The UK-based environmental and transparency watchdog, Global Witness (GW), has caused quite a stir (commotion, uproar) in Liberia with its sweeping allegations of corruption and bribery against several top officials of the Liberian government.So stirring have been the allegations that they have, for the first time in recent memory, succeeded in dragging into court top officials of the first branch of government, the Legislature. These include the very leader of the Legislature, Alex Tyler, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senator Varney Sherman, Chair of the Senate Judicial Committee. Counselor Sherman, who topped his class at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, is also a product of Harvard Law School, and Liberia’s most prominent and most successful lawyer. Both he and Speaker Tyler have been indicted by the Grand Jury of Montserrado County on charges of “bribery, criminal conspiracy, economic sabotage, criminal solicitation and criminal facilitation.”Other officials indicted are Public Procurement Concessions Commission (PPCC) Chair, Willie Belleh, former Lands, Mines and Energy Deputy Minister E.C.B. Jones and Christopher Onanuga.GW has succeeded in rekindling the anger of the Liberian people against their government and public officials whom they (the Liberian masses) perceive as being determined, by their persistent corruption, greed and selfishness, to perpetuate poverty in the land. It is a land in which the rich have always continued to get richer and the poor, poorer.Who, for example, truly benefitted from the Liberia Mining Company (LMC) iron ore concession (1946) in then Bomi Territory, now County? President W.V.S. Tubman, of course, the personal friend of LMC owner Lansdell K. Christie, and a few of Tubman’s cronies. When LMC departed in the 1980s, all the Bomi people got were a hole in the ground, a ghost town for their capital, Tubmanburg, and abject poverty. The company did not encourage or empower a single Bomi citizen, man or woman, in business.Who benefitted from the LAMCO iron ore concession, owned by American, Swedish and Canadian investors? They, the investors, who made off with billions of United States dollars, and a few Liberian officials, who ALWAYS preferred the board meetings to be held in New York or some other American or European city, where the Liberian board members would collect their handsome per diem and board fees and go shopping. And what did LAMCO leave behind when it departed in the late 1980s? The impoverished Nimba people; a shanty town, Sanniquellie, as their capital, without running water or light; and absolutely nothing to show that they had once hosted one of the biggest companies operating in Africa. And when, once again, the GOL saw the opportunity to exploit a new natural resource—petroleum—GOL again embarked upon a policy of wicked and unconscionable exclusivity (elitism, snobbery, exclusiveness). It was a policy that ensured that the rich continued to get richer and the poor, nothing! Who, for example, became the shareholders in the oil blocks secretly sold in London by the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL)? Among these exclusive privileged was a young man already rich from inheritances from his father and grandfather. Then NOCAL’s missing millions, which disappeared under the watch of its former Chairman, Robert Sirleaf, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s son. The President has told the Liberian people that she takes “full responsibility” for the NOCAL money. However, as we pursue the alleged Global Witness culprits—Varney Sherman, Speaker Tyler, etc., we cannot afford to be so hypocritical as to be gravely concerned about US$950,000 in bribes from UK-based Sable Mining, and at the same time ignore those who made away with tens of millions of US dollars from NOCAL.But while we are in the midst of the case involving the bribery scandal, we call on the court prosecuting the alleged culprits to mandate Global Witness to come and present to the court ALL the evidence in the scandal—who all received the money, when, how much was paid to whom. And, of course, GW must also come and tell the court who Big Boy # 1 and Big Boy # 2 are, and what was their role and their take in the bribery scheme. We cannot afford to be seen vigorously pursuing the chickens while the cows go scot-free. That would be the height of hypocrisy. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
