September 18, 2020

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iNews-briefs217New Year’s Day triplets for Cayman family

Caymanians, Mark and Sheena Thompson, have three additions to their family when triplets were born, Alexa, Jenna and Emma.

The babies weighed in at only 3lbs. 12ozs, 3lbs. 7ozs, and 3lbs 2ozs, respectively because the pregnancy was just 32 weeks – 5 weeks earlier than expected.

There was a shortage of incubators at the George Town hospital on Grand Cayman so the babies were delivered at the South Miami Hospital in Florida, USA.

Mark and Sheena already have a son, Jayden, who is 9years old.

Mark is an entrepreneur and Sheena is Regional Head in Operational Risk Caribbean, RBC Wealth Management, at Royal Bank of Canada.

Joan Wilson, iNews Cayman’s publisher, is a close friend of Sheena’s mother and father, Janet and John Macmillan and is especially delighted for the family. John has recently retired as the Elmslie Memorial Church administrator so he will have plenty of time to enjoy the grandbabies.

Janet is Administration, Human Resources and Freedom of Information Manager at the MRCU and has been a civil servant for 48 years.


Father charged with attempted murder of four-month-old daughter [in St. Lucia]

From St Lucia News online

Twenty-six-year-old Kevin Edward, aka Tumpy, of Bishop’s Gap, Castries has been charged with the attempted murder of his four-month-old infant Paris Leonce.

Edward is expected to make his first court appearance today, where the charge will be read to him. Relatives have confirmed that Edward suffered from mental illness before.

On Monday, December 29, 2014, officers attached to the Marchand Police Station received a report that a baby was being held hostage at a residence in Marchand.

They alerted officers attached to the Major Crimes Unit, Special Services Unit and the Criminal Investigations Department and immediately responded.

A police press statement said on arrival at the said location, the officers observed a male who was later identified as Edward, holding a baby. At the time, he was holding a knife to the baby.

This individual, on several occasions threatened to kill the baby, who was identified as his baby Paris. Numerous attempts to persuade the suspect to hand over the baby proved futile.

The suspect concealed himself in his house, in the process stabbing the baby multiple times. The officers were able to retrieve the baby and subdue the suspect.

The baby was transported to Victoria Hospital, where she was treated and admitted for multiple stab wounds. She is currently in stable condition.

For more:


Cayman Islands removed from Colombia’s Tax Haven List

The Cayman Islands has been officially removed from Colombia’s Tax Haven List on the back of its participation in the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.



Scientists show how you can restore lost memories

iNews b brain-memories-shutterstockBy Jon Fingas From engadget

Oh, the memories

It’s scary to lose memories, especially in the early phases of diseases like Alzheimer’s — you’re really losing part of yourself. Thankfully, researchers at UCLA may have found a way to get those memories back. They’ve conducted experiments suggesting that memories aren’t stored in synapses, as established theory dictates. Instead, you only need to make sure that neurons are intact and that the brain can synthesize the proteins needed to form new synaptic links. In a snail, memories came rushing back after scientists stopped using a protein synthesis inhibitor that curbed synaptic growth. Those memories would have been gone forever if the synapses themselves were really the key.

These are early findings, but they should correlate to similar processes in human brains. That, in turn, has big implications for medicine. If you can restore memories by creating synaptic connections, it should be possible to bring back those precious moments if you’re suffering from early stage Alzheimer’s or other memory-related conditions where the neurons remain intact. It wouldn’t help in situations where the neurons are gone (such as late stage Alzheimer’s), but it could improve your quality of life for years, if not decades.

For more:


Movember receives donation from Cayman Islands school

Movember (the month formerly known as November) is an annual charity event held during November with the aim of creating awareness and raising money for men’s health issues such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.

Even though November has gone and it is the end of December Movember Cayman member Tim Rossiter was still very happy to receive just over $800 from students from The Cayman Islands John Gray High School.

Speaking on CITN/Cayman27’s news last Tuesday (30) he said, “Whilst we need the money and the money is fantastic, the fact that we have young men and women getting involved in men’s health and [to] know that we exist; that in itself represents a big victory for us.”


Jennifer Lawrence is 2014’s highest-grossing actor

By Rachel Haas From IGN News

The 24-year-old does it all.

Thanks to big blockbusters like The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jennifer Lawrence is now Hollywood’s highest-grossing actor.

The 24-year-old Oscar-winner starred as Mystique in the latest X-Men installment as well as Katniss Everdeen in Mockingjay, bringing in a total of $1.4 billion dollars worldwide this past year. Forbes compiled the figures using Box Office Mojo’s worldwide lifetime grosses for each film.

For more:


USA-: What the Caribbean Tourism Organization has to say

From eTN Global Travel News

USA-Cuba: What the Caribbean Tourism Organization has to say

The recent announcement of a change in diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States is a welcomed opportunity to increase tourist arrivals to the Caribbean. The US is the region’s largest source market, producing nearly half of its tourism business. Last year the US welcomed over 12 million Americans to its shores. Any opportunity to substantially increase that number will be welcomed.

