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Jamaican arrested at Fla airport with explosives
A 33-year-old United States green-card holder, Jamaican-born Kevin Brown, of Ocala, Florida, was about to board Air Jamaica flight 080 from Orlando to Montego Bay. He was arrested when suspicious items found in Brown's checked luggage appeared to be components that could be used to make pipe bombs.
The incident resulted in the closure of a section of the departure terminal at the Orlando airport for over two hours and the evacuation of several passengers, affecting Air Jamaica flights and 11 other flights. Sections of the airport, including the Air Jamaica check-in area, were sealed off and all passengers booked on the flight were required to undergo extensive security checks.
Brown is said to be married to a serving member of the American army. He himself served in Iraq. Family members report that he had been acting very strange and probably is a victim of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder so common in veterans of the Iraq war.
Interviewer Picks The Wrong Obama Supporter to Try To Railroad
The Economist writes:
ONE of the most interesting political videos on YouTube features a young Obama supporter, Derrick Ashong. A camera-wielding interviewer collars Mr Ashong in the street and starts to pepper him with questions. The interviewer assumes that his victim's casual appearance - he is wearing a baseball hat, a shell necklace and is chewing gum - betokens an equally casual approach to politics.
"Do you have any specifics?" he demands aggressively. "What are their policies?" Mr. Ashong delivers a series of carefully argued replies that could form the basis of an editorial in a serious newspaper. The interviewer is increasingly abashed
Attached are two clips that you must take the time to view:
Government implements free health care in Jamaica
April 1st 2008 is a memorable day in Jamaicaís history. On that day the Government lived up to its promise of free health care for Jamaicans. The Government implemented the policy to use health facilities without paying fees, a promise made last year by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) during its election campaign. Despite predictions of chaos, the first day of the abolition of user fees was a resounding success, with the exception of minor glitches in health facilities across the island.
The Ministry of Health has established a command centre to monitor the transition from user fees to free health care at public hospitals and clinics.
Cash Plus investment club in receivership
Cash Plus, one of the most prominent investment clubs among an array of such clubs, promising over 100% gain on cash investments has gone into receivership. This type of profit seemed too good to be true and fraud suspicions have been brewing about these clubs which enjoy a wide popularity among investors in Jamaica. A company goes into receivership when its debt exceeds its income.
The five-year-old investment club Cash Plus Limited has been engaged in a number of legal battles over the past 12 months. The company has 40,000 lenders with loans totaling $4 billion.
A chartered accountant employed to Price-WaterhouseCoopers in the United States, has been appointed joint receiver-manager. He commenced work immediately from the offices of Cash Plus and its affiliates under the supervision of the court, and will advise creditors of the progress of the process. The appointment of the receiver-manager allows for supervision of the operations of Cash Plus. It also allows for the determination of assets belonging to the company so that a report may be made to the court on the assets available for distribution to creditors.
The court order prohibits Cash Plus and its affiliates - whether through its directors, agents, officers or employees - from selling, transferring or otherwise dealing with or dissipating the assets of Cash Plus.
Barbados takes over helm of OAS Permanent Council
Barbadosí Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) has assumed the chairmanship of the OAS Permanent Council, the second highest decision-making body of the 34 member hemispheric organization. For the next three months, Ambassador King will steer the work of the Council, including its preparations for the upcoming OAS General Assembly to be held in Medellin, Colombia, in early June.
Amnesty International report blasts Jamaica
A recently released report by Amnesty International entitled 'Let Them Kill Each Other: Public Security in Jamaica's Inner Cities', claims that the Jamaican state is failing to effectively provide human security for its population, especially for those living in the inner city, who are most vulnerable to crime and violence.
