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The San Pedro Sun

Abel Wiebe & family need your help
It began with a distinct scratchiness of the throat; his voice grew weaker, and he felt a rattle when he breathed or spoke. That was in March of 2012. After he felt a worsening, Isidro Abel Wiebe went to Belize City to seek medical help. He got a biopsy, and shortly after, he was informed that he had been diagnosed with Laryngeal Carcinoma. Abel Wiebe worked for 11 years at a popular nightclub in downtown San Pedro, and before that, he had worked one year at a now-defunct nightclub south of town. He was never a smoker, yet, he is suffering the effects of cigarette smoke; second-hand smoke is deadly, and he is a prime example. But this story is not ALL about the effect of the smoke he passively inhaled over the years he worked to put food on his family’s table. The sad issue is that he has been diagnosed, and in the ensuing panic that overtakes when one hears that dreaded word “cancer”, he followed doctor’s orders, not even taking a chance at a second opinion, or reaching out to the organizations that could have helped him with some options. As such, funds that were raised by family, friends and (former) co-workers went towards paying expensive treatments that in the end did him no good. When funding ran out, he had to come back to Belize, to explore other options. The Dangriga Cancer Center in Belize is offering treatment to him: chemotherapy, which he needs to undergo before heading to Guatemala for the operation that could possibly save his life, and perhaps even his voice.

San Pedro AIDS Commission continues to lead in the Fight against HIV/AIDS on the island.
Throughout the month of November, committees and organizations around the country of Belize and the world engage in activities focusing on the fight against HIV/AIDS. The activities lead up to December 1st, a day set aside internationally to be observed as World AIDS Day. The day provides an opportunity for individuals to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to show support for persons living with HIV/AIDS as well as to memorialize loved ones who have passed. A constant in the fight against HIV/AIDS is the stigma and discrimination that is related to the disease and virus. In San Pedro, the local San Pedro AIDS Commission has had a long history of working towards ending such stigma and discrimination as well as providing financial assistance to persons living with HIV/AIDS through their various fundraisers and socials. As part of their activities leading to December 1st, Commission members took to the San Pedro High School on Friday, November 30th where they shared the Red Ribbon with both faculty and students at the institution. Apart from sharing the ribbon, the team also provided informative pamphlets on HIV/AIDS as well as an explanation about the significance of the Red Ribbon.

“Well Above-Average” hurricane season puts Belize to the test
The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season which includes the North Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico area came to an end on November 30th. The 2012 hurricane season saw 19 named systems, one of which put Belize’s emergency plan to a test. This occurred when hurricane Ernesto made landfall south of Mahahual in the state of Quintana Roo Mexico on the 27th August at about 9:15PM. The 2012 season was considered to have been well above-average and differed from what was projected at the start of the season. The hurricane season, which begins on June 1st and ends on the 30th of November, did not bring any hurricane systems directly to Belize. Chief Meteorologist Dennis Gonguez of the Belize Meteorological Service outlined the season, looking back at the activities in the Atlantic area. “This past 2012 hurricane season was rather active. We saw well above average tropical cyclone activities. During this year there were 19 named systems and in a typical year you would have about nine to ten so we saw almost twice as many systems this year. Of the 19 named systems, ten became hurricanes and in a typical year we would have about six hurricanes; again it shows that the activities were well above normal. Of the ten hurricanes, one became a major hurricane (Hurricane Michael – Cat 3). So this year’s activities were well above normal”. He also added that the forecast did not stand out as projected, as there were more named storms than there were intense systems, stating that “the suppressing phenomenon” which the forecasters had expected did not develop as strongly and as timely as projected. “The El Niño phenomenon, which normally has a dampening affect on our hurricane season did not evolve as strongly as we had expected, so we did not have that increase in storm intensity this year,” said Gonguez.

