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The San Pedro Sun

Wild to go adventuring in old-time Belize
This is a hot spot for saltwater fly-fishing. While Belize's northern islands host polished lodges with gourmet meals and groomed bartenders, those to the south remain wild paradises where the fish are plentiful. Placencia sits on the southern tip of the Placencia Peninsula, a 20-mile-long spit of land with a creamy-green lagoon on the west and the Caribbean Sea on the east. It holds a string of villages with names like Maya Beach and Seine Bight, and still-rustic throngs of shacks that provide a glimpse of what the peninsula must have been like until 1991, when power, phone, cable, and pavement were brought in. Before then homes were lighted by hurricane lamps, and families fished for tuna and lobster and lived in a bartering society where life was simple.

"Pat the Great Cat: A Jaguar's Journey" launched in Belize
"Pat the Great Cat: A Jaguar's Journey" and literacy in Belize was launched on Monday December 10, 2012 at Belize Elementary School on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City. In this beautifully illustrated book, students from Belize and urban Milwaukee, Wisconsin describe the compelling world of a very special jaguar. Written side-by-side in English and Spanish, Pat the (Great) Cat: A Jaguar's Journey, tells a wonderful, true story and serves as an ideal educational tool, dedicated to the goal of cooperation between nations to improve literacy. The book sparks the imagination as a resource to teach the natural history of the Americas, the Maya, geography of our hemisphere, science, ecology and conservation, creative writing, art and beauty, all through the journey of a unique, and very real, jaguar.

Dr. Giovanni Solorzano is the new director at Dr. Otto Rodriguez PolyClinic II
Dr. Giovanni Solarzano has now joined the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro PolyClinic II in the capacity of Clinical Coordinator/Medical Director as of November 16, 2012. Dr. Solorzano replaces Dr. Javier Zuniga, who has left to further his studies. Solorzano, a resident of San Pedro has been working in the Medical field for over 20 years. Most residents will know him from his private practice at the San Carlos Medical Clinic. Before taking on his new position, he was previously employed by the Pan American Health Organization as a maternal and family child health consultant. Prior to this, he was employed at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) as the Deputy Director of Health Services at the KHMH where he was responsible for Quality Assurance. Dr. Solorzano told The San Pedro Sun that his employment relationship with the Government of Belize goes way back to 1991.

Ambergris Today

Castillo's Hardware Donates to San Pedro Cancer Society
The San Pedro Cancer Society is a hard working non-profit organization that are constantly working on raising funds to help cancer patients on the island. On Friday, December 7, 2012, the non-profit group received a kind donation to assist in its community projects. Castillo's Hardware donated $500 to the Cancer Society and on hand to receive the donation were chairman Gonzalo Mu�oz, Lucy Mu�oz and Monica Prevett. This donation will be used towards the activities scheduled for Cancer Awareness Month in February 2013. Anyone interested in giving a donation to the organization can do so by contacting Mr. Gonzalo Mu�oz at 601-5543.

Ministry of National Security Clarifies Issue of Transferred San Pedro Police Officer
The Ministry of National Security issued a press release in which it wished to clarify the issue of the re-posting of Corporal #834 Sharmane Young from the San Pedro Sub-formation to Belize City following controversy of her transfer out of the island. The release stated that is well within the established transfer policy of the Police Department for her to be removed from the San Pedro Police Department. Reports of her transfer to the Placencia Sub-formation have been confirmed to be completely inaccurate. The letter to Corporal Young dated November 27, 2012 states that the re-deployment is from San Pedro to Belize City, "under the overall command of the Officer Commanding Eastern Division with effect from November 27, 2012". The records confirm that Corporal Young asked for and received, as per regulations, an extension of the transfer date to December 15, 2012.

Water Filters Distributed to Poverty Stricken San Mateo Area
"This has been my personal volunteer project focus this year," Ann Juffner told Ambergris Today. "I am working with several groups, but I've spearheaded this project and convinced the Rotary Club of Belize City to commit from 100-200 filters to San Mateo. The critical thing was that we wanted to also teach the locals about water treatment and the need to wash their hands and sanitize and receiving containers before using them." Ann has also been working along with the island's health inspector, Ms. Lisa Tillett, who spearheads health outreach at San Mateo. They have obtained the support of Mayor Guerrero and are working as a team for in the water purification project. In January 2013, Ann will be working along with a group of college engineering students from both the University of Texas and the University of Mississippi. The student group form Texas is a member of the Engineers Without Borders group and will be assisting Ann with her work in San Mateo with the filter program. She has also asked then to focus on finding a simple wastewater treatment approach that could work for homes in the area. Just recently the San Pedro Town Council, with help from outside donations, has started improving the street conditions that did not even existed in most of the neighborhood so that proper water and sewerage system can be put in place. Even a new city dump truck has been assigned to the area to improve sanitation conditions.

Misc Belizean Sources

VIDEO: Giant Loggerhead, Spotted Eagle Rays
Another day of local diving, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

University of Denver Leadership Group at MCHS
Recently, ISIS brought a student leadership group down, and they went to Mount Carmel High School. "A group of University of Denver students come to Benque, Belize each year to do leadership training with the Student Council at Mt. Carmel High School. The camaraderie is evident in these photos."

SI United Awards Ceremony
The San Ignacio United Football Club had their end of year party and awards ceremony. "End of season 2012-13 party and awards."

Cayo Tour Guide Association AGM
The CTGA had their annual general meeting last night at Hode's. Congratulations to the new crew! President: Emil Gamez Vice President: Juan Carlos Treasurer: Mr. Anastacio Bol Secretary: Fidel Montes Jr. "On a yearly basis we elect the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and three board members. And every three years we elect a liaison to the BTB, Belize Tourism Board... Out going President Joe Awe severed for seven years, he was the president for four consecutive years the then there was a hiatus for a few years as he was studying at Galen University. He returned with the vengeance as if he had unfinished business and did another three years. We certainly applaud Joe Awe for the many years he served and dedicated in office, as a great boxer with many fights and titles belts he now steps back and retires."

Flavors of Belize Cookbook for Christmas
The Flavors of Belize Cookbook has a nice little ad mentioning how great of a gift it would make for Christmas. It says you should be able to find it at Courts. They have many great recipes in the cookbook.

Horse Riding for 12/12/12
Banana Bank is doing some night horse riding tonight night for 12/12/12. They'll also be doing another night ride on the 21st. Call them at 832-2020 by noon tomorrow. "There is nothing like horse riding at night. It is an experience that is unlike any other riding experience and everyone should try it at least once. It is magical and will hold you in awe as you trust your horse to glide you through the jungle. In celebration to the unique dates this month brings we will conduct our first ride on December 12th 2012. "

Channel 7

Lily Charged For Killing Her Lady Lover
Last night we told you about the weekend murder of 34 Year Old Pamela Perez, mother of three. She was stabbed multiple times - eventually bleeding out from a massive wound to her throat. The woman detained for the apparent crime of passion is her partner 43 year old Rosalia "Lily" Castillo. Police believe that she killed Pamela Perez, whom she had been living with for two years. This afternoon, she was escorted to San Ignacio Magistrate's Court where she was arraigned on a single charge of murder and remanded to prison. Friends of Castillo have said her partner was abusing her. But police found that there was no suggestion of Castillo being a victim of abuse - in fact there were statements which portrayed her as the aggressor. Those familiar with the couple say they had a long history of violent arguments - and they'd had an argument that day - with Castillo allegedly accusing the deceased of owing her money.

