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The San Pedro Sun

Alexya Perez makes San Pedro proud!
Former student of San Pedro Roman Catholic Primary School Alexya Vida Perez made the island proud after graduating with honors from Saint Catherine's Academy (SCA) on Sunday June 3, 2012. During her four years at SCA the 17 year old graduate excelled and maintained high marks that earned her the gold sash for the ceremonies. Out of the 135 students she ranked eighth cumulatively for eight semesters. She majored in business science with a special interest in economics for which she got first place honors. Apart from academic excellence, Alexya blazed thru SCA with several extracurricular activities. She became the head prefect, President of the Peer Helpers, served as second vice president of the student council and in 3rd form she was elected President of the SCA Student Council.

San Pedro Police and community leaders participate in domestic violence workshop
The Human Development Office through the Women's Department partnered with the San Pedro Police Department in conducting a two-day workshop. The training took place on the 5th and 6th of June upstairs of Fido's Courtyard. The purpose was to get members of the Police Department as well as community leaders who deal with domestic violence more familiarized on what the different forms of domestic violence are. The workshop focused on the Domestic Violence Act and what are the responsibilities of the authorities in dealing with domestic violence cases. The workshop was facilitated by the Human Development Coordinator in Women's Department Cynthia Williams as well as Makesha Suazo. Some 16 police officers attached to both Caye Caulker and San Pedro police departments as well as community members of both communities attended the training. According to Williams the participants studied and carefully analyzed the four different types of domestic violence as it relates to the laws of Belize. The participants also looked at the role of the police as well as the procedure to follow when responding and investigating the cases of domestic violence.

Three San Pedro dancers join Belize Contingent for "Festivals Du Sud"
Three San Pedro residents will become a part of the Belize's contingent to tour Europe for two months during the "Festivals Du Sud". The team of 25 participants, including dancers, technicians, and musicians are scheduled to leave the country on July 4th and return on September 11th. Joining the contingent from San Pedro are Emily Gomez, Roxana Bradley and Liliana Nu�ez. The "Festivals du Sud" is an annual festival that occurs during the summer months of July and August and attracts participants from around the world. Joining the Belize contingent are delegations from 45 different countries including Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Spain, Ukraine, Argentina, USA and 38 other countries. Participants in the festival must have a complete ninety minute show prepared and agree to participate in parades with music, street entertainment and, if necessary, shorter programs without deviating from their vitality or artistic quality. The groups selected must be accompanied by live music as the use of recorded music is not accepted.

Belize joins the world in celebrating World Oceans Day
Belize will join the rest of the international community in observing World Oceans Day on Friday. This year the focus is on getting young people involved in the global effort to conserve the world's oceans. The theme for this year's observation is: Youth: the Next Wave for Change. At the forefront for ocean conservation effort locally is Oceana-Belize. Executive Director Audrey Matura Shepherd told Love News that conservation of the ocean is very important to our very survival. "We know, we grew up saying oh we just have the Caribbean Sea but that sea is a part of a larger ocean and so we use the word ocean, but it doesn't mean that only the oceans, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans we're talking about. Any tributary that's connected, all that body of water, it's important for us to protect it because we like to believe that, oh if something happens in one part of the world it won't affect us. It affects us worldwide for example, when there was the spill in the Gulf of Mexico we found that whale sharks that have been tagged in Belize were going in that area and whale sharks are a value to our tourism industry. People go to Gladden Split yearly between the months of April to about May June to try and see these and pay for it. So if there's an inter connection and people need to understand that I need to do my share to protect my little part because my little part is part of a bigger one.

Boat capsizes at sea
The San Pedro Sun can confirm that there was an accident at sea shortly after 11AM on Thursday June 7th. The boat involved in the incident belongs to a local tour operator that was chartered by Ramon's Village Divers. Information is still shortcoming as the incident was unreported to all the relevant authorities, but according to multiple sources, the boat along with some divers, overturned outside of the reef off Ambergris Caye. The incident occurred near the Tuffy Channel, directly in front of San Pedro Town. The San Pedro Sun attempted to speak to several of the tourists but they would only say that "the boat capsized and everything is fine". We understand that no one was hurt except for a few tourists that received bruises and were being attended to at the dive shop.

San Pedro Councilor Wally Nu�ez filed his declaration of financial affairs
Councilor Gualberto "Wally" Nu�ez of San Pedro Town Council has filed his declaration of financial affairs to the Integrity Commission of Belize as required under the Prevention of Corruption Act in Belize. By law, all those people in public life are required to disclose their financial status which includes assets, income and liabilities within three months of taking office. On June 6th, 2012 Councilor Nu�ez visited The San Pedro Sun office with a copy of his declaration and all supporting documents which was addressed to the Secretary of the Office of the Integrity Commission. When asked why he felt it necessary to disclose his declaration to the public, Nu�ez said, "The issue of transparency as it relates to the prevention of corruption act and the declaration was a major issue leading to the election in 2012. I promised the electorates that I will be transparent and as such it is my obligation to show not only San Pedro but Belize that I have nothing to hide," said Councilor Nu�ez.

Two San Pedro teenagers missing for 5 days in Belize City
Two teenagers from Ambergris Caye have been missing for the past five days, and the family fears the worst. They are seventeen year old Edwardo Daniel Alamilla and his cousin eighteen year old Charlie Jamille Espat both fishermen of a San Pedrito Area address in San Pedro Town. They were last seen on Saturday June 5th around the East Collet Canal Area of Belize City, by Charlie's younger brother 15 year old Kareem Espat. According to the police, Kareem and Charlie Espat and Edwardo Alamilla were travelling in a dark green Suzuki four-door pickup truck with Texas license plates from Benque Viejo Town to Belize City. They were scheduled to meet with some friends who live on George Street in Belize City. Kareem, the youngest of them all, decided to jump out of the vehicle near the Belize City Bus Terminal (formerly Novelo's Bus Terminal) and instead took the boat to San Pedro Town. Kareem told police that it was the last time he saw his brother and cousin.

Mid morning traffic accident in San Pedro Town
There was a midmorning collision on Laguna Drive in San Pedro Town on Thursday June 7th, 2012. The accident involved a blue Yamaha motorcycle driven at the time by 30 year old Nelson Pacheco of San Pedro Town and a beige rental golf cart driven at the time by US national 29 year old Mark Anthony Hanrahan of Alabama. According to San Pedro Police, sometime around 10AM on Thursday, they were called to the scene of an accident on the northern end of Laguna Drive. Upon arrival they observed the front end of a blue cycle tangled with the golf cart in the middle of the road. Also observed was a thirty foot braking trail which appears to be that of cycle along the center of the road. A small imprint from the breaks of the cart was also observed.

Ambergris Today

Rebecca Stirm Eliminated from Mission Catwalk Show
Belize's young fashion designer Rebecca Stirm was eliminated from the Mission Catwalk Competition in episode 11 of the Jamaican reality television show that aired last night June 5, 2012. The designer had won four challenges, was never in the bottom ranking and was in the lead in the show; viewers were shocked in the turn of events that lead to her elimination. Winning this episode was Ryan Chan of Trinidad. After a taste of victory with his first win last week, Ryan Chan of Trinidad has won yet another challenge on Caribbean fashion reality series Mission Catwalk; a win which qualifies him for some enviable prizes including the chance to show at London Fashion week. His scores also put him in the top three ranking which means he will be showing at Caribbean Fashion Week this Friday!

Trawling Ban Grants Belize a Nomination for Award
International award celebrates solutions to save oceans and coasts - Hamburg/Montreal/Washington D.C./Rome, 6 June 2012: Belize is on the list of nominees for this year's Future Policy Award. It has been nominated for its Statutory Instrument Banning Trawling in Territorial Waters (2011). The Future Policy Award celebrates policies that create better living conditions for current and future generations. It is granted by the World Future Council, an international policy research organization that provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. Each year the World Future Council chooses one topic on which policy progress is particularly urgent. In 2012, the award is dedicated to exemplary coastal and ocean policies. Thirty-one outstanding policies from 22 countries and regions have been nominated. The nominated polices range from national ocean policies, marine protected area programs and integrated coastal zone management plans to policies regulating fisheries, trade in marine products, marine litter and land-sea interactions.

Misc Belizean Sources

Lightning Storms Cause Power Outages in Areas Across the Country
Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) advises customers that, with the onset of the rainy season, customers may experience weather-related power outages, as has been experienced in several areas across the country during the past week. Recent severe lightning storms have caused damage to transformers and other electrical equipment on BEL's transmission and distribution systems in the Toledo, Cayo and Belize Districts, resulting in power interruptions to customers in those areas. Repairs and replacement of equipment on the transmission line supplying the Southern Zone, which were damaged during a lightning storm on Tuesday night, required an emergency 3-hour power outage for the entire Stann Creek and Toledo District on Wednesday morning

Dive Boat Capsizes at "Tuffy" Channel
Tragedy and misfortune was averted with the quick action of a boat captain, his diving crew and dive shop personnel as they immediately rescued several tourist divers who happened to find themselves wading in open waters outside the reef after their dive boat capsized. Rough sea conditions were the cause of a capsized boat just outside the reef in the popular dive spot known as the Tuffy Channel (break on the reef) that is located right across downtown San Pedro. The incident occurred close to midday, today, June 7, 2012.

Coca Cola National Spelling Bee is Tomorrow
The National Spelling Bee is tomorrow is tomorrow, Friday the 8th, at 9:30 in Countryside Park in Spanish Lookout. Good luck to all contestants. Thanks go out to Coca Cola for sponsoring this great event.

Yoli's Pizza has a new Website
Yoli's Pizza has a new website. Who's hungry for pizza? Robert Gurnsey and Alissa Pulido did a wonderful job.

