|     home


This page has news articles and other information,
arranged with the newest posted at the top

(In the decade ending December 2019)

Retired American boxer Floyd Merryweather tops the list with $915 million for the last decade.

25 Most Powerful Countries 2020

A comprehensive guide to today’s car conglomerates
By Thor Bensonof Digital Trends — Posted on February 27, 2018 - 12:24PM

In reference to the Model T, Henry Ford once famously said, “a customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” With the burgeoning automotive industry cornered, this streamlined approach may have worked for a while. However, as the industry grew, so did the individual niche demand, which spawned an array of makes, models, and luxury packages to fill virtually any market nuance.

Once the Great Recession took hold in 2008, the auto industry saw a major overhaul in both structure and scope. After the infamous auto bailout, several brands traded hands. What was once quite straightforward is now slightly more convoluted, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help make sense of it all. We’ve curated this list alphabetically for convenience and general sanity’s sake.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin used to be part of Ford, along with Volvo and Jaguar. Today, it’s an independent company with a long list of shareholders and investors that include Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler and a London-based investment firm named Investindustrial. The tie-in with Mercedes gave Aston Martin access to AMG engines for its latest sports cars.


BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke) was founded in 1916 as an aircraft engine company, and expanded production to motorcycles and eventually cars. Today, BMW also owns Mini and Rolls-Royce. It sells the electric i3 city and the plug-in hybrid i8 sports car under a sub-brand named BMW i.


The original Daimler-Benz was founded in Germany in 1926. The corporation in its current iteration — known as Daimler AG — was founded in 1998. Daimler owns Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach, Smart, and several heavy truck companies including Freightliner and Western Star. It’s about to launch a sub-brand named Mercedes-EQ that will focus on electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid cars.


Here’s a little known fact: The name Fiat is an acronym. Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino was founded in 1899, meaning it’s one of the oldest automakers in the world. Originally, Fiat mainly produced railroad engines, tractors, and airplane engines. By the 1950s, it offered a full lineup of cars ranging from tiny economy models to sporty convertibles. Fiat acquired Chrysler after the brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009.

Today, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) controls Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Fiat Professional, Lancia, Maserati, and all of the Chrysler’s brands including Dodge, Jeep, and Ram. That’s right, the Hellcat and the 500 live under the same roof.


Enzo Ferrari founded the company that bears his name in 1947, though he began racing decades before he built his own cars. Fiat worked with Ferrari on a sports car named Dino during the 1960s, and the Turin, Italy-based giant bought a 50-percent stake in its smaller partner in 1969. It upped its share to 90 percent after Ferrari died in 1988.

For decades, Ferrari stood out as Fiat’s crown jewel. Fiat finally let it fly with its own wings, however. The Prancing Horse split from its parent company in January 2016. The newly independent brand held an initial public offering (IPO) shortly after.


Ford is the company that famously revolutionized the use of assembly lines for cars. The Model T is widely considered the first massively available automobile. At one point in time, Ford owned or had major stakes in Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercury, and Aston Martin. All of these brands were either sold or shut down, and today the Blue Oval’s only brand is Lincoln.

General Motors

General Motors downsized considerably after filing for bankruptcy in 2009. It pared down its portfolio to Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, and Holden, a brand distributed only in Australia. While GM may be mostly known for its staple models, the company was also responsible for creating the mobility systems on the lunar rovers used on the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions.


While most of the major brands saw their preliminary iterations in the early 20th century, Honda wasn’t founded until 1948, making it a relatively new kid on the block. Honda’s name comes from Soichiro Honda, one of the company founders. Honda also owns Acura.


Hyundai, based in of South Korea, released its first car in cooperation with Ford in 1968. Today, Hyundai Motor Company partly owns Kia, one of its chief competitors. As they say: If you can’t beat ’em … make yourself at least partially represented among their shareholders. The two share numerous parts, including engines and transmissions. In 2015, Hyundai announced a new luxury sub-brand called Genesis Motors.


Mazda is a Japanese company that was founded in 1920. The company originally manufactured tools, but it expanded to automobiles in the 1930s. The name of the company comes from Ahura Mazda, an Iranian god. In the 1990s, Ford owned 33.3 percent of Mazda, but has since sold its shares. The Japanese company has been independent since, though it regularly collaborates with partners across the automotive spectrum.


McLaren Automotive is part of the McLaren Technology Group. In addition to building fast, sexy sports cars, the British firm runs the McLaren Formula One team and a division named Applied Technologies that makes a dizzying selection of products including bicycles, bobsleds, medicine, and even solar panels.


The Mitsubishi Corporation is Japan’s largest “general trading company.” The carmaker started in 1970, after breaking off of the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries department. Mitsubishi remained independent for a long time, but it is now controlled by the Renault-Nissan Alliance.


Renault owns a 43-percent stake in Nissan, while Nissan controls just 15 percent of Renault. Nissan also runs Infiniti, its luxury-focused division, and it recently revived the Datsun brand to sell economy cars in emerging markets. Renault also owns Romanian car-maker Dacia, and it holds controlling stakes in both AvtoVAZ (one of Russia’s largest car companies) and Mitsubishi.


Saab Automobile was the brainchild of Svenska Aeroplan AB, which still specializes in aerospace and defense manufacturing. National Electric Vehicle Sweden now owns Saab’s assets. NEVS has been trying to produce an electric version the Saab 9-3 for some time now without much success. Regardless, these new models will not be sold as “Saab” products because the company lost the rights to the name, as well as to the brand’s emblematic griffin logo. While Saab isn’t officially dead, it’s effectively in a vegetative state.


Subaru is on a roll these days. It has set a new annual sales record for 10 consecutive years. Its success is even more impressive when you consider it remains independent, though Toyota owns a 16-percent stake in the brand. The two partners notably co-produce the 86/BRZ twins.


Indian company Tata’s claim to fame was releasing the Nano, which cost $2,500, in 2009. It dabbles in the luxury segment, too. It purchased Jaguar and Land Rover in 2008 and has successfully rejuvenated both brands without diluting what they both stand for: British luxury.


A team of engineers in Silicon Valley founded the electric car company Tesla in 2003. Currently, the company’s vehicles are manufactured in Fremont, California, at the former New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. automotive facility. Its lineup includes the Model S, the Model X, and the Model 3, its long-awaited entry-level car. The company recently outlined plans for a new crossover named Model Y, a semi truck, and a successor to the original Roadster.


Toyota is one of the largest automobile manufacturers in the world. It owns Daihatsu, Lexus, and Hino Motors. Toyota was also behind Scion, the youth-focused brand that sold cars like the toaster-shaped xB. It shuttered the division in 2016 due to slow sales and hasn’t looked back since.


Volkswagen — a name that means “people’s car” in German — rose to prominence by selling the humble, rear-engined Beetle all around the world. Today, it’s one of the largest automakers in the world. Its impressive portfolio of companies includes its namesake brand, Audi, Bentley, Porsche, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, Skoda, MAN Trucks, Scania, and Ducati.


Volvo is a Swedish company founded in 1927. A Chinese firm, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, bought the company from Ford and invested a substantial amount of time and money into updating its lineup. Today, Volvo stands out as one of the market leaders in the field of electrification.

Top 40 Strongest Armies in the World, 2017
(Ground forces, Air and Naval Vessels, population to military ratio)
(World-leading capabilities are in red)

Nuclear weapons?
Active Military
Naval vessels
United States of America
United Kingdom
South Korea
Saudi Arabia
Czech Republic
South Africa
North Korea
The Netherlands

Posted June 16, 2017
Top 10 Jamaican Artists 2016-2017

(1) Bob Marley: US$130 million

(2) Shaggy: US$22 million

(3) Jimmy Cliff: US$18 million

(4) Sean Paul: US$11 million

(5) Ziggy Marley: US$10 million

(6) Damian Marley: US$6 million

(7) Maxi Priest: US$4.6 million

(8) Buju Banton: US$4 million

(9) Beenie Man: US$3.7 million

(10) Bounty Killer: (Grung gud) US$3 million


April 25, 2017

Black Billionaires 2018 (qty. = 11)

Out of the 2,043 billionaires in the world, 11 of them are black; 3 women and 8 men. This year, Saudi-Ethiopian construction magnate Mohammed Al-Amoudi who was worth $8.4 billion last year fell off the ranking as FORBES decided to leave all Saudis off the billionaires list this year.

Nigerian cement tycoon Aliko Dangote is still the richest black person in the world by far with a fortune estimated at $14.1 billion.

LAngolan investor Isabel dos Santos, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey and Nigerian oil woman Folorunsho Alakija are still the only three black female billionaires on the FORBES billionaires list.

Meet the 11 richest black people on earth:

1) Aliko Dangote, $14.1 billion, Nigerian, Sugar, Cement, Flour
Aliko Dangote is the richest black person in the world and Africa’s richest person. He founded and chairs Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement manufacturer. He also owns sugar, salt and four milling businesses that are all listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Dangote is making an audacious foray into oil. His Dangote Group is constructing an integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in the Lekki Free Zone near Lagos, Nigeria. Upon completion in 2019, the refinery is expected to be the world's biggest single-train facility, and will cost an estimated $9bn.

2) Mike Adenuga, $5.3 billion, Nigerian, Oil
The ‘Guru’ as he is referred to in Nigerian business and social circles built his fortune on oil, telecoms, real estate and banking. His mobile telecom company, Globacom, is the second largest operator after MTN in Nigeria with more than 30 million subscribers today. His Conoil Producing is one of the largest indigenous oil exploration and producing companies in Nigeria today. Adenuga is also the largest individual owner of property in Nigeria and Ghana, and he owns a significant stake in construction giant, Julius Berger.

3) Robert F. Smith, $4.4 billion, American, Vista Equity Investments
Robert Smith, up from 6th. last year with $2.5 billion,  ia a former Goldman Sachs executive who started an Austin, Texas-based private equity and venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners in 2000. It now has over $30 billion in assets under management, and is one of the world's most successful hedge funds. In 2016 he pledged $50 million to Cornell University, his alma mater.

4) Oprah Winfrey, $2.7 billion, American, Television
Oprah is no longer the richest African American. The former queen of daytime TV will begin work as a special contributor on 60 Minutes in the fall of 2017. Her once struggling cable channel, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) is now cash flow positive and is enjoying soaring ratings on the back of a series of successful sitcom and drama collaborations. She owns a 10% stake in Weight Watchers and acts as a brand ambassador.

5) Isabel Dos Santos, $2.6 billion, Angolan, Investments
Africa’s richest woman has had better days: Her father was President and she was Chairperson of Sonangol, the state-owned oil company. In November last year, Angola’s new President João Lourenço removed her from the role. Angolan authorities are now probing her tenure as chief of the oil giant and alleging financial impropriety. She denies the allegations. Isabel dos Santos owns a lucrative stake in Unitel, the country's largest mobile phone network, and a stake in Banco BIC. Outside Angola, she owns nearly 6% of oil and gas firm Galp Energia (alongside Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim), and nearly 19% of Banco BPI, the country's fourth-largest bank. She is also a controlling shareholder of Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos SGPS (formerly called Zon).

6) Patrice Motsepe, $2.5 billion, South African, Mining
Patrice Motsepe is the founder and CEO of African Rainbow Minerals, a listed mining company that owns ferrous and base metals, platinum and coal operations in South Africa. He is also the founder of African Rainbow Capital, an investment firm that acquires stakes in financial services companies. He owns the Mamelodi Sundowns Soccer club.

7) Folorunsho Alakija, $1.7 billion, Nigerian, Oil
Nigeria’s richest woman is vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company than owns a stake in Agbami oil field, a prolific offshore asset. Alakija started off as a secretary in a Nigerian merchant bank in the 1970s, then quit her job to study fashion design in England. Upon her return, she founded a Nigerian fashion label that catered to upscale clientele, including Maryam Babangida, wife to Nigeria’s former military president Ibrahim Babangida.

8) Michael Jordan, $1.65 billion, American, Basketball
Basketball's greatest player is the majority shareholder of Charlotte Bobcats and enjoys lucrative deals with the likes of Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck. His biggest pile comes from Brand Jordan, a $1 billion (sales) sportswear partnership with Nike.

9) Strive Masiyiwa, $1.39 billion, Zimbabwean, Telecoms

Telecom tycoon Strive Masiyiwa is Zimbabwe’s first billionaire. Masiyiwa, 57, is the founder of Econet Group, a Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone company that also has investments in financial services, insurance, e-commerce, renewable energy, education, Coca-Cola bottling, hospitality and payment gateway solutions. Econet also has a Pay television outfit, Kwesé TV, which is already competing favorably across Africa with Naspers’ DSTV.

10) Michael Lee-Chin, $1.19 billion, Canadian, Investments

Lee-Chin, a Canadian of Jamaican origin, owns a 65% stake in National Commercial Bank Jamaica.

11) Mohammed Ibrahim, $1.18 billion, British, Mobile Telecoms, Investments

Mo Ibrahim, 71, made his initial fortune as the founder of Celtel, an African mobile phone company, which he sold to MTC of Kuwait for $3.4 billion in 2005. He pocketed $1.4 billion. He now reinvests through Satya Capital, a U.K-based, African focused private equity firm.

From Forbes Magazine August 11, 2018

Black Billionaires 2016 (qty. = 12)

Out of the 1,810 billionaires in the world, 12 of them are black.

Nigerian cement tycoon Aliko Dangote is still the richest black person in the world by far with a fortune estimated at $14.4 billion, down from $15.7 billion last year. Coincidentally, the second richest black person in the world this year is also a Nigerian- Mike Adenuga, a businessman who has built a $10 billion fortune on mobile telecom, oil and real estate investments. He displaces Saudi-Ethiopian

Like last year, Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey and Nigerian oil woman Folorunsho Alakija are still the only black female billionaires on the FORBES billionaires list.

Meet the 11 richest black people on earth:

1) Aliko Dangote, $14.4 billion, Nigerian, Sugar, Cement, Flour
Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is Africa’s richest man for the 8th year. He is the founder and chairman of Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer. Dangote Cement now owns plants in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania and produces more than 30 million metric tons annually. His conglomerate, the Dangote Group, also has business interests in sugar, flour and salt production.

2) Mike Adenuga, $9.9 billion, Nigerian, Oil
Nigerian billionaire Mike Adenuga is now the second richest black person in the world, thanks to new information from analysts on the value of his mobile telecom company, Globacom, and his oil production company, Conoil Producing.

3) Mohammed Al-Amoudi, $8.4 billion, Saudi Arabian, Oil
Saudi tycoon Mohammed Al-Amoudi made his first fortune in construction in Saudi Arabia and reinvested in construction, agriculture, and energy companies across Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia. He owns Preem, an oil refining company as well oil fields off West Africa and gold mines in Ethiopia.

4) Isabel Dos Santos, $3.1 billion, Angolan, Investments
The world’s richest black woman is also the oldest daughter of Angola’s president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos. She owns lucrative stakes in blue-chip Angolan companies such as Unitel, the country’s largest mobile phone network, and a stake in Banco BIC. She is also a controlling shareholder of Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos SGPS (formerly called Zon).

5) Oprah Winfrey, $3.1 billion, American, Television
Oprah, once the queen of daytime TV, is still the richest African-American person in the world. Her once struggling cable channel, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) is now cash flow positive and is enjoying soaring ratings on the back of a series of successful sitcom and drama collaborations with director Tyler Perry. She also owns a 10% stake in Weight Watchers.

6) Robert F. Smith, $2,5 billion, American, Vista Equity Investments
Smith is the founder of Vista Equity Partners, a private equity shop that has an impressive portfolio of leading enterprise software companies such as Websense, Applied Systems and Mediaocean.

7) Femi Otedola, $1.85 billion, Nigerian, Gas stations
Femi Otedola is Nigeria’s 3rd richest man. He owes his fortune to his controlling shareholding of Forte Oil PLC, one of Africa’s largest energy companies. The $2.1 billion (Market capitalization) company owns gas stations and fuel storage depots and manufactures its own line of engine oils. Forte also has interests in power generation.

8) Folorunsho Alakija, $1.55 billion, Nigerian, Oil
Nigeria’s only female billionaire is the founder of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian company that owns a substantial participating interest in OML 127, a lucrative oil block on the Agbami deep-water oilfield in Nigeria. Alakija started off as a secretary in a Nigerian merchant bank in the 1970s, then quit her job to study fashion design in England. Upon her return, she founded a Nigerian fashion label that catered to upscale clientele, including Maryam Babangida, wife to Nigeria’s former military president Ibrahim Babangida.

9) Patrice Motsepe, $1.15 billion, South African, Mining
South Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe has lost $1 billion since last year due to a sharp decline in the stock price of his mining company African Rainbow Minerals–which mines and processes iron, manganese, chrome, platinum, copper, nickel, coal and gold. Motsepe also has a stake in Sanlam, a listed financial services firm, and is the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club.

10) Michael Jordan, $1.14 billion, American, Basketball
Basketball’s greatest player is the majority shareholder of Charlotte Bobcats and enjoys lucrative deals with the likes of Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck. His biggest pile comes from Brand Jordan, a $1 billion (sales) sportswear partnership with Nike.

11) Abdulsamad Rabiu, $1.1 billion, Nigerian, Cement, Sugar
Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate with interests in sugar refining, cement production, real estate, steel, port concessions, manufacturing, oil gas and shipping. BUA Group’s annual revenues are estimated at over $2 billion. Abdulsamad got his start in business working for his father, Isyaku Rabiu, a successful businessman from Nigeria’s Northern region. He struck out on his own in 1988, importing rice, sugar, edible oils as well as steel and iron rods.

12) Mohammed Ibrahim, $1.07 billion, British, Mobile Telecoms, Investments
Sudanese-born Mo Ibrahim is the founder of Celtel, an African mobile phone company, which he sold to MTC of Kuwait for $3.4 billion in 2005. He is the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which promotes good governance in Africa and awards the annual Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership – a lifetime award of $5 million given over 10 years to retired African heads of state who have left their countries materially better off and more transparent. Outgoing Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba was recently announced as the 2015 recipient of the coveted prize.

From Forbes Magazine May 3, 2016

 2015 Montreal Reggae Festival a Hit!


Microsoft Office Word Document
An epic 12th edition of the Montreal International Reggae Festival last weekend in the Old Port!

For the 12th consecutive year, The Old Port of Montreal vibrated to the sweet sounds of reggae music with the best international artists, this year under clear skies, August 14-16, 2015!

On Friday, after solid performances from Kaisha Lee, Face-T and his band, Jah Cutta and Beres Hammond were once again in seduction mode and had the Montreal massive singing along with every one of their dozens of hit songs!

On Saturday afternoon, the soca segment  made up of Daddy Ghost, duo Leadpipe and Saddis and their Carnival 2015 smash "Ah Feeling" and the energetic Fireman Hooper quickly got the party going. The younger members of the crowd were anxiously expecting first time performances by Kranium (Nobody Has To Know) and Dexta Daps and both scored well with very focused performances.

Lady Saw was in fine vocal shape and delivered a racy performance, inviting a few brave spectators to participate. Then, to close Dancehall night, The "Emperor of Reggae", the one and only Shabba Ranks exceeded all expectations with a barrage of all his greatest hits. An electrifying performance that will go down in Montreal reggae history!

With an early start on Sunday under a radiant sun, Dominican singer Oriel introduced himself with a very slick reggae-roots set. This genre's future seem bright, with rising stars Exco Levi and Iba Mahr hitting home with every composition in their power sets. Then came a tempo and mood change for American R&B legends The Manhattans, sounding so sweet that even the most scepticals audience members were swaying along!

One of the best discoveries of this year's festival, british singer Bitty McLean backed by the Ruff Cut Band and french sax player and Taxi Gang member Guillaume "Stepper" Briard, presented his Lovers' rock and Rocksteady repertoire to the delight of reggae fans of all ages. The man is a timeless performer in the fashion of the jamaican greats of the sixties!

His performance brought the bar higher for next performer, Cocoa Tea, one of MIRF's most appreciated artists since his 2013 appearance. Once again, mission accomplished. The singer was awarded The Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award from the hands of Montreal Jamaican Association's President, Mister Noël Alexander. The last recipient of this prestigious award was Madam Marcia Griffiths, at last year's Festival.

To close this edition in a superstar fashion, another Montreal favorite, Tarrus Riley backed by legendary saxophonist, producer and arranger Dean Fraser gave an overview of his greatest hits before inviting Cocoa Tea and Shabba Ranks to join him onstage to sing the classic She's Royal, for the most spectacular Festival  finale ever!

In conclusion, a well-balanced line-up of sure shots performers and impressive debuts made this 12th edition of the Montreal International Reggae Festival one of the most memorable editions so far!  A big heartfelt thank you to all medias for your interest in the MIRF. See you next year!

Press and publicity: Richard Lafrance, Gong communications

Posted August 20, 2015



Pictures posted August 23, 2015
16-year old is working on her doctorate; has an IQ higher than Einstein

Microsoft Office Word Document

By: Krystle Crossman

Thessalonika Arzu-Embry is no ordinary 16 year old. She is an astounding young women who is inspiring to many. At the young age of 11 years old she began taking college courses. By age 14 she had earned her bachelor's degree. This year she will be completing her Master's degree and moving on to a doctorate program.

Her mother, Wonder, stated that Embry has always had a passion for learning and began when she was very young. She said that by the time she was 6 she was able to read college books and understand them.At the age of 11 the Great Lakes, IL resident enrolled in the College of Lake County. She had been home-schooled by her mother her entire life and said that while college was a change from being home-schooled it was still an environment with endless possibilities to learn and she was loving it.

