As our nation’s leaders continue to aspire for sustainable peace in Liberia, Messengers of Peace (MOP)-Liberia, from its embryonic stage in 2008 has remained committed to peace in Liberia.There is no bigger sign of this commitment than our foundation values of advocacy for Peace Education and non-violence through the concept of volunteerism. We remain the bearer of peace messages and take the lead role for Peace Advocacy involving youth in Liberia.One of the hallmarks of MOP-Liberia is the meaningful involvement and active participation as well as engagement of young people in advocacy programs for peace. At MOP-Liberia, what we have discovered in our nascent years of existence is that at the heart of most Liberian youth is the quest for peace to prevail.Our values, as presented last week, are centered on preparing young people in schools and communities for peace and non-violence through the transfer of knowledge and skills.In keeping with those goals, young people are actively involved in peace building initiatives such as the “21 Days of Peace Activism in Liberia” Community Sensitization Campaigns and formation of peace clubs in schools. They are also challenged to find a practical application of acquire information during the mentoring programmes.We are always willing to do the little things that contribute to the attainment of sustainable peace in Liberia. MOP-Liberia’s vision is to become one of the great Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), youth driven, voluntary movement in Liberia and theSub-region which stands for key peace values and is not afraid or reluctant to stand up for peace and non-violence.MOP-Liberia is a conscientious objector to any form of violence anywhere in the world. It remains committed to the key peace values of hard work, building trust, honesty, tolerance and respect for human dignity and diversity.As MOP enters its sixth year of operation, it has earned a reputation for not just being passionate but is recognized as an organization with a compassion for peace and is an advocate for non-violence. These are traits valued by several institutions (The Carter Center-Liberia, Liberia Peacebuilding Office, United Nations Mission in Liberia, United Nations Volunteer Programme, International Alert, Shirley Ann Sullivan Educational Foundation) and more international and local partners that MOP collaborates with as we execute our programmes on Peace buildings in the country.MOP takes very seriously its responsibility to provide a peace loving and child friendly environment for young people from different cultural backgrounds in all learning environment in Liberia.Our mission is to inculcate our shared values to young people in the various peace clubs (in schools and communities) spread across the country.It is our expectations that young people who benefit from our programmes and inculcated with our core values would be great examples of the dedication and commitment that MOP-Liberia stands for.Peace, above all. Peace First. Let Peace Prevail.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Quite recently there has been a rousing interest in the political future of Liberia with the distant bells tolling the knell of the arrival of the 2017 elections. Consistent with the political habits of the political “wannabes” the interest of the Republic suddenly takes center stage when any election season is suddenly bearing down upon us, forgetting that the interest of the state and its people should be an unending saga preceding days long before elections and the day after the conclusion of any electoral process.This gives flesh to the phrase popularized by Chea Cheapoo’s PPP party prior to Charles Taylor’s quest for the Liberian presidency in terming those brands of politicians as “political ricebirds” who migrate and swoon over Liberia, only during elections season. Lest we forget that the ultimate reward for success is timely and early planning; but in my country there seems to be a mental fixation that one does not have to plan ahead and put in motion any tested strategies for success but the illusion that success is achieved thru sudden urgency. This unpreparedness might have led us to the many failures even in our international sporting competitions. My people the glorious future is for those who prepared and work at or for it. So if you are thinking of any political engagement do your homework; either you plan for it now and get to know your constituents now or you forfeit those glorious intentions goodbye.I decided to write this very short article about our electoral proclivities as we are once more being mesmerized by political pundits in the speculative game of “probables” in the ensuing political season of 2017 with surprising redemption armor for Liberia. The chilling reality in Liberia is that most of the potentials on the peoples’ political radar have not shown any piercing visionary leadership which any future political leadership at this time is begging for. Then I am hoping that our “wanabes” will now begin to demonstrate objectivity, integrity, sheer truthfulness and honest seizure with the rice and palm oil concerns of our people.The season for