VIDEO: Juni Mobile -1.0 (The Belizean SIRI)

Channel 7

PM Says Ailing Wife Suffered "Heart Failure"
Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned home today after 10 days away. As has been widely reported, he was in Miami, at his wife's bedside. Kim Barrow was rushed to the emergency room on Monday May 28th with heart failure. She was placed in the intensive care unit for three days, and released from the hospital over the weekend. And even though she has been stabilized, today, the Prime Minister explained that the worry about the cancer has receded into the background - because her heart has been seriously damaged. Here's how he explained the series of difficulties:.. Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "It's been a rough week but certainly once she got out the hospital and started looking and feeling much better, naturally my spirits also rose, but it's going to be tough going forward. As you know she sustain heart failure - severe damage to the heart and that we've been told by the doctors is incurable, so it's a matter of trying to manage things as best we can and as best the doctors can. But she is feeling well enough at the moment and I am certainly grateful for one again the tremendous out pour of support from people here at home."

One Man, One vehicle Detained In Jasmine Lowe Investigation
Tonight, Cayo police have one person of interest detained and a vehicle impounded in the Jasmine Lowe murder investigation. Details are not being given out at this time because the police say the investigation is still at a preliminary stage. As we reported last night, a post mortem could not determine the cause of death due to the advanced state of decomposition. It also could not determine whether the child had been carnally known - again, due to decomposition. She was found fully clothed, with her clothing intact. But what we do know is that the apparent murder of this 13 year old girl has created a wide imprint of grief across the Cayo district, and indeed, across the nation. Tonight we revisit some of the known fact - and explore some of the more nuanced ones - as we all look for answers in the disappearance and death of Jasmine Lowe: Jules Vasquez reporting On Monday afternoon at around 2:00, Jasmine Lowe got into an eastbound taxi here at the foot of the Hawkesworth Bridge on the Santa Elena side of the Macal River. Strange, because she was heading west to her mother's house on Bullett Tree Road.

Lawmen Remanded For Alleged Credit Union Robbery
On Tuesday, we told you about 29 year old Police constable Oswald Young, 26 year old Constable Zachario Cuz, and 31 year old BDF Corporal Romel Elijio who were formally arrested and charged for the robbery of the Toledo Teacher's Credit Union Branch in Bella Vista Village. Well tonight, we've confirmed that they are at prison. They were arraigned and remanded yesterday, but they were transferred from Dangriga to the Belize Central Prison this morning, where they will remain until their next court date. As we reported, at 8:30 on Monday, 3 men using military style assault rifles and a pistol, robbed the credit union of over $34,000 dollars. Quick police response lead to the detention of the men on the Southern Highway, and the money was recovered. As a result, the men were then detained until they were formally charged on Tuesday.

Inattentive Cops Let Accused Man Escape
The Police Department is breathing easier tonight after cops captured 22 year David Flowers, a prisoner on remand for burglary, who simply walked out of the Magistrate's Court today. Yes, that's right, for a man who is on remand, Flowers slipped out of court and fled the area. Here's how it happened: At 9:30 this morning, Flowers was escorted in handcuffs to the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith, along with other prisoners by the police court orderly. His handcuffs were taken off, as is the norm when any accused is brought to court from remand to face his or her trial. Chief Magistrate then started the morning session, and when she finished with all the adjournments, she asked the police prosecutor about Flowers' trial, and if the virtual complainant was present. She then asked to take a brief adjournment while she prepared to start the trial. One by one, the 5 or 6 police officers, who were present, started leaving the court room to do other duties, which resulted in only 2 officers remaining behind to secure Flowers: the police prosecutor, and another officer.

3 weeks ago, we told you about Oceana Belize's lawsuit against the Government of Belize, in which it was contesting several of the oil contracts which the Ministry of National Resources issued between 2005 and 2007. The contracts which Oceana Belize wants GOB to void includes the ones issued to Island Oil Belize Limited, Tropical Energy Limited, PetroBelize Company Limited, Princess Petroleum Limited, Providence Energy Belize Limited and Sol Oil Belize Limited. Today, Attorney Godfrey Smith, who is representing Oceana Belize, and Crown Counsel Henry Panton, who is representing GOB, appeared before Justice Legall to present arguments on an application by COLA and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage. These 2 organizations wanted to join Oceana Belize as co-claimants against the GOB. Instead of dealing with that application, the court was greeted with an application by Panton to strike the matter out completely. Panton submitted that the court should hear this strike out application first because if it was successful, then whether or not these NGO's can join Oceana then becomes a non-issue. Justice Legall, at Smith's urging, decided to grant the application for the NGO's to join the litigation. He also ruled that the court will give Smith and the claimants enough time to properly respond Panton's strike-out application.

The Art of The Text, Or Big Business On Small Keyboards
Last week we showed you how the texting craze has overtaken the everyday lives of teenagers, but it's not only teens who are buying up all those bundles. Business people are also catching on to the texting thing. And it's no idle fancy, no waste-of-time pastime. There are distinct advantages to texting for business. Robin Schaffer found out more when she visited some big business people who love the small keyboard. Here's her report:.. Robin Schaffer reporting With as many as 3 million texts sent every day, it's not only crazed teens and star-crossed lovers who are sending all those texts. Market research by the phone companies show that the demographic with the most disposable income - business people between 40 and 60 years old are becoming increasingly adept at sending text messages and attuned to the benefits of doing so.

PM Says IMF, IDB On Board With Superbond 2.0
At the top of the newscast, you heard the Prime Minister speak about his wife's serious heart condition and her ongoing battle with stage 3 breast cancer. But, while tending to that dire medical situation had him abroad for the past 10 days, there are also pressing domestic matters. First, he told us today that he plans to present the long - delayed budget on June 22nd. The second is the restructuring of Belize's debt. As has been widely discussed, the government, led by Ambassador for Economic Affairs Mark Espat, has been working on Superbond 2.0. But, it's kind of like selling kitchen knives to Samurai swordsmen, so the process is progressing, delicately, we gather. And so how does another downgrade for Belize's bonds - which came earlier this week from Moody's investor service - affect things? The PM told us today that it actually helps:.. Jose Sanchez, Channel 5 News "The recent Moody's downgrade. Does that play any role what so ever?" Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister "Well, it's helpful. If fact indicates why there is a downgrade and the reason is precisely because we have made clear that the bond needs to be restructured - that we cannot pay at the current rate. So that's actually an assist to our cause preparing the bond holders for what lies ahead which at bottom is a requirement that there be some form of debt relief. I can't get any more into the details."

Conservationists: Labouring Creek Was Compromised
Earlier this week, we told you about the trenching of a canal right through a wildlife sanctuary in Central Belize. Specifically it is the Labouring Creek Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary which was set aside in mid 2010. Running along the banks of the Belize River the sanctuary is an important forest link for wildlife, including the jaguar. Now, Land on the west side of the Sanctuary has been privately purchased for sugarcane production. An Environmental Impact Assessment has been submitted to the Department of the Environment. But, the EIA has not yet gone to public consultation, nor has it been approved by the National Environmental Appraisal Committee. Nonetheless, a drainage canal fifty metres wide and almost two miles long has been trenched out through the middle of the Sanctuary. Conservationists from the Environmental Research Institute at the University of Belize and its international partner, Panthera issued a statement today to say the canal will disrupt the movement of most of the 22 species of large- to medium-sized mammals known to occupy the region, and will damage the functioning of the corridor.

Boat Capsizes, No One Hurt
This morning a boat capsized just off San Pedro, but, fortunately, none of the passengers were hurt. The San Pedro Sun reports that the boat belonged to a local tour operator on San Pedro, and that it was being chartered by an island resort. According to the Sun, the boat was in the Tuffy Channel, just off San Pedro, when it overturned with the divers. Everyone was able to escape the overturn unharmed, except for a few bruises, and as a result, the incident was not formally reported to the police. The owner of business also refused to comment to reporters.

Bees Create Mid Afternoon Chaos In City
Today Africanized bees were terrorizing pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicycle riders on Regent Street. It started this morning when a man was trimming a mango tree in a yard beside the old Western Union building. That was when he was attacked by a swarm of Africanized bees that had built a nest on the second story of the building. He was rushed to the Belize Medical Associates Southside clinic across the street and has already been stabilized. But that's not the end of that story. The bees, angered from the disturbance, attacked passers-by for the rest of the day. Those on bicycles tried to swat away the insects as they rode past. As for the pedestrians, they swatted at themselves as they rushed into the clinic, seeking refuge from the onslaught. Finally, after much runaround, a resident was able to call a retired agricultural officer who, as of 2:30 today, was still trying to get the nest down.

The Coastal Zone, A Big, Bird's Eye View
Today a summit was held called "The State Of The Coastal Zone." It's a two day event which is bringing together a broad range of users, specialists, researchers and authorities to form a singular panoramic view of what's happening all along the coastline. Organizer Nicole Auil Gomez told us about the larger vision:.. Nicole Auil Gomez, Organizer, State Coast Summit 2012 "This is an opportunity for experts to discuss the updates that are happening along the coastal zone of Belize including the cayes and coastal areas within inland. We discuss issues related to habitat, species, management, protected areas, finance, public relations, legislation, so it's really an overview of the development activities and things that are related to the coastal zone and it's to inform one another and also to draw information out from those that are working in the field and those that are not working in the field who can give outside perspectives." Hon. Lisel Alamilla "We have a draft coastal zone plan that we want to gather more information from the people participating at this meeting so that we can complete that plan."

