Accra, Nov. 7, GNA – The Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church, have declared a two-week national fasting and prayer session towards a peaceful election on December 7.
A statement issued in Accra on Wednesday by Reverend Godwin Kwaku Osiakwa, Clerk of the General Assembly, and made available to the Ghana News Agency said the fasting starts from November 1- November 15.
It said the decision, which was taken at the Church’s Fourth General Assembly held in August , took into consideration acts of disparaging comments, tension and distrust exhibited by some politicians.
It said the Assembly was also influenced by electoral violence and political unrest that had rocked neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire and some African countries.
“Taking a cue from the negative impact of displacement, development setbacks and extreme polarisation along partisan and ethnic lines afflicting these countries, the Church is urging all Ghanaians, especially political leaders and their followers to be guided by their faith and exercise high sense of tolerance and patience in the wake of any form of provocation,” the statement noted.
The Church also called on state security services and other key actors in the electoral process, particularly the Electoral Commission, to rise to the task of ensuring sanity, order and fairness in the conduct of the election.
“The Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana, is committed to its mission of ‘Bringing light to where there is darkness and will continue to proclaim the gospel for sustainable peace, harmony and development to prevail in the country,” the statement said.
Accra, Nov. 7, GNA - Dr Ebenezer Badoe, Director of the Neurology/Development of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, has called for the training of more speech therapists with specialty in pediatric to attend to the rising demand of their services.
He said though there are trained speech therapists in Ghana, he is the only pediatric speech therapist serving the whole country.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency at the opening of a three-day Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Training workshops for teachers , doctors, nurses, therapists and patients as well as caregivers, Dr Badoe noted that there is one person from his department who had gone for the training abroad and is expected back soon.
The workshop, which will be divided into three sections, will have the first day to teach the teachers how to handle children with autism and other special needs, the second day for nurses, doctors and therapists whilst the third day would be for parents and care givers.
The event is being organised by Haven International, Ghana in collaboration with the special Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service.
Dr Badoe explained that “Some time ago, autism was not a word in Ghana until five years ago when I came back from the UK to work at Korle Bu. So far, I have seen 400 patients and about 90 per cent have been boys aged two years. I receive one patient a week and this is gradually building up”.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.
The World Health Organisation estimates that 20 per cent of children worldwide are affected by a disabling mental illness. Developmental disabilities worldwide are commonly underreported, which poses a problem for the caregiver and individuals affected by the illness as they get older and enter society.
He noted that it is unfortunate that Ghana do not have a reliable data or statistics on autism.
Dr Badoe called for the need to fund such a research, which would give seriousness to the situation.
He explained that there are many parents who are keeping their autistic children at home for fear of being stigmatized.
He asked such parents to send their children for the necessary medical attention.
Dr Badoe called for the training of more occupational therapists and physiotherapists whose work are done in collaboration with the speech therapists.
Barbie Zimmerman-Bier, Chief Developmental Pediatrics of the Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, USA, who spoke on the “Over view of Autism and Intellectual disabilities” defined the health problem as a biologically based neurodevelopmental disorder that is not the result of bad parenting and it typically appeared during the first three years of life.
She explained that it affects a person's ability to communicate and interact socially with others associated with repetitive behaviors and interests.
Treatments she noted are individualised but possible causes with limited scientific data included family factors, prenatal factors, postnatal factors, environmental stressors, metals, infections, inflammation and oxidative.
“Treatment of underlying medical conditions is important to improve the general quality of life of an individual with autism but recent research in certain genetic conditions is paving the way for new treatment,” she added.
Dr Genevieve Kumapley Executive Director of Haven International, Ghana said she was inspired to organise the training because of her autistic child and as a Ghanaian decided to impact knowledge to parents and teachers who might have children with autism and other disabilities.
She gave the three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share also known as the 'triad of impairments' as difficulty with social communication, difficulty with social interaction as well as difficulty with social imagination.
She urged parents with autistic children not to hide them at home but rather send them to health facilities to receive the needed care and attention since “such children have special needs that demand special care and attention”.
