Ellen Receives CRC Final Report on the NCC

first_imgThe Constitution Review Committee (CRC) has presented its final report on the National Constitution Conference (NCC) also containing recommendations to amend the Constitution of Liberia as well as several CDs of the 1986 Liberian Constitution in the 16 local vernaculars to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. During a formal presentation ceremony at the office of the President, the Chairperson of the CRC, Cllr. Gloria Musu Scott, on behalf of her colleagues, thanked President Sirleaf for the confidence reposed in them to perform the task and for the opportunity provided them to form part of such an historic national project.“Madam President, thank you for this opportunity to formally present to you the report from the National Constitution Conference,” Cllr. Scott said.She catalogued the President’s mandate given the Committee and the process they embarked on over three years to reach this point. Cllr. Scott reported the excellent cooperation from ex-officio members, the Governance Commission (GC), Law Reform Commission (LRC) and partners that strengthened them particularly providing financial, technical and moral support during the process. “Their vast experience and knowledge were at our disposal, and we have now reached this point,” she indicated.The CRC Chairperson expressed special thanks to all Liberians and emphasized that citizens’ participation in this review process was significant most especially for their direct participation and through their delegates during the formal and informal consultative phase in the 73 electoral districts of Liberia, and the National Constitution Conference held in Gbarnga, Bong County, from March 29 to April 2, 2015. She praised the partners who contributed immensely to make the process a success. “United Nations Development Program (UNDP) provided initial seed money; United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) provided technical assistance from New York, helicopter services, UNMIL Radio; USAID significantly contributed to the National Constitution Conference, while United Nations Peace-Building Fund (UNPBF), among other partners, provided additional assistance,” she pointed out.Cllr. Scott also highlighted the contribution of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) and the Liberian Women Democracy Radio that provided their media outlets “free of charge” for the dissemination of information to the Liberian public.In response, President Sirleaf thanked the CRC for the work. She also thanked the partners for the support they provided the CRC in executing its mandate.In 1847, the President said, the Constitution to a large extent reflected the circumstances and desires of the settler class. She said recognizing that circumstances had changed, one needed to add more in terms of equal opportunity, equity and recognition of the role of the population; thus a new Constitution came into effect in 1986 reflecting new circumstances of the country.President Sirleaf stressed that that Constitution remained with a few amendments in 2011 to ensure that the country’s political process remain intact.Starting in 2012, the Liberian leader continued, under the chairmanship of the GC and a committee formed under the “National Vision 2030,” there were consultations all over the country to form that National Vision. “That consultation indicated that the Liberian people wanted more than what the 1986 Constitution contained,” she emphasized, adding, “They wanted to see some revisions in some of those provisions; they wanted to ensure that certain equity and participation of the people were pronounced than what the 1986 Constitution provided and so those consultations formed the basis for starting that process of amendments to the Constitution,” she outlined, expounding further on the CRC’s mandate.President Sirleaf clearly stated that the Constitution stipulates that it is the National Legislature that determines what kind of constitutional amendments are made; but noted that as a result of the consultations in the CRC exercise, the document will pass through her, before being conveyed to them.Now that the CRC has presented to President Sirleaf for consideration the NCC report also containing recommendations to amend the Constitution of Liberia, it is anticipated that thereafter, the Liberian leader will make a presentation to the National Legislature for its due consideration.In the event of approval of the proposals for amendment by two thirds of the duly seated members of both Houses of the National Legislature, the approved proposals will be published in an Official Gazette for public consumption and understanding.The Constitution mandates that this public education be conducted for a minimum of 12 months prior to the holding of a referendum. Proposals receiving the approval of two thirds of the voters voting in the referendum shall then become amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Liberia.Liberia embarked upon the Constitution review process in August 2012 as part of its national reconciliation by setting up the CRC based on the recommendations from the Governance Commission (GC). To organize and lead this process, President Sirleaf established the CRC which eventually consisted of six eminent citizens as members; and two Ex-officio Members, Chairman of the GC and the Chairperson of the Law Reform Commission (LRC). This review process is intended to form part of addressing Liberia’s governance pitfalls and consequently engender reconciliation.Present at the presentation ceremony were partners including the Doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, Guinean Ambassador, H. E. Abdoulaye Dore; Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, Mr. Antonio Vigilante, European Union Ambassador to Liberia, H. E. Tiina Intelmann; a representative of the United States Agency for International Development; Co-Chair of the National Elections Commission, Cllr. Sarah Toe; Chairperson of the Civil Society Organizations of Liberia, Mrs. Frances Greaves; Ex-Officio Members: Chairman of the Governance Commission, Dr. Amos Sawyer; and Cllr. Deway Gray, representing the Law Reform Commission.Others were representatives of political parties, the Chairman of the National Council of Chiefs and Elders, Mr. Zanzan Karwor; among others.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Jagdeo disappointed over Govt’s nonpayment of year-end bonuses