OCEANA Raises the Alarm For Oceans Day
And while that summit is being held to coincide with World Oceans Day - so is a documentary being presented by OCEANA. It's called "The End Of The Line," and it challenges viewers to imagine an ocean without fish. According to Oceana, if humans keep depleting the ocean's resources, by 2048 we won't have to imagine. To educate Belizeans on the dangers of overfishing and lax conservation methods, the documentary outlines the devastating effects humans have had on marine life, and possible steps that can be taken to mitigate these effects. It will premiere in Belize tomorrow evening - free of cost. Hipolito Bautista, Communications and Marketing Officer for Oceana, told us more about the documentary. Hipolito Bautista, Communications Marketing Officer - OCEANA "It's a powerful documentary that features over fishing commercially and globally. As you know the oceans and our seas are our food source and food security and it pretty much is showing that it is not an inexhaustible resource that we have."

Soldiers Who March To Their Own Drum
Carrie Bow Cay is one of the many small islands dotting Belize's coast, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in rich ecosystems in which animals have evolved in interesting ways. One such specie is the Caribbean hermit crab. Hermit Crabs occupy shells of snails, scallops and oysters. Some even occupy driftwood, pieces of glass and stones. As these animals grow, they must occupy bigger shells, so they are constantly on the lookout for larger homes. Around 1000 of these scuttling scavengers live on the island, which is less than an acre, and with so many jam-packed into such a small space, they've had to create an interesting social network.

Tonight's profile is about Ashley Rocke. You may know him as the Pastor at the Lake Independence Baptist Church or as the former union leader at BEL. But, what you probably don't know is that Ashley grew up in Taylor's Alley - and was put out of his house by his stepfather the day after his mother died. But he persevered and in tonight's profile, he tells us how:..

Channel 5

Doctors say Simplis Barrow's heart failure incurable, but manageable
Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned from Miami this afternoon. He spent the last two weeks at the side of his wife Kim Simplis Barrow, who experienced complications relating to breast cancer treatment. The chemotherapy and related drugs damaged her heart which is down to fifteen percent of its strength. Radiation treatment has been discontinued and [...]

Barrow speaks candidly about country and personal situation
If all goes according to plan, in two weeks Kim Simplis Barrow is scheduled return to Belize. Her mother stayed behind while the Prime Minister returned to matters of state. An outstanding budget presentation and a looming bond payment are major issues facing the prime minister. We asked the PM how he fares with the [...]

Barrow, Bond and Budget to be read on June 22nd
The budget for the financial year 2012-2013 should have been presented and debated to take effect on April first. But it has not been tabled in the House of Representatives as yet. The Prime Minister says it's coming up for full ventilation in Cabinet for presentation later this month. As to the Superbond, the bond [...]

P.M. says talks with B.E.L. lawyers and Lord Michael Ashcroft
A large part of the country's future debt is tied up due to the nationalization of two utility companies. The debts to the former owners of Belize Electricity Limited's and Belize Telemedia Limited are in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Regarding the companies, the PM says that the government is about to enter discussions [...]

Clues into murder of 13 year old Jasmine Lowe
The reaction to the murder of thirteen year old Jasmine Lowe has gone from disbelief to devastation to anger. Jasmine, a vivacious young girl, left her father's house in Santa Elena, Cayo on Monday and after midday on Wednesday, her body was found on the Cristo Rey Road. A post mortem was unable to determine [...]

Belizean murdered in Quintana Roo
A newspaper report in neighboring Quintana Roo says that a Belizean has been found dead in the Cocoyol Area, which is across the border. He has been identified as one Jose Rodriguez and is believed to have been killed on Monday night by a co-worker. The body had seven chop wounds, including to his head [...]

2 San Ignacio teens missing
There is growing alarm over two missing teenage cousins from San Ignacio. Seventeen year old Edwardo Alamilla and eighteen year old Charlie Espat have been missing for five days. The cousins reportedly left San Ignacio en route to Belize City in a dark green SUV with a California License plate. The family says that a [...]

Seaduced vessel and passengers flip during rough sea
A group of divers traveling in a vessel chartered by Ramon's Village Dive Shop are tonight lucky to be alive following a boating accident which occurred a mile and a half from San Pedro Town, off the coast of Ambergris Caye. This morning, shortly after eleven o'clock, a thirty-seven foot boat, the property of Seaduced [...]

COLA and Coalition join Oceana suit against Government
Just in time for World Oceans Day, which is celebrated on Friday, Oceana got welcomed news from the courts today. An application for COLA and the Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage to join as interested parties in a case against the Government, challenging offshore drilling contracts between 2005 and 2007, was granted today. The [...]

Escaped prisoner caught as he stepped off a bus
Have you ever heard of the great escape? Well, twenty-two year old David Flowers, also known as David Dougal staged and executed his escape when he was taken to the Magistrate's Court. Around nine-thirty this morning, Flowers was escorted to court where he was to stand trial for Burglary. He was left unattended briefly as [...]

Maud Williams Court refurbished for the youths
The students of Maud Williams High School were overwhelmed with excitement today as they christened their newly refurbished basketball court. It's the work of Youth For the Future; particularly the Manager of the Violence Reduction Unit, Kirk Augustus. Augustus did his internship at the High School when he working on his Bachelor's Degree in Counseling [...]

7th Annual Belize Film Festival
The seventh annual Belize International Film Festival is set to open with a bang in the next few weeks. For the first time, a locally produced film, '2012 Kurse a di Xtabai' is scheduled to open the weeklong festival. While the anticipation of the Belizean movie is one thing, there will be a record breaking [...]

Coastal Zone Summit covers from 2003 to 2011
The complexities of the state of the marine coastal environment are quickly evolving so an integrated plan that will incorporate various sectors is under discussion among key stakeholders of the environment. A first report was carried out in 1995 with periodic updates thereafter by the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute. The reporting, however, was [...]

Healthy Living patches up the first aid kit
With the hurricane season now in effect, the sharing of information on hurricane preparedness has moved up to the front burner. One item that every family should keep on hand is a first aid kit. But what do you include in the kit? Healthy Living has useful tips.   Marleni Cuellar, Reporting A first aid [...]


It has been forty five days and counting since residents of Cristo Rey village have been without running water in the community. A busted water pump has rendered the village's rudimentary water system inoperable. On Wednesday night, the Cristo Rey Water Board held a community meeting to update the villagers on what is being done to restore the water supply. Alfredo Guerra is the chairman of the Cristo Rey Water Board, and he told Love FM's Patrick Jones that it will be a while longer before the broken water system is fixed. ALFREDO GUERRA, Chairman of Cristo Rey Water Board "So according to what we discuss tonight we're just going to wait and see what will happen tomorrow and chairman of the village, Jovanni Montalvano, is going to have a meeting and we'll just have to wait and see what will happen tomorrow." PATRICK JONES, Reporter "I was told, last week that a pump had been secured and was just waiting to be shipped to Belize. What happened to that? ALFREDO GUERRA, Chairman of Cristo Rey Water Board "According to what I know, somebody from US have arrived here in Belize they had a meeting last night and we are waiting but according to - you see the people tonight, so we're just going to move as quickly as possible."


Missing 13 Year Old Murdered In San Ignacio
Tonight the Belizean community is in shock and mourning the death of 13 year old Jasmine Lowe, a student of Santa Elena Town who was reported missing on Tuesday June 5th. The decomposed body of the missing teenager was found in the bushes near a farm on a feeder road off the main road in Cristo Rey Village in the Cayo District. Yesterday morning, the child's mother, 32 year old Cosmetologist of Bullet Tree Road Marisol Lowe reported to police that on Sunday her daughter arrived at her home for her usual weekend visits since she lives with her father Christopher Lowe. On Monday June 4th both mother and daughter left home and parted ways on Bullet Tree Road. While Marisol proceeded to work, Jasmine headed back to her fathers home in Santa Elena Town expecting to return to her mother's work that same evening to get her nails done to go the Queens Jubilee in Belmopan. But Jasmine never got her nails done or much less made it to the Queens Jubilee. In fact reports are she was last seen alive near the low lying wooden bridge in Santa Elena getting into a white taxi. According to the father of the child there are video clips that show the child entering the vehicle. Jasmine left her fathers house at 2:00pm after helping him with some chores. Her father believes that she took the taxi since she was tired and all indications are that the child might have known the driver of the vehicle. Jasmin's mother reported to police that around 2:00 she sent a text to her daughter's phone asking her if she was still coming over to get her nails done, but there was no response.

Four Streets To be Upgraded In Orange Walk
The Mission of the Belize Social Investment Fund is to equitably and adequately respond to the human development needs of the poor and vulnerable population in Belize in order to enable every citizen to fully develop, flourish and function in his or her maximum potential. Through the World Bank, the Belize Social Investment Fund secured financing for the Belize Municipal Development Project. Five million dollars have been allocated for Orange Walk Town to improve access to basic municipal infrastructure and to enhance the service delivery and municipal management. According the Orange Walk Town Mayor Kevin Bernard, phase one of the project will see Small Scale Infrastructure Investments in particularly four streets within Orange Walk Town. Kevin Bernard, Mayor Orange Walk Town "In that first phase we recommended several streets. We ended up from, I think, six streets to about four streets. During the discussion that we have been having with them and with the SIFF representatives we were made to understand that we wouldn't have been able to meet the four streets either because the cost had gone up. The initial per council was $800,000, in the case of Orange Walk. The counterparts' funds that the council had to pay were $24,000. All of that was already dealt with. Now, a few weeks ago we were made to understand that the World Bank has agreed that they will do the four streets that we wanted to do but that would incur us more. It would cost us $1.1 million so we had to inject a farther amount of money into this project. What is happening now is that we now will include the four streets which are the San Ignacio Street, the second half of Santa Familia Street, a portion of Tangerine Street, and Avelis Lane."

