Wherever people gather to celebrate, unwind, have fun or engage in a party where the beat is turned up and the atmosphere is vibrant, Coca-Cola is there with its unmistakable, thirst quenching taste. And so it was last Wednesday in St Lucia under a tropical moonlight surrounded by the ambience generated by the Ti Bananne Restaurant at the Coco Palm Hotel that St. Lucians, for more than two hours, sampled the delights that could be gleaned from the world’s most popular beverage; while experiencing first hand the brand’s evolution. Never a brand to play second fiddle, Coca-Cola’s global “One Brand” strategy consolidates the “iconic appeal of original Coca-Cola across the Trademark, uniting the Coca-Cola family under the world’s number one beverage brand.” This comes to life under the campaign; Taste the Feeling. Coca-Cola boasts a new look that showcases the choice consumers have between Coca-Cola Original Taste; Coca-Cola No Sugar which maintains the taste of Original but without sugar and calories and Coca-Cola Light Taste which also has no sugar or calories but has a lighter taste. St. Lucia is one of the first markets to roll out this new look, dubbed “Full Red”. [image_gallery] ‘Taste the feeling’ was more than just the campaign message last night as patrons sampled the variants of the drink and got a true feel of the magic that for decades has positioned Coca Cola as a globally dominant brand. This universal feeling touches older and younger generations alike, as the experience of popping a cap, hearing the fizz and that first taste is impactful from the first time and holds nostalgic power as a touchstone years on. One partygoer at last night’s event summed it up nicely by saying that when you take the first taste you get the feeling to take another taste, and another taste, and another, and another until the bottle is empty.

Saint Lucia has recorded strong and steady growth in its tourism sector, so far for 2017. Year to date Saint Lucia has recorded an increase of 94,432 visitor arrivals, representing 14.5% growth over 2016. Stay over arrivals as of August 2017 are up 9% and cruise arrivals are 21% above the previous year. The cruise sector has continued to show very strong growth and this is expected to significantly increase when construction is competed on a new berth at the end of the year. This expansion will allow Saint Lucia to accommodate Quantum class vessels with passenger capacities of above 4900 per port call. Saint Lucia Open for Business Having thankfully been spared from the recent hurricanes, our tourism industry continues to operate as normal. Importantly, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority has partnered with key public and private sector agencies to provide assistance to our sister islands in need. One initiative worthy of note is the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association’s establishment of the Tourism Employee Relief Fund (TERF) for the medium term assistance of displaced tourism workers. Growing Accommodation Offerings Saint Lucia’s tourism sector is poised to undergo significant expansion within the next few years. Due to several major hotel projects, the island’s tourism room stock is to increase by 2000 rooms over the next 4 years thereby creating more variety in the accommodation offering. Already for this year, the Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa has opened its doors with 455 rooms in two hotels one catering to families and the other, adults only. Serenity Villas at Coconut Bay Resort, has also unveiled its 36 luxury villas and the Harbour Club is to open in December with 117 waterfront/marina rooms. Work commenced on the Fairmont Saint Lucia Resort in Sabwisha, Choiseul in September this year. This resort will be a unique space that integrates local nature, a low-rise building complex and a wide range of recreational facilities. The hotel will include 120-five-star hotel rooms, 37 villas, 3 restaurants, a spa, commercial areas for local producers and traders and 3 swimming pools. A special central place within the development will be dedicated for local tradition with several of shops for carvings and paintings. The Reduit beach will be redeveloped and will become the home of a luxury five-star dual branded hotel called Curio by Hilton. This property will be built where the Rex Resorts was previously located. The Curio by Hilton will feature 500 luxury rooms; 350 rooms assigned to the Hilton and 150 assigned to the Curio by Hilton. Work on this property will begin