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USAID FED Empowers 30 Youth Entrepreneurs with Power Tillers

first_imgLiberia’s agriculture sector took an upturn when 30 young entrepreneurs were launched into agri-business with a power tiller each by the United States Agency for International Development Food and Enterprise Development (USAID FED) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). The 30 power tillers costing US$189,000 were given to the young entrepreneurs in four counties under a cost share arrangement.A power tiller is used for cultivating the soil before planting. In Liberia, soil cultivation before planting entails long hours of back breaking labor for many days under the elements using small tools such as hoes and cutlasses. With the power tiller, a farmer can afford to increase his rice production and other farming activitives.Lofa County received 9 power tillers, Nimba and Bong counties each received 10 power tillers and a power tiller went to a youth entrepreneur in Grand Bassa County. Making the distribution in Kakata, Margibi County, USAID FED Chief of Party Madam Agnes Luz said “This initiative is meant to empower the youth in Liberia’s agriculture sector and to ensure that Liberian farmers get access to mechanized services to allow them to expand lowland rice production and these youth groups are expected to cultivate at least one hectare of land per day.” The distribution of the power tillers is also intended to strengthen and promote self employment of farmers in the country in order to advance the agriculture sector.Madam Luz said the power tillers will help make rice production more competitive so that rice farming can be an income earner for the youth.She also disclosed that the youth from the four counties will operate the power tillers in cultivating at least 1,440 hectares of farmland this year in the four selected counties at reasonable fees.In remarks the Deputy USAID Mission Director Barbara Dickerson described the power tiller distribution as very significant in empowering youth entrepreneurs who are interested in farming.Madam Dickerson thanked the youth for demonstrating their willingness to share the cost of the investment in activities designed to improve their livelihood and to especially encourage youth across the nation to emulate their good example.The USAID Deputy pledged her government’s commitment to providing more support for the country’s agriculture sector and at the same time encouraged more youth to get involved in farming to improve food production.“The United States government is committed to supporting Liberia’s agriculture through the USAID FED program to improve farmers’ productivity and enhance food security. Within the next few years, the program will continue to work with interested Liberian youths in the agriculture sector to ensure self employment,” Madam Dickerson assured.The Chairman on the Agriculture Committee in the House of Representatives, Fofi Baimba, in his remarks said, the Liberian government was highly grateful to the government and people of the United States for empowering the youths and increasing the productivity of small holder farmers through mechanization. Representing the Ministry of Agriculture, the Director at the Central Agriculture Research Mr. Aaron Marshall urged the youths to work tirelessly to ensure that agriculture in the country gets a boost.“It is about time Liberians open their arms and accept all kinds of interventions to improve the country’s agriculture sector,” he said.Upon receiving the items, the lead farmer of Gbarnga Youth Group in the Phebe Community, Zokungay Mehn, thanked USAID FED for empowering the youth through the power tiller distribution.“I feel very pleased to receive these tillers from USAID FED because we have suffered so much in terms of hard labor while using cutlasses and other small tools, which used to take us a long time to carry on our farming process, but with these power tillers, our work has become very easy,” he said.He called on his fellow youths to make agriculture their priority, adding that agricultural activities earn more money to improve the living conditions of farmers and save lives through the maximum production of food in the country. Meanwhile, USAID FED has promised to provide training on business management and also help to improve access to loans for the success of their power tiller and farming businesses. USAID FED is assisting more than 28,000 farmers in 2015 to grow rice on 5,340 hectares of lowlands in Bong, Nimba, Lofa and Grand Bassa counties, utilizing improved production technologies and practices. A labor market assessment conducted in 2012 by the USAID Advancing Youth Project (AYP) said the informal economy in Liberia is a significant source of employment opportunities for young people. Additionally, lowland rice farmers in Liberia have limited access or no access to mechanized services. As such activities such as de-stumping and land preparation have to be done through manual labor, which increases production cost. The USAID FED program aims to reduce hunger and promote food security for Liberians through increased agricultural productivity and profitability in rice, cassava, vegetable and goat value chains. It is implemented in six counties: Bong, Nimba, Lofa, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Montserrado. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

