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 It cannot be business as usual &ndash; &lsquo;Butch&rsquo; Hendrickson http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/hendrickson2016-10-26T21-24-14 KINGSTON, Jamaica &ndash; Gary &lsquo;Butch&rsquo; Hendrickson, the 2016 inductee into the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Hall of Fame last night at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel made an impassioned plea in his speech after his induction that Jamaicans especially business people cannot continue to conduct business as usual.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We cannot continue to conduct business as usual in Jamaica as it has gotten us nowhere,&rdquo; Hendrickson said.<br /> <br /> He also stated that a lot of the Jamaica&rsquo;s economic indicators are progressing well, and now was the time to act, to build and grow Jamaica.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There is no other time, the time is now, it must be a case of Jamaica first,&rsquo; the chief executive officer of National Continental said.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386643/butch_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:20 PM JC student stabbed and killed during robbery on bus http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/jc2016-10-26T20-53-52 KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; A 14-year-old student of Jamaica College was this afternoon (app 4:10 pm) stabbed and killed during a robbery on a bus in close proximity to the school (Old Hope Road - St Andrew).<br /> <br /> Early reports from the police are that after the JC student boarded the bus, a man tried to rob him of his watch and other valuables. The young JC student, Nicholas Christopher Francis, resisted his attacker and was stabbed several times. He was rushed to hospital by the driver of the bus where he was pronounced dead (app 5:17 pm).<br /> <br /> Two people are being questioned by the police and the bus on which the murder took place is in the custody of the lawmen.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386546/crime-scene-tape-3_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 10:51 PM Henry tells Opposition to bring on any better offer for Noranda http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/noranda2016-10-26T20-12-49 KINGSTON, Jamaica - Minister of Transport and Mining, Mike Henry, says that Jamaica must conclude agreement on a new partnership to operate the local assets of Noranda Jamaica Bauxite by October 31, or face creditors who will curtail funding by October 31.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The government is not hastening to conclude an agreement with New Day Aluminium,&rdquo; Henry abruptly told the House of Representatives today (October 26), as he responded to more questions from the Opposition about the future of the bankrupt facility.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;However, the court supervised bankruptcy process requires that the deal be closed by a specific date, namely October 31, 2016. Closure documents are to be lodged with the court by this date,&rdquo; Henry noted.<br /> <br /> He pointed out that, additionally, the creditors have indicated their intention to curtail funding for the agreement by October 31.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Given these issues, the government wishes to conclude an agreement within this window, primarily to protect the jobs of employees at Noranda Jamaica, bring the operation back to maximum production and facilitate continued economic activities and expansion in the economy, especially in St Ann,&rdquo; the minister said.<br /> <br /> In response to another question from the Opposition, as to whether the government sought any better offer than that presented by New Day, Henry said that, given the supervised process implemented by the US bankruptcy court, &ldquo;no other offer came to the government of Jamaica&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> However, he told Opposition members who bombarded him with questions over the last two days on the proposed agreement, that if they knew anyone who could make a better offer to the government for the assets than New Day, he would listen.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Anybody who wants to make an offer let them come&hellip;If the Opposition has any offer bring it on. But, we need to close the process by October 31,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The Observer understands that Chinese investors had expressed interest in the assets to the previous government.<br /> <br /> Henry told the House on Tuesday that the government had planned to sign a binding letter of intent with US firm New Day Aluminium on Wednesday, with respect to Noranda&rsquo;s Bauxite Works in St Ann.<br /> <br /> He said that the partnership would herald a new policy approach to developing the country&rsquo;s mineral sector, particularly the bauxite and alumina industry.<br /> <br /> Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners, formerly St Ann Bauxite Jamaica Limited and prior to that Kaiser Jamaica Bauxite Company, is a partnership between Noranda Bauxite Limited (NBL), a Jamaican limited liability company, and the Government.<br /> <br /> Noranda Bauxite Limited has a 49 per cent interest in the partnership and holds and operates the physical mining assets and operations. The government owns the remaining 51 per cent. The local bauxite mine provides all of the bauxite ore used for the production of alumina at Noranda Aluminium Holdings Company&rsquo;s (NAHC) Gramercy alumina refinery, in Louisiana in the United States.<br /> <br /> However, in February, NAHC and its indirect subsidiaries voluntarily filed to initiate a court-supervised restructuring process under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, which also affected the local operations.    <br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386506/Mike-Henry-in_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 10:10 PM PSOJ Hall of Fame inductee 2016 'Butch' Hendrickson - a profile http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/gary-hend KINGSTON, Jamaica - The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica Hall of Fame induction ceremeony is now underway at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.<br /> <br /> This year's inductee is Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson. OBSERVER ONLINE presents a short profile on Hendrickson.<br /> <br /> Gary &lsquo;Butch&rsquo; Hendrickson<br /> <br /> An astute businessman, Hendrickson has over 35 years of leadership and management experience. He is Chief Executive Officer of Continental Baking Company Limited- Jamaica&rsquo;s largest baking company and Coconut Bay Beach Resort and Spa in St. Lucia.<br /> <br /> Hendrickson served as Chairman of the National Export Import Bank of Jamaica (EX IM Bank) and now sits on the Boards of Rainforest Seafoods, The King&rsquo;s House Foundation, Red Stripe, The Private Sector Organization of Jamaica and the Bank of Jamaica of which he is the chairman of the budget committee.<br /> <br /> He is a graduate of Jamaica College, Miami Military Academy and Fordham University. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386421/IMG-20161026-WA0017_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 8:11 PM UPDATE: Cops believe killer fled in doctor&rsquo;s car, appeal for info http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/UPDATE--Cops-believe-killer-fled-in-doctor-s-car--appeal-for-info ST ANDREW, Jamaica &mdash; The police are appealing to the family and friends of Dr Martin Garwood to provide any information they can to help with the investigations into his murder.<br /> <br /> Garwood, who the police say is 40 years old, was found dead at his home in Barbican, St Andrew, this morning.<br /> <br /> Read: Doctor found dead at St Andrew home<br /> <br /> Reports from the police are that Garwood was found with multiple stab wounds inside his apartment after his colleagues went in search of him when he didn&rsquo;t turn up for work.<br /> <br /> His colleagues reportedly saw blood when they got to his residence and alerted the police.<br /> <br /> According to Jamaica Constabulary Force Communication Officer Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, the police are theorising that whoever killed Garwood was known to him as there were no signs of forced entry at his premises. She also said that police believe his black Honda CRV, which was missing from the complex, was used as the getaway vehicle.<br /> <br /> On Wednesday, Superintendent Lindsay appealed to family and friends close to him to let the police know if he had expressed fear for his life or if he had said anything about anybody he might have been in conflict with.<br /> <br /> Garwood worked at the Kingston Public Hospital and also serving as the team doctor for the Young Reggae Boyz.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386419/crime-scene_w319_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 8:00 PM Cabinet approves national ID policy http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Cabinet-approves-national-ID-policy KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Cabinet has approved the formulation of a National Identification System Policy for Jamaica. <br /> <br /> This was disclosed by Education, Youth and Information Minister, Ruel Reid, who indicated that the policy is being developed for tabling as a White Paper in Parliament.<br /> <br /> He said Cabinet further instructed that Prime Minister Andrew Holness would have carriage of its passage.<br /> <br /> The minister was speaking during Wednesday&rsquo;s post-cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House.<br /> <br /> Reid underscored the importance of the national identification system&rsquo;s recorded registration regime to all policy reviews and the accompanying planning and programme delivery of the government, citing development of the child passport as an example.<br /> <br /> He said the passport ensured that every child is registered within the education sector in order to prevent challenges, such as inadequate seats, books, teachers and classroom facilities.<br /> <br /> Cabinet also approved several activities for implementation consequent on reviewing recommendations relating to the National Insurance Scheme Act and Regulations.<br /> <br /> Senator Reid said these include an operational and staffing review of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and evaluation of the governance structure, investment policies and asset allocation strategies of the National Insurance Fund (NIF), to be undertaken during the 2017/18 fiscal year. <br /> <br /> Additionally, he said Cabinet also approved a proposal requiring all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that issue licences and permits to register and comply with NIS contribution requirements by 2019/20.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Cabinet also gave approval that a committee be appointed in the (current) fiscal year to review each three-year actuarial report on the sustainability of the National Insurance Scheme. This is in keeping with announcements made in respect of the handling of the National Insurance Fund,&rdquo; Senator Reid added.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13308890/Ruel-Reid-2016_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:45 PM PSOJ Hall of Fame ceremony http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/butch-bread KINGSTON, Jamaica - The stage is set for the start of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) Hall of Fame induction ceremony this evening at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.