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Jamaica: Guard who rescued girls from burning building to receive award


Kingston resident Kimani Ramon Anderson, who singlehandedly and heroically rescued three young girls, all wards of the State, from a burning building at the Walker’s Place of Safety in January, will receive the Badge of Honour for Gallantry from the Government. He is one of nine people shortlisted for the award, and is among more than 200 being recognised for outstanding service to Jamaica during this year’s honours and awards ceremony at King’s House on National Heroes Day, today.

Anderson tells JIS News that he is honoured by the recognition being accorded him for braving the raging flames to extract the three girls who were trapped in their dormitory on the night of January 16. The 32-year-old security officer recounts bolting from his house to the home after being awakened by screams and the sound of breaking glass emanating from the facility, which is situated beside his residence on Lyndhurst Crescent in Kingston. Anderson says he instinctively kicked in the door to the dormitory, sections of which were already on fire and filled with smoke, and extracted the girls. (JAMAICA OBSERVER)…[+]

Philippine personal remittances increase to 21.2 bln USD in 8 months

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MANILA-Personal remittances from overseas Filipinos (OFs) increased by 2.4 percent year-on-year to 21.2 billion U.S. dollars in the first eight months of 2018, the Philippine central bank (BSP) data showed on Monday.

BSP officer-in-charge Maria Almasara Cyd Tuano-Amador said in a statement that personal remittances from land-based workers with work contracts of one year or more grew by 2.1 percent to 16.3 billion U.S. dollars, while transfers from sea-based workers and land-based workers with short-term contracts expanded by 3.8 percent to 4.4 billion U.S. dollars.

However, she said personal remittances for August 2018 were 1.4 percent lower than the level posted in August 2017. Meanwhile, from January to August 2018, the BSP said cash remittances from OFs coursed through banks recorded a 2.5 percent growth from the same period a year ago to reach 19.1 billion U.S. dollars. The BSP said cash remittances sent by land-based workers rose by 2.1 percent to 15.1 billion U.S. dollars, and transfers from sea-based workers grew by 3.8 percent to 4.0 billion U.S. dollars.For August 2018, however, the BSP said cash remittances posted a 0.9 percent decrease year-on-year to 2.5 billion U.S. dollars.(Xinhua)…[+]

Nine climbers killed in Himalayan storm


Five South Korean climbers and their four Nepali guides have been killed after a storm devastated their base camp in the Himalayas, local police and hiking officials have said. The record-breaking climber Kim Chang-ho was among those killed in Nepal’s worst climbing accident for two years.

Police official Bir Bahadur Budhamagar said locals had helped rescuers retrieve the nine bodies from near their base camp on Mount Gurja, a 7,193-metre (23,600ft) peak about 135 miles (215km) north-west of Kathmandu. “The bodies of all five Koreans and four Nepalis have been identified,” Budhamagar told Reuters from Myagdi district where the accident took place.

The South Korean expedition was being led by Kim, who set the record in 2013 for being the fastest to reach the summits of the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen. Kim’s four-man team had been joined by a fifth South Korean trekker. They were at their base camp lat an altitude of 3,500 metres (11,482ft) when the storm struck.(theguardian)…[+]

St Kitts calls in Regional Security System to help with crime

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Plagued by crime, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis yesterday announced the deployment of forces from the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS).

In a national address yesterday, the St Kitts Government Information Service (GIS) said that Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris underscored his government’s position in leaving no stone unturned when it comes to the criminal elements that “threaten to derail the country’s advancement, human development and economic progress, a country that is leading the region in its fiscal performance and stability”.The St Kitts GIS said in a release that  RSS forces began arriving in the Federation on October 10th, 2018, and will continue to arrive in sufficient numbers to assist ongoing efforts at ensuring citizen safety and security. RSS members are already deployed throughout the communities with local national security personnel, and their “presence will help local law enforcement to expand the extent of their coverage of the country,” the release added.(stabroeknews)…[+]

Germany kicks off key state election in Bavaria


MUNICH- Germany’s southern state of Bavaria started voting on Sunday to shuffle the local parliament Landtag. About 9.5 million eligible voters are called in 91 voting districts to elect their representatives in the new state parliament, among them 600,000 are first-time voters, according to local statistics office.

Preliminary results will be disclosed at 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT). The Christian Social Union (CSU), which has long governed the economic-strong state after the post-war period, is polled to suffer a serious setback losing its majority. The latest survey showed the conservative party will get 34 percent of the votes, a historic low and a sharp decline from the 47.7 percent it got in 2013.

CSU’s losses will likely give way to the ecologist, pro-immigration Greens, with a supporting rate of 19 percent, and the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is forecast to win roughly 10 percent of the votes, according to the poll made by Infratest Dimap. The regional party Free Voters is projected to get 10 percent of the votes.(Xinhua)…[+]

Princess Eugenie wedding: royal marries at star-studded ceremony


Roads were closed, balloted tickets offered to members of the public and the streets of Windsor scattered with royal devotees, but this was, insisted the father of the bride before the service, “not a public wedding. This is meant to be a family wedding.”

