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Friday, Dec. 30, 2011

Cuba gives unusual Christmas gift

Cuba: In what has been described as an unusual Christmas gift, Cuba’s supreme governing body on Dec. 23 pardoned nearly 3,000 prisoners, including some convicted of political crimes, but President Raul Castro refuses to ease travel ban to the United States. Comment.

‘Battle for Brooklyn’ short-listed for Oscar nomination

Movies: The short list of 15 documentaries in Academy Award competition for Best Documentary will be winnowed down to five and announced on Jan. 24. Many are by accomplished directors Win Wenders “Pina” and Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s “Paradise Lost 3” and “Project Nima” by Oscar winner James Marsh (“Man on the Wire”). Comment.

U.N. envoy sends condolences to Haiti

Haiti: The head of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Haiti on Dec. 27 sent his condolences to the country’s president and families of the 38 people who died at sea after their boat sank off Cuba’s eastern coast last week. Comment.

Reducing deficit requires skill & risk

National: The failure of the congressional Supercommittee to reach an agreement on reducing the deficit was not just bad fiscal news. It was a significant failure of political leadership. Comment.

Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011

CARICOM aims to build on gains made in 2011

Suriname: The outgoing chairman of CARICOM, the 15-nation Caribbean Community integration movement, says that the group achieved much in the past year and expects succeeding leaders to build on gains made in 2011. Comments (1).

Not time to remove embargo: Obama

Cuba: U.S. President Barack Obama believes that this is not the time to lift the embargo on Cuba, according to the U.S. Embassy in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Comment.

USAID defends its $3.4m Cuba grant

Cuba: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has vehemently rejected complaints of political favoritism in its grant of US$3.4 million to a human rights group closely linked to a Miami-based nonprofit organization. Comment.

14 Habitat families celebrate their new Bronx homes

Bronx: Fourteen Habitat-NYC families received the keys to their new homes just in time for Christmas at The Melody, the newest of Habitat-NYC’s projects of low-income working affordable housing in Longwood, South Bronx, named for the neighborhood’s musical legacy. Comment.

Better positioned for 2012 battle

Viewpoints: President Obama will end 2011 in much better shape to gear up for his re-election bid than anytime this year. Like 1992, when Bill Clinton short-circuited the second-term ambitions of George H.W. Bush, this was always going to be another “It’s the economy, stupid” election, given what primarily was responsible for Obama’s triumph in ’08 and what has been the biggest source of frustration in his tenure to date. Comment.

30 yrs of Christmas giving to children

Guyana: New Yorkers Brian and Pauline Clarke put a twinkle in the eyes of more than three hundred children in Lodge Village – a small environ in Guyana, when they shared gifts of educational tools, toys and goody bags to bring laughter to the faces of the little ones during their 30th Christmas party and gift giving. Comment.

New year’s goals: Civility & civic skills

Viewpoints: This is a season of giving, good cheer, and forbearance. Too bad that, as the political season begins in earnest with the turn of the year, all those fine sentiments will become just a memory. Comments (2).

Rev. James A. Forbes, Jr. gets new commission

People: NEW YORK (Dec. 20, 2011)—Religious leaders from across New York City joined the administration of Union Theological Seminary (Union) as it welcomed the Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr. to Union and commissioned him to a national ministry of preaching and spiritual renewal. Comment.

Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011

West Indies can regain cricket supremacy

Sports: With the group of young talented cricketers gaining the exposure that they so long needed, most of them have shown signs of raw talent and future success. The players include Kirk Edwards, Darren Bravo, Kieron Powell, Devendra Bishoo, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. These players have shown that they are capable of holding their own under tough conditions. Comment.

Fast pace at Colgate Women’s Games

Sports: Thousands of girls and young women from all over the east coast competed recently in the first preliminary meet of the Colgate Women’s Games, the nation’s largest female amateur track series, and the unofficial opening of the winter indoor track season. Comment.

Portraits for self-determining Haiti

Arts & Theater: Régine Romain photographs and researches Haiti’s shifting yet distinct presence throughout the world in an ongoing visual diaspora project. Her work is grounded in individual and community portraiture. This exhibition bridges two compelling views: Romain, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, as the composer of portraits on Haitian life rarely seen, and the reality of Haiti as a self-determining nation – a principle historically rooted in the people’s DNA as resurgent hope. Comment.

Technology education in inner-city neighborhoods

Manhattan: Moving technology into city neighborhoods Comments (1).

Judy Smith appointed

People: HERNDON, Va.-- Judy Smith, vice president of business development for ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS) Information Systems division, has been appointed to the board of directors of Women in Aerospace (WIA). WIA is a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to expanding women’s leadership opportunities and visibility in the global aerospace community. Comment.

Sun Kulcha

New York: Holiday at the Apollo The Apollo Theater celebrates Kwanzaa with its popular annual show featuring Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Company, trombonist Craig S. Harris & the Nation of Imagination honoring the principles of Kwanzaa - family, community & culture, 7:30 p.m. Tickets available at the Apollo Theater Box Office, 253 West 125 St., or by calling (212) 531-5305 or via Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com. Comment.

GIANTS, JETS STILL IN RACE

Sports: Thousands of girls and young women from all over the east coast competed recently in the first preliminary meet of the Colgate Women’s Games, the nation’s largest female amateur track series, and the unofficial opening of the winter indoor track season. Comment.

Klinsmann calls on new faces for U.S.

Sports: The U.S. national team will begin preparations for its 2014 World Cup qualifiers with the first training camps of the year at two sites, in the U.S. and Panama, Jan. 3-26, 2012. The Americans will play two international friendlies early, versus Venezuela in Phoenix (AR) on Jan. 21 and at Panama on Jan. 25, 2012. Comment.

