Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Ecobank Liberia Ltd. has been named the “Best Bank of the Year 2014” for its immense contribution towards the fight against the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country. The accolade was bestowed upon the bank by the International Learning Institute (ILI) and its subsidiary, Gender International Magazine Publication and Resource Center, at the Champions of the Year Annual Award 2014, held last Saturday at a local hotel in Monrovia. Chief organizer, Ms. Mildred Dean, said Ecobank was honored for its sacrificial, dedicated and humanitarian services to Liberians during the heat of the Ebola epidemic. She recalled that the Pan African bank was the first institution to help the Liberian government to contain the spread of the virus by donating the first ambulance.Presenting the award to Ecobank’s former managing director, Mr. Kola Adeleke, she said: “We are very happy to award you as the best Pan African bank of the Year for the outstanding performance, sacrificial, dedicated and humanitarian Services to Liberians during the heat of the Ebola crisis.”Responding, outgoing Ecobank MD Adeleke thanked the Gender International Magazine for the honor and said it was a big surprise.He pledged the bank’s continuing commitment to work with the Liberian government to ensure that Liberia becomes an Ebola-free country and survivors are not stigmatized.Mr. Adeleke cautioned the public against stigmatizing survivors, noting that it is imperative for survivors to tell their stories.“We have to learn from their experiences and how they came into contact with the disease. Telling their stories will greatly help the national fight,” he said.The Ecobank executive said Ebola survivors are Africans and Liberians, “just like you and me.”He spoke of the grave impact of the Ebola outbreak on economies of the three countries hit hardest by the virus, but noted that as a Pan African bank with vast experience in operating in crisis environments, Ecobank crafted a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) that has helped it through crises, including the Ebola epidemic.“During a crisis like this, we sacrifice profitability for liquidity,” the Ecobank boss explained. He assured the public that as a Pan African bank in Liberia, Ecobank is here to stay.Other personalities honored were President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Rep. Saah Joseph, Madam Julie Endee, executive director, Liberia Crusaders for Peace, Information Minister Lewis Bowne, Assistant Minister for Health Tolbert Nyenswah, amongst other.Institutions honored included the Central Bank of Liberia, United Bank for Africa, and the state-owned radio ELBC.Ms. Dean is also the chief executive officer of the Gender International Magazine Publication and Resource Center, located on Crown Hill, Broad Street, Monrovia.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he doesn’t know whether the measure can make it through the Senate. Liberal activists who call the measure a good start but object to major parts have “a couple of bites at the apple” to change it as it makes its way to President George W. Bush’s desk, said Frank Sharry, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “It’s been hatched in the backroom at the eleventh hour; it’s now going to be debated in the light of day,” Sharry said. If they don’t succeed in reshaping it, the groups that have been among the strongest proponents of an immigration overhaul might desert the deal. “We’re not sure that our support for moving forward will continue to be support if the bill that approaches the finish line has these kind of problems in it,” said Cecilia Mu oz of the National Council of La Raza. There’s broad agreement on some elements of the plan, such as improving border security and workplace enforcement and allowing for the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants to earn a path to citizenship. Plan controversy But the plan’s cornerstones are among its most controversial features. It would allow the millions of undocumented immigrants already here to gain legal status virtually immediately and keep it indefinitely through a new “Z visa” that could be renewed repeatedly. Those seeking permanent legal residence or eventual citizenship would face long waits and have to pay fees and fines, and their household heads would have to return to their home countries. Some conservative Republicans want to limit the amount of times Z visas could be renewed. The deal also proposes a fundamental reordering of the nation’s immigration priorities, moving the system from one based on family to one primarily designed to meet the needs of U.S. employers. While spouses and minor children of legal residents and citizens could still get green cards, other relatives would have to qualify under a system that rewards advanced skills, education, English proficiency and experience in high-demand occupations. This has drawn fire from both sides, with conservatives arguing that the system should not reward low-skilled workers or extended families at all, and liberals saying it devalues family. “The merit-based point system that was promised is just a shell of what it could have been and what it should have been,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., who wants to guarantee that a larger percentage of future green cards are awarded based purely on employment criteria. On the other side, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., plans to offer an amendment that would exempt the spouses and children of lawful permanent residents from the measure’s visa caps, guaranteeing that families receive a higher priority. The guest-worker program, which would provide 400,000 visas yearly for immigrants seeking temporary employment, has come under criticism from conservatives and populists who think it’s too expansive and immigrant-advocacy groups who say it creates a working underclass with few rights. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., wants to strike the temporary-worker program, arguing that it harms American workers and depresses wages. Workers could come for two-year stints and renew their visas twice, with a year home in between each time, but they would ultimately have to qualify for green cards based on the point system. The next steps A look at the next steps for an immigration-overhaul plan worked out by a bipartisan group of senators and the White House: Senate consideration The Senate plans to open debate Monday on the bill and consider amendments throughout next week. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has set a Memorial Day deadline for completing the measure, but it’s unlikely that the complex plan can be finished that quickly. House action Democratic leaders are waiting for the Senate to pass a bill before they consider one in the more-polarized House. They plan to act on immigration in July, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has told President George W. Bush she won’t bring up a bill unless he can promise that at least 70 Republicans will support it. Conference If the House passes a version, House and Senate negotiators would have to blend the two bills into one. The House and Senate then would each have to pass that product. It would then go to Bush for his signature. Enactment Bush has said he’s eager to sign the measure into law by August, when Congress adjourns for four weeks, returning Sept. 4. – Associated Press160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Get ready for a raucous free-for-all in Congress. Even before lawmakers had seen the final immigration-overhaul legislation – which was still being drafted late Friday – they were taking aim at key elements of the bill, eyeing changes that could break up the fragile coalition that hatched it. Letting millions of illegal immigrants stay in the U.S., favoring skills and education over families in future immigration, creating a new temporary-worker program – any of those provisions could draw challenges that threaten to peel off supporters from the measure or draw new opponents to it. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who helped negotiate the compromise, called it “very well-balanced,” and cautioned against revisions that could upset the framework. “You take something out and you’re creating a problem throughout the system – you may think that you’re only tweaking one part,” Gutierrez said in an interview. “We’ve got to be very careful as to what is proposed to change.” As the White House and proponents in both parties began laboring to sell the agreement to the public, interest groups launched elaborate efforts to alter major pieces of the complicated proposal. “We’re going to fight like mad to fix the parts we don’t like,” said Tom Snyder, national political director of UNITE HERE!, a service workers union comprised largely of immigrants. Tweaks sought Senate leaders met to plot strategy for next week’s debate, which is likely to feature Democratic efforts to kill or substantially shrink the temporary-worker program and Republican attempts to prevent illegal immigrants from staying indefinitely in the U.S. without applying for permanent residency or citizenship.
A Vancouver woman was sent to a hospital after her car went off state Highway 14 near Camas Wednesday morning, officials said.Lindsay Peters, 25, was driving a 1999 Chevrolet Malibu eastbound on state Highway 14 near the Sixth Avenue exit to Camas just before 7 a.m. when she had a seizure, a Washington State Patrol bulletin said.According to the bulletin, her car left the road and came to a rest in blackberry bushes.Peters had another seizure when her car came to a stop and was sent to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center as a precaution, state patrol said.Wednesday night, a hospital employee said Peters was treated and released.Two engines with the Vancouver Fire Department and Camas Police also responded to the crash.