The Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa-led Special Presidential Task Force (SPTF) investigating the Global Witness report accusing several senior Liberian government officials and others of bribery, has said that at least four persons (names not given) from one corporation have been indicted and that several other indictments (names withheld) will be served to individuals this week.“The Task Force has also interviewed more than 12 witnesses in Liberia and abroad and reviewed more than 700 pages of evidence, which have been combined,” he revealed. Going forward, Min. Koffa said the task force will be in the background providing all the necessary pieces of evidence needed to successfully prosecute all persons who will be indicted.This was disclosed last Thursday at the regular press briefing of the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT), when Cllr. Koffa, who is also the Presidential Affairs Minister in the Office of President Sirleaf, announced that the SPTF was handing over the prosecutorial role of the task force to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). Although the Task Force also has prosecutorial powers, the MOJ, however, is the statutory government’s arm that prosecutes cases. Giving reasons for this transfer of authority, he stated that even though being chairman and still having “prosecutorial patent,” he was however taking the back seat, allowing the MOJ to take the lead because active prosecution has begun of people linked to the GW Sable Mining report on Liberia, entitled: The Deceivers. The SPTF is a tripartite entity, including the Ministry of State for Presidential Affairs (MOS), the Ministry of Justice and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).Not having fully exhausted the Herculean task of providing all the necessary pieces of evidence to prosecute the indictees and would-be indictees, the SPTF is now opening another daunting chapter of the corruption fight by beginning to look at the mountain of GAC audit reports.“What we are going to be doing next, is looking at all of those old GAC reports which have not either been prosecuted or are not currently being investigated to do what we call ‘compliance screening,’” he disclosed. Unlike his first role: investigating the GW Sable Mining report, in this next phase we are not going to be investigating, he clarified. “Starting on Monday (today), our press office will release what we call a list of persons of interest, to the newspapers. It will be based on audits. These will simply be on the situation where you are listed in a GAC report and we will need to talk to you.”Min. Koffa, however, clarified that those individuals have not been accused of any crime neither of any wrong doings. “It is only because you have been listed, we will need to clear you out. Maybe there is a receipt missing, there are explanations needed that the GAC was unable to obtain at the time they completed their audits.”After this period, which according to Cllr. Koffa will last between 30 and 60 days, what those who are listed as persons of interest should be concerned about is if they (SPTF) think that a wrongful act had occurred, they are going to refer those persons to the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) with a “referral notice.”“When we give you that notice than you can probably begin to worry, but your name being listed in a newspaper should not cause any alarm to anyone. We are only at this point trying to do compliance screening,” he clarified. Mr. Kofa disclosed that he has received assurances from the LACC Commissioner that they are going to speedily investigate those individuals that the SPTF will refer to them.According to him the reason why they decided to publish the names of individuals in the newspapers is simply because, “We don’t know everybody and we don’t know where to find you.” He added that it would be too cumbersome to find everyone and serve them letters.He stated that the list of persons of interest would be updated and those who will provide “satisfactory answers” during their compliance screening will be informed that the SPTF has no further matter with them. According to him, this will solve some problems of old audit reports, which “seem to be off the table to put them back on the table so that all cases involving the GAC reports are resolved toward the end of this year.”He stressed that this will help to make people take the GAC seriously. “The GAC can’t do audits and nothing happens,” he added. This has probably come against the backdrop of Liberians being concerned that the Presidential Task Force was swiftly proceeding with investigating the GW corruption report when there exists a mountain of GAC reports, which are yet to be investigated. One of such GAC reports that many Liberians have made reference to is the one on the National Oil Company of Liberia (NOCAL), which was managed by Mr. Robert A. Sirleaf, son of the President. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Black children are twice as likely as Whites to be victims of child abuse, with 1 in 5 becoming victims of neglect and/or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, according to a new study.“These data highlight that the burden of confirmed maltreatment is far greater than suggested by single-year national estimates of confirmed child maltreatment and that the risk for maltreatment is particularly high for black children, who had cumulative risk of confirmed maltreatment in excess of 25 percent for many years, and never less-than 20 percent,” the report states.Official 2011 data from child protective service agencies puts the overall child abuse figure at 1 in 100 children. But the new research places the figure at 1 in 8, with most of it taking place in the early years.The new study, which appears online in this month’s JAMA Pediatrics, uses the same protective services data (the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System – or, NCANDS—Child File), but measures it cumulatively, including all children under 18 who have been victimized, up to and including the given year.“If you have a person abused, say, at age four, and they were four in 2009. In 2014, they would be nine. If you took a yearly approach, you would only include in your measure those who were maltreated this year,” says Hedwig Lee, one of the study’s authors. “We show people who’ve experienced this at least one time before they were 18. It’s an estimate that shows the actual burden of maltreatment in children. If you experience maltreatment at any time, it affects you, so [this method] is a more clear snapshot of the population affected.”The researchers use NCANDS data from 2004 through 2011, and in that time, nearly 5.7 million children had at least one confirmed case of maltreatment during their lives (80 percent of which stemmed from neglect, as opposed to abuse, according to the study). CPS found that 174,400 Black children had been neglected or abused in 2011 alone (for most of these children, it was the first reported case).Cumulatively, researchers found that by 4 years old, Black children had a 1 in 10 chance of being maltreated. By 10 years old, the risk was 4 in 25. Put another way, that’s at least four students in every fifth-grade class. By 15 years old, Black youth had a 1 in 5 chance of having a CPS file.In 2011, White children accounted for 317,900 confirmed maltreatment cases, most of which were first offenses. (There were a total of 670,000 confirmed cases that year).Cumulatively, by 4 years old White children have a 1 in 20 chance of maltreatment; a 4 in 50 chance by age 10, and a 1 in 10 chance by age 15.Put another way, Black children are twice as likely to suffer maltreatment as White children by each of those benchmarks.