New import helps Petro Gazz spread wings even wider

first_imgMOST READ Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours “Every player did something out there, we started believing in ourselves and everybody is playing for victory,” added Lymareva-Flink, who joined the Angels midconference after 6-foot-4 Kudi Kullerkann got injured.“It is already a great experience for me; I’m so proud I can be part of the team,” said Lymareva-Flink. “It’s like I’ve been playing here for a couple of years already.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial Petro Gazz celebrates after scoring against Pocari Sweat Air Force. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin VardeleonFor the second straight game, Olena Lymareva-Flink almost single-handedly carried Petro Gazz to victory.The Ukrainian star unloaded 30 points for a 25-19, 20-25, 28-26, 25-21 victory over defending champion Pocari Sweat-Air Force Wednesday night in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference at Filoil Flying V Centre.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew The 25-year-old Lymareva-Flink, who gushed about the warm welcome her teammates showered her with upon arriving in the country six days ago, was certainly at home with the Angels, igniting decisive fight-backs in the third and fourth sets.“This is what I called like a team game,” said the 6-foot spiker, who also accounted for five aces. “We were a little bit down but we collected all the power and the emotion and pushed, pushed, pushed.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownThe Angels indeed pushed the Lady Warriors to the limit for two successive sets, climbing from 8-16 to steal the third frame, before chipping away from a 2-10 deficit in the fourth to score their second straight win.Petro Gazz thus forced a gridlock in the middle of the standings by catching their foes at 3-3. 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 awardcenter_img Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations LATEST STORIES China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film Mitra extends Supercross lead Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

Ganta Receives New Stipendiary Magistrate

first_imgA new stipendiary magistrate has been assigned to steer the judicial affairs of the Ganta Magisterial Court, replacing outgoing Victoria GbalazayThe newly assigned Stipendiary Magistrate,  Attorney-at-Law Nyan Meator Ben, previously served as  stipendiary magistrate at the Paynesville Magisterial Court for several years.Magistrate Ben, who was inducted into office by Chief Justice of Liberia, Cllr. Francis Korkpor, on July 11, expressed the happiness at being assigned as to Ganta City because, according to him,  every government worker  should be able to take assignment everywhere.Attorney Ben vowed to bring transparency to the justice system in Ganta during his tenure as stipendiary magistrate.“By virtue of our education, we have been encouraged to do our best to bring fair judgment to the people of Ganta and Nimba at large,” he said.He urged the citizens to be law-abiding by taking their grievances to the law instead of taking it law into their own hands.“We have come to uphold your rights, whether in the capacity as the defendant or plaintiff,”  he said.There had been many complaints of judicial malpractices during the tenure of the outgoing magistrate,  including claims of allegedly  receiving bond fees and alleged instances of intimidation.  But she often denied such allegations.Outgoing Stipendiary Magistrate Victoria Gbalazay served the Ganta Magisterial Court for over ten years.But during the induction ceremony, Chief Justice Korkpor said her removal had nothing to with complaints; it was rather a normal judicial  routine to change judges whenever the need arises.Ganta is one of the most diverse municipalities, where the issue of mob violence appears to be commonplace;  but there had been complaints that the justice system,  beginning with the  police, was not fair and that it was very hard to get redress from the court unless you spent money.  But the new stipendiary magistrate has vowed to change this “if such were indeed happening.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

