So the ladies are moving on up...Liberia - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-16-2006, 12:10 PM   #1
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wink So the ladies are moving on up...Liberia

[q]African History: Liberia Swears in Sirleaf
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Sworn in As Liberian President, Africa's First Female Elected Head of State
By HANS NICHOLS
The Associated Press

MONROVIA, Liberia - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf pledged a "fundamental break" with Liberia's violent past as she was sworn in Monday as president, carving her name into history as Africa's first elected female head of state.

Wearing a traditional African headdress, Sirleaf took the oath of office in a ceremony attended by thousands of Liberians and scores of foreign dignitaries, including first lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"We know that your vote was a vote for change, a vote for peace, security ... and we have heard you loudly," Sirleaf said in her inaugural speech.

"We recognize this change is not a change for change's sake, but a fundamental break with the past, therefore requiring that we take a bold and decisive steps to address the problems that have for decades stunted our progress," she said.

Standing in front of a one-starred Liberian flag with her left hand on a Bible, Sirleaf pledged to "faithfully, conscientiously and impartially discharge the duties and functions of the office of president of the Republic of Liberia to the best of my abilities, so help me God."

Sirleaf takes charge of a nation struggling for peace after a quarter century of coups and war and she has promised to unite it.

Speaking for the first time as president, she also pledged to stamp out corruption to secure the trust of skeptical foreign donors whose aid is desperately needed to rebuild.

In a statement, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan congratulated Sirleaf, saying she had a "historic mandate to lead the nation toward a future of lasting peace and stability."

Security was tight at Monday's ceremony, with armed U.N. peacekeepers surveying the scene from atop surrounding buildings with binoculars.

The U.N. has redeployed 500 peacekeepers previously stationed outside the capital to strategic points in Monrovia and the international airport. Liberian police, though unarmed, have also increased their presence on the streets.

Two U.S. Navy warships also were visible offshore for the first time since the war ended in 2003, a rare show of support also meant to protect two high-profile guests: Mrs. Bush and Rice. Also attending were several African heads of state, including Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki.

Sirleaf will serve a six-year term as head of Africa's oldest republic, founded by freed American slaves in 1847. The country has known little but war, however, since a rebel group led by Charles Taylor plunged the country into chaos, invading from neighboring Ivory Coast in 1989.

Taylor became president in 1997 but stepped down and was exiled to Nigeria as part of the 2003 peace deal brokered as rebels pressed on the capital. He is now wanted on war crimes charges by a U.N.-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone for his role in backing a brutal rebel group during that country's 1991-2002 civil war.

On a flight to Monrovia, Rice told reporters Taylor "is through raping and pillaging this country, and the Liberian people are trying to look forward."

Nigeria has refused to hand Taylor over to the court and Sirleaf has said only that she would consult with regional leaders regarding Taylor's future. Rice said she's confident Sirleaf will work to hand Taylor over to the Sierra Leone court.

Rich in diamonds, iron ore and timber, Liberia was relatively prosperous and peaceful until a 1980 coup saw illiterate Master Sgt. Samuel Doe seize power and order Cabinet ministers tied to poles in their underwear and executed.

Harvard-educated Sirleaf was finance minister at the time, but was spared, she told The Associated Press in a recent interview, "by the grace of God."

Twice imprisoned in the 1980s by Doe's junta, Sirleaf fled into exile.

When Taylor launched a rebel invasion in 1989, Sirleaf briefly supported him a move that still draws criticism today. The war saw children as young as 10 take up arms. Fighting uprooted half the country's 3 million people and killed 200,000.

A truce paved the way for presidential elections in 1997 that Sirleaf lost to Taylor. The brazen bid earned her the nickname "Iron Lady."

After another rebel war forced Taylor from power in 2003, Sirleaf ran for president again, this time winning a heated November run-off buoyed by a resume that included senior jobs at Citibank, the U.N. and the World Bank. Her soccer star rival, George Weah, was backed by ex-rebel leaders and many ex-combatants.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:48 PM   #2
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Chile also just elected a woman president...
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:21 PM   #3
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:26 PM   #4
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Its good to see woman becoming world leaders. Mabey they will have more sense than there male counterparts.

Many past Native American tribes used to have woman as leaders for the tribes. There still would be chiefs but woman had the most say in tibal matters.
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:43 PM   #5
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Very smart countries.

Kick ass, ladies!











