Religious literacy can combat Islamophobia, panel says

first_imgIslamophobia both at USC and internationally was discussed as part of a panel entitled “No Place for Hate: The Alarming Rise of Anti-Muslim Incidents on University Campuses,” which was held at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism Tuesday afternoon.The panel was part of the Journalism Director’s Forum and was held in conjunction with the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg and the Office of Religious Life.“The fear — as I remember it — reached a fever pitch at times and sometimes built a mob justice mentality,” said moderator Sandy Tolan, author on the Middle East and professor of journalism at Annenberg, who, in his introduction, compared the fear of Muslims post-9/11 to the fear following terrorist attacks 15 years later in San Bernardino and Paris. “The people most affected by this particular sense of American patriotism were not victims of mistaken identity, but American Muslims themselves living as the country’s most vulnerable citizens.”Panelists Varun Soni, the dean of religious life at USC; Edina Lekovic from the Muslim Public Affairs Council; Muslema Purmul, Muslim chaplain at USC, UCLA and UC Irvine; and Noorhan Maamoon, International Affairs chair of the USC Muslim Student Union and a columnist for the Daily Trojan, shared their perspectives on Islamophobia.Maamoon has had firsthand experience with Islamophobia, and was adamant that talking about these issues would make a difference. Maamoon spoke about a time when she was walking to a football game with a hijab and someone yelled at her and her friend, “Terrorist!”“At first it didn’t register what he said but then I realized that because he saw two girls wearing a hijab he thinks that we are, in fact, terrorists,” Maamoon said.Purmul said that, as a Muslim chaplain, she talks to many women who are afraid of dressing as a Muslim because of the stereotypes that are associated with the typical headdress and clothing style.“What comes up a lot for Muslim women is the fear of being targeted for dressing as a Muslim,” Purmul said. “The question that sometimes comes up is ‘Please tell me something that can make me stronger’ because I feel weak right now and I want to take [the hijab] off.”Purmul responded to Tolan’s follow-up question on what she tells these women to help them with their faith by stressing the importance of compassion and awareness of one’s surroundings.“I do encourage them to be cautious, and depending on who the student is and the specific situation, be more aware of their surroundings,” Purmul said. “But at the same time [I encourage them] to smile more, to love more, to reach out more, to connect more, to overcome the fear of being harmed and go out of your way to spread compassion.”Along the same vein of compassion, Soni said that it is important to facilitate strong relationships between people of contrasting backgrounds in order to reduce incidents of Islamophobia.“I see our Muslim and Jewish students going out to Skid Row and serving the community together and then going to the mosque or going to the synagogue to talk about how this experience made them feel,” Soni said. “We can create and promote and facilitate those types of relationships.”Lekovic expressed the same sentiment as Maamoon, Purmul and Soni, but added that in order to overcome the fear of Muslims, more people need to get to know them. She said that two out of three Americans do not know a Muslim and that Muslims make up 1 percent of the American population.“If 32 percent of [Americans] know some degree of that 1 percent of Americans who are Muslims, it’s not as depressing as it first looks,” Lekovic said. “That matters because we know that exposure is a way to begin to deal with and heal phobias.”Soni, who is the first Hindu dean of Religious Life at USC, said that the best way to combat Islamophobia is to give the public a better education on different religions because at this point, he joked, atheists are the best educated on religion.“We suffer in the United States from a lack of religious literacy,” Soni said. “People come to college with a fairly low degree of religious literacy, unless you are an atheist, humanist or agnostic, then you know more religion than anyone else.”Hollie Bowers, a junior majoring in public relations, spoke  about the importance of coexisting with one another.“I came to this event because I recently felt really passionate about religion and religious life on campus especially and coexisting together,” Bowers said. “We all have our different beliefs, and I think it’s important that we respect each other and hear each other out and support each other though the process of faith and growing and our own spirituality.”last_img read more

