Archive for October 25th, 2010

Fosters pull Nestlé Raisinets Fun Size Bags

| 25/10/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Nestlé USA’s Confections & Snacks Division is initiating a voluntary recall of Nestlé Raisinets Fun Size Bags (10oz) with a production code of 02015748/UPC number 2800010255, which may contain undeclared peanuts. People who have allergies or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. Nestlé is taking this action out of an abundance of caution. Locla supermarket Foster’s FoodFair IGA have announced that to ensure the safety and well being of their customers, they have proactively pulled all the affected Nestlé Raisinets Fun Size Bags 10 Oz. Bag.

Nestlé say three complaints have been received to date. While this product is labeled with a precautionary statement “made on equipment that also processes peanuts,” the product should not, but may contain some peanuts that are not declared on the label.

The company says it has advised the US Food and Drug Administration and will cooperate fully in their investigation. No other Nestlé products are impacted.

Fosters said that consumers who have purchased this product should not to consume them. Any adverse reactions we advise you consult your healthcare Physician.

Until Foster’s Food Fair IGA has a further correspondence from the manufacture on this affected product, moving forward, it will not be available. “We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, however the safety of our customers is our top priority. We encourage all customers who have purchased this product to return the affected product to their Foster’s Food Fair IGA of purchase for a full refund,” the statement from the supermarket chain said.

For further information please contact a Nestlé Consumer Services at 1-800-478-5670 or via email at nestlecandy@casupport.com. Operators are available between 8am and 8pm EST and after hours for emergencies. Foster’s Food Fair IGA will make the information available via further communication with the media.

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Gov’t secures $155m loan

| 25/10/2010 | 58 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Island headline news (CNS): The government’s cash flow situation improved Monday following confirmation that financing has been found for the $155 million it needs to plug this year’s public spending gap, but questions are already being asked about how the loan package may have been put together and the players involved. According to a statement from government, the money will be coming from Cohen and Company Securities LLC, a global firm headquartered in New York. However, sources have revealed to CNS that the bid was not one recommended by the Central Tenders Committee. “The proposal that was accepted was extremely competitive,” Premier McKeeva Bush said in the statement.

“The solution from Cohen and Company enables the government to benefit from the current very low interest rate environment while limiting our maximum interest rate over the entire life of the facility. This structure was the lowest rate among all of the fixed interest rate solutions presented to the government from firms who could deliver the funding to the Government on time,” the premier said.

Government says it has secured the required bridge financing and the bond arrangement process is underway, but the terms of the long term financing are still being finalised as this depends on actual market rates on the day.

Bush said that last year government had secured financing at a rate of 5.95% but as a result of the low interest rate climate it was able to secure a much lower cost of funding this time. Though the likely rate has not yet been revealed, Bush said it was competitive because of the “highly competitive nature and innovative solution offered by Cohen and Company.”

Cohen & Company is an investment firm specializing in credit related fixed income products and investments which is listed as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange. The firm manages approximately $10.6 billion in fixed income assets in a variety of asset classes, including US trust preferred securities, European hybrid capital securities, Asian commercial real estate debt, and mortgage- and asset-backed securities.

Stuart Sugarman, Senior Managing Director of Cohen and Company, said that the firm was pleased to be involved in providing financing to the Cayman Islands Government. “We were particularly pleased to be working with the Cayman Islands as a well respected and high grade jurisdiction to assist with this financing which will in part fund important infrastructure projects in the Cayman Islands,” Sugarman said.

However, according to CNS sources, the firm is believed to have connections to the ruling United Democratic Party via Peter Young, its treasurer and business partner of the minister for health. When asked by CNS if he had involvement in the firm, Young did not deny a connection which is believed to be with Cohen’s Cayman based entities. This evening government said that Young had no involvement at all with the financial arrangements between government and Cohen and Company.

However, the selection of Cohen and Company was not recommended by the Central Tenders Committee. The CTC closed the invitation to tender to provide long term government financing on 9 September as it had expected to draw on half the loan amount by 24 September.

In today’s statement from the premier’s office there was no mention of the CTC’s recommendations and CNS understands that it had recommended that government select a joint venture by two local banks. It appears this bid was rejected by government in favour of Cohen and Company.

Concerns of irregularities in the decision to choose Cohen had been raised in a number of quarters and the opposition had before today’s announcement submitted a parliamentary question to government, to be asked at next week’s sitting of the Legislative Assembly, regarding the loan.

Alden McLaughlin had asked if government had secured the necessary financing for the US$185,000,000 of approved borrowing in the 2010/2011 budget and, if so, from whom and on what terms? Following today’s statement, McLaughlin told CNS he had concerns that the proper process had not been followed.

“I have very grave concerns that the government did not follow the proper process and has not selected a bid recommended by the CTC and instead has chosen a financing package from another source,” he said.

With revenue levels still falling short of expectations, government has been struggling to meet day to day expenses. The loan is intended to help it meet payments on capital projects such as the schools and the government office accommodation building, as well as various investments in statutory authorities, including the Turtle Farm and Cayman Airways.

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Selita steals the show in Kanye West music video

| 25/10/2010 | 47 Comments

Cayman Islands News, Kanye West, Selita Ebanks(Daily Mail): Kanye West must have great faith in the attention spans of his fans. The rapper has just unveiled an epic 34-minute music video – more than ten times the average length. Sensibly he has included something to hold their attention – a near-naked underwear model. Former Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks wears nothing but feathers and a tiny set of underwear for much of the short film. Kanye directs and stars alongside the model in the arty music video, designed to showcase some of his newest songs. The plot sees a comet hit Kanye’s Lamborghini, with a beautiful injured phoenix, played by Selita, emerging from the wreckage. The hip-hop star is seen tending to the phoenix, and in one scene takes her to a fireworks show.
 

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Reggae singer Gregory Isaacs dead at 59

| 25/10/2010 | 8 Comments

(Voice Online): The world of reggae is in mourning following the death of Gregory Isaacs earlier today (Oct 25) after the star lost his battle with cancer. The Night Nurse singer passed away at his London home, aged 59, surrounded by family and friends. Isaacs, who was diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago, had been traveling around Jamaica before returning home to London this summer to spend time with his wife, Linda, and his family. His wife said: "Gregory was well-loved by everyone, his fans and his family, and he worked really hard to make sure he delivered the music they loved and enjoyed. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends." Isaac’s 1982 album Night Nurse, recorded at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong studio, reached number 32 in the UK.

He was best known for his silky smooth vocal, ultimately coining the 59-year-old the title ‘Cool Ruler.’

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An unheeded warning

| 25/10/2010 | 7 Comments

There were many people who raised the alarm about the plight of the country’s most vulnerable in the wake of the constitutional compromise made over section 16 and the right to non-discrimination. Not enough people listened, however, and as the HRC and Equality Cayman warned, one year after the implementation of the constitution legislation regarding people with disabilities is a long way off.

The immovable intolerance of the church representatives over their objection to any kind of rights being given to homosexuals or transgenders was so powerful they managed to ensure that many others with varying degrees of vulnerability would not have the right to be free from discrimination either.

It probably comes as no surprise that more than eighteen months after the legislative sub-committee’s report was given to government no proposed legislation to protect the disabled has materialized.

We were warned that this is exactly what would happen and why the Cayman Islands Bill of Rights needed a powerful anti-discrimination clause – government simply could not be trusted to pass the necessary meaningful legislation.

The Human Rights Committee and Equality Cayman in their campaign to have section 16 apply to all areas of public life were wiser than the rest of us. They knew that the government would continue to drag its feet when it comes to implementing real and far reaching legislation that could genuinely create a fairer and more equitable society for those suffering both physical and mental disabilities.

The implementation of the Bill of Rights, which forms part of the Cayman Islands Constitution 2009, in two years time will only protect those with disabilities in the parameters of the areas covered by the Bill of Rights, such as the right to a fair trial, but it won’t give the right to have wheelchair access to the courtroom.

There are so many areas of public life denied to those with mental and physical disabilities and an opportunity was presented with the implementation of the Constitution but because of outdated prejudices and bigotry over sexuality the moment was lost.

The irony, of course, is that those who profess to care for the weak and the vulnerable, the ones who teach the lessons of love and compassion and selflessness from the pulpits every Sunday, are the ones that have condemned thedisabled to be at the mercy of fickle political administrations.

Their homophobia and obsession with sexual sin has brought us to this point where, at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the disabled in Cayman are not much better off than they were at the end of the first decade of the 20th.

Governments can never be trusted to get to grips with legislation that isn’t a big vote winner or income generator, especially in difficult economic times. The chance was there to force the government’s hand to enact legislation to protect the disabled with section 16 in the Constitution – the chance to demonstrate that the people cared enough to enshrine rights for those who are the most vulnerable in the highest law of the land.

But the moment was lost and because the church was so repulsed by the idea of two people, who might love each other but happened to be of the same sex, having an official union of some kind they were prepared to sacrifice the elderly, the sick, women, children and, of course, people with disabilities.

Some time ago the charismatic and most definitely Christian Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu gave an interview with the BBC in which he lamented the church’s obsession with people’s bedroom habits and in particular homophobia. He pointed out that the church as an institution seemed to care less and less about the incredible inequalities in the world and the desperate plight of the poor and vulnerable. He said its leaders spoke little against a structural system that allowed two thirds of the world’s population to live in abject poverty but it ranted and raved about gay marriage and homosexuals being ordained constantly.

Here in the Cayman Islands the church’s protest against section 16 was strongly linked to homophobia. The irrational and illogical obsession with the issue of sexuality has landed us here with still no protective legislation for those that need it most and no real protection in the Constitution either.

Perhaps the church could now at least try and redeem itself by a supporting a campaign to get the necessary legislation passed to protect those which it exposed. After all we can live in hope.
 

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Walkman ejected for last time

| 25/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(BBC): Sony Walkman (Senior) has reached the end of side two. Its batteries have run out. The rewind button is broken. Lovers of music overlaid with hissing have reacted with sadness to news that Sony has ceased production of its celebrated portable cassette-playing audio device. It is survived by its neater, slicker, more junior MP3 descendent. But the Walkman will be fondly remembered as the contraption which transformed listening to music from an activity conducted principally in one’s own living room, perhaps with glass of brandy in hand, to a means of irritating other people on public transport.

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