CBL Governor Jones Dedicates Totota RCFI

first_imgChiefs and elders in Totota, Central Bong County, on Wednesday, February 3, honoured the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. J. Mills Jones, as Chief Kolleh Gwee; Kpelle for “bright scholar.” The locals also gowned Governor Jones for his “valuable services” to Liberians.The naming formed part of activities that marked the opening of the Totota Rural Community Finance Institution (TRCFI). “We did not know in the past what CBL can do, but what we are seeing under Dr. Jones’ watch is different. CBL is now impacting our lives at our respective door steps,” said Oldman Kollie, speaking on behalf of the traditional leaders of Bong County.Kollie said further that there are many who have served as Governor of CBL, but never touched the lives of ordinary Liberians. According to him, it is only through the able and dynamic leadership of Dr. Jones that rural residents can now feel the impact of the bank.Oldman Kollie added that giving Governor Jones the traditional name was not a mistake, “because he has proven to them that they too are citizens with added value to their lives.”He then called on Dr. Jones to keep focused and never be deterred by detractors, assuring, “we are with you and anywhere you go we will always be there with you.”In his remarks, Dr. Jones informed the gathering that he and his entourage were in the county in the name of “unity and economic empowerment,” adding that if Liberians work together, they can make bigger things of themselves and their respective communities rather than relying on the international community for help.He observed that if Liberians come together, they can do bigger and better things for the country, taking into consideration that the country has for so long lived in poverty. “We have to succeed together or fail together,” said Dr. Jones told the gathering to a round of applause. He said leaders lead by example, and this is what he wants to do, adding that good policymakers bring development. Jones said that it is because of his good policy that developments such as opening of rural banks are taking place across the country.“The CBL,” he said, “is not for Governor Jones, but for the Liberian people, even though some Liberians continue to have misconceptions about the bank’s economic empowerment policy.”Dr. Jones also assured the gathering that whether he stays at the Central Bank or not, his vision for economic empowerment will still continue, noting, “I believe in equal opportunity for all.”For her part, Bong County Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, on behalf of the county’s Legislative Caucus, expressed gratitude to Dr. Jones and his Board of Governors for the project.She described the project as a dream come true because they have been talking about the “Village Savings Loan” for almost two years, “and today that dream has come to fulfilment.”Madam Esther Walker, who spoke on behalf of the chairperson of the National Apex of Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA), assured Dr. Jones of their preparedness to work together in eradicating poverty from the country.She said CBL’s dream to empower businesswomen will go down in history, adding that members of her organization are proud to have Dr. Jones as Executive Governor of the CBL, because without him, they could have suffered from extreme poverty and starvation.Madam Walker also pledged the organization’s preparedness to work with Governor Jones across the country to ensure that his dream and aspirations come to pass.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

