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#511549 - 02/11/16 11:56 AM Today's Belize News: February 11, 2016
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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7, Channel 5, LOVETV, PGTV, West Vision (Cayo) and CTV 3. Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, Rise and Shine Morning Show, and the Dickie Bradley Specials


The San Pedro Sun

CODICADER Meeting
The Honourable Elodio Aragon, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, Youths Sports and Culture received the visit of Her Excelllency, Ana Hazel Escrich, Secretary General of the Central American Social Integration Secretariat (SISCA). During the visit, Minister Aragon and H.E. Escrich discussed mutual areas of the SISCA Regional Agenda such as Regional Youth Development Programs and the proactive participation of Belize in CODICADER (Consejo del Istmo Centroamericano de Deportes y Recreación). In July 2016 Belize is slated to host the CODICADER Games in fives sports disciplines: Chess, Atlethics, Softball, Football and Basketall at the Primary level. SISCA has expressed its support to the Ministry in the area of sports equipment and technical expertise for the success of hosting the games. Minister Aragon expressed the continued political and technical support of his Ministry and seeks to enhance the cordial relations existing with SISCA.

Verge of Umbra independently releases debut album “V.O.U.”
Belizean band Verge Of Umbra formally announces the release of their debut album, titled “V.O.U” on March 12th, 2016. The grand launch party and live performance will be held at Thirsty Thursday’s in Belize City. The album release is being done independently, and is now available on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. Led by vocalists Nello Player, Jenko Veli, Lowell Gillet on Bass, Andres Pineda on Guitar and Faith Madubuko on drums, the group is made up of an eclectic mix of talented Belizean artists.

Jessie Adrewin Grey crowned Miss Fabulous Diva 2016-2017
On Friday, February 5th, Amber Bar and Grill at Caribbean Villas Resort hosted a pageant like no other, with the presentation of the third annual Miss Fabulous Diva. Not even the inclement weather could keep spectators away from what promised to be a fierce show of glitz and glamour. The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) themed pageant had a great turnout, with six lovely contestants vying for the crown of Miss Fabulous Diva 2016-2017. After an amazing two-hour show, it was Caye Caulker’s Jessie Andrewin Grey who wowed the judges, taking the crown and title. Organized by DJ Debbie, in partnership with Amber Bar and Grill and Caribbean Villas Resort, the pageant commenced shortly after 9:30PM. In the first segments, the ladies took to the stage in their ‘pretty in pink’ dresses. Master of Ceremony Paul and Mistress of Cermonies Nicole introduced the six contestants to a cheering crowd. Vying from the title were Markisha Ling, Jimena Alexsandra Monterubio, Bianca, Markasha Monroe, Arianna Sheena Bowen and Jessie Adrewin Grey. Before announcing the winner, several other awards were issued out. Bianca took the prize for best introductory outfit, best swimwear and best evening gown. The best talent award went to Arianna, who portrayed a high school girl transitioning to a diva. Jessie was awarded the prize for the best Question and Answer. And taking the Miss Fabulous Diva 2016-2017 title and crown was Jessie Adrewin Grey, while Bianca was awarded first runner up.

‘El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro’ exhibit at San Pedro House of Culture
The San Pedro House of Culture (SPHC) opened their Carnaval Photography Exhibition on Friday, February 5th. The exhibit is in honour of the traditional ‘El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro (The Great Carnival of San Pedro) which took place from Sunday, February 7th to Tuesday, February 9th. The exhibition depicts pictures of the ‘Good Old Carnaval de San Pedro.’ Unfortunately, due to a cold front blowing and a light rain, attendants enjoyed the showcased costumes and applauded the dances to the typical songs used in the traditional festivity.

Residents and visitors join annual Cancer Walk
On Thursday, February 4th, the San Pedro Cancer Society joined the millions around the world who hold events in honoring those who have lost their fight or overcome cancer. In celebration of the day, The San Pedro Cancer Society held their annual lighted candle walk which started shortly after 6:30PM from the Central Park. Residents and local business representatives on the island came out to join and support the solidarity walk. The procession made its way through the main streets of Town, all the way to the roundabout of the San Juan area and then headed down through Pescador Drive ending at the Central Park. Many of the participants in the walk have lost family members and friends to the disease. They carried their memories with them as they held lighted candles in their honor, along with printed pictures of their loved ones. Locals and visitors alike joined the walk and many passersby applauded the wonderful solidarity and unity of the community.

Ambergris Today

Carnaval Ends with a Bang, is Major Tourist Attraction
“I love this so much, I want to do it every year,” commented San Pedro Carnaval Queen Melida Pereira about her participation in the Carnaval Comparsas (street dancing). “Why did I not know of all this fun.” Melida participated in the comparsas as part of her winning the Mrs. Reina del Carnaval pageant, now on its third year and a welcome staple to the Carnaval celebrations in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. And while Melida danced, performed and sang her heart out for three consecutive days, alongside four other comparsa groups, hundreds of tourists who visited the island during the festivities enjoyed the celebrations. We met first-time visitors who were thrilled about the painting and others who have been visiting the island for 20 years now, only during Carnaval because they love the tradition so much.

Misc Belizean Sourcesmzz

San Pedro Police Department looking for George Martinez
The San Pedro Police Department are asking for assistance in the capture of George Martinez. He is wanted for escaping from police custody over a month ago. Anyone with information that can lead to his arrest please contact 206-2022 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 0-800-922-8477.

Free movement of labour workshop underway in Belize
Twenty Belizeans from the private sector, public sector and union representatives are attending a two-day workshop on the free movement of labour in Belize City. The workshop opened with four key speakers that highlighted the history, present progress and the benefits of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). Keynote speaker, CEO Kerry Belisle reiterated the commitment of the Labour Department to facilitate free movement and to reinvigorate domestic systems that would create greater efficiency and transparency. Dr Olivia Smith, deputy programme manager, free movement and labour, CARICOM Secretariat, CSME Unit, led an interactive workshop that gave an overview of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). She explained the rights associated with establishing a business in the CARICOM region, the benefits and challenges associated with living and working in the Caribbean. Legal research officer Deborah Barrow expounded on the legal implications and outcomes of key case studies and their link to the legal provisions in the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that should guide member states compliance with the treaty.

Security camera set for sale, Caye Caulker
Security camera set for sale, $800 BZ. Come with cash to Kokomo Beach Suites office. New in box item. You can monitor using your cell phone from anywhere using this system.

Paint Party Events
Come join us this Thursday at the Crazy Canucks Bar where we will be painting the lovely "Stained Glass Mermaid". Please bring a sharpie marker along with you. Regular cost is $25 U.S. and there is a certainly discount for members. See you all there on Thursday! February 11, 2016, 2:00 PM

Agreement between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) on Cooperation in Public Health and Medical Skills
An agreement on cooperation in public health and medical skills was signed today, February 10, 2016, between the Government of Belize and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The agreement was signed by the Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health and H.E. Benjamin T.H. Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize. The objective of this agreement is to access technical support from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in the area of public health and will include, but will not be limited to, health education, disease screening and clinical services. Another major aspect of this joint collaboration will be the capacity building of medical personnel in Belize. The agreement will apply to projects initiated jointly by both parties. The first major project, Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control of Chronic Renal Failure, will address the ever increasing number of patients with end stage renal failure. Activities within this project will include training for nurses in the hemodialysis procedure in Belize, training for hemodialysis technicians and Community Health Workers, as well as the development and production of public education materials. The aim of the project is also to strengthen the screening program for high-risk persons for kidney disease.

