September 25, 2020

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iNews-briefs217Cayman Islands: 31-year-old robbed of his personal belongs and vehicle


A 31-year-old male of the Savannah area reported to police that on Saturday, 20th September 2014 about 1.00 am he returned to his vehicle (unaccompanied), which had been parked in the Euro Car parking lot, Shedden Road. When he was opening the car door, one of two men who he saw in the car park came up behind him and told him to get in if he does not want to get hurt. He complied, and the suspect got into the front passenger seat. The suspect ordered the complainant to drive, and they ended up in the vicinity of Cayman Academy, Walkers Road, where the suspect ordered him out of the vehicle. The suspect then robbed him of his wrist watch, wallet and two cell phones. The suspect left the complainant at the scene and drove away in his vehicle in the direction of Boilers Road. The vehicle contained two laptop computers, other electronic items, four passports, two of the passports (Caymanian & British) belong to the complainant and the other two for his wife and son, respectively.

The suspect spoke with a strong Jamaican accent. He was dressed in a black short-sleeved “T”- shirt and jeans pants, and his hair was short dread-locks style. He had a firearm in his waistband during the robbery. No shots were fired, and no one was physically injured.

Later that same day (Saturday 20th), the vehicle was recovered on School Road, George Town by police, with its keys in the ignition. All of the above properties were missing from the vehicle.

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident, or who may have information that could assist the police with their investigation, is asked to contact DC Taylor at 949-4222, or the RCIPS tip-line 949-7777, or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS).


[Texas] campaign manager charged with trading cocaine for votes

By Colin Campbell From Business Insider

A campaign manager who worked on local Texas races was arrested on Thursday for allegedly trading money and cocaine for votes in the 2012 election.

According to federal authorities, the indictment against Francisco “Frankie” Garcia was unsealed Friday and accused him of four crimes associated with four races for the school board in Donna, Texas: “conspiring to buy votes, paying for votes, and aiding and abetting others to buy votes.”

In those races, the U.S. Justice Department said Garcia allegedly “bought votes and worked with other campaign workers to pay voters and to offer to pay voters in this election to vote for particular candidates. The indictment alleges that Garcia paid voters by giving the voters either cocaine or cash in exchange for their votes.”

Three campaign workers have already pleaded guilty on vote-buying charges related to that 2012 election, authorities said.

Garcia could not be reached for comment on the accusations.

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iNews briefs Rest monthRestaurant Month Cayman Islands 2014

Enjoy dining at some of Cayman’s best restaurants at value-for-money fixed prices during Cayman’s Restaurant Month 2014 from 1-31 October.

Organised by CITA and proudly sponsored by Good Taste, participating restaurants have created delicious 2 and 3-course menus starting at just CI$15 for lunch and CI$29 for dinner.

It only happens once a year, so make the most of Restaurant Month Cayman 2014 and sample Cayman’s finest cuisine for a low, fixed price at one of the participating restaurants.

Restaurant Month 2014

Date: 1 – 31 October

Lunch $15 or $20

Dinner $29 or $39

Contact: Website or 949-8522


Fingertip sensor lets robots ‘see’ what they’re touching

By Philip Palermo From engadget

We’ve seen robotics improve by (literal) leaps and bounds recently, but what about more nuanced things, like a fine sense of touch? Researchers at MIT and Northeastern University are showing off a new fingertip version of the GelSight sensor, a cube-shaped attachment that uses a camera and a sensitive rubber film to 3D map the objects they’re grabbing. That new level of precision, the team says, could lead to more independent robots that are better able to manipulate their environment.

In the team’s demo (shown in the video at the link below), a Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics uses its standard sensors to grab a dangling USB cord. At that point, the GelSight sensor attached to the robot’s two-pronged hand susses out the finer details, specifically the raised USB logo embossed on one side of the plug. The sensor’s cube-shaped housing features a thin rubber film covering one side. That layer conforms to whatever is being pressed against it, while multicolor LEDs bounce light off the resulting bumps and ridges. A camera then uses that data to build a 3D depth map of the object. Using what it knows about USB connector design, the system can then position the plug accurately enough to place it in an adapter plugged into a power strip below.

While the sensor isn’t quite as accurate as earlier, larger iterations of the GelSight tech, the team says the fingertip-mounted version still demonstrates about 100 times more sensitivity than a human finger.

For more and video:


Cayman Islands seed bank project

The Cayman Islands Department of Environment has been partnering with international organisations to safeguard endemic plant species by collecting and storing seeds as part of a seed bank project.

Already over 10,000 wild seeds have been collected this year.

Cayman first became involved in what is an international project, funded by the Darwin initiative grant, in 2010 and renewed its partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, UK, last year for another three years. The Millennium Seed Bank Project aims to collect seed samples from the world’s plants and trees to store them safely and now has 10% of the world’s plant species saved.


Watch out: eBay vulnerability leads to phishing log-in page

By Sean Buckley From engadget

Thinking about picking up a used iPhone on eBay? Shop carefully, friends: it’s apparently phishing season. The BBC is reporting some auction listings are redirecting to counterfeit eBay login pages — fronts for phishing scams designed to steal customer usernames and credit card information. The good news is that eBay isn’t technically hacked. The online marketplace allows sellers to use scripting to gussy up item listings. Cross-site scripting is generally not allowed, but these scammers are doing it anyway.

“Cross site scripting is not allowed on eBay and we have a range of security features designed to detect and then remove listings containing malicious code,” eBay told Engadget. Even so, the BBC says it was able to identify 64 malicious listings from the last 15 days. All those auctions have been removed, of course, and eBay says it is actively seeking out and removing these kinds of listings. Still, better safe than sorry: if eBay is asking you to log in at an erroneous time, double check your address bar to make sure you haven’t been mysteriously redirected.

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Cayman Islands Tourism Speak Off Competition

What:  2014 Tourism Speak Off

When:             Wednesday, 24th September 2014 – 12-2pm

Where:           Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman (Grand Cayman Ballroom)

Background:  The Tourism Speak Off Competition has been a part of the Department of Tourism’s local tourism awareness programme since 2003. The objectives of the Tourism Speak-Off Competition are to help develop students’ in-depth knowledge of tourism and the issues which impact the business locally, regionally, and internationally; giving them valuable experiences through their interaction with each other. In addition students will develop useful communication, reasoning, and public speaking skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

he event culminates in the announcement of the winner of the event, who will be the 2014 Tourism Ambassador.


Historic cricket deal

By Azad Ali From Caribbean Life

Four West Indies cricketers have signed a historic deal that will make them co-owners and stakeholders in the new Canadian Premier League Twenty20.

One-day International captain Dwayne Bravo, Test skipper Denesh Ramdin, opening batsman Kieron Powell and former captain and veteran middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul have reportedly signed on to the venture by becoming owner/stakeholder for the forthcoming North American League.

According to a media release from the Canadian Premier League Twenty20, the deal comes ahead of the countdown to the inaugural tournament, with officials recently announcing that the tournament will begin on Aug. 1, 2015.

Roy Singh, chief executive officer and chairman of the Canadian Premier League Twenty20, is expected to announce some details soon as to where the tournament will begin its inaugural season. The 10-league tournament will comprise professional cricketers from around.

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Shave your head and become a Hero for Hannah raised $200,000 in Cayman Islands

Hundreds of people turned up for the Cayman Islands second Heroes for Hannah shave event.

80 persons had their heads shaved on The Wicket in Cricket Square, George Town, Grand Cayman last Friday (19), raising over $208,000 for child cancer research.

The fundraiser was also to support Hannah Meeson, age 7 who has been battling medulloblastoma, a rare type of brain cancer, since she was just 4-years-old.

Teams also took part in the shave. Walkers raised $28,000, followed by Dart’s team who raised $23,900. There was also support from the USA. “Team Lilli”, in Houston Tx. had their heads shaved and raised $19,136.

The event also honoured other local children, including 1-year-old Skylar “Mimi” Ebanks, who has been diagnosed with anaplastic ependymoma, a type of malignant tumor mostly found in young patients; Charli Foster, 7, who is now cancer free; 3-year-old Beau Shields who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer when he was 5 months old; Annabelle Reading, 2, who has leukemia; and 7-year-old Tayden Grant who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 3.

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society currently assists eight families with children who suffer from cancer.

The campaign’s aim is to raise $250,000 by this Christmas.

Funds will be donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a childhood cancer research charity in the United States, which works to find cures for childhood cancers.

To support childhood cancer research through online donations, visit


Caribbean not done lobbying against Britain’s air departure tax

By Gay Nagle Myers From Travel Weekly

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas — Although the Air Passenger Duty (APD), the U.K.’s air departure tax, on travel to the Caribbean will be the same amount as the tax on travel to the U.S, effective April 1, “the fight to lower that tax or at least to keep it from increasing is not over,” said Hugh Riley, secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

CTO and other organizations had long lobbied the U.K. government to either abolish the high tax or place the Caribbean in the same category as the U.S. Currently, economy-class travelers from the U.K. to the Caribbean pay 83 British pounds (about $135), and travelers going from the U.K. to the U.S. pay 67 pounds (about $110). On April 1, the tax on U.S. travel rises to $69 pounds.

Riley said that CTO is pleased that the playing field has been leveled between the Caribbean and the U.S., but that it is still “very expensive for family and diaspora travel to the Caribbean.”

“There are efforts continuing to grow the coalition of voices to be raised in opposition to the APD,” he said.

For more:


Commonwealth Heads of Government, Foreign Ministers to meet in New York

(The Commonwealth) The 13th annual meeting of Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers will take place in New York this week alongside the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

On Thursday, 25 September, Ministers will be briefed on priority development concerns of small states, the Commonwealth’s interaction with the G20 group of countries and the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

At their meeting, Foreign Ministers will also examine progress made in implementing the mandates agreed by Commonwealth leaders in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2013 and will be briefed on the Commonwealth’s progress in realising its fundamental political values, as set out in the Commonwealth Charter of 2012. In this regard, they will have the opportunity to be briefed about the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Good Offices work, Commonwealth election support, and human rights initiatives.

