Archive for February 17th, 2009

Writers ‘fest’ at book shop

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A number of leading authors will be visiting the Cayman Islands this month as part of Books and Books’ visiting author series. Local book worms will be able to meet Flora Fraser, Robert Alexander and Bob Morris during February at the store in Camana Bay. Robert Alexander aka R.D. Zimmerman will be the first of the three writers to visit on Friday, 20 February at 7pm. Alexander will read from his historical novel The Romnanov Bride which follows the lives of two revolutionary souls in Russia.

Then on Friday, 27 February Bob Morris, the author of the Zack Chasteen series of mysteries set in Florida and the Caribbean, will read from his newest mystery, A Deadly Silver Sea set aboard the most exclusive cruise ship in the world, the Royal Star.

Flora Fraser, the daughter of bestselling biographer Lady Antonia Fraser, uncovers the brilliant life of Napoleon’s favourite sister in a new biography, Pauline Bonaparte: Venus of Empire on Saturday, 28 February, 7pm in a lecture on a subject she calls “the most outrageous character I have ever written about.”

All three readings will be followed by a book signing and are all free and open to the public.

 

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Immigration chief seeks regional association

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson said on Tuesday that he is hoping to establish a formal assocaition of senior immigration officers from Overseas Territories in the region, along with Jamaica and The Bahamas, in order to exchange policy information as well open channels of communication regarding regional border and security threats.

“Being small islands we have many similar challenges and an Association of Chief Immigration Officers will enable us to share policy ideas and development as well as communicate openly about matters of crime or other border related security matters,” Manderson told CNS.

In his opening remarks at Cayman’s first ever Chief Immigration Conference the CIO said it had been a long time coming and he was delighted the opportunity had finally arrived to create a formal organisation and networkthat would be able to benefit immigration agencies across the region.

“We have a wide range of complex duties and responsibilities and our work is varied and challenging,” he told the conference delegates. “We play a major role in security and cultural preservation as well as dealing with members of the non-national work force. We must always be prepared to adapt to the changing needs of our societies and it is important we come together to share ideas.”

Manderson said there was a need to formalize a regional network that could help chief officers explore ideas and enhance their effectiveness.

The importance of Immigration to Cayman’s economy was emphasised by Leader of Government Business Kurt Tibbetts when he gave his remarks at the opening of the three-day conference, and said his government had committed significant resources to adapting the country’s immigration policies to meet the modern challenges. Immigration, he said, was a subject that he and his government colleagues had given considerable thought.

Tibbetts said the dynamics of Cayman’s labour force were constantly changing and there was a need to protect indigenous workers while at the same time ensuring the need for overseas workers by the business community was met. “This is thin line to walk,” he said. “Our population was 33,000 people in 1996 and it is more than 55,000 today, with the non-Caymanian component at 30,000. We have 125 nationalities living here and 25,000 on work permits.” He said it was important to recognise the flow of migrant workers and give those who have been here a long time or that had key skills the opportunity to integrate permanently.

LoGB noted too that the global economic situation may give rise to an increase in crime and the associated risk to border security. Ensuring people seeking entry are genuine and not trying to enter illegally was as challenging as removing those who break our laws. However, Tibbetts said his government had given significant consideration to refugees and economic migrants. He said the government had improved procedures for processing claims for asylum and was ensuring compliance with the UNHCR. He also revealed that government has spent some CI$2 million in recent years housing and caring for Cuban migrants while they wait to be repatriated to Cuba under the controversial MOU. He said the migration centre facility had been approved by the Cayman Islands Human Rights Committee and the UNHCR.

Donovan Ebanks, Acting Deputy Governor, noted the unique situation of countries like Cayman that were dependent on overseas labour and, as a result, the Immigration Department was tasked with a massive labour management role.

