Many-time national champion Gareth Henry will be expected to lead Jamaica’s charge for success against their international counterparts at next week’s Jamaica International Badminton Tournament. The stage has been set for some intense action inside the National Indoor Sports Centre from March 17-20 with competition in men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles, and mixed doubles categories. Jamaica’s 26- member contingent will be represented by a blend of youth and experience, headed by top male and female players Henry and Katherine Wynter, respectively. The 26-member team will have representation in all events. The country’s number one doubles pair of Gareth Henry and Garron Palmer will be looking to reign supreme, while the junior pair, Samuel Ricketts and Sean Wilson, will be a strong duo. Mixed doubles The Jamaicans will also see mixed doubles representation among the brother-and-sister pair of Gareth Henry and Geordine Henry as well as Garron Palmer and Mikaylia Haldane. Meanwhile, the women’s doubles is also expected to be fruitful for the Jamaicans, with leading pair Katherine Wynter and Ruth Williams tipped to go through to the finals. Next week’s tourney will reward successful competitors with Rio 2016 Olympics qualifying points and US$6,000 in prize money. Five top 100 ranked international players will also be in action. Twenty-one countries will participate: Jamaica, Austria, Italy, Mexico, Slovakia, Belgium, India, Barbados, Nigeria, Canada, Cuba, Chineese Taipei, Greece, Czech Republic, Peru, Portugal, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Lithuania, Australia, and Finland.
‘High crimes and misdemeanors’: Trump impeachment trial begins Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Gov’t in no rush to rescue animals in Taal China’s Zhang Minjie and Zhang Jiaqi perform in the women’s synchronized 10m platform event during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 28, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKSTwo 14-year-old divers from China became the youngest gold medalists at the 2018 Asian Games when they romped to victory in the women’s synchronized 10 meter platform on Tuesday.Zhang Jiaqi and Zhang Minjie — fresh from victory at the Wuhan world cup in June — tumbled into a commanding lead from their exquisite opening dive and never looked threatened, securing the top spot with 361.38.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Palace OKs total deployment ban on Kuwait OFWs PH’s Rogen Ladon assured of bronze in Asian Games boxing Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Peza offers relief to ecozone firms MOST READ LATEST STORIES SEA Games 2019: Didal collects 2nd skateboard gold PLAY LIST 02:10SEA Games 2019: Didal collects 2nd skateboard gold02:11SEA GAMES 2019: PH’s Nesthy Petecio boxing featherweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Exiting the pool and even wiping their faces in perfect synchronization, there was no smile — just a conspiratorial whisper from Zhang Jiaqi, nicknamed “Little Fu Mingzia” after the Chinese diving great, into the ear of her team-mate.The win continued China’s perfect streak in the synchronized 10 meter platform, winning the fifth gold medal on the fifth occasion the event has been held.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Victory was the icing on the cake for Zhang Minjie, who was celebrating her 14th birthday on Tuesday.Behind the terrific teens came North Korean duo Kim Kuk Hyang and Kim Mi Rae — who placed fourth in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio — on 337.86.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSTim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’Malaysian pair Leong Mun Yee and Nur Dhabitah Sabri bagged the bronze with 310.80.Zhang Jiaqi, ranked five in the world, and world number nine Zhang Minjie showed no hint of nerves as they rolled out a spectacular back two-and-a-half somersaults and one-and-a-half twists in the fifth and final round to clinch the gold.
