“China Stands with Liberia”

first_imgChinese 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)last_img read more

15 homeless after West Berbice fire

first_imgFifteen 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)last_img read more

High-tech visas rarely scanned

first_imgSAN 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!last_img read more


first_imgThis is the sickening scene left behind by thugs after they attacked a religious grotto in West Donegal.The grotto, which contains a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was smashed up and several pains of glass were broken.A stone seat stolen from an adjoining ornamental garden was used to ram the glass. The attack at St.Mary’s Church in Derrybeg in Gaoth Dobhair has shocked the local community.Less than a month ago a similar attack resulted in damage to the grotto which is just a few yards form the local church.Local Fianna Fail Senator Brian O’Domhnaill said he is disgusted by the incident.He said locals are baffled as to why the grotto was attacked. “An attack on any property is bad enough but the fact that it’s an attack on a religious grotto is just disgusting.“All of Derrybeg and indeed the county of Donegal is sickened by what has happened.“I heard about it in the last few hours and it just baffles me as to why somebody would want to try and destroy a religious statue.“I would appeal to anybody who knows who is responsible for the attack to inform the Gardai,” he said.A Garda spokesman said the matter is being investigated but no arrests have yet been made. “The matter has been reported to us and it is being investigated. We would ask anybody who may have any information on the incident to come forward,” he said.EndsDISGUST AFTER HOLY GROTTO ATTACKED FOR SECOND TIME IN A MONTH was last modified: July 5th, 2011 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:attackSt Mary’s Church Derrybeglast_img read more


first_imgTwo young ladies from Donegal scooped National awards at the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Ireland National Convention in Cork.Emma Boylan President of JCI Donegal won the award for Most Outstanding Local President in Ireland. Nikki Bradley Vice President of JCI Donegal won the award for Most Outstanding New Member in Ireland. Emma has also been appointed as Director of Communications for JCI Ireland for 2015. Junior Chamber International Ireland started a new JCI branch in Donegal in January of this year. To date there is 28 members with lots of interest from other parties.The branch have ran many events including The Outstanding Young Person Awards and the Friendly Business Awards. Those awarded at these events in Donegal went on to be recognised nationally. Most recently Patrick Gildea Hairdressers was awarded nationally for their Shop Layout.JCI Donegal also gets involved with the community. JCI members slept outside last weekend to help raise awareness for the Simon Community, they have been involved with Pieta House, the St. Patrick Day’s Parade and much more.JCI also caters for individual members needs by providing training to develop and grow young people between the age of 18 and 40. Emma Boylan President of JCI Donegal commented “Myself and Nikki were delighted to receive the awards! What we are even more delighted about it is that JCI has finally come to Donegal. It’s an amazing initiative for young people and we are now the second biggest branch in Ireland.” Emma laughed “I have told JCI Dublin, who have 48, we will be bigger than them before year end, Donegal can beat Dublin again!”JCI is a place where young leaders and entrepreneurs meet, learn and grow. JCI Donegal is seeking young people in their 20’s and 30’s who are dynamic and enthusiastic, motivated and interested in increasing their exploitable skills set.For more information email Emma at jcidonegal@gmail.com or find JCI Donegal on Facebook and twitter. DONEGAL LADIES PROVE THEY’RE NO JUNIORS AT CHAMBER AWARDS was last modified: October 8th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalEmma BoylanJunior Chambernikki bradleylast_img read more

Taarabt keen to finalise new QPR contract

first_imgQPR’s Adel Taarabt has told Moroccan media he is keen for his new long-term contract to be finalised.West London Sport revealed in April that Taarabt was in line for a lucrative new deal at Loftus Road, despite speculation linking him with a move to German outfit Wolfsburg.The 23-year-old, whose current contract expires next year, believes he is wanted by a number of other clubs, but has confirmed he would like to stay at Rangers.“I have received offers from other Premier League clubs, but my deal is signed until June 2013 and I want to increase the contract,” he is quoted as saying.“My agent has a document from the club about their long-term project, and it’s very interesting to me.”See also:QPR star in line for bumper contract offer Boss Hughes keen to cement Taarabt’s future at QPRFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Raiders — especially QB Derek Carr, back suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict

first_imgQuarterback Derek Carr set aside his usual diplomacy Wednesday to give an impassioned defense of suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict.Carr, coach Jon Gruden and linebacker Tahir Whitehead were all asked at a London press conference about the NFL’s decision to essentially kick Burfict out of the league for the rest of the season after a helmet-to-helmet hit against Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle.Gruden was short and to the point.“I’m not really going to say anything. I’ve talked to (Jon) …last_img read more