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011

Kwanzaa 2011 regales African-American culture

Arts & Theater: Kwanzaa celebrations go into high gear at the American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life on Dec. 31. Comment.

Monroe athletes post their best numbers

Bronx: The Monroe Mustangs indoor track team is enjoying a brilliant season on the track and also in the classsroom. Led by pole vaulter Francisco Javier Escobar and shot-putter Danzel Rolle, who both came up aces with 4.0 GPA’s in their freshman semesters at Monroe, eleven other Mustangs achieved GPA scores of over 3.5. In fact, the GPA average for the entire 45-member team is at 3.0. Comment.

Monday, Dec. 26, 2011

Musical journey of ‘SISTAS’

Arts & Theater: Three-time Tony winner Hinton Battle and JenKay present “SISTAS,” a musical journey of a multi generational African-American family. Comment.

Sunday, Dec. 25, 2011

Major boost to Jamaica JazzFest

Music: Across the Caribbean Diaspora, Jamaican promoter Walter Elmore’s Art of Music Productions (AMP) successful bid to attract mega star Celine Dion to the 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival is being viewed as a boost for the festival and for the region. Comment.

Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011

SOUL LEGENDS

Music: Lehman Center for the Performing Arts celebrates its 31st season with the return of one the most important soul music groups of the past 40 years, The O’Jays, on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. Comment.

Grisly Swedish crime saga

Movies: Excellent (4 stars) Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Angels Crest (R for profanity and sexuality) Dysfunctional family drama chronicling the blame game played in the wake of the accidental death of a toddler (Ameko Eks Mass Carroll) as his estranged parents (Thomas Dekker and Lily Collins) and members of their tight-knit community try to make sense of the tragedy. With Jeremy Piven, Mira Sorvino, Elizabeth McGovern, Marty Antonini, Dave Brown and Gillian Carfra. Comment.

Friday, Dec. 23, 2011

Caribbean Round-Up

Trinidad and Tobago: A voluntary electronic tagging system could be introduced in Anguilla early next year to monitor inmates who have been released early from her Majesty’s Prison. Comment.

Bucknor blasts Windies players, administrators

Caribbean: Former world-rated cricket umpire Jamaican Steve Bucknor has painted a damning picture of the recent cop of West Indies players and administrators. Comment.

Marriott to open hotel in Haiti

Haiti: Marriott International recently announced it will open its first hotel in Haiti in 2014, a move that will create more jobs and tourism opportunities to Port-au-Prince. Comments (1).

SVG reminds rich nations to honor their aid pledges

St Vincent: St. Vincent and the Grenadines has reminded rich countries to honor their pledges of development assistance to poorer nations, especially in the wake of the global economic crisis. Comment.

T&T PM apologizes to Cuban president

Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has apologized to Cuban President Raul Castro who was not allowed to stay at the Hilton Trinidad for the one-day CARICOM-Cuba Summit recently. Comment.

Call for infrastural renewal in Belize

Belize: I was born and raised in Dangriga Town 56 years ago on Sawai Street and grew up with Punta Rock Stars, Muhubub and Miamie in the heart and central part of the town. Comment.

CPR in schools saves a life in The Bronx

Bronx: A day after Bronx student, Louis Flores, 17, returned to school after being saved by a 26-year New York City public school system veteran when he collapsed on the gym floor, the American Heart Association is reminding New Yorkers that knowing CPR, especially in the school-setting, does save lives. Comment.

Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011

Winning Against Poverty

Caribbean: As 2011 comes to a close, with the global economy facing yet another economic slowdown, the World Bank says it is drawing “key lessons” from the impact of the Great Recession of 2008/2009 and the quick recovery on the region’s poor. Comment.

Nets starting five look ahead

Sports: Last year Tyson Chandler helped to lead Dallas to its first championship in the National Basketball Association. This year in a late start to the season because of a strike, the center would like to do the same for the New York Knicks, who acquired him just before the pre-season started. Comment.

Canada to revoke citizenship of fake Carib applicants

St Vincent: In the wake of what has been described as heightened fraudulent claims for asylum in Canada by Vincentians and other Caribbean nationals, the Canadian government says that it intends to revoke the citizenship of at least 1,800 immigrants who allegedly used fraudulent means to become Canadians. Comment.

Cuban banks begin offering home, business loans

Cuba: HAVANA (AP) — Cuban banks have begun offering bank credits to people hoping to redo their home or invest in a private business, continuing a series of free market reforms pushed by President Raul Castro. Comment.

Cholera cases decline

Haiti: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti has seen a steady decline in the number of cholera cases as the Caribbean nation settles into its dry season, humanitarian groups said Tuesday. Comment.

Three Guyanese officials in trouble

Guyana: In a sign that the new Donald Ramotar administration is not waiting on the combined opposition to force it to act on key issues, authorities are moving to take action against three high ranking officials involved in separate police incidents in recent weeks including an attempt by a presidential adviser to kill an opposition supporter by running her down with a state vehicle. Comment.

Guyana police chief steps aside

Guyana: A 34-year-old woman has made some explosive allegations against Police Chief Henry Greene, forcing him to step aside this week while authorities prepare to call in investigators from Jamaica to determine whether the claims made by the woman have credence. Comment.

Clinton-Bush nonprofit gives $1.5 million to Haiti

Haiti: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund says it hopes $1.5 million in grants will help Haiti build its hotel, education and technology sectors. Comment.

