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iNews briefs1SL Anti-Corruption Commissioner says prosecution powers needed

Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commissioner, Joseph Kamara, said last Friday (24) at the University College of the Cayman Islands conference that his country has given its anti-corruption commission all the powers of an independent prosecutor. This was done, he said, in an attempt to stem the tide of massive government maladministration.

This commission can refer criminal cases directly to the court without having to go through the offices of the attorney general. Kamara pointed out the attorney general is often a minister of government.

Medical Tourism Presents Economic Growth Potential For The Caribbean

From South Florida Caribbean News

NEW YORK – The Caribbean region can boost its bottom line by developing a medical tourism product that takes advantage of its brand as a great vacation destination, its proximity to North America as well as its tourism facilities, beaches and of course, the year-round warm weather of the region.

That’s according to Dr. Paul Angelchik, founder of American World Clinics, and Collin Childress, CEO of Global MedChoices. Their comments come as both prepare to discuss the potential of medical tourism for the Caribbean in-depth at a panel at Invest Caribbean Now 2014.

ICN, the biggest global investment summit on the Caribbean outside of the region, is set for the Harvard Club in New York City from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. this June 4th under the patronage of Hollywood Actor Malik Yoba.

“The opportunity for the Caribbean in general is that it carries a positive connotation in the view of many for having friendly people, natural beauty and a reputation as an enjoyable, upscale destination with great visitor amenities in many locations,” commented Dr. Angelchik. “I have no doubt that the Caribbean can be a major region for MT activities if there is follow through on the initial buzz of enthusiasm that has defined the industry to date.”

“Creating the opportunity for economic diversification through introducing a sustainable development and growth industry, such as medical tourism, to the Caribbean can help soften the impact of cyclical North American economic downturns in tourism on the Caribbean market and leverage the supply and demand issues that are driving patient flow offshore from Canada and the US,” added CEO Childress.

In 2011, the total impact of the medical tourism industry contributed 9 percent of global GDP (over $6 trillion USD) and accounted for 255 million jobs in the world. In the next decade, medical tourism is expected to grow by an average yearly of 4 percent, contributing up to 10 percent of future global GDP ($10 trillion). Eventually, by 2022, it is estimated that 328 million jobs will be created in the medical tourism industry: equal to 10 percent of jobs in the world.

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Spinion Ltd is in Cayman to export lionfish

Spinion Exports Ltd., started by the Chicago couple, Maria Yapelli and husband Mike Foreman with local partner Brent Mclean, has been given a trade and business license to operate in the Cayman Islands as fishery, processor and exporter of lionfish food products.

Spinion, Ltd was created with two goals in mind. Develop employment opportunities for native Caymanians and rescue the reef environment from the devastating effects of the invasive lionfish.

The company is located in George Town, Grand Cayman, the processor building will be equipped and have the capacity to act as a fully operational fish processing plant. The company’s exclusive US distributor, Lion’s Den Fish Co., Inc. will sell the fish product in local markets and US markets via direct export.

The lionfish invasion has become a serious environmental issue. Due to the lack of natural predators and the prolific nature of the fish, it is necessary to take action and reduce their population. Spinion, Ltd. intends to build the mechanism for control through infrastructure, training and aggressive harvesting techniques.

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Trinidad police discover burnt remains, may be that of kidnapped victim

From Caribbean360

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday March 24, 2014, CMC – Trinidad and Tobago police are awaiting a forensic report to determine whether or not the burnt remains of a human being found in a forested area in Princess Town, south of here, are that of 29-year-old Devindar Siewdass, who was kidnapped last week.

The abductors are reported to have demanded a two million dollar (One TT dollar =US$0.16 cents) ransom for the release of Siewdass, the son of a businessman, who was last seen last Thursday when he left his home in his vehicle. The vehicle was later found abandoned in Claxton Bay.

On Sunday, members of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit, Southern Division Task Force and Homicide Division (South), supported by helicopters, mounted a search for the missing man.

