March 2015 Archives





 

One person was killed in gunfire that erupted outside National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., Monday after a car carrying two men dressed as women tried to crash through a checkpoint at the base, officials say.

One of the men in the car was killed when armed security guard at the gate opened fire, a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press. ABC News reported that the other was "severely injured" and "probably won't survive."

An NSA official told the AP that their vehicle smashed into a police car, and that police opened fire when it refused to stop. An NSA police officer was injured in the encounter, the official said.

According to WTOP.com, one person was transported to a Baltimore trauma center. The identities of the men involved in the shooting were not immediately released.

Aerial images from news helicopters on the scene appear to show two damaged SUVs outside the gate and a white sheet covering a body next to one of them. The footage also showed emergency workers treating a man in a uniform and loading him into an ambulance.

The FBI is investigating the shooting.





Boys and Girls' Championships end on a high

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At the end of five grueling days of competition, where 14 records were broken eight on the boys side and six in the girls category, where false starts and mishaps were aplenty, the tears that flowed and the joys and celebration for others, with the explosive cheering nonstop on the final day, it was Calabar and Edwin Allen who retained their respective titles at the 2015 renewal of the ISSA/ Boys and Girls Championships.

Calabar secured their fourth championship in a row amassing 280.5 points, ahead of Kingston college 265 points, who was predicted to win by two points and Jamaica College third 200, St Jago was fourth with 183 points and Steths fifth 132 points.

While Edwin Allen from Frankfield, Clarendon under Coach Michael Dyke won title number 3, finishing with 321 points, 100 points better than the late surging Hydel on 221 as St Jago was third 219.33, with Holmwood fourth 206 and Vere fifth 136.

Meanwhile Michael O'hara, grabbed his fourth gold medal in total, as he helped Calabar to a new 'champs' and national record in the class 1 boys sprint relay final. The quartet of O' hara, Seanie Selvin, Julani walker and Edward Clarke clocked a shocking 39.08 seconds erasing the old mark of 39.35seconds that they set last year beating Jamaica College into second place in 39.79 seconds ahead of St. Georges College 40.43 seconds.

Grabbing three gold medals was the youth Olympics 200 meters champion Natalliah Whyte of St Jago. She won the 100 meters class one event, and took gold in the 4×100 metres Class 1 and 4×400 meters events.

Edwin Allen's wonder girl Shelece Clarke ended the Championship with three gold medals, as after winning the 100 and 200 metres doubles, she later returned to run on the third leg of Edwin Allen's 4×100 metres class two team, which clocked a new meet record 44.88 seconds to win gold. Thereby, wiping clean the old mark of 45.06 set by Holmwood Technical High School back in 2006. Hydel was second 45.37 with Green Island High snapping up the bronze in 46.37 seconds. Edwin Allen also snatched the gold in the class four relays in a new meet record 46.65 seconds.

Another sensational unbelievable and unforgettable moment of super 'champs' 2015 was the run by 17 year old Akeem Bloomfield a lower sixth form student of Kingston College who blew away the field and stopped the clock at 44.93 seconds to take the gold in the Class 1 boys 400 metres final, and 9 vital points at that staged for KC. Erasing Jevaughn Francis' 45.00 seconds set last year. Bloomfield got home ahead of the St Jago pair of Nathan Allen and Martin Manley 45.30 and 46.61 seconds respectively.

Other noticeable performers of Champs' 2015 were JC's Obrien Waysone in the long and triple jump, St Andrew Technical's Ayesha Champaigne who won the Heptathlon for girls, Jaheel Hyde who ran a new record in the Open 400 metres hurdles, plus the outstanding all round efforts of Hydel girls who were sensational all round and must never be discounted for next year's renewal.

Heading into the final race the 4×400 metres open Calabar just needed to finish ahead of Kingston College and they just did that with the danger man Christopher Taylor on anchor he made no mistake in leading Calabar to gold, and their 24th title overall. The victory coming in a new meet record 3 minutes 06.76 to better the previous best 0f 3.08.31 set by St Jago last year.





Pregnant teenager killed in motor vehicle crash

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A teenaged girl said to be in an advanced stage of pregnancy died Monday morning in a motor vehicle crash along the Chalky Hill main road in St. Ann.

She has been identified as Sasha Beckford,17, of Croft's Hill in Clarendon.Four other persons including a child were taken to hospital.

It's reported that shortly after 6 o'clock the teenager was a passenger in a Toyota Corolla motorcar along with her mother, a man and his son. The vehicle reportedly skidded and plunged about 100 metres over a precipice.

It was the third fatal crash in St. Ann since the start of the weekend and the fourth fatality.





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State Minister for Works Richard Azan says road repairs being carried out in sections of the Corporate Area are not being done for the visit of US President Barrack Obama.

"It is a programme that we have taken in which we focus on a number of main roads in the Corporate Area; we are going to do rural Jamaica very shortly..." Azan said.

He further said: "The only thing about it is that some are being repaired in the period of time that President Obama will be visiting. But the repairs are not for the President's visit."

The National Works Agency (NWA) announced that several roads will be repaired over the next two weeks.

Obama is slated to arrive on the island on April 9.





US visitor missing

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Forty-eight year-old Terrence Kemble of Lauda Hill Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been missing since Friday, March 27.

He is of dark complexion, stout-build and is about 172 centimetres (5 feet 8 inches) tall.

Kemble was last seen about 8:30 p.m., on Chisholm Avenue, Kingston 13. He was dressed in a pair of black jeans pants, a plaid short-sleeved shirt and a pair of black and white sandals. He has not been heard from since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Terrence Kemble is being asked to contact the Duhaney Park police at 933-4280, police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.





Guns, rocket launcher seized on highway

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The Trelawny police said two men have been taken into custody over yesterday's seizure of 11 guns and a rocket launcher during a spot check.

The men were reportedly stopped while travelling in a pickup along the Scarlett Hall area of the North Coast leg of Highway 2000. The guns and rocket launcher were found in a barrel. An investigator said the weapons were concealed in what he described as a well-taped and packaged parcel.

The cops are warning motorists against alerting persons of police presence on the roads. Deputy Superintendent Odeen Dennis reported that the men almost eluded the police because other motorists warned them of their presence.

Fortunately, Dennis said the police saw what was happening and thwarted the bid to escape.

The senior policeman is warning motorists to desist from doing this because, according to him, many lives could be lost based on the number and types of guns seized. Some of the weapons seized include a rocket launcher, an M-16, an AK-47, a Sniper rifle, one Intratek sub-machine and a Uzi sub-machine, among others.

The police said 16 guns have been recovered in the parish since the start of the year.





Video clip lands schoolboys in police custody

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Two male students from a prominent high school in St Thomas have been taken into custody, after a video surfaced that showed them assaulting another schoolboy. The incident happened last week and was recorded and posted on several social media sites, including Facebook.

The video, which shows the students striking another male student with a belt, while other students watched, caused outrage among many social media viewers, who denounced the boys as bullies and troublemakers.

Deputy Superintendent Charmaine Shand of the St Thomas police confirmed that the incident was under investigation. She said officers have also received a statement from the boy who was assaulted. The St Thomas police also said that they have expanded their support to the school, offering aid in conflict resolution and violence reduction.

Shand is also appealing for the individual who recorded the incident to make a statement to the police to assist with the investigation.





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Dancehall artiste Miguel Collins, more popularly known as Sizzla Kolanji, has been charged for using expletives onstage during a performance at the Falmouth Police Station Sunday morning.

Sizzla had been invited in good faith to perform at the station for an entertainment event organised by the police Community Safety & Security Branch, a community outreach arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

However, on entering the stage, his opening sentence was reportedly laced with expletives as he berated the police.

The police, who had invited the artiste, did not turn a blind eye to his performance and he was taken from the stage and charged.

Some persons in attendance at the event said they were angered by his removal from the stage, arguing that the police knew his style and should not have invited the artiste if they did not want to hear what he had to say.

The majority of attendees, however, were of the view that Sizzla's performance was an attack on, and disrespectful to, law and order, particularly since he was performing at the station said to be one of the largest in the Caribbean.





A vendor had to make a hasty retreat from a St Catherine school after he had a dispute with the principal who pulled a machete and threatened to cut him down to size. The incident is the subject of much laughter in the community where the school is located.

"Is blaze di vendor have to blaze him way from the school, after him and di principal have a fuss. Him seh di big man get real bringle, so him a go station," a resident, who is a taxi operator, reported.

Reports are that last Friday, the male vendor was at the school where he sells, when there was a disagreement. It was reported that the vendor and the principal had a heated verbal exchange.

This was said to have developed into a dispute, leading the principal to brandish a machete. Further reports are that the principal told the vendor he would "cut him down to size". The fearful vendor fled the scene, and ran to the police thereafter.

The Bog Walk police have acknowledged the incident and said that both parties were spoken to.





andrew-holness-photo-2.jpgThe Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has issued a release saying Andrew Holness has been affirmed as the party leader.

Opposition Members of Parliament were meeting to determine Holness' fate following an Appeals Court ruling last week dismissing his application the Senate seat court battle involving Arthur Williams and Christopher Tufton.

The JLP says 20 of the 21 Opposition MPs attended the meeting.

North West St Elizabeth MP J C Hutchinson was the only one absent.

However, the JLP says this was unavoidable and Hutchinson communicated his position in writing.





mavado-photo-11.jpgDancehall artiste Mavado says he was a victim of racial profiling at an Asian restaurant in New York recently. According to the Love In Your Heart singer, he was treated like a bum and even verbally abused at the restaurant because of the colour of his skin.

The artiste, who expressed his grouse with the restaurant via his Instagram page, claims he visited the establishment to have lunch with his family and friends. However, he was unreasonably forced to sit at the back even though it was pretty much empty.

Mavado also claims the manager of the restaurant prohibited him from using his phone in any manner, after which they rushed him to eat his food, as if they did not want to accommodate him and his guests for an extended period.

The artiste says his manager was later contacted by the restaurant and they profusely apologised for their actions, highlighting that they were ignorant to his popularity.

"Just went to ... restaurant and this manager - or whoever he wants to be -- was very disrespectful after I just spend a couple hundreds inside for me, my friends, and family. How could you have someone running a business and being prejudice, and trying to tell customers not to come back just because he didn't know who I am, but now he knows." Mavado posted on Instagram.

Mavado's story has since caught the attention of popular US urban media houses like TMZ and VLAD TV.

The artiste is currently promoting a single called Ain't Going Back Broke featuring Ace Hood and Future. The soon-to-be-released remix features Vybz Kartel.





queen-ifrica-photos-2.jpg Singer Queen Ifrica, who recently celebrated her 40th birthday in style at the Opa! Greek Restaurant and Sky Lounge, is ready to take up a challenge issued out by American actor Samuel L Jackson via social media recently.

"During the recent Ice Bucket Challenge, Samuel L Jackson gave out a challenge to artistes around the world to sing a song about black people not being killed and abused anymore," she explained.

"I saw it on YouTube and I am taking up the challenge," she continued.

The result will be a Negro spirtual-flavoured single entitled Swing Low.

"I am supposed to be recording it in the studio on Friday. It's about the struggle. 'We ain't gonna stop till people are free,' was what Samuel Jackson sang as the chorus. What I did was to write the verses around that chorus. We'll be sending a copy to him when it is completed," she said.

Queen Ifrica, whose given name is Ventrice Morgan, said she will be working on the project with respected producer Clive Hunt.

The singer said she was elated to reach her 40th. However, she was also in a reflective mood as this wasn't the case for many of the island's children.

"At 40, I'm begininng all over again. To live to 40 is like reaching a 100 years old because of what is happening in our reality. In 2015, before January ended, there were

15 deaths and most of them were our kids. So it's a very trying time we're living in. So I'm... I am humbled to live to see 40," she said.





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The sons of veteran reggae singer Freddie McGregor have joined forces for an upcoming album.

Chino and his brother Stephen Di Genius will release their first joint album this summer. The album, titled #G.M.T.A - Great Minds Think Alike, will featuring Di Genius partnering with his brother on some of the tracks.

Chino, who says the 16 tracks are fused with different genres of the music, is gearing up for his US tour in April to promote his EP, a project he will endorse until the release of the joint album.

Chino and Di Genius will then leave Jamaica for a European Tour which will feature several performances throughout the continent.

They are also set to perform in places like Japan and the Caribbean.





No more dubplates from Tarrus Riley ... for now

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Reggae crooner Tarrus Riley is now refusing to voice any more dubplates because of the prevalence of imposters in the industry.

Describing himself as an avid sound clash lover, Riley now believes that the sound system culture is losing its authenticity because of 'spliced dubs'.

"When I was growing up, it used to be called 'specials', but nowadays, it's no longer special because some people a splice up we voice. The worst thing as an artiste is to hear someone trying to impersonate you and it sound bad, it off-key, and the lyrics are wrong. Dat hurt me heart," he said.

According to Riley, it is not about the money but the preservation of craft and livelihood.

"Me grow up pon sound clash, so when me hear splice dub, I cannot be a part of that. I don't want people to be using my voice or my name to rob and scam people. So I'm not voicing any more dubs right now, so anybody who say dem have a recent Tarrus dub a tell lie," he stated.

To make matters worse, Riley believes that some of the culprits associated with splicing dubs are close associates of artistes.

"Di man dem all a splice dub from songs weh nuh release yet. So you realise say people weh eat and drink wid you a try bring you down."

Riley also has harsh words for selectors who knowingly play spliced dubs.

"Unuh a hypocrite. Unuh fi stop it! I am proud to be original and me love all original sounds and selectors. If we don't respect our music, others won't. So, any man weh say dem get a dub from me right about now, is a washover Tarrus voice it, not me. I'm not saying I'll never voice another dub ever again, but for now, I'm done with it," he stated.





Calabar, Edwin Allen take the lead at Champs

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After seven finals, the re-run of the boys 4×100 meters class 2 heat four, the disappointment of the Jevaughn Mattherson falling to the track as a result of an ailing hamstring, and the crashing out Saquine Cameron of Edwin Allen from the Class 1 Girls semi-final when the dust finally settled Defending Champions Calabar surged into the lead with 60 points.

Calabar leads the pack with 60 points, ahead of previous leaders Jamaica College on 40, Kingston College comes next with 33, points, with St Jago on 18 and Edwin Allen rounding out the top 5 with 16 points.

The record that fell on the day belonged to 13 year old Lamar Reid of Calabar who won the Class three Boys High Jump event with a leap of 1.99 metres to break the old mark set 22 years ago.

There was massive disappointment for Kingston College when the lost the strongest man in their class two armoury, Jevaughn Mattherson whose sore hamstring prevented him from completing the 200 meters class two semi-final as he crashed to the track, and remonstrated in frustration, but was quickly consoled by Coach Neil Harrison as he wept openly. The semi-final was won Tyreke Wilson of Calabar who stopped the clock in 21.11 seconds.

Meanwhile Rasheeda Downer of Kingston College won the gold in the boys Class two shot event, after heaving the implement some 16.47 meters, Calabar won the silver and the bronze.

Michael O'hara of Calabar is the fastest qualifier through to the 200 meters class 1 final, in 20.91, while Twayne Walker of Kingston College booked his place in the final with the second fastest time. Also through to the final is the St Jago Pair of Martin Manley, and Chad Walker,

Christopher Taylor posted the fastest time in the class two semi-final running a fast 20.97 seconds, while St Jago won the re-run of the class two boys heat which ended in dis-array on Wednesday night.

On the Girls side, after 6 events scored Defending Champions Edwin Allen leads with 48 points, ahead of Hydel on 41 points, Holmwood in third place on 21 points, followed by St Jago fourth and Rusea's fifth on 12 points, Vere is next on 12 points.

St Jago's Tissana Hickling won the Class two girls long jump event with a leap of 5.95 metres, to beat Trishauna Hemmings Glengoffe 5.88 metres while the bronze went to Nhayilla Renteria of St Jago 5.73 metres.

Junele Bromfield recovered from her disappointment in the 400 metres hurdles to qualify on Wednesday night when she won semi-final three of the Class two Girls 800 meters in 2 minutes 10.70 seconds, to get home ahead of Ashani Robb of Edwin Allen 2 minutes 16.83 seconds and Kamoy Fagan of Bellfield third 2.25.35 seconds.

While Saquine Cameron bounced back from a false start in the 100 metres qualifiers to capture semi-final one of the Class 1 Girls 200 metres in 23.51 seconds, just ahead of Nathallia Whyte of St Jago 23.61 seconds, while Shian Hyde of St Catherine High was third in 24.67 seconds. Meanwhile some 24 finals are down to be contested today including the 100 metres for all classes as well as the 1500 meters and the 400 metres Open Hurdles events for both genders.





shocked.jpgTAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A 13-year-old boy in Florida fatally shot his 6-year-old brother, wounded his 16-year-old brother and then killed himself on Wednesday during an argument over food, authorities said.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office received a call about the shooting at 6:19 p.m. local time in the city of Hudson, some 45 miles (72 km) north of Tampa, the office said in a statement.

The three brothers were squabbling over dinner, the statement said, when the 13-year-old grabbed a handgun and shot his two brothers before killing himself. The children were home alone at the time.

The older brother was taken to a hospital and his injuries were not considered life-threatening, the statement said. The names of the children were not released by authorities.

"This is a horrific scene," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco Chris said, according to the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. "This is a nightmare when you hear about the ages of these boys, a 6-year-old that was probably playing in his room, an argument over food and he lost his life."

The Times said that the children's mother was at work and a fourth son, who is 18-years-old, was not at the house.





DETROIT (AP) - A teenager told authorities that her mother killed two siblings and forced her to put one of the bodies in the freezer of their Detroit home where both were found by an eviction crew.

Details of death and extreme abuse emerged Thursday as Mitchelle Blair appeared in court, two days after the bodies of a 9-year-old son, Stephen Berry, and 13-year-old daughter, Stoni Blair, were discovered.

Blair, 35, is charged with child abuse, but she could face murder charges when the bodies thaw and autopsies are performed, prosecutors said. Bond was set at $1 million. An attorney hasn't been assigned.

The Michigan Department of Human Services is taking steps to end Blair's rights to two other children, a 17-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son. In a court filing, the state said the teen described a house of horror, where she and her surviving brother were beaten with an extension cord and piece of wood, hit with a hot curling iron and burned with a clothing iron.

"Blair tortured Stephen for approximately two weeks prior to his death by tying a belt around his neck, throwing hot water on him while in the shower and putting a plastic bag over his head," the state said, quoting the 17-year-old.

Stephen was "unresponsive" on Aug. 30, 2012, and Blair wrapped his body in bed linen and put him in the freezer, the state said.

Mitchelle Blair stands during her video arraignment at the 36th District Court, Thursday, March 26...

Nine months later, Blair became "enraged" when Stoni said she didn't like her surviving siblings and strangled the girl with a T-shirt and suffocated her with a plastic bag, the department said.

Blair then made the teen "put Stoni in the deep freezer following her death," the agency said.

The 8-year-old boy also was aware that his sister and brother were killed and subsequently placed in the freezer, the department said.

Medical exams revealed evidence of abuse, including numerous scars, on the children. The teenager said neither she nor her siblings have attended school for two years.

Earlier Thursday, Blair appeared in court on child abuse charges via a video feed from a police lockup. Magistrate Renee McDuffee entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf.

"The charges in this matter are so heinous," McDuffee said in explaining the $1 million bond.

The state said it investigated allegations of abuse in 2002 and 2005. Blair was referred to counseling.

The state said the two fathers of Blair's surviving children are unfit to care for them. Together they owe $50,000 in child support and haven't seen the kids in two to three years.





INKSTER, Mich. (AP) -- A pastor leading a protest Wednesday outside a Detroit-area police department threatened to shut down the city until white officers are fired for the bloody arrest of a black man who was pulled from his car and repeatedly punched in the head.

The march in Inkster came a day after TV station WDIV aired police dashcam video of the Jan. 28 arrest of Floyd Dent, 57. In it, an officer punches Dent many times in the head while another officer tries to handcuff the motorist, who is on the ground. Dent's face and shirt were bloodied.

Police say Dent disregarded stop signs and refused to pull over, then resisted arrest and threatened them. They also say they found a bag of crack cocaine in his car.

Dent, who spent three days in the hospital with broken ribs, blood on his brain and other injuries, told reporters at a news conference that he was defending himself as an officer was "nearly choking me to death."

"I wasn't resisting arrest," he said. "When someone is beating your face, you're going to protect yourself."

Hours earlier, Rev. Charles Williams II and about 50 protesters were told to leave the police department because they were blocking the door. Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost met them outside and said Michigan State Police would investigate the arrest. She told The Associated Press the department also was conducting an internal probe.

"I understand your concern," Yost told Williams. "Again, we're going to let the investigation play out. ... We're going to act accordingly. We're not hiding from this."

Both Dent and Williams say the officers should be fired. Yost told The Associated Press that one is on "administrative duty" but declined to elaborate.

"We will shut Inkster down until we get justice," said Williams, who added that the video "made me sick."

In the police report released by defense attorney Greg Rohl, Inkster officer William Melendez wrote that he was patrolling for "narcotics activity" when he saw Dent's Cadillac pull into a hotel parking lot. He wrote that Dent went into a hotel room for a few minutes, came out and pulled away.

Melendez said in the report that he turned on his lights after Dent failed to use a proper turn signal and disregarded a stop sign. He said Dent failed to stop for some distance. When Dent pulled over, Melendez said he approached the car with his weapon out and raised it when he thought Dent, who was unarmed, was reaching for a weapon.

An auxiliary officer pulled Dent to the ground and Melendez put the motorist in a hold and punched him in the face after Melendez said Dent bit him on the arm; Dent denies biting Melendez. Another officer used a stun gun three times to subdue Dent, the report said.

A judge has dismissed charges of fleeing and resisting police, but Dent still faces a drug charge. He says he was visiting a friend, and that the officers planted the drugs in his car. He also said he was tested at the hospital and was "clean" of alcohol or drugs.

In 2004, Melendez and seven other Detroit officers were acquitted of lying, falsifying reports and planting evidence. Federal prosecutors had accused him and another officer of being the "masterminds" of a conspiracy to "run roughshod over the civil rights of the victims."

Inkster, population 25,000, is 73 percent black.





Trini Carnival ranks 3rd in world

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trinidad-carnival.jpgFat Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras. No matter what you call it, the last day before Lent's 40 days of repentance (between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday) brings out a wild side in populations around the world.

As the party season of carnival nears its end, events heat up and online travel adviser Cheapflights offers its top ten list of places to enjoy a last fling with hedonism before it's over for 2012.

Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Mardi Gras - New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Thousands of tourists flood The Big Easy annually for Mardi Gras in New Orleans, deemed "the biggest free party on earth".

The entire city loosens its (already loose) reins, and douses itself with endless strings of beads, colourful floats and costumes to celebrate the naughtiest time of year. Floats of all sizes roll through the streets in spectacular parades for two weeks prior to Mardi Gras. Endymion (Saturday), Bacchus (Sunday), Orpheus (Monday), Zulu (Tuesday morning) and Rex (Tuesday night) are the most famous of the parades, drawing rowdy attendees to partake in song and dance free of inhibition.

2. Carnival of Binche - Binche, Belgium

It's an honour for a man from Binche to be picked to join the Gilles on Shrove Tuesday.

Gilles are clown-like performers, dressed in fanciful costumes, wax masks and plumed hats, who dance throughout the city starting in the wee hours and lasting through the night.

The 1,000-plus men are the centrepiece of Binche's carnival, named a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

3. Trinidad and Tobago Carnival - Trinidad and Tobago

Its vibrant history and French roots set the tone for Trinidad and Tobago's most significant celebration each year: Carnival. The Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday draw the Caribbean destination's population to the streets to show off elaborate costumes that groups take months to create. Bands compete against one another for the title of Band of the Year and claypsonians vie for the prestigious Calypso Monarch title.

4. Carnival of Brazil - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There's really no comparison when it comes to Carnival celebrations when Rio is thrown in the mix. Brazilians take their weeks before Lent very seriously, putting on large-scale parades and festivities that in 2011 drew nearly five million people. The most famous holiday in Brazil features samba schools, or large groups of dancers and performers, who build spectacular floats and compete in one of seven divisions based on music, costumes and theme. Individual neighbourhoods more and more are seeing smaller-scale parades, blocos, which feature drum parades, samba and other high-octane sights and sounds.

5. Mardi Gras - Sydney, Australia

Sydney takes the opportunity during pre-Lent celebrations to support its LGBT community through more than 60 must-attend events at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The most popular spectacle, of course, is the evening parade down Oxford and Flinders streets. Other musts on the lineup include drag races on Bondi Beach, Fair Day at Victoria Park, a sunset cruise, and a harbour-side dance party on Sydney Harbour.

6. Notting Hill Carnival - London, United Kingdom

It's not until August, but London is the place to be in 2012. Though the Olympics will be most folks' focus, the Notting Hill Carnival will come a close second for more than a million visitors. Trinidadian and Tobagonian Brits lead the charge, directing musicians and participants clad in colourful costumes through Notting Hill's narrow streets.

Claustrophobic travellers should consider staying at home - Caribbean-flavoured festival lassos large crowds over the course of two - typically hot - summer days.

7. Quebec Winter Carnival - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Quebec City comes to life every February for the Quebec Winter Festival. Outdoor sports like snowboarding and dog sledding, snow sculpture contests and masquerade balls are all on the schedule each year as Canadians celebrate a winterised version of Carnival. Visitors bundle up during the coldest time of year for a reason: zip lines, concerts and ice skating make for tons of fun for kids and adults alike. Like with most pre-Lent celebrations, the parades - both during the day and at night - are the highlight of Quebec's ode to Carnival.

8. Carnival of Venice - Venice, Italy

Beginning 40 days before Easter, thousands of Venetians and visitors to the City of Water alike disguise themselves in ornamental masks, a site to be seen for anyone planning a trip to Italy. What used to blur the lines among social classes has evolved into a festival that could rival any other Carnival in the world. Fashion designers from around the globe sit on a panel to vote for "la maschera piu bella" or "the best mask" as events like the silent water parade and the Flight of the Angel take place across the city.

9. Mardi Gras - Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, USA

Though Orlando may not be the first town that comes to mind when you think of Mardi Gras,

Universal Studios puts on a celebration of beads and live music that the whole family can enjoy. For nearly two months on Saturdays and certain nights, the park entertains with headliners like Kelly Clarkson, and dishes up Cajun treats like jambalaya and shrimp gumbo - a wonderful homage to New Orleans' French Quarter.

10. Carnival - Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguayans have the longest Carnival celebration in the world, letting loose for more than 40 days every year, most vibrantly in the country's capital, Montevideo. Theatres throughout the city are assembled and locals take to the stage to present the social and political climate of the country through operas known as tablados. Taking the real spotlight, though, are two colourful parades where musicians show their skills - and African roots - through the drum-based rhythm known as candombe.

- Reuters





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"I am so happy to reach T&T for this pilgrimage."

Those were the last words of Tobago Baptist leader King Shepherd Carlton Callender yesterday as he collapsed seconds after walking out of the VIP lounge of the Piarco International Airport after arriving for a function. Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Rodger Samuel told the T&T Guardian that he had only minutes before embraced Carlton upon his arrival from New York, along with a 120-member contingent, including Consul General Nan Ramgoolam.

The group arrived for the start of a pilgrimage on the occasion of Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day. Callender was scheduled to give greetings last evening at the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's dinner function celebrating Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's. Samuel said Callender took three months to plan the pilgrimage.

"It was his dream to get people of the faith from New York to come here to T&T to experience our celebrations here and King Shepherd was looking forward and very excited. It is shocking to me knowing that I just hugged him and we spoke and laughed together," Samuel said.

After collapsing, Callender was taken to the Arima Health Facility where he was pronounced dead. Up to late last night ministry officials and some members of the American contingent were at the facility. Samuel, on behalf of his ministry, extended condolences to Callender's family and fellow members of the faith. Archbishop Barbara Gray Burke, in her greetings at the function, reminisced on the time she met with Callender in Brooklyn. She said she believed he had fulfilled his assignment here on earth and was prepared for the journey in the afterlife.





A video of a man and a large woman having sex in broad daylight has crept up on various platforms.

As of Tuesday, the video has racked up close to half-a-million views on Facebook and is being shared through messaging application, WhatsApp.

The video, which was recorded somewhere along Ripon Road, shows the large woman, believed to be a prostitute, bent over a motor vehicle as a slim man has his way with her. The road, as well as surrounding areas is viewed as a hotspot for such activities. The man, who was wearing a condom as he did his business in the video, was being boosted by his friends recording his escapade.

However, the man is being derided by the prostitute and a few others for having 'finished' too quickly. At the end of the video, the woman disposes of the condom, pushes the man away, then walks off.

Visits to the area on Wednesday afternoon showed broken magnum glass bottles and a few used condoms which tell the tale of the activities which transpire on that road, which is a location for several businesses, as well as a popular strip club.

A manager for one of the businesses close to where the video was recorded expressed anger at the situation.

"It is upsetting and frustrating. You would think it's Coronation Market. We have been complaining in silence to the police," he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent in charge of the New Kingston Police Post, Christopher Murdock, said the police use high visibility patrol to deter such activities.





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Reports that Buju Banton has been freed and deported to Jamaica have sent the internet into a world-wind.

However, it has been revealed that Buju is still behind bars at the McRae Correctional Institution in the state of Georgia and is listed for release on January 3, 2019.

Buju Banton was arrested at his Florida home by US Marshalls in connection with drug trafficking in 2009. He was found guilty after two trials in a Tampa Court.

The Gargamel who is of the belief that he was entrapped by a US government informant; maintains his innocence.





shocked.jpg A 15 year old student is now in police custody in connection with the shooting of a 14 year old female student on Wednesday.

The police report that the injured teenager was on her way home when the incident occurred.

The other student - a male, is expected to be charged.

Head of the St. Catherine South Police Division Senior Superintendent Noel Christie says other charges are expected to be laid against individuals who filed a false report to the police regarding the incident.

The injured student has been listed in serious but stable condition.





barack-obama-photo-2.jpg National Security Minister, Peter Bunting, says the county's security forces are prepared for the upcoming visit to Jamaica of US President, Barack Obama.

President Obama is to arrive in Kingston on April 9 for what Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has said will be a State Visit.

Obama is scheduled to meet with Caricom Heads of Government while in Kingston.

When US President Ronald Reagan came to Jamaica on an Official Visit in April 1982, there were extensive security arrangements, including US law enforcement agents doing checks on some residential homes.

In a radio interview on Thursday, National Security Minister Peter Bunting said the public would soon be updated on precautions that will be put in place when President Obama arrives in Kingston.

The Security Minister said he recognized that President Obama's arrival will mean all eyes on Jamaica.





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gay-protest-new-york.jpg "Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman come here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere, and I will speak the truth everywhere," Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honourable Portia Simpson Miller told gay rights protestors in New York who crashed her keynote address at the launch of the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.

As Simpson Miller defended Jamaica's record of protecting the rights of gays, the protestors demanded she do more for them. However, the prime minister did not take kindly to the disruption and chided the protestors for not telling the truth.

"Nobody never hears the Government of Jamaica beating up gays; not one. Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman come here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere, and I will speak the truth everywhere," the prime minister said to loud cheers and applause from the audience.

Simpson Miller noted her position and that her People's National Party Government is different from that of the previous administration of Bruce Golding, who famously said he would not allow gays to serve in his Cabinet.

Simpson Miller stressed that she would not be bullied by those who tell lies about Jamaica's treatment of gays. And she further lamented that Jamaica would not bow to attempts to hurt the country's image with misinformation. The prime minister said Jamaica respects the human rights of all its citizens, including gays. She added that those who disagreed are not being truthful.

"Jamaica will continue to rise and shine globally. Jamaica will rise and shine all over the world and no one man can stop that," Simpson Miller declared.

In the past, gay-rights advocates have picketed events attended by the prime minister in New York.





fantasia.jpgtessanne-chin-photo-5.jpgOn Saturday, April 11, 2015, tri-state area music lovers will get the opportunity to see two powerhouse singers perform live - Tessanne Chin, season 5 winner of The Voice and American Idol winner Fantasia. Both ladies will share stage at an event billed 'Voices In Concert' to be held at the newly renovated Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

"We are thrilled to have these two crowd favorites - Tessanne and Fantasia - perform live on one stage in Brooklyn, New York for the very first time" said event organizer George Crooks of Jammins Entertainment.

Announcement of the event has sparked interest among loyal Jamaican music lovers in the Diaspora who voted in droves to ensure victory for Tessanne in 2013. While no one can definitively say how many votes the 'Hideaway' singer got each week from US supporters and other ethnic groups, one thing is sure is that Jamaicans in the tri-state area came up big for her.

Chin has since broken new ground - performing at the White House for President Obama. Her album 'Count on My Love,' her first since winning the Voice includes popular songs like 'Tumbling Down,' 'Everything Reminds Me of You,' 'Always Tomorrow' and 'People Change.'

Fantasia also has many loyal fans in the tri-state area. Her story, which was documented in a Lifetime Movie original is just as surreal as she beat the odds to walk away with the title in 2004 - the third season of American Idol. Since then she has recorded many hit songs and topped the Billboard chart with 'I Believe.' She has copped Grammy awards for 'When I See You' and her album 'Fantasia.'

Part proceeds from the concert to assist the American Foundation for The University of The West Indies.





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Over $100 - millions dollars in equipment and infrastructure has burnt during the recent fire at the studio of legendary music producer Bunny 'Striker' Lee.

Lee's Gorgon Entertainment Studio was destroyed by fire on March 9. The building and equipment were reportedly uninsured. The building, located in Duhaney Park in St Andrew, also houses a museum that contains Lee's music archive. That section was spared.

The producer's engineer, Newton Williams, who escaped with minor burns was at the studio when the fire broke out. According to Williams "everything happened in a split second".

"I was setting up for a vocal session and as I plugged in the 24-track tape, I heard a popping sound. When I looked behind me, I saw the room engulfed in flames. I took my shirt off and attempted to out the blaze but it was already out of control," Williams said.

Among the equipment lost in the blaze were two computers, reel-to-reel recorders, Pro Tool Machines and sets of 2-16 tracks tapes.

It was in 1972 that Striker Lee s bought the building from the late producer Joe Gibbs for about $30,000. He then went to England and shopped for the best equipment available. Leee noted that almost every veteran artiste has recorded at Gorgon's Entertainment Studio.

"Bob Marley recorded in that studio. Is in there Peter Tosh record Mawga Dawg," he said.

Lee said Nicky Thomas's Love Of The Common People and Have A Little Faith were also done there. Other entertainers that have used the equipment include Dennis Brown, Jacob Miller, Joseph 'Culture' Hill, Roy Shirley, John Holt, Slim Smith, Beenie Man and Elephant Man.

Lee began his musical career in 1962 when he was first introduced to producer and sound system operator Duke Reid. He would go on to create music of his own, working with some of the pioneers in the development of the Jamaican music industry. In 2008, he was awarded the Order of Distinction (Officer class) for his contribution to the development of Jamaican music.

Lee and his team are currently cleaning up and expect to refurbish the studio and restart operations later this year.





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wyclef-jean.jpg Reggae artiste Chronixx will be releasing new projects featuring American rappers Joey Bada$$, Hit Boy and Wyclef Jean. According to the conscious recording artiste, he has no issues collaborating with hip hop artistes, as long as their music is sending the right message.

He also says he was inspired by hip hop music during his formative years.

"I have always had a deep appreciation for hip hop. When I was producing my first EP with Teflon, I was listening to two hip hop albums at the time. Me love hip hop because it is reggae's little son, because it came after dancehall. Reggae is still giving birth to new genres like EDM and dub step. All of those genres breed from King Tubbys, Lee Scratch Perry and King Jammys; all of those music is reggae," he said.

Chronixx, who was speaking at the University of the West Indies, Mona's Reggae Talks, a series hosted by the Department of Literatures in English, says reggae and hip hop content usually mirror each other.

"I find that anything that happens in reggae, a similar thing is going on in hip hop and vice versa, because they are the same. It's music created by people in the diaspora, one black brother and sister. I love everybody just the same," he said.

Chronixx's EP, Dread and Terrible, is currently spending its 42nd week in the reggae Billboard top ten.





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Hard hitting dancehall artiste, Clifford Smith, aka Mr. Vegas, will beloined by up hip- hop star Pitbull for a remix of his song My Jam, a single from Vegas' Euphoria album which was released last year.

"We wanted it to be a happy song and we needed an artiste to take us to another level, so we sent a copy of the track to Pitbull's team and they instantly jumped on the remix. He recorded his part and sent back to us in Jamaica and we did the rest," explained Vegas, who has worked with the Miami-born Pitbull before.

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Culo, Pitbull's 2004 collaboration with rapper Lil Jon, samples Vegas' Pull Up. Pitbull, whose parents are Cuban, has a massive following in the Latin market, one of the most lucrative in contemporary music.

"This is great, as he has propelled me to a level that I only dream about. Pitbull has a huge fan base," said Vegas.

The video for the single was shot two weeks ago in Atlanta.

Mr Vegas, whose given name is Clifford Smith, is no stranger to international collaborations. Standing in The Sun, his remix with Beyonce, will be featured on her upcoming album Platinum Edition. He has also worked with Wyclef Jean and DMX and is featured on Snoop Lion's 2013 Grammy-nominated album, Reincarnated.





soca-royal-couple-bunji-fayann.jpg Husband and wife soca couple from Trinidad, Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons, will be the featured act for Bacchanal Fridays scheduled for the Mas Camp in St Andrew, on Friday. They will be backed by the Asylum Band.

The event -- which will be sponsored by telecoms provider Digicel -- is the final in the series and began six weeks ago.

"This Friday is flag night, so revellers should wear their colours and bring their flags. We will be offering prizes for the crew with the most hype crews. We pull out all the stops for the final Bacchanal Friday so patrons can expect the excitement to be high," said Charmaine Franklin, a Bacchanal director.

DJs Richie Ras and Bambino are expected to provide the musical selections.

Garlin and Lyons, soca's royal couple, are no strangers to Jamaica's Bacchanal stage. Both performers have a loyal following of fans with their vast catalogue of hits including Differentology, Truck on D Road, Get On, Catch Me, and This is Carnival.





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Mavado has collaborated with Vybz Kartel for the remix of his single 'I A'int Going Back Broke' which also features US rappers Future and Acehood.

The collaboration is the first featuring the two since their stand-off which commenced in 2006, following Kartel's exit from the Bounty Killer-led Alliance group.

Mavado and Vybz Kartel had previously collaborated for singles like Sun Rise and Happiest Days. However, their highly publicised Gaza and Gully feud, later saw the two trading lyrical insults with the release of singles like War Is In The Air, Rifle Shot, Mr Palmer, Mofraudo, among others.

The feud also saw Vybz Kartel questioning Mavado's writing skills. "How yu fi give mi hype wen yu beg mi fi par? A mi write five song give yu, tun yu inna star," Vybz Kartel claimed in the single Mofraudo.

While Mavado attempted to defend himself by drawing attention to Vybz Kartel's skin bleaching practice.