1400 Genes Essential to Grow a Fish

first_imgA team from MIT scanned the genome of the zebrafish and concluded there are about 1400 genes essential for embryonic and early larval development.  They did hands-on mutation experiments with 315 of these and found that mutations usually produced visible defects within 5 days that were invariably lethal.  Estimating that they had experimented on about 25% of all essential genes, they say, “Our data suggest that there are roughly 1,400 embryonic-essential genes in the fish.”  Comparing these genes with yeast, algae, mouse, human and worm genomes, they found many homologs that indicate these genes are all highly conserved, even though some of them build different structures.  They feel, therefore, that the results help narrow down the class of essential genes required for embryological development of all organisms.  Moreover, they feel these genes constitute an evolutionarily-conserved class in all living things, from yeast to humans:The fact that there is such a small number of embryonic-essential genes and that they include genes that comprise coherent genetic pathways of development suggests that the genetically essential genes have a unique status in biological processes.  Consistent with this possibility, we found that the yeast or worm orthologues of genes that are essential in fish have a high probability of also being essential in these species.  Thus genes that can be detected in genetic screens, and in particular those that are essential for early viability, seem to have retained this special status through evolution.  The implications of this observation are not known, but we suggest that these genes may be all or most of the genes that are absolutely required for many biological processes whereas most other genes may serve to assist these critical genes in making biological processes more robust.  Evolution may have required that the number of genetically essential genes be small and that they remain the same genes.1Amsterdam et al., “Identification of 315 genes essential for early zebrafish development,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 10.1073/pnas.0403929101, online preprint July 15, 2004.How on earth can these researchers consider 1400 essential genes a small number?  How can they still believe evolution produced these genes, when mutations in any one of them cause death?  A dead fish larva cannot evolve, because it cannot reproduce.  1400 genes!  Think of it.  Just getting one of them by chance is astronomically improbable, to say nothing of getting the second or third to match the first (see online book, p. 110).  Forget it; it will never happen in this or any other universe.    By attributing the “special status” of these genes to Evolution, and by claiming that the personified tinkering goddess named Evolution “may have required that the number of genetically essential genes be small,” they are easy winners of Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Ardi Party Is Over

