China hits ground running for 2022 Olympics

first_imgSports Minister Gou Zhongwen said sport’s role in China’s journey to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 should be further emphasised.The administration will call on sports authorities, organisations and relevant units at all levels to take the mass fitness campaign to the next level as a national strategy to improve the health of people and build a stronger nation, Gou told China Sports Daily.Equal importance will be given to mass sports promotion and development of the sports industry with the goal of winning medals at international events, Gou added.A burgeoning industryWith sports being embraced as a lifestyle choice by an increasing number of health-conscious urban Chinese, the country’s bid to turn sports consumption into a new economic growth pillar is gaining momentum.From plodding sweat-soaked exercisers at fitness clubs in major cities to excited crowds roaring on their heroes at professional basketball and soccer games, sports participation is rising.Sports-related businesses in China generated 647.5 billion yuan in added value in 2016-17.8 per cent higher than the figure for 2015-contributing to a total industry scale of 1.9 trillion yuan by the end of 2016, according to the latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics.However, Zhao Yong, GASC’s deputy director, said the contribution of the sports industry to the country’s economic growth remains modest, with untapped potential in the service sector yet to be fully realised.“The industry scale of sports-related businesses in our country is still not big enough compared with other sectors or the equivalent industry in Western sporting powers such as the United States,” Zhao said.“The structure of the industry still needs to be diversified to explore more business opportunities in sports-related entertainment, leisure and the service sectors for more balanced growth in the future.” Built for the 2008 Olympics, the park features a 10-kilometer walking and running track that wends its way through a forest of greenery. The track has become a runners’ paradise since the country shifted its sporting focus from winning medals to promoting fitness for everyone in the post-Games era.“It’s become part of my weekend routine. If I missed my running session and did something else, I would feel uncomfortable all day,” said Lin Kunyi, an amateur marathon runner who began training at the park in 2013.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Running’s popularity provides just a glimpse of the country’s increasing fascination with fitness inspired by the 2008 Olympics, as the central government aims to build a healthier nation by 2030.Beijing 2008 boasted a spectacular opening ceremony, deft organisation and athletic milestones such as US swimmer Michael Phelps’ eight gold medals and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt’s record-breaking 100-meter sprint. The 2008 Games have been enshrined in the history of the modern Olympic movement with such memories to inspire future generations. MOST READ Ren Hai, a sports sociology professor at Beijing Sport University, said, “There was no better platform and timing than the 2008 Olympics for China to flex its muscles in not just competitive sports but all aspects of development during two weeks of intense global exposure.”The Games served as a window for the world to understand China in an unprecedented intensive and direct manner, Ren added.Selling pointAs an illustration of China’s strength in infrastructure development, major venues built for 2008 still host sports and entertainment events, while in some previous host cities such venues sit idle.Venues that remain busy in Beijing include the National Stadium, better known as the Bird’s Nest, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, soccer and track and field competitions in 2008.As a major selling point for Beijing’s successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, the reuse of eight of the venues in the city used in 2008, including the Bird’s Nest, along with upgrading and transformation work, will see new life breathed into them for competitive and non-competitive purposes in four years’ time.The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will use a total of 26 venues in the downtown area, the city’s north-western Yanqing district and in co-host city Zhangjiakou in Hebei province.The reuse of facilities, coupled with the IOC’s support to optimize savings in venue operation, broadcasting and transportation is expected to significantly cut the 2022 hosting costs for Beijing, said Christophe Dubi, the IOC’s executive director for the Olympic Games.“There is absolutely no doubt about Beijing 2022 being cost-effective,” he said during a debriefing in the city in June on the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.“These legacy venues from the 2008 Summer Olympics have given Beijing a huge advantage in making the future Olympics much more sustainable and cost-effective,” Dubi said. Beijing’s regulatory body for construction confirmed last week that transformation work on five existing venues, including the National Aquatics Centre and National Indoor Stadium, which hosted swimming and handball, respectively, in 2008, had begun, with a completion deadline of the second half of next year.The indoor stadium will be upgraded with an ice rink to host men’s ice hockey in 2022, while the aquatics centre, dubbed the Water Cube, will feature retractable structures to provide a frozen surface for the curling competition.Upgrading work at three more Beijing 2008 venues-the Bird’s Nest, the Wukesong Arena and the National Conventional Centre-will take place in 2020. They will be transformed for the 2022 opening and closing ceremonies, women’s ice hockey and media operations.Bao Mingxiao, a researcher with the Centre for Development of Sports Industry at Tsinghua University, said that with the transformation work for 2022 and commercial events such as concerts and entertainment shows being staged, Beijing has set an example for Olympic host cities in the post-Games operation of permanent facilities. This is despite challenges in using some technical and temporary venues.“Making use of highly technical and professional sports venues for commercial and civil functions is a global issue, not just one in China,” Bao said of international media reports on the disuse of the white-water canoeing centre and BMX cycling track for the 2008 Olympics.