Misc Belizean Sources

Video: Dr. Jaime Awe Explains Why Archaeologists Sometimes Make Destructive Decisions
If you missed the backstory of this week-long video series with Dr. Jaime Awe, Belize’s most prominent archaeologist, please start by reading the series introduction. In yesterday’s video, Dr. Awe explained the features of Maya architecture that are exhibited at the Caracol site and put those in context of global architecture across time and cultures. In today’s video, Dr. Awe talks about a difficult decision he made to destroy a small part of a structure at Caracol. I always love the backstories and understories of people’s work, so this video is my favorite yet. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Video: Dr. Jaime Awe Introduces the History & Features of the Belizean Maya Site, Caracol
In March 2012, I had the honor and privilege of attending the first of four overnight camping trips at Caracol, which is considered by Belize’s National Institute of Culture and History to be one of the country’s most important–if not THE most important–Maya sites. Whereas some other countries with Mayan heritage (and, it’s important to note, living Maya cultures) decided to play up the apocalypse and doomsday interpretations that gained so much traction in mainstream US media, Belize kept things classy and real, insisting upon the importance of using the luxury of a year-long spotlight on all things Maya as an opportunity to both educate people and celebrate Maya culture. All programming was designed with these dual objectives in mind. One of the novel ways the country decided to fulfill those objectives was by hosting a series of overnight camping trips at Caracol, during which Dr. Jaime Awe, Belize’s most prominent archaeologist, would personally guide visitors around the site. Each camping trip would truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience: each was scheduled to fall on an equinox or solstice during the year when the Maya’s long-form calendar ended. Each camping trip (the last is scheduled for December 20 and is sold out) would be limited to 100 visitors, who, in addition to meeting Dr. Awe, would also enjoy a traditional Maya dinner and, very early the following morning, a special Maya fire ceremony. The entire experience was incredible; it lived up to its once-in-a-lifetime billing, and I doubt I’ll forget any of it. But Dr. Awe was, without question, the highlight. It’s rare enough, I think, to feel oneself in the presence of a genius. And if that happens, it’s rarer still to find that person completely accessible, his or her passion so palpable that you can’t help but absorb it and let it live inside you for a long, long time to come.

CCRCS Variety Show!
Un-deniably Xmas is a time for children!! Their excitement for the magic of Santa Clause brings us all back to some of fondest memories of our childhood and watching them celebrate this special time is pure joy! Last night was the Caye Caulker Roman Catholic’s Variety Show 2012. The students have spent most of last week rehearsing and their parents patiently sewing costumes, purchasing Xmas hats and or putting together their best red or green clothes!! Each class performed, most probably twice and most if not all children took part whilst parents stood and watched this colorful spectacle! Thank you for all took part for bringing in the Xmas spirit to Caye Caulker this year … roll on today and Ocean Academy’s Extravaganza at the Park!!

VIDEO: Christmas fireworks in Belmopan
A spectacular fireworks display brought the curtain down in dramatic fashion on the program for the lighting of the Christmas Tree in Belmopan on Saturday, December 8th., 2012.


Still in recovery mode and the last 48 hrs
This post was started last Thursday in the midst of getting my new laptop set and ready for work, I started experiencing a big bout of ADD and my brain was feeling like 220 plugged into a 110 socket. I knew I needed to just walk away from it all and shut down which is easier said than done. I decided that I was not going to do emails only, not blog or take any pictures during Dick’s 2 last days on the island before he starts traveling to Antarctic for his next contract. The plan was to go between taking as much quiet time with myself and Paul as I could and hanging out with Dick. Darth Vader our joyride cart was down so we ended up on foot most of the time, we did get lucky and score a ride from Glenn the day we went souvenir shopping. Dick had promised to buy the girls at the Canadian office some picture frames and I was his wing-man for the job. I tried to be optimistic as we set out and kept my mouth shut on the topic as I truly believe that sometimes when you have nothing good to say it is better to say nothing. As we started hitting the stores down front street and looking at frames Dick quickly realized that not only were they over budget, most of the were not impressing him. After a few stores I told him the moral of this story is that it is ok to tell someone you are bringing them a Belize souvenir, but never tell them you are a specific item unless you have found one that meets your souvenir buying criteria first. You could go as far as to even ask if there is a special request with no guarantees disclaimer, you never know who has a fridge magnet, shot glass or a coffee cup collection

Carrie Hits Southern Belize: A Look at Placencia & Dangriga
Hello again, SanPedroScoop fans! I think that the cold weather in New Jersey affected Rebecca's brain - she told you all that I was going down to Punta Gorda with Kathy.... but she was wrong. Placencia is as far south as we went on this trip, and here are some more pics of our days there: I actually went to Placencia for a reason other than just to show Kathy around - I wanted to go talk to someone about a job at this fun little beach bar, the Tipsy Tuna - Everything is cute and colorful at this bar - even the bike racks: They have PLENTY of seating.... In the shade - Or in the sun- Right on the beach, even - They also have a hotel with another bar inside - which I believe is their "club" for late night dance music, if that's what you're into - Yeah... I could work there. More in Placencia...part of the "longest continuous sidewalk in the world" Signs everywhere, directing you to all of the good spots! Very handy. Placencia cemetery After Placencia, Kathy and I grabbed a bus and got to Alta Vista, where my house is, and spent one night there. Nothing too thrilling to tell you about - Kathy just wanted to see the house and the land and meet the goat that I named after her...

