A major reason for Guyana losing its manufacturing sector

first_imgSome wise person once said for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  The mismanagement of the energy sector since independence has been responsible in the main for the economic erosion within our manufacturing sector.  In 1973, Guyana was spending about US$500 million on fuel imports during the energy crisis and to his credit, Mr Burnham at that time did promise the people that he will build a large hydropower plant in the Upper Mazaruni.  The rest is history! That promise moved from a Guyanese hydropower plant to a Guyanese giant hydrocele with a huge amount of debt and nothing to show for it.  By 1984 when Burnham finally surrendered to the reality, over G$1 billion was squandered and any plan for an aluminium smelter was shelved, burying Linden’s economic fortunes in the process.UNDP did an extensive study on the hydropower potential in Guyana, but the closest Guyana ever got to unleashing that potential was the Amaila Falls Hydro Project under Mr Jagdeo, which has now been thoughtlessly abandoned by this Granger regime in exchange for a half-baked energy strategy that continues to hinder human development.In addition to the underperformance in the energy sector, the prevalence of low-cost Chinese made goods, most of which can be made in Guyana, is a major inhibitor to the growth in the manufacturing sector.  China has been able to manipulate its currency; employ children on the cheap (not follow standard labour practices); destroy the environment and cut corners on quality to get ahead to the disadvantage of Guyana, who cannot do the same because of the international rules.  Collectively, these two reasons are stagnating the manufacturing sector.Whenever a manufacturing facility closes its door, it leaves a black hole.  Everything that supports that factory goes down with it.  Guyanese jobs disappear, local people who supply that factory with materials, equipment, maintenance services and then all the other services around it like the markets, they all go down with that factory.This is exactly what has happened to the Mon Repos Market based on a video I saw from CN Sharma on his “Voice of the People” programme in January 2018.  The overwhelming consensus of the vendors was that “money nah circulating”.  With the Enmore Factory mothballed by this Granger regime at the end of 2017, some 40,000 people along the East Coast of Demerara were directly and indirectly affected in their pockets.  The same experiences have been experienced on the West Demerara and in the Corentyne. People have mortgages/rent to pay and they have to put food on the table.  Just meeting these two basic needs will become impossible for thousands of families if some of these sugar factories are not re-opened in private hands within the next six months.  As the experience from the bauxite industry revealed, severance money can only last so long especially when they are getting less than G$500,000.In any country, the bricks and mortar associated with success are the agriculture, mining, housing, and manufacturing sectors.  On all four fronts, the policies of this Granger regime have directly contributed to the active destruction of these sectors with some respite in the mining sector.  It is these sectors that make Guyana tick, and it is unfortunate that the members of Team Granger are not empathetic to this fact.So coming back to the ordinary market vendors in the Mon Repos Market, no policymakers should take their comments lightly.  It is a sure way of testing the pulse of the economy and progressive public policies must be crafted urgently to recalibrate the economy.This brings me to a pertinent point – imports. Pigeon peas in a tin?  Give me a break!  Now can you understand why the economy is stifling?  The world has unrestricted access to the Guyanese market and continues to flood it with their products.  Unfortunately, because of our high cost and unreliable electricity and an unresponsive government investment policy, Guyana has restricted access to the world market.  This is an uneven relationship and must be addressed. All the signs are pointing to the fact that more factory closures in the manufacturing sector are set to happen unless President Granger and his team act now and fast!last_img read more

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Small miners want GGMC’s operations investigated