2011/2012 Crop Season Ends June 7th row
Sugar accounts for 60% of Belize's agricultural export and is considered the backbone of the Belizean economy. The 2011/2012 crop season, which is scheduled to close tomorrow at 6:00pm, started off on the right track this year and progressed exceptionally. On the first week of crop this year the factory milled a total of 32,867 tons of cane producing 2,889 tons of sugar which was a good indication of how the year would turn out since last years beginning saw a milling of 30,071 tons of cane and 3,068 tons of sugar. During this season's 22nd week, the factory had a record breaker as it milled 7,800 tons of cane. That was just over the 7,400 tons of cane per day which was the factories requirement. The latest figures for week 26 show that the factory milled 32,360 tons of cane producing 3,366 tons of sugar. By the 26th week of crop the factory had milled a total of one million 45 thousand six hundred and 17 tons of cane producing one hundred and twelve thousand four hundred and sixty four tons of sugar. We will have the final figures of the season in Monday's newscast.

Tourism Centre Inaugurated In Orange Walk
The Orange Walk District is not commonly known as a hot spot for tourists but serious investments are being made to curb that scenario. Today the Belize Tourism Industry Association in conjunction with the Belize Tourism Board officially inaugurated the Tourism Information Centre here in Orange Walk accommodated by the Central Park. CTV3 News' reporter Hipolito Novelo and Cameraman Kenrick Simpson were present for the cutting of the ribbon this morning and filed the following report. Hipolito Novelo, Reporting The Tourism Information Centre here in Orange Walk opened its doors about two weeks ago but it was officially inaugurated today by the Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB). According to the Chairperson of BTIA Orange Walk Chapter, Osmany Salas, the centre is a long awaited achievement. Osamy Salas, Chairperson BTIA OW "It's a big achievement for us but we consider it as just a beginning. Out visitors information centre will play multiple roles. It is a base of operations for the work of our chapter. It is a one stop shop for our visitor's information for anybody like foreign visitors who want to know what Orange Walk and the north wants to offer. We eventually hope that it will be a place to display the works of our local artisans, crafts people and authors."

Exhibit At BHOC Pays Tribute To Father Of The Nation
George Cadle Price was born on January 15th 1919 and passed away on September 19th of 2011. Price was the first prime minister of Belize and is considered to have been one of the principal architects of the country's independence. He is today referred to as the father of the nation for his various contributions to Belize. In his honor, the Banquitas House of Culture has opened an exhibit to display his work and input into the countries development. Cindy Rivero, Assistant coordinator BHOC "We have a new exhibit up it is called George Price a Visionary leader we are having this exhibit which will run from now until June 15th and all the information that you are going to see is of our Leader George Price. We have pictures, newsletters, information and lots of things that is from him so it is a lot of information that the kids especially can learn a lot from." The plan behind the initiative is to educate Belizeans about the history of the father of the nation, his work and achievements.

Belize Represented In 42nd OAS General Assembly
The forty-second regular session of the OAS General Assembly which got underway on Sunday June 3rd ended today in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This year the General Assembly was convened under the theme "Food Security with Sovereignty in the Americas". The theme of the OAS Assembly was a point of convergence of the vision shared by all the countries in the region regarding the need to adopt measures to improve the food security situation in the Americas. There was general agreement among all the delegations of the OAS member states concerning the importance of making a healthy diet more accessible to the most vulnerable sectors of Latin American and Caribbean society. During the assembly Belize was represented by a delegation led by Honorable Wilfred Elrington Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs. Other members of the Belize delegation included His Excellency Alfredo Martinez, Senior Ambassador of Belize to Guatemala, H.E. Nestor Mendez, Permanent Representative of Belize to the OAS and Ambassador of Belize to the United States of America, and Ms. Kendall Belisle, First Secretary at the Embassy of Belize in Washington, D.C. During the OAS General Assembly the Belize delegation met with the Secretary General of the OAS, H.E. Jos� Miguel Insulza, the British Secretary for South America, and with the Foreign Minister of Guatemala.


Jasmine Lowe's home-going: A PlusNews special
Plusnews will take a moment to honour young Jasmine Lowe. She was a young girl full of promise but her life was sad...

Belmopan hospital in medical waste disposal dilemma
The disposal of medical waste by the Western Regional Hospital is being considered as environmentally unfriendly an...

Jasmine Lowe's death leaves a void her community
The sting of Jasmine Lowe's death is fresh on the minds of residents as the communities of San Ignacio and Santa El...

Kim Simplis Barrow on murder of Cayo teen: Preventative agencies in the works
The Following is excerpts of a statement issued by Mrs. Kim Simpliss Barrow, Special Envoy for Women and Children "...

Covert survey being conducted in Belmopan
The Central Statistical Office (CSO) normally spearheads population and market surveys for Government and public an...

Belmopan Baptist High School gets new classroom
The Belize Natural Energy Charitable trust was instrumental in the construction of a very much needed classroom uni...

Deadline for declarations of assets gets extension
As we told you yesterday, the deadline for submission of assets by all members of The House, Senate and members of ...

Prisoner escorted to court, calmly walks out before trial begins
He left officers holding the hot seat and even being investigated, after he manage to calmly walk out of the Belize...

Police Department receives enormous donation
The Central American Regional Security Initiative - CARSI - is a US Government initiative to invest 105 million US ...

The Guardian

San Ignacio Tourism Development Project nears Completion
From the middle of 2010, The Sustainable Tourism Program began to Artists rendition of completed project in San Ignacio advertise various contracts that will see tourism developments in 4 major tourism destinations. The program will improve tourism infrastructure on the Placencia Peninsula and village, San Ignacio; San Pedro, Ambergris Caye and Belize City. After the tendering process was completed, work in all areas commenced and in San Ignacio, the work has moved apace and is nearing completion. Christy Mastry, project director of the Sustainable Tourism Development Project explained to The Guardian that the project is worth 2.7 million dollars and will see improvement on what was known as Coronation Park in downtown San Ignacio as well as the upgrading of Burns Avenue, which is also in the heart of the town. The project, says Mastry, will see development of 2 and 1/2 acres of land on which a tourist welcome center, two small business areas and four vending spaces will be constructed. The area will also have a large stage and amphitheater with seating spaces. Buses will also be able to unload passengers in the area and allocations are being made for bus operators to sell tickets as well. Parking areas are being constructed for private parking and for taxi operators. Restrooms and other amenities will also be put in place.

Diplomacy for Security - Addressing Tensions at The Western Border
On Friday June 1, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar along with Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado; Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan and General Manager of the Border Management Agency Gonzalo Rosado visited the offices of the Organization of American States at the Belize Guatemala Border in Benque. The team was greeted by the OAS Office Director Sergio Benitez.

Foreigners ruled out in GOB's Search for a Police Commissioner
The Belize Police Department has ways to go before it regains the confidence of the Belizean people. However, they have made some strides. Recently, the department has shown a willingness to go after its own and, when they do, they do it hard. Perhaps, it has been a double edged sword. The public sees more officers being arrested and the perception of corruption within the department increases. Also, officers see their fellow "squaddy" being treated like a common criminal and their morale drops even lower. However, Hon. John Saldivar, Minister of Defense, is not a man that leads based on perception or emotions. He has established a zero-tolerance policy on corruption within the force and the leaders of the department have governed by that policy.

Hon. Manuel Herredia to Break Ground on San Pedro Boardwalk
On Thursday, June 14, Hon. Manuel Herredia Jr, Minister of Tourism and Culture, will officially break ground on the San Pedro Sunset Boardwalk and Water Taxi Terminal. The project was opposed by a few property owners and users of the area upon introduction. However, subsequent consultations led to an all-clear for the project, which includes a waterfront development to be constructed along the 66 feet of public frontage stretching from its intersection with Caribe�a Street southwards towards Buccaneer Street. It also includes the reclamation and rehabilitation of the football field and the introduction of a new International Water Taxi Terminal on the Lagoon. Since a full Environmental Impact Assessment has been completed, there should be no more delays to the project. Construction will take sixteen months to complete. The project will cost a little more than $5.5 million dollars and it falls under the Sustainable Tourism Program ,which is funded by the Government of Belize through a loan for US$13.322 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Following the Construction Launch and Ground Breaking Ceremony, members of the media will accompany Minister Heredia on a FAM tour of the Bacalar Chico Site, where he will conduct a tour of the visitor center and the existing structures.

$1,000 Cash Prize for Best September Celebrations Theme
The National Celebrations Commission has started its search for a theme for the 2012 September Celebrations. The Commission is inviting all Belizeans living at home and abroad to submit their ideas for the theme of the 214th Anniversary of the Battle of St. George's Caye and the 31st Anniversary of Belize's Independence. Diane Haylock, President of the National Institute of Culture and History and Chair of the Celebrations Commission, said that the theme for the September Celebrations should build hope and galvanize Belizeans to take on the challenges that face us in the 21st Century. Applicants must also keep in mind that 2012 is the year of the Mayas and they are a significant part of our past, present and future as a nation. In a release, the Commission stated, "The 21st September is recognized as the International Day of Peace. As a result, the theme may also include reflections capturing the contributions of Belize's many cultural groups to the national development as well as ideas about peace and aspirations for our country." The winner of the chosen theme receives a cash prize of $1,000. The theme should not be more than ten words long. Last year's theme was "Honoring our History, Celebrating our Culture, Uniting for Peace." Submissions can be emailed to the Commission at [email protected] . The deadline for submissions is Friday, June 15.

