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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The March 17th, 2013 issue of The STAR (Cayo) is online HERE

This Week's Stories:

  • Police Kill Two Robbers:
    Preparations are being made for the burial of two young men who were reportedly shot by police as they fled the scene of a robbery in San Ignacio shortly after 12 noon on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. San Ignacio police reported receiving an emergency call via the 911 line of a robbery in progress at Roses Chinese Restaurant & Store located between miles 67 and 68 on the George Price Highway on the western outskirts of San Ignacio town. It is reported that a team of policemen rushed to the scene where in the area they came upon two male persons, one of whom was seen with a blue rag concealing his face while the other wore a black stocking over his face and toting a sawed-off shot gun.
  • Fully Equipped Resource Center For Arenal Village:
    A spanking new resource center will soon be constructed in the western village of Arenal, Cayo. The fully furnished 30 x 60 feet building will be constructed at a cost of $250,000. The furnishings will include computer equipment and furniture. The building will be located in a spacious new area of the village alongside a new football field. Daniel Cano, Executive Director of the Social Investment Fund, informed that the design for the new building will be completed within the next two months. He told the gathered villagers that bids for construction will be invited thereafter. The building is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
  • Cayo’s Oscar Quiroz Is The Cyclist To Watch On Holy Saturday:
    Oscar Quiroz, the junior cyclist who has recently graduated into the major leagues will be the cyclist to watch in the March 30, Annual Holy Saturday Cross Country Cycling Classic. The rising young cycling star who participated in the Smart Belmopan Cycling Classic on March 10, shocked the crowd when he captured the top prize in the junior league category by crossing the finish line one minute and forty seconds ahead of the second place finisher. Quiroz has dominated the junior league since exploding onto the scene back in March 2010 when he competed in the Junior Cross Country Cycling Classic placing 9th in this prestigious race, an excellent feat by any standards for a first time rider.
  • A New Basketball Court For St. Andrews Anglican Primary School:
    Thirteen students from Toronto District Christian High School in Canada arrived in Belize on March 5, 2013; sleeves raised and ready to work on constructing a new basketball court for St. Andrews Anglican Primary School in San Ignacio Town. Country coordinators Richard Zul and Lucille Sosa explained that works on the basketball court took a total of four days, which included preparation of the building site, laying stone ground work, and pouring of the concrete slab. During their spare time, members of the visiting team visited classrooms, entertained students, painted hopscotch on the cemented courtyard, leveled out the school grounds and prepared new garden beds.
  • D’bi.Young Anitafrika performing live at the Bliss:
    The Institute of Creative Arts (ICA) and the Winsom Foundation in collaboration with Women’s month presents for the first time in Belize, African-Jamaican- Canadian dubpoet, playwright, monodramatist and educator D’bi.Young Anitafrika. She is internationally celebrated as a visionary storyteller, a passionate humanist and a leader in the development of arts education. She will be performing one of her eight plays ‘Blood Claat’, specializing in what she terms biomyth monodrama, D’bi. writes one-person theatre plays comprised of music, poetry, dance, and drama that chronicle the stories of global peoples and our quests for self-actualization. She has recently completing her third global tour, performing and teaching, D’bi. has shared the stage with many renowned names such as legendary American poet Saul Williams, and world renowned singers Alicia Keys, Angelique Kidjo, Annie Lennox, and Sarah Maglachan.
  • Pope Francis Warns Church Could Become 'Compassionate NGO':
    Pope Francis has warned the Catholic Church would become "a compassionate NGO" without spiritual renewal. In a Sistine Chapel Mass with cardinals on his first day as Church leader, the pontiff said: "If we do not confess to Christ, what would we be? "We would end up a compassionate NGO. What would happen would be like when children make sand castles and then it all falls down." Francis is the first Latin American - and the first Jesuit - Pope. The BBC's David Willey, in Rome, says the 76-year-old has already been swift to stamp his style on the papacy. Pope Francis is regarded as a doctrinal conservative, but he is also seen as a potential force for reform of the Vatican bureaucracy, analysts say.
  • Early HIV Drugs 'Functionally Cure About One In Ten':
    Rapid treatment after HIV infection may be enough to "functionally cure" about a 10th of those diagnosed early, say researchers in France. They have been analysing 14 people who stopped therapy, but have since shown no signs of the virus resurging. It follows reports of a baby girl being effectively cured after very early treatment in the US. However, most people infected with HIV do not find out until the virus has fully infiltrated the body. The group of patients, known as the Visconti cohort, all started treatment within 10 weeks of being infected.
  • China Confirms Li Keqiang As Premier:
    China's leaders have named Li Keqiang premier, placing him at the helm of the world's second-largest economy. Mr Li, who already holds the number two spot in the Communist Party, takes over from Wen Jiabao. Mr Li was elected for a five-year term but, like his predecessor, would be expected to spend a decade in office. On Thursday, Xi Jinping was confirmed by legislators as the new president, completing the transition of power from Hu Jintao. Li Keqiang's widely-signalled elevation was confirmed by 3,000 legislators at the National People's Congress, the annual parliament session, in Beijing, by 2,940 votes of 2,949 cast.
  • Brazil Outrage Over Sao Paulo Cyclist's Lost Arm:
    A road collision in Brazil has caused outrage after police said a motorist drove off with a cyclist's severed arm attached to his vehicle. The driver, who later turned himself in, told Sao Paulo police that he had dumped the limb in a stream. The arm has not been recovered but doctors believe it could have been reattached, police told local media. The cyclist - a window-cleaner on his way to work - is said to be in a stable condition in hospital. The accident that saw the cyclist's arm torn off took place on Sunday morning on Avenida Paulista, one of Sao Paulo's busiest streets.
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The San Pedro Sun