2 Liberians Nabbed for Alleged Swindling

first_imgBATANGAS CITY, THE PHILLIPINES — Two Liberians who allegedly swindled P8 million ( US$1.8M) from two retired teachers in 4 months were arrested in an entrapment operation by Batangas police Wednesday.Batangas provincial director Omega Jireh Fidel identified the suspects as Joseph Gbala, 36, and Jackson Gale, 42, both natives of Monrovia, Liberia. Both were presented to members of the media during a press conference.According to Fidel, the suspects first befriend their victims through the internet, making them believe that their investments would be doubled in no time.”This is a case of ‘Budol-Budol,” Fidel said.Investigations also disclosed that the suspects sent the victims two suitcases with vaults, but it was not until Wednesday that it was discovered that they were full of black paper.Ironically, only 90 dollars were recovered from the suspects’ possession.The suspects, police said, are believed to use a special liquid to produce counterfeit money.Meanwhile, Batangay City police chief Supt. Manuel Castillo warned the public to be wary of making transactions with strangers on the internet.”If it’s too good to be true, then it’s not true,” he said.The suspects, who have been charged with swindling, are now detained at the Batangas City police station even as their entry to the country is being questioned by authorities.Police are also looking into granting them bail, depending on the gravity of their offense. (Report from Angelique Atienza, ABS-CBN News, Southern Tagalog)http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/01/16/14/2-liberians-nabbed-alleged-swindlingShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

