Trucking and Busing: Undermine Free Government in Liberia

first_imgSince the inception of the voter registration exercise on February 1, 2017, there have been multiple complaints from applicants attending the process ranging from inadequate logistics, defective cameras; complaints of insufficient voter registration centers (VRCs) thereby causing potentials registrants to walk long distances to register; attempts by non-Liberians to register; busing and trucking of people from one district or county to another; incompetent registration personnel and poor contractual arrangements with registration workers; absence of security officers (LNP & BIN) at VRCs; alleged tribal and religious discrimination against certain applicants, etc.As a former chair of the National Elections Commission (NEC), who presided over the 2005 general elections, the above-listed complaints and/or issues raised are not strange to me, as we were similarly confronted with nearly all of them. The difference, however, between the 2005 process and the current process is in the handling and resolution of the misunderstanding or concerns. Considering that the nature of elections is adversarial and extremely competitive, the commission must exert every effort to address concerns of participants in a timely manner and in accordance with the relevant guidelines, regulations and laws. Election staff must apply the rules and laws neutrally in order to avoid the imputation of corrupt motives to them. The allegation of tribal and religious bias, for instance could have been obviated by posting at each VRC the criteria for eligibility to register. Beyond all the issues and concerns raised, however, the phenomenon which is of paramount concern to me is the trucking and busing of people from one locality to another which I called “contract voters”. This practice is becoming or has become a part of the Liberian electoral culture. The practice does not only distort true democratic elections, the essence of which is the expression of the free will of the electorate in choosing their leaders, but the practice also constrains an impoverished and vulnerable people to surrender their free will to the richest or wealthiest politicians in exchange of a bag of rice, US$5.00, US$10.00 or US$20.00. Thus, the realization of the promise contained in Article I of the Liberian Constitution which states, inter alia, ‘All free governments are instituted by their authority and for their benefit and they have the right to alter and reform the same when their safety and happiness so require,” shall remain a mirage for a long time to come, because there can be no free government without a free people.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

New Zealand team lacks determination, grit and fight: Sourav Ganguly to India Today

first_imgIndia strolled to a 6 wicket win in what was a historic 900th ODI for the Men in Blue to take a 1-0 lead in the 5-match series. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly believes that the Kiwis could be headed for another whitewash unless they drastically up their game.”I was watching the game & I have seen the Test series as well, with all due respect to everyone in the Kiwi team, they want this series to get over as soon as possible. I think they (New Zealand) have given up hope, they have given up coming back and trying to beat this Indian team. There is no determination in that side, there is no fight or grit in that team”, Sourav told India Today after the victory in Dharamshala. (Also read: 1st ODI: Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya heroics hand India 6-wicket win over New Zealand)Ganguly was specially critical of senior New Zealand batsmen who put only 190 runs on the board. “You see Martin Guptill, innings after innings he has been rolled over by the Indian quicks. New Zealand cricket has never beaten the likes of Australia, South Africa or England as they never had that much talent but when you see dismissals like the ones of Kane Williamson & Ross Taylor, you just don’t see the determination. The only way they can come back is show some fight. If Tim Southee at no. 10 can get a fifty, if Tom Latham can bat with grit and determination then I really don’t see why the others cannot”, added the former India captain.advertisementVirat Kohli was once again the star for India in an ODI run chase as he remained unbeaten on 85 runs. While Virat’s batting average in ODIs is an impressive 52.12, his average in successful run chases is an astonishing 86.15. Kohli has amassed over 3360 runs in successful run chases for India which is over a 1000 runs more than what MS Dhoni has scored for the same cause. (Also read: Hardik Pandya becomes fourth Indian to win Man of the Match on ODI debut)”When you see Virat Kohli bat you see the fire, you see the hunger, you see the feet moving, it is just a different mindset. It is just his quality, he enjoys batting in ODI cricket. Players go through this period when they start believing sub-consciously that I will just walk on and get runs and that is exactly what has happened to Virat Kohli. To be honest I don’t see Virat Kohli facing any problems with this New Zealand attack specially when they get only 190 on the board with this white ball & on these pitches”, said Ganguly.Credit must also be given to the Indian pace attack who reduced the visitors to 65 for 7 before a late mini-fight back. Even then, the Kiwis would have been bundled out for a lot less than 190 had the Indian team not missed a few chances in the field. Hardik Pandya made the fourth most successful debut for any Indian bowler with figures of 3/31 sending back Guptill in his very first over in ODIs. “Dhoni showed a lot of faith in Hardik Pandya. The young fast bowler Pandya created trouble for them (New Zealand), Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami all have created trouble for them, so in a side when every opposition bowler is giving trouble for the batsmen then you don’t win. From my point of view what lacks in this New Zealand team is fight. I have see New Zealand teams in the past under the likes of Stephen Flemming and Brendon McCullum, there was a lot more heart in those sides as compared to this one”, said Sourav. (Also read: Hardik’s performance is important for us, says skipper MS Dhoni)Team India needs to win 4-1 to leapfrog New Zealand and climb into the Top 3 of the ODI ranking table. The next match will be played at the Feroz Shah Kotla in the capital on 20th October.last_img read more

