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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

National News: European Union Blacklists Belize's high seas fisheries
Belize has been blacklisted by the European Commission alongside two other countries that are not doing enough to stamp out illegal fishing in their high waters. The announcement was made by the European Commission on November 25th via a letter sent to the European Union (EU). The Prime Minister of Belize Dean Barrow has indicated that such a move by the EU does not affect local fishermen but it is something that is taken seriously and measures are being taken to address the issue. The European Commission has indicated that they have proposed an EU-wide ban on fisheries imports from Cambodia, Belize and Guinea. According to the release, the three countries are not doing enough to properly address the issue of illegal fishing within their high waters, making it conducive to illegal activities. "Out of the eight countries who received a warning in 2012, only Belize, Cambodia and Guinea have not made credible progress in fulfilling their duties under international law and have failed to improve the situation� The European Commission will also submit a proposal�to place Belize (and the other countries) on the list of non-cooperating countries," said the memo.

Knowledge for People brings Autism Awareness to San Pedro
Five volunteers from Knowledge for People: Autism Education Around the World (KFP), an autism awareness organization, traveled to Ambergris Caye to educate parents and teachers on the sensitive topic of Autism. Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a complex disorder of the brain development. It can affect as many as one out of every 150 children born, and impairs social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. The volunteer group consisted of four autism specialists, Elizabeth Kleine, Reyna Sigurdson, Maci Spica and Crystal Hansen, along with their media director, Brayden Harp. While in San Pedro, the team visited several preschools and primary schools to assess their capability to cope with an autistic child. The team also provided a workshop on Thursday, November 28th, open to all teachers and parents on ways to interact and develop essential life skills with an autistic child.

Hon. Dean Barrow sends condolences as nation mourns Nelson Mandela
The Office of the Prime Minister is sending an official Note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela. The Belize Flag will be flown at half-mast from noon today until noon tomorrow, and again on the day of Mandela's funeral. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has described Mandela as "the last global hero history will ever see." The Prime Minister says that it is impossible for anything like the trajectory of Mandela's life to occur again. His towering strength, his unimaginable self-sacrifice, and the way in which he governed post-Apartheid South Africa without recrimination or reprisal, constitute a greatness that will never again be matched. Mandela, the Prime Minister concludes, is not just an inspiration to Black people everywhere, but to all people everywhere.

Dorothy Lee Barnett, missing US National with Belizean connection found after 20 years on the run
A US national with Belizean connections who was presumed missing by her family members and wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been located. Dorothy Lee Barnett now 53 disappeared on April 22, 1994 with her infant daughter Savanna (now 20) leaving no trace behind. Barnett had remained a prime suspect, and was wanted by FBI for parental abduction. Lee Barnett was known by many in Belize, especially in Placencia and on Ambergris Caye after her mother, also named Dorothy Barnett, moved to Belize in the late 1970's. Before her disappearance, Dorothy Lee Barnett had married Benjamin Harris Todd in 1991. The union gave birth to Savanna in 1993, but the couple had separated over claims of domestic abuse. Her disappearance was not only shocking to those she knew in the US but also to her friends in Belize. At one point she was even being sought by the FBI in Belize.

Ambergris Today

Prime Minister of Belize Sends Official Note of Condolence on the Death of Nelson Mandela
The Office of the Prime Minister is sending an official Note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela. The Belize Flag will be flown at half-mast from noon today until noon tomorrow, and again on the day of Mandela's funeral.

San Pedro High School Celebrates Founder's Day
Once again the faculty, staff and students of San Pedro High pulled off another great celebration for Founder's Day. The celebration took place on Thursday, December 5, 2013, as tradition has it, San Pedro High School is always up for a celebration in commemoration of (now retired) Principal Angel Nu�ez every year on December 5. Now that Mr. Nu�ez has retired and now only a member of the board of directors of San Pedro High, the school has designated his birthday celebrations as Founder's Day and have included Mrs. Martha Guerrero and Mrs. Celi McCorkel co-founders of San Pedro High School. The school put up another fabulous celebration for Mr. Angel Nu�ez' Birthday and founders of SPHS. San Pedro High School has come a long way and the students of San Pedro High never fail to impress and show case their talent whether it be in singing, dancing, reciting a poem or playing in the high school band. Happy Birthday Mr. Angel Nu�ez and congratulations to the founders of San Pedro High.

Misc Belizean Sources

Cutting the cost of the tuna catch: CFRM states explore Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) as cost-cutting emergent technology
For several years, the Caribbean region has been exploring the use of an emergent technology for increasing catch of deep sea fishes such as tunas at a much lower cost. This technology, dubbed Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), has already been deployed with limited use in some Caribbean countries, and fisheries authorities are now looking at prospects of their wider use in the region, but conservation and proper management are at the heart of any prospect of success. In order for the Caribbean to derive tangible benefits from the use of FAD, the devices must be properly managed and regulated. The harm that can be done by the unplanned use of the device, and by poor management and regulation, could result in major losses of not just fishery investments-but also of the fishery resources upon which the region depends for employment, food security and nutrition. The CRFM-JICA CARIFICO / WECAFC-IFREMER MAGDELESA Workshop on FAD Fishery Management, to be held next week, will provide a forum for participating countries and agencies to review and share research results and best practices in the construction, use and management of FADs as tools for sustainable development, management and conservation of large pelagic resources in the Caribbean.

Video: Longest zip line in Central America
The longest zip line in Central America is 2,300 feet long and located at Mayflower Bocawina National Forest in Silk Grass on the Southern Highway in Belize. The last line is very fast & very long, lasting over 30 seconds!

VIDEO: Snorkeling Mexico Rocks
This video was shot with the Nikon AW100

Old Master Promo at CWC
The Cayo Welcome Center will be the location for Old Master's rum promotion today. They'll have drink specials all day, and in the evening they'll have a karaoke contest. "It's another Cayo Welcome Center Event!!!! Saturday 7th December- Come showcase your talent and win Best male/female vocalist for the evening! Sponsors: Old Masters Fine Rums makers of Belize Old Fashion Lemonade and the Mayor of San Ignacio and Santa Elena!"

MCHS Fun Day
School is coming to a close for the year, and Mount Carmel High School had their Fun Day to celebrate the break. Enjoy the Christmas holidays!

