President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has thanked Pope Francis and the Catholic Church for its commitment to peace and reconciliation, as well as the Church’s contribution in the fields of social welfare and education in Liberia.According to a dispatch from the Vatican in Rome, Italy, the Liberian leader made the comments during a meeting with the Holy Father at his private library in the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City on Saturday, April 5.Pope Francis is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, in which capacity he is Bishop of Rome and absolute Sovereign of the Vatican City State.During the cordial discussion, both the President and the Pontiff discussed the cordial relations between Liberia and the Holy See and expressed satisfaction about the positive progress made in strengthening Liberia’s democratic institutions.President Sirleaf, particularly highlighted Government’s efforts for peace and reconciliation; which he encouraged. She praised the Church for its immense contribution in the fields of social welfare and education.The Liberian leader urged Pope Francis to pray for the country in order to have a sense of holiness, reconciliation, peace and that all Liberians can love one another. She also asked for the Pontiff’s prayers for courage of tolerance.They later exchanged views on current regional and international issues, with particular reference on trouble spots around the world.Later, President Sirleaf met with His Eminence Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by the Secretary for Relations with States, Dominique Mamberti.During the meeting, President Sirleaf extended thanks and appreciation to the Holy See for its support to Liberia over time especially during the years of the country’s civil war. They discussed how relations can be strengthened, especially with support to social welfare, health and educational institutions.“I think for us, this is more or less a one time opportunity. I found the Pope very affable,” President Sirleaf said following the meeting, adding that she found him to be a very humble man. President Sirleaf is the first Liberian President to visit a Pope at the Vatican.President Sirleaf was later taken on a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica within the Vatican City, the largest church in the world and one of the holiest Catholic sites.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Battered by critics over loopholes in Los Angeles’ lobbying provisions, the city Ethics Commission on Friday began re-examining regulations covering everything from registration to fundraising. In the first of several planned workshops, Ethics Commission staff members met with lobbyists and others to determine which regulations might need to be changed to better reflect the role and activities of lobbyists. “This city has had some regulations on lobbyists in effect since 1969 and has been a leader in looking at their activities,” Ethics Commission Director LeeAnn Pelham said. “But it’s been some time since we have had a re-evaluation of it.” The city’s lobbying laws have gained increased scrutiny since the November passage of Measure R, which gave City Council members the option to run for a third four-year term and was designed to limit the influence of lobbyists on City Hall decisions. Under current laws, lobbyists are required to report that they are hosts of events if they pass an e-mail on to at least 25 people or are involved in telephone conversations regarding fundraisers. That rule applies even if they have no significant hosting role in the event. Limits on lobbyists’ political activities long have been a concern of local officials. Concern escalated under former Mayor James Hahn, whose administration was embroiled in allegations regarding “pay-for-play” abuses. Subsequent regulations were designed to stem the role of lobbyists as political fundraisers. In one of his first acts after taking office, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also removed all lobbyists from city commissions. Pelham said the Ethics Commission review is expected to take several months to complete. [email protected] (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The measure, however, failed to address loopholes that have been used to allow lobbyists to continue to raise thousands of dollars on behalf of elected officials and candidates. Pelham said the commission’s review will include Measure R and its impact. For lobbyists, many of their complaints involve city bookkeeping rules that often require filing duplicate statements of work performed. They also want a clearer definition of what constitutes lobbying activity and any administrative work they do. Several lobbyists at the Friday workshop said most of their work has involved pulling building permits and submitting plans for approval to allow city work to proceed for their clients. The lobbyists also urged the city to adopt clearer rules on what must be reported for fundraising activities.