Commerce Ministry’s Absence Proves Guilt in Japanese Rice Donation

first_imgMembers of the joint Public Accounts, Audit and Expenditure Committee of the Legislature have said that the continuous non-appearance of key witnesses from the Ministry of Commerce at Public Hearings on the 8,612.2722 metric tons of the 2008 Japan KR rice donation to Liberia will be considered proof of guilt. On Wednesday, February 8, the joint PAC Chairman, Representative Thomas Fallah, said the committee has written the Commerce Ministry on four different occasions to appear alongside the General Auditing Commission (GAC) to answer various claims levied against it as stated in the audit report. The Ministry of Commerce has repeatedly refused to honor the committee’s request with no justification, Rep. Fallah said.According to Fallah, who is also the Representative for Montserrado County District #5, the Commerce Ministry was written on May 6, 2016; May 19, 2016; June 2, 2016 and February 1, 2017, but failed to appear for all the hearings.The joint PAC of the Legislature examines reports produced by the Auditor General of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) and all anti-graft agencies on the value of money in compliance with Section 37.6 of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act of 2009 and Rule 51 of the Interim Financial Management RulesIn the report, the then AG (John S. Morlu II) observed that the rice donated was not handled in line with the bilateral agreement and exchange of notes signed between the governments of Liberia and Japan, which caused the loss of US$831,624.09 from under-pricing, missing bags, and other irregular (unaccounted) transactions.Members of the committee, who were present during Wednesday’s hearing, included Reps. Garrison Yealue and Clarence Massaquoi, Senator Dallas A.V. Gueh, among others. The committee termed the action by the Ministry of Commerce as a “deliberate attempt to undermine the Public Accounts Committee and above all to diminish the work of the General Auditing Commission in the eyes of the public as a meaningless institution.”The irate lawmakers said there is a need to levy the necessary punitive action on the Commerce Ministry to serve as a deterrent to other ministries and agencies that may want to emulate its bad example.The lawmakers said the Commerce Ministry’s actions suggest that the ministry is guilty of the charges levied against it as enshrined in the GAC audit report.Following hours of debate on the matter, Representative Clarence Massaquoi made a motion for the committee to accept the GAC audit report on the Japanese grant. They also unanimously agreed that punitive actions be taken against the Commerce Ministry and that such recommendations should be communicated to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.It may be recalled that in 2008, the Government of Japan provided 8,612.2722 metric tons of KR rice as Japan Food Aid to Liberia. The donation was aimed at helping to stabilize the price of the country’s staple food on the Liberian market.The GAC’s audit report was commissioned by former Auditor General John S. Morlu II on May 1, 2010.There was an agreement through the exchange of notes that the minimum revenue to be generated from the sale of donated rice would be US$4,035,552.52 or its equivalent L$256,257,556 with exchange rate of L$3.60 to US$1.Given the quantity of rice supplied by the Government of Japan, the minimum price was set at US$14.12 per bag of rice. The Inter-Ministerial Committee, based on market conditions at the time, adjusted the price to US$11.50 without a written approval from the Government of Japan or an amendment to the bilateral agreement. This resulted in an overall under-pricing variance of US$734,046.59 and contributed significantly to the overall revenue loss of US$831,624.09. This loss in revenue was due to the purported damaged bags of rice, according to the AG report.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Why the Sharks will eventually make the Karlsson-Vlasic project work

first_imgANAHEIM, Calif. — Marc-Edouard Vlasic scoffed at the suggestion that his blue line marriage with Erik Karlsson is headed toward divorce after head coach Pete DeBoer split them up for the third period of the Sharks win over the Nashville Predators Tuesday.That night, DeBoer slipped a pair of comfortable-old slippers on Vlasic’s feet, reuniting him with longtime partner Justin Braun after he and Karlsson posted a minus-3 rating over the game’s first 40 minutes. After the game, Vlasic told …last_img

