JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending August 22nd, 2008

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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JAMAICA WOOS THE WORLD IN BEIJING—08/16/08
The Jamaican Government, via the Jamaica Trade and Invest (JTI) group, wants to leverage its positive performances at the Olympic games in China to attract investors and introduce visitors from around the world to the island’s best products.

ANDERSON CRITICIZES POWELL DOPING TESTS—08/17/08
Don Anderson, chef de mission of Jamaica’s Olympic Association, believes that the number of dope tests imposed on Asafa Powell made him “mentally disturbed” and resulted in his sub-standard performance in the 100-meter final sprint. Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the 100 meters with 9.69 seconds, compared to Powell’s 9.95 seconds. Powell once held the title of “fastest man on earth,” but the dope tests impacted his performance, which was 0.21 seconds slower than his personal best record, says Anderson.

JAMAICAN FOLK SINGERS TO CELEBRATE DIVERSE CULTURE—08/17/08
The Jamaican Folk Singers will stage its 2008 concert season in September at the Little Theater. The concert series is called “Out of Many, One,” and celebrates the diverse culture of the island. The Jamaican Folk Singers is a nonprofit singing group formed in 1967 by Dr. Olive Lewin. It will raise funds this year for the 2009 Summer School program and the Jamaica Library Service.

ISLAND PLANS BIG CELEBRATION FOR OLYMPIC ATHLETES—08/18/08
Jamaica will hold a major celebration for returning Olympic athletes following the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, China. Bruce Golding, Jamaican Prime Minister, said the government will decide how to best honor the athletes when they return home.

GRANGE CREDITS DIET, TRAINING FOR JAMAICA’S SPRINT SUCCESS—08/19/08
Jamaica’s Minister of Sports, Olivia “Babsy” Grange, believes that the amazing performances of Jamaican runners in the sprint competitions at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, can be attributed to wholesome, healthy food and a “dedicated grooming system.” Jamaicans have largely escaped the drug scandals experienced in other parts of the sports world in recent times. Grange says that Jamaicans have natural ability and are the “sprint factory of the world.” She also noted the country’s athletic system that grooms promising athletes from early childhood through high school.

NO DECISION ON TEACHER SALARIES—08/20/08
The Jamaican Teachers’ Association (JTA) has not succeeded in developing a resolution that will allow the group to move forward on salary and fringe benefit issues for the 22,000 public school teachers on the island. According to Byron Farquharson, chairman of the salaries and conditions service committee, the JTA will give the Government until August 29,2008 to respond to its reclassification study, which is expected to bring salaries up to 80 percent of what is received in the private sector.

PUBLIC HOLIDAY POSSIBLE TO WELCOME ATHLETES—08/21/08
While details remain unsettled, the Jamaican government is planning a “major bashment” to celebrate the homecoming of the island’s record-breaking athletes following the Olympic games in Beijing, China. Bruce Golding, Prime Minister, was overjoyed with the performance of the Jamaicans at the games and said a committee of five to seven members will be created to plan the celebrations on their return to honor their victories.

MacMILLAN URGES JAMAICANS TO SUPPORT POLICE—08/22/08
Colonel Trevor MacMillan, National Security Minister, has made an appeal to Jamaicans to support the police as they try to control crime. He also noted the challenges facing the police, however, and said it is time for law-abiding citizens to recognize the role they have in fighting crime as well. MacMillan made his remarks at the funeral of Police Inspector Dennis Gardener, who was killed by gunmen on August 2, 2008.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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GOLDING NIECE APPOINTED DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AT UK FIRM—08/16/08
Dionne Golding, the niece of Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, says she is happy with her new appointment as business development manager at Keeble Hawson, town center law firm in the United Kingdom. Leading the firm’s development in its Doncaster, Leeds and Sheffield offices, Golding says she has no intention of pursuing a political career in the UK.

DOWNTIME IN ATHLETES’ VILLAGE AT OLYMPICS—08/17/08
In Beijing, China, Jamaican athletes competing in the Olympic games, need something to occupy them between competitions at the Games Village, the living quarters. Some spend time with friends, sleep, listen to music, eat, and send email. It can be difficult to adjust to new food in a foreign country, but Jamaica’s Olympic Association (JOA) got some “yard” dishes prepared by a Jamaican from the island’s embassy in China, including yam, callaloo, and ackee, which were sent to China from Jamaica.