Carib expats not contributing enough to their homeland economies

St Vincent: St. Vincent and the Grenadines U.N. envoy, Ambassador Camillo Gonsalves, says most educated Caribbean migrants are not giving back enough in remittances to the region. Comment.

Teacher pens book of inspiring life lessons

Guyana: Cheryl Ainsworth-Martin came from an education dynasty that started in Victoria Village – a small community on the East Coast of Demerara, Guyana. Her parents who were both principals instilled in their nine children the momentousness of education, and the satisfaction it would bring in sharing it. As such, they all became teachers. Comments (3).

Sweet and savory holiday recipes

Food: The holiday season is the perfect time to gather around the table with friends and family and share delicious dishes and treats. Every family has their traditional favorites - whether sweet or savory. Comment.

Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011

Happy Christmas at Haitian-American Day Care Centers

Haiti: Fueled by spun sugar cotton candy, snow cones with apple juice and pizza, the children that attend the three Haitian-American Day Care Centers in Brooklyn celebrated Christmas a little early on Monday. Comments (1).

Talented teens, top artistes light Harlem

Bronx: The holiday season in Harlem came to life as Harlem’s own Grammy and Oscar nominated music group Impact Repertory Theatre; youth groups Vy Higgins Gospel for Teens and the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts’ Voices of Excellence choir took center stage for the 35th Annual Harlem Tree Lighting Ceremony on Monday, Dec. 12, 2011. Comment.

Haitians mourn activist Sonia Pierre

Haiti: “What a big loss,” writes Mauritia St. Fleur. “Our sister, our voice, our warrior, our fighter, our cover,” mourns Ms. St. Fleur from the Dominican Republic on the sudden and premature passing of human rights activist Sonia Pierre who died of a heart attack there at the age of 48 on Dec. 4. Comment.

GKMS announces I Pledge Too Program

Jamaica: General Manager of GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS), Joan-Marie Powell recently announced the launch of the company’s newest initiative to enhance literacy in Jamaican primary schools. The program dubbed “I Pledge Too” allows residents of the USA to make contributions to the Western Union effort to computerize primary schools. Comment.

Grenadian caregivers get new yoga skills

Grenada: A group of 22 participants, 11 of which were child care workers from five of Grenada’s children’s homes, successfully graduated from a Teen Yoga Teacher Training course held from Dec. 2-4. This training, which was organized and funded by REACH Grenada, took place at the Fountain of Youth Yoga Studio in Grenada and was delivered by Erin Wilson of the New York based Karma Kids Yoga Company. Comment.

T’s beginning to look a lot like…

New York: On occasion I have offered last-minute suggestions to procrastinators waiting for last-minute sales before Christmas Day. Comment.

Dads confer on children’s education

Queens: The Dads Take Your Child To School Men’s Conference at PS 134 was an outgrowth of the Dads Take Your Child To School for the first day of school, which encourages fathers to be involved in their children’s education. Comment.

A tax hike Republicans can support

Viewpoints: After a year of fighting hard to protect the wealthy from tax increases, the House Republicans have settled on a plan to raise taxes on the working poor. To offset the cost of extending unemployment benefits, the Republicans propose to deny approximately two million immigrant households the opportunity to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) when they pay their taxes. Comment.

Pro and con Cuba bills axed from U.S. budget

Cuba: United States Congressional leaders have dropped both a measure to restrict Cuban-American travel and remittances to the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island and another to make it easier for Cuba to buy U.S. goods. Comment.

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011

BARCELONA WINS AGAIN

Sports: The best of Europe defeated the best of South America, and the temptation to compare one of South America’s best players to Europe’s best is all but a passing single thought. Spain’s Barcelona defeated Santos of Brazil, 4-0, in Yokohama, Japan on Sunday to win its second FIFA Club World Cup title; and Lionel Messi put to rest, again, that he has no equal in the world, not even the multi-talented Neymar of Santos. Comment.

Jamaica’s track and field stars

Sports: World champions Yohan Blake and Veronica Campbell were formally recognized as the stars of Jamaican track & field this year. Comment.

India wins 5th O.D.I. by 34 runs

Sports: India defeated the West Indies by 34 runs in the fifth one-day international winning the series 4-1. Comment.

Petioni Plaza opens  in Harlem

Manhattan: Finally, the long wait is over. Comments (1).

Pioneer’s passion for planes pays off

PJIA, Simpson Bay -- He was just a teenager and fresh out of high school when Aruba-born Raul van Heyningen got his first job at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA). The year was 1971 and today, 40 years later, van Heyningen is at the pinnacle of his career, pursuing his lifelong passion of working with planes. Comment.

Grenadians graduate from MWSU

Grenada: Grenadian students Emma Gay and Joel Donnell Thomas both earned master’s degrees at Midwestern State University’s December 2011 Commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 10. They were part of a group of 20 Caribbean students who also walked the stage. Comment.

Chucho Valdés on U.S. winter tour

Music: Preeminent pianist and composer Chucho Valdés will embark on a U.S. tour with the Afro-Cuban Messengers in January and February 2012, featuring performances from the Grammy Award winning album, Chucho’s Steps. Comment.

Exceptional year for Coast Guard Carib security

Caribbean: The United States Coast Guard says 2011 marked “a year of exceptional security operations” in the Caribbean. Comment.

Backcourt duo gets off to slow start

Sports: It will take time before the varsity basketball team at Brooklyn’s Bishop Ford High School gets it together. Inexperience on the varsity level is contributing on the negative side to the under .500 start. Comment.

