Chinese President Xi Jinping has stated emphatically that his country, the People’s Republic of China, “stands with Liberia in exerting every effort to defeat the deadly Ebola Virus.”President Xi Jinping made this statement when he received the newly accredited Liberian Ambassador to China, His Excellency Mr. Dudley McKinley Thomas. Ambassador Thomas, a senior Liberian Ambassador, presented his Letters of Credence to the Chinese President at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 15, 2014.The Chinese President welcomed the Liberian Ambassador to China and went on to say: “Mr. Ambassador, I am certain that by the mere fact President Sirleaf chose you to be her Ambassador to China shows that she has great confidence in you.”President Xi Jinping assured Ambassador Thomas that he will receive the full cooperation of all of the various agencies and other authorities of the Chinese government in helping to ensure the success of his mission.The President then concluded by asking the Liberian Ambassador to convey his personal best wishes to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and to inform her that China stands with Liberia and will do whatever it takes to help Liberia defeat the deadly Ebola virus.Earlier, Ambassador Thomas, presenting his Letters of Credence to the Chinese Leader, conveyed heartfelt thanks and appreciation of on behalf of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Government and the People of Liberia to China for the solidarity demonstrated by the Chinese Government, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, in providing urgently needed assistance, in various forms, including direct financial assistance to the Government of Liberia, to combat the deadly Ebola virus which has claimed and is still claiming so many precious lives. “Mr. President, China is a proven-true friend of Liberia and of Africa. Indeed your nation continues to demonstrate that its multi-faceted bilateral cooperation with Liberia is undergirded by mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty, and is strongly embedded in a genuine sense of truepartnership”, Ambassador Thomas remarked. He asserted it is the true partnership from which the good relations between both countries draw strength.A dispatch from the Liberian Mission in China said Ambassador Thomas informed Chinese President Xi about his desire to devote all of his energies and talents to build upon and further strengthen and expand cooperation at every level between Liberia and China.Ambassador Thomas was accompanied to the ‘Great Hall of the People’ for the presentation ceremony by Mr. Jimmy Barchue, First Secretary and Consul and Mrs. Judy Nyangbe, Second Secretary and Vice Consul of the Liberian Embassy in China. Prior to his assignment to this very important post, Ambassador Thomas served as Liberia’s Ambassador to France, with concurrent accreditation to Spain, the Hellenic Republic of Greece, the Swiss Confederation and the Republic of Portugal, for almost 10 years.In addition, he was Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations, Geneva and Ambassador/Permanent Delegate of Liberia to UNSECO, Paris, France. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
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Fifteen persons have been rendered homeless after a fire, believed to have been started by unsupervised children, destroyed a three-bedroom home at Lot 31 Kingelley Village, West Coast Berbice on Wednesday.Some of the couple’s childrenReports are that tragedy struck at just before midday, while most persons were enjoying their planned Emancipation Day programmes; and within minutes, the building was reduced to rubble. This newspaper was told that 11 children, aged 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 3 and a 1-year-old baby, are among those homeless.Also homeless are home owner Maxwell McDonald, his wife and two other adult children.When this newspaper arrived on the scene, McDonald detailed that none of the children told him what had caused the fire, but he noted that they were all confused. “One of them go and hide from the fire in a barrel,” he explained.He told this publication that at the time of the blaze, the only adult at home was a 22-year-old step-child who was asleep at the time, and was awoken when a gas cylinder exploded.According to McDonald, as he returned home from work on Wednesday, he observed the thick smoke in the air. He said one of his work colleagues told him that it was his house on fire, and he quickly dismounted from the truck and ran home.“When I come in I see the fire from the back room, so I try to get a bucket and throw (water), but the (heat) from the fire was too (much) and I couldn’t control the fire, so I had to leave it,” McDonald related.He explained that it was shortly after that that the gas cylinder exploded, and it added fuel to the fire in the building.McDonald said he was only told by the children that the fire started in the back bedroom.