first_imgHooray! The Americans are coming and if the driver knows what’s good for himself he should beat it, meaning run for his life. Yes, the Americans are coming, according to media reports, to investigate the case of the missing billions. The Tuesday, October 16, 2018 edition of the Hot Pepper newspaper carried a front-page story claiming that the Americans have already concluded their work and departed the country.In other accounts, the FrontPage Africa newspaper in its October 15, 2018 edition reports that investigators have found only small amounts of local currency in the CBL’s vault instead of the 15.5 billion Liberian dollars which the CBL maintained was in its vault. Whatever the case may be, the public desires and deserves to know the truth. In the interest of fairness and transparency, it is only proper that the Americans release preliminary findings on what has been unearthed so far.But it should not be surprising if the Americans do not make public their findings. There are speculations from some diplomatic sources that Liberians may be in for a rude awakening when findings are disclosed to the public absolving the government of blame. Further, according to diplomatic sources, fears are that revelations of the true findings linking past and current government officials to the disappearance of the money may serve to incite and provoke mass public protest with unforeseen consequences for a government said to be strongly within the orbit of US policy influence. In effect, according to diplomatic sources, it means or suggests that the Americans will act, if needs be, to save the hide of a government which they believe would lend itself to easy manipulation.But such premonitions, as farfetched as they may seem, cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. The Americans came not once but several times before. In 1990, they raised the hope of starving, desperate and besieged Liberians when the US Government dispatched a flotilla of ships, planes and troops to the shores of Liberia, raising the hopes of Liberians that their ordeal at the hands of bloodthirsty warlords was over as the Americans had now arrived to intervene. But to their greatest dismay, this was never to be.The Americans instead idled and fiddled while the country went up in flames. But it took the courage and bold ingenuity of West African leaders to intervene and put an end to the madness which had engulfed the country. Again, the nation bore witness to similar circumstances in 2003 when the nation found itself torn apart once again by bloody fratricidal conflict. At the height of the fighting in the besieged city of Monrovia, thousands took to the streets to celebrate what had then been announced as a cease-fire and the arrival of American troops.Again, the joy of the people was short-lived, for within a matter of minutes, euphoria had instantly turned into apprehension, fear and grief as mortar rounds fired by LURD forces began falling on hapless, unarmed civilians. Once more, the West African Community was called into action after the US government had insisted on the presence of “African Boots” on the ground as a precursor to their intervention.Further, in 2016, the nation was shocked by news of the brutal killing of Harry Greaves, a former confidant of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Greaves had allegedly fallen out with the former President and was said to have become a virtual mockingbird singing tales of sleaze allegedly involving former President Sirleaf. Harry, according to accounts, went to the RLJ Kendeja Hotel and was never seen again until his dead body was washed ashore a local beach in Monrovia near the Executive Mansion.With a cloud of suspicion hanging over the Government of Liberia, and in response to public pressure, President Sirleaf invited a team of US forensic experts to Liberia to investigate. The team released its final report, concurring that Harry had indeed drowned. But the key question which remained unanswered to date was, if Harry had indeed drowned, how come his arms were contracted but not instead flexed as would normally be the case when a drowning person lapses into a state of unconsciousness?  Further, had rigor mortis set in before he drowned or after? What accounted therefore for the presence of a stick in his anus can still not be reasonably explained?But the Americans had said it — Harry died by drowning and that was it, although strong suspicions about complicity were never quite laid to rest. In the case of the missing money, this newspaper wonders why ECOWAS was not invited into the fray. The regional body has already established an institution to handle such matters involving money laundering and the like.This institution is styled the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA). It is a specialized institution of ECOWAS and a FATF Style Regional Body that promotes policies to protect the financial systems of member States against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations are recognized as the global anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorist financing (CTF) standard.In the face of this, there are