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first_imgVice President Joseph Boakai has said that the rule of law is crucial to the building of a vibrant democratic society in which the rights of all citizens are guaranteed.“There is no way a country can go on without the rule of law,” the VP said, when he visited with authorities of the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Voinjama City, Lofa County, during his week-long post-Ebola tour. He visited the Court in order to acquaint himself with activities there.He further stated that the provision of logistics for the courts to do their work is critical to the legal process and promised that government will make sure that courts are properly empowered to do their work to ensure the rule of law in the country. The lack of these basic logistics has contributed to the slow pace of the dispensing of justice in the country, he said.He noted that Judge Nancy Finda Sammy, who was not present, had acquainted him with the challenges facing the court, including conveying prisoner(s) from other parts of the county and lack of transportation for the court’s operations.He praised her for restoring dignity to the court.The Tenth Judicial Circuit of Lofa County presented a document listing the critical needs and priorities of the court to the Vice President. The VP said he would consult with judicial authorities in Monrovia for proper redress.One of the requests that Mr. Foday A. Konneh, Coordinator, Lofa County Branch, National Association of Trial Judges, presented to the VP was that there be two pre-trial detention centers for holding accused persons until their conviction. They must be transferred to the Voinjama Central Prison. “One of these pre-trial detention centers should be located in Zorzor City to serve Zorzor and Salayea Districts. Another should be built in Kolahun City to serve Kolahun, Vahun and Foya Districts.”“As earlier discussed with you by Judge Sammy,” Konneh further stated, “we also wish to remind you of the dire need for vehicles to help transfer accused persons and convicts from various magisterial Courts as had been done by UNMIL.”Earlier, the Vice President toured the Voinjama Market where a new market building under the auspices of the Sirleaf Market Women Fund is being constructed. He also visited the Lofa County Community College to acquaint himself with the situation there.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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first_imgMore than $17 billion in private student loans were issued last year, up from $4 billion a year in 2001. Outstanding student borrowing jumped from $38 billion in 1995 to $85 billion last year, according to experts and lawmakers. Rocketing tuition fees made borrowing that much more appealing. Consumer prices on average rose less than 29 percent over the past 10 years while tuition, fees, and room and board at four-year public colleges and universities soared 79 percent to $12,796 a year and 65 percent to $30,367 a year at private institutions, according to the College Board. Scholarship and grant money have increased, yet for almost 15 years, the maximum available per person in government-guaranteed student loans, which by law can’t charge rates above 6.8 percent, has remained at $23,000 total for four years. That’s less than half the average four-year tuition, room and board of $51,000 at public colleges and $121,000 at private institutions. Sallie Mae, formally known as SLM Corp., has been on the winning side of the loan bonanza. Its portfolio of 10 million customers includes $25 billion in private and $128 billion in government-backed education loans. However, private-equity investors who had offered $25 billion to buy the company backed out last week, citing credit market weakness and a new law cutting billions of dollars in subsidies to student lenders. Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Wachovia Corp. and Regions Financial Corp. are also big players in the private student loan business. The question is whether everyone who borrowed will be able to repay. Experts don’t track default rates on private student loans, but many predict sharp increases in years to come. Dr. Paul-Henry Zottola, a 35-year-old periodontist in Rocky Hill, Conn., faces paying $1,600 a month on his student loan on top of a $2,300 mortgage payment and $1,500 on the loan he took out to start his practice. His credit record remains solid but he owes more than $300,000 in student loans as he and his wife, Heather, an elementary school administrator, raise two young children. “It would be very easy to feel crushed by it,” Zottola said in an interview. “All my income for the next 10 years is spoken for.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “I could never buy a house. I can’t travel; I can’t do anything,” she said. “I feel like a prisoner.” A legal aid worker, Cole said she may need to get a job at a law firm “doing something that I’m not real dedicated to, just for the sake of being able to live.” Parents are still the primary source of funds for many students, but the dynamics were radically altered in recent years as tuition costs soared and sources of readily available and more costly private financing made higher education seemingly available to anyone willing to sign a loan application. Students with no credit history and no relatives to co-sign loans (or co-signing parents with tarnished credit) were willing to bet that high-priced loans were a trade-off for a shot at the American dream. But high-paying jobs are proving elusive for many graduates. “This is literally a new form of indenture … something that every American parent should be scared of,” said Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. The near doubling in the cost of a college degree the past decade has produced an explosion in high-priced student loans that could haunt the U.S. economy for years. While scholarship, grant money and government-backed student loans – whose interest rates are capped – have taken up some of the slack, many families and individual students have turned to private loans, which carry fees and interest rates that are often variable and up to 20 percent. Many in the next generation of workers will be so debt-burdened they will have to delay home purchases, limit vacations, even eat out less to pay loans off on time. Kristin Cole, 30, who graduated from Michigan State University’s law school and lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., owes $150,000 in private and government-backed student loans. Her monthly payment of $660, which consumes a quarter of her take-home pay, is scheduled to jump to $800 in a year or so, confronting her with stark financial choices. last_img read more

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