North Torrance’s Kyle Cryer already had established himself as a standout receiver, but he opened eyes with a prolific performance Thursday night at Redondo. Cryer rushed an eye-popping 44 times and gained 244 yards. He scored one touchdown and had three runs of 20 or more yards, including a long of 27 yards. “I knew he had numbers like that in him in an all-purpose role, but I would have been surprised if you told me he’d have that many rushing yards, considering he’s a receiver,” North coach Todd Croce said. Cryer had more than 200 receiving yards in Week 1. He moved to the backfield to help North try to snap a winless streak that has reached three games. Cryer didn’t care about his rushing totals. “We’re just trying to piece together a season,” he said. “We’ve got five guys up front and that’s all we’ve got.” Calling in reinforcements With a rising number of premier local cross country teams bolting from the South Bay Cup, Torrance coach Israel Pose knew he needed to make a drastic change. So he called in Saugus, the No. 2 girls team in CIF Division I, to add legitimacy to the meet. Look for an intense Saugus-Mira Costa showdown on the girls side. “Maybe getting Saugus will spark an interest,” Pose said. We’ve got a lot of good teams in the South Bay, but there’s coaches who don’t bring their teams to this meet, and it’s discouraging,” Pose said. The South Bay Cup is expected to have 15 teams, including Torrance, West Torrance, South Torrance, Mira Costa, North Torrance, Leuzinger and San Pedro. Saugus is coached by Rene Paragas, a former El Camino College runner who has known Pose for years. “Rene asks me every year if he could compete,” Pose said. “I always told him no before, but maybe we need to start bringing in some outsiders. Loyola and Lakewood have asked about this meet in the past.” The Hill has no love for this event. Peninsula, Palos Verdes and Chadwick opted not to run in this year’s version of the South Bay Cup. Redondo is expected to use its lower-level runners. Rain follies Friday’s rainy football games yielded an interesting statistic. There were seven safeties in the 10 games involving local teams. St. Bernard recorded a safety against Palos Verdes, Inglewood gave up one up in its game at San Clemente, Morningside got one against Animo, Westchester allowed two in its game with Washington and El Segundo and Mary Star each had one in its matchup at El Segundo. “I think any time you get the first rains of a season, the kids aren’t used to it, the fields aren’t ready for it and there’s a learning curve that goes with playing in wet weather,” El Segundo coach Steve Shevlin said. Shevlin said El Segundo’s field is in particularly poor shape and is not equipped to handle the wear and tear the teams put on it en route to a strange final score. El Segundo won the game, 11-2. “I’m sure it was a pretty interesting score to look at,” Mary Star coach Dino Andrie said. Close, but still, a cigar Palos Verdes girls volleyball coach Pinter Aguirre had a good reason for missing Tuesday’s match against Torrance. Aguirre informed Athletic Director Mike Boyd that he would not be attending the match so that he could be with his wife, Melissa, during the birth of their son, Connor James. The 6-pound, 12-ounce, 20-inch baby was born at 8:03 p.m. Tuesday. Palos Verdes captain Joanna Bahl called Aguirre to inform him of the team’s five-game loss to Torrance shortly after Connor was born, but her reason for calling wasn’t strictly volleyball-related. “She wanted to talk about the birth first and the match second,” Aguirre said. Quick ascension Redondo’s Hayward Gray was No. 3 on the Redondo depth chart as a junior, but this year he might be one of the quickest running backs in the South Bay. Gray rushed 26 times for 288 yards Thursday against North. He has the benefit of fullback Joe Rubio, who rushed 12 times for 55 yards. “We work well together,” Gray said. “He hits the hole and I come up behind him. I think it’s a good combination.” Linsky commits Peninsula baseball coach Dennis Gonsalves said that right-handed pitcher Lenny Linsky has made a verbal commitment to play at the University of Hawaii. – John Klima, David Saunders, Tony Ciniglio160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Torrance High will retire the uniform number of the late Kim Blankinship as the highlight of a girls volleyball tripleheader on Saturday at Torrance. Blankinship, the most decorated female athlete in Tartars history with 12 varsity letters, died unexpectedly at age 31 last October. She was a first-team All-CIF selection for two years in volleyball, soccer and track. The Tartars will retire the No. 14 jersey that she wore in both volleyball and soccer following the 5 p.m. Redondo-North Torrance match and prior to the 7:30 South Torrance-Torrance match at the Torrance Challenge. “She was everything right about Torrance,” Torrance girls volleyball coach Nathan Jones said. “We’ve had big athletes come through here. Louis Zamperini has the track stadium named after him. Fred and Jason Kendall have the baseball field named after them. We thought it was appropriate to honor Kim in this fashion.” Jones said Blankinship’s parents are expected to attend the uniform retirement ceremony along with several family members. The showcase kicks off with a West Torrance-El Segundo match at 3 p.m. The Redondo-North showdown follows and Torrance closes out with South Torrance in a Pioneer League match. Tickets for the full day cost a minimum $5 donation, and the proceeds will go to the Kim Blankinship Memorial Fund. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to be wiping away tears as we go down to play our match,” Jones said. “The Blankinships are such nice people.” Cryer in the rain