Cuba is a longstanding and active member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, having joined the organization in 1992. The US is engaging the destination in its efforts in Canada, Latin America, and Europe, and looks forward to including Cuba in its programs in the United States. A small but important breakthrough in 2002 was made when the US succeeded in its efforts to secure a visa for the then Coordinator of International Affairs in the country’s Ministry of Tourism, Orlando Rangel Delgado, to attend Caribbean Week in New York. A much broader participation in all CTO-organized events is anticipated.

The CTO proudly promotes an exciting, diverse tourism product offered by its over 30 member countries. Cuba is an integral part of the diversity. The US supports its members’ initiatives and will continue to provide the technical and other resources necessary to grow viable source markets and create sustainable tourism development strategies. This is an important part of the CTO’s overall vision for the Caribbean.

For more:


Cuba attracts three million tourists in 2014

By Magaly Zamora Morejón From Caribbean News Now

CIEGO DE ÁVILA, Cuba (AIN) — Cuba attracted three million tourists in 2014, representing a growth of six percent over the previous year.

The figure was reached with the arrival of a flight from Canada, by tour operator Sunwing, at the Jardines del Rey International Airport in Cayo Coco, with 188 passengers.

Iyolexis Correa, a ministry of tourism official in Ciego de Avila, told reporters that over 6,000 rooms in 16 hotels had shown a steady increase in the number of visitors throughout the year and maintained Canada as the main source market increase.

The winter season, with renewed hotel facilities, higher quality services and diversified range of tourism products, which influences the level of customer satisfaction, is expected to see an increasing preference for the destination.

The enclave, formed by Coco and Cayo Guillermo, currently maintains an average of 8,000 tourists daily, one of the highest figures since marketing began two decades ago.

Local officials said the Jardines del Rey international airport receives 41 flights each week and aims to reach 50 in early 2015.

The destination, characterized by its excellent beaches and the preservation of its flora and fauna, will host the International Tourism Fair in May.

For more:


Cayman Islands NWDA Outreach Schedule – January 2015

The NWDA, in an effort to provide improved customer service to its clients in their job seeking efforts, will have a representative at the district libraries to provide:

  • Opportunities to register online with the NWDA.
  • Opportunities to search the online job portal and self-referring for jobs.
  • Assistance with preparing resumes.
  • Assistance with preparing for an interview.

Dates, Hours and Locations:

  • East End Library Branch: Monday 12th Jan. – 10:00am–1:00pm
  • Bodden Town Library Branch: Wednesday 14th Jan. –2:00pm –5:00pm
  • West Bay Library Branch: Monday 19th Jan. 10:00am -1:00pm
  • North Side Library Branch: Wednesday 21st Jan. 10:00am-1:00pm

For more information, please call the National Workforce Development Agency office: 945-3114


A dry-erase board that transmits notes to your phone

iNews B 0smartkapp001By hipstomp / Rain Noe From Core77

On the one hand, taking notes during a meeting or lecture is crucial for later reference. On the other hand, the act of writing distracts us from listening and interacting. Thus the folks over at a company called SMART Technologies created the SMART Kapp, a dry-erase board that transmits whatever’s written on it to nearby smartphones:

iNews b 0smartkapp002The $899 glass-screened device, which is only sold online, promises plug-and-play ease of use right out of the box; users download an app to their phone or tablet, turn the SMART Kapp on and it’s good to go.


As useful as the SMART Kapp is for business or educational settings, I also think it’d be really cool for an art event. It would be neat to see an artist work up a one-off piece in real time that could be “captured,” for a fee, on nearby patrons’ phones.

For more and video go to:


Cayman Islands Cancer Society makes STRIDES

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society (CICS) is preparing for its biggest fundraiser STRIDE 2015.

This will be the 10th anniversary of STRIDE.

STRIDE Against Cancer, is officially a Nation-Wide event following last year’s success with races taking place on Seven Mile Beach, North Side, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman.

3 Ways To Register & Pay:

1) Register at and Pay in person

2) Register & Pay Online here (6.75% transaction fee charged to CICS so payment in person preferred)

3) Print a Registration Form and Register & Pay in person

*** EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION PRIZE: Register by JAN 10th for a chance to win a fabulous Brunch for Two at the newly renovated Marriott. Register asap to make sure you get your STRIDE t-shirt. And this year we’ll give a prize to the person who brings or wears the oldest STRIDE t-shirt to the event! ***

NEW THIS YEAR Get your Iconic Purple & Yellow T-Shirt! Please pick up your T-shirt/Goody Bag at the CICS office (114 Maple Rd. In front of GT hospital) Thursday Jan 22, Friday Jan 23, or Sat Jan 24 9-5pm. Register asap to make sure you get your STRIDE t-shirt. And this year we’ll give a prize to the person who brings or wears the oldest STRIDE t-shirt to the event

A $10 Lions Club Breakfast is being offered at the Seven Mile Beach location only. Please add the breakfast option when you register. Family & friends are also welcome to purchase the breakfast!


