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Welcome to the Expotimes News
The APC Convention: A political façade, if not a joke!
Written by Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, Senior Lecturer, Media and Politics, Northumbria University, UK   
Friday, 20 October 2017 12:33

Thanks to AYV partnered by AFCOM, I was able to followthe live coverage of the APC and SLPP conventions on my mobile phone from my base in the UK.It was good that both conventions took place simultaneously last week end (October 15-16, 2017) because, at the very least, it provided the opportunity to those keenly following the two historic events to compare and contrast them, not least in terms of democratic processes and procedures. Let me start by talking about how I saw the APC convention held in Makeni, then compare,and contrast it with what I saw at the SLPP convention held in Freetown.

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LAB train volunteers on peaceful and credible election
Written by Expotimes   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 21:15

One hundred and eighty-nine (189) volunteers of the Legal Aid Board have benefited from a one-day United Nations Development Programme funded training on non-violent and credible election at the British Council Hall on October 11.

The participants include 45 volunteers running the fifteen satellite offices of the Legal Aid Board – Community Advisory Bureaus – in the Western Area and 144othersearmarked for Bureaus to be established in the future.

The Consultant to the Board, Madam Memunatu Pratt, Head of Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at Fourah Bay College led discussionson electoral offences and causes of electoral violence.

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U.S. Ambassador launches National Early Warning Systems Project, funded by USAID
Written by PRESS RELEASE   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 19:46

On Wednesday, October 18, U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer, announced the official launch of the USAID West Africa-funded “Mitigating Election Violence through National Early Warning Systems” (NEWS) project and the inauguration of the National Elections Response Group in Sierra Leone.

Supported by $500,000 from USAID, NEWS is implemented by the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Sierra Leone. The focus is to monitor and identify potential electoral violence triggers and assist government and non-government organizations in Sierra Leone to better mitigate them.
The National Elections Response Group (NERG) is a partnership under the NEWS project, between WANEP, the Inter-Religious Council, the Campaign for Good Governance, government stakeholders, representatives from the National Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of National Security (ONS) and a number of civil society organizations.

The primary objective of the National Elections Response Group (NERG) is to monitor the elections environment, develop, and recommend strategies and actions to relevant stakeholders with authority to implement necessary response actions to prevent escalation of tensions or incidence of violence for a peaceful 2018 election. Members of the NERG will work closely with WANEP, the Integrated Election Security Planning Committee under the ONS, Provincial and District Election Security Committees – PROSEC and DISEC with an extensive network of civil society organizations and with 60 community monitors across the country to identify potential risks of electoral violence.

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EU Election Exploratory Mission meets Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
Written by PRESS RELEASE   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:44

(MFAIC Press Office, 18th October, 2017). The European Union Election Exploratory Mission to Sierra Leone led by Head of European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, H.E. Tom Vens has paid a working visit to the Minister, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara and Senior Management Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, at the Ministry’s office in Tower Hill, Freetown.

Ambassador Tom Vens stated that the EU Election Exploratory Mission is in Sierra Leone following an invitation by the Government of Sierra Leone for EU Electoral assistance, and to further discuss the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in facilitating EU Observer Mission for the March 2018 elections in the country. The EU Election Exploratory Missionas part of its mandate is in the country to draft and finalise the MOU with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Foreign Ministry.

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The State of World Population 2017: Unchecked inequality and failure to protect the rights of poorest women could undermine peace and world’s development goals, new UNFPA report warns
Written by PRESS RELEASE   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:35

• Only about half of the world’s women hold paid jobs

• Globally, women earn 77 per cent of what men get

• Three in five women worldwide lack maternity leave, many pay “motherhood penalty”

Freetown, SIERRA LEONE, 17 October 2017-Unless inequality is urgently tackled and the poorest women empowered to make their own decisions about their lives, countries could face unrest and threats to peace and development, according the The State of World Population 2017, published today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund.

The costs of inequalities, including in sexual and reproductive health and rights, could extend to the entire global community’s goals, adds the new UNFPA report, entitled, “Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights in an Age of Inequality.”

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Editorial

26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.

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Business News

PARLIAMENT RATIFIES TWO AGREEMENTS TO IMPROVE ON PORTS FACILITIES

The Parliament of Sierra Leone on Monday 04th December 2017 debated and ratified two additional agreements aimed at improving and expanding Ports facilities in Sierra Leone to be at par with international best practices.

Presenting both Agreements prior to ratification, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma said that the additional Agreements are geared towards addressing some of the concerns raised by MPs, in respect of expanding our Ports facilities to accommodate larger vessels, and the issuance of license with the view of combating money laundering, contra-band goods, and attracting more funds for Government.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House, also supported the ratification of the two Agreements, saying if our Ports are not developed, we would not be able to attract huge vessels; thus the need for the continuous improvement of our Ports facilities.

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Media News

Two veteran Journalists, now in the United States have paid a courtesy call on Sierra Leone's Ambassador

Two very respected and veteran Journalists who are in the United States of America for various reasons have called on Sierra Leone’s Amr. Bockari Kortu Stevens not only to appreciate the work of the Embassy, but also to pay courtesy as protocol demands.

Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson, former Lecturer Fourah Bay College, former Director of Information Ministry of Information and Communications, Former Director Sierra Leone News Agency (SLENA), Former Chairman Independent Media Commission (IMC) and stringer French News Agency  etc. is on vacation and Mr. Cyril Juxon Smith Director Information and Communications House of Parliament, former Acting Director General Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service (SLBS) and former UNESCO Media Consultant  is in the United States of America to attend the funeral of his father.

