Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Pelicans extend Okafor through the end of the season Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano LATEST STORIES TIpoff at the Jr. NBA Philippines Regional Selection Camp in Butuan.Jr. NBA Philippines 2018 welcomed a massive 1,505 young crowd in its the Mindanao leg at Fr. Saturnino Urios University in Butuan City over the weekend.Boys and girls aged 10 to 14 from Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Bukidnon, Davao, Sarangani and other provinces in Mindanao trooped to the first-ever Jr. NBA Regional Selection Camp in the city for the record-setting numbers.ADVERTISEMENT Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Young Higa-onon, Manobo and Banwaon players all tried their luck, but only 11 aspirants got the golden ticket to the two-day basketball exposition at the the National Training Camp on May 18 to 20.Selections from the Jr. NBA Philippines Regional Training Camp in Butuan.These 11 are: Richard Carvero III, 13, and Paolo Matthew Kho, 13, of Corpus Christi School; Christian Joi Mesias, 14, of Jose Maria College; Zhan Paolo Moreno, 13, of Xavier University; Michael John Sarmiento, 13, of Father Saturnino Urios University; Klein Tyrone Tagotongan, 13, of St. Mary’s School; and Vince Uchi, 14, of Alabel National Science High School for the boys division and Madelyn Flores, 14, of Bukidnon National High School; Aishe Solis, 13, of Corpus Christi School; Mikylla Taborada, 13, of Kauswagan National High School; and Pauline Angelique Valle, 13, of Misamis Oriental General Comprehensive High School for the girls division.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkJr. NBA coaches Rob Newson and Jeffrey Cariaso made the selections after two day’s worth of basketball training and scrimmages.“There’s a lot of talent here,” said Newson. “We were really impressed with at least three of the kids who were selected that we really feel have the natural ability to make it until the end. The kids love the game. They worked really hard and I’m excited to see them in Manila.” Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed Baguio is set to host the next Regional Selection Camp on March 17 to 18 before it goes to its final stop in Manila on April 21 and 22.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments
Dear Editor,The recently released Auditor General reports indicate a troubling state of public financial management across public agencies, including Government ministries and regional administrations. There are numerous cases of financial mismanagement, breaches of public procurement laws, and management inefficiencies that are draining scarce public resources. For the fiscal year 2017, taxpayers lost more than $1 billion in overpayments to contractors, payments for goods without any vouchers, and payments for goods that were not delivered, according to the report. A review of audit reports from previous years suggests that these problems are systemic, deeply entrenched, and are costing taxpayers billions over the years. This raises the question of whether lawmakers pay attention to these findings and whether their commitment is to ensure taxpayers money is used transparently and efficiently to benefit society.Public audits are meant to provide lawmakers and taxpayers with an assessment of how well public agencies deliver public services, whether they have operated within their budgets, and more importantly, whether they have executed their functions, consistent with good public financial management practices. Audits, therefore, can be used as a tool to identify and tackle inefficiency, mismanagement, waste, and fight corruption, if lawmakers take them seriously and act on their recommendations.Taxpayers foot the bill of $750 million a year on average to finance the operations of the Audit Office of Guyana. Not taking these audits and their recommendations seriously, and holding agency heads accountable, amount to encouraging the abuse of public resources and the non-compliance of good public financial management practices. It also undermines public trust and confidence in the Government.As a poor country, there is not enough money to pay for all of society’s needs at once. Every year, the government takes on billions of dollars in new debt to supplement tax revenues in order to finance its budget’s priorities. Tax revenues are monies taxpayers pay upfront, while debts are monies they must repay in the future. These are monies people are giving to the government to use in a sensible way that will benefit the society and build a strong economy. It is incumbent on the Government to ensure these funds are used in a transparent and efficient manner, and in full compliance of public financial management laws.When public resources are mismanaged, wasted, or used for corrupt activities, taxpayers are not only robbed of the benefits of their taxed dollars, but still must repay all debts.The Government which currently has control over parliament has the ultimate authority to enforce existing regulations, or implement new rules and regulations that will reign in mismanagement and abuse of taxpayers’ money. The Public Accounts Committee, a parliamentary sub-committee, which has oversight of the audit office lacks the authority to enforce fiscal management and accountability rules and regulations. The Audit Act of 2004 empowers the Auditor General to request the Director of Public Prosecution and Commissioner of Police to take appropriate action and prosecute offenders where he believes an offense was committed. Unfortunately, the definition of what constitutes an ‘offense’ in the Act does not include the mismanagement and abuse of public funds, the violation of public procurement laws, or corruption. The current lack of enforcement and the failure to hold agency heads and other public officials accountable, contribute to the persistent and severity of mismanagement, abuse and waste.Lawmakers can disagree on policy priorities and how best to move the country forward. What they should not disagree on is ensuring taxpayers’ money are used efficiently and transparently to address public needs. The Guyana Budget Policy Institute urges lawmakers on both sides of the house to take necessary and immediate actions to stop the abuse and mismanagement of public resources.Sincerely,Boamattie SinghCFO and FinanceAnalystGuyana BudgetPolicy Institute
