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CNN – Reliable Sources, today snippets

Exec summary: WarnerMedia announces a streaming service… President Trump phones it in to Fox News again… Hearst shakes up its editor ranks… Civil Media admits that it’s having trouble… plus much more…

 Ferocious

Television journalists standing out in the rain and wind is a staple of hurricane coverage. Some viewers love it, others think it’s ridiculous. No matter what you think, Wednesday showed the limits of those spectacular live shots.
Hurricane Michael was so ferocious that reporters near the center of the storm could not physically stand in the worst of the winds. Some broadcasters used the relative safety of a sturdy building to remain outside, while shielded from the gusts. Others retreated inside and even barricaded themselves inside interior rooms until the eyewall passed. Some news crews were forced off the air because cell towers and satellite phones were no match for the monster. Case in point, NBC’s Mariana Atencio tried to call into “Nightly News” from Port St. Joe — viewers heard her say “it looks like a massive tornado hit” — but her signal was barely audible.

Later in the evening, Tampa Bay Times reporter Zack Sampson, in the same town, said he could only get cell service at the top of a nearby bridge. “Even the cops are here, high above the intracoastal, using their phones,” he tweeted. “They say even their communication systems are down.” 

Reporters are trying to get to Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and other devastated communities, but roads are blocked “by just about everything that Mother Nature can throw at you,” CNN’s Miguel Marquez said…
 

Thursday’s top story will be:

Michael had a relatively small inner core, but it was still intensifying as it reached the Florida panhandle. So there’s a swath of land just to the east of Panama City that experienced tornado-like conditions.

Michael’s strength was “shocking,” Sam Champion said on Chris Cuomo‘s CNN program.

“When we get some daylight into these areas” on Thursday, “the damage is just going to be horrifying.” And the path of damage extended into south Georgia…
 

Moment of impact

As the eyewall passed by Panama City Beach at 1 p.m. ET, CNN’s John Berman said the wind felt like “small nails” hitting his face. That image stuck with me all afternoon.

 
NBC, ABC and CBS all aired special reports as Michael’s eye came ashore between 1 and 2. Lester Holt, appearing on NBC’s special report from inside a hotel room, said he could feel the sliding glass doors shaking. The crew took apart the bed and put the mattress in front of the window in case it shattered. “You know, we want to be on the air, but we’ve got to take care of each other,” Holt told anchor Kate Snow. “Know that we’re safe but we’re going to have to sign off.” Holt came back on about five minutes later and showed that the room was barricaded…

Tech difficulties

By 6:30 p.m., Holt and his nightly news rivals were able to step outside and show some of the damage. Jeff Glor anchored the “CBS Evening News” with just a LiveU video transmission unit and a single functional cell phone. 

Exec producer Mosheh Oinounou talked with Glor via correspondent Nikole Killion‘s phone… Her signal was used to feed Glor the show in his ear, direct camera shots, send scripts and notes, etc…
 

The big picture

Brian Lowry emails: It’s difficult to connect a breaking news story to a larger issue, in the same way a mass shooting can appear to be an unseemly time to discuss gun control. But Hurricane Michael and terrifying images out of Florida are already prompting some to connect the recent spate of catastrophic weather to the U.N. Climate report, and the political implications of failing to act. John Dean, for example, tweeted about Republicans rejecting climate science, amid a spate of editorials addressing the need for action and what the LAT characterized as “lack of political will.”

How to talk about hurricanes now

Notice how news outlets tend to call hurricanes like Michael a “natural disaster?” CNN’s John D. Sutter points out that we continue to use that term, “natural,” but “doing so — especially in the era of climate change — is misleading if not dangerous.” He spoke with several disaster experts and climate scientists about this. “The phrase ‘natural disaster’ is an attempt to lay blame where blame really doesn’t rest,” Kerry A. Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at MIT and a global expert on hurricanes, told Sutter…
 

Trump’s show must go on?

That’s my takeaway from his decision to go ahead with Wednesday night’s rally in PA. Back in 2012, he criticized Barack Obama for campaigning in the wake of Sandy. But on Wednesday he said he couldn’t let down his fans.

