Staff Writer By doug mckenzie VERONICA YANKOWSKI Middletown South’s Tim Traynor tackles Red Bank Regional’s Mike Zadlock during the Eagles’ 26-6 win in Middletown Saturday. Observing the National Day of Prayer last Friday in remembrance of the terrorist attack on America Sept. 11, many of Friday’s scheduled high school football games were rescheduled, or simply postponed until the following day. And for those teams who did play this weekend, many found that returning to the football field was somewhat therapeutic, in that it allowed the coaches and players to, at least, begin to feel normal again, if only for a short time. At a time when winning and losing on the football field seemed somewhat inconsequential, the teams returned to action, with the majority of the local teams registering wins. The Middletown South Eagles proved their impressive opening-day win over a good Matawan team was not a mirage, but simply an indication that they were indeed back as one of the Shore’s top football teams. The Eagles’ game with Red Bank Regional was moved from Friday to Saturday, but the delay didn’t seem to affect the South defense, as South rolled to a 26-6 win over the Bucs, a squad many people believe is one of the Shore Conference’s most improved teams. Once again it was senior quarterback Brandon Kennedy who was the offensive star, throwing for two touchdowns and running for two more. However, all in all, this was probably a game that the Eagles’ offense would like to forget. South turned the ball over a total of six times in the game, including three times deep in their own territory. But each time, it was the Eagle defense which stepped up and kept the team in the game, while stymieing the Red Bank offense for much of the game. In total, the Eagle defense held the Buc offense to 94 yards, including 29 in the first half, allowing only a third-quarter touchdown pass on a fourth-down play. The Eagle defense was relentless, smothering Red Bank ball carriers in the backfield and sacking RBR quarterback Kevin Snyder six times. It was an impressive performance from a team whose defense could lead them back into contention for a state title. On the offensive side of the ball, Kennedy played well once again, orchestrating a 10-play, 71-yard drive in the second quarter that ended in a 2-yard TD pass to Mike McClelland. Later in the second, Kennedy added a 35-yard TD pass to Andre MacCray to give the Eagles a 12-0 lead at the half. And based on the play of the Eagle defense in the first half, that lead appeared to be plenty. Kennedy ended any thoughts of a RBR comeback in the third quarter when he raced 63 yards for a touchdown to pad the lead to 26-6. But it was the Eagles’ defense that was the dominant force on Saturday, which could mean trouble for the rest of the teams on South’s schedule. If the defense continues to play as it has thus far, South may be one of the last teams standing come play-off time. This Saturday, it’s Manchester’s turn to see how good the Eagles really are when they host South. Game time is 1:30 p.m. The Raritan Rockets are another team that got its second win of the young season, posting a 13-7 victory over an improved Pinelands squad. The Rockets now have the fast start they were looking for heading into this weekend’s tough match-up with 2-0 Long Branch, and they have left tackle Michael Niedbala to thank for it. The sophomore made two of the biggest plays of the game Saturday, picking off a pass and blocking a punt, helping the Rockets hold off Pinelands in a true defensive struggle. Pinelands got on the board first with a 36-yard punt return by Chris Murray less than four minutes into the game. But that would be all the points they could muster against a stingy Raritan defense. Raritan countered four minutes later on an 18-yard TD run from junior Michael Fabozzi. The Rockets got the game’s final score just before the half, when QB James Papcun hit Dave May from 33-yards out for the deciding score. The Raritan defense took it from there, extending its streak of not allowing a touchdown to eight quarters, something they are already taking great pride in. However, that streak is likely to be challenged this Friday, when