NEC Responds to Observer Editorial

first_imgDear Mr. Editor:I present compliments on behalf of the National Elections Commission (NEC), and herein wish to thank you for your agreement to meet with us on June 30th 2014, to discuss the Daily Observer’s editorial of June 03, 2014 captioned, “Is NEC Truly Ready for the October Elections?” Let me also register my profound thanks and appreciation for the warm reception accorded my delegation and the frank exchange that characterized our cooperation between your institution and the NEC, as we all strive to foster democratic governance in Liberia.As I stated during the meeting, the Commission was taken aback by the allegations contained in the editorial. Among other things, the editorial alleged that NEC did not make adequate preparations, including an extensive civic voter education for the recent Voter Roll Update (VRU); the mobile registration method used for the VRU exercise was inappropriate; the Commission did not raise a budget; and the Commission might have acted in collaboration with a certain Islamic group deliberately deny thousands of youth of their right to register and take part in the electoral process.Mr. Managing Director, by this communication, the NEC seeks to clarify the issues raised in the editorial mentioned above and would therefore appreciate were you to use your editorial judgment to help in dispelling the misconception that the editorial under reference created amongst the public, here and abroad.Before proceeding further, please permit me to underscore that all Liberians, including your good-self (an eminent citizen of this country), have a responsibility to protect and preserve the image of the NEC as the institution that confers legitimacy on elected leaders of our country. Unfortunately, I like to state that the June 3, 2014 Editorial of the Daily Observer Newspaper did not only unfairly ignore this social responsibility but it deliberately failed to give any credit to the Commission for the laudable effort (NEC has already received commendation from ECOWAS and the American Embassy near Monrovia for a successful VRU) been made by the Commission in preparation for the conduct of the 2014 Special Senatorial Election.Now the allegations:1. Did NEC organize properly and advertise adequately the VRU exercise?The editorial accused the NEC of failing to properly organize the just-ended VRU and that in the exercise of the “penny wise and pound foolish philosophy”, the Commission did not advertise the voter registration process; hence very few people knew about it. For the records, the Commission wishes to state that it employed all available means to publicize the VRU through the length and breadth of this country. For instance, prior to the commencement of the VRU exercise, the Commission signed a memorandum of understanding with forty (40) community radio stations in the 15 counties and another MoU with eleven (11) national radio stations in Monrovia to air announcements, play jingles and dramas, as well as host talk shows on the VRU process. The MoUs between the NEC and the community radio stations required the latter to air VRU messages in local languages (vernaculars) for ease of understanding and to enhance informed participation of the population in rural communities.Additionally, the Commission with support from its international partners, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) contracted the services of two-hundred and sixty two (262) Community-based Organizations (CBOs) plus two-hundred and nineteen (219) Civic Educators to disseminate messages on the VRU process from door-to-door. Further, the Commission printed and distributed more than 150,000 flyers, posters, stickers and banners highlighting VRU messages. Further still, the NEC contracted the Flash Point Newspaper for the publication of the various centers and the movement schedules of the VRU Teams.Further still, NEC contracted the services of several local artists and the Liberian Musician Union to produce, at least three (3) VRU songs; several dramas & jingles, all of which were regularly aired on various radio stations in and out of Monrovia. Moreover, there were countless radio and television interviews conducted to promote the VRU exercise; live appearances and phone-in programs on community as well as national radio stations featuring election magistrates, authorities from the Civic/Voter Education and Communication Section of NEC, plus the airing of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and Press Releases, Newspapers, including the Daily Observer carried VRU stories. It is clear Mr. Managing Director, that these efforts, taking together, cannot be fairly described as inadequate preparation.2. Did NEC craft a budget for the 2014 Special Senatorial Election?This question has to be answered in the affirmative. Accountability is one of the key guiding principles of every election management body; the NEC is no exception. Therefore, the NEC could not have expected to conduct the 2014 Special Senatorial Election successfully without submitting a budget to national government.It is public knowledge that in the lead up to the commencement of activities for the conduct of the Special Senatorial Election, the NEC submitted a budget of US$15.3 million to the Liberian Government for the entire electoral process. When the amount requested was not forthcoming in line with the Commission’s program delivery plan, we initiated series of consultations with key stakeholders, including political parties, civil society organizations, religious leaders, the media, the National Legislature and international partners of the Commission. The aim of those consultations was to call attention to the time sensitive nature of the Commission’s work and to ask those stakeholders to help the Commission to prevail on national government to make available the resources that were needed to conduct the Special Senatorial Election on time.As a partial result of those engagements, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) of the United Nations in Liberia, in her report to the UN General Assembly sometime this year, informed that august body of the insufficiency of funding to the NEC and called on the Liberian Government to do more to support the NEC for the conduct of the Senatorial Election. Not only that, the Liberian Senate in one of its sittings passed a bill and requested theExecutive Branch of Government to borrow a little over ten million United States Dollars for the 2014 Special Senatorial Election. The bill is currently before the House of Representative for concurrence. All of these interventions could not have been made without the Commission submitting a budget for the conduct of the Special Election and calling attention of stakeholders to its needs.3.Whether the use of mobile teams for the conduct of the VRU was inappropriate as implied by the editorial?What the Daily Observer did not take into consideration in referring to the use of mobile teams to conduct the VRU exercise that while there are acceptable principles that guide the conduct of elections around the world, there is no one best way that all activities in every electoral process must conform to. In fact, countries are encouraged to adopt methods that best suit their situations once those methods are within international legal framework and consistent with best practices. For instance, Gambia is the only country in West Africa that uses marbles as ballots. Can it be said that elections conducted in Gambia are not democratic because they use marbles instead of papers as ballots? Obviously no. Among others, once the secrecy and right of voters are not compromised, that system is acceptable under international best practice.Another thing the Commission did that the Daily Observer editorial did not mention was that though the teams moved from one precinct to the another, all of the existing 1,780 precincts in Liberia were fully covered. No eligible Liberia citizen who was desirous of being registered was deprived. In addition to the teams covering all 1,780 precincts, NEC Civic educators went ahead of the teams to announce their arrival in the various communities.Another point that is worthy is that the time allotted for the VRU exercise was longer than previous voter registration exercises. For instance, in 2005, the voter registration exercise lasted for 24 days (April 25 to May 21, 2005) excluding holidays and Sundays. In 2011, the exercise ran for a little longer time than 2005. In 2014, the Commission improved on the number of days for the Voter Roll Update to forty five (45) days, Not only did the NEC print and distribute posters in all communities highlighting the movement schedules of the VRU Teams, but civic educators were also deployed to announce arrival of the teams. Though the teams were not static at a given registration center for the entire duration of the exercise as was done in 2005, yet, everything else that was done in 2005 was employed for the VRU and in some instances improved upon.4. Is NEC in a conspiracy with an Islamic power (Saudi Arabia) to disenfranchise Liberian Youths as alleged by the editorial?The answer is NO. This allegation of the editorial is the most disturbing and shocking. For the Daily Observer to insinuate that because a certain group plans to Islamize Liberia, the NEC will avail itself to be used to achieve this goal is unfortunate. Sir, the National Elections Commission is aware of and has applied, times without numbers, the provision of Article 79(d) of the Constitution of Liberia in regulating political parties. It cannot, at the same time, begin to do things to violate this Constitutional provision. The fact that your editorial selected to associate the Commission with such scheme is what disturbs the Commission most.Let me state that the only currency in which the Commission trades in the conduct of elections, is TRUST. Whatever the Commission did in preparation for the 2014 Special Senatorial Election was done with the intent to preserve and protect the sanctity of the electoral process in this country.Let me close by unequivocally stating that the NEC remains committed to upholding the trust of the Liberian people in all of its activities.Thank you vey much and best regardsSincerely,Jerome G. Korkoya, J.D.CHAIRMANEditor’s Note:Thanks for your clarifications.  We wish to make but one comment: We notice that NEC used one of the most insignificant and most irregular newspapers to publicize the various centers and movement schedules of the VRU Teams.  No wonder many people in the country have complained that they did not know where to go to register. – EDShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Classic Wins in Ellen’s Cup

