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 Obama: US re-establishing relations with Cuba http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Obama--US-re-establishing-relations-with-Cuba WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations as well as an easing in economic and travel restrictions on Cuba Wednesday, declaring an end to America's "outdated approach" to the communist island in a historic shift that aims to bring an end to a half-century of Cold War enmity. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 12:39:45 GMT G2K demands sanctions for vote-buying http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/G2K-demands-sanctions-for-vote-buying_18109663 GENERATION 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), wants sanctions for people involved in vote-buying. General News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT 'I am well aware of the IMF constraints' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-I-am-well-aware-of-the-IMF-constraints-_18109562 SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — He insists that he is not discounting the necessity of passing performance tests set by multilateral lender of last resort, the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Lambert Brown labels protesting civil society groups irresponsible http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/BAN-THEM-_18114386 GOVERNMENT Senator Lambert Brown says that the civil society bodies that have suspended their participation in the Administration's Partnership For Jamaica (PFJ) initiative are irresponsible and should be barred from sitting on public bodies, like the Integrity Commission. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT Crime down but no letting up, says Bunting http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Crime-down-but-no-letting-up--says-Bunting-_18114279 SECURITY Minister Peter Bunting says there will be no letting up in the fight against crime despite the country seeing reductions in all categories of violent crimes. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT OCR says more partners needed to protect nation's children http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/OCR-says-more-partners-needed-to-protect-nation-s-children_18112954 REGISTRAR at the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR), Greig Smith, is appealing for increased partnerships for the care and protection of the nation's children. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Time to make some 'dough' http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Time-to-make-some--dough-_18112845 A man peddles donuts on Maxfield Avenue, near the Hagley Park road intersection, in St Andrew on Monday. (PHOTO: KARL MCLARTY) Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 01:00:00 GMT PHOTO: A clean sweep? http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/A-clean-sweep-_18114306 A clean sweep? Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Cops accused of robbing businessman http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cops-accused-of-robbing-businessman_18109580 Charged with simple larceny are Corporal Boviah Bennett, a resident of Sigarny Drive, Kingston 2, and Constable Cornelius Bernard of March Pen Road in Spanish Town, St Catherine. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Dognapped! http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Dognapped-_18114353 NEW HAMPSHIRE, USA (AP) Police in New Hampshire say they have collared the humans responsible for snatching 13 puppies from a New Hampshire pet store in a smash-and-grab dognapping. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 03:00:00 GMT Cubans celebrate renewed relations with US http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cubans-celebrate-renewed-relations-with-US HAVANA (AFP) — Cubans erupted into celebration Wednesday at news of a historic renewal in relations with the United States, voicing hope the breakthrough would change their lives amid economic decay. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:44:58 GMT BGLC reports 60% increase in illegal gaming prosecutions http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/BGLC-reports-60--increase-in-illegal-gaming-prosecutions Chairman of the BGLC, Gary Peart, made the disclosure as he gave an update on the progress of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the entities early October, at the recent opening of the new Hagley Park Road offices of the BGLC and the Jamaica Racing Commission (JRC). Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:56:10 GMT Forex: J$114.48 to one US dollar http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Forex--J-114-48-to-one-US-dollar KINGSTON, Jamaica — The US dollar on Wednesday, December 17 ended trading at J$114.48, up seven cents, according to the Bank of Jamaica’s daily foreign exchange trading summary. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:36:14 GMT Businessman freed on gun-related charges http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Businessman-freed-on-gun-related-charges KINGSTON, Jamaica — Former National Works Agency (NWA) Director of Regional Special Projects, George Knight, and his co-accused Clava Mantock Jr, were today (Wednesday, December 17) freed of gun-related charges in the Gun Court, downtown Kingston. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:19:28 GMT US policy change on Cuba a quantum leap, says PNP http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/US-policy-change-on-Cuba-a-quantum-leap--says-PNP KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People’s National Party (PNP) says that it has “positively received” US president Barack Obama’s announcement of changes in policy regarding Cuba. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:50:51 GMT Opposition welcomes shift in US foreign policy on Cuba http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Opposition-Welcomes-shift-in-US-foreign-policy-on-Cuba KINGSTON, Jamaica — Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ed Bartlett, this afternoon welcomed announcement of a resumption in diplomatic relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:33:44 GMT Gas prices down $3.13, diesel down $3.29 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Gas-prices-down--3-13--diesel-down--3-29 KINGSTON, Jamaica — Motorists should see a decrease at the pumps in prices of diesel and gasoline effective Thursday, December 18 with a reduction in ex-refinery costs from Petrojam. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:18:20 GMT St Vincent gas prices lowest since 2011 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/St-Vincent-gas-prices-lowest-since-2011 KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) – The state-owned St Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC) has announced a drop in its fuel surcharge for this month, resulting in consumers paying the lowest fuel surcharge on their electricity bills since 2011. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:11:44 GMT Pope Francis’ birthday celebrated with mass tango in Vatican City http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Pope-Francis--birthday-celebrated-with-mass-tango-in-Vatican-City ROME, Italy (AFP) – Hundreds of couples performed a tango on St Peter's square on Wednesday in a birthday treat for Pope Francis, a proud Argentinian who was reportedly a mean dancer himself in his youth. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:52:15 GMT Injured suspect escapes police custody http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Injured-suspect-escapes-police-custody KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Manchester Police have launched a manhunt for 26-year-old Geovanie Miller, otherwise called ‘Bloodie’, of George Reid district in the perish, who escaped police custody at the Mandeville Regional Hospital on Tuesday, December 16. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:43:38 GMT Released from Cuba, Alan Gross says freedom is not free http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Released-from-Cuba--Alan-Gross-says-freedom-is-not-free WASHINGTON (AP) — Alan Gross emerged Wednesday from five years of captivity in Cuba praising the Cuban people and offering a lesson he said he learned: Freedom is not free. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:16:17 GMT St Vincent records first conviction using video evidence http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/St-Vincent-records-first-conviction-using-video-evidence KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) – A 40-year-old man was found guilty of attempted murder as St Vincent and the Grenadines recorded a conviction in its first ever jury trial in a case that involved the use of video evidence. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:03:13 GMT Firearms seized in St Andrew http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Firearms-seized-in-St-Andrew KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Lawrence Tavern Police have reported the seizure of two Bryco 9mm pistols along with five rounds of ammunition in Florence Hill, St Andrew on Wednesday, December 17. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:33:23 GMT AB, Amla tons push SAfrica to 340-3 vs WI on day 1 http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/AB--Amla-tons-push-SAfrica-to-340-3-vs-WI-on-day-1 CENTURION, South Africa (AP) — AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla plundered centuries for South Africa as the West Indies made poor use of favorable bowling conditions on day one of the first cricket test at Centurion on Wednesday. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:25:39 GMT Roads in St Catherine communities blocked http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Roads-in-St-Catherine-communities-blocked KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Riversdale police are advising that the John Crow Spring main road, which borders St Mary and St Catherine, is now impassable due to landslides as a result of heavy rains. Local News Wed, 17 Dec 2014 14:08:36 GMT