The report states that:
Jamaicaís Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, however, presented a raft of initiatives which, he says, will address the concerns highlighted in the Amnesty report. Among these initiatives are :
Trinidadís ex PM Panday in laptop spat
Trinidadís main opposition party leader and former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday has stirred up trouble again. He has been suspended from parliament after he failed to ask permission to use his laptop computer during a debate and ignored a request to put it away. He then refused to leave the building after legislators voted 23 to 11 in favor of his suspension. The house speaker summoned police, but several supporters surrounded Panday, preventing authorities from reaching the silver-haired legislator. Lawmakers did not come to blows, but the session was canceled amid yelling from both sides.
The parliamentary speaker has the power to implement a rule that legislators need his approval before using any electronic devices, and their use must be related to the debate. It is unclear why Panday was using his computer. Panday said he will attend parliament's next session, despite an order prohibiting him from doing so.
Guyanese pirates terrorize Suriname waters
Seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue (with estimated worldwide losses of US $13 to $16 billion per year), particularly in the waters between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, off the Somali coast, and also in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. But, there are also pirates in Suriname and Guyana waters. A gang of six, all Guyanese nationals, were arrested recently for alleged piracy and hijacking of fishing boats in Surinamese waters. The Suriname police reported that inquiries revealed that the six strong gang, ranging from 25-35 years, had been targeting fishing boats but managed to elude police by hiding in Guyana after their attacks.
The previous week, they attacked six fishermen operating in the
Coppename River. Four of the victims were captured and subsequently
bound and gagged while their boat was seized, and two others were
ordered to accompany the assailants in another vessel in further robbery
attacks on other fishing boats.
Recently, the minister of Justice and Police announced that the authorities are considering issuing firearms to fishermen, to enable them to protect themselves against the violent attacks of pirates, mostly Guyanese criminals. Fishermen in neighbouring Guyana are also being attacked frequently by pirates, resulting in tremendous losses for the local fishing industry.
Jamaican schools begin to separate the boys
In virtually all aspects of education, boys in Jamaica, have been falling way behind. In a bid to combat this problem, several co-educational institutions have employed the gender-separation strategy used by single-sex schools and have reaped remarkable success.
Boys learn differently from girls. That is an accepted fact. And some educators believe this is the way forward as the single-sex classes in co-educational schools offer the best of both worlds, as the learning experience is facilitated along with socialisation with the opposite sex.
Polly Ground Primary school started it all and the principal reports that GSAT passes have improved considerably, unlike the earlier days. Since then it has spread to other schools and to more grades within the schools as it gets wider acceptance. It is expected to accelerate and to be pushed by the Ministry of Education. However, schools do not have to wait for the ministry to make a general policy in this regard. Principals and teachers are expected to structure learning activities in ways that enhance the learning of all their students.
Some of the positive results include:
Former Antiguan premier dies
Former Antigua and Barbuda premier Sir George Walter has died. Sir George, 79, had been hospitalised for a week prior to his death. The former leader of the now defunct Progressive Labour Movement (PLM) served as premier of this twin-island state from 1971-1976.
Following his party's defeat in the 1976 elections to the Antigua Labour Party, he and other members of his PLM colleagues were arrested and jailed on corruption charges stemming from alleged mismanagement in office. He was later released on appeal.
Sir George was also a founding member of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers' Union, the island's second largest trade union.
UN reports asserts the US fails to protect immigrant rights
The United States has failed to uphold its international obligations to protect the human rights of migrants, subjecting too many to prolonged detention in substandard facilities while depriving them of an adequate appeals process and labor protections, a United Nations investigator said.
In the international body's first scrutiny of US treatment of its 37.5 million non-citizen migrants, UN investigator Jorge Bustamante on Friday took particular aim at what he criticized as the "overuse" of detention for immigrants.
Noting that the annual detainee population has tripled in nine years to 230,000, he called on the United States to eliminate mandatory detention for certain migrants and instead expand the use of alternatives, such as electronic ankle bracelets.
Bustamante also urged that migrants be given the right to legal counsel, more impartial hearings, and improved holding facilities, particularly for women and children.
