We Saw It Coming..Agbeko is IBF Champion!

In the co-feature championship bout to Dawson/Mendoza between IBF Bantamweight titlist Luis "El Demoledor" Perez and Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko the action was plentiful from bell one as the challenger Agbeko from Ghana showed why Ghanaian fighters are some of the toughest the world has ever seen.

Knowing full well the Champion had trouble making weight (Perez missed by a half pound and had to run it off) "King Kong" went to the body early and often. A series of straight rights followed by a left hook rocked Perez but he came right back and both men traded all around the ring. Agbeko seemed to get the better of the action through out however showing superior defense and a better jab.

There were no knockdowns, but, before the start of the eighth round, ringside physician Smith Ketchum, in his second visit to Pérez's corner, looked into the ex-champion's eyes with a flashlight and decided he could no longer continue.
"He was neurologically deteriorating from multiple head blows," Ketchum said.
The stoppage drew an immediate protest from the ex-champion, but he was taken to a local hospital for observation.

"It was my destiny to become world champion, and he wasn't going to stop me from my dream," said an ecstatic Agbeko, who entered the ring as the IBF's No. 15 contender and won every round on the judges' scorecards.
Pérez's manager, Kendrick Garcia, said he will ask for a rematch. If so, his fighter, who was making his first title defense, might want to do a better job monitoring his training habits.
Pérez came close to forfeiting the title twice on the scales. At Friday's weigh-in, he came in a half-pound over the 118-pound limit. Seventy-five minutes later, after a long jog, he finally made the weight as Agbeko, 116 3/4, stood smiling nearby.

Under IBF rules, boxers in Pérez's weight class can't be more than 10 pounds over 118 the day of the fight. Pérez, though, was over a fraction over 118 pounds again at a Saturday morning weigh-in and had to take that excess off as well.
The ordeal might have taken its toll. By the second round, a backpedaling Pérez already appeared to be tiring against the aggressive Agbeko.
Meanwhile, King said that despite a smaller crowd than he had envisioned, he plans to return to Sacramento for more shows.
"It isn't a question of if I'm coming back. I am," he said. "

Ghana----Load shedding is over

The public is to enjoy twenty-four hours of electric supply starting October 1st, 2007 as the national load shedding programme, which commenced in August 2006 has been terminated. A statement issued in Accra on Saturday by the Energy Minister, Mr Joseph Kofi Adda, said the decision was taken following a review of the power supply situation between government and the power utilities.
The statement said the deployment of the Compact Fluorescent Lamps was now in full force and encouraged all power consumers to cooperate with the implementation teams to ensure that incandescent bulbs were replaced with energy saving lamps.It reminded the public on the need to continue to conserve energy and asked all Ministries, Departments and Agencies as well as other public institutions to continue to comply with directives issued by the government on the use of air conditioning and lighting systems in buildings and offices.
The statement expressed appreciation to the public for its support and fortitude during the implementation of the load management programme and assured the public that measures being undertaken would ensure reliable and sustainable supply of power in the future.


MoFA Declares--No More Bird Flu In Ghana

The Minister of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has announced that Ghana is now an Avian Influenza-free country.
The ministry has therefore lifted all the quarantine measures and restrictions imposed on the movement of live poultry and poultry products in and out of the Tema and Sunyani municipalities as well as the Keta District of the Volta Region. Deputy Sector Minister in-charge of Livestock, Hon. Anna Nyamekye made this known at the weekly Meet-The-Press series in Accra yesterday.However, the ban on the importation of live birds and all poultry products from affected countries, she said, is still in force, stressing, “all security agencies along the country’s borders should continue to be vigilant and ensure that live birds and poultry products do not enter the country”.
According to Hon. Nyamekye, since Avian Influenza, also known as Bird Flu, is still present on the globe and in the West African sub-region, poultry farmers should endeavour to continue to ensure maximum bio-security on their farms so as to prevent the entry of the virus onto their farms.She noted that as part of efforts by the ministry and its related bodies to prevent the recurrence of the virus, MOFA and the various Veterinary Services Directorates would continue to educate the public on the disease as well as start the training of poultry farmers on the importance of bio-security on their farms.She indicated that the ministry in consultation with the Ghana Poultry Development Board has so far disbursed over ¢1.5 billion as compensation to farmers who had their birds destroyed as a result of the Bird Flu outbreak in May this year.“As at the time of the resolution of all the cases, 13.371 birds had died whilst a total of 27,356 birds were destroyed as part of our control measures.
“Farmers whose birds had to be destroyed have been paid reasonable compensation at rates agreed upon by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Poultry Development Board,” emphasised the deputy Minister. Hon. Nyamekye, flanked by officials from the Veterinary Services Department, reminded the general public that though there had been no reported human infections during the outbreaks, they should continue to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water and ensure that all poultry products were well cooked before eating.
It would be recalled that on Wednesday, May 2 this year, Ghana reported its first case of the Avian Influenza virus. The virus was first detected on a small-scale poultry farm on April 24, 2007 within the Tema Municipality. The disease was later detected on another farm at Asuokwa in the Sunyani Municipality and on a small-scale poultry farm at Aflao in the Ketu District of the Volta Region. These detections prompted the sector ministry and the Veterinary Services Department to adopt prevention measures including the destruction of affected birds to avoid further spread of the virus.
Source:Daily Graphic


Ghana Makes Marginal Gain On CPI Scale

Ghana ranked 69th among 180 countries on the 2007 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) with a total score of 3.7 points, showing a slight improvement over last year's 70th position with a score of 3.3 points.This was contained in the CPI annual report compiled by Transparency International (TI) and launched across the world on Wednesday.
Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), the local affiliate of TI, which compiles the CPI on an annual basis, did the Accra launch.Mr Vitus Azeem, Executive Secretary of GII, told journalists that Ghana's current position showed a meagre improvement in the fight against corruption, and there was no cause for celebration."The fact is that Ghana is still stagnating between the score of 3 and 4 and has yet to attain the half way score of 5," he said. Globally only 46 (25.5 per cent) out of 180 countries scored five and above, and these were mostly developed countries.The criteria for awarding scores include grand political corruption, likelihood of encountering corrupt officials, misuse of public office for private or political party gain, level of achievement of anti-corruption efforts and country policy and industrial assessments.At the 69th position, Ghana fell behind only six 49 African countries named in the report. The six are Botswana (38), South Africa (43), Cape Verde (49), Mauritius (53), Namibia (57) and Tunisia (61). They scored between 4.2 and 5.4 points.Ghana scored the highest among all the West African countries, with Togo placing as low as 143 with a score of 2.3 points and Nigeria placing 147 with 2.2 points.Somalia, which is described as a failed state without a properly installed government, placed last on the rankings with 1.4 points. Iraq ranked 178 with 1.5 points.Mr Azeem advised government to introduce anti-money laundering measures to stop Ghana being a safe haven for stolen assets, stressing that multi-national companies must be made to implement effective anti-bribery codes to ensure that they were adhered to by subsidiaries and foreign officers.He also urged politicians involved in campaigning ahead of the 2008 elections to exercise their rights in a manner that would ensure the practicality of a free and fair election, which is necessary to prevent political corruption.The ninth position occupied by Norway with 8.7 points raised concerns at the launch, given the recent scandal involving the Norwegian-based Scancem, the mother company of GHACEM in Ghana. Mr Bede Zieden, Acting General Secretary of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), noted that it was worrying that though it had been made sufficiently clear that a Norwegian company schemed a plan to corrupt the governments of developing countries, Norway scored high to place ninth on the CPI."I think they should have scored lower on grounds of exporting corruption to developing countries," he said.Dr Audrey Gadzekpo, a Director at GII, noted that no country could be accused of exporting corruption when developing countries themselves had weaker integrity systems and institutions.She said developing countries needed to strengthen their integrity systems and laws to make corruption less attractive and expensive for foreign multi-nationals.Dr Gadzekpo noted that though corruption was used based on perception, it did not mean corruption was non-existent and government actors should be seen to pursue the perception to establish the reality instead of demanding proof before taking action."The meeting point between the perception and the reality is in the commitment of government to work with civil society following leads to stem corruption," she said.


