Daily archives: November 28th, 2009

Ben Roethlisberger Likely To Sit Out Against Ravens

The bad news for Steelers fans from WTAE in Pittsburgh:

There’s word that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

According to FOXSports.com, Roethlisberger has decided to sit out Sunday.

A report on NFL.com indicated that Roethlisberger had yet to decide.WTAE Channel 4 Action News has called the Steelers for comment Saturday morning and will update this report when information becomes available.

I’ll be padding on extra black and gold Sunday for third string quarterback Dennis Dixon, who will likely get the start as Charlie Batch is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The Steelers and Ravens kick off Sunday night at 7:20 p.m. Central. The game will be televised on NBC.

Read more here.

Liberia: Poor Sanitation Killing Country’s Young

From AllAfrica.com:

Nineteen-year-old Beauty Phillips clutches her emaciated baby tightly to her chest. At seven months, Inga suffers from malnutrition.

On this chaotic Friday morning in the Slipway Clinic registration room, over one hundred mothers, their crying infants wrapped in traditional lappa cloth, wait on narrow wooden benches for hours to be seen.

"She is always sickly," explains Phillips about Inga’s constant vomiting and diarrhoea. "I get my water from the community hand pump, and for my toilet I’m going to the waterside or common toilet. This is why I think my daughter is getting sick."

One out of nine Liberian children die before their fifth birthday, or 110 out of every 1,000 live births, according to the Liberia Demographic Health Survey in 2007. Thirty-nine percent of children are stunted or short for their age.

Malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory illnesses like pneumonia are the leading causes of death here.

The crowded slum of Slipway lies along the polluted, marshy shoreline of the Mensurado River, near the heart of downtown Monrovia.

Although Liberia Water and Sewer are trying to reconnect pipes destroyed during the decades-long civil war, most residents cannot afford to buy or access the water.

Private septic tanks overflow regularly, and burning trash lies in heaps among the sewage surrounding the marshy pit latrines.

Liberia’s population is estimated at 3.5 million. "Over three million Liberians have no access to safe sanitation facilities," says Muyatwa Sitali, communications officer with Oxfam UK, which spearheads Liberia’s water, sanitation and hygiene consortium.

"Most people have no choice but to defecate in the open, where both their lives and dignity are at risk," Sitali explains.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has implemented a free nationwide public health care policy for children under five years old, a crucial step towards her promise to provide universal health care for all Liberians.

Read more here.

Liberia Sued in London Court for US $20M Debt

From the Liberian Daily Observer:

Two Caribbean-registered funds have launched a legal case in London, the UK, against Liberia over a debt that dates back to 1978.

Hamsah Investment and Wall Capital Limited sued Liberia at a British High Court Wednesday for a summary judgment to enforce a 2002 New York judgment for over US$20 million against Liberia.

The US$20 million represents about 5% of Liberia’s total fiscal budget for the year. The Liberian Government, led by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is grappling with the challenges of post-war reconstruction and development amidst difficulties inherited from the civil war, and the effects of the recent global financial and economic crisis.

The New York Court rendered a default judgment against Liberia in 2002, at a time when the West African nation was embroiled in civil crisis.

The Liberian Government has swiftly reacted to the lawsuit by requesting a full trial and describing the plaintiffs as “vultures” that are after money from poor countries such as Liberia.

The troubling legal battle could pose serious setback to the country’s debt relief program under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), which was agreed upon during the Paris Club arrangement. Liberia’s total debt overhang last year was in the tune of US$5 billion.

Key line: "The US$20 million represents about 5% of Liberia’s total fiscal budget for the year."

White House Party-Crashers Met Obama; Secret Service is Sorry (Really…)

In a photo released by the White House, President Obama greeted Michaele and Tareq Salahi, right, at his first state dinner on Tuesday.

The Secret Service is sorry.

Really, really sorry.

Michaele and Tareq Salahi, the Virginia couple who crashed President Obama’s first state dinner, met President Obama.

From the New York Times:

President Obama and his wife, Michelle, had a face-to-face encounter with the couple who sneaked into a state dinner at the White House this week, White House officials acknowledged on Friday. The revelation underscored the seriousness of the security breach and prompted an abject apology from the Secret Service.

A White House spokesman said that the couple, Michaele and Tareq Salahi of Virginia, met and shook hands with the president and the first lady in the receiving line in the Blue Room, as the Obamas greeted each of their 400 invited guests Tuesday night before moving to a tent on the South Lawn for dinner.

That disclosure coincided with a statement from the director of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan, saying that his agency was “deeply concerned and embarrassed” by the events. Secret Service officials said the agency wanted to interview everyone connected with the episode, including the Salahis, and had not ruled out criminal charges.

“The preliminary findings of our internal investigation have determined established protocols were not followed at an initial checkpoint, verifying that two individuals were on the guest list,” Mr. Sullivan said.

“Although these individuals went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely,” Mr. Sullivan said. “That failing is ours.”

Again, in our post-9/11-security-hyped world, this just blows me away. After all, the Secret Service didn’t take office for the first time last January.

Dubai Should Have Figured Out How They Were Going To Pay For All That Stuff

We heard from early this morning that the markets were tanking today because Dubai.

I guess they’re not the only ones who borrowed too much to make neat toys, like the only indoor ski resort in the Middle East.

From the Washington Post:

Since the full-scale of Dubai’s huge debt mountain hit home late last year, many investors who have sunk billions of dollars into the emirate’s extravagant projects have been seeking reassurance from Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

For years, as Dubai built one grandiose scheme after another, there was the assumption — unwritten but widely believed — that Abu Dhabi would be on hand to pick up the pieces if the emirate’s bubble burst.

But with Dubai raising the possibility that one of its flagship investment vehicles may default, attention is now focusing on just how far Abu Dhabi is willing to go to bail out its smaller brother. Underlying the uncertainty is the widely held thought that Abu Dhabi officials were caught unaware by Dubai World’s dramatic statement, which came just hours after two Abu Dhabi-controlled banks had agreed to subscribe to a $5 billion Dubai bond issue.

Want to help them pay their debt and jump-start the world’s economy? Ski Dubai:

Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East and offers an amazing snow setting to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing or just playing in the snow. The construction covers an amazing 22,500 square meters covered with real snow all year round. Ski Dubai is related to the Mall of the Emirates and is part of Majid Al Futtaim Group of Companies.

Ski Dubai has 5 runs that vary in difficulty, height and steepness. The longest run being 400 meters with a fall of over 60 meters, making it the world’s first indoor black run. Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels will enjoy these various slopes and snowboarders can also practice their stunts on the 90-metre long quarter pipe. Kids and parents alike will have fun in the interactive Snow Park which is the largest indoor snow park in the world with 3000 square meters.

You don’t have to worry about ski clothing or equipment either. Ski Dubai has thought of it all and offers guests the use of winter clothing, ski and snowboard equipment. Your skis will carry you down the slope, and the quad-chairlift and tow lift will promptly carry you back to the top for another run.

The DOW Jones was down 154.48 today, closing at 10309.92. The S&P 500 was down 23.36, closing at 1087.27.

Just fly right over there and help us all out, will you? Dubai only owes $60 billion at this point.