Cornejo Charged For "Inches" Murder
Last week Friday, we told you about 29 year-old Marvin "Inches" Nunez, who was executed near the entrance of Saint Ignatius Primary School on Euphrates Avenue. Well, tonight 20 year-old Henry Cornejo is on remand for his murder after he was taken to court today. He was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer this morning. There's no bail for murder, so he was remanded to prison until January of 2013. Cornejo was allegedly lying in wait for Nunez who went with his girlfriend to drop off his stepchildren at Saint Ignatius at around 1 p.m., just like he normally does. As soon as his girlfriend went inside the compound, the gunman ambushed Nunez and shot him 3 times in the head and once in the chest.

Man Killed In Head On Collision With Bus
There was a terrible head-on collision on the Northern Highway in the Orange Walk District last night - and it caused the loss of one life. It happened at about 6:45 pm between miles 59 and 60, where 41 year old Jenaro Gaspar Sanchez, a 41 year old cane farmer of Santa Clara Village was northbound in a Toyota pickup when he crashed into a Blue Bird BBOC Bus headed to Orange Walk. No one in the bus was hurt, but Sanchez died in his pickup - and his body was trapped there for over an hour before it could be moved. The pickup was mangled and crushed beyond recognition. His passenger, 45 year old Primitivo CANO did survive and suffered a cut wound to his head, abrasions to his left arm and was complaining of pain to the left side of his chest.

Sr. Killed Last Year, Jr. Missing This Year - Are They Linked?
The Palacio family has been in the news before after their loved-one, 53 year-old Romel Palacio Sr., was killed in a home invasion in June of last year. Many believe that he was attacked and killed because his assailant mistook him for his son, Romel Jr., who they were after because he was the only witness to a crime. Well, tonight, we report that Romel Jr. is missing, and he has not been seen since Thursday of last week. Today, his family came to speak to 7News immediately after they made a missing person report to police. His sister told us that there are rumors going around that he has been killed and buried, but they hope that he is still alive Here's what she told us about how they believe that her brother going missing and her father's death may be connected in some way:

Committal Warrant For David Gegg; He Owes Quarter Mil!
Tonight, David Gegg, one of the big names in the Belize Tourism sector, is breathing easier after he dodged a committal warrant to prison today. It's for non-payment of General Sales Tax, and Gegg's company, it is alleged, owes almost a quarter million dollars! The precise figure according to the General Sales Tax Department, is ($206,639) two hundred and six thousand, six hundred and thirty nine dollars in arrears. This matter was taken before Magistrate Kathleen Lewis this morning in the Municipal Court by the GST Department because according to them, his arrears had once climbed to more than three hundred thousand dollars. Now, usually, the person whose name is printed on the warrant is the one who's supposed to show up in court. But, Gegg didn't appear today; instead, he sent his accountant, Sheffield Eck, to appear on his behalf. GST Legal Officer, Jacqueline Meighan, explained that an order on was given over a year ago for Gegg to pay off ($264,000) two hundred and sixty-four thousand dollars in arrears dating back to December 2010 for his 2 businesses, Cruise Solutions and Discovery Expeditions.

McAfee Denied By Guat Supreme Court
And while Gegg has to go to Magistrate's court in Belize tomorrow - John McAfee's attorney was in court in Guatemala City today. Telesforo Guerra asked the Guatemalan Supreme Court to put a stay on the deportation order against McAfee. Guerra asked the court to put a 3 month stay of the expulsion order - which would give McAfee freedom to move around. But, word this evening from credible source in Guatemala City say that the court ruled against the application, meaning that Guatemalan Immigration can proceed with his deportation. That deportation would be to the country he entered Guatemala from: Belize in this case. But, not so fast, McAfee has another case pending in the Constitutional Court. That case is to determine whether his human rights are being violatd if he is deported. So, the legal maneuvering is expected to drag on a few days more. In the meantime, McAfee's been busy looking at more angles for self-promotion and has sold the rights to his life story to his Canadian public relations firm, Impact Future Media.

Public Press Brings Cpl. Sharmane Consolation
For the past week - "and change" - Corporal Sharmane Young's name has been in the news. She is the Tourism Police Officer who was immediately transferred from San Pedro after she had a difference with the Tourism Minister over an arrestee. Well today the Ministry of National Security finally weighed in on the story. They issued a release this evening which says that quote, "the re-posting of Corporal #834 Sharmane Young from the San Pedro Sub-formation to Belize City is well within the established transfer policy of the Police Department." It adds that quote, "Reports of her transfer to the Placencia Sub- formation (are) completely inaccurate." She will be transferred to Belize City effective December 15, 2012. The release adds that, quote: "The Ministry is satisfied that this reposting to Belize City had nothing to do with the incident involving an American tourist, and regrets that the timing of the incident (has) led to understandable speculations about the motive for the decision." No kidding on that one, right? But it doesn't end there: the release offers an olive branch: Corporal Young will be offered responsibility for the Burrell Boom Police Station. That is, if she wants it.

Is Climate Change Inundating Jane Usher?
Climate change, we hear a lot of talk about it, but is it real? Well, you'd have to ask the scientists - and even then, you'd probably end up with more questions than answers. But, the Red Cross says residents of Jane Usher Boulevard are already living with the effects of Climate Change - and if you don't believe just visit the area after a heavy rain - and now you might say this is a drainage problem - but the Red Cross says it's a people problem - and today the organization held an open day to show how they are responding. But, hardly anyone - including relevant Government agencies - showed up which left the Red Cross Executive Director Lilly Bowman more than a little crestfallen: Lilly Bowman - CEO, Red Cross Belize "The Belize Red Cross has been working with this community since 2010 after Hurricane Richard when we were doing assessments and distribution of relief items- we saw the dire need of coming into this community to assist them with disaster reduction and to give them the knowledge for better resilience in order to respond in times of disasters."

Gang Truce Gone!
And similarly there were no big officials to meet with Belize City Gangsters on Friday when the gang truce work programme was officially ended. In fact, the event passed by without even any official mention. But 7news has confirmed that on Wednesday - mid level officials met with Gang Leaders at the CYDP Office in Belize City where the leaders were told that the programme was officially terminated. We understand that all the participants were given a gratuity of one month's pay. That is one month at the current rate of work which had been reduced to three days a week. At its peak, the programme employed 15 members from 13 gangs. It started in September of 2011 - after an ugly confrontation between the GSU and the George Street Gang. The main movers behind it were Sheldon Pinky Tillett and Prime Minister Dena Barrow, but when Tillett was executed earlier this year - the programme seems to have lost its center. Couple that with government's decline in finances - and its end was foretold. Now, some of the gangs are being assisted to move unto other sustainable enterprises. We are told some have been allowed to keep their tools for this purpose.

