China announced a $3 billion list of U.S. goods for possible retaliation in a tariff dispute with President Donald Trump and girded Friday for a bigger battle over technology policy as financial markets sank on fears of global disruption. The Commerce Ministry said higher duties on pork, apples, steel pipe and other goods would offset Chinese losses due to Trump's tariff hike on steel and aluminum imports. It urged Washington to negotiate a settlement but set no deadline. In a separate and potentially bigger dispute, the ministry criticized Trump's decision Thursday to approve a possible tariff hike on Chinese imports worth up to $60 billion over Beijing's technology policy. It gave no indication of a possible response but a foreign ministry spokeswoman said Beijing was "fully prepared to defend" its interests. "We don't want a trade war, but we are not afraid of it," said the spokeswoman, Hua Chunying. Financial markets sank on concern the escalating tensions might disrupt the biggest global trading relationship or lead other nations to raise import barriers. Tokyo's benchmark tumbled by an unusually large 5.1 percent while the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 3.4 percent. The dollar dipped to 104.90 yen as investors shifted into the Japanese currency, which is viewed as a "safe haven" from risk. China's response Friday appeared to be aimed at increasing domestic U.S. pressure on Trump by making clear which exporters, including farm areas that voted for him in 2016, might be hurt. "Beijing is extending an olive branch and urging the U.S. to resolve trade disputes through dialogue rather than tariffs," said economist Vishnu Varathan of Mizuho Bank in a report. "Nevertheless, the first volley of shots and retaliatory response has been set off." The list announced Friday was linked to Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs , but companies already were looking ahead to a battle over complaints Beijing steals or forces companies to hand over technology. The tensions reflect the dueling nationalistic ambitions of Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. U.S. efforts to boost exports of technology-based goods, begun under Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, conflict with China's plan for state-led development of global competitors in fields from robotics to electric cars. Foreign business groups complain Chinese regulators are trying to squeeze them out of promising industries. The Commerce Ministry announcement Friday made no mention of jetliners, soybeans or other products that are the biggest U.S. exports to China by value. That leaves Beijing room to take more drastic steps. Chinese officials are trying to figure out how to address U.S. concerns, said Jake Parker, vice president for China operations of the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents American companies that do business with China. "Until the Trump administration articulates those concerns and how China can address them, it's going to be very, very difficult for China to make those changes," said Parker. Washington doesn't believe it needs to give Chinese leaders another list of requests because they already know what the United States wants, said a senior U.S. official, who briefed reporters on condition he not be identified further. He said Trump and Xi agreed last year on a 100-day agenda of trade-liberalization measures but Beijing failed to act on about half of them. Instead, the Trump administration wants Chinese leaders to address more basic structural issues that interfere with market forces, said the official. The official cited Beijing's "Made in China 2025" plan as "hugely problematic." It calls for creating Chinese competitors in electric cars, robots, artificial intelligence and other fields. Business groups complain it will hamper or outright block foreign access to those industries. The latest proposed Chinese tariffs would add a 25 percent charge on pork and aluminum scrap, mirroring Trump's 25 percent duty on steel, according to the Commerce Ministry. A second list of goods including wine, apples, ethanol and stainless steel pipe would be charged 15 percent. Chinese purchases of those goods last year totaled $3 billion, the ministry said. The U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs also have irked Japan, America's closest ally in Asia. "We have repeatedly told the U.S. side that steel and aluminum imports from its ally Japan will not adversely affect America's national security, and that Japan should be excluded," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. China's top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang, appealed to Washington on Tuesday to "act rationally" and said, "we don't want to see a trade war." The United States buys little Chinese steel or aluminum, but analysts have said Beijing would feel obligated to take action to avoid looking weak. Beijing reported a trade surplus of $275.8 billion with the United States last year, or two-thirds of its global total. Washington reports different figures that put the gap at a record $375.2 billion. Trump's technology order is in response to "unfair and harmful acquisition of U.S. technology," said a statement by the U.S. Trade Representative's office. It said USTR would pursue a World Trade Organization case against Beijing's "discriminatory technology licensing." A USTR statement said possible measures include a 25 percent tariff on Chinese-made aerospace, computer and information technology and machinery but gave no details. China is unlikely to respond until Washington acts but might launch an investigation of imports of U.S. corn and soybeans "as a warning shot," said Parker. He noted Beijing began a probe of U.S. sorghum in February after Trump announced the steel and aluminum tariffs. On Tuesday, the Chinese premier promised at a news conference Beijing will "open even wider" to imports and investment as part of efforts to make its state-dominated economy more productive. Li said Beijing would "fully open" manufacturing, with "no mandatory requirement for technology transfers." However, Chinese officials already insist companies aren't required to hand over technology, so it was unclear how policy might change.