Doing Business in Ghana Made Easier

Ghana ranks among the top 10 "reformers" worldwide who have made the most significant advances in the aggregate ease of doing business, according to the annual �Doing Business� report released by World Bank and the International Finance Corporation(IFC) on Tuesday.

The yearly report that tracks business reforms globally, lists only two African countries -- Ghana and Kenya -- in the top 10. High marks also go to Madagascar, Mozambique, Madagascar and Burkina Faso.
Singapore once again topped rankings for the best place in the world to do business, and Egypt is the leader in reforms to invite more business.

However, across the Sub-Saharan region, the report said business reforms are uneven, with six African countries occupying the last six positions in the list of 178 countries judged according to ease of doing business.
The IFC report, which looks at how government bureaucracy can affect, and often limit, business environments, also gave high marks for making it easier to conduct business to Croatia, Macedonia, Georgia, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, China and Bulgaria.

Doing business in Africa was once perceived as a difficult and complex undertaking. The reasons: the numerous processes associated with conducting business, combined with a fragile investment climate and inadequate infrastructure.
But, with fewer conflicts, more democratic elections, and economic growth rates that gradually have begun to compete with those of other developing regions, Africa is proving itself again a continent of positive change.

Developing nations compete with one another to move up on the World Bank rankings of 178 nations, figuring a better ranking will mean additional investment and, ultimately, economic growth.The report also becomes a way for the World Bank's private-sector unit, International Finance Corp., to encourage economic ministries to press ahead with market-friendly changes. A computer simulation model on a World Bank Web site, www.doingbusiness.org, lets officials see how changes in, say, their bankruptcy or tax rules would likely affect their standings.

Among the 10 areas tracked by the World Bank are regulations involved in starting businesses, obtaining licenses, registering property, getting credit, paying taxes and closing businesses. .

Ghana Floods: Victims On the Brink Of Starvation

In Northern Ghana, the White Volta River is about four times wider than it is normally. Two farmers from Kpasenkpe community sit on a small pirogue watching the river that has inundated their maize fields, which were situated on its banks.
Here, around 400 km from the capital Accra, torrential rains started mid August."I lost everything, all my crops are destroyed. I had one hectare of maize and three hectares of grains," said Daniel Sebiyam, a farmer from Kpasenkpe.Around 3,000 people live in the community of Kpasenkpe. The crops growing in their fields - maize, rice, beans, soya beans and millet - were all washed away in the floods.Ghana Red Cross Society has been on hand to help people since the beginning of the floods.
Four hundred Red Cross volunteers have been mobilized in the affected area to assist the victims, provide first aid and health education. A Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) has visited communities in order to identify the worst affected people and get a better idea of the items most needed by families.Agambire Elishna, a Red Cross volunteer, has helped to register farmers to find out about their situations. "People are in urgent need of food. They are desperate and don't know what to do," he said.The weather conditions have been extremely difficult for the Northern and Upper East regions in Ghana this year.
First, there was drought for months and farmers were praying for rain. Then, the heaviest rains fell between 24-29 August, and it continued to rain day and night for about three weeks.The situation was aggravated when neighbouring Burkina Faso opened a flood gate of the Bagre dam, releasing an enormous amount of water into the White Volta River that flows into Ghana."In April, I lost my crops because there was no water but I planted again. Now I've lost the replanted crops in the floods. So there's nothing stored either," said Nelson T. Ndima, who has a wife and six children.The affected regions are known as the food basket of Ghana. The Northern region produces 40 per cent of the rice used in the county, and the Upper East has the highest production of yam in the country.
A six-member field assessment and coordination team (FACT) from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies arrived at Tamale, Northern Ghana, on Saturday. During the coming days, the FACT team will join Ghana Red Cross volunteers in visiting 200 more households in the affected districts in order to have a more precise picture of the disaster."We haven't been able to access all communities yet because of destroyed roads, broken bridges and the remoteness of the communities," said Benonita Bismark, head of operations at Ghana Red Cross.Although the water level in the flood zones dramatically dropped last week, the health situation remains difficult.
People suffer from diarrhoea, malaria and snake bites. Health centres are difficult to reach because of destroyed roads and there is a shortage of adequate medicines and clean water.An invasion of black flies has also caused problems among the population. In Kpasenkpe, people have been sent to hospital because of blurred vision and skin problems caused by the black flies."Now the amount of black flies has diminished because the government sprayed the area last week," said Mary Azindow, a mother of nine children.At least the Kpasenkpe residents have been able to save their houses, as these have been built on ground higher than the farm land. But in many parts of the Upper East region people lost not only their crops but also their homes - and have had to seek shelter in schools and churches.
On September 20, the International Federation launched a joint emergency appeal for Ghana and Togo for 2.5 million Swiss francs (US$ 2.1million, €1.5 million) to help 82,000 flood victims during the coming six months.
Source:International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) - Switzerland


Kufuor calls for global action on climate change

President John Agyekum Kufuor on Monday rallied the United Nations (UN) to lead a global response to face up to the challenges posed by climate change."A global vision with global resolve to plan and mobilise resources on an equally global scale for sustained solutions is imperative."
The world body, he said, must therefore, as a matter of urgency, marshal and mobilise both the developed and developing nations to appreciate the threat as universal, so that all would cooperate to save mankind.President Kufuor was contributing to a high-level discussion on "Climate Change" at the UN Headquarters in New York. He was one of the 20 Heads of State invited to participate in the event by the UN Chief Ban-Ki Moon.
"The Challenge of Adaptation: From Vulnerability to Resilience" was the theme.President Kufuor, who is Chairman of the AU, noted that in Africa and other poor countries across the world, the phenomenon was already making it difficult to guarantee the necessities of life.These countries including Ghana, he said, were feeling the impact of the change resulting from misinformed handling of the environment as well as effluence caused by the industrialized nations.He cited erratic rainfall, drought and desertification, floods and other weather-related disasters, and said, these were endangering human life and affecting agricultural productivity, food and water security.
Heavy rains recently flooded large swathe of countries in the West, Central and East Africa, leaving thousands of people in misery, submerging food crop farms, washed away roads and bridges and destroyed homes.The three Northern Regions of Ghana and parts of the Western Region devastated by the floods had been declared disaster zones and President Kufuor said, this had something to do with climate-change, if not wholly caused by it.He said the ability of the Continent and other developing countries to deal with the challenge was however, limited. General poverty, over-reliance on nature, especially in agriculture, little or no access to technology to adapt, or to mitigate the impact combined, make these countries vulnerable.
President Kufuor recognized the establishment of Funds like the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) for adaptation projects and said although these were in the right direction, they tended to be reactive and not substantial enough.He said they needed to be broadened to include, not only assistance for relief and adaptability but should be made more proactive for achieving the integrated long-term solutions the world must achieve for survival.


Malaria strikes Two Brittish Girls On trial For Carrying Drugs

The two British schoolgirls accused of trying to smuggle £300,000 of cocaine out of Africa have both been struck down by malaria.Yetunde Diya and Yasemin Vatansever, who are both 16, were rushed into hospital after falling ill with fevers and flu-like symptons.Last night a narcotics officer who has been helping to look after them said: "Both girls have been very unwell - they are weak and listless.
"The pair - who each accepted £3,000 and a free holiday in return for "carrying a package" - are being held in squalid conditions in between court appearances.Their concrete cell is in a narcotics department building surrounded by open sewers - the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes which carry the disease that kills three million people a year.They are only allowed out for a daily shower, court appearances and - now - weekly trips to the hospital for treatment.
The girls, both students from North London, were arrested at the end of June as they tried to board a British Airways flight in Ghana. They were each carrying a laptop bag with 7lbs of cocaine stashed in secret pockets.They have both pleaded not guilty to drug smuggling. In July the Sunday Mirror was the first paper to gain access to the girls, who told us: "We have been stitched up. We just want to go home."The two former friends now barely speak, with Yetunde blaming Yasemin for persuading her to take part.Their trial is expected to last another fortnight. If found guilty they face up to three years behind bars in Ghana.


