Monday, June 29, 2009

Bob Marley's Plaque Unveiled In Accra

Nana Rita Marley, widow of reggae icon, Bob Marley, has unveiled a plaque in honour of her husband on the Sankofa Wall at the Diaspora African Forum (DAF) Mission based at the Dubois Centre in Accra.It was a solemn reverential ceremony and Nana Rita said after unveiling the plaque, that the event and the fact that it happened in Ghana, bore a special significance not only to her but to black people everywhere.“This honour means a lot to me and my family. It is something we have lived for. The unity of Africa is very important and Bob always chanted ‘One Love, One Africa.’ Long live Africa.”The Head of the DAF Mission, Ambassador Dr Erieka Bennet also remarked that Rastafarians have contributed significantly to enlightening the world about Pan-Africanism.She praised Bob Marley for his contribution towards uplifting the consciousness of Africans on the continent as well as those in the Diaspora.The Sankofa Wall symbolises the hopes and dreams of Africans in the Diaspora who always wanted to return and link up with their motherland but died before they could come back.Families of such persons who happen to be Ghana, therefore place marble plaques in honour and reverence of their ancestors who have passed on in the West.Bob Marley’s name has been etched in marble on the plaque as Robert Nesta Marley O.M. Behane Selassie. His name is among over forty others of distinguished blacks whose plaques had been laid on the Sankofa Wall at the DAF Mission by direct relatives to mark the return of their spirits to the land of their ancestors.Among the names are Harriet Ross Tubman Davis, a freed slave who helped to free many others and Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey who championed a back-to-Africa movement in the New World.A Living Legend Award which was conferred on Nana Rita at this year’s African International Media Summit (AIM) in Adiss Ababa, was officially presented to her by Dr Desta Meghoo at the unveiling ceremony.The Diaspora African Forum Mission is an African Union initiative to facilitate the smooth return of African descendants in the West who wish to return to their motherland.

Zain’s “Live your dream” promotion launched.

Zain Ghana Limited has formally launched its “Live your dream” promotion in Accra at its Flagship store in Osu last week.Theobjective of the promotion is to reward Zain customers and would be customers the opportunity of winning GH¢ 75,000 to live their dream and to thank customers for been part of Zain’s achievements of 1, 0000,000 customer base of.
In entering the promotion it requires two methods these are; every top up of GH¢2 will qualify as an entry and the usage of 50GP of airtime will also qualify an entry .There will be prize draw weekly with a larger monthly draw every fourth week. The Final grand prize draw for GH¢ 75,000 will take place in the third month where one lucky winner will be given the chance to do anything they choose with prize money.In addition each winner will be given the opportunity to choose what want to do with the money and Zain will make it happen. Each week the first prize winner will be given the opportunity to do anything they want with GH ¢2,500 in monthly prize draw, the money will increase to GH ¢5,000. Speaking at the press launch the Corporate Communication Manager of Zain, Carmen Bruce Annan said the focus of her outfit was on its customers and creates a wonderful world by empowering them to live their lives with passion and creativity. “We encourage them to be radiant by leading the way in imagination and vision”. She further reiterated that, it was the main reason why Zain was not just giving money but asking customers to dream and Zain will make it come true.” We will help our customers ensure their dreams come true by giving them the option of financial counseling to advise them how to get the most from their winnings and the option of opening account if they don’t have one.
The Marketing Director of Zain, Ransford Nyarko said Zain is about bringing joy and colour into customer’s lives and that is what drives them to be creative in their promotions.
“Zain to date have paid out over GH ¢2.5million in our currently running promo “You pay, Zainpays” .He urged all customers to take active participation in the new promotion to help them live their dream. “
BY: Michael Amedor

Prestige Gateway Academy holds 2nd graduation ceremony

Prestige Gateway Academy located in the environs of Adabraka held its 2nd graduation ceremony over the weekends in Accra. The School which started with only three students on 30th January 2001 now has a greater population who are actively making good grades with the help of the competent teaching and non teaching staff of the School. The International private institutional learning centre currently have more than three hundred students from all over Africa such as togo,benin,Gabon,Chad among others. Speaking at the ceremony, the Director of Prestige Gateway Madam Hertty Sackey, Commended the grandaunts for their had works and urge them to work more harder as go to their respective country’s. “It has really not been easy but God has seen us through”. The Director said the most challenge facing the school was student’s inability to pay fees on time and even not at all, she therefore called on Government to support private institutions such as her outfit to further grow the education sector. Certificate of merit was presented to all forty-five grandaunts. Some courses offered by the school includes; Accounting and Finance, travel and tour, marketing among others.
BY :Michael Amedor

Vicome limited launched in Ghana.

Vicome Limited a Ghanaian based company based in Aberdeen and New Jersey in the united state has formally been launched last week in Accra. Speaking at the press launch, the International representative of Vicome Limited Kwadwo Darko Asamoah said with close association with Weenas U.K, Vicome is set to take up the challenge of supporting Ghanaian businesses and individuals interested in the emerging oil and gas industry by helping them recognize the business ethics and standards focusing on safety, technology and the regard for modest innovative techniques needed to operate in the industry. “Ghana’s oil and gas industry is bound to face a myriad of professional and technical challenges particularly in areas like training of support staff industry specific processes including the handling of health and safety which permeates all aspects of the industry.”
He further reiterated that, his outfit was in Ghana to provide answers to such issues at hand which cuts across both up and downstream.
Mr. Asamoah added that Vicome Limited’s objective is to concertize Ghanaian business and individuals to take up the opportunity the emerging industry has to offer to contractors and skilled persons especially from tertiary institution which should stimulate our private sector.
BY:Michael Amedor

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pop star's family wants answers, Jesse Jackson says

Michael Jackson's family suspects that the singer's personal doctor, Conrad Murray, knows more about Jackson's death, but they have been unable to contact him, the Rev. Jesse Jackson told CNN on Saturday.The parents need to know what happened in the last hours of their son's life, according to Jesse Jackson, a civil rights activist and Baptist minister unrelated to Michael Jackson.
Murray is believed to be the last person to see Michael Jackson alive.
"The routine inquiry is now an investigation," Jesse Jackson said. "They [the Jacksons] didn't know the doctor. ... He should have met with the family, given them comfort on the last hours of their son."
Police, who met briefly with Murray after the singer's death, have been able to reach him and are trying to set up an interview, Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times on Friday. Police said the doctor has been fully cooperative.
Detectives impounded Murray's car, which was parked at the singer's rented home, because it may contain evidence related to Michael Jackson's death.
Police have released no information on what they may have found.
Michael Jackson died Thursday, and an autopsy was performed the following day. The body was taken to an undisclosed mortuary Friday night.A spokesman for the Los Angeles County coroner's office told reporters Friday that more tests must be conducted before a cause of death can be determined. That could take four to six weeks. Jesse Jackson visited the family compound in Encino, California, on Friday.
"I talked with Mrs. Jackson and with the father, Joe, and she could not fight back the tears. She said, 'My baby is gone. Michael was such a good son. I loved him so much. I miss my baby.'"

The family wants to hear Murray's account of what happened, but they can't locate him, Jesse Jackson said.
"The doctor's bizarre behavior here is creating all these suspicions," he said. There are lingering questions, such as: 'How long had he stopped breathing? How long had he been unconscious?'"
He said the family may decide to pursue its own inquiry.
"At this point it [the investigation] is very incomplete," he said. "... They need an independent autopsy to get even more answers to questions that are now being driven by the gap between when Michael was last seen alive and [when] he was pronounced dead day before yesterday."
The possibility that Michael Jackson was taking medication that could have contributed to his death at age 50 weighs heavily on people close to the star.
In 2005, after he was cleared on charges of child molestation, Jackson spent a week at a center run by Dr. Deepak Chopra, a physician who focuses on spirituality and the mind-body connection.
During that week, the pop star asked Chopra for a prescription for a narcotic, the doctor told CNN.
"I said, 'What the heck do you want a narcotic prescription for?'" Chopra said. "And it suddenly dawned on me that he was probably taking these and that he had probably a number of doctors who were giving him these prescriptions, so I confronted him with that. At first, he denied it. Then, he said he was in a lot of pain."
Chopra said he told Jackson that there were plenty of other ways to handle his pain, but that Jackson was not convinced.
He blamed Jackson's death on drug abuse, though he offered no direct evidence.
"When you have enough drugs in your system, your heart goes into an arrhythmia and your respiration stops," he said. "I think the drugs killed him."
Brian Oxman, a former lawyer for the Jackson family who was in the emergency room Thursday, also expressed concern about medications the pop star was taking.
"I talked to this family about it, I warned them -- I said that Michael is overmedicating and that I did not want to see this kind of a case develop," Oxman told CNN's "American Morning" on Friday.
He referred to Anna Nicole Smith, the former model and reality television star who died of an overdose in 2007.
"I said, 'If that's what's going to happen to Michael, it's all going to break our hearts.' And my worst fears are here," he said.
Oxman emphasized that he did not know what killed Jackson, and was not making accusations against anyone.
Jackson was in cardiac arrest when paramedics took him Thursday from his home to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where the music idol was pronounced dead at 2:26 p.m. (5:26 p.m. ET).
In a 911 call released Friday, an unidentified caller told a dispatcher to send help. He told the dispatcher that Jackson was not breathing and Jackson's doctor was performing CPR on a bed.