Hes an Icon On and Off the Court LeBron

LeBron James went to the NBA Finals for the eighth consecutive year. He changed addresses again, leaving his Cleveland home for the second time to join the Los Angeles Lakers in the biggest move of free agency over the summer. He remained arguably the most dominant player in the basketball, adding even more glitz on a legacy that reached epic status long ago.It was, by any measure, a fantastic year for James.FILE – In this Dec. 7, 2018, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (23) drives against the San Antonio Spurs during the first half of an NBA basketball game, in San Antonio. LeBron James was named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Darren Abate, File)And even without a title, it may have been his most significant year.For the third time, James has been selected as The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year — after 2018 saw him continue to excel on the court, open the “I Promise” school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and further use his voice as an activist who bristled at being told to “shut up and dribble.”“I would describe it as a success because I was able to inspire so many people throughout the year,” James said. “I got to go back to China, to Paris, to Berlin, I opened up a school. And all these kids I was able to see, all over the world and in my hometown, I was able to inspire, to make them think they can be so much more than what they think they’re capable of being. That was my outlook for 2018.”James received 78 points in balloting by U.S. editors and news directors announced Thursday, while Boston Red Sox star Mookie Betts was second with 46. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals was third, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was fourth and Triple Crown winner Justify was fifth.On the court, James remained dominant. He averaged 28.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 8.4 assists in 2018 between his time with the Cavaliers and Lakers, playing in 102 games through Thursday.“In addition to being on everyone’s short list as one of the league’s all-time greatest players, LeBron is among the hardest working players and is a thoughtful and impactful leader,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “He serves on the executive committee of the Players Association even as he builds an impressive media company of his own. And what’s most inspiring, and no surprise given his talent and focus, is how he’s done all of this while embracing his unique opportunity to positively impact communities in need.”James becomes the third man to win the award at least three times, joining Lance Armstrong (a four-time winner from 2002 through 2005), Tiger Woods (1997, 1999, 2000 and 2006) and Michael Jordan (1991, 1992 and 1993).Armstrong won the Tour de France in each of his years as the AP recipient, — though he was later stripped of the titles in a doping scandal. Woods won at least one major and was the PGA’s Player of the Year in all four of his AP-winning years. Jordan’s three awards coincided with his first three NBA championships in Chicago. And James’ first two times getting the award were in 2013 and 2016, years where his fingerprints mussed up the Larry O’Brien Trophy in a title celebration.And James’ closest rivals in the AP balloting this year — Betts and Ovechkin — also won titles in 2018.James’ year included no championship, no scoring title, no MVP award. But some of the people closest to James still considered 2018 to be his finest year yet.“I like to talk about generations,” said Miami guard Dwyane Wade, one of James’ best friends. “There will never be another Michael Jordan because he was the first to be a global superstar, the first to take the NBA to another level. There will never be another LeBron James, and a lot of it is from what he’s done away from the game. Him understanding his voice has been so refreshing and so important to the culture and his friends.”The “I Promise” school is perhaps James’ most prized accomplishment yet. It opened in July for 240 third- and fourth-graders, a public school in Akron that is perhaps like none other. Families — not just the kids — get support there, whether it’s by helping put food on the table or providing adult education or even legal assistance.And this is just the start. James and his LeBron James Family Foundation have enormous plans for the school in the years ahead.“It is already such a success,” James said. “And it’s something that I never thought was possible until we made it happen. So yes, it’s been a pretty good year.”A busy year, too.He had a documentary series called “Shut Up and Dribble,” which discusses the role athletes have in the current political and cultural climate. His show “The Shop,” featuring James and friends talking about life in the backdrop of a barbershop, has been enormously popular. James has faced criticism in recent days for posting rap lyrics that included the phrase “Jewish money,” for which he apologized, and even rival coaches have spoken out about how he’s used his fame for good.“To this day, he hasn’t missed a step,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said earlier this year. “He hasn’t fallen off the ledge and he’s been a brilliant example for millions of kids, especially kids with lesser opportunity and haven’t had the same advantages as others.”On the court, he was already an icon.Off the court, he’s looking to be one as well in the years ahead.“The next star is out there,” James said. “And I’m not just talking sports. Doctor, nurse, pilots, they’re out there. The one thing they need is knowing that people care about them and care about their lives. I believe it’s part of my job, and I take it very seriously, to try to tap into that.” read more