Senators entering the Chambers of the Senate on Tuesday for the plenary of the 20th day sitting were greeted by scores of toddlers, kindergarten and pre-school kids of the Quality Foundation School from the ELWA Community.The kids, according to their handlers, out of curiosity had written the lawmakers through the Secretary of the Senate to allow them visit the Senators during session and observe their proceedings.The handlers said the kids’ desire was based on the fact that they wanted to see firsthand how the Senators debate issues leading to the crafting of some of the laws.The headmistress of Quality Foundation told the Senators that the children, even at such a young age, are being taught basic issues about the Constitution, as demonstrated by their enthusiasm while singing two stanzas of the “Lone Star Forever”. This was followed by their school’s ode, which spells out that Quality Foundation produces quality education. She said the school is living up to its name by ensuring that although they are just children, they will be molded with a solid foundation in order to produce the quality of education the country will depend on in the future.Most of the children attending the school, according to the school’s authorities, come from parents living in the ELWA Community, who are mainly marketers.Watching the Legislators on television debating in sessions is said to be one of the factors responsible for the interest created in what happens behind the walls of the Capitol Building. “Some of them are even dreaming of becoming lawmakers one day,” the headmistress told the Senate.Welcoming the children and their handlers, Senate Pro Tempore Gbehzohngar M. Findley assured them that the building was their property and that lawmakers were more or less caretakers.“One day you are going to wear the shoes we are wearing today, but you have to continue to be serious in your lessons, disciplined, respectful to those who impart knowledge to you, and above all honest,” Pro Tempore admonished the little girls and boys.On behalf of the Senate, Pro Tempore Findley presented an amount of US$50 as transportation for their unusual, but welcomed visitors.But the biggest surprise for the visitors came from the Senate Chairman on Public Corporations and co-chair on Autonomous Commission and Agencies, Senator Alphonso Gaye, who “on behalf of the people of Grand Gedeh County”, presented an amount of US$500 as “transportation.”Senator Gaye amidst laughter from his colleagues, told the gathering that Senators who are fathers and mothers will always be willing and prepared to identify with children who demonstrate that they can be counted upon to represent their people when the time comes.The visit ended with the Senators taking a photograph with the children on the floor of the Senate chamber.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Residents of Harmonsville Township in Neekren Statutory District #5 in Grand Bassa County are constructing a 10-mile road with their bare hands. The residents, according to our correspondent, are implementing the project in the absence of government budgetary allotment for road construction in the district.The Commissioner of the township, Lawrence McCauley, told the Daily Observer at the project site that when completed, the road will link the district to Menneh and Barchue towns.While the road work was ongoing, Commissioner McCauley said the residents were also prepared to construct wooden bridges over five creeks along the route.He believes that when the road construction is completed, it will allow the inhabitants to have easy access to the township, as well as increase trade and commerce in the district.“This stretch of road, when completed, will be accessible to vehicles that will transport goods and services to faraway market places and also improve the locals’ social activities and living standards,” Commissioner McCauley said.For his part, Neekren Statutory District Superintendent, Josiah Jacobs, has lauded the residents’ initiative, and has therefore promised to assist.Commissioner McCauley has meanwhile appealed to the county leadership, all goodwill citizens and the many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the district to help the residents with at least L$150,000 to purchase food and other working implements for the workers to complete the exercise.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
…until, he decided to plunge headlong (head-first, somersault) into the Ja’neh impeachment suit in typical pro-poor style: ASKING NO QUESTIONS—JUST KICKING A**!By Attorney Keith N. Asumuyaya BestBut before throwing himself into the “hala hala” about impeaching Justice Ja’neh, Jones Nhinson Williams, presumably a young man, had written an article titled, “Liberia, Beneath (he had Behind) the Glass Ceiling: Are We in Trouble?” We couldn’t figure out how he came up with the above as a title, but the first half of the article struck us as nothing less than a gem (a costly, precious stone) for which he ought to be applauded (cheered).Reading the article was delightful from the start, with the author not caring that the man he was writing about might no longer be as popular as he had been prior to becoming president. We were not bothered by this