Jonathan Paye-Layleh

Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    Logging firms are skirting the rules and have used a loophole in Liberian law, granting them access to as much as a quarter of the country's landmass.

    A criminal court has ordered the arrest of Liberia's ex-president Gyude Bryant on allegations that he embezzled $1,3-million while in office. Bryant, who led the nation for two years as a transitional president following the end of Liberia's 14-year civil war, stepped down in 2005 after Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf won democratic presidential elections.

    West African military chiefs have charged that the United States has failed to consult adequately with countries that will be affected by a planned American military command for Africa. The group said the plan "had not been fully understood" by African countries.

    The Liberian government has lifted a self-imposed moratorium on the mining, sale and export of diamonds that had been in place for six years, officials said on Saturday. Deputy Minister of Lands, Mines and Energy Kpandeh Fayia said that, "as of Monday, people can start applying for mining, selling and broker licences" for the stones.

    The first African country led by a democratically elected woman began recruiting women into its new post-war army on Monday. The new army will initially number 2 000 troops, and roughly 400 of them will be women, said Edith Bawn, spokesperson for the government body responsible for overseeing the creation of the armed forces.

    Aid workers and United Nations peacekeepers are trading food and other goods for sex with children in camps housing Liberians uprooted by fighting during the West African nation's war, an international charity says. Save the Children says the situation for children has not improved since the 1998-2002 civil war ended.

    A spokesperson for Liberia's government on Saturday denied the president issued an extradition request for exiled ex-warlord Charles Taylor. Taylor's wife, Jewel, said her husband received a copy of a letter on Friday purportedly from Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf asking Nigerian head of state Olusegun Obasanjo to extradite Taylor.

    Election officials on Wednesday confirmed Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as the winner in Liberia's post-war elections, making her Africa's first-ever elected female President. With all ballots counted, election officials earlier said Johnson-Sirleaf received 59,4% of the vote to soccer superstar George Weah's 40,6%.

    The candidate aspiring to be Liberia's first elected woman president is canvassing for votes among a crowd of young men who make their living washing cars. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf wonders aloud why no women or girls are with them. "Because this is a very hard job," shouts one man.