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Sa sets the course alight

first_imgPSC Golf from The Billabong Golf BarWednesday, Nov. 5, Green Valley – StablefordPlaying Green valley today was a day out for some golfers, the course was in good condition even after all the rain they have had on the course, there was no run at all and winter rules were in play.  Wherever the ball hit the ground it stayed there or came back a little.  With seven groups playing we got off to an early start and were finished in about 15 minutes short of 4 hours.  It was hot out there though with sunshine and no threat of rain.Wednesday winner Sa with Wayne Cotterell and Chris Dodd. You would tend to think that with the course being so wet the game would help the lower markers but not the case today.  In the winners’ circle were Sel Wegner, taking fourth spot on a count back over Owen Walkley with 37 points each, while third place went to Chris Dodd with 40 points, yes that’s right, with no run at all Chris actually managed to score 12 points in 3 holes from the 11th with a chip-in for 5 points, a par on the next for 3 and a par on the next for 4, not bad at all!  Second place went to Wayne Cotterell with 41 points and the top spot was taken by Nichawan Khiaophuang (Sa) with 42 off her 25 handicap.  Well done Sa, a great round of golf in those conditions.There were four ‘2’s recorded, coming from Sa, Eric Black, Sel Wegner and William Macey.Friday, Nov. 7, Burapha – StablefordPlaying Burapha for the first time in a while the course, as with most, was very wet in places and it was carts on paths only.  The course may have been wet but the greens were brutal, as in fast even with all the rain; you only had to look at the ball and it moved six feet.We got away to an early start in lovely weather but it didn’t take long for the heat to take its toll, however we all finished in under four hours.Apart from 2 scores the course was the winner today.  There were no ‘2’s so the prizes went to third place with Willem Lasonder taking that spot with 33 points.  Second place went to Owen Walkley with a great 39 points, being just beaten on count back by Brian Maddox having his best round for a long time.last_img read more