The Patriots And Falcons Became Who We Thought They Were

Related: Hot Takedown Should Terrell Owens Be In The Hall of Fame? In today’s NFL, a 52-yard field goal is a little under a 70 percent proposition. Scooch up 10 yards, and you’re looking at something closer to 80 percent. Add another five yards onto that and you’re up above 90 percent, turning a not-so-sure thing into one as sure as it’s going to get. The only choice is to try to advance the ball.On first down, Devonta Freeman lost a yard. The Falcons could have taken two more plays to run into the line and taken their chances on the 50-plus-yarder. But when you have the league MVP under center and are gaining 8.8 net yards per pass attempt on the season, and when those 8.8 yards would represent a material improvement to your odds of winning, you stick to what you know. And so the Falcons did what they did all season — they gave Matt Ryan the ball. And then he got sacked. And then Jake Matthews committed his second costly holding penalty. Suddenly, the Falcons had 3rd-and-33, and as the coaches like to say, there’s no play in the playbook for that.The difference between the Falcons and the Patriots is the difference between the Patriots and the Falcons. The Falcons’ inexplicable little foibles, like the repeatedly snapping the ball without milking all the time they could off the clock, doomed them. The Pats’ miscues, like the decision to kick a field goal while down 19 in the fourth quarter should have doomed New England, but the Patriots were saved by a series of miraculous events. Edelman caught the ball; Ryan coughed it up. The Patriots stay the Patriots, and the Falcons surely will stay the Falcons. HOUSTON — Great Super Bowls tend to be remembered in miniature: A missed kick. A ball pressed to a helmet. An outstretched arm at the goal line. For this Super Bowl, though, the picture will be bigger and two-sided: the New England Patriots’ furious comeback from down by 25 points to take a title they had no business taking, and the Atlanta Falcons’ attendant collapse. This game’s individual moments, memorable as they were, will likely be pale in importance next to the way the reputations of both teams were affirmed in the strongest possible terms, by the thinnest possible margin.On the Patriots’ side, Belichick and his apostles are up for beatification. Tom Brady led five consecutive scoring drives to stage the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, setting records for pass attempts, completions and yardage in the championship game. Julian Edelman made the cleat catch. And the Patriots defense clamped down to hold the Falcons scoreless in their final four drives. The turnaround was so dramatic that it practically unwound the ESPN win-probability model in real time. These are seemingly acts of a higher power.Except Brady, of course, hadn’t been perfect all game. Before the Patriots offense clicked into action late in the third, Brady missed Julian Edelman badly on a few throws and was making uncharacteristic errors. Partly this was due to the Falcons pass rush getting to him using just four rushers. In the second half, New England’s massive time-of-possession advantage began to show as the Falcons’ pass rush faded. (“I think for sure we ran out of gas some,” said Falcons coach Dan Quinn. “I don’t know what the time of possession was, I didn’t look at that. But I can tell you how hard these guys battled for it.”) But partly Brady’s poor start to the game was simply some bad throws and costly drops at the worst possible time in the season for either.But rather than overreact to a few bad plays, New England stayed the course. “You can decide to say that the game is out of reach,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said after the game, “and start scrambling and going into a two-minute mode earlier than you really want to. At halftime, we definitely weren’t going to do that.”This is the least shocking thing the Patriots could have done. The comeback was prodigious, of course, but everyone in the stadium was watching something they had seen the Patriots do many times before. Brady wasn’t reeling off dazzling, how’d-he-do-that highlights; he was marching the Falcons to their unavoidable doom. Even the team’s ho-hum reactions to Edelman’s time-and-space-defying catch demonstrate the sense of certainty surrounding the Pats:Edelman: “It was 3rd-and-5. We made a decent play. Thankfully, we finished. I was just trying to track it. It was a bang-bang play.”Brady: “Yeah, I couldn’t believe it. It was one of the greatest catches. We’ve been on the other end of a few of those catches and tonight, you know, we came up with it. It was a pretty spectacular catch.”McDaniels: “It was just great concentration. I think to win a game like this, you’re probably going to need a few plays like that, and that was one of them.”Running back James White: “I was actually right in front of him when he caught it. I was pretty sure that he caught it. It was a big play in the game.”Tight end Martellus Bennett: “I was like, ‘OH SHIT HE CAUGHT THAT!’” OK, so not all of them are replicants. But if Brady didn’t quite come away from Sunday with one defining “Isn’t that John Candy?” moment of cool, he got the one thing that solidifies legacies more than iconic moments: luck. The ball finally bounced (or, in Edelman’s case, didn’t) the Patriots’ way, and the same stroke of the divine that stole away a perfect season in 2008 put New England in position to steal a championship back. For a player and a franchise as accomplished as Brady and the Pats, the inescapable conclusion is that the luck you have is the luck you make.But for a team and quarterback that don’t have that luxury, one bad half threatens to peel off whatever veneer of credibility they had constructed on top of the city’s old Loserville neuroses this season. And if the team’s only luck is bad luck, Ryan and the Falcons manufactured it themselves.As you’d probably guess, the biggest postgame scrum for the Falcons coaches wasn’t around Quinn, but around offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The defense was gassed, sure, but how could the high-powered Falcons offense (No. 2 in Football Outsiders’ offensive ranks) have scored its final points with 8:31 left in the third quarter?After the game, the thing most everyone wanted to know — and made sure to ask every Falcon in the building — was just what happened after Julio Jones made a ridiculous catch of his own with 4:47 left in the fourth quarter, putting the Falcons on the edge of field-goal range and in position to go up two scores. Were you too aggressive late? Do you wish you had any of those play calls back? They were polite versions of the obvious question: Just what the hell was Shanahan thinking? Score there and the Falcons are up two scores with just about four minutes remaining. In a game that was over several times before it was truly over, that would have buried the Pats a few feet deeper.“Our goal was to get as many yards as we could,” Shanahan said. “You don’t think, ‘Just run the ball and make your guy kick a 50-yard field goal,’ you try your hardest to give him a great chance to for sure make it, but we ended up getting a sack, and [running the ball isn’t] really an option after that.” read more

