The decision by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to order the closure of schools that were reportedly involved in the recent demonstrations does not augur well for the country’s peace and security; and this is worrisome, the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) has said.INCHR Acting Commissioner Bartholomew Colley said the closure of the schools by the Ministry of Education (MOE) upon the directive of the President is a violation of the students’ fundamental rights to education.An outraged President Sirleaf, upon her arrival from the United States on September 28, mandated the MOE to close with immediate effect schools that carried out strike actions when some of their teachers previously went on strike demanding the resignation of the Minister of Education, George K. Werner. The President also called for the dismissal of teachers that were involved in the strike action and promised to deal with students who were part of the demonstration. This happened after protesting students in Unification Town (Smell-No-Taste) near the Roberts International Airport (RIA) blocked the airport-Monrovia highway, demanding the return of their teachers to classes.This was preceded by another strike in Kakata, Margibi County, when the aggrieved students blocked normal commercial activities and the free-flow of traffic by taking to the streets in solidarity with their teachers, who were demanding the resignations of the Minister ofEducation and the Superintendent of the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), George Werner and Adolphus Benjamin Jacob,s respectively.The students’ actions, however, turned violent, resulting in the ransacking of several public buildings in Kakata. They also reportedly vandalized several government facilities in other parts of Margibi County. The students also blocked the main RIA highway for hours, causing passengers to endure unnecessary delays, with some missing their flights. President Sirleaf said the students’ action resulted in losses to the government, private citizens, companies and organizations, especially airlines; and as such, the students would have to bear the consequences. Some of the schools involved in the demonstration were Lango Lappaye High School, E. J. Yancy, the Kakata Rural Teacher Training Institute (KRTTI) Demonstration School (all in Kakata); as well as the Harbel Multilateral and R. S. Caulfield High School in Smell-No-Taste.In a statement on Monday, Mr. Colley said the INCHR was troubled by the continuous standoff between the government and the National Teacher’s Association of Liberia (NTAL), which has inadvertently kept some students in Margibi County out of classrooms, while their colleagues are pursuing their academic sojourns.Mr. Colley meanwhile frowned on “the naked display of power associated with intolerance” towards the education of the children; an action which, he said, is not only an abuse of the students’ fundamental rights to education, “but a clear denial that is also tantamount to brewing a new generation that would be uneducated.”“The INCHR once again takes this time to remind all powers in this conflict to exercise restraint in dealing with the issues and situations for the sake of our children and nation,” Mr. Colley said, adding, “We need to go back to the drawing board and chart a new course for progress. It is never too late for the leaders on both sides to come and reason together. By working together, we will help improve our educational system from its current status to what we all want it to be.”The MOE authorities recently dismissed ten teachers in Margibi County, among them Newton Coleman, vice principal of E.J. Yancy High School in Kakata, who is also the president of the NTAL Margibi County Branch; and Mrs. Berbage Mottee, Principal of the Harbel Multilateral High School in the same county.The teachers were dismissed for their roles in the strike actions, which instigated a violent protest by students of the Lango Lippaye High School, E.J. Yancy and the Harbel Multilateral High Schools in Margibi County, during which several properties were destroyed in Kakata.But Mr. Colley said the INCHR has commissioned an in-depth investigation of the “unfortunate event,” and that the findings will help the Commission to take an official position and proffer recommendations on the situation.Mr. Colley meanwhile called on both the MOE and the NTAL to desist from further actions that will cost Liberians a peaceful and smooth transition in 2017.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
As part of the programme, old coaches are also being refurbished, as well as revamping and modernising stations and signalling. A request for proposals was put out by Prasa in April for local companies to outline the design of a new train. Montana believed the country had to use this investment to revitalise its local industry, and a condition in the request for proposals stated that 65% of components must be manufactured in South Africa.‘Revitalising local industry’ Montana said he expected that this would create about 75 000 jobs, as well as boost the number of artisan skills in the country. A black economic empowerment (BEE) programme for the building of the new coaches would be announced shortly and Montana assured the committee that there would be a “huge stake for black businesses” – up to 40%. “Workers, disabled people and women must also be involved,” he said. Prasa is also refurbishing hundreds of coaches a year and about 15% of all train sets had been refurbished so far, he said, at a cost of about R7-million per coach. This financial year will see the overhauling of 530 coaches, at a cost of R2-billion, up from 200 coaches a year a few years ago. Added to this, Prasa would invest R7-billion into a modern signalling system and Siemens had already been appointed to carry out some of the work. In the long-term, onboard train protection – an electronic system which takes over from the driver should the driver not take action or should he have a heart attack – would also be installed.Safer, cleaner stations Montana said Prasa would also carry out 98 station improvement projects this financial year to improve safety and cleanliness. At some stations community members have been trained and have been assisted to set up co-operatives to clean stations. Modern speed gates, to the value of R1.9-billion, would also be set up at various stations across the country ahead of the introduction of a single transport card for bus and train commuters. According to Montana, Prasa would extend rail lines and a number of projects would be developed, including a Johannesburg-Durban High Speed Rail link – to reduce travel time between the two cities to three hours. Other projects include the Moloto Rail Corridor and the Johannesburg-Queenstown- Mthatha Rail project, of which R450-million had been committed over the next three years, which included the construction of eight stations. Rail links to Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport had also been proposed. South Africa, he said, could no longer afford to fall behind the rest of the world, having already missed several “rail revolutions” – including the introduction of modern commuter trains and high-speed trains in other countries. Source: BuaNews 20 June 2012 Plans to give South Africa’s passenger rail services a complete overhaul are on track as a preferred bidder for the building of 7 224 new trains will be announced in November, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) chief executive Lucky Montana says. Briefing the National Council of Provinces’ (NCOP) select committee on public services in Cape Town on Tuesday, Montana said that the first of the new trains manufactured as part of Prasa’s 20-year fleet renewal programme are expected to be running in 2014.