Vybz Kartel, now incarcerated, and Mavado, overseas for an extended period, the two have decided it's the best time to reunite. According to The We The Best signed artiste in a recent interview, he is set to make history with the collaboration.

"We are working on the mixtape, whenever time we say we are finished, we get more things. I just got a verse on I A'int Going Back Broke, yuh dun know with Gully Gad and Di Techa himself. Suh yu dun know it's a next history because this is like mi 10th year and the thing start off with the whole rivalry.

We can now show the youths that unity is strength and a just the paper," Mavado said.

I Ain't Going Back Broke featuring Vybz Kartel, was premiered yesterday on American website World Star Hip Hop.

Mavado also commented on Vybz Kartel's predicament in another interview. "I spoke to him and big him up, mek him know seh him fi gwaan hold the faith. Him a seh 'Yow, yuh dun know enuh Gully Gad. Yow, mi wah come a road. Mi waah mi and yuh run di thing, yuh nuh," Mavado said.





anthony-b-photo-3.jpg "I have always maintained my innocence, and I feel vindicated that the court system in Georgia have seen it fit to discontinue this trumped up case against me. I was not guilty, I did not have any weed in my possession, and justice has been served," reggae Anthony B declared on hearing that a 2013 possession of marijuana with intent to distribute charge in the United States had been dropped.

In 2013, Anthony B spent five days in a Georgia jail after he and nine members of his band and road crew were arrested in that state for ganja-related charges.

Ten persons were pulled over by state police on January 27, 2013 for a window tint violation along Interstate 75 in Houston County. Five ounces of ganja and US$7,900 were found in the vehicle. All were subsequently charged for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute the weed. Anthony B was released after posting bond of $1,000 for each charge. Nine others arrested and charged with similar offences.

The singjay, who is in the middle of a resurgence with his career with his latest single, How Do You Sleep?', and 'Low Mi Wid Mi Weed' on the Chase Mills Records label kicks off his European tour on March 28, three days shy of his 39th birthday.

He will travel to countries such as the Netherlands, France, Germany and Portugal.

Anthony B first made a name with fiery songs like Fire Pon Rome and Raid The Barn in the late 1990s. He followed up those early hits with a huge dancehall single, the chart-burning number one song, Tease Her, in the 2009. He continued to tour and release albums, and in July 2013, he released the critically acclaimed 'Tribute to Legends', an album of cover versions of songs by artists such as Bob Marley, The Maytals, John Lennon, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, and Ini Kamoze.





The people of the Corporate Area and parts of St. Catherine and Clarendon have been exposed for the past several days to the cancer causing chemical, benzene.

Ministry of Health is urging those persons exposed to significant levels of smoke from the fire at the Riverton City Dump to seek medical attention. The advice from the Health Ministry follows test results which show that record levels of benzene and other dangerous pollutants, were released from the fire into the atmosphere over the Jamaican capital and its environs.

For days many persons have been wondering just how dangerous are the substances released into the atmosphere over capital city Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine and parts of Clarendon by the fire at the dump.

The statement confirmed our worst fears. Almost half of the Jamaican population has been exposed to the dangerous cancer causing substance benzene over the past 10 days and counting.The Health Ministry noted that prolonged or long term exposure to benzene has been blamed for causing cancers, including leukemia.

According to Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kevin Harvey, those who were severely affected by smoke from the dump should seek medical attention. He emphasised that Benzene is a dangerous substance.

According to Dr. Harvey the US Centre for Disease Control says a person deemed to have long term exposure to benzene is someone who has been affected for over 1-year.

The latest of a number of fires which have taken place at the dump for more than 25 years, has been ongoing for nearly two weeks.

Dr. Harvey says the finding regarding the air quality is considered a major public health issue.





Great start to Boys and Girls Championships

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Six finals will be contested on today's second day of the ISSA Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships inside the National Stadium.

The class two boys long jump and the class one boys long jump will be the events to secure the first points in the boys competition.

The class one Girls Discus and the Shot Put for class 2 girls will also be decided today for the girls to open their account on the score sheet. The first track final will be penultimate event today the girls 2 thousand metres steeplechase open followed by the boys event.

The action gets underway at 8.30 with the preliminaries of the class four girls long jump, the class one Girls Shot Put and the class one Boys Discus.

Meanwhile yesterday's opening day saw the fastest ever 15 year old over 400 metres Christopher Taylor posting the fastest time in the first round of the event in class two as he won his heat in 47.25 seconds after starting out aiming for the record of 46.64 seconds.

He is followed into the next round by Anthony Carpenter also of Calabar 48.34 and Tyreke Bryan of Kingston College 49.63 seconds. Twayne Crooks of Kingston College was the fastest qualifier in the class 1 boys 400 after winning his heat in 47.23 seconds. Crook's teammate, Akeem Bloomfield took his heat in 48.16 seconds while the St Jago high pair of Martin Manley and Nathan Allen won their heats in 48.16 and 48.22 seconds respectively to move into the semi-finals on Friday.

Earlier Janeek Brown of Wolmer's produced the fastest time in the class two girls 100 metre hurdles heats. Brown, who was drawn in the tough heat one posted 13.82 seconds to finish ahead of Edwin Allen's Patrice Moody 13.89 seconds.

Trishauna Hemming's of Glengoffe also clocked 13.82 seconds in heat 4. Safita Thompson of St Jago is also in the next round after crossing the line in 13.92.

Meanwhile, in the class 3 girls 80m hurdles, Holmwood's Shanette Allison 11.41 and Joda Campbell of Hydel 11.54 seconds are the best going into the semis.





plane-crash-french-alps.jpg A black box recovered from the scene and pulverized pieces of debris strewn across Alpine mountainsides held clues to what caused a German jetliner to take an unexplained eight-minute dive Tuesday midway through a flight from Spain to Germany, apparently killing all 150 people on board.

The victims included two babies, two opera singers and 16 German high school students and their teachers returning from an exchange trip to Spain. It was the deadliest crash in France in decades.

The Airbus A320 operated by Germanwings, a budget subsidiary of Lufthansa, was less than an hour from landing in Duesseldorf on a flight from Barcelona when it unexpectedly went into a rapid descent. The pilots sent out no distress call and had lost radio contact with their control center, France's aviation authority said, deepening the mystery.

While investigators searched through debris from Flight 9525 on steep and desolate slopes, families across Europe reeled with shock and grief. Sobbing relatives at both airports were led away by airport workers and crisis counselors.





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Reports out of the Turks and Caicos Islands says US authorities have issued an extradition request for former Olint boss, David Smith.

According to the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the request arrived on Monday.

An extradition hearing has been set for April 8.

David Smith was the mastermind of the Olint Ponzi scheme, which fleeced thousands of depositors of over 2-hundred-million US dollars.

He was sentenced in 2011 to 30 years in a US federal jail, after pleading guilty to 18-counts of money laundering, 4-counts of wire fraud and 1-count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

After the sentence, he returned to the Turks and Caicos Islands to finish a previously imposed jail term.

He was expected to spend six years in a Turks and Caicos prison but was released early this year, reportedly on good behavior.





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A man says he is hurt after a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Antigua refused to baptise him because of his dreadlocks.

The man, 43-year-old Austin Kirby said he's offended and feels more "hurt" and "disappointed" than he has ever been all his life, Antigua's Daily Observer reported.

Kirby, a father of four, was inspired to answer the call for all those who wished to "surrender (their) lives to God", during a crusade in the town of Jennings in the Eastern Caribbean island.

His decision was much to the delight of his Christian wife. He excitedly informed his two oldest children that he was changing his life and would baptised on the weekend.

Kirby, a farmer and a mason, eagerly prepared for his baptism and was so excited that he could not sleep the night before.

However, on the day the rite was to take place Kirby was informed that he could not be baptised because he had dreadlocks.

"He said I am from a cult and another religion and my hair is a problem," Kirby told the paper.

Kirby argued that he believes in the same God and could be a good example to others out there who may be involved with the "cult" to which the pastor referred, but the pastor stood by the decision not to baptise him.

"The Bible says 'Come as you are.' It didn't say to go buy a suit, dress up, cut your hair or put on weave. It says come as you are. 'Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires the water of life without price.' I got a calling that I should be baptised, and I went," Kirby said.





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Puma, the global sports brand, will include Barbadian singer Rihanna in its Forever Faster campaign which embodies the spirit of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. It signals Puma's further alliance with celebrity icons birthed in the region.

"In 2015, world-class athletes like Usain Bolt and Sergio Agüero will be joined by a new face: style icon Rihanna," stated Puma in its recently released annual reports 2014.

Rihanna, at 27, will assume the role of global brand ambassador and creative director for Puma Women's Fitness and Training.

"Rihanna's unique feeling for style and innovation will be vital in product development here," stated Puma, which made 84 million euros in consolidated net earnings for its 2014 annual year-on-year revenues of 2.97 billion euros. This represented a tripling of net earnings year-on-year.

The "Forever Faster" campaign -- the largest brand campaign in Puma's history -- was launched in August and met with a "very positive response" from consumers and retailers, the company stated. The campaign aims to show that 'Puma is back in sports'.

"No other female superstar embodies our brand as well as she does. Rihanna is the global brand ambassador for the Puma category Women's Training and at the same time is assuming the role of creative director for this area. In this role, Rihanna will incorporate her special flair for style and innovation in our products," stated Puma in its report on Rihanna, who was born in Barbados but currently lives in the US.

The annual report added: "Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, thus embodies the mission statement 'Forever Faster'".





Dexta Daps to light up Beer Wendzdays

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Dexta Daps got his biggest break when he released the single 7 Eleven. He has been trying to make a name for himself since 2006, and it took that one hit song for him to start creating a lot of stir with his hot, thought-provoking single.

People started towards gravitate to his melodic sound and sensual lyrics, which has caused his earlier releases to start circulating and getting more air play. Dexta Daps will be the featured artiste on Red Stripe Beer Wendzdays, set for April 1, at the Kaluga Kafe.

The Calabar past student was heavily influenced by veteran artistes Shabba Ranks, Bounty Killer, and Elephant Man, who also hail from his community in Seaview Gardens. He has released songs such as Pretty Nicky, Scared to Love, This a The Best, Morning Love, and Head Inna Di Bag.

Since 7 Eleven, he has released a collaboration with dancehall sensation Tifa on the song Jealous Ova, which has been in heavy rotation. They have just released the music video for that single, and it has been getting a lot of amazing feedback.

You can catch both in performance at Beer Wendzdays Live.





anju-blaxx-photo-1.jpg Popular Jamaican music producer, Anju Blaxx, of UIM Records, imadehis initial court appearance in a US federal court in North Dakota yesterday, to answer to lotto scam related charges.

The 31 year old, whose given name is Andrew Sayeed Myrie, is charged alongside two others with conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

Court documents say an 83-year-old woman from North Dakota was told in 2011 that she had won a 19-million US dollar cash prize from American Cash Awards. The woman wrote seven cheques totaling 1-hundred-and-60-thousand US dollars to pay to get the money. She then took out a loan against her life insurance policy and gave out her credit card and pin number to the unknown callers.

One of those callers claimed he was with the FBI and told her the contest was legitimate.

The money was sent to middlemen in Florida and eventually most of it was wired or deposited to banks in Jamaica.

The case is scheduled for trial in North Dakota in late April.





Cham releases first single from Lawless

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cham-new-single.jpg As the anticipation mounts for the release of Cham's third studio album Lawless, the deejay teases audiences with the release of the album's first single 'I'm Too Hot'.

Set for release on Tuesday, March 24th, Cham is eagerly awaiting the response from his fans. "I'm very excited about this new album that's coming" Cham said. "It's my third album and musically I've grown a lot."

Inspired by everyday living, the song is for the girls with a fresh and sexy beat they will have fun with. "The lyrics are catchy so everyone can vibe to it," Cham added.

Lawless will see the magic of Madhouse Records producer Dave Kelly and Cham on record once again. Kelly has been working with the hit maker since his emergence on the dancehall scene in the mid-90s. Kelly and Cham enjoy a relationship that ensures the hits keep coming. "Dave has been with me from day one, that's my team, he is super multi-talented," he pointed out.

The album was recorded at their Miami based studio with just one of the songs being recorded here in Jamaica. Fans will also be entertained by some of the tops names in dancehall and reggae with appearances from Mykal Rose, Bounty Killer, Damian Marley and Miss O.

I'm Too Hot, became available on iTunes and Vevo on March 24 worldwide and the album is set for release in another month.





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As Jamaican dub and roots reggae makes a heavy resurgence, Bunny "Striker" Lee pioneering producer of reggae, ska, dub an dancehall, is promoting his book and documentary - "Reggae Going International 1967-76, The Bunny 'Striker' Lee Story," and "I am The Gorgon, Bunny 'Striker' Lee and The Roots of Reggae".

They explain the journey of Reggae exploring the roots of reggae and telling the stories of many unsung heroes.

"Leslie Kong produced the most international hits but no one talks about him now...He's one of the founding fathers of the business. He recorded Bob Marley first, you know," explains Striker in Reggae Going International.

I Am The Gorgon, a documentary by Diggory Kenrick is narrated by Dennis Alcapone and features interviews with King Jammy's, Cornell Campbell, John Holt, Derrick Morgan, Horace Andy, Dillinger, Prince Jazzbo, Family Man, U-Roy, Sly Dunbar, Lee Scratch Perry, Ken Boothe, Max Romeo, Tappa Zukie, Scientist, Niney The Observer, Linval Thompson, Roy Shirley, The Twinke Brothers, Jah Stitch, Earl Chinna Smith, and many other music legends.

"Reggae Going International 1967-76, The Bunny 'Striker' Lee Story," by Noel Hawks and Jah Floyd tells the history of Jamaican music and highlights the pivotal role 'Striker' Lee played in the emergence of dub, ska, reggae, and dancehall. It focuses on Lee's creativity of new sounds and ideas like the development of flyers, which is an emphasis on the drummers use of cymbals.

The authors highlight The Gorgon's journey through reggae from a promoter with Duke Reid, Coxone Dodd, and Leslie Kong to becoming the producer with the biggest catalogue in Reggae Music.

The Gorgon played an essential part in starting King Tubby's career and also contributed to Tubby's pioneering of the dub sound. Lee was also one of the first producers to pay musicians and artistes for their recordings. In 1968, he took his passion to England and help start Palma Brothers and Trojan records which he licensed his productions too. His success over the years led to being awarded Order of Distinction in the rank of officer for more than 40 years of dedicated service in the music industry in 2008.

These two references for the Reggae industry through film and book serve as resource that is in high demand at universities, colleges, community libraries, and reggae festivals in Europe, Asia, the United States, and South America. A book/DVD tour was completed in December with plans to penetrate Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.





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A 13-year-old student of Munro College in St. Elizabeth has been hospitalised following a stabbing incident early Monday.

According to reports, the student and a 17-year-old school mate were involved in a dispute. The argument reportedly got heated and, during the altercation, the 17-year-old stabbed the 13-year-old.

A police source disclosed that the 17-year-old has not yet been questioned in connection with the stabbing.

Efforts to reach Munro's Principal were unsuccessful.





Teacher robbed during class at Angels Primary

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Students and employees of the Angels Primary School in St. Catherine have been left shaken following an incident yesterday in which a female teacher was held up and robbed while conducting a class. They are receiving counselling.

Vice Principal of Angels Primary, Gloria Crooks, said the police were informed of the incident. She explained that he held up the guidance councellor while she was conducting a class of about 30 students. He robbed her of two rings.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has condemned the incident. He said it's unfortunate that criminals continue to target schools.





petrotrin-logo.jpg Trinidad and Tobago prices the finished petroleum products it sells to Caricom countries nearly 10 per cent higher than the sale price outside the region, claims William Mahfood.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) president said that the twin-island republic charges "a premium to Jamaica at almost 10 per cent in order for us to pay just below what it would cost the extra-regional price including duty".

Mahfood was referring to the common external tariff (CET) applied to goods imported from countries which are not members of Caricom to member countries. The CET is 10 per cent, while Petrotrin (the state-run oil refinery in Trinidad) prices its finished products at 9.9 per cent above Platts or Gulf Coast reference prices, according to Mahfood.

"Only recently I found out that within Caricom, we can only import petroleum finished products from Petrotrin," Mahfood said at the PSOJ breakfast forum held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday.

"We need to insist that they immediately price their products to Jamaica at the same price they would sell to Aruba or Curacao and other non-Caricom members."

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell said that Government would likely be supportive of lobby efforts aimed at further reducing energy costs.





Transport Minister Omar Davies on sick leave

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omar-davies.jpg Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies has been forced to take leave from the job due to ill health.

Davies went on leave on Monday. One of his physicians, Dr Morais Guy, the minister without portfolio in the ministry, said Davies' condition led to him blocking out. He, however, refused to give details on his health.

But well-placed government sources say Davies has had to undergo surgery to effect repairs to the pacemaker in his heart. The senior government minister has in recent times had a hip operation. He has been Member of Parliament for South St Andrew since 1994.

Sources say Davies is unlikely to seek reelection in 2016 when the next general elections are due.





GSAT to start half hour later than usual

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The GSAT examinations set for Thursday and Friday of this week, are to start half hour later than usual, on each day.

The Ministry of Education says, the Grade Six Achievement Test, scheduled for March 26 and 27, is to commence at 9:30 a.m. on each day, at all examination centres. The decision to shift the usual start time of the examination from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m, is to facilitate schools that are directly affected by the smoke from the Riverton City disposal site.

The ministry says, it has been reliably informed, that the smoke nuisance appears early in the morning, and abates by 9 a.m. It says, all presiding examiners, are to begin at the approved time, in order to protect the integrity of the examination.

The GSAT examinations were rescheduled from last week to this week, due to the impact of smoke from the disposal site, on several schools in the Corporate Area, and St. Catherine.





prime-minister-portia-simpson-miller-photo-1.jpg The government is to amend the law to provide stiffer penalties in cases where a woman is murdered and the perpetrator is aware that she was pregnant.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller told the House of Representatives on Tuesday that the amendment is being proposed in light of the recent killings of two pregnant teens.

"This is to be treated as an aggravating feature in determining the sentencing posed by the court so that the murderer receives significantly harsher punishment in the form of a longer sentence."

The announcement was made just weeks after the murder of Kayalicia Simpson, 14,who was hacked to death in St Thomas. An autopsy revealed that the child was five months pregnant.One man is now in custody in connection with Kayalicia's murder.

Meanwhile, crime statistics show that 17 children have been murdered in Jamaica since January. Ten boys and seven girls were killed up to last week This compared to ten during the corresponding period last year when nine boys and one girl were killed.





Fire At Riveron dump finally extinguished

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After raging for nearly two weeks the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is reporting that the fire at the Riverton City disposal site is almost extinguished.

A statement from the agency on Tuesday afternoon said the Jamaica Fire Brigade is continuing mopping-up activities. Searches are being carried out to identify hot spots, and apply water as well as soil. However, ODPEM Director-General Major Clive Davis says the public should remain on alert.

"There are no open flames on the site at this time, however there is still the possibility of the rekindling of small pockets.... Despite these positive results we continue to advise that there is still the possibility of smoke nuisance especially in communities in and around the disposal site....." he said.





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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kevin Harvey, has confirmed that his ministry is taking the Local Government Ministry to court concerning matters relating to the massive fire at the Riverton City Dump.

The fire resulted in the Corporate Area being blanketed by smoke for several days.

Sources have confirmed that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health issued instructions for summonses to be served on senior officials of the Local Government Ministry. It is understood that arrangements are being made for a court hearing by next month.

On Monday, it was reported that Local Government Minister Noel Arscott expressed displeasure at the move by the Health Ministry to take his Ministry to court.

However Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson indicated that he had a duty to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public.





Gully Bop a hit in England; does new collab

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Arguably the most talked about artiste in dancehall, Gully Bop has taken over new territory. The entertainer continues his invasion of the United Kingdom with his fourth sold-out show, held in Birmingham over the weekend. He is relishing in a publicity blitz, surfacing from radio and TV interviews connected with his first promotional tour. To top it off, he has recorded a contagious track with one of England's leading dancehall artiste, Stylo G.

"Right now me feel good, how me come a England and them just embrace me. Big big BBC radio a play Gully Bop non-stop and invite me in them studio. Me a get support at every show, every one of them pack! People swarm me like bees fe take picture everywhere me go. Is a thousand things and more a go on right now, so me have to give God thanks," Gully Bop explained.

"Who She Want" is the title of the hit-bound release recorded with Stylo G. The song is entertaining, upbeat and pokes fun at both artistes. The producers are Star Traxx and Adde. Immediately upon release the brand-new song has seized high rotation on British radio.

Gully Bop will wrap the U.K. leg of this tour on Sunday, March 29th. His closing performance will be at the Electric Brixton. Bop will then proceed to his debut performances in Grenada, Guyana, The Cayman Islands, Barbados and other Caribbean countries.





Masked gunmen murder St Ann woman at her home

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A woman was shot and killed after gunmen barged into her home at Steer Town in St Ann on Sunday evening.

She has been identified by police as 25-year-old customer service agent, Marshalette Briscoe.

Police report that, at about 8:30 PM, Briscoe was at home when two masked gunmen kicked in the front door and opened fire, hitting her all over her body.

She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.





Retirement Dump on fire

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The Jamaica Fire Brigade is reporting that the Retirement Dump in St James is on fire.

Superintendent in charge of the St James Fire Department, Dolfin Doman, said that a team has been dispatched to the disposal site to extinguish the blaze.

However, he says the magnitude of the fire is not yet known.

He said firefighters battled a blaze at the Dump late Sunday. There was also a fire at the Retirement Dump last week.





Brother kills brother over bicycle

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The Trelawny police have taken a man into custody, for allegedly hacking to death his older brother in Duanvale, in the parish, Sunday afternoon.

Dead is 44-year-old labourer Lincoln Barrett, also called yellow of Duanvale.

Reports are that the two had a heated argument over a bicycle, which escalated into a fight, and a machete was brought into play.

The elder brother died after receiving chop wounds to his neck and face.

The younger brother, who was taken into custody, is said to have a wound to his knee.





gully-bop-with-new_girlfriend-england-tour.jpg Gully Bop not Despite what seems like infidelity on his part since going on tour in England recently, dancehall artiste Gully Bop has denied cheating and promises that he will never disrespect his fianceé and manager Shauna Chin. Since starting his three-week stint in England last week, a video surfaced on YouTube where Gully Bop seemed mesmerised by a female he saw at the venue. In the two-minute interview, he expressed pleasure with his time in the country.

"Is a big dream dis man. Mi haffi a pinch myself all now fi see if it real, but it real cause mi couldn't a dream so long. And me see supm a England weh mi love special too enuh. Just like how I am a sensation here, I see a sensation in here and I like her very bad," he said.

The interviewer then asked, "so a just one want a wuk off a yuh since you come England?" and Gully Bop responded saying, "Many, but a just one me see weh mi like."

After that video came to the fore on Monday, a picture surfaced later in the day with the deejay pictured with a woman who had some of her breast exposed. However, when contacted, he said did not mean to disrespect his fianceé in any way.

"No disrespect, mi nuh must love mi wife. A me and Chin a come from ya so to deh so and she neva switch off so mi caan switch off. Even if Chin was here you would still see all of dem picture deh put up," he said.

In his defence, Gully Bop stressed that he did not know the woman he took the picture with, nor was he referring to an actual woman when he spoke of the 'sensation' that he liked.

"When mi seh 'mi see supm weh mi like', is not a woman. Is just a car weh mi like, it did deh pon display and it nah sell," he said.

As for the woman he took the picture with, he said he is now somewhat cautious about taking pictures with fans.

"Mi get fraid fi tek picture wid people because dem a post it a write up tings under it. But if mi stop tek picture with mi fans dem, it will melt my career," he said.

Although he has since apologised to Shauna Chin about the picture and video, she said she still feels somewhat upset about what she saw. However, Chin said Gully Bop stressed that he was not playing the field.





Smirnoff Color Festival Sunday at Hope Gardens

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The upcoming Smirnoff Color Festival on Sunday, March 29 at Hope Gardens has become one of the most anticipated high-energy events of the soca season and this year is expected to attract a massive crowd of revellers. The last staging in September had set the pace when vodka giant Smirnoff partnered with the promoters of the event to deliver a colourful, experiential and exhilarating package. The venue was transformed into a sea of multiple colours with powder throws after each signal by the DJ.

"The feedback from our September staging was extremely positive. Unprompted patron feedback included things like 'I can't wait for the next Color Festival!', 'The next Color Festival can't miss me', 'This was the best party ever', and 'The Color Festival is the happiest festival in the world!'" explained Cooper.

On Sunday, the promoters are promising an even greater event and will be going all out to ensure that the expectations of the patrons are met and, more so, exceeded.

"The Color Festival will continue to deliver a world-class party experience, the greatly anticipated hourly colour throws, a 150ft wide LED wall and backdrop with light show, a mix of the best international and local DJs and amazing drink experiences at our bar," said Cooper.

The DJs set to be on the line-up for the festival includes international EDM DJ Kyle Desouza, Titan VCD from Trinidad, and our very own local DJ Sanjay and Kurt Riley.





andrew-holness-photo-2.jpg Olympic Way, the home of Swagg Tuesdays, All Star Check Thursday, and Month-end Fridays, is to be transformed into an entertainment hip strip in the Corporate Area. Andrew Holness in whose West Central St Andrew constituency Olympic Way falls, said in Parliament that the aim is to create entertainment products that can be delivered in the community without being an inconvenience to others.

"This year, as my special project, with a combination of funds from the Constituency Development Fund and the Tourism Enhancement Fund, I will be seeking to brand Olympic Way as a commercial and entertainment hip strip," Holness said.

He noted that the emergence of Olympic Way as a main entertainment venue has led to patrons leaving many communities to visit the area for partying.

"This phenomenon is not new or unique to Olympic Gardens. However, there now appears to be a more coordinated and organised effort among young entrepreneurs."

Holness said he is sensitive to the complaints of residents about night noise and the obstruction of traffic, but said, "I am confident, however, that as the promoters become more organised, they will be able to better self-regulate within the law, and create entertainment products that can be delivered without inconvenience."

Holness told Parliament that the hip-strip project will see the development of entertainment products such as live cultural and sporting events. The MP also said repairs would be done to pedestrian infrastructure such as drain covers, bridge rails and sidewalks, to make them more suitable for users, particularly the disabled community.





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The nine-member board of Summerfest Productions, the organisers of the world's greatest reggae show, Reggae Sumfest, returned Robert Russell as its chairman. Russell assumes the mantle with the able assistance of deputy chairman Barry Jenoure. Russell is one of the founding members of the festival and has, prior to the one-year chairmanship of Godfrey Dyer, held the position for 16 consecutive years.

During Russell's tenure, the festival grew tremendously and featured some of the biggest and best acts from all across the world, including Usher, 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Nicky Minaj, Lionel Richie, and many more. Now the event boasts more than 30,000 patrons.

Commenting on the move, Russell said that promoting the event and attracting more patrons over the years has continued to be his commitment. "We have been extremely fortunate with the success of the event. I will continue to strive to grow and develop the event so that patrons will get more value out of the entertainment package," Russell said.

"We are revamping the entire event and infusing many exciting and first-world elements that will give it a major facelift this year. Patrons will no doubt appreciate this spectacle," he added.

He affirmed the commitment of his team, pointing out that Reggae Sumfest has been the high point of the summer since its inception in 1993.





Warrior King re-charting his journey

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For some of Warrior King's fans, especially in Jamaica, their relationship with the artiste could very well be summed up as "out of sight, out of mind", and no-one is more aware of this than Warrior King himself.

However, the Virtuous Woman singer is committed to taking definitive steps to change all of that and reconnect in a huge way, starting with his most recent single, Ain't Giving Up. He ruefully admits to keeping a low profile in Jamaica for the last two and a half years, but hastens to add that he has not been idle. Instead, he has been travelling extensively overseas, building his brand on a global level and maintaining his expected high standards. Quite satisfied with that rhythm and flow, Warrior King is eyeing Jamaica and the Caribbean as his happy hunting ground for 2015.

"Jamaica is where it all started. It was the launch pad for the international circuit. From day one of my career, I have always thought global, but at the same time, I can never forget where I am coming from. I have been doing a bit of touring and studio work and have been here in Jamaica a lot as well, but the truth is that if promoters in Jamaica don't see your face or hear your voice via some kind of PR machinery, for example, then you don't get called for a show. Like it or not, that's just the way it is," explained the entertainer, who is managed by France-based Mark Miller, a former stage manager for reggae king Bob Marley and author of the book, A White Knight in Babylon, On the Road with Bob Marley.

Admitting that he has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from Miller in the last three years, a level-headed Warrior King had high praises for Miller's professionalism, transparency and the respect from his peers on the world stage. This partnership has seen Warrior King evolve and claim his space musically and otherwise, establishing his own Rootz Warrior Productions and securing fan bases in Europe, Asia, Australia, and even the place considered the Holy Land, Jerusalem.





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Joel Lovelace, the 14-year-old boy who was allegedly killed by the bullet of a cop in Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew wanted to be a sprinter for Kingston College. Current quarter miler for KC, Akeem Bloomfield says Joel's dream of representing the North-Street based institution will not die.

He plans to dedicate his performance at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships to the life of the dead teen.

"His dream of being a sprinter for KC has not died but instead been transformed and will live on. My performance at Boys and Girls champs 2015 will be dedicated to my fallen friend," Bloomfield wrote on Facebook.

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Bloomfield is grief-stricken by Joel's death.

"When I heard the news I just went and sat down and held my head because I just couldn't believe it. Another promising youth that could have been something great gone down the drain just like that," the 15-year-old athlete said.

In a tribute on social media, Bloomfield said Joel was dedicated to track and field.

Bloomfield recalled the first day Lovelace went to Kingston College to train.

"He always wore football boots." I asked him why he was at K C and he said "I do the 100m and the 200m and I want to be a sprinter for K.C," Bloomfield said.

The 15-year-old Bloomfield added: "He would always come and say 'what's on the programme today Bloomfield?' I respected him because he was humble and you could see the passion that he had for track and field."
Joel's dad, Dwight Lovelace said the youngster excelled in football and track as well as in academics.

"Me baby, me baby. Them kill me baby. The track star, the quiz team star, the defender. Me baby," the grief-stricken man wailed as he sobbed uncontrollably.

Joel had been shot in the face as he sat doing his homework after leaving school and attending band practice at church. He died while undergoing surgery for the gunshot wound he received.





Montego Bay businessman shot and killed

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Tarick Bucknor, a businessman from St. James was shot dead on Saturday in the car park of the popular Pier One entertainment complex.

A second man was also shot in the attack and has been hospitalised.

It's reported that early Saturday morning , Bucknor left a function and was walking towards his vehicle in the car park when he was attacked and shot repeatedly.

Bucknor, a well known figure in Montego Bay, died on the spot.

Nearly 50 persons have been murdered in St James since the start of the year.





kelly-tomblin-jps.jpg Jamaica Public Service (JPS) president and CEO, Kelly Tomblin, was recently robbed of her cellular phone outside of her company office in New Kingston and within less than three hours her phone was resold.

The purchaser was later held by the police and charged with receiving stolen property.

On Friday, when the matter was called up in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court, the accused Alecia Smith, a bartender, pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The incident, which occurred on March 8, about 12:30 p.m., resulted in the CEO being robbed of a $90,000 Samsung Galaxy S5, allegedly by two men - a rider and a pillion - one of who grabbed the device and escaped on a motorcycle.

The court heard that the device, which contained $200,000 worth of call credit before it was stolen, was later found in the possession of the bartender in east Kingston. The police are said to be searching for the rider and the pillion that allegedly sold the phone to Smith for $25,000.

A bail application by Smith's lawyer was denied even after the attorney told the court that her client was co- operating with the investigation. The police are said to be hot on the heels of the accused men. Smith is to return to court on March 26. She was further remanded and a fingerprint order made.





Ganja education programme coming

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A much needed communication programme intended to clear up misconceptions regarding the reform of the country's ganja laws is on the horizon.

According to Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding, the programme will be in two parts - one section seeking to explain the updated law "in plain and easily understood language, through a question and answer model," and the other will answer public health questions. That second aspect, he said, will "inform the public about ganja and discourage the use of ganja by vulnerable groups."

This aspect of the communication programme is being developed by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), he explained. That draft document, being developed by the NCDA, will be presented to the relevant Cabinet sub-committee "by next week Friday," he disclosed.

On March 6, Garfield Coburn, a resident of Lawrence Tavern, St. Andrew, was fatally shot by the police, after he reportedly resisted attempts by them to arrest him for possession of a ganja spliff.

That incident sparked protests in the community, and calls by various interest groups for an immediate public education programme on the new ganja regime.

Under the legislation, possession of ganja of two ounces or less will no longer be an arrestable criminal offence, but a ticketable infraction which will carry a fixed penalty.





Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew is dead

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Lee Kuan Yew, the legendary former prime minister of Singapore, has died at the age of 91. He had been in hospital for several weeks with pneumonia.

Prime Minister for 31 years, Lee Kuan Yew is credited with transforming Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub. But his record was not an unblemished one. He was criticised for his iron grip on power, and the fact that under his leadership freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts.

In a televised address, his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid tribute to him.

"He fought for our independence, built a nation where there was none, and made us proud to be Singaporeans. We won't see another man like him."

Mr. Lee oversaw Singapore's independence from Britain and separation from Malaysia.





Leadership crisis at schools - NEI report

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The independent body charged with the responsibility for the inspection of schools and regional operations has continued to unearth more problems in the governance structure at a number of educational institutions.

The National Education Inspectorate (NEI) in its latest round of monitoring says it is still not pleased with the quality of leadership at some schools. Chief Inspector of the NEI, Maureen Dwyer says more than forty per cent of schools inspected to date have been rated as unsatisfactory in leadership and management.

She notes that despite the circumstances; school boards, principals and senior teachers have the critical responsibility to plan for students' learning. In its latest round, the NEI completed the inspection of 50 primary and secondary schools in December 2014.

Inspectors are currently visiting the remaining 85 institutions in order to complete the assessment of all 954 public schools by June of this year

Meanwhile, in an early reaction, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has described the findings of the National Education Institute report as cause for great concern. He says the Education Ministry is pressing ahead with its programme to improve the leadership of schools.

According to the Education Minister, if school leaders are not performing they must be held accountable and they will not be allowed to stay.





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The Jamaican police have announced that rigid and extensive security arrangements are being finalised for the planned visit of US President Barack Obama to the island next month.

The US Secret Service, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force are the main agencies responsible for coordinating security arrangements for the visit.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced in Parliament last Tuesday that President Obama is due in the island on April 9, ahead of his participation in the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Assistant Commissioner Devon Watkiss, head of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Division (C-TOC) says while his office cannot reveal the details, a security assessment has been made and the work is ongoing. He says the police had knowledge of the visit long before it was made public.

The visit of President Obama comes almost 33 years to the date after the visit of President Ronald Reagan on April 7 and 8, 1982.





Jamie Foxx denies Katie Holmes dating rumors

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It was claimed on Wednesday they have been secretly dating for a year-and-a-half. There was even photo evidence as the two were pictured with their legs intertwined as they held hands while at ease in a studio in February.

But on Friday Jamie Foxx threw some cold water on reports of a romance with Katie Holmes, 36, as he talked to TMZ after leaving a bank in Westlake Village, which is just outside Los Angeles.

'Oh come on you guys have been trying to make that stick for three years, we're just friends,' the Ray actor, 47, said. 'As a matter of fact Anthony Zuiker, creator of CSI, he offered us an animation project and we're working on that.'

The Soloist actor also said, 'They have been trying to do that for three years - just stories I guess. You just have to respect - that's just part of our lives.'

Foxx then took a selfie with a male fan, shook his hand and whistled as he climbed into a black Rolls Royce.

The Any Given Sunday star showed off fit arms in a short-sleeved white V-neck shirt. Worn-in jeans and white high top sneakers added a casual look. The Annie star looked like a gentleman as he said hello to a female fan when he was standing next to a cash machine.

Holmes has yet to comment on the report.

The beauty was spotted leaving a friend's house in LA on Wednesday looking chic in a button-down denim shirt with pockets on the front. Skinny dark jeans highlighted her toned legs.

The mother to Suri, aged eight, was on-trend with dark aviator shades and Mary Jane inspired flats.

UsWeekly reported that the actors have been 'secretly spending time' together. She divorced Cruise in 2012 after six years of marriage and he worked with Tom on Collateral in 2004.

The publication added that Foxx and Holmes have been dating since the summer of 2013 when he 'wooed her at a benefit in the Hamptons.'

'Jamie is someone she can trust and have fun with,' a source said. 'She's getting everything from Jamie that she didn't get with Tom.'





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A warder has been arrested and charged for breaches of the Dangerous Drugs Act after packets of marijuana was found in his vehicle on Thursday.

He has been identified as 30-year-old Mickloth Hutchinson, of Gore Tuca, Portmore, St Catherine.

The Denham Town Police report that, about 4:15 pm, senior officers at the New Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston conducted a search of Hutchinson's motorcar, during which four parcels containing ganja were found.

The Police were summoned, Hutchinson was taking into custody and he was subsequently charged with possession of ganja, dealing in ganja, and introducing contraband into a penal institution.

He is scheduled to appear before the Half Way Tree Resident Magistrate's Court on Thursday, April 9.





Busy Signal to help out St Ann's Bay hospital

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busy-signal-photo-10.jpg Come April, dancehall deejay Busy Signal will be embarking on his latest project -- the Busy 20/20 Helping Hands Foundation Limited.

According to the dancehall artiste, the venture is for a much-needed cause.

"My priority is the St Ann's Bay Hospital. It is in need of vital X-ray/CAT scan equipment for detecting cancer. It costs roughly $12 million," Busy Signal said.

The foundation -- which was registered last year -- will be officially launched at the Jewel Dunn's River Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios on April 2.

Busy Signal, whose given name is Reanno Gordon, explained his reason for taking on this project.

"This is the hospital I was born in. The majority of people from St Ann are farmers and they don't have the money fi go private hospital. So mi haffi help inna my way and give back. Dem need the help," he said.

The artiste said he is aware that he alone cannot do it, and therefore welcomes assistance from corporate Jamaica.





lisa-hanna-photo-2.jpg The twin evils of incest and molestation of young boys have escalated, Youth and Culture Minister, Lisa Hanna has confirmed.

Speaking during a radio interview on Friday, Minister Hanna said incest is becoming prevalent and that it's been an under reported problem.

Minister Hanna says there's also an alarming trend of boys being molested by men and women. She says prosecuting offenders of sexual offences is proving to be a challenge because witnesses will not come forward.

For last year, the Office of the Children's Registry said it received 4-thousand reports of child abuse.

Meanwhile, the Youth Minister says her ministry will be hiring temporary investigators to look into the huge backlog of a cases of child abuse which have not been investigated. She says the Office of the Children's Registry receives as many as 2-hundred-and-twenty cases of child abuse each week.

She's described the number as alarming.





jennifer-edwards.jpg A group of women protested in front of the National Solid Waste Management Authority's office on Half Way Tree Road Friday morning against the non renewal of Ms Edwards' contract.