Convicted felon opens barber shop to help keep kids off the street

first_img 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsCHULA VISTA (KUSI) — KUSI’s Dan Plante spoke with Justino Alarcon, who turned his time in prison into a productive career.During his 17 years behind bars, Alcaron dedicated his life to improving himself, and it worked.Now he is using the skills and lessons he learned in prison to help other kids stay off the streets and get out of trouble.Alcaron opened The Locker Room Barber Shop in Chula Vista, which he now uses to help give back to local youth and help them stay out of trouble. July 12, 2018 Dan Plante, Categories: Local San Diego News, Special Reports FacebookTwitter Convicted felon opens barber shop to help keep kids off the street Posted: July 12, 2018 Dan Plante last_img read more

Bonniers Motorcycle Group Launches Marketing Services Division

first_imgEnthusiast media company Bonnier formed its Motorcycle Group when it bought nine titles from Source Interlink (now TEN: The Enthusiast Network) two years ago. Now, the group has its own marketing services team to match.  Bonnier consolidated the group’s custom advertising solutions under a new moniker called Quickshift. “We have been executing successful marketing programs for our clients for the past two years; this officially establishes a brand and division to manage this business,” says Andy Leisner, VP, group publisher, Bonnier Motorcycle Group, in a statement.  The division will work with the Motorcycle Group’s sales staff to deliver agency-like services—including video, PR, social media and custom content and events—for power sports advertisers.center_img The group claims to reach 8.3 million enthusiasts across its 12 brands, which include Cycle World and Motorcyclist. Bonnier Motorcycle Group general manager, marketing services Garrett Kai will head up the division.last_img read more