pandering for political office is only a stone’s throw away; let us say less than twenty four months hanging time, and already we are being bombarded with rumors of not only potential contenders and self anointed political messiahs, mergers and expedient future collaborations, scheming, abject sycophancy, public relations ploys cum political planning. The political clowning will always be there as it is systemic in us to assume this gimmickry, underpinned by unpretentious deceptions, betrayals and often times darn right lies defining “Liberian Politics”—–promises of building pies in the skies; a season for promising what you know you really cannot accomplish. So what is new? One would have thought that with the much trumpeted new dispensation we will now commit to better and REAL POLITIKS.We have seen time in and time out the despicable practice of our “wannabes” to political office mushrooming when the political season is on the horizon, manifest and ostentatious dangling of themselves before the electorates, fueled by a very strange mixture of over-bloated egos, wanting to be wanted and trying to out- portray themselves as the “knights in white armor” singled out by some magical wand to be the political saviors of our time, even doing the St. Peter thing of denying their masters. Most disparagingly, our electorates seem to idolize personalities rather than judge past contributive performances, and misplace substantively by the immediate availability of the mighty “dollar” amount, oblivious to the legitimacy of the source; you see seeking for electoral support now degenerates to who can dole out to his constituents rather than the cohesion of your colleagues and constituents to support their parochial development needs. You are not judged by what funding one has sourced to impact the educational needs of the students or focus on the “HOW” one will coerce his companions if and when elected to approve the relevant bills essentially targeting his electoral domain? I am talking about improvement for qualified teachers, improvement of the learning environments and conditions. I am talking about any funding for the health needs of your constituency to cope with the often occurrences of infectious transmissible diseases? The public might not know, that you as a Legislator, cannot within your salary construct roads, but you can incessantly engage your constituents who in most cases might not even have consulted you, except when they needed and secured access to your funds to address their personal needs.This well orchestrated foreplay of contemplating and pretending to run for high office gives a lot of political under-achievers, political cast-offs preceptors of political exclusivity, sometimes bearers of no credible track record of public office, the opportunity to preen their opinions on half-baked theories and mostly “pie-in-sky” manifestoes of political solutions. Some of our pretenders are suitcase politicians who are convinced that mere coatings of being a “BEEN_TO” in the diaspora now bestows on you that cloak of entitlement pregnated with the commanding advantage over a “stay to”— home grown survivalist. Much more than that they even vent “paper-thin” populous rhetoric on the unsuspecting mostly minimally illiterate populace, pretending to provide a clamor of social answers that are mostly in their heads and their imaginations, so paper thin that even a 1947 third grader can put holes thru. They refuse to take lessons from the experiences of political veterans whose political wisdom and coaching could make an ocean of a difference. Hey what? That in the diaspora they do it this wayism does not transform itself to and contributive political plus in Liberia with her own political culture. We see the likes of former war lords still reeling from the explosions of the TRC’s expose of tortuous roles of “salvation” in our devastating civil crisis. They forget the adage that says “fool me first time, shame on you, but fool me second time, shame on me.” There will always come a time when cushioning behind their present statuses will eventually self exhaust their limitations and the chickens will come home to roost. We should learn to distinguish those who have their roles and have sought the forgiveness of the electorate and whose commitments and sincerity to help our country are determinable, tangible, demonstrative and sincere. Regrettably, some of those riding the crescendo of tomfoolery, with its companion undependability, encountered the wrath of their now believers. Lucky for us we frequently are often entertained to their intemperate fire-ups and kooky talk of corruption and human rights abuse, with claims of their constant “sashaying” with and being wooed by international operatives or perceived political nobodies and has now laced up their running shoes for a sprint at the much coveted “Presidency” of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf whose tolerances on most indiscipline confrontations under the aegis of the sanctity of Universal Freedoms on alleged issues of corruption, and blaring the accusations of recycling of accused abettors of “cookie jar” offenders gives the impression of a