They are calling for her reinstatement claiming that the non renewal was based on an unfair assessment of her performance and gender discrimination.

People's National Party Councillor, Audrey Smith-Facey, says the reasons given by the NSWMA board's for Miss Edwards' removal are contradictory.

Councillor for the Payneland Division, Audrey Smith-Facey of the People's National Party who spoke for the demonstrators said that the chairman had indicated publicly that Ms Edwards had been doing a good job with the limited resources available to her and that she should not be blamed for the crisis.

Some held placards questioning the whether or not the decision was made because she was a woman.The demonstrators also called for the sacking of the board.

The NSWMA announced earlier this week that it would not renew Edwards' contract when it expires on March 26.





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Sprint star, Asafa Powell, on Thursday enjoyed dinner with a lady friend at popular Greek restaurant, OPA!.

Powell had Kotsi, which is low-baked Lamb Shank infused with lemon, olive oil and garlic. His lady friend also had lamb, however, she had the Paidakia, which is lamb chops served with roasted potatoes and a salad.

The duo enjoyed a quiet candle-lit meal complete with red wine.

Opa! owner Alexx Antaeus, who commented on the photo that was posted on social media, remarked that it was a pleasure serving Powell. He descibed the sprint star as a "pleasant fellow".





wayne-lonesome.jpg Music producer Wayne 'Lonesome' Brown has donated $10,000 towards the medical bills of 81-year-old Rosalvo Patterson, who has been living in a crumbling chicken coop in Jericho, St Catherine, for the past five years.

Patterson's plight was highlighted in a local paper on Thursday.

"When I read the story, I was moved and just wanted to use this occasion to donate the first of several planned donations," Brown tsaid.

"I am using this opportunity to call on other entertainers, Jamaicans, to come together to help in whatever way they can because, as a team, we can do more," he continued.

The $10,000 was remitted to a neighbour, who had been assisting the elderly man with food.

"This donation will go towards his medical bill as he is set to visit the doctor to do a blood test on Monday," said the woman, who asked to remain unidentified.





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Queen Ifrika certainly set tongues wagging when she posted a lovey-dovey picture of herself and Tarrus Riley on Facebook this wee.

The rumour mill started running after Queen Ifrika posted a pic on her official Facebook page stating "yes tarrus riley and i are togather; something aguh roun. loves contagious!!!"

Some people took the picture serious and started commenting about whether on not the new couple matched and wondered what had happened to Ifrica's other flame.

Well, Ifrica has admitted that the picture and caption were done in a moment of fun, nothing more.

Do you think that Ifrica and Tarrus make a good couple?





Esco launches career as radio DJ

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Dancehall producer and artiste Esco will in a few weeks launch his career as a radio disc jock.

Esco has over the years built a strong repertoire as a dancehall artiste/producer through his innovative and trendsetting Star$truck Record. Now, he has been recruited by what is expected to be one of the most exciting radio stations to take the airwaves in Jamaica to man the wheels of steel.

With his manager and business partner Delmar 'Della Danger' Drummond, their Star$truck Records is redefining dancehall with hits like Legendary (Bounty Killer/Beenie man), Kreech (Bling Dawg feat Kreecha), Wet Spliff (Busy Signal), In My Arms (Serani) and Glory (Kreecha/Quick Cook/ Esco).

Drummond says this latest move is just another in the development of Esco as a big ambassador for Jamaican music. "We are very happy that this radio station has reached out to us to bring Esco on board. I have seen their plans and, when they launch, I know Jamaicans will be tuning in, in large numbers to hear. Esco was born ready and will burn up the airwaves," he assured.

A Campion College past student, Esco is the son of legendary radio DJ Errol Thompson, who was credited as one of first persons to bring reggae music to national radio and was a big promoter of Bob Marley when many other DJs refused to play him.

Esco's business manager Shelly-Ann Curran is every excited at the new developments. "Esco is the first full-fledged dancehall artiste on national radio. Not only that, but very few dancehall artistes have the experience as producers and DJs as well. Esco is a gem in the music and it is time that Jamaicans and Jamaican music fans worldwide get to see him in action," she said.





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Less than two years after walking away as the winner of American talent show, 'The Voice', sources say that artiste Tessanne Chin and husband Michael Cuffe Jr, are having marital problems. According to the sources close to the couple, Cuffe has left the marital home and is currently staying with a friend.

The loved-up couple, who got married in 2011 would have celebrated their fourth anniversary on Thursday, but, unlike last year, neither of them acknowledged it on social media. The silence was unusually loud and spoke volumes.

Just last year, Tessanne surprised Cuffe with a cake and a song for his birthday. She also dedicated the song My Kind Of Love by Emelie Sande to her husband, while performing it on The Voice.

They both took to social media to profess their undying love and devotion. In last year's post, Chin wrote: 'what a journey we've had my love. I look forward to the amazing adventures we have ahead of us'. He followed up with 'I could never have asked for three more perfect years of my life, and I owe them all to this woman right here, happy anniversary my love.'

Meanwhile, Sharon Burke's Solid Agency, which is the official booking agency for Tessanne Chin, has refused to comment.

"No comment" and "I know nothing" is how Burke is responding to reports that Tessanne's husband has moved out of their matrimonial home.





A man, who allegedly invited a woman to his home for sex and then murdered her and hid her body underneath his bed, was on Wednesday offered $300,000 bail when he appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court. The 20-year-old labourer, Kino Gilzene, is accused of killing the woman by stabbing her and bashing her face in with a stone. Gilzene's sister, Alicia, who is accused of helping him to bury the woman's body in a pit was also offered bail when they appeared before Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey.

The accused, who are both from New Haven in St Andrew, were arrested and charged for the murder of 22-year-old Sudeen Jackson of Portmore, St Catherine, last December.

The police alleged that on December 8, Kino contacted the woman by phone after he got her number from a friend, and made arrangements for her to meet him at his home the next day. The woman was reportedly scheduled to visit and have sex with Kino for a fee of $3,000. Jackson, who had never seen Kino before, reportedly met up with him in Duhaney Park, went to his house, followed through with the arrangement and was paid.

However, the court heard that the woman later requested to leave, but Kino got angry and stabbed her in her chest and neck before using a stone to bash in her face.

Following that, the accused allegedly hid the woman's body underneath his bed and proceeded to clean up the crime scene. Alicia later arrived home and reportedly found the body under the bed, and after making enquries, was told by her brother that he had killed Jackson. Upon learning of the murder, Alicia allegedly sent a text message to her boyfriend and told him that her brother had killed a woman.

The following morning both accused then reportedly took the woman's body and buried it in a pit latrine at their home. They then reportedly concocted a story and told their mother, who called the police.

Kino, when he was arrested, allegedly confessed that he was at home when three men -- one of whom was armed with a gun -- barged in with Sudeen. According to the accused, the men were cursing that Sudeen had "dissed di programme" and told her that they were going to kill her. Kino said that the men raped Sudeen and then stabbed her to death and ordered him to bury her. Alicia, in her statement, corroborated her brother's confession.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor also informed the court that Kino had allegedly boasted to other inmates that he sacrificed the woman as a part of a demonic worship. However, this was denied by his lawyer Carol Gonzalez, who told the magistrate, duirng her bail application that her client knew nothing about any sacrifice and asked her to reject that report.

She also told the court that based on her instructions, three men who were armed with knives and guns had chased the now deceased woman to her client's home and had murdered her.

Gonzales also told the court that her client, along with his sister, had reported the crime to the police. The two accused were subsequently offered bail, despite objection from the police who raised concerns about threats of reprisal. They are to return to court on March 24.





This is what one would call in-flight entertainment with a difference!

A woman was arrested on suspicion of being drunk on an aircraft after she allegedly stripped off on a flight from Jamaica and exposed herself.

According to reports,the 46-year-old woman from south-west London was arrested by police when her British Airways flight landed at Gatwick Airport on Thursday from Kingston, Jamaica.

She allegedly disrupted the flight and one report claims she performed a solo sex act.

The flight landed at around 8.45am on March 19, and aircrew on board asked for the flight to be met by police.

British Airways released a statement saying: 'We can confirm that police were requested to meet our flight from Kingston.'

Will the passengers who were onboard please do their civic duty by uploading the video to Youtube.





justin-bieber-photo-2.jpg Justin Bieber's former neighbor claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the pop singer spit in his face and terrorized his family with loud parties, drug use and aggressive driving.

The lawsuit over Bieber's behavior while living in a gated community in the celebrity enclave of Calabasas seeks more than $25,000 in damages for assault and battery, trespassing and infliction of emotional distress claims.

Jeffrey Schwartz and his wife, Suzanne, filed the lawsuit nearly two years after he claims Bieber spit on him during a dispute over the singer's fast driving in their neighborhood. The lawsuit cites damage to the Schwartzes' home caused after Bieber threw eggs at it last year.

Bieber, 21, was charged with vandalism and remains on probation. But he has since repaid the family roughly $80,000 in restitution for the damage he caused.

The complaint also cites loud parties and frequent marijuana use while Bieber lived next door as causing the Schwartz family emotional distress.





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Kanye West was announced earlier this week as one of the headliners at this summer's Glastonbury music festival, but some music fans aren't happy about it.

One festival-goer started a petition calling on organizers to "prevent this musical injustice" by canceling the rapper's performance.

"Kanye West is an insult to music fans all over the world," Neil Lonsdale wrote in the Change.org petition. "We spend hundreds of pounds to attend glasto, and by doing so, expect a certain level of entertainment. Kanye has been very outspoken on his views on music....he should listen to his own advice and pass his headline slot on to someone deserving!"

Others apparently agreed with him. As of Thursday afternoon, the petition has gotten more than 60,000 signatures.

In an interview with NME.com, Lonsdale -- an education worker and self-described "rock kid" from Norfolk, England -- called it an "outrage" that West got the headliner slot over a rock band: "Two years ago we had The Rolling Stones playing the Saturday night, and this year we get Kanye West?"

He also said he initially started a petition as a joke following the announcement of West as Glastonbury's Saturday-night headliner, and that he's got no issue with hip-hop or rap artists.

"My beef is not with the genre. My beef is with the stage and the fact it's a headline slot," he said, adding that West does not "represent anything. His songs are lyrically appalling," he "totally disrespected Beck" at the Grammy Awards in February and "his [BRIT Awards] performance was just threatening."

"Glastonbury needs upbeat major artists. Glastonbury is an institution. It is expected that it has the biggest names," Lonsdale argued. "The biggest performers. Kanye does not represent that."





Ban on poultry from US, Canada

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chickens.jpg The Ministry of Agriculture has imposed restrictions on the importation of poultry from North America with immediate effect.

It says the measure is intended to ensure that Jamaica remains free of bird flu.

There have been reports of bird flu in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

The Agriculture Ministry says the restrictions affect the importation of live birds and hatching eggs, egg yolks, egg whites; poultry meat; raw pet foods containing poultry; as well as feathers and offal from eight states in the US as well as British Columbia in Canada.





Quadruple murder leaves community in shock

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The early morning gangland style murders of a mother and her eight -year-old daughter and two men in Bickersteth James has left a community in a state of shock.

The victims are Rihanna Blake who was a student at Barracks Road Primary School and her mother Lois Watson, 28. Also killed were Peter Scott,26 and Kemali Walker believed to be about 23 years old. The men are originally from Kingston.

Investigators are reportedly baffled about the motive for the quadruple murder, coming on the heels of what has been described as moderate gains by the St. James police. All four bodies were discovered about 6:30am on Thursday by the mother of one of the victims.

Councilor for the Cambridge Division Homer Davis has expressed shock at the killings.

"It's barbaric and wicked .....there's no other way to describe it. To know that an eight year old is part of the household and to just go in and massacre, it's wickedness...." he said.





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Dancer, Global Bob, who rose to prominence more than 15 years ago with the creation of his 'SpongeBob' dance, has indeed gone global. The talented dancer e will be doing two dancehall lectures in Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Haifa.

He is the first dancer to achieve such a feat and admits that he never thought that he would have accomplished this.

"It's a joy, trust me. It's groundbreaking. The person who invited me to Israel reached out to me via Facebook, but it was so expensive to fly me from Jamaica. I'll be doing a six-week tour of Europe and I had four days off, so she capitalised on that and invited me to do two lectures in Israel between May 16-20. From I've been growing up, I've heard about these places, and to finally get this opportunity is a blessing. There is a lot of stigma attached to dancehall, and we are just trying to highlight all the positives," he said.

"It's going to be about the entire lifestyle, culture and history of dancehall. Many overseas persons are of the view that all Jamaicans smoke weed and get high, so this lecture will show them the other side, the more soulful side. If we do a dance called 'curfew' then we have to explain why we would have a curfew etc. It's just about the entire dancing lifestyle," he stated.

He also called for the Jamaica Tourist Board to highlight these achievements, adding that many nationalities visit Jamaica because of the work the dancers have been doing overseas.Global Bob's European tour will make stops in Greece, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and France. He will then move on to a South America tour before returning to the island.

"I'm just encouraging all dancers, whether you are established or not, to trust God and do your research. Study your history. When I tour, I go on behalf of every Jamaican artiste, not just myself. Gone are the days when dancers needed artistes to go on tour. Now we are the headline acts. Don't limit yourself," he stated.





Madman stabs schooler and cop downtown

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A police constable and an eight year old schoolboy are now nursing knife wounds after being attacked by a mentally ill man in downtown, Kingston on Wednesday.

It's reported that, shortly after 2.00 p.m., the little boy was going home from school when, at the intersection of Duke Steeet and Sutton Street, he was attacked by the man who stabbed him in the head.

The Police Constable who was nearby saw what was happening and ran to the rescue of the little boy. But he was also attacked and stabbed in the head.Other police personnel from the Kingston Central Police Station came to their assistance and arrested the knife wielding man.The child and the policeman were both taken to hospital where they were treated and released.

Deputy Superintendent Percival Anderson, head of the Kingston Central Criminal Investigation Branch, said the mentally challenged man was taken to the Bellevue Hospital where he received an injection. He said the man will be charged later this week.





An eight year old girl was among four persons killed in St. James late Wednesday.

The police report that shortly before 2a.m. residents heard explosions. On their arrival, the police found the bodies of the child, two men and a woman.

The woman was the mother of the eight year old. They have only been identified by their aliases Latty and Shae.

The men have been identified as Peter Scott, 26 and Kimali Walker.





Crime Stop Jamaica is offering a J$50,000 reward for information about individuals who may have set the Riverton Dump ablaze.The organisation says persons with information should call Crime Stop at 311.

Meanwhile the Jamaica Fire Brigade is continuing its cooling down and extinguishing operations at the dump on the seventh day since the fire started.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) says there will be periodic increases in smoke levels across sections of the Corporate Area and St.Catherine. The agency also says all Health Centres in Kingston and St. Andrew as well as St. Catherine will continue to provide extended services to residents in and around the affected communities.





jennifer-edwards.jpg Amidst the ongoing crisis at the Riverton City dump, which has been on fire for a week, Jennifer Edwards, Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) will be demitting office at month end. This follows a decision of the Board of the NSWMA not to renew her contract.

Reliable sources say that the NSWMA board met on Wednesday and decided not to renew Miss Edwards' contract, due to non performance.

This has come about as questions have been raised over her stewardship of the entity.

The source added added, however, that the non renewal had nothing to do with the current crisis at the Riverton disposal site.





Gully Bop performing in England

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Dancehall artiste Toya has been keeping a very low profile in the past year and a half, amid reports of some kind of secret illness and many tongues wagging that she has gone blind.

Toya, who is the wife of Downsound Records CEO, Joe Bogdanovich, had her career placedon a high when she wed Mr Moneybags. The union created a child - a son who Toya bragged about in one of her songs. There was a time when Toya could be seen driving various top of the line vehicles, enjoying Sunday brunch with Joe at hotels or jetting out of the island with her husband. But no more.

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Toya has not been seen in quite a while and Downsound Records seem to be on mute as far as Toya's absence is concerned. Well, Ninjaman confirmed in an interview that Toya is indeed sick.

"Me a pray for a speedy recovery of Joe's wife, Toya," Ninja said in an interview with an evening tabloid.

YardFlex understands that Toya's blindness could be caused from the fact that she is diabetic. Sources say that the young mother spent several weeks at the University hospital last year undergoing treatment and there were reports that she was regaining sight in one eye.

Efforts to contact Downsound Records or their CEO proved futile, however, YardFlex joins Ninja in praying for a speedy recovery for Toya.





Ninjaman to publish newspaper

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Veteran deejay, Ninjaman, plans to start his own dancehall entertainment newspaper, which will be called The Artiste's Journal. It will be managed by Howard McGowan.

"I want this newspaper to focus on the positivity of dancehall. Persons only tend to focus on the negative aspect, and I want to change that", the Don Gorgon who recently severed his relationship with Downsound Records explained.

He added that he will now be focusing on his own record label - Upsound Orthodox - as well as working with legendary veteran artistes.

"I see some faults in dancehall now where I am needed, so I will be doing some work with older artistes. This aspect of the company will be called 'Ninja Man Foundation: Old Picture Frame Promotions'. This will entail bookings, artiste management and production," he said.

Regarding his relationship with DSR, Man stated that he had no bad blood with the company and was leaving because his contract was up, and he wanted to branch out on his own.

"Our time just done. I feel like it's time that I go on my own. I went to DSR because I needed a little discipline, and they did a great job with me. I'm very thankful that Joe took a chance with me, because when me just come out a prison, nobody else never business wid me. When I went to DSR, it was a family, but ever since the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) lock down our base, we all over the place. The company split up, people frustrated, all sort of foolishness," he stated.

"I have to do things for myself and allow Joe to focus on the younger artistes like Don Husky, Nature and Ishawna," he stated.

"Me just want big up DSR again. Thanks for everything. Big up yuhself Joe; Big up Skatta; big up the writer, Pearl; Miss Rowe; and everybody. Big up Foota Hype, because me nah tek no side. Me a pray for a speedy recovery of Joe's wife, Toya. Nuff respect. and anything DSR need me for, unuh can still call on me," he declared.





Bobbi Kristina's $250K diamond ring goes missing

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A 10-carat diamond ring given to Bobbi Kristina Brown by her late mother Whitney Houston has gone missing, Radar Online reported. The 22-year-old was reportedly wearing the $250,000 ring on Jan. 31, the day she was found unresponsive in a bathtub at her Atlanta home.

The ring is reportedly the same that Bobbi Kristina was wearing when she announced her engagement to her boyfriend Nick Gordon in July 2012. The aspiring actress had posted a photo of the ring on her Instagram account at the time.

According to reports, sources claimed that Bobbi Kristina's family has been curious about the whereabouts of the ring after Gordon mentioned it during his interview with Dr. Phil that aired last week.

In the interview, Gordon asked his mother about the ring who replied that she had kept it safe. A member of the Houston family later called Dr. Phil to help find the ring, Radar Online reported. However, Gordon and his mother stated that they were talking about a different ring and not the one that was given to Bobbi Kristina by her Grammy award-winning mother, a source reportedly said.

Gordon is currently in rehab under a residential substance abuse treatment program. The 25-year-old is being investigated over Bobbi Kristina's current condition. A criminal probe was launched by police after they found injuries on Bobbi Kristina's body.

The Houston and the Brown families have been feuding over Bobbi Kristina's situation as she continued to show no signs of improvement.





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Beenie Man and Carlene, the king and queen of the dancehall celebrated the sweet 16 of their precious gem 'Princess' Crystal last Saturday with a splash at Barbican Beach.

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The birthday girl was seen enjoying a moment with her mom Dancehall Queen Carlene and friends in the foam bath and later she cut her cake with both parents.

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Along with a group of her special friends, dancehall artiste, Konshens, also took time out to share a moment with Crystal Davis on her very special day.





True Blue Final: JC wins Ziadie Cup

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On Saturday, March 14th, 2015, the Jamaica College Old Boys defeated the St. George's College Old Boys in 2 competitive games to claim the 2015 Dennis Ziadie Cup. It was their 3rd Ziadie Cup win since the tournament began 11 years ago. The Jamaica College over-45 team beat the St. George's College over-45 team 1-0 in the Grand Masters match. In the Under-45 Masters match, Jamaica College defeated the St. George's College 4-1. The Ziadie Cup trophy was awarded based on an aggregate score of both matches with St. George's College winning 5-1.

The Meadowbrook High Alumni won the opening 6-a-side soccer tournament to claim the 2015 True Blue 6V6 trophy. It is the third year of the tournament which included the following teams: Wolmers, Kingston Technical High, Calabar, Excelsior High, Jamaica College and St Georges College.

The Camperdown Alumni defeated the Excelsior Alumni to emerge as the winner in the Grace Kennedy Remittance Services/ Western Union All Girls Schools Alumnae Penalty Kick-off. The competition was fierce taking 4 rounds to determine a winner. Participating schools included: Montego Bay High School Alumnae, Convent Of Mercy Academy "Alpha" Florida Chapter, Immaculate Conception High School Alumnae Association and The St. Andrew Old Girls' Association Florida. Grace Kennedy Remittance Services/ Western Union will make $100 cash donation to the winning school and $50 cash donation to the second place school.

Legendary Jamaican coach, Winston Chung-Fah was in attendance at the True Blue Soccerfest . Also present was Miramar Mayor-elect Wayne Messam and Deputy Consul General Jamaica Deputy Consul General Mr. Dale Jones.

Old classmates and friends from high schools in Jamaica were able to reunite and enjoy a fun filled weekend at the 11th True Blue Weekend . Over 1,000 people attended the 3-day True Blue Weekend event, including the annual Ziadie Cup at the state-of-the-art soccer facility at Vizcaya Park. True Blue fans were treated to a weekend of fun, friends, food and exciting soccer matches.

This year's True Blue weekend festivities were the joint effort of these 2 alumni associations:

- The Jamaica College Old Boys Association of Florida, Inc.

- The St. George's College Old Boys Association of Florida, Inc.

The True Blue weekend was sponsored by: Jamaica National Building Society, Grace Kennedy Remittance Services Limited/Western Union, Goldson Spine Rehabilitation Center, Caribbean Ocean Logistics, Victoria Mutual Building Society, Steven Epstein Keyes Realtors, Law Offices of Dahlia A. Walker P.A., Accurate Air Conditioning, Dr. Smiths Orthodontic Services Inc., Caribbean Airlines, Dr. Donald Dixon Pediatrics, Jamaica Farewell, Grace Kennedy Foods, Caribbean Airlines, WISYNCO, Flowers By Grace, Galaxy Leisure Tours, Links, Data Stream Mobile Technologies, Hot Pie Patties and Ocho Rios.





Ishawna's Maryland concert shut down

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ishawna-photo-5.jpg Over-crowding and poor security forced police in Maryland to abruptly end a show headlined by Downsound Records female singjay, Ishawna last weekend.

Following the incident, Ishawna went to her official Instagram page where she posted two videos apologizing to fans and explaining exactly what had transpired. According to the artiste, who uses the moniker Miss Legendary, she was looking forward to performing for fans in Maryland.

Meanwhile, Josef Bogdanovich, Down Sound Records boss and manager for Ishawna said that the actions by the police were due to security concerns.

There is no word on whether the concert has been re-scheduled.





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Two Chinese nationals were detained and more than J$50 million worth of goods seized during an operation by members of the Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch in downtown Kingston Tuesday afternoon.

The cops seized millions of dollars worth of counterfeit goods from a warehouse and store on Orange Street.They also seized counterfeit clothing and shoes with Nike, Adidas and Puma labels. Other items with the Levi's and Vans brand names were also seized.

A senior investigator said the detainees are facing possible charges of breaching the Trademark and Intellectual Property Acts.





The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a 14-year-old student in Bedward Garden, August Town on Monday.

It is reported that at 7:35 pm, the teenager identified as Joel Lovelace was shot dead during an alleged operation.

According to a report from INDECOM, members of the St. Andrew Central Special Operational Team went to a shop called 'Red Shop' where a gun battle allegedly ensued.

The INDECOM report further said that the teenager was later found in his home suffering from gunshot wounds and was taken to the University Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.





4 killed in drive-by in New Haven

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Gunmen struck Tuesday night in New Haven, St. Andrew killing three persons on the spot and leaving a fourth in serious condition. He subsequently succumbed to his injuries.

It's reported that several men were standing on a road shortly after 10 o'clock when a car drove up.

One of the occupants in the vehicle opened fire on them.Three of those hit succumbed to their injuries.A fourth man was taken to hospital.

Reports are that the police later spotted the vehicle and there was a chase. However, the gunmen escaped.A source told RJR News the shooting is linked to a feud. A man has been taken into custody.





Dahlia Harris loses appeal

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An appeal against the termination of Dahlia Harris as Principal Director of Culture in the Ministry of Youth and Culture has been dismissed.

Harris, who was removed after ten months in the post, maintained that her dismissal was unjustified and sought the intervention of the Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA).

The JCSA wrote to the Public Service Commission appealing Miss Harris' dismissal and was awaiting an early hearing date. However, the matter was forwarded to the local Privy Council without a hearing being convened by the Commission.

It has emerged that the Privy Council considered Harris' appeal and advised the Governor General that the application be refused and the matter dismissed.

The JCSA insisted that she was not given a valid explanation for the dismissal and not granted the opportunity to challenge the decision.





Ninjaman leaves Downsound Records

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Veteran deejay Desmond Ballentyne, better known as Ninja Man has left with Down-Sound Records, DSR after three years.

When contacted, the label's CEO Josef Bogdanovich, confirmed the split hinting that they were no longer working together but refused to delve into the details surrounding matter.

Meanwhile, numerous efforts to get a comment from Ninja Man proved futile. In January after the staging of his birthday bash, Ninja Man hinted that he would have parted ways with DSR.

Currently signed to the Down-Sound Records label are entertainer Ishawna, Don Husky, Nature and producer Skatta Burrell.

Late last year, the label refused to renew its contract with Specialist.





Openly gay reggae singer, Diana King, recently posted on Facebook that she was gang raped as a teenager for looking at a girl too long. Here is what she had to say:

"I was GANG RAPED for LOOKING @ a GIRL too LONG. BLOCKED IT for YEARs. I WAS ONLY 13. THAT's of THE SOUL‪#‎Homophobia101 @equality_JA"

The post has so far attracted hundreds of likes and comments, with reporter Claudette Brown verifying the statement.

"Diana I remembered when you came to the Enquirer office at West Street, downtown in your popular traditional high school uniform and related the incident to T 'Boots' Harris. As a result of your ordeal, I started to do coverage of rape and incest, so I know you are telling the truth."





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Quote: "Sweetheart, let me tell you something, you are talking to the number-one lesbian. Ain't nobody love more women than me, and I am Jamaican so I represent for all the lesbians right there. There has been a movement; I am leading the movement for lesbians." Shaggy in an interview when asked if the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community was making any progress in Jamaica.

Shaggy has been receiving mixed comments online, but as one blogger stated: "Shaggy nuff respect, intelligence over Ignorance. good answer."





US President Barak Obama to visit Jamaica April 9

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United States President, Barack Obama, will be visiting Jamaica. He is expected to arrive on April 9.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who made the announcement in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon says the visit comes ahead of Obama's participation in the Summit of the Americas in Panama which will see Cuba participating for the first time.

The CARICOM US summit will be co-chaired by the President and CARICOM Chairman Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas.

The visit of the 44th President of the United States comes almost 33 years to the date after the visit of President Ronald Reagan on April 7 and 8,1982. In November 1920, US President-elect Warren G. Harding stopped in Kingston on his way home from a visit to the Canal Zone in Panama.

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has welcomed the visit by the US President.

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness told the House that Cuba's participation in the Summit of the Americas is an excellent move.

This will be President Obama's second meeting with CARICM leaders. Six years ago he met the CARICOM heads of government in Trinidad and Tobago at the meeting of the Summit of the Americas.





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Perform and Done, the smooth, straight talking, reggae/dancehall single from Morgan Heritage's upcoming album, Strictly Roots, had its highly anticipated music video premiere online at music bible, Billboard.com, last Wednesday, to much acclaim.

The music video for Perform and Done is a modern day Cinderella story which borrows its sub plot from the quintessential dancehall movie, Dancehall Queen, and features a street vendor who transforms herself into a dancer to enter and subsequently win a dance contest. Filmed on location at the popular Mojito Mondays event in Kingston, Jamaica, the storyline undoubtedly captures the essence of the lead single, which was produced by renowned BBC One/BBC 1 Xtra's Seani B and Don Chandler.

In reference to the song and the music video, Billboard.com noted: "The romantic song blends roots reggae with some more contemporary dancehall influences, taking the traditionally mellow genre onto the dance floor. Appropriately, the video features an underdog triumphant in a Kingston dance contest."

Quite pleased with the work of director William Richards and the entire Image Development Studios team, Morgan Heritage states, "Perform And Done is the music video that pushes the envelope for Morgan Heritage lyrically and visually. Krystia Rhodes and her team wrote a fantastic treatment to highlight this creativity and they executed their vision perfectly. The goal is to captivate a whole new audience that would not typically watch a Morgan Heritage video. Our hope is that our existing and new fans appreciate our artistic expression."





Raine Seville 'chats' Lisa Hyper

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"Mek wi keep dem talkin keep dem stalkin" are the lyrics from two of Jamaica's most talked about female dancehall princesses' new collaboration "Chat Mi".

Done on the very popular Sly Robbie produced old school rhythm, BamBam, Raine Seville and Lisa Hyper added their youthful energy representing for females who maintain their confidence regardless of what has been said about them.

Singer/Singjay Raine Seville explained her decision to collaborate with Lisa Hyper on the project.

"Lisa is one a dancehall's most talented young female artistes who has encountered her share of controversy in the business but still maintains her gangster appeal/confidence through it all. I respect females who keep it moving regardless of what comes their way and that is why I reached out to Lisa in the first place."

When Lisa Hype was contacted about the collaboration, her exact words were "I've always respected Raine Seville for contributing her talent to dancehall as a female so when she approach me about the song I immediately said yes because I've always been about woman power and growth. Females are gonna love this remix with myself and Raine I think I did exactly what she wanted on the record I gave her hyper, didn't stray from the concept and was myself."

The remix was produced by Suncity Radio's, Paul "JJwizzle" Stephenson. Raine Seville is currently working on her Ep titled My Goodness, It's Raining.





gussie-clarke.jpg Music producer Augustus 'Gussie' Clarke will be the honouree at the 32nd Kingston College Old Boys Association Annual reunion and Awards Dinner set to take place on May 2 in Queens, New York.

Clarke is in good company. Previous honourees include Michael Manley, Ivan 'Wally' Johnson and Douglas Forrest.

Clarke, who started out with a little known music system, King Gussie's Hi-fi, is today one of the most recognized music producers through his Anchor Recording studio label.

Over the years, he has produced artistes such as Daddy U-Roy (The Higher The Mountain), JC Lodge (Telephone Love), Maxi Priest (Just A Little Bit Longer), Shabba Ranks (Twice My Age) and Gregory Isaacs (Rumours), among others.

Clarke is also a director for Jamaica Artiste Composers and Publishers (JACAP) , a non-profit copyright collecting society that collectively manages performing rights in musical works, by administering rights guaranteed by internationally accepted conventions and granted under the Jamaica Copyright Act of 1993.





Ishawna Masicka collab creating a buzz

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ishawna-and-masicka.jpg Dancehall artistes Ishawna and Masicka have done a hot new single called Answer Me which is generating a lot of buzz on social media.

The song, produced on Take Ova Records, racked up 7,000 plus views on youtube in only one day.

According to Masicka, "Crazy people ah link me pon Instagram and twitter say dem love the song, is a great look, we spent hours in the studio together to get the right sound, and the hard work shows..the song shot."





Man held in connection with cop's murder

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A man has been taken into custody in connection with the murder of Constable Collin Raynor, who was shot dead in Hartland, Spanish Town, St. Catherine on Saturday.

The police are asking anyone with information that can assist the investigation to contact the Spanish Town Police at 984-2305, Crime Stop at 311, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.

Raynor was shot dead while fishing at a pond with his brother.

He was pronounced dead at hospital, while his brother has been admitted in serious condition.





A teenager who robbed and murdered a gay Jamaican at his home because he believed the victim was interested in him, has been jailed for a minimum of 15 years in the UK.

Usher Sawyers was 15 when he stabbed Martin Thomas to death with a kitchen knife at his house in Roehampton, south west London, on April 22 last year.

Sawyers, who dropped his blood-spattered hat as he fled the scene, was on Friday convicted of the 39-year-old Jamaican's murder after a trial at the Old Bailey.

His accomplices - a 14-year-old boy and 20 year old Odel Munroe - were cleared of murder.

They were however found guilty of manslaughter and robbing the victim of a phone, laptop and a video camera.

The trial heard how Sawyers exchanged calls and texts with the victim in the days leading up to the killing.

Sawyers, now 16, Munroe, who is from Wandsworth, south London, and the 14-year-old all denied murder.





Alkaline bottled at Florida show

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Alkaline's concert on Friday night in West Palm Beach Florida was cut short after a bottle was thrown on stage during his performance.

According to new reports, a Ciroc bottle was thrown on stage from the backstage area hitting Alkaline in the back.

The controversial deejay subsequently exited the stage. He decided that he was not going to perform under such circumstances and reportedly left the venue.

A source close to the artiste says that Alkaline was not hurt.

Efforts by YardFlex to reach the promoter and Alkaline proved futile.





GSAT pushed back by one week

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The Ministry of Education has announced the annual GSAT examinations set for this week will be pushed back by one week due to the impact of the fire at the Riverton City dump.

The GSAT examinations were set for Thursday and Friday March 19 and 20. The ministry had said that it was awaiting a Cabinet decision on the matter today.

Since late last week, questions have been raised about whether the exams should still be held, as hundreds of students would have been affected in schools that closed or had reduced hours because of the Riverton fire and smoke.

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites also confirmed on Monday that affected schools will adjust their schedule to make up lost class time due to the effects of the Riverton fire.

Thwaites said, despite the two-day closure of schools, the required class time for the academic year will still be met.

"The Code specifies a minimum of 190 instructional days, so those will have to be made up. But of course that doesn't solve the problem of those students who need instructional time now to prepare for examinations," he conceded, during an interview with RJR News.

The Minister commended teachers in some of the affected schools, "who during very difficult circumstances, were still holding review classes for G-Sat."





Downsound and Ninjaman part company?

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Down Sound Records chief executive officer Josef Bogdanovich refused to confirm or deny rumours that the label has parted ways with Ninjaman.

"We will not make a comment on that situation at this time," he said.

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He added, however, "Right now, I am focusing on buying a building to set up my record label and studio and also pushing ahead with the careers of my artistes, Ishawna and Nature, who will be heading to Europe this year."

Bogdanovich has also denied news in the entertainment industry that he will be purchasing a radio station.

"No, that is not on the agenda at this time," Bogdanovich, who now owns the largest shareholdings in the Kingston Live Entertainment (KLE) Group, said.





5 beauty tips from the Middle East

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The following 5 beauty tips are inspired by the Middle East and offer only a small glimpse into the kind of beauty wisdom the region holds.

When it comes to beauty, every culture has its practices. Luckily, when we run out of exciting or effective options that are popular in our own community, we can learn from others around the world. That way, the journey never ends. Middle Eastern women, with their olive skin and thick, lustrous hair, boast strong beauty traditions that are not only effective but also delicious.

The following list of beauty tips touch upon bodily cleanliness, diet and topical treatments, so you can choose from a diverse array of approaches to optimum beauty, and without getting bored.

1. Olive Oil

Apart from being an inseparable ingredient in the Middle Eastern diet, olive oil is a beauty powerhouse. Just two tablespoons of high quality, raw, unprocessed extra-virgin olive oil each day improves heart health. Topically speaking, olive oil protects the skin from UVB exposure and can reduce the change of getting skin cancer. Olive oil's antioxidants help to keep the skin youthful and energized. Olive oil also lowers the risk of dermatitis and other skin conditions.

Apply a thin layer of olive oil on cleansed skin prior to bed. Olive oil leaves behind a shiny aftermath, so it's best to avoid using it as your go-to moisturizer in the morning - wait until before bedtime, so that the oil can do its magic while your sleep. For the hair, comb about 2-3 tablespoons into your tresses once a week. Let the oil sit for 30 minutes before rinsing clean. Be sure to only use the highest quality olive oil that you can find. That way, the vitamins, minerals, monounsaturated fats and antioxidants are as potent as possible.

2. Rose

Rose is a beauty staple in the Middle East and widely available in various forms - soap, lotion, tonic and oil. Rose enhances beauty in more ways than one. Stress exacerbates skin disorders, including psoriasis, dermatitis and acne. Rose to the rescue! In one study, rose oil was able to decrease the breathing rate, blood oxygen saturation and systolic blood pressure among subjects, who reported feeling more emotionally relaxed and at ease. Topically, rose products exhibit the same calming affect when directly applied to skin. The plant has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it the perfect tool for more youthful and radiant skin.

Try the Suti Rose Water Facial Toner ($34) and bask in its floral glory!

3. Turkish Bath

The Turkish bath (aka a hamam) is an ancient Turkish tradition that emphasizes relaxation and cleanliness - it is a truly emotional and physical cleansing process. A hamam experience starts in a relaxation room heating by dry air. In the center of the room there is heated marble stone, on top of which bathers can lie. After a period of sweating out toxins, bathers are scrubbed, washed and massaged from head to toe.

While a Turkish bath may not be immediately accessible to you, you can mimic the experience by visiting an infrared sauna on a regular basis. Unlike a regular sauna, an infrared sauna heats the body from the inside out, with ambient air remaining relatively cool. It boosts your circulation, burns calories and rids the skin of heavy metals and other toxins, revealing a more beautiful complexion.

4. Milk Bath

Ancient Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra, was famous for her milk baths and now you can reap similar beauty benefits too! Instead of pouring milk into your bathtub, reach for beauty products that contain the same ingredient that makes milk such an effective skincare product: alpha hydroxyl acid. It exfoliates the skin and keeps it smooth and soft.

5. Turmeric

Real beauty comes from within, and turmeric is testament to just that. Turmeric is a common spice found in the Middle East and South Asia that carries incredible health and beauty benefits - it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxifying properties. Turmeric also whitens teeth and gets rid of dandruff.





Jamaican businessman to be extradited to Canada

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A Jamaican fugitive who is wanted by the Canadian authorities on drug trafficking charges, has been ordered extradited.

Erdley Richard Barnes, 38, also known as Michael Anthony Brown, on Thursday waived his right to challenge his extradition when he appeared before the Half-Way-Tree Criminal Court.

Barnes, a businessman of Angels Estate in St. Catherine and Ontario, Canada, was arrested on Tuesday by members of the Counter-Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Branch, (C-TOC), in Liguanea, St. Andrew.





prosperity-preacher-creflo-dollar.jpg The ministry of a prominent Georgia megachurch pastor and evangelist who teaches that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches is seeking donations to buy a luxury jet valued at more than $65 million.

The website of Creflo Dollar Ministries asked people Friday to "Sow your love gift of any amount" to help the ministry buy a Gulfstream G650 airplane. Dollar and his wife, Taffi, are co-pastors of World Changers International Church in College Park. Dollar is one of the most prominent African-American preachers based around Atlanta who have built successful ministries on the prosperity gospel. Ministers in this tradition often hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works.