Jackson had been preparing for a comeback tour -- aimed at extending his legendary career and helping him to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.
Jackson is survived by his three children, Prince Michael I, Paris and Prince Michael II.

Obama's visit to boost economic growth- Minister

The Minister of Information, Mrs Zita Okaikoi on Friday called on Ghanaians, especially residents of Cape Coast to do away with their differences and unite for the visit of the US President, Barrack Obama.
She reiterated that Ghana is privileged to have the first Black-American President visiting, stressing that the event would have a long term impact on the country and the region in particular. Mrs Okaikoi made the call, when she visited Cape Coast to ascertain preparations for the visit of the President, slated for July.
She said the visit of the US President, would go a long way to boost the tourism industry and the economy in general, adding that Mr Obama is expected to make a major policy statement on Africa. Mrs Okaikoi asked players in the tourist industry to endeavour to improve upon their services to attract more tourists and investors to the country, adding "we cannot compromise on quality."
She called on the people to keep their surroundings clean. Mrs Okaikoi said a number of committees were in place to prepare for the visit.The minister also visited the various media houses in Cape Coast including the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Information Services Department, Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Yes FM, and Coastal Television, a community television station.She commended staff of the GNA for their hard work, despite working with obsolete equipment and poor working conditions.Mrs Okaikoi expressed concern that the agency, which is supposed to feed other media houses with news items, had only one computer and currently had to depend on other organisations to have their news transmitted to Accra.At Radio Central, a GBC FM station, the minister, urged the staff to work hard and be dedicated to their duties, adding that government is doing everything possible to provide the state-owned media with their needs to enable them to give of their best.She said for instance, before the end of the year, GBC Head office would be provided with the latest news studio to boost its news coverage, which would be duplicated in the regions. Mrs Okaikoi said GBC was sitting on a "gold mine" and urged the management to make use of the facilities available and endeavour "to do away with waste and corrupt practices".She urged the media house to intensify public education on the visit of President Obama.

Finance Minister inaugurates ADB board

The Minister of Finance, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, on Friday inaugurated an eight-member board of directors of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), and tasked members to fashion out appropriate credit schemes to support the agriculture agenda of government.He said government recognised the need to create a favourable policy environment to deal with the management of risks associated with financing in the agricultural sector, and called on members to reduce such risks.Dr Duffuor called on the new board to actively engage with government to design and implement policies that would mitigate those risks.He expressed government's commitment towards reviewing the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) Act, to include fund for agricultural investment and infrastructure and to provide additional resources in order to support commercial agriculture.Alhaji Ibrahim Adam, Chairman of the Board, on behalf of members, expressed gratitude to President John Evans Atta Mills for the appointment and pledged they would not abuse the power vested in them. "We will mobilize and harmonise our experiences for the betterment of the agricultural sector in particular and the country in general, even though we are coming from various professional backgrounds," Alhaji Adam said.Dr Duffuor administered the oath of secrecy and the official oath on behalf of the president.Other members of the board Ms. Nancy Ampofo, Dr. Samuel Dapaah, and Dr. Johnson Asiamah.The rest are Mr Paul Ofori Agyiri, Acting Deputy Managing Director of the Bank, Dr Clemence Addeah, Major M. S. Tara (Rtd) and Mr Yaw Opoku Atuahene, Managing Director of the bank.

Friday, June 26, 2009

World mourns pop legend Jackson

Tributes from stars and fans have been pouring in for singer Michael Jackson, who has died aged 50 after suffering a cardiac arrest at his Los Angeles home.
Pop star Madonna said: "The world has lost one of its greats, but his music will live on forever."
Fans gathered outside the clinic where he was pronounced dead on Thursday. A post-mortem is taking place on Friday.
Los Angeles police have said the car belonging to a doctor has been towed away from Jackson's home and impounded.
Spokeswoman Karen Rayner said he was not under criminal investigation but the car "may contain medications or other evidence that may assist the coroner in determining the cause of death".
The Los Angeles Fire Department released audio of an emergency call made from Jackson's house.
The person who made the 911 call said a 50-year-old male was being treated by a doctor but was unconscious.
"[The doctor is] pumping his chest but he's not responding to anything," the caller said.
US authorities have said final results of the post-mortem examination could take up to eight weeks while toxicology tests are completed.
Jackson lawyer's 'medication warning'
Family lawyer Brian Oxman told US TV that he had been concerned about the star's use of pain relief medication.
Mr Oxman told ABC's Good Morning America programme that Jackson took prescription pain relief for injuries sustained earlier in his career, including bones broken in a stage fall.
"It caused him great pain. He just didn't like to feel such discomfort. He started taking pain medication. It became part of his life."
Mr Oxman added that he had warned that he "would not hold his tongue" about Jackson's use of medication in the event of the singer's death.
Michael Jackson's career in numbers
Paying tribute to the star, musician Sir Paul McCartney said: "I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy-man with a gentle soul."
The singer's ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley said she was "sad and confused". "This is such a massive loss on so many levels, words fail me."
A spokesman for Barack Obama said the US president saw Jackson as a "spectacular performer" and "music icon", and offered condolences to his family.
Pop star Justin Timberlake, who has been compared to Jackson, said: "We have lost a genius and a true ambassador of, not only pop music, but of all music."
The musician added: "He has been an inspiration to multiple generations."

Paramedics were called to the singer's Beverly Hills home at about midday on Thursday after he stopped breathing.
He was pronounced dead two hours later at the UCLA medical centre in west Hollywood. Jackson's brother, Jermaine, said he was believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest.
Speaking on behalf of the Jackson family, Jermaine said doctors had tried to resuscitate the star for more than an hour without success.
He added: "The family request that the media please respect our privacy during this tough time."
"And Allah be with you Michael, always. I love you."
Jackson, who had a history of health problems, had been due to stage 50 concerts at the O2 arena in London, beginning on 13 July.
Concerns were raised last month when four of Jackson's planned comeback shows were postponed, but organisers insisted the dates had been moved due to the complexity of staging the show.
'Consummate entertainer'
Broadcaster Paul Gambaccini said: "I always doubted that he would have been able to go through that schedule, those concerts. It seemed to be too much of a demand on the unhealthy body of a 50 year old.
"I'm wondering, as we find out details of his death, if perhaps the stress of preparing for those dates was a factor in his collapse.
"It was wishful thinking that at this stage of his life he could be Michael Jackson again."Following the news of his death, the singer's albums are currently occupying the top 15 slots of online music retailer's best-seller chart, led by his 1982 smash hit Thriller.
Bands playing at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend are also expected to pay tribute to Jackson's musical achievements.
Thriller Live, a tribute show to featuring the star's music in London's West End, announced it would go ahead.
A minute's silence will be held before the performance and the lights outside the Lyric Theatre, in Shaftesbury Avenue, will be dimmed as a mark of respect.
Biggest seller
Jackson began his career as a child in family group The Jackson 5.
He went on to achieve global fame as a solo artist with smash hits such as Billie Jean and Bad.
Thriller, released in 1982, is the biggest-selling album of all time, shifting 65m copies, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.He scored seven UK number ones as a solo artist and won a total of 13 Grammy awards.
"For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don't have the words," said Quincy Jones, who produced Thriller, Bad and Off The Wall.
"He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I've lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him."
Jackson fans react to news of his death
The singer had been dogged by controversy and money trouble in recent years, becoming a virtual recluse.
He was arrested in 2003 on charges of molesting a 14-year-old boy, but was found not guilty following a five-month trial.
The star had three children, Michael Joseph Jackson Jr, Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince Michael Jackson II.
Jackson's former wife Debbie Rowe is the mother of two of the children, and there is already speculation about who will gain custody of them.
He is survived by his mother, Katherine, father, Joseph and eight siblings - including Janet, Randy, Jermaine and La Toya Jackson.
Pictures:Ghanaian Reactor Online

