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The San Pedro Sun

John McAfee detained in Guatemala and his political asylum denied
Authorities in Guatemala have arrested John McAfee. The 67 year old anti-virus pioneer is wanted for questioning in Belize but fled to Guatemala, arriving in the country's capital on Tuesday accompanied by his Belizean girlfriend Samantha Vanegas. In Guatemala, McAfee confessed to have entered the country illegally and had requested political asylum through his attorney Telesforo Guerra. The multimillionaire and businessman is wanted in Belize for questioning in regards to the murder investigation of his neighbor, 52 year old American national Gregory Faull. Faull was found dead with a shot to the back of his head on November 11th. "We made the decision to deny (the asylum) and we will not give it to him, it is a right of this state," said Foreign Minister, Harold Caballeros. Meanwhile, Guatemalan President Otto P�rez Molina explained that the request was denied because of his background in Belize, where he has been photographed heavily armed. According to the Government of Guatemala, they have already notified McAfee's attorney of the decision and explained that McAfee will be deported as soon as they resolve an appeal by his lawyer. Minister Caballeros said that the Guatemalan government received a correspondent from their Belizean counterparts requesting that McAfee be transferred to Belize. "The gentleman has not been charged with a crime, he is simply wanted for questioning," reaffirmed Caballeros. McAfee and his girlfriend have been at the immigration department, located in Zone 5 in Guatemala City, since he was detained by Interpol and Immigration officials Wednesday night at his hotel room. The Prensa Libre reports that an officer of the U.S. Embassy visited with McAfee and informed him that there is not much that the embassy could do, but they would see that his treated in a dignified way.

The Belize Barrier Reef gets its 2012 Report Card
The Belize Barrier Reef, one of, if not THE major source of income for the entire country of Belize, has been in the media for quite some time now. With the threat of losing the status of a World Heritage Site, and the threat of offshore oil drilling, the health condition of our reef is at the forefront of the minds of almost everyone living in the country that is aware of its value. In San Pedro Town, it is the jewel that we take pride in having at our fingertips. It is a selling point for individuals marketing timeshares, condos and property on the island. It provides food for most fishermen that have made fishing their livelihoods. It provides a habitat for a vast variety of marine life and is home to some of the most beautiful corals in the world; all balancing a delicate marine ecosystem. On December 4th Healthy Reef Initiative (HRI) issued their 2012 report card on the state of the world's second largest uninterrupted barrier reef. According to Dr. Melanie McField, Director of HRI, this is somewhat of an annual physical assessment of the reef's health. The report looks at four specific indicators, two of which deals with the hard bottom of the reef. The other two components include measuring the amount of fish, and in particular the omnivores fish, such as parrot fish, tangs and surgeonfish. The fourth component is measuring the top predators or commercial fish such as the groupers and snappers. The 2012 Report Card highlights three focal sections: existing and emerging threats to the reefs health; an assessment on the current state of the reef and social context; highlights of reef conservation actions across the region, including the prioritized recommendations to foster healthy reefs and healthy people.

"Poly Dolly" helps raise funds for the Polyclinic
On Tuesday afternoon, December 4th a group of lovely ladies, decked in holiday attire and eager to dine and socialize met for a "Ladies Holiday Charity Luncheon." Hosted by Casa Picasso, the luncheon was organized by Ti Southwell, Amy Knox, Tina Hayden and Tammy Peterson. The get-together was not only an opportunity to visit with friends, enjoy fine food and wine while bringing in the holiday season, but an occasion to help raise money for the community. While the guests enjoyed a delicious lunch and cocktails, a raffle was held where a variety of gifts were presented to the lucky ticket holders. Generously donated by local business, the prizes ranged from sunset cruises and gift certificates to baskets of chocolate. There was also an ornament exchange which was enjoyed by all who brought one to the luncheon. While there were plenty of local San Pedro "socialites" in attendance, the true guest of honor was Poly Dolly. Multi-colored and multi-ethnic, the colorful handcrafted fabric Poly Dolly dolls, fashioned by three Sagebrush Community Church members were created to raise funds for the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II. Each unique doll, stuffed with bean bellies and rice legs, donned a Poly Dolly tag with a name and interest penned on it, such as "Hi! My name is Emma and I like to go on adventures!" Of course the sophisticated ladies were immediately reduced to young girls, enamored with the darling dolls as they admired each and every one. With a total of 80 to choose from, soon the number dwindled as gifts for granddaughters, nieces and neighborhood cuties were rapidly purchased. For only $25, many bought two or more, thrilled to find a unique gift while helping the Polyclinic. With 100% of the proceeds going to the clinic, the guests enthusiastically purchased the dolls.

A miracle for Fatima
Fatima Arceo was born with spina bifida, and abandoned at birth on September 29th, 2006. In her short six (6) years of life, she has had ten shunt revisions and five operations, and has many more procedures to undergo. In particular, she is expected to undergo an MRI to investigate whether Fatima can receive corrective surgery to enable her to eventually walk. She is a beautiful, happy soul, constantly smiling and despite being in a wheelchair most of her life, enjoys music and dancing, not letting a set of wheels get in her way of a good time. Everyone who meets Fatima instantly falls in love with her, taken in by her glowing smile and general cheerful attitude. One person who was touched by this little girl was photographer Olivera "Oli" Rusu, and she is offering a special photo session to help raise some much needed funds for the upcoming procedures that Fatima must undergo. On Friday, December 7th starting at 7PM, Oli will be doing a Christmas photo shoot at Bistro Mestizo Restaurant. For $25BZ, you get two (2) photographs for web display. For the best photos, Oli recommends solid colors such as white, red, or green, even black. Get your Christmas portraits while helping a lovely young girl with her medical expenses. There will be specials at Bistro as well, so don't miss out! See you there!!

United Nations Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties COP-18
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Senator Honourable Lisel Alamilla is presently leading a delegation comprised of senior technical government officials and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre representatives to the Climate Change Conference of the Parties - 18 (COP 18) being held in Doha, Qatar. It is focusing on four main themes: a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol; successful closure of the ad-hoc working group on Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA); a work programme for the development of a new legally binding climate change regime post-2020 under the Ad-hoc working group on the Durban Platform for enhanced action (ADP); and securing the necessary financing for developing countries to ensure we reach the target of a $100 billion USD annually by 2020. Yesterday, Thursday December 5th, 2012, Minister Alamilla presented Belize's position on Climate Change and the intended outcomes of the COP-18 to the High-Level plenary.

Ambergris Today

Infamous McAfee on Way Back to Belize After Arrest in Guatemala
Software mogul John McAfee could be deported to Belize today, Thursday, after being detained by immigration officials, a Guatemalan official said. Authorities took McAfee into custody Wednesday, December 5, 2012, said Francisco Cuevas, a spokesman for Guatemala's president, Otto Perez Molina. "He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime," Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla said. McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police and a member of Interpol at the upscale Intercontinental hotel in Guatemala City. After weeks in hiding and eluding authorities here in San Pedro, Belize, the 67-year-old Internet security pioneer emerged publicly on Tuesday, December 4, 2012, in Guatemala's capital, hundreds of miles away from his home where his next-door neighbor was found dead. Guatemala's foreign minister said earlier on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, that officials there did not know how McAfee entered the country and that there was no record of McAfee entering legally at any official border crossing.

Two Belizeans Honored by Queen Elizabeth II
Two prominent Belizeans were today honored by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. They are Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM, EDD; and Right Reverend Philip Wright B.A. (Hons) M.A. who were bestowed with the insignia of the Order of the British Empire. The Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young pinned the emblematic medals on them, reciting a short biography of each for the benefit of a number of distinguished invitees to the occasion. Bishop Wright currently sits on the Board of Governors of the University of Belize, is a member of the Council of Churches, and works with a number of NGO groups within the church in the Province of the West Indies; and now is the third most Senior Diocesan Bishop in the Province. Today Bishop Wright was honored by the Queen for his outstanding services to Belize in the field of religion. Bishop Wright is married to Mrs. Carla Suite-Wright. Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence is the eighth of ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lawrence. Her career as an educator spans forty-six years, with forty-three of those years dedicated in loving service to the people of her beloved Belize. Sister Caritas holds a Doctorate in Leadership Education. Today Sister Caritas, as she is affectionately called, was honored by the Queen for her years of outstanding accomplishments and service in the field of religion and education.

Founder's Day Celebrated San Pedro High School
The birthday of Principal Angel Nu�ez was always a BIG event at San Pedro High School. The senior class was always responsible to come forth with a super birthday party to rival last year's celebrations. But now that Mr. Nu�ez has retired from the position as principal, the school still celebrates his birthday but now as part of Founder's Day that is observed on his birthday, December 5th. This year the celebrations were nothing short of fun and entertaining as years past. The entire school gathered at the R. Angel Nu�ez Auditorium and the different classes organized dances and musical presentations, among other entertainment, for Mr. Angel Nu�ez. The highlight of the celebration was a skit performed by the drama club of the school. They gave rendition to Mr. Nu�ez by reenacting key points of his life, from going up as a young boy 25 years ago, meeting and dating his girlfriend, marrying his wife Ligia and the founding of San Pedro High School. Here are some highlights of the celebrations. Happy Birthday Mr. Angel Nu�ez!

Emo Teens Deal Depression with 'Cutting'
So this week I would like to talk about cutting and depression and I believe this is a very big issue with teens today. When going to school I have noticed a lot of people with cut scars on their wrists and these same people that do are the ones that always seem happy and are living a good life. It's funny how what you see on the outside does not compare to what is on the inside. For example, a regular boy that always has a lot of friends and is super happy could just, on the next day, kill himself. Teens could be depressed for many things. Maybe it's their parents' neglect on their social, emotional or even educational problems. Also, another reason is that they believe cutting themselves is a style or fashion because there are actual groups that pretend to act sad and cut themselves because they are trying to be 'Emo'. I have actually seen on a lot of these types of social networks - a girl would post a status saying "Omg! 'Emo' Boys are so cute!" Then a boy sees this and cuts his hand and tries to be this 'emo' person, but there are actual real depressed people, actual 'emo' people who do come together in groups to cut or do different rituals. The only difference between these two is that the real 'emo' group is actually depressed for some reason and could lead to suicidal tendencies. However, the ones pretending to be 'emo' would not go as far as to kill themselves. So if you are depressed, you need to talk to someone and try to change what is making you depressed. I know it might sound hard but as soon as you are willing to conquer your depression, it's a piece of cake. If you cut yourself to relieve your depression, then I got to tell you something; it doesn't work. All that it does is give you pain and scars on your hands.

