Should President have met GECOM?

first_imgDear Editor,On your news item on the President meeting GECOM (GT Aug 9), it is noted that GECOM is an independent agency that is not subjected to the dictates of Government (and by extension the official Opposition) although four of its seven members are appointed by the Government (President) and three by the Opposition. Not surprisingly, a lot of eyebrows were raised when the President invited GECOM members and the body’s CEO for a consultation (meeting) in his office. This is highly unusual. It may be the first such meet by GECOM in the country’s history. Many, particularly lawyers and academics, felt it was inappropriate for the Executive to meet with GECOM. Even ordinary business people and ordinary folks I spoke with felt it is not the President’s responsibility to meet with GECOM.The Executive meeting with GECOM was seen as “intimidating the body” towards election objectives especially when the body has begun preparations for elections. But the President explained that his meeting was simply to assure GECOM that the Government is willing to provide the necessary resources for the preparation of elections that are due as a result of the successful passage of a No-Confidence Motion against his Administration. The President assured that his Government would not hinder the work of the Elections Commission, and he also stated he would respect decisions of the body. The President also called on all Guyanese to respect the independence of GECOM and its decisions. One Commissioner is reported to have described the meeting as a waste of time. The public is divided on the meeting on party loyalty with some supporting the President meeting GECOM and the others opposed to the meeting. GECOM must never be seen to be compromised.The President and his coalition Government partners say they want House-to-House Registration in preparation of a new voters’ list, but he said he would accept the decision of GECOM (really the new Chairwoman Ret’d Justice Claudette Singh) on the issue.However, there is one problem on the President’s position on a date for election. The President has insisted that he would not call (announce a date for) elections unless GECOM tells him it is ready for elections. And GECOM insists that a date is the prerogative of the President. GECOM does not have a constitutional date to set a date for elections. Even lawyers for GECOM and the Attorney General are in agreement that GECOM cannot fix a date for elections. The procedure is the President fixes a date in accordance with the laws laid down in the Constitution. Whatever date the President proposes, GECOM would respond and inform the Chief Executive if it can pull off credible elections by that date. In 2001, GECOM informed the President that elections were not possible on a proposed date and it was adjusted upon agreement by all parties.GECOM usually needs three months to prepare for an election. The Constitution also caters for three months as indicated in the Article relating to the successful passage of a No-Confidence Motion. Thus, GECOM must be in perennial preparation for elections just in case a Government loses a No-Confidence Motion. In fact, every country with a parliamentary system is always prepared for elections with a month’s notice. The body may need less time to update the voters’ list that was used last November for local elections.GECOM’s hands are tied on House-to-House Registration until the court rules on August 14. GECOM meets on August 15 to review the court’s ruling. GECOM is likely to accept the ruling. Justice Claudette would not want to defy the court’s or the CCJ’s ruling using September 18 as a deadline for elections even though it is impractical.The court does not have too much wiggle room on the issue of registration and an election date. The law does not cater for House-to-House Registration in light of the No-Confidence Motion in which elections are constitutionally due by September 18 as interpreted by our country’s highest court, the CCJ. That ruling supersedes all other decisions made by Gecom or lower courts or the Government. The CCJ’s ruling is the final law that cannot be reversed or defied in a democracy.Will the High Court (Justice Roxane George) thread into the request of the Opposition on powers of the Executive to resign, dissolve the assembly, and fix a date for elections? The court is an independent branch of the Government and can’t thread into the powers of the presidency. The court can only interpret the law as indeed the CCJ did. The court is likely to repeat the judgment of the CCJ for the Executive to follow the Constitution which states the Government resigns and serve in a caretaker role as is the norm in any country where a Government lost a No-Confidence Motion.Yours truly,Vishnu Bisramlast_img read more