International Sources

Self-publishing your book: 5 benefits, 3 drawbacks
Writers don't have to rely on traditional publishing houses to get their work to the public anymore. As costs drop and digital opportunities grow, many writers avoid traditional steps. As self-publishing costs drop and digital opportunities grow, many writers are avoiding traditional publishing houses. Self-publishing can be an appealing option, but success is hard to come by. While it's tempting, it's still tough to make a living on self-published works. Most of the books sell fewer than 150 copies, The New York Times reported earlier this year. Guy Kawasaki, the co-founder of and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures, joined The Daily Circuit Thursday, Dec. 6. He co-wrote an upcoming book, "Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book." Author Lee Goldberg and Andrew Karre, editorial director of Carolrhoda Books, Carolrhoda Lab and Darby Creek, also joined the discussion.

Belize Supreme Court to decide legality of homosexuality in May
Belize’s Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the country’s sodomy law which treats homosexuality as if it was the same thing as bestiality The Supreme Court of Belize will decide on the future of the Central American country’s colonial era sodomy law early next year, with a hearing set to begin on May 7. Prospects for the hearing did not look good at first when Justice Michelle Arana decided that LGBT rights group the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) could not challenge the constitutionality of the law as it was not a person in May of this year. However she allowed UNIBAM president Caleb Orozco to challenge the law as an individual and has now allowed UNIBAM to participate as an interested party in the case as she had already allowed representatives of Christian churches in Belize to be interested parties along side the government of Belize. The churches and government want to retain Section 53 of the country’s criminal code which outlaws homosexuality alongside bestiality as carnal intercourse ‘against the order of nature.’ Orozco told the Amandala newspaper that he was hopeful of a positive verdict in a case about ‘fundamental rights and freedom,’ and welcomed recent statements from US officials urging progress in the region on LGBT rights. ‘There is a layer of comfort from the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s support for our cause here in Belize,’ Orozco said. However a spokesman for the churches, Pastor Scott Stirm, claimed that UNIBAM was trying to push a foreign agenda on Belize

John McAfee Is Ready to Come Home Now
Fallen anti-virus mogul and possible murderer John McAfee seems to have tired of his big, crazy international adventure. "My goal is to get back to America as soon as possible," McAfee told Reuters in a phone call from the Guatemalan detention center where he is being held after unsuccessfully seeking asylum there. "I wish I could just pack my bags and go to Miami," he added. Unfortunately for McAfee, who is wanted for questioning in Belize over the death of his neighbor, the United States government can't just book him on the next flight to Florida. A State Department spokesperson responded to his remarks by pointing out that Americans traveling abroad are subject to local laws, and that the U.S. can only ensure that they are "treated properly within this framework." McAfee also told Reuters that, because he is now without Internet access, he has handed over control of his consistently updated blog to some friends in Seattle, who have begun posting "a series of files claiming to detail Belize's corruption." This is apparently an attempt to discredit the Belizean police's previous claims that McAfee was manufacturing narcotics and possessed illegal firearms. "People are saying I'm paranoid and crazy but it's difficult for people to comprehend what has been happening to me," he explained. "It's so unusual, so out of the mainstream." For once, that statement is entirely true, but it's not likely to get him back to South Beach any time soon.