*waits for inevitable "oh yeah? what happens when it's 'that time of the month?' comment*
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:59 PM   #6
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What happens when it's that time of the month.
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Old 01-16-2006, 02:00 PM   #7
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*waits for inevitable "oh yeah? what happens when it's 'that time of the month?' comment*
then they'll kick even more ass, of course.
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Old 01-16-2006, 02:01 PM   #8
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then they'll kick even more ass, of course.

EXACTLY!
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Old 01-16-2006, 03:08 PM   #9
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then they'll kick even more ass, of course.
That's just what I was gonna say!
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Old 01-16-2006, 03:11 PM   #10
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good luck to her.

Liberia has been through so much, and we've done so little for it despite the US's long history with Liberia.
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Old 01-16-2006, 04:10 PM   #11
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to Liberia and Chile!

My dad just called, he´s in Concepcion and got into a party, driving there with the bus from Talca
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Old 01-16-2006, 04:57 PM   #12
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SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Chile president-elect Michelle Bachelet, a Socialist who will be the country's first female leader, vowed on Monday to shrink the gap between rich and poor that persists in the South American nation despite lower poverty and a thriving economy.

Bachelet, from Chile's ruling center-left coalition, won 53 percent of ballots cast in Sunday's election while opposition candidate Sebastian Pinera took 47 percent, the government Electoral Service said.

The 54-year-old medical doctor, who was imprisoned and tortured briefly during the beginning of the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship before living in exile abroad, will be the fourth consecutive president from the center-left alliance that has run Chile since 1990.

"What is important is that we guarantee decent and dignified work to all Chileans ... what is important is that everybody has the same rights and the same opportunities," Bachelet said at her first media conference as the president elect.

An agnostic with three children from two relationships, Bachelet benefited from a shift to more secular values in Chile, which has had a reputation historically as one of the region's most socially conservative countries.

Bachelet, who is to assume office in March, is expected to be a pragmatic leftist, following in the footsteps of widely popular President Ricardo Lagos, whose fiscal discipline won over many right-leaning skeptics.

She told foreign reporters she would push for a bare-bones Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement that recognizes the different economic realities of individual countries and allows them to gradually build toward a more comprehensive deal.

On that point, Bachelet seemed more in line with the trade agreement's strongest backer, the United States, than with fellow leftists in Venezuela and Argentina, who helped block progress on the FTAA in a presidential summit in November.

MRS. PRESIDENT

A former defense minister, Bachelet is only the second woman elected to head a South American nation after Janet Jagan of Guyana was chosen to succeed her husband as president in 1997 after he died.

Everyone from babies in Bachelet headbands to elderly couples and tattooed young people joined in the street revelry that crowded Santiago's main boulevard on Sunday night.

"We have all been pleased with Mrs. President's capacity to approach people and her empathy, how she cares about the poor and those who are marginalized, and how she cares about children's well-being through the well-being of the family," said Francisco Javier Errazuriz, Santiago's archbishop.

Political scientist Ricardo Israel said a main challenge for Bachelet will be to bring more women into public office, and to find a place for her social-democratic coalition within the range of leftist governments taking hold in Latin America.

Israel said she would have to balance the need to maintain good global relations, particularly with the United States, so Chile can keep benefiting from global free trade, while guaranteeing a steady natural gas supply from its neighbors.

Bachelet has promised women would get half the jobs in her cabinet, and she told tens of thousands of confetti-throwing supporters she will work to improve social security and education by the time her four-year term ends in 2010.

A Bachelet victory consolidates a shift to the left in Latin America, where leftists now run Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela, some with politics more extreme than others.

Socialist Evo Morales will soon take office in gas-rich Bolivia, and a leftist is favored to win Mexico's July presidential election.

"I think she will have to make one decision very soon, which is whether or not to attend the inauguration of Evo Morales, which is on January 22," Israel said, alluding to traditional tensions between the two neighbors.

Bachelet said she had not made decisions about upcoming trips, although she said neighboring Argentina would be one of her first stops.

"As president-elect and as president, I will maintain an appropriate relationship with all democratically elected presidents," she told journalists.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez praised Bachelet's tenacity and pledged his government's collaboration with Chile, Venezuela's presidential press office reported.
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Old 01-16-2006, 05:01 PM   #13
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"Does this country make me look fat?"


since there are already sexist remarks - i thought i would contribute
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Old 01-16-2006, 05:08 PM   #14
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^Deep, you're evil.
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Old 01-16-2006, 08:51 PM   #15
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One of my favorite professors (and quite possibly the most respected professor) has been to Liberia 15 times. I'll have to ask him about this next time I see him.
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