Vandalark Freed, Archie Sarnor Still Detained

first_imgAuthorities of the Liberia National Police (LNP) yesterday confirmed the continued detention of Archie Sarnor, a rights activist, and half a dozen others, who were arrested during the Monday, Feb. 29 riot on Capitol Hill, Monrovia on multiple charges ranging from “incitement leading to disturbing public peace.” While Vandalark Patricks, for whose cause the protest was held, was released on bail from further detention on Tuesday, March 1, some of his associates including Sarnor have remained in police custody.Police spokesman Sam Collins told the Daily Observer late yesterday via mobile phone that police will “properly process, charge and forward to court for prosecution Sarnor and all those arrested in connection to the riot,” adding that “this country is a country of laws, not men.” Today makes two nights since police arrested and detained Sarnor and colleagues on Monday. Patricks’ ReleaseMeanwhile, following a week of detention at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP), Vandalark Patricks was yesterday released after his legal team secured a US$3,000 criminal appearance bond to allow him wait his sedition and criminal libel charges levied against him by government. Though unconfirmed, the Daily Observer learned yesterday that businessman and opposition political figure, Benoni Urey, made the cash available to secure the bond for Patricks’ temporary release as he prepares for trial. Though Mr. Urey could not be reached to confirm his involvement, Cllr. Gongloe did say that the politician had contacted him concerning Patricks’ case. However, Gongloe told the Daily Observer via phone yesterday that Woods Nyanton of Voice FM brought the US$3,000 cash to him and that he (Gongloe) did not know whether the money originated from Mr. Urey. At the central prison yesterday Patricks’ supporters were jubilating when his lawyer, Cllr. Tiawan Gongloe escorted him outside his cell.Immediately after release, Cllr. Gongloe drove Mr. Patricks to the Gongloe and Associates Law Firm on Ashmun Street, where a brief welcome ceremony was held for the defendant.Cllr. Gongloe used that occasion to inform the gathering that his client was wrongfully detained.“In the first place, he should not have been jailed for speeches he made under our law. Government action is an idea of repression,” Cllr. Gongloe added.“The President signed the Table Mountain Declaration regarding freedom of speech. Why will she now arrest people because of that?” Cllr. Gongloe wondered.After Cllr. Gongloe’s remarks, Mr. Patricks expressed gratitude to his supporters, but advised them to remain violence-free.While in my cell, Patricks claimed that the LNP physically and psychologically tortured him.“These are the scars on my body, but we need to be non-violent in our approach for peace sake,” Patricks said as his supporters greeted his statement with rounds of applause.“We are people of peace and yielding to see a free society, because yesterday those generation went into the bushes and brought untold suffering on our people,” he said, adding, “we should not allow ourselves to repeat those same mistakes; we should use the pen, our intellect and the microphones to champion the cause of justice, this is the message of freedom.”‘Misplaced aggression’Patricks was arrested after he read a communiqué on behalf of a consortium of political parties and civil society organizations on February 21 calling for a mass citizen action on March 11.He also accused the government of hiring assassins to murder the former managing director of the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC), Harry A. Greaves Jr., and eliminate other political opponents of the government. Mr. Greaves’ body was discovered January 31 on a beach near Monrovia. He went missing two days later.Mulbah Morlu, vice chairman for operations and mobilization for opposition Congress for Democratic Change party (CDC), told reporters at a press conference on Monday, following the riot, that Patricks must be released “immediately or else the government of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will have no peace.”“We believe Mr. Patricks’ arrest is a misplaced aggression of judicial authority, because he was a representative of the different political groupings and civil society actors that came together to issue that statement. So, we hold that his arrest is arbitrary; his arrest is unwarranted. And so, we will stage a very pro-protest on the premises of the Temple of Justice to insist that government has no business holding Mr. Patricks at the Monrovia Central Prison (MCP),” Morlu said.He said the consortium of political parties and civil society groups issued their statement, because they had been concerned about the number of recent “politically motivated” mysterious deaths, which reminded the people of the dark days of the past.“You remember there was a murder on the Congo Town back road of standard bearer of the Free Democratic Party, Ciapha Gbolee. No arrest was made. There was the murder of human rights activist and anti-corruption whistleblower, Michael Allison. No arrest was made. And now the latest is the murder of Harry Greaves. Mr. Patricks was simply reading a document that was making a documentary that was authorized by different political institutions,” Ralph Brown, a representative of Media United to Enhance Democracy, interjected.What started as a peaceful sit-in protest advocating the release of jailed youth political activist Vandalark Patricks escalated into a violent confrontation between protesters and police at the Temple of Justice, involving hurling of stones and teargas, from respective sides. Monday’s altercation quickly worsened after some individuals in the vicinity of the University of Liberia violently engaged the Police by pelting them with more stones. Several vehicles were damaged from flying rocks, according to eyewitnesses on the scene. The demonstration was intended to force government to release detained rights Patricks, who was arrested by the government last Wednesday and charged with sedition and criminal libel. The demonstration turned violent when police denied the protesters from forcing their way onto the grounds of the Temple of Justice, where they had earlier prevented the convoy of Chief Justice Francis Saye Korpkor from accessing the premises.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Linden Hospital nurses stage sit-in over shortage of critical drugs, medical supplies

