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Campaign to combat childhood obesity launched

Campaign to combat childhood obesity launched

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 15, CMC – Barbados has launched a campaign aimed at addressing childhood obesity and the government has said it is examining the feasibility of restricting foods high in salt, fat and sugar from the school environment and from being marketed to children.

Health and Wellness Minister, retired Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, speaking at the launch of the Childhood Obesity Prevention Campaign, cited a report by researchers at the University of the West Indies (UWI) showing that in 1987, only 8.5 per cent of Barbadian school children were obese.

However, by 2010, the percentage rose to 32.5 per cent and it is now projected that the figure could increase to 50 per cent by 2030.

“Childhood obesity is harming Barbados through its impacts on the health and social fabric of the country. Not only is the burden of obesity in children large but it is projected to continue growing unless we take decisive action,” Bostic said.

He said that the impacts of childhood obesity on health encompassed issues such as increased risk of adult obesity and increased risk of non-communicable diseases, depression and anxiety.

The campaign, an initiative of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Barbados, and dubbed “Stop! Yuh TOO Sweet,” will initially focus solely on the support of policy change to ban the sale of sugary sweets in schools.

Bostic gave the assurance that the government was committed to addressing the issue in several ways including working in partnership with a variety of agencies.

Other initiatives include promoting breastfeeding as an integral part of early child nutrition; supporting the monitoring of growth and development in early childhood; and encouraging regular physical activity in school-aged children.

He said that the Ministry would be engaging the food industry on reducing the production, manufacture, distribution and marketing of energy-dense and high-salt foods.

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Marcia Gilbert-Roberts (left) and Eric Khant sig ning MOU (JIS Photo)

Jamaica signs MOU with United States to combat child trafficking

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jun 1, CMC – The United States is providing US$4.5 million in funding for projects and other activities over the next four years under an agreement with signed with Jamaica  for a Child Protection Compact (CPC) Partnership, which is aimed at combating the trafficking of children here.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Marcia Gilbert-Roberts, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy here, Eric Khant, said that the objective of the partnership is to save Jamaican children and at-risk youth from being trafficked.

Marcia Gilbert-Roberts (left) and Eric Khant sig ning MOU (JIS Photo)

“One of the most valuable assets for the future of any country is its young people – our children. We are pleased, therefore, that Jamaica was invited by the Government of the United States to participate in this project,” she told the signing ceremony on Thursday.

She said that the MoU signing represents another milestone in the relationship between the two countries, noting that ‘without partnerships of this kind, our journey towards achieving our targets under the sustainable development goals and Vision 2030 would certainly be more extensive and arduous”.

Khant said Washington is pleased to be partnering with Jamaica on this initiative, and stressed that human trafficking is a very serious offence which must be eliminated.

“Approximately 2.5 million people are victims of human trafficking every year and many of those victims are children. This type of modern-day slavery should not exist in our society…because of that, we work closely with our international partners to fight this heinous crime, and we’re delighted that we can now partner with Jamaica under this Child Protection Compact Partnership.”

He said the four-year agreement will help to strengthen Jamaica’s ability to prosecute and punish traffickers, identify and provide comprehensive services to victims and prevent these crimes from happening.

“Our hope is that together, we will be able to eliminate child trafficking altogether in Jamaica and the wider region,” he added.

Jamaica is the fourth country to have been selected for a CPC Partnership and the first country from the Caribbean region. The others are Ghana, Peru and the Philippines.

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Rescue teams at scene of accident (Photo courtesy Tribune Newspaper)

Four killed, several others injured, as truck slams into Labour Day parade

NASSAU, Bahamas, Jun 1, CMC – At least four people were killed and 24 others injured after a truck slammed into people celebrating Labour Day activities here on Friday, police said.

Eyewitnesses said the unoccupied truck rolled down the street, hitting several people as it picked up speed. It later crashed into another vehicle, pinning an individual between the two vehicles.

Rescue teams at scene of accident (Photo courtesy Tribune Newspaper)

Video pictures of the accident show people screaming for someone to move the truck.