Presidents Ian Khama and Jacob Zumareport back on their bilateral discussions. A guard of honour welcomes the twoheads of state to Freedom Park. Khama and Zuma lay a wreath at Isivivanein Freedom Park, Pretoria.(Images: The Presidency)MEDIA CONTACTS • Saul Kgomotso MolobiChief Director for Public Diplomacy+27 82 940 1647 RELATED ARTICLES • Science university for Botswana • Boundless Southern Africa • New Zimbabwe deal in sight • SA, Angola strengthen ties• SADC free trade area launchedJanine ErasmusSouth African President Jacob Zuma recently received the president of Botswana, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama (Ian a Sêrêtsê), on Khama’s first official state visit to his country’s southern neighbour.Khama and his entourage of seven ministers, senior government officials and representatives from the business sector, were in South Africa on 5 and 6 October at Zuma’s invitation. The intention was to strengthen relations between the two countries.Discussions between the two heads of state centred on the Zimbabwean political situation and the sanctions currently imposed on that country, but also turned to ways in which to create opportunities for economic and industrial development for their own nations, leading to job creation and better lives for citizens.Topics included the challenges faced by both countries in terms of health and communicable diseases, as well as continuing commitment to the Southern African Customs Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).The two leaders also discussed the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation between their nations. This scheme covers a wide range of agreements on issues of mutual interest, including tourism, trade, agriculture, science and technology, health, sport, and arts and culture.Another special area of concern was that of natural heritage, which is a significant tourist drawcard for the whole region.South Africa and Botswana have worked together on the foundation of two vast trans-frontier parks – the Kgalagadi Park between South Africa, Botswana and Namibia; and the Greater Mapungubwe Park between Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.Fruitful discussionsAfter the first day of talks Zuma stated that the proceedings had gone well.“This morning we had fruitful discussions covering a wide range of areas in our bilateral cooperation,” he said. “We are satisfied with the good relations that so happily exist between our sister countries.”The two leaders then visited Freedom Park in Pretoria to host a wreath-laying ceremony during which they honoured the thousands who gave their lives during South Africa’s liberation struggle. The ceremony took place at Isivivane – the resting place of those who fought and died for freedom.Zuma took the opportunity to thank Khama and the Botswana nation for giving sanctuary to many South African refugees who were hunted by authorities during those turbulent times.Khama also visited former president Nelson Mandela during his stay in South Africa.Before departing, Khama invited his South African counterpart to visit Botswana. Zuma accepted, and the dates will be finalised through normal diplomatic channels.Contentious situationSouthern African countries have been at odds with the European Union (EU) and the US over the contentious subject of Zimbabwean sanctions, with Zuma arguing that the situation is doing more harm than good, and is in fact hindering Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. The EU and US are disputing this claim, and remain adamant that they will not lift sanctions.During his state visit Khama added his voice to the Zimbabwe debate, saying that he too was sceptical at first, believing that the imposition of sanctions was necessary. When political unrest in Zimbabwe was at its peak about two years ago, Khama was outspoken in his criticism of President Robert Mugabe, asking SADC to close the country’s borders and isolate the ageing head of state.“The sanctions are now starting to be a hindrance and we have to call on those imposing them to reconsider their position because the situation is better in Zimbabwe,” he said, referring to the establishment of the Government of National Unity in February 2009.This is the power-sharing arrangement between Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai heading his branch of the Movement for Democratic Change or MDC-T, and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara of the MDC-M.“As easily as they can be imposed,” said Khama at a media briefing in Pretoria, “sanctions can be removed, and I believe this should be done as a demonstration of goodwill with Zimbabwe”.Khama added that the embattled Southern African country has shown some progress in the economic and political sectors, and the lifting of sanctions would help that upward movement. Relations between his country and Zimbabwe, which took a turn for the worse after Khama’s condemnation of Mugabe, have recently begun to improve.“We also have concerns, but let’s remove the sanctions to demonstrate good faith and see where we go from there.”
