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Liberians frustrated by crippling fuel shortage

Liberians frustrated by crippling fuel shortage
10/02 – 12:57
Liberia1024x538_1015565 (1)
Liberia’s government is struggling to keep the fuel flowing at petrol pumps, as sloppy bookkeeping and poor port infrastructure have caused long queues at petrol pumps for nearly two weeks.

Incorrect fuel-reserve figures in the impoverished West African country partly led to the shortage, which has dragged on since late January, an industry official said.

But an undredged port in the capital Monrovia has also prevented large fuel tankers from docking, according to port and government officials.

I don’t think this is an existential crisis, just a screw-up.

Liberia’s Commerce Minister Wilson Tarpeh told AFP the shortage has caused an “economic downtrend”, without giving precise figures.

Consumers are spending less on household items as fuel prices rise, he said, and businesses are operating under capacity.

Frustrated Liberians
Liberia suffers frequent fuel shortages, but the current one has lasted an unusually long time. Queues forming before dawn at petrol stations are now commonplace, and scarcity has forced taxis and buses to hike fares.

“I have been here since 5:00 am but until now I am yet to receive gasoline,” said Victor Gray, 45, at a Monrovia petrol station at 8:00 am this week.

“I think the kids will miss class today,” he added, exhausted after he and his children slept in the car.

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Compounding economic difficulties, fuel scarcity means it is harder to move goods around the country.

“My store is empty,” said Anthony Kai, who sells dried goods in the town of Zwedru, some 550 kilometres (350 miles) east of Monrovia.

“Very soon the population will lack the necessary things they need,” he added.

Civil servant Emmanuel Gaye said he would not be able to afford his fare to work if the fuel shortage lasts another week, since it has doubled.

“We can’t continue like this,” said Solomon Fayah, a driver, sitting in a fuel queue in Monrovia.

Causes of shortages
Fuel distributors which overstated their reserves are also partly to blame for the shortage, according to an official from the Liberia Petroleum Refinery Company (LPRC) who requested anonymity.

The LPRC is a state-owned company charged with ensuring a consistent oil supply.

The greater problem, officials say, is that large petrol tankers have been unable to dock in the port of Monrovia for weeks because of unusually shallow waters.

Silt and detritus have accumulated in the port since summer, when heavy rains prevented crews from dredging, said the managing director of the National Port Authority, Bill Tweahway.

Ships with a draft of more than 10 metres (33 feet) can no longer enter the port, Tweahway said, although smaller ones can still dock, which has averted a crisis.

Way forward
The shortage is another blow to President George Weah, who is under increasing pressure to improve living conditions in the country of some 4.8 million people.

He inherited an economy already devastated by back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003, and by the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak.

Inflation is now running at about 30 percent, according to the World Bank, which has incited anger and protests.

The government said it would start dredging, after which ships with a draft of over 13 metres would be able to dock.

Liberia is also expanding the port so that more than one vessel can dock at a time, Weah’s office told AFP, pointing to the port as the main cause of the fuel shortage.

An importer who declined to be named said that businesses are losing “a huge amount of money” chartering several smaller ships rather than one freighter.

But a foreign official in Monrovia, who declined to be named, said the smaller ships meant that some petrol was still arriving.

“I don’t think this is an existential crisis, just a screw-up,” he said.

SUGGESTED READING: Liberia to revive petroleum exploration efforts in April 2020
AFP

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News
Rigor, aptitude: Why 80% Liberian women failed military entry exams
Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban
6 hours ago
Liberia
The twin factors of rigor and aptitude worked against about 80% of female candidates who applied to join Liberia’s military, the BBC corespondent in the West African country has reported.

For a group, their physical fitness was where they failed. In spelling out some requirements for a would-be recruit, army chief of staff, Maj Gen Prince C Johnson, said he / she must: “meet certain [a] number of push-ups, sit-ups and to be able run like two miles.”

Army officials said whiles the predominantly urban group missed out because they were physically unfit, those in the rural areas who did well with the fitness part were disadvantaged with aptitude tests.

Women in rural places achieved high scores when it came to physical fitness, but when it comes to the aptitude tests they did not do as well as those in urban areas, the army chief added.

“I am not degrading any region, but this is what our survey has proven,” the general said. The minimum academic qualification for a recruit should be high school education.

The army had decided to do pre-recruitment training for women wanting to join the army. After the women had passed a medical they would undergo what sounds like a boot camp, the BBC report added.

The army chief of staff said: “We will take four weeks to prepare you.”

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Leaders of Somalia, Breakaway Somaliland Meet for First Time

Leaders of Somalia, Breakaway Somaliland Meet for First Time
By The Associated Press
Feb. 12, 2020
Updated 7:23 a.m. ET
MAP

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The current leaders of Somalia and the breakaway territory of Somaliland have met for the first time in the latest diplomatic effort by Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister.
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Somali presidential spokesman Abdinur Mohamed confirmed Tuesday’s meeting to The Associated Press, saying it was brokered by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

“It was behind closed doors and no communique is being released. It was an ice-breaking one,” the spokesman said.

Ethiopia’s government has not commented publicly on the talks, which occurred on the sidelines of an African Union gathering.

Continue reading the main story
Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 as the country collapsed into warlord-led conflict, and it has seen little of the violence and extremist attacks that plague Somalia to the south. Despite lacking international recognition, Somaliland has maintained its own independent government, currency and security system.

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This week’s meeting is the first since Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Somaliland leader Muse Bihi Abdi took office in 2017.

Somali officials have blamed Somaliland leaders over the failure of past talks, accusing them of failing to show seriousness. Somaliland leaders have dismissed the allegations and insisted that their sovereignty is nonnegotiable.