Mr Thomas Patrick Otaah, Deputy Director in charge of Special Education Unit of the Ghana Education Service, commended the organisers for the training and said though there are a higher teacher attrition needs, the country have more than enough teachers.
He explained that the country have 28 special schools with 26 units in the mainstream of education into schools adding, the current teacher student ration is 1:30 instead of 1:8 in children and 1:10 in adults.
He called for more incentives to be given to teachers teaching children with special needs to encourage them to stay and not leave for the mainstream.
Accra, Nov. 7, GNA - Delta Airlines has posted a net income, excluding special items, of 768 million dollars or 0.90 dollar per diluted share in its September 2012 quarter.
Its Generally Accepted Accounting Principles net income was 1.0 billion dollars, including mark-to-market gains on open fuel hedges and other special items, while its unit revenues went up three per cent in the quarter under review.
A statement issued by Delta’s Atlanta office and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said the company has produced a unit revenue premium to the industry for 18 consecutive months.
Results included 174 million dollars in profit sharing expense, for a total of 309 million dollars year to date, in recognition of Delta employees’ efforts toward the company’s financial targets.
Delta people also received 67 million dollars in Shared Rewards in 2012 for hitting the company’s operational and customer service targets and ended the September 2012 quarter with 5.1 billion dollars in unrestricted liquidity and adjusted net debt of 11.9 billion dollars.
Mr Richard Anderson, Delta’s Chief Executive Officer stated that “Delta’s strong September quarter results combined with industry-leading operations and customer service reflect an improved industry structure and our consistent investment in the business. We will continue on this path as we progress into 2013”.
He noted that with a more stable financial foundation, the airline was now focused on positioning itself for long-term margin expansion, sustained profitability and shareholder returns instead of short-term profit gains.
Delta’s operating revenue grew 107 million dollars, or 1 per cent, on 1.5 per cent lower capacity in the September 2012 quarter compared to the September 2011 quarter. Load factor for the quarter increased 0.3 points year over year to 86.4 per cent.
Passenger revenue increased 1 per cent, or 124 million dollars, compared to the same period in 2011. Passenger unit revenue increased 3 per cent, driven by a 3 per cent improvement in yield while Cargo revenue decreased by 5 per cent, or 14 million dollars, with lower cargo yields partially offset by higher volumes.
Other revenue also decreased 3 million dollars as lower third-party maintenance revenues were partially offset by higher code share revenue.
The statement said: “Our solid revenue performance reflects the benefits of capacity discipline, strong operational performance and the investments we have made in our products and service.
“We expect our revenue performance to benefit from our continued capacity discipline and further corporate travel gains and we are forecasting our October unit revenues to increase 4 – 5 per cent year over year.”
Accra, Nov. 7, GNA - President John Dramani Mahama on Wednesday ordered a 24-hour search and rescue operation to save the lives of people trapped in the collapsed building that housed the Melcom Shopping centre at Achimota in Accra.
President Mahama, who suspended his Election 2012 Campaign tour of the Upper East Region and returned to Accra, said every effort should be made to save the lives of those still trapped under the rubble.
"Every minute means much to somebody's life. Let us work in a 24-hour cycle," he said, when he visited the site of the accident.
President Mahama however warned that whoever was responsible for the negligence that had caused the disaster would pay the price.
He was in the company government officials including Brigadier General Martin Ahiaglo, Commander Southern Sector of the Ghana Armed Forces, Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuye, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kofi Porturphy, National Co-ordinator of National Disaster Management Organisation.
Rescue workers say 38 people have been rescued while three people have died.
Accra, Nov.7, GNA - Lt Gen Joseph Henry Smith, Minister of Defence on Wednesday inaugurated a rehabilitated block for Medical Emergency at the 37 Military Hospital.
The more than 30-bed facility, was rehabilitated at a total cost of GH¢152,340.00 by TOBINCO Pharmaceuticals Limited, which also adopted the facility to ensure its regular upkeep.
Lt Gen Smith, who unveiled a plague and cut the tape to inaugurate the block, thanked the benefactors for their commitment and support towards the institution.
He noted: “This will go a long way to motivate the staff of the centre to work harder to ensure quality health service delivery.”
He explained that most of the structures and facilities at the Hospital are very old, dating as far back as the World-war II, and therefore needed major renovations.
He indicated that as the National Emergency and Disaster centre, the 37 Military Hospitals is expected to expand its services to the wider public and to achieve its objectives, it must have a separate budget to effectively run affairs.
He said the Hospital currently depends on the budget of the Ministry of Defence and its Internally Generated Fund, which are woefully inadequate.
Lt Gen Smith said the Ministry has written to Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, requesting for a separate budget to be drawn for the Hospital.
He said his sector Ministry intends to make the Hospital an envy of West Africa.
He called on philanthropists and corporate institutions to emulate the gesture of TOBINCO Pharmaceuticals Limited to help expand medical facilities to promote high standards in the country’s medical and health facilities.
Mr Isaac Obed Brown, Financial Controller, of the company said the rehabilitation exercise was in line with TOBINCO’s corporate social responsibility.
He said the Hospital plays a critical role in emergency health service delivery, and needed to be supported to encourage not only hard work among the staff but also provide a conducive environment for both patients and staff.
He urged the hospital administrators to adopt high sense of maintenance culture to prolong the healthy use of the facility.
Brigadier General Paul Kponyoh of the medical facility explained that the emergency unit of the hospital has been decentralised to fulfil its new assignment as a Medical Emergency and Disaster Centre.
These, he said included the gynaecology, paediatric as well as the neonatal units which are now separated in terms of emergency, apart from the medical and surgical emergency units and therefore needed theatres to prevent obstruction and delays in surgeries.
Accra, Nov. 7, GNA – Lufthansa German Airlines and NIVEA have introduced a joint “Love and Care” Facebook campaign for the most romantic, moving and amusing long-distance relationship stories.
Lufthansa and NIVEA would give away a total of three Lufthansa flights and 500 NIVEA travel sets to entrants during the campaign which runs from November 1 November -28.
The campaign is to reward some of the many people who believed that ‘long-distance’ relationships can still work out.
This was contained in a statement sent to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday by Lion Sun Consulting -Lagos on behalf of Lufthansa.
“All too often, those moving to a new city or a different country will leave a large part of their happiness behind – with their friends, their family or even their partner.
“And of course it makes no difference whether their nearest and dearest are being left for a career or for the love of their life. And yet, day in and day out, many people show that long-distance relationships of this kind can still work out,” the statement said.
As part of the “Love & Care” Facebook campaign, people are to post their long-distance relationship story on the NIVEA Facebook page- www.facebook.com/niveadeutschland or the Lufthansa Facebook page- www.facebook.com/lufthansa.
Participants can also upload a suitable photo, and will automatically receive a promotion code for their next Lufthansa flight.
Entrants can also win one of three Lufthansa flights and 500 NIVEA travel sets, since long-distance relationships make it important to see one another as often as possible.
This means that “the winners can visit their loved ones in comfort and arrive looking well groomed!” the statement added.
NIVEA is a global entity known for manufacturing and marketing of skin care products.
Accra , Nov. 7, GNA - At least one person is dead, while an unknown number of persons are trapped under rubble of the collapsed building that housed the Achimota branch of the Melcom Shopping Centre in Accra.
Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, who went to the site on Wednesday, said rescue workers were trying to reach the trapped persons and provide ventilation to them.
He has declared the collapse of the building a national disaster.
Vice President Amissah Arthur said two people were taken out of the rubble initially but one did not survive.
Some of the trapped people were speaking and there was the need to have silence for rescue workers to hear them and reach them early, he said.
"They (rescue team) are trying to find ways to get ventilation to them," Mr Amissah-Arthur said, and appealed to the hundreds of onlookers around the area to move further away from the scene to enable the team to effectively carry out their duty.
Asked about the cause of collapse of the building, the Vice President said it was not the time to speculate and added”Let us rescue those trapped now".