Berkeley Hutchinson and the high-powered Long Branch offense come to town. Game time is 7 p.m. After getting off to an unfamiliar 0-1 start, the Keyport High School football team could not afford another loss at this early juncture of the season. And with a tough Keansburg team next on its schedule, the Red Raiders were in danger of seeing their season’s goals disappear just two weeks in. But sophomore Ken Cattouse wasn’t going to let that happen, as he ran the ball 20 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns in leading Keyport to the dramatic 20-19 win. Keyport got on the board first when Cattouse ran for a pair of touchdowns from 39 and 59 yards out. Up 13-0, Keyport seemed poised to cruise to its first win after dropping the season-opener to Shore Regional. But the Titans stormed back, scoring three touchdowns to take the 19-13 lead. That set up Keyport’s final chance to notch the win. The drive began with Keyport moving 29 yards on five plays to reach the Keansburg 26. After a pair of incomplete passes, quarterback Steve Greggins lofted a beautiful pass to J.J. Bedle in the end zone to tie the game at 19-19. A.J. Youncofski’s extra point gave Keyport the lead and the win. It was a season-saving win for the Red Raiders, and provided them with an early test of will as they look to regain their championship form. Their next step in that process comes Saturday when they face the 0-2 Mater Dei Seraphs. Mater Dei came close to notching its first win of the year Saturday, only to fall to the surprising Garnet Gulls of Point Beach (2-0), 6-5. Mater Dei had a lead in this game following a 23-yard field goal from Mark Beil. But they were unable to score again, as the Point Beach defense continually turned them back, despite several scoring opportunities. In the end, protecting a 6-3 lead, the Gulls chose to take a safety rather than risk punting the ball from their own end zone, and stopped the Seraphs on their final drive of the game to preserve the win. Mater Dei will try once again to notch its first win of the year when it faces Keyport Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m. St. John Vianney was the only other local team in action this weekend, as the Lancers fell to the mighty Knights of Wall 35-14. The loss dropped Vianney to 1-1. The Lancers had a 14-6 lead in this game before Wall responded with two, second-quarter touchdowns to pull away. Shane Kochon gave the Lancers the early lead when he ran 62 yards for a touchdown and followed that with a 15-yard scoring run moments later following a Wall fumble. But the Wall defense stiffened just as the offense took over, and the Lancers were left with their first loss of the year. Vianney will try to bounce back Saturday when they travel to Point Boro. Game time is 7 p.m. Both the Holmdel Hornets and Matawan Huskies were in action Monday, as their games against Freehold and Ocean, respectively, were moved due to the tragic events of Sept. 11. Results from both games were not available by press time for this week’s Independent. Friday night’s Middletown North at Howell game was rescheduled for the off date that each team had. Fortunately, both teams had Nov. 3 as their bye week and will make up last week’s game on that night.
Tkatchenko said this commitment is evident in state-of-the-art sports infrastructure that was built for the 2015 Pacific Games and the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup.He said these facilities will remain a legacy for many sportsmen and women.“As part of the Government’s commitment to give sports in PNG an opportunity to reach greater heights, we must remain a greater stakeholder.“This is to ensure that the interests of our sportsmen and women remain paramount,” Tkatchenko said.He explained that a greater reason why the Government must remain the greater stakeholder is the lack of sufficient resource and funding for sports over the years.That eventually results in the lack of progress or further development in sporting codes.He added that poor administration and management of sporting codes in the country has been of great concern.He said we must make it our business to ensure proper mechanisms and foundations are set.