New Resource Center for Sandhill Village
The Sandhill Community Centre will be renovated and converted into a resource centre (L-r) Hon. Edmond Castro, Ms. Vanencia Gongora, Sandhill Village Council's Chairlady and SIF's Daniel Cano, break ground for the new Sandhill Recouce Centre Hon. Edmund Castro, Area Representative for Belize Rural North and Minister of State in the Ministry of Works and Transport, broke ground on the Sandhill Resource Center Project on Sunday, June 3. Over 400 students in Sandhill Village will soon be able to enjoy the latest computer technology and Internet service to do their school work in a pleasant environment. The initiative is part of a government project that aims to rehabilitate the village's community centre into a fully equipped resource centre that will serve the students, who currently have to go as far as Belize City to do their research due to the lack of computer and internet resources in the village.

Queen Elizabeth Humbled by Diamond Jubilee Celebrations
Ceremony in honour of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee His Excellency Sir Colville Young, Governor General of Belize, hosted a grand ceremony in honour of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee on Monday, June 4. The ceremony followed the building and lighting of a beacon by the Scout Association of Belize. Many made their way out to the Governor General's Field in Belmopan to take part in the extremely special occasion. Cecilia Neal Flowers, the Queens Diamond Jubilee Beacon Scouts Coordinator, said, "With the building and lighting of the beacon, Belize joins a community of countries across the UK and the globe that are commemorating the Queen's Diamond Jubilee."

Profiling Politicians
It was quite the spectacle as the leader of the opposition was seen profiling as the government of Belize broke ground in Dangriga for the start of work on the Belize Municipal Development Project in that municipality which will see the upgrading of the market. He should have been ashamed to show his face there after all he had absolutely nothing to do with the project. The effort was one which was solely done by the government of Belize. In fact, the financing comes from a loan from the World Bank. This kind of lending is one that the PUP has absolutely no clue on how to access. They are known to be squanderers and prefer to make loans from private financial institutions at murderous interest rates. For Fonseca to show himself in Dangriga is a crying shame. If it were left to him and the People's United Party, projects like the BMDP would never get off the ground. Their tenure in office has proven that time and time again. They have never cared for the development of the country. It is a great thing however, the UDP does care and is in fact focusing all the government's energies at improving conditions for all Belizeans. The renovation and expansion of the municipal market in Dangriga is one such example. This project will see 1.4 million dollars invested in that municipality and in the end will benefit both the people who use the facilities to make their livelihood and those who visit the facilities to purchase produce. A little advice for Francis, stop profiling on projects you had nothing to do with.

Belize at the 42nd Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States
Belize is being represented at the 42nd Regular Session of the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) being held in Cochabamba, Bolivia by a delegation led by the Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belize. The 42nd Session, which got underway on Sunday, June 3, ends today, June 5, 2012. It was convened under the theme "Food Security with Sovereignty in the Americas." During the inaugural session on Sunday, President Evo Morales of Bolivia proposed a profound analysis and restructuring of the OAS to make it more responsive to the realities of today and to the demands of its member states. In the framework of the OAS General Assembly, the Belize delegation also met with the Secretary General of the OAS, H.E. Jos� Miguel Insulza, the British Secretary for South America, and with the Foreign Minister of Guatemala, among others.

"Education is Everyone's business", Faber tells Orange Walkenos
On May 28, the Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and sports met in Orange Walk Town with education stakeholders including managers, principals, teachers and students at the Gala Lounge. The meeting began at 6:00 p.m., sharp. According to Minister Faber, the purpose of the meeting was to inform the community of the major accomplishments the Ministry has had over the past four years and also to inform what it plans on achieving over the upcoming four years. At the very beginning of the meeting, Faber mentioned that education is "everyone's business" and reiterated the statement throughout the meeting. The implementation of the Teacher's Service Commission, the Education and Training Act 2010, the removal of corporal punishment and the implementation of the 300-dollar student subsidy were among some of the major accomplishments achieved by the Ministry.

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Cops and Soldier charged for Credit Union Robbery
Three law enforcement officers have been arrested and charged following a robbery at the Stann Creek Branch of the Toledo Teacher's Credit Union Branch in Bella Vista Village. The robbery occurred on Monday June 4th and a day later police formally arrested and charged Police constable #510 Oswald Young, 29 years old of Unitedville Village, Cayo District; Police Constable Sachario Cuz, 26 years old of San Marcos Village, Toledo District and Belize Defence Force Corporal, Romel Elijio, 31 years old of Sunflower Street in Belize City. Police have also arrested 26 year old Bernard "Hijo" Linarez, a player on the National football Team, and forty-two year old taxi operator, Nelson Bardalez both of Independence village. On Monday, June 4th, three men armed with high powered rifles entered the credit union demanding money. Two of the men wore masks while the third was unmasked. The men proceeded to enter the credit union's vault and placed over 34 thousand dollars into a green military bag. The robbers also took two nine millimeter pistols along with 15 live rounds after which the men fled in the credit union's 2008 Toyota Hilux pickup truck. In conducting their investigations police were in the Savannah Road area in Independence village where they intercepted an Isuzu Trooper with taxi license plates being driven by Nelson Bardalez. Police conducted a search on the vehicle which was heading towards the Southern Highway. In the vehicle, police found the two police officers and the soldier as well as a green military bag containing 34,064 dollars in U.S. and Belize currency. Police later recovered the Hilux pickup truck on a feeder road off the Savannah Road and Southern Highway intersection.

Belize City Female All Star Softball Games set for June 10
The Belize City Softball Association is pleased to inform the public and all softball fans that the 2012 All Stars games will be played on Sunday June 10, 2012, at Rogers Stadium commencing at 10:00 am. The day will involve two games played between the players selected, a softball throwing contest, a Home Run Derby and some activities for the fans. The highlight of the day will be the presentation of trophies for the period 2008-2011.

"June too soon, July standby, August you must, September remember, October all over"
Professor Gray's June 1, 2012 revised hurricane forecast calls for 13 named storms, three more than his April 4, 2012 forecast However, he maintains that the 2012 season will be near normal. He increased the number of hurricanes from 4 to 5, yet he maintains that only 2 will become major hurricanes. Professor Gray's revised forecast includes the two pre-June storms Alberto and Beryl and reminds us that pre-June activity has little bearing on the remainder of the hurricane season. The 1887 and 1908 hurricane seasons are the only two on record with two pre-June storm formations, the former being very active and the latter normal. Professor Gray forecasts landfall probabilities for the United States. He also forecasts a 39% chance of at least 1 major hurricane (CAT 3, 4, or 5) tracking through the Caribbean. Note the forecast is for at least one but it can be several. This does not help us here in Belize therefore, we must be vigilant. We can use the history to help us prepare for, God forbid, a storm eventuality.

National Festival of Arts Opens in Belize City
Young artists from across the country were ready to parade through the streets of Belize City on Tuesday, May 29, to signal the opening of the National Festival of Arts. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and the parade was canceled. However, that did not dampen the spirit of showmanship in those talented youths. They turned the House of Culture compound into a carnival arena. The National Festival of Arts is now an annual showcase that features the pre, primary and secondary school performers of the year from the district festivals. There are two categories of performers. The junior category includes artists between the ages of five and thirteen years old; while the senior category includes those that are fourteen years of age and older. The senior category is also opened to artists not enrolled in school. The junior performers took the stage at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 30. They had the privilege of being the first to perform on the renovated stage inside the Bliss. Their songs, dances and recitals were extremely well-performed. The seniors will perform at 6 p.m. on Friday night. Entrance for children is $2 and for adults it is $5.

Belize to Participate in Carbon Expo 2012
The Government of Belize led by the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development in collaboration with BELTRAIDE will be participating in Carbon Expo 2012, which will take place in Cologne, Germany from the 30th May to 1st June. The Carbon Expo 2012 is a leading international trade fair and knowledge sharing platform for carbon investments, and clean technologies. This event will bring together project developers, service providers, buyers and sellers of carbon credits, and other public and private stakeholders. The Carbon Expo presents Belize with an opportunity to showcase Belize as an attractive destination for Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) projects and the voluntary carbon market. In addition to showcasing Belize, Carbon Expo 2012 provides the country with the opportunity to attract carbon finance to develop climate-friendly projects and to encourage the transfer of cutting edge technologies and know-how.

Veteran Lighting Technician murdered
On Friday June 1, the body of veteran lighting technician, Rudy Cruz, was found inside his home located at #21 Corner Allan Pitts Crescent and Nurse White Street. Cruz's body was found with multiple stab wounds most of them to the abdomen. Cruz was found after a fellow technician went looking for him as they were to go out on a job at around 6:45a.m. The body was found inside the home on the bed. During their investigation, police found that there was no forced entry into the house and there were no signs of a struggle or even robbery. He was apparently stabbed to death as he slept in his bed. Cruz was the country's foremost theater lighting technician having had extensive training in the field. He was the owner of Belize Institute for Theater Technology (BITT).

Hugh Thomas and 17-Year-Old charged for Burglary
19-year-old Hugh Thomas, 19-year-old Monica Ramclam and two 17-year-olds appeared before Magistrate Hattie Mae Stuart on Tuesday, June 5, to answer to charges relating to the burglary of Genoveva Noble's home. In a report to police, Noble explained that two men burglarized her home on Sunday night, June 3, and stole her keys and other items. Those same men returned around 4 a.m. on Monday morning and held up a 12-year-old at gunpoint while they proceeded to rob the place. Noble was sleeping when she heard the noise. When she checked what was going on, she saw the men stealing her television set, two bicycles, two cellular phones and a fan among other items. Based on a description of the men, police visited a house at #98 East Canal and conducted a search and found all the stolen items except the bicycles. The bicycles were found in an alley beside the house. Everyone inside the house at the time was arrested. Hugh Thomas and a 17-year-old male were charged with burglary. The duo was additionally charged with Monica Ramclam and a 17-year-old female for handling stolen goods. They all pleaded not guilty to the charges. Bail was granted to the two females at $5,000 each. However, Thomas and the 17-year-old male were not as fortunate. They were remanded to the Hattieville Prison until their next court appearance on July 5.