first_img…says Disciplined Services, public servants deserved the courtesyBy Michael YoungeOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Thursday severely criticised the People’s National Congress-led A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government’s decision to deny public servants and serving members of the Disciplined Services the traditional year-end bonus in addition to their salaries.Jagdeo, speaking at a press conference held at his Church Street office, said the fact that Government did not “see it fit” to grant these bonuses was appalling and would no doubt have an impact on not only the mood of these hard-workingOpposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeopeople but also buoyancy of the economy.He said traditionally over $2 billion was set aside to fund the expenditure associated with year-end bonuses.Arguing that “that makes a huge difference to people out there”, the Opposition Leader opined that the non-payment, therefore, would contribute to the rise in uncertainty among people about their financial security in the future as he referenced the thousands of people who were expected to be laid off from the East Demerara Sugar Estates later this month.“…Spending patterns in the sugar belt have also changed, because people are concerned about their ability to earn next year … And so that is a contributory factor to the bleak situation out there (in the country),” he warned.He held fast to the view that people’s disposable incomes and their ability to earnFinance Minister Winston Jordanrevenue during the busy Christmas season could in part be affected adversely.“As a result of this, we are seeing some sloth in the season and I do hope that the parade picks up later for the sake of vendors and others who are having a hard time…in relation to their ability to earn. And it seems to me that the issue of disposable income is affecting large groups of people who traditionally had more money to spend.”He dismissed the Government’s argument that it was unable to grant the bonuses because of a lack of fiscal space. Jagdeo, however, told reporters that there were multimillion variances created because of the Finance Minister’s fascination with the presentation of early budgets.“The one-month variance alone in 2016 showed an $8 billion improvement in the fiscal accounts by January 1, 2017, because they had underestimated revenue and overestimated expenditure. And there is no doubt that 2017 will have a similar situation…and so next year when the Budget is presented, you will see a massive fiscal space that the Government could have used had they been more realistic with the finances to give people their bonuses,” he remarked.Last year, the two groups were also snubbed by Government as they benefited from no bonuses. Back in November 2016, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, while announcing marginal adjustments to the taxes paid by workers, lashed out at the public service, calling it lethargic and inept.He later told reporters that Government simply did not have the monies available to make the one-month tax-free payment to members of the public service.Expanding on his position then, the Minister told the House that all across the Public Sector, we are faced with issues of sluggishness in implementation, poor inter-agency coordination and cooperation, and a deficit of strategic planning and management.The Minister instead promised in 2016 that Government would continue to engage the unions in negotiations to find common ground to issues pertaining to wage and salary adjustment, de-bunching and allowances, taking into consideration the state of the economy and the desire to maintain macroeconomic stability.last_img read more

DD Motoring: Is the new Renault Megane all it’s cracked up to be?

