Liberians want government to urgently derive solutions to economic downturnSigns of a halt to the continued fall of the Liberian currency against the US dollar appears nowhere in sight as the exchange rate continues to climb, with the Liberian dollar now trading at L$150 to US$1.Liberians including business people, caught in the dragnet of the current economic hardships, want the Liberian government to urgently derive practical solutions to the current economic downturn which is having disastrous consequences for the ordinary Liberian.A two-week survey of the foreign exchange market was conducted in several business districts in and out of Monrovia. The survey included Paynesville, Kakata, Gbarnga and Voinjama.Currently, the exchange rate of the Liberian dollar against the all-powerful American dollar is L$150 to US$1.As a result of this seemingly uncontrollable climb in the exchange rate, Liberians are encountering unbearable hardship in accessing money to purchase essential items like rice, vegetable oil, etc. Even locally produced food items are now being sold at prices beyond the reach of many, particularly those surviving at less than a dollar a day.Economic and financial analysts told the Daily Observer that an immediate intervention by the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and key financial institutions in the country is required to restore sanity to the currency market.Owing to the sharp increase in the pump prices of gasoline and diesel fuel, which are being sold at a cost of L$500 per gallon at the moment, transport fares have dramatically been stepped up to all destinations in and outside Monrovia.Moreover, the recently commenced motor vehicle inspection exercise by officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) is driving many vehicles off the streets, adding to the transportation woes of commuters.When the police vehicle inspection exercise started on Monday, June 11, several commercial and privately-owned vehicles were impounded for not processing their registration and insurance documents on the stipulated deadlines set by revenue and finance agencies.Police sources say because of the exercise, many commercial and privately-owned vehicles, not registered and covered by third party insurance as stipulated, have been keeping off the streets and driving at night hours mainly to evade possible police action.However, public reaction to the ongoing inspection exercise by the LNP has been mixed, with some applauding it and arguing that the country needs money for development, while others have shunned the exercise, describing it as “chopping” for police officers.Meanwhile, the latest transport fares from Paynesville Red-Light Market to Broad Street, central Monrovia, range between L$150 to L$200 in taxi cabs and L$90 to L$100 in mini buses.Prior to the sharp increment in petroleum products, commuters and business people were paying taxi cabs L$100 and L$70 in mini buses from Red-Light Market to Broad Street, central Monrovia.Civil servant Darlington B. Thomas, 45, of Paynesville Weaver Street noted that the CBL needs to really work meticulously with the various foreign exchange bureaux, to structure a single exchange rate and have law enforcement agencies monitor the transactions in all parts of the country.On the hike in transport fares, Mr. Thomas pointed out that there are some unscrupulous commercial drivers that are allegedly taking advantage of the current socioeconomic challenges to exploit and destroy the image of the Liberian government.Businessman Clarence B. Sackie Sr. intimated that the Liberian government needs to take proactive steps to work with well-seasoned experts in financial management, in order to shore up the business sector against the current economic downturn.“I personally want the CBL and other financial stakeholders to take a critical economic look at our foreign exchange sector and come out with genuine and durable solutions to our nightmare and hardships in our own country,” Mr. Sackie stressed.Madam Caroline George Cooper, 48, general merchandise dealer at the Waterside General Market in Monrovia, stated that every effort should be exerted by the CBL and MFDP officials to find permanent solutions to the unusual escalation of the foreign exchange rate.Besides, she added, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) must double or triple efforts aimed at regulating transport fares and enforcing all laws against violators caught in price hiking and commodity hoarding.Madam Cooper also stressed that the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) should exert all efforts to regularly brief Liberians on the global trend of oil prices in order to checkmate hoarding and illegal price hikes.It can be recalled that the Liberian government, through the Ministry of Commerce recently announced a reduction in tariffs for some basic commodities such as pig feet, chicken