Ginger beer is a Caribbean favorite, especially around Christmas time. Although it is named ginger beer, the drink contains no alcohol and the beer factor only comes from the slight fermentation which takes place in the process of putting the drink together. In fact, this drink is on the opposite side of ginger ale. Unlike ginger ale's slight taste of ginger, ginger beer has a very heavy flavor of ginger that can at times "burn your chest" with the spice. The idea of the drink across the islands is the same, but as with everything else, there are slight variations of processes. Here is a simple recipe on how to make some tasty ginger beer. Ingredients 2 hands or 4 medium pieces ginger root 1-2 cups sugar 1 cinnamon stick 1 lime or 1/2 large lemon About 6-8 cups water 4 cloves 1/2 tsp vanilla 1 cup rice (optional) Instructions Soak ginger root in enough water to cover for about 30 minutes to loosen dirt and debris. Lightly scrape ginger with a knife to remove most of the outer skin and cut each piece of ginger into 2 pieces. Add chopped ginger to a blender along with 2 cups of water and blend until you get a pulp (about a few seconds). Then pour approximately 3-4 cups of boiling water over blended ginger. (The amount of water you add will depend on how strong you want the ginger beer to be.) Add cinnamon stick and cloves to the mixture and let sit for 2-4 hours. Taste every hour or two. The longer it sits, the stronger the ginger beer will be as the flavor is extracted.

Laboratory studies show that toothpastes containing zinc or stannous and mouthwash formulas with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19 by 99.9 per cent, according to Colgate-Palmolive Company. The studies are part of a Colgate research programme that includes clinical studies among infected people to assess the efficacy of oral care products in reducing the amount of the virus in the mouth, potentially slowing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. In the laboratory studies -- the first to include toothpaste -- Colgate Total and Meridol toothpastes neutralized 99.9 per centof the virus after two minutes of contact. Colgate Plax and Colgate Total mouthwashes were similarly effective after 30 seconds. The studies, completed in October, were conducted in partnership with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s (NJMS) Public Health Research Institute and Regional Biosafety Laboratories. The results suggest that some toothpastes and mouthwashes may help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by temporarily reducing the amount of virus in the mouth. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We’re at the early stages of our clinical investigations, but our preliminary laboratory and clinical results are very promising,” said DrMaria Ryan, Colgate’s Chief Clinical Officer. “While brushing and rinsing are not a treatment or a way to fully protect an individual from infection, they may help to reduce transmission and slow the spread of the virus, supplementing the benefit we get from wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing.” Said DrDavid Alland, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, who led the Rutgers NJMS study along with colleagues Drs. Pradeep Kumar and Riccardo Russo: “Given that saliva can contain amounts of virus that are comparable to that found in the nose and throat, it seems likely that SARS-CoV-2 virus originating in the mouth contributes to disease transmission, especially in persons with asymptomatic COVID-19, who are not coughing. This suggests that reducing virus in the mouth could help prevent transmission during the time that oral care products are active.” ]Concurrent to the laboratory study, Colgate sponsored a clinical study involving some 50 hospitalized subjects with COVID-19. This study demonstrated the ability of Colgate Total (with CPC and zinc), Colgate Peroxyl, and Colgate PerioGard mouthwashes to substantially reduce the amount of the virus in the mouth temporarily. The researchers plan to share their findings in December. Additional Colgate-supported clinical research studies on toothpaste and mouthwashes are in early stages at Rutgers, the Albert Einstein Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry, with some 260 people with COVID-19 participating in these studies. “Colgate is collaborating with numerous investigators throughout the globe to conduct clinical research to explore the potential of oral care products to reduce oral viral loads as a risk reduction strategy,” DrRyan said. “We think oral care has a role to play in fighting the global pandemic, alongside other preventive measures.” Said DrMark Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean of Penn Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania: “With this pandemic, the more we understand about the virus, the more effective we can be in fighting it, so I am excited to see the impressive research program Colgate has undertaken. We need to continue to take the precautions recommended by health authorities, and with these studies we may demonstrate an additional way to address the transmission of disease among people in close contact, particularly in dental practice. That would be an important advance.” Colgate said it is committed to leading in science and to ensuring that its products address health challenges and meet consumers’ needs.