Her mother was nervous to let her enter college at such a young age but she knew that if she didn't let her she was limiting her daughter's success. So Wonder encouraged Thessalonika and sent her out into the college world. Her IQ was measured at 199 (over 30 points higher than Stephen Hawking and Albert Einsten). She has had no trouble at all with the college-level work and it shows.

Thessalonika moved from the College of Lake County to Chicago University and then on to Thomas Edison State College where she earned her bachelor's in psychology. From there she enrolled in Regent University located in Virginia. She took online courses as well as courses in the classroom. This summer she graduates with her master's degree in organizational leadership and strategic foresight. She is not stopping there however! Thessalonika will be moving on to obtaining her doctorate in aviation psychology.

From ABC Eyewitness News May 11, 2015 (Click here for source).

Posted May 29, 2015
After Barbados, who will be next to give the Queen her marching orders?

By Leo Benedictus, The Guardian UK, 24 March 2015 17.00 GMT

The Queen and Prince Philip visit Bridgetown, Barbados in 1977. Photograph: Anwar Hussein/Getty

Barbados is getting rid of the Queen. For some reason, the prime minister, Freundel Stuart, feels that the country’s head of state should not be a foreign white woman who has the job because of a history of conquest, who is also head of state for 15 other countries, including most of their near neighbours, and who last visited Barbados in 1989. Stuart promises to present a bill to remove her in time for next year’s 50th anniversary of Barbadian independence. If he does so, it is expected to pass.

To some extent it is easy to see why Britain keeps the Queen. She is British, after all. But what about Elizabeth II’s other queendoms? Might they be tempted to follow Barbados? Most Commonwealth countries have not kept the British monarch as head of state, and even those that have kept warm feelings may cool when Charles takes over. The list of candidates is: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St Christopher and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

Among these, Jamaica could well be first to go republican, and should have beaten Barbados to it. The prime minster, Portia Simpson-Miller, vowed to do so before Jamaica’s own 50th anniversary of independence in 2012. The fact that she still hasn’t may be a sign that this kind of constitutional change is often more popular than practical.

In Canada, a poll in 2014 showed that, if there were to be a change in the constitution, the majority would prefer “a Canadian-born person chosen by Canadians” as head of state, although no such change looks imminent. Australia nearly embraced republicanism in a referendum in 1999, but 54.9% of those who voted chose otherwise. The difficulty in agreeing what should replace the Queen was part of the problem, and since then the question has faded from view a little. Last February, just 39% of those Australians polled wanted a republic. In Tuvalu, voters have twice chosen to keep the Queen, in 1986 and 2008.

Perhaps a smart outside bet might be New Zealand. Sentiment there is broadly in favour of keeping the Queen, but her supporters tend to be older. Nor has there been a referendum recently. Instead, there will be a binding vote next year on whether to drop the union jack from the country’s flag. If this stirs up some republican feeling, and if King Charles III makes a poor first impression, and if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stop having cute children ... well, you never know.

Posted May 25, 2015
G2K hails new ganja law as 'progressive'

Jamaican Observer, Wednesday, April 15, 2015; 7:16 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Generation 2000 (G2K), has hailed the amendment to the Dangerous Drugs Act which took effect today, as progressive.

Legal advisor of G2K Alando Terrelonge said, “It is a victory for social justice” citing that “for too long, we have criminalised what is largely a victimless crime”.

He said the previous law was “oppressive and outdated”.

“The amendment to the law is significant as young men with small amounts of marijuana will no longer be arrested and carted off to prison until they are granted bail. They will no longer be fingerprinted and shackled by criminal records which make it impossible for them to get certain jobs, to travel overseas, to access the farm work programme, or to migrate when family members abroad file for them,” Terrelonge said.

The organisation further hailed the announcement as a victory for religious rights and freedoms guaranteed under the constitution as special provisions have been made for the Rastafarian community to use marijuana as a religious sacrament, and by individuals for their own private personal use.

It noted that, “The persistent criminalising of marijuana over the years has retarded a viable industry for Jamaica’s economic growth and development. The amendments to our laws will no longer impede scientific research into the benefits of medicinal marijuana, and as a result, Jamaica now stands to gain immensely from decriminalising ganja”.

In the meantime, G2K has recommended a nationwide public education campaign to advise minors of the dangers of substance abuse, as well as to ensure that citizens understand the differences between decriminalisation and legalisation.

It insisted steps be taken by the Government to enact the necessary regulations to govern the granting of licences for the development of lawful medical marijuana and industrial hemp industries.

Posted May 25, 2015

Black Miss Universe Japan 2015 criticized for being "Not Japanese Enough"

Ariana Miyamoto (C) from Miyazaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan, makes a speech in Tokyo on March 12, 2015 after being chosen to represent the country at this year's Miss Universe contest.
Photo by Kyodo/AP

Ariana Miyamoto made headlines around the world earlier this month after becoming the first multiracial contestant to be crowned Miss Universe Japan – but not everyone in Japan is celebrating.

Miyamoto, who was born to a Japanese mother and an African-American father, is a Japanese citizen, but the 20-year-old is facing criticism for being hafu, or half-Japanese. ”Is it okay to choose a haafu to represent Japan?” one commenter wrote online after Miyamoto’s win, according to a translation by the Washington Post.

Another: “Even though she’s Miss Universe Japan, her face is foreign no matter how you look at it!”

RELATED: Miss USA contestants on current events

In a conference with reporters after her win, Miyamoto, who is from Nagasaki and holds a 5th degree mastery of Japanese Caligraphy, said she didn’t “look Japanese” on the outside, but there were many things about her that made her Japanese.

Being mixed-race in Japan is not a new phenomenon, but the debate over “being Japanese enough” is one that has drawn attention worldwide thanks to the internet. Laura Perez Takagi, co-director of the film Hafu: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan, told NBC News, “In a country where the majority of fashion beauty magazines and TV shows are reigned by ‘hafu’ models and actors … It was actually about time that a mixed-race Japanese girl won the Miss Universe pageant.”

Japan is not the only country that has faced beauty pageant backlash related to its winner’s ethnicity. In 2013, 7-year-old Jakiyah McKoy was stripped of the title of Little Miss Hispanic Delaware because officials ruled she was not “Latina enough” (her undocumented grandmother was Dominican, but McKoy had no papers to prove it), and Miss New York Nina Davuluri faced criticism from online detractors when she became the first Indian-American woman to be crowned Miss America.

“I have always viewed Miss America as the girl next door, and the girl next door is evolving as the diversity in America evolves,” Davuluri said.

Miyamoto will represent Japan in the 2015 Miss Universe pageant.

Posted April 18, 2015 from MSNBC

Jamaica has the most Female Managers in the World

Jamaica is the country where you’re most likely to have a female boss. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), just under 60 percent of the Caribbean island nation’s management force is female, the highest level anywhere in the world.
Here is a partial list of the ranking of some countries:

1st.): Jamaica = 59.3 percent of management is female

2nd.): Columbia = 53.1 percent of management is female

3rd.): St. Lucia = 52.3 percent of management is female

9th.): Bahamas = 44.4 percent of management is female

13th.): Barbados = 43.4 percent of management is female

14th.): Trinidad and Tobago =  43.1 percent of management is female

15th.): United States = 42.7 percent of management is female

29th.): Cuba = 38.1 percent of management is female

36th.): Canada = 36.2 percent of management is female

41st.): United Kingdom = 34.2 percent of management is female

85th.): China = 16.8 percent of management is female

96th.): Japan = 11.1 percent of management is female

108th. (last): Pakistan = 3.0 percent of management is female

Published January 17, 2015
Usain Bolt is the 45th. Highest Paid Athlete with US$23.2 Million
in 2014 as per Forbes List
(There are no Canadians in this list!)

Top 10 Richest (Reggae) Celebrities in the Caribbean

Bob Marley

Rock n’ Roll, Hip Hop, Pop, Country and the other popular music genres in the West have stars that make millions of dollars every year. The US boasts numerous mega stars like Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, Sting, Michael Jackson… the list is endless. But how many of such stars exist in the Caribbean? Celebrities with monetary value that matches publicity status do exist in this area. Of course Bob Marley is a fine example of a legend from Jamaica. If he were still alive, he would be worth more than $130 Million, according to the current value of his empire. At present moment, there are still some artists making millions of dollars there.

Here is the list of the top 10:

10. Bounty Killer, Net Worth- $ 3 Million

Bounty Killer is a Dancehall living legend. He was among the pioneers of the style and has influenced numerous other new artists like Vybz Kartel, Busy Signal and Mavado. He has done several collaborations with international artists such as Jay-Z.

9. Beenie Man, Net Worth- $3.7 Million

Prior to becoming a fully fledged artist, Beenie Man was a Deejay. He released his famous song entitled ‘Zim Zimmer’ in 1997 which rocked numerous charts worldwide. From then on, he has been making hits consistently and steadily emerging as one of the wealthiest from the Caribbean.

8. Buju Banton, Net Worth– $4 Million

This is one of the veteran artists from Jamaica who played an important role in taking Dancehall music into the mainstream. He would have been ranking higher in this list were it not for his beef with gay people. He lost popularity when he started making songs aimed at bashing the gay community. Still, his music rakes in a substantial amount of money every year.

7. Maxi Priest, Net Worth- $4.6 Million

Maxi Priest is highly regarded in the Reggae music industry. He has released 9 albums during the last 3 decades. His style is a fusion of R&B and Reggae which is why his music usually tops charts in the US and UK. He was raised in the UK which explains his style of music.

6. Damian Marley, Net Worth- $6 Million

He is without doubt one of the most successful sons of Bob Marley. Ever since he was 13 years old, Junior Gong, as he’s referred to, was in the studio recording. He has won 3 Grammy Awards to date. His two albums, namely ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ and ‘Half Way Tree’, sold Gold in the US alone. His current album, entitled ‘Distant Relatives’, is a collaborative piece of art with rapper Nas and has managed to gain worldwide recognition.

5. Sean Kingston, Net Worth- $ 7 Million

Sean Kingston’s music is tough to categorize mainly because it has elements of R&B, Pop and Reggae. The artist was propelled into stardom by his hit single ‘Beautiful Girls’ that topped the Billboard Chart. His album, which was dropped in 2007, sold Gold in the US alone. He is also the owner of the Time Is Money Record Label that has brought other stars from the Caribbean, like Iyaz, into the limelight.

4. Ziggy Marley, Net Worth- $10 Million

Although critics argue that most of his wealth comes from his father’s inheritance, Ziggy Marley has proven to be a very hardworking artist. In 2006, he released the album dubbed ‘Love Is My religion’, which sold platinum worldwide. He has won 3 Grammy Awards and is currently steering the Tuff Gong Record Label that his father founded.

3. Sean Paul, Net Worth- $11 Million

In any list of the most successful artists from the Caribbean, Sean Paul is present. His Dancehall album entitled ‘Dutty Rock’ sold more than 6 million copies. In addition, it also won him a Grammy Award. He has also been nominated for numerous other international awards during his career. He has done several collaborations with other renowned artists like Rihanna and Beyonce.

2. Jimmy Cliff, Net Worth- $18 Million

In the 1970’s, Jimmy Cliff released the movie ‘The Harder They Come’ which had massive impact worldwide. It was an important block in Rastafarian and Reggae music movements. He was inaugurated into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. Apart from music and film, he is also a businessman who runs several enterprises.

1. Shaggy, Net Worth- $22 Million

Shaggy is a household name across the world. He made his debut more than a decade ago. In 2001, his album entitled ‘Hot Shot’ sold platinum in the US. It is estimated to have sold approx 20 million copies to date. The artist is now more focused on charity work as he recently opened the Shaggy Foundation.

Posted Jan. 7, 2015,
Change course, Portia - Majority of Jamaicans say PNP Government steering country in wrong direction

Published: Sunday | October 5, 2014, Jamaica Gleaner

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

A LITTLE more than seven in every 10 Jamaicans believe that the Portia Simpson Miller-led administration is steering the country in the wrong direction.

In a September 2014 Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll, 73 per cent of respondents said the country is heading in the wrong direction.

This was statistically the same as in December 2013 when 74 per cent of the respondents expressed a similar view.

Claims by Simpson Miller at the annual conference of the People's National Party in September that the country is better off now than when her administration took the reins of power two years and 10 months ago have apparently failed to resonate with the majority of Jamaicans.

The Government has, to date, passed five quarterly tests under the four-year Extended Fund Facility with the International Monetary Fund and has received the endorsement of the head of that body, Christine Lagarde, who used a visit to the island in June to praise the administration for its work.

But that has not been enough to impress the majority of Jamaicans who listed a litany of woes to substantiate their claims that the administration needs to change course.

Going the wrong way

Only nine per cent of Jamaicans believe that the country is going in the right direction, while 18 per cent say they are not sure if the course being charted by the Government is right or wrong.

Particularly painful for the Simpson Miller administration is that the number of persons who believe the country is headed in the right direction has declined by 18 percentage points since it took office.

In the run-up to the 2011 general election, Johnson tested the pulse of country and found that 54 per cent felt Jamaican was heading in the wrong direction, 27 per cent believed it was moving in the right direction while 19 per cent said they did not know.

Opinion has also shifted on the question of what is the most pressing problem facing the country at this time. The issues of the slow pace of job creation and unemployment have surged past crime as the number one problem in Jamaica.

Forty-seven per cent of the country cited unemployment as the number one problem facing Jamaica at this time, with 34 per cent of respondents highlighting crime as the problem of greatest concern.

Other concerns for Jamaicans included the cash crunch, with 11 per cent of Jamaicans saying the lack of money was their foremost problem, while eight per cent highlighted high cost of living, as well as poverty and suffering, as the most pressing problems facing them.

In the meantime, six per cent of Jamaicans are of the opinion that the economy and economic crisis are the most pressing problems, while five per cent pointed to poor governance.

Unemployment problem

When Johnson drilled down to find out what bothers or concerns Jamaicans in a personal way the most, 45 per cent of the country listed the lack of jobs and unemployment.

Responding to the same question, 21 per cent cited crime, 12 per cent said money and eight per cent mentioned high cost of living.

Nearly three years in the seat of governance, the PNP has also struggled to make an impression on Jamaicans that it is capable of dealing with their problems at the community level.

Johnson sought answers from the respondents about whether they believe things were going in the right or wrong direction these days, in the area in which they live.

Sixty-four per cent of those interviewed said things are going in the wrong direction in the area they live in. This is five percentage points more than the 59 per cent who told Johnson the country was going in the wrong direction under the Jamaica Labour Party Government, just before voters went to the polls in 2011.

However, 24 per cent think things are going in the right direction in their communities, 10 percentage points fewer than those who expressed a similar view when Johnson conducted a poll in December 2011.

The latest Bill Johnson poll had a sample size of 1,208 residents and was conducted on September 6-7 and 13 to 14. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent.

Posted October 5, 2014


Posted September 19, 2014

August 15, 16 & 17, 2014

Tighter controls and clever techniques were evident at the 11th. Reggae Festival, thanks to knowledge gleaned during Festival President Eric Blagrove's visits to several world festivals and his clever methods of watch, learn, optimize then implement.

Everyone had to wear color coded wristbands and pass through a security entry checkpoint with body and bag searches. Color coded charts enabled security agents to effectively control entry gates to all sections of the grounds. The VIP section for paying guest, media and authorized people was limited to a fenced area in front of the stage, with an enforced "off-limit" area 6 feet immediately in front of the stage. The media tent and CKUT Radio's tent were moved from the area behind the stage to the left side of the stage, where some of the stars were made available to media for rigidly controlled interviews, with prioritized access for radio media. Only the performers and essential individuals had access to the area behind the stage; this provided an appreciated controlled area of respite from VIP's and media personnel for performers and essential authorized individuals.

Thanks and conratulations to Eric Blagrove's Montreal International Reggae Festival's planning and implementation group of staff and volunteers for another smashing 3-day event in Montreal!

Posted August 22, 2014

The decision by former Bloc Québécois MP Maria Mourani to embrace federalism was a clear shot across the sovereigntist bow

By: Chantal Hébert National Affairs, Published on Fri Dec 20 2013

MONTREAL—Maria Mourani, the Ahuntsic MP who this week publicly renounced sovereignty after being ousted from the Bloc Québécois earlier this fall, is no Lucien Bouchard.

Graham Hughes / THE CANADIAN PRESS file photo

Her decision to embrace federalism the better to turn her back on the Parti Québécois’ secularism charter will not unleash a flood of pro-Canada conversions in Quebec. Nor is it exclusively altruistic.

Mourani’s diverse Montreal riding is fundamentally federalist and only a division in the non-sovereigntist vote between a high-profile Liberal candidate and the surging NDP allowed her to keep it in the Bloc fold in 2011.

That her change of heart will enhance her prospects for re-election should she run again in 2015 is not in doubt. The ex-Bloc MP, who continues to sit as an independent in the Commons, has a variety of federalist political vehicles to choose from between now and then.

Be that as it may, Mourani’s defection was a clear shot across the sovereigntist bow.

Mourani is not the first sovereigntist to cross over to the other side but the traffic on this particular Quebec road has traditionally been heavier in the other direction.

Moreover, past lapsed sovereigntists had usually tended to be discreet about their change in allegiance.

But there was little that was furtive about this week’s developments.

On Wednesday Mourani proclaimed that Canada — because fundamental rights are enshrined in its Constitution — is best placed to protect minorities.

A simple majority in the national assembly is enough to water down the rights guaranteed in the Quebec charter and the PQ is proposing to use that route to pave the way for the restrictions on religious rights that it seeks to impose throughout the province’s public service.

Mourani added that with its secularism charter the PQ had veered from its long-held tenet of inclusiveness to embrace a more ethnic-based form of nationalism. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau could have been speaking through her mouth.

The reaction from sovereigntist quarters was virulent. But that virulence in itself is representative of an ongoing shift in the Quebec sovereigntist-federalist paradigm.

For a long time the onus has been on francophone federalists to explain how they can find fault with the 1982 patriation of the Constitution without Quebec’s assent and/or support the PQ’s language laws and still oppose sovereignty.

The inference has been that their loyalty to Canada is somewhat unprincipled; that it goes against the grain of the larger collective Quebec interest.

Both the language and the constitutional issues also exposed divisions in the federalist facade that the PQ was only too happy to exploit.

But with her secularism charter Marois might as well have taken a hammer to her own foundations.

Over the past fall, Quebecers have been treated to the sight of public sovereigntist divisions — including between the premier and her predecessors — over the charter. Such divisions over the identity-related initiative of a PQ government are unprecedented.

With federalists mostly on the sidelines, sovereigntists have been debating other sovereigntists over the perils of the charter for the fabric of Quebec society and for the greater cause of the province’s independence.

This week, Mourani’s defection found other sovereigntist critics of the charter on the defensive, scrambling to explain how one could be staunchly against the Marois’ initiative and still support the PQ.

By all indications they are failing to convince some of their own.

On Friday, former Bloc MP Raymond Gravel penned a devastating open letter in which he wrote that Marois’ professed admiration for France’s secular model made him “want to vomit.”

He described France as a country where discrimination and racism are rampant. Unless the charter is rewritten along more inclusive lines, Gravel concluded, he will terminate his 30-year association with the PQ.

For decades the PQ had succeeded in commanding what most francophone Quebecers construed as the political high ground in the province’s identity debate. But its secularism charter has opened a breach in its walls of moral superiority and so far it is not federalists who are rushing in but sovereigntists who are running out. And they are not all leaving in the dead of the night.

Chantal Hébert is a national affairs writer. Her column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Posted Dec. 22, 2013 (from

World Bank ranks top 10 wealthy Caribbean nations
SNO - Friday, December 20th, 2013

Castries city, St. Lucia

Caribbean nation St. Lucia has been named among the top 10 wealthy Caribbean nations based on Gross National Income (GNI), according to a report by the World Bank.

St. Lucia was ranked seventh with a GNI of $6,530.

In its 2014 World Development Report, the World Bank used the GNI to measure the wealth of Caribbean nations. The information is data of the bank’s main criterion for classifying economies.

The GNI per capita is the gross national income of a country divided by its total population. It is also the sum of value added by all resident producers, plus any product taxes (less subsidies) not included in the valuation of output, plus net receipts of primary income (compensation of employees and property income) from abroad, according to the World Bank.

According to the report St Lucia’s educated workforce and improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities have attracted foreign investment in tourism and in petroleum storage and trans-shipment.

“The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, which is the its main source of revenue,” the report stated. “The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean, and the government is trying to revitalize the banana industry.”

Bahamas grabbed the top spot with a GNI of $21,280.

Here is the full list based on the World Bank report:
Bahamas ….$21,280
Trinidad …$14,400
St. Kitts and Nevis $13,330
Antigua….. $12,640
Suriname … $8,480
Grenada …..$7,110
St Lucia …. $6,530
Dominica …..$6,460
St Vincent and the Grenadines $6,380
Jamaica …..$5,140

Posted Dec. 22, 2013
Cayman Islands Trying To Avoid The Errors Of Falmouth Port

Posted by Brian Elliott on 05 December 2013

Falmouth Pier complex – Disney Wonder docked in Falmouth.
Shore-side shopping building is just below the ship

The Cayman Island government is being asked to facilitate construction of two new piers in its capital, Georgetown. Unlike Jamaica, Cayman Island politicians are not diving in head on; instead they are trying to use their bargaining power to avoid the mistakes they have seen in places like Falmouth, Jamaica.

This is was posted in an article on, where the government was being advised by 2 cruise experts. First and foremost, the government is insisting on no shore-side retail facility. This will avoid the competition to local businesses that has been a curse on Falmouth.

Falmouth has suffered immensely from shore-side shopping. There was much expectation before the first cruise ship came, but the cruise ship dollars has been so minimal, several businesses have either closed or turned their focus to local commerce. The many craft vendors have dwindled to only a handful. When in town, the ship is there, but it seems its not there.