13-year-old killed in Cayo
At around 2 p.m. on Monday June 4th, 13-year-old Jasmine Lowe left her home located at #9 High Street in San Ignacio to get a taxi to go to Mara's Beauty Salon near the Bullet Tree Road thather mother owns. She was not seen since. It was not until Wednesday June 6th at 12:30 p.m., that police in San Ignacio were alerted to the decomposing body of a gir,l which was found a mile and a half on the Cristo Rey Road. An employee of a nearby farm made the discovery as he was making his way to work on Wednesday afternoon. The body has since been identified as that of Jasmine Lowe. Police are now awaiting the results of a post mortem to determine her cause of death but due to the state of decomposition, they believe she was killed on the day she had gone missing.

Darrington Lauriano charged for Gunpoint Robbery
25-year-old Darrington Lauriano appeared in the Magistrates Court on Wednesday, June 6, to face robbery charges. In a report to police, businessman Dorian Usher and Immigration Officer Lindsay Wade said that on Friday, June 1, they were at a tire repair shop on Raccoon Street when two men, rode into the shop on separate bicycles. One of the men said, "Don't move. Take off all your jewelry." One of the men was armed with a handgun, which he pointed at the victims. Fearing for their lives, the men handed over their belongings. Usher was robbed of a gold bracelet valued $600; a gold chain and eagle medal valued $2,000, a gold ring with diamond stone valued $1,000, a diamond ring valued $900 and $900 cash. Wade was robbed of an HTC brand cellular phone valued $680, a green cellular phone valued $390, a Samsung cellular phone valued $125 and a white gold chain and medal valued $2,800. Based on their investigation, police arrested Lauriano and charged him with two counts of robbery. Lauriano was unrepresented in court and pled not guilty to the charges. Bail was denied and Lauriano will be remanded at the Hattieville Prison until his next court appearance on July 9.

Tyrone Meighan remanded for Aggravated Assault
On Tuesday, June 5, 18-year-old Tyrone Meighan appeared in the Magistrates Court before Magistrate Hattie Mae Stuart to answer to a charge of aggravated assault upon 59-year-old Security Guard, Henry Lammey. Lammey reported to police that in the early hours of Saturday, June 2, Meighan was walking through the AES compound where he was on duty. According to Lammey, Meighan pulled out a firearm and opened fire at him and his two watch dogs. Fortunately, he missed. Lammey immediately called the police for assistance. Meighan was later picked up at his Banak Street home where he lives with his mother. Meighan was unrepresented in court. He was additionally charged with discharging a firearm in public and pled not guilty to both charges. Due to the nature of the offense, bail could not be granted. He is remanded at the Hattieville Prison until his next court appearance on July 5.

Junior Girls' All-Star Games to play
The Belize Softball Federation has announced that the 2012 Junior Girls' All-Star Games will be played on Saturday June 23, commencing at 9:30 am at Rogers Stadium. The games which will utilize the "Double Elimination Format" will feature junior girls born between August 1, 1992 - December 31, 1999 from the Belize City, Belize Rural, Cayo, Orange Walk and Stann Creek Associations. The aim is to select the 18 best players to represent Belize at the VII Central American Junior Girls' Championship scheduled for Estelli, Nicaragua from July 28-30, 2012.

Tuff "e" Nuff and CYDP leads 2012 Inter-office Basketball Competition
The Interoffice Basketball League competition continued on Sunday June 3, 2012, at the Bird's Isle in Belize City with three games on the schedule. In the first game played, Belize Telemedia Ltd. edged the Police by the score of 52-50. The top scorers for BTL were Byron Flowers with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals, and Ashley Hemsley and Hector Locke with 9 points each. For the Police, the top scorers were Davis Guzman with 12 points, and 12 rebounds, and Maurice Martinez with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. In game two, CYDP picked up its third win of the competition when it defeated Alamilla's/Ministry of Education by the score of 54-45. The top scorers for CYDP were Marcel Orosco with 15 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists and Jermaine Tillett with 9 points. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Alamilla's/Ministry of Education were Greg Rudon with 11 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists, and Kurt Burgess with 9 points and 5 rebounds.

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene Girls' and St. Martin De Porres Boys are Belize City Primary Schools Champions
The 2011-2012 Belize City Primary Schools Softball Championship came to an end on Friday June 1, 2012, at the MCC Grounds here in Belize City. In the girls' championship game, Buttonwood Bay Nazarene ran all over first time entrant Unity Presbyterian School to up end it by the score of 11-4. The winning pitcher was D'Andra Mc Fadzean and the losing pitcher was Ashonti Carr. In the boys' game, St. Martin De Porres edged Buttonwood Bay Nazarene by the score of 8-7. The winning pitcher was Derrick Menzies and the losing pitcher was Brian Pavon.

Ruperto Vicente on four of Football Districts
The President of the Football Federation of Belize has started a nationwide tour of all football districts. The aim of the tour is to meet with the chairmen and executive of the associations in order to listen to their concerns and recommendation as it relates to football. The president's tour commenced on Saturday June 2, 2012, in Orange Walk with his first stop being the Acuario Sports Bar where he met with Rafael Avila, Chairman of the Orange Walk Football Association and his executive. After the meeting with the OWFA Executive, the president held another meeting with team owners and representatives from Orange Walk. The second leg of the tour took the president to the Corozal District where he met with the Chairman, Frank Sutherland and executive members of the Corozal Football Association, and thereafter with the team owners and representatives of the Corozal Football teams. The tour continues on June 5th in San Ignacio, 7th in Belmopan, 12th in Belize City, 22nd in Stann Creek and 23rd in Punta Gorda.

Belize City Female All-Star Softball Games set for June 10
The Belize City Softball Association informs the public and all softball fans that the 2012 All-Star games will be played on Sunday June 10, 2012, at Rogers Stadium commencing at 10:00 am. The day will involve two games played between the players selected, a softball throwing contest, a Home Run Derby and some activities for the fans. The highlight of the day will be the presentation of trophies for the period 2008-2011.

Editorial: The Game of Leapfrog
Most of us are familiar with the children's game of leapfrog, which involves one child leaping over the bent back of another. The basic idea is that the leaper can spring to a great height by pushing down on the collaborator's back. This analogy has been used to explain how developing countries can leapfrog over the backs of more developed countries to go straight to the newest technologies without having to suffer through the older ones. The best example of this is the way that Africa leapfrogged over land line telephony and sprang straight into the digital age by leading the way in the use of cell phone technology for banking, money transfer and Internet access. It was encouraged to do this precisely because of the inefficiencies and lack of development of its banking and telephony sectors where it had the lowest penetration of land line connections of any region in the world. Belize has been practicing in the junior leapfrog leagues but since our banking and telephony sectors are relatively developed, there is less compulsion to leap higher in this area. However, one sector that might benefit from leapfrogging is education. Consider that the Belizean educational system has many structural problems such as a shortage of trained and effective teachers, the prohibitive cost and short life span of text books, overcrowded classrooms and much more. These are not problems that can be easily or quickly solved but nor are they particular to Belize. In many developed countries, there are significant minorities who do not feel that their educational system works and have turned to the philosophy of home schooling. To make this possible, they have developed a new technology that includes detailed courses that conform to syllabuses, opportunities for online tutoring and selected on-line lessons given by expert teachers. Studies show that home-schooled children do as well or better on standardized tests than their traditionally schooled colleagues; they are more positive about learning and more likely to go on to college even after allowing for other factors.

Another Company drills for Oil in Belize
In January of this year Perenco, an Anglo-French-owned petroleum exploration company, which is based in Guatemalan won the bid to explore for petroleum in a block that was formally held by BNE. The company received the exploration license because of its technical expertise and financial qualifications to do exploratory work in the block. Perenco previously held an exploration license for an area called Block-A and with the additional exploratory block, Perenco now holds an area of 4,018 square kilometers. The added area is some 769 square kilometers.

Diplomacy for Security - Addressing Tensions at The Western Border
On Friday June 1, Minister of National Security, Hon. John Saldivar along with Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alexis Rosado; Director of Immigration Ruth Meighan and General Manager of the Border Management Agency Gonzalo Rosado visited the offices of the Organization of American States at the Belize Guatemala Border in Benque. The team was greeted by the OAS Office Director Sergio Benitez. The team was prompted to make the call since there has been escalating tensions at the Belize-Guatemala border in Benque. On May 25th, there was a flare up at the border as Belize customs officers impounded a 2008 Mitsubishi L-200 Sportero pickup truck that is presumed to have been stolen and operatives tried to take it across to Guatemala through the border. That led to a confrontation between police officers and those attempting to take the vehicle over. This type of scenario has been one that law enforcement personnel have had to contend with on a regular basis as Guatemalans gather on the Belizean side of the border for various reasons.

New Fleet of Vehicles for Police Department
The Belize Police Department received a new fleet of vehicles from the United States Embassy on Wednesday, June 6. The department received 17 vehicles, four highly trained dogs and additional equipment through the United States' Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI). CARSI is a multi-million dollar effort by the U.S. State Department to combat the effects of organized crime and strengthen the rule of law in Central America. According to the United States Embassy, CARSI has committed approximately $16 million to law enforcement personnel in Belize over the past year alone. This most recent donation will improve the department's patrol efficiency and responsiveness. Ten of the vehicles are Ford Ranger pickup trucks. Those will be used in the recently re-zoned Belize City. Elodio Aragon Jr., Assistant Commissioner of Police and Officer Commanding Eastern Division, explained that the Belize Police Department had divided Belize City into six police zones. A patrol crew would cover the entire stretch of one of those six zones. However, the recent increase in criminal activities has proven that the police needs to strengthen their presence on the streets and improve on their ability to respond to reports of crime. Because of that, the department has further divided the six zones into eleven police zones. There will be one patrol vehicle per each zone; making it easier to cover the areas. On Wednesday, Aragon told the Guardian, "We will swarm the hot spots of the city." Additional vehicles alone will not allow the department to maintain the kind of presence needed to "swarm the hot spots". There will also be a change in the work schedule of police officers. Officers will serve twelve hour shifts instead of the eight hour shifts that are being served now.