The ministry's current plane, acquired in 1999, was built in 1984, has traveled more than 4 million miles and is no longer safe, spokesman Juda Engelmayer said. Numerous online reports quoted the ministry website as saying: "We are believing for 200,000 people to give contributions of 300 US dollars or more to turn this dream into a reality." On Friday afternoon, that line was gone, and the website instead said: "Your love gift of any amount will be greatly appreciated." Soon after that, the website's entire page about the plane appeared disabled.

Dollar, who has five children, is a native of College Park and says he received a vision for the church in 1986. His ministry grew quickly and the church moved into its current 8,500-seat sanctuary, on Dec. 24, 1995. Dollar said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press that he renounced his church salary, and his income comes only from personal investments, including a real estate business and horse breeding company called Dollar Ranch. He said he can get up to $100,000 for a single appearance on his packed schedule of speaking engagements.





Police constable killed by gunmen

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The police are confirming that a Constable attached to the St Catherine North Division was killed on Saturday, March 14, in Hartlands, St Catherine. Based on initial reports coming from the area the policeman was attacked by gunmen.

Another man was also shot and injured and is now in hospital.





In the aftermath of the robbery of veteran entertainer Bob Andy, the police have issued a warning to members of the public to be extra careful when traversing the Mona area of St Andrew and surrounding areas.

Police report that they have received numerous reports of persons being robbed by men travelling on motorcycles.

Bob Andy was held up and robbed of $50,000, cellular phones, US$5,000 and other valuables. He was also wounded during the incident on Friday.

The police also posted measures that individuals can take to safeguard their life and property:

• Travel in well-lighted areas

• Avoid displaying and carrying large sums of money in public

• Travel in large groups as there is safety in numbers

• Always have a plan of where you are going; walk confidently as assailants often target persons who are seemingly unsure about reaching particular destinations.

• Try to observe the features of someone who approach/threatens you

• Be observant in your surroundings

• Trust your instincts - if you sense trouble, get away as soon as possible

• If you are being followed, head to the nearest Police Station or a well-populated area

• Check the interior of your vehicle and the surrounding area before entering the vehicle.

Meanwhile, anyone with information that can assist the Police in apprehending the suspects responsible for the stream of robberies in the Mona area, to contact the Matilda's Corner Police at 978-6003, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.





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Kingston Mayor Angela Brown-Burke is in Colorado, United States, learning about the ganja industry.

According to 9news.com, on Friday the mayor met with state and city officials to learn about the laws On Saturday, she visited ganja farms, dispensaries and edible ganja businesses.

"What we want to be able to do is to move it into the light and to allow individuals to participate in an industry that's legal, where they can earn honest bread. It's important for persons to really understand the potential," Burke was quoted as saying.

According to the report, Burke will be sharing her knowledge with other government officials on her return to the island.





etana-photo-3.jpg Reggae singer Etana soared to #2 on the reggae iTunes chart this week with the re-release of her single, Better Tomorrow, which has been chosen as the theme song for an Ebola Awareness initiative.

"The first week sales were 1,000 units and it landed at 22 on the Billboard Reggae singles chart. We are expecting a stronger push this week as the PR efforts will be doubled and channelled through the UN networks," Andre Morris, artiste manager of Etana, said in a release.

In early March, she performed at the United Nations General Assembly Hall, during a private concert "Stop Ebola and Build For the Future" led by United African Congress, Give Them A Hand Foundation and the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation. She delivered a breath-taking set - performing songs off her latest album I Rise as well as her single Better Tomorrow, which has been chosen as the campaign's official anthem.

In the meantime, Etana's Trigger and Richest Girl videos continue to enjoy excellent rotation on local TV stations. The singer will embark on a US tour in May this year alongside Anuhea, a Hawaiian contemporary folk rock singer and songwriter of Caucasian, Hawaiian and Chinese descent.





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Double sprint world record holder Usain Bolt was a winner in his first individual race of the season, clocking 46.37 seconds over 400 meters at the GC Foster Classic at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

The six-time Olympic gold medallist came off the final curve came off the final curve comfortably ahead of the field and his time was slightly faster than his last effort at the distance, 46.44 seconds in 2013, but more than a second slower than his personal best of 45.28 in 2007. He won ahead of his Racers Track Club teammate Edino Steele.

Bolt, who was making a surprise appearance in the men's Clubs and Institution 400-metre event, used the race as part of his build-up for the upcoming season, where he plans to defend his sprint titles at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing in August.

"Give thanks for an injury free 400m run," Bolt, who was slowed by injuries last year, said on his Twitter account.

In his only other race of the year, Bolt anchored the Racers Lions 4x100 meters relay team to a second place finish behind the University of Technology (Utech) at the Gibson McCook Relays on February 28.





Reggae legend Bob Andy attacked, robbed in Mona

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bob-andy.jpg Award-winning reggae veteran, Bob Andy, was attacked and robbed in the Mona area of St Andrew Friday afternoon.

The Corporate Communications Unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force reports that Andy, whose real name is Keith Anderson, was attacked by a knife-wielding man off Mona Road at 2:30 pm. The man slashed the singer on his left arm and robbed him of J$50,000,$US5,000 and two cell phones.

The robber then escaped on a motor-cycle. No arrest has been made.

Bob Andy is one of reggae's greatest songwriters and composers. He started his career as a member of The Paragons in the early 1960s before going solo mid-decade.

I've Got to go Back Home, Fire Burning and Too Experienced are some of the songs that made him famous during the 1960s and 1970s.

He also starred in the 1978 movie, Children of Babylon.





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Somebody who goes by the name War Professa thought it necessary to highlight the fact that deejay sensation, Gully Bop, was seen in a knockoff sweat pants with the writing on it saying 'HUllister' instead of HOllister.

The War Professor guy and Bop's fiancé, Shauna Chin got into a nasty war of words in which Chin noted that Gully Bop was more concerned about launching his own clothing line and not about wearing knock-off.

Here is what the man himself, Gully Bop, had to say:

"In regards to War Professa and him remarks bout mi clothes. A one ting mi have fi tell yuh. Six months ago Gully Bop was non-existent. Country Man did a suffer and a walk dutty and barefoot. Right now mi just grateful seh mi have clothes pan mi back and shoes pan mi foot. Mi deh a England a live out mi dream."

"Mi love and appreciate everybody weh put mi yah suh. Big up Shauna Chin mi wife fi life... a yuh buy di first change a clothes gi mi, anything yuh buy mi wear wid pride. Right now di way my ting set mi just a try fi mek di people dem weh put mi yah suh proud. A nuff things my team have inna di works. My clothing line a launch in Spring. Check out the preview and mek mi know weh unu think. Bop! Bop! Bop!"

Big up Gully Bop iina him Hullister. BOP! BOP!! BOP!!!

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Fans wishing to get an exclusive seat to watch the historic boxing showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao on May 2 in Las Vegas, will have to fork out up to 33,000 us dollars.

This according to forbes.com, which states that less than 200 tickets are currently listed on the secondary market with prices ranging between $4,100 to 33,000 us dollars.

However the organizers of the fight who have distance themselves from the secondary sale of tickets, officially confirmed that tickets will go on sale in a few days and should range from $1,500 to $7,500 us dollars. There's no word on how many tickets will be made available to the general public.

Meanwhile at yesterday's press conference where both boxers met for the first time since the fight date was officially confirmed, Mayweather says is sharpening up his preparations and Pacquiao while thanking the promoters, Mayweather's corner the fans and the media said he was ready to deliver a good fight to satisfy the fans.

The 38 year old Mayweather, is undefeated with a perfect professional record of 47 fights and 0 losses, while Pacquiao who has won ten world titles holds a record of 57 wins, 5 losses and 2 draws inclusive of 38 knock outs.

The welterweight showdown in Vegas is projected to be the most lucrative ever in boxing with Mayweather expected to have a 60-40 split advantage on revenues, earning a minimum of $120 million, while Pacquiao could get at least 80 million dollars.





40 years in jail for serial rapist

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Twenty-nine year old Patrick Green, who on Monday pleaded guilty in connection with the 2012 rape of five females including an eight year old girl in Irwin, St James, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Green who was sentenced in the Western Regional Gun Court, last week pleaded guilty to 23 other charges including rape, buggery, robbery with aggravation and illegal possession of firearm.

The Police High Command described Green as a serial rapist. He was charged earlier this year after DNA tests linked him to the crime. He was also charged in connection with a dozen other cases in Clarendon, St James, Manchester and other parishes.

Investigators used DNA samples collected in other rape cases to link Green to the Irwin attack.Green has previously been convicted for several rapes.

It was reported that on the night of September 24, 2012, gunmen invaded a home in Irwin Point and forced four women and a child into a nearby open lot.

All five were sexually assaulted.





Students affected by smoke from Riverton fire

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The impact of the smoke emanating from the burning Riverton City dump is intensifying in the Corporate Area with numerous students falling ill.

At the Holy Childhood High School in St Andrew two busloads of students had to be rushed to hospital after they reported feeling unwell.

Meanwhile, at the Bridgeport High School in St Catherine, more than 20 students had to seek medical attention because of smoke inhalation. It is reported that 10 students were treated privately while 15 were sent to the Spanish Town Hospital. The school's dean of discipline, Sigvard Bailey, said several of the students fainted sometime after 7 o'clock this morning.

In the meantime, numerous schools and early childhood institutions have been forced to close as a the smoke worsens.

The education Ministry has issued a release reminding school administrators that in light of the increased adverse effect of the fire at the dump they should close the institutions, where necessary, and place students in the care of their parents or guardians.

The dump has been on fire since Wednesday.





Fire at Riverton dump worsens

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The situation at the Riverton Disposal Site where a massive blaze has been raging since Wednesday has worsened.This has prompted the Jamaica Fire Brigade to deploy additional personnel to the site.

The Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) has expressed concern about the effects of the smoke from the fire, saying that it may contain dangerous air pollutants that can lead to or aggravate pre-existing respiratory illnesses among others.

JET is calling for public disclosure on the implications of the smoke.

And the Education Ministry on Thursday afternoon authorised principals of schools adversely affected by the fire to end classes early to protect the health of students and staff.





Nikki Z returns to Jamaican radio

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Radio personality Nikki Z, who was one of the front-runners on ZIP FM some years before she was relieved of her duties in 2009, says she is extremely excited about coming back to the island. News broke on Thursday that Nikki Z resigned from the radio station in Connecticut and would be heading back to Jamaica.

Following her departure from Jamaica, she went on to make a name for herself on Connecticut's WZMX Hot 93.7 FM where she did shows like Reggae Ride to Work and Reggae Riddims.

"That's the only place where things feel right. I appreciate being on a commercial station, but I feel there is more I need to do and can do. (Jamaica) that is where I need to be to do that," she explained.

However, when asked where she would be heading, Nikki Z was very silent nor would she say when she will make her return.

"I can't say yet, but I am very happy that they made that offer. I will be there before the Easter bunny comes," she said, laughing.

"Looking at all the parts, it made more sense. It did not make sense for me to stay with that opportunity in front of me. I am very happy with the offer."

"Jamaica is just a better place for me to be. It's not even so much about work or the money, that's where I have always been at peace and I wanted to get that," she said.

She says there are also other projects that she intends to work on while she is in Jamaica. She added that she will also be working with charities like Rockhouse Foundation and Kids Hub.





Jamaicans fighting for ISIS?

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A senior American military official is claiming that there are a few Jamaicans among foreign fighters who have gone to Syria where militant group Islamic State has seized large swathes of territory.

He also warned on Thursday that existing human smuggling networks are in place that could allow these foreign fighters to infiltrate the United States if they return from the conflict zone.

A report by the Washington Post says Marine Corps General John F. Kelly, Chief of U.S. Southern Command, on Thursday told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the networks are so efficient that a terrorist could enter the United States undetected.

He said about 100 people from countries in the Caribbean and South America have joined the Islamic State. Major Kelly, who oversees U.S military operations in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean, acknowledged that the number of fighters coming from this region is small, but said the countries involved do not have the ability to properly monitor those returning.

He claimed that foreign fighters have gone to Syria from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, and Venezuela.





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Gully Bop seems to be having the time of his life with his first trip to England.Since his arrival there on Wednesday, he has been posting a number of pictures on Instagram with one bearing the caption, "from chicken wing to plane wing."

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He has also posted pictures at various restaurants and outside the popular Wembley Stadium, as well as an interview he did with Bang Radio.

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"Well them say me never a go make it at Jamworld. Say me can't pass Christmas to the New Year, but who God bless no man curse," Gully Bop said upon arrival at Gatwick Airport.

His first official tour stop on his first trip outside Jamaica is scheduled to take place at Club Diamond in Luton, followed by Scala in King's Cross, London, on Sunday. He will have other shows in Birmingham, Bristol, Rusholme and again in London. That will be followed by Caribbean shows in Grenada, Guyana, Cayman Islands and Barbados. He is also scheduled to do shows in Canada and the United States in coming months.

While songs like Body Specialist and Bad Like We continue to do well in England and on the iTunes charts, Gully Bop is also gearing up to release his debut EP, Rags To Riches. In addition, he also has other songs like Roun' Here, Drop Mi featuring Imari, Life Too Sweet featuring M-Gee and Gully Wine.

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2 cops shot in Ferguson

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FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) -- Two officers were shot in front of the Ferguson Police Department early Thursday, authorities said, as demonstrators gathered after the city's police chief resigned in the wake of a scathing Justice Department report alleging bias in the police department and court.

A 32-year-old officer from nearby Webster Groves was shot in the face and a 41-year-old officer from St. Louis County was shot in the shoulder, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference. Both were taken to a hospital, where Belmar said they were conscious. He said he did not have further details about their conditions but described their injuries as "serious."

"I don't know who did the shooting, to be honest with you," Belmar said, adding that he could not provide a description of the suspect or gun.

He said he assumed, based on where the officers were standing and the trajectory of the bullets, that "these shots were directed exactly at my officers."

The shots were fired shortly after midnight as protesters gathered following the resignation of embattled Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson on Wednesday. Before the shooting, some at the protest chanted to show their dissatisfaction with the resignations of Jackson and City Manager John Shaw this week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Authorities from multiple law enforcement agencies also assembled at the scene.

The protest was a familiar scene in Ferguson, which saw similar and much larger demonstrations after the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown last summer by city police officer Darren Wilson. A state grand jury cleared Wilson, who is white, in November, sparking further protests, looting and fires. But Wednesday was the first time an officer at a protest had been shot.

In amateur video accessed by the Associated Press, two shots ring out and a man is heard screaming out in pain.





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For Paolo Ballesteros every day is #TransformationTuesday. The Filipino actor, host, and TV model came on our radar in October for using Instagram to showcase his mind-blowing cosmetic skills. And this time, he's morphed himself into a platinum blonde Kim Kardashian and a puckered-lipped Kylie Jenner (with bulging cleavage too!).

Ballesteros uses makeup, wigs, and occasionally contact lenses to transform himself into some of the fiercest personalities out there - from Miley Cyrus to Meryl Streep and Katy Perry to Beyoncé. Personally, I can barely apply eyeshadow without looking like I got punched in the face; so how this 31-year-old father of three has contouring down to a science and lip-liner nailed to perfection makes me a tad envious (though I do prefer a more natural look). If anything, his looks make for some great costume party inspiration.





Clansman arrested for double murder

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The police say they have arrested and charged a top-tier gang member in relation to a January 3, 2015 double murder in Kitson Town, St Catherine.

He is Horace Swaby, otherwise called 'Blacks' or 'Chucky'. He was nabbed about 6:00 am, on Tuesday, at a house in Green Park, Sandy Bay, Clarendon.

Police said intelligence revealed that Swaby was a close associate of the now deceased Michael Morgan, otherwise called 'Tullus', who was on the nation's most wanted list and was also implicated in the murders.

Both men are said to be top-tier members of the Klansman Gang, which operates in Spanish Town, St Catherine, and its environs.

Radcliffe Richards and his wife Wendy-Ann Byfield-Richards, both of Kingsland district, St Catherine, were murdered at their home on Saturday, January 3.





mavado-ioctane-alkaline.jpg Producer DJ Frass believes he has achieved the unlikely by voicing Mavado, Alkaline and I-Octane on one track in what he says is a show of unity.

Entitled Above A Dem,the song was recorded in the United States, while the rest was done in Jamaica.

"The whole concept is that Alkaline did his part and then Octane and Mavado followed on with what him seh," he said.

Since being released a week ago, Frass said the song has been doing well with regular play on Power 105 and Hot 97 in the United States and BBC 1Xtra in the United Kingdom. Locally, he said, the song has been getting non-stop airplay.

Frass stressed that this collaboration is all part of his drive to do the unexpected. Also on his horizon is the release the 'Jelly Water' rhythm with acts like Mavado, Alkaline, Vanessa Bling, I-Octane, Assassin and others.

Frass added that I-Octane's My Journey album, which he produced a year ago, is still doing well overseas. In addition, he said Alkaline's Ride On Me that he also produced has received well over one million YouTube views since it was released in January.





Caribbean Fashionweek June 6 - 15

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Model agency, Pulse's 35th anniversary will highlight the 15th staging of Caribbean Fashionweek (CFW) slated for June 6-15. Pulse chairman Kingsley Cooper said this year his organisation is engaging the entire fashion community in the Caribbean for two weekends of activities, which will involve restaurants, gyms, bars, fashion purveyors and all lifestyle-related entities.

"This will be a landmark year for us. We are doing all we can possibly do to revitalise the fashion industry with a strong emphasis on the developmental aspects of the industry in the region. There has been less support for designers from regional governments including here in Jamaica and this year we will be lobbying for stronger ties between both groups," he continued.

Cooper further explained that this fall-off in support has resulted in a gradual reduction in the number of designers from the wider Caribbean who showcase collections at CFW over the years.

However, he hopes to be able to attract these designers in numbers, come this June.

On Friday, June 12, the emerging designers of the region will take to the runway to showcase their collections. The following day the master designers will be on show, while the closing night of the show will be dubbed 'Rock the Runway'. This will see CFW's merger with music coming to the fore.

Cooper also disclosed that former Pulse superstar Nadine Willis will be a special guest at CFW 2015. Willis was discovered by the agency back in 2002 and within weeks of being introduced to the international market she was shooting editorials for major fashion magazines on both sides of the Atlantic. Her meteoric rise climaxed as the face of power brand Gucci in 2003.





Saint Int'l Agency makes American Vogue

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saint-intl-dweight-peters.jpg Saint International Model agency has created fashion history at its most extraordinary with two of its teen models- Kai Newman and Tami Williams, featured in an editorial in the March issue of American Vogue.

Indisputably the world's most prestigious and influential magazine, Vogue has telegraphed to the world that Saint models Tami and Kai are among the top in the world putting Saint International firmly in the fashion history books.

The shoot demonstrates that Saint Models Tami and Kai are among the world's most prominent and sought after models and new generation supermodels.

The girls are now appearing for major international designers for what is called the 'Fashion Olympics' starting with New York Fashion Week. So far they have appeared for Ralph Lauren, Phillip Lim, Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch and Burberry just to name a few.





Sean Kingston Alkaline collab in the making

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Sean Kingston has indicated via his official Instagram page that a collab with dancehall deejay Alkaline maybe in the making.

The photograph with the caption; "Creating dem worldwide vibes with the Killa @therealalkaline2016 dem nuh ready fi dis ah link up" shows Sean Kingston standing next to Alkaline in what appears to be a studio.

Alkaline's management team confirms t that a collab produced by DJ Frass is in the pipeline.





Lookout London Here comes Gully Bop!

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Internet sensation Gully Bop has secured international work permits and left the island on Wednesday for London, England.

The 50-year-old deejay who rose to fame last year after a video of him free-styling went viral, is expected to make stops in Wales, East London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and South London.

Gully Bop confirmed that this is his first time flying outside of Jamaica.

In April, Gully Bop is expected to return for shows in Trinidad and Cayman.

He will return to Europe for several events. He will wrap up his tour with performances in the United States in July.

Gully Bop is also making preparations to launch his T-shirt line later this year of which he says part proceeds will be donated to charity.





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A jury awarded Marvin Gaye's children $7.4million on Tuesday after determining singers Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied their father's music to create Blurred Lines, the biggest hit song of 2013.

Marvin Gaye's daughter Nona Gaye wept as the verdict was being read and was hugged by her attorney, Richard Busch.

The verdict could tarnish the legacy of Williams, a reliable hit-maker who has won Grammy Awards and appears on NBC's music competition show The Voice.

It was previously revealed that the song had made a staggering $16million for Pharrell, Thicke, rapper T.I. and the record company, though T.I. and various record and music companies had previously been cleared of copyright infringement charges.

The jury decided that the family should receive $4million in damages and $3.4 million in profits from the song, with Thicke forced to pay $1.7million from his own pocket and Pharrell $1.6million.





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The Police are being accused of murdering a man who residents say was accosted on suspicion of being in possession of a ganja spliff.

The incident occurred last Friday afternoon in Mahoney District in Lawrence Tavern, West Rural St. Andrew.

The deceased has been identified as Garfield Coburn of Unity District.

Councillor for the Lawrence Tavern Division, the JLP's John Myers, is alleging that Coburn was murdered.

Alleged eyewitnesses say when he was accosted by the, Coburn protested that he was smoking a cigarette and not ganja. They say he was later draped and shot dead by a policeman.

Councilor Myers says a video of the incident involving Coburn has been turned over to the Independent Commission of Investigations, INDECOM.

After the controversial killing of Mario Deane, in August last year, National Security Minister Peter Bunting, issued a statement where he ordered the police not to seek to arrest persons in possession of a ganja spiff.





Students watch as warden dies at their school

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Students of the Kilsyth Primary School in Grantham, Clarendon, who were gathered at their morning worship, watched a warden of their school die early Monday.

The incident is reported to have happened at 8:00 am.

The warden has since been identified as 32-year-old Natalee Gayle.

Reports are that Gayle was standing just outside of the school's compound when occupants of a black motor car approached her.

It is said that a man alighted from the motor vehicle and opened gunfire hitting her several times. She then reportedly ran onto the school's compound where she collapsed in front of the students.

The men escaped.





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Kevin of the group Voicemail has been busy in the studio working a new EP under a new name, Kevyn V, but he still remains committed to Voicemail.

The entertainer, who has made his name with the vocal group, explains that this is a solo project which is very important to him. Acording to the artiste, this is a move to prevent him from doing what he calls "Dance songs" for the rest of his career.

The EP titled "Back for the First Time" is slated for release in coming months.

Kevin V is currently promoting the first single dubbed "Gal Search".





Ganja is still illegal

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Chairman of the Ganja Future Growers and Producers Association, Orville Silvera, acknowledges that several Jamaicans are of the opinion that ganja is no longer illegal and have closed their minds to any other possibility.

Silvera is appealing to the private sector to assist in implementing urgent public education programmes to include communities and public hearings. He noted that the concern is greater when tobacco regulations are enforced with the ganja laws. Persons may find themselves facing heavy fines and possible jail time if they misunderstand the provisions. He emphasized that smoking in public places is illegal.

When the laws are amended, possession of ganja weighing two ounces or less will be a ticketable offence instead of an arrestable one, and persons will have the option of paying the fine as they do traffic tickets.





Kartel in prison but still dominating dancehall

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Last month, the Youth View Awards gave the four top prizes to incarcerated murderer, Vybz Kartel, against a background of chants from the audience to "Free Worl' Boss".

Many are still wondered how it's possible for a man behind bars to put out so many new songs while supposedly being denied the privilege of recording in prison. Of course, those brave enough to ask that pertinent question are fed the questionable rhetoric: "Kartel voiced those songs long ago and they are just being released now". What-E-VER!

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Kartel must be laughing his head off at those who felt that they could stop his progress by throwing him in jail, because the reality is that Addi is just as popular now as when he was free to roam the streets. His songs get more air play - both in and out of the dance- than artistes who have legitimate songs, passport and visa. Kartel has a captive audience of youngsters who glorify his every lyric and this was demonstrated at the YVA's, which was sponsored by the biggest corporate and media entities, including LIME and the Jamaica Observer.

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Interestingly, on Monday, Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites, used this very same award as his basis for declaring that young people in the country are now glorifying lawlessness. He noted that Kartel, a convicted murderer was the artiste on whom all the accolades were heaped.

Mr Thwaites, who made the comment at a church service at the Swallowfield Chapel in St. Andrew to mark the beginning of National Mathematics Week, said the youth needed to be re-educated on the core values and principles of society.

Thank you, Mr Thwaites. YardFlex is in total agreement with you on that. Perhaps Mr Thwaites could use his power and influence to find out the answer to the question that has been bugging everyone: "Is Kartel being allowed to voice songs behind bars?"





Flippa's hearing to be rescheduled

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A major snowstorm in New Jersey on March 5 halted the hearing of deejay Flippa Moggla (Flippa Mafia) at the Camden County Superior Court in New Jersey, last Thursday.

According to Peter Aseltine, press officer in the Division of Criminal Justice, the hearing was cancelled and has not yet been rescheduled.

Flippa Moggla, whose given name is Andrew Davis, is facing conspiracy to distribute cocaine, leading a narcotics organisation, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and money laundering charges. He has been incarcerated since September 2013. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

So far, six persons involved in the case have pleaded guilty.They are:

* James McBride -- pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of narcotics with intent to distribute. Sentenced on November 21 to 16 years in state prison with an eight-year period of parole ineligibility;

* Angel Rivera -- pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of narcotics with intent to distribute on December 19. State will recommend sentence of 10 years in state prison with 3 1/2-year period of parole ineligibility. Sentencing scheduled for April 10.

* Juan Cortez -- pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of narcotics with intent to distribute on December 19; State will recommend sentence of 8 years in state prison with two-year period of parole ineligibility. Sentencing scheduled for April 10;

* Sidonie McLeod -- pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy. She was sentenced on January 16 to five years in state prison;

* Hioka Myrie -- pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy. She was sentenced to three years in state prison on February 20; and,

* Ruan Rose -- pleaded guilty to third-degree conspiracy. He was sentenced to four years in state prison on February, 13.

American defence attorney-at-law J Michael Farrell has vowed to get justice for the dancehall artiste.





Patrick Green, 27, who was charged in connection with the 2012 rape of five females including an eight year old girl in Irwin, St James, has pleaded guilty.

Green who pleaded guilty on before the Western Regional Gun Court, will be sentenced on March 12.

Green, who the Police High Command described as a serial rapist was charged earlier this year after DNA tests linked him to the crime.e was charged in connection with a dozen other cases in Clarendon, St James, Manchester and other parishes.

Investigators used DNA samples collected in other rape cases to link Green to the Irwin attack.

Green has previously been convicted for several rapes.

It was reported that on the night of September 24, 2012, armed men invaded a home in Irwin Point and forced four women and a child into a nearby open lot. All five were sexually assaulted.





A video of a schoolgirl from a Portmore, St Catherine, high school engaging in oral sex with a male has crept up on the social networking site, Facebook, recently.

The short video shows the schoolgirl clad in uniform and another male, believed to be a student of the same high school, engaging in the activity. The schoolgirl grabs hold of the male's genitals while at the same time performing the sex act.

"It feels good," the male reportedly says in the video in between the girl's actions.

He also encourages her to stop hiding her face from the camera, however, after protesting, her face can be seen. At the end of the video, the male's face is also shown while he laughs.

It is unclear when the video was shot, but it was observed on Facebook last week.

At the time the school was contacted, the principal appeared to have been in a meeting.

According to an administrator, "We are aware and the board is presently in a meeting discussing it. But I do not think I can say much more."





sabrina-cammock.jpg Jamaican-born student and athlete Sabrina Cammock was found dead in a Times Square Hotel on Saturday the New York Police are reporting.

Cammock, who hails from Watt Town in St. Ann, attended the Bethany Primary School near Alexandria in the parish. She left Jamaica after completing grade six for the United States where she attended Syracuse University where she was studying public health.

A member of a school record-setting 4×100-meter relay team, Cammock also won a Syracuse scholar-athlete of the week award last April while she was also named to the 2012-2013 Big East Conference All-Academic Team.

Thought to be 22 year old, Cammock competed as recently as the previous weekend, when she was on the women's 4×400 relay team at the 2015 ACC Indoor Championships.

Cammock had recently done an internship involving medical quality assurance in an oncology unit, giving a presentation about the subject as part of an internship symposium at her school in December.

As a high-school student, Cammock ran for The Mary Louis Academy, a Catholic girls' school near her home in the Jamaica Estates section of Queens.

Police say there were no signs of criminality when Cammock was found at around 9:20 a.m. Saturday at the Hotel Edison. The hotel declined to comment on the death, first reported Saturday by the Daily News.

According to medical examiners, more tests are needed to determine the cause of death. Sabrina Cammock's autopsy was conducted Sunday, but the results were awaiting further studies, medical examiners' spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said.





Kanye West samples another reggae song

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Popular comedian/recording artiste Noel 'Rozah Roze' Ellis has been sampled by Kanye West in a new single called 'All Day', which sees him borrowing lines from Ellis' single 'Dance With Me'.

Rozah Roze is known for his acting cameos in the popular Ity & Fancy Cat show, however, before turning to acting, he was releasing original songs in Canada.Rozah Roze said he did not expect that his music career could bear fruits after so many years.

"I am really surprised because I released my album which the sample came from in 1983. The label called me since that in the late 90s and told me that they were going to re-release it, and I gave them the go ahead, but I didn't see this coming so many years later," said Roze, who is the son legendary Rock Steady icon the late Alton Ellis.

The artiste who left Canada to reside in Jamaica in 2008, after his father's death, says he had a feeling something special was happening with his music overseas during his absent.

"Every time I go on the Internet fans of my music constantly tell me that they like the album. But Jamaicans don't know much about it because it was released in Canada. I also saw that some white reggae bands were performing my songs in their sets and I thought, this mean something is going on overseas," he said.

Roze was still uncertain how much money he would gain from the sample. However, he did reveal that he signed a contract with the record label based in Canada, permitting Kanye West to sample his work.

"The label called me and told me that I am going to get my percentage from the deal. I trust them to deal with me good because I have worked with them before and they gave me my advance and such," he said.

With his current stroke of luck, Rozah Roze is now looking to give his musical career a rebirth. Rozah is also brother to veteran comedian Owen 'Blakka' Ellis. Kayne West is no stranger to dabbling in reggae music, the rapper sampled Super Bugle's Dust A Sound Boy in 2012.

Since the Rozah Roze sample, several persons have viewed Dance With Me on YouTube, some admitting that they only became aware of the song due to Kanye West's sample.





beenie-man-photo-7.jpg The baby mama of dancehall star, Moses "Beenie Man" Davis, was held at a dock in Florida on Sunday with eight kilos of cocaine.

She is Semarie (Simonie) Paul, who hails from Ocho Rios, St. Ann. She is one of two Jamaicans nabbed on Sunday by law enforcement personnel in Florida.The other woman has been identified as Simone Walters,34, whose last known address in the US is Laurel, Maryland.

Walters is from Oracabessa,St. Mary.

According to Florida sources, Paul was allegedly held with eight kilograms of cocaine at a dock in Tampa.It's unclear the circumstances surrounding Walter's arrest.

Up to late Sunday, both women were being held at Pasco County Jail in Hillsborough, Florida.

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Since 1975, International Women's Year, the United Nations has celebrated International Women's Day on March 8. Each year on that day Jamaica joins with nations all over the world in recognizing the roles of women in nation building, human rights and social justice. It is primarily an occasion for envisioning potential opportunities, acknowledging accomplishments, assessing past challenges and focusing greater attention on women's rights and gender equality.

This year's theme is "Empower Women, Empower Humanity: Picture it!"

Over the years, Jamaica has made considerable progress towards empowering women through improved access to quality education and training, improved participation in high-level decision-making, facilitating the growth of small and medium enterprises, expanding health care and services for women and girls and through poverty reduction programmes, among many other initiatives.

We celebrate Jamaica's ranking in a recent International Labour Organization Survey as having the greatest proportion of women managers and business leaders.

I wish to acknowledge our women and men of Jamaica who continue to support and promote the work and value of women and girls in our educational institutions, homes, churches, communities and business places.

No Jamaican man, woman, boy or girl can remain indifferent to or disengaged from the challenges we face as a country in relation to violence against women and girls, and in relation to gender-based violence. I appeal to everyone to play their part to cause an end to all acts or practices of violence against women and girls, and gender-based violence, even as we seek to ensure a society that is safe and secure for all.

While we mobilise individual and community action in this regard, the Government of Jamaica, through the Bureau of Women's Affairs, and with support from UN Women has crafted a draft National Strategic Action Plan to Eliminate Gender-Based Violence in Jamaica. This action plan is a comprehensive multi-sector plan and provides specific priority areas towards eliminating gender-based violence, and allocates responsibilities to key players for achieving these.

Women's full participation in decision-making and economic life across all sectors is essential to building sustainable livelihoods, a stronger economy and improving the quality of life for all in families, communities and the wider society. The Government is working assiduously to ensure that our women and girls are empowered to participate in every area of our society and contribute holistically to the development of our nation.





Dexta Daps - Dancehalls latest sensation

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In this day and age of music influences, contemporary Reggae Music, has become a commodity that has crossed over to Rhythm and Blues, Hip-Hop/Rap, all the way to the Pop world. With this success reaching the masses of the world, Pirate Entertainment, Inc. would like to introduce the future of Contemporary Reggae Music that will catapult to be that next big thing in the Reggae-mainstram arena. DEXTA DAPS.

Born Louis Anthony Grandison Jr, he grew up in the mean streets of Seaview Garden in Jamaica which were the stomping grounds for such reggae legends as Shabba Ranks and Garnet Silk. Growing up in the poverty stricken streets he learn to take out his frustration the best way he knew how, by song. " I would hear the melodic voices of the kids crying for help, and the sadness of the people. Their voices, and hunger for retribution was very inspiring for me, and made me want to sing songs of happiness and joy." Dexta Daps

He has been compared to Sean Paul and Maxi Priest with his versatility and unique voice. His style is different and refreshing and with his debut first single, "Move Ur Body" & "Stupid", he has proven that. Shaking the dancehall's up from Rochester to New York all the way to down to Florida. DEXTA DAPS has made a movement of young and old packing the party to hear his songs play.

He also demonstrates that he has the Dance-Hall abilities with his underground hit "CRAZY". The management team of K.P.G.M and the amazing production of Beatmania, he has recorded an unbelievable album called "SING TO ME". With the inspiration of longevity, the recording label of Pirate Entertainment, Inc. has delivered to the public an album with the diversity to appeal the massive genres.





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(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of people paraded across a Selma, Alabama bridge on Sunday to commemorate the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" march, not waiting for dignitaries who had planned to lead them in marking the 50th anniversary of a turning point in the U.S. civil rights movement.

In contrast to the police violence that marked the original march half a century ago, the mood was often celebratory, at times festive, as an estimated 70,000 demonstrators cheered, sang "We Shall Overcome" and carried signs as they walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Bloody Sunday on March 7, 1965, took its name from the beating that roughly 600 peaceful civil rights activists sustained at the hands of white state troopers and police who attacked them with batons and sprayed them with tear gas.

"It's very crowded but at the same time it's fun and really great to see everybody coming together all races, all people," one woman told CNN as marchers began moving across the bridge.

A large throng of people started walking across the bridge at the appointed time, before dignitaries could be brought to the front to lead them. Among the throng were demonstrators who took part in the 1965 march, as well as others calling for immigration and gay rights.

President Barack Obama visited Selma on Saturday and declared the work of the U.S. civil rights movement advanced but unfinished in the face of ongoing racial tensions.

"Fifty years from Bloody Sunday, our march is not yet finished, but we're getting closer," said Obama, the first black president of the United States.

The anniversary comes at a time of renewed focus on racial disparities in the United States and anger over the treatment of black civilians, among them 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose killing by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last year sparked widespread protests. On Friday, Tony T. Robinson Jr., a 19-year-old black man who appeared to be unarmed, was shot dead by a white police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, sparking protests there on Sunday.

U.S. Representative John Lewis, who led the march across the bridge 50 years ago and was knocked out by a state trooper, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the events of that day had led to lasting progress in civil rights.

"When I go back, I remember the bridge for me is almost a sacred place," the Georgia Democrat said. "That's where some of us gave a little blood and where some people almost died."





4 Jamaicans injured at Moon Palace hotel site

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Four Jamaican workers at the Moon Palace resort construction site in Ocho Rios, St. Ann have been hospitalised after being injured in 2 separate incidents today.

Police are yet to conform the incidents, but workers who contacted Irie FM News, say at least one appeared to have suffered serious injury.

The injured men are said to be employed to the Bacsa construction company.

Reports are that in the first incident, two men were cleaning a garbage hold when other workers, unaware that the men were inside, dumped a load of broken tiles down the shoot.

Its reported that the 2 men suffered injuries to their heads and necks, with one of them appearing to be severely injured.

In the second incident, two men reportedly fell from a scaffolding.

Their condition is not known.





71-year-old woman murdered in Portland

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shocked.jpgPortland recorded it's first murder of the year on Saturday when Valerina Whyte, 71, of Cornwall Barracks was murdered.

It's reported that at about 7:50 pm Whyte, a farmer, went outside hto attend to her chickens.

Her husband who was in the house heard her screaming for murder and help.

She was later found with stab wounds to the neck and hand.

The Portland police are investigating the murder.





Saudicka Diaram quits CVM Television

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Friday, March 13th 2015 will be the final wrap for award winning TV host Saudicka Diaram, who recently tendered her resignation to CVM Group in Kingston.

During her tenure at CVM TV, Diaram served as co-anchor of the station's popular morning programme - 'CVM @ Sunrise.' She created, produced and hosted her signature project D'Wrap - a top rated weekly newsletter that reviewed local and international entertainment stories. She also produced E-Watch, a weekly investigative entertainment feature that delved into entertainment business and issues.

Her work was acknowledged for two consecutive years (2010 and 2011) by the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) who named her 'Best Entertainment Journalist.'

The popular TV host, producer and communication consultant departs CVM TV to pursue other opportunities in broadcast journalism.

"Life is about progression, and I think there is a next level in my career that is waiting on me" she said.

Diaram holds a Bachelors degree from the University of the West Indies in Media and Communication and is currently reading for a Masters degree in Cultural Studies.





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Reggae singer, Chronixx, has announced a three parish tour featuring his Zincfence Redemption Band live in concerts scheduled for March 13 -15. The four hour concerts which form Part One of the "Capture Land JAMAICA Tour" kicks off in St. Elizabeth on Friday March 13, then goes on to Kingston Saturday March 14 and culminates in Portland on Sunday March 15.

With a vision for development and a purpose of being a change agent, the Reggae singer has also taken a novel approach to his musical tour of the island. Each concert, produced by the Chronixx Music Group, will be staged in venues that will ensure an intimate setting. The event is a full length feature concert from Chronixx and the Zincfence Redemption which will differ from the abbreviated performances delivered when the artiste is billed as part of larger shows with limited time allotted for performing.