“It highlights the importance of thinking about how, in the United States, many disparities that occur…are examples of the ways in which the history of racism can lead to disparate outcomes among groups,” Lee says, pointing out that overwhelmed parents of color are much less likely to have access to support such as comprehensive healthcare, lactation consultants, therapists, nannies, and the like.“When we think of [the data’s] racial disparities, it’s not necessarily bias among CPS, but more about the large problems of social disparities. In many cases parents are overwhelmed and not receiving enough support. That’s a social and economic problem.”CPS confirmed cases of abuse or neglect are most likely to occur in infancy and toddlerhood, across race and in both annual and cumulative measures. A more accurate interpretation, according to study co-author, Christopher Wildeman, is that in the case of babies and toddlers, maltreatment is both easier to identify as such, and more likely to be discovered. “Young children are quite fragile, so maltreatment they experience — whether abuse or neglect — is more noticeable than it would be with older children. If you yank a two year-old by the arm and you yank an eight year-old by the arm, the two year-old could end up with a separated shoulder from the incident, whereas the eight year-old might feel resentful and hurt, but may not present symptoms of an injury,” Wildeman explains. In addition, “folks – whether teachers, physicians, or other folks in the community—are just more attentive to small children, and the folks at CPS are no different.” In addition to the rate difference between CPS’s annual count and this study’s cumulative count, there’s also a huge difference between CPS rates and self-reporting from adults who were maltreated as children. “Self-reported rates are higher because to have a case confirmed there has to be enough evidence and there’s a high level of proof,” Lee explains. “There’s going to be discrepancy…[especially if] they’ve never had contact with CPS. Our estimate might be conservative. It’s clear that people may be slipping through the cracks.”The study does not make recommendations or offer sociological explanations regarding the disparities it highlights, but it does point out that child maltreatment is a serious public health issue. In addition to the moral implications, child maltreatment is associated with higher rates of mortality, obesity, HIV/AIDS infection, and mental health problems.Children who have been abused or neglected are more likely to engage in criminal activity as teens and/or adults, and five times more likely to attempt suicide. One cited study estimates that the social toll stemming from the effects of child maltreatment costs the United States $124 billion every year.“The results of this study provide valuable epidemiological information,” the researchers conclude. “Being able to assess the extent and severity of maltreatment across populations and time can inform policies and practices that can be used not only to reduce maltreatment, but also to improve population health and reduce health disparities.”
Children tend to perceive ovoid, or egg-shaped, characters as overweight even though the creatures are imaginary, and seeing them can influence children to eat more unhealthy food, found the study.“They have a tendency to eat almost twice as much indulgent food as kids who are exposed to perceived healthier looking cartoon characters or no characters at all,” said lead author of the study Margaret Campbell, marketing professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the US. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The results of the study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology said that, kids are responsive to the apparent bodyweight of cartoon characters like the aptly named Grimace, a rotund, milkshake-loving creature created by McDonald’s restaurant in the 1970s.The findings, gathered from over 300 participants in three age groups averaging eight, 12 and 13 years, have implications for marketers as well as parents navigating a world where children encounter cartoon characters in a variety of media, from books to graphic novels, TV shows, video games, movies and more. The inclination to eat more junk food was curtailed, however, when kids in the study first had the opportunity to summon their previously learned health knowledge.“Kids do not necessarily draw upon previous knowledge when they are making decisions. But perhaps if we are able to help trigger their health knowledge with a quiz just as they are about to select lunch at school, for instance, they will choose the more nutritious foods,” said Campbell.
Share TORONTO – Saint Lucia’s tourism sector is building on its record-setting year in 2017, with Q1 2018 figures showing continued robust growth.According to the latest figures, stay-over arrivals increased by 9.5% in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period last year, with March 2018 registering a 17.8% increase over March 2017.Year to date, the island has registered 355,821 cruise passenger arrivals, an increase of 13.5% over the same period last year. This uptick is due in part to the berth extension at Pointe Seraphine, which allows Saint Lucia to accommodate an increase number of larger vessels.For example, the mega vessel MS Eurodam 2008 and the Freedom Class vessel Anthem of the Seas made their first port calls in Castries in January 2018. This was closely followed by the arrival of another Freedom Class vessel from Royal Caribbean – the Freedom of the Seas – on May 16, 2018, which has a capacity f 6,000.More news: A new low for no-frills flying: easyJet assigns backless seat to passengerIn addition to ocean cruising, the island has experienced a resurgence in the yachting sector, with a 25% increase in yacht arrivals across all ports of entry, namely IGY Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay, and Soufriere.“We have run an aggressive and focused marketing campaign over 2017 and into 2018,” said Agnes Francis, Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Executive Chairperson. “Working to establish our new branding, running targeted media buys and social media campaigns that increase engagement and awareness, we are starting to see the benefits of this marketing push. We believe that his year, Saint Lucia will see an even greater growth as we continue to refine our marketing.” Posted by Friday, May 25, 2018 Saint Lucia credits cruising for continued tourism growth in 2018 Travelweek Group Tags: St. Lucia << Previous PostNext Post >>