either.Yes, that first part of Jones’ article was all about President George Oppong Weah! And it was refreshing to find out that Oppong had done far more than play the game as it was meant to be played.At the height of his career, we were informed, the soccer star had gone out of his way to help ensure that Liberian soccer aficionados (admirers, fans) receive some of the attention and support they had been deprived of for years. So, ‘kudos’ again to Mr. Williams for the enjoyable piece he brought us about Dr. Weah’s charitable (giving, kind) side.WILLIAMS’ FAUX PAS Unfortunately, praise for the article must end somewhere there in the middle of the article since, out of the clear, blue sky, the young man decided to leap into what is perhaps the most contentious (law related, debatable) political issue of the day—creating more disagreement, perhaps, than the so-called “currency crisis.”After writing as well as he did for the first part of his article, Williams should not have taken a false step, believing he had covered himself enough to harmlessly segue (transition, switch) as occurs like a movement from one piece of music to the other; or in literature, from one topic to the other, without setting it up correctly. When that happens, the change-over ends up neither smooth, true nor honest.But what the fine young writer is guilty of is no more than “jumping to the wrong conclusion”—like hitting a few non-musical, wrong notes in the fields of law and logic, and by implication grammar; all three. Let’s take a look.JUMPING TO WRONG CONCLUSIONS We pointed out earlier that Mr. Williams started off very well and kept the same tempo (rate, pace), giving the reader a number of exciting facts about the President they should enjoy and appreciate for almost one-half of Williams’ article. He reminded readers that Weah inherited a deeply corrupt and economically mismanaged nation.MEANS WELL As President of Liberia, today, “…Mr. Weah must take ownership of everything that must be done to fix what was broken by past Liberian administrations, going back in time in this order: Sirleaf’s, Bryant’s, Taylor’s and Sawyer’s,” Mr. Williams explained.“Fortunately,” Mr. Williams continued, “today’s President is sincere and honest about helping Liberians in a bid to improve the country for all. One reason why some of us like President Weah—and are willing to help him succeed—is rooted in his past humanitarian record, his humble beginnings and his sense of determination and persistence.”“There is no doubt,” Mr. Williams continued, “that President Weah means well. And, as most people know, he will be the first to admit that governing a nation is not easy. As such, we must give our national leaders credit for their time and effort in solving critical national problems; this we must do especially when—rather than remaining true, willing and rational partners—some lawmakers make nuisances of themselves by word and deed, instead of helping the President as ‘national partners’, ” the writer went on.ASSOCIATE JUSTICE JA’NEH “That is why every sound Liberian should be bothered by the actions and utterances of one Representative Ascarous Gray, who is said to represent Montserrado County,” Mr. Williams advised, sounding as though he had made a swing from one limb of a tree to another.“Honorable Gray is seeking the removal of a Liberian Supreme Court Justice from office in a process he calls ‘impeachment,’ even though there are no rational or compelling reasons provided other than that he just wants to impeach Justice Ja’neh,” Mr. Williams took it upon himself to proclaim.This unexpected development with the second part of his article, a veritable or true faux pas (blunder, misstep) left us disappointed for a number of reasons: imagine putting so much time and energy into the Weah segment of his article, only to let himself fall short by failing to discover (arrive at through search and study) a “rule-of-thumb” when dabbling in legal matters.What for example, might Associate Justice Ja’neh had been up to lately—or even earlier—that could serve as fodder (hay, food) or grounds for a lawsuit against the Justice, rather than anything to do with political or ethnic cleansing, as everyone or his brother seems to be volunteering or suggesting?BLIND FAITH But Williams saw no reason to be skeptical (disbelieving or doubtful) of anything related to Justice Ja’neh, just as we ourselves were sometime ago, following Ja’neh’s brilliant dissenting opinion opposing the other Justices in connection with the opposition’s protests against the shenanigans of the National Elections Commission; this took place during the final stages of last year’s presidential and legislative elections, following the vote of confidence the Judiciary publicly dashed the commissioner and his minions.“There is never anything wrong with disagreeing with what people do or what they try to say they are in the process of doing,” we have heard again and again. “That is exactly where we all want to be—in a position to wait and watch for things to develop. Then we can move forward, with the facts in our hands. Without this knowledge, we can do nothing under the law; any activity would be a waste of time without waiting to make certain that the relative and, therefore, needed facts, are true,” we learned some time ago.Instead of jumping ahead of himself, Williams might have waited for a few days to hear and benefit from the reasons outlined behind the action of members of the House involved in the impeachment effort.By the end of last week, Acarous Gray and cohorts had posted some of the counts that have surfaced in connection with the pending impeachment process said to be underway. They included misconduct, abuse of public office, wanton abuse of judicial discretion, fraud, misuse of power and corruption.Where does that leave Mr. Jones Williams? In a “pro poor mess,” that is hitting the fan faster than ubiquitous, mutilated (tear-tear) Liberian dollars. One day soon, he might come to understand that dealing with over-zealous (passionate, strong feeling) people—like the ones he decided to write about and that included Acarous Gray and his CDC partners, must first and foremost be allowed to clear the test of truth; whether they are in the right with what they are trying to do, or are in the wrong! This hurdle, at some point, will have to be allowed to be cleared by the impeachment people, no matter who likes it or not.Mrs. Annie Yancy Constance Under one of the counts of the impeachment bill, a local newspaper referenced Mrs. Annie Yancy Constance, a 90-year-old woman who wrote President George Oppong Weah as a victim of Associate Justice Ja’neh’s.Mrs. Constance explained that her property was “acquired” by the Justice, who claims ownership predicated on and “bought” from a mentally-ill son of hers, who could not have sold what he was neither able, willing nor ready to legally and responsibly dispossess her of.Consequently, Mrs. Constance pointed out, her house is still hers, even though Justice Ja’neh has had her evicted and is collecting rent from the premises.She is still hoping that President Weah will come to her aid, even though and up to this point the president seems to be staying far away from things that he finally might be learning are not a part of his job description. But there are many who think he could be wrong, and that one way or the other he could end up having something to do with this case in the long run as it is much bigger than most people think!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
DIstrict Governor Akilad Allen.District Governor for District 9101 of Rotary International, Akiladi Allen, has arrived in Liberia on a week-long assessment tour of activities of Rotary Clubs in the country.District Governor Allen, who arrived in the country on Wednesday, September 25, will end his tour on Monday, October 1, 2018, a release has said.While in the country, according to the release, Allen will assess the progress of Rotary International activities and meet with some state actors and relevant United Nations agencies.In the itinerary, District Governor Allen will visit projects implemented by Rotary Clubs to see how they are impacting the livelihoods of the people in the various communities where the Clubs have made interventions.Currently, there are four clubs in Liberia that are working together in getting Rotary International goals to reach both Liberians and foreign residents.The clubs are Rotary Club of Monrovia and of Sinkor in Montserrado County; Harper in Maryland County; and Gbarnga in Bong County. They continue to work with their international partners on many projects.The clubs were actively involved in fighting the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and are working by supporting polio eradication, water and sanitation initiative, basic education and literacy, maternal and child health, economic and community development, peace and conflict prevention.In August this year, the Rotary Clubs in Liberia worked with their counterpart, Rotaplast International, an international medical team in the United States, a sub group of Rotary International, to carry out free medical reconstructive surgeries for more than 60 Liberians who would have otherwise not had the opportunity to have such serious surgeries.Rotary International District 9101 comprises ten countries in West Africa. They are Cape Verde, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau and Cote D’Ivoire. Rotary International is an international service organization which aims to foster the idea of service as a worthy enterprise.Rotarians globally operate under the motto, “Service Above Self,” fostering high ethical standards in business and profession, while encouraging each member to serve society.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
A mason is currently in custody following the discovery of a large quantity of cannabis at a house in Thomas Street, Kitty Georgetown, on Friday morning. According to information received, ranks of the Police Narcotics Branch acting on information went to the house and conducted a search during which five kilograms of marijuana was found.The illegal substance was found concealed in two transparent plastic parcels in a section of the house. The mason was told of the offence and subsequently arrested. He is expected to be slapped with a possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking charge in the new week.Police have confiscated the cannabis as they continue their investigations.
…mother of dead teen attacked accusedChaos arose at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Monday morning after the manslaughter charge against Rick Sewcharran was discharged by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.Rick Sewcharran was accused of pushing his now dead girlfriend, Sasia Adams, out of a moving vehicle in June 2018 along Lamaha Street, Georgetown.In court on Monday, the Chief Magistrate informed the court that the prosecution has failed to make a prima facie case against Sewcharran.As such, the matter was discharged on the grounds of lack of evidence.Moments after the ruling, the mother of the dead teenager attacked the young man whom she blamed for her daughter’s death. The young man’s lawyers are likely to file assault charges against her.Adams, originally of the Essequibo Coast, who resided at East Street, Georgetown, was hospitalised at about 20:00h on June 10 and died on June 12, 2018, after she reportedly jumped out of the moving vehicle that was being driven by Sewcharran.The accused, who was arraigned with a manslaughter charge, held out that his now dead girlfriend jumped out of the vehicle he was driving along Lamaha Street, Georgetown, following an argument.Adams, while being hospitalized, had told doctors that she fell down.However, relatives and investigators had contended that the teen was pushed out of the moving car, resulting in her sustaining severe head injuries.The post-mortem examination conducted by veteran State Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh indicated that the teen died as a result of blunt trauma to the head.The late Sasia Adams had been employed as a front desk clerk at the Ramada Georgetown Princess Hotel at Providence, EBD.
… threatens survival of manufacturing businessesA move by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) to amend the excise tax on alcohol, essentially increasing the tax levied based on the strength of the alcohol, has now delivered a crippling blow to local manufacturers that use alcohol in its purest concentration.Many local manufacturing companies had complained last year about having to pay an alarmingly high excise tax of 40 per cent on alcohols that they would purchase locally from Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL). To that end, they requested government’s intervention to alleviate the burden plaguing the local manufacturing sector. Instead of getting relief from paying the 40 per cent in excise tax, manufactures now have to pay an incredulous 65 per cent for the neutral spirits they buy locally to use in the production of their goods and services.The alcohol purchased by manufacturers is referred to as extra-neutral alcohol or neutral spirits and is measured in Litres of Pure Alcohol (LPA). At the purchase strength of 96 per cent alcohol v/v (volume-volume) percentage, it is considered only suitable for industrial use or further processing.NEW GPC INC and Twins Manufacturing Chemists, two local manufacturers, had confirmed to this news agency that they use 96 per cent alcohol/neutral spirits to manufacture a diverse array of local products for the domestic and export markets.They noted that the charging of the excise tax on the alcohol significantly impacts the cost of production and therefore the competitiveness of their products against the increasing influx of cheaper imports.According to NEW GPC, further exacerbating the situation is the revelation that Value Added Tax (VAT), at 16 per cent, is also levied on the excise tax, which now stands at 65 per cent.Finance Minister Winston Jordan had outlined in his 2016 Budget presentation that his government would be increasing the excise tax as a means to bring “equity to the charging of excise tax on alcoholic beverages.”He had highlighted that “the intent is to introduce a graduated, specific rate system for the collection of excise tax on alcohol based on the alcoholic strength. This is deemed to be the most effective way of dealing with importers and domestic manufacturers of alcoholic beverages. It will also be easier for the Guyana Revenue Authority [GRA] to administer as well as reduce significantly, opportunities for manipulating the values of the goods for the purpose of taxation”.The manufacturers are questioning whether the Minister took into consideration the adverse effects that an increase of this type of tax would have on those manufacturing businesses that use 96 per cent alcohol/spirits in the production of their commodities, as opposed to those that use a lesser strength in the sale of alcoholic beverages.The trickle-down effects of the tax increases are significant when one factors in the slow turnover of the private sector and sloth of the economy.Most of the local manufacturing businesses that use neutral spirits of a high strength would now have to restructure to recoup their losses, possibly leading to persons losing their jobs and less monies circulating in the economy, thereby perpetuating the cycle of sloth.An alternative routeAccording to NEW GPC, if this situation is not rectified the company will seriously consider taking the route of importing alcohol as opposed to buying locally.Currently, it is cheaper to import the neutral spirit from Trinidad and Tobago because both the excise tax and value added tax are waived by the GRA under the existing tax legislation to incentivise local manufacturing.NEW GPC is calling on the Government to differentiate between alcohol utilized for manufacturing by local businesses and alcohol which is utilized at the consumer level to bring more clarity to the rationale between the tax increases.Any local businesses desirous of using alcohol as a raw material will have to endure the now onerous 65 per cent tax or import foreign alcohol – an alternative that is coincidentally inimical to the interests of another local manufacturer and the Guyanese economy.Alcohol is an input for many major industries such as cosmetics, food, beverages, hygiene and household products, etc.This application of the tax on a raw material, which was meant for “sin goods”, is considered inexplicable.