Monday, Dec. 19, 2011

JA PM appeals for peaceful elections

Jamaica: In the wake of reported sporadic violence in Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness issued an appeal for calm before, during and after the post-Christmas elections. Comment.

Howard Beach tragedy remembered

Brooklyn: The family of Michael Griffith and Cedric Sandifford plan their usual private memorial on Dec. 20. Annually, members take off from work, visit Brooklyn’s Evergreen Cemetery where their loved-ones are buried and accordingly reflect on the joys of the men who died because of the color of their skin. Comment.

Sun Kulcha

Music: Christmas Eve Services The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, between 120 & 122 streets, N.Y., presents Worship Service for Children & Families at 4:00 p.m. & Lesson & Carols Service following the basic service of nine lessons (scripture readings) alternating with nine carols, 8:00 p.m. featuring The Riverside Choir & The Riverside Ringers. For more information, call (212) 870-6784 or visit www.theriversidechnurchny.org. Comment.

Lady English to launch new bath salt

People: Lady English whose Fountain Pimento Oil has won over die-hard holistic practitioners will unveil a new addition to her product line just in time for the holiday season. Comment.

SHAGGY DELIVERS

Music: The Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival was hailed by a musical superstar as one of the remaining bastions in support of not just reggae music but other musical genres and culture as a whole. Comment.

God and Goddesses engaging exhibiton

Arts & Theater: Self-taught artist and illustrator for almost 20 years, Brooklyn born and bred, now Bronx resident Laura James of Antiguan heritage, is having a show of paintings and objects, rich in images, texture and feeling, entitled “God and Goddesses” in the Corridor Gallery of the Interchurch Center in Manhattan. Comment.

Sunday, Dec. 18, 2011

Standing up for non-profit organizations

Queens: As many in Queens will tell you, there are many non-profit organizations throughout the borough that have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Non-profit organizations have traditionally been exempt from paying property taxes on buildings they own and provide services in, like churches and non-profit affordable housing developers. Comment.

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011

Main Street small businesses stand with OWS

Viewpoints: Main Street small businesses like mine are part of the 99 percent who have suffered in the Great Recession. There are few business owners in my acquaintance -- I should say no business owners in my acquaintance, from convenience store owners to construction businesses to dentists, who have not felt the effects of the financial meltdown. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Albert Nobbs (R for profanity, sexuality and brief nudity) Glenn Close plays the title character in this genderbending drama about a lesbian who passed as a man for over 30 years in order to survive in 19th Century Ireland. With Janet McTeer, Brenda Fricker, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brendan Gleeson and Mia Wasikowska. Comment.

Magnificent Martinique on the road

Music: Recently the Martinique Magnifique Road Show arrived in mid-town New York. Comment.

Friday, Dec. 16, 2011

Caribbean Round-Up

Trinidad and Tobago: Grenada Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism organization (CTO), Senator Richard Skerritt said local politicians must put aside their own interests to ensure that the region’s tourism sector survives these times. Comment.

Cuba, CARICOM fight illict drug trade

Cuba: Cuba has offered to assist CARICOM countries fight the illict drug trade and small arms trade. Comment.

Woman accuses Guyana national police chief of rape

Guyana: GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — A woman is accusing the chief of Guyana’s National Police of rape and says several officers refused to take her complaint. Comment.

Vincentian group honors prominent community worker

St Vincent: For the third time in less than a month, prominent community organizer, Verna Arthur, has been honored by a Vincentian group in the United States, prompting remarks that this is her “special year.” Comment.

Protect your eyes from the winter sun

Health: Just because it isn’t summer doesn’t mean you should put away those sunglasses. Comment.

Prostate cancer report shortchanges Black men

Health: Prostate cancer continues to remain the leading cause of cancer in men in the United States. Over 30 thousand men are estimated to die of prostate cancer this year alone. Also, for reasons that are not completely understood, African-American men are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 2.5 times likely to die of the disease. Comment.

Diverticuli of the urinary bladder

Health: Diverticuli, abnormal sacs or pouches can occur in many different places in the body and are often difficult to diagnose. The medical literature contains 86 different listings of diverticuli including those in the intestinal tract, the urinary system and other systems. Comment.

It’s spy vs. spy in Cold War thriller

Movies: “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Comment.

Thursday, Dec. 15, 2011

10 Bronx businesses honored

Bronx: It has been a tough year for most businesses across the country. Daily reports of retail closings and decline in consumer spending has caused many to close their doors. The 2nd Annual ‘Tribute to Bronx Businesses’ luncheon, awarded Bronx businesses for beating the odds during this turbulent economic year. Comment.

Road to the Super Bowl underway

Sports: The road to the Super Bowl tournament is underway. First the teams must finish out the regular season, play a post season or playoff tournament, and then advance to the Super Bowl, which will be contested on the first Sunday in February. Everything is still wide open, with several spots already clinched. Comment.

Call for passage of NYS Dream Act

Manhattan: Dozens of young people, community leaders, and elected officials gathered on the steps of City Hall Friday, Dec. 9, to demand greater access to higher education for youth, regardless of status. Comment.

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

LEADER ON THE ROPES

Barbados: In a move few would deem a surprise, 11 Barbadian MPs including seven senior cabinet ministers are considering an internal rebellion against Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, saying his boring, unimaginative and lackluster leadership style could make the governing Democratic Labor Party (DLP) lose the government next year. Comment.

GK prez wins Business Leader Award for 2010

Jamaica: Lowell Hawthorne president & CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill (GK), the nation’s largest Caribbean franchise chain was awarded the Jamaica Observer’s Business Leader Award for 2010 at a banquet held on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston Jamaica. Comment.