Sunday 25 January

Seven Mile Beach half marathon | 6:00 a.m.

Seven Mile Beach quarter marathon | 7:00 a.m.

North Side Stride | 7:00 a.m.

Little Cayman Stride | 7:00 a.m.

Cayman Brac Stride | 7:00 a.m.

$25 | $10 optional breakfast


Cruise ship worker accused of sexual assault on passenger

By Dori Saltzman, From Cruise Critic

A Quantum of the Seas crewmember has been accused of sexually molesting a passenger in her cabin while she slept, according to multiple news reports. Royal Caribbean fired the man, who is in custody in New Jersey.

The crewmember, a 25-year old man from Mauritius, is accused of entering the woman’s cabin while she slept and groping her, reported. When she awoke to find him there, he allegedly threatened to burn down the ship if she told anyone. According to, FBI agents detained him in Bayonne, New Jersey, upon the ship’s return to port Saturday, December 27.

“This crewmember’s actions are completely unacceptable and a blatant violation of our policies and procedures,” a Royal Caribbean spokesperson told Cruise Critic. “Royal Caribbean International maintains strict policies governing employee interaction with guests. Crewmembers are not permitted to be in guest staterooms, except for the performance of their shipboard duties. Due to the violation of this policy, the crewmember in questions is no longer employed by Royal Caribbean.”

The crewmember was responsible for restocking the minibars in passenger cabins, which gave him keycard access to cabins.

For more:


Cayman Islands: Must Love Dogs

Doggie Day Care- Lodging – Boutique – Spa

Adopt Me

Dear Future Doggie and Cat Parents,

Please check out to see our Beloved Cayman Doggies that need a home.

These beautiful Darlings are waiting for their forever homes and are ready to go home with you now so please call the Cayman Islands Humane Society at +1-345-949-1461 to meet your new family member. They welcome Foster parents too or even just a dog walk will give any of these Pups a Happy Christmas treat.

Feel free to call us at +1-345-746-7222 to find out how to bring some extra love into your family.

Love your Future Dog at Must Love Dogs

IMAGE: poncho


IAPA calls for entries for excellence in journalism contest [Latin America, Caribbean]

From ijnet

Deadline: JANUARY 15, 2015

Publications and news agencies are invited to enter their best works in English, Spanish or Portuguese.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) is launching the 2015 Excellence in Journalism Award.

The competition is offered in 13 categories: inter-American relations, human rights, news coverage, features, in-depth reporting, photography, cartoons, infographics, opinion, newspaper in education, online news coverage, multimedia coverage and the environment.

There is also the IAPA Grand Prize for Press Freedom, given to a person or organization with significant achievements on behalf of the cause of freedom of the press.

Works must have been published in 2014. Winners will receive cash prizes, plaques and diplomas at the next IAPA General Assembly in October.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 15.

For more information, click here:


Cayman Islands gallery director named in Caribbean magazine’s 25 most interesting people

From Fox News Latino

Regional online magazine CaribJournal published on Tuesday its list of the 25 most interesting people in the Caribbean for 2014, a roster that includes Rihanna, Richard Branson and Usain Bolt.

Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister, Gaston Browne, and Dominica Premier Roosevelt Skerrit, both re-elected in 2014, made the ranks of the most relevant politicians.

Virgin Group founder Branson and Claudine Neisson-Vernant, matriarch of the Neisson rum dynasty in Martinique, were selected as the top business people in the region.

Chefs Nina Compton of St. Lucia and Shawne Bryan of Anguilla are also on the list.

Barbados native Rihanna, Cuban singer Leslie Cartaya and Jamaican reggae artist Lee “Scratch” Perry were selected for their achievements.

The list continues with Haitian artist Edouard Duval, Jamaican writer Marlon James, director and curator of Cayman Islands National Gallery Natalie Urquhart, Dominican actress Dascha Polanco, Jamaican model Jeneil Williams and Trinidadian researcher Joan Latchman.

In sports, 2014 was a good year for Cuban baseball player Jose Abreu; Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt; Jamaican swimmer Alia Atkinson; and U.S. Virgin Islands-born NBA star Tim Duncan, according to CaribJournal. EFE

For more:


USVI governor-elect introduces 13 new cabinet members

From Caribbean News Now

ST CROIX, USVI — In a press conference on Tuesday morning, US Virgin Islands Governor-Elect Kenneth Mapp introduced 13 Cabinet members who will be part of his new administration when he is sworn into office on January 5, 2015.

Governor-elect Kenneth Mapp

The new Cabinet members are:

Attorney General — Soraya Diase-Coffelt

Department of Education — Sharon McCollum, PhD

Department of Public Works — Gustav James, PE

Department of Sports, Parks & Recreation — Pedro Cruz

Virgin Islands Police Department-Acting Commissioner — Delroy Richards

Department of Tourism — Beverly Nicholson Doty

Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs — Devin Carrington

Director of Personnel — Milton E. Potter

Bureau of Internal Revenue — Marvin L Pickering, EA, PHR, ATA, ATP

Motor Vehicle Bureau — Lawrence Olive

St Thomas Administrator — Lawrence T. Boschulte

St Croix Administrator — Stephanie S. Williams

St John Administrator — Camille Parris, Jr.

