Army Chief Denies Claims against AFL

first_imgThe Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), Brigadier/General Daniel Ziankahn, has denied rumors that officers of the AFL are engaged in rape, harassment and armed robbery activities in the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.Since the imposition of the 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew (now 11 p.m. to 6a.m.) by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, rumors emanating from Buchanan have alleged that uniformed, armed AFL soldiers were engaging in rape, harassment and armed robbery during curfew hours.A similar situation is also being reported in Monrovia, where the issue of armed robbery is on the increase. In Monrovia, it is being reported that the robbers are dressed in Army and Police uniforms and usually carry arms.But speaking on a local radio station, Magic FM, in Buchanan last week, when he was asked about the alleged situation in that county, General Ziankahn, refuted such claims. He said officers of the AFL would not be engaged in such acts. They are also stationed too far from Buchanan to surface at night to engage in such activities.The AFL Chief was speaking upon his return from the Timbo River Bridge between Grand Bassa and Rivercess counties, where AFL soldiers are deployed to protect that border after it was ordered closed by the government few months ago.He said the soldiers are operating with only one vehicle and that the distance from Timbo River Bridge is far from Buchanan for such acts. He further indicated that all of the officers assigned at the bridge are on duty together.  “So it is hard to believe that the soldiers could be in that city at night raping and robbing people,” he said.General Ziankahn suggested that people who might have been involved in such acts are those that have access to camouflage and other security uniforms and not necessary the soldiers.“What the public should know is that people are masquerading wearing camouflage and other security uniforms on our streets, and there is no law against this in our country,” he said.Gen. Ziankahn then reminded citizens of Buchanan that every soldier of the AFL is identifiable by the rank insignias worn on their uniforms.  He called on the citizens not to be afraid of the AFL.The purpose of his visit was to inspect the operations of the Joint Security Task Force at the Timbo River Bridge, which includes the AFL, Police, Immigration and the Drug Enforcement Agency.  He warned citizens to respect the curfew imposed by government to contain the Ebola virus.According to the Liberia News Agency (LiNA), in the past weeks, four houses in central Buchanan and Biafra communities have been reportedly terrorized by armed men during curfew, leading to a 27-year-old woman being raped.The most recent report came from Biafra community, accusing men dressed in military uniform of flogging residents during curfew, all of which Gen. Ziankahn said are untrue.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Melting Snow Causing Some Localized Flooding

first_imgIn fact, several intersections around Fort St. John experiencing pooling water — one of the worst is on 102nd Avenue and 98th Street.The melting snow is also causing some headaches on Highway 97 near the railway bridge, south of the city.Yellowhead Road & Bridge crews are out trying to clear away water that managed to make its way across the highway.- Advertisement -Regional Ministry of Transportation Manager Scott Maxwell says a build-up of ice inside a drain under the roadway is causing water to come up over the highway.Expect delays in the area as crew try to remedy the problem.last_img read more

North Star Is Rapidly Changing

first_imgThe North Star (Polaris) has brightened by 150% since Ptolemy observed it 2000 years ago, says the American Astronomical Society (see report on Science Now).  If the differences from those in ancient times are real, “these changes are 100 times larger than predicted by current theories of stellar evolution.”  Polaris is also a pulsating Cepheid variable, but its pulses have been erratic lately.  One astronomer surmises, “Polaris may be experiencing a rare and rapidly changing period in its evolution.”Finding the North Star is a required skill for any northern-hemisphere camper.  It is also a conversation starter on how much science can know about processes that supposedly take billions of years.(Visited 7 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Strong April for U.S. red meat exports, including new volume record for pork

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest April exports of U.S. pork, beef and lamb were sharply higher than a year ago in both volume and value, according to data released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Pork exports set a new volume record, fueled by tremendous demand in Mexico, while beef exports posted the best-ever results for the month of April.April pork export volume was 230,049 metric tons (mt), up 13% from a year ago and topping the previous high set in November 2016. April export value was $584.1 million, also up 13%. For January through April, pork export volume was 4% ahead of last year’s record pace at 866,346 mt, while value increased 9% to $2.29 billion. (For pork muscle cuts, excluding variety meat, April was also a record volume month at 184,487 mt, up 18% from a year ago. Muscle cut export value was $480.6 million, up 14%.)Exports accounted for nearly 30% of total pork production in April, up from 28.4% a year ago, while the percentage of muscle cuts exported also increased significantly (25.8%, up from 23.5%). Through April, the percentage of total production exported was fairly steady with last year at 27.4%, while muscle cuts jumped from 22.8% to 23.5%.April pork export value averaged $58.45 per head slaughtered, up 6% from a year ago, while the January-April average increased 5% to $55.69.Beef export volume was 111,213 mt in April, up 11% year-over-year. Export value was $676.7 million, up 23% and the fourth-highest on record. Through the first four months of 2018, exports were up 10% in volume to 429,286 mt. Export value was $2.59 billion, 20% above last year’s record pace.Exports accounted for 14.1% of total beef production in April, up from 13.6% a year ago. For muscle cuts only, the percentage exported was 11.3%, up from 10.6%. For January through April, exports accounted for 13.4% of total production and 10.8% for muscle cuts, each up about half a percentage point from last year.Beef export value averaged $328.46 per head of fed slaughter in April, up 16% from a year ago. Through April, per-head export value averaged $318.91, up 17%.Even with growth in red meat production, both pork and beef exports have accounted for a larger share and contributed more dollars per head, indicating strong international demand.Huge month for pork to Mexico; exports to Korea continued to surgeMexico was again the pacesetter for pork exports in April, with volume reaching 79,019 mt – up 34% from a year ago and the second-largest on record. Export value to Mexico was $134.1 million, up 28%. Through the first four months of 2018, exports to Mexico were 7% above last year’s record volume pace at 282,675 mt, with value up 6% to $505.4 million.Maintaining this pace will be challenging, however, with Mexico announcing retaliatory tariffs on imports of most U.S. pork products effective June 5. The tariff rate on chilled and frozen pork muscle cuts is 10% until July 5, when it is set to increase to 20%.“The outstanding April performance for pork exports to Mexico really underscores the importance of this market to the U.S. industry and how it has been such a reliable trading partner for hams, picnics and other pork cuts,” said USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “USMEF will continue to emphasize the quality and consistency of U.S. pork to red meat customers in Mexico and make every effort to help U.S. suppliers retain their business. But make no mistake about it, the U.S. industry is going to have to fend off competitors who suddenly have a significant tariff rate advantage and see a clear opening into the Mexican market.”Pork exports to South Korea continued to build momentum in April, with volume (25,370 mt, up 74%) and value ($74.1 million, up 81%) increasing significantly from a year ago. Through April, exports to Korea are on a record pace, climbing 44% in volume to 94,888 mt, valued at $276.1 million (up 55%). Strong growth in consumer demand and duty-free access under the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) have fueled a rapidly expanding presence for U.S. pork in Korea.While pork exports to the China/Hong Kong region were below year-ago levels in April, shipments remained relatively strong despite the additional 25% tariff on U.S. pork that took effect April 2. It is likely, however, that the trade impact will show up more dramatically in May export data and in coming months. The tariff increase essentially tripled China’s standard rate on frozen pork imports, taking it from 12% to 37% (the increase does not apply to Hong Kong, which still charges zero duty). April exports to China/Hong Kong were 41,567 mt, down 14% from a year ago, but slipped only slightly in value to $95.9 million. For January through April, exports to China/Hong Kong were 15% below last year’s pace in volume (153,248 mt) but steady in value at $356.6 million.“It is encouraging to see that pork volumes to China/Hong Kong held up fairly well in April, but the tariff disadvantage is still having a negative impact on the U.S. industry and has pressured prices for key export items,” Halstrom noted. “It’s another situation in which our competitors are capitalizing on the extra cost associated with importing U.S. pork.”For January through April, other highlights for U.S. pork include: Exports to leading value market Japan were 1% below last year’s pace in volume (132,534 mt) but increased 1% in value ($544.8 million). This included a 5% decrease in chilled pork volume (68,532 mt), valued at $330 million (down 1%).Strong growth in Colombia pushed pork exports to South America up 23% from a year ago in volume (39,520 mt) and 24% in value ($96.7 million).Led by mainstay markets Honduras and Guatemala and sharply higher shipments