first_imgThis week Donegal Daily’s motoring columnist Brian McDaid, test drives the new Renault Megane, and shares his memories of his uncle Johnny’s creative, and delicious looking headlights!Love your RenaultWhen I was 3 years old I believed I could eat the headlights on the Renault 8. My uncle Johnny Coyle drove one of these and would arrive home to Letterkenny from Carrick-On-Shannon with his headlights covered with Lucozade bottle wrappers to help him drive through fog! Advertisement The old RENAULT 8 complete with its tasty headlights.To me they looked like big versions of my favourite sweets, refreshers. And plus the fact, at 3 years old I was just the right height to test my theory and conduct a taste test. I suppose you could say my uncle Johnny drove the first car in Letterkenny with the optional extra of headlight washers.Testing the All New Renault MeganeI thought better not to mention my attraction to Renault headlights when I went to test drive the new Renault Megane this week.The all new Megane can be seen around the roads in Co. Donegal recently. We took a spin up the Mountain Top this week to Highland Motors to see what the latest edition to the Renault range had to offer the motoring public of Donegal. Advertisement The all New Renault Megane pictured on the picturesque Lough Salt Mountain pass they week. Photo Brian McDaidConal Kelly who is one of the sales team at Highland Motors and a fellow neighbour of mine from Wolfe Tone Place in Glencar, Conal handed over control of a very classic key fob of the all new Renault Megane and gave me a grind on the tweaks onboard.The key just needs to be in your possession and Renault does all the rest. Even as you are approaching the new Megane the two wing door mirrors open out just like the way Mollie my dog stretches to greet me you before I take her out for a run.Inside the Megane and this classy welcome is still in operation. The multi function unit in the middle of the dash flashes the Renault logo followed by a welcome, then fades out to an old style analog clock. The clock seems to say even if your late, you’re not that late. You could easily sit there for a while and watch the welcome continue.We are finally out on the road and as always with a Renault you can feel a great level of comfort from the seats. Over the years I have known friends that have bought nothing but Renault. Many who will be buying these new Megane’s will be able to tell you of having the R19 the the R14 the R12 and even as far back as the R8 or R10 which is roughly the names of the Renault cars that the Megane finally took over from nearly 20 years ago.Two car types in oneOver the years Renault produce both very comfortable cars while the sporting wing were at the forefront of producing some very powerful versions of family cars, Renault now have developed both these options with in their new Renault Megane, with the flick of a button down along the side of the gear stick you can have the best of both worlds within the same car.The Stylish key of the All New Renault Megane. Photo Brian McDaidOn Eco mode everything is geared to driving for economy the main centre dial in front of the driver and everything around it is illuminated in green. Your performance to achieving the best possible economy is shown instantly and also at the end of your journey.The cars will give you a readout and also can compare it with the the best the car has achieved, and also will suggest handy tips to achieving the best fuel economy. Things like checking tyre pressure, removing a roof rail when it’s not in use , small things that create drag which can add up to considerable savings if regularly checked. Sport ModeIf you flick the switch to sport mode the Megane transforms it suspension, its engine sound, and its brake horsepower output to a more firmer setup. Now the dash that was green and everything around it now is illuminated in a sporty red.This colour change is very gradual and even goes down the two sides of the transmission tunnel and along the piping of the doors of the car. This could be a bit of a hindrance if you were unfortunate enough to have back seat drivers on board as they would know by the colour code you have switched to sport and could be ever so helpful in telling you what you’rw doing wrong. What would we do without them?!The clocks of the All new Renault Megane in red for Sport mode. Photo Brian McDaidThese setting do work and change the set up of the car, the Megane I drove had the 1.5 Diesel engine which by the way has become so quiet its hard to tell the difference in the sound of it and a petrol unit, I drove the car in both modes and was starting to wonder if the dash in its green clean colours hypnotise me into going with the flow , relaxing and driving easy, were in sport the red setting and the big rev counter sitting straight in front of you brought out the sport in you.But there is a change with the flicking of the button. I was heading into a long climbing hill and the traffic had slowed in front of me. I had change down from sixth to fifth and shortly would have to change down again. I could see the back log of traffic clearing up a head so instead of making another gear change I flipped the switch from Eco to Sport to see what happened. The car now was competing against the climb if the hill, and my stubbornness not to change it down a gear, The Megane pulled away with ease, I could even hear a slight change in the note of the engine as the Megane gathered momentum which I thought was just class.Summing Up The Renault Megane is with the Renault brand for 20 years now, over the years it has taken over in that it has evolved into a bigger car. I think it may have been the first Renault to have a name and not a number which has served it well.This new Megane is probably a bigger car than the old top of the range Renault 16 of the 60’s and 70’s and that, I think is the secret to survive as a brand, Renault were different when they first appeared on the roads of Ireland in the late 60’s now with all the new brands arriving on the roads.The Renault brand is reassuringly familiar but stylish in a very typical French way. I have always enjoy tasting, I mean testing Renaults range, Headlights and all!Happy Motoring Folks!DD Motoring: Is the new Renault Megane all it’s cracked up to be? was last modified: October 6th, 2016 by Brian McDaidShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:brian mc daidmotoringRenault Meganetest drivinglast_img read more

DONEGAL DRINK-DRIVER JAILED AFTER DANGEROUS 18KM CHASE

first_imgGallagher leaving court after getting bail for an appeal against his prison sentenceA CONVICTED drink driver has been jailed for six months after dangerous driving and refusing to provide a specimen.Sean Gallagher, 44, from Cabra, Churchill, led Gardai on an 18km chase across County Donegal on April 1 this year, Letterkenny District Court heard. Inspector David Kelly said Gallagher sped off in his jeep when he was approached by a garda patrol in the car park outside the Rock Bar, Newmills. It was 2.05am.Inspector Kelly said Gallagher spun his wheels and drove off.What followed was a “15 minute frenzy of dangerous driving” on narrow country roads around Churchill.On several occasions on the 18km route, Gallagher attempted to block the Garda car before finally giving himself up.Gallagher was arrested but was abusive to gardai, telling Garda Paul McGee on several occasions that he would get him.“I know where you live. This is not the end of this,” Gallagher had threatened.When told refusal to provide a specimen could lead to a fine or imprisonment or both, Gallagher responded: “I’ve a good bicycle and I don’t have far to go for a drink.”He also said: “You can’t take knickers from a bare arse.”Inspector Kelly said Gallagher had four previous convictions and was still banned from driving for a previous drink-driving offence.Solicitor Patsy Gallagher said his client wished to apologise to gardai.Judge Kelly said: “This offence took place whilst Gallagher was banned from driving; there was some appalling driving over a distance of 18kms with attempts made to prevent the garda car from overtaking.”He jailed Gallagher for a total of 10 months – six months and four months consecutively – and fined him €500 and banned him from driving for a total of nine years.Gallagher, who is unemployed and lives with his mother, was later freed after lodging €500 and an independent surety of €1,000 pending an appeal.DONEGAL DRINK-DRIVER JAILED AFTER DANGEROUS 18KM CHASE was last modified: July 16th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:cabraChurchilldrink driversean gallagherThe Rock Bar Newmillslast_img read more

GETTING READY FOR WINTER IN DONEGAL!

first_imgTHIS little fella is getting ready for winter.The red squirrel was snatched amongst the golden leaves of autumn by wildlife photographer Christine Cassidy in Inishowen on Saturday.  GETTING READY FOR WINTER IN DONEGAL! was last modified: November 9th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Inishowenred squirrellast_img read more

AMERICAN FOLK BAND SET FOR KILLYBEGS IN CHARITY CONCERT

first_imgThe Hounds of Finn, an Irish Folk Band from Minnesota in the USA are performing for one night only in Donegal tonight and have picked the Tara Hotel as their location.They played the Famous Monroes yesterday in Galway.The Hounds will be travelling here with 45 American friends so if you’re in Killybegs tonight go along and give them a traditional Donegal welcome. The Concert in the Tara Hotel will start at 9.30pm with Support from the Newly Formed Donegal School of Traditional Irish Music.A Great Night of Entertainment is assured and all for such a good cause. Admission is €7.00 on the Night and All Proceeds on the Night will be for the Donegal – Galway Cancer Bus & the Local Killybegs Coast Guards.“We are very excited and honoured to be holding a very special event in Donegal,” said fiddler Grainne Gallagher (wonder where she’s originally from?)   AMERICAN FOLK BAND SET FOR KILLYBEGS IN CHARITY CONCERT was last modified: March 19th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:cancer buscharitycoast guardHounds of FinnKillybegslast_img read more

