The 23-year-old woman is 14 weeks pregnant and hasn’t left her room since the rape. Abortions are not permitted for cases of rape on Nauru
The firing of cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea is the latest testimony to Putin’s grasp over Nato, but domestic appetite for war will soon dwindle
If Vladimir Putin’s game plan has been repeatedly to surprise the west and keep it off balance, it is working.
Just like their leaders at the UN general assembly last week, Nato’s defence ministers gathering in Brussels on Thursday have found themselves scrambling to come up with a response to the latest Russian move – in this case, the firing of cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea in yet another escalation of the war in Syria.
The scale of Putin’s intervention in Syria has certainly caught western capitals unawares. What appears to be unfolding goes beyond stabilising Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It looks like an effort, in coordination with Syrian and Iranian-backed ground troops, to inflict a lasting military defeat on the rebel coalition which had succeeded in carving out a growing patch of territory in the north-east.
Although conducted under the banner of a campaign against Islamic State, the evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of Russian targets have been non-Isis groups, some of them supported by the US, others by Turkey and the Gulf states.
Nato finds itself a bystander in all this. American support for the rebels is tentative and militarily insignificant. As the Nato meeting began, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was ready to send troops to protect its southern flank in Turkey. But the rhetoric papers over deeper contradictions inside Nato. In recent months, Turkey’s allies, the US and Germany, actually withdrew Patriot anti-aircraft batteries, in part in protest at the Turkish government’s targeting of Kurdish armed groups inside Syria, seen by the west as a bulwark against Damascus and Isis.
In another sign that Nato is reacting to uncertainty created by Putin, the UK defence secretary, Michael Fallon, announced that 100 British soldiers would be deployed in the Baltic states. It is a relatively low-cost way to maintain close ally status with Washington, like the offer of British peacekeepers made at the UN last week, and will see the British company going to the Baltic take part in a US-German military training initiative. But, following the Russian annexation of Crimea and covert intervention in eastern Ukraine, it shows Nato has acted to reassure the Baltic states that they are not second-class members and that the alliance will stand up for them.
For the Kremlin, keeping Nato guessing may be an end in itself. Springing surprises puts Putin at the centre of the world stage, the dramatic actor to whom the world is forced to react. This has a narcotic affect on Russian domestic opinion, helped by lots of video footage and graphics of missiles blasting off from ships and travelling hundreds of miles to pinpoint supposedly terrorist targets. In a new poll, 72% of Russian respondents declare themselves in favour of the Syrian adventure.
Wars fought for domestic consumption are, however, inherently unstable. They require constant novelty and reports of new triumphs, which are hard to pull off in the real world. Having rallied supporters in eastern Ukraine to the Novorossiya flag, Putin has put the insurgency on hold amid a rising death toll among Russian soldiers who were not officially supposed to be there. The Ukrainian campaign only solidified Nato and gave it a new sense of purpose.
The war in Syria also threatens to backfire, for all the reasons that the US has sought to stay out. To the Sunni world, Russia looks like it has taken sides, uniting all the disparate rebel groups in a shared hatred of its “occupation”, and inspiring jihadis the world over to turn their eyes towards Moscow. Backing Assad to the bitter end is a strategy that is likely to suck Russia deeper into a war it cannot afford with an economy shrinking 4% a year.
Standing by and watching Russia self-harm also carries costs for the west . The bombardment of rebel-held areas around Idlib and Aleppo will boost the outflow of refugees, and put off the prospect of local ceasefires gradually dampening down the wider conflict. The chance of a collision or shootdown between Russian, Turkish, US or other Nato war planes continues to mount, as does the risk of an escalating proxy war. Putin’s mastery of surprise has put him in the driving seat, but there is little sign so far he knows where he’s going.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has made an extraordinary appearance on prime time German television to deliver a spirited defence of her open door migrant policy, insisting that it was her “damned duty” to help refugees and that stopping the intake was an illusion.
Ms Merkel chose to answer growing criticism of policies which have allowed an estimated 300,000 refugees to enter Germany over the past month, by appearing as the sole guest on a political chat show chaired by Germany’s ARD television channel journalist Anne Will.
The Chancellor said that as head of a Christian party she refused to take part in a “competition” to discover “those who are the most unfriendly to refugees, will stop them coming in”. She added: “ We cannot close our borders, we have got a 3,000 kilometre long frontier. We would have to build a fence. There is no such thing as a stop to the intake.”
Ms Merkel described the predominantly Syrian and Afghan refugees arriving in Germany as “people who are running for their lives.” She added: “I am proud that we are giving a friendly welcome to refugees,” and insisted that taking them was her “damned duty.”
Her unusually candid remarks met with a deluge of approval online. Even Germany’s normally critical Der Spiegel magazine online site described Ms Merkel’s televised response to the crisis as one of the “most honest” of her political career.
The Chancellor’s TV appearance was her latest bid to show that she had regained control of a refugee crisis which many in Germany claim has run out of control. Unconfirmed government reports have suggested that the country will take in a total of 1.5 million refugees this year – nearly double the original estimate.
On Tuesday, Ms Merkel announced that she was effectively taking personal control of the influx by setting up a refugee crisis unit in her Chancellery which would co-ordinate her government’s efforts to contain the situation.
Recent opinion polls suggest that public enthusiasm for Ms Merkel’s stance is waning and that 59 per cent of Germans now think that it was wrong to open the doors to refugees. A majority now want the influx stopped.
Bavaria, the southern German state which has borne the brunt of the refugee intake has complained repeatedly that it is being overwhelmed by refugees. The state’s conservative government threatened yesterday to send back migrants crossing into Bavaria from Austria even if this meant breaking the law.
There has also been a surge in far right protests against the influx. On Wednesday some 8,000 people attended the third anti-migrant rally in as many weeks in the eastern city of Erfurt. The protest was organised by the xenophobic Alternative for Germany party. Polls suggest the AfD currently commands around 7 percent of the vote.
Currently, all other nationalities which require a visa prior to visit the Cayman Islands can obtain only single-entry permission, or permission to enter multiple times within a one-year, three-year or five-year fixed period.
A Cabinet directive was issued recently to Cayman’s chief immigration officer to add the 10-year visitor visa for Jamaicans only.
“Recognising the unique relationship between Jamaica and Cayman … [this] is an initiative aimed at strengthening our ability to adequately facilitate legitimate visitor travel for qualified Jamaican nationals without jeopardising operations or processes relative to border control,” Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush said.
The change in visitor visa rules does not affect the 30-day limit in place for most visitors who do not own property in Cayman. It will also not affect requirements for any non-Caymanians, Jamaican or otherwise, to obtain work permits before they can be gainfully employed in the islands.
Historical and cultural ties between Cayman and Jamaica date back centuries to when the Cayman Islands were part of the British colony of Jamaica. Though Jamaica gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, Cayman eventually opted to remain under the British flag. Jamaican workers have long been the most populous foreign nationality in the Cayman Islands, and many Caymanian families can trace their heritage to Jamaica.
Under the previous United Democratic Party Government, requirements for Jamaican nationals to acquire visas were softened to exclude travelers younger than 15 and older than 70.
In recent years, the number of Jamaican work permit holders had declined steadily from a high point of about 12,000 in 2007. However, in 2015 the islands seemed to buck that trend as the local economy began growing again. This year marks the first time since 2009 that the number of Jamaican work permit holders in the Cayman Islands has exceeded 9,000 at any given time.
The numbers may represent a natural progression due to an overall increase in work permit holders in Cayman within the past year. According to Immigration department records, there are now around 22,000 non-Caymanians on work permits here.
However, honorary Jamaican consul Dr Joe Marzouca believes there is more to it.
“[Cayman has] been using a lot of people from further lands,” Dr Marzouca said. “It’s always easier to hire people that are closer.”
JAMAICA Observer online readers have weighed in on Tuesday’s incident in Parliament which saw members of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party staging a walkout during a heated discussion over the now controversial United Kingdom prison deal. Here are some edited comments:
Perfect fodder for election posturing!
Rational thinking has evaded Bunting; he has been goaded politically by the Opposition and therefore lost all his (believed positivity) presentation. Ladies and gentlemen, we now see his ego comes before common sense. The question is: what does the Jamaican people save, this is a lose-lose prison-gate for the people of Jamaica, and sure enough, a stupid contemplation by Bunting that will have a telling effect on the upcoming election? Prison is a deterrent, however, the conditions are bad, but why compound it by having more dangerous felons mixed with our bonehead murderers? Then the cost, the maintenance, and dumping of England’s responsibility, without the cash. We think the British PM has been insulting and insensitive to a struggling country going down daily with crime as an albatross, suffocating any meaningful gains Jamaica may have. It’s a rotten deal, renegotiate and come again. Have sense, Peter, it’s wrong for Jamaica.
@Neutral Justice: So what is the rationale? Allow the Brits to deport the prisoners leaving us to foot their rehab bill, while allowing our dilapidated prison infrastructure to continue to operate well below UN and international standards? We have foolish pride when it comes to accepting Jamaican criminals from other countries, but none with regards to how we treat our home-grown miscreants.
@Neutral Justice: Commonsense is sense not common and it would be a “travesty of justice” to accuse Mr Bunting of having common sense. The minister is clearly a “square peg in a round hole”.
@Neutral Justice: Did it ever occur to you that it is not everybody who is in prison is a violent person?
Send them outside like the two primary schoolboys that they are! Let them duke it out in the schoolyard! BTW, won’t the appointment of this special select committee all be “yes men” to the people who appoint them? In that case, we should have a national referendum on this huge issue.
@PhilT McNasty: Of course you need to have a special committee. Do you think that the entire £25 million would be used for prison? Friends and families, sorry, I mean consultants need to eat a food too.
@PhilT McNasty: We have quite a few issues that need a referendum… we could have one ‘massive referendum’. The dinosaurs are afraid of this because it would see the back of some of them. LOL!
We need a prison, however we cannot allow this government to just go ahead and willfully make a commitment to another government without ensuring that all other arguments are taken into consideration. As for Bunting, what was obvious in the session was that he was stumped by Holness’ claims and had no counterargument and proceeded to get personal… lame, Mr Bunting, very lame…to the man with the failed portfolio.
@ragga guru: You are talking foolishness. Andrew’s arrogance is taking him nowhere, he obviously does not have the facts correct but want to assert himself as though he is an authority on the matter. That was the same problem that caused the court to rule against him as it related to him demanding that his senators sign letters in violation of the Jamaican Constitution.
@ragga guru: This is the reason why transparency is important when governments are making important decisions that affect the country as a whole.
Yes, this is what Jamaica needs, right? SMDH. Carry on PNP, mash up the country.
Gotta love it when our “leaders” act like spoiled six-year-olds. Boo hoo, Andrew; did the man upset you?
@ Patrick Greenwood: Read the article again, maybe you will see that Andrew was asking questions in the interest of all Jamaicans. Bunting got personal and would not provide the MOU for the country to see. For once, forget about JLP or PNP, and focus on Jamaica.
@ Patrick Greenwood: I believe Jamaica is even more upset than Mr Holness. How can you debate a MOU for which the contents are not known… booboo? What is there to debate booboo?
I think the PNP takes us for idiots. To suggest that the legislative framework must be in place before the agreement can be signed is nonsense. I take you to the IMF agreement, where as part of this agreement certain legislative work, ie, new laws must be drafted at specific points in the agreement.
Did we wait to have those laws enacted before the agreement was signed? Peter, don’t get me started.
The UK government has been very clear and forthright to its citizens so far, they have said exactly how much will be saved by this deal. Contrast that with what we get from local politicians. Gosh, I am so angry with these people! Please call the elections!
Bunting should be sidelined and REMOVED from GORDON HOUSE. He is rude and uncouth.
@ fatherforesight; And leave Andrew?
@Fatherforesight: Mr Bunting did everything right today in the House of Parliament. Mr Holness should not be talking that way to the minister. There is protocol to be followed, so to me Holness was acting like a bully, and when he did not have his way, he walked out of Parliament.
@Purelifenilla: But, the ‘tom’ never walked out when his imperial master disrespected parliament!
Mr Bunting is an arrogant egotistical person who, without doubt, is the worst minister of national security the country has ever had. He should be dismissed and then he could go back into his private sector business. Answer the question for the people of Jamaica who, if you did not know or realise, you work for.
The thing is there are too many “unknowns” about this deal. Where is the next 40% going to come from? How will the prisoners be identified? Jamaican born? Of Jamaican parents? Or all Jamaicans in UK prisons? Will it be a dumping ground a ‘send every Jamaican in jail in the UK come’ type of thing?
@Jamaican Thoughts: Correction: Not 40 per cent but 60 per cent. The £25 million is $40 per cent of the cost of building the prison. Jamaica will have to find the other 60 per cent.
Children at play! How does Holness know the arrangement is not in the best interest of Jamaica if he does not yet know the terms? Wouldn’t it have been better to hear what the minister had to say and responded, rather than walking out?
@CArlton Reynolds: You are absolutely right.
@CArlton Reynolds: The minister has a responsibility to inform the public of the contents of the MOU. Based on the report he has refused to make known the contents of the MOU. Is this another “secret MOU”?. We all know what secret MOUs have cost us in the past.