Syracuse fall lacrosse: New starters, role players on focus in alumni game

first_imgSyracuse gathered for the sixth annual Orange Alumni Classic on Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome. The current SU squad defeated the Alumni All-Stars 11-9 in the first organized game of the year for the Orange.Having graduated seven of 10 starters from last year, head coach John Desko took full advantage of the exhibition match to mix and match a variety of players in new spots.Back on topJordan Evans hasn’t had the chance to flourish in Syracuse’s attack during his first two years like he did in high school as the top-rated recruit. With senior Dylan Donahue the only returning member of last year’s attack trio of Kevin Rice and Randy Staats, Evans is finally going to have his shot in SU’s front line.He anchored the attack on Saturday with Donahue, converting his first goal by sweeping around the back of the crease and splitting two defenders before firing.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I’m very happy to be back on attack,” Evans said. “It’s been a long time coming.“Me and Dylan have been working a lot together and I’m trying to get that chemistry that him and Kevin had last year.”The junior attack primarily commanded the offense from the X position behind the net, much like Rice did. The departures of Rice and Staats mean the Orange is without nearly one-third of its points from last season.“It’s definitely hard to follow in (Rice’s) footsteps,” Evans said. “This is a whole new team. People are going to find their new roles and hopefully I can find mine.”In the Nick of timeSyracuse added two new offensive options during the off-season, accepting transfer junior attack Nick Mariano from UMass and fifth-year senior attack Nick Piroli from Brown.Piroli didn’t see the field on Saturday, but Evans described him as a smart attack that doesn’t make many mistakes. He was largely a distributor for the Bears last season, notching 24 assists to complement his 10 goals.Mariano played both midfield and attack — something Desko said can be expected from him — and scored his only goal while jogging away from the crease before blindly swinging his stick around and slotting the ball in the upper-right corner of the net.“I’m just trying to better the team with whatever I can do,” Mariano said. “Whether it’s attack or wherever coach Donahue thinks I can play, I just want to win games and I’ll do whatever I have to do.”Desko said the third spot on the attack is an open competition. He highlighted Mariano and Piroli as two potential fits in the spot, but it was senior Tim Barber who got the nod at the start of this game.“There’s a lot of people to try and figure out,” Desko said. “We’re working hard, we’re trying to figure it out. In the past we haven’t had to.”Filling in the blanksThe graduations of Nicky Galasso, Hakeem Lecky and Henry Schoonmaker have left the first-line midfield completely open.Desko estimated with the attack-heavy roster he has, it’s possible that Mariano, Piroli and Barber could end up as the first-line midfield so they can bring their offensive presence to the field more frequently.Junior Nick Weston and redshirt senior Tom Grimm also got significant playing time, typically replacing wings Scott Firman and Paolo Ciferri after faceoffs. The two wings often flanked senior Cal Paduda, taking faceoffs in place of Ben Williams, who’s recovering from a “procedure” to ensure his health in the spring.Ciferri and Firman are two candidates to replace departed wings Mike Messina and Peter Macartney, who were second and third respectively on the team in ground balls and comprised an elite faceoff group.“We need to figure out who the wings are for sure,” Desko said. “… Today it was probably disappointing we didn’t get more ground balls off the faceoffs on the wing. We need to get better at it.”Goalkeeper Warren Hill started for the Orange after graduating Bobby Wardwell last year. The senior netminder made a handful of saves in his only quarter of action, eventually relenting to redshirt junior Evan Molloy — who Desko said has impressed in practice dating back to last year.“We started Warren because he was the backup, but they both played really well,” Desko said. “There’s a competition going on.”SU’s defense is the only real line of consistency from last year, returning starters Jay McDermott and Brandon Mullins. The final defensive spot is another up for grabs, and freshman Nick Mellin garnered postgame attention.He started the first and third quarters with Mullins, McDermott and the other expected starters. A youth movement for Syracuse’s defense is emerging as a possibility after leaning so heavily on seniority the past few seasons.“If we have a freshman slightly ahead of an upperclassman then we’re gonna go with a freshman,” Desko said. “If (Mellin) makes some mistakes, so be it and we’ll be better at the end of the year.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 10, 2015 at 9:19 pm Contact Connor: cgrossma@syr.edu | @connorgrossmanlast_img read more