After the rally, Trump called into Fox’s 11 p.m. program, “Fox News @ Night,” marking anchor Shannon Bream‘s first interview with Trump as president. Trump also called into Judge Jeanine’s show last weekend…

 >> Related: Jason Schwartz and Gabby Orr‘s latest for Politico: Fox News is no longer carrying every Trump rally live, and “some in the White House are worried that the president is losing a megaphone to his base…”
 

 

 

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Opposition Leader wins defamation lawsuit against her former cabinet colleague

Opposition Leader wins defamation lawsuit against her former cabinet colleague

 

October 10, 2018
88 views
 

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 10, CMC – A High Court Wednesday ruled in favour of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar, in her defamation lawsuit against the Sunshine Publishing Company Limited owned by Austin Jack Warner, who once served as a senior minister in her coalition People’s Partnership government.

Austin Jack Warner and Kamla Persad Bissessar in happier times (File Photo)

Persad Bissessar had taken the legal action after the newspaper published an article on December 4, 2015, under the headline “Kamla facing extradition to US”.

The article was based on an October 12, 2012 letter allegedly from then United States Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

When the matter came up for hearing in the San Fernando High Court, south of here on Wednesday, Persad Bissessar confirmed that the contents of her witness statement filed in March 2017, were true.

Justice David Harris said there is to be damages for libel inclusive of aggravating and exemplary damages and cost for the claimant. He also ordered that there be an injunction restricting the defendant from further publishing the allegation or any similar allegation and cost for the claim.

Damages are to be assessed before a Master on a date to be fixed.

Warner was not present in court.

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BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, Oct 10, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris says joining the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is not a priority for his coalition administration in St Kitts and Nevis.

Harris, speaking on WINN FM radio here said that his government is not treating membership of the CCJ that was established in 2001 to replace the London-based Privy Council as the region’s final court, as a priority at this time.

“In terms of the CCJ the cabinet has not made a determination with respect to that matter, it is a matter we will perhaps consider at a more proficient time. At this moment I think there is a sense that the Privy Council is favoured by the national community,” Harris said.

St. Kitts-Nevis is among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries that have signed on to the original Jurisdiction of the CCJ. However, only Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana are signatoresi to the appellate Jurisdiction of the Court that also functions as an international tribunal interpreting the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas that governs the regional integration movement, CARICOM.

Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada are due to hold national referendum on November 6 to determine whether or not to replace the Privy Council.

Harris told radio listeners that the issue of replacing the Privy Council with the CCJ is among the matters “that before we attend to this we will put before the people, have an educational programme with regard to any movement away from the Privy Council and get a good grounding from the people where they want to go because there are very strong views for and against on that one.

“It is a matter someday we will have to confront, we don’t need to confront it today, so it is not a priority consideration at this time for the Team Unity administration,” he added.

Former CCJ president, Sir Dennis Byron, a citizen of the twin island Federation, said recently that the CCJ is not a party issue and that a referendum often requires a two-thirds majority for change.

“What has been happening in our country is because of the cost, and the complexities and the difficulty of going to the Privy Council our people have not been having a final appeal. They just have a case and a court of appeal and most people have to stop there even if they are not satisfied.

“The CCJ has put a stop to that because, in the countries that have adopted our jurisdiction, people are coming to us. It’s easier, it’s cheaper, it’s on the spot and if you look at some of the decisions that we have made it’s impacted on the day to day life of the communities in ways in which the Privy Council never do,’ Sir Dennis had said.

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Opposition Leader calls for general elections, dismisses budget

Opposition Leader calls for general elections, dismisses budget

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 5, CMC – Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar Friday called for fresh general elections as she dismissed suggestions by the Keith Rowley government that it had been able to turn around the economy since coming to office three years ago.

Persad Bissessar told legislators that as at June 2018, the country’s gross public debt stood at TT122.1 billion (One TT dollar=US$0.016 cents) “which is the highest it has ever been in our recorded history.

Opposition Leader responding to budget presentation (CMC Photo)

“Our children and grandchildren will have to clean up the mess that this current administration is making. It is a debt-funded disaster. It is a balance sheet meltdown and it mortgages the future generation away.”

She said that instead of transferring savings for future generations, the government “is hell bent on transferring insurmountable debt to the future generations of this country.

“In just three years, this government has already borrowed over TT20 billion dollars. Today, the country’s net public sector debt outstanding stands at TT96.6 billion dollars, the highest in our nation’s history.”.

Persad Bissessar said that Finance Minister Colm Imbert, who on Monday had presented the TT$57.1 billion (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) budget to Parliament, had once against sought to hoodwink the population about growth and a turnaround in economic fortunes.