first_img…Health Ministry launches probeAs a result of issues surrounding the shortage of critical drugs and medical and non-medical supplies within the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC), nurses attached to the medical institution on Thursday morning downed tools and staged a three-hour sit- in.During this time, approximately 50 protesting nurses sat in the Outpatient Department of the Hospital, while there was reportedly no replacement staff in place. The management of the LHC, which was reportedly unaware of plans toThe Linden Hospital Complexconduct the sit-in, later met with the staff in the Outpatient Department to address their concerns.According to LHC Public Relations Officer Toshanna Alicock, the Hospital’s CEO, Dr Farouk Riyasat reassured the staff that their issues were being addressed at the bimonthly Section Heads Meeting and management was pursuing all possible avenues to have the issues rectified.She said since management was unaware of plans to conduct the sit-in, it did not have the opportunity to put a skeleton staff in place at the time, which, she noted, was worrisome.Temporary fixOn Thursday afternoon, Alicock noted that a decision was made to temporarily acquire critical drug supplies. “At 2:30 pm, Management teleconferenced with the Honourable Minister of Public Health, Dr Volda Lawrence and Director of Regional Health Services, Dr Kay Shako to address the issue, and it was decided that the LHC will be acquiring supplies through Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) temporarily.“Representatives are currently on their way to Georgetown to uplift the first set of these supplies from GPHC,” Alicock noted, stressing that this was only a “temporary fix” until the previous system of acquiring drugs was straightened outNurses during the sit-in on Thursdaywith the Materials Management Unit (MMU) bond. She added that the drugs which were being acquired under the temporary arrangement fall under the critical drugs, pharmaceuticals, and medical and surgical supplies heading.The PRO further stressed that necessary drugs were unavailable from time to time at the bond and also unavailable for private purchase. “One of the issues that we’re having is the timely release of funds from the Ministry of Finance to purchase the critical drugs that we need. Though we do get drugs from the MMU, we are allotted a certain amount of money to purchase critical drugs. So, we’re having that hiccup.”The process of acquiring the funds for purchase, she said, is a lengthy one owing to the amount of information which is now required. Alicock related that LHC management would be meeting with the staff today to provide feedback on the decisions made so far. By then, she noted, the first set of supplies would have been received.Meanwhile, Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) Regional Representative Maurice Butters, who met with the protesting staff, said they related frustration over the lack of work materials and facilities and, therefore, decided to conduct the sit-in. Butters pointed out that it was a “sad” situation. He said the staff, in speaking to the Hospital’s CEO on Thursday, would have raised concerns over these issues which they explained have been affecting them for months, adding that staff have cast blame on the Public Health Ministry.“They were very firm…that they made requisitions for these things, but they don’t get it…they voiced their disapproval of the way things are going and the amount of supplies which are available at the Hospital.”He said the Hospital’s CEO would have also related difficulties which management faced. “But their contention is, while the grass is growing, the cow is starving. Because they have to provide medical service to the people of this community, and if the supplies are not there, it means they cannot do their jobs properly. These people have been working under these conditions for quite a long time and they’ve been doing their best…but it would’ve meet a stage where they cannot go further,” Butters noted.The GPSU Representative added that staff were also aggravated over the failure of the Public Health Minister to meet with them to address their concerns, although a promise was made over a year ago. “The staff is saying they noticed she’s going to other hospitals and not visiting Linden.”He also noted that he would have received information that the Minister would meet with staff today following an additional request, adding that he was hoping for a positive response from the Ministry. However, the Hospital’s PRO indicated later on Thursday that she was unaware of the Minister’s plan to meet with staff today, but noted that management promised to contact her to have a meeting with staff some time in the future.She said management had initially planned to travel to Georgetown on Thursday, but teleconferenced the Minister instead, in an effort to find a temporary solution to the issues.But the Public Health Ministry said it was currently investigating the circumstances and addressing the issues which resulted in the LHC recording a shortage of medical supplies.According to a statement issued by the Public Health Ministry, during the period March 6 to March 21, medical supplies were ordered by the Linden Hospital from the MMU. On March 6, 16 of the 24 items requested were delivered, and on March 18, 91 of the 171 items ordered were received.While it is normal procedure for the Linden Hospital to purchase drugs and other medical supplies whenever there was a shortage, the Public Health Ministry notes, as a result of poor forecasting, all the money the Hospital possessed had already been spent during the first quarter of the year.As such, the Ministry has commenced the implementation of necessary measures to correct this situation. Presently, a number of containers which contain some key medical supplies are being cleared.last_img read more