LIBTELCO Boss Clarifies ‘US$30M’ Acquisition of Novafone

first_imgThe Managing Director of the Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LIBTELCO), Sebastian Muah, has clarified that the price tag on the transaction between Novafone and Libtelco is US$10.4 million, not US$30 million as it has been reported.Director Muah made the disclosure at the Ministry of Information’s regular Thursday press briefing held on Capitol Hill in Monrovia.He said, “The acquisition of 100 percent shares in Novafone means Libtelco can do what it needs to foster its commercialization and strategies; and it means Novafone continues to run, but with a new management team and direction.”Expanding on the benefits of the agreement, Director Muah said with the acquisition of Novafone, Libtelco will also maintain the current license, which costs US$1 million a year or US$15 million for 15 yearsHe said the value of the remaining cost on the license is about US$12 million.“Novafone has a competitive asset that will allow Libtelco immediate national coverage and provide immediate competition… the manufacture of the core network of Novafone put the replacement value on its equipment with still 10 years remaining.“US$11 million depreciated over the last three years would net to about $8-9 million,” Director Muah said.He said the cost to build over 100 sites for Novafone across the country would cost over US$5 million, including a fully online site without access to network equipment. Libtelco, he said, would spend over 24 months to get access to the network.“Novafone has active subscribers base between 90,000 in a month and 190,000 in a three month period. These subscribers pay on the average US$3-5 per month. Telecom’s valuation takes into account customers. Despite all the challenges, Novafone’s revenue for the last two years exceeded US$4 million,” the Libtelco boss said.He said Libtelco saw an opportunity to acquire the network and use Novafone as the vehicle because Libtelco intends to accelerate the revenue growth, which continues to rise year by year.“Our focus is to increase the operation’s profit margin. Since Novafone was not experiencing losses due to the decline in revenue, it continues to increase in its operational costs. We also saw it as a way to accelerate Libtelco’s market access immediately and not wait for 24 months down the road,” he said.On the impact on the government and Liberians, who are owners and customers, Director Muah said Libtelco’s license extends to 2030 and its equipment lifespan extends to 2026.“For the next ten years, provided we do not divest our plan, the government stands to save over 70 percent of its current budgeted telecom cost, which is right now valued at US$5-7.2 million per year. That’s US$50-72 million in 10 years. It also means the government can now boast of having a national infrastructure to provide the kind of service and system that is required to transform Liberia,” he said.Director Muah said the government will be able to bring online not only emergency systems, but financial systems that would take cash out of people’s hands and make financial transactions traceable.Meanwhile, he said Libtelco, with stringent measures, will be completing the proverbial fiber ring in July this year from operating revenue, and not subsidies or loans.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Eric Phillips and Charles Ceres applied for ultra-deep-sea oil drilling licence

first_img…with absolutely no experience in such drilling…Phillips should recuse self from SARA’s investigation of other oil blocks – former AGRecent revelations that in addition to questionable land deals State Assets Recovery Agency (SARA) Executive Eric Phillips has a stake and beneficial interests in an oil company angling to get its hands on oil blocks in Guyana are a cause for serious concern.SARA Executive Eric PhillipsFormer Attorney General Anil NandlallThis is according to former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who, in a recent interview with Guyana Times, pointed out that not only did Phillips have clear political affiliations while operating as an investigator at SARA, but it has now been revealed that he had financial interests in the oil and gas sector, at a time when oil block allocations were being investigated.“I have written articles contending that Eric Phillips (and) Clive Thomas should not be investigators at SARA. They should not hold executives’ positions in SARA, because of the functions of SARA, due to their political affiliations. These are politicians, they cannot be holding positions in law enforcement,” Nandlall said.“Now you have another disclosure that this gentleman has a personal interest in the oil blocks. How can he be an objective investigator, (with) a personal pecuniary interest that obviously contaminates his objectivity?”SARA has of recent turned its attention to investigating the award of various oil blocks to companies such as Ratio Guyana and Mid Atlantic Oil and Gas, on the basis that these companies allegedly have no track record in independently exploring for oil and developing oil blocks.This is despite the fact that ABR Oil and Gas – a company with a given address of 9 Thomas Lands, Georgetown in which Phillips has a 15 per cent stake, along with Charles Ceres (25%); Violet Smith (25%), and Osafo George (15%) – has even less experience in drilling for oil.In their application, there was mention that one of the principals had experience with a company that had drilled a single well on land in the Takutu Basin. This means that no one had experience drilling for undersea oil much less in ultra-deep waters which less than a handful of companies in the entire world has.Despite its newcomer status, it was recently revealed in sections of the media that it has a pending application to explore a Block C offshore concession in an area adjoining the Kaieteur and Canje blocks. In the application, it was stated that the company was seeking the licence for a duration of 10 years. They claimed to be in possession of US$5 million to spend and sources contend the source of the funds should be checked for possible Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) violations.According to sources, however, the principals involved could stand to make billions of dollars in profits if they acquired the concession and then sold their stakes in it to more qualified companies. This is a possibility as a number of big names like ExxonMobil and Total have a working interest in the nearby Canje Block.“(Phillips) should, therefore, not be in charge of any investigation in relation to oil blocks,” Nandlall stressed. “You cannot be in charge in an investigative arm of the State if you are politically tainted or if you have vested financial interests. And he has both!”Get richLast month, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had dropped a bombshell revelation that Government has been quietly distributing massive tracts of prime State lands to employees of the Ministry of the Presidency as well as to cronies in the People’s National Congress (PNC)-led A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) faction of the coalition Government and officials of SARA, which was formed to recover State assets.The lands were all strategically located to massively benefit the beneficiaries from the coming oil boom. Jagdeo had revealed that most of the leases for these plots of prime real estate were issued by the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GL&SC) after the December passage of the Opposition-sponsored No-Confidence Motion that caused the Government to fall. And of all the names to surface, Phillips had been one of the most prominently featured.Phillips had vehemently denied back in February that he ever applied for, or received 3000 acres of lands as was then being claimed. But the Opposition Leader had pointed to GL&SC File No. 321132/1604 which showed 1000 acres in the Essequibo River was issued to Phillips in April 2019 and File No. 3312317 for another 1000 acres in the Demerara River.last_img read more