Speaking at the Ambassador’s residence on 4821 Colorado Avenue, Washington DC  Mr. Rod Mac-Johnson said “Thank  you Amr. Stevens for accommodating us in the middle of your tight schedule, and also to discuss with us in a homely spirit.

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Commentary

Reasons why Sierra Leoneans Must Think beyond Tribal and Regional Lines Before Casting their Ballots This Time

As the national or general elections loom in Sierra Leone and, as a true citizen, I solemnly pray and hope with all hopes that Sierra Leoneans of the voting age will consider carefully who they would vote for, come March 2018. The divisive and immature nature of politics as it exists in Sierra Leone has, to a greater extent, contributed to the country lagging behind nearly all other countries in terms of progressive development. My readers should be mindful of the fact that certain countries in Africa would rather develop retrogressively than progressively, a situation wherein governments embark on ego-boosting programs that aren’t beneficial to the average citizen.

A government which expends its energy for the benefit of the people is a progressive government and that is what Sierra Leoneans want at this time after being in the doldrums for ages. It is therefore absolutely necessary for fellow citizens to refrain from casting their valued votes in favor of candidates because of tribal or regional affiliations but on how genuine and capable that candidate is, otherwise stagnation in progress is bound to follow.

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View Point

THE LIBYAN/NORTH AFRICAN “MODERN SLAVE TRADE” SAGAS

Your Excellency Sir,

I write this piece with extreme emotive disdain, in reflection on the “Libyan/North African Modern Slave Trade” horrendous saga - enjoining it with the “Mediterranean Genocide.”  Let me commence by lending my voice to that of countless Africans, who have risen in gross condemnation of this barbaric and heinous “subhuman” trade and phenomenon across the deserts and seas. Those inhumane treatments have lately been also condemned by the UN system, the AU, the ECOWAS and the EU, (alongside several international human right actors); after these ruthless human trafficking syndicates and desperate refuge seeking adventures were graphically brought to the glare of the entire world by the international press.

It is extremely appalling and unimaginable that some of our fellow Africans and Arabs could morally degenerate to such an extent in the 20th and 21st centuries, as to treating their fellowmen in such gruesome, despicable and horrific manner, as inflicting terrible physical tortures, only comparable to that of the “Nazi concentration camps” in the 20th century, infamously referred to as “the holocaust.” Sadly though, this trade that has just been recently trumpeted, has been going on for over half a century right at the fringes of the so-called “civilized and free world,” and under the watchful eyes and impassivity of our continental and global organizations and actors. As such, I could rightfully refer to these dastardly trades as the “neo-colonial slave trade.” What absurdity and aberration!!   

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News - Press Release

PPRC and UNDP Re-activate District Code Monitoring Committee

The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) in league with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Thursday 7th December 2017 re-activated the District Code Monitoring Committee (DCMC).

At a ceremony held at the Family Kingdom in Freetown, the programme brought together members from the fourteen registered political parties, the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), the Office of National Security (ONS), Traditional Leaders, the Media and Civil Society Organizations from the sixteen districts in Sierra Leone.

In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Programme, Commissioner Babatunde Pratt says Sierra Leone has come a long way in building our democratic process. This he says has however not been an easy task as we are still faced with the horrors of our past. Regional divide, violence, political intolerance among others he says have marred our political space and if not nip on the bud will affect the growth and political stability of the country.

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Society -Local News

ANNIE WALSH WINS HUMAN RIGHTS DEBATE
Fatmata Binta Jalloh Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School has won this years’ Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Inter-Secondary School debate on the topic ‘respect for human rights as a pre-requisite for a politically tolerant and peaceful 2018 elections’.  
The debate which was held at the Sierra Leone Library Board with five Secondary Schools participating is part of series of activities undertaken by HRCSL in commemorating the International Human Rights Day Celebration on December 10th, 2017. Fatmata Binta Jalloh of the Annie Walsh Memorial School came first by defeating Amos Claudius Gordon from the Prince of Wales who came second, Abubakar Marrah from Saint Edwards Secondary School came third and Kelfala Kamara of the Government Model Secondary School came fourth and Evelyn T. Ahorney from the Saint Joseph’s Secondary School coming fifth.
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Development

UNITED STATES COMMISSIONS 151 SCHOOL STRUCTURES TO SUPPORT GOVERNMENT OF SIERRA LEONE EDUCATION PRIORITIES

On November 21,2017 the United States Department for Agriculture (USDA), through Catholic Relief Services (CRS), commissioned 151 school structures to support the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST)in promotingquality learning environments within five vulnerable chiefdoms of Koinadugu District, northern Sierra Leone.

The commissioning ceremony was attended by the Honorable Minister of Education, Dr. Minkailu Bah,other senior MEST officials, and 6 Paramount Chiefs and Regents from the “All Pikin for Learn” intervention area.

The program ‘All Pikin for Learn,’funded by USDA’s McGovern-Dole (MGD) International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program since 2008, is a food assistance and education program that seeks to improve the enrollment, attendance and literacy,along with health and dietary practices, of primary school-aged children.

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Politics

President Koroma outlines his government achievements in closing address to Parliament

President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Supreme Head of State and Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Fountain Head of Unity, Honour, Freedom and Justice at Parliament Building, Tower Hill, Freetown

on Thursday, 7th December, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. On the Occasion of the Dissolution of the Fourth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone in the Chamber of Parliament Building, Tower Hill, Freetown

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