NBA: Celtics to play 76ers in London

first_imgVilma Santos, Luis Manzano warn public of fake account posing as her Albay to send off disaster response team to Batangas LATEST STORIES End of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legend 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano Valdez, Reyes say PH team can do better after win Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks PLAY LIST 01:40Filipinos turn Taal Volcano ash, plastic trash into bricks01:32Taal Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 787 earthquakes recorded in 24 hours due to restive Taal Volcano The NBA announced its five Christmas Day match ups Thursday with an NBA finals rematch between the Cavaliers and host Warriors representing the marquee contest. The two teams have met in each of the past three finals.The remainder of the NBA schedule will be announced next week. The October 17 opening is the earliest start since the 1980-81 campaign began on October 10, 1980.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The Celtics feature two-time NBA All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, who led Boston with a career-high 28.9 points a game last season, plus newly acquired All-Star Gordon Hayward from Utah and four-time NBA All-Star Al Horford, the team’s top rebounder, from the Dominican Republic.“It’s very exciting for our team and the whole Celtics organization to compete in front of our loyal fans in London,” Thomas said. “I can’t wait to connect with them at the NBA London Game 2018 and hopefully make new fans in the process.”Counting pre-season contests, it will be the NBA’s 16th game in London.“Our events have become an annual opportunity for basketball fans across Europe to come together and share their passion for the NBA,” league commissioner Adam Silver said.The Houston-Golden State contest will not only feature nine-time all star Paul in a new uniform but the Warriors will receive their NBA championship rings for the second time in the past three seasons.Gordon Hayward’s Celtics will also take on LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers on opening night in a NBA playoff semi-final rematch.ADVERTISEMENT Teen gunned down in Masbate MOST READ New York, United States — The Boston Celtics will meet the Philadelphia 76ers at the O2 Arena in London in January for a regular NBA game, league officials announced Thursday.The game, to be played January 11, will be the Celtics’ second trip to London, having played Minnesota there in a 2007 pre-season contest, and the first for the 76ers, whose prior British experience was a 2013 pre-season game at Manchester against Oklahoma City.ADVERTISEMENT Marcosian mode: Duterte threatens to arrest water execs ‘one night’ The league announced the London game, its opening night contests and Christmas Day games as part of a partial release of its 2017-18 schedule on Thursday.Chris Paul will make his debut with Houston on October 17 when the Rockets visit the Golden State Warriors on opening night.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSEnd of his agony? SC rules in favor of Espinosa, orders promoter heirs to pay boxing legendSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’The 76ers boast some of the NBA’s top young talent, including 2016 NBA Draft top pick Ben Simmons of Australia, who missed all of last season with a foot injury, and 2017 top draft selection Markelle Fultz as well as 2016-17 campaign All-Rookie selections Joel Embiid of Cameroon and Dario Saric of Croatia.“I look forward to coming back to London with the Sixers after visiting for the first time this summer,” Embiid said. “We are a young, hungry team and will be sure to give the fans an exciting game against Boston in January.” 2 nabbed in Bicol drug stings Ai-Ai delas Alas on Jiro Manio: ‘Sana pinahalagahan niya ang naitulong ko’ View commentslast_img read more