“Beijing has already taken a lead among its fellow Olympic hosts in operating most of the permanent venues in urban areas, while its counterparts such as Sydney, Athens and Rio de Janeiro are still struggling to find post-event solutions for their own main venues.”Healthier nationWith its athletic prowess proven at the highest level by the 51 gold medals in 2008, (three weightlifters were stripped of them last year for doping violations), China is now focusing on building a healthier nation by rolling out a national fitness campaign.From marathon mania to the square dance craze, Chinese are increasingly being bitten by the exercise bug, as evidenced by hot participation in celebrating the 10th National Fitness Day.Since 2009, the fitness day has been held annually on Aug 8 to commemorate the opening of the 2008 Olympics. Staged in the open area between the National Stadium and National Aquatics Centre, this year’s celebration involved 3,000 sports fans taking part in aerobic exercise, table tennis, badminton and soccer, despite sudden rainfall that drenched the city.From Aug 4 to Sunday, about 3,500 mass fitness activities and grassroots sports events will have been held at major public venues, provincial Olympic sports centers and schools nationwide involving more than 90 million people as part of this year’s fitness day campaign, according to the General Administration of Sport of China, the country’s top sports governing body.In his report to the opening session of the Communist Party of China’s 19th National Congress on Oct 18, General Secretary Xi Jinping urged the country’s sports sector to extensively promote mass fitness activities and to accelerate the construction of a strong sporting nation.The progress achieved by China in the past five years in mass fitness has underlined such instruction from the top leadership.Thanks to more accessible facilities, the proportion of Chinese who exercise at least three times a week with medium intensity had increased to 33.9 percent of the population by the end of 2015, an increase of 5.7 percentage points from 2007, according to the latest national fitness survey released by GASC in 2016.By the end of 2015, the government had set up 573,580 sets of exercise equipment for free use, covering more than half the country’s cities and villages, and had trained nearly 2 million community sports instructors.Meanwhile, GASC has been working with the finance, urban development and education ministries to ensure that State-owned stadiums, training bases and school facilities are open to the public more often.Since 2014, the government has subsidized venues run by sports bureaus and State-owned training centers to ensure they remain open to the public.According to the Ministry of Finance, the central government offered subsidies totaling 930 million yuan ($136 million) last year to support mass fitness functions at 1,257 sports venues. Total investment of 3.5 billion yuan has been made on this since 2014.Previously, the annual allocation of subsidies mainly considered a venue by size and capacity, but from next year distribution will be based on the number of “ordinary exercisers” and the frequency of mass sporting events hosted by a venue as well as feedback from surrounding communities, according to GASC. LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Philippines opens Asiad with rout of Kazakhstan In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Peza offers relief to ecozone firms Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil ‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award With a series of celebrations for the 10th anniversary taking place across China, the thoughts of leading figures in the sports community shed light on the huge effect the event has had on the country.Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said via a video message during a celebration ceremony at Beijing’s Olympic Park on Aug 8: “The Beijing Olympics made history 10 years ago. Today’s celebration reminds us of the great success of 2008.“We will always remember the fantastic opening ceremony, which amazed the world with the rich and profound culture of China,” said the former Olympic fencing champion from Germany.“The 2008 Games defined moments of sporting inspiration and they left an extraordinary legacy for China and Beijing… China has every reason to be proud of its Olympic legacy,” Bach said.Observers said that by hosting the Games smoothly and topping the medals tally with 51 golds, China showed the world its sporting, economic and social progress achieved through decades of reform and opening-up, and more important, building a confident image at a critical time for its ambitions to play a more prominent role in international affairs.ADVERTISEMENT BEIJING — Ten years after the flame was extinguished at the Beijing Summer Olympics, the legacy of the Games continues to benefit sports development in China as the country prepares for a winter encore in 2022.Despite the steamy summer heat at Beijing Olympic Forest Park on the north side of the capital, sweat-soaked runners managed smiles as they jostled for position on Saturday afternoon.ADVERTISEMENT Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew According to national statistics, the sports industry’s added value accounted for 0.9 per cent of GDP in 2016, while market analysis released by Plunkett Research indicated that the same proportion in the US was as high as 3 percent in 2015.Huang Haiyan, a sports industry professor with Shanghai Sports University, identified public consumption of intangible sporting products and services such as fitness guidance, ticketing and spending at venues as the “next frontier” to close this gap.“Public demand for sports-related consumption has escalated from only purchasing sports equipment to a diversified package that includes various services and experience-based products, while the supply of these products still lags behind other countries,” Huang said.According to official statistics, manufacturing and sales of sports goods remained the biggest contributor to the sports industry in 2016, accounting for 62.9 percent of the 1.9 trillion yuan volume, while the sports service sector took up 35.9 percent.As China aims to build a 5 trillion yuan sports industry by 2025, more accessible exercise facilities, mass sporting centers and sports-related tourism destinations should be built, while a number of amateur sporting events should be organized, Huang said.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View commentslast_img read more

