House Probes Commerce Ministry

first_imgHike in the price of rice on the Liberian market has forced the House of Representatives to launch an immediate investigation.Plenary on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 agreed to reduce itself to a single committee aimed at addressing the growing concern over the hike in the prices of rice and other basic commodities.The House voted overwhelmingly to summon authorities of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to appear before that August Body on Thursday, September 25, 2014 at 10 a.m.Plenary demanded that Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy appear along with his support staff, Assistant Minister Stephen Marvie and Inspector General Macaetoh Wreh.The House is deeply concerned over the sudden increase in the prices of basic commodities; an indication plenary believed is a “default on the part of the Ministry after assuring the general public of a stable economy as the country faces such national health emergency.”According to Representative Munah Pelham-Youngblood’s motion, the Ministry must be made to answer to inquiries surrounding “the increase, why there is any increase and what is the Ministry doing to remedy the situation.”Lofa County Representative Moses Kollie’s letter prompted the probe. His communication sparked up serious debate on the floor of the House’s chamber.During the deliberation, Capitol Hill seemed furious over the hike forcing few lawmakers to question donations from business entities to government’s Ebola fight.“We have to be careful with some of these donations that are coming to government in the name of fighting Ebola,” Bong County Representative Adam Bill Corneh said.He further indicated, “Business people always want to maximize profits. I believe that all the donations from these business people will have to be paid for indirectly by the suffering masses.”Following the outbreak of the second wave of the Ebola virus disease, the government of Liberia announced that it was on top of things relative to controlling the economy to avoid encountering similar situation.Different government functionaries including the Liberia National Police, Ministries of Transport and Commerce and Industry all announced that they were effective to respond to the hike in the prices of basic commodities and transport fares. Each warned violators of drastic measures.Few weeks later, Commerce released the authorized price of rice at US$17 per 25kg bag. However, at the moment, importers of rice are selling it for US$20 for a bag of 25kg with little or nothing being done by the Ministry of Commerce to address the matter.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

‘Nothing’s impossible’: Tonga’s lone skier strikes out for Olympic glory in South Korea

first_img Pita Taufatofua leading his delegation during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images news Since you’re here… Pita Taufatofua was in his fourth decade when he first touched snow. By then, he had already decided that he wanted to be an Olympic cross-country skier and was well on his way to realising his dream.This week, Taufatofua will become the first Tongan ever to compete in the cross-country event at a Winter Olympics when he straps on his skis in Pyeongchang. But his journey from the beaches of the South Pacific to the starting gate in South Korea has been far from textbook.The world first saw Taufatofua as an oiled up flag-bearer wearing a necklace of shark’s teeth and a Taʻovala [a traditional Tongan skirt] during the opening ceremony of the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio. There, he was competing in taekwondo and was beaten 16-1 in his first match.Despite failing to win a medal, Taufatofua shot to prominence and the former youth counsellor was inundated with modelling contracts, offers from Hollywood and sponsorship deals. Share on Pinterest Topics Winter Olympics 2018 Share on Messenger Taufatofua has spent the last year training in the northern hemisphere Photograph: Instagram Taufatofua is one of seven siblings, his father an agricultural worker, his mother a nurse. The death of one of his sisters when he was a young boy crystallised his desire to make the most out of life, and chasing seemingly impossible dreams has been the driving force on his 20-year journey to the Olympics. In early 2017 Taufatofua strapped planks of wood to his feet and began running up sand hills, spending his evenings alone watching Youtube videos of the world’s best skiers. Taufatofua shed weight, dropping 15kg to weigh in at 75kg – close to the level that most cross-country skiers maintain, making them lighter and faster on the slopes. Graduating from wooden planks to roller skis, he relished the challenge of the frigid foreign sport, the excitement of trying to prove his sceptics wrong, and the extreme mental and physical exhaustion his new passion offered. “To me it is not crazy at all, it seems really normal to me [switching sports],” says Taufatofua. “No one is in the same job a few years later, very few people are in the same house a few years later. Life is changing and evolving, it is not stagnant. And sport is the same.” Twitter Taufatofua, who is now based in Brisbane, has spent the last year training in the northern hemisphere in minus 15-20C conditions, learning the art of cross-country skiing, something he says most of his competitors started “straight out of the womb”. Living in cheap hostels and eating basic meals of tuna and pasta, the 34-year-old has only been able to afford one pair of skis and one knob of wax, but that didn’t stop him qualifying for the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang; a gobsmacking achievement for a Pacific Islander who hadn’t seen snow until a couple of years ago, and is only the second Tongan ever to qualify for the Winter Olympics (Bruno Banani competed in luge in 2014).“Is it a level playing field? Absolutely not. Do I let that get to me? Absolutely not. I know sports is … rarely is it ever level. But if I start thinking about that I am stuck there,” says Taufatofua, who has started a go-fund-me page to raise funds for the winter Olympics.“A year ago, everyone was saying this is impossible. But when you come from Tonga or the Pacific Islands we don’t see things the same way, we don’t see anything as impossible. We are very positive in that regards and we are very resourceful. We are a developing country so we just try to find ways of succeeding however we can.”Taufatofua is hopeful but not delusional about his chances in Pyeongchang. Attending is already the icing on the cake. With a rigidly optimistic outlook, Taufatofua has a self-help book in the works and hasn’t ruled out a return to the summer Olympics in 2020. “Its pretty clear we’re misfits in the competition. It gets stuck in your mind that you need to do something – to prove yourself in some way. And that’s not just for me, but for all the exotic and small countries, for the whole Pacific Islands.” Support The Guardian Facebook center_img Tonga … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. But Taufatofua was not interested in fame. Instead, he ditched taekwondo and took up cross-country skiing, despite hailing from a country where the average annual temperature is 25 degrees.“I was thrown into a lot of big and great opportunities, in Hollywood stuff, modelling stuff,” says Taufatofua, speaking from his brother’s London flat where he was taking a two-day break from training in Iceland. “But for me, at that time, my goal was, what’s my next big challenge? What is completely impossible, what can’t be done – that’s what I want to do. And I found cross-country skiing.” What is completely impossible, what can’t be done? That’s what I want to doPita Taufatofua Share on WhatsApp Share via Email Share on Facebook Reuse this content Pinterest Share on Twitter Asia Pacific Share on LinkedInlast_img read more