The Free Movement Regime of the Caribbean Community
Twenty (20) Belizeans from the private sector, public sector and union representatives attended day one of a two-day workshop on the Free Movement of Labour in Belize City at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina. The workshop opened with four (4) key speakers that highlighted the history, present progress and the benefits of the CSME. Keynote Speaker, CEO Kerry Belisle reiterated the commitment of the Labour Department to facilitate free movement and to reinvigorate domestic systems that would create greater efficiency and transparency. Dr. Olivia Smith, Deputy Programme Manager, Free Movement and Labour, CARICOM Secretariat, CSME Unit, led an interactive workshop that gave an overview of the CARICOM Community. She explained the rights associated with establishing a business in the CARICOM region, the benefits and challenges associated with living and working in the Caribbean. While Legal Research Officer, Ms. Deborah Barrow expounded on the legal implications and outcomes of key case studies and their link to the legal provisions in the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that should guide Member States compliance with the Treaty.

CLOSURE OF THE LOBSTER FISHING SEASON
The Fisheries Department takes this opportunity to inform fishers and the general public that the lobster fishing season will close on February 15th and it will remain closed until midnight of June 14th, 2016. Any person found in possession of lobster during the said closed season will be prosecuted in accordance to Fisheries Regulation 3 (1) (b) of the Fisheries Regulations, Chapter 210 of the Subsidiary Laws of Belize (2003). The Fisheries Department also reminds fishers that lobster traps should be removed from the fishing grounds during the closed fishing season. During the month of March 2016, Fisheries Officials will be visiting fishing camps and coastal fishing community to take stock of lobster traps owned by individual fishers in order to facilitate the registration of such lobster traps.

Here are the Winners of the Comparsas!
1st Place: San Pedro AIDS Commission, 2nd Place: Mrs. Flora Ancona's Group, 3rd Place: Black N White Charikanari Dancers.

The race is one for preventing the agricultural expansion into Chiquibul
Aerial reconnaissance shows 17 clearings already.

Paradise Theatre Playing this Weekend!
The Good Dinosaur, Secret In Their Eyes, The Night Before, Misconduct. Oscar De La O will be performing live in Room 1 this Saturday night at 9 .. There is limited space so Pre-Order tickets are available at Reef Radio .. Get them while you still can .. See Ya at the movies!

Alleged Claim of Aflatoxin in Locally Produced Rice
The Belize Bureau of Standards in consultation with the Belize Agricultural Health Authority and the Ministry of Health, hereby submits a response on the alleged claim of aflatoxins in local rice as issued in a Press Release dated February 10th, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles of Extra House: In the first instance, the Bureau would like to categorically state that Mr. Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic food item in Belize. Notwithstanding this claim, the Bureau in collaboration with the competent authorities aforementioned concluded that the test results provided on February 1st, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles shows that none of the rice samples analysed contain detectable levels of aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health. The Bureau and the Government is committed to ensuring food safety and health in Belize and categorically rejects any suggestion that they are not so committed. It is regrettable that the commercial interests of one individual, veiled under the guise of food safety concerns, is being used in an attempt to erode the confidence in food safety which the people of Belize now enjoy.

Work Progresses at Sarstoon Forward Operating Base
Minister of National Security Hon. John Saldivar, accompanied by his cabinet colleague, Hon. Frank Mena, today, Wednesday, February 10th, visited the construction site of the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base in Toledo. Minister Saldivar was also accompanied by senior members of the Belize Defense Force (BDF), the Belize Police Department and Ministry of National Security officials. On site the delegation was able to appreciate the rapid pace at which the construction is proceeding. Elements of the BDF have set up temporary installations at the site as the work progresses. The Forward Operating Base at the mouth of the Sarstoon River is one of several initiatives being undertaken by the Government of Belize to safeguard and protect our national sovereignty. The Forward Operating Base, though modest in its beginnings, will establish a much needed presence and will serve to combat illicit activities such as drug, contraband and human trafficking, and weapons trading, which threaten Belize's national security.

Solomon! By Abdulmajeed K Nunez
Solomon said, “Great men are not always wise! “Ole people sometimes do foolish things” This time highly intelligent people got it mistaken BBA is now at centre stage Did they investigate to ensure they and Plus TV was on the same page? Was this decision made by the BBA INSTITUTION? Since you have the responsibility to draw the final conclusion Was a decision made out of malice or misinformation? Are you conspirators to close down fuh we Plus TV station? At the end of the day our taxes will pay attorneys In the final analysis our taxes will pay court fees Belize Broadcasting Association is being ridiculous Dehnya adults want to be mischievous By saying Plus TV is not on air This being the reason for not accepting license fees Geez! Are these are people with degrees? BBA please! You are being ridiculous! Your letter denying them licence is ludicrous BBA, you are insulting us! There is no suggestion of Plus TV breaking any laws This decision seems to be flawed We are hoping whoever made the decision made it while sleeping Or while dozing off Unaware of the chain reaction this is going to set off Dah noh who have the first laugh

THE HISTORY OF BLACK BELIZEAN REVOLUTIONARIES AT HOME & ABROAD!
Let's recall these black Belizean revolutionaries in the true sense of the word who have passed this way before and are no longer with Belize and Belizeans. They have stood up tall in the defense of Belize and Belizeans, and have posed the most succesful resistance against the destruction of the Belizean nation state. Learn about them this Black HIstory Month. If you don't know your history, you will be forced to repeat it.

Channel 7

Is Deadly Afla-Toxin Eating Your Rice? Importer Says Yes, Bureau Of Standards Says No
Is there a deadly contaminant in your rice? Importer Jack Charles says there is! And he says he’s confirmed it with a top lab in the US. The contaminant is called Afla Toxin – which is carcinogenic, meaning it causes cancer, and it’s also linked to liver disease and other ailments. Today, after holding back for more than a week to get some response from Government, Charles sent out the test results, when it became clear that Government wouldn’t budge. They show three different brands of local rice, which he bought off the shelf and sent to Eurofins Laboratory in New Orleans, Louisiana. The test results for all three brands of rice show the presence of aflatoxins – but at less than two micrograms per kilogramme. The law – which is Statutory Instrument of October 2015, says, quote, “Rice shall be free of…contaminants…that is, aflatoxin which is created by improper storage. “

Police Say He Robbed Tourists, And Put A Gun To Truck Driver's Head
For the past two nights, we’ve been reporting on the robbery at the Tropical Education Centre, which left 2 Canadian tourists anxious to leave the country, and a man injured in the hospital after the thieves shot him for his pickup, which they used to flee the scene. Well today, the alleged gunman went to court. He’s 21 year-old Adolphus Palacio Jr., a resident of Mahogany Heights Village, and he’s at the Belize Central Prison tonight. He was taken before the Magistrate Court this evening with his arm heavily bandaged, the injury he allegedly suffered after he shot 52 year-old Jorge Lopez and tried to kill him for his vehicle. That’s also another loose end that police tied up. They found Lopez’s truck this morning in Mahogany Heights base don information passed to them by a concerned member of the public. It was found abandoned and parked in a wooded area.

Guatemalan Perfume Vendor Found Dead, Decomposed Off Southern
A Guatemalan woman was found dead in an orchard along the Southern Highway. Yesterday afternoon around 3:30, Dangriga police were called out to an orchard near miles 6 on the Southern Highway. They found the partially decomposed body of 39 year old Lydia Janet Garcia Giron. She was found wearing only a pair of short blue jeans pants. A black bra was found beside her. She was identified by her sister. The only recognizable features were Giron’s false teeth and a tattoo on her thigh. According to the police report, Giron went missing on January 19th – and her whereabouts had been a mystery until her body was found yesterday. She lived in Melchor but frequently traveled around Belize selling perfume. When we spoke with police today they told us they are still looking into the case to determine if she was murdered. Although the post mortem results say the cause of death is “blunt force trauma to the head” police say they can’t confirm that until the official forensic report is sent in. That will give police a better idea as to what exactly happened and when it happened. Police suspect she died or was killed a month ago. We will keep following on that case.

