Monday, July 31, 2006

Latest News from Liberia, West Africa

Arson suspected in Independence Day Executive Mansion Fire
At approximately at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday immediately after the official commemoration of the 159th Independence at the Centennial Memorial Pavilion, news broke of a raging fire that destroyed the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors of the Executive Mansion. The fire destroyed the Office of the President on the fourth floor, Cabinet room among other offices at the mansion. At the time of the fire, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her guests including Ghanaian President John Koufour, Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone and Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast were already seated when they were hurriedly whisked off by security guards. In a brief statement to the nation, President Sirleaf promised an uncompromising investigation into the cause of the fire and assured the nation that the incident would not deter her from presidential functions, although her office was completely destroyed.
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Water, Electricity Return to Monrovia
There was jubilation on the streets of Monrovia as streetlights lit up most streets of the Liberian capital in fulfillment of a campaign promise by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Water has been restored to parts of the city.
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Criminals On Rampage in Paynesville
The Liberian National Police and UNMIL had practically surrendered to the criminal gangs in the area known as Red Light; but it appears that they are also losing other parts of the greater Paynesville area to the same group who are expanding their reach with their criminal activities.

Poor Baby: Charles Taylor Locked Up 16 Hours Daily
Charles Taylor's defense Council, Karim Khan has criticized staff shortages at the U.N.-run detention center at The Hague meant Taylor was locked in his cell for up to 16 hours a day and was unable to make the same number of phone calls he could while being detained in Sierra Leone.

Liberia: People Survive on 30 Cents Daily, Says World Bank President

Liberia: Life Expectancy Drops to 47 Years

UNMIL Rapists Go Unpunished [analysis]
In Liberia, it is no doubt that rape has become a rocketing public nuisance with women, both young and old being victimized almost a on daily basis.