The UN Security Council on Tuesday renewed the sanctions on Liberia for another nine months since it has determined the situation in the country remains fragile and constitutes a threat to international peace and security in the region.In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Security Council renewed a set of measures on travel ban and arms embargo for nine months, and also extended the mandate of the panel of experts tasked with monitoring compliance with the measures for ten months, beginning on Tuesday.The Security Council also expressed in the draft resolution its intent to scale back and terminate the remaining sanctions in a prudent manner as the council recognizes that the peace-building and development gains in Liberia could be reversed in light of the Ebola outbreak.The Security Council “decides further to maintain all of the above measures under continuous review with a view to modifying or lifting all or part of the measures of the sanctions regime dependent upon Liberia’s progress towards meeting the conditions set out in resolution 1521 (2003) for terminating those measures and in light of the threat to peace and security in Liberia posed by the Ebola virus,” according to the resolution.The sanctions imposed a decade ago, was due to expire on December 12, 2014.The arms embargo and other sanctions were imposed by the Security Council more than a decade ago as a response to the continued civil war in Liberia, where warring parties were involved in illegal arms traffic and diamond trade.According to resolution 1521 which was adopted in 2003, the criteria for termination of these sanctions include a ceasefire in the country, completing disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation and restructuring of the security sector, implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and making progress towards stability.The draft resolution was put in blue on 3 December, following one meeting at the expert level. A day earlier, Council members held consultations on Liberia sanctions where the final report of the Panel of Experts (PoE) transmitted to the Council on 19 November (S/2014/831) was discussed and the following day the Council held a meeting with troop-contributing-countries (TCCs) for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).Negotiations on the draft resolution, which essentially constituted a technical roll-over as recommended in the Secretary-General’s letter of 29 September (S/2014/707), were uncontroversial. The draft resolution renews for a period of nine months the arms embargo on Liberia, which was first imposed with resolution 1521 in 2003 and was modified to become a partial arms embargo on non-state actors with resolution 1903 in 2009.It also renewed for nine months the targeted travel ban initially imposed with resolution 1521. The draft resolution further reaffirmed the asset freeze on former president Charles Taylor, his family and associates imposed by resolution 1532 in 2004, which is not time-limited. The draft resolution also renewed the mandate of the PoE for a period of ten months, with an update to the Committee due no later than 23 April and a final report due by 1 August.The draft resolution identified two specific areas which remained a problem in Liberia: the proper management of arms and ammunition by the Liberian government, including enacting a necessary legislative framework, and effective monitoring and management of the border regions between Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. These recurring issues had been previously highlighted in the Secretary-General’s assessment of the Liberia sanctions regime conveyed to the Council on 29 September and in the final report of the PoE (as well as previous PoE reports). The draft resolution requests the Secretary-General to provide an update to the Council by 1 August on progress made by the government of Liberia with regard to arms and ammunition management and border control.And prior to the Council’s announcement, the meeting concluded earlier provided an opportunity for UNMIL TCCs that provided input prior to an adoption scheduled for 18 December renewing the peacekeeping operation’s mandate. Due to the uncertainty caused by the Ebola outbreak, the Council last renewed UNMIL’s mandate on 15 September with resolution 2176 for an interim period up to 31 December.It requested an update from the Secretary-General by 15 November and also expressed its intention to further extend UNMIL’s mandate to 30 September 2015. On 12 November, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Hervé Ladsous and Ambassador Per Thðresson (Sweden), representative of the chair of the Liberia configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission briefed the Council (S/PV.7310). Ladsous recommended deferring consideration of a drawdown of troops and police from UNMIL until the Ebola crisis has ended. Tomorrow, TCC representatives are likely to be interested in how UNMIL’s mandate may be modified due to the Ebola outbreak and what implications this may have for their personnel.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
