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Blackwood: Extreme heat threatened my focus

first_imgGEELONG, Australia (CMC):Middle order batsman Jermaine Blackwood said he almost lost concentration as he was forced to battle extreme heat on his way to a polished half century for West Indies against Victoria X1 on the first day of their two-day tour match yesterday.Blackwood compiled a well-played 69 to bolster his confidence after scoring a couple of ducks in the first Test as West Indies amassed 303 for eight at Simonds Stadium.The diminutive Jamaican batsman, who scored seven fours and a six, said it was the first time he experienced such extreme heat as temperatures soared to 43 degrees, one of the hottest days on record in the history of Australia.”It was extremely hot out there … dry heat. Even when the wind came across the ground, it was a kind of hot wind. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” said Blackwood.”We’ve played in hot, sticky conditions, but never quite like that.”Blackwood added 99 runs for the third wicket with Kraigg Brathwaite, who top-scored with 78 from 175 deliveries in the first two sessions before retiring to give the rest of his teammates a chance at the wicket.Marlon Samuels struck an aggressive 45 from 39 balls including seven fours. Denesh Ramdin scored 38, while opener Rajindra Chandrika chipped in with 28.”I was quite tired after running some threes. It’s a big ground, so we had to run a few threes. At one point, I felt like I was losing concentration, so you had to dig deep for every ball,” said Blackwood.”I had to put that behind me and just focus on each ball. We got some starts. We just need to convert those starts now.”Blackwood added: “This is international cricket and we will face different conditions. It was cold (in Tasmania) for the first Test and now it’s hot here. It’s all about coping.”West Indies are using the match as part of their preparation for the second Test match at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, starting Boxing Day.”We’ll just have to go back into the nets and continue to work hard,” he said.”We’re just putting in the work and hopefully it will pay off in the next Test match.”last_img read more

Man Marries Corpse

first_imgA dramatic event unfolded in Grand Bassa County when a man identified as Oliver Joe traditionally legalized his relationship with his late girlfriend identified as Mary Davis before her burial.The marriage was a demand by the deceased’s parents, since their daughter and Mr. Joe lived together as husband and wife before her death.Their union was blessed with eight children in the 32 years they lived together and therefore the deceased’s family said before he could own the children, he must perform the symbolic marriage since he did not marry their mother.The “wedding” between the deceased and the boyfriend, occurred in full view of the deceased’s parents and other citizens in Ceegar Town, in District #2, Grand Bassa County.After the ceremony, the remains of the deceased were turned over to Mr. Joe for burial because he had become the husband after satisfying the traditional requirements for marriage.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

“Presidents’ Day” to Replace J. J. Roberts’, Tubman’s Birthdays?

first_imgThe late Joseph Jenkins Roberts, whose birthday is commemorated on March 15 every year, was Liberia’s 1st and 7th President.Authoritative reports circulating within the corridors of the Senate state that there are frantic consultations for the passage of a bill seeking to repeal legislation declaring as national holidays the birthdays of presidents Joseph Jenkins Robert and William V. S. Tubman.The source told our reporter that those involved in the consultations are requesting that instead of separate birthdays for the two former leaders, there should be a single national holiday for all present and former presidents to be called Presidents Day; and because of the importance attached to the birthdays of both presidents Roberts and Tubman, their birthdays can be observed as public (working) holidays.The bill, which is currently before the Senate, was first introduced by former Bong County Senator (now Vice President) Jewel Howard-Taylor during the 53rd Legislature, but has been resubmitted by River Cess County Senator Francis Paye.When contacted by our reporter on the possible passage of the Act before the Legislators’ annual break, the senator confirmed that such lobbying is ongoing and the likelihood of Senate’s action may not be far.It can be recalled that the 42nd National Legislature at its 3rd sitting, declared March 15 of each year a national holiday in commemoration of the birthday of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, the first President of the Republic of Liberia. During that sitting, an Act was also passed declaring November 29 as national holiday for the birth anniversary of the 18th President of Liberia, the late William V. S. Tubman.In his communication to the Senate plenary early this month, Senator Paye recognized the continued contributions of past and present presidents to the development of the country.Requesting the repeal of the two national holidays, the River Cess County Senator is asking for the third Friday in November each year to be declared as National Holiday to be observed throughout the Republic of Liberia as Presidents’ Day, in recognition of sacrifices and services rendered by all who served and are serving as President of the Republic of Liberia.A motion was proffered by Grand Bassa County Senator Jonathan Kaipay, requesting plenary to accept the communication and send same to the committees on Judiciary and Internal Affairs to report within two weeks.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Park’s safety questioned