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Bioethics: Into the Storm Without an Anchor

first_img(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 On several fronts, scientists without a track record of ethical trustworthiness are pushing culture toward dangerous practices.Here are just a few new technologies that are changing the bioethical landscape:Fetal cells were injected into a man’s brain to try to cure his Parkinson’s disease. “It takes cells from at least three fetuses to treat each half of the brain.” (New Scientist)Brain implant trials raise ethical concerns (Science Magazine). The Obama administration is pushing this technology.The Pentagon’s gamble on brain implants, bionic limbs and combat exoskeletons (Nature): “fraught with ethical concerns” … “no guarantee that the Pentagon will actually listen to ethicists’ concerns.”An Italian surgeon is calling in the US for funds to support a head transplant as soon as next year. (Medical Xpress)Noninvasive prenatal testing works (Medical Xpress) and is proving safe and effective, preferred by patients (Medical Xpress). The technology, however, can be used for sex selection and decisions to terminate a pregnancy if genetic disease is found. “Results from a national study of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in women at high risk of having a baby with Down’s syndrome will be presented at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics,” for instance.Embryonic stem cell research continues (e.g., Nature), even though scientists are well aware their use poses ethical questions, while induced pluripotent stem cells do not, and are becoming easier to produce (Science Daily).New Scientist ponders “an impossible, unethical experiment, but fascinating all the same” – putting children on an island and observing whether they develop morality. “Are we humans? or animals?” is part of the motivation for speculating about a real-world “Lord of the Flies” experiment.The rise of the “social algorithm” (e.g., Google tracking of population trends) could affect political speech and privacy. (Science Magazine)DNA profiling is leading to “a brave and uncertain new world” (PhysOrg)CRISPR/Cas9 is making genetic engineering of human embryos a real possibility (see our 6/05/15 entry).Evolutionary scientists believe that ethics and morality are reproductive strategies produced by natural selection, with no fixed moral compass. Secular materialists consider morality to reflect brain anatomy—nothing more.“Do cheaters have an evolutionary advantage?” (Science Daily). The very question presupposes that evolutionary advantage is what matters in life, whether or not cheaters prosper in the fitness game.High levels of moral reasoning correspond with increased gray matter in [the] brain (Science Daily). But is that correlation or causation?Why good people do bad things (PhysOrg); it’s all explained with strategy that can be manipulated by pragmatics, not by morality.Kids’ altruism reflects socio-economic status (Science Daily). If altruism can be manipulated by nature and nurture, it is relativistic.Scientists observe altruism and selfishness in brain activity (Medical Xpress); assumes secular materialism.Live Science offers a naturalistic explanation for a trending game that summons demons.Scientists are not always exemplary models of ethics.Retraction of scientific papers for fraud or bias is just the tip of the iceberg. (Ian Roberts in The Conversation)New study claims that $28 billion is spent each year on irreproducible biomedical research. (Science Magazine)Paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersal has written a new book documenting how scientists in his peer group have “misread our own story.” (Nature)Simultaneously, polls show that millennials are becoming the least religious generation ever in America (PLoS One). Devoid of a secure moral compass, manipulated by amoral scientists, subjected to easy-to-use technologies that devalue human life, what does the future hold?The voice from the pulpit is nearly silent now. Scientism has taken its place. America is picking up steam to race to become like Europe, where churches are being closed and converted to business uses or razed. The world is placing its hope in science, run by special interests, government regulators and moral relativists. Tools for death are being spread abroad. The “fetus” has no rights up to the moment of birth. Soon that will be true of the elderly and newborns. Since we didn’t learn from the 1930s, we are doomed to repeat the decisions that led to the slaughter of millions. Through all that time to the present, the one constant has been this: unquestioned allegiance to Darwinism and its foundation, secular materialism.Pastors, if you want to understand the intellectual history of all this evil, you need to read Darwin Day in America by John West. To understand its source, read Genesis 3. To understand its trajectory, read Revelation. You were called for such a time as this. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.last_img read more

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South African dairy body takes top accolade