Dear Editor,Over the past two days, there has been a back and forth between the People’s Progressive Party and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson on Facebook. On Thursday, the PPP’s official page carried an assertion that China International Contractors had made a deposit of US$9000 into Minister Patterson’s personal account.Early on Friday, AFC Treasurer Dominic Gaskin, speaking at his party’s press conference, said he would put his neck on a block that US$9000 was never deposited by China International Contractors into the personal bank account of Public Infrastructure Minister, David Patterson on February of 2017.However, on Friday evening, Patterson replied to the PPP via Facebook to confirm that a deposit was made into his account by China International Contractors as asserted. His explanation was that the deposit was reimbursement for his travel expenses to the Seventh International Investment and Construction Forum in Macao, China, and this arrangement was approved by Cabinet.Quite apart from the loss to Dom’s body, this answer raises many questions as to the ethics and purpose of Patterson’s trip. It is a legend that Singapore stamped out corruption at the very top by jailing a Minister who accepted a paid vacation, in contrast, we have our Cabinet approving the acceptance of a ‘free’ trip by a Minister who routinely makes decisions which are vital to our public infrastructure.Is there any public report or record submitted by Patterson of his activities at this conference? Given that two massive contracts were awarded to Chinese companies for provision of service to GPL – one was more than a billion dollars over the engineer’s estimate and the other exceeded the nearest bid by a billion also – GPL falls under the Minister’s purview; can we ask if these companies also attended the forum in Macao? Given that there was a massive reduction in the deliverables of the CJIA expansion project, a ‘fixed price’ contract and a bewildering increase in payment to a Chinese firm, can we ask if China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) was also present in Macao? And if so, were there any talks with Minister Patterson?Going forward, it would be useful for Minister Patterson to respond to assertions via the recognised press and provision of proof of “prompt” remittance to MARAD as claimed to be provided. A provision against acceptance of ‘free’ anything by Ministers of Government should be written into the much vaunted APNU/AFC Ministers’ Code of Conduct, for it seems the basics of ethics and common sense have evaded the Cabinet; today also saw another AFC Minister, Cathy Hughes, assert that the citizens of the country are corrupt to explain her lack of remorse that a company she owns was awarded Government contracts without due process.Respectfully,Robin Singh
Police in the highland city of Gbarnga in Central Liberia have raided several ghettos and criminals’ hideouts arresting a number of suspected criminals in their operation.According to the commander of the Crime Services Division (CSD) of the Bong County Police Detachment Inspector, G. Alvin James, the police instituted the measure due to the alarming reports of armed robbery in the city in recent days.Inspector James told the Daily Observer that the Detachment was assisted by the Police Support Unit (PSU) assigned at the Gbarnga Regional Justice and Security Hub and the UNMIL counterparts to implement the raid.“Police will only be successful in operations like this if community members are eager to assist the police by providing information on criminals and their hideouts,” Inspector James emphasized.Officer James, exclusively told the Observer that at least 20 suspected criminal were and arrested in the raid. According to him, 11 were charged with armed robbery and sent to the Gbarnga Magisterial Court for trial while they (officers) were still investigating the rest.The county’s CSD boss lamented that his detachment had instituted a number of strategies to deal with the growing wave of criminal activities in the city. But he reminded residents to support the police by supplying them with pieces of information about criminals and their dens. The exercise will be extended to other communities like Sergeant Kollie Town (SKT) and Palala, which he said are infested with hardened criminals. This newspaper gathered that a lady only identified as Kormasa of Lorma Quarter in Gbarnga, who has been under surveillance by police and suspected of harboring the suspected criminals was apprehended by police during the raid, with several single barrel pistol guns and cutlasses as well as some harmful drugs in her possession.Tuesday, armed robbers attacked a number of communities in Gbarnga leaving scores of community dwellers injured, while the criminals made away with several valuable items including cash.Communities that were badly hit by the armed robbers included Plum Valley, Bassa Community, Baltimore Boulevard and Lelekpayea.Early Tuesday morning the lifeless body of a 15-year-old boy whose family member, identified as Lami Jarkatay, was discovered in a warehouse of a garage on the Baltimore Boulevard. A single barrel bullet wound was found in the teenager’s chest. Police in Gbarnga have not established who was responsible for the boy’s death; however stated that investigation is on-going.A resident of Lelekpayea Community in Gbarnga, Emmanuel Duah, told this newspaper that on Sunday morning, July 13, armed robbers entered their home, put the tenants at gun point and took away their personal effects and other valuables.Emmanuel Duah informed this reporter that the robbers were brandishing single barrel pistols to execute their operations. This reporter was not able to talk to any of the suspected armed robbers as he was told by police that they (criminals) were undergoing police preliminary investigations.Residents of Gbarnga, who spoke to this newspaper described the situation as worrisome and called on the Liberia National Police (LNP) and the Police Support Unit (PSU) assigned at the Gbarnga Regional Justice and Security Hub to increase their patrols, especially at night.“I have noticed that every holiday season criminal activities are on the increase in Gbarnga. I think the only solution to this growing wave of armed robbery in the country is that the Government of Liberia should pass into law approving every citizen before he or she can possess fire arms,” Moses Flomo of the Gboveh Hill Community stated.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Hopes were dashed and teeth grinded again on Sunday when the Lone Star was shamefully kicked out from the 2016 African Nations Championship qualifiers – there were sadness and doubt coupled with insults on Lone Star for ending another football journey.Liberia needed a 2-0 to qualify for the 2nd phase of the CHAN tournament – at least to raise the hope of Liberians especially after the end of the deadly Ebola Virus, just as the George Weah X1 did after the two civil wars.The players performed dismally and Coach James Salinsa Debbah – speechless and frustrated wore an olive green shirt and light trousers instead of the expected red, white and blue – nevertheless he was ridiculed as a ‘bad coach.”Literally, there were tears in the eyes of former 1995 FIFA World Best Player, Senator George Weah, Public Works Minister Gyude Moore and many other Liberian fans – having anxiously stoned the front windshield of the Match Commissioner’s rented vehicle (License Plate # BB-764), when the back gate was locked to stop them from entering.“Would the Lone Star ever become the nation’s pride again,” this was the one billion dollars question on the lips of Liberians as they fought to come out of the field as they had fought to go in.The performance of the national team under its 9th coach since the era of George Weah was appalling thereby causing a number of blames. Inarguably, Lone Star 1995-2002 became the nation’s pride and joy, pulling many surprises.In the 1996 Afcon qualifiers, Liberia qualified with 10 points – won three, drew four and lost one. Liberia whipped Togo and Tunisia 1-0 each, defeated Mauritania 2-0, bowed to Senegal 3-0, and again drew with Senegal to gain the second ticket.Four years later, the George Weah X1, after two failed campaigns, qualified for the African Cup of Nations in 2002.Mauritania was whipped on the two-tie – 4-0 and 2-0 as well as Congo –5-1 and 1-0 but bowed 2-1 to South Africa and drew 1-1 in the second leg to top Group 2.In the 2002 World Cup qualifiers, for the first time, Liberia nearly qualified, after five wins and three losses, especially the 2-1 defeat to Ghana at home after humiliating Ghana in 3-1 in Accra.Since the George Weah X1’s dissolution in 2002 by former President Charles Taylor, Lone Star is yet to pick its rhythm due to several factors.Lone Star’s coaches since 2001 have included Kadalah Kromah, Kofi Bruce, Frank Jericho Nagbe, Sr., Antoine Hey, Bertalan Bicskei, Robert Landi, Thomas Kojo, Kaetu Smith and now James Debbah.Debatably, more than six players have not played together for more than six years on the national team, like George Weah X1.George Weah X1 had seven constant players: George Weah, James Debbah, Kelvin Sebwe, Mass Sarr, Jr., Jimmy Dixon, Zizi Roberts and Joe Nagbe.Another argument could be that those players had a solid foundation– played in sequence – and were able to qualify under the late Wilfred (Green Banana) Lardner and those of Vava George.Our current players seem to be a “generation of players” that has lost its way owing to the lack of focus.BBC described George Weah, from 1996 – 2001, as the real soul of the team. And there has been no player to take the mantle of leadership for the national team. However, five players came close to claim the leadership but owing to personal issues, they could not succeed. They include: Dulee Johnson, Francis Doe, Anthony Laffor and Sekou Jabateh.In any case, all is not lost as there are five more games for a place in the 2017 African Cup of Nations. Lone Star with our professionals will have Tunisia, Djibouti and Togo to challenge.What should Liberians expect? Another disappointment or officials would put on their thinking caps to make a complete change necessary for the better? While we await the future of Lone Star, we pray that the Liberian government will now show some concern about the future of the team that represents the nation in competitions.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
– Pilot suffers minor injuries; air-dashed to city hospital– Aviation Authority launches investigationBY SHEMUEL FANFAIRTwo weeks after a fatal plane incident, another domestic air carrier crashed moments after taking off from the Eteringbang airstrip in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). However, on this occasion, the pilot was rescued alive, bearing minor injuries. The pilot, Captain Dominique Waddell, was air-dashed to the Eugene F Correia International Airport at Ogle, East Coast Demerara around 14:00h on Tuesday, following a late morning crash to the Wing’s Aviation single-engine Cessna aircraft which he navigated.Captain Dominique Waddell was said to have escaped with minor injuries as he was air-dashed to the city via at the Eugene F Correia Airport at OgleA Roraima Airways plane rushed to the area around 12:00h and brought the pilot to safety. He was said to have been travelling alone. Captain Waddell escaped with minor injuries and was responding to emergency medical personnel who were assessing his condition at the Ogle airport.His muddied shoes and other belongings were seen at the emergency medical operation. Family members had anxiously rushed to the airport but were relieved to see that Captain Waddell did not suffer life-threatening injuries. This newspaper was told that the pilot is a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) rank. As such, a GDF ambulance transported him to a private medical facility after he was tended to by a team that included several Army service members.An official attached to the Wings Aviation Company, disclosed that the pilot did not suffer any major injury and noted that the emergency response was taken as a precautionary measure.Roraima Pilot, Captain Gerry Gouveia Junior, briefed this publication on the rescue operation.“We had a plane in the area doing some shuttle work along with the aircraft so when we heard of the incident, our pilot was quick to respond as part of the search and rescue team. Once we were able to find the pilot, we brought him out immediately to Georgetown,” the pilot disclosed.The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) later in day pointed out that it has launched an investigation to “ascertain the circumstances leading to the crash of a single engine CESSNA aircraft – bearing registration number 8R-GPR.” GCAA confirmed that the crash time was registered at approximately 11:00h. Based on reports received, the Wings Aviation plane was on a shuttling mission from Eteringbang to Ekereku when the incident occurred.The Aviation body further noted that officials from the Accident and Investigation Group assisted by a GCAA team visited the crash site to commence investigations. On July 25, Captain Collin Martin, a retired Guyana Defence Force Major, was piloting a Roraima Airways aircraft when it crashed killing him almost instantly.
SAN FRANCISCO – Federal prosecutors said Friday they would retry marijuana grower Ed Rosenthal on cultivation charges, even after a federal judge urged them to drop the case and chastised the government for lodging charges solely to punish the self-proclaimed “guru of ganja.” U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer demanded to know who in the Department of Justice decided to continue pursuing Rosenthal, who had his original conviction overturned last year. Rosenthal can’t be sentenced to prison even if he is convicted because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the one-day prison sentence ordered by Breyer in 2003. Newly appointed U.S. Attorney Scott Schools made the decision, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney George Bevan, who said he was unsure if Justice Department officials in Washington were involved. The appeals court ruling affirmed the federal government’s right to prosecute medical marijuana clubs in states such as California where the drug is legal when used for medicinal purposes. When federal prosecutors indicted Rosenthal again on three growing charges in October over the same marijuana operation, they also added four counts of money laundering and five counts of filing false tax returns. But Breyer tossed out those additional charges last month, saying they were solely to punish Rosenthal for winning his appeal to overturn his initial conviction and complaining that the government treated him unfairly. Prosecutors said Friday they wouldn’t appeal the judge’s decision to toss out those charges. On Friday, Rosenthal’s attorneys filed court papers asking Breyer to order the government to pay their fees for fighting the money laundering and tax charges. Federal law allows defendants to seek attorneys fees if they’ve been wrongly charged by vindictive prosecutors. “The governments position was vexatious, frivolous and in bad faith because it was motivated by the government’s desire to prosecute not convict Mr. Rosenthal in retaliation for his constitutional right to openly express his ideas and freely voice his beliefs without oppression,” the filing stated. The three lawyers declined outside court to state how much money they were seeking and filed that figure confidentially with Breyer. A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney declined to comment on the fee request.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The judge said the government’s position to go forward left him no choice but to hold a trial, which he scheduled for May 14. “This isn’t a criminal case, this is a political case,” said Rosenthal, who appeared in court dressed in a blue wizard’s robe with a golden marijuana leaf emblazoned over the breast. “I may as well get my money’s worth and have a trial.” Rosenthal, 62, has written numerous books with titles such as “The Big Book of Buds” and “Ask Ed: Marijuana Law. Don’t Get Busted.” He also wrote an “Ask Ed” column for High Times magazine. Rosenthal was convicted of three felonies in 2003 for growing hundreds of plants for a city of Oakland medical marijuana program. Breyer sentenced him to one day in prison on grounds that Rosenthal reasonably believed he was immune from prosecution because he was acting on behalf of Oakland city officials. A federal appeals court overturned his conviction last year because of misconduct by a juror who consulted an attorney on how to decide the case. The appeals court also ruled against the government and said that the one-day prison sentence was fair, which means Rosenthal doesn’t face any more prison time even if he is convicted again.