within the last quarter of 2017. Work should commence on the Honeymoon Bay Resort in Cannelles very soon. This resort will consist of two hotels; the first is a 250 room 5-star luxury, family all-inclusive hotel and the second is an 80 room, 5-star luxury hotel. This resort will feature an 18-hole golf course and clubhouse and a museum. The Range Developments signed an agreement with the Government of Saint Lucia to acquire the Black Bay lands and develop Black Bay into an integrated master planned luxury touristic community. The Black Bay Master Development will consist of a Ritz Carlton branded hotel and villas with other amenities set on 180 acres on the southern tip of the island. The hotel is expected to have 180 rooms and will be the central anchor of the Black Bay Master Development. Initial site works are expected to commence in the fourth of quarter of 2017 or the first quarter of 2018 and the hotel is expected to be complete by the end of 2020. Sandals Resorts International has confirmed plans to add a fourth resort on Saint Lucia. The property will offer 350 rooms and suites inclusive of the exotic Sky Pool Butler Suites, all-butler signature swim-up Rondoval Suites and an infinity-edge sky pool bar. Groundbreaking for the project is set to begin in 2018. Negotiations are nearing closure with AM Resorts on the development of two of its brands – a 250 room Secrets Resorts and Spa and another 250 room Dreams Resorts and Spa. In addition to hotel developments, the island will create and capitalize on the concept of village tourism. Eight fishing villages will be transformed into unique tourism villages based on their attributes and strengths. These villages will be uniquely themed and development plans will be established in a participatory manner which address the villages’ infrastructure, culinary assets, architecture and capacity. Winter is the time to say ‘I Do’ Lauded as the World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination for the ninth time this year, Saint Lucia boasts some of the finest wedding and honeymoon settings imaginable, providing a lifetime of cherished memories including: • Beautiful Beaches – With over 30 stunning beaches throughout the island. Picture your wedding day set on a palm-fringed beach.• Cascading Waterfalls – A popular choice for younger couples and the more adventurous types, the backdrop of the waterfall speaks for itself and depicts the uniqueness of the island. • Historical Parks – The cultural history of Saint Lucia provides a fabulous rustic back drop to any wedding, stunning scenes amongst ruins of naval forts, sugar plantations, and cocoa plantations to name a few. • Mountain Tops – The Piton Mountains in Soufriere offer a breathtaking backdrop for your wedding. • Botanical Gardens – Tropical island scents and home to special flora and fauna, Saint Lucia’s botanical gardens are ideal settings for a beautiful wedding. The island’s wedding coordinators can also recommend one of many private garden locations and hotel properties to provide the perfect setting for a destination wedding. Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival In 2017, Saint Lucia has launched an ambitious initiative – a Summer of Festivals – aimed at bringing tangible and lasting economic, social and cultural benefits to the country and its people. The Festival builds on Saint Lucia’s outstanding artistic talent and rich cultural heritage and on its experience in designing and hosting unique events and celebrations: • Food & Rum Festival – a gastronomic event to attract the best chefs, wine connoisseurs, rum fanatics and food critiques from the Caribbean and internationally. • The Saint Lucia Jazz Festival – Caribbean and international jazz music, an eclectic mix of renown and up and coming talent, with indoor concerts, dinner sets, and outdoor, open air events • Roots & Soul – A festival dedicated to musicians who are setting new trends in reggae, conscious hip-hop, Afro-punk and R&B. • Saint Lucia Carnival – Pumping rhythms, sexy costumes and the people dancing under the warm Caribbean sun; welcome to Saint Lucia Carnival. • Country & Blues – Influenced by African roots, the Blues tells of a rich, powerful history of people and created one of the most influential genres of popular music. • Arts & Heritage Festival – Building on the celebration of Creole Day, which began in Saint Lucia in 1981, this month-long Festival is a celebration of the richness and diversity of Saint Lucia’s cultural, ethnic and artistic heritage.