<br /> <br /> Chief Executive Officer of Continental Baking Company, Gary 'Butch' Hendrickson is this year's inductee into the PSOJ Hall of Fame. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386391/IMG-20161026-WA0007_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:33 PM IDB president says digital finance can boost regional economies http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/IDB-president-says-digital-finance-can-boost-regional-economies ST JAMES, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, Luis Alberto Moreno, says digital finance has the potential to significantly boost the economies of countries throughout the region.<br /> <br /> Citing a report by the McKinsey Global Institute, he said the widespread adoption of digital finance could boost the gross domestic product (GDP) of all emerging economies by $3.7 trillion per year over the next decade.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;That&rsquo;s equivalent to adding the GDP of Germany to the global economy every year,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Moreno was addressing the 19th staging of the Forum for Markets Innovation and Capital (FOROMIC) at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James, on October 24.<br /> <br /> Digital finance enables individuals and companies to access payments, savings, and credit products through use of a smartphone or other communication technology device.<br /> <br /> Moreno noted that approximately two billion people and 200 million businesses, globally, lack access to formal credit and savings mechanisms.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Given the right tools and products, millions upon millions of unbanked people could finally gain access to formal financial services, unlocking all kinds of productivity gains,&rdquo; he pointed out.<br /> <br /> He pointed to the potential impact of expanding access to digital finance, noting that the vast majority of adults now have access to a mobile telephone with Internet service.<br /> <br /> Noting the growth potential of companies involved in digital finance, Moreno cited the example of Chinese-based Company Ant Financial Services, which in just over three years has grown to 450 million users, aiming at young consumers of modest means, becoming the most valuable fintech company in the world.<br /> <br /> He noted that the company handles millions of mobile and online payments per day. &ldquo;They now offer money market savings products, micro loans, micro insurance, and credit scoring services.&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> Moreno explained that digital finance has the best chance of taking root in countries with a robust digital infrastructure, a dynamic financial services market, and where people are open to new ways of banking. <br /> <br /> He said that there is room for growth in the sector, since fewer than half of the households in the region have bank accounts and only about 16 per cent of those families use them to accumulate savings.<br /> <br /> He, however, cautioned that there must be improvements in digital infrastructure and mobile broadband connection. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;About half of the region&rsquo;s population has access to a mobile broadband connection, but services are much slower and much more expensive than in other parts of the world and we have huge disparities. Some of our cities have Internet service as fast and reliable as Manhattan, while many of our rural areas are as poorly served as Madagascar,&rdquo; the IDB President said. <br /> <br /> Spearheaded and organised by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through its Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), FOROMIC 2016 is being staged from October 24 to 26 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre under the theme &lsquo;Creating Opportunities through Financial Inclusion&rsquo;. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386369/idb_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:33 PM High schools adequately funded &mdash; Senator Reid   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/High-schools-adequately-funded---Senator-Reid KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Ruel Reid, has assured that adequate funds have been disbursed to support the operations of high schools islandwide for the 2016/17 academic year.<br /> <br /> He was speaking during a post-cabinet media briefing at Jamaica House on Wednesday, where he provided an update on the government&rsquo;s tuition policy.<br /> <br /> Reid said two tranches of the $3.9 billion of budgeted tuition support, totalling more than $1 billion, were paid in June and September and advised that a third, scheduled for December, will be paid in the next couple of days.<br /> <br /> He said the funding has provided support for 761 academic and 153 non-academic staff members across the ministry&rsquo;s six educational regions.  He indicated that the overall budget for the remainder of the year was $502.5 million. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;So, the secondary system is well funded this year. Even where schools were (initially) concerned ... we made sure to give them additional funding for key staffing that they required and that also bolstered their overall funding availability,&rdquo; the Minister said.<br /> <br /> The government&rsquo;s overall funding support for the education sector has increased from $2.5 billion to $5.5 billion for the current academic year.