President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf departed the country last Saturday for official visits to the United States of America and Belgium. The visit is President Sirleaf’s second outside Liberia since the worsening of the Ebola crisis in 2014. She attended an Extraordinary Summit of the Mano River Union in Conakry, Guinea last Sunday, February 15.Following her departure from James Spriggs Payne Airport on Saturday, President Sirleaf was scheduled to make a brief stop-over in the Emirate of Sharjah, one of the states of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to share her experience in Crisis Management at the International Government Communications Forum there.According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf travels on to Washington, D.C., where she will meet United States President Barrack Obama at the White House on Friday, February 27.President Sirleaf’s visit comes at a time of crucial cooperation between Liberia and the United States and also following President Obama’s announcement last week that the United States is moving to the next phase of its Ebola response which will be characterized by intensive efforts to reach zero Ebola case in West Africa.Due to the rapid decline in Ebola cases and the all but empty ETUs built by the Americans around the country, President Obama has withdrawn most of the four thousand strong military contingent sent to Liberia to help fight the epidemic. President Sirleaf will have the opportunity to thank President Obama and the American people for the extraordinary level of assistance to Liberia during the Ebola crises. The White House has already issued an official statement announcing that President Obama looks forward to building on a strong and historic partnership with Liberia, and discussing a range of topics with President Sirleaf, including the ongoing Ebola response, the region’s economic recovery plans, and other issues of mutual interest.The withdrawal of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force, UNMIL, from Liberia in June 2016 and Liberia’s preparedness to take over full responsibility for its own security and the implications for the West African Sub-region will be a topic most likely to be discussed between Presidents Obama and Sirleaf. The United States is a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council which is the only body that has the capability to maintain or extend the UNMIL withdrawal date. While in the United States, the Liberian leader will also meet with Administration officials, Congressional leaders and other stakeholders. She will also speak at an event hosted by Democratic Senator Chris Coons and the U.S. Institute of Peace on February 26. President Sirleaf will then travel to Brussels, Belgium to participate in an Ebola Conference organized by the European Union (EU). The conference will bring together the three most affected Mano River Union countries (Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone) and will see the Liberian President perform the role of Spokesperson for the three countries. The Brussels Conference, which is not a pledging conference, seeks to enable the affected countries to share their experiences and post Ebola plans and help aid the EU and other bilateral and multilateral organizations to plan better for the post-Ebola period. From Brussels, the Liberian leader returns to the United States, where she will participate in the 20th anniversary celebration of the Beijing Platform for Action at the UN Headquarters in New York. President Sirleaf is accompanied to the U.S. by Legal Advisor, Cllr. Seward Cooper; Finance and Development Planning Minister Amara Konneh; Information Minister Lewis G. Brown; Presidential Press Secretary Jerolinmek Piah; LBS Director General Ledgerhood Rennie; Executive Assistant Euphemia Brewer-Fasama, among others. She will also be accompanied to Brussels by Montserrado County Representative Saah Joseph; Youth Advisor, Dr. Emmanuel Dolo; Assistant Health Minister for Preventive and Curative Services, Tolbert Nyenswah, Head of the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU), Dr. Clarence Moniba and his Deputy Amos Seibo, among others. While President Sirleaf is away, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai will chair the Cabinet in consultation with Vice President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai. President Sirleaf is expected to return home on March 13.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
LONG BEACH – The ball was slippery. The officials called a tight game. The arena was big and imposing. And for a team as young as the Colony High School girls, all that was too much to overcome on such a big stage. “We let our age show,” Colony coach Roger Anderson said. “We didn’t have that quick passion that we normally do.” Nervous and jittery at the start, the Titans never gave themselves a chance. Colony star Amani Butler said she and her teammates didn’t have any butterflies before the game, but the flutters arrived once they hit the floor. That was immediately evident. Colony (18-13) had about as many turnovers as there were waves on the beach, to the tune of 20 in the first half (31 for the game). Silverado, which had 18 turnovers of its own, was credited with 22 steals. “The ball was really slippery,” Butler said. “It was hard to keep it in your hands.” Photo Gallery: Silverado vs. Colony The Titans fell 64-52 to Victorville Silverado in the CIF-Southern Section DivisionIII-A title game on Saturday afternoon at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, ending a terrific late-season push. Anderson said he complained to the officials about the ball’s texture, and said they acknowledged it was slippery. But he was told there was nothing that could be done about it. Meanwhile, as Silverado (22-7) built a 15-point lead midway through the second quarter, the Titans were finding themselves in foul trouble. Four Colony players already had at least two fouls with four minutes left in the first half, and Butler picked up her third with 2:51 to go before halftime. Strangely enough, Colony picked that point to start a comeback. Led by freshman Haley White, the Titans cut the lead to 34-30 over the next 80 seconds. But Colony couldn’t get any closer, and the margin grew to seven at halftime, then 13 just moments into the third quarter. Silverado led by as many as 18 in the fourth quarter. “We went up early and kept them on their heels,” Silverado coach Tyrone Brown said. “These girls showed they can play basketball with anybody.” Colony had showed the same thing, at least until Saturday. The Titans’ playoff run included three double-digit victories, including an 18-point semifinal win and a 50-point second-round victory. Not bad for a team that has more freshmen in the starting lineup (two) than seniors (one). Still, Anderson wasn’t thinking about the future. “Our expectation was to finish this off,” he said. “For some reason, we just came out flat.” Senior Laquisha Robinson led Colony with 13 points, and White added 11. Camille Buckley also pitched in with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Titans. Ashley Richie paced all scorers with 19 points and nine steals. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!