Trackers net three out of four points in Whitecourt

first_imgSunday’s contest was a different story for the Trackers as they managed to battle back from a three-goal deficit to salvage a point.After a scoreless first period of play, the Trackers found themselves down 3-0 after the Wolverines scored a trifecta of goals within a six-minute span. However, the team didn’t falter and scored two quick powerplay goals of their own. The first was courtesy Nathan Brownlee at the 12:21 mark, assisted by Noah Lang and Devan Minard. The second tally was off the stick of John Herrington two minutes later as Minard dished a slick pass to him as well. After forty minutes of play, the team was down 3-2.In the final frame the home side doubled their lead to 4-2 with an early tally, but once again the boys in blue and white trim, battled back as Craig-Steele bulged twine at 15:11 off a pass from Nick Loewen. Then four minutes and thirty seconds later, Minard buried a loose puck from in close on the man advantage to tie the game at fours, Ross and Herrington with helpers. Neither team was able to score the go-ahead tally as the teams settled for a 4-4 tie.Minard finished the game with three points, while John Herrington contributed a goal and an assist.Advertisement Dicaire added,“Sunday’s game was more of a learning lesson on adversity. Understanding that we can control within the game. Three of the four goals came on the powerplay, but we also gave up two powerplay goals. Whitecourt got some lucky bounces and we thought our boys battled hard coming back from 3-0 and 4-2 deficits to tie the game. We took three of the four available points on the road and will get back to work this week at practice to get ready for Lakeland this coming Saturday at home.”With the three points, the Trackers improved their record to 19-7-4 and hold a one-point lead on the Peace River Royals for first place in the Boucher Division standings. Both teams have two games remaining.Next up for the team is a date with the Lakeland Panthers at the North Peace Arena on Saturday. Puck drop is at 11:00 a.m. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Northeast B.C./Yukon Trackers collected three out of a possible four points in Whitecourt over the weekend.The Trackers never trailed in Saturday afternoon’s affair as Curtis Hammond opened the scoring a minute into the first period on the powerplay to give the visitors a lead they would not relinquish, assisted by Aiden Craig-Steele and Noah Lang. The Trackers skated into the first intermission up 1-0.In the middle stanza, Craig-Steele found twine 2:42 into the frame after finishing off a feed from Nick Loewen and Hammond. Owen Floriant made it 3-0, two and half minutes later as he put the biscuit in the basket after a nifty passing sequence between Zury Reschke, Craig-Steele and Floriant.- Advertisement -The boys in blue and white scored their fourth and final goal of the contest midway through the final frame when Logan Kimmie deposited a loose puck off a rebound from Craig-Steele and Duncan Ross. At the final buzzer, the score read Trackers 4 – Wolverines 0.Craig-Steele was in on every goal as he finished with a goal and three helpers while Hammond chipped in with two points. Goaltender Tyler MacArthur turned aside all 21 shots that were fired his way for the team’s first shutout of the season.“In Saturday’s win we played a solid minute hockey game,” said head coach Gerard Dicaire. “Our penalty kill was very solid and we had some timely kills. It was our first shutout of the regular season and well deserved the way our team played defensively.”Advertisementlast_img read more