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Continue reading the main story
Since taking office in 2018, Ethiopia’s leader has worked to achieve a number of diplomatic breakthroughs in the long-turbulent Horn of Africa region.

Somalia’s president faces a number of challenges in the months ahead. The country hopes to achieve its first one-person-one-vote election by the end of this year. It would be the first in 50 years. But the United Nations envoy for Somalia has pointed out the lack of “effective cooperation” between Somalia’s central government and its states as a major obstacle.

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Shakir Essa

Ethiopia faces political crisis, parties need to focus on common grounds and discuss differences

 

 

 

Addis Ababa — Political parties have to resolve differences at roundtable discussions since violence is an existential threat to stability and peace, representatives of political parties said.

politicsparties-620x310-1In an exclusive interview with ENA, Arena Party Chairman Abraha Desta said “power should be in the hands of the people, and for this to happen there must be peace and stability. We should, therefore, prioritize these.”

According to him, “there is no democracy, election and development in the absence of peace.”

Therefore, he added, his party is strongly opposed to anything that disrupts peace.

Arena Party Chairman Abraha urged social media activists to refrain from getting involved in anything that jeopardizes the social bondage and strive to enhance people-to-people ties.

Arena Party is working to ensure peace and security as only united and prosperous Ethiopia can be ascertained in the prevalence of peace, he added.

Ethiopian Unity Patriots Front Peace Negotiator Head, Getaneh Zeleke said “parties need to focus on common grounds and discuss differences.”

He called on all parties to patiently negotiate till they come to agreement and work together.

“Despite their different political agenda, they should come together in the spirit of united Ethiopia, and that cannot be realized unless they sit down and discuss,” Getaneh pointed out.

According him, the Ethiopian Unity Patriots Front is ready to help the government in bringing peace and stability.

Oromia National Party Public Relations Head, Liben Wako said “our party firmly believes that there is no other choice than peaceful struggle.”

According to Liben, “there is no doubt that the existing security problems will end and the public will be crowned with victory.”

He stressed that political parties should play their due role to shape the new generation

 
 

UK, Russia and UAE scramble to set up military bases in Somaliland

 

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Somaliand President Mouse Bihi holding talks with UK’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson at the presidential palace in Hargeisa, Somaliand, at the weekend to discuss the cooperation between the two countries.PHOTO | COURTESY

The United Kingdom has joined Russia and the United Arab Emirates in the scramble to set up military bases in Somaliland.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson at the weekend met President Mouse Bihi in Hargeysa, and discussed ways on strengthening the relationship between the two countries.

Somaliland, a former British colony, is yet to be recognised internationally.

The visit comes barely a week after Mr Williamson said the UK was keen on building new military bases around the world after Brexit. It is believed his visit to Somaliland sought to discuss the possibilities of setting up a base in the country.

 
 

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Facebook acquires biometric ID verification startup Confirm.io

Facebook has confirmed to TechCrunch that it’s acquired… Confirm.io. The startup offered an API that let other companies quickly verify someone’s government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license, was authentic. The Boston-based startup will shut down as both its team and technology are rolled into Facebook, where it could help users who are locked out of their accounts.

Confirm.io had raised at least $4 million from investors, including Cava Capital, since launching three years ago. The 2015 seed round funded advanced forensics used to pull information from an ID card, as well as mobile biometrics and facial recognition to confirm a person’s identity before the startup deleted the personal data.

Mark zuckerberg

Clients could quickly integrate the tech, which expedited on-demand startup staff onboarding. Food delivery service Doordash used Confirm.io to verify its drivers, while Notarize used it to authenticate the identity of customers looking to file documents.

The startup writes, “When we launched Confirm, our mission was to become the market’s trusted identity origination platform for which other multifactor verification services can build upon. Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey with Facebook. However, in the meantime this means all of our current digital ID authentication software offerings will be wound down.”

Confirm.io’s ID authentication feature

Facebook tells TechCrunch, “We are excited to welcome the Confirm team to Facebook. Their technology and expertise will support our ongoing efforts to keep our community safe.”

Facebook tests selfie-to-unlock feature

Facebook could potentially use the technology to have people confirm their identities if they’re locked out of their accounts after being hacked or losing their password. Back in September we spotted Facebook testing a feature that let you unlock your account using a selfie. And since at least 2013, Facebook has let people mail in a copy of their photo ID or other identity verification materials in order to regain access to their account.

Because this is a full acquisition, not just an acqui-hire, Confirm.io’s team and tech could help Facebook strengthen and streamline these options. And one day, perhaps Facebook could even serve as your ID card in some situations. Face ID on the iPhone X could eventually be opened to third parties to power more biometric security across apps. With our keys and payment cards becoming digitized and part of our phone, the ID card is really the last reason you have to carry an old-school wallet.

Shakir Essa biography

Shakir Essa is a senior journalist and news tv reporter, he takes a big role on somali social media,
He wrote a famous book of ” We are behind the curtain and the ogaal daily program
currently based on cincinnati Ohio, united states
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More info about Shakir Essa

The Shakir Essa Report, first aired January 2012, is a thirty-minutes, weekly investigative documentary in which he reports on African immigrant stories northern Africa, Libya and Tunisia. Shakir Essa is a social media activist in east african communities he served as manager at somali journalists and producer of Somali Today Tv

BIOGRAPHY

Shakir Essa was born in mid  1980s in the jameecada district of HargeisaSomaliland.[3] He attended high school in Hargeisa,

He later studied Telecommunication technologyat the international Horn University,where he earned a Bachelor of Arts. In 2004, he moved to Malaysia and pursued an advanced degree in Telecommunication Engineering at the TIU in malaysia .[3] He later on attended the cyber security and and advanced information technology at University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, USA.

shaakir7

He is also multilingual, speaking SomaliUrduArabicand English