Reaching Our Students
In Strengthening the Balance I pointed out that our students want very much to know that we, their educators, care whether they learn or not. Even more pressing to them than that, though, our students want to know how the coursework that they work on everyday connects to their lives and to the world in which they live. Why do they have to study the lessons that we give them in the classroom everyday? Why do they get homework based on those lessons? A recent comment posted by a reader indicates that as a student in high school he once asked his Math teacher, "When will we use Math formulas in real life?" In response, the teacher immediately gave him 5 demerits and sent him to detention. Sadly, that incident seems typical of many teachers - past and present. Yet, it's the total opposite of trying to connect a student's day-to-day work with the world in which the student lives. Was that teacher someone who seemed to care whether his student was learning or not? Without a doubt, the incident reported in that comment showcases to the world how not to reach out to, or care about, students. Notwithstanding the many "Do's and Don'ts" in the classroom that both teachers and students must adhere to everyday, once they develop positive relationships between and amongst themselves they nurture learning, and allow it to blossom beautifully and productively. Study after study in Education continue to show that, despite what many teachers mistakenly believe, the vast majority of students do not mind being academically challenged and being held accountable. Actually, as social beings they crave the recognition! However, what they do mind is when a teacher refuses to think of them or treat them as partners in learning, but instead, insists on ruling them as feudal subjects when the teacher is in the classroom. Such teachers do not stimulate or encourage students to want to learn and reach their potential. On the contrary, any teacher with dictator-like teaching methods will merely increase his/her students' apathy towards learning, and he/she will destroy any high academic expectations they may have, or want to have.

Misc Belizean Sources

Mexico trains forensic ballistic analysts in Belize
Two Belizeans have just returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in the science of forensic ballistics. The two Belizeans underwent an intensive five-day crash-course in various aspects of forensic ballistics, including the use of the integrated ballistics imaging system (IBIS). The training course was conducted in Mexico City from November 22 to 26 through the Mexican Program for International Cooperation for Development. With the training received, the Belizean forensic ballistic analysts will be able to operate the IBIS TRAX 3D System recently donated to Belize by Canada, which is being set up within the National Forensic Science Service headquartered in Ladyville. It has been agreed that the possibility will be explored for further training and follow-up courses, as well as continuous exchange in techniques and practices in forensic ballistics and related specialized fields.

The San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
Come witness the alluring "Isla Bonita" glittering throughout the night, as the "San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade" progresses on its 2 mile route along the shores, this December 8th, 2012! "Get-in-the-spirit" of the Christmas Season in San Pedro-Ambergris Caye, and enjoy ALL the wonderful activities scheduled for this event including a Block Party. Activities include: The San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade Isla Bonita Marching Band Presentation Award Ceremony The Christmas Caroling Competition Food and Drinks on sale Music As an annual tradition, this year marks the 7th Annual San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, a fun-filled event for all ages! Visiting Belize for the winter season? Then take a trip out here and relish in the lineup of island activities. Cheer on the parade participants at Wayo's dock (starting at 6:00 p.m.) and watch the 2 mile course heading south toward the Caribbean Villas Hotel, as it brings joy to onlookers. The parade then concludes at the Central Park pier, where all the fun activities will be held! To get more information about this exciting Holiday event, contact Seaduced by Belize at: 226-2254 & 610-1697 or the San Pedro Business Association at: 226-2799.

Benque Viejo Posadas
The Benque House of Culture is starting the annual Posada on December 15th, at 7:30, in Centennial Park, and it'll continue until Christmas. It'll be a huge cultural event, with Marimba music of course. They've been posting tons of pictures from the Benque celebrations over the years. Be sure and check those out. "Traditional Posadas in Benque Viejo Del Carmen, celebrations start on the 15th of December until December 25th, follow us to learn which homes will be hosting and sharing delightful and traditional treats this season."

Panoramic History of El Cayo
The Institute for Social and Cultural Research is having the 1st annual Elias Awe Memorial Lecture tonight at the Octavia Waight Conference Center. The theme is 'A Panoramic History of El Cayo,' and they'll have a great lineup of speakers. Dr. Jaime Awe will present on Anthropological history, Don Hector Silva will cover Political history, Melanie Smith will talk about Sociological history, and Alfonso Tzul will explain Agricultural history. It starts at 7pm.

Real Lifejobs that use Calculus in Belize [FUNNY GRAPH]

Channel 7

Bze Police Await McAfee Expulsion, He's Hospitalized With Heart Problems
Last night when we left you John McAfee was profiling and preening for the cameras in Guatemala City - where he was asking for political asylum. But, in 24 hours, a lot can change in McAfee's topsy-turvy world - and it has! Tonight, he's in a Guatemala City hospital - and reports are that he may have suffered two mild heart attacks. Quite a scene was created in Guatemala City this afternoon - as an ambulance took him from his private holding room at an Immigration Detention Center. He ended up in that center after he was picked up last night on immigration charges. The immigration issue is that McAfee openly admits to entering Guatemala illegally from Belize - which is an offence. Now it may be considered permissible in the case of a person genuinely fleeing persecution and seeking asylum - but Guatemalan authorities don't think McAfee qualifies as such a case. And so last night - Guatemalan immigration authorities accompanied by Interpol officers went to his hotel and put him under arrest. They had every intention of expelling him, sending him back to the country he came from - in this case Belize - which is the standard procedure for illegal immigrants. But, McAfee's got a resourceful attorney, former Attorney General Telesforo Guerra - known as "Telesh" - who is originally from Benque Viejo, Belize. Guerra is pulling out all the stops to keep McAfee from being put on a plane and to be sent back to Belize. We've pieced together video and pictures from various news reports - and here's a rundown of what all has happened since last night:.. Jules Vasquez reporting Last night at around 9:00 Guatemalan Police and Immigration authorities arrested John McAfee at his hotel in Guatemala City.

Man On Bike, Man In Car Teamed Up For Ladyville Shooting
Tonight, 18 year-old Raheem Crawford and 25 year-old Mason Patnett are in prison after they were arraigned for allegedly shooting a man in Ladyville. According to police, 21 year-old Marvin Bol reported that he was in a yard on Dove Street on Saturday, December 1. He said that he was speaking to a friend when a black car and a man on the bicycle approached the yard. The car then stopped, and the driver of the vehicle got out. He then handed a firearm to the man on the bicycle, who then immediately fired several shots at Bol, hitting him in the right shoulder. Both men then made their escape, and Bol was rushed to the hospital and successfully treated for his wound. Police investigated this incident, and they arrested and charged Crawford and Patnett with attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm, and wounding. Patnett was additionally charged with abetment to commit murder. They were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Frazer today, who remanded them to prison until their next court date, which is scheduled for January 15, 2013.

Stevedores Threaten Industrial Action
Since March of this year, the Christian Workers Union and the Waterfront Workers have been in negotiations with the receivership management of the Port of Belize. They're trying to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement - and it's been slow going. Some forward progress has been realized, but today they made two steps back. In a meeting at the Port of Belize, they were discussing three things: reducing the size of the work gangs, reducing the number of hours of work for work gangs, and a retirement package. But, the Stevedores say the port management took one of those items off the table. That's when the CWU walked away from the table. President of the Union Antonio Gonzalez told us why they felt they had no choice:.. Antonio Gonzalez, CWU President "We left the meeting in an abrupt way." Jules Vasquez "It sounds like the meeting was broken up." Antonio Gonzalez, CWU President "It didn't break up but we didn't leave in a contented position." Jules Vasquez "No resolution?" Antonio Gonzalez, CWU President "No resolution, so we intended to go back to the table. We have three issues; retirement package, the gang situation and the hours of work. It appears that they want to dismember the hours of work from these three other issues. The three of them has to go hand-in-hand. Right now they moved from 15 hours to 18 hours - that is their proposal. We are saying no, let us negotiate this and see if we can improve on that. This evening when we put out those feelers and those new issues that we mentioned earlier - they are trying to get our confirmation. Let us agree to the hours of work; if we let go the hours then that means that we only have two other issues - three goes together."

Child Abuser Gets A Dozen
4 weeks ago, 7News told you about 54 year-old Romero Jimenez, the man who was convicted a second time for carnal knowledge in the Orange Walk Supreme Court. Well, he has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for it. As we reported, the 12 year old girl testified against that in July of 2008 Jimenez entered her home, tied her hands, and raped her. In the original trial, Jimenez was convicted and sentenced to spend 17 years in jail for it, but in October of 2010, he successfully appealed his case, which was granted. The Court of Appeal set aside his conviction and ordered a new trial, and he was convicted again. His family has indicated that they will take the matter to the Appeal Court a second time.

Accused of A Carnal Crime
36 year Karel Galvez Sr., a resident of Jane Usher Boulevard is in jail tonight after it was alleged that he had sexual relations with a 15 year-old girl. According to police, they received information that Galvez was having relations with the girl, and as a result, they went to her home and detained her mother. The child, in the presence of her mother, reported that during the month of October 2012, Galvez, who she identified as her boyfriend, had intercourse with her 7 times. She claims that they have been together for over a year. She was examined by a doctor, who certified that she was carnally known. As a result, police arrested Galvez and charged him with unlawful carnal knowledge, and he was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer. Due to the nature of the offence, no plea was taken and Galvez was remanded into prison until January 18, 2013, his next court date.

Cycling Dispute Goes to Governing Body
Last night, 7News told you about Deputy Belize City Mayor Dion Leslie who has been organizing a vote of no-confidence against the current Belize Cycling Association President, Emil Moreno. It is part of an ongoing power struggle between both men, over the AGM which was called to elect a new executive. Those elections had to postponed because they can't agree on whether the BCA is an association or a federation. Leslie, who wants to become the next president of the association, claims to have major support from the cyclists, who, according to him, have already been signing the no-confidence document en-masse. But, Moreno has pulled out a trump card - a letter from the regional governing body recognizing his executive. In a letter dated November 26, 2012, the President of Pan-American Cycling Federation, Jose Manuel Rodriguez, addressed Sports Minister Patrick Faber requesting that elections of the BCA be postponed until January 20, 2013, when he will make a visit to Belize. He reiterated that his organization and the International Cycling Union currently only recognizes Moreno's executive. They also recognize the constitution lodged with them, which is for a Federation. The constitution lodged with the Sports Council is for an Association.

Xunantunich Concert Cancelled
The villagers in Succotz have raised an uproar about Xunantunich being shut down for two weeks during the tourist high season - and tonight it seems the Gods of Failed Concert Promotions have heard their cries. Unofficial, but reliable reports to 7news are that the major international concert planned for December 21st at Xunantunich has been cancelled. According to our reports, the international promoters who were renting Xunantunich from NICH to hold the concert had to abandon their plans for their own logistical reasons. The concert was supposed to have major international artists performing for a global audience and was expected to raise significant revenues for NICH. And so while it wasn't cancelled due to pressure from Succotz - we're sure leaders in that Western Village are happy tonight that there will be no closure.