Fire Scare At Biggest Gov't Building In city
The fire alarm went off this morning at the CB Hyde building in the St Martins area. It's the largest Government office in the city and employees had to be evacuated after an extraction fan on the third floor became overheated. It was a small electrical fire that took firefighters only minutes to put it out - but it caused quite a site. A senior government manager told us more:.. Kent Clare - Commissioner of Income Tax "Maybe like about half hour ago we had a situation brought to our attention that there was an electrical fire upstairs at the 3rd floor - Elections and Boundaries Department. Standard procedure - we evacuate the building, call the fire department and they were able to identify what the problem was." Reporter "Is it one of the extractor fans that went bad?" Kent Clare - Commissioner of Income Tax "Yeah that what's they said that it was one of the extractor fans that are used to get the foul smell out of the bathroom. That just went out and basically overheated and caught fire. There was a lot of smoke but nit any kind of damage. It really hadn't gotten into a major fire, the fire department was able to come in and tape that up. We are now in the process in getting our electrician to certify that we can go back to business as normal before we undertake a more comprehensive addressing of the electrical needs of the building."

14 Years For Man Who Stabbed 30 Yr Old Girlfriend & Killed Her Unborn Fetus
23 year-old Henry Patnett is at prison tonight spending 14-year sentence after he was convicted of attempted murder in the courtroom of Justice Adolph Lucas. He was accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend, who was pregnant with his 7-month old baby. He also stabbed her new 73 year old boyfriend. In his trial, the Crown Counsel Stevanni Duncan called 8 witnesses, but the main witnesses were his 2 accusers. 30 year-old Valerie Sheran, his ex and the mother of 3 children, testified that at around 1:30 p.m. on August 2, 2010, she woke up and saw Patnett in front of her with a machete. She struggled with Patnett and she wrestled the machete from him but then he took out a knife and stabbed her multiple times with it. One of the wounds was to her abdomen, which killed her baby girl while inside the womb. Sheran's boyfriend, 73 year old Ernesto Ireland, testified that he was sleeping beside her when he was awakened by her screams. He said that he put his arm around her to protect her and he was stabbed 7 times in his arm and shoulder.

Critical Newborn Needs To Get To Guatemala
Tonight a 2 month old baby is fighting for his life at the KHMH. Little Sanjay Armstrong has been in and out of the hospital since birth and is tonight in a critical condition. Doctors say that the baby's body is not storing sodium, which is causing many complications. Baby Sanjay had suffered a cardiac arrest only a month ago. The child is in need of treatment that is not offered here in the country. His family is in desperate need of 5 thousand dollars to take him out of the country for treatment in Guatemala. We spoke to his grandmother today:.. Edith Armstrong - Grandmother of Sanjay "The doctors say that he has a rare disorder; he is not keeping sodium in his body and right now they are giving him ORS and other medication to keep him up until we can take him to Guatemala." Monica Bodden "When he was born, I understand that he was in and out the hospital. When did you guys found out that he had this condition?" Edith Armstrong - Grandmother of Sanjay "On the second time when we came back after he had the cardiac arrest and he came back and they did some more tests and they say that that was what wrong with him and we need to take him out of the country because they can't do the test here and they don't have the medication in this country to give him."

FFB Objects To Beenie Man Concert On Soccer Pitch
We've already told you about the Digicell Tenth Anniversary concert planned for Friday night at the MCC Grounds. Well the President of the Football Federation of Belize Ruperto Vicente has written the Chairman of the National Sports Council to say that he does not approve. He warns Henry that the surface of the pitch is damaged by such events and residual objects left on the pitch - can injure players. He urges Henry to consider using other locations within the facility but not the pitch for concerts. He closes by saying, quote, "I humbly beg that the sanctity of the MCC Grounds be preserved for our football players and other athletics," end quote.

Making The Media HIV Sensitive
Today the National Aids Commission invited the media to learn about the HIV situation in Belize, the UNAIDS strategy and guidelines for the media when reporting about the disease. Representatives of the Central American Network of Persons with HIV also spoke about the important role of the media as an advocate for HIV Awareness.:.. Eric Castellanos - Executive Director, C-Net + "Since I our involvement in Central America with the regional level of persons living with HIV we have notice the great difference with the involvement of the media in Central America. It's not the fault of the media, in fact it's our fault as civil society and persons interested because we lack to send invitations to the media to cover our stories. We usually seek the media when we have big problems and we forget to share the positive news also with the media. Today wad that approach - this new beginning of collaboration with the media win which we will share the responsibility of working together and contributing to the national response since the media has so much to contribute in the national response to achieve the 2015 goals."

Woman With HIV Says Doctors Discriminated
And while they are many organizations which advocate for those living with HIV and AIDS, those living with the disease are still frequently subjected to stigma and discrimination. Today with met Adi Mai - who is HIV positive and was first diagnosed in 2009. In February of this year, Mai found out she was pregnant and fearing that her baby would be born HIV positive - she requested a C-Section. But the surgery was refused - instead she was told that C-Sections are only done in Belize on high risk pregnancy patients. Mai felt that her particular medical needs as a pregnant HIV positive person were not taken into account. She did manage to get her surgery done in El Salvador. Here's her story. Adi Mai - HIV positive "First of all it was this year on February they gave me the news that I was pregnant - I wasn't expecting it but well it came and during the 4 months it was difficult for me because I was vomiting, I couldn't eat and drinking my medications as a HIV person was difficult and I was afraid that probably the baby won't take the medication that I was drinking.

GSU Gets Major Guns
The GSU was at it again this morning - and are reporting a number of arrests and seizure tonight. Rudolph Bennett - the uncle of a reputed member of the Southside Gang- was arrested and charged with kept Ammunition without a gun license for a single round. This morning the GSU officers were on operation on Caesar Ridge Road, in the base of the Southside gangster's territory. A search was conducted at 47 year old Rudolph Bennet's apartment at the corner of Faber's and Caesar Ridge Road. The search led to the discovery of ONE .380 round of ammunition under his mattress. He was arrested and charged with Kept Ammunition without a gun license. A search was also conducted on the rail of the verandah of the same apartment building where a black plastic bag with 237grams of cannabis was found under a cloth jacket. The drug could not be linked to any of the occupants of the apartment building and it was labeled as found property. The GSU believes that the drug is a part of the SSG gang's supply.

Director Of Archaeology Says He Wants No Part of Crystal Skull Lawsuit
It's been all over the international news these past few days that Director of Belize; Institute of Archaeology Jaime Awe is suing William Homann, the Estates of Anna and F.A. Mitchell-Hodges, LucasFilm, Walt Disney Co., and Paramount Pictures, in US Federal Court. Why? Because they possess or used Belize's Crystal Skull for commercial gain. Now, it does sound a little cock-eyed - since the Government of Belize has never possessed the Crystal Skull - and Awe himself does not believe it is a genuine Mayan artifact. But, it seems that some over-ambitious promoters of dubious provenance want in on the Crystal Skull action - or the publicity. These are the same promoters behind the failed December 21st Concert. It seems a part of their deal with NICH was to bring up this claim - but Awe told us today he never knew it was a lawsuit. He said they suggested that they knew that the person who had the skull lived in Chicago and would assist the GOB and NICH to try and recover it - but he never knew it would go so far. Awe says he wishes to disassociate himself and NICH from the suit.

