THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
REPORT INDICATES THE TEN PERCENT OF JAMAICANS ARE UNDERNOURISHED—12/29/15
According to a report from the United Nations, almost one in ten Jamaican citizens do not receive enough food, in spite of over 20 years of implementing various anti-poverty initiatives. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization report stated that Jamaica joins other Caribbean countries, including the Bahamas, Dominica, Belize, and Trinidad and Tobago, in having undernourishment levels of up to 10 percent of their population. This means that some 200,000 Jamaicans currently live with food deprivation. This figure has remained constant in Jamaica over the years. Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw criticized the government and cited high food prices caused by a 40-percent devaluation of the Jamaican dollar relative to U.S. currency.
MORE JAMAICANS BUY GUNS FOR PROTECTION—12/30/15
The rising murder rate in Jamaica combined with a lack of faith in the country’s security forces has promoted a 14-percent increase in the number of Jamaicans receiving firearm licenses in 2015. Dr. Herbert Gayle, an anthropologist of social violence, cited these factors to explain the trend, also stated that more guns in the hands of citizens could be a “major risk” for creating even more violence. Jamaica’s Fire Arms Licensing Authority (FLA) reported that, up to the end of November 2015, 3,980 gun licenses were issued, which was 489 more than were issued during the same period the previous year. A report from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) showed that 1,192 individuals were killed in 2015, a 20 percent increase over the same period in 2014. Gayle also suggested that the rising ownership of guns be citizens could illustrate their lack of belief that security forces can provide adequate protection.
JAMAICANS INELIGIBLE FOR U.S. DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM—12/31/15
The Diversity Visa Lottery program, which is a program created by the United States government, does not extend to Jamaicans and is available only to citizens of countries that have had fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the past five years. Jamaica is one of a group of nations that does not meet this requirement, as over 50,000 of its citizens have gotten immigrant visas to migrate to the U.S. during that period of time. Some Jamaicans have received bogus emails informing them that they had “won” a diversity visa, but these are definitely fraudulent, and recipients should not respond to them.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
RESTAURANT IN ITALY TO OFFER MARLEY-NAMED HEMP SEED ICE CREAM—12/29/15
An ice cream parlor in Alassio in northern Italy plans to sell hemp seed ice cream inspired by Bob Marley, world-renown reggae artiste. Alassio is a resort town covering about seven square miles and has a population of about 11,000. Partnering with Canapa Ligura, which is known for bringing awareness of the health benefits of hemp, the ice cream parlor created the flavor as a tribute to Marley. Hemp is a variant of the ganja plant and is used chiefly to make fibers and textiles, but it can also be refined into foods, wax, paper, and fuel. The ice cream made from hemp seeds is rich in omega-3 and omega-6, fatty acids believed to have benefits in preventing respiratory illnesses, eczema, acne, high cholesterol and arteriosclerosis. In 2014, Ben & Jerry’s partnered with the 1Love Foundation to create “Satisfy My Bowl” ice cream to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Marley’s “Legends” album. This special edition was sold in northern Europe and featured banana ice cream with caramel, cookie swirls, and chocolate peace signs.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
GLEANER’S SHAREHOLDERS VOTE IN FAVOR OF MERGER—12/31/15
A merger between the Gleaner Company Ltd. and Radio Jamaica Ltd. (RJR) was approved by shareholders of both companies. The merger of the two media businesses is expected to bring financial stability to both entities and preserve Jamaican ownership of the firms as well as their business independence. According to Christopher Barnes, managing director of the Gleaner, these elements will be saved through financial sustainability offered by the merger. Under the agreement, RJR will acquire a percentage of the Gleaner Company, a subsidiary business known as the Gleaner Company (Media) Limited. This entity includes the online, archives and radio content of the 180-year-old newspaper.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
SELECTION OF BRITISH SINGER AS REGGAE ARTISTE OF THE YEAR ANGERS FANS—12/27/15
When Billboard Magazine named Britain’s Joss Stone as 2015’s Reggae Artiste of the Year, it unleashed considerable anger among local fans and reggae’s supporters around the world. Many fans took to social media to vent their outrage at the decision, some calling it an insult to reggae veterans and legends. Stone beat out Bob Marley and the Wailers, who came in second place for the award. Billboard noted that the title is based on record album sales during the year and that Stone’s album “Water for Your Soul” had the highest sales figures for 2015 in the reggae genre.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
WOMEN’S CRICKET CAPTAIN NOMINATED FOR SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR—12/30/15
Jamaica’s Stefanie Taylor, the captain of the West Indies Women’s cricket team, has been nominated for 2015 Sportswoman of the Year, according to the RJR Sports Foundation. The awards ceremony will occur on January 15, 2016, when Taylor joins eight other nominees to vie for the honor. Taylor faces considerable competition as the other nominees include track stars Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson, Sherone Simpson, Elaine Thompson, Danielle Williams , and swimmer Alia Atkinson and boxer Alicia Ashley. Taylor led recently in an ODI home series versus Pakistan with a batting average of 130.50 runs; her team won both the T20 and ODI series. Taylor was also named the Women’s T20 Cricketer of the Year by the International Cricket Council and is the only overseas player chosen for the Sydney Thunder Women at Australia’s inaugural Women’s Big Bash T20 League.