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first_imgPARIS (AP): Novak Djokovic will be celebrating his 29th birthday when the French Open starts today. If nothing else, it underlines just how frustrating it has become for the top-ranked Serb to win the only major to elude him. Djokovic, who has lost the past two finals here and three altogether, is playing his 12th tournament and would set a record for most appearances at Roland Garros before winning the title in the Open era. Four players – Stan Wawrinka, last year, Roger Federer, in 2009, Andre Agassi, in 1999, and Andres Gomez, in 1990 – all won on their 11th appearance. Goran Ivanisevic holds the Open era Grand Slam record of needing 14 attempts before winning Wimbledon in 2001. Although Djokovic insists he is not “obsessed” with winning the elusive title, he may never get a better chance because nine-time champion Rafael Nadal is still finding his best form on clay, Wawrinka has been erratic and the 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer is skipping the tournament to protect his troublesome back. Second-seed Andy Murray could pose a serious threat, having beaten Djokovic in the Italian Open final last weekend. Achievements “Of course, I anticipate myself, as everybody else (does), to try to get my hands on this title this year,” Djokovic said. “Even if my career was done tomorrow, I made some achievements that I must be proud of, so that’s how I approach things. I don’t try to approach them from a point of view of being obsessed with this tournament or with any other tournament, for that matter.” Since the start of 2015, he’s 119-9 overall, winning four majors and 16 titles – including a tour-leading five this year. He has won 11 majors and could yet equal Nadal’s haul of 14 by the end of the year.last_img read more

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first_imgThe Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has jointly signed a contribution agreement of Euro 4.5 million with the European Commission (EC) to promote decentralization in Liberia.The signing ceremony took place Monday at the Internal Affairs Ministry in Monrovia.The agreement targets decentralization, which is central to governance reforms, peace building and reconciliation as well as poverty reduction in line with Liberia’s National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance and the Liberia Decentralization Implementation Plan (LDIP).The contribution from the European Union is part of Liberia’s five-year Decentralization Support Program (LDSP), funded by the Government of Liberia, EU, UNDP, and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).Speaking at the signing ceremony, Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly said the amount will be used for decentralization in all parts of the country, describing it as service delivery.“This support came at the right time and it’s good because it represents a good start to the country’s development but the bad side about it is that so many of our people are dying from this deadly disease Ebola,” Minister Dukuly said.Minister Dukuly made it clear that the issue of the deadly disease Ebola would not stop the decentralization process in the country. He thanked the European Commission and other partners for their contributions in helping to develop the country.“I, therefore, hope that the pillars of decentralization will  be established expeditiously in all of the regions,” he said.Discussing the deadly disease Ebola, which is leaving several dead, he said the Liberian government is doing all it can to fight Ebola, especially by avoiding the traditional practices of burying dead bodies.At the same time Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, head of EU Delegation to Liberia, said the EU support to the Liberia’s decentralization Support programme is geared toward contributing to the development of Liberia so that all Liberians will have access to services and benefits from inclusive economic growth and participation in the political life of the country.The decentralization program focuses on administrative and fiscal governance by ensuring responsive, capable and countable local governments as well as developing and strengthening local level planning and monitoring and management capacity.Discussing the issue of Ebola in the country, Ambassador Pacifici said he is afraid that with all of the other support coming in for development, Ebola has also begun another challenge for Liberia.“Ebola will not change this country right now but we will change the country with all we can do to move this country forward,” he said.Ambassador Pacifici said the European Union is prepared to work together with the Liberian government through the decentralization and help fight Ebola in the country.For his part, Mr. Antonio Vigilante, UNDP Resident Representative, said the Euro 4.5 million is 50 percent of what the Liberian government needs to carry on its decentralization.He pledged his support to the Liberian government in terms of development and the fight against Ebola. 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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