Two Journalists Engage in Bloody Fist Fight

first_imgTwo Liberian journalists drew attention in Tubmanburg on May 4 when they got engaged in a fist fight that left one of them with serious facial injuries.The fighting began when the Ministry of Information bus that transported journalists to and from Bopolu in Gbarpolu County made a stop in Tubmanburg for those on board to buy food.Eye-witnesses, who saw the two Liberian journalists at the back of the vehicle, said Kpadeh Smith of the Liberian Express Newspaper, who was under alcoholic influence, was the first to assault Moses Garzeawu of the Liberia Broadcasting Corporation (LBS) while he (Garzeawu) was eating bread and drinking a bottle of soft drink.Garzeawu, gravely agitated by the alleged offense by Smith, retaliated with punches, following which blood began oozing from Smith’s face.The president of the Reporters Association of Liberia, Mr. Keith Morris, along with other journalists, took Smith to a nearby drug store where he was treated. Following the incident, Peter Fahn of the New Liberia newspaper reported the case to the Liberian National Police in Bomi County, and  Garzeawu was temporarily arrested and detained for a few hours.When the fight first began, both parties were separated by their colleagues in order to avoid what eventually took place.While Smith was clearly under the influence of alcohol, it was not immediately clear whether or not Garzeawu was as well; some who were close by said he was also under intoxicated. Smith was observed by journalists on board to be under such high influence of alcohol that he could not move by himself without assistance.After the indoor and outdoor activities of every retreat that the Union has, journalists have always converged at a selected entertainment center, where they wine and socialize.Following the weekend’s press-related activiteis, on the night of May 3, an intoxicated Kpadeh Smith allegedly disturbed the peace at the motel where he, Moses Garzeawu and others were lodged. This angered Garzeawu, who reportedly lifted Smith from the room and laid him in the hallway. He (Smith) reportedly spent the night there.As far as reporters at the police station in Tubmanburg observed, neither Garzeawu nor Kpadeh gave a statement about the incident.However, police, having high regard for the Journalism profession and its practitioners, reportedly resolved the problem and asked all parties involved to forgo the dispute and return to Monrovia.Prior to that resolution, nonetheless, journalists who converged at the police station made the environment very noisy and uneasy for the officers to perform their duty.The journalists were in divided groups; they accused and insulted one another as police tried to establish the facts surrounding the incident.Even though a journalist is not restricted under the code of ethics from taking in alcohol, it is considered unethical for a journalist to be under the influence of alcohol in the discharge of his/her duty in the public and to carry out physical assaults.The leadership of the Press Union of Liberia is yet to reach a decision on the recent event involving two of its members.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Talks on Dual Currency Not New to Liberia’

