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Banned banana pesticide cause ‘health disaster’ in French Caribbean
The French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique face a "health disaster" with soaring cancer and infertility rates because of the massive use of banned pesticides on banana plantations, a top cancer specialist warned recently. However, Government officials are skeptical, contend these dire effects do not seem evident and await confirmation studies.
Martinique and Guadeloupe are currently facing "an extremely
serious crisis linked to the massive use of pesticides for a great many
years," Professor Dominique Belpomme said in a report obtained by
French news agency AFP recently.
"The poisoning affects both land and water. Chlordecone establishes itself in the clay and stays there for up to a century. As a result the food chain is contaminated, and especially water. In Martinique most water sources are polluted," he said.
According to the cancer specialist:
The French islands produce 260,000 tonnes of bananas a year, worth some 220 million euros (305 million dollars). The industry, which employs 15,000 people, also receives 130 million euros in EU aid.
Editor's Note: Many Latin American banana producing countries are suspected of using banned pesticides to grow the cheap bananas which are forcing West Indian banana producing countries out of business. These countries get away with it often because of weak unions for workers and poor environmental regulations enforcement.
Jamaica regains malaria-free status
The Ministry of Health and Environment is reporting that Jamaica has once again regained its malaria-free status, as there has been no confirmed case of malaria for the past three months.
The last reported case occurred on June 19 and as a consequence,
persons traveling to Jamaica are no longer required to take anti-malaria
prophylaxis as was recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in
the United States of America as well as the World Health Organization
(WHO). Minister of Health and Environment, Rudyard Spencer, said the
disease had impacted negatively on Jamaica, as there was a travel health
advisory issued, cautioning visitors to the island.
US passport law goes into effect
As of Sept 30 all United States of America citizens who travel by air to the Caribbean must have a passport to re-enter their country, due to the expiration of the deadline for the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) at midnight, the day before.
The WHTI requires all U.S. citizens, Canadians, Bermudans and Mexicans to have a passport or other accepted secure document to enter or re-enter the United States within the Western Hemisphere.
After an original deadline of January 23, the U.S. Government was forced to ease the procedures governing travel by its citizens traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. This came after they came under severe criticism from irate passport applicants and congressmen, and the burden of an overloaded system flooded by millions of applications that they have been unable to process on time.
The U.S has shown significant improvement in the rate of processing of passports. Reportedly the turn-around time has improved from 14 weeks 10-12 weeks, and that the indications are that it will improve even better. The compliance rate has also improved significantly because they are now doing somewhere in the region of a million passports per month, but it still means that it is going to take perhaps another five years or so for the American population to be sufficiently documented in that regard to make the whole industry feel very comfortable.
Barbados least corrupt in WI as Jamaica’s rankings plunge 23 places
Barbados is rated the least corrupt country in the West Indies. Unfortunately, Jamaica has become much more corrupt, dropping a dramatic twenty three places in just one year in the corruption rankings according to the latest Transparency International Corruption Perception Index. The lower the ranking, the greater the corruption. Jamaica, which had a ranking of 61 out of 163 countries in the 2006 report, fell to 84 on the 2007 list. The report ranked 180 countries on a scale from 10 to zero, with 10 being seen as the least corrupt country and zero the most corrupt. Jamaica achieved a score of 3.3 out of 10, compared to last year's score of 3.7.
Among the seven English-speaking Caribbean countries, Barbados topped the list coming in at 23rd and a rating of 6.9. Jamaica’s 84th ranking placed it sixth ahead of only Guyana which placed 123 with a rating of 2.3. Here is a partial list of some other countries:
Editor’s Note: These scores depend on subjective value judgments. Even though there are great attempts to be objective I am sure bias plays a big role. Nevertheless I think these ratings have value.
T&T elections set for Nov 5
Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) general elections have been set for November 5, 2007. Both the ruling Peoples National Movement (PNM) and opposition UNC have started out with internal dissension.
The PNM trouble arose when Prime Minister Patrick Manning named the 41 candidates to contest the elections. The list left off Diego Martin Central MP Kenneth Valley, Laventille East MP Fitzgerald Hinds and Tunapuna MP Eddie Hart who had all fought to be the candidates of their respective constituencies.
UNC leader Basdeo Panday's caused much unrest because of his decision to appoint UNC deputy political leader Jack Warner as chairman of the UNC Alliance, to co-lead the party into the November 5 polls alongside him instead of the sidelined Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar. This move has created a rift between many of the party’s ground supporters and serious damage to the party's national image. This was a complete reversal as the UNC leader had himself nominated Persad-Bissessar to be the Alliance's prime ministerial candidate.
Cuban pig farmer wins international initial custody battle in Miami
A Cuban pig farmer won the first round in an international custody
battle, when a Florida court ruled he did not abandon his five-year-old
daughter, who lives in Miami with wealthy anti-communist exiles. Judge
Jerry Cohen ruled in favor of Rafael Izquierdo, dismissing claims he was
an unfit parent for having allowed the girl to leave communist Cuba with
her mentally unstable mother.
The legal battle has drawn wide public interest in Miami because it pits a farmer from communist Cuba against a couple of prominent and wealthy members of south Florida's Cuban-American community that staunchly opposes the island's regime.
The young girl's saga started when her mother, Elena Perez, took her
and her half-brother to Miami in 2005, leaving Cuba behind in the hopes of
starting a new life in the United States. But Perez soon became depressed
and suicidal, and authorities removed the two children from her custody.
Jamaica to maintain relationships with CARICOM and Cuba
Newly elected Prime Minister Bruce Golding has said that Jamaica remains committed to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in recognition of the fact that changes in the global environment requires readjusting the approach to regional integration. He has also said that Jamaica will continue its diplomatic relations with Cuba. Acknowledging that there were difficulties in the relationship between Jamaica and Cuba during the 1980s, Golding said that was a different time and the world has changed dramatically since then. He said both countries could maintain and deepen their relations on the basis of mutual respect and recognition.
That's a good sign as previous Seaga-led JLP Government was strongly anti-Castro, pro US Republican Party and broke up the West Indies Federation.
Jamaica’s new cabinet takes over
Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s new cabinet has taken over. The ministers are as follows:
Jamaica’s religious pundits apologize for false election prophecy
Members of the prophetic movement in Jamaica, in which the Rev. Dr. Phillip Phinn, self-proclaimed prophet and senior pastor of the Word of Life Ministries International, had declared emphatically that Portia Simpson Miller would be victorious in the general election. Even Portia believed it. Oops! , The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won.
In a statement to the media yesterday, Bishop C.B. Peter Morgan, of City Life Ministries, officially apologised to the public on the behalf of the local prophetic community with respect to the outcome of the general election. According to Bishop Morgan, since the release of the results of the general election, he has held a series of meetings with members of the prophetic movement and some church leaders who have supported it over the years. Members of the movement have, therefore, been asked to make no public statements or give interviews to the media until the group has completed its full course of "self-scrutiny and adjustments, refocusing its mandate and ensuring full personal and corporate accountability as a movement.
Pirates victimize Guyana’s fishermen
Fishermen in Guyana are constantly being robbed by sea bandits. These pirates steal the engines of their boats. In one week alone recently 15 engines were stolen.The fishermen are asking for new legislation and firearms to protect themselves. They claim that they are deliberately neglected by the Coast Guard.
The Government is working on the Hijacking and Piracy of Fishing Vessels Bill which seeks to make piracy a non-bailable offence is in its drafting stage at the Attorney General’s office.
There has been some success in apprehension as after a joint security intelligence approach to the issue, on April 10, police captured seven suspected pirates at Fort and Hogg Islands in the Essequibo River who are allegedly linked to attacks on fishermen in the Atlantic Ocean. This was described as a major breakthrough for law enforcement agencies.
Thieves steal hurricane relief supplies in Jamaica
Relief efforts in the community of Portland Cottage in Clarendon took a blow, when residents woke up one morning to discover that a trailer with building supplies had disappeared from the community under the cloak of nightfall. The 40-foot trailer had lumber which was allocated to rebuild roofs that were damaged during the recent passage of Hurricane Dean. The container, which belonged to Jamaica's leading charitable institution, Food For the Poor (FFTP), had an estimated value of $1.2 million.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Cleon Marsh has, however, revealed that the police have seized a quantity of building supplies in St. Ann and a person has been held. However, investigations are ongoing to ascertain whether there is a link with the removal of the FFTP trailer.
FFTP Executive Director, Bradley Finzi Smith, is disheartened at the theft and is hoping that the goods are returned so that residents in Portland Cottage can put their lives back together.
Volunteers in Jamaica clean-up after ‘Dean’
In Jamaica, coordinators of the national clean-up activities yesterday hailed the two-day project to rid the country of debris caused by Hurricane Dean, which lashed the island in August, a success. Volunteers from all walks of life picked up brooms, shovels and other tools to clean up their communities. The exercise had been announced by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
Petro-Caribe oil for Grenada draws near
The first shipment of oil to Grenada under the PetroCaribe agreement with Venezuela is expected in St. George's towards the end of October. The Grenada Electricity Company Limited (GRENLEC), will be the first local customer to receive the fuel under a three-year agreement it has signed with the Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).
GRENLEC's contract to receive fuel from its current suppliers, Texaco runs out on October 18, clearing the way for its new agreement with PDVSA. Under the new contract, PDVSA will purchase storage facilities comprising three tanks with a total capacity of 750 thousand gallons of fuel, owned by GRENLEC.
The first shipment of supplies from PDVSA is scheduled to arrive sometime after the 18th of October. Under the PetroCaribe plan for the Caribbean signed in June 2005, countries pay market price for Venezuelan fuel, but can finance much of the cost over 25 years at low interest and can also pay partly with services or goods like rice and bananas. Grenada is among several CARICOM countries that have signed the deal with the Hugo Chavez administration to buy oil under preferential terms. The agreement is renewable annually.
China commits US$500 million for Caribbean investments
A US$500 million concessionary loan has been committed by China, over
the next three years, to facilitate Chinese investments in the Caribbean.
China's Ambassador to Jamaica, Chen Jinghua, who made the disclosure said
that, "China will also provide technical training for more than 2,000
Jamaicans in the coming year."
Verizon to drop Bob Marley ringtones after dispute
Verizon Wireless will drop all Bob Marley ringtones, ringbacks and pictures after being threatened with a trademark infringement lawsuit. The decision comes in response to a statement last month by the Marley family that it would sue Verizon Wireless and Universal Music Group for using the iconic star's name, likeness and image without permission.
Fifty Six Hope Road Music, the Marley family company, said in a statement that Verizon Wireless has now taken down all endorsement and trademark materials in connection with Marley, including ringtones and ringbacks.
UWI move to ease severe ‘man shortage’ among students
Statistics from the University of the West Indies (UWI) show that some 82 per cent of females matriculated to the institution this academic year. It is painfully obvious that Jamaican men are in a crisis with very few advancing to tertiary institutions, some local universities are exploring new strategies to encourage more males to enroll in higher education.
Attempts are being made to make courses more appealing to the males in Jamaica. There are innovative programs that can be designed and developed that male students would find more interesting and relevant to their needs. Singapore has been successful in doing so.
Meanwhile, Joseph Pereira, deputy principal of the UWI, said his institution has embarked on a study to examine the cause of male underachievement and see how best the problem can be addressed. Mr. Pereira said the UWI administration visits schools each year and encourages students, especially boys at the third- and sixth-form levels to apply to the institution.
Who are the Cuban 5?
For more than 40 years, anti-Cuba terrorist organizations based in
Miami have engaged in countless terrorist activities against Cuba, and
against anyone who advocates a normalization of relations between the U.S.
and Cuba. More than 3,000 Cubans have died as a result of these terrorists’
On August 9, 2005, after seven years of unjust imprisonment, the Cuban
Five won an unprecedented victory on appeal. A three-judge panel of the
11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of the Cuban Five
and ordered a new trial outside of Miami.
Important declarations have been made by hundreds of parliamentarians in Britain, Italy, and the European and Latin American Parliaments. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions, with five judges, ruled that there were irregularities in the Five’s trial and arrest, effectively denying them a fair trial and calls on the U.S. government to remedy this injustice.
Only in America (true personal incident)
A few days ago, my wife went to pick up two kids from this prestigious Catholic Middle School in Howard County, Maryland. While waiting in the parking lot a commotion broke out. It turned out that one of the kids accidentally broke a thermometer in the lab, spilling mercury. Let me stress- a thermometer. All hell broke loose. Well this incident triggered an emergency response.
And all for spilled mercury from a broken thermometer!
Like so many, when I was a kid, we played with mercury, rolling the silvery liquid around, used it to shine pennies and lived to tell the tale.
Police inna America
It seems police brutality in America does not have to hide in dark alleys or deep inside police stations anymore. As the following two videos will show, it takes place out in the open, in full view of cameras and nothing is done about it. It does not even make news on the main media. These days your video-cam is like American Express. “Don’t leave home without it”.
See for yourself below how Reverend Lennox Yearwood
and University of Florida
Meyers are beaten by police:
Reverend Yearwood -
Andrew Meyer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bVa6jn4rpE
So far I am unaware of any action taken against the police!
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