Police said two women died on the scene and two others died in hospital.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Kendal Strachan said the vehicle rolled on after the driver, who is assisting in the investigations came out of the vehicle.

“ … it went forward colliding first with a child along the side of the street, then descending the hill, continuing north running into several persons who were participating in the Labour Day parade along the eastern side of East Street, coming to rest against a Nissan Micra and the building just at that intersection,” he said.

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes told a news conference that “this is a difficult thing.

“A parade of that nature is normally stop and go at not more than five mph (for vehicles). Constantly on these parades you would find police officers asking persons who are on the vehicles to be properly seated within the vehicles. Yes there are large trucks on the parade where persons are standing but we don’t want to see persons hanging off the side of the vehicle,” he added.

He said the incident sent shockwaves throughout the country but also showcased quick and effective work from health professionals who worked to prevent a rise in the death toll.

“Today is an extremely sad day for the Commonwealth of the Bahamas,” said Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

“Having endured such a tragic incident, the one thing I can say is from the time of the incident doctors, nurses responded even in their grief to care for the victims. The EMS staff, nursing staff, physicians at PMH made their country proud today and they provided care with a level of professionalism.”

The parade was cancelled following the incident.

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Prime Minister Harris and Police High Command with new recruits from St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Police High Command welcomes new recruits from Grenada & St. Vincent and the Grenadines

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 10Twenty-nine young men from  Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines arrived here on Wednesday  to serve as officers in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force (RSCNPF).

This stems from a renewed recruitment drive locally and regionally undertaken by the Service Improvement Directorate to attract individuals with strong academic and technical backgrounds to serve as officers in the Police Force.

Prime Minister Harris and Police High Command with new recruits from St. Vincent and the GrenadinesPrime Minister Dr Timothy Harris, who is also National Security MInister, welcomed the recruits and   thanked them for choosing to serve the people of St. Kitts and Nevis in law enforcement.

“We hope that your experience will be a learning one and a very positive one. Certainly you will learn about other people in the Caribbean; you will learn about St. Kitts and Nevis in particular, and you will learn what it is to be a law enforcement officer.”

Harris told the aspiring police officers that by answering the call to serve they have signaled their intention to uphold the laws of the land and to do what is necessary to safeguard the peace and security for residents, citizens and visitors of St. Kitts and Nevis.

“The police everywhere have a responsibility to serve and protect people, keep our societies safe and, as it were, to help us maintain and minimize elements of crime within our countries, and so we will be counting on you to help make St. Kitts and Nevis the best place in which people can live, people can work, and people can enjoy life,” the National Security Minister said, while assuring the recruits that the St. Kitts and Nevis Government is fully committed to assisting the efforts of the police.

Commissioner of Police, Ian Queeley joined  Harris in thanking the recruits for their interest in serving the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, and stated that, “There are great opportunities to be had serving within this organization and we look forward to engaging you in a very meaningful way so that we can not only contribute to your growth and development, but you will contribute to the growth and development of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

CMC/kb/2018

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Christopher Cushing

United States partners with region in support of youth development and crime prevention

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 10, CMC The United States, through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative is partnering with regional governments in an effort to stem crime and violence by focusing on at risk youths and vulnerable populations.

This is according to Christopher Cushing, the Mission Director for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, who was   delivering remarks on Thursday on behalf of Linda Taglialatela,the US Ambassador to Barbados, Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), during the opening ceremony for the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative 8th Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Crime Prevention .

Christopher Cushing
Christopher Cushing

He said the partnership will be done through programmes that will empower young people to lead better and more positive lives, which will redound to the benefit of the region in improving citizen security and creating more stable democracies.

“Since 2010, the U.S. Government, through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), has invested US$437 million, towards improving citizen security in the Caribbean and addressing the root causes of crime and violence. To date, more than 30,000 youth, across the region, have participated in CBSI education and work-force development programmes, with more than $50 million allocated to support these programmes, he said.