Another Body On Southern Hwy
While police are looking into Giron’s case, they are also following up on another suspected murder case. On Friday, January 29th around 6:45 in the morning, 30 year old Jose Pedro Menjivar Murcia was found in a semi-unconscious state in another orchard near miles 15 and 16 on the Southern Highway – this is in the Alta Vista Area. He had several injuries to his head. Police told us today that Murcia was out at Finas Bar the night before. He was hanging out with friends but he realized his bike had been stolen. Murcia got into an argument with another man at the bar but the bar owner chased him off. Police found him the next morning thrown in the orchard. He was rushed to the Southern Regional Hospital then transferred to the KHMH. He fought for his life for a few days but died on February 6th. Police have questioned the man Murcia got into an argument with at the bar that Thursday night but they can’t confirm if he attacked Murcia.

Moving Forward With The Base At Sarstoon
This morning, we received word that a group of high-ranking military officers were heading to the Sarstoon River, and this evening, the Government Press Office confirmed why. National Security Minister John Saldivar, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Frank “Pawpa” Mena, and the top brass of the police and BDF went to the Joint Forces Forward Operating Base being built at the mouth of the Sarstoon River to check on progress. Seen here, the building’ frame was already constructed, and the contractors were moving apace with their work to complete it. A press release from the Government says, quote, “On site the delegation was able to appreciate the rapid pace at which the construction is proceeding. Elements of the BDF have set up temporary installations at the site as the work progresses.”

Trash Fuels Fire At Country Foods
There was a fire at Country Foods in Spanish Lookout this afternoon at 3:00. When we spoke to the manager this evening, he told us that one of his employees had lit a pile of garbage on fire in the yard but the wind carried the fire to a pile of expired rice, beans and eggs that was in front of the building. That's when the fire got out of control. The fire department is processing the scene right now. What you see here is a video taken from Facebook – in it , you can see the 2 piles of garbage on fire. The manager told us the fire caused more than $5,000 worth of damages.

Haulover Collision
There was a collision on the Haulover Bridge this afternoon. Just after 3:00, a Nissan X Terra was crossing the bridge from the direction of Ladyville to Belize City when the driver crashed into a oncoming dump truck. The impact sent the Nissan barrelling towards the left side of the bridge. The Nissan vehicle with handicapped plates extensive damages to its front end and the driver, 37 year old Hattieville resident Raquel Burke was rushed to the KHMH by a BERT ambulance. The extent of her injuries remains unknown. As for the driver of the truck 33 year old Christopher Gillett of Burrell Boom, police report that he received no injuries although the truck sustained damages to its control arms, hood, rear view mirrors and springs. Police cleared the road around 4:30 after the truck was removed.

The Sea Swallowed By Silt At Southern Foreshore?
What’s happening to the sea on southern foreshore? It’s disappearing! That’s what residents have been telling is for the past two weeks – and we thought maybe it had something to do with the cold front and all the north winds playing tricks with the tides. But, that’s not it. The problem persists – and when we went there this morning, we saw that outside the seawall, there was a massive buildup of silt, so much so that where once there was only sea and waves rolling into the seawall, now there’s only a thick buildup of silt pushing against the seawall. Residents in the area say they have never seen it like this. Experts tell us it’s probably the result of siltation buildup in the Belize harbor – which is famous for that. They say it needs a proper dredging by the relevant authority. But who is that authority? Well, there’s an international port right across form this at the Fort Street Tourism Village. And the silt buildup will eventually affect the huge tenders that traffic to and from the village. As far as we know, it was to have been dredged by October of last year, but the sight we saw would suggest that didn’t happen.

"Yabra", Can History Be Salvaged?
Yesterday, we told you about the community planning experts from the American Planning Association who arrived in Belize to assist the Belize City Council in making improvements to the part of the City known as Yabra. The head of the delegation is Justin Moore, a professional who works with the New York City Department of City Planning. Today, Mayor Darrell Bradley was on the ground with the team touring the area to come up with the best strategy to revitalize a part of the city which played an important part in its history, but has been forgotten in the present. Daniel Ortiz reports: Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, his technical staff at the City Council, and the consultants from the American Planning Association spent most of morning touring the City. They then moved into the Yarborough Area to survey important aspects of the open space, such as the Football Field and Basketball Court, and the next door Wesley College Compound. The Mayor then hosted his consulting guests on a boat tour of the Yarborough Waterfront, to get a distant perspective of the coast line that “Yabra" occupies.

Tackling Zoning Squarely At City Hall
And while Yabra has been singled out for special attention, the truth is the city has been growing in a disorderly fashion for decades, without any plan or zoning considerations. Viewers may remember the public disagreement that residents of Palm Grove had with the City Council 2 years ago when they learnt that an apartment complex was approved for construction in their community. Well, despite protestations, that complex now towers above the residential area. Then, about a month ago, resident of Kings Park called us to complain about an apartment complex in their area. Today, the Mayor told us that these are all instances of an ad hoc attempts at zoning, and so, the council has decided to go all in on this policy but in consultation with the city residents: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "We are dealing with zoning and how we've dealt with it is in an ad hoc way. Recently I've had issues with residence in the Caribbean Shores area who wants a particular part of their area zoned. We recently dealt with zoning last year with the Palm Groves estate that was recently completed. We had zoning issues with Bella Vista, we've had the experience under Hon. Carlos Perdomo as it then was in terms of the Landivar area, so that zoning has really been an area that has been looked at in an ad hoc way but when you see all these issues coming to ahead, it really means that the city together with the central government partners need to take the bull by the horn, we need to lead the development of Belize City as opposed to like following up. If I'm investing in a particular area, I want to know the land use policy in that area for the next 30 years."

Mayor Explains Paving Delay
But, while Mayor Bradley is pushing zoning as the City moves to roll out the Master Plan, what about unfinished concrete streets like those in the area of Cinderella Plaza? The Mayor told us months ago that the reason this very trafficked intersection was not completed was because the Flood Mitigation Project in this area needed to be finished first. But flood mitigation looks to be finished in that area, and so we asked the Mayor why hasn’t the work hasn’t resumed on this much trafficked area?: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "It's not completed, it is going to be completed; the street is finished in terms of the section of Baymen Avenue and in terms of Cindarella Plaza. We have a councillor who sits on the steering committee for the mitigation project; he is involved in the discussions and so forth. I'm confident that we are pushing them in relation to completing that as soon as possible because it is a major woe for residence. The Cindarella Plaza is a major access way and we need that area to be repaired and to be fixed. I can't speak in relation to the specific timeline but I can say that it's going to be done."

A Proliferation of Paving, Excluding Ebony
And while Cindarella Plaza will get its pavement eventually, what about Ebony Street? Yesterday, we showed you the public plea from a resident who begged the City Council to work on his street because the dust has become unbearable. Well, when we asked the Mayor about it, and he said that while he hears the concern, the City doesn’t have the money to work on that street right now: Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "I know that the street itself was improved, we've not focused a lot on the concreting projects but there has been a major improvement in remedial works carried out throughout Belize City so that I can't speak necessarily in relation to Ebony street because I don't look at individual streets; but I can speak on the reports that I get in relation to regular ongoing upgrades which are going on throughout Belize City and I'm satisfied that we are doing a good job. We don't deal with one off streets, so if somebody calls and say I the complain about the street, we don't run and do that. We have a work plan, we follow our master plan, we look at planning in terms of strategic areas."