Biodiversity, Blue Carbon, Climate Change, Coastal Ecosystems, Conservation, Environment, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Mapping, Marine, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Ecosystems, Oceans, Seagrass, Sedimentation, Technology, Wildtech A new online tool aims to crowdsource an image and location database of the world’s seagrass, in a bid to shed light on the threatened and fast-receding underwater flowering plants.Anyone with a camera and internet access can upload images of seagrass beds and location info to SeagrassSpotter, available on desktop and mobile apps.Project Seagrass, the group behind the mapping tool, hopes it will help countries that are seagrass hotspots but lacking data, like Indonesia, to improve efforts to conserve these vitally important carbon sinks.Globally, the group hopes to obtain at least 100,000 records by engaging people from all around the world to collect data about seagrass in their locality. All collected data will be made freely available. The launch of an online crowdsourcing database for seagrass hopes to breathe new life into efforts to conserve the underwater flowering plants, which act as both important habitats for marine species and a major store of carbon dioxide.Patchy mapping of seagrass meadows has hampered efforts to protect the plants (which are distinct from seaweed) from threats such as coastal development, sedimentation, coral farming and sand mining, according to Richard Unsworth, a marine biologist at Swansea University in the U.K. and co-founder of environmental charity Project Seagrass.The group on June 4 launched SeagrassSpotter, a collaborative initiative that allows anyone with a camera to upload images of seagrass sightings and tagged locations from anywhere in the world. The online tool also provides species information to help ordinary users identify the seagrass they find. The platform is accessible via website or mobile app for Android and iOS.“We’re asking people visiting the coast or going out to sea — for diving, fishing, kayaking — to keep their eyes out for seagrass so that they can take a picture [to] upload to our website,” Unsworth told Mongabay. “The more people that get involved the more likely we are to develop a better understanding of the world’s seagrass.”Seagrass meadows are often ignored in marine conservation efforts, but they are important ecosystems for marine animals. Image by P. Lindgren/Wikimedia Commons.Seagrasses grow in shallow coastal regions, providing a crucial nursery habitat for young fish of many species. Previous reports suggest that more than 600 species of fish in Southeast Asia alone rely on these meadows for their growth and development. Seagrass beds are also an important home for marine invertebrates, such as sea cucumbers, prawns and crabs.Some seagrass meadows also serve to store large quantities of so-called blue carbon, the carbon dioxide absorbed by the world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems. It’s been estimated that seagrass meadows may be able to store more CO2 in their roots than all the world’s rainforests.The online tool SeagrassSpotter aggregates reported sightings of seagrass ecosystems from around the world to help in the effort to conserve the underwater plants. Image courtesy of SeagrassSpotter. Article published by Basten Gokkon Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored The platform also provides information on seagrass species to help with identification. Image courtesy of SeagrassSpotter.Seagrasses are disappearing at rates that rival those of coral reefs and tropical rainforests, losing as much as 7 percent of their area each year, according to the IUCN. More than 70 species of seagrass worldwide cover a global area estimated at up to 600,000 square kilometers (about 232,000 square miles) — an area larger than the island of Madagascar.“We increasingly know how seagrasses support biodiverse fauna but we know little about how to manage them to be resilient into the future and how to restore these systems once they’ve been lost,” Unsworth said.He pointed to Indonesia as an example of a seagrass hotspot, where the dearth of knowledge about the plants could potentially lead to the extinction of these underwater gardens across the archipelago.Indonesia is widely considered an important country for seagrass conservation. In 1994, researchers estimated the country was home to 30,000 square kilometers (11,600 square miles) of seagrass, perhaps the world’s largest concentration of the plant. But in June 2017, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), a government-funded research agency, put the country’s seagrass cover at just 1,507 square kilometers (582 square miles).“Having worked extensively on seagrass in Indonesia since 2003, I see that seagrass is largely not on the conservation radar,” Unsworth said.