first_imgSouth Africa’s dairy industry is provingto be as innovative as any in the world.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. Formore free photos, visit the image library)MEDIA CONTACTS • Tessa WeissnarConsumer Education Project of Milk SA+27 12 991 4164 or +27 83 967 4160RELATED ARTICLES• Southern Africa’s greenest dairy• Rooibos yoghurt fights cancer• Research to boost rooibos exports• No headaches for wine lovers• Honeybush industry set for growthEmily van RijswijckSouth Africa’s dairy industry shone at the International Dairy Federation’s 2011 Innovation Awards in Parma, Italy recently, producing both finalists and winners.The Consumer Education Project (CEP), an initiative of local dairy industry body Milk South Africa, took two first prizes for its innovative advertising and marketing campaign, while local dairy producer Fair Cape Dairies was named a finalist in the Best New Dairy Drink category and also contested the Best New Functional Dairy Product title.In the former category Fair Cape was recognised for its innovative Rooiboost Shots, a drinking yogurt flavoured with rooibos tea, and in the latter category for its rooibos yogurt.Rooibos tea has been the subject of numerous studies, which indicate that it does indeed assist in the fight against cancer and as a result, Fair Cape’s products are the only yoghurt to be endorsed by the Cancer Association of South Africa.“We are thrilled at this achievement,” said Louis Loubser, Fair Cape Dairies’ marketing director. “We have always believed in our products – however, to have them recognised as some of the best new dairy products in the world this year eclipsed our greatest expectations,”The CEP was launched by Milk South Africa to promote the health and nutritional benefits of dairy. Milk South Africa represents both the Milk Producers Organisation and the South African Milk Processors Organisation.The cow dealerThe CEP advertisement, titled The cow dealer, was produced by Cape-based advertising agency Fox P2. It was well received by the judges and took first prize in the categories of Best Generic Dairy Marketing Campaign and Best Consumer TV/Cinema Advertisement or Social Networking Marketing Campaign.In the charming advert, an indigenous cow dealer convinces first a Dutch settler and then a Zulu warrior of the benefits of milk, an added bonus which they will receive when they buy his latest “cow” model. Upon tasting the milk the settler and warrior smack their lips in delight, declaring the sale to be a done deal.CEO of Milk South Africa, Nico Fouché, said the awards have shown that the local milk industry can deliver world class products, to the benefit of both consumer and industry.In the Generic Dairy Marketing Campaign category the South African winner beat Canada’s Federation des Producteurs de lait du Quebec and its Cream campaign and the Luxlait Association from Luxembourg with its Vitarium campaign.In the Consumer TV/Cinema Advertisement category it saw off competition from India’s Gujarat Cooperative Milk with its Amul Master Chef TV campaign and Federation des Producteurs de lait du Quebec from Canada with its Milk campaign.CEP co-ordinator Christine Leighton expressed her pride in the accolades as, she said, the initiative strives to educate citizens about the health and nutritional advantages of dairy products.“This achievement has involved leading South African experts in fields such as dietetics, nutrition, dairy technology, marketing and advertising.”This year’s awards attracted over 100 entries from 25 countries in 14 categories including products, packaging, marketing as well as environmental sustainability.The judging panel was made up of 10 industry experts and was chaired by American Bill Bruce, editorial director of the UK-based FoodBev Media food and beverage industry publishing group.last_img read more

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Passive House in the Woods Goes Energy-Positive

first_img RELATED ARTICLES Passive House in the (Wisconsin) WoodsPassive House in the Woods Opens Its DoorsBlog Review: Tim EianWisconsin Electric Cooperative Jolts Passivhaus Owner The house is equipped with a solar hot water system, a 4.7-kW photovoltaic system, and a ground-loop system and liquid-to-air heat exchanger designed to pre-warm, pre-cool, and dehumidify the ventilation air as needed.Getting to positiveBased on PHPP calculations, Eian explained, as much as 80% of the heat load over the course of the year has been covered by passive solar gain.“While we predicted this with our energy models,” Eian wrote in the TE Studio blog, “we found and learned through monitoring that some equipment and appliances use more energy than assumed. On the flip side, user behavior plays a major role as well and can effectively lower energy consumption over the predicted model.”Eian also pointed out to GBA that more performance tracking will be needed to create an accurate picture of monitored usage. TE Studio summarized the monitoring data for 2011 in a report to the building’s owner, Gary Konkol, a general-practice physician, but at this point that information isn’t being released to the public.So monitoring will continue and, Eian adds, “no changes to the building’s systems or performance are scheduled. On whole, the building performs as predicted and the owner is very excited about it.” As the clock wound down on 2011, marking a full year of monitoring for Passive House in the Woods, in frosty Hudson, Wisconsin, it became clear that the building’s design, construction, and renewable-energy systems had combined to deliver net-zero-energy performance, and then some.Tim Eian, of Minneapolis-based TE Studio, designed the home to meet the Passivhvaus standard and teamed up with Morr Construction Services, of Shoreview, Minnesota, to turn the plans into reality. The 1,940-sq.-ft. home was certified by the Passive House Institute U.S. in October, and Eian recently reported on the TE Studio blog that it had produced more energy than it used in 2011.The home’s above-grade walls are built from 11-in.-thick insulated concrete forms (ICFs) clad with an exterior-insulation and finish system (EIFS) that brought the overall R-value of the walls to 70. The slab, which sits on 12 in. of extruded polystyrene, is designed to deliver R-60 thermal resistance, and the flat roof, with an average of 14 in. of polyisocyanurate insulation, is rated at R-95.last_img read more