<br /> <br /> This is consequent on the abolition of compulsory auxiliary fee payments in high schools. Parents are encouraged to make voluntary contributions to the institutions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We think it was a very successful campaign and we are going to be holding (school administrators) to account in terms of raising standards and performance,&rdquo; Reid said.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Reid advised that an announcement regarding a comprehensive programme of transformation for the early-childhood sector and the attendant funding support will be made at the start of the 2017/18 fiscal year, next April. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386360/reid2_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:22 PM Minister Vaz heads to Phillippines on fact-finding BPO visit http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Minister-Vaz-heads-to-Phillippines-on-fact-finding-BPO-visit KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz is leading a high-level delegation on a fact-finding visit to the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector in the Phillippines.  <br /> <br /> The other members of the Jamaican delegation include Fayval Williams, minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service;  Ambassador Aubyn Hill, investment ambassador to India; Paula Kerr-Jarrett,  representative of the Economic Growth Council; Maxine Wilson, chair of the HEART Trust /NTA; Gloria Henry, assistant Vice President Operations and Customer Relations, Port Authority of Jamaica and operations manager, Montego Bay Free Zone; and Shane Angus, manager, Knowledge Services, Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO).<br /> <br /> A news release from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation said during the visit, the Jamaican delegation will meet with their Philippine counterparts to examine how the information technology and BPO sectors have successfully driven job creation and economic growth, as well as the measures that were employed to attract and grow the outsourcing industry in that country. <br /> <br /> Among the issues to be discussed are the fiscal incentives framework; education and training support, as well as infrastructure development.<br /> <br /> While there, the ministry said the Jamaican delegation will also engage in site visits to Technology Parks and Special Economic Zones to understand best practices in infrastructure development to attract investors.  <br /> <br /> They are also expected to meet with prospective investors and key stakeholders to gain an understanding of how industry players in the Philippines are financed and supported, and will attend the Information Technology and Business Process Management Summit, which will be held on October 28, 2016.<br /> <br /> The Philippines is reportedly one of the top outsourcing countries around the globe, with over 700 IT and BPO firms as well as global in-house centres, located in that country. <br /> <br /> The IT/BPO industry, which emerged in 2000, has provided direct employment for more than 640,000 people and indirect employment for another 1.6 million individuals in the Philippines. The sector has also reportedly earned US$11 billion in revenue for the country. <br /> <br /> The Government of Jamaica has identified the BPO sector as one of the growth and job creation sectors. According to Minister Vaz, &ldquo;the timing is perfect to take advantage of the Philippines model of attracting BPO investments to our shores&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> He noted that &ldquo;ten thousand jobs over the next 12 months is doable&rdquo;, adding that given its several advantages including language and location, Jamaica has vast potential to attract investments in the IT/BPO sector. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/12660507/Daryl-Vaz-3--1-_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:12 PM Primary schools to be equipped with ICT http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Primary-schools-to-be-equipped-with-ICT KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Education, Youth and Information Minister Ruel Reid says a programme is to be announced shortly to facilitate the establishment of an information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure in primary institutions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;This will result in the ministry providing laptops, projectors and WIFI capabilities to facilitate effective teaching and learning.  We are going to provide resources to make sure that every school ... has those capabilities,&rdquo; he said. <br /> <br /> Senator Reid was addressing a Mathematics and Literacy Education Forum for board chairpersons and principals of schools in regions five and six, at the Kendal Conference Centre in Mandeville on October 26. <br /> <br /> He said the ministry will be making greater use of technology in the teaching and learning processes, as well as to keep track of students, improve school management, among other things. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We have to leverage technology to drive greater productivity and achievement of our students in the system,&rdquo; he said.<br /> <br /> The minister, in the meantime, is encouraging teachers at the primary- and secondary-school levels to embrace the new National Standards Curriculum (NSC). <br /> <br /> He noted that the recently completed training of teachers and principals in the NSC will result in improved outcomes for the country&rsquo;s children due to the inclusivity of the curriculum. <br /> <br /> He said that with the new curriculum, all children, regardless of their needs, will be given an opportunity to do well. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;The ministry is confident that the National Standards Curriculum will be effective in preparing Jamaica&rsquo;s children for life in the 21st century and beyond,&rdquo; the minister said. <br /> <br /> The NSC, for the grades one to nine levels, seeks to improve the general academic performance, attitude and behaviour of students, which will redound to the positive shaping of the national social and economic fabric.