Is there a construction process which can deliver a value of sustainable prosperity? This is the term being used by Worldwatch in preparation for the upcoming Rio+20 conference. It moves beyond the “do no further harm” approach of the original definition of sustainability (Brundtland report), and recognizes the need to actively restore the Earth’s systems to full health.The key difference in terminology is that this concept must, in toto, include all of the world’s population, rich and poor.Sustainable prosperity is a challengeWOW – that is a really tall order, considering that green building represented 25% of new construction activity in 2010, and a third of all new nonresidential construction (McGraw-Hill Construction report, Green Outlook 2011). Those numbers are rising faster than expected – so that is all good. But … it includes any shade of green, including the very light green LEED-certified level. Few of these green projects have reached a net-zero level, and probably only a handful are actively involved in restoring the natural resources.So while I commend us all for getting on board, what will it take to get to sustainable prosperity? What does that future look like, and what might be the construction process which could accommodate this level “beyond green”? That folks, is the topic of my dissertation. I won’t give away any of my trade secrets (because I don’t have any yet…), but I can tell you that it is hopeful. There are little gems of “value enhancing” construction which are popping up in our industry.First, do no harm — then, imagine ways to restore our damaged environmentFor example, Boldt Construction is fine-tuning the use of target value design with lean construction, as an interactive, solutions-oriented, vision of way of designing to ideal state. (Here’s a link to a very clear description of IPD, GMP and TVD.)There are wonderful stories of owners, like Gary Christensen, who were willing to explore the possibilities of sustainability and ended up with “a beautiful, high performance building that’s good for the environment and didn’t cost us any more to do.” His project, the Banner Bank Building, collects stormwater from its surrounding seven acres and reuses it in its sewage system, and uses a water capture on the roof to flush toilets.Could we also capture the steam from the HVAC, harvest the energy and the water? Or scrub carbon dioxide out of the air?Imagining a “dream building”Mr. Watanabe, one of the past presidents of Toyota, offered his vision for a “dream car” — a vehicle that cleans the air, prevents accidents, promotes health, evokes excitement, and can drive around the world on a single tank of gas. The technology parts are already being refined, and the Toyota Production System has developed the process and the people to handle the innovations.What is the vision of a “dream building” – and how will we get there?Vera Novak writes the Eco Build Trends blog and is currently earning her PhD in Construction from Virginia Tech.
A grim battle between the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the government is on cards with the National Sports Federations (NSFs) on Sunday deciding to reject the National Sports Development Bill, the draft of which has been prepared by the Sports Ministry.The representatives of the NSFs are scheduled to meet the Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Monday to discuss the legislation, for which comments and suggestions were taken from various stake-holders and also public.Senior lawyer R K Anand will represent the IOA.The officials of the 25 out of the 34 NSFs met in New Delhi on Sunday ahead of the meeting with the ministry and decided to reject the proposed legislation, saying it is actually an effort by the government to overtake the sports bodies in the country.Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the acting President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) addressed the press after the meeting.”The Bill has been formulated in such a way that the government wants to take 100 per cent control of sports at every level. We are going to outrightly reject the Bill tomorrow. We will put forward our views to the government,” Malhotra, who is also President of the Archery Association of India, said.IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh said, “This is a large Bill and it has to be debated upon.”The issues being addressed in the Bill include demand for 25 per cent reservation for sportspersons in the election to various sports organisations, transparency and secret balloting in elections, sexual harassment of sportspersons and anti-doping law.advertisementIOA has also convened a meeting of its Executive Board on May 24 in the wake of the arrest of its President Suresh Kalmadi on charges of corruption.Maken has already asked the IOA to conduct fresh elections but Malhotra has rejected the demand.- With PTI inputs
Toronto Raptors guard Jeremy Lin (17)gets fouled on his way to the hoop by New York Knicks centre Mitchell Robinson (26) during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto, Monday, March 18, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors will likely have to wait a little longer to get their entire lineup healthy at the same time.Jeremy Lin scored 20 points, Fred VanVleet had 13 points and 12 assists for his first career double-double, and the Raptors beat the New York Knicks 128-92 on Monday night.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag MOST READ Miguel Romero Polo: Bamboo technology like no other “I watched the clip,” Lowry said. “I think it was a little bit dirty. He grabbed me and pulled me down. I don’t think he did it on purpose. I know he didn’t think he was going to hurt me.”Robinson, who fouled out with no points in 14 minutes, did not speak to reporters.Marc Gasol had 12 points and 11 rebounds, Pascal Siakam scored 19 points and OG Anonoby had 14 as Toronto reached 50 wins for the fourth straight season.Allonzo Trier scored 22 points and Kevin Knox had 12 as the Knicks lost big one day after Mario Hezona’s last-second block gave them a 124-123 home win over LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. New York, which has the worst record in the NBA at 14-57, lost for the ninth time in 10 games.“Toronto is going to be in that mix at the end,” Knicks coach David Fizdale said. “They’ve got all the ingredients to go after this thing. We took one on the chin tonight.”ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event With the Raptors playing the second game of a back-to-back, forward Kawhi Leonard was given the night off to rest. Leonard scored 33 points in Sunday’s loss at Detroit. VanVleet, who returned to the lineup Sunday after missing 12 games because of an injured left thumb, started in place of Leonard.With forward Serge Ibaka set to return from a three-game suspension Wednesday, Toronto looked set to have its whole roster available for the first time since the trade deadline. Instead, Lowry may be forced to miss at least one of this week’s two games against Oklahoma City. Toronto visits the Thunder on Wednesday before hosting them Friday.“I’ll be doing some treatment all night, trying to get myself healthy and try to get back and not be out long,” Lowry said.Toronto made 14 of 17 shots in a blistering first, including five of seven from long range, and led 38-29 after one. The Raptors led 73-54 at halftime. It was Toronto’s highest-scoring half of the season.After the Raptors opened the second half with an 8-0 run, Fizdale called timeout and removed all five starters.“Not getting it done, not playing at the level I wanted to see the game played at,” Fizdale said. “They understood. I think every guy that was out there owned it.”The change didn’t help, and Toronto took a 101-69 lead into the fourth.TIP-INSKnicks: G Dennis Smith Jr. missed his third straight game because of a sore lower back and F Noah Vonleh missed his second straight because of a sprained right ankle. … Fizdale said G Frank Ntilikina will be reevaluated Tuesday. Ntilikina has not played since Jan. 27 because of a sore groin. … Robinson has now recorded a block in 28 straight games, tying Patrick Ewing for the longest streak ever by a Knicks rookie.Raptors: Ikaba served the third and final game of his suspension for throwing a punch at Cleveland’s Marquese Chriss on March 11. … Toronto is 15-5 without Leonard. … Toronto’s 36 assists matched a season-high. The Raptors had more assists than the Knicks had made baskets (28). Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving David Beckham admits using phone while driving, police say Google Philippines names new country director ATLANTIC ACHIEVEMENTToronto is 8-0 at home against Atlantic Division opponents. The Raptors have won 31 straight home games against Atlantic foes. Their last home defeat to a division opponent was a Nov. 10, 2015, loss to the Knicks.WHOLE AT HALFToronto won its 18th straight game when leading at halftime, extending a franchise record.UP NEXTKnicks: Host Utah on Wednesday night.Raptors: At Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The victory came at a cost to the Raptors, who saw guard Kyle Lowry leave in the third quarter after suffering an injured right ankle. Lowry, who had 15 points and eight assists in 26 minutes, was back in the lineup after missing the previous two games because of a sore left ankle.Toronto coach Nick Nurse said Lowry’s latest injury was “not terribly bad,” although Lowry said after the game that his ankle was “pretty tender.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“I’m able to walk, a little bit slower, but I’ll be all right,” Lowry said.New York rookie center Mitchell Robinson collided with Lowry while chasing a loose ball at 5:15 of the third, falling onto Lowry’s legs and taking the All-Star point guard down from behind. Lowry slapped the floor in pain and frustration before being helped to his feet and limping to the locker room. 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