Flooding in Rural North
Flood waters in the Belize Rural North area spanning from about mile 40 on the Northern Highway to Sandhill Village and into Maskall Village on the Old Northern Highway is severely affecting residents living in that area. The waters are slowly beginning to recede but not before leaving an extraordinary amount of damage in its wake. The Guardian visited the area on Tuesday June 6th and found farmers and residents trying to cope with the devastation of the flood waters. Ramiro Chi is a farmer, who rears chickens and pigs at his farm at mile 36 on the Northern Highway. When we found him, he was wading through knee-high water assessing the damage that his farm sustained. According to Chi, he has lost over 50 layer hens, which, on a weekly basis, would provide him with hundreds of eggs. The flood waters however have killed much of his coop and there is no moving forward yet as the waters remain on his farm. Chi says he also lost a pig while others were under water for the better part of Sunday night as the rains fell in the area. Chi says that he has not yet done an assessment of the damage he sustained but a rough estimate he provided is somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 dollars in damages. The story is similar for Magdaleno Jacobo, who also keeps a farm

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Press Release from the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest Pageant Committee
Pageant fever is high on Caye Caulker right now, and the Pageant committee is in full swing with their preparations for this year's Miss Lobster Fest 2012. Five daring and vivacious young ladies are vying for the title this year and are already in training for what promises to be one of the best pageants yet. The Miss Lobster Fest pageant committee is once again looking forward in working with local national designers. Starting off the show, the ladies will be wearing dresses made by Mr. Emil Alvarez of Emil Alvarez House of Couture, followed by Mr. Gabriel Garcia's Costume designs. The outfit designs and concepts themselves are going to be setting the stage ablaze - just as well as the girls that are going to be wearing them.

The Reporter

'Baby' the abused dog saved by group of animal lovers
Every day man's "best friends" are beaten, neglected, or forced to struggle for survival in Belize. Left in unsanitary conditions with no food or water, they have little hope of surviving as productive pets. But a group of friends have taken on the role of defenders and plan to rescue abused pets, nurse them back to health and find adoptive homes for them in the future. Michelle Rudon, the owner of Genesis Arts, is the spokesperson of the newly formed group. According to her, the number of abused pets is on the rise and those involved in the rehabilitation project are simply concerned Belizeans who love animals and want to see them treated in a humane manner.

Upgrades for the Belize Police Department
The United States Embassy, through the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), handed over more than US$1 million worth of equipment to the Belize Police Department during a short ceremony at the Roger's Stadium on Wednesday, June 6. Among the things received were 17 vehicles, 10 of which will be used for patrol purposes; new bullet-proof vests; computers; minibuses for prisoner transport and community policing initiatives; and even a new vehicle for the scenes of crime unit which has been equipped with over $90,000 of equipment.

San Pedro Airstrip gets $3.7 million upgrade
A $3.7 million project to upgrade the San Pedro Airstrip, undertaken in partnership with Central American Corporation for Air Navigation Services (COCESNA), is nearing completion, Belize Airports Authority General Manager Kenworth Tillett told The Reporter on Monday, June 4.

Sand Hill to get resource centre and library
Some 400 students in Sand Hill Village, will soon be able to use the latest computer technology and Internet services to do their schoolwork, because their village community centre is about to be transformed into a fully equipped resource centre and library. The Social Investment Fund will oversee the project, which the Government of Belize officially launched on Sunday afternoon, June 3.

Duty exemption policies for vehicles
The Belize Trade and Investment Development Services (BELTRAIDE) administers an Auto Policy under the Fiscal Incentives Program of the Government of Belize, which believes it is important to establish and maintain high standards and quality service in the auto industry. Therefore, BELTRAIDE, with extensive consultation with the auto rental industry and key government stakeholders and at the urging of the Government of Belize, has developed an Auto Policy that provides clearly outlined definitions of vehicles under which concession holders may apply.

Why Expand The BPO Industry in Belize?
Have you ever needed customer service and had to call a 0-800 number? Chances are that instead of speaking to someone in America or Belize, you are probably talking to someone in India, Philippines, Costa Rica, or even in Honduras or Guatemala. How has this been made possible? Thanks to globalization many businesses worldwide have been able to outsource certain aspects of their business functions or activities, to countries where the tasks can be done more efficiently, and cheaper. This outsourcing is commonly known to us as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), and it can be categorized into either back office outsourcing, which includes human resources, accounting, pay and bill, or front office outsourcing, which includes customer-related services such as marketing or technical support. In Belize, we are much more familiar with the front office outsourcing, which are all functions executed by local companies such as Transparent BPO, Invictus, Belize BPO, InfoTel, and Ready Call.

Caught with the stolen loot, two cops and a BDF soldier held for CU robbery
Independence Police have detained two police officers, a Belize Defense Force corporal and a taxi driver from the village in connection with a brazen daylight robbery of the Toledo Teachers Credit Union (TTCU) between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 Monday morning, June 4.

Technician Rudy Cruz found dead at home
Belize City Police have made little progress in their investigation of the murder of the country's premier theatre lighting and sound technician, Rudy Noel Cruz, 35, who was found stabbed to death in his home last Friday night, June 1. An early morning visitor arrived to find the door open to Cruz's home at #21 Allan Pitts Crescent, and Cruz dead on his bed, with multiple stab wounds to his abdomen, chest, rib cage, face and hands. Police reported that Cruz was lying in the middle of his bed. There was no reported sign of forced entry to the house, suggesting that Cruz knew his attacker. Cruz was last seen alive at the Princess Hotel and Casino and reportedly arrived home around 1:00 Friday morning. The National Institute of History and Culture (NICH) has characterized Cruz's death as "a great loss to the arts in Belize." He had worked for N.I.C.H. until he formed his own company in 2005, the Belize Institute for Theatrical Technology (B.I.T.T.). Cruz lived alone and was to marry his fianc�, Adelita Samira, on November 17 this year. He is survived by Adelita; his mother Maria Isabel Calderon; father, Ignacio Cruz Santamaria; sisters Araceli Acosta Cruz and Sandra Cruz; brothers Mark Anthony Cruz; Jeffrey Lashley, Jr., and Javier Cruz II.

Girl Scout murdered!
The decomposed body of Jasmine Lowe, a 13-year-old Girl Scout from Santa Elena, Cayo District, was discovered about four miles from San Ignacio Town, shortly after midday on Wednesday, June 6, two and a half days after she went missing. Some farm workers found Lowe's body in Cristo Rey Village, about a mile outside of Santa Elena Town. Police forensic pathologist, Dr. Mario Estrada Bran, finished his autopsy of the body around 6:00 Wednesday evening but was unable to determine the exact cause of death due to the body's advanced state of decomposition. Read More

BBF launches National 3�3 Basketball Tour
The Belize Basketball Federation (BBF) is partnering with Bowen & Bowen Ltd, bottlers of Sprite soft drink and Belikin Beer, to launch the first national 3�3 men's basketball tournament, with senior and under-18 categories. Belikin Brewery will sponsor the senior division, while Sprite will sponsor the U-18 category, with a total budget of $35,000 for the tournament, to cover the cost of officiating, transportation, and equipment. Read More

Escapee recaptured
David Flowers aka David Dougal, 22, an accused burglar, who was on remand at the Belize Central Prison, escaped from inside the Chief Magistrate's courtroom on Thursday morning, June 7. But his freedom was short-lived. He was recaptured within two hours as he climbed off a bus on the Northern Highway, while attempting to make his way to Ladyville. Policemen took him back to court the same afternoon, where the magistrate promptly sentenced him to six months in jail. The Chief Executive Officer of the Kolbe-managed Belize Central Prison, Earl Jones, confirmed that the remanded prisoner was handed over to the police, because he had a court appearance for the beginning of his trial for burglary. Left briefly alone in the courtroom while the police prosecutor went to check on something, Flowers got up and walked calmly out of the courtroom and out of the building. Read More

Sugar company jumped the gun - DOE says
Green Tropic sugar company promised to bring as many as 700 jobs to the Cayo district, when they acquired 7,000 acres of land near More Tomorrow to plant sugar cane and build a sugar factory with plans to start grinding cane in three years time. But they hit a snag when they began to dig a massive irrigation canal to bring water from the Belize River to the field they plan to cultivate with sugar cane.

Pay your fine or do time
Ninety days after the double election of March 7th, many of the elected officials still have not complied with the Prevention of Corruption Act, which requires that they file a disclosure of their assets with the Integrity Commission. This requirement includes all city councilors, town councilors, the Senate, the Speaker of the House, and the members of the House of Representatives. Belizean businessman Robert Lopez, Chairman of the Vision Inspired by the People political party, raised this issue in a letter to the media on Thursday, June 7th. When The Reporter checked with the Integrity Commission in Belmopan, a Miss Estellita Chan answered the phone and said she had waited until she received a list of all the elected officials from the Elections and Boundaries Commission, but that she had then duly sent out letters to each newly elected or re-elected official informing them that they were required by law to file a list of their financial assets with the Commission.