<br /> <br /> Emphasis will be placed on project-based and problem-solving learning, with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics/Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEM/STEAM) integrated at all levels.<br /> <br /> The approaches will allow the learners to have hands-on experiences that are similar to real-world situations, making the learning experience less abstract and more concrete.<br /> <br /> Other matters discussed at the function included budgetary provisions for repairs and refurbishment of school furniture; three years for the removal of schools from the shift system; the proposed increase in primary-school general grants to $2,500 per student; and elimination of pit latrines by the end of 2016. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386347/Restorative-Justice-1_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 7:00 PM Manning Cup Football: Charlie Smith, Bridgeport draw 1-1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Manning-Cup-Football--Charlie-Smith--Bridgeport-draw-1-1 KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The playfield remained level in Group J after <br /> <br /> Kingston College and Charlie Smith High were both held to a draw in<br /> <br />  their respective Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association<br /> <br /> (ISSA)/FLOW Manning Cup second-round encounters at Constant Spring Field today.<br /> <br /> Kingston College came from behind to earn a 1-1 scoreline with a resilient St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS), while Charlie Smith surrendered the lead and were held 1-1 by Bridgeport in the feature game of the double-header.<br /> <br /> In the feature game, Kemar James netted for Charlie Smith in the 18th <br /> <br /> minute, but an added time penalty by Captain Kyle Ming (90+1) salvaged <br /> <br /> a point for Bridgeport.<br /> <br /> Earlier, Trimane Shaw gave STATHS a 67th-minute lead and it took an 82nd-minute strike from Omar Thompson to ensure Kingston College a share of the spoils.<br /> <br /> Thursday's schedule<br /> <br /> Group K<br /> <br /> 1:00 pm Haile Selassie vs St George's College @ Prison Oval<br /> <br /> 3:00 pm Wolmer's Boys vs St Catherine @ Prison Oval<br /> <br /> Sherdon Cowan<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386303/football--6-_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 6:51 PM 20 inmates, 2 officers injured in US jail fights   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/20-inmates--2-officers-injured-in-US-jail-fights CHICAGO, United States (AP) &mdash; About 20 inmates and two correctional officers were injured in a series of fights at a jail in Chicago.<br /> <br /> The Chicago Tribune reports two officers and eight inmates at the Cook County Jail were sent to hospitals after the Tuesday night fights. At least a dozen more prisoners were treated for less serious injuries.<br /> <br /> Cook County Sheriff's Office Chief Policy Officer Cara Smith says five of the eight inmates were treated and released. They suffered beating or stabbing injuries. Smith says one of the officers was treated and released and the second officer was treated for a head injury.<br /> <br /> Smith says the fights broke out in three different living units within the jail's Division 9.<br /> <br /> Smith said criminal charges are possible as authorities' investigation continues. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13385786/Jail_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 6:30 PM Food-safety specialist says border security critical to health http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Food-safety-specialist-says-border-security-critical-to-health KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) &mdash; Food-Safety Specialist in the Environmental Health Unit at the Ministry of Health, Collin Cooper, says border security is a critical component of the nation&rsquo;s health system. <br /> <br /> Speaking at the recently held Border Security Seminar, hosted by the National Security Policy Coordination Unit (NSPCU) in the Cabinet Office, Cooper said that unprotected borders are open doors for illegal foods and immigrants to gain access to the country.<br /> <br />  &ldquo;This can be potentially dangerous because these illegal foods and immigrants can be conveyors and sources of communicable diseases or disease conditions,&rdquo; he explained.<br /> <br /> Cooper pointed out that certain foods, plants, animals and related products are restricted from entering the country because they can introduce foreign bodies or bacteria.<br /> <br /> He said that the health department has put surveillance systems in place to monitor what is taken into the island.<br /> <br /> Cooper noted that the law also requires persons entering Jamaica to declare foods, plants, animals and related products at the ports of entry.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our regulated ports are doing very well; however, the unregulated ports can become the conduits. If we know of people smuggling uninspected food into the country to avoid taxes or the law, we must alert the port authorities and the local health department,&rdquo; he urged. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386283/border_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 6:22 PM Weather Update: Continued showers expected into Saturday http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Weather-Update--Continued-showers-expected-into-Saturday KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The Meteorological (Met) Service says a broad trough across Jamaica is expected to continue influencing weather conditions across the island this evening through to Saturday. Additionally, a tropical wave is expected to move across Jamaica on Friday evening and the Met Service says it is likely to enhance shower and thunderstorm activity over the island.