“The CBSI embodies our mutual commitment to greater shared security throughout the Caribbean. It is an initiative that works towards building the health, resiliency and safety of Caribbean countries, all important elements for sustained growth, prosperity and strong democracies in the Caribbean and the United States.”

Cushing noted the importance of the conference to the future development of youth and citizen security and said that the Technical Working Group is critical to advancing the said goal.

“Your discussions will continue to help shape the broader framework for action and bring sharper focus to the needs of the region’s youth,” added the mission director. “Over the next three days, I expect you will have robust exchanges in which you, as Caribbean leaders, learn from each other and international experts, and take the time to pause, reflect, generate new ideas, and identify concrete priorities to address challenges posed by transnational crime.”

He commented on the theme adopted for this year’s conference, which is: “Changing Social Norms Through Youth Engagement”.

“This is a timely theme and an important reminder to all of us that the change we seek cannot be achieved without the support and full participation of young people. Around the world, youth are making their voices heard and spearheading powerful initiatives to address poverty, health concerns, environmental challenges, school violence and more. Here in the Caribbean, it’s no different,” noted Cushing, adding that “the U.S. Government firmly believes in the power of youth, and has partnered with regional Governments for many years to support youth development.”

The Conference, which runs from May 10-11, will culminate with a youth rally on Saturday.

Representatives are drawn from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and host country St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Community Family and Youth Resilience Programme, OECS Commission and USAID are also represented.

Posted in General, International, Local, News, Police, Regional, Youth0 Comments

WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device

Warning over WhatsApp ‘text bomb’ that could crash your phone: Malicious message causes iPhone and Android handsets to freeze

Mail onLine

  • The glitch overloads smartphones with tens of thousands of hidden characters
  • This forces users who received the message to reset their iOS or Android device  
  • This come in two varieties, one featuring a black dot and a warning message
  • Another contains a crying while laughing emoji with instructions to ‘read more’
  • A full system reboot may be required if you are unlucky enough to activate it

WhatsApp users are being warned about a new ‘text bomb’ that can cause their iOS and Android handsets to freeze. 

It is being spread by messages sent via the popular app and comes in two varieties.  One reads: ‘This is very interesting’ with a crying while laughing emoji, followed by ‘Read more’. Tapping on ‘read more’ causes your handset to freeze. 

Another features a black dot and contains the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot causes the crash to occur. 

The code powering the messages is being shared on Pastebin, meaning anyone can find it online, copy and paste it, then spread the text bomb via WhatsApp.

Its understood that the text message is being circulated by friends as a prank to their WhatsApp contacts, to deliberately crash their phones.

Anyone who is sent the text bomb is advised to delete the message in question. The safest way to do this is to delete the conversation thread it is part of, rather than clicking on the message itself.

Devices caught out by the bomb may need to be rebooted. To do this, hold down the power button on your handset until the restart option appears, or power down the device then power it back up if this option isn’t available.

WhatsApp has yet to issue a statement, but the Facebook-owned firm is likely to issue a software patch fixing the problem in the near future. 

Scroll down for video 

WhatsApp users should be careful when opening messages, after the discovery of a text bomb that can cause your handset to freeze. The glitch works by overloading systems with tens of thousands of hidden text characters, forcing affected users to reset their device

Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically
 

Another variant of the message is said to contain the words ‘if you touch the black point then your WhatsApp will hang’. Clicking on the black dot icon in the message causes the same issues to arise for Android users specifically

The bug has been hidden in the specially crafted messages according to Neowin, who first reported the text bomb after spotting claims made on Reddit.

In the first message, the code in question is hidden just after the emoji and clicking on ‘read more’ causes Whatsapp to expand this part of the message. In the second, the code is hidden after the dot icon.

Posted in International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, Technology, Youth0 Comments

USAID Cushing

ST. KITTS-YOUTH-US signs MOU regarding YES project

May 1, 2018
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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, May 1, CMC – The United States government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the St. Kitts-Nevis government to ensure that at-risk youth here receive maximum benefits from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Project.