“Dem children can’t do nothing because they small, and I have to do my best to see what I can do… When I checking now to see for everybody, me son run up the step and tell me that the baby lef in the house, and I fall down in the drain in front there, because I tell myself that he so small and he gon can’t run out the fire.”However, the one-year-old was not the only one trapped inside the house. He, along with his three-year-old sister, was rescued. Thankfully, no one was injured.Playing with fireOfficer in Charge of Operations at the Guyana Fire Service in Berbice, Divisional Fire Officer Clive McDonald, said the fire call was received at about 11:05h on Wednesday, and the GFS responded promptly. By the time they arrived on scene, the building was already flattened. Fire Officer McDonald told this publication that the fire was caused by children who were left unsupervised and were playing with matches.The family is asking for assistance from the public to get back on their feet. Nine out of the thirteen children attend school.Several Government Ministers who were in Berbice for the Emancipation celebrations visited the family.Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, invited the family to her office to make further plans to receive assistance. The fire victims have also received donations from Regional officials and neighbours. (Andrew Carmichael)
SAN DIEGO – The face-recognition and fingerprint-matching technology touted over the past decade as a sophisticated new way to stop terrorists and illegal immigrants from entering the country through Mexico has one major drawback: U.S. border inspectors almost never use it. In fact, the necessary equipment is not even installed in vehicle lanes along the border. Government officials told The Associated Press that checking more people would create too big a backup at the border, where hours-long traffic jams are already common. Some members of Congress who voted for the system in 1996 are complaining they were misled. They said the intent was to use biometrics – or a person’s unique physical traits – to screen everyone. “Congress would not have gone to the trouble of requiring biometric features on the border crossing card if it knew the administration would not require that those features be read by scanners,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who wrote the legislation. The U.S. government has spent tens of millions of dollars issuing visa cards digitally embedded with the holder’s photo and fingerprints. Holders of the cards come across the border tens of millions of times each year. But on average, in only about 2 percent of those crossings are cardholders screened with the biometric technology to verify their identities and check law-enforcement records, said Paul Morris, Customs and Border Protection’s executive director of admissibility requirements and migration control. The checks are done consistently only on the small portion of cardholders who seek permission to travel beyond the border region. “As the technology becomes available, we can expand the current level of biometric matching,” Morris said. “There is not a technology solution currently available that will not cause delays that are well beyond the acceptable levels.” Beginning in 1998, the high-tech “laser visas” have been issued to 9.1 million Mexicans for short visits to the United States. The laser visas, which look like driver’s licenses, have a 1.4-inch optical memory stripe holding personal information such as name, gender and birth date. The stripe also stores the owner’s digitized facial photo and two fingerprints. A cardholder coming across the border may be asked to press two fingers against a glass and pose for a photo while the person’s card pulls up the biometric file – a process that takes an extra 30 seconds or so. The photo and fingerprints can also be instantly checked against criminal and terrorist watch lists. The laser visas entitle Mexicans to travel 25 miles from the border – slightly farther in Arizona – for 30 days. Cardholders can also apply for a permit to travel anywhere in the U.S. for up to six months. Border inspectors routinely swipe the laser visas through a machine to retrieve the basic personal information and to call up a photo. But, with some exceptions, the inspectors use the facial-recognition and fingerprint-matching technology only for those applying at the border for one of the six-month permits, Morris said. That practice means that most of those checked are not selected at random. They know there will be scanning for a six-month permit. The government contract for laser visas was worth $28.6 million from 2000 to 2006, and a five-year renewal worth $28.5 million was awarded in March to General Dynamics Corp., according to Homeland Security. That price tag excludes the cost of opening new consulates to handle the applicants. The 1996 law said anyone presenting a border crossing card “is not permitted to cross over the border into the U.S. unless the biometric identifier contained on the card matches the appropriate biometric characteristics of the alien.” But Sandra Raynes, consular officer at the U.S. consulate in Tijuana, said: “If they were to check everyone, you’d have lines all the way down to Cabo San Lucas,” about 1,100 miles south of San Diego. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!