Prince Wleh’s Alleged Killer on the Run

first_imgThe man identified as the prime suspect in the murder of 27-year-old footballer Prince Toby Wleh is reportedly on the run from justice.Kayee Dargbe, 27, of New Kru Town left his residence after information leaked that he was being sought by police for questioning, the Daily Observer learnt Sunday, March 9.He reportedly sold personal items, including a television set to a neighbor for L$2,000 (US$24).According to a police source, Dargbe’s name was leaked by two men — the gun owner and his associate — who are presently in police custody.Our source revealed that the gun owner’s associate turned himself in to the police and said since the murder of Prince Wleh last weekend, “his conscience had been bothering him”.The associate reportedly told police that he had been in possession of the gun when the owner called and instructed him to give the weapon to the three men who allegedly carried out the murder.The associate said he delivered the gun to the men as instructed by the owner. The three men then asked him (the associate) to go along with them because “something big” was involved.The Daily Observer learned the suspect claimed he refused to go along with the three men, but “delivered the gun to them as instructed by the owner.”He said he removed three of the four bullets from the gun. When the three men returned the gun sometime later, however, it was empty.The associate said when the news broke that night and the next day that Prince Toby Wleh (Solaris) had been shot and killed, he knew who had done it.He also claimed he did not know the reason behind the killing of Prince Toby Wleh.“He said his conscience bothered him so much afterwards that he had no option but to go to the nearby Police Depot, in Tweh Farm, and report himself,” the source said.The owner of the weapon, whose name was not given to the Daily Observer, was also identified and Police took him into custody.Kayee Dargbe’s father, Hixen Dargbe, who works with Interburgor of Monrovia, told the Daily Observer at his New Kru Town residence on Sunday, March 9, that his son had been living on his own for the last five years.Mr. Dargbe admitted Kayee had been involved in violent activities, which had compelled him to ask his son not to come around the rest of his family.“I have younger children and I don’t want his bad character to affect them,” Mr. Dargbe said.He also said his son has been a bodybuilder and has gotten the nickname ‘Like-a-Blow’ in the community.“The last time I heard anything from him was when his landlord came to me saying that his rent money was finishing,” he said, adding, “I told the landlord he is a man on his own.”He said his son works as a motorbike rider, and has been living with his (unidentified) fiancée in the Funday area of New Kru Town.Prince Toby Wleh was shot and killed last Friday night and four mobile phones were found on his body.The victim’s family has been devastated, not knowing why he was murdered. Known as ‘Solaris,’ he was expected to have been awarded as the Most Valuable Player and Highest Scorer on March 2, following the conclusion of a community tournament sponsored by Rep. Edward Forh.So far, of the three suspects, only Dargbe has been identified. The other two suspects are still at large.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Reading and mobile libraries

first_imgRecently, sections of the media reported on a Book Mobile Library following a donation from the Rotary Club to the National Library. This commendable initiative, as important as it is, may not have received more extensive coverage it deserves. That is understandable given its considered weak editorial weight when compared to current affairs issues, with the political situation the priority across all fronts. However, its importance must not be lost.A few decades ago, Book Mobile libraries, an extension service of the National Library, were scheduled fixtures in parts of the country. The targeted age group of children from out of town who didn’t had access to the National Library, looked forward, once a week in many instances, to the arrival of the vehicle laden with a variety of reading materials; be it a pop-up fairy tale, a simple fiction or something considered more intense for that grouping.Entering the vehicle evoked a tremendous sense of excitement having waited patiently in the orderly lines. The process, accommodated by courteous and helpful staff, was very simple; borrow a book, read and return by the next visit. Crucial to the success of the service was an interest in reading developed by both parents and children. Then, there was a prevailing passion for reading which was serviced by various bookshops within the city and paid book-lending stalls in some municipal markets.Access to books was therefore not a major issue; affording was a different matter. Also, for many high schools during that period, most, if not all, text books needed were provided free by the Government making it easier for the children allowing for more focus. Friendly reading competitions became popular and probably can be equated to a social media challenge today.Then, children raced for bragging rights as to who first read a particular edition of the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew or the Alfred Hitchcock series. Finishing a series propelled one to the top of the “award podium”. Also popular fictions were the Marvel comic books, Tintin, Archie, Axterix, Mills & Boon, Louis L’amour, Enid Blyton to name a few. Inevitably, there were instances, when some were caught up in a good book and Teachers had to intervene for the focus to be shifted to studies.It was all in good stead as teachers were not as challenged then to get children to read. Interestingly, despite the competitiveness, books were shared among peers, clearly after the holder had the first go. In addition, the children almost seamlessly balanced their school work with their reading passion. Of course, it wasn’t every child, but, by in large, a fairly high number.One can argue that the children then were not exposed to the plethora of technological devices as evident today. A similar argument can be made about evolutionary advances and the impact on all, including children and their passions. Some have put it bluntly that, as a result of these advancements, more distractions are therefore created today when compared to the past citing the lack in variety then.Others will posit that despite the absence of technology-related activities, the children in the past played a variety of folk games as part of the process of enjoyment and passing time. Obviously, while there are compelling arguments from both sides, there is the general concern that the passion for reading has drastically waned and that today’s children are not reading; either enough or at all. When they do, it appears to be confined to just what needs to be done school wise.Again, this is not suggesting every child, as clearly some are involved in extensive reading. Technology however does facilitate reading and even the option of listening to a book. Of course, many would be financially challenged to access, but the bottom line is the option to read is part of the technological evolution. That said, some are adamant in their belief that the very technology is responsible for the seemingly scant interest in reading.Many are of the opinion that one consequence of that said evolution, in the reduction in the number of bookstores and book stalls in some markets. Given that, it may not be inaccurate to state that fewer books are now available today for access. One can easily state that’s an indication of the decline of interest in reading; however, it may be as a result of the impact of technological advances on related businesses.Whatever the reasons, the Book Mobile Library is an important small step, not just to reach persons who may not have access to books, but one to inspire and drive interest in reading. While it will be challenged by the more attractive technological options, it needs to be encouraged for possible expansion to other areas. The benefits of reading may need to be reminded of and maybe through a national effort, to build the worth of the simple but significant action of fingers turning pages.The National Museum had in the past provided exhibits of preserved animals and birds along with basic information to some schools. That not only expanded knowledge but created a sense of expectation of what the next would be. That Book Mobile Library has similar potential.last_img read more