Suspected piracy attack: Decomposed body of 2nd fisherman found

first_img…mother regrets allowing son to go out to seaThe body of 20-year-old Otto Lemar Petrie of Lot 90 Miss Phoebe, Port Mourant, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) who went missing following a suspected pirate attack a few days ago was discovered Sunday on the Abary Foreshore, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).Dead: Otto Lemar PetrieThe discovery was made by a search party, which was led by Police Officers. The discovery of Petrie’s body came 36 hours after the body of his colleague was found in the same location.The body of 36-year-old Kawal Kissoon, also called “Ajai”, of Letter Kenny Village, Corentyne, was discovered on Friday with his hands bound behind his back and his feet tied together. However, it was not until Saturday that his body was identified.Dead: Kawal Kissoon, also called “Ajai”Petrie’s body was in an advanced state of decomposition. His hands and feet were also bound.On October 5, the two men, along with Marvin Tamesar also called “Buddy” and “Bin Laden”, 20, of Miss Phoebe and Vishnu Seeram, called “Kevin”, 20, of the same village, left from a wharf at Number 65 Village for sea aboard Sara 1 — a fishing vessel owned by Sharanand Rabindranauth of Number 68 Village, Corentyne.Missing: Marvin Tamesar, also called “Buddy” or “Bin Laden”Sara 1 found on the Foreshore at Wellington Park, Corentyne on Friday afternoon, but none of the crew members were found. The owner was contacted and after the boat was inspected, the Police were called in.Following the discovery of the body on Sunday, members of the grieving families flocked a funeral parlour at Number Five Village, West Coast Berbice, to assist in identifying the body.Onicka Simon, the mother of the dead man, told Guyana Times that her son had on the same clothes he left home with on October 5.Missing: Vishnu Seeram, also called “Kevin”“That is how I know that is him,” she said. The almost inconsolable Simon, after seeing her son’s body, blamed herself for allowing him to go out to sea.“Is I tell him that he got to find a work to do, and when he ask me if he could go …. I should have tell him ‘No’. He don’t know nothing about the water out there,” the grieving mother wailed out.“That is my son; that is my son and I know that they kill he. All he wanted to do was to work and help out,” the single parent related.Sara 1 – the vessel in which the men left on October 5Petrie was the eldest of six siblings. According to his mother, he wanted to make a difference, but now he will never get a chance to do so.“He was just in the prime of his life,” she noted.Petrie had been in the fishing industry for the past three years. However, he had only worked on small boats before that did not venture far into the ocean.The grieving mother of Otto Lemar PetrieSince the family moved to the Corentyne late last year, he was unable to find work and it was only last week he was contacted by the Captain of the boat to join his team. He informed his mother of the offer and permission was given for him to go ahead.“He came and told Lemar that they need one more person to go out to fish and when Lemar told me, I tell him that it is okay because he ain’t getting no work,” Simon said.Meanwhile, the search continues for the two other fishermen Tamesar and Seeram.The four men were expected back before the end of the month.last_img read more

