Jamaica Observer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/ JamaicaObserver.com, the most concise and in-depth website for news coverage on Jamaica and the Caribbean. Updated daily 7 days a week, 24 hours a day en-us copyright Jamaica Observer, 2011 US prosecutors want suspected J'can scammer held without bond http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/No-bond-for-suspect-in-Jamaican-lottery-scam BISMARCK, North Dakota (AP) &mdash; US prosecutors want a Jamaican man who's accused of masterminding a multimillion-dollar lottery scam to be held without bond pending trial in North Dakota.<br /> <br /> Lavrick Willocks, 27, on Friday made his first appearance in US District Court since being arrested in Jamaica two months ago. Assistant US Attorney Clare Hochhalter warned there is no reason for Willocks to stay in the United States if he is released from jail.<br /> <br /> "The defendant has no ties here, no means of support. He's a Jamaican national," Hochhalter said.<br /> <br /> US Magistrate Judge Charles Miller ordered Willocks held pending a detention hearing, which will likely take place next week.<br /> <br /> Willocks, who appeared alone in court with hands and feet handcuffed, requested a public defender, saying he has barely $15,000 and no assets. Miller ordered him to fill out a financial affidavit and the judge must now determine whether Willocks qualifies for a court-appointed attorney.<br /> <br /> Authorities allege the sophisticated schemes Willocks spearheaded bilked more than 70 mostly elderly Americans out of more than US$5.6 million. When he was arrested in a Kingston hotel on November 5, authorities say they found more than US$10,000 in cash in his room, along with electronics and jewelry.<br /> <br /> The lottery scam case began in North Dakota in 2011 when prosecutors say a Harvey woman was defrauded out of US$300,000 after receiving a call from a man who told her she had won US$19 million and a new car, and needed only to pay taxes and fees.<br /> <br /> More than a dozen people have been charged in the case. One of Willocks' co-defendants, Sanjay Williams, was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13589220/Willocks_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 8:07 PM Trump, spokesman slam US media over inaugural crowd coverage http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Trump--spokesman-slam-US-media-over-inaugural-crowd-coverage WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &mdash; Donald Trump and his chief spokesman launched an unprecedented assault on the media Saturday for a US president's first full day in office, accusing reporters of downplaying the turnout at his inauguration.<br /> <br /> Trump, visiting the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in nearby Langley, Virginia, insisted against all evidence that he drew 1.5 million people to his Friday swearing-in ceremony.<br /> <br /> "I made a speech. I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, million and a half people," he told CIA staff.<br /> <br /> "They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, Donald Trump did not draw well," he added.<br /> <br /> Trump said one network estimated turnout at 250,000.<br /> <br /> "Now, that's not bad. But it's a lie," Trump said. He claimed there were people stretching from the steps of the Capitol, where he spoke, along 20 blocks back to the Washington Monument.<br /> <br /> "So we caught them and we caught them in a beauty and I think they're going to pay a big price," said Trump.<br /> <br /> White House press secretary Sean Spicer doubled down on the accusation, using his first press conference in the White House briefing room to blast the journalists seated before him for "deliberately false reporting" on crowd size.<br /> <br /> "This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period!" Spicer said, his loud and abrasive tone catching nearly everyone in the room off guard.<br /> <br /> "These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong."<br /> <br /> Spicer left the briefing without taking questions.<br /> <br /> An estimated 1.8 million people flooded the National Mall area in 2009 when Barack Obama was first sworn in as president, according to federal and local agencies at the time.<br /> <br /> Washington authorities reportedly predicted 800,000 to 900,000 would attend Trump's inauguration Friday, about half of the 2009 crowd.<br /> <br /> - 'Packed' -<br /> <br /> Spicer appeared eager to lay down the new law with the press, whom his boss repeatedly criticized on the campaign trail and even branded mainstream media outlets "fake news."<br /> <br /> The intensity of Spicer's delivery suggested he and Trump were furious at the coverage of the inauguration, which many outlets said fell well short of Obama's 2009 inaugural in terms of crowd size.<br /> <br /> A comparison of aerial photos taken on January 20, 2009 and Friday appear to bear that out.<br /> <br /> Washington city authorities do not provide official crowd counts but TV footage clearly showed the gathering did not stretch all the way to the Washington Monument as Trump asserted.<br /> <br /> Trump's latest attack on news organizations came during a rambling aside as he visited CIA headquarters on a fence-mending mission after his public rejection of the assessment by US intelligence agencies that Russia meddled to try to help him win the November election.<br /> <br /> Trump, standing in front of a spot sacred to the CIA -- a wall with stars honoring employees killed while serving the country -- proclaimed he is fully behind the spy agency.<br /> <br /> He eventually returned to the issue of media coverage of his inauguration and said the National Mall, divided up into sections for Friday's ceremony, was uniformly crammed with people.<br /> <br /> "You saw that. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I'm like, wait a minute," he said.<br /> <br /> The outrage over crowd size came on a day that as many as two million people flooded into streets of cities across the United States in peaceful but passionate women-led protests against the new commander-in-chief.<br /> <br /> At the main "Women's March on Washington," organizers put the projected turnout at half a million. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13589209/000_KF3YS_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 7:37 PM Unplanned pregnancies causing social problems in St Lucia &mdash; official http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Unplanned-pregnancies-causing-social-problems-in-St-Lucia---official CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) &mdash; A senior official of the St Lucia Planned Parenthood Association (SLPPA) says unplanned pregnancies are contributing to social problems in the country.<br /> <br /> SLPPA programme manager, Geralda Bray, said she also believes that most pregnancies here are not planned.<br /> <br /> But she expressed the view that if a couple who are mature have a loving relationship, have family support on both sides and are employed, even if an unplanned pregnancy happens, they can handle such a situation.<br /> <br /> However the family planning official asserted that without such circumstances, an unplanned birth creates additional pressure and has a negative impact.<br /> <br /> She said there are a number of mitigating factors which impact children as a direct result of unplanned pregnancies, especially among young people.<br /> <br /> Bray said that many times young people are not emotionally mature to handle the responsibility of being a parent, adding that as a result, a large part of the parenting is left to the woman and a burden is put on the grandparents in helping to raise the child.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In addition there could be conflicts that would allow the child to fall through the cracks, because the mother &ndash; her role as the one with the chief responsibility of making decisions, would be taken up by the grandparents,&rdquo; Bray said.<br /> <br /> She said a tug of war ensues between the mother and the grandparents in terms of what is right for the child and what is acceptable.