questions whether the outcomes of this investigation will be akin to that of the Harry Greaves investigation. There is, however, another twist to this with suggestions from certain diplomatic quarters that the Americans are alarmed by inroads the Chinese are making in Liberia with the construction or planned construction of large infrastructural projects which are without doubt leaving visible imprints that the Americans have been unable to match.They, according to sources, strongly desire to see a “Maada Bio” in George Weah who will cancel at a stroke of a pen, planned Chinese infrastructural projects such as the proposed flyover at the Boulevard junction and the ministerial complex overpass. President Weah needs to awaken to these challenges no matter how outlandish they may appear.For now let us all shout: Hooray, the Americans are coming; so Driver, beat it! Throw your anti-corruption “axe” Mr. President, and let it fall where it may. Who die, da their worry!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgIt had been 20 years since Fairfax last won a City Section boys’ basketball title, and Chace Stanback was determined not to let the opportunity slip away this time. The 6-foot-8 senior, bound for UCLA, scored 20 points, including a 7-of-9 effort from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, to guide the top-seeded Lions to a 55-46 victory over second-seeded Westchester in the championship game Saturday at the Sports Arena. “We got the monkey off our back,” Stanback said. “We were going to win this game, there was no doubt in my mind.” That was apparent from the outset, as Rod Singleton scored 11first-quarter points to give Fairfax (23-5) an early 23-7 lead, an advantage that was trimmed down to eight points at the half and five at the end of three quarters. Stanback, however, scored 10points in the fourth quarter, including eight during the final 4:30, to secure what had been an elusive title and snap the Comets’ 27-game winning streak in the postseason. center_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

first_img0Shares0000Hector Bellerin netted an injury-time equaliser for Arsenal as they rescued a 2-2 draw at the death against Chelsea. Photo/COURTESYLONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 3 – Hector Bellerin came to Arsenal’s rescue as the defender’s last-gasp strike earned a dramatic 2-2 draw in a heated London derby against Chelsea on Wednesday.Bellerin looked set to be the villain of the piece for Arsenal after the Spaniard’s foul on Eden Hazard conceded a penalty that allowed the Chelsea star to cancel out Jack Wilshere’s opener. When Marcos Alonso put Chelsea in front with just six minutes left at the Emirates Stadium, Bellerin’s misery seemed complete.But the 22-year-old enjoyed a sweet moment of redemption in the 90th minute as he lashed in only his second goal of the season.The frenetic conclusion to a thrilling encounter actually did little for either team’s prospects in the Premier League.Chelsea remain in third place, one point behind Manchester United and 16 adrift of runaway leaders Manchester City.Arsenal, who have now won only once in 13 league meetings with Chelsea, are languishing in sixth place, five points behind fourth placed Liverpool in the battle to qualify for the Champions League.Jack Wilshere gave the home side the lead with an unstoppable left-footed effort just after the hour mark on Wednesday night. Photo/COURTESYIn an early sign of the drama to come, Alvaro Morata squandered a golden opportunity to put Chelsea ahead when Arsenal defender Calum Chambers completely misjudged a long pass.Morata pounced on the loose ball and sprinted clear but with only Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech to beat, the Spain striker scuffed woefully wide.Foreshadowing the penalty angst to come for Wenger, Ainsley Maitland-Niles had a spot-kick appeal turned down following Victor Moses’ challenge.It looked a good decision by referee Anthony Taylor however and there was more frustration for Wenger moments later.Alexis Sanchez wriggled into position for a powerful shot that Thibaut Courtois pushed onto one post, with the ball rolling agonisingly along the goalline, then hitting the other post before rebounding into the keeper’s arms.If that was a stroke of luck for Chelsea, there was no fortune about Courtois’s next contribution as he produced a fine save to deny Alexandre Lacazette after the Arsenal forward turned Gary Cahill and unleashed a powerful low strike.Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil almost opened the scoring just before half-time with a stinging drive that whistled narrowly wide.– Conspiracies –But Chelsea were level four minutes later at the Emirates as Eden Hazard sent Petr Cech the wrong way from the penalty spot. Photo/COURTESYCech was called into action twice in quick succession after the interval as he repelled Hazard’s low shot and palmed away Alonso’s header.Courtois was matching Cech save for save and the Belgian produced another brilliant block to stop Lacazette’s close-range effort.But the Chelsea keeper was finally beaten in the 63rd minute.Ozil picked out Rob Holding on the edge of the area and when the defender’s pass was deflected into Wilshere’s path, he reacted instinctively to drive his shot high into the net at Courtois’s near post.It was Wilshere’s first league goal since May 2015, although he might have been fortune to still be on the pitch after avoiding a second booking for a theatrical tumble just before he scored.Yet the crucial moment in a pulsating clash came just four minutes later.As Hazard twisted and turned inside the Arsenal area, Bellerin rashly stuck out a leg to halt his progress and Taylor pointed to the spot.Hazard stepped up to convert the 67th minute penalty for his ninth Chelsea goal this season.Gunners boss Arsene Wenger had ranted darkly about refereeing conspiracies after Arsenal’s Calum Chambers conceded a debatable penalty for handball in Sunday’s draw at West Bromwich Albion.The Frenchman has already been charged by the Football Association for his angry protests at the weekend, but his expression after the decision suggests another blast is in the offing.When Alonso timed his run perfectly to meet Davide Zappacosta’s cross with a cool finish in the 84th minute, it seemed certain Chelsea would start 2018 in winning style.But Bellerin was determined not to end the night as the fall guy and the wing-back pounced on Alonso’s weak header to crash in the equaliser.Even then there was almost a sting in the tale when Zappacosta smashed against the bar in stoppage-time.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

first_imgMiss Universe 2003 from Dominican Republic @AmeliaVega for the project #Misses4Peace #SOSVenezuela pic.twitter.com/1JItDx9pm2— PageantsNews (@PageantsNEWS) February 21, 2014 For us young people in Venezuela, communication has become one of the most important assets of our time, and our only weapon to vouch for the truth.I will speak about the events that have occurred since Feb. 12 to avoid any form of digression (although it might be necessary in another time and place).Students protested peacefully in several cities of the nation to express their disagreement with President Nicolás Maduro’s regime of misery and lack of safety for the citizens. Undergraduates were asking for safer streets – as the murder rates of a country of almost 30 million topped 25,000 in 2013 – and to end the scarcity of products, along with the country’s elevated inflation, the highest in Latin America.When students took the streets, they encountered violence from the Bolivarian National Guard of Venezuela and armed supporters of Maduro’s administration, which have resulted in at least four deaths, countless injuries, several reported missing and those who were held in custody are reporting being tortured. My country is bleeding out, its students are fighting for a better future, security and prosperity #SOSVenezuela #PrayForVenezuela— Emily C. Olivieri (@E_olivierival) February 21, 2014 However, the vast majority of people do not know about any of this. The government implemented a media blackout, which includes the exclusion of TV stations from cable (NTN24), lack of paper for the newspapers and the blocking of Twitter imaging services. We’ve been thoroughly censored. If you turn on your TV, you get women debating about beautiful flowers. Andrea Sofía Crespo Madrid is a young Venezuelan who has lived in San José, Costa Rica,  for the last two years. She is a recent Blue Valley School graduate and plans to study Hispanic Philology at the University of Costa Rica. She has spent the last two months in Venezuela to tend to a family emergency. Facebook Comments I’m literally In tears do you even know what is going on in Venezuela?! Wake up young People we have power to do great things #SOSVenezuela— Kenia Ramos (@Kenia_Ramos1230) February 21, 2014 Mi Inspiración echa foto…#PrayForVenezuela #SOSVenezuela #20F #Inspiracion pic.twitter.com/WPkzR0IPYP— Sir Troye (@SirTroye) February 21, 2014 Nonetheless, all hope is not lost. Venezuelans are using social networking sites to share information and have our voices heard. After reading this brief explanation of our situation, you may help us by raising awareness, so everyone finally hears the truth about the violation of our rights as humans and citizens of this country.Be careful when you share information though, because we don’t have an official news source – we only have ourselves. And we’re hoping it’s enough.Reality for all of us comprises empty supermarket shelves, no medicine at hospitals, highly dangerous streets filled with unpunished violence and a worthless currency.  That is why we are protesting.Venezuela does not serve as a good or bad example for leftist tendencies. This isn’t about socialism, communism or capitalism; governments like to hide behind these concepts to infatuate the people and turn them against themselves.This is about militarization, human rights violations, abuse of power and corruption. Related posts:Venezuela looks set to lock away prominent opposition leader Leopoldo López Venezuela protests lose momentum as Maduro toughens his response Venezuela gives US 15 days on embassy staff cuts Venezuelan opposition leader shot dead at campaign event: lawmakerlast_img read more