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A new joint report by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) says the number of babies born with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean declined by 78 percent between 2001 and 2013.

The report, “Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Congenital Syphilis in the Americas,” takes stock of progress in the region’s countries toward the elimination of mother-to-child transmission and syphilis, PAHO said.

Using date from PAHO, UNICEF and UNAIDS, the report estimates that 10,700 babies were born with HIV in Latin America and the Caribbean, in 2001.

By 2013, the number had declined 78 percent to just over 2,300 representing five percent of all babies born in the region to mothers with HIV.

PAHO noted that the countries and territories of Latin America and the Caribbean have set the collective goal of reducing that proportion to less than two percent by 2015.

PAHO said so far, nine countries and territories have reached that goal- Anguilla, Barbados, Canada, Cuba, Jamaica, Montserrat, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis and the United States.

Antigua

Antigua & Barbuda will have a Telecommunications Regulatory Commission in 2015.

This was disclosed by Telecommunications Minister Melford Nicholas who told the Observer media that come 2015 a Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.

He said the independent body will be charged with managing the relationship and competition in the nation’s telecoms industry.

His comments came amid regional fears that the Cable and Wireless’ acquisition of Columbus International will result in a loss of competition in the telecoms market.

But Nicholas said the merger may yet be beneficial to telecoms in Antigua and Barbuda under the regulation of the commission.

He hopes that planned investments brought about through the consolidation of the companies would lead to improvements of the country’s Internet speeds.

Nicholas noted, as well, that telecoms giant Digicel has also signaled plans to upgrade their platform.

Bahamas

The Bahamas government is prepared to let the “chips fall where they may” after immigration officer was sent on administrative leave with immediate effect “pending investigation of a sexual assault alleged by a detainee who is a Jamaican citizen.

Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell told a news conference that while he would not speak more to this matter” he was nonetheless prepared to allow the “chips (to) fall where they may.”

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration said “a diplomatic note will be sent to the Jamaican Foreign Minister and the Minister will speak to his counterpart in Jamaica shortly.” The statement said Mitchell had already spoken to honorary counsel of Jamaica to The Bahamas “to convey his deepest regret at these allegations and assured the consul that the matter will be thoroughly investigat­ed.”

Mitchell made it clear the acts against persons detained at the detention center “are not systemic or sanctioned by the government.”

Barbados

Eastern Caribbean countries which have suffered major fallout from the collapse of CLICO want Barbados to consider an alternative strategy to fix the company.

However, CLICO International Life Insurance Limited (CIL) judicial manager Deloitte Consulting Limited thinks the plan, which would see government having to make a commitment exceeding $300 million is “impractical.”

Additionally, it was pointed out that the strategy was only forwarded to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Central Bank in May, one month after Cabinet approved the approach where there will be a Barbados first solution to the matter.

According to information Deloitte has filed with the High Court, the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s (ECCU) alternative strategy contemplated “a pooling of the assets in all jurisdictions to settle all traditional liabilities in full.”

The strategy also proposed that “Following this reallocation of these national unpledged assets, the government of Barbados is required to “make whole” and unsettled traditional policy liabilities in each country.

The challenge was that this would result in government “being required to fund $148.1 million of which $93.8 million is transferred to seven other jurisdicti­ons.”

Guyana

Belize Defense Force solider Emil Mendez was shot during an attempted robbery in Georgetown, Guyana.

Mendez, according to the Stabroek newspaper is part of a Ministry of Health Orthopedic Technician program.

Reports are that the soldier was shot four times during the attempted robbery.

Mendez and his girlfriend according to police were out socializing and after she had gone home, he was walking back to the military base when he was accosted by the armed robber.

He is reported to have struggled with his attacker during which he was shot in the abdomen and thigh.

The gunman escaped and Mendez was taken to hospital for treatment. He remains hospitalized.

Jamaica

Jamaica is the best place for international investors to do business in the Caribbean and Latin America, according to a leading International business magazine.

In the 2014 Forbes Best Countries for Business Report, Jamaica has ranked 64 out of 146 nations making it the best country in the Caribbean region to do business and third in Latin America and the Caribbean.

That is better than the oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago, which came out at 71, Barbados, 73, and the Dominican Republic 76. Only Costa Rica and Mexico ranked higher than Jamaica in Latin America did and the Caribbean did.

Forbes, a leading international business magazine, determined the Best Countries for Business by grading 164 nations on 11 different factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.

Forbes said each category was equally weighted. The report was compiled and using published reports, including the World Bank is Doing Business Report and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.

St. Lucia

Tourism officials in St. Lucia have released the identity of the cruise ship visitor who collapsed and died while shopping at a La Place Carenage duty free mall recently.

Daniel Braccio of Brooklyn, New York, believed to be in his late 60s or early 70s, is the second visitor to have died within one week in St. Lucia.

Braccio was a passenger aboard the Queen Mary II which had been berthed in Port Castries on Dec. 26, 2014.

He is believed to have suffered a heart attack.

Suriname

The Police Naval Unit says it has rescued four fishermen who spent almost 12 hours floating in the Atlantic Ocean recently.

The police said they had been informed that the fishing boat, Natasha, had encountered choppy waters near the mouth of the Coppename River, causing the engine to shut down.

The Unit said the unidentified men were found in the ocean after the boat sank. Two of the fishermen were wearing vests and the two others were clinging to ice boxes.

— compiled by Azad Ali

Updated 3:05 am, July 10, 2018
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