<br /> <br /> Bray explained that as a result, the child gets mixed messages leading to confusion.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;A lot of times you find children in that situation do not have that discipline and the environment where they can learn what is right from what is wrong because of all the confusion,&rdquo; the family planning official said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Planning your family means that you have thought about what it means to be a parent &ndash; you have decided that you want to play that role, you are ready, mature enough, have the finances, the family support and the structure.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> According to Bray, the decision to have a child is a very &lsquo;consequential&rsquo; one.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Once the child arrives there is no saying whether the child will have a disability &ndash; there are so many variables, particularly if you find people who are living in poverty or below the poverty level, that alone will place the child at a disadvantage,&rdquo; she noted.<br /> <br /> However Bray made it clear that being poor does not necessarily mean that children will succumb, but she explained that it is a factor that could create risk. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13589138/pregnant_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 7:02 PM JDF launches Caribbean security journal http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/JDF-launches-Caribbean-security-journal KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash;The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has launched a Caribbean Journal of Strategic and Security Studies, which broadly examines threats to national and regional security.<br /> <br /> The volume one journal, which is produced in collaboration with the United States Naval College, covers topics related to local and international terrorism, arms proliferation and the level and number of homicides in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.<br /> <br /> It also addresses water and energy security and climate change.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Andrew Holness welcomed the journal&rsquo;s publication and described it as a &ldquo;multidisciplinary and multi-professional forum in which there can be an exchange of ideas.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am hoping this very well-put-together journal will give an opportunity for the issues to be thoroughly explored and that there can emerge from the exploration of the issues, a common perspective on policy and action,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> He was speaking at the launch on Saturday at Mona Visitors&rsquo; Lodge, University of the West Indies (UWI). <br /> <br /> Holness noted that the journal examines the effects of various threats on tourism, the budget and the International Monetary Fund Programme (IMF).He said that these issues are not often fully understood by the society.<br /> <br /> The prime minister is hopeful that the JDF as well as other stakeholders involved will make the journal available to every Jamaican in order for them to understand that the threats affect everyone regardless of their demography.<br /> <br /> In his remarks, State Minister in the National Security Ministry, Senator Pearnel Charles Jnr said the journal challenges citizens to protect the nation and region, while stimulating discussion on strategies to mitigate security threats.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The journal is one more step forward as we work together in defining exactly how we are going to continue to improve the conditions in our country,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> In an interview with JIS News, Chief of Defence Staff at the JDF and Editor-in- Chief of the journal, Major General Rocky Meade, said the decision to publish the journal arose out of a need to analyse deep-rooted issues and to produce well-thought out solutions to those problems.<br /> <br /> Plans are underway to publish the journal twice per year and possibly quarterly.<br /> <br /> The chief of defence staff hopes for further submission of articles and reviews of the journal to keep the discussion going. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13589118/RAF-1_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 6:35 PM Trump to CIA: "I am with you 1,000 percent" http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Trump-to-CIA---I-am-with-you-1-000-percent- WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &mdash; President Donald Trump told the CIA Saturday it had his full support as he paid a visit to mend fences after publicly rejecting its assessment that Russia tried to help him win the US election.<br /> <br /> "I am with you 1,000 percent," Trump said in a short address to CIA staff after his visit to the agency headquarters in Virginia.<br /> <br /> In his first full day in office, Trump moved swiftly to confront simmering tensions left by US intelligence findings that Russia interfered in the US election to try to tip the outcome in Trump's favor.<br /> <br /> "I love you, I respect you," he told members of the US intelligence community.<br /> <br /> "We're all on the same wavelength, right?" he asked, referring in particular to the fight against the Islamic State group.<br /> <br /> "We have not used the real abilities that we have. We've been restrained. We have to get rid of ISIS."<br /> <br /> Mike Pompeo, Trump's pick to lead the CIA, has not yet been confirmed by the US Senate.<br /> <br /> A 53-year-old Republican lawmaker, Pompeo is considered a foreign policy hawk and was an ardent opponent of former president Barack Obama's administration.<br /> <br /> Outgoing CIA director John Brennan had stern words for Trump last Sunday, saying he needed to be more "disciplined" in his public comments.<br /> <br /> "I don't think he has a full appreciation of Russian capabilities, Russia's intentions and actions," ?Brennan said of Trump on Fox News Sunday.<br /> <br /> Trump, likening US intelligence to Nazis, suggested Brennan himself may have leaked an unsubstantiated report that the Russians had gathered damaging salacious personal information about him.<br /> <br /> The intelligence agencies had given both Trump and Obama a summary of the dossier, which later was published in full by BuzzFeed.<br /> <br /> Brennan said the US intelligence chiefs considered it their responsibility to make Trump aware that it was in circulation. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13586205/Prez-Trump_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 5:00 PM Somerset consider ditching Gayle for T20 Blast http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Somerset-consider-ditching-Gayle-for-T20-Blast LONDON, England (CMC) &mdash; Somerset are mulling over passing on West Indies superstar Chris Gayle for this summer&rsquo;s T20 Blast, because of his unavailability for the entire campaign.<br /> <br /> In the past two seasons, the left-handed Gayle has turned out for Somerset but only in a handful of games and Somerset&rsquo;s Director of Cricket, Matthew Maynard, said the county were considering signing a player who could be play the whole tournament.<br /> <br /> Gayle slammed 19 from 11 balls to help Chittagong Vikings pull off a five wicket win.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;He&rsquo;s here for a period and then we miss him and it leaves a big hole in our team,&rdquo; Maynard explained.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;In an ideal situation, we&rsquo;d like to have an overseas player for the duration of the T20 competition and try and keep that settled side.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Gayle has been outstanding on and off the field in his brief stints at Somerset. In 2015, he smashed 328 runs in just three outings with scores of 92 against Essex, an astonishing unbeaten 151 against Kent, and an unbeaten 85 against Hampshire.<br /> <br /> Last season, the left-handed Jamaican finished with 177 runs from five innings, at an average of 35.