Flynn best at Bangpra

first_imgIPGC Pattaya Golf Society at The Links BarMonday 5th October saw the Pattaya Golf Society take five groups to Bangpra for a stableford competition.  As we made our way to the first tee, we were greeted by the sight of a large, near-black cloud, looking like it was going to release its game-ending contents at any moment.  But being the optimists that golfers are, we teed off regardless.  Amazingly, we stayed dry throughout, even walking up the 18th in bright sunshine. TIT! Jon Batty.Four players shared third spot with 29 points; yes, you read that right, 29 points made the podium.  Equally surprised to be receiving a return, albeit a modest one, were Jon Batty (H/cap 7), Masa Takano (8), Gary Bolger (15) and Leigh Abbey (22).  Just the one shot ahead in sole second place was an equally surprised David Thomas (9).Out on his own, by a healthy margin of 3 shots, was the day’s deserving winner Alan Flynn (11).  Alan’s score of 33 points was testament to a good round, given how tough the course played.  Well done, mate.There was just the one ‘2’, on the second hole and achieved by the day’s winner, Alan Flynn – a profitable day indeed.For the second time in a row, Jim Ferris won the non-winner’s beer draw, whilst the booby bevy had no shortage of candidates as circumstances contrived to cause much anguish.  But there was one stand-out winner; and he didn’t even play.  On his way to the course, this golfer had the misfortune of having his otherwise reliable car breakdown.  Many phone calls later, he and his clubs managed to get to a closer course, hoping for a game, but to no avail.  Later that day, with his car having been towed back to Pattaya, he was told the likely cost of repairs.  The cost of playing golf in Pattaya has increased over the years, but having to foot an unexpected bill of 50,000 baht to cover transport is a bit steep.  Commiserations, Wichai.Batty best by huge marginUnlike recent days, Wednesday 7 October dawned bright and sunny, and that was how it stayed as the PGS arrived at Mt. Shadow for a stableford competition.  Our six groups teed off on time from the blue tees, with the two-flight split being set at 17 and under.With the fairways not yet having a full coverage of grass, as evidenced by the many sand divots, we decided preferred lies was justified.  Bunkers were reasonable and the putting surfaces, as is normal here, were good.There were two ‘2’s, both in B Flight as Jeff Hunt picked up his first ‘2’ in competition by holing a downhill 15-footer at the 5th, while Jim Firkin achieved his on 15.Scenic Phoenix Gold golf course was the venue for the society’s outing on Friday.Scoring between the two flights was markedly different.  In B Flight 30 stableford points was enough to secure third place, which went to Andrew Humphrey (H/cap 26).  Just one point ahead was Jeff Hunt (26), playing his last game this trip, and the recently returned Orawan Meeraka (23), having her first game back with us for some time; their 31 points being enough to share the winner’s spoils.A Flight saw David Thomas (9) come in third with 34 points, two shots behind runner-up Wichai Tananusorn (8) on 36.  Today’s A Flight winner, Jon Batty, had a round to remember.  This 7-marker made the turn in 2-over gross giving him 20 points for the nine.  He then produced a series of quality iron shots that enabled him to complete the back nine in two-under gross par; which earned him 23 more stablefords for a superb total of 43 and a gross score of 72.  Jon’s feat of playing the course in par was a first for the competitive Englishman.  Congratulations on a magnificent round of golf, Jon.Masa Takana was today’s lucky beer draw winner.  The booby bevy went to mine host, Russell Exley, for having near to the worst round of the day and in doing so allegedly adding significantly to playing partner Andy’s third-place winnings, turning what was a modest return into something somewhat more significant.PGS takes over in Silky Oak scrambleOn Thursday, 8th October Green Valley threw open its doors to the major Pattaya golf groups and the PGS entered four scramble teams which swelled the entry list to 31 teams in the promotional event for the revamped Silky Oak course.  As usual the lads represented the group with panache and no small amount of skill.Taking third place was the team of Mr Len, Stu Thompson, Alex Sala and Khun Wichai Tananusorn, with net 55, a mere 0.4 shots behind the winning team of Russell Exley, Masa Takano, Andy Humphrey and Leigh Abbey (54.6).Campbell’s kingdom at PhoenixA busy week for the Pattaya Golf Society ended with a visit to Phoenix on Friday, 9th October.  The four groups left the Links in Soi Buakhao in heavy rain and a decision to compete was delayed for thirty minutes before the first group stepped up to the Mountain first tee a mere five minutes late.  Light drizzle followed them for three holes and then the skies slowly cleared leaving a course in fine condition despite the assault by the rain gods.Following some excellent results this week at Mountain Shadow and Silky Oak the scores were again good, with Larry Slattery finding his feet after his recent return and producing a steady 36 points for third place.  Fellow Irishman Dave Lehane recorded 38 points for second and Tony Campbell overcame his woes at Silky Oak the previous day (wonderful stuff alcohol!) with an inspired forty points to take an excellent win.Birdie ‘2’s were recorded by Dave Lehane and John Tallett on the Ocean fifth.Back at the Links the presentation again saw Jim Ferris successful in the non winners’ beer draw whilst Andy Humphrey’s otherwise fine day was marked with the Booby Bevy after his temerity to keep Mr Len awake on the short return minibus journey. The course had received a lot of water in recent days, meaning carts were not permitted on fairways, a ruling that brought in our preferred-lies policy.  Even so, the fairways were well presented, as were the greens.  With the wetness ever-present, this course played tough.  Any ball not on the fairway was in wet grass; always harder to get club on ball.  Perhaps this counted for the modest scores, along with the course playing longer than normal.last_img read more