St Martin De Porres boys win Belize City softball championship
The undefeated boys of St Martin De Porres RC School won the championship finals of the Belize City primary schools softball competition: 8-7 over the hitherto undefeated boys of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene school at the M.C.C. grounds on Friday, June 1. The St Martin De Porres boys led 4-2 when Glen Arzu, Clency Lopez, Mark August and Aaron Martinez scored four runs in the top of the first inning, while only Cory Anderson and pitcher Brian Pavon scored for Buttonwood in the bottom of the first. Read More

Buttonwood Bay Nazarene girls win Belize City softball championship
The girls of Buttonwood Bay Nazarene School won 11-5 over the Unity Presbyterian School girls in the championship finals of the Belize City Primary Schools Softball Competition at the M.C.C. grounds on Friday, June 1. Buttonwood girls outlasted the Unity Presbyterian School girls 11-5. Unity's pitcher, Ashanti Carr scored a run off D'Andra McFadzean's pitching in the top of the first inning, but the Buttonwood girls soon overtook Unity 4-1 when Almira Augustine, Ishelle and Kiara Magandi and Monique Mortis scored four runs in the bottom of the first. McFadzean allowed the Unity girls no runs in the top of the second, while Almira, Kayla Flowers and Shenelle Magandi extended the ir lead to 7-1 in the bottom of the second.


I am really getting excited for Lobsterfest, every year it keeps getting better. A bunch of us have already started making plans to meet up at the opening party at El Divino - if you want to get in on the fun please leave comment and I will keep you in the loop. In addition to my updates, you can keep checking the official San Pedro Lobsterfest website for new information as well as the San Pedro Lobster Festival facebook page.

Christmas Peppers
In the tropics our Christmas Trees vary from the traditional Pine tree to the palm tree and also the ornamental pepper plant. The most colorful of the three is without a doubt the capsicum. The Capsicum annuum is commonly known as the Christmas Tree Pepper and despite its name "annuum", which means annual, it is not an annual. This variety of pepper originated in northwestern Brazil near Colombia and though this particular species is edible, it is commonly bred as an ornamental plant since its different colored fruits resemble the bulbs on a Christmas tree. The fruits are acid, bitter, thermogenic, digestive, carminative, laxative, stimulant antipyretic, and cardio tonic. They are useful in gout, arthritis, hoarseness, anorexia, flatulence, cough, cardiac debility, malarial and intermittent fevers, cholera, indolent ulcers and more.

Children want to learn about the environment
I am Hazel; I would very much like to be an "Eco-Kid" because of my love for all animals, plants and things of nature. The responsibilities of an Eco-Kid involve the study of the habitats of animals and to help in the protection of homes of wild animals. As an Eco-Kid I will have the opportunity of working closely with private and public agencies such as The Lodge at Chaa Creek in the application of the principles and rules which guide us in living in peace and harmony with the earth and all its inhabitants. An Eco-Kid is not who goes around kicking down anthills or pulling birds' nests out of trees, but one who protects all living creatures. Tourists destinations such as "The Lodge at Chaa Creek" teaches its clients (such as tourists and others) to protect the environment and its inhabitants so that all of us and those who follow, can enjoy nature. I will also strive to become a good ambassador and role model for other young people to follow in having man and nature live in harmony with each other. When we do not work in harmony with nature, all things are thrown out of balance. Every day we see things that go wrong because man interfered with the balance in nature. Too much cold or too much heat is only two examples of man's actions against nature. We must live in harmony with the earth if we want to avoid self destruction.

Crocodile Lake Photo Shoot and ACES
Well if you read my posts a few weeks ago about "Celebrities in Belize", you know that I was referring to our three Siberian Huskies that came with us to live in San Pedro, Belize. They get lots of attention and their photos are taken on a daily basis. So a young pretty model named Christine who also lives here on the island asked if she could do a photo shoot and have our dogs in it and of course we said yes. Christine told us she would call us and let us know where to meet. A week later Christine called and told us to meet her at Victoria House about 5:00pm, a resort south on the island and we would go from there to where the photo shoot would be. At 5:00pm Christine and her friend Becky picked us up at Victoria House and we headed further south to Crocodile Lake. Crocodile Lake is full of crocodiles and we spotted one immediately upon our arrival. Feeding crocodiles use to be a form of entertainment for tourist in Belize. Locals would slap the water with a whole frozen raw chicken to get the crocodiles attention. If the crocs heard the noise they would come running. Then the tourist would sit on the crocodile and have their picture made. But according to Cherie Rose with ACES (American Crocodile Eduction Sanctuary) that is why these crocs became dangerous because they began to associate humans with food. ACES (American Crocodile Education Sanctuary) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Belize's critical wetland habitats and protected species, specifically Crocodilians, through scientific research and education in order to preserve Belize's wildlife for future generations. ACES works with the Belize Forest Department and it is now against the law to feed crocodiles. ACES also does CSI Tours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday where they will take you through the mangrove islands at sunset for crocodile spotting in their natural habitat. I can't wait to go out on this tour. Check out these pictures from a recent ACES CSI Tour with SanPedroScoop.

International Sources

Intercoastal and riverine monitoring system tested in Belize
An intercoastal and riverine monitoring system able to differentiate between illicit trafficking and legal commerce transiting waterways that constitute major supply routes in much of the region. This system was tested last fall in Belize, with participation from the U.S. Navy, Colombian navy, Guatemalan foreign ministry and Mexican special forces.

Photo of HUGE snake

Girls who play in dirt grow up healthier according to researcher
Playing house, collecting Barbie dolls, and wearing dresses are common acts of raising a young girl in our society. But according to a recent study, it could be detrimental to their health. Sharyn Clough, a researcher at Oregon State University, has discovered that women who have higher rates of allergies, and other autoimmune disorders are a result of being too clean. In other words, parents who let their children run amok in dirt or mud tend to have healthier kids. "Look, if you're okay having your little boy play in the dirt, you should be okay having your little girl play out in the dirt as well," Clough explained to King 5. Women infected with the auto-immune disease Lupus outnumber their male counterparts 9-to-1. While there isn't a concise explanation as to why the disease occurs more frequently in women, the expectation for young girls to stay cleaner than boys may provide a reason. "Little boys are more often than little girls encouraged to play in the dirt. Little girls are dressed in clothing that's not supposed to get dirty," added Clough.

Belize PM says 'super bond' talks going well
(Reuters) - Initial talks about restructuring Belize's $550 million 'super bond' are going well and the country will finalize its budget plans in the next two weeks, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said on Thursday. The small Central American nation of roughly 313,000 people hopes to restructure the bond before an interest payment of $23.5 million is due in August, after the interest rate stepped up to 8.5 percent this year. The bond's yield trades at 1,689 basis points over U.S. Treasuries, well above levels for nations such as Pakistan or Venezuela, according to Reuters data.

In 40 Years We Could Face an Ocean Without Fish
Overfishing is pushing marine life to the brink of collapse. In fact, in 40 years we could face an ocean without fish, Newsweek said last month. For perspective, in 1950, the total catch of fish in the ocean was at 18.5 million metric tons. Just half a century later that number spiked to 73.5 million metric tons, an increase of nearly 400 percent. Since then, as many as 90 percent of the ocean's large fish have been fished out, according to the World Wildlife Foundation. A mind-boggling 90 species of fish have been dangerously depleted off the shores of the U.S. alone. The rapid depletion of our global fish supply and permanent damage to the ecosystem is documented in Rupert Murray's 2009 film, "The End of the Line." In honor of World Oceans Day tomorrow, we've pulled out the highlights. Click here to see how we killed all the fish...

Lost City Found in Honduras With Lasers
The Belize archaeology work and the new Honduras findings both used the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping's LiDAR system. There was one major difference between the two projects, however. At the Belize site, researchers thought it was likely there would be new ruins there. They used the LiDAR to scan regions surrounding structures they had already uncovered. On the other hand, in the new study in Honduras, researchers were running on just a hunch -- and plenty of private funding.

It's lobster time in Belize!
It's no secret that Belize has some of the most sought after lobster in the world, and this June, as Belize's Lobster Festival season kicks off, lobster lovers will find their favorite crustacean served just about any way they like. The lobster feasting will take place in San Pedro starting June 15 - 24. The seventh annual San Pedro Lobster Festival is the first of three major events taking place during the summer. The San Pedro Lobster Festival will be a ten-day, blissful, lobster-themed festival of activities, which is being sponsored/hosted by different restaurants and hotels. The three-day 15th Annual Placencia Lobster Festival begins June 22 - 24. Lobster dishes will include barbecued lobster, lobster kebobs, stew lobster, lobster pies, lobster fritters, lobster ceviche, lobster fajitas and lobster pizza and will be among the many amazing lobster dishes available. Besides the consumption aspect of the festival, entertainment will be by Taprick and Conceego along with the New Rebels sound, and Kenny Gladden and the New Creations. All of the lobster festivals are geared toward captivating and intriguing the senses. With a variety of fun-filled activities such as the "Miss Lobster Fest Pageant", live music performances, open bars, the drawing of the Lobster fest raffle and a wide array of lobster dishes. "We'll also be having games and competitions for the whole family; as well as a dance on Saturday and Sunday for those who want to stay up and party," said Jolie Pollard of Belize Tourism Industry Association (BTIA) Placencia. This year's event coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Placencia Fishermen's Cooperative and special recognition will be paid to that organization at the opening ceremonies of the Placencia Lobster Festival. The 17th Annual Caye Caulker Lobster Festival is the last of the three festivals to be held, start on June 29 to July 1. Historically, Caye Caulker was the first to celebrate this now cultural event, and with all their gained expertise, you won't want to miss what's in store for 2012!

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