soft political target. Make no mistake that TARGET is by no means soft. Just do not keep making the error of thinking that the leopard you may encounter is by no means a domesticated cat. It is no wonder we hear rumors of the well veiled intentions of a compendium of “loyal” partisans and members of the ruling cabinet, including some of whom who prize themselves of always reaching across the aisle to the grass-rooters when no such hands are reaching back, to them. Folks shine your eyes, oh; be aware of the ides of March. Let us all put our political toys away and start to have some refreshed and fresh political conversations on where we intend to take this country come 2017. Those conversations should now begin to take shape and poise to take flight. If there were any time to consult, the time is NOW.The author: President Pro Temporare Emeritus of the Liberian Senate; Winner of the Primary of the Alliance of Seven Political Parties of the “Progressives”, 1997 for the Presidential Candidacy. Ranking Executive member of the Ruling Unity Party. Professional Geoscientist; former Assistant Professor of the University of Liberia; Former CEO of the Liberia Football Association and two time President of the Liberia Basketball Federation and a Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of the AFLShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…decries negative impact of VAT on electricity, forestry…less red tape needed for smoother business operations – UK High CommissionerPresident of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) Ltd, Shyam Nokta, has highlighted the impact of the 2017 budget on the country’s manufacturing sector. According to him, it has caused a reduction in cash flow for businesses.He made these comments at the GMSA’s Annual Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Pegasus Hotel on Friday evening, where sixteen companies and sector stakeholder Arnon Adams were all honoured for their contributions to the manufacturing sector.GMSA president, Shyam Nokta, addressing the gathering at the Annual Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Pegasus Hotel on FridayThe GMSA president pointed out that measures such as the re-categorising of zero & standard-rated items and the inclusion of Value Added Tax (VAT) on forestry products and electricity have affected growth of the sector.“These have impacted in a negative way on the manufacturing sector, and have contributed in many instances to increases in prices and reduced cash flows,” he observed.Since implementation of these measures, Nokta noted, GMSA has been engaging Government ministers and technical officers, offering recommendations to foster economic growth.“This engagement was followed up by the GSMA engaging the Ministry of Finance as part of the Ministry of Finance’s 2018 Budget consultations, where he put forward a number of proposals… Paramount is the need for urgent action to address our transmission and distribution system while advancing mature and feasible initiatives for renewable and clean energy,” Nokta told the gathering of industry representatives and other stakeholders.Nokta said the GMSA, in examining Budget 2018, is pleased that several measures advocated for in the area of forestry and wood processing were adopted. These measures include the exemption of VAT on logs and rough lumber, and budgetary allocation of $ 50 million to partner with the private sector to establish a consolidated dimensional stock yard.“The measures regarding imported pine are also welcome. However, much more still needs to be done for forestry sector to recover from its current decline,” Nokta added.Also attending the event, United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, Greg Quinn, spoke on Guyana dropping two places on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, and suggested that less red tape is needed to facilitate smoother business operations.“Ensuring businesses can operate whilst also meeting the necessary legislation is a key to the growth of the economy,” Quinn said. “Bureaucracy must be reduced, and the ability of entrepreneurs to set up businesses must be made easier,” he stated.The UK High Commissioner indicated that his country is supporting measures of the Business Ministry on “improving Guyana’s business environment”.Last month, it was reported that the World Bank highlighted a decline for conducting business in Guyana. The report for World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking for 2018 showed that Guyana slipped two places – from 124 in 2017 to 126 for 2018.Doing business, measures’ regulations that affect various areas regarding the life of a business or in setting up new businesses; some of the categories considered to determine ‘the ease of doing business’ were: “starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, and trading across borders. The assessment uses various indicators to analyse economic outcomes and identify the appropriate reforms for business regulation.Friday night’s ceremony at the Pegasus saw attendance of many dignitaries, private and public sector representatives, and honourees which included Fibre Tech Industrial Plastics, Umami Inc, Sterling Products, Bounty Farm, Pandama Retreat and Whinery, and the Government Analyst Food and Drug Department.GMSA has been honouring both large and small scale members of the manufacturing sector for their contribution to Guyana’s economy.