“When you visit marine parks and places with seagrass, its conservation is commonly not included or just there as a token inclusion. The focus is always on coral reefs, even though often the majority of the fishing effort is on nearshore shallow seagrass.”At least two studies by researchers in Indonesia have attempted to map seagrass meadows in certain locations, but both noted that nationwide mapping efforts were practically non-existent.A handful of seagrass meadow sightings in Indonesia have been submitted to SeagrassSpotter. Image courtesy of SeagrassSpotter.According to Unsworth, LIPI now runs a seagrass monitoring program, but it’s only on seagrass meadows in marine parks where threats aren’t as prevalent and widespread as in other, unprotected, coastal regions in Indonesia.“Funding for projects by NGOs largely ignores seagrass or when budgets are stretched, they always pull the seagrass component first,” he said. “Having met with fisheries officers, park managers and local government officials over many years, my overwhelming opinion is that seagrass is not considered to be of much importance.”A search of the academic literature on coral reefs versus seagrass in Indonesia reveals that five times as many studies published about the former than the latter in the period between 1970 and 2018, Unsworth said.He also pointed to dataset compiled by the U.N. Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre showing huge gaps where seagrass has been mapped.“The gaps are places where the environmental conditions suggest seagrass should be prevalent,” Unsworth said. “This includes many areas where I personally have observed extensive seagrass, such as Buton, Selayar, Central Sulawesi.”The latest figures from LIPI indicate that only 40 percent of seagrass in Indonesia is considered in healthy condition. Coastal land development, sedimentation, waste pollution, coral aquaculture and sand mining are the top threats to Indonesia’s seagrass.Unsworth and his team of researchers published a report in April that indicates 90 percent of the seagrass meadows they examined in Indonesia had been extensively damaged and degraded over the past five years.“Seagrasses in some parts of Indonesia are very well mapped, but across the nation knowledge is very poor and this comes at an important time given what we know about the losses of seagrass,” he said.Other countries, like Australia, have also reported findings of extensive seagrass meadows in seabeds deeper than 20 meters (66 feet), but “next to no deepwater seagrass has ever been documented in Indonesia,” Unsworth said.“This is probably because no one has ever looked for it,” he said.To date, SeagrassSpotter has collected more than 1,000 records of seagrass around the U.K. and northern Europe. Globally, the group hopes to obtain at least 100,000 records by engaging people from around the world to collect data about seagrass in their locality. All collected data will be freely available to the public.“If people don’t know where seagrass is and why it’s of value,” Unsworth said, “then they won’t take action to preserve it.”Healthy seagrass on the ocean floor. Seagrass provides an important source of income and food for communities around the world, but its importance often goes unnoticed. Image courtesy of Benjamin Jones/Project Seagrass.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.
Olympic Day, celebrated on June 23, gives everyone a chance to take part in various sporting activities, and this year, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) will mark the occasion with a 5K run on June 25. Speaking at the launch at the JOA office in Kingston yesterday, president Michael Fennell said that Olympic Day is important to the 205 member countries. “We are trying to promote certain values in sports. It is important to hang on to and preserve the value of sports,” Fennell told the gathering. “Olympic values are promoted by the IOC (International Olympic Committee). The run is not about records, but values that we need in the society and not only in sports,” the long-serving JOA boss outlined. June 23 is the day on which the Olympic Movement was founded at the initiative of Pierre de Coubertin, at Sorbonne University in Paris in 1894. The 5K will begin at the National Stadium at 6:30 a.m. EVENT OVERVIEW Alan Beckford, a JOA director, gave an overview of the event. “Last year, we had 100 runners, so this year, the aim is to improve on the number of competitors. There is no cost or entry fee to compete, and we thank Puma for coming on board again,” Beckford said. “We will start with a lap at the National Stadium track then on to the road, ending at the JOA office on Cunningham Avenue,” he explained. “We have 37 member associations in the JOA and are asking the associations to wear attire representing their sport,” he encouraged. He also said that parking would be available at the National Stadium parking lots. There would be free hydration stations along the route and Suretime Ambulance would provide service. Jerry Benzwick, Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) chairman, said that “these are exciting times for sports”. “JRFU is the newest sport in the JOA, and we are encouraged by the association opening the way for lesser sports. We are looking forward to the Olympic Day,” Benzwick said in giving greetings.
