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Today's Belize News: August 1, 2013 #469360
08/01/13 05:54 AM
08/01/13 05:54 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP


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Specials and Events

Last night's TV news on Channel 7 and Channel 5
Also with the most recent Open Your Eyes, and the Dickie Bradley Specials

The San Pedro Sun

Rowan dives the Blue Hole
Rowan Garel conquers yet another achievement for the visually impaired by diving the Great Blue Hole. The dive was originally scheduled for July 14th, but due to weather conditions, the dive was postponed. On Friday, July 26th, Rowan, accompanied by a crew of supportive family and friends set off to dive one of Belize’s greatest marvel. The group departed from the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina at around 7AM, equipped and determined to brave the Caribbean Sea under the guidance of Sea Sport Belize. Diving the Blue Hole is the third major feat for 15 year old visually impaired Rowan. Rowan was born blind, but he has never let that get in his way of experiencing life. In 2011 Rowan climbed the second highest summit in Belize, the Victoria Peak over the course of two days. In 2012 he journeyed across the country, walking 92 miles. These milestones conquered by Rowan were done to raise funds for the Belize Council for the Visually Impaired (BCVI), which is the only organization in Belize that caters to the blind or visually impaired.

Turtle nesting season “looking positive”
The month of August is the peak period for turtle nesting season in Belize. The full season runs from May to November. Reports from the Ambergris Caye Marine Turtle Program is that as the peak of the season approaches, 2013 is looking positive, with over 50 nests found so far on Ambergris Caye. Kirah Forman, Marine Biologist at Hol Chan Marine Reserve spearheads the turtle program on Ambergris Caye and sheexplained that the nesting season is looking good. “So far we have had 56 nests. These nests were mostly found in the Robles Point and Rocky Point areas. We had a few in the Basil Jones area and one near Capricorn,” said Forman. “The nest we found near Capricorn was that of a Loggerhead turtle and the staff alerted us and we visited the area. That nest has hatched and from the 109 eggs, 80 hatched, which is a very good hatching success. It proves the theory that all of Ambergris Caye was a turtle nesting site at one point.”

Two Belizean football players honored at Gold Cup Finals
The Belize National Football Team – Belize Jaguars – made its first and historic performance at the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2013, but after losing all three games, they returned home. However, Woodrow West and Ian Gaynair of the national team were present at the final game of the tournament. They attended the game at the invitation of UNCAF President Rafael Tinoco, where they received an award before a packed stadium. Just before Belize’s first game, the two men were each offered a few thousands Euros in exchange of fixing game 1 of the group play in the Gold Cup. The international recognition was given to them for taking a stance, thus refusing a bribe to have the football match between Belize and USA fixed. CONCACAF applauded their honesty and their position to reject “game fixing,” something FIFA and all its affiliate organizations highly condemn. The position taken by West and Gaynair gained international attention from the press, with CONCACAF issuing a congratulatory release a few days after the incident, applauding the braveness of the two Belizean players.

URGENT: Ministry of Health cautions the Public on Dengue Outbreaks in the Region
The Ministry of Health hereby informs the general public of several dengue advisories issued by neighboring countries in Central America. The region has experienced severe outbreaks and several deaths this year. Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador have all issued formal alerts and travelers to these countries are being asked to exercise caution. The Government of Honduras has declared a state of emergency after a dengue fever outbreak has left 16 people dead. The disease is present throughout Central America and has caused 26 deaths and infected nearly 40,000 persons. Although the number of confirmed dengue cases has remained low in Belize during this first part of the year, the Ministry of Health continues to execute its Dengue Prevention Plan countrywide. We are appealing to parents and their children during the summer holidays to clean up their yards and properly dispose of old tires and eliminate water holding containers that may become breeding sites for the Aedes mosquito.

Daniel Nuñez – San Pedro’s pioneer of Lamanai Tours
When visitors to San Pedro ask me what mainland tour they should take I never hesitate to recommend Lamanai. In one day guests have the opportunity to explore the many personalities of our country, from traveling by boat to the mainland, exploring the New River, traveling by land to Orange Walk, then a final river expedition to the majestic Lamanai Ruins, each step of the way is a deeper look into the colorful persona of Belize. There are several reputable tour companies on the island who offer this day-tour but there is one that I recommend with complete confidence for this trip, and that is Tanisha Eco-Tours. Owner and professional tour guide Daniel Nuñez pioneered the journey from San Pedro to Lamanai 23 years ago and is still the sole guide for his business. Most companies only allow for a 45-minute tour of the site while Daniel dedicates a full two hours to the experience. He is a Tanisha Eco-Tours constant, and you know exactly who is going to take you on a journey you will not soon forget. From spotting dolphins on the way in, to manatees on the way home, and lots of wildlife and flora along the way, Daniel knows this tour like the back of his hand.

Ambergris Today

The Passport Party Project Arrives in Belize
One might think that almost everyone in the world owns a passport, but it’s not so! Come to think of it, it’s pretty much a privilege to own one. This is the story of six girls from the United States of America who have never owned a passport, never traveled to an exotic place in the world, but thanks to the Passport Party Project they have obtained their first passport and have gotten their first travel stamp from our beautiful Belize. The Passport Party Project is grassroots initiative providing online global awareness training and first passports to underserved American girls between the ages 11-15 in an effort to help create responsive and responsible global citizens. Phase 1 of The Passport Party Project™ was fully funded by the world's largest online travel company - Expedia® - and was able to successfully gift 100 underserved girls with their very first passports during a nationwide traveling campaign that began September 2011.

Costa Maya Delegates Celebrate Belize
A trip to Ambergris Caye is not a successful one without visiting the marine life that has made it the number one island in the world. This is why the Costa Maya Committee delights in arranging for the eight beauty ambassadors who compete for the prestigious Miss Costa Maya International crown to enjoy some fun in the sun, sea and sand. On Friday, July 26, the Costa Maya Pageant delegates were treated to some underwater adventure courtesy of Discovery Expeditions that took them on the Sea Trek adventure which had them walking at the bottom of the sea and exploring the coral reefs at the Mexico Rocks Reserve.

Thank You From Saga Humane Society
Saga Humane Society would like to give our heartfelt Thank You and gratitude to everyone involved who came and supported our fundraising event Princesses for Paws. The Reigning Queen 2012 Karen Jordan and 2013 La Reina de Costa Maya Queen contestants hosted a benefit cocktail party and silent auction on Monday, July 29, 2013, at Fido’s Restaurant and Bar. The charisma of these generous ladies charmed guests as they drew raffle tickets and posed for photographs to help raise money towards assisting the pets of Ambergris Caye. We are grateful of the extraordinary support of Marisa Salazar, Gach Guerrero, Will Alamilla and the entire International Costa Maya Committee.

Misc Belizean Sources

Belize appoints new deputy registrar
The Belize government, which has taken back control of its national flag the International Merchant Marine of Belize (IMMARBE), has appointed Annette Garel, as senior deputy registrar. “The trust and confidence placed on me by the Prime Minister of Belize makes me proud and more committed to stay the course in ensuring that the Belize Ship Registry continues in its quest to attain excellence in ship registration,” said IMMARBE Senior Deputy Registrar Annette Garel. Garel was upfront about the challenges the registry faced. “The Belize Registry will face several challenges this year, but the most pressing is the Voluntary IMO Audit which is scheduled for the first week in October. Arrangements are underway to have this completed and with the Government of Belize’s full backing, we are prepared and committed to conclude a successful audit,” she said.

Video: Rowan Garel Dives the Blue Hole in Belize
I would like to big up Channel 7 News for the great story they did on Rowan's Blue Hole dive. Here is the the story in full from website. Would also like to thank Channel 7 for acknowledging the underwater camera work, not once, but 4 times. I think Channel 7 understands the importance of giving credit where credit is due. The other station? Not a peep .... any way great job to 7 News and BCVI and of course Rowand Garel.

Channel 7

Taxi-Man Burned Too Badly To Identify
42 year old Orange Walk taximan Hugo Moreno – last night we told you that he had been found dead outside Carmelita in his taxi – which had been burned with him stuffed in the trunk. And indeed, his family who reported him missing on Monday went to a post mortem today – but late information to 7news is that the body was so badly burnt that police cannot say definitively that it was him in the car – in fact, they cannot say who was in the car. And, also, they cannot say what was the cause of death – because that was also inconclusive due to the burning. Monica Bodden went to Orange Walk today to find out more from the police and from his wife, and her story is coming up a little later on in the news.

Regional Dengue Outbreak, Belize Spared So Far
But first, the Ministry of Health says you’ve got to be on the lookout for Dengue because there’s a severe outbreak in Central America where it has caused 26 deaths and infected nearly 40,000 persons this year. Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and El Salvador have all issued formal alerts and travelers to these countries are being asked to exercise caution. In Honduras, it’s gotten so bad that the government has declared a state of emergency after an outbreak killed 16 people while twelve thousand people have been diagnosed with the illness. In Belize, the Ministry of Health reports that the number of confirmed dengue cases has remained low for the first part of the year, there are Dengue Prevention Plans activated countrywide. Of course, mosquitoes are what cause the spread of dengue and you’re advised to clean up your yards, making sure to throw away old tires and containers that can act as breeding sites

Julius “Tries A Thing” In House of Reps
Next Wednesday, there will be a sitting of the House of Representatives. The business of this meeting has not been released as yet, but if the Opposition gets an opportunity they would like to table a motion on the Public Accounts Committee. The motion is the brainchild of People’s United Party member Julius Espat, the P-A-C’s chairman. Viewers may know very well that this is the only committee chaired by an Opposition member, and, for years, it has not been effective at its duty of looking into the expenditure of public funds. And to fix that, Chairman Espat wants to change the configuration of the committee which currently has 4 members of Government and 2 members from the Opposition. He wants to see it changed to 2 members of the Government, 2 members of the Opposition, and 3 members from the Senate, one from the church, the business community, and the Unions. This new configuration of 7, according to Espat, will allow the PAC to do its job more effectively because according to him, the ruling administration of the day has too much influence over it.

Remanded For A Home-Made Shotgun
53 year-old Walter Logan is spending his second night in prison because he was allegedly caught with a prohibited firearm. According to police, on Saturday evening at around 4, they received information, and went to Santa Ana Village on the Old Northern Highway. They found Logan, searched the area and discovered a homemade shotgun loaded with a 12 gauge cartridge. The officers also found 3 separate 16-gauge cartridges near the gun. He was arrested and charged for 1 count of keeping a prohibited firearm, and 2 counts of keeping unlicensed ammunition. He was arraigned yesterday before Magistrate Leslie Hamilton who couldn’t grant him bail because it’s a prohibited firearm. He was remanded to prison until September 11.

Wife Of Slain Taxi-Man Says He Was Robbed
As we told you at the top of the newscast, a post mortem on what is believed to be the body of Orange Walk tax-man Hugo Moreno proved inconclusive as to identity and cause of death. That was established this evening, but this morning in Orange Walk, Monica Bodden spoke to police about the case – and in the afternoon, the media tracked down his devastated wife in the city. Here’s the story: Monica Bodden reporting 42 year old taxi Hugo Moreno was found dead in the trunk of his burnt up taxi cab just after 2 yesterday afternoon - His white Dodge was located in a sandpit at the back of Carmelita Village. Inspector Julius Cantun - Acting Deputy Commander, Orange Walk Police "In regards to the missing person's report, concerning Mr. Hugo Estrada Moreno - yesterday at around 11:45am, Orange Walk police received information concerning information about a vehicle seeing burnt in an area about a mile and a half on the outskirts of Carmelita Village. As a result of that information - Orange Walk police visited the area and about 2pm - they came across the said vehicle which was subsequently identified as that belonging to the missing person, Mr. Hugo Moreno. In the vehicle what appeared to be the charred remains of a human body that was stuck inside the trunk of the said car, as a result the scenes of crimes technicians visited the scene whereby they processed that scene and the suspected human body was retreived and transported to the Orange Walk town hospital and the vehicle was removed and brought to the Orange Walk police station pending investigation.

Guilty! Of Molesting 9 Year Old Over 5 Year Span
41 year-old Nicannor Fermin is on remand tonight, awaiting sentence after he was convicted today of 6 counts of carnal knowledge of a 9 year girl. Fermin stood trial before Justice Troadio Gonzalez where the minor told the court that between 2004 to January 2010 he sexually abused her 6 different times while she was entrusted in his custody. That’s a pattern of abuse for a 5-year span when Fermin forced himself on the child and had intercourse with her, with the threat of withholding her school fees if she resisted. The child told the court she often told him that he was hurting her, but he would not listen. When the prosecution closed their case, Fermin denied all allegations against him, and he called 2 witnesses to testify on his behalf who told the court that he was never alone with the child.

How Belize Got To Lead Region In Waste Management
Belize is leading the region in solid waste management. That’s what we heard yesterday from an IDB Representative – and it denoted quite a change, since, not too long ago, here in the city we were choking on the putrid scent of our own garbage – burning out of control day and night. Now, there’s a transfer where that fetid dump once sat. Now, it will all be “transferred” to mile 24 on the Western Highway – which is quite a high tech location unto itself. We were there for the opening yesterday and here’s what we found:.. Daniel Ortiz reporting The newly opened Mile 24 Regional Landfill is like the Belize City Transfer Station, a vastly improved effort at dealing with waste. This facility has a total land space of 350 acres, and it is designed with the highest standards of garbage management. The clearing the facility measures about 5 acres of already cleared space, which will be used to dump the initial loads of garbage coming in. The other 345 acres will be cleared on a need-to basis to ensure that majority of the facility retains an untouched element of it to have very little impact on the environment which surrounds it. This Project, funded by the IDB and the Government of Belize, is designed with world-class standards in mind, and it will be able to accommodate waste coming from all parts of the country when fully activated.

Nancy Marin (Re)Joins PUP, Under Leader’s Watch
Nancy Marin rose to public prominence as an independent activist – for her Belize People’s Front – which surged to the frontline of many public causes. But, before that, she was a PUP convention candidate, who offered herself as the candidate for Cayo Northeast, only to lose to Landy Habet in a convention. Well, now she’s back with the PUP. With party Leader Francis Fonseca watching the dotted line, Marin today applied for membership in the PUP. According to a press release, she has quote, “pledged her full support to People’s United Party and its Leader Francis Fonseca.” The release does not say if she will challenge Habet again, but simply states that, quote, “Nancy is fully committed to standing with and fighting for our Party in the west,”

Mayan Leaders Lament Appeals Court Decision
The Court of Appeals handed down its split decision on the Mayan Land rights case a week ago, and on Monday The Toledo Alcaldes Association gathered community members and leaders to review it. According to a press release, over 300 leaders from all the Maya villages in Toledo converged at the Julian Cho Technical High School near Punta Gorda to digest the decision. And today, have come out with their collective position. A release from the group says, they are pleased that the court has reaffirmed their right to own their lands. It adds, quote, “With this fourth favourable ruling in nine years, we are confident going forward that our land rights are clearly and firmly established.” But, the statement also says they are quote, “disappointed that the court failed to understand the discrimination and harm the government has subjected us to by denying the validity of our customary rights for decades,” end quote. It adds that the Leaders were also deeply apprehensive about the section of the decision that absolves government from protecting those rights and titling Maya lands. A unanimous endorsement was given to appeal that aspect of the decision to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

A Cuddly Croc?
Yesterday, we showed you Bal Boa, the Boa Constrictor, who helped to give an education on her fellow snake species and about the misconceptions and deep-rooted fears in the public mind. Well, while there, we also got an education on crocodiles, and that is important because there have been more than a few times when these reptiles ended up deep in the ‘hood, only to be abused, butchered and sold as meat. Well, tonight, we show you Rose, the baby croc, who is non-threatening, and is receiving a lot of love from her human handlers: Daniel Ortiz reporting Rose is a newly hatched, domesticated, American crocodile living at the Belize Zoo. She weighs about 1 pound, and she is about a foot and 3 inches in length. She allows her handlers to cradle her like an infant, and she seems to enjoy human contact. Her story is interesting because crocs are usually appreciated and respected from a safe distance, because while they are beautiful, they have strong predatory instincts. Those instincts often become adversarial when humans come in contact with those of her species, so that’s what’s so unique about Rose.

FFB, Still Paying Bills, Still Accepting Donations For Gold Cup Push
The 2013 Gold Cup is over, but all the bills haven’t been paid and the Football Federation of Belize continues to receive donations on Behalf of Team Belize. The latest comes from PUMA Energy Belize, which started a fundraising venture to assist the Belize National team give weeks ago. Here’s how it worked: each of their 10 stations around the country donated 5 cents for every gallon of fuel that they sold over a period of 2 weeks. They managed to raise $12,000, and with an additional $5,000 donation the Deputy Country Manager of the company handed over a check for $17,000 to Senior Vice President Sergio Chuc yesterday.

Hon. Finnegan: National Selection Has Good Nucleus, Needed Rice & Beans And Salad
And while the massive multi-national PUMA is donating cash, Housing Minister Michael Finnegan is donating his wisdom. For the past few nights, you’ve heard the senior football authority hold sway mostly on the national team’s weaknesses – especially when compared to the footballers of his era in the 60’s and 70’s. But, he also told us that the Gold Cup team has a talented nucleus of players which he rates highly – and he told us about his top six:.. Hon. Michael Finnegan - Football Historian "This team from my vantage point is not a bad team. Eiley, Gaynair, Lennon, Mariano and the two goal keepers - you could build around them. Something is wrong with the team - the team is not all that bad. You will never hear me try to depredated the team or to run to it's lowest. I would never do that because I would be unfair - there is something that is wrong with the team. The composition and chemistry of the team and we just have to find what is wrong. Maybe when they left here they left under a situation quarrelling for money - maybe that is a mental thing - maybe that could be part of it. Maybe when they got over there - they didn't take someone to be with them so that when they eat their Rice and Beans and chicken and salad that they are used to and went to eat the 'white man's' dinner. Maybe that is a part of it governor - when those teams travel they even take their kitchen, you can't go there and eat lettuce and steak all of a sudden and think that will make you strong - lettuce and steak is a long process. You have to stay with rice and beans and what you know about."

Re: Today's Belize News: August 1, 2013 [Re: Marty] #469361
08/01/13 05:55 AM
08/01/13 05:55 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 80,387
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

More News: Scroll up from here

Channel 5

Taxi-man Burned in Car; Cause of Death Undetermined
Hugo Moreno’s remains were so charred that the cause of death could not be determined. The body of the taxi driver was found in the trunk of his dodge car [...]

MLA Meets With Leaders from Mayan Communities
The Maya Leaders Alliance has issued its first statement on the customary land rights case, since the Court of Appeal handed down a split decision in the matter last Thursday.  [...]

MLA’s Cristina Coc Speaks on Mayan Dissenters
While the membership of the Maya Leaders Alliance was not represented in court on Monday, former chairman Ligorio Coy led a contingent of past Alcaldes from Dolores, Otoxha, Santa Ana [...]

Belize on High Alert after Regional Dengue Outbreaks
The Ministry of Health has issued an urgent statement cautioning the public on dengue. The release is a result of severe outbreaks in the region including Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El [...]

Should G.O.B. strike a deal with NCL even though only pocket tourism is recommended for southern Belize?
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Missing Siblings Found in Honduras
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Multi-Million Dollar Sanitary Landfill Inaugurated
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P.U.P. calls for Change in Public Accounts Committee
The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives is the body tasked with examining and reporting on the monies spent by government. That’s a big job and an important [...]

Cable Technician Guilty of Carnal Knowledge
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Minor Narrowly Escapes Sodomy Attempt
While there is a conviction against Niccanor Fermin for carnal knowledge, there is another disturbing report from an eleven year old student of Sunset Park area, located at mile eight [...]

Santana Resident Remanded for Homemade Shotgun
Fifty-three year old Walter Logan, a resident of Santana Village, is on remand at the Belize Central Prison after being caught with a homemade shotgun on Saturday.  Shortly after four [...]

Dara’s Concert and Ride for Hunger This Weekend…
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Parking Woes in Belize City
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Superstar performances at the Bliss
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Regional Study Underway in Belize on Diabetes
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Kolbe Foundation Responds to Labour Commissioner's Report
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Past Standard Bearer Candidate for Opposition Party Wants Back in Party
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Former BDF Soldier Found Guilty of Engaging Sexually with 9-Year-Old
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Residents of Belize Placed on Alert for Dengue Outbreaks in Neighboring Countries
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Police Investigate Murder of Taxi Driver in Northern Belize
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Wednesday, July 31 -------- Missing Siblings Found in Honduras
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Police Officer Makes Contact Following Missing Report
Police Corporal Martin Bustillos has responded to the call and made contact with his family and his workplace. The twenty seven year old officer attached to the Corozal Police Formation had reportedly left his parents’ house in San Estevan Village in the Orange Walk District on July 22nd an...

International Registries Have New Senior Deputy Registrar
Last month the Government of Belize assumed control of the International Business Companies (IBC) Registry and the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize (IMMARBE). News today is that Annette Garel was appointed as senior deputy registrar for IMMARBE. An online article quotes Garel as s...


Corozal House Of Culture Teaches Charcoal Drawing
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Sugar City Summer Program Comes To An End
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APAMO Says Co-managers Pressured Into Signing Agreement
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Dengue Outbreak In The Region Puts Belize On High Alert
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BSCFA Holds Workshop For Branch Chairmen
After being audited by representatives of FLOCERT a few months ago, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association was found to be in breach of 11 Fair Trade Standards, in other...

APAMO Refuses To Sign Co-management Agreement
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Hugo Moreno Becomes O/W First Murdered Victim
In the Orange Walk District, not a single murder case had been recorded since October 2012. But the statistic changed when the charred body of 42 year old taxi...


Missing Orange Walk Taxi Driver found dead
Tuesday July 30: In Orange Walk, the family of a cab driver is searching for their loved one. 42 year old Ernesto Moreno left his home on Saturday to do taxi runs. His wife says they spoke on Sunday, but has not heard from him since. Moreno was last...

Corozal Policeman missing since last week Tuesday
Tonight, authorities are asking for your help in locating one of their own. Police Constable Martin Bustillos, attached to the Corozal formation, has been missing since last week Tuesday. His parents say the last time they saw their son was the day he went missing. The 27 year old...

Indian tourist to be deported after he was caught with a fake visa
An Indian national is getting a free ride out of Belize after he was caught attempting to use a fake visa permit in the country. He is 22-year-old Lovepreet Singh Dhaliwal, a Indian national student and tourist of Bilaspur District, Rampur, India. Yesterday, Immigration personnel caught the Indian national...

Man in court after being caught burglarizing house
A man who was caught red handed burglarizing a Maxboro’s house was today before the court to answer to two criminal offenses. He is 47-year-old Valentine Sanchez, a Mason of the Sand Hill area. But this is in no way a simple case, as it has its share of...

Belmopan City Council hosts Sports Camp
Since the summer vacation kicked off, the Belmopan City Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and the area rep. the Hon. John Saldivar has been hosting quite a number of initiatives to keep children and young people constructively occupied, the latest being a...

Belmopan youth find Chess interesting and fun
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Football players rewarded for their integrity
When players Woodrow West and Ian Gaynair rejected a match fixing offer of some $10,000 in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, they gained widespread recognition from not only CONCACAF, but also from the international media. This weekend, they were rewarded once more...

Belmopan children get basketball training from a professional
We now bring you coverage of the basketball summer camp. As we mentioned, this second cycle of the program got off the ground on Monday. This morning we stopped by their training facility at the UB gymnasium to check out what the young ballers have been...

Five hopefuls compete for Queen of the Bay, Belmopan
It’s pageant season in Belize and one of the longest-standing and most esteemed pageants is The Queen of the Bay. That is slated for September and so municipalities across the country are in the process of selecting their delegates. This coming Friday, five hopefuls from the Belmopan area will...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Director, Tina Auxillou, on the BIFF red carpet
Director of the Belize International Film Festival short documentary submission about our beloved Chocolate, Tina Auxillou, walks the red carpet at the Festival Gala. Congratulations on breaking yet another record for Caye Caulker. The film’s submission is a first for the island. RED CARPET WITH THE FAMOUS: Actor/Author Robert Townsend (Hollywood Schuffle; A Soldiers Story etc.) Calypso Rose (Calypso/SOCA Queen of the World);Shawn Waight (Belizean Queen); Tina Auxillou, Michael Desabrais (Producer “Roots In The Sea”);Barbara Desabrais (Producer’s Wife Extraordinaire); Tyler Loeper (my son) PHOTO: Courtesy NICH

An American Family Finds Neverland on Caye Caulker
In a blog entry at, an American family slows down on Caye Caulker and Belize, and discovers the mythical paradise called called Neverland of the Peter Pan book.


The 2013 Costa Maya Beauties Pose for Pets at Fido’s Courtyard
It’s Costa Maya Festival time again in San Pedro. This huge yearly event was started in the early 90s and attracts visitors from around Central America and Belize to the island. My favorite part is always the build up…the week before the all weekend party. The international beauty pageant contestants…the delegates, the beauty ambassadors…one representing each of the Central American countries and Mexico, circulate around the island doing restaurant visits, bar promotions, beach photo shoots, fashion shows, radio and tv interviews and just schmoozing with their fans. Always in 6 inch heels and full make-up. I love a retro tuxedo t-shirt…especially with no sleeves. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times. Sun’s out…guns out. The night was a success! And all money raised by the photos, the auction, the raffle and donated by Fido’s will go to spaying and neutering animals in town. Remember that it is HIP TO SNIP and that only $50bzd can fix an animal and help control the pet population on Ambergris Caye. Super important.

An Off-the-Beaten Path Perfect Picnic in Belize
While there are so many spectacular things to do in Belize, it’s often the easy day trips that really make a lasting impression. Even the humble picnic can take on a whole new aspect – if you know where to go. For example, there’s the: Rio On Pools – Mountain Pine Ridge This has always been one of my favourite picnics spots in all of Belize. Even on the warmest days Mountain Pine Ridge is always refreshing and is one of those places that may seem like a bit of a drive, but once there you think, “That wasn’t far. Why don’t we come here more often?” About fifteen miles from San Ignacio, it’s on the sort of road you take your time driving on, but the views are so pretty you don’t mind. And it’s truly a “something for everyone” sort of place. For the elderly, those with mobility issues or just feeling lazy that day, you can simply drive up to the picnic area, park, secure a spot at one of the tables or spread a blanket and just take in the view. And what a view it is. Surrounded by 300 square miles of forest reserve featuring those beautiful pines that give the Mountain Pine Ridge its name are a series of ponds formed by cascading waterfalls. With so many different sizes, depth and levels of accessibility, you can take an entire day just getting to know the pools and deciding which are your favourite. Bigger ones with laughing and splashing people for when you feel sociable, and more remote, intimate ones for when you want a bit more seclusion.

No Churn Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
In this video, I use the Dulce de Leche I made last video to make "no churn" ice cream. This flavor has long been my favorite ice cream so I absolutely loved this recipe. I used the whole can of boiled milk, but the ice cream would have been just as great with only half the can.

International Sources

The gay-rights proxy wars in Russia, Uganda and Belize
“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe,” wrote abolitionist minister Theodore Parker in 1853. “The arc is a long one. My eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by experience of sight. I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends toward justice.” More than a century later, Martin Luther King Jr. paraphrased and popularized that idea. It is often quoted now for its inspirational power and the first part of Parker’s metaphor gets forgotten: the reminder that while freedom might be winning the war, it will not win every battle. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which is based in Montgomery, Alabama and began its life by bringing cases against the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups, published a report in July about this phenomenon. Called Dangerous Liaisons: The American Religious Right and the Criminalization of Homosexuality in Belize, it connects recent victories for tolerance in the U.S., such as the gradual shift toward legal same-sex marriage, with setbacks elsewhere. In some cases, the report suggests, these setbacks are not happening despite the victories in the U.S. but, in part, because of them. Anti-gay groups in the U.S. are spending their considerable resources to support their comrades in places where a critical mass of politicians supports their goals.

Belize Selects FAMCare Human Services Software to Help Track Information and Improve Outcomes for Vulnerable Citizens
The Belize Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, (MHDSTPA) has partnered with Global Vision Technologies, Inc. (GVT) to implement FAMCare human services software for their case management needs. MHDSTPA is the lead entity of the Government of Belize in the development of people, enabling them to realize their full potential and play a meaningful role in their communities. FAMCare, Rapid Case Management Software - is GVT's flagship software platform designed to streamline human services data management. FAMCare will enhance all of the data collection, information management, and reporting tools needed to deliver the best care to the vulnerable population living in Belize. "What we are about to accomplish in the next few months is a feat that I know many of our sister Caribbean states have been trying to accomplish. We are definitely blazing trails here and it seems we could not have asked for a better partner in GVT," said Judith Alpuche, CEO MHDSTPA.

Berks students study ethnobotany in Belize
Students enrolled in the Rainforest Ethnobotany Experiential Learning Adventure to Belize at Penn State Berks traveled to Belize from May 5 to 15 with Aisha Jaffri, instructor in biology, to learn how plants from the rainforest can be used to treat a variety of illnesses. Six seniors participated in the trip, including Kristine Feick, Rebecca James, Abdullah Naeem, Andrew Salamak, Dewilka Simons and Nathaniel Tschudy. "The standard classroom lecture format is not an ideal environment for teaching medicinal plant application,” explained Jaffri. “The students gained firsthand knowledge of the medicinal properties of plants in the rainforests and biodiversity regions of Belize. This demonstrated a tremendous value to our students as they explored the history, culture and geography of the areas visited.” The class teamed up with pharmacy, medical and naturopathic students through the Student Rainforest Fund, a nonprofit, educational organization that raises funds to help underwrite expeditions to the world’s rainforests for college students who are studying the health professions. The students learn about medicinal plants, herbs and botanicals in the world’s greatest pharmacy -- the rainforest. They also work closely with indigenous healers in the field, learn about the ecology of the country and the need for fostering environmental stewardship, and get a more holistic approach to healing and medicine that could never be taught in the classroom.

New expedition to investigate Caribbean endangered coral reef ecosystems
The Catlin Seaview Survey, sponsored by international insurer Catlin Group Limited, has announced a massive expansion of its study of coral reefs with a new campaign in the Caribbean and Bermuda. The program – which will significantly widen opportunities for ocean, coral and climate scientists to understand the changes that are occurring within the region – starts in Belize and moves on to Mexico, Bermuda, Anguilla, St Vincent, Guadeloupe, Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas. Coral reefs in the Caribbean, like elsewhere, are under growing environmental stress. Being highly sensitive to environmental change, corals are considered the “canary in the coal mine” when it comes to impacts of climate change and ocean acidification. Exploitation, pollution, warming waters and increased storms linked with climate change has caused the massive loss of corals across the Caribbean Sea over the last 50 years. Losing coral reefs in this fashion has long-term implications for Caribbean economies given their dependence on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems for goods, services and economic welfare. According to the World Resources Institute, the value of shoreline protection services provided by Caribbean reefs is between $700 million and $2.2 billion per year. Within the next 50 years, continuing coral degradation and death could lead to losses totaling $140 million to $420 million annually.

The Simple Life: Exploring the Best of Belize, From Chocolate to Caves
A tiny country with an even tinier population, Belize is one of the few places on earth where you will find undisturbed jungle, long stretches of placid beach, plenty of organic farms and a healthy handful of people who go without modern conveniences such as electricity and plumbing, yet live contently and peacefully off the fertile land. It is also a place known for one of its more touristy islands, Ambergris Caye, which still, in many ways, is laid back (golf carts are the preferred method of transportation here) and brimming with great local restaurants, chocolate shops, cafes and bakeries. Unfortunately, many people never truly experience the many places in Belize that make the country so alluring. There is much we can learn from a country that values sustainable tourism, its fascinating Mayan history and the health of its natural environment. It is a destination that offers the greatest of simple pleasures rooted in a culture that values community and Mother Nature’s fruitful gifts.

Swimming with Whale Sharks
I’m in Placencia, a sleepy little town at the end of a 20 mile long peninsula in Belize’s Caribbean waters. I awake early in the morning and begin preparing for the day’s adventure. My tiny cabana on the beach has no A/C and I’m already dripping with sweat from the hot, humid air. Knowing that today’s journey to swim with whale sharks came with not-so-great odds of success, I tried not to get too excited about what was to come. Little did I know just how exhilarating the day was destined to be. Whale sharks are the biggest fish on the planet, however they pose little danger to people as they are slow and docile. Swimming with them is an experience sought after by people all over the world and today was going to be my chance. There are few places in the world you can get in the water with whale sharks; and Placencia is one of them. For a few months each year during the cycle of the full moon, they come to feed in Gladden Spit, an area 20+ miles off the coast.

10 Reasons to Relocate to Belize
Consider Belize Sharing a border with Mexico, Guatemala and the Caribbean Sea, the tiny country of Belize has been receiving a lot of attention from expats in recent years. So what does Belize have to offer that has so many people coming back for more? 1. Scenic beauty Only a fraction, around 20% of Belize’s land is used for human purposes (agriculture and settlements) leaving the rest, natural and unspoiled. Filled with majestic landscapes, waterfalls, archaeological sites and thousands of species of plants and animals, there is always something new to experience in Belize. And because Belize has 174 miles of Caribbean coast line, you can enjoy the beach life and the exotic rainforests all in one day. Conservation efforts are an important aspect of government policy in Belize and because of this, much of the land and animal life remains protected. Belize is even home to the only jaguar reserve in the world. 2. 2nd largest barrier reef in the world Belize is known for its marine life, especially the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is actually the longest living barrier reef in the western hemisphere and the second largest in the world, after Australia. Belize’s top tourist attraction, people come from around the world each year to swim, snorkel, and scuba dive in this breathtaking, natural wonderland. 3. Slow pace of life Nicknamed “Belize time”, the pace of life in Belize is significantly slower, and for many expats, it can be a dream come true. Unlike in North America, and many other places in the world, the people in Belize don’t seem to be in such a hurry. Instead, they have a more leisurely attitude towards life and work that is embraced by many expats and a bit of an adjustment for others. And for an even bigger taste of the Belize laid-back lifestyle, visit Caye Caulker, a 5 mile island off the coast of Belize. One mile west of the barrier reef, you can take a water taxi to the tiny island and spend your time swimming, snorkelling, fishing, or simply relaxing on the beach.

The Garifuna Collective on the Road
The Garifuna Collective is on their 2 month North American tour right now, and they have started an indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for their journey. They have uploaded a video on the page from their rehearsal at the Soul Project here in Cayo. They'll spend 55 days on the road, travel 18,450 miles, and will have had 275 Hotel rooms when it's all finished. "We have embarked on a historic two month tour of North America performing at many prestigious music festivals and venues in Canada and the United States. The tour includes some 25 cities such as Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Chicago, Washington DC, Edmonton, Portland, Calgary, Minneapolis, Winnipeg and New York. This tour coincides with the release of Ayo (Goodbye), our long anticipated album in honour of Belize's late cultural icon, Andy Palacio."

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