For more:


Cayman Islands — 2013 growth revised to 1.4% vs 1.2%

By Aleem Khan From news tt

The 2013 growth estimate of 1.2% was revised up to 1.4% on expansion in hotels and restaurants (up 5.9%), transport and storage services (up 2.6%), security and car rental services (up 1.7%), wholesale and retail trade (up 1.6%), and financial and insurance services (up 1.3%). Inflation quickened to 1.5% in Q3 2014 y-o-y, up from 0.7% y-o-y in Q2 2014.

According to the CTO, stopover arrivals grew 12.3% y-o-y from January to September 2014, while cruise passenger arrivals jumped 19.1% y-o-y in the same period.

SOURCE: RBC Caribbean Economic Report, December 2014

For more:


HarneysHarney’s produce version of Mutual Legal Assistance Act for Virgin Islands

A Consolidation of the BVI Mutual Legal Assistance (Tax Matters) Act, 2003

31 December 2014

This guide presents a consolidation of the British Virgin Islands Mutual Legal Assistance (Tax Matters) Act, 2003.

It can be downloaded at:


Teen desperate for a baby kills woman who was 8 months pregnant, cuts out baby

From Fox News Latino

In a page taken from the most gruesome of books, a 17-year-old girl from Reynosa, Mexico lured an 8-months-pregnant woman to her home and killed her to try and steal her unborn baby.

Nathaly Cartas Leon, 20, had “met” Guadalupe Salinas Hernández on Facebook and had gratefully accepted her offer to give the mom-to-be a few baby items she needed. They met at a mall and then went to Salinas’ home, where she said she had more stuff to give her.

Once there, investigators said, Salinas beat Cartas to death with a blunt object and then proceeded to open her belly with a kitchen knife. The motive, police said: obsessive love. According to authorities, Salinas had an abortion back in June and had not told her boyfriend, who still believed she was pregnant and was looking forward to the birth.

It is not clear whether Salinas’ abortion was intentional or not.

After the gruesome killing and removal of the newborn, the teen hurried to the hospital and tried to save him, claiming the child was stillborn at home. But the fetus had stopped breathing when her mother died and could not be saved.

It didn’t take much for the doctors at the hospital to realize that the baby had not come from Salinas’ womb and they contacted police.

“I don’t regret it, I don’t regret,” local newspapers quote Salinas as saying. The body of the young mother was found in a shrub close to the killer’s house. Investigators are still trying to determine if she had an accomplice.

Reynosa is a border city in the northern part of Tamaulipas, Mexico. It is located on the southern bank of the Rio Grande, directly across the border from Hidalgo, Texas.

For more:


Cayman Islands to produce film: “Tripping Through – The Movie”

tripping iNewsBExciting news!

Cayman Drama Society members Malcolm Ellis and Michelle Morgan are producing ‘Tripping Through’, an independent film based on the novel of the same name.

There are still quite a few supporting roles to be cast for this romantic comedy and they also need help with crew, locations, costumes and props. Shooting will take place March to June 2015, so get on board now.

Please LIKE their Facebook Page to stay up to date and email Malcolm Ellis at [email protected] to express interest or ask questions.

Dominican man weds partner thanks to UK embassy

From Washington Post

(AP) SANTO DOMINGO, — Same-sex marriage is banned in the , but a man and his partner have exchanged vows in the first ceremony of its kind performed at the British embassy in the conservative Caribbean country.

The embassy tweeted on Tuesday that the Dominican government respected its right to perform the ceremony under the Vienna Convention and that the British government has recognized the marriage.

Embassy officials said they have advised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that additional ceremonies would be performed.

The couple was not identified, with the embassy saying only that it is a Dominican and a British man. Embassy officials tweeted a picture of the ceremony that showed only the hands of one man placing a wedding ring on the other.

The United Kingdom announced in June that same-sex couple could marry at British consulates in 25 countries, including the Dominican Republic. It is the only Caribbean country on that list.

The U.K. parliament approved same-sex marriages in July 2013, and the law went into effect March of this year.

For more:


Cayman Islands Heart Fund’s Red Dress Gala almost sold out



We are practically sold out and tables/tickets are going fast. Book your tickets now!!! You don’t want to miss out on a fabulous night of great entertainment, surprise performance, exquisite cuisine, prizes and dancing.

It will feature Beatlemania among other performers and is being sponsored by Butterfield Cayman, Airways, Pinnacle Media, Magmum, Jewellers Dart, Walkers, Diamonds International, Progressive distributors.

The Cayman Heart Fund is a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to the reduction of heart and circulatory disease in the Cayman Islands.

It aims to help prevent and reduce the early deaths, long-term disabilities and widespread suffering that heart and circulatory diseases cause.

