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#503615 - 04/23/15 11:52 AM Today's Belize News: April 23, 2015
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5 and CTV 3
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The San Pedro Sun

Caye Notes: Football Marathon and Family Church Day
San Pedro Sports Committee to host Football Marathon: Mundialito Football Soccer Tournament-1On Sunday, April 26th, the San Pedro Sports Committee will be hosting an all-day Football Marathon at the Honorable Louis Sylvester Sporting Arena. The marathon will be divided into two categories: Under 10 and Under 14. Games are scheduled to start at 11AM. Trophies and medals will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category, as well as individual awards. There will be music and lots of food and drinks on sale. All families are invited to come out and support the young footballers of San Pedro. Teams are to register before 10:30AM on Sunday. For more information on registration details contact Councilor Hector “Tito” Alamilla at 623-0772. Family Church Day: The San Pedro Roman Catholic Church is inviting the general public for a family Sunday on the 26th April 2015. The day will start with a 10AM Mass, followed by free food for families, games for kids and live music until 5PM. Let’s all come together as brothers and sisters and making our island SAFE!

Walk for a Green Belize 2015
Last year the Department of the Environment, in conjunction with the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority and the Belize Audubon Society, carried out a Walk For A Green Belize activity. Walk For A Green Belize is a clean-up activity conducted by numerous organizations, students, activists, both government and non-government agencies, and the general public. The activity resulted in the collection of 1,800 (30 to 50 gallon-sized) bags of garbage yielding a weight of 6,226 pounds! As we gear up for the celebration of Earth Day 2015, the Department of the Environment is once again collaborating on the “Walk For A Green Belize” cleanup. This event is aimed at building awareness and sustaining a culture of an environmentally friendly and conscious Belize! This year, the “Walk For A Green Belize” will be held on Saturday, April 25th 2015 along the entire George Price Highway encompassing a total of 77 miles of roadway. It will begin at 7:00 am and expected to conclude at 12:00 pm.

Another VIP Environmental Success Story
Press Release – VISION INSPIRED BY THE PEOPLE – April 20, 2015 - As part of the VISION INSPIRED BY THE PEOPLE (VIP)’s commitment to reduce plastics on San Pedro, on January 18th, the VIP San Pedro Chapter contacted the US Embassy, making them aware of the growing bio-degradable pollution on the island and requesting the introduction of their Recycle Shopping Bag Program in San Pedro. The US Embassy accepted the invitation and asked us to contact supermarkets which would be interested in participating. Through these efforts, Super Buy and Save On gladly accepted to participate and be part of this very important environmental program.

Hurricanes defeat the Tiger Sharks
With four weeks remaining in the regular season of the National Elite Basketball League (NEBL), lower ranking teams are pulling off surprises. One of the big surprises was the match between San Pedro Tiger Sharks and Belize Yellow Pages Hurricanes. The Tiger Sharks were narrowly defeated on Friday April 17th in Belize City, when the Hurricanes made good on their promise of turning The Tiger Sharks into “panades”. When the game kicked off inside the Belize Elementary School Gymnasium on Friday night, San Pedro Tiger Sharks boasted six wins and two losses, while The Hurricanes had two wins and six losses. But the Hurricanes were in to clamp down the jaws of the mighty Tiger Sharks – they came ready to fish! When the game got started, both teams tested the waters on the court, and when the first quarter culminated, San Pedro Tiger Sharks had a small lead of three points. But that was the only lead the Sharks would hold on to, because the Hurricanes turned up the pressure on them. At halftime, they were both 41 points apiece. The Hurricanes were not done with the Tiger Sharks just yet, and they decided to blow harder. Into the third quarter, the Hurricanes took control of the ball and began dominating the unfocused Tiger Sharks. The Hurricanes blew into the fourth quarter with a one-point lead, which they were able to protect throughout the last part of the match. When the time on the clock began to close, the Tiger Sharks tried every possible move, but none worked in their favor. The Hurricanes managed to end the game with 83 to 81 points, picking up the big W and setting off a major upset for the defending champs.

Ambergris Today

VIP Party Pushes Recyclable Shopping Bag Program in Ambergris Caye
As part of the Vision Inspired by the People (VIP)’s commitment to reduce plastics on San Pedro, on January 18th, the VIP San Pedro Chapter contacted the US Embassy, making them aware of the growing bio-degradable pollution on the island and requesting the introduction of their Recyclable Shopping Bag Program in San Pedro. The US Embassy accepted the invitation and tasked the VIP to contact supermarkets which would be interested in participating. Through these efforts, Super Buy and Save On gladly accepted to participate and be part of this very important environmental program. The VIP Team relayed this to the US Embassy personnel and is now pleased to announce that thanks to its leadership idea the program was launched today, April 22, 2015, to coincide with Earth Day 2015, by the Embassy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

WALK FOR A GREEN BELIZE 2015
In order to ensure the safety of the volunteers cleaning up both sides of the highway from Benque Viejo del Carmen to Belize City and up through Ladyville area, the Police Department and Department of Transport will be setting up courtesy checkpoints at strategic points along the George Price Highway to inform drivers to drive with extreme care. The Department of the Environment (DOE) would like to remind motorists, passengers and the general public travelling along Belize’s roadways that littering is a violation of our laws for which a ticket can be issued and carry a fine of $100.00 for a person. Littering creates a huge environmental challenge in terms of land and water contamination and impacts to wildlife and landscape aesthetics. Through this medium, the DOE is inviting all interested persons to join us in this important effort, as well as invite the media houses to cover this important event.

Sam Hamilton One Night Only!
COME EARLY -- LIMITED IF YOU MISSED THE INTERNATIONAL RED CARPET AFFAIR HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO SEE THE ONE AND ONLY LEGENDARY MR. SAM HAMILTON UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL THIS FRIDAY @ 8PM./BOMBAY LOUNGE @ LITTLE BELIZE

September Celebrations Theme Competition
Do you have a good idea for the theme of this year's September Celebrations? You could win $1000 if it's the winner. It must be 10 words or less, and the deadline for submission is May 29th. Good luck!