Mr Amissah-Arthur said the number of those trapped was unknown and asked members of the public to cooperate with the task force at the site, made up of the Ghana National Fire Service, National Ambulance, Ghana Police Service and a detachment from the Ghana Armed Forces to do their work.
The Vice President was accompanied by Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Alfred Oko Vanderpuye, Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive , Lieutenant General Henry Smith (Rtd), Minister of Defence, and Madam Elizabeth Sackey, Member of Parliament for Okaikoi North.
The six-storey building was believed to have collapsed around 0940 hours with an unknown number of people trapped inside.
An official statement signed by John Abdulai Jinapor, Presidential Spokesperson, said the President had directed the Vice President, Mr Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, the Chief of Staff, Mr John Martey Newman the Interior and Defence Ministers and the Security Chiefs to supervise and coordinate the rescue efforts.
The statement said President Mahama had suspended his campaign tour of the Upper East Region and was heading to the site of the collapsed building at Achimota.
It said the President was minutes away from his first point of call, Bawku, when he received briefing from the Chief of Staff on the incident.
“The President was informed about the collapse of the building a short while ago and he is returning to Accra immediately,” a source close to the president told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) earlier.
The president’s convoy, which was close to Bawku, turned around to return to Bolgatanga, the regional capital.
Accra, Nov. 07, GNA – Madam Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology on Wednesday said there was a clear cause and effect relationship between poverty and environmental degradation.
She said environmental degradation led to widespread poverty and that equally, poverty was a habitual cause of environmental degradation as it undermined people’s capacity to manage resources wisely.
Madam Ayittey said this at the launch of the National Environmental Policy document in Accra which has the vision for the management of the environment in a sustainable way to benefit the Ghanaian society.
She said the lives of all Ghanaians were intimately connected to the environment and therefore, the survival and that of the future generations depended on the harmonious relationship with the natural environment.
The Environment Minister explained that Ghanaians had no choice but to strive to manage the environment and its natural resources in ways that enhance the potential for growth and opportunity for sustainable development of present and future generations.
She noted that problems of underdevelopment such as poverty, ill health and others that plague the majority of Ghanaians were both environmental and developmental.
Environmental management was therefore a social and economic necessity as well as an integral component of sustainable development and at the centre of any environmental policy.
Madam Ayittey said investment in the development of the environment and its management was vital because the first victim of acute poverty was the environment and therefore, investment in economic development must also target poverty related environmental problems.
“Ours must aim at eradicating communicable diseases, guaranteeing food, shelter, safe water for all, employment and income generation in rural and urban areas, particularly to address poverty”.
Madam Ayittey expressed disappointment about illegal mining (Galamsey), invasion of Fulani herdsmen, pollution, climate change, land degradation, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.
She challenged Ghanaians to recognize the various demands made on the environment and reconcile those in ways which sought to maintain and enhance it for the future
She said government was currently undertaking strategies aimed at strengthening environmental governance, the financial base of social services through cost recovery, enhanced community participation and improved delivery systems.
Mr. Daniel Amlalo, Acting Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency, said Ghana needed to ensure that natural resources exploitation, socio-cultural issues, economic strategies and institutional frameworks which constituted the four pillars of sustainability were given equal consideration in the development process.
The policy document was developed in 1992 with a government’s goal of integral and holistic management system for the environment in Ghana, aimed at sustainable development as well as seeking to unite Ghanaians in working towards a society where all residents of the country have access to sufficient and wholesome food, clean air and water among others.
Accra, Nov. 7, GNA – The Office of the former Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Wednesday denied reports that the former Vice President was rushed to the hospital on November, 6th 2012.
It said: “We would like to inform the general public that, His Excellency is fine by God’s grace and currently doing very well”. This was contained in a statement to the Ghana News Agency in Accra signed by Mr. Samuel Kwadwo Frimpong, a special aide to the former Vice President.
“We would want to advice all Ghanaians to ignore any speculation in that regard.
“The family would like to state on record that, Alhaji Aliu Mahama went to hospital on Saturday 3rd November himself and was not rushed to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital on the 6th November as some media houses reported.
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