The United NationsCommission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has voted to remove cannabis from its classification as a dangerous drug. The CND’s 53 Member States voted to removed cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs where it was listed alongside deadly, addictive opioids, including heroin. The decision was made after the CND revieweda series of World Health Organization (WHO)recommendations on marijuana and its derivatives. The historic vote saw27 in favour, 25 against, and one abstention. While cannabis remains largely anillegal substance, the vote is said to open the door for more research into the medicinal and therapeutic aspects of the plant. In the Caribbean,there have been moves by many Governments in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Cayman Islands, for example, to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes. Others such as Jamaica, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and, most recently Barbados, have decriminalised the drug under certain quantities and placed restrictions on where it can be consumed. Douglas Gordon, founder of the Cannabis Business Conference andExpo (CANeX), welcomed the move. "While long overdue, it is a welcomed and important step in the ongoing push towards normalisation of the industry. The UN vote will immediately facilitate more scientific and medical research in laboratories around the world. It will also help progressive thinking government leadership around the world to act and move forward in advancing needed legislation and regulations. I am optimistic that this will have a positive impact on the evolution of the industry throughout the Caribbean," he told Loop News.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced pilot projects with the private sector in Caribbean countries, Indonesia, and Vietnam to advance innovative solutions to reduce the risk and impact of natural disasters. "These projects are aimed at helping the humanitarian community understand how the private sector can make investments to mitigate the risk of disasters, increase businesses’ participation in community disaster-preparedness plans and policies, help reduce the social and economic impact of disasters, and support communities’ efforts to recover and rebuild after disaster strikes," USAID said in a release Wednesday. The USAID-funded pilot programmes are designed to help governments and civil society develop stronger relationships with private-sector actors and develop mutually beneficial projects that strengthen the resilience of entire communities. The pilot programme for the Caribbean will see non-profit organisation The Global Knowledge Initiative, with support from Boston-based consulting firm 1Row, working to increase private-sector engagement and investmentto reduce the risk of disasters and improve the response to them. "This pilot will help channel private-sector contributions to disaster-preparedness by helping companies recognise that disaster-resilient communities help their bottom lines." The Global Knowlege Initiative is a Washington-based non-profit organisation focused on maximising what’s available to solve pressing global development problems like food insecurity, environmental degradation, and disease control and prevention. In Indonesia, Miyamoto International will work to strengthen the private-sector’s preparedness for earthquakes and other natural disasters and integrate the business community into national and local planning to mitigate their social and economic impact. In Vietnam, the Asia Foundation, in partnership with ISET International, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Vietnam Institue for Development Strategy, will bring together key private-sector, local government, and civil society actors to design collaboratively and launch multi-stakeholder pilot projects to strengthen flood-mitigation efforts and improve the management of water networks in the coastal city of Quy Nhơn, in Bình Định Province. USAID reported that it responds to an average of 75 disasters in more than 70 countries every year. "Through collaboration with the private sector, USAID can harness innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship to improve the efficiency of humanitarian assistance."

Mariah Carey is among the big international acts to have graced the Jazz and Blues Festival stage.

After a four-year hiatus, theJamaica Jazz and Blues Festival will return in a virtualformat January 28 to 30, 2021, organisers have announced. The event, which is renowned for its rich music and cultural offerings,is now licensed to Adrian Allen of Steady Image in partnership with Marcia McDonnough of Touchstone Productions, both original members of the Jamaica Jazz and Blues team, with years of experience in various aspects of event production. Organisers have promised that thethree-day event will deliver a spectacular digital presentation across multiple platforms featuring local and international acts, totally free to viewers. Allen, who is also the executive producer of the virtual music festival, is buoyed by the buy-in from patrons to the new virtual format of music events. “The world has now embraced virtual events as the norm, especially for music events, and we are excited to be bringing back the magic of the Festival, and Jamaica to our global audience. Coming from the world of creating Immersive content, this presentation will be just that. Different, engaging and will provide a great opportunity to expand our audience base," Allen said, adding "Our partners are excited by that prospect and the promise of a presentation like no other, delivered by some of the world’s musical icons.” McDonnough said shewas "beyond excited” over the return of the festival. "Jamaica Jazz is a passion for me. It’s been a part of my life for so long and its absence created a deep void which was never replaced. Being offered this opportunity to bring it back at a time when the entertainment world has been so overturned by COVID, has been such a wonderful gift, and to accompany that with a showcase of Jamaica for the world to see brings me a tremendous sense of satisfaction and pride," she said. TheJamaica Jazz and Blues Festival has over the years featured a number of international music stars including Celine Dion, Air Supply, Lionel Ritchie, Mariah Carey, Babyface and Diana Ross.

