Liberia, Africa’s first independent and sovereign Republic, has also been, since the early 1930s, the continent’s first rubber producing country, and yet in nearly 90 years has not yet been able to produce a single rubber band, glove or any other rubber product.That seems to have been the plot or scheme of Harvey S. Firestone who, in 1926, signed agreement with the administration of President Charles D.B. King for one million acres of land to grow natural rubber in Liberia.Mr. Firestone first attempted to grow rubber in the Philippines, but they turned him down for fear that if they allowed Firestone in, it would signal a death knell to Philippines’ quest for independence.Firestone’s next stop was Liberia, in his determination for the United States of America (USA) to grow her own rubber and break the British monopoly on rubber in the world.Mr. Firestone found Liberia’s rich soil, rainfall and climate to be, as he put it in his own words, the best place on the planet to grow rubber successfully. He immediately opened the Firestone plantation along the Farmington River in what is now Margibi County.Firestone did two things more to ensure that Liberian officialdom and Liberians were on his side: first, he encouraged most Liberian officials to grow rubber, which he bought, making many leading Liberians rich; second, he employed thousands of Liberians and became the country’s first major concession and largest employer besides the government.In the process, Harvey Firestone and his family became very rich—billionaires.Firestone was good for Liberia except for one thing: the company deemed Liberia fit only for a rubber plantation that produced ONLY raw material to feed American factories, and nothing else. That is why in Firestone’s nearly a century of operation in Liberia, it has manufactured absolutely nothing here, but rather, until this day, June 7, 2018, shipped every ounce of its rubber to the USA and other foreign parts. That is why we say that Firestone saw Liberia as simply fertile ground for producing raw materials— nothing else.Two questions arise: first, how was it possible for Firestone to treat Liberia, a country that has been so good to Firestone, so badly and so contemptuously? The second question is, how have Liberian officials and successive Liberian governments allowed Firestone to do this—treat Liberia so badly—for nearly a century—92 years to be exact?We can venture a third question: how was it possible for all these Liberian rubber planters, from James (Jimmy) Francis Cooper, the first Liberian rubber planter, to many other Coopers, Dennises, Shermans, Freemans, Jacksons, Tubmans, Tolberts and the biggest rubber planter of them all, Harry L. Morris of Kakata and Todee, yes, how did all of rubber planters to allow Firestone to get away with this—slaving after this company’s US dollars and remaining naked as purely producers of Firestone’s raw material—rubber, and nothing else?But as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. Today, we have another Cooper, whose name was also James, from Sinoe County, son of Henry Cooper—Henry is a popular name among the Coopers, who hailed from Sinoe, built a several hundred acre rubber farm in Bomi County. Today, the son of this James E. Cooper, also called James the II, has decided to brave the century-old powerful current by dreaming a serious dream. Young James E. Cooper, Jr., son of a Sinoe Cooper and an American mother, is dreaming of adding value to Liberian rubber by manufacturing rubber gloves, boots, adhesives (glues, gums, pastes), solvents (thinners), gaskets, rubber roofing tiles, re-threaded automobile tires and later freshly manufactured automobile tires.This is nothing short of revolutionary and we appeal to the government of President George Manneh Weah to give its firm backing to this great and historic initiative.Mr. James E. Cooper, Jr., tells us that he is not alone. Several other rubber planters have already started constructing rubber processing facilities in various parts of the country, including Kakata, Margibi County, and Nimba County.Mr. James E. Cooper, II says not only will these rubber processing and manufacturing enterprises produce finished products; they will also cause thousands more people to be employed in the rubber sector. They will not just be tappers, but engineers and technicians working in manufacturing plants.Presently, Mr. Cooper’s processing plant is producing TSR 10 rubber for export to Malaysia and the USA where it is used to manufacture automobile tires. He also produces smoked sheets for export.Mr. Cooper is in negotiations with Sri Lankan manufacturers to come to Liberia and join him by bringing in their technology to start rethreading tires, and later the real thing—brand new automobile tires for export to the Mano River Union and ECOWAS markets.Mr. Cooper and his fellow rubber processors have an even bigger dream: the Free Trade Agreement, spearheaded by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, which was signed in Kigali last week by 48 of the 53 African nations.Cooper and his colleagues are on to creating Liberia’s industrial revolution. Let us all join in this great endeavor by giving Mr. Cooper and all his colleagues our fullest cooperation and support. The media must play their part, and so, we fervently pray, will the Liberian government.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will meet U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday, a source within the Olympic movement told Reuters, as Los Angeles bids against Paris to host the 2024 summer Games.The source gave no further details about the meeting, which comes a day after Bach announced a new IOC sponsorship deal with chipmaker Intel Corp in New York that is set to run until 2024.Trump has publicly backed the Los Angeles 2024 Games bid but has so far had no active involvement in the campaign.LA 2024 bid chief Casey Wasserman said last month Trump had given strong support to the West Coast city in its efforts to secure the Games.”Donald Trump has done everything we could have asked to support our bid,” entertainment executive Wasserman said in May.”Every letter, every phone call … to President Bach… from what we need from the federal government, he’s been all I would hope for.”Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama did not meet the IOC at the White House but travelled to the IOC session in Copenhagen in 2009 to back Chicago’s 2016 Games bid.However, Chicago crashed out in the first round, with U.S.-IOC ties strained at the time over revenue-sharing deals from sponsorship and broadcasting rights.The IOC has said it is planning to award both the 2024 and the 2028 Games at its session in September in Lima, Peru, and that Paris and Los Angeles are likely to share them among themselves.Earlier this month the IOC passed a recommendation for a double awarding, which will now be ratified in a July session with the final order to be decided in Lima.advertisementLos Angeles bid officials have repeatedly signalled that the city would be open to being awarded the 2028 Olympics instead of those four years earlier. Paris has insisted its bid plan could only work for 2024.With the double awarding the IOC is trying to keep both cities happy as four others dropped out of the race, concerned by the event’s size and cost. More cities had dropped out of the race for the 2022.The IOC has now launched a reform process for bidding in order to make the Games a more attractive prospect to potential host cities.