first_img…appeal to Trotman to look into alleged corruption, mining blocks’ allocationThe Guyana National Mining Syndicate is calling for a full-fledged investigation into the operations of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) and the removal of acting Commissioner Newell Dennison and Technical Adviser Donald Singh.The call was made on Tuesday as the group protested in front of the GGMC’s Brickdam office in the hope that someone would be able to alleviate their suffering. The small miners’ group says it is not being allowed to mine owing to the lack of lands and accuses the GGMC of giving priority to large and medium-scale miners.The small miners plan to continue their protest action todayJudith David Blair, President of the Karau Mining Syndicate, said the small miners were frustrated by landlordism and thus requested that they be given land so that they could work. She added that they were trying to conduct their operations in accordance with the law, but the level of nonchalance displayed by the GGMC officials made this a tough task.“We decide to come out here, because after making several applications for lands for over a year now, we have not been given a formal word or documentation that would lead us into mining and not prospecting and it’s very hard. First, as small miners, we have a multitude of people with us who are fighting for bread and butter today and all we know is mining and that’s what we want to do. We have dredges that have been laid up for over a year and, through this initiative of the Syndicate, we are now hoping that our lands will be processed and we would be able to mine,” she said.Blair related that they met with Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman on March 29, and he promised to address the processing of mining lands for small farmers as a matter of immediate importance. However, she noted that the Minister merely uttered false promises since they were still awaiting the processing of their land applications. The small miner said they also observed that the lands they applied for were being given to other miners, most of them large or medium-scale operators.“We’re very concerned and want to say to the Minister that he needs to hear the cry of the small miners, the plight of the small miners and he has to pay attention to us, because while a few will be benefiting, the masses are still in distress. We are hopeful and we are waiting on him to make the decision,” Blair said.Another small miner, Carol Fredericks said the small miners were sick and tired of being treated as though they were not Guyanese and being deprived of their rights to earn a decent living.Corruption at GGMC“Corruption must go…Donald Singh must go…Dennison must go…Closed Areas Committee must go”; those were just a few of the chants coming from the group as they protested and voiced their frustrations. The group is accusing acting GGMC Commissioner Dennison and Technical Adviser Singh of deliberately “ducking” their applications.“GGMC must be investigated. Those responsible must face the penalty for all their wrongdoings, and Mr Dennison ain’t serving no purpose for GGMC. We ask for the removal of Donald Singh, but instead they promote him to adviser to Dennison…GGMC is corrupt,” Fredericks charged.“The dissatisfaction with the GGMC, the level of (alleged) corruption within the GGMC, the back and forth-ness with GGMC…” were among the issues that Blair lamented.The group is also accusing Dennison and Singh of sabotaging their applications to support their alleged corrupt practices. Blair added that had it not been for their persistence then all of their applications would have been “ducked”.“Our persistence in getting the applications out and seeing them get on stream we were able to discover that one was missing and that one that was missing, could you imagine that was to facilitate a millionaire in this country who already got money,” she revealed.Conflict of InterestThe Closed Area Committee (CAC) was established in February 1994 and was mandated to identify closed areas and State reserves that can be opened to miners for the purpose of the location of claims, and approving applications for grants of prospecting and mining licences, prospecting permits and mining permits.However, the small miners are crying foul as it relates to the operation of the CAC. They are saying that their interests are not being represented, whereas there are members from the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA) on the Board to represent large and medium-scale miners.“Closed Areas Committee have directors who are members of the GGDMA; the President of the GGDMA is a director on the Closed Areas Committee and he was given a special order that was passed for land for him in the Karau area which is closer to us….why didn’t they consider the Karau Mining Syndicate for those land? It is less expensive and he was given 15 blocks that was gazetted for him on a special order,” Fredericks related.“Mr Tony Shields, who is a member or director on that Closed Area Committee and GGMC is renting a building from him for (a hefty sum) and they are talking about conflict of interest…. that is conflict of interest,” she added.Parish PeakParish Peak, located in the Upper Berbice area, is said to be a mining hotspot. However, Government announced that the area was off limits to mining and, as such, it would not be issuing any licences to mine in the area.The Syndicate, however, is saying that mining activities are occurring around the Parish Peak area and, as such, they believe that the Government is deliberately finding excuses to block them from mining. “I cannot understand the Minister sending a letter to the Berbice Syndicate saying that they cannot have the land because the land is reserved – for I don’t know what, but in that same area 58 mining licences were given out,” Blair questioned.President of the Berbice Mining Syndicate, Lloyd Moore said there were over 200 members in the Berbice Syndicate, with more than 3000 lives affected. “The thing is there is so much inequality; there is so much unfairness in this whole issue and we trust that Minister Trotman can rethink his decision, because if it is a reserved area you wouldn’t have 48 other persons working in the area. If it is a reserve, reserve means that there is nobody else, so there’s something wrong here,” Moore said.The Syndicate will continue its protests today at the same location and plans to continue protesting until members can be provided with a solution to their issue. (Lakhram Bhagirat)last_img read more

