Pythons Grab First Win

first_imgNPA Pythons grabbed their first win over triple champs LPRC-Oilers in the semi final ‘best-out-of-three’ on Sunday night in the ongoing 2014 LBA league at the Sports Commission on Broad Street.Pythons finished off a dominant run game to take the lead 89-74 points that wrapped up the four quarters. The defeat marked the second heartbreaking game for Oilers in two weeks, losing to Mighty Barrolle 88-84 points.Pythons newly recruited side guard, Samuel Kpanie, was the day’s MVP, shooting 36 points.Kpanie had seven’s three-point shots, equal to 21 points; 12 points for rebounds and shots in the ring and lastly acquired three points for free throws.He was aided by captain Raphae Quaye, Joel Martor, Mohammed Zayzay and Clement Osung.The two teams are expected to play their second game if there is a favorable weather on Friday, June 20. A win for the Pythons will automatically qualify the Ahmed Diallo’s boys for the finals against the winner between Barrolle and Timber Wolves.But a defeat by Paul Hulson’s LPRC-Oilers will cause the two basketball giants to settle the score for the finals on a later day.Game one between Mighty Barrolle and Timber Wolves was rained off last Saturday. The two sides are expected to also battle in a ‘best-out-of-three’ to meet the winner between Pythons and Oilers in the finals.Meanwhile, at the kickoff of the 2nd division battle of the best-out-of-three over the weekend, Georgia Blazer whacked Uhuru Prince 59-39 points, while Timber Wolves (female) convincingly defeated Supreme Sisters, 72-26 points.In the second day’s derby, Bushrod Bull bowed to Heats 62-46 points and K-Delta thumped Phoenix 50-26 points.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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IBEX, FED Train Village Saving Loan Members

first_imgThe USAID-sponsored Investing for Business Expansion  (IBEX) in collaboration with USAID Food and Enterprsie Development (FED) has completed a two-day training for several Village Savings and Loan Associations in Monrovia.The training was held recently at the Crown Hotel in Paynesvillie, outside Monrovia and was jointly facilitated by Food and Enterprise Development (FED) and IBEX.The participants were taught in business management, record keeping, cash-flow, budgeting and financial projections as well as requirements for accessing finance through commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) with emphasis on business registration, writing business plans, effective business management and proper record keeping.The training according to facilitators, was an eye opener for VSLAs to prepare themselves for future financial opportunities to expand and grow.  “The goal of any business is to make profit and expand”, they said.The IBEX  facilitators in separate statements  added that besides collaterals which banks also request for to gurantee loan repayments, financial institutions are more interested in business performance that is shown by the financial statement and track records, including cash-flow, balance sheet and income statement which indicate profitability or loss.“If you have not been in the practice of keeping your business and financial records, begin to do so after here”, one facilitator noted.They encouraged them (VSLAs) to open their accounts and deposit their money in the banks “because no bank or any financial institution will take the risk by lending to strangers”.  In another presentation, facilitators said  VSLA is an integral mechanism to providing much needed capital to value chain stakeholders such as farmers, processors, and traders, who are not traditionally eligible for bank loans as individuals.Farmers can use small loans from their VSLA to hire labor in their communities to help with farming activities and to invest in improved inputs and technology such as seed, fertilizer and irrigation.They challenged VSLA members to use loans to help members invest in value-added ventures such as processing and storage to further improve the competitiveness of their food crops.Established VSLAs with good record keeping systems and history of good financial management can be used as a platform for receiving larger loans as a group from the Central Bank, Micro-Finance Institutions, and traditional banks. To date, the USAID FED program has formed 122 VSLA groups, providing assistance to over 3,000 farmers.In separate remarks, the participants said the training afforded them  the opportunity to acquire more useful  knowledge and learn new skills, and they thanked USAID IBEX and USAID FED for the initiative.The participants were drawn from the leadership of five established VSLAs, including Pulukpeh, MOWEDE, Yarnwellie Agricultural Project, In God’s Hands, Kweigpa, and New Generational Women  in  Montserrado and Margibi Counties.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Sime Darby’s Oil Palm Mill and Proposed Oil Refinery – to What End?

