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Liberian President stresses crucial UN role in countrys development

“UN agencies will play a very important role in all the different spheres of operation that will add to our capacity, that will supplement our resources, so we can scale up the development work we are doing to be able to respond to the basic needs of the people,” Ms. Johnson Sirleaf told UN Radio in an interview after the run-off round of presidential elections in the West African country. “We will be moving away from a lot of humanitarian assistance and confidence-building measures,” Ms. Johnson Sirleaf said. “We will work with the agencies and programmes of the UN system on an appropriate exit strategy for the UN peacekeeping force.” She said she envisioned engagement “that will focus on development like agriculture through the UN Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) and capacity-building through the United Development Programme (UNDP). The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been very important in our programmes – they all have a role to play,” she said. Media reports indicate that Liberia’s National Electoral Commission had declared Ms. Johnson Sirleaf the winner of Tuesday’s presidential run-off poll after garnering more than 90 percent of the vote, while her challenger, Winston Tubman, withdrew from the second round alleging that the first was not fair. Ms. Johnson Sirleaf told UN Radio that Mr. Tubman had the right to challenge the elections results, but that she was certain that the results would stand because they met the requirement of the country’s constitution and elections laws. “As a Nobel laureate, of course, I have to go the extra mile in promoting peace and reconciliation in our society,” Ms. Johnson Sirleaf said. “We are going to reach out to everybody and ensure that they have a participation in what we do.” Ms. Johnson Sirleaf won the first presidential election after the war in 2005, becoming the first elected woman head of State in Africa. As a woman President, particularly the first democratically elected president on the African continent, she represents the aspirations and the expectations of women in Liberia and in Africa, she said. The UN has maintained the peacekeeping force in Liberia since 2003 to bolster a ceasefire agreement ending a decade of war that killed nearly 150,000 people, mostly civilians, and sent 850,000 others fleeing to neighbouring countries. Its mandate includes helping to restore the rule of law and democratic processes as well as facilitating humanitarian assistance. It has a current strength of 7,775 troops and over 1,300 police officers. 10 November 2011Liberia’s President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, today stressed that the United Nations will continue to play a crucial role in the country, with development support becoming the main focus of the Organization’s programmes as the need for humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping recedes. read more

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Morneau promises fiscal update next week detailing state of Canadas finances

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he will deliver a fall economic update Tuesday to document the recent strong growth in the Canadian economy, but did not say whether it will include a plan to eliminate the federal deficit.Morneau says the update will “affirm” plans to reverse course and cut the small business tax rate to nine per cent by 2019.He says the update will also end tax advantages for “the wealthy few” — a plan that has landed the finance minister in a world of controversy.He made the announcement in the House of Commons despite being under siege in recent weeks from opposition critics over the proposed changes, as well as allegations of conflict of interest involving his considerable financial assets.Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have subsequently tweaked the tax measures this week amid outrage from small business owners, doctors, farmers, fishers and even some Liberal backbench MPs.The fiscal update comes as the Canadian economy is on a roll.The Finance Department notes that real GDP growth reached a 4.5-per-cent pace in the second quarter, with a budget deficit for 2016-17 that was $11.6 billion lower than projected in the 2016 budget.The government says real GDP has grown at an average rate of 3.7 per cent–the strongest four-quarter period of expansion since 2006 — and 400,000 new jobs have been created in the last two years.In recent months, Morneau has tied Canada’s strong economic performance to his government’s strategy to run deficits, which helped it finance measures such as lower income-tax rates for middle earners and enhanced child benefits.He also says Ottawa is sticking to a plan to invest more than $180 billion in infrastructure over the next 11 years, adding to annual, multibillion-dollar shortfalls across Ottawa’s five-year budgetary outlook — and perhaps beyond.Opposition Conservatives have long been critical about the government’s plan to add to the federal debt to fund new measures, while some economists have urged Ottawa to limit fiscal uncertainty by mapping out a plan to return to balance. read more

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