The Association of Liberian Journalists in the Americas (ALJA) wants dissolved the Fonati Koffa led Presidential Task Force set up by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to probe the damning Global Witness Report linking some former and current officials of the Liberian government to bribery.In a press release issued yesterday, May 23, ALJA said it wants the task force disbanded because its chairman, Counselor Koffa, lacks the integrity to head such an important investigation.“Because of Cllr. Koffa’s past criminal history in the United States, he is not credible to handle such a high profile case,” ALJA said in a release signed by its president, Moses Sandy. ALJA said Cllr. Koffa, who now serves in the Sirleaf government as Minister of State without Portfolio, is unfit to lead the investigation because he is a convicted felon who in 2006 pled guilty to four federal charges in the United States in relation to his suspected embezzlement ofUS$500,000.He is reported to have duped several of his clients in North Carolina while providing legal services to them as a private attorney. “He was convicted, fined US$250,000 and sentenced to jail for more than two years. He is barred from practicing law in the United States,” ALJA said in the press release.ALJA has meanwhile welcomed the action taken by the Liberian government to bring to justice Counselor Varney Sherman, House Speaker Alex Tyler and the others, who allegedly connived with Sable Mining to engage in economic crimes against Liberia. However, the association is proposing that the investigation be turned over to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Ministry of Justice for speedy prosecution.ALJA said the LACC and the Justice Ministry have the statutory authority to resolve such a matter and also called on Cllr. Sherman, Speaker Tyler, the UK based Sable Mining and Global Witness and all parties associated with the case to cooperate fully with the Liberian Government in getting to the core of the matter. The London based watchdog, Global Witness, in a report titled, The Deceivers, released a week ago, alleged that the British company, Sable Mining, in collusion with the chairman of the ruling Unity Party(UP), Cllr. Sherman, in 2010, dished out more than US$950,000 to several top government officials of the Johnson Sirleaf administration to make alterations in Liberia’s mining laws with the sole purpose of giving the company undue influence in securing concession rights to Liberia’s Wologizi Mountain.Cllr. Sherman, the report alleged, told Sable Mining that in order to get the contract the company must first offer bribes to senior officials to change Liberia’s concession laws. However, Cllr. Sherman has denied the allegation and has also refused to submit himself to any probe by the task force established by the government.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Dear Editor,The news has been rightly dominated in the last weeks with the President’s unilateral appointment of the GECOM Chairman. It is a matter which has evoked a lot of concern; and persons and organisations have expressed, in a most passionate manner, their strongest disagreement with the President’s decision.While the Administration’s apologists have sought to create a smokescreen, and call attention to a number of red herrings, the President’s act, for all intents and purposes, remains unconstitutional and plainly wrong.But this act by the President, Editor, must be seen in the context of the bigger picture. The GECOM Chairman selection/appointment is part of a wider plan executed with military precision to usurp democracy, contain dissent, and control all arms of the State. It mimics the modus operandi of many military/security-based Governments the world over.We have seen that efforts are being made to tarnish and undermine political opposition through the widely perceived politically-controlled SARA and SOCU. Flimsy, trumped-up charges are instituted to intimidate and harass many considered as opponents. At the same time, longstanding norms and practices have been disregarded and replaced by a top-down approach to address and deal with issues.Alongside those developments, we have seen former military men and women who are no doubt supportive of the Administration placed in almost every facet of the state apparatus to obviously assure control. Note should be taken also of the recent amendments to the broadcasting legislation which established mandatory programming for the Administration on privately-owned television and radio stations.It is still not too late to nip these developments. Such actions require the people to stand up staunchly and strongly oppose such developments. Dictatorship in the past put our country at the brink, aggravated poverty, chased away our needed and required skills for development and advancement, and took away our dignity and pride. At this time, I call on all fellow Guyanese to not allow those days to return.Yours sincerely,Patricia Persaud
… slams proposed decision to charge businessesA fully constituted Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) did not vote to impose fees on city businesses in order to collect garbage, yet this decision was taken by City Hall. A price schedule was recently released.The proposal is not going down well with People’s Progressive Party (PPP) representative on the Council, Bishram Kuppen. In an interview with this publication, he took City Hall to task for the decision.“There was no vote,” he said. “This is a matter that was in discussion, but for the Council to come out and say that the decision was made and there were consultations, I’m not aware of that. Even if there were consultations, the Town Clerk cannot make that decision.”Kuppen noted that committees should make recommendations, after consulting with stakeholders or the public. These recommendations, once made to the full Council, should then be discussed and voted on. He queried who made such a momentous decision without a vote on the Council. Kuppen noted that the issue would be raised at the next meeting.