BTS says arrival figures are up
The comparative figures for the first six months of the last three years show impressive overnight tourist arrivals for Belize. From twenty one thousand, three hundred and twenty eight arrivals in 2010, the figures for this year show that three hundred and thirty seven more visitors arrived here in 2012. It is an impressive nine percent increase over last year arrivals for the same period, and the Belize Tourism Board is positively impressed with the numbers. According to BTB figures, the thirty two thousand, two hundred and forty visitors recorded in the month of March is the first time that Belize had broken the thirty two thousand overnight visitors threshold. BTB says that overall, there was a 13.8% increase in airport tourist arrivals through the first half of 2012, which indicates very strong growth despite going into the slow season of the tourism calendar. On the cruise side, BTB reports consecutive increases in cruise arrival numbers from November 2011 to January 2012. In January 2012 Belize boasted 86,128 cruise visitors, representing a 34.9% increase. This is a total of 22,293 more visitors compared to last year at that time. Overall, there was a 13.8% increase in overall arrivals through the first half of 2012, which indicates very strong growth despite going into the slow season of the tourism calendar. In all, Belize’s tourism industry is showing remarkable signs of growth and it continues to set new records during 2012.

PlusTV

PlusTV follows Hurricane Ernesto to Mexico
While it is not common for us to do international reporting, tonight we have such a story for you. Plus TV's Louis ...

Massive killer bee attack kills dogs
Africanized or killer bees are no strangers to Belmopan and must be avoided at all cost. Yesterday one Belmopan res...

Sports camps for children of all ages
There are only a couple more weeks of summer vacation left and students in the Belmopan area have been taking full ...

Tropical Depression 7 forms in the Tropical Atlantic
All eyes are on a new weather system that has formed in the Tropical Atlantic. The National Hurricane Center in Mia...

Zabaneh's local assets frozen
Courtenay Coye Law firm, which has been retained by John Zabaneh, yesterday issued a release on Zabaneh’s behalf re...

Teen, 17, missing from San Marcus Village
Rosa Caal of San Marcus Village reported that on August 6 at 4:00am her daughter Glenda Caal, a 17year old high sch...

Dangriga implements anti-crime strategy
It is said by the Residents of Dangriga Town that the crime rate in Dangriga has been on the increase. Officer Comm...

15 years for robbery and rape
Leroy Gomez, who was convicted a second time for rape and robbery has booked himself 15 years at the KOLBE Foundati...

Hon. Faber holds over as PM on personal leave
The Office of the Prime Minister informs the public that the Hon. Dean Barrow departed the country today, August 9 ...

Watchman attacked, robbed of cash
On Monday August 6 just after midnight, Police responded to a report of a robbery on Big Creek Road in Independence...

The Guardian

Coye Money Laundering Case ends in Victory for FIU
Melanie Coye, Michael Coye and Athlee Matute On New Year’s Eve 2008, Financial Intelligence Unit officials, armed with warrants, collaborated with the Belize Police Department and raided the home of the Coye Family located at #12 Johnson Street. The raid yielded the FIU’s biggest bust as they found sums of cash in different denominations stashed in bags and suitcases. 62-year-old Michael Coye his wife 56-year-old Marlene, and 33-year-old daughter, Melanie Coye were arrested as a result.

“Battery” and Wilbur Gentle remanded for Discharging Firearm in Public
On Monday, August 6th, 26-year-old Brandon "Battery" Smith and 20-year-old Wilbur Gentle appeared before Magistrate Dale Cayetano where they were charged with discharging a firearm in public. They pleaded not guilty to the charge but because the offence is alleged to have been committed with a gun, they were denied bail and were remanded to prison until September 24th.

Guilty of terrorizing the Black Rock Lodge
Guatemalan nationals, Marcos Javier Chiquin Molina, 49, and Geronimo Cortez Gonzales, 42, were found guilty on Thursday, August 2nd, for terrorizing the Black Rock Lodge.

Ricardo Blanco found naked off Feeder Road in Orange Walk
When a missing Orange Walk resident, Ricardo Blanco, 35, a construction worker, did not return home from work on Thursday, August 2nd, his family feared the worst. Their worst fear was confirmed two days later, on Saturday, August 4th, when they found him dead on a feeder road some miles out of Trial Farm Village.

Three Men charged with Drug Trafficking
On Friday, August 3rd, Edwin Vacarro, 20, a painter of a North Creek Street address; Ricky Bevans,18, a resident of Justice Street; and Albert Johnson, Jr.,19-year-old resident of Mex Avenue, appeared in court to answer to charges of drug trafficking .

