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We are told to call the police, run to the police for help and that the police is our friend, especially in times of need. But sincerely speaking what should one do, if one finds himself been brutally beating by four heavily armed uniform police officers. Sadly enough these officers have committed no crime against humanity!

The Supreme Court Judgment on the “Isofoton” case raises interesting issues for discussion and consideration. One of the key issues that the Court’s judgment has brought up for discussion is the absence of parliamentary approval of the Isofoton contract as initially awarded by the Government. The Court essentially relied on the absence of parliamentary approval to order a refund of all monies paid to “Isofoton’ as a result of the earlier judgment debt that the company had secured.

The Supreme Court’s decision however does not appear to have laid the matter to rest as much as we think. Indeed what the court’s decision has done is rather to open up the Government to another case of negligence based on its failure to secure parliamentary approval for a contract that it awarded to “Isofoton”. The court’s decision has therefore brought up to focus on judgment debts to the root causes of these cases, that is the arbitrary and politically motivated cancellation of Government contracts by especially the previous NPP Government as is the case in the “Isofoton” matter.


The real question to ask going forward is who had the responsibility for securing the needed Parliamentary approval.
Martin Amidu’s effort to set aside the “Isofoton” judgment debt may only have given the Government a brief reprieve. This is especially so if the main ground for setting aside the judgment is that the contract was not backed by Parliamentary approval. Obviously it is not the responsibility of “Isofoton” to obtain parliamentary approval and therefore the company should not be made to suffer for the failure of Ghanaian officials to do their job as required. It is therefore reasonable to expect the Ghana Government to reimburse Isofoton for any monies it refunds due to the Judgment.
If eventually any monies are paid to “Isofoton” this raises a clear cut case of causing financial loss to the state in that officials who failed to secure parliamentary approval for the Isofoton contract are the real cause of any loss which the nation Ghana might incur in this case

The lesson going forward is that judgment debts that are set aside solely on the ground of lack of parliamentary approval obviously and impliedly raise issues of official negligence and leave the door open for Government to be sued  in another case for recovery of any monies that companies are made to refund by the Supreme Court.


In essence cancellation of contracts by politicians on grounds that are not watertight eventually cost the nation needless and avoidable losses that result in unwarranted judgment debts. The NPP especially should refrain from throwing mud at the current Government for payment of Judgment debts, which debts arose from wrongful decisions that they have taken in the past.


Forward ever, backwards never.
God bless our Homeland Ghana.
Report By: Mensah Dekportor
(NDC- Germany Communication Director)
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It was very spectacular being at the “Tag Der Immobilienwirschaft 2013”, organized by ZIA, on Wednesday the 5th of June, in Berlin Tempelhof. I can’t wait to be invited next year. One needs to witness this extraordinary display of uniqueness.

The conference attracted over 1,200 executives from the real estate industry, politics, media, entrepreneurs, diplomats and academicians. The motto of the conference was "New Tasks and Duties” “Neue Aufgaben und Abgaben”.
The Federal Minister of Building -/Construction of Germany, “Bundebauminister” Dr. Peter Ramsauer was the special guest of honor.

It is our desire to establish affordable buildings and energy efficient housing units throughout the country. This we believe could be achieved through perfect cooperation between politicians and entrepreneurs working hand in hand.

The president of the ZIA, Andreas Mattner in his welcome address, insists politicians’ remains strategic and critical partners of the real estate industry.

At the forum was the Malawian ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Prof. Dr. Isaac C. Lamba, accompanied by Mrs. Sylvaina Gerlich of Hamburg Integration Council. According to him, he was there practically to woe Investors to Malawi.

He emphatically said his country needs more investors in the areas of real estate development, road network, and he equally challenged the Europeans to have a rethink over their investment policies on Africa.

He also intensively discussed with Prof. Dr. Kay Poggensee from Institute of International Business Management (Kiel), as to how best to establish a partnership with the University of Malawi. He also had some pep talks with Mr. Oliver Herrmann (DTZ), seen by many as a global player in the real estate industry.
 
The Ger­man Pro­perty Fede­ra­tion or ZIA, is a regu­latory and eco­no­mic lobby group for policy in the pro­perty sec­tor, and remains one of the most influential institutions in Germany. At Euro­pean level the ZIA is rep­re­sen­ted in Brus­sels and is estab­lis­hed there as the Ger­man Pro­perty Fede­ra­tion. 