Hugh Faulkner — executive director of the Legal Aid Council which was instrumental in securing Walford’s freedom — has been trying without success to secure a place for him to stay. Walford has been at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre since 1997.
“We contacted the St Ann Poor Relief Department [and] the Drop-In Centre on Windward Road in Kingston. We contacted Missionaries Of the Poor on Hanover Street in Kingston, the Poor Relief Office also on Hanover Street. We also contacted the service division of the Department of Correctional Services. We made contact with family members of Mr Walford in Nine Mile, St Ann. We still have not been able to locate anyone who is willing to accept him,” Faulkner told the Jamaica Observer.
“We are pleading with family members or any social security facility to assist in finding residence for Mr Walford. They can contact the Legal Aid Council,” Faulkner added.
Walford was arrested for allegedly injuring a nurse at Bellevue Hospital in Kingston. He was eventually declared unfit to plead and his case subsequently fell from the court list.
The Legal Aid Council came to Walford’s assistance on a directive from Justice Minister Mark Golding that the council should aid people with mental issues who have been lost in the system.
In May, the council filed an application in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court to have Walford’s matter relisted. However, the court later dismissed the case against Walford.
Now, the council has asked the court to delay Walford’s release until a place is secured for him to stay.
The court is to be updated on the efforts today.
Faulkner said the Government needs to establish facilities across the island to house people who are in a similar position to Walford’s.
A woman was told she had beaten cancer only to learn minutes later that doctors had made a mistake and the incurable disease had spread.
Louise Sherry had undergone surgery after finding a lump in her breast in January – which she was told afterwards had been a success.
But when Miss Sherry questioned her consultant about the results of her bone scan, he said: “What bone scan?”
The devastating results of the scan revealed the cancer had spread to her bones and liver – and was now incurable.
• Taller people at greater risk of cancer
Miss Sherry, 43, said: “In one fell swoop came this slap in the face.
“There was just this massive relief when he was saying the operation had been a total success.
“Right at the end, I asked him about the bone scan and he said, ‘What bone scan?’
“He went into the system and the scan showed the cancer had spread to my bones and my liver and it couldn’t be cured.”
Senior quality engineer Miss Sherry became ill just before Christmas, but thought it was flu.
In January, she discovered a lump in her breast and went to Castle Hill Hospital in Hull, East Yorks, for a lumpectomy and a second operation to remove lymph nodes.
However, a bone and CT scan revealed the terrible news that the cancer had spread and was incurable.
Despite the devastating mistake Miss Sherry, of Hull, East Yorks, said she was refusing to be angry.
She added: “What’s the point? The consultant was absolutely devastated and couldn’t apologise enough.
Miss Sherry, who lives with her partner of 19 years, Carl Hewitt, has just completed her fourth round of chemotherapy, and the latest scan shows the cancer is shrinking, giving the couple the chance of having longer together.
“That was such a nice consultation after eight months of nothing but devastating blows and bad news.
“Maybe this isn’t curable, but I could live for 50 years with cancer and I’m going to be the one to do it.
“I’m not letting it affect my relationship with my partner, my family and my friends.
“Yes, I’ve got this really serious illness, but it’s not going to stop me being the positive person I am.”
• I thought I was free of breast cancer. But 10 years on, it’s back
Mr Hewitt, 43, said: “Louise is just so brave and is refusing to give up. She’s an amazing woman.”
Chris Long, chief executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am sorry to hear of Ms Sherry’s news and I would encourage her to contact us directly should she wish to discuss the matter further.”
After she was told the cancer had spread, the couple were helped by nurses from Macmillan Cancer Support as they absorbed the shock of what they had just been told.
Miss Sherry said: “Macmillan has been such a support all the way through and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The strategic chessboard of the Middle East has been rattled severely this week with the sudden entry of advanced Russian warplanes into the already complex battlefields of Syria.
For Washington and its allies, including what little is left of the so-called “moderate Syrian opposition”, this is deeply unwelcome, especially if the targets do turn out to include US-backed rebels. They see it as prolonging an unwinnable war and delaying the departure of a Syrian president who is now unacceptable to a large part of his population.
But for Syria’s Assad regime and its Iranian allies, the arrival of Russian firepower is quite the opposite – it is a lifeline that could shore up the exhausted Syrian army, regain territory lost this year and crush all the rebel opposition except the hardcore jihadists of so-called Islamic State (IS) and the Nusra Front.
So what are the likely consequences?
Two different campaigns
The most immediate concern for Washington is that its air force collides, catastrophically, with Russia’s in the skies over Syria.
Avoiding this is called “deconfliction” and it is supposed to be a carefully planned and co-ordinated process.
The US says it was given just one hour’s notice on Wednesday to “clear the skies” before Russia’s warplanes went in on their first bombing run, hitting Syrian rebel positions in the west of the country. Russia says it targeted IS, while US Senator John McCain says CIA-backed rebels were hit.
The US runs its air operations out of Al-Udaid Airbase in Qatar, allocating and prioritising IS targets across Syria and Iraq and sharing them out amongst the multinational coalition that includes several Arab countries.
But this week a new command centre has been announced, in Baghdad, where operations will be planned by Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq.
This is the pro-Assad axis that wants to see Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad remain in power. IS will undoubtedly feature on their target list but those four countries also consider all rebel groups opposed to Assad as the enemy.
This view does not fit in with that of the US-led coalition and will complicate and undermine the international effort to defeat IS.
Once the new Baghdad command centre is up and running there could then be two different command centres in the Middle East, operating two different campaigns against two different sets of enemies.
Despite the additional firepower of the newly arrived Russian air force, this development is very likely to be welcomed by the leadership of IS.
In order to maintain its global charisma it needs to constantly innovate, taking new territory, taking on new enemies or inventing new and ever more horrific ways of killing its captives.
The entry of Russia into the Syrian conflict, albeit in the air not on the ground, will be a perfect recruiting sergeant for IS.
The propaganda videos are doubtless already being prepared. The Russians are, after all, the same historic enemy fought by the Mujahideen in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s and eventually defeated (with US, Saudi and Pakistani help).
The prospect of Russian pilots attacking Muslim fighters on the ground will be embarrassing to Arab governments who will not want their air forces to be seen as on the same side.
The result is likely to be more recruits joining the extremists of IS and Al-Nusra, both from within Syria and from outside the region.
Sandwiched between the two big fighting forces of Assad’s army and IS are a whole host of minor rebel groups with obscure names, like Tajammu al-Izza, who say they were hit by Russian air strikes on Wednesday.
Some of these groups are perceived by the West as being “moderate” but most have been steadily weakened and plagued by defections, defeats and capture.
With the reported arrival in Syria of hundreds of Iranian troops, the build-up there of Russian forces and a newly active Russian stance, the indications are that Assad and his allies are going after crushing the minor rebel groups, leaving only the extremists of IS and al-Nusra.
They will then be able to say: “Look, you may not like him but Assad is the only alternative to the medieval head-choppers of IS”.
Saudi Arabia and possibly Turkey are not going to take this development lying down.
Along with some other countries in the region they have long insisted that the only lasting solution to the Syrian crisis is for President Assad to go.
Since the Russians and Iranians are protecting him, both diplomatically and militarily, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been quietly funding and arming various rebel Islamist groups inside Syria, prompting some to accuse them of supporting IS or al-Qaeda or both.
Back in 2013 the Saudis were all prepared to join in US attacks on Assad’s forces as punishment for the mass poison gas attack on Syrian civilians.
When that did not materialise they stepped up their own support for Syria’s Islamist rebel groups. Now that level of support is likely to be increased again, to match the newly bolstered might of Assad’s forces.
The net result of all this is likely to be a further prolonging of the stalemate in Syria.
As long as one side thinks it can win, or at least not lose, then it will be reluctant to come to the negotiating table and make substantial concessions.
There have been many times since 2011 when “Middle East experts” opined that President Assad was doomed and would not last the year. He has defied them all.
Now, with the injection of this Russian tonic, he will be more tempted than ever to tough it out. And so the fighting will continue, until eventually it boils down to Assad and his allies v IS and al-Qaeda, with Washington increasingly unable to influence the outcome.
Unless something changes dramatically, peace in Syria is not even on the horizon.
Following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement that Britain will spend £25 million to build a prison in Jamaica, some of Jamaica’s entertainers have rejected the idea, claiming that the money should be invested in education and development infrastructures.
According to recording artiste Savage, formerly of Mavado’s Gully Side camp, Jamaica needs help, but not by building prisons.
“The people are seeking better. Therefore, what you should be doing is build training centres and other institutions of learning. Most of the youth committing crimes in the UK are not educated and decided to go about things the wrong way. Trust me, educating them will be a better decision than to build prison,” said the deejay, who is currently promoting singles Cullu Cullu and Score.
Controversial deejay Gage also rejected Britain’s offer, as he says Jamaica cannot afford such an undertaking.
“We are already in debt. The £25 million will only benefit the contractor who build it and who get to scam around it, but nobody else in Jamaica will benefit, it’s just a prison,” Gage said.
Dancehall artiste Tiana, on the other hand, tried to be objective addressing both angles.
“We are a third world country so we can’t possibly afford to feed these criminals when they get here. But the positive thing might be because they will be in their own country, and that new prison will perhaps have better conditions than the ones we already have. But England is a first world country so they are the ones who should be housing and feeding the criminals,” she said.
Popular intro-man-turned-deejay Big Wayne believes the Jamaican government should reject England’s offer.
“I think the government should mek dem know sey dem cyah manage that right now, go somewhere else and build that. To me, that decision a guh create havoc unless when dem (criminals) done serve dem time unno a guh tek dem back a England,” Big Wayne said, also highlighting that he is promoting a new song with Justus Arison called Petrol.
Patrick Gaynor of the duo Twin of Twins believes the decision should be assessed by the government because of possible negative implications.
“This cannot be accommodated when we have so many issues of our own with crime, indiscipline and by extension disorganisation,” he said.
“Let’s say a man is born in Jamaica, but leaves immediately to the UK, commits a crime at age 40, and gets deported to Jamaica. Where does he go after he serves his time?” he questioned.
The deejay also believes the Jamaican economy is unfit to handle such a decision and suggests that rehabilitated persons should be allowed to return to England.
“There should be a guarantee that after rehabilitation they be allowed to be reintegrated into British society, or foot the expense of properly relocating them here in a foreign land that they’re not accustomed to live in,” Gaynor said.
“In order to accommodate their desire of building a prison on our soil, our government should demand an additional set of millions upfront and then more quarterly or annually to invest in the reestablishment of our lost infrastructures like the police force, factories, agriculture, cement company and airports. The resurgence of these vital infrastructures would stabilise the economy if managed effectively.”
During Cameron’s speech, he also ruled out making reparations for Britain’s role in the historic slave trade and urged Caribbean countries to “move on”
BRITAIN must invest in its fleet of main battle tanks to meet an increasing threat of ground war with Russia, senior Army officers have warned.
It comes as tensions between Nato countries and Moscow continued to mount, with Russia threatening “nuclear counter measures” over a plan to bolster nuclear facilities in Germany.
David Cameron is currently trying to find a “compromise deal” with Russian president Vladimir Putin over tackling the IS terror group in Syria.
But Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, an increase in Nato air-space incursions by Russian bombers, and the development of a new Russian “super tank” has led senior commanders to admit that the prospects of a conventional ground war In Eastern Europe can no longer be ignored.
The British Army has 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks but, while they are still respected, they are in urgent need of upgrade.
Last year the British Army took part in live-fire Nato exercise in Poland with more than 100 armoured vehicles. Operation Black Eagle “highlighted the British Army’s ability to deploy an armoured battlegroup at short notice anywhere in the world in support of the nation’s allies.”
Some, according to serving members of the Kings Royal Hussars armoured regiment, took more than three months to make ready because they had been mothballed, or cannibalised for parts.
Speaking recently General Sir Nick Carter, head of the British Army, confirmed that the future of the Challenger 2 was being considered at the highest levels.
“We have got issues with the tanks we’ve got and if we don’t do something about it we will have issues – what we will do is in discussion, “ he said.
Senior Army sources confirmed last night that the development of the new Russian T-14 main battle tank, unveiled at the Moscow Victory Day Parade in Moscow in May, had “focussed minds” on the issue.
Boasting exceptionally think armour and an “unmanned turret”, the T-14 is the first of a new generation of power tanks for the Russia Army, which hopes to have 2,300 of them by 2020.
Last week Russia announced that it would be forced to take counter measures to “restore the balance of power” in Europe if the United States carried out upgrade its nuclear presence in Germany by placing 20 B61-12 nuclear bombs at the Büchel Air Base later this year.
Speaking last night Maj Gen Patrick Cordingly who, as commander of the “Desert Rats” 7th Armoured Brigade, led US and British forces to victory over Iraq forces in 1991, said:
“There are 100 nations in the world who have battle tanks – they have them for a reason and for us not to invest in our main battle tank now would go against logic.
“Even in Afghanistan, it would have been usefully to have our own battle tanks. We were forced to rely on the Danish army.