Nash, 3rd line give Badgers playoff boost

first_imgView Gallery (2 Photos)It wasn’t Hilary Knight who broke through with the WCHA championship game-winning goal in overtime on Saturday night against Minnesota. It wasn’t WCHA player of the year Meghan Duggan either. Even Brianna Decker could only be seen watching from the bench.It was senior forward Kelly Nash and the third line who gave the Wisconsin women’s hockey team the victory and with it, the WCHA tournament title.“My body froze right there, and I was literally in the same place where I took the shot. Everybody was yelling, and I just sat there and took it all in,” Nash said.The WCHA’s top three scorers (Decker, Duggan and Knight) have done so much for the Badgers this season on both ends of the ice.But recently it seems when the team has needed a lift in a big spot, the third line, made up of seniors Kelly Nash and Mallory Deluce and junior Carolyne Prevost, has given it to them.“When that line is going it just creates a deeper pool of players for us to put on the ice,” head coach Mark Johnson said.In the first game of the WCHA tournament against St. Cloud State, Wisconsin held a slim lead heading into the third period, and it was Prevost who supplied the big goals down the stretch to solidify the win.Then, in the semifinal round of the WCHA tournament, Deluce and Prevost scored two of Wisconsin’s three goals to propel them to the championship round against Minnesota.“It has been connecting, but up until the last two weeks we haven’t been producing as well as we’ve been playing,” Nash said. “So it’s really nice that its been paying off these last weekends.”The gelling process didn’t happen overnight, as this year marked the first time the three Badgers had come together on the same line. But after a few successful series against Bemidji State and Mankato a few weeks ago, the trio started to figure things out.“It took us a while to get going but I think now the chemistry has been right, and it’s great to see because it’s a crucial time of the year,” Prevost said.Wisconsin will play its quarterfinal round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night at the Kohl Center against Minnesota Duluth. The controversial matchup comes as a surprise to the Badgers, as they believe they didn’t receive the protection all No. 1 seeds deserve.“It is what it is, we can’t do anything about it now,” Prevost said. “Obviously we’re all a little shocked about it because we didn’t expect it.”Regardless of the opponent, if Wisconsin scores like it has all season, it shouldn’t make any difference.It’s no secret the Badgers (34-2-2) have drawn much of their success this season from the scoring abilities of Decker, Duggan and Knight. The first line has scored a total of 116 goals, which makes up for more than half of the team’s offensive production.The Badgers missed that scoring last year while Duggan and Knight were away at the Olympics. At the end of the year, Wisconsin finished with a meager 18-15-3 record, missed the national tournament and was swept by Ohio State in the first round of the WCHA Tournament.This year Decker, Duggan and Knight have combined for 234 points compared to the third line of Deluce, Nash and Prevost with 66.“Obviously when you put Hilary [Knight] or Meghan [Duggan] or [Brianna] Decker out there people are going to pay attention and utilize their best players and the best defensive core and be on their toes,” Johnson said. “If you have a next wave and a next wave it just becomes more challenging.”With the Badgers newfound production out of the third line, they have become a very deep team that can hurt an opponent in a lot of ways.Don’t be surprised to see Deluce and Nash come through in big moments throughout the NCAA Tournament, as both are seniors. Each will play the final hockey game of their career either this weekend, or, should they win, next weekend in Erie, Pa.“For me personally these are going to be my last games,” Nash said. “At this high of a level with a team as good as we have now, we just want to finish off at the top.”last_img read more