first_img Riders drop 255 feet Unlike many coasters, Goliath does not rely on upside-down turns to thrill riders. Instead, it starts by plunging them over a 255-foot drop, and then it takes riders through an underground tunnel and zero-gravity hills. Other riders also said Tuesday that Goliath made them feel “light-headed,” but it didn’t worry them. “I felt a little light-headed afterward, but in a good way,” said a smiling Desiree Powell, 33, of Santa Monica. “You know, like when you’re riding a horse and you get off the horse and you kind of feel like you’re still on the horse. But it’s from a good experience, not from being sick.” Magic Mountain reports injuries to the state. Going back five years, the state received reports of fewer than 80 incidents at the park. Amusement park incidents reported to the state are rarely about riders passing out. “People getting on and off rides, that’s where we always see incidents occur,” said Dean Fryar, spokesman for the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health. “Very seldom do we see something other than that.” In June 2001, Pearl Santos, 28, died of a brain aneurysm shortly after riding Goliath. State investigators found that Goliath was operating properly and that Santos died because she had a pre-existing condition. In the Amusement Safety Organization report, the ride Tatsu had the most incidents with 21. They included nosebleeds and a rider who complained of passing out. Extreme heat a factor Included in the group’s 109 total incidents at the park were 10 heat-related complaints. The park sits atop a hill in Valencia where summer temperatures often surpass 100 degrees. “Magic Mountain is kind of like our home park, so to speak, and we do get a lot of feedback from people around town for Magic Mountain,” said Jason Herrera, president of the organization. “And that may be one of the main reasons that numbers are up for the park.” Park spokeswoman Carpenter said the report the Amusement Safety Organization posted on its Web site is wrong. “Safety’s our No.1 priority. (The) site is focused on purely hearsay; it’s not facts. And we comply with state regulations regarding the reporting of all incidents.” Robert Niles is editor of ThemeParkInsider.com and teaches at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. ThemeParkInsider.com does not rate parks for safety because many safety problems happen only once and cannot be verified, Niles said. “It’s hard to find data, so I commend anyone who’s out there trying to find data,” Niles said. “… We’ve been receiving reader-reported incidents at Theme Park Insider for nearly six years now, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with coming up with a list that rated parks based on what we’ve got.” Herrera, 28, said he works as a safety consultant for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Julie Young, 25, of Santa Barbara also works with the organization and said she is a nurse. Young said she visited Magic Mountain in October with Herrera and could see how a rider could black out on Goliath, especially if anxiety is a factor. Coming off Goliath on Tuesday with his daughter, Brian Amenta, 40, of Woodland Hills said the ride was worth it. But he felt the effects after the ride stopped. “Light-headedness coming off, but it’s because you’re going so fast the blood rushes out of your brain.” alex.dobuzinskis@dailynews.com (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VALENCIA – Eighteen thrill-seekers who rode Magic Mountain’s Goliath roller coaster last year blacked out on the white-knuckler that defies gravity, according to a report released Tuesday by a self-appointed watchdog group. In an annual report on Six Flags California’s Magic Mountain, the Montecito-based Amusement Safety Organization logged 109 safety-related incidents at the Valencia park – incidents ranging from riders who passed out to park visitors who complained they were threatened by people cutting in line. Magic Mountain was rated next to last for safety – only a theme park in Virginia ranked lower – in the study posted on the organization’s Web site. But Magic Mountain spokeswoman Sue Carpenter discounted the group’s report and said state regulations are followed. “We don’t mess around when it comes to the safety of our guests or our rides,” Carpenter said, noting that the park’s rides meet state safety regulations. Yet the Amusement Safety Organization logged 18 incidents of riders blacking out on Goliath, with its nerve-racking climb and terrifying drop. Complaints about other Magic Mountain rides the group received included ride operators talking on cell phones as they worked, a rider who temporarily lost hearing after slamming an ear into a restraint and a couple of patrons who suffered neck or back pains on a wooden coaster. The group said it receives complaints over the Internet from park visitors and that it verified the complaints by visiting Magic Mountain three times last year and going on rides users had complained about. One teenage rider interviewed Tuesday by the Daily News after getting off Goliath said he blacked out on the anxiety-inducing ascent. “I was going up, and then I looked over the side, and I got too excited or something like that, so I just put my head down,” said Joseph Hernandez, 16, responding to a question about how he liked the ride. “And then luckily my friends were sitting right behind me; they woke me up, then I was good for the rest of the ride.” last_img read more

