JAMAICA NEWSWEEKLY For the week ending January 1st, 2010

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THIS WEEK”S SUMMARY
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EVANGELIST INJURED IN AIR CRASH—12/26/09

Andrew Palau, an American evangelist, was among the 148 passengers injured when American Airlines Flight 331 went off the runway and crashed in Kingston. Palau’s wife Wendy and their three children were also on board, but all escaped with only minor injuries. The Palaus were traveling to Jamaica to spend the Christmas holidays with Wendy’s Jamaican family.

JAMAICA TO BENEFIT FROM CARICOM/LATIN AMERICA INTEGRATION—12/27/09

CARICOM plans to make stronger economic links with Latin America, which is like to provide more opportunities for businesses in Jamaica, according to Dr. Kenneth Baugh, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. The closer relationship will also encourage social and economic growth in Jamaica.

JAMAICAN MUSIC ACTS FINDING IT HARD TO WORK OVERSEAS—12/28/09

Recent incidents involving Jamaican dance hall artistes with the law and government authorities have tainted the image of the musical genre, says Clyde McKenzie, music industry analyst. Jamaican acts are finding it more difficult to gain entry to some countries, including Europe and the United States. Some Caribbean nations have also prohibited entry to Jamaican dance hall acts.

ALCAN RECALLS JAMAICAN LINKS TO SCHOLARSHIP PLAN—12/29/09

Beginning in January 2010, students in the agricultural sector will be able to access a scholarship program thanks to the Rio Tinto Alcan firm, formerly known as Alcan. The help provided by the company to students pursuing agricultural studies will be provided via an agreement between the firm and Jamaica’s 4-H clubs. Students in St. Ann, St. Catherine, and Manchester will benefit from the program.

BIGGER SALES FOR JAMNAV PROJECTED FOR 2010—12/30/09

The creators of the JAMNAV GPS navigation system, Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) plan to introduce a version of their navigation program for use offshore. The new product will cover shipping lanes, cays, reefs, and other points of navigation. This version will target operators of jet skis, fishing boats, and pleasure boats, says Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee, director of MGI. The firm will also offer enhancements for the popular Garmin navigation device.

JAMAICAN AUTHORITIES LOOKING FOR SMUGGLER—12/30/09

Law enforcement authorities in Jamaica are looking for the suspected head of a “guns for ganja” deal made with Haitian smugglers. According to Sgt. Jubert Llewellyn, police want to find Conrad Peru and are looking for him in the rugged limestone country of the island. The search began after a shootout in which four suspects were killed.

OFFICIALS INVESTIGATE AIRLINE TOUCHDOWN POINT—12/31/09

Investigators in Jamaica have found that the American Airlines plane that skidded off the end of a runway, touched down about half way down the length of the that runway. Flight 331 landed 4,000 feet down an 8,900-foot runway, and authorities are trying to find out why the plane flew almost half of the runway distance before setting the wheels down.

NEW TAXES GO INTO EFFECT—01/01/10

A number of new tax measured become effective on the first day of the new year. For example the income-tax threshold will rise, leaving many salaries under $5 million tax-free. Those receiving more than $5 million in pay will face income taxes of 27.5 percent of their income, up from the previous 25 percent.

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JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
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JAMAICAN GIRL TALLEST FEMALE TEEN—12/26/09

Marvadeen Anderson, 16, has been named the world’s tallest female teen. Marvadeen is a star netball player and enjoys a height of 6 feet, 11 inches. She was declared the tallest teen in an article in the New York Post newspaper. Marvadeen comes from Prospect in Clarendon but earned a basketball scholarship to Rutgers Prep, where she has attracted the attention of the Americans.

RODOLPH AUSTIN WANTS MORE JAMAICANS PLAYING IN NORWAY—12/28/09

Reggae Boy Rodolph Austin, 24, hopes that more Jamaicans will play professional football in Norway’s championship. Austin finished his first season in Norway and says there is a need for more Jamaicans. He believes that more talented Jamaica players would help Norway qualify for the next World Cup match.

UK TAXPAYERS FOOT BILL FOR CRICKET LESSONS IN JAILS—12/30/09

Nearly three million British pounds are paid by taxpayers in the United Kingdom for teaching prisoners in Jamaican jails how to play cricket. Critics of the plan find it “astonishing” that the British public is spending tax monies on aiding law offenders in the Caribbean at a time when Britain faces a serious public spending deficit. 

JAMAICANS OVERSEAS WANT TASTE OF HOME—12/31/09

The Christmas season can be difficult for Jamaicans who live overseas. They are often homesick for the island and find themselves missing the traditional holiday foods and events common to Jamaica.   

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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY
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SPAIN TO ENHANCE EU TIES TO LATIN AMERICA—12/26/09

Now that Spain will take charge of the European Union presidency, it plans to make a series of agreements with Latin American nations. Spain plans to encourage closer associations between the EU and Central America, increase trade agreements between the EU and Colombia, and start talks with the Common Market of the South.

