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/ 8 January 2008

Liberia’s TRC panel begins public hearings

Liberia President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf appealed for honesty on Tuesday as her war-racked West African country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) began its public hearings. ”I call upon all Liberians to respond to the TRC when they are invited,” Johnson-Sirleaf said at the start of proceedings in an opening ceremony in Monrovia.

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/ 7 December 2007

Court orders arrest of former Liberian leader

A criminal court has ordered the arrest of Liberia’s ex-president Gyude Bryant on allegations that he embezzled ,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.

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/ 7 August 2007

Liberian women turn to law in fight against rape

Under an old foam mattress in one of Monrovia’s slums, Niome David keeps a dark memento — the underwear her nine-year-old daughter was wearing the night she was raped. The mother refuses to wash out the blood stain, keeping it as proof of the brutality her child endured. In a nation inured to violence, the fact that she knew to preserve evidence is also, somehow, a sign of hope.

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/ 6 August 2007

Liberia probes coup plot, finds arms cache

Liberian authorities investigating a possible coup plot have discovered a large cache of new AK-47 ammunition in a town on the main road to Côte d’Ivoire, police said on Monday. Police spokesperson Alvin Jask Kanneh said it was too early to say whether the cache was linked to an alleged scheme to smuggle weapons into Liberia from Côte d’Ivoire.

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/ 30 July 2007

Diamond trade resumes in Liberia

Liberia on Monday resumed diamond trading after lifting a self-imposed ban on the gems, officials said. The embargo imposed four years ago had been in line with a United Nations ban on the country’s diamonds, blamed for fuelling a barbaric 14-year civil war in the resource-rich West African nation.

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/ 29 July 2007

Liberia lifts diamond-mining moratorium

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.

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/ 19 February 2007

Thousands of Liberians applaud mega-debt relief

Thousands of Liberians on Monday lined the road from airport to the seaside capital, Monrovia, to welcome their leader back from a donors’ conference where she secured a massive debt-relief deal. Villagers and residents of small towns along the 50km road from Roberts International Airport came out to praise President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for a "job well done".

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/ 2 February 2007

China’s Hu brings hope, pride to war-torn Liberia

Thousands of cheering Liberians lined the streets of the capital Monrovia on Thursday to greet Chinese President Hu Jintao, who pledged more than -million to aid recovery after one of Africa’s most ruinous civil wars. China has been offering low interest loans, debt relief and other incentives to increase its influence on the world’s poorest continent.

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/ 14 January 2007

Johnson-Sirleaf shines in revitalising Liberia

One year after taking the helm of a country torn by 14 years of war, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is winning praise for her efforts to restore the rule of law in Liberia, and for standing up to world steel giant Arcelor Mittal. The rights group Human Rights Watch says Johnson-Sirleaf is slowly but steadily restoring hope to the nation of 3,5-million people.

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/ 5 November 2006

Liberia’s new army faces difficult task

The first 100 troops of Liberia’s new army graduated on Saturday, as the country’s vice-president called for a new relationship after decades of military rule and civil war. About 500 people attended the passing-out parade at a Monrovia barracks of the troops, resplendent in new uniforms paid for by the United States government.

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/ 13 October 2006

Minister claims ex-Taylor aide planning attack

Liberia’s defence minister said on Friday an exiled confidant of former president and warlord Charles Taylor was plotting to assassinate top government officials and called for international help tracking him down. Benjamin Yeaten, Taylor’s former chief of staff and one of his most feared fighters, is believed to be armed, somewhere in West Africa, Defence Minister Brownie Samukai said.

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/ 10 October 2006

Liberia’s TRC starts recording war atrocities

Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was on Tuesday to start recording evidence on war-time atrocities committed over more than two decades of successive conflicts, its chairperson said. ”We will open our offices today [Tuesday] all over Liberia, and our workers will receive statements from the public,” Jerome Verdier, TRC head, said. Several hundred people have been trained to document evidence from both victims and perpetrators.

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/ 15 August 2006

Wanted: A new Liberian force

If the Daily Observer sells out today, it will have its centrefold to thank. One hundred and five mugshots line the daily paper. These men and women are the first class of recruits for the Armed Forces of Liberia. ”The New Armed Forces of Liberia Welcomes Recruits … If you know that any of these people were involved in human rights violations or criminal activity, call the Investigation Hotline,” reads the banner.

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/ 23 July 2006

Wolfowitz : Liberia stands at the crossroads

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz wrapped up a visit on Saturday to the war-shattered West African nation of Liberia, where he has praised economic progress led by the country’s new head of state, but warned there is ”a lot of work to do”. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf took office in January after winning elections that made her Africa’s first democratically elected female president.

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/ 14 July 2006

Liberia’s health sector in dire shape

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has painted a gloomy picture of the war-battered country’s health sector, press reports said on Friday, with the country now having just 34 doctors, or just one per 80 000 people. In the late 1980s, there were 400 doctors, she was quoted as telling a just-concluded meeting of aid donors.

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/ 12 July 2006

Liberia seeks ideas, not money

Liberia will not be seeking fresh aid from donors at a conference it is hosting but ideas on how to hasten its post-war reconstruction, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said on Wednesday. ”We are not going to ask for pledges,” Johnson-Sirleaf told delegates from major international financial organisations in the capital, Monrovia.

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/ 16 June 2006

Monrovia still in the dark despite power pledge

One of Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s promises the day she took the oath of office in January was to urgently restore the electricity supply to the capital where power was cut off 16 years ago during the war. Among the ”key objectives and deliverables in the first 150 days of our administration” is the restoration of electricity to Monrovia”, she said on January 16.