Cornerstone 80's Splash Down
The Cornerstone Foundation is having their 80's Splash Down today night at JJ's. They'll have great music, strong drinks, a raffle, and a silent auction. It's their Christmas fundraiser, and the proceeds will go towards their feeding program. Thanks, Cornerstone! "Cornerstone Foundation Presents 80's Splash Down! JJ's Bar And Grill (Formerly Capello's) $10 Per Person $15 Couples December 7th 2013 Come And Support A Worthy Cause! All Proceeds Go Towards Cornerstone Foundation Feeding Program. See You There (:"

Living in Placencia, Belize: Paradise Found
When we first started visiting Belize's Placencia peninsula more than two decades ago, small towns here were no more than sleepy fishing villages. The only tourists were serious divers and fishermen. Today, things have changed. Just where is Placencia? It's about a three-and-a-half hour drive south of Belize City. Placencia town lies at the tip of a 16-mile long narrow strip of land known as the Placencia Peninsula. The peninsula, only a half-mile wide at its widest point, offers Caribbean beachfront to the east and a protected lagoon on the western side where manatees are often seen. Everything here is close to the water, and all along the paradisiacal peninsula on either side you'll find restaurants, hotels and small resorts, individual homes, and all those new residential communities.

VIDEO: Blackbird Caye Dive Resort- Arrivals and Departures
We look forward to your arrival, but sad to see you go. Thanks for choosing Blackbird Caye Dive Resort as Your Dive Vacation Destination.

Channel 7

City Hall Can't Pay BWC; Go Slow Continues
Yesterday, 7News told you about the go-slow initiated by the Belize Waste Control because the Belize City Council owes them for 15 weeks, or almost 4 months of back payment in arrears. That represents just over three-quarter million dollars that the council owes the sanitation company, and the management is saying that they can't operate any more. BWC says that it can no longer expect its creditors to keep them operational when there is no sign that payment will be made from City Council on these arrears which keep climbing. They have dialed back their operation, rotating employees and their garbage trucks to keep their staff employed, and they say that the go-slow is a necessity. Well, what can City Hall do about the mounting bills that it hasn't paid to Waste Control? That's what we asked Mayor Darrell Bradley today, and he told us that basically, the council is broke, and can't meet its debt to BWC until after the tax revenues come in during the first quarter of 2013. Here's how our conversation went with him on the topic:

BWC: We Can't Continue To Work For Free
So, what does the Management of the Belize Waste Control have to say about City Hall's inability to pay them the money that they earned? Well, that's what we went to find out from the Owner of the company. This afternoon, we spoke to Anthony Griffith, and he told us that Mayor Darrell Bradley has made MANY empty promises that he hasn't kept, and he expects them to continue to work with getting paid. Here's how Griffith explained it: Anthony Griffith, Owner - Belize Waste Control "You tell me after 15 weeks going back from August to December; you can't do anything but a couple payments? You have no intention of doing it. You don't care. Listen, the Mayor have made promises to us over and over again, hasn't kept one. This arrears was back from last year. He was to do a payment plan in January 2013 to catch up from 2012, but he never did. It just keeps getting worse and worse until it reaches this point." "He came here (he didn't talk to me, he talk to my daughter) I think sometime in February - he came here and he was supposed to give a payment plan I think it was a Thursday evening or Friday and 2 payments. The 2 payments came through and also he promised that the Monday he would have 3 more payments for us. We are still waiting for the payment plan; we are still waiting for the payment up to today. Back in January he was supposed to give us a payment plan for going back to 2012 arrears, but he never did. It's not normal business that he's talking that the City Council always owing us. This became a problem when they took over City Council, Zenaida and him. Never had I had this problem for many years with PUP. We got paid on time. We have it with them now, they start this phrase "high season and low season." I've never heard that before."

Mayor Says Eric Chang's Explanation Inadequate
And while we were waiting for our interview with the mayor, who should we just happen to run into? That's none other than Eric Chang, the councillor who has been missing in action for weeks, while away in Taiwan. As we've reported, his name was called by multiple highly placed sources as the man who brokered the Citizen Kim deal to get Kim Won Hong his bogus passport which got Minister of State Elvin Penner sacked. As we've told you, we've made many interview requests with Chang to give him an opportunity to clear his name, and respond to the allegations, but he has either refused or ignored all of them. Well today, Chang attended a council meeting to ensure that his seat didn't become vacant, and afterwards, we tried to give him yet another opportunity to speak to the allegations. He declined once again, so we spoke with his boss, Mayor Darrell Bradley, who he can't just brush off after weeks being AWOL without communication. Here's what Mayor Bradley told us about their discussion on the passport scandal: Mayor Darrell Bradley "Eric Chang came back to the jurisdiction last week. I think he came back maybe Wednesday and I had a meeting with him I think on Thursday or Friday. We sat down and I wanted to satisfy myself that his unexplained absence from the jurisdiction had nothing to do with his commitment to serve as a elected representative on the Belize City Council and that since his return to the jurisdiction he will follow in terms of what is expected of him as an elected official. I also raised with him in relation of his name being called. I made certain advice in relation in making some sort of statement to assure members of the public, because I still think that it is a major issue; it's a block on the reputation of the government at the central and at the municipal level, but involvement principally with Councilor Chang is to ensure that as a councilor, he discharges his obligation and that he comports himself with the highest level of ethics."

Tyson Rodriguez's Family Search For Answers In His Death
Sergeant Julio Shal, the second in command at Placencia Police is currently on remand for murder in relation to Tyson Rodriguez's death, and while police conduct 2 investigations into the matter, his family is also doing their independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. That's because as we've told you, Shal and the 2 officers who were with him on the Friday night of November 22, when Rodriguez died, told their bosses that when he supposedly drowned, they didn't see, because he escaped from a moving truck with his hands cuffed behind his back and ran into a bushy area. The post mortem, as we've shown you, says that he died from sand inhalation of sand and he suffered abuse sometime before his death. An eyewitness has brought written testimony which complete refutes the officers' claims and it implicates Shal only. Well, on Wednesday, Hilda Rodriguez, Tyson's mother, went with her attorney, Audrey Matura to the location where he met his end, and they told the media that more information in the police officers' statement simply does not add up: Hilda Rodriguez, Mother of Tyson Rodriguez "We are trying to trace the last steps of Tyson Rodriguez's life. This is where he probably drew his last breath and I just wanted to say that on behalf of myself and my family if he wrongs anyone in anyway, I deeply apologized. That was not the way I raised him. I would have never wanted him to hurt anyone. At the same time his life was taken and so we are here trying to search fro the truth and find justice."

Tarrell Still Battling...
We've featured 8 year-old Tarrell Sutherland in our newscast quite a few times. He's the young man who suffers from a rare skin disorder, known as Icthyosis. He's been to the US and back, and his skin keeps breaking out in infections, no matter what sort of medical interventions his family arranges to be made and he gets a temporary reprieve, but then it starts to break out with infections once again. Today, his mother came to our studio to give us an update on their difficulties in battling the skin disease. Here's what she told us: When Tarrell's skin cleared up, he was in the US receiving treatment, and his mother believes that the temperature played a big role in that.

