Archive for July 26th, 2010

Illegal over-stayer leaves after twelve years

| 26/07/2010 | 21 Comments

(CNS): With only one week left of the immigration department’s amnesty officials are encouraging people to leave the island before the enforcement arm begins its clamp down. So far 41 people have taken advantage of the prosecution waiver to leave the island. According to government officials the longest over-stayer had been in Cayman illegally for twelve years. Only one employer so far has cancelled a permit but the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Enforcement Gary Wong encouraged companies employing illegal residents to take advantage of this otherwise their business could be in jeopardy once the enforcement part of the exercise steps up.

 Immigration officials are encouraging anyone who is overstaying or working without a valid permit to similarly take advantage and leave Cayman now before the end of July.
Those who have been recorded as departing range in age from six months old to 80 years old. Of the total, 15 were from Jamaica, nine were from the United States, and three each from South Africa, India and Nicaragua. Also, one person from Britain, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guyana, Honduras, Panama and the Philippines has left.
The immigration department has said it believes there are around 250 people on the island who are here illegally and warned employers who have people working without permits or who have no work for people with permits to also come clean.
“This practice may affect the future standing of their companies, as well as their applications to obtain permits,” said Wong. “There may also be implications relating to their business licences.”
Upon the conclusion of this month’s amnesty, the enforcement section will be working to identify and arrest offenders. Because of the suspected number of work permits of convenience (with no, or irregular work offered by the permit holder) the department will also be checking to ensure that employees’ pension and health insurance premiums have been paid.
Residents and employers are encouraged to take advantage of the remaining days of the amnesty.
For more information, call 244-2028 or visit the Department of Immigration on Grand Cayman or the District Administration Building on Cayman Brac.

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Three students receive UWC scholarships

| 26/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Three recent graduates of Cayman Prep and High School have been selected as the 2010 United World Colleges Scholars. Kelsey Dixon, Hailee Robinson and Jennifer Moseley have been given full scholarships thanks to Deutsche Bank in the Cayman Islands which made its second donation of US$20,000 to the United World College (Cayman Islands) National Foundation, part of a 5-year commitment to provide funding for the programme. The bank’s sponsorship will be used entirely to help provide full scholarships to the newly selected students, as well as continue to support current students and future students in the years to come.

Founded on the ideals of international peace and understanding, the United World Colleges (UWC) offer a two-year university preparation programme for students aged 16 to 18 years who are awarded an International Baccalaureate Diploma on successful completion. A UWC education provides a multidisciplinary, rigorous academic programme, with strong emphasis on community service and a wide range of cultural and outdoor activities. According to the United World College (Cayman Islands) National Foundation, thirteen UWC campuses are located across the globe and each presents a unique and exemplary learning environment for those in attendance.

Orchid Morrison, UWC alumni and chairperson for the foundation, thanked Deutsche Bank for providing the Caymanian UWC scholars with an outstanding opportunity to represent Cayman abroad whilst benefitting from an internationally acclaimed educational institution. “These young Caymanians represent the best of the best and the future leaders of Cayman. We are so very proud that Deutsche Bank’s contribution will give them the opportunity for an excellent education.”

Kelsey Dixon will be attending the United World College in Costa Rica, Hailee Robinson will soon study at the United World College USA in New Mexico, and Jennifer Moseley will cross the Atlantic to attend the Waterford KaMhlaba United World College of Southern Africa. “An average of 70 different nationalities are represented at most colleges at any one time, and embracing the many nationalities present is an important feature of UWC life, helping students to explore and develop an international appreciation. The students will be expected to uphold and share their national values so that they might learn from each other and benefit from finding commonalities across borders in an increasingly complex and diverse, yet interconnected, world,” the foundation said in a release.

Janet Hislop, Chief Country Officer for Deutsche Bank in the Cayman Islands, said, "Discovering and actively enabling talent is essential for society and for the companies that operate within it, andat Deutsche Bank we aim to be a catalyst in this effort. As a global company, we fully understandhow intercultural learning can broaden horizons. We also support high level achievement. In this age of globalization, acquiring intercultural skills is of growing importance and for this reason we are delighted to support these students on the next stage of their academic journey.”