For advice and complaints about travel agents, tourist operators and establishments – including searches for registered guides and graded accommodation, find out more here.You can contact the South African Tourism or any provincial tourism authority if you need advice on travel or leisure. (Image: Brand South Africa)Brand South Africa reporterHere’s where to go for advice and complaints about travel agents, tourist operators and establishments – including searches for registered guides and graded accommodation.Tourism AuthoritiesVisit South African Tourism for information about South Africa. Or contact a particular provincial tourism authority:Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency: www.visiteasterncape.co.zaFree State Tourism: freestatetourism.orgGauteng Tourism Authority: www.gauteng.netKwaZulu-Natal Tourism: www.zulu.org.zaLimpopo Tourism Agency: www.limpopotourism.info/parks/Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency: www.mtpa.co.zaNorthern Cape Tourism Authority: www.experiencenortherncape.com/visitor/North West Parks and Tourism Board: www.tourismnorthwest.co.zaCape Town and the Western Cape Tourism: goto.capetown/homeTourism Grading Council of South AfricaResponsible for grading accommodation establishments. The council also handles complaints against member establishments, which include guesthouses, hotels, lodges, bed and breakfast and self-catering establishments. Searchable directory of members on the website – all graded for quality.Website: www.tourismgrading.co.zaFederated Hospitality Association of South AfricaRecognised by government as the official representative of the hospitality industry in South Africa. Will handle complaints against its members, which include operators and establishments across the tourism spectrum.Website: fedhasa.co.zaSouthern Africa Tourism Services AssociationHandle complaints against its members, which include operators, transport providers as well as establishments across the tourism spectrum. Searchable directory of members on its website.Website: www.satsa.co.zaAssociation of SA Travel AgentsFor complaints about travel agents and tour operators. The association holds its members to a code of conduct. Find affiliated travel agents on its website.Website: asata.co.zaWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material
LATEST STORIES Syquia wins PH’s 23rd gold, rules equestrian show jump NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ She also ended up in eighth in hoop with her 9.30 score, with Koi again topping the category.Orella stayed in eighth place in ball with her 11.10 points, while this time, Malaysia’s Izzah Amzan claimed the mint.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingShe finished her performance with an eighth place finish in ribbon, nabbing a score of 11.05, with Malaysian Amy Kwan Dict winning the gold. Gymnast Arielle Orella missed out on a podium finish in the apparatus finals of rhythmic gymnastics in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games Monday at MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre Hall 3 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.The 20-year-old Orella wound up in seventh place in clubs with her 11.10 points, where Malaysian Koi Sie Yan won the gold medal.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’
TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening MOST READ Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion It’s not just the basketball that’s entertaining—what with all the pure athleticism and physical play between two teams—but also the verbal exchanges between head coaches Alex Compton and Chito Victolero.Alaska won Game 4 90-76 to tie the series at 2-2 in a heated game that prompted Compton to call out some of Hotshots for allegedly throwing punches at his players.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chief“Jio [Jalalon] punched us, somebody punched Mike in the testicles, somebody punched Chris in the testicles, at what point is that going to be called? I don’t know,” said Compton during his post-game press conference Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.Victolero, who accused Compton of calling the referees’ attention after Game 2, hit back saying the Alaska coach doesn’t have the right to make calls during the game. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting “Both players are only being physical, there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Victolero. “Still coaches cannot decide on what’s a foul. The referees are doing their jobs so I think they did a good job today. If we keep on complaining against the referees then there won’t be an end to this series.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue MANILA, Philippines—The finals series between Magnolia and Alaska in the PBA Governors’ Cup has officially provided action from all fronts.ADVERTISEMENT “He’s just saying it, he’s not a referee, he’s a coach,” said Victolero in Filipino. “I think it’s beyond our control and the referees will decide what’s a foul, what’s a flagrant foul, and what’s not a flagrant foul.”There was no question that Game 4 was one physical matchup with Magnolia import Romeo Travis needing a couple of stitches near his right eye to close a wound he suffered when he drove to the basket in the third quarter.What made the fourth game of the series truly remarkable was the heated exchanges between Alaska guard Chris Banchero and Magnolia floor general Mark Barroca.The two went at it for much of the second half but it was Barroca who landed the decisive blow when replays showed he hit Banchero in the groin with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter.Victolero said there’s nothing wrong with being physical especially in a championship atmosphere like the one they’re in, but what he can’t accept is the constant complaining on the referees.ADVERTISEMENT Looking to snag best available talent, PBA coaches size up aspirants at Draft Combine SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Netflix’s content streaming obligations grew by US$1.6 billion (€1.25 billion) in the first nine months of 2014, due to multi-year commitments linked to its latest European launches and the expansion of its original programming efforts.In its latest quarterly report, filed yesterday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Netflix said that its streaming content obligations had grown from US$7.3 billion as of December 31, 2013 to US$8.9 billion as of September 30, 2014.“A streaming content obligation is incurred at the time we enter into an agreement to obtain future titles,” said Netflix, explaining that certain agreements include the obligation to license rights for unknown future titles – “the ultimate quantity and/or fees for which are not yet determinable.”In its domestic streaming segment, Netflix recorded a US$91.3 million year-on-year increase in domestic streaming cost of revenues in Q3, which it said was primarily due to a US$71.2 million increase in content expenses relating to existing and new streaming content, including more exclusive and original programming.Streaming delivery expenses increased by US$12.8 million and other costs, such as payment processing fees and customer service call centres, increased $7.3 million due to Netflix’s growing member base, the company said.In its international segment, Netflix reported a similar US$82.1 million year-on-year increase in cost of revenues for the quarter. It said this was due to a US$66.4 million increase in content expenses and US$15.7 million more in streaming delivery expenses.“Our primary uses of cash include content acquisition and licensing, streaming delivery, marketing programs and payroll,” said Neflix in the filing.“We expect to continue to make significant investments in streaming content, including original content. We also expect to significantly increase our investments in international expansion.“Payment terms for certain content agreements require more upfront cash payments relative to the expense and therefore, future investments could impact our liquidity,” it warned.Elsewhere, Netflix said that a potential loss in ongoing legal action is “reasonably possible,” although the amount of such possible loss or a range of potential loss is “reasonably estimable.”Netflix is being sued by a group of shareholders, who allege that Netflix executives caused the company to buy back stock at “artificially inflated prices to the detriment of the company and its shareholders while contemporaneously selling personally held company stock.”Overall, in Q3, Netflix reported that domestic streaming revenues grew 25% year-on-year to US$877 million, while international revenue grew 89% to $346 million – both were in line with forecasts. Net income came in at US$59 million, up from US$32 million for the same quarter last year. However, Netflix added fewer new customers than it had previously predicted.