first_imgSensational LISCR FC grabbed her time-honored victory on Saturday and moved to the quarterfinals of the President’s Cup, overcoming the nightmare in the pre-season’s Coca-Cola tournament, where she was eliminated in the preliminary rounds.LISCR whipped Mighty Blue Angels 3-0, in the 8th match of the tournament in front of a record crowd at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium. Lanky and finisher Mohammed Varney raised the curtain in the 14th minute and swelled the tally in the 37th through a spot kick. Midfielder Emmanuel Freeman sealed the score in the 45th minute before his substitution.Versatile midfielder Abraham Barshall controlled the middle up to his send-off while Prince Seameh was impressive. But most LISCR fans wanted the return of left-back Daniel Woto to boost their defense. The Cooper Sarnoh’s men redeemed their morale and fans, and seemed to be more aggressive for the next round after a shameful exit in the Coca-Cola Cup. The inexcusable departure of the Gardnersville team led to an overhaul and let-go of four players.LISCR fans, including president Mustapha Raji were in tears when they drew 2-2 and 1-1 with Mighty Barrolle and Nimba United respectively and bowed 1-0 to BYC which put them out of the tournament in the round-robin’s beginning rounds.LISCR has won the top league and Knockout twice, as well as the Super Cup, two times and five pre-season tournaments.Earlier, football giants, BYC I, also convincingly whipped newly promoted 2nd division Sesay FC, 3-0.Unstylish striker Blamo Nimely netted the first goal and brawny striker Mark Paye got the brace.Coach Robert Larteh’s boys’ triumph ignited his recommitment to the team amidst speculation of his departure to FC Fassell.Coach Larteh, dubbed Pella stated, “This time of year, there are lots of things being speculated in the public regarding other coaching opportunities, but I want to reaffirm my commitment to BYC Football.”He added: “After being here for the past few years, I can see why this is such a special place in terms of the history, winning tradition, and how much BYC Football means to our fans.”Fortnight ago, BYC credibly whipped Nimba United 3-1 on the crowded Blue Field and were crowned champions of the Coca-Cola Cup, winning her eighth title.The team has won three Super Cups, two Championships and two Knockouts (Liberian Cup) and then two pre-season tournaments, excluding the dual achievement of its feeder team, BYC II.In Saturday’s game, Jubilee FC whipped ELWA United 3-2. The victory was dedicated to the newly appointed president of Jubilee FC, businessman George Kailando.Over the weekend, Nimba United thrashed Holder FC, 4-2; BYC II nailed NPA Anchors 2-0 and FC Fassell narrowly pinned newly promoted 2nd division club Joy Conquerors 1-0.During the opener on Thursday, Keitrace FC also thrashed Aries 4-2 and Mighty Barrolle forfeited to IE.The winner from yesterday’s game, between Watanga FC and Gardnersville FC, which was on up to press time would join the already eight teams which have qualified for the second phase.Howbeit, at the quarter finals’ draw today at the LFA headquarters, one of nine teams could take a bye for the semi finals.The President’s Cup is sponsored by Srimex Oil and Gas and Kailando Petroleum.Meanwhile, the two newly 2nd promoted clubs, Sesay FC and Joy Conquerors are expected to lock horns during the official resumption of the 2014/2015 LFA League.It may be recalled that on Friday, March 29, the Super Cup derby between BYC and FC Fassell marked the official opening of the LFA League.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Media Institutions Urged to Promote Liberia Culture