A fine case is the craft store Evryting Else. This was located in Water Square, the hub of activity in Falmouth. The  provided all types of ‘Made in Jamaica’ items, just what most visitors to the island love to buy. The business struggled, closed and now houses a mattress retail business. Water Square is still dominated by local businesses. Commercially, the cruise ship pier is a disaster for locals who invested in the Falmouth cruise ship opportunity.

Jim Walker, a Miami-based maritime lawyer and founder of the website Cruise Law News, made this statement when referring to Falmouth:

    “They have built a wall around the Falmouth port. They have a few approved vendors inside and on the other side of the wall the people are in a state of crisis.”

Cayman beach
Cruise ship anchored in Georgetown Harbour, Cayman Islands. Brian Elliott Photo

What has defeated Falmouth is Royal Caribbean’s ownership of the Pier and everything related to it. Local interests have no leverage or bargaining chips. Royal Caribbean has all it wants. The Caymanians are trying to avoid this by proposing to have the cruise line pay for using the facility. This proposed charge is despite the fact that it (the cruise line) will be investing substantially in the project.

Cayman does have somethings that Falmouth does not have. First of all, it is a prosperous country with an extremely low crime rate. A look at the indexmundi (world index) shows that Cayman is number 16 in World GDP per capita, with an average of $43800, while Jamaica is number 117, with an average of $9100 … wow! Can you believe that Cayman Islands used the Jamaican dollar as its currency up to 1971? what a disaster Jamaica has become! Anyway, getting back on topic, Cayman also has an established cruise industry, although the ship is anchored away from land and ferried to shore. The photo below shows the ferry that takes the cruise ship visitors to shore in Grand Cayman.

The cruise ship companies are real heavyweights. If Royal Caribbean was a country, it would be much richer than most other countries judging from their revenue and assets. They usually get what they want. We wish the Caymanians luck in their negotiations. Just remember to avoid the mistakes that the inexperienced Jamaican politicians made. Continue to use Falmouth as an example!
Two amazing Trini magicians!!

(Click the link below to view on YouTube)

China's Rising Tide in the Caribbean
Beijing's study of the Soviet Union's strategy in the islands is paying dividends.

    September 30, 2013, 7:07 p.m. ET

Most American vacationers see the Caribbean as a place for sun and sand, not for geopolitical struggle. But that may change as Beijing ramps up its global power ambitions. As U.S. strategic interest in the Americas wanes, China has lavished money and attention on the Caribbean's island nations, muddying the waters in what has long been "America's Lake."

In June, for instance, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Trinidad and Tobago to court the leaders of 10 Caribbean countries. He came bearing some $3 billion in development loans, a hefty sum for a tiny region.

At first, such largess seems straight out of China's standard developing-world playbook: From Africa to South America, Beijing has perfected the art of buying off governments, often to win natural resources for Chinese factories or to steal sovereign recognition from Taiwan.

But China's Caribbean involvement is far from business as usual. The combined Caribbean economy is no larger than that of Kansas, and only a handful of its countries—Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago—possess exportable resources of note. A few Caribbean microstates, such as St. Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis, recognize Taiwan, but China stopped courting these states five years ago amid a Beijing-Taipei detente.

Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (left) with China's President Xi Jinping (center) in St. Ann's, Trinidad, June 1.

The best way to understand China's Caribbean courtship is to consider the last distant power to have designs on the region: the Soviet Union. Today the Caribbean is regarded as a strategic and economic backwater by Washington. But the Soviets saw—and Beijing sees—something different: an American vulnerability.

Until it collapsed in 1991, the Soviet Union viewed the Caribbean through a military-strategic lens. Moscow knew the Panama Canal was essential for moving U.S. naval vessels from the Atlantic to the Pacific. U.S. oil imports arrived at Gulf of Mexico refineries via Caribbean waterways. In the event of war, the Soviets reasoned they could disrupt these transportation lines, harm the U.S. economy, and distract attention from Europe.

In the early 1960s, the Soviets set out to foment military coups, invest liberally in regional relationships, and move naval assets to the Caribbean. To further project its power, Moscow established proxy airstrips in Grenada, surveillance facilities in Central America, even a secret submarine base in Cuba. These investments led U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jeane Kirkpatrick to warn in 1981 that "the Soviet Union has become a major military power within the Western hemisphere."

Beijing's analysts studied the Soviet Union's Caribbean strategy in the 1980s, writing that "Soviet expansion posed a threat to [Caribbean] sea lines" and helped "contain U.S. strategy." China and the U.S. are not in a Cold War. But Beijing's recent Caribbean push does revive the Soviet strategy to project power. The difference is that Beijing has greater tolerance for the long game and emphasizes economic and legal instruments of statecraft instead of Soviet-style military assistance and coups.

Caribbean states are suffering from chronic trade deficits, decades of stagnant growth, and record government debt. This year three governments—St. Kitts and Nevis, Jamaica and Grenada—are pursuing painful debt restructuring. U.S. aid is roughly half what it was in the 1980s. But China has a major project in nearly every Caribbean country and, including the $3 billion in loans announced in June, has provided more than $6 billion in development loans and grants to the region over the past decade.

China's assistance is a long-term strategic investment, and it can buy low and sell high since Caribbean influence is relatively cheap. State-owned China Communications Construction Co. already plans to build a mammoth commercial port in Jamaica over the next decade. Later on, China could establish surveillance facilities or sign naval-access agreements, as it has with Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean and Pakistan in South Asia. In times of crisis, China could use the Caribbean to draw U.S. attention away from Asia and Beijing's own maritime backyard, the South China Sea.

Moreover, China knows that island states have outsize political influence in international organizations where even the smallest countries carry the same weight. Jamaica is home to the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which regulates mining access to seafloors in international waters—and the billions of dollars of rare-earth minerals believed to be buried there.

China currently produces more than 95% of all rare-earth minerals, and to retain its dominance in the market hopes to become a leader in deep-sea mining. Not coincidentally, China has given aid to Jamaica and several other Caribbean states sitting on ISA committees that award contracts and write regulations for deep-sea mining.

China has also invested in Caribbean microstates in hopes of winning their votes in other organizations such as the United Nations. These states can and do provide support for Chinese positions on human rights, Taiwan and, increasingly, territorial disputes as far away as the South China Sea.

In June, Caribbean leaders meeting in Trinidad thanked President Xi for his beneficence and hailed what he calls his "China Dream" of "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation." That may seem like empty rhetoric—but the Chinese investment that buys diplomatic blandishments today will tomorrow be used to secure still greater economic and strategic advantages.

Mr. Doshi is an analyst at Long Term Strategy Group in Washington, D.C. Mr. Walter is a writer in Hong Kong.

A version of this article appeared October 1, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: China's Rising Tide in the Caribbean.

Posted October 5, 2013

Bunny Wailer to turn his back on Jamaica for SVG
September 26, 2013
CaribDirect writer Robertson Henry

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 2013; KINGSTOWN, ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES – Legendary reggae artiste Bunny Wailer in an interview confirmed what Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines had told the nation.

Speaking to reporters, the Vincentian Leader of Government stated that Bunny Wailer has informed him he is prepared to come and live in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, “by the end of this year.”

Bunny Wailer was in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for three days to participate in the First Regional Conference on Reparations, which included a performance at the Opening Ceremony on Sunday night at the Victoria Park.

He told this journalist that he would be back in St. Vincent to live before the end of this year 2013 to live, because of his displeasure at the current social environment in Jamaica.

Speaking to this journalist in an exclusive interview, the Jamaican reggae icon stated, “My whole intention is to get out of Jamaica because Jamaica is a failure.”

He pointed out that although Jamaica has more people in it than many of the Caribbean islands, “the politicality and the teachings and the other things that are taking place in Jamaica does not relate to my existence.”

The founding and only living member of the iconic reggae band The Wailers has lived in Jamaica for the past sixty-six years but is finding out now that “Jamaica is a serious problem base on the politicality.”

He added that he also reached that conclusion after viewing the behavior of the people who govern Jamaica, who are ‘involved in the misleading of our race as African people.

“So I am putting myself in a position to get closer to people who are defending those things that are right,” the legendary Jamaican reggae singer added.


Video Highlights on

Posted Aug.19, 2013

Our Jamaican track stars have dominated the 100m, 200m and relay races in Moscow, Russia. Click the links below to watch them win on Youtube.

Meet Britain's youngest ever barrister
Gabrielle Turnquest has been called to the bar at the age of 18

Gabrielle Turnquest is the youngest person in the history of the English legal system to be admitted to the bar.
Photograph: Neil Hall/The University of Law

She is the youngest person to be called to the bar in 600 years and at just 18, Gabrielle Turnquest has already become used to questions about her age. By 12 she was ahead of her classmates. She started her first degree at the age of 14, graduating two years later on the day she also graduated from high school. "I guess it feels really good to have a law degree," she says, "rather than the age part of it."

Not many people knew how young Turnquest was at the University of Law, where she was studying with her 22-year-old sister. Most of the other students were in their mid-20s, although there were much older people too.

"I think once people figured it out, there was shock," she says, "I think that we had assumed that I was the youngest but there hadn't been any confirmation. Then it was all over with and we got back to studying."

Turnquest is the third of six children. Are they all high achievers? "We try to be," she says with a laugh. Their mother can take much of the credit for their academic success. A lawyer from Nassau in the Bahamas, she moved the family there from Florida when Turnquest was a child. Deciding the school system wasn't challenging enough for her bright kids, she spent several months researching curriculums from around the world, looking at which countries were doing best in which subjects and why.

Then she turned all that into her own educational plan, rented space in her office building, hired teachers and enrolled her children on to a programme she named Excelsior Academy. She even made a school uniform for them.

Turnquest insists there wasn't any pressure to excel. In fact, she says, because she wasn't comparing herself to her peers, she didn't really know what was expected of her. She just soaked up as much information as she could take, regardless of what age range it was aimed at. "My mother never gave us the impression that we were expected to complete everything," she says.

When Turnquest was 12, the family moved back to the US and the children went back to schools. By this time she was far ahead of her classmates.

When she got to high school the following year, she was able to take more advanced courses and she started a degree in psychology when she was 14. Turnquest's university classmates knew she was still a high-school student, though most assumed she was a senior (around 17).

When a mentor suggested she might not be taken seriously as a counsellor at such a young age, Turnquest thought about what to do next. Her sister had applied to study law in London and she thought this would be a good next step. "I guess the same could be said [about her age] for law, but it seemed as though there would be more opportunities to do behind-the-scenes work and the age thing would never come up."

Although she could have stayed in the UK and become a barrister, she now plans to work as a lawyer in the fashion industry – she starts an apparel industry management course in the autumn, while studying for the multistate bar exams.

So, does she ever feel that she has missed out on anything, that she has moved too fast? "I guess I missed out on going to university with the people I knew before, but I've met a great group of people going to university the way I did. I now have this time to figure out what I'm going to do next and I already have a degree, so I have more opportunities open to me. I honestly don't think I've missed out. I don't think there was anything I could have done at 15 or 16 that I can't do now – just with a law degree."

• This article was amended on 13 August 2013. The original version referred to the College of Law. This should have been the University of Law and has now been corrected.

Posted August 15, 2013
Outstanding Brother: Apple Buys Man’s Hopstop App for Hundreds of Millions of Dollars
July 24, 2013
Posted by: blackbluedogs

Chinedu Echeruo’s is the founder of, an important and influential website that allows users to find their way around nearly any city with public transportation.   The site also has mobile apps for iOS and Android, and covers 300 cities across the world.

According to AllthingsDigital, Echeruo has sold the company to Apple for an undisclosed sum of money.  The payout is expected to be huge, since the company has been compared to Israel’s Waze which was recently acquired by Google for $1 billion.  Given that Hopstop has broad US influence and strong name recognition, it is likely that his payday surpasses that of Waze.

Echeruo is a Nigeria native who attended Kings College in Lagos, then Syracuse University and the Harvard Business School.  He founded the company after working on Wall Street with JP Morgan Chase in New York.   After spending several years in the fast paced and lucrative world of mergers and acquisitions, he decided to go out on his own and have his own business.  Years of tireless hard work and consistent focus on his goals helped him to rise from the tough streets of Lagos to becoming one of the leading entrepreneurial innovators in the planet.

Echeruo was able to raise nearly $8 million for two companies: and He was later named Black Enterprise Magazine’s Small Business Innovator of the Year.  He is currently a partner of the Principal Investing Group in West Africa.

Posted July 29, 2013

Click below to watch Youtube video of Carrefour jeunesse-emploi de Côte-des-Neiges' BBQ at Kent Park, July 1, 2013:

Subject: University of Miami Miller School of Medicine News- PROSTATE NEWS...
Researchers Discover Prostate Cancer- 5.21.2013
Fighting Compound in Jamaican Allspice
Essential to jerk seasoning, allspice is known for flavoring Jamaican and other cuisines around the world with a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper but, according to a new study by Miller School researchers, the aromatic spice could be known one day for impeding the growth of, or maybe even preventing, prostate cancer, the No. 2 cancer-killer of men in the U.S.

In the study published online May 8 in the Oxford Journals' Carcinogenesis and led by Bal L. Lokeshwar, Ph.D., professor of urology and radiation oncology and Co-Director of Research in the Department of Urology, researchers demonstrated that Ericifolin, a complex compound in the allspice berry, significantly slows the growth of prostate cancer tumors by suppressing the androgen receptor (AR). A molecule central to the growth and metastasis of prostate cancer, AR enables prostate cancer cells to survive even after hormone therapy, which along with surgery and radiation is the standard treatment for prostate cancer.
"Androgen receptor, or AR for short, is the principal drug target for the treatment of prostate cancer, but there is no drug that completely eliminates AR. This complex compound in allspice seems to do that,"

Lokeshwar said. "The most interesting data shows that it actually kills tumor cells which express the very specific prostate cancer marker, the androgen receptor. That is not to say that people should start eating allspice with every meal, but there exists the potential that the slow and steady consumption of this chemo-dietary agent may slow or even prevent prostate cancer."

For now, Lokeshwar and his study team, including first author Shamaladevi Nagarajarao, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research associate, and Lei Zhang, a graduate student, have demonstrated that Ericifolin kills prostate cancer cells and reduces tumor growth by more than 50 percent in animal models, specifically mice that were injected with prostate cancer cells, then, either fed or injected daily doses of an aqueous allspice extract.

"To our surprise, it worked very well," Lokeshwar said. "It was surprising because lots and lots of products kill cells in the test tube, but they are not effective when consumed or injected in animal models. In this case, the tumors did not disappear, but they grew about 50 percent more slowly with both methods. Further, these mice did not exhibit any obvious toxicity associated with other anticancer drugs."

Next the researchers hope to determine whether Ericifolin, a member of the family of polyphenols, the richest source of antioxidants in our diet, can actually prevent prostate cancer from developing altogether. With a $1.5 million NIH grant, they are currently exploring Ericifolin's anticancer activities - and its translational potential as a cancer chemopreventive agent for humans - in mice that have been genetically programmed to naturally develop prostate cancer at a certain age.

They also hope to begin a clinical trial in the near future with UHealth patients who are under active surveillance for early-stage or slow-growing prostate cancer, which does not yet warrant treatment. Since allspice is not toxic, Lokeshwar reasons those patients would be ideal candidates to take Ericifolin as a daily dietary supplement.

A biologist who began exploring the feasibility of natural anticancer agents about seven years ago, Lokeshwar turned his sights on allspice at the suggestion of a former research associate, Dominic A. Lyn. A co-author on the study, Lyn happened to be from Jamaica, the world's No. 1 exporter of allspice, which is the dried, unripe berry of Pimenta dioica, an evergreen tree native to Jamaica. "He said, 'Let's try allspice. It's from Jamaica, and it's unique,'" Lokeshwar recalled.

At the time, there were — and still are — few scientific studies on allspice, but the researchers were intrigued by what they learned: Not only is allspice a popular folk medicine remedy for a number of maladies, but “pound for pound,” Lokeshwar said, “it has the highest amount of antioxidants of any food we know.”

Their interest would escalate when they performed some rudimentary experiments with a jar of allspice powder Lyn borrowed from his wife’s kitchen. Turning the powder into a water extract, they applied it to cancer cells and found it inhibited their growth. More elaborate and sophisticated experiments with allspice purified and liquefied in the Lokeshwar lab would produce the same results, first in cells, then in mice.

The next step, which would prove harder, was pinpointing which of the hundreds of compounds in allspice blocked the antigen receptor. Fortunately, Nagarajarao mistakenly knocked on Lokeshwar’s door inquiring about a job in a different lab. When Lokeshwar learned she was a chemist and biophysicist, he enlisted her in the hunt. With analysis provided by collaborators in the University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy, the team eventually isolated Ericifolin as the anticancer agent.

In an intriguing footnote, Zhang, a student in the Sheila and David Fuente Graduate Program in Cancer Biology, has since demonstrated that their aqueous allspice extract also impedes the growth of breast cancer cells, but with a different polyphenol, not Ericifolin. They are not sure yet which one but, in Lokeshwar’s mind, that discovery raises the possibility that allspice may have many anticancer properties worth exploring.

In addition to Lokeshwar, Nagarajarao, Lyn and Zhang, other co-authors of the study, “Ericifolin: a novel antitumor compound from allspice that silences androgen receptor in prostate cancer,” are Khaled A. Shaaban, Ph.D., and Jurgen Rohr, Ph.D., of the University of Kentucky, and Susana Villate, a former research associate in the Department of Urology.

From left, Bal Lokeshwar, Ph.D., Shamaladevi Nagarajarao, Ph.D., and Lei Zhang turn allspice berries into a water extract with this high-pressure liquid chromotography machine.

Copyright ©
University of Miami,
All Rights Reserved

Posted May 26, 2013

Microsoft Office Word Document
Microsoft Office Word Document

Posted Apr. 27, 2013
How the Apostles died
(Listed alphabetically. Click the name for more information)

01.  Saint Andrew: He was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras , Greece .  After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and expected this happy hour.  The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it.'  He continued to preach to his tormentors.  For two days until he expired.

02.  Saint Bartholomew: Also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia . He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey .  Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.

03. Saint James: The son of Alphaeus The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple  when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.  When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.
* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation.

04.  Saint James: The Great Son of Zebedee was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a lifetime of ministry.  As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem .
The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed as James defended his faith at his trial.  Later, the officer walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian.

05. Saint John: Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution In Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of Patmos . He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was later freed and returned to serve As Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.

06.  Saint Jude (Thaddeus): Was killed with arrows (or beaten and clubbed with an axe) when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.

07. Saint Matthew: Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia , Killed by a sword wound

08. Saint Matthias: The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.

09.  Saint Paul: Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire . These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity, form a large portion of the New Testament. Perhaps this is a reminder to us that our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the sake of the Faith. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: But he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

10. Saint Peter: He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross. According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.
11. Saint Simon, the Zeolot:  he was crucified in Samaria or he sawn in half at Suanir, Persia

12. Saint Thomas: Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to establish the church in the Sub-continent

Posted April 2, 2013
President Obama Meets with First-Ever Ethiopian Crowned Miss Israel

Microsoft Office Word Document

Israel is putting its best face forward for President Obama, and what better face to put forward for America's first black president than Israel's first black beauty queen? The newly crowned Miss Israelis an Ethiopian Jewish immigrant to Israel.

She is joining Obama Thursday for the official state dinner in Jerusalem. Ethiopian immigrants have struggled to integrate into Israeli society, but Obama will be getting a taste of some of their recent success stories.
A few weeks ago, more than a quarter of all Israeli TV viewers watched the judges announce the new Miss Israel of 2013.

Titi is her name, short for Yityish Aynaw. She was the only black finalist in this year's beauty pageant and she has become Israel's first black beauty queen. She's tall, commanding, and outspoken.
"It's time that someone from my community, someone with my skin color, who is Israeli just like everyone else, represent the country," Aynaw said.

What captivated the judges was not only her beauty, but also her life story.

Born in a small town, Titi was orphaned by the time she was about 10. She moved to Israel to live with her grandparents, who had already left Ethiopia for a new life here.
Titi said as an Ethiopian Jew, she grew up with stories about the Land of milk and honey, but her new life in Israel wasn't all milk and honey.

Titi hardly remembered her grandparents. She was sent to an Israeli boarding school without knowing a word of Hebrew. Some of her classmates made fun of her Ethiopian name, Yitayish.
"What is 'Yitayish?'  "This is my name, but it sounds weird," she says. "There were times they'd call me 'Tayish.' In Hebrew that's a kind of animal. You know?"

But she was proud of her Ethiopian heritage, and unlike many other Ethiopian Jewish immigrants who took on Hebrew names, she kept her own.

Posted March 31, 2013

Microsoft Office Word Document
Microsoft Office Word Document
Microsoft Office Word Document
Microsoft Office Word Document
Posted March 20, 2013

The Reverend Jesse Jackson almost never gets upstaged and I had never seen the Reverend Jesse Louis Jackson cry in public until last month.

Jackson invited Bill Cosby to the annual Rainbow / PUSH conference for a conversation about the
controversial remarks the entertainer offered on May 17 at an NAACP dinner in Washington, D.C when America's Jell-O Man shook things up by arguing that African Americans were betraying the legacy of civil rights victories. Cosby said "the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for their kids. $500 sneakers for what? But they won't spend $200
for Hooked on Phonics!"  

Bill Cosby came to town and upstaged the reverend by going on the offense instead of defending his earlier remarks. Thursday morning, Cosby showed no signs of repenting as he strode across the stage at the Sheraton Hotel ballroom before a standing room only crowd. Sporting a natty gold sports coat and dark glasses, he proceeded to unload a Laundry list of black America 's self-imposed ills. The iconic actor and comedian kidded that he couldn't compete with the oratory of the Reverend but he preached circles around Jackson in their nearly hour-long conversation, delivering brutally frank one-liners and the toughest of love.