Richardson credited Prado with minimizing Barbaro’s injuries by skillfully bringing him to a stop. Prado gave the colt all the credit. “He pulled up right away and held his neck in the air and the leg up,” Prado said in a telephone interview. “He wanted to be saved. Now he’s running in the biggest race of his life against the long odds of surviving.” According to Richardson, most horses would have been euthanized on the racetrack with the type of injury for which Barbaro had costly and complicated operation. When the white screen was put up around Barbaro at Pimlico, however, Roy Jackson said that he Matz and Prado were not worried that the colt was going to be euthanized. “Here’s a horse that won the Kentucky Derby, that gave all of us – our families, our community – a lot of joy,” Jackson said. “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to see that he lives. ” Jackson acknowledged that he and his wife were in a unique position to spare no costs in trying to save Barbaro. Jackson’s grandfather, William Rockefeller, was once the president of Standard Oil, and Jackson accumulated additional money as a minor league baseball team owner and a sports agent. His family has also donated large amounts of money to the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center since the 1950s. Barbaro is insured. Roy Jackson would not say for how much, but he said the coverage was increased after the colt won the Florida Derby on April 1, and again after his victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 6. He and his wife have also turned down many millions of dollars for Barbaro’s stallion rights throughout his career. Now, the prospect of Barbaro retiring into the lavish and lucrative life of a sire is far less of a certainty. He must endure the next several perilous weeks of fighting off infections and getting used to being a horse on the mend rather than a racehorse in his prime. And it will be months before veterinarians will be able to tell if the fused lower hind leg can support a normal lifestyle. Even if it can, there are no guarantees that Barbaro will be able to stand on his hind legs to breed. “There will be no, or little, flexing of his ankle,” said Dr. George Mundy, a veterinarian who is the general manager of Adena Springs Farm in Kentucky. “There’s as much torque and tension mating as there is if he was galloping. I’m not saying he can’t do it, but it will be difficult.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Roy and Gretchen Jackson had not seen Barbaro since 7:15 p.m. Saturday, when they stood numbly outside his stall at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. They watched Barbaro, the colt they bred and owned, loaded into an equine ambulance after he sustained a life-threatening ankle injury in the Preakness Stakes. They waited out his operation Sunday from their home in West Grove, Pa. They wanted the surgeons at the University of Pennsylvania’s George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals to focus only on their horse, not them. They said they felt sick as the magnitude of the injury, witnessed by millions on national television, sank in. “It was like someone kicked us in the stomach,” Roy Jackson said Monday in a telephone interview. The Jacksons received a lift Monday from a visit to Barbaro and assurances from veterinarians that the colt had come through his first day of recovery as well as could have been expected. He had rested comfortably at the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa. He was able to stand on his repaired right hind leg and showed some interest in nearby mares. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals“He’s doing all the things a horse should do, including eating and nickering at the mares near him,” said Dr. Dean Richardson, who performed the operation in which 23 screws were needed to put the ankle back together. “While we are optimistic, we remain cautious about his prognosis and are watching for signs of infection at the surgical site,” as well as for the inflammation of tissue in the hoof. Still, the Jacksons, who have been breeders and horse owners for 30 years, took Richardson’s prognosis to heart. “Every step here is a bit of joy for us,” Roy Jackson said. “We know it’s day to day.” So do the trainer Michael Matz, who helped lead Barbaro to six consecutive victories, and jockey Edgar Prado, who gradually slowed him to a standstill shortly after the start of the 131st running of the second leg of the Triple Crown. “You realize how much you had when you don’t have him anymore,” said Matz, who also checked in on Barbaro. “We’re praying that he gets better, praying that he survives.”