Municipal socialism

first_imgGIVING giant profit-making corporations taxpayer-funded subsidies is not a good way to build a healthy city. You’d think that a self-proclaimed group of progressive politicians such as the Los Angeles City Council would get that. Yet, somehow members continue to support schemes that rob taxpayers for the benefit of rich developers. The Grand Avenue project is a case in point, in which developers will likely get a gift from city politicians of $66 million to build luxury condos, restaurants and other businesses. Same with l.a.live, the entertainment and hotel complex adjacent to the Convention Center that will be completed with $300 million in public financing through a loan, tax breaks and fee waivers. If those two weren’t bad enough, we now have the horribly convoluted revision of the “living-wage” ordinance. The City Council’s original living-wage ordinance was terrible policy from its inception, using the power of law to step into a labor-organizing effort on the side of the union. It ordered hotels along the Century Boulevard corridor near Los Angeles International Airport to pay a wage determined by local politicians that was over and above state-mandated minimum. The hotels were predictably upset, and launched an aggressive and costly campaign to let voters decide whether to rescind the living-wage ordinance. Afraid of a public debate and brutal campaign, the council backed down, and now is coming back with yet another attempt at imposing a form of municipal socialism on Los Angeles. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa brokered a deal that now turns out to be even worse for the city. Under the deal, hotels are being coerced to pay significantly higher wages, but those costs will be offset by a number of city-funded benefits: $1 million for street improvements, $50,000 for marketing for the area, possible business-tax reductions and maybe even a city conference center. Of course, the city doesn’t really pay for anything. You do, through your taxes. And you also pay in the form of less money to improve your neighborhood, fewer cops to protect your family, more broken sidewalks and crumbling streets. The council still has to take up this ordinance, but it likely will sail through, unless you let it be known where you stand. A handful of workers and giant corporations will benefit, and the city as a whole will be worse off, unless the people stand up for themselves for a change. 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

Reports – Liverpool set to miss out on Malaga star

first_img Guillermo Ochoa in action for Mexico Liverpool look set to miss out on goalkeeper target Guillermo Ochoa after the Mexican reportedly agreed a deal with Turkish side Trabzonspor.Ochoa only moved to Malaga in the summer from French club Ajaccio, but he looks as though he will once again be on his travels after failing to make a single appearance in La Liga.Several sides have expressed an interest in Ochoa, but the 29-year-old is set to refuse offers from numerous big clubs in Europe to ensure he gains first team football.Liverpool had looked into the Mexican stopper to provide extra competition and pressure on Belgian keeper Simon Mignolet, who they signed for £9m from Sunderland in the summer of 2013.However, with Ochoa looking like he’s packed his bags to Turkey for a fee of around £6m, Liverpool will have to take their interest elsewhere. 1last_img read more