feet and mosquito coils.However, there are growing public concerns that the announced tariff reductions have had little or no effect on the cost of living generally. The rising cost of petroleum products on the Liberian market is said to be the chief culprit responsible for the hike in prices and the continued fall of the Liberian dollar against the United States dollar.The Ministry of Commerce has not, however, addressed itself to these latest claims. Meanwhile the Ministry of Commerce has vowed to continue with its inspection exercise which has resulted in the discovery of tainted and expired food items on the shelves of supermarkets in Monrovia.It can be recalled that recently, the Ministry of Commerce imposed a fine on the Abi Jaoudi supermarket for selling expired food items a charge which the business outfit strenuously denied, although the Abi Jaoudi supermarket did pay the imposed fine.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The running series, which began on Sept.4, is an informal group of low key, cross-country running races, consisting of six races and one relay, being held over an eight-week period. The series was created to develop the sport of cross-country running within the Peace Region.In the boy’s Grade 1-3 race category, Fort St John residents included first place winner Owen Barrow, as well as Tyler Webster and Tristen Bourassa. Alyssa and Sarah Webster both raced in the girls Grade 4-6 category, Norma Webster raced in the Women’s 35-49 category, and Barb Polehoykie and Joanne Gorman took part in the Women’s 50+ Master 2 division, placing first and second respectively.The aim of the running series is to encourage participation of athletes of all ages and skill levels. In order to be eligible for a series award, one must complete at least three races. If more than three are completed, the racers best three results will be counted.- Advertisement -Next week organizers are hoping to go to Grande Prairie for the final X-Country race in the series.
Five persons are now injured following a vehicular accident at Zeeburg Public Road on the West Coast of Demerara.According to information received, at around 12:00h on Saturday, a motorcar bearing registration plates PTT 5532, owned and driven by 50-year-old Shameer Rahaman, was proceeding East along the northern side of the road.One of the vehicles that was involved in the crashConsequently, another motor car bearing registration plates PLL 4407, owned and driven by 62-year-old Roger Levans, allegedly attempted to overtake another vehicle and came into the path of Rahaman.This resulted in a head-on collision between the two vehicles. Immediately after the collision, the occupants of both motorcars were rushed to the West Demerara Regional Hospital. The injured persons were identified as the two drivers, 47-year-old Ravindra Singh, 41-year-old Bibi Singh, and the wife of Roger Levans, 60-year-old Leila Levans.The couple, Roger and Leila Levans, was transferred to the Georgetown Public Hospital. All of the injured persons were reported to be in stable condition.
Moments after attending a press conference hosted by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government on Friday, the Guyana Press Association (GPA) called out the administration for condoning disrespect meted out to members of the media.At that press conference, hosted at Congress Place, Sophia, a number of supporters of the APNU/AFC Administration were seated, and heckled reporters as the GPA asked questions of members of the head table. This behaviour was condoned by the Government Parliamentarians, who allowed their supporters to continue heckling.Media workers were boldly asked by the supporters there: “What stupid questions are you asking?” and in some cases were even asked if those were questions. All the while, the Government officials sat quietly without addressing the disrespect.However, the GPA did not mince words with the Government when it issued aA section of the APNU/AFC supporters in attendance of the Press Conferencestatement shortly after the press briefing, reminding the Government that media workers have the right to conduct their duties without fear of intimidation. The GPA noted that it would not hesitate to call on media workers and media houses to boycott press events if this “unacceptable behaviour continues.”“We can only assume that this behaviour is a feature endorsed by the party and its leaders, since it happened during today’s (Friday) event with PNC Chairperson Volda Lawrence and senior APNU members and the party’s last press conference held by PNC Leader, President David Granger,” the GPA stated. Among the senior Government officials present at the press briefing were Acting President Moses Nagamootoo; Acting Prime Minister Carl Greenidge; Minister of State, Joseph Harmon; Social Protection Minister Amna Ally, and Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.