Rawlings Pays Tribute to Michael Jackson

Former President Flt. Lt. (rtd) Jerry John Rawlings has sent a public message of condolence to the family of Michael Jackson whom he described as the Emperor of Pop. Michael Jackson died on Thursday night after suffering from Cardiac Arrest. Michael Jackson who had crossed cultures and moved people the world over was born seventh of nine children of Joseph Jackson on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, United States. He started his musical career at the age of 8 when he joined the Jackson Brothers Jackson 5).The Former President said “I once had the honour of meeting with Michael and we struck a great friendship borne out of respect. Michael changed the world and always knew that with change he would appeal to many across all borders even if some in the non musical media did not always appreciate it”.The Former president whose musical tastes vary recognized the impact that many of Michael’s songs had on him including “Thriller”, “Beat it”, “Billie Jean”, “Bad, “Black or White”, “Dangerous”, “Scream”, “Earth Song”, “You Are Not Alone” and “Cry”! In particular “They Don’t Care About Us” and “Heal the World” were constants, which Former considered a constant in his listening pleasureFormer President Flt. Lt. (rtd) Jerry Rawlings described Michael Jackson’s departure as a monumental loss to the whole world. He was human and so sensitive. He showed in a sometimes uncaring and unfeeling world that he had sensitivity and great humanity.The last time the world lost someone in the entertainment world of this stature the Former President said was when Elvis Pressley and Chuck Berry died.The world has lost one its greatest sons. Michael you made an impact and you changed the whole world in so many ways. Go in peace….you will be missed!

"Discrimination" at Ministry Rectified

Mumuni Recruits 30 People For Foreign Affairs
The Minister for Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration, Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni, has told Parliament that 30 persons have been recruited into the Foreign Service to augment the staff strength of his ministry. He explained that the 30 were those who originally passed for recruitment as Branch A5 Foreign Service Officers in 2008 but were reportedly sidelined in a manner that he described as discriminatory and in breach of the 1992 Constitution.
Hon. Mumuni’s elucidation followed a question posed by a former Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister and Member of Parliament (MP) for Weija, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, on the fate of the ‘thirty persons’ whose appointments as Branch A5 Foreign Service Officers were revoked by the Atta Mills-led administration.
According to the Foreign Minister, the appointment of the officers was suspended and reviewed because there were irregularities in the selection and recruitment process by the previous administration.
It would be recalled that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration on the assumption of office, revoked the appointment of about 40 persons who had already been appointed by the previous administration, setting tongues wagging.
Hon. Mumuni informed members of the Legislature that following a receipt of the financial clearance for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to recruit new staff, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs engaged the services of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the Legon Centre for International Affairs (LECIA) to conduct an entrance examination for over four hundred (400) persons, whose applications had been received by the Human Resource and Administration Bureau of the Ministry.
A Selection Board, he said, was subsequently constituted to interview applicants who had been short-listed on the basis of their performance in the examination as well as considerations of the skills and requirements of the Ministry.
In all, 157 persons turned up, out of a total of 173 applicants invited for the interview. Alhaji Mumuni said the Interview Panel submitted its report on the interview to the then Minister -Akwesi Osei Agyei (pictured) - on March 20, 2008 and recommended the top-ranked 30 interviewees for appointment.
“After consideration of the report, the then Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs' Record of Decision to the OHCS listed eleven (11) out of the thirty (30) candidates recommended by the Selection Board for appointment as well as twenty-two (22) other candidates who had taken part in the interview, but could not make it into the first thirty (30),” Alhaji Mumuni claimed.
He added that other persons who did not participate in the interview at all were also included, bringing the total number of persons recruited out of the exercise to 40, instead of the 30 originally approved by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to begin the processes of appointment.
“However, in the course of the programme, the International Relations Sub-Committee of the Transition Team called the Ministry's attention to some reported irregularities that had come to its notice regarding the recruitment exercise,” Alhaji Mumuni stated.
He said the Committee, therefore, advised the Ministry to suspend the appointments of the 40 officers, pending on the outcome of investigations into the alleged improprieties, adding that the Ministry subsequently informed the officers about the suspension of the training programme and the withdrawal of their appointment letters.
According to the Minister, the grading of the interviewees and the recommendations submitted by the Selection Board had been ignored by selecting 11 out of the top-ranked 30 interviewees and selecting 22 others from outside the 30.
“It also came to light that 7 of the 40 persons recruited had neither taken the prescribed examination, nor attended the interview. These irregularities were found to be discriminatory and did not do justice to the principle of meritocracy,” he stated.
Source:Daily Guide

Police express concern about sale of dangerous weapons in public

The Ghana Police Service on Friday expressed concern about the sale of dangerous weapons such as small axes and jack knives along the streets."Criminals who lay their hands on such implements use them to break into rooms, threaten the lives of people and rob them of their valuables," a statement in Accra said on Friday.The statement by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mr. Kwesi Ofori, Director of Public Affairs, said the implements which were normally displayed openly under traffic lights and pavements were threatening and dangerous to the lives of the general public and therefore called traders to desist from selling them in the open. In a related development, DSP Ofori said as part of measures put in place to ensure effective communication with the police and to reduce crime and violence, the service had provided the following telephone numbers to the public.
They are; 021-773906, 021-775769, 021-773900, 021-773695 while the 191 on Tigo, MTN, Kasapa and Vodafon still remained active and valid.

EPA October deadline may be missed

The October deadline for the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) between the European Union (EU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which would improve the Sub-region's exports to the European market, is likely to be missed.Dr Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, Trade Programme Co-ordinator for Civil Society Organizations in West Africa, who made this known at Sali in Senegal on Wednesday, was however, sure that negotiations would probably continue till January 2010 since both the EU and ECOWAS had not agreed on the percentage of the market they intend to be liberalized. Dr Dieye was speaking at the opening of a regional workshop organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a German based nongovernmental organization.The workshop, which was on the theme: "Negotiations between EU and ECOWAS: "Where does the West African Press Stand," brought together economic journalists from Ghana, Benin, Mali, Senegal and Nigeria. The Economic Partnership Agreement is a proposed trade agreement by the EU to Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) countries seeking reciprocal trade arrangement with non-tariff barriers, to encourage the liberalization of the various markets. The proposed agreement, which should have been signed by December 2007 was opposed by West African countries with the exception of Ghana and Cote d' Ivoire. Ghana and Cote d' Ivoire pledged commitment to sign the agreement once negotiations are fully completed. The EU proposed June 30 this year as deadline to sign the full EPA; however, ECOWAS did not conform to the agreement, hence the shift to the October deadline.Dr Dieye said the contending issues between ECOWAS and EU was that West Africa is proposing 60 percent liberalization while Europe recommended 80 percent. "There are still a lot of issues to deal with. I do not see ECOWAS signing the EPA in October," he stressed. Mr Amadou Niang, Senegalese Minister of Commerce, however, expressed optimism that ECOWAS could sign the agreement in October. He admitted that the negotiation process was difficult because there were crucial development issues that West African countries had to deal. Mr Niang said Senegal was committed to ensure that West Africa would benefit if the agreement was signed.

Du Bois Centre to mark President Obama's visit

The W. E. B. Du Bois Memorial Centre for Pan African Culture on Thursday outlined activities to mark President Barack Obama's visit to Ghana next month.The activities include screening of two African centered films on June 28. The first film focuses on ancient Egypt and the second film on West African empires after the fall of Ancient Egypt, the Sahara and Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.The climax of activities is slated for July 10th with a public discussion on the theme: "The Historic visit to Ghana, Benefits to Ghanaians, Continental Africans and Africans in the Diaspora." In a statement ,the Du Bois Memorial Centre urged Ghanaians and Africans to take advantage of the historic visit, which has caused the global world community to see the African Continent in a much more positive light.The statement said dignitaries expected to participate in the public discussion include Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, Africans in the Diaspora, media practitioners and the cross section of the public.The centre called on the public to participate in the activities to ensure that Ghanaians share rich experience on the development of the country as well as establishing mutual relationship with the rest of the world.The Centre is a national monument to the memory of the "Father of Pan-Africanism," Dr. William Edward Burghardt Du Bois.