New facility at ATM Archeological site inaugurated
The Government of Belize through the Ministry of Tourism and Culture inaugurated a new facility at the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) archaeological site located on the outskirts of Teakettle Village in the Cayo District. The inauguration ceremony took place on the morning of Thursday, March 7th and was spearheaded by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB) through the Belize Sustainable Tourism Project (STP). Located in heart of the Tapir Mountain Forest Reserve, the archeological site is co-managed by the Belize Audubon Society and National Institute for Culture and History (NICH). Actun Tunichil Muknal, also referred to as the Cave of the Stone Sepulchre, is approximately 45 minutes from San Ignacio Town and is considered one of the most spectacular subterranean Maya archaeological sites in the region. The caves at the archeological site is characterized by a series of chambers (some requiring swimming access) housing substantial remains of sacrificial ceremonies that includes pottery and human remains.

Wolfe’s Woofers: Ghosts
A preacher is surprised when his congregation reveals they believe in ghosts, and in fact, have seen them, touched them, even engaged in relationships with them...or did they?

Editorial: Social stigma hurts those who suffer from mental disorders
When someone is ill with a debilitating disease, let’ say cancer, do we blame them for their affliction? Do we scorn their illness and expect them to just “get over it”? No! We know they are suffering from something beyond their control and we realize that only proper medical treatment will hopefully cure them. So why is it when someone suffers mental illness such as depression, or an addiction, we feel no compassion, and blame the person for not getting their act together, claiming “they need to straighten up”. Can a person sick with an illness just cure themselves with a change in attitude? Of course no matter how severe an illness is a good attitude can only help, but it sure isn’t going to kill the deadly disease that has invaded their body.

Doctor Love: Devious Phone Calls
When a husband gets a strange call from his wife's devious 'friend' while the wife is gone - what is the best course of action?

Celebrating St. Patricks Day Island Style 2013
Who says islanders don't know how to celebrate St. Patricks Day? The green was out in full force, and what a great party it was!

Misc Belizean Sources

Commentary: What will happen if Belizeans vote against going to the ICJ?
If the people of Belize vote “NO” to take the Guatemalan dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), then the agreement signed between Guatemala and Belize will be fulfilled. This will also happen if the people of Guatemala vote “NO” in their referendum, which is scheduled to take place simultaneously in both countries on October 6, 2013. I have read the Anglo-Guatemalan Treaty signed between Great Britain and Guatemala in 1859 carefully and, based on that, I am fully confident that the court will rule in Belize’s favour. In this treaty the country of Guatemala accepted and acknowledged the boundaries of Belize, which exist up to this day. If the government of Guatemala did not like anything that was contained in that document then they should not have signed it. Guatemala had more than enough time to bring Great Britain to the International Court of Justice to seek redress so that they could comply with the terms of the treaty. Yet, Guatemala failed to act and has engaged in all type of propaganda and threats to frighten Belizeans to take over the entire country of Belize. I hereby encourage Belizeans to read the 1859 Treaty to reduce their fears and stop listening to gossip and rumours.

Benque Health Fair Today
The Benque Health Fair is today at the Mopan Polyclinic, between 8am and 4pm. Get free glucose and blood pressure testing.

PHOTOS: Centennial Celebration of the Pallottine Sisters in Benque Viejo
Today the Cayo District welcomed many faithful visitors and the Pallotine sisters for their Centennial Celebrations and re-enactment of their arrival. The Centennial and arrival of four German sisters in Belize on March 17th,1913 is being celebrated under the theme “Grateful for the Past Hopeful for the Future". Presently there are 21 Pallotine Sisters in the country who will be paying tribute to their work with a number of activities taking place country wide.

West Cayo Chess Tournament Pictures
The West Cayo Chess Tournament was this weekend at Hode's, which sponsored the event. It's great to see the kids embracing a game that requires skill and strategic thinking. Thanks, BNYCF and Hode's!

Belize Wins La Diosa Maya Pageant
Grisel Carballo won the La Diosa Maya International pageant. The pageant was held in Merida, Mexico. Congratulations, Grisel!

PM Barrow: ‘Superbond Two’ almost a done deal!
The restructuring of the U.S.$530 million “superbond” is almost over, and Belize—over the next ten years—will see cash-flow savings of almost $500 million, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said at Wednesday’s press conference, held at Biltmore Plaza Hotel. Barrow, flanked by members of the Debt Restructuring Team, said that they expect the bond exchange offerings—which began in mid February—to close sometime between Friday and next Monday, thereby bringing to an end the year-long process. Barrow said that as of last Friday, more than 86 percent of the bondholders accepted the new terms, which, in accordance with the bond’s collective action clause’s 75 percent threshold, effectively signals that the entire 2029 bonds will be exchanged for the new bonds due in 2038. According to a statement from GOB, “Belize’s offer required tenders to be submitted to Citibank, in its capacity as the Exchange Agent for the transaction,” by 5:00pm on Friday, March 8. Barrow also lauded the quantum of the savings that the restructuring has secured through the modified coupon (interest) rates: “In 2012 it’s $22 million, 2013 – $66 million, 2013 to 2017 – $236 million, and 2013 to 2022 -$494.” The new terms have also saved the country almost $80 million that had accumulated between last August and February this year.

Proposed Amendment to the Legal Profession Act
The Attorney General Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington has drafted a proposed law to amend the mandatory requirement for attorneys practising law in Belize to be members of the Belize Bar Association. Elrington told The Reporter on Thursday that he is proposing the amendment to make it consistent with that of other Caribbean countries. As it now stands, the provision of the Legal Profession Act to require all attorneys to be members of the Bar Association is unconstitutional, because it flies in the face of the freedom of association that the Belize Constitution guarantees. “Belize is the only country to mandate membership of its Bar Association,” Elrington revealed. Elrington explained that Belize wants to make her Legal Profession Act more consistent with the rest of the region. “This is something that should have been done a long time ago”, he added. The amendment will also expand the functions General Legal Counsel, to make it responsible for admitting attorneys into the profession. Under the present structure, a Senior Counsel drafts an affidavit and a special call to the Bar session of the Supreme Court is convened for new attorneys. Under the new law, that responsibility will now be the function of the General Legal Counsel, which presently is tasked with investigating complaints against attorneys.

Rivers on life support
Shooting victim Ronald Rivers, 28, is on life support at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. His family says it has now come down to a decision of how long to keep him on the machine that’s keeping him alive. Ronald’s brother, 34-year-old Raymond Rivers told The Reporter on Thursday his brother is in a really “critical condition”.

The best and worst for your pearly whites
By now, we all know the basic recipe for healthy pearly whites, including regular brushing and flossing, and a diet rich in teeth-healthy foods. What we might not realize is how some food choices can contribute to the wear and tear of teeth. So what makes a food bad for your smile? Matt Messina, D.D.S., consumer adviser for the American Dental Association and a dentist in private practice in Cleveland, Ohio, explains that bacteria living in the mouth burn sugars in order to live. The byproduct of this burning is acid – which dissolves tooth enamel and causes cavities.

Study claims bee venom kills HIV
A new study has shown that bee venom can kill the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have demonstrated that a toxin called melittin found in bee venom can destroy HIV by poking holes in the envelope surrounding the virus, according to a news release sent out by Washington University.

CDB funds $7.25M road safety project
Belize, which had the highest traffic fatality rate among Caribbean Development Bank member states in 2006, has received a $14.5 million CDB loan to finance a Road Safety Project, designed to decrease the number of traffic fatalities that occur in the country. The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will execute the project, which was launched at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development in Belmopan on Thursday, March 14, 2013. In 2006, Belize recorded 68 traffic fatalities, which gives a ratio of 31.1 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The project will address problem spots along the Western Highway to its junction with the Hummingbird Highway and around the Belmopan Ring Road with improvements to road safety. It will also encourage motorists to alter their driving habits for greater safety through education and awareness campaigns.

Creativity pays off at Kite Festival
Almost 40 kite-builders of all ages came away winners at the second annual Coca Cola Kite Festival held in conjunction with Ben the Builder on the Newtown Promenade on Sunday, March 10. Prizes were awarded in 13 categories: five junior and eight senior categories. Among the juniors, first prize was $100, second was $50 and third prize was $25. Young Shakir Gabourel won the $100 first prize for the Best Moonie kite, while Ernest Good claimed the $50 second prize and Charles Coote took home the $25 third prize. Ryan Davis also won the first prize for Best singer, while Rodwell Geban won the second prize and Clayshaun Lewis of Holy Redeemer RC School won third prize. Kenyon Plunket won the first prize for Best Starry kite, while Nelson Tablada took second prize and Stephan Diego claimed the third prize. Deneil Martinez won the first prize for the Most Creative design, while Steven Silvestre took second prize and Jermaine Garnett won third. Freddy Carrera had won a prize last year, and he returned to capture the first prize for the best “Ben the Builder” kite, while Cardinal Beaton took home the second prize.

Part IV: the 1860 letter from Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Pedro de Aycinena, explains rationale for 1859 Treaty
Parts One to Three of this Road to Referendum series have been focusing on two pivotal treaties in Belize’s case: the 1859 Anglo-Guatemala Treaty and the 1931 Exchange of Notes. The former informed the establishment of latter, which reported on the erecting of the concrete monuments at Gracias a Dios and Garbutts’ Falls—the two boundary markers that establishes Belize’s southern borders with Guatemala. Under the International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s statues, we’ve looked at the “autonomous nature of borders” as established in a boundary treaty. In Part One of this series, we explored the reasons as to why the 1859 treaty, based on its preamble and the strength of international law, is a boundary treaty and not a treaty of cession as argued by Guatemala. As was stated in previous editions, this distinction is significant, because under international law, the frontiers that parties agree to in a boundary treaty remain fixed and permanent even if there is a breach to other sections of the convention. But the preamble is not the only evidence to the purposive state of mind of the parties when the Anglo-Guatemala Treaty was ratified. It is at this juncture that we would like to pause and ask you to peruse an equally telling document that explicates, in no unclear terms, the rationale of the Guatemalan officials—including its President—when they signed unto the 1859 Treaty.

Belize Bank wins 15th annual Belikin Ruta Maya River Challenge
The defending Ruta maya champions Armin Lopez, Daniel Cruz and Amado Cruz of the Belize Bank Bulldogs won the 15th annual Belikin Ruta Maya River Challenge in a grueling four-day paddle over 140 miles of the Belize River, from the Hawksworth Bridge in San Ignacio to the Belcan Bridge in Belize on Monday, March 11. At the end of the third leg from Bemucian Landing to Burrell Boom, the Bulldogs had a 53-second lead over Jerry Rhaburn, Jeremy and Jermaine Sanchez in the Ziprider canoe sponsored by Cruise Solutions. The Ziprider team outsprinted the Bulldogs to win the fourth leg in 2:42:24, with Oscar Cordon, Efrain and Felix Cruz in the N.I.C.H. canoe only a second behind The Bulldogs finished three seconds behind the N.I.C.H. team for the best overall time of 18:31:21. The NICH team had a cumulative time of 18:31:24 to win second prize, while the Ziprider’s cumulative time of 18:31:10 won them third prize. Jerry Cante, Erwin Cruz and Henner Cruz in the Westrac canoe finished two minutes behind Ziprider, with a cumulative time of 18:38:32, while Roberto and Andres Cabb and Roy Cano of the BTL Cobb’s Arm team finished three minutes behind the leaders with a cumulative of time of 18:39:24 to place fifth. The BTL canoers also won the Perseverance Award.

Independence Primary girls win national softball championship
The undefeated girls of Independence Primary School, the Stann Creek district champions, won the National Primary Schools Softball Championship organized by the National Sports Council at the Rogers’ Stadium on Friday, March 8. Independence pitcher Thalia Interiano struck out six batters as she led her teammates to their fourth victory: 7-3 over the Belize district champions, the girls of Biscayne Government School.

St Jude RC Primary boys win National Softball Championship
The boys of St. Jude R.C. School of Camalote Village, in the Cayo district won the national primary schools softball championships organized by the National Sports Council at Rogers’ Stadium on Friday, March 8. Camalote’s MVP pitcher, Shemar Tablada struck out five batters as he led the St Jude’s boys to a 12-3 victory over the Stann Creek district champions, the boys of Independence Primary School in the finals. Independence’s Manito Montes struck out two batters in the top of the first, but could not stop Alrick Vasquez, Tablada, and Tyrone Matute from scoring St. Jude’s first three runs. Emil Rivers, Michael Gutierrez and Eric Tucker scored for Independence in the bottom of the first to tie the score 3-3. Vasquez and Tablada scored twice in the top of the second, as Matute, Daniel Pollard, Mikel Jones, Edwin Serano and Trevan Neal also scored.

President Obama: There Is No Debt Crisis
There has been no shortage of dire warnings about the mounting US national debt, but President Obama is now offering a different assessment: no big deal. “We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,” President Obama said in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos for “Good Morning America.” “In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.” It’s an assessment that will throw cold water on the latest attempt to achieve a so-called grand bargain to reduce the deficit. After all, a grand bargain would require excruciatingly difficult decisions for both sides – for Republicans, it would mean raising taxes, and for Democrats, cutting future spending on cherished programs like Social Security and Medicare. If there is no crisis, why would either side do it?

Doctor used silicone fingers to sign in for colleagues
A Brazilian doctor faces charges of fraud after being caught on camera using silicone fingers to sign in for work for absent colleagues, police say. Thaune Nunes Ferreira, 29, was arrested on Sunday for using prosthetic fingers to fool the biometric employee attendance device used at the hospital where she works near Sao Paulo.

New Pontiff is Pope Francis of Argentina
The new leader of the Catholic Church is the Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who has taken the name of Pope Francis. Bergoglio, 76, is a Jesuit from Buenos Aires and is the first pope from South America. He is also the first pope to take the name of Francis.

Blogs

All over the map and six degrees of separation between Belize and Montana
It has been a busy past couple of days. My here there and everywhere started Friday morning at 7:00am morning show with Eiden Salazar and Anthony Anderson to announce our new San Pedro Branch board and promote the Red Cross Belize Medical Safety program. Afterward I was collecting money for Tuesdays certified first aid course and taking pictures for Jessie from BRC. She emailed me and said that she needed pictures of San Pedro for the cover of VCA and could I send some from San Pablo, San Pedro Town, San Pedrito, San Juan and San Mateo, I threw in Boca Del Rio beach side and road as well. I struck out in town collecting as it was just two early after the morning show. Thankfully the post office let me in a few minutes early to drop off a letter inviting them to send staff for first aid training and that their spaces are paid for. Thanks to Cowboy’s Pool bar and grill and Leisa Mercer, I can now tell them when I check back on Monday that their lunches are also paid for. I nominated Mr Ack to be the first one for training, since he was at the end of season NEMO thank you party. I am looking for 2 more sponsored spots so we can get all of the post office lined up for training.

Isla Bonita Drummers & Twirlers March Down the Home Stretch To Band Fest 2013 in Belmopan
Imagine you are Ambergris Caye’s Isla Bonita Elementary School Marching band and since mid-2012, you have been trying to raise over $25,000BZD so you could participate in the prestigious Belize national Band Fest. This year, it will be held in Belmopan. You need to cover travelling expenses including a chartered boat and bus, food and accomodations and the most expensive part…uniforms for your drummers and majorettes. Basically, you need to drum and dance and twirl your little hearts out. And they have done just that. They have held multiple fundraisers, dollar drives and marched in every single parade (and that’s saying something in San Pedro.) These kids will come out and perform for $20 or $1000. They practice almost every night in Boca Del Rio – the residents of the area know every beat by heart. They are in the home stretch…they are SO close to their goal and they are SO proud and SO EXCITED. Two nights away from home!…one little girl gushed to me. She can’t wait. I mean look at this little drummer…so so cute.

International Sources

Dominican Republic and Central America need to boost logistics coordination, studies show
To cope with the larger vessels that will transit through the Panama Canal when its expansion is complete in 2015, Central American countries must dramatically improve their intermodal road and port network infrastructure, the quality of their trucking services and strengthen their institutional coordination, two studies issued by the Inter-American Development Bank show. The first study, Assessment of Port Performance and Port Connectivity Study in Belize, Central America and the Dominican Republic, evaluates port performance and the connectivity of 18 ports in Belize, Central America and the Dominican Republic. The second report, Trucking services in Belize, Central America and the Dominican Republic: performance analysis and policy recommendations, assesses the trucking industry and makes recommendations going forward. The reports were released at a seminar on logistics at the IDB’s Annual Meeting in Panama City. The IDB called for countries to establish national logistics agendas to improve policy coordination and tackle bottlenecks that hurt the region’s ability to compete in the global marketplace. Efficient logistics performance requires the public sector to act at the regional, national and local levels, under a coordinated agenda, with shared priorities and objectives, based on consistent information that aids in defining public policies and allows continuous monitoring.

Good Cookin’: Stewed Chicken (How I Learned to Eat and Cook Like a Belizean)
Just hearing the words “stew chicken with rice and beans” makes my mouth water and my stomach rumble. When the smell of sweet coconut milk and simmering garlic hits my nostrils, I have no choice but to crack open a cold Belikin beer and wait until lunch is ready. Belizean Creole food goes beyond nourishing the body – it feeds the soul, and Creole cooks always make enough to share. A plate piled high with tender golden chicken, coconut-scented rice, and red beans spiced with chiles… the national dish of Belize is served. I challenge you to find a single restaurant in Belize that doesn’t offer some version of this traditional Creole recipe. When I first arrived in Belize, I enjoyed stew chicken as much as the next traveler. I ate it politely, daintily, making sure my meat and rice never touched each other on the plate, finishing the potato salad first so the mayonnaise wouldn’t melt and pool over onto the rice, wrestling with the large piece of juicy chicken and getting my first taste of the succulent meat. Though I didn’t want to be rude, I found myself unable to finish the truck-driver-sized portions on my plate.