells began sounding about the way a U.S. citizen, Jerome Korkoya, was handling the affairs of NEC.Unfortunately, the Ambassador did not or could not do so—why? Because she simply lacked the moral courage to raise the issue with this government. She has failed, since the commencement of her tenure, to cultivate meaningful and authentic relations in order to deepen her understanding of the local environment and conditions, preferring instead to see the Liberian situation from a false feminist perspective and virtually through the lenses of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of what is, from all intents and purposes, a bureaucratic, kleptocratic ruling elite.Liberians are quick to point to the fact, and rightly so, that one full year after the U.S. elections that brought Donald Trump to power, investigations and probes into allegations of Russian interference in the U.S. elections are still ongoing, an alarming development that seriously threatens America’s democracy. But these investigations are not considered out of the way or inappropriate generally by Americans, except maybe for a tiny few Trump diehards.What then about Liberia, whose blood ties with the U.S. are unquestionable and whose governance institutions are patterned directly after those of the U.S.A? If after nearly 300 years of independence from Britain, the USA is still renewing and perfecting its democracy without interference and vigorously opposing those who seek to subvert its course, it goes without saying that Liberia can and should also do the same and should be left alone to do so. The bitter experiences of 14 years of senseless civil war should remind us that respect for our Constitution and the rule of law are our best guarantor of Peace and Stability in our land.Or do we take it that Ambassador Elder and her government have forgotten that it was the fraudulent elections of 1985, orchestrated by US surrogate (proxy) Head of State Samuel Doe and his notorious Elections Commission Chairman Emmett Harmon that led us, four years later, to civil war?The US Ambassador should remember that an ambassador is accredited to a country and its people and not only to the person in power.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Local business owner Lita Powell, on the other hand, says businesses are paying too much of the tax ratio pie, and she welcomes the review.She recommends looking at other communities with similar climates and sizes.[asset|aid=886|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=2d7f5a1e14bb8d8c6d753d441cfd4973-Lita Powell 2_1_Pub.mp3]Another meeting is scheduled Tuesday night at 7pm until 9pm at the Quality Inn. Anyone with questions or suggestions is encouraged to attend.Advertisement Photo: Dan Sutherland, left, presents recommendations to Tax Review Commissioner, Dr. Stanley Hamilton – Christine Rumleskie/Energeticcity.caAround 20 people voiced their concerns at the first Tax Ratio Review public meeting on Tuesday.- Advertisement -The afternoon session was chaired by Dr. Stanley Hamilton, the tax policy review commissioner chosen by city council.Three presentations, along with a question and answer period, took place.Theresa Mucci-Rodgers is renewing her call for the city to alter tax ratios. She says hiring a commissioner to look at tax ratios for this year is just a band-aid solution.[asset|aid=885|format=mp3player|formatter=asset_bonus|title=747ba8225df7393324fabce3556ac630-Theresa Mucci-Rodgers-1_1_Pub.mp3]Advertisement
Reindeer herders in the remote Yamalo-Nenets region of northern Russia. © AFP / Sergei GAPONYamalo-Nenets is one of Russia’s richest regions, an area larger than France, but is home to just half a million people who live the way their ancestors did for millenia.Most locals reap no benefits from the wealth of the oil and gas buried deep in the frozen tundra now driving Russia’s growth.A kid drinks the blood of a reindeer in the remote Yamalo-Nenets region of northern Russia . © AFP / Sergei GAPONThey lead a nomadic existence, their hands often covered in blood from the reindeer whose hides form their subsistence, and which dry on lines of string like wet laundry.Reindeer blood, warm and nourishing, is a staple of their diets and is gingerly gathered and drunk out of metal mugs.Children of reindeer herders play with a ball on the snow in the remote Yamalo-Nenets region of northern Russia. © AFP / Sergei GAPONAnd its deep red colour is also the colour of the rubber ball kids kick with abandon across the snow in their woolly deer hide boots and mittens, bright traditional dresses worn over the top of deer hide body suits.A yellow belt speckled with other bright colours completes the outfit as the children aim the ball for a stick embedded in the snow, a form of football played according to their own fashion.The snow will remain hard and deep by the time the World Cup is played for the first time in Russia between June 14 and July 15.A reindeer herder chops wood near a yurt in the remote Yamalo-Nenets region of northern Russia. © AFP / Sergei GAPONBut the reindeer herders of one of the world’s most remote inhabited regions beyond the reach of television signals will be following it as best they can — by word of mouth reports from places with electricity lines.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000A reindeer herder wearing a cap with the logo of Barcelona’s football team poses in the remote Yamalo-Nenets region of northern Russia. © AFP / Sergei GAPONYAMALO-NENETS, Russian Federation, Jun 4 – The cap’s unmistakable Barcelona logo peeks out from under the reindeer herder’s woolly hood.His smiling eyes tell the story: World Cup football is coming to the yurts set up in the permafrost high above Russia’s Arctic Circle, where temperatures dip into uncharted territories.
