THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
JAMAICA STRENGTHENS LAWS TO FIGHT SERIOUS CRIME
Jamaica’s House of Representatives passed amendments made by the country’s Senate to the Law of Legal Reforms. These amendments are designed to impose stronger regulations against serious crime through the Zones of Special Operations and Special Security and Community Development Measures. They empower the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). and the Jamaican Defense Force (JDF) and emphasize their obligation to follow the rule of law and protect citizens’ basic freedoms. The amendments give the joint security force members the power to search people, vehicles and sites without a warrant as well, especially if authorities suspect a crime has been or is about to be committed. Additionally, the law gives the JCF and JDF the go-ahead to define areas in which curfews will apply.
HOLNESS ORDERS AUDIT AND CAP OF MINISTERS’ CELLPHONE BILLS
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, facing an $8 million cellphone bill racked up by the nation’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw, has ordered an audit of the cellphone bills of all junior and senior ministers, with the application of a cap on these bills to come. Holness described the situation as “unacceptable” and gave his order at an impromptu meeting with Cabinet Ministers. The review was prompted by disclosure of an unusually high bill run up by Shaw disclosed by Radio Jamaica. Shaw issued an apology on a radio interview in which he explained that most of the bill resulted from data usage he was unaware of while roaming or conducting business overseas. Holness has directed the Finance Ministry to determine an appropriate amount for a cap amount to be paid by each minister for his/her cellphone usage.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
TOURIST IN ST. MAARTEN KILLED BY JET BLAST
A woman from New Zealand was killed after she was hit by a jet blast on the island of St. Maarten. The woman, 57 years of age, died on July 12, 2017, when the blast of a plane taking off threw her back against a wall at Princess Juliana International Airport. Police stated that she was transported to a hospital with serious injuries and died shortly after arrival. She was with several other individuals who were holding onto a fence located along the runway, less than 200 feet from the beach. Clinging to the fence to feel the blast of aircraft as they take off is popular tourist activity in St. Maarten, but it is extremely dangerous. Signs discourage tourists from taking part in this activity, said Ricardo Henson, spokesperson for the police, but many people come just to experience the thrill of this “main attraction,” and while many have been injured as a result, this was the first time anyone was killed.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
COOKING CHALLENGE TO PIT NEW YORK’s DE BLASIO AGAINST JAMAICA’S HANNA
The organizers of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival announced a potential contest between the Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio and Jamaica’s former Miss World title holder and Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna. The two could compete in the Celebrity Quick-Fire Challenge at the 7th annual festival, which is scheduled for July 23, 2017, at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York. Mayor de Blasio has won the competition twice, defeating Miss Jamaica Universe 2014 Kaci Fennell and the actor Leon from the “Cool Runnings” film. He has said he plans to compete against Lisa Hanna to defend his title in 2017. Lisa Hanna has been called a “modern day renaissance woman” who is a black-belt karate instructor and was the youngest member of Jamaica’s Parliament when she was elected in 2007. She served as Minister of Youth and Culture from 2012 to 2016 and has been praised for her culinary skills.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
JAMAICAN SCIENTIST MAKES BREAKTHROUGH WITH LEUKEMIA DRUG
Jamaica’s Dr. Henry Lowe and his research team have developed a drug that treats acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The drug has been given an “orphan drug” designation by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Lowe describes the situation as “historic” and believes it offers the potential for Jamaica to earn over US$250 million within three years in the US market alone.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
JAMAICAN BAND FIRST TO ENTER CANNABIS MARKET WITH OWN STRAIN
Raging Fyah, a Grammy-nominated reggae band, looked at the statistics provided in an article about the marijuana industry featured in Forbes magazine and decided to become “ganjapreneurs.” According to Forbes, the marijuana industry is projected to create more jobs than the manufacturing sector by 2020. Additionally, the legal cannabis market was valued at an estimated $7.2 billion in 2016. Sales in North America alone are projected to rise to more than $20.2 billion by 2021. Kumar Bent, lead singer of Raging Fyah, noted that this is a million-dollar industry that provides many job opportunities and health benefits. He hopes that the Jamaican government is willing to consider the country’s future in the legal marijuana market. Raging Fyah is the first Jamaican band to invest in the ganja industry with their indica-dominant Kush strain, which is named “Raging Fyah’s Everlasting Kush.” The band signed a deal with Elite Organics in Colorado to create a line of herb products and seeds of the strain for sale. It was named after their Grammy-nominated album “everlasting.”
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICA, MEXICO TIE AT CONCACAF GOLD CUP PLAY
In Group C play at the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament in Denver, Colorado, Jamaica and Mexico played to a draw with a score of 0-0 on July 13, 2017, remaining on track to advance to the knockout round. Neither one of the teams could break through before a crowd of over 49,000 fans, the biggest crowd in history at watch a match at Sports Authority Field. Mexico was viewed as the favorite going into the match.