PBA: Meralco jolts Magnolia, keeps playoff hopes alive

first_imgRomeo Travis led Magnolia with 25 points and 19 rebounds while Ian Sangalang and Paul Lee had 12 points apiece.RELATED VIDEO Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title LATEST STORIES ANTIPOLO—Meralco kept its playoff hopes afloat after stunning league-leader Magnolia, 94-88, in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at Ynares Center here.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ View comments “Of course, we went up against the top team in the league so this game definitely helped our confidence,” said Black. “There’s no question about that, but the game of basketball is different in the sense that whatever happens tonight won’t matter on Sunday.”The Bolts will face Rain or Shine, which holds a 2-5 record at the 10th spot, on Sunday in a matchup of two teams fighting to advance to the next round.“We’re facing a new team and Rain or Shine is fighting to stay alive and it will also be a crucial game for them as well as for us.”Allen Durham flirted with a triple-double to lead the Bolts finishing with 20 points, 18 rebounds, and eight assists while Baser Amer had 16 points and five rebounds.Reynel Hugnatan was Meralco’s floor-spacer finishing with 15 points, with six coming from deep, and five rebounds while Chris Newsome orchestrated the offense with 13 points and eight assists.ADVERTISEMENT Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? The Bolts notched their second straight win and moved up to the ninth place with a 3-6 card.A 6-0 run capped off by Cliff Hodge gave Meralco an 85-81 lead with 2:38 remaining and that was enough for the Bolts to hold off the Hotshots, which slid to a share of the top spot at 7-2, until the final buzzer.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissJio Jalalon managed to cut the lead to three, 89-86, with 1:06 left but proceeded to commit a crucial foul that sent Baser Amer to the line that put the Bolts ahead 90-86 lead with 57.9 seconds remaining.While the win gave the team a confidence boost, Bolts head coach Norman Black said they are still aware of the uphill battle they are facing as they try to remain on the hunt for a playoff spot. Belga’s foot injury compounds Rain or Shine woeslast_img read more