Dear Editor,The People’s United and General Workers Union (PU&GWU) sees the move by the APNU/AFC Government to review the 1999 ExxonMobil contract as an excellent and clever one, and the Government should be applauded and fully complimented for such a move, since the Government will have an opportunity to make new proposals that can modify, improve and remove any deficiency that the contract may contained. The contract was made between ExxonMobil and the former PPP/C Government since 1999 (over 17 years ago), we are now in the year 2016 and we have a new government which have the full right to review and make changes to any contract that was signed by the previous Administration and also from the time the contract was made to this year 2016, the price and other conditions surrounding the oil market have changed globally; for example, Venezuela has proven oil reserves in 2013 (297.6 billion barrels), total oil supply in 2012 (thousand barrels per day): 2489.2.Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia last year to become the holder of the largest oil reserves in the world but yet still Venezuela is facing serious economic crisis, so having oil is one thing but managing it productively in a sustainable manner is another thing and the APNU/AFC Government needs to take these realities surrounding the oil market, including the Venezuela situation, into deep consideration during the review process of the1999 ExxonMobil contract, etc.Editor, the PU&GWU without the shadow of a doubt is confident that the 1999 ExxonMobil contract needs to be reviewed and modified; hence, the Government needs to make a new draft and enter into negotiation with ExxonMobil so that the contract can be amended to accommodate and include: (a)the Government drafted proposal should provide for ExxonMobil to finance and establish a school in Guyana that will teach, train and equip Guyanese with certificates that will qualify them to be employed with ExxonMobil when the company goes into full operations, etc; (b)the Government draft should include the percentage of Guyanese that will be employed with the company as against how many expatriates will be employed, eg Guyanese should at all times be the higher percentage of employees to be employed with the company; (c) the Government draft should include a clause that provides for Guyanese to enjoy international payment rates, benefits, working conditions and safety standards, etc; and (d) the Government draft should include all international requirements that an oil rig company have to meet to conduct its operations in the oil industry, etc.Editor, when ExxonMobil goes into full operation and production, most of the oil produced by the company may have to be shipped to overseas markets; as such, the APNU/AFC Government without any hesitation should swiftly move in the direction to establish a deepwater harbour at Berbice River, which is an essential point of transit for incoming people and goods. Primarily, deepwater harbours are fundamental to the movement of exports and imports from and to a country.In the Caribbean, the Port of Bridgetown in Barbados has immensely increased trade activities on the island and drastically boosted the tourism sector.Barbados’ deepwater harbour now acts as a homeport for many of the Britainbased cruise ship lines operating in the Caribbean Region, directly impacting the tourism sector and ultimately the economy, owing to the revenue generated from tourists who are almost always willing to spend.The deepwater harbour will not just benefit the ExxonMobil Company to transship its oil, but it will also improve the maritime sector in Guyana and boost business in the shipping sector, generate revenue for the country’s economy, create jobs for Guyanese and strengthen, improve and qualify Guyana’s port to meet international safety and security standards, etc.The Social Protection Ministry’s Labour Department and Guyana’s maritime sector needs to be equipped with safety officers who are exports that have the full knowledge and qualifications as it relates to safety on oil rigs so they can highlight breaches of any safety rules or laws which can endanger the life of workers, etc.In closing, the People’s United and General Workers Union wishes to state that if the APNU/AFC Government does not manage Guyana’s resources properly and also if it does not sign good contracts with foreign companies operating in Guyana, such as ExxonMobil, Guyana can end up in a crisis and Guyana will continue to remain a Third World country, etc.Yours truly,Micah WilliamsGeneral SecretaryThe People’s Unitedand General WorkersUnion
Last year when we launched “the dollar for peace campaign” to strengthen and expand the peace clubs in schools and communities initiative, no one thought of the Ebola epidemic that stunned the people and economy of the country.The news of the Ebola outbreak, as we were rounding up our fundraising campaign, did not resonate with most Liberians and again, no one within Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia knew we were actually raising funds for Ebola prevention and control activities.The MOP takes a rear view look at our 2014 report card, the challenges, achievements and impact of our programs. As you have noticed from our weekly column, we have worked hard with the Liberian public and communities to enhance the contents of our programs.We didn’t commemorate the International Day of Peace, as we wanted to because of the Ebola crisis. The focus of so many of our efforts, during 2014, continued to center on the epidemic. While we did not get to expand our peace clubs into other counties and schools due to the closure of schools, we were able to engage many young persons in the fight against Ebola.MOP-Liberia mobilized over 100 young volunteers in and around Montserrado for community education outreach program. We produced several information and educational materials on Ebola. We helped in the distribution of Ebola awareness materials, raising promotional items and training hundreds of children in the techniques of basic hand washing.In post-Ebola recovery, MOP-Liberia’s priority for this year would focus on the campaign “Ebola Educates,” to deal with EVD myths, issues of false information, stigma and discrimination and conspiracy theory of source of infection.There is an urgent need to improve the coordination of efforts and the sharing of information. We need to prepare the next generation of young people for future outbreak and finance, according to Joachim von Amsberg, a Vice President at the World