Tokelau’s only Pacific Games athlete ready

first_imgThe country’s sports federation says its lack of representation is down to it not having had enough time to prepare for the games, and its athletes not being available.Tokelau’s national legal advisor Lise Suveinakama says the blunder will prove a valuable lesson for the nation, which has a population of about 1400.She says it is important that athletes are better organised and prepared for regional competitions.Squash player Sam Iasona, who works as a line mechanic in New Zealand, says he’s thrilled to be able to travel to Papua New Guinea.Some of his workmates have even chipped in to fly him to Port Moresby.”What started as something that wasn’t too serious, I just started playing squash about a year ago and then one of the cousins suggested perhaps I should play squash in the Pacific Games. I’ll probably be playing a lot of guys who’ve been playing a lot longer than I have so I’ve been training hard for the last year and a bit.”The men’s squash competition begins today.After being in a similar position, Vanuatu’s Mary Ramel is already planning her next table tennis event after narrowly missing out on gold in the women’s Para singles final.Competing in a major tournament for the first time, Ramel twice took the lead against New Caledonia’s Delphine Andre before losing the deciding set 11-6 at the Caritas Stadium.Her coach, Anolyn Lulu, says Ramel’s preparation was far from ideal and up until November she hadn’t picked up a table tennis bat in years.”After Cyclone Pam, which damaged our training venue, they just started training just one month before we got here so the match was very tough for her. I believe in Mary – she can do better than that – just the crowd and all this it is an inexperience for her [because] she’s never participated in any table tennis event before. The surrounding, the environment itself also contributed to her defeat. Despite that, she played well and she will go back and home and continue to train and play in upcoming events”.New Caledonia also won the gold medal in the men’s Para singles event, with Fiji winning the men’s and women’s seated Para events.last_img read more

Stage Play Adaptation of Anti-Corruption Children’s Book, Gbagba, Released in Video Form on World…

first_imgCover art of the book, Gbagba, by Robtel Neajai PaileyIn a recently released video of ‘Gbagba: The Stage Play,’ a diminutive, 8 year-old Liberian child actor proclaims, “In gbagba or corruption, there are never any real winners, only loser.”  On November 20, World Children’s Day, this pithy phrase is particularly relevant because it sums up how corruption—a mainstay in nations both rich and poor—stifles human progress.The play debuted at Monrovia City Hall in Liberia on September 28, 2017 comprising an all-child Liberian ensemble cast trained over a period of five months by premier theater company, Flomo Theater.In the book and its stage adaptation, children navigate the confusing ethical codes of the adults in their lives, in places as diverse as traffic jams, schools, churches and marketplaces. The children express clearly and honestly the concrete ways in which gbagba, loosely translated in the Bassa language as ‘corruption,’ hurts rather than heals society.‘Gbagba: The Stage Play’ was adapted from the anti-corruption children’s book, ‘Gbagba,’ written by Robtel Neajai Pailey, illustrated by Chase Walker and published to critical acclaim by One Moore Book in 2013.The stage play and accompanying highlights video, join a growing collection of multi-media tools adapted from the book to facilitate conversations between children and adults in Africa and across the globe about how to be accountable to self, community, nation and world.In the video and other media outlets, Gbagba author Pailey says that “children are the moral compass of Liberia; they are the moral compass of the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly, with integrity.”‘Gbagba: The Stage Play’ was made possible through a generous grant from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA). Massa Crayton, Liberia country representative, who was present at the stage play, had this to say about Pailey’s use of the arts to tackle corruption: “The Gbagba story is a classic example of the saying that children live what they see. Gbagba or corruption is one of the major societal vices they grow up with in the home, community and larger society.“Development of the Gbagba story into a stage play for children, who are the future leaders of Liberia, places premium on a much needed national conversation about the effects of corruption and the more than urgent need to curb it. Special thanks to the children who performed brilliantly on stage. We hope they carry the anti-gbagba message as wide as possible.”Since its publication in 2013, ‘Gbagba’ has been piloted in schools across Liberia as well as placed on the supplemental list of readers for 3rd to 5th graders by the Liberian Ministry of Education and for Primary 3 by the Ghana Education Service.The subject of anti-corruption workshops for children in Liberia, Mozambique, Jamaica, and the UK, ‘Gbagba’ has also been adapted into a song, video and radio drama. A sequel is forthcoming in 2018.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Officials say Bush will back troop cut

first_imgWASHINGTON – President Bush will tell the nation Thursday evening that he plans to reduce the American troop presence in Iraq by as many as 30,000 by next summer but will condition those and further cuts on continued progress, The Associated Press has learned. In a 15-minute address from the White House at 6 p.m. PDT, Bush will endorse the recommendations of his top general and top diplomat in Iraq, following their appearance at two days of hearings in Congress, administration officials said. The White House plans to issue a written status report on the troop buildup on Friday, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Bush’s speech is not yet final. Bush was rehearsing and polishing his remarks even as the U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker were presenting their arguments for a second day on Capitol Hill. In the speech, the president will say he understands Americans’ deep concerns about U.S. involvement in Iraq and their desire to bring the troops home, they said. Bush will say that, after hearing from Petraeus and Crocker, he has decided on a way forward that will reduce the U.S. military presence but not abandon Iraq to chaos, according to the officials. The address will stake out a conciliatory tone toward Congress. But while mirroring Petraeus’ strategy, Bush will place more conditions on reductions than his general did, insisting that conditions on the ground must warrant cuts and that now-unforeseen events could change the plan. Petraeus recommended that a 2,000-member Marine unit return home this month without replacement. That would be followed in mid-December with the departure of an Army brigade numbering 3,500 to 4,000 soldiers. Under the general’s plan, another four combat brigades would be withdrawn by July 2008. That could leave the U.S. with as few as 130,000 to 135,000 troops in Iraq, down from about 168,000 now, although Petraeus was not precise about whether all the about 8,000 support troops sent with those extra combat forces would be withdrawn by July. Petraeus said he foresaw even deeper troop cuts beyond July, but he recommended that Bush wait until at least March to decide when to go below 130,000 – and at what pace. At the White House, Bush met with House and Senate lawmakers of both parties and he publicly pledged to consider their views. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the president didn’t talk about the nationwide address. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Bush appears poised merely to bring the country back to where it was before the election that put Democrats in control of Congress – with 130,000 troops in Iraq. “Please. It’s an insult to the intelligence of the American people that that is a new direction in Iraq,” she said. “We’re as disappointed as the public is that the president has a tin ear to their opinion on this war.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WAR PLAN: President is expected to announce support for a reduction, assuming progress is made in Iraq. By Matthew Lee and Anne Flaherty THE ASSOCIATED PRESS last_img read more