Police Find Weed By the Pound
Special Branch information has proved accurate again, as it led police to an abandoned lot in Rowland's Alley this morning. They found 2 black plastic bags with 1.8 kilos - about four pounds - of cannabis. No one was in the immediate area and so the drugs were labeled as Found Property.

Bze Minister Talks About Climate Change In Qatar
MINISTER OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, Lisel Alamilla is in Doha, Qatar at a major Climate Change conference. In her address, Alamilla noted that Belize has the highest percent of natural forest cover in the Mesoamerican region. She noted also that Belize's national mangrove cover has remained relatively stable over a 30-year period from 1980-2010. But on the downside, she noted that Global warming has increased coral bleaching episodes and rising sea levels is increasing erosion on the mainland and offshore islands. She noted also what we've been reporting that during the annual spring tides, the municipal airport in Belize City is now being inundated twice a day, disrupting domestic air transport. She warned that if "the international community fails to undertake ambitious actions to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, then the impacts of climate change to Belize will be significantly greater and more extensive."

In Memory Of Peetaz!
The second annual Mista Peetaz Brukdong Bram will be taking place this Saturday at the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom. It is all a part of the Institute of Creative Arts Christmas celebrations in Creole style. The public will be entertained with traditional Creole songs by musicians who will be using instruments like the grater, pint bottles and the famous mouth organ. And while there won't be a Brukdong Bram competition this year, there will be a concert in the night with all of the Bands. Organizer Timothy Stamp told us more:.. Joseph Stamp Romero, Coordinator "This Saturday starting at 3pm we invite the general public to join us a celebration to Mr. Peters birthday - it's his birthday bram. We kinda celebrate Mr. Peters on a whole even though he is not here and not his actual birthday but we celebrate Mr. Peters in Belize and the fact that he gave so much to this country in his music especially. On that day we have artists coming together like Sam Harris, Mr. Peters brukdown band and artists like Nello Player, Lisa Alvarez and others like the queen of brukdown Ms. Lila Vernon. We have those artists coming together in celebrating this momentous occasion in brukdown music in saying that brukdown is alive and it continues to be a part of our culture and history. We invite everybody to come out. We have rides, we have food, we have a concert event and a dance event and there is also a bus running from 5 in the evening. There is no reason not to come over and enjoy this really great occasion with us."

Damian Lights The Way with New Art
Tomorrow evening the Image Factory is launching a new exhibit by sculptor and assemblage designer, Damian Perdomo. The exhibit is called "Luminous," where Perdomo experiments with the behavior of light on glass and other reflective and transparent mediums. And, if you're scratching your head trying to figure out what we're talking about, we dropped by the Image Factory and got a preview of his pieces: Damien Perdomo, Artist ""Luminous" is a show involving artwork that uses light, either it produces light or it reflects light in some way. I really wanted to investigate the limitations of glass and with working with glass you have to be extremely patient; the minute you try to rush the job it breaks on you especially when it comes to drilling holes in glass - if there is too much pressure or too much heat or vibration from you equipment it breaks and you have to start at square one."

PROFILE: Marlon Rodriguez
Every week on the "I Am Belize Profile" we feature regular folks with extraordinary stories of dedication, determination and perseverance. And, in the normal course, Marlon Rodriguez is not the type of person you'd expected to see on the feature. The young man is intellectually impaired and that might cause some to say he's not ready to tell his story in a profile. But this teacher's assistant has his own moving study of a triumph over adversity. And in this disabilities week, we thought it would be just the right fit - and so here's his story with the help of his special needs teacher:..

Hundreds More Turn Up For McDonald's Hiring
Last night we told you about the frenzy at the Radisson where a Canadian Company was hiring Belizeans to work at McDonald's in Western Canada. Well, 250+ persons went in for interviews yesterday - and today - with a publicity bump from our news - it was almost 400!! Actyl - which is the company doing the hiring - reports that 7 persons have been hired. The job interviews continue tomorrow and they expect to hire over 70 by the weekend. They expect to recruit 150 Belizeans for jobs this year.

Florida Cruise Assoc. Gives
It's a Christmas tradition that every year the Belize Tourism Board teams up with the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association to bring a little Christmas cheer to deserving primary school children of Belize City. The FCCA and the BTB held that Christmas Party yesterday at the House of Culture in Belize City and Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia told us why the FCCA gives: Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism "Today what we are having over here is just another year, it started 15 years ago with this project between BTB and Florida Caribbean Cruise Association that have partnered to make sure that we can bring joy and happiness to the under privilege schools in Belize City and every year we try to bring at least 200 students over to receive their toys from the Norwegian Cruise that is handing over these toys. Apart from that BTB provide the food and drinks to these kids so that they can have a lot of fun every year on this occasion."

Channel 5

Busted! Guatemala arrests and wants McAfee deported
"Thank God I am in a place where there is some sanity. I chose Guatemala carefully" Those were the words John McAfee said before being arrested in Guatemala City on Wednesday night for illegal entry. Earlier today, the Guatemalan Foreign Minister, Harold Caballeros, turned down his request for political asylum and McAfee was expected to [...]

Did John McAfee get a heart attack in Guatemala?
McAfee's lawyers are fighting his deportation. Prior to his arrest, however McAfee also spoke to Thomson Reuters and ABC News.   John McAfee "The plan was always Guatemala; there was no other country I could have gone to."   Reporter, Thomson Reuters "Why is that?"   John McAfee "Mexico is extremely friendly to Belize for [...]

Trade license gone up
With the record pace at which the Mayor of Belize City is repairing streets, streamlining the council's collection of fees is also on a fast pace, much to the chagrin of some businesses. In some cases trade licenses for businesses have shot up by sixty percent. But Mayor Darrell Bradley says, he's only equalizing the [...]

Millennium Development Goals released
A final report of a survey on how women and children are faring in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals will be released this Friday. And you can catch the proceedings live on this station or by streaming video. The report was compiled by the government through the Statistical Institute with financial and technical [...]

Belizeans flood employment opportunities for Canada
For two days, long lines of unemployed persons formed at the Radisson hoping to get jobs in the Canadian market. The process has been expeditious and after interviews and short listing, by the end of this afternoon, many received good news that they will be among the two hundred persons heading to Canada next January. [...]

Cycling Association; a petition to remove its executive
The cycling election that should have been held at the Aguada Hotel in Santa Elena did not occur at the end of November and President Emil Moreno is being challenged by Belize City Deputy Mayor Dion Leslie. Because those elections did not take place, Leslie's camp has set out to sign a petition for a [...]

End of Mayan calendar coincides with aborted Xunantunich concert?
On Wednesday night, we reported that the closure of Xunantunich in the height of the Maya Celebrations was being opposed by tour guides and vendors in Succotz Village. Well, there is some development which indicates that a planned concert at the Mayan site has now been postponed, which means that the site will not have [...]

She's 15, he's 36; court says it's Carnal Knowledge
A fifteen year old student of Belize City is claiming that her boyfriend, who is at least twenty years older than her, has been having sex with her since mid-October of this year and as recently as last week.�� Today, thirty-six year old Karel Galvez Senior, of Jane Usher Boulevard was arraigned in the Magistrate's [...]

Youths convicted of stealing bicycle
A fifteen year old minor and twenty-three year old Evan Bruhier were convicted this evening of the crime of robbery.�� The duo is accused of stealing a beach cruiser bicycle from Oscar Dimas, and robbing him of his cell phone.� After they were found guilty, Bruhier and the minor were remanded into custody until December [...]

Old beef over stolen bicycle motive for attempted murder
The main cause of violence in Belize City streets continues to have its roots in cattle. Well, on the street it's called "Old Beef." And apparently an attempted murder occurred because of an ancient but not forgotten dispute over a bicycle. Eighteen year-old Raheem Crawford, an unemployed youth of Gibnut Street and twenty-five year old [...]

Assistance needed; can you help?
Life has been tough for thirteen year old Gerald Augustine of Seine Bight Village and he now needs your help to travel abroad for medical treatment. Gerald was left paralyzed after an accident over ten years ago. Due to complications caused by his condition, his mother now fears that he may not survive, but the [...]

Cruise Association & B.T.B.'s Christmas Party for Kids
About two hundred children had a chance to be merry. The Belize Tourism Board and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association held their annual Christmas party for needy children on Wednesday. They were treated to food, face painting and Santa was on hand with the goodies… and so was Duane Moody.   Duane Moody, Reporting Some [...]

The Debut of the National Choir and Orchestra of Belize
The National Choir and Orchestra of Belize had its debut performance on Newton Barracks on Wednesday. It was an evening of light classics, jazz and Belizean folk music played by students and teachers, including several familiar faces from the Pallotti music school. They were directed by Colville Young Junior, who says the orchestra and choir [...]

Healthy Living catching, treating and preventing flu
As the daily temperature gets lower and fluctuates, the frequency of the sniffles and coughs increases. But do granny's home remedies and advice really work on the flu? Healthy Living, this week went on a myth busting mission on common beliefs about catching, treating and preventing the flu.   Marleni Cuellar, Reporting In Belize, our [...]


Two Men Charged With Attempted Murder
18 year old Raheem Crawford and 25 year old Mason Patnett, were charged with attempted murder when they appeared in Court today. They were also charged with wounding and use of deadly means of harm. Crawford, an unemployed of Gibnut Street was also charged with a second count of woundi...

Welder Charged With Carnal Knowledge
Thirty-six year old Karel Galvez, a welder of Jane Usher Boulevard, was charged with unlawful carnal knowledge of a female high school student 15 years and eight months old when he appeared in Court. No plea was taken because the offence is indictable. Neither could the Senior Magistra...

International Concert at Xunantunich Postponed
The international concert which was scheduled by NICH to take place in Xunantunich on the twenty first of December, has been postponed. The event sparked controversy with locals which include Tour Guides and the Village Council of San Jose Succotz over the lack of com...

Belize Represented at Climate Change Conference in Qatar
Belize has representation at the ongoing Climate Change Conference known as COP-18 in Doha, Qatar. According to a government press release, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development Lisel Alamilla is leading the Belize delegation to the conference. On Wednesday,...

Belize Participates in Regional Workshop In Jamaica
Belize is participating along with eighteen other countries in a Regional Small-Scale Fisheries Workshop which kicked off today in Kingston Jamaica. The workshop is part of the consultative process for the development and negotiation of the final draft guidelines for the Internat...

New Ambassadors Present Credentials to Governor General
Three new ambassadors presented their credentials to the Governor General in Belmopan this morning Sujan Chinoy is India's new ambassador to Belize; Susanne Kaekkerup is Denmarks's new top diplomat in Belmopan and Jalal Kalantary is the new Iranian ambassador to...