first_imgThe vice president for financial affairs of the University of Liberia (UL), Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, has said that the debate over dual currency in Liberia is not anything new to the country.According to him, the dual currency argument was raised a long time ago by past leaders of this county to address the problem but no solution materialized because the government itself refused to accept the Liberian dollar.Prof. Tarpeh made the assertions yesterday at a one-day stakeholders’ roundtable discussion on the Economic & Constitutional Implications of Liberia’s Dual Currency Regime. The forum, which was attended by several leading Liberian economists, bankers, government financial experts and politicians, was organized by the   Governance Commission and the Constitution Review Committee.  It was held at the Monrovia City Hall.Among the politicians were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex Tyler, and President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Armah Zolu Jallah.The purpose of the roundtable, according to Governance Commission Chair, Dr. Amos Sawyer, was to illuminate the monetary and related fiscal issues having to do with challenges faced by the citizens whose worsening plight could be alleviated through constitutional amendments.The urgency of the forum, said Dr. Sawyer, came out of nationwide consultations by the Constitution Review Committee (CRC), headed by Counselor Gloria Scott, during which a cross-section of Liberians expressed grave concern about the dual currency.  They said the dual currency, which means the use of the Liberian and United States dollars, was seriously hurting them.  In the view of the vast majority of Liberians, said the CRC, “only the Liberian dollar should be used in local business transactions.”  This view was consistently expressed in all 73 constituency districts across the country by 69.32 percent of those who participated in town and district level meetings.“It also emerged,” said Dr. Sawyer, “that Liberian businesspeople who are constrained to sell their wares for Liberian dollars, largely due to the nature of the clientele they serve, find fluctuating exchange rates combined with weak institutional mediatory mechanisms that leave such businesspeople at the mercy of importers and wholesalers.  When the transaction costs are considered, the Governance Commission Chair explained, “doing business, for them, becomes far more risky and far less profitable than it is for others.” Professor Tarpeh, in his intervention, said the constitution provides enough flexibility for management of the economy to be conducted by the people.He further suggested that if the dual currency should be used, Liberians need to accept the Liberia dollar and use it as the currency of choice.Should the Liberian dollar be accepted by all, it will create an opportunity to promote economic growth and discipline in the country.One of the key ways to accelerate the potency or strength of the Liberian dollar, said Professor Tarpeh, is to require all businesspeople, including all concessions to pay their taxes in Liberian dollars.  This would immediately lower the rate of exchange and probably bring the value of the United States dollar to as low as 20 Liberian dollars. Earlier, Senate President Pro-tempore Armah Jallah admitted that the current government payroll for senior officials is in both Liberian dollar and United States dollar components.If the issue of dual currency should be addressed in Liberia, it must be through the constitution, said Sen. Jallah, describing it as the best alternative for Liberia’s economy.Taking into consideration some intangible benefits, Sen. Jallah said there should be empowerment of small and medium size business owners who operate exchange bureaus, with all taxes levied from all institutions exchanging money going back to government.Policy makers should not only seek to practice fiscal discipline, but government must closely monitor the level of dollarization, with data on dollarization calculated and published by the Central Bank of Liberia.Sen. Jallah recommended a single currency regime in Liberia’s fiscal policy through the appropriate legislation to strengthen the nation’s economy and empower Liberia’s small and medium businesses in order to lift up the country’s middle class.The president of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, Francis A. Dennis, said the issue of pursuing the policy of a single currency has to be approached very carefully, especially since Liberia is an import-dependent country that needs strong foreign currency, such as the US dollar to buy from abroad.  The answer to this, he declared, is to produce more goods, especially agriculturally, that we could sell abroad.  Mr. Dennis also argued that Liberians should take greater advantage of the benefit the Americans have given African countries by enabling them to export their goods to the USA “duty free.”  Other countries, including Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, are taking advantage of this opportunity, and so should Liberia.For his part, the Daily Observer publisher and managing director, Kenneth Y. Best, said Liberia’s economy is predominantly in the hands of foreigners, which is hampering the growth of Liberian businesses. “As long as Liberians are not in business in a serious way, they will continue to live in poverty in their own country,” he declared. Mr. Best lamented that the Business College at the University of Liberia, like business colleges in all our universities, “do not teach marketing or import and export.  So how can Liberian businesspeople ever learn to import their own merchandize when they have never been taught that?  And yet, so long as they continue to depend on foreign importers, so long will Liberian businesspeople remain at the short end of the stick.”Mr. Best further lamented that many of the speakers at yesterday’s forum were talking of a “gradual approach” to a single currency.  The Observer publisher recalled that in 1973 the identical discussion on the currency issue was held in the auditorium of the University of Liberia.  He recalled that during that conference, Harry L. Morris, then Liberia’s richest man because he owned the largest single rubber farm in the world owned by one man, cried when the issue of a Liberian dollar currency was raised.  He wanted Liberia to remain in the US dollar regime.Professor Wilson Tarpeh said he was only a high school student then, but he vividly remembered that conference.  After that,  he recalled, the government led by Finance Minister Steve Tolbert, and one his  close associates, now President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Romeo Horton, former Commerce Minister and founder of the Bank of Liberia, produced a document calling for a single currency within a few years.  They also proposed the maximization of agricultural production so that Liberia would start feeding itself in rice and other produce and limit the amount of foreign exchange we spend on food.This policy, said Prof. Tarpeh, remained on course even after the 1980 coup because even the military government saw wisdom in it. During that period the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC) was in full swing, buying produce from farmers, whose cooperatives in Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties were booming and Liberia was exporting tens of millions of US dollars of produce abroad. The Agriculture Bank vibrantly helped to fund all this, Tarpeh said.  But somehow Liberia lost its way, he lamented; and here we are today, over 40 years since that 1973 conference on currency, still “talking about talks of a single currency.”Mr. Best stressed the need for Liberians to start producing their staple food, rice, and that would cut out nearly 75% of what we spend just on food imports alone. “This is why we need to empower the agriculture sector and small businesses as major components of resolving once and for all this dual currency crisis,” he added.The president of the Liberia Marketing Association, Madam Lusu Sloan, said the Liberian marketers were at a very serious disadvantage having to pay US dollars for most of the imported goods they sell. Most  of the time, she said, foreign importers demand only US dollars for their goods, or unbearable exchange rates if the marketers must pay in Liberian dollars.  “This puts us at a very serious disadvantage,” she said, “and makes our businesses mostly unprofitable.  And this keeps us living below the poverty line.”Advent of the Eco in 2020The ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, in brief remarks, said Liberia was the only ECOWAS country still using a dual currency.  He urged the country to make a decision one way or the other; and hinted that if it did not, it would have to wait until 2020, when the Eco, the ECOWAS single currency will start being used by all ECOWAS nations, just as the Euro is being used in most parts of Europe.The high level roundtable was also attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy.  The roundtable was moderated by Boimah Kamara, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, on behalf of CBL Executive Governor, Dr. J. Mills Jones.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