Garlic: A Healing Spice

first_imgSure, garlic has a propensity to leave a foul order in the mouth when consumed raw, but that stench may be worth bearing, as this strong spice as been long touted as one of nature’s most effective healing sources. Those of Caribbean descent know that garlic has been long held as elders as a cure-all. In the Caribbean, it’s often blended with all other ingredients to create a concoction that knocks influenza out of anyone’s system. But, all over the world, people also use garlic to treat hypertension, stomach problems, infections, to sterilize and heal wounds, and for a variety of other health issues.The modern-day medical arena has gradually caught on over the years, and even today’s traditional doctors recognize the inexpensive spice for its tremendous healing power. According to research, the medicinal properties of garlic is more effective when its clovers are finely chopped or fully crushed. When chopped or crushed, garlic releases a compound known as allicin, which is the essential healing element within the spice. This compound is also responsible for garlic’s pungent taste and odor. Enhancing the body’s immune system Garlic has been used for over 5,000 years medicinally, from back to the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, to rid the body of infections, and has been proven to sustain the body’s immune system, and has beenExcellent at boosting the immune system, garlic is has effective decongestant and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve stuffy nose, catarrh, allergic rhinitis, and other respiratory allergies. It is therefore commonly used to treat coughs, sore throats, and colds, and if taken regularly, especially in the flu season, reduces the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu.Aids effective digestion Garlic is rich in vitamin C and potassium, and is useful to assist with the digestion processes. Recently, good digestion has been linked to good mental health. A sound digestive system also rids the body of toxins which deplete the immune system. Reduces blood pressure and promotes heart healthGarlic promotes a healthy heart and proper blood circulation. When allicin is broken down, compounds called diallyl sulphides are created, which boosts circulation and good cholesterol. Garlic reduces high levels of the bad cholesterol, LDL. Garlic can also help to lower blood pressure, a major risk factor for both heart attacks and strokes. It has a unique way of relaxing the muscles of the arteries by making them dilate, thus reducing blood pressure naturally.Has antibiotic qualities Garlic has definite antibiotic qualities.  Research conducted by the renowned 19th century scientist, Louis Pasteur, revealed the bacteria-killing qualities of garlic. Recent research has confirmed these original findings, and support garlic’s antibiotic functions. The herbal spice has been used in wartime to stop the wounds of soldiers from becoming infected. Crushed garlic applied to cuts, wounds and infections like athlete’s foot, in small quantities, is very effective in treating infection. However, if applied too liberally the spice can burn skin surrounding a wound.Effectively combats cancerSome research also notes that garlic has the potential to combat cancer cells, without serious side effects. The hydrogen sulfide in garlic, some findings state, is potent in preventing the development of prostate, breast, and colon cancers. Enhances male sexual potency Other research indicates that garlic improves men’s sexual potency by stimulating the flow of blood to the heart and the penis. Detoxifies the BodyThe sulfur–containing compounds in garlic helps to stimulate liver enzymes responsible for removing toxins from the body. The allicin found in the spice also helps the liver in fighting off toxins.last_img read more

Wellington Police Notes: Thursday, April 21, 2015

first_imgWellington Police notes for Thursday, April 21, 2016:•2:18 p.m. Officers investigated a theft and making false information in the 200 block E. Harvey, Wellington by known suspect.•2:18 p.m. Officers investigated a theft and making false information in the 200 block E. Harvey, Wellington by known suspect.•5:45 p.m. Officers investigated domestic battery in the 1600 block N. Day, Wellington by known subject(s).•8:41 p.m. Officers investigated criminal damage to vehicle tires in the 1400 block Michigan, Wellington.last_img