System Failure rocks Akosombo

A system collapse experienced by the Volta River Authority (VRA) caused a nationwide shutdown on Thursday afternoon.
"Our system collapsed at 12:06 pm this afternoon. It affected the whole country," Ms Abla Fiadjoe, Ag. Director Corporate Services told the Ghana News Agency.
She said VRA restored power from its end within one hour but could not say when Electricity Company of Ghana would restore power to consumers.
Ms Fiadjoe said investigations were ongoing to establish the cause of the system collapse.
VRA now generates power from Akosombo, the Aboadze Thermal Plant and generators and receives power from Cote d'Ivoire through the inter-tie connection.
Ms Fiadjoe apologised for the inconvenience caused to the public.


Nomination for NPP prez aspirants opens on Saturday

The official opening of nomination for presidential aspirants of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) opens on Saturday, the party said on Wednesday.A statement signed by Nana Ohene Ntow, General Secretary, said the nominations would begin at 0800 at the national headquarters.
It said aspiring presidential candidates or their agents could call at the headquarters for nomination forms from 0800 to 1700 hours on Saturday and from 0800 to 1700 on all weekdays until nominations closed. The fee for nomination forms is GH cedis 500 or five million cedis, payable in bankers draft.
About 20 people, many of them former ministers, have expressed their interest to contest the election to be the NPP's presidential candidate.


Flood Relief Effort ----France sends two choppers

France has sent two helicopters to assist in relief operations in Northern Ghana where floods have wrecked havoc over large areas in the three northern regions.A statement from the French Embassy in Accra said the two PUMA helicopters, which arrived in Tamale on Monday night, were sent following a request by the Government of Ghana to partners for assistance to sustain the relief operations in the area.
"These helicopters will transport government officials, United Nations and European Union teams to different places in order to help them in their evaluation of immediate relief needed in the affected areas," the statement said.Heavy rains since the end of last month have claimed up to 18 lives and displaced more than 250,000 people in the three Northern regions - Upper East, Upper West and Northern.
Roads and bridges have been washed away, houses have collapsed and large areas are under water.There are fears of hunger and health problems in the three regions.


Kofi Annan spells out goals

The former United Nations secretary general outlines the aims of the newly created World Humanitarian Forum that he now headsFormer United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan unveiled on Monday some of the objectives of the World Humanitarian Forum he helped found. The Geneva-based institution, financed by the Swiss federal government, aims to play a role in the prevention of humanitarian catastrophes, Annan said.
“Today, we are too preoccupied with reacting,” he told a press conference in Geneva. “A change in mentality is necessary.” It is not just necessary to aid victims but to also to do it in such a way that it leads to fewer catastrophes, added Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey on hand for the forum’s debut.Annan is president of the new organization created in June with funding from the federal department of foreign affairs.
Bern approved SFr1.3 million to launch the organization and will lend its financial support to its activities, Calmy-Rey said. Annan, 69, is a native of Ghana, educated in that country, the U.S. and in Geneva.He served as secretary-general of the UN from 1997 to the end of 2006. Co-recipient of the Nobel Peace prize with the UN in 2001, he has recently made his home in the Geneva area. Reports have indicated that the WHF is loosely based on the World Economic Forum and is expected to bring together major world figures to discuss humanitarian issues.

The Majority Poor Getting Poorer In Ghana

An ISSER report on the state of the Ghanaian economy for 2006 has revealed that whilst poverty levels reduced generally, the gap between the rich and the poor has rather deepened.The report also showed that whilst budgetary allocation to local governments was not enough, the disbursed fund out of the allocation was less than one percent.Presenting the report in Accra, the Director of ISSER (Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research) Professor Ernest Aryeetey said the economy in 2006 grew by 6.2% as against 5.7 in the previous year. The growth according him was recorded from only the manufacturing and industrial sectors of the economy.
The report which focused on a broad aggregate of the economy’s performance stated that Ghana remains a small economy whose policy direction is determined by external factors.Whilst acknowledging the importance of China’s emergence in the economy in the area of market for commodities, Professor Aryeetey says it also presents risks and called for a clear-cut policy on relations with external economies.The report painted a gloomy picture of the period under review as the largest ever deficit was recorded in 2006.
The record 40% deficit was attributed to a rapid rise in public expenditure as a result of labour agitation for higher pay.Professor Aryeetey observed that the stable 10.5% inflation and about 24% interest rate levels have made the country an investment destination, adding that the private sector does not worry as the economy remains unpredictable.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Nii Boi Tagoe who chaired the function said there is no doubt that the energy crisis has had some effects on the business community.Professor Tagoe said the report as presented by ISSER brings to light the need for policy changes.


Ghana, Prepare For More As Fresh Rains threaten flood-hit Africa

The UN is warning of fresh rains and outbreaks of water-borne disease across Africa, where flash floods have already affected more than one million people.Scores of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced by the floods that have submerged much of the continent's most productive farmland.
The UN said there was an urgent need for food, shelter and medicine.At least 14 countries have been hit in West, Central and East Africa by some of the worst rains in living memory.UN spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said: "The rains are set to continue and we are really concerned because a lot of people are homeless and infectious diseases could emerge.""We have 500,000 people affected in 12 countries in West Africa, and also in East Africa - in Sudan and Ethiopia.
"Some of the poorest countries, like Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger - the poorest nation in the world - are badly affected," Ms Brys told the BBC.The UN said the floods could lead to locust infestations and outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.


Canada Gives a Sound Thrashing To Ghana's Black Queens

Christine Sinclair scored two goals to lead Canada to a comfortable 4-0 win over Ghana in Group C action on Saturday.Sophie Schmidt and Martina Franko also found the net for the Canadians, who control their own destiny heading into the final group stage match against Australia on Wednesday.

Ghana, meanwhile, has lost its first two games by a combined score of 8-1, and is all but eliminated before the knockout round for the third consecutive World Cup.

After struggling offensively against Australia in its opener, Ghana got off to a better start against the Canadians, earning two free kicks in the opening 10 minutes from dangerous spots. Although both shots failed to hit the target, it was a sign from Ghana that it was ready to play.
Canada started slow, but picked up the pace 13 minutes into the contest. The first opportunity was created by Sinclair, who was played down the left flank and crossed a ball to the top of the six-yard box for Katie Thorlakson. The striker got her head to the ball but she turned it over the net.

Three minutes later, Sinclair was on the receiving end of a cross from Kara Lang and she did not fail with her finish. Lang lobbed the cross from the right to the back post. It started to drift over the head of Sinclair, but she faded back and got her head to the ball, knocking it over the keeper and across the goal line.
Ghana came to life right before the break and had two good chances to pull even.
Moments later Anita Amankwa should have put away Ghana's opening goal but was denied by the crossbar. Some nice work on the right allowed Rumanatu Tahiru to beat her defender and carry the ball into the box. She fired a shot toward goal that was redirected on target by Amankwa from a few yards out. However, with an open net staring her in the face, Amankwa's shot slammed off the crossbar.
Ghana keeper Memunatu Sulemana was called into action early in the second half when Sinclair put a header on target from close range, forcing a nice reaction stop by the keeper.The Black Queens continued to look for the equalizer and Gloria Foriwa put a diving header on goal that was stopped comfortably by the keeper.However, the Ghana defense once again allowed space for the Canadian attack, giving Lang room to fire a shot from the top left corner of the box. The keeper did well to tip the shot over the net, but Canada doubled its lead on the ensuing corner kick.Kristina Kiss swung the cross into the area and Sinclair got her head to the ball, sending it on goal. The ball was headed off the line by a Ghana defender, but it went right to Schmidt, who put a shot on target with her head.
Ghana's Hamdya Abass was positioned on the goal line and tried to clear the ball with her head, but it hit the bottom of the crossbar and settled into the back of the net.Sinclair then put the result out of reach in the 62nd minute after some good work by Lang. Jodi-Ann Robinson slid a pass into the box behind the defense, forcing Sulemana to come off her line. Lang beat the keeper to the ball and touched it toward the end line. She pulled it back and found Sinclair with a pass, and the Canadian captain knocked home her second goal of the match to make it 3-0.
Another corner kick produced the fourth goal for Canada, with Kiss bending a cross into the six-yard box that was a little too close to the keeper. Sulemana got her hands to the ball but she could not hold it, which allowed Franko to get under the ball and head it into the net from a few yards out.
Source:Sports Network

Ghana Hit Hard---Floods wreck havoc across Africa

... 20 Killed, 400,000 Homeless ... State of emergency declared in 3 regions ... President Leaves for CanadaSevere rainfall has led to flooding and wrecked crops in Ghana and many other countries across Western and Eastern Africa, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in chaotic living conditions.

In Ghana, at least 20 people have been killed so far (read), 4,544 houses damaged, more than 400,000 homeless.
The floods have submerged land which produces food for the entire country.
A state of emergency has been declared in Ghana for Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions, which has been hit especially hard. Upper East region minister Alhassan Samar said malaria and cholera could take hold and mosquito nets were being handed out
Three bridges in the Wa East District of the Upper West Region, have been destroyed by the floods, making transportation in the area almost impossible.

The floods have hit large areas of the land producing food for the entire country, the British Broadcasting Corporation reported.
A spokesman for the crisis centre in Ghana said some villages and settlements had been wiped off the map as a result of the floods, the BBC reported.
Benonita Bismarck, from Ghana's Red Cross Society, said the situation was dire and cases of cholera have already been reported.
George Azi Amoo, co-ordinator of Ghana's disaster management body, said the floods had destroyed farmland, livestock and infrastructure.

"Some villages and communities have now been totally wiped off the map of Ghana," he told the BBC.
During a visit to the affected areas during the week, President John Kufuor, who left the country for Canada on Friday, assured that the government would mobilise resources to restore roads, bridges and other infrastructure destroyed by the floods.
"Government cannot sit unconcerned for the people to suffer untold hardships," he said, adding that engineers would soon be sent to the area.
He said the government had approved $67 million to provide relief materials for victims of the disaster.

Outside GhanaIn Uganda and Ethiopia, tens of thousands had to leave their homes at risk from rising water levels.
The floods had affected at least 500,000 people in West African and another half a million in Sudan, according to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs.
The flooded areas were now at risk of diseases such as cholera, and food and medicines were scarce, officials and aid organizations warned.


Kufuor off to Canada

President John Agyekum Kufuor leaves Accra on Friday night for Ottawa, Canada, for a two-day official visit. During the visit, he would engage in bilateral talks with Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Stephen Harper and the Governor-General, Ms Michaelle Jean.

A press release signed by Mr Andrew Awuni, Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman, said President Kufuor would also meet with officials of ALCAN, the multi-national aluminium company, which had proposed to build a bauxite refinery in Ghana to refine the vast deposits of the mineral.

It said from Canada, he would continue to New York, United States, to participate in the 62nd General Assembly of the United Nations. President Kufuor is scheduled to address the Assembly on September 25, 2007.
He returns on Friday, September 28.


IEA Says...........Use VAT to Fund Political Parties

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), at a forum on Thursday to discuss the state funding of political parties has suggested in a draft bill that two percent of national revenue from the Value Added Tax (VAT) should be put in a special fund for political parties.When the state funds political parties, the IEA argues, there would be a level playing field for all parties in their quest to win political power.While the bill encourages foreign funding of political parties, it prohibits the parties from using money given to them by the state to fund demonstrations.The bill has been presented to the political parties for study. All the parties have welcomed the proposed bill but they expressed some concerns. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is not happy that the fund can be accessed by independent candidates. The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) is worried that funding from thestate could result in the proliferation of new parties.The proposed bill also suggests that parties that win less than two percent of votes in any election year, will not be entitled to state funding. But the chairman of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), Dr. Edmond Delle is not very enthused about this idea because his party won less than two percent of ballots in the last general election.

Flood victims Bark At President--Fulfill campaign promises

Some flood victims in Daboya in the West Gonja District have asked President John Agyekum Kufuor to fulfill his campaign promises to them during the 2000 general elections.The victims reminded the President of his promise to build a bridge over the Daboya river if elected into power. They reminded the President on Wednesday when he visited some of the affected areas to sympathise with and make some donations to the victims.President Kufuor, in a speech, warned personnel who would be involved in the distribution of relief items to the flood victims and the beneficiaries against selling the items."The relief items are being given to you on humanitarian grounds and it will therefore be against nature and the law for you to commercialize it", he said. Daboya, which is about 30 kilometres from Tamale, has been flooded by the White Volta and completely cut off from the rest of the Northern Region.Other communities affected by the floods are: Sinsina, Tidowrope and Kpendua, all in the District.President Kufuor assured the people that relief items such as food, blankets, mattresses, roofing sheets and boards would soon be sent to them.He said a committee had also been set up at the national level to handle the problems emerging from the floods to alleviate the plight of the people.Abatuwura Darifu Yakubu, a sub-chief in the Waspei Traditional Area, on behalf of the Waspeiwura, Mumuni Abani, commended President Kufuor for his concern about the plight of the people.He said since the people settled in the area a very long time ago, they had never seen such flooding and they were therefore truly devastated.He said as a result of the river overflowing its banks the people now had to travel in canoes for over four hours to the other bank to board trucks to Tamale for shopping.He appealed to President Kufuor to construct a bridge over the Daboya River to fulfil his 2000 campaign promise.In response to the appeal, President Kufuor said the government was sourcing funds for the construction of bridges over the Daboya and Tachali rivers.Source: GNA

Workers March Against Sale of ADB

Workers on Thursday staged a demonstration against the proposed sale of the Central Bank's 48 per cent share in the Agricultural Development Bank, as pressure mounted on the government to abandon the proposal.Scores of members of the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL) of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) started the demonstration at Tema and ended in Accra.
The demonstrators, accompanied by brass band music, presented a petition protesting against the proposed sale of the shares to Nana Akomea, Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment.The Chairman of the TDCL, Mr Wilson Agana said previous sales of state enterprises such as Ghana Airways had not yielded any dividends and ADB must not be allowed to suffer the same fate.A number of Banks, including Stanbic Bank, have expressed the desire to buy the shares, but this has been met by the wave of protests from the workers of the Bank, civil society, TUC and political parties.
Mr. Agana said it was important that workers' concerns and interests were taken into consideration, adding that the march was therefore in support of the resistance by the TUC against government's intention to sell the shares and mobilize public support among workers and farmers.Nana Akomea told the demonstrators that he had been asked by President John Agyekum Kufuor to receive the petition and he would hand it over to Cabinet, which was meeting on Thursday. He said he wanted to dialogue and had therefore called a meeting with the TUC next week to discuss the issues. The TDCL has dismissed arguments that ADB needed a total amount of 250 million dollars instead of its current 66 million dollars to operate effectively.
"It is important to point out that this argument is flawed because it is not possible for any financial institution in the world to always have the ability to raise the needed capital required for a specific project," the TDCL said."We cannot simply for the purpose of improving efficiency, assume that ADB should be sold to a private foreign strategic interest." Last month TDCL gave government a two-week ultimatum to rescind its intended decision to sell the 48 percent shares of ADB, or members would take to the streets.Mr. Joseph Henry Mensah, former Senior Minister who supports the sale of the Central Bank's shares, has said what is at stake in the debate of off-loading the shares of the Bank of Ghana ADB is not a simple "sale" but a "reorganisation" of the Bank so that it would have more strength to serve the interests of the farming community and the operators of small and medium-scale industry throughout Ghana. He said whatever the achievements of the ADB in the past 50 years, it was manifest that today, with a net worth of just US$66 million, that it was in no position to cater adequately for the urgent need to modernize and re-equip Ghanaian agriculture."That need for agricultural transformation was the sole purpose for establishing the ADB with state resources. "And indeed, most of those resources were being contributed by these same farmers and self-employed entrepreneurs: so it was also a matter of equity to extend to them the benefits of the nation's financial system."13 Sept. 07