The report was presented to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
US representative responded angrily stating that the United States had one of the world's most generous immigration policies, offering more than 11 million migrants green cards, citizenship, asylum, refugee resettlement, and temporary protected status between 2000 and 2006. The UN estimates that global migrants number 200 million, with the United States by far the largest haven with 35 million as of 2000.
Remittances make impact
Remittances, that money individuals send back home from abroad have become a crucial source of income for many developing countries. In Guyana, these flows represent 43 percent of the gross national product; in Haiti 35 percent, in Honduras 25 percent, and Jamaica and El Salvador 18 percent.
Most of the money sent by migrants goes to pay for basic expenses such as food, shelter, clothing and medicines. About three-quarters of the remittance flows to Latin America and the Caribbean come from the United States. Spain and Japan are other major sources. In the Caribbean, the leaders are as follows:
This information comes from the Multinational Investment Fund (MIF), an autonomous fund of the Inter-American Development Bank. It originally started to research remittances to analyze their volume and their impact in Latin America and the Caribbean. The fund has promoted competition among service providers, who have considerably cut fees for money transfers to the region over the past few years.
Controversial Jamaican cemetery still in the news
NIMBY! NIMBY! NIMBY is an emotional call that usually rallies residents over neighborhood issues. It is an acronym for "Not in my backyard". In Jamaica, NIMBY broke new ground as it was applied to a cemetery. Last monthís Hot Calaloo reported how irate citizens blocked attempts to bury the dead in a new cemetery in their neighborhood in the rural village of Burnt Ground in Hanover.
Attempts to reach a settlement with Health Minister have failed. The residents have appealed to the Supreme Court seeking leave for a judicial review of the National Environment and Planning Agency's (NEPA) decision to grant a permit for the cemetery. They have flatly rejected the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report which NEPA presented to the Health Minister and which he subsequently signed off on in January, effectively granting permission for the Delapenha's Funeral Home, owners of the controversial cemetery, to start burying bodies there.
Following several demonstrations, in which residents thwarted attempts to bury bodies at the cemetery, experts in the field of hydrogeology have joined with the residents in challenging the accuracy of the EIA report. One prominent local hydrogeologist did a comprehensive research on the area and from his intimate knowledge of its underground springs and soil type, recently released a paper supporting the residents' contention that a cemetery in the area could contaminate their water supply.
The battle continues.
Peace through music
War tensions were high. Columbia had raced troops across Ecuadorís border to raid a Columbia rebel camp inside Ecuador. A leading rebel commander and some two dozen other people were killed in the raid. Venezuela and Ecuador broke off diplomatic ties and sent troops to their respective borders with Columbia. War tensions were high. But a peace concert came to the rescue.
The event, organised by Colombian star Juanes, took place at the Simon Bolivar bridge that links the two nations. Venezuelans and Colombians alike mingled on the border to listen to a host of Latin American and Spanish musicians. The concert began with a joint performance by children from the two countries.
"We are all citizens who believe that the future of a country is not only a matter for a president, a government but also for us. We are part of it - the movement of citizens," said Latin Grammy award-winning Juanes from the main stage.
Tensions were eased at a regional summit in the Dominican Republic several days later.
Editorís Note: In my book "Boycott Money and Save Your Soul Ė Launching the Goodwill Revolution", I make the point so obvious here, that governments make war, but people want peace and the way to achieve peace is to reinforce the natural goodwill between peoples. But, unfortunately war menaces the world because warmongers will not take heed.
Giant waves break up Caribbean coral
Unusually large waves churned by an Atlantic storm system have littered the beaches of Barbados with broken coral in what could be a sign of damage to reefs across the region, a scientist said.