He said that border control was still a primary function, and in these unusual and economically challenging times there was a need to find solutions to complex issues. He cited the dilemma that on the one hand countries want border passage to be easy and painless to preserve traveller and visitor numbers but that they couldn’t lose sight of the fact that this presented incentives among the unscrupulous. “We need to work harder at making it easier for the good to enter and harder for the bad with, given the economic climate, less resources than in past,” Ebanks added.

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Obama signs stimulus plan

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): US President Barack Obama has signed his hard-fought economic stimulus plan in Denver, after Congress approved the $787bn (£548bn) package last week. At a signing ceremony in Denver, he said it was "the most sweeping economic recovery package in our history". The plan got no Republican support in the House of Representatives and just three Republican votes in the Senate. Republicans say the tax cuts are insufficient, and that the economy will be saddled with debt for years to come. Go to article

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Mobile phone scam falsely promises ‘bonanza’

| 17/02/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Police are warning Cayman Islands residents about another telephone scam that will not make them rich. The bogus text message, which is currently being sent to LIME cell phones, claims that therecipient has won money in an ‘ongoing GSM FREE BONANZA’. The recipient is asked to email a gmail account to claim their winnings which, needless to say, do not exist.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) and the telecommunications company say they have been made aware of the message scam which reads: “CONGRATULATIONS!!! (mobile number) have won EUR 470,000 in the ongoing GSM FREE BONANZA, For claim, Email: maxgestores@gmail.com or call +34-669295736.”

Inspector Angela McLean ofthe Financial Crime Unit said as yet the unit had not received any official complaints and was hoping to keep it that way. “All residents are urged not to respond to the message if they receive it,” she said.

LIME Country Manager Tony Ritch also advised customers not to respond to this as it is mobile phone SPAM, effectively an unsolicited bulk message that has been sent to potentially thousands of our customers. “We did not authorize or send this message, it is a hoax,” said Ritch. “We also want to let the public know that we will do everything we can in such instances to identify those responsible and report them to the relevant authorities.”

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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Trump casino files for Chapter 11

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Trump Entertainment Resorts, the casino group founded by Donald Trump, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of multi-billion dollar debts. Also hit by falling revenues, the petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection said the firm had debts of $1.7bn (£1.2bn) as of 31 December 2008. Trump Entertainment missed a $53m interest payment due on 1 December. Donald Trump announced his resignation from the firm’s board last week, due to disagreement with bondholders. Mr Trump said in a statement that he was leaving amid "internal turmoil" that was being "compounded by dramatically deteriorating revenues". Go to article

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Race for ‘God particle’ heats up

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Europe’s particle physics lab, Cern, is losing ground rapidly in the race to discover the elusive Higgs boson, or "God particle", its US rival claims. The particle, whose existence has been predicted by theoreticians, would help to explain why matter has mass. Finding the Higgs is a major goal of Cern’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC). But the US Fermilab says the odds of its Tevatron accelerator detecting the famed particle first are now 50-50 at worst, and up to 96% at best. Both machines hope to see evidence of the Higgs by colliding sub-atomic matter at very high speeds. Go to article

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Accountant faces extradition

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(The Australian): A UK accountant could face extradition to Australia from the Channel Islands tax haven of Jersey within weeks as part of a massive tax fraud investigation.Philip de Figueiredo, who heads a Swiss accountancy firm, was arrested in Jersey in late December at the request of officers involved in Operation Wickenby, Australia’s biggest tax fraud probe into offshore schemes allegedly used by celebrities including Paul Hogan. Australian authorities filed extradition papers with the Jersey magistrate’s court last week, seeking permission for Mr de Figueiredo to be sent to Australia to face possible charges of tax fraud and money-laundering. Go to article.

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LIME “Shares the Love” for Valentine’s

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): This Valentine’s Day, Saturday 14 February, LIME employees decided to spread a little chear and happiness by delivering flowers to patients and staff in the George Town Hospital, Chrissie Tomlinson Hospital, Faith Hospital Cayman Brac and the Pines Retirement Home. Tony Ritch, Country Manager LIME Cayman Islands, said, “We are continuing to show our customers that we really are different and that we are putting them first by going into the community and interacting with people on a one-to-one basis in a way that makes them feel special.” (Left: Natalia McLaughlin & a member of the George Town Hospital staff)

In a release from the telecommunications company, Ritch said, “Our LIME colleagues love to pleasantly surprise the public with our Acts of Kindness by bringing cheer and a little bit of excitement into their daily lives and the response has truly been overwhelming – incredibly positive.” (Right: Eddison Scott and Lime Girls)

LIME will continue showing its customers that it cares throughout the year with a schedule of Acts of Kindness that continues to demonstrate the company’s commitment to the Caribbean and its inhabitants.

(Left: Dr Tomlinson & LIME ladies)

 

 

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Maple House receives support

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS: The Rotaract Blue Club of the Cayman Islands recently made a donation of $3000 to the Maple House facility, a home for children with special needs and disabilities.The donation came from proceeds raised at the first annual Open Arms Award Ceremony which was held last year. The funds have been donated to be used at the discretion of Maple House officials, who say they s will buy much needed household items, as well as wheelchair straps and other special equipment.

In a release from the club, Joy White, Manager of Maple House, expressed appreciation for the donation and the continued recognition and support that Rotaract Blue has provided. She also stated that she was looking forward to this year’s Open Arms ceremony. Rotaract Blue member Rene Shortridge stated, “Rotaract Blue is happy that the Open Arms programme has been successful and that the club is able to assist Maple House. We are hoping that the programme reaches further heights so that we are able to extend more support where it is needed.”

In an effort to raise more funds, the club announced that it has rescheduled the previously postponed Open Arms Family Fun Day event, which will now take place on 21 February at the Airport Park. The event will also provide an opportunity for those with special needs to have fun with their families, friends and the wider community. Rotaract Blue invites the community to come out and support this event.

Rotaract Blue is one of the newest Rotaract initiatives in the Caribbean. The club is proudly sponsored by Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Central and under their guidance we have become the second established Rotaract Club in the Cayman Islands. The Open Arms programme aims to create community awareness of different disabilities and to integrate individuals with disabilities into the community
Photo: Ms. Joy White (right) receives cheque from Rotaract Blue Secretary Shakira Gourzong
 

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UCCI students study the environment

| 17/02/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Students from UCCI’s Environmental Science 101 course took part in a trip to the mangroves earlier this month, with the aim of developing a better understanding of the dynamic interconnections of local natural systems, human impacts and solutions. Studying the impact of human interactions with the environment is the basis of the Environmental Science classes at the University College of the Cayman Islands, the college says.

Marnie Laing, the Adjunct Professor for the class and education director of Sea Elements at the Lobster Pot Dive Center, says that interactive experience in local ecosystems fills an important role in helping to educate young Caymanians on the vital importance of mangroves and why we need to protect it. “The students can learn about the important functions of mangroves in class, but until you explore this beautiful environment, most people don’t understand how much life there is to discover. Within an hour we saw clusters of tunicates, orange encrusting sponge, mangrove oysters, local green herons eating fish among the roots and four migratory brown pelicans.”

Environmental Science student Deino-Karl Escoffery had positive feedback on the excursion: “The trip was definitely a success. The first hand experience was really beneficial; we were able to see up close, where and how mangroves grow and observe the life that is supported by the mangroves. The entire class participated and we learned a lot from the experience.”

UCCI stresses the importance of interacting with the local community through the Science Department. Students of environmental classes are given the opportunity to learn from many leading scientists in Cayman, in both the public and private sectors. Visiting lecturers include experts from organizations such as the Department of Environment, the National Trust and the Department of Environmental Health.

For more information on classes offered at UCCI, please visit www.ucci.edu.ky or contact Administration at 949 9580.
 

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