Listen back to the highlights of Wednesday’s Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast. Alan Brazil and Ray Parlour were joined on today’s show by Paul Dickov, Ray Wilkins, Roy Evans and Chris Eubank Jnr.
0Shares0000Since retiring from athletics last year, Usain Bolt has been pursuing his dream of becoming a professional footballer © AFP/File / PETER PARKSSYDNEY, Australia, Oct 18 – Sprint superstar Usain Bolt has turned down a contract from Maltese champions Valletta and will remain in Australia to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer, his agent said Thursday.The eight-time Olympic champion has been on trial with A-League club the Central Coast Mariners since arriving Down Under in August. He scored two goals in a pre-season friendly last Friday but is yet to be offered a deal, with cashed-up Valletta dangling a two-year trial-free contract to entice him away earlier this week.But Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms said he had opted against a move to the Maltese Premier League team, which is backed by a group of investors from the Sanban Group in the United Arab Emirates.“There is a lot of interest in Usain playing football,” he told ESPN.“We regularly receive similar approaches. I can confirm Usain does not wish to pursue this opportunity in Malta.”Valletta chief executive Ghasston Slimen told the broadcaster: “We wish Usain Bolt all the best with his football career. The Valletta FC offer is always on the table.”Australia’s domestic A-League season starts this weekend, with the Mariners in action on Sunday away to Brisbane Roar. With no contract, Bolt is not eligible for selection.Club chief executive Shaun Mielekamp said this week the Jamaican “will continue his indefinite training period … until any further notice”.Reports suggest the Mariners are waiting for governing body Football Federation Australia to decide whether it will contribute to a potential Aus$3 million (US$2.1 million) offer to the 100m world record holder.Sydney’s Daily Telegraph on Thursday reported Bolt and Mielekamp sat down for a coffee in the wake of the Malta offer for clarity on his future.It said the 32-year-old, who regards Australia as a second home, might consider accepting less money if it means locking in a contract.Coach Mike Mulvey was reluctant Thursday to talk about Bolt, saying he was not involved in contract negotiations.“I’m really not interested in it (contract speculation) to tell you the truth,” he told reporters.“He’s been great among the guys and I was very happy for him last week with the two goals he scored, but we move on.”Mariners captain Matt Simon dismissed suggestions the chronicles of Bolt were distracting the squad ahead of their A-League opener.“He’s been here for a couple of months now, so everywhere we go with Usain, everyone’s talking about him,” Simon said.“We’ve just been down to business, concentrating on the season and putting into practice what we’ve been doing at training for the last 12 weeks.”Bolt, who retired from athletics last year, has previously tried out with clubs in Germany, South Africa and Norway to no avail.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
0Shares0000Ahmed Sabri of Al-Hayat (L) in action during a past Safaricom Chapa Dimba football tournament for North Eastern Region finals held at Garissa University.NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 19 – The Chapa Dimba Na Safaricom Season 2 heads to the penultimate round where Garissa University will host the North Eastern regional finals set for next week Tuesday and Wednesday.This the first time the tournament will be hosted on a weekday, coming immediately after the Easter holiday. Four boys’ teams will take part in the North Eastern finals, with the winning team walking away with a cash reward of Sh200,000 and an opportunity to play in the national grand finale set for June this year.Berlin FC from Garissa will square it out with Dadaab United as Al Ansar from Wajir take on a Mandera team in the semis.“This is the 7th out of the 8 regional finals we are holding across the country. The tournament has been a success across Kenya right from the group stages to this level. We have seen an amazing showcase of talent so far, and the teams have been doing their best to excel so we look forward to the same vigor from the North Eastern teams,” said Patrick Korir Chapa Dimba Coordinator.The winners will join Euronuts and Barcelona from Central region, Mombasa’s Shimanzi youth and Changamwe ladies, Kajiado’s Al Ahly and Kitale Queens from Rift Valley, Bishop Njenga Girls and Lugari Blue Saints from Western, Manyatta Boys and Ndhiwa Queens from Nyanza as well as Super Solico and St Mary’s Ndovea from Eastern for the national finals set for Meru where Sh1m is at stake.The competition will then move to Nairobi for the last region final as the race to La Liga heats up.This year, an All-star team will be selected from the 8 regional finals to attend a training camp in Spain during which they will play against local youth sides.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
