An unprecedented three separate and distinct sessions were yesterday held simultaneously in the 68 year old Capitol Building (at the Legislature) with two at the Lower House and one in the Upper House with the presence of over 400 elite officers of the Liberia National Police. Compelling Recusal of Speaker Tyler?Thirty eight (38) members of the House of Representatives (34 present and four distance), who are referred to as “Renegade or Conscious Lawmakers” have unanimously adopted a resolution to remove Rep. Alex J. Tyler, Sr., as Speaker or Presiding Officer of the Legislature.The defector lawmakers, in an outlawed separate session in the William R. Tolbert Joint Chambers, which was presided over by Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue, made the decision yesterday due to a resolution signed by 40 members of the House of Representatives. However, three of them, including Saah Joseph, Samuel Woleh and Morais Waylee, claimed that they withdrew their signatures. The “conscious Lawmakers”, in search of a place to hold their session, proceeded to the Joint Chamber, which they found locked. The sergeant-at-arms, believed to be a Tyler sympathizer, was unavailable to provide access to the Joint Chamber. It was then that former Speaker, Edwin M. Snowe, Jr. ordered the door busted, according to eyewitnesses, which was performed by a staffer of Deputy Speaker Hans Barchue. The anti-Tyler lawmakers suspended the House’s Rules and Procedures on the Motion for Reconsideration as well as the Normal Legislative Procedural process of the Committee’s work to effect the decision to recuse Speaker Tyler.The lawmakers also appointed an ad hoc Chief Clerk and Deputy Chief, Rudolph Hill and Darlington Blayon, staffers of the Deputy Speaker.In the resolution, the lawmakers said the Speaker has denigrated his colleagues who have expressed disagreement with his dictatorial leadership and refers to elected Representatives of the Liberian people as surrogates, forgetting that he is just ‘primus inter pares’ (first among equals) by the free election of his peers.“Whereas, that the Speaker has been criminally indicted of a crime. We the members of the House should not have to bear the burden of these allegations. Let the Speaker exonerate himself of these criminal charges using our court system and not hide under the authority of the Speaker’s gavel,” the Interim Chief Clerk read.“Whereas and in so declaring, we, the majority members of the Honorable House of Representatives of the 53rd Legislature having taken a solemn oath of office to protect and uphold the constitution and all other laws of the Republic call upon Hon. J. Alex Tyler to immediately recuse himself as presiding officer.”The Interim Chief Clerk added: “Whereas we also call on those doing business and other activities with him to immediately halt and refrain from future transaction with him in the name of the Honorable House of Representatives including the Liberian Senate, the Executive and Judiciary Branches of Government and the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations Mission.”Those who signed the resolution included: Rep. Numene T.H. Bartekwa, Rep. Emmanuel Nuquay, Rep. Munah E. Pelham-Youngblood, Rep. Samuel G. Kogar, Rep. Thomas P. Fallah, Rep. Acarous M. Gray, Rep. Edwin M. Snowe, Rep. Julius Berrian, Rep. Morais T. Waylee and Rep. Samuel G. Wolleh.Others are Rep. Richmond S. Anderson, Rep. Corpu G. Barclay, Rep. Adolph A. Lawrence, Rep. Christian Chea, Rep. Johnson Chea, Rep. Saah Joseph, Rep. Roland O. Cooper, Rep. Worlea S. Dunah, Rep. Henry B. Fahnbulleh, Rep. Edward S. Forh, Rep. Josephine George Francis,Rep. Stephen S. Kafi, Jr., Rep. Jefferson Kanmoh, Rep. Edward W. Karfia, Rep. Mary Karwor, Rep. Jeremiah Koung, Rep. Eugene F. Kparkar and Rep. Gertrude T. Lamin.The remaining lawmakers are Rep. Jeremiah W. McCauley, Rep. Prince Moye, Rep. George S. Mulbah, Rep. Tokpah Mulbah, Rep. Robertson N. Siaway, Rep. Gabriel Smith, Rep. Richard M. Tingban, Rep. Ricks Toweh, Rep. Bill Twehway, Rep. Ballah G. Zayzay, Rep. J. Byron Brown and Rep. J. Gabriel Nyenkan.Meanwhile and simultaneously, the 51st day sitting under House’s Speaker J. Alex Tyler, Sr., in the House’s official chambers, ended successfully with the appearance of Public Work Minister Gyude Moore, summoned to update the lower house on the progress of the Somalia Drive Road. Speaker Tyler conducted yesterday’s session with a quorum of 37 persons; 34 in person and three in distance.Prior to the Public Work Minister’s appearance, the House’s Plenary summoned the management of the Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) to appear on Tuesday, 16 August. The decision was predicated upon a complaint from Hon. Larry P. Younquoi of Electoral District 8, Nimba County.In his letter, the Nimba Lawmaker questioned the refusal of the Liberia Broadcasting System to honor a request from the House Press and Public Affairs Bureau to provide live broadcast coverage to the on-going public hearing on the Draft National Budget at the Capitol Building. Following discussions on the matter, plenary agreed to invite the management of LBS to appear next Tuesday to give reasons for the entity’s action predicated on a motion proffered by Hon. Isaac Roland of Electoral District 3, Maryland County.Pro-Tyler’s ReactionThe chairman of the House committee on Foreign Affairs, Maryland County District # 1 Representative, Rep. James Biney, has accused President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of sponsoring the recusal campaign to unseat Speaker Tyler, over an unbearable working relationship with him.“If the precedence of getting the leader of one branch removed on the basis of indictment (not court verdict) through subterfuge, the tendency of the Executive controlling the Legislature will be further enhanced at the time when it should be broken,” Rep. Biney said “This is not good for any emerging democracy. When a leader of a country says, I will never work with the head of the legislative branch of government and the leader succeeds in removing the head of that branch of government, such a leader cannot be a true representation of genuine democracy. As we proceed to protect our democracy, it is quintessential that we accept to work with each other as leaders not because we want to, but because we have to,” Rep. Biney added.He added: “On the issue of the fight against corruption, I call on President Sirleaf to also go after those who wrecked NOCAL, squandered the Japanese Aid to Liberia, mismanaged Chevron Social Development Support to Liberia, etc. The contrary would suggest to the public and the world that the fight against corruption is not only selective, but a sham. Finally, we leaders, especially President Sirleaf, have the responsibility to enhance the peace and protect our democracy.”However, two senior staff members to the Speaker, who begged for anonymity, said the Speaker and his colleagues have termed the renegade lawmakers’ decision as “trash.”They further said the pro-Tyler lawmakers are considering going to the Supreme Court, but they did not say why or when.Speaker Tyler’s compelling recusal is due to his alleged accusation of receiving US$75,000, according to the May 11 Global Witness report, for his alleged role in changing the Public Procurement Commission Committee (PPCC) law in favor of the London based Sable Mining Company to win a concession agreement to exploit iron ore in the Wologisi Mountain in Lofa County.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
A dedicated maritime cluster in theEastern Cape will boost regional economy.(Image: MediaClubSouthAfrica.com. Formore free images, visit the image library) MEDIA CONTACTS • Peter Myles Coordinator: NMB maritime cluster interim task team +27 82 556 1680 • Tantaswa Cici Manager: maritime safety, Eastern Cape Department of Transport +27 43 604 7629 or +27 71 673 5171 RELATED ARTICLES • Motor cluster will drive change • Safer seas for PE’s marine life • SA maritime industry set to grow • Aviation, maritime careers for youth • SA harbour chief makes world historyEmily van RijswijckPlans are afoot to create a dedicated maritime cluster for the port region of Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) in the Eastern Cape in order to build on and enhance the city’s existing marine activities.The cluster idea is a joint initiative of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber. The first meeting of the partners took place in February in Port Elizabeth and was attended by 80 invited participants, all with a direct interest in the sector.“Port Elizabeth is historically a maritime city and yet for some reason it has never developed a maritime industry,” says Peter Myles, coordinator of the interim task team elected at the inaugural meeting to look into the viability of the venture.Myles is also chairman of the NMB Tourism Industry Association and a lecturer at NMMU in marine tourism and coastal recreation.The interim task team will appoint a steering committee, which will develop the policy, goals, strategy, actions and resources for a cluster framework aligned to the province’s integrated provincial maritime plan, currently under review.The steering committee will start by investigating the feasibility of ship building and other related industries, including the establishment of a maritime university.Port Elizabeth’s harbour, the fifth largest in South Africa, plays an important role in the movement of clean cargo, automotive parts and vehicles. The magnificent Port of Ngqura, now South Africa’s premier trans-shipment hub, lies a mere 20 km to the north.The Bay, as the city is fondly referred to, also has much to offer in terms of marine tourism. It’s home to one of the largest colonies of the endangered African penguin, and the marine section of the Greater Addo Elephant Park shares the bay area with the city.According to Myles, the main conclusion drawn at the first meeting was that the maritime sector could be a leading contributor to a sustainable provincial economy.Benefiting the greater communityThe maritime industry encompasses a vast array of activities and disciplines, among them designing, building and operating vessels; stevedoring and customs brokerage services; fisheries; the marine railways sector and the myriad industries involved in the maintenance and repair of vessels.Coastal and marine tourism and similar enterprises are also included in this sector.Some of these industries, such as stevedoring, are already in place in Port Elizabeth, while others, such as boatbuilding and repairs, are sorely lacking.In addition, Port Elizabeth remains a favourite tourist destination for South Africans, and international tourism numbers continue to grow.Estimates put the number of foreign visitors to Port Elizabeth in 2010 at 250 000 and domestics tourists in the same year at about 1-million, while the combined spend amounted to about R3-billion (US$386-million).Of special interest to potential cluster partners is the role such a combined effort can play in helping small to medium enterprises.“International experience indicates that the level of business formation tends to be higher in clusters,” says Myles. “Start-ups are more reliant on external suppliers and partners, all of which they find in a cluster, so clusters reduce the costs of failure, as entrepreneurs can fall back on local employment opportunities in the many other companies in the same field.”Clusters also encourage knowledge-sharing and innovation and in these areas NMMU has the potential to play a critical role, he adds.“Nelson Mandela Bay is a region where small-scale businesses and disadvantaged coastal communities could largely benefit, improving their job opportunities and their lives through application of a proposed micro-enterprise promotion strategy.”It is hoped that the cluster will stimulate the growth of smaller companies offering services such as boat building and repairs. It could also enhance the existing coastal and marine tourism sector and even, perhaps, encourage the creation of a maritime university.“In a nutshell, the expectation is that a maritime cluster will uncover Port Elizabeth’s competitive advantage and, with collaboration, will assist in the growth of this sector,” says Myles.Other clusters to boost local economyThe announcement of the maritime cluster follows closely on the heels of the recently launched Eastern Cape automotive cluster, which was formally inaugurated by trade and industry minister Rob Davis in March.Globally, clusters have become the norm in the creation of cross-industry linkages and complementary relationships. In Europe, maritime clusters are well established and offer their members a competitive advantage, says Myles.“In less than half a decade cluster development has become a common factor for economic development agencies in over 40 countries around the world. Clusters are the building blocks of a productive, innovative economy.”Port Elizabeth then and nowThe port area of Port Elizabeth is more than 180 years old. Following the arrival of British settlers in 1820 the harbour area became extremely busy, with mohair, wool and ostrich feathers the most common cargo shipped from the port.By 1825 Port Elizabeth was given port status with the appointment of a harbour master and, a year later, of a collector of customs.According to the Department of Transport 80% of the country’s trade is carried out by sea and it has therefore become necessary to prioritise the shipping industry.South Africa is one of the top 15 shipping countries in the world in terms of the tonnage transported to and from its ports.
Through teaching young people skills and values such as tolerance, perseverance and resilience, Life Choices helps them to overcome their challenges and be the best they can be. (Image: Life Choices, via Facebook)Inspired by the work of a Catholic priest in a small Italian town in the 1800s, the Life Choices organisation works to support youth in difficult circumstances overcome their challenges and provide them with skills, information and resilience for them to live to their fullest potential.Learn about Life Choice’s history:Through its approach, Life Choices tries to address the many factors that hold back some of South Africa’s youth, be these poor education, malnutrition, illness or simply not being aware of their own potential and the opportunities available to them.LIFE CHOICES PROGRAMMESThe organisation runs three programmes in and around Cape Town, each aimed at areas it has identified as needing to be dealt with in order for young minds to thrive. These key programmes focus on personal health, how best to manage family affairs, and leadership development, which is aimed at helping youth take charge of their lives.Its Health4Life programme is primarily aimed at children living without their parents. It works with schools and community centres to help ensure the mental, physical and social health of pupils and children out of school.It provides relevant HIV and Aids counselling and testing to ensure children are informed, gender relevant talks about sexual health and wellness, as well as psychological support to those suffering from trauma of any sort.The Family Affairs programme aims to improve well-being among families facing challenges that keep them from having healthy relationships. Again by providing counselling and guidance, Life Choices hopes to bring families closer together and develop support structures within families.Lastly, it focuses on developing leadership and teamwork skills to prepare young people for life after school when competencies such as teamwork, time management and resilience are important for success.Its Leaders’ Quest challenges bright pupils at the schools where it works to give leaders of the future the head start they need, while addressing the causes of bad leadership instead of looking to correct the symptoms.Watch what matriculants had to say about Life Choices: GET INVOLVEDAn aim of Life Choices is to improve the lives of as many youths as it can, and it urges the public to get involved and help it help these youngsters reach for their dreams.If you as an individual, group or business want to get involved, have a look at the get involved section of the Life Choices website for more details about how to do so.The organisation is open to financial donations and also welcomes volunteers who want to spend time with it and the youths with which it works.PLAY YOUR PARTPlay Your Part urges you toshare your story. If you or anyone you know has gone out of their way to brighten up the day for someone else, we want to know.If you have a story to tell, be it your own or that of an organisation or initiative dear to you,submit your story or videoto our website and tell us how South Africa is playing a part to build a better life for all.
What filmmaking truths can be found on the set of one of the biggest blockbusters in history? Go behind the scenes of The Avengers.As one of the highest grossing films of all time, The Avengers is about as big as a movie can get. However, you don’t need to have a multimillion dollar budget to get something out of these awesome behind-the-scenes videos. Here’s a list of six filmmaking takeaways from the BTS videos of The Avengers. Let’s begin:1. It’s the last 15% of the details that make all the difference.Key Takeaway: The beauty is in the details.As with most things, in filmmaking the difference is in the details. This goes for indie films all the way up to Hollywood blockbusters. In this featurette, Jeff White, the Visual Effects Supervisor for The Avengers talks about how they decided to make their Hulk a little more “flabby” than previous iterations. This decision proved to make the CGI character much more believable.The artists behind the Hulk took into account an insane amount of detail, from cloth simulations for skin all the way down to the theoretical weight of the Hulk. It was these smaller details (and a decade of VFX innovation) that helped separate the 2012 Hulk from the 2003 Hulk.2. Joss Whedon isn’t scared of multicam productions.Key Takeaway: While they are certainly more difficult, multicam productions can be worth it.Multicam productions can be a scary monster to face, especially if you are an indie filmmaker. It’s easier to light and control a scene for one camera than two, so most filmmakers choose to shoot with one camera at a time. However when you have high-dollar special effects that can only happen once, you really don’t have a choice but to shoot with more than one camera.3. All of the crew members look at least 40 years old.Key Takeaway: It takes time to become a key player on a Hollywood production.One of the most interesting and reassuring things that we saw in the BTS videos was the fact that most of the crew members for The Avengers look like they are 40 years old or older, especially the ones holding a camera. As aspiring filmmakers, this reality tells us a lot about the filmmaking industry. Namely, like any industry, it takes time to work your way up the ladder to become a key player in large scale movies like The Avengers. Sure, networking helps, but at the end of the day? It’s hard work and experience that will help you get on big productions.4. All the fight scenes are highly choreographed before actors show up on set.Key Takeaway: Good action scenes take a lot of prep time.If you’ve ever tried shooting an action scene, then you probably know how difficult it is to shoot a believable fight scene. A good fight scene takes a lot of choreographing before you show up on set and The Avengers is no exception. Each actor had to spend weeks being trained in combat and the various fight scenes that were required for The Avengers.If you’re an indie filmmaker looking to shoot an awesome fight scene, take a lot of time to research, storyboard, and choreograph. By taking more time in pre-production to work out the details of the shoot, you’ll be able to create a much better scene than what could be created by quickly figuring it out on set.5. There are a surprising amount of practical effects.Key Takeaway: Practical effects are still better than VFX, especially for indie-films.While VFX do offer you much more control, practical effects are often better than those created by a computer — just ask George Lucas. You’ve probably seen a lot of pictures of the green screen sound stages used in The Avengers, but one surprising thing we found in the BTS videos is the amount of practical effects and set dressing that went into the film.Practical effects are surprisingly easy to create. From simply throwing dirt to using air cannons to launch a car in the air, there are a lot of really cool ways to create live effects that look great. If you’re interested in seeing more practical effects, check out our Top 10 Practical Movie Effects of All Time post.6. A cast that likes each other is a happy cast.Key Takeaway: Actor synergy is very important.It’s hard to think of another all-star cast that gets along with each other like the cast of The Avengers — and that real world chemistry is obvious on the screen. Despite what your fedora wearing “director” friend tells you, there is no room for egos on set. By having a friendly relationship with your actors and crew members, you will better gain respect — which will pay dividends on screen.Want to learn even behind the scenes Avengers inspiration? Check out a few of the following resources:Weird Secrets of The Avengers That You’d Never Have GuessedWatch The Avengers Get Goofy Behind The Scenes In New Age Of Ultron VideoGo Behind-the-Scenes of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of UltronAre you excited for the new Avengers: Age of Ultron movie? Sound off in the comments below.
Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal on Monday questioned the Election Commission of India’s decision to conduct elections in the State in four phases. Previously, the polls were being held in the State in two phases. Addressing a press conference here, party spokesperson Amar Patnaik alleged that the ECI had been influenced by the BJP which is trying to occupy the non-BJP States.While polling will be held in one phase in several other States, including Gujarat, having more number of seats than Odisha, the ECI prepared the poll schedule in multiple phases in the States where the BJP is weak, Mr. Patnaik said. Not only Odisha, but several non-BJP ruled States have been made a victim of the Centre’s conspiracy, he charged.Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik claimed that his party will perform “very well” in the upcoming simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. The list of the party candidates will be finalised soon, he added.Polling for the 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats in the State is scheduled to be held in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29.‘Centre’s apathy’ On Monday, the BJD launched a ‘Haq Maguchhi Odisha’ (Odisha seeks its due) campaign alleging Centre’s apathy towards the State.Thousands of activists of the party’s youth and students’ wings took out a rally in Bhubaneswar seeking replies from the Centre to a series of questions.“Even as the mineral and natural resources-rich Odisha is playing a key role in the development of the country, the Centre has been neglecting the State for political reasons. The Centre has been deceiving Odisha people in exchange of high revenue earning from the State,” the party alleged.The protesters targeted the Centre over lack of political will to grant special category status to the State, to solve the Mahanadi water-sharing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, non-revision of coal royalty and poor service by banks and the BSNL.