first_imgThe Malaysian company, Sime Darby (SD), which has started an oil palm plantation in Liberia, last week broke ground for the building of a US$10 million oil palm mill that will add value to the palm oil it produces.Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly hailed the company’s latest investment as just the kind of initiative President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is looking for–the production of goods, whether in the agricultural, forestry, mineral or oil sector, that will ADD VALUE to the raw materials produced.The company’s general manager, Rosi Mohammed Taib, told Minister Dukuly and others assembled for the groundbreaking that SD has bigger plans: the company intends to build an oil palm refinery, which is expected to produce many more value added products from the palm oil they produce in Liberia.We say Bravo to this, for Heaven knows it is about time that Liberia, after 167 years of existence, begins at long last entering the industrial age. BUT!We hope Sime Darby is not another Buchanan Renewables company which, under the guardianship of National Investment Chairman Richard Tolbert, came here few years ago and promised Liberians the world, including rehabilitating all old Liberian rubber farms at no cost to rubber planters; AND a 10-megwatt power plant that would bring electricity to Margibi County and parts of  Monrovia. All of this would be in return for wood chips from the cut rubber trees, to be used to power the 10-megawatt plant.  Everybody embraced this plan.But no sooner it turned out to be a complete hoax (fraud, deception), for the company started shipping out thousands of tons of wood chips to power electric plants in Holland and other parts of Europe!We have no reason to suspect that Sime Darby would ever turn out to be another Buchanan Renewerables.  However, we at the Daily Observer took keen note of the caveat (qualification, requirement) which SD general manager Taib carefully and smartly laid under his company’s plan to build an oil palm refinery.  We paraphrase (reword, interpret) what he told Minister Dukuly: “We will build the refinery if only we are given at least 100 thousand hectares of land for our plantation.”That is a lot of land even it is spread over three counties–Bomi, Grand Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu– whose people have been bitterly complaining against the company grabbing up all their farmland and sacred sites to plant oil palm.  Fortunately, unlike the violent Nimba youths, who two weeks ago invaded the ArcelorMittal concession area and broke up parts of their infrastructure, the people of Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbarpolu have handled their grievances in a far more civilized and patient manner.  Sime Darby, too, to their own credit, has been listening keenly and actively to the people, and made concessions, including extending social amenities, such as agricultural assistance for farming, health and medical facilities, improved housing, jobs, roads and schools, assuring the people that the company is not just there to take their land, but also to improve their lives.  This is in a sense what the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau called “the social contract,” which typically posits that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority in exchange for protection of their remaining rights.That is all that the people in these concession areas, where ArcelorMittal, China Union, Western Cluster, Golden Veroleum, Calava River Company and Sime Darby, etc. are asking for and rightfully demanding.It is our hope that SD is sincere and genuine in its initiative and promise to create not just an oil plantation but a modern oil palm industry in Liberia, using the Bomi-Grand Cape Mount-Gbarpolu corridor.  Liberia has had more than enough Firestone Plantations that come 2016 would have been producing and shipping out of here, for 90 unbroken years, billions of tons of natural rubber to supply American factories to produce tires and other rubber products.  And Liberia is yet unable to produce a rubber band!We pray–but not only pray, but we must TOUGHLY NEGOTIATE, WORK HARD AND GET FROM THESE COMPANIES WHAT WE WANT: VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS that will transform Liberia from a raw materials producer into an industrial country, exporting value added products, creating highly technical and other jobs and earning more hard currency to accelerate our development and modernity.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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APPROPRIATING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHRISTMAS EVENT