Pumaren rues Falcons’ cold shooting in close loss to Maroons

first_imgAdamson University is forced to use its twice-to-beat advantage after it lost to University of the Philippines, 73-71, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball Final Four, but its head coach Franz Pumaren isn’t too concerned of his team’s predicament.ADVERTISEMENT Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew “We shot 1-of-22 from three so I guess we should’ve gotten this victory even though we played badly,” said Pumaren. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Pumaren said he’s not stressing over the fact that the Soaring Falcons, who finished the eliminations with a 10-4 record as the second seeds, will take on the No. 3 Fighting Maroons (8-6) once more to decide who goes to the finals.“If there’s concern with regards to this game then, do I look concerned about it?” asked Pumaren Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena. “Do I look stressed about it?”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissMaybe it was UP’s defense or just a cold shooting performance but the Falcons hardly ever found a good scoring rhythm except for their sudden eruption in the fourth quarter wherein they made 10 of their 19 attempts.The Soaring Falcons were miserable in the first three quarters, shooting an abysmal 14-of-49 from the field, or 28.6 percent. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Relentless Folayang seizes ‘rare’ chance in regaining ONE title LATEST STORIES UP, meanwhile, had a more respectable showing through the third quarter when it converted 24 of its 55 shot attempts for a 43.6 percent clip.“We were down the whole game but when we started playing the right way, the right brand of game we were able to get back,” said Pumaren.The Falcons came alive in the fourth quarter going on a 26-11 run to take a 69-65 lead after Sean Manganti’s layup with 2:18 left in the game.Manganti also tied the game at 71 with 3.7 seconds to play, but it was UP’s day as center Bright Akhuetie shot the game-winner from pointblank with 2.6 seconds left.Another factor in Adamson’s demise was its terrible shooting from beyond the arc when it made just one in 22 attempts courtesy of Jerrick Ahanmisi at the 6:18 mark of the fourth that cut UP’s lead to three, 60-57.ADVERTISEMENT Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum MOST READ Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college View comments For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazillast_img read more

PH Azkals, China Dragons coaches put friendship aside

first_imgTrending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award The Azkals coach said he’s met Lippi probably “15 to 20 times” during the course of their careers.Eriksson joked that he and Lippi may just have to place a friendly bet on the match.“I’m not meeting Lippi,” Eriksson said. “We, the Philippines, are meeting China.”ADVERTISEMENT ABU DHABI—Philippines coach Sven-Goran Eriksson will rekindle his coaching rivalry with Italian World Cup-winning mentor Marcello Lippi when the Azkals take on the Dragons on Friday night in their AFC Asian Cup Group C encounter here.The 70-year-old Eriksson and Lippi have had their share of battles dating back to two decades ago when they were still in the Italian league.ADVERTISEMENT Tom Brady most dominant player in AFC championship history MOST READ Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil LATEST STORIES In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Philippine Army to acquire MANPADS, self-propelled howitzers Japeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for Ginebra Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Their rivalry extended to China when Eriksson moved to the Chinese Super League in 2013 to coach Guangzhou R&F, which incidentally was the main rival of Guangzhou Evergrande, which had Lippi at that time.And with Eriksson accepting the Azkals job just two months ago, the man who took England to the World Cup quarterfinals twice has found himself ranged against his old rival.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“It’s always good because Lippi is not just a great coach, but he is a good man as well,” said the Swede, who is of the same age as the Italian coach who led Italy to the 2006 World Cup title.“We’re friends, but we will not be friends at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday). Before and after we are friends. It is good [to coach against Lippi], but you don’t feel that (friendship) during the game.” Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Crack foreign, local bets in Pradera pgt Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Ginebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup title Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college View commentslast_img read more