"The enemy", he argues, "is us: There is a time,ladies and gentlemen, when we have to turn the mirror around." Cosby acknowledged he wasn't critiquing all blacks. . .. just the 50 percent of African Americans in the lower economic neighborhood who drop out of school, and the alarming proportions of black men in prison and black teenage mothers.

The mostly black crowd seconded him with choruses of Amens. To the critics who pose, it's unproductive to air our dirty laundry in public, he responds, "Your dirty laundry gets out of school at 2:30 every day. It's cursing on the way home, on the bus, train, in the candy store. They are cursing and grabbing each other and going nowhere. The book bag is very, very thin because there's nothing in it. Don't worry about the white man", he added. "I couldn't care less about what white people think about me. . . Let them talk. What are they saying that is so different from what their grandfathers said and did to us? What is different is what we are doing to ourselves".

For those who say Cosby is just an elitist who's "got his" but doesn't understand the plight of the black poor, he reminds us that,"We're going to turn that mirror around. It's not just the poor-everybody's guilty."

Cosby and Jackson lamented that in the 50th years of Brown vs. Board of Education, our failings betray our legacy. Jackson dabbed away tears as he recalled the financial struggles at Fisk University , a historically black college and Jackson 's Alma mater.
When Cosby was done, the 1,000 people in the room all jumped to their feet in ovation. "We have shed tears too many times, at too many watershed moments before, while the hopes they inspired have fallen by the wayside. Not this time!"

Cosby's plea to parents: "Before you get to the point where you say 'I can't do nothing with them' , do something with them. Teach our children to speak English. There's no such thing as "talking white". When the teacher calls, show up at the school. When the idiot box starts spewing profane rap videos; turn it off. Refrain from cursing around the kids. Teach our boys that women should be cherished, not raped and demeaned. Tell them that education is a prize we won with blood and tears, not a dishonor. Stop making excuses for the agents and abettors of black on black crime. It costs us nothing to do these things. But if we don't, it will cost us infinitely more tears. We all send thousands of jokes through e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages regarding life choices, people think twice about sharing. The crude, vulgar, and sometimes the obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of decency is too often suppressed in the schools and workplaces."

Posted March 10, 2012

On Saturday night last, (January 12, 2013), we concluded three days of intense deliberations at the special meeting of the Cabinet.

Mindful of our responsibility as a Cabinet facing one of the most challenging periods in our history, we focused on major areas of critical importance to our nation.

These included:

The IMF negotiations

Advancing the growth and development agenda

Public/Private Partnerships

Job creation and social protection

In the course of discussing these issues we were very conscious of our commitment to strengthening the social contract with all Jamaicans. This social contract is about building trust, being equitable in our decisions and facilitating the growth of national confidence.

The purpose of this morning’s press briefing is to provide a synopsis of the special meeting of the Cabinet.

In the weeks ahead, we will be providing regular updates to the nation on the progress of the programme to reposition the economy and the society as a whole. This morning, the Minister of Finance will provide further details on the status of the IMF negotiations. However, at the outset, let me use this opportunity to make three points:

Firstly, the negotiations with the IMF have been protracted for three specific reasons:

The recent country record which saw an Administration failing to honour their commitments to the IMF so the Fund now wants to be absolutely certain of the viability of our commitments and our willingness and capacity to see them through

There have been changing 'dynamics' following exhaustive reviews of the best configuration of the fiscal consolidation process to achieve the specific targets, and

· Both sides have taken the time to agree on all the elements of the fiscal consolidation. The Cabinet signed off on these elements over the weekend.

Secondly, the Minister and our negotiating team have the full support of the Cabinet.

Thirdly, whilst we accept that an agreement with the IMF is necessary, at this point in time to support our macro-economic programme, this is not an end in, and of itself.

Every Jamaican recognizes that, there is a need for us to develop a complementary programme geared at:

encouraging investment

stimulating employment and, in general

creating a more equitable society for the majority of the population.

The Cabinet is united in its commitment to take bold actions and do whatever is necessary and prudent to arrive at an agreement that is in the best interest of Jamaica, given our particular circumstances. We had the
opportunity to receive updates on every aspect of the broad package of measures and programmes to restructure the economy and create jobs.

In three areas alone, investment commitments are at the level of US $650 million. In the last quarter, approximately 12,000 permanent jobs were created. We received status reports on several of the projects designed to breathe new life into the economy.

I am happy to report that:

Steady progress is being made towards the creation of Agro Parks which will protect and boost urban and rural food production;

Work is proceeding satisfactorily on the Mt. Rosser Leg of the North Coast Highway and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. At the same time, once the requirements of the environmental agencies are satisfied, work will begin on Section 1 (Ferry to Linstead) and Section 3 (Moneague to Ocho Rios);

As I outlined in the national broadcast two weeks ago, a package of tourism projects is coming on stream which will greatly expand room capacity, provide hundreds of jobs, deepen inter-sectoral linkages and increase foreign exchange earnings;

Government’s commitment to the establishment of the world’s fourth Logistics Hub in Jamaica, has attracted substantial international interest with good investment prospects;

There is a US$30 Million dollar private/public sector development initiative – The Downtown Kingston  Lifestyle Centre - that will accelerate the re-development of Downtown Kingston. Serious commitments have been given by the local private sector to this exciting venture;

Later this month, we will be indicating to the nation the final position on the JPSCO’s expansion project for 360 megawatts of load capacity.

We encourage the local private sector to participate and respond to the Request For Proposals for the 115 Megawatts of renewable energy that is being added to the grid. This is an opportunity available to both local and overseas investors. While we have had interest from overseas, we are also seeking local partners in this process.

Ladies and gentlemen of the media: At the heart of the Cabinet’s discussions was the concern to ensure a proper relationship between laying the foundation for sustainable growth on the one hand, and making fiscal adjustments on the other. We were of one accord in facing the sobering reality, that, as was accomplished in the last budget, we would have to curtail expenditure and increase revenue while still providing the critical services required by our people.

In addition to the difficult 'consolidation' efforts, we are:

Making sure that we achieve the specific economic targets and aggressively pursuing major development projects;

Seeing to the protection of the vulnerable; and

We are also making a renewed effort not only to make the Public Service more efficient and effective but also to make it far more customer-friendly.

The Budget for the Fiscal Year 2013/2014 will present for the country what the Cabinet believes will be, within the context of our financial constraints, the best combination of:

(i) A coherent and credible macro-economic framework;

(ii) A programme of increased public and private sector investment in a range of economic sectors; and

(iii) An enhanced and coordinated programme to address the needs of the most vulnerable among us.

Our country is recognized by the world as one with people of extraordinary talents, who that can achieve what some would consider unachievable. The first quality that we need is confidence.

The economy of a country is not just about goods, services, facts and figures. At the heart of the matter are the people and the ntangibles, such as our confidence and the ability to stand united in the face of common threats, such as the economic difficulties that face us today.

The Cabinet I lead is very clear that when our team members are around  the negotiating table, they are negotiating for all of us, Jamaicans, as one people. We are right there with them along with all our hopes and dreams for self development and country, for present generations and for those to come. It is in our interest, therefore, to stand together as a nation and give support to every genuine attempt to put Jamaica firmly on the path of sustainable growth and development.

Of course, we will have disagreements and arguments, but such engagement is positive, because healthy debate will ensure that we arrive at the best solutions. However, what we must avoid, is talking down our country and our abilities, and spreading rumours that cause undue anxiety and possibly weaken our negotiating position as a country.

While there are heartening signs on the path of the growth and development agenda, we cannot make light of the sacrifices we will all have to make. In that regard, Cabinet is very much aware of the special role which the workers (in both the public and private sectors) will need to play at this critical point in our history. Let me assure them that my Administration will not overlook your contribution and your leadership will be consulted at each step of the way.

We must keep focused on the gains that we will make along the way, the development goals that we will reach. There is no virtue in making any kind of sacrifice unless it is going to take us further than where we are at this time and it will bring about substantial improvements in quality of life.

We all came away from the special meeting of the Cabinet with an even stronger resolve to pursue the imperative of economic growth, the means for a prosperous future. Getting there requires that we enable and protect the most vulnerable, so that they are fully included in the growth process. On this there can be no compromise. For all of us, efficiency, responsibility, hard work and discipline, self-reliance and creativity will
have to be at the highest level we can achieve.

I am heartened by the prospects for Jamaica’s future. We must do it together.

I thank you.

Jamaica Labeled "The Greece of the Western Hemisphere"

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller - File.

A leading United States newspaper today (January 8, 2013) said that Jamaica's debt crisis is in a worse financial shape than Greece and suggested that the Portia Simpson Miller administration consider a bailout plan with significant debt relief.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Jamaica has more debt in relation to the size of its economy than any other country and warned against the island becoming what it labeled "The Greece of the Western Hemisphere".

"It has tried to restructure its loans to stretch them out over more years, at lower interest rates, with no success. Such a move would be risky for its already nervous lenders," the paper said.

Jamaica is seeking to renegotiate a Stand By Agreement (SBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but the newspaper claimed that "more than half of its government spending goes to service its loans.
It said the country can spend barely 20 per cent of its budget for desperately needed health and education programmes.

In addition, its infrastructure is faltering, it lacks resources to fight crime, and it has little margin to recover from natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy.

"To set itself straight, Jamaica needs a restructuring, and a bailout with significant debt relief. No way can a small economy that has limped along with growth at less than half the global average for two decades pay back the fortune that it owes," the paper said.

Jamaica is reported to be in debt to the tune of J$1.7 trillion and the Chicago Tribune warned that the potential alternative to dealing with the debt could be very bad for the island.

"Defaulting on its debt would ruin Jamaica's prospects for many years to come: It would undermine the island's critically important trade relations with the US. It would discourage badly needed foreign investment in its tourism, agriculture and mining sectors. The only thing worse than doing what Jamaica must do to live within its means would be not doing it," it said.

The paper said that the Jamaica is an extreme example of the fate that could befall Spain, Italy, Japan or, even the United States, noting that the analogy only goes so far since those much-larger economies have better resources to manage their finances.

The island's financial stewards have taken some practical steps to depreciate the local currency and curb inflation. The broader solution, however, is as obvious and necessary in Jamaica as it is in Greece and other countries mired in debt: Reform taxes, curb pension costs, cut public payrolls.

However, the paper said what really transpired is that the IMF fixes gave Jamaica a temporary lifeline, but the government never stopped borrowing and spending.

"The lesson of Jamaica is not that access to credit is bad. It's that irresponsible stewardship is bad. We're cautiously optimistic that Jamaica's current leaders will do better," the paper said, urging Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips to do whatever is necessary to reduce its out-of-control debt.

"Jamaica must make enough painful progress to win the confidence of the IMF, and of private lenders. While the rest of us wait to see whether the island nation escapes its debt trap, we'll see whether other countries learn the lesson of Jamaica: Stop digging such deep, deep holes in the beach," the editorial noted.

Posted Jan. 10, 2013
Hail to a new Toronto Deputy Chief - Jamaican Mark Saunders to head Specialized Operations Command as of November 20th

TORONTO - To be introduced as a deputy chief was one of the greatest feelings in his three decades of law enforcement and it’s something he will never forget, says Mark Saunders, just hours after his appointment was announced at a board meeting.

Saunders, whose appointment becomes effective on Nov. 20, will be assigned to Specialized Operations Command, comprised of various investigative squads consisting of some of the Service’s most critically important units, all staffed by specially trained members. He replaces acting Deputy Chief Jane Wilcox.

“I decided to apply for the position because I feel the present command is one of the strongest and also very visionary,” said Saunders, who is winding down as unit commander at 12 Division.

“This is a great opportunity to be part of a team that’s turning the corner in policing.”

The other deputies are Michael Federico and Peter Sloly and the CAO is Tony Veneziano.

Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee said the board – which selects the Chief and Deputies – is extremely pleased with Saunders’ appointment.

“This is a tremendously positive step forward for our organization,” Mukherjee said.

“He is an accomplished police leader with exceptional investigative skills and law enforcement experience. At the same time, he is innovative and progressive with a keen awareness of the need to ensure that the police engage and respond to the community in an inclusive, unbiased and collaborative manner, using a variety of outreach and education initiatives.

“He understands the critical importance of a positive relationship between the police and the public and is personally committed to fostering and enhancing this relationship. In addition, he brings to the position a fresh vision for the organization, a clear understanding of the multiple challenges we face today and a focus on change management. A long-time resident of the city, Mark knows Toronto well and deeply cares for its well-being and safety.”

As A/Supt. of 12 Division, Saunders oversees a budget of $25 million and 233 members. Prior to leading that Division, he was the first visible minority member to head the Homicide Squad where he oversaw 77 members and instituted major structural changes that have resulted in improvements to the solve-rates in death investigations.

He was also responsible for restructuring how the Service gathers, processes and distributes street-gang intelligence while he was the section head of the Urban Gang Unit in Intelligence Operations. As an incident commander, he successfully led police responses during several large-scale events, including the 2009 Tamil and the 2012 May Day Occupy Toronto protests.

Chair Alok Mukherjee congratulates Saunders

Saunders joined the Service in 1982 after initially applying to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

“While I was waiting for a response from them, my brother suggested that I look at something closer, so I sent an application to Toronto Police and was accepted. I got a positive response from the RCMP, which I declined after the Service sent me a congratulatory letter.”

The new deputy said he opted for a career in law enforcement because of the myriad opportunities it offers.

“It seemed like a career where, every day, you would be doing something different,” said Saunders, who co-chaired the Black Community Consultative Committee.

“I did not want to be stuck behind a desk. Looking back, I made the right decision and I am happy.”

Saunders has also worked with One District Drug Squad, the Emergency Task Force and the Fugitive Squad.

Posted Nov.27, 2012
Grenadian Gemma Raeburn-Baynes Awarded for achievements and contributions on 19 November 2012

Posted in Life & Style     
Elysia Bryan-BAYNES

Gemma Raeburn-Baynes was among 70 Montrealers to recieve the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from Quebec’s Lieutenant Governor, His Excellency Pierre Duchesne, at a ceremony on Sunday, November 11, at College Regina Assumpta.
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a new commemorative medal created to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne as Queen, and a tangible way to honour Her Majesty for her service to Canada. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

Mrs. Raeburn-Baynes, who was born in Grenada and moved to Montreal with her family in 1964, was recognized for her work in community building. She is the founder of Playmas Montreal which organizes Taste of The Caribbean, the annual food festival that draws thousands of Montrealers to sample the cuisine of the islands.

She was also a co-founder of Miss Black Quebec and the Ebony Models and has been involved in countless efforts assisting community organizations in their fundraising initiatives.
She accepted the medal with humility and pride.

“This is a huge opportunity to celebrate being a Canadian and to leave a legacy for my son and his future children to be proud of,” she says. “It is also so nice to be recognized, especially on Remembrance Day for work that I so much enjoy doing voluntarily to make a difference in my community. I am more than happy to share this Medal with all my hard-working committee members and all of the other fabulous leaders in my community who do such extraordinary things.”

Jamaican Devon Clunis named Winnipeg's new police chief

By Joyanne Pursaga, Winnipeg Sun

First posted: Thursday, October 04, 2012 09:39 AM

The City of Winnipeg has chosen a veteran local officer to be the city’s next police chief.

Supt. Devon Clunis, a 25-year member of the Winnipeg Police Service, has served in all major areas of policing in the city, including traffic, plainclothes investigation, and community relations.

“When I applied in 1987, I was absolutely thrilled simply to be a police officer,” said Clunis Thursday. “There was never any dreams of one day rising to the position of chief of police.”

Clunis, 48, currently oversees the service’s development support branch.

While his new post may be beyond his dreams, some of its challenges could spark a few nightmares.

Winnipeg Police are currently undergoing a city-ordered budget review to look for efficiencies, a challenge when overtime is a frequent job requirement at major crime scenes.

The city’s Chief Administrative Officer Phil Sheegl stressed Thursday that the review doesn’t reflect a belief WPS are wasting any funds or an effort to “reinvent the wheel.”

“I look at that as an opportunity to get better efficiencies from the tax dollars we’re spending,” he said.

Clunis must also tackle the city’s violent crime problem. This summer, Winnipeg was again named the violent crime and murder capital of Canada.

On all fronts, Clunis vowed to consult with community and police members before making any major changes.

“In the history of my career, the one thing I’ve come to realize is one person doesn’t have all the answers,” he said.

Clunis was born in Jamaica and moved to Canada when he was 11. He will be the first member of a visible minority to hold the post in the city.

Tim Smith, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said he couldn’t recall any previous black chiefs of police in a major Canadian city.

Smith said Canadians can expect to see more visible minorities filling top police positions.

“It will be something that we will see as a growing trend within policing, given that there are many more visible minorities going through the police ranks,” he said.

Clunis hopes his promotion will inspire other immigrants to believe any accomplishment is possible.

Clunis will become the city’s top cop after current Chief Keith McCaskill retires on Dec. 9.

McCaskill said he may leave the post earlier using vacation time.

The outgoing chief plans to travel south with his wife before considering further employment.

Closer look at Devon Clunis

    Age: 48
    Ancestry: Born in Jamaica, Clunis came to Canada at the age of 11.
    Experience: Clunis has served with WPS for 25 years, including the traffic, drug and community relations units. He also worked undercover in the vice unit.
    Education: Clunis has a degree in divinity and has been the WPS chaplain for years.
    Key Goal as Chief: Clunis stresses his priority will be consulting with the community and police members before making any big changes to the force.

Jamaican Ivyline Fleming awarded Outstanding Citizen by The Borough of CDN—NDG

June 8, 2012

The Borough of Côte-des-Neiges—Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN—NDG) honoured eight individuals and organizations at the Segal Centre for the Performing Arts during its annual Outstanding Citizens Awards gala held on the evening of June 7th, 2012. Constantin Marinescu, Ivyline Fleming, the MultiCaf Community Cafeteria, the NDG Community Council, Abicumaran Uthamacumaran, the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, Hiroshi Nakamura, and Françoise Sullivan each received the title of Outstanding Citizen, the highest honorary distinction awarded by the Borough of CDN—NDG.

This event is a way of paying tribute to individuals and organizations deserving of recognition from their peers for achievements in a sphere of activities that garners the borough acclaim, both within and beyond its borders. The borough also takes this opportunity to honour its new retirees and thank them for their many years of service.

"For a third consecutive year, we have acknowledged the commitment and determination of citizens stemming from various environments and cultures, and from various age groups, who all cherish the same cause, the improvement of quality of life in CDN—NDG," said the mayor of the borough and chairman of the Executive Committee of the Ville de Montréal, Mr. Michael Applebaum. "Through their social involvement, their volunteer work, and their excellence in their respective areas of expertise, these individuals and groups all contribute to the borough's acclaim. They are the wealth of our community.”

In addition, members of the jury drew attention to the great quality of the nomination files submitted for this third edition of the Outstanding Citizens Awards, making the selection process that much more difficult. The borough of CDN—NDG counts many residents and groups all working to enhance the well-being of their fellow citizens. The jury spoke, but this in no way lessens the invaluable contributions of the other nominees. Citizens are encouraged to re-submit those nominations next year.

The Borough of CDN—NDG Outstanding Citizens for 2012 were honoured in the following categories (extract):

Volunteerism and Social Involvement category

Ivyline Fleming has been involved with the community since 1962 and has, with dedication, served the Jamaica Association of Montreal for 40 years. She works with visible minorities, particularly with young women, whose full potential she helps them achieve (most notably through education), as well as with the elderly. Moreover, she has been a pioneer in promoting the rights of women. A hard worker, ever busy, she is currently President of the Jamaican Canadian Community Women's League of Montreal.

Bolt honoured by wax look-a-like

Microsoft Office Word Document
Madame Tussauds, wax figure of Usain Bolt - AP Photo

Jamaican sports fans gathered at Madame Tussauds London this morning for a special opportunity to wish Usain Bolt luck as he prepares to go for gold.

The supporters paid a private visit to the attraction to meet the brand new wax figure of the running sensation - and seized the chance to wish him well.

Bolt was elated to have been depicted in a wax figure and said he is honoured by the recognition.
"It is an absolute honour to have a wax piece in one of the most famous museums in the world. I am extremely honoured," said Bolt.

Portrayed in his trademark 'To Di World' pose, Bolt's figure is as dynamic and striking as the athlete himself.

His fans were quick to pose alongside their hero, replicating his 'lightning bolt' stance as they wrapped themselves in Jamaican flags.

Some even touched his feet for good luck.

"The reaction to Usain's figure has been fantastic and he makes a really dynamic addition to the sports area," said Madame Tussauds London General Manager Meike Schulze.

"We're sure we'll be getting plenty more fans in over the next week or so wanting to wish him well, so if you haven't got tickets to the 100m, there's still an opportunity to get a really close encounter with Bolt right here at Madame Tussauds."

Fans can meet Bolt at Madame Tussuads London in the interactive sports zone alongside Olympians from Team GB's Jessica Ennis and Tom Daly to legends like Mohammed Ali and Jesse Owens.

Jamaican Gleaner, July 23, 2012

 9th. Montreal Reggae Festival was a resounding success!!

It was third time lucky for the organizers and fans of Montreal's 9th. International Reggae Festival at Montreal's Old Port from Friday, August 17th. to Sunday, August 19th. 2012. Unlike the previous few years, there was no rain this year and the weather was beautiful!

Saturday attracted the younger fans, with dancehall dj-style music and younger artists performing. 25-year-old Chris Martin was a standout performer, demonstrating a fine, melodious singing style.