“It has to come before the full Council as recommendations and then (a) vote. There are no indications what would constitute a small business, what is a medium business. Generally, you have committees in the Council that make recommendations. And those recommendations are brought to the full Council to be voted on. I am not aware of any meeting.”“You can’t implement fees without the full Council’s approval. Now the Finance Committee makes certain recommendations, and somehow I think they are of the opinion that the Finance Committee can make decisions for the entire Council. If that is the case then they have no need for Council.”It was reported in sections of the media that Town Clerk Royston King had announced that from September 1, 2017; small businesses will have to pay $5000 per month for garbage collection, while medium-scale businesses would have to pay $8000. Large businesses would be required to pay $12,000 per month.For quite some time, the M&CC has been accused of being cash strapped, and on multiple occasions, work around the city has had to be halted, since the municipality was unable to pay workers and waste disposal service providers.This prompted Puran Brothers Disposal and Cevons Waste Management to withdraw their services, as City Hall’s debts rose to the multimillion-dollar range. According to the companies, the issue of non-payment has been a long standing one. The companies had revealed that City Hall’s debts date as far back as 2015 and promises proffered by the council have not been honoured.Earlier this year, it was reported that the Council and its partners (the contractors) reached an agreement, which in substance said that the City Treasurer would focus on payment of the current accounts while working to find an arrangement to settle the outstanding debts for 2016, while avoiding service disruption.The Council has said that it would be putting alternative measures in place for garbage collection, and urged residents to ensure they properly dispose of their waste and await the arrival of the garbage collectors. They also say that the Treasurer’s Department would be intensifying its revenue collection drive to recover money owed to the city.At a meeting with stakeholders in April 2017, the Mayor had informed that the Council is cash strapped and requested businesses pay more for commercial waste disposal. Mayor Chase Green had told the business folks that City Hall cannot afford to keep up with the weekly amount of $1.8 million only to clear commercial waste.Though there have been talks of the implementation of a new fee for commercial waste, City Hall officials have remained mum on just how much they are proposing to charge. Notwithstanding, the mayor threatened that should businesses refuse to pay the new fee, City Hall will have to resort to using the law to discipline them.Town Clerk King has in the past said that even if citizens pay all of their outstanding taxes, the Council would still fall short of enough money to cover everything it has to do. King said the implementation of a new fee is in order because the service of waste disposal is a very expensive one that the Council cannot afford at the moment.
1 Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has denied accusations by Mino Raiola that he isolated Mario Balotelli at Anfield.Balotelli made a deadline day move to Ligue 1 side Nice and the Italian’s agent Raiola has since been particularly vocal in his criticism of Klopp for his treatment of the player.However, the Liverpool manager is unconcerned by his comments and stressed the Italy striker was not frozen out.“We didn’t isolate him,” said Klopp, who, when asked how much Raiola’s comments had affected him, replied “Nil point nil.“That is part of the business I am not interested in. It is a free world so he can say what he wants, no problem.”RELATED: Mino Raiola claims Jurgen Klopp showed a lack of respect to Mario Balotelli and says he ‘doesn’t need’ Liverpool boss Mario Balotelli ended his nightmare at Anfield after moving to Nice in Ligue 1
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Taking a hard line on immigration “sounds good, and it’s a way of creating a divided country and distracting people from the real challenges facing society,” he said. “They’re not bad people,” Clinton said. “They really believe the world works better if they run it and we keep our mouths shut.” He praised President George W. Bush for siding with moderate Republicans on immigration, noting that Bush is from Texas, which has a large immigrant population, and “it’s hard to demonize people if you know them.” Clinton urged Latinos to mobilize on a grass-roots level for change, and said the politics of demonization won’t help anyone. “You can be a glue, because you have the ethics of work and family,” Clinton said. “You can build up the (moderate) forces in the Republican party” so the two political parties can have honest discussions and “wind up with a better solution than either of us could come up with on our own.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Latinos can be a unifying force in the national immigration debate, but they need to acknowledge concerns about national security, the rule of law and the fear of lowered wages. Clinton spoke Saturday at a “Cafe con Clinton” breakfast meeting at the start of the National Council of La Raza’s annual conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, the council is hosting a four-day event expected to draw at least 20,000 people. Clinton said the immigration debate in Washington, D.C., is being shaped by a small group of Republican hard-liners who are motivated by ideology. They believe in a “financial elite,” and the concentration of wealth and power, instead of “the power and the greatness of middle-class families” and viewing America as a family that includes everyone, Clinton said. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who introduced Clinton to the crowd, said the United States has witnessed “a community coming-of-age in America” since the peaceful March 25 pro-immigration demonstrations in downtown Los Angeles that drew more than a half a million people. Although some may have struggled to speak English, “the message couldn’t have been any clearer, any more eloquent, fluidly and fundamentally American: They want nothing more than to live and work and raise their kids and provide for their families,” he said. The mayor urged the crowd to demand immigration reform that respects those who “work hard and play by the rules,” and doesn’t criminalize someone who “reaches out and helps an immigrant only guilty of wanting a better life.” “We all know America as not built by people with trust funds,” Villaraigosa said. “It was made with the toil and the dreams – los sue os – of its immigrants.” In addition to a host of nationally known speakers, including Republican political strategist Karl Rove on Tuesday, the conference offers a host of free workshops – many in Spanish – on homeownership, health and citizenship. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut the ribbon to the Latino Expo with Villaraigosa and National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia, who served as a deputy assistant to Clinton. The governor and mayor were mobbed by press and conference-goers who snapped photos of them both with cameras and cell phones. Juana, 25, and Chanquin Naranjo, 32, of South Gate were pleased when the governor and mayor kissed their 5-month-old twins, Jaquelin and Karina. But Chanquin Naranjo said he was more excited about the mayor’s attention than Schwarzenegger’s, “because he is a Latino, too, and I know how he feels.” “My people, we only want to work,” said Naranjo, who is a U.S. citizen originally from Guatemala. He added that the United States should keep criminals out, but make it easier for hard-working people to immigrate and become citizens. firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3663160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Anthony Stokes marked his Hibernian return with a goal in a 3-1 victory over St Mirren at Easter Road in the Scottish Championship.Hibs took the lead in the 10th minute when on-loan Celtic midfielder Liam Henderson curled a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.They doubled their advantage a minute before the break, John McGinn slotting into the bottom corner past keeper Jamie Langfield.Saints reduced the deficit in first-half injury time as Stephen Mallan bent a free-kick into the bottom corner from 20 yards. Paul Hanlon and McGinn had efforts cleared off the line before substitute Stokes, signed on loan from Celtic this week, wrapped up the points in the final minute with a close-range strike.Feedback: We want your feedback on our site. If you’ve got questions, spotted an inaccuracy or just want to share some ideas about our news service, please email us on email@example.com. Download: The STV News app is Scotland’s favourite and is available for iPhone from the Apple store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.Join in: For debate, chat, comment and more, join our communities on the STV News Facebook page or follow @STVNews on Twitter.
CCH Tax Day ReportThe District of Columbia’s Chief Financial Officer certified in his new February 2017 Revenue Estimate forecast that sufficient recurring revenues are available to implement all the District’s remaining tax policy changes. The District has a statutory rate reduction mechanism that can lower tax rates and increase exemptions or deductions based upon the level of recurring revenues in the District. When the revenue levels are sufficient, the rates are reduced in incremental steps based on a priority listed in the Sec. 47-181, D.C. Code. The following changes will be implemented January 1, 2018:The unincorporated business and corporation franchise tax rates will be reduced from the tax year 2017 rate of 9.0% to 8.25%.The personal exemption will be increased from the 2017 amount of $1,775 to conform to the federal level ($4,000) and the low income credit will be repealed.The standard deduction will be raised from the 2017 amounts of $5, 650 for single individuals, $7,800 for head of households, $10,275 for married filing jointly to $6,100 for single individuals, $8,950 for head of households and $12,200 for married filing jointlyThe estate threshold will be raised from $2 million to conform to the federal level.The rates of the unincorporated business and corporation franchise taxes and amount of the personal exemption were originally scheduled to go down in smaller steps. However, the February 2017 Revenue Estimate states that all remaining tax policy changes will be implemented in January of 2018.February 2017 Revenue Estimates, District of Columbia Office of the Chief Financial Officer, February 28, 2017
In a bright sign for recession-battered Silicon Valley, Santa Clara chipmaker Intel has just handed out its biggest employee bonuses since the dot-com era, reflecting the company’s vastly improved finances.The extra pay was provided in two larger-that-usual bonus categories, as well as in a third surprise “thank-you” bonus, which was the first time Intel had given that in several years, according to spokeswoman Gail Dundas.She said the company’s generosity stemmed largely from a big resurgence of business at Intel, which last week reported it earned $2.