Looking for something to show dad how super amazing he is? MovieTowne has the perfect package!Dress dad like a super-agent, in all black, and enjoy free access to any movie this Father’s Day – June 16, 2019.The rules are simple, fathers must be dressed in black and they will be allowed entry into any movie for free. Non-fathers and children will be required to purchase their movie tickets. This offer only applies to one showing on Father’s Day.MovieTowne – which aims to brand itself as the number one stop for entertainment in Guyana – says this initiative is a great way to encourage family activities, especially in celebration of fathers.
The local Private Sector and the Government of Guyana must redouble their efforts to ensure that no stone is left unturned in transforming Guyana into a modern and resilient “green economy” that caters to the socioeconomic needs of its citizenry in an environmentally sustainable manner.This is critical, because Guyana has unparalleled opportunities for green business development, and immense potential to be a green business leader, not follower. It is therefore imperative for the Private Sector Commission (PSC) to be active partners in the effort to realise the immense potential of green business opportunities.This must be done against the backdrop of Guyana’s historic offer of the Iwokrama Rainforest to the Commonwealth as a laboratory for sustainable forest management, and its crafting and implementing of one of the developing world’s first Low Carbon Development Strategies. These are, no doubt, examples of how it has led the way already in the area of green policy creation, environmental sustainability, and the fight against climate change.Also, the move with the Kingdom of Norway, which saw the setting up of the world’s second largest international partnership on climate change and sustainable forests’ management, and, more recently, Government’s commitment to a green development path through the Green State Development Strategy are other examples of how Guyana has made a reputation for itself across the world as a green leader.There is still further potential to be grasped from these initiatives – for business, for Government, and for communities across Guyana.It is no secret, too, that in the manufacturing sector, energy efficiency measures and behavioural change were leading to reduced energy costs in other parts of the world, and many local businesses were moving towards hybrid systems utilising solar technology. And while the Private Sector could – and should – make progress on its own initiative, its ability to deliver sustainable development outcomes could be elevated through the right kind of enabling environment and, crucially, through public-private partnerships.Additionally, at the policy level, to this day, the Guyana-Norway partnership is a model for forest countries across the world, because of its central themes — protecting forests; earning revenue; using revenue to diversify and green the economy; building resilience to climate change – which were radical back then, but are now the goals that are recognised by others.There is a commitment by Government to power our economy through renewable energy, and several initiatives are being pursued. The LCDS, featuring the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project and the GSDS, opens the door to other options in the future. There is broad consensus on the key economic green sectors, and much work has been done on environmental management systems and conservation of biodiversity. Put together, this is a platform for ambition, not incremental change.Many of our country’s most exciting economic development sectors were outlined originally in the National Development Strategy, and subsequently in the National Competitiveness Strategy.The LCDS drew on the National Competitiveness Strategy to set out several low-carbon growth areas, one of them being business process outsourcing. Through a combination of policy and public-private partnerships, we have seen tremendous growth in the business process outsourcing sector, with international operators investing and creating thousands of jobs. It is possible for key sectors that we recognise today as green growth sectors to be transformed in a relatively short period of time if the enabling environment is in place to encourage investment.Recall, too, that the Government has expressed its intention to continue this theme of developing green economic sectors, and to support initiatives in this regard.All Guyanese should be proud of what we have achieved over many years, but the Private Sector and Government’s challenge in the months ahead is to ask, ‘What do we need to do to further support greening of businesses and achieving this ambition?’Guyana needs to work towards building public-private partnerships for green projects, and while Government has already initiated several incentive measures to encourage investments in green technologies, consideration should be given to expanding incentives and to considering performance benefits as a means of encouraging businesses.We should work together to push for an internationally recognisable Guyana Brand to act as a Green Label for Guyanese products, which takes on board all our efforts; for example on EITI, EU-FLEGT, having one of the lowest deforestation rates in the world, commitment to renewable energy, etc. Costa Rica and other countries have made progress with this, but it must be argued that Guyana has the potential for a world-leading brand.There is still need for the country to commence a genuine and well-thought-out National Programme for the Greening of Businesses, which can result in the type of outcomes that we seek.