Damaged submarine cable to be buried deeper

first_imgThe submarine power cable in the Demerara River bed, which was damaged last month, will be buried some three meters deeper, Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson has said.While the cause of the damage has not yet been made public, the minister confirmed that it was damaged while work was being carried out.“What was done, having been damaged, it has brought the excess power from Vreed-en-Hoop over to the Demerara interconnected grid”, Minister Patterson informed. He said GPL will be raising the cable and that quotations were received from three firms to fix the cable.“What is required is the special equipment called the splicer to raise the cable and then install the slicer to fix it… A contractor has been identified in principle. Works will take after the arrival of the splicer,” he said, informing too that it is scheduled to be completed by mid-November.“The project will be done in three phases. Phase one has already been completed; phase two is the installation of the splicer and repairs and phase three is the burying of the cable.Addressing the burying of the cable, Patterson said the contract had stipulated that the cable be buried at three meters.The Marine Administration Department (MARAD) at the time had however advised that it be lower, however, because the contract was signed, it remained at three meters. He said he was informed that there are excess cables at both ends and that the company will go ahead and bury it at the required six meters deep.He said he has asked GPL to explore the option of a second cable since not only does the cable bring electricity, but it also has fibre optic.He said he has asked that GPL seek out another cable just to bring over the excess electricity.Immediately after the damage last month, the power company had reported that a Chinese team was assisting it to retrieve the cable from the Demerara River bed in order to assess the extent of the damage.A release from the power company noted that a comprehensive test had been conducted on the cable subsequent to a total shutdown on July 12, which attributed the incident of faulty insulation at the connection or “Pot Head” linking the 69KV submarine cable to the overhead transmission lines at Kingston.last_img read more

Die Ebola Die! (2)