3-year term likely for Ponzi schemer

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Investors in National Investment were led to believe that their money was being put in mostly stocks and initial public offerings for high-tech stocks and Internet companies. Part of the money was used to pay old investors, as in other Ponzi schemes. Money was also used to pay salaries and other expenses at National Investment and to invest in certain securities about which investors were never told. “He did not personally enrich himself,” John Yzurdiaga, Gharakhanian’s attorney, said after the court hearing. Gharakhanian, who is free on $100,000 bond, had a small staff, none of whom were charged in the case. He also told investors about an individual named Bika Balian, who he said was overseeing finances, but Balian did not exist, Wilner said. Most of the investors were from the San Fernando Valley, including many Armenian-Americans from Glendale. The scheme could have netted as much as $10 million. A Van Nuys man pleaded guilty Wednesday to defrauding dozens of investors of at least $2.5 million under a plea bargain reached with federal prosecutors. Melkon Gharakhanian, 44, also known as Mike Garian, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. He faces up to five years in prison, but prosecutors will seek three years when he is sentenced on May 1. Prosecutors say they will drop seven additional charges as part of the plea deal. Authorities said Gharakhanian failed to tell investors he had filed for personal bankruptcy before establishing National Investment Enterprises Inc. The Glendale company defrauded more than 40 victims between 1999 and 2001 in what prosecutors say was a classic Ponzi scheme – using money from new investors to pay earlier investors. “To the extent the money was misused, it was not necessarily put in his pocket. However, there’s no doubt that Mr. Gharakhanian lived a very comfortable lifestyle,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Wilner said outside the courtroom at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles. In 2004, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission secured a $2.6 million judgment against Gharakhanian, but he has been unable to pay it. Gharakhanian is Canadian and could eventually be deported as a result of his conviction. Alex Dobuzinskis, (818) 546-3304 alex.dobuzinskis@dailynews.com 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

CONTROVERSIAL WIND FARM OWNER DEFENDS TURBINES

first_imgThe scene of the turbine crash. donegaldaily.comONE of the shareholders in a controversial wind farm has defended the use of turbines for creating power and jobs.But in an interview with the Irish Times newspaper, John Gillespie does not discuss the recent accident where one of his nine turbines collapsed to the ground.Mr Gillespie is a major shareholder in the Loughderryduff windfarm near Maas – between Glenties and Ardara. “There’s money in windfarms, but the payback isn’t for eight to 10 years,” he told Saturday’s newspaper.“Windfarms are long-term investments, and replacement of major components is a big expense.”“Turbines must contribute significantly to Donegal’s income, through rates,” he says. “We pay €60,000 a year in local government rates.”Gillespie said of the proposed plans to build a cluster of windfarms in the midlands: “I think it’s very ambitious. It’s big by any standards. But, subject to planning, it will create a substantial amount of employment in construction. Planning is very onerous now, but wind is a natural resource and it would be folly of us not to make use of it.” He likened his windfarm to a traditional farm, with the only difference being the harvest is energy. “If it goes ahead, the farmers in the midlands will get a very nice guaranteed annual income.” CONTROVERSIAL WIND FARM OWNER DEFENDS TURBINES was last modified: April 7th, 2013 by BrendaShare 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:CONTROVERSIAL WIND FARM OWNER DEFENDS TURBINESLoughderrydufflast_img read more

DONEGAL TD BEGS GOVERNMENT: ‘IT’S TIME TO END AUSTERITY’