Power out in Prespatou after truck knocks down powerline

first_imgThe RCMP believe a dump truck traveling on the road may have clipped the power line while unloading gravel.An oncoming vehicle was able to stop before reaching the downed power line. No one was injured and both vehicles are driveable.Approximately 140 customers in the Prespatou area are now without power. At this point, B.C. Hydro doesn’t know when power will be restored. For more updates on the power outage, visit www.bchydro.com/outages- Advertisement –last_img

Dembele, Griezmann give Barca, Atleti narrow La Liga wins

first_img0Shares0000Ousmane Dembele celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winner for Barcelona at Valladolid. (Photo: AFP/Benjamin Cremel)MADRID, Spain, Aug 26 – Ousmane Dembele’s second-half strike was the difference as reigning La Liga champions Barcelona ground out a 1-0 win away to newly-promoted Valladolid on Saturday to maintain their perfect start to the campaign.It was not a classic Barcelona performance by any means at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla, and they escaped at the death as a Keko equaliser for the hosts was disallowed due to a marginal offside call. Nevertheless, Ernesto Valverde’s side now have six points out of six and are yet to concede a goal, with this victory following a 3-0 success against Alaves on the opening weekend.Lionel Messi had scored twice in that game, but he struggled to make an impact here on a dreadful pitch that kept cutting up.Instead it was Philippe Coutinho who came closest to opening the scoring in the first half, his low shot from the edge of the area heading for the corner before Jordi Masip turned it around the post.On a night when Gerard Pique made his 300th appearance in La Liga, none of Barcelona’s close-season signings started, although Arturo Vidal and Brazilian winger Malcom came off the bench late on.By that time Dembele, whose first season at Barca after joining from Borussia Dortmund was marred by injury, had scored the crucial goal. Sergi Roberto headed a 57th-minute cross back down into the path of the French international, who swept the ball past Masip.The visitors then thought they had scored a second in the closing stages as Messi released Luis Suarez to slot home, but the offside flag cut short the celebrations.Barca were then rescued by the Video Assistant Referee in the second minute of added time. Substitute Keko, having earlier headed a glorious chance straight at Marc-Andre ter Stegen, this time saw his header find the back of the net.The Valladolid fans, who saw their team win promotion via the play-offs, erupted in celebration, but the assistant referee had spotted the offside, and video replays confirmed it was the right decision, if only just.– ‘Growing in strength’ –Barcelona’s win followed a similarly unspectacular victory for Atletico Madrid earlier, as the Europa League holders beat Rayo Vallecano 1-0 in a capital derby.Griezmann grabbed the winner as an uncovincing Atletico Madrid edged out Ray Vallecano. (Photo: AFP/Gabriel Bouys)Antoine Griezmann, a member of France’s World Cup-winning squad along with Dembele, scored the only goal of the game in the 63rd minute at the Wanda Metropolitano as Diego Simeone’s men notched their first league win of the campaign.Atletico, tipped to challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid for the title this term, kicked off their campaign with a 1-1 draw at Valencia last weekend.Despite labouring for long periods, they proved too strong for an impressive Rayo, who were champions of the second-tier last term but have lost both games so far this season.“It was a difficult match from the start and Rayo played well, but we feel good because we won, and because it’s not easy at the start of the season and everyone is struggling,” said Simeone.“Griezmann is growing in strength. We are trying to get him up to his best form with the more minutes he plays.”The goal came when Montenegrin centre-back Stefan Savic climbed highest to nod down a corner, and Griezmann, who scored 29 times in all competitions last season, swivelled to slot into the net.Atletico struggled to close out the win, though, with goalkeeper Jan Oblak having to keep out Adri Embarba’s free-kick and dive at the feet of Alex Moreno to smother the full-back’s effort.But the Slovenian ‘keeper kept his best save for the 90th minute, as he sprung to his right to beat away Sergio Moreno’s well-struck shot and ensure Atletico took all three points.Earlier on Saturday, Alaves and Real Betis played out a goalless draw as both teams got off the mark for the season after defeats last week.After beating Getafe 2-0 last weekend, Real Madrid go to Girona on Sunday night.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