“It’s not happy for me from my side of the garage, but it is great for the team to see Charles come through and get pole,” said the German driver.“Obviously my car was broken and we lost part of Q2 and then all of Q3 completely. We made a decision to take the bodywork off, but we couldn’t get it fixed in time.“It’s frustrating for sure, but there was nothing we could do inside the car… It was nobody’s fault.”Team-mate Leclerc was in scintillating form on one of his favourite circuits, the 21-year-old Monegasque taking pole with a record lap in the final seconds.He was presented with his ‘Pirelli pole position award’ by Lukas Lauda, son of the late three-time world champion Niki Lauda.It is Leclerc’s second pole position following his maiden pole in Bahrain in March.“It is a big pleasure to drive this car on the limit and it just felt great,” said Leclerc. “I am very happy to bring the pole home and tomorrow we need to finish the job.”Ferrari team chief Mattia Binotto said: “It’s a mixed feeling for us today. A shame for Seb, of course, as he would have done very well, but Charles has done very well!“Two (Ferrari) poles in the last three races! Our performance is very circuit-dependent.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Mixed fortune for the two Ferraris in Austrian Grand Prix qualifying © AFP / LLUIS GENESPIELBERG, Austria, Jun 29 – A disappointed Sebastian Vettel took some consolation from his Ferrari team-mate on Saturday after Charles Leclerc stormed to pole position at the Austrian Grand Prix.The luckless four-time world champion was unable to take part in the Q3 top-10 shootout in qualifying after suffering an air pressure problem on his car.
Juventus kept their treble hopes alive with a hard fought 2-1 extra time victory over Lazio in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday night.The Italian champions, who wrapped up the Serie A title a couple of weeks ago, had to come from behind against Stefano Poli’s side.The Old Lady’s final leg of their potential treble this season comes in the Champions League final against Barcelona on June 6.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho doesn’t get much wrong, admittedly.However, the Portuguese tactician could be excused for having a change of heart in regards to Mohamed Salah.The 22-year-old struggled to make an impact during his short stay in west London before being sent out on loan at Fiorentina last season.However, the forward has rediscovered his best form in Serie A and carried it onto the international stage with a fine strike for Egypt in an African Cup of Nations qualifier against Tanzania.What do you think Chelsea fans, should the Special One given Salah another shot? 1 Mohamed Salah
A judge has been asked not to jail a morbidly obese illegal tobacco-dealer because of his health problems.Illegal cigarettes.Sean Barclay, who weighs 38 stone, was due to appear before Letterkenny District Court today charged with having illegal cigarettes. But the 43 year old could not appear because a big enough wheelchair could not be found in time for his court appearance, according to his solicitor.Members of the Customs and Revenue raided the home of the father-of-four on March 6th, 2013 and found two boxes of cigarettes and tobacco with no Irish tax stamp on them.Barclay, of 7 Errigal Road, Letterkenny, admitted he had bought the cigarettes from a friend in Derry and knew they were illegal.The court heard how Barclay, a former butcher, had €1,855 in his pocket, €1,410 of which he admitted came from selling cigarettes.His solicitor Patsy Gallagher said his client accepted what he was doing was wrong but it was merely a mechanism for making some cash.He said a jail sentence would have disastrous consequences for Barclay.“His health is dire and I am asking the court not to impose a custodial sentence because it will have a devastating effect on him and his health.“His health has got worse and his family are very concerned for him. His house was repossessed and he is currently awaiting to be rehoused.“He would have tried to get him here if a wheelchair had have been organised in time,” said Mr Gallagher.He said Barclay was now house-bound and had a carer.The court heard that the accused has one previous conviction, also for possessing illegal tobacco, for which he received a two month suspended jail sentence.The court heard the cigarettes and loose tobacco seized at Barclay’s house had a value of more than €6,800 to the state.The Revenue Commissioner’s office had also issued Barclay with a writ for €16,000.Judge Paul Kelly said he was imposing a mandatory fine of €2,500 on Barclay because it was his second offence.JUDGE ASKED NOT TO JAIL 38 STONE TOBACCO-DEALER BECAUSE OF HEALTH PROBLEMS was last modified: March 3rd, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:cigarettescourtdonegalSean Barclay