The amount of rubble on the island's west coast suggests the coral took a heavy pounding, said Leo Brewster, director of Barbados' Coastal Zone Management Unit, who was organizing dives later this week to survey the damage. The white coral washed there up in chunks as heavy as seven pounds, generally healthy but with their polyps rubbed away by the rough surf. The waves, reaching as high as an estimated 30 feet, lashed coastlines from Guyana to the Dominican Republic last week as a large low-pressure system idled off the northeastern United States. At their peak, a buoy north of the U.S. Virgin Islands recorded swells of 15 feet - the highest since 1991, said Shawn Rossi, a meteorologist with the U.S. National Weather Service in San Juan. Several countries reported flooding in coastal areas.
Reef-building coral is vital to the Caribbean as it provides a habitat for thousands of marine creatures but have been dying off across the Caribbean due to coastal pollution, overfishing and disease blamed on rising sea temperatures.
T&T to create huge farms to offset high food prices
To offset food price hikes of more than 25 percent since
2005, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) plans to convert up to 20,000 acres of
state-owned land into large farms, and they're looking to Cuba for
expertise in ramping up agricultural production.
Market stabilizes despite food-cap failure in Jamaica
The Jamaica government's bold $500 million subsidy program that was meant to cap prices on basic food items for three months was ignored by most retailers, a survey by the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) has found. But the agency says the program was somewhat effective, having served to stabilise prices at grocery shops. The CAC survey covered more than 220 grocery operations - split among 'corner-shops' and larger supermarkets.
Government had initiated the subsidy or 'price support' program to reign in runaway food prices that sent January inflation climbing 2.2 per cent and yearly inflation to 18 per cent. The subsidy has been pulled.
Dolsie Allen, CAC chief executive officer, told Wednesday Business that of the 166 corner- shops surveyed islandwide over the three months, compliance ranged between 21 and 58 per cent.
The government had provided subsidies on items such as rice, counter flour, bread, crackers cooking oil and powdered milk. Without the subsidy, prices for basic food items would likely have escalated by 20 to 30 per cent. The conditions that have spiked prices have not abated - world oil and grain prices continue to escalate while local agriculture remains in recovery mode. But government has not said whether it will reinstitute the subsidy.
Editorís Comments: The Government should be commended for taking such a bold step.
Cuban doctors save lives in Guyana
Cuban health professionals serving in Guyana provide
free treatment to more than 70 percent of the country's population,
boosted by the opening of a new Integral Diagnostic Center in Leonora,
the second in the country.
The work of the Cuban medical staff has also had an impact on the infant mortality rate, which has dropped from 60 per thousand live births to 28, according to the Guyana authorities.
It is estimated that 3,891 Guyanese have had their sight restored as part of the Operation Miracle (Vision Now) eye surgery program sponsored by Cuba and Venezuela. As part of that collaboration, a modern ophthalmologic center is scheduled to open this year. the 122 Cubans serving throughout Guyana have to date attended more than 385,000 doctor's visits and saved an estimated 200 lives.
Steel pan opens special UN slavery remembrance observance
Steel band made history in the UN headquarters in New York on a very memorable occasion. On the heels of last yearís adoption by member states of the General Assembly, of a resolution annually designating 25th March as the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the United Nations officially observed this inaugural occasion. This memorable event was a collaboration among the African Union, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the United States Mission and the United Nationsí Department of Public Information. The steelpan instrument took front and center as a steel pan troupe with its members hailing originally from the Caribbean island of Antigua Ė City South Steel Orchestra Ė opened the first annual worldwide commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Latin American & Caribbean leading the world in road traffic deaths
The United Nations (UN) has said the Caribbean and Latin
America lead the way in the number of fatalities. Road safety
campaigners said most people are not aware of the growing threat of road
traffic deaths, especially in low and middle income deaths.
Airline strand 90 Ghanaians in Barbados
One hundred and forty-nine Ghanaians arrived in Barbados
on the direct inaugural flight from Ghana for a two week vacation on February 1, but after the holiday ended some
of the passengers who had paid US$2,000 for the trip said Ghana Airlines failed to return to
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