PUP City Council Candidate arrested and charged
PUP candidate for the last municipal elections, Gilroy Usher, Jr., appeared in Magistrate's Court on Monday, August 6th where he was charged for two counts of aggravated assault and a count of harm. He pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared before Magistrate Aretha Ford, who granted him bail in the sum of $3,000. He was granted bail under the condition that he does not take a firearm or any deadly weapon to court when he goes to conduct business there. He met bail and his case was adjourned until September 24th.

Illegal Immigrant removed from Belize
Vilma Marlene Marina Rodriguez Acosta, 41, a Honduran national, who had been residing on Collet Canal for the past four months, has been expelled from the country following a court order on Friday, August 3rd for her removal.

Charged with keeping ammunition without a gun license
Dorian Sutherland, 24, appeared in Court on Friday, August 3rd to answer to charges of keeping ammunition without a gun license.

James Patrick Swan murdered in Corozal
Police are investigating the murder of 30-year-old James Patrick Swan. According to police reports, at around 7:20 p.m. on Sunday, August 5th, Swan stopped in front of Deng’s Supermarket on 7th Avenue in Corozal Town and had a conversation with 38-year-old Ajay Bajay. It was at this time that a male person of dark complexion walked from behind a fence in the area and opened fire upon Swan and Bajay. When police arrived on the scene, they saw Bajay suffering from gunshot wounds to his right hand and left foot. Swan had already been rushed to the Corozal Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead by a medical officer. Swan suffered from multiple gunshot wounds to the right side of the head, chest and stomach area.

Over 400 Children at Gaspar Vega Summer Camp
Participants in the Gaspar Vega Summer Camp The 7th annual Hon. Gaspar Vega Summer Camp concluded on Friday, August 4th, in San Jose Village. The first camp was held 8 years ago for primary school aged children 5-13 years old in the Trial Farm area. Christopher Hendricks, Camp Coordinator, said that a little over fifty youths participated in the first camp and funding was low. He remembers presenting the participants with certificates made on typing sheets. Due to low financial support again, there was no camp in 2005. In 2006, Hendrics approached Hon. Gaspar Vega and shared his idea for the summer camp. Deputy Prime Minister Vega assisted financially and the camp was reborn, this time with 65 participants. The camp grew slightly the following years and in 2009, the Hon. Gaspar Vega decided to extend the camp to the entire division. There were over 300 participants that year. Now, the camp has attracted many more youths and sponsors.

Taiwan Embassy donates towards September Celebrations
His Excellency David K. Wu presents donation to Diane Haylock, NICH President The Republic of China on Taiwan has been one of the major contributors to the September Celebrations every year. This year, it was no different as on Monday, August 6th, His Excellency David K. Wu, Ambassador to Belize from the Republic of China (Taiwan) donated a check for $40,000 BZe. to the Co-Chairperson of the September Celebrations Commission, Diane C. Haylock at the House of Culture.

Prime Minister gives Thanks
The Office of the Prime Minister expresses gratitude that Belize was spared from any notable damage as a result of Hurricane Ernesto.

Medical Tourism: A Potential Money Maker in Belize
In an effort to open the platform for discussion in Belize regarding the possibility of a country-strategy and market creation for medical tourism, key stakeholders participated in a workshop led by Dr. Massimo Manzi of Costa Rica, and the Belize Trade and Investment Development (BELTRAIDE). The workshop took place on Friday, August 3rd, 2012, at the George Price Center in Belmopan.

Chicago Belize Day In The Park
Left to right: Belize’s Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Nestor Mendez, Hyacinth Latchman The 32nd Annual Chicago Belize Day in the Park was held on Sunday, August 5th, 2012 at the Hawthorne Race Course in Chicago, Illinois.

Cattle will be the Latest Formal Export from Belize
David Dycks Cattle Farm “This is the best thing that has ever happened!” “I never thought it would actually come true.” and “This has the potential to increase the numbers of the entire livestock sector in Belize beyond recognition." are only a few of the comments expressed by leaders of the livestock industry about the cattle sweep and formal cattle trade to Mexico.

Ashcroft Alliance ordered to settle Compensation for BTL in Belizean Courts
The Belize Court of Appeals handed down a ruling on Friday, August 3rd, in an appeal filed by the British Caribbean Bank Limited (BCBL) against the Judgment of Justice Oswell Legall delivered on December 7th, 2010 and the related order dated January 26th, 2011 made in favour of the Hon. Attorney General and the Government of Belize.