GOL Dedicates ‘Peace Hut’ in G. Cape Mount

first_imgIn an effort to connect citizens through the Peace Hut initiative to foster genuine reconciliation, the Government of Liberia (GOL) in partnership with the ECOWAS National Unit has dedicated two Peace Huts in Teworand Gaworla District, Grand Cape Mount County. The two huts, according to government officials, were financed by US$22,000 provided by the government through the budget.In most African countries, a peace huts is a safe space where citizens come together to mediate and resolve community disputes. The Peace Hut in Teworand Town, Grand Cape County also provides citizens the opportunity to gather and discuss matters affecting their day to day lives. The hut is also where the reconciliation and resolution of conflicts takes place, where they (citizens) can openly and safely discuss issues of inequality and together take decisions on peace and security.As the Peace Huts evolve as a place to resolve conflict, the methodology is based on the traditional ‘Palava’ hut system practiced across Liberia.Gracing the dedication ceremony were hundreds of citizens who gathered to express their gratitude to the government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) National Unit for the long anticipated project. The role and participation of community members in the peace hut for the maintenance of peace in their communities was appreciated as they now see themselves as crucial players in peacebuilding and conflict resolution.Deputizing for Finance Minister Amara Konneh was Mr. Patrick Sawyer who observed that the peace hut project would create a more peaceful and conducive environment bringing all citizens of the region together to forge unity and prosperity.Mr. Sawyer emphasized the need for citizens to use the Peace Huts to promote reconciliation, peace building against potential problems that would serve as obstacles to their district development initiatives. “Government wants you to use the Peace Hut to settle your problems; use it to carry on peace building measures; use it to  have your community meetings and other activities that will bring success  to the people in the district,’’ Mr. Sawyer urged the communities in Grand Cape Mount County over the weekend.Also speaking at the ceremony was the acting Director of ECOWAS National Unit, Mrs. Luopu K. Cooper, Mrs. Cooper disclosed that the Hut project started in 2012, after a visit of the vice president of ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Toga G. McIntosh, who appraised the ECOWAS Peace and Development project under which two estates were constructed in two separate districts in the County.According to Madam Cooper, head of ECOWAS affairs in Liberia, Amara Konneh approved US$22,000 for the project.She insisted that Finance Minister Amara Konneh believes in peace and development that positively impact the lives of the ordinary citizens across the country.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Sime Darby’s Oil Palm Mill and Proposed Oil Refinery – to What End?

first_imgThe Malaysian company, Sime Darby (SD), which has started an oil palm plantation in Liberia, last week broke ground for the building of a US$10 million oil palm mill that will add value to the palm oil it produces.Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly hailed the company’s latest investment as just the kind of initiative President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is looking for–the production of goods, whether in the agricultural, forestry, mineral or oil sector, that will ADD VALUE to the raw materials produced.The company’s general manager, Rosi Mohammed Taib, told Minister Dukuly and others assembled for the groundbreaking that SD has bigger plans: the company intends to build an oil palm refinery, which is expected to produce many more value added products from the palm oil they produce in Liberia.We say Bravo to this, for Heaven knows it is about time that Liberia, after 167 years of existence, begins at long last entering the industrial age. BUT!We hope Sime Darby is not another Buchanan Renewables company which, under the guardianship of National Investment Chairman Richard Tolbert, came here few years ago and promised Liberians the world, including rehabilitating all old Liberian rubber farms at no cost to rubber planters; AND a 10-megwatt power plant that would bring electricity to Margibi County and parts of  Monrovia. All of this would be in return for wood chips from the cut rubber trees, to be used to power the 10-megawatt plant.  Everybody embraced this plan.But no sooner it turned out to be a complete hoax (fraud, deception), for the company started shipping out thousands of tons of wood chips to power electric plants in Holland and other parts of Europe!We have no reason to suspect that Sime Darby would ever turn out to be another Buchanan Renewerables.  However, we at the Daily Observer took keen note of the caveat (qualification, requirement) which SD general manager Taib carefully and smartly laid under his company’s plan to build an oil palm refinery.  We paraphrase (reword, interpret) what he told Minister Dukuly: “We will build the refinery if only we are given at least 100 thousand hectares of land for our plantation.”That is a lot of land even it is spread over three counties–Bomi, Grand Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu– whose people have been bitterly complaining against the company grabbing up all their farmland and sacred sites to plant oil palm.  Fortunately, unlike the violent Nimba youths, who two weeks ago invaded the ArcelorMittal concession area and broke up parts of their infrastructure, the people of Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbarpolu have handled their grievances in a far more civilized and patient manner.  Sime Darby, too, to their own credit, has been listening keenly and actively to the people, and made concessions, including extending social amenities, such as agricultural assistance for farming, health and medical facilities, improved housing, jobs, roads and schools, assuring the people that the company is not just there to take their land, but also to improve their lives.  This is in a sense what the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau called “the social contract,” which typically posits that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority in exchange for protection of their remaining rights.That is all that the people in these concession areas, where ArcelorMittal, China Union, Western Cluster, Golden Veroleum, Calava River Company and Sime Darby, etc. are asking for and rightfully demanding.It is our hope that SD is sincere and genuine in its initiative and promise to create not just an oil plantation but a modern oil palm industry in Liberia, using the Bomi-Grand Cape Mount-Gbarpolu corridor.  Liberia has had more than enough Firestone Plantations that come 2016 would have been producing and shipping out of here, for 90 unbroken years, billions of tons of natural rubber to supply American factories to produce tires and other rubber products.  And Liberia is yet unable to produce a rubber band!We pray–but not only pray, but we must TOUGHLY NEGOTIATE, WORK HARD AND GET FROM THESE COMPANIES WHAT WE WANT: VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS that will transform Liberia from a raw materials producer into an industrial country, exporting value added products, creating highly technical and other jobs and earning more hard currency to accelerate our development and modernity.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