“A tank is more than a weapon system – it also makes a statement. And when you’re trying to reign in another country, it helps to be able to make a statement in this way. “
The 2010 Strategic and Security Defence Review saw most British battle tanks put into storage as planners focussed on “asymmetrical” warfare of the type fought in Afghanistan.
So convinced were military planners of this that BAe was allowed to sell off its tank-manufacturing base in Newcastle in 2012, though BAe retained a rump of 60 specialists at tis facility in Tidworth.
Britain’s armoured base in Germany was also earmarked for closure by 2019, though recently there have been moves to reverse this decision.
Events since then, including the Russian invasion of Crimea have shown Britain and the rest of Nato “must be prepared to revisit Cold War scenarios, and this includes conventional, symmetric warfare in Eastern Europe,” said a source last night.
However, the Challenger 2 will have to jostle for priority against £9bn worth of other armoured vehicles – many intended for conditions like Afghanistan.
They include the troubled Scout and Warrior programmes.
The Scout Reconnaissance Specialist vehicle has already eaten up £4bn.
“The Scout is now so heavy because of protective armour and anti-IED capability that is can’t cross bridges or be airlifted – not brilliant for a reconnaissance vehicle’” said one industry insider last night.
Last night Nick, de Larrinaga IHS Jane’s think tank said: The Ukraine crisis has certainly prompted a rethink. The chance of a symmetric conflict happening has risen, and our ability to deal with it is less than it was during the Cold War.
It needs to be taken a bit more seriously.
“If you look at all the mine resistant, ambush protected vehicles bought for Afghanistan are very little use doing anything cross-country.
“The one area that hasn’t been heavily invested in is the Challenger 2 fleet. Either a life extension programme or a replacement programme would seem sensible.”
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The youth arm of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is urging the Jamaican Parliament to flatly and unanimously reject the terms of the Memorandum (MOU) of Understanding signed between Jamaica’s Security Ministry and the government of the United Kingdom.
According to Young Jamaica, the MOU, which would see the construction of a maximum security prison to house Jamaicans convicted in the UK, does not serve or enhance Jamaica’s strategic development goals and represents “selling the Jamaican people a 6 for a 9.”
“We have taken note of Prime Minister Cameron’s insistence that British taxpayers should not be required to bear the costs of housing foreign criminals. However, we believe it is important for him to explain who exactly qualifies as a foreign criminal. We do not, for instance, accept that a Jamaican who has lived in the UK from a young age, and who has been formed by that society, who commits crimes there should be sent back to Jamaica to serve his/her sentence, whether in part or as a whole,” the organisation said in a release today.
“This is especially true when one considers Jamaica’s well entrenched problem of criminality. This agreement would only compound our domestic crime situation and for the government to try to talk up the so called benefits of this arrangement is to try to pull wool over our eyes, we are being offered a 6 for a 9, plain and simple.”
The JLP youth arm says the cost to operate the prison will be a setback for the people of Jamaica. It says Jamaica does not have the financial resources to operate a new prison at this time as it would mean more taxes on the backs of the Jamaican people.
Young Jamaica says taken in the context of the current social and economic climate facing the country, the agreement is ill advised and borders on being offensive.
“What our members are also questioning is whether the announced 25 million pounds will cover the full costs of constructing this prison and whether the UK is committing to its upkeep.
We have little confidence that that is the case, and as the British PM would protect his taxpayers from foreign born criminals, we believe our Parliament should protect our taxpayers from foreign bred and potentially dangerous criminals. It is unconscionable to suggest that an individual simply being born here means our taxpayers are obligated to stand these costs” says the organization’s President Howard Chamberlain
“This agreement sends the wrong signal and flies in the face of the continued calls for reparations.”The organization notes that Jamaica’s strategic priorities at this time must be geared towards generating economic growth, building schools and creating employment for the thousands currently suffering in this economy.
“We welcome our party leader’s firm declaration to Mr. Cameron that building schools contribute much more to growth than building prisons. That ought to be the priority of this government,” Chamberlain added.
I for one is very applaud by the Insults of the Jamaican people by David Cameron the British Prime Minister who recently visit the Island and the only concession that he could make to the Jamaicans is to spend £25 Millions Pound on building Prison.
My question to Mr Cameron is what about Trading with their old footstool so that they can have a better life, what about offer to build more school for the young deprived.
Is Cameron a prawn where the shit stuck in it’s head, less he forget most of Jamaica problems was caused by the British Colonial rule of which that Island is still suffering from both mentally and physically.
Has he forgotten that after the last World War it was the people from that said country who was taken to rebuilt his country that he believes that he was the only one that was born to Govern.
Is it that Cameron sees every Jamaican as a criminal why his only offer is prison, what about those who were born in Britten, are they going to be sent to Jamaica too,think again Cameron the people won’t be taking this likely, it’s time you hands up and help the people your forefather has left in poverty.
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Opposition Leader Andrew Holness told a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament this morning that he would rather have the building of schools than prisons, in response to the UK’s announcement to build a penal institution here for Jamaicans imprisoned in Britain to complete their sentences.
Holness made the statement after welcoming British Prime Minister David Cameron on his first official visit to the island.
Noting the improvements that the UK has made in education, particularly in skills and apprenticeship, Holness noted that a similar approach should be adopted in Jamaica.
“The key lesson here is educating our people particularly in skills is the best way to spur human development to support a growth agenda and to keep the poor and dispossessed out of prison” he said.
“As it turns out, building schools contribute much more to the growth agenda than building prisons,” he added.
Cameron has promised a roughly £300 million aid package to upgrade infrastructure across the Caribbean and reinvigorate Britain’s relationship with the region.
Of that sum, £25 million will go towards funding the construction of a prison here, where the Jamaicans incarcerated in England will complete sentences.
The Opposition leader also outlined several areas where Jamaica and the United Kingdom had improved ties and welcomed the “genuine interest of Prime Minister Cameron in advancing the relationship between our two countries on trade and investment and security”.
In the early hours of Sunday September 13 a young woman from Horsham woke up in a disorientated state, in an unknown flat close to Brighton railway station. She had been out in Brighton the night before. She was extremely distressed, left the flat and stopped a man and a woman at about 5.30am to ask for directions to the station.
Police say she had last been seen in Coalition Club on the Lower Esplanade shortly after midnight in the company of a man described as black, in his 20’, approximately 6ft, and of muscular build with very short hair.
Shortly after 6am on Thursday September 17 police were called to Brighton railway station to a report of a woman who had been visiting the city and had been out with family the night before. However they had beome separated during the evening and she woke up in a distressed and disorientated state in an unknown flat a short distance from the railway station.
She approached a man and a woman in Guildford Street who walked with her to the railway station nearby where she was helped by staff who called the police.
She had last been seen in Kings Road, Brighton, at about 4am in the company of a man described as black, in his 20’s, of skinny build, about 5’.8” with short facial hair and braided hair tied back in a pony tail.
DS Cheryl Lewendon said; “We are eager to identify those two couples who stopped and helped the two women. We are also appealing for anyone else with any information to make contact with us via firstname.lastname@example.org call 101, quoting serial 309 of 13/09, or 148 of 17/09. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
“There are clear similarities between the two incidents, but there are also differences. Whilst we are keeping an open mind as the investigations continue, we are not connecting the two at this stage.”
A young man facing beheading and crucifixion in Saudi Arabia was tortured and sentenced for political reasons, according to rights groups and a source close to his family calling for a halt to his execution.
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 years old for participating in a protest. He was later sentenced to death for joining a criminal group and attacking police forces in proceedings which a United Nations body said “fell short of international standards.”
The conviction was upheld this week by Saudi Arabia’s highest court, and the execution could take place at any time. Al-Nimr’s family has appealed for Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to issue a pardon during the current Muslim holiday period of Eid.
“We hope that the king will not sign [the execution order],” al-Nimr’s father Mohammed told Agence France Presse, warning that his son’s grisly execution could also provoke a violent reaction in the minority Shiite community.
“We don’t need that, we don’t need even one drop of blood,” he said.
The crucifixion sentence means that al-Nimr will most likely be beheaded first and his body later displayed on a cross in a public location, according to campaigners.
The fear that al-Nimr could be executed at any time has taken a steep toll on his father and other relatives, a source close to the family told NBC News.
They are “acting like they are okay, but I know the family and they are not,” the source said, adding that Ali was defiantly “dreaming about the future” and was still hoping to study psychology one day.
A group of United Nations experts on torture and capital punishment urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution, saying that al-Nimr was a child at the time of his offense and that the proceedings against him were flawed.
“Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offence and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations,” they said in a statement, citing Saudi Arabia’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Human-rights charities Reprieve and Amnesty International claim that Ali was tortured and forced to sign a confession after being arrested.
IMAGE: Al Mohammed al-Nimr jumping
Saudi Arabian man, Al Mohammed al-Nimr, has been sentenced to crucifixion. Reprieve
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, called Ali’s fate “an outrage” and said it was “deeply troubling” that the United States and other allies of Saudi Arabia were “staying silent” over the case.
“The international community must stand firm against this utterly unjustified sentence,” she said in a statement.
Repeated approaches by NBC News to the Saudi authorities for comment have not received a response.
Ali was convicted in 2014 on range of charges including being part of a terrorist organization, carrying weapons and targeting security patrols with Molotov cocktails, the charity said. Additional charges included encouraging others to protest using his BlackBerry and explaining to others how to give first aid, they added.
Reprieve said Ali raised the torture claims at trial but that no investigation took place and the court used the confession to sentence him. Ali’s final appeal was held in secret, according to Reprieve.
Ali’s lawyer, Dr. Saqeb Mohamed tweeted on Tuesday that the defense team had not been able to visit his client or object to the sentence, adding that he was “surprised” the court had ratified the conviction.
He also called for Saudi authorities to investigate the case.
In the wake of the March 2011 Arab Spring, thousands took to the streets to protest decades of discrimination and religious and political repression by the country’s Sunni dynasty, House of Saud, which has controlled the Arabian Peninsula since the 1930s. The uprising was met with a violent crackdown from the government.
The source close to the family admitted that al-Nimr had attended demonstrations and anti-government protests in his hometown of Qatif — but that the young man was not political.
The source suggested that political “revenge” was behind the charges laid against the young man — who is the nephew of Shia cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, also separately facing execution.
“WE ARE PRAYING TO GOD”
Al-Nimr’s cleric uncle was sentenced to death in a separate trial on terrorism charges and for “waging war on God” because of his speech during anti-government protests in Qatif, according to Amnesty International.
Amnesty called Sheikh al-Nimr’s trial “deeply flawed” and said it was “part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom’s Shia Muslim community.”
There have been 134 executions in Saudi Arabia this year, compared with 90 last year, they said.
The younger al-Nimr had no ambitions to follow his uncle’s footsteps, the source close to the family said — describing a normal teen, who liked motorcycles, movies and photography.
Now the family hopes his life will be spared so they could spend more time with him.
“We are praying to God,” they said. “It is all we can do. We are hopeful.”
Officials said the latest analysis of the two breaches – widely attributed to hackers based in China – did not change the number of people affected, which remained at 21.5 million.
A statement by the Office of Personnel Management said the new estimates come from a more detailed analysis of the breach by investigators.
The statement said that “the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited” but that “this probability could change as technology evolves.”
The new estimates come as Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a US visit pledging to defend cybersecurity and not tolerate hacking or cyber theft.
US officials have not publicly accused China of being behind the massive hack, but many private analysts say the incident is likely part of Chinese espionage efforts.
While I would be happier if the primary reason for the British prime minister’s visit to Jamaica was something other than the repatriation of prisoners to Jamaica, I have a feeling that our good reputation of hosting foreign visitors is about to be tarnished by one particularly persistent set of people.
The last time a senior British government official (actually, the deputy prime minister) came to Jamaica, he was royally snubbed by a senior high ranking government official. The reason for insulting the British deputy prime minister then was because the British were refusing to consider the issue of reparations as anything worthy of their time.
Why do I get the feeling that those who continue to push for this reparations nonsense are busy cooking up another smelly reception for the British prime minister?
Let’s be clear, the British have no moral, legal or historical reason to pay reparations. Slavery was not a crime or even a social contradiction at the time of its height. So, as long as the majority of people living then saw nothing wrong with slavery, there is no credible reason why the British should pay anything now. However, these reparations pushers are very persistent!
I would not be surprised if it turns out that our reparations gang will use those members of Parliament that it has to disrupt the planned speech that the British prime minister is slated to give in the Houses of Parliament. In the name of good sense and the good reputation that we have, I urge those planning anything disruptive to abandon such plans. Please, don’t give the world something to laugh at us for!
I know the when that British deputy prime minister left our country some years ago after being insulted by this crazy reparations demand, he must be wondering why is it that a so-called proud people would want to guilt the British into giving them more handouts. I am begging those who continue to advance the joke of reparations not to give the British prime minister more reasons to go home thinking the same thing.
I am tired of being embarrassed in the name of this silly reparations business!
Some Jamaicans were outraged at the vicious butchering of a sea turtle in Alligator Pond, Manchester, that was caught on camera recently.
However, THE STAR has learned that these turtles are commonly harvested and eaten by men hoping to boost their sex drive.
THE STAR spoke with a long time fisherman, Jason Smith, who claimed that eating turtles improves his sexual prowess.
“Me eat it [turtles] of course! It build up you sex drive and give you the gum and glamity. It make you feel like superman. It good fi you body because a di strongest meat pan di face of the Earth!,” he said.
Smith admitted that his friends also consume the reptilian meat and have reported a similar improvement in their sexual performance.
THE STAR understands that men who wish to partake in the forbidden ‘delicacy’ shell out big bucks for it.
“Mi just buy a piece of it, me nuh buy the whole thing. We do it just like when dem kill goat and everybody buy a little piece. One pound costs $500 and $1,000 fi one plate if me prepare it,” Smith said.
As it relates to how the turtles are prepared for consumption, Smith said it is cooked similar to other meats.
“Dem cook it up like chicken, beef or pork and you can curry it up or cook it with beans. You can cook it any way you like it,” Smith said, while adding that turtle meat tastes similar to other meats.
Smith admitted that he is aware of this illegal activity so the transactions and consumption are conducted covertly and infrequently.
Andrea Donaldson, manager of the Ecosystems Management Branch at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), said turtle meat and eggs have long been considered to be aphrodisiacs.
She added that there has been no scientific proof to support the claim, but theorised where the myth might have come from.
“It might be because people look at the longevity of turtles because they live for very long, up to 30 years,” Donaldson said.
According to NEPA, turtles are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act and it is illegal to possess or consume turtles or their eggs. If convicted of such acts, the culprit can be fined up to J$100,000 or spend a year in prison.
Many have taken to social media to post their snaps of the creepy crawlies
One dad, Nick Oldham, took a snap of a huge spider, with a seven-inch leg span in the spare bedroom of his home.
There are fears the spiders are looking for a spot to lay hundreds of eggs which could see their homes overrun with spiders.
Mr Oldham said he his was horrorfied when he found a spider with a seven inch legspan lurking in the corner of a room.
He said: “These things are seriously BIG!! Imagine the horror on my son’s face when the spotted this big boy on his wall.”
The Giant House Spiders, whose bite is similar to a bee sting can even pierce the skin.
Arachnologist Chris said: “Giant house spiders are the Golden Retrievers of the spider world, because they are much less shy than their relatives.”
Some have warned the some of the larger specimens could potentially break through human skin although most of the spiders do not have fangs long enough to pierce skin.
Kris Clare said his wife was chased from room to room by a giant spider.
Macclesfield’s Bethan Tuckman said she was given a fright when she saw a four inch wide spider and she got an even bigger fright when she realised there were at least three of them in the house.
The spiders, who prefer dark spaces and crevices, are among the largest spiders in Europe.
The male spiders are often said to sample the silk that females leave behind, tasting it to see if it is from the same species, making it a good idea to dust and keep your house clean in a bid to prevent entering in the first place.
It is with increasing regularity that members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) are committing suicide, and in some instances they murder spouses and lovers prior as a prelude to the final act. The trend is very alarming and the citizenry is left to ponder the psychological well-being of the men and women that took the oath to protect and serve the nation. The current pall that is over the JCF as a result of the dastardly acts will get even worse if contemporary research about depression is credible. Researchers predict that depression will trail only heart disease as the leading cause of disability worldwide by the year 2020, and as such it is quite prudent to postulate that increasing in depression is likely to be the catalyst for even further spikes in egregious harm and suicides.
Very often we hear that the police are stressed out but we must be careful not to confuse stress with trauma. Stress happens, but trauma happens to you. Stress is a part of our daily lives and there is good stress and bad stress. Importantly, stress can be managed in a variety of ways, such as regular exercise, moderation in habits such as smoking and the consumption of alcohol, and even simple exercises such as deep breathing can be therapeutic. Trauma, on the other hand, either runs over you like a freight train or accumulates over time to become an excruciating load that must be treated by proficient therapy and/or medication. However, many police officers do assume that they should always be strong and shudder at the thought of displaying weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Therefore, even in moments when they are feeling overwhelmed, they will not confide in anyone, and the consequences can be catastrophic and can have immediate demoralising effects on the police force.
While there are chaplains, pastors, and mental health professionals that are available to the police force, the Government should invest in the services of at least one police psychologist who understands and can treat the specific traumas that are symptomatic of policing. The Ministry of National Security and stakeholders of criminal justice should be cognisant that inordinate suicides will further damage the integrity and legitimacy of the JCF. Also, because people who are suicidal are sometimes homicidal, they will often engage in varying degrees of mayhem before they end their own lives. In those moments of delirium, life loses its sacredness and no one is safe, and even children are at the mercy of the perpetrator. It is indeed a tragedy that the spouses and loved ones of the mentally unstable officers become their victims, but other innocent and unsuspecting citizens and co-workers are also at risk. Suffice it to say, a proactive response to the growing suicide rate is essential in order to prevent greater atrocities, including mass murder by unstable officers.
The mental health quagmire may be more entrenched than we could ever imagine. We must ponder the possibility that police officers who have gone rogue and are engaging in overt criminal activities, including robberies and murders, are mentally ill. It is known that some officers are corrupt and their greed causes them to engage in extortion and varying degrees of criminality and barbarity. Such louts try to be discreet and have henchmen that partner with them in crimes and are generally exposed in well-orchestrated sting operations. However, to engage in daring daylight robberies, kidnappings, and becoming minions in criminal gangs takes a special kind of impudence that cannot be taken at face value. Such actions are beyond the proclivity to commit crime and speak to levels of irrationality that are synonymous with a sick mind. The leadership of the JCF must collaborate with the Government to prioritise mental health within the JCF. Not only does such dissipation erode the psyche of the JCF, it provides a fillip to the lawlessness that has engulfed the nation for the better part of the last 25 years. The activities of dirty cops give credence to the argument of the streets that the police contain a band of criminals who are more notorious than all others that stalk the land.
Rational citizens are, nonetheless, aware that the categorisation of all police officers as criminals is a misnomer and are grateful that the majority are decent, hard-working, and productive human beings who are dedicated to making Jamaica a safe and wonderful place to work and live. So the answer cannot simply be about punishing the scalawags that bring the JCF into disrepute, but should also be about ensuring that psychological evaluations of current and future officers become standard practice. The Ministry of National Security should therefore embark upon the development of specialised approaches for managing officers who are displaying questionable behaviours. Ultimately, the goal of these efforts is to give police officers and their loved ones access to services, support, and resources to improve their lives and to preserve the safety and peace of mind of all citizens. There is a perpetual stigma associated with mental illness in Jamaica and some police officers may be reluctant to access available services, but educating them regarding the necessity of sound mental health will change those dynamics.
It is also high time for the implementation of a carefully designed programme of mentorship within the JCF that will allow the newer members of the force to be groomed by the many respectable and upright senior officers in the organisation. New officers must not only be grounded in the rudiments and theories of policing, but should be systematically trained to become professionals that the entire society can admire and the youth can emulate. Rookie officers graduating from the police academy should be exposed to a mandatory nationwide mentoring schedule during their first three years of service and should be expected to fulfil specific benchmarks in order to continue their careers. The new officers should be matched with experienced officers whose reputation is beyond reproach, and both mentee and mentor should engage in varying formats of professional development that ensures that the panache displayed by young officers is genuine.
A dynamic mentorship programme will empower young officers to become introspective of their personal development and a more positive collegial environment will evolve in the JCF. There should, therefore, be peer evaluations, discussion of best practices in policing, developing human relation strategies, and the provision of feedback on areas of potential improvement. The police mentor must be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned in to the needs and concerns of the new officers in order to forge meaningful relationships. Mentorship is not only important, but transformative, especially for police officers from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Those of us who have engaged in mentorship at any level are aware that lending an hour or two of our time on a weekly basis can help to modify the perspective and life trajectory of a young, impressionable person.
Mentorship must be an undertaking that should also include members of the business community and academia. The progress of officers must be tracked over time to produce data that will ascertain the effectiveness of the programme. Effective application of this tool will help to retain committed police officers but will simultaneously eliminate those officers who are ineffective or possess persistent criminal tendencies. Mentorship will enable new police officers to master the multiplicity of tasks that characterise their job, and officers will be more apt to be passionate about their careers. Mentorship will not prevent or cure mental illness, nor will it remove the traumatic baggage that some officers carry. It will, however, engender an atmosphere of belonging and trust that will allow them to identify peers and superiors in whom they can confide when they are feeling overwhelmed.
His imminent visit to the island was confirmed by a Government source a short while ago.
In May, Cameron won the first Conservative majority since 1992, and secured himself another term as Britain’s prime minister.
Cameron’s visit comes on the heels United States President Barack Obama’s visit to Jamaica.
In April this year, Obama met with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, members of her Cabinet as well as with CARICOM heads of state during his brief visit to the island.
Brandt, who served as chief minister of this British Overseas territory from 1997-2001, had been in police custody since Friday.
The prominent attorney is charged with one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 2010. He is also charged with conspiracy to have sex with a minor, based on developments that took place between April and September of 2015.
Brandt has been released on EC$10,000 on each count and as part of the bail conditions he is restricted from making any contact with any of the witnesses in the case either in person, or through any of his servants or agents.
Law enforcement officials from Britain’s Scotland Yard and as well as the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service are reported to be on the island as part of a multi-jurisdictional investigative team probing the allegations.
Over the weekend, the state-owned ZJB radio quoted the Royal Montserrat Police Service as confirming that a former chief minister and prominent attorney was assisting the police in their investigations.
“The lawmen say it is still too early to determine the real nature of the case as the investigations are still ongoing,
“It is very provocative and we feel Venezuela is treading a very dangerous course at this point in time, rather than seeking a peaceful resolution to the matter Venezuela seems to be pursuing a very defensive and aggressive course,” President Granger told reporters.
“We have recently received reports that Venezuela has been making extraordinary military deployments in eastern Venezuela, that is western Guyana, which seem to be impacting on Guyana’s territorial defence,” he added.
Granger, a retired army Brigadier, who came to power early this year in the general election, said Guyana has every reason to believe that this “abnormal” military presence is a threat to Guyana’s territorial integrity and as such the government is preparing to take whatever actions are appropriate to protect its border.
“I have been in my earlier profession familiar with Venezuelan behaviour and what we have noticed during the month of September is an extraordinary escalation of Venezuelan military activity in eastern Venezuela,” he said.
Earlier this month, Granger met with a delegation from the United Nations on seeking a solution to the border dispute between the two countries.
The UN is hoping to broker a meeting with President Granger and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro on the margins of the UN General Assembly to be held later this month.
Delano Seiveright, the JLP candidate/caretaker for the constituency, said that the conditions experienced on a ‘Poverty to Prosperity’ tour of the constituency with Opposition Leader Andrew Holness last week showed up a number of examples why St Thomas has become the poorest parish in Jamaica, as outlined in Planning Institute of Jamaica data.
“Collapsed roads, bridges and water systems, along with governmental neglect, widespread unemployment and high rates of poverty were among the long list of issues which were brought to the attention of the JLP leader as we toured sections of the constituency on Thursday and Friday,” Seiveright said in a statement.
He said that the Government and Dr Ferguson, the member of parliament for the constituency, “have failed the parish miserably”. He noted that poverty has more than doubled, from roughly 14 per cent in 2008 to 32.5 per cent or more today, according to the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions (JSLC).
The JSLC report said that at 32.5 per cent St Thomas replaced St Mary as the poorest parish in 2012.
“To put things into perspective, it is the only parish without a stoplight, has the lowest value in real estate transactions, doesn’t have a parish clock, and is ridden by problems with basic infrastructure at every turn,” Seiveright said.
“There is hardly any worthwhile economic activity, so many young people are depressed and most are desperate to find a way out. Representation, frankly, for St Thomas Eastern cannot get any worse. Despite tremendous potential for development, it has been left to suffer,” he added, noting that the over 500 redundancies at Golden Grove sugar factory, announced recently, would not help the situation.
Seiveright said, however, that it is clear that the people are “keen on fresh ideas, fresh faces, and fresh leadership. They want a change”.
He said that over the two days of the tour, he and Holness shared aspects of a development plan framework for the constituency, which the JLP has been developing.
The tour began at the St Thomas Infirmary in Morant Bay on Thursday, where Holness, Seiveright and other officials met with staff and residents. They also met with representatives of the police and fire brigade, several members of the business sector, market vendors, and residents.
They visited Church Corner, Bamboo River, Lyssons, Prospect, Leith Hall, Port Morant, Airy Castle, Dalvey, Pear Tree River, Arcadia, and Duckenfield, ending with a meeting in Morant Bay on Friday night.
The tour was described by JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang as “highly successful and (had a) really unbelievable turnout”.
He said that this signalled that “the seat is now ready to return to its JLP roots”.
Time spent travelling to and from first and last jobs by workers who do not have a fixed office should be regarded as work, European judges have ruled.
What did the court say?
Until now, those employing mobile workers who had to travel to get to or from their first or last appointment of the day were not required to count that time as work.
On Thursday, the European Court of Justice judgement ruled those without a fixed or habitual office should consider the time they spend travelling between their homes and the premises of their first and last jobs as part of their hours for the day.
The ruling relates to the Working Time Directive – the European initiative which caps the working week at 48 hours. In the UK, employees have the option of opting out of the directive.
I’m a care worker who travels to different patients’ homes. Am I affected?
Employees who fall into the category loosely defined as “mobile workers” – those who habitually travel to different places of work – could be affected.
Simon Bond, an employment specialist at Higgs and Sons solicitors, says the most obvious group to fall under this definition is carers not already paid for travelling to their first and last jobs. Sales people who travel between sites and employee workmen and women, such as plumbers or electricians, could also fall into this category.
As many as 975,000 people in the UK could fall under the remit of the ruling, says Paul Sellers, a policy officer at the TUC.
And some employees could be working an extra 10 hours a week once travelling time is counted, Chris Tutton, an employment lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, adds.
I travel a lot for work, but I have a permanent office
The ruling is less likely to affect people who work both in an office and remotely. If your contract includes a permanent base, you are unlikely to be able to successfully argue you are a mobile worker, Mr Sellers says.
There may, however, be cases where it is possible to argue that a permanent base is meaningless because of the length of time spent outside the office.
I have to commute two hours every day to my office
For those with a permanent office (however lengthy your commute), this ruling will not have an effect. Mr Sellers says this final group is the “overwhelming majority” in the UK.
I think I’m affected. Should I expect a pay rise or a change in my hours?
The ruling could eventually affect pay. Unions say the ruling does not directly deal with remuneration, focussing instead on working hours and conditions. But it is possible the European judgement will be used in UK courts to challenge employers who pay an average hourly rate under the minimum wage (once travelling time is taken into account).
That could mean employers facing increased wage bills and raises an outside chance costs for some services, such as cleaners who have to travel and are paid a low wage, could go up.
It could also lead to a change in working patterns – especially for those who do not choose to opt out of the 48-hour maximum.
“I think some employers will look at where they’re sending staff – they might try to make sure that the first and last shifts are as close to home as possible because they don’t want to eat into that working time that they have,” Mr Tutton said.
We have been contacted by BBC News website readers in response to the European judges’ ruling.
Here is a selection of their comments:
This is great news for the likes of me and my engineers. We work in the telecoms industry visiting multiple sites daily. We don’t get paid travel time but are expected to be onsite for 9am and leave the last site at 5pm wherever that may be. If the sites are two hours away from home this adds four hours to our day that we don’t get paid for, so we do a 12-hour day for eight hours work. Steve Carroll, Manchester
I am a sales rep. My hours of work are 35, working nine to five. I leave my house most days at 6am as I work on the M25 strip so it takes three to four hours to get to my first appointment. I might get home at 7pm with no lunch break. I can drive for seven hours total per day, that’s before my day working. I feel fed up, very tired and underpaid. I don’t know what my rights are! Erica, Cambridge
I am a pest control technician. My colleagues and I sometimes end up doing 11 or 12-hour days. These lost hours travelling can take its toll on missed family time. The amount of time driving both during the working day and the travelling time to and from work can sometimes be as much as six hours a day depending on where our jobs take us. Paul Godfrey, Swindon
I currently leave for work – as a service engineer – earlier than my first job to ensure I’m at my first site by 10am. It’s wrong that I should use my time as the further away it is the more my own time is used. We also do not have a structured break time and I’ve worked over 11 hours without a break and it’s a constant driving service job. Barry Corbett, Glasgow
I am a mobile gas fitter and I am expected to travel to my first appointment and from my last appointment in my own time which can add 10 hours to my working week. Mark Hannon, Castleford
I’m a gas repair engineer. We have no offices. Our policy is to be on the patch of work or at our “pickup” point by 8am. With heavy traffic I leave home at 7.20am. This leaves me with 40 minutes of extra travel time. Also I could be working miles away from home at the end of day resulting in a huge variance of time out. Daniel Richards-Smith, Dorset
I am a homecare worker, taking care of people in their own home. I do not get paid for travelling to work or in between appointments. Sometimes I can travel up to 50 miles a day. We get paid 30p per hour of care delivered in a day. This is not petrol money as the carers who walk between calls also get paid this. Sometimes we have to sit in our cars because it is too early to go in to the client, anywhere from 10 minutes to up to and hour as we often are too far away from home to make it feasible to travel home. Susan Turnbull, Barnsley
I’m a healthcare assistant and while I agree with being paid for time it takes to travel I can also see this as having a knock on affect to the clients as the money to pay us would have to come from somewhere
After sorting through more than seven years of data gathered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which the team plotted by hand, scientists have found that Enceladus wobbles ever so slightly as it orbits Saturn. While slight, the wobble is too large for a moon with a completely solid interior: It’s best explained by a free-floating crust that’s in contact with liquid all around, the team reported September 11 in Icarus.
“If the surface and core were rigidly connected, the core would provide so much dead weight that the wobble would be far smaller than we observe it to be,” said the SETI Institute’s Matthew Tiscareno in a statement. “There must be a global layer of liquid separating the surface from the core.”
The study is solid work, says Bill McKinnon of the Washington University in St. Louis. Earlier work based on a set of gravity data taken by Cassini backs up the finding, he says, and suggests that a global ocean is the easiest way to explain some of Enceladus’ features.
Global Ocean in Saturn’s Moon EnceladusA new analysis of more than seven years of Cassini data suggests the presence of a global, liquid ocean tucked between Enceladus’ icy crust and rocky core.
With geysers spewing saltwater and organic molecules into space, Enceladus has been at (or near) the top of every astrobiologist’s wish list for a visit since Cassini first spotted the plumes in 2005.
“We’re looking for liquid water oceans that are rich in chemistry and which might have been around for a long time,” says astrobiologist Kevin Hand of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Yet at Enceladus, evidence that a long-lived reservoir powered the plumes was sparse. Early theories pointed toward a small regional sea, perhaps created by an impact, that could be too young for life to have evolved.
But a global ocean could be stable and long-lived enough for alien microbes to gain a foothold. “A global ocean is harder to explain as a short-lived event,” Hand says. “That’s good news for habitability.”
Still a Mysterious World
Enceladus now joins a smattering of famous worlds with icy rinds encapsulating ocean layers, including Europa and Ganymede, which orbit Jupiter. There, Jupiter’s enormous gravity and the tugging and jostling of its other large satellites help keep the moons warm enough to maintain fluid innards.
At Enceladus, it’s not as clear how thick the ocean is, how that heat is generated, or why the crust at its south pole (and only its south pole) is thin enough for geysers to punch through.
“Is the seafloor active in the south but not in the north?” asks Hand. “The ice shell is hiding some secrets about the ocean and geophysics below.”
We may get more answers from the Cassini spacecraft, which will continue to study the Saturnian system through 2017, before plunging into the giant ringed planet. Its next closeup of Enceladus will be in October, and its last flyby of the 500-kilometer-wide world will be in December.
As spacecraft fly farther into space and sidle up to small, icy worlds, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we don’t have a good grasp of how these bodies work—from soft, pockmarked Ceres in the asteroid belt, to the relentlessly intriguing dwarf planet Pluto, on the fringe of the solar system. Maybe, if we’re lucky, coming decades will see a fleet of spacecraft exploring these and other alien worlds, uncovering their secrets and continuing to send otherworldly postcards home.
London and north Kent could be crawling with Britain’s most venomous spider in the coming months.
False widows could creep their way into homes across the capital and surrounding counties due to milder temperatures in September and October, experts have warned.
The UK population of the species, whose bite is typically as painful as a bee sting, has soared into the millions in recent years and is thought to be growing all the time.
Pest management consultant Clive Boase says conditions are ideal for a significant spike in numbers in the autumn.
He said: “We’ve had a reasonably warm year with very few cold snaps and no particularly extended periods of either dry or wet weather.
“That has led to more invertebrates, such as flies, to feed on and means false widows, as well as many other species of spiders, have been able to continue their development throughout the summer.
“Sightings of spiders often peak from September as males of many species reach adulthood and venture into homes in search of a mate, but we could be seeing a lot more of them than normal over the next month or two.”
False widows – originally from the Canary Islands – can grow up to 3cm across, including the legs, and are distinguished by their shiny, black, bulbous bodies and markings which look like a skull on their abdomens.
The false widow spider that bit Alex Michael.
Another false widow spider
They got their name through their resemblance to the deadly black widow spider, which has a nasty bite known to have been fatal to humans but which is not likely to become established in the UK.
Rob Simpson, manager of pest controllers register BASIS PROMPT, says simple precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of false widows.
Britain’s most venomous spider set to invade London homes
Mr Simpson added: “Spiders will have fewer places to hide if you keep clutter to a minimum, so I would say keep your house tidy and vacuum regularly.
“You can spray dark corners of the home with pesticides and there’s an old wives tale about placing conkers on window sills, but I’m not sure that works.”
Barclays Plc confirmed Thursday that the UK bank has removed Jamaicans from its client rolls, saying that a new initiative to close out accounts for those having Jamaican addresses was in line with its push to reduce risk and shore up core business.
The closure of the UK accounts take effect today, September 11, and some 450 clients will be affected, the bank told the Financial Gleaner.
Jamaica is one of some 130 countries with which the three centuries-old bank signalled it is cutting ties.
The decision by Barclays was highlighted this week when Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) issued a statement offering transactional services to Jamaicans who have been displaced by the action of the UK bank.
JNBS did not name Barclays in its release on Tuesday, which was pitched mainly at pensioners, saying only that it would assist Jamaicans in the UK market whose accounts will be closed.
Barclays has pointed out that it is not the only bank with the new policy. While clients may open accounts at other UK banks, many providers have a similar country strategy in place in what is now described as “a fairly normal industry practice”.
Barclays had telegraphed from the end of 2013 that it would be going this route under a new strategy laid out by its Wealth and Investment Management unit to focus on core markets and reduce the number of countries that the banking group operates in.
“As a global financial services provider, we evaluate the services we provide on a regular basis. In 2013, we announced that we are prioritising the need to reduce complexity and that the business will be focusing on a core set of 70 markets globally,” said a spokesperson for the bank.
“As a result of this decision and in line with our strategy, Barclays has decided to close UK accounts for customers now resident in Jamaica. We are writing to affected customers and aim to provide as much assistance and support as possible during this transition.”
Following the 2013 strategic review, Barclays opted to “refocus” on markets that are scalable and are aligned with its overall risk appetite. As such, it opted to refocus from 200 countries to a core market of 70.
The bank’s actions are linked to the worldwide retreat in the correspondent banking market from businesses perceived to be exposed to money laundering.
But the retreat by foreign banks is now said to be hurting the Caribbean banks – the issue was ventilated at a growth forum in St Kitts last week – and the International Monetary Fund now appears willing to intercede.
JNBS, meanwhile, is moving to take up the slack through its UK operations, saying this week that it was willing to handle the transmission of funds for Jamaicans and other nationalities.
The JNBS group’s remittance arm recently faced its own fallout after its Cayman bank opted to cut ties with money-services clients. However, JNBS was able to negotiate an agreement that allows its remittance operation to continue.
Paulette Simpson, senior manager, corporate affairs and public policy at Jamaica National’s UK Representative Office, told the Financial Gleaner on Wednesday that many returning residents from the United Kingdom maintain a UK account to receive pensions and other payments; maintain funds in pound sterling, as the currency is strong and not affected by constant devaluation; access pound sterling if and when they visit the UK; and access pound sterling from Jamaica for transactions in the UK.
Jamaica National has services that can serve all those needs, she said.
“Retired persons living in Jamaica, who worked in the United Kingdom and are entitled to a private company pension, or a state pension from the UK government, for instance, can access the JN Pension Expediter Service. They may also access the service if they live in the United States or Canada.”
Jamaica National already transfers almost 3,000 pension payments every month, which are credited directly to pensioners’ accounts.
The building society noted that with the cancellation of UK bank accounts, affected account holders will need to make arrangements for pension transfers, direct debits and standing order arrangements.
“It is evident from the information that some former UK residents, who are now residing in Jamaica, particularly pensioners, will be impacted by this decision,” Simpson said.
Barclays said Thursday that it recognises its customers may need more time to make alternative arrangements.
As such, the bank will offer a 30-day extension or more, where appropriate and based on client request, and has set up a specialist team to handle all calls to assist customers struggling to make other arrangements.
Barclays suggested that one option affected clients could choose was to open a local account in Jamaica.
Barclays itself previously operated a banking network in Jamaica for 52 years but pulled up stakes and moved out in 1977, after selling out to the Jamaican Government, which eventually renamed the operation as National Commercial Bank Jamaica.
China’s increasingly ambitious space program plans to attempt the first-ever landing of a lunar probe on the moon’s far side, a leading engineer said.
The Chang’e 4 mission is planned for sometime before 2020, Zou Yongliao from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ moon exploration department told state broadcaster CCTV in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.
Zou said the mission’s objective would be to study geological conditions on the moon’s far side, also known as the dark side.
That could eventually lead to the placement of a radio telescope for use by astronomers, something that would help “fill a void” in man’s knowledge of the universe, Zou said.
Radio transmissions from Earth are unable to reach the moon’s far side, making it an excellent location for sensitive instruments.
China’s next lunar mission is scheduled for 2017, when it will attempt to land an unmanned spaceship on the moon before returning to Earth with samples. If successful, that would make China only the third country after the United States and Russia to have carried out such a maneuver.
China’s lunar exploration program, named Chang’e after a mythical goddess, has already launched a pair of orbiting lunar probes, and in 2013 landed a craft on the moon with a rover onboard.
China has also hinted at a possible crewed mission to the moon.
China sent its first astronaut into space in 2003 and has powered ahead with a series of methodically timed steps, including the deploying of an experimental space station.
Russian forces have begun participating in military operations in Syria in support of government troops, three Lebanese sources familiar with the political and military situation there said on Wednesday.
The sources, speaking to Reuters on condition they not be identified, gave the most forthright account yet from the region of what the United States fears is a deepening Russian military role in Syria’s civil war, though one of the Lebanese sources said the number of Russians involved so far was small.
U.S. officials said Russia sent two tank landing ships and additional cargo aircraft to Syria in the past day or so and deployed a small number of naval infantry forces.
The U.S. officials, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the intent of Russia’s military moves in Syria was unclear. One suggested the focus may be on preparing an airfield near the port city of Latakia, a stronghold of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
U.S. officials have not ruled out the possibility that Russia may want to use the airfield for air combat missions.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to his Russian counterpart for the second time in four days to express concern over reports of Russian military activities in Syria, warning that it could fan more violence.
The White House said it was closely monitoring the situation.
Russia says the Syrian government must be incorporated into a shared global fight against Islamic State, the Islamist group that has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq. The United States and Assad’s regional foes see him as part of the problem.
“We would welcome constructive Russian contributions to the counter-ISIL effort, but we’ve been clear that it would be unconscionable for any party, including the Russians, to provide any support to the Assad regime,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said, using an acronym for Islamic State.
SYRIAN TROOPS PULLING BACK
Assad’s forces have faced big setbacks on the battlefield in a four-year-old multi-sided civil war that has killed 250,000 people and driven half of Syria’s 23 million people from their homes.
Syrian troops pulled out of a major air base last Wednesday, and a monitoring group said this meant government soldiers were no longer present at all in Idlib province, most of which slipped from government control earlier this year.
Moscow confirmed it had “experts” on the ground in Syria, its long-time ally in the Middle East.
But Russia has declined to comment on the scale and scope of its military presence. Damascus denied Russians were involved in combat, but a Syrian official said the presence of experts had increased in the past year.
Reflecting Western concern, Germany’s foreign minister warned Russia against increased military intervention, saying the Iran nuclear deal and new U.N. initiatives offered a starting point for a political solution to the conflict.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said reports of growing Russian military activity in Syria were a cause for concern, while France said it made finding a political solution to the crisis more complicated.
Two of the Lebanese sources said the Russians were establishing two bases in Syria, one near the coast and one further inland which would be an operations base.
“The Russians are no longer just advisors,” one of the sources said. “The Russians have decided to join the war against terrorism.”
RUSSIAN NAVAL BASE
Moscow’s only naval base in the Mediterranean is at Tartous on the Syrian coast in territory held by Assad, and keeping it secure would be an important strategic objective for the Kremlin.
Another of the Lebanese sources said that so far any Russian combat role was still small: “They have started in small numbers, but the bigger force did not yet take part … There are numbers of Russians taking part in Syria but they did not yet join the fight against terrorism strongly.”
The Syrian official said: “Russian experts are always present but in the last year they have been present to a greater degree.”
Officials in the United States, which is fighting an air war against the Islamist militant group Islamic State in Syria and also opposes Assad’s government, have said in recent days that they suspect Russia is reinforcing to aid Assad.
Washington has put pressure on countries nearby to deny their air space to Russian flights, a move Moscow denounced on Wednesday as “international boorishness”.
Russia has set out the case for supporting Assad in the most forthright terms yet in the past few days, likening the Western approach to Syria to failures in Iraq and Libya.
Part of the diplomatic quarrel has centred around use of air space for flights, which Moscow says bring humanitarian aid but U.S. officials say may be bringing military supplies.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday that multiple Russian flights have passed over the airspace of Iran and Iraq to reach Syria.
The State Department said Russian use of Iranian airspace would not be surprising, given Tehran’s past support for Assad.
Spokesman John Kirby said the United States had advised “partners and our friends to ask the Russians tough questions about” overflight requests. He did not elaborate, saying only: “I’m not gonna detail diplomatic conversations.”
To avoid flying over Turkey, one of Assad’s main enemies, Russia has sought to fly planes over Balkan states, but Washington has urged them to deny Moscow permission.
On Tuesday, Bulgaria refused a Russian request to use its airspace citing doubts about the cargo on board. It said on Wednesday it would allow Russian supply flights to Syria to use its airspace only if Moscow agreed to checks of their cargo at a Bulgarian airport.
Turkey has not officially confirmed a ban on Russian flights to Syria but says it considers any requests to fly over its air space to Syria on a case by case basis.
Thus far in the war, Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah have been Assad’s main sources of military support. The momentum turned against Assad earlier this year.
In the latest setback, state television reported government troops had surrendered an air base in northwestern Syria to a rebel alliance after nearly two years under siege.
This meant the last government troops had withdrawn from central Idlib province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that monitors the conflict.
Minority Christian groups have predicted the world will end later this month – when they say a ‘blood moon’ will bring about an apocalyptic meteor strike.
Scientists say a ‘blood moon’ will occur on September 28, when the moon passes into the shadow of the earth cast by the Sun (a lunar eclipse) and appears dim and reddish.
Some religious leaders believe that because this is the fourth consecutive lunar eclipse since April 2014, it is part of a “tertrad” – which foretells a meteorite destroying earth and the end of time.
Experts at Nasa remain unconvinced.
The organisation monitors the heavens constantly for asteroids and none are on course to collide with Earth for several hundred years. However, the fears are widespread enough for it to have issued an official statement on the topic.
The Blood Moon theory has its roots in a passage in the Bible in Joel 2:31 which reads: “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come.”
Similarly, in Acts 2:20: “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.”
And again in Revelation 6:12: “[…] and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood”.
That a “tetrad” of lunar eclipses, with six full moons in between them, will coincide with an asteroid hitting earth was popularised by US pastors Mark Biltz and John Hagee. They each noted that previous tetrads in history had coincided with noteworthy, tragic and triumphant events in Jewish history.
Mr Hagee’s book on the topic, called Four Blood Moons, was the ninth best-selling paperback in the US in March last year.
Present day biblical theorists who follow the teachings have been worried that in a period somewhere between September 22 to 28 2015, the world will end.
And although sources are vague there has been enough speculation on social media and elsewhere for NASA, which has an automated collision monitoring system, to issue the following statement:
“NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small,” said a spokesperson in comments reported by Yahoo News.
“In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”
A bug in the popular messaging service WhatsApp put up to 200 million of its users at risk, security firm Check Point has warned.
The flaw allows hackers to distribute malware, including ransomware, which demands victims pay a fee to regain access to their files.
The vulnerability affects only the web-based version of the service.
WhatsApp was alerted to the problem at the end of last month and immediately issued a patch.
Check Point urged users to update their WhatsApp software immediately to take advantage of the fix.
The WhatsApp web app is a mirror version of its mobile app, enabling all messages, images and other content received on a smartphone to be accessed from a web browser.
There are currently over 200 million active users of the web app, according to statistics released by the firm this year. This compares to 900 million users of the smartphone app.
WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in February 2014.
According to Check Point, the vulnerability was caused by the way the service handles contacts sent in the vCard (virtual card) format.
All a hacker needed to do to send a virtual business card that looked legitimate was know their target’s mobile number.
Once opened the vCard could distribute malicious code.
One expert said it was relatively easy for hackers to get hold of mobile numbers that have been disclosed via other breaches.
“Bearing in mind that WhatsApp is a cross-platform mobile messaging app, the chances of you opening a vCard sent to you is quite high,” commented Mark James, a specialist at security firm ESET.
“Once opened it could attempt to download and infect your system with ransomware.”
Check Point alerted WhatsApp about the problem on 21 August and a week later it issued a fix.
A woman who posted explicit images of her girlfriend “to hurt and humiliate” her victim after an argument has walked free from court.
Paige Mitchell, 24, today became the first woman to be sentenced for revenge porn in the UK when she was handed a six-week suspended jail term at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court.
Mitchell, from Shephall Way in Stevenage, said she posted the four sexually explicit images of her girlfriend on her own Facebook page following the argument – prompted when Mitchell was accused by the victim of looking at other women.
Sentencing her, chairman of the bench Bette Hindmarsh said: “Posting the photos on the internet was a highly vindictive invasion of privacy.
“It was done with the intention of humiliating and hurting your victim.”
Mitchell pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating, and one of disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress.
The latter has only been a criminal offence since the new revenge porn laws were introduced in April. So far, around a dozen men have been convicted under the legislation in England.
Mitchell said the images were sent by her partner during their relationship, which had begun 14 months before the fight.
She posted four of them on Facebook after the argument, but removed them when her mother told her it was against the law, the court heard. The images had been online for half an hour.
Mitchell’s counsel, Tariq Iqbal, said his client and the victim later reconciled their differences and continued to be in a relationship.
However, Mitchell appeared to call time on the romance from the dock by inviting the court to issue her with a restraining order that would force them to split for good.
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In a witness statement, the victim – whose one-year-old child was sleeping during the argument at Mitchell’s home on May 12 -said the incident “made me feel embarrassed, embarrassed to walk down the street”.
She said: “People who I didn’t want to see my body have seen me (naked). I don’t want to feel like that.”
Mitchell was handed a six-week sentence for revenge porn, and a two-week sentence for common assault, to run concurrently. They were suspended for 18 months.
She was also made to pay £345 in costs.
Mr Iqbal said his client needed help with her anger management, and that the Facebook post was an indication of her naivety.
He said: “It was a silly thing to do, but I think it was in the heat of the moment. Emotions can be dangerous some times.”
Mitchell made no comment as she ran from the court building at the end of the sentence hearing, wearing a hood over her face, flanked by two friends.
In a statement, Joanna Coleman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “These vengeful crimes are predominantly thought of as being carried out by men.
“This sentencing will highlight that anyone can be guilty of this offence and regardless of the defendant’s gender, once reported, it will be taken seriously.
“Crimes where an intimate image of an individual is shared without their permission in such a public forum is invasive, humiliating and distressing for the victim and leaves them feeling violated.
“It can have a huge impact on the victim and I am pleased that more people are having the confidence to come forward and report these crimes.”
With strange bedfellows.
— Shakespeare, The Tempest II, 2
AND strange bedfellows create misery for many men after that first acquaintance. Many men end up in bed with miserable women, and have to beat a hasty retreat in order to keep their sanity. Women are always having lively conversations about who gives more trouble in relationships – men or women. Naturally, they all say men are the culprits… you know how women are. To counter this, I say that men get a bad rap in relationships, and that their indiscretions are bandied about and broadcast through the feminine network. I quote the old saying, “Nuff fish bite man in the sea, but is shark alone get the blame”.
A man will do one bad thing and his partner will tell her girlfriend, who in turn will tell her girlfriend, until it escalates into the most heinous crime known to mankind. “All men are bad, and all men have doggish ways”, is what many women say. Men on the other hand, hardly talk about the wrongs that women do. Instead, they hold on to it, keep it inside, or go to the bar to drown their sorrows.
So while it is common knowledge that men philander, have women all over the place, are abusers, neglectful fathers, gamblers, and whoremongers, it is a little advertised fact that women also do bad things to wreck relationships. And even when they do these things, the women justify the actions and say, “It must be something that he did why she did that to him.” The truth shall be revealed, right after these responses to ‘Sexploitation’.
I am very disappointed with the view you seem to espouse so strongly in your column ‘Sexploitation’. It’s unfortunate that so many of us still seem to be unable to address the real problem of sexual exploitation, especially of young girls… without finding a way to blame the girls themselves for the situation, or without introducing ‘red herrings’ such as, “A she put argument to me”, or, “She willingly went to his room”. Don’t we see what a picture we paint of the men in these cases? Sigh.
There are many devious women who put the cream at puss mouth to get him to lick it. The pusses in most cases are wealthy and famous men, and these women aim to extort a large payday by claiming rape. They demand money to keep from going to the police and if that doesn’t work, they report to the cops that they were raped, then sue the real victim. That my friend, is the highest form of sexploitation.
Now seriously, who really wrecks relationships most of the time? Most women say that it’s men, and that everybody knows that. “Men are always doing bad things to good women.” But a little known truth is, it’s really women who destroy many relationships, if you’re to believe the research that I dug up recently. Remember, most men don’t talk about what their women did to them to mash up the dolly house, usually out of shame and embarrassment. Very few men will tell their friends that their woman abuses them, beats them, or confess that, “My woman give me bun (had affair) with my cousin and then leave me”. Oh no.
So here are a few hidden gems that show that women mash up relationships many times. For one, they don’t give the man enough props. Instead they constantly berate him, beat him down, tell him he’s no good and worthless, compare him to other men, until he wilts, withers and eventually leaves. “You are no good, why can’t you be like my ex boyfriend, Orville?”
Right on the heels of this is when women ridicule a man’s body. Men may not be as vain as women, who spend hours preening before a mirror, but still, no man wants to be told how fat and paunchy he is. “Ha ha, look at you, your belly so big you can’t even see your you know what.” After months or years of this ridicule, poof, the man is gone, or stays and suffers in silence. Either way, the relationship is wrecked.
Men enjoy attention too, and no man likes it when he’s talking to his woman and she’s constantly distracted, checking her Instagram, e-mails, WhatsApp, texts, or Twitter. No matter how much he speaks, she hardly hears a word that he says, as her head and attention are constantly engrossed in what’s on her mobile phone or computer screen. As he speaks, she logs on to her mobile device, he speaks more, she doesn’t hear a word he says, as she’s tuned in to her cyber world, so he tunes out, signs out of her life, and the relationship crashes.
This segues right into the very next point, that even when the woman does talk, all she talks about is domestic stuff. The man comes home from a hard day’s work. Maybe he’s a banker who has fiscal problems on his mind, or a politician who has constituency crosses. The first thing that greets him at the door is, “You forgot to take out the garbage again, the toilet bowl is running, the bathroom needs painting, the helper used too much bleach, and we need new mops.” She talks about nothing else but domestic matters, which just drives the man away, physically, or emotionally. Another one bites the dust, as she stays home alone and dusts, after he dusts her off and splits.
Some women don’t seem happy to see their men. Maybe they do feel happy inside, but it’s not shown, so the man doesn’t feel the love, doesn’t feel as if she misses him, or is happy in his presence. Men are sensitive creatures. You notice how happy a dog is, every single time, when it sees its master, even after a brief absence? Every dog owner will tell you how gratifying that feels. And yet they call men dogs.
Which just slides right into the age-old problem, that women take their men for granted. I have heard this from many of my male colleagues who complain that, “She just assumes that I cannot leave and that I’ll always be there, always be a good man, thinks that she knows me, takes me for granted.”
Always playing the victim is another way in which women wreck relationships. Men cannot do this, as men aren’t allowed to show weakness or vulnerability. But women have carte blanche on this. First it’s the pouting, then the sob story of a terrible past relationship, followed by copious tears. “Oh poor me, my mother used to beat me, and I had no luck with men.” How can a man counter that, especially in a new relationship? So he splits and she has one more sob story to give to the next man.
Never forgetting anything the man did in the past also wrecks relationships. I have witnessed grown men crying, all because they couldn’t take any more of the constant regurgitating of past deeds from their wives, who never forgot one incident that was done many years ago. “You slept with that damn Jezebel 10 years ago. How could you, have you no shame?” This tirade never stopped, every morning, every day, every evening, every night like clockwork for 10 years, as she never forgave or forgot. As my bredrin told me, “Even prisoners get paroled for good behaviour, but my sentence lasted forever.” He had to escape.
And finally, women wreck relationships by hardly having sex with their men. I have broached this subject many times over the years, how women withhold sex from their men and how it destroys relationships. It is well-documented and felt by men whose women lock shop on them for whatever reason. This destroys relationships, makes men look elsewhere, and then get blamed for straying.
So while men do wreck relationships by doing the clichéd, obvious, doggish things, such as physical abuse, womanising, having outside children, staying out late and such, women also destroy relationships by the subtle, innocuous, little things that wouldn’t stand up in court. “Come now, Mr Brown, nagging is not a crime under the law, neither is criticising your body.”
But those little things still have the same devastating effect as a wrecking ball. More time.
A police constable attached to the Kingston Central Police Division is now in hospital under police surveillance after he was shot in a foiled robbery in Black River, the St Elizabeth capital Monday afternoon.
The constable who was on sick leave is a part of Kingston Central’s Operational Support Team.
The off-duty cop reportedly attempted to rob a businessman of a bag containing about $5 million when the security guard for the National Commercial Bank intervened and shot him.
The incident drew large crowds as the security guards awaited the arrival of the police.
Police sources told OBSERVER ONLINE that the injured man is believed to be assigned to a police station in Clarendon.
He is now in hospital under police guard.
Reports are that about 12:20 pm Monday, a customer was approaching the entrance of the National Commercial Bank in Black River, with a large sum of money, when he was accosted by an armed man. A security guard at the bank intervened and the would-be robber was shot in the leg.
Police, on arrival on the scene, found a pistol which had allegedly fallen from the would-be robber’s hand as well as a .38 revolver stuck in his waistband.
ARMED police swooped on a city centre address but were quickly stood down after discovering it was a hoax call.
A number of people living in Seven Dials, Brighton, reported seeing scores of police and ambulance crew at about 3.30pm today.
Eyewitness Corin Pearce said police blocked off West Hill Road as the incident unfolded. Further activity around Dyke Road and Compton Road also increased tension in the area as locals quizzed what was happening.
A Sussex Police spokesman told The Argus the incident was a hoax call and armed officers were stood down. He would not go into more detail when asked for more information.
Thailand’s military rulers are facing up to the deadliest attack in the capital in recent memory after at least 19 people were killed in a bomb blast that the government blamed on forces seeking to destroy its tourist economy.
Body parts and mangled scooters were scattered across a busy intersection in central Bangkok after the improvised device went off at about 7pm local time (noon GMT) at the Erawan Hindu shrine.
Bangkok explosion witness: ‘There was fire, shrapnel and so much smoke’
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the deadly assault in which more than 123 people were injured is a major test for the military-run administration, which ousted the elected government in May 2014. The military is fighting a Muslim insurgency in the south but militants rarely launch attacks of this scale on the capital.
“The perpetrators intended to destroy the economy and tourism, because the incident occurred in the heart of the tourism district,” the defence minister, Prawit Wongsuwan, told Reuters.
“We still don’t know for sure who did this and why,” he later told reporters. “We are not sure if it is politically motivated, but they aim to harm our economy and we will hunt them down.”
“It was a pipe bomb,” the national police chief, Somyot Poompanmoung, said, adding that the toll could climb to nearer 30. “It was placed inside the Erawan shrine.” CCTV footage captured a cloud of fire, and showed Thai people and a foreign man running away.
“Those who have planted this bomb are cruel. They aim to kill because everyone knows that at 7pm the shrine is crowded with Thais and foreigners,” Somyot said. “Planting a bomb there means they want to see a lot of dead people.”
Bangkok has been mostly calm since the coup last year but anger from the opposition has intensified after the junta said it may not hold elections until 2017. The last major bombing in Bangkok occurred on New Year’s Eve at the end of 2006, when three people were killed in a series of explosions. Responsibility was never claimed.
Police and the fire brigade cordoned off the entire intersection with tape and human barriers. Four major roads and the above-ground metro rail converge here, and high-rise hotels and malls line the street. Shards of glass lay on the road and a sign from the nearby Alexander McQueen shop had letters missing from the impact of the blast.
Hundreds of onlookers, mostly from the security services but also journalists and some tourists, stood at the edge of the tape. When thunder clapped in the clouds above, everyone jumped.
The UK Foreign Office said people should “monitor media and take extra care” after the explosion. It later released a statement saying: “We are in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of an explosion in Bangkok.”
At the multistorey Grand Hyatt hotel, which is right next to the shrine, locals and tourists waited for the situation to calm down, looking at photos of the wreckage on social media as they sat only metres away.
Thanapon Peng, a 25-year-old who works in marketing, passed the site on a motorbike taxi moments after the blast. “I saw glass. I saw some organs of people on the road. I don’t know how many people there were,” he told the Guardian. “I heard that about 80 people are wounded but we don’t know how many died.”
He was told by hotel staff to wait inside, where a musician continued to play on the mezzanine grand piano and staff tried to help people. Outside, a single empty stretcher lay where taxis drop off guests.
There were suggestions in the aftermath that a second and third bomb had been hidden in the capital. Police with torches looked under bushes and walked the grounds of the nearby police station in an apparent search for other devices.
Tamar Johnson, 20, a British tourist staying in the nearby Lebua hotel, said she and her sister were at the rooftop bar when they heard a huge explosion. “At first we thought it was just thunder because there’s been electrical storms all day so we didn’t think much of it,” she told Caters News Agency.
“Then my mum phoned me from the hotel. She was shouting about a bomb so we sprinted back to our hotel. It was chaos – people were running around and there were police and ambulances everywhere.”
“Now we’re on the 23rd floor and we’re all together waiting for it to calm down. It’s really scary. The hotel staff are looking after us but they’ve closed the doors and told us not to leave until we hear anything else.”
Medics and police formed a line at the large intersection and walked slowly forward, looking for any debris from the blast. A volunteer medic said: “Some people died here, some people died at hospital.”
A full death toll would come later, medics said, as many of the critically wounded had been sent to different hospitals.
The explosion was large enough to throw a metre-wide chunk of metal to a third-floor balcony on the other side of the street, about 50 metres away. Human flesh lay on the road and medics were picking it up two hours after the blast.
The shrine is a major attraction for visitors from Asia and for Thai people. Dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, it is also popular among Thailand’s Buddhist and Chinese tourists.
Nearby tailors sell suits to tourists and diplomats, and the road straddles the capital’s main metro line.
Several ambulances rushed along the road away from the shrine to hospitals. Most of the wounded were taken to a hospital very close to the blast site and a long line of ambulances waited outside. Empty wheelchairs and stretchers stood at the entrance to the emergency care unit, where people were packed into the reception.
In the lobby, police said foreigners who speak Thai had arrived to volunteer to help translate for wounded tourists. Hospitals were calling for Chinese translators and many had arrived and registered their mobile phone numbers with the police, to be called on later.
Tony Chan, a Chinese physical education teacher, said he was in Bangkok on a three-week trip and came to the hospital to see if he could do something for the wounded. “I heard a very loud sound. I thought it was thunder. Later I saw the news so I came to see if I could provide some help,” he said.
The Nation television channel reported that the government would set up a “war room” to coordinate a response. Some were pointing fingers at Muslim separatists who have waged a long campaign in Thailand’s south, but the country has also seen violent confrontations between political groups in the capital. Two pipe bombs exploded in the same district in February but did not cause significant damage.
The Thai government posted a statement late on Monday evening, attributed to Maj Gen Werachon Sukhondhapatak, saying preliminary investigations had revealed that an IED was used to cause the explosion.
“As for possible motivations as to who may have caused this incident, it is too early to speculate which group may have been responsible for this crime but authorities are following possible leads.”
February: Two small bombs explode near a popular shopping mall in downtown Bangkok. One man is injured but there are no deaths.
18 January: One protester dies after a bomb attack at an opposition march in Bangkok. Authorities and demonstrators blame each other for the blast, which was apparently caused by a grenade-type device thrown from a nearby building.
19 January: Twin blasts by unknown attackers at an anti-government protest in central Bangkok leave 28 injured.
May: A homemade bomb hidden near rubbish bins in a busy suburban Bangkok shopping area explodes, injuring seven people.
January: Police arrest five men armed with explosives after a tipoff that bomb attacks were planned near the seat of government in Bangkok.
June: Two people are injured in a blast at a political protest by Thailand’s “Yellow Shirt” demonstrators near Government House.
7 December: A makeshift explosive device is found and defused near the government lottery office with authorities saying the perpetrators wanted to “challenge the government”.
April: Five grenade blasts hit Bangkok, targeting hundreds of pro-government supporters in attacks that leave one dead and scores wounded, including foreigners. The grenade blasts come after a failed attempt by authorities to disperse the anti-government “Red Shirts”, sparking clashes that left 25 people dead and more than 800 injured in the worst civil unrest in almost two decades.
July: The government says a bomb that killed one at a bus stop in central Bangkok was designed to create disorder.
September: Bangkok put on high alert after a series of grenade blasts. Thousands of police and soldiers are mobilised for extra security.
October: A blast at an apartment complex kills four, with the government blaming the incident on the Red Shirts who deny any involvement and accuse the authorities of a plot to justify tougher security powers.
November: A grenade is thrown onto a minibus killing one. It was not clear if it was politically motivated.
Three killed and around 40 injured in a volley of eight explosions over the New Year period.
* Kiev says rebels shelled civilian targets near Mariupol
* Russia’s Lavrov says Kiev is preparing new offensive
* Putin in Crimea to promote tourism -Kremlin (Adds Putin’s comments; paragraphs 5-6, 21-22)
By Richard Balmforth
KIEV, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Fighting flared between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels in separate parts of eastern Ukraine overnight, killing at least two Ukrainian soldiers and several civilians, Kiev’s military and separatist sources said on Monday.
The clashes, near the port of Mariupol in the southeast and at rebel-held Horlivka, further frayed an increasingly tenuous ceasefire as Ukraine prepared to mark its Independence Day next week.
Kiev accused the separatists of shelling civilians on the outskirts of Mariupol. In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed Kiev for the violence, giving no detail but saying he suspected Ukraine was preparing a new offensive.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meanwhile accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to whip up tensions in eastern Ukraine by visiting Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine last year.
The Kremlin said the aim of Putin’s three-day trip was to hold meetings on ways to develop the Black Sea peninsula and promote tourism there.
“I am sure, that despite all the current difficulties, the situation in Ukraine will improve and Ukraine will develop positively,” Putin said.
But the escalation in fighting has drawn expressions of concern from Western governments, which regard the ceasefire and tentative peace agreement worked out in Minsk, Belarus, in February as still the best chance of ending the rebellion in eastern Ukraine.
Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the rebels had used howitzers with a range of 15-16 km (10 miles) to shell Sartana, on Mariupol’s northern edge.
“The enemy was not shelling Ukrainian positions, but a civilian town,” he told a briefing. “The enemy has now adopted the tactic of firing and then quickly withdrawing. The next time they’ll get a quick response. What has happened in Sartana is a challenge to our forces.”
He said two Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and seven wounded by separatists in the past 24 hours.
Regional police said at least one man and a young woman had been killed in Sartana.
“On one street there were five houses that were really badly damaged by shell fragments. One house had a well-tended garden with vines and a vegetable patch. But the house had been wrecked by shells and I saw an enormous pool of blood,” a local news photographer, Mykola Ryabchenko, told Reuters by telephone.
The separatist website DAN quoted the separatist mayor of Horlivka as saying at least three people had been killed and four wounded as a result of government shelling of the town, a regular hot spot north of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk.
Lysenko said the rebels had used heavy weapons including Grad rockets in attacks on government forces around Horlivka.
The upsurge in fighting combined with low oil prices on Monday to undermine Russia’s rouble, which touched a six-month low against the dollar.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week expressed “grave concern” to Lavrov over a rise in separatist attacks, and urged an immediate halt to shooting.
Germany’s foreign minister said the situation was explosive and urged the parties to prevent a spiral in violence.
More than 6,500 people have been killed in the conflict, which erupted in April 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea in reaction to the fall of a Moscow-backed president in Kiev.
Moscow went on to support the rebels in pressing for greater autonomy but denies sending them soldiers or arms, despite what the West and Kiev say is irrefutable proof.
Poroshenko called Putin’s visit to Crimea “a continuation of the plan to escalate the situation” as Ukraine prepares to mark its Independence Day on Aug. 24.
Putin criticised his Ukrainian counterpart for appointing foreign specialists and advisors to key government posts, such as Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who became governor of Ukraine’s southern Odessa region in May.
“Stop this shameful practice,” he said. “It is humiliating for the Ukrainian people.”
For too often Obesity have taken the blame for other sickness that befalls us.
One of latest accusation is that type 2 Diabetics are cause by obese people.
I for one has been diagnosed as type 2 diabetic, but my weight is no where near obese therefore if what they are claiming is right then whoever that made my diagnostic is ever so wrong about what they claim to have found.
Would it be easier for these people to tell us that most of these sickness that affects us these days is due to the amount of chemicals that we consumed in our daily meal.
Remember because of the population they have to force their crops to grow which in turns affect our health.
Tell us facts and not friction,don’t tell us one thing today and tomorrow you give us another jibe.
After 131 years it turns out the Greenwich Meridian Line is in the WRONG place
Researchers have discovered the world famous stainless steel tourist attraction should not be at its current Royal Observatory location
People have been visiting it for decades but after 131 years it turns out the
Greenwich Meridian Line is in the wrong place.
Researchers have discovered the world famous stainless steel tourist attraction marking Longitude 0 should be in Greenwich Park – and not the Royal Observatory.
It should be 334 feet (or 102 metres) to the east of where the north-south line dividing the eastern and western hemispheres has been since 1884.
This was when countries met in Washington DC to recommend Earth’s prime meridian should pass through the Airy Transit Circle, a telescope for measuring star positions.
Named after Sir George Biddell Airy, the 7th Astronomer Royal, it tracked the movement of ‘clock stars’, stars which never rise or set.
Because these stars are always present in the sky and transit the meridian twice each day their appearance in the telescope cross hairs can be used to set time and longitude.
But modern navigators, mapmakers, surveyors and tourists have now got to get used to zero longitude being somewhere completely different.
Every place on Earth is measured in terms of its distance east or west from the Greenwich Meridian.
The line itself divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth, just as the Equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres.
During the evenings, the position of the Meridian Line is often marked by a green laser in the sky.
Since the late 19th century, the Prime Meridian at Greenwich has served as the reference line for Greenwich Mean Time.
It claimed to be the centre of world time, and was the official starting point for the new Millennium.
But the superb accuracy of GPS receivers which uses satellites to precisely measure grid coordinates at any point on the Earth’s surface have replaced the traditional telescopic observations used to measure the planet’s rotation.
Astronomer Professor Ken Seidelmann, of the University of Virginia, said: “With the advancements in technology, the change in the prime meridian was inevitable.
“Perhaps a new marker should be installed in the Greenwich Park for the new prime meridian.”
Prof Seidelmann and his colleagues from the US Naval Observatory, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the US company Analytical Graphics Inc have been working to explain the situation.
The research published in the Journal of Geodesy shows the 102-metre mistake is down to the difference between two traditional ways of determining coordinates.
Because the Earth is not perfectly round, and because different locations on Earth have different terrain, these methods to measure longitude have built-in errors based on where they are taken.
A basin of mercury was used to make sure Airy’s telescope was kept exactly vertical so it could align with the clock stars.
But astronomers failed to take into account subtle changes in gravity would affect the telescope alignment and give a wonky reading.
Prof Seidelmann said GPS measures vertical from space in a straight line directly through the centre of the Earth, effectively removing the gravitational effects of mountains and other terrain.
At the 1884 meeting 25 nations awarded Greenwich the prize of Longitude 0 by a vote of 22 in favour to one against (San Domingo), with two abstentions (France and Brazil).
The USA had already chosen Greenwich as the basis for its own national time-zone system.
The decision, essentially, was based on the argument that by naming Greenwich as Longitude 0, it would inconvenience the least number of people.
Therefore, the Prime Meridian at Greenwich became the centre of world time, and the starting point of each new day, year and millennium.
In a news release Friday, Holness said the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is very concerned about the state of overall development in the parish and is particularly concerned about the levels of youth unemployment, lack of water and the state of roads.
Holness said that the JLP has big plans for St Thomas especially in light of recent tours which showed a “tremendous level of neglect of the parish by the Government”.
“The parish of St Thomas continues to be very prominent on the JLP’s agenda”, Holness said.
He added, “the party is eager to return to Government to implement its plans for St Thomas”.
Various pictures have been circulating on social media of dark-skinned people using strong chemicals to peel off layers of their skin to reveal significantly lighter skin. However, doctors are warning Jamaicans not to engage in the practice which can cause irreversible damage.
Skin peeling is a beauty treatment in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing it to “blister” and eventually peel off to reveal fresher, newer skin. This treatment is not new and is quite commonly practised in Jamaica by dermatologists and at spas.
However, the pictures circulating on social media show a form of deep skin peel, which dermatologist Arlene Rose does not recommend for Jamaicans with dark skin.
“There are different types of skin peeling and some, such as the phenol and TCA peels, are not to be done on black skin at all because they go too deep and damage the layer that produces melanin (the dark pigment). When this happens, the person can get unsightly dark patches and irreversible skin damage,” she said.
Rose stressed that skin peels are not intended to be a form of skin bleaching and is not to be used for that purpose.
“Skin peeling is a way of refreshing the outer layer of the skin, which normally sheds so you get a fresher, newer look, however, skin peels do not bleach at all – they simply remove the damaged dead cells,” Rose said.
Since the pictures have surfaced on social media, many Jamaicans have strongly criticised the practice of using extra-strength skin peels to attain light skin.
Some Facebook users comments on the pictures are:
Nikeisha Johnson: This real tho omg no sah Jamaican poeple nuh fool so as much as we love tone dem try nuh bring dat here.
Kay Dian: Believe or not.. Dem [Jamaicans] soon start doing it!! That suppose burn to like 10 fire side
Lorraine Smith: What the hell is wrong with we people why we cant satisfy with the damn colours wea God give we? Lord have mercy on some of us.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the last 20 years since my divorce. It dawned on me recently that even though I didn’t have a divorce party (just wasn’t in the mood) it doesn’t mean that I can’t mark the 20th anniversary of my divorce in some way. So here it goes, my list of the 10 most important lessons I’ve learned in the last two decades:
1. Your partner is not going to change. In other words, you can’t change a cat into a dog. Love just isn’t enough to significantly alter a person’s basic nature and upbringing. For instance, if you fall in love with someone who is reserved and you need outward signs of affection to feel secure, you’ll feel chronically dissatisfied. Most likely, these differences will probably erode loving feelings over time and diminish positive interactions in your relationship.
2. Rather than trying to “fix” your partner, focus on improving your own life. Many people stay in dysfunctional relationships with the unconscious desire to change their partner and avoid dealing with their own issues. According to codependency and relationship expert, Ross Rosenberg, this pattern is common and couples often stay in highly dysfunctional relationships to their own detriment. Rosenberg notes, “The inherently dysfunctional “codependency dance” requires two opposite but distinctly balanced partners: the pleaser/fixer (codependent) and the taker/controller (narcissist).” Rather than investing your energy into fixing your partner, make a commitment to improve some of your undesirable traits – we’re all flawed in some way.
3. Opposites attract but usually don’t stay together. Rosenberg describes opposites as “human magnets” who are irresistibly pulled toward each other, not so much by their conscious decisions or intentions, but rather by their opposite “magnetic field.” He writes, “Such partners with complimentary magnetic roles are irresistibly drawn together and locked into a relationship that is nearly impossible to resist or break free of.” He posits that couples who are opposites are immune to breakups due to the amorous nature of their relationship magnetism – unless one partner moves in a healthier direction, and the other one doesn’t follow.
4. Avoid jumping into an intimate relationship too quickly. The idea here is to take it slow, really, really slow. Slowing down the pace of your relationship, regardless of the impulse many people feel to move things along quickly, will give you the opportunity to get to know your partner better. The odds of seeing the truth of the relationship increase when we take time to get to know someone, according to psychologist Kristin M. Davin, PsyD. She advises “many become sexually involved before they’re ready and potentially problematic issues get obscured until much later in the relationship. I see this all the time. Date. Talk. Really get to know each other.” In my case, I knew my ex for less than a year when we became engaged so I was blindsided by many of our differences.
5. Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t the same as condoning the hurt done to you but it will allow you to move forward with your life. Accept that people usually do the best they can and try to be more understanding. This doesn’t mean that you accept your partner’s hurtful actions. You simply come to a more realistic view and give them less power over you. In the future, if your relationship is basically healthy, develop a mindset of acceptance and forgiveness about daily disappointments. After all, none of us is perfect. Don’t let resentment impact you greatly and try to let go of small annoyances.
6. Sweeping things under the rug usually doesn’t reap good results. Communicate honestly about key issues in your relationship. Be sure to be forthcoming about your concerns. Express thoughts, feelings, and wishes in a respectful way. Resentment can build when couples bury hurt feelings, so be vulnerable and don’t allow upset feelings to fester. Challenge your beliefs and self-defeating thoughts about holding onto hurt feelings. When we listen to our partner’s side of the story and process it briefly with them, we no longer need to hold onto hurt feelings.
7. Take responsibility for your part in the conflict or dispute. One person’s ability to do this can change the dynamic of the relationship. Drs. Julie and John Gottman write: “one person’s response will literally change the brain waves of the other person.” Apologize to your partner when appropriate. This will validate their feelings and promote forgiveness and allow you both to move on. Love is not enough. Saying you’re sorry can heal a wound even when you didn’t hurt your partner’s feelings intentionally. Resentment builds over time if couples aren’t able to talk about hurt feelings that arise from unresolved grievances.
8. Develop a Hurt-Free Zone policy. This term coined by author David Akiva refers to a period when criticism is not allowed. Without it, couples usually feel less defensive thus hurt feelings and rejection dissolve. Akiva writes: “Your prime directive right now is to eliminate the most toxic negative communication and reduce intense negative emotions for 3 to 4 weeks.”
9. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. While self-sufficiency and autonomy can help you weather the storms of life, it can also rob you of true intimacy. For a relationship to be balanced, partners must be able to depend on one another and feel that they are needed and appreciated for the support they give. If you have been let down in the past, the prospect of needing someone can be frightening. Opening up to your partner can make you feel vulnerable and exposed but it is the most important ingredient of a trusting, intimate relationship. If you can’t be vulnerable with your partner, this is a red flag so pay attention!
10. Learn to trust your own judgment. If you find yourself saying things like “I knew things were awful and I should have ended it earlier” you may need to pay attention to your inner voice or intuition. Ending a relationship doesn’t make you a failure. Rather it probably means it just wasn’t the right one for you. According to Kristin M. Davin, PsyD. “we tend to ignore red flags because we want to be in a relationship. She posits “we put on our rose-colored glasses and off we go. Throw the glasses away and trust your gut.”
In sum, I don’t regret a moment of my past — or decision to get a divorce. But I’ll keep this list close at hand as a reminder of lessons learned. I hope it helps you move forward and find the kind of love that allows you to be your best self and embrace all that life has to offer!
Reblogged on WordPress.com
‘I chose the first option. I felt it was my duty to do so.’