MILTON FOSTER WINS GOLD AT PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL—08/18/08
Milton Foster, 8, an honor student at Mona Preparatory School, received four gold medals at the World Championships for the Performing Arts in Hollywood, California. He has gained the attention of seven Hollywood agents for modeling and talent agencies that want to represent him. One got him an audition for a film to be made in Jamaica.

UK DIASPORA WILLING TO PARTNER IN INVESTMENTS—08/21/08
The Jamaican Diaspora in the United Kingdom is willing to partner with Jamaica’s government and private sector investors to encourage more investment in the country. The group declared its intention after another excellent performance by Jamaican athletes at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. Diaspora members say the performances of the athletes make all Jamaicans proud and provide positive images of the island to the world.

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SPORTS
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FRASER WINS 100 METERS—08/17/08
Shelly-Ann Fraser of Jamaica ran a personal best of 10.78 seconds in the 100 meters at the Olympic games in Beijing, China. Her gold-medal win, together with the shared silver medal by Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart, who both finished at 10.98, saw Jamaican win all of the women’s 100 meter medals. “We made history,” said Simpson.

BOLT BEATS WORLD RECORD—08/18/08
Usain Bolt of Jamaica broke his own world record in the 100 meters at the Olympic games in Beijing, China. Bolt, 21, ran the 100 meters in 9.69 seconds at Beijing’s National Stadium, in spite of slowing down as he approached the finish. He beat his own personal best of 9.72 with his Olympic run.
    
CAMPBELL-BROWN DEFENDS TITLE—08/21/08
Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown continued the outstanding performance by Jamaican athletes at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, but successfully defending her title in the 200-meter race. Campbell-Brown ran the 200 meters at a personal best of 21.74 seconds for the win.

ROGGE SAYS BOLT SHOULD SHOW MORE RESPECT FOR RIVALS—08/22/08
IOC president Jacques Rogge believes that Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt should have more respect for his competition. Bolt, 22, set world records with his victories in the 100-meter and 200-meter races at the Olympics in Beijing, China. Rogge says the Bolt needs to “mature” by showing respect for his rivals, which would be the true Olympic spirit.

JAMAICAN MEN WIN THE 400 RELAY GOLD WITH A NEW WORLD RECORD. – 8/22/08
The Jamaican foursome of Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell blazed the track at the Beijing Olympics to win Jamaica’s 6th gold medal. They set a new world record of 37.1 seconds. The total medal count for Jamaica is now 10. In a major disappointment the Jamaican women, who were the favorites in the 400 meters relay, failed to finish as Sherone Simpson failed to get the baton to Kerron Stewart. Russian won the race.

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DEVOTIONAL
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Justice Meets Grace & Mercy
Our legal system, and by extension our society, is built upon a system of justice; the notion that persons who are accused of violating certain standards of pre-defined acceptable behavior should face a jury of their peers to determine guilt or innocence, and where appropriate, to be sentenced to a suitable form of punishment as prescribed in law.  The system isn’t perfect, but for the most part it works.  

I thought of this as I read the Psalmist’s “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.  He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (103:8-12, KJV).  If God were to demand justice of transgressors the way society does, none would be found innocent.  Just in case any one of us think differently about it, not only does Paul reminds us that we “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), but that having been found guilty, the sentence of death follows – “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a).  Under our legal system, each individual has to bear the consequences of his own actions; no substitutions are allowed.  But thank God, He doesn’t treat us that way, but sent His only begotten Son, and “made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Being made the righteousness of God in Christ means we do not have a “criminal record” associated with our name.  Through His grace and mercy, God takes our confessed sins and as far as the east is from the west, that far He has removed them from us.  From my limited perspective, that distance is immeasurable!  
 
We have a lot to be thankful for, and a great place to start is to thank our Heavenly Father for His unfathomable and unfailing love.  When was the last time you did that?

CEW

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CREDITS/SOURCES
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The weekly news is compilation of new articles from top Caribbean and Jamaican news sources.