LIBA Boss Wants Liberians to Take Control of Economy

first_imgThe President of the Liberia Business Association (LIBA), Dee Maxwell Kemayah, has admonished Liberians to take ownership of their economy in order to make Liberia a middle income country by 2030.Kemayah said though he welcomes foreign direct investments or foreigners participating in the economy, Liberians must be at the core of their economy because they are the owners of the country’s natural resources.He warned that if this is not done, Vision 2030, which was crafted to create a middle-income Liberia, will not be actualized, adding: “There is no country in the world that can enhance economic growth without empowering its citizens.” Mr. Kemayah made the call in Gbarnga recently during the constitutional review meeting, organized by the Constitution Review Committee (CRC) to the amend portions of the 1986 Constitution.He believes that the continuous dominance of the Liberian economy by foreigners, “is seriously strangulating growth and development” urging delegates to vote in favor of the proposition to bring sanity to the economy.Kemayah observed that the only empowerment for Liberian businesses in recent times is the loan scheme initiated by Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), which has been criticized and condemned by some individuals in the public sector.He called on policy-makers and other stakeholders to buttress the effort of the CBL by empowering Liberian businesses to ensure that they have a stake in the economy to benefit from its wealth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Three Drown in Nimba

first_imgThree young boys were on September 23 drowned when their canoe loaded with two motorcycles capsized while crossing the Yar Creek in the Wea Gbehyi Administrative District in Nimba County.According to an eyewitness, the boys were five in number, but two were rescued. The three boys were reportedly contracted by unidentified rubber buyers to haul their rubber across Yar Creek.“While crossing the creek, one of the boys sat on one of the motorcycles on board the canoe causing the canoe to capsize,” the eye-witness said.Two of the victims hailed from Gbeyi Nyenyee and Gbeyi Tengbein Towns, Gbeyi Chiefdom, while another hailed from Saclepea. Up to press time last night, no family member had come forward to claim or identify the victims.They were however buried over the weekend.This year’s rainy season has caused rivers and creeks across Nimba to overflow, heavily flooding and destroying many farms, according to residents.Yar Creek is one of the biggest in Nimba County. It runs from Mount Nimba in the north and enters the St. John River between Nimba and Bong County in theZoewenta Forest.Residents recall that a few years ago, several children drowned in the creek where they had gone to wash and swim.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Countries Adopt UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy

first_imgAn estimated 15.8 million people are now on HIV treatment, a doubling from five years ago as countries adopt the UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy using data to fine tune delivery of HIV prevention and treatment services to reach people being left behind. Ahead of World AIDS Day 2015, UNAIDS has released a new report showing that countries are getting on the Fast-Track to end AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. By adapting to a changing global environment and maximizing innovations, countries are seeing greater efficiencies and better results. Progress in responding to HIV over the past 15 years has been extraordinary. By June 2015, UNAIDS estimates that 15.8 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy, compared to 7.5 million people in 2010 and 2.2 million people in 2005. At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that new HIV infections had fallen by 35% since the peak in 2000 and AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 42% since the 2004 peak.“Every five years we have more than doubled the number of people on life-saving treatment,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “We need to do it just one more time to break the AIDS epidemic and keep it from rebounding.” The life-changing benefits of antiretroviral therapy mean that people living with HIV are living longer, healthier lives, which has contributed to an increase in the global number of people living with HIV. At the end of 2014, UNAIDS estimates that 36.9 million people were living with HIV. Once diagnosed, people need immediate access to antiretroviral therapy. Countries are gearing up to double the number of people accessing HIV treatment by 2020. This Fast-Track approach will be instrumental in achieving the UNAIDS 90–90–90 treatment target of ensuring that 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status, 90% of people who know their HIV-positive status are on treatment and 90% of people on treatment have suppressed viral loads. “Today, we have more HIV prevention options than ever before. And with better data, we can become better match makers, finding the right prevention options for the right people,” said Mr. Sidibé. To end AIDS as a public health threat, an accelerated and more focused response is needed using better data to map and reach people in the places where the most new HIV infections occur. To support countries with this approach, UNAIDS has released a new report focused on location and population: on the Fast-Track to end AIDS by 2030, which gives examples of more than 50 communities, cities and countries that are using innovative approaches to reach more people with comprehensive HIV prevention and treatment services.Through the responsible use of detailed national data sets, countries are able to focus at a more granular level, mapping where new HIV infections occur and where people need services most. The report demonstrates how countries can redistribute resources to improve access to HIV prevention and treatment services. With the Fast-Track approach and frontloaded investments, gaps are closed faster and resources go further and from 2020 annual resource needs will begin to fall. The report highlights how high-impact HIV prevention and treatment programs, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, voluntary medical male circumcision and sexual and reproductive health services, are being successfully implemented in various locations and for different populations, including adolescent girls and young women and their partners, pregnant women living with HIV, sex workers, transgender people, gay men and other men who have sex with men and people who inject drugs. In the report UNAIDS identifies 35 Fast-Track countries that account for 90 percent of new HIV infections. Focusing on location and population and programs that deliver the greatest impact will reap huge benefits by 2030: 21 million AIDS-related deaths averted; 28 million new HIV infections averted; and 5.9 million new infections among children averted. “Everyone has the right to a long and healthy life,” said Mr. Sidibé. “We must take HIV services to the people who are most affected, and ensure that these services are delivered in a safe, respectful environment with dignity and free from discrimination.” The report shows that areas with fewer numbers of people living with HIV and lower HIV prevalence are more likely to have discriminatory attitudes than areas that have more cases of HIV. This seemingly contradictory result is explained by education and understanding about HIV usually being higher in countries where HIV is more prevalent and where more people are receiving treatment. However, these discriminatory attitudes make it more difficult for people in low-prevalence areas to come forward to seek HIV services for fear of stigma and reprisals. Adopting the UNAIDS Fast-Track approach through strong leadership and investment within the communities, cities and countries most affected, the AIDS epidemic can be ended by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.In 2014/2015 an estimated: 15.8 million people were accessing antiretroviral therapy (June 2015) 36.9 million [34.3 million–41.4 million] people globally were living with HIV (end 2014) 2 million [1.9 million–2.2 million] people became newly infected with HIV (end 2014) 1.2 million [980 000–1.6 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

