The Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation are launching an investment guide for the sweet potato sector in the Caribbean. In a release, the organisations state that the guide highlights the investment potential in the CARIFORUM region's growing agribusiness sector, with increasing global demand for tubers, added value of cultivating the crop, and the governments' efforts to promote production and value addition. "The investment guide draws attention to the ease of doing business in the Caribbean due to a common language, strong financial institutions, and an established credit information sharing across the region. Moreover, Caribbean governments are determined to increase agricultural production, weather conditions are good, and soil quality allows for the production of up to three crops per year. This demonstrates the favourable conditions for agricultural investment in the region," the release said. The organisations state that sweet potatoes are a good candidate for investment thanks to increasing global demand, good relationships with major export markets, and a strong tradition of growing the crop across Caribbean countries. FAST President and CEO Noemí Perez said, "This guide provides practical information to financial services providers (FSPs) that wish to invest in the sweet potato sector in the Caribbean. FAST hopes that, with the right information, more and more FSPs can tailor their financial products and services to the growing demand in the agricultural sector." Three different streams are explored in the investment guide: the macroeconomic profile of the Caribbean, the sweet potato value chain, and the creation of a favourable environment for investment. Caribbean governments wish to diversify their economies away from traditional sectors such as tourism, rum, banana and sugar. Diversification into sweet potato will take advantage of the region's well-established agricultural production systems and robust trade relationships with global importers of sweet potatoes. The release said the sweet potato value chain is similar to those of other commodities, where producers respond to demand and go through various stages before exporting their product. The entire process usually takes five to six months. The guide identifies a specific type of sweet potato in which has a high demand among consumers and the added benefit of a shorter production cycle, which allows production of up to three crops annually. Increased demand for sweet potatoes from the EU, UK, and US markets provides an excellent investment opportunity for the Caribbean farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises. To reap the benefits of the growing demand, farmers need to obtain financing to improve production capacity and acquire necessary inputs. CTA Director Michael Hailu added, "Access to finance is one of the critical challenges that small-scale producers across the Caribbean and other regions where we work face in modernising their operations and reap greater benefit from farming. We hope the investment guide will help in attracting badly needed finances to the regions' promising sweet potato sector."

A woman displays the new £10 note featuring Jane Austen, which marks the 200th anniversary of Austen's death, during the unveiling at Winchester Cathedral, England, Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

Two hundred years to the day after Jane Austen died, a new 10-pound note featuring an image of one of England's most revered authors has been unveiled — right where she was buried. At the unveiling Tuesday of the new "tenner" at Winchester Cathedral in southern England, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said the new note celebrates the "universal appeal" of Austen's work. Austen, whose novels include "Pride and Prejudice," ''Emma" and "Sense and Sensibility," is considered one of the most perceptive chroniclers of English country life and mores in the Georgian era. Combining wit, romance and social commentary, her books have been adapted countless times for television and film. "Our banknotes serve as repositories of the country's collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom's glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens," Carney said. The new note, which is due to go into circulation on Sept. 14, is the bank's latest effort to make its notes more secure by using plastic, not paper. It's printed on polymer, just like the recently re-launched 5-pound note, which features Winston Churchill. A new 20-pound note that will feature the landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is also in the works and scheduled to be rolled out in 2020. The new note also includes a new tactile feature to assist the visually impaired, which was developed in conjunction with the Royal National Institute of Blind People. Apart from Queen Elizabeth II, whose portrait is on all U.K. currency, Austen is only the third woman to feature on a modern-day British bank note, after medical innovator Florence Nightingale and social reformer Elizabeth Fry. She was chosen after a campaign for more female representation. As well as a portrait of Austen commissioned by her nephew in 1870, the note features a quote from "Pride and Prejudice": "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" Some Austen fans questioned the choice of the quote — spoken in the novel with deep insincerity by the unlikable Caroline Bingley. Carney said that the quote was quintessential Austen: It could be read straight or enjoyed ironically. "It works on many levels," he said. A tenner, as it's commonly known in Britain, doesn't go that far anymore. It's worth about $13 and it could yield an Austen novel or maybe two, a couple of pints of beer (at best), and at a stretch a trip to the cinema to see one of those Austen adaptations. Analysis by the insurance firm Aviva shows how inflation has bitten into the value of the pound to the tune of 99 percent since Austen's death. Aviva says something that cost 10 pounds in 1817 would cost 786 pounds today. "Today's new 10-pound note allows us to powerfully demonstrate the impact of inflation over time," said Alistair McQueen, Aviva's head of saving and retirement. Those holding the current 10-pound note, which features Charles Darwin, have only until the spring 2018 before they are withdrawn. An exact date will be announced three months in advance, the Bank said.

