JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending April 10th, 2009

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THIS WEEK’S SUMMARY
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NEW SYSTEM IN PLACE FOR STUDENTS WANTING TO STUDY IN THE UK—04/04/09
Jamaican students who want to study in the United Kingdom can apply for visas through Tier 4 of a new streamlined system. The new system requires students to provide proof that they have been accepted in a course of study in an educational institution licensed as a Tier-4 sponsor by the UK Border Agency. If a student receives a visa, he or she will be able to work part-time, up to 20 hours per week, during the school term, and full time during holidays.

GOVERNMENT FACES LARGE SHORTFALL IN BUDGET—04/05/09
The administration of Prime Minister Bruce Golding is trying to find ways to bridge the $29 billion gap in the national budget. The administration has suggested freezing wages and is looking at the possibility that trade unions can help reduce the shortfall.

MILLER WANTS AIR JAMAICA TO KEEP FLYING—04/06/09
Reverend Justin Nembhard of the St. James Parish Church, has given Jamaica’s ailing national airline, Air Jamaica, his full support. He told his congregation that the island needs to preserve this piece of its heritage. He made his remarks during the 40th anniversary celebrations of Air Jamaica.

NEW SECURITY HEAD NAMED, THIRD IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS—04/07/09
Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica, has named Dwight Nelson his new national security minister. Nelson will replace Trevor MacMillan in a general shake-up of the Golding cabinet. Nelson is the third security minister to be named in less than two years. MacMillan will enter retirement.
 
GOLDING TO TAKE PAY CUT—04/07/09
Bruce Golding, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, will take a 15-percent pay reduction in salary and has asked members of Parliament to take a ten-percent cut in their earnings as well. Golding announced his plans to the nation, saying that he will reduce his salary by 15 percent instead of the seven percent scheduled. He wants to lead by example, Golding says.

AIR JAMAICA INCREASES FLIGHTS IN SPITE OF SCHEDULED SALE—04/08/09
Air Jamaica, the island’s national airline, has announced an increase in the number of flights from New York and new flights during the summer out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The increases are scheduled in spite of the announced June deadline for privatization of the airline.

MACMILLAN GONE AS SECURITY MINISTER—04/09/09
Colonel Trevor MacMillan has been forced to resign from his position as Jamaica’s National Security Minister. There was little surprise at his departure following the second-worst year of crime in the island’s history. In 2008, Jamaica had 1,611 homicides, and as early as January 2009, Prime Minister Bruce Golding cited the high rate of gang violence and gunplay in communities, which caused residents to flee their homes.

GOLDING SAYS JAMAICA WILL NOT GO TO IMF—04/10/09
Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica, says that his government will not ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial help because there is no balance-of-payment problem in the country. Golding believes IMF intervention is meant for cases where such a problem exists. He noted the economic challenges facing Jamaica as a result of the bauxite industry downturn and reduction in remittances, however.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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GAY ADVOCATES IN SAN FRANCISCO CALL FOR BOYCOTT OF JAMAICA—04/04/09
A call for a boycott of Jamaica has been initiated by Michael Petrelis, a gay advocate in San Francisco, in response to a report from the United States State Department citing high levels of violence against gay people in Jamaica during 2008. The gay advocates are also calling for local gay bars to take Myers Run and Red Stripe beer off their shelves. Jamaican Consul General Newton Gordon has agreed to meet with City Supervisors Bevan Duffy to discuss these matters.

JAMAICAN ORDERED FROM ANTIGUA BY COURT—04/05/09
Orville Campbell, 32, was sent back to Jamaica after a court in Antigua found him guilty of remaining in that country after his legally issued permit from the Immigration Department expired. Campbell pleaded guilty to the charge, as he had never sought an extension on the permit, which expired in August of 2008.

RAVES FOR JAMAICA FASHION IN BRUSSELS—04/06/09
Jamaica received rave reviews for its fashion – and its fashion models – at the ACP Fashion Show held at the Palais de Beaux Arts in Brussels, Belgium. The supermodels from Pulse stood out among the fashion stars and received high praise from Caribbean representatives, including the Honorable Olivia “Babsy” Grange, head of Jamaica’s delegation to the Brussels Colloquium.