Bravo is Chile’s hero in Confed Cup shoot-out as Portugal ejected

first_imgKazan, Russia | AFP |  Claudio Bravo was Chile’s hero on Wednesday as they beat Portugal 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out in the Confederations Cup semi-finals.The Manchester City goalkeeper saved all three penalties from Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, while Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez nailed their spot-kicks for the South Americans.“We are satisfied with the result and how we played, but we have still not won anything,” warned the 34-year-old Bravo.Chile progress to Sunday’s final in St Petersburg to face either Mexico or Germany, who meet Thursday in Sochi in the other semi-final.“I’m very proud of this team. Claudio pulled off some good saves to keep us in the game,” said Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi.“He had the ability to foresee where their players would put their kicks. Now it doesn’t matter who we get, we just need to recover for the final.”Losers Portugal will contest Sunday’s third-place play-off in Moscow.Chile almost settled Wednesday’s match in the dying stages of extra-time when both Vidal and substitute Martin Rodriguez hit the woodwork as Portugal hung on to take the game to a shoot-out.The defeat in Kazan will be bitterly disappointing for Portugal’s superstar forward Cristiano Ronaldo.The Real Madrid star, who is facing doubts about his future in Spain as he prepares to answer allegations of tax evasion in a Madrid court next month, had won man-of-the-match awards in all three group matches.Before kick-off in Kazan, Manchester City’s new signing Bernardo Silva shook off a foot injury he suffered in the 4-0 drubbing of New Zealand to make Portugal’s starting line-up.With Pepe suspended, Jose Fonte partnered Bruno Alves at centre-back.Up front, AC Milan’s 21-year-old striker Andre Silva partnered Ronaldo, but the pair endured a frustrating night at the hands of Chile’s defence.Chile’s coach Juan Antonio Pizzi named the same team which drew 1-1 with world champions Germany last Thursday as centre-back Gary Medel and midfielder Aranguiz both shook off knocks. – Frantic opening –The game got off to a frantic start which demanded early saves from both goalkeepers.With just six minutes gone, Sanchez put a superb pass in behind the defence, which landed just in front of Eduardo Vargas, but Portugal’s goalkeeper Rui Patricio blocked the shot.At the other end moments later, a low Ronaldo cross put Andre Silva in space, but Bravo smothered the effort at close range.Aranguiz twice went close with efforts on the Portugal goal in the opening half and it was end-to-end stuff again after the break.Chile’s Vargas forced Patricio into another reflex save, while Ronaldo fired at Bravo when Portugal counter-attacked immediately.Then Vidal’s long-range effort went screaming just high and wide of the Portugal goal.Ronaldo sent a free-kick just over and had a shot blocked as both sides attacked relentlessly, but the scores remained goalless and the game went to extra time.There was no let up in the pace as Portugal’s Andre Gomes went close while Sanchez headed Mauricio Isla’s cross from the left just wide of the post.Joao Moutinho came on for Adrien Silva, who had worked tirelessly in midfield for Portugal, in the first period of extra time.With time almost up, Chile had a penalty appeal turned down when substitute Francisco Silva appeared to be fouled by Fonte in the area before Vidal, then Rodriguez rattled Portugal’s woodwork.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

SPIRIT RULES OUTRUNS FAVORED SAN ONOFRE TO WIN $150,000 DONALD VALPREDO CALIFORNIA CUP SPRINT; PUGLISI, AGUIRRE TEAM FOR HALF LENGTH WIN

