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National service corps to expand to western Jamaica

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National service corps to expand to western Jamaica

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Security minister Dr Horace Chang has announced that the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) will be expanding the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) to western Jamaica.

He did not provide a time frame within which the roll-out is expected, but the move is ostensibly tied to the security forces’ push to rein in incidence of crime in the parish.

“The JDF’s roll out of the Jamaica National Service Corps, which will have a footing in western Jamaica soon, one that I look forward to, continues to make significant strides,” Dr Chang said. “I look forward to the expansion of the Jamaica National Service Corps. I know that will demonstrate the commitment of the Government in reaching out to unattached youths and creating the opportunity for young men and women. “

He was speaking Tuesday at the opening ceremony for the JDF’s Burke Barracks accommodation in Montego Bay, which will serve as the new home of the Second Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment (2JR).

The JNSC was established in 2017 as part of Government’s Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme (HOPE), which aims to provide educational and job opportunities for young people.

Dr Chang noted that so far, of the 2,076 youth enrolled in the JNSC, 640 have enlisted in the JDF.

“To date, 2,076 of our young men and women have been attached to the Jamaica National Service Corps, Jamaica resident’s primary youth outreach programme which has gained national attention and recognition. An outstanding effort at providing our young men and young women with an alternative to join the gangs. Of the 2,076, 640 have already joined the Jamaica National Defence Force,” Dr Chang remarked.

He argued that the establishment of the JNSC in the west will be a suitable alternative for youngsters who are prime candidates for gang recruitment or the potential to be lured into lotto scamming.

“It’s tough in this region. We are aware that the primary activity of our gangs in this region in terms of earning income is through what is called lotto scamming, and that, of course, is a very tempting thing for unemployed young men and young women who have often been rejected, or in fact, even abused by the wider community,” the security minister argued.

“But I am confident that if they (youth) are offered productive, creative alternative to develop their skills and earn an honest living they will go to that and they will adopt very quickly and the JDF National Service Corps is one of the most effective mechanism we have found that will begin to attract our young people and young individuals.”

he new Burke Barracks, which is the first of two two-storey dormitory buildings equipped to accommodate 264 military personnel, forms part of an investment valued at $1.6 billion to house the members of the Second Battalion, Jamaica Regiment, whose operations have been relocated from Up Park Camp in St Andrew to Flanker.

“This particular development started on June 1, 2018. There are two phases. The first, which is valued at some $708 million, involves land reclamation, the construction of this two-storey accommodation to house 264 personnel and the construction of a sewage treatment plant,” said Chang.

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Hundreds of new fires in Brazil as outrage over Amazon grows

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Hundreds of new fires in Brazil as outrage over Amazon grows

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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PORTO VELHO, Brazil (AFP) — Hundreds of new fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil, official data showed Saturday, amid growing international pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro to control the worst blazes in years.

Multiple fires were seen across a vast area of the northwestern state of Rondonia on Friday when AFP journalists flew over the area. 

Several people in the capital Porto Velho told AFP Saturday that what appeared to be light clouds hanging over the city was actually smoke from the blazes.

“I’m very worried because of the environment and health,” Delmara Conceicao Silva told AFP. 

“I have a daughter with respiratory problems and she suffers more because of the fires.”

The fires in the world’s largest rainforest have triggered a global outcry and are a major topic of concern at the G7 meeting in Biarritz in southern France.

Official figures show 78,383 forest fires have been recorded in Brazil this year, the highest number of any year since 2013. Experts say the clearing of land during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has aggravated the problem. 

More than half of the fires are in the Amazon, where more than 20 million people live. Some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). 

The new data came a day after Bolsonaro authorised the deployment of the military to fight the fires and crack down on criminal activity in the region. 

– ‘Help is welcome’ –

US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, both attending the G7 summit, have offered their countries’ assistance in fighting the fires. 

“Any help is welcome in respect to the fires,” Brazil’s Defense Minister Fernando Azevedo e Silva told reporters on Saturday. 

The blazes have stirred outrage globally, with thousands of people protesting in Brazil and Europe on Friday. More demonstrations are planned in Brazil on Sunday. 

Earlier this week, Bolsonaro blamed the fires on non-governmental organizations, suggesting they deliberately started them after their funding was cut. 

The growing crisis threatens to torpedo a blockbuster trade deal between the European Union and South American countries, including Brazil, that took 20 years to negotiate.

EU Council president Donald Tusk told reporters at the G7 on Saturday that it was hard to imagine European countries ratifying a trade pact with the Mercosur bloc as long as Brazil fails to curb the fires ravaging the Amazon, which is known as the “lungs of the planet” because of its crucial role in mitigating climate change. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has taken the lead in pressing his Brazilian counterpart over the fires, had earlier accused Bolsonaro of lying to him about Brazil’s stance on climate change.

Environmental specialists say the fires are coming amid increasing deforestation in the Amazon region, which in July took place at a rate four times that of the same month in 2018, according to data from INPE. 

Bolsonaro has previously attacked the institute, describing its data as lies and engineering the sacking of its head.

On Friday, he insisted that the fires should not be used as an excuse to punish Brazil. 

“There are forest fires all over the world, and this cannot be used as a pretext for possible international sanctions,” Bolsonaro said.

Brazil’s powerful agriculture sector — which strongly supports Bolsonaro — has expressed concerns over the president’s rhetoric, fearing boycotts of their products in key markets. 

In an editorial Saturday, the respected Folha de S Paulo newspaper warned that Bolsonaro’s “bravado” had worsened the crisis caused by accelerating deforestation.

“The damage to (Brazil’s) image is done and it could have important trade repercussions,” it said.

“Nationalistic bravado will not win the game this time.” 

 

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3-y-o boy dies after being struck by car

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3-y-o boy dies after being struck by car

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Police say they are investigating the death of a three-year-old boy after he was hit by a car in the community of Greenvale on the outskirts of the parish capital yesterday.

The victim has been identified as Oshay Morris.

Reports are that at about 3:30 pm, the child ran on to the roadway and was hit. The police were summoned and he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. 

The police’s Corporate Communications Unit said the driver of the motor vehicle is in custody.

Kasey Williams 

 


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Newly formed storm likely to grow as it reaches Caribbean

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Newly formed storm likely to grow as it reaches Caribbean

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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MIAMI, Florida (AP) — A newly formed tropical depression is expected to reach the Caribbean as a tropical storm within the next several days.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami says that the storm is moving west and could reach hurricane strength Wednesday.

At 11:00 am EDT, the storm’s centre was located at about 805 miles (1,295 kilometres) east-southeast of Barbados and was moving west at 12 mph (19 kph). Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 35 mph (56 kph).

Dennis Feltgen of the hurricane centre said that it’s too early to tell exactly what path the storm will take. Residents of the central and northern Lesser Antilles should monitor the storm’s progress.

No watches or warnings have been issued.

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