CONSIDERING POST-EBOLA LIBERIA (PART FIVE): THE ROLE OF THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY

first_imgThe thrust of this fifth article of the series on what happens to Liberia after the Ebola crisis is on what I perceive as the significant role of the religious community in fighting Ebola now and in post Ebola Liberia. How is the religious community involved with the fight against Ebola? And what role will it play in attending to some of the post Ebola challenges that will inevitably follow? Who or what is the religious community we have in mind. We shall discuss below. The fourth article on some key suggestions to the government underscored the following points:I would like to suggest that there be some all inclusive conferences on our health system economy, education, agriculture, and on how we fight corruption. These conferences should make use of the best minds of the land, regardless of political affiliation, in critically researching where we are at in these critical areas of our national life, and come up with concrete plans and systems that transcend any particular governments. We pray and trust that this greatest of national challenges will be an opportunity for the rebirth of the nation in the areas of health, economy, education, agriculture, the management of what we have, and fighting corruption.In post Ebola Liberia serious attention has to be paid to those who are hit the hardest by Ebola, the survivals, families of the health workers who die in the fight, orphans, widows, widowers, and all who have and are losing their means of living. Integration of survivals into their communities must be a priority. The nation will have to take care of the education of the orphans caused by Ebola who are of school going age up to college or at least high school, and entrepreneurial support to those who are able to enable them support themselves and families and be in a position to contribute to the welfare of the nation. The government of Liberia will have to encourage and facilitate the unifying of the whole country in going back to the drawing board and re-make the nation for the better. There is a need for us to move away from rote learning to creativity and innovation and commitment to making the most of what we have. History has shown that those who pass through some of the greatest challenges in life tend to develop better and faster than ever before and I trust this will be the case with Liberia.This brings us to the role of the faith based institutions in fighting Ebola and in dealing with post Ebola concerns. Most Liberian believers who have considerable influence in the nation are either Christians or Muslims. I am aware that there are others who may be African traditional believers or some other religions but the most influential are Christians and Muslims. These two religious groups fall under the umbrella of the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC) and National Muslim Council of Liberia (NMCL). All the mainline Churches (Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc.) and some Pentecostal denominations are members of the LCC. Again I am aware that there are some Churches and Mosques that do not fall under the LCC and NMCL and they too are involved in some ways. Most of what I am sharing about the involvement of the religious community with Ebola fight is specific to the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia (IRCL) headed by Archbishop Jonathan B. B. Hart and Sheikh Kafumba F. Konneh.This group is collaborating and coordinating the interventions of Churches and Mosques in the national response to Ebola. They are making as parts of their sermons Ebola messages and awareness, training and dialoguing with their members about Ebola prevention and care for its victims, and providing relief and practical support.Recently the IRCL sent pastors and imams in pairs (one pastor and one imam) to five affected counties, Bomi, Bong, Cape Mount, Lofa, and Nimba to hold training sessions and dialogues with over 300 pastors and imams about Ebola. The trainings and dialogues emphasized religious practices that are deemed dangerous with regard to the spread of Ebola and why they must be suspended now in order to save the living. It was stressed how these pastors and imams must be involved at every level: county, district and community. They can help their communities isolate and care for suspected cases and their affected households, and support victims get treatment while protecting themselves and others. More of such interventions are planned to be implemented soon by the IRCL. A large segment of people are excited to see Muslims and Christians working together for the common good.It intended that such collaboration to pursue the common good will continue and even accelerate in post Ebola Liberia. The need will be for community involvement in overcoming common problems and in advancing the good of all of society in the areas of health, economy, education, agriculture, management, and dealing with the cancerous virus disease of corruption. More will be said about this when we, in the last article, explore the role of all segments of society in post Ebola Liberia. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Weah, Kaipay Elected to Int’l Bodies