first_imgARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 24, 2015)–Longshot Spirit Rules engaged heavily favored San Onofre around the far turn and repelled his determined challenge through the stretch to take Saturday’s $150,000 Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint by a half length under Iggy Puglisi, covering six furlongs in 1:10.31. Trained by Paul Aguirre, the 6-year-old gelding by Tribal Rule prevailed in a race that was reduced from a field of nine to five older horses by virtue of four program scratches.“The break helped us out a ton,” said Puglisi. “He was in there a really short period of time and he really caught a flyer from there. I couldn’t give that up. There were too many fast horses in there, so when I could scoot my way over to San Onofre, I figured I’d at least have a shot at it…My horse ran really good. He’s been lights out, a really hard-knocking horse.”Owned by Barbara Accardy, Jeanmarc Murphy and Craig Siedler, Spirit Rules, who broke from the outside and was the longest shot in the short field at 12-1, paid $26.20, $6.20 and $3.20. In garnering his fifth win from 16 starts, Spirit Rules picked up $90,000 for the win, which increased his earnings to $318,378.“He’s a big horse and whenever he draws outside and he gets near the lead, he’s going to be tough,” said Aguirre. “They may run him down, but it’s not going to be because he quits. He’ll give every ounce he has right to the wire.”Ridden by Mike Smith, San Onofre, who had been idle since winning a 6 ½ furlong allowance on Feb. 20, broke from the rail and was in search of his fifth consecutive win in sixth career start.“Just got outrun today,” said Smith. “I stumbled a little leaving the gate, which cost me a clear lead, but if I’d have been running, I don’t think it would have bothered him. The horse hasn’t run in a year. The horse that beat me is a good old horse that’s been running all year and is fit. It’s a whole lot different in the morning, especially when they take it to you early. I was really happy with the way he ran and I think he’ll really move forward off it.”Off at 3-5, San Onofre and Spirit Rules went head and head through fractions of 21.49, 44.14 and 56.84. He finished 1 ¼ lengths clear of Follini and paid $2.80 and $2.10.Off at 10-1 with Edwin Maldonado up, Follini finished third, 1 ¾ lengths in front of Rousing Sermon and paid $3.20 to show. SPRINT IS ONE OF FIVE STAKES FOR CALIFORNIA-BRED OR SIRED HORSES ON SUNSHINE MILLIONS/CAL CUP DAYlast_img read more

“There are many players who do not dare to do what I have done”

first_imgPresident: “He is aware of that I have the reality forward of me. My values ​​are these. I do not see logical what they are doing. He’s satisfied that he’ll persuade me. Till there’s a drug that if one thing occurs to you … What inform the French league winger who has been in a coma. “Companions: “They have revered me. It could be unsupportive if I had been at my home and I was getting paid. I am not going to play with threat if I later come and spoil the lives of my kids. We do not know something in regards to the virus. there’s a number of threat in soccer. “Soccer: “The protocol that soccer has none has. I am very clear about it. I have my values. If I have to signal a contract not to play two years in skilled soccer, I signal it. Let nothing occur to rush us to play to soccer”.coaching: “In the event that they are all there, they do not have to give me a ball. I choose the well being of my daughters to cash.”Youngsters: “They have not come out they usually are not going to exit. I choose to undergo three or 4 months after which exit. I play with them and we get alongside very properly. My mind-set is not loopy and I am positive with them.”Do different players what you have executed: “They have known as me from all sides. I have a thousand numbers saved. I do not need to be anybody’s flag. I have three years of professionalism. What is going on to me is a loopy factor. There are many players who do not dare. I am happy with what I’m doing. I don’t have cash and I’m squeezing. Now that I have cash I throw it away for the well being of my kids. “Barça B: “I already instructed you that I was saying to you: ‘I gained’t burst when I don’t run’”. Fali has handed via the microphones of “The Stringer” of Cadena SER after not exhibiting up for the exams for the coronavirus that the players of the Cadiz. The group from Cádiz has come to the El Rosal sports activities amenities at completely different instances and with the mandatory safety measures, equivalent to sustaining a social distance of two meters and sporting a masks and gloves. Holding the strain: “In the long run it appears that evidently I need to play pimp. I am afraid of the well being of my daughters and my household. I have been the primary to say that I will not cost and if a euro enters my account and I will return it It could be unlucky to take the cash if I don’t work. “Not need to cost: “I have mentioned it. I am on the president’s disposal. I am afraid of infecting somebody. He would spoil me and I have a look at my well being earlier than the cash I can earn.”Change your thoughts: “Daily that passes I am extra afraid. I have not come down to the road. In Cádiz they arrive and the one from the pharmacy has introduced me the tablets. I do not know the individuals who exit in the event that they have handed a take a look at. Who tells me that the one who subsequent to me don’t have it? I have not gone out for a single day. With the worry that I have to see the kids on the seashore … My kids ask me about going out and I am afraid. Right now I have seen positives in Italy and Germany. Right now for at present I do not change my thoughts. I do not put well being forward of something. I do not earn thousands and thousands of euros. I pay a mortgage “.last_img read more

