THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
8 JAMAICANS EXTRADITED TO NORTH DAKOTA ON LOTTERY FRAUD CHARGES
The United States Attorney for North Dakota announced that eight Jamaicans are in custody, having been extradited from their country to face lottery scam charges. These individuals were arrested n Jamaica over a year ago. They are among 14 people charged with wire and mail fraud and money laundering in an investigation known as “Operation Hard Copy.” According to the charges, the scam stole over $5.7 million from at least 90 US residents, most of the elderly people.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER PRESENTS FLOOD DAMAGE BILL
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has presented a bill to address flood damage caused by recent 48-hour period of heavy rains. The bill will provide $492 million for flood damage. Clarendon, the parish most affected by the floods, has returned a bill amounting to $86.3 million. The National Works Agency has reported that damage to the main road network over ten parishes will cost $352 million to repair. According to McKenzie, the effect of the flooding on residents and communities continues to be assessed. Spokesman on Local Government Noel Arscott says authorities must take rapid action to improve the drainage system on the island in the wake of the rain damage.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
INTERNET BROWSING IN CUBA TO IMPROVE THANKS TO GOOGLE
Cubans will soon be able to access the internet much faster as technology information company Google becomes the first foreign internet firm to establish servers in the country. While the company’s project will not raise internet access in Cuba, it will make the browsing experience much faster for those who currently have online access. Google’s servers in Cuba will store popular content locally, which will make it easier for people in the country to watch YouTube videos. Internet users in Cuba currently rely on a long-distance cable that connects to the country through Venezuela. An agreement between Cuba and Google to improve internet speeds was signed in December 2016.
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THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY TO TAKE OVER DIASPORA MAPPING PROJECT
The Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will take over the database that has been created via the online Diaspora Mapping initiative. The government will take ownership now that the project, which was designed to collect the location, interests and skills of Diaspora members, has ended. The project was funded by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and implemented in partnership with the Ministry. According to Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, the Cabinet has approved the signing of an agreement for the takeover of the database’s ownership.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS SUMMARY
HOTEL CLOSED BY EXPLOSION REOPENS
The RIU Reggae Hotel in St. James reopened after an explosion that killed one work and inured four others. Omar Robinson, the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA), said the hotel was ready for business after repairs were made and the St James Municipal Corporation and the Jamaica Fire Brigade completed their inspections of the property. The damage was caused when a boiler pump in a chiller room exploded. Sederhori McIntosh, 27, the maintenance manager, died of his injuries after being taken to the hospital with the other affected workers.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
PAINTING FROM 18TH CENTURY BRINGS US$80,000 AT AUCTION
A painting by Jamaican-born Samuel Felsted, who was born in 1743 and died in 1802, sold at an auction at Freeman’s, the oldest auction house in the United States, for US$80,000 (JS10 million). The National Gallery of Jamaica had made a bid on the painting based on an estimated value of between US$10,000 and 15,000, but it was outbid quickly. The painting, which was titled “A North-East View of the House of Mr. Emanuel Lousada, Kingston, Jamaica,” was painted in 1778. An unidentified individual on the floor at the auction won the bid. According to Freeman’s, Felsted’s father was an English merchant, ironmonger and organist who came to Jamaica in the 1730s. Felsted himself was born in Jamaica and was a property owner by the age of 19. He married Maria Laurence, a plantation owner’s daughter, and they had eight children.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
DAWSON LOBBIES FOR INTRODUCTION OF MIXED RELAY IN JAMAICA
Patrick Dawson, who coached Jamaica’s 4×400 meter mixed team at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas, believes that the event should be introduced at local island track and field meets. The IAAF team from Jamaica comprised Javere Bell, Ristanana Tracey, Natoya Goule and Jamari Rose and ran the distance in 3 minutes and 20.26 seconds. This won the team a bronze medal. The Bahamas took gold, and the United States took the silver. Dawson believes this is the right time to introduce the event to Jamaica at Boys and Girls Champs, then to the senior level. Dawes said the competition was the most exciting of the events at the World Relays.