<br /> <br /> Satellite imagery and radar observations indicate that moderate showers and isolated heavy showers and thunderstorms have been affecting northern and southeastern parishes today, the Met Service says.<br /> <br /> The forecast, according to the Met Service, is for periods of showers and thunderstorms, which could be heavy at times, to continue affecting northern and southeastern parishes tonight and tomorrow morning, spreading across most parishes by Saturday. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386263/rain-pic_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 6:06 PM Gas prices up $0.31, diesel up $0.37 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Gas-prices-up--0-31--diesel-up--0-37 KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Motorists should see an increase at the pumps in the prices of gasoline and diesel, effective Thursday, October 27, according to the latest ex-refinery costs from Petrojam.<br /> <br /> 87- and 90-octane gasoline will be sold for $109.75 and $111.41 per litre, respectively, up by $0.31 each.<br /> <br /> Automotive diesel fuel will be sold for $102.85 per litre following an increase of $0.37, while ultra-low sulphur diesel is up by $0.10, and will be sold for $111.85 per litre.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, kerosene increased in price by $0.50 and will be sold for $91.28 per litre.<br /> <br /> Propane liquid petroleum will be sold for $37.11 per litre, up by $0.22 and butane liquid petroleum will be sold for $45.37 per litre after an increase of $0.96.<br /> <br /> Marketing companies and retailers will add their respective mark-up to these prices. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386276/gas-pump_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 5:55 PM Venezuela braces for anti-government protests amid crisis http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Venezuela-braces-for-anti-government-protests-amid-crisis CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) &mdash; Venezuela's standoff deepened after congress voted to open a political trial against President Nicolas Maduro for breaking the constitutional order and opposition leaders called for mass protests on Wednesday to drive the unpopular socialist leader from office.<br /> <br /> Tuesday's vote by the opposition-led legislature is unlikely to have any legal effect as Maduro still controls other branches of government, including the military and Supreme Court, which has already declared the National Assembly illegitimate. But it raised tensions even further following last week's suspension of an opposition push to hold a referendum to try to recall Maduro.<br /> <br /> Opposition legislators argued that Venezuela's leader has effectively abandoned the presidency by neglecting his job and several lawmakers questioned whether he was a dual Colombian national and therefore ineligible to hold Venezuela's highest office. It's an old, unproven claim widely seen as a stretch but one that analysts say is a reaction to the government's own trampling of the constitution in scrapping the recall that offered the best hope of peacefully resolving Venezuela's political and economic crisis.<br /> <br /> "If Maduro has dual nationality, he has no constitutional right to govern Venezuela," said Juan Miguel Matheus, an opposition lawmaker.<br /> <br /> Unlike other countries in Latin America such as Brazil, where Dilma Rousseff was removed from the presidency in August, Venezuela's National Assembly can't impeach the president. That decision lies squarely with the Supreme Court, which has never voted against Maduro.<br /> <br /> Maduro, speaking at a rally Tuesday, accused opposition lawmakers of behaving like members of a "circus" and trying to carry out a "parliamentary coup".<br /> <br /> "The National Assembly has been transformed into a bastion of evil and bitterness, it is useless to the interests of our country and our people," he told thousands of mostly state workers outside the presidential palace upon arriving from a six-day tour of the Middle East and Europe. "It has a single goal: to damage Venezuela."<br /> <br /> Maduro's opponents are gearing up for a mass demonstration Wednesday that's been billed the "Taking of Venezuela".<br /> <br /> In western Venezuela, students clashed with security forces for a second day on Tuesday. In the Andean town of Merida, police used tear gas to squash a small group of protesters that had blocked a major road, injuring eight people, according to reports on social media.<br /> <br /> Even as tempers flare, the government and opposition have agreed to embark on an attempt at dialogue to defuse the crisis.<br /> <br /> The talks, being sponsored by the Vatican and other South American governments, are set to begin October 30 in the Caribbean island of Margarita. Maduro, who met with Pope Francis privately at the Vatican on Monday, said he will travel to Margarita to personally launch the talks.<br /> <br /> But having gone down this road before during previous crisis, the opposition has scant hope for a breakthrough. Although Venezuelans overwhelmingly blame Maduro for food lines and triple-digit inflation, the ruling party is in firm control of institutions like the military and has shown no interest in yielding to the opposition.<br /> <br /> Defence minister Gen Vladimir Padrino, who many had been looking to as a potential brake on Maduro, spoke to the nation Tuesday dressed in camouflaged fatigues and surrounded by the top military command urging dialogue but calling on the opposition to respect the constitution.