first_imgIT WAS an overwhelming fact that an epidemic had broken out and even men of God could only predict about our doom. How could we get out of? And though there were many prediction of doom, I was not freak about them. After all what crime could cause us such God’s anger? Unable to find answers I saw the emptiness of our frustration and the ugly attempt by supposed men of God to escape reality into the zone of uncertainty.  I then made up my mind to accept the reality that it would be a long but hard fight against an unseen enemy. My patriotism had awakened, and there could be no turning back, since running away was not an option. The chilling news apart, I could hear loud noises approaching my Bushrod Island resident when I had gotten ready to leave the house to join other colleagues of the task force. I knew dying was not an option to make me afraid. I would keep my senses open, and ensure that all preventive measures were adhered to. Then I heard a knock at my door and rushing towards me, right after the door flew open and in apparent confusion was Solomon Jerboe, a member of our Ebola task force.  “It got me,” he said breathlessly. “What got you?” I replied with surprise in my voice. “My wife Catherine.” “What happened to her?” “She complained of headache and later she began to vomit and before I knew what to do, she was gone.” I felt a sensation of anger and shock. I remembered Jerboe’s wife Catherine. If she died as the husband was reporting then of course I would have to know further details of her death.  “Did you touch her?” “What else could I do?” Moving away from him, I brought out my chlorine water and began to wash my hands and my arms. I instructed my friend to do the same and told him to remain at the door, while I went inside for a moment. I returned with a shirt and a pair of trousers and told him he would have to change into the new clothes.  “You don’t think I get the Ebola, do you?” Jerboe said, fuming. “It is not what I think,” I said, “it is what need to be done to protect yourself and myself since you are here with me.” “Dixon,” Jerboe said, “I don’t need you to humiliate me with this act.” “You call this an act?” “What else should I call it?” “We are fighting an invincible enemy called Ebola,” I said, “and what I am suggesting is one of the ways for anyone who may have apparently made contact with someone killed by the disease.” “I don’t have Ebola, period Mr. Dixon Zeon,” Jerboe said, and turned, walking away from me. “I never said you have the Ebola,” I shouted after him, “just to take precaution since…” the morning echo drowned my statement for Jerboe had bent the curve and furiously making statements about how foolish he felt about being humiliated by his friend. By the evening, Solomon Jerboe was dead, and after tests were conducted three days later, the results said he died of the Ebola virus. Though I realized Jerboe became a victim of denial and would not accept steps that could have saved his life, his sudden death came over me like a gloom. Jerboe’s demise brought me so close to what I never expected. The thought of my encounter early that day brought tears to my eyes and how close I came at being infected filled me with horror.  I, nonetheless blamed myself for my friend’s death and many questions assailed my mind. But in the end I realized that the fight against the Ebola Virus demanded the religious adherence to instructions and customary practices, including the suspension of cultural and religious methods of burying the dead.  To deny and fail to follow simple instructions when tragedy of death struck these days in Liberia could mean fatal, as I saw plainly in the case of Solomon Jerboe.  The increasing number of Liberians who had succumbed to the virus was staggering and I knew that such increasing statistics was due to denial and the apparent failure by the victims to take simple preventive steps. WHEN MY wife Jennifer returned from the market, I was still sitting at the entrance to our room, with my head bent over my arms, in deep slumber. Slender and imposing looking, the young woman silently walked pass me to enter the room, but first of all she lowered herself to the chlorine bucket and washed her hands thoroughly from her shoulder to her palms. “Why are you sitting here like this?” she said, as I slowly lifted my head. “Oh,” I replied. “I hope you are ok?” “Yes,” I replied with little interest, “Jerboe…” She interrupted him with, “I heard the story down the road.” I gave a deep breath with a grin. “Not too good,” I remarked, and lowered my head on my arms. “What caused his death?” “Denial.” “Denial of what?” “He was here in the morning,” I told her, “but would not accept my suggestion to even wash his hands with chlorine water as a protection, since he was the last person to handle his wife’s body.” “He was a fool.” Yes, a fool he was, and now dead. I knew many more would die because of their inability to accept the reality of the situation. What was killing them was a dangerous enemy, deadlier than the recent civil-war that raged for fourteen years. With failures throughout the organized health system; with funds expended without positive results to calm the spread of the virus, I could not envision what the future would be like. Many more people would die, that was sure enough. Like many, I felt like I was in a cage, waiting to face slaughter. For a people that had suffered fourteen years of calculated horror to face another enemy, the worst one that was revenging on everyone, could mean some prophetic fulfillment on a grander scale. I consoled myself that proper and unemotional handling of issues was the best means to survive the carnage. Secondly, adopting self-preservation methods were also another means to survive the scourge.  I was determined to live through it, and was also resolute to keep my mantra going as long as I had to go: die Ebola die, I said and repeated it several times though I knew there was no place to run.MOST OF the reasons for the rapid spread of the virus were also due to the refusal to change traditional burial ceremonies. More often than not, reports said a family had perished because the members had flatly refused to believe that a deceased relative was killed by the Ebola virus, and would go ahead to bathe the body, getting it ready for burial.  Sadly, several days after the burial, one family member, who participated in the washing of the Ebola virus infested body, where the deadly virus was full-blown to take new resident in other bodies would die. I was horrified to hear such a report. Daily reports on the numerous radio stations and many print media, newspapers, were filled with horrible stories of the ravages of whole families decimated by the virus. I believed then that the forced acceptance of new methods for burying the Liberian dead ought to be introduced and it was apparent that the Liberian government would not be too happy curtail civil liberties due to how far had happened in the fight against the insidious enemy. It was in such gloomy atmosphere that fresh reports filtered into Monrovia that a recently dead Imam, whose congregation had scooped water used to wash his body for blessing by washing their faces in it had all perished.I COULD feel my stomach rumbling but not for hunger. It was clear to me that the tragedy in the country was mostly one of denial. And so a day after the mass deaths of religious men and women who sought blessing by dipping their hands into the water used to wash their spiritual leader’s remains, I found myself in a form of discussion about the ravages and how to contain it. That many people were dying was no news. Something had to be done. I decided to take a walk through the community on Bushrod Island and maybe pay a visit to some friends I had not seen for several days. Ten minutes later when a motor bike deposited me near the Point Four Junction; I sauntered on the main road observing what was being done to support the efforts to stamp out the virus from the community. The morning weather was cold but with a mixture of heat under it, as the unpredictable rains were shadowboxing the community. Across from a church, a congregation of people watched my movement, and as usual I did not imagine that something unusual could happen. Motorbikes rushed towards me, dodging me while others rushed from behind me. Business centers on each side of the road open to customers that seemed not to pay attention to what was being advertised. I kept my attention focus beyond and then I saw what seemed as people moving away from a house located to the left side of the road. There could be no telling the meaning of what was going on there.  The enemy, Ebola had struck a family, and in my own frustration tears welled up my eyes. It was clear that like the Americans and others who had escaped from Monrovia, I needed to escape, too. But the question was: to where? Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