Belize Electricity Company Boasts Good Response to Its Shares
City Hall is not the only entity that is boasting a good response to shares in its bond. The Belize Electricity Limited is advising that although its Series Five offer in debentures in the company has been fully subscribed and closed, the Series One Debentures will mature on Dece...

Opposition Party Speaks Out On Current Health and Police Issues
In our newscast yesterday we heard Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia comment on his involvement in the removal of Police Corporal Sharmane Young from San Pedro following an incident involving a tourist. Today the opposition People's United Party condemned the Minister&rsqu...


Hearing dates set for challenge to Section 53 of the Criminal Code
In April of this year, the Caleb Orozco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement suffered a setback in their challenge of section fifty three of Belize's criminal code when the judge in the case Michelle Arana struck off UNIBAM as a claimant in the case. Section fifty three makes it a criminal offence for same sex intercourse, calling it carnal intercourse against the order of nature and Orozco and UNIBAM were contending that the law contravenes their constitutional rights to human dignity and fundamental rights and freedoms. The move to have UNIBAM struck off was one of the primary applications made by the church as an interested party in the proceedings. But UNIBAM and its president Caleb Orozco are persistent if nothing else, and so when the case came back to court today for a continuation of the preliminaries, UNIBAM scored a comeback. According to Orozco who is the first claimant in the case, UNIBAM is now on equal standing as the churches, having been accepted as an interested party in the case. In an interview this afternoon, Orozco told Love News that a date for the full hearing of the challenge to section fifty three of the Criminal Code has been set.


Backlash after Minister's admission in overruling police officer
Minister of Tourism and area representative for Belize Rural South Manuel Heredia, Junior, confirmed to reporters t...

Teenager knocked down and injured in Belmopan
A 19 year old young lady is knocked down and injured in Belmopan. Just after 7pm on Wednesday night (Dec 5) Miriam ...

Belize City Municipal Airport to be doubled in size
The Belize City Municipal Airport has been serving Belize City for years.

Belize City Council has wrapped up the first 10 million dollars tranche of its bond offering
$20 million dollars to be spent in 8 months: That's the ambitious plan for spending $10 million in the first tranch...

2013 Inspiration Calendar is launched
The Special Envoy for Women and Children launched the 2013 Inspiration Calendar and agendas at the Belize Biltmore ...

Nation of Islam Leader's visit postponed
Louis Farrakhan Mohammed Sr. renowned international religious and motivational speaker visit to Belize has been pos...

Belize City Mayor says increased taxes are justifiable
Do better streets mean more taxes for business owners? That was the question posed to Mayor Bradley when he was ask...

Farmers trained in best practices in the use of Pesticides
Pesticide Control Office yesterday held a launching ceremony for best practices in the use of Pesticides. The Pesti...

Belize not on 2012 Corruption Index; insufficient data
For the fourth consecutive year, 2009, 2010, 2011, and now 2012, Transparency International just released its corru...

1,806 grams of cannabis found in Belize City
Early this morning (DEC 6) a team of Special Branch officers responded to a tip and conducted a search in an abando...

Three charged in Corozal for Cocaine possession
Corozal Police arrested and charged two Belizeans, one Alfonso Iglesias Sr. of Corozal Town, and Jose Alberto Nu�ez...

Belize's Barrier Reef is doing poorly, but improving
Belize's Barrier Reef and the connected Mesoamerican Reef System which includes Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, is ...

Two Belizeans trained in the science of Forensic Ballistics
Two Belizeans have recently returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in the science of Forensic Ba...

Telemedia to launch Digicell 4G Network
Telemedia is amping up the ante as they get ready to launch the much touted Digicell 4G network. Customers in Beliz...

McAfee suffers 2 minor heart attacks in Guatemala
Software mogul John McAfee could be deported to Belize after being detained by immigration officials, a Guatemalan ...

Minister of Forestry leads delegation to Climate Change Conference in Qatar
The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Senator Honourable Lisel Alamilla is in Doha, Qata...

Three Ambassadors present their Letters of Credence
Three Ambassadors today presented their Letters of Credence to the Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency, Sir ...

22 year old charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm
In Dangriga a 22 year old was charged with keeping an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. On Monday at about 10:00am...

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The Guardian

Guatemala forces McAfee back to Belize
On Wednesday, December 5th, Immigration officials in Guatemala, aided by Interpol, detained the eccentric and oft-unbalanced U.S. national, 67-year-old John McAfee. Reports indicate that McAfee was arrested in Guatemala for illegally entering that country and indications are that the Guatemalan Government is seeking to expel him to Belize. Reuters quoted Guatemala's Interior Minister, Mauricio Lopez Bonilla as saying, "He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime." Francisco Cuevas, a spokesperson for the Guatemalan Government told CNN that McAfee is being held at a shelter belonging to the Guatemalan Immigration Department where he is awaiting processing after which he will be expelled from the country. He reiterated that he is not being arrested, rather he will be expelled from Guatemala at the very point where he entered. That point, according to McAfee himself, was somewhere in Santa Elena at the Western Border. Just hours earlier, McAfee, through his attorney, Telesforo Guerra, had started legal proceedings seeking asylum in Guatemala. According to Cuevas, those proceedings are now null since he entered the country illegally. The processing of McAfee is expected to see him returned to Belize's Western Border sometime between 6 a.m. and 12 noon on Thursday. Since Sunday, November 11th when his neighbor, 52-year-old U.S. national, Gregory Viant Faull, was found dead in his home with a bullet to the back of the head, John McAfee has been on the run from police. Since that time, he has been playing an elaborate game of cloak and dagger with Belizean law enforcement personnel, often telling fantastic stories of narrow escapes from police in Belize. He's attracted so much attention on the international media that there are many who are following his escapades as an almost daily soap opera dose.

Track Scholarships for Belizeans in premiere U.S. Prep School
Minister of Sports, Hon. Herman Longsworth has been able to secure at least two scholarships for students to study at the American Heritage Prep School in Florida. Hon. Longsworth explained to the Guardian that over the past weekend he visited the U.S. for a fundraiser in South Florida hosted by Belizean-Americans. During his visit, he had the opportunity to meet former decathlete Corey Hicks, who is currently the athletic director for track and field at the American Heritage Prep School. After holding talks with Hicks, he immediately made two scholarships available for students to complete their high school education at American Heritage. He also offered to provide training for coaches as well as to help establish a full track and field program in Belize centered around the upgraded facilities at Marion Jones Sports Complex. According to Hon. Longsworth, he immediately took up the offer and the Sports Council is in the process of identifying one student to take up the scholarship. That student will take up the scholarship as early as January of next year and will be followed shortly by a second student. While the scholarship is all inclusive, it does not cover boarding but Belizean-Americans in Florida have pledged that they will identify a host family for whichever student is selected.

Ambulance Racket
The Ministry of Health has been left to try to clear up a mess created by an NGO, which by all appearance, is trying to run a hustle with two ambulances which were presumably donated to Belize to be specifically be deployed to Dangriga. According to the information received by the Guardian Newspaper, an organization, operating out of the city of Chicago, Illinois in the United States, secured and handed over two ambulances to the Ministry of Health. When it was time to get the ambulances into the county, the organization reportedly explained that it would cost $16,800 to have them shipped to Belize. The Ministry of Health enlisted the assistance of the Government of Belize and BNE Trust fund which, through its own channels, found a shipping company to get the ambulances into the country at a price tag of $10,600. That's a difference of $6,200 and any NGO with sincere intentions would have immediately jumped at the offer; however, the Ministry is now faced with a situation where the NGO is simply refusing to release the ambulances unless it is shipped through their agent. The Ministry is holding strong, however, and will not pay the $6,200 in excess of what the vehicles can be brought in for and a standoff has developed. Listening to the People's United Party at the House of Representatives, they are trying to lead the county into believing that something had gone wrong with the acquisition of the ambulances and that the Government is not interested. The truth of the matter is that this Government will simply not overpay for services which can be gotten at cheaper prices.

For the Development of Belize City, It's a MUNICIPAL BOND Deal
Belize City Council Vision: "Our vision for Belize City is to have all residents live in a modern, clean, and secure environment. A city abounding with civic pride, patriotism, unity and opportunities for all." It is said that where there is no vision, many things perished and so it is with the vision of the Belize City Council that the Mayor and Councilors launched the Prospectus for the sale of Municipal bonds or 'munis' as they are called. We are seeing the transformation of Belize City and more can only be done if the residents of Belize City take ownership of that vision and help to see it to fruition. The Council has been strapped with expenditures and other obligations that make it difficult to realize some of their goals and meet their mandate, but visionary thinking has prevailed, and what once didn't seem possible is now a reality. The Council launched its Prospectus for the sale of munis to the public, which includes business houses, members of the public, and other entities that are seeking a sound investment that ensures a guaranteed rate of return. Municipal bonds, in all respects are known to be the safest category of bonds and the purpose, for which they are sold, includes the development of Belize City to ensure, as stated above, that there be a :clean, safe, and secure environment." When you buy municipal bonds, your money is lent to the Belize City Council for projects that make life better for the average person. They may be used to construct roads, bridges, hospitals, sewage plants, and other public works. In this case, we have seen the number of cemented streets, which has allowed easy access and less wear and tear on vehicles, which can be costly. The Council needs the partnership of the residents, though we know that presently there are some inconveniences due to repairs, but in the end, the infrastructure should be developed to allow Belize City to transform into a welcoming tourist destination. This would bring revenue, not only to the City, but to the general economy of Belize. Your investment in purchasing the munis are twofold, because your loan will help the Council to realize its goal, and secondly, that you get a guaranteed rate of return (interest) on your investment. At some point in the future, on the maturity date, you are promised the return of the par value of the bond itself. In most cases, certainly in the case of a traditional tax-free municipal bond, this is equal to the amount of money you originally lent to the City Council.

Two Belizeans honoured by the Queen
Sister Caritas and Bishop Philip Wright receive emblematic medals from Governor General Sir Colville Young (center) Belmopan, 5th December, 2012. Two prominent Belizeans were today honoured by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. They are Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM, EDD; and Right Reverend Philip Wright B.A., (Hons) M.A., who were bestowed with the insignia of the Order of the British Empire. The Governor-General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young pinned the emblematic medals on them, reciting a short biography of each for the benefit of a number of distinguished invitees to the occasion. Bishop Wright currently sits on the Board of Governors of the University of Belize, is a member of the Council of Churches, and works with a number of NGO groups within the church in the Province of the West Indies; and now is the third most Senior Diocesan Bishop in the Province. Today, Bishop Wright was honoured by the Queen for his outstanding services to Belize in the field of religion. Bishop Wright is married to Mrs. Carla Suite-Wright. Sister Maria Caritas Lawrence is the eighth of ten children born to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lawrence. Her career as an educator spans forty-six years, with forty-three of those years dedicated in loving service to the people of her beloved Belize. Sister Caritas holds a Doctorate in Leadership Education. Today Sister Caritas, as she is affectionately called, was honoured by the Queen for her years of outstanding accomplishments and service in the field of religion and education.

