THIS WEEK’S TOP NEWS STORIES
COVID-19 CURFEW EXTENDED IN JAMAICA TO JANUARY 31, 2021
Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness has decided to extend the existing islandwide curfew until January 31, 2021, to help stem the spread of the disease. During the extended curfew period, the Minister will continue to assess the degree of disease spread that occurred during the holiday season. The curfew begins at 10 pm every night and lasts until 5 am in the morning. Other COVID-19 restrictions will also remain in effect until the end of January 2021, including the prohibition of parties and events and public gatherings of more than 15 people, and those related to travel, burials, and weddings.
PRIVATE LABS IN JAMAICA NOW EQUIPPED WITH ANTIGEN TESTING KITS
The Ministry of Health and Wellness in Jamaica has provided 30,000 antigen test kits to six private laboratories in support of the nation’s COVID-19 testing efforts. The Ministry’s actions presented an example of a public-private partnership designed to facilitate testing. The 30,000 SD Biosensor test kits will be put into service on Monday, January 18, 2021, pending arrival of their own supplies, at Microlabs Limited, Biomedical, MDLink, Winchester Medical, Technological Solutions Limited, and Baywest Wellness. The Health Ministry is also working with another four private entities to provide PCR testing, the top-of-the-line COVID-19 test, within two to four weeks.
THIS WEEK’S TOP CARIBBEAN NEWS
NEW MUSIC ALBUM FEATURING BIRD SOUNDS TO BENEFIT NONPROFIT CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS
ShikaShika announced $30,000 has been raised from a new music album that features the sounds of endangered Caribbean birds. These funds will benefit the conservation efforts of four nonprofit organizations. The album, “A Guide to the Birdsong of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean” was released online in June of 2020. The nonprofits BirdsCaribbean and three other organizations in the tropics will receive financial assistance from the sale of the album and music merchandise. BirdsCaribbean is an international network of individuals and partners committed to saving the region’s birds and their habitats. The album has 10 tracks that fuse music and birdsong as the recorded artists incorporated the songs and calls of endangered birds into their musical compositions. A podcast available in English and Spanish has been launched by ShikaShika in support of the fundraising efforts as well.
THIS WEEK’S TOP JAMAICAN DIASPORA NEWS
SIR HILARY BECKLES TO RECEIVE 2021 MARTIN LUTHER KING AWARD
Sir Hilary Beckles, the vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies has received the prestigious Martin Luther King Award for 2021. His award was announced by the Reverend Al Sharpton, the president and founder of the US National Action Network (NAN), and will be presented on Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 2021, at an annual breakfast event in Washington DC. This will be the 30th anniversary of the awards, which celebrate the work of Dr. King and honor individuals supporting social justice, institutional equity, and economic development in marginalized and oppressed populations. Sir Hilary’s award recognizes his international advocacy, academic scholarship, and intellectual leadership performed in support of social justice, equity, and economic development. Along with Sir Hilary, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19 in the US will receive the Lifetime Community Service Award.
THIS WEEK’S TOP BUSINESS NEWS
CHINA-BASED FIRM HUAWEI CITES SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS TO JAMAICA’S ECONOMY
Huawei, the global technology firm, is emphasizing its significant contribution to Jamaica’s economy in response to criticism by the outgoing United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Donald Tapia, who has made numerous negative allegations against the China-based company. His allegations have targeted the roll-out of a 5G network for Jamaica. Huawei has responded by disclosing the extent of its contributions to the local island economy since 2018. The firm invested US$27 million in Jamaica’s economy during the period between 2018 and 2020 and has paid US$5 million in taxes. Huawei also provides services to the major telecoms in Jamaica, Flow and Digicel. It employs 40 full-time workers, 80 percent of which are Jamaicans and employs about 300 Jamaicans directly and indirectly overall. It also sponsors the Seeds for the Future program that has benefitted 42 Jamaican engineering and technology students with training in China.
THIS WEEK’S TOP ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
SOUNDTRACK OF NEW NETFLIX THRILLER INCLUDES KOFFEE, CHRONIXX
“Fatale,” a new thriller from Netflix, is highlighting reggae music with its inclusion of Jamaican hitmakers Koffee and Chronixx to its soundtrack. The film stars Michael Ealy and Hilary Swank and tells the story of an ex-basketball player who has become a success in business and whose life is impacted by his one-night stand with a detective. The thriller was released in December of 2020. The soundtrack includes “Toast” by Koffee and “Eternal Light,” a collaboration between Chronixx and Free Nationals, are featured. Both Koffee and Chronixx are listed in the film’s credits as writers; Koffee is also listed as a performer.
THIS WEEK’S TOP SPORTS NEWS
JAMAICAN GOVERNMENT MOVES TOWARD SAFE RESUMPTION OF SPORTS
According to Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, announced that the government will hold a series of meetings with the nation’s sporting associations to identify when various sports can resume some activities safely in the light of COVID-19. Grange met with Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness, to emphasize the importance of resuming sports in a safe manner and to recommit to the rapid finalization of general protocols for sports activities that balance health, well being, and safety.