Still mamamaguying…

first_img…on oilTrotman’s been relieved of his oil responsibilities from his Natural Resource portfolio. Or so we’ve been told. It’s probably more like he’s been sequestered until the heat from his giveaway on the “negotiations” he conducted with Exxon. But it seems he just can’t keep his mouth shut – which defeats the whole point about hiding him away from inquiring minds.He just issued a statement about royalties and profit oil in the sharing of revenues in Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs) that the previous Administration had signed. But once again, he’s “playing stupid’ (which shouldn’t be too difficult for him!) and not mentioning the critical difference between his signing and the previous Administration’s: OIL HADN’T BEEN DISCOVERED IN THE LATTER INSTANCES!!!This makes all the difference in the world, doesn’t it? Before the oil strike, it was just a hope and a prayer by the Government of Guyana. In such a scenario – for a country like Guyana where explorations for decades had come up dry – it’s not surprising that the Government had to figuratively drop its pants!! But when Trotman sidled up to the table OIL HAD BEEN STRUCK!!Plus if Trotman had done even his basic homework – as your Eyewitness has said before – he would’ve known Exxon had just written off their Russian reserves because of the newly-imposed US sanctions. They also had to write off their Canadian Oil Sands reserves because of environmental concerns. Now, reserves are literally the life-blood of oil companies: if these drop beyond a certain point, it signals production (and profits!!) also heading south! And in the meantime, the stocks of publicly-traded companies also plummet. While Exxon had jumped into shale oil in the meantime, they were salivating for a “world-class” oil find that would save their skins.That’s what Trotman should’ve used as his leverage to get a better deal for us. There was no way Exxon would’ve walked away from such a find that was a hop-skip-and jump away from their Louisiana and Galveston refineries. But that wasn’t all. Not long after the strike was announced – almost simultaneously with the 2015 elections’ results (Coincidence?? Ha!!) – Chatam House arranged for Trotman, Jordan and their teams to fly over to Uganda, to learn how that country was dealing with oil after it was struck four years before.Chatam House picked Uganda because rather than rushing ahead like Ghana, the Ugandans were bargaining hard to get the most bang for their oil. They ended up with a sliding royalty scale of up to 12.5 per cent and profit sharing of 65 per cent. Not to mention 30 per cent income taxes of the oil company’s profits!Now why after THAT, would Trotman drop his pants for Larwah??…on Chronic’s bleedingIn the midst of the fracas that’s broken out over the firing of Hinds and Lewis from the Chronic, the Board of the latter announced the paper was now making a profit after years of bleeding red ink!! These people are so transparent: who doesn’t know this is just a diversion?? The Board, first of all, is now composed of rump elements that have no backbone to have gone along with the nonsense that the EiC wasn’t pressured to be the hatchet man???Now for their claim of profitability. In the past, the Chronic – whose circulation has now dropped to a literal handful – used to be kept alive by direct transfusions of cash from the Consolidated Fund. Now it’s done by giving them scads of ads EVERY DAY – which they don’t deserve since it’s just like whispering in the middle of a forest!! No one gets the message!!But this latest feint by the AFC (the remaining Board members are from that party) to remain relevant won’t work.All Guyana can smell the stench of “Dead meat”!!…on Police reformThe seawall shootings just raises the issue of what happened to the long promised “Police reform” by this PNC-led coalition?Whatever happened to the British Security Reform plan by Russel Combe??last_img read more

M&CC has long being a failed institution

first_imgDear Editor,Once again, the garbage contractors have had to withdraw their services due to hundreds of millions of dollars being owed to them, and the Council hardly making any effort to alleviate this debt.What is new? In fact, this time the Council, through its administrative officer, is trying strong arm tactics of nullifying their contracts if they don’t continue working without pay.Would that same administrative officer or any of his more than eight hundred colleagues continue to work in spite of not being paid for two years?One wonders, however, with so much works contracted out, why is there need for so many workers? Or are some of them phantoms or dummies?Let us face it: the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown as an institution is, and has been, a failed institution for some time now. How many more hundreds of millions of dollars do they owe the power company, water authority, their fuel suppliers, etc?Council is up to its ears in debt, but continues to spend lavishly on itself.With bodyguards, luxury vehicles, frequent foreign travel, they continue to abuse the City’s resources for personal use. The overtime at M&CC is appalling. It must be the only place in Guyana where the overtime is rivaling the overall employment cost. Additionally, the issuance and use of fuel is inordinately high, but this is not surprising, as fuel is issued to private vehicles when they are going on their retreats, etc.The Government of Guyana, a few years ago, handed over seven new garbage trucks to City Council. And what did they do with them? They actually failed to maintain and repair them, then sold most of them recently to these very contractors that they owe for little or nothing, and now have the audacity to say that they are going to nullify the contracts and take back the service and do it themselves. With what? Donkey carts?Why is the Ministry of Communities turning a Nelson’s eye to these situations? When will they stop bailing out the Council and force them to curtail their profligate expenditure. When will they have them audited and be more accountable? Is this the way our capital city should be run?Sincerely,James Mc Onnelllast_img read more