Regional financial technical solutions company Global Integrated FinTech Solutions (GIFTS) is ready to take its banking solutions to the world, but beginning here in the Caribbean. The Barbados-based company’s first stop is Trinidad, where it’s offering its advanced technological innovations to local credit unions to ensure they are positioned for success in the financial environment. At a breakfast meeting at the Hyatt Regency on Tuesday, representatives of the credit union and TT financial sector learnt about GIFTS core banking solution which can facilitate internet banking, credit/debit card processing, electronic payments and its One Caribbean debit card. The features are available without the high development and integration costs associated with similar offerings in the Caribbean market. Among them, GIFTS Integrated Switch, provides local, regional and international connectivity for credit unions. GIFTS is the authorised representative of the Quatrro Group and International Financial Systems (ifinancial), SumeruEntiger and Fernhill Associates in the Caribbean and Latin America. A total of 75 local credit unions and other financial institutions formed part of the integral session, where local credit unions were also introduced to the opportunity to minimise operational and overhead costs, especially given that regulators are becoming increasingly aware of Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) issues. The financial institutions present were advised to adopt state of the art solutions to successfully compete and advance their operations. Attendees were given a preview of world class financial services platform which facilitates AML, KYC, e-payments, card management, how to cope with ever increasing compliance requirements, cybersecurity, driving efficiency and reducing costs through technology and next generation technology solutions and delivery; solutions that can help credit unions remain relevant and attractive to the internet generation and millennials. Introducing GIFTS, Geron Burnett, Manager of Financial Markets Development at the Trinidad and Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC) said he was pleased that GIFTS opted to introduce and deliver their world class financial technology to T&T first, as it was proof that its financial systems were completely secure, dynamic and accessible. He reminded the participants that the TTIFC’s mandate was to continuously assist with economic diversification by facilitating the development of the financial services sector, which is the 5th highest contributor to GDP and employs approximately nine percent of the country’s labour force. Brenda Pope, Chief Project Officer, GIFTS emphasised that every transaction is double checked for fraudulent activities. “The company enables LMFIs to process debit card transactions on the same system currently utilized by Fortune Global 500 companies. Clients can also deploy AML tracking software which is used by Dow Jones and leading merchant banks in the Cayman Islands, Isle of Man and other global offshore domiciles.” Meanwhile, Director of Business Development (and co-founder of GIFTS) assured that the regulatory process as it relates to the One Caribbean Card will be in place and supported by the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago. “Anytime we enter into a market, we do so by engaging the regulators which is very important. We are currently in the process of getting the necessary approvals with the Central Bank and we felt it necessary to inform the financial institutions that our software is available. I am confident that we will get the regulatory approvals since our software has been built to world class standards.” He explained that the card enables payments from the diaspora to several member institutions and is supported and accepted by indigenous institutions throughout the Caribbean, allowing the Caribbean region to fulfil its CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) dream “by implementing this sort of payment without the dependence on international brands.” He also noted it supported Caribbean cross remittances in local currencies while having all the features of an international card. The card utilises the latest technology of EMV (Europay, MasterCard® and Visa®), and adheres to the highest standard of security certification. Sahadath stressed that the cost associated with implementation will be affordable, as GIFTS aims to provide solutions tailored to each individual institution, rather than a one-size fits all policy. “What we offer are solutions aimed at combatting high implementation costs, and a low spend operating model that takes advantage of timely upgrades. Our solutions open up new revenue streams to users that in a large part are available, but not utilised in the Caribbean. Additionally, as Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) issues become more frequent touchpoints in the financial conversation, GIFTS provides an Anti-Money Laundering module, a piece of software currently in use at Dow Jones, which enables an AML/CTF project team to deliver the required level of monitoring and reporting with a full audit trail in a cost-effective way.” Participants at Tuesday’s conference were able to preview the world-class financial services platform technology used by GIFTS and were able to interact with members of the team to determine whether GIFTS can transform their business by integrating end-to-end solutions into their daily tasks. One major local credit union has already invited the company to speak to their managerial team on the possibility of utilising the software. Speaking with LoopTT Sahadath said GIFTS solutions are for all. “We want to create a culture of inclusiveness in electronic payments, so whether you are a micro-entrepreneur or a larger company of scale, we feel that out solutions are made for everyone.” “The whole thing now is to showcase what is possible and we also paint a picture of showing these smaller institutions the ability, in other words, we don’t just want to put you on the same footing with the bigger guys, but we actually want to put you in a position where you can leapfrog them in terms of some of the services we will be offering.” Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:

Almost 80 penetrating injuries were found on the body of murdered Jason Husbands in Barbados when his post-mortem was conducted on August 28, 2012. This surprising piece of evidence came from pathologist Corinthia Dupuis today as the murder trial of Kason Kemar Edwards continued in the No. 2 Supreme Court. [related node_id='9d729e26-3e0d-4083-bb7d-d106c242e4fc'] Edwards, 40, of Gays, St. Peter is on trial for the August 21, 2012, murder of Jason Husbands. Husbands was allegedly gunned down in Lamberts, St. Lucy when he got out of his truck to remove rocks that were blocking his path along the road. Prosecuting is Principal Crown Counsel Alliston Seale, the defence is represented by lawyer Arthur Holder. Dupuis, who has been practising since 1999 and works at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), gave a detailed description of her examination back on August 28, 2012. She told the court 52 pellets were removed from the body. Those pellets caused damage to vital internal organs like the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Husbands also sustained broken ribs and died from shock. When the court viewed pictures of the body at the crime scene, numerous wounds could be seen on the back, right side. Dupuis said the wounds were consistent with pellets of a shotgun that was fired from no less than two feet. Firearms examiner 7538, Sergeant David Leslie, was the next witness to take the stand and gave an in-depth explanation to the court about the nature of a 12-gauge shotgun like the one allegedly used in Jason's killing. He said the shotgun was a particular brand that was made up of a shot-cup which stored pellets.The pellets are forced out of the shotgun by the gunpowder when the trigger is pulled. It would take, he said "seven to eight pounds of pressure to pull the trigger". Leslie told the court that the wounds on Husbands' body were consistent with what shotgun pellets would cause. The firearms expert, who said he examined 2500 firearms in his 11 years, explained that the shotgun was a shoulder-fired shotgun and the handle had been sawed off. The shotgun and pellets were examined by Leslie. Holder, in his cross-examination, asked Leslie if it was possible that "fingerprints could be derived from the [handle] of the gun" to which Leslie said it was possible. However, no fingerprinting was done by him as he was the firearms examiner. Seale also questioned witness, Dr. Jasmine Crump, today. Crump said she pronounced death around 6:10 p.m when she went to the scene at Lamberts. The case continues on Monday.

The National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) had advised that active underwater volcano Kick'em Jenny has reverted back to alert level yellow. According to a statement issued by theUniversity of the West Indies Seismic Research Center (UWI-SRC), the agency, said that since the activity which was recorded on March 9, 2018, and intensification on March 12, the level of seismicity has steadily declined, as a consequence NaDMA, on the advice of UWI-SRC, has since reverted the alert level to yellow. At this stage, marine operators and the general public are therefore asked to be vigilant and observe theexclusion zoneof 1.5 kilometres. NaDMA in collaboration with the UWI-SRC will continue to monitor the activities of Kick em’ Jenny and will update the public as necessary should there be any changes. For further information, the public is encouraged to visit NaDMA online atwww.nadma.gdor on Facebook NaDMA the official source for all disaster-related information in the State of Grenada. For more information on Kick 'em Jenny Alert Levels viewhere.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has joined the LA Galaxy. The Galaxy announced the move on Friday morning with a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times. On Twitter, Ibrahimovic appeared in a short video with a lion . The 36-year-old forward comes to the Galaxy from Manchester United, where he played for two seasons. He made 53 appearances with the club, scoring 29 goals. "Coming to play in the United States, it is only fitting for me to join the most successful team in Major League Soccer, the LA Galaxy," Ibrahimovic said in a statement released by the team. "I am excited to join a club with a winning legacy that has embodied soccer in Los Angeles for over 20 years. A person with knowledge of the deal said Ibrahimovic's contract with Major League Soccer runs through 2019. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity on Thursday because the deal had not yet been announced. The Galaxy did not release the terms. The 36-year-old forward is Sweden's career scoring leader with 62 goals in 116 appearances and is the first player to make Champions League appearances for seven teams. He left Paris Saint-Germain for Manchester United ahead of the 2016-17 season but since injuring his right knee on April 20 has made just two starts and five substitute appearances, scoring his only goal Dec. 20 against Bristol City in the League Cup. Manager Jose Mourinho has not used him since a Premier League match against Burnley on Dec. 26. Ibrahimovic joined the 20-time English champions on a free transfer in July 2016. Over the course of his career, Ibrahimovic has played for some of Europe's top clubs, including Ajax, Juventus, Barcelona and Milan. Manchester United agreed to immediately terminate Ibrahimovic's contract, which ran through June. "Everyone at the club would like to thank Zlatan for his contribution to the team since his arrival and wishes him well for the future," the team said in a statement. Ibrahimovic will occupy an international roster spot with the Galaxy. "Adding one of the finest goal scorers in this sport's history to our roster will tremendously help our club in the hunt for a sixth MLS Cup," Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said in a statement. "As one of the winningest players of all time, we believe he'll have a very positive impact on our team. We are confident that Zlatan can be one of the most dangerous strikers in our league and we are excited to integrate him into our club." It had been rumored for as many as two years that Ibrahimovic was considering a move to Los Angeles. Ibrahimovic has spent time in LA during his offseasons with PSG and Manchester United, and it seemed increasingly inevitable that he would become the next 30-something superstar to join the five-time MLS champions. The Galaxy changed the North American league's international perception when David Beckham joined the club in a groundbreaking move in 2007. The Galaxy made a serious pitch for Ibrahimovic last year, but he elected to spend another year in Manchester . The Galaxy slumped to the worst season in franchise history last fall, finishing last in the MLS table. But the team is showing signs of promise under Schmid, the club's veteran German-American coach, and has opened the season 1-1-0. Ibrahimovic will share playing time up front with Ola Kamara, the Norwegian striker acquired from Columbus in January. LA has an intriguing collection of talent to provide service for Ibrahimovic, including French winger Romain Alessandrini, who became one of MLS' best overall players last season in his Galaxy debut. Ibrahimovic must learn to play alongside Mexican forward Giovani Dos Santos, who has shown inconsistent flashes of brilliance since leaving La Liga for the Galaxy in 2015, and his younger brother, midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos. Ibrahimovic, who has also expressed interest in an acting career, is expected to arrive in Los Angeles next week and could be available to play on March 31 against expansion LAFC.