Australia Beats Ghana's Black Queens 4-1

Australia won its first ever Women's World Cup match on Wednesday with Lisa De Vanna scoring two goals in a 4-1 victory over Ghana in a Group C match.
Australia, 0-7-2 in three previous World Cups, came up with a strong performance against the Africans. Sarah Walsh and Heather Garriock also scored for the Australians.
Ghana failed to clear the ball from its end in the 14th minute, and Walsh took advantage with a left-foot shot that beat the goalkeeper.
Anita Amankwa had two chances to tie the score, but failed to convert. She misplayed a shot toward an open net in the 20th minute, then took one too many touches in trying to get past the Australian goalie and lost the ball in the 33rd minute.
De Vanna came on in the second half and the move quickly paid off. First she hit the bar on her first scoring chance, then made it 2-0 when she knocked home Walsh's cross in the 57th minute.
Garriock scored on a header in the 69th to make it 3-0.
Ghana scored its only goal moments later when Amankwa took a pass, stepped inside a defender and calmly placed her shot past the goalie.
De Vanna closed out the scoring in the 81st minute. After taking a pass from Garriock, Ghana goalie Memunatu Sulemana rushed up to defend, but when she failed to reach the ball De Vanna knocked it into the open net.
Australia faces Norway on Saturday, and Ghana takes on Canada.


Stars Humbled By Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia senior national side thrashed their Ghana counterparts 5-0 in a friendly international match at the King Fahad Stadium on Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 11th.
The AFC Asian Cup 2007 runners-up got their first goal in the fifth minute through Yasser Al-Qahtani, as a result of a defensive blunder by Captain Michael Essien.
Saud Kearairi scored the second goal in the 25 minute. Three second half goals - from Yasser Al-Qahtani and two penalties taken by Saad Al-harthi(57') and Redha Tukar Fallatah (92') added to Ghana's woes.
This Ghana's worst defeat since the infamous "Bochum Massacre", i.e. 6-1 defeat to Germany in the early 90s
Line up: Kingston, Painstil, Shilla, Dickoh, Hans Adu Sarpei; Laryea Kingston/Ayew, Anthony Annan, M. Essien, Eric Addo/Prince Tagoe, Sulley Muntari/Barusso, Mathew Amoah/Agogo


Presidency not retirement package - Botwe

Mr Daniel Kwaku Botwe, an aspiring flag bearer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Sunday declared, "The post of a Chief Executive Officer of Ghana, the Presidency should not be considered as a retirement package"."The job is four years and possible eight years continuous strenuous labour, which demands dynamisms, vigour, resilience and the tenacity to endure. This is not a place for the aged.
Their place is the Council of State," Mr Botwe stated in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra."It's not an end of service package for successful service to the nation. Ghana deserves the services of an energetic and hard working personality to continue the transformation and maximize the economic gains for the benefit of the citizens," he said."To rule a country requires a dynamic organisational structure, good communication network and a high degree of meticulousness for a Third World country to standout among the community of nations" Mr Botwe stated."I am endowed with potentials capable of leading the NPP to victory," he said and urged delegates to the December 22, Special National Delegates Congress of the NPP to elect him as the flag bearer of the party for Elections 2008.
Mr Botwe reminded the delegates that the destiny of the party and Ghana was in their hand and said "You are under obligation to elect a flag bearer for the NPP and President for Ghana. You must therefore maintain your focus in the face of wooing antics by most of the aspirants to attract you attention and votes. Choose a leader who can broaden our party's support base and win Elections 2008".The NPP former General Secretary also advised the National, Regional, Constituency Executives as well as polling station chairmen to continue to nurture the bond of unity that had made the party a unique political organisation to forestall internal bickering that could destroy and distract it from its goals.He said, "I have been there before. Processes leading to congress are stressful moments, but as commanders of our great party you need to keep your focus, as posterity will never forgive you if you fail to organize a free, fair and transparent congress, we have a tradition to defend, the Danquah/Busia philosophy."Mr Botwe who was also a former Minister of Information said if he were given the nod to lead the party, he would put premium on the training of polling agents, ward chairmen and other identifiable executives on the dynamics of modern politicking and the electoral systems.Mr Botwe identified rumour mongering was a major drawback to the party's progress describing it as "a cancerous growing deep into its rank and file".He appealed to party activists to feel free to come out with their grievances and be prepared to engage in dialogue to enable the party to grow in unity.Mr Botwe assured NPP executives that if he were made the flag bearer he would continue to work assiduously with them as a team, marshal all resources and logistics to ensure effective organisation. He noted that he was the most popular and dynamic of the presidential aspirants."My experience in politics especially gained since the 2000 elections, has adequately equipped and exposed me to design the necessary strategies to enable the party to win the next general elections, I have done it before and I will do it again," he said. "Dan Botwe is already a market brand in Ghanaian politics my previous position as General Secretary afforded me the opportunity to tour the length and breadth of this country to interact directly with the people from all walks of life".He called on the members to vote for him as their presidential candidate to promote unity among the people of Ghana regardless of ethnic origin, religion, position, gender, occupation; status in society or political affiliation."I will bring together like minded citizens of the country so that they will strive for Freedom and Justice by the appreciation and protection of human rights and the Rule of Law through the practice of true democracy."To build in this country a free and democratic system of government under which all citizens will be able to contribute to the welfare, peace and prosperity of our nation and keep its people free from dictatorship and oppression."To harness to the full the human and natural resources of the country and ensure development of all Regions and Districts of the country without discrimination, these are my humble commitment," Mr Botwe stated.


Economy sound for offshore banking

Central Bank Governor, Dr. Paul Acquah on Friday assured investors, who would want to take advantage of the offshore banking facility, that the country had in place a tight regulatory environment to protect their funds.Speaking at the launch of the first ever off-shore banking facility in West Africa, which is a joint venture between the government and Barclays Bank, Dr. Acquah said the Banking Act and other pieces of legislation should offer investors the necessary guarantee that the country was a safe haven for them to lodge their funds.
Offshore banking is the provision of tailor-made banking services for non-resident, expatriates and institutions to save their money abroad rather than those in their home countries. It offers a tax efficient environment for a wide range of savings and investment products.The management of Barclays Bank Ghana Limited was granted a General Banking License by the Bank of Ghana to operate the facility under the International Banking Component of the International Financial Services Centre.The International Financial Services Centre, which is part of a comprehensive financial sector development programme, will have a full range of non-bank financial services.Dr. Acquah described the launch of the centre as a significant landmark in banking in the country, attributing the achievement to the sound economic performance in the last six years and stable political environment.He urged the management of Barclays to exhibit strong operational strength and integrity to meet the best practices in the world, saying it was the only way that the country would enjoy the benefits of the International Financial Services Centre.Finance Minister Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu enumerated the advantages that would accrue to the country with the launch of the offshore banking facility.These include making available a pool of capital inflows that institutions and companies could tap into to spur the country's economic development as well as enhanced country's revenue generation.Mr. Frits Seegers, Chief Executive Officer, Global Retail and Commercial Banking Barclays said the initiative would put Ghana into prominence in the financial arena and promote cross-border business within the West Africa sub-region."By becoming an international financial services centre, Ghana will see benefits including new jobs, increased foreign exchange inflows, and skills transfer in international banking. This will place Ghana on the map for international financial markets, opening new markets that have not been available before."Mrs Margaret Mwanakatwe, Managing Director of Barclays Ghana Limited, said the bank was committed and prepared to deal with the challenges associated with international banking services. She said Barclays would offer such services without compromising efficient and effective customer service.