Kenroy Smith with his daughter Abbiegail in happier times.

The father of a slain New Jersey girl pleaded with President Donald Trump to allow him and the girl's sister to attend the 11-year-old's funeral on Monday. "Please let me see my daughter for the last day before she goes under," Kenroy Smith told the Asbury Park Press ( The visa application for AbbieGail Smith's sister to leave Jamaica was denied and his remains in limbo. He was deported from the USon a drug charge 16 years ago. Kennish Smith said she wasn't given a reason why her temporary visa application was rejected on Wednesday. "AbbieGail Smith needs her sister there at the moment," she said. "Who's going to stand up for us? We have no control. We can't do it on our own." The State Department said it is prohibited by law from disclosing details about individual visa cases. An 18-year-old neighbor is accused of stabbing Abbiegail Smith to death. Her body was found in blanket near the apartment building where she lived in Keansburg on July 13. Her mother had reported her missing the night before. "My dear little AbbieGail was taken away and I need to pay my last respects to her," Kenroy Smith said. "That's all I'm asking." Visitation is in Keansburg on Sunday afternoon, and a funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday.

LIAT has resumed flights to stations which were closed because of the passage of Tropical Storm Don. It noted in a press release that flights from St Vincent and Grenada resumed today. Take a look at the full notice below:

New Chelsea signing Alvaro Morata.

Chelsea have completed the signing of Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata on a five-year deal . The Spain international arrives for a reported club-record fee of£70millionafter the Stamford Bridge side missed out on re-signing Romelu Lukaku, who joined Manchester United from Everton for £75m. Torino forward Andrea Belotti, Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero were all purported targets for the Premier League champions after boss Antonio Conte told Diego Costa he was not part of his future plans. Conte and Morata missed out on working with each other at Juventus when the former took on the Italy job in July 2014, but the 24-year-old striker is now set to spearhead his title defence. "I am so happy to be here," saidMorata. "It's an incredible emotion to be part of this big club. "I am looking to work hard, score as many goals as I can and to win as many trophies as possible." Morata returned to Real Madrid from Juventus ahead of the 2016-17 season and scored 15 goals in 26 league appearances for the Spanish and European champions, although he made just 14 starts. He is Conte's third major signing of the close-season after defender Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko arrived from Roma and Monaco respectively. Chelsea also brought in former Manchester City goalkeeper Willy Caballero as goalkeeping cover. Speaking earlier on Friday before the deal had been officially confirmed,Conte said:"He is a good player, the right prospect for Chelsea and hopes to show his value with us. "I think for sure this is a good signing for us, he is a young player but has a lot of experience, he went to Juventus and Real Madrid. He has a lot of experience and I think this is a good signing for us. "We have added a fantastic striker, even at a young age he has won a lot already and we are looking forward to welcoming him to the squad." Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo said:"We are delighted to complete Alvaro's signing and welcome him to the club. "We believe he can make a great impact for Chelsea and look forward to seeing him in action.Alvaro has proven class at the highest level and his quality will be a huge asset to Antonio and the squad."

Julien Alfred has made history, winning St. Lucia’s first ever gold medal at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in The Bahamas. Alfred took the girls' 100m final in 11.56 seconds, her best time at the event. She had won her first heat running 12.02 seconds and her semi-final in 11.80 seconds. Alfred's historic triumph is all the more satisfying considering the trials she expressed to Loop earlier this year in training away from home in Jamaica. After taking a disappointing bronze in the girls' 100m bronze at Jamaica's Boys' and Girls' Championships, Alfred stated, "my local coach is not here. I have no family members here. Probably if they were here, I would have done much better. "It's very hard out here. I am only 15-years-old. I stay with the vice principal. I go to school; from school, go training; from training, go home; do home work; and I have to be very independent at this stage of my life. So it is very hard for me." She told Loop News' reporter Job Nelson, "I don't get much leisure time. My life is basically spent on the track. It is a big sacrifice. It is not any 15-year-old would come out here at these championships. Run in front of so many people on their own. It is just really hard out here. Sometimes when I feel too pressured, I call my mother and tell her that I want to come back home, but I have a job to do. I have a mission to accomplish. So I have to keep my head on and keep moving forward," she said. Congratulations to Julien on her perserverance and accomplishing this landmark achievement in her mission.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer walks down the hallway during President Donald Trump's visit to the Pentagon, Thursday, July 20, 2017. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has resigned over hiring of new communications aide.

The Latest on changes to the White House communications staff (all times local): 2 p.m. Outgoing press Secretary Sean Spicer says that he chose to resign from his position to give incoming commutations director Anthony Scaramucci a fresh start. Spicer says during a brief phone conversation with The Associated Press following his announced departure that, "we're at the point where" the president "could benefit from a clean slate." He says he felt it would be best for Scaramucci to be able to build his own operation "and chart a new way forward." Spicer is also complimenting Scaramucci, a New York financier and frequent defender of the president who was a staple at Trump Tower during the president's transition. Spicer says of Scaramucci's hiring: "It'll be great, he's a tough guy." ___ 1:50 p.m. White House press secretary Sean Spicer says it's been "an honor" and "privilege" to serve President Donald Trump and the country. Spicer resigned Friday in protest over the hiring of a new White House communications director. He says in a tweet that he will continue his service through August. One person with knowledge of the situation said Spicer objected to the hiring of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci's lack of qualifications for the communications role. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the personnel matter publicly. ___ 1 p.m. White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be conducting an on-camera briefing on Friday afternoon, following White House press secretary Sean Spicer's resignation. Spicer announced his departure after President Donald Trump hired a new White House communications director, ending his rocky six-month tenure as Trump's top spokesman. Sanders has been handling most of the briefing duties in recent weeks, and most briefings have been off-camera. The last on-camera White House briefing was held on June 29. ___ 12:35 p.m. White House chief of staff Reince Priebus says he supports incoming communications director Anthony Scaramucci "100 percent." His comments come moments after White House press secretary Sean Spicer resigned over Scaramucci's hiring. Priebus and Spicer spent years working closely together at the Republican National Committee. Priebus has also reportedly opposed hiring Scaramucci for various administration positions. Priebus told The Associated Press that he and Scaramucci are "very good friends." He says it's "all good here" at the White House. ___ 12:07 p.m. White House press secretary Sean Spicer is resigning his position, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. One of those people said Spicer is quitting because of objections over the appointment of a new White House communications director, New York financier Anthony Scaramucci. The people with knowledge of the decision insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the personnel matter publicly.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer is resigning his position, according to two people with knowledge of the decision. One of those people said Spicer is quitting because of objections over the appointment of a new White House communications director, New York financier Anthony Scaramucci. The people with knowledge of the decision insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the personnel matter publicly.


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August 24, 2017

Food & Rum Festival 2017

This is the revival of a festival that first took place in 2006, a gastronomic event to attract the best chefs, wine connoisseurs, rum fanatics and food critiques from the Caribbean and internationally. Inspired in part by the outstanding achievements of Chefs Nina Compton and Doran Payne, this unique event promotes Saint Lucian and other Caribbean rums, restaurants, chefs, and regionally manufactured food and drink products to a regional and international audience, with food demonstrations, rum tasting, wine tasting, gastronomic dinners and community culinary experiences, all accompanied by musical and other artistic performances by young artists from Saint Lucia.