IRISH DANCE TEACHER ORDERED TO PAY €500 PER MONTH IN ABUSE CASE

first_imgMichael Quigley outside court today. Copyright North West News PixAN Irish dance teacher has been ordered to pay a woman he was accused of sexually assaulting €500 per month as part of a damages claim.Judge Paul Kelly made the ruling at Letterkenny District Court today against Michael Quigley, of Barnhill Park, Letterkenny. Quigley had faced two criminal trials on indecent assault charges but juries had failed to reach verdicts in both cases.Dana Doherty, now 44, took a civil action for damages and last year the Supreme Court upheld a €400,000 pay-out.Quigley has refused to make payments to Ms Doherty and had refused to comply with an earlier order of the District Court to provide details of a Credit Union account held in Derry.Senior counsel Desmond Murphy, acting for Quigley, attempted to have the case halted before today’s court.He argued that the Supreme Court judges had not yet issued an written judgement in the case and he said that there may be grounds to appeal their decision to the European Courts.Until that written judgement was issued, he argued, all other legal cases should be put on hold.Orla Sharkey, solicitor for Ms Doherty, said however that the Supreme Court decision stood and even if there were grounds for a further appeal, the decision of the High Court for the immediate award of €50,000 of the settlement stood.She said Ms Doherty had been reluctant to pursue payment through the District Court because of the publicity that would surround it.Mr Murphy said Ms Doherty had “revelled” in the publicity surrounding the Supreme Court decision.Ms Sharkey objected strongly to those comments describing them as “appalling”.She said Judge Kelly had the jurisdiction to take the case and make an order for payment.Judge Kelly agreed, saying that whatever the legal situation over the entire settlement “I am satisfied at the very least the applicant (Ms Doherty) is entitled to seek payment of the €50,000.”The judge said he was making an order for the payment of €500 per month based on evidence he heard from Mr Quigley at the same court last month in which he said his weekly income was €339 from his Derry Journal pension.IRISH DANCE TEACHER ORDERED TO PAY €500 PER MONTH IN ABUSE CASE was last modified: March 4th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:assaultletterkennyMICHAEL QUIGLEYpay outsex attackvictimlast_img read more

Sharks offer no Karlsson update, but two forwards return to practice

first_imgErik Karlsson was not at Sharks practice Thursday morning after missing Wednesday night’s season-opening loss in Las Vegas.“I can’t share anything and I don’t know,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told reporters when asked about Karlsson’s status for Friday night’s home opener, a return date with the Vegas Golden Knights.Karlsson’s absence was announced just before warmups of the Vegas game, a 4-1 Golden Knights victory. The Sharks have only said Karlsson is tending to a personal matter.Back at …last_img read more

SA development goals ‘need monitoring’