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BSP will corner UPA on Land Acquisition Act: Mayawati

first_imgBSP president and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Sunday said that her party would corner the UPA government in Parliament on the issue of Land Acquisition Act.”The Congress ruled the country for over 50 years and has not done anything for the welfare of the people, specially dalits. It even failed to review the archaic Land Acquisition Act and the BSP will raise this issue vociferously in the coming monsoon session of Parliament,” Mayawati said at a convention of BSP workers from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Orissa.Taking a dig at Congress for backing the farmers’ protest at Bhatta Parsaul against the land acquisition, she said the Congress did not do anything all these years to replace the old Land Acquisition Act, though farmers were opposed to it.The BSP supremo also said that Congress had failed to do anything on bringing back black money in foreign banks. If this money was reclaimed, it would end the poverty of 50 per cent of the people living below poverty line, she said.She blamed Congress’ economic policies for the backwardness of the people and alleged that its policies were intended to benefit the industrialists close to the party.Mayawati said that her own party was run with donations only from common people, and therefore the BSP government’s policies only aimed at the welfare of the common people.BSP had a fair chance of becoming an alternative to the Congress and BJP in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Orissa, she asserted.advertisementShe also said that BSP would organise nationwide protests against the hike in the petrol prices.- With PTI inputsFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

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Silence echoes across Pyeongchang Olympic venues

first_imgWhen South Korea won last year’s Games, Mount Gariwang in Jeongseon was one of the few summits big enough to provide the 800-meter (2,600-foot) vertical drop required for a downhill skiing venue under International Ski Federation rules.There was one problem: it is in a forest conservation area.Organizers secured a temporary opt-out from the forestry ministry — enraging green campaigners — with a promise to restore the site to woodland after the event.But its future is in dispute as residents of Jeongseon, a former coal town whose last mine closed in 2004, demand that authorities go back on their word and keep the $170-million facilities as a tourist attraction.This picture taken on January 25, 2019 shows protest banners demanding the site’s development at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, where downhill skiing events were held during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. – Just one year after the world’s best skiers and skaters gathered in South Korea to compete for Olympic gold, many of the venues stand empty, with arguments mounting over their future and upkeep costs. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP)According to Choi Moon-soon, governor of eastern Gangwon province, reforestation would cost as much as building the slopes in the first place.“I had expected the Olympic legacy would attract many visitors here and stimulate our local economy, which is stagnant,” said local businessman Kim Chang-young, 52, who regularly joins the protests.He feels “betrayed” since the Games, he told AFP, with “hardly any visitors” coming to Jeongseon.A hotel that opened there last year was offering rooms in January at an 83 percent discount.And the area’s biggest resort Yongpyong, where slalom events were held, has seen fewer visitors this December and January than two years ago.Frozen in time View comments The construction bonanza was supposed to boost one of the poorest and least populated regions of Asia’s fourth-largest economy.But hopes of a tourism boom have gone unfulfilled in a nation where bobsleigh and luge were largely unheard-of before the Olympics and participation in winter sports remains limited.The risk of white elephants is a perennial issue for the Winter Games and the International Olympic Committee has struggled to find contenders willing to take on the burden.There were only two candidates in the final round for the 2022 Games that ultimately went to Beijing, and after a series of withdrawals only two are bidding for 2026, Milan and Stockholm.Forest slump ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town But today only the occasional elderly stroller passes through the Olympic park in Gangneung, where the cavernous speed-skating arena stands dark and ice-less.The sliding center in Pyeongchang, where South Korea’s Yun Sung-bin won Asia’s first Olympic skeleton gold, is locked with barriers blocking road access.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesAnd protesters are demanding that a downhill ski slope site be developed into a resort and not, as promised, returned to nature.South Korea also spent more than $10 billion on infrastructure before the Games, including a high-speed railway from Seoul to Gangneung, 200 kilometers (120 miles) east of the capital. PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes MOST READ SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrantscenter_img Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations “After they invested a large amount of money, abandoning these facilities because it costs too much to maintain is beyond understanding as a South Korean.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes U.S. urges Japan, South Korea to share intel PLAY LIST 01:35U.S. urges Japan, South Korea to share intel00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss This picture taken on January 25, 2019 shows a dummy South Korean bobsleigh team at a photo zone at the Olympic Plaza in Pyeongchang. – Just one year after the world’s best skiers and skaters gathered in South Korea to compete for Olympic gold, many of the venues stand empty, with arguments mounting over their future and upkeep costs. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP)Just one year after the world’s best skiers and skaters gathered in South Korea to compete for Olympic gold, many of the venues stand empty, with arguments mounting over their future and upkeep costs.The country built six sports centers and a ceremonial stadium from scratch for the 2018 Winter Olympics and renovated six existing facilities at a total cost of $800 million.ADVERTISEMENT Visitors have been banned from the $100-million Pyeongchang Olympic Sliding Centre since March after Gangwon authorities mothballed it to avoid estimated maintenance costs of 1.25 billion won ($1.1 million) a year.It is the only facility of its kind in the country, forcing South Korea’s bobsleigh and skeleton national teams to train in Canada instead.The Gangneung Oval, where the speed skating was held, is also unattended with no scheme identified for its future.As planned, the pentagonal arena that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies have been dismantled, with an Olympic museum due to open in the main stand.Some venues are in occasional use: the Gangneung Hockey Centre hosted a three-day national ice hockey tournament in December after lying idle for eight months, and it is holding two international competitions this week.This picture taken on January 24, 2019 shows a general view of the Gangneung Oval, where the speed skating was held during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. – Just one year after the world’s best skiers and skaters gathered in South Korea to compete for Olympic gold, many of the venues stand empty, with arguments mounting over their future and upkeep costs. (Photo by Yelim LEE / AFP)But with no professional ice hockey league in South Korea, it is unclear how often the $95-million center will welcome spectators.Meanwhile, the Gangneung Ice Arena, which hosted the figure skating and short-track speed skating, has been used for concerts — but only twice.A study by the government’s Korea Development Institute on the sliding center, the Oval and the hockey center is due to report in June, a sports ministry official told AFP, including on upkeep costs and who should pay them.Ordinary South Koreans have been left bewildered by the lack of progress.“The government should have had a long-term plan to use the Olympic venues,” said Han Hyung-seob, 37, a startup founder who took his family on a visit to Pyeongchang. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Russell Westbrook’s 7th straight triple-double leads OKC past Magiclast_img read more