<br /> <br /> That earned an angry rebuke from National Assembly President Henry Ramos, who during the special session accused the US-trained military man of abandoning his constitutional duty to uphold Venezuela's democracy.<br /> <br /> "How can he talk of respecting the constitution if he has become the foremost pimp of this regime's violation of the constitution," Ramos said, challenging security forces to arrest him when he attempts next week to travel to Washington to denounce Maduro's latest power grab. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386082/maduro_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 5:47 PM Forex: J$129.06 to one US dollar http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Forex--J-129-06-to-one-US-dollar KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The US dollar on Wednesday, October 26, ended trading at J$129.06, down by 15 cents, according to the Bank of Jamaica&rsquo;s daily foreign exchange trading summary.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar ended trading at J$99.88, up from J$99.14, while the British pound sterling ended trading at J$157.34, up from J$156.86. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/9847300/Forex_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 5:37 PM Jamaica Food and Drink Festival starts today http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Jamaica-Food-and-Drink-Festival-starts-today KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The long-awaited Jamaica Food and Drink Festival kicks off today with Pork Palooza at the Hope Botanical Gardens in Kingston.<br /> <br /> From 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, patrons will be able to experience a premiere pork event that celebrates all things &ldquo;swine&rdquo; &mdash; savour the likes of crispy pork belly, ribs smothered in a secret sauce, chops grilled to perfection topped off with the perfect sides and desserts with a twist. Also, Jamaica&rsquo;s finest pork masters will vie for the acclaimed title of &ldquo;Top Hog&rdquo;.<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Food and Drink Festival, which will run from October 26-30, will boast more than 40 celebrated chefs and culinary personalities representing the gamut of the Jamaican gastronomic experience. <br /> <br /> Showcasing seven scrumptious gourmet events at seven venues in Kingston, if you miss today&rsquo;s event there will be others to choose from<br /> <br /> The events include:<br /> <br /> &bull; The &lsquo;Crisp Fried Fare and Beer&rsquo; at the Gardens at the Pegasus on October 27;<br /> <br /> &bull; Vintage: Celebrating Mondavi 50, also on October 27 at a private Kingston 6 address;<br /> <br /> &bull; Stix and Stones at The Ruins at Mona Visitors&rsquo; Lodge on October 28;<br /> <br /> &bull; Meet Street Food Truck Festival on October 28 and 29 at Barbican Beach, East Kings House Road; and <br /> <br /> &bull; Picante on October 29 at Kingston Polo Club, Caymanas Estates; and<br /> <br /> &bull;Brunch at the Gallery on October 30 at the National Gallery of Jamaica.<br /> <br />   http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386184/food-fest_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 5:12 PM United beat City 1-0 in derby match in English League Cup http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/United-beat-City-1-0-in-derby-match-in-English-League-Cup MANCHESTER, England (AP) &mdash; Jose Mourinho got his own back on great managerial rival Pep Guardiola as Manchester United beat a weakened Manchester City 1-0 in the fourth round of the English League Cup on Wednesday, with Juan Mata scoring a second-half winner.<br /> <br /> Six weeks after City's 2-1 win at Old Trafford in the Premier League, United got a measure of revenge as Mourinho's decision to play a virtually full-strength team paid off.<br /> <br /> Mata fired home from 10 metres in the 54th minute following a lay-off by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, ensuring City is now winless in six games under Guardiola &mdash; the worst run of the Spaniard's distinguished coaching career. Guardiola rested most of his key players, starting two 19-year-olds among his fringe players, and City faded after a decent start.<br /> <br /> It was Mourinho's fourth win in 18 meetings with Guardiola and an important victory psychologically for United, coming three days after a 4-0 loss to Chelsea in the Premier League &mdash; Mourinho's heaviest loss in English soccer.<br /> <br /> The titleholders are out &mdash; although Guardiola said the League Cup was the least of his priorities this season and that was reflected in his starting lineup. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13386121/Man-U-Mata-celebrates_AP_w300.jpg Local Sports Wednesday, October 26, 2016 4:44 PM Guyana removed from FTAT compliance category http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Guyana-removed-from-FTAT-compliance-category GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) &mdash; The Guyana Government Wednesday described as a &ldquo;collective victory&rdquo; the decision by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove the country from the organisation&rsquo;s compliance document.<br /> <br /> But attorney general Basil Williams warned that Georgetown would have to ensure it secures convictions in the area of money laundering, terrorist financing, and theft of State assets if its exit from the FATF process is to be sustained.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;The test is whether we would have shown sufficient progress on effective, meaning having more convictions for offences of money laundering, terrorist financing and the purloining of State assets,&rdquo; Williams said, adding that Guyana cannot be complacent as it awaits the fourth round of mutual evaluation.