Bank, “…can be a strong driver of preparedness”. We can no longer be seen to be tardy and sluggish in our approach to disease outbreaks. We must learn from our past mistakes, document our success stories and educate generations on how our resilience and tenacity paid off.Building on last year’s debut and as the fight to burn out the EVD continues, amid hopeful signs of the disease receding, MOP-Liberia hopes to raise additional funds to tell the stories of how it all began; how we managed to cope with the deadliest disease of our generation and how survivors were re-integrated into the society.The purpose of the MOP-Liberia is to build and strengthen the support we need to sustain our peace advocacy efforts. Thanks to you for your support during the year 2014. Even though we lost a significant few of our partnership during 2014, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our strategic partners, Daily Observer, Liberia Peacebuilding Office (PBO), The Carter Center Liberia, Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP), Shirley Ann Sullivan Educational Foundation (SASEF), UNMIL, board-members, volunteer peace messengers and Friends of MOP-Liberia that stood with us through our very difficult and happy moments. We owe our growth to you.We hope that as we launch our next fund raising campaign, it will stimulate us all to better collaboration in 2015.Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Much has been said before in this space regarding the minibus code of conduct and the expectations for a much-desired improvement in the service provided. From all appearances, this well-intended initiative has made little or no positive impact on the overall operations. If the intention was just for a focus group then it’s possible some gains may have been made. That said, commuters would guage impact based upon visible improvements, which sad to say, are still to be forthcoming.The implementation of the code of conduct is never going to be easy, given what has unfortunately become an engrained culture of disrespect for traffic laws and scant regard for passengers’ welfare by many operators. Numerous complaints have been made in the past about harassment of passengers by touts and a few weeks ago, the Police took action and effected many arrests.While that is welcomed and commendable, it has been long overdue prompting the obvious question; why wasn’t it done earlier and sustained? Not only have commuters pleaded for such Police intervention over time, but there are reports of some operators, who refused to engage the “services” of the touts, being abused and left to languish in their wait for passengers.Touts, who have no investments in the minibuses, demand a sum that they fix from operators to solicit passengers. In the ensuing competition among them, many passengers, including senior citizens, are tugged back and forth at the various parks. It becomes a nightmare for commuters as all helplessly watch the ill-mannered touts continue their daily reprehensible routine.It therefore becomes imperative that the Police sustain their crackdown to curb the menace of the touts. Similarly, they must also provide adequate and constant support to those who are working assiduously to implement the code of conduct. The goal is for commuters to be free from harassment in their travel which can possible see the implementation of a monitored turn-system of loading, as in the speedboat operation. Passengers with a personal choice of bus, wait at their own convenience.This goal is not without challenges. In almost every bus park, there are drivers who adhere to what may exist as a line/turn system of loading. However, there are others operating “special buses”, with no regard for such order and blatantly use selected space to load which generally conflicts with traffic laws. Indivertibly, it leads to an extension in the waiting time by those in the line.This concern has been raised over time with very sporadic intervention seemingly just to appease for a particular moment. Aggrieved operators have alleged that a high number of the “special buses” are owned by influential persons of which many are from the Police Force. If true, it would probably explain the glaring lack of interest for meaningful intervention as allegations have been levelled against the Police of turning a blind eye; not just to that, but to overloading, loud music, breach of road licence to name a few.This is where a more holistic approach for improvement in the service becomes difficult unless all operators are treated equally. Some operators indicated that all can benefit and achieve their daily targets without the harassment and frustration if a systematic approach to loading is implemented and to which all must abide. However, abiding seems extremely difficult for some operators who fragrantly refuse to respect traffic laws and their road service licences.From all understanding, the road service demarks the various routes through specific streets as in the City and roadways for other areas. The reality is that unauthorised streets, even through some villages, are used daily and recklessly by some operators in an effort to avoid traffic lights and to race ahead of others.The official routes have been designed and agreed for a particular purpose which took safety into consideration. A lack of adherence poses tremendous dangers to residents, including children. It also adds to congestion and heightens risk for other users. In addition, undertaking and cutting abruptly into traffic now appears a legal aspect of driving.Adding to frustration is that many of these incidents occur in the presence of the Police who cannot claim to be oblivious of this daily practice. If they were to crack down on the use of unauthorised streets and roadways and ensure defaulters feel the brunt of the law, there is a good chance this menace will be curbed. The same for undertaking especially at the approaches of traffic lights. Not too long ago, a minibus toppled and passengers injured as it reportedly tried to undertake, hitting in the process a concrete curb at Diamond.While the Police can cite challenges in their human resources, there can be no excuse for turning a blind eye when a violation occurs in their presence. Such action, or lack thereof, will only serve to give credence to special and vested interest on their part in the context of the ownership of buses, if not directly; for a colleague. Such scenarios would likely spell doom for the code of conduct. Given the reality, self-interest seems to be taking priority.
Dear Editor,I had to smile at the lean coverage of the so-called independent media on the leaked Auditor-General Report for 2018— the AG Report used to trigger many months of PPP/C bashing. Names used to be named, ministers used to be called out, and reporters used to give their very best in investigative reporting. Imagine the report, which is traditionally released around September, if it was not leaked, taxpayers would not have gotten a glimpse of what our Government cooked up more than a year ago.The APNU/AFC cabal has not only nullified the Constitution with the help of the Courts, obviously but all checks and balances with it as well.I have identified the following more egregious headlines because APNU/AFC came to power promising to tackle these exact issues and of course to eradicate corruption and deliver good governance:1. In excess of G$800M unaccounted for2. Unauthorised spending from the Consolidated Fund3. Tax concessions nearly doubled in 20184. Rampant corruption in drug purchases in the Regions – Page 417 of the AG Report5. Contracts being awarded outside public tender6. Complete disregard for the AG recommendationsWe are now seeing the award of nearly a billion-dollar contract for a capital project to a known Government supporter just before the elections in a new fiscal year by a Government that is without legal footing and without a budget. This is a contract, just like the oil and parking meter which the people of Guyana will be saddled with.We are also seeing the gifting of tens of thousands of acres of land to APNU/AFC cronies which were seized from legitimate farmers. In 2019, we learned of excessive Government spending and racking up of significant debt at the central bank. Again, these are debts on the backs of all Guyanese taxpayers, current and future.Readers will note that the Auditor-General Report for the fiscal year 2019 will not be ready for some time yet, so the full extent of the corruption and thievery will not be known if it ever will be known. It is a rank shame that the AG findings for 2019, which is key to judging an administration’s performance, is not available to enlighten the campaign trail.However, if the above is anything to go by, 2019 was most certainly a blockbuster year for corruption at all levels in this APNU/AFC caretaker administration. I have to further conclude that over the last 4.5 years, there was an inverse relationship between corruption and the reporting and interest in it. This indicates how desensitised we have become.In these times, I have to ask whither Messrs Ram and Goolsarran, our foremost anti-corruption, transparency and good governance gurus.Sincerely,Ravi Ram
“I’m satisfied with the way the young team is developing under the tutelage of Friday, but I must make it clear to Kenyans that the team is not there yet, we still have a lot to do.“Our biggest priority in the next World Series season is for the country to remain in the series as a core team,” Muthee said on Wednesday.On the Safaricom 7s, the chairman assured the audit report of the tournament proceeds will be released to the public next month once the organising committee is through with its work in an effort to avoid the controversy over the event’s finances that arose last year. “The committee will sit and we will have the audited accounts presented to the union, we are transparent and once they are done we will publish them.“We have an audit firm of repute which works with us and we must sure that we conform to the international code of accountability,” he assured.Muthee was speaking after the launch of the 31st edition of the Impala Rugby floodlight tournament that will kick off on October 6 to run for the three weekends until October 20.The annual tournament which began in 1982 has attracted 24 teams from local clubs, universities and secondary schools in the event played under floodlights with a Sh200,000 top prize for the winners.The tournament draw will be released on Friday for the event Mean Machine are the defending champions. “The event has strived to have a legacy and reinforce the belief that success can only be built by applying the highest professional standards in how it operates,” said Odour Gangla, the hosting club chairman.Service provider Airtel Kenya presented a Sh4m sponsorship that will go into logistics of that includes installation of an improved lighting system and enhancement of security.The organisers expect to attract about 15,000 rugby enthusiasts over its three weekends duration that will also be streamed live through the club’s website. 0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, September 26- Kenya have set themselves the modest target of retaining core status in the IRB World Sevens Series during the 2012/2013 season that kicks-off with the Gold Coast 7s in Australia.The country was at risk of losing the cream billing last season as they slumped to 12th with 40 points but with new coach Mike Friday at the helm, Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) boss, Mwangi Muthee, believes the core status will be sustained.Muthee added he was impressed with the progress the former England national team tactician had achieved with the local side particularly after he led the Morans and Shujaa national sides into second and third place at the weekend Safaricom 7s tournament.