BELIZE FISHING REPORT: Week of April 12th – April 18th, 2015
Record permit catches, good solid tarpon fishing.... life is good! Despite some windy days the anglers that persevered were rewarded. Tom was able to land his first tarpon of his fishing career during his short trip here to Ambergris Caye (Grand Slam capitol of the world). Ted's heart was broken when he lost the tarpon of his dreams, but he will be back for more to even the score. Norm managed to get a tarpon to cooperate on his last day. Steve added another tarpon to his trip, Rhonda got a 50-pound beauty to her hand, but Leah one upped her with a 60 pound tarpon that refused to give up.

House Break In, Tres Cocos: "Apparently I surprised them, they dropped one thing on the way out. Home made ladder was hidden in the bushes, they watched til I walked the dog. Beware 2nd and 3rd flr dwellers." A comment by another said a Tres Cocos business also had a robbery attempt. Heads up, neighbors.

Latest scam, San Pedro: Two women are going around town asking for donations to fix their house in Dangriga. They saw me at Celi's on the golf cart with our logo and then later came to the office saying that the boss told them to come for a donation. There is no Town Council stamp on their letter.

BOLEDO DRAWING for Wednesday, April 22, 2015: 50

Protein Pancakes/Paleo or Wheat Belly
Jada shows us how to make protein pancakes using only 3 ingredients. This dish is satisfying and is great for keeping your energy levels up.

Western Ballaz Host Warriors
The Western Ballaz are hosting the Dangriga Warriors this Friday. The Ballaz have the best record in the league. The after party will be at Thirsty Thursday. "Play off time is around the corner and we need every win to secure home court advantage. Let's come out and cheer on our Western Ballaz. See you Friday, April 24th at 9pm."

Top 15 Reasons to Visit the “NEW” Running W Steakhouse
Agreed! The newly refurbished Running W Steakhouse in the SIRH is awesome. They've listed the top 15 reasons to check it out, saving us from doing anything but going and enjoying it all. They are in the top 10, number 7 right now, on Trip Advisor. Keep up the great...food! "Looking for familiarity but something completely NEW? Then stop by our Running W Steakhouse & Restaurant located in the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Recent renovations have transformed this restaurant into a welcoming space with upscale ambiance and casual elegance. The upgrades also introduced the modern Baroque-themed Lobby Bar featuring signature cocktails and unique appetizers."

Cristo Rey Mural Project
The Cristo Rey primary school has a new mural. It was done with the help of many of the visiting Ontario College of Art and Design students, and the Winsom Foundation. Thanks, OCAD! "Ever tried doing a mural with thirty-five little eight and nine year old. Each having their own creative Wisdom ....I watched two masters handle it very well Quentin Babatundé VerCetty and Sam Gottlieb you are true artist and excellent teachers .... More mural pictures ..Thank you Cristo Rey RC school for being such great host to the OCAD University students and the Winsom Foundation."

Benque Viejo Female Basketball Promo
They have a cool promo for the BVFB. This Saturday, the Crusaders and the Interstellars play first, and then the Queen B's play Mopan Tech. "Follow us at www.facebook.com/benquefemalebasketball All games are played at Deacon's Court on Saturday's every fortnight as of 7 PM."

History tour at the BTL Park in Belize City
Today the Belize City Council in collaboration with NICH launched its history tour at the BTL Park in Belize City...The purpose of the information stops is so that vistors can read and learn about the rich history of the space formerly known as Linbergh's Landing or the Barracks...now BTL Park!

Las Cuevas Research Station
Three years ago FCD took over management and administration of the Las Cuevas Research Station located in the heart of the Chiquibul Forest. The station is upgraded and ready for this season of University visits. We welcome the groups for the 2015 season. To learn more about the station visit us at www.lascuevas.org or write us at: fcd.lcrs@gmail.com

Channel 7

Alleged GOB Funds Fraudster Nasley Somerville Dismissed; GOB No Closer to Recovering 367k
Nasley Somerville – her name first came to national attention in October of 2013, when we reported that 189 cheques which totaling $367,000 were fraudulently drawn from the account over three years. As Administrator of the Southern Regional Hospital, the Auditor General found that Somerville was responsible. She was suspended on half pay and the report was handed over to police. Tonight the news is that she has been dismissed by the Public Service Commission. She will no longer receive the half pay she was getting while on suspension. This was confirmed in a letter sent to her on Monday from the commission. This is after she appeared before them twice this year. She denied signing the almost 200 cheques, and said the signature was not hers. Somerville can still appeal to the Belize Advisory Council – but at this point she stands dismissed from the public service.

CCJ Settles Communal Land Rights Case; Crowds Inside and Outside Court
The courtroom of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was filled to capacity this morning for a session of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Observers, both from the general public and the legal community, crowded in to hear arguments made in the Maya Customary Lands Rights case, which was argued before the Caribbean Court of Justice. But, before that case could begin, the Court delivered the consent order which was entered into by the Mayan claimants and the Government of Belize. The court formally declared that the judgment of the Court of Appeal is affirmed meaning that Maya Customary Land Rights exist. The court also formally accepted Government's undertaking to develop - in consultation with the Mayans - the necessary administrative and legal steps to protect those land rights. That will include land ownership rights at the Lands Department, and any other agreed upon terms between the Mayan communities and the Government. A very important portion of the consent order is that the Government has to consult with the Mayan people about how outside persons or entities will get permission to exploit resources inside Maya Customary Lands. The Government cannot grant concessions, permits, for resource exploitation - such as logging permits and oil exploration concessions, and land titles - without first consulting with the Villages which own that land. Notably, the court also declared that it retrains the jurisdiction to supervise that the Government commitments are carried out. It has set April 30, 2016 as day when the litigants will report back to the court as to progress of the implementation of Customary Land Rights System.