UL Students Identify with Disabled, Poor

first_imgUniversity of Liberia students majoring in Sociology recently donated assorted food items valued at US$850 to over 600 less fortunate and disabled people in Monrovia and its environs.The students converged at street corners in Central Monrovia and Old Road Junction, opposite Nigeria House in Congo Town, and distributed food items to the disabled people usually seen begging around those communities, in most instances on the street corners and among moving vehicles. The items included rice, onions, tomatoes, salt, magi cubes.Onisemus O. Nurse, who headed the students at the Old Road Junction, told reporters that the gesture was all about demonstrating what they have learned in class during the semester instructing them to identify with the less fortunate when the means is available.He said the students were motivated by their course instructor, Mrs. Saydah Taylor, who always told them to emulate good examples in society.“If society must get better, there is a need for every well-meaning citizen or student to provide some assistance to those referred to as ‘the societal deprived,’” Student Nurse said.Mrs. Taylor, who herself assisted the students during the distribution exercise, also called on every Liberian student not to wait only for government to provide for the needs of every citizen, but to take the initiative and help those who are in need.Mrs. Taylor then called on Liberians, who she said often sit idle and blame government for every problem the nation is faced with.She encouraged students reading Sociology to form part of the government’s efforts to minimize the challenges the country is going through such as the ‘uncontrollable’ prices of goods and services.Mrs. Taylor added: “If we say government is for the people, by the people and of the people, students can make the change from a social change prospective.”“Against this backdrop, our students were able to formulate the idea of feeding the vulnerable for at least a day.”The beneficiaries thanked the students for the good will gesture, saying it was timely and prayed that God would continue to bless the students as they strive to help the poverty-stricken and disabled in the community.Meanwhile, ‘Mother’ Evelyn Brooks, who supervises the old folks’ housed in the facility need, at least until the end of their studies.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

MESSENGERS OF PEACE

first_imgAll protocols observed, acknowledgement/recognition, I bring you warm greetings from volunteers, staff and board of directors, Messengers of Peace- Liberia Inc (MOP). Thank you to the graduating class and St. Teresa Convent Catholic School family for this invitation to speak on our contribution to peace as women of the future. I am greatly honored, humbled and greatly privileged to be asked to speak with you on this very important happy occasion. It is indeed a joyous occasion and one that we should all be proud of. I can’t believe how quickly time flies by. Ten years ago, I was seating right here, ready; and just like you, ready to graduate and never for one moment thought a return to my Alma-Mater would be possible. Let me confess, I get goose bumps standing before you.I would, therefore, like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the administration of St. Teresa Convent, the teachers; some of whom I still recognize, for the knowledge they impact in us and for going beyond the call of duty.Allow me to commence by offering my heartfelt congratulations to the 41 students graduating from St. Teresa Convent class of 2014/2015 for achieving this milestone. Congratulations also go to the proud family members and friends who have faithfully stood by you as you studied.In delivering this address, permit me to use of the indispensable tools of impacting information, storytelling. Liberia, as you are all aware, is in transition phase of nation building and sustainable peace following a thirteen year of unbroken peace. Liberia needs you for sustainable peace.As you enter into another phase of development, the challenges, my young ladies, are huge. You will agree with me that the world is changing. Change is necessary, but could be painful and challenging. Ten years ago, there were 17 conflicts, with varying degrees of form and intensity, in Africa alone. The consequences of these conflicts vary, and Liberia is not isolated.There is global warming, religious intolerance, cultural indifference, and paradigm shifts in our social orientation. We are confronted daily with an escalation of violent extremism among young people.Liberia as a nation has been inundated with high levels of corrupt practices; fueled to a larger extent by favoritism, social class, color and complexion, IQ and not necessarily by EQ. You will, like many of us are, be appalled by the scale of sexual violence including rape, human trafficking, harassment and intimidation in all areas of life including but not limited to your pursuit for further education, employment, career growth and sports. As girls, there would be other challenges and temptations but these problems should not deter us and our diversity should not be our weakness, but should be our strength. The opportunities, as presented by the UNSCR # 2250, are many and we should take advantage of this resolution.Our contributions, either as individuals or groups, to peace as women of the future would be defined by how we tackle and manage these challenges. The tasks before us are by no means daunting, but not impossible; peace, my dear friends, is possible. We just need to start with ourselves. We also need to sharpen our emotional intelligence. As the saying goes in the Liberia colloquial; “Shine your eyes.” Be true to yourself and refrain from activities and behaviors that others, like the St. Teresa Convent, would frown upon.Young women don’t criticize others;they take action.Be good ambassadors of this great school. Remember, you have been found worthy in learning and character. Spare a thought for Liberia and act with your head on your shoulder. Ellen DeGeneres sums it all up. I quote “Success is to live your life with integrity and to not give in to peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not.” end of quote.Until next year, when we come back to you to sponsor a peace child for Summer Camp 2017, and until (next) week when we continue with our dialogue among peace messengers by bringing to you part two of this statement, it’s peace first, peace above all else. May Peace Prevail in our time!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