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Roaring Motor Sport season ahead

first_img0Shares0000NAIROBI, Kenya, January 15 – The 2014 Kenya National Rally Championship (KNRC) starts on a sad gear following the demise of one of the true indigenous rally heroes, Ben Muchemi, better known as ‘Baba Shiro.’ It also comes after the year that saw the exit of another great, three -time Safari Rally winner, Joginder Singh, who passed away in October aged 81. Singh also known as ‘Flying Sikh’ was Kenya’s most successful rally driver, winning the African marathon twice when it was a round of the World Rally Championship. He started 22 Safaris, finished 19 and won three.As for ‘Baba Shiro’ much as he did not scale the heights of victory or clock fastest times in his rallying career, he managed to arouse excitement to his legions of fans and fellow drivers.He brought a fresh twist to the sport, if it was not taking part in a rally; he would be sponsoring someone to compete instead.If he was not chairing a committee, he was lending out one of many rally cars to someone and it is this kindred spirit that will be solely missed in 2014. The 2009 Kenya Motor Sports Personality of the Year owned 28 rally cars and allowed less privileged drivers use them free of charge besides playing a leading role in organising events among them, last year’s Safari.Celebrating the rich lives of Muchemi and Singh will form a large part of the itinerary of events this year.The KNRC title holder is Baldev Singh Chager, who had sealed the 2013 KNRC crown in the penultimate Guru Nanak Rally in October scooping his second career Kenya National Rally Championship series title. It was also an emphatic season for Charger as he aso won the coveted KCB Safari Rally in July giving him more to fight for this season.The calendar will begin at the annual KMSF Motor Sports Awards later this month to award those who excelled in 2013 where moving tributes to the departed greats will form a large part of the proceedings.Last year, Shivam ‘Ole’ Vinayak picked up the Personality of the Year award as Chantal Young was elated at her Ladies Rose Bowl trophy and classic car cup navigators’ titles.2014 outlookAlready, KMSF have altered the KNRC calendar with the start of the eight-round KCB sponsored competition being switched to the coastal town of Malindi on the weekend of February 1 and 2 as opposed to the customary Kajiado/Nairobi region openers.Kenya Motor Sports Club will organize the next rally after Malindi in early March.Another surprise change is the moving of the Safari Rally from its traditional July slot to September.The world famous event will be held on the weekend of September 12-14 and will still count towards the seventh and penultimate round of the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) series which revs off with Rallye Bandama of Cote D’Ivoire between March 1 and 2.Other countries in which the ARC will crisscross are Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa (Sasol Rally), Rwanda (Mountain Gorilla Rally) and Madagascar Rally which folds the curtains to the eight-leg ARC series.Jassy Singh is the man to beat this year after claiming the ARC crown last season becoming the youngest driver to win the title.The 20-year-old scooped the title after finishing sixth overall at the final round of the continental championship held in Madagascar last weekend.Navigated by veteran Dave Sihoka, Jassy outraced his Ugandan counterpart Jas Mangat who crashed out of the race.His father Muna, grandfather Satwant and 2012 champion Mohammed Essa have all bagged