first_imgThe Publisher of the Daily Observer newspaper, Kenneth Y. Best, is appealing to all media institutions to join the effort of his newspaper to promote Liberia’s fast decaying but unique culture, as it will help build interest in Liberia. Since 1981, the Daily Observer newspaper has been promoting Liberia’s arts and culture, while at the same time advocating for a new cultural center since the first one was sold years ago and converted into a resort. Still, this paper has not relent to argue or advocate for a new center to be built in an area that is rooted in culture, not Marshall, which has nothing cultural, said Mr. Best.“We all know the power of the media; therefore the media can play a more crucial role in reawaking Liberia’s cultural practices. “For too long many media institutions have seek not to generate interest in the promotion of Liberia’s cultures, a situation that has made this government not serious about promoting it as well,” Mr. Best noted.Mr. Best was speaking under the theme: Promoting Arts and Culture in Liberia through the Media at the just ended Cuttington University Cultural Festival.Culture encompasses everything, including our unique folklores, songs, dances; and it is therefore our responsibility to promote and preserve it for generations upon generations. The absence of media institutions in playing a vital role to keep Liberia’s cultural heritages alive is actually causing problems. Media entities should take into consideration that they have a very wide rage of audiences, and if everyone was promoting Liberian culture by now, we would have had new culture village by now, Mr Best emphasized.“The Daily Observer newspaper is the only newspaper in Liberia that makes it compulsory to promote Liberian arts and culture every week…is at least trying to restore the country’s broken culture…and is also pressurizing government to take keen interest in our culture and develop policies that will restore and sustain it.“It is about time that all the media institutions act fast or it will be too late. However, we at this newspaper will not stop, neither will we relent, in promoting Liberia’s arts and culture,” Mr. Best added. Meanwhile, at the end of his remark, Mr. Best promised to donate a mask in each gender from all sixteen tribes to the Africana Museum to beef up their collection. Speaking earlier, CU Interim President D. Evelyn S. Kandakai said the festival is the launch of a longtime event that comes up annually and is meant to promote Liberia’s cultural heritages, like other universities are doing around the world.“After seeing the level of decline in the promotion of Liberian culture, we thought it wise that doing something will bring everyone on board to promote culture regardless of your diversity. We as people have a unique culture that is worth promoting and be proud of,” Dr. Kandakai said.The festival was held under the theme: Promoting, Diversity, Tolerance and Peaceful Co- Existence through Culture. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Govt says oil resources will aid environmental protection plan