A mobile application that connects doctors and patients is offering free services as its contribution to hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean. Hurricanes Irma and Maria had a major impact on several Caribbean countries, including Barbuda, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Dominica and Puerto Rico. As local access to health care has become a challenge for hurricane victims, the team at eDocinesays it is eager to do its part in order to aid in these relief efforts. The “eDocine App” allows a patient to connect remotely to doctors via mobile video, audio or instant messaging. Until the end of December 2017, all live medical consultations with its verified doctors will be free of charge. An appeal is also being made to doctors in the Caribbean region to join the team of eDocine medical practitioners working together to help rebuild the region. Those interested in joining the effort should contact info@edocine.com. The eDocine Application can be downloaded from: Apple App Store:https://itunes.apple.com/jm/app/edocine-app-by-vilakis-innovations/id1180019191?mt=8 Android App Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.edocine.droid Key Features and Application for Patients: Integrated e-Health services -This is inclusive of video calls, audio calls, messaging consultations, scheduling house visits and scheduling of office appointments from a selection of the best doctors in the region. Qualified Professionals with Patient Regulated Rating System -eDocine employs a regulated certification system. Each doctor’s credentials are fact checked and stored before they are allowed to see patients on the platform. Patients are able to rate their patient/doctor experience through the app; which then becomes the overall rating of the doctor for the benefit of future patients. Freemedical advice from qualified professionals -Patients can ask a doctor any general medical question in the main feed section. This question is posted in the “doctor’s only forum” where only doctors can choose to respond. The patient’s ID is kept confidential at all stages throughout this process. Other patients can stay informed with current medical information, as the question and answer remain public to all viewers.

Neville O’Reilly Livingstone, popularly known as ‘Bunny Wailer’, collects his award from Governor General Sir Patrick Allen at King's House on Monday. (PHOTOS: Llewellyn Wynter)

The lone front-line surviving member of the iconic reggae group, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Neville O’Reilly Livingstone, popularly known as ‘Bunny Wailer’, ‘Bunny Livingstone’ and most affectionately as ‘Jah B’, has been conferred with the Order of Merit (OM) for his contribution to popular music. Bunny Wailer has long been a stand-out figure on both local and international reggae stages. Born in 1947, ‘Jah B’ is asinger,songwriterandpercussionist, who, along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, were members of the Wailers. A three-timeGrammy awardwinner, he is considered one of the long-time standard-bearers of reggae music. A firebrand advocate of both reggae music and the Rastafari religion, Bunny Wailer proudly marched up to accept his award from Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen, at Kings House at the head of Monday’s presentation of the annual national awards. Emerging from the community ofNine MileinSt Ann, where he met Bob Marley as toddlers, and through adult relatives around them and later Peter Tosh, an intertwined family connection developed, with Livingstone’s father producing a child with Marley’s mother, and Tosh producing a son with a sister of Bunny Wailer. Despite his extensive role with the Wailers, Bunny has carved out an impressive solo career as primarily a ‘roots’artiste in keeping with his strong political and spiritual messages. His album‘Blackheart Man’has been cited as a prime example of his hard-hitting roots reggae style of music. After leaving the Wailers, he noticeably experimented with disco on an album‘Hook Line & Sinker’. With the backing of music industry stalwarts like instrumentalists, Sly and Robbie, and producers like Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd, and later, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Bunny Wailer delivered classics like ‘Dancing Shoes’. He won theGrammy Award for Best Reggae Albumin1991,for the album ‘Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley’; in 1995for ‘Crucial! Roots Classics’; andin 1997for ‘Hall of Fame: A Tribute to Bob Marley's 50th Anniversary (RAS)’. He was also featured among a number of Jamaicans on the album‘True Love’byToots and the Maytals, which won theGrammy Awardin 2004, for Best Reggae Album.