Kufuor launches Ghana's landmark offshore banking

Ghana on Friday celebrated a historic landmark in its banking industry with the launch by President John Agyekum Kufuor of In-Country Offshore Banking Services in Accra. The facility, a joint venture of Ghana and the Barclays Bank, is the first of its kind to be established in West Africa and is seen as an important step towards the realization of the Government's vision of making the country a major financial hub of the Sub-Region. It would provide banking services to non-resident customers by creating a portfolio of assets and liabilities and other investment products.This way the country is expected to gain through more foreign exchange inflows, job creation and skills transfer in international banking.Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Ministers of State, Members of Parliament and Government delegations from Nigeria, Togo, C=F4te d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso attended the ceremony.President Kufuor said the Government was fully aware of the numerous challenges and difficulties inherent in the operation of the facility and gave the assurance that the necessary safeguards had been put in place to stave off abuses.Legal and administrative measures, he said, had been enacted to provide the needed checks and balances within the economy in particular and society in general."These measures should promote best practices in service delivery. More importantly, they should affirm the good faith and determination of the entire society to make Ghana a safe, secure and peaceful environment for investment."President Kufuor, through whose initiative the offshore banking had become a reality, said the nation already was acknowledged as investor-friendly and asked that the "Project" should exploit this positive image in securing the confidence of foreign and domestic customers.It must help to transform the financial system for accelerated socio-economic development."It is gratifying that the results of the years of hard work on the macro-economy and the commitment to good governance are yielding fruits. The economy is stable, inflation and interest rates are declining while the Cedi maintains its value against major trading currencies."

Parliament Is A Rubber Stamp - MP

Hon P.C. Appiah-Ofori, the Member of Parliament for Asikuma Odoben Brakwa has stated that the current parliament is a rubber stamp, dedicated with blindly approving all that the government pushes before it. He has also stated that the current government only rewards those who sing its praises, and that all those who dedicate themselves to offering criticism of government policies and programmes can only expect to be denied the right to serve in government.

Hon. P.C. Appiah-Ofori, who is a leading member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) made these claims during a news programme on an Accra based radio station on Wednesday.Speaking to newsmen in reaction to a recent report by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) that there is a perception that parliament is a rubber stamp, Hon Appiah Ofori expressed his agreement.“Yes I agree with the CDD. When a motion is brought into parliament members make it a case of towing party lines so therefore vote on party lines,’ Hon. Appiah Ofori said. He said that the phenomenon does not allow development for Ghana. Explaining his point, he said that the former Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) passed the Minerals Law in 1986 which was too favourable for the mining companies.He said that when the NPP came to power it decided to change the law and he suggested that a clause be put in the law to make it mandatory for the mining companies to retain a high percentage of their earnings in Ghana.“I did all I could but none of them supported me. After the motion was off the table some of the MPs came to me and said P.C. what you said was true,” he said. He said that the MPs refused to support him because they were afraid.“They are the people who get the ministerial positions,” he said.Asked if expressing critical thought would militate against one getting a position in government, Hon. Appiah-Ofori answered in the affirmative, and said that he did not go to parliament to get a ministerial position, but to serve.“My people did not vote for me to go and enrich myself, they voted me to go and help build the country for the voters to also enjoy the good life. So when government brings the policy and it is not good for the people of Ghana I will not support it,” he said.


All Prez Aspirants Urged To Declare Assets

Dr Kwaku Osafo, a developing economist, has launched his bid to be elected as the presidential candidate of the Convention People's Party (CPP) for Election 2008 and challenged all aspirants to publicly declare their assets."I urge all presidential aspirants of all political parties to publicly declare their assets now and all selected presidential candidates to declare publicly within three months of being selected.""Whoever wins the presidential elections should publicly declare his or her assets before taking office," Dr Osafo said in Accra on Wednesday.Dr Osafo is the second to publicly declare his intention to contest the CPP presidential slot after Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, a former Director General of the Ghana Health Service.Other aspirants are Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, a former Minister of Public Sector Reform, Mr Bright Akwetey, a lawyer, and Mr George Opersika Aggudey, CPP's presidential candidate in Election 2004.Dr Osafo said under his presidency all ministers and senior officials appointed should publicly declare their assets within three months of taking office "to demonstrate our fight against corruption.""For the first time in the history of this country, I am declaring the hardware of my assets and the means of their acquisition even as a party presidential aspirant to demonstrate in no uncertain terms that corruption will not be tolerated in my administration."He said his administration would enter into agreements with international banks, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to divulge secret accounts of the president's ministers and all high government officials including the police, military and the judiciary."Corruption, stealing of public funds, sheer graft and greed have eaten into our modern political fabric and should be thoroughly dry cleaned," Dr Osafo.Dr Osafo published his assets in a booklet he made available to journalists.He said he generated his income as a World Bank expert for 8 years and later as Economics Advisor for the African Development Bank."My total income during this period was between 1.3 to 1.5 million dollars from which my various investments were made. As president I shall duly inform the Ghanaian public every year on the state of my assets and liabilities," he said


Doctors Find Herbal Cure For AIDS

A group of Ghanaian doctors and ethno-botanists and their collaborators in the US have moved closer to global fame with their discovery of herbal medicines for the cure of the dreaded HIV/AIDS and Hepititis B.The group staked their claim after 11 years of intensive research in Ghana and the US into the herbal medicines, which have proved potent in subduing the AIDS virus after several tests on some HIV infected persons in Ghana and the US.The discovered HIV/AIDS herbal medicines are known as MAB Formula One, which kills the virus, and MAB Formula Two, which is an immune booster or immune modulator.Although significant advances had long been made in the research, which began in 1996, the researchers had kept their discovery close to their chest until last Saturday when Dr Jacob Akumoah-Boateng, the Medical Director of MAB Medicare Centre, a private health institution in Accra, under whose auspices the research is being carried out, spilled the bean at a ceremony to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the centre.Giving further details on the discovery later in an interview, Dr Akuamoah-Boateng said the Ministry of Health had taken samples of the herbal medicines for further scrutiny after which the group would launch them on the local and international markets.“Even as I’m speaking now, there are a lot of patients on the medicine. There are a lot of bed-ridden patients who are now doing press-ups”, he claimed, adding that the condition of most of the patients in Ghana and the US had improved after they started using the medicine.According to Dr Akuamoah-Boateng, the research had produced 15 postulations out of which 12 had been approved by international bodies.He said the remaining three postulations had not been approved because there was no discovery that could be used as a basis for their approval.Dr Akuamoah-Boateng said various tests had been done at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine at Mampong-Akuapem and internationally acclaimed health institutions in the U.S, such as Corning Hospital in New York and Maryland Medical Laboratory in Baltimore.An acute toxicity test carried out at Mampong affirmed that the herbal medicines were not poisonous and had no side effects.A report on the phytochemical analysis and safety assessment of “MAB Formula I”, carried out by the centre, said it was established in the acute toxicity studies that the laboratory animals needed to consume almost 59 times the normal adult dose (one tot or 30ml) twice daily in order to produce an acute toxic effect.“MAB Formula I is, therefore, safe according to the dosage indicated by the manufacturer”, the report said. A similar conclusion was made by the centre on the “MAB Formula II”.Dr Akuamoah-Boateng said the test kits used for the research were imported from a company in Germany called Boris Wellcome, which was a world leading producer of research test kits.He explained that the research test kits under reference helped to show the presence of the virus in the blood and the detection of anti-bodies, unlike other tests which normally centred on only the detection of anti-bodies, which were the products of the virus.Dr Akuamoah-Boateng said at the initial stages, the test was conducted on three occasions after which it was found out that the virus was no longer present in the blood, however, the anti-bodies were still present.He said, baffled by the outcome, the group decided to carry out further research in the US where they managed to do a viral culture test, which he explained as a very specific and determined test to culture the blood at every stage of the three-prong tests.He said at the end of that research, it was found out that the virus and the anti-bodies were missing.According to Dr Akuamoah-Boateng, the application of orthodox medicine in the treatment of HIV/AIDS was such that although the potency of the virus reduced, the treatment could not be stopped until the death of the patient because the virus would re-emerge if the medication was stopped but that was not the case with the herbal medicine.Earlier at the fifth anniversary of MAB Medicare Centre, a renowned broadcaster, Mr Joe Lartey, who represented the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Sheikh I. C. Quaye, advised residents of the area to eschew politics and take advantage of the National Health Insurance Scheme to benefit from free healthcare.