first_img7 September 2011 Simply adopting a tick-box approach to tackling development will not solve South Africa’s many problems, chief among them the state of its education system, says National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel. Addressing Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Provincial Legislatures (MPLs) at the start of a two-day consultative seminar in Parliament on the Millennium Development Goals on Tuesday, Manuel urged them to get more deeply involved in their respective constituencies and monitor the government’s work more effectively. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were signed by 189 countries in 2000 and contain a pledge to meet 21 targets in human development by 2015.Access to education – of what quality? Manuel cautioned against officials who simply “ticked boxes”, as this would lead to superficial development. He singled out MDG goal two – access to primary education – which the country was doing very well at. He said though 99.7% of South African children were in school, this said nothing about the quality of teaching, whether teachers were in class teaching or how many days they were in class teaching. “We’ve ticked the MDG … goal two, but the outcomes in education are abysmal,” he said. He said of the 1.4-million pupils that started school in 1999, 600 000 sat for matric last year, of which 67.8% passed, yet only 15% of those that passed obtained matric marks higher than 40%. “[I]f you pass like that, there is very little you can do in society.” Manuel pointed out that South Africa ranked 137 out of 150 countries in maths and science, and that although it spent 6% of its GDP on education, it was one of the bottom 25 performers on the African continent in education.‘This is apartheid still in existence’ “We must understand the hardship that we are imposing on the poor, because this is apartheid still in existence,” he said. Manuel said there were 18 schools last year where no pupils passed. He then asked those members who knew they had schools in their constituencies that had a zero pass rate to raise their hands – only two members did so. “So there are still 16 schools that we don’t know about we have constituencies. How does this happen? Because if we don’t know what is happening amongst the people we service, how are we, members that represent them, [to help]?” He said the education system was to blame for most ills in South Africa – from unemployment, to crime, corruption and the state of the health care system. “The reason so few South Africans work is because people leave school without elementary skills. The reasons we have such problems in the healthcare [system] is that the education system appears not to equip people to deal with choices about their conduct, whether this be their alcohol consumption or their sexual conduct. “The reason people are so tolerant of corruption in this country is that the education system does not empower people to rise up and say ‘what is happening is wrong’. “So if we want transformation, then [transformation in] education is going to have to be fundamental. Perhaps the most abused word in South Africa is empowerment, but education is the genesis of empowerment. Unless you deal with this issue, the other issues are not going to fall into place.”‘Let us not look for excuses’ He said South Africa might have the world’s best documentation available when it came to transparency of its budget and budgeting processes, but the question remained whether the country was using the budget adequately or not. He also questioned why it was that South Africa, with its limited available budget, had such a “slack oversight” function, with provincial parliamentary officials often coming up with findings that were completely different from those of Parliament’s oversight visits. Responding to a question from one member on whether the influx of foreign migrants would not put a strain on South Africa achieving the MDGs, Manuel said he didn’t believe migrants would be a problem for the country, and added that South Africa should never turn away fellow Africans. “Let’s not try to find a reason for poor performance, because we are African.” The UN Development Programme (UNDP) resident co-ordinator, Agostinho Zacarias, said looking across the world, progress – largely owing to the recent growth of India and China – had been made to lower the poverty level. Quoting the 2011 MDG report, Zacarias said the overall proportion of those living in poverty, defined as those living on $1 or less a day, had fallen from 45% to 27% (against a target of 23% by 2015) between 1990 and 2005. However, the decline was less dramatic for sub-Saharan countries, he said, where poverty fell from 58% to 51% (against a target of 29% by 2015) over the same time period.Mixed results on MDGs South Africa had experienced mixed results with the MDGs, with extreme poverty falling from 11.3% in 2000 to 5.7% in 2006 and so exceeding the MDG aim of halving poverty by 2015. Zacarias said South Africa had done well on water and sanitation – with those who have access to clean water moving from 88.7% in 2002 to 92.4% in 2009 and those with access to sanitation, from 61.9% to 70%. However, of particular importance for South Africa was meeting MDG goals 4, 5 and 6, which pertain to the areas of child welfare, maternal welfare and HIV/Aids and other related diseases, he said. In South Africa, the number of children who die before their fifth birthday had risen from 59 per 1 000 births to 140 per 1 000 by 2007 (against a target of 20 per 1 000). He said similarly, the maternal mortality rate had risen from 150 per 100 000 live births to 625 per 100 000 live births. HIV/Aids accounts for just over 40% of maternal deaths, he said. A national task team on the acceleration framework, made up of officials including MPs, was already working on removing bottlenecks, while the UNDP is also helping to assist provinces to tackle shortfalls. He said the UNDP was particularly targeting MDG goal five – the reduction of maternal deaths – as bringing down the number of maternal deaths would also enhance the number of children living beyond their fifth birthday and reduce the number of mothers that die from HIV/Aids. Nii Mai Thompson, a senior economist at the UNDP, said it was key for parliaments across the world to hold respective governments to account. For example, he said when it came to reducing child mortality, Parliament could help pass a law on child vaccination, get the involvement of civil society and provide budgetary oversight as well as oversight on the law itself. Thompson said in monitoring the progress of MDG goals, Parliament could ensure that annual MDG workplans were carried out, conduct field visits, investigations and reports, hold debates, conferences and workshops on key issues and ensure questions were made to ministers. The MDGs’ 21 targets are structured under eight goals, namely: eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; development a global partnership for development. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Precision Flying World Champs in South Africa