Channel 5

Bus and pickup mash up on highway; one dead
Three persons have died in traffic fatalities in the past five days. At about six-thirty on Monday evening, forty-one year old canero, Jenaro Gaspar Sanchez perished in a traffic accident on the Phillip Goldson Highway between miles fifty-nine and sixty.� Sanchez and a friend, Primitivo Cano, were heading to Santa Clara village when a Belize [...]

Rosalia Castillo charged for Palomas Del Norte Bar murder
Thirty-four year old Honduran National, Pamela Perez was murdered at the Palomas Del Norte Bar in Santa Elena Town, Cayo District. It is alleged that just before midnight on Saturday, Perez was stabbed to the throat at the bar and her body was dropped off at the La Loma Luz Hospital by the owner of [...]

George Street gangster charged for Murder by St. Ignatius School
Marvin Nunez was gunned down execution style in front of Saint Ignatius Primary School on Friday. The cold blooded murder happened just after one o'clock when school children were heading back into their classrooms and a funeral was taking place at the church.� Today, twenty year old Henry Cornejo Jr., an alleged associate of the [...]

Murder witness disappears after hung jury in Appeals Court
Thirty-five year old Rommel Palacio junior has been missing since last Thursday. His family members presume he is dead and want information on where his body may be found. There have been previous attempts on Palacio's life and his disappearance it may have repercussions on an upcoming trial. Palacio has been a key witness in [...]

Spurned lover guilty of stabbing pregnant ex and new hubby
A jury of eight women and one man stepped into the deliberating room just before noon this morning to decide the fate of twenty-two year old Henry Patnett. He was accused of entering the home of his pregnant ex-common-law wife, Valerie Sheran and stabbing her multiple times then turning the knife on her new lover, [...]

Owed GST lands businessman David Gegg in Court
Belize City businessman David Gegg, proprietor of Cruise Solutions and Discovery Expeditions, today evaded a committal warrant for failure to pay General Sales Tax.� The GST Department wanted Gegg for non-payment of almost two hundred and six thousand, six hundred and thirty-nine dollars in taxes. In court this morning, GST Legal Officer, Jacqueline Meighan, explained [...]

Should a Commission of inquiry investigate Northern Regional?
Tonight's question is: Given the grave reports of malpractice, should a Commission of Inquiry be established to look into the situation at the Northern Regional? Send your comments and responses using your SMART phones to 8686 or post your vote on our e-poll at You can also send an email with your comments to [...]

Rosewood still being harvested
A moratorium was imposed on the harvesting of rosewood by Minister of Forestry, Lisel Alamilla, back in April in response to complaints over the unsustainable way that the valuable logs were being cut and sold. But after a major bust on Sunday night, it's clear that the illegal trade is still very much alive. A [...]

Wanted for narcotics in U.S., but Courts return their cash
Over six thousand US dollars are said to have been confiscated from US National Arthur Schuh and his wife Sheryl, following two police raids at their Ladyville in May, 2005.� Back then, it was reported that with the help of an informant, U.S. officials collaborated with the Belize Police Department for close to a year [...]

Adi mai, Living with HIV, and her baby is fine
You've heard the horror stories about malpractice at the Northern Regional Hospital, but there’s one woman who was probably lucky that she wasn't treated at the hospital. Adi Mai is living with HIV and got unexpected news that she was pregnant in February. Mai suffered complications in the first months of her pregnancy and feared [...]

Sensitizing media in role for national health response
The story of Adi Mai came up during today's media launch of the strategy for Getting to Zero and an informational kit for persons living with HIV. The concern from the organizers is that the media is not doing enough to sensitize the public on the transmission of the virus and that patients are often [...]

Police Corporal to be transferred to Burrell Boom Police Station
Since the pressure from the National Trade Union Congress of Belize and the public has increased about the transfer of Corporal Sharmane Young, following an incident with a tourist on San Pedro, the Ministry of National Security has finally issued a commented. The Ministry sent a press release late this evening and it won't have [...]

McAfee to be released and will return to the U.S.
Businessman John McAfee still sits in cell at a detention center in Guatemala City where he continues to fight constitutional challenges to avoid deportation to Belize. He told various media outlets that he expects to be released today and deported to the United States very soon. Late this evening McAfee's lawyer, Telesforo Guerra received a [...]

2 year old in need of medical attention abroad; family needs your help
The family of two-month-old Sanjay Armstrong, diagnosed with a rare condition which causes his body to reject sodium, is appealing to the public for assistance to send him abroad for treatment.� In October, baby Sanjay was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital suffering from respiratory distress syndrome.� His [...]

F.F.B. complains again on the use of the MCC Grounds for a concert
The Football Federation of Belize is up in arms against the National Sports Council for allowing the use of the MCC Grounds for an upcoming concert this Friday, featuring a number of international artists. In a letter sent to the Acting Director of the Council, Patrick Henry, President of the F.F.B., Ruperto Vicente says that [...]

YWCA opens a center for women to sell products
The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) has a long documented history of implementing programs that advance women issues while educating marginalized sections of that gender. It's most recent initiative involves self employment opportunities. With the help of the European Union and the government, a building was constructed to host a market outlet. The facility cost [...]

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More News: Scroll up from here


Police News
Twenty year Henry Cornejo, a resident of Plues Street, was charged with the murder of 29 year old Marvin Nunez when he appeared in Court today. No plea was taken because the offence is indictable. Neither could the court offer him bail. He was remanded into custody. Nunez was shot four...

Estranged Lover Guilty of Attempted Murder on Woman and Unborn Child
A jury of eight women and one man deliberated for almost three hours today before it found 22 year Henry Patnett guilty of attempted murder, child destruction and wounding. The jury's verdict was unanimous. Patnett asked the trial judge Justice Adolph Lucas to sentence him today ...

Separate Road Accidents Leave One Dead and Another Injured
A man from the Corozal district was killed and another seriously injured in a road traffic incident last night on the Phillip Goldson highway. The victim has been identified as forty one year old Jenaro Gaspar Sanchez. According to police reports Sanchez was northbound arou...

Twelve Days of Christmas Kicks off on Love FM and Love Television
Love FM's twelve Days of Christmas kicks off tomorrow and there are many novelties coming with the show this year. First of all, this year, the show changes its venue and it will be taken five miles up the George Price Highway to the Old Belize Museum where everyone will be...

Agenda Presented To Decrease New Cases of HIV-AIDS
Discrimination and stigma towards people living with HIV/AIDS has been a common practice by people in general, but an agenda to decrease the number of new cases, create better networking to stomp out the stigmatization, and including more publicity on the positive lives that people liv...