The concept of the event is driven by the young musician's belief that a movement is needed to catapult the music industry to priority for policy makers and development. Chronixx explained this view during an interview on Television Jamaica's weekly entertainment programme Entertainment Report aired on February 13, "I am doing an island tour..., we are doing tours and events in makeshift venues, which means there is no form of movement that acknowledges the fact that we are the main export. It's not bauxite, it's not tourism. It's music." he stated.

With strong views and a militant approach to his faith, the artiste will share with patrons his way of life and as such notes that the event will be meat and alcohol free. Chronixx is excited about the upcoming event which will mark his debut performances in Portland and St. Elizabeth, giving him a chance to connect with a broader cross section of his fan base. The artiste steadily rose in popularity but in 2010 received mass approval with singles, Start A Fyah, Capitalist (featuring Infinite) and Behind Curtain; and continues to amass a strong international fan base.

Chronixx and Zincfence Redemption are currently in the United States on the Dread and Terrible West Coast tour which features Kelissa and Keznamdi with 12 stops between February 14 and March 1.





Lisa Hanna under pressure

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Internal pressure is mounting on Cabinet Minister Lisa Hanna in her Southeast St Ann constituency.

Three of the four PNP councilors issued a joint statement saying they no longer have confidence in Miss Hanna's leadership and want her to be replaced.The statement calling for the head of PNP MP Lisa Hanna was issued under the name of Councilor for the Moneague Division, Lloyd Garrick, Councillor for the Claremont Divison, Lambert Weir, and Councillor for the Bensonton Division, Lydia Richards - all comrades.

Councilor Garrick says along with other issues, he and his colleagues are vexed at recent public statements made by Miss Hanna which painted them as lacking transparency. A few weeks ago, Councillor Richards announced her intention to challenge Miss Hanna for the right to represent the PNP in South East St. Ann in the next general election.

In their statement, Councilors Richards, Weir and Garrick said that the relationship with Miss Hanna has deteriorated so badly that they can say without any fear of contradiction, that she will be challenged.

The Councillors stated that it's not their intention to create any rift or unnecessary tension inside the PNP. But according to them their position against Miss Hanna is one of principle because they believe that the party is bigger than any one person.





Bacchanal 2015 a star-studded affair

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Bacchanal 2015 will be star-studded. According to Charmaine Franklin, director of Bacchanal Jamaica, the season will continue featuring some of soca music's top artistes.

Veteran artiste Farmer Nappy who performed last week pulled thousands of patrons to Mas Camp. However, Franklin said Bacchanal's entertainment bar is not yet at its peak.

"We have a star-studded cast of entertainers coming in. Every week we will have something new and interesting. We are committed to delivering nothing but the best to our patrons. Each week, Mas Camp will be presented in a new way, so nothing is ever the same," she said.

Franklin noted that the carnival momentum is increasing with every event.

"The season is in full swing and the carnival is growing. We have a new location and everybody is enjoying here. We have a very nice home and we can do so much with it each year," she said.

Last week's staging of Bacchanal Friday was spearheaded by Smirnoff, which is also offering patrons a signature carnival mixed drink called Smirnoff Wild Fire.

Some of the acts expected to perform over the carnival period include Destra, Kes The Band, 5Star Akil, Bunji Garlin and Fayann Lyons, Lyrikal and Kernal Roberts, among others.





Good Life goes all white

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Good Life, the highly anticipated calendar event in Stony Hill, St Andrew will see its 8th staging dubbed 'Gods and Goddess The All-White Edition', Saturday.

The event takes place at a new venue, D'Clubhouse in Temple Hall, Stony Hill.

Good Life is known for high fashion, epic vibes and energy-packed juggling from some of the most sought-after selectors. This year will be no different with the likes of Stone Love, ZJ Ice, Redd Heat, BloodStain, Teflon International, DJ Shawn, and two New York-based sound systems.

Over the past few weeks, Good Life promotional activities, spearheaded by former University of the West Indies' Guild Cultural Entertainment Affairs Chairman, André 'Majhail' Williams, has garnered even greater anticipation among the seasoned as well as newly expectant patrons.

The social-media viral of Good Life confirms the excitement generated and, as such, patrons are encouraged to come out early and enjoy every moment of the fun-filled event.

For the first time, Good Life has the backing of two corporate entities, Magnum and Boom. Admission is $500.





etana-photo-2.jpgReggae singer Etana has once again broken new ground on the international front. Her single, 'A Better Tomorrow' was recently chosen by the United Nations as the official anthem for the UN's Ebola Emergency Response.

The song, which was released in 2013, as part of her VP album contract, and produced by famed producer Shane Brown of Juke Boxx Productions, has been re-released with all proceeds going towards supporting the ongoing fight against Ebola. However, amid the congratulatory messages, Brown said he was that he was disappointed that he was not contacted by either VP nor Etana about the accomplishment.

According to Brown, several musicians, including Kirk Bennett, Aeion Hoilett, Lamont Savory, Kevon Webster, Chevaughn Clayton, Nikki Burt, Sherita Lewis, Michael Howell and Roland McDermott, were involved in the musical writing process and should be given their rightful recognition.

"Our music industry has been plagued with negativity and since those are highly publicised, VP could have shone some much needed light on the positive aspects of the industry instead of selfishly making it all about them," Brown stated.

Though the royalties obtained from the purchase of the song rightfully belong to those involved in the musical writing process, Brown insisted that they did not have a problem donating it to charity.

He also took to social media to air his grouse.

Soon after posting his comments, chiding both Etana and VP for their lack of communication as it relates to the accomplishment of the song, Etana responded.

"The politics in the business never seems to amaze me. Big ups to all the players of instruments and vocalists who worked hard to the music of this song. Even though you all laughed at me when I asked for just the heartbeat (kick drum). I still managed to come to the studio the following day and delivered on what you all thought was a joke in the beginning. I'm not too much for politics and label decisions. VP, Please send out a proper release giving proper respects to Shane Brown for a job well done ..."

But Brown did not appear to take too kindly to this comment.

"We all laughed with each other while making a great record and supported each other 100 per cent by sharing ideas. VP doesn't need to send out a release to give me respect, as my work speaks for itself. What they can do is put that energy into the few artistes that have left. This is not political. It's truths and rights. I don't see what you are amazed about."





Weeping for our children

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It seems like everyday there is some tragic news about children in Jamaica. Just look at the headlines for this week: Man kidnaps, sodomises 7 year old boy; Murdered Donald Quarrie Grade 8 student was pregnant; Mother, 2-year-old baby killed by gunmen; Three children die in fire; uncle in custody; Drowned teen was a student at Meadowbrook High.

Clearly there is an attack on our children and this has got to stop.

At the end of January, another 14-year-old student was chopped up and her body dumped. It was later revealed that she was killed by a married man who was having an affair with the little girl and had gotten her pregnant. On Wednesday, there was a copycat killing of Kayalicia, a 14-year-old student of Donald Quarrie, who was four months pregnant. People in her St Thomas district say there were not surprised as they had suspected that Kayalicia, who was a quiet studious girl, was being molested by someone at her home.

And, shame of shames -- NOBODY thought it was their duty to to report it to the authorities.

YardFlex is appealing to parents to be more vigilant; to neighbours to be more neighbourly; to teachers to be more observant; to the social services to step up and do their job and to the churches to unite and lead the nation in a week of fasting and prayer for our children.

Our children are our future.





Drowned teen was a student at Meadowbrook High

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The teen who reportedly drowned Friday afternoon at the Hellshire Beach in St Catherine, has been identified.

He is 16-year-old Decardo Morgan, a student of the Meadowbrook High School in St Andrew.

Reports are that about 12:30 pm, Decardo was among a group of grade 11 boys who went swimming. He, however, got into difficulties and is suspected to have drowned.

It is said that attempts were made to rescue him, however, rough sea conditions made it difficult.

Meanwhile, the vice principal for Meadowbrook High expressed concern about the news reaching the media, as she did not want news outlets to blame the school for negligence.





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An autopsy result on a teen who was murdered earlier this week in St. Thomas revealed that she was four months pregnant.

It also showed that she died of shock and haemorrhage.

14 year old Kayalicia Simpson of Newland in Yallahs St. Thomas met her demise in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Kayalicia had gone outside at about 4 o'clock to an outside bathroom reportedly to prepare for school.

Her failure to return at her usual time raised alarm and her grandmother with whom she lived went to investigate.

To the grandmother's dismay Kayalicia was not in the yard. A search for her led to her body being discovered with several chop wounds to the head and neck.

Kayalicia was a student at the Donald Quarrie High school in St. Andrew.

The police are continuing their investigations and have so far picked up two suspects.





Mother, 2-year-old baby killed by gunmen

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mother-2-year-old-killed.jpgThe St James police have held one man and is seeking another for questioning in relation to the murder of a mother and her two-year-old daughter who were gunned down at their home at the border of St James and St Elizabeth on Thursday night.

The deceased have been identified as 33-year-old farmer Nicole Luton and her daughter Saskia Mullings.

Luton's spouse, a 38-year-old farmer, was also shot and seriously injured during the attack. He has been admitted to hospital in stable condition.

Their four other children, who were at home during the vicious attack, managed to escape physical harm.

Reports are that about 11:30 Thursday night the common-law partners and their five children were at home when attackers tried to kick open the door.

In a bid to protect his family, Luton's spouse braced the door to the house to prevent the attackers from gaining entry. However, the gunmen retaliated by spraying the dwelling with bullets.

Luton scrambled under the bed for cover but quickly rushed out and collapsed near to the door after she was hit by a bullet.

One of the children said that he was awakened by the explosions and rushed for cover.

"I was sleeping and mi hear mi mother start scream out, so mi run through the back door and go over the banana walk and come back and hide in a toilet outside," the child related.

He said after the gunmen left, he returned to the house and discovered that his little sister was dead.

"Nobody did not know she was dead. Is me find out seh she dead. Mi see the blood over her eyes and noticed that she was not moving. Mi realise seh she dead because she would a must wake and start holler," the grief-stricken youngster related.

Three of his mother's sisters and a brother, who were among other persons on the scene, questioned what could have triggered the deadly attacks, as their sister was not known as a troublemaker.





Three children die in fire; uncle in custody

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children-killed-in-fire.jpg "Nobody could save them," said a tearful Syletta Harding as she recalled the fire that led to three children being burnt to death on Friday morning in a section of Arnett Gardens known as Hopeful Village.

One of the deceased, nine-year-old Abigail Reid, was Harding's niece. Abigail attended Iris Gelly Primary.

Leonardo Morris, 15, a student of Excelsior High and 17-year-old Bebeto Harris of Tarrant High, also died in the early morning blaze. It is being alleged that the house was doused with gas and set ablaze by a mentally-ill family member.

Syletta Harding fought tears as she spoke about the three youngsters and their promising lives, cut tragically short.

"The three little pickney don't deserve the death that dem get," she said.





Man kidnaps, sodomises 7 year old boy

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A man who abducted and brutally sodomised a seven-year-old boy on Thursday in the Evan Street area of May Pen, Clarendon, was later held and severely beaten by members of the community.

The child's mother said that the youngster went to a nearby gully to catch fish, when he was tied up, taken to a cave some three miles away and sodomised for hours.

She said after noticing her son was gone for an unusually long period, she went outside and saw a crowd of people coming towards her house with the boy crying uncontrollably. He reportedly gave vivid details and was immediately taken to the May Pen Police Station, then the May Pen Hospital, where he was treated by doctors.

"Parents keep your eyes on your children, don't let them out of your sight for a minute ... it's not only girls it a happen to, them a rape off the young boys them too," she said in an impassioned plea.

An uncle of the traumatised boy, who is a grade-one student at a primary school in the parish, said he was shocked when he saw the crowd coming towards him with his nephew crying. He said upon being questioned, the child described his assailant. An angry crowd went searching for the suspect, who was then seen with one of his brothers. Both men were beaten mercilessly.

"After the people them go up a him house, him and his brother start run, but the people run them down and beat them badly before the police come rescue them and carry them go hospital," the uncle explained.

Police confirmed that they have received a report of the incident and that the two men have been admitted to hospital as they continue their investigations.





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Cayenne Beach, Norman Manley Blvd, Negril, Westmoreland, is the venue for the annual Stepping High Festival which is definitely on this weekend.

All permits are secure and the ganja fest is ready to rumble, the organisers say.

With plans to attract and accommodate thousands of staunch advocates of cannabis use for spiritual meditative and medicinal purposes to Negril, Stepping High organizers lovingly refer to attendees as "some of the happiest people on the planet."

This weekend, festival-goers can expect an expanded version of previous stagings including a cutting edge outdoor venue with a 10,000 person capacity bordering the pristine tropical white sand beaches of Negril and, two full days of lively entertainment and adult activities.

Jamaica W.I.

Saturday, March 7, 1015 beginning at 11 AM - 4AM
Sunday, March 8, 2015 beginning at 5:30 AM - 12MIDNIGHT

The Stepping High Festival is the longest running festival of its kind in the Caribbean attracting and catering to adults age 18 years of age and older. Straddling the pristine white sandy beaches of Negril, the Festival has from its onset been a powerful tourist attraction to the area and in 2015 is expanding to a new and much larger beach front property.

In addition to the "herbs" segment, the Festival offers outstanding live performances by top artists and bands, DJ music, traditional Nyabinghi drumming sessions, excellent specialty foods, arts and crafts. Stepping High continually attracts vacationers to the island all wanting to relax, have fun and take home a memorable and unique learning experience to be talked about for years to come!

Join us in March for Stepping High 2015!!

ADVANCE ADMISSION TICKETS
General Admission: $2,500JA / $25US
V.I.P. Admission: $5,000JA / $50US





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ZJ Wah Wah, former Zip 103 FM disc jockey who is in the United States on telemarketing fraud charges, has signed a plea agreement in which he has implicated popular Jamaica music producer, Anju Blaxx and over 25 other persons in the dangerous lottery scam.

On October 25 last year, Wah Wah, whose given name is Deon-ville O'Hara, pleaded guilty to telemarketing fraud at a hearing in a Federal Court in the United States.

Last month UIM Producer Anju Blaxx, whose real name is Andrew Myrie, was also taken into custody on suspicion of involvement in lotto scamming.

Wah Wah was arrested at the Sangster International Airport in Kingston in November 2013. He was held with US$105,000 in cash in his luggage. YardFlex understands that in the plea agreement, ZJ Wah Wah says Anju Blaxx intervened on his behalf and lied to Jamaican customs authorities regarding the source of the money.

He says Anju Blaxx e-mailed a fraudulent letter claiming that the money was a down payment on a year long music contract. But in his 14-page plea deal, ZJ Wah Wah confessed that the money was actually obtained from victims of the lotto scam.

Meanwhile, Anju Blaxx was removed from the detention center in Miami and is set to arrive at a prison in North Dakota.

Anju Blaxx was nabbed in Florida on February 7 and hauled before the United States District Court of the Southern District of Miami for a detention/identity hearing on charges relating to lottery scamming in North Dakota.

The producer is expected to be transported on Con Air to North Dakota.

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MADRID and SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, March 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Air Europa continues its expansion throughout the Caribbean by connecting its daily flight between Spain and the Dominican Republic with its neighbor, Puerto Rico. The Globalia Group Airline and Seaborne, a Puerto Rican airline, have reached a codeshare agreement to cover the route Santo Domingo - San Juan, Puerto Rico, which will allow for daily flights to and from the islands and, as a result, the connection of both capitals with the Adolfo Suarez Airport in Madrid-Barajas.

This will permit Air Europa passengers to fly to Puerto Rico every day, by making a short stop in Las Americas Airport in Santo Domingo. This route will be added to the two direct flights that Air Europa has been operating between Spain and Puerto Rico since June 2014.

"This agreement represents a step forward in our mission to be the go-to airline in flying to and from Europe, America and the Caribbean,"declared Air Europa's President, Juan Jose Hidalgo."And I'm sure that with Seaborne we have found a great partner, due to their impeccable trajectory and incredible punctuality index of over 98%."

Seaborne is a company with over 20 years of experience in the Caribbean and an excellent security and operational performance history. For the Santo Domingo - San Juan route, it has an available fleet of 8 Saab 340B, Swedish-made aircraft that can carry 34 passengers.

"Seaborne is honored to be selected by Air Europa to provide this service," said Gary Foss, President and Chief Executive Officer of Seaborne. "It is a vote of confidence in our team of outstanding professionals that has brought service to 16 airports across the Caribbean. We want to especially thank the Tourism Company of Puerto Rico for their steadfast support of Seaborne," he said.

Ingrid Rivera Rocafort, Executive Director of the Tourism Company of Puerto Rico, explains: "Efforts to continue positioning Puerto Rico as the main axis of Caribbean air access and increase flight options for our visitors continue to pay fruit. The alliance between airlines Air Europa and Seaborne, respectively leaders in Europe and the Caribbean, not only open new markets for Puerto Rico. They are also an integral part of our campaign to promote the island as a five-star destination and simplify the travel planning process for potential travelers to Puerto Rico."

The codeshare agreement between Air Europa and Seaborne will take effect March 29.





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Attorney Harold Brady will be heading to Court this morning to answer to the charges that have been laid against him, and attorney-at-law Miguel (Michael) Lorne who has also been charged with fraud is due to appear in the Corporate Area Criminal Court this morning.

Mr. Brady was charged with fraud yesterday afternoon following a near four hour interview session with Fraud Squad detectives in the company of his attorneys Raymond Clough and Abe Dabdoub. He spent the night at the Kingston Central Police Station.

Mr. Brady has been charged with defrauding businessman Jeffery Panton of $37 million. Allegations are that between June and September last year, Mr Panton hired Mr. Brady to sell a house in Stony Hill, St Andrew. After selling the property for $51 million, Mr Brady paid over US$165,000 to the businessman in November. He allegedly failed to hand over the balance.

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Meanwhile, lawyer Miguel Lorne was charged Wednesday afternoon with several counts of fraud involving three million dollars. He was later offered $500,000 bail.

Fraud Squad investigators reported that in 2011, Mr Lorne was hired to sell a property in the Kingston 2 area on behalf of clients who lives abroad. The property was sold for six million dollars. However, on closing the deal, it is alleged that Mr Lorne failed to hand over three million dollars to one of the clients and converted the money to his personal use.





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Dancehall artiste Tifa is on her way to gaining international exposure after making it to the semi-final round of the Take Back the Mic: The World Cup of Hip Hop competition.

The competition is a global one, which puts fans in the driver's seat to discover and promote the best hip hop artistes from around the world. It is also a quest to amplify the voices of a new generation using the amp.it platform. The competition not only rewards the artistes but also their fans.

In a press release, Tifa explained why she decided to enter Take Back the Mic.

"I saw it as a wonderful platform to further pursue my dreams and to further push my music to the world. I believe I can reach a wider audience with my music. The programme will also be highly concentrated in the Spanish market, which is definitely a market I would love to tap into," Tifa explained.

Take Back the Mic will be aired on NBC as well as Spanish language network Telemundo. The network is owned by NBC Universal Television Group.

Having made it into the semi-final which will air in April; Tifa is urging fans to become a part of the process for her to advance to the finals.

"Fans can help me get to the finals by logging on to amp.it, sign up and amp my songs and videos. I get five points when you listen to my music, and 10 points when you amp me. Sign up, then look for Tifa Brown or go to www.amp.it/Tifa-brown," she said. "By clicking the 'amp' button makes a post to your amp.it timeline, your Facebook profile and your Twitter timeline, letting your friends know to check out the content you shared. You only get five 'amps' per day, so be selective!"

Earlier this week, members of the show's production team were in Jamaica filming a background profile on Tifa, which will be aired during the semi-final round in April.





Guns, ammo recovered in Rema

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The Kingston West Police seized a 9mm pistol and 14 rounds of ammunition in the community of Wilton Gardens, popularly known as 'Rema' on Wednesday.

Police report that the Steyr Mannlicher 9mm semi-automatic pistol and rounds of ammunition were seized during an operation between 10:15 am and 12:45 p.m.

A team of cops carried out an operation in the area when a property was searched and the weapon found.

No one was taken into custody in connection with the seizure.





A second man has been taken into custody by the St. Thomas Police, following Tuesday's killing of 14-year old Kayalicia Simpson.

A police source confirmed that the man was picked up this afternoon.

Another man was detained hours after Kayalicia's body was found near her home on Tuesday, March 3.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Derrick Knight disclosed that the police were following several leads.





Admiral Bailey's bail extended

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The fraud matter against veteran entertainer and former coach of the Tivoli Gardens Football Club Admiral Bailey was mentioned in the Corporate Area Criminal Court on Thursday morning.

Admiral Bailey has been charged with nine counts of obtaining a passport by false means, attempting to obtain a passport by a false mean and uttering forged documents.

The investigating officer told Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey that detectives suspect that the entertainer, whose given name is Glendon Bailey, is in possession of another passport which he has not surrendered.However, the Magistrate said she could not make such an order as it is the responsibility of the police to ensure that he surrenders all his travel documents.

Bailey was charged with fraud last week Monday.

According to police reports, he went to the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency and attempted to renew a passport in the name Michael George Sullivan. Investigators say during the renewal process his identity was revealed.

They say he has been travelling in the false name for nearly 30 years. He is scheduled to return to court on April 14.





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Attorney-at-law, Harold Brady, has been charged with fraud.

Mr. Brady, who turned up shortly before 2:00 p.m., on Thursday at the Fraud Squad in Kingston, was arrested in connection with a land deal involving the sale of a house owned by businessman Jeffery Panton.

He has been charged with defrauding Panton of $37 million.

It's reported that during the period June to September last year, Mr Panton hired Mr Brady to sell a house for him in Stony Hill, St Andrew. After selling the house for $51 million, Mr Brady reportedly paid over US$165,000 to the businessman in November.

It's alleged that he failed to hand over the balance of J$37 million, causing Mr Panton to report him to the police.

Mr Brady has been offered $3 million station bail.

Following Thursday's developments, the Jamaica Labour Party has announced that Mr. Brady, a longstanding member, has taken leave from all Party activities until his legal matter is settled.





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The police have pulled the plug on a two-day cultural event in Negril, Westmoreland which reportedly promoted the illegal use of ganja by patrons.

According to reports, two Negril organisers applied for a permit to stage what was described as a music event. However, Assistant Superintendent Adrian Hamilton of the Negril Police says the decision was made to intervene after learning that the event, which was scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday, was being billed as a ganja festival.

He said obviously riding the high of the recent amendments to decriminalize small quantities of the use of ganja they promoted open sale and use of what is still an illegal substance. ASP Hamilton says the organisers have been informed of the withdrawal of the permit.









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A report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has found that Jamaica remains the largest illicit producer and exporter of cannabis herb in Central America and the Caribbean.

The INCB 2014 report showed that Jamaica ccounts for approximately one third of the ganja produced in the Caribbean. It said that increased production of the drug has been noted in other countries, in particular Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

"Jamaica has also become a hub for the trafficking of cocaine, owing to the displacement of trafficking routes as a result of the strengthening of drug trafficking countermeasures in Latin America," the report stated, noting that the problem is compounded by the "fact that Jamaican criminal groups are using the elaborate networks originally established to traffick cannabis and cocaine as well.

The report, which examines the global trade in illegal drugs, noted that in Jamaica, drug trafficking takes place at airports through drug couriers, baggage and air freight and at seaports via containers, cargo vessels, underwater canisters attached to ship hulls, shipping vessels and speedboats.

"Illicit drugs are traded for money, guns and other goods, and much of the proceeds are used to foster criminal activities. The ports of Kingston and Montego Bay, which are used for the bulk movement of containerized shipments of cannabis herb and cocaine to Europe and North America, continue to experience serious issues involving corruption, violence, intimidation and the circumvention of legal controls.".





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A man is claiming he was duped into believing Chris Brown's secret baby was his own child. As Gossip Cop reported, it was revealed Tuesday that Brown is the dad of a nine-month-old girl he fathered with a model named Nia Gonzalez. There are a lot of unconfirmed rumors now going around about the situation, including the widely-reported allegation that Gonzalez led someone else to believe he was the baby's father.

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In a since-deleted Instagram post, a user by the name of @royalty_yaye_bah shared TMZ's story about Brown fathering the baby, and wrote, "The Saddest Day Of My Life." The man went on, "This lil girl meant the world To Me. I been There Through Everything I was told This Was My child How Can This Be happening A Man Just Steps in and Take Over What I Built What I lived for I Dedicated My Whole Life To This Family Now Everything Is Gone..@tmz_tv @balleralert Y Did this happen To me Now I lost My Lil Girl For Good."

The unidentified man's Instagram account, which has been entirely deleted, also featured pictures of him with the alleged baby girl.

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Falmouth gets ready for Carnival Pon Di Road

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Appleton and Digicel's Carnival Pon Di Road series heads to Trelawny tomorrow

The series, now in its third week, has already been to the Cristal Night Club parking lot in Portland and Brown's Town Square in St Ann.

"With a buzzing world-class cruise ship pier and resorts, Trelawny is one of the fastest growing tourism entertainment capitals in the Caribbean and has a wide cross section of local and international partygoers. We can't wait to reignite Jamaica's very own uptempo carnival culture there in the popular Falmouth Square along with our partners Digicel. We encourage feters to come out in their brightest Carnival colours and be prepared for Carnival foam this week," said Gary Dixon, marketing director of J Wray & Nephew Limited.

Soca and fancehall mixes, dancing games, and face jewel and painting, gave the large crowds in each community a real taste of the carnival experience.

All events are free for persons 18 and over.





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In keeping with the current momentum leading to the release of his debut album, international reggae singer Iba MaHr is rather excited to walk away with the Song of the Year award at the 6th annual Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRia) awards held on Saturday at the Courtleigh Auditorium.

Iba MaHr won for his song, Diamond Sox. Among the nominees were Protoje featuring Chronixx with Who Knows, Chronixx featuring Kabaka Pyramid for Mi Alright, Ding Dong for Syvah, and also Tarrus Riley for My Day.

As he held his award, an ecstatic Iba MaHr thanked his fans for their continued support. He also commended JaRia for the recognition, in addition to their unrelenting efforts in repositioning Jamaica as the centre of the global reggae movement and culture.

Mahr also credited his achievement to his management team and record label, stating: "A lot of this wouldn't have been possible without my managers, Roland McDermot and Jermaine Edwards. I also want to recognise and thank the producers of this single, Wayne 'Unga' Thompson and Jason Welsh of Notis Records for their time and patience in creating undoubtedly one of the most authentic dancehall rhythms of our time".

As Diamond Sox continues to gain traction internationally, a humbled Iba MaHr has expressed gratitude to his mother for the integral role she has played in guiding his musical journey, with the release of his new single, Mama Rosie, produced by Notis Records.

He also vowed to maintain consciousness with the Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley-produced Talk If Dem Want.





Prominent lawyer Michael Lorne on fraud charge

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Attorney-at-law Michael Lorne has been charged with fraud. The charges were laid by the Fraud Squad on Wednesday.

Mr Lorne says that the charges stem from allegations connected to a land transaction. He says the matter relates to a brother and sister.

According to Mr Lorne, the woman is alleging that the property was sold and she received no money and that she did not sign any document. Mr Lorne says he will be fighting the charges.





Cop who shot himself dies

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A policeman who accidentally shot himself yesterday has died.

Dead is 34-year-old Constable, Orette Williamson who was attached to the protective services branch and resided at Tangerine Road, Kingston 11.

Reports received from the Olympic Gardens police are that about 7:55 a.m., Constable Williamson was at home and was about to descend a flight of stairs when he allegedly fell. His service pistol accidentally went-off and he was shot in the abdomen.

He was taken to the Kingston public hospital where he died this morning. Meantime, the police high command is expressing condolences to Constable Williamson's family and colleagues. The JCF says counselling is also being provided for his immediate family and co-workers by the chaplaincy services branch.





A policeman is among seven persons injured in a shootout Wednesday evening between police and gunmen in downtown Kingston. However, all the gunmen escaped unhurt, while passersby were shot during the crossfire.

One of the persons is said to be in serious condition after being shot in the stomachA plain clothed policeman was grazed on the foot by one of the bullets. According to reports, at about 7:30 the police encountered armed men at the intersection of Orange and Heywood Streets.

The gunmen opened fire and this triggered a shootout. The seven persons were shot during the cross fire. The gunmen escaped.





Man held in grisly murder of St Thomas teen

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A man has been taken into custody in relation to Tuesday's killing of Kayalicia Simpson,14, of St.Thomas.

Kayalicia's body, which had several chops wounds, was found early Tuesday near her home.

Investigators are also appealing to anyone that may have information on the incident to contact the Yallahs Police at 982-5075, Crime Stop at 311, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest Police Station.

Persons may also give information using the Stay Alert App.





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Gunshots erupted in the volatile 100 Lane area of Red Hills Road in Kingston this morning and this afternoon, leaving two women dead.

YardFlex understands that one of the women, known only as 'Rose' is the mother of a prominent footballer, Marlon who plays for Tivoli Gardens. Reports are that the men in the area were angry that Marlon was "bringing strange man from Fletcher's Land to the area to play ball".

Also, according to our sources, there was a fish fry in there area and the men sent to Rose's son to collect their dues. Rose reportedly ran them from her house, telling them that "is not so fish fry money go". The men returned this morning with their gun and ammunition, ready to kill whoever was in their path. Rose shouted to her son to run and the thug proceeded to shoot her 18 times.

According to witnesses, the gunman reloaded his gun after emptying one whole round into Rose. When Rose's son returned and saw his mother's body lying in the yard, he reportedly turned over her body and said, "So Rose, a this dem do you? A nuh nutten."

Marlon, according to an eyewitness, put his hands on his mother's blood and wiped it on his cheek.

Reports are that her mother who was scheduled to leave the island,went over to her telling her daughter"Wake up!"

The other woman, identified by residents only as Donna, was reportedly approached by a group of gunmen who sprayed her with gunshots.

Police were in the area but the gunmen managed to walk across the busy thoroughfare of Red Hills Road into a waiting motorcar.

Donna was taken to hospital by police but was pronounced dead.





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Gunshots erupted in the volatile Red Hills Road area of Kingston this morning leaving one woman dead and another critically injured.

Information is sketchy at this time, but YardFlex understands that one of the women, known only as 'Rose' in the mother of a prominent footballer who plays for Tivoli Gardens.

According to our sources, there was a fish fry in there area and the men sent to Rose's's son to collect their dues. Rose reportedly cursed them and ran them from her house. The men returned this morning with their gun and ammunition, ready to kill whoever was in their path. The mother shouted to her son to run and the thug proceeded to shoot her 18 times.

According to witnesses, the gunman reloaded his gun after emptying one whole round into Rose. When he was finished, he then wiped his hands in her blood as she lay dead in her yard.

Reports are that her mother who was scheduled to leave the island,went over to her telling her daughter "Wake up!"

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Popular gang leader walks free

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Businessman and reputed gang leader Uriel James, more popularly known as Rooksie, was this week freed in the Gun Court of charges of illegal possession of firearm, shooting with intent and robbery with aggravation.

When the case was mentioned, James' lawyers, Tom and Christian Tavares Finson, told the court that the case had been dragging on for too long. The lawyers pointed out that there were 10 trial dates, that the defence was always ready for trial and that the complainant had never attended court.The prosecution conceded and offered no evidence.

James, who appeared before Justice Bertram Morrison, was told he was free to go.

It was alleged that in 2011, James and two other men held up the complainant at gunpoint and robbed him of money and other personal items. Shots were fired in the direction of the complainant while he tried to escape.

Despite being freed in the gun court, the alleged gang leader remains behinds bars as he has other matters before the courts.James is facing three murder charges in the Home Circuit Court.

The charges stemmed from separate murder incidents in 1999, 2004 and 2011.





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Curly Lox of the dynamic duo Twin of Twins is set to release his debut novel titled The Road to Zion.

The book which chronicles his journey and the death of his son Zion will be available in local book stores and on line on March 7.

The artiste/author says the book focuses on important themes like the value of good parenting, child abuse, class-ism, unity, the effects of ignorance and the value of education, the challenges of success, faith and forgiveness. He also hopes readers will learn from its content.

"I hope fans will learn from and pass on the lessons I learnt through the violence of my past and hold true to the most significant thing which is that I triumphed over failure when it came disguised as success," he added.

"The Road to Zion is named in honour of my son Zion who died in 2007", explained Curly Lox who has also changed his image to promote this individual project.

The Road to Zion will be officially launched at 5pm on March 7 at Devon House in Kingston.





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A massive Three The Hard Way '70s, '80s and '90s retro party will be hosted by the old boys' associations of Kingston College (KC), Jamaica College (JC) and Calabar High at the Karl Hendrickson Auditorium, JC, on March 20.

The inaugural staging of this historic fundraiser party will be held just four days before this year's Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships at the National Stadium.

Organisers of the event are hoping to set the tone for a "good vibes, exciting, camaraderie-filled and incident free" five days of Champs.

Musical juggling and entertainment will be provided at Three The Hard Way by established acts from each school. Rory from Calabar will be spinning his discs on the turntables of Stone Love, while DJ Squeeze will represent JC, while Marlon Young will don the purple and white of his alma mater, KC.

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All proceeds will be shared among the respective schools and associations. The hope is that the party will become an annual affair. Patrick Dallas, president of the Kingston College Old Boys' Association (KCOBA), is hoping for a bumper turnout as well as building the ideal "vibes for Champs".

"We are using this event to show that we are rivals, but friends. It will be a function to reunite old boys and their friends of all the three top boys' schools in the island," he said.

Dallas added that next year's staging will be hosted by KC at Clovelly Park, on North Street.

"Proceeds will be shared among the three schools and it is equally open to all of Jamaica to attend," Dallas explained, while noting that the party will be moved around among the three schools in coming years.

The five-day ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls' Championships will be held at the National Stadium from March 24-28.





JCDC: Top 10 gospel finalists chosen

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The top 10 finalists were selected at Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Gospel Song Competition held at the New Testament Church of God on Eastwood Park Road in St Andrew, on Ash Wednesday.

The national finals will be held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew, on Sunday, August 2, 2015.

"We have a diverse mix of sounds for the top ten songs in the Jamaica Gospel Song Competition. The diversity speaks to melodies and moods, from up-tempo -- celebratory, reflective, to inspirational ballads. We are excited to have two groups make final ten (one all male and one all-female). The 10 represents a wide cross section of the island, including St Ann, Clarendon and St Elizabeth," said Stephen Davidson, director of marketing and public relations.

The finalists comprise: Petrena Ariana Whyte (Kingston and St Andrew); Diamara Neil-Walker (St Ann); Jeffrey Medley (St Elizabeth); Yanique Ducasse (Clarendon); Rebecca Bissoon (Clarendon); Minister Treasure (Kingston and St Andrew); Fred Robertson (St Catherine); Unique Harmony (Kingston and St Andrew); Lashawn Wilson (Kingston and St Andrew); and Shepherd Brothers (Clarendon).

The finalists will be involved in other activities leading up to the grand finale, which includes an album production and launch, workshops, a television reality series and a social outreach project. This social outreach initiative will continue and members of the Public are invited to participate by making donations at the JCDC head office and parish office Islandwide.





Senior tax officer on 10 corruption charges

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A Senior Officer of Tax Administration of Jamaica has been hit with ten corruption related charges.

The officer - Fernando Davis, who's 51 - was charged by MOCA yesterday with Conspiracy, Uttering Forged Documents and Breach of the Corruption Prevention Act.

Davis was among three men arrested last Friday during simultaneous operations in Kingston and St. Thomas.

This, as part of a probe into irregularities in the granting of driver's licenses and other documents.

MOCA says in several of the cases examined, the correct procedures were not followed and the licenses were approved under questionable circumstances.

Davis was reportedly charged following an interview in the presence of his lawyer.





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The Constabulary Communications Unit has confirmed that a 14-year-old female student has been chopped to death. She has been identified as Kayalicia Simpson of Donald Quarrie High.

Police reports are that about 5:00 am the grade eight student, Kayalicia Simpson, went outside her house as she prepared for school. It is unclear what prompted her to leave the house, but about half-an-hour after doing so her body was found lying face down in bushes close to the one-room wooden structure in which she lived.

"The body had several chop wounds to the back of the head and neck," a police source confirmed. According to another source, Kayalicia's head was almost severed from her slender frame. This brings to 15, the number of children killed since the start of the year.

Earlier this year, Jamaicans were in anguish when another 14-year-old girl, Santoya Campbell of Frome in Westmoreland, along with three-year-old Crystal Coleman of St Mary, were murdered. Shariefa Saddler met a somewhat similar fate in January 2013.

Relatives said Kayalicia was in her school uniform when she was killed.

"All now we can't believe. The little girl go to her bed sound, so we were really left puzzled when we wake up and could not find her," said Sherika Sinclair, a cousin of the slain child.

She added that her world came crashing down when she heard that Kayalicia, who had dreams of becoming a teacher, was found dead.

Sinclair made the comment metres away from where a small group of residents gathered, whispering among themselves as news of the killing circulated. The gruesomeness of the girl's death triggered shock and anger in the normally quiet, rural community which sits near the town of Yallahs in the eastern parish.

As the cries went out in the community, 53-year-old Eloise Brown, the grandmother of the dead child sat on the step of her neighbour's house and rocked back and forth, holding a piece of cloth as if it was her granddaughter.

"Look how dem kill off mi grandpickney. Me nuh walk and trouble people; she was a girl who took to her books and this is what dem do har," said Brown as her voice trembled.

The St Thomas police yesterday said that they would be steadfast in their search from the girl's killer(s).

Meanwhile the Principal of Donald Quarrie, Talbert Weir, says he knew Kayalicia personally. He was in tears and had cried openly in front of students and staff.

He said they lived in the same community and he'd usually give her a ride to school. He says the young girl had big plans.

Mr. Weir says Kalicia - who was in grade 8 - was a promising student and the school was anticipating her becoming one its top students.





A member of the Police Protective Services Division is now in hospital after he shot himself at his Corporate Area home on Tuesday morning.

Police report that the cop was descending a flight of stairs when he stumbled and his service pistol was discharged.

The cop had unholstered the weapon when he was walking down the stairs and was shot in the stomach. He was hospitalised in critical condition.





13 injured in Portland crash

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At least 13 people were injured following a motor vehicle accident in the vicinity of St. Margaret's Bay along a section of the North Coast Highway at about 5:30 pm Monday afternoon.

It's reported that a Toyota Hiace mini bus PPV was headed westwards from Port Antonio towards Buff Bay and Annotto Bay when it slammed into the back of a parked truck in St. Margaret's Bay.

The occupants of the bus were rushed to the Port Antonio hospital where 13 persons were said to be injured. Seven school students and six adults were injured. Three persons sustained critical injuries to the head and lower body. Among the three are a female and a school student.

A large crowd gathered at the Port Antonio hospital for hours as families and friends of the injured persons awaited information on their conditions.





Tessanne Chin featured in new hair commercial

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Season five winner of The Voice, Jamaican Tessanne Chin, has been featured in a commercial for the US-based haircare line Clear Scalp & Hair, which premiered on Monday. The two-minute-long video shows Tessanne talking about finding her voice.