And so it turned out when Princess Eugenie, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, married Jack Brooksbank, a “tequila ambassador”, at St George’s chapel on Friday, in a service that was both a highly formal royal event and a somewhat idiosyncratic ceremony reflecting the distinct character of the younger generation of royals.

As befits a ceremony where guests ranged from the Queen to Ricky Martin, the service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, with music by Andrea Bocelli, while the bridal party included Prince George and Robbie Williams’s daughter Teddy. The readings included a lesson from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians and an extract from The Great Gatsby, read by the bride’s older sister, Beatrice, which raised eyebrows for its description of the lead character as “an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over 30, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd”.

The passage, the dean later explained in his address, had “reminded [Eugenie] immediately of Jack”, though it was particularly the description of Gatsby’s smile as having “a quality of eternal reassurance” that she had meant, he said pointedly.(theguardian)…[+]

Andrew Brunson: Turkish court rules to release US pastor


The American pastor at the centre of a bitter diplomatic rift between Washington DC and Ankara is traveling back to the US after a Turkish court ordered his release following two years in detention. Witnesses in the courtroom in the western town of Izmir said Andrew Brunson wept as the decision was announced on Friday. “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus, I love Turkey,” he had earlier told the court.

The surprise release of Brunson – who had been held on terrorism charges related to the failed 2016 military coup – suggests US-Turkey relations are thawing as Ankara seeks US help in investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last week. After the ruling, Donald Trump – who has made the case a foreign policy priority – wrote on Twitter that his “thoughts and prayers” were with Brunson, before posting in an all-caps tweet that the US pastor would be home soon.(theguardian)…[+]

Chinese language craze catches on in Tajikistan


DUSHANBE- “I have always wanted to learn Chinese. I plan to study in China after graduation,” said Qodirova Sayora, a senior university student.

Two years after learning the Chinese language at the Confucius Institute of the Tajik National University for Nationalities, Sayora is now a die-hard Chinese culture fan. She is currently learning to play the Chinese zither, a 2,500-year-old plucked string instrument. “It is very interesting to learn to play the zither, and that helps me learn Chinese,” she told Xinhua after playing a piece of ancient Chinese music.

In Dushanbe, there are many young, passionate university students like Sayora, keen to learn Chinese and know more about the Chinese culture. “The students are curious. They are especially interested in the Chinese characters — the way they are written, what they mean, and how to speak,” said Abdurahimova Shabnam, a Dushanbe-based mandarin teacher. Luckily enough, now Tajik students have more opportunities to learn about the Chinese culture in a comprehensive way.(Xinhua)…[+]

CDB invests USD20 million in education and youth development in Saint Lucia


BRIDGETOWN- The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is investing USD20 million in education and youth development in Saint Lucia. On October 3, the Bank launched the Saint Lucia Education Quality Improvement Project (EQuIP) and the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP), at the Bay Gardens Hotel.

EQuIP aims to strengthen the island’s education system, through the expansion and rehabilitation of four selected institutions, and overall improvements in educational leadership and instructional effectiveness, including training for teachers, principals and education officers.

These two projects are designed to holistically address a number of the risk factors for sub-optimal educational outcomes, crime and violence, as well as deviant and anti-social behaviour that are affecting youth in a number of schools and communities across Saint Lucia. Specifically, EQuIP is expected to improve quality, equity, efficiency and effectiveness of the education system, making it responsive to the needs of diverse learners,” said Dr. Idamay Denny, Portfolio Manager, CDB. EQuIP will place emphasis on enhancing the support provided for children with special educational needs, by assessing the institutional and infrastructural improvements needed to provide quality education and equitable access to this vulnerable group. “The fundamental reality is such that, when we provide a platform for every child to flourish within their own right, we as a nation succeed. This is the commitment of the Department of Education, and by extension, the Government of Saint Lucia,” said Dr. Gale T. C. Rigobert, Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations & Sustainable Development, Saint Lucia.(CDB)…[+]

Space crew abort flight after post-launch rocket failure


A Russian-American space crew have been forced to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan after their Soyuz rocket suffered a failure shortly after launching from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in one of the most serious space incidents in recent years.

The launch began as a routine affair. Missions bound for the International Space Station (ISS) have been conducted every few months for the past 20 years. But 119 seconds into Thursday’s flight, mission controllers on the Nasa broadcast began to speak of a failure. Shaky footage from the capsule’s cabin seen during the live broadcast appeared to show objects floating mid-launch. The crew told mission control they felt weightless, an indication of a problem during that stage of the flight.

Agitated voices flooding the radio link between mission control and the capsule could be heard on the Nasa broadcast. Details and the exact sequence of events remain unclear, but shortly afterwards the crew initiated an abort and ejected their capsule from the rocket.(theguardian)…[+]