first_imgSinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has said the government should admit austerity has failed and use October’s budget to reverse the damage done.Speaking today in response to media speculation that middle income taxpayers will get significant relief in the budget Deputy Doherty said: “It is bizarre to hear of Fine Gael and Labour sources talking about lower and middle income families needing a break when they have championed and implemented the austerity programme that has targeted those very people.“If this signals a u-turn of the austerity programme then I welcome that u-turn. The fact is that austerity has failed and the government should admit it. “Unemployment is at 14%, the same as it was on day one of this government, and emigration is still at record levels. We are still in recession and the life has been strangled out of the domestic economy.“This year and next will see a host of new austerity measures. The Family Home Tax and water charges will weigh on lower and middle-income families the most.“There is still time for these new austerity taxes to be dropped. This is a government still wedded to austerity and still committed to another €3.1 billion of austerity in October’s budget.“This year’s budget needs to be about a total change in direction. It should bring an end to austerity as the preferred policy and a move to a better and fairer budget. “I hope that is the case and that the government will move to Sinn Féin’s position on austerity as they have on the need for a stimulus.“The first step must be an admission that austerity has failed.” DONEGAL TD BEGS GOVERNMENT: ‘IT’S TIME TO END AUSTERITY’ was last modified: April 22nd, 2013 by BrendaShare 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:DONEGAL TD BEGS GOVERNMENT: ‘IT’S TIME TO END AUSTERITY’last_img read more

Neil defiant after Norwich defeat

first_imgEmbed from Getty ImagesNorwich manager Alex Neil said he understood the frustration of Canaries fans following a fourth consecutive defeat, but insisted he is doing everything possible to improve results.Neil’s side were beaten 2-1 by QPR at Loftus Road, where they had Martin Olsson sent off after only a minute.“The fans will be frustrated and annoyed, and I understand that,” said Neil.“My job is to win games. All I can say is that I am working extremely hard to turn things around and so are the players.“I thought they worked extremely hard and kept going until the last minute. We did better in the second half.”Conor Washington put QPR ahead at Loftus RoadBut Neil was unhappy with his team’s defending in the build up to both Rangers goals, particularly Conor Washington’s opener.He said: “When you lose a man after 30 seconds all the work you’ve done and everything you’ve spoken about during the week goes out of the window.“But we should do better for the corner. Even if you’re down to 10 men, it’s about individual battles. We lose the first header and then don’t pick up the second ball.“You’re looking to stick to the task and not concede sloppy goals, and then as the game goes on maybe quieten the crowd.“But once we conceded that goal it’s difficult. The two goals we conceded in the first half made it too easy for QPR.”   Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x Drink This Before Bed, Watch Your Body Fat Melt Like Crazy x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Fishing the North Coast: California halibut bite keeps rolling

first_imgIf you thought the California halibut season was belly up, you may want to reconsider. The effort has definitely tapered off over the past few weeks, but the bite remains as strong as it’s been all season. “We fished over the weekend, and it was as good then as it’s been all season,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “It’s every bit as good now as it was two months ago. There are still lots of shakers in the mix, but they are plenty of keepers as well. The one consistency we’ve …last_img read more

Seat adjustments still manual, as Tesla shuffles Autopilot execs

first_imgIT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Tags:#artificial intelligence#Autonomous#AutoPilot#driverless#Elon Musk#Self-Driving#Tesla 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle… Related Posts Tesla has hired Andrej Karpathy to be the new Director of AI and Autopilot Vision, following the departure of Autopilot software leader Chris Lattner.Karpathy will split his duties on Autopilot with Jim Keller, the head of Autopilot hardware.See Also: Who is responsible for autonomous car regulation?Lattner has only been around for six months and hinted that the departure was not amicable on Twitter. He previously worked at Apple, where he created the Swift programming language.Karpathy previously worked at OpenAI, the artificial intelligence firm created by Elon Musk, as a research scientist. He is considered an expert in deep learning, having interned at Google’s DeepMind Technologies and taught deep learning at Stanford.Karpathy will report directly to Musk and work alongside Keller. In a statement, Tesla said: “Andrej has worked to give computers vision through his work on ImageNet, as well as imagination through the development of generative models, and the ability to navigate the internet with reinforcement learning. Andrej completed his computer vision PhD at Stanford University, where he demonstrated the ability to derive complex descriptions of images using a deep neural net.”No changes detailed….yetTesla has not detailed any changes to the Autopilot roadmap with this shuffle, but rumors say that the company is ramping up its hiring practices for AI and self-driving experts. Musk may see the growing investment in self-driving cars from major automakers as a potential threat, although he remains adamant that Tesla is ahead of most car manufacturers.Musk is aiming to have driverless Autopilot on the roads by the end of the decade and may launch a ride-sharing service to make that possible, as noted in his Master Plan: Part Deux blog post.center_img David Curry Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In…last_img read more