first_imgTeam South Africa at the launch of the 2011 Precision Flying World Championships. The launch of the championships took place in Brits, North West, on 23 October 2011. Precision flying events are designed for the solo operation of a single-piston engine aircraft. (Images: Nicky Rehbock) MEDIA CONTACTS • Izelle Hoffman MGMT Marketing and Media +27 83 388 4484RELATED ARTICLES • Rooivalk gets its wings • Bid for in-flight mobile phone use • New low-cost airline for rural SA • Govt offers aviation, maritime careers • Air show gives wings to young dreamsNicky RehbockThe 20th Precision Flying World Championships, sponsored by Brand South Africa and currently under way in North West province, will see 14 teams from around the world covering miles of unforgiving terrain to prove their unaided aviation prowess.The international teams, mainly from Europe, arrived in the country on 17 October 2011 for practice and orientation, as South African topography is vastly different to that of their home countries. The first competitive stage takes place on 26 October and the winning team will be announced on 29 October.This year’s championships include teams from South Africa, Norway, France, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, New Zealand, UK and Germany.Precision flying competitions are designed for solo operation of a single-piston engine aircraft, such as a Cessna 172. The sport is aimed at improving fundamental flying skills to enable a solo pilot to navigate and handle an aircraft under basic visual flying conditions without the backup of technical systems.Skills honed from precision flying therefore make a pilot more effective when flying bigger, more advanced aircraft.“Precision flying pretty much requires the skills that every pilot should have. We are talking here about accuracy, precise navigation, constant lookout, vigilant observation and inch-perfect landings,” says director of the 2011 champs, Antony Russell.“Participants represent the cream of the crop in terms of these everyday skills. The younger pilots among us hopefully represent the continued respect for these skills in increasingly automated cockpits as technology takes over from good, solid aviation practice.”Accuracy is keyThe sport requires pilots to calculate an accurate flight plan using the most basic equipment, follow a precise flight path while sticking to a tight time schedule, complete observation tasks from the air to the ground while navigating the plane, and land it on short, narrow airstrips with trees and other obstacles on the approach.Precision flying comprises three sections: flight planning and navigation, special observation and landing.During the first section the competitor works out the route details, taking into account the distance, ground speed, allocated time and wind factor.During the second stage the pilot puts his or her calculations to the test by flying along the chartered course while keeping to the exact time constraints. The competitor’s map will have photographs and ground beacons marked on it, which will have to be identified from the air.There are check points along the way and pilots are awarded penalties for every second they are late or early in reaching these.They are also penalised for inaccurate identification of ground markers and photographs.The third section comprises four different types of landings. During each type the pilot must put the aircraft’s wheels down on to a 2m-long stripe painted on the runway. Penalties are awarded for each metre long or short of the line.History of precision flyingPrecision flying started in the Scandinavian countries between the two world wars to create a set of skills that combined hunting, flying and cross-country skiing.Participants would fly to a remote location, land in the mountains, ski to an allocated spot, shoot a target and then fly off to the next spot, to repeat the routine.After the Second World War more countries became interested in the discipline and over the years a set of rules was drawn up to govern it.Nowadays the sport is open to everyone, with stiff competition developing between southern hemisphere participants and their northern counterparts.last_img read more