NEW YORK — Vince Velasquez’s first pitch in his Philadelphia Phillies debut was a fastball. So was his second and his third.The 23-year-old right-hander opened with 16 consecutive fastballs against the New York Mets, all from 92-95 mph. He struck out a career-high nine over six innings and Ryan Howard’s opposite-field home run in the fifth inning off Bartolo Colon provided enough offense. The Phillies won 1-0 on a chilly April 9 for their first victory this season.Velasquez (1-0) said his goal was “to go out there and make a statement, to show that we got this win, to show that we’re capable of winning and we’re not losers.”“If we were 0-5, we’re just going to hold our heads down low,” he said.Acquired in the seven-player offseason deal that sent closer Ken Giles to Houston, Velasquez struggled through a 26-pitch first inning that ended with Neil Walker’s flyout with two on. New York didn’t put two runners on in an inning after that as Velasquez combined with four relievers on a three-hitter.Velasquez didn’t have anything up his sleeve on the 41-degree night but rather something toasty in his pants: 2-by-3-inch heat packets.“I had them in my back pockets when I was out there,” he said, “so I’d touch my butt a little bit and proceed to pitch.”Velasquez made seven starts and 12 relief appearances as a rookie last year. Helping the rebuilding Phillies avoid what would have been their first 0-5 start since 1934, he gave up three hits and three walks.“He exudes energy,” Phillies Manager Pete Mackanin said.Velasquez had the most strikeouts in a Philadelphia debut since Roy Halladay in 2010.“He locked in,” Howard said. “He pitches pitch a chip on his shoulder or pitches kind of with an attitude, if you will.”Hector Neris, Daniel Stumpf, David Hernandez and Jeanmar Gomez combined for hitless relief, sealing just the second win for the Phillies in their last 12 games at Citi Field.Gomez got three outs with six pitches for his second career save, his first since July 2014 with Pittsburgh. He retired Wilmer Flores on a game-ending lineout to shortstop Freddy Galvis.“A laugher,” Mackanin joked. “I knew we were going to win as soon as Freddy caught that ball — that last ball.”Pitching in short sleeves and without an undershirt, the 42-year-old Colon (0-1) allowed five hits in six innings, walked none and struck out seven — including six looking. His fastball reached up to 92 mph.Howard’s home run, on an 88 mph pitch, went to the opposite field and cleared the original 16-foot green wall in left.“The pitch just stayed towards the middle,” Colon said.Philadelphia Odubel Herrera missed a hit-and-run sign in the sixth, leading to Cesar Hernandez getting caught stealing at second.Hernandez failed to run home from third in the ninth, when Maikel Franco hit a slow roller and third Wilmer Flores bounced the throw to first. A day earlier, Hernandez ran into an inning-ending double play when Herrera’s popup dropped after the infield-fly rule was invoked.“We’ve seen it before with him,” Mackanin said. “We just have to keep on him and point them out to him, and hopefully he’ll learn from them. He’s a good player, but he’s got to polish it up a little bit.”(RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shares
An Iowa House committee will not advance a bill about the crime of fetal homicide that defines personhood as starting at conception.It means the bill is tabled for the remainder of the 2019 legislative session and not eligible for debate.The bill, which passed the Iowa Senate last week, would have increased the criminal penalty for a person who “causes the death of an unborn person” without consent from the mother.Republican House judiciary Chairman Steven Holt of Denison says with a Friday deadline looming for a committee vote on the bill, House members didn’t have enough time to get answers to all their questions.Audio Playerhttp://kscj.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/HOLT.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.OC…….term ‘unborn person. :10Holt supports the bill and he says lawmakers may consider it next year.Opponents say the proposal could provide the path to a ban on abortion.………………..