VIASAT 1 to air Ghanaian productions this year

Mr. Rune Skogeng, Chief Executive Officer of Viasat 1, the newest free on air television station in Ghana, on Friday announced that the station would start airing local productions later this year.He told journalists in Accra that Viasat 1 had closed a number of deals with some Ghanaian producers, whose productions met the premium quality standards of the station, adding that the programmes to start airing would include locally produced drama and movies. Mr. Skogeng stopped short of naming the producers and the titles of the productions, saying it was too early in view of the competition. He noted that the station was cautious not to contaminate its premium quality with poorly made local productions, saying most of the local productions they reviewed failed the Viasat 1 quality standards test.Mr. Skogeng therefore urged local television content and movie producers to pay attention to quality in terms of story line, shots and pictures.He said added to the acquired local productions, Viasat 1 was also working on doing its own in-house local productions including talk shows, children's programmes and also acquire football rights, since a lot of Ghanaians had been identified to be lovers of football. Mr Skogeng also said results of separate audience surveys conducted in-house and by a third party in May, indicated that in five months, Viasat 1 had risen to the second most watched television station in the country."Out of 2,000 people sampled by the Research and Marketing Services on the issue of most watched television station in Ghana, we came second with 20.8 per cent, behind TV3 with 21 per cent," he said. The research results also showed that Metro TV was third with 19.4 per cent, followed by GTV 11.7 per cent, Net2 TV, 10 per cent, TV Africa, 9.7 per cent and Crystal TV, 7.3 per cent.Mr Skogeng noted that the research also showed that out of a little over three million households that had television in Ghana, 2.3 million, representing 74.9 per cent, watched Viasat 1 on daily basis, adding that the most popular programmes on television were Viasat 1's US series (79 per cent), Blockbuster movies (59 per cent) and the South African series (54 per cent)."We like to base our projection and claims on research and from the research results so far, I can confidently say that we are on the right track - this is impressive because in our other operations it took us at least six years to achieve what we have achieved in five months in Ghana," he said.He noted that in spite of the impressive achievements, there still remained a huge group of audience yet to be reached, saying that available statistics showed that 74 per cent of Ghana's population were below 34 years and yet it seemed that important group had been neglected."Our target is that age group (below 34 years), which is also the target group of our advertisers," Mr Skogeng said.

Embattled Sports Minister Muntaka resigns

Embattled Minister of Youth and Sports Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak has resigned following investigations into financial irregularities levelled against him, a statement from the Presidency said on Thursday.
The statement signed by Mr Mahama Ayariga, Spokesman for the President, said President John Atta Mills accepted the Minister's resignation.
President Mills had asked Alhaji Muntaka, who is also Member of Parliament for Asawase, to proceed on leave to enable the national security to investigate the allegations made by some officials of the Ministry, led by the principal accountant, Mr Adim Odoom. The National Security completed the investigations and has submitted its report to the President.
The statement said the President accepted the report which among others established that Alhaji Muntaka applied for visa for Ms Edith Zinayela, Secretary to the Majority Leader in Parliament, to embark on a trip to Germany in his entourage.
Ms Zinayela was part of the Minister's entourage to Germany on the invitation of Souito Sports Management Group, but her visa fee was paid by the Ministry.
It said the President accepted the Minister's offer to make good to the state all liabilities incurred on account of Ms Zinayela's trip to Germany including the cost of the visa fee.
"President Mills is dissatisfied with the conduct of the Minister in his decision to embark on the German trip with Ms Zinayela and in particular in his decision to apply for a visa for her in circumstances that amounted to a mis-description of her official position. "The decision for the Ministry to pay for Ms Zinayela's visa fee was equally improper. It was an error of judgment on the part of the Minister from which it is hoped all other appointees will learn," the statement added.
It was also established that Ms Zinayela was part of the Minister's entourage to the finals of this year's CHAN tournament in Abidjan at the expense of the Government.
"After the delegation returned from Abidjan, the Minister sought the advice of the Chief Director of the Ministry who instructed the Principal Accountant to purchase the ticket for Ms Zinayela by raising a memo for the purpose."
President Mills also directed that Mr Albert Anthony Ampong, Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, should refund a total of 20,000 dollars to Government coffers.
The amount formed monies he collected from the Ministry's accounts department on two occasions for onward delivery to the Minister, but Alhaji Muntaka denied receiving those monies.
On the first occasion Mr Ampong collected 10,000 dollars from the Principal Accountant, Mr Odoom, for onward delivery to the Minister for payment of landing rights for the CHAN finals in Abidjan. However, there was no evidence that the Chief Director handed over this amount to the Minister.
The Minister denied having received any such money. "Mr Ampong acknowledged receipt of this amount. However, there is no evidence that Mr Ampong handed over the money to the Minister." Similarly, Mr Ebenezer Lomotey, another accountant at the Ministry, indicated that he gave the Chief Director 10,000 dollars for onward delivery to the Minister.
"Mr Ampong acknowledged receipt of same. However, there is no evidence that Mr Ampong handed over the money to the Minister," the report noted.
"The Chief Director could however not recollect exactly where he gave the money to the Minister neither could he show any documentary proof of having handed the money over to the Minister."
The statement said the Chief Director and the Principal Accountant of the Ministry failed to follow laid down administrative and financial regulations and procedures required of Civil Servants.
"The President finds it particularly outrageous that the Chief Director and the Principal Accountant, if they are to be believed, paid out sums of money as large as 10,000 dollars on two separate occasions without any documentation and without any evidence whatsoever.
"On the other hand, if the moneys were not paid, then their allegation would amount to a fabrication against the Minister, an equally serious offence," the statement said adding that on either score, the conduct of the two officials would be unbecoming of the high positions they held in the Civil Service.
The President has accordingly directed that the Head of Civil Service should apply appropriate sanctions against Mr Ampong and Mr Odoom and that pending the decision of the Head of Civil Service, the two officials should be interdicted.
It said the President also ordered an audit into the affairs of the Sports Division of the Ministry of Youth and Sports covering the period 2001 to 2009 as well as a review of the organization, role and structure of the Ministry of Youth and Sports as recommended by the National Security investigation report.
The statement said the report also established that Alhaji Muntaka collected a per diem allowance of GH¢2,000 for a Ghana-Benin match. "This amount was authorized by the Chief Director, Mr Ampong, but the Minister had no knowledge of what his per diem for the travel was supposed to be."
The report also established that Alhaji Muntaka received a letter from the National Sports Council requesting the release of GH¢1,410,051.58.
It said the Minister minuted the letter to his Chief Director for the necessary action.
"The Chief Director presented the Minister with a duly prepared letter for his signature which the Minister signed after being convinced that due diligence had been followed."
However, this amount was not released by the Ministry of Finance to the National Sports Council.
It said a request by the Minister that arrangement for accommodation and feeding of the Black Stars players in Kenya and Sudan should be done by Tour Operators to enable the Ministry make some savings did not go down well with the Ministry officials. The Principal Accountant, Mr Odoom and an official of GFA had earlier visited Mali to make arrangements for the Black Stars without the knowledge of the Minister.
They were about to do the same for Kenya and Sudan when the Minister found out and ordered them to stop.
It was also established that the Chief Director had endorsed a request by the Minister to travel by air with his family to Kumasi. "The Chief Director endorsed the request by the Minister. The request was backed with a memo. The Chief Director did not advise the Minister that his family was not entitled to these tickets." On another occasion, the Ministry refunded to the Minister an amount of GH¢674.02 for items he was entitled to as protocol and entertainment.
The statement said the Chief Director or the Principal Accountant should have vetted the receipt and exempted items which were not allowable.
"Items like baby oil, baby food and mouth wash should have been disallowed even though they formed a seemingly insignificant part of the bill."
It said on discovering that the amount for those items had been refunded, the Minister demanded to withdraw the receipt but the Principal Accountant Mr Odoom assured him that everything was in order and that he had paid the refund from the imprest which was normal. At another time, the Minister's driver presented for refund a receipt for the Minister's household items totalling GH¢1,520 and not GH¢15,200 as alleged, but this amount was never refunded.
It said Alhaji Abdulai Yakubu, Director of Finance and Administration at the Ministry, also authorized a certain payment because the Chief Director was in Tamale and would be away for a week. The accountant objected to his authorization and the Minister directed that the documents be re-routed for the approval and authorization of the Chief Director.
The report established that under the close eye of the Minster, savings were made as a result of the payment of graduated bonuses as well as cuts in the payment of bonuses to officials. "These monies were returned to government chest and the Chief of Staff was informed in writing.
"The President is satisfied that the Minister's actions in cutting down on waste and curtailing frivolous expenditure is what incurred the displeasure of some officials of the Ministry and caused them to gang up against him. The President commends the Minister in this regard." It said a decision by the Minister to take a VW Passat with registration number GT 1351 Z, formerly used by Dr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Director of Sports Development at the Ministry did not go down well with him to the extent that he (Owusu-Ansah) decided to retire before his due date.
"This source of conflict between Dr Owusu-Ansah and the Minister apparently caused him to team up with others like the Principal Accountant Mr Odoom to create problems for the Minister."
It was also established that Mr Odoom typed his allegations on Dr Owusu-Ansah's laptop in his office and that Dr Owusu-Ansah admitted that he took copies of the allegations to Mr Kofi Adams, Special Assistant for former President Jerry John Rawlings for the attention of former President Rawlings. He also gave copies to other persons.
The statement said the report did not establish that the Minister collected 2,000 dollars imprest for the finals of the first CHAN tournament in Abidjan.
It was also not established that he collected 10,000 dollars for landing rights for the aircraft which took the government delegation to the CHAN finals in Abidjan.
The report could not establish that Alhaji Muntaka personally arranged for accommodation and feeding of the Black Star players in Kenya and Sudan, neither was he paid GH¢15,200 as refund for meat and food items.
It was also not established that the Minister's wife was allocated VW Passat Number GT 1351 Z and that he demanded immediate payment of or was paid GH¢1,000 per match for the services of a Mallam.
The allegations that the Minister requested or collected GH¢12,000 for gifts for his constituency on his last trip to Kumasi and that he was allocated five official vehicles, were also not established.