USAID CushingUSAID’s Mission Director, Christopher Cushing said the MOU will govern the YES project’s implementation here as well as deepen an ongoing partnership and exemplifies the commitment of both governments to the successful implementation of the project.

It is intended to foster strong coordination to jointly meet common objectives, and highlight the importance of timely information sharing, effective cooperation, and sustainability planning.

“This MOU being signed …will reinforce the collaboration that currently exists between USAID and the government of St. Kitts and Nevis. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners on the ground, to create stronger systems and services that build greater resiliency among the youth,” Cushing said.

The YES initiative aims to reduce youth involvement in crime and violence in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.

The project is implemented under three components: the Strengthening Evidence-based Decision Making (CariSECURE) Project which promotes evidence-based decision making for youth crime and violence; the Community, Family and Youth Resilience (CFYR) Project which strengthens these three components of society to withstand, mitigate and recover from involvement in crime and violence; and the Juvenile Justice Reform Project which enhances juvenile justice systems to rehabilitate youth in conflict with the law.

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crime

Police probe the murders of two sisters

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Mar 2, CMC – Police said one person is assisting their investigations as they probe the murders of two sisters in the quiet Key’s Village community on Thursday.

crimePolice said that Jemilia and Jemisha Finch were killed in a gully area near the basketball court.

“Both sisters were allegedly hacked to death by a young man from the Keys area. Dead are two sisters, one of them apparently the girlfriend of the perpetrator,” the police said in a statement.

Media reports said that the women were between the ages 19 and 20, and one was a member of the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force and recently became a mother.

The police have given no motive for the killings.

Posted in Crime, Local, News, Police, Regional, Youth0 Comments

children in class room

A Third of Secondary School Children in Eastern Caribbean At Risk of Dropping Out or Failing

Caribbean360 January 23, 2018

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, January 23, 2018 – A ground-breaking study has found that up to 33 per cent of the children in secondary schools across the Eastern Caribbean are at risk of either dropping out or failing.

The report from the study, co-authored by lecturer in Social Studies Education in the School of Education at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Dr Verna Knight, and Director of the School of Education, Dr Babalola Ogunkola, also concluded that 17 per cent or just over 1,700 children at the primary level faced similar risks.

The 2017 study, ‘Global Initiative on Out of School Children: Eastern Caribbean’, was supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Argentinian NGO Asociacion Civil Educación para Todos.

It analysed information on enrolment by age, grade, repeaters, dropouts and graduates from early childhood (4 years) and primary and secondary levels using data collected from administrative data units in ministries of education in Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Turks and Caicos Islands for the periods 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

The study centred on a framework designed by UNICEF and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics that highlighted two general categories for exclusion – present or total exclusion (children who are out of school), and potential or partial exclusion (children who are enrolled in school but not engaged at the school level).

This was then divided into five dimensions of exclusion – children of early childhood age who were not in the school system, children who were of primary school age but were not in school, children of secondary school age but were not enrolled in primary or secondary school; children of primary school age and are enrolled but were at risk of dropping out or failing, and those of secondary school age who were enrolled but were also at risk of dropping out or failing.

The researchers found that 0.5 per cent of children of pre-school age (4+ years) were out of school completely, while this stood at 1.4 per cent (840) for primary school children and 3.3 per cent (over 1,000) for those of secondary school age.

“When we dug a little deeper into the notion of potential exclusion we saw that the exclusion begins as early as kindergarten. For example, when you look at the region we saw 8 per cent of the students were at least one year behind at kindergarten level. We saw this increase to 11 per cent at grade one level, 13 per cent at grade two level and 17 per cent at grade three level. By the time we got to form five, it was 38 per cent. This shows us that the problem is identifiable at the kindergarten level but when it’s not addressed it’s very difficult for those children to improve,” Dr Knight said.

The resultant effect was students starting to drop out of school as early as first form due to their inability to cope.