Clear Scalp & Hair was launched in 2012 with its line of scalp-nourishing shampoos and conditioners for women and men. The product currently sells in mass market retail stores.The haircare line is a sponsor of the American Reality TV show, The Voice.

The commercial shows Tessanne speaking about her experience on the reality show and how it taught her to take risks with her hair.

The video also shows her prepping for various performances using the Clear Scalp & Hair product, with her music playing in the background.





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Former reality TV star and billionaire heiress, Paris Hilton, is the latest in a string of high-profile celebrities that have fallen in love with Jamaica.

Paris isn't alone on the 'rock', taking a break from the cold temperatures up north. The Simple Life celeb posted a picture of herself with supermodel Naomi Campbell enjoying a lazy afternoon in Port Antonio.

"Adventures in Jamaica with @iamNaomiCampbell. ❤️ #GoodTimes #GoodVibes #LovingLife in #Paradise," Paris captioned the photo.

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Two Manchester men who were taped having sex have reportedly gone into hiding after the release of the video which has since gone viral, receiving thousands of shares on various social media sites.

Reports are that the video was shot in bushes in Porus and starred a well known 'hype' socialite from the area, who has children with at least three women. According to a source, the men, hell bent on getting into England, had concocted an elaborate scheme, claiming they were gays and were being sexually harassed. They were seeking to get asylum in the United Kingdom, using a UK-based contact.

The British contact, who turned out to be a fraud or a plain mischief maker, instructed the men to make a video to prove their sexual orientation and send same to him.Therefore, the two, along with a third party who operated the camera, put on a pornographic show before uploading the video to their British contact.

However, instead of the expected British visas, the contact began to share the video on every available media, including phones, Facebook, WhatsApp and other social media sites.

"Me know the two boy them, a same place a Porus them come from," a female viewer said. "Da one deh in the cap is the bleach out face hype-up boy from round a (street name deleted). And look pon them size, no sah."

A male viewer expressed his disgust at the video, saying: "Me hear that him say a kill him ago kill himself."





Newly selected candidate for North West St. Catherine, Newton Amos has confirmed his intention to represent the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) at the next General Election.The retired senior police officer stated that he believes it's time for the JLP to get down to the real issues confronting Jamaicans.

Amos said he decided to come out of retirement for one specific reason.

"I cam out of retirement for one reason and for one reason only and that is to retire the incumbent for north west St. Catherine and if you don't believe me .... Just watch me......" he told a crowd of cheering supporters.

The current Member of Parliament is the People's National Party's (PNP) Robert Pickersgill.

Amos admitted that the odds of a victory are currently not in his favor. Despite this, he says when the time comes he will be ready.





Strip club owner on the run

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The owner of a Strip Club in Ulster Spring, Trelawny is now on the run after fleeing from a police operation at his place of business.The man reportedly fled the scene on the arrival of the cops. He is being sought for interrogating.

Meanwhile, a 36-year-old St Ann woman has been charged for living off the earnings of prostitution following her arrest at a nightclub in Wire Fence district, in the parish on Sunday, and a nightclub operator was also arrested and charged for breaches under the Spirit Licence Act.

The Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Intellectual Property Unit of the Counter Terrorism and Organized Crime Division reports that a team carried out an operation at a nightclub, at about 1:00 am in Albert Town, Trelawny. The operator was cited for breaching the Spirit Licence Act. He has been identified as 24-year-old Carvalho Dixon, businessman and farmer of Albert Town in the parish.

About two hours later, during a second operation at another nightclub in Ulster Spring in the parish; one female was arrested and charged for being involved in prostitution.





Congrats Konshens on the birth of your son

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Yardflex congratulates dancehall deejay Konshens on the birth of his son.

He welcomed his son a day after he celebrated his daughter's birthday. Esrly Monday morning, he posted a photo on his Facebook page, welcoming the birth of his "Prince".

"Just a day after celebrating the birthday of my princess...God blessed me with the birth of my Prince!! Or is he already A 'kinG!!" Konshens said. "THANK YOU GOD FOR THIS BLESSING. NOW..... IM HUNGRIER THAN EVER.... Weh di food at..... ‪#‎huntingseasonUP ‪#‎heirtothethrone ‪#‎balance."

Konshens has been maintaining a steady presence on the entertainment scene with songs such as My Prayer, Care Zero, The Journey and his latest, Hotel Room.





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Some members of Jamaica's national Under 17 squad currently participating in the CONCACAF under 17 Championships in San Pedro Sula Honduras received a heart stopping scare in an elevator at the team hotel.

Ten players, namely; Ajeanie Talbot, Jahmali Waite, Deshane Beckford, Jahlanie Hammond, Antoneil Mullings, Akeem Chambers, Javain Brown, Fabian Grant, Demar James and Donovan Dawkins boarded the elevator of the 3rd floor for lunch in the dining area on the ground floor.

On selecting the button for the lobby, the elevator started malfunctioning crashing to the lower level ground floor resulting in two players: Demar James and Deshane Beckford hurting their knees and back respectively. The players were rescued after a player pushed the bell button inside the elevator.

Team Doctor Bersha Cole did his daily checks on the two players and James and Beckford were still experiencing discomfort and as a precautionary measure the players were taken to hospital Bendada for x-ray.





A Jamaican detainee has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department in Boston, saying it pays hundreds of persons in custody only US$1.00 a day to mop floors, scrub toilets, and perform other janitorial duties at the jail.

His lawyers are seeking US$4 million in unpaid wages over the last six years.

Lawyers for Anthony Whyte, a 40-year-old detainee fighting deportation to Jamaica, said he should be paid at least the state minimum wage, of $9.000 an hour, because he is in custody for alleged civil violations and not crimes. He voluntarily works in the jail's immigration unit.

Andrew Schmidt, lead counsel in the case, expressed concern that states and private companies have started using detainees for cheap labour. Steven Tompkins, a spokesman for the Suffolk County Sheriff, said inmates and immigrant detainees are paid based on where they are assigned to work. They can earn one dollar a day working indoors doing laundry or other tasks, he explained.

Convicts doing work outside of jail, such as snow-shoveling, can earn three dollars a day and a reduction of their sentence.

The civil lawsuit, filed on February 18 in Suffolk Superior Court, accuses the Sheriff's Department of wrongly classifying workers as non-employees, failing to pay overtime, and other violations of state law.





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The Jamaican police have released the names of the four men who died in Sunday's motor vehicle crash on the Braco main road in Trelawny.

The crash victims have been named as Garvin Jesus Arias, Ruiz Farael, Sergio Gonsales and Oliver Torres.

Three of the men were from the Dominican Republic and the other from Spain. They were employed as contractors at the Bahia Principe Hotel in St Ann.

The police delayed releasing the identities until today to ensure the foreign missions and families had been contacted.

The foreigners died when the car in which they were travelling crashed into a tractor trailer.

The driver of the trailer and a female passenger escaped injury.





Jamaica to set up embassy in Kuwait

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The Government of Kuwait has given a commitment to provide its Jamaican counterpart with US$27 million to establish an embassy in that country.


This provision is included in Jamaica's 2015/2016 Estimates of Expenditure, which will be reviewed by Parliament's Standing Finance Committee starting on Tuesday. The embassy will also have responsibility for bilateral relations with Bahrain, Egypt, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In 2010, it was announced that Jamaica would establish an embassy in Kuwait City.


Jamaica began relations with Kuwait in 1974. The two countries have co-operated on several initiatives at the multilateral level and have implemented various bilateral co-operation projects.





Reports are that the man who allegedly killed 20-year-old Anika Rose - whose nude body was found Saturday morning - reportedly attempted to commit suicide.

Police officers were on their way to take him into custody.

Rose's body was discovered by residents in Danvers Pen, St Thomas, after she was reported missing on Friday.

Reports are that the deceased left her home on Thursday, February 26, about 8:00 pm to get food and failed to return. She was reported missing the following day.

Residents reportedly carried out a search on Saturday and her body was discovered with several wounds.

The police were called in and her body was removed.





T&T probes huge ganja find with Jamaican link

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The authorities in Trinidad and Tobago are investigating a large marijuana seizure with a Jamaican link.

Customs and Excise agents on Friday intercepted a container, loaded with 232 kilogrammes of high grade marijuana, en route to Suriname at Port-of-Spain.

Senior customs officials estimated the drugs at TT$3.2 million.The 40-foot container originated in China and passed through Jamaica before coming to Trinidad and Tobago en route to its final destination.

The container was offloaded at the port and was scheduled to be loaded onto another ship to be taken to Suriname.But Customs officers, acting on information, seized the container soon after it was offloaded.





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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) - The husband of slain television journalist Marcia Henville, who was charged with murder late Saturday, is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Sheldon Henville was slapped with the charge after investigators consulted with Director of Public Prosecutions, Roger Gaspard.

Marcia, 51, the host of TV6's Point Blank, was killed on the morning of January 23 at her home in St Augustine. She was stabbed several times all over her body and the bedroom of the townhome was set on fire. Following Marcia's murder, Sheldon, 40, was admitted to hospital where he was being treated for burns he sustained.

Last Tuesday, he was released into the custody of the police who questioned him about the incident.

Marcia who was born and raised in Notting Hill, West London, worked at various media houses here before hosting her own show "Point Blank" that showcased the lives of people in depressed areas in Trinidad and Tobago.





US firm offers to help Jamaican ganja market

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us-firm-cgi-cannabis-global-initiative.jpgDENVER, (CMC) - A communications and marketing firm in Denver says it is ready to provide services to the "newly-minted" Jamaican cannabis market.

Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI) says it is now offering a "full suite of services" to assist companies wanting to be among the first to do legal cannabis business in the Caribbean, and has opened a second office in Jamaica's capital - Kingston.

"We work with businesses, municipalities, policymakers, and other cannabis-related entities in local, national, and international markets," CGI said.

"Our team is highly specialised in all aspects of cannabis and have expert inside knowledge and experience on the regulatory framework which can be customised for most municipalities," it added.

Since 2009, CGI said it has worked to bring regulation, decriminalisation and retail sales to Colorado, and has been "at the forefront of creating the laws and regulation surrounding medicinal, edible and now legal cannabis".

"With the opening of its second office and CGI's longstanding relationships with the Jamaican Government, policy stakeholders and the growing community, CGI is prepared to advise companies with placing their products and/or services in the first Caribbean country to legalise marijuana for medicinal use," the statement said.

TessMaria Leon, Director of Client Services for CGI's Caribbean team, heads CGI's Kingston office.

"We've created a robust offering to ensure the best companies are being represented and positioned correctly to do business in the Caribbean," said CGI President Wanda James.

Last month, the Jamaican Parliament gave the green light to the amendments of the Dangerous Drugs Act to make possession of two ounces or less of marijuana a non-arrestable, ticketable offence that attracts no criminal record.

The Bill also provides for the creation of a Cannabis Licensing Authority, which will be responsible for developing the regulations governing the medical marijuana industry.





4 men killed in Trelawny crash

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Four men were killed in a collision on the Braco main road in Trelawny early Sunday.

It's reported that shortly after 5 o'clock the car in which the men were traveling collided with a trailer.

They died at the scene.

The crash has pushed the number of road traffic fatalities since the start of the year to 52.





Calabar won the boys Class 1 and 2 4x100 m finals at the 39th Gibson McCook Relays at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday, while Kingston College (KC) took top honours in Class 3 and 4.

In Class 1, the team of Michael O'Hara on the backstretch and Edward Clarke on the leadoff leg, stormed to victory in a record 39.32 seconds, beating the previous mark of 39.61 set in 2014. St. Jago with Nathon Allen, Raheem Chambers, and Ivan Henry finished second in 39.80. Wolmer's Boys' School were third in 40.30.

In Class 2, Calabar again outclassed the field to win in 40.86 ahead of Kingston College (KC), 41.42, and Jamaica College (JC), 41.72.

Kingston College, who pulled out of Class 1, took classes 3 and 4. KC won Class 3 in 43.09, ahead of Jago, 43.12, JC, 43.51, and Wolmer's, 44.09.

In Class 4, KC topped the field in 44.44, ahead of Jago, 46.12, Calabar, 46.21 and Wolmer's, 47.05.





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There are reports that the management agency for Olympians Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson is to sue supplement company epiphany d1 for more than 8 million us dollars following the athletes failed drugs tests.

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The two sprinters tested positive for oxilofrine at the national championships in 2013 and were provisionally suspended for 18 months by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). However, the ban was later reduced to six months following an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) last year.

During the CAS hearing, it was argued that epiphany d1 manufacturers had failed to specify in their listed ingredients that oxilofrine was included.

Powell's agent Paul Doyle, who is the director of Doyle management, argues one of the ingredients listed on the bottle had never been put into the product.

Having had the supplement tested by the world anti-doping agency (WADA) and the food and drug administration (FDA), they were able to confirm that the banned drug was in that particular product and that their claims were correct, meaning that epiphany d1 has now been placed on the Us Anti-Doping Agency's high risk dietary supplement list.

Part of the reason for suing the company, Doyle says, is to clear the names of both athletes whose reputations have been tarnished since the failed tests were revealed.





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A memorial service was held Friday for Rev Glen Archer at Ardenne High School, a place that was "like home" for the late educator.

"He spent so much time here, it was like home for him," Marcia Archer Groves, the legendary teacher's sister, told Loop News during the ceremony.

"(Ardenne) was a special place for Glen," she said.

Glen Archer's relationship with Ardenne stretches back more than three decades. He joined the Ardenne family as a teacher in 1978 and has been instrumental in bringing numerous accolades to the school. Among them, four victories in the annual Television Jamaica School's Challenge Quiz competition and a Manning Cup (football) title. Nineteen out of the 27 Spelling Bee champions he coached were students of Ardenne High School.





A Jamaican woman who claimed she was raped by a Bahamian immigration officer, is suing the Bahamas government.

On Friday, the woman filed a civil suit, seeking damages for battery, assault, false imprisonment and the breach of her constitutional rights. In a writ filed in the Bahamas Supreme Court, the Attorney General, Minister and Director of Immigration, as well as the Commissioner of Police, were accused of being liable for the alleged unlawful conduct, committed by police and immigration officers in the incident. In her claim, the woman describes a crowded and filthy detention centre with menstruating females left to bleed out on the floor; and no sanitary napkins or washing facilities.

Immigration officer Norman Bastian, who is facing rape charges, was named as the fifth defendant. Bastian appeared in Court on Monday.The matter is set for preliminary hearing in May and June.

The alleged incident occurred in December when the woman was detained and released after an immigration raid on a bar in Nassau. It's alleged that Mr. Bastian took the woman to his house where he raped her before releasing her two days later.





St Catherine cops name 4 wanted men

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ST CATHERINE, Jamaica -- Detectives from the St Catherine North Police Division have listed several individuals as wanted. These men are wanted in connection with several murders and shootings committed in the division and are being asked to turn themselves in to the Spanish Town police or the nearest police station with their lawyers by 5:00 pm, on Monday, March 2.

They are:

1. Michael Headley, otherwise called 'Dudus', 'Tony' and 'David', who is from Salt Pond Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine. He is known to frequent the Quarry Hill, Lakes Pen, De La Vega City, Dallas Lane, and March Pen areas of Spanish Town.

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2. Duran Coleman of a March Pen Road, St Catherine address.

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3. Aston Daley, otherwise called 'Daleybwoy', 'Ricky' and 'Ricardo', who is from Shelter Rock in Spanish Town, St Catherine. He is known to frequent Old Road, Dempshire Pen, and Waterloo Villa, all in Spanish Town.

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4. Damion Gray, otherwise called 'Saint' or 'Butcha', who is from Shelter Rock in Spanish Town. He is also known to frequent the areas of Old Road, Dempshire Pen, and Waterloo Villa in Spanish Town.

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Alicia Keys welcomed baby boy Genesis Ali Dean on December 27.

And on Friday the 34-year-old finally shared the first photo of her newborn, in a black-and-white Instagram picture she posted, with the caption: 'Blessings and love!! #GenesisAliDean'.

In the picture she poses happily with her husband Swizz Beatz, his son Kasseem Dean Jr, and their older son Egypt Daoud.

Alicia cradles the two-month-old in the photo, as she, husband Swizz - real name Kasseem Dean - and son Kasseem stare down happily at him.

The little one, as well as Alicia's son Egypt, stare off at the camera, in the gorgeous family photo for which everyone is dressed to the nines.

The boys all don suits, while the Girl on Fire singer sports an ornate gown with a cinched waist, and a lightly colored head-wrap.

In a second photo shared by her husband, Swizz holds onto Genesis as all three boys look somewhere off screen.

The picture, in which the bow-tie clad boys sport nearly identical expressions, is captioned: '#Deanboyz'.

The couple, who married in 2010, announced the pregnancy on an appearance on The View back in September.

'I think he's [Egypt] super excited because he's not going to be the youngest anymore,' Alicia said of her son's reaction to her pregnancy, in an interview with People shortly before giving birth. 'He's always kissing my belly.'

On Thursday the happy new mom took to Instagram to share her love for husband Swizz with a sweet photo.

In the picture the two sport coordinating camouflage jackets as they stand in the middle of a staircase, sharing a kiss.

Alicia captioned the heartwarming photo alongside her husband of nearly five years: '4ever yours @therealswizzz' .





what-colour-is-the-dress.jpgMeet Laura Coleman - she's the model who actually put on the "What Color Is This Dress" dress and modeled it for the fashion brand!

The dress was designed by Roman Originals and it is currently available on their website in the BLUE AND BLACK, white and black, red and black, and pink and black. Sorry to anyone who saw it as white and gold!

"Okay so I was the first to wear this dress and just to confirm it's definitely black and blue! #thedress," Laura wrote on her Instagram account.





Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean are being warned of another massive outbreak of the Chikungunya Virus that's expected to affect the region in a few years.

The warning has come from the Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Dr James Hospedales who argues that this will be a natural cycle for the virus, which has left a trail of pain, death and controversy across the region.

According to Hospedales, the virus, which is new to Jamaica has now peaked in its intensity, so there will be a period of recession. However, he cautions that because of the prevalence of the Aedes Aegypti in the region, the massive outbreak is expected.





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Grammy winning dancehall artiste, Sean Paul, is quite happy that his 2003 Billboard chart-topper, Get Busy, will be featured in the upcoming animation flick Home, slated for release on March 27.

Home -- based on the 2007 Adam Rex's children's book The True Meaning of Smekday -- is an American 3-D comedy film starring Barbados-born international recording star Rihanna and American actor Jim Parsons. The voices Jennifer Lopez and funnyman Steve Martin are also featured in the DreamWorks Animation project.

Originally released in 2002, Get Busy is on the Steven 'Lenky' Marsden-produced Diwali riddim. The single is on Sean Paul's sophomore, Grammy-winning album Dutty Rock. That set was re-released the following year for the international market.

"That song was written by me and my brother, JigZag, and was number one on the Billboard charts for a couple of weeks. It was a big accomplishment for myself, everyone involved such as producers, other artistes on the riddim and dancehall music, in general. I am proud to be part of a big staple dancehall riddim like Diwalil," the entertainer said.

This is not the first time Get Busy will be listed in the movie credits. The song's remix was featured in Grind (2003), Chasing Liberty (2004), and Baby Mama (2008).





Etana recuperating at home in Florida

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A combination of "exhaustion, dehydration and hypertension" has been blamed for reggae singer Etana's recent stint in hospital in Florida. Etana, who is recuperating at home, has assured her fans that she is doing fine.

Etane, who had been complaining of dizzy spells and back pain before finally passing out on Wednesday evening, was released from hospital on Thursday.

"I guess my body was just telling me to slow down. I had just come back from Europe after an 11-hour flight and I still wasn't hydrating properly or eating properly," Etana said. "I just want my fans to know that I am all right. This is a warning that I have to take better care of myself, I have to get the message of truth, rights and justice out but I cannot do so if I am not healthy," she said.

Etana recently completed a three-week European gig, which saw her performing at clubs in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.





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Dancehall artiste Tommy Lee Sparta was the topic of discussion on social media recently, after a photo of a partially nude female was posted on Instagram for the world to see, by a woman who is allegedly his girlfriend.

The exposed female is said to be an employee of a prominent media house, and according to the woman who posted the photo, the exposed woman was intimately involved with her spouse Tommy Lee Sparta.

After posting the photo, the seemingly upset 'girlfriend' proceeded to hurl several insults at the woman calling her a dog, among other levels of disrespect. She was also joined by some of her followers.

There was also no response in Tommy Lee Sparta's Instagram posts. However, there were photos of the alleged girlfriend on his personal Instagram page.

Tommy Lee Sparta is currently working on his debut album. The deejay also released music videos for new singles Outlaw and Crow which have each received close to a million views online.





Ex-con at centre of abduction hoax in hospital

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The ex-convict at the centre of an abduction hoax has been hospitalised under police guard after collapsing on Thursday evening.

Senior Superintendent Clifford Chambers, told RJR News the suspect became ill after the man he accused of abducting a Canadian woman at gun point, showed up at the headquarters late Thursday.The so-called abductor went to the police following the accusation.

On seeing the man, the ex-convict reportedly collapsed and had to be taken to hospital.SSP Chambers said he will be charged with public mischief following his release from hospital.

The ex-convict on Thursday told the police that a gunman hijacked his vehicle in Pembroke Hall, St. Andrew and abducted a Canadian visitor.However, the police say the report was a hoax.

The cops say the so called gunman was the key witness in a case in which the man was convicted and sent to prison. The police say he had just returned from prison and was trying to get back at the witness with the false claim.





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Deejay and football coach Glendon 'Admiral' Bailey, has been using the allegedly fraud travel documents for over 25 years, his lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson, told the media in an interview. According to Tavares-Finson, the charges brought against Admiral Bailey are a "misunderstanding".

"I am satisfied that when the matter comes before the court, we will be able to offer an explanation" Tavares-Finson is quoted as saying.

Admiral Bailey, whose given name is Glendon Bailey, was slapped with fraud-related charges when he attempted to renew a passport in the name Micheal George Sullivan at the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency on Monday. He is booked to appear in the Corporate Area Criminal Court on Thursday, March 5.

Admiral Bailey is charged with two counts of uttering forged documents, two counts of obtaining passport by false pretence, two counts of possession of forged documents, one count of attempting to obtain a passport by false pretence, and one count of conspiracy to defraud.

A cross-over artiste in his own right, Admiral Bailey started his career as a dancehall duo with Chaka Demus, their hit One Scotch (Boops Riddim, Jammys Records) introduced to the mainstream. As a solo act, Bailey went on to rule the 1980s and '90s with hits including Big Belly Man, Think Me Did Done, and Heathly Body. With the assistance of musician Byron Lee, he won over to soca fans with Dancehall Soca and Soca Butterfly.

He has had a successful career in football at the national level, leading Olympic Gardens to the Premiere League and making Tivoli Gardens Football Club multiple winners of the trophy.





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The Flossnig King, Andrew 'Flippa Mafia' Davis was handed a pre-trial date of March 5 to return to the Camden County Superior Court in New Jersey.

The dancehall artiste is facing conspiracy to distribute cocaine, leading a narcotics organisation, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and money-laundering charges. He has been incarcerated since September 2013.

If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

In November 2014, American defence attorney-at-law J Michael Farrell was unsuccessful in getting the wiretap evidence dismissed, but vowed to get justice for the Flossing King.

"Additional motions will be ligitated. There is an issue of consent of the confidential informant. We believe that the Government's confidential informant will support my client's innocence and that alleged consent was not voluntary, but coerced," Farrell said, at the time.

"It is because of his fame; we believe he was unjustly targeted," he continued.





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KINGSTON, Jamaica - World and Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt made a surprise showing at the 2015 Gibson Relays now under way at the National Stadium in Kingston, to open his season.

Bolt, who was a no show at the recently held Camperdown Classic, anchored the Racers Lion 4x100m team of Mario Forsyth, Warren Weir and Michael Frater to a time of 39.26 seconds.

Excelsior Community College finished second in a time of 43.50 seconds, while the Caribbean Maritime Institute team finished third in a time of 45.04 seconds.





 

Boys and Girls' Championships end on a high

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At the end of five grueling days of competition, where 14 records were broken eight on the boys side and six in the girls category, where false starts and mishaps were aplenty, the tears that flowed and the joys and celebration for others, with the explosive cheering nonstop on the final day, it was Calabar and Edwin Allen who retained their respective titles at the 2015 renewal of the ISSA/ Boys and Girls Championships.

Calabar secured their fourth championship in a row amassing 280.5 points, ahead of Kingston college 265 points, who was predicted to win by two points and Jamaica College third 200, St Jago was fourth with 183 points and Steths fifth 132 points.

While Edwin Allen from Frankfield, Clarendon under Coach Michael Dyke won title number 3, finishing with 321 points, 100 points better than the late surging Hydel on 221 as St Jago was third 219.33, with Holmwood fourth 206 and Vere fifth 136.

Meanwhile Michael O'hara, grabbed his fourth gold medal in total, as he helped Calabar to a new 'champs' and national record in the class 1 boys sprint relay final. The quartet of O' hara, Seanie Selvin, Julani walker and Edward Clarke clocked a shocking 39.08 seconds erasing the old mark of 39.35seconds that they set last year beating Jamaica College into second place in 39.79 seconds ahead of St. Georges College 40.43 seconds.

Grabbing three gold medals was the youth Olympics 200 meters champion Natalliah Whyte of St Jago. She won the 100 meters class one event, and took gold in the 4×100 metres Class 1 and 4×400 meters events.

Edwin Allen's wonder girl Shelece Clarke ended the Championship with three gold medals, as after winning the 100 and 200 metres doubles, she later returned to run on the third leg of Edwin Allen's 4×100 metres class two team, which clocked a new meet record 44.88 seconds to win gold. Thereby, wiping clean the old mark of 45.06 set by Holmwood Technical High School back in 2006. Hydel was second 45.37 with Green Island High snapping up the bronze in 46.37 seconds. Edwin Allen also snatched the gold in the class four relays in a new meet record 46.65 seconds.

Another sensational unbelievable and unforgettable moment of super 'champs' 2015 was the run by 17 year old Akeem Bloomfield a lower sixth form student of Kingston College who blew away the field and stopped the clock at 44.93 seconds to take the gold in the Class 1 boys 400 metres final, and 9 vital points at that staged for KC. Erasing Jevaughn Francis' 45.00 seconds set last year. Bloomfield got home ahead of the St Jago pair of Nathan Allen and Martin Manley 45.30 and 46.61 seconds respectively.

Other noticeable performers of Champs' 2015 were JC's Obrien Waysone in the long and triple jump, St Andrew Technical's Ayesha Champaigne who won the Heptathlon for girls, Jaheel Hyde who ran a new record in the Open 400 metres hurdles, plus the outstanding all round efforts of Hydel girls who were sensational all round and must never be discounted for next year's renewal.

Heading into the final race the 4×400 metres open Calabar just needed to finish ahead of Kingston College and they just did that with the danger man Christopher Taylor on anchor he made no mistake in leading Calabar to gold, and their 24th title overall. The victory coming in a new meet record 3 minutes 06.76 to better the previous best 0f 3.08.31 set by St Jago last year.





Pregnant teenager killed in motor vehicle crash

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A teenaged girl said to be in an advanced stage of pregnancy died Monday morning in a motor vehicle crash along the Chalky Hill main road in St. Ann.

She has been identified as Sasha Beckford,17, of Croft's Hill in Clarendon.Four other persons including a child were taken to hospital.

It's reported that shortly after 6 o'clock the teenager was a passenger in a Toyota Corolla motorcar along with her mother, a man and his son. The vehicle reportedly skidded and plunged about 100 metres over a precipice.

It was the third fatal crash in St. Ann since the start of the weekend and the fourth fatality.





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State Minister for Works Richard Azan says road repairs being carried out in sections of the Corporate Area are not being done for the visit of US President Barrack Obama.

"It is a programme that we have taken in which we focus on a number of main roads in the Corporate Area; we are going to do rural Jamaica very shortly..." Azan said.

He further said: "The only thing about it is that some are being repaired in the period of time that President Obama will be visiting. But the repairs are not for the President's visit."

The National Works Agency (NWA) announced that several roads will be repaired over the next two weeks.

Obama is slated to arrive on the island on April 9.





US visitor missing

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Forty-eight year-old Terrence Kemble of Lauda Hill Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been missing since Friday, March 27.

He is of dark complexion, stout-build and is about 172 centimetres (5 feet 8 inches) tall.

Kemble was last seen about 8:30 p.m., on Chisholm Avenue, Kingston 13. He was dressed in a pair of black jeans pants, a plaid short-sleeved shirt and a pair of black and white sandals. He has not been heard from since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Terrence Kemble is being asked to contact the Duhaney Park police at 933-4280, police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.





Guns, rocket launcher seized on highway

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The Trelawny police said two men have been taken into custody over yesterday's seizure of 11 guns and a rocket launcher during a spot check.

The men were reportedly stopped while travelling in a pickup along the Scarlett Hall area of the North Coast leg of Highway 2000. The guns and rocket launcher were found in a barrel. An investigator said the weapons were concealed in what he described as a well-taped and packaged parcel.

The cops are warning motorists against alerting persons of police presence on the roads. Deputy Superintendent Odeen Dennis reported that the men almost eluded the police because other motorists warned them of their presence.

Fortunately, Dennis said the police saw what was happening and thwarted the bid to escape.

The senior policeman is warning motorists to desist from doing this because, according to him, many lives could be lost based on the number and types of guns seized. Some of the weapons seized include a rocket launcher, an M-16, an AK-47, a Sniper rifle, one Intratek sub-machine and a Uzi sub-machine, among others.

The police said 16 guns have been recovered in the parish since the start of the year.





Video clip lands schoolboys in police custody

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Two male students from a prominent high school in St Thomas have been taken into custody, after a video surfaced that showed them assaulting another schoolboy. The incident happened last week and was recorded and posted on several social media sites, including Facebook.

The video, which shows the students striking another male student with a belt, while other students watched, caused outrage among many social media viewers, who denounced the boys as bullies and troublemakers.

Deputy Superintendent Charmaine Shand of the St Thomas police confirmed that the incident was under investigation. She said officers have also received a statement from the boy who was assaulted. The St Thomas police also said that they have expanded their support to the school, offering aid in conflict resolution and violence reduction.

Shand is also appealing for the individual who recorded the incident to make a statement to the police to assist with the investigation.





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Dancehall artiste Miguel Collins, more popularly known as Sizzla Kolanji, has been charged for using expletives onstage during a performance at the Falmouth Police Station Sunday morning.

Sizzla had been invited in good faith to perform at the station for an entertainment event organised by the police Community Safety & Security Branch, a community outreach arm of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

However, on entering the stage, his opening sentence was reportedly laced with expletives as he berated the police.

The police, who had invited the artiste, did not turn a blind eye to his performance and he was taken from the stage and charged.

Some persons in attendance at the event said they were angered by his removal from the stage, arguing that the police knew his style and should not have invited the artiste if they did not want to hear what he had to say.

The majority of attendees, however, were of the view that Sizzla's performance was an attack on, and disrespectful to, law and order, particularly since he was performing at the station said to be one of the largest in the Caribbean.





A vendor had to make a hasty retreat from a St Catherine school after he had a dispute with the principal who pulled a machete and threatened to cut him down to size. The incident is the subject of much laughter in the community where the school is located.

"Is blaze di vendor have to blaze him way from the school, after him and di principal have a fuss. Him seh di big man get real bringle, so him a go station," a resident, who is a taxi operator, reported.

Reports are that last Friday, the male vendor was at the school where he sells, when there was a disagreement. It was reported that the vendor and the principal had a heated verbal exchange.

This was said to have developed into a dispute, leading the principal to brandish a machete. Further reports are that the principal told the vendor he would "cut him down to size". The fearful vendor fled the scene, and ran to the police thereafter.

The Bog Walk police have acknowledged the incident and said that both parties were spoken to.





andrew-holness-photo-2.jpgThe Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has issued a release saying Andrew Holness has been affirmed as the party leader.

Opposition Members of Parliament were meeting to determine Holness' fate following an Appeals Court ruling last week dismissing his application the Senate seat court battle involving Arthur Williams and Christopher Tufton.

The JLP says 20 of the 21 Opposition MPs attended the meeting.

North West St Elizabeth MP J C Hutchinson was the only one absent.

However, the JLP says this was unavoidable and Hutchinson communicated his position in writing.





mavado-photo-11.jpgDancehall artiste Mavado says he was a victim of racial profiling at an Asian restaurant in New York recently. According to the Love In Your Heart singer, he was treated like a bum and even verbally abused at the restaurant because of the colour of his skin.

The artiste, who expressed his grouse with the restaurant via his Instagram page, claims he visited the establishment to have lunch with his family and friends. However, he was unreasonably forced to sit at the back even though it was pretty much empty.

Mavado also claims the manager of the restaurant prohibited him from using his phone in any manner, after which they rushed him to eat his food, as if they did not want to accommodate him and his guests for an extended period.

The artiste says his manager was later contacted by the restaurant and they profusely apologised for their actions, highlighting that they were ignorant to his popularity.

"Just went to ... restaurant and this manager - or whoever he wants to be -- was very disrespectful after I just spend a couple hundreds inside for me, my friends, and family. How could you have someone running a business and being prejudice, and trying to tell customers not to come back just because he didn't know who I am, but now he knows." Mavado posted on Instagram.

Mavado's story has since caught the attention of popular US urban media houses like TMZ and VLAD TV.

The artiste is currently promoting a single called Ain't Going Back Broke featuring Ace Hood and Future. The soon-to-be-released remix features Vybz Kartel.





queen-ifrica-photos-2.jpg Singer Queen Ifrica, who recently celebrated her 40th birthday in style at the Opa! Greek Restaurant and Sky Lounge, is ready to take up a challenge issued out by American actor Samuel L Jackson via social media recently.

"During the recent Ice Bucket Challenge, Samuel L Jackson gave out a challenge to artistes around the world to sing a song about black people not being killed and abused anymore," she explained.

"I saw it on YouTube and I am taking up the challenge," she continued.

The result will be a Negro spirtual-flavoured single entitled Swing Low.

"I am supposed to be recording it in the studio on Friday. It's about the struggle. 'We ain't gonna stop till people are free,' was what Samuel Jackson sang as the chorus. What I did was to write the verses around that chorus. We'll be sending a copy to him when it is completed," she said.

Queen Ifrica, whose given name is Ventrice Morgan, said she will be working on the project with respected producer Clive Hunt.

The singer said she was elated to reach her 40th. However, she was also in a reflective mood as this wasn't the case for many of the island's children.

"At 40, I'm begininng all over again. To live to 40 is like reaching a 100 years old because of what is happening in our reality. In 2015, before January ended, there were

15 deaths and most of them were our kids. So it's a very trying time we're living in. So I'm... I am humbled to live to see 40," she said.





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The sons of veteran reggae singer Freddie McGregor have joined forces for an upcoming album.

Chino and his brother Stephen Di Genius will release their first joint album this summer. The album, titled #G.M.T.A - Great Minds Think Alike, will featuring Di Genius partnering with his brother on some of the tracks.

Chino, who says the 16 tracks are fused with different genres of the music, is gearing up for his US tour in April to promote his EP, a project he will endorse until the release of the joint album.

Chino and Di Genius will then leave Jamaica for a European Tour which will feature several performances throughout the continent.

They are also set to perform in places like Japan and the Caribbean.





No more dubplates from Tarrus Riley ... for now

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Reggae crooner Tarrus Riley is now refusing to voice any more dubplates because of the prevalence of imposters in the industry.

Describing himself as an avid sound clash lover, Riley now believes that the sound system culture is losing its authenticity because of 'spliced dubs'.

"When I was growing up, it used to be called 'specials', but nowadays, it's no longer special because some people a splice up we voice. The worst thing as an artiste is to hear someone trying to impersonate you and it sound bad, it off-key, and the lyrics are wrong. Dat hurt me heart," he said.

According to Riley, it is not about the money but the preservation of craft and livelihood.

"Me grow up pon sound clash, so when me hear splice dub, I cannot be a part of that. I don't want people to be using my voice or my name to rob and scam people. So I'm not voicing any more dubs right now, so anybody who say dem have a recent Tarrus dub a tell lie," he stated.

To make matters worse, Riley believes that some of the culprits associated with splicing dubs are close associates of artistes.

"Di man dem all a splice dub from songs weh nuh release yet. So you realise say people weh eat and drink wid you a try bring you down."

Riley also has harsh words for selectors who knowingly play spliced dubs.

"Unuh a hypocrite. Unuh fi stop it! I am proud to be original and me love all original sounds and selectors. If we don't respect our music, others won't. So, any man weh say dem get a dub from me right about now, is a washover Tarrus voice it, not me. I'm not saying I'll never voice another dub ever again, but for now, I'm done with it," he stated.





Calabar, Edwin Allen take the lead at Champs

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After seven finals, the re-run of the boys 4×100 meters class 2 heat four, the disappointment of the Jevaughn Mattherson falling to the track as a result of an ailing hamstring, and the crashing out Saquine Cameron of Edwin Allen from the Class 1 Girls semi-final when the dust finally settled Defending Champions Calabar surged into the lead with 60 points.

Calabar leads the pack with 60 points, ahead of previous leaders Jamaica College on 40, Kingston College comes next with 33, points, with St Jago on 18 and Edwin Allen rounding out the top 5 with 16 points.

The record that fell on the day belonged to 13 year old Lamar Reid of Calabar who won the Class three Boys High Jump event with a leap of 1.99 metres to break the old mark set 22 years ago.

There was massive disappointment for Kingston College when the lost the strongest man in their class two armoury, Jevaughn Mattherson whose sore hamstring prevented him from completing the 200 meters class two semi-final as he crashed to the track, and remonstrated in frustration, but was quickly consoled by Coach Neil Harrison as he wept openly. The semi-final was won Tyreke Wilson of Calabar who stopped the clock in 21.11 seconds.

Meanwhile Rasheeda Downer of Kingston College won the gold in the boys Class two shot event, after heaving the implement some 16.47 meters, Calabar won the silver and the bronze.

Michael O'hara of Calabar is the fastest qualifier through to the 200 meters class 1 final, in 20.91, while Twayne Walker of Kingston College booked his place in the final with the second fastest time. Also through to the final is the St Jago Pair of Martin Manley, and Chad Walker,

Christopher Taylor posted the fastest time in the class two semi-final running a fast 20.97 seconds, while St Jago won the re-run of the class two boys heat which ended in dis-array on Wednesday night.

On the Girls side, after 6 events scored Defending Champions Edwin Allen leads with 48 points, ahead of Hydel on 41 points, Holmwood in third place on 21 points, followed by St Jago fourth and Rusea's fifth on 12 points, Vere is next on 12 points.

St Jago's Tissana Hickling won the Class two girls long jump event with a leap of 5.95 metres, to beat Trishauna Hemmings Glengoffe 5.88 metres while the bronze went to Nhayilla Renteria of St Jago 5.73 metres.

Junele Bromfield recovered from her disappointment in the 400 metres hurdles to qualify on Wednesday night when she won semi-final three of the Class two Girls 800 meters in 2 minutes 10.70 seconds, to get home ahead of Ashani Robb of Edwin Allen 2 minutes 16.83 seconds and Kamoy Fagan of Bellfield third 2.25.35 seconds.