The prospective juror was one of many who raised the subject of the O.J. Simpson trial when asked about celebrity cases. “O.J.’s case was especially upsetting,” she wrote, “because he was clearly guilty and now has written a book about it and has clearly slipped by.” But under questioning by Deputy District Attorney Pat Dixon she said she was sure she could weigh the evidence equally for both sides and would give Spector a fair trial. Those who are chosen as alternates would move into a regular juror’s seat should someone fall ill or leave for some other reason. They will join a regular panel of 12 jurors who include a network TV producer who covered the Spector case, a marketing director for a movie company, and an assistant to a Los Angeles deputy mayor. The jury of nine men and three women also includes an electrician at a TV studio, an auto mechanic, a bank employee and an environmental health specialist for Los Angeles County. There are several college graduates including a civil engineer who is working on a doctorate. Some jurors have only high school degrees. The names of panelists have been kept secret. Most of the jurors are in their 40s and 50s.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The woman, who said she is a fan of cable TV commentator Nancy Grace, said she was well-informed about the Clarkson shooting, heard that Spector “gave a statement that he said he killed her” and that he had a collection of guns. She said she also knew he had later given another statement changing his story and “I did not believe him.” “As you sit here today, you still think he’s guilty?” asked defense attorney Linda Kenney Baden. “I do,” said the woman. Another woman prospect said she knew nothing about Spector until a day before she came to court when a co-worker decided to give her a quick education in the case, telling her the details and pulling up articles on the Internet for her to read. She wrote on her questionnaire that she believed Spector “must have been involved with the death and drugs were involved.” But in court, she insisted, “I’m 100 percent sure I don’t have an opinion because I don’t know what happened.” LOS ANGELES – The search for six alternate jurors for Phil Spector’s murder trial uncovered strong feelings against the music producer Monday, including one man’s view that his friends would think he was “a moron” if he acquitted Spector. The man, who wrote that comment on his questionnaire along with a statement that he felt Spector was “likely guilty” of killing actress Lana Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion, said he based his views on a single newspaper article and promised to put it aside if he was chosen for the panel. “I have to follow the judge’s instructions,” he said. “The prosecution is required to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” But a fellow panelist wasn’t willing to put aside her flatly stated opinion: “He’s guilty.”
Liverpool have drawn Besiktas in the Europa League last 32 and minds will turn back to a night when the Redmen set a Champions League record against the Turkish club.The Reds were on the brink of Champions League group stage elimination in 2007, having picked up just one point from their first three Group A games, when they faced Besiktas at Anfield.The visitors had beaten Liverpool 2-1 in Istanbul, setting a world record themselves in the process.What followed was one of the most memorable Anfield nights, as the Reds recorded a Champions League record 8-0 win.Yossi Benayoun helped himself to a hat-trick, Andriy Voronin (yeah, him) laid on four goals, Peter Crouch and Ryan Babel bagged braces and Steven Gerrard got in on the act.Liverpool went on to beat Porto 4-1 at Anfield and Marseille 4-0 away to qualify for the last 16.Kopites will be hoping for a similar run of results in the Europa League! 1 Liverpool beat Besiktas 8-0