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009. That’s an 875 percent increase from the same period a year ago and the company’s biggest quarterly profit since the fourth quarter of 2005.Intel routinely offers two types of bonuses in January. In one of those, the company this time gave its employees 12.4 extra days of pay. Dundas said the last time that bonus was bigger was in 2000, when Intel paid its workers an extra 13.5 days salary.Intel also routinely pays another type of bonus in January based on each employee’s job level and performance multiplied by a number that reflects how well the company did that year. This time, Dundas said the Intel multiplier was 3.92, the highest it has been since 2000. In other words, an employee whose job level and performance warranted a $1,000 bonus actually received $3,920 using the latest multiplier, verses $2,660 in 2008, when the multiplier was less.On top of those two bonuses, “Intel U.S. employees each received a surprise $1,000 bonus in December as a thank you for the business results delivered for the company,” Dundas said. Intel employees in some other countries received $500, she added, noting that the last time Intel paid a thank-you bonus was in 2005.Dundas was vague about the total amount of the bonuses the company paid its worldwide work force of 79,800, as well as the range of compensation it gave to various employees, saying Intel doesn’t normally disclose that information.Aaron Boyd, research manager at Equilar, a Redwood City compensation consulting firm, said he is unaware of other Silicon Valley companies offering new or increased bonuses like Intel, which he noted “has really bounded back from where they were a year ago when things weren’t so rosy.”But given that Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, is widely viewed as a barometer for the tech industry, he said, other companies eventually might follow its example if their businesses also improve.Economic prospects do seem to be brightening for many local firms according to Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, who consults regularly with the area’s business executives.Even in sluggish economic times when companies aren’t hiring, they often feel a need to pay bonuses to keep the top talent they have, Guardino said, adding that his organization also recently awarded most of its employees bonuses. “We wanted to send a message to our own team: ‘We believe in you,’” he said.
In 2009, Chaolong Wang had already spent a year as a graduate student in bioinformatics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, when his adviser told him that he didn’t have enough money to support him as a research assistant for that semester. Wang already had a full schedule of classes, so becoming a teaching assistant didn’t seem like an attractive option. And as a Chinese citizen, Wang wasn’t eligible for any fellowships or traineeships funded by the U.S. government.Wang chose Michigan in part because it had offered him a 1-year institutional fellowship. Although his adviser eventually was able to find additional funding, his real salvation came this month when Wang received a fellowship from a new graduate training program funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.HHMI’s International Student Research Fellowship is one of only a handful open to international students studying in the United States. It’s worth $43,000 a year for 3 years. The first class of 48 fellows is one-third larger than HHMI’s initial target, reflecting the high level of talented applicants. The fellows, second or third-year graduate students in the biomedical or related sciences, are nominated by their institution, which must be one of the 60 with a pre-existing relationship with HHMI. HHMI is committed to funding the program for at least 3 years, at an annual level of about 50 fellows,Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The program grew out of HHMI President Robert Tjian’s experience as a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2003, HHMI ended a long-running predoctoral fellowship program open to U.S. and international students after the stock market crash took a big bite out of the institute’s endowment. The new program represents a fresh opportunity for HHMI to address the continuing needs of international graduate students. “We know that some institutions are reticent to bring on international students because there isn’t a mechanism to support them in their research years,” says William Galey, who heads the HHMI’s graduate and medical education programs. Through this fellowship, he says, HHMI is “providing them relief from the commitment they normally would have to make.”Galey says that some of these institutions have promised “to take those funds that are freed up and use them to support other international students in their first years.” This early funding is crucial to attracting international students; Wang says he wouldn’t have been able to come to the United States if he hadn’t received his first-year fellowship, which most universities do not offer.Although the U.S. government may not be interested in funding foreign students, Galey says, “other countries are providing funds for U.S. students because U.S. students are desired.” The HHMI fellowship, he adds, “is a means by which the U.S. can compete for the top talent in the world.”The fellowship eases Wang’s concerns about supporting himself and allows him to focus on his research. Some of his friends aren’t so lucky; they must also teach classes every semester, which detracts from their research time. Others feel pressure to graduate before they’re ready. In 2004, the National Institutes (NIH) of Health launched a new traineeship program aimed at increasing the number of scientists pursuing interdisciplinary research and opened it to foreign students. The program, part of the initial Roadmap Initiative by former NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, skirted the congressional ban on U.S.-only training awards by tapping research funds for the international students who participated. “We recognized that our research teams were lacking in the quantitative sciences, so opening it to foreign nationals would fill that void,” says Terry Bishop, a program director at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, who oversaw the program.The program ended in 2010. Bishop says that an advisory panel felt interdisciplinary training was being met by regular NIH funding mechanisms. But she’s eager to see whether the international students in the discontinued program were more likely than their peers to remain in the United States and in science after graduation. “If there was strong evidence that it had good outcomes,” Bishop says, “then I could see making a recommendation or something to the training advisory committee to maybe revisit this type of program.”