first_imgAnother Christmas Day has come and gone (yesterday, December 25, 2014).  But for the majority of Christians the Christmas season continues until January 6 when we begin the season of Epiphany. Just a day after Christmas Day, I ask the indulgence of my readers and myself to reflect on the essence of the Christmas event and try to appropriate some of its profound implications for successful living.Christmas is all about Jesus Christ and his being born into the world as its Savior. There are issues about the exact date on which Jesus was born. For me knowing the exact date is not as important as understanding and appropriating the significance of his birth. The focus should be on why he was born regardless of whatever date it was or the date Church has chosen.Since creation God has always revealed himself in various ways and means throughout the world: through nature, prophets, sages and special events. “But in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son”, to borrow the words of Hebrews 12:1, his perfect revelation of himself. Karl Barth once said that Jesus Christ is the mirror into which we look to see who God is like.God sent his son to redeem lost mankind. Therefore Christmas celebrates God’s greatest gift to mankind, the gift of his one and only son, Jesus. The death of Jesus on the cross demonstrates God’s supreme love for mankind. Jesus came into the world to save and to show us how to live a life of obedience. He came to bring to all, who respond to his offer, the good news of forgiveness, peace and goodwill, giving for the good of others, and transforming grace.Christmas is good news for those who respond to God in faith and obedience. Let this Christmas be a time when each one of us can take the time to reflect and honestly seek to apply some of what Christmas is about. There is too much hatred and ill-will in us, around us and in the world (as there were in the time of Jesus’ birth). His birth announces peace and goodwill towards all. Can we endeavor to be peace and goodwill promoters in ourselves, with our spouses, children, households, communities, nation and the wider world? We should never be part of the problem but the solution. Let us seek the welfare of others and never their downfall. It is in doing so that we find genuine peace and joy in our own lives.Let this Christmas be the beginning of learning to forgive others who hurt us. We all do countless ugly things (in conscious and unconscious ways) that deeply hurt God and yet he forgives us and sends his son to make us better persons. We must learn to forgive others if we are to benefit from his forgiveness (Matthew 6:12: Luke 11:4). The parable of the servant who was forgiven much debt that he owed his master but refused to forgive a fellow servant who owed him much less speaks volumes to our need to forgive one another (Matthew 18:23-35).Forgiveness is hard but necessary for our own health and the health of the family and the society. It promotes good relationships among ourselves and with our Creator. It makes living together possible, easier and better. Forgiveness also helps the one who forgives. It removes the heavy burden of the spirit of un-forgiveness. It ensures good health for the forgiving person and makes it easier to live and do business with such a person.We all need transformation because of our sinfulness and the sinful environment in which we live. Genuine change comes when we agree that some things are wrong about us and that we need help. Jesus came to help us change for the better. He gives us grace to bear beyond our normal capacity and to accept better what we cannot change, and to do by far beyond our human ability. We depend on God and yet do all we can in reliance upon his infinite power. Knowing that he is with us every step of the way and working alongside us motivates us to give our all. God’s abundant grace and our cooperation with his grace in making the most of the opportunities and challenges we face daily make us better persons and make a better family, community and society.Christmas is all about God’s love: forgiveness, peace and goodwill, giving and sharing some of what we are and have. Let this Christmas be a time of giving something of ourselves for the good of the family, the community and world around us. Let each of one of us be an ambassador of peace, forgiveness, sharing, and permitting God’s free grace to transform us and through us others who come in contact with us.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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B’ball: Is Anderson Afraid of Samukai?

first_imgIt is evidently clear that Mr. T. Rufus Anderson, president of the Liberia Basketball Association is not sure if he will have a clear majority in the forthcoming elections to lead for the next four years.The simple reason is the owner of K-Delta, Abraham Samukai, who engineered his election success four years ago, and was his vice president for administration, has decided to run for the job this time, in the wake of Anderson’s bid for re-election.And with the kingmaker becoming the king, insiders report a sense of disappointment in Anderson’s run for the job and therefore Samukai must be stopped.What is obtaining now is Anderson’s administration has come up with election guidelines that say, “Only current Executive Committee members and active club presidents in good financial standing with the LBF/LBA shall have the right to vote and stand election,” quoting article Xlll Section 3,” of its constitution.And many club presidents are against it, and have expressed disappointment, calling for the inclusion of all club presidents, owners and former officials who are in good financial standing with the association to contest for positions in the forthcoming elections. As a former official, and whose club is active in the LBF/LBA, Samukai is eligible to run for any position he so desires, Anderson’s opponents contend.“We don’t need anyone to convince LBF/LBA officials about this simple matter,” Anderson’s opponents say.“Samukai is the owner of K-Delta who made one of the team’s officials president when he won the vice president for administration’s position in the last election,” admitted an administrative official, “and therefore I don’t see why anyone should object to what he wants to contest for in the forthcoming elections.”If Anderson and the LBF/LBA’s Executive Committee insist their former vice president for administration is not eligible to contest the elections, then of course, it goes without saying that the members are working to please someone and not for the development of basketball.“That’s like working against anyone who has much to contribute to the development of basketball,” a club president told the Daily Observer.Anderson told the Daily Observer in an interview last week that he would be a formidable candidate in the elections, but many are wondering if being a formidable candidate means denying his former vice president for administration the chance to contest the elections that he has announced he would seek re-election.Club presidents unhappy with Anderson’s last four years administration insist that since Samukai won the last election with him, though he resigned “Makes him eligible to run for any position.”Though he claims to be formidable, many of his opponents think, “Anderson is simply afraid of Samukai,” an insider told the Daily Observer yesterday. “Otherwise while trying to deny a man who is the owner of a club and has run successfully in the past elections?”An impartial Elections Commission and effective Congress deliberations, may say, will resolve this issue if Anderson feels threatened by the presence of Samukai in the forthcoming elections.“We’re one family,” stated one of Anderson’s opponents, “our motto includes fair-play, equality, discipline and excellence and we cannot succeed by being vindictive.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Cartoon: March 2, 2015