Newborn Suffers From Rare Disease; Parents Appeal for Help
At this time of year everyone is making their wish list of things they want to receive this Christmas. But all that one family from Forest Home Village, Toledo would really like to have is to spend their first Christmas at home with their newborn baby. The problem is that b...

Woman Stabs Lover In Bar
Police in San Ignacio town have arrested and charged businesswoman, forty three year old Rosalilia Castillo for the crime of murder. Castillo, also known as Lilly, is accused of fatally stabbing her partner, thirty four year old Pamela Perez on Saturday night inside the Las Palom...


Accident on George Price Highway that leaves a little girl dead
The family of four year old Sherika Gentle is reeling from her sudden death on Sunday when she was knocked down on the George Price Highway. The incident happened as fifty year old Israel Gonzalez was driving his pick-up truck at around three-twenty on Sunday afternoon from Cayo towards Belmopan. Gonzalez told the police that as he reached Teakettle Village, he saw a vehicle parked on the right hand side of the George Price Highway facing San Ignacio Town just moments before the tragedy occurred. Meanwhile, Gareth Gentle, the father of the four year old, told Love News that the grief is overwhelming because he was very close to his little girl. He said that his daughter followed her aunt across the highway when she was killed. Police have detained Israel Gonzalez pending the outcome of their investigations

Tourism Police Unit Corporal gets transfer from San Pedro
The saga of the transfer of the head of the Tourism Police Unit Corporal Sharmane Young from San Pedro town continues to generate much discussion. Area representative and Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior has been soundly condemned and criticized for interfering in the police's. Today, the officer in charge of Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon, Junior told reporters that, yes, he did get a telephone call from the minister. And while much of the public discourse have centered in the impending transfer of Corporal Young, today ACP Aragon confirmed that the officer in charge of the San Pedro police station Mrs. Robinson is also being moved from her post. The whole uproar over the transfer of the officers exploded onto the national scene last week when it was reported that Corporal Yong had arrested and charged a United States national for various offences. The woman, identified as forty three year old Marie Merz has since been found guilty of the charges.

Police anti-crime Chirstmas initiative underway
The Police's Anti-Crime continues in full force and officials of the department's high command are positively upbeat about the results so far. ACP Elodio Aragon is the head of Easter Division. ACP Aragon says that good old common sense can go a long way in public safety this Christmas. And for persons who have a slot of socializing on their calendar this Christmas, the police say they will also target those who break the law in their time of merry-making. The Police's Christmas Anti-Crime initiative has been in effect since early November.

39 year old man chopped in the Buena Vista
Thirty-nine year old Jose Ramon Sabala is slowly recuperating in the Western Regional Hospital after he was chopped in the head and beaten unconscious at around three-fifteen on Saturday morning. Sabala told Love News from his hospital bed that he was with friends at a house in the centre of the village. He said that he went outside on the dirt road to show off his skills with a motorcycle and returned to the house. That was when he became embroiled in a physical fight with one of his friends at the house. It was during the fist fight that Sabala claimed he was hacked in the head and rendered unconscious. Doctors at the hospital have treated him for a large chop wound to the forehead and left hand and bruises to his body. Sabala remains in a serious condition as police wrap up their investigations into the incident.


Women's Political movement gaining ground in Belize
Belize as a developing nation has a long way to go as it relates to the political empowerment of women. Articles of..

Government workers evacuate building because of electrical problem
Government workers evacuate Old complex building. This afternoon sometime around 12:15pm fire department officials ..

Assistant Commissioner of Police promises a safe and secure Christmas
Crime has reached a record high in certain respects this year. And with the onset of December there more than likel..

Minister of National Security answers questions about Police Transfers
Minister of Tourism the Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr. and Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon have come under ..

Red Cross hosts climate change session in Belize City
Climate Change is perhaps one of the largest singular environmental issues. That is because some scientists predict..

YWCA opens entrepreneurship market outlet
The Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) yesterday held the official opening for its new entrepreneurship mar..

Inspirational singer releases Christmas CD
The CD is entitled "Christmas Holy Bible" and the artist is well known Hattieville gospel singer Duane Everry Ysagu..

Boy found begging for food is placed with host family
Christmas is the time of Glad Tiding and Goodwill... but there is one little boy was not experiencing glad tidings...

A giant asteroid is headed to pass earth
A giant asteroid is headed to pass earth. The near earth asteroid called 4179 Toutatis will be making its flyby of ......

UB students teach Primary School pupils about Environmental Awareness
An Environmental Awareness Competition was held this morning (Dec 11) at the University of Belize Auditorium here i......

Cane farmer killed in Road Traffic Collision
A cane farmer from Santa Clara Village has died after the pick-up he was driving was struck by a bus on the Philip ..

Response to job openings in Canada has been overwhelming
The response to job openings in Canada has been overwhelming as a surge of people waited for hours at the Radisson,..


Father of five shot down in front of school at 1:08 p.m. Marvin Nunez, 29, a father of 5 children and resident of Miller Street in Lake I, died after he was shot three times by a gunman who ambushed him in front of St. Ignatius Primary School on Euphrates Avenue on Friday, December 7, 2012, at about 1:08 p.m. Witnesses said that Nunez and his girlfriend brought two children to school, and as he stood by the gate, and the mother and children went into the schoolyard to the children's classrooms, a man who was behind him bent down as if to tie his shoes, then fired a shot into the back of Nunez's head. When Nunez fell, the gunman fired more shots into his head and his shoulder. The killer then rode away on his bicycle as if nothing happened, and escaped into the surrounding area. There was confusion in the schoolyard as the children who were just going into their classes became alarmed by the gunfire just outside their gate. Police reports are that they went to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where they saw Marvin Nunez, 29, with 3 gunshot wounds. Nunez succumbed to his injuries at 1:25 p.m.

Pamela Perez, 34, a businesswoman of George Price Avenue, Santa Elena, is dead after she was stabbed in her neck and throat during an altercation in the Las Palomas Del Norte Bar on Carrillo Puerto Avenue in Santa Elena. The incident occurred around 11:45 p.m. on Saturday, December 8. A report to Amandala is that Perez went into the bar and was having some drinks, during which time she engaged a female bar worker in an extended conversation. The bar owner, who reportedly became angry at the conversation between her "close friend" and the female bar worker, told police that four men entered and assaulted Perez, stabbing her, before they then ran off. The bar owner reportedly took Perez to the Loma Luz Hospital in Santa Elena, and then drove away from the hospital. Police reports are that they were called by hospital authorities to the La Loma Luz Hospital, where they saw the body of Pamela Perez, 34, a Honduran businesswoman of George Price Avenue, with a stab wounds to the neck, bruises on both arms and a cut wound to the right arm.