the ARC crown for Zimbabwe.KNRC PreparationsDrivers are busy preparing their cars ahead of another gruelling eight rounds as the number of top-of-the-range cars continues to grow on the local circuit.Manvir Baryan, a KNRC Division 2 driver, has been linked to a Proton S2000 vehicle, but has been coy about it.Baryan, who finished in the top 10 during the KQ Safari Classic Rally, says he will stick to the same N16 vehicle he used in 2013.Super 2000, also known as S2000, is an FIA specification and classification for production-based race cars. The specification is split to cover both rally and touring car racing.Super 2000 rally cars are also permitted to compete in Super 2000 World Rally Championship events.Other new cars expected in the new season include an EVOX by Athman brothers Khalfan and Abdulaziz, and an EVO9 by Asad Anwar.Eric Bengi has acquired a Two Wheel Drive RunX while former KNRC Division Two Driver Charles Hinga is said to be plotting a 2WD comeback in a Toyota Corolla RSI.Auto and Moto crossThe Kenya National Autocross Championship begins on the weekend of March 8 and 9 whilst the National Motocross series commences on January 25 and 26. Both Motocross and Autocross events will feature nine events apiece.RVM&SC will organize the first round of the scheduled five Rally Raid events on March 15 and 16.The CBA Africa Concours D’Elegance 2014, organized by Alfa Romeo Owners Club, will be held at Nairobi Racecourse on September 27 and 28.On the weekend of August 30-31 Zambia will host the FIM Africa Continental Motocross Championship. This will feature riders from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, hosts Zambia, South Africa, Bostwana and Namibia among other nations.2014 CALENDERSKNRC Jan 18-19::KNRC 1 Nakuru Rally (RVM&C)Feb 15-16::KNRC. 2 KMSC Rally (KMSC)March 29-30 KNRC 3 RSC Rally (RSC)April 26-27::KNRC 4 Mombasa Rally (MMC)June 28-29::KNRC 5 (NRG*/WMSC*)September 12-14::ARC 7 KCB Safari Rally (KMSF)October 18-19::KNRC. 7 Kisumu RallyNovember 22-23::KNRC. 8 Guru Nanak Rally (SUC)FIA AFRICAN RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP March 1-2::ARC 1-Rallye Bandama Cote D’IvoireApril 12-13::ARC 2-Sasol Rally South AfricaMay 10-11::ARC 3-Zambia International RallyJune 14-15::ARC 4- Rally of TanzaniaJuly 19-20::ARC 5-Rwanda Mountain Gorilla RallyAugust 16-17::ARC 6- Pearl of Africa Uganda RallySeptember 12-14::ARC 7-KCB Safari RallyNov 8-9::ARC 8-Total Rally International MadagascarAUTOCROSSFebruary 1-2::AUTOX 1 (RSC)March 8-9::AUTOX 2 (KMSC)April 19-20::AUTOX 3 (RVM&SC/EAMSC)May 24-25::AUTOX 4 (KMSC)July 19-20::AUTOX 5 (KMSC)August 9-10::AUTOX 6 (KMSC)September 20-21::AUTOX 7 (EMC)November 1-2::AUTOX 8 (KMSC)November 29-30::AUTOX 9 (KMSC)MOTOCROSSJanuary 25-26::MOTOX 1 (EAMSC)February 22–23::MOTOX 2 (EAMSC)April 19-20::MOTOX 3 (EAMSC)May 10-11::MOTOX 4 (EAMSC)June 21-22::MOTOX 5 (EAMSC)August 2-3::MOTOX 6 (EAMSC)October 4-5::MOTOX 7 (EAMSC)November 8-9::MOTOX 8 (EAMSC)December 7-8::MOTOX 9 (EAMSC)RALLY RAID 2014 CALENDER AS AT 13.11.2013March 15-16::RALLY RAID 1 (RVM&SC)April 5–6::RALLY RAID 2 (RSC)July 12-13::RALLY RAID 3 (RVM&SC)October 11-12::RALLY RAID 4 (NRG)November 15-16::RALLY RAID 5 (RSC)ENDUROFebruary 8-9::ENDURO 1 (EAMSC)April 12–13::ENDURO 2 (EAMSC)June 14-15::ENDURO 3 (EAMSC)August 23-24:ENDURO 4 (RVM&SC)October 25-26::ENDURO 5 (EAMSC)OTHERSSeptember 27-28::CBA Africa Concours D’Elegance (Nairobi Racecourse)July 21-22::Economy Run (AROC)August 30-31::FIM Africa Motox Championship (Zambia).0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Chelsea swoop for Hajduk’s Pasalic