“Anyone who looked or listened to the minister’s speech on Monday knows that the turnaround he speaks about is not real – it cannot be felt, it cannot be seen, it cannot be touched, it cannot be smelt and it cannot be tasted.

“There has been no turnaround of empty pockets, no turnaround of empty kitchen cupboards, no turnaround of empty wallets, no turnaround of job loss. There has not even been a turnaround of the lacklustre performance from government, “Persad Bissessar said during her three-hour contribution to the debate.

“After three years, this …government has shown that it does not have a clue about what to do to grow the economy,” she told legislators, adding that the Rowley administration had over the past three years been campaigning for the next general election constitutionally due by 2020.

“The Prime Minister tells us that he is not afraid to lose the next election. In the same breath, he says that Balisier house (headquarters of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) is run better than the PNM government.

“I think everyone will agree with me that anything and everything is being run better than this government. No amount of bravado or strong man politics can change the reality that citizens cannot afford to buy school books for their children, they cannot afford to put bread and johnny bake on the table,” said Persad Bissessar, who led a coalition People’s Partnership government between 2010-15.

She said that citizens were fed up of the blame, of the excuses, and they are completely fed up of the PNM.

“Their strategy is not to fix the economy, not to help the small man, not to create jobs, not to uplift the country. Their strategy is to stay in power and to keep enjoying luxury yachts, golf trips and mustangs.

They do not know or care about the pain that you feel; they do not understand the hardship that you face,” she said, as she outlined the fiscal policies and measures a United National Congress (UNC) government would adopt if it wins the next general election.

Persad Bissessar said that the government, since it won the 2015 general election has been blaming her administration, the police, public servants, teachers, unions, economists for the situation confronting the oil-rich twin island republic.

“For three years later and four budgets all the people of this country have gotten from you is excuses and a run around. This is the tragic and frightening crossroads we find ourselves today, a government destabilising every single sector, destroy”.

She said that the government “has willingly breached its social contract with the people who elected them in good faith to serve their basic needs and rights to live in a stable, progressive democracy” and instead are being repaid “with betrayal, treachery, brutality, ingratitude and inhumanity “.

Persad Bissessar said that her UNC party would end the “shadows of darkness, despair, destruction, wickedness and hardship” inflicted upon the population by the PNM government and that voters were waiting patiently to “riot with their fingers” in 2020.

“I say to you, call the elections now and meet the people in the voting booths,” she said, adding that her party’s vision for the country is one in which each citizen can enjoy a better quality of life, more prosperity, safety, access to quality healthcare and improved equal opportunities for all.

“We will re-engineer our society, from one that has to protest for roads, drains and water, to one that is aspirational in nature. We will re-calibrate the chaos that they have created by the mismanagement and incompetence of the government.

“We will return Trinidad and Tobago to a nation of prosperity rather than the failed state that they have reduced us to. We will get to work immediately, and we will ensure that the persons they have left unemployed and impoverished will get back to work too.”.

Persad Bissessar said that the vision of her party in government would be achieved by rebalancing the country’s finances, reforming its institutions, with particular attention to the state enterprise sector “and most importantly we would do all of this with the people at the centre, as the single most important priority to my government.

“With diligence, resolve and a shared vision, we can transform our nation, and ensure a brighter future for every single citizen of Trinidad and Tobago,” she said.

The budget debate is continuing.

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Rowley team sweeps internal elections

Rowley team sweeps internal elections

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Oct 1, CMC – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley led his “Team Red” in a total sweep of the internal polls of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) on Sunday, according to Rohan Sinanan, the campaign manager.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley

Speaking on a radio programme here, Sinanan said that while Rowley was elected unopposed during the elections, all the members of his team were victorious and that the victory as an “endorsement of the political leader”.

“That’s the important factor,” said Sinanan, noting that the slate had included Finance Minister Colm Imbert who contest the chairmanship of the party that was founded in 1955 by the late Dr. Eric Williams, considered the “father of the nation: and the country’s first prime minister.

Other successful candidates included Public utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte, as vice chairman, and Forster Cummings as general secretary.

Apart from Rowley, the other uncontested posts were that of lady vice chairman held by Planning and Development Minister, Camille Robinson-Regis and labour relations officer held by Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus.

During the campaign Rowley had called for total endorsement of his team, telling supporters that the party would be going into three elections, including the general election over the next two years.