Contact [email protected] for tickets.

See also attached flyer

iNews B heart Fund


Rejoice! Cat accidentally sold along with mattress is home again

By Mary Beth Quirk From Consumerist

Because not every lost pet story has a happy ending, fans of Camo the Mattress Cat will likely be incredibly relieved to hear that the beloved pet accidentally sold along with bedding on Craigslist has been reunited with his owners.

The guy who didn’t realize his girlfriend’s cat was hiding in a hole in a box spring before letting it get carted away updated Camo’s fans yesterday, announcing in an email to his family and friends that the cat has been found.

According to Oregon Live, a woman had spotted Camo near the Hillsboro Airport in Portland. So Camo’s owners set out a trap baited with sardines and the smell of familiar clothing from home to lure their pet on Saturday night.

Just an hour and a half later, Camo’s owners checked the trap and found a ticked off Camo inside.

Camo’s owners thanked everyone who was worried about his disappearance, writing in an update on Reddit:

“We can’t ever repay or say thank you enough to all the people that spent their cherished holiday time, and resources to help us bring Camo home. It was quite emotional last night, we’re in shock of this whole experience, and have been holding him tight! It’s been quite the ride and we couldn’t possibly formulate the words to describe how grateful we are for all the people who have reached out to us for suggestions, help, stories, comfort, and information. It’s the best feeling in the world to know friends and strangers alike have had our back in time of need, and to have him back safe and recovering. We can’t even imagine what’s he’s been through in a week and half running wild near the country side especially in this weather. Today is a great day!”

Camo seems to be a bit worse for the wear after his ordeal, with a few pounds shed, cut lip, broken nails and bleeding paws, but nothing worse than that.

It seems he traveled about seven miles from home, though most of that distance was covered while riding inside the box spring atop a car. Here’s to hoping he’s eating all the non-trap sardines his little heart desires right now.

For more:


Pope Francis pushes world leaders to act on climate change

From Antillean Media Group

Pope Francis pushes world leaders to act on climate change

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 30, 2014 (AMG) — Pope Francis is taking a stand. After a planned March visit to Tacloban, the Philippine city destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan in 2012, the Pope will issue an encyclical to 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 Catholic priests around the world.

The encyclical will be the first comprehensive set of Vatican teachings on climate change – which will also include a message to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, an address to the UN General Assembly and a summit of major world religious leaders – all aimed at influencing the 2015 UN climate meetings in Paris.

The Pope has been vocal about the need to address climate change and protect the environment, saying “the monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water and inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth.” The Pope went further to say that climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation were already showing their devastating effects in the “great cataclysms” witnessed around the world.

Many bishops share the Pope’s concern with the lack of global action on climate change, expressing their frustration at the Lima climate meeting last month. However, many Catholics disagree with his stance on environmental issues. In particular, the powerful US evangelical movement is expected to come out against Francis’ stance.

Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, has declared the US environmental movement to be un-biblical. “The Pope should back off. The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles, but has been misled on the science”, Beisner said.

Despite the vocal opposition, recent polling suggests that a majority of US Catholics do, in fact, care about climate change. The majority of all Catholics polled agree that addressing climate change now will help prevent economic disasters in the future. Hispanic Catholics in particular responded that climate change is a “major problem” or a “crisis,” and that their congregation has sponsored climate change-related activities.

Earlier this month, the Pope showed himself to be a key actor in global diplomacy, following a revelation from the White House that he was instrumental in facilitating talks that eventually led to the re-establishment of bilateral ties between Cuba and the United States.

While the Pope’s leadership on climate change may influence how religious leaders approach environmental problems, the Pontiff now hopes his words will influence how political leaders around the world address climate change, too.

For more:


Caribbean looks to US to help boost sugar production

From PanAmerican World

The Sugar Association of the Caribbean says it is meeting with U.S.-based companies including the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida.

Posted by Shanelle Weir on December 31, 2014

A Guyana-based organization that oversees sugar production in the Caribbean says it is seeking to partner with U.S. companies to help save one of the world’s oldest sugarcane breeding institutions.

The Sugar Association of the Caribbean says it is meeting with U.S.-based companies including the Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida.

Association spokesman Karl James said Tuesday that the West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station in Barbados needs additional financing, new technology and qualified personnel. The station has been operating for more than 100 years.

Only four of 15 members of a Caribbean trade bloc known as Caricom still produce sugar. They are Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados and Belize.

For more:


Caribbean Year in Review: Cuba dominates CAC Games

From Digital Sportsmax

As far as team performances went in 2014, the athletic arena certainly belonged to the Cubans.

The team had an impressive showing at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games where they topped the competition with 254 medals.

Cuba mined 123 gold, 66 silver and 65 bronze. Included in those gold medals were five meet records.

For more:


Meet Lightpaper, the coolest way to turn on the lights yet

iNews b lightpaper-3d-printing-lightBy Chris Smith From BGR

In addition helping us print out our own toys, food, and even houses, 3D printing can also be used to print new ways to light your house. A company called Rohinni has come up with Lightpaper, which is a printable, paper-thin lighting solution that can be applied to any surface.