Afghanistan's Mohammad Shahzad hits out against Ireland.

Afghanistan snapped up the final qualification spot for the 2019 World Cup with a five-wicket victory over Ireland in Friday's winner-takes-all clash in Harare. After Zimbabwe's shock loss to United Arab Emirates 24 hours earlier, the equation was simple for these two sides - win, and a place at next year's finals in England and Wales would be secure. Set a moderate target of 210, Afghanistan made heavy weather of the chase after Mohammad Shahzad's 54 off 50 balls at the top of the order got them off to a positive start. Shahzad joined in an opening stand of 86 with Gulbadin Naib (45) and although the Blue Tigers lost their way a little in the middle overs to set up a tense finale, captain Asghar Stanikzai's unbeaten 39 from 29 got them over the line with five balls remaining. Earlier in the piece, Rashid Khan moved to 99 ODI wickets by taking 3-40 as Ireland were restricted to just 209-7, having won the toss and elected to bat. Paul Stirling top scored with 55 off 87, while Kevin O'Brien provided some impetus with 41 from 37 but their total never looked likely to be enough. And so it proved as Shahzad made the most of a reprieve after Barry McCarthy put down a tough caught-and-bowled chance when the batsman was on five, going on to strike six fours and two maximums. It was left to Stanikzai and Najibullah Zadran (17no) to steer them home as Afghanistan - who needed to win all three Super Six encounters to have any chance - secured a finals berth alongside West Indies, whom they will meet in a largely immaterial tournament decider on Sunday.

Byron Allen

The Weather Channel is under new ownership. Entertainment Studios Inc., an independent movie and TV producer and distributor, said Thursday it's acquired the channel's parent company, Weather Group. Byron Allen, founder and owner of Entertainment Studios, bought the Weather Group from the Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Comcast-NBCUniversal, Entertainment Studios said. "The Weather Channel is a phenomenal asset," Allen said in an interview. "It is the No. 1 weather news network in America. It's a network that's very important, that provides us information to protect our families and our lives." The purchase price for the channel and Local Now, a news streaming service, reportedly was $300 million. Entertainment Studios declined to confirm the figure. Bain, Blackstone and Comcast-NBCUniversal bought the Weather Channel Cos. from Landmark Communications in 2008 for a reported $3.5 billion. The new owners sold digital assets including the website for a reported $2 billion-plus to IBM in 2015. Allen called the Weather Channel "an American treasure" that he intends to expand. "We're just honored to be able to own and take it to the next level," he said. "They're already doing great, we're just going to invest more to position it for greater success" domestically and internationally. Meteorologist Jim Cantore is among the familiar faces at the basic cable channel that's available in more than 80 million North American homes. In a statement, Weather Channel CEO Dave Shull said Allen's ownership will benefit its viewers, distributors and advertisers. Entertainment Studios owns seven TV channels, including and Justice, which are distributed online and by pay-TV providers. It also owns, a website devoted to African-American stories and issues. Allen said the purchase of the Weather Group was completed Thursday morning through his company Allen Media LLC.