From malware to madman: A brief history of John McAfee’s lunacy binge
Technology's favorite crazy man John McAfee is currently sitting in a jail in Guatemala after fleeing police in Belize who suspect him of murdering his neighbor. Here's a complete rundown of how he ended up in such crazy, sad place in this world. John McAfee is one crazy son of a bitch. But you already know that, thanks to the ridiculous escapade that started back in November after McAfee’s neighbor was found dead, and McAfee fled into the jungles of Belize. It’s a sordid tale, with many ins, outs, and what-have-yous – one of the most spectacular displays of utter madness the technology world has ever seen. McAfee’s absurd story actually starts much earlier, all the way back in the 1990s. So sit back, grab yourself a hit of bath salts, and come with us on a journey through John McAfee’s long, hilarious descent into madness. 1987: McAfee Associates launches After nearly two decades working as a programmer for NASA, Univac, and Xerox, McAfee lands a job at Lockheed Martin where he begins developing anti-virus software. In 1987, he launches his own company, McAfee Associates, which becomes the world’s go-to anti-virus company. 1992: Michelangelo virus stir-up This is when McAfee’s crazy streak first begins to reveal itself. McAfee tells the world that a virus dubbed “Michelangelo,” which had the charming feature of completely wiping the hard drive of infected computers, had made its way into as many as 5 million PCs. On March 6, McAfee said, Michelagelo would trigger a meltdown in all infected computers at once. His declaration caused a near-panic in the computer-using world, much as the Y2K D-Day scare did some eight years later. But by March 7, nothing had happened. Nothing. McAfee was blamed for creating a false threat to sell more of his anti-virus elixir – which he did. McAfee’s anti-virus software sales reportedly “skyrocketed” that year, with more than half of the companies in the Fortune 100 having purchased McAfee software. Of course, this only furthered the theory that McAfee had just made up the whole damn thing. 1994: McAfee cashes out The Michelangelo fiasco eventually took its toll on McAfee’s reputation within the company. By 1994, he was forced out of his own firm. He cashed out most of his stock in the company, plunking a whopping $100 million into his bank account. At 47, McAfee is massively rich, retired, and bored. 1994 to 1999: The dark years Flush with millions of dollars in cash, McAfee purchases a 280-acre compound in Woodland Park, Colorado for $25 million. The sprawling estate includes a 10,000-square-foot mansion, two apartments, and nine guest cabins. It was from this home base that McAfee developed one of the first Internet instant messaging and VoIP clients, PowWow, which precluded eventual winners in the space, like AOL Instant Messenger and Skype. He launched the product under a new company called Tribal Voices, a Native American-themed venture that foreshadowed McAfee’s eventual turn into a hippy-dippy yoga junkie.

John McAfee: The multimillionaire fugitive -- in his own words
The software king, wanted by police following the murder of a neighbour, talks of sensationalist reporting and why he's relieved to be in Guatemala. By the time I contacted him on Wednesday, even by his own recent standards, John McAfee was having an unpredictable week. Seven days ago the multimillionaire internet security pioneer was still hiding in the jungle of Belize wanted for questioning by police in connection with the murder of his neighbour, Gregory Faull, who had been found shot dead at his home on November 11. McAfee had subsequently fled only to reappear on the internet, expressing fears that he was being set up by the Belize government, which he believed wanted him killed for refusing to pay a bribe. Last Monday, after evading police for three weeks, there were reports of McAfee being arrested crossing the border into Mexico. In fact, the detained individual turned out to be a lookalike and the real 67-year-old self-styled adventurer was being smuggled across a different border, into Guatemala. As his blog later revealed, he was in the company of his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sam Vanegas, and two reporters from Vice, an American magazine. McAfee was wearing a disguise that involved a dyed black goatee and flattened wads of chewing gum under his upper lip to make it protrude. On Tuesday, one of those Vice reporters, apparently unable to believe his gonzo journalist luck, posted a picture of himself alongside McAfee on the internet, with the headline "We're with John McAfee, suckers". The photograph was very quickly examined by a Twitter user, @simplenomad, who discovered from its image file an exact grid reference for the runaway quartet: they were staying at an exclusive resort in Guatemala called Ranchon Mary. The picture had been taken next to the pool. McAfee, the anti-virus security guru, realising that he had been exposed by this schoolboy data error, made himself known to the Guatemalan authorities in the company of the "best criminal lawyer in the country" Telesforo Guerra, who also happened to be his girlfriend's uncle. The fugitive had abandoned his beachwear and surfer's peroxide in favour of a sober suit and trimmed beard, and announced that he was seeking asylum in Guatemala. On

John McAfee wants to return to US
Software guru John McAfee, fighting deportation from Guatemala to Belize to face questions about the slaying of a neighbor, said on Saturday he wants to return to the United States. "My goal is to get back to America as soon as possible," McAfee, 67, said in a phone call to Reuters from the immigration facility where he is being held for illegally crossing the border to Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend. "I wish I could just pack my bags and go to Miami," McAfee said. "I don't think I fully understood the political situation. I'm an embarrassment to the Guatemalan government and I'm jeopardizing their relationship with Belize." The two neighboring countries in Central America are locked in a decades-long territorial dispute and voters in 2013 will decide in a referendum how to proceed. Responding to McAfee's remarks, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said U.S. citizens in foreign countries are subject to local laws. Officials can only ensure they are "treated properly within this framework," she said. On Wednesday, Guatemalan authorities arrested McAfee in a hotel in Guatemala City where he was holed up with his Belizean girlfriend. The former Silicon Valley millionaire is wanted for questioning by Belizean authorities, who say he is a "person of interest" in the killing of fellow American Gregory Faull, McAfee's neighbor on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye.