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 Authorities seek to quell fears with tour of Coronation Market http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Authorities-seek-to-quell-fears-with-tour-of-Coronation-Market KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Members of the security forces along with representatives from the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) this morning toured the Coronation Market in downtown Kingston as the authorities seek to reassure vendors and shoppers that the area is safe for commerce.<br /> <br /> The move follows the high level of violence that has been rocking the area in recent months. <br /> <br /> The authorities walked through the market, greeting and conversing with vendors and shoppers as they shared safety tips and addressed concerns.<br /> <br /> In November, vendors in the market fear for their lives following the shooting death of a colleague, 49-year-old Peter Nelson.<br /> <br /> The Coronation Market usually sees a drop off in business whenever there is an outbreak of violence in Kingston&rsquo;s west end.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I am in fear because I don&rsquo;t know what&rsquo;s next,&rdquo; one vendor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said at the time of the shooting.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It wasn&rsquo;t like this. Business is getting slow and the people don&rsquo;t want to come here to buy. The people who we use to buy goods from are also in fear, they don&rsquo;t want to come here either,&rdquo; she added.<br /> <br /> Racquel Porter<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13490111/Coronation-market1_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 12:59 PM UPDATE: PNP to boycott swearing in of St Thomas councillors http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/UPDATE--PNP-to-boycott-swearing-in-of-St-Thomas-councillors ST THOMAS, Jamaica &mdash; The five councillors elected on the People's National Party's ticket in the St Thomas Parish Council have decided to boycott the swearing in of councillors in the St Thomas Parish Council scheduled for today.<br /> <br /> The protest, according to the PNP, is a result of Jamaica Labour Party&rsquo;s (JLP) refusal to agree to a postponement of the swearing in, despite the election petition filed against councilor-elect for the Yallahs Division, Dean Jones.<br /> <br /> Hubert Williams, councilor-elect for the Whitehorses Division, said "the JLP should have taken the same approach as what obtained at the KSAC, where both parties agreed to postpone the swearing in of councillors until after the magisterial recount for the Rae Town Division".<br /> <br /> The election petition is scheduled to be heard in court next week and with the council currently tied 5-5, the petition could impact who is elected to serve as mayor and deputy mayor.<br /> <br /> The election petition was filed on the basis that Jones is not a resident of the parish of St Thomas, which is a requirement to be elected as a councillor in the parish.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489562/241821_68626_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 12:17 PM Strong quake strikes off northern California, no tsunami threat http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Strong-quake-strikes-off-northern-California--no-tsunami-threat SAN FRANCISCO, United States (AFP) &mdash; A 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Thursday off the US west coast north of San Francisco, but no major tsunami threat was expected, seismologists said.<br /> <br /> The US Geological Survey said there was "a low likelihood of casualties and damage" from the quake.<br /> <br /> The epicenter of the quake, which hit at 6:49 am (1449 GMT), was located 97 miles (157 kilometers) west of Ferndale, California at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers), USGS said. <br /> <br /> "Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are highly resistant to earthquake shaking, though some vulnerable structures exist," it said, putting the likelihood of fatalities at low.<br /> <br /> The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no Pacific-wide tsunami threat was expected from the event, and there was no specific threat to Hawaii. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489997/earthquake_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 11:44 AM UN official says more resources will help in Haiti cholera fight http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/UN-official-says-more-resources-will-help-in-Haiti-cholera-fight UNITED NATIONS, United States (CMC) &mdash; A senior United Nations official has stressed that the recent successes in the fight against cholera in Haiti demonstrates that when the UN and Haitian authorities receive the necessary funds, real progress can be made, and that, eventually, &ldquo;cholera will go&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> On Wednesday, Dr David Nabarro, a UN Special Advisor, underscored the recent, massive vaccination campaign , backed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) that reached 729,000 vulnerable Haitians and the increase in &ldquo;rapid response&rdquo; teams, &ldquo;which has had a positive impact in stopping outbreaks of the disease in its tracks&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I want enough cash in the bank so that we can be sure of being able to have this response capacity right through into 2018,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Then, we can really get this outbreak right down, numbers really small; and then, if we combine it [efforts to improve] water supplies and sanitation for every Haitian, cholera will go.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Nabarro noted that, in August of this year, it became clear that the number of people with cholera in the country, was actually larger than it had been last year.