first_imgThe 19-year-old is regarded as a dynamic young talent and has already featured in his country’s Under-21 team.He was also named in Croatia’s provisional 30-man World Cup squad, but didn’t make the final cut for the tournament in Brazil and has yet to make his senior international debut.“I am very happy because I am now a Chelsea player,” Pasalic told Chelsea’s website.“I am very impressed by the training ground and I must thank everybody at Hajduk. This is now a new start in my career.“I am a central midfielder, my favourite player is Frank Lampard, and so I am very happy to be a Chelsea player.”The German-born youngster came to Chelsea’s attention after enjoying a fine first full season in senior football during 2013-14.He scored 11 times in 36 appearances in all competitions and helped Hajduk to a third-place finish in the Croatian league.Pasalic may follow in the footsteps of a number of Chelsea’s young prospects by being sent out on loan to gain more first-team experience.The Blues have already loaned Wallace and Bertrand Traore to Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem during the close-season, while Tomas Kalas made a temporary move to Cologne and Thorgan Hazard to Borussia Monchengladbach.Pasalic is Chelsea’s third signing of the transfer window following the more high-profile arrivals of Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona and Spain forward Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000LONDON, July 9- Chelsea signed teenage Croatian midfielder Mario Pasalic from Hajduk Split for an undisclosed fee on Wednesday.Pasalic was due to join up with Jose Mourinho’s squad for their first pre-season training session later on Wednesday after arriving at the Premier League club’s Cobham head-quarters.last_img read more

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Martial agent accuses United of disrespect

first_imgThe 20-year-old, who scored 17 times during his debut campaign in England, has struggled for form under Jose Mourinho this season and his agent, Philippe Lamboley, admits the shirt change has affected his client.“I’m not going to lie to you. Yes, it got to him. Yes, it surprised him. Yes, he was disappointed… for two days,” Lamboley told RMC Sport.“But he’s professional. He knew how to get back into things straightaway. Personally, I find that decision out of order and disrespectful to my player. I told Manchester United’s board that. You just don’t do it.”So we accepted it, we turned the page, but we didn’t rip it up.”Martial has scored just two goals in 12 appearances this season, but Lamboley rejected any suggestion of a rift between Martial and Jose Mourinho, insisting his client is happy at United.“They have a very professional relationship. I am sure that Jose Mourinho will know how to bring the best out of Anthony like Louis van Gaal did before him.”“He is very happy at United. He is not smiling all the time but that’s part of his personality. People who know him well know that he is a smiling, open and warm guy. He is very attached to the fans who have welcomed him so nicely.”“He has only one ambition: to have a great season and win titles with United. What he has accomplished already is amazing, he is only starting his career. And I promise you the best is to come.”-By Sky Sports–0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Fenerbahce’s Turkish defender Sener Ozbayrakli (R) fouls Manchester United’s French striker Anthony Martial (C) on October 20, 2016MANCHESTER, United Kingodm, Nov 5- Anthony Martial’s agent has accused Manchester United of disrespecting the France striker by handing the No 9 shirt to summer signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic.Martial was given the No 9 shirt following his £36m move from Monaco in September 2015, but was forced to change to No 11 in the summer after the arrival of Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford.last_img read more

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French minister makes symbolic Baghdad visit