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IN MY IMPERFECT WORLD

first_imgWhen it takes a twisted decade to make one worthyWhen it takes many tongues wagging all year roundWhen it takes my obstinate nature to finally accedeWhen it takes my troubled mind to finally dwindleWhen it takes my bubbling wrath to wither swiftlyWhen it takes my self-esteem to skyrocket againWhen it takes my scrawny frame to gain potencyWhen it takes my slothful eyes to finally see lightWhen all the filth in me washes away for rectitudeWhen the night comes and my demons can’t slayWhen I awaken conscious that JESUS still loves meWhen I convince myself I can overcome my hurdlesWhen the excuses aren’t stacked up like leftoversWhen I am cognizant of life’s innumerable lessonsWhen I know the dice is hurled and it is finishedWhen someone loves me for the chaos I can be at timesShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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World Bank Group Unveils US$16 Bn Plan

first_imgThe World Bank Group today unveiled a new plan that calls for US$16 billion in funding to help African people and countries adapt to climate change and build up the continent’s resilience to climate shocks, a release said yesterday. Titled Accelerating Climate-Resilient and Low-Carbon Development, the Africa Climate Business Plan will be presented at COP21, the global climate talks in Paris, on November 30. It lays out measures to boost the resilience of the continent’s assets – its people, land, water, and cities – as well as other moves, including boosting renewable energy and strengthening early warning systems. “Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, and our research shows that could have far-ranging impact — on everything from child stunting and malaria to food price increases and droughts,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “This plan identifies concrete steps that African governments can take to ensure that their countries will not lose hard-won gains in economic growth and poverty reduction, and they can offer some protection from climate change.” Per current estimates, the plan says that the region requires $5-10 billion per year to adapt to global warming of 2°C.The World Bank and the United Nations Environment Program estimate that the cost of managing climate resilience will continue to rise to $20-50 billion by mid-century, and closer to $100 billion in the event of a 4°C warming.Of the $16.1 billion that the ambitious plan proposes for fast-tracking climate adaptation, some $5.7 billion is expected from the International Development Association (IDA), the arm of the World Bank Group that supports the poorest countries. About US$2.2 billion is expected from various climate finance instruments, US$2.0 billion from others in the development community, US$3.5 billion from the private sector, and US$0.7 billion from domestic sources, with an additional $2.0 billion needed to deliver on the plan. “The Africa Climate Business Plan spells out a clear path to invest in the continent’s urgent climate needs and to fast-track the required climate finance to ensure millions of people are protected from sliding into extreme poverty,” explains Makhtar Diop, World Bank Group Vice President for Africa. “While adapting to climate change and mobilizing the necessary resources remain an enormous challenge, the plan represents a critical opportunity to support a priority set of climate-resilient initiatives in Africa.”The plan will boost the region’s ability to adapt to a changing climate while reducing greenhouse emissions, focusing on a number of concrete actions. It identifies a dozen priority areas for action that will enhance Africa’s capacity to adapt to the adverse consequences of climate variation and change. The first area for action aims to boost the resilience of the continent’s assets. These comprise natural capital (landscapes, forests, agricultural land, inland water bodies, oceans); physical capital (cities, transport infrastructure, physical assets in coastal areas); and human and social capital (where efforts should include improving social protection for the people most vulnerable to climate shocks, and addressing climate-related drivers of migration). The second area for action focuses on powering resilience, including opportunities for scaling up low-carbon energy sources. In addition to helping mitigate climate change, these activities offer considerable resilience benefits, as societies with inadequate access to energy are also more vulnerable to climate shocks. And the third area for action will enable resilience by providing essential data, information and decision-making tools for climate-resilient development across sectors. This includes strengthening hydro-met systems at the regional and country levels, and building capacity to plan and design climate-resilient investments. “The plan is a ‘win-win’ for all especially the people in Africa who have to adapt to climate change and work to mitigate its impacts,” said Jamal Saghir, the World Bank’s Senior Regional Adviser for Africa. “We look forward to working with African governments and development partners, including the private sector, to move this plan forward and deliver climate smart development.” The Africa Climate Business Plan reflects contributions and inputs from a wide variety of partners with whom the Bank is already collaborating on the ground, in a coordinated effort to increase Africa’s resilience to climate variability and change. The plan aims to help raise awareness and accelerate resource mobilization for the region’s critical climate-resilience and low-carbon initiatives. The plan warns that unless decisive action is taken, climate variability and change could seriously jeopardize the region’s hard-won development gains and its aspirations for further growth and poverty reduction. And it comes in the wake of Bank analysis which indicates climate change could push up to 43 million more Africans into poverty by 2030.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Parker’s Protesters Vanish