LTA Denies Internet Disruption Claim

first_imgThe Liberia Telecommunication Authority (LTA) has denied reports that the country’s internet access has been disrupted by a large-scale hack attack.The LTA said there was “no data to substantiate” the claim but admitted that one telecommunications company serving half the nation’s mobile users did suffer attacks that repeatedly limited access.Security experts who monitor networks of hijacked devices used to carry out attacks, called botnets, noticed last week that Liberian net addresses were among targets being deluged with data.Media reports quoted network security firms outside the country and telecoms staff in Liberia who said internet access in the country was affected.The attacks were mounted using the massive Mirai botnet that in late October was used to cause the web-wide disruption that left Reddit, Spotify, Twitter and other popular sites hard to reach.Jarsea Burphy, a spokesperson for the Liberia Telecommunication Authority, said monitoring systems on the nation’s internet exchange point, where domestic traffic joins the global network, showed no evidence that the link had been overwhelmed.The monitoring systems showed “no downtime in the last three weeks,” she told the BBC.Ms Burphy said a single local operator, believed to be the Lonestar Cell mobile network, had been subjected to intermittent web attacks that had affected its ability to provide net access.Lonestar, which has a 50 percent market share, said in a release in Monrovia, that it had been hit by so-called Distributed Denial of Service attacks that sought to overwhelm its network.“We have continued to react and restore service to each incident as it happens,” it said. Liberia has been repeatedly cut off from the internet by hackers targeting its only link to the global network. Recurrent attacks up to November 3 flooded the cable link with data, making net access intermittent.Researchers said the attacks showed hackers trying different ways to use massive networks of hijacked machines to overwhelm high-value targets.Experts said Liberia was attacked by the same group that caused web-wide disruption on October 21.Those attacks were among the biggest ever seen and made it hard to reach big web firms such as Twitter, Spotify and Reddit.The attacks were the first to send overwhelming amounts of data from weakly protected devices, such as webcams and digital video recorders that had been enrolled into what is known as a botnet.A botnet variant called Mirai was identified by security firms as being the tool used to find and compromise the insecure devices. The source code for Mirai has been widely shared and many malicious hacker groups have used it to seek out vulnerable devices they can take over and use to mount what are known as Distributed Denial of Service attacks. “There’re multiple different botnets, each with a different owner,” security researcher Kevin Beaumont told the BBC. “Many are very low-skilled. Some are much better.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more