The United World College (Cayman Islands) National Foundation, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, relies on corporate and private funding for its scholarship program. “Deutsche Bank has kept their promise to support the UWC organisation in Cayman and we are so very thankful,” said Orchid Morrison.

Companies and individuals interested in making a donation to CIUWC are invited to contact Morrison at or 345–814–2734.

Photo: (left to right) Hailee Robinson (Recipient); Kelsey Dixon (Recipient); Orchid Morrison (CIUWC Chairperson); Janet Hislop (Deutsche Bank Chief Country Officer); Jennifer Moseley (Recipient); Yainelys Ebanks (UWC Alumni)

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Tagging system investigated

| 26/07/2010 | 44 Comments

(CNS): The community’s trust in local electronic tagging of suspected and convicted offenders has been severely undermined and government officials are seeking to reassure the public that the system has now been reviewed. Following the revelations that the man shot and killed by a homeowner during an attempted robbery last week had been electronically tagged while on bail for other crimes, an expert spent the weekend in the Cayman Islands investigating the electronic monitoring system. George Drake, an independent expert with 25 years experience in the field, arrived on Friday and has been investigating installation and inspection procedures relating to the local tagging programme.

The Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, which is responsible for the system, confirmed that, while the device attached to the deceased, Harryton Rivers, had been fitted correctly, it had clearly been tampered with.For security reasons government officials said they could not give details of how the tag had been removed. However, government did say that the procedures have been reviewed and modified to improve the integrity of the programme and thwart future tampering attempts.
Eric Bush, Acting Chief Officer for the Portfolio of Internal and External Affair said, “The Electronic Monitoring Programme is vital to combat crime and make our community safer. I have every confidence that the programme is being managed properly and, based on the information presented to me; I believe that the changes that are being made will strengthen that programme.”
After the revelation that Rivers had been tagged, the Emergency Communications and Electronic Monitoring Department, which has direct supervision of the system, launched an investigation into the circumstances as to why he was not wearing his ankle bracelet, which was later found by police at his house.
Drake was hired by the portfolio to determine what had happened and how the chance of a re-occurrence could be minimized. The expert collected evidence, conducted interviews and forensically examined the tracking device assigned to Rivers. The results of the examination concluded that the tracking device had initially been properly installed on Rivers by the Electronic Monitoring Centre.
Two days prior to the alleged burglary, the device had correctly triggered alerts to the Electronic Monitoring Centre. As a result RCIPS officers had been dispatched to its location where it was found still securely to Rivers’ ankle. Since then government officials said there had been no other alerts reported to the Electronic Monitoring Centre from Rivers.
It remains unclear how the device was removed without an alert being issued to the communication centre and officials say they will not be disclosing further information regarding the details of how the device was tampered with.
Despite wide speculation that this is not the first time that a device has been removed, Bush told CNS that the portfolio was not aware of anyone else removing the tag from their ankles. The 911 centre also confirmed that the man arrested in the wake of the robbery at Portofino’s in East End on Thursday was no longer part of the programme and was not tagged at the time of the alleged offence.
The tagging system has alerted officials to the movements of a number of clients who have even allegedly attempted to commit crime while wearing the devices.  
Rivers was shot and killed when he attempted to rob the home of a 66-year-old man and his 65 year old wife in Liguinea Circle, George Town in the early hours of Thursday, 22 July.
Rivers has been convicted of robbery in thepast, including the robbery of a taxi driver whom he had threatened with a flare gun. Rivers is a Caymanian who received his status in 2003, according to the Immigration Law (2003 Revision) Grant of Caymanian status.
Police said Rivers was killed with a licensed handgun and a knife was found at the scene. They have made no further comment regarding the homeowner, who was the license holder and who has not been arrested, but said they would submit a file to the Attorney General’s Office for consideration.

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Unemployed youth find work after government course

| 26/07/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Following the completion of the government’s first “Passport2Success” programme ten of the twenty two students have now found work with a number of local employers. The initiative is a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Wellness Centre and is designed to help young Caymanians become more attractive to local employers and equip them with workplace skills.  After the success of the first eleven week course government says it will now be running the programme four times a year. Students will be selected from across the community who show a commitment to improving their professional skills.

“We are pleased and proud of our 22 graduates in this pioneer class,” said Education Minister Anglin on 2 July the day of the graduation. “They did terrific work, demonstrated the value of hard work and team effort, and have pointed the way to the future success of the Passport programme.”
The first class started on 12 April at the International College of the Cayman Islands, the course provided job training, work experience, exposure to real-time employers, career guidance and a modest monthly stipend.
Mary Rodrigues, Chief Officer in the Ministry described the initiative as innovative and exciting, offering future students a range of attractive opportunities. “It is an efficient way to address several challenges at the same time, and provides aspiring young Caymanians a chance to compete in a professional environment,” she added.
Shannon Seymour Director of the Wellness centre who along with Lynne Banker, the instructor, designed the course said they were “overwhelmed by the students’ eager embrace of the opportunity to improve their own skills and knowledge,” and pointed out thatthey were blazing a path for those to come.
Seymour said that three of the graduates had found work with Butterfield, two with LIME another while the Water Authority, Fabrizone Cleaning Systems, Kirk Freeport, Phoenix Construction and Cayman Business Machines had also each offered a position to a graduating student. Two more students have also interviewed for positions since graduating and remained hopeful.
Michelle Johnson, winner of the programme’s Most Improved Overall award spoke about what she had learned. “In Passport2Success I learned that to change myself I first had to know what I wanted to accomplish in life,” she said. “Growing up, I had few struggles, no bills to pay and no stress. My attitude was that I didn’t care because I already knew it all. When I was accepted for the programme, I had a chance to make a change for myself — and for other young Caymanians. Now I have realised that everything is up to me, and that if I don’t put in 100 percent, I have no one to blame but myself. My past does not define my future. I have to work for what I want.”
 To apply for a place on the next Passport2Success programmes applicants must fill in and submit a registration form. These are available at the Wellness Centre or call 949-9355 to request a form or visiting the programme website
Passport2Success was sponsored by LIME, Butterfield, and CML Offshore Recruitment.

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Cops warn of victims of local card fraudsters

| 26/07/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Police officers from the Financial Crime Unit (FCU) are warning local residents to be on the lookout for fraudulent transactions on their bank account statements. The warning comes as part of an ongoing investigation by the financial cops involving bank cards which have been compromised. Police say fraudsters have obtained the personal card details of the legitimate cardholders and even while they remain in the owner’s possession the criminals are able to use the cards. The suspects have purchased goods with the cards worth well over seven thousand dollars police say.

“We have recently identified a number of fraudulent transactions by persons currently in police custody,” said Detective Constable Richard Clarke. “The Financial Crime Unit working with officers from the local CID was able to recover most of the fraudulently purchased property from a container prepared to be shipped abroad, a cost value of US$7654.84.”
The investigation has identified that the genuine account holders become victims of fraud when the suspects have used information from the magnetic strips to then clone another card. Police explained that criminals use various methods to get the information. One of which is known as “skimming” where the information on the magnetic strip of a credit card is copied during a transaction.
Police said card holders can reduce the risk of being victims of this type of offence by keeping an eye on their card during any transaction, and get it back as quickly as possible, to void incorrect receipts, open bills promptly and reconcile accounts monthly, observe restaurant employees when handling your card and after the purchase, check to make sure you are handed back the right card.
Cashiers around the islands’ stores are also being urged to watch out for the cloned cards by ensuring that alltransactions with cards are closely scrutinised. The full name of the person named on the card presented should be matched against the name produced on the sales receipt. If this is not consistent cashiers are asked to notify the supervisor immediately and contact the police.
Anyone who believes that their cards may have been compromised should contact the Financial Crime Unit on 949-8797.
Anyone with information about crime taking place in the Cayman Islands should contact their local police station or Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs.

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Rotarians get behind local movie makers

| 26/07/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Adonza Harrison the Executive Producer of local movie which seeks to raise awareness about HIV in the Cayman Islands told Rotary members recently the disease was present and the film was a way to send the message home. Harrison along with Luigi Moxam and Olivia Scott Ramirez who are both acting in the film “When No One is looking” as well as Margaret Michaud, the Programme Coordinator for the Cayman AIDS Foundation sought the backing of the community group to help them get the film made."HIV is in Cayman.  Our response determines our future," Harrison said. 

Moxam stressed the importance of not thinking of AIDS as just an African disease and said AIDS is very much an issue for the Caribbean and the Cayman Islands.

Rotary Central President Wil Pineau said Rotary Central was supportive of the efforts and aims of the locally produced film and encouraged the local community to assist WNOL. “This local film is a very impressive effort with a valuable message and I am confident that they will receive support from the wider community,” said Pineau adding that the project was being led by a group of young Caymanians.
 “In the current Rotary year youth is one of our primary emphasis and it is very pleasing to see such important initiatives being led by our country’s future leaders,” he said.
The filmmakers have already produce a trailer for the movie and are now seeking help with funding in order to make the full length feature film.


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Karate team wins gold, silver, bronze in Trinidad

| 26/07/2010 | 6 Comments

(CNS): The 23-member Cayman Islands Purple Dragon karate squad collected 25 medals at the recent Purple Dragon World Karate Championships, including a third place in the very competitive team demonstration. Additionally, in a ceremony following the two-day competition in Port of Spain, Trinidad, six members of the team were inducted into the Second Caribbean Martial Arts Hall of Fame. These were Senseis Floyd and Karen Baptiste; Sensei Geddes Hislop, Instructors Euclides Pitta and Cindy Moore; and Junior Instructor Benji Rivers.

The total medal haul included nine gold, seven silver and nine bronze.

The Cayman Islands team, sponsored by Mongoose Global Intelligence, Cayman National, Dart Cayman Islands, Appleby, Tower Marketing and Conyers Dill and Pearman, faced competitors from around the world in divisions that included creative and traditional forms; creative andtraditional weapons; point fighting and continuous fighting; and self-defense, all in a range of categories for beginners, intermediate, advanced and black belt levels.

“It was a very strong performance and we are tremendously proud of this team,” said Sensei Floyd Baptiste.“Every member worked hard and delivered their very best.” The Cayman team, both male and female, ranged in age from 5 years old to 50 years old. The competition took place on the 40th anniversary of the Purple Dragon School of Martial Arts, the longest-lived martial arts school in the Caribbean.

Gold-medal winners comprised Sensei Karen Baptiste and Instructor Pitta for traditional weapons. Instructor Pitta also won for traditional forms. Jared Stewart, Susan Eden and Instructor Cindy Moore won for continuous sparring; Zoe Conolly Basdeo for creative forms; and both Sensei Floyd Baptiste and Felicia Dunbar for creative forms.

Silver was won by Luke Byles and Susan Eden for point sparring; Bobby Schoenberg and Mario Dadal for continuous sparring; Alex McDoom for traditional weapons; and both Marilyn Conolly and Bobby Schoenberg for creative forms.

Bronze medals were taken by both Sensei Floyd and Sensei Karen Baptiste and Felicia Dunbar for point sparring; Susan Eden, Mario Dadal and Jamal Paddyfoote for creative forms; Joseph Williams for continuous sparring; and Bobby Schoenberg for creative weapons.

Sensei Geddes Hislop was also slated to compete but was unable to do so as he was in high demand as an experienced judge for the large competitor divisions during the tournament. Sensei Geddes was also honoured by being asked to judge at the highest level in the Night of Champions along with a distinguished panel of international judges.

“We would like to thank our sponsors, our members and the people of the Cayman Islands for their unflagging enthusiasm and support,” said Sensei Geddes Hislop. “It was a tremendous effort by everyone, and we gained tremendous experience, new training techniques and many new friends. We are looking forward to our next opportunity to represent Cayman on an international stage.”


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US small businesses petition against tax havens

| 26/07/2010 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Cayman is at the centre of another surge of criticism of so called tax havens this time from the small business community in the US which has launched an on-line petition.  Organisers have called on the US president and congress to end what they call tax dodging by enacting legislation stopping tax haven abuses. The website for the campaign features a picture of Maples and Calder’s head office, Ugland House in George Town (left) and accuses US companies of using the Cayman Islands and other offshore centres to avoid paying tax. “Offshore tax havens reward tax evaders, rob public coffers of needed revenue and offload taxes to responsible businesses and households,” the Business and Investors Against Tax Haven Abuse state.

The petition is supported by a collection of groups including the American Sustainable Business Council, Wealth for the Common Good and Business for shared prosperity as well as Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan who has been an outspoken critic of offshore centres. The petitioners say that everyone needs to pay their fair share of taxes to keep America moving forward.
“Tax dodging deprives our nation of revenue needed to maintain and modernize the infrastructure and services underpinning a strong economy. An estimated $100 billion or more in tax revenue is lost every year to tax havens. Our economic progress is undermined when companies are rewarded for financial manipulation rather than innovation and productive investment,” the organiser state on the website.
They accuse offshore tax havens as providing cover for banks, hedge funds and corporations to shift taxable income from the United States for the sole purpose of escaping taxation.
“Tax haven secrecy allows wealthy Americans to hide assets, helps companies manipulate their finances, and fosters the casino economy. McClatchy News reported, for example, how working through Cayman Island subsidiaries, Goldman Sachs “peddled billions of dollars in shaky securities tied to subprime mortgages on unsuspecting pension funds, insurance companies and other investors when it concluded that the housing bubble would burst,” organisers say on the site.
The petition comes at the same time as the publication of another report which comes down hard on offshore tax havens and hundred U.S. multinational banks and corporations utilize tax havens to reduce or eliminate their taxes and shift tax responsibilities.
“We conservatively estimate that U.S. multinational corporations are using tax havens to avoid $37 billion in U.S. taxes per year.  This $37 billion could be used to fund initiatives to support America’s small businesses – the nation’s biggest job creators — by increasing their access to capital, increasing their opportunities to invest, and rewarding entrepreneurship,” the report states.
It also reveals how corporate America’s share of income taxes has declined over the last fifty years from 23.2% to just 7.2% with large corporations contributing less than one-sixth as much as small business and individual taxpayers to the Federal Treasury. “One significant reason for this shift is large corporations’ ability to shift domestic income to offshore subsidiaries in tax havens,” the authors say.
They also stated that Offshore tax havens have enabled Wall Street to evade taxes, freeing more money for speculation and to take more extreme risks off their balance sheets. “Not only does this promote a culture of risky gambling and fraud, it encourages firms to structure shadowy, complex deals to peddle toxic assets globally, and build up leverage and risk more widely across the global financial system — leading to much more widespread, severe economic crises.”
The grassroots small business campaigners say they support a number of key initiatives and call on the president to end the tax dodging that occurs when a business incorporates in a tax haven, pretending to be a foreign corporation for US tax purposes while, they say, in reality, being managed and controlled from the United States, and taking advantage of all the commercial, educational and other infrastructure financed by U.S. taxpayers.
They also call for an end to “financial gimmickry that allows hedge funds to engage in transactions designed for the sole purpose of avoiding taxes,” and ask for restrictions “that are of primary money laundering concern or that impede U.S. tax enforcement.”
The website went public last Tuesday and organizers said that over 400 business executives, investors and representatives of businesses had already signed before the site went public. (CNS Has contacted organisers to request how many signatures it now has and is awaiting a response.)
The Centre for Freedom and Prosperity’s (CF&P) has criticized the latest attack on tax havens and President, Andrew Quinlan denounced Levin’s plan and accused him of being "tone deaf when it comes to the problems facing average Americans," and his move would make the US less competitive.
“At a time when capital is increasingly mobile, and in order to remain internationally competitive, the US should reject expanding the tentacles of the IRS and instead adhere to the common-sense principle of territorial taxation. Only income earned within the territory of the United States should be subject to US tax law,” he argued.

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Police appeal to public over hit and run

| 26/07/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Despite following several lines of enquiry, police say they have still not located the driver orthe vehicle involved in the hit and run accident on Mount Pleasant Road, West Bay in the vicinity of Hetties Lane earlier this month. Two female pedestrians were struck by a vehicle, which police now say was a large white car and not as previously reported as a compact type, but the car could be silver or beige in colour with a rear spoiler. Police say that several pieces of information from the public have been followed up and eliminated and they  now need more assistance from garages and mechanics or anyone that may have seen the car.

Police said the car will have damage to the front left side and windscreen they also state that there was a male and female in the vehicle at the time of the hit and run, which occurred around 8pm in the evening. Police also stated that the female passenger possibly had a Caymanian accent. Both of the victims remain in hospital and while that are in stable condition they are undergoing a series of operations and are expected to remain in hospital for some time.
The two women recently revealed how they were walking home chatting just before the car hit them from behind and have urged the driver to come forward.
Police set up a roadblock on Friday at the location of the accident to jog people’s memories and to speak to drivers and pedestrians in the area in the hope of gathering more information that could lead them to the driver or the car but so far neither has been located. Anyone who thinks they can assist the police with any information should contact PC Belanger at RCIPS Traffic Dept. 946-6254, West Bay Police Station or Crime Stoppers.

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Contract awarded for Doppler weather radar

| 26/07/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): Work will soon be underway on a digital Doppler weather radar station in East End following the award of the contract to a specialist German firm. The project, which is being paid for by a European Union (EU) grant of 4.16 million Euros (about CI$4.1 m), will improve the accuracy of early-warnings for hurricanes and other severe weather in the Cayman Islands area. The contract to provide technical assistance for designing, tendering, constructing and commissioning the station was recently signed between the Cayman Islands Airports Authority and Icon Institute following a tendering and selection process based on EU regulations and standards.

Although the money is coming from Europe, the Cayman Islands government will make an in-kind contribution worth approximately 500,000 Euros, which is the crown land for the site. The station will be situation on land which formed part of the Wilderness Farm, the prison’s agricultural facility in East End which was closed in 2008 following a murder committed by a serving inmate at the farm.

The project includes a purpose-built radar housing, as wellas the radar itself and all communication equipment, technical expertise and specialized training to Cayman Islands National Weather Service (CINWS) staff and is scheduled to be constructed by late 2011.

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Jackson said, “The appointment of a technical expert for this project means we can now start to make real progress towards completion of the next phase, namely the technical design for the radar and its housing.” Jackson signed the contract on behalf of the CIAA, and Head of Unit Holger Hinterthur signed representing Icon Institute. He was accompanied by Engineer Gunter Schieske, who remains in Cayman to work with local authorities on the project.

The CIAA will implement this new service. However, once operational, the radar station will be managed by the CINWS on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government.

Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said the service would enhance the level of hurricane preparation. “I applaud all involved, especially the EU, for working to help provide this invaluable facility,” she added.

The weather information gathered will also be shared with other countries in the region. The need for such a service was recognised during recent efforts to encompass the Caribbean region with modern radar, which is critical to tracking weather systems – and because local knowledge is critical to decision-making during storm threats. The EU donated grants for four other regional projects, leading to Doppler radar services being introduced in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Belize last year. However, the northeastern Caribbean region, into which Cayman falls, was not covered by these services, which led the Cabinet Office to ask the EU for technical assistance. CINWS’s Director General Fred Sambula said the project was a long time coming.

“As we are in the hurricane belt, this critical early-warning tool, will improve the quality of weather information offered to emergency managers, other decision makers in government and private sector as well as all residents, for the protection of life and property in these Islands,” the local weather expert explained.

The Doppler Effect is named after Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who introduced the concept in 1842. It takes measurements of changes in the frequency of waves of motion (including clouds and other measurable objects), thereby indicating direction and speed.

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