<br /> <br /> Because of shortages of funding, the number of teams that could respond rapidly when individuals were reported to have cholera-type symptoms had really dropped from about 70 to around 30, he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;With a situation like that, where you can&rsquo;t respond quickly to a person who is sick, you get more people in the vicinity of the sick person also being ill with diarrhea disease and probably with cholera,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The UN has borrowed resources internally to increase the number of rapid response teams and as a result, the number increased from 32 in April to 88 and the majority of people, who were reported as being sick with diarrhea and suspected cholera, can now get treated within 48 hours of their illness being reported.<br /> <br /> When Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti in early October, the UN said it &ldquo;became extremely concerned that there would be an upsurge in the number of people sick with cholera because the storm damaged sanitary facilities and sewage leaked into the places from which people obtained their drinking water.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This prompted the urgent delivery to Haiti of one million doses of the cholera vaccine, and the massive and efficiently executed vaccination campaign of vulnerable communities in the storm affected areas,&rdquo; the UN said.<br /> <br /> Although the vaccine is not a 100 per cent effective, the UN said it can have a dramatic impact on cholera if combined with other interventions, such as chlorination of water supplies and intensive education.<br /> <br /> Nabarro said the UN is looking to vaccinate everyone in the French-speaking Caribbean country, ideally with two doses.<br /> <br /> He said the number of people with cholera is below the levels recorded during this period last year and the year before.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The way that&rsquo;s done is through having finance,&rdquo; Nabarro said. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t run an effective cholera response without dependable cash.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;You can then provide the five different inputs necessary for controlling an outbreak: rapid response, effective treatment, vaccination, chlorination of water supplies, and really strong public education and involvement,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> The special adviser&rsquo;s call for scaled-up funding comes just days after outgoing UN Secretary General  Ban Ki-moon apologised  to the people of Haiti, expressing deep regret for the loss of life and suffering caused by the country&rsquo;s cholera epidemic.<br /> <br /> The UN said Haiti has been dealing with a cholera outbreak since October 2010, some nine months after it suffered a devastating earthquake.<br /> <br /> The outbreak has affected an estimated 788,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 9,000.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489961/David_Nabarro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 11:26 AM Duterte says OK to bomb fleeing militants and their hostages http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Duterte-says-OK-to-bomb-fleeing-militants-and-their-hostages MANILA, Philippines (AP) &mdash; Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he told his Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts that their forces can bomb fleeing Filipino militants and their kidnap victims at sea because the hostages "are not supposed to be there".<br /> <br /> Duterte said in a speech that he told Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo that their forces could enter Philippine waters while pursuing Muslim militants who are fleeing with hostages.<br /> <br /> Duterte said he told the leaders that if the militants were about to escape, "bomb them. If they cannot be captured you bomb them. How about the hostages? Eh, bomb them also. They're not supposed to be there, there is a warning".<br /> <br /> The brash-talking Duterte cited a US travel advisory warning Americans not to travel in the treacherous waters bordering the three countries.<br /> <br /> The Abu Sayyaf militant group is holding more than a dozen mostly foreign hostages in their jungle lairs on the southern Philippine island of Jolo.<br /> <br /> Despite discussions among the three leaders on ways to strengthen security along their sea borders, Abu Sayyaf militants and allied gunmen from Jolo and nearby islands have continued to target and kidnap crewmen of slow-moving tugboats as well as fishing boats.<br /> <br /> The ransom-seeking militants, who are notorious for beheadings, have also attacked cargo ships and separately snatched a South Korean skipper and Vietnamese crewmen in the southern Philippines. The US and the Philippines consider the Abu Sayyaf a terrorist organisation.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489891/Philippines_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 10:39 AM Man hacks common-law wife to death in St Catherine &mdash; reports http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Man-hacks-common-law-wife-to-death-in-St-Catherine---reports ST CATHERINE, Jamaica &mdash; A 45-year-old woman was yesterday chopped to death, reportedly by her common-law husband at their Point Hill, St Catherine home.<br /> <br /> She has been identified as Hermalyn Bell.<br /> <br /> According to police reports, the two had an argument about 2:00 pm when a machete was used to chop the victim several times all over her body.<br /> <br /> Photos obtained by OBSERVER ONLINE show several chop wounds to the woman&rsquo;s neck, head, shoulders and arms.<br /> <br /> The police said her common-law husband fled the scene after the attack but was later apprehended.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489822/crime-scene_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 10:22 AM Cheese-filled container missing from Trinidad port http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Cheese-filled-container-missing-from-Trinidad-port PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) &mdash; An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of a container filled with cheese from the port in Port of Spain, Trinidad last week.<br /> <br /> The Port Authority&rsquo;s Security Department will be conducting the investigation.<br /> <br /> The police report that the container with cheese, valued at over TT$750,000 (US$111,199.58) arrived at the port last week and when officials completed transactions to clear the container, they discovered that it was missing.<br /> <br /> A report was made to the port security department and an investigation was initiated to ascertain how people were able to leave the compound of the Port Authority without the necessary documents.<br /> <br /> Investigators believe that people used false documents to remove the container and that the cheese will be sold to unscrupulous business people at bargain prices.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489612/Investigation1_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 9:44 AM Japan tags dementia sufferers with barcodes http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Japan-tags-dementia-sufferers-with-barcodes TOKYO, Japan (AFP) &mdash; A Japanese city has introduced a novel way to keep track of senior citizens with dementia who are prone to getting lost &mdash; tagging their fingers and toes with scan-able barcodes.<br /> <br /> A company in Iruma, north of Tokyo, developed tiny nail stickers, each of which carries a unique identity number to help concerned families find missing loved ones, according to the city's social welfare office.<br /> <br /> The adhesive QR-coded seals for nails &mdash; part of a free service launched this month and a first in Japan &mdash; measure just one centimetre (0.4 inches) in size.<br /> <br /> "Being able to attach the seals on nails is a great advantage," a city worker told AFP.<br /> <br /> "There are already ID stickers for clothes or shoes but dementia patients are not always wearing those items."<br /> <br /> If an elderly person becomes disorientated, police will find the local city hall, its telephone number and the wearer's ID all embedded in the QR code.<br /> <br /> The chips remain attached for an average of two weeks &mdash; even if they get wet &mdash; the official said, citing recent trials.<br /> <br /> Japan is grappling with a rapidly ageing population with senior citizens expected to make up a whopping 40 percent of the population around 2060.<br /> <br /> Last month, Japanese police started offering noodle discounts at local restaurants to elderly citizens who agreed to hand in their driving licences.<br /> <br /> The offer followed a series of deadly accidents involving elderly drivers &mdash; a growing problem in a country where 4.8 million people aged 75 or older hold a licence.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489597/dementia_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 9:28 AM Tamar Lambert cops Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Tamar-Lambert-cops-Courtney-Walsh-Award-for-Excellence KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Former Jamaica cricket team captain Tamar Lambert is the recipient of the 2016 Courtney Walsh Award for Excellence.<br /> <br /> The award was presented at the Terra Nova Hotel on Wednesday night.<br /> <br /> "It is a great feeling to have received this award. It means a lot to me as it shows for the hard work and dedication I have put in over years," Lambert told OBSERVER ONLINE.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Jhevaughn Matherson from Kingston College and Satanya Wright from St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) took the male and female students' award, respectively.<br /> <br /> Ruddy Allen<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489586/TAMAR-LAMBERT_w300.jpg Local Sports Thursday, December 08, 2016 9:11 AM Postpone swearing-in... Yallahs councillor elect not a St Thomas resident &mdash; PNP   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Postpone-swearing-in----Yallahs-councillor-not-a-St-Thomas-resident---PNP ST THOMAS, Jamaica &mdash; The People&rsquo;s National Party (PNP) is seeking a postponement of the swearing in of councillors in the St Thomas Parish Council, due to an election petition filed against the councillor elect for the Yallahs Division, Dean Jones.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The election petition is scheduled to be heard in court next week and with the council currently tied 5-5, the petition could impact who is elected to serve as mayor and deputy mayor,&rdquo; the PNP argued.<br /> <br /> The election petition was filed on the basis that Jones, who represented the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the November 28 local government election, is not a resident of St Thomas, which is a requirement to be elected as a councillor in the parish, the PNP said in a release this morning.<br /> <br /> Councillors are slated to be sworn in today.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489562/241821_68626_repro_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 8:49 AM Eight private CCTV owners partner with gov&rsquo;t on crime fighting initiative http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Eight-private-CCTV-owners-partner-with-gov-t-on-crime-fighting-initiative KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Minister of National Security Robert Montague is reporting that private owners of closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems are responding to his call to partner with the ministry to detect crimes.<br /> <br /> Montague, who was speaking at the handing over of a CCTV system at the Islington Police Station, in St Mary yesterday, said so far, eight private entities have signed on to the system, and that this will significantly aid in crime fighting.<br /> <br /> Montague said there is a move to rely more on scientific evidence for both the detection and prosecution of criminal cases, and work is taking place to add more CCTVs to the national system.<br /> <br /> The minister said when feeds are taken from the private systems, they are stored and monitored for the identification of facial recognition and motor-vehicle licence plates.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This will make the country safer, while providing a space for partnership, and lessen the need to install the system all over the island. What we will be doing is utilising the feed from CCTV systems that are privately held,&rdquo; Montague explained.<br /> <br /> The minister further added that the system installed at the Islington station will enhance the work of the police, and prevent persons from taking illegal items to the inmates that are housed there.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The CCTV system will help to keep the station safe, keep the prisoners safe, and help to keep the men and women who serve here safe,&rdquo; Montague said.<br /> <br /> He also pointed out that the town centres that have the CCTV system will be networking to allow each to be able to view activities that are taking place in the areas where they are operating.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489542/Robert-Montague_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 8:36 AM Three robbery suspects held in attacks on NCU students http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Three-robbery-suspects-held-in-attacks-on-NCU-students MANCHESTER, Jamaica &mdash; Superintendent of the Manchester Police Division, Wayne Cameron, has reported that three men are now in custody on suspicion of robbery of students of the Mandeville-based campus of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU).<br /> <br /> He said that they were arrested on Tuesday following an operation in the Avondale Heights and Cedar Grove areas, on the outskirts of the university, where many students reside.<br /> <br /> Cameron said that cell phones, SIM cards, flash drives and a homemade hand gun were confiscated during the process.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We will be putting them on ID (identification) parade,&rdquo; he told OBSERVER ONLINE.<br /> <br /> The divisional commander also revealed that at least two other men are still being sought.<br /> <br /> There have been concerns, particularly in recent weeks, about attacks on students of the university.<br /> <br /> Cameron said that since he took on the position as commander for Manchester in October, seven incidents of robbery involving NCU students have been reported.<br /> <br /> He said a &ldquo;special initiative&rdquo;, now in place to address the matter, will be continued until the end of the school term.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, he informed OBSERVER ONLINE that the police are advising the students on ways in which they can reduce the likelihood of being attacked.<br /> <br /> It is not unusual, he said, for members of the police&rsquo;s Community Safety and Security Branch to also go into schools and universities to pass on messages that will assist students to protect themselves.<br /> <br /> One such interaction is slated to take place at the beginning of the new school term, he said.<br /> <br /> Cameron added that advice that has been given to students of the Northern Caribbean University include walking in groups and using the shuttle bus system that is in place.<br /> <br /> In a statement on Monday, interim president of the University, Professor Marilyn Anderson, also urged the students to make use of the shuttle service, which is free.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This shuttle service, which has been in place for over a month, serves to provide a safe means of transportation after evening classes, to off-campus residences and locations in Mandeville and its environs,&rdquo; she said in a news release.<br /> <br /> Cameron said that as a means of caution students can also seek police guidance when trying to find places to rent.<br /> <br /> Alicia Sutherland<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489522/NCU_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 8:19 AM 21 UK residents get Jamaican citizenship http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/21-UK-residents-get-Jamaican-citizenship LONDON, United Kingdom (JIS) &mdash; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, presented 21 Certificates of Citizenship at last Saturday&rsquo;s (December 3) Citizenship Ceremony, hosted by the Jamaican High Commission, in London.<br /> <br /> The minister, who addressed the function, commended the new Jamaican citizens for their decision to take advantage of the opportunity to hold dual nationality.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;As citizens of Jamaica, you can take advantage of various benefits, including acquisition of a Jamaican passport, working without a work permit, and gaining access to government programmes, such as low-interest-rate National Housing Trust (NHT) loans to purchase homes in Jamaica,&rdquo; she explained. <br /> <br /> Johnson Smith noted the many positive attributes and impact of Jamaicans all over the world in fields such as medicine, education, entrepreneurship, music and sport. <br /> <br /> She encouraged the new citizens to be proud of Jamaica, highlighting that the country is home to world-famous Blue Mountain coffee, reggae music, and food, and the fastest man and woman on earth. <br /> <br /> The minister also informed the audience on some of the Government&rsquo;s plans for a prosperous Jamaica through the path of economic growth and job creation.<br /> <br /> Director, Victoria Mutual Building Society, UK Office, Mrs Delores Cooper, sponsor of the citizenship ceremony over the years, noted that participation in the event provided an opportunity for the organisation to demonstrate its commitment to improving the quality of life of Jamaicans at home and in the diaspora.<br /> <br /> The ceremony was the fourth to be held for 2016 and saw the ceremonial presentation of citizenship certificates to 21 men, women and children.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489495/citizenship_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 8:00 AM UK bans print, online ads for junk food targeting children http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/UK-bans-print--online-ads-for-junk-food-targeting-children LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) &mdash; Britain will ban junk food ads aimed at children from both print and social media from next year, the advertising rules watchdog said Thursday, a move welcomed by campaigners against child obesity.<br /> <br /> The new rules, which come into effect in July 2017, extend an existing ban on television ads for "high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) food or drink products".<br /> <br /> "The new restrictions will lead to a major reduction in the number of ads for HFSS food and drinks seen by children," the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) said in a statement.<br /> <br /> The body said the ban reflected changing advertising methods and media habits among children.<br /> <br /> It cited research saying that children aged between five and 15 in Britain are now spending more time online than watching television.<br /> <br /> Children's Food Campaign co-ordinator Malcolm Clark said: "CAP has finally listened to the voices of parents and health professionals, after years of resisting calls for stronger measures".<br /> <br /> But Clark and other campaigners pointed out that the ban only applies to media where children "make up over 25 per cent of the audience", opening up a potential loophole for junk food marketing.<br /> <br /> Jenny Rosborough, campaign manager at Action on Sugar, called for restrictions on programmes such as talent shows which are popular with children but exempt because they are not children's programming.<br /> <br /> "We need to see bans on advertising go further," she said.<br /> <br /> Food And Drink Federation head Ian Wright said the change was "a major shift" that was "fully supported" by the industry.<br /> <br /> Britain is also planning a sugar tax on soft drinks to reduce rising levels of obesity, despite opposition from businesses in the sector.<br /> <br /> Britain has some of the worst obesity rates in Europe.<br /> <br /> The latest official figures for England from 2014 show that 31.2 per cent of children aged between two and 15 were either overweight or obese.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489472/AP87149431_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 7:44 AM CDA wants J&rsquo;cans to &lsquo;Take a Child Home for Christmas&rsquo; http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/CDA-wants-J-cans-to--Take-a-Child-Home-for-Christmas- KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; The Child Development Agency (CDA) is appealing to Jamaicans to open their hearts and homes to wards of the State during the festive season.<br /> <br /> The agency&rsquo;s &lsquo;Take a Child Home for Christmas&rsquo; programme is aimed at providing children in State care with the opportunity to experience the joy that the festive season brings.<br /> <br /> Speaking with JIS News, Regional Director for the CDA&rsquo;s South East Region, Robert Williams, said the initiative by the CDA invites Jamaicans to take a child or two home for Christmas.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;These are normally children in State-run or privately owned facilities whom we want to give the opportunity to spend this time of the year in a family setting,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> There are some 4,700 children in 58 facilities across the island, and for more than 15 years the CDA has been inviting Jamaicans to be part of the programme.<br /> <br /> Williams is encouraging the good citizens of Jamaica who are able to make a positive difference in a child&rsquo;s life this Christmas to reach out and be a part of that circle of care.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Help to bring joy to their lives this Christmas, because some of these children have no families outside of the care protection system,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Public Relations and Communications Manager at the CDA, Rochelle Dixon, told JIS News that for persons to qualify to participate in the programme, they must be Jamaicans with no criminal record.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;To apply, persons must fill out an application form and submit it along with valid identification, one passport-size photograph, two references from a notary public such as a justice of the peace, a pastor, a police (officer) at the level of a Superintendent or above, and a school principal,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Dixon added that background checks on individuals who apply are done and there is also a home assessment.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We go where the person live to see what the setting is like and we also have to talk to all the persons who live in the home, because we want to ensure that the children are placed in a suitable environment and that there is appropriate accommodation,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Interested persons are being asked to apply now because the application process may take up to three weeks. Application forms can be accessed at the CDA website at www.cda.gov.jm, or persons may call 948-2841-2 or visit any of the CDA offices islandwide. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489460/CDA_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 7:32 AM Three arrested after gun found in ceiling http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Three-arrested-after-gun-found-in-ceiling ST ANN, Jamaica &mdash; Three people were on Wednesday arrested after lawmen in St Ann searched a three-bedroom house in the Shaw Park Heights area of Ocho Rios and found a Kel-Tec 9mm pistol and eight 9mm rounds of ammunition.<br /> <br /> The lawmen were reportedly on operation in the area about 9:30 am when the weapon and ammunition were found in the ceiling of the house.<br /> <br /> The three people, whose genders were not disclosed, were taken into custody in connection with the seizure. <br /> <br /> Their names are being withheld pending further investigations. <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489454/arrest_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 7:23 AM UPDATE: Student's hip dislocates during Manchester crash http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Update--Student-dislocates-hip-in-Manchester-crash MANCHESTER, Jamaica &mdash;A 16-year-old female student of the Bellefield High School remains in hospital following a motor vehicle accident in the parish yesterday.<br /> <br /> While her peers were treated and released, the student, whose hip was reportedly &ldquo;dislocated&rdquo; during the crash, was held for further treatment.<br /> <br /> She was taken to the Mandeville Regional Hospital along with six schoolmates who were travelling in a Toyota Wish taxi, when it collided with a Toyota Pick-up truck on the Winston Jones Highway about midday.<br /> <br /> According to police reports the accident occurred during a failed attempt by the taxi to overtake the pick-up truck.<br /> <br /> The lawmen told OBSERVER ONLINE that the six other students as well as the drivers of both vehicles have all been released from hospital.<br /> <br /> Police investigations have continued into the matter.<br /> <br /> Alicia Sutherland<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489443/crash2_w300.jpg http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13489444/crash1_w300.jpg Local News Thursday, December 08, 2016 7:07 AM 'Racist' robot rejects Asian-face passport photo http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/-Racist--robot-rejects-Asian-face-passport-photo WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) &ndash; A New Zealander of Asian descent had his passport photo rejected because it was wrongly believed his eyes were closed, but government officials Thursday said it was a computer error and not discrimination.<br /> <br /> Melbourne-based Richard Lee was attempting to renew his passport before returning to New Zealand for Christmas only to have facial recognition software at New Zealand's department of internal affairs turn down the application. <br /> <br /> A computer-generated response said the photo did not meet New Zealand's criteria because the "eyes are closed". <br /> <br /> Taiwan-born Lee, 22, who grew up in New Zealand before moving to Australia to study, was not bothered by the rejection, but some of his friends quipped in Facebook posts that perhaps the New Zealand government had a "racist" robot.<br /> <br /> However, internal affairs spokesman Steve Corbett told AFP their systems did not discriminate "against any specific set of individuals" and in Lee's case the issue was with the lighting.<br /> <br /> "The most common error is a problem with lighting casting shadows onto the face, which the facial recognition technology interprets as closed eyes and that was the generic error message sent in this case," Corbett said. <br /> <br /> Up to 20 per cent of photos submitted online are rejected for a large variety of reasons, he added.<br /> <br /> Lee, who is studying aerospace engineering at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, said he was not bothered by the rejection. <br /> <br /> "I saw the humour in it and obviously it's a programming error in the recognition software," he told reporters. <br /> <br /> He posted a copy of the rejection letter on his Facebook page and described the publicity surrounding it as "shameless self-promotion" for his alter ego as DJ Richy Fancy. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13488200/Rejected_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, December 07, 2016 7:54 PM 10 Jamaicans awaiting extradition to face fraud charges in US http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/10-Jamaicans-awaiting-extradition-to-face-fraud-charges-in-US BISMARCK, United States &ndash; United States attorney Chris Myers has announced that another Jamaican accused of participating in a transnational organised crime lottery scam, which bilked at least 80 mostly elderly US residents out of millions of dollars, has been arrested in Jamaica.<br /> <br /> Tristan Fisher was arrested on December 2, in Trelawny.<br /> <br /> Fisher is one of 15 defendants charged federally in an international wire/mail fraud and money laundering conspiracy investigation, dubbed &ldquo;Operation Hard Copy&rdquo;, a news release from United States Department of Justice said Wednesday.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Operation Hard Copy&rdquo; investigation began in 2012 and has resulted in several federal indictments throughout the United States, and more than 32 charged or convicted defendants.<br /> <br /> Fisher&rsquo;s arrest follows nine others who have been arrested in Jamaica. According to the news release, they are Dario Palmer, Jason Jahalal, O&rsquo;Neil Brown, Kazrae Gray, Alrick McLeod, Dahlia Hunter, and Kimberly Hudson &ndash; all of whom were arrested on March 30, 2016; Xanu-Ann Morgan was arrested on March 31, 2016; and Lavrick Willocks was arrested on November 5, 2016.<br /> <br /> Willocks was taken into custody after being located hiding in a garden at a hotel in Kingston.<br /> <br /> The news release said the arrests of Fisher and Willocks are the result of months of continuing investigation by US and Jamaican authorities.<br /> <br /> Fisher, Willocks, and others in custody in Jamaica face numerous charges in US federal court, including conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Fisher is one of 10 defendants who are in custody in Jamaica and are awaiting extradition proceedings following 14 extradition warrants which were issued in Jamaica on February 29, 2016,&rdquo; said Clare Hochhalter, the federal prosecutor who leads the prosecution team in North Dakota.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We&rsquo;re grateful for the continuing efforts of the United States Marshals Service, the High Plains Fugitive Task Force, the Jamaican Fugitive Apprehension Team, the Jamaican Operations Linked to Telemarketing Fraud Task Force, as well as all of our other US and Jamaican law enforcement partners,&rdquo; added Myers. &ldquo;We look forward to bringing these 10 defendants, and others, to justice in the United States.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> According to the Justice Department, the process to extradite Willocks, Fisher, and the others began three years ago after the investigation identified hundreds of victims throughout the United States.<br /> <br /> One of Willocks&rsquo; former co-defendants, Sanjay Williams, was convicted after trial in North Dakota in 2015. Williams, age 26, was the first Jamaican tried and convicted in the United States for selling lead lists for use in international cyber-fraud.<br /> <br /> Evidence presented at the trial of Williams demonstrated that victims of the scam were targeted by the use of lead lists, which are the names, telephone numbers, and personal information of potential victims. The Department of Justice said the lists are often assembled in the United States and are sold to lottery scammers.<br /> <br /> Some lead lists are reportedly created by list wholesalers who send out bogus mass mailings purporting to be sweepstakes entries. Consumers, thinking the mailings are legitimate, pay to enter the non-existent sweepstakes. The wholesalers in turn pocket the entry fee then sell the consumer contact information to scammers for as much as $5.50 per potential victim.<br /> <br /> United States District Court Chief Judge Daniel Hovland sentenced Williams to 20 years in federal prison, without parole, on November 24, 2015. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld Williams&rsquo; verdict and sentence on November 4, 2016. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12579175/Jail-bird_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, December 07, 2016 7:43 PM 'I am Bolt' a boost for brand Jamaica, PM says http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/-I-am-Bolt--a-boost-for-brand-Jamaica--PM-says KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &ndash; Prime Minister Andrew Holness has hailed &lsquo;I Am Bolt&rsquo;, the film documenting the life and successes of track and field icon Usain Bolt, as a big hit for Brand Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Usain Bolt is now Jamaica&rsquo;s biggest ambassador. His personality, his ability to draw people to him (and) his showmanship have really given a boost to Brand Jamaica,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Holness was speaking to reporters at the Caribbean premiere of the film at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston yesterday.<br /> <br /> The prime minister praised the triple Olympic champion and world record holder for his achievements and contributions to the sport of track and field.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;His achievements on the field, tied with his personality and being able to do this while remaining clean (of performance-enhancing drugs), puts him way above the rest, and he is truly not just a Jamaican hero, but a global hero,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;(Usain) is a national treasure, an asset for us and a great ambassador, but he is also a great representation of what we can do as humans by working very hard, being committed and maintaining principles,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> Prime Minister Holness said the Government is looking to meet with Bolt to discuss ways in which his popularity and contributions can be further leveraged in line with the push for economic growth. <br /> <br /> I Am Bolt looks at the legacy of the fastest man alive and documents his rise to dominance, featuring interviews with his coach, manager, agent, colleagues and family. <br /> <br /> The glitzy red-carpet premiere was attended by government officials, political and business leaders, athletes, entertainment practitioners, members of the diplomatic corps, as well as family, associates and fans of Usain Bolt.<br /> <br /> Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, in her address, emphasised the value of the movie, as well as of Bolt&rsquo;s legacy, to Brand Jamaica. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;At the centre of Brand Jamaica is Usain Bolt. So tonight is really a very special night for us. Usain Bolt is a legend and it is something that we have to cherish and we have to recognise and we have to say thanks for,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Usain Bolt, who spoke ahead of the airing of the film, said he hopes it would allow his supporters to appreciate the journey of his career and understand the struggles, the work he put in and who he is as a person.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It&rsquo;s always thanks for the support; I hope (you) really enjoy the film and appreciate the good times and the tough times. Thanks for the love. It was a brilliant career and I am looking forward to the next season, doing great things as always,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> I Am Bolt premiered at the Odeon in London&rsquo;s Leicester Square on November 28. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13488049/b1_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, December 07, 2016 6:42 PM Gas prices down $0.83, diesel down $1.07 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Gas-prices-down--0-83--diesel-down--1-07 KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Motorists should see a decrease at the pumps in the prices of gasoline and diesel, effective Thursday, December 8, according to the latest ex-refinery costs from Petrojam.<br /> <br /> 87- and 90-octane gasoline will be sold for $101.41 and $103.07 per litre, respectively, down by $0.83 each. <br /> <br /> Automotive diesel fuel will be sold for $95.38 per litre following a decrease of $1.07, while ultra-low sulphur diesel is down by $1.27, and will be sold for $105.35 per litre.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, kerosene decreased in price by $0.53 and will be sold for $87.38 per litre.<br /> <br /> Propane liquid petroleum will be sold for $34.32 per litre, down by $0.04 and butane liquid petroleum will be sold for $42.49 per litre after a decrease of $0.63.<br /> <br /> Marketing companies and retailers will add their respective mark-up to these prices. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9070182/Gas-Pump_w304_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, December 07, 2016 6:32 PM JLP candidate wins by one vote in Toll Gate Division magisterial recount http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/JLP-candidate-wins-by-one-vote-in-Toll-Gate-Division-magisterial-recount KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; The magisterial recount for the Toll Gate Division in Clarendon South Western was completed on Wednesday, with the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate retaining the seat by a margin of one vote.<br /> <br /> The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) said in a news release that the JLP&rsquo;s Radcliffe McDonald polled 1,511 votes while the People&rsquo;s National Party candidate Godfrey Knight received 1,510.<br /> <br /> The one-vote margin is the same as declared by the returning officer after the final count.<br /> <br /> The EOJ also said that counting did not get under way for the Moneague Division in St Ann, as a decision is to be made by the magistrate on whether the application was filed within the statutory time frame.<br /> <br /> The proceedings continue tomorrow, Thursday, December 8, at the St Ann Resident Magistrates&rsquo; Court, the EOJ said.<br /> <br /> Yesterday, the magisterial recount for the Llandewey Division in St Thomas Western was completed, with the People&rsquo;s National Party candidate, Edwin Marr retaining the seat by a margin of two votes.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/11308794/Vote-finger-ink-1_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, December 07, 2016 6:17 PM Forex: J$128.84 to one US dollar http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Forex--J-128-84-to-one-US-dollar KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The US dollar on Wednesday, December 7, ended trading at J$128.84, down by seven cents, according to the Bank of Jamaica&rsquo;s daily foreign exchange trading summary.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar ended trading at J$96.94, down from J$97.21, while the British pound sterling ended trading at J$163.22, down from J$163.31. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9847300/Forex_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, December 07, 2016 5:41 PM Grange elected as vice chair of Inter-American Committee on Culture http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Grange-elected-as-vice-chair-of-Inter-American-Committee-on-Culture KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange was elected as vice chair of the Inter-American Committee on Culture at the recently concluded VII Inter-American Meeting of Ministers of Culture and Highest Appropriate Authorities in Paraguay. <br /> <br /> A news release from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport said the Inter-American Committee on Culture is the technical-political body of discussion in the area of culture, and is composed of representatives of the ministries of culture and highest appropriate authorities of Latin America and the Caribbean.<br /> <br /> Minister Grange said the committee&rsquo;s main function is to see to the implementation of the mandates of the Declarations and Plans of Action of the Ministerial Meetings on Culture, as well as of those that emanate from the Summits of the Americas. <br /> <br /> The Committee on Culture, which was established in 2008, has over the years focused on a areas such as: The role of culture in social development and economic integration and growth; preservation of cultural heritage; challenges of cultural industries; culture and indigenous peoples; drafting of culture policies and impact on Caribbean citizens; culture and equality; and cultural diversity and public policies.<br /> <br /> Minister Grange will serve alongside: Minister-Secretary of Culture of Paraguay, Fernando Griffith (Chair); Minister of Culture of Guatemala, Jos&eacute; Luis Chea Urruela (Vice Chair); Beatriz Vivas, Director, Directorate International Cooperation, Ministry of Culture of Argentina (Vice Chair); Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth of Barbados, Stephen Lashley (Vice Chair).<br /> <br /> Grange said she is grateful for the opportunity to play such an integral role in the development of culture in Latin America and the Caribbean. She also pledged to ensure that Jamaica follows in the footsteps of the Latin American countries in the OAS, which have already reaped significant economic benefits from their initiatives in the cultural and creative industries, when compared to their Caribbean counterparts. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13476510/babsy_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, December 07, 2016 5:19 PM Police to increase stop-and-search operations http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Police-to-increase-stop-and-search-operations KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will be increasing stop-and-search operations during the festive season. <br /> <br /> Speaking at a recent JIS &lsquo;Think Tank&rsquo;, Head of the JCF Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, said there will be a surge in the number of police on the ground during the festive season to counter the increase in robberies and the large migration of criminals at this time of year.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t want persons to think they are being stopped arbitrarily. We will stop persons if we detect that there is a breach (of the law), or if the vehicle matches a description of a car in question based on intelligence received,&rdquo; Superintendent Lindsay said.<br /> <br /> She noted that the police have been briefed on the correct procedures to apply when carrying out searches, which include communicating to the citizen the reason for the action.<br /> <br /> The superintendent pointed out that there are several provisions under the law that gives the police the authority to seize a motor vehicle.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;If there are breaches of the Road Traffic Act, meaning if you are caught speeding; if it is detected that your license plate is not affixed; if you don&rsquo;t have the sticker to indicate that your vehicle is registered; or if you have a fake registration plate, then you will be stopped,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> The superintendent added that although a person may be stopped for a traffic violation, he or she can be searched for a firearm or other dangerous weapon if the police suspect that there could be other violations relating to the Firearms Act.<br /> <br /> Superintendent Lindsay said the same can be done under the Customs Act, if there are signs of &lsquo;uncustomed&rsquo; goods such as illegal alcohol and even &lsquo;fake&rsquo; cigarettes.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;You can also be stopped under the Praedial Larceny Act, since many stolen agricultural crops are being transported across the island,&rdquo; she said.<br /> <br /> Lindsay said Section 19 of the JCF Act is another area that gives the police the power to stop and search for illegal guns, illegal gaming material and stolen goods/property that are being transported.<br /> <br /> She noted that most of the firearms seized, especially during this time of the year, are found during stop-and-search operations. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13487701/search-op_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, December 07, 2016 4:53 PM