Naturalized Belizean Hector Romero Jimenez, 52, of San Joaquin Village, Corozal, has been given a 12-year jail sentence by the Supreme Court in Orange Walk after he was found guilty for the second time of raping a girl, 12. The sentence was handed down yesterday by Justice Herbert Lord. Jimenez was found guilty on Wednesday, November 14, at the end of his retrial that began on Tuesday, November 6, in the Northern Session of the Supreme Court at the Orange Walk Court building. After he was found guilty, his sentence was deferred until Thursday, December 6. Police contend that on July, 13, 2008, Romero Jimenez went to the home of the little girl in San Joaquin to seek a relative, but as he entered the house he attacked the child, who had just come into the house from the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her. Reports are that he forced her into the bedroom, tied her hands, pushed her down on the bed and raped her. When the ordeal ended, he walked out of the house and yard. Police later arrested and charged him with carnal knowledge.

Sadie Vernon High School boys tonight won their third straight Belize City high school basketball championship - their fourth championship in five years. They defeated Gwen Lizarraga High in the decisive Game 3 of the finals at Birds Isle tonight, 56-49. Sadie Vernon was led by their explosive national team point guard, Lincey Lopez. The game was close throughout, with the first half ending 26-25 in favor of Sadie Vernon. Gwen Liz was led by their versatile forward, Aleem Richardson. He finished with a game high 20 points, but Sadie Vernon's Big Three proved too much for the much taller Gwen Liz team. Lincey Lopez, who finished with 17 points, was ably assisted by Jamal Augustine who dropped 15 points and Jay "Bobby G" Palacio, who added 12 points. Gwen Liz had won Game 1 last Thursday by 2 points, but Sadie Vernon rebounded in Game 2 the following night to win by nearly 20 points.

The Forest Department, along with police and military personnel, made a substantial rosewood bust last night in the vicinity of Boom Creek Village, Toledo. As a result of the operation, the officials confiscated more than 2,000 board feet of the prized hardwood, valued at US$26 a square foot on the world market. Indications are that although this find is valued only about BZ$100,000, it points to a much larger illegal operation in the south - despite a moratorium on rosewood harvesting declared by Forestry Minister Lisel Alamilla 9 months ago. The find confirms that a substantial amount of rosewood is still being extracted from Toledo, and with the prime market being China, questions are now being raised as to whether such a substantial export of rosewood could be sustained without inside help or collusion. According to Wil Maheia of PGTV, the Forest Department confirmed the bust today, noting that it was the result of a joint operation, but no arrests have been made since no one was found in the area when the bust occurred last night. Amandala tried to reach Forest Department officials this afternoon for comment, but they were unavailable. Maheia said that the exporters may have been trying to get the rosewood to either the Commercial Free Zone in Corozal or to the Belize City port, but he also indicated the possibility of the wood being trucked through the Belize-Guatemala border, near Jalacte.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Elodio Aragon said in a press conference today Monday, December 12, at the Racoon Street Police Station, that the police department is requesting the assistance of the general public in carrying out their Christmas anti-crime operation. Aragon said that the operation commenced on November 13, 2012, as a crime reduction initiative by the Eastern Division of the Belize City Police Department and the operation has so far been productive. "Since the operation commenced in November we have seen a marked reduction in crime," he said. "I want to assure the public that this Christmas we are working quite diligently to ensure that they have a safe Christmas," he went on to say. Aragon said the presence of police officers in certain areas in the city and the numbers of available police officers from different divisions participating in the operation have contributed to the impact of the operation. He said he wants to assure the public that the police department is doing their part in looking after the public's safety, but the department also needs the cooperation of the general public to ensure their security. "The police department can only do so much when it comes to us putting out our officers in the areas we have identified that there is a lot of business taking place," Aragon said. "But I would like to speak out to the general public because the police cannot do it alone. We need the support of the public until the end of the year, especially during the Christmas time," he added.

The two Zones, North and South, collided over the weekend in Game 1 of the semifinals in the Premier League of Belize (PLB) Opening Season 2012-2013 tournament. North Zone #1 seed Belmopan Bandits clashed with #2 seed from the South Zone, defending champions Placencia Assassins; and the South Zone #1 seed Police United FC collided with the #2 seed from the North Zone, Belize Defence Force (BDF). There were 12 teams in this PLB tournament, 6 in each group or zone. With a double round-robin in each zone, that gave 10 games per team. In addition, there were 4 "out-of-zone" meetings, where each team from the North played 4 additional games, 1 each against different teams from the South; and vice versa. Therefore, not all the teams had a chance of meeting; and this has been a concern for fans from certain teams, who saw their schedule as being harder than that for other teams, because of the teams selected for them to meet in the "out-of-zone" meetings. As tight as the race was for 2 playoff spots per Zone, some teams felt they were dealt an unfair "hand." Bygones are bygones, but one notable result of that scenario is that in these semifinals, the meeting between Belmopan Bandits and Placencia Assassins was the first meeting between them for this season; they did not clash in "out-of-zone" games. But Police United FC and Belize Defence Force did meet before in "out-of-zone," and in that meeting on Sunday, October 28, at the Norman Broaster Stadium, it was BDF, 3-1, over Police. The semifinals are home-and-away series; and the #1 seed has the choice of whether their "home" game will be Game 1 or Game 2. In these semifinals, both #1 seeds chose to play Game 1 "on the road," so they will both end their series at home with Game 2 this weekend.

Company considers raising more debentures in 2013. The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) announced that it is closing the series 5 debenture offer for BZ$25 million, launched on November 15, 2012, eleven days early, because it has been fully subscribed. BEL reported that "as of today, these subscriptions are for over $14 million in excess of the $25 million offer." The series 5 debenture offer, which pledges a fixed interest rate of 7% to mature in 12 years on December 31, 2024, is being sold in multiples of $100. The offer was not due to close until December 17. The Belize Social Security Board (SSB) is purchasing $5 million worth of debentures, in addition to $10 million in preference shares from the government-owned utility company. BEL, understandably, is happy about the outcome of the debenture offering. BEL's Senior Manager Finance & Human Resources, Betty Tam, said in a statement, "We appreciate the high interest in our offer and thank all subscribers to the series 5 debentures. We stand on a strong record as we have consistently paid interest on time to holders of our series 1, 2, 3 and 4 debentures. Holders of our series 5 debentures can expect the same consistency from us going forward." The proceeds of the series 5 debentures will come just in time for BEL to pay those who had subscribed to its first debentures, due at the end of December 2012. "With the proceeds from this debenture offer, the company will in whole or in part refinance its $16.9 million series 1 debentures currently bearing interest at 12% and maturing on December 31, 2012; as well as help fund the company's medium-term needs," BEL had previously explained.

There is turmoil in cycling again. Last Wednesday, December 5, our sports desk received a copy of a letter dated November 28 and signed by close to fifty cyclists from a dozen prominent cycling teams, addressed to "Mr. Patrick L. Henry, Director, National Sports Council" and copied to the President, UCI; President COPACI; Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of Sports; Mr. Ned Pitts, President Belize Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association; and Mr. Trevor Bradley, President Caribbean Cycling Federation. The letter declares a "Vote of no-confidence in the B.C.A. and its current executive," and lists 6 grounds upon which it has made that declaration. The letter requests the assistance of the Sports Director to "remove the current President and his Executive and to oversee a smooth transition to free and fair elections." And it ends by stating that, "Our request is urgent as the new cycling season is to start in December." We waited to hear a response from the Ministry, and that response came on Friday, in the form of a strong letter, dated December 7, signed by Hon. Herman Longsworth, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, and addressed to the President of COPACI, Mr. Jose Manuel Palaez Rodriguez. The letter is copied to UCI President, Mr. Pat McQuaid and BCA President, Emil Moreno, as well as the Belize Olympic Committee. The Minister's letter begins by making reference to "your correspondence dated November 26, 2012, and addressed to the Hon. Patrick Faber in which you expressed your concern about 'the situation that is presently taking place with the Belize Cycling Association.'" The Minister then lays out the position of Government and the National Sports Council regarding "the situation" and, while the letter declares that "neither the Government of Belize nor the National Sports Council (NSC) has any interest in running the everyday activities of any sport discipline in Belize," it nevertheless listed some points describing how it views the present crisis in the BCA. It then goes further and lays out "the final position" of the Ministry "on this matter."

"In the Belizean context, some of those who professed to be socialist in fact turned out to be enemies of the workers, as witnessed more recently by that singular political incursion on the executive body of the Teachers Union which led to the undermining of the people's protest in March of 2005 but nevertheless resulted in the electoral defeat of the Musa administration." - David Gibson, pg. 40, Amandala, Sunday, December 9, 2012 There is a very important article by David Gibson on page 40 of last weekend's Amandala. In honoring the memory of his deceased colleague, "comrade and friend," David Price, Mr. Gibson has commented publicly for the first time on a couple notable events in Belize's modern history. One is the 1975 reform initiative on the Belize City waterfront organized by the aforementioned Gibson and Price, and the second is the Assad Shoman initiative in February of 2005 in support of the Said Musa government. All indications were that there was substantial intellectual ferment on the campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI) during the 1970s. It may be said that such ferment began with the work of the Guyanese historian, Walter Rodney, on the UWI's Mona, Jamaica campus in the late 1960s. There was, in fact, a landmark rebellion on the Jamaica campus when the Hugh Shearer government refused to allow Rodney back into Jamaica for the 1968/1969 school year. Around the same time when the pro-Rodney rebellion took place in Kingston in late 1968, the Mexican military and police slaughtered hundreds of Mexican students in Mexico City just before the opening of the 1968 Olympics there. 1968 was an unprecedented year in the history of international student protest. In Belize, our mini-version of Jamaica and Mexico involved the organizing in late 1968 of a demonstration to begin on New Year's night - January 1, 1969. The lead organizers were Assad Shoman and Said Musa, and the target was an American propaganda movie extolling the United States war effort in Vietnam.

A columnist in last weekend's issue of our newspaper competitor expressed dissatisfaction with what he called "the distribution of power." Specifically, he was dissatisfied with what he referred to as "the domination of Belize City over the rest of the country." He declared, "Belize City has virtually become the center of the universe in Belize." He goes on, "What the rest of the country cannot understand is why most of the financial resources always have a tendency to go to the one place that contributes the least towards the national coffers. In other words, we continue to subsidize Belize City. To add insult to injury, Belize City continues to have a disproportionate representation in the House of Representatives." The columnist's end game is to "reduce the number of seats from Belize City in the House." Presently, Belize City has 10 seats in a 31-member House of Representatives. From 1961 to 1979, Belize City had 6 seats in an 18-member House of Representatives. The overall seats were increased to 28 for the 1984 general elections, and Belize City then held 10 of the 28 seats. The seats were increased to 29 for the 1993 general elections, and subsequently to 31. The significance of Belize City's 10 seats was never greater than in this year's general elections, when the ruling UDP won 8 of the 10 Belize City seats, almost half of the 17 seats which comprised their winning total. Of the Opposition PUP's 14 seats, 12 came from outside Belize City. It is possible to view the present government, then, as a Belize City government, which is what the columnist appears to have done.

My name is Petter Kragset from Norway. I am a collector of the highest point of every country in the world. My climbing friend and I are leaving in December for three months to Central America and the Caribbean. We are trying to reach the highest point of 22 countries, including Doyle's Delight in Belize. Most of these countries highest points are reachable for us except Doyle's Delight in Belize. This mountain has no direct route for the summit, but as we understand, we need to maneuver through virgin jungle. It looks to me that this mountain could be even harder to reach than Everest! I understand also through reading and research on the internet that two expeditions have made the summit. An expedition in 2008, led by Christian Rodr�guez from Guatemala, started from San Jorge Town and made the summit with help from two Maya Indians, Alfredo and Emilino (as they are two of the few who know the route to the summit through virgin jungle, without trails). On a later expedition, Alfredo and Emilino tried to guide a third group to the Doyle's Delight, and on the first day of hiking, they were attacked with guns. They survived, but sincerely have doubts if they want to go back again. Our problem is that we need information or contacts that could be helpful to us in trying to make the summit of Doyle's Delight. We are willing to spend money on the necessary help (military?). Best Regards, Petter Kragset

My name is Sharon Weaver and I am part of the team of "One Day on Earth." I am coordinating the participation of Central America in the project. Our next event is on December 12th, 2012. A little more about our project: "One Day on Earth" is an online community of filmmakers who collectively create global works of participatory media. Our first project was a documentary film made from footage shot in every country of the world. We'll be shooting our last global one-day effort on December 12, 2012. I am writing to see if through your newspaper you could give us some support by connecting us with filmmakers or filmmaking organizations in Belize, people who may be interested in joining us to film this December 12. Unfortunately, we have not heard back from Belize so far, and we are hoping you could help us. We want the voice of the Belize to be heard! The interested parties can join us at Best, Sharon Weaver +1(321) 947-8168; Skype: sharonpy2


A Guide: Travelling from Cancun, Mexico to Belize for Many Budgets
This is one of my most frequently asked questions and my post on the trip from Belize City to Cancun on the overnight bus is one of my most read. It's just a fact. Flying into Cancun is usually so much cheaper than flying to Belize City. There are so many more direct flights, the airport probably has 100x the traffic. If you have time, it's a great way to save money on your trip to Belize. I usually suggest it to someone that is coming to Belize for at least 8 days. Depending on the times of your flights to and from Cancun, you will probably have a travel day on either side of your trip. One quick suggestion for saving money: If you don't want to travel to and from Cancun, try booking a "multi-city flight". Mix it up. Flying into Cancun and out of Belize City or the other way around. You can often save a few hundred dollars hat way. Okay. Let's break it down by how expensive the option is. And the more money always means the fastest.

Belize, the Maya and Indiana Jones - a 2012 Saga
"With everyone from filmmakers, video game producers and even actor and comedian Dan Aykroyd making money from the Crystal Skull, with nothing going to the Maya or Belize, it's easy to understand the frustration," Mr Young said. Dr Awe, who is also Director of the Institute of Archaeology of Belize, is suing the producers of the 2008 film "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," for use without permission of one of Belize's most iconic images, the Crystal Skull. The legal action also includes LucasFilm, the Walt Disney Co. and Paramount Pictures who released the Steven Spielberg film. The December 5 2012 suit is part of a legal action to recover the Crystal Skull, which was allegedly stolen from Belize in 1930 by F.A. Mitchell-Hedges, an adventurer who claimed his daughter found the artefact on her birthday at the Maya archaeological site of Lubaantun in Belize. The Mitchell-Hedges said that they then took the skull from Belize and exhibited it in the United States and other countries, and action that would have been in violation of the law at that time. It is currently said to be housed in Canada. Dr Awe's complaint cites a 1928 "Antiquities Ordinance" which expressly prohibited the removal of artefacts from Belize without government permission. Such laws continue to be current in Belize.