150 candidates to contest JA elections

Jamaica: Following Nomination Day on Dec. 12, Jamaican electoral authorities say that 150 candidates have registered to participate in general elections on Dec. 29. Comment.

US hinders Raul Castro at Port of Spain meeting

Trinidad and Tobago: President Raoul Castro flew to the oil- and gas-rich Caribbean trade bloc twin-island of Trinidad and Tobago for a meeting with regional leaders last week only to discover that the extra territorial arm of the United States will seek him out wherever he goes, as the Obama Administration banned the Hilton Hotel chain from allowing the meeting to be held there as planned. Comment.

Annual U.N. Student Conference on Human Rights

Manhattan: High school students from the New York Metropolitan area were chaperoned by the New York State NAACP and New York Links, Inc. last week on the final day of the three-day annual United Nations Student Conference on Human Rights. Comment.

Tropicalfete Countdown 2011

Music: The second annual TropicalFete Countdown of the Top 100 International Caribbean Songs of 2011 (last year’s chart topper was “Hold You” by Gyptian) will be held on Dec. 17. Comments (5).

Holiday fun at Tropical Paradise

Music: The holiday season ushers in another special time at Brooklyn’s Tropical Paradise Ballroom, including a Christmas party on Friday, Dec. 16 that offers complimentary buffet dinner and free admission. There will also be a New Year’s Eve ball with music by Lambert & The Matadors Orchestra, which promises a rollicking welcome to 2012. Comment.

Holiday entertaining made easy

Food: When preparing a holiday feast, you want to know your friends and family will enjoy every last bite. But cooking the meal can often mean spending more time in the kitchen and less time connecting with loved ones. This holiday season, use these tips and recipes to create truly delicious dishes, while spending more time with your guests. Comment.

Call for high school mentors

Brooklyn: The Metro New York Chapter of National Black MBA Association is calling on mentors to lead a series of academic enrichment and leadership workshops to begin in January. Comment.

Caribbean shopping at Courts USA

Queens: Courts, the Caribbean’s largest furniture, electronics and appliances retailer has many door buster deals and gifts, which can be used to furnish your home in the U.S. or be delivered directly to your loved ones in the Caribbean during this holiday season. Comments (1).

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011

ONE-DAY CHAMPS

Sports: India took the one-day series in a terrific style thanks to India’s captain Virender Sehwag who slammed 219 runs from 149 balls with 7 sixes and 25 fours. Comment.

Runners prepare for Olympic trials

Sports: Zenith Velocity is a club track team, based in New York, but its members usually adults, and former high school athletes, are not restricted to reside in New York or the area. Comment.

Sun Kulcha

Arts & Theater: Winter Solstice Feast The Brooklyn Fire Proof, 120 Ingraham St., Brooklyn, is hosting, The Winter Solstice Feast 2011, a party & benefit for Bushwick Farmers’ Market featuring local restaurants preparing food grown by the students at Bushwick Campus Farm, 7:00 p.m. - midnight. For reservations, donation suggestions & volunteer information, visit www.BushwickFarmersMarket.org. Comment.

Exiles defy Castro ban on fireworks

Cuba: A Cuban exile flotilla shot bright fireworks into the sky only about 13 miles from the Havana coast on Dec. 9 in a defiant show of support for dissidents on the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island. Comment.

Stick Fly opens at the Cort Theater

Arts & Theater: “Stick Fly,” a comedy with moments of serious contemplation, presented by Alicia Keys, is a theatrical offering by playwright Lydia R. Diamond, starring Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Mekki Phifer, Dule Hill, Tracie Thoms, Condola Rashad and Rosie Benton. Comment.

Monday, Dec. 12, 2011

Haiti makes a push for overseas investment

Haiti: A top Haitian government official says that the Michel Martelly administration plans to push several critical laws in coming weeks aimed at making the country more business-friendly and lure investments. Comment.

AILEY’S JOYOUS PREMIERES

Arts & Theater: Ailey’s New York performances, which have become a joyous holiday tradition, continue through Jan. 1, 2012. Comment.

The ‘Fair Wages for New Yorkers’ Act

Viewpoints: On Nov. 21, thousands of people from all over the City crowded into the Riverside Church in upper Manhattan to make their voices heard loud and clear: it is time for this administration to do right by the people of this City and pass the “Fair Wages for New Yorkers” Act. Comment.

No promise on ‘The Mountaintop’

Arts & Theater: What Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. revealed in a Dream speech acclaimed for its visionary insight seems to be challenged nightly on Broadway at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre. Comment.

Jamaicans look to Olympic ice skating

Jamaica: Optimism is high for Jamaican athletes competing in next year’s summer Olympics in London, England. However, if an endorsement from nationals abroad is approved, the fervor could extend to the distant future and the 2014 Winter Games in Russia. Comment.

Music World Gospel releases two albums

Music: Mathew Knowles’ Music World Gospel released two highly-anticipated albums on Tuesday, Dec. 6. Comment.

Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011

Disappointed at NYPD cops’ Facebook comments

Brooklyn: Hearing and reading about these remarks made by NYPD officers, “animals, savages, bomb them” was truly disappointing, however, not surprising. While these are the views of many, I am sure that does not reflect all of the administration. These are gross, irresponsible descriptions that undermine the mission and purpose of the event. Comment.

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011

Church confirms pope’s visit to Cuba

Cuba: HAVANA (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI will visit Communist-run Cuba this spring, a senior Roman Catholic Church official said Thursday, the first trip by a pontiff since John Paul II’s historic tour in 1998. Comment.