Other speakers at the occasion were, the finance minister Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble and Peer Steinbrück, Kanzler candidate of the SPD.

Desmond John Beddy
www.topafric.com

A German activist with radical women's protest group Femen was handed a four-month jail sentence along with two Frenchwomen by a Tunisian court on Wednesday for staging a topless anti-Islamist demonstration last month, their lawyer said. "The judge condemned the three Femen activists to four months and one day in prison for an attack on public morals and indecency," Souheib Bahri told AFP.

The women, Margaret Stern and Pauline Hillier from France and Josephine Markmann from Germany, had defended themselves in court when asked by the judge about the reasons for their bare-breasted protest on May 29, a first in the Arab world by Femen activists.

"I came on May 28 to stage a political demonstration and support Amina" Sboui, a detained Tunisian activist, said Markmann.

"I relish every opportunity to express my political views," she added. "Baring our breasts is not intended to cause sexual excitement but is a form of activism," said Stern.

But lawyers representing a number of Islamist associations demanding to take part in the trial as a civil party condemned the Femen protest in socially conservative Tunisia, whose coalition government is headed by an Islamist party.

"It is Islam that honours women and offers them freedom, not the act of undressing," said Slah Khlifi, one of the Islamist group's lawyers. Another, Monaam Turki, said the controversial act could be considered an attack on state security "under article 71 of the penal code, which carries a one-year prison sentence." The case was being closely followed by activists and politicians in Europe, where it was seen by some as a test of democratic freedoms under Tunisia's Islamist-led government, which came to power after the revolution in January 2011.

 

After the verdict was made public, Femen's leader in Paris, Inna Shevchenko, vowed that her group would carry out further actions in Tunisia. "It is a political decision that confirms the dictatorial character of Tunisia," she told AFP by telephone. "We are really angry after this very severe verdict and we will pursue our actions in Tunisia," Shevchenko added. Three Spanish members of the topless protest group bared their breasts outside the Tunisian embassy in Madrid on Wednesday to demand the release of their fellow activists.

Femen has held other solidarity demonstrations outside European Parliament offices in Brussels, the German chancellor's office and the Tunisian embassy in Paris. The women's French lawyer Patrick Klugman, who had said he was ready to travel "immediately" to Tunis if they were not freed, expressed dismay and called the ruling an attack on freedom of expression.

"It's an extremely heavy sentence. It is a grave attack on freedom of expression, not just for these girls but for freedom of expression in general," he said. The women were arrested on May 29 after staging a topless demonstration outside the main courthouse in Tunis in support of Amina Sboui, a Tunisian activist with the same "sextremist" group who had been arrested 10 days earlier.

Sboui had been arrested for painting the word "Femen" on a wall near a cemetery in Kairouan last month, in protest against a planned gathering of radical Salafists in the historic Muslim city south of Tunis. The Tunisian activist, who sparked a scandal in March by defying Arab-Muslim convention and posting topless pictures of herself on Facebook, faces possible charges of indecency and desecrating a cemetery.

Since the 1950s, Tunisia has had the most liberal laws in the Arab world on women's rights, and the ruling Islamists are often forced to defend themselves against the charge of wanting to roll back those rights. But the latest text of a draft constitution, released in April, states that "all male and female citizens have the same rights and duties" and "guarantees equal opportunity to men and women."

AFP/mry

Immigrant families are far less likely to send their young child to day care than German parents, largely because they have different priorities for child-raising, a new study suggests.


From August 1st this year, every child in Germany will be guaranteed a place in a pre-school nursery. Yet just 14 percent of immigrants are taking up the offer before their child's third birthday, compared to 30 percent of German parents, Der Spiegel magazine wrote this week.

Members of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) set out to find out why immigrants were shunning German day care, and found it was largely down to cultural differences. 

The study of 1,875 mothers and fathers with children between one and two years old found that immigrant families disagreed with Germans about the best time to send a child to be looked after outside of the family, said the report.

Turkish immigrants in particular are unfamiliar with the idea of early child care - with just 12 percent of children in Turkey being sent to nursery.

More important to these parents is establishing a good relationship with their offspring during these early years and they place less emphasis than Germans on encouraging independence and early learning, said the authors.

Other immigrant parents – especially those of the first generation - said they simply weren't happy with German nurseries. Group sizes at German nurseries were too large, they said, and children were not properly prepared for school.