Older reggae fans flooded the place on Sunday to see crooner Tarrus Riley and "the living Reggae legend" Jimmy Cliff, who starred in the 1972 movie "The Harder They Come".  Tarrus brought on two singing guests, a male and female,  and playfully reprimanded his male guest for trying to steal the show. Tarrus entertained by "juggling" with veteran saxophonist Dean Fraser and then he blew the place apart by finishing with his smash hit "She's Royal".

Jimmy Cliff performed with skill, enthusiasm and surprising agility for a senior over 60. He pranced, spun around, raised his arms, marched, played left-handed guitar and sat down with 4 others to play drums for a rendition of "Bongo Man", for a total of 17 songs (see below). It seemed that he was not completely satisfied with the response to his repeated pleas for the crowd to reply "Irie" when he asked "how yu feelin?", as only one side of the audience (to his right) acquiesced with some degree of acceptability.

MC "Stretch" Howard Carr closed the night be presenting "Doctor" Jimmy Cliff with a plaque, declaring him as a living legend. Eric Blagrove, President of the Reggae Festival, thanked the fans, the artists, his volunteers and staff.

We would like to thank Eric Blagrove and his team for persevering through the tough years and for bringing us a fine festival of Reggae, Caribbean food and fellowship. See you next year for the tenth anniversary!

Jimmy Cliff's 17 songs: You Can Get It If You Really Want; Children’s Bread; Treat the Youths Right; Rub-a-Dub Partner; Wild World; Rebel Rebel (partial); Wonderful World, Beautiful People; Vietnam/Afghanistan; The Harder They Come; King of Kings;  Miss Jamaica; Many Rivers to Cross; I Can See Clearly Now; Reggae Night; Bongo Man; Rivers of Babylon; One More (encore).

PERFORMING ARTISTS: (Listed alphabetically)

(Plus special surprise guests)
August 20, 2012  

2012 Olympians return home

Microsoft Office Word Document
Trinidad's Piarco International Airport was mobbed with fans eager to welcome home Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic hero Keshorn Walcott - the javelin thrower won gold at the London games
Trinidad's Javelin thrower Keshorn Walcott looks moved as he gazes at the crowd gathered at Piarco International Airport to welcome him back from the London Olympics, where he won a gold medal.

South African runner Caster Semenya, right, was presented with a cheque for 200,000 rand - equivalent to more than £15,000 sterling - upon her return from London by the country's sport minister Fikile Mbalula, left. Semenya won the silver medal in the women's 800m final. The South African Sports Olympic Committee gave awards to all of the country's medal winners.
Facts about the 2012 Olympics World Record for the 4X100 Relay

There is a story behind this new World Record. In 2008 Jamaica set the 4x100m WR for the first time; 37.10 with Carter, Frater, Bolt & Asafa. Fast forward to 2012 and the WR is now 36.84 with Carter, Frater, Blake & Bolt and most people think "wow Blake and Bolt sure are fast"...guess what? relative to the same legs from '08 Blake and Bolt were actually slower.

On 3rd leg Blake '12 was 0.1s slower than Bolt '08, and on anchor leg Bolt '12 was 0.1s slower than Asafa '08. The difference? Nesta Carter and Michael Frater were both faster. Carter took an astonishing 0.3+s off his '08 lead-off leg time and Michael went sub-9.0 taking off 0.1s off his '08 second leg.

These two men, stalwarts of Jamaican track & field, are the ones that stepped up and made the difference. Unheralded by many, unrecognized for their contribution, they both played a tremendous role in Jamaica being the first team to ever go sub-37 in the 4x100m relay.

Congratulations to Nesta Carter and Michael A. Frater for their outstanding effort.

Click the link below to see the video:

Proud to be Caribbean American.....
Trinidadian Born, NASA Rocket Scientist - That's Camille Alleyne!

Where are you from originally?
I am originally from Trinidad and Tobago

So you're a NASA Scientist?! Tell us more!
I am an Aerospace Engineer by formal education and have worked in this capacity, managing space projects both at NASA and Department of Defense, for the last 16 years.

I am currently the Assistant Program Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS) and specifically responsible for developing innovative strategies for communicating the benefits and value of the ISS.  I am also responsible for integrating all of the  ISS education projects and activities, globally.

I hold a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and currently working on my Doctorate in Educational Leadership which I hope to complete in Spring 2013.

What inspired you to literally reach for the stars?
I always had an innate curiosity about space.  I remember at the age of 7, sitting on the trunk of my dad's car every night, star gazing and engaging in the wonder of space.

I was always fascinated by the vastness and the awe-inspiring nature of space.  Little did I know that those moments were shaping the trajectory of my life.  But there was also the supportive environment I grew up in.  My parents always encouraged me to do what came naturally to me, and what came naturally was building and fixing things - solving problems - finding solutions for complexed problems.

So my innate curiosity and my nurturing environment laid the foundation for me to pursue and succeed at my dreams.  It was in college while studying aeronautical engineering, the day the tragic accident of the Challenger Space Shuttle, I decided that NASA was where I wanted to spend my career and pursue the career of being an astronaut.

Twenty six years later I am at NASA where I have been for 10 years and continuing to live my dreams which are contributing to the advancement of space exploration and making the difference in the lives of all human beings through our exploration of space.
Additionally, in 2003 I was selected as finalist for the Astronaut Selection Program being 1 in 100 out of 4000 applicants that were invited to interview for the job of flying in space.  I have not yet given up on that dream.

You run a charity for young women right? Tell us about that
Yes my non-profit organization is called the Brightest Stars Foundation and is dedicated to the education and empowerment of young women and girls around the world to be future leaders through the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Since 2007 when I founded the organization, we have inspired and empowered countless girls and young women to aspire to pursue careers in STEM.  We continue to work to realize our vision of establishing the Space and Science Academy for Girls in Kenya which will be the first of a global network of specialty high schools that will educate girls in scientific and technological fields.

My intention with my humanitarian work is to give voice to the voiceless young girls around the world through the gift of a quality, challenging education.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced and how did you overcome it?
Being a woman and a women of color in the field of rocket science and space engineering has been a huge challenge.  Occasionally, I am dismissed solely because of those physical attributes but having a commitment to excellence and a spirit of determination, perseverance and tenacity are the qualities that have help propel me to the heights I have and continue to achieve.

Who's your role model?
I have several role models starting with my mother, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Ghandi and Nelson Mandela.  They are all extraordinary human beings who have had a profound love for humanity and a huge commitment to being of service.

So what's next for Camille Alleyne?
My next goal is to transform the Brightest Stars Foundation into a world-class non-governmental organization that educates the next generation of women scientists, thinkers, innovators, leaders and Nobel Laureates in Science.

Thank you Camille Alleyne!

"You came into my life, you made my jagged edges smooth".
 Lionel Richie
The Black Germans
Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust,"
Black Historical Information .....

So much of our history is lost to us because we often don't write the history books, don't film the documentaries, or don't pass the accounts down from generation to generation.

One documentary now touring the film festival circuit, telling us to "Always Remember" is "Black Survivors of the Holocaust" (1997). Outside the U.S.., the film is entitled "Hitler's Forgotten Victims" (Afro-Wisdom Productions) . It codifies another dimension to the "Never Forget" Holocaust story--our imension.

Did you know that in the 1920's, there were 24,000 Blacks living in Germany? Neither did I. Here's how it happened, and how many of them were eventually caught unawares by the events of the Holocaust.

Like most West European nations, Germany established colonies in Africa in the late 1800's in what later became Togo, Cameroon, Namibia, and Tanzania. German genetic experiments began there, most notably involving prisoners taken from the 1904 Heroro Massacre that left 60,000 Africans dead, following a 4-year revolt against German colonization. After the shellacking Germany received in World War I, it was stripped of its African colonies in 1918.

As a spoil of war, the French were allowed to occupy Germany in the Rhineland--a bitter piece of real estate that has gone back and forth between the two nations for centuries. The French willfully deployed their own colonized African soldiers as the occupying force. Germans viewed this as the final insult of world War I, and soon thereafter, 92% of them voted the Nazi party into power.

Hundreds of the African Rhineland-based soldiers intermarried with German women and raised their children as Black Germans. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote about his plans for these "Rhineland Bastards." When he came to power, one of his first directives was aimed at these mixed-race children. Underscoring Hitler's obsession with racial purity, by 1937, every identified mixed-race child in the Rhineland had been forcibly sterilized, in order to prevent further 'race polluting,' as Hitler termed it.

Hans Hauck, a Black Holocaust survivor and a victim of Hitler's mandatory sterilization program, explained in the film "Hitler's Forgotten Victims" that, when he was forced to undergo sterilization as a teenager, he was given no anesthetic. Once he received his sterilization certificate, he was "free to go" so long as he agreed to have no sexual relations whatsoever with Germans.

Although most Black Germans attempted to escape their fatherland, heading for France where people like Josephine Baker were steadily aiding and supporting the French Underground, many still encountered problems elsewhere. Nations shut their doors to Germans, including the Black ones.

Some Black Germans were able to eke out a living during Hitler's reign of terror by performing in Vaudeville shows, but many Blacks, steadfast in their belief that they were German first and Black second, opted to remain in Germany. Some fought with the Nazis (a few even became Luftwaffe pilots). Unfortunately, many Black Germans were arrested, charged with treason, and shipped in cattle cars to concentration camps. Often these trains were so packed with people and (equipped with no bathroom facilities or food) that, after the four-day journey, box car doors were opened to piles of the dead and dying.

Once inside the concentration camps, Blacks were given the worst jobs conceivable. Some Black American soldiers, who were captured and held as prisoners of war, recounted that, while they were being starved and forced into dangerous labor (violating the Geneva Convention), they were still better off than Black German concentration camp detainees, who were forced to do the unthinkable- -man the crematoriums and work in labs where genetic experiments were being conducted. As a final sacrifice, these Blacks were killed every three months so that they would never be able to reveal the inner workings of the "Final Solution."

In every story of Black oppression, no matter how we were enslaved, shackled, or beaten, we always found a way to survive and to rescue others. As a case in point, consider Johnny Voste, a Belgian resistance fighter who was arrested in 1942 for alleged sabotage and then shipped to Dachau.

One of his jobs was stacking vitamin crates. Risking his own life, he distributed hundreds of vitamins to camp detainees, which saved the lives of many who were starving, weak, and ill--conditions exacerbated by extreme vitamin deficiencies. His motto was "No, you can't have my life; I will fight for it."

According to Essex University's Delroy Constantine- Simms, there were Black Germans who resisted Nazi Germany, such as Lari Gilges, who founded the Northwest Rann--an organization of entertainers that fought the Nazis in his home town of Dusseldorf-- and who was murdered by the SS in 1933, the year that Hitler came into power.

Little information remains about the numbers of Black Germans held in the camps or killed under the Nazi regime. Some victims of the Nazi sterilization project and Black survivors of the Holocaust are still alive and telling their story in films such as "Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust," but they must also speak out for justice, not just history.

Unlike Jews (in Israel and in Germany), Black Germans, although German-born, have received no war reparations because their German citizenship was revoked. The only pension they get is from those of us who are willing to tell the world their stories and continue their battle for recognition and compensation.

After the war, scores of Blacks who had somehow managed to survive the Nazi regime, were rounded up and tried as war criminals. Talk about the final insult! There are thousands of Black Holocaust stories, from the triangle trade, to slavery in America, to the gas oven s in Germany.

We often shy away from hearing about our historical past because so much of it is painful; however, we are in this struggle together for rights, dignity, and, yes, reparations for wrongs done to us through the centuries. We need to always remember so that we can take steps to ensure that these atrocities never happen again.

For further information, read: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany, by Hans J. Massaquoi.

It's not what you gather, but what you scatter, that tells what kind of life you are living.
Inspire to Aspire before you Expire!
Bro Gary, Black Power Productions (800-671-1541)
Opinion: Anglos have seen the enemy, and it is us
By DON MACPHERSON, The Gazette April 14, 2012 9:32 AM

MONTREAL - I call them "the new angryphones." I've heard from quite a few of them in the past couple of months, since I wrote what some of them call "that column," about the social acceptability of anglobashing in Quebec.

This new genus of angryphone is younger than the ones who attended partitionist meetings after the sovereignists' near-victory in the 1995 referendum. Many of them are baby boomers who heard John F. Kennedy tell Americans to ask themselves what they could do for their country, and the answer Pierre Trudeau gave English Canadians for theirs: learn French.

So, out of the idealism of the 1960s, long before Bill 101, they did what speakers of the world's dominant language normally don't do: they began to learn another language, and to have it taught to their children. And when others fled the first Parti Québécois government, they stayed; they bet their futures, and those of their children, on Quebec.

So they're still here to read and hear what's said about them by Québécois politicians, media commentators and entertainers, and they're fluent enough in French to understand it. They can read L'actualité's "dossier" on them on the magazine's website and decide for themselves whether it's journalism or something closer to high-class hate literature on the glossy paper of a quality magazine.

With age and experience, the idealism of their youth has given way to realism. They know they have been left politically voiceless, not by a lack of the right leadership or representation, but by fear of political separation.

So they - we - realize that conditions for our community are not likely to improve. We understand that in any forum more public than a dinner table, a "conversation" on language will be brief:

"Well, the English-speaking community needs - " "Non! C'est le français qui est menacé!"

And we don't expect to be thanked for investing more personal effort in strengthening the French language in Quebec than most Québécois have.

All we hope for now is to be left in peace.

Instead - and this is what has made us angry - we find ourselves once again under sustained public attack, as we had not been since the controversy over the language of commercial signs in the late 1980s.

We find ourselves to be such pariahs that not a single politician, not even among those we elect, has protested against L'actualité's smearing us, as they all did against Maclean's magazine's cover story on corruption in Quebec two years ago.

And we find ourselves playing a game I call "angloball." It's like football, but with only one team, formed by us anglos, and with a movable goal line. As we near the goal line by learning French, the line is moved farther away, so that the new goal is for every last one of us to speak French. Then we're told by L'actualité that we must also support Bill 101, and, in the privacy of our homes, read books in French.

We realize it's a game we can't win without abandoning our own language, culture and identity.

And we're tired of playing it for the amusement of those for whom we will always be not an asset but a problem for Quebec, not exemplary allies for French but the enemy.

We are the enemy - historic, political and, above all, cultural.

It's been only 253 years since the battle on the Plains of Abraham, and the English and French had been fighting each other for seven centuries before that.

Now, we're an obstacle to political progress. Were it not for the votes of the "blocking minority," as a former publisher of Le Devoir called us, the Quebec question would be settled. Either Canada would be forced to the constitutional negotiating table, or Quebec would secede.

And by refusing to "integrate" - that is, to assimilate - we English exclude ourselves from the Québécois mainstream. Thus we set a bad example for immigrants. And our community, by its mere existence, provides an alternative for immigrants, and competes to recruit them.

Even the premier speaks of us in terms usually reserved for an enemy. The Québécois must remain "vigilant" to protect their language, Jean Charest said recently in Paris, because "we are surrounded by anglophones."

So if the English encircling the fort are a hostile force, then logically those of us inside its walls must form a disloyal fifth column.

Not surprisingly, results of a poll by Léger Marketing for the Association for Canadian Studies and The Gazette published this week suggest that the opinion leaders' negative attitude toward us is widely shared.

With admirable candour, 51 per cent of Québécois admitted that most members of their linguistic community do not "feel positively" about the English, to 43 per cent who claimed they did. So the 71 per cent of us English who think that most Québécois don't "feel positively" about us aren't imagining things.

We and our children could place another bet on Quebec, this time on the Québécois "children of Bill 101" in Sugar Sammy's audience or who write for Voir. But it wouldn't be a sure bet.

A quarter-century ago, one young commentator was lionized by the English-Canadian media as a spokesman for a post-nationalist generation of Québécois "citizens of the world."He has aged into the ranting Richard Martineau whom we now see leading a mob of his Journal de Montréal readers with torches and pitchforks against the minorities.

If an aging population and mounting debt cause economic and social conditions to deteriorate in the future, we will make readily available scapegoats.

In the meantime, the older generation still in power in Quebec doesn't care to see our family DVDs of our children adorably singing in French in concerts at their immersion schools, or to hear our amusing anecdotes about accidentally speaking French with each other.

We new angryphones have got the message. We realize there's only one thing they want from us.

By emigration if not by assimilation, they want us gone.


Twitter: @MacphersonGaz
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

Editorial: Meeting the needs of English-speaking seniors
The Gazette, March 5, 2012

It is encouraging to see that a provincial government often rightly accused of taking near-blanket electoral support from anglophones for granted has come across with funding for a major initiative in aid of English-speaking seniors.

The minister responsible for seniors, Marguerite Blais, announced on the weekend that the Quebec Community Groups Network will be granted just shy of $275,000 to fund a three-year research undertaking that is projected to lead to the establishment of a provincewide advocacy network for anglophone seniors.

Such a group has been under discussion and its need evident for some time. French-speaking seniors outside Quebec already benefit from such an organization in the form of the Fédération des aînées et aînés francophones du Canada.

The research project will seek to identify specific needs and problems facing the growing number of anglo seniors in Quebec. By last count there were 132,485 over the age of 65.

The QCGN is right in maintaining that English-speaking seniors in Quebec constitute a special demographic with special needs, because they are a linguistic minority group within the province’s French-language majority, which is in turn a linguistic minority in Canada.

Some of the problems facing the anglo-senior community are readily evident:

The anglo community as a whole is aging more quickly than the francophone community, with a higher percentage of people aged 65 and over in most of the province’s administrative regions.

Due to the relatively high level of out-migration from Quebec’s minority community, English-speaking seniors tend to be more vulnerable to social isolation than their francophone counterparts, without the support of contemporaries and family members who have left the province.

Anglophone seniors are hampered by being the age group with the lowest level of bilingualism, having lacked both the imperative and opportunities to learn French in their youth, contrary to more recent generations of Quebec anglos.

Problems previously identified by the QCGN include insufficient access to information in English about government services, notably medicare and community resources available to seniors. There is furthermore insufficient low-cost housing, inadequate home-care support and shortages of day centres and of activities provided in English in seniors’ residences.

The executive director of the QCGN, Sylvia Martin-Laforge, is right when she says that everything points to a need to have English-speaking seniors visible in the formulation of public policy in Quebec.

An advocacy group for anglo seniors, such as the one the organization proposes, would go a long way toward meeting that need.

The QCGN will be applying to the federal government for funding to launch and maintain such an advocacy group. The federal government already sustains the existing French-language equivalent with funding from both the Canadian Heritage and Health departments.

Fairness demands that a counterpart for anglophone seniors should get proportional backing from Ottawa.

The provincial government, meanwhile, should recognize and make a greater effort to meet the needs of the aging anglophone community.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

(An American Perspective)

A white man asked his black friend, "Are you voting for Barack Obama just because he's black"?  

The black man responded by saying "Why not? Hell, in this country men are pulled over everyday just becausethey're black; passed over for promotions just because they're black; considered to be criminals just because they're black; and there are going
to be thousands of you who won't be voting for him just because he's black! However, you do not seem to have a problem with that!

This country was built with the sweat and whip off the black slaves back, and now a descendent of those same slaves has a chance to lead the same country, where we weren't even considered to be people, where we weren't allowed to be educated, drink from the same water fountains, eat in the same restaurants, or even vote.

So yes! I'm going to vote for him! But it's not just because he's black, but because he is hope, he is change, and he now allows me to understand when my grandson says that he wants to be president when he grows up, it is not a fairytale but a short-term goal. He now sees, understands and knows that he can achieve, withstand and do ANYTHING just because he's black".

Posted February 20, 2012
Released: 11/21/2008 5:00 AM EST
Source: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Newswise -

 A new book by Suzanne Model, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, examines why West Indian immigrants enjoy more economic success than native-borne African Americans and finds that the key factor in this outcome is their self-selected immigrant status. The findings of the book, "West Indian Immigrants: A Black Success Story," are summarized in the November/December Issue of the journal "Society."
 Model's research explores whether the success of English-speaking West Indian immigrants is based on a series of factors, including white favoritism toward West Indians, differing historical experiences of slavery or the impact of having grown up in all-black societies. In each case, she demonstrates that these factors don't account for the different level of achievement between West Indian immigrants and native-born African Americans.
 Rather, West Indian immigrants do well because people who choose to migrate tend to be more talented and determined than the compatriots they leave behind, Model says. "This is so for a host of reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty of starting a new life in a strange land. To be sure, a minority of immigrants has little choice in the matter; famine or war forces them from their homes. Lawmakers would do well to keep this point in mind when they convene to rewrite American immigration laws."
To back up her arguments, Model draws on four decades of U.S. Census data, with surveys of emigrants from the Caribbean living around the world as well as historical records that reach back to the beginnings of the slave trade. In addition, she looks at the education and employment achievements of those who left Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Guyana, and those who stayed on the islands.
 Model uses these sources to test several explanations for West Indian success relative to native-born African Americans. In an effort to see if the selectivity of migration is a factor, she compares the economic achievement of recent West Indian immigrants with the achievement of native-born African Americans who recently changed residence within the U.S. There are no differences between the two groups. Put another way, West Indian immigrants have better economic outcomes than African American non-movers, but they do not have better economic outcomes than African American movers, Model says. Since the majority of native-born African Americans do not move, West Indian immigrants register an advantage over native-born African Americans as a whole.
 In an effort to see if white American favoritism plays a significant role in West Indian success, Model examined their economic position in New York, London, Toronto and Amsterdam. She found in each case, despite differences in labor markets and the racial compositions of these cities, West Indians have been able to reach similar levels of economic success. The consistency she uncovered across destinations suggests that West Indian achievement is not the result of American employers treating the immigrants more favorably than they treat native-born African Americans.
 To try to see whether regional variations in the way slavery was organized account for the advantages West Indian immigrants enjoy, Model looked for areas of the Caribbean where the organization of slavery was similar to that in the American South. She then contrasted the economic performance of immigrants from these areas with the performance of immigrants from areas where slavery was organized in typical Caribbean fashion. There was no difference. This result implies that the organization of slavery does not contribute to West Indian attainment.
  Finally, Model considered whether growing up in an all-black society conferred an advantage relative to growing up in a multiracial society dominated by whites. A variety of comparisons contradicted this expectation; for example, black immigrants from South Africa, a multiracial society until recently dominated by whites, do just as well as black immigrants from Nigeria, an all-black society with a much weaker legacy of white domination.
 Overall, Model concludes that studying the success of West Indian immigrants in America reveals more about the talent and initiative that immigrants bring with them than it does about race relations in the U.S.