Wanyama, Mariga ruled out of Ghana tie

first_img0Shares0000Harambee Stars skipper Victor Wanyama (Centre) with team mates David ‘Cheche’ Ochieng (left) and Paul Were (right) during training at the Kenyatta Stadium in Machakos on March 22, 2017. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5 – Harambee Stars head coach Sebastien Migne has confirmed that captain Victor Wanyama, his elder brother MacDonald Mariga and sensational winger Paul Were will not be part of his squad for Saturday’s African Cup of Nations Qualifier against Ghana in Nairobi.Wanyama has just returned to first team training with his club Tottenham Hotspur and will not be ready for the game while Mariga is said to be finalizing on a move after leaving Spanish Segunda B side Real Oviedo. “He is injured as you know. Has some difficulty with his knee and we cannot take risk because of his future career and it’s a huge problem because he is the captain and one of the best players in the team. He plays for Tottenham and that shows how much he is important. But what Can I do? I cannot cry. I have to find a solution; I have to find another option,” the tactician said.He also added; “We need to improve also on the professional level. For example Lloris (Hugo) is injured but he was in Paris on Monday to have a check-up with the medical team of the French national team. It is not the case here and we need to improve this for the future.”There is also a bit of concern on deputy skipper David Owino who has also returned from injury, but had to be checked by the doctors after the Wednesday morning session.‘It is only a slight pull, but I will be okay to play. I will look at it today but I am certain it is not serious,” Owino said.0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Liverpool transfer rumour: Eto’o move may be a necessity

first_imgHe’s played for Europe’s biggest clubs and won the Champions League with both Barcelona and Inter.Now 33-year-old striker Samuel Eto’o is a rumoured Liverpool transfer target. He is currently without a club after leaving Chelsea where he scored nine goals in 21 Premier League games during his one-year stay and Reds manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted the club are still looking to do some business.Here, talkSPORT has the latest on the striker’s reported move to Anfield…Talks held with LiverpoolIt is being reported in the Mirror that Eto’o’s representatives have already held talks with Liverpool over a possible move.Wage demands no deterrent to the RedsEto’o apparently earned £7m from his year at Chelsea and the Guardian say this is unlikely to deter Liverpool given the striker is available for free.Only under considerationThe Mail point out that Rodgers has been looking for a striker since the Loic Remy deal collapsed, but at this point a move for Eto’o is only under consideration.Eto’o move may be a necessityA pressing need for more firepower, say the Telegraph, has led to discussions about the 33-year-old. Liverpool have more expensive and younger targets, but price, availability and fitness in the case of Remy has scuppered Rodgers’ plans to sign a direct replacement. Ajax are also interested and sporting director Marc Overmars said: “Samuel seemed very hungry to play for Ajax. He is fit and has a great drive to succeed once again.”Click here to see the reaction of Liverpool fans to the transfer rumour. 1 Samuel Eto’o celebrates scoring against Liverpool last_img read more