$40 million Arbitration Award for Ashcroft not valid in Belize says Court of Appeals
In December 2010, the Ashcroft Alliance had claimed a major victory against the Government of Belize when it got a judgment by Justice John Muria in the Supreme Court in Belize. The judgment basically gave the Ashcroft Alliance the right to enforce a 40-million-dollar arbitration award, which it was given by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) on August 20th, 2009. That award was related to the vaunted Accommodation Agreement which saw the former PUP government make numerous concessions to the Ashcroft Alliance. The final award stood at $40,843,273.34 as well as 206,248 pounds in arbitration costs and other legal and professional costs amounting to $2,960,735.69. The award was to have incurred annual interest at a rate of 3.38%

Alamilla’s/MOE and Tuff “E” Nuff tie at Two Games Apiece
Greg Rudon scoring 9 points against Tuff “E” Nuff The 2012 Interoffice Basketball League Competition will come to an end on Friday, August 10th, at the Bird’s Isle here in Belize City when the 5th and final game in the championship series will be played between Tuff “E” Nuff and Alamilla’s/MOE. The final game in the championship series became necessary when Alamilla’s/MOE defeated Tuff “E” Nuff by the score of 69-62 on Friday, August 3rd, 2012, at Bird’s Isle. The top scorers for Alamilla’s/MOE were Brandon Rogers with 23 points and 4 rebounds; Kurt Burgess with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal; Kevin Lorenzo and Greg Rudon with 9 points each. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Tuff “E” Nuff were Keith Acosta with 22 points and 6 rebounds and Stephen “Muerte” Williams with 9 points and 5 rebounds.

Telemedia at Central American Softball Championship
The Belize Softball Federation will have representation at the Central American Senior Female Softball championship scheduled for August 9-13th, 2012 in San Jose, Costa Rica by the National Softball Champions, Telemedia. The Telemedia Softball Team is scheduled to leave the country on Thursday, August 9th and will return on Monday, August 13th, 2012. Telemedia will see action against El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the host country Costa Rica.

Champions Cup enter into Final Round
The 2012 Belize City Champions Cup entered into its championship round on Sunday, August 5th, at the MCC Grounds here in Belize City. In game one of the championship series, Belize Defence Force Football Club blasted West Lake Football Club by the score of 7-1. The goal scorers for the BDF Football Club were Harrison Tasher in the 1st minute of play; Marlon Meza with 2 goals in the 9th and 86th minutes of play; Lisbey Castillo in the 33rd minute of play; Byron Usher in the 40th minute of play; and Shane Flores in the 84th minute of play. The second game in the championship series will be played at a later date.

Vega’s Cup Tournament 2012 opens
The 2012 Vega’s Cup Tournament, which is sponsored by the Hon. Gaspar Vega Deputy Prime Minister of Belize and the Orange Walk North Representative opened on Sunday, August 5th with the Marathon Competition out in Santa Cruz Village. The Marathon competition was declared opened by the Hon. Gaspar Vega, who gave all the teams participating in the competition 2 footballs. This year’s competition will feature 16 teams including: Santa Cruz FC (defending champion), Old School FC, San Antonio Jaguars, Otro Benque, New River Dynamites, Barrio Boyz, Blackwater FC, Untouchables FC, Athletics FC, San Roman FC, San Luis FC, San Jose Pumas, San Jose Survivors, San Pable FC, San Juan FC and Douglas FC. Meanwhile, the 2012 Marathon competition was captured by Old School FC while the host village Santa Cruz FC placed second. At the end of the Marathon Competition, both teams received a team trophy; while Old School FC was given back $150.00 from its registration fee while Santa Cruz FC received $100.00 from its registration fee. The regular competition is scheduled to commence on Sunday, August 12th, at the Trial Farm Football Field. At the end of the competition, the champion will receive $3,000.00, a team trophy plus each player will receive individual trophies. The 2nd place team will receive $2,000.00, a team trophy and each player will receive individual trophies, the 3rd place team will receive $1,000.00, a team trophy and individual players’ trophies, while the 4th place team will receive $500.00 and a team trophy.

Jaguar killed and skinned in Caledonia
Residents of Caledonia pose with slaughtered jaguar and Jaguar is skinned for its hide On Sunday, August 5th, a group of hunters from the village of Caledonia in the Corozal District went out on a routine hunting expedition. While the group was looking for game meat, they ended up with quite a kill when they shot and killed a mature male jaguar.