“With Lightpaper it’s more of a platform of light that we don’t even know how it’s going to be used,” Rohinni CMO Nick Smoot told FastCoLabs. “All we know is that we’re trying to unlock the ability to create light.”

The first Lightpaper products should be launched by mid 2015, with some companies already working on designs based on the technology.

Basically, Lightpaper is made by mixing ink with tiny LEDs and then printing them out in a conductive layer that is then sealed between two other layers. The diodes are as big as a red blood cell and will light up once an electrical current runs through them. Furthermore, the diodes can apparently be programmed to light up in a certain way.

“The magical thing about this solution is it’s brighter, it’s thinner, it’s flexible, it’s addressable, and programmable. You can address the sections of the diodes, which is a whole other space when you start thinking about solutions of light that you can address sections of,” the exec said.

For more:


Britain’s ‘Misery Index’ is about to drop to the lowest level in a generation

iNews B miseryBy Mike Bird From Business Insider

Britain is heading for its most joyful year in the last quarter of a century, according to a group of economists.

Oxford Economics, a consultancy, says that the UK’s “misery index,” a combination of unemployment and inflation, will tumble to a multi-decade low in 2015.

The graph goes all the way back to 1989, when consumer price index data starts. With inflation under control and unemployment low from the late 1990s, the index fell in the years before the crisis. But Oxford Economics is betting it goes even lower in the months ahead of us.

GRAPH: Misery Oxford Economics

The index was created by Arthur Okun, a high-profile American economist. It’s literally as simple as adding the unemployment rate to the rate of inflation. So with unemployment levels dropping back towards pre-crisis levels, and inflation at the lowest in 10 years (and still falling), it’s a decent bet by Oxford Economics that the misery index will soon hit the lowest level in at least 25 years.

Some people would probably take issue with this: Some factors that the index doesn’t take account for, like wage growth, are still very weak. But on this metric, it’s going to be a good year ahead.

Here’s Oxford Economics’ Scott Livemore on the “joyflation” trend:

There has been a lot of concern expressed in Europe about the risks of deflation and the threats it poses to economic stability. But falling oil prices offer the prospect of “good deflation” for the UK—giving people and companies more cash to spend and so supporting economic growth and jobs. It’s like we’ve had a big tax cut, but one paid for by the oil-producing nations overseas rather than by the Treasury.

For more on this story go to:


Morton Salt avalanche buries three vehicles at car dealership next door

By Mary Beth Quirk From Consumerist

Quick, someone grab all the deer and salt shakers you can find and start licking/scooping: After a storage facility wall partially collapsed at Morton Salt in Chicago, the Acura dealership next door became the victim of a salt avalanche that completely buried at least three cars and damaged up to 11.

The wall came down around 2 p.m. in the Goose Island neighborhood of Chicago (also known for the beer of that name from the area), reports ABC7, dumping enough white stuff to cover three cars and crush the tops of others.

A total of 11 vehicles were damaged, four of which were new to the dealership and others that belong to customers waiting for service to be completed on them.

Firefighters think the salt was piled too high near the wall by workers, putting a strain on the decades-old wall that it simply couldn’t bear. In the meantime, cleanup is underway, while the dealership works to replace damaged cars and get customers on the road without a fine dusting of powder.

For more:


The ruble is plunging

By Elena Holodny From Business Insider

The ruble is getting slammed.

At around 11:20 a.m. ET Wednesday, it got as weak as 62.03 rubles per dollar after closing 56.71 on Tuesday. This was a nearly 5% plunge.

It’s currently trading at around 60.82.

The currency’s drop coincides with Brent oil falling to a 5.5-year low on Wednesday — down as low as $56.09.

For the year, the ruble fell approximately 40% against the dollar.

IMAGE: Screen Shot 2014 12 31 at 11.54.19 AM Bloomberg Ruble to USD, 1 year.

Thursday’s (31) plunge follows the Economy Ministry’s announcement on Monday that GDP contracted by 0.5% from a year earlier, following a 0.5% increase in October.

“This is linked to sanctions first of all, oil and the panic we saw on the market in December. The damage to the banking system and consumer sentiment will take a long time to repair,” Dmitriy Polevoy, the chief economist for Russia and the CIS at ING Bank of Moscow, told the Moscow Times.

Right now, Russia is on the edge of its first recession since 2009. Its economy took a serious beating following the sanctions imposed by the EU and US over the situation in Ukraine and the plunging oil prices.

Following the sharpest fall in Russia’s HSBC composite output index since May — down to 47.6 in November from 49.1 in October — analysts began expressing pessimistic views about the state of the economy.

“The PMI survey found the Russian economy risking not only prolonged, but deep recession. We expect 1.5% GDP decline in 2015, but are prepared to see even deeper decline if current negative trends by the PMI survey continue,” writes Alexander Morozov, the Chief Economist of Russia, CIS and the Baltics at HSBC.