Posted 2-17-12
Colin Powell's Narration of Excellence

The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.
As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are… Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you.
Consider this:
Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere…
With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights.
"A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses."
The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate - for the good and the bad.
Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends. Yes…do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above.
"In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends."

"Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them."

"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters.
Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude."

Feb. 13, 2012
 Jamaican named top Nissan salesman in Canada
Published in the Gleaner Friday February 3, 2012
Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer

A Jamaican has won the Platinum Award for being Nissan Motors number-one salesperson in Canada for 2011.

Forty-nine-year-old Frank Dacosta sold 285 new cars and 50 used cars in 2011. There are currently 117 Nissan dealerships in Canada with at least 12 salespersons per dealership.

"I think if I had done something bad as a Jamaican, then it would have been all over the news. It's time to show the world that Jamaicans are vigilant, versatile and hard-working people. We should be acknowledged by the good things we do. People tend to judge us and don't judge us rightly," Dacosta told The Gleaner.

"I've always been the number-one salesperson in my dealership. Never thought I would be in all of Canada, though."

Dacosta grew up and toiled in the community of Waterhouse before attending Tivoli Gardens Comprehensive High School in Kingston.

"I have always been working, even while attending high school. I worked at my older brother's gym and delivered goods from his pet shop. Hard work was my way of life," he said.

Early start

After high school, Dacosta said he worked at Facey Commodity delivering goods out of his personal Toyota Hiace minivan until migrating to Canada at age 28.

He was then given the opportunity to become a salesperson at the Brampton North Nissan branch 11 years ago.

"I sold 23 cars in my first month. The industry average at the time was seven per month. That, itself, was a remarkable feat. That indicated I had the personality to do this business. This was my inspiration in going forward," he said.

Nazi Singh, the sales manager for the Brampton North Nissan branch in Toronto, said he was proud of Frank, adding: "We're ecstatic. He has amazing work ethics, very well customer-oriented, and he truly deserved it."

February 4, 2012
Kiralina Soars

Montreal Diva Kialina has issued a new CD. Click the link below for a preview on Youtube.

Kiralina's Youtube video, from her new album:

Also check out her website at

February 4, 2012
Bolt plans 'wild things' for London
Jamaica's Usain Bolt

Despite the fact that it will be difficult to top his exploits at the Beijing Olympic Games, the world's fastest man Usain Bolt says he hopes to leave spectators stunned at the London Games, in just a few months time.

"I want to do wild things at this Olympics, that's my focus. I want, at the end of the Games, for people to sit down and say, "Did that really happen?" Bolt told the United Kingdom Press Association.

The 25-year-old sprint star certainly caught the attention of the world at the 2008 Olympic Games by setting three stunning world records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays. The athlete went on to equal that feat at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, lowering his own world records in the 100m (9.58) and the 200m (19.19).


However, things did not go as well for Bolt at the following 2011 World Championships in Daegu, and after experiencing an injury setback the previous year, lost his 100m title after false starting in the final. The sprinter's compatriot and training partner Yohan Blake went on to take the title and while Bolt went on to claim the 200m title and partner Blake for the 4x100m title, it was Blake who stole the show at the end of the year posting the second fastest 200m time ever (19.26) at a Diamond League meet in Brussels. That fact has caused many to suspect the Olympic champion will be under serious pressure at the games, as in addition to Blake both Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, who missed the previous World Championships in Daegu, due to injury, are expected to be returning to the fore. Bolt, however, is adamant that he is still the man to beat and looks forward to proving the naysayers wrong in London.

"I am coming back from injury and working my way back up," Bolt said.

"A lot of people have said guys are going to beat me but I am still number one. I am still the Olympic champion," he added.

"It doesn't really matter what people say. I go out there and prove them wrong everyday."

The Jamaican Star, 12-31-11

Jamaica glides towards ice hockey at 2014 Olympics
Published in The Jamaican Gleaner December 8, 2011

 Photo by Leighton Levy. Gleaner Writer

From left: G. Webster Smith, Edmund R. Phillips and Sandra Lord pose after their meeting with members of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) at the offices of the Sports Development Foundation on Tuesday.

The three are members of a delegation seeking affiliation with the JOA with the intention of sending a Jamaican ice hockey team to the Winter Olympics in Moscow, Russia, in 2014. - Photo by Leighton Levy
From left: G. Webster Smith, Edmund R. Phillips and Sandra Lord pose after their meeting with members of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) at the offices of the Sports Development Foundation on Tuesday. The three are members of a delegation seeking affiliation with the JOA with the intention of sending a Jamaican ice hockey team to the Winter Olympics in Moscow, Russia, in 2014.

Jamaica is well set to field an ice hockey team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Moscow, Russia.

Through the efforts of the Jamaica Olympic Ice Hockey Team (JOIHT), a non-profit organisation based in Colorado, which on Tuesday received the endorsement of the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), this Caribbean island will assemble a squad of highly skilled players of Jamaican heritage who currently play all over the world.

"What they need to do now is to properly form a national federation, write to us for approval and request affiliation to the Jamaica Olympic Association," said Don Anderson, vice-president of the JOA. "Once everything is on order we will give them our blessing."

Inspired in part by the Jamaica bobsled team, the JOIHT is planning what they have described as an unprecedented undertaking to bring much-needed diversity to a sport dominated by other cultures. The idea is the brainchild of 22-year-old Edmond R. Phillips, whose parents were born and raised in Jamaica.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, Phillips took an interest in ice hockey at the age of seven and has been playing for 16 years. Now a level-four coach - a step below the National Hockey League stage - Phillips, who has been coaching for about five years, co-founded the JOIHT along with G. Webster Smith, the first-ever black American to become a Master-rated coach by the Professional Skaters Association.

In 2010, Smith was head coach of the Icelandic national team of the Bjorninn Skating Club, inspiring his students to winning Iceland's first-ever international medals at figure skating.

A delegation that comprised of Phillips, his father, Webster Smith and several keys strategists and advisers, including Willie O'Ree, the National Hockey League's director of youth development and ambassador for NHL Diversity, met at the offices of the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) with Anderson, Major Desmon Brown and Sports Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange seeking the endorsement of the JOA. So far, they were heartened by the response.

Plenty support

"It's been amazing. We had Devon Harris here with us from the bobsled team and he was telling us how when they first started, nobody took it seriously, but it's been different for us. When we talk about this with people, everyone's been so supportive of us. They remember the bobsled team and they have been so encouraging, we have support that has been beyond our expectations," said key strategist Sandra Lord, who grew up in St Lucia as a music celebrity, but who is now known for her work with the Hollywood Networking Breakfast and Hollywood Global Entertainment Network, among others.

"This all fits into my vision of Jamaica being a strong participant in the Winter sports and participating in the Winter Olympics," said Grange. "We have done well with the bobsled team. Although we didn't win we created a stir across the world. With this ice hockey team we are really poised to make a strong statement."

Lord agrees, saying there is a large enough pool of ice hockey players of Jamaican heritage that can be drawn from to create the team that would represent the country in Moscow.

Many native players

"You would be amazed at how many amazing Jamaican hockey players there are from all over the world, whether it's Canada, Switzerland, England, the United States, and even some budding ones here," she said.

The JOIHT will not require financial support from Jamaica's already cash-strapped coffers, but have budgeted that to achieve their goals it will cost about US$1.7 million, money that they claim they are well on the way to acquiring.

"We have some funding sources in place. Members of our team are on the boards of major banks in the United States. We have celebrities, we have sports figures. We just spoke with a prominent Jamaican hockey player in Canada who has pledged his support. We have so many people who are willing to come on board financially, and we are also going to make Jamaicans all over the world be part of it, if they want to contribute."

Link: Microsoft Office Word Document
Jamaican scientist lands blow in cancer fight
Published in the Jamaican Gleaner December 2, 2010

A Jamaican scientist is being celebrated on the international stage for finding an effective treatment for some types of cancer.

Dr Lawrence Williams, a research scientist at the Scientific Research Council (SRC), has been awarded an international patent on a compound isolated from the Guinea Hen Weed as a protein complex of dibenzyl trisulphide.

The SRC said the protein complex has the ability to kill a wide range of cancers.

The Jamaican's discovery has the potential to fight various kinds of cancers, a few of which are: melanoma, lung cancer and breast cancer. The molecule also has implications for the treatment of ageing diseases.

The SRC noted that, with more than 13 years dedicated to this research, Williams has revealed that the complex is superior in killing cancer cells relative to the pure compound found in the Guinea Hen Weed-dibenzyl trisulphide.

"This remarkable breakthrough comes at a time when the world is crippled by the effects of cancer, as it is one of the leading killers globally," the SRC asserted.

The SRC said it joined the remainder of the international medical fraternity in celebrating the scientific breakthrough.

"This is good news for Jamaica, given its ability to contribute to health, longevity and as a major foreign exchange earner. Williams' discovery could change the face of medicine as we now know it," the SRC declared.

Williams said that the next stage is conducting clinical trials of the compound and the development of a pharmaceutical agent.

The SRC, one of Jamaica's chief proponents of scientific research and development, commended its team member on his "outstanding contribution to science".

Rights to the patent are shared with Dr George Levy, a Jamaica-born medical doctor living in the United States.

Link: Microsoft Office Word Document

Points to ponder about Libyans who were against Libyan "dictator" Muammar Gaddafi
(Western media hides this about Libya; change the present tense to past tense)

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.

3. Home considered a human right in Libya - Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a
home. Gaddafi's father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.

4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.

6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and
livestock to kick- start their farms - all for free.

7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it -
not only free but they get US $2, 300/mth accommodation and car allowance.

8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0. 14 per liter.

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion - now frozen globally.

11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or
she is employed until employment is found.

12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US $5 ,000

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15

15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree

16. Gaddafi carried out the world's largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.Bought from over 1,000 km in the desert to the cities on the coast.

Fourth Best Place In the World To Eat Ice Cream Is...
Devon House, Kingston, Jamaica
Thursday, October 27, 2011

The recently published National Geographic book Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe has listed Devon House, Kingston, Jamaica as the fourth best place in the world to eat ice-cream. The book noted the following: "Devon House is a masterpiece of Caribbean Victorian architecture and home to the island's most celebrated ice-cream stand...

"The 27 flavours run a broad gamut, from traditional cherry and pistachio to exotic island treats like mango, coconut, and soursop. There is even an offbeat, beer-based ice-cream called Devon Stout. Grab a cone and recline in the sprawling gardens," the rave review of the Jamaican-based ice-cream parlour continued. Capogiro Gelato in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was ranked the number one ice-cream destination; Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St Louis, Missouri was listed at number two; Bombay Ice Creamery in San Francisco, California was third; and Helados Scannapieco in Buenos Aires, Argentina, fifth.

National Geographic's Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe ranks Devon House the fourth best place in the world to eat ice cream.
 National Geographic's Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe ranks Devon House the fourth best place in the world to eat ice cream.
André Reid, marketing and events manager at Devon House, was mightily pleased with the attention given to the historic property's much-loved dairy spot. "Devon House I-Scream is the most popular spot at Devon House and National Geographic is discovering what many Jamaicans have long known. We're honoured the ice-cream product has been so recognised and we hope to continue hosting future travel writers who visit Jamaica. It is our hope that the other fine businesses here at Devon House will also be able to gain international recognition as the ice-cream has."

TOP 10 Places to eat Ice Cream

1. Capogiro Gelato, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

2. Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, St Louis, Missouri

3. Bombay Ice Creamery, San Francisco, California

4. Devon House, Kingston, Jamaica

5. Helados Scannapieco, Buenos Aires, Argentina

6. Ice Cream City, Tokyo, Japan

7. Glacé, Sydney, Australia
8. A'jia Hotel, Istanbul, Turkey

9 Vaffelbageriet, Copenhagen, Denmark

10. Perchè No!, Florence, Italy

A little  bit of history:


So much of our history is lost to us because we often don't write the history books, don't film the documentaries, or don't pass the accounts down from generation to generation.

One documentary now touring the film festival circuit, telling us to "Always Remember" is "Black Survivors of the Holocaust" (1997).

Outside the U.S. , the film is entitled "Hitler's Forgotten Victims" (Afro-Wisdom Productions). It codifies another dimension to the "Never Forget" Holocaust story-our dimension.

Did you know that in the 1920's, there were 24,000 Blacks living in Germany ? Neither did I. Here's how it happened, and how many of them were eventually caught unawares by the events of the Holocaust.

Like most West European nations, Germany established colonies in Africa in the late 1800's in what later became Togo , Cameroon , Namibia , and Tanzania . German genetic experiments began there, most notably involving prisoners taken from the
1904 Heroro Massacre that left 60,000 Africans dead, following a 4-year revolt against German colonization. After the shellacking Germany received in World War I, it was stripped of its African colonies in 1918.

As a spoil of war, the French were allowed to occupy Germany in the Rhineland -a bitter piece of real estate that has gone back and forth between the two nations for centuries. The French willfully deployed their own colonized African soldiers as the occupying force. Germans viewed this as the final insult of World War I, and, soon thereafter, 92% of them voted in the Nazi party.

Hundreds of the African Rhineland-based soldiers intermarried with German women and raised their children as Black Germans. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote about his plans for these "Rhineland Bastards". When he came to power, one of his first directive was aimed at these mixed-race children. Underscoring Hitler's obsession with racial purity, by 1937, every identified mixed-race
child in the Rhineland had been forcibly sterilized, in order to prevent further "race polluting," as Hitler termed it.

Hans Hauck, a Black Holocaust survivor and a victim of Hitler's mandatory sterilization program, explained in the film "Hitler's Forgotten Victims" that, when he was forced to undergo sterilization as a teenager, he was given no anesthetic. Once he received his sterilization certificate, he was "free to go", so long as he agreed to have no sexual relations whatsoever with Germans.

Although most Black Germans attempted to escape their fatherland, heading for France where people like Josephine Baker were steadily aiding and supporting the French Underground, many still encountered problems elsewhere. Nations shut
their doors to Germans, including the Black ones.  Some Black Germans were able to eke out a living during Hitler's reign of terror by performing in Vaudeville shows; but many Blacks, steadfast in their belief that they were German first, Black second, opted to remain in Germany . Some fought with the Nazis (a few even became Lut Waffe pilots!) Unfortunately, many Black Germans were arrested, charged with treason, and shipped in cattle cars to concentration camps. Often these trains were so packed with people and (equipped with no bathroom facilities or food), that, after the four-day journey, box car doors were opened to piles of the dead and dying.

Once inside the concentration camps, Blacks were given the worst jobs conceivable. Some Black American soldiers, who were captured and held as prisoners of war, recounted that, while they were being starved and forced into dangerous labor (violating the Geneva Convention), they were still better off than Black German concentration camp detainees, who were forced to do the
unthinkable--man the crematoriums and work in labs where genetic experiments were being conducted. As a final sacrifice, these Blacks were killed every three months so that they would never be able to reveal the inner workings of the "Final Solution."

In every story of Black oppression, no matter how we were enslaved, shackled, or beaten, we always found a way to survive and to rescue others. As a case in point; consider Johnny Voste, a Belgian resistance fighter who was arrested in 1942 for alleged sabotage and then shipped to Dachau . One of his jobs was stacking vitamin crates. Risking his own life, he distributed hundreds of vitamins to camp detainees, which saved the lives of many who were starving, weak, and ill--conditions exacerbated by extreme vitamin deficiencies. His motto was "No, you can't have my life; I will fight for it."

According to Essex University 's Delroy Constantine-Simms, there were Black Germans who resisted Nazi Germany, such as Lari Gilges, who founded the Northwest Rann --an organization of entertainers that fought the Nazis in his home town of Dusseldorf --and who was murdered by the SS in 1933, the year that Hitler came into power.

Little information remains about the numbers of Black Germans held in the camps or killed under the Nazi regime. Some victims of the Nazi sterilization project and Black survivors of the Holocaust are still alive and telling their story in films such as "Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust", but they must also speak out for justice, not just history.

Unlike Jews (in Israel and in Germany ), Black Germans receive no war reparations because their German citizenship was revoked (even though they were German-born). The only pension they get is from those of us who are willing to tell the world their stories and continue their battle for recognition and compensation.

After the war, scores of Blacks who had somehow managed to survive the Nazi regime, were rounded up and tried as war criminals. Talk about the final insult! There are thousands of Black Holocaust stories, from the triangle trade, to slavery in America, and to the gas ovens in Germany . We often shy away from hearing about our historical past because so much of it is painful; however, we are in this struggle together for rights, dignity, and, yes, reparations for wrongs done to us through the centuries. We need to always remember so that we can take steps to ensure that these atrocities never happen again.

For further information, read: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black >in Nazi Germany , by Hans J. Massaquoi.

posted Oct 1, 2011
 7 Spelling and Grammar Errors that Make You Look Dumb.
Don’t let these easy-to-fix spelling and grammar mistakes make you look unprofessional.
By: Leslie Ayres
August 5, 2011

In business, excellence is indeed worth striving for. Make sure all of your communications hold to high standards, because misspellings and bad grammar can hold you back in your career.
Many brilliant people have some communication weak spots. Unfortunately, the reality is that written communication is a big part of business, and how you write reflects on you. Poor spelling and grammar can destroy a professional image in an instant.

Even if your job doesn't require much business writing, you'll still have emails to send and notes to write. And if you're looking for a job, your cover letters and resumes will likely mean the difference between getting the interview or not.

Bad grammar and spelling make a bad impression. Don't let yourself lose an opportunity over a simple spelling or grammar mistake.

Here are seven simple grammatical errors that I see consistently in emails, cover letters and resumes.

Tip: Make yourself a little card cheat sheet and keep it in your wallet for easy reference.

You're / Your

The apostrophe means it's a contraction of two words; "you're" is the short version of "you are" (the "a" is dropped), so if your sentence makes sense if you say "you are," then you're good to use you're. "Your" means it belongs to you, it's yours.

    You're = if you mean "you are" then use the apostrophe
    Your = belonging to you

 You're going to love your new job!

It's / Its

This one is confusing, because generally, in addition to being used in contractions, an apostrophe indicates ownership, as in "Dad's new car." But, "it's" is actually the short version of "it is" or "it has." "Its" with no apostrophe means belonging to it.

    It's = it is
    Its = belonging to it

It's important to remember to bring your telephone and its extra battery.

They're / Their / There

"They're" is a contraction of "they are." "Their" means belonging to them. "There" refers to a place (notice that the word "here" is part of it, which is also a place – so if it says here and there, it's a place). There = a place

    They're = they are
    Their = belonging to them

They're going to miss their teachers when they leave there.

Loose / Lose

These spellings really don't make much sense, so you just have to remember them. "Loose" is the opposite of tight, and rhymes with goose. "Lose" is the opposite of win, and rhymes with booze. (To show how unpredictable English is, compare another pair of words, "choose" and "chose," which are spelled the same except the initial sound, but pronounced differently.  No wonder so many people get it wrong!)

    Loose = it's not tight, it's loosey goosey
    Lose= "don't lose the hose for the rose" is a way to remember the same spelling but a different pronunciation

I never thought I could lose so much weight; now my pants are all loose!

Lead / Led

Another common but glaring error. "Lead" means you're doing it in the present, and rhymes with deed. "Led" is the past tense of lead, and rhymes with sled. So you can "lead" your current organization, but you "led" the people in your previous job.

    Lead = present tense, rhymes with deed
    Led = past tense, rhymes with sled

My goal is to lead this team to success, just as I led my past teams into winning award after award.

A lot / Alot / Allot

First the bad news: there is no such word as "alot." "A lot" refers to quantity, and "allot" means to distribute or parcel out.

There is a lot of confusion about this one, so I'm going to allot ten minutes to review these rules of grammar.

Between you and I

This one is widely misused, even by TV news anchors who should know better.

In English, we use a different pronoun depending on whether it's the subject or the object of the sentence: I/me, she/her, he/him, they/them. This becomes second nature for us and we rarely make mistakes with the glaring exception of when we have to choose between "you and I" or "you and me."

Grammar Girl does a far better job of explaining this than I, but suffice to say that "between you and I" is never correct, and although it is becoming more common, it's kind of like saying "him did a great job." It is glaringly incorrect.

The easy rule of thumb is to replace the "you and I" or "you and me" with either "we" or "us" and you'll quickly see which form is right. If "us" works, then use "you and me" and if "we" works, then use "you and I."

Between you and me (us), here are the secrets to how you and I (we) can learn to write better.

Master these common errors and you'll remove some of the mistakes and red flags that make you look like you have no idea how to speak.
 Try this when you call an 800 number
A lot of us do not realize this option is open to us.

Any time you call an 800 number, (for a credit card, banking, charter communications, health and other insurance, computer help desk, etc.  etc.), and you find that you're talking to a foreign customer service representative (with an accent difficult to inderstand/ perhaps in  India , Philippines , etc), please consider doing the following:
After you connect and you realize that the Customer Service Representative is not working in Canada. (you can always ask,  if you are not sure about the accent), please, very politely (this is not about trashing other cultures) say, "I'd like to speak to a Customer Service Representative in Canada."
The rep. might suggest talking to his/her manager, but, again, politely say, "Thank you, but I'd like to speak to a Customer Service Representative in Canada."