Duck Lane Denied "Sake-A Dalla Van"?
Also, while we had the opportunity, we asked the Mayor about Duck Lane, which is the alley off Orange Street which the City’s Dollar Vans make use of while transporting passengers from Lake Independence to the down town area. A few weeks ago, the dollar van drivers told Yaya Marin Coleman on her Two Cents Cam series that the reason that this street is being neglected is because the City Council views them as a kind of nuisance. When we asked about that allegation, Mayor Bradley said that couldn’t be further from the truth: Daniel Ortiz: "I know that the dollar van persons have requested or have voiced their opinions publicly that they want the city administrators to pave Duck Lane. Have you all looked at that?" Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "I haven't heard that concern and I haven't looked at that." Daniel Ortiz: "Recently they aired their concern, we can only take it as their discontent on which it was on the WUB 2 cents cam in which they are suggesting that the city council is neglecting that particular alley because they see the dollar van as a nuisance. Is that the position of the city council in relation to that area?"

Dauntless Darrell Disheartened?
And apart from today, you might have noticed that Mayor Darrell Bradley has kind of gone under the radar since his defeat at the polls on November 4th. So has dauntless Darrell - that public official so determined to surpass the status quo of inefficiencies at the local government level – now bowed to business as usual status quo? We asked him about that today: Daniel Ortiz: "Why is it that pre-election and post-election Darrell Bradley seems to be less active?" Darrell Bradley - Mayor, Belize City Council: "I don't know where that comes from. We are right now dealing with our collective bargaining agreement for the city council. We're dealing with; this morning I was talking to the director of local government about doing a presentation from the municipal authorities’ bill. I'm out here touring with some people from the American Association."

Renal Relief With Taiwan Assistance
Belize and Taiwan today signed an agreement to improve public health. The 2 million plus dollars form the Taiwanese will be used principally for a project targeting the Prevention and Control of Chronic Renal Failure – or what you might know as kidney disease. At the signing today, the Taiwanese Ambassador and the Minister of Health discussed the benefits of the project:.. H.E Benjamin Ho - Taiwanese Ambassador to Belize: "With this agreement, we are going to work together with medical professionals from countries to engage in cooperating of mutual assistant in promoting the so called chronical disease preventive contact cooperating."

KHMH Explains Fee Hike
As we told you last night, starting on Monday the 15 th of February the price for all non-emergency clinic services at the KHMH will increase to $25 dollars where it used cost $10 or $15 dollars per consult – between a 75% and 150% increase. Today we sat with the Financial Director of the KHMH, Norman Augustine Jr. who told us why the fees need to increase: Norman August Jr. - Director of Finance, KHMH: "There are several areas of services that we do here at KHMH. We have several wards, we have accident and emergency, we have specialties, we have radiology and we have of course when people come in and pay their 10 dollars accident and emergency, they get their service. As you have heard before for just one drip that we place on an individual, its 24 dollars, all they are paying is 10. Generally it cost us far more than what they are paying. At the clinic, which is the specialist clinic, there are one of two that they charge 10 dollars but most of our specialist clinics is at 15 dollars. Compare that to what you would pay at the private sector. It's important for you to understand that currently that fee that they pay; 15 to 10 dollars only represent 16% of what it cost us to run that entire specialist clinic. So we are asking the general public to bear with us and work with the government in their contribution because the government is still matching a significant amount. We are asking them to pay a little bit more at 25 dollars per visit and this is elective, this is not an emergency. So you know your appointment date, you can set aside your little funds and you come in and pay your 25 dollars; which then represents 32% more or less and the government is matching that, a total of 68%. So it's not a fact that we are after the public, it's just that we're asking them to work with us, to contribute a little of what it cost them."

Keeping KHMH From Backsliding With Bad Debts
And staying on the topic of KHMH’s past financial woes, the hospital was contending with unpaid bills amounting to 9 million dollars. But in his Independence Day speech the Prime Minister announced a debt relief for those unpaid bills at KHMH. Government then paid the hospital a distressed price for those bad debts. But what’s to stop that kind of receivables backlog form accumulating again – especially with the moral hazard that government wrote it off once, so the politicians might do it again. Augustine spoke to us about initiatives to discourage the same situation from repeating. Norman August Jr. - Director of Finance, KHMH: "What we have done in the past had a collecting agency some 3 years ago in an effort for KHMH to collect its money. That did not work out the way we had wanted it to work out. So we internally create our own collection unit that have a softer approach, a more assertive approach in meeting with the patient. If you are taking to an institution in Guatemala or in Merida, the first thing they do is to greet you with sir how are you going to pay for your bill. So we have taken a different approach and encouraging patients to put down something from the time they are admitted to put down their payment from the time they enter the institution."

Life's a Beach At Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker has a long history of trying to build beaches – only to have them reclaimed by the tides, or occupied by some developer. But, the island called “Carinosa” continues to push for a beach, and a beach it has. The Belize Tourism Board sponsored a project which reclaimed 1,883 linear feet of the beach with widths varying from 70 to 118 feet. It runs between the Sobre las Olas restaurant to Rainbow Restaurant, and then there are widths varying from 40 to 60 feet in areas between Blue Island pier to Len’s Guest House. The BTB reports that 22,000 cubic yards of material were pumped unto the beach. The project goes along with the establishment of an improved craft centre for local artisans in Caye Caulker.

CODICADER Cometh!
CODICADER is coming to Belize! If you don’t know what that means, CODICADER is the CENTRAL AMERICAN athletic championships. Belize will be hosting it for the first time this year, and the General Secretary of SISCA Anna Escrich was at the Biltmore hotel earlier today where she met with members of the sports council to work out the logistics of the tournament. National competitions will be played to decide who is going to represent the country in all 6 disciplines. Games are to be held in July.

Central American Cross Country Championship For Belize
But the CODICADER games are not the only Central American games that are going to be played in Belize this year. The 10th Annual Central American Cross Country Championship is also being hosted in Belize. This event is being sponsored by CADICA, the Central American Track and Field Organization. President of the Belize Athletic Association Deon Sutherland spoke to us about this upcoming event and what it means for Belize.

Moving Ahead With MCC
The last time we visited the MCC three weeks ago, workers were just about finishing up the works on the field. A couple of weeks before, the Ministry of Youth and sports, had jumped on a quick fix project to cover a large trench that surrounded the pitch. So now that the sports council has applied that quick fix, where does that put the original plan to build bigger and more up to standard stadium lights? Today we asked the Director of the National Sports Council Ritchel Dominguez just that.


Top
#511550 - 02/11/16 11:57 AM Re: Today's Belize News: February 11, 2016 [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Channel 5

Is Local Rice Contaminated With Poisonous Toxins?
Belizeans consume about twelve thousand tons of rice annually. But is that rice contaminated with a poisonous chemical which causes cancer? Aflatoxins are produced by fungi found on agricultural products, [...]

Importer Jack Charles Produces Lab Tests and Alleges Contamination
The documents from Eurofins Lab were accompanied by a press release – the one to which Agriculture C.E.O. Jose Alpuche makes reference. In that release, Charles admits that he commissioned [...]

Missing Guatemalan Woman Found Dead in Orchard off Hummingbird Highway
Guatemalan Lydia Janet Garcia was reported missing on January nineteenth by her son, Alexander Enrique Garcia. He told Benque Police that his mother was last seen on January eighth when [...]

Fire Rages at Country Foods, Spanish Lookout
At news time tonight a fire is raging at a warehouse in the Spanish Lookout Community. Country Foods went up in flames around three this afternoon and police say that [...]

Police Locate Stolen Pickup
Since Sunday, Police have been on the lookout for a red 2001 Mazda pickup, stolen on the old Western highway from Jorge Lopez. Lopez was accosted by two men, one [...]

SUV and Truck Collide on the Haulover Bridge
There was an accident on the Haulover Bridge at around three-fifteen this afternoon, when the driver of a red SUV apparently lost control and crashed into a large truck. There [...]

National Security Officials Visit F.O.B. Site at Mouth of Sarstoon
This morning, Minister of National Security John Saldivar, with an entourage including Minister of State Frank Mena and representatives from the Ministry, Police and Belize Defence Force, visited the site [...]

Ray Cattouse Weighs in on Cycling Controversy
The firestorm caused by the threat to fine and suspend Kaya Cattouse to compete in races organized by the Belize Cycling Federation, has not subsided. The well known cyclist has [...]

Senior Cyclist Claims the Sport Has Not Grown Under CFB
According to Ray Cattouse, C-Ray is one of the only clubs in the history of cycling in Belize to annually field a junior team, a youth team, a female team, [...]

C-Ray Cycling Club Owner Threatens Legal Action
Cattouse is not taking lightly the threat made to Kaya by the Cycling Federation. He says he wants it removed from her record and if not, he is heading up [...]

Shopkeeper Who Killed 2 Men is Free
Fifty-three year old Edison Johnson, a resident of Carmelita, was freed on Tuesday and tonight he is home with his family.  The shopkeeper from Guinea Grass was behind bars since [...]

Francisco Gomez Convicted for Sexual Assault of 11 Year Old
While Johnson is free, a resident of Boston Village in the Belize District, Francisco Gomez, aka “Indiana” will be spending time behind bars. Gomez was convicted this morning of allegations [...]

Mayor Bradley and Urban Planners Looking to Spruce Up Yarborough
The Yarborough area of the City is poised to get a facelift that will be spurring economic activity. While the neighborhood boasts of many attributes, it does not have in [...]

Bradley Says Perceived Inactivity Since Elections Is Unsubstantiated
With general elections well behind, Belize City Mayor Darrell Bradley, some believe, has been lying low as it relates to activities at City Hall. Earlier today when the media caught [...]

Mayor Plans to Address Zoning in Specific Communities
A hot-button subject coming up on which the Mayor will not be quiet about relates to zoning. Mayor Bradley says that in the past, the City Council had been dealing [...]

No Timeline in Long Forgotten Cinderella Plaza Renovation
Of the many infrastructure projects in the City that have become a nuisance to residents is the flood mitigation project which is only partially completed in the area of Cinderella [...]

Ministry of Health and Taiwan Sign Cooperation Agreement
The governments of Belize and Taiwan today penned an agreement to make way for cooperation in the public health sector.  The agreement was signed by the Minister of Health, Pablo [...]

Stakeholders in CSME Free Movement Meet in Belize City
Belize is preparing to host the CARICOM Heads of Government Intercessional next week. At least nine heads have already confirmed their attendance and will look at many issues including the [...]

Belize Prepares to Host CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting
As it relates to Belize, there has not been a swift movement of persons so the CSME Focal Point, Tricia Gideon spoke of what is being done to engage Belizeans. [...]

CTV3

Lobster Season 2015/2016 Comes To A Close
The 2015- 2016 lobster Belize season is coming to a close. The season opened on June 1, 2015 and lasted for eight and a half months and is scheduled to close on February 15, 2016. The fisheries department issued a release today informing the general public of the closing of the lobster season which will remain closed until June 14, 2016. Fisheries and government officials place this moratorium on lobster fishing for 3 1/2 months to allow the species to spawn and replenish.

Importer Jack Charles Says Local Rice Is Contaminated
The rice saga between Importer Jack Charles and local producers continues and from all indications it won’t die anytime soon. Jack Charles’ latest move against rice producers comes in the form of a complaint alleging that the local rice is contaminated. The news first broke last week when reports suggested that Charles had informed the Ministry of Agriculture that the local rice was contaminated with some kind of fungus and that they should look into it. At that time both the Director of BAHA, Emir Cruz and the Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero denied having knowledge about the complaint and the CEO in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche did not even comment on the issue. Jack Charles though, persisted that Belize’s rice was contaminated but offered no proof. Today Charles continued with his quest as he issued a release which states that based on the Standards (Declaration of Compulsory Standard) Order 2015 Gazetted in October 2015 by the Bureau of Standards, he took the responsibility to test the locally produced rice to see whether it met the requirements of the new Standard.

Minor Plea Guilty To Cannabis Cultivation
Two male minors and an adult were detained by Orange Walk Police for cultivation of cannabis. Yesterday at around 5:30 in the evening police searched a house located on San Narciso Street, Orange Walk Town where they discovered eight containers containing 24 cannabis plants measuring two inches in height. Present at the time of the search were the 2 male minors ages 16 and 17 and 36 year old Amir Correa who were all detained and charged for the offence of cultivation of cannabis. This morning all three individuals appeared before the Orange Walk Magistrates Court where the 16 year old minor pled guilty to the charge and was fined $500.00 or in default five months in prison.

Missing Person Found Dead In Citrus Orchard
Some weeks ago we reported on the story of Thirty nine year old Lidia Janet Garcia Giron, a Guatemalan national who was reported missing by her nineteen year old son, Alexander. Giron was last seen on Friday January 8th as she had left her home in melchor de Mencos and was headed to a Banana Farm located in the Stann Creek District in order to meet up with a male person known only as “El Nica”. Today the sad news was reported that Giron was found dead in an orchard in the vicinity of 6 miles on the Hummingbird Highway. Her body was found yesterday afternoon at around 3:30 and a post mortem examination conducted on her body certified the cause of death as “Blunt Force Trauma to the Head”

Bureau Of Standards Responds To Jack Charles Allegation Of Rice Contamination
Today the Belize Bureau of Standards responded to the alleged claim of Aflatoxins in local rice by Jack Charles. In the release Belize Bureau of Standards categorically states that Charles is not recognized as a competent authority to conduct testing of any basic food item in Belize. Notwithstanding this claim, the Bureau in collaboration with the competent authorities aforementioned concluded that the test results provided on February 1st, 2016, by Mr. Jack Charles shows that none of the rice samples analyzed contain detectable levels of Aflatoxins and as a result does not pose any threat to human health.

LOVE FM

Jitandra Chawla Says Local Rice is Contaminated
Jitandra Chawla better known as Jack Charles was last heard of in the recent rice saga when he attempted to have containers of Guyanese rice come onto the local market for a cheaper price than that of locally produced rice. It was a failed attempt as he was not granted the permit to do so. […]

Missing Woman Found Dead
Police in southern Belize discovered the body of a woman in an orchard yesterday just after three o’clock about six miles on the Hummingbird Highway. Investigations have found that the woman is a Guatemalan national who was reported missing by her teenaged son on January 16, 2016. Love News did a missing person’s report on […]

Progress at the Forward Operating Base at the Sarstoon
63 days ago, ground was broken at the mouth of the Sarstoon River where a Forward Operating Base is to go. The last few weeks saw some members of the public clamouring for answers as to when the construction would start. In a release sent out today by the Press Office, we learnt that the […]

PUC and BEL Hold Public Consultation on Tariff Review
Last night the Public Utilities Commission along with Belize Electricity Limited held a Public hearing at the Belize Biltmore Plaza. BEL submitted and presented on their Full Tariff Review proceeding which included regulated values, electricity rates, fees and charges. Senior Manager of Energy and Material Supply, Ernesto Gomez said that the package being presented was […]

Sugar Production Low; Mud Extraction High
The ninth week of the sugar cane crop has shown a decrease in the tons of sugar cane ground for the same period last year. Forty two thousand nine hundred and twenty four tons of cane was ground taking the total for the crop so far to three hundred and eight nine thousand two hundred […]

Friends of Conservation Reports of New Clearings and Dwellings in the Chiquibul
On Tuesday. Friends of Conservation and Development, FCD conducted an aerial reconnaissance along the western flank of the Chiquibul National Park with the intent of monitoring and documenting any expansion of the agricultural frontier. FCD says it recorded 17 new clearings and several dwellings. From the small Cessna airplane, large clearings of primary forest were […]

Taiwan and Belize Enter Cooperation Agreement on Health
The Ministry of Health today signed an agreement on cooperation in public health and medical skills with the Government of Taiwan. The objective of the agreement is to access technical support from Taiwan in several areas including health education, disease screening and clinical services. Minister of Health Pablo Marin tells us more. PABLO MARIN “It’s […]

Bureau of Standards Responds to Allegations of Contaminated Rice
Earlier in our newscast we told you of the allegation by businessman, Jitendra Chawla of the locally produced rice being contaminated with a cancer causing agent. Chawla says he sent out sample of the grain to be tested and had forwarded the results to several agencies including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Belize Bureau […]

CSME Workshop Begins in Belize City
The CARICOM Single Market and Economy also known as CSME is a program that was built with the intention to provide improved standards of living and work and sustained economic development for the CARICOM member states. It came about on February 4, 2002 under a Protocol on the Provisional Application of the Revised Treaty of […]

Debits and Credits of the Nat’l Referral Hospital
Yesterday we brought you the interview with the Director of Finance, Norman Augustine Jr of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City. In that interview, Augustine spoke of the rise in prices for the clinic consultations as well as the services of physiotherapy. The increases are sharp particularly for the majority of the hospital’s […]

PlusTV

Ill reputed murder scene
The murder of 52 year old Zhi Jiang Zhang in Teakettle Village that occurred on Saturday was a gruesome one. Zhang was chopped multiple times by a man armed with a machete and a gun. This is after the gunman shot one of the female workers at the bar in the leg and robbed the cash register. Police ar...

Belize City Mayor updates on bond, zoning issue
The Belize City Council is hosting a special meeting on Thursday in the Kings’ Park area to discuss zoning issues. A six-story building being currently built on Princess Margaret Drive has raised concern from area residents and revived the zoning issue. Today we spoke with Mayor Darrell Bradley abou...

Ministry of Health updates on ZIKA virus
Today the Ministry Of Health held meetings at the Inspiration Center in Belize City with senior staff from across the country to discuss the Zika Virus. The virus has hit international attention recently when increased cases of microcephaly in newborn babies were linked to the disease in Brazil, and...

Troy Hyde to go on trial for murder of Kareem Lopez
The trial for Troy Hyde, accused of the murder of Kareem “Robbery” Lopez 13 months ago, has been fast-tracked for the April session of the Supreme Court. Lopez was shot multiple times on Central American Boulevard on the night of January 3, 2015 at around 10:30. He had just left his Jane Usher Boul...

Second constable beats extortion case
Tonight another interdicted police officer hailing from the San Pedro Police Sub formation is free from a charge of extortion after a San Pedro resident had accused him of extorting the sum of $400 from him back in July 2014 on San Pedro but failed to show up in court today for trial. Constable Elvi...

Cannabis and ammunition found
241.68 grams of cannabis and ammunition were found by police personnel. On Monday the 8th of February, police along with personnel from the Customs Department and the National K9 Unit conducted joint operation searches in Punta Gorda and the surrounding Villages. An abandoned lot on Papaya Street in...

14year old reported missing
14-year-old Doreen Rosa, a Belizean student of Punta Gorda has been reported missing. Doreen is of dark complexion, stands about 5ft 2 inches, weighs about 130 lbs, has black braids and was last seen wearing a yellow strapped blouse, gray short pants and a pair of white slippers. Rosa left home in t...

Breaking Belize NewsPJ

National Security Minister views progresses at Sarstoon Forward Operating Base
Today Minister of National Security John Saldivar, flanked by senior members of his office, the Belize Defense Force and the Belize Police Department, visited the construction site of the Sarstoon Forward Operating Base at the mouth of the Sarstoon River in southern most part […]

Jack Charles claims “cancer causing agents” in local rice; Government responds
Importer Jack Charles is citing tests conducted by an American laboratory to argue that the major brands of Belizean rice, Circle R and Tropic, are not safe to consume. This is because according to a press release he issued today, the sampled brands contain low […]

Pregnant woman injured in traffic accident
Hattieville resident 37 year old Raquel Burke is in hospital tonight recovering from injuries sustained in a traffic accident this afternoon. This afternoon around 3:15 she was driving a Nissan Xterra from Ladyville to Belize City when, approaching the Northern approach of the Haulover Bridge, she lost control and […]

Belize and China sign health agreement
Health Minister Pablo Marin and H.E. Benjamin T.H. Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Belize, on behalf of their respective governments, today signed an Agreement on Cooperation in Public Health and Medical Skills. The Agreement will see the Republic of China (Taiwan) […]

Old Northern Highway man jailed for assault on pre-teen girl
39 year old Francisco Gomez, aka “Indian”, was sentenced to 3 years today by Chief Magistrate, Ann-Marie Smith, after she found him guilty of sexual assault on an 11 year old. She also found him guilty of common assault and using threatening words for which […]

Edison Johnson free on time served after manslaughter plea
A Carmelita man who was accused of killing two men who were believed to have burglarized his home and which he caught in the act pleaded guilty to manslaughter, the lesser charge to murder, but is tonight a free man. 53 year old Edison Johnson was sentenced […]

Country Food in Spanish Lookout reportedly burning
Information reaching our newsroom is that the Country Food building in Spanish Lookout, Cayo District is on fire. Breaking Belize News was made to understand that fire fighters have already dispatched to the scene. This is a developing story. More will be posted shortly. Pictures […]

Orange Walk man and two minors charged for weed cultivation
Orange Walk police busted three people, including two minors, for growing cannabis at a house in that town. Police report that at about 5:30 on Tuesday, officers searched a house on #18 San Narciso Street and found eight containers that had a total of 24 marijuana […]

Woman reported missing found decomposing
Lydia Janet Garcia Giron was first reported missing 22 days ago on January 19th. Yesterday her decomposed body was discovered in an orchard in the vicinity of mile six on the Hummingbird Highway around 3:30 p.m. A post-mortem examination certified the cause of death as “blunt force […]

Armed robbers strike again
A string of armed robberies in Belmopan continue as authorities in that city have received another report of an incident that took place on Tuesday night. Police report that 22-year-old Gadiel Maldonado of Belmopan reported that he was held up around 7:00 p.m. yesterday. Maldonado says he was traveling […]

Blogs

Defining Community Problems in Sustainable Development
It is time to translate the community’s goals for improvement and sustainable development into measurable, achievable terms, and this requires that you set objectives for progress you want to make toward rectifying the problems underlying the definition of the goals. Objectives toward sustainability become the sum of problems identified by community members. Attaining a community’s stated goals requires that stakeholders set realistic objectives toward achieving them. The community of stakeholders must define a process for identifying and understanding the variables at work in a particular problem system, and the influence they exert. Community members should pay careful attention to underlying trends in the problem analysis, which will help them to better understand the problem systems they are working to improve and thus establishing more reasonable objectives to accomplish. A community problem is an issue with six (6) dimensions: -it occurs frequently (frequency), -has lasted for a while (duration), -affects many people (scope, or range), -is disturbing, and possibly intense (severity), -it disrupts personal or community life – deprives people of legal or moral rights (legality), and -the issues are perceived as a problem (perception).

I’m Leaving For Kerala India TODAY! What Did I Forget to Pack?
I am amazed and kinda bursting with gratitude. Belize blogger wins trip to the other side of the world. To India, a country I’ve dreamed about visiting but one so overwhelming…culturally, historically, POPULATION WISE (1.25 BILLION people)…it just seemed daunting. A trip that would take intense planning, months and months of time to do it right and maybe a few guides…

Colonial Education: A History of Education in Belize
By Karla Lewis (Educational Policy Studies University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign) Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000). This paper discusses the education in Belize (formerly known as British Honduras) during the colonial era and the lasting impact of the educational foundation of the country. The paper examines the influence the British colonial educational system continues to have in. Belize, 20 years after independence. It gives an overview of the history of primary and secondary education in Belize. Although education existed in Belize well before the arrival of the British colonizers and developed among various cultures during colonization, these are not highlighted in the paper because of the limited impact they had on Belize in general once school attendance became compulsory.

“Let’s Sell the House and Move to Belize”
“Our day begins early, the local birds love to greet the sun and wake us up so we enjoy the sunrise over the water, too,” says Lynn Lawson. “Add a cup of fresh coffee and warm breezes, and we are totally relaxed. We take morning walks, greeting our neighbors and their pets. “Then we do whatever we want for the rest of the day. We enjoy spending late afternoons on the palapa covered dock stretching into the Caribbean Sea while the warm breezes circulate. No stress; no pressure here.” “During our first visit to Belize in March, 2014, Lynn wanted to move that very afternoon. I wanted to move when I retired in about four years,” says David. “As fate would have it, a year later, I was offered an early retirement package, which I took. On my first full day of retirement, I said to Lynn, “Let’s sell the house and move to Belize.” They traveled to Belize, exploring the coast around Placencia first, then moving on to Consejo near Corozal Town, with stops in Dangriga and Ambergris Caye. After renting a house in the Consejo Shores area, six miles north of Corozal Town, they knew they’d found the location that met their wish-list criteria.

Honey Orange Fish Fillet
Combine all ingredients except fillets and pour over fish in glass baking dish. Cover and chill 30 minutes. (You can also make this without marinating the fish; just broil it and brush with the marinade.) Remove fish and reserve marinade. Grill or broil fish 4-6" from heat source, turning once and brushing with marinade, until fish is thoroughly cooked and flakes easily when tested with fork, about 5 to 10 minutes. If the fish is less than 1/2" thick, you can broil it without turning, which makes the recipe much easier! Discard remaining marinade and serve immediately.

Crispy Fried Fish Fillets in Sweet and Sour Sauce
1. Sprinkle salt and pepper powder on the fillets. 2. Spread the maida on a plate and lightly dredge the fillets. 3. Place the fillets on a tray. 4. Dip the fillets in the egg and coat them with the breadcrumbs. 5. Keep aside for 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge. 6. Combine all the sauce ingredients and blend well. 7. Heat oil for frying in a large pan. 8. Cook the fish fillets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until browned. 9. Remove and drain excess oil. 10. Drain water from the onions and pat fry. 11. Sprinkle over the fish and drizzle the sauce over. 12. Serve at once.

International Sourcesizz

IRS Remains Focused on Off Shore Tax Enforcement
On January 27, 2016, the US Department of Justice announced that it had signed the final non-prosecution agreement with a Category 2 Swiss bank.22The DOJ-Swiss Bank Program, which began on August 29, 2013, provided a path for Swiss banks to resolve potential criminal liabilities in the United States. More than 80 Swiss banks voluntarily reported under the program and paid more than $1.3 billion in penalties to the United States. Under the Program, Swiss banks have revealed information on thousands of US accountholders, which has driven many of these taxpayers into the IRS voluntary disclosure programs. As last reported by the IRS, more than 54,000 taxpayers have participated in the voluntary disclosure program, and the IRS has collected more than $8 billion in taxes, penalties and interest. The IRS considered the Swiss program a success and is now looking beyond Switzerland to find additional US accountholders who may have engaged in offshore tax evasion. At the recent American Bar Association meeting held on January 29, 2016, the acting Attorney General for the tax division disclosed that the IRS and DOJ are now focusing bank investigations in Belize, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, the Cook Islands, India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, the Marshall Islands and Panama, to name a few. The government is pursuing both civil and criminal enforcement efforts to pursue taxpayers who continue to conceal foreign accounts and assets and evade their US tax obligations. The government has encouraged financial institutions and individuals who have engaged in criminal conduct to contact the DOJ to discuss their options. In September, the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida authorized the issuance of “John Doe” summonses to Citibank and Bank of America to produce records identifying US taxpayers with offshore bank accounts in Belize. The “John Doe” Summonses sought information regarding US persons who hold offshore accounts at Belize Bank International Limited and Belize Bank Limited (the “Belize Banks”). These summonses permit the IRS to seek records of the Belize Banks’ correspondent accounts at Bank of America, N.A. and Citibank, N.A.

Mexico takes measures to protect Pope Francis from Zika virus ahead of visit
Pope Francis is arriving in Mexico on Friday night for a five-day visit that will take him to remote corners of the country, including the states of Chiapas and Michoacán — where the Zika virus has been the most active for months now... Pope Francis is arriving in Mexico on Friday night for a five-day visit that will take him to remote corners of the country, including the states of Chiapas and Michoacán — where the Zika virus has been the most active for months now. The first local transmission of Zika by mosquito in Mexico happened in November, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Monday, in an interview with Mexico City’s Universal newspaper, Jesús Felipe González Roldán, the head of the country’s National Center for the Control of Diseases and Preventive Programs (Cenaprece), laid out the steps that will be taken to protect the visiting pontiff from the disease. There are concerns for both the health of the 79-year-old Pope Francis, as well as preventing rapid transmission of the disease in the crowds via the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, known to carry Zika, Dengue virus and yellow fever. In order to “protect the public and the pope against Zika, among other things,” González Roldán told Universal, the country has begun aerial anti-mosquito spraying and will also conduct house-to-house fumigation in certain locales.

Gangs in Central America obstructing health officials' work against Zika outbreak
Street gangs in much of Central America have near-total control over entire neighborhoods, tracking everyone who comes and goes — and that now includes the health workers struggling to contain the Zika virus. In El Salvador, the growing outbreak of the virus has been putting a lot of pressure on health crews, who sometimes are even denied access to crews by these gangs. "The state is absent" in such areas, said Carlos Carcach, a criminologist with the Superior School of Economics and Business in El Salvador. "The state is being replaced by the gangs." More than 7,000 suspected cases of Zika have been identified in El Salvador, where the government has launched a campaign against the Aedes aegypti mosquito relying on aggressive fumigation and the removal of standing water.

Windows 10 Worst Secret Spins Out Of Control
Back in November Microsoft confirmed Windows 10’s worst kept secret: its extensive telemetry (or ‘spying’ as it has been labelled) cannot be stopped. What no-one realised until now, however, is just how staggering the extent of this tracking really is… Blowing the lid on it this week is Voat user CheesusCrust whose extensive investigation found Windows 10 contacts Microsoft to report data thousands of times per day. And the kicker? This happens after choosing a custom Windows 10 installation and disabling all three pages of tracking options which are all enabled by default. The raw numbers come out as follows: in an eight hour period Windows 10 tried to send data back to 51 different Microsoft IP addresses over 5500 times. After 30 hours of use, Windows 10 expanded that data reporting to 113 non-private IP addresses. Being non-private means there is the potential for hackers to intercept this data. I’d argue this is the greatest cost to owning Windows 10. Taking this a step further, the testing was then repeated on another Windows 10 clean installation again with all data tracking options disabled and third party tool DisableWinTracking was also installed which tries to shut down all hidden Windows 10 data reporting attempts. At the end of the 30 hour period Windows 10 had still managed to phone home with data 2758 times to 30 different IP addresses.

Belize celebrates its independence through art
On Sept. 21, the Central American nation of Belize will celebrate the 35th anniversary of its independence from Britain. To mark the occasion, the Art Museum of the Americas invited Belizean-American artists Karl Villanueva and Santiago Cal to contribute to a new exhibition, “Belize 35,” open through March 13. Karl Villanueva was a 24-year-old photojournalist on that fateful day in 1981 when the former British Honduras was granted full independence (and became a member of the Commonwealth). His journalistic credentials allowed him to be wherever the action was, but he shot photos mostly for himself. “I tried to make sure I covered everything,” he says, “because I knew it was a historical event that would never happen again.” He covered the reactions of the general public as well as key moments in the official ceremony — it was a peaceful transfer of power — with George Cadle Price, leader of the independence movement, and the British royal family.

How the Commodities Market is Pummeling Sugar Rights Holders
Sugar. It’s such a labor-intensive crop that it drove the slave industry in the Caribbean for decades. Even in the two centuries since then, sugar has been at the center of allegations of forced labor, child labor and deadly working conditions. Belize is home to perhaps the world’s most ethical sugar supply chain. It is nearly 100% certified by Fairtrade, from seed planting through sugar refinement — and on to rum production and ice cream churning. Belize’s sugar industry is not without its issues, but the labor challenges, pesticide controls, and capital flows are being addressed. Legions of rights advocates from the local labor associations, to the sugar mill, to Fairtrade auditors, to Ben and Jerry’s, to the Government of Belize itself are working shockingly diligently to address these issues. No, here in Belize, the biggest threat to human rights is the commodities market.

Videos

  • San Pedro Carnaval Day 3 Celebrations, 7.5min.

  • The joys of Carnaval - cracking an egg on your friends head!!, 7sec.

  • Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge, 46min. There is a video that can be purchased as a rental for $2.99US, or as a purchase for $9.99US. Here is their description: Experience a 300 mile journey into the depths of a historic civilization. The Maya Mountain Adventure Challenge (MMAC) has taken on a life of its own. What started as a typical adventure race production has developed into a testament of one of the last truly unspoiled corners of the world. On our first trip to Belize in February 2012, we were introduced to the beauty of the Maya Mountains and its people. When we returned, Friends of Conservation and Development (FCD) director, Rafael Manzanero, unlocked for us the secrets of the Chiquibul and the Mountain Pine Ridge and, with them, the possibilities they contained for epic adventure races highlighting the great Maya Mountains and Central America. The MMAC will take the 16 teams through a 200 mile journey across various types of terrain including the Maya Mountains and the Chiquibul National Park. 50 participants from around the globe will put to test their stamina, survival skills and endurance over a course of three days in a non-stop competition. The racers will bike, rappel, canoe and trek utilizing their orienteering skills with the limited use of a compass and a map to finish the race.

  • Belize trip, 4min. Shouts to Belize! Shouts to Costa Blu! Shouts to the Candyman! Shouts to the sharks and turtles!

  • Crossing Mexico to Belize by Bus, 2.5min. It's not a very complicated process. Just be sure if you are a US citizen, to have your airplane tickets printed out with the itemized fees stating you already paid the fee for entrance or exit.

  • Belize Hurricanes vs Dangriga Warriors3, 1min.

  • Belize Hurricanes vs Dangriga Warriors4, 1min.

  • BSI ASR CROP REVIEW 2016 - WEEK 9, 2.5min.

  • TOP SPELLERS COMPETE FOR A SPOT IN THE BOWEN AND BOWEN NATIONAL SPELLING BEE COMPETITION, 4min. Top spellers from across the country are preparing for the Annual Bowen and Bowen National Spelling Bee Competition. In hopes of winning a spot in the finals students from across the country are already learning how to spell every word in the dictionary as they take part in the zone eliminations marking the first step of the competition. This year zone eliminations kicked off here in Orange Walk and reporter Kyranie Anderson joined the participants as they took part in each round.

  • Corozal Community Hospital bid farewell to The New Horizons Medical Mission, 3.5min. The New Horizon Medical Mission has been in Belize conducting corrective surgeries as well as treating ear, throat and nose related conditions for almost two weeks now. The group arrived in the country on January 29th and was divided into two groups, one carried out basic medical duties and the second performed endoscopy and colonoscopy procedures. After tending to close to 3,000 patients the group is now ready to leave the country and in show of gratitude for their continued support to Belize, a small ceremony was held at the Corozal Community Hospital to bid the members farewell.

  • Carnaval 2016 San Pedro Belize, 2.5min.

  • Belize 2016, 6min. Belize 2016 - Diving with the Merrymans - complete with some fun Belizean Music

  • My cx20 night flight over Belize City, 7min.

  • Travel to San Pedro, Belize, 7min. Here are some highlights of the best that San Pedro, Belize has to offer. 1. Snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve 2. Snorkeling in Shark and Ray Alley (most tours do both together) 3. El Diablo Water Slide 4. Biking or taking a Golf Cart to "Truck Stop" food truck park 5. Breakfast at Estel's Dine by the Sea 6. Lunch at El Fogon 7. Fishing charter (very affordable) 8. Marco Gonzalez Mayan Ruins 9. Captain Morgan Casino 10. If time permits, take a day trip to mainland for cave tubing at ATM

  • Belize oldest sugar mill, 2min.

  • Glover's Reef Atoll, Belize, 1/2min. Snorkeling the house reef at the remote Glover's Reef Atoll in Belize.

  • Cave Tubing in Belize, Central America (2016) Part 1, 15min.

  • BELIZEAN SOFTBALL LEGENDS REUNION 2014!, 3min.The feature highlights the 2014 Reunion in Los Angeles, California of the legendary Belizean women of softball who won gold in the 1974 Central American & Caribbean Games and also won Bronze in the 1979 Pan American Games where they defeated the United States 2-1 in a spectacular match that placed the country Belize among the greats in sports, and demanded the attention of the international community. The celebratory event which marked 40 years of softball greatness in Belize and the Belizean diaspora, was graced by the attendance of the legendary Belizean softball players like Doreth Martinez, Margaret Usher, Bernadine McDougall, Joan Garbutt, Beulah Gillett, Elaine Smith, Beverly 'Bunny' Rhamdas, and Deborah Theus-Sanchez. An historic moment that saw these Belizean greats meet again for the first time since some 20 years ago.

  • WHEN WE WERE QUEENS: BELIZE SOFTBALL DOCUMENTARY!, 2min. Belizean Legends, the producers of the documentary film, When Were Queens, on the legendary Belizean women of softball gold, who won Belize's first ever gold medal in international sports in 1974, and who also beat the greatest softball team on planet earth at that time in 1979, the United States Orlando Rebels, is informing its viewers and readers that the film debut date has been moved from February of this year to summer of 2016. The film was to make its debut this year, but due to stringent production deadlines is pushed back for this summer. We hope to bring our Belizean audience this very important piece in Belizean sports history very soon God's willing. It's a story that has been told!

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