GUMS Win Upcountry B’Ball Tourney

first_imgAfter three failed grand finals Ganta United Methodist School (GUMS) finally grabbed the Harold McGowan Basketball Trophy, in the Upcountry basketball tournament.GUMS, dubbed the Lion whipped the Upcountry basketball highest taker, Dolokelen Gboveh High School of Bong County, 44-18 points over the weekend in Ganta, Nimba County.The tournament brought nine schools from five counties for the first time in Nimba County for over a decade.Defending champion St. Martin High School (Gbarnga) held off Zorzor Central High School 22-18 and whipped the William V.S.Tubman-Gray 31-13 points, but lost to GUMS 21-33 points.St. Martin trailed by five points entering the 2nd quarter and was hammered by the GUMS’ marksman Lawrence Mahn overriding former Most Valuable Player (MVP) Eric Wangar.Earlier, GUMS began their winning spree against C.H. Dewey (Bomi County), 27-20 points 28-23 points against St. Mary’s.Gboveh joined GUMS in the finals, having defeated William V. S. Tubman-Gray 22-14 points in the semi finals.The former title holders qualified narrowly with Brumskine from Group II, with a win and defeat. In the quarterfinals, Gboveh bowed 24 to 26 points to GUMS but moved to the finals along with St. Martin’s and William V. S. Tubman-Gray and GUMS.Presenting the trophies to the 1st and 2nd winners, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BYC Football, Robert A. Sirleaf extolled GUMS for the final victory after three wins and urged them to maintain the success.He admonished Gboveh High School to keep on the fight.Mr. Sirleaf also presented medals to players and technicians of the teams.GUMS’ duo, Lawrence Mahn and Diamond Wesley was awarded the highest scorer (41 points) and Most Valuable Player (MVP).Gboveh’s point man, Olesen Adama Kamara was the highest three pointers.Businessman Floyd Tomah was among those certificated for the promotion and success of the tournament.Acting Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Nancy Freeman, Deputy Sports Minister Henry Yonton and Nimba County Superintendent Fong Zuagele in separate remarks commended participating teams.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Sierra Leone: Can the “Lion Mountain” Ever Roar Again?