<br /> <br /> Once he departed last season, however, Somerset struggled and finished bottom of their group with just three wins from 14 games.<br /> <br /> Gayle is one of the most sought-after T20 batsmen in the modern game, and plies his trade in all the major leagues across the globe.<br /> <br /> The T20 Blast runs from July 7 to September 2 this year and will clash with the Caribbean Premier League, where Gayle is one of the major attractions. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13136337/chris-gayle-jamaica-tallawahs_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 4:40 PM Caribbean finance ministers to attend IDB annual meeting in Paraguay http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Caribbean-finance-ministers-to-attend-IDB-annual-meeting-in-Paraguay WASHINGTON, United States (CMC) &mdash; Key development, trade and investment challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean on issues ranging from private sector investments to global trade and political trends will be among the agenda items to be discussed when the Inter-American Development Bank Group holds its annual meeting in Paraguay in March.<br /> <br /> Several Caribbean countries, including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Jamaica, are among the 48 member countries of the Washington-based financial institutions expected to attend the March 30 to April 2 meeting.<br /> <br /> The IDB said that the 58th annual meeting of the Group&rsquo;s Board of Directors will be attended by ministers of finance or the economy, or central bank presidents.<br /> <br /> The IDB Group is made up of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which provides resources and financing for public sector, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC), which focuses on private sector operations, and the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), which provides donations and resources to foster innovative small-scale projects in the region.<br /> <br /> During the event the IDB Group will release its annual macroeconomic assessment of the region amidst a difficult global economic, political and trade environment. The findings of the macroeconomic report will be released during the annual meeting and panels will discuss fiscal, trade, investment and monetary challenges.<br /> <br /> During the meeting the IDB and Paraguay will host the &ldquo;Latin America and the Caribbean: An agenda of growth and development&rdquo; Business Forum.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The event will gather close to 500 private sector leaders and high-level government representatives from the Americas, who will discuss key issues to promote sustained economic growth rooted in rising productivity,&rdquo; the IDB added.<br /> <br /> It said the panellists will discuss the opportunities and challenges for the region in areas including the promotion of food security and the growth of agribusiness, how to foster the development of qualified human capital and an environment that promotes innovation and the investment in infrastructure that the region requires to be a more competitive player in the global economy.<br /> <br /> At the investment forum, the IIC&rsquo;s CEO James P Scriven will reflect on the IIC&rsquo;s first year of operations since the IDB Group consolidated its private sector. He will focus on regional private sector trends and how the IIC is best positioned to tackle its clients&rsquo; evolving needs in key economic sectors such as renewable energy, transport, water and sanitation, agribusiness and telecommunications.<br /> <br /> The Annual Meeting will feature the eighth edition of Demand Solutions event featuring big and original thinkers and entrepreneurs. Demand Solutions is designed to inspire creativity and innovation and will highlight the role of women as an engine of innovation and transformation in the past, present and future of Latin America and the Caribbean. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588910/IDB_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 4:15 PM Women lead huge rights protests across US http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Women-lead-huge-rights-protests-across-US WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) &mdash; Led by women in pink "pussyhats," hundreds of thousands of people packed the streets of Washington and other cities Saturday in a massive outpouring of defiant opposition to America's hardline new president, Donald Trump.<br /> <br /> Roused by fiery speeches, the women sent out a resounding message of resistance and activism the day after Trump took office with a vow to roll back the policies of former president Barack Obama.<br /> <br /> "I know that we can do better, we have to fight for the change we want to see," said Michelle Phillips, a 45-year-old recent American citizen, who told AFP she came to take a stand against what she called Trump's "platform of hate and bigotry."<br /> <br /> Huge crowds gathered in Washington, Chicago, New York and Boston with hundreds of sister marches taking place across the United States.<br /> <br /> The call was heard far beyond US shores, with organizers saying over 2.5 million people signed up online to take part in one of more than 600 marches being held worldwide.<br /> <br /> One of the largest was in London, where tens of thousands of women, men and children marched chanting "Dump Trump" and waving banners "Our Rights Are Not Up For Grabs - Neither Are We."<br /> <br /> Organizers estimated the turnout for the main "Women's March on Washington" at half a million, double initial expectations.<br /> <br /> Washington's Metro stations were overwhelmed as trains packed to bursting moved cheering, clapping marchers into the city.<br /> <br /> By 11 am, the city's Metrorail system said it had moved 275,000 people, more than most weekdays and eight times a typical Saturday.<br /> <br /> The tide of women in knitted pink hats appeared to dwarf the throngs of Trump supporters in red "Make America Great Again!" caps who the day before had cheered the Republican's swearing-in.<br /> <br /> Trump's defeated rival Hillary Clinton tweeted her support to the crowds massed around Washington's National Mall, as actresses, feminists and liberal politicians took the stage to vow resistance to Trump.<br /> <br /> "Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values, @womensmarch. Important as ever. I truly believe we're always Stronger Together," she said.<br /> <br /> Former secretary of state John Kerry was spotted in the crowd -- a day after leaving office -- with his dog on a pink leash.<br /> <br /> Women made up the overwhelming majority of the people who arrived in Washington, hooting and cheering on jam-packed trains and buses.<br /> <br /> Many carried homemade signs. "Keep your tiny hands off me," said one. "Rise, Love, Resist," read another. <br /> <br /> Trump -- and his new administration -- were feted at balls after an inaugural speech that painted a grim vision of national decline under his Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, punctuated by the new president's vow to stop "this American carnage."<br /> <br /> For his first full day in the world's most powerful office, Trump attended a multi-faith service at Washington National Cathedral. He was later due to visit the headquarters of the CIA, an agency he feuded with bitterly before taking office.<br /> <br /> Trump's inaugural speech on Friday set the tone for his presidency: proudly populist, fiercely nationalist and determined to break with Obama's legacy.<br /> <br /> His first act in office -- signing an executive order aimed at freezing Obama's signature health care law -- was a potent gesture in that direction, with more such actions expected to follow on Monday.<br /> <br /> But if Friday was Trump's day -- marred by sporadic outbreaks of vandalism and more than 200 arrests -- Saturday belonged to demonstrators with fresh memories of his fat-shaming a former beauty queen, sex assault allegations and a controversial stance on abortion.<br /> <br /> The knitted "pink pussyhats" they wore were an allusion to his boasts in a leaked videotape of grabbing women's "pussies" with impunity.