Six people, including three women, are assisting the police in their investigations.

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Caribbean American Lawmakers Welcome Lawsuit Settlement

From Jamaica Gleaner

At least two Caribbean American legislatures have welcomed an agreement reached in principle with the City of New York and intervening plaintiffs to settle an employment discrimination lawsuit.

The lawsuit involves the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) over its discriminatory hiring practices for Caribbean nationals and other minorities.

United States Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, and New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams, the son of Grenadian immigrants, said they are elated with the agreement.

The settlement will allow Caribbean men and women, among others, who were not hired based on their race to claim US$100 million in back pay and medical benefits that had been denied to them.

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Absconded defendant to be tried in Cayman on abduction charges

Richard Robert Hurlstone, a Honduran national with Caymanian status, is to stand trial for the abduction of a young man (23) in March 2010 and then demanding $500,000 ransom for his return from his mother, although he apparently absconded the Cayman Islands and is in Honduras.

The three other men who were also part of the abduction have already received judgment. Two pleaded guilty and the third was found guilty by a judge alone trial.

Tingyi (Cayman Islands) annual profit drops amid absence of prior-year gain

From RTT News

Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp. Monday said full year profit attributable to owners of the companyd ropped to $408.54 million from $458.62 million in the previous year. Earnings per share slid to 7.28 cents from 8.17 cents. Prior-year results have been restated.

Excluding a gain on bargain purchase in 2012, profit attributable to owners of the company climbed to $408.54 million from $363.68 million.

Turnover increased to $10.94 billion from $9.21 billion in the prior year. According to the company, sales growth of both instant noodle business and beverage business was higher than market growth.

The board recommended the payment of a final dividend of 3.65 US cents per share. Total amount of final dividend for the year 2013 will be $204 million.

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O2Micro Revises First Quarter 2014 Financial Guidance

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman, March 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — O(2) Micro(R) International Limited (Nasdaq:OIIM), a global leader in the design, development and marketing of high-performance integrated circuits and solutions, today revised its guidance for the first quarter of 2014. The company now expects its first quarter revenue to be in the range of $15.5 million to $16.5 million, versus previous guidance of $17.8 million to $19.1 million. In addition, gross margin for the first quarter is now expected to be approximately 49% to 51%.

The reduction in anticipated revenue for the first quarter is primarily the result of weakness in TV and notebook markets, as well as delays in mass production of several major general lighting programs. We do expect the delayed general lighting programs to ramp in the second quarter of 2014 and remain very optimistic regarding the rapid growth of our general lighting and other power management businesses.

Sterling Du, Chairman and CEO of O(2) Micro commented, “We are disappointed by the soft demand in our business in the first quarter. This is a result of weaker than anticipated seasonal demand in our backlighting and power management business units and production delays in certain applications of LED general lighting products. Despite weaker than anticipated first quarter revenue, we still expect to grow overall revenue year-over-year from 2013 levels.”

No conference call will be held in conjunction with this financial guidance update. Additional information will be available when the Company reports its first quarter results prior to market open on April 30, 2014.

Caribbean hotel occupancy falls

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Caribbean hotel occupancy dropped by 0.1 percent in February, according to the latest Caribbean Trend report from hotel analytics firm STR.

Caribbean hotel occupancy finished February at 77.3, a 0.1 percent drop from the same period in 2013.

As a point of reference, Caribbean hotel occupancy improved by 3.7 percent in February of 2013 compared to the previous year.

Average daily rates increased by 6.5 percent, however, rising to $240.34 per night, while revenue per available room (RevPar) improved 6.3 percent to $185.86 last month.

The slow growth in February came after a relatively strong January that saw a 2.4 percent increase in hotel occupancy in the region.

STR’s data surveyed 1,885 hotel properties comprising 225,507 rooms in the Caribbean region, including Bermuda.

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HCI-linked Cayman reinsurer seeks $30mn from Nasdaq listing

From Trading Risk

Cayman Islands start-up reinsurer Oxbridge Reinsurance intends to raise up to $29.75mn from an IPO on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market, according to regulatory filings.

Oxbridge Re launched in April 2013 to write medium-frequency property catastrophe risk on a collateralised basis, after raising $6.7mn from a private placement.

The company filed its IPO plans with the Nasdaq exchange in January and hopes to raise between $8.5mn and $29.75mn from the offering.

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Drug lord ‘El Chapo’ Guzman captured in Mexico

From Fox News

U.S. and Mexican authorities captured the world’s most powerful drug lord at a hotel in Mazatlan, Mexico [at the end of last month] after a massive search through the home state of the man whose global organization is the leading supplier of cocaine to the United States.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, 56, looked pudgy, bowed and much like his wanted photos when he arrived in Mexico City from Mazatlan in Sinaloa state. He was marched by masked marines across the airport tarmac to a helicopter waiting to whisk him to jail.

Guzman was arrested by the Mexican marines at 6:40 a.m. [on Sat 22 Feb] in a high-rise condominium fronting the Pacific. He was caught with an unidentified woman, said one official not authorized to be quoted by name, who added that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Marshals Service were “heavily involved” in the capture.

Guzman faces multiple federal drug trafficking indictments in the U.S. and is on the DEA’s most-wanted list. His drug empire stretches throughout North America and reaches as far away as Europe and Australia. His cartel has been heavily involved in the bloody drug war that has torn through parts of Mexico for the last several years.

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Symantec shunts CEO Steve Bennett, names Michael Brown Interim Head – Update

From RTT news

Security software maker Symantec Corp (SYMC: Quote) Wednesday shunted out its Chief Executive Officer Steve Bennett and named Michael Brown as interim president and CEO.

The company did not divulge any reason for the removal of Bennett but said its priority is to find a leader who can drive propel innovation and growth at the company.

The announcement sent Symantec shares tumbling 9 percent in after-hours trade on the Nasdaq.

In a statement, Symantec said the exit of Bennett follows an ongoing deliberative process and was not due to any event or impropriety. Bennett also resigned from the Symantec board.

Symantec said a special committee of the board will begin the search for a permanent CEO.

Incoming CEO Brown joined the Symantec board after its merger with Veritas Software in July 2005.

Earlier Brown served as chairman and CEO of Quantum Corp and more recently has been a board chairman and CEO coach for technology firms prior to their acquisitions, including EqualLogic and Echo Nest.

Brown also will remain on the Symantec board, but will cease to serve on its Compensation and Leadership Development Committee or Nominating and Governance Committee.

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Cayman’s DoE monitoring spawning sites

Cayman Islands Department of Environment is using a transducer to monitor reef fish spawning sites in order to effectively manage and preserve them. The transducer is able to be employed in hard to rwach areas.

A transducer is an electronic device that converts energy from one form to another. Common examples include microphones, loudspeakers, thermometers, position and pressure sensors, and antenna. Although not generally thought of as transducers, photocells, LEDs (light-emitting diodes), and even common light bulbs are transducers.

The one used in the spawning areas where the reef fish reproduce uses the sound to create a picture.

Tuberculosis, a major cause of death in L.Am and Caribbean                                 

Washington, Mar 23 (Prensa Latina) Tuberculosis is still a major cause of death in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a report from the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

In 2012, the region reported nearly 220,000 cases and some 19,000 deaths due to tuberculosis. In addition, some 60,000 people were not diagnosed or reported on time, while the spreading of multi-resistant tuberculosis is one of the major challenges being faced by health authorities, as well as patents infected with both tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.

This situation not only jeopardizes the lives of those who suffer the disease, but also perpetuates its transmission and creates socio-economic problems for patients and their communities, says the document.

Tuberculosis is a transmissible disease whose prevalence increases in vulnerable populations in the big cities and marginal neighborhoods, where people live crammed and drinking water and sanitation are poor, and there is little or no access to healthcare services.

The disease is curable, but can be lethal if not treated properly.


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