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Global Orderbook for Superyachts Cruising at a Steady Pace

first_imgzoom The global order book for superyachts continues to cruise at a steady pace this year, with interesting trends towards larger vessels and more high-tech engineering, according to a report by international classification society RINA Services.Although the 30 to 45-metre sector remains the core of the industry in terms of delivery numbers, there is an increasing demand for larger yachts over 60 metres. Around 40 mega yachts over 80 metres are under construction or being delivered this year.The large-project segment has boosted figures in Germany in particular, which leads the field in terms of gross tonnage. In terms of units, however, Italian shipyards remain the market leaders with a 45% share of the global order book.The trend for explorer or expedition yachts is also growing. A number of yards are now specialising in expedition yachts, which are often built to ice class and require specific features including helicopter pads, diving tenders and submarines.A large fleet and low prices mean interesting opportunities in the pre-owned yacht market, which is in turn boosting the refit and conversion sector.RINA is heavily involved in overseeing upgrades and refits to meet new environmental and safety standards such as the BWM Convention. Many owners even wish to exceed required standards. Demand for RINA’s additional class notations for environmental aspects, including Green Plusand Hybrid Propulsion, indicates a widespread desire to own a truly “green” vessel.“Along with environmental aspects, comfort is a major driver of innovation in superyacht design. Our consulting engineering services, in particular our specialist noise and vibration expertise, are increasingly requested as yachtbuilders strive to push the boundaries and meet the high standards of onboard comfort expected by today’s owners,” RINA said.A significant trend is to build or refit yachts, particularly those over 40 metres, according to the Charter Code. The charter market is expected to remain strong in Europe, the US and the Middle East.“Self-sailing yachts” may not yet exist, but technology is certainly lowering the barriers to entry into the yachting world. The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) will transform the yachting industry, according to RINA.Automation already makes it easier to navigate and control a yacht safely, so fewer crew members may be needed in coming years. Technical improvements such as joysticks and the azipod system allow less experienced owners to sail and berth smaller yachts themselves.“The most crucial challenge for all in the superyacht industry right now is to constantly raise quality standards. A product at this price should be delivered in perfect condition and come with perfect after-sales service,” RINA said.“RINA of course is involved and fully committed to this ideal and the process to reach it. Innovation and technological advance are the keys to unlocking this challenge and securing our future.”last_img read more

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