While Saquine Cameron bounced back from a false start in the 100 metres qualifiers to capture semi-final one of the Class 1 Girls 200 metres in 23.51 seconds, just ahead of Nathallia Whyte of St Jago 23.61 seconds, while Shian Hyde of St Catherine High was third in 24.67 seconds. Meanwhile some 24 finals are down to be contested today including the 100 metres for all classes as well as the 1500 meters and the 400 metres Open Hurdles events for both genders.





shocked.jpgTAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A 13-year-old boy in Florida fatally shot his 6-year-old brother, wounded his 16-year-old brother and then killed himself on Wednesday during an argument over food, authorities said.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office received a call about the shooting at 6:19 p.m. local time in the city of Hudson, some 45 miles (72 km) north of Tampa, the office said in a statement.

The three brothers were squabbling over dinner, the statement said, when the 13-year-old grabbed a handgun and shot his two brothers before killing himself. The children were home alone at the time.

The older brother was taken to a hospital and his injuries were not considered life-threatening, the statement said. The names of the children were not released by authorities.

"This is a horrific scene," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco Chris said, according to the Tampa Bay Times newspaper. "This is a nightmare when you hear about the ages of these boys, a 6-year-old that was probably playing in his room, an argument over food and he lost his life."

The Times said that the children's mother was at work and a fourth son, who is 18-years-old, was not at the house.





DETROIT (AP) - A teenager told authorities that her mother killed two siblings and forced her to put one of the bodies in the freezer of their Detroit home where both were found by an eviction crew.

Details of death and extreme abuse emerged Thursday as Mitchelle Blair appeared in court, two days after the bodies of a 9-year-old son, Stephen Berry, and 13-year-old daughter, Stoni Blair, were discovered.

Blair, 35, is charged with child abuse, but she could face murder charges when the bodies thaw and autopsies are performed, prosecutors said. Bond was set at $1 million. An attorney hasn't been assigned.

The Michigan Department of Human Services is taking steps to end Blair's rights to two other children, a 17-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son. In a court filing, the state said the teen described a house of horror, where she and her surviving brother were beaten with an extension cord and piece of wood, hit with a hot curling iron and burned with a clothing iron.

"Blair tortured Stephen for approximately two weeks prior to his death by tying a belt around his neck, throwing hot water on him while in the shower and putting a plastic bag over his head," the state said, quoting the 17-year-old.

Stephen was "unresponsive" on Aug. 30, 2012, and Blair wrapped his body in bed linen and put him in the freezer, the state said.

Mitchelle Blair stands during her video arraignment at the 36th District Court, Thursday, March 26...

Nine months later, Blair became "enraged" when Stoni said she didn't like her surviving siblings and strangled the girl with a T-shirt and suffocated her with a plastic bag, the department said.

Blair then made the teen "put Stoni in the deep freezer following her death," the agency said.

The 8-year-old boy also was aware that his sister and brother were killed and subsequently placed in the freezer, the department said.

Medical exams revealed evidence of abuse, including numerous scars, on the children. The teenager said neither she nor her siblings have attended school for two years.

Earlier Thursday, Blair appeared in court on child abuse charges via a video feed from a police lockup. Magistrate Renee McDuffee entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf.

"The charges in this matter are so heinous," McDuffee said in explaining the $1 million bond.

The state said it investigated allegations of abuse in 2002 and 2005. Blair was referred to counseling.

The state said the two fathers of Blair's surviving children are unfit to care for them. Together they owe $50,000 in child support and haven't seen the kids in two to three years.





INKSTER, Mich. (AP) -- A pastor leading a protest Wednesday outside a Detroit-area police department threatened to shut down the city until white officers are fired for the bloody arrest of a black man who was pulled from his car and repeatedly punched in the head.

The march in Inkster came a day after TV station WDIV aired police dashcam video of the Jan. 28 arrest of Floyd Dent, 57. In it, an officer punches Dent many times in the head while another officer tries to handcuff the motorist, who is on the ground. Dent's face and shirt were bloodied.

Police say Dent disregarded stop signs and refused to pull over, then resisted arrest and threatened them. They also say they found a bag of crack cocaine in his car.

Dent, who spent three days in the hospital with broken ribs, blood on his brain and other injuries, told reporters at a news conference that he was defending himself as an officer was "nearly choking me to death."

"I wasn't resisting arrest," he said. "When someone is beating your face, you're going to protect yourself."

Hours earlier, Rev. Charles Williams II and about 50 protesters were told to leave the police department because they were blocking the door. Inkster Police Chief Vicki Yost met them outside and said Michigan State Police would investigate the arrest. She told The Associated Press the department also was conducting an internal probe.

"I understand your concern," Yost told Williams. "Again, we're going to let the investigation play out. ... We're going to act accordingly. We're not hiding from this."

Both Dent and Williams say the officers should be fired. Yost told The Associated Press that one is on "administrative duty" but declined to elaborate.

"We will shut Inkster down until we get justice," said Williams, who added that the video "made me sick."

In the police report released by defense attorney Greg Rohl, Inkster officer William Melendez wrote that he was patrolling for "narcotics activity" when he saw Dent's Cadillac pull into a hotel parking lot. He wrote that Dent went into a hotel room for a few minutes, came out and pulled away.

Melendez said in the report that he turned on his lights after Dent failed to use a proper turn signal and disregarded a stop sign. He said Dent failed to stop for some distance. When Dent pulled over, Melendez said he approached the car with his weapon out and raised it when he thought Dent, who was unarmed, was reaching for a weapon.

An auxiliary officer pulled Dent to the ground and Melendez put the motorist in a hold and punched him in the face after Melendez said Dent bit him on the arm; Dent denies biting Melendez. Another officer used a stun gun three times to subdue Dent, the report said.

A judge has dismissed charges of fleeing and resisting police, but Dent still faces a drug charge. He says he was visiting a friend, and that the officers planted the drugs in his car. He also said he was tested at the hospital and was "clean" of alcohol or drugs.

In 2004, Melendez and seven other Detroit officers were acquitted of lying, falsifying reports and planting evidence. Federal prosecutors had accused him and another officer of being the "masterminds" of a conspiracy to "run roughshod over the civil rights of the victims."

Inkster, population 25,000, is 73 percent black.





Trini Carnival ranks 3rd in world

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trinidad-carnival.jpgFat Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras. No matter what you call it, the last day before Lent's 40 days of repentance (between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday) brings out a wild side in populations around the world.

As the party season of carnival nears its end, events heat up and online travel adviser Cheapflights offers its top ten list of places to enjoy a last fling with hedonism before it's over for 2012.

Reuters has not endorsed this list:

1. Mardi Gras - New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Thousands of tourists flood The Big Easy annually for Mardi Gras in New Orleans, deemed "the biggest free party on earth".

The entire city loosens its (already loose) reins, and douses itself with endless strings of beads, colourful floats and costumes to celebrate the naughtiest time of year. Floats of all sizes roll through the streets in spectacular parades for two weeks prior to Mardi Gras. Endymion (Saturday), Bacchus (Sunday), Orpheus (Monday), Zulu (Tuesday morning) and Rex (Tuesday night) are the most famous of the parades, drawing rowdy attendees to partake in song and dance free of inhibition.

2. Carnival of Binche - Binche, Belgium

It's an honour for a man from Binche to be picked to join the Gilles on Shrove Tuesday.

Gilles are clown-like performers, dressed in fanciful costumes, wax masks and plumed hats, who dance throughout the city starting in the wee hours and lasting through the night.

The 1,000-plus men are the centrepiece of Binche's carnival, named a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

3. Trinidad and Tobago Carnival - Trinidad and Tobago

Its vibrant history and French roots set the tone for Trinidad and Tobago's most significant celebration each year: Carnival. The Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday draw the Caribbean destination's population to the streets to show off elaborate costumes that groups take months to create. Bands compete against one another for the title of Band of the Year and claypsonians vie for the prestigious Calypso Monarch title.

4. Carnival of Brazil - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

There's really no comparison when it comes to Carnival celebrations when Rio is thrown in the mix. Brazilians take their weeks before Lent very seriously, putting on large-scale parades and festivities that in 2011 drew nearly five million people. The most famous holiday in Brazil features samba schools, or large groups of dancers and performers, who build spectacular floats and compete in one of seven divisions based on music, costumes and theme. Individual neighbourhoods more and more are seeing smaller-scale parades, blocos, which feature drum parades, samba and other high-octane sights and sounds.

5. Mardi Gras - Sydney, Australia

Sydney takes the opportunity during pre-Lent celebrations to support its LGBT community through more than 60 must-attend events at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The most popular spectacle, of course, is the evening parade down Oxford and Flinders streets. Other musts on the lineup include drag races on Bondi Beach, Fair Day at Victoria Park, a sunset cruise, and a harbour-side dance party on Sydney Harbour.

6. Notting Hill Carnival - London, United Kingdom

It's not until August, but London is the place to be in 2012. Though the Olympics will be most folks' focus, the Notting Hill Carnival will come a close second for more than a million visitors. Trinidadian and Tobagonian Brits lead the charge, directing musicians and participants clad in colourful costumes through Notting Hill's narrow streets.

Claustrophobic travellers should consider staying at home - Caribbean-flavoured festival lassos large crowds over the course of two - typically hot - summer days.

7. Quebec Winter Carnival - Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Quebec City comes to life every February for the Quebec Winter Festival. Outdoor sports like snowboarding and dog sledding, snow sculpture contests and masquerade balls are all on the schedule each year as Canadians celebrate a winterised version of Carnival. Visitors bundle up during the coldest time of year for a reason: zip lines, concerts and ice skating make for tons of fun for kids and adults alike. Like with most pre-Lent celebrations, the parades - both during the day and at night - are the highlight of Quebec's ode to Carnival.

8. Carnival of Venice - Venice, Italy

Beginning 40 days before Easter, thousands of Venetians and visitors to the City of Water alike disguise themselves in ornamental masks, a site to be seen for anyone planning a trip to Italy. What used to blur the lines among social classes has evolved into a festival that could rival any other Carnival in the world. Fashion designers from around the globe sit on a panel to vote for "la maschera piu bella" or "the best mask" as events like the silent water parade and the Flight of the Angel take place across the city.

9. Mardi Gras - Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, USA

Though Orlando may not be the first town that comes to mind when you think of Mardi Gras,

Universal Studios puts on a celebration of beads and live music that the whole family can enjoy. For nearly two months on Saturdays and certain nights, the park entertains with headliners like Kelly Clarkson, and dishes up Cajun treats like jambalaya and shrimp gumbo - a wonderful homage to New Orleans' French Quarter.

10. Carnival - Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguayans have the longest Carnival celebration in the world, letting loose for more than 40 days every year, most vibrantly in the country's capital, Montevideo. Theatres throughout the city are assembled and locals take to the stage to present the social and political climate of the country through operas known as tablados. Taking the real spotlight, though, are two colourful parades where musicians show their skills - and African roots - through the drum-based rhythm known as candombe.

- Reuters





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"I am so happy to reach T&T for this pilgrimage."

Those were the last words of Tobago Baptist leader King Shepherd Carlton Callender yesterday as he collapsed seconds after walking out of the VIP lounge of the Piarco International Airport after arriving for a function. Minister of National Diversity and Social Integration Rodger Samuel told the T&T Guardian that he had only minutes before embraced Carlton upon his arrival from New York, along with a 120-member contingent, including Consul General Nan Ramgoolam.

The group arrived for the start of a pilgrimage on the occasion of Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day. Callender was scheduled to give greetings last evening at the Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's dinner function celebrating Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's. Samuel said Callender took three months to plan the pilgrimage.

"It was his dream to get people of the faith from New York to come here to T&T to experience our celebrations here and King Shepherd was looking forward and very excited. It is shocking to me knowing that I just hugged him and we spoke and laughed together," Samuel said.

After collapsing, Callender was taken to the Arima Health Facility where he was pronounced dead. Up to late last night ministry officials and some members of the American contingent were at the facility. Samuel, on behalf of his ministry, extended condolences to Callender's family and fellow members of the faith. Archbishop Barbara Gray Burke, in her greetings at the function, reminisced on the time she met with Callender in Brooklyn. She said she believed he had fulfilled his assignment here on earth and was prepared for the journey in the afterlife.





A video of a man and a large woman having sex in broad daylight has crept up on various platforms.

As of Tuesday, the video has racked up close to half-a-million views on Facebook and is being shared through messaging application, WhatsApp.

The video, which was recorded somewhere along Ripon Road, shows the large woman, believed to be a prostitute, bent over a motor vehicle as a slim man has his way with her. The road, as well as surrounding areas is viewed as a hotspot for such activities. The man, who was wearing a condom as he did his business in the video, was being boosted by his friends recording his escapade.

However, the man is being derided by the prostitute and a few others for having 'finished' too quickly. At the end of the video, the woman disposes of the condom, pushes the man away, then walks off.

Visits to the area on Wednesday afternoon showed broken magnum glass bottles and a few used condoms which tell the tale of the activities which transpire on that road, which is a location for several businesses, as well as a popular strip club.

A manager for one of the businesses close to where the video was recorded expressed anger at the situation.

"It is upsetting and frustrating. You would think it's Coronation Market. We have been complaining in silence to the police," he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent in charge of the New Kingston Police Post, Christopher Murdock, said the police use high visibility patrol to deter such activities.





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Reports that Buju Banton has been freed and deported to Jamaica have sent the internet into a world-wind.

However, it has been revealed that Buju is still behind bars at the McRae Correctional Institution in the state of Georgia and is listed for release on January 3, 2019.

Buju Banton was arrested at his Florida home by US Marshalls in connection with drug trafficking in 2009. He was found guilty after two trials in a Tampa Court.

The Gargamel who is of the belief that he was entrapped by a US government informant; maintains his innocence.





shocked.jpg A 15 year old student is now in police custody in connection with the shooting of a 14 year old female student on Wednesday.

The police report that the injured teenager was on her way home when the incident occurred.

The other student - a male, is expected to be charged.

Head of the St. Catherine South Police Division Senior Superintendent Noel Christie says other charges are expected to be laid against individuals who filed a false report to the police regarding the incident.

The injured student has been listed in serious but stable condition.





barack-obama-photo-2.jpg National Security Minister, Peter Bunting, says the county's security forces are prepared for the upcoming visit to Jamaica of US President, Barack Obama.

President Obama is to arrive in Kingston on April 9 for what Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has said will be a State Visit.

Obama is scheduled to meet with Caricom Heads of Government while in Kingston.

When US President Ronald Reagan came to Jamaica on an Official Visit in April 1982, there were extensive security arrangements, including US law enforcement agents doing checks on some residential homes.

In a radio interview on Thursday, National Security Minister Peter Bunting said the public would soon be updated on precautions that will be put in place when President Obama arrives in Kingston.

The Security Minister said he recognized that President Obama's arrival will mean all eyes on Jamaica.





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gay-protest-new-york.jpg "Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman come here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere, and I will speak the truth everywhere," Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honourable Portia Simpson Miller told gay rights protestors in New York who crashed her keynote address at the launch of the 6th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference.

As Simpson Miller defended Jamaica's record of protecting the rights of gays, the protestors demanded she do more for them. However, the prime minister did not take kindly to the disruption and chided the protestors for not telling the truth.

"Nobody never hears the Government of Jamaica beating up gays; not one. Let me tell you something; you want to disturb, you can disturb, but this woman come here with the blood of Nanny of the Maroons and the spirit of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, and this woman is not afraid of no man, nowhere, anywhere, and I will speak the truth everywhere," the prime minister said to loud cheers and applause from the audience.

Simpson Miller noted her position and that her People's National Party Government is different from that of the previous administration of Bruce Golding, who famously said he would not allow gays to serve in his Cabinet.

Simpson Miller stressed that she would not be bullied by those who tell lies about Jamaica's treatment of gays. And she further lamented that Jamaica would not bow to attempts to hurt the country's image with misinformation. The prime minister said Jamaica respects the human rights of all its citizens, including gays. She added that those who disagreed are not being truthful.

"Jamaica will continue to rise and shine globally. Jamaica will rise and shine all over the world and no one man can stop that," Simpson Miller declared.

In the past, gay-rights advocates have picketed events attended by the prime minister in New York.





fantasia.jpgtessanne-chin-photo-5.jpgOn Saturday, April 11, 2015, tri-state area music lovers will get the opportunity to see two powerhouse singers perform live - Tessanne Chin, season 5 winner of The Voice and American Idol winner Fantasia. Both ladies will share stage at an event billed 'Voices In Concert' to be held at the newly renovated Kings Theatre in Brooklyn.

"We are thrilled to have these two crowd favorites - Tessanne and Fantasia - perform live on one stage in Brooklyn, New York for the very first time" said event organizer George Crooks of Jammins Entertainment.

Announcement of the event has sparked interest among loyal Jamaican music lovers in the Diaspora who voted in droves to ensure victory for Tessanne in 2013. While no one can definitively say how many votes the 'Hideaway' singer got each week from US supporters and other ethnic groups, one thing is sure is that Jamaicans in the tri-state area came up big for her.

Chin has since broken new ground - performing at the White House for President Obama. Her album 'Count on My Love,' her first since winning the Voice includes popular songs like 'Tumbling Down,' 'Everything Reminds Me of You,' 'Always Tomorrow' and 'People Change.'

Fantasia also has many loyal fans in the tri-state area. Her story, which was documented in a Lifetime Movie original is just as surreal as she beat the odds to walk away with the title in 2004 - the third season of American Idol. Since then she has recorded many hit songs and topped the Billboard chart with 'I Believe.' She has copped Grammy awards for 'When I See You' and her album 'Fantasia.'

Part proceeds from the concert to assist the American Foundation for The University of The West Indies.





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Over $100 - millions dollars in equipment and infrastructure has burnt during the recent fire at the studio of legendary music producer Bunny 'Striker' Lee.

Lee's Gorgon Entertainment Studio was destroyed by fire on March 9. The building and equipment were reportedly uninsured. The building, located in Duhaney Park in St Andrew, also houses a museum that contains Lee's music archive. That section was spared.

The producer's engineer, Newton Williams, who escaped with minor burns was at the studio when the fire broke out. According to Williams "everything happened in a split second".

"I was setting up for a vocal session and as I plugged in the 24-track tape, I heard a popping sound. When I looked behind me, I saw the room engulfed in flames. I took my shirt off and attempted to out the blaze but it was already out of control," Williams said.

Among the equipment lost in the blaze were two computers, reel-to-reel recorders, Pro Tool Machines and sets of 2-16 tracks tapes.

It was in 1972 that Striker Lee s bought the building from the late producer Joe Gibbs for about $30,000. He then went to England and shopped for the best equipment available. Leee noted that almost every veteran artiste has recorded at Gorgon's Entertainment Studio.

"Bob Marley recorded in that studio. Is in there Peter Tosh record Mawga Dawg," he said.

Lee said Nicky Thomas's Love Of The Common People and Have A Little Faith were also done there. Other entertainers that have used the equipment include Dennis Brown, Jacob Miller, Joseph 'Culture' Hill, Roy Shirley, John Holt, Slim Smith, Beenie Man and Elephant Man.

Lee began his musical career in 1962 when he was first introduced to producer and sound system operator Duke Reid. He would go on to create music of his own, working with some of the pioneers in the development of the Jamaican music industry. In 2008, he was awarded the Order of Distinction (Officer class) for his contribution to the development of Jamaican music.

Lee and his team are currently cleaning up and expect to refurbish the studio and restart operations later this year.





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wyclef-jean.jpg Reggae artiste Chronixx will be releasing new projects featuring American rappers Joey Bada$$, Hit Boy and Wyclef Jean. According to the conscious recording artiste, he has no issues collaborating with hip hop artistes, as long as their music is sending the right message.

He also says he was inspired by hip hop music during his formative years.

"I have always had a deep appreciation for hip hop. When I was producing my first EP with Teflon, I was listening to two hip hop albums at the time. Me love hip hop because it is reggae's little son, because it came after dancehall. Reggae is still giving birth to new genres like EDM and dub step. All of those genres breed from King Tubbys, Lee Scratch Perry and King Jammys; all of those music is reggae," he said.

Chronixx, who was speaking at the University of the West Indies, Mona's Reggae Talks, a series hosted by the Department of Literatures in English, says reggae and hip hop content usually mirror each other.

"I find that anything that happens in reggae, a similar thing is going on in hip hop and vice versa, because they are the same. It's music created by people in the diaspora, one black brother and sister. I love everybody just the same," he said.

Chronixx's EP, Dread and Terrible, is currently spending its 42nd week in the reggae Billboard top ten.





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Hard hitting dancehall artiste, Clifford Smith, aka Mr. Vegas, will beloined by up hip- hop star Pitbull for a remix of his song My Jam, a single from Vegas' Euphoria album which was released last year.

"We wanted it to be a happy song and we needed an artiste to take us to another level, so we sent a copy of the track to Pitbull's team and they instantly jumped on the remix. He recorded his part and sent back to us in Jamaica and we did the rest," explained Vegas, who has worked with the Miami-born Pitbull before.

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Culo, Pitbull's 2004 collaboration with rapper Lil Jon, samples Vegas' Pull Up. Pitbull, whose parents are Cuban, has a massive following in the Latin market, one of the most lucrative in contemporary music.

"This is great, as he has propelled me to a level that I only dream about. Pitbull has a huge fan base," said Vegas.

The video for the single was shot two weeks ago in Atlanta.

Mr Vegas, whose given name is Clifford Smith, is no stranger to international collaborations. Standing in The Sun, his remix with Beyonce, will be featured on her upcoming album Platinum Edition. He has also worked with Wyclef Jean and DMX and is featured on Snoop Lion's 2013 Grammy-nominated album, Reincarnated.





soca-royal-couple-bunji-fayann.jpg Husband and wife soca couple from Trinidad, Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons, will be the featured act for Bacchanal Fridays scheduled for the Mas Camp in St Andrew, on Friday. They will be backed by the Asylum Band.

The event -- which will be sponsored by telecoms provider Digicel -- is the final in the series and began six weeks ago.

"This Friday is flag night, so revellers should wear their colours and bring their flags. We will be offering prizes for the crew with the most hype crews. We pull out all the stops for the final Bacchanal Friday so patrons can expect the excitement to be high," said Charmaine Franklin, a Bacchanal director.

DJs Richie Ras and Bambino are expected to provide the musical selections.

Garlin and Lyons, soca's royal couple, are no strangers to Jamaica's Bacchanal stage. Both performers have a loyal following of fans with their vast catalogue of hits including Differentology, Truck on D Road, Get On, Catch Me, and This is Carnival.





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Mavado has collaborated with Vybz Kartel for the remix of his single 'I A'int Going Back Broke' which also features US rappers Future and Acehood.

The collaboration is the first featuring the two since their stand-off which commenced in 2006, following Kartel's exit from the Bounty Killer-led Alliance group.

Mavado and Vybz Kartel had previously collaborated for singles like Sun Rise and Happiest Days. However, their highly publicised Gaza and Gully feud, later saw the two trading lyrical insults with the release of singles like War Is In The Air, Rifle Shot, Mr Palmer, Mofraudo, among others.

The feud also saw Vybz Kartel questioning Mavado's writing skills. "How yu fi give mi hype wen yu beg mi fi par? A mi write five song give yu, tun yu inna star," Vybz Kartel claimed in the single Mofraudo.

While Mavado attempted to defend himself by drawing attention to Vybz Kartel's skin bleaching practice.

Vybz Kartel, now incarcerated, and Mavado, overseas for an extended period, the two have decided it's the best time to reunite. According to The We The Best signed artiste in a recent interview, he is set to make history with the collaboration.

"We are working on the mixtape, whenever time we say we are finished, we get more things. I just got a verse on I A'int Going Back Broke, yuh dun know with Gully Gad and Di Techa himself. Suh yu dun know it's a next history because this is like mi 10th year and the thing start off with the whole rivalry.

We can now show the youths that unity is strength and a just the paper," Mavado said.

I Ain't Going Back Broke featuring Vybz Kartel, was premiered yesterday on American website World Star Hip Hop.

Mavado also commented on Vybz Kartel's predicament in another interview. "I spoke to him and big him up, mek him know seh him fi gwaan hold the faith. Him a seh 'Yow, yuh dun know enuh Gully Gad. Yow, mi wah come a road. Mi waah mi and yuh run di thing, yuh nuh," Mavado said.





anthony-b-photo-3.jpg "I have always maintained my innocence, and I feel vindicated that the court system in Georgia have seen it fit to discontinue this trumped up case against me. I was not guilty, I did not have any weed in my possession, and justice has been served," reggae Anthony B declared on hearing that a 2013 possession of marijuana with intent to distribute charge in the United States had been dropped.

In 2013, Anthony B spent five days in a Georgia jail after he and nine members of his band and road crew were arrested in that state for ganja-related charges.

Ten persons were pulled over by state police on January 27, 2013 for a window tint violation along Interstate 75 in Houston County. Five ounces of ganja and US$7,900 were found in the vehicle. All were subsequently charged for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute the weed. Anthony B was released after posting bond of $1,000 for each charge. Nine others arrested and charged with similar offences.

The singjay, who is in the middle of a resurgence with his career with his latest single, How Do You Sleep?', and 'Low Mi Wid Mi Weed' on the Chase Mills Records label kicks off his European tour on March 28, three days shy of his 39th birthday.

He will travel to countries such as the Netherlands, France, Germany and Portugal.

Anthony B first made a name with fiery songs like Fire Pon Rome and Raid The Barn in the late 1990s. He followed up those early hits with a huge dancehall single, the chart-burning number one song, Tease Her, in the 2009. He continued to tour and release albums, and in July 2013, he released the critically acclaimed 'Tribute to Legends', an album of cover versions of songs by artists such as Bob Marley, The Maytals, John Lennon, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, and Ini Kamoze.





The people of the Corporate Area and parts of St. Catherine and Clarendon have been exposed for the past several days to the cancer causing chemical, benzene.

Ministry of Health is urging those persons exposed to significant levels of smoke from the fire at the Riverton City Dump to seek medical attention. The advice from the Health Ministry follows test results which show that record levels of benzene and other dangerous pollutants, were released from the fire into the atmosphere over the Jamaican capital and its environs.

For days many persons have been wondering just how dangerous are the substances released into the atmosphere over capital city Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine and parts of Clarendon by the fire at the dump.

The statement confirmed our worst fears. Almost half of the Jamaican population has been exposed to the dangerous cancer causing substance benzene over the past 10 days and counting.The Health Ministry noted that prolonged or long term exposure to benzene has been blamed for causing cancers, including leukemia.

According to Permanent Secretary, Dr. Kevin Harvey, those who were severely affected by smoke from the dump should seek medical attention. He emphasised that Benzene is a dangerous substance.

According to Dr. Harvey the US Centre for Disease Control says a person deemed to have long term exposure to benzene is someone who has been affected for over 1-year.

The latest of a number of fires which have taken place at the dump for more than 25 years, has been ongoing for nearly two weeks.

Dr. Harvey says the finding regarding the air quality is considered a major public health issue.





Great start to Boys and Girls Championships

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Six finals will be contested on today's second day of the ISSA Grace Kennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships inside the National Stadium.

The class two boys long jump and the class one boys long jump will be the events to secure the first points in the boys competition.

The class one Girls Discus and the Shot Put for class 2 girls will also be decided today for the girls to open their account on the score sheet. The first track final will be penultimate event today the girls 2 thousand metres steeplechase open followed by the boys event.

The action gets underway at 8.30 with the preliminaries of the class four girls long jump, the class one Girls Shot Put and the class one Boys Discus.

Meanwhile yesterday's opening day saw the fastest ever 15 year old over 400 metres Christopher Taylor posting the fastest time in the first round of the event in class two as he won his heat in 47.25 seconds after starting out aiming for the record of 46.64 seconds.

He is followed into the next round by Anthony Carpenter also of Calabar 48.34 and Tyreke Bryan of Kingston College 49.63 seconds. Twayne Crooks of Kingston College was the fastest qualifier in the class 1 boys 400 after winning his heat in 47.23 seconds. Crook's teammate, Akeem Bloomfield took his heat in 48.16 seconds while the St Jago high pair of Martin Manley and Nathan Allen won their heats in 48.16 and 48.22 seconds respectively to move into the semi-finals on Friday.

Earlier Janeek Brown of Wolmer's produced the fastest time in the class two girls 100 metre hurdles heats. Brown, who was drawn in the tough heat one posted 13.82 seconds to finish ahead of Edwin Allen's Patrice Moody 13.89 seconds.

Trishauna Hemming's of Glengoffe also clocked 13.82 seconds in heat 4. Safita Thompson of St Jago is also in the next round after crossing the line in 13.92.

Meanwhile, in the class 3 girls 80m hurdles, Holmwood's Shanette Allison 11.41 and Joda Campbell of Hydel 11.54 seconds are the best going into the semis.





plane-crash-french-alps.jpg A black box recovered from the scene and pulverized pieces of debris strewn across Alpine mountainsides held clues to what caused a German jetliner to take an unexplained eight-minute dive Tuesday midway through a flight from Spain to Germany, apparently killing all 150 people on board.

The victims included two babies, two opera singers and 16 German high school students and their teachers returning from an exchange trip to Spain. It was the deadliest crash in France in decades.

The Airbus A320 operated by Germanwings, a budget subsidiary of Lufthansa, was less than an hour from landing in Duesseldorf on a flight from Barcelona when it unexpectedly went into a rapid descent. The pilots sent out no distress call and had lost radio contact with their control center, France's aviation authority said, deepening the mystery.

While investigators searched through debris from Flight 9525 on steep and desolate slopes, families across Europe reeled with shock and grief. Sobbing relatives at both airports were led away by airport workers and crisis counselors.





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Reports out of the Turks and Caicos Islands says US authorities have issued an extradition request for former Olint boss, David Smith.

According to the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the request arrived on Monday.

An extradition hearing has been set for April 8.

David Smith was the mastermind of the Olint Ponzi scheme, which fleeced thousands of depositors of over 2-hundred-million US dollars.

He was sentenced in 2011 to 30 years in a US federal jail, after pleading guilty to 18-counts of money laundering, 4-counts of wire fraud and 1-count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

After the sentence, he returned to the Turks and Caicos Islands to finish a previously imposed jail term.

He was expected to spend six years in a Turks and Caicos prison but was released early this year, reportedly on good behavior.





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A man says he is hurt after a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Antigua refused to baptise him because of his dreadlocks.

The man, 43-year-old Austin Kirby said he's offended and feels more "hurt" and "disappointed" than he has ever been all his life, Antigua's Daily Observer reported.

Kirby, a father of four, was inspired to answer the call for all those who wished to "surrender (their) lives to God", during a crusade in the town of Jennings in the Eastern Caribbean island.

His decision was much to the delight of his Christian wife. He excitedly informed his two oldest children that he was changing his life and would baptised on the weekend.

Kirby, a farmer and a mason, eagerly prepared for his baptism and was so excited that he could not sleep the night before.

However, on the day the rite was to take place Kirby was informed that he could not be baptised because he had dreadlocks.

"He said I am from a cult and another religion and my hair is a problem," Kirby told the paper.

Kirby argued that he believes in the same God and could be a good example to others out there who may be involved with the "cult" to which the pastor referred, but the pastor stood by the decision not to baptise him.

"The Bible says 'Come as you are.' It didn't say to go buy a suit, dress up, cut your hair or put on weave. It says come as you are. 'Let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires the water of life without price.' I got a calling that I should be baptised, and I went," Kirby said.





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Puma, the global sports brand, will include Barbadian singer Rihanna in its Forever Faster campaign which embodies the spirit of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. It signals Puma's further alliance with celebrity icons birthed in the region.

"In 2015, world-class athletes like Usain Bolt and Sergio Agüero will be joined by a new face: style icon Rihanna," stated Puma in its recently released annual reports 2014.

Rihanna, at 27, will assume the role of global brand ambassador and creative director for Puma Women's Fitness and Training.

"Rihanna's unique feeling for style and innovation will be vital in product development here," stated Puma, which made 84 million euros in consolidated net earnings for its 2014 annual year-on-year revenues of 2.97 billion euros. This represented a tripling of net earnings year-on-year.

The "Forever Faster" campaign -- the largest brand campaign in Puma's history -- was launched in August and met with a "very positive response" from consumers and retailers, the company stated. The campaign aims to show that 'Puma is back in sports'.

"No other female superstar embodies our brand as well as she does. Rihanna is the global brand ambassador for the Puma category Women's Training and at the same time is assuming the role of creative director for this area. In this role, Rihanna will incorporate her special flair for style and innovation in our products," stated Puma in its report on Rihanna, who was born in Barbados but currently lives in the US.

The annual report added: "Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, thus embodies the mission statement 'Forever Faster'".





Dexta Daps to light up Beer Wendzdays

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Dexta Daps got his biggest break when he released the single 7 Eleven. He has been trying to make a name for himself since 2006, and it took that one hit song for him to start creating a lot of stir with his hot, thought-provoking single.

People started towards gravitate to his melodic sound and sensual lyrics, which has caused his earlier releases to start circulating and getting more air play. Dexta Daps will be the featured artiste on Red Stripe Beer Wendzdays, set for April 1, at the Kaluga Kafe.

The Calabar past student was heavily influenced by veteran artistes Shabba Ranks, Bounty Killer, and Elephant Man, who also hail from his community in Seaview Gardens. He has released songs such as Pretty Nicky, Scared to Love, This a The Best, Morning Love, and Head Inna Di Bag.

Since 7 Eleven, he has released a collaboration with dancehall sensation Tifa on the song Jealous Ova, which has been in heavy rotation. They have just released the music video for that single, and it has been getting a lot of amazing feedback.

You can catch both in performance at Beer Wendzdays Live.





anju-blaxx-photo-1.jpg Popular Jamaican music producer, Anju Blaxx, of UIM Records, imadehis initial court appearance in a US federal court in North Dakota yesterday, to answer to lotto scam related charges.

The 31 year old, whose given name is Andrew Sayeed Myrie, is charged alongside two others with conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

Court documents say an 83-year-old woman from North Dakota was told in 2011 that she had won a 19-million US dollar cash prize from American Cash Awards. The woman wrote seven cheques totaling 1-hundred-and-60-thousand US dollars to pay to get the money. She then took out a loan against her life insurance policy and gave out her credit card and pin number to the unknown callers.

One of those callers claimed he was with the FBI and told her the contest was legitimate.

The money was sent to middlemen in Florida and eventually most of it was wired or deposited to banks in Jamaica.

The case is scheduled for trial in North Dakota in late April.





Cham releases first single from Lawless

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cham-new-single.jpg As the anticipation mounts for the release of Cham's third studio album Lawless, the deejay teases audiences with the release of the album's first single 'I'm Too Hot'.

Set for release on Tuesday, March 24th, Cham is eagerly awaiting the response from his fans. "I'm very excited about this new album that's coming" Cham said. "It's my third album and musically I've grown a lot."

Inspired by everyday living, the song is for the girls with a fresh and sexy beat they will have fun with. "The lyrics are catchy so everyone can vibe to it," Cham added.

Lawless will see the magic of Madhouse Records producer Dave Kelly and Cham on record once again. Kelly has been working with the hit maker since his emergence on the dancehall scene in the mid-90s. Kelly and Cham enjoy a relationship that ensures the hits keep coming. "Dave has been with me from day one, that's my team, he is super multi-talented," he pointed out.

The album was recorded at their Miami based studio with just one of the songs being recorded here in Jamaica. Fans will also be entertained by some of the tops names in dancehall and reggae with appearances from Mykal Rose, Bounty Killer, Damian Marley and Miss O.

I'm Too Hot, became available on iTunes and Vevo on March 24 worldwide and the album is set for release in another month.





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As Jamaican dub and roots reggae makes a heavy resurgence, Bunny "Striker" Lee pioneering producer of reggae, ska, dub an dancehall, is promoting his book and documentary - "Reggae Going International 1967-76, The Bunny 'Striker' Lee Story," and "I am The Gorgon, Bunny 'Striker' Lee and The Roots of Reggae".

They explain the journey of Reggae exploring the roots of reggae and telling the stories of many unsung heroes.

"Leslie Kong produced the most international hits but no one talks about him now...He's one of the founding fathers of the business. He recorded Bob Marley first, you know," explains Striker in Reggae Going International.

I Am The Gorgon, a documentary by Diggory Kenrick is narrated by Dennis Alcapone and features interviews with King Jammy's, Cornell Campbell, John Holt, Derrick Morgan, Horace Andy, Dillinger, Prince Jazzbo, Family Man, U-Roy, Sly Dunbar, Lee Scratch Perry, Ken Boothe, Max Romeo, Tappa Zukie, Scientist, Niney The Observer, Linval Thompson, Roy Shirley, The Twinke Brothers, Jah Stitch, Earl Chinna Smith, and many other music legends.

"Reggae Going International 1967-76, The Bunny 'Striker' Lee Story," by Noel Hawks and Jah Floyd tells the history of Jamaican music and highlights the pivotal role 'Striker' Lee played in the emergence of dub, ska, reggae, and dancehall. It focuses on Lee's creativity of new sounds and ideas like the development of flyers, which is an emphasis on the drummers use of cymbals.

The authors highlight The Gorgon's journey through reggae from a promoter with Duke Reid, Coxone Dodd, and Leslie Kong to becoming the producer with the biggest catalogue in Reggae Music.

The Gorgon played an essential part in starting King Tubby's career and also contributed to Tubby's pioneering of the dub sound. Lee was also one of the first producers to pay musicians and artistes for their recordings. In 1968, he took his passion to England and help start Palma Brothers and Trojan records which he licensed his productions too. His success over the years led to being awarded Order of Distinction in the rank of officer for more than 40 years of dedicated service in the music industry in 2008.

These two references for the Reggae industry through film and book serve as resource that is in high demand at universities, colleges, community libraries, and reggae festivals in Europe, Asia, the United States, and South America. A book/DVD tour was completed in December with plans to penetrate Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.





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A 13-year-old student of Munro College in St. Elizabeth has been hospitalised following a stabbing incident early Monday.

According to reports, the student and a 17-year-old school mate were involved in a dispute. The argument reportedly got heated and, during the altercation, the 17-year-old stabbed the 13-year-old.

A police source disclosed that the 17-year-old has not yet been questioned in connection with the stabbing.

Efforts to reach Munro's Principal were unsuccessful.





Teacher robbed during class at Angels Primary

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Students and employees of the Angels Primary School in St. Catherine have been left shaken following an incident yesterday in which a female teacher was held up and robbed while conducting a class. They are receiving counselling.

Vice Principal of Angels Primary, Gloria Crooks, said the police were informed of the incident. She explained that he held up the guidance councellor while she was conducting a class of about 30 students. He robbed her of two rings.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has condemned the incident. He said it's unfortunate that criminals continue to target schools.





petrotrin-logo.jpg Trinidad and Tobago prices the finished petroleum products it sells to Caricom countries nearly 10 per cent higher than the sale price outside the region, claims William Mahfood.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) president said that the twin-island republic charges "a premium to Jamaica at almost 10 per cent in order for us to pay just below what it would cost the extra-regional price including duty".

