As 2014 Special Senatorial Election Results Finally Emerge Ellen Loses ‘Majority’ in Senate

first_imgThe final results of the just ended Special Senatorial Election seem to foreshadow a steep journey ahead for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as many of her fellow partisans who fought unsuccessfully to maintain their incumbency in the Senate will no longer be around.Among the 12 senators that stood for reelection, only two return, causing the Executive Mansion to lose about seven strong confidants from the team which was considered “the engine of Madam Sirleaf’s legislative success story” on Capitol Hill.Even though senators Isaac W. Nyenabo, Frederick D.Cherue and Cletus S. Wortoson of Grand Gedeh, River Gee and Grand Kru counties, respectively, did not seek reelection, their absence from the Senate clearly indicates the difficult circumstances the President has to struggle with while trying to make new friends in an effort to replace them.Particularly for Senator Isaac Nyenabo, who now leads Liberia’s agenda at the level of Ambassador to the European Union (EU) and Brussels, Madam Sirleaf will certainly miss his skillfull navigation of the Legislature and ability to lobby to manipulate and achieve the interest of the President.Losing the three influential personalities may not pain the presidency so much as losing a stalwart and “diehard” supporter like Gbehzohngar M. Findley of Grand Bassa County.  Senator Findley, who served for the past several years as President Pro-Tempore of the Senate, collected 10,306 votes amounting to 36.3% from behind leader, Jonathan L. Kaipay who got 16,296 or 57.4%.  This could spell real “danger” for President Sirleaf’s legislative agenda, something which is greatly needed in order to revive an already staggering legacy before the end of her second and final term in 2017.Kaipay comes from the Liberty Party, an organization believed to share a ‘mutual window’ with the Unity Party regime; and with that, many believe that winning him to the President’s side may just be a matter of time.With the arrival of pretty ‘unfamiliar’ but critical faces in the Liberian Senate for the third sitting of the 53rd Legislature, Madam Sirleaf is struggling to establish herself amongst the new senators-elect before they take seats in January 2015. According to reliable sources, the President’s Office has been engaged with placing calls to  few senators-elect and having lengthy discussions, while the National Elections Commission (NEC) has been chased for contact details of other senators-elect with whom the President does not have close interaction.Lofa County Senator Sumo G. Kupee, formerly of Unity Party, was reportedly ill-treated by UP, forcing him to seek refuge in the People’s Unification Party (PUP).  He lost to Stephen J. H. Zargo, 6,288 to 12,797.As for Maryland County John A. Ballout, one of the President’s closest confidants, who could not retain his seat, went down to former Superintendent Gbleh-bo Brown 877 to 5,192 votes. Even though UP could not give him their support, but the former UP Senator Jonathan J. Banney, a friend of Madam Sirleaf, could not stop Representative Francis Paye of National Democratic Congress (NDC) from clinching victory with 1,959 votes of the 9,176 votes cast.Margibi Senator Clarice Jah couldn’t do much to showcase her dominance as the Liberty Party seat was surrendered to new comer, Womba J. Tornonlah 7,893 to 1,967. Senator Jah chaired the Senate Executive Committee, a position she used to get closer to Madam Sirleaf.However, the Executive Committee position might likely return to presidential control with the arrival of Daniel Naatehn, who beat incumbent Theodore Momo 3,962 to 1,431 of votes cast.Interestingly, UP chairman Varney G. Sherman secured victory in Grand Cape Mount County with 13,651 votes, thereby placing him in a comfortable position to lead the Senate as President Pro-Tempore.The charisma is there, but old senators are skeptical of his alignment with Madam Sirleaf and believe offering him the job might be a replica of Findley, who was many times threatened with removal based on his ties with the Chief Executive.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

With its cognitive power the Vocabulary Learning

first_imgWith its cognitive power, the Vocabulary Learning App continuously learns with a child as the child engages it, Neti explained. Instead of bombarding the child with words he or she may not understand, the app identifies each individual student’s ability level. It can identify words or areas that might need additional focus, “refining the experience to deliver content that engages and inspires a child — this ultimately helps advance the child’s vocabulary based on his/her acumen,” said Neti. IBM and Sesame completed an initial pilot with the Vocabulary Learning App at one of the top urban school districts, Georgia’s Gwinnett County Public Schools. The Gwinnett pilot program is the first time that Sesame Workshop content and Watson technology have been tested by both students and educators. According to Neti, IBM collected 18,000 feedback points from 120 students at Gwinnett. From these data points, IBM found that the app helped many students acquire new vocabulary words, like “camouflage” and “arachnid.”“Not only did they learn the meaning of these new words, they began to naturally incorporate the words in their conversations throughout the classroom,” said Neti. “Furthermore, the pilot showed that the students really enjoyed learning through the videos and with the Sesame characters; this engagement led them to listen more closely and ask more questions.”The teachers involved in the pilot noted that the app was a beneficial addition to their classroom, and during the pilot, several teachers found that kindergarteners were able to use challenging words (like arachnid) based on the progression of words they were exposed to in a two-week period. Before rolling out the app to students and educators around the world, IBM will first expand the pilot program this fall, and then eventually, the company plans to release similar cognitive learning tools in the future, like games and educational toys, said Neti. Ask Cookie Monster what is the “Letter of the Day,” and he just might give you three: IBM. That’s because IBM and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the educational program Sesame Street, are working together to prove that it’s possible to enhance early childhood education experiences with a new cognitive vocabulary learning app. Built on IBM and Sesame’s intelligent play and learning platform and powered by IBM Cloud, this ecosystem taps into IBM Watson’s cognitive capabilities and content from Sesame Workshop’s early childhood research, and is the first of many future cognitive apps and toys that will be built on the new platform. The Vocabulary Learning App is an intelligent tutoring platform for early childhood education. It uses Watson’s natural language processing, pattern recognition, and other computing technologies to refine content and create personalized experiences for each child.“This lends itself to a true transformation in early childhood education – enabling deep levels of personalized and adaptive learning globally, through multiple experiences in both digital and physical worlds,” said vice president of development and offering management at IBM Watson Education Chalapathy Neti.last_img read more