Archive for September 8th, 2010

Cayman baseball players shine at Miami camp

| 08/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(Little League): As part of the continuing commitment of the Cayman Islands Little League Association to promote baseball in Cayman, a specially selected competitive travel team comprising eight boys recently took part in a baseball camp in Miami. Volunteer Coach Jon DaCosta and his dedicated group of 14- to 18-year-olds, who comprise the CILLA International Baseball Team, had been practicing up to five days a week throughout the summer in anticipation of attending the camp, run by ex-AAA, and Minor and Major League Baseball players. “The practices gave these young athletes a chance to continue playing a sport they have learned to love. Our goal is to help them play baseball all year round at a competitive level,” explained DaCosta.

 
“The camp in Miami provided an unparalleled opportunity for the young men to improve their skills and gain some international experience, under expert coaching.”
 
The various coaches at the camp offered the Cayman team instruction in all aspects of the game, in a top training facility. The boys worked hard and soaked up as much as they could during the five days of the camp.
 
Dalton Watler, 17, spoke of how much he gained from the trip. “My experience in Miami was one of a kind and a bit different from my past baseball trips. On this occasion we got to train with top coaches and ex-MLB players.  I felt myself improving dramatically within those five days of intense training. The coaches were great, very enthusiastic and inspired me to become a better player and perhaps pursue a scholarship."
 
Christopher Bennett, 18, added: “I learned how to improve my game play and the fundamentals of the game in general and met some very knowledgeable people.”
 
Dequan Bennett, 14, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and learned a lot from the coaches on hand. I improved my batting technique,” he added, which was a great help for his participation in the White Sox Skills Competition 2010 held in Chicago on September 4 in which he was able to take first place for his age group.
 
The camp culminated with the boys playing an actual game, said DaCosta. “We played one game against a well-known local team by the name of Fury. Like most baseball teams outside of the Cayman Islands they play baseball practically all day, every day – and we can proudly say that our boys not only fit in, but excelled.”
 
In addition to Dalton, Christopher and Dequan, the team comprised Lance Morris, 18; Mark Chisholm, 15; Tyler Lee, 16;Brandon DaCosta, 14; and Benjamin Stoner, 17.
 
The boys paid for the camp through their own enterprise in gaining corporate and individual sponsorships, without which they wouldn’t have been able to attend.
 
“These eight individuals who often get overlooked due to their ages in a sport not often played here in the Cayman Islands, were hard working, professional, young men who made me very proud of them,” said Coach DaCosta.
 
 
 

 

 
 
“Every single one of the boys learned a great deal about baseball and improved their game tremendously. These players gave 100% effort every time they stepped on the field and were so pleased to have been given the opportunity to represent the Cayman Islands. This is a milestone for us in Cayman and we would like to thank everyone that has supported us and especially to CILLA who paved the way.”
For more information, please feel free to contact Coach Jon DaCosta at (345) 938-7767.

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Last minute witness called

| 08/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Another teenage girl has now said that she also witnessed the murder of Omar Samuels in July of last year. The 17-year-old girl gave evidence from behind a screen during the trial of Brandon Leslie-Ebanks, Osbourne Douglas and Patrick McField on Tuesday saying she saw three men, two of whom were carrying guns, approach Samuels and shoot him at a house off McField Lane. The last minute witness said she was with her best friend that night, a girl who gave evidence at the opening of the trial. However, after she had given her account of the night’s events to the court it was revealed that this last minute prosecution witness had given a different account in her statement to police a few weeks after the crime than the one she gave to the court.

Although the crown had indicated on Monday that it intended to close its case against the three defendants with the reading of admissions, the jury was confronted with a new scenario when they arrived in the court on Tuesday morning.
 
The second teenage witness who said she was also at the scene of Samuels’ murder said recalled that she and her friend had encountered the deceased man on McField Lane at around 11:30pm on 4 July. She said they had been to visit a friend, who was not home, and were walking back toward the first witness’s home when they met Samuels.
 