Protestors visit foreclosed homes

Brooklyn: On a very drizzly Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of protestors gathered under the trestle of the #3 train at the junction of Livonia and Pennsylvania Aves in East New York carrying a myriad of symbols of home-living: plants, a chair, or a lamp. They carried banners voicing why they were there: “Homes Are For People Not Banks,” “I work, you work, we work (crossed out)-fight, they profit” or “New York Families for New York Families.” One fellow’s sign simply said: 99%. Comment.

Toys and gifts for Harlem Dowling kids

Manhattan: To help cheer on the holiday, a host of celebrities and fans traveled uptown recently for the 3rd annual Vaughn Harper Toy Drive benefitting Harlem Dowling West Side Center for Children and Family Services. Hosted by NY-1 News’ anchorwoman Cheryl Wills, the event took place at Harlem Bar BQ located on Frederick Douglass Blvd. Harper’s wife Sandra filled in for the radio legend who was slightly under the weather. Comment.

Friday, Dec. 9, 2011

Caribbean Round-Up

Trinidad and Tobago: An Antiguan businessman is facing up to 20 years in jail for human trafficking after becoming the first person to be charged under the country’s recently-passed Trafficking in Persons Prevention Act. Comment.

Rwanda revisited in ‘Crash’-like ensemble drama

Movies: “Kinyarwanda” Comment.

Claim of police Labor Day misconduct

Brooklyn: A major United States publication claims that some police officers in the New York Police Department (N.Y.P.D) have maligned paradegoers at the annual West Indian American Day Carnival parade, calling them “animals” and “savages,” among other things. Comment.

Decline in tourists spending expected

Travel: Caribbean tourism officials said that while the Caribbean anticipates another surge in visitors this winter, they are warning that the amount of tourists spend while on vacation will decline. Comment.

Jabbar aims high & scores again

Trinidad and Tobago: Former all-time leading scorer with the National Basketball Association and Trinidad & Tobago native Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was awarded the Lincoln Medal by Attorney General Eric Holder. Comment.

Frequently asked questions regarding TherMatrx

Health: Over the past nine years, while discussing using the TherMatrx microwave heat treatment to relieve the symptoms of an enlarged and/or inflamed prostate, 10 questions repeatedly arose. Is it safe? Where is it done? Is anesthesia required? Is it surgery? Is it a one-time treatment? Is relief of the symptoms immediate? Will I have to wear a catheter and a leg bag? Will the treatment affect my sex life? Can it be used to treat prostate cancer? Is success guaranteed? Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Addiction Incorporated (PG-13 for brief profanity) Whistleblower documentary about Victor DeNoble, the corporate scientist gone rogue whose damning testimony before Congress singlehandedly exposed the tobacco industry’s deliberate efforts to make cigarette smoking as addictive as possible. Comment.

Obesity increases risks for diabetes

Health: Obesity levels in the U.S. are on the rise in both adults and children. Weight problems may bring on a number of health issues—and one of the most serious is diabetes. But diabetes is also a condition that can often be prevented; however, it takes time and effort dedicated to regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, and maintaining a healthy weight. Comment.

Marriages between African and Native Americans produced many children

Health: Native Americans with African ancestry produced more children than ‘full bloods’ in the early 1900s, despite the odds being against them, a new study demonstrates. Comment.

Kids At Risk: Sports related head injries have increased significantly says study

Autumn is here and along with it the school athletic season. By playing football, hockey, basketball, soccer, or just in the playground, children and young adults are testing their athletic skills. Yet, they are also risking head injury, an injury which research shows can have serious health consequences. And now a new study reveals that sports related head injuries among children and teens have been increasing significantly over the last decade. Comment.

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011

FINALLY A WIN

Sports: West Indies defeated India by 16 runs in the third One-Day International to keep the five-match series alive at 2-1. Comment.

Vigil raises $800 towards HIV/AIDS

Jamaica: Team Carib Connect raised more than $800 during its second Annual Candlelight Vigil in observance of World Aids Day in Queens on Saturday, Dec. 3. 2011. Comment.

Post-election tension on the rise in Guyana

Guyana: Political tension in Guyana rose to new heights following the Nov. 28 general elections after riot police on Tuesday opened fire on opposition protesters sending nearly a dozen to hospital, as well as students and a teacher from a nearby primary school who were forced to inhale tear gas smoke that wafted into the school, as officers went on the rampage in the city. Comment.

Indo-Carib trade and investment opportunities

Caribbean: The United Nations’ Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) says that the region could become an “important trading partner” with India, noting that exports from regional countries to India represented only 0.9 percent of the region’s total exports in 2008-2010. Comment.

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011

Obama sees ‘make or break’ time for middle class

National: OSAWATOMIE, Kan. (AP) — President Barack Obama delivered a sweeping indictment of economic inequality in the U.S. on Tuesday as he summoned the memory of President Theodore Roosevelt and pledged to fight for fairness at a “make or break moment for the middle class.” Comment.

BVI Tourist Board lures tourists with promotion

Travel: The turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and the beauty of the British Virgin Islands under the theme - Discover the Hidden Treasures of the BVI – 60 Islands One Unforgettable Experience - was the backdrop for a spectacular Full Moon celebration, hosted by the BVI Tourist Board to woo travelers to their breathtaking islands in the Caribbean. Comments (1).

Sun Kulcha

Arts & Theater: Men on the Move Men on the Move is holding a three-day men’s service at Mt. Horeb Holiness Church of God, Inc., 1788 Townsend Ave., Bronx, N.Y. on Fri., Dec. 9, 8:00 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 10, 10:00 a.m. & Sun., Dec. 11 at 4:00 p.m. The service includes workshops & fellowship. For more information, call Deacon Edmund Davis, chairperson at (917) 626-2786. Comment.