US Calls for Free Elections in Liberia

first_img– Advertisement – The United States Congress this week passed a resolution calling for free, fair and peaceful elections in Liberia come the October polls. The resolution was introduced by Senator Christopher Andrew Coons of Delaware and Senator Cory Anthony Booker from New Jersey.According to a dispatch from Washington, the resolution states that the United States and Liberia share broad and deep bilateral ties over the course of nearly 200 years of relation.Acknowledging the beginning of the most revered friendly ties between the two countries, Congress said the United States established diplomatic relations with Liberia in 1864 and called for the holding of peaceful elections in Liberia as many organizations, including those within the country and nations across the world, are looking forward to a new age, particularly so the democratic governance transition of an incumbent president to one elected in an election.The resolution made reference to the hundreds of thousands of Liberians who died in the civil wars (from 1989 to 2003) and said today the United States is home to an estimated 80,000 people of Liberian ancestry.The two interconnected Liberian civil wars took place from 1989 to 1996, before the 1997 special election that brought into power jailed former President Charles Ghankay Taylor, and his subsequent exile in 2003.The resolution said the people and Government of the United States have a deep and abiding interest in Liberia’s democratic stability and post-conflict development and recounted the United States’ assistance to Liberia since the end of its second civil war in 2003; US support to post-conflict recovery; and a subsequent sustained transition toward broad-based economic growth, improved access to high-quality education, health system strengthening, and enhanced socioeconomic welfare for Liberia.It stated also that the “professionalization of the country’s military and civilian security forces, efforts to foster the capacities, accountability, and transparency of government institutions, and the consolidation of participatory democracy” are additional positive contributions the US has made to the recovery of Liberia.About the reintroduction of democratic rule in the country, the resolution noted that in 2005, and again in 2011, the citizens of Liberia elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as their President, making her the first woman to be elected president of an African nation. President Sirleaf was awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 5, 2007, for defending and advancing the democratic rights of her fellow citizens in the face of house arrest, foreign exile, death threats, and imprisonment, and the Noble Peace Prize on October 7, 2011, for contributing to the nonviolent struggle for the security and rights of women.The resolution noted that the Government of Liberia has contributed to efforts to foster peace, stability, democratization, as well as regional economic growth, development, and integration in West Africa, as demonstrated by President Sirleaf’s role in mediating a peaceful transfer of power in The Gambia in January 2017 and her broader leadership as the 2016– 2017 Chairperson of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States.It has been 73 years now since a peaceful transfer of state power from one elected president to another took place, and that was when President Edwin J. Barclay turned over the gavel of authority to President-elect William V. S. Tubman.As Liberia is holding presidential and legislative elections on October 10, which will be the country’s first democratic transfer of power since 1944, Congress resolved that the United States upholds its commitment to maintain and to foster the enduring relationship between the people and the Governments of the United States and Liberia.The dispatch commended President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for efforts to consolidate post-conflict peace-building and democratic gains as well as promote social and economic development and foster ties with the international community, and for her work to advance international gender equality.The US Congress urged the Government and people of Liberia and all of the country’s political parties to ensure that there are free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections in October 2017 and beyond. “We admonish that all parties adhere to the objectives set out in the Ganta and Farmington River Declarations and promote and ensure peaceful conduct of candidates, their supporters, and other citizens of the country generally.”The US Congress appealed to all parties and independent candidates to “ensure that there are robust civic education and electoral campaign outreach to often politically marginalized groups, including women, urban youth, and rural communities; and raise awareness of and express zero tolerance for violence against women, gender discrimination, or social bias of any nature in the electoral process.”The US Congress “supports efforts by the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development to assist in election preparations and calls on Liberian citizens to fully participate in the general elections and to pursue legal avenues to resolve any disputes over the results.” It also encourages Liberian civil society organizations to intensify civic and voter education, particularly among women, youth, and rural communities, and in local languages; condemns any external interference in the elections, “including any communication or action by convicted war criminal and former armed faction leader Charles Taylor to influence the elections from prison.”It states that the US Congress encourages President Donald Trump to appoint an Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs to bolster diplomatic engagement with the Government of Liberia, electoral stakeholders, and civil society and robustly engage with other sub-Saharan African countries and governments.The US Congress also called the United States Government and international partners, especially election-focused non-governmental organizations, to continue to support successful elections and Liberia’s anticipated historic democratic post-electoral transition of executive power; and welcomes the visit of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to the United States Congress for her final address as President of Liberia.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) President Sirleaf shared a platform with Senator Chris Coons (her immediate right), who introduced the resolution. Others seated: Congressman Ed Royce and Tami Hultman of AllAfrica news service. (Photo: Gabriel I. H. Williams)last_img read more