Heartbreaking footage shows dozens of pilot whales lying dead on the sand in Hamelin Bay as a group of people try to revive some of the mammals by throwing water to them. According to local reports, only 7 of all the stranded pilot whales had survived. Experts and authorities say these pilot whales are known for beaching themselves but they don't know the reasons for this rare behaviour.

The Fantasy crew brought their signature glamour and glitz to the Savannah stage on Carnival Tuesday, complete with bevies of beauties and lots of fun. The theme for this year, 'Isle of Olympia' showed lots of feathers, beads, gems and sparkle. Vide the footage below:

Tribe's Carnival vibe continued as revellers crossed the Socadrome stage on Carnival Tuesday. Celebrating the theme 'Once Upon a Dream, revellers stamped, wined, and bounced across the stage to their heart's content. View the video below:


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May 07, 2018

Saint Lucia Jazz 2018

A celebration of Saint Lucian, Caribbean and international jazz music, with events in all parts of the country - a mix of free and paying concerts, educational activities targeted at Saint Lucian and visiting musicians, culminating on Mothers’ Day, May 13, 2018, in a major concert at the Pigeon Island National Landmark.

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May 30, 2018

Saint Lucia Carnival 2018

Pumping rhythms, sexy costumes and the people dancing under the warm Caribbean sun; welcome to Saint Lucia Carnival! Almost on the heels of the annual Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, Saint Lucia’s cultural landscape morphs into a flurry of chrome plated steel drums, feathers, and beads. No matter where you are or who you are, Saint Lucia Carnival is something to behold.

In the months, weeks and hours leading up to Saint Lucia Carnival, there are numerous events that are a must see, whether you’re a Carnival veteran, or Carnival newbie. Some of the staple events - the Calypso Tents, Calypso Monarch, Party Monarch, and Carnival Parade are the deep-rooted cultural aspects of Saint Lucia Carnival. But it won’t be Carnival without the ‘wining’ and jumping and non-stop partying.

Here’s a great tip for first-time Carnival revellers - ‘wining’, is a local Caribbean-wide term used to describe the rotational movement of the hips either to the left or to the right, whichever way your waistline can go really. Before you brave any Saint Lucia Carnival event, don’t be afraid to perfect your ‘wining’ motions. You can bet on someone asking pretty ladies to “take ah wine.” Either way, master the move so that you keep up with the locals and really party like a Saint Lucian.

By the time Carnival Monday rolls around, your dancing skills will help burn off all the yummy calories you’ll be consuming – let’s face it; Saint Lucia’s Carnival food scene is just as fabulous! The ultimate Carnival experience is when one joins a “band.” Competing band members flock together at predetermined locations near the staging area, for the beginning of what will be a hyperactive dance session through the city’s streets. With speakers the size of warehouse refrigerators, the vibrations and sounds begin with only the trance of soca leading you throughout the streets of Saint Lucia.

If you’re still alive at the end of Carnival Monday, many band members will go off to enjoy official band parties or you can opt to go home to revitalize yourself – don’t worry, you can comfort yourself by the fact that the next day is Carnival Tuesday…

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August 01, 2018

Chocolate Heritage Month 2018

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Spend August satisfying your sweet tooth during Saint Lucia’s Chocolate Heritage Month.

Saint Lucia’s chocolate legacy dates back to the thriving cocoa industry of the 1700’s and the island still produces some of the world’s most sought-after chocolate. Many of Saint Lucia’s top resort spas and restaurants use the island’s native cocoa in spa treatments and savory and sweet culinary creations that are both indulgent and healthful.

August is an ideal time to sample inventive “choc-tails” and specialty tasting menus, relax with beneficial chocolate-infused spa treatments and enjoy “tree to bar” cocoa plantation tours with island-wide hotel and resort offers. Click here for more information. 

For a deeper look into the island’s chocolate heritage, you can take a plantation tour that shares the history and tradition of Saint Lucian cocoa production. Choose from a variety of experiences such as Morne Coubaril Estate and La Dauphine Estate. The Fond Doux Holiday Plantation tour will lead you through the cocoa fermentation house where you can participate in the traditional “cocoa- rina” dance to polish the cocoa beans. Or, take a behind the scenes look at a bean-to-bar single estate boutique chocolate maker at Jade Mountain’s Emerald Estate Organic Chocolate and Chocolate Laboratory.