<br /> <br /> Actress Scarlett Johansson urged: "I feel that in the face of this current political climate it is vital that we all make it our mission to make it very, very personal."<br /> <br /> Filmmaker Michael Moore, a march organizer, noted that his copy of the Washington Post was bannered with the headline "Trump Takes Power."<br /> <br /> "I don't think so. Here is the power," he said, gesturing to the crowd.<br /> <br /> TV actress America Ferrara told the crowd, "The platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. We are America. And we are here to stay."<br /> <br /> Jennifer Behr, a 42-year-old accessory designer, rode a packed train from Baltimore to make her voice heard.<br /> <br /> "It's important we assert our majority and we have a large physical presence to show Trump and the Republicans that they cannot railroad our country," she said.<br /> <br /> While Trump won 42 percent of the women's vote, millions who did not vote for him worry that gender rights and other progress on women's health, contraception and abortion could be chipped away.<br /> <br /> The Women's March began with a simple Facebook post from Hawaii grandmother and retired lawyer Teresa Shook to about 40 of her friends -- but word travelled quickly and the event took on a life of its own.<br /> <br /> Dozens of progressive groups backed the march, as well as Amnesty International and Planned Parenthood, the women's health care provider that is a Republican target because of the abortion services it provides. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588867/000_KH4ZW_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 3:40 PM 27-y-o mason fatally stabbed in Mavis Bank http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/27-y-o-mason-fatally-stabbed-in-Mavis-Bank ST ANDREW, Jamaica &mdash; Twenty-seven-year-old Elkoy Thomas, a mason of Content Gap, Mavis Bank in St Andrew died as a result of a stab wound he received in his community on Friday, January 20.<br /> <br /> Reports from the Gordon Town Police are that about 10:30pm, Thomas had an argument with a man during which the man allegedly used a knife to stab him. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.<br /> <br /> The man has since turned himself in to the police.<br /> <br /> Investigations continue. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12510651/crime-scene-tape_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 3:15 PM Tax relief working as predicted &mdash; Aubyn Hill http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Tax-relief-working-as-predicted---Aubyn-Hill KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Deputy President of the Senate, Aubyn Hill, says the Government&rsquo;s move to increase the personal income tax threshold to $1.5 million is working as predicted, resulting in greater revenue collection.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This is exactly what has happened. In effect, lower the tax rate, give people more money to spend and collect more taxes. This is sound economics,&rdquo; Hill said, while opening the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate, yesterday.<br /> <br /> He noted that despite concerns expressed by sceptics, taxes garnered from the increased threshold were $5.3 billion higher than expected.<br /> <br /> This, he said, is a 7.8 per cent increase over the budgeted figure for the April to December 2016 period.<br /> <br /> Hill further reported that the intake of indirect taxes, represented by taxes on production and consumption, was also ahead of the budget by 5.3 per cent.<br /> <br /> The Senator contended that the tax relief, which represents &ldquo;sound economics,&rdquo; is among measures contributing to the country&rsquo;s improved economic performance.<br /> <br /> Quoting the latest figures from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Hill pointed out that the country&rsquo;s economy grew by two per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016.  It is also estimated that for the fiscal year 2016-2017 ending in March, the annual growth rate could be about two per cent.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Agriculture, forestry and fishing, traditional and non-traditional export crops, mining and quarrying, construction and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and the benefits of the (increased) threshold, all contributed to this significantly improved level of economic growth,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The first phase of the income tax break, which became effective in July last year, saw the annual personal income tax threshold of taxpayers moving from $592,800 to $1,000,272.<br /> <br /> The second phase takes effect on April 1, 2017, with the threshold moving to $1,500,096. This adjustment will result in an additional increase of $499,824. The effective threshold for the 2017 year of assessment will therefore be $1,375,140. The full threshold of $1,500,096 will become effective on January 1, 2018.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The tax performance, improved and sustained consumer and business confidence, the shift to a greater reliance on indirect taxes and the implementation of the higher (income tax) threshold...bear noble testimony to the soundness of the $1.5 million tax relief and related policies,&rdquo; Hill emphasised. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588843/Aubyn-in-Senate_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 2:40 PM Brazil's tragic Chapecoense play first match since plane crash http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Brazil-s-tragic-Chapecoense-play-first-match-since-plane-crash CHAPECO, Brazil (AFP) &mdash; Chapecoense, the Brazilian football club cruelly decimated by a plane crash, stride back on the field Saturday in a new line-up for their first match since the tragedy.<br /> <br /> Intense public and media attention was greeting the friendly match against Palmeiras, to be played in the 20,000-place Arena Conda stadium in Chapeco decked out in the home side's green color.<br /> <br /> Supporters have snapped up all the club jerseys online, and 241 journalists from around the world are accredited to cover the game. <br /> <br /> Before the 4:30 pm (1830 GMT) kickoff, the three survivors of the crash that wiped out their teammates were to receive the Copa Sudamerica trophy posthumously awarded to the club.<br /> <br /> "We have the privilege of raising this trophy and I'm sure that those who have left us, if they are watching, would feel happy," one of the survivors, left-back Alan Ruschel, told a news conference.<br /> <br /> Their plane went down on November 28 in mountains near Colombia's city of Medellin as the team were flying in to play Atletico Nacional. Of the 77 people on board, 71 lost their lives, including 19 players and 24 other club members.<br /> <br /> The accident cut short the fairytale run of the unheralded team who had risen in five years from the fourth division and were playing in their first major final.<br /> <br /> To rebuild the side, sporting director Rui Costa has recruited 22 players, most of them on loan.<br /> <br /> He told AFP on Friday that the game was "the strongest argument... that this club refused to die."<br /> <br /> The club's new coach, Vagner Mancini, called the match "a pivotal moment."<br /> <br /> Ruschel and another surviving players, defender Helio Neto, are on the path to recovery and hope to play this season.<br /> <br /> Goalkeeper Jackson Follman had his foot amputated, ending his career.<br /> <br /> The others who survived the crash were two of the plane's Bolivian crew and a radio reporter, Rafael Henzel, who said Saturday's game "is the first match of my new life."<br /> <br /> The 43-year-old journalist will be commentating the game. "We need moments like this -- it's a rebirth," he said.<br /> <br /> The new-look Chapecoense has no big names, but include experienced players such as former Lille striker Tulio de Melo and ex-Benfica goalkeeper Artur Moraes.