Press Conference To Reflect On Gains
After the case, the Maya Leaders in support of the decision held an impromptu press conference at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel. We attended, and here's what they had to say a few hours ago: Alfonso Cal - President, TAA "I'm glad, you know why? Because the majority is with me. The majority is with us. The community is seeing now what we are achieving. We have come so far but they're yet to go. But we pray god - that god will help us because we are people not fighting with gun or machete but with justice. Our rights, we have our mouth, we need to speak. That's why I'm not ashamed today, for 3 decades; I start when I was young and up to this date, I'm really happy to see my people, that they were with us together." Martin Chen - Chairman, MLA "Today, the world knows what we are doing here in the country of Belize. It's not only Belize, the world knows why we are here today. So, I must thank you all for coming. I know some of us wake up. I was taking my bathe in the river, 1 o'clock this morning. I got on the road side 3 o'clock in the morning. Maybe some of us get tired and depressed - but we need to be here today. So, I must thank you all, ladies and gentlemen, who are here today with us. Like Mr. Cal said yes, we have some little group on the side that don't like us. They do not understand what we are struggling for. But like Mr. Cal said, we are fighting the cause them and also - not only for us here, for every Maya."

Belize Bank Loses Correspondent Bank Relationship With Bank of America
The Belize Bank is Belize’s largest bank – controlling about half of the banking sector, and it’s Belize’s largest domestic lender – but tonight the bank is preparing for a significant change in operations. That’s because as of April 30th., it will lose its correspondent banking relationship with the Bank of America. This means that the bank will no longer be able to do international banking transactions such as wire transfers to or from the US. Importantly, it will still be able to do credit card business as usual. We spoke with Lyndon Guiseppi, the CEO for BCB Holdings and he told us that the vast majority of the Bank’s clients - more than 90% - will not be affected by this. He called it “a manageable phenomenon” and says that the bank is “transitioning smoothly” by reaching out to all its clients who use these services to give them a list of alternatives. He said those customers who need to send a wire can do it through the Central Bank or other commercial banks. Guiseppi said the bank does not anticipate “a major fallout or major impact on day to day operations” and typical clients who go to the bank to deposit, withdraw, borrow or pay on credit cards will experience nothing different. He stressed that it is not a liquidity problem but a regulatory issue coming form the United States. When we asked if the bank will shrink as a consequence of this, Guiseppi said his bank is “still able to do the largest loans in Belize and can still generate foreign exchange through its credit card business.”

Matura Shepherd Responds To Dylan Reneau
On Monday’s newscast we told you all about former NTUCB President Dylan Reneau’s letter to Audrey Matura Shepherd, urging her to simmer down in her criticism of labour Senator Ray Davis and, furthermore, to apologize to Davis. Well today the media caught up with Matura-Shepherd at a press conference held by the VIP party – which she advises. She said she will not get into a back and forth:… Audrey Matura-Shepherd - CWU President "You, it's a pity that we'd reach this point where it's gotten personal. Yes Mr. Dylan Reneau sent and e-mail and I think that e-mail was strategically sent just when the meeting was starting with the GC of the NTUCB. It was sent, I did not read it before the meeting, but it was read the meeting. It was addressed to me, clearly it was addressed so it could be leaked to the media, so that the distraction about what the petrocaribe bill is about can continue. Clearly they want to circle the wagon around me but they picked the wrong person because they have skeletons in the closet, I don't have any.

Effect of Mayan Communal Land Rights Ruling For US Capital Energy?
At the top of the news, we gave a blow by blow of today’s huge appeal case, which was heard by the Caribbean Court of Justice in Belize today. So, what effect does this consent order have on the case brought by the Mayans against the Government of Belize because it granted an oil exploration permit to US Capital Energy? Viewers may remember that US Capital has a permit to explore for oil inside the Sarstoon Temash National Park, which the Mayans say that the Government granted to them without consultation within the Mayan communities. They asserted that this was especially important because if, by some misfortune, the Temash Drill site were somehow to get out of control and there is a spill or some sort of environmental hazard emerged, they would be the ones directly impacted by a decision they had no say in. It also sparked great controversy when the claimants harshly criticized the government for its decision to extend that permit by waiving the expiration date last year after the case ended up before the Supreme Court. The last we heard of that case was that it was to have been taken through the process of court ordered mediation. We asked SATIIM's Executive Director for an update, as well as her opinion of how this victory before the CCJ could possibly affect that case. The main issue in that case, is whether or not the Government was correct to grant that permit without consultation with the Mayans. This new consent order delivered today says that the Government cannot make any sort of decisions, such as this permit, without involving the Mayans in that decision. Froyla Tzalam told us this afternoon that SATIIM will look at the judgment in the context of that permit to US Capital that they are challenging:

BTL Park, Not Only Recreation But History
The BTL Park: it has become a popular recreational spot for city residents but from now on, it will be known for more than that. This morning the Belize City Council launched a public exhibit at the BTL Park. The exhibit features the historical narrative and significance of the area – incorporating the landing of Charles Lindbergh on “The Spirit of St. Louis” in the 1927. Belize City Mayor, Darrell Bradley told us about the vision he has for this space. Darrell Bradley - Mayor of Belize City "One of the things, I was very pleased with the exhibit that's being launched this morning is that, this space mad many purposes for the city. One of the reasons why Charles Lindbergh landed here is because it was used as an airstrip. That's one the reasons why the municipal airstrip is close by because it was one long area. This is something that I myself have barely know, so there is things we can learn even if you look at the 14 panels, which trace the usage of the park from the 1800s to today's date. These are things which many Belizeans may not know about and I think it tells a story of the place, how it has been in the past and how it's growing and evolving for the benefit of our community.

CCJ Upholds Minister of Education's 2008 Suspension
In 2008, it made major news when the Ministry of Education suspended the Principal and Vice Principal of Escuela Secundaria Technica Mexico in the Corozal district. Juanita Lucas and Celia Carillo sued the Ministry saying the suspensions were illegal. The suspensions were set aside by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal which found that the ministry did not have that power. But Carillo and Lucas went to the CCJ, alleging that the way the investigation was conducted and the way they were suspended violated their fundamental rights such as the right to work, the protection of the law and the right to equal protection. They asked the court to award them damages for these breaches. Today the CCJ dismissed the appeal, when it found that the suspensions were not to punish the Lucas and Carillo, but to allow a proper inquiry into the problems at the school. The court found that no disciplinary action had been taken against them to trigger the protection of the Constitution. The Court noted that the right to work was not a guarantee of continued employment and there was no inference with the Appellants’ ability to continue practising their profession. And because they could not prove that any constitutional rights were breached, no award of damages was be made and the alleged hurt feelings and embarrassment suffered by the Appellants could be addressed in the laws relating to defamation, malicious falsehood and judicial review.

Cordel Has Title, King Backs Down
Two days ago we told you about the land dispute in Lake Independence between Cordel Hyde’s PUP Committee and Mark King;s UDP Committee. The dispute centres over a parcel of land behind the CB Hyde Complex building. When Hyde was in office – his Lake I Action Committee erected a concrete structure on the property. It burnt down before the 2008 election, and in October of 2014, King’s GOB for UDP Lake Independence Committee got a title for the land. Only problem is, Hyde said he already had a title going back to 2007 – except he couldn’t find it, while King had his handy. Well, Hyde today got a copy of the title and showed it to us. Indeed, it goes back to 2007 and seems to defeat King’s one from 7 years later. Now, how two titles appeared for one piece of land is a question that stumps us – and the answer is probably buried deep in the bowels of the Department of Lands. Today, King publicly yielded to the 2007 title, saying in a release, quote,

Observing Earth Day By Planting Trees
On Monday we told you about how the Audubon Society was giving away free Mahogany trees. Well it was all in an effort to commemorate Earth Day which is celebrated today. The planting of trees continued as 15 more were planted at the Guanacaste Park in Belmopan. While we know the cultural and environmental significance of planting these trees, the coordinators of today’s event introduced another angle which surround the topic of road safety. A total of 25 trees were planted – 15 were planted at the Guanacaste Park and 10 will be planted at the Rio Bravo Conservation Management area.

Making Mediation Work
Restore Belize wants to show you how to solve conflicts. Today Restore Belize held its 3rd conflict mediation forum at the ITVET. School counsellors, principals as well as students delivered feedback on the progress of their conflict mediation efforts to see how the program can move forward and extend into the wider community. We spoke with two of the peer helpers and they told us that this program has had an impact on their classmates. Sandra Cadle - Coordinator "The schools are not solely responsible to keep students in school, we need to look at what are some support system the school have to ensure that - that happens. We also looking at the roles of social institutions in ensuring that students remain in school because we're all charged with that responsibility to do so." Courtney Weatherburne "Generally the main focus always is youth, making sure they're in school and that they can handle conflict or issues in their lives - personal and academic." Sandra Cadle "A part from in school youths, we're also looking at out of school youths as well. As you know we have serious issue in the streets and so we need to look at positive ways to respond to conflict situation. It's not only school based approach, we're also looking at unattached youths. On a whole how to bring young people together and to help them to resolve conflict in a positive manner."

Channel 5

Mayans Win Landmark Land Rights Case
The Caribbean Court of Justice, the final appellate jurisdiction for Belize, has affirmed Maya customary land rights in a milestone judgment handed down earlier today in Belize City.  In delivering [...]

Decision to Take Effect By March 2016
In addressing a gathering during a press conference at the Biltmore immediately following the decision, MLA spokesperson Cristina Coc reiterated that a debt of gratitude is owed to the leadership [...]

G.O.B.’s Attorney Discusses Damages Sought
Government’s attorney, Senior Counsel Denys Barrow, prior to making his submission before the Caribbean Court of Justice earlier today, raised a preliminary objection, stating that there had never been a [...]

Barrow Says Mayans Are Not Entitled to Moral Damages
According to Barrow, the fact that the Maya were deprived of their rights during colonialism, doesn’t make them any better than other ethnicities, including Mestizos and Garinagu, as it pertains [...]

Some Mayans Protest Communal Land
This morning, dozens of men, women and children from thirty-eight indigenous communities in the south gathered at the Battlefield Park in anticipation of the CCJ’s ruling on the issue of [...]

Cristina Coc Says Mayans Free to Choose
Cristina Coc, spokesperson for the Maya Leaders Alliance, told News Five this afternoon that the objections raised by the gathering are merely statements of preference, since they are free to [...]

P.U.P. Congratulates Mayans on Victory
The People’s United Party has issued a release congratulating the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes’ Association on the historic achievement of winning recognition from the Government of Belize [...]

Matura-Shepherd Lashes Out at N.T.U.C.B. Past President
The Petrocaribe Bill 2015, and peripheral issues arising from its implementation, continues to feature prominently in the news. Just about everybody is speaking up on the controversial bill passed just [...]

Is Political Office in Matura-Shepherd’s Future?
Matura-Shepherd sat at the head-table at a conference today hosted by the Vision Inspired by the People. And since it’s becoming apparent that the attorney, activist and thorn in the [...]

PAC Chairman, Julius Espat, Not Impressed with Petrocaribe
Debate over the controversial continues to heat up, with the unions, churches and business sector all coming out squarely against it. The P.U.P. has as well, and later you’ll see [...]

Espat Says G.O.B.’s PR Push is Political Spin
Espat told News Five that the original rationale behind the Petrocaribe program, conceptualized and implemented by the late President Hugo Chavez, has been bastardized to further the political ambitions of [...]

Changes in P.U.P. Imminent
And from Petrocaribe to P.U.P. politics… Reports have circulated of high-level changes in the party following the devastating loss in municipal elections. Espat wouldn’t offer details, since he says those [...]

V.I.P. Gets Set to Hit the Streets
This morning, the V.I.P. jumped on board with the church, unions, business sector and P.U.P. – at least when it comes to roundly criticizing the Petrocaribe Bill. At a press [...]

…Renews Call for Transparency
And although Petrocaribe dominated the conference which lasted almost two hours, there were other issues. V.I.P. front man Bobby Lopez reiterated the Party’s position on declaration of assets under the [...]

V.I.P. Demands a Re-registration Exercise
And finally, the V.I.P. called for a re-registration exercise to clean up voters’ lists which are widely believed to be anything but accurate. It’s an exercise which is a long [...]

CitCo Launches New Initiatives at B.T.L. Park
The Belize City Council today launched several new initiatives at the newly refurbished B.T.L. Park on Princess Margaret Drive. Among the many features added to the infrastructure were fourteen display [...]

BAS Celebrates Earth Day at Guanacaste Park
The world is celebrating the forty-fifth anniversary of Earth Day. It’s a special day to honor and appreciate nature. For Belize, N.G.O.s use the day to raise awareness of environmental [...]

UB Students Raise Earth Day Awareness
And from Guanacaste Park to the University of Belize- the Earth Day celebration continues. We stopped in at UB to check out the festivities, where visiting students were able to [...]


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#503616 - 04/23/15 11:52 AM Re: Today's Belize News: April 23, 2015 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

CTV3

Island Cops Of San Pedro Discovers Illicit Drugs And Ammunition While Conducting Raid
There is much that is being done to curb the increase of crime in San Pedro Town. According to officials, their searches and spontaneous raids are proving successful but short on convictions. As a result several searches conducted in one day have yielded the discovery of illicit drugs and illegal firearms. Island cops says on yesterday’s date, at about 12:30 p.m., police officers conducted searches in the San Pedrito area where they discovered (1) black in color magazine Taurus Brand, (7) 9mm live rounds, (1) 3.80 live rounds, (6) .38mm live rounds, (3) 16 gauge live rounds and 20.36 grams of Cannabis. In another incident, police officers conducted a search in the Boca del Rio area were they discovered a large parcel which was wrapped in transparent plastic wrap amounting to 4.18 pounds of Cannabis.

Andrew Ramirez Talks About His Transfer From Corozal
In the weeks ahead there should be some reshuffling within the police formations in the northern part of the country. Superintendent Andrew Ramirez, Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Formation is slated to take over in San Ignacio Town while the current OC of the Orange Walk Police Formation take over his post in Corozal Town. Superintendent Ramirez says that in the second week of June, he intends to have a public meeting to introduce the incoming commander, Superintendent Dennis Arnold to the Corozal community. Well, that is about two months away, so why so early? Well, Superintendent Ramirez will be going on leave soon and may not be available to extend that invitation and therefore took the opportunity to do so in an interview conducted with him on Tuesday.

Corozal Methodist Primary School Wins Math Olympiad
On last night’s newscast we highlighted the accomplishments of the Corozal Methodist Primary School in sports. Tonight, the school is once again in the news for more outstanding performances. This time, we highlight two students who did well on a local competition that was held at the Corozal Community College Open Day last Thursday. That competition was a math Olympiad that was based on problems that students are reviewing for the Primary School Examinations. Sylvino Chi is the standard six teacher at the school. Sylvino Chi – Teacher, STD 6 “The competition was challenging and the children manage to win this game.” Dalila Ical – Reporter “Is this the first time that the school wins this competition?” Sylvino Chi – Teacher, STD 6 “No, we have won before and well CCC had it better this year because they recognize the students this year and gave them their trophies and so it was a great experience for them and honestly I feel very good that we found out that the students are doing excellent and it brings me great satisfaction knowing that they are prepared for this exam, the PSE. I want to thank the parents and the students and the Principal of the school for giving the students that opportunity and we are hoping that they will do well for the PSE.”

BSI/ASR Celebrates Earth Day
Across the globe today, it was celebrated and observed as Earth Day which has been an annual event since 1970. On This day, organizations, entities and individuals increase their mindfulness and create a fun and sustainable event in observance. Joining those that observed the day was the Belize Sugar Industries and the American Sugar Refinery (ASR) group of companies. The company says they are committed to continually strive to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce and recycle their waste and increase their resource efficiency. Today, officials at the sugar industry took a pioneering approach of integrating sustainability directly into its business model, driving significant impacts on the ecosystem, environment and public health. Zeidy Cruz is the Regional Environmental Health and Safety Manager for Belize and Mexico.

Mexican/Belizean Charged For Possession Of Illicit Drugs And Ammunition
Police in Corozal Town arrested and charged a Mexican/Belizean businessman for having in his possession illicit drugs and ammunition. The report says that on Tuesday around 3pm, Police who were on mobile patrol on 7th Avenue Corozal Town, spotted a red car with Mexican license plates being driven by 41-year-old Martin Barkman Hiebert, Mexican/Belizean Businessman of #8 Margaret Street, Belmopan City, Cayo District. As a result of the search inside his right front pants pocket Police found two (2) small clear plastic containing white powdery substance suspected to be cocaine. The findings were shown to him and he was informed of the offence committed, caution and placed under arrest. A further searched of his front shirt pocket lead to the discovery of (3) .22 live ammunition. He was asked to produce a gun license for the said ammunition but was unable to. Barkman was arrested and charged for the offences of “Possession of Controlled Drugs and Kept Unlicensed Ammunition.”

CCJ Dismisses Appeal Case By Two Senior Principals
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today dismissed an appeal by two senior principals who claimed that the manner in which they were suspended breached their fundamental rights such as the right to work, the protection of the law and the right to equal protection. Viewers may recall that in 2008, the unrest took place at the Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in San Roman Village when Minister of Education Patrick Faber had just taken up the education portfolio. Juanita Lucas and Celia Carillo, the Principal and Vice Principal of the school reported that the teachers refused to cooperate with them, and parents of the students started to resist them, and so Faber took disciplinary action against them, which he did not have the authority to do. A team was sent to the school to look into the cause of the conflict. Following their report, the Chief Education Officer sent the two appellants on leave with full pay, pending formal disciplinary action.

Four Men charged For Arson In August Pine Ridge
On Monday we told you about a fire that left one villager of August Pine Ridge homeless after the blaze rapidly consumed his residence late Saturday night. And when we left you, police had detained four persons they believed were responsible for the incident. After police concluded their investigations, the four men were escorted to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s Court this morning where they were charged for arson. The men are identified as 23 year old Joseph Tzul, 21 year old Gudiel Madrid, 18 year old Mark Castellanos and a 16 year old minor. Since the matter is an indictable the men are scheduled to reappear in court on June 8th.

Police Officer Formally Arraign In Court For Charge Of Rape
Last night we told you about a police officer from the Corozal formation who was being investigated for the alleged rape of a 14 year old female minor. And today, 35 year old Cyril Casimiro was escorted to the Orange Walk Magistrate’s court to be formally arraigned. Casimiro, Police Officer #1093 was charged for the crimes of Rape and Wounding. For context, the minor who was in the company of her mother visited the Corozal police station where she reported that on Monday afternoon while she was walking on Antonio Sosa Drive in the Altamira area; she met a male person whom she knows as a police officer. The cop who was driving his police issued motorbike offered to give her a ride home. But the girl reported that he drove to an area by the sea off Consejo Road where he had sexual intercourse with her against her will.

PlusTV

Investigation of Treasury Department theft continues; officer put on leave
Last week Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed that some $500,000 was taken from the Public Treasury at the Central Bank Building in Belize City. Officials in the Department are accused of deliberately diverting funds by substituting a false bank account number...

UDP offers legal interpretation of Petrocaribe Loans Act
On Monday morning, legal advisor to the United Democratic Party (UDP) Senior Counsel Michael Young and Financial Secretary to the Government of Belize Joseph Waight appeared on LOVE FM‘s morning show to present the Government’s take on the Petrocaribe Loans Act, 2015, passed to controversial circum...

2012 clip shows PM knew Petrocaribe money was a loan
The argument for producing the controversial PetroCaribe Loans Act is that the funds were not really a loan...

Depopulation of Chickens in Spanish Lookout Farms continue
A couple of weeks ago, the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, BAHA, commenced the mass eradication of poultry in the Spanish lookout community after it was confirmed that a number of chickens were affected with the avian influenza virus, a low pathogenic disease commonly found in birds...

Matute and Conorquie families receive payments from Government
The families of Janae Matute, the Belmopan high schooler suffering from cerebral palsy due to a doctor’s miscalculation of her delivery date, and Daniel Conorquie, the special constable gunned down in the Caracol Archaeological Reserve last September, are receiving payments from the Government of Be...

Fatal Hit and Run in the south
We have reported on a number of hit and run accidents over the past few months and today there is another one to report, this time fatal. Early this morning, Tuesday April 21 at about 1:15 a.m...

Policeman accused of raping 14 year old girl
A 14 year old girl has reported being raped on Monday April 20. The child of Corozal Town visited the Corozal Police Station in the company of her mother and reported that earlier that day at about 1:00 p.m...

Man charged for Break in at ex’s house
There have been a number of reports recently of relationships gone bad, resulting in violence, even murder. Today, another relationship gone bad has made it to the court room...

Man Wanted For Robbery of Quality Poultry Truck
Belmopan Police are one step closer to solving the case of the robbery of the quality poultry truck. As we told you on Friday last week, just before our newscast a quality poultry delivery truck was stolen as it was parked outside of Mary’s Shop in Salvapan Area, Belmopan...

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

We Need to Acknowledge Structural Violence in Belize
By Charles Leslie Jr. Before I get to my main point I take this opportunity to denote how our psychological wiring and thought process often times have us inaccurately prioritizing issues that affect our lives: The Availability Heuristic says that we will react to what is most available to us and easy for us to […]

Murder in Punta Gorda
The tranquility of the Indianville area in Punta Gorda Town was shattered on Wednesday night when two gunshots rang out in the area. Belize Media Group has been informed that one person was fatally shot. Details are still sketchy but according to reports, there was a gunman lurking in the […]

CCJ dismisses teachers’ appeal
The Caribbean Court of Justice has dismissed the appeals of Corozal school administrators Juanita Lucas and Celia Carrillo, formerly the principal and vice principal of Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Mexico in San Roman, Corozal District. Both women were suspended from their duties in 2008 following a visit by a […]

Historic second Maya Land Rights Case draws to close
This morning final arguments were heard in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) for the case of the Maya Leaders Alliance and 23 village leaders and co-leaders of the Toledo District representing 38 Maya villages against the Government of Belize. As we reported on Tuesday, following a case […]

A Tribute To A Belizean Legend
The following obituary was written by Larry Waight and read by Mike Green at Peter Tonti’s memorial mass in San Ignacio Town, Belize on Wednesday, April 22,2015. Nelson Mandela. George Cadle Price. Maya Angelou. Add the name Peter Tonti to those sorely missed by legions of people whose lives and futures were made better […]

Rape Case against PC Casimiro Adjourned
Today, police officer attached to the Corozal formation, 35 year old Cyril Casimiro was formally arraigned at the Magistrate’s Court for Rape and Wounding. Authorities say that on Monday they received a complaint from a 14 year old female claiming that Casimiro, someone she knew and trusted, offered a ride […]

Aquaculture Certification Council Certifies 8 Shrimp Farms in Belize
There is good news to report in the advancement of the Belizean Shrimp industry. The Aquaculture Certification Council has certified eight shrimp farms in Belize, which makes it the country with the highest percentage of certified farms in the world. According to a video posted on YouTube by the Belize […]

Lavern Coe is Toledo’s Top Speller
On Tuesday, the Toledo District Spelling Bee Finals was held at the Punta Gorda Parish Hall with 14 Primary School students participating. After only four rounds of intense competition, Lavern Coe of Toledo Christian Academy became the new Toledo Spelling Champion. Lavern will now be representing the Toledo District at […]

Bullu Youth Academy Win 3rd Place in Honduras
The Bullu Youth Academy is an aspiring young football team hailing from Punta Gorda that has been making big strides over the past year. This team was founded by a group of veteran footballers and comprises of boys between ages 14 to 22. After winning multiple tournaments and marathons in […]

Maya Leaders Head to CCJ for Maya Land Rights Hearing
Maya leaders are on their way to the CCJ trial in Belize City to hear the final decision of the Maya land rights case. This morning, the Toledo Alcalde Association President, Alfonso Cal delivered a short prayer and words of encouragement to his fellow Maya people. He spoke […]

Get Out Of An Abusive Relationship: It Never Gets Better
By Charles Leslie Jr. If all 340,000+ Belizeans sat in a group meeting, and we all looked at each other and pondered “How are we in this mess? Who all are responsible?” We would go thru the power structure, the people at the head of those power structure, and realize, very fast, that only a […]

Blogs

The Pleasure Of Retiring Early To A Tropical Island
People often ask about my transition from a hectic life in the U.S. to the laidback Caribbean island lifestyle of Ambergris Caye, Belize. Admittedly, it surprised even me how quickly I adapted, considering that I’d spent my entire life living in metropolitan areas. But since we moved to Belize from the San Francisco Bay area, our lives have been enriched beyond our wildest imagination, with adventures galore. We have met the most interesting people, made many new friends from around the world, and experienced unforgettable adventures… And living by the gorgeous Caribbean Sea is a dream come true. Initially my husband and I bought property on Ambergris Caye as an investment. At the time, in 1999, retirement was far from our thoughts. We viewed our little island retreat as a respite—a place to recharge our batteries…to slow down and take a break from our high powered, demanding corporate lifestyles… But with each passing year, as we climbed the corporate ladder, the fast-paced, competitive lifestyle; horrible traffic jams; high cost of living; and lack of time for our friends and family wore us down. In contrast, each time we visited Belize the pressures of city living quickly were left behind—forgotten. Once on our gorgeous island, surrounded by the mesmerizing Caribbean Sea, greeted by warm, friendly Belizeans and expat friends, our worries and tensions dissolved. Each visit brought a new appreciation of the benefits of living a less complex lifestyle in a natural environment.

Belize Represents at the Houston Rocket’s Play-offs Or “Be Cool, Stay in School”
Maddox was born and raised in San Pedro. He is 9 years old, is in Standard Two and attends Belize Elementary School in the city during the week while spending every weekend on the island. He’s a solid student but in last semester’s ranking, he didn’t even make it into the top 5 in his class. At the beginning of the semester, Maddox, a HUGE Houston Rockets basketball fan proposed a wager with his dad. Dad, if I top my class…make #1, you have to take me to a Houston Rocket’s play-off game. And guess what… Top of his class. Ha! Take THAT dad! So Maddox is set to go with his dad and his uncle…and get some seats that his dad can find, probably on the internet, and just be super excited that he’s there. But…there is more.

International Sourcesizz

CCJ sits in Belize for first time
The full bench of the Caribbean Court of Justice is in Belize this week for the first time for itinerant sittings from 20-23 April, 2015. The sittings are being held in Courtroom 1, Supreme Court of Belize. This is the fourth itinerant sitting of the court, with previous sittings being held in Barbados in April 2012, Jamaica and Barbados in March 2013, and Guyana in February 2014. The court views these itinerant sittings as important to ensuring that it is accessible to the people of the Caribbean Community, which it serves. During this itinerant sitting, the court will hear appellate jurisdiction matters from Guyana and Belize, including the case of BZCV2014/002 The Maya Leaders Alliance et al v the Attorney General of Belize . The court sittings from the 20-23 April, 2015 are open to the members of the public to attend.

NASA releases pictures of Earth's beauty
NASA is marking Earth Day by releasing some of its best images of our planet taken from space - by its satellites, its research aircraft and astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) - in the past year. Here is a selection of them:

Selby team ventures into Belize for botanical treasure
An international team of scientists including a botanist from Selby Gardens in Sarasota recently descended into two remote sinkholes in Western Belize. The expedition carried all the hallmarks of an Indiana Jones adventure — danger, difficulty and the discovery of a treasure chest full of botanical and archaeological finds. “You don't go into this area lightly,” said Bruce Holst, Director of Botany for Selby Gardens. Holst joined 19 other scientists for the 10-day expedition to the Chiquibul National Park in Belize during the last week of January and the first week of February. Other than an expedition in 2000 by a different group, this area has remained untouched for centuries. “We're pretty sure no one has been there since the Mayan civilization,” Holst said. The reason is remoteness. “The whole area is limestone, there is no surface water, it took three days traveling by tractors just to get there,” recalled Holst. “It is so vast, so different.”

Composting With Coppola at Blancaneaux Lodge, Belize
We've all been transfixed by Francis Ford Coppola's awesome oeuvre of films, but did you know his genius also extends to eco-friendly jungle hideaways? Blancaneaux Lodge, tucked deep in a corner of Belize's Maya Mountains, is one of three sumptuous properties in Central America owned by the filmmaker, who also has a fabulous fourth in Italy. The magic of Blancaneaux is the seamless way it marries mindfulness with luxury travel. Accommodations are artful cabańas and villas constructed with screen walls and open air decks and lounges, inviting guests to truly immerse themselves in nature. Yoga mats tucked into each closet encourage guests to stretch their bodies and spirits while telescopes invite you to contemplate the cosmos close up. Unlike some destinations that use green or holistic accents as the decoration du jour, Blancaneaux actually walks the sustainability walk. In fact, it struts. In 1993, the Coppolas installed a hefty hydro-electric plant that harnesses the muscle of Privassion Creek, which gorgeously gurgles through the property. Any electricity that isn't used in guest rooms or on general operations is diverted to the hot pool at the Waterfall Spa -- which is maintained at a toasty 100 degrees, perfect for a mid-day or late night dip.

New Development Launches in Belize
A new resort and residence project is coming to Belize. Itz’ana, inspired by the name of a Mayan deity, has officially launched sales, the property announced. The property will consist of 39 luxury boutique cottages and villas designed by Boston-based architect Roberto de Oliveira Castro. Interior designer Samuel Amoia will be outfitting the residences. The properties will range in size from 1,000 to 5,000 square feet, according to the company, with amenities including a private bar called The Rum Room, a rooftop yoga deck, a restaurant called Limilia and a salt-water pool, among others.

USNS Comfort arrives in Belize for CP-15
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in Belize April 9, the first scheduled stop as part of the Continuing Promise 2015 (CP-15) mission. “We are looking forward to working hand-in-hand with our partners in Belize on many common interests,” said Capt. Sam Hancock, CP-15 mission commander. “By working together and sharing best practices, we can help address many concerns common to the region, while also demonstrating our commitment to fostering a lasting partnership.” While in Belize, the civilian and military personnel aboard Comfort will partner with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, the Belize Defence Force, and the Belize Coast Guard to share and build capability through medical, dental, engineering and veterinary events and subject matter expert exchanges.

Regional Approach To Revive Coconut Industry
As Jamaica continues to grapple with the devastating impact of the dreaded, lethal yellowing disease, the Coconut Industry Board (CIB) is hopeful that a regional intervention strategy will help to revive the fortunes of this ailing agricultural sub-sector. Jamaica is among nine countries slated to benefit from a four-year regional project aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of small-scale coconut farmers, which will see the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), partnering with the Geneva-based Inter-national Trade Centre (ITC). The €3.5 million project will be financed by the European Union and implemented in the CARIFORUM countries of Belize, Dominica, The Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. One of the first phases of the project will be to engage with national stakeholders to formulate road maps for market-led development of the coconut and coconut products sector. And in the first of a series of workshops, specialists from within and outside the region met with farmers and other stakeholders at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, for a two-day workshop on Monday, where they discussed market dynamics, plant material availability and new technologies.

More Bad News About The Lionfish Invasion (Happy Earth Day?)
As I’ve described before, the Indo-Pacific lionfish in the Atlantic and Caribbean are quite possibly the worst marine invasion ever. These toxic predators have been eating their way around for the past few decades, driving down populations of native species and threatening already-struggling habitats. Now, a pair of papers released this month have more bad news: the lionfish are continuing to spread, and they may be eating the very last of critically endangered species. Lionfish have continued to move southward in their quest for Caribbean domination since their introduction off the coast of Florida. In 2004, Matthew Kimball and his colleagues predicted that they could get as far as Brazil based on thermal tolerances, and now, a decade later, they have. A new study published in PLoS ONE today describes the very first sighting of a lionfish off the coast of Brazil. The specimen was noticed by a group of recreational divers in May last year off Arraial do Cabo, explain the authors, which include the California Academy of Sciences’ curator of ichthyology, Luiz Rocha. DNA testing confirmed that this individual was related to the invasive population and was likely not a new introduction.

Shrimp closures set in Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea
Based on the results of research and biological surveys conducted by the National Fisheries Institute (INAPESCA) in different areas of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, the National Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture (CNPA) set the dates for the start of the temporary shrimp ban this year. The purpose of these closures is to maintain the sustainability of the marine crustacean in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The agreed dates for the closure of the various shrimp species in the Atlantic Coast are: From 1 May 1 to 15 August, 2015: In the offshore area stretching from the US border, in Tamaulipas, to the mouth of the Coatzacoalcos River (Veracruz); From 15 June to 1 November this year: in the coastal strip in front of the states of Campeche and Tabasco, for pink shrimp fishery; From 1 May to 30 September, 2015: in the coastal strip opposite the states of Campeche and Tabasco, for the seabob shrimp fishery; From 15 June to 30 September this year: in the area of Contoy. Furthermore, the authority established a temporary ban for catching all shrimp species in the estuarine lagoon systems under federal jurisdiction of the Gulf of Mexico, in the following periods and areas:

How historic droughts in Central America contributed to Mayan downfall
It must have been a time of great hardship and struggle for the ancient Maya civilization. The land was parched and dry as the devastating effects of climate change on brought a great drought. New research has shown that, despite attempts to adapt to the changes, Mayan culture finally collapsed between 800 and 950 A.D. The researchers found that markers of historic droughts in Central America match the patterns of disruption to Maya society during those centuries of hardship. But we now have a clear picture of how the Mayans fought a long hard battle to survive and ultimately failed. redOrbit has been finding out more from the study's first author Peter Douglas, now at the California Institute of Technology. "The research makes clear that the ancient Maya were not passive victims of climate change. They adapted in response to drought, but it only worked up to a point," said Peter. "The south was the center of the Maya population, and their capacity to adapt was limited," Pagani explained. "The north was already accustomed to fairly dry conditions and did much better. There was actual expansion there after the collapse, but the southern cities never recovered."

On Earth Day, a look at environmental problems facing 20 Latin American countries
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has destroyed the natural environment and is responsible for climate change. While not everyone blames mankind’s actions, a 2013 report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded with 95 percent certainty that people are to blame for at least half the climate change in the last half-century.

Videos

  • Wildtracks Earth Day Video 2015, 3.5min. A Happy Earth Day, 2015 from Wildtracks!!

  • John Irving III Belize, 3.5min. On April 16, 2015, John S. Irving III caught a permit on the fly, fishing with the Garbutt brothers out of Belcampo Lodge, Punta Gorda, Belize.

  • Belize, 4min. Bats, snakes and caves.

  • Ocean Waste in the Gulf of Honduras, 1/2min. Waste education is a high priority in Belize, Guatemala and Honduras with an emphasis on being responsible citizens and disposing of it properly. Waste education is a high priority in these areas with an emphasis on being responsible citizens and disposing of plastic and waste properly. Eight million tons of plastic is dumped into the oceans each year, according to a new Science study, led by Jenna R. Jambeck of the University of Georgia. Less than 5 percent of the plastic in the world is estimated to be actually recycled, according the Environmental Protection Agency. The largest proportion of debris in the ocean consists of plastic, and these petroleum-based objects can take hundreds, even thousands, of years to degrade. As plastic degrades in the ocean, it can break into tiny little pieces with a very high risk of sea floor creatures and fish consuming the toxic substances and entering the food chain. Plastic pieces can also end up turning natural white sandy beaches into a colorful display of ocean waste. I even spotted a discarded mannequin while visiting Roatan, Honduras. Roatan locals clean up their beaches on a daily basis.

  • Hey Gavin from MeganUnderSea, 4min. Sun Dancer II - Belize, Central America

  • Journey to St Herman, Blue Hole Natl Park cave, Belize, 14min.

  • Swimming at the Jaguar Beach Resort, Hopkins, Belize., 3min. 0 year old, Faith DiPaolo almost knows how to swim.

  • Belize’s shrimp farming industry: a seven-year journey towards ASC certification, 8min.

  • Belize St.Herman's Blue Hole Hike, 4min.

  • GoPro Adventures in Belize 2015, 5min.

  • Marine turtle populations around Glover's Reef Atoll., 1min. Last week a team from WCS and representatives from across Belize's marine reserve network assessed the Marine turtle populations around Glover's Reef Atoll. The video highlights the incredible skill and professionalism of the team in quickly capturing and safely securing a Green turtle for data collection, tagging and release at the point of capture. This work will help conserve Marine turtles across Belize. Way to go team and Happy Earth Day to all.

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