LYIT Computing Summer Camps now enrolling

first_imgCalling all Secondary School Students: have you booked your place on the LYIT Computing Summer Camps yet?Are you a secondary school student interested in learning more about Computing?  Are you interested in learning more about web design, computer game design and development, and programming?  If so, you need to sign up to one of the Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) Computing Summer Camps taking place this June at LYIT. Hosted by the LYIT Department of Computing, these camps aim to improve the skills and knowledge of secondary school students in the field of Computing and are open to beginners, keen to learn more about the computing discipline. Three Computing Summer Camps will take place in June and on the dates 6 – 9 June, 20 – 23 June, and 26 – 29 June.  The cost per student is €20.Thomas Dowling, Head of Department of Computing, commented, “Engaging students at secondary school level is an important focus of the Department of Computing at LYIT.  Currently in its third year, the LYIT Computing Summer Camps have provided participants with an introduction into disciplines such as programming, networking and games development.“This year, LYIT will be holding three weeks of Computing Summer Camps, to try to meet demand for these camps. Furthermore, we have received extra funding from the Higher Education Authority to host the additional camps, which enables LYIT to deliver the camps at a minimal cost for the participant. “The camp cost is only €20 for the week and it is hoped that events such as this will support the ever increasing interest in Computing at LYIT.  These camps provide second level students with a fun and engaging way to enjoy Computing.” Students will receive a ‘Certificate of Participation’ following completion of the course and participants are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.  To book your place on one of these camps, log on to To book your place on one of these camps, log on to www.lyit.ie/computingsummercamp/ to download an application form, completed forms should be emailed to Martina Quinn, Lecturer and Computing Summer Camp Co-Ordinator at martina.quinn@lyit.ie no later than 12 noon on Tuesday, 30 May.Don’t miss your chance to participate in the 2017 LYIT Computing Summer Camps.LYIT Computing Summer Camps now enrolling was last modified: May 16th, 2017 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Computing Summer CampsLetterkenny Institute of TechnologyLYITlast_img read more

Avocado gets visa to return home

first_imgMOORPARK – This spring, California growers started shipping avocados to the country where the fruit came from in the first place – Mexico. But while Mexico is the world’s largest producer of avocados, this isn’t like shipping coals to Newcastle, said authorities, who estimated the California avocado industry will gain $6 million to $24 million a year from the new exports. David Schwabauer, a Moorpark avocado grower and member of the California Farm Bureau board, called it a historic change. “We’ve tried and tried for years to get avocados from California into Mexico,” he said. “The Mexican consumer eats a tremendous amount of avocados.” Jim Donovan, vice president of international operations for Mission Produce in Oxnard, said the prices growers in Mexico are getting for their avocados are relatively high because their Hass growing season is ending and their supply is low. But the Hass season is at its peak in California, and there is an abundant supply, so the price here is relatively low. Donovan’s company is one of the world’s largest marketers of avocados, selling fruit produced both in California and Mexico. He said although Mission has not started shipping California avocados to Mexico yet, he hopes do start soon. “I think it potentially is great,” he said. “Creating more customers helps. Any time you can create new markets, it’s a good thing. … Selling California avocados in northern Mexico makes economic sense.” Still, a major barrier to shipping avocados back and forth across the border are pests that attack the fruit, Witney said. Avocado thrips, which apparently came from Central America and were discovered in a Ventura County orchard in the mid-1990s, spread to other parts of California and caused more than $50 million in damage here this year alone, he said. “There are hundreds of pests that evolved with this species. We had an essentially pest-free industry up until the 1990s, so we’ve always had a legitimate concern that allowing Mexican avocados into California would introduce pests,” he said. Mexican officials are also concerned about pests entering their country, and are requiring strict inspections of the fruit being imported. Although avocados have been eaten in Mexico for thousands of years, they have only become widely popular in the United States outside the Latino community in the past 30 years. California grows 95 percent of America’s avocados, and Ventura County is second only to San Diego County in avocado production. The value of Ventura County’s crop has been about $125 million a year, making it the county’s fourth-leading crop, behind strawberries, nursery stock and lemons. Avocado production has grown steadily in Ventura County and hillsides in the eastern part of the county near Moorpark and Simi Valley, areas which had only been used for grazing land but are now being planted with avocados. Although Mexican growers have been able for years to ship avocados to the United States, they are still prohibited from shipping them to the leading avocado-producing states of Florida, Hawaii and California. But in 2007, Mexican growers will be free to ship avocados to California, Witney said. Even now, there are still some Mexican states, including Michoacan, that will not allow the sale of California avocados. But next year at this time, the Hass avocados from California will be allowed in all Mexican states under the new agreement. “It’s been a contentious issue,” Witney said. eric.leach@dailynews.com (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2Mexico’s decision to allow Californian avocado imports – which until now had been prohibited – is great news for the state’s growers, said U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner while announcing an agreement with Mexico on May 25. Guy Witney, a spokesman for the California Avocado Commission, said markets in northern Mexico are now buying high-quality California Hass avocados at a lower price than they could buy fruit from the Michoacan growing areas in their own country. “Over the last two weeks, several truckloads have gone into Mexico, mostly to retail chains relatively close to the border,” he said. “In terms of distance to market, California has a real advantage. It’s more convenient and less expensive to get it from California than from Michoacan.” Schwabauer agreed. “I’ve seen the avocados in the grocery stores in Baja, and they are awful,” he said. “The California groves are actually closer than the Mexican groves for the consumer there.” last_img read more