International Sources

The Maya collapsed - could we?
On December 21, 2012, our calendar will align with the Maya date, completing a great Maya cycle of time. There's been a lot of hoopla that we are about to face a doomsday -- better known as the Maya apocalypse. There are television specials and panic buying of disaster supplies in Russia, a reminder of the stockpiling that took place for Y2K back in 1999. While the Maya date will coincide with the solstice, the shortest day of the year, will it also coincide with the end of the world? I'm no seer, but I am confident that December 22 will see the dawn. The ancient Maya of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras were close keepers of time. They charted every day, organizing them into 20- and 400-year periods. Using a base-20 counting system (ours is base 10) and zero, they easily calculated thousands of dates, some noting the existence of millions of years. Why we're fascinated with the apocalypse During the height of their civilization in the 8th century, the Maya recorded dates and deeds at dozens of city-states, from births and battles to the triumphant wrenching of trophies from enemies. Artists inscribed their signatures on painted pots and stone sculptures. Stucco inscriptions adorned monumental pyramids that crested over the rainforest canopy. But to continue building ever grander structures, the Maya needed resources. Most of all, they needed timber to burn limestone in order to make cement. By the late 8th century, the rainforest was in retreat, fuel was scarce and recurrent drought led to desperation. Eventually, there was chronic warfare as well. And so one of the most extraordinary civilizations came to a crushing halt. Small groups of desperate dwellers in some cities held out behind hastily thrown-up palisades. Elsewhere, foes burned enemy cities to the ground and smashed monuments, leaving them scattered across the surface to be found in recent times. Scrub jungle overtook what had been sparkling white plazas. Compact ball courts that had seen raucous competition of a team sport played like soccer went silent. Wildlife scavenged lavish furnishings for their nests and dens. The reasons were many, and the outcome was shocking. The Maya civilization collapsed in most of its southern lowlands, leaving only abandoned pyramids in silent cities. This was the true face of apocalypse. Did they see it coming?

Belize paper evaluates value of currency peg
Belize's currency peg to the US dollar has supported export growth and the economy's openness during the past 30 years, according to a working paper published by the Central Bank of Belize. The Belize dollar has been pegged to the US dollar since 1976, at an exchange rate of 2:1, and the paper's author, Ydahlia Metzgen, weighs up the benefits and costs the regime has entailed. Metzgen finds the country has - broadly - retained its competitiveness. Between June 2008 and March 2010, the real effective exchange rate appreciated by 3.5% as the US dollar strengthened, but this followed depreciation of 10.2% in the preceding decade. The paper attributes the depreciation to low domestic inflation in comparison with Belize's trading partners. Indeed, it notes inflation in Belize has not exceeded 7% for more than 20 years. Metzgen says Belize's exchange rate policies have been supportive of export growth and increased openness, which he says is important given its dependence on international trade.

Belize: Learn the rich art of making coffee, from field to cup
Discover the secret life of coffee in a master class held at Belcampo Belize, a farm and rain forest preserve in the coastal hills of southern Belize. James Freeman of Blue Bottle Coffee teaches guests the fine points of coffee-making -- not in a pot, but from field to cup. Five days are spent examining coffee's plant cycle, learning roasting practices and tasting different blends in the quest to become a "master barista." It all takes place at Belcampo, where a new 12-room lodge has been built in this remote and lush setting. While not in class, participants may canoe the Rio Grande or go snorkeling in the Belize Barrier Reef. (In case coffee isn't your thing, this farm retreat that accents sustainability and conservation offers other teachable moments on cacao, the culture and history of rum and a chocolate master course. Check class options and dates on the website.) When: The coffee course runs from Jan. 21 to 26. Price: $4,961 (single course participant) to $6,086 (two course participants) per person, double occupancy. It includes transfers from the airstrip at Punta Gorda, lodgings, meals and daily guided coffee tours and tastings. International airfare is extra.

Things you should know before traveling to Belize
Belize is quickly becoming a major destination in Central America because of its unique mixture of Caribbean crystal clear blue waters, best diving and snorkeling on the second largest barrier reef in the world, Mayan ruins, caving and tropical jungles. Personally, I feel everyone should give Belize a shot and visit it. So if you're on board, here's some fun info and advice to make your trip so much fun! A FEW HISTORICAL FACTS TO GET YOU GOING: 1. The territory that now belongs to Belize was also home to a couple of different ancient Mayan Cities and Cultures. Right next to the Guatemalan border, in the heart of the jungle, you'll find these ruins.

A lawyer for John McAfee said Tuesday that a judge has ordered the software company founder released from a Guatemalan detention center where he has been fighting being returned to Belize. Attorney Telesforo Guerra said the judge notified him verbally of the ruling, but added that it might take a day for formal written notification to win McAfee's release, possibly as soon as Wednesday. Judge Judith Secaida did not immediately return phone calls seeking to confirm the ruling. Guerra said Secaida ruled that McAfee's detention was illegal, ordered him released, and gave him 10 days to put his immigration situation in order. It was not immediately clear if McAfee could get some kind of temporary or transit visa to allow him to leave Guatemala. McAfee has said he wants to return to the United States with his 20-year-old Belizean girlfriend. Guerra said that would be his client's best option. "For me, it's best that McAfee go to the United States, that's definitely the country where he will be safest," Guerra said. "In Guatemala, he runs the risk that anything could happen to him."

Antivirus firm founder John McAfee, who recently fled from Belize to Guatemala to avoid questioning as part of a murder investigation, has sold his life story to Montreal-based Impact Future Media. The 67-year-old's life story is tentatively titled -- wait for it -- Running in the Background: The True Story of John McAfee. The deal was announced in a statement released by Impact Future Media, which described McAfee as both a "famed antivirus software pioneer and human rights advocate." "We are very excited about working with John McAfee on this initiative," said Francois Garcia, CEO of Impact Future Media, in the statement. "Mr. McAfee has entrusted us with his life story, and that is a responsibility we take very seriously. We will work tirelessly to make certain that his story is shared with the proper industry partners." Impact Future Media said it could develop the story itself, but was also open to licensing the story to others. "My most heartfelt thank you goes to Impact Future Media and CartoonMonkey Studio," said McAfee in a statement. "Their dedication to the truth is very uncommon in the world we Impact Future Media live in today (sic). I am now, and will always be grateful to their organizations." The news led renowned ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick to ask via Twitter who might best play McAfee. As of press time, recommendations included Gary Busey, Gary Oldman, Billy Bob Thornton, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Sacha Baron Cohen.

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