LAWYER WANTS ANSWERS ON DEPORTATION FROM OBAMA—12/27/09

Arlene Roberts, Trinidad-born lawyer, wants to make sure that the issues of detention and deportation of Caribbean immigrants are among the prominent topics on the agenda when United States president Barack Obama meets with CARICOM leaders in Washington, D.C.

CAYMAN ISLANDS LURE INVESTORS VIA IMMIGRATION INCENTIVES—12/28/09

The Caymans have started to ensure that there will be immigration incentives applied to keep foreign companies from leaving the island location. The Caymans are currently a hub for hedge funds, but local residents are eager to obtain a larger share of jobs in the financial sector.

TAXPAYERS PAY FOR MED SCHOOL GRADUATE LOAN DEFAULTS—12/29/09

Ross University School of Medicine on the island of Dominica has 3,500 students and is almost twice as big as the largest medical school in the United States. Ross takes in some $150 million per year in U.S. government-backed student loans, but investigators have found that students and taxpayers could be getting less than expected. Taxpayers must pay up when students default on their debts.
 
CELEBRITIES TRAVEL TO CARIBBEAN FOR CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS—12/30/09

The Caribbean is very popular with celebrities this season. Among those playing in the sun and sea are Jude Law and Sienna Miller. They are celebrating the holidays in Barbados. Simon Cowell of “American Idol” fame was also seen frolicking on a jet ski in the waters off Barbados.

SAUDIS QUIT LEASE FOR CARIBBEAN OIL STORAGE—12/31/09

Saudi Arabia has decided to end a long-held lease for five million barrels of Caribbean storage. PetroChina is ready to take its place, indicating a major potential change in the dynamics of global oil trading. The Saudis will be storing more oil for free in Japan, emphasizing the increased importance of China and Asia as opposed to the United States in the marketplace.

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SPORTS
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BOLT NAMED BEST CARIBBEAN ATHLETE FOR 2009—12/26/09

Usain Bolt has been named the top athlete in the Caribbean by the Prensa Latina poll for 2009. Yargelis Savigne won the prize for Latin America. The two athletes were winners of the individual prizes. Bolt is a three-time world champion and garnered 45 votes for the top position in the poll.

ERROL KERR TRAINING TO REPRESENT JAMAICA IN SKIING AT OLYMPICS—12/27/09

Errol Kerr of Truckee, California, is training to be a team of one representing Jamaica in the skicross at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Kerr has an American mother and a Jamaican father and has always wanted to represent his father’s homeland in the sport.

TWO JAMAICANS MAKE CCC TEAM—12/30/09

Simon Jackson and Chadwick Walton, both Jamaicans, have been named to the Combined Campuses and Colleges team for the regional first class season, which will begin January 8, 2010. Former West Indies bowler Corey Collymore will help Floyd Reifer in coaching the development team.

BOLT NAMED TO TOP SPOTS BY ITALIAN SPORTS MAGAZINE—12/31/09

Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprint champion, was voted sportsman of the year by La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy for breaking the 100 meter and 200 meter world records at the World Championships in 2009.

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DEVOTIONAL
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New Year’s Resolutions

“Incline your ear to my sayings…for they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.  Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:20-23, KJV)

So, what is/are your resolution(s) for the New Year?  According to the experts, most resolutions are broken within the first week of the New Year, yet despite the futility, some of us start the year committing to changes we hope to carry out during the year.   I would guess that most of the desired changes are behavioral and are perhaps things that we have struggled with from time to time, and in some cases, perhaps for a very long time.  It could be that we have made the same resolution before and failed despite our best efforts so we start this year with a new resolve.

For individuals desiring lasting change, our reference text seems rather appropriate for the start of 2010. What better resolution to make than to incline our ears to the sayings of our God?  The Holy Spirit directed Solomon to record that these sayings are “life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” and seeing all of our actions, thoughts, and all the issues of life springs from our heart, we are also admonished to keep our heart “with all diligence”.  Two great resolutions, 1) Incline your ear to my sayings, and 2) Keep your heart with all diligence!  I would imagine that if we can do both things, most of the times, if not all of the times, we would be in good shape towards becoming the kind of persons we were intended to be.

In my own experience, my resolutions are made daily as I strive with each passing day to be as God intended. I find daily is necessary given all the various challenges we experience in our individual lives.  I find it absolutely necessary to remind myself of the Lord’s sayings as in a somewhat cold and unforgiving world they provide me with the inner peace that so many people are looking for.  They cause me not to worry but to think of God’s sovereignty over all things while reminding me that regardless of my outside circumstances, as long as I remain under His care, I am in good Hands.

So my New Year starts the same way the old ended and that is with the resolve to incline my ears unto even more of His sayings.  Most of us who have tried to walk in our own way from time to time can profess to the fact that at the end of the day we are sometimes rudely reminded that there really is no other way but His way. That His way is best and if we hope to rest in the comfort of His care, we have to surrender our own desires, plans, and methods under the Lordship of Christ and allow Him to have His own way.

Will you join me? 

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.