first_imgMore than one hundred vocal protesters, who for the past days have been chanting outside Criminal Court ‘C’ in favor of indicted and dismissed National Port Authority (NPA), Managing Director, Madam Matilda Parker, yesterday suddenly vanished, following a strongly worded statement by Chief Justice Francis Korkpor that the court house should never be used as a place for protest. “Nobody should be allowed to use the courtroom or outside of the court house to stage a protest as doing so could influence the outcome of a case,” Chief Justice Korkpor scolded when he spoke with a group of protesting women at the Temple of Justice.Based on the Chief Justice’s warning, defendant Parker’s supporters abandoned their protest and quietly took their places in the courtroom, while the jury selection process continued. During the hearing both Parker’s legal team and state lawyers were able to successfully complete the selection of a 15 member jury panel that is expected to decide the economic sabotage case brought against defendants Parker and her Comptroller Christiana Kpabar Paelay.The jurors were selected following two days of intense examination by Parker’s lawyers and state lawyers. After the selection Judge Blamo Dixon set the hearing of the case to Tuesday, December 15.The jury was then sequestered (quarantined) underground at the Temple of Justice, where they are expected stay until the final determination of the case.Defendants Parker and Paelay are accused of duping the NPA of US$837,957 while they were serving in their respective posts, a claim they have denied.They were also accused, along with businessman Deneah M. Flomo, owner of Demar Enterprise.The prosecution claimed that Flomo connived with Madam Parker and Paelay to make over US$800,000 in illegal payments to his Demar Enterprise Company. Flomo is reported to have confessed during interrogations at the office of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC), that most of the money was deposited in his company’s account at Ecobank.The LACC reported that Flomo received more than US$10,000 from the deal.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Chess Federation Plans for Algeria Competition

first_imgFlashback: a chess tournament in MonroviaThe Liberia Chess Federation (LCF) has recently participated in the West Africa 4-4 individual chess tournament in Monrovia with three of its players emerging winners, next to Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.Giving details of the competition and other happenings in the federation recently in Monrovia, the president of the LCF, Mr. Winston Ireland, said if they should stand tall among other nations, the game needs the support of those who love it.“It was an amazing experience under my leadership when we invited our colleagues in the sub-region to compete for something through our game,” Mr. Ireland said.M. Balogun Oluwafemi and Kigigha Borno of Nigeria came first and second in the West Africa Zone 4-4 Individual Chess Championship held from April 20-30 this year while Harmon Barcon and John Jallah (Liberia) emerged as third and fourth place winners.The LCF meanwhile announced that its team will travel to Algeria in July to participate in the African Chess Confederation Championship and it is seeking financial support from well-meaning Liberians.“We used to receive the sum of US$20,000 from our government but we are no longer receiving it due to some administrative reasons cited by the Ministry of Youth and Sports,” Ireland said.The LCF boss who was elected on January 6 with Omar Issa, Jerome Wilson, Lewellyn Brent and Godfrey Richard as his vice president, financial secretary, treasurer and chaplain respectively, said the Federation presently lacks office space due to their inability to pay rent.“We inherited an empty office and as such we have been unable to raise funds to pay rent and settle other problems,” he noted.He said his leadership has registered 11 active chess teams across Montserrado and is planning to launch the game in schools and communities for children as young as 6 years.When contacted, the Deputy Minister for Administration at the Ministry of Youth & Sports, Henry Nyonton, said the LCF was audited a year ago and discovered some flaws which the federation needed to have settled before it could be reconsidered for budgetary allotment.“There were some financial problems at that office and we have advised that the Federation puts its house in order by having an organized structure that will be willing to be accountable and transparent,” Nyonton said in a telephone interview.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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