first_imgThe hubbub over Ardipithecus (10/02/2009) may have been premature.  Despite 600 pages of material submitted to Science in October, many doubts and questions remain about the status of this hominin, or hominid, or whatever it was (the nomenclature is confusing and inconsistent even among paleoanthropologists).  In an article by Katherine Harmon in the pro-evolutionary magazine Scientific American, so many doubts are evident that laymen should seriously question whether this fossil suggests anything about human origins.   In brief, here are some key issues:Debate:  Ardi has “sharpened more differences than it has smoothed over.”Manipulation:  William Jungers (Stony Brook U) criticized Tim White’s team for overstating interpretations.  “I think some of the things they said might have been for effect,” he claimed.Negative evidence:  Even White himself does not claim that Ardi demonstrates linkage to humans.  Harmon wrote, “White and his fellow authors do not propose to have a definitive answer, but through painstaking analysis of the fossil data and surroundings, they conclude in the overview paper that, ‘There are no apparent features sufficiently unique to warrant the exclusion of Ar. ramidus as being ancestral to Australopithecus,’ thus proposing she might indeed be an early hominin (the ever-changing nomenclatural group that usually includes living humans and our close extinct relatives, also referred to by White et al. as hominids—although the latter title now often includes the great apes, as well).”Rotation:  Key to the claim that Ardi walked upright is the position of the ilium.  Rotating the ilium can lead to mistaken interpretations.  Jungers said, “It’s very difficult not to make them look like something you have in your mind if there’s any chance of play.” Harmon mentioned that “Despite the numerous images and descriptions put forth by the researchers, others are reluctant to take the reconstructions without a grain of salt.”Faculty:  Humans are obligate bipeds, but facultative tree climbers.  If Ardi was a facultative biped and obligate tree climber, as her divergent big toe indicates, she may have been no different in her transport habits than chimpanzees.  No knee joint was found in the Ardipithecus specimens.  This also confuses the interpretation.Social studies:  White and the supporters of Ardi argue that the teeth show little sexual dimorphism.  What does this mean?  They take it to mean that males were not larger and more aggressive, which means that they might have helped care for the young, which seems kind of human-like.  This reasoning is very subjective.Face book:  So what if Ardi’s face was not as protruding as that of apes?  Harmon explained, “outside researchers focus on the similarity in size to other nonhuman primates, such as extinct Miocene epoch apes.”Combination plate:  Tim White prefers to look at the combination of features that make Ardi unique, instead of focusing on piecemeal analysis of each part.  This raises questions, however, about the value of his own painstaking descriptions of those parts.  David Begun (U of Toronto) also opined that it could mean Ar. ramidus had nothing to do with human evolutionary history.  In Ardi he finds “very little in the anatomy of this specimen that leads directly to Australopithecus, then to Homo sapiens.  This could very easily be a side branch.”About the only thing they agree on is the amount of detail White’s team put into the description of the fossil is commendable.  Jungers considers the work a “new standard” that is “truly extraordinary.”  That aspect, however, affirms nothing about the interpretation of its place in human evolution.  It might only serve to elucidate the sophistication of their subjectivity.*Sigh.*  The Darwin Party song and dance is getting so tiring.  Lots of old apes and monkeys went extinct.  Who cares about another?  Considering the rivalries and ambitions among the paleoanthropologists, and the ever-changing stories, and the leeway for fudging that exists, why do we even pay these guys any attention?  Here at CEH we have to, in order to forestall the misguidance of the public that results from one-party rule in Science.    In support of that criticism, let us remind you of Tim White’s own cautions about how distorted bones can mislead even the experts (see 03/28/2003).  Let us remind you that Nature accused Tim White’s storytelling proclivities as “more philosophy than fossils” (04/27/2006).  Let us remind you that variability within humans can swamp interpretations of putative ancestral traits (07/22/2007).  And to reinforce the subjectivity of their art, let us remind you of Leslie Hlusko’s debunking of three common presumptions anthropologists use when interpreting alleged hominid bones (02/19/2004).  If you follow this stuff, consider it sport or entertainment – not science.(Visited 24 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Boost for JSE as springboard to Africa

first_img26 October 2011The National Treasury has announced that local investors will now be able to trade in foreign-domiciled companies listed on the JSE, boosting the status of South Africa’s bourse as a springboard for foreign companies to expand into Africa.Delivering his Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in Parliament on Tuesday, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced a relaxing of local listing rules, in terms of which inward-listed companies would be treated as domestic assets rather than as foreign holdings for local investors.The move will improve South Africa’s position as a financial gateway into Africa.‘Further boost for reputation of SA’s markets’Previously, the JSE could not include foreign companies in the exchange’s indices, as local investors weren’t able to buy shares in these companies without restriction.By limiting the amount of local activity in foreign companies, the old rules limited the JSE’s ability to position itself as an investment destination.JSE CEO Russell Loubser welcomed Gordhan’s announcement, saying it would provide “a further boost for the reputation of the country’s markets, by enabling the JSE to more aggressively pursue a wider range of investment possibilities.”The Medium Term Budget Statement said that, while details would be provided by the JSE, prudential institutions would still be required to report their foreign exposures to the regulatory authorities, subject to regulatory criteria.“This proposal is intended to enhance the ability of the JSE to attract new listings and boost investments into Africa,” the statement said, adding that more work was in progress to modernise South Africa’s foreign direct investment framework.Facilitating cross-border transactionsGordhan also announced that steps would also be taken “to simplify procedures and reduce the cost of cross-border money remittances, particularly to neighbouring countries and the rest of Africa.”The proposals include improving access and competition in cross-border money remittances by removing ownership restrictions on international participation in foreign exchange bureaux.They also include doing away with the requirement for money remitters to partner with authorised dealers. “Remitters will be regulated as standalone entities, subject to reporting and regulatory requirements,” the Medium Term Budget Statement says.Added to this, the National Treasury also proposes to amend the cross-border thresholds to reduce red tape, simplify payments mechanisms and eliminate bias between residents and non-residents.The Reserve Bank is expected to publish details on these proposals as well as those of other administrative reforms.SAinfo reporter and BuaNewslast_img read more