DD Cooking: Got a few apples? Try this recipe…

first_imgThis week our cooking columnist Chef Martin Anderson gives us some inspiration for what to do with apples, and shares a mouth-watering recipe for an apple and red berry pastry box!Sonder will be having their official opening this evening at 4pm – so make sure to pop in!The autumn is here and according to all sources it’s been a bumper year for apples, so this week I’m going to give you a few ideas to use up any windfalls you might find.As a rule I only use eating apples when baking, this is because it takes less sugar but as the cooking Apple season is here and they can be quite bitter make sure you have plenty of sugar on standby and I’m going to break my own rules. Firstly make sure your apples are good quality and they are not bruised, damaged and have no bugs inside them. Apples can be stored in a cool dark place for a long period of time but they must all be good quality if any of them are bad they will turn the rest of the apples rotten too.Before using them remove any stems, leaves and give them a good wash.Decide what you’re going to make and make sure you have enough apples and sugar for the recipe. Cooking apples break up quite easily during the cooking process and you must be careful not to overcook them as they will turn to mush and will ruin any of your recipes the only time you would over cook apples is when you’re making apple jelly or apple sauce, it’s always nice to have a bite in the apple in any dessert or chutney you make so pay attention to your recipe.For apple crumble try and use a few red apples and leave the skin on, the pigment in the skin will give the crumble mix a lovely red colour and if you add some frozen red berries to the mix also it will taste fantastic. Also for a crumble I like to precook the sliced apples in a little butter until the are just softened this helps the final cooking process and also releases some of the sugar, it will make it easier for you to taste them and then sweeten as desired, you make also add a dash of cinnamon or even whole cloves and sliced ginger to give that extra zing! For apple pie my aunt Eileen grates the apples and then sugars them, again this helps the cooking process and makes it easier to taste them.It takes a serious amount of sugar and apples to make Apple jelly so make sure you buy jam sugar which has added pectin, this helps the setting process, a good quality muslin cloth and clean jars is a must, don’t try hanging a pillowcase over an upturned chair and expect the juices to run free, use the proper cloth for the job.Make sure your hats are well sterilised and you have proper lids or wax paper too, dirty jars will only help mould grow on top of the jelly, many folk put the jars through the dishwasher on high heat, this is a great idea instead of boiling them in massive pots of water, you may do the same with the lids, let them air dry instead of using a cloth – don’t worry if they are a bit wet they will be fine. Store your finished jelly in a cool dark place or if you only have a few jars jeep them in the fridge.When making a crumble topping or even for the cooking of the apples I always use real butter, salted is fine – it will taste great.When making pastry I use margarine, the one named after the bird Sstork” always use this straight from the fridge, it makes it easier to blend into the flour, the same rule applies for crumble topping, I only use real butter. So much tastier and crunchier when cooked properly. When making apple pie, use a good quality recipe for the pastry, you may buy frozen or chilled pastry but try to make your own so you can see the difference.For today’s recipe I have used the pink lady apples but you may use cooking apples, frozen puff pastry sheets are ideal also, you may buy the chilled but I find it difficult to work with in a warm kitchen and you will get better results with the frozen pastry.Recipe for pink lady apples and red berries in a pastry box, with cinnamon cream!You will need:>Puff pastry sheets.>Pink lady apples peeled and sliced into 8’s,>Butter and olive oil for cooking.>Brown sugar, to taste.>Fresh or frozen red berries.>Lightly whipped cream.>Cinnamon powder.>Egg yolk for glazing. Method for the box:>Place your pastry sheet onto a greased baking tray .>Cut an even strip from each side of the pastry and brush the egg around the edges.>Place the strips of pastry around the remaining pastry and over lap the edges.>This should form the walls of the box, decorate the centre of the box and brush with egg.>Bake at 200c until risen, cooked and golden in colour.>When cooled push the risen pastry back down but be careful not to b eat the base .Method for the apples:>In a non stick pan or heavy bottomed pan heat a little butter and olive oil.>Add the sliced apples and cook gently until they are nearly cooked and coloured.>Flame with the whiskey and add the sugar and red berries.>Heat through and allow to reduce slightly, if using frozen berries make sure they are defrosted and heated through. Allow to cool slightly.>Add a good pinch of cinnamon to the cream and whip again until nearly stiff.>Spoon the cooled apples into the puff pastry.>Serve with your cinnamon cream or a scoop of ice-cream.If you enjoy my recipes perhaps you would also enjoy a visit to my new Coffee Shop Sonder. We will have our official opening today Friday the 30th at 4pm so so call in if you are in Letterkenny this evening!Follow more of my daily chef’s life on snap chat @cheftothestars or find us on Facebook @sonder2016Happy baking!DD Cooking: Got a few apples? Try this recipe… was last modified: September 29th, 2016 by Martin AndersonShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