The intelligence flip-flop recalled the embarrassing reversal that Bush was forced to make on whether Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. The conviction that Saddam Hussein had such weapons was one of the factors behind Bush’s decision to invade Iraq. It since has been determined that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. Democrats on Monday did not hesitate to suggest an Iran-Iraq comparison. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Democrats had requested the new Iran assessment “so that the administration could not rush this Congress and the country to another war based on flawed intelligence.” “I hope this administration reads this report carefully and appropriately adjusts its rhetoric and policy vis-a-vis Iran,” Reid said. “The administration should begin this process by finally undertaking a diplomatic surge necessary to effectively address the challenges posed by Iran.” In the case of Iran, though, the White House has not dropped its suspicions that Tehran could pursue a nuclear bomb. Iran continues to develop, test and deploy ballistic missiles, and its civilian uranium enrichment program is continuing. “It can readily use the same technology to produce weapons-grade uranium,” Hadley said. In rewriting the conclusions about Iran, the new estimate said Tehran was pursuing a nuclear weapons program but halted that effort in the fall of 2003 under the weight of international pressure. Importantly, the estimate said Iran has not restarted the nuclear bomb program. “Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005,” the new estimate said. While key facts have changed, the administration’s strategy has not. The White House says it will continue to try to build pressure on Iran to prevent it from ever acquiring nuclear bombs. “The bottom line is that for that strategy to succeed, the international community has to turn up the pressure on Iran with diplomatic isolation, United Nations sanctions and with other financial pressure,” Hadley said. “And Iran has to decide that it wants to negotiate a solution.” Some analysts believe the new conclusions will be a roadblock for Vice President Dick Cheney and other hawkish members of the administration to be more confrontational toward Iran. “It’s a good thing that we caught this before we marched headlong into another military conflict,” said Jon Wolfsthal, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “This isn’t the timebomb the administration made it out to be for the last several years.” Wolfsthal said the conclusion that international pressure prompted Iran to halt its program “is the piece of information that we missed in Iraq” where Bush believed that Iraq’s pursuit of WMD was continuing despite sanctions. He said the administration did not appear inclined to change its strategy toward Iran. He said that “suggests they can’t take yes for an answer.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsJust last month, President Bush, at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said, “We talked about Iran and the desire to work jointly to convince the Iranian regime to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions, for the sake of peace.” More ominously, Bush told a news conference Oct. 17, “I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” Asked then if he definitely believed that Iran wanted to build a nuclear bomb, Bush said, “Yeah, I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon.” Bush’s National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley said the president made comments like those “because he was describing the threat as the intelligence community itself had been describing the threat both publicly and in their briefings to him.” Intelligence officials advised Bush several months ago that they were reevaluating their assessments about Iran. They came to the White House last Wednesday and briefed him on their new findings. WASHINGTON – First Iraq, now Iran. The United States has operated under a cloud of faulty intelligence in both countries. In a bombshell intelligence assessment, the United States has backed away from its once-ironclad assertion that Tehran is intent on building nuclear bombs. Where there once was certainty, there now is doubt. “We do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons,” the new estimate said Monday. Compare that with what then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte told Congress on Jan. 1. “Our assessment is that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons.”