Starlets Succumb To The Might Of Spain...U 17

Spain was Physically Superior...... Spain 2-1 Ghana Scorers: D. Aquino(67') Saddick Adams (80') Bojan (116) Live Links: Others for US/Canada Viewers Ulsan, South Korea -- They say that the pressure of being among the favourites makes the task of winning a tournament all the harder. If that is indeed the case, then both Spain and Ghana fully deserve their places in the semi-finals at the FIFA World Cup Korea 2007. All that remains to be decided when the duo meet at the Ulsan Complex Stadium on Wednesday is who will have the honour of contesting Sunday's Final and who will have the consolation of battling for third place.
The stakesThe Iberians had to dig very deep to shake off France in the quarter-finals. The boys in blue dominated for long periods by adopting a simple tactic - keeping the ball. And it was only when coach Juan Santisteban switched things around in the second half that Spain got into the game and showed their teeth up front, something they will certainly need to do against the Ghanaians. The major doubt surrounding the Spanish is how they will react after expending so much energy in last Saturday's gruelling duel with the French.
The Black Starlets should be much in fresher condition after comfortably disposing of Peru. Sellas Tetteh's side have also improved since the tournament began and appear to be peaking at just the right time. Much will depend on how Ghana's potent strike duo of Ransford Osei (five goals to date) and Sadick Adams fare against the solid Spanish defence, marshalled by in-form keeper David de Gea.

The playersNeither Ghana nor Spain have any suspension problems. Ghana boss Tetteh has a full squad to choose from after Francis Boadi served out his one-match in the quarters, while opposite number Santisteban is still waiting on midfielder Jordi's ankle injury and defender Alberto Morgado's muscle strain.
The pastThe Ulsan clash will be the fifth meeting between the sides at a FIFA U-17 World Cup. With two wins and two draws so far it is Ghana who have the edge, the most important of those triumphs coming in the Final at Italy 1991, where they won 1-0 to land the first of their two world titles in the category.
The two sides met earlier on in that competition, drawing 1-1 in the group phase, a result they repeated at the same stage at New Zealand 1999. The Africans' other victory came at Egypt 1997, where they beat the Spanish 2-1 in a group match.

The words"The main challenge facing us will be physical, as Ghana are a very tough side and they have not had to work as hard as we have. We also need to be intelligent. When we've got the ball we need to move it around and try to frustrate them, and when they have it we need to be on our guard and try and hit them on the counter." Juan Santisteban, Spain coach.
"Possession is vital to us because we struggle when we don't have the ball. It's going to be very hard because Ghana aren't like other African sides who are physically very strong but lack a little technique. They've got both things." Jordi, Spain midfielder.
"Our finishing needs to be a little sharper because we can't afford to miss any chances that come our way against the Spanish. It could cost us dear if we do. All the same, I'm convinced we can play good football against anyone, even against a team as strong as Spain." Sellas Tetteh, Ghana coach.
"We know we've got what it takes to reach the final. Spain are a good side but we are determined to beat them and go for the title. Although we are playing really well, there is always room for improvement, and we hope to step up another level against the Spanish." Ransford Osei, Ghana forward.


...To Hell With Your Fake Polls...

Former Press Secretary to President Kufuor and New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential aspirant, Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, has rubbished all opinion polls including the recent one purportedly carried out by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) on who is likely to win the party’s presidential slot.From the very early months of this year, there have been several polls carried out by so many agencies, which different polls claims this or that aspirant is leading the pack of presidential hopefuls as the party prepares for its congress starting December 22, 2007 to pick a candidate to lead it to ‘war’ in the 2008 general elections. And not in any or all of those polls is Kwabena Agyapong mentioned as a serious contender let alone leading the pack of eighteen aspirants.He has thus branded all those polls as the works of lazy people. According to the tough-talking aspirant, he would not waste his time mulling over the countless opinion polls on the chances of the various aspirants, since the so-called pollsters of all those reports only sit in Accra, and conduct surveys that are not representative of the population of party delegates across the length and breadth of the country.Speaking to the Independent newspaper yesterday on the purported BNI report, which put him nowhere among the leading contenders, and even went on to suggest that, “he is a young politician full of ambition, but has a small bony chest,” Mr. Agyepong stated categorically that, he does not care about any BNI report. Speaking in a way that clearly portrayed his disregard for the so-called BNI report, Mr. Agyepong was forthright in pointing out that, rather than waste his time on meaningless polls, he prefers to focus on his campaign, which he knows is going on successfully.Speaking in the affirmative, Mr. Agyapong pointed out that he is not the least perturbed by the BNI report, since that cannot replace the views and preferences of the numerous NPP delegates, who will make the life-changing decision on the D-Day. The party delegates, not the BNI, will decide on the floor of the congress, he stated confidently. Casting further doubts on all opinion polls conducted so far, the former presidential spokesperson dared all pollsters to produce even three items on the questionnaires they claim they distribute to potential delegates to fill in all the 230 constituencies.That is the material they used to collect data, upon which they are making those claims, isn’t it, he queried, so let them publish that too for all to see, he dared them. He suggested that a good number of the potential aspirants get annoyed anytime they hear of these supposed opinion polls, because it is not a true reflection of what is on the ground. According to him, his is confident of winning because he has worked very hard in the constituencies, and that the delegates are buying his message. He added that, he is not going to indulge in any lazy politics based on lazy polls conducted by lazy pollsters.The supposed BNI report, which is being serialized by the Ghanaian Observer newspaper, puts former Foreign Minister, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo in the lead. The survey further stated about Kwabena Agyapong: Even though the party faithful and most especially the leadership of the party know him, he is seen as politically immature”. It adds, his detractors describe him as arrogant and someone who would make an insignificant impact come the party’s presidential primary.
Source:The Independent

HIV/Aids Increases in Ghana

There has been an increase in HIV/Aids in Ghana this year, in spite of increased education on preventive measures to curb the prevalence of the disease.Speaking to the ADM yesterday, the Public Relations Officer for the Ghana Aids Commission, Eric Padwura said the Commission's statistics for the 2007 Sentinel Survey show that the rate of HIV infection among pregnant women has increased from 2.7% to 3.2%. The national prevalence rate has also gone up from 2.1% to 2.2%.The Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Awuku-Amoah, said the Commission is aware of the challenges involved in reducing the infection.He said an amount of ¢30 billion will further be disbursed in the fight against the spread of the disease.He however, expressed worry about the fact that most young people are not listening to the education campaigns for safe sex. He said most young people have not been using condoms and the cause of the increase can be attributed to refusal among young people, mostly to change their behaviour.Despite the increase, he said the Commission will not relent in its efforts in educating the public to adopt behaviour change to curtail the spread of the disease in the country.
Source:Accra Mail