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highlights impact of family agriculture in LatAm and Caribbean

FaoSantiago, Chile, Dec 30 (Prensa Latina) Family agriculture had a deep impact on food security in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2014 and will continue being a priority, the Regional Office of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a communiqué.

According to the UN agency, family agriculture is essential to eradicate hunger, due to its contributions to food production, employment and sustainable rural development. Therefore, it is one of FAO’s three regional priorities.

FAO is carrying out an initiative to boost sustainable development in rural territories by building institutional capacities and organizing producers.

It is working with governments to promote access to natural and productive resources, technical assistance, credits, insurances and new markets for farmers to develop their full potential in favor of food security.

The initiative is also aimed at articulating family agriculture policies with social protection, making particular emphasis on supporting women, rural youths and the indigenous peoples.

It is fundamental to FAO that government take advantage of the global boost generated by the International Year in 2014 to continue strengthening development for millions of women and men.

Family agriculture was incorporated into the action plans of governments and major regional integration mechanisms in Latin America and the Caribbean, such as the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC).

In 2015, FAO will work together with CELAC to implement the Action Plan for Family Agriculture of CELAC, as part of regional efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty, according to the communiqué.

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These are the encryption services the NSA can’t crack

By Zach Epstein From BGR

The ripples from the massive National Security Agency leak orchestrated by former contract worker Edward Snowden continue to be felt even now. While most of the eye-opening revelations are behind us, the sheer volume of confidential documents exposed by Snowden has resulted in a continued trickle of information. Now, a new report covering information pulled from leaked NSA documents reveals several encrypted services that the NSA has been able to crack in its widespread data collection efforts.

More importantly, perhaps, the report identifies a number of secure services with encryption that the NSA has been unable to crack.

Spiegel Online has been one of several news sites that have repeatedly revealed various findings in the leaked NSA documents, and the site is back with some big new revelations as 2014 rolls into 2015. This time around, the site has obtained internal NSA documents that identify several encrypted communications services that have been targeted by the NSA.

In some cases, the NSA successfully cracked a service’s encryption. For example, according to documents revealed in the Snowden leak, the NSA was able to crack Skype’s encryption and spy on Skype conversations beginning back in February 2011. The “secure” HTTPS protocol is also apparently easy for the NSA to crack.

In other cases, however, the NSA was apparently never able to crack the encryption on some services.

According to this new report from Spiegel Online, the NSA has had far less success breaking through secure communications on the Tor network. It was also unable to crack files protected by open-source encryption solution TrueCrypt, or messages that use OTR or PGP encryption. The NSA also apparently had no luck cracking the encryption used by Zoho’s email service.

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Retailers figure out they shouldn’t offer discounts to customers who don’t care

By Laura Northrup From Consumerist

Retailers are now able to compile and sort through massive amounts of data about their customers, and they’ve used that information to figure out which customers simply don’t care about discounts, and make their purchasing decisions without paying attention to them. Logically enough, retailers simply don’t send discount offers to these customers.

That’s part of why there are separate “outlet” stores for large department stores like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. “You don’t want to offer discounts to full-price shoppers, because over time your profit margins will erode,” one marketing expert explained to the Wall Street Journal.

Seems simple, but knowing which category each customer belongs to and marketing accordingly is key for retailers. At the same time, they also don’t want us to realize that they’re watching our shopping habits in order to figure out what to sell to us. While we all know this on some level, especially when sneaker ads follow us everywhere online after just one shopping trip, experts say that customers don’t like to be consciously reminded that they’ve extensively tested each option and the placement of every word within the subject line of an e-mail. They know what makes people in general click, and what makes you click in particular.

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Artists create EP of ‘space music’ from NASA’s audio archive

By Billy Steele From engadget

We have a soft spot for all things outer space here at Engadget, so naturally an EP of tunes constructed entirely with audio clips from said exploration caught our eye… and ears. NASA recently released a massive library of sound files on SoundCloud, including rocket engine sounds and radio transmissions — even President John F. Kennedy makes an appearance. Two musicians found the collection while working on another space-related project and decided to make 80UA: a four-track EP of “space music” that’s constructed using only the space agency’s collected audio. Of course, the clips were tweaked to fit each song, but all of the source material comes from NASA’s archive. After roping in a few pals to help, Davide Cairo and Giacomo Muzzacato released the effort for free via Bad Panda Records, and as you might expect, SoundCloud was the appropriate landing spot. Head there to download the tracks, or jump past the break for a quick listen.

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South Korea posts record current account surplus in November

iNewsB screen shot 2014-12-31 at 11.54.19 am.pngFrom Business Insider

South Korea’s current account has been in the black for two years and nine months — the longest streak of surplus since 1989

Seoul (AFP) – South Korea’s current account surplus rose to a monthly record in November as slumping oil prices slashed the value of imports, state data showed Tuesday.

The preliminary figure of $11.4 billion shattered the previous monthly record of $11.1 billion set in October 2013, according to data from the central Bank of Korea.