MESSENGERS OF PEACE

first_imgYoung people, especially those with opportunities to travel out of the shores of Liberia, are in despair because of the level of our social development when compared to that of other European and countries in the Western hemisphere. During a recent dialogue among peace messengers on our basic rights to social services, we noticed that most young people attributed rights to social services to include access to telecommunication, social media and the good things of life.My generation is thrown off their basic social rights by the good things of other developed countries and fails to take cognizance of the limitations to social services like their limitation to good job, good water supply and sanitation, electricity, good access roads, basic housing for all, food security, quality health care and education. We have not even began to contemplate the issues associated to environmental pollution of our beaches, soil erosion, land degradation and climate change to mention a fewLast week, the IMF ranked Liberia 181 of 184 countries with the lowest and poorest economy of the world today. A Governance Commission report released recently at a Monrovia function said the lack of effective human capital has consistently served as a major impediment to the growth of the country’s economy and its overall output.The report also noted that for Liberia to achieve its middle income target by 2030, it requires putting systems in place that are reflective of the actual needs of the various sectors. “The economies must be fused effectively to address the core problems at the center of Liberia’s under-development,” the report indicated.At Messengers of peace, we noticed the logic that undergirds the report centers on corruption, the greed for money and quick fixes, power and control. The fixation of leaders, ministers and people with authority to implement change underpins our rights basic social services. Throughout history, African, particularly Liberians, we have endured various unbalanced political and social systems and if we do not address the core issue, our future to a balance social and political systems would be denied.The Ebola epidemic has brutally exposed the weakness of our social system as well as the limitations of our basic social infrastructure and it would be in our best interest to benefit from the lessons learned. We need to educate our children through the stories and information we provide them with.We are living in a period of capitalism and besides preserving our cultural values and ideology, we should not ask when or where the next meal would be available. We should not ask whether our children would have access to basic education or health care. Given the resources of this country, we should not depend on any nation for support in building our social system or in ensuring the rights of our citizens to basic social services are protected. It is the duty of our Government to provide these services and it’s our prerogative to demand them.Support the “Ebola Educates” Campaign in kind through your stories or with your generous cash donation.Until next week, when we come to you with another article on: “Ebola Educates- The price of peacekeeping”, Peace First, Peace above all else, May Peace prevail on earth.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Cadburys sponsor Quin’s 2011/2012 season.

first_img“We are going to be spending the cash, the player’s kits and many other promotional activities that we will be involved in including participating in the teams events” she said.She added that the leading chocolate manufacturing firm is a proud partner of the Quins who are the country’s champion for the two consecutive years.The chocolate industry has primarily targeted the female consumer and sees out an opportunity to grow consumption in the male Arena.Aon Corporations CEO for East Africa Joe Onsando whos the former Quins long-term chairman welcomed the Cadburys sponsorship.“On behalf of the harlequins club I assure you that you made a wise decision choosing the top in the game and you will go on to witness the benefits”, said Onsando.Quins Chairman Philip Jalango termed the partnership with the leading chocolate company as an inspiration which brings more determination to the team.He promised that the club will take a step ahead and justify the confidence shown by the sponsors.Speaking to Capital Sports, Kenya Harlequins FC Captain Victor Sudi said that they are humbled by the corporate company confidence to sponsor the team. After winning the KRU cup for two consecutive years they are hoping to replicate the previous form and make it three this season.The Quins will start their season on Saturday this weekend at Kisumu Dala sevens.The tournament comprises of two Divisions 1 with five Pools and Two with three Pools. Quins are pitted in Pool B of division one comprising of Machines, BlakBlad and Bungoma.The other Pool A with Mwamba, Homeboyz, Kisumu and Daystar University, Pool C Impala, Strathmore, Webuye and Nondies, Pool D Nakuru, KCB, Flames and KCA, Pool E Kitale, Thika RFC, Kakamega and Busia RFC. Division 2 Pool F Moi Uni, Kenya Poly, Kisii and Kericho, Pool G Siaya MTC, Molo, Eldoret RFC and Stomers, Pool H Oryx, Masinde Muliro, Multimedia Uni and Comras.By Jack Mwiti0Shares0000(Visited 3 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000NAIROBI, AUGUST 24 – The Cadburys Kenya limited has sponsored Kenya Harlequins Rugby Football club to the tune of Kshs3.8M through their newly launched product “LunchBar”.Speaking during the ceremony at Serena Hotel Wednesday, Marion Gathoga the firm’s country Director presented a Kshs3.8M cheque and announced other merchandise to be provided bringing the deal close to Kshs5.5M.last_img read more