Bye Bye Ernesto !!! Or Is It?
Sunday morning most of the weather models agreed that Tropical Storm Ernesto’s destination was somewhere between Belize City and Corozal Town. There were a few naysayers. Nevertheless, Ernesto’s flirtation with Belize is over! Or is it? Belizeans were having none of that, and like Hurricane Dean of 2007, Ernesto moved on to wreak havoc on the quiet lovely Mexican Town called Mahajual. At 9:00 a.m. August 8th, 2012, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) declared the ALL CLEAR for entire Belize. In our organization, we were aware of the likelihood of Ernesto well in advance of its announced formation and immediately commenced our planning for the eventuality. This advantage allowed us to be super ready and the implementation of our hurricane plan was smooth and almost flawless. I sure hope that most Belizeans, businesses, and organizations hurricane plans were implemented with the same or better efficiency. I had the privilege of volunteering to go back to my old office and assist in the preparation of flood forecasts for Ernesto. We got out two forecasts to NEMO. Despite the elapsed time between these forecasts and my last, I believe we did a fair enough job. The National Meteorological Services forecasts and radar images were very useful, not only to us and other Belizeans, but to our neighbours and the Miami and Atlanta-based hurricane experts as well. Did you see Weather Channel using Belize’s radar images? Congrats to the NMS and NEMO. As we all know, it rains and then it floods. The actual rainfall causes the floods. The weather advisories were saying that Ernesto would dump 4 to 8 inches of rain, and at times up to 12 inches. All the rainfall numbers are not in yet, but I think it is safe to say we did not get the rain. I was praying for the rain over the Macal River. It would have increased the reservoir level at Chalillo, interrupt traffic over the San Ignacio low-level bridge and the residents would have been upset, but BEL would have been happy. Rain over the Guatemalan portion of Mopan watershed was just enough to cause a slight rise in river levels, and it appears that there will be no floods on the Mopan. No flood on the Macal River and a ripple on the Mopan River, a very small ripple, if any, will pass through the Belize River Valley. Then after all, Ernesto passed over the Northern Districts and there is where we should see flooding. So far the rains have caused a small rise in levels on the Rio Hondo near Blue Creek, Santa Cruz, San Antonio, San Roman, and Douglas Villages. This increase is expected to continue over the next two days, but no flooding is expected. The New River as usual does not respond to small amounts of rain and is expected to rise slightly and will not flood as result of rains associated with Ernesto. Surprisingly, the much removed Monkey River responded to rain from Ernesto’s feeder bands and has increased to above its normal level for August and is expected to continue to rise to below flood levels. Most of the rivers in the south, though affected by Ernesto’s feeder bands, did not get enough rain to cause any flood events. So it looks like BYE BYE ERNESTO!

Subsidize Tertiary Education: Should it be FREE? The Case of the University of Belize (UB)
There has been much in the news, because the Government announced, through the Minister of Education, that come January 2013, certain obligations to students will be discontinued. Education is pivotal to the development of our country, but we must be mindful that if we disregard the lower levels, then the foundation will be weak and students in tertiary level institutions will be underdeveloped, where pedagogical, critical thinking and problem solving skills are concerned. The recent budget allocates some 25% of total expenditure to education, but let us not forget that the many expenses that must be incurred to ensure QUALITY education. UB is now 12 years old and since the transition from the University College of Belize, the question must be asked, “How much of its total expenditure is subsidized by government?” Is the cost so outrageous that it excludes many potential students from acquiring an Associate or Bachelor’s degree? There seems to be a level of misunderstanding by students, when it was announced that certain fees will no longer be met. There was nothing said about government no longer subsidizing costs with the $10 million grant per year, which benefits the over 4,500 students, who attend UB. This grant ensures that UB does not have to increase tuition to pay its faculty and staff, develop programmes, or spend on infrastructure development. Five years ago, the government agreed to absorb the fee increase, because it was determined that the notice period was not satisfactory for students parents to make budgetary changes. There was an agreement that government would pay the increase for a finite period of time (6 months) after which students would pick up the cost. The truth is that present students will still be subsidized, but new students will meet the fee payments themselves. We must be mindful that the government further subsidizes the cost of education through scholarships. This does not mean that the students go for free; government must pay UB for the tuition and cost for those students.