But in February? Historically the rainiest month in Southern California? And one of the three coldest? Maybe not such a grand idea after all. “You plan this great event for eight months,” driver Kenny Wallace said, “and then it rains the very hours you have it.” Well, yeah. Rain happens in SoCal. Especially in February. Maybe someone could have looked into it. Poor Gillian Zucker. If California Speedway’s president didn’t have bad luck she wouldn’t have any luck at all. The Racefest is an improvement added under her watch. A period when Southern Californians suddenly remembered they don’t care much about NASCAR. Since then, California Speedway has failed to sell out a single race. And Sunday’s Auto Club 500 will make four consecutive not-sold-out Nextel Cup events under Zucker’s aegis. Weather just destroyed the third Fanfest. FONTANA – The Fontana Racefest? A grand idea. Nine, maybe 10 months a year. Throw open a NASCAR midway to fans, for free, the Thursday night before a race weekend. Offer chances to get driver’s autographs. Maybe flog some tickets and merchandise. Build up customer good will. Fans tend not to be festive when they are soaked and shivering. Especially Southern California fans, notorious weather wimps. (If it’s raining Sunday morning, count on tens of thousands of empty seats at the Auto Club 500.) “Sammy Hagar will rock you, rain or shine or snow,” emcee Chris Myers vowed as a steady drizzle angled in from the west Thursday night. Truth be told, we didn’t make it to 8:40 p.m., when Fontana homeboy Hagar was scheduled to take the stage for a half-hour set – and risk electrocution after the precipitation soaked everything and everyone on the main stage. Fanfest is a good idea. When it’s not winter. It’s built around the speedway’s “Impulse” merchandise store, where you can buy a cap for $25, and the Wolfgang Puck-run “Apex” restaurant, where a breakfast burrito will set you back $12. Each is located on the parking lot south of the grandstand. The Nextel Cup merchandize haulers are lined up around those two stores, vendors come in to hawk their stuff (the “shave ice” stand was closed, however) and a couple of dozen drivers show up to sign autographs and wake up the echoes of NASCAR’s fan-friendly past. Before they got soggy, many of the several thousand fans who braved the elements seemed to be having fun. A husband and wife happily knocked back a shot of Wabo Cabo tequila ($7 a snort) from under the shelter of an awning, and the woman told a friend via cell phone that, “A.J. says he’s perfectly warm now.” You could buy beer, vodka, whiskey … but ultimately none of it was going to keep you dry. Give everyone credit for soldiering on. David Gilliland, the Daytona pole-sitter and former Chino Hills resident, was a half-hour early to his autograph-signing session at the No. 38 M&Ms Ford trailer. He brought a couple of Sharpie pens with him and scribbled his suddenly famous name on any article thrust toward him. Caps, posters, sweatshirts, backpacks, raincoats, galoshes … “David, I used to watch you at Irwindale,” a man shouted as he walked past. “Thank you, thank you,” Gilliland said, looking up briefly. Not far away, men, women and children stood in sodden clothes, inching forward to get Wade Burton’s autograph. A mother and son got Burton’s Patrick Henry on their paraphernalia, but as they walked away and popped open their umbrellas, the mother said, “All that waiting for one minute!” Zucker told the crowd gathered at the main stage that 20 drivers were at Fanfest to sign autographs. Almost all of whom were introduced by the game Myers, former ESPN anchor who seemed to be risking another lengthy bout of laryngitis as water began dripping off his forehead. Most of the drivers marveled at the bad weather. Though they also may not have done any study of February weather conditions in the Southland. “You guys are troupers to be out in this weather,” Scott Riggs said. “I expected to come here and be warm,” J.J. Yeley said. “I got here at 3 and went golfing and was one of about six idiots on the course.” Zucker, meanwhile, took control of marshalling the drivers who huddled under cover, sending them out one by one to chat with Myers, on a live mike, before a few dozen fans standing in puddles. Kevin Harvick, Daytona winner ahead of fan-favorite Mark Martin, was booed. So was Kyle Busch, who lost control on the final lap at Daytona and began the multi-car crash. Zucker, too, was razzed, even though she appeared a pitiable figure, as soaking wet as a survivor plucked out of a Titanic lifeboat. “Idiot!” shouted one man, as Zucker’s name was mentioned. Well, no one controls the weather. Though they can make informed decisions based on its history. We’ll check back on Fanfest when NASCAR returns for Labor Day weekend. Chances of rain in early September are negligible. Though the odds of sunstroke odds rise sharply. DAILYBULLETINFor more musings from columnist Paul Oberjuerge, check out his blog at www.dailybulletin.com/sports. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!