Pellegrini purrs over ‘perfect’ De Bruyne

first_img0Shares0000Manchester City’s Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after scoring during a UEFA Champions league Group D football match against Sevilla at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. PHOTO/AFPMANCHESTER, October 22- Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini branded Kevin De Bruyne the “perfect” signing after the Belgian forward’s 91st-minute goal snatched a 2-1 Champions League victory over Sevilla.With Wednesday’s Group D game at the Etihad Stadium poised at 1-1, Pellegrini rejigged his attack by moving De Bruyne up front and the change paid off when the 24-year-old fired home left-footed from Yaya Toure’s pass. It was De Bruyne’s first Champions League goal since his club-record £55 million ($84.8 million, 74.8 million euros) transfer from Wolfsburg and it had the effect of lifting City three points clear of Sevilla and to within a point of leaders Juventus at the group’s halfway point.“We bought Kevin because we thought he was a very creative player and he has goals in him,” Pellegrini told his post-match press conference.“This team always tries to play attractive and offensive football and for that you need good players. I think that in all senses, he was the perfect player to arrive to our team.”De Bruyne’s strike, his seventh in nine games for club and country, was City’s reward for a dogged display in which they weathered several spells of Sevilla pressure.City trailed for only six minutes, Adil Rami’s own goal cancelling out Yehven Konoplyanka’s 30th-minute opener, and yet prior to a late surge by the Premier League leaders, it was the Spanish side who looked the more likely winners.But after an opening 2-1 loss to Juventus, City have now come from behind to win twice, having beaten Borussia Moenchengladbach 2-1 on their previous outing courtesy of a last-minute Sergio Aguero penalty.“It’s important because we won both games in the last minute and in both games we were one goal down,” Pellegrini said.“Maybe you’ve had a lot of criticism about this team in Europe, but I think that these two last games reflect that we have the character to try to win.“We will try to improve our play, but for me the character, concentration and intensity to win in Europe is also very important.”City will now switch their thoughts to Sunday’s trip to Manchester United and Pellegrini said they would approach the derby with a spring in their step.– ‘Won’t give up’ –“When you win, it’s very important for the trust (confidence) of the players to arrive at an important game like the derby winning and not losing, with a lot of doubts,” said the Chilean.“It’s a very tight (Champions League) group with nine points more to play for, but now it’s important to recover and continue having good performances in the Premier League.“It’s always good to arrive at a derby when you’ve won.”Pellegrini refused to be drawn, however, when asked whether captain Vincent Kompany would remain on the bench at Old Trafford, with Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala having been preferred to the Belgian — fit again after a calf problem — against Sevilla.“We have a lot of different things to think about,” was all he would say.Defeat prolonged a difficult start to the season for Europa League champions Sevilla, who are currently 13th in La Liga with only two wins from eight games.But with home matches against City and Juventus to come in the Champions League, sandwiching a trip to Gladbach, coach Unai Emery remains optimistic about his team’s chances of reaching the round of 16.“The next game is at home and the Sanchez Pijuan is really special, where the team usually plays to a high level,” he said.“We’ll have the fans behind us, and I won’t give up while it’s still possible. We have chances to win the next game and if we do well, we’ll be in with a shout.“We can learn from what we’ve done in the short term, and then think about the next game against Getafe.“We might be frustrated, but we need to realise we’ve learnt things about ourselves that will make us a better team.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Police Department `institution’ retires

first_img“You can get information so much faster. You have access to departments all over the United States and even the world if you want to go that far. You get registrations on vehicles, (find out about) wanted persons, find out about outstanding warrants. It’s phenomenal,” she said. Millett started out as a clerk/matron, charged with writing crime reports and booking and looking after female prisoners in a department that had yet to hire a female officer. “I loved the action of being out in the field and going out on rape and abandoned children cases, and transporting females to downtown L.A. and the psychiatric ward,” she said. She said she’ll use her July 19 retirement party to say goodbye to all the officers she’s worked with over the years. “I’ve stayed in touch with a lot of former officers and I update them on deaths, what other officers are doing,” she said. “I like to keep them appraised of what’s going on. That’s kind of one of my hobbies, staying in touch with the old timers.” She will also miss the friends she’s made staffing the department’s front counter and dealing with the public. “That’s the part of the job I enjoy so much, helping people, being there for them,” she said.”I’ve made a lot of good friends through the years just through conversations at the front counter.” “If you can do something good for somebody, it makes you feel good. I think that’s what law enforcement is all about.” Monrovia police Chief Roger Johnson, who went to school with one of Millett’s sons, said she will be missed. “It’s tough for us to lose somebody who’s kind of an institution at the police department,” he said. “Jane has been a great resource to our department for many years. I mean 50 years, who can imagine that anybody would last 50 years anywhere, let alone in law enforcement. “It’s going to be both an exciting day when we celebrate her retirement and a sad day, all at the same time,” he said. Millett is married to Tom Millett, a retired El Monte police officer and former El Monte city councilman. She has two sons from a previous marriage, a son with Millett, and three grandchildren. emanuel.parker@sgvn.com (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4475160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! MONROVIA – When Jane Millett started work at the Monrovia Police Department in May 1957, staffers used Teletype machines, typewriters, carbon paper and erasers. Gasoline was around to clean suspects’ hands after fingerprinting them. Fifty years and six police chiefs later, Millett will retire this month in an era of computers, fax machines, copiers/sorters and instant worldwide communications. “Computers have made a big difference,” said Millett, 73, who was born and raised in Monrovia and now lives in Glendora. last_img read more