It takes less than one minute to have your call re-directed toCanada .
After you are re-directed to a Canadian rep., ask again to verify.
Imagine what would happen if every Canadian Citizen insisted on talking to only Canadian phone reps, from this day on!

Imagine how that would ultimately impact the number of Canadian jobs that would need to be created ASAP.!

Remember - the goal here is to restore jobs back here at home - not to be abrupt or rude to a foreign phone rep. You may even get correct answers, good advice, and solutions to your problem - in real English or French.
 The 8th. Annual Montreal Reggae Festival,
Saturday & Sunday, August 20 & 21, 2011

From our perspective, both Saturday and Sunday were successful for Montreal's Reggae Festival at the Old Port. MC's and announcers kept the ball rolling while DJ's, bands and singers satisfied the attenders with heavy beats from the high-quality sound system.

(Note: the picture is blurred intentionally)

On Saturday, by nightfall, the crowd had grown substantially and the place looked full (see above). DJ's and artists performed well to keep the crowd engaged, although the MC's would have preferred more visible evidence of enjoyment in the form of dancing from the crowd. There were long lineups at the bar and food tents. I went too late for my curry goat and the rice was finished, so I had to eat my curry goat with fried dumplings (not bad!). The weather was superb, except for a short drizzle. Gyptian gave a stellar performance to close the session; he made us forget that Movado did not come.


(Note: the picture is blurred intentionally)

The rain did not prevent the people from coming on Sunday (see above). There were several fine performances, with Third World , Jah Cutta and Wayne Wonder  as headliners.  Beres Hammond closed with medleys of his hits that had people dancing in the rain; his songs brought back memories to the older folks and kindled a love of reggae rhythms in the many children and teenagers present. He sparked the crowd's enthusiasm by asking them to "pump their umbrellas up and down" during the deluge of rain, and the fans loved it.  When the rain stopped and people closed their umbrellas, Beres said he was happy to see the faces in the audience. This time, I went early and got my curry goat with rice OK.

 Number of Centenarians (100 year-olds)

USA has the most centenarians in the world, 70,490 (0.022%)

Second is Japan, with 44,449 (0.035%, the highest % in the world. Barbados has the second highest percentage)

Canada has 6,500 (0.019%)

China has 17,800 (0.001%)

England and Wales have 11,600 (0.019%)

Jamaica has 885 (0.031%)

Trinidad & Tobago has 310 (0.025%)

 Accessible health care in English is everyone's right
  Editorial, The Gazette August 8, 2011

MONTREAL - Getting medical care is often a stressful affair: If you're injured or ill, it can be hard to take in the information you need. If it's bad news, you don't want to hear it.

And if you're being treated in a second language, the experience can be doubly stressful. Medical vocabulary tends to be specialized. A doctor's instructions need to be followed exactly to avoid complications. Patients rarely have peace of mind unless they know they've grasped every nuance.

Anglophones in Quebec are supposed to be able to get medical treatment in English. Twenty-five years ago, the Quebec government amended existing health-and social services legislation, conferring on the Anglophone community across the province a qualified right to receive services in English. (The availability of resources had to be taken into account.)

More recently, the federal government earmarked $10 million for improving primary health care for Quebec's minority English language community. Included in this package was English-language training for healthcare workers in Quebec.

But when Stephanie Kwong, a Montreal respiratory therapist who is six months pregnant, asked to be treated at her local community health clinic in English, she found herself being addressed slowly and loudly in French, as if she were "deaf and stupid," she wrote in an Opinion article that appeared in The Gazette recently and that generated many letters from readers.

To Kwong, who describes herself as fully bilingual, the issue is one of choice. She is more comfortable, she wrote, dealing with her health issues in English, and since Quebec is bilingual, she feels she should be treated in English if that is what she wants.

Unfortunately for Kwong's argument, Quebec is not an officially bilingual province. French has been the only official language since 1974. But no Quebec government has dared try to remove the right of the English-speaking minority to medical services in English or education in English.

But unfortunately for far too many Anglophones in Quebec, Kwong's experience seems quite commonplace. Unlike Kwong, who asked to be treated in English, one in five English-speakers in the province is not comfortable asking for services in English at a public health or social-services institution.

According to a 2010-2011 report by the Quebec Community Health and Social Services Network, Anglos are afraid their request will impose a burden on the institution or that it might mean a delay in health-care treatment. Some also think they'll be turned down; others say they're too shy to ask.

If health-care workers were trained to offer automatic treatment in English, the issue of having to ask wouldn't come up. But the report makes it clear that English is not offered to Anglophone patients with any regularity. In Quebec, of the 57.4 per cent of English speakers who said they had been served in English in a CLSC, close to one in three had to ask first.

Being cared for in English matters to Anglophones. Whether they are treated in a CLSC, hospital, or private clinic or whether they are trying to access health information from the province's hotline, Info-Santé, the majority of English-speakers feel it is "very important" to receive treatment in English.

Yet only English-speakers in downtown Montreal or the West Island are likely to be treated in English. The numbers drop off precipitously the farther away from these Anglophone strongholds one gets. Only 7.9 per cent of Anglos on the Lower North Shore say they are treated in English in their CLSC.

The lack of access to treatment in English worries Anglophones. Those who anticipate needing long-term health services, either for themselves or for someone they care for, told researchers it is very important they receive these services in English.

If Stephanie Kwong was wrong on some points, she got the big picture right. Unless Anglophones insist on their right to English language services, that right will continue to erode. The burden of maintaining this right cannot be placed on Anglophones alone, especially elderly, unilingual English-speakers in the regions. If they are shying away from insisting on their rights, it could be because they are made to feel like second-class citizens. Quebec's medical workers are among the most hard-working and conscientious in the country. If they need more resources to properly serve an official minority population, they should get them. Health care that is accessible - including linguistically - should be everyone's right, whether they ask for it or not.

© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

 Hollywood’s Highest-Earning Actors
Forbes' article by Dorothy Pomerantz
"Show Me The Money", Aug. 1, 2011 - 1:15 pm

Hollywood careers are built on smart (and not always obvious) choices. The two men who top our list of Hollywood’s highest-earning actors are living proof of that. While Johnny Depp topped our list last year with $75 million, Leonardo DiCaprio jumps from fifth to first place to beat Depp for the first time. Over the past year Depp earned $50 million to DiCaprio’s $77 million. Both  actors have achieved wealth and fame by making some unusual choices with their careers.

After starring in the megahit Titanic in 1997, Leonardo DiCaprio had his pick of roles. The young actor easily could have become a romantic-comedy heartthrob or an action hero. Instead, he waited for offers from great, serious directors. In 2000, he starred in Danny Boyle’s The Beach. Two years later he paired with Martin Scorsese for the first time with Gangs of New York. That same year Steven Spielberg directed the young actor in Catch Me If You Can.

Few of his films were blockbusters, but they established DiCaprio’s reputation as someone who could work with the best directors on the planet.

In 2010, that reputation helped DiCaprio become the highest-earning actor in Hollywood. His two big movies, Shutter Island and Inception, earned a combined $1.2 billion. Shutter Island was DiCaprio’s fourth collaboration with Scorsese and Inception was directed by Christopher Nolan.

DiCaprio always gets a healthy upfront fee to appear in movies, but with these two films, he also got a solid chunk of the profits. We estimate that between May 2010 and May 2011, DiCaprio earned $77 million.

Johnny Depp is another actor who gained fame at a young age and refused to take the obvious path. After the success of the TV show 21 Jump Street, Depp easily could have become an action star but he preferred to work with offbeat directors like Tim Burton and John Waters. Like DiCaprio, Depp’s early choices weren’t always hits. But his insistence on making each role his own paid off with 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Based on the popular Disney ride the movie easily could have been just another summer blockbuster but Depp’s bizarre turn as Captain Jack Sparrow created a character that has become as important to Disney as Peter Pan. The four Pirates movie have so far earned $3.7 billion at the global box office. Jack Sparrow was added to the Pirates ride and Depp can now demand a huge sum for each new movie.

The actor earn an estimated $50 million between May 2010 and May 2011.

To compile our earnings numbers we talked to agents, lawyers, producers and other industry insiders to come up with an estimate for what each actor earned between May 1, 2010 and May 1, 2011. Earnings consist of pretax gross income. Management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted.

Taking the path less traveled isn’t always the key to making it big in Hollywood. Just look at Adam Sandler, who ranks third on our list with an estimated $40 million.

During his years on Saturday Night Live Sandler made us laugh while consistently playing a kind of man-child. He carried that persona over to the movies with films like Billy Madison and The Waterboy. As long as Sandler sticks to playing a stunted adult his films are huge hits. His recent film, Grown Ups, was his highest-grossing of all time with $271 million.

But when Sandler strays his films tend to flop. In Funny People, from director Judd Apatow, Sandler played an aging, lonely comedian dealing with a life-threatening illness. The film was a bust, earning only $71 million.

Our No. 4 earner, Will Smith, took a similar path of establishing a persona and sticking with it. The actor has yet to play a bad guy–he’s almost always the hero who swoops in to save the day. Thanks in part to his hefty upfront paycheck for the upcoming sci-fi comedy Men in Black III, Smith earned $36 million.

In fifth place: Tom Hanks with $35 million. The actor’s most recent film, Larry Crowne, was a bona fide flop, earning only $51 million at the global box office, but that’s unlikely to hurt Hanks’ earning power. His next film is an adaptation of the best-seller Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, co-starring Sandra Bullock.

 Opinion: I'm bilingual, but I want to discuss my health in English
By STEPHANIE KWONG, Special to The Gazette July 20, 2011
Health-care worker Stephanie Kwong says she has heard countless first-hand accounts about patients in French-sector hospitals not being able to communicate their concerns with anyone.
Health-care worker Stephanie Kwong says she has heard countless first-hand accounts about patients in French-sector hospitals not being able to communicate their concerns with anyone.
Photograph by: John Kenney, Gazette files

MONTREAL - I think Montreal is one of the top places to visit in the summer: fabulous, beautiful, charming, etc. But to live here is a different story.

I am originally from Toronto but have lived here more than 10 years and I am finally hitting my breaking point.

I am six months pregnant and work at the McGill University Health Centre. I want to make this clear: I am fully bilingual.

In the centre where I work, I can say 95 per cent of the time, the first question asked is, "Do you prefer English or French?" At least, I can say I offer this option. If it is a third language I can speak, I will offer this as well. If certain foreign doctors are unable to speak French, we promptly get someone who can clearly communicate to them the patients' concerns and questions.

I am finally in a position where I am the patient and no longer the health-care worker. Thankfully, the hospital I am delivering at is more or less fully bilingual - it is one in the English sector. And again, repeatedly I am asked if I prefer French or English, regardless of the native language of the person offering me the service. I appreciate and respect this. If the person has difficulty in English, I will put aside my preference and accommodate him or her simply because he or she was courteous enough to offer this.

But I have heard countless first-hand accounts about patients in French-sector hospitals not being able to communicate concerns and worries with anyone.

At my local Montreal CLSC, I have repeatedly spoken English to the people there and been responded to in French. As I persist, the person (more than one) has further insisted on responding in French. I am spoken to in slow, loud tones as if I am deaf and stupid, as opposed to them simply trying to say that one sentence in English. I have had countless other incidents with other professional government associations here, but this is the one that really hits home.

I understand that in private businesses there is no guarantee. But a CLSC provides an essential service and I believe this is completely unacceptable. As far as I know, Quebec is still a province in Canada. And the term bilingual suggests the presence of two languages.

Why is McKibbin's pub given heat over Irish posters? Why is a fully bilingual man awarded several thousand dollars in court because he was not offered Coke or 7Up in French? Why am I harassed at a downtown Tim Hortons because I choose to order a large coffee instead of "un grand café"? And I am repeatedly ignored when I request that I be communicated with in English in several government organizations because, frankly, I still am more comfortable dealing with my health issues in English.

I feel so helpless in a province where "bilingual" actually means: "I'm going to ignore the fact that you just said you prefer English but if you are English I will sue you if you do not greet me in French."

Stephanie Kwong is a respiratory therapist who lives in Montreal.
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette

    Quebec City, Montreal ranked most livable cities.
Survey by Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News July 4, 2011   

  A recent study found Quebec City and Montreal outrank other cities in Canada when it comes to cost of living, culture, shopping and meeting people.Photograph by: Yves Tessier, Quebec City TourismVancouver may be the "nicest" city, according to a new survey, but when it comes to livability, major cities in la belle province take top marks.

The recent study commissioned by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies found Quebec City and Montreal outrank other cities in Canada when it comes to cost of living, culture, shopping and meeting people.

According to the survey, a quarter of Quebec City residents said the cost of living in their city was excellent, while another 70 per cent described it as good.

Montreal came second in the category with 16 per cent describing it as excellent and 65 per cent saying it was good.

While an earlier Postmedia News report indicated that a quarter of all Canadians had chosen Vancouver as the overall "nicest city in Canada," association executive director Jack Jedwab said it ranked dead last when it came to cost of living, with 57 per cent of respondents describing it as poor.

"There's a funny phenomenon in Vancouver, there's not a lot of people in the middle," he said, noting few Vancouverites described the lost of living as good, let along excellent.

"It's as though there's a big income split in that city. That's what I would think explains that discrepancy."

The Greater Toronto Area, Edmonton and Calgary rounded out the list of least affordable cities to live.

When it came to cultural activities, more than 95 per cent of Montreal and Quebec City residents rated theirs as excellent or good and they were also the most likely to describe their cities as excellent places to meet people and make friends.

Meanwhile, a fifth of Ottawa residents said their city was a bad place to meet people and make friends.

Montreal also earned top marks for shopping with 67 per cent describing it as excellent, followed by Edmonton at 62 per cent, Calgary at 51 per cent and Quebec City at 49 per cent.

People in Toronto (15 per cent), Calgary (14 per cent) and Edmonton (13 per cent) were among the most likely to describe their cities as lousy places to take in cultural activities.

On the subject of job opportunities, Calgarians were most satisfied, with half describing them as excellent and more than a third describing them as good. Quebec City came a close second with 47.6 per cent saying excellent but another 42.9 per cent describing them as good.

A whopping 36 per cent of Torontonians rated job opportunities in their city as poor, followed by 29 per cent of Ottawa residents and 25 per cent of Vancouver residents.

While all Quebec City residents described their city as either excellent or good for raising children — taking the top spot among seven cities — Jedwab was surprised to find Montreal at the bottom of the list in this category.

Despite the province's much touted $7-a-day child care program and overall commitment to children and youth, just 23 per cent of Montreal residents said their city was an excellent place to raise kids.

Some 61 per cent said it was good but more than 16 per cent described it as poor — the largest number of any city.

Quebec City, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal earned top marks for recreation and outdoor activity, while Toronto, Quebec City and Vancouver did well for climate.

"I think overall, Toronto is not a big winner on this thing if we're going to look for some big winner," Jedwab concluded.

"Montreal, I think, comes across fairly strong in this. Vancouver still does reasonably well, it is just clearly a very pricey place to live. Beauty comes at a cost."

The survey of 1,513 Canadians was conducted last month via web panel by Leger Marketing. An equivalent telephone survey would have a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News

 Asia's millionaire population overtakes Europe

HONG KONG— The Associated Press
Published Thursday, Jun. 23, 2011 8:23AM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Jun. 23, 2011 9:21AM EDT

Booming Asia had more millionaires than Europe for the first time last year and is fast closing in on North America for the top spot, a report released Thursday said.

The Asia-Pacific region was home to 3.3 million people in 2010 worth $ 1-million (U.S.) or more, excluding their homes, an increase of roughly 10 per cent from the year before, according to the 15th annual World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch's wealth management division and consultancy Capgemini.

The report's findings illustrate how Asia's economies are growing much more quickly than developed countries and, in the process, minting scores of new millionaires and billionaires. Asia's growth has been powered by China and India, whose economies grew 9-10 per cent last year while European and North American growth was in the low single digits.

“It is entirely conceivable that Asia would overtake North America in the near future,” said Wilson So, a managing director at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management. “I would be surprised if that does not happen very soon.”

The United States, Japan and Germany still account for just over half the world's 10.9 million wealthy, while China is in fourth place with 535,000, about 58,000 more than in 2009. Australia has moved up one notch to ninth place, edging out Italy, while India cracked the top 12 for the first time. It replaced Spain, which fell to 14th.

While 2010 was the first time that Asia has overtaken Europe in absolute numbers of wealthy people, it is the second year that Asia's combined wealth was bigger than Europe's.

The world's wealthy were worth a total of $42.7-trillion in 2010. Asia's share of that wealth amounted to $10.8-trillion, putting it in second place for the second year in a row, just behind North America's $11.6-trillion.

Six of the 10 economies with the fastest growing millionaire populations were in Asia, led by Hong Kong and Vietnam, which each saw annual growth of 33 per cent. Others included Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore and India.

Asia also had a bigger proportion of young millionaires, with 3 per cent aged 30 or under. All other regions had 2 per cent or less.

Globally, women are increasingly in the ranks of millionaires. The report found that 27 per cent of the world's wealthy last year were women, up from 24 per cent in 2009.

While the majority of wealth is held by Americans, Japanese and Germans, the authors of the report expect the distribution to become more diverse over time as developing countries continue to grow faster than developed ones.

The super rich, defined as people worth more than $30-million, also fared well. Their numbers grew 10 per cent to 103,000 last year.

Toronto Carnival formerly known as Caribana renamed
"STCC, The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival"

New Name: Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival Turns Up the Heat this Summer
Same Festival, Same Vibe!

TORONTO, May 25, 2011 /CNW/ - The Festival Management Committee (FMC) today announced a new name to the Festival that has captured an audience of more than 1.2 million people annually on the August long weekend: The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival.

The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival (STCC) will be back in July with the same line up of events featuring the Toronto Mas Band Association (TMBA), the Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes and the Pannists, as well as an array of new programming leading up to the Parade on July 30.

"This is the 44th year for the Parade, and all of the participants are preparing for another major turnout of attendees this summer," said Denise Hererra Jackson, CEO of the FMC.  "Rebranding ourselves as the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival allows us to move forward with an exciting program that will appeal to members of the community of all ages."

"The Festival is an important summer celebration of diversity through arts and culture in Toronto and as such, is important to the roots of this city," said Chris Alexander, CFO of the FMC.  "The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival will continue to grow and meet the needs of the attendees, while reinforcing its relationships with the Toronto community, its sponsors and other stakeholders."

In addition to its commitment of title sponsor, Scotiabank also announced $10,000 in prizing to be divided among the TMBA, Organization of Calypso Performing Artistes and the Pannists, based on competitive judging.

"Scotiabank's partnership with the FMC opened an exciting new chapter for the Bank - given our extensive presence in the Caribbean and the importance of this event to the City, our customers and our employees, this event is a natural fit for us," said John Doig, Scotiabank Senior Vice-President, Toronto Region.  "Today we have come together to reinforce our support for the Festival Management Committee - their decision to rename the Festival, the Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival, continues to reflects our diverse and multicultural communities.  We're looking forward to a great festival!"

The STCC has released the official programme for the summer festivities today, and festival goers will see new additions, including a sports component featuring athletics of the Rugby League.  Programme details can be found in the backgrounder and a new name and logo will appear in all marketing materials as well as on the revised interactive website,

About the Festival:

The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival is an exciting three-week cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry as well as visual and performing arts. Now in its 44th year, it has become a major international event and the largest cultural festival of its kind in North America. As Carnival is an international cultural phenomenon, the great metropolis of Toronto and its environs will come alive as the city explodes with the pulsating rhythms and melodies of Calypso, Soca, Reggae, Chutney, Steel Pan and Brass Bands. The Festival Management Committee is responsible for the managing and staging of North America's largest outdoor festival.

Corporate sponsors of this year's festival include: Scotiabank, The Toronto Star, Sway Magazine, The Grid, CTV, CP24, The Federal Government of Canada, The Province of Ontario, The City of Toronto, Tourism Toronto, Mobilicity, The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, Ontario Place, Royal Ontario Museum, Ontario Science Centre, Toronto Public Libraries, Yorkgate Mall, Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex & Liberty Entertainment Group, The Caribbean Camera Newspaper, Toronto-Lime.Com, and GraceKennedy (Ontario) Inc.

The Festival Management Committee presents Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival (STCC) - North America's largest and most exciting summer Carnival and Festival!

July 16 to August 2, 2011 in the Greater Toronto Area

Jamaican-born scientist making strides in nerve research

Published: Monday,| January 4, 2010

Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore, Staff Reporter

Dr Patrice Smith, Jamaican-born scientist living in Canada who discovered a new way to repair damaged nerves. - Contributed

Who would have thought that a little girl from Darliston in Westmoreland would turn out to be a First World scientist who may have discovered a new way to repair damaged nerves?

Now living in Canada, Jamaican-born Dr Patrice Smith and her colleagues at Harvard have discovered a way to repair damaged nerves by allowing the adult brain to respond to repair signals that are induced after injury. Dr Smith explained to Flair in an email interview, that as we get older, we lose the ability to repair damage to the brain and spinal cord, because our nervous system is actively preventing the immune system from sending out repair messages. If we get a cold, for example, the immune system kicks in and helps with our recovery. However, if our brain or spinal cord is damaged, this repair message is blocked. What they have discovered is that this mechanism is blocked by a molecule called SOCS3.