Bugger, Lee Henkis sentenced to 8 years
On November 21st, 43-year-old, Lee Henkis was convicted of sodomizing a 9-year-old primary school boy and on Friday, November 30th, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. Henkis appeared before Justice Troadio Gonzalez where Henkis was not ashamed to admit to the court that he had been convicted before for molesting two other boys before. Lee Henkis was first convicted on May 15th, 2000 for committing an aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a boy. He was sentence to 9 months imprisonment. Then, within less than 2 years, he picked up a second conviction when he was found guilty of committing an unnatural crime upon another boy. He was then sentenced to 7 years in February 2002. Despite his record, however, Justice Gonzalez stated that he could not impose the maximum sentence of 10 years on Henkis since the records are old.

Wesley College stops St. Catherine Academy in its Tracks
The Central Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition commenced its playoffs round on Monday December 3rd, 2012, at the Bird's Isle with game 1 in the female and male categories. In the female game played, St. Catherine Academy the defending Central Region and National Champions and the tournament's favourite were promptly eliminated from the rest of this year's competition by no other than the most likely candidates Wesley College. At the sound of the long buzzer it was a 33-31 victory for the Wesley girls, who had lost to St. Catherine Academy on two previous outings. The top scorers for Wesley College were Shanice Humes with 8 points and Genae Samuels and Shanice Neal with 7 points each. For St. Catherine Acadmey, the top scorers were Gilda Estrada with 17 points and Halle Spence with 7 points. In the male semi-final game, Gwen Lizarraga eliminated Anglican Cathedral College by the score of 69-64. The top scorers for Gwen Lizarraga were Akeem Richardson with 18 points and Emmanuel Velasquez with 12 points. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Anglican Cathedral College were Brandon Rose with 18 points, and Douglas Valley and Kelvin Hendy with 12 points each.

The Singapore Man
There was a section in the editorial of the Amandala newspaper dated November 27th, 2012 which caught my attention, since it inferred a reasoning which I had long ago drawn conclusion to regarding ,the skewed results of the March 7th, 2012 General Elections. In this election, the UDP Government did quite well in Belize City, but had disappointing returns in the districts, especially Cayo and OW. Since Belize City is the media hub of our country, I had concluded that all the PUP blitz, which smothered the air waves before the elections had been neutralized by city-based TV and radio hosts; but these latter neutral or UDP-leaning talk shows never did reach the districts and villages, who went blue for the most part. So the question posed by the Amandala was, "Was the national monopoly (media) house as neutral in 2012 as it had been in the previous four general elections?" Let us probe the editor's question a little. After listening to the local news Monday night past, I began flipping through the TV channels since I was feeling bored. I stopped at Love TV and listened in a little to Mr. Gordon speaking about religion, poverty and crime, or something along those lines. Thing is, as soon as the camera panned out to capture the entire panel on the show, I said to myself, "jeez, what is Grandpa from the Munsters doing on this show?" Then I realized it was Gegg, who was slouching in a chair to the left of the screen. In seeing him, it came back to me why I had previously concluded that Love TV had really hurt the UDP in the districts in the last election. Not only did the PUP invest a lot of money at Love in ads, but Love's management allowed this team of so called "neutral" political pundits to air the show "Talk Politics" regularly, which bombarded the UDP for entire two-hour periods during prime time at night, its vile attacks reaching all corners of Belize.

Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired
Omica Chan and Wilfred Coc are the best spellers in the Senior and Junior categories (respectively) for the Crystal Spelling Bee. Chan is joined by Yoselin Manzanero, who took second place and Franklin Zetina, who garnered third place. Meanwhile, Jacob Chun received second place in the junior category and Lisbeth Shish finished third in the same category.

Armored Catfish makes News 13 years after It was caught
Eusebio Jr., and the embalmed armored catfish A species of fish that is said to be unfamiliar to Belizean waters and which, was caught over a decade ago in Orange Walk has made the news.

Networking Conference held in Cayo
A Conference named, 'Connecting Cayo Communities,' was held on November 30th, 2012 at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. The event was hosted by Mary Open Doors, a Non-Government Organization, dedicated to assisting domestic violence victims. Mary Open Doors has been working to assist women and children who suffer from domestic abuse since its founding in 2008. Last year, after being the recipient of a grant from Full Basket Belize, the organization started an outreach to villages in the Cayo District. The goal was to connect to thirty two villages, to sensitize them about the nature of domestic violence, legal rights as well as share basic data on the transmission and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Now at the midpoint of their outreach project, Mary Open Doors met on Friday last with those who have contributed to make the project a success as well as meet with new community members to inform on what to expect in the program. Principal among those associates was Diana Shaw, the Chairperson and founder of the Child Development Foundation, an organization which focuses on children who are victims of sexual violence. Shaw, who is an Attorney-at-Law by profession told The Guardian that she was in attendance at the Conference to speak about the legal implication sof domestic violence as well as what the law says about the subject. Shaw also wanted to remind attendees about the other support services that are available through Mary Open Doors, and other organizations that provide support to women who are victims of domestic violence.

Pedestrian Crossings at Accident Prone Area
Over the years, there have been multiple traffic fatalities on the Phillip Goldson Highway between mileS 2 and 3 as pedestrians have been knocked down and killed by vehicles. As a response to requests by residents in the area, the Ministry of Works and Transport began work on placing two pedestrian crossings in the area. One of the crossings will be located in front of the Devine Mercy Church and a second will be placed near Chetumal Street opposite the Scotia Bank offices. Construction on the crossings began on Saturday, December 1st and are expected to be completed by Thursday, December 7th.

Chinese Businessman pleads Guilty for not keeping Sales Books
On Wednesday, December 5th, Ming Pei Chen, the Belizean-Chinese national and owner of several well-established businesses in the Ladyville area including 24/7 Gas Station, Honey's Supermarket and Happy Hour Club, was convicted of a misdemeanor. The General Sales Tax Department took Chen to court on a single charge of failure to produce documents. Allegations are that on October 24th, 2012, a GST team visited Chen's gas station, located at the junction of the Phillip Goldson Highway and the entrance into Lord's Bank, where they asked him to produce sales books of the business and he did not at the time. When asked if he understood the charge, Chen said yes, and while he admitted to not producing the documents when requested by GST personnel, he told Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer that the documents were at his accountant's office. Despite this, he pleaded guilty to the offense. Since he was a first time offender, he was imposed half of the maximum penalty and was ordered to pay $500 plus a $5.00 cost of court, which he is to pay by December 15th, 2012 or in default, 3 months imprisonment. Ming presently has a charge of keeping ammunition before the court for which he awaits trial.

Major Heist in Dangriga
A major heist was reported in Dangriga Town on Monday, December 3rd. Hong Mai Chen, 39, a Business Woman and owner of Grigalizean Supermarket, located on George Price Drive, reported to police that at around 9:30 on that morning, she parked her vehicle on Oak Street in Dangriga. As Chen exited her vehicle, she was attacked by two men who punched her to the shoulder in order for her to let go of a bag she was carrying. During the struggle, she was also hit to the back of the head, which caused her to become slightly disoriented. The men then made off with the bag. Chen says that inside the bag she had $60,000. Police are investigating the report.

Murder Acquittal for Krismar Espinosa
On Wednesday, December 5th, 23-year-old prison inmate, Krismar Espinosa, of Orange Walk Town was acquitted of the murder of another inmate, 21-year-old Keon Kyle Swasey. Swasey had been stabbed twice whilst locked up in the Tango 8 area of the Belize Central Prison on December 24th, 2009. The acquittal came after Justice Troadio Gonzalez upheld a no case submission made by Swasey's attorney, Rachel Montejo. A jury of 12 people was then directed to acquit him of the charge of murder. The acquittal came after questions were raised as to whether there was proper identification of Espinosa was done by the Crown's two witnesses, two prison officers. The testimonies of the prosecution's witnesses brought doubt as to the identity of the person who caused Swasey's death. In court, one of the witnesses said that he was not sure if it was Espinosa whom he had seen in an altercation with Swasey.

Zane Galvez pleads Not Guilty to Aggravated Assault
On Tuesday, December 4th, Zane Galvez was detained by police after a misunderstanding outside the Belize City Magistrate's Court involving a prison officer. He appeared in court on Wednesday and was read a single charge of aggravated assault with a deadly instrument. That deadly instrument is said to be his black Volkswagen Jetta. Galvez, who was unrepresented, appeared before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Frazer, where he was charged with assaulting prison officer, Michael Gladden. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was offered bail in the sum of $1,500. He is to reappear in court on February 6th. The charge was levied on Galvez after he tried to reverse his vehicle into a parking lot located behind the Belize City Magistrate's Court. As a result, he blocked the way of a prison bus during which he got involved in a verbal confrontation with Gladden. Police later intervened and he was detained as it appeared be was behavior disorderly.

Murder in St. Mathews
Police are yet to arrest anyone following the shooting death of 31-year-old Roylee Young in St. Matthews Village. Police report that at around 9:30 on Sunday night, Young was at El Pedrigal Shop and Bar in the village, when he was shot to the back of the head. Young's body was found in a seated position in a chair on the verandah of the establishment. Young was reportedly shot a couple of months ago, and has just recently recovered from that shooting. He was the father of 3 children.

Shorty knocked down and killed; 20-year-old charged
On Monday, December 3rd, 20-year-old Amrick Escobar appeared in Magistrate's Court before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith. Escobar, who was represented by Attorney, Michael Peyreffitte, was charged with manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention and driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit. The Chief Magistrate took his plea for driving the motor vehicle without due care and attention and driving a motor vehicle with alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit for which he pleaded not guilty to.

Nolle Prosequi in the Case of Murder against Rasheed Woods
On Wednesday, December 5th, Rasheed Woods was set free of a murder charge in the July 6th, 2009 killing of 19-year-old Steven "Eggie" Grant. Prosecutor in the case, Sheneiza Smith, entered a Nolle Prosequi in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas, Sr. against Woods after the main witness in the case could not be located. Woods was represented by Attorney, Alifah Elrington-Hyde. Woods now joins 24-year-old Shain Louriano, who also saw the charge dropped against him on August 19th, 2010. Louriano was set free from Grant's murder when a directive was sent to the Belize City Magistrate's Court during the preliminary inquiry. The directive came because of a lack of evidence against him. At the conclusion of that same Preliminary Inquiry, the court ruled that there was sufficient evidence to commit Woods to stand trial in the Supreme Court for Grant's murder. On July 9th, 2009, Grant, also known as "Eggie", was in the North Creek Area, when a blue vehicle drove up on him and a hail of bullets was unleashed from inside. Grant was hit several times, including once to the head. He died instantly.