<br /> <br /> Half the match proceeds will go to the families of those killed, while the rest will be used to rebuild the club.<br /> <br /> The survivors met with management on Friday to discuss compensation from the Bolivian airline, Lamia, which owned the plane that crashed. The airline's director was arrested in December.<br /> <br /> The tragedy was a blow to Chapeco, a town of just 200,000 inhabitants where nearly everyone was one or two degrees connected with the team.<br /> <br /> "We are a small community. We are not used to such a high profile," the mayor, Luciano Buligon, told AFP.<br /> <br /> "But this global attention has comforted us. This big wave of solidarity is helping us to raise our head and to look ahead."<br /> <br /> The popularity of Chapecoense has gone well beyond Brazil's borders.<br /> <br /> Miguel Alvarez said he and friends had traveled from Argentina "for the inaugural match of this club that had a tragedy that affected everybody."<br /> <br /> He added: "Football matters, yes, but mostly there has be solidarity with the human side of it all."  http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588814/000_KH3XT_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 2:05 PM SDC secures $5.1m for community groups  http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/SDC-secures--5-1m-for-community-groups KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Social Development Commission (SDC) has secured $5.1 million under the Government of Jamaica Administrative Grant Fund for approximately 170 community development committees (CDCs) across Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Executive Director of the SDC Dr Dwayne Vernon made the disclosure as he addressed a recent JIS Think Tank.<br /> <br /> The grant is a dedicated source of funding available to all CDCs to be used for administrative support, once they meet the established criteria. <br /> <br /> Vernon said the money, which was disbursed up to December 31, 2016, was used to help the groups to strengthen their administrative capabilities and undertake measures to increase &ldquo;people participation&rdquo; in their community.<br /> <br /> He informed that another 178 applications are being processed for grant assistance under the Governance Capacity Grant Fund (GCGF).  <br /> <br /> He said that $1 million is to be disbursed &ldquo;so they can implement projects they believe can strengthen their organisation, consistent with the themes of the SDC.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> Governance structures can access funds under the GCGF to improve their sustainability and viability, to make more effective and meaningful contribution to parish and national development. <br /> <br /> Vernon also disclosed that the SDC is taking steps to introduce a grant facility to support new small and microenterprises.  <br /> <br /> This facility, he said, will be implemented through the Local Economic Development Support Programme (LEDSP) and will have specific focal points to aid and support the beneficiaries into a stronger operational position. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588690/Dr-Dwayne-Vernon_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 1:40 PM Police seize firearms, ammunition http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/gunh The Constant Spring Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB) is reporting that at about 3:30 am, they were on operation in the Mannings Hill area when a premises was searched and the firearms and ammunition seized. No one was arrested in connection with the incident.<br /> <br /> Investigations continue. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588776/gun.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 1:08 PM Wayne Rooney breaks Man U record, Liverpool rocked by Swansea http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/wayne2017-01-21T09-46-57 LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) - Wayne Rooney became Manchester United's all-time leading scorer in dramatic fashion as his last-ditch wonder goal rescued a 1-1 draw at Stoke, while Liverpool's title challenge suffered a major setback in a shock 3-2 defeat against Swansea on Saturday.<br /> <br /> Rooney surpassed Bobby Charlton's tally of 249 goals for United when he struck with a superb effort deep into stoppage-time at the Britannia Stadium.<br /> <br /> The 250th goal of Rooney's glittering United career was just the 31-year-old's fifth of a difficult season and came as a timely reminder of the striker's class after he was relegated to the role of a fringe player for long periods this term.<br /> <br /> It was also much needed by United, who had fallen behind in the 19th minute when Juan Mata deflected Erik Pieters' shot into his own net.<br /> <br /> Jose Mourinho sent on Rooney in the 67th minute and the England star, who had gone two games without a goal since equalling Charlton's record in an FA Cup win over Reading on January 7, wasted his first chance to make history when he headed wide from six yards.<br /> <br /> But Rooney refused to be denied and, with Charlton watching from the stands, his magic moment arrived four minutes into stoppage-time when he curled a superb free-kick past Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant and into the top corner.<br /> <br /> Rooney's wonder goal extended United's unbeaten run in the league to 13 matches, but lost in the euphoria of his landmark strike was a disappointing result that leaves his team three points adrift of the top four.<br /> <br /> "It means a hell of a lot. It is a great honour and I'm very proud," said Rooney, who signed for United from Everton in 2004.<br /> <br /> "It is not something I expected when I joined. The players who have played for this club have been world class. <br /> <br /> "I'm proud to play for this club. To be all-time top goalscorer is a huge honour."<br /> <br /> At Anfield, Jurgen Klopp's third-placed side wasted a chance to close the gap on leaders Chelsea in an error-strewn display that left them without a win in their last three league games.<br /> <br /> Fernando Llorente put Swansea ahead in the 48th minute when the Spanish striker punished poor defending from a corner to slot home from close-range.<br /> <br /> Llorente struck again with a powerful header from Tom Carroll's cross in the 52nd minute before Liverpool were given a lifeline by Roberto Firmino's header three minutes later.<br /> <br /> Brazil forward Firmino netted again to draw Liverpool level with a fine finish in the 69th minute, but Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson pounced to convert the winner in the 74th minute after more sloppy play from the Reds rearguard.<br /> <br /> Swansea had started the day at the bottom of the table, but their first ever league win at Anfield in 16 visits lifted them out of the relegation zone and condemned Liverpool to their first home league defeat for 12 months.<br /> <br /> "The defending around all three goals wasn't good enough, 100 percent. Their third is a big mistake," Klopp said.<br /> <br /> "If this defeat influences us, then it could be damaging. We have lost, but it has to feel really bad. And it does. We have to react."<br /> <br /> Seamus Coleman's last-gasp strike gave Everton 1-0 win at Crystal Palace that plunged the hosts into the relegation zone.<br /> <br /> Ronald Koeman's team maintained the momentum from last weekend's rout of Manchester City as Coleman converted a Tom Davies pass in the 87th minute.<br /> <br /> Palace are now third bottom and have yet to secure a league win since Sam Allardyce replaced the sacked Alan Pardew in December.<br /> <br /> Andy Carroll showed West Ham can thrive without Dimitri Payet as his brace inspired a 3-1 victory at Middlesbrough.<br /> <br /> There was no place in the West Ham squad for Payet as the unsettled France midfielder continues to try to engineer a move to his former club Marseille.<br /> <br /> But Carroll netted with a brilliant bicycle kick in last weekend's win over Crystal Palace and the burly striker was back on the scoresheet with a ninth minute header.