Riverside’s unique dance program

Arts & Theater: So you think you can dance huh? The Riverside Theatre is offering ‘confident and talented’ dancers a chance to strut their stuff during a two-day workshop to feature emerging dancers and dance companies. Comment.

Crossing the Line: The Bully Culture

Viewpoints: We live in a bully culture. We even watch it play out on the stage of national politics, and have been for years. It has been 20 years since Anita Hill came forward to testify about the harassment she endured from Clarence Thomas. Comment.

Our strengths outweigh our weaknesses

Viewpoints: There is a deep vein of pessimism running through the country right now. And I’m not even talking about the overwhelming numbers of people who tell pollsters that we’re “on the wrong track,” which suggests that we can simply throw a switch to get onto the right one. Comment.

Belafonte ‘Sing Your Songs’ at Schomburg

Movies: Entertainer and Civil Rights activist Harry Belafonte will once again take the spotlight when his acclaimed film documentary “Sing Your Songs” screens during a one-time showcase at the Schomburg Center for Research on Dec. 8. Comment.

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011

JA govt concerned about convicted Buju

Music: Acting on reports from attorneys for convicted Jamaican native Buju Banton, Olivia Grange, the island’s minister of youth, sports and culture said she is concerned about the conditions he must endure while incarcerated at a federal facility in Texas. Comment.

BACK WITH A BANG

Music: Richie Stephens is back! And, although still in what he says is “a healing process” the popular Jamaican music maker declared he is not just back, but “back with a bang.” Comment.

Brazilian great Socrates dies

Sports: Former Brazilian captain Socrates - who led the team in the 1982 World Cup, a team considered the best Brazilian side never to win the World Cup – died in a Brazilian hospital on Sunday from an intestinal infection, the Brazilian Football (Soccer) Federation announced. Comment.

Founder’s Award for Brooklyn-born educator

Brooklyn: Dr. Avis Hinkson, the first African American to hold the position of Dean of College at Barnard College, the prestigious liberal arts college for women in New York City, was honored with the Beacon Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education by the New York Coalition of One Hundred Black Women, Inc. at its recent Annual Founders Day Commemoration. Comment.

Caribbean Roundup

The management of LIAT has rejected a number of claims that allegations made by representatives of the Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) and the National Workers Union of St Lucia during a recent interview on a radio station in Antigua. Comment.

Betty White, Marley Brothers up for Grammy

Music: Nominees for the 54th annual Grammy awards were recently announced and among them an eclectic mix of talents reflecting 78 categories and 30 fields of music. Comment.

John Legend & Iman join Ailey

Arts & Theater: Ailey’s inaugural New York City Center Season led by Artistic Director Robert Battle kicked off on Nov. 30 with an Opening Night Gala Benefit hosted by Honorary Chair Iman. The season ends Jan. 1, 2012. Comment.

Lara bemoans poor infrastructure

Sports: Former West Indies batting legend Brian Lara has said that the cricket infrastructure in the Caribbean is terrible and it will take between five to 10 years to bring the sport back up to a top level in the region again. Comment.

Do political leaders have the will to get us to an ‘AIDS-Free Generation’ ?

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech at the National Institutes of Health in November, calling for an “AIDS-free generation,” is admirable. Comment.

C2C brings inspirational Haitian relief concert to raise awareness and funding for Haiti

Community2Community (C2C) officially announces the second annual “Hope and A Future” Benefit Concert for Haïti, which will take place Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, at Walt Whitman Theater on the campus of Brooklyn College, located in the heart of the largest stateside Haitian community. Produced by Psalmist Productions Inc. (PPI), the festive affair commemorates the 300,000 lives lost during the tragic 7.0 cataclysmic, earthquake of January 2010 while honoring the strong, resilient spirit of Haïti and her people. Comment.

Pumpkin possibilities and sensible meals

Q: Is pumpkin as loaded with vitamins as winter squash? If so, what can you do with it besides making pie? Comment.

The Twilight Sage: Breaking Dawn Park 1

Taking a page out of the Harry Potter playbook, the soon-to-expire Twilight Saga is extending itself by splitting the last of Stephenie Meyer’s supernatural romance novels into two screen adaptations. However, the first, Breaking Dawn – Part 1, represents a striking departure from the earlier episodes, cinematically, being more of a campy soap opera than a spine-tingling horror flick. Comment.

Garifuna Coalition honors former SVG consular aide

Brooklyn: J. Erlene Williams-King, a former aide to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ New York Consul General, was honored on Nov. 19 by the New York-based Garifuna Coalition U.S.A, Inc. at the group’s Yellow, White and Black 2011 Gala at the Eastwood Manor, Bronx. Comment.

Medgar Evers College Educational Talent Search Program receives grant to aid disadvantaged students

The Medgar Evers College Educational Talent Search Program recently received a five-year $1.6 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Under the auspices of the School of Professional and Community Development, the program identifies low-income and disadvantaged students and provides them with the academic, career, and financial counseling needed to graduate from high school and continue on to college. Comment.

Doctor, Doctor Questions Often Asked

Delicious and Aromatic, These Holiday Dishes Delight

There is something about warm, delectable dishes and the aroma of a freshly prepared meal that really bring loved ones closer. This season, when planning your holiday menu, consider adding some scrumptious dishes made with quality ingredients that are sure to become fast favorites with your family. Comment.