A Canadianmedical marijuana company announced on Tuesday that it had completed its first shipment of edible cannabis oil to the Cayman Islands. This is the second time a Canadian based company has exported cannabis oil to the island; CanniMed Therapeutics was the first, reporting on May 3, 2017 that it had successfully exported 12,960 ml of ganja oil the Cayman Islands. Peace Naturals Project Inc in release on Tuesday revealed that their product was purchased by Caribbean Medical Distributors, who work with a pharmacy service located in the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital in George Town. The cannabis company also offers medicinal cannabis (ganja) varieties, in addition to their two flagship edible cannabis oil products: Omega and Cerene. How the ganja oil works According to the company website, the product comes with 1ml eyedropper, once the dosage amount is measured it can be added to food or be consumed on its own. A 30ml bottle of the company’s product retails for between $75- $99 CND, which is approximately, $49- $64 CI. According to Peace Naturals’ website, their products are “are not designed to eliminate underlying medical conditions”. Instead Peace Naturals say their “mission is to make our clients’ lives a little bit better by making their symptoms more manageable.” Earlier in 2017, Peace Naturals issued a voluntary recall of 74 lots of dried marijuana and cannabis oil, according to Health Canada, “two samples of leavescollected tested positive for piperonyl butoxide at low level concentration of 0.78 parts per million (ppm).” Health Canada further revealed that it had only received one adverse reaction report related to Peace Naturals Project Inc.'s products sold affected by the recall. Cronos Group, formerly known as Pharma Can Capital Corp, acquired Peace Naturals in late 2016.

International credit rating agency, Standard & Poor's (S&P), has dropped Barbados' sovereign credit rating by one notch to CCC. In a statement issued this afternoon, S&P said: "We are lowering our long-term local currency rating on Barbados to 'CCC' from 'CCC+'. We are affirming our other ratings on Barbados, including the 'CCC+' long-term foreign currency sovereign rating. "The negative outlook reflects the risk of a downgrade given difficulty turning around fiscal policy (with parliamentary elections in 2018), a possible domestic debt exchange that could be a default under our criteria, and prospects for a balance-of-payments crisis." It also noted that Barbados' policy challenges include "high general government debt, deficits, and debt servicing requirements; limited appetite for private-sector financing; and a low level of international reserves raising the risk to sustainability of the peg to the U.S. dollar." According to the S&P, the CCC rating means that debts are currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and are dependent upon favourable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor (owing party) to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation." The ratings agency saidit could revise the negative outlook to stable over the next 12 months "if the government succeeds in balancing its fiscal budget, either from implementation of fiscal measures or a prolonged rebound in growth; improves its access to financing, from private creditors locally and globally; and stabilises the country's external vulnerabilities and bolsters international reserves". S&P previously downgraded Barbados' credit rating in March 2017, when it lowered the sovereign credit rating to CCC+ from B-. See the full statement below: RATING ACTION On Sept. 27, 2017, S&P Global Ratings lowered its long-term local currency sovereign credit rating on Barbados to 'CCC' from 'CCC+'. We also affirmed our long-term foreign currency sovereign rating at 'CCC+. The outlook on both long-term ratings is negative. We also affirmed the short-term ratings at 'C'. The transfer and convertibility assessment for Barbados remains 'CCC+'. OUTLOOK The negative outlook reflects the potential for a downgrade over the next 12 months should the government fail to advance measures to significantly lower its high fiscal deficit, strengthen its external liquidity, and reverse its low level of international reserves. These scenarios would likely lead to further pressure on availability of deficit financing--be it from official or private creditors--and pose challenges for the fixed exchange rate regime. Any potential local currency debt exchange with commercial creditors, though not currently under consideration by the government, would most likely be considered a distressed debt exchange and constitute a default according to our criteria. We could revise the outlook to stable over the next 12 months if the government succeeds in balancing its fiscal budget, either from implementation of fiscal measures or a prolonged rebound in growth; improves its access to financing, from private creditors locally and globally; and stabilizes the country's external vulnerabilities and bolsters international reserves. RATIONALE Barbados' history of wider fiscal deficits and low growth since 2009 has resulted in a significant increase in general government debt