first_imgBy Paul EjimeAfter the recent fiercely contested presidential election in Liberia, world attention has turned to neighbouring Sierra Leone, which has its own crucial vote on 7th of March 2018. Both countries share so much in common, not just political histories, but devastation of symbiotic civil wars.Following the American Revolutionary War of the 17th century, and Slave Trade abolition initiatives, freed slaves from America and those “rescued” in the West African region settled with the natives of the two geographical locations known today as Liberia and Sierra Leone.While the American Colonization Society administered pre-independent Liberia, the British Crown held sway in the Sierra Leone Colony until the country gained independence in 1961 with Sir Milton Margai, the last Acting Governor General as its first Prime Minister.Much earlier, in the 15th Century, European contacts within West Africa were in the Sierra Leone, with Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra, credited with mapping out and naming the Freetown Harbour, Serra da Leoa or Sirra Leoa (Portuguese for Lion Mountains), from which Sierra Leone derived its name.Like Liberia and many other African countries, Sierra Leone is blessed with natural resources such as diamond, iron-ore, titanium, bauxite, gold, and a vast agricultural land.It rains for much of the year in Sierra Leone, but ironically the country relies on food imports, and as is often the case with many developing African countries, instead being a blessing, diamond became curse or so-called “blood diamond” for Sierra Leone, during its civil war which started in 1991.The war, which killed more than 50,000 people and displaced some two million others, was notorious for its savagery, ruthlessness and barbarism, involving the engagement of child soldiers and amputation of victims’ limbs among other atrocities.Thus, Sierra Leone, the home of the famous Fourah Bay College, celebrated as West Africa’s first University and which once had a bragging right as the “bastion of peace and democracy” in the region, lost its glory days. The country today competes in the league of the World’s poorest nations with run down infrastructure and one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality.But even without the civil war, Sierra Leone has always been a country of contrasting fortunes. For instance, air travel to the country still terminates at the Lungi Airport.The rest of the journey of less than 30 minutes by sea to the nation’s capital Freetown is completed on a ferry/boat ride across a short stretch of the Sierra Leone River.A helicopter shuttle service started as an alternative was abandoned in 2007 after a terrible air disaster that killed more than 22 passengers. Lungi-Freetown is a laborious six hours by road, so travellers prefer the ferry ride. This is because of the topography of Freetown, a port city on the Atlantic Ocean with undulating hills, mountains and valleys.But if the difficult terrain is a natural phenomenon, the political instability, military coups, bad governance and corruption which have characterized Sierra Leone’s chequered political history are largely man-made.Following Sir Milton Margai’s unexpected death in 1964, his half-brother Sir Albert Margai succeeded him as Prime Minister. But barely six years after Sierra Leone’s independence from Britain in 1961, and few hours after opposition leader Siaka Stevens was sworn in as Prime Minister after defeating Albert Margai in the 1967 general elections, he, was toppled in a bloodless military coup.Although Sir Stevens was reinstated a year later, through a counter-coup, the brief military incursion became a benchmark for instability in Sierra Lone, where two political parties, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the now ruling All People’s Congress (APC), have dominated political power.While the Margais were of the SLPP, Stevens belonged to the APC. To his credit, Stevens initiated some socio-economic reforms and made Paramount Chiefs and the Provinces more prominent. He also tried to bridge the distance between the city and the provinces with the construction of roads and provision of social amenities.It was also under his administration that Sierra Leone became a Republic in 1971 and Stevens, as President, was pivotal to the creation of the Mano River Union (MRU), started as two countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but has since expanded to include Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire.President Stevens and his APC went ahead to win the 1972 by-elections, boycotted by the opposition SLPP, over allegations of intimidation and obstruction by APC militia.He survived an alleged coup plot in 1974, and another attempted putsch in 1975, which was followed by the execution of the alleged coup leaders. He went on to win another five-year mandate in 1976, with his APC also victorious in a disputed parliamentary election in 1977, but amid growing discontent and allegations of authoritarianism and dictatorship against the government, which made Sierra Leone a single-party State under the 1978 Constitution.Stevens retired from active politics in 1985 with his anointed candidate Maj.-Gen. Joseph Saidu Momoh installed as his successor. But even with his military background, Momoh faced several coup attempts, but went ahead to become Sierra Leone’s second President following an election in which he was the sole candidate in 1985.President Momoh took a hard stance against corruption with the launch of the Code of Conduct for political leaders and public servants, but an alleged attempt to overthrow his government in 1987 resulted in mass arrests of suspects including Vice president Francis Minah, who was convicted and executed along with five others in 1989.Bowing to internal and international pressures the Momoh government initiated what his critics called half-hearted political and economic reforms, including the re-establishment of multi-party system in October 1991. But by then, his administration had outlived its goodwill and with the raging civil war in neighbouring Liberia its days were numbered.There can be no better illustration of the link between the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone than the fact that Liberia’s ex-warlord and former President Charles Taylor is today serving terms in Britain for war crimes committed, not in his home country, but in Sierra Leone.Taylor as leader of the National Patriotic Front Liberia (NPFL) launched the rebellion against then President Samuel Doe in December 1989. He was also accused of helping the formation of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone, led by British trained Corporal Foday Sankoh with the aim of dislodging the military base of Nigerian-led ECOWAS Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Sierra Leone, which was then fighting Taylor’s NPFL rebels in Liberia. This was after both men had undergone guerrilla training in Libya.In an ensuing political confusion, a group of young Sierra Leone Army officers led by Captain Valentine Strasser struck in April 1992, seized power, and forced President Momoh into exile in Guinea.  But after four years marked by several real and alleged coup attempts that resulted in further bloodshed, Strasser himself was toppled by his fellow National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) members and forced into exile in Conakry, Guinea in January 1996.Captain Julius Maada Bio, his former ally, and whom Strasser had promoted to the rank of a Brigadier, led the coup plot. The Bio-led junta managed to keep its promise and returned Sierra Leone to constitutional democracy by organizing general elections in 1996, which Ahmad Tejan Kabbah won to become Sierra Leone’s third President under the SLPP platform.But having tasted power, the Sierra Leone military would not let go. By May 1997 another group of soldiers, this time, led by Corporal Tamba Gborie, who was loyal to Army Maj.-Gen. Johnny Paul Koroma detained over alleged coup plot against the Kabbah government, sacked President Kabbah and forced him into exile in Guinea, which was fast becoming the preferred refuge for dethroned Sierra Leonean leaders.  Despite Kabbah’s reinstatement by the Nigerian-led ECOMOG forces in February 1998, Sierra Leone’s vicious civil war and instability were far from over.When this writer visited Freetown on a reportorial mission after Kabbah’s reinstatement, the once bubbling Salone capital city was a shadow of itself with the war damage and destruction very much in evidence. To underscore the level of instability, that trip from Lagos was only facilitated by ECOMOG in a Lockheed C-130 Hercules military aircraft.Tourist centres in the city including then famous Mummy Yoko Hotel, where the Radisson Blu Hotel sits today, were in ruins with the only functional Cape Sierra Hotel serving as the temporary Command Headquarters of ECOMOG. The regional force was then under the Command of Nigeria’s Col. Maxwell Kitikishe Kobe, who until his death in 2000, served as Sierra Leone’s Chief of Defence Staff in President Kabbah’s government in recognition of his gallantry and contribution to ending the RUF-instigated civil war.When embattled President Kabbah eventually requested for UN support, the Security Council in 2000 approved the deployment of an initial 6,000 Peacekeepers, later increased to a 13,000-strong force at the peak of the hostilities. However, following the withdrawal of Nigerian ECOMOG troops, the RUF seized some 500 peacekeepers resulting in Operation Khukri by the UN troops to flush out remnants of the RUF rebels.By January 2002, Kabbah declared the Sierra Leone civil war over and in May of the same year, he was re-elected with a wide margin against the opposition APC’s candidate Ernest Bai Koroma.The return of relative peace in the country in 2004 encouraged the UN-backed war crimes court to begin trials at The Hague of those with the highest responsibility for Sierra Leone’s civil war. This led to the conviction of Charles Taylor for his involvement with the RUF, whose leader Sankoh had died in detention in July 2003 while awaiting trial.Although ineligible to run again, having completed his constitutionally allowed two five-year terms, the August 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone, represented a referendum on the legacy of the Kabbah administration. The result was a resounding NO for the SLPP whose candidate Solomon Barewa was defeated in the presidential run-off vote by APC’s now outgoing Sierra Leone’s fourth President Ernest Bai Koroma.While the jury may still be out on the assessment of APC’s 10-year government under Bai Koroma, Sierra Leone’s post-war worries, were compounded by the Ebola virus pandemic of 2014, which killed more than 3,000 people from the estimated 10,000 reported cases in the country, part of a West Africa-wide affliction.  And as if that was not enough, Sierra Leone was hit by deadly mudslides from heavy rains, which claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced tens of thousands of others, with grave health consequences.It is under this grim context and prognosis that Sierra Leone holds the crucial presidential, parliamentary and local council polls on 7th March. While the APC and SLPP, which have dominated power, are fielding Foreign Minister Samura Wilson Kamara and former junta leader Julius Maada Bio, respectively, as their presidential candidates, there has been significant realignment of political forces ahead of the crucial elections.Sixteen candidates are contesting for the Executive Mansion. But there are only two women flag bearers even though women account for 52.1% of the country’s population. The stakes are particularly high and whoever emerges winner has his/her job cut out.Kandeh Yumkella, the standard bearer of the newly formed National Grand Coalition (NGC), considered a “third force,” did not mince words, when he declared in a recent interview that “Everything bad is with us,” in a reference to various development indicators which put Sierra Leone on the bottom rouge of the ladder, with 70% of the population living under the poverty line.The constitutional requirement that a candidate must score 55% of the votes to win the presidency makes a run-off ballot almost inevitable. The contest for Sierra Leone’s unicameral parliament is no less competitive, with more than 795 candidates, including 101 women vying for the 144 seats, including 12 slots for Paramount Chiefs and with 124 of the seats filled by direct election.Some 3.17 million registered Sierra Leonean voters, out of the country’s estimated seven million inhabitants will be casting their ballots in 11,122 polling stations to elect the nation’s fifth president, who will shoulder the responsibility of moving the country from the devastation of natural and man-made disasters to the path of national development if the “Lion Mountain” is to roar again.This would be the fourth multi-party elections since the end of the civil war, but it is the first time that Sierra Leone authorities would be taking full responsibility of the electoral process since the withdrawal of the UN Mission in 2014. One tribute which Sierra Leoneans owe the memory of ECOMOG fallen heroes, including the late Kobe, and gratitude to ECOWAS, the UN and the rest of the international community, for their sacrifices for peace in the country, is to conduct themselves responsibly and deliver credible and successful elections for the consolidation of peace and democracy in the country and the region as a whole.Winners of the March 7 polls must be magnanimous in victory, while the losers must cooperate and all work for Sierra Leone to put its dark past behind it in the interest of development and prosperity.About the author:Paul Ejime is an International Media & Communications Consultant.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Successful weekend for rugby players from Fort St. John and Dawson Creek