Merelen Smith_Sotillo launches SCAF Corp. International

Merlene Smith-Sotillo, a global strategist at Sickle Cell Awareness Foundation Corp Int’l., she has officially launched the SCAF Corp Int. a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people with information, resources, organization, and support that they need when dealing with Sickle Cell. The organization is targeting both parents and kids, to show how the risk of certain life decisions could be avoided by making better life transforming decisions, and teens could be brought up to live simpler, happier lives despite external influences beyond their control. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: New Year’s Eve (PG-13 for profanity and sexual references) Serendipitous romantic comedy, ala Love Actually and Valentine’s Day, examining the relationships issues of a number of New Yorkers whose lives intersect as midnight approaches. Ensemble cast includes Robert de Niro, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Katherine Heigl, Zac Efron, Abigail Breslin, Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, Ludacris and Josh Duhamel. Comment.

Borough President Diaz joins New York Cares & Healthplus to launch ‘Keep The Bronx Warm Month’ coat drive

Health: On Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. joined the volunteer organization New York Cares and Health Plus to kick off the 2011 “Keep The Bronx Warm Month” annual coat drive to help children and families in need this winter. Comment.

Volunteers of America’s 109th Annual Sidewalk Santa Campaign feeds the needy

People: Volunteers of America (VOA), one of the nation’s oldest and most effective human service organizations in the nation launched their 109th Annual Sidewalk Santa® Campaign this month. Money collected goes towards their Holiday Food Voucher program. VOA’s Sidewalk Santas® are stationed beside their signature chimneys across Manhattan on Fridays in December, ringing their bells and raising money to help feed those in need. They serve as a reminder to remember our neighbors who struggle to put food on their table during this holiday season. Comment.

Obama seeks more money for global AIDS relief

Health: President Barack Obama says he is seeking more federal money for efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS in the U.S., the Caribbean and globally. Comment.

Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

Windies tactics must be modified!

Sports: Apart from the West Indies cricket team being deprived of the best team on the field, their performances in the one-day games in India have been of a low standard. Comment.

Ramotar sworn in as Guyana’s 7th president

Guyana: Donald Rabindranath Ramotar, 61, was sworn in last weekend as Guyana’s seventh executive president following the Nov. 28 general elections; but it’s clear that the road ahead will be tough for his administration to control the daily affairs of the country but not the legislative agenda in parliament. Comment.

Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011

Trinidad calls for day of soccer consultation

Sports: Trinidad and Tobago soccer fraternity, still reeling from its early ouster from 2014 World Cup qualifying, held what was referred to as ‘national football (soccer) consultation’ on Sunday, hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation. According to acting Federation president, Lennox Watson, the idea was to let the public have its say as to what went wrong in Trinidad’s failed attempt to reach the CONCACAF semifinal round of qualifying for the 2014 Brazil World Cup and for the way forward. Comment.

Homes for needy Haitians

Haiti: “At first, I really didn’t want to go,” said Rodneyse Bichotte, whose day job in Corporate Development Mergers and Acquisitions at American Express and her other job as Democratic District Leader in the 42nd Assembly District in Brooklyn, a non-paid elected position, keeps her really busy. Comments (2).

Harlem rallies against plague of violence

Manhattan: A multitude of religious and community-based organizations gathered at the Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building Plaza Saturday, Nov. 26, to join with the Harlem Transformation Project in a March For Peace, taking a proactive stance to bring about an end to a “plague of violence” in their community. Comment.

Patrick John to appeal FIFA ban

Dominica: Former Dominica Prime Minister Patrick John is to appeal the decision by FIFA ethics committee to ban him from all football activity for two years and a fine of US$3,000 for his alleged role in the bribery plot involving former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam. Comment.

Lincoln and Erasmjus to meet at Yankee Stadium

It’s going to be two Brooklyn teams in the Finals. Abraham Lincoln continues with their perfect season to beat a tough Dewitt Clinton team (30-14) at Lincoln and Erasmus Hall defeated the always difficult Tottenville football team, in Staten Island (20-17), in overtime. Both Lincoln and Erasmus will meet at Yankee Stadium with the City Championship in the balance. Comment.

Monday, Nov. 28, 2011

Try fun and sober for the holidays

Health: Was the first resolution you made last New Year’s Day prompted by the headache and sick feeling you woke up with January 1? Maybe you had to deal with the consequences of a holiday car accident? Or was it the fallout from something you did at a party that everyone else remembers all too well, but you don’t? Comment.

Influential Black Brit music genre

Movies: Have you ever even heard of a smooth type of British music called Lovers Rock? Me either. But don’t let that stop you from checking out this alternately entertaining and educational documentary detailing the history of what was actually a very influential, if underappreciated, genre. Comments (1).

Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011

ETHNIC SCHISM IN T&T

Trinidad and Tobago: High education officials in Trinidad are to meet with the leaders of a sometimes radical Hindu organization, teachers and the umbrella teaching service commission this week in a bid to temper a simmering row over allegations that the Hindu school is refusing to teach non-Hindu students and fires teachers who ignore orders to enroll students, particularly those of African origin. Comment.

Inspirational doc films at Doc NYC

Movies: Jonathan Demme has added a new documentary film, “I’m Caroline Parker: The Good, The Mad and The Beautiful,” to his filmography and it screened last week at the Doc NYC film festival in Manhattan. Comment.

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011

GALAXY DEFEATS RED BULLS

Sports: Mike Magee’s goal in the 15th minute off a David Beckham assist was all that the Los Angeles Galaxy needed to defeat hosts New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena Sunday afternoon. Comment.
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