The teenager said the two girls walked back with Samuels to the house they had just left, and sat with him there for a short time. Three men then appeared, two of whom were armed with guns, and they began arguing with Samuels. She said she only recognised one of the men, whom she knew as Patrick, as she did not know the other two, although during her narrative she said they were named Brandon Leslie and Osbourne Douglas.
 
She said the men were arguing with Samuels over something he had done at a club with Patrick, and then a man with a scarf pulled out a gun from his waist and began waving it around. Then the second man, who was wearing a hat, pulled out his gun. Samuels walked towards them and then the men started shooting at him by the fence.  She told the court the men were all close by each other when the gun was fired.
 
The court heard that the witness and her friend had hidden by the side of the house and the Laundromat but then ran away as more shots were being fired. A few minutes later, she said, they saw the three men jump over the wall and run away through a parking lot.
 
After the incident, the teenager said she saw Brandon Leslie riding by her friend’s yard, where she was living at the time, on a number of occasions. Eventually, the two teenagers went to the police to report what they had seen as she said they were scared.
 
However, it was revealed that the teenager did not identify either McField or Douglas when she went to the police station, only the man she came to know as Brandon Leslie, a name she learned, she admitted, from her friend. She had also described Leslie in her statement as having twists in his hair but then in court said he was wearing a hat. It was also revealed that when she made her original statement to the police she had told them she only heard the gun shots but had not seen the men fire the guns.
 
The teenage girl also admitted knowing Martin Trench, the man whose palm print was found at the scene, as he was a friend of hers but she said she did not know that he had also been the boyfriend of her best friend.  The witness also denied speaking to the crown’s main witness this week and said no one had told her what to say. The teenager said she was telling the truth about what had happened that night.
 
Further police witnesses were also called on Tuesday and the court heard that during the night before he was shot, Samuels had reportedly approached six other people who say he had threatened them when he was armed with a gun.
 
Following the last live witnesses to be called by the crown the prosecution read a number of admissions agreed between the two teams of lawyers related to the various evidence sent for DNA analysis before the court was adjourned.
 
The judge will hear legal arguments this morning, Wednesday, in the absence of the jury before the crown is expected to formally close its case and make way for the defence on Thursday.

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Free rice game gets social boost

| 08/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): An online game reminiscent of quiz show Call My Bluff is getting a facelift in order to provide rice to the hungry. Launched in 2007, Freerice.com challenges people to find the correct meaning of a word from four alternatives. For every correct answer given, 10 grains of rice are donated to countries such as Uganda and Bangladesh. Already attracting 40,000 players every day, the site is now aiming to integrate with Facebook and Twitter. A mobile phone app will also be available for iPhone and iPad users, and the site is extending its challenges so that users can also test their knowledge of other subjects, such as art, geography, chemistry and maths. The site is the brainchild of computer programmer John Breen, who originally designed it to help his teenage sons prepare for their college entrance exams.

Realising the game’s potential to help, he donated it to the World Food Programme (WFP).

Within a month of its launch, it had raised enough rice to feed over 50,000 people for a day. To date it has raised enough rice to feed more than four million people for a day.

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Go to Freerice.com

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Cambridge ousts Harvard as world’s best university

| 08/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(The Guardian): Both of them have earned fistfuls of Nobel prizes, have educated enough statesmen to table a string of international summits, and inspired eminent scientists, philosophers and poets. But Harvard today forfeits first place to Cambridge in a league table of the world’s top universities, the first time in the list’s seven year history that the Ivy League institution has been knocked off the number one spot. British universities made a strong showing, with University College London, Oxford and Imperial all appearing in the top 10, while King’s College London and Edinburgh appeared in the top 25. American institutions dominate the list, however, taking 31 out of the top 100 places in the QS world university rankings. The list also features 15 Asian universities, lead by the University of Hong Kong at 23.

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Woman dies from injuries suffered in road hit

| 08/09/2010 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A 59-year-old woman died yesterday (Tuesday) in the US following an accident on Grand Cayman in April, the RCIPS has reported. Jane O’Neill from Massachusetts, who was visiting the island, was struck by two vehicles in West Bay Road on the 19 April just after 7:00 in the evening as she tried to cross the road by the Strand Shopping Centre. The victim received multiple injuries and was initially treated in the Critical Care Unit at the George Town Hospital. As the investigation has now changed status police are asking for any witnesses who were in the area to come forward. (Photo courtesy of News 27)

Following the accident, in which O’Neill was hit by one car and then reportedly knocked into the path of a second, was airlifted to Jacksonville Memorial Hospital in Florida for treatment. She was subsequently transferred to the Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she passed away yesterday, Monday 6 September.

A 48-year-old man was arrested following the incident on suspicion of dangerous driving. He is currently on police bail. Police said enquiries into the incident are ongoing and have asked for further information from the public.
 

See News 27 video

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Dudus appears in court with boosted legal team

| 08/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(Jamaica Observer): US Judge Robert P Patterson has set 16 Nov for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke’s next court appearance when the former Tivoli Gardens don appeared before him in a Manhattan. Coke has bolstered his defence team with high-profile attorneys Frank Doddato and Steve Rosen. They now join two other prominent lawyers — Steve Zissou and Elizabeth Macedonio, who were hired last month. Coke appeared in good spirits, although one of his attorneys described as "uncivilised", the conditions under which Coke has been held for over two months. The accused drug lord has been in custody in New York since June after he waived his right to an extradition hearing in Kingston on drugs and weapon charges.

 

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Anglin says literacy key to higher living standards

| 08/09/2010 | 4 Comments

(CNS): In his message marking the UN’s “International Literacy Day” the education minister said that poor literacy levels are a barrier to high standards of living. As a result it is a high priority in the government education system. Rolston Anglin said that a literacy co-ordinator has been appointed in the Ministry, and literacy taskforces have been established in primary and secondary schools. He added that the department was on its way to developing literacy strategies based upon international best practice that would provide a safety net for the most vulnerable students. 

 
 Education Minister’s full message:
Today, Wednesday, 8 September, has been designated “International Literacy Day”, by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). As Minister for Education, Training and Employment, I join countries around the world in commemorating this day, and using it as a platform to highlight the importance of literacy.
 
UNESCO reminds us of the critical role literacy plays, when it declares literacy to be “a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development.” Traditionally, literacy has been referred to as the ability to read, understand and use information. However, as Donald Block, author of Defining Literacy Up states, literacy needs to focus “not on recognizing basic words but on comprehension of the world around us”. 
 
People need literacy skills to participate in modern society, whether it is to read a newspaper, to calculate the dosage of medication, to use a computer programme, or to understand and debate important public issues. Reading and being able to comprehend what you’ve read is important in keeping you safe and allowing you to learn and grow to better yourself. 
 
Low literacy skills can have an impact on people’s ability to support themselves andtheir family. International research findings, and our own experience within the Job Placement Unit of the Department of Employment Relations, tell us that strong literacy skills are closely linked to the probability of having a good job, decent earning, and access to training opportunities. Individuals with weak literacy skills are more likely to be unemployed or, if employed, to be in jobs that pay little or that offer poor hours or working conditions.
 
Literacy skills can also affect our country’s ability to compete in a highly-competitive global economy. As a service-based economy, the Cayman Islands’ require a high skilled and productive workforce. Low literacy skills can be a barrier for our country to maintain a strong and thriving community and the high standard of living we have come to enjoy. 
 
Literacy is fundamental for learning in school. Poor literacy skills handicap our children’s ability to learn and, therefore, their life chances. In recent times, the term literacy has come to take on broader meaning, standing for a range of knowledge, skills and abilities relating to reading, mathematics, science and more.
 
This reflects widespread and deep changes that have taken place in technology and in the organization of work over the past quarter century. The ability to use and apply key mathematics and science concepts is now necessary across a wide range of occupations.
Cayman’s children live and compete in a global society. They must excel in every type of literacy so that they have the ability to survive in today’s and tomorrow’s complex and ever-evolving society.
 
Therefore, within the government education system, literacy is a key priority. With the recent appointment of a Literacy Coordinator within the Ministry, and the establishment of literacy taskforces at both primary and secondary levels, we are well on our well to developing literacy strategies based upon international best practice. These will include programmes to provide a safety net for our most vulnerable students. 
 
However, we fully recognize that the issue of improving literacy skills needs to be tackled by all partners together as a national priority. As the Microsoft Chairman for Africa and a Literacy Champion has stated: “Promoting literacy requires action from both the public and private sectors; we are all stakeholders in the fight to eradicate illiteracy”.
 
In the Cayman Islands, we are fortunate to have many concerned individuals, businesses and organizations who give generously of their time and money to literacy initiatives within our schools and the wider community. Our challenge, and one the Ministry will seek to take forward, is to strengthen communications and collaborations with such groups, to establish a common purpose and a strategic and united front to combat illiteracy at all levels within the Cayman Islands community. 
 

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Cops made to face lie detector

| 08/09/2010 | 85 Comments

(CNS): At least forty serving RCIPS officers have been forced to take a polygraph test, sources have revealed to CNS. The reason for the testing is unclear but it is said to be causing real concern among serving officers, who believe those who fail will be discriminated against. The police management has neither confirmed nor denied that the testing is taking place and a police spokesperson stated that it is not RCIPS policy “to comment on vetting procedures”. However, it is understood that the testing is ongoing and more officers are expected to be subjected to the lie detector test.

The polygraphs have reportedly been taken by senior as well as junior officers, including some who have served for over twenty years. Several sources have confirmed to CNS that the testing is taking place, but when CNS contacted the Police Association, the body which represents serving officers, a spokesperson said they had no comment to make about the issue at this time.
Details about the questions being asked or about who has passed and failed remain sketchy and it is not known which outside agency is conducting the tests or how much money is being spent on them.
CNS has been told that some officers have been informed that they have failed the polygraph, which has undermined morale. It is understood that some officers have raised fears about their future in the service and how it will affect their careers. They believe, sources say, that promotion opportunities could be denied to those who fail or that they could even lose their jobs on what has been described as a flawed test.
Polygraph results are considered unreliable, even in law enforcement, and of little real value. The tests are widely rejected as pseudo or junk science by the scientific community.  A number of variables can impact the results, which are based broadly on changes in breathing rates and pulse as well as blood pressure and perspiration during questioning. It is possible for the results to be wrong both ways. People who can lie well can pass while being dishonest and equally those who are nervous but telling the truth can fail.
CNS is continuing to pursue information about why the officers are being asked to take the polygraph. At present sources were unable to indicate a motive for the decision to make serving police officers undergo the test. We will also be attempting to find out what the information will be used for and what is happening to officers that are deemed to have fallen foul of the lie detector.

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Banker warns peers over ultra rich clients

| 08/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): At a conference in Zurich last week, the head of Barclays Wealth Management’s private-banking unit, Gerard Aquilina, appeared to issue a red alert about the richest of clients. “Beware of the complexities of dealing with ultra high net worths,” Aquilina told his audience. “Demanding and often unreasonable” requests from them may create “impossible demands on the organization.” Such as? Help with getting children intothe right school, securing credit to buy property, or obtaining last-minute concert tickets, for example. Even worse, the richest of the rich turn out to be pretty stingy as well. They don’t even want to pay the full fee for all the services they demand.

It was strong stuff. But it was also an insight into the way the rich have changed over the past decade. They are, it turns out, a nasty bunch of people who are only getting nastier. And the banking industry only has itself to blame.

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EU agrees on supervision for financial industry

| 08/09/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): European Union finance ministers have agreed to establish a new framework for financial supervision, designed to help prevent future financial crises. The measures include a European Systemic Risk Board to oversee the health of Europe’s economy. Ministers also approved a second instalment of emergency loans to Greece worth 9bn euros . They were unable, however, to agree a new Europe-wide bank levy or bank transaction tax. Other supervisory bodies that will oversee banking, financial markets, insurance and pensions were also agreed by the ministers.

 
They include the European Banking Authority, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority, and the European Securities and Markets Authority. These bodies will have the power to intervene in the affairs of individual countries if EU members agree that the domestic regulator is failing in its duties.
 

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