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Measles warning for J’can travellers… Gunman, windscreen wiper shot… Byles named BOJ governor

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In case you missed it, here are OBSERVER ONLINE’s top 10 stories for today:

1. J’can travellers urged to take precautions against measles

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Health and Wellness is urging citizens who intend to travel overseas to ensure that they and in particular, their children, are fully vaccinated against measles with the Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine.

2. Phillips urges Comrades to focus on defeating JLP, not each other

People’s National Party (PNP) President, Dr Peter Phillips has urged Comrades to focus on defeating the governing Jamaica Labour Party and not each other.

3. Police issue 250,000 tickets for traffic breaches

Since the beginning of 2019, some 250,000 traffic tickets have been issued for breaches of the Road Traffic Act.

4. Curfew imposed in sections of Bowens Toad, Kingston 11

A curfew has been imposed in sections of Bowens Road, Kingston 11. The curfew began at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, June 12 and will continue until 6:00 pm, Friday, June 14.

5. Gunman shot after attacking windscreen wiper on Dunrobin Ave

A gunman was shot and wounded shortly after he opened gunfire at a windscreen wiper on Dunrobin Avenue in St Andrew this morning, the police are reporting.

6. Prosecution trial prep untidy says judge in Manchester MC fraud case

A contentious issue in the Manchester Municipal Corporation fraud trial has been that there are exhibits brought in to be used as evidence by the prosecution, which defence attorneys claim were not disclosed to them.

7. Education ministry clarifies new PEP grading system

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Information has sought to clarify the new grading system being used for this year’s Primary Exit Profile Exams.

8. Westmoreland police launch initiative for public safety and order

The Westmoreland Police have launched operation ‘Sustainable Public Safety and Public Order’ in a bid to curtail criminal activities in the parish, which is currently under a State of Public Emergency (SOE).

9. Richard Byles named new BOJ Governor

Cabinet has endorsed the selection of Richard Byles to succeed Brian Wynter as Governor of the Bank of Jamaica.

10. Hanover man stabbed to death; two suspects in custody

Two men are currently in police custody following the stabbing death of a 35-year-old man in his community yesterday.

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Bolivia’s new leaders break ties with Venezuela

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Bolivia’s new leaders break ties with Venezuela

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivia’s interim leadership says it has broken diplomatic ties with the Government of Venezuelan President Nicols Maduro and ordered Cuban medical teams to leave Bolivia.

The announcement yesterday represents a turnaround in Bolivia’s foreign policy following the resignation of Evo Morales, a socialist who quit after a disputed election that sparked massive protests.

Karen Longaric, the foreign minister of Bolivia’s interim Government, also said the country is leaving the Union of South American Nations, known by its Spanish acronym UNASUR. The group was set up in 2008 by Venezuela’s Hugo Chvez and other leftists to support regional integration efforts and counter US influence in South America.

Longaric also says Bolivia is no longer a part of ALBA, a regional group that espouses socialist ideology.

In the meantime, Bolivia’s interim leader says Evo Morales will have to “answer to justice for electoral fraud” if he returns home.

Jeanine ez made the comment during a news conference yesterday, a day after Morales insisted from asylum in Mexico that he remains the country’s legitimate president because his resignation was forced by the military and wasn’t formally accepted by Congress.

Aez was the top-ranking Senate opposition official when Morales resigned Sunday and says that the resignation of everyone else in the chain of succession left her with the presidency.

Morales left following massive demonstrations across the country alleging fraud in the October 20 presidential election — irregularities certified by a team of auditors from the Organization of American States. Morales had claimed victory in his bid for a fourth term in office.

ez said Morales “left on his own. Nobody threw him out.”

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Cuba medical programme becomes source of controversy

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Cuba medical programme becomes source of controversy

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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HAVANA, Cuba (AP) — A much-lauded overseas medical programme has become the focus of accusations that it serves as cover for fomenting protests against governments opposed by Cuba.

Cuba said yesterday that it’s pulling 700 members of its medical mission to Bolivia after the arrest of four members of the programme, which began under now-exiled President Evo Morales. The four were accused of fomenting protests against the Government that took over from Morales, a Cuban ally.

The end of Cuba’s 400-person medical mission to Ecuador was also announced this week, along with the accusation by Ecuador’s interior minister that Cuba misused official passports to bring in 250 Cubans during protests against President Lenin Moreno, whom Cuba also opposes.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro ended his county’s Cuban medical programme after taking office last year.

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Opposition leader tells public servants to accept salary increases

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Opposition leader tells public servants to accept salary increases

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo is urging public servants to accept the salary increases announced by the coalition Government earlier this week, saying the payment had already been budgeted for by the David Granger Administration in the last fiscal package.

“I say to the public servants collect their monies, it was budgeted since last year. This is nothing new; they should get their money,” Jagdeo told reporters.

The Government Wednesday announced a new GUY$70,000 minimum wage for public servants.

“In three and a half years, the minimum wage has gone up by over 75 per cent. I think by any stroke of circumstance, that is a significant development and I know that the workers are going to be happy. And I know that they are happier still because in 2018 I first brought in tax-free back pay. I [sought permission from the] Cabinet, they agreed and I continue this year,” said Finance Minister Winston Jordan, adding that the public servants would, this year, will receive a tax-free retroactive salary increase.

Along with their retroactive salaries, the public servants will also receive a minimum wage of GUY$70,000, a nine per cent increase on the current GUY$64,200. He said it represents more than a 77 per cent increase since 2015.

Public servants earning between GUY$100,000 to GUY$999,000 per month will enjoy an 8.5 per cent increase and those earning more than a million dollars per month will get a three per cent hike. All of the increases will be retroactive to January 2019.

Jagdeo told reporters that the Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) was now more interested in the contracts the Government has been signing, given the fact that it is in a “holding” position after the Trinidad and Tobago-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruled earlier this year that the motion of no-confidence against the Granger Administration passed in the National Assembly last December, is valid.

The CCJ said that in keeping with the Guyana Constitution fresh regional and general elections should be held and President Granger has since announced March 2, 2020 as the date for the polls.

Jagdeo told reporters “It is the contracts that they (the government) are issuing now to their cronies that I warn against”.

He said that while all public servants will benefit from the new salaries, police, soldiers, firefghters, and prison officers are worse off as a result of the decision to cut off the one-month, tax-free salary given to them at the end of the year as a bonus.

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