SA backs African crisis response force

first_img31 January 2014 South Africa will continue to support a temporary standby force capable of responding quickly to crisis situations in Africa, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele said on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Thursday. On Thursday night, African heads of state gathered for at the summit continued to debate the implementation of the African Immediate Crisis Response Capacity (AICRC), with the majority of countries said to be in favour of the initiative. Cwele told SAnews that there was some “confusion” that the AICRC would derail the formation of a permanent African Standby Force, which many want to be operational by 2015. But he remained convinced that the AICRC would be operational very soon. “It is supported,” he said. “Yes, there was confusion that it will stall the [implementation] of the Africa Standby Force. But many heads of state believe both initiatives will complement each other, so both are being supported.” According to the AU, the AICRC should be an efficient, robust and credible force that can be deployed rapidly, conducting operations of limited duration and aims or helping to create conditions for the deployment of larger AU and/or UN peace operations. It is seen as an interim too,l as the African Standby Force is meant to be operational by 2015. The stopgap AICRC would comprise a reservoir of 5 000 troops made up of operational modules in the form of 1 500-strong battle groups. Command would rest with the AU Peace and Security Council, which would asses all requests for intervention by member states. On a voluntary basis, member states of the AU would contribute troops and finance for the AICRC to enable it to to act independently. In May last year, South Africa, Ethiopia and Uganda were the first support the initiative and pledged to provide troops should the need arise. Some African leaders believe that, had such an interventionist force been in place, the violence which erupted in Mali early last year, and events that led to the current atrocities in the Central African Republic, could have been averted. South Africa has been the strongest supporter of the AICRC initiative, with Cwele saying the country remained convinced that the plan would go through. Last year, President Jacob Zuma hosted several heads of state in Pretoria where the plan was given the thumbs-up. “Countries are starting to commit … money and are contributing logistical support,” Cwele said. “We are for it. We have been supporting it right from the beginning. If the AU is asking us [for troops], we have always said we are committing to it. We fully back the whole initiative.” Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more