Mahfood was referring to the common external tariff (CET) applied to goods imported from countries which are not members of Caricom to member countries. The CET is 10 per cent, while Petrotrin (the state-run oil refinery in Trinidad) prices its finished products at 9.9 per cent above Platts or Gulf Coast reference prices, according to Mahfood.

"Only recently I found out that within Caricom, we can only import petroleum finished products from Petrotrin," Mahfood said at the PSOJ breakfast forum held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston on Tuesday.

"We need to insist that they immediately price their products to Jamaica at the same price they would sell to Aruba or Curacao and other non-Caricom members."

Energy Minister Phillip Paulwell said that Government would likely be supportive of lobby efforts aimed at further reducing energy costs.





Transport Minister Omar Davies on sick leave

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omar-davies.jpg Transport Minister Dr Omar Davies has been forced to take leave from the job due to ill health.

Davies went on leave on Monday. One of his physicians, Dr Morais Guy, the minister without portfolio in the ministry, said Davies' condition led to him blocking out. He, however, refused to give details on his health.

But well-placed government sources say Davies has had to undergo surgery to effect repairs to the pacemaker in his heart. The senior government minister has in recent times had a hip operation. He has been Member of Parliament for South St Andrew since 1994.

Sources say Davies is unlikely to seek reelection in 2016 when the next general elections are due.





GSAT to start half hour later than usual

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The GSAT examinations set for Thursday and Friday of this week, are to start half hour later than usual, on each day.

The Ministry of Education says, the Grade Six Achievement Test, scheduled for March 26 and 27, is to commence at 9:30 a.m. on each day, at all examination centres. The decision to shift the usual start time of the examination from 9:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m, is to facilitate schools that are directly affected by the smoke from the Riverton City disposal site.

The ministry says, it has been reliably informed, that the smoke nuisance appears early in the morning, and abates by 9 a.m. It says, all presiding examiners, are to begin at the approved time, in order to protect the integrity of the examination.

The GSAT examinations were rescheduled from last week to this week, due to the impact of smoke from the disposal site, on several schools in the Corporate Area, and St. Catherine.





prime-minister-portia-simpson-miller-photo-1.jpg The government is to amend the law to provide stiffer penalties in cases where a woman is murdered and the perpetrator is aware that she was pregnant.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller told the House of Representatives on Tuesday that the amendment is being proposed in light of the recent killings of two pregnant teens.

"This is to be treated as an aggravating feature in determining the sentencing posed by the court so that the murderer receives significantly harsher punishment in the form of a longer sentence."

The announcement was made just weeks after the murder of Kayalicia Simpson, 14,who was hacked to death in St Thomas. An autopsy revealed that the child was five months pregnant.One man is now in custody in connection with Kayalicia's murder.

Meanwhile, crime statistics show that 17 children have been murdered in Jamaica since January. Ten boys and seven girls were killed up to last week This compared to ten during the corresponding period last year when nine boys and one girl were killed.





Fire At Riveron dump finally extinguished

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After raging for nearly two weeks the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is reporting that the fire at the Riverton City disposal site is almost extinguished.

A statement from the agency on Tuesday afternoon said the Jamaica Fire Brigade is continuing mopping-up activities. Searches are being carried out to identify hot spots, and apply water as well as soil. However, ODPEM Director-General Major Clive Davis says the public should remain on alert.

"There are no open flames on the site at this time, however there is still the possibility of the rekindling of small pockets.... Despite these positive results we continue to advise that there is still the possibility of smoke nuisance especially in communities in and around the disposal site....." he said.





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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kevin Harvey, has confirmed that his ministry is taking the Local Government Ministry to court concerning matters relating to the massive fire at the Riverton City Dump.

The fire resulted in the Corporate Area being blanketed by smoke for several days.

Sources have confirmed that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health issued instructions for summonses to be served on senior officials of the Local Government Ministry. It is understood that arrangements are being made for a court hearing by next month.

On Monday, it was reported that Local Government Minister Noel Arscott expressed displeasure at the move by the Health Ministry to take his Ministry to court.

However Health Minister Dr. Fenton Ferguson indicated that he had a duty to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the public.





Gully Bop a hit in England; does new collab

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Arguably the most talked about artiste in dancehall, Gully Bop has taken over new territory. The entertainer continues his invasion of the United Kingdom with his fourth sold-out show, held in Birmingham over the weekend. He is relishing in a publicity blitz, surfacing from radio and TV interviews connected with his first promotional tour. To top it off, he has recorded a contagious track with one of England's leading dancehall artiste, Stylo G.

"Right now me feel good, how me come a England and them just embrace me. Big big BBC radio a play Gully Bop non-stop and invite me in them studio. Me a get support at every show, every one of them pack! People swarm me like bees fe take picture everywhere me go. Is a thousand things and more a go on right now, so me have to give God thanks," Gully Bop explained.

"Who She Want" is the title of the hit-bound release recorded with Stylo G. The song is entertaining, upbeat and pokes fun at both artistes. The producers are Star Traxx and Adde. Immediately upon release the brand-new song has seized high rotation on British radio.

Gully Bop will wrap the U.K. leg of this tour on Sunday, March 29th. His closing performance will be at the Electric Brixton. Bop will then proceed to his debut performances in Grenada, Guyana, The Cayman Islands, Barbados and other Caribbean countries.





Masked gunmen murder St Ann woman at her home

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A woman was shot and killed after gunmen barged into her home at Steer Town in St Ann on Sunday evening.

She has been identified by police as 25-year-old customer service agent, Marshalette Briscoe.

Police report that, at about 8:30 PM, Briscoe was at home when two masked gunmen kicked in the front door and opened fire, hitting her all over her body.

She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.





Retirement Dump on fire

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The Jamaica Fire Brigade is reporting that the Retirement Dump in St James is on fire.

Superintendent in charge of the St James Fire Department, Dolfin Doman, said that a team has been dispatched to the disposal site to extinguish the blaze.

However, he says the magnitude of the fire is not yet known.

He said firefighters battled a blaze at the Dump late Sunday. There was also a fire at the Retirement Dump last week.





Brother kills brother over bicycle

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The Trelawny police have taken a man into custody, for allegedly hacking to death his older brother in Duanvale, in the parish, Sunday afternoon.

Dead is 44-year-old labourer Lincoln Barrett, also called yellow of Duanvale.

Reports are that the two had a heated argument over a bicycle, which escalated into a fight, and a machete was brought into play.

The elder brother died after receiving chop wounds to his neck and face.

The younger brother, who was taken into custody, is said to have a wound to his knee.





gully-bop-with-new_girlfriend-england-tour.jpg Gully Bop not Despite what seems like infidelity on his part since going on tour in England recently, dancehall artiste Gully Bop has denied cheating and promises that he will never disrespect his fianceé and manager Shauna Chin. Since starting his three-week stint in England last week, a video surfaced on YouTube where Gully Bop seemed mesmerised by a female he saw at the venue. In the two-minute interview, he expressed pleasure with his time in the country.

"Is a big dream dis man. Mi haffi a pinch myself all now fi see if it real, but it real cause mi couldn't a dream so long. And me see supm a England weh mi love special too enuh. Just like how I am a sensation here, I see a sensation in here and I like her very bad," he said.

The interviewer then asked, "so a just one want a wuk off a yuh since you come England?" and Gully Bop responded saying, "Many, but a just one me see weh mi like."

After that video came to the fore on Monday, a picture surfaced later in the day with the deejay pictured with a woman who had some of her breast exposed. However, when contacted, he said did not mean to disrespect his fianceé in any way.

"No disrespect, mi nuh must love mi wife. A me and Chin a come from ya so to deh so and she neva switch off so mi caan switch off. Even if Chin was here you would still see all of dem picture deh put up," he said.

In his defence, Gully Bop stressed that he did not know the woman he took the picture with, nor was he referring to an actual woman when he spoke of the 'sensation' that he liked.

"When mi seh 'mi see supm weh mi like', is not a woman. Is just a car weh mi like, it did deh pon display and it nah sell," he said.

As for the woman he took the picture with, he said he is now somewhat cautious about taking pictures with fans.

"Mi get fraid fi tek picture wid people because dem a post it a write up tings under it. But if mi stop tek picture with mi fans dem, it will melt my career," he said.

Although he has since apologised to Shauna Chin about the picture and video, she said she still feels somewhat upset about what she saw. However, Chin said Gully Bop stressed that he was not playing the field.





Smirnoff Color Festival Sunday at Hope Gardens

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The upcoming Smirnoff Color Festival on Sunday, March 29 at Hope Gardens has become one of the most anticipated high-energy events of the soca season and this year is expected to attract a massive crowd of revellers. The last staging in September had set the pace when vodka giant Smirnoff partnered with the promoters of the event to deliver a colourful, experiential and exhilarating package. The venue was transformed into a sea of multiple colours with powder throws after each signal by the DJ.

"The feedback from our September staging was extremely positive. Unprompted patron feedback included things like 'I can't wait for the next Color Festival!', 'The next Color Festival can't miss me', 'This was the best party ever', and 'The Color Festival is the happiest festival in the world!'" explained Cooper.

On Sunday, the promoters are promising an even greater event and will be going all out to ensure that the expectations of the patrons are met and, more so, exceeded.

"The Color Festival will continue to deliver a world-class party experience, the greatly anticipated hourly colour throws, a 150ft wide LED wall and backdrop with light show, a mix of the best international and local DJs and amazing drink experiences at our bar," said Cooper.

The DJs set to be on the line-up for the festival includes international EDM DJ Kyle Desouza, Titan VCD from Trinidad, and our very own local DJ Sanjay and Kurt Riley.





andrew-holness-photo-2.jpg Olympic Way, the home of Swagg Tuesdays, All Star Check Thursday, and Month-end Fridays, is to be transformed into an entertainment hip strip in the Corporate Area. Andrew Holness in whose West Central St Andrew constituency Olympic Way falls, said in Parliament that the aim is to create entertainment products that can be delivered in the community without being an inconvenience to others.

"This year, as my special project, with a combination of funds from the Constituency Development Fund and the Tourism Enhancement Fund, I will be seeking to brand Olympic Way as a commercial and entertainment hip strip," Holness said.

He noted that the emergence of Olympic Way as a main entertainment venue has led to patrons leaving many communities to visit the area for partying.

"This phenomenon is not new or unique to Olympic Gardens. However, there now appears to be a more coordinated and organised effort among young entrepreneurs."

Holness said he is sensitive to the complaints of residents about night noise and the obstruction of traffic, but said, "I am confident, however, that as the promoters become more organised, they will be able to better self-regulate within the law, and create entertainment products that can be delivered without inconvenience."

Holness told Parliament that the hip-strip project will see the development of entertainment products such as live cultural and sporting events. The MP also said repairs would be done to pedestrian infrastructure such as drain covers, bridge rails and sidewalks, to make them more suitable for users, particularly the disabled community.





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The nine-member board of Summerfest Productions, the organisers of the world's greatest reggae show, Reggae Sumfest, returned Robert Russell as its chairman. Russell assumes the mantle with the able assistance of deputy chairman Barry Jenoure. Russell is one of the founding members of the festival and has, prior to the one-year chairmanship of Godfrey Dyer, held the position for 16 consecutive years.

During Russell's tenure, the festival grew tremendously and featured some of the biggest and best acts from all across the world, including Usher, 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Nicky Minaj, Lionel Richie, and many more. Now the event boasts more than 30,000 patrons.

Commenting on the move, Russell said that promoting the event and attracting more patrons over the years has continued to be his commitment. "We have been extremely fortunate with the success of the event. I will continue to strive to grow and develop the event so that patrons will get more value out of the entertainment package," Russell said.

"We are revamping the entire event and infusing many exciting and first-world elements that will give it a major facelift this year. Patrons will no doubt appreciate this spectacle," he added.

He affirmed the commitment of his team, pointing out that Reggae Sumfest has been the high point of the summer since its inception in 1993.





Warrior King re-charting his journey

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For some of Warrior King's fans, especially in Jamaica, their relationship with the artiste could very well be summed up as "out of sight, out of mind", and no-one is more aware of this than Warrior King himself.

However, the Virtuous Woman singer is committed to taking definitive steps to change all of that and reconnect in a huge way, starting with his most recent single, Ain't Giving Up. He ruefully admits to keeping a low profile in Jamaica for the last two and a half years, but hastens to add that he has not been idle. Instead, he has been travelling extensively overseas, building his brand on a global level and maintaining his expected high standards. Quite satisfied with that rhythm and flow, Warrior King is eyeing Jamaica and the Caribbean as his happy hunting ground for 2015.

"Jamaica is where it all started. It was the launch pad for the international circuit. From day one of my career, I have always thought global, but at the same time, I can never forget where I am coming from. I have been doing a bit of touring and studio work and have been here in Jamaica a lot as well, but the truth is that if promoters in Jamaica don't see your face or hear your voice via some kind of PR machinery, for example, then you don't get called for a show. Like it or not, that's just the way it is," explained the entertainer, who is managed by France-based Mark Miller, a former stage manager for reggae king Bob Marley and author of the book, A White Knight in Babylon, On the Road with Bob Marley.

Admitting that he has gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from Miller in the last three years, a level-headed Warrior King had high praises for Miller's professionalism, transparency and the respect from his peers on the world stage. This partnership has seen Warrior King evolve and claim his space musically and otherwise, establishing his own Rootz Warrior Productions and securing fan bases in Europe, Asia, Australia, and even the place considered the Holy Land, Jerusalem.





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Joel Lovelace, the 14-year-old boy who was allegedly killed by the bullet of a cop in Lawrence Tavern, St Andrew wanted to be a sprinter for Kingston College. Current quarter miler for KC, Akeem Bloomfield says Joel's dream of representing the North-Street based institution will not die.

He plans to dedicate his performance at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships to the life of the dead teen.

"His dream of being a sprinter for KC has not died but instead been transformed and will live on. My performance at Boys and Girls champs 2015 will be dedicated to my fallen friend," Bloomfield wrote on Facebook.

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Bloomfield is grief-stricken by Joel's death.

"When I heard the news I just went and sat down and held my head because I just couldn't believe it. Another promising youth that could have been something great gone down the drain just like that," the 15-year-old athlete said.

In a tribute on social media, Bloomfield said Joel was dedicated to track and field.

Bloomfield recalled the first day Lovelace went to Kingston College to train.

"He always wore football boots." I asked him why he was at K C and he said "I do the 100m and the 200m and I want to be a sprinter for K.C," Bloomfield said.

The 15-year-old Bloomfield added: "He would always come and say 'what's on the programme today Bloomfield?' I respected him because he was humble and you could see the passion that he had for track and field."
Joel's dad, Dwight Lovelace said the youngster excelled in football and track as well as in academics.

"Me baby, me baby. Them kill me baby. The track star, the quiz team star, the defender. Me baby," the grief-stricken man wailed as he sobbed uncontrollably.

Joel had been shot in the face as he sat doing his homework after leaving school and attending band practice at church. He died while undergoing surgery for the gunshot wound he received.





Montego Bay businessman shot and killed

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Tarick Bucknor, a businessman from St. James was shot dead on Saturday in the car park of the popular Pier One entertainment complex.

A second man was also shot in the attack and has been hospitalised.

It's reported that early Saturday morning , Bucknor left a function and was walking towards his vehicle in the car park when he was attacked and shot repeatedly.

Bucknor, a well known figure in Montego Bay, died on the spot.

Nearly 50 persons have been murdered in St James since the start of the year.





kelly-tomblin-jps.jpg Jamaica Public Service (JPS) president and CEO, Kelly Tomblin, was recently robbed of her cellular phone outside of her company office in New Kingston and within less than three hours her phone was resold.

The purchaser was later held by the police and charged with receiving stolen property.

On Friday, when the matter was called up in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court, the accused Alecia Smith, a bartender, pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The incident, which occurred on March 8, about 12:30 p.m., resulted in the CEO being robbed of a $90,000 Samsung Galaxy S5, allegedly by two men - a rider and a pillion - one of who grabbed the device and escaped on a motorcycle.

The court heard that the device, which contained $200,000 worth of call credit before it was stolen, was later found in the possession of the bartender in east Kingston. The police are said to be searching for the rider and the pillion that allegedly sold the phone to Smith for $25,000.

A bail application by Smith's lawyer was denied even after the attorney told the court that her client was co- operating with the investigation. The police are said to be hot on the heels of the accused men. Smith is to return to court on March 26. She was further remanded and a fingerprint order made.





Ganja education programme coming

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A much needed communication programme intended to clear up misconceptions regarding the reform of the country's ganja laws is on the horizon.

According to Justice Minister Senator Mark Golding, the programme will be in two parts - one section seeking to explain the updated law "in plain and easily understood language, through a question and answer model," and the other will answer public health questions. That second aspect, he said, will "inform the public about ganja and discourage the use of ganja by vulnerable groups."

This aspect of the communication programme is being developed by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), he explained. That draft document, being developed by the NCDA, will be presented to the relevant Cabinet sub-committee "by next week Friday," he disclosed.

On March 6, Garfield Coburn, a resident of Lawrence Tavern, St. Andrew, was fatally shot by the police, after he reportedly resisted attempts by them to arrest him for possession of a ganja spliff.

That incident sparked protests in the community, and calls by various interest groups for an immediate public education programme on the new ganja regime.

Under the legislation, possession of ganja of two ounces or less will no longer be an arrestable criminal offence, but a ticketable infraction which will carry a fixed penalty.





Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew is dead

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Lee Kuan Yew, the legendary former prime minister of Singapore, has died at the age of 91. He had been in hospital for several weeks with pneumonia.

Prime Minister for 31 years, Lee Kuan Yew is credited with transforming Singapore from a small port city into a wealthy global hub. But his record was not an unblemished one. He was criticised for his iron grip on power, and the fact that under his leadership freedom of speech was tightly restricted and political opponents were targeted by the courts.

In a televised address, his son Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong paid tribute to him.

"He fought for our independence, built a nation where there was none, and made us proud to be Singaporeans. We won't see another man like him."

Mr. Lee oversaw Singapore's independence from Britain and separation from Malaysia.





Leadership crisis at schools - NEI report

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The independent body charged with the responsibility for the inspection of schools and regional operations has continued to unearth more problems in the governance structure at a number of educational institutions.

The National Education Inspectorate (NEI) in its latest round of monitoring says it is still not pleased with the quality of leadership at some schools. Chief Inspector of the NEI, Maureen Dwyer says more than forty per cent of schools inspected to date have been rated as unsatisfactory in leadership and management.

She notes that despite the circumstances; school boards, principals and senior teachers have the critical responsibility to plan for students' learning. In its latest round, the NEI completed the inspection of 50 primary and secondary schools in December 2014.

Inspectors are currently visiting the remaining 85 institutions in order to complete the assessment of all 954 public schools by June of this year

Meanwhile, in an early reaction, Education Minister Ronald Thwaites has described the findings of the National Education Institute report as cause for great concern. He says the Education Ministry is pressing ahead with its programme to improve the leadership of schools.

According to the Education Minister, if school leaders are not performing they must be held accountable and they will not be allowed to stay.





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The Jamaican police have announced that rigid and extensive security arrangements are being finalised for the planned visit of US President Barack Obama to the island next month.

The US Secret Service, the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force are the main agencies responsible for coordinating security arrangements for the visit.

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller announced in Parliament last Tuesday that President Obama is due in the island on April 9, ahead of his participation in the Summit of the Americas in Panama.

Assistant Commissioner Devon Watkiss, head of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Division (C-TOC) says while his office cannot reveal the details, a security assessment has been made and the work is ongoing. He says the police had knowledge of the visit long before it was made public.

The visit of President Obama comes almost 33 years to the date after the visit of President Ronald Reagan on April 7 and 8, 1982.





Jamie Foxx denies Katie Holmes dating rumors

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It was claimed on Wednesday they have been secretly dating for a year-and-a-half. There was even photo evidence as the two were pictured with their legs intertwined as they held hands while at ease in a studio in February.

But on Friday Jamie Foxx threw some cold water on reports of a romance with Katie Holmes, 36, as he talked to TMZ after leaving a bank in Westlake Village, which is just outside Los Angeles.

'Oh come on you guys have been trying to make that stick for three years, we're just friends,' the Ray actor, 47, said. 'As a matter of fact Anthony Zuiker, creator of CSI, he offered us an animation project and we're working on that.'

The Soloist actor also said, 'They have been trying to do that for three years - just stories I guess. You just have to respect - that's just part of our lives.'

Foxx then took a selfie with a male fan, shook his hand and whistled as he climbed into a black Rolls Royce.

The Any Given Sunday star showed off fit arms in a short-sleeved white V-neck shirt. Worn-in jeans and white high top sneakers added a casual look. The Annie star looked like a gentleman as he said hello to a female fan when he was standing next to a cash machine.

Holmes has yet to comment on the report.

The beauty was spotted leaving a friend's house in LA on Wednesday looking chic in a button-down denim shirt with pockets on the front. Skinny dark jeans highlighted her toned legs.

The mother to Suri, aged eight, was on-trend with dark aviator shades and Mary Jane inspired flats.

UsWeekly reported that the actors have been 'secretly spending time' together. She divorced Cruise in 2012 after six years of marriage and he worked with Tom on Collateral in 2004.

The publication added that Foxx and Holmes have been dating since the summer of 2013 when he 'wooed her at a benefit in the Hamptons.'

'Jamie is someone she can trust and have fun with,' a source said. 'She's getting everything from Jamie that she didn't get with Tom.'





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A warder has been arrested and charged for breaches of the Dangerous Drugs Act after packets of marijuana was found in his vehicle on Thursday.

He has been identified as 30-year-old Mickloth Hutchinson, of Gore Tuca, Portmore, St Catherine.

The Denham Town Police report that, about 4:15 pm, senior officers at the New Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston conducted a search of Hutchinson's motorcar, during which four parcels containing ganja were found.

The Police were summoned, Hutchinson was taking into custody and he was subsequently charged with possession of ganja, dealing in ganja, and introducing contraband into a penal institution.

He is scheduled to appear before the Half Way Tree Resident Magistrate's Court on Thursday, April 9.





Busy Signal to help out St Ann's Bay hospital

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busy-signal-photo-10.jpg Come April, dancehall deejay Busy Signal will be embarking on his latest project -- the Busy 20/20 Helping Hands Foundation Limited.

According to the dancehall artiste, the venture is for a much-needed cause.

"My priority is the St Ann's Bay Hospital. It is in need of vital X-ray/CAT scan equipment for detecting cancer. It costs roughly $12 million," Busy Signal said.

The foundation -- which was registered last year -- will be officially launched at the Jewel Dunn's River Resort & Spa in Ocho Rios on April 2.

Busy Signal, whose given name is Reanno Gordon, explained his reason for taking on this project.

"This is the hospital I was born in. The majority of people from St Ann are farmers and they don't have the money fi go private hospital. So mi haffi help inna my way and give back. Dem need the help," he said.

The artiste said he is aware that he alone cannot do it, and therefore welcomes assistance from corporate Jamaica.





lisa-hanna-photo-2.jpg The twin evils of incest and molestation of young boys have escalated, Youth and Culture Minister, Lisa Hanna has confirmed.

Speaking during a radio interview on Friday, Minister Hanna said incest is becoming prevalent and that it's been an under reported problem.

Minister Hanna says there's also an alarming trend of boys being molested by men and women. She says prosecuting offenders of sexual offences is proving to be a challenge because witnesses will not come forward.

For last year, the Office of the Children's Registry said it received 4-thousand reports of child abuse.

Meanwhile, the Youth Minister says her ministry will be hiring temporary investigators to look into the huge backlog of a cases of child abuse which have not been investigated. She says the Office of the Children's Registry receives as many as 2-hundred-and-twenty cases of child abuse each week.

She's described the number as alarming.





jennifer-edwards.jpg A group of women protested in front of the National Solid Waste Management Authority's office on Half Way Tree Road Friday morning against the non renewal of Ms Edwards' contract.

They are calling for her reinstatement claiming that the non renewal was based on an unfair assessment of her performance and gender discrimination.

People's National Party Councillor, Audrey Smith-Facey, says the reasons given by the NSWMA board's for Miss Edwards' removal are contradictory.

Councillor for the Payneland Division, Audrey Smith-Facey of the People's National Party who spoke for the demonstrators said that the chairman had indicated publicly that Ms Edwards had been doing a good job with the limited resources available to her and that she should not be blamed for the crisis.

Some held placards questioning the whether or not the decision was made because she was a woman.The demonstrators also called for the sacking of the board.

The NSWMA announced earlier this week that it would not renew Edwards' contract when it expires on March 26.





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Sprint star, Asafa Powell, on Thursday enjoyed dinner with a lady friend at popular Greek restaurant, OPA!.

Powell had Kotsi, which is low-baked Lamb Shank infused with lemon, olive oil and garlic. His lady friend also had lamb, however, she had the Paidakia, which is lamb chops served with roasted potatoes and a salad.

The duo enjoyed a quiet candle-lit meal complete with red wine.

Opa! owner Alexx Antaeus, who commented on the photo that was posted on social media, remarked that it was a pleasure serving Powell. He descibed the sprint star as a "pleasant fellow".





wayne-lonesome.jpg Music producer Wayne 'Lonesome' Brown has donated $10,000 towards the medical bills of 81-year-old Rosalvo Patterson, who has been living in a crumbling chicken coop in Jericho, St Catherine, for the past five years.

Patterson's plight was highlighted in a local paper on Thursday.

"When I read the story, I was moved and just wanted to use this occasion to donate the first of several planned donations," Brown tsaid.

"I am using this opportunity to call on other entertainers, Jamaicans, to come together to help in whatever way they can because, as a team, we can do more," he continued.

The $10,000 was remitted to a neighbour, who had been assisting the elderly man with food.

"This donation will go towards his medical bill as he is set to visit the doctor to do a blood test on Monday," said the woman, who asked to remain unidentified.





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Queen Ifrika certainly set tongues wagging when she posted a lovey-dovey picture of herself and Tarrus Riley on Facebook this wee.

The rumour mill started running after Queen Ifrika posted a pic on her official Facebook page stating "yes tarrus riley and i are togather; something aguh roun. loves contagious!!!"

Some people took the picture serious and started commenting about whether on not the new couple matched and wondered what had happened to Ifrica's other flame.

Well, Ifrica has admitted that the picture and caption were done in a moment of fun, nothing more.

Do you think that Ifrica and Tarrus make a good couple?





Esco launches career as radio DJ

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Dancehall producer and artiste Esco will in a few weeks launch his career as a radio disc jock.

Esco has over the years built a strong repertoire as a dancehall artiste/producer through his innovative and trendsetting Star$truck Record. Now, he has been recruited by what is expected to be one of the most exciting radio stations to take the airwaves in Jamaica to man the wheels of steel.

With his manager and business partner Delmar 'Della Danger' Drummond, their Star$truck Records is redefining dancehall with hits like Legendary (Bounty Killer/Beenie man), Kreech (Bling Dawg feat Kreecha), Wet Spliff (Busy Signal), In My Arms (Serani) and Glory (Kreecha/Quick Cook/ Esco).

Drummond says this latest move is just another in the development of Esco as a big ambassador for Jamaican music. "We are very happy that this radio station has reached out to us to bring Esco on board. I have seen their plans and, when they launch, I know Jamaicans will be tuning in, in large numbers to hear. Esco was born ready and will burn up the airwaves," he assured.

A Campion College past student, Esco is the son of legendary radio DJ Errol Thompson, who was credited as one of first persons to bring reggae music to national radio and was a big promoter of Bob Marley when many other DJs refused to play him.

Esco's business manager Shelly-Ann Curran is every excited at the new developments. "Esco is the first full-fledged dancehall artiste on national radio. Not only that, but very few dancehall artistes have the experience as producers and DJs as well. Esco is a gem in the music and it is time that Jamaicans and Jamaican music fans worldwide get to see him in action," she said.





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Less than two years after walking away as the winner of American talent show, 'The Voice', sources say that artiste Tessanne Chin and husband Michael Cuffe Jr, are having marital problems. According to the sources close to the couple, Cuffe has left the marital home and is currently staying with a friend.

The loved-up couple, who got married in 2011 would have celebrated their fourth anniversary on Thursday, but, unlike last year, neither of them acknowledged it on social media. The silence was unusually loud and spoke volumes.

Just last year, Tessanne surprised Cuffe with a cake and a song for his birthday. She also dedicated the song My Kind Of Love by Emelie Sande to her husband, while performing it on The Voice.

They both took to social media to profess their undying love and devotion. In last year's post, Chin wrote: 'what a journey we've had my love. I look forward to the amazing adventures we have ahead of us'. He followed up with 'I could never have asked for three more perfect years of my life, and I owe them all to this woman right here, happy anniversary my love.'

Meanwhile, Sharon Burke's Solid Agency, which is the official booking agency for Tessanne Chin, has refused to comment.

"No comment" and "I know nothing" is how Burke is responding to reports that Tessanne's husband has moved out of their matrimonial home.





A man, who allegedly invited a woman to his home for sex and then murdered her and hid her body underneath his bed, was on Wednesday offered $300,000 bail when he appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court. The 20-year-old labourer, Kino Gilzene, is accused of killing the woman by stabbing her and bashing her face in with a stone. Gilzene's sister, Alicia, who is accused of helping him to bury the woman's body in a pit was also offered bail when they appeared before Senior Magistrate Judith Pusey.

The accused, who are both from New Haven in St Andrew, were arrested and charged for the murder of 22-year-old Sudeen Jackson of Portmore, St Catherine, last December.

The police alleged that on December 8, Kino contacted the woman by phone after he got her number from a friend, and made arrangements for her to meet him at his home the next day. The woman was reportedly scheduled to visit and have sex with Kino for a fee of $3,000. Jackson, who had never seen Kino before, reportedly met up with him in Duhaney Park, went to his house, followed through with the arrangement and was paid.

However, the court heard that the woman later requested to leave, but Kino got angry and stabbed her in her chest and neck before using a stone to bash in her face.

Following that, the accused allegedly hid the woman's body underneath his bed and proceeded to clean up the crime scene. Alicia later arrived home and reportedly found the body under the bed, and after making enquries, was told by her brother that he had killed Jackson. Upon learning of the murder, Alicia allegedly sent a text message to her boyfriend and told him that her brother had killed a woman.

The following morning both accused then reportedly took the woman's body and buried it in a pit latrine at their home. They then reportedly concocted a story and told their mother, who called the police.

Kino, when he was arrested, allegedly confessed that he was at home when three men -- one of whom was armed with a gun -- barged in with Sudeen. According to the accused, the men were cursing that Sudeen had "dissed di programme" and told her that they were going to kill her. Kino said that the men raped Sudeen and then stabbed her to death and ordered him to bury her. Alicia, in her statement, corroborated her brother's confession.

On Wednesday, the prosecutor also informed the court that Kino had allegedly boasted to other inmates that he sacrificed the woman as a part of a demonic worship. However, this was denied by his lawyer Carol Gonzalez, who told the magistrate, duirng her bail application that her client knew nothing about any sacrifice and asked her to reject that report.

She also told the court that based on her instructions, three men who were armed with knives and guns had chased the now deceased woman to her client's home and had murdered her.

Gonzales also told the court that her client, along with his sister, had reported the crime to the police. The two accused were subsequently offered bail, despite objection from the police who raised concerns about threats of reprisal. They are to return to court on March 24.





This is what one would call in-flight entertainment with a difference!

A woman was arrested on suspicion of being drunk on an aircraft after she allegedly stripped off on a flight from Jamaica and exposed herself.

According to reports,the 46-year-old woman from south-west London was arrested by police when her British Airways flight landed at Gatwick Airport on Thursday from Kingston, Jamaica.

She allegedly disrupted the flight and one report claims she performed a solo sex act.

The flight landed at around 8.45am on March 19, and aircrew on board asked for the flight to be met by police.

British Airways released a statement saying: 'We can confirm that police were requested to meet our flight from Kingston.'

Will the passengers who were onboard please do their civic duty by uploading the video to Youtube.





justin-bieber-photo-2.jpg Justin Bieber's former neighbor claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that the pop singer spit in his face and terrorized his family with loud parties, drug use and aggressive driving.

The lawsuit over Bieber's behavior while living in a gated community in the celebrity enclave of Calabasas seeks more than $25,000 in damages for assault and battery, trespassing and infliction of emotional distress claims.

Jeffrey Schwartz and his wife, Suzanne, filed the lawsuit nearly two years after he claims Bieber spit on him during a dispute over the singer's fast driving in their neighborhood. The lawsuit cites damage to the Schwartzes' home caused after Bieber threw eggs at it last year.

Bieber, 21, was charged with vandalism and remains on probation. But he has since repaid the family roughly $80,000 in restitution for the damage he caused.

The complaint also cites loud parties and frequent marijuana use while Bieber lived next door as causing the Schwartz family emotional distress.





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Kanye West was announced earlier this week as one of the headliners at this summer's Glastonbury music festival, but some music fans aren't happy about it.

One festival-goer started a petition calling on organizers to "prevent this musical injustice" by canceling the rapper's performance.

"Kanye West is an insult to music fans all over the world," Neil Lonsdale wrote in the Change.org petition. "We spend hundreds of pounds to attend glasto, and by doing so, expect a certain level of entertainment. Kanye has been very outspoken on his views on music....he should listen to his own advice and pass his headline slot on to someone deserving!"

Others apparently agreed with him. As of Thursday afternoon, the petition has gotten more than 60,000 signatures.

In an interview with NME.com, Lonsdale -- an education worker and self-described "rock kid" from Norfolk, England -- called it an "outrage" that West got the headliner slot over a rock band: "Two years ago we had The Rolling Stones playing the Saturday night, and this year we get Kanye West?"

He also said he initially started a petition as a joke following the announcement of West as Glastonbury's Saturday-night headliner, and that he's got no issue with hip-hop or rap artists.

"My beef is not with the genre. My beef is with the stage and the fact it's a headline slot," he said, adding that West does not "represent anything. His songs are lyrically appalling," he "totally disrespected Beck" at the Grammy Awards in February and "his [BRIT Awards] performance was just threatening."

"Glastonbury needs upbeat major artists. Glastonbury is an institution. It is expected that it has the biggest names," Lonsdale argued. "The biggest performers. Kanye does not represent that."





Ban on poultry from US, Canada

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chickens.jpg The Ministry of Agriculture has imposed restrictions on the importation of poultry from North America with immediate effect.

It says the measure is intended to ensure that Jamaica remains free of bird flu.

There have been reports of bird flu in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America.

The Agriculture Ministry says the restrictions affect the importation of live birds and hatching eggs, egg yolks, egg whites; poultry meat; raw pet foods containing poultry; as well as feathers and offal from eight states in the US as well as British Columbia in Canada.





Quadruple murder leaves community in shock

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The early morning gangland style murders of a mother and her eight -year-old daughter and two men in Bickersteth James has left a community in a state of shock.

The victims are Rihanna Blake who was a student at Barracks Road Primary School and her mother Lois Watson, 28. Also killed were Peter Scott,26 and Kemali Walker believed to be about 23 years old. The men are originally from Kingston.

Investigators are reportedly baffled about the motive for the quadruple murder, coming on the heels of what has been described as moderate gains by the St. James police. All four bodies were discovered about 6:30am on Thursday by the mother of one of the victims.

Councilor for the Cambridge Division Homer Davis has expressed shock at the killings.

"It's barbaric and wicked .....there's no other way to describe it. To know that an eight year old is part of the household and to just go in and massacre, it's wickedness...." he said.





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Dancer, Global Bob, who rose to prominence more than 15 years ago with the creation of his 'SpongeBob' dance, has indeed gone global. The talented dancer e will be doing two dancehall lectures in Israeli cities of Jerusalem and Haifa.

He is the first dancer to achieve such a feat and admits that he never thought that he would have accomplished this.

"It's a joy, trust me. It's groundbreaking. The person who invited me to Israel reached out to me via Facebook, but it was so expensive to fly me from Jamaica. I'll be doing a six-week tour of Europe and I had four days off, so she capitalised on that and invited me to do two lectures in Israel between May 16-20. From I've been growing up, I've heard about these places, and to finally get this opportunity is a blessing. There is a lot of stigma attached to dancehall, and we are just trying to highlight all the positives," he said.

"It's going to be about the entire lifestyle, culture and history of dancehall. Many overseas persons are of the view that all Jamaicans smoke weed and get high, so this lecture will show them the other side, the more soulful side. If we do a dance called 'curfew' then we have to explain why we would have a curfew etc. It's just about the entire dancing lifestyle," he stated.

He also called for the Jamaica Tourist Board to highlight these achievements, adding that many nationalities visit Jamaica because of the work the dancers have been doing overseas.Global Bob's European tour will make stops in Greece, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and France. He will then move on to a South America tour before returning to the island.

"I'm just encouraging all dancers, whether you are established or not, to trust God and do your research. Study your history. When I tour, I go on behalf of every Jamaican artiste, not just myself. Gone are the days when dancers needed artistes to go on tour. Now we are the headline acts. Don't limit yourself," he stated.





Madman stabs schooler and cop downtown

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A police constable and an eight year old schoolboy are now nursing knife wounds after being attacked by a mentally ill man in downtown, Kingston on Wednesday.

It's reported that, shortly after 2.00 p.m., the little boy was going home from school when, at the intersection of Duke Steeet and Sutton Street, he was attacked by the man who stabbed him in the head.

The Police Constable who was nearby saw what was happening and ran to the rescue of the little boy. But he was also attacked and stabbed in the head.Other police personnel from the Kingston Central Police Station came to their assistance and arrested the knife wielding man.The child and the policeman were both taken to hospital where they were treated and released.

Deputy Superintendent Percival Anderson, head of the Kingston Central Criminal Investigation Branch, said the mentally challenged man was taken to the Bellevue Hospital where he received an injection. He said the man will be charged later this week.





An eight year old girl was among four persons killed in St. James late Wednesday.

The police report that shortly before 2a.m. residents heard explosions. On their arrival, the police found the bodies of the child, two men and a woman.

The woman was the mother of the eight year old. They have only been identified by their aliases Latty and Shae.

The men have been identified as Peter Scott, 26 and Kimali Walker.





Crime Stop Jamaica is offering a J$50,000 reward for information about individuals who may have set the Riverton Dump ablaze.The organisation says persons with information should call Crime Stop at 311.

Meanwhile the Jamaica Fire Brigade is continuing its cooling down and extinguishing operations at the dump on the seventh day since the fire started.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) says there will be periodic increases in smoke levels across sections of the Corporate Area and St.Catherine. The agency also says all Health Centres in Kingston and St. Andrew as well as St. Catherine will continue to provide extended services to residents in and around the affected communities.





jennifer-edwards.jpg Amidst the ongoing crisis at the Riverton City dump, which has been on fire for a week, Jennifer Edwards, Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) will be demitting office at month end. This follows a decision of the Board of the NSWMA not to renew her contract.

Reliable sources say that the NSWMA board met on Wednesday and decided not to renew Miss Edwards' contract, due to non performance.

This has come about as questions have been raised over her stewardship of the entity.

The source added added, however, that the non renewal had nothing to do with the current crisis at the Riverton disposal site.





Gully Bop performing in England

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