<br /> <br /> Middlesbrough equalised through Cristhian Stuani's 27th minute tap-in, but Carroll side-footed home two minutes before half-time before Jonathan Calleri's stoppage-time effort.<br /> <br /> Sunderland slumped to the bottom of the table after a 2-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion, whose goals came from Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt.<br /> <br /> Bournemouth twice came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw against Watford at Dean Court.<br /> <br /> Watford took the lead through Christian Kabasele, but Josh King bagged Bournemouth's equaliser.<br /> <br /> Troy Deeney restored Watford's advantage, only for Benik Afobe to level in the closing stages.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588742/ROO_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 12:50 PM UPDATE: 42-y-o mechanic fatally shot in Newlands  http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/UPDATE--42-y-o-mechanic-fatally-shot-in-Newlands ST Catherine, Jamaica &mdash; Forty-two-year-old Aryton Nelson, a mechanic of Newlands, Portmore has been reported as one of the two men shot along the Newlands main road yesterday.<br /> <br /> According to reports from the Police&rsquo;s Corporate Communications Unit, Nelson was standing along the roadway with another man when men approached and opened fire, leaving both men injured. They were rushed to the hospital where Nelson was pronounced dead and the other man was admitted.<br /> <br /> The police are doing further investigations. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12510651/crime-scene-tape_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 12:45 PM ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Feeble reasons for not taking UK prison offer http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/readers2017-01-21T09-36-00 Dear Editor:<br /> <br /> I write in reference to Mr Dujon Russell's well-written and compelling letter titled 'Is rejecting the prison deal really beneficial to Jamaica?' that was published in your newspaper on January 17, 2016.<br /> <br /> The assertions made by Mrs Kamina Johnson-Smith were frightening. She argued that national security concerns could arise if the government gave the public, who has a right to know about these significant issues, the full details about why the UK prison deal was rejected.<br /> <br /> Mr Russell questioned that, "In a context where we desperately need more space to house the rising number of criminals, what type of national security concerns could be raised by the reasonable questioning of the justification for rejecting this deal to improve not only the deplorable conditions of our penal facilities, but the lives of the prisoners?"<br /> <br /> Then he made the piercing point that, "On the contrary, the only national security concern is their rejection of this offer which would be the precursor to recidivism, with the concomitant rise in crimes by these prisoners who have been subjected to the horrible conditions and degrading treatment in the current situation." I couldn't agree more with this reasoning.<br /> <br /> The government acknowledged that the prisoners are suffering in the degrading conditions that they are forced to live in, and they accept that the rights of the prisoners are being abused. Still, they do not see it as a matter of priority to act in the interest of the prisoners.<br /> <br /> There are persons who believe that we were insulted by this deal and that we should not be taking up the responsibility of other countries; that is, the 300 prisoners that were to be transferred here as part of the deal.<br /> <br /> Do these same persons think about how much insulting it will be for us when the Government is sanctioned by the international organisations for not treating the human rights of the prisoners as priority because they have other things on their plates?<br /> <br /> I urge the persons who are opposing this deal to see Mr Russell's letter for what it is; rational, humanitarian and objective.<br /> <br /> Sharon McIntosh<br /> <br /> Pensacola, Florida<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588717/computer-keyboard_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 12:33 PM Balotelli accuses Bastia fans of racial abuse http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Balotelli-accuses-Bastia-fans-of-racial-abuse NICE, France (AFP) &mdash; Angry Nice striker Mario Balotelli accused Bastia fans of racially abusing him throughout Friday's 1-1 Ligue 1 draw in Corsica.<br /> <br /> "Yesterday the result against Bastia was right... We will do more work to try to get our objective. The referee was good too," Balotelli wrote on his Instagram account, alongside the image of a black square.<br /> <br /> "But I have a question for French people. Is it normal that Bastia supporters make monkey noise and 'uh uh' for the whole game and no one of the 'discipline commission' say anything?<br /> <br /> "So is racism legal in France? Or only in Bastia? Football is an amazing sport... those people like Bastia supporters make it horrible! A real shame," he added.<br /> <br /> The French league's disciplinary committee said it would look into the incidents at the Stade Armand-Cesari.<br /> <br /> "From Thursday, the disciplinary committee will open a file of the match incidents based on the supplementary reports from officials and information provided by the clubs," the LFP said in a statement.<br /> <br /> The league "deplores all the incidents that occurred during the game between Bastia and Nice", with the bus of visiting Nice -- the league leaders -- pelted with stones ahead of the clash between the two bitter Mediterranean rivals. <br /> <br /> Italian international Balotelli, who was born in Palermo as the son of Ghanaian immigrants before he was adopted, has suffered racist abuse several times during his career in both Italy and England.<br /> <br /> In April 2015, British anti-discrimination body Kick It Out claimed Balotelli, then playing for Liverpool, had received more than 4,000 racist messages via social media during the 2014-15 season.<br /> <br /> The 26-year-old was himself banned for one match and fined &pound;25,000 ($30,000, 29,000 euros) in December 2014 after being found guilty of breaching English Football Association rules by posting a controversial image of Super Mario on Instagram.<br /> <br /> He was charged by the FA over an image he reposted on the social media site that contained the words "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a jew" underneath a picture of the Nintendo games console character. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588684/Balotelli-2_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 11:50 AM Babsy Grange coordinating assistance for needy St Elizabeth family http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Babsy-Grange-coordinating-assistance-for-needy-St-Elizabeth-family KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment of Sport, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, says help is coming for a family of women who are living in extremely challenging circumstances in St Elizabeth.<br /> <br /> The family came to national attention after one of its members &mdash; a 15-year-old girl&mdash; was allegedly sexually abused by a member of the clergy, in a case that is now before the court. <br /> <br /> Minister Grange &mdash; accompanied by representatives of several support agencies and Member of Parliament for South Eastern St Elizabeth, Franklyn Witter &mdash; visited the women on Thursday after hearing of their plight.<br /> <br /> The minister observed the women and children living in an uncompleted and unsecured two bedroom house, which is in need of repair.  <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Everything is being treated as extremely urgent,&rdquo; said Grange as she gave an assurance that the government is addressing the needs of the family.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;In consultation with [the women], we&rsquo;ve come up with a plan as to how we&rsquo;re going to provide them with the necessary support and to assist them in getting their lives on track,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> The plan includes relocation of the women and children.  