PM/Opposition Leader Salute Mandela
95 Year-old Nelson Mandela, the South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician and philanthropist, died yesterday, and both the Government of Belize and the Opposition Party, noted his passing today. A press release from the office of the Prime Minister says that the Government of Belize sends an official note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Nelson Mandela. The Belize flag was flown at half-mast from noon today, and it will continue until noon tomorrow, the day of Mandela's funeral. Prime Minister Barrow says that Mandela is "the last global hero history will ever see." Opposition Leader Francis Fonseca agreed with him saying quote," Nelson Mandela is unquestionably one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known�" End quote. Mandela served as the present of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

The Rugged Beauty Of The Mahindra
The 2013 auto show is being held this weekend in Belize City. But unless you've got a very special Santa, most visitors will only get to see and maybe test drive the new 2014 rides. We thought we'd use the opportunity to take a spin in a vehicle that's been intriguing us. It's the Mahindra; it's not the prettiest or most plush pickup on the market - not by a long shot, but it is catching on as a truck not only used by the police. We went to Belmopan to find out why:.. The Mahindra and many other brands of vehicles from all the major dealers will be on display tomorrow at the auto show which will be held on the Bowen and Bowen green near the Hour Bar and Grill.

Lerroy Sherrier Is Back!
When Former National Football Head Coach Leroy Sherrier-Lewis left the Jaguars months before the their first ever Gold Cup appearance, we thought we'd seen the last of him. Well, he's back in Belize and he's going to coach once again. He's arrived in the country on Tuesday and he's been training the Belmopan Bandits all week for their match tomorrow in the Belikin Cup Premier League. The Bandits are an all-start football team, but in the tournament, they've won 3 matches, lost 3, and they've drawn one, placing them 4th in the current standings. Lewis is acting as the Head Coach of the Bandits. He's widely regarded as the coach, who's skills navigated Belize's Jaguars through the Nations Cup, to make history for the country and qualify for the Gold Cup. He's departure was considered very abrupt.

The Torch Run Of the Special Olympics
Today, the 2013 Nationals for the Special Olympics were held at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex. It is an opportunity for Belizean youths living with disabilities to show off their other impressive abilities and become sporting icons. And Special Olympics has the support of the entire National Security Ministry of Belize. That's what we found out as all the law enforcement agencies ended a 5-day torch bearing run all the way from Punta Gorda to Belize. Daniel Ortiz was out at the entrance of the city when the officers jogged in, proud of their contribution: Daniel Ortiz reporting This morning at 5 a.m., the Torch for the Special Olympics left Ladyville on its way to Belize City, 9 miles of running where the bearers carried it at different intervals. The run was a collaborative effort to get it this far. It travelled all the way from Punta Gorda, where the 5 Law enforcement agencies in the country, those being Police, Coast Guard, BDF, Customs, and Immigration, all worked together to get it to its end point.

The 2013 Special Olympics
But, as we told you, that is just part of the opening ceremony. What actually happened in the tournament? That's what we tried to find out from the Chairman of the Special Olympics Belize, who was thankful to everyone for making the torch run a success: Alan Auil, Chairman - Special Olympics Belize "It's very difficult. We do this once a every year, we have this national games. A part from this event we do have smaller events in the districts and in the north and the south region and in the Belize District area. For once a year we host national games where we bring everybody in. It's not only difficult to plan but it's also quite expensive and so we do rely on contributions from the private and the public sector. The office of the Prime Minister was kind enough to grant us $12,000, but we got other sponsorship as well. We had people leaving PG this morning as early as 4am to make it here today and from Corozal at 5am." "At the end of the games they have to get in the bus and head back home, so you can imagine what a difficult day it is for them. We've done a lot of planning but for the athletes, they are really dedicated to this and they have put in a lot of hard work and will endure a very hard day when it's done."

Gwen Liz High Raising Funds For Their Basketball Court
Since this morning, the Gwen Lizarraga High School has been holding a fund raising event to try to upgrade their basketball court, and they are hoping that the public will support them. It's called the Gwen Lizarraga Christmas Bazaar, and the principal explained why they need your help: Right now, the Bazaar is still continuing, and the faculty, staff and student body are hoping that you will still come out and support them. It ends at midnight tonight, and it's the first in a number of fund raising events to come, which they hope the public will support to raise that $90,000 for their basketball court.

Channel 5

Immigration investigation ongoing for at least two months
The intensive and wide-ranging multiple investigations into corruption at the Immigration Department have allegedly been ongoing for at least two months now. We say allegedly because there is no real [...]

Chang attends his first City Council meeting since returning to the jewel
Former Deputy Mayor Eric Chang was thrown into the mix of the immigration scandal involving the illegal sale of a Belizean passport to imprisoned South Korean businessman Won Hong Kim. [...]

Police officer chopped in the head
A woman police officer is in critical condition tonight at the Northern Regional Hosptial. WPC Marilyn Pate accompanied personnel of the Human Development Department to the house of Oscar Perez [...]

Political leaders of Belize pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
Around the world, there has been an outpouring of emotions following the death of Nelson Mandela. Leaders all over have been paying tribute to the larger-than-life icon whose struggle against [...]

Another look at Elvin Penner
Almost three months ago, news surfaced that UDP Minister of State Elvin Penner had facilitated nationality status and a Belizean passport for Wonhong Kim. Kim had never set foot in [...]

City Council makes double payment to Belize Waste Control
Garbage woes…Around the city, garbage is piling up as city hall and Belize Waste Control remain at odds. BWC cut down on garbage collections this week when City Hall again [...]

Former mayor says she hopes bills are settled soon with BWC and BML
While garbage woes continue to clutter City Hall and sanitation workers contemplate a very dismal Christmas, as we told you City Hall has made a payment of one hundred thousand [...]

Over three hundred and fifty thousand dollars embezzled from the Southern Regional Hosptial
An investigation into alleged embezzlement of funds at the Southern Regional Hospital which has been ongoing since July 2013 is expected to be completed soon. Hospital Administrator Nasley Sommerville has [...]

Luis Romero pleads guilty to burglary
He initially pleaded not guilty to burglarizing the home of Traffic Officer, Kevaughn Jenkins, in January of this year, but�on Tuesday�of this week, forty-eight year-old Luis Romero thought twice before [...]

Police Precinct One receives two new motorcycles from the business community
There is always a spike in amount of robberies during this time of the year. Throughout the city, particularly in downtown Albert and Regent Streets, thieves behave more brazen prompting [...]

Rock concert to celebrate Legacy Rock Band 10th Anniversary
A mega rock concert will be held this weekend in Orange Walk Town. It's a celebration of the tenth anniversary of Legacy Rock Band in Sugar City. While the original [...]

Talented young editors make light of immigration scandal
The immigration scandal involving the issuance of an illegal passport to a South Korean criminal opened a pandora's box. Soon after, it came to light that numerous government ministers have [...]