Dear Editor,If there was any doubt the Government of Guyana fell on December 21, 2018, the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) ruling on June 18, layered with consequential orders issued on July 12, 2019, now affirms the Guyana Government was defeated in a No-Confidence Motion on that day. The facts are unambiguous, pellucidly clear and unequivocally affirmed by the CCJ. The Constitution of Guyana requires that the President and the Cabinet resign with immediate effect, the President and his Government transition into a caretaker role, the elections held within 90 days, by September 18, in a new timeline which began on June 18, the day of the CCJ ruling. In addition, the CCJ ruled that a new GECOM Chair be appointed urgently in accordance with the Constitution.These realities are not the imposition of a rogue court. These realities are in accordance with the laws of Guyana, its Constitution, with the CCJ merely pointing out the cold, hard facts.As a Caribbean citizen with a deep commitment to the success and effectiveness of Caricom, given the CCJ’s unequivocal judgment, Caricom’s position is of critical importance. Caricom has been totally silent so far, nearly nine months after the NCM in Guyana’s Parliament, insisting its commitment is towards democracy in every Caricom country and, in fact, everywhere in the Commonwealth and in the world. I stood proud as a Caribbean citizen every time, and there are many such instances, when Caricom firmly and bravely stood on the side of democracy, whenever and wherever democracy was threatened. In view of the CCJ ruling on the NCM in Guyana, where does Caricom stand?Mr Secretary General, democracy is threatened in Guyana as the Guyana Government refuses to adhere to the Constitution and the will of Parliament. When a Government deliberately sabotages its own Constitution and disrespects the legal system, as the APNU/AFC Government is presently doing in Guyana, democracy is threatened. Will Caricom maintain silence as Guyana plunges into a dictatorship?Caricom itself, in the midst of the clumsy Government’s challenge of the NCM and its validity, insisted the legal avenues must be honoured and, therefore, it will not voice any position on the political dispute in Guyana, one of its founding members. It took this position even though the parliamentary outcome was clear on December 21, 2018. Whatever doubt the Government attempted to stir has now been dismissed by the CCJ. The CCJ left nothing for interpretation – the Guyana Government is a caretaker Government and it must follow the Constitution, holding elections within three months. What is Caricom waiting on now?Caricom’s silence on what is happening in Guyana brings disrepute to this body and will forever impact on its future position on various matters. First, Caricom’s future positions on any threat to democracy anywhere will seem hollow and hypocritical. How could an organisation which turned a blind eye to the sabotaging of the Constitution by one of its own members challenge undemocratic behaviour in other countries or even in another of its member states? Caricom’s silence as the Constitution of Guyana is being railroaded potentially disqualifies Caricom from ever again being a legitimate voice against undemocratic actions anywhere.Second, the CCJ’s own future is in jeopardy and Caricom’s silence is contributing to a perilous future for the CCJ. The CCJ is one of the most important institutions in Caricom. The strength and integrity of Caricom are dependent on a strong and respected CCJ. If the CCJ’s rulings and orders are allowed to be ignored by a Government, as is happening in Guyana right now, then the CCJ is rendered a toothless poodle. We must not allow this to happen. At the very least, Caricom must take a stance that the CCJ ruling is sacrosanct, with no room to disrespect the institution. In accordance with Guyana’s Constitution which the CCJ affirms, the Guyana Government is a caretaker Government and will become an illegal Government after September 18. Caricom must end its silence and forcefully call on the Government of Guyana to enforce the CCJ rulings, following faithfully the provisions of the Constitution of Guyana.The CCJ has spoken and Caricom has no reason to equivocate. If Caricom does not support its own institution and stand by it, why should anyone want to continue with the CCJ? The deliberate and contemptuous disregard being demonstrated by the Guyana Government in regards to the CCJ’s ruling is a fatal threat to the CCJ. Why should any of the countries that presently subscribe to the CCJ continue to honour this onerous burden for an institution that is merely a paper tiger, a toothless poodle? Why would any country that presently includes the CCJ as its final court continue to honour this obligation if the Court is a paper tiger only? Why should any country which presently is thinking of using the CCJ as its final court do so if the CCJ is nothing but a talk shop?This is Caricom’s dilemma. While you equivocate, refusing to comment and refusing to urge the Guyana Government to adhere to its Constitution, while you continue to behave as if it is business as usual in Guyana, the credibility of Caricom, the legitimacy of your institutions, are being eroded by your silence, your very thunderous silence. Your silence has caused, if not more than 50 per cent, at least 50 per cent of the Guyanese people to lose faith in Caricom.The time has come for Caricom to stand by the principles of the Treaty of Chaguaramas and the 2001 Nassau Declaration, and speak out against the erosion of democracy in Guyana, against the deliberate perversions of the Constitution of Guyana. This is not an option for Caricom, it is a duty-bound to stand up on behalf of democracy in Guyana.Yours sincerely,Dr Leslie Ramsammy
Having seen neighbours City cut their lead at the top of the league to three points with Saturday’s last-gasp 1-0 victory over Reading, United were keen to restore their healthy advantage going into the busy festive period.United winger Antonio Valancia had an early cross blocked by Ben Davies but it was Swansea who looked the more likely in the early stages, with Nathan Dyer putting in a dangerous cross and Michu spurning a sight of goal.The Spaniard, who now has 13 goals in the league this season, fired high and wide under pressure from Nemanja Vidic, but the threat was clear.Wayne Routledge tested David de Gea with a shot on the turn from 18 yards before Michu was caught offside from a delightful through-ball by Routledge.The danger for United was always there and though Swansea came into the game on the back of successive defeats against Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur, they were not short on confidence.Clearly smarting from a sluggish start, United might have taken the lead in the 14th minute when Michel Vorm, back in the Swansea goal after a two-month injury lay-off, beat away Wayne Rooney’s 25-yard strike.Two minutes later, Evra rose to head home Robin van Persie’s near-post corner.It was the signal for United to step on the gas and try to kill off the game before Swansea could respond.Van Persie and Valencia were the main source of Swansea’s problems, though Rooney almost latched onto Ashley Young’s crisp centre after van Persie had torn a hole in the home midfield.Then, as United dropped their guard, Swansea struck.Routledge sent in Jonathan de Guzman and though his shot was kept out by De Gea, Michu arrived with perfect timing to make it 13 for the season.Swansea were good value for the goal and though the sides turned around level, De Guzman and Michu both had opportunities to send the hosts in at half-time with a lead.United were strangely careless in the second half, with Rooney, on too many occasions to remember, giving away the ball in positions of promise.His free-kick on the hour, after Chico Flores was booked for a poorly timed tackle, was straight at Vorm, as was Dyer’s 30-yard shot at the opposite end a minute later.The introduction of Javier Hernandez gave United a little more bite, with Rooney dropping back into the visitors’ four-man midfield.From that juncture, United began to dominate possession, with Swansea needing all of their resolve to keep the leaders at bay.Van Persie, who was booked with Ashley Williams after the pair had a spat on the edge of the 18-yard box, struck the crossbar with a volley from Rooney’s centre and Vorm pulled off a smart save from Hernandez.Michael Carrick then forced a great save from Vorm and Swansea twice had to produce desperate blocks as United turned the screw.Swansea, however, held on to claim a first ever Premier League point against United.In the 29th minute, Wayne Routledge’s cute pass freed Jonathan de Guzman and when his shot was parried by David de Gea, Michu followed up from close range to claim his 13th league goal of the campaign.Vorm saved from Rooney again before half-time, while at the interval, United manager Alex Ferguson harangued referee Michael Olivier for failing to penalise Chico Flores for a challenge on van Persie prior to Swansea’s equaliser.De Gea thwarted Kemy Agustien and Routledge early in the second period, before van Persie hooked a superb volley onto the top of the Swansea crossbar from a left-wing Rooney cross.Michael Carrick then hit the bar from a corner, while both van Persie and Ashley Young were thwarted by some last-ditch defensive blocks.Arsenal climbed to third place with a 1-0 victory at third-bottom Wigan Athletic on Saturday and they are one of four teams on 30 points along with Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.However, seventh-place Chelsea — back in England after their loss to Corinthians in the Club World Cup final — will move into the top three if they win at home to Aston Villa later on Sunday.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000LONDON, England, December 23 – Manchester United were prevented from restoring their six-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after being held to a 1-1 draw at Swansea City on Sunday.Patrice Evra struck with a first-half header to put United on their way but a Michu equaliser before half-time was enough to give Swansea a richly deserved point.
Mientkiewicz gets tangled up Doug Mientkiewicz lasted just four innings. The cameraman was done even sooner. The Yankees first baseman accidentally got tangled up with a TV cameraman and injured his left ankle just hours before the New York’s playoff opener night against Cleveland. Mientkiewicz, who’s had problems with that ankle in the past, started the game. He popped out in his only at-bat and was replaced pinch-hitter Shelley Duncan in the fifth inning. The cameraman, a freelancer hired from the Cleveland area, was fired by the YES Network. The network did not reveal his name. The accident occurred while Mientkiewicz was walking up a ramp at Jacobs Field. The cameraman was recording while backpedaling. “My left foot was up, and he fell kind of right on the back of my heel. My ankle rolled,” Mientkiewicz said before the game. “It’s going to deter (me) from stealing like 15 bases. “I rolled it pretty good, but it’s all right.” Around the leagues Padres: Right fielder Brian Giles had microfracture surgery on his right knee, which he originally hurt in mid-April. The Padres also claimed infielder Luis Rodriguez off waivers from the Twins and requested waivers on outfielder Brady Clark for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. Brewers: Catcher Johnny Estrada was scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his left knee. The team said he would undergo the arthroscopic surgery in Birmingham, Ala. He was also going to have a bone spur removed from his right elbow. Tigers: Designated hitter Gary Sheffield will have shoulder surgery Monday but is expected to be ready for the start of spring training. The 38-year-old appeared in 133 games in 2007 and is signed with the Tigers through 2009.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! From news services The Colorado Rockies voted a full playoff share for the widow of minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh, killed by a line drive this season while coaching first base. Some of the veteran players decided to award a full share to Amanda Coolbaugh. Their two sons, 5-year-old Joseph and 3-year-old Jacob, will throw out the first pitch in Game 3 at Colorado. Coolbaugh was a first base coach for the Rockies’ double-A affiliate, the Tulsa Drillers. The former major leaguer was killed July 22, when a line drive struck him in the head. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, a former Long Beach State standout, said awarding the family a share was the right thing to do. “We’re obviously happy with the decision,” Tulowitzki said on Thursday. “I hope they are, too, and I’m sure they will be.” Shaken by Coolbaugh’s death, Rockies first base coach Glenallen Hill now wears a helmet. Manager Clint Hurdle was touched by the gesture. “(It) speaks to their awareness, speaks to their passion, speaks to every good thing about them,” Hurdle said.
Former manager Harry Redknapp could be the man to get West Ham firing again, believes Joey Barton.It is understood Slaven Bilic is facing the axe as Hammers boss following Saturday’s dreadful 4-1 home defeat to Liverpool, which left the club in the Premier League relegation zone.Bilic is expected to learn whether he will remain boss on Monday and reports claim David Moyes is waiting in the wings, although those rumours have been met by fierce opposition from supporters.READ MORE: David Moyes admits interest in West Ham job with Slaven Bilic facing the axeRedknapp recently told talkSPORT he was ‘getting bored’ with life outside of football following his departure from Birmingham City and may consider a possible return to the game.And Barton claims the 70-year-old’s return to east London could be just the thing to lift a team who look perilously short of confidence.“I think they could do a lot worse than Harry Redknapp, it wouldn’t be the worst appointment,” Sports Breakfast co-host Barton said on Monday.“He’s one of their own, he’s a former player and former manager, and he’d definitely get a few of the players on-side.“One of Harry’s big things is to get good players and put them together and let them get on with business.“I don’t think he’d be someone who would go in and change the shape and make the training regime any different.“Maybe they just need an arm round their shoulder and a bit of a cuddle.”
28 September 2007When South Africa takes to the field in their final Rugby World Cup Pool A match against the United States in Montpellier on Sunday, Jake White will reach the 50-match milestone as Springbok coach, the first man to achieve the feat.A victory over the Americans would lift White’s winning percentage to 64 percent, third among coaches since South Africa rejoined world rugby in 1992. Difficult startWhen the former Jeppe schoolmaster took over the reins of the Springbok side, it was at a low point in the team’s fortunes; they had exited the 2003 World Cup at the quarterfinals’ stage, beaten 29-9 by New Zealand, and the Boks’ image was under the spotlight after the controversial Kamp Staaldraad became public knowledge.White, though, was eager to take on the challenge of one of the toughest coaching jobs in South Africa, assuming a position that had claimed a fair number of victims, as coaches left the post before their contracts were up.One of his first messages to the players was that they were going to win the World Cup in 2007. Now, four years on, and after nearly having lost his job at the end of 2006, White is in charge of a confident team, one that many experts believe is the only side capable of challenging New Zealand for World Cup glory.Outstanding performancesWith the quarterfinals approaching, two matches stand out as outstanding performances at the 2007 World Cup: the All Blacks’ 76-14 humbling of Italy, and, arguably more impressive, the Springboks’ 36-0 whitewash of defending champions England.The Kiwis, in their win, showed a fantastic cutting edge, while South Africa, in their victory, exhibited powerful, controlled, and focused form.The lightly-regarded Americans, winless so far, and facing what is close to a full strength Bok line-up, aren’t expected to cause White’s men many problems. The coach has his team in the exact position he wants them to be in, and a win will likely mean a match against Wales in the last eight.PlayoffsShould South Africa beat the Welsh – and they have previously lost only once to Wales – they will tackle either France or Argentina in the semi-finals.The French have provided the Springboks with some tough matches in the past, but the Pumas have never beaten them, although the South American Jaguars, comprised most of Argentinian players, once beat the Boks 21-12 in Bloemfontein in 1982, with the legendary Hugo Porta scoring all his team’s points.Sunday’s match will be only the third between South Africa and the USA. In the two previous encounters, SA won 38-7 in 1981 and 43-20 in 2001, both times on American soil.Team selectionCoach White and his fellow selectors have opted for a lineup that closely mirrors the one that overpowered England.There is one change in the backline, with Akona Ndungane getting his first run of the tournament after overcoming a chest injury. He replaces JP Pietersen, who moves to the bench.Up front, Schalk Burger returns to action, having served his two-match ban for a dangerous tackle against Samoa. He, however, won’t be in action in his regular position on the flank. Instead, he will pack down at number-eight.Juan Smith, his regular partner at flank, will join forces with the industrious Wikus van Heerden.Albert van den BergIn a somewhat surprising move, White has opted to break up the Blue Bulls’ dominating second row, selecting Victor Matfield, but partnering him with Albert van den Berg and not Bakkies Botha.Van den Berg, who made his Springbok debut way back in 1999 against New Zealand, will win his 50th Springbok cap.Os du Randt, when he takes on the Eagles, will have played against more countries than any other Springbok; it will be the 18th nation he faces, breaking a tie with Joost van der Westhuizen.First-choice teamIn the Boks’ last outing, a 30-25 victory over Tonga, it became clear that there is a distinct difference between the first-choice lineup and the second-choice team, especially when one remembers the struggles of a similar selection against Irish side Connacht, a match that SA won only 18-0.The bench, boasting an incredible 311 caps, helped quell the Tongan bid to upset the hierarchy of world rugby, and all the players who served as substitutes in that match will start on Sunday. In total, there are 586 caps among the starters and 185 among the reserves.Starting FifteenPercy Montgomery, Akona Ndungane, Jaque Fourie, Francois Steyn, Bryan Habana, Butch James Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Wikus van Heerden, Victor Matfield, Albert van den Berg, BJ Botha, John Smit (c), and Os du RandtBenchBismarck du Plessis, CJ van der Linde, Bakkies Botha, Bob Skinstad, Ruan Pienaar, Andre Pretorius, and JP Pietersen Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
The Gautrain arrives in South Africa. Aunit is offloaded at Durban harbour. Construction work under way atSandton station. A completed unit takes to the tracks at themanufacturing facility in Derby, UK.(All images: Gautrain)Janine ErasmusThe Gautrain’s airport link is on track for completion by the end of 2009, according to a statement released by Gautrain. This will signal the end of the first phase of the controversial multi-billion-rand rapid transport system.With the 2010 Fifa World Cup kickoff just 504 days away, the vital stretch of track between OR Tambo International and Sandton Station will transport an expected 500 000 Fifa World Cup visitors between 11 June and 11 July – not to mention 19 000 members of the international press.Gauteng province and its capital city Johannesburg will form the hub of the Fifa World Cup and because of this, the route from OR Tambo International airport into the city was a key factor for Fifa officials during their consideration of proposals from prospective host countries. The opening ceremony as well as the first game and final will be held in Johannesburg, which will also be the seat of the broadcast centre and Fifa’s local offices.Gautrain CEO Jack van der Merwe said that the airport link will be similar to that offered by other major international airports such as Heathrow. The price of a trip is currently estimated at around R80.Van der Merwe said that construction work and laying of track along the route will be complete by December 2009, after which the train will be put through its paces in a series of tests. According to Van der Merwe tests began in Derby, UK, in mid-2008 during construction of the first set of coaches. He added that the Gautrain would undergo some 7 000km worth of testing before being given the all clear to carry passengers.Gautrain units are currently tested at a facility in Midrand where communications and signalling systems have been set up. Because the train is controlled by a complicated electronic system, it must be thoroughly tested and certified before a single passenger can set foot on board.Despite the fact that the Gautrain was not originally meant to be complete by 2010 and there is the possibility of running into a few hiccups, said Brian Bruce of construction company Murray and Roberts, all projects are going well.Goodbye to ImbokodoHaving done its job of digging out a 3km underground section between Marlboro and Johannesburg, the state of the art tunnel-boring machine will be dismantled before the middle of 2009. The machine, which was custom built in Germany at a cost of R300-million (US$30-million), goes by the nickname of Imbokodo (isiZulu, meaning rock), weighs 325 tons, and requires an additional 560 tons of backup equipment.Gautrain will travel for most of its route on the ground or across massive viaducts, but will descend underground for a 15km stretch. Of this, Imbokodo was needed to excavate the 3km of soft or waterlogged rock that could not be dug out by the traditional means of drilling and blasting.According to Gautrain management, the front end of the machine will be buried underground in the business suburb of Rosebank. The backup equipment, said Van der Merwe, will be recycled for use in other digging projects but the front end was built specifically for Gautrain and cannot be re-used.Other Gautrain highlightsNumerous parts of the Gautrain project are scheduled for completion during 2009. A section of the route in the Marlboro area, where the two sets of track cross under the N3 highway, will be finished in July. Work on bridges on the Marlboro-OR Tambo line is nearing completion and is expected to be complete in August.The tunnel access point at Mushroom Farm Park in Sandton will be complete around the middle of the year. The park has been closed to the public for the duration of construction but will be rehabilitated and reopened a few months later.Gautrain management is expecting a new consignment of 15 cars from Derby. Construction of passenger units has already begun at the local Gautrain facility in Nigel, east of Johannesburg, and the first finished units will roll out in June. All cars will then be taken to the test track in Midrand for months of extensive testing.The process of recruiting staff to test drive the train is also scheduled for the first half of 2009. Full-time drivers will be appointed as the year progresses. Van der Merwe says that Gautrain will create at least 300 000 jobs, both directly and in related services.Award-winning conceptGautrain won an international award in May 2008 at the annual Public Private Finance Awards ceremony held in London. Described as the biggest in the Private Public Partnership (PPP) sector, the awards are held by the UK-based Public Private Finance magazine. The publication is the industry’s most respected source of information regarding PPP projects in the United Kingdom and Europe.Winners are selected by a panel of experts, and represent the best of the current market. Gautrain scooped the award for Best Global Deal to Sign. “Judges recognised the Gautrain’s expertise to overcome the unique engineering and socio-economic developmental requirements of this PPP project,” said Jack van der Merwe.Gautrain was up against other international projects such as the Britannia Mine Water Treatment Plant and The Conference Centre Dublin.Do you have qyeries or comments about this article? Email Janine Erasmus on email@example.com.Useful linksGautrainDepartment of TranaportPrivate Public Finance magazine
Ethiopian schoolgirl Mulu Melka lifts herhand in class in Addis Ababa. Her countryhas increased its education spend from 8%of the total budget in 1985 to 23% in 2009.(Image: Andrew Heavans, Irin)MEDIA CONTACTS• Overseas Development Institute+44 20 7922 0300• Gareth ThomasODI Media and Public Affairs Officerg.firstname.lastname@example.org• Smita ChakmaODI Communications OfficerS.Chakma@odi.org.ukMany sub-Saharan African countries are off-track to achieve the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, but there have been pockets of success: Ghana is set to become the first country in Africa to halve poverty and hunger before 2015, while primary school enrolment in Ethiopia has increased by more than 500% since 1994, according to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).Common to both examples has been the sustained commitment of each government to reform the respective sector, say researchers Jakob Engel and Henri Leturque.“The story of the past 20 years in Ghana’s agriculture sector has been one of incremental yet sustained change, rather than dramatic development,” states the Ghana report. The country’s government-led economic reforms, including devaluing the currency, liberalising markets, and restructuring the then-inefficient cocoa marketing board, have helped to boost food production by 80% per capita over the past 30 years, and enabled Ghana to become almost self-sufficient in staple crops such as yam and cassava.After 1983, agricultural output grew at an average 5.1% a year, and wider food availability led to moderate malnutrition dropping from 34% to 8% between 1991 and 2003. The proportion of underweight children under five fell from 30% to 17% from 1988 to 2008.But there is more to it: “There is a strong link between widening food availability and dropping malnutrition,” Leturque said, “but it is by no means the only answer – improved health and sanitation, and improved childcare practices, also played a role.” Despite progress in these areas, Ghana is off-track to achieve MDGs 4 and 5, to improve child and maternal health, according to a report by the National Development Planning Commission released on 14 September.Education in EthiopiaIn Ethiopia, the government set out to improve the education sector when it came to power after the civil war, “recognising rural poverty was not only a key driver in conflict and inequality, but was also holding the country back and perpetuating the cycle of poverty… and that ensuring children had access to school was key to these broader development goals,” said Engel.The government developed education reform plans and gradually upped its education spend from 8% of the total budget in 1985 to 23% in 2009, with donor education aid also rising. The increased funds went towards abolishing school fees, constructing and improving schools, and hiring and training teachers, among other activities.Key to meeting MDG 2 (achieving universal primary education) was a move in 1991 to devolve power to regions and districts to run their own schools, and shifting the language of instruction to local languages, says the ODI. In 1994, just 3-million pupils in Ethiopia attended primary school; by 2008 15.5-million did so, while secondary school attendance increased fivefold.Local authorities involved parent-teacher associations in rehabilitating and reviving schools, said Engel. “Lots of the investments made created access to households to send their children to school for the first time – there was a genuine appreciation of that, and people started to realise its relevance in their lives.”But more needs to be done to ensure progress continues – and is equitably spread in both countries. In Ethiopia, high drop-out rates remain in secondary school, quality teaching is still lacking, and some regions, such as Afar and Somali, are lagging behind on primary school enrolment. To get as-yet-unreached children into school, “will take more than school construction; it will take a focus on non-formal education, addressing maternal and child health, and early childhood development”, said Engel.Agricultural growth in Ghana has also been inequitably distributed: concentrated in the south to the detriment of the north. “A lot still needs to be done to support the north, where there are fewer resources to work with,” said Leturque.Source: Irin
Identity fraudster faces million dollar fineA Carmichael, California, man was charged with a series of identity fraud-related offenses along with felony firearm possession after collecting stolen mail and personal identification information to make illegal purchases.Manuel Campos Rodriguez, 41, was charged with 10 counts in all, including bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, possession of credit and debit card-making equipment, possession of stolen mail, and unlawfully possessing 15 or more credit or debit cards, according to a news release issued by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.Court documents allege that Rodriguez stole mail and collected credit and debit cards, account numbers, social security numbers, and driver’s license numbers, which he used to make purchases at stores such as Home Depot and Macy’s. Rodriguez faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. He is being held without bail at the Sacramento County jail. [Source: The Sacramento Bee]Feds indict blowtorch burglarsTwo men accused of using blow torches to break into Target stores across New England will be arraigned on federal charges. Investigators say the pair stole nearly $200,000 worth of iPads and iPhones in just two months. An indictment filed in US District Court in Worcester accuses Elijah Aiken and a second unnamed suspect of stealing electronics from Target stores. Investigators say the suspects used a portable blowtorch to cut through the metal doors and got inside the stores including one in Easton, Massachusetts.- Sponsor – The first theft happened in Pennsylvania in December 2014, where the pair took 15 iPads. Then over the course of two months, police say the same two men hit stores from Connecticut to New Hampshire.Investigators say they always took iPads and iPhones, and they left behind a hole in the metal doors.The biggest losses were in Massachusetts. About $154,000 worth of merchandise was stolen from the stores in Westborough and Easton. investigators say the pair would sell the goods to a buyer “in and around” New York City. Aiken was arrested at the scene of the last burglary in Connecticut. He was hiding in the snow. He was sentenced to two years in prison for that crime, but is now facing federal charges of transporting stolen goods over state lines. [Source: Boston25 News]NRF says ORC at all-time highOrganized retail crime is continuing to grow, with nearly three-quarters of retailers surveyed reporting an increase in the past year, according to the 14th annual ORC study released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF). “Retailers continue to deal with increasing challenges and complications surrounding organized retail crime,” NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca said. “These criminals find new ways to expand their networks and manipulate the retail supply chain every day. The retail industry is fighting this battle by upgrading technology, improving relationships with local law enforcement and taking steps such as tightening return policies, but it is a never-ending battle.”The report found that 92 percent of companies surveyed had been a victim of ORC in the past year and that 71 percent said ORC incidents were increasing. Losses averaged $777,877 per $1 billion in sales, up 7 percent from last year’s previous record of $726,351. Retailers attributed the increase to the easy online sale of stolen goods, gift card fraud, shortage of staff in stores and demand for certain brand name items or specific products. In addition, a number of states have increased the threshold for a theft to be considered a felony, meaning criminals can steal a larger quantity of goods while keeping the crime a misdemeanor and avoiding the risk of higher penalties that come with the commission of a felony.ORC typically targets items that can be easily stolen, and quickly resold, and top items range from low-cost products like laundry detergent, razors, deodorant, infant formula and blue jeans to high-end goods like designer clothing and handbags, expensive liquor and cellphones. Stolen goods are recovered anywhere from flea markets and pawnshops to online, with gift cards often ending up on online gift card exchanges. While online fencing has increased over the years, retailers say 60 percent of recovered merchandise, on average, is found at physical locations. While at least 34 states have ORC laws, 73 percent of retailers surveyed support the creation of a federal ORC law, noting that ORC gangs often operate across state lines. [Source: BusinessWire]Task force goes after credit card skimmers(The following article was written by Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey) 42 law enforcement officers took a very proactive approach to protecting our citizens from credit card fraud and identity theft in preparation for the Holiday Season. As part of the initiative, Agents from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Task Force, United States Secret Service, Department of Agriculture, and FDLE physically examined 251 Gas Stations throughout Brevard County in search of illegal credit card skimmers that had been covertly installed in gas pumps.Assisted by Detectives from Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, Cocoa, West Melbourne, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Titusville and the Rockledge Police Departments the operation led to the seizure of 18 skimmers that had been installed inside the pumps to target unsuspecting citizens.Electronic Skimmers capture the credit card data when the credit card is used to purchase fuel, using the “pay at the pump” features offered by most Gas Stations today. The device is covertly installed inside the pump by criminals who illegally gain access to the inside of the fuel pump and later return to collect the in-line slimmer and stolen data. [Source: Space Coast Daily]Fleeing shoplifter injures police officerAn officer was injured by a shoplifting suspect who was attempting to escape arrest in a New Orleans East shopping center Sunday afternoon, according to New Orleans police. Ishionte Jachson, 23, was handcuffed after being accused of shoplifting in the 9600 block of Chef Menteur Highway, NOPD said, but managed to get loose.As an officer attempted to stop Jachson from escaping the area, she was knocked to the ground, according to NOPD spokesman Juan Barnes. The injured officer was brought to the hospital with a head injury, Barnes said. Jachson was apprehended by another officer. Her booking photo was not immediately available. Barnes said additional charges are pending. [Source: Fox8 News]Which retailer calls PD 9 times a day and who pays?Police come to arrest the person accused of stealing a $2 ChapStick and investigate the theft of $10 sunglasses. They’re asked to settle domestic spats, break up parking lot disputes and remove disorderly drunks. These calls to police, thousands of which are made each year, chew up hours of the Columbia, South Carolina, Police Department’s time. And they all start at Walmart.Four Walmart locations rely on Columbia police more than any other establishment in the city, according to The State’s review of CPD crime data from 2014 to present. The big-box retailer generated far more calls to police compared to much larger shopping centers such as Columbiana Centre, which is home to more than 100 stores, and other comparable retailers like Target.Last year alone, Columbia police responded to a Walmart, on average, nine times a day. That’s one call every three hours. And taxpayers are settling the bill. In the past four years, the vast majority of Walmart calls, about 40 percent, involved suspected theft. Only 8 percent dealt with violence or some kind of disturbance.Columbia police recognized the problem in July and stopped responding to misdemeanor shoplifting calls if the suspect had already left the store. “Just with that subtle change, we’ve been able to see a difference,” he said. Now, officers are responding to roughly 20 percent fewer incidents of Walmart shoplifting, he said. But some question whether that goes far enough. Walmart representatives recognize the problem, too, saying the company has invested millions in people, programs and technology to police their own stores. [Source: The State] Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now