Prior to yesterday&rsquo;s visit, Grange had been in discussions with Food for the Poor regarding plans for new accommodation.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Food for the Poor is providing them with housing solutions and we will ensure that they are relocated on lands where they will feel safe and comfortable," said Grange.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re looking at [ensuring that] over the next couple of weeks that we would have finalised arrangements for their relocation and [that] we would get them on the various social programmes that are available through the government system.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Witter has committed to assisting with the relocation effort and the daily needs of the family.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;I&rsquo;m looking at the immediate support in terms of food supplies, water, and so on,&rdquo; Witter said.  <br /> <br /> &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll also be speaking with the bauxite company, Alpart, to see if we can identify land so as to facilitate the Food for the Poor assistance that will be coming in terms of housing. And [I will] collaborate with the agencies to ensure that anything that is immediate and urgent we can deal with it until we are able to put them on a path of self sufficiency.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Any member of the public who wishes to assist the family may call the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport at 978-7654. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13380557/Babsy-Grange-1_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 11:20 AM Caribbean/American legislator arrested protesting Trump&rsquo;s inauguration http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Caribbean-American-legislator-arrested-protesting-Trump-s-inauguration NEW YORK, United States (CMC) &mdash; A Caribbean/American legislator was arrested on Friday for civil obedience as he protested the inauguration of the new United States President Donald Trump.<br /> <br /> Brooklyn Council Member Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, his mother Patricia Williams, as well as other New York elected officials, community advocates and members of the clergy, were arrested outside Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.<br /> <br /> After a press conference and rally protesting Trump&rsquo;s inauguration, Williams, deputy leader of New York City Council, and the other parties walked to the corner of Trump Tower on 56th Street and Fifth Avenue and proceeded to obstruct traffic by sitting down on Fifth Avenue, leading to their arrests.<br /> <br /> Williams, who represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn, said after his release that &ldquo;for the past two years, we&rsquo;ve been bombarded by divisive messages that were unfortunately embraced by so many, and the resulting election showed us the worst of America.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am a believer in non-violent resistance, but we have to disrupt a structure that is unjust. We must resist from day one. We&rsquo;re fighting for everyone, even those who don&rsquo;t understand what they&rsquo;ve done by voting for Trump. We are going to continue moving forward because we know we are on the right side of history.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Williams said the theme of the rally was &ldquo;Resist from Day One&rdquo; by &ldquo;resisting Trump&rsquo;s proposals, which are based in bigotry, xenophobia and fear.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> He said the goal of the rally was to voice opposition against, among other things: Trump&rsquo;s Cabinet nominees, removing the Affordable Care Act, removing millions from insurance and women&rsquo;s access to healthcare, and Trump's immigration policies and criminal justice policy.<br /> <br /> Williams said Trump has proposed policies in the areas of criminal justice, healthcare and immigration that have &ldquo;raised red flags for many.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Through its rhetoric, policies, and appointments, the incoming Trump Administration has made clear that it intends to further enshrine racism, sexism, and plutocracy in our government and society,&rdquo; said Senator Marisol Alcantara.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Mr Trump and those who enable him are a grave threat not just to our democratic traditions but also to our American values of religious toleration and openness to immigration.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;As an Afro-Latina immigrant, I hope that my action inspires others to voice and embody their opposition to Trump instead of giving into fear and division,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> Alcantara said successful resistance movements rely not just on voting but also on techniques such as civil disobedience, boycott, and strikes.<br /> <br /> Congresswoman Yvette Clarke was among a number of US Congressional Representatives who boycotted Trump&rsquo;s inauguration.<br /> <br /> Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the predominantly Caribbean 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, had tweeted that she would be joining some of her colleagues in the boycott over Trump&rsquo;s attack on US civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis, of Georgia.<br /> <br /> Like Lewis, Clarke said she had &ldquo;very real concerns about the legitimacy of the next President of the United States.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I believe that we all have an obligation to the American people to have the United States intelligence community and an independent, bipartisan commission thoroughly investigate the hostile intrusion by the Russian government into American politics,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> In his victory speech, Clarke said Trump promised to unite the nation, &ldquo;as a president for all Americans.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;But his actions since then reveal that the promise he made was merely words empty of any truth,&rdquo; she said. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588620/Jumaane-Williams-arrested_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 10:50 AM Gov't awaiting architectural designs for new PICA office http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Gov-t-awaiting-architectural-designs-for-new-PICA-office KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; The Government says it is awaiting completion of architectural designs to commence construction of the new Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) head office in Kingston.<br /> <br /> The facility is being built to provide more space for staff located at PICA&rsquo;s current headquarters on Constant Spring Road in St Andrew.  <br /> <br /> National Security Minister, Robert Montague, made the disclosure following a tour of PICA&rsquo;s offices on January 19.<br /> <br /> Montague, who has portfolio responsibility for PICA, said land located at nearby North Avenue has been acquired and funding identified to undertake the project.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have instructed that the architects move a little faster to complete the designs... as we just need these and the approval of the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation to construct the facility and get the staff into more comfortable surroundings,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Montague said the Ministry will be looking into several concerns raised and submissions made by the staff concerning PICA&rsquo;s operations.<br /> <br />  Among these, he indicated, were amendments to the law regarding &ldquo;things that would make the service to the ordinary Jamaican citizen better&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The members of staff were engaged and they came up with a lot of good ideas,&rdquo; the minister noted.<br /> <br /> Montague also highlighted concerns with challenges relating to airlines&rsquo; compliance with the submission of Advanced Passenger Information (API) for travellers to Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If they (airlines) don&rsquo;t send this manifest to us, people can&rsquo;t use the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) machines at the airports, and this compromises our security because we don&rsquo;t know who is coming on that flight until that flight is here and they are processed... and it might be too late (to take preventative action, if necessary),&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The APIS is a means by which a passenger&rsquo;s personal data, as provided electronically to a transportation company or an airline, can be vetted for security clearance prior to the passenger boarding the vessel.<br /> <br /> Montague praised PICA&rsquo;s staff for the high standard and quality of their operations and services delivered to clients.<br /> <br /> The Minister&rsquo;s tour, which was led by PICA&rsquo;s Acting Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Wynter, formed part of his visit to the ministry&rsquo;s departments and agencies to interact with the staff and get a better understanding of their operations and how best service delivery to the public can be further improved.<br /> <br /> He was accompanied by state minister, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, and other ministry officials. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588585/PICA-tour_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 10:20 AM Anti-Trump protesters set to flood Washington http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Anti-Trump-protesters-set-to-flood-Washington The flag-waving crowds who turned out to cheer Trump's inauguration will make way for a coalition of protesters who fear an erosion of women's rights under the new Republican administration.<br /> <br /> Powered by social media, the "Women's March on Washington" aims to draw 200,000 people, illustrating the divisions of a country whose incoming leader faces levels of public mistrust unseen in recent decades.<br /> <br /> Trump's inaugural speech on Friday set the tone for his presidency: proudly populist, fiercely nationalist and determined to break with the legacy of his Democratic predecessor.<br /> <br /> His first act in office -- signing an executive order aimed at freezing Barack Obama's signature health care law, before it is eventually repealed -- was a potent gesture in that direction, with more such actions expected to follow on Monday.<br /> <br /> Trump's official schedule for Saturday, his first full day in the world's most powerful job -- includes just one engagement, a multi-faith service at Washington National Cathedral at 9:30 am (1430 GMT).<br /> <br /> But less than 24 hours after entering the White House, Trump will be faced with a show of force by demonstrators united by a common dread of what his presidency holds in store.<br /> <br /> Backed by celebrity participants including Scarlett Johansson and Michael Moore, Saturday's march comes on the heels of a first day of anti-Trump protests marred by sporadic outbreaks of vandalism, with windows smashed downtown and more than 200 people arrested.<br /> <br /> Authorities will be on alert for any new flare-up of violence -- although the stated goals of the women marchers are resolutely peaceful.<br /> <br /> One participant, 37-year-old Jessica Vroman from Sacramento, California, posted a picture of women packing a flight bound for Washington.<br /> <br /> "It is FULL of women -- all ages, all races -- going to the march. We are singing, high-fiving and taking selfies. This what hope looks like people!" she wrote.<br /> <br /> Trump's campaign was marred by sex assault allegations, fat-shaming a former beauty queen and a controversial stance on abortion.<br /> <br /> While Trump nonetheless won 42 percent of the women's vote, millions who did not vote for him worry that gender rights and other progress on women's health, contraception and abortion could be chipped away.<br /> <br /> "The Women's March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights," organizers said in a statement.<br /> <br /> They have not specifically used the term "anti-Trump" to describe their efforts, but the message is clear.<br /> <br /> Bringing together "people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations and backgrounds," organizers say the protest march seeks to secure immigrant rights and access to abortion services, among other demands -- things which Trump's critics accuse him of wanting to curb.<br /> <br /> Dozens of progressive organizations are supporting the event, as well as Amnesty International and Planned Parenthood, the women's health care provider that is a Republican target because of the abortion services it provides.<br /> <br /> The marchers secured the right to gather from 10:00 am (1500 GMT) on the National Mall -- the site where Trump was sworn in as America's 45th president, and which his supporters failed to fill to capacity on Friday.<br /> <br /> The Women's March began with a simple Facebook post from Hawaii grandmother and retired lawyer Teresa Shook to about 40 of her friends. <br /> <br /> Word traveled quickly, and eventually made it to the pro-Hillary Clinton Facebook group Pantsuit Nation, which has nearly four million members.<br /> <br /> Nearly 225,000 people have said on Facebook they will attend. Another 250,000 said they were interested.<br /> <br /> Women across America have knitted more than 60,000 pink "pussyhats" -- with cat ears -- for the marchers to wear, in a bid to claim back the derogatory term used by Trump in a hot-mic boast about groping women's genitals.<br /> <br /> Though a mass turnout is no guarantee, at least 1,200 buses have asked for parking permits at Washington's RFK Stadium for the protest day -- far more than for the inauguration itself.<br /> <br /> Some 300 sister marches are being held across the country, from New York to Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle, as well as cities around the world. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13588428/000_KH07Q_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 9:27 AM Weekly Round-up: Zika-related microcephaly?&hellip;Gunmen murder 2 children&hellip;FA Cup in Ja http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Weekly-Round-up--Zika-baby-video Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Winston De La Haye confirmed that the &ldquo;probable&rdquo; case involves a baby who was born in December at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, to a mother who had a rash during her pregnancy.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the bloodshed continued with Wednesday night&rsquo;s killing of two children and a man when heavily armed men invaded their Williamsfield community in Hanover.<br /> <br /> The incident follows Sunday&rsquo;s killing of six gangsters in Montego Bay, St James<br /> <br /> And, FLOW and Manchester United have partnered to take the English FA Cup on a tour across the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Watch as OBSERVER ONLINE wraps the week for you.<br /> <br /> Baby born with Zika-related microcephaly?<br /> <br /> US lifts gun ban<br /> <br /> UK prison would require tax hike &mdash; Government<br /> <br /> Elderly woman perishes in fire &mdash; Reports<br /> <br /> Bounty, Ninja lecture cops<br /> <br /> Corporate Area police to ride free on JUTC buses<br /> <br /> Gov't hires new forensic pathologist<br /> <br /> Montague wants improved working conditions for security guards<br /> <br /> PNP officials should be questioned in the open, says DPP<br /> <br /> OCA to investigate CDA, OCR handling of sex abuse case involving 6-y-o<br /> <br /> Missing trio found dead in Negril<br /> <br /> 6 gangsters killed<br /> <br /> Wanted man sets house with family on fire in attempt to escape arrest<br /> <br /> Jamaican bobsleigh team seeks funding to hire coach<br /> <br /> Work to be done! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13586396/paul_w300.jpg Local News Saturday, January 21, 2017 9:00 AM