Nelson Mandela Passes Away
South Africa's first black president and anti-apartheid or Boycott Movement icon Nelson Mandela has died, South Africa's president says. Mandela who was 95 years old, led South Africa's transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after 27 years in prison. He had been receiving intense home-based medical care for a lung infection after three months in hospital. In a statement on South African national TV, Jacob Zuma said Mr Mandela had "departed" and was at peace. Mandela will receive a full state funeral, and flags would be flown at half-mast. Mandela had rarely been seen in public since officially retiring in 2004. He made his last public appearance in 2010, at the football World Cup in South Africa.

Celebrating Belize's Diverse Cultures
Our country Belize is a country filled with a diversity of ethnic groups. Mestizos, Garifunas, East Indians, Arabs, and Asians just to mention a few. Each ethnic group has its own beliefs, religion and even eclectic cuisine. With that in mind today at the Belize Adventist College campus, these melting pot of cultures were celebrated and highlighted by students on their cultural day. Armando Correa, acting Principal, says the objective of today's cultural day is to educate the students of the different cultures that make up our Country. Armando Correa - Acting Principal BAC "Today we are having our cultural day, usually it is one cultural day one year and the other year we have open day, so this is the year for the cultural day where all the ethnics groups will be represented from the Chinese, the Mennonites, the Mestizo, Creoles, Garifuna and you can name all the ethnic groups."

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More News: Scroll up from here


VIP Weighs in on Anti-Corruption Day 2013
Next Monday will be observed as World Anti-Corruption Day and in tandem with that, the Vision Inspired by the People, VIP, has been planning a series of activities. One of them is a press conference at which they plan to have Attorney at Law and Activist, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, as a keynote speaker. In attendance will be representatives from the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Belize Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. ROBERT LOPEZ "We are mostly talking about public corruption; in other words, the use of public office for public gain. We have been seeing the occurrence of hustling of the passport and the visas and we hear of the hot bed of corruption in the lands department and everything that's taking place. So, yes but also corruption affects every single person in this country in some way; it increases the cost of living; there is also the issue of contraband, we see deteriorating infrastructure and we know that contracts are given out to people who really don't know how to build a road.

Mayor Bradley Urges Eric Chang Responds to Questions From Media
Eric Chang, the Belize City Councilor who stayed away from the country for longer than two months in Taiwan, today attended his first Councilors caucus since returning to Belize. This followed a meeting he had with Mayor Darrell Bradley that hovered over Chang's long absence from his desk as well as his alleged involvement in the recent passport scam, in which he was accused of being the messenger of a fraudulent Belize passport issued to jailed South Korean, Won Hong Kim. But even after returning and denying to Bradley his involvement in the scam, Chang has offered no satisfactory explanation for his protracted visit to Asia. Love News spoke this evening with Bradley and discovered that Chang seems to have settled right back in the fold of things with no explanation. Darrell Bradley "I wanted to hear from him that he was committed 100% to continue in office in the Belize City Council. We raised some of the issues in allegations with immigration; he assured me that he had nothing to do with those matters. Of course that is the subject of investigations; I am not the DPP and the Police. I trust that those things will be thoroughly investigated and whoever is involved is properly made to account. My focus is to make sure that the city council runs in a way which I could be satisfied and the public will be satisfied.

Special Day for Special Children in Belize
The National Special Olympics Games were held today and had participation of athletes from all six districts. Reporter Linette Canto and videographer Brian Castillo filed the following Report. LINETTE CANTO REPORTING "An exceptional group of athletes from all over the country converged on the Marion Jones Complex this morning to take part in the National Special Olympics Games. These games are designed to give people with mental and physical disabilities, a chance to develop competitive skills as well as enhance their level of physical fitness. The event started off on a heartwarming note as the special Olympic torch made its way through the principal streets of Belize City into the Marion Jones Stadium escorted by members of the Law Enforcement torch Run Committee. According to Alan Auil, Chairman of Special Olympics Belize, helps in the fight against discrimination." ALAN AUIL "Well Special Olympics really is a movement to promote awareness of persons with intellectual disabilities; to end discrimination, to bring them involved in sporting activities because through sports they can get fit and healthy but also it gives them the courage to be a part of society and the community. It gives them a confidence, it boosts their moral and it shows the entire community that persons with disabilities are our equal and are part of the larger society."

Volunteer Encounter with Belize Red Cross
The Patron of the Belize Red Cross Society, the Governor General of Belize, His Excellency Sir Colville Young shall address an estimated one hundred and fifty delegates from seven Red Cross branches at a weekend Volunteer Encounter. The two day event officially opens tomorrow morning at the Campus of the Youth with a Mission Facility in Roaring Creek, in the Cayo District. The Encounter also coincides with the observation of International Volunteer Day yesterday and the Deputy Director General of the Belize Red Cross Malenie Barnes told us the importance of volunteering. MALENIE BURNS "This is the first time we are actually doing a two day event but annually we usually have just a short recognition ceremony where we recognize the volunteers and it's an opportunity for them to come from all over the country just for this one recognition so that we can show our appreciation but we are changing it up a little bit this year. We are trying to make it a little bit more fun. We have two days where we are focusing the first day on having some fun activities and allowing them time to interact with each other and then we have the award ceremony on the second day."

Belize Extends Sympathy to South Africa
At the age of ninety five, one of the world's most beloved statesmen of the 20th century-Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday. This morning the Office of the Prime Minister issued a release in which its sends an official Note of Condolence to the President, People and Government of South Africa on the death of Mandela. The Belize Flag will be flown at half-mast from noon today until noon tomorrow, and again on the day of Mandela's funeral. Prime Minister Dean Barrow has described Mandela as "the last global hero history will ever see." The Prime Minister says that it is impossible for anything like the trajectory of Mandela's life to occur again. His towering strength, his unimaginable self-sacrifice, and the way in which he governed post-Apartheid South Africa without recrimination or reprisal, constitute a greatness that will never again be matched. Mandela, the Prime Minister concludes, is not just an inspiration to Black people everywhere, but to all people everywhere. Mandela is described as a freedom fighter, prisoner, moral compass and South Africa's symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.


Phone Top-up Agent Zoila Elizabeth Garcia Cowardly Assasinated in Las Flores
A family in the Las Flores area of Belmopan is tonight desperately seeking answers in the senseless killing of their loved one. 29 year old Zoila Elizabeth Garcia, a well-known and much liked Phone Top Up Agent was gunned down near the Marla's House of Hope Children's home, about...

Investigations on Tyson Rodriguez's Murder Reveal More Truths
The police had reported that on November 22nd a Canadian couple living in Placencia reported to them that they were assaulted and robbed by a group of individuals. Tyson Rodriguez, who was identified as one of the assailants, was then detained in Corozal and transported to authorities in Placencia....

Devastated Relatives of Knocked Down Septuagenarian Speak up
Last night, we reported on a road accident that claimed the life of 75 year old Gregory Leon Lopez. Shortly before 6 o'clock on Wednesday evening, Lopez was riding his bicycle from Ladyville to Belize City, on Phillip Goldson Highway when he was knocked down by a white Dodge...

Septuagenarian Dies on the Spot When Hit by Vehicle
The second accident happened about an hour later after Little Jaheem's tragedy had happened. At Mile 6 on the Phillip Goldson Highway, Police discovered the body of 75 year old Gregory Leon Lopez, a resident of Belize City, on the right shoulder of the road. Besides him was a...

Chang is Back, but, Does He Hang to Follow the Track?
Former Deputy Mayor of Belize City, Eric Chang, has had his share of blame in the unlawful procurement of a Belizean passport to South Korean jailbird Kim Won-Hong. While past Minister of State in the Ministry of Immigration, Elvin Penner is fingered to be the architect behind the scheme, Chang...

Traffic Tragedy Leaves One Pre Schooler Injured, the other Dead
Last night we reported on two fatal road accidents. The first accident occurred shortly before 4:30 and claimed the life of three year old Jahston Terry and injured his nine year old brother Jaheem Terry. Jahston and Jaheem were waiting for a bus in front of a Belizean Chinese...

Caye Caulker Chronicles

Ocean Academy PTA would like you to encourage your guests to support their fundraiser
Dear Caye Caulker Business Owners, Ocean Academy PTA would greatly appreciate your support by inviting your guests to an important fundraising event next Saturday, December 7th. Experience Caye Caulker Culture and Support Local Education What: Lobster Dinner Banquet during Ocean Academy High School's Christmas Extravaganza Talent Show Date: December 7, 2013 Time: Show begins at 7PM. Dinner is served at 7:30PM Fundraiser for: Scholarships for students who would not otherwise be able to attend high school (school is not free in Belize) Cost: $50 USD for Sponsorship. Each Sponsorship receives one lobster dinner as a gift. Hosted by: Ocean Academy Parent-Teacher Association and Students.

OASI open new bar
OASI Apartment Rentals located near the airstrip is getting ready to open a bar. Grand Opening of IL BARETTO is this Saturday, December 7th.

Reminder to all Liquor License Holders
*Reminder to all Liquor License Holders* Deadline for new and renewal of applications for 2014 is Dec 31st 2013. Please pick up liquor license application forms at the CCVC office. Thank You


When they saw the dead child, 4, the crowd was so enraged that they wanted to kill the driver and burn the van and his house; driver charged with manslaughter. The Terry family of Hattieville is devastated, mourning the sudden death of their son, Jahston, 4, a preschooler attending the Building Block Preschool, and is also praying for the recovery of their elder son, Jaheem, 10, a student of St. Ignatius Primary School who is presently recovering at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital from a broken left ankle. Yesterday evening at about 4:30, the two brothers were slammed by a passenger van that drove onto the sidewalk where the two children were walking in front of Belizean Chinese Restaurant in front of the BTL Constitution Park on Cemetery Road in Belize City. The younger brother died. The driver of the van, Hubert Anthony Martinez, 36, a Belize Defence Force civilian driver of Perez Road in Ladyville, was remanded to the Hattieville Prison this evening after he was denied bail by Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart.

Justin West is believed to have absconded to USA. Late Friday evening, even after the court clerks had left for the day, Justin LaCroix, 24, an accountant, and Brian Myvett, 33, a computer technician, were charged with forgery, claiming upon a forged document and handling stolen goods, to a total value of $186,526.65. The reason the duo had been arraigned so late was due to the amount of charges they each faced: LaCroix was charged with a total of 84 counts, while Myvett was charged with a total of 24 counts, which took the clerks all day to enter into their system. LaCroix, Myvett and Justin West, for whom police have put out a wanted notice, are believed to be the individuals behind a tangled web of deception and thievery from the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina. According to police, the CEO of the hotel reported that he noticed a rise in costs for their food and beverage department in their monthly financial statements during the months of January 2013 to September 2013. The CEO then ordered that an internal audit be done, and at the conclusion of that audit, it was discovered that 60 Belize Bank cheques had been generated by their payable accounts department.

A police officer has been charged with murder in connection with the death of 27-year-old Tyson Rodriguez, a prisoner who had been in police custody and who, a post-mortem of his body revealed, died under brutal circumstances that differed from the type of death the officers in whose custody he had been, claimed that he suffered. Sergeant Julio Shal, 41, of the Placencia Police Station, was taken to the Dangriga Magistrate's Court today, Wednesday, and arraigned on a charge of murder. He was then remanded to the Belize Central Prison until March 13 next year, when he will return to court. The criminal charge against Shal came at the conclusion of an internal police investigation carried out by the Professional Standards Branch of the Police Department, prompted by lingering questions about the circumstances under which Rodriguez died on Friday, November 22, 2013, at about 10:30 p.m.

The gunman left her money - $3,700 - and cell phone. The senseless murder of a popular female businesswoman has left residents of the capital city, Belmopan, in dismay. At this point, there are still a lot of questions surrounding the gruesome killing of a 29-year-old female resident of the Las Flores area in Belmopan who was apparently shot in the head mercilessly sometime last night in the Hillview area of Las Flores. Police reports are that around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 3, they visited the Hillview area in Las Flores near Marla's House of Hope Children's Home, where they discovered the body of Zoila Elizabeth Garcia, 29, a Belizean of #9 Orquidia Street in the Las Flores area, with an apparent head injury. Amandala understands that Garcia was a well-known BTL and SMART phone Top Up agent. Her family members believe that sometime before 8:00 last night, she was going to deposit her earnings with her boss, and that's when someone probably ambushed her, cold-bloodedly shot her in the head and left her on the street.

Tonight, the world is mourning the loss of a great hero and icon, former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. Mandela passed away sometime this evening due to complications from a recurring lung infection. It is notable that Mandela spent a sizeable part of his life incarcerated in a South African prison, yet retained a mass appeal that few world leaders could ever hope to match. One of the world's most recognizable fighters against inequality and oppression, he spent 27 years in prison for his active opposition to South Africa's racist apartheid regime. He went on to become the country's first black and democratic president in 1994, a position from which he voluntarily resigned after just one term in office. The death of a man whose life had at many points been tumultuous, came rather quietly in his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, today at the age of 95. Released from prison in 1990, he went on to play a pivotal role in heralding multi-racial democracy in his home country of South Africa. After his presidency, he did not immediately withdraw to the shadows, but instead became South Africa's highest profile ambassador, campaigning against the spread of HIV/AIDS and assisting his country to secure the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Many can only see how they look on the outside - but those who truly love them, behold who they are within. The differently-abled-not exactly disabled-exist almost invisibly within a community which seems too busy to care. However, organizers of Disability Week 2013 in Belize had hoped that those around them would take a pause during these seven days to take notice - and even if by a minute gesture, help break down barriers and open the doors needed to realize a more inclusive society. That is the essence of this year's theme: "Break barriers, open doors; for an inclusive society for all." The alienation of the differently-abled was evidenced by the scant turnout at the Open Day held by Stella Maris School in Wednesday, December 4. Seven schools from the immediate surroundings were invited. Only one showed up.

Semifinals completed, Finals begin today in CSSSA basketball The top 4 female teams were determined from last week Thursday, and the top 4 males were identified after regular season games on Friday and Monday of this week in the Central Secondary Schools Sports Association (CSSSA) high schools basketball tournament. On Friday, November 29, (M) Wesley defeated Ladyville Tech, 45-22; (M) SJC crushed Gwen Liz High, 67-55; and (M) ACC beat Sadie Vernon Tech, 54-42. Then on Monday of this week, (M) ACC beat Gwen Liz High, 65-52. With those results, the 4 male semi-finalists were decided, and so the remaining regular season back matches were aborted. The first female knockout semi-final was played on Monday, December 2, (before the male game), where (F) Gwen Liz High won a nail-biter, 29-28, over Ladyville Tech.

Back from the U.S. on one of his regular visits back home is Dangriga native Clifford Moss, who says he is on a two-week working visit with the Dangriga Youth Football Academy (DYFA), of which he is one of the founding members. We chatted with Cliff under the coconut tree "back a di zinc fence." Cliff says he left Belize at 14 years of age, after spending a year at the Ecumenical High School in Dangriga. He attended the Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles, then joined the U.S. Military in 1984, from which he retired in 2005. He then took up employment as a civilian worker at the Naval Weapons Station in Falbrook, CA., from 2006 to the present. Cliff is the son of Mr. Alvin Moss and Mrs. Ethlin Moss nee Sabio, both of Dangriga, and has three brothers and four sisters. As is typical of many Belizean families, one brother still resides in Dangriga, one is in L.A., and the other is presently in Japan; all four sisters reside in L.A. Cliff is married to his wife of twenty-five years, Germaine Moss nee Flores, whom he met in L.A. She is also originally from Dangriga. (Her brother is the present owner of the P.G. Sports Bar in Toledo.) They have 2 children, a 22-year-old daughter, Courtney, and an 18-year-old son, Cliff, Jr.

The Football Federation of Belize (FFB) Open Inter-District Tournament 2013 had Week 2 games over the weekend, with 2 games each in the 4 zones of the competition. ZONE 1 - On Saturday, November 30, at the Toledo Union Field, PG Police FC drew, 2-2, with Mavericks FC. Amir Colt (25') and Ardel Avila (33') scored for Police, while Andy Logan (30' & 64') got both goals for Mavericks. And on Sunday, December 1, at the Michael Ashcroft Stadium, it was the Burgess connection in effect, as M&M Steelers clipped GB United, 3-2, with a goal each from Rollin Burgess (26'), Dion Burgess (78') and Brent Burgess (80'); while GB United goals were by Wilmer Garcia (28' PK) and Victor Morales (90'). ZONE 2 - On Saturday at the Carl Ramos Stadium in Dangriga, it was Green Gold FC and Hope Creek FC playing to a 2-2 stalemate. Michael Cho struck twice (9' & 34') for Green Gold, while Lionel Cabral replied each time (25' & 60') for Hope Creek. And on Sunday at the Isidoro Beaton Stadium in Belmopan, Roaring Creek FC burned San Martin FC, 1-nil, on a goal by Kenny Williams (32').

Here is an update on the recent boxing event which was held at the Hour Bar on Princess Margaret Drive in Belize City on Saturday, November 30. The preliminary bouts were fiery, with young Belizeans showcasing their potential in the first 4 matches which featured Belizeans vs Belizeans, with boxers from Leopold Smart's Boxing Club in Belize City, Lion's Den Club in Cayo under Mr. Frank Martinez, and Lions Den Club in Ladyville under Mr. Clinton Tucker; while Belizean boxers squared off against Mexican opponents in the last 6 bouts. Belizeans only 1. The opening bout saw Jace Acosta (Cayo) vs Kendis Gentle (Smart), with Kendis Gentle victorious, both in the 32 kg weight class. 2. Next was Carlos Silvero (Cayo) vs Mark Avilez (Smart), with Carlos Silvero victorious, both in the 35 kg class. 3. Elijah Pinkard (Smart) vs Max Silvero (Cayo) in the 60 kg class, with Max Silvero winning.

The nationalist, anti-colonial People's United Party (PUP) began in September of 1950 in Belize City, the then capital city, and spread, most importantly, north, and west and south. We say the PUP's spread to the north was most important, because the citizens of the Belizean north would prove to be the most serious, militant, organized, and hard-working of the Belizean revolution. When the PUP began in 1950, Belize City featured one third of the population of British Honduras, and all the banking, media, secondary education, and public services were based in the capital city. Only Belize City had electricity and telephones and any real medical services. There was no way you could start a national political party in those days if you did not start it in Belize City. Now the settlement of Belize, which had become British Honduras in 1862, had essentially begun on the delta of the Haulover Creek of the Belize Old River when pirates, taking refuge inside the Barrier Reef from those who hunted them, began to rest, fish, gather fresh water, and repair their vessels inside what we now know as the Belize City harbor. In the beginning, the banks of the Haulover Creek were all mangrove swamp. Little by little, the visitors began to cut down the swamps, fill the land, and build housing.

Ah, modern technology, it's stunning, amazing. Early Sunday morning last, as is my wont, I wrote my publisher's column. It was typed by Odessa on Monday morning and appeared in the mid-week issue of Amandala which hit the streets of Belize City in the pre-dawn of Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Around 9 a.m. the same Tuesday, the online edition of our newspaper became available on the Amandala website all over planet earth. By Tuesday night (10:09 p.m.) Dr. Dennis Young, a world traveler who may be any part of the globe at any given instant, had made contact with me through e-mail. At such an "ungodly" hour, I am almost always in my bed sleeping. So that, it was only when I woke around 4 a.m. to begin writing my weekend column, that I searched my mail. Dr. Young had sent me a video aired on Boston television in 1974. That's 44 WGBX-Boston (Public Access Channel). The video featured "The Web," a famous Belize American musical combo based in New York City at the time, and the poet Branston Clarke. Dr. Young was the host and mediator. It seems that the session may have been videotaped at Bird's Isle in Belize City, but I'm not sure. Among the Web musicians I identified were the saxophonist Dougie Thompson, who now owns and operates the Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom, and the great vocalist Anthony Richards. The keyboard player had a huge Afro, as did most of the people on the video, except for Branston, and the chances are it was Jeffrey Adolphus. Not sure.

Chaplain tells Amandala he was fired because he "caused trouble" over inhumane condition of prisoners Kolbe Foundation, manager of the Belize Central Prison, has terminated its Chaplain, who they allege was going outside the ambit of his role by raising contention over denominational issues. However, the former worker, Chaplain Andrew Reynolds, told Amandala Wednesday morning that he was fired because he kept pressing management to address the inhumane conditions in which inmates were being kept. Reynolds said that he has been brought to tears over what he has seen, and he wrote Kolbe's management - to no avail. Instead, Reynolds said, what he later got was a termination letter, telling him that his services were no longer needed. After conducting an investigation commissioned by Labour Minister Godwin Hulse, Labour Commissioner Ivan Williams disclosed that 33 workers were let go by Kolbe during the first six months of 2013-a high rate of almost 6 workers every month, resulting in a 12.3% reduction in staff.

The case of ex-Belize Water Services workers who were fired in February on the claim that they were made redundant in the restructuring of the Government-owned utility will proceed to hearing, after the company made it clear in the courtroom of Supreme Court Justice Courtenay Abel last Friday that they would not venture into a settlement with the former workers. The ex-workers-who include former executives of the Belize Water Services Workers Union (BWSWU)-say that they will not back down from their persistent claim that they deserve compensation for wrongful termination, and they told us today that they are in it for the long haul, even if that means that the matter will need to go before the Caribbean Court of Justice for a final decision. Earlier this year, Mayan King, a banana enterprise in Belize, had to pay 6 of its former workers one month's wages plus the sum of $15,000 after the company fired them in the midst of a move to get banana workers unionized. That effort, evidently, fell flat on the ground, after what union activists called union busting.

Since Christmas is now just 22 days away, crimes like robbery and theft are expected to be on the rise in crowded areas such as downtown Belize City, which is normally abuzz with the usual hustle and bustle of unsuspecting shoppers. The joyous season of cheer and goodwill can very quickly turn unsettling and fearsome if buyers become victims of opportunistic robbers and lurkers, who are known to be on the prowl this time of year. In an effort to thwart such incidents, the Belize City police are trying to do their part to keep people safe and protect patrons who traverse the downtown area. Today, Amandala spoke with Precinct 1 Commander, Supt. Alden Dawson, who told us that police have stepped up their downtown patrols since the middle of last month. Dawson said, "As routine, from since November 15th, we have commenced extra patrols on the downtown shopping area and the bus terminal area, including the area by the water taxis - all those areas we have been patrolling since the abovementioned date using extra patrols. This is done by our staff personnel who normally work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but now they come back at 6:00 p.m. and work again until 10:00 p.m. What we are going to do later this month is to get some additional foot patrols using recruits who are presently in training. They will come out and render some assistance to our other officers."

Last week at a press conference the Prime Minister, Hon. Dean O. Barrow, moved the goal post when he said for him to be convinced that Minister of State, Hon. Edmund Castro, in any way acted improperly he would have to see that it is not just 20 visa recommendations he signed, but 100 or more. "The fact that he wrote letters of recommendation, on the face of it, is absolutely in order. You quoted what I said, well, 20+ visas don't put him in that Ali Baba category at all." Nov. 27, 2013 Dean Barrow This changing of the goal post is just an indication in this country that this is how our people think when it comes to how we are to operate within the law. So the crime is not did Castro make recommendations � it is, was he paid or bribed to make such recommendations, contrary to the law. Were the things he stated in making the recommendations true and did he really know the people he was recommending? Once the recommendations showed a pattern and frequency, then I would believe there is reason for concern and even query. But the PM, who remains in office by a meager majority, must defend Castro's every act, so as not to destabilize his government and suffer the wrath of those eating at the trough of pork-'n-barrelism.

Dr. Peter Allen, Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Health, told journalists today that the Office of the Auditor General, Dangriga police and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) are working on an investigation into a report of substantial embezzlement of funds for the National Health Insurance Scheme at the Southern Regional Hospital in Dangriga. Allen confirmed today that, "It's over $350,000" which has apparently gone missing. The CEO said that the hospital administrator, Ms. Nasley Sommerville, is on suspension pending the results of the investigation. Allen said that Sommerville, who he understands is still in Dangriga, has declared her innocence and is concerned that her name has been called in relation to the alleged embezzlement. She has indicated that the Ministry of Health may be sued as a result, Allen told the press. The Health CEO, who said he had just met last week with the Audit team for an update, informed the media of the status of ongoing police investigations:

Student, 12, died from head trauma, not tetanus shot
The officials of the Health Department are now "out of the woods" - so to speak - since the results of a postmortem on the body of Sabrina Almendarez, 12, who was found dead by her father last Friday morning, November 29, have freed them from responsibility for her death, since they seemingly disprove the Almendarez's family's initial suspicions about what killed her. As we shared with our readers earlier this week, while the family did not know for certain, they had suspicions that Sabrina's death might have been caused by a tetanus shot which she received from health officials at her school in Independence as part of an ongoing Ministry of Health program. Yesterday, however, the results of the post-mortem confirmed a different and unforeseen cause of death. It determined that she died from a sports injury, not a tetanus shot. Pathologist Dr. Hugh Sanchez found that there was "blunt trauma to the right forehead" as a consequence of a sports injury. The death certificate explained that she died of broncho-aspiration and noted cerebral edema and cerebral hemorrhage as complications which led to her death.

Coast Guard apologizes to San Pedro Sun's reporter
Rear Admiral Johnny Borland, Commandant of the Belize Coast Guard, extended an apology to senior reporter of the San Pedro Sun newspaper, Jorge Aldana, after he reported of intimidation by members of the Coast Guard in San Pedro on Saturday, November 16. The apology was made by Commandant Borland on Friday in San Pedro. Aldana told Amandala that he accepted the apology from the Coast Guard, and considers the matter closed. The apology came after an investigation was carried out by the Coast Guard, the police, and the editor of the San Pedro Sun. Aldana reported that he was made to lie down on the ground by members of the Coast Guard, and a gun was placed at the back of his head; his camera was taken and the photos he had taken were deleted from his cameras, and also from his cell phones. The Coast Guard agreed that his camera was taken away and they deleted the pictures of Coast Guard officers on the camera, but said that it was done for operational security purposes. The camera was then returned to him.

Accident on George Price Highway claims life
One person died and seven were injured in a tragic road collision between a Ford Explorer and a Mitsubishi pickup truck that occurred between Miles 46 and 47 on the George Price Highway at about 5:30 on Thursday. The Explorer was traveling to Belize City, and the pickup was travelling to Belmopan, in the opposite direction. The collision resulted in the death of Ephraim Cowo, 42, of Camalote, Cayo District, a career Government employee. He died due to massive head and body injuries. Reports are that there was a large crater on the road, and one of the drivers tried to avoid the hole, causing him to drift to the other side of the road, which had traffic coming from the opposite direction.

The family of Marvin Phillips is worried after he left home at about 7:00 Friday morning to go to school, but did not attend school that Friday and to date has not returned home. Mark Philips, Sr., of Camalote, Cayo District, told police that his twin sons, Mark and Marvin Phillips, 14, left home to catch the school bus to go to school. He then left for work, but upon returning at 7:00 that evening from work, only one of the twins was at home, Mark. When questioned about Marvin, Mark told his father that he did not know where he was. The father called the principal of the school, who told him that Marvin did not attend classes that Friday.

The management and staff of the King's Children Home of Unity Boulevard, Belmopan, are very worried because a girl who lives at the home has been missing since 9:45 Sunday morning. Irene Buddan, a cook at King's Children Home, reported that about 9:45 Sunday morning, Romelia Limas, 16, left the home with another young girl to attend church at the George Price Center. About 1:00 that same Sunday afternoon, the young girl who had accompanied Limas returned to the home alone, and said that after the church service concluded, checks were made in the bathroom and in the church and surrounding area, but Romelia was nowhere to be seen. Up to the time the report was made, Romelia still had not returned to the home, and her whereabouts remain unknown.

Armando Valladarez, 53, a resident of Santa Martha in the Orange Walk District, is dead after he was blasted by a shotgun he was carrying on his bicycle, which fell and discharged, the pellets hitting him in the chest. The death has been attributed to "negligent discharge due to error of drills," and police have declared his death an accidental one. Valladarez reportedly fell off his bicycle because of the terrible condition of the road he was on, and it was the overturning of his bicycle, and the consequent dropping of the gun, that led to the fatal accident. The incident occurred about 8:00 Friday morning while Valladarez was on a hunting tour about 10 miles north of Santa Martha. Valladarez's partner, who was with him, alerted people in the area, who called police, who found him lying face-up with gunshot wounds to the upper part of the chest. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital.


Cayo bound, Blood Drive and San Pedro Holiday Lighted Boat Parade
When I last left you tacoboy and I were on our way out the door for a second acupuncture treatment. It was as good as the first and it knocked both of us out big time, that was such a which is a good thing I needed the extra rest before this weekend. So much happening it is one of the many instances where I could benefit from a clone and a few email elves between the Volunteer Encounter in Cayo area, Blood Drive and the Lighted boat parade there is just no way to be everywhere at once. Aiden and Anthony already had my name on the San Pedro Red Cross travel list for before I even said yes, I can't wait it is going to be a super fun time. At 6:00am tomorrow morning 25 of us will be catching a private boat thanks to Caye Caulker water taxi and heading to Belize City where we will take a bus to Roaring Creek. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movements from around the world celebrate International Volunteer Day on December 5th annually. As a result, this year The Belize Red Cross is showing their appreciation to volunteers from around the country by hosting a Volunteer Encounter and Award Ceremony on Dec 7th at a Mission Grounds in Roaring Creek, Cayo District.

New Owners Take Over San Pedro's Favorite BBQ Joint: Lazy Croc's
Southern Style Barbecue is very serious business. In some areas of the world, certain restaurants have a cult following. People get tattooed to show their love� Amillion-Tattoo_grid_4 travel long distances for a certain rib or brisket, attend barbeque cook-offs by the tens of thousands or just spend their Saturdays at home perfecting their own special rub for their pork. Yes, I know. Americans are weird. Men in particular. Lazy Croc's BBQ joint about 2.5 miles north on Ambergris Caye has that sort of cult (no tattoos yet that I know of�but a certain fervor for sure). It's been an Ambergris Caye favorite for those who love their Southern style American barbecue. I've heard of residents buying 20 lbs of pulled pork to have as back-up in their freezers. Just in case� SO, when I ran into new owners in town a few weeks ago (NNNNEWWWWW WHAT??!?!?!?!), I was a bit nervous. Sure Christiano and his father seemed to have some great ideas, like more days open, extended hours and a Croc Mobile delivery service, but would the recipes, the smoky meaty goodness be the same?

International Sources

The Top Best Places to Visit in Belize
Belize has become one of the top travel destinations in the world because of its spectacular and intriguing attractions like the Great Barrier Reef, gigantic blue hole, white sandy beaches, numerous cayes and islands, pristine rainforests and jungles, abundant wildlife, eclectic and colorful cultures, and laid-back atmosphere. From scuba diving its warm and turquoise Caribbean waters to hiking an ancient Maya city, Belize has something for everyone. If you are looking to escape to a cozy and sunny destination that offers a potpourri of adventure and fun filled activities this winter, then you might want to consider Belize. From north to south and east to west, here are the top best places to visit in Belize.

The magic of Belize
Our guide adjusts her headwrap and looks over her shoulder at the rainforest. The hem of her powderblue dress twists in the breeze as she waits for us in the shade. For a second, the combination of heat, heavy shadow and bright colour make me feel like I'm staring at a Diego Rivera mural. "She'll be waiting for you over here until you're ready, nice people," Ann-Marie Avona calls out, breaking the spell. It takes a second for me to realize that our guide is talking about herself in the third-person. I could listen to her Kriol-laced accent (similar to Creole, but with English instead of French) for hours. It's Friday afternoon and aside from the staff and vendors in the parking lot, the temple site at Altun Ha is completely abandoned. When Ann-Marie catches me staring at a half-finished building beside the main gate, she fans herself slowly and jokes, "This is Belize. Nothing here gets done quickly, just eventually."

Video: Garifuna Cuisine, Dangriga, Belize - Hudut Soup & Fish Fillet, Tomato/Rum Sauce, Cassava Fries
Recently in Dangriga, Belize I met up with Madeline at the Riverside Cafe. I joined her in the kitchen where she taught me some Garifuna recipes. The Garifuna are descendants of African shipwrecked slaves who interbred with the local Carib and Arawak people of St Vincent. When the British took over St Vincent from the French, the Black Garifuna were exiled and ended up settling all along the Belize, Honduras and Guatemalan coastline. Madeline prepares Hudut - a fish soup with a coconut milk base which contains okra and green plantain dumplings. Madeline also prepares the Riverside cafe Specialty dish - Grilled Fish Fillet with Cassava Fries with a unique rum, tomato and soy sauce. If you are in Dangriga, make sure you drop into the Riverside cafe to sample Garifuna food, maybe the rarest cuisine in the world! Madeline is a great help and source for any local

Volcanic ash reveals rapid Ice Age climate change
Regional climate changes can be very rapid. A German-British team of geoscientists now reports that such a rapid climate change occurred in different regions with a time difference of 120 years. Investigation in the West German Eifel region and in southern Norway demonstrated that at the end of the last glaciations about 12,240 years before present climate became warmer, first recognized in the Eifel region and 120 years later in southern Norway. Nonetheless, the warming was equally rapid in both regions. The team around Christine Lane (Oxford University) and Achim Brauer from the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences reports in the latest volume of "Geology" (vol 41, no 12, p. 1251-1254) that within the younger Dryas, the last about 1100-year long cold phase at the end of the last ice age, a rapid warming first was measured in the Eifel region. Sediment cores from the Meerfelder Maar lake depict a typical deposition pattern, which was also found in the sediments of Lake Krakenes in southern Norway, but with a time lag of 120 years.

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