first_imgProtection of the country’s environment is of paramount importance to Government, especially in the context of Guyana becoming an oil-producing country and the attendant risk of an oil spill, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman said on Wednesday.As such, Government has committed to using the revenue from the development of oil to advance the preservation of the environment. Trotman said Guyana must be known not as an oil-producing nation but as a nation that used its resources to protect its environment which includes people and the communities.Addressing a stakeholder consultation on the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan,Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman (third from left) among top key stakeholders and heads of agencies that participated in the consultation at the Civil Defence Commission on WednesdayTrotman said that there was no rush as there was enough time to properly plan and ensure that the right mechanisms were in place for the sector. However, he said the process has started and Guyana would be fully prepared in 2020.Speaking specifically about the plan, Trotman said that there was a possibility that Guyana may encounter an oil spill at some stage of its life as an oil-producing nation and that was mainly why plans were being made in this regard. The plan is being crafted with the support of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC).The Minister explained that this fell directly under Government’s National Green State Development Strategy (GSDS) which prioritised the protection and preservation of the environment for current and future generations. That strategy sets out guidelines for protection of the entire coastal area.“…where fishing and farming are conducted as well as our water resources, both freshwater and the offshore marine environment which make up our Exclusive Economic Zone. This overarching strategy provides our most significant commitment to the preservation of our environment in tandem with the development of our resources,” he told attendees at the consultation.  Given the massive oil finds over the past year with the initial reserve estimate of 800 million barrels of oil equivalent moving to 3.2 billion barrels and counting, Trotman said with every new find, the importance of a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan took on an even more important role.“While as a Government, we are cognisant of the potential risks which come with developing this new-found petroleum resource we are equally committed to the protection of our environment and Guyana continues to be a fierce proponent for its protection internationally,” he asserted.Reference was made to Guyana becoming a member of the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and a signatory to the IMO’s International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC) in 1998. “I am aware that the IMO guidelines have been a driving force in the design of this National Oil Spill Contingency Plan,” he added. In 2010, Guyana acceded to the Cartagena Convention and all three of its protocols, including the one concerning combating oil spills in the Caribbean.Support mobilisation has already begun since 2017 with the procurement of four containers of oil spill response equipment and accessories including booms, skimmers, and dispersant. These are presently stored at the CDC’s Alternate National Emergency Operations Centre at Timehri and will soon be pre-positioned at various locations to facilitate ease in deployment should the need arise.last_img read more

Student aims to hug his way into Guinness book

first_imgWHITTIER – When Eric Rivera tells people how he plans to mark his final year at Whittier College, reactions range from hearty bursts of laughter to freaked-out looks of “What are you thinking?” But the 21-year-old senior is determined to make it into the record books this year with the help of hundreds of students and alumni who will gather at the college this weekend for homecoming festivities. Rivera, a music major, will attempt to break into the Guinness World Records book by hugging 1,000 people between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday on the college’s grassy upper quad, near the library. The closer he gets to the big day, the more Rivera says he’s convinced he can easily overtake the current record of 667 hugs in 60 minutes. And so began Hugfest 2007, which takes place during Whittier Weekend, the college’s annual three-day homecoming event. Typically, the event draws about 650 alumni, parents and relatives in addition to about 1,300 undergraduates. “That was very purposeful,” said Sarah Morgan, assistant director of student activities at Whittier College. “We wanted to make sure we had enough of an audience, and we always have a lot of extra people on campus that day, so it just made sense that we would incorporate the two together,” Morgan said. Had anyone else come to Morgan with the concept of Hugfest, she said she “would have done a double take.” “But not him,” said Morgan, who has known Rivera for years through his job at the campus radio station. “He’s a great guy, with a great sense of humor, and he wants to make his mark. “And honestly, of all of the records in the Guinness book, this is one that can be easily broken,” she added. “Everyone wants a hug.” Rivera must also comply with several restrictions laid out by Guinness officials. In order to count as a hug, the arms must completely wrap around the person in a genuine embrace. Rivera cannot move, so huggers must line up and approach him for the hug. There can be no repeat huggers, either. The entire hour must be videotaped and observed by “two persons of significant social standing” – one of whom will be Whittier Mayor Owen Newcomer. “It sounded like fun!” Newcomer said. “I’d never heard of such a thing before. And being a counter for someone who is going for a world record – well, heck, it’s a strange thing, but I think it’s a good thing, too.” Rivera figures he can give each hugger no more than about five seconds for an embrace to top the current record. But he’s aiming for 1,000 hugs, which comes out to about 3.5 seconds per hug. “I hope everyone is as excited as we are,” Morgan said. “Get a hug and be part of history. Not many people can say they helped break a world record.” For more information, visit www.hugfest2007.tripod.com. tracy.garcia@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.“I am not thinking in any negative light – I am only thinking positively,” he said. “And I am totally going to break this record.” Earlier this year, Rivera said he was reading the “Guinness World Records 2007” book, looking at all of the “unbelievably unbeatable” feats when he came across the record on hugs. “At the time, it was only 612 in an hour. But it just stuck in my mind,” he said. “I figured I could beat it, but I didn’t think too much more about it.” Then a Utah woman attempted to break the record – and that was the kicker. “For whatever reason, that fueled me,” he said. “For whatever reason, I knew I had to break it myself.” last_img read more

Bomb scare jams traffic as experts check device

first_imgSYLMAR – Rush-hour traffic backed up for miles in both directions of the Foothill Freeway on Monday while a military bomb squad examined a 400- to 500-pound “dummy bomb,” eventually declaring it harmless, authorities said. The large round used in military practice drills apparently fell off a pickup truck earlier in the day and ended up on the side of the westbound lanes near Roxford Street, said Officer Mike Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department. “It’s an actual round, but it’s nonexplosive,” Lopez said. He added the round was known as a “Mark 84 dummy bomb,” but he did not know which branch of the armed services used the practice ordnance. An LAPD bomb squad requested the help of military explosives experts, who X-rayed the bomb to conclude that it was nonexplosive, he said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Early news reports said the “dummy bomb” may have been a replica of a nuclear bomb. It was discovered at about 4:05 p.m. and the California Highway Patrol shut down the Foothill Freeway in both directions between Yarnell and Polk streets for nearly four hours. last_img read more

Using reserves, MTA approves $3 billion budget

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2As the board debated the budget, about two dozen members of the Bus Riders Union held signs calling for increased bus service, slowing rail construction and adding more service hours. “We are worried about what the future holds for us,” Manuel Criollo, leading organizer for the bus riders, told the board. The union, which forced a 10-year consent decree that expanded bus services for the poor and kept fare rates low, expressed concern that the budget crisis will lead the MTA to eventually shrink bus service and raise fares. “This is a temporary victory.” So far the board has declined to increase fares, but some say a hike is inevitable. In a last-ditch effort to reduce the deficit, Snoble proposed a $10 million cut in the agency’s $60 million police contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The department’s 551-person transit police protect the MTA’s subways and buses. Despite a looming financial crisis, Metropolitan Transportation Authority directors approved a $3 billion budget Thursday, expanding bus services and continuing construction of the Metro Gold Line. The board held the line on fares by covering its $110 million deficit with dwindling reserves. On an 11-2 vote, the board agreed to return within the month to trim at least $10 million from the budget and find new revenue sources, including expanded advertising. It also agreed to cut 13 nonunion positions and put off the purchase of 40 hybrid cars for staff use, saving about $2 million. “We have more service out there than we can afford,” warned MTA CEO Roger Snoble. Though the board rejected Snoble’s initial proposal, members agreed to take a closer look at the security budget to see what areas can be pared without compromising safety. “It was a back-door attempt to balance their budget on the back of public safety,” said Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who voted against the budget. “They need a fare increase and they are attempting to bypass it.” Antonovich said he feared that voting for the budget with the caveat the agency will cut an additional $10 million later would open the door to slashing the security budget. Snoble contends the sheriff’s administrative costs are too high but sheriff’s officials say a reduction would force them to eliminate 53 patrol officers. “I don’t think it’s realistic,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who also voted against the budget. “We are in a post-Madrid, post-London era … the security is important here. We have tunnels, subways and light-rail line that are vulnerable to hanky panky.” Under this year’s budget, the MTA will continue plans design a Mid-City light-rail project and finish the Ventura Freeway overcross at the San Diego Freeway. Additionally, seven Metro Rapid lines will be opened over the next year, including one through San Fernando Road and Lankershim Boulevard. rachel.uranga@dailynews.com (818) 713-3741160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more