Delille Academy and Stann Creek Ecumenical are Southern Region Champions
The Southern Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition was played on Saturday, December 1st, 2012, at the Stann Creek Ecumenical Campus in Dangriga Town. In the first female game of the day, Delille Academy defeated Georgetown Egrets by the score of 15-8. In the second game, Delille Academy also defeated Toledo Community College by the score of 17-11. In game three, Georgetown Egrets defeated Toledo Community College by the score of 25-10. The female competition continued with the championship game in which Delille Academy defeated Georgetown Egrets by the score of,19-10 to capture the Southern Region Secondary Schools Basketball Title. Meanwhile, in the male competition and in game one, Georgetown Egrets defeated Toledo Community College Scorpions by the score of 41-34. In game two, it was Stann Creek Ecumenical winning over Georgetown Egrets by the score of 45-37. In game three, Toledo Community College Scorpions defeated Georgetown Egrets by the score of 40-36. In the male championship game, Stann Creek Ecumenical College defeated Toledo Community College Egrets by the score of 39-17 to capture the 2012-2013 Southern Region Secondary Schools Basketball Competition. Delille Academy girls and Stann Creek Ecumenical boys will represent the Southern Region at this year's National Secondary Schools Basketball Competition.

Belmopan Bandits and Police United seeded as One into the Playoffs
The 2012 Premier League of Belize Football Tournament regular season came to an end on Sunday, December 2nd, with 4 games across the country. On Saturday, December 1st, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium in Independence Village, the visiting Verdes FC nipped the home team Paradise/Freedom Fighters in a nail-biting game by the score of 3-2. The visiting Verdes FC were the first to get onto the scoreboard when Julio Ayala scored the 1st goal of the game in the 17th minute of play to give his team a 1-0 lead. However, the home team Paradise/Freedom Fighters were able to get on the scoreboard when Eduardo Martinez scored the equalizing goal in the 31st minute of play. In the second half of the game the Verdes Offence were able to penetrate the defence of the Paradise/Freedom Fighters and tallied two more times. Verdes' go-ahead goal was scored by Julian Maldonado in the 68th minute of play for a 2-1 lead and then the winning goal was scored by Walter Chinchillas in the 88th minute of play. Meanwhile, the Paradise/Freedom Fighters were able to cut the deficit to one when Delroy Flores scored in the 90th minute of play. At the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, the league's leading team the Belmopan Bandits and the Belize Defence Force played to a 1-1 draw. The goal for the Belmopan Bandits was scored by Jerome James in the 44th minute of play, while the goal for the Belize Defence Force was scored by Victor Nu�ez in the 86th minute of play.

Port of Belize vs BWSL in Firms Basketball showdown
The 2012 Belize District Basketball Association U-23 and Firms competitions are fast winding down at the Bird's Isle in Belize City. On Saturday, December 1st, in the third and final game between Port of Belize and Airport, it was the number one seed into the playoffs Port of Belize eliminated Airport by the score of 64-53. The top scorers for Port of Belize were Lennox Bowman and Ian Augustine with 21 points each, and Maxwell Nicholson with 8 points, 1, rebound, 2 assists and 2 steals. Meanwhile, the top scorers for Airport were Paul Swasey with 16 points, 15 rebounds, 1 assist and 3 steals; and Kelvin Gillett with 11 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. In the second game of the evening, which was also a must-win game three, BWSL eliminated BTL by the score of 67-47. The top scorers for BWSL were Travis Lennan and Ashley Hemsley with 14 points each, and Lawrence Young with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. On Friday, November 30th, in the first game of the evening of the second semi-final game, Airport defeated Port of Belize by the score of 60-49 to force the necessary game three between Airport and Port of Belize. The top scorers for the Airport in that game were Charles Armstrong with 21 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal; and Paul Swasey with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals. For Port of Belize, the top scorers were Ian Augustine with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and an assist; and Lennox Bowman, who scored 16 points, and 4 rebounds. In the second game of the evening which was also the second in the semi-final series, BTL edged BWSL by the score of 39-37 to force the must-win game three on Saturday. The top scorers for BTL were Edward Thompson with 13 points, and 6 rebounds; and Lupito Acosta with 8 points. For BWSL, the top scorers were Ashley Hemsley with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals, and Benson Matthews with 9 points and 9 rebounds.

National Primary Schools Football Championships this Friday
The 2012-2013 National Primary Schools Football Championships will be played this Friday, December 7th, at the MCC Grounds and ITVET Grounds here in Belize City. The Official Opening Ceremony is scheduled for 8:45 am at the MCC Grounds with the Guest Speaker being Ruperto Vicente, President of the Football Federation of Belize. The Official closing will also take place at the MCC Grounds with the Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and with direct responsibilities for Youth and Sports, will present the championships medals, and trophies. The schools that will participate in this year's championship are Holy Ghost (girls) and Christ the King Anglican (boys) from the Stann Creek District; Belize Elementary School (girls) and San Pedro Roman Catholic School (boys) from the Belize District; Santa Elena Primary School (girls) and Faith Nazarene (boys) from the Cayo District; Trial Farm Government School (girls) and La Immaculada (boys) from the Orange Walk District, Golden Stream Government School (boys and girls) from the Toledo District and Ranchito Government School (girls) and Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic (boys) from the Corozal District.

Security Boost for the Twin Towns in Cayo
Security levels within the Twin Towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena and surrounding areas have recently been dramatically boosted. This security re-setting comes as a result of the donation of two Polaris Sportsman 500 H.O (obtained from Benny's Home Center at mile 2 1/2on the Phillip Goldson Highway at reduced rates), twenty Omstar bicycles, communication handsets, binoculars and other gear courtesy of the United States Embassy. The items were presented to a joint force of the San Ignacio Police and the Cayo Neighbourhood Watch Association (CNWA) on November 30th, 2012 by Joseph Boski, Political and Economic Section Chief of the U.S Embassy in Belmopan.

Major Medical Upgrade at KHMH
Over the past couple of weeks, the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) has done 7 major surgeries, where the gall bladder of patients were removed and the patients left the hospital within a matter of hours. To hear of people going home so quickly after major surgery is a thing unheard of at the KHMH but, that is exactly what is taking place at the institution.

Infant Champions for Children with Cancer
On December 14th, the Standard 1 class of Hummingbird Elementary School will be donating over $3,150 to the Dangriga Cancer Center. The money is proceeds of two fundraisers spearheaded by 7-year-old, Salima Barrow.

Mexico trains Belizean Forensic Ballistic Analysts
Two Belizeans have just returned from Mexico after receiving specialized training in the science of Forensic Ballistics. The two Belizeans underwent an intensive five-day crashcourse in various aspects of Forensic Ballistics, including the use of the Integrated Ballistics Imaging System (IBIS). The training course was conducted in Mexico City from November 22nd to 26th through the Mexican Program for International Cooperation for Development. With the training received the Belizean forensic ballistic analysts will be able to operate the IBIS TRAX 3D System recently donated to Belize by Canada, which is being set up within the National Forensic Science Service eadquartered in Ladyville. It has been agreed that the possibility will be explored for further training and follow-up courses, as well as continuous exchange in techniques and practices in Forensic Ballistics and related specialized fields.

Taste of Belize held in Cayo
A variety of culinary events were held in the Cayo District, during December 1st and 2nd, opening up a rush of the festive season in this part of the country. These were organized by the Belize Tourist Board BTB, with the purpose of highlighting Belize's many talented chefs.Marcia Nunez, winner in the Pro-Chef category receives cheque from Minister Manuel Heredia.

The Reporter

Team Garage wins Bros. Habet 1st & 2nd Divisions table tennis championships
The Garage First and Second Division teams both repeated as champions of the Brother Habet Table Tennis Tournament, organized under the auspices of the Belize Table Tennis Association at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium on Sunday, November 25. The Garage team won 5-4 over the Cuz team to win their second consecutive championship. Garage's Mandy Gomez triumphed 3-0 over Dan Habet and Jorge Habet 3-0, while Eric Stamp overwhelmed Jorge Espat, Dan Habet and Mishek Martin 3-0 each. Nick Martin won 3-0 over Mario Guerrero and 3-0 over Mandy Gomez, while Jorge Espat and Dan Habet each clipped Guerrero 3-0. The Garage team also won 5-2 over Rivero's Welders in the semifinals as Mandy Gomez spanked Ernesto Rivero 3-1. Eric Stamp was invincible winning 3-0 victories against Mike Rivero, Ian Mcfield and Ernesto Rivero. Mario Guerrero stopped Mike Rivero 3-1. Ian Mcfield outlasted Gomez 3-1, and Ernesto Rivero prevailed 3-2 over Guerrero. Team Cuz advanced to the finals by eliminating the Hurricanes 5-4 in the semifinals.

Belize Elementary wins 1st Primary School Table Tennis Championships
Matthew Usher of Belize Elementary School won the first annual primary schools table tennis tournament organized by the Belize Table Tennis Association at the Belize Elementary School Auditorium on Friday, November 30. Usher remained undefeated throughout, and triumphed 2-0 over second placed Tyrone Brown of St. Joseph's RC School in the championship final. Usher had also won 2-0 over Wayne Parham of St Mary's Primary School in the first round of the double-elimination. Then he went on to a 2-0 win over Amiri Hoare of St. Joseph's in the second round. He handed Rohan Gillette of St. Joseph's his first loss: 2-0 in the third round, before moving on to the finals by a 2-0 victory over Kristian Swasey of BES in the fourth round. Tyrone Brown had also won 2-0 over Alexis Tun of St. Joseph in the first round, then 2-0 over Cuison Wong of BES in the second round, before he lost 0-2 to Kristian Swasey in the third round. Tyrone then battled out of the losers' bracket with a 2-0 victory over Lynn Augustine of St. Mary's. Then he eliminated Rohan Gillette 2-0 for Gillette's second loss. He then moved on to win the rematch with Kristian Swasey 2-1, to challenge Usher in the finals

Ranguy on suicide watch! First his family and now he wants his own life
Jared Ranguy, 26, the man accused of brutally murdering his mother, his sister and stepfather last Sunday, is on suicide watch, Earl Jones, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kolbe managed Belize Central Prison, confirmed Tuesday. Jones explained that since Ranguy was remanded to prison last week on three counts of murder, he has been acting strangely. The prison administrators are worried that his actions indicate that he would harm himself, and found it necessary to put him in a special cell, Jones added. "We have taken away everything that he could use to harm himself, including his belt," Jones explained, before adding that they have also provided Ranguy with counselling sessions. According to Jones, only a few persons have visited him since he was remanded to prison. Ranguy's three family members were killed inside their home, located on Mirage Road, Ladyville Village, in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 25.

Recognize an abusive relationship
It is a sobering fact that once domestic abuse starts, it's likely only going to escalate and continue, says Steven Stosny, Ph.D., author of Love Without Hurt: Turn Your Resentful, Angry, or Emotionally Abusive Relationship into a Compassionate, Loving One. "Once a behavioural threshold has been crossed, that person is more likely to continue the behavior," Stosny says. Unfortunately, the longer someone stays in an abusive relationship, the harder it becomes to walk away, Stosny explains. One possible explanation: When a woman becomes attached, she may start to overlook destructive actions with hopes of changing her partner's actions over time. Moreover, abuse tends to start small and escalate. Abusers follow a pattern of behavior where they put down and belittle their partners, thereby destroying their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. Once emotional abuse escalates into physical abuse, many victims have such damaged self-worth that they blame themselves. Those feelings are compounded by the fact that abusers often isolate their victims from friends and loved ones. With all of these factors working together, sometimes it feels as if leaving is impossible. That said, while it's hard to escape an abusive relationship, it's not impossible. If you think that you may be involved in an unhealthy and potentially abusive relationship, follow Stosny's guidelines for identifying the bad behavior, and getting the help you need.

Why you need to stop touching your face
Unless you wash your hands every time you use your phone, keyboard, or doorknob, the best way to avoid sickness is to touch your face less, according to a new paper published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Researchers observed 249 people in public areas and subways in two cities. They found that the average person touches communal surfaces about three times an hour, and touches her own mouth or nose even more frequently. That's a problem, because viruses and bacteria enter the body through mucus membranes in your nostrils, mouth, and eyes. When you scratch your nose or rub your eyes, you hand-deliver the germs you've picked up from touching common surfaces, and increase your risk of infection. And because any object you touch between hand-washings can contaminate your hands, experts say the solution isn't just washing more, but also touching your face less. "Washing our hands and avoiding hand-to-face contact are equally important in preventing any infectious disease," says Stephen Dahmer, MD, a physician affiliated with the Continuum Center for Health and Healing. "But we're not washing our hands often enough, and most people don't do it correctly." To wash your hands the right way, use antibacterial soap, rub your hands together vigorously for 20 seconds, and be sure to scrub up to the wrist, including the back of your hands, between the fingers, and beneath the nails. Then use an elbow to turn off the faucet, and a paper towel or air dryer instead of a reusable cloth. To decrease your chance of infection no matter how well you wash, use these strategies to quit touching your face.

What we ought to learn from our superbond
In last week's Ripple Effect entitled "Where the real power lies", I quoted United States President Obama saying to his electorate, "The lesson is that when enough people get involved, we have a pretty good track record of making Congress work." Of course, that principle is applicable to our context as well. This he said during his post-election campaign to voters to get them involved and rally their members of congress to make a deal that would supposedly solve their fast-approaching fiscal cliff, which is generally the simultaneous expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts that would see more than US$500 million taken out of the economy and sharp reductions in defense and non-defense spending. The president wants the tax rates for families making less than $250,000 to remain the same, while those who make more than $250,000 to pay more in taxes. However, his opponents, the Republican-controlled Congress-who, in principle, seem to agree with the "no tax increases on the middle class" position-also want to see the government cut more spending. In essence, they want to see more austerity measures. Thus, unable to agree, they're stalemated, with only days to go before they reach the fiscal cliff, which experts say would be so abrupt and arbitrary it could throw "the United States back into a recession next." Because it affects every citizen, the US President has brought the issue to the people, informing them and urging them to help secure the bipartisan deal, before they start "cliffhanging" or worse. Parallels to our Superbond dilemma There are indeed some strong parallels that could be drawn between the ongoing negotiations in the US over the fiscal cliff and renegotiations between the Government of Belize and the holders of Belize's US Dollar Step-Up Bond due 2029 (Superbond), Belize's Debt Review Team Leader Mark Espat told the Reporter Wednesday. But there's one conspicuous difference: the Belizean people aren't so involved in our negotiation process, as both GOB and the Belize Coordinating Committee that represents US$338 million of the outstanding US$544 million of bonds have agreed to do so behind closed doors. We won't complain about that, because it's natural to think that private entities would prefer to negotiate in private. Notwithstanding the confidential nature of the negotiations, this version of our "fiscal cliff" negotiations-which has its own version of proposed tax increases and spending cuts-is something that no Belizean should take lightly, and information is indeed very important as we move forward in this matter, because only an informed people can be adequately, and objectively involved.

Point and Counter Point: UB twelve years later
The University of Belize (UB) turned twelve this year, having been established as the country's national university in 2000. As 2012 comes to an end I thought it would be appropriate for us a nation to reflect on where this institution is heading in light of where it has come from over the last dozen or so years. One of the questions that could help to guide our reflections is this: what progress has the national university made towards its mission after twelve years of state and non-state funding? Another would be: What do we know now, and what more do we need to find out, before we can make an informed judgment on how best we can all contribute to make this institution the sort of place we all dreamed it could become especially for our youths and young adults to grow, to become and to be? My thoughts on these questions, and some of the other related questions they raise, is the subject of this column. We know that regardless of the current vision, the two interrelated goals of UB as a tertiary level education provider remains that of any public university anywhere in the world. As Gordon Wells has pointed out, these are, first, to ensure cultural continuity through the transmission to each new generation of Belizeans of artifacts (intellectual, social and cultural) which embody the achievement of the past, both local and global. Secondly, to enable individual students to appropriate these artifacts and to transform the associated knowledge and practices into a resource that both empowers them personally and enables them to contribute to the solution of problems facing the country in innovative ways. Progress must be judged against the extent to which UB is performing these two basic functions. We also know that one the challenges of the past, that seems to persist even today, is that of taking responsibility. Though our PM, as the statutory head of UB, has always taken full responsibility for ensuring that the university receives the state's contribution of the institution's annual financing, he has for the most part always divested the responsibility of overseeing the growth and development of the university to the his Minister of Education. In the last twelve years Musa divested to Hyde and Fonseca and Barrow to Patrick Faber, who in turn pass on that responsibility to the Chairman of the UB Board of Trustees - Hyde to Evan X, Fonseca to Dr. Zabaneh, and Faber to Fairweather.

Lee Henkis, 43, sentenced to eight years for sodomy
Lee Henkis, a repeat offender who was convicted of an unnatural crime, was sentenced to eight years in prison, after Supreme Court Justice Troaido Gonzalez heard a mitigation plea on his behalf on Friday, November 30. The forty-five-year old Henkis was convicted on Wednesday, November 21, after a jury of four men and five women returned with a unanimous guilty verdict, after deliberating for four hours.

Queen honors outstanding Belizeans
Two Belizeans were honoured by Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday December 5 for outstanding accomplishments in the fields of religion and education. Sr. Maria Caritas Lawrence, RSM, EDD and the Rt. Reverend Phillip Wright B.A., M.A. were both presented with the Order of the British Empire medals by Governor General, Sir Colville Young at Belize House in Belmopan. Having worked as an educator for the last forty six years, Sr. Caritas Lawrence's work in religion and education was acknowledged by the Queen and was duly honoured with the OBE medal. Born and raised on the southside of Belize City, her entire childhood and adolescent years were lived on Cemetery Road. She entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1960 and took her final vows in 1968. With a Doctorate in Leadership Education under her belt, Sr. Caritas has served her country teaching, promoting educational development, and supervised primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in rural and urban Belize. She also taught in Rhode Island and worked as chaplain for one year at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus in Tunapuna, Trinidad and Tobago.

Barrier Reef in poor health
The anti-offshore oil exploration lobby recently estimated that the Meso-American Barrier reef is worth over US$350 million to Belize annually in tourism, fisheries and storm surge protection, but the reef itself is in poor health, according to a recent survey carried out by the Healthy Reefs Initiative. Belize must take a white-water to blue water approach to conserving the health of the reef, since everything that man does on land inevitably affects what happens offshore on the reef. Rains wash excess fertilizer and other nutrients washed off farmland into rivers, which carry them out to sea, where the excess nutrients stimulates the growth of macro-algae, which compete for sunlight and space on the reef with the living polyps. Any sewage from coastal communities that spills into the sea also encourages the growth of macro-algae. Sedimentation from dredging and other human activities also threaten the coral polyps. Belizeans must control these activities or accept part of the blame for the death of our reef. In presenting the Meso-American reef report card at the Radisson Hotel on Tuesday, December 4, Melanie McField of the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Conservation NGO explained that the survey had measured four parameters: the percentage of the reef which was occupied by live coral polyps, the presence of macro-algae, the bio-mass of herbivorous fish which consume the macro-algae and the bio-mass of commercial species or larger, carnivorous fish.

Coast Guard commander promoted to Rear Admiral on 7th anniversary
The Belize Defence Force Maritime Unit morphed into the Belize National Coast Guard in 2005, and its current commander, Captain John Borland was promoted to Rear Admiral when the Coast Guard celebrated its seventh anniversary at its new headquarters at mile 4 on the George Price Highway Friday, November 30. That fledgling force of 44 ex-BDF sailors and 10 police officers piloting six skiffs has since grown to 152 officers with several more vessels, including two Boston Whalers donated by the United States government. The Coast Guard's role in interdicting Colombian drug traffickers at sea and their capture of "square grouper" have prompted the US Government to also donate radar, night vision goggles, navigation equipment and communications gear to their efforts. Rear Admiral John Borland, who has served in Belize security forces for the past 25 years and has prepared for his new rank by attending the Royal Naval College, announced plans to double the size of his force to 332 men, serving effectively as the naval enforcement of all Belize's maritime laws , including fisheries regulations. The Coast Guard also has a humanitarian role. It helps with search-and-rescue efforts for those lost at sea, and it plays a significant role in evacuation procedures when there is a hurricane threat, and other natural disasters. The Coast Guard also assists port management and other environmental agencies when a vessel runs aground, and there's possibility of an oil/fuel spill.


A Christmas-y Morning in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
I am home at last! My journey back from Providence, Rhode Island took me to Dulles Airport, Washington, DC to Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen for a night's stay and then finally back home to San Pedro. More about that trip (at least the Mexico part) later. But I do love an international airport that decorates its tower with Corona. Perfect welcome to Cancun. About one hour south, I woke up early yesterday to hit Walmart in Playa del Carmen. On the way over, I saw quite a few businesses decorating for the upcoming holidays. Starbuck's Mexico has some different choices than the US ones. What's a backed apple? And lots of these...not sure what it is... Just the hint of fruit cake (those icky green fruit pieces) had me looking at other items... A giant tree and manger scene had been erected in the "town square".

Trip Advisor Nominates Belize as a Top Beach Destination in Central America
Belize has been nominated as a top beach destination in Central America by Trip Advisor, the world's largest travel site that assists individuals to plan trips using advice from real travelers. According to the newly released "Top 10 Beach Destinations in Central America", Belize ranked seventh through ninth on the Trip Advisor list. The three popular beaches nominated were: San Pedro, Placencia and Caye Caulker. San Pedro is "La Isla Bonita" that Madonna made famous and is a tourist mecca that boasts great beaches and plenty of dive shops where you can enjoy the sun, sand, and sea. Placencia Peninsula is a lovely little Belizean seacoast village in Southern Belize with sixteen miles of white sandy beaches and is a favorite destination for diving and snorkeling. Caye Caulker is a small island with a rare combination of rustic, laid back charm and comfortable amenities that has very little resemblance to the more hustle and bustle Caribbean hot spots.Travelers report that it's "not for the party animal," and appeals especially to backpackers, painters, divers and snorkelers. Other Central American Countries that made it on the Traveler's Choice 2012 Awards list were Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Hondura.

International Sources

Deportation looms for tech guru McAfee after heart drama
Software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation to Belize, was rushed to a hospital in Guatemala on Thursday shortly after his asylum request was rejected, but a suspected heart attack turned out to be stress in a fresh twist to the saga. The 67-year-old U.S. computer software pioneer was taken swiftly from a hospital in a police car out of the sight of media, after earlier arriving in an ambulance lying on a stretcher. His lawyer said he was being taken back to an immigration department cottage where he has been detained since crossing illegally into Guatemala from neighbouring Belize, where police want to question him in connection with his neighbour's murder. "He never had a heart attack, nothing like that," said Telesforo Guerra, a former attorney general who had earlier said McAfee had two mild heart attacks. "I'm not a doctor. I'm just telling you what the doctors told me," he added. "He was suffering from stress, hypertension and tachycardia (an abnormally fast heartbeat)." McAfee was posting on his blog in the morning, the time he suffered the stress attack. "I don't think a heart attack prevents one from using one's blog," Guerra had said at the time. Guerra's assistant, Karla Paz, earlier said she found McAfee lying on the ground and unable to move his body or speak. McAfee was detained by Guatemalan police on Wednesday for illegally sneaking across the border with his 20-year-old girlfriend to escape authorities in Belize. He has said he fears authorities in Belize will kill him if he returns. Guatemala's foreign minister, Harold Caballeros, said earlier McAfee's request for asylum was rejected.

Now John McAfee Is Writing An Insane Blog While He's In Jail
The John McAfee circus came to a head last night when McAfee was finally arrested in Guatemala. Except, uh, now he's blogging from a computer the Guatemalan police gave him in his jail cell. Here's how the first prison-based post starts: I am in jail in Guatemala. Vastly superior to Belize jails. I asked for a computer and one magically appeared. The coffee is also excellent. And that pretty much sets the table for how this is going to go. He's issued a few other missives, updating about the state of his extradition proceedings (he's safe from being shipped back to Belize, for now). The longest, by far, is titled, of course, "Can't Sleep". Here's an excerpt: I am using the computer of one of the wardens, or whatever title is used here. He is a sweet man and a gentleman. The world is heavilly [sic] populated with gentle people. He makes me coffee and tells tender stories about his life. He is a good companion. I believe I could spend weeks in the desert with him as a sole companion without once becoming irritated. His name is Gino Ennati. This whole thing is passing surreal into the unknowable. That video up top is of McAfee hanging out with some reporters from Vice, just before and during being arrested. It's a totally bizarre scene, with McAfee leaning in and whispering, "Guatemalan jails have beds, dude. And food. It's pretty awesome," to the Vice cameraman. Then he buys a tourist's flute and jams on it a bit, before being very cordially picked up by Guatemalan authorities. And then he just hops into the SUV as nonchalantly as if he were heading to the beach, arm draped over the back seat, taking up all the leg room from the arresting agent like an arse. Somehow, it seems like the most natural thing in the world. So John McAfee is basically live-blogging his jail stint on a South American murder rap from the personal computer of a Guatemalan jail warden. Now you know.

How Trusting in Vice Led to John McAfee's Downfall
By now, you are aware of John McAfee. If there's one thing that the sexagenarian millionaire antivirus founder seems to love more than teenage girls, it's publicity. And he is extremely adroit at getting it. His misadventures in Central America have eaten the media whole. Even now, in the hospital where he was taken after suffering chest pain, he is surrounded by a crush of media. He's a natural story, as I learned firsthand earlier this year. Charming and good-looking, he peppers his speech in Virginia-accented "sirs." It's disarming, like some patrician version of neuro-linguistic programming. Combined with his wild stories, it means reporters love to talk to him. And of course, he is a media magnet for other reasons too, all related to his bizarre lifestyle. His relocation to Belize. His fights with that nation's government. His coterie of young women. The armed gang members he associates with. The allegations of drug use. The McAfee story, with its drugs and guns and prostitutes and allegations of police corruption, seemed tailor-made for Vice, a publication that revels in all of those subjects on a regular basis. It is as if some hipster god reached down and extended a smelly, fickle finger of fate to Vice editor-in-chief Rocco Castoro, muttering "here's a cool story, bro." Naturally, Vice scuttled down to Belize, and traveled with McAfee as he fled the country, penning a blog post titled "We Are With John McAfee Right Now, Suckers." Vice is just the most recent media crew McAfee has latched onto. And if the past is prologue, it won't go well. The chummy relationship McAfee tends to enjoy with his contacts in the media almost always goes south. He's previously attached his media ambitions on Jeff Wise, only to then smear him, and then subsequently apologize. Wired's own Joshua Davis also enjoyed his attentions, and when McAfee first went on the lam, he gave Davis exclusive interviews. This lasted until Davis wrote stories McAfee didn't like, at which point the old man in the jungle claimed it had all been a ruse and quit talking to Davis. So now he's with Vice. In a blog post he later deleted, he claimed they would tell his real story. That Vice would show once and for all whether or not he is a drug-crazed madman. Instead, he's in a hospital in Guatemala after having been detained by police, and facing likely deportation. Oddly, Vice directly contributed to McAfee's capture by revealing his location in the metadata of a photo it published. This was deeply stupid. People have been pointing out the dangers of inadvertently leaving GPS tags in cellphone pictures for years and years. Vice is the same publication that regularly drops in on revolutions and all manner of criminals. They should have known better. Then, it followed up this egregiously stupid action with a far worse one. Vice photographer Robert King apparently lied on his Facebook page and Twitter in order to protect McAfee. Like McAfee, he claimed that the geodata in the photo had been manipulated to conceal their true location. This explanation, of course, made no damn sense at all. If McAfee and King were trying to conceal their location by spreading disinformation, why immediately admit to it?

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McAfee blogs five times while in custody, ends up in hospital
Just when it seemed his story couldn't get any stranger, software pioneer-turned-fugitive John McAfee followed up his Wednesday night capture with a series of bizarre blog posts from a Guatemalan detention center, then collapsed and was carried from a facility on a stretcher. His attorney said McAfee suffered two mild heart attacks, then backtracked hours later and told Reuters that McAfee only suffered from stress, hypertension and an abnormally rapid heart beat. Meanwhile, Guatemalan authorities were locked in negotiations with Belizean ministers about whether to return McAfee to Belize, where he is wanted for questioning in the slaying of his neighbor. The latest chapters in a tale no screenwriter could concoct played out, as earlier installments have, before Central American media and a rapt online audience. In several weeks on the lam, McAfee has adopted disguises, falsified GPS coordinates, even buried himself underground -- or so he has claimed. All the while, the 67-year-old Silicon Valley anti-virus software guru has seemed to enjoy himself thoroughly, even after being seized by Interpol officers outside a posh Guatemala City hotel Wednesday night.

McAfee returns to Guatemalan detention center after hospital visit
Software pioneer John McAfee ended the day Thursday as he started it: imprisoned in a Guatemalan immigration detention center. Earlier, a neon green ambulance had whisked the 67-year-old to a police hospital just hours after officials rejected his bid for asylum. McAfee's legal team said doctors were treating him for cardiovascular problems. Later, attorney Telesforo Guerra offered a different diagnosis: McAfee had suffered a nervous breakdown, but tests showed he did not have heart problems. The series of events were the latest dramatic twists in a saga that reads like a best-selling mystery, with poisoned dogs, a dead neighbor and international intrigue fueled by weeks on the run. The next chapter could unfold in Belize, where Guatemalan officials said they were preparing to deport McAfee after rejecting his asylum bid. Police in Belize are ready to meet McAfee at the airport if he's deported, spokesman Raphael Martinez said. Authorities there have said they want to talk to McAfee about the November 11 shooting of his neighbor, American businessman Gregory Faull. Under Belize law, McAfee can be held for 48 hours without charges, Martinez said.

Technology pioneer John McAfee suffers 'two heart attacks' after asylum denial
JOHN McAfee, the anti-virus software pioneer wanted for questioning in connection with the murder of an American neighbour in Belize, was rushed to hospital with chest pains tonight after he was denied political asylum by Guatemala. It had seemed that Mr McAfee would be sent back to Belize until he was carried on a stretcher out of the building where he was being held, with his lawyer saying he had suffered two mild heart attacks while hit by anxiety and hypertension. Mr McAfee had earlier posted a pleading message on his blog site asking supporters to email the President of Guatemala, Otto P�rez Molina, asking that he be allowed to stay in his country. Asked how he had uploaded the posts, his lawyer Telesforo Guerra said: "I don't think a heart attack prevents one from using one's blog." Of his legal status, Mr Guerra said: "It seems that there's been a government decision to throw him out of Guatemala. He will be in danger if he is returned to Belize, where he has denounced authorities. From the moment he asked for asylum he has to have the protection of the Guatemalan government." While the English-born Mr McAfee, who surrendered control of the anti-virus software firm that made him a multi-millionaire and which still bears his name, had successfully eluded the authorities until yesterday, in all other ways he had been anything but discreet, giving interviews by phone and posting entries on his blog. Mr McAfee, whose life since moving to Belize three years ago reads like the pages of a James Ellroy crime novel, contends the government there is out to kill him, in part because he has refused to pass them money under the table. "It's a wild, wild country," he said in an interview inside Guatemala with Reuters. "Everyone sees one part of Belize. They think it's a wonderful, peaceful, lovely place, blue waters, so McAfee has got to be crazy. Maybe I am crazy. If I were, I wouldn't know."

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