Michael Jackson Dies @50

Michael Jackson died Thursday afternoon (June 25) at the age of 50 after suffering cardiac arrest, according to the Los Angeles Times.Reports say the legendary pop singer suffered cardiac arrest at his home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Holmby Hills and was not breathing and had no pulse when paramedics arrived after a 911 call around 12:26 p.m. PT. They administered CPR in the ambulance but were unable to revive him. At the hospital, staff attempted to resuscitate Jackson, but he was unresponsive.From his early career in the 1970s with his family group the Jackson 5 to his decades-long career as a solo artist, Jackson stood as one of the most successful and beloved pop artists of all time.The Jackson 5's first single, 1969's "I Want You Back," hit #1 on the Billboard charts, and the Motown group went on to become one of the most popular pop acts during the '70s.In 1978, Jackson joined Diana Ross in the big-screen musical "The Wiz," an adaptation of the Broadway musical based on "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." His career as a solo artist took off with 1982's Thriller, which stands as the biggest-selling album of all time. Over the course of his career, with hit albums like "Bad" and "Dangerous," Jackson scored five #1 Billboard 200 albums and seven #1 Billboard Hot 100 singles.In recent years, after several scandalous legal battles, Jackson's career had faltered. At the time of his death, Jackson was gearing up for a comeback tour, rehearsing for a series of shows in London's O2 Arena that would jumpstart a world tour, new album and possibly a movie.The singer is survived by three children: Michael Joseph Jackson Jr., Paris Michael Katherine Jackson and Prince "Blanket" Michael Jackson II.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


It was all fun and excitement at the Silverbird Cinemas when journalists from across the country were hosted by the Management of Silverbird Entertainment Ghana Limited. The media men were delighted and amazed at the ultra-modern cinema hall located at the Accra mall, the hub of the capital city. After having been given the opportunity to experience at firsthand the world-class and refreshing entertainment offered by Silverbird Cinemas, the recurring phrase on the lips of the journalists was ….. Silverbird is surely the number one entertainment and lifestyle centre in the country.
Journalists were treated to current movie collections such as “Terminator Salvation” among others and were also taken on a tour by Ms Gisela Gaba, Marketing Executive of Silverbird to check the various modern facilities used by Silverbird to provide customers the excellent viewing comfort. The movie cinemas are made up of 5 giant screens with Dolby digital surround, excellent sitting capacities coupled with first rate concessions and personalized services.
Mr. Albert Mensah, General Manager of Silverbird Ghana Entertainment Limited hinted the press that Silverbird is poised and prepared to promote Ghanaian and other African movies. He however quickly added that quality must be the watch-word to all local movie producers. “We at Silverbird are committed to delivering first-rate services to our clients. This includes the quality of the movies that we show. Indeed, our equipments can only accept productions of a certain standard. Anything less is automatically rejected by our system” he explained.
Mr. Albert Mensah said that they have been approached by many Ghanaian and African movie producers to show their movies in the cinemas, but sadly enough, Silverbird couldn’t allow them because of poor production quality.
“Shirley Frimpong’s “Perfect Picture” was good, and we showed it for over six weeks with the cinemas filled every day. The movie actually broke box office at the time. This is an indication that there is a high demand for local movies which Silverbird can help satisfy with the cooperation of movie producers” said Mr. Albert Mensah.
Mr. Albert Mensah also disclosed to journalists that, Silverbird was taking bold steps in the African retail entertainment market and the cinemas are legal and legitimate in terms of copyright and intellectual property rights. To ensure quality and security of what is put out there for Ghanaians on the silver screens, the Ghana Censorship Board periodically visits Silverbird to assess the cinemas and their product offering.
To further enrich consumer experiences, SilverBird Ghana will be launching clubs meant to fit each segment of their consumership and to engage them on a closer level .Among these will be: Silverbird Kids Club, Silverbird Jazz Club and Silverbird Business Club.
The journalists were also taken round the Silverbird Lifestyle Stores for a serene shopping experience for both music and book enthusiasts. The widest and deepest selection of books, music, gaming & accessories, magazines, stationery, maps etc, is available.
Silverbird entertainment Ghana Limited is a joint venture between the Silverbird Group a full service media entertainment and real estate Company with holdings in radio, television, retail malls and cinemas and Global media Alliance an integrated pan African media and entertainment company with offices in South Africa and Kenya and affiliate offices in Nigeria and the UK. Silverbird with its wide and excellent product offering offers premium advertising opportunities such as on-screen advertising where advertisers are able to capture their audiences in a relaxed and receptive mood as they wait for a movie to begin.
Source: Global Media Alliance

Mac Manu out of chairmanship race

Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Peter Mac Manu says his decision not to seek re-election as the party's chairman stems from the NPP's inability to retain political power in the 2008 Presidential Polls.Mr. Mac Manu was elected chairman of the NPP in 2004 and was expected to seek re-election at the party's national delegates conference scheduled for December.Mr. Mac Manu however in an interview with Citi News said since his attempt to win power for the party failed it was reasonable that he paved way for another person to take over the mantle of leadership of the party.“I took the party to elections in 2008, as chairman of the party we could not win. I must take the blame and give way for other people to come in.Mr. Mac Manu dismissed media reports that he had stepped down as chairman of the New Patriotic Party. He reiterated that he has only decided not to seek re-election.I have not stepped down as the chairman of the party. I have up to December when my term of office which is four years will expire.I have run the race for four years and I want to hand over the baton to a new person to take over the mantle of leadership of the New Patriotic Party.He said Since the NPP lost power to the Atta Mills led National Democratic Congress in 2008 the issue of which set of people form the next leadership of the party has become topical among the rank and file of the party.It is expected that the next congress of the party will produce a new set of leaders to drive the party in its quest to wrestle power from the NPPMac Manu's decision opens up an even opportunity for other aspirants in the party to contest for the coveted position of NPP chairman.

NPP-USA On Obama's Visit

Some functionaries of the NDC have began to circulate erroneous charges against the executive team of NPP-USA that it is planning to sabotage the visit to Ghana of United States President Barack Obama by bombarding the US State Department with false information. The charges are categorically false, and they represent the desperation of a party and a government having nothing to offer Ghanaians, and utterly unprepared to govern. The executive team of NPP-USA, however, wishes to make the following observations:1. The USA Branch of the NPP, on its email group, allows unfettered freedom of expression on discussions related to Ghana’s development. Whatever individual opinions expressed thereon, in this case, by a non-member of the executive team, cannot be ascribed to the NPP-USA Leadership Team.2. Given the NDC government’s obvious inaction on the deteriorating economic state and the worsening security atmosphere in Ghana, NPP-USA in fact appreciates President Obama for going to Ghana since his visit on July 10, represents the best economic activity by any government our nation will have witnessed since the inception of the Mills administration. NPP-USA, therefore, wants to go on record to welcome President Obama to Ghana so that he can bear witness to the atrocities that the do-nothing, out-of-control NDC government is perpetrating on hard-working Ghanaian citizens.3. On July 10, President John Atta Mills will be sharing the stage with another president with whom he shares a couple of other characteristics. Both presidents are lawyers who assumed their respective presidencies in January of this year. The visitor is full of ideas, and has pushed through nearly 16 major policies and legislation to constitute his country’s answer to the current global economic crisis. On the other hand, President Mills, the host is yet to initiate a single, credible, substantive legislation or policy to alleviate the economic plight of Ghanaians. In fact, in spite of President Mills’ legal background, he continues to preside over a shameful onslaught of civil and human right abuses on fellow Ghanaians.4. This new charge by the NDC is part of a grand design of blaming the NPP for everything that goes wrong. This time they are being proactive by establishing a scapegoat due to their virtual certainty that their abysmal six-month record threatens to embarrass them in front of a more progressive leader.5. The NDC’s need to plant a Mole in the discussion forum of the NPP is a clear indication of its desperation. Members of NPP-USA stand ready to share nation-building ideas if the Mills administration would admit its ineptitude and ask for bi-partisanship; it does not have to resort to stealing of ideas by planting a Mole in a discussion group of NPP-USA. Information obtained via a shameful mole planting on a virtually public forum is a far cry from The Enquirer’s claim of intercepting supposedly secret information. Again there is nothing secretive about personal opinions expressed on an Internet discussion forum.6. The United States Embassy in Ghana is one of the largest in Africa. Not only do officials there read the local newspapers, watch television, and listen to the radio, they customarily gather political information on every country in advance of an America President’s visit. It, therefore, perplexes the executive of NPP-USA that the do-nothing, out-of-control NDC government believes the opposition party in Ghana would be the source of country information for President Obama’s visit.7. Finally, if the do-nothing, out-of-control NDC government is fearful of President Obama discovering the violence and intimidation of political opponents by its functionaries, President Mills can undo the damage by effecting an immediate cessation of the shameful practices and issuing an apology to the nation.
Source:NPP-USA Public Relations Committee

Sensitive U.S. defence data sold for $40 in Ghana

A hard drive containing information about multimillion dollar U.S. defence contracts was obtained in Ghana by a group of Vancouver journalism students as they probed what happens to developed nations' discarded and donated electronics."It 's pretty shocking," said Blake Sifton, one of three University of British Columbia (UBC) graduate students who purchased the device containing information related to contracts between the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and the military contractor Northrop Grumman, reported University of British Columbia journalism school. The hard drive cost just $40."You'd think a security contractor that constantly deals with very secret proprietary information would probably want to wipe their drives," Sifton said Tuesday.He visited Ghana for 10 days in February with classmates Heba Elasaad and Krysia Collyer and professor Dan McKinney while making the documentary "Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground" for an international reporting course.The finished documentary looks at problems arising as discarded computers, televisions and other "e-waste" make their way from North America and Europe to the markets and slums of west Africa. It was scheduled to air Tuesday on the season finale of the PBS program Frontline/World.The team bought seven hard drives at a bustling market in Tema, a major port near the capital city of Accra where a lot of electronic waste from Europe and North America enters Africa. One of the unformatted drives contained personal information and photos from a family in the U.K. Another was from New Zealand, and another contained the U.S. security data.Special skills or software weren't required to access the data, said Peter Klein, who teaches the international reporting course and supervised the documentary project."We plugged them and in and started reading files .… They were just sitting there."Northrop Grumman declined to be interviewed by the students. The company simply said it was looking into how the hard drives got there, and asked the students to return it, which they did not.Though the export of e-waste is technically banned by international treaties, it often winds up on long journeys to the developing world, the students found.Some students in the class followed the e-waste to China and India — countries where e-waste is well-known to be dumped.Many people aren't aware of the other path e-waste can take — to Africa, via donations of used electronics, Klein said.Sifton, who graduated in May, said many exporters know that most of computers they bring in to Ghana aren't working.Parts that work may be sold at the market, while the rest ends up in a nearby dump known as Agbogbloshie."It's essentially this charred toxic wasteland," Sifton recalled Tuesday. "The ground is just scorched absolutely everywhere. Everywhere you walk, there's shards of plastic and metal and glass protruding from the ground."Boys scramble about in flip-flops, helping young men smash piles of old computer monitors, televisions, and radios, rip out the wires, and burn them in fires fed by insulation from old refrigerators. In that way, they extract lumps of copper that they sell for less than 50 cents a kilogram, Sifton said."It's incredibly difficult to breathe because there's usually between five and six and seven fires going at any time .… and there's tons and tons of this black, sticky, acrid smoke coming out of them."After visiting the dump, Sifton would spend 20 minutes trying to clean the dark, smoky residue off his skin.Separated from the dump by a toxic, lifeless river was a shanty town of metal and wood shacks. Despite the horrific living conditions, however, the residents were very generous and welcoming, Sifton recalled.People who donate their computers typically don't picture them ending up in either Agbogbloshie or the market in Tema, but put to good use.Sifton said he did visit universities in Ghana equipped with computers that would have been unaffordable if they hadn't been donated.He fears that people will increasingly start donating computers without the hard drives, rendering them useless and compounding the problem.Fiaaz Walji, senior director of sales for Websense Inc., a computer, internet and data security firm, said the case involving the Northrop Grumman data is scary, and when people don't erase their hard drives before disposal, "the risks are huge.""If you look at some of the bad guys … this is part of what they do," he said. "They go and scour hard drives and look for information," such as personal information that can be used in identity theft and fraud.Nevertheless, Walji doesn't think it's necessary to destroy the hard drive."That doesn't help from a recycling perspective."He said high-level data wiping methods that write over the old data should be sufficient.Cliff Missen, director of a project that has donated hundreds of computers to African universities, said he has never heard of anyone in Africa recovering data from a hard drive that has been wiped three or four times, even though it's theoretically possible.Missen's Widernet project at the University of Iowa has donated hundreds of computers, mainly from corporate donors, to universities in Ethiopia, Liberia and Nigeria. Most arrive with "just about everything" on the hard drive, but Widernet erases them, refurbishes the computers with extra memory, and packages up spare parts, before shipping them off.Even though the computers are only delivered as part of computer training programs, the cost of security means some are stolen and may not end up where they were intended, he said.Consumers should be vigilant: SiftonMeanwhile, Sifton hopes people won't get too caught up in the cybersecurity element of the story his team has been trying to tell."The big picture here is that there's thousands of tonnes of toxic waste — because we want the newer computer, newer TV, or the newer cellphone — being sent and poisoning children in Ghana," he said.He wants people to think about whether they really need a new, bigger, flat-screen TV before throwing their old one out.But he acknowledged that when electronics do get too old, it isn't easy for consumers to know what to do with them."You don't really know where your computer's going to end up, even if you have the best intentions. It's hard .… I just hope people will think twice and maybe be a little more vigilant when they're donating their computer."

FDB warns against mentioning regulated products

The Food and Drugs Board (FDB) has warned that it will not spare radio presenters, media, and members of the public who flouted its directive and mention names of regulated products especially medicines.A statement issued in Accra on Tuesday and signed by Dr Stephen Opuni, Chief Executive Officer of the FDB said the Board had "noticed with grave concern the unlawful, unethical and disturbing manner in which some advertisers and radio presenters were airing advertisements of regulated products, especially medicines and alcoholic beverages". The statement reminded media houses that it was their responsibility to ensure that all advertisements brought to them to air "have been vetted and approved by the FDB".Quoting PNDCL 305B (14) and (15), the statement said it was an offence for any person who labelled, packaged, sold or advertised any drug, cosmetic, device or chemical substance without prior approval from the FDB.It advised the general public, especially media houses that the safety and health of Ghanaians were a collective responsibility and superseded any personal and financial interest.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Private Waste management giant in Ghana Zoom lion will start the Nationwide Mosquito Control Program (NAMCOP) in all ten regions of Ghana after its formal launch last week. The program will first begin with a survey in various communities to identify the potential breeding sites, collection of base line information for monitoring and evaluation purposes, community sensitization about the exercise and clearing of bushes, desilting of drains coupled with spraying of the potential breeding sites. This was disclosed by the National Coordinator of the Nationwide Mosquito Control Program (NAMCOP) Alhaji Issah Mohammed at the launch of the Nationwide Mosquito Control Program last week at Koforidua in the eastern region. The launch was under the theme “Getting raid of mosquito =Getting rid of malaria.”He said the main objective of the program is to control mosquitoes in a scientifically sound way so as to prevent the mosquito transmitted diseases such as filariasis also known as elephantiasis, yellow feve,viral hemorrhagic fevers and malaria. “Through this program we shall be controlling the mosquito population, the biting nuisance that they create in our homes, hotels and other places where they hamper our daily outdoor activities”. Alhaji Mohammed further stated that, his outfit Zoomlion has acquired thousands of spraying machines, motor bikes and other related equipment for the NAMCOP program and most importantly fogger machines that uses fogging technology to spray over wider and beyond areas like river surfaces. Five thousand people is expected to gain employment from the program and the spraying will also be limited to outdoor areas only but also to indoor residual spraying.
Zoom lion had also constituted a technical advisory committee made-up of private individuals and experts from the various fields connected with the mosquito control from reputable institutions to advice on the planning, execution and monitoring of all aspects of the program as it is our policy to get experts involved in all our activities and projects he added. “ We also plan to liaise the Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Education to extend the information and education on this program to the school children and general public “.“Let’s keep Ghana clean and bring the mosquito menace under control and roll malaria away.” He finally urged the public to cooperate with the workers to keep Ghana clean and bring the mosquito menace under control and roll malaria away. The Eastern regional minister Samuel Ofosu-Ampofosaid said he was optimistic that the fight against malaria in the country will yield positive results since Government spend shuge sums of money annually on malaria treatment and prevention. It is crucial that stakeholders through out the country put their hands on deck to ensure the success of this program which seek to find a lasting solution to this endemic disease. He congratulated zoom lion for their giant steps and welcomes greatly the idea of private –government partnership of this kind.
BY: Michael Father Amedor.

National road safety holds seminar on towing services

The National road safety commission of Ghana has held a day seminar on towing services in Accra. Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Executive Director of the Commission Mr. Noble Appiah said the objective of the seminar was to put in place short term measures to remove disabled vehicles from highways to prevent road accidents which already are on the increase. It is also to engage key stakeholders to provide some input into a strategy that would make commercialization of vehicle services, efficient, sustainable and nationwide.
He said stakeholders will also use the meeting to review and refine various proposals received by the commission to enable them formulate strategy that will address the concerns of all stakeholders. He finally said he wish the expectation of the meeting will be met at the close of the meeting.
BY: Evans Amponsah

Ghana@50 Inquiry - Probe Ghana Police Service

I was glad when I read that the Vice President, John Mahama had inaugurated a three member commission of inquiry into the Ghana@50 celebrations. The Vice President demanded from the commission an objective, fair and just enquiry that establishes cold hard facts of all transactions and activities related to the 50th anniversary celebration.I wish to humbly request the commission to extend its inquiries to cover the GHANA POLICE SERVICE and all other state departments/agencies that played active role in the celebration of the anniversary.I am a retired Police Officer and I can state without fear that there were fishy deals in the Ghana Police Service concerning items and equipment purchased for the Service’s role in the anniversary. Under the former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, a secretariat for the Ghana@50 was set up at the National Police Headquarters and the kind of malpractices that occurred in that office cannot be allowed to go unnoticed.For instance, the IGP and his cronies claimed that an opener for soft drinks and minerals which was being sold at the open market between 500 and 1000 old Ghana cedis was purchased at 10,000 old Ghana cedis. HOW? WAS IT A DIAMOND OPENER?The former IGP and some top Police Commissioners and Officers gained immensely from the fishy deals that went on at the Ghana Police Service Headquarters with all transactions in connection with the Ghana@50 anniversary celebration. Most of the companies that were awarded contract to supply items and equipment to the Ghana Police Service belonged to some of these Officers.The Senior Police Officer who was in charge of the Police Headquarters Ghana@50 Secretariat is now rich and swimming in “dough”. He really played to the gallery of the former IGP, Patrick Acheampong and some of his top CommissionersThere were numerous corrupt practices that went on which I cannot list in this article.I am sure that similar dealings happened in most state departments/agencies that were allocated huge funds for the role they played in the Ghana@50 anniversary celebration.I am appealing to Mr. Justice Isaac Douse and his team to spread their tentacles to cover, especially, the GHANA POLICE SERVICE and all other state departments/agencies for them to account for the tax payer’s money allocated to them.The former IGP must be pulled by the nose to the Commission of Inquiry to explain all purchases made and contracts awarded for the Ghana Police Service in connection with the anniversary. As the head of the Ghana Police Service at that time he should be made to account for every pesewa spent by his administration.I hope someone is listening. Thank you for the space.
Source:By Atta Kobena, Ex-Inspector

McCain evaluates Obama

McCain: Obama has "done well".

John McCain thinks President Barack Obama is doing all right.
Asked how Obama was doing so far, the Arizona Republican_Obama’s GOP opponent last year_told CBS’ “Face the Nation,” “I think he’s done well.”
McCain praised Obama’s legislative successes, saying that so far, “He has achieved literally every one of his legislative accomplishments.”
But the news was not all good: Obama won, McCain said, “by picking off a couple of Republicans. It’s not been bipartisan, so there really hasn’t been that much change in the climate of Washington.”
Obama won passage of his $787 billion economic stimulus plan with the support of only three GOP senators. McCain warned that Obama faces some big challenges ahead, notably in North Korea and on health care.
McCain, a member of the Senate health committee, was critical last week of how Democrats began writing health care overhaul legislation but would not deal with the cost.
“I’ve never seen anything like it since I’ve been in the Senate,” he said.


Friday, June 19, 2009

President Mills holds talks with Nigeria on gas supply

President John Evans Atta Mills on Friday arrived in Abuja, Nigeria, ahead of an ECOWAS summit on Monday, to hold talks with Nigerian leader Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, on the supply of gas and petrol to Ghana.The talks are expected to lead to renewed terms under which Nigeria could resume the supply of petrol and gas to Ghana, officials told the Ghana News Agency.Nigeria has been a long time ally of Ghana and has in the past supplied petroleum to the country under a 60-90 day credit. The Ghanaian delegation is hopeful the talks would yield positive results for immediate supply of gas to Ghana. Stakeholders in Ghana's energy sector have called for action to be expedited on the gas supply arrangement through a West African Gas Pipeline project which was completed last year to facilitate cheaper cost of gas from Nigeria to Togo, Benin and Ghana.
From Benjamin Mensah GNA Special Correspondent, Abuja

$50,000 car loans for MPs

The President John Evans Atta Mills has given approval for a $50,000 car loan for Parliamentarians.The move is to facilitate the work of MPs some of whom have to commute long distances to their various constituencies and back to Accra weekly.Even though approval for the loans has received presidential assent, contractual details are yet to be firmed up.Some of the MP’s who confirmed the news to Joy FM’s Parliamentary correspondent Araba Coomson, said the House is in preliminary discussions with some private banks to make the loans available to the MP’s.Far from being excited, some Parliamentarians expressed reservations over the erroneous impression from the public that the loans are ‘free lunch’.They argued the loans are exactly what they are, loans, to be paid back in monthly installments for four years, by which time their tenure of office in parliament would have come to an end.The ex-gratia payable to the MP’s at the end of their four year tenure would also be used as a guarantee for the procurement of the loans.Similar policy under the erstwhile New Patriotic Party government which made available $20,000 for MPs generated heated public discontent for MPs.To allay the fears of the public on the issue, Majority leader, Alban Bagbin had proposed early on for the state to provide official cars to MPs as is the case with other public officials.But that idea appears not to have sat well with the president. His approval might just provoke yet another controversy but the MPs have called for truce

Ghana@50 report -Mpiani Milked Ghana

Former Chief of Staff Kojo Mpiani may have a lot of explaining to do if the recently released audited report of the Ghana at fifty secretariat accounts is anything to go by.Auditor General Edward Dua Agyemang’s report on the Secretariat’s accounts from May 2006 to December 2008 has been submitted to Parliament and the details are not pretty.The Secretariat, headed by Charles Wereko-Brobbey, was set up supervise programmes and activities towards the celebration of Ghana’s golden jubilee and the Africa Union conference held in 2007.The main concern raised in the report is the total expenditure incurred GH¢71.70, which is almost twice the original allocated amount of GH¢31 million.Also, out of the 25 much-talked-about jubilee toilets only one has been completed.The report, signed by the Auditor General and forwarded to the Speaker Justice Joyce Bamford Addo said the National Planning Committee for the jubilee celebrations and AU conference exceeded the approved sum of GH¢29.31 million allocated to them by Parliament.It also faults the committee for guaranteeing a loan of GH¢10 million contracted by a consortium of banks without the prior parliamentary approval.The money according to the report, was to complete the construction and furnishing of 30 AU Village houses at La.But it says the committee failed to abide by the terms of the contract resulting in incurring accrued interest of GH¢3.4 million.The committee also entered into a bridge financing agreement with Prudential Bank to obtain 10 million Ghana cedis to supplement its cash flow.However the Auditor General describes the action as illegal as it did not seek prior parliamentary approval.The report further states that the Secretariat lent GH¢1.293 million to the Trade Fair Company to renovate its facilities.That money has not been repaid. It would be recalled that in November 2006, the committee awarded contacts for the construction of 25 jubilee toilets with rest stops along the major highways at a cost of GH¢2.025 million.According to the report, to date, only one has been completed. The projects have been abandoned at various completion stages by the contractors who were given GH¢664,203.80 as mobilization fee.T-shirts, NBA caps calendars, flags, buntings, cups and school bags which were procured at a total cost of GH¢18.094 million.Interestingly the report also faults Parliament for not exercising proper oversight responsibility in the entire matter.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mills to attend G-8 Summit

President John Atta Mills will be formally invited to participate at the next G-8 Summit, scheduled for 8-10 July, in Italy.The formal invitation, which is expected this week, will be delivered by Luccas Ruardi, personal representative for Africa of the Italian State Council President, Sílvio Berlusconi.Besides Ghana, countries like Angola, Egypt, South Africa and Senegal will also take part at the summit.G-8 comprises the Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United States of America and United Kingdom.The last G-8 summit took place last November 9, in Japan.

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Energy commission holds workshop on renewable energy and solar standards.

The Energy Commission of Ghana has held a day workshop on dissemination of permitting manual for renewable energy service providers and solar standards. The main objective of the workshop was to make all stakeholders aware of the permitting framework that has been developed by the commission to among other things outline the procedure for entry into or exist from the renewable energy industry and expected behaviors of industry players to ensure high operational standards to the benefit of citizenry .The program also seek to promote standards on solar products particularly solar modules developed jointly by the Ghana Standards Board and the Energy Commission using the IEC standards to regulate the quality of solar products that are imported into or produced in the country This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of Energy Commission Dr.A.K. Ofosu Ahenkorah in Accra. He stated that the effective enforcement of the new document of the permitting conditions will make the operations of the renewable energy service providers conform to the environmentally sound operations and sustainability. Conform to competition and fair market conducts and above all complies with standards of safety, reliability and quality in renewable energy market. It will further check the influx of fake solar products into the country. “The two documents will serve as a useful vehicle for the effective development of the renewable energy technologies”. Mr.Ahenkorah urged all public institutions to insist that only contractors or companies that are accredited by the Energy Commission are awarded contracts to execute renewable energy projects. The Project Coordinator of GEDAP, Ing.Andrew T.Barfour said the workshop will further allow stakeholders contribute into and enhance the final documents upon which the renewable energy sub-sector would be effectively developed.
BY : Michael F.Amedor


Management of Students Bridging the Information Gap (SBIG), a US-based NGO, at the weekend inaugurated a computer laboratory and library estimated at 50,000 dollars for the inmates of Good Shepherd Orphanage at Kasoa in the Central Region. It donated 18 desktop computers, a laptop computer, a laser printer, an LCD projector, a battery pack, furniture and books to help the inmates and other children build on their knowledge through reading. Mr. Tom Killian, President of SBIG, said the world was now in an Information, Communication Technology age and in order to be effective in the increasingly technology driven economy, every child should be given the opportunity to learn and develop skills in the new field. He said SBIG was an organization that harnessed the humanitarian interests of students, corporate and faith-based partners and other civic groups to support fellow students in less-developed countries. Mr. Killian said management had set up a local advisory committee to operate the computer laboratory.
Bishop Kweku Addei, Founder of the Good Shepherd Orphanage and proprietor of the Good Shepherd International School thanked the SBIG team and assured them that the facilities would be used to the maximum benefit of the children.Amidst great joy and thankfulness, the children of the Good Shepherd Orphanage and Good Shepherd International School treated the gathering present at the commissioning of the facilities to poetry recitals, drama, and choreography among other entertaining activities.
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Govt denies knowledge of Mill-Obama cloth production

Government says it has not contracted or ordered any cloth from any company be it local or international towards the historic visit of US President Barack Obama as reported in sections of the media.Last week there were reports in sections of the media that large quantities of clothes branded in President Barack Obama, President Mills, and the two first ladies have been produced and would soon be sold to the public.In a press statement released on Wednesday, Information Minister Zita Okaikoi stated that 'any of these productions be it local or international company is unknown to the government.'The government is however urging companies and individuals seeking to do any kind of souvenirs towards the visit of the US president to Ghana to seek clearance from the publicity committee in charge of President Barack Obama's visit.

Media Foundation for West Africa launches Media Improvement project

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), in collaboration with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), on Wednesday launched a Media Improvement Project aimed at improving the capacity of journalists and media organizations to attain excellence. The Ghana Media Standards Improvement Project, which would be run with a 12 million-dollar Danish sponsorship on a pilot basis over a two-year period, would target eight rural radio stations and four newspapers nationwide, who would be selected based on an assessment of capacity and commitment to professional journalistic principles. Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director, MFWA, said the current fall in journalistic standards in the country was very worrying and dangerous for any thriving democracy.He mentioned compromises of basic journalistic ethics and moral standards of some journalists and the limitation in the coverage of developmental issues, giving too much attention to politics, entertainment and sports alone as some of the major challenges to journalism in the country.Prof. Karikari said the project among other objectives was to initiate and develop a culture of investigative and analytical journalism in Ghana, conduct research to assess public attitude to and perceptions of the Ghanaian media, undertake training to improve standards as well as training to support the media's capacity for sustainability in a difficult market environment.He said the project was expected at the end to provide a comprehensive assessment of the media's performance as far as public readership and listenership were concerned to provide media managers with an index of the public's attitudes and perceptions for their operations.Prof. Karikai said it would also provide a profile of the professional capacity of both journalists and media professionals, which would provide data usable as a guide to media managers and media trainers in overall capacity development policy and further improve newspaper layouts and packaging, as well as improvement in rural radio broadcasting and management. He said the Project would be implemented by a three-member Project Coordinating Committee made up of the MFWA, the GJA and an independent media trainer with an office located in the MFWA premises in Accra. It would be coordinated by Mrs Adjoa Yeboah-Afari, Chairperson of the Editor's Forum, Ghana, and supervised by the MFWA.He said the unique role of the media in the promotion of democratic rule and democratic culture placed on it expectations and responsibilities for standards of performances that responded to the highest ideals of enlightenment and professionalism. Ms Yeboah-Afari pointed out that in spite of the numerous cases that made press freedom advocacy sound hollow to many, there were a few media organizations whose high professional standards compared to what was seen anywhere in the world.Mr Ransford Tetteh, President, GJA, expressed appreciation to the MFWA and the Danish government for the support, saying constant media review was crucial to prevent gross misconduct and abuse of mandate, and to promote objectivity and a sense of responsibility of practitioners. He said the GJA would not relent in its efforts in ensuring high professional standards for journalists and media organizations and said an award for the best rural radio broadcasting would now be factored into the GJA's Awards ceremony.Mr Tetteh said currently, the media needed a lot of in-house training as well as external skill development assistance to become innovative and live up to expectation.He said the project would tap into the rich knowledge of both retired and working journalists and broadcasters as well as international practitioners to provide enhanced capacity for trainees. He referred journalists to the GJA Code of Ethics, saying strict adherence to the code would prevent most of the mistakes that journalists and media organizations often made. Mr Stig Barlyng, Danish Ambassador to Ghana, reaffirmed his country's commitment towards Ghana's development. He explained that development of investigative and analytical journalistic standards in the print media and rural radio stations would be done through capacity building, formalised training and on the job coaching to selected newspapers and rural radio stations. He said it was hoped that the support would enable the media to play its watchdog role more effectively and increase transparency through enhanced professional reporting.Mr Paul Adu-Gyemfi, Chairman, National Media Commission (NMC), thanked the Government of Denmark for the continuous support to media development in Ghana and gave the assurance that the Commission would support the project to ensure the achievement of its objectives.