The study also concluded that boys were twice as impacted as girls, with repetition and dropout rates for boys standing at 8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

While data for the five-year period for the same cohort of males and females was absent, the scholars examined the number of students enrolled in first form compared to the number of them in fifth form, noting an overall 24 per cent decline.

“There was a 15 per cent loss for girls between first and fifth form compared to 32 per cent for the boys. This shows that the boys are most impacted by this exclusion, the first to drop out, most represented in the repetition classes, the suspension list, with discipline issues,” Dr Knight indicated.

Following a review of recently-conducted empirical studies, they arrived at 12 barriers to potential exclusion, which were later narrowed down to five, following consultation workshops with key interest groups in each country.

The main problems were: inadequate support for struggling learners, inadequate special needs provisions, negative teacher attitude towards academically weak students, weak academic performance and participation of boys, and low parental engagement and involvement in children’s education.

While the latter did not emerge as a factor at the early childhood level, poverty did.

“It wasn’t a surprise to find that teachers were reluctant to teach ‘weak’ students at the secondary level, but when we saw it emerging at the primary level and the early childhood level too it became a greater concern. If we are saying that potential exclusion begins at kindergarten level where we begin to see the gaps and this continues at primary school and into fifth form levels where it seems to widen then there’s need to bring those teachers together to ensure that their training and professional development are really addressed,” Dr Knight stated.

“Half of the teachers were untrained to begin with. Less than 50 per cent of the secondary school teachers across the region are certified as trained so they were untrained and there were these students coming in who couldn’t read, couldn’t write and they still had to teach them Principles of Business, Social Studies, History, the same curriculum. The performance level of the students began to fall in the subject areas and the teachers blamed the children and said ‘those students don’t belong here, they need to be kept in the same primary school or sent to a different type of secondary school or something’.

“It got so bad that some teachers don’t want to teach low performing students and the children were separated based on ability. What we found was that once the students went into a particularly stream [classes based on abilities] they continued in that stream throughout the entire schooling period, which have implications for their motivation, self-confidence and self-esteem,” she added.

An exhaustive list of recommendations have been put forward to remedy the deficiencies, including school outreach to parents, the development of stronger partnerships with families, the facilitation of parent orientation sessions so they could better understand their roles, parenting classes and more home visits by trained counsellors and teachers.

Additionally, the researchers suggest innovative changes to classroom instruction methods and teaching aids at primary and secondary school levels for children with problems learning.

For teachers with negative attitude towards academically weak students, they believe professional support should be provided targeting problem areas, the provision of mentorship for younger teachers, the introduction of bridging programmes to support children in the transition from primary to secondary school level and targeted support for children who repeat a class level.

Posted in Education, Featured, Features, International, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

Floyd Green

Government provides counseling,relief following fire at children’s home

 

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan. 16, CMC – The Government is providing counselling and relief supplies for children and staff of the Walker’s Place of Safety following a massive fire here late Monday that claimed the lives of two children.

Floyd Green
Floyd Green

“The Walker’s Place of Safety was completely destroyed by fire late last night. The loss is quite devastating as two children died in the fire. Steps are being taken to contact the parents and to start counselling for them,” said Floyd Green, the junior minister in the Education Ministry.

He told the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) that counselling is being provided for the displaced children and staff because, “as you can imagine, they are completely devastated”.

He noted that “the priority now is to guide them through this difficult time and ensure that we get the essential items that they need. We have already started to get critical supplies, such as medication for those children who are ill. We are moving now to find a suitable location, so that we can move the children and ensure that they are more comfortable”.

Green said investigations have been launched to determine the cause of the blaze, which destroyed the privately owned facility located on Lyndhurst Road in the Corporate Area.

The place of safety serves as a transitional residence for children, generally up to 12 years old, who have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of unstable conditions.

“The fire service has also commenced their investigation. We are awaiting their report. The Child Protection and Family Services Agency will also do their own investigation to see what transpired,” Green said.

Posted in Environment, Health, Kids, Local, News, Regional, Youth0 Comments

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