Also many immigrants did not think cooperation between parents and staff was good enough and called for nurseries to employ more bilingual staff.

However, the study found that the longer immigrant families had lived in Germany, the more likely they were to send their kids to nursery early on. Among second-generation immigrant families, almost as many children were sent to nursery as in German families, wrote the magazine.

Like German parents, many immigrants would like to send their children to day care but hit problems such as high fees and unsuitable hours. However, religious or cultural reservations as well as the language barrier conspire to make things even harder for immigrants than native parents to get their kids a place. 

Previous studies have shown that children from immigrant backgrounds sent late to nursery or not sent at all often do worse at school – mainly because they struggle to get over the German language barrier.

Only 19 percent of children from Turkish families who have been to day care for more than three years before starting school later need extra language tuition to get by, compared with 61 percent who didn't go to nursery, said the magazine.

The Local

An obviously tired German bank employee fell asleep on his keyboard and accidentally transformed a minor transfer into a €222 million ($293 million) order, a court heard this week.


The labour court in the state of Hesse heard that the man was supposed to transfer just €62.40 from a bank account belonging to a retiree, but instead "fell asleep for an instant, while pushing onto the number 2 key on the keyboard" -- making it a huge €222,222,222.22 order.

The bank discovered the mistake shortly afterwards and corrected the error.

 

The case was taken to court by the man's 48-year-old colleague who was fired for letting the mistake slip through when verifying the order. The court ruled that the plaintiff should be reinstated in his job.

thelocal/AFP/mry

Karamba Diaby hopes to become the first black member of the Bundestag this September. Diaby is campaigning under the slogan "Diversity Creates Values" for a seat in the German parliament which, if successful, would make him the country's first lawmaker of African origin.

Many miles away from his birthplace in Senegal, the 51-year-old with a PhD in geo-ecology has made his home in Halle, a city in formerly communist East Germany, and now wants to represent it at the federal level.

"I am Senegalese, it's true, but firstly I am German," Diaby told news agency AFP in an interview.

Third on the Social Democratic Party's (SPD) list of candidates for the region of Saxony-Anhalt, his chances of winning the hotly-contested seat for Halle in Germany's Bundestag lower house of parliament are seen by his party as good.

German voters go to the polls on September 22 when the centre-left Social Democrats will seek to unseat conservative Angela Merkel at the Chancellery after two terms at the helm of Europe's top economy.

Halle, with its 230,000-strong population, is grappling with an unemployment rate that, at 13 percent, is twice the national average. It is also viewed as a hotbed of far-right extremism.

The married father-of-two took German nationality 12 years ago after finding himself "by chance" in East Germany in 1985 as a student, having won a coveted scholarship to learn German and study chemistry in Leipzig.

One of his first political victories came when the detested Berlin Wall fell in November 1989.

Then, as the spokesman for foreign students at his university, he pushed for the situation of exchange students facing deportation with the disappearance of East Germany to be shored up.

Well before joining the Social Democrats in 2008, Diaby, who previously was also a spokesman for striking students in Dakar, says he had always "made justice the fight of his life".

"I would like to be judged on my competence and my experience rather than on the colour of my skin," he said, describing his political journey as a "progression".

Though he was physically attacked in 1991 because of his origins, Diaby, who is also a former president of the Federal Council of Immigrants, believes that today xenophobia no longer poses as big a problem in Germany as 20 years ago.

"East Germany has changed a lot," he said.

Nevertheless the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany has lawmakers in the eastern state assemblies of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and has secured a seat on Halle's city council.

Rüdiger Fikentscher, former head of the SPD's regional federation, said he recalled being won over by Diaby's experience which, he said, had always surmounted challenges "with flying colours".

"He has all the requisite qualities. He is kind, very intelligent, grasps things very quickly and above all, he's not looking to stand out," he said.

Diaby always walks around his home turf and is a well-known face locally.

"People stop me on every street corner and tell me their stories," he said. "That's part of my work."

His personable manner lends itself to campaigning as the Social Democrats gear up to try to win back the seat from the socialist The Left party which triumphantly took it in elections four years ago.

"Karamba's great strength is his easy contact with people," Thomas Stimpel, one of his campaign officials, said. "You put him in a room with people and 10 minutes later he knows everyone."

thelocal/AFP/mry

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