and debt service needs. Limited appetite for government paper in the local market has led to reliance on financing from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and the Central Bank of Barbados. Amid high current account deficits and limited external inflows, external liquidity has been weakening. The decline in international reserves reduces Barbados' capacity to defend the currency peg and increases the risk of a balance-of-payments crisis. Our ratings on Barbados reflect our view that its creditworthiness is currently vulnerable and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments. Flexibility and performance profile: Rising debt and interest burden, limited financing alternatives, and high external vulnerabilities. As of June 2017, Barbados' gross central government debt represented around 140% of GDP, one of the highest debt levels among Latin American and Caribbean countries. We expect Barbados' net general government debt (which does not include NIS and central bank holdings of government debt and incorporates liquid assets) to rise toward 98% of GDP over the next three years from 95% in 2016. We consider this level of debt a key credit weakness, particularly given Barbados' narrow, open economy (which depends highly on tourism) and fixed exchange-rate regime. In addition, the general government interest to revenue burden is over 15%. We assess Barbados' contingent liabilities as limited, considering our view of the strength of the banking system, with assets around 170% of GDP and being fully foreign-owned. Financing sources have become increasingly limited over the last five years. Barbados has not tapped international capital markets since 2010. Financing from bilateral and multilateral lenders has slowed, in part, as Barbados has been slow to satisfy conditions for disbursement and advance projects associated with borrowing. Historically, local capital markets provided most of Barbados' financing. However, in recent years, the private-sector appetite has dried up on weak policy execution. The government has relied on the central bank and NIS; they met 85% of the financing requirements during 2015 and 2016. Commercial banks have had a limited appetite to finance the central government deficit. During fiscal year 2017/2018 (fiscal years go from April until March), the central bank aims to reduce financing to the central government to only 1% of GDP, from the 6% in 2015/2016 and 8% in 2016/2017. The NIS has already exceeded its own prudential limits on government paper, and the growth rate of financing provided by the NIS has already decreased. The government announced in May 2017 fiscal adjustment measures that are among the most significant to date in an effort to balance its fiscal year 2017-2018 budget. They include raising the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) on imports and domestic manufactured goods to 10% from 2% and a 2% fee on foreign currency transactions and the sale of Barbados National Terminal Corp. Ltd. (BNTCL), which stalled last fiscal year because of the Barbados Fair Trading Commission concerns of possible monopoly practices. However, a weak track record of execution, the introduction of the measures half way into the fiscal year, the likely overestimation of one-off revenues, and political considerations while moving to an election year in 2018 leads us to assume that the measures will fall short of balancing Barbados' budget this year and next. Therefore, our base case expects a general government deficit (and change in general government debt) of 4% of GDP during 2017-2020. General government fiscal results include an NIS surplus below 1% of GDP during the same period, down from a 3% in 2011. Lower profitability is attributed to central government arrears on the NIS. In an additional effort to reduce near-term pressure on the budget and financing requirements, the government also announced it's considering a debt liability management exercise on local currency debt held by the NIS, central bank, and other government-related entities (GREs). Central bank and NIS holdings represent around 40% of gross central government debt. The government expects to finalize a voluntary debt exchange operation that extends maturities without net present value losses before the current calendar year ends. A transaction only focused on intragovernmental debt is not a default under our criteria. But it highlights the extent of fiscal stress, and if it's extended to private-sector creditors, it would likely constitute a default under our criteria. The liability management operations being considered by the government do not include foreign-currency-denominated debt. There are not external commercial maturities until 2019, but we estimate a debt service of around US$200 million per year during 2017 and 2018. Strong receipts from tourism, low private-sector demand, and low oil prices resulted in flat imports, which helped reduce Barbados' current account deficit (CAD) to 5% of GDP as of 2016, below the 10% average of the previous five years. Our base case expects that tourism continues to perform adequately, and that low oil prices and the NSRL further discouraging consumption (and imports) would result in an average CAD of 4% during 2017-2019. Foreign direct investment won't be able to fully finance the CAD, which should keep pressure on the level of international reserves during 2017-2019. International reserves stood at US$317 million as of June 2017. Usable international reserves, which we consider for assessing external liquidity, are even lower; we subtract the monetary base from international reserves because reserve coverage of the monetary base is critical to maintaining confidence in the exchange-rate regime. Barbados' usable reserves have been negative since 2013, and the position continues to deteriorate, in part because of the central bank's deficit financing, which has expanded the monetary base. We expect Barbados' gross external financing needs to be above 200% of current account receipts (CAR) plus usable reserves. We expect narrow net external debt to average about 30% of CAR during 2017-2019. Our external assessment also considers that net external liabilities of a projected 140% of CAR during 2017-2018 are substantially higher than narrow net external debt. Finally, in our view, data on Barbados' international investment position have inconsistencies and are not timely. In our opinion, monetary financing to the central government is at odds with sustaining Barbados' currency peg to the dollar, and it significantly curtails the central bank's ability to act as a lender of last resort in the financial system. Low inflation is a reflection of global conditions rather than effective monetary policy execution given the fixed exchange-rate regime. Institutional and economic profile: Subdued economic growth prospects and weakened policy track record. With about US$16,771 per capita GDP projected for 2017, Barbados is still one of the richest countries in the Caribbean. Strong flows of tourists and the expansion of the Sandals hotel helped Barbados to grow 2% in real terms during 2016, the highest rate of growth posted since 2009. This contributed to an improved economic assessment. However, historical growth has been below that of peers with a similar level of economic development, and the economy depends highly on tourism. Growth over the next several years balances a reduction in length of stay and marginal growth in average tourist expenditure with higher arrivals, especially from the U.S. market. A second source of growth would be two major hotel projects that would open operations on the island in 2019 – the Hyatt and the Sam Lord's Castle project by Wyndham. But growth would be held back by recurrent tourism project delays, higher taxes, low private-sector confidence and consumption, and a significant level of red tape, which weakens Barbados' overall economic profile. Barbados has a stable, predictable, and mature political system, which has traditionally benefited from consensus on major economic and social issues. The government has alternated between the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) and the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). Parliamentary elections are due by June 2018. Despite the unpopularity of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (DLP), the election is likely be close given divisions within BLP led by opposition leader Mia Mottley. Both parties have similar priorities: to restore growth and maintain the currency peg with the U.S. dollar. Despite the fact consensus supports and acknowledges the need for adjustment, there has not been success on this front. Private-sector confidence in the current government has fallen on ineffective and slow policy responses. This includes recurrent delays in many investment projects, the failure to enact a comprehensive fiscal adjustment plan, and declines in international reserves. Slow actions have weighed on our policy assessment compared with when Barbados was higher-rated. Transparency and timeliness of data publication are also weaker than higher-rated sovereigns.

Olympic medalist McKayla Maroney says she was molested by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar from the time she was 13 to her retirement from the sport last year. The 21-year-old posted a lengthy statement on Twittteron Wednesday that detailed the allegations of abuse. She says the abuse began at one of her first team training camps and also occurred before events at the 2012 Olympics. She and her teammates won gold for the U.S. in London and Maroney took an individual silver medal on the vault. Nassar is in prison in Michigan after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. He is awaiting trial on separate criminal sexual conduct charges and has been sued by more than 125 women alleging abuse. His lawyers and USA Gymnastics didn't immediately return requests seeking comment Wednesday.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo scores from the penalty spot during a Group H Champions League football match against Tottenham Hotspur at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017.

Cristiano Ronaldo got the best of Harry Kane in the duel between two of Europe's most prolific forwards, but Kane's Tottenham celebrated a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday. Tottenham proved tