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2 hours ago
Present Condition: Mostly cloudy on the mainland, less so in the very north. Partly cloudy in San Pedro. Moist and unstable conditions prevailing , later the airflow will become less moist over some areas. A small craft caution remains in effect for gusty winds and locally rough seas in easterly swells and near heavy showers and thunderstorms.

24hr Forecast: Sunny skies today with some cloudy intervals. Tonight skies will be partly cloudy. A few outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms will continue to affect most areas of the country this afternoon and evening, then shower activity will become isolated tonight and tomorrow morning, except for the south where a few more showers and thunderstorms can be expected.

Outlook: For Sunday afternoon thru to Monday afternoon is for partly cloudy skies shower activity will be generally isolated except for the south where a few more showers or thunderstorms can be expected.

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Specials & Events
8 hours ago

Sampling the Foods for the Belize International Music and Food Festival

The countdown to the first-ever Belize International Music and Food Festival that will be taking place at Saca Chispas in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye continues.  The mega concert is now only four weeks away. On Thursday, we headed to the island town to sample some of the amazing foods that will be on sale for the two-day event. In early June, the call was made for the best of the best in local cuisine to make the cut – eighteen have been selected – and we made our taste buds do the judging.  News Five’s Duane Moody was there and files this report.

Duane Moody, Reporting

La Isla Bonita, San Pedro will take center stage for the first-ever Belize International Music and Food Festival on the weekend of July thirtieth.

And while there will be no shortage of sun, sand and surf for domestic and international tourists, the festival is a showcase of culture and will feature the best in Belizean foods – from the fire hearth, smoky rice and beans to sliding-off-the-bone barbecue pork ribs, stuff jacks, the best tacos and pupusas. Eighteen vendors have been selected and there is something for everyone. Did I say sushi?

Jyoto Sushi Restaurant is owned by the only Japanese national in San Pedro. Located on the property at Mahogany Bay, the restaurant has been in existence for five years; Executive Chef Oneyda Lara works in international cuisine and is excited about sharing the best Japanese cuisine – with a sushi and ramen booth.

Oneyda Lara, Executive Chef, Jyoto Restaurant

“We have a variety, we have the Japanese curry, we have the buns, we have the dumplings, we have the wanton – we have different variety. We have the ramen which is amazing along the sushi. We have the beautiful barrier reef; we have all kinds of fishes – we have snapper, we have wayo, so we enjoy that. Learning new types of fishes every day and then being able to serve this to the people in sushi roles, it is amazing. Jyoto is trying to bring culture to Belize because Belize is developed in different types of ethnics and cultures, but bringing Japan to Belize is something else, a next level. And being able to use Belizean products to Japanese cuisine it’s amazing. And we are focusing to teach Belizeans how to enjoy Japan food in Belize. Must try everything because everything that we do is very freshly, very amazing flavours and if you’re going to something more like a soup flavor, we have the ramen 501 booth and then if you want something like sushi then we have Jyoto there as well.”

Who has the best barbecue in town? One popular spot on the island, Estel’s, is known for its all-day sumptuous breakfast. Having been established over three decades and named after its matriarch Estel Worthington, they are also known for their finger-licking smoked everything. Pork ribs, brisket, chicken, sausage – you name it – everything is smoked for hours and the meat is literally falling off the bone – this is outside of fish, lobster, conch, shrimp.  It’s another option at the Belize International Music and Food Festival and we had to taste it all, including their signature barbecue sauce weh wahn mek yo wahn “slap yo granny.”

Charles Worthington, Manager, Estel’s by the Sea

“We’ve learned to do barbecue. My dad started barbecue and it was like the regular burn and turn as everybody know, but we try to look and do better so we started doing a little more smoking and long term cooking and it paid off. We have a lot of fun; we have our drinks by the grill that keeps the juice going. The meat in Belize is amazing. We have great suppliers for our pork, beef, chicken – Mennonite mainly but it is a great product – brisket was kinda hard to play with cause it is a tough cut, so we started getting brisket down then we did beef ribs. I have pork ribs, we have chicken. We do pork chops, sausage, we do gizzard and we do it fried or ceviche or salpicon, if yo want put it. It is fun, bar food when that when yo have some drinks, it’s different. We are looking forward to having some of our top cut products on our menu. We’re gonna have chicken ribs sausage and brisket. We are going to do a combo and we are going to do a smoked pork tacos al pastor. So our rendition of it, not the regular taco one, but a little Mexican/Belizean blend there. This is only a glimpse of the different foods that will be at the Belize International Music and Food Festival. And right now we are trying the first ever sample of it. Heaven in dough form.

Channel 5

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8 hours ago

The story of the ancient Mayas precedes the classic period. Some data puts the first Maya in this part of Central America even before the birth of Christ. We know about their excavated temples that still stand so majestically across our country, as well as their sacrificial rituals, there many gods, and their popular past time, the Poktapok. But now there is interesting information coming out of this year’s Archaeological Symposium – information that could see us re-writing history. News Five’s Marion Ali traveled west today to gather what came out of the week-long event. Here’s their report.

Dr John Morris, Current Director of Archaeology
“The new technology, DNA, Lidar studies have allowed us to get a better grip on our studies of the ancient Maya. Perhaps the narratives we have of the ancient Maya we might need to change a little bit.”

Marion Ali, Reporting

New data coming out of ongoing archaeological excavations suggest that there’s a whole new and different aspect to the ancient Mayas we never knew about. It happens that while the COVID pandemic kept archaeologists from gathering in large assemblies to exchange their knowledge, it didn’t hinder excavations across Belize from proceeding. So now that the pandemic has let up just enough to allow for such a symposium to occur, it has exposed some interesting information about the Mayas, according to Dr John Morris from the Institute of Archaeology.
Dr John Morris, Current Director of Archaeology

“We have been finding the evidence of people going back to ten, twelve thousand years ago. So clearly there were people living here who may or may not be associated with the ancient Maya. They’re native American Indians, if we can use that term, and they’re people who perhaps came through the Berring Strait and then came down North America into Central America and then eventually settled all the way in South America. We’re looking into periods such as the archaic – that dates back to let’s say between 3,000 B.C. and 10,000 B.C. and Belize has a lot of information with regards to that around Ladyville. There’s a lot of archaic sites where we find the archaic points.”

Incoming Director of the Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Melissa Badillo, told News Five that there are unexcavated sites all the way in the Maya Mountains.

Dr Melissa Badillo, Upcoming Director of Archaeology

“We’ve also learned about some of the inequalities with households in the southern area like Uxbenka, Pusilha, those sites, that type of analysis. We’ve also had some new areas that we need to look at and figure out how we move forward with those, for example in the Mountain Pine Ridge area. We’ve not seen sites before in that area and with new research, we’ve found granite production sites, so that is an area that’s new for us that we’ll have to delve more and get more research done in that area.”

And there are also new revelations, according to Morris, that suggest the Mayas could impart knowledge with us over the millennia on how to cope with present-day challenges.

Dr John Morris

“What we’re seeing is that the resilience that the Maya had in maintaining their civilizations for millennia can give us ideas how we can today meet the challenges that are affecting the country of Belize and also the world at large. I’m certain that the Maya had to deal with diseases. They had to deal with dry periods. They had to deal with hurricanes, and much of the information that is coming out shows exactly how the Mayas were very resilient for them to survive.”

Because the Maya had close to two million people living in this area at the height of the Classic Period, it is believed that much of the country we now call Belize is littered with remains of ancient Maya dwellings, ceremonial complexes, workshops and artifacts.

Dr John Morris

“We still have a tremendous amount of work to uncover all the sites of Belize. Our database has something like over ten thousand sites in this country. With the advent of extremely new technology, like Lidar and remote sensing, we’re now able to really document the extent of ancient Maya civilizations and their occupation of the landscape in Belize. So we at the Institute of Archaeology have to be very cognizant of that fact. There’s development, there’s agricultural development, there’s road improvement, so we have to mitigate whenever those things are being done.”

Channel 5

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8 hours ago
Belize is featured in Discovery Channel’s travel editorial by Lucy Sherriff. The blog "Belize's Jungles are Wild, Mysterious and Full of Discovery" explores the adventure wonders tucked away in the peaceful Toledo District such as Punta Gorda Town, Santa Cruz, Nim Li Punit, Cerro Hill, and Rio Blanco Falls. The blog provides readers with a vivid journey throughout the culture-rich destination.

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Caye Caulker
8 hours ago
Caye Caulker Lobster Fest 2022!

Smokey grills, bumping music, and jovial locals and tourists fill Caye Caulker for the start of the Lobster Fest weekend festivities. As a proud sponsor for this year’s event, the BTB would like to invite everyone to come out and taste mouthwatering cuisines, to watch fisher persons in action during the various activities, and to enjoy the liveliness of the nightlife.

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Living in Belize
8 hours ago

The BEL Board Chairman explains the Cost of Power continues to rise, another side-effect of the war in Ukraine, which is driving up world energy prices.

The Public Utilities Commission has made a decision to keep your electricity rates low going into next year, but in order to achieve that, BEL's shareholders are absorbing the additional cost of power. The company has already made the point that this current state of affairs is unsustainable in the long term and today, Chairman Marshalleck reiterated that. He stressed that urgent actions need to take place if your electricity rates will remain stable:

E. Andrew Marshalleck, SC - Chairman, BEL Board of Directors
"Well, the cost of power has been steadily increasing, and with the war in Ukraine and the shocks on supply. Energy prices have increased globally. Notwithstanding, we've been able to maintain it relatively low at 39 to $0.40 a kilowatt-hour. That rate is on par with what is charged in New York, for instance. It's less than what it's charged in California, which is about $0.53 a kilowatt-hour, far less than what's being charged in the UK, which is $0.76 per kilowatt-hour, and in Germany, $ 0.54-kilowatt-hour, just to give you a sense where we are. We're at 39 to 40 cents, so we've been able to do fairly well in terms of pricing and to keep it relatively low in an environment where the pressures for price increases are significant."

Daniel Ortiz
"Is it not sustainable, though?"

E. Andrew Marshalleck, SC
"Well, that's not the thing. It's - we can do that for a time, but that's not sustainable indefinitely into the future if things remain the way they are. And in order to change that and maintain price stability, what we see as necessary are significant investments in in-country solar generation, as a matter of urgency to help stabilize those costs. We also need to see some improvements to the transmission system with the inclusion of batteries which allow us to store power gained from solar in the day and use it at night, or alternatively to buy from CFE when prices are low and to use that energy during peak periods and the margins we can get off those things we think will be enough to stabilize the cost of power going into the future. The trouble we've experienced with that is, is getting those projects executed and on the ground because there isn't a very good track record of actually realizing generation projects on the ground."

Channel 7

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8 hours ago

172 new COVID cases were reported today, taking the active number to 1,015. The daily positivity rate is now at 20.0%. There were no new deaths, but there are 7 hospitalizations.

And the vaccination rate is still hovering right below 50%. And it will probably stay that way for a while longer since the only vaccine presently in the country is Johnson & Johnson. But the Minister of Health said yesterday that they're planning on getting another donation of vaccines in the near future.

Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health
"We are not going to stop purchasing vaccines, in fact we are getting vaccines, we have a donation, for example recently, Peru has offered, we have accepted to get 10,000 AstraZeneca vaccines, we have the Pfizer vaccines that are also being procured through the COVAX facility because we have to continue to provide for the second dose and the booster dose for our Belizean people. But we don't want to over request because at the end of the day we don't want to be able to have to do like what Jamaica, they destroyed hundreds and I think thousands of vaccines. Yes we had to destroy a few as well in the Pfizer, the deadline had passed in May. It's unfortunate that you invest in our people and then they don't utilize but again, like everything, I believe we have done our part as a government to ensure that those resources were available and we continue to encourage our Belizean people, for those who are not vaccinated, to come out and get vaccinated and bring your children."

There has been a double digit positivity rate for the last 5 weeks, and three vaccinated persons died of COVID in June.

Channel 7

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8 hours ago

Lobster Season Opens, $28 Per Pound

And switching gears, it's every seafood aficionado's favorite four words: lobster season is open! From early this morning, fishers have been out pulling up their traps, while cooks and chefs, resorts and restaurateurs have been preparing to serve lobster in all different styles.

So whether you like your lobster grilled or bathed in garlic butter, the time has finally come to crack open those shells.

Out on San Pedro, the first catch of the day came in before midday and our colleagues at the San Pedro Sun went out to greet the fishers - who spoke about their experience with sea pirates. Courtney Menzies has this story.

July 1st means that you'll finally be able to enjoy that lobster dish you've been craving since February. The Lobster Season is back open and fishers went out in their boats at the break of dawn to procure the much craved crustacean from the depths.

But while they had eagerly anticipated this year's opening, they were met with traps that had been invaded, their lobsters stolen.

Francisco Javier Morales, Fisherman
"This year, we caught about 400 pounds. I was expecting more lobster than last year but then we had some pirates stealing from our lobster traps and this year we only brought 400 pounds."

Lobster Fisher
"Today wasn't really that good but we just need, I think we need more patrol from the rangers to take care of the areas but it can be good. But we need more rangers patrolling."

"Because of the pirates?"

Lobster Fisher
"Yes, today we saw a lot of our traps turned over but I hope they patrol, we need more patrolling."

But despite this major setback, the fishers are still optimistic about this season:

"So do you think that will affect the amount of lobsters that you guys will catch this year?"

Francisco Javier Morales, Fisherman
"Not really."

"Expecting it'll be a good season?"

Francisco Javier Morales, Fisherman
"A good season, yeah."

Lobster Fisher
"Lot of big lobster, not so many small ones, so I think it'll be good."

"How many pounds you caught today, more or less?"

Lobster Fisher
"I think today we caught like around 120, 130, not so much. Last year we caught almost 300 pounds."

And this year will be very different than the past two years, since for the first time since 2019, the islands will be celebrating with Lobster Fest, meaning the fishers have a huge demand to meet.

Francisco Javier Morales, Fisherman
"I think it's good we're gonna have Lobster Fest because we're gonna sell more lobster so, there's a lot of lobster in the sea, so it's gonna be a good one."

The cooperatives and the private companies that purchase lobster for export are currently paying the fishers $28 per pound. But, that could go down because, currently, the price in the US is falling.

And last night, there were some fishers who couldn't wait another day for the season to open before diving for lobsters. TASA posted on their Facebook page that at around 6:40pm yesterday, they busted four fishers with lobsters.

The TASA officers were on a strategically planned patrol when they noticed the vessel and intercepted it. They found 37 lobster tails on board. The offenders were transported to Belize city and charged for the offense of possession of lobster out of season.

Channel 7

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Specials & Events
8 hours ago
The San Pedro Town Council presents the San Pedro Soca Festival from Sept 16 to Sept 21. We are proud to announce our first on the line-up International Djs – DJ Ana and Ultra Simmo for Sept 20 with a Special Performance for their first visit to Belize.

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Living in Belize
8 hours ago
The Ministry of Rural Transformation, Community Development, Labour, and Local Government appointed a Minimum Wage Task Force on March 2, 2022, to oversee the gradual implementation of the five-dollar minimum wage, a commitment of Plan Belize.

Following the Task Force's appointment, the ministry issued a Call for Proposals both locally and regionally and received four proposals. The Minimum Wage Task Force held interviews for the consultancy position on June 15, 2022, and PPF Capital Belize Limited was the successful applicant.

In the coming weeks, the Minimum Wage Task Force and PPF Capital Belize Limited will hold countrywide consultations with key stakeholders and the public. PPF Capital Belize Limited will submit a Plan for the Gradual Implementation of the Five-Dollar Minimum Wage upon completion of the consultancy.

After the study and consultations are completed, the change in the minimum wage will go into effect and will be legislated through a statutory instrument.
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8 hours ago
Friday's update from the Ministry Of Health and Wellness

COVID-19 Data for July 1st, 2022
172 New Confirmed Cases
0 New death

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9 hours ago
Love the view of this block on Pescador Drive, looks cozy and inviting, great job by the businesses. Gives it the island charm. Photo by Marlena Gomez

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Lobster season is open! On Back a Back Street, the fishermen are bringing them in...and then on Front Street, visitors are eating them, grilled, at the first event of San Pedro Lobster Festival at @Estel's Dine By the Sea. Photos by San Pedro Scoop

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Live from a beach lounger - enjoying a packed, fun, San Pedro Lobster Festival lobster crawl event at The Beach Bar & Grill at Caribbean Villas Hotel. Photo by Tacogirl

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Youths of Hopkins Learning how to fly drones with Citizen Science GIS.

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