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CARIBBEAN NEWS SUMMARY for the week ending September 27th, 2013

27 Sep

NICARAGUA WANTS MORE OCEAN TERRITORY—09/21/13
Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua, is pushing for more territory in the Caribbean Sea and has appealed to the International Court of Justice, angering the country’s neighbors. Colombia has been especially critical of Ortega’s actions, saying that the new claims are “excessive” and stating that it would defend itself against “unfounded pretensions” of Nicaragua. Ortega has asked for boundary change that would give his country about 150 nautical miles beyond what the court provided in November 2013.

U.S. SENATOR WANTS INVESTIGATION OF CARIBBEAN SCHOOLS—09/22/13
United States Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois wants an investigation of for-profit medical schools in the Caribbean region that are allowed access to U.S. federal student loans but that may have standards below those established for medical schools in the U.S. The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and the Ross University School of Medicine have accepted many students that were previously turned down by medical schools in the U.S. Durbin is concerned that these students take on more debt that those in the U.S. and have a higher dropout rate. Schools in the Caribbean received some $450 million in U.S. student loans for the year ending in June 2012.

BOLIVIAN PRESIDENT CRITICIZES U.S. FOR HANDLING OF MADURO TRAVEL—09/23/13
Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, is calling an emergency meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States following difficulties arising from the handling by the United States of first denying then allowing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to travel over U.S. airspace in the Caribbean.  U.S. authorities initially denied Maduro’s aircraft the right to cross Puerto Rican airspace.

ST.KITTS MARKS 30 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE—09/24/13
St. Kitts is celebrating 30 years of independence and is enjoying the investments and tourism revenues that support its economy. The island federation totals just 68 square miles and is 18 miles long and five miles wide, but it has a rich history and popular beaches. It has been known as a “hidden gem” among travelers and receives many tourists from cruise ships as it becomes more popular.

BIG DROP IN HIV/AIDS INFECTION RATE IN CARIBBEAN—09/25/13
The Caribbean is leading the world in reducing the number of new infections of HIV/AIDS. A report from the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS states that an estimated 2.3 million adults and children were newly infected with the disease in 2012, a 33-percent decrease in yearly new cases compared with 2001. Availability of treatment and the prevention of transmission from mother to child are the chief contributors to the reduction.

MORE PRIVATE BUSINESSES, NEW REGULATIONS APPROVED BY CUBA—09/26/13
Cuba is expanding the private economy of the country. New rules announced under President Raul Castro are allowing 18 new categories of independent employment under his economic reforms. Most notable of the newly permitted private professions are real estate agents, who have previously been operating outside the law. This brings the number of approved independent job activities to 199.

LAWMAKERS CONSIDER DECRIMINALIZING MARIJUANA—09/24/13
Jamaican lawmakers are debating whether to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use by adults on the island. Many local residents have expressed their dissatisfaction with existing drug laws. While no bill has been drafted and no vote is currently scheduled on the issue, it has becoming a topic increasingly discussed among Jamaicans. Some supporters of the policy believe marijuana could become a driving force to improve the nation’s poor economy.

BUSINESSWOMAN IN JAMAICA CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING—09/25/13
Hermalinda Parker, a Jamaican businesswoman, has been charged by law enforcement with facilitating human trafficking. Parker was charged along with her daughter Liz Scantibury and her husband Anthony Parker by the Organized Crime Investigation Division (OCID) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. She has also been charged with human trafficking and withholding passports. The charges stem from a trip to Guyana Parker made in May 2010 where she convinced the family of a teenage girl to allow her to come on a trip to Jamaica. On arrival, the girl was forced to become a dancer at a nightclub, and according to prosecutors, forced into prostitution as well.

NETBALLERS DONATE HISTORICAL MAP TO JAMAICA’S NATIONAL LIBRARY—09/26/13
Jamaica’s Under-21 basketball team has made a donation of an 18-century map of Jamaica to the National Library. Marva Bernard, President of Netball Jamaica, and members of the Junior Sunshine Girls team plan to attend the official event scheduled to present the map to the library. The map was a gift to the national team by Professor Emeritus Godfrey Palmer of Heriot Watt University n Edinburgh, Scotland. Palmer is a proud Jamaican who attended the third-place play-off game of the World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow, where the Junior Sunshine Girls beat England 52-33 and won the bronze medal.

CONCERNS EXPRESSED ABOUT SECURITY DURING DIGICEL 5K NIGHT RUN/WALK—09/27/13
The Digicel Foundation will sponsor the second annual 5K Night Run/Walk, and organizers are paying close attention to security after several incidents of violence recently occurred in downtown Kingston. According to Judine Hunter, program manager for special needs at the foundation, there are some concerns and everyone is working to ensure that the event will be safe and injury-free. The run/walk is meant to raise funds for the support of special-needs schools and institutions in Jamaica. Digicel hopes to add to the $100 million the special needs sector has raised to date.

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