first_imgIt was a new experience for the boy’s of the two schools, who just last week were in competition against each other. The tournament marked the first time that they had played competitively as a team. Coach Clayton Woodruff says the boy’s team played solid considering they had never played as a group before. “We played Dawson on Thursday, they beat us 5-0, then we jumped on a bus together and made a team out of two,” Woodruff explains. “Everybody got along great, they gelled really well. The committed guys from Dawson and FortSt. John made the trip, and it went really well, everybody played well together.”- Advertisement -The team was rewarded for their efforts as they finished with four wins and two ties over the tournament. Woodruff says that putting a combined team together considering the circumstances was difficult at the start, however things smoothed themselves out as the weekend progressed.“Trying to figure out who we were going to start was a challenge initially but us coaches agreed right away who was going to start, and it went well,” Woodruff says. “Once you get a game or two in, everybody loses that edge to play, and everybody got lots of playing time. For six games, that’s plenty of crashing and banging for everybody. We thought it may be a problem, but it wasn’t.” The boy’s from the high schools now go their separate ways as the squad from FortSt. John concludes their regular season tomorrow against Grande Prairie.Advertisementlast_img read more

Flyers drop first game of NPHL West Division Final to Rangers

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John Flyers didn’t get the start they were hoping for in the first game of the second round of the NPHL playoffs last night.Taking on the Spirit River Rangers at the North Peace Arena, it was the Rangers that were all over the Flyers from the start of the first period. The Rangers got things started just 3:50 into the game, putting the puck past netminder Travis McLean. In the next eight minutes, the Rangers would score three more, chasing McLean from net as they took a 4-0 lead. Backup Troy Hunt went in between the pipes, but the Rangers took a 5-0 lead just a minute and a half later. The Flyers would finally get on the board with 1:44 left in the stanza. Brady Busche scored on the power play assisted by Jeff Shipton, but the Flyers trailed 5-1 after twenty minutes. Shots on net in the first were 15-12 in favour of Spirit River.Both teams had some solid net minding at both ends in the second period, with both teams bringing their defensive ‘A’ games. Shots on net were 10-6 for the Flyers in the second, with Fort St. John going 0-for-2 on the power play.- Advertisement -The Flyers came out with a spark in the third, As Adam Horst cut the Rangers’ lead to 5-2 just 1:11 into the frame, assisted by Rick Cleaver. Close to the midway mark of the stanza, it was the Rangers that answered back with a pair of goals to make it 7-2. Arlo Hadland brought the Flyers once again to within four points, scoring just before the eleven minute mark on the power play assisted by Jeff Fast and Ryan Carter. However, the Rangers got another power play goal of their own in the final four minutes, killing any chance of a comeback by Fort St. John. Final score was 8-3.The Flyers are back in action on Saturday night, when they head to Spirit River for Game 2 of the series. Puck drops at 8:30.last_img read more

Sprint Cars Cancelled

first_imgWe’ve been told that the sprint cars, scheduled to hit the Taylor speedway have been cancelled, still business as usual in the valley though, as all the other events will be on the go – 3 pm on Saturday, 1 pm on Sunday.- Advertisement –last_img