Blast kills 2 at Mojave Airport

first_imgMOJAVE – Two men were killed and four people were injured today when rocket propellant exploded at a Mojave Airport site being used by Scaled Composites, a company founded by aircraft designer Burt Rutan. A container of nitrous oxide exploded at about 2:20 p.m. at a rocket testing facility on the northeast corner of the airport property. The site was being used by Scaled Composites employees. “What we do know is that there was some sort of operation going on at the site by employees of Scaled Composites and there was a catastrophic event,” said Fire Inspector Tony Diffenbaugh of the Kern County Fire Department. The cause of the explosion was not known, Hunsaker said. Nitrous oxide had been the oxidizer used for the engine of Burt Rutan’s SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded and privately developed manned spacecraft. SpaceShipOne, financed by billionaire Paul G. Allen, made three sub-orbital flights in 2004 – two of them within a two-week period. That achievement earned the SpaceShipOne team the $10 million Ansari X Prize. Scaled Composites is building SpaceShipTwo for billionaire Richard Branson. The spaceship, envisioned as the first of a fleet of five, will be used to take tourists on suborbital space flights. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Four injured workers were taken by three helicopters to Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield. The injured had suffered trauma and burns and possible chemical exposure, Diffenbaugh said. The resulting cloud could be seen from five to six miles away, officials said. “It was a dangerous situation. Gas was venting off while rescue personnel were doing their job,” California Highway Officer Steve Hunsaker said. The Mojave CHP office is adjacent to the airport and Hunsaker said staff heard the explosion. last_img read more

White House Iraq advisers to make case for status quo

first_imgCrocker, a career diplomat with extensive experience in the Middle East who opposed the war when it began in 2003, is pushing for political change where progress has been elusive and the administration’s options are limited under the fragile Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Yet the diplomat will say that as poorly as al-Maliki’s government has performed, it would not be advisable at the moment for the U.S. to support new leadership or lobby for a different coalition of Iraq’s fractious Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, the officials said. Crocker also will discuss the challenges of corruption, reconciliation, de-Baathification and the difficulties of enacting wide-ranging legislation such as an oil law, according to officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations. Both Crocker and Petraeus will say the buildup of 30,000 troops, bringing the current U.S. total to nearly 170,000, has achieved some success and is working better than any previous effort to quell the insurgency and restore stability, according to officials familiar with their thinking. Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Crocker were in the Washington area on Saturday working separately on final drafts of opening testimony on Capitol Hill. Later in the week, Bush plans a national address. The assessments by Petraeus and Crocker are intended to be considered equally. But officials expect Congress to focus on military matters, particularly possible troop withdrawals. Unless there are changes, the increase comes to a natural end starting in the spring and continuing through the end of next summer. At the same time, officials close to Crocker pointed out that any revisions to the military strategy will have a profound affect on the political side. “Clearly, the political, economic and diplomatic elements are directly related to what happens with security and our involvement in it,” one official said. The officials disputed suggestions that either Petraeus or Crocker would recommend anything more than a symbolic reduction in troop levels and then only in the spring. Petraeus offered some insights into his testimony on Friday. In a letter to troops serving in Iraq, he cited “uneven” but quantifiable progress in the security situation and acknowledged that the political side “has not worked out as we had hoped.” “We are, in short, a long way from the goal line, but we do have the ball and we are driving down the field,” he wrote. It was perhaps the clearest indication he favors carrying on with the troop increase.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush’s top two military and political advisers on Iraq will warn Congress on Monday that making any significant changes to the current war strategy will jeopardize the limited security and political progress made so far, The Associated Press has learned. U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who has been less forthcoming than Gen. David Petraeus in advance of his testimony, will join Petraeus in pushing for maintaining the U.S. troop surge, seeing it as the only viable option to prevent Iraq and the region from plunging into further chaos, U.S. officials said. Crocker and Petraeus planned to meet on today to go over their remarks and responses to expected tough questioning from lawmakers – including skeptical Republicans. But they will not consult Bush or their immediate bosses before their appearances Monday and Tuesday, in order to preserve the “independence and the integrity of their testimony,” said one official. Petraeus and Crocker did have lengthy discussions with the president, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when Bush visited Iraq on Labor Day. last_img read more