49ers vs. Lions: 5 keys to winning home opener

first_imgKittle, by the way, knew he simply misjudged a Garoppolo bomb at midfield with green grass ahead of him last game. Said Kittle: “It was just a bad play.” Time for some good plays now.San Francisco 49ers running back Alfred Morris (46) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)3. PROTECT THE BALL. Morris’ goal-line fumble set the stage for last weekend’s opening loss. Was it an anomaly, even though he also lost control of the ball on the previous carry?Morris did not lose a fumble in 651 carries the previous four seasons. However, he lost seven fumbles his first two years in Washington, when, coincidentally, he played under Shanahan.Morris said after Sunday’s game his sweaty forearms contributed to the fumble. That game was played indoors. Sunday’s temperature calls for temperatures in the 70s under partly-sunny skies.Matt Breida, who evenly split time in the backfield with Morris in the opener, has yet to fumble in his career. He had 105 carries and 21 receptions as a rookie but did drop five passes. The Lions forced no fumbles in their opener Monday.San Francisco 49ers’ Raheem Mostert (31) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts’ John Simon (51) and Antonio Morrison (44) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)4. GET SPECIAL. The 49ers aren’t taking for granted how easily the Lions succumbed to the Jets, and one such area that hurt Detroit was on special teams. About a minute after the Jets returned an interception for a touchdown, they scored on a 78-yard punt return for a 21-point lead midway through the third quarter.Raheem Mostert, the 49ers special-teams ace, pointed out that the Lions will come in ready to make amends and they’ll be doing so with a veteran special teams coordinator in Joe Marciano, who Shanahan coached with in Houston.“We have to win our one-on-one battles,” said Mostert, an expert gunner. “We did that (last game) but it didn’t help the team enough. We have to be on our keys, win the one-on-ones and make big plays.”Such big plays could come from Pettis as a punt returner, or, more likely, kicker Robbie Gould, who’s made 26 consecutive field-goal attempts and is one shy of Phil Dawson’s record.San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) celebrates towards fans following their 25-23 win against the Tennessee Titans for their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)5. GET LOUD. Let’s get back to home-field advantage. Why is it important? Because the 49ers won’t need a silent snap count for its offensive line, which could be starting undrafted rookie Najee Toran at right guard if Mike Person can’t play on a bad foot.“I don’t think people realize how big a deal that is, being able to hear cadence,” Staley said.Related Articles Roger Craig, high-kicking 49ers running back, has 50-50 chance for induction to Hall of Fame 49ers Deebo Samuel helping key playoff run as respected rookie Minnesota’s “Skol!” chants and raucous crowd made for the second-loudest venue Staley has encountered in his 12-year career. (“Seattle will always be No. 1,” Staley said.)If 49ers fans can get riled up Sunday, do it when their defense is on the field, a defense that played OK against the Vikings but could really pump up the Levi’s Stadium crowd with sacks and turnovers.“The energy level is up on the fan base this year,” Staley said, “and hopefully they show up and get loud.”* * *How last week’s five keys panned out in a 24-16 loss at Minnesota:1. Win in the trenches. They did early but not after guards Mike Person and Joshua Garnett got hurt.2. Backfield boom. Alfred Morris and Matt Breida split time, and there wasn’t a boom as much as there was a bust with Morris’ goal-line fumble.3. Jimmy G. magic. Garoppolo endured not only his first loss but his first three-interception game.4. Sherman impact. He played every defensive snap, recovered a fumble and successfully defended 1 of 2 passes that came his way.5. Playing chess. Shanahan’s red-zone calls yielded 1 TD in 4 series, but his second-half misdirection plays opened up passing lanes in the comeback attempt. Click HERE if you’re having trouble viewing the gallery on your mobile device.SANTA CLARA – Year 5 of Levi’s Stadium finally could bring what’s been missed since Candlestick: a 49ers home-field advantage.It will take more wins than losses from the home team, and that would be a first.First up on a friendly home schedule is Sunday’s matchup against the Detroit Lions, who lost 48-17 in their opener at home Monday night to the New York Jets. NFL picks Week 16: 49ers rebound, Raiders fall, Patriots clinch center_img 49ers vs. Rams: 5 keys to winning on Saturday night stage Levi’s Stadium has yet to deliver Candlestick-esque nostalgia, no offense to Garoppolo’s comeback over the Titans in his first 49ers home start or an ensuing Christmas Eve upset of Jacksonville that coach Kyle Shanahan says “was as loud as any game I’ve been in.”So, could this be the season that home-field advantage emerges and cheers ricochet off the Mount York suite tower? Here are five ways to a cheer-filled home opener:San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, center, is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (93) and defensive end Everson Griffen (97) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)1. HIT TARGETS: Garoppolo’s career-high three interceptions sealed the 49ers’ fate in a season-opening, 24-16 loss at Minnesota. He has as many touchdowns as interceptions (8:8) in his 49ers tenure. But don’t panic.As much as Shanahan wants fewer turnovers, he’s not opposed to Garoppolo getting into a gunfight with Matthew Stafford, who had four passes intercepted Monday.“I like guys who aren’t scared to fail,” Shanahan said. “They’re going to let it rip. They’re not going to just guess and gamble, but they’re trying to win the game and they try to see stuff and they try to let it rip.”Staley, who’s blocked for a dozen 49ers quarterbacks since 2007, is the voice of reason when it comes to Garoppolo’s style.Said Staley: “There’s going to be games where sometimes it’s not perfect. There’s going to be games, too, where he’s going to have five touchdowns, no interceptions and a (expletive) ton of yards. We have all the confidence in the world in Jimmy.“He’s a great quarterback and I’m really excited to get back out there Sunday to get this past game behind us.”San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis (18) runs from Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mike Hughes (21) after making a reception during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)2. CATCH THE BALL: OK, Garoppolo needs more help than what he got in the opener, when potential touchdown receptions were dropped by Pierre Garçon, Dante Pettis and George Kittle. It would also help if receivers ran the right route in pressure situations (see: Kendrick Bourne’s wrong-way cut on a pick-six at Minnesota).The wide receiving corps must step up in place of Marquise Goodwin, who won’t play because of a quadriceps bruise. That puts Pettis in line for his first career start, and he flashed big-time potential in last Sunday’s debut by producing the 49ers’ only touchdown on a 22-yard, off-schedule play.Garoppolo also figures to throw more to his running backs, as Matt Breida had the only reception (5 yards) last game between him and Alfred Morris. Kurtenbach: The 49ers need a new identity — it’s up to Jimmy Garoppolo to provide it If the 49ers are to snap a four-year playoff drought (and 23-year Lombardi Trophy vanishing act), they absolutely need to hold serve at home.“Hopefully the energy, the fans turn out,” left tackle Joe Staley said. “We’ll see, though. This is the fourth, fifth year of it and it’s kind of hit or miss.”In past years, the 49ers have gone 4-4, 4-4, 1-7 and 3-5 at The Big ‘L’. (See, Levi’s Stadium still lacks a catchy nickname after all these playoff-missing years.)But the 49ers won three of their last four home games last season, including two December wins by Jimmy Garoppolo, whose GQ-bearded mug has made it onto a bobblehead for fans at Sunday’s gates.The Lions, under former Patriots assistant Matt Patricia, are 1 of 5 visitors to Levi’s Stadium who’ll bring a new head coach; the others are the Arizona Cardinals, the Raiders, the New York Giants and the Chicago Bears. New coaches went 0-7 in last weekend’s debuts, by the way.last_img read more