Majah Hype and Latisha Kirby. (Latisha Instagram)

The former fiancée of comedian Majah Hype has made numerous allegations against him on social media. The allegations were levelled against the popular Caribbean impersonator and comedian when the woman, Latisha Kirby, took to Instagram on Wednesday. She followed up with another video on Thursday after a video of her having sex with another man surfaced online. In the first video posted on Wednesday, Kirby, without identifying her abuser, spoke about her ordeal. “Imagine letting people know in your circle what’s going on with you and their first question is well what did you do as if there is anything I could have done to deserve that, that’s disgusting to me, that’s disgusting cause it didn’t happen to me once, twice, three times, four times, it happened to me too many times,” she added. She apologized to her family for disconnecting herself from them and pretending she was okay. In the second video, following the leak of a sex tape that she said was 10 years old, Kirby spoke directly to the comedian in relation to the release of the video. She also made allegations about the comedian’s reported health scare recently. “Every time you try to hurt me I will tell the truth,” she said. “I am not playing a game,” said the mother of one, “this is my life and you are trying to ruin me.” At the time of writing, Majah Hype had not publicly addressed the allegations.Instead, he posted Bible verses about truth to his IG stories. Loop News has tried unsuccessfully to reach the comedian.

In this December 9, 2015, file photo, Robert Dear talks to Judge Gilbert Martinez during a court appearance in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Andy Cross/The Denver Post via AP, Pool, File)

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday they will not seek the death penalty against a man accused of killing three people and injuring nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado in 2015. US Attorney Jason Dunn submitted a one-sentence notice of the decision concerning Robert Dear that did not include any explanation of the reasons for it. The move comes about a year after Dear was charged in federal court after his prosecution in state court stalled. He had been repeatedly deemed incompetent to stand trial. Dear, however, has insisted he is competent. During his initial appearance in federal court a year ago, he interrupted the proceedings to criticize evaluations at the state mental hospital in Pueblo, insisting the process is unnecessary and complaining that it was not videotaped. In a previous outburst in state court, he has said he was guilty and called himself a “warrior for the babies.” Last month, a judge ordered Dear to undergo a federal competency examination once his lawyers and prosecutors worked out the details of where it would take place. Dear is facing 68 counts in the federal case, including use of a firearm during a crime resulting in death and violating a law ensuring access to clinic entrances. Killed in the shooting were Garrett Swasey, a University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus police officer who rushed to the clinic to help, and Ke'Arre Stewart, 29, and Jennifer Markovsky, 35, who were accompanying friends to the clinic separately. The decision not to seek the death penalty follows the resumption of federal executions under the Trump administration and as the Justice Department continues to seek the death penalty in other cases in the administration's waning days. The death penalty has usually been taken off the table in cases in which mental illness is a factor, such as in the Unabomber case, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. He thinks the decision by Dunn's office indicates they believe Dear is severely mentally ill. Prosecutors who are not seeking to pursue the death penalty for political reasons need to consider whether they are likely to succeed in convincing a jury to impose the death penalty in expensive and complicated death penalty cases prone to appeals, he said. That's especially true in Colorado, where juries have shown a willingness to impose life sentences instead of the death penalty in capital cases where mental health is an issue, such as the Aurora theatre shooting case, Dunham said. The Justice Department has carried out eight death sentences since July, putting to death more people than during the previous half-century, despite waning public support from both Democrats and Republicans for its use. Five other executions have been scheduled before President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20, including just days before the inauguration. A spokesperson for Biden told The Associated Press the president-elect “opposes the death penalty now and in the future” and would work to end its use. But he did not say whether executions would be paused immediately once Biden takes office. The Justice Department has continued to approve of federal prosecutors seeking the death penalty, most recently earlier this month for a 24-year-old leader of the MS-13 street gang in New York who prosecutors have said is responsible for at least seven killings on Long Island.

America’s top infectious disease expert has apologized for suggesting UK authorities rushed their authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine, saying he has “great faith” in the country’s regulators. Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had sparked controversy with an earlier interview in which he said UK regulators hadn’t acted “as carefully” as the US Food and Drug Administration. Fauci said late Thursday that he meant to say U.S. authorities do things differently than their British counterparts, not better, but his comments weren’t phrased properly. “I do have great faith in both the scientific community and the regulatory community at the UK, and anyone who knows me and my relationship with that over literally decades, you know that’s the case,” Fauci told the BBC. Britain on Wednesday became the first Western nation to authorize widespread use of a COVID-19 vaccine when regulators gave emergency approval to a product made by US drugmaker Pfizer and Germany-based BioNTech. Critics have suggested that UK regulators emphasized speed over thoroughness when they reviewed data on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. Fauci rejected that idea. The FDA has to move more slowly because of the high degree of scepticism about vaccines in the U.S., Fauci said. Because of this, US regulators are reviewing all of the raw data from Pfizer and BioNTech “in a way that could not possibly have been done any more quickly,” he said. It will take the FDA at least another week to complete its review, but the US and Britain will ultimately end up in the same place, Fauci said. “At the end of the day, it’s going to be safe, it’s going to be effective,” he said. “The people in the U.K. are going to receive it, and they’re going to do well, and the people in the United States are going to receive it, and we’re going to do pretty well.”

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates his double century during play on day two of the first cricket test between the West Indies and New Zealand in Hamilton, New Zealand, Friday, December 4, 2020. (Andrew Cornaga/Photosport via AP)

The second day of the first cricket Test between New Zealand and the West Indies belonged to Kane Williamson. The New Zealand captain, whose actions and decisions shaped the day, scored 251, his third double century and highest score in tests, before making an assertive declaration at 519-7 early in the final session. Williamson’s innings came to an end 14 runs before his declaration but he courteously waited for Kyle Jamieson to complete his maiden half century before calling his batsmen in at 4.25pm, with around 26 overs left in the day. At stumps the West Indies, depleted by minor injuries to batsman Darren Bravo and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, were 49 without loss. Bravo has a sprained ankle and Dowrich an injured hand. Openers Kraigg Braithwaite (20) and John Campbell (22) batted doggedly through the late afternoon to ensure the tourists went to stumps with all 10 wickets intact. Most of the day was a process of ticking off milestones for Williamson who steadily built his innings and played New Zealand into a more dominant position than it could have hoped when it lost the toss Thursday and was sent in. “After the day’s play yesterday and looking at the surface, we were pretty happy finishing with only a couple of wickets down because both teams were pretty keen to bowl first,” Williamson said. “There was a bit of movement there and a bit of fortune goes your way. “We were able to build those partnerships throughout the innings to get a really competitive first-innings total. But there’s a bit of work to do. The Hamilton wicket tends to keep flattening out so there’s a big job for the bowlers to do.” The West Indies bowlers produced a much better performance than on the first day when, perhaps over-excited by the chance to bowl on a pitch which blended into the outfield, they missed their lengths and allowed Williamson and Tom Latham to form a 154-run partnership for the second wicket. That allowed Williamson to reach 97 by stumps when New Zealand was 243-2. The bowlers were much more disciplined and effective Friday, keeping a fuller length and attacking off stump. They repeatedly deprived Williamson of his partners but the New Zealand captain remained impregnable and grew his own score and his team’s. When he was out for 251, caught on the boundary after having passed 250 for the first time with a six, New Zealand was 503-7 and Williamson had half that total. “For me it was important to try and make good decisions for a long period of time and I think that gives you the best chance,” Williamson said. “But there’s so much cricket left and that’s where our focus is at the moment.” Williamson’s innings was a feat of concentration and endurance. He came to the crease early, when New Zealand lost its first wicket after only four overs on the first day and with the pitch apparently providing dream conditions for fast bowlers. He batted for the remainder of that day and for much of the second, leaving his indelible imprint on the match. Resuming at 97, Williamson clipped a single then reached his century with a signature shot, rising up on his toes to punch a short ball from Kemar Roach to the boundary wide of point. He also reached his double century with a four from Roach’s bowling, this time from a cover drive, another of the characteristic shots that peppered his innings. Every element of his effort Friday bespoke Williamson’s extraordinary talent and nature. Most batsmen would have fretted to be just short of a century at stumps in a test match, likely would have slept uneasily that night. Williamson showed no signs of concern and resumed as if his innings had not been interupted by a long night of anticipation. Mostly he was patient and selective of the deliveries and shots he played. His century came from 224 balls, his 200 from 369 deliveries and after 556 minutes at the crease. Williamson allowed himself a little more freedom from that point, hitting two fours and a six off Roach who then appeared to have dismissed him next ball for 221. He was caught behind by stand-in keeper Shamarh Brooks but the television umpire ruled Roach had overstepped. Williamson hit a six from the ball before his eventual dismissal and was out attempting to repeat the shot.

PSG's Neymar celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during a Group H Champions League match between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, December 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Neymar scored twice to lead Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 victory at 10-man Manchester United in the Champions League on Wednesday, leaving both teams’ hopes of reaching the knockout stage uncertain heading into their final group games. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær was left to rue not bringing off Fred after he escaped with only a booking for a first-half head butt. The midfielder was sent off in the 70th minute for a second yellow card after his challenge on former United midfielder Ander Herrera just after United had gone 2-1 down when Marquinhos scored. Marcus Rashford had equalized in the 32nd minute after Neymar had taken only six minutes to put last season's beaten finalists in front. Neymar struck again at the end of the game at an empty Old Trafford, sidefooting into an empty net in stoppage time. While United remaintop of Group H, PSG and Leipzig are only behind on goal difference. United only needa point in Leipzig on Tuesday when PSG hostIstanbul Basaksehir, which is six points behind the top three.