first_imgIraqi police say a roadside bomb killed the governor of the southern Muthanna province in the second such assassination in just over a week. A top American general, meanwhile, said Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard had 50 men training Shiite militiamen in remote camps south of Baghdad. Kouchner said he was not in Iraq to offer initiatives or proposals but to listen to ideas on how his country might help stop the devastating violence. “Now we are turning the page. There is a new perspective. We want to talk about the future. Democracy, integrity, sovereignty, reconciliation and stopping the killings. That’s my deep aim,” Kouchner said in English after meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hosyhar Zebari. “We hope that this visit will herald an increased level of engagement by France with Iraq, a level consistent with the activism of its foreign minister,” Zebari said, pointing to Kouchner’s humanitarian efforts as the former U.N. administrator for Kosovo and co-founder of the Nobel Prize-winning aid group Doctors Without Borders. Kouchner drove from the airport in a heavily armored convoy, stopping first at the U.N. compound in the Green Zone at a memorial to victims of the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad that killed U.N. special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 other people. The two men were friends. Kouchner said he timed his arrival to mark the fourth anniversary of the attack. Asked at a news conference if France was now ready to help the Americans who are mired in Iraq, the top French diplomat demurred and said he was on a fact-finding mission. “We are ready to be useful, but the solution is in the Iraqis’ hands, not in the French hands,” he said, adding “I’m not frightened of the perspective of talking to the Americans.” Kouchner later met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Shiite leader struggling to save his crumbling government, a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Kouchner’s visit will doubtless be welcomed in Washington, where the Bush administration is facing a Sept. 15 deadline to report to Congress on progress in Iraq as a result of the infusion of 30,000 more U.S. troops in the first half of the year. American public opinion and congressional sentiment is running against the U.S. effort and there are many calls for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops. Merely stepping onto Iraqi soil was a major symbol of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s efforts to end any lingering U.S.-French animosity over the 2003 Iraq invasion. In east Baghdad, a mortar barrage slammed into a mainly Shiite neighborhood, killing 12 and wounding 31, police said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! IRAQ: Roadside bomb kills provincial governor in second assassination. By Kim Gamel THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BAGHDAD – France’s foreign minister paid an unannounced and highly symbolic visit to Baghdad on Sunday – the first by a senior French official since the war started and a gesture to the American effort in Iraq after years of icy relations over the U.S.-led invasion. Bernard Kouchner said Paris wanted to “turn the page” and look to the future. last_img read more

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Argentine ace reveals he SNUBBED Chelsea and Man United to make China move

first_img1 Ezequiel Lavezzi during Paris Saint-Germain Ezequiel Lavezzi has revealed he snubbed interest from Chelsea and Manchester United in favour of a move to China.The winger left Paris Saint-Germain for Hebei China Fortune last month after three-and-a-half years in the French capital.The move will see Lavezzi’s wages rise to a reported £400,000-a-week.?And the Argentina international has now revealed that he rejected advances from Chelsea and Manchester United to head to the Far East.“I could have signed for Inter, Chelsea or Manchester United,” Lavezzi told Canal+.“But I made the decision to go to China. It’s an important choice for my career, I’m sure I’ll face many challenges here.“I like the project to develop this club. It was that which convinced me to come to Hebei, as well as the financial aspect.“I’m also fascinated by Chinese culture, so to come and play here is definitely an interesting challenge.”last_img read more

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3 held in Torrance Starbucks holdup

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ10:10 p.m. and robbed 13 customers and employees, Crespin said. Authorities did not know how much money was taken, he added. The robbers left the coffeehouse in a white sport-utility vehicle, and were soon spotted by patrolling Torrance police officers near Artesia Boulevard and Western Avenue, Crespin said. The robbers fled, leading officers on a pursuit reaching speeds up to 100 mph on the eastbound 91 Freeway, northbound San Gabriel River (605) Freeway, westbound Century (105) Freeway and the northbound Harbor (110) Freeway, Crespin said. After officers bumped the vehicle as it exited on Third Street in downtown Los Angeles, the car spun and slammed into a guardrail, Crespin said. Three people got out of the SUV, and Dasher jumped off the exit’s bridge, injuring his ankle on the 15-foot drop. Officers immediately apprehended the men, Crespin said. The trio was booked on suspicion of multiple robbery counts, as well as evading arrest, Crespin said. An arraignment date has not been set, he added. Sawyer is being held on $126,000 bail, and Roberson was held without bail on a suspected parole violation, Crespin said. andrea.woodhouse@dailybreeze.com160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Three Hawthorne men who allegedly robbed more than a dozen customers at a Torrance Starbucks led police on a 25-minute freeway pursuit before they were caught, authorities said Thursday. Christopher Sawyer, 21, and Sidney Roberson, 26, were arrested in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday night and taken into custody, Torrance police Officer Dave Crespin said. A third suspect, Kenyatta Dasher, was taken to County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for treatment of an ankle injury sustained during the pursuit, Crespin said. Armed with handguns, the men allegedly entered the coffee shop near the corner of Crenshaw and Sepulveda boulevards around last_img read more