Infosys promotes over 2000 employees offers 100 variable pay

first_imgInfosys has promoted over 2,000 of its employees and hiked their variable payout after posting robust earnings growth in the past two quarters.The promotions and hike in variable payout come at a time when the company is trying to bring down its high attrition rate, which rose to 14.1% in the September quarter.The Bengaluru-based IT major promoted 2,067 employees in the second quarter ending 30 September, taking the total number of employee promotions to 4,711 so far this fiscal. Besides, India’s second largest IT firm has increased employees’ variable payout from 80% to 100% in the July-September quarter. Earlier, the company gave 100% variable payout in the December quarter.Infosys posted a growth of 9.8% in its net profit in the second quarter this fiscal, well above the 6.1% growth in net profit recorded by the India’s largest IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).The company plans to recruit nearly about 20,000 from campuses in the current fiscal year, Chief Operating Officer UB Pravin Rao said.Infosys said last month that it was not planning to hike salaries for freshers, while its peers have announced an increase in salaries for entry-level jobs.”And in terms of compensation increase, we are already at the range which people are talking about. So when we look at competitions, they’re talking about Rs 3.3 lakh (average annual salary), we’re already at Rs 3.25 lakh for the last couple of years. So we are not seeing any material difference in doing that,” The Economic Times quoted Rao as saying.Recently, top companies like Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) are reported to have decided to hike salaries for freshers by 10-12% after many years.Infosys revised down its dollar revenue forecast for the current financial year to 6.4-8.4% from 7-9%, leading to a sharp sell-off in its stock prices on the bourses.”Revenue above consensus on good volume, with pricing up 2.4% quarter-on-quarter. Adds $1 billion in new business to support visibility,” said analyst James E Friedman of Susquehanna International Group in a report.last_img read more

City Says Homes Substantially Damaged By Harvey Will Have To Be Raised

first_img Share Allison LeeMany homeowners are looking into home elevation, after repetitive flooding.The city of Houston will require homes designated as “substantially damaged” by Hurricane Harvey to be elevated before they can be repaired.Homeowners can expect to receive notice of the designation by mail, with more than 1,000 homes being notified this month. A home receives the “substantially damage” label if Houston’s Office of Public Works decides repairs will cost more than fifty percent of the home’s market value. The rule applies to homes within the 100-year floodplain, where the department said more than 30,000 homes are built throughout the city. The Office of Public Works said the notices are standard practice following floods in Houston and keep the city in compliance with federal flood insurance rules. “We have many many homes in Houston that were built prior to when the city of Houston came into the flood insurance program,” said Carol Haddock, Director of Public Works and Engineering for the city of Houston. She said many of the affected homes were built before Houston’s first floodplain maps and regulations. Haddock add that she understands the requirement is a “harsh reality” for many homeowners.The substantial damage notices follow Harris County’s decision to tighten building regulations in unincorporated areas of the county. Haddock said the city is similarly reviewing its floodplain regulations.last_img read more

Five Months After Sandra Bland Act Went Into Effect What Has Changed

first_img 00:00 /01:15 Listen X Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Florian MartinThe Texas House Committee on County Affairs, chaired by Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, (center) met at the University of Houston-Downtown on Feb. 6, 2018, to hear testimony on the implementation of the Sandra Bland Act.The Sandra Bland Act requires jails to divert people with mental health issues so they receive treatment and to have an independent law enforcement agency investigating the deaths of its inmates.It also mandates de-escalation training for Texas police officers and a mental health course for jailers.“As of Jan. 1, all jailers beginning the licensing process have to get that eight-hour course as it’s being held right now in order to get licensed,” said Gretchen Grigsby, director of government relations at the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. She was one of five agency representatives who testified at the House Committee on County Affairs hearing held at the University of Houston-Downtown Tuesday.Jailers who were on the job before that date have until Aug. 31, 2021, to take that course.Of about 23,000 jailers in Texas, 1,000 have received mental health training, according to Brandon Wood, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.“As of Jan. 1, each county has an assigned investigative agency other than themselves to conduct any custody investigations,” Wood added.The Sandra Bland Act is named after an African American woman who committed suicide in the Waller County Jail a few days after being pulled over by a state trooper in 2015.last_img read more