After all the press conferences, letters and lobbying by officials from local cities, the fate of the crowded interchange at the heart of the San Gabriel Valley came down to a single conference call. The call took place on Feb. 27 between Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials and local legislators including Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina and state Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles. Hernandez described it as a vigorous discussion of the need to fund a $70 million upgrade to the junction of the 10 and 605 freeways. By late that day, the officials received assurances from the California Transportation Commission that the project would be funded, even though the San Gabriel Valley would see none of the $4.5 billion in freeway improvements made available by Proposition 1B, approved by the voters last November. But she added that it is only in one-on-one negotiations that the true impact of the project could be conveyed. “Our big goal was to show how the 10/605 interchange is to the San Gabriel Valley what the \ 405 and \ 101 interchange is to the San Fernando Valley,” M rquez said. “If you don’t get out of downtown and the Westside, it is hard to see how true that statement is.” An average of 438,000 vehicles use the 605/10 interchange daily, making it the 19th busiest in the state, according to Caltrans statistics. The 405/101 interchange handles about 632,000 vehicles daily. Hernandez said that having local cities backing him up helped in the negotiations. “We asked all the cities in my district to look at passing resolutions in support of the project and write letters,” he said. “When we had the lobbying effort involving the masses, they listened.” Ben Jong, a transportation planning manager for Caltrans, said construction on the interchange upgrades could begin as soon as the middle of 2008. The project will involve the construction of a flyover connecting the south 605 and eastbound 10 freeway routes. The unification of Valley cities behind the project was unprecedented, said West Covina Councilman Steve Herfert. “This has done more for the San Gabriel Valley than anything in the last 10 years,” he said, noting that South El Monte, Baldwin Park, La Puente, Azusa and West Covina all were involved in the lobbying effort. “Suddenly we had 10, 15 electeds at an MTA meeting. And I think you will see that continue at future meetings as well.” Herfert said there was even talk of the cities hiring a lobbyist together to help secure future transportation funding. But he also credited the local legislators for acting as the spearhead in the 605/10 effort. Baldwin Park Councilman Ricardo Pacheco concurred. “Everyone helped out however they could,” Pacheco said, noting that as head of the San Gabriel Valley Caucus in the legislature, Hernandez’s role was crucial. “I really credit Hernandez with bringing the issue to the front of the line and getting everybody behind it.” The coalition of local cities definitely had an effect on the interchange funding, said Douglas Johnson, a consulting fellow with the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College. But he added that the Valley love fest may be short-lived. “This is all driven by self-interest; that mess of an interchange dumps so many commuters onto surrounding streets that it really extends the impact far beyond the immediate area,” Johnson said. “But for other projects like the Gold Line, the regional impact on traffic will be almost nothing.” In that case, it may be difficult for cities without Gold Line stops, like West Covina or Baldwin Park, to lend their support, he said. “Mayors will have to explain to their constituents why they are supporting a project that is not going to provide a direct benefit to them,” Johnson said. firstname.lastname@example.org (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Officials agree the unification of various Valley cities behind the interchange project made a difference in securing the state funds, and that this impromptu coalition may help in lobbying for future area projects. But despite this unprecedented collaboration between cities with varying interests, in the end it was standard political arm-twisting behind closed doors – during that late February conference call – that led to real results for the Valley. “Without a doubt the good old-fashioned politicking is part of what we do, and what we did in this case,” said Roxane M rquez, Molina’s press deputy. M rquez said the support from Valley cities was imperative in showing that the legislators negotiating with the MTA and the state had the backing of their constituents. “It was vital because other areas, such as West L.A. had more than their fair share of folks lobbying for them, so we had to show we had an equal amount of strength,” she said.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Hospital Foundation has opened registration for the first Annual Beard Competition.In partnership with Beard’s Brewing Co., this event will be held in conjunction with the annual Bluey Day event.Special Events and Administration of the Hospital Foundation, Jessica Cotton, says proceeds from this event will go towards the Bluey Day goal of raising funds for a new tissue processor at the Hospital.- Advertisement -“Our goal for Bluey Day is to raise $100,000 for our tissue processor, and all the proceeds from this event will roll into Bluey Day, so Bluey Day is the goal. This is just another aspect of the Bluey Day event.”Participants can grow their beard or moustache and then decorate it as part of a “best-decorated” competition.There are seven categories, along with a “Build-a-Beard” category for those who cannot grow a beard.Advertisement Registration for the Beard Competition is $20 per person, which includes a complimentary drink.The first Annual Beard Competition is taking place on May 24 at 7:00 p.m. at Beard’s Brewing.To sign up, and for more information, you can contact the Hospital Foundation at 250.-261-7563 or online at fsjhospitalfoundation.ca.