The current account — the broadest measure of foreign trade in goods and services — has been in the black for two years and nine months — the longest streak of surplus since 1989.

Exports, which account for more than a half of the Asia’s fourth-largest economy, stood at $50.2 billion, down from 52 billion in October.

Imports dropped to $40 billion from $43.5 billion thanks to falling oil prices, logging a surplus of $10.2 billion in the goods account.

The South imports almost all of its energy needs from overseas.

The services account, which includes spending on overseas trips and loyalty payments, saw its chronic deficit narrow down to $200 million from $250 million a month ago.

The income account, which tracks wages as well as earnings on financial investments, posted a surplus of $1.7 billion thanks to increased dividend and interest earnings.

The figure compared to a surplus of $970 million in October.

The country has racked up a current account surplus of $81.9 billion so far this year.

It is on course to meet or exceed the central bank’s target surplus of $84 billion in 2014 — an annual record.

The BOK however estimated earlier the current account surplus for next year would slump to $70 million.

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Samsung’s new ‘ring’ speakers pipe sound in every direction

iNews B samsung-wam6500-speakerFrom engadget

Samsung has tackled just about every kind of speaker you can imagine, but it hasn’t had an answer to hot-selling 360-degree speakers like the UE Boom. Well, that changes today: the Korean firm has unveiled the WAM6500 and WAM7500, its first compact one-piece speakers to promise room-filling sound. Both center around a “ring radiator” that pipes audio in every direction while supposedly striking a careful balance between bass and treble. If you ask us, though, they’re as much about the “premium” styling as anything else. The portable 6500 (above) looks like the kettle from an avant garde kitchen, while the tabletop-oriented 7500 (below) could easily double as a 31st-century desk lamp. Samsung hasn’t divulged pricing, but these fashion-forward designs will likely command a premium.

On top of this, the tech giant is expanding its Curved Soundbar range to accommodate the wider range of curved TVs it has in store. The 6000, 6500 and 8500 series join the 7500 line, and they’ll give you curvy audio for sets in sizes ranging from 45 to 78 inches. If you splurge on the 8500, you’ll also get a “wider” 9.1-channel surround sound effect courtesy of three extra speakers. There’s no word as to how much these new soundbars will cost, although history suggests that you’ll find out shortly before they ship.

IMAGE: Samsung WAM6500 portable speaker

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Hotel chains are changing cancellation policies to thwart last-minute deals

By Jessica Plautz from Mashable

Companies that offer last-minute hotel deals through mobile apps have had a great 2014. They’ve had so much success, in fact, that big hotel chains are taking notice — and doing something about it.

Beginning Jan. 1, the Marriott and Hilton hotel chains are changing their cancellation policies. In the past, they’ve allowed guests to cancel a reservation up until the evening of the same day they were scheduled to check in (for example, for a Wednesday check-in, you would have until Wednesday evening to cancel). Now, the new policy will require cancellations to come before midnight the day before (for a Wednesday check-in, you would have until Tuesday before midnight to cancel).

Cancellations after that will incur a fee of one night’s stay.

Previously, travelers have been able to book a room in advance, but then cancel just hours before check-in, after they find a better deal through apps like HotelTonight, Priceline or Expedia. That can leave hotels with unexpectedly empty rooms.

While the change won’t likely be an issue for most travelers, it’s bad news for deal seekers.

HotelTonight and other apps include listings for the next day, though sometimes the best deals are available on the morning of a stay.

Hilton and Marriott are two of the largest hotel chains in the world. Hilton has more than 3,900 properties in 90 countries worldwide, while Marriott has more than 3,700 properties in about 74 countries and territories.

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NY Governor pardons two Caribbean-born ex-cons

From Jamaica Observer

NEW YORK (CMC) – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pardoned two Caribbean-born ex-convicts of robbery and drug charges that threatened their immigration status.

Cuomo, in exercising his seldom used pardon power, granted pardons to Cuban-born, Manhattan architect Antonio Argibay, 62, and Guyanese-born, Queens resident Alvaro Khalil Cumberbatch, 33, saying they’d been “active and engaged” in the community since their release and deserved a clean record.

The positive contributions to society by both of these individuals in the years since their release support the case for justice to be delivered through clemency,” Cuomo said.

Argibay served three years in prison after pleading guilty to drug charges in 1976.

He received his master’s degree from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn while still on parole, and has been a licensed architect in New York for more than 30 years.

Argibay is an active volunteer with Upwardly Global, a non-profit organization that assists immigrants.

“I’m very emotional right now,” said Argibay, a US permanent resident, who runs his own architectural firm in Manhattan. “I’ve been seeking redemption for 39 years.”

Cumberbatch, who lives in Springfield Gardens in Queens, was convicted of robbery in 2003 and after his release in 2010, became involved with prison re-entry organizations and sits on the board of the Alternatives to Violence Project.

Cumberbatch is a married father of two young children and owns his own social media consulting business.

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