Rowley led the PNM into victory in the 2015 general election, defeating the coalition People’s Partnership government of then prime minister Kamla Persad Bissesar.

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The Washington Post

GOP’s Grassley says FBI probe finds no hint of ‘misconduct’ by Kavanaugh; Democrats dispute that, say White House restricted FBI

TMR: Here goes! Will the suppresion of truth and minimising of investigation convince those important to the fray and injustice (improper research and investigation and misguided attention to inability to prove supported ‘sexual misconduct’ forgetting or ignoring all the rest that points to underlying misbeliefs, win the day for America and the (western) world eventually? But, it didn’t start there, it just got hightened! Yet it is still unbelievable.
White House says it has received FBI report on Kavanaugh

The White House said Oct. 4 that it had received the FBI’s completed report on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh.

October 4 at 10:56 AM

BREAKING NEWS: The dueling assessments on Thursday came as senators read the FBI background check of the Supreme Court nominee. Brett M. Kavanaugh had faced allegations of sexual misconduct, including an accusation from Christine Blasey Ford that he assaulted her when they were teenagers.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement that the “uncorroborated accusations have been unequivocally and repeatedly rejected by Judge Kavanaugh, and neither the Judiciary Committee nor the FBI could locate any third parties who can attest to any of the allegations.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the committee, told reporters that the report was a “product of an incomplete investigation.” Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he disagreed with Grassley’s assessment.

The Senate is heading toward a procedural vote on Friday and if Republicans prevail, Kavanaugh would be on track to a lifetime appointment to the nation’s highest court.

This a developing story and will be updated.

As the Senate began reviewing the new FBI report on Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh on Thursday, both Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley and the White House stood by President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, saying the investigation found nothing sufficient to corroborate allegations of sexual misconduct while Kavanaugh was a teenager.

“There’s nothing in it that we didn’t already know,” Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement after being briefed on the report by his staff. “It’s time to vote.”

Democrats have protested that the FBI probe was rushed and too limited in scope, and lawyers for Kavanaugh’s accusers say the bureau declined to interview multiple witnesses who could have backed up their accounts.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday that the FBI agents had reached out to 10 witnesses — nine of whom were interviewed — and that no one had corroborated the account of Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

“The president, the White House are firmly behind Brett Kavanaugh,” Shah said during an appearance Thursday morning on CNN. “We believe that all the Senate’s questions have been addressed through this supplemental FBI investigation.”

In an earlier tweet, Shah said the White House is “fully confident” that the Senate will confirm Kavanaugh, whose nomination has been roiled by the allegations of three women about his behavior more than three decades ago.

 
 
‘Wrong, vile, appalling’: Trump mocking Ford spurs outrage

President Trump’s comments mocking Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony on her allegation against Brett M. Kavanaugh caused widespread backlash.

In anticipation of the FBI report’s arrival, on Wednesday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) teed up a key vote to advance Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday.

Until that vote, senators will be rushing in and out of a secure facility at the Capitol to review the sensitive FBI report.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats plan to hold a news conference at 11 a.m. to speak about the report.

In morning tweets, Trump decried what he said was “harsh and unfair treatment” of Kavanaugh, who has undergone previous FBI background checks for other federal jobs, and accused Democrats of obstructing the confirmation process.

“This is now the 7th. time the FBI has investigated Judge Kavanaugh,” Trump wrote. “If we made it 100, it would still not be good enough for the Obstructionist Democrats.”

In his statement, Grassley said that “this investigation found no hint of misconduct and the same is true of the six prior FBI background investigations conducted during Judge Kavanaugh’s 25 years of public service.”

In tweets starting around 4 a.m., Grassley announced that the panel had received the report from the White House and that he and its top Democrat had “agreed to alternating EQUAL access for senators to study content from additional background info gathered by nonpartisan FBI agents.”

The FBI’s report will be available at a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, in the Capitol Visitor Center, a secure room designed for senators to review sensitive or classified material, two Senate officials said. Just one physical copy of the report will be available, and only to senators and 10 committee staffers cleared to view the material.

The two parties will take turns having access to the FBI report in shifts, according to a senior Senate official. It will rotate throughout the rest of the day Thursday and potentially into Friday, with staff members simultaneously briefing senators.

But even before the report was formally sent to the Senate, lawyers for Ford criticized what they viewed as an incomplete FBI probe.

“An FBI supplemental background investigation that did not include an interview of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford — nor the witnesses who corroborate her testimony — cannot be called an investigation,” her legal team said in a statement. “We are profoundly disappointed that after the tremendous sacrifice she made in coming forward, those directing the FBI investigation were not interested in seeking the truth.”

On Thursday, a lawyer for Deborah Ramirez, who has accused Kavanaugh of exposing himself while in college, sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher A. Wray making the same claim.

The letter noted that Ramirez had been interviewed by the FBI for two hours Sunday in Colorado and later provided a list of 20 people who might corroborate her account of Kavanaugh’s behavior.

“Fewer than four days, later, however, the FBI apparently has concluded its investigation — without permitting its agents to investigate,” wrote Ramirez lawyer William Pittard. “We are deeply disappointed by this failure.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, also took issue Wednesday with the decision not to interview Ford and Kavanaugh, both of whom testified at a high-stakes hearing last week, suggesting that the White House had prevented the FBI from contacting them.

“Last week’s hearing is no substitute for FBI interviews, especially when you consider the tenor of Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony,” Feinstein said in a statement. “When he wasn’t yelling and demeaning senators, he was making misleading statements that cast doubt on his overall trustworthiness. I don’t think that would happen with FBI agents seated across the table.”

The reopened FBI investigation was prompted by reservations expressed last by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) about moving forward on a full Senate vote without further examination of the accusations of Ford and other “credible” accusers.

Even as the White House gave the FBI permission to broaden its examination, it continued to hold the bureau to a strict timeline.

Moreover, the inquiry focused mainly on the account of Ford, the research psychologist who alleges that a drunken Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were high school students in the Washington suburbs.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the White House had restricted the FBI from scrutinizing the nominee’s drinking habits, as well as possible disparities between his alcohol consumption as a young man and his account before Congress.

Much of the focus Thursday will be on the reactions of three Republicans whose votes are considered key to Kavanaugh’s fate: Flake, Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).

On Wednesday, all three took issue with Trump’s mocking of Ford the night before at a political rally in Mississippi that drew laughs from his supporters.

“What I want is I want to see the report,” Murkowski told reporters last night. “That’s what I’m waiting for.”

Besides Flake, Collins and Murkowski, Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.) also have yet to announce how they will vote.

While trying to round up votes on his side, McConnell has also taken sharp aim at Democrats, accusing them of trying to “move the goal posts” on Kavanaugh’s confirmation fight by suggesting that Friday would be too soon for a key vote on him.

Senate Democrats opened a new front Wednesday in their objections to the investigations of Kavanaugh’s conduct, suggesting in a letter to Grassley that past FBI background checks of Kavanaugh include evidence of inappropriate behavior, without disclosing specifics.

The letter, signed by eight of the 10 Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, challenged the accuracy of a tweet from the committee’s Republican staff on Tuesday that said: “Nowhere in any of these six FBI reports, which the committee has reviewed on a bipartisan basis, was there ever a whiff of ANY issue — at all — related in any way to inappropriate sexual behavior or alcohol abuse.” 

The Democrats said the information in the tweet is “not accurate,” urging the GOP to correct it.

“It is troubling that the committee majority has characterized information from Judge Kavanaugh’s confidential background investigation on Twitter, as that information is confidential and not subject to public release,” the Democrats, led by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (Ill.), wrote to Grassley. “If the committee majority is going to violate that confidentiality and characterize this background investigation publicly, you must at least be honest about it.”

The two committee Democrats who did not sign the letter were Sens. Christopher A. Coons (Del.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.). 

Grassley’s staff responded on Twitter that “nothing in the tweet is inaccurate or misleading.” 

“The committee stands by its statement, which is completely truthful,” the committee Republicans said. “More baseless innuendo and more false smears from Senate Democrats.”

Josh Dawsey, Mike DeBonis, Tom Hamburger and Isaac Stanley-Becker contributed to this report.

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Savarin sworn in as President once more

Savarin sworn in as President once more

ROSEAU, Dominica, Oct 2, CMC – Charles Angelo Savarin was Tuesday sworn-in as President for a second five-year term, a day after being re-elected amid strong objections from opposition legislators.

The Oath of Office was administered by Justice Birnie Stephenson, Senior Resident Judge, designated by Dame Janice M. Pereira, Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.

Savarin said the support he had received in his first term, which began in 2013, had been again demonstrated when he was re-elected Head of State during Monday’s sitting of Parliament.

President Charles Angelo Savarin taking the oath of
office on Tuesday.

He had received the support of all 20 Government Members of Parliament in an election that was preceded by United Workers Party (UWP) legislators staging a walkout before the vote was taken. Opposition Leader Lennox Linton had argued that the election was unconstitutional, as it was taking place during the 14-day period designation for nomination of candidates.

Linton called for the Parliament to be adjourned to Friday, but Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he had been given an opportunity to submit a nominee for the post, but had not done so within the timeframe promised.

At his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, Savarin said he remained “true and loyal” to the commitment to carry out his duty without malice or ill will towards anyone, without fear of intimidation and with respect for the traditions, laws and Constitution of Dominica.

He added that he looked forward “with great optimism, to further discharging the functions of the office of President with dignity and dedication, impartiality, objectivity, fairness and consideration for all in accordance with provisions of the constitution”.

He also used the opportunity to encourage Dominicans to work together for the benefit, reconstruction and further development of the country which had been hard hit by Hurricane Maria in September last year.

The President said the country had come a long way since then, but there was still a lot of work to be done to build back better and stronger, and achieve the goal of making Dominica the first climate resilient country in the world.

“To succeed at this task, however, we need to embrace each other as fellow Dominicans. We have to set aside our differences, whether they are religious or political, whether we live at home, here in Dominica, or abroad in the Diaspora, whether we support the government or are opposed to it,” he said.

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Former premier set to get million dollar payout

Former premier set to get million dollar payout

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Sep 30, CMC  – Health Minister Kim Wilson has disclosed that doctor and former Bermuda premier Ewart Brown is likely to receive more than US$1.2 million in total from the public purse for financial losses suffered at his two medical clinics.

Wilson defended the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) government’s decision to pay the compensation to 72-year-old Brown in an interview with the Royal Gazette Newspaper, describing him as having suffered “economic sanctions” at the hands of the former One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) administration when it slashed the fees for diagnostic imaging scans in June 2017.

Wilson said in addition to a $600,000 payment , Brown has since been given another $220,000 in financial supplements and her ministry estimated he would receive a further $420,000.

Meanwhile, the police have confirmed that detectives are still investigating the two clinics, Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget parish and the Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s parish, over allegations they ordered medically unnecessary tests for patients to boost profits.

A police spokesman said: “The matter is still under investigation and, as such, no further comment can be made at this time.”

The allegations have been denied by Brown, who was premier between 2006 and 2010 before retiring from politics, and he has not been charged with any offence.

In 2017, Brown was named as a “non-party co-conspirator” in a lawsuit brought by the former OBA government against the Lahey Clinic in the United States

The civil complaint alleged that he and Lahey profited from excessive and medically unnecessary scans on patients at the expense of the public purse — a claim both Brown and the hospital denied.

That case was dismissed by a Massachusetts judge in March and dropped by the PLP government after it returned to power in last year’s general election.

The Ministry of Health said in January that financial supplements granted to Brown’s clinics and to the Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) due to the fee cuts were “in order to help ensure CT and MRI services are readily available to the public”.

But Wilson told the Gazette the decision to pay public funds to Brown’s two private clinics was not an attempt to ensure that his CT and MRI scanning units stayed open and there was no discussion with him about keeping them open. The CT scanner at Brown-Darrell closed in January and will reopen in November.

Asked if she had politically interfered on Brown’s behalf, as he requested she do in an e-mail sent last August, which was disclosed under public access to information, Wilson replied: “The government felt that we were required to take positive steps to address a decision or an action of the former government that saw drastic fee reductions in diagnostic imaging to the community providers, as well as Bermuda Hospitals Board.”

Wilson said the sharp fee cuts for scans came about because the OBA administration ignored advice from technical officers at both the Bermuda Health Council and the Ministry of Health to apply a new fairer methodology for calculating fees to the entire BHB fee structure, not just diagnostic imaging fees.

Former Health Minister Jeanne Atherden, who resigned last week as Opposition Leader after losing a vote of no confidence last week among fellow OBA MPs, said the PLP claim that she ignored technical advice was false.

“It may be that the timing of the accusation provides cover for a decision that the government felt it could not easily defend,” she added.

Atherden asked why the PLP did not raise concerns about the change in fees for diagnostic scans when a bill was passed in parliament in May of last year when the OBA was still in power.