first_imgA week after electing Gbarpolu County Senator Armah Zolu Jallah President Pro Tempore of the Liberian Senate, that body yesterday in fulfillment of its Standing Rules, elected chairpersons of its Statutory Committees and representatives to three international bodies.Though conducted in an open, free and fair atmosphere, the election like most electoral proceedings did not go on without some drama and surprises.It all started when new comers to the Senate Conmany B. Wesseh (River Gee), and Daniel Flomo Naatehn (Gbarpolu) together with Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sherif were named as candidates for the committee on Executive, which is one of the coveted statutory committees.However, Senator Naatehn immediately announced that he was withdrawing from the race, saying it would not be prudent for him to participate because he and Pro Tempore  Jallah hail from the same county and that the Executive committee post is a leadership one as is the Pro Tempore.Senator Wesseh who was called on to make a five-minute pre-election comment, in a surprise move, announced that he was not available for the election, meaning that he was no longer a candidate even though he voted for other candidates who vied for other posts.The River Gee lawmaker said he had hoped that in the name of reconciliation, individuals would have been appointment to positions the Senate believes they are competent and qualified to ably perform and not through elections.The two withdrawals left Senator Doe-Sherif as the lone candidate, and Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor cast the white ballot to elect her the new Chairperson on Executive.In a close race, the Senate voted 15 for Grand Cape Mount County Senator Edward Boakai Dagoseh, against Grand Gedeh County Senator G. Alphonso Gaye as the new Chair of the Committee on Ways, Means, Finance and Budget.For the post of Chair on Rules, Order and Administration, the lone candidate Lofa County Senator George Tamba Tengbeh received the white ballot cast by Senator George Manneh Weah.Another interesting drama during yesterday’s proceedings occurred when River Cess Senator Francis Saturday Paye who had earlier announced his candidacy for the post of Chair on the committee of Internal Affairs, Governance and Reconciliation, mysteriously disappeared from the Chambers and failed to appeared when his name was announced by the Secretary of the Senate to mount the podium for pre-election comments.His name however, remained on the ballot and in the voting process he was massively defeated 18-3 by Nimba County Senator Thomas S. Grupee.For elections of three representatives to international bodies, Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay, the ‘David who beat Goliath’, former Pro Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley, was voted on white ballot to represent the Senate at the Inter-Parliament Union (IPU).Montserrado County Senator and Congress for Democratic Change political leader George Weah, and Nimba County political godfather Prince Yormie Johnson were nominated and unanimously voted to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament; while River Cess Senator Dallas A.V. Gueh was elected to represent the Senate at the Pan African Parliament.Election for arguably one of the most important statutory committees, the committee on Judiciary, Claims, Petitions and Human Rights chaired by Sinoe County Senator Joseph N. Nagbe was postponed as it was discovered that the lone candidate, Matthew Zargo of Lofa County, had withdrawn.All eyes may now turn to the most recently certified Grand Cape Mount County Senator and Chairman of the ruling Unity Party, Cllr Varney Nabir Gboto Sherman, whom from all indications, is the sole favorite to replace Senator Nagbe who is not contesting to retain that post.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Elevate women’s rights in Guyana

first_imgDear Editor,We have seen, in our small country, far too many cases of severe and deadly abuse against our mothers, sisters, aunts and friends. We have grown to accept a system that encourages against women abusive behaviours that are unacceptable, and which pave the way for deadly levels of violence to take place.Women in Guyana have, for far too long, not been given enough attention and protect from our legal and enforcement systems. We have come to accept men speaking to women with disrespect; as if, when married, these women became their property, instead of their having entered a partnership of complementing abilities and mutual respect.Indeed, women also contribute to this dynamic by not setting, at an early stage, the boundaries that would allow the relationship to take the right path.I have, on many occasions, seen where men took out their frustrations on women, and expressed their dominance just because they were emboldened to so do.According to the UN body on women’s rights, even though Guyana has a strong legal framework for the protection of women’s rights, its implementation and enforcement arms are weak and susceptible to neglect and bribery, thus Guyana is unable to make cases of abuse disappear. The responsibility is therefore vested in our legal system to drive accountability, and at the feet of our leaders to create a higher sense of awareness regarding gender-based violence, so that we can change the course of our longstanding poor behaviours towards women.Another of our responsibilities is to empower women to take action at the slightest gesture of abuse; which should include arming them with the knowledge to detect early signs of abuse, and providing them with clear avenues to seek and obtain help. However, this is where it sometimes falls through, since many women would change their minds and turn a blind eye to the early warning signs. In many cases, women’s actions are driven by commitment to their children and other social pressures, such as what society would think and say about them.But the sad reality is that once a space is created for abuse to take place, it is almost certain that it would escalate to a severe type of violence against females. That is why parents should do more to teach their daughters self-defence techniques such as karate, and imbue them with a higher sense of independence when married or in a relationship.Parents also should do more to elevate the level of expectations their sons should satisfy when it comes to treating with women.There seems to be a disparity in the way men regard women who are unrelated to them from the way they regard their mothers, sisters and other female relatives. But, in reality, there should be no difference in the way men regard all women.In terms of leadership, we are seeing that women are doing a much better job of being leaders than men. For example, in politics, a woman leader of Germany has been showing stronger results and delivering more peace and stability than her male counterparts. We have also seen the power of Michele Obama, who has inspired women across the globe with her strength and fearless approach to challenging the status quo in regard to how women are viewed by some men.As Guyanese, we must not accept mediocrity, but should instead strive to raise the bar in all aspects of life.Sincerely,Malcolm Watkinslast_img read more

A colossal waste of time

first_imgDear Editor,One recent meeting was described as “a colossal waste of time”.The most recent round of meeting between the two main political players can also be described thus. Why? There has not been anything new emanating or emerging from the meeting. No compromises or brokered agreements in arriving at a consensus. Not even a glimmer of hope.Both sides hold firm and steadfast to their respective views, opinions and interpretations of the Constitution and court rulings. The caretaker President and Cabinet maintain they will not resign, while the Opposition maintains it will not return to Parliament among other numerous stated positions on both sides.So what we have? Continued stalemate…a photo op and another day gone.It must be wondered if these “colossal waste of time” meetings are for the benefit of the international community.Sincerely,Shamshun Mohamedlast_img read more