to Panama, exports to Central America climbed 23% from a year ago in volume (26,459 mt) and 27% in value ($63.3 million).Pork exports achieved solid growth in the Philippines and more than doubled from a year ago to Vietnam, as exports to the ASEAN region increased 20% in volume (15,435 mt) and 31% in value ($43.8 million). Asian markets and Mexico highlight strong April for beef exportsJapan maintained its position as the leading volume and value market for U.S. beef, with April exports totaling 25,650 mt (up 9% from a year ago) valued at $166.6 million (up 16%). Through April, exports to Japan were steady with last year’s volume at 98,090 mt while value increased 10% to $626.1 million. This included a 4% increase in chilled beef to 47,322 mt, valued at $375 million (up 17%). Frozen shipments have regained momentum now that the 50% safeguard duty rate has expired. But with a 38.5% rate in place for both chilled and frozen beef, the U.S. remains at a large disadvantage compared to its top competitor, Australia.U.S. beef continues to build tremendous momentum in South Korea, where April exports were up 62% from a year ago in volume (19,185 mt) and 72% in value ($134.8 million). For January through April, exports to Korea climbed 31% to 71,094 mt, valued at $501 million (up 45%). Chilled exports totaled 15,480 mt (up 29%) valued at $148 million (up 40%). In contrast to Japan, U.S. beef has a slight tariff advantage versus Australia, as KORUS was implemented earlier than the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement.“The enthusiasm for U.S. beef in these markets may be at the highest level I’ve ever seen,” Halstrom said. “In nearly every segment of the retail and restaurant sectors, U.S. beef is attracting new customers with a wider range of cuts and menu items. It’s an exciting trend that’s not just limited to Japan and Korea, with U.S. beef’s popularity also strengthening in other Asian markets and in the Western Hemisphere.”For January through April, other highlights for U.S. beef include: In Mexico, exports were 5% ahead of last year’s pace in volume (78,435 mt) and 16% higher in value ($342.4 million). Demand was especially strong in April, as exports totaled 21,396 mt (up 22% and the largest since August), while value increased 33% to $92.1 million.Exports to China/Hong Kong increased 23% in volume (46,043 mt) and surged 51% in value to $352.4 million. China still accounts for a small portion of these exports, as shipments to China were 2,299 mt valued at $21.3 million. China reopened to U.S. beef in June of last year. While U.S. beef is not yet subject to retaliatory duties in China, it remains on the proposed retaliation list with a possible additional tariff of 25%.Taiwan continues to display a growing appetite for U.S. beef, especially for chilled cuts. Exports to Taiwan were 30% above last year’s pace in volume (17,500 mt) and 42% higher in value ($168.7 million). Chilled exports were up 43% in volume (7,605 mt) and value ($96 million), as U.S. beef captured 74% of Taiwan’s chilled beef market.Steady growth in the Philippines and a tripling of exports to Indonesia pushed exports to the ASEAN region 35% above last year’s pace in volume (14,865 mt) and 37% higher in value ($82 million).Exports to South America were up 14% in volume (8,971 mt) and 28% in value ($43.5 million), with the main destinations being Chile, Peru and Colombia. Leading market Chile was up 20% in volume (4,137 mt) and 14% in value ($22.5 million), though shipments slowed in March and April following a strong start to the year. Solid April for lamb exports as 2018 rebound continuesApril exports of U.S. lamb were well above last year’s low totals in both volume (973 mt, up 97%) and value ($1.9 million, up 48%). Through the first four months of 2018, exports climbed 39% in volume (3,457 mt) and 16% in value ($7.3 million). Growth was driven by stronger variety meat demand in Mexico and larger muscle cut shipments to the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Canada. Gabon and Angola also show promise as potential growth destinations for lamb variety meat.Complete April export results for U.S. beef, pork and lamb are available from USMEF’s statistics web page.last_img read more

IOA felicitates Olympic medallists as they meet PM, Sonia

first_imgIndia’s London Olympic medallists met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his residence in the national capital on Friday. The medallists – wrestler Sushil Kumar, shooter Vijay Kumar (both silver medallists), boxer M.C. Mary Kom, shuttler Saina Nehwal, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and shooter Gagan Narang (bronze medallists) – also met United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi at her residence. Both, the prime minister and the UPA chairperson congratulated the super six Olympians for doing the nation proud at the sports’ biggest carnival. The prime ministers meeting with the medallists was a brief one when he returned home after attending a stormy session in Parliament. The medal winners were also accompanied by other members of the Indian Olympic contingent, including some archers, hockey players and team officials. Later in the day, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) also felicitated the medallists and conferred cash award of Rs 15 lakh each to silver medallists and Rs 10 lakh each to the bronze medallists. Earlier, saluting the medal winning heroics of the Olympic medallists, the Union sports ministry had on Thursday organised a gala ceremony in the city to hand them out their victory cheques. Sports Minister Ajay Maken had handed cheques of Rs 30 lakh each to the silver medallists Rs 20 lakh each to the bronze medallists.last_img read more