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Maria Morales may not know Paul LaBella, and it’s doubtful that Milton Feinberg has ever crossed paths with Matt Febbi. But they and the others I’m writing about this Thanksgiving Day all have something in common: They’ve made us smile this year, made us cry. They’ve made us forget the bad news for a while, and remember the good. They’ve made us feel something we haven’t felt in a while. For that, they deserve our thanks. Thank you, Maria Morales, for putting your family first. For the 14-hour days you spent working in sweatshops and cleaning other people’s homes to support and provide a good education for your five children. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals And thank you for not giving up on your own dream. It took you 16 years, but you finally graduated from college yourself this year at age 50. You want to become a teacher. Maria, you already are. Thank you, Paul LaBella, for all those hours you put in as a reserve officer with the San Fernando Police Department because you wanted a safer community for your own young daughters. You could have gone home from your day job as an insurance investigator and relaxed, like most of us. But you didn’t. You were in that patrol car last March, the night two boys were swept down the Los Angeles flood control channel. You jumped in the freezing water and saved them from drowning. When I asked you why, you said you saw your own two little girls in that water, and you’d want someone jumping in to save them. Heck of an answer, Paul. Thank you, Dr. Milton Feinberg, for returning to work in the pathology department at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar at age 87 to help train young pathologists. When I asked why you came out of retirement, you took me back to the Great Depression – to the anxiety you saw on your own parents’ faces wondering how they were going to pay the medical bills when you got sick. You saw that same anxiety on the faces of many Latino parents in the Northeast Valley carrying their own sick babies into your Sylmar hospital. “I want to make sure they’re getting the same caliber of medical care they would if they were going to UCLA Medical Center in Westwood,” you said. Heck of an answer, doc. Thank you, Matt Febbi – and all the volunteers at Habitat for Humanity, San Fernando/Santa Clarita valleys – for hanging in there when the money ran out for the 20 homes you were building for poor families living in garages and trailers. You could have gotten frustrated and walked away when the promises that they’d be in their homes by Christmas – 2002 – were broken year after year. But instead, you hung in there and finished the first phase of five homes in June. As a retired career Marine, you told me you had seen the worst of mankind and the best. Watching kids who have been sleeping three to a bed in a converted garage walk into their own bedroom was, by far, the best, you said. Thank you, Dr. Robert Hale, for putting the care of the men and women serving our country overseas ahead of personal gain. After a year with the Army Reserves in Afghanistan, digging bullets and shrapnel out of young faces before reconstructing them, you came home to your successful oral surgery practice in Woodland Hills. But it wasn’t the same. It couldn’t be. When you’ve lived with young wounded soldiers and Afghan children, cried with them, and worked in a MASH unit to reconstruct their faces, how do you come back to a life of pulling wisdom teeth and implanting dental work? You couldn’t. And your wife and two sons understood. In March, you left a successful practice to enlist in the Army for deployment in Iraq – to finish the job you started in Afghanistan. Thank you, 81-year-old Dale Caine, for the last 15 years of working sunup to sundown in your gardens at Porter Middle School in Granada Hills to grow vegetables for sale every Saturday and Sunday in front of Shepherd of the Hills Church in Northridge. Your labor built a school for children living in the slums of Kenya. It provided more than $50,000 for tsunami relief efforts and it raised tens of thousands of dollars to fund many of the church’s missions overseas. And closer to home, it taught hundreds of children working with you in your gardens the value of the Earth – taking something from seed to market, said former Porter principal Sue Lepisto. Thank you to all the people who volunteer their time to help others. To the emergency room nurses at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center for giving up their vacation time this year to fly to New Orleans to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. To Joan DuPont for the 20 years she’s spent at Northridge Hospital Medical Center’s trauma center helping hundreds of mothers, fathers and family members get through some of the toughest hours of their lives while doctors worked on their loved ones. Thank you to Kathy Silverton and the 6,200 knitters in Stitches From the Heart who have knitted more than 200,000 booties and baby blankets for premature babies in hundreds of hospitals and shelters nationwide. Thank you to Robert Williams for the past 13 years of making the 50-minute drive from his Canoga Park home to the City of Hope in Duarte once every two weeks to donate blood platelets. In the 30-year history of the hospital’s donor center, no one has made more blood platelet donations than Bob. When he showed up in August, they had a cake in honor of his 250th donation. Thanks to all the veterans and service organizations in the Valley for not forgetting the aging vets from World War II and Korea who are finishing out their lives in Building 99 at the Sepulveda VA. Often, they’re alone and broke at the end. Without the weekly visits from Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Daughters of the American Revolution, and service organizations’ members, they would have no one. Thanks to Sean Collins, Jenna Hazard, Matt Bronstein, Brian Sears and all the other Boy Scout, Cub Scout, Ventura Scout, Girl Scout and Brownie Scout troops in the Valley for the annual pilgrimage they make every Memorial Day to put flags on every single grave of the 84,000 veterans buried at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. It’s an awesome sight. And finally, thanks to Carolyn Blashek and the hundreds of local volunteers in Operation Gratitude who make sure every soldier and Marine overseas and in stateside hospitals gets a personally addressed care package from home during the holidays. To all of you – and so many more people I wish I had the space to thank personally for touching us this year – Happy Thanksgiving. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. Dennis McCarthy, (818) 713-3749 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Following Saturday’s showdown with the Bluejays, Drake will have two weeks to prepare for its next race, the Mid-America Collegiate Rowing Association (MACRA) Championship held May 1 on Lake Harsha in East Fork Lake State Park in southern Ohio. There will not be a trophy on the line Saturday, but the head-to-head regatta allows both teams to continue to improve for their respective conference championships. Drake travels to the 2016 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship one month from this weekend when the Bulldogs travel to Princeton, N.J., May 15. The schools race each other twice each school year with the fall race annually held in Des Moines, Iowa, while the spring race is held in the Omaha, Neb. area. Drake edged Creighton this past fall on the Des Moines River to claim the trophy awarded to the winner each fall. “Saturday is a great opportunity for us to try some new lineups and see how they perform,” said Drake head coach Charlie DiSilvestro. “The format is one race for each boat so we want them emotionally, mentally and physically ready to go, no second chances. We have focused on rowing together as a team and giving great effort to their teammates. We are excited to get on the water.” Drake at Creighton Race TimesV4+ – 10 a.m.2V8+ – 10:20 a.m.V8+ – 10:40 a.m.2V4+ – 11 a.m. Print Friendly Version CARTER LAKE, Iowa – The Drake University rowing team continues its spring season Saturday morning as the Bulldogs will race the Creighton Bluejays. The local rivals will compete in four different races, varsity 4+, 2nd varsity 4+, varsity 8+ and 2nd varsity 8+, on Carter Lake.
Did Indians have familiarity with Jurassic monsters, or were they good paleontologists, skilled at reconstructions? In the “Random Samples” page of news tidbits in the journal Science March 30,1 the story is told and the interpretation given:Some fossils are rare, but this one recently unearthed in eastern Oregon may be positively mythic. In life, the 2-meter-long Jurassic seagoing crocodile (above), discovered by members of the North American Research Group, sported scales, needlelike teeth, and a fishtail. Some paleontologists, including Stanford University researcher Adrienne Mayor, think similar fossils may have inspired Native American representations of water monsters. Mayor notes the croc’s “remarkable” resemblance, for example, to a 19th century Kiowa artist’s drawing (inset) of a legendary water serpent.No evidence was supplied whether Native Americans were even familiar with fossils, let alone whether they ever made reconstructions based on them.1Random Samples, “Oregon Sea Monster,” Science, Volume 315, Number 5820, Issue of 30 March 2007.Unless such fossils were articulated and completely exposed, it’s hard to imagine early hunter-gatherers reconstructing entire animals from fossils as well as this story claims. Why is the more straightforward explanation, that some of them actually saw this beast and imitated it, not even considered? The obvious reason is that there is no way in the evolutionary timetable humans and Jurassic crocs could have co-existed. Not enough information is supplied in this short article to explain if the Kiowa drawing was an imitation of earlier legendary monsters that his ancestors might have seen. It’s also not clear whether a 19th century Indian might have seen scientific reconstructions of prehistoric monsters that influenced his work. Not too much should be inferred, therefore, from this brief article. The biased interpretation of the scientist is the interesting thing to note: he immediately jumps to a conclusion based on his assumption that the two were millions of years apart.(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
11 February 2009Protecting the poor and sustaining job creation were two of five guiding principles that formed the basis of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s latest Budget speech.Delivering his Budget speech to Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Manuel said that, in a time of global economic turmoil, the government had been guided by five enduring principles in drawing up South Africa’s national Budget for 2009/10.These were: protecting the poor; sustaining jobs growth and expanding training opportunities; building economic capacity and promoting investment; addressing the “barriers to competitiveness that limit equitable sharing of opportunities”; and maintaining a sustainable debt level “so that our actions do not constrain our development tomorrow”.‘GDP growth of 1.2% in 2009’According to the National Treasury, South Africa’s incomes and outputs slowed sharply in the second half of 2008, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaging about 3.1 percent in 2008.With the slowdown in international demand for South Africa’s exports, including the commodities that form the bedrock of the country’s economy, as well as reduced consumer spending and high interest rates, GDP growth is expected to average 1.2 percent for 2009, recovering to 4 percent by 2011.“We expect output growth to improve in 2010, supported by public infrastructure spending, lower interest rates, the 2010 Fifa World Cup and a recovery in the world economy,” Manuel said.Trading conditions ‘tough’However, he warned that trading conditions were tough and “likely to deteriorate further in the short term.”2008 was a year of economic shocks for South African producers, with increasing electricity tariffs, rising input costs, high interest rates and slowing demand for goods among consumers.The mining sector was one of the worst affected by the slowdown in demand in 2008, as evidenced by Monday’s announcement by one of South Africa’s biggest mining houses, Anglo Platinum, that it planned to cut 10 000 jobs in 2009.Manuel said the manufacturing, retail trade and residential construction sectors had also been badly hit by the global slowdown, and had already begun laying off workers, with the pace of job losses set to increase.Inflationary pressures easeInflation in South Africa has over the past two years been fuelled by rapid increases in food and oil prices, domestic capacity constraints and a weaker local currency, as well as rising electricity tariffs.The consumer inflation averaged 11.3 percent in 2008, spurred by an inflationary cycle which began in June 2006.Despite this, the National Treasury expects inflation to return to within the South African Reserve Bank’s inflation target band of 3-6 percent by the first half of 2009.In response to an improving inflation outlook and an easing of inflationary pressures such as oil prices, the central bank cut South Africa’s interest rates by a cumulative 1.5 percent between December 2008 and February 2009.Source: BuaNews
Flowers growing in the Drakensberg’s Injasuthi nature reserve. (Image: MediaClubsouthafrica.com. For more free photos, visit the image library) The UN has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), and South Africa, with its wealth of natural treasures, is set to mark the event along with the rest of the world.The year-long celebration of the variety of life on earth is driven by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), under the slogan Biodiversity is life, Biodiversity is our life.The CBD, a global plan to tackle important issues facing biodiversity, entered into force in December 1993. The secretariat exists to facilitate meetings of the parties to the CBD and to coordinate with relevant international bodies.South Africa became a signatory to this important convention in 1993, and a party in 1995. The country has since ratified the instrument, which means that it has been approved by Parliament and is now binding.The 10th conference of the parties, known as COP 10, takes place in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010.The IYB will be officially launched in Berlin on 11 January under the auspices of Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry.Its goals are to raise awareness of the importance of conservation and threats facing natural life, promote understanding of the economic value of biodiversity, encourage organisations and individuals to step up their conservation activities, celebrate achievements, and to forge an effective plan going forward from 2010.Global extinction crisisThe CBD has stated that global biodiversity is in the throes of the greatest extinction crisis since the demise of dinosaurs 65-million years ago.Some experts estimate that precious species are disappearing at up to 1 000 times the natural extinction rate, and worse, the CBD predicts a dramatic rise in the already-frightening rate. Current trends show that around 34 000 plant and 5 200 animal species face extinction at this moment, and that 66% of ecosystems around the world are approaching ruin. Now is the time to act.The IYB also coincides with the 2010 Biodiversity Target, an international conservation agreement to significantly reduce the global biodiversity drain due to often-irresponsible human activity. The target was first adopted by the EU in June 1991 and later confirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.Announcing the IYB, executive secretary of the CBD, Ahmed Djoghlaf, said not one country had met the terms of the target, which were to achieve, by 2010, “a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth”.The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Countdown 2010 branch has brought together around 1 000 participants – representing governments, civil society and corporations – to work towards achieving the 2010 biodiversity target.Celebrating our biodiversityAlthough South Africa covers just 2% of the world’s surface area, it is home to nearly 10% of all the world’s plants, which amounts to 24 000 species. About 7% of the world’s vertebrates and 5.5% of all known insects also call the country home, making it a biodiversity treasure trove.Within its borders lie three internationally renowned biodiversity hotspots. These are the magnificent Cape Floral Kingdom, the Succulent Karoo – which flows into Namibia, and the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany region. Maputaland-Pondoland is shared with Mozambique and Swaziland.South Africa is also famed for its marine biodiversity. About 11 000 species – some 15% of the global total – dwell in South African waters, with 3 496 species, or over 25%, endemic to the country. South Africa is the fifth richest country in Africa and 24th in the world in terms of the number of mammal, birds, amphibians and reptiles that are native to her soil.The South African government is well aware of the immense value of the country’s biodiversity, and between 2003 and 2005 developed and implemented a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. This document, overseen by the national Department of Environmental Affairs, identified nine areas for conservation priority and also laid out steps to conserve freshwater, estuarine and marine ecosystems.The country’s Biodiversity Act was signed into law in 2004 by then-president Thabo Mbeki, providing biodiversity protection at the highest level. Among others, the act calls for full environmental impact assessments before the development of any genetically modified organisms, and also permits communities to benefit from any profits gained through exploitation of natural materials, such as medicinal plants, that involve their indigenous knowledge.Raising awarenessIn addition to the numerous environment-aware celebrations in South Africa each year, the country is hosting the Biodiversity Expo 2010, a gathering which will explore the work currently being done in that field, and establish what more needs to be done.South Africans are encouraged to attend, if possible, and to broaden their knowledge of biodiversity, perhaps even becoming involved on a volunteer or career basis.The expo takes place from 25-28 March 2010 at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Newlands, Cape Town. This well-known research institute and tourist drawcard is part of the South African National Biodiversity Institute.South Africa will mark the following environment-related events in 2010:• World Wetlands Day (2 February);• National Water Week (15-19 March);• World Water Day (22 March);• Earth Hour (27 March);• Earth Day (22 April);• International Day for Biodiversity (22 May);• World Environment Week (31 May-14 June);• World Environment Day (5 June);• Arbour Week (1-7 September);• International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (16 September);• Marine Week (11-15 October);• National Bird Week (22-26 November).Football stars support biodiversityThe UN Environmental Programme has teamed up with sportswear manufacturer Puma in an IYB campaign to support Africa’s vulnerable plants and animals, and raise awareness of the year-long event among football fans.Play for Life sees 12 Puma-sponsored African teams adopting a unique continental football strip known as the Africa Unity Kit, as their official third kit. They are Ghana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Mozambique, Togo, Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco and Namibia.The 12 teams will also wear the Fifa-approved strip during friendly games in the build-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup, which kicks off on 11 June in Johannesburg.The Africa Unity Kit debuts at the 2010 African Cup of Nations football tournament in Angola between 10 and 31 January. All profits from worldwide sales of the replica kit will support biodiversity programmes in Africa. Besides the kit, other items such as Unity t-shirts and lacelets – collectable shoe laces featuring patterns from leading American artist Kehinde Wiley – are available.“In 2010, Africa will be at the centre of the footballing world. The Play for Life campaign and the release of the Africa Unity Kit is a powerful statement for Puma,” said the company’s CEO Jochen Zeitz.“Puma is creating a unique kit embracing the diversity of African teams while valuing the unity of players and supporters towards a common goal – raising both awareness and funds through the sale of our Unity products,” he said.