Orange Walk Town NOT impacted by Ernesto
As early as 9:00 on Tuesday night, tropical force winds were felt in Orange Walk Town. By this time, hurricane shelters across town were already occupied by a few. Earlier in the day, Orange Walkenos were making last minute preparations in the event that Hurricane Ernesto could pose any serious threats, though just a few had taken measures to and secured their houses. Stores across town closed later in the day so as to allow employees time to prepare for the effects of Hurricane Ernesto. Later in the night and unto morning, the winds picked up, but still posed no threat to human life. At the break of dawn, the sky was dark in Orange and the rain was momentarily accompanied with gusts of winds which posed no threat to human life. People living in several areas in town have since reported that there were no damages or floods in their respective areas. Of note is that during the early development of the depression, Orange Walkenos were closely monitoring the system, and were being properly informed via the local news and by updates from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The Reporter

Editorial
A report published this week by the Center for Teenage Mothers, an adjunct organization of the NGO Youth Enhancement Center (YES), states that the number of teenage pregnancies in Belize jumped by 16.1 percent during the five years from 2001 to 2005, from 1,303 in 2001 to 1,513 five years later. No stats have been provided for the period 2005 to 2010, but if the growth rate of teenage pregnancies remained constant, we can say with some degree of certainty that in the decade that just ended, teenage pregnancies in Belize grew by 3.2 percent a year. This translates to 15,553 teenage pregnancies for the 10-year period 2001 to 2010, and that’s not counting abortions. The Government’s website lists the population of Belize today at approximately 320,000, and a graph showing population trends indicates that the growth rate has been sliding to a steady decline from 2.75 percent a year in 2001 to 2.06 percent a year in 2010. So while the rate of growth of the general population is declining, teenage pregnancies are rising.

Businessman Gilroy Usher Jr. arraigned on aggravated assault charges
Gilroy Usher Jr., 32, the owner of a Belize City pawn shop, and an executive member of COLA, was offered $3,000 bail after he pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and harm against Police Constable Edgar Poot, when he appeared before Magistrate Aretha Ford on Monday, August 5. He was also charged with aggravated assault against Magistrate’s Court bailiff Gabriel Casey. The incident occurred in Casey’s office at the Magistrate’s Court building around 12:25 on Friday afternoon, August .

James Swan II executed in Corozal
Corozal police are yet to establish a motive for the execution-style murder of James Swan Jr. in Corozal Town last Sunday night, August 5. Swan died almost immediately after he was shot twice in the head and three times in his chest and torso; as he stood talking to Ajay Bajay, 38, in front of Deng’s Supermarket, on Seventh Avenue. Swan was the son of the well-known James “Raindrops” Swan Sr. He lives in an area of Burrel Boom known as Fresh Pond. According to police, the hitman apparently waited in ambush for Swan, coming from behind a fence near the supermarket and firing several shots as he approached.

The people matter most !
In September 2008, the United States and several other countries suffered a serious economic body blow that practically froze the entire financial system. Dubbed as the global economic crisis, the fiscal fiasco came in like a tidal wave that drowned major financial institutions in an ocean of immense debt. It engendered a massive rate of unemployment; cost millions of pensioners their pensions; depositors and investors lost their money, which in some instances was their life savings; forced several businesses to close their doors, in many cases for good; and, to top it off, left thousands of homeowners on the streets.

U.S. blacklists John Zabaneh
Three Belizean businessmen, John Angel Zabaneh, 57, his nephew Dion Zabaneh, 38, and Corozal based businessman Daniel Gonzalo Moreno, 39, have been designated by the United States Department of Treasury for their alleged association with the powerful Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel.

Court of Appeal decision trashes LCIA $40 million “Settlement Deed”
A ruling handed down on Friday, August 3, by the Belize Court of Appeal, has taken the Government of Belize off the hook to the tune of some $40 million dollars, from a ruling that BCB Holdings Limited and the Belize Bank Limited had secured from the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) with respect to a Settlement Deed signed by former Prime Minister Said Musa.

GOB’s ‘Super Bond’ options
The Government of Belize (GOB) has proposed three debt-restructuring scenarios for the so-called “super bond” and the first option, Scenario A, if accepted by bondholders, could very well push back the bond’s maturity date to 2062 from 2029 – a difference of 33 years.

Money Laundering Case
The four-year $1.5 million money-laundering trial of Michael Coye, 65, and his daughter, Melanie Coye, climaxed when Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin sentenced them to three years in prison on Wednesday, August 8.

Leroy Gomez gets 15 years for rape and robbery
Convicted rapist Leroy Gomez, 25, will spend the next 15 years of his life in prison, Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas ruled on Wednesday, August 8.

UN rapporteur defends Caleb Orozco’s human rights
Caleb Orozco has become the most recognizable face of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), which is the group leading the debate for human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people; and now a Special Rapporteur of the United National High Commission for Human rights has stepped in to champion his cause. Frank La Rue and Margaret Sekaggya, special rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the situation of human rights defenders, have written to the government of Belize, through Belize’s ambassador to the U.N., to request information on the progress (or lack thereof) of the police investigation into the attack on Orozco, in which someone threw an empty beer bottle at Orozco’s head on George Street on February 8 this year, bruising his face and damaging his teeth.

Ernesto spares Belize! Farmers & CFZ hit.
Every cloud has a silver lining and no one in Belize wanted to question the Almighty when hurricane Ernesto skirted the northern districts of Corozal and Orange Walk to make landfall near Mahahual in the neighboring Mexican State of Quintana Roo on Tuesday night, august 7. While there was no loss of life and very little property damage, Ernesto hit Corozalenos where it hurt most, in their pockets. Hardest hit were the merchants of the Corozal Commercial Free Zone, for whom the summer months are a boom time when Mexicans have summer vacations, and many excursions of shoppers come to the CFZ seeking bargains. So it was a bitter pill when they had to close up shop and allow their staff to go and secure their homes against the approaching storm. But there would be even fewer daytrippers from Mexico which was also threatened by the storm. The Zone remained closed through Wednesday, until the National Emergency Management Organization issued the all-clear, allowing for the CFZ to re-open on Thursday, August 9. While conservative estimates say CFZ lost $250,00 for each day it was closed for business; others peg that figure closer to a million dollars per day.

Honey a sweet treatment for kids’ night-time cough
Instead of reaching for a commercial medicine when your child is coughing through the night because of a common cold, Israeli researchers suggest giving honey a try. A teaspoon or two of honey before bedtime can safely relieve the symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection, they report. “The cough due to a viral [upper respiratory infection] is generally a self-limited disease,” said study author Dr. Herman Avner Cohen, chairman of the Pediatric Community Ambulatory Care Clinic with Clalit Health Services in Petah-Tikva, Israel.

Living without lies will make you healthier
For good health, be sure to eat fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly and speak the truth always. A Notre Dame researcher is hoping this k advice will someday take hold, based on results of a “science of honesty” study she completed that showed tangible mental and physical health benefits among those who significantly reduced their everyday lies. Half of 110 participants were told to stop telling major or minor (“white”) lies for 10 weeks, while the other half (the “control” group) was given no special instructions about lying.

Corozal Ambush wins Belikin 3×3 basketball championship
The Corozal Ambush won the right to represent Belize at the FIBA 3×3 Basketball World Tour in New York on August 18 – 19, after winning the Belikin Open Men’s 3×3 Basketball Championship Finals held under the auspices of the Belize Basketball Federation at Jamborees in Belize City on Saturday, August 4. Jason Grant posted seven points as he and Benedict ‘Big Ben’ Terry led their teammates Marcell Richards and Alton Herrera to a 15-10 victory over the Orange Walk district champions, UB Jaguars men: Farron Louriano, Winston “Air Jun” Pratt, Darren Bovell and Ryan Zuniga. The Jaguars tied the game at 10-10 with three minutes left on the clock, but ‘Big Ben’ played big D, snagging rebounds to deny the UB men any more points.

BDF drills Westlake 6-1 Champions Cup football final
The Belize Defence Force drilled Westlake 6-1 in the first game to the championship finals of the Champions’ Cup Football Competition at the MCC grounds on Sunday, August 5. Harrison Tasher and Marlon “Matador” Meza led the BDF offensive, supported by Byron Usher and Ralph Flores on the wings, and Lisbey Castillo and Richard “Cheety” Jimenez at midfield. Westlake’s defenders Jose “Shaggy” Caceres, Kishane Pech, Shannon Flowers and Stephen Baeza had no time to get settled before Tasher penetrated to embarrass goalkeeper Charlie Slusher with the BDF’s first winning goal in the very first minute of play.

Cuban literacy program has benefitted more than 6.5 million people in 28 countries
Some 6.5 million citizens in 28 nations are no longer illiterate, thanks to the Cuban literacy program known as “Yes, I Can.” The figure surpasses all statistics reported by other similar programs implemented thus far around the world.

Blogs

A pleasant surprise
I was enjoying a couple of days up north at Grand Caribe this past weekend and got a pleasant surprise while walking the beach with Cowboy Doug on Friday afternoon – Coconut Leo. If you know me well you know my all time favorite drink besides iced coffee is fresh coconut water – if I could have it on tap I would. As soon as we spotted him in the tree I asked Cowboy if he had any spare gallon containers so we could support the local Belize economy. Coconut Leo charges $10 a gallon, if you see him on the beach I highly recommend picking up a gallon or two, one for now and freeze one for later. Jose jr one of the resort staff was helping Coconut Leo as he cleaned the coconut trees and making sure that no one was injured by falling coconuts. Guests at Grand Caribe Resort got a big kick out of watching Leo do his coconut tree climbing acrobatics and enjoyed tasting pure coconut water right out of the coconut. Coconut water is a source electrolytes and many nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, folate and a number of B vitamins. B-1 found in coconut water. Vitamin B-1 converts blood sugar into energy, which helps improve endurance and fatigue. Vitamin B-6 increases the serotonin levels in your brain, which helps regulate your mood. Read more about Natural Properties & Health Benefits of Coconut Water on one of my favorite health websites – Livestrong. Coconut tip – Freeze fresh coconut water in ice cube trays to add to your tropical drinks, as the ice melts it gives a delicious flavor to your drink instead of watering it down. Coconut water recipe – Add coconut water to your rum punch for a nice flavor. For parties I make it in a 1 gallon water container and usually throw in some pineapple juice, coconut rum, Caribbean rum and fruit squash as well. Cowboy and I added it to our white rum and cranberry for a nice change.

No Liquor Served During Hurricane Ernesto in San Pedro: Is it a Problem?
San Pedro, Belize's economy revolves around tourism. No one can deny that. I'd say that everyone who makes a living on this island does something directly or indirectly related to attracting visitors and making sure they have a good time when they are here. That often involves the consumption of a cocktail or ten. Over the last few days (I'm not sure if you heard!) we have been dealing with Category One Hurricane Ernesto. Only a few days ago, it was projected to make a direct hit to our island. We got lucky and it veered north. But a full hurricane warning (the highest level of alert) was declared and we saw plenty of heavy winds and rain. As part of the hurricane warning, NEMO (our emergency board both locally and countrywide) declared a ban on the sales of alcohol. A few have suggested that this ban is ridiculous. Are the powers that be suggesting that we will all go out and get plastered because there is storm coming? (I'll admit...I was tempted) Shouldn't tourists who have spent their hard earning money to visit be able to enjoy a Pina Colada while waiting out the storm? Well...no...and...I guess so...but... Bottom line: The ban is in place to keep everyone safe. To keep tourists and locals in their houses during this type of weather rather than out on the streets bar hopping. To let us all know that this is SERIOUS. The ban is nothing new. In fact, our neighbors in Mexico do the exact same thing. Plus, we get plenty of warning...if you know that you will want a few glasses of wine during the storm, you can go buy a bottle before the ban goes into place. And this ban isn't just enacted during hurricanes. Belize has a tradition of "dry days" for safety reasons and for respect. Election Day is alcohol free in Belize as is Good Friday until the evening mass is completed.

How to Travel With Kids
Entertainment options: The more options you have for your child to keep busy the better. This can include a DVD player and their favorite movies for the flight or coloring books that they can color. The key is to find small, compact and easy to pull out as fast as you can when a possible meltdown is on the brink. These will help entertain and keep your child busy and happy. Snacks: No one likes to travel on an empty stomach, be sure that your child has a full meal in their bellies before boarding. Pack several yummy snacks to prevent any complaints. Things like granola bars and crackers are filling and delicious without spoiling their dinner. Keep an emergency stash of their favorite candy for the worst case scenario. Security: Whether your child has a favorite stuffed animal or clings on to a blanket for comfort, don’t forget it. Children find comfort and security in these items when they are unfamiliar with something. Bring their prized possessions and allow them to carry it with them. Timing: Time your flight or car ride around their cranky times. Every parent knows when a child is not at their best, typically right before or right after nap time. Plan to board a flight at their happiest part of the day. Flights and cars are a great way to lull a child to sleep. So trying booking a flight at their bed time, typically less people fly on these flights and the chances of your child sleeping through the whole flight are greater. Make it fun: The reason why children aren’t good travelers is because they don’t understand what is going on.Flying can scare them because of the unfamiliar noises and the air pressure on their ears is uncomfortable. Your goal is to explain to them everything going on and make it a game. If you stress, they will stress. So keep it fun and positive!For a smooth flight and travel itinerary, be prepared by packing the essentials listed. Remember to make it fun and time it just right! Happy and safe travels!

After Ernesto has left …
The real damage that any Tropical Storm and or Hurricane creates is the loss in tourism. It is catastrophic and even more so in the month of August our expected ‘high season’ the time when you are suposed to be ‘banking’ money for the upcoming slow season. Ernesto only real damage, like 99% of the storms that we are affected by (both meaning even hit or at some point within the projected path) was the loss of tourists. The scaremongering that is created with the media hype and ignorance of accurate information (perpetuated on the most part by those who have no stake hold in the industry), causes future tourists that intended on coming to Caye Caulker to change their plans without any need to at all. If anyone would feel sorry for us in any way, feel sorry for that – not the life threatening winds, which were never at any point life threatening, even if the storm hit head on!!! Yesterday the island ‘un-packed’ and set back up all bars, restaurants, dive and snorkel shops – back ready for business this morning! The packing and un-packing process is time consuming. Each and every time you pack your items away to safety knowing the exercise is almost completely unecessary as you know the storm will not actually do any damage, however, the one time you do not prepare yourself, is the day that one of these storms do actually hit – namely Hurricane Keith 2000!

Belize Mega Bingo Results For (08 August, 2012)
Straight Line 100.00 Each (6 Balls) 70 ­43 ­25 ­51 ­59 ­3­ Y 125.00 Each (14 Balls) 70 ­43 ­25 ­51 ­59 ­3 ­21 ­64 ­11 ­56 ­19 ­5 ­48 ­41­ Inside World 1000.00 Each (18 Balls) 70 ­43 ­25 ­51 ­59 ­3 ­21 ­64 ­11 ­56 ­19 ­5 ­48 ­41 ­66 ­32 ­39 ­54­ T 150.00 Each (23 Balls) 70 ­43 ­25 ­51 ­59 ­3 ­21 ­64 ­11 ­56 ­19 ­5 ­48 ­41 ­66 ­32 ­39 ­54 ­1 ­42 ­49 ­17 ­63­ Letter X 750.00 Each (24 Balls) 70 ­43 ­25 ­51 ­59 ­3 ­21 ­64 ­11 ­56 ­19 ­5 ­48 ­41 ­66 ­32 ­39 ­54 ­1 ­42 ­49 ­17 ­63 ­74­

International Sources

Belize’s bond: not so super after all
Belize’s so-called superbond has not proved to be a super investment proposition. The country has set out proposals on how it might restructure the bond, which bundled together several old debts (hence its name) and the ideas have been greeted with horror by investors. Essentially, the government wants to reduce the principal of the bond by almost half while extending the maturity by 13 years, according to one of the proposals. Interest rates on the issue, at 8.5 percent this year, could be cut to a flat 3.5 percent. Or investors could accept a 1 percent rate that steps up to 4 percent after 2019. Markets had been expecting a restructuring ever since Prime Minister Dean Barrow said in February the country could not afford to keep up debt repayments. The bond duly fell after his comments but picked up a bit in recent months after Barrow assured investors the restructuring would be amicable. Investors holding the bond are now nursing year-to-date losses of 24 percent, according to JP Morgan. There’s worse. If the government sticks to its original proposals, says Stuart Culverhouse, head of research at brokerage Exotix, the principal of the bond, currently at $544 million, could fall under $500 million. That will push it out of the main bond benchmark for emerging markets, JP Morgan’s EMBI Global, and would trigger automatic selling by funds benchmarked to the index. Culverhouse predicts that the bond, now trading at 42 cents on the dollar, will fall eventually to the low-20s. It started the year just over 60 cents.

Fishing in a sea of climate change
Research funded by Norway's government and research council is examining how fishers in Belize cope with social and environmental change. It is part of the Many Strong Voices programme which helps marginalised people help themselves to deal with climate change. Fishing communities in Belize face many climate change challenges. They depend on the sea and coral reefs for food and income. They face changing storms, higher water temperatures, and rising sea levels. As with Norwegian fishers, climate change is not the only challenge. Fuel and food prices are increasing. Tourism opens up lucrative opportunities, yet increases dependency on outside whims. Belize is heavily indebted. Consumerist lifestyles dictate increased demands on natural resources. These multiple difficulties hit home when spending time on a fishing boat, to see the fishers' day-to-day lives on the sea and to talk to them about what they face.

Deforestation accelerates in Belize
Deforestation in Belize has accelerated since late 2010, reports a new satellite-based assessment of the tiny Central American country's forest cover by CATHALAC (the Water Center for the Humid Tropics of Latin America and the Caribbean). The analysis used NASA Landsat-7 imagery to compare forest cover between early 2010 and early 2012. It concludes that Belize's forest cover fell from 62.7 percent to 61.6 percent during the period, a decline of 25,264 hectares. The annual loss of 12,632 ha is more than a quarter higher than the rate observed between 1980 and 2010, when deforestation averaged around 10,000 ha per year. A technical report detailing the analysis will be released soon according to CATHALAC. A 2010 study by the group found that most deforestation between 1980 and 2010 occurred outside protected areas, where land is being converted for agriculture and plantations.

Tracking forest loss on the Guatemala-Belize border
The endemic border dispute between Guatemala and Belize is no longer the unique fuel that drives the two countries’ popularity.