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Pressure Grows In Liberia Over US Charity In ‘School Rape’ Storm

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Pressure Grows In Liberia Over US Charity In 'School Rape' Storm

Liberian Vice President Jewel Taylor on Tuesday lent her voice to demands for a probe into a US educational charity after girls were raped at a school supposed to save them from a life of sexual exploitation.

Last week, the charity More Than Me admitted to major failings and deeply apologised after the scale of the abuse came to light.

“I vehemently denounce this act of exploiting our young girls and putting an organisation’s interest before the lives of our children,” said Taylor.

“I will never condone this act from anyone, be it foreign or domestic. Please allow us to do due diligence.”

Last week, the US investigative site ProPublica described how girls were systematically raped at the More Than Me Academy in Liberia’s capital Monrovia.

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The charity had founded the school specifically to empower and educate local girls to save them from prostitution and sexual coercion.

The rapes – some of them perpetrated against children as young as 10 – were carried out by the charity’s co-founder, Macintosh Johnson, who later died of AIDS, ProPublica said in a piece co-published with Time.

The assaults took place at a school at West Point, a notorious slum in Monrovia.

It opened in 2013 to a blaze of publicity, becoming the first of 18 schools that More Than Me opened in the impoverished West African state.

ProPublica described Johnson as a “charming hustler” who insinuated himself with Katie Meyler, an evangelical Christian who created the charity.

She eventually raised more than $8m in funding, nearly $600 000 of which came from the US government, and gained the support of Liberia’s then president and Nobel Peace Laureate, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

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 ‘Horrific reminder’ 

Taylor said ProPublica’s investigation was a “horrific reminder of what continues to happen to the most vulnerable in our society, our young girls.”

“First and foremost, we must give the appropriate attention to the girls and victims at the institution. Medical and psychological support must be rendered to them and their families,” she said.

“Second, my office will engage all parties involved to ensure that the current children under the care of the institution are safe and protected.”

After some of the girls came forward to reveal what was happening, Johnson was suspended by the school and arrested.

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He was facing trial when he died in 2016 from an illness that ProPublica said was AIDS, stoking fears that he had infected his victims with HIV.

On Friday, More Than Me said it was “profoundly, deeply sorry” and would strengthen efforts to prevent any recurrence.

“To all the girls who were raped by Macintosh Johnson in 2014 and before: we failed you,” it said.

Separately, the information ministry late Monday said the government was reviewing the ProPublica report.

“We are currently looking into it after which we will inform the Liberian people about our official position,” Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon was quoted as saying by the Liberia News Agency.

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Ramaphosa Deploys SANDF To Mozambique As Cyclone Affects SA Power Supply

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Ramaphosa Deploys SANDF To Mozambique As Cyclone Affects SA Power Supply

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa says he has deployed the South African National Defense Force, SANDF, to Mozambique to assist in recovery efforts after cyclone Idal caused severe damage, knocking down pylons and affecting power supply to Eskom.

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The storm is said to have damaged a Mozambican transmission line to South Africa, cutting supplies by 900 mega watts, and worsening already strained electricity supply in South Africa.

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The president has apologized to South Africans for the crisis that has led to an increase in load shedding.  Ramaphosa said the problem should be cleared within two to three days.

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Kenya: Former Destitute Man, Patrick Hinga Passes On

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Kenya: Former Destitute Man, Patrick Hinga Passes On

Former destitute street adult in Kenya, Patrick Hinga, has died.  His rescue and transformation by a former schoolmate became an internet sensation.  Hinga’s rehabilitation from the abyss of drug abuse was captured and shared step by step on social media by Wanja Nwaura, a childhood friend, who also broke the sad news on Sunday.

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Nwaura had a chance meeting with Hinga in 2017 when he shouted her name as she was getting to a market.  A journey back from drug addiction began for Nwaura’s childhood friend who had spent many years living in the streets.

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Nwaura took Hinga out of the streets and got him help at a local rehabilitation center.  Born in 1983, Hinga’s drug problems began when he was in standard 8. His friends introduced him to the lifestyle that later destroyed him.

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Nwaura launched an appeal for Hinga’s rehabilitation as the Chiromo medical lane center.  He completed the program in 2018, and the hospital waived a fifteen hundred dollars bill.

Nwaura did not say what caused her friend’s death.

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Black Boxes Data Shows “Clear Similarities” Between Ethiopian And Lion Air Crashes

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Black Boxes Data Shows “Clear Similarities” Between Ethiopian And Lion Air Crashes

Black boxes from the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet crash last week have shown what authorities call “clear similarities” with October’s lion air crash 737.

The crash has generated one of the most widely watched and high-stakes inquiries for years, with the latest version of Boeing’s profitable max series.

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Both jets in the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia were max 8, and both crashed minutes after take-off when pilots reported control problems.

Concern over the plane’s safety led aviation authorities to ground the model, wiping billions off Boeing’s market value.

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Ethiopian transport ministry spokesman, Muse Yiheyis, has said the data were successfully recovered, and they show similar case with the Indonesian crash.  He said American and Ethiopian teams had validated data from the black boxes.  Us officials told Reuters News Agency in Washington they have not validate the data.

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