A.P. Shah: we live in an age of propaganda and half-truths

first_imgCriticising the culture of unnecessary secrecy pervading government and bureaucratic circles, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Ajit Prakash Shah on Saturday said that the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression was under attack.“We live in an age of propaganda, proactive false information and half-truths. The media coverage, or rather black-out, of certain press conferences, and distorting headlines with a pro-government bias is an attempt to spread disinformation. Unless ordinary citizens demand accountability from the government, there will be no change in the situation,” Justice Shah said during the inaugural lecture of the Moneylife Foundation’s Pune RTI Centre.He said it was only the existence of the Right to Information (RTI) Act that had helped put a check on corruption and expose major loopholes in the Aadhaar project and the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.He said the Aadhaar Act further compounded problems. “While the RTI Act regulates the citizen’s right to information regarding third-party public authorities, the Aadhaar Act is concerned with the right to access information about oneself. Shockingly, the proviso to Section 28(5) of the Act makes clear that Aadhaar number holders do not have the right to access core biometric information about themselves. This means that while the State has access to my fingerprint and iris scan in their Central Identity Database Repository, the individual is prohibited from accessing his information,” said Justice Shah.According to him, a ‘popular’ government cannot deny its public access to information and scrutiny of its records.Justice Shah expressed concern that the Whistle Blower’s Protection Act and Lokpal had not been put in operation despite the law being approved more than three years ago in Parliament. The government had instead moved an amendment Bill in May 2015 to severely dilute it, he said.“While there is a perceived air of incorruptibility around the current Prime Minister, that itself is no reason to discard or dilute existing laws promoting proactive oversight and audit of government actions, especially since the problem of corruption and opacity in the functioning of the lower levels of government remain,” he said.last_img read more