"In the absence of SOCS3, the damaged nerves were able to regenerate themselves in an adult. My hope is that the research will help people who suffer from brain and spinal-cord injuries by helping to repair the injuries they may have received in an accident, or just through the natural ageing process," said Dr Smith.

A curious child

She said she has always been interested in how things work. As a child she was very good at taking apart small appliances and seeing whether she could put them back together.

Her interest in how the brain works began when she migrated to Canada, and took up a summer research job in a neuroscience lab at the University of Ottawa, Canada.

Dr Smith grew up with her grandparents because her mother, Elaine, was just 18 years old when she was born and had to move to Kingston to find work. Her mother later got married and migrated to Canada. Dr Smith joined her after completing her studies at Mannings High school in 1995 at the age of 18.

Her CXC results were not recognised in Canada, so she had to repeat her final year in a Canadian high school. She excelled and obtained a scholarship to attend the University of Ottawa. She received the highest average in her graduating year and was awarded a medal by the Ottawa-Carleton education school board. "I felt that my Jamaican education provided a strong framework for this," she told Flair.

After completing her doctorate in 2005, she received a scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to attend Harvard University, which was where she began her current research. The research took about two years to complete. "I am currently working on extending this research in my own lab back in Canada to look at ways of functionally repairing damaged nerves, following spinal cord and brain injury."

Benefits of hard work

Dr Smith is currently making waves in the scientific world in Canada, but it is hard work that has put her where she is today. She explained that when she first moved to Canada, it was difficult to adapt to the weather, especially the snow. But she notes that she was fortunate to have met and interacted with some wonderful people throughout her career, who have helped her along the way.

Her field is a male-dominated one, but she has persons around her who are generally "accepting" of a female scientist, although she says she has become used to being the only black female (sometimes the only black person) in her circle.

"And I am still not used to being called 'Dr Smith'."

Although her job is challenging, she considers herself blessed to be able to do what she loves as a career. The added incentive is that what she is doing will someday help persons suffering from brain and spinal-cord injuries.

Best friend

Dr Smith told Flair that in 2008 she married her best friend, Ryan, who has been her biggest fan and most avid supporter. "I am truly blessed that we found each other (we met in Canada). Ryan was the one who actually encouraged me to go to Harvard."

She is currently heading up a medical research lab in Canada, and will continue her research into ways to promote health and well-being.

Jean Gregoire Sagbo Becomes First Black Politician Elected In Russia

In this July 20, 2010 photo, Russian councilman Jean Gregoire Sagbo smiles in Novozavidovo, a village 100 kilometers (65 miles) north of Moscow. People in this Russian town used to stare at Jean Gregoire Sagbo because they had never seen a black man. Now they say they see in him something equally rare _ an honest politician. Sagbo last month became the first black to be elected to office in Russia. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev).

NOVOZAVIDOVO, Russia — People in this Russian town used to stare at Jean Gregoire Sagbo because they had never seen a black man. Now they say they see in him something equally rare – an honest politician.

Sagbo last month became the first black to be elected to office in Russia.

In a country where racism is entrenched and often violent, Sagbo's election as one of Novozavidovo's 10 municipal councilors is a milestone. But among the town's 10,000 people, the 48-year-old from the West African country of Benin is viewed simply a Russian who cares about his hometown.

He promises to revive the impoverished, garbage-strewn town where he has lived for 21 years and raised a family. His plans include reducing rampant drug addiction, cleaning up a polluted lake and delivering heating to homes.

"Novozavidovo is dying," Sagbo said in an interview in the ramshackle municipal building. "This is my home, my town. We can't live like this."

"His skin is black but he is Russian inside," said Vyacheslav Arakelov, the mayor. "The way he cares about this place, only a Russian can care."

Sagbo isn't the first black in Russian politics. Another West African, Joaquin Crima of Guinea-Bissau, ran for head of a southern Russian district a year ago but was heavily defeated.

Crima was dubbed by the media "Russia's Obama." Now they've shifted the title to Sagbo, much to his annoyance.

"My name is not Obama. It's sensationalism," he said. "He is black and I am black, but it's a totally different situation."

Inspired by communist ideology, Sagbo came to Soviet Russia in 1982 to study economics in Moscow. There he met his wife, a Novozavidovo native. He moved to the town about 100 kilometers (65 miles) north of Moscow in 1989 to be close to his in-laws.

Today he is a father of two, and negotiates real estate sales for a Moscow conglomerate. His council job is unpaid.

Sagbo says neither he nor his wife wanted him to get into politics, viewing it as a dirty, dangerous business, but the town council and residents persuaded him to run for office.

They already knew him as a man of strong civic impulse. He had cleaned the entrance to his apartment building, planted flowers and spent his own money on street improvements. Ten years ago he organized volunteers and started what became an annual day of collecting garbage.

He said he feels no racism in the town. "I am one of them. I am home here," Sagbo said.

He felt that during his first year in the town, when his 4-year-old son Maxim came home in tears, saying a teenage boy spat at him. Sagbo ran outside in a rage, demanding that the spitter explain himself. Women sitting nearby also berated the teenager. Then the whole street joined in.

Russia's black population hasn't been officially counted but some studies estimate about 40,000 "Afro-Russians." Many are attracted by universities that are less costly than in the West. Scores of them suffer racially motivated attacks every year – 49 in Moscow alone in 2009, according to the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy Task Force on Racial Violence and Harassment, an advocacy group.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, Novozavidovo's industries were rapidly privatized, leaving it in financial ruin.

High unemployment, corruption, alcoholism and pollution blight what was once an idyllic town, just a short distance from the Zavidovo National Park, where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev take nature retreats.

Denis Voronin, a 33-year-old engineer in Novozavidovo, said Sagbo was the town's first politician to get elected fairly, without resorting to buying votes

"Previous politicians were all criminals," he said.

A former administration head – the equivalent of mayor in rural Russia – was shot to death by unknown assailants two years ago.

The post is now held by Arakelov, a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who says he also wants to clean up corruption. He says money used to constantly disappear from the town budget and is being investigated by tax police.

Residents say they pay providers for heat and hot water, but because of ineffective monitoring by the municipality they don't get much of either. The toilet in the municipal building is a room with a hole in the floor.

As a councilor, Sagbo has already scored some successes. He mobilized residents to collect money and turn dilapidated lots between buildings into colorful playgrounds with new swings and painted fences.

As he strolled around his neighborhood everyone greeted him and he responded in his fluent, French-African-accented Russian. Boys waved to Sagbo, who had promised them a soccer field.

Sitting in the newly painted playground with her son, Irina Danilenko said it was the only improvement she has seen in the five years she has lived here.

"We don't care about his race," said Danilenko, 31. "We consider him one of us."

Speaker snubs Church to appoint first black Vicar of Westminster

By Simon Walters and Jonathan Petre
Last updated at 11:13 PM on 26th June 2010

Rose Hudson-Wilkin
Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin has been appointed as chaplain to the House of Commons

The Queen of England was last night dragged into a bitter row over the appointment of a black woman as ­Chaplain to the House of Commons.

Commons Speaker John Bercow has refused to give the job to the candidate picked by the Dean of Westminster Abbey, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, who answers to the Queen.
He has chosen instead the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, a Jamaican-born vicar in one of the ­poorest parts of East London. Sources say he objected to appointing ‘another predictable ­middle-aged white man’.

Mr Bercow was so determined to win the power struggle that he has cut the ties between Parliament and the Abbey, where state ­funerals, weddings and coronations take place – effectively splitting the Chaplain’s ­historic role in two.

The Abbey authorities have responded by refusing to give Mrs Hudson-Wilkin the palatial grace-and-favour apartment in the Abbey cloisters where the current Commons Chaplain lives.
The man snubbed by Mr Bercow, 46-year-old Andrew Tremlett, currently a Canon at Bristol Cathedral, is to be made a Canon at Westminster Abbey as a ‘consolation prize’ by the Queen.
But he will have to make do with half the salary of the Commons Chaplain.

The move will be seen by some as the Speaker showing support for those campaigning to force the Church of England to allow women to become bishops, as well for helping ethnic minorities achieve high-profile public posts.

Outspoken Mrs Hudson-Wilkin, 49 – who is married with three children – has already been tipped to be the first woman bishop.

A controversial figure, she led calls for the Church of England to apologise for its role in slavery and has lambasted racism in the clergy. A friend said her views were ‘radical, Left of centre’.
But the row has divided opinion at Westminster, where by custom the Commons Chaplain fulfills a dual role, acting as ‘Vicar of Parliament’ while also being Sub-Dean of Westminster Abbey and the Rector of St Margaret’s Church in Parliament Square.

Speaker John Bercow and wife Sally: Sources say he objected to appointing 'another predictable middle-aged white man'

One senior parliamentarian said: ‘It is a tragic mistake for the Speaker to cut the ties with the Abbey. He seems to have done it on a whim because other people did not think Mrs Hudson-Wilkin was the best candidate.’

A Church of England source said: ‘This is a shame. This post may seem to some like a historical anomaly but it has survived and it works.

‘It would be better if it was not split in two. Modernising everything is not always a good thing. Sometimes it is the result of someone throwing their weight around.’

John Hall
Dr John Hall was the Dean of Westminster's choice for the role as Chaplain to the House of Commons

The source said he did not know if the Queen had formed a view but that it could concern her, adding: ‘She tends to be conservative in these things.’

However, a source close to Mr Bercow maintained: ‘We did not want yet another predictable, middle-aged, white man who is like a mini Archbishop of Canterbury.

‘Many MPs went to the Chaplain for advice and comfort over the expenses affair or the Iraq War. They need someone they can talk to, not someone who can quote theological texts to them.’
The appointment is the latest controversy for Mr Bercow, whose wife Sally caused outrage by confessing in interviews to casual sex as a result of alcohol. His religious status is described by friends as ‘Jewish by ethnicity’.

The appointment of Mrs Hudson-Wilkin, who is a friend of Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, follows the retirement of Commons Chaplain Canon Robert Wright.

A selection panel, led by Dr Hall and including representatives of Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the Speaker’s office and Lambeth Palace, drew up a shortlist of six, including Canon Tremlett and Mrs Hudson-Wilkin.

Dr Hall picked Canon Tremlett and recommended him to the Queen.
Usually, the Speaker rubber-stamps the Dean’s – and by extension the Queen’s – choice, but not this time.
When the two men failed to agree, Mr Bercow said he would split from the Abbey and appoint Mrs Hudson-Wilkin as Commons Chaplain alone. Mr Tremlett will take over the duties at the Abbey and as Rector of St Margaret’s.

Mrs Hudson-Wilkin will receive the £25,000 Commons Chaplain’s salary, but not the £20,000 wage that goes with the Abbey post. That will go to Mr Tremlett, who will also be given the grace-and-favour home in the Abbey.
One of the key tasks at Westminster for Mrs Hudson-Wilkin, who intends to retain her parish in Hackney, East ­London, is to read the prayers at the start of each day’s sitting.

The Hebrew scholar

Canon Andrew Tremlett is a quintessentially English cleric. Born in Devon, he took a degree in classics at Cambridge before training for the priesthood at Oxford, where he specialised in Biblical Hebrew.
He moved to Bristol Cathedral in 2008 where he became Canon for development, responsible for the buildings, development of the Cathedral’s ‘strategy’, and pastoral care of congregations.
Married with three children, his interests include playing the piano and learning Arabic. Canon Tremlett was ordained in 1989 and his roles have since included being Chaplain to the English Church in Rotterdam, Holland.

The girl from Montego Bay

In stark contrast to Canon Tremlett, the Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin routinely confronts knife crime and gang culture in one of East London’s poorest parishes.
Mrs Hudson-Wilkin said at the time of her appointment as vicar in Hackney in 1998: ‘Some members struggled with me. They had been told that no priest worth anything would want to come here. On top of that I’m a woman and black.’

A good friend of the first black archbishop, Dr John Sentamu, she is a rising star in the Church. She was bought up in Montego Bay and travelled to England to join the Church Army aged 18.
She is now regularly tipped to become the Church’s first woman bishop if, as many expect, the current ban is lifted.

Ursula M. Burns
Chief Executive Office, Xerox

Ursula M. Burns is chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation.
Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern and later assumed roles in product development and planning. From 1992 through 2000, Burns led several business teams including the office color and fax business and office network printing business.

In 2000, she was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, heading up manufacturing and supply chain operations. She then took on the broader role of leading Xerox's global research as well as product development, marketing and delivery. In April 2007, Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to also include the company's IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts. At that time, she was also elected a member of the company's Board of Directors. Burns was named chief executive officer in July 2009.

Burns earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. She serves on professional and community boards, including American Express Corp., CASA - (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) at Columbia University, FIRST - (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), National Academy Foundation, MIT, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the University of Rochester. Burns was also named by President Barack Obama to help lead the White House national program on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in November 2009.

Rachel Christie crowned the first Black Miss England

Rachel Christie, athlete and neice of Linford Christie, Britain's Olympic Gold medalist, has been crowned as the new Miss England. Click the link below for more.

Links to President Barack Obama

Click the link below to view the White House website:

Click the link below for an official selection of photographs of
President Obama in action:

Home Depot executive still proud to wear apron


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Job: Home Depot, president, Southern Division
Age: 44
Raised: St. Thomas, Jamaica
Residence: Smyrna
Family: Husband of 22 years, Christopher, and two sons, Ryan, 16 and Alex, 12. (Her husband, also a native of Jamaica, owns Chris' Caribbean Cafe in Smyrna.)
Education: MBA and bachelor's in philosophy from Georgia State University.
Philanthropy: Serves on the board of the Atlanta Union Mission.

Hobbies: Loves to read. Most recent book: "Outliers, The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell.
Favorite tool: A rake, "Because I get to expend a lot of energy."
Craziest do-it-yourself project: Replacing the splines and screens right above her home's pool when she lived in Florida.


Meeting Ann-Marie Campbell is like encountering a force of nature. She started at Home Depot as a cashier. Now, when she visits one of the hundreds of stores under her supervision, she gets out on the floor to see what customers need.

The energetic 44-year- old is the president of Home Depot’s Southern Division. During a recent interview in the Buckhead store, she was a whirlwind, checking in with the store manager and other employees, and asking customers if they needed help. She is responsible for the sales and operations of 640 stores in 15 states, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. About 100,000 staffers fall under her purview.

And she may know a lot of them, because Campbell, a native of Jamaica, started her 24-year career with Home Depot as a cashier.

Since then, she has finished a degree in philosophy and an MBA, both at Georgia State, and has held a variety of positions from overseeing online sales to being vice president of vendor services.

But last year, when she took the helm of the Southern Division, she was thrilled to go from office jobs at corporate headquarters to her in-store roots, where it’s not uncommon for her to walk all day long.

She recently explained how she approaches her job, given the dour economic times.

Q: What is your biggest challenge in this retail environment?

A: We [Home Depot] started in 1979 when there was a recession. This is what we were built on — to help people take their well-earned money and do more with it.

Q: You started as a cashier. Tell me how that helps you in your current job.

A: Customers come in and leave through the front. No matter what happens on the floor, a cashier can make it right. It’s important we get good cashiers, who like and love people.

Q: How do you find people like that?

A: We look for people who are happy around people.

Q: Is it easier to get good people in this economy?

A: Absolutely. This is fertile ground.

Q: You have a big region. How do you manage such a large area?

A: It’s all about getting the right people in the right jobs. It’s “teach concepts, manage processes and lead people.” We’ve done a great job in simplifying the direction for our stores.

Q: What are the regional differences in the products your stores carry?

A: In Miami, there’s concrete mortar. In Atlanta, there’s more of a focus on decks and yards. In Texas, fencing is big. We also have a riding lawn mower market in the Southeast. We sell a lot of tractors in parts of North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. But not Miami. The strength of Home Depot is our regional merchandising. They can respond to behavioral changes.

Q: What is it like as a woman in a historically male-oriented industry?

A: When I started 24 years ago, it was more dominated by men. I had to gain knowledge because you build your credibility with knowledge. People respect knowledge. Today, a lot of women are do-it-yourselfers. It’s dramatically different.

Q: Is Home Depot ready for spring, and what is your favorite new product?

A: Spring is our Christmas. It’s our opportunity to reconnect with our customers, and we are absolutely ready. New product? Since I started in paint, I’ll go with paint. We have a new primer and paint in one can.
10.5 Year-old Jonathan McCoy tells us Why We Should Not Use The "N" Word

Click the link below to see and hear young Jonathan's remarkable speech

You Need a Passport to visit the USA

Starting June 1, 2009, you will need a passport if you want to travel to the United States by land or water.
You now need a passport or a Nexus card (good for low-risk, frequent travelers) to go the the USA by air.
 Don't wait until the last minute; get your passport early.

First Black Female Flight Crew

African-American women continue to demonstrate professionalism, intelligence and unlimited potential as they contribute to our overall struggle for unlimited freedom, access and opportunity in  America.  The sisters on Flights 5202 and 5106 (a jet owned by Atlantic Southeast Airlines) have proven that African-American women can do anything if just given a fair opportunity.

They made history on Thursday, February 12, 2009 as the first all African American female crew.


Operated flight 5202 from Atlanta to Nashville and flight 5106 from
Nashville back to Atlanta

The crew included CPT Rachelle Jones, 2nd on right, FO Stephanie Grant, 1st on left, FA's Robin Rogers and Diana Galloway!

Dr. Monique Ford,  a Jamaican woman tops at world-renowned Mayo Clinic

DESTINY appears to have conspired to link Jamaican Dr Monique Ford with the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester , Minnesota in the United States .

During her first clinical year at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Ford worked with Mayo-trained cardiologist Charles Denbow, and recalls being "fascinated with his prowess."
Then, in her biochemistry final exams, her external examiner was Professor Whyte-Owen, also a Mayo associate.

Ford finished at the top of her second-year class, earning the EV Ellington Memorial Award and, more importantly, a scholarship to the Mayo Graduate School .
Sited in rural Minnesota , with the state capital Minneapolis and the Canadian border to the north and "cornfields in every direction once you drive more than 20 miles," says Ford, the Mayo Clinic, a top research facility, was a major adjustment for her in several ways.

"They have more MRI machines than the nation of Canada ," she said in a Sunday Observer interview, "and added to that I'm walking down hallways and meeting people who have discovered new treatments and have things named after them - Nobel laureates and the like."

Still, the young research fellow proved her mettle amongst the giants and trailblazers, earning the school's Excellence in Internship Award (2003) and Intern of the Year (2002-03).

Now, she has distinguished herself yet again, receiving the 'LeeAnn MacCaffrey MD Women in Medicine Award' for 2005, an announcement made by Mayo in April.

In correspondence issued under the signature of Dr Nicholas LaRusso, chair of the department of medicine and two directors of Internal Medicine Residency, Ford was described as a "superb" resident with "excellent clinical skills" and an "inquisitive mind".

Named after yet another renowned Mayo researcher, the award is presented for outstanding achievement to a third-year resident.

As far as she's aware, Ford is the first non-US national and the first woman of colour to receive the award. She feels elated, but adds that she doesn't put too much stock in awards, but moreso her work.

In that regard, she has already absorbed the philosophy of the institutions founding Mayo Brothers: 'The needs of the patient are the only ones to be considered'.

She continues at Mayo Clinic's Division of Cadrdiovascular Diseases as a research fellow in cardiology on a programme that began July.

Apart from the pressure of the Mayo reputation, Ford says there were social challenges in adjusting to the staunchly conservative midwestern region, when she first arrived in Minnesota .
"There isn't any hangout or social life in Rochester ," she pointed out in the telephone interview. "Mostly I take tennis lessons, and occasionally I'd go with friends over to Minneapolis or to Wisconsin ."

The latter, she adds, contains a Jamaican-style restaurant - run not by a Jamaican but by a Wisconsin native who has visited Jamaica many times.

Ford overcame the homesickness by making a conscious decision to "network with every Jamaican within a hundred-mile radius."
That tactic and what she describes as the family-oriented character of the community, helped ease her initial frustration.

Its indeed a long way to come for Ford, the second of four children born to a pharmacy rep and a teacher. Even from her preparatory school days at Our Lady of the Angels on Molynes Road , Kingston , young Monique exhibited a great interest in science.

Her parents, Mr and Mrs Linval Ford, long convinced of the merits of a quality education, encouraged their daughter in her resolve to become a scientist.
By the time she transited to Immaculate Conception High, Ford realised she wanted to be more involved in applied research. "I really want to contribute tot he overall well-being of mankind," she said.

Under the watchful eye and firm hand of Sister Maureen Clare - "She taught me the value of discipline and what it meant to excel as a woman and a lady," said Ford - and Sister Mary Catherine - "She helped foster my love of Spanish" - Ford began on the road of promise and achievement that has so far led her to the heart of medical research.

Her current areas of specialty are in the cardiology and coronary fields and Ford plans to become an interventional cardiologist.
For the layman, the field largely entails the opening of blocked arteries, but also repairing valves without the need for open-heart surgery.

Long-term, her dream is to return to Jamaica and open a catheterisation centre.
"Coronary disease is the number one killer in both developed and developing countries," she says. "In Jamaica , someone who lacks the resources to fly to Miami or similarly get special treatment, will likely die. I want to change that."

In addition to lots of start up capital and more study, realising that dream will require much traveling, something which Ford claims to relish.
For now: "I'd love to go to Europe , and see the works of the Impressionists close up," she said.
In the meantime, the largely closed-in Rochester social scene also facilitates another of her interests - movies. Ford is partial to dramas, like Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning Mystic River .

Hollywood may never welcome her to its podium, but at her present rate of achievement, Dr Monique Ford arguably has the medical equivalent of an Oscar.

Click here to go to top of this page

Looking for somewhere to go, something to do? Need something? Tell them you saw it on! and its agents are not responsible for the accuracy of anything in this website and cannot be held liable in any way.