<br /> <br /> He said Guyana&rsquo;s exit means easier business transactions for local businesses and businesspersons with the reduction of the threat posed to international financial institutions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We now have to show diligence in going after money launderers,&rdquo; Williams said, while indicating that there have not been any convictions since the Act came into force in 2000 to the change in government in 2015.<br /> <br /> He said while several people were investigated and charged over the last year, the State has not secured any convictions as yet and the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Special Organised Crime Unit are conducting those investigations.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We can&rsquo;t rest on our laurels,&rdquo; he added.<br /> <br /> In the FATF conference in Paris on October 18th, Spain moved the motion to recommend that Guyana is removed from the compliance document.<br /> <br /> Spain&rsquo;s motion was then supported by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, France, and Mexico.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;It was because of such solid support that Guyana&rsquo;s exit from the process was unanimously adopted by the FATF Plenary meeting two days later,&rdquo; Williams added. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13385560/Basil-Williamsss-Guyana.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 4:13 PM Quake rattles central Italy, Rome http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Quake-rattles-central-Italy--Rome ROME, Italy (AP) &mdash; An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 rattled a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome, on Wednesday, just two months after a powerful temblor toppled villages, killing nearly 300 people.<br /> <br /> There were no immediate reports of damage.<br /> <br /> Italy's National Vulcanology Center said the epicentre was near Macerata, near Perugia. The US Geological Survey said it had a depth of some 10 kilometres, which is relatively shallow.<br /> <br /> The quake was felt across a broad swath of central and southern Italy, shaking centuries-old palazzi in Rome's historic centre.<br /> <br /> The August 24 quake destroyed hilltop village of Amatrice and other nearby towns.<br /> <br /> Wednesday's quake was felt from Perugia in Umbria to the capital Rome to the central Italy town of Aquila, which was struck by a deadly quake in 2009. The mayor of Aquila, however, said there was no immediate report of damage. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13385797/earthquake_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 3:51 PM Doctor found dead at St Andrew home http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Doctor-found-dead-at-St-Andrew-home KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; The team doctor for Young Reggae Boyz, Martin Garwood, was today found dead at his home in Barbican, St Andrew.<br /> <br /> The doctor, who also worked at Kingston Public Hospital, was found with multiple stab wounds.<br /> <br /> The Jamaica Constabulary Force&rsquo;s Corporate Communications Unit has confirmed the incident but was unable to provide details.<br /> <br /> More information later.<br /> <br /> http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13385706/stabbing.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 3:27 PM Advocacy group calls for summit to produce child safety action plan http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Advocacy-group-calls-for-summit-to-produce-child-safety-action-plan KINGSTON, Jamaica &mdash; Hear The Children&rsquo;s Cry (HTCC), Jamaica&rsquo;s leading NGO child advocate organisation, is calling on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to convene a Child Emergency Summit to produce a set of action steps, and a life-saving national action plan for child safety.<br /> <br /> The group is calling for the summit in order to bring together critical stakeholders in the child welfare sector, address the horrific increase in child murders, produce a recommended life-saving national action plan for child safety, and ensuring that they are doable and implementable immediately.<br /> <br /> Child advocate Betty Ann Blaine, founder of Hear The Children&rsquo;s Cry, made the request to the prime minister in a letter delivered to Jamaica House, and noted that her organisation, among many others, is deeply disturbed at the horrific increase in child murders in Jamaica today.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;We are extremely alarmed at the newest and most frightening aspect of this national crisis &mdash;the actual targeting and execution of children, including toddlers and babies,&rdquo; Blaine said. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;We at Hear The Children&rsquo;s Cry know that our alarm and concern about child safety is shared by many others working for the welfare of our children,&rdquo; Blaine added. &ldquo;We have therefore recommended to the prime minister that a proposed &lsquo;Life Saving Child Emergency Summit&rsquo; include representatives of the private sector, government agencies, non-government organisations, the church and others operating children&rsquo;s service agencies, community leaders and parent groups.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Our precious children cannot be left to become victims of the criminal forces now exerting power in our communities, and they certainly cannot be allowed to become actual pawns in their diabolical activities. We must act together now to protect and safeguard them in a real and effective way,&rdquo; Blaine asserted. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/assets/13385601/Betty-Ann-Blaine-1_w300.jpg Local News Wednesday, October 26, 2016 3:05 PM