Media should make NPP flag bearer campaign civil - Botwe

Mr Daniel Kwaku Botwe, an aspiring presidential candidate of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), on Tuesday appealed to media houses, particularly those affiliated to the party, to be circumspect about their comments on the aspirants to maintain unity within the party after the December 22 Congress. The use of the media to scandalize presidential aspirants, he said was an unhealthy democratic practice, as it had the potential of undermining the Danquah/Busia political philosophy and create a difficult task for the party to manage after the Congress in the event of one such personality wining the flag bearership slot."The party will hold media houses and presidential aspirants whose conduct and comments overtly create tension and mar the cordial and peaceful relationships that have existed within the party responsible," Mr Botwe, a former NPP General Secretary and Minister of Information, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra.Mr Botwe, who is also a former Minister of Information, lauded the efforts and contributions of journalists towards the democratic development of the country, but noted that recent unguarded publications and comments on the airwaves posed a big threat to our democracy. He urged the media to adhere to the ethics of the profession, champion the cause of the vulnerable, create a level playing field for all contestants and ensure that the public were objectively informed on issues to make the right choices.Mr Botwe also expressed concern about the poor working conditions of most journalists, especially those in the public sector and called on the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) and the National Media Commission (NMC) to champion a crusade for a review of the salaries and service conditions of journalists in relationship with the salary structure of other workers in the country.On his presidential ambitions, he declared that he was on course. "I have a very competent team working tirelessly across the country and am confident that our efforts would result in massive vote (for me) at the Congress."Mr Botwe dismissed rumours that he would step down to support another candidate as "wicked" and called on delegates and sympathisers to lend him the needed support.He said there was no iota of truth in the rumour that he was only "testing the waters" and would later support one of the nearly two-dozen candidates in the race."I am still in the race and will never withdraw," Mr Botwe stressed. "I am not stepping out of the contest. I will give Ghanaians my time-measured plans aimed at developing the country for social and economic development."Mr Botwe noted further that no one went to war in anticipation of being killed or being vanquished and said adequate measures were in place to ensure he won the primaries convincingly. He said as former General Secretary and organizer he knew how to galvanize support for votes, adding that he placed these abilities at the party's disposal, which culminated in the 2000 and 2004 electoral victories.Mr Botwe said the 2008 elections would be keenly contested hence the party needed someone who had been with the people through difficult times to retain power.He said if he had the mandate he would continue to offer selfless leadership to the party, adding that if he became president, he would offer dedicated leadership to the nation and the world. "That's why I continue to appeal to delegates to translate their support into votes on December 22 at the Congress," he stated. Mr Botwe explained that he would continue to pursue a campaign, which would ensure decency in the party, stressing that the rank and file demanded nothing but a clean campaign in the primaries because "we cannot afford to disappoint our members".He said he had a lot of passion for the nation and would ensure that Ghanaians experienced accelerated development after 2008, since the Kufuor Administration had laid a solid foundation for economic take-off. "But this calls for a leader who has the capacity to lead effectively and I rightly fit into that," he said.Mr Botwe said, however, that in spite of the economic gains achieved, there was still a high degree of poverty in the rural areas. "As I went round the villages, I saw the vast difference between the rich and the poor and I think an NPP government under Dan Botwe will seriously look at that," he stated. 4 Sept. 07


Bush Woos Ghana against Iran

AS TEHRAN CONTINUES to resist UN/US intensive pressure to stop its nuclear programmes, Washington has intensified its efforts at encouraging the international community to join it to halt Tehran from pursuing its nuclear activities, which the Bush administration claims is a major threat to the globe.Even though Tehran has come out to declare that its nuclear programmes are for “peaceful” purposes, the US continues to insist that the Islamic republic is seeking to build nuclear weapons and have demanded it suspend its uranium enrichment activities.Last week, the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Office in Vienna, Ambassador Gregory Schulte, on the orders of President Bush visited Accra as part of his global campaign, to meet with government officials on how to deal with Tehran and its possible threat to the world.At a roundtable discussion with Ghanaian journalists at the new US Multi Purpose Room Embassy complex in Accra, Ambassador Schulte expressed US’ major fears about Tehran’s nuclear programmes, claiming that series of reports emanating from a number of critical studies suggests Iran has ulterior motives concerning its uranium enrichment activities.He said the United States has evidence that Iran has secretly been building large nuclear facilities at sites that could possibly be used to make nuclear weapons.He indicated the sites as near the town of Natanz and another one near Arak, all in Iran.Asked by the GYE NYAME CONCORD as to what exactly makes the US believe that Iran has intentions of acquiring nuclear weapons, Ambassador Schulte said Tehran has rejected modern technologies from Russia as well as the West for an out-of-date AQ Khan technology, which meant that something might be fishy.Ambassador Schulte also claims Tehran has been supporting terrorism in the Middle East and revealed that there is a link between the Iranian army and its nuclear programme, which according to him, makes the US’ fears real.Even though he could not tell whether Tehran possesses nuclear weapons at the moment, he said Washington estimates that Iran could possess nuclear power between 2010 and 2015. As a result, Ambassador Schulte expressed the urgent need for the international community to act swiftly in unison to halt what he termed the looming danger posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.He also indicated that Iran had admitted working on long-range missiles after its Shahab-3 and 4 missiles with a range of 2000 km and wondered who Tehran could possibly be targeting.He noted that the threat posed by Iran’s current nuclear intentions was indeed global, stressing that in view of the volatile and the sensitive situation prevailing in the Middle-East, there was cause for concern about Iran’s possible nuclear capabilities.However, Ambassador Schulte insist Washington believe diplomacy is the best option to deal with Tehran to ensure that the Islamic Republic back down on its nuclear mission or possibly co-operate with the West on the best way forward for Iran’s nuclear programmes other than the uranium enrichment activities.According to him, Washington is looking at a third sanction to be imposed on the Islamic republic by the UN Security Council but insisted that such sanctions should not be targeted at the ordinary Iranian people but targeted at the government and its agencies and personalities in order to make it difficult for them to pursue their ‘evil’ agenda of acquiring weapons of mass destruction.Iran has always claimed that the purpose of its nuclear programme is the generation of power and that any other use would be a violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which it is a signatory. Such a programme would also be against Iranian religious principles, it says.According to Iran, nuclear power is necessary for its booming population and rapidly-industrialising nation.Presently, Iran is not known to possess weapons of mass destruction and has signed treaties repudiating possession of them, including the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).However, Iran is believed to have a current inventory of 25 to 100 Shahab-3 missiles which have a range of 2100 km and are capable of being armed with conventional high explosives, submunition, chemical, biological, radiological dispersion and potentially nuclear warheads.A Shahab-4 with a range of 2000 km and a payload of 1000 kg is believed to be under development.Iran has also stated the Shahab-3 is the last of its war missiles and the Shahab-4 is being developed to give the country the capability of launching communications and surveillance satellites.A Shahab-5, an intercontinental ballistic missile with a 10,000km range, is also believed to be under development.But a number of western countries, including the U.S., United Kingdom, and France, have accused Iran of a clandestine intentions behind its nuclear programme.On 31 July 2006, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding Iran suspends its nuclear activities.On December 23, 2006, the UN Security Council approved imposing sanctions against Iran, UNSC Resolutions 1737 and 1747.Meanwhile, in his “OUR HIDDEN WMD PROGRAM-Why Bush is spending so much on nuclear weapons” in April 23, 2004, Fred Kaplan wrote, “The budget is busted; American soldiers need more armour; they’re running out of supplies.Yet the Department of Energy is spending an astonishing $6.5 billion on nuclear weapons this year, and President Bush is requesting $6.8 billion more for next year and a total of $30 billion over the following four years.This does not include his much-cherished missile-defence programme, by the way. This is simply for the maintenance, modernization, development, and production of nuclear bombs and warheads”
Source:Frank Fordjour for GYE NYAME CONCORD