It was a remarkable triumph because the South Africans were eliminated in the final qualifying round in April only to be reinstated when their Democratic Republic of Congo opponents were disqualified.Success for Sundowns made them Sh150mn ($1.5 mn) richer and secured a place at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan during December.“It was an amazing journey of ups and downs and now we are the champions of Africa,” said Sundowns’ Zimbabwe striker Khama Billiat.“We look forward to Japan and facing the best clubs in the game. It is going to be an absolute pleasure.”Winger Keagan Dolly said: “We knew it was going to be difficult because Zamalek are a great team with some outstanding individuals.“Some people will say we were lucky to get a second chance after being eliminated, but I believe we deserve to be African champions.”Goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy and captain and midfielder “Shikabala” were among those dropped as Zamalek coach Moamen Soliman made four changes from the side that started the first leg.Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane had to make one enforced alteration with huge Ivorian centre-back Bangaly Soumahoro coming in for suspended Wayne Arendse.Although facing a mammoth task, history offered a hope to Zamalek with two of three previous Champions League finalists in a similar predicament emerging as overall winners.An estimated 60,000 predominantly Zamalek supporters were inside the 86,000-capacity Borg El Arab Stadium on the outskirts of Alexandria as the match kicked off.There are few more nerve-inducing factors in African football than a large Egyptian crowd roaring on their team, but Sundowns calmly survived early pressure.The first scoring chance for the hosts came after 12 minutes when Nigerian Ohawuchi burst through and beat goalkeeper Dennis Onyango, but the ball trickled wide.Ugandan Onyango, a 2016 Africa-based Footballer of the Year finalist, needed medical attention three times before being replaced by Wayne Sandilands on 28 minutes.Striker Basem Morsy had been headlined as the Zamalek dangerman, but recent signing Ohawuchi was posing a bigger threat.A wild but crucial clearance from Soumahoro foiled another attempt by the Nigerian to break the deadlock before Sundowns began to threaten going forward.The first serious chance for the South Africans came on 35 minutes when awarded a free-kick just outside the box, but captain Hlompho Kekana struck the ball into the wall.Zamalek goalkeeper Mahmoud Abdel Rahim did well to push away a goal-bound shot from Percy Tau and a looping Billiat shot struck the top of the crossbar before flying wide.The injuries to Onyango meant eight minutes of first-half stoppage time during which Liberian Anthony Laffor troubled Zamalek twice with a shot and a header.Half-time arrived with the second leg goalless and Sundowns retaining the three-goal advantage they established in Pretoria last weekend.Zamalek started the second half as they did the first, controlling possession and territory but rarely looking like cracking open Sundowns’ defence.After 64 minutes the Egyptian outfit scored and it was no surprise that the goal came from livewire Ohawuchi.Receiving possession well outside the box, he beat one man and unleashed a low, long-range drive that flew into the corner of the net off the left hand of Sandilands.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Zamalek’s defenders Ahmed Mohamed Abdalla El-Sayed Nouh (L) and Ali Mossad defend against Sundown’s Zimbabwean forward Khama Billiat. PHOTO/GuardianALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Oct 24- Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa won a fairytale first CAF Champions League title on Sunday despite a 1-0 second-leg loss to Zamalek of Egypt in Alexandria. A Stanley Ohawuchi goal on 64 minutes was not enough for the home team as they trailed by three goals from the first leg in Pretoria last weekend and lost 3-1 on aggregate.