“There was no debate or question raised regarding the funding policy for medical scans and no ‘wrong’ was identified in this regard,” she said.

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Sunday Times

Aid used in Caribbean child sex inquiry

David Brandt, who led the Montserrat government from 1997 to 2001, is being investigated
David Brandt, who led the Montserrat government from 1997 to 2001, is being investigatedCHRIS BRANDIS

TMR:

There is so much more to this story in several areas – but seen here taken from the angle which once again shows the bias about money being spent in Montserrat, a British Overseas Territory. There is however a more than suspicious nature of moneys spent as mentioned, which reportedly is more than the £230,000 mentioned in the story. In Montserrat the question regarding the money is, what about the case that warrants almost or over EC$1 million to be spent? Reports are that there is more money being spent in other unrelated matters which represents another situation involving what some refer to as overzealous behaviour, but which is really deeper than that. All matters which must be of concern and interest to the government and the tax payers. Yes there are many issues questions that are much better placed than why the money is spent here instead of there! The writer should note that the money is benefiting their own and not Montserrat. Their research is misplaced and shows the bias only.

Britain has handed more than £200,000 of its foreign aid budget to the National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate the former chief minister of Montserrat on suspicion of child sex abuse.

Officers from the elite crime-fighting force, dubbed the “British FBI”, are making regular trips to the tiny Caribbean island, one of the UK’s overseas territories, to help police investigate David Brandt, who led the government there from 1997 to 2001.

The NCA inquiry in an outpost of Britain’s colonial past — which was devastated by volcanic eruptions in the 1990s — comes at a time when police chiefs in the UK are warning there is not enough money to investigate the “unprecedented” scale of child sexual abuse at home.

Tony Blair met David Brandt in Downing Street in 1997
Tony Blair met David Brandt in Downing Street in 1997 PAUL HACKETT

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk police and national lead officer for child abuse investigation, has previously called for increased rehabilitation and treatment for low-level sex offenders, rather than prosecution, in an attempt to meet swingeing budget cuts.

Documents seen by The Sunday Times show that the Foreign Office has assigned almost £230,000 of public money to the NCA inquiry, which is understood to have been active since 2016.

The news will raise fresh concerns over child sex abuse in British overseas territories following scandals on Jersey and St Helena.

The Foreign Office said: “All our funding programmes follow the government’s agreed standards and receive robust financial scrutiny.”

@TomJHarper

Posted in Court, Crime, Featured, International, Local, News, Politics0 Comments

Caribbean countries sign historic Escazu Agreement

Caribbean countries sign historic Escazu Agreement

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 28, CMC – Caribbean leaders were joining their counterparts in Latin America in signing the Escazu Agreement that seeks to protect the rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

The leaders of Antigua and Barbuda and St. Lucia were the latest to affix their signatures to the accord that the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said is poised to be the new environmental instrument synonymous with non-discrimination, transparency and greater democracy for all.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet singing the Escazú Agreement on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly

“This agreement will help fight crime, poverty, inequality and is crucial to the protection of the environment in general. The agreement is sometimes referred to as ‘environmental democracy,’ which is a new legal term that implies the participation of all in protecting the environment,” according to an Antigua and Barbuda government statement.

It quoted Prime Minister Gaston Browne as outlining the importance of Antigua and Barbuda taking the bold step in becoming signatory to the agreement.

“The island is regarded as one of the front runners within the region with a progressive climate agenda, with the hope of transforming Antigua and Barbuda into a climate smart country,” it said.

Or its part, St. Lucia said it has put itself safely at the vanguard of sustainable development with equality at its core, when it joined other countries in signing the agreement that will be open for signatures until September 26, 2020.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, joined his Antigua and Barbuda counterpart as well as the leaders of Guyana, Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Uruguay in signing the agreement.

The Escazú Agreement was adopted on 4 March 2018, in Escazú, Costa Rica and ECLAC said that it reflects regional ambitions, priorities and uniqueness, while addressing environmental protection and management in sustainable leveraging of natural resources, preserving biodiversity, combatting desertification and climate change, and building disaster resilience.

The Escazú Agreement is the only treaty to emerge from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Río+20). It is also the first regional environmental treaty of LAC countries, and the first with binding provisions on defenders of human rights in environmental matters.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Education, Environment, International, News, Opinions, Regional, Science/Technology, Technology, TOURISM0 Comments

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