Later, on Thursday, Commonwealth Heads of Government will meet to agree a Commonwealth statement on the post-2015 development agenda. The 69th United Nations General Assembly will dedicate itself to reaching consensus on the delivery and implementation of a Post-2015 framework.

On Friday, 26 September, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) will meet for the second time this year. The group, which is comprised of nine Foreign Ministers, is tasked with assessing serious or persistent violations of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values. Fiji, which is currently suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth, will be on the agenda. Under Matters of Interest, the Secretary-General will also brief the Group on issues of concern in member countries under CMAG’s strengthened mandate to protect and promote the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values.


Blasts in China’s Xinjiang kill two, injure ‘many’: govt

From Business Insider

Beijing (AFP) – Two people were killed and “many” wounded by multiple explosions in China’s Xinjiang, the local government said Monday.

The blasts struck at least three locations including a shopping area in Luntai County in the region’s south on Sunday, the Xinjiang government’s Tianshan web portal said. The cause of the explosions was not immediately known, but the ethnically-divided region has been hit by several deadly attacks and clashes over the past year.

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Former Mexico tourism secretary offers guidance to Caribbean

By Gay Nagle Myers From Travel Weekly

Gloria Guevara 2014CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas — Gloria Guevara, Mexico’s secretary of tourism from 2010 to 2012, outlined steps that were taken to help reposition her country’s tourism product during a time of crisis.

Guevara addressed an audience at the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s State of the Industry Conference.

“In 2009, Mexico found itself in the middle of a perfect storm with the global financial crisis, the H1N1 flu epidemic and the issues of security and crime. It was the worst year ever in terms of tourism numbers and revenues,” she said.

When Guevara was appointed to the cabinet post, her team assembled a list of the country’s tourism assets, including 38 Unesco sites, gastronomy, 83 Magical Towns, 40,000 archaeological sites, 50 golf courses, 640,000 hotel rooms and 70 convention centers.

A strategic plan evolved. Mexico’s president at the time, Felipe Calderon, designated 2011 as the Year of Tourism, and an unprecedented alignment was formed involving government, the private sector and various global organizations.

For years, Mexico had depended upon sun-and-beach tourism.

“We saw the need to diversify our product line and began marketing adventure travel, medical and religious tourism, the Mayan world, the Ruta Gastronomica and the meetings and convention sector,” Guevara said.

Like the Caribbean, Mexico has diverse tourism offerings.

“Mexico has 31 states and the Federal District (Mexico City). Each state has its own assets and is a unique destination in and of itself, much like each of the Caribbean countries,” Guevara said.

Mexico had drawn 80% of its tourists from the U.S. With a subsequent easing of visa requirements, visitor numbers from destinations such as Russia, China and South America climbed.

And, visitor spending increased as did Mexico’s visibility through its online presence, media interviews, ad campaigns and testimonials.

“We were telling our story, controlling the story and repositioning the Mexico brand,” she said.

Caribbean countries face tough competition, and Guevara advised each country to find its own DNA and capitalize upon is uniqueness, offering experiences to travelers. She also recommended easing visa regulations to open up their country to more source markets.

For more:


Air Canada introduces checked-bag fee for travel to Caribbean

From Jamaica Observer

TORONTO, Canada (CMC) –Economy-class passengers travelling to the Caribbean, the US Mexico and within Canada on Air Canada, will now have to pay C$25 for luggage.

According to Air Canada, those travelling on Flex and Latitude Economy Class fares, or Altitude Prestige, Elite and Super Elite members will not be affected.

Business class travellers, Star Alliance Silver and Gold members, military personnel or anyone booking with Air Canada Vacations have also been spared.

“We’re matching the market,” the airline’s chief financial officer Michael Rousseau told an investor conference last week. “It’s what the market is bearing at this point in time.”

The airline said about 20 per cent of its Canadian customers will be subject to the new fee, which represents the equivalent of about five per cent of Air Canada customers system-wide.

It’s believed the new fees could bring in between C$50 million and C$75 million a year in new revenue for the carrier.

Analysts had been expecting the move, especially after WestJet moved first, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

It’s believed the new fees could bring in between C$50 million and C$75 million a year in new revenue for the carrier.

The airline is expected to see about a US$50-million bump in its revenues from the fee in the first year, but according to analysts it comes with a “possible upside for travellers.”

Almost all major North American carriers now charge for checked baggage, with the notable exceptions of US lines JetBlue and Southwest.

For more:


What men and women want — in a phone

iphone-mobile-chartBY MATT PETRONZIO From Mashable

When it comes to smartphone purchases, men and women want the same thing: not too expensive, intuitive features and holds a charge like a champ.

However, there are subtle differences between men and women’s preferences in a new phone. According to a new Nielsen survey conducted in more than 58 countries, female respondents cared more about price, contract terms and camera capabilities; men gravitated toward attributes such as operating system, screen size and processor speed.

The following chart, created by Statista, breaks down the male-female digital divide for mobile phone purchases.


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