IMF report ‘ringing bells’ about state of the economy – Jagdeo

first_imgA recent report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has highlighted the dire state of the Guyanese economy, which Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo says careful attention should be paid to.Having looked at the report in its entirety, Jagdeo said it has highlighted some important facts and is also “ringing some bells about our future and state of our economy.”In referring to some content of that report, Jagdeo noted that the report has highlighted the fact that credit to business sector grew by 0.9 per cent in 2017, which is less than one per cent.“That’s less than inflation. That there is a high level of nonperforming loans. That we have a large exposure as a percentage of capital,” he read from the report.Jagdeo bemoaned the fact that the report noted that the IMF looked at several countries where the average is 20 per cent, but in Guyana’s case it is 160 per cent of capital (level of exposure).He also pointed to another fact in the report is the low level of provisioning coverage as a percentage of non-performing loans. “So if you have to provide for them, it will affect seriously the profitability of most of our banks. These are very important points in that report,” he added.In addition to that, the report also pointed to corresponding banking relationships still being an issue.The IMF noted that fiscal deficit remained stable in 2017. The Government deficit was 4.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), lower than the budgeted 5.6 per cent. This better than expected outturn was largely supported by higher revenue arising from improvements in tax administration.In 2018, the deficit is projected to widen to 5.4 per cent of GDP due to the cost of restructuring the sugar industry, including severance payments to displaced workers, as well as an increase in infrastructure related capital expenditure.Guyana’s last best growth rate was 5.2 per cent in 2013. World Bank records show Guyana’s growth rates in 2014 was 3.8 per cent, 2015 3.2 per cent, and 2016 3.3 per cent. Finance Minister Winston Jordan had claimed that the poor performance was linked the dismal figures to sectors including sugar.However, as the IMF focused on the fiscal outlook for Guyana’s in its recent report, it noted that the country’s medium-term prospects are favourable. The commencement of oil production in 2020 will be a turning point. The main direct effect on the domestic economy will be through higher fiscal revenue, and spillovers to supporting activities. The balance of payments will swing sharply to positive after 2020.“Oil revenue significantly improves the fiscal outlook, and is expected to place the public debt on a downward trajectory. The mission welcomed the progress made on establishing a comprehensive fiscal framework for managing oil wealth,” it explained.An important point made by the IMF was the fact that debt sustainability concerns are weakened by future oil revenues, but it warned that the financing of short-term deficits should be carefully managed.“The mission supports the authorities’ prudence towards private external borrowing. The authorities were encouraged to rely to the extent possible on development banks, including non-concessional financing, and to follow-up on their plans to develop the domestic bond market,” it added. Meanwhile, notwithstanding significant upside benefits, the prospect of revenue from the oil sector could lead to real exchange rate appreciation, eroding competitiveness in some sectors.Nevertheless, Jagdeo and his party has long argued that the coalition Government does not have what it takes to manage the affairs of the local economy.He has spoken repeatedly about the increasing debt portfolio by constantly borrowing millions ahead of the impending oil and gas sector.The former Head of State maintains that the People’s Progressive Party is best suited to handle both the economic and social affairs of the country on any given day.last_img read more