Liverpool are reportedly lining up a move for AS Monaco’s Radamel Falcao.The forward is currently on loan at Manchester United but hasn’t set the Premier League alight during his campaign at Old Trafford, scoring just six goals in 27 games.However, Liverpool’s strikers have been just as bad. Marquee signing Mario Balotelli was bought to Anfield to replace the prolific Luis Suarez and so far has just four goals in 25 games.The Merseyside club are reportedly looking to sell the Italian, while considering bringing in Falcao to replace him.For Liverpool news, views and videos check out Talk Liverpool on FacebookThe Colombian’s movement could link up well with Liverpool’s fast attacking football, compared to Balotelli’s rigid style of play, but some of the Anfield faithful aren’t happy with the transfer rumour…Take a look – Radamel Falcao pleads: ‘Don’t make me play for Liverpool!’ Spoof video Falcao celebrates one of his few goals 1
Charlton have introduced a fan pitchside sofa for this season at The Valley and in doing so have completely redefined the term “armchair supporter”.So the Drivetime team want to know – Do sofas have a place at football grounds? 1
Javier Mascherano 1 Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has been sentenced to one year in prison after admitting two counts of tax evasion.The 31-year-old appeared in court on Thursday and accepted the sentence as well as a fine of 815.000 euros (£625,000), although it is expected he will not serve any prison time with his legal representatives having requested the sentence be suspended and replaced with a fine.Mascherano, who joined Barcelona from Liverpool in 2010, admitted fraud last year and according to a court filing has repaid 1.75million euros (£1.35m), the full amount he owed plus interest.Following Thursday’s ruling, the Argentina international released a statement via his Twitter account and the Barcelona website in which he said: “I’m a sporting professional, I don’t have a great understanding of tax and legal matters.“Therefore, to deal with what are for me technical and complicated matters, I have to rely on other people.“Throughout all my career I have been an honest person, responsible and respectful of my team-mates and the clubs that I have played for and the countries I have lived in.”’I reserve the possibility of action against those who have badly advised me by recommending something that was not right.”
The district hopes to have at least 100 students enrolled in the class at Golden Valley High School by its second year. Crandall said the district will continue to look at programs only available on one side of the valley and will try to offer them for the other side of town. For example, plans are in the works to bring Action meetings, a parent and teen support group for drug and alcohol addictions, to Golden Valley High. At present, the weekly meetings are only offered at Saugus High School. Sue Doyle, (661) 257-5254 email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “Valencia is on the other side of the valley, and I think they felt that because we’ve expanded to six high schools that it was a good time to put the program on this side of the valley,” she said. The elective class focuses on leadership and has both classroom and physical-education components. Because students work outside on drills, a smaller and softer version of boot camp, they can get credit for physical education. In addition, students participate in community-service activities. Science credit is also available to those enrolled in the aerospace portion of the program. The Air Force develops the curriculum and provides textbooks, said Leslie Crunelle, assistant superintendent for educational services. “The program provides opportunities for students. It provides ways for them to do community service and give back to the community,” Crunelle said. “It provides a link to adults as well as leadership and discipline.” Superintendent Jamie Castellanos said military doctrines are not taught in the classes, although military careers and college support through G.I. bills can be discussed. But military recruitment is off-limits. SANTA CLARITA – ROTC classes will soon be offered on both sides of the valley to students in the William S. Hart Union High School District. An Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps unit is coming to Golden Valley High School with classes starting in the fall. All high school students are welcome to sign up. It’s the second ROTC program for the district, which currently has the class at Valencia High School. Students throughout the district have poured into the class. Now some from the valley’s east side will have a shorter commute with its second location at Golden Valley High School. The need for a second ROTC class grew along with the valley’s population and blossoming enrollment in local schools, said Kathy Crandall, assistant principal at Golden Valley.