ACTRESS TO BE HONORED BY TEAM JAMAICA BICKLE—04/07/09
Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jamaican actress, and her husband, Vincent Hughes, a United States Senator from Pennsylvania, will receive the International Community Service Award from Team Jamaica Bickle for their humanitarian efforts. The couple will be honored for their work in fighting the global spread of HIV and AIDS.

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SPORTS
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LAMBERT MAKES 90, JAMAICA BEAT GUYANA—04/04/09
Tamar Lambert, captain, achieved 90 runs against Guyana at the WICB four-day match in Montego Bay, leading the Jamaica cricket team to a victory. Lambert, who has always been praised for his performance as a batsman, proved his ability beyond all doubt with this third similar score in the four-day match.

KINGSTON COLLEGE WINS CHAMPIONSHIP—04/05/09
Kingston College won by one of the closest margins in the history of the Boys and Girls’ Championships, achieving victory over defending champions Calabar by 1.5 points. The win was taken in the final event, the 4×400-meters boys’ contest.

JAMAICAN BOBSLED TEAM ON TRACK—04/09/09
Jamaica’s Olympic Bobsled Team is on track to qualify for the 21st Olympic Winter Games scheduled for February 12 to 28, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  The team has finished four months of training and competition with a tenth-place position in the final two-man race of the FIBT calendar year. The team completed the 1680-meter track in 2:00.69 over two heats.

POWELL SAYS US, JAMAICA CHALLENGE SENSELESS—04/10/09
Asafa Powell, Jamaica’s star sprinter and former 100-meter world record holder, says the idea of scheduling a yearly contest between Jamaica and the United States makes no sense. USA Track and Field’s chief executive officer, Douglas Logan, issued a challenge to Jamaica after the island’s exceptional performance at the 2008 Olympics. Powell says he does not see the importance of such a contest for the international circuit.

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DEVOTIONAL
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The Cross in the Middle

If you were in the audience at the time of Christ’s crucifixion, what would you have thought of Jesus?  Was He the son of Joseph the Carpenter, who lost His mind and thought He was the Son of God? A good man who was misguided by His religion?  Was He was just another one of those self-proclaimed Messiah who thought they could deliver God’s people from Roman servitude?  Would you have thought, “Good riddance; enough of Him already!”?  As you look at the man on the cross in the middle, crown of thorns on His head, fresh wound in His side from which blood and water flowed, and everyone waiting for Him to die, what would you have thought?

As Christians the world over celebrate Good Friday, we look back and wonder, “How could they not have known?” They had seen the miracles – the blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the dead raised (Luke 7:22). He taught in the synagogue like none other (Matthew 13:54), He turned water into wine (John 2:11), fed the multititude with five loaves and two fishes (Matthew 14:15-21), the evidence was there for all to see and the spiritual leaders would have read of Him in the Scriptures of the day.  The man on that cross was not a criminal, a raving lunatic, or an emeny of the State.  He was who He said He was – Jesus, the Son of God.

That was almost 2,000 years ago, yet the chant of “Give us Barabbas” still echoes across time.  From as far back as the garden of Eden, whenever mankind is faced with the choice of God’s way or the other way, we have taken the other way.  The first time, God expelled man from the garden; this time man tried to kill Him.  Yet the cross remains an expression of God’s love; the intersection where His love and justice meet, and a powerful reminder of the extreme steps that He has taken to reconcile mankind to Himself.  That cross in the middle was ours.  We should have been crucified, we should have suffered and died, we should have hung on the cross in disgrace, but Jesus, God’s Son, took our place.

On that grim and fateful Friday afternoon, those standing there made their choice.  Today, we have to make ours. What do you think of Jesus?  What are you going to do with Him?  Will you accept Him as Saviour and Lord, or crucify Him afresh?

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.