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Statesmen to terrorists know how to use American war sentiment

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Al-Maliki – a Shiite – complained that U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was a Sunni, winning a hastily arranged conference call with President Bush to air his latest grievances. If the prime minister carries on this sectarian silliness in his governmental dealings, can he really be expected to quash the Sunni-Shiite tit-for-tat attacks that have ripped apart Baghdad? Regardless, he’s learned that America can be had if you play your Gallup polls right, if you study enough blogs and watch enough CNN. Others with more nefarious intent have learned this as well. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld recently noted that terrorists had become adept at manipulating the American people through the media, including planning attacks to prey upon doubts about the War on Terror or further the notion that America’s actions in the world just ask for terror attacks. But there’s a track record of the enemy manipulating such sentiments to their advantage. RECENTLY, I bought a male betta fish on impulse as a fun addition to my desk. They’re technically Siamese fighting fish, but I focused on another fight instead and named him Muqtada al-Fish, after Iraq’s supreme Shiite leader of coalition annoyance Muqtada al-Sadr. At first I thought Muqtada al-Fish had been egregiously misnamed: He’s cute, pleasant, and not a complete louse like my other betta, the violence-happy Ayman al-Zawafishi. But then after exhausting many betta bites, shrimp and bloodworms, I realized that Muqtada knew how to play on my sympathies to get exactly what he wanted. Perhaps he isn’t so far off the Mahdi Army chief after all, save for al-Sadr’s gnarled teeth. Because the powers that be – statesmen to thugs – in Iraq have learned exactly how to work American sentiment and media coverage to get what they want, and at no time has that been more apparent than just before these pivotal midterm elections. On Saturday, a close aide to Nouri al-Maliki said the Iraqi prime minister was intentionally playing off American discontent with the war during an election cycle to twist the Bush administration’s arm into getting what he wanted – a swifter transition of handing control of the Iraqi army to Baghdad. “It’s al-Maliki’s chance to get what he wants,” said the aide, Hassan al-Suneid. “It’s a chance for al-Maliki to force a better deal for himself.” The Madrid train bombings occurred three days before 2004’s national elections in Spain, catapulting the challenging Socialist Party (aka the Iraq Pullout Party) to victory as the attacks were viewed as retribution for Spain’s coalition deployment. Terrorists and their enablers know P.R., and they know timing. So you can either look at the roadside IEDs in Iraq as valiant attempts by hardscrabble insurgents to roust the oppressors from their homeland, or recognize the seemingly guerrilla attacks for what they are: A highly orchestrated public relations campaign to turn American opinion, death by death, while making little demonstrable dent in the broad coalition effort. After all, the U.S. death toll in Iraq after three years and several months is more than 2,800; in the three-year Korean War, more than 36,000 Americans were killed. Iraq sentiment is clearly drawn along partisan lines. In an Oct. 26-27 Newsweek poll, 65 percent of Republicans opined that we are making progress in Iraq, and 85 percent of Democrats polled said we aren’t. Seventy-five percent of Democrats polled wanted a withdrawal timetable, compared with 39 percent of Republicans. War hurts, but perspective shows us that Iraq isn’t the complete quagmire it’s painted out to be. Look what’s not making the news: While the Sunnis and Shiites are honing beheading skills in Baghdad, northern Iraq is experiencing a development boom. More than 800 companies from 27 countries came to the “Rebuild Iraq 2006” trade show in the Kurdish capital of Irbil last month, including Motorola, FedEx, Showtime, General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz. Condominium complexes are springing up, as well as malls and movie theaters. It’s safe, too. When the Kurds filmed the TV commercials thanking America for democracy, they weren’t just whistling “Dixie.” When Americans go to the polls Tuesday, will they be manipulated by Muqtada and his militias, by al-Qaida and allied groups who are fighting tooth and nail to ensure that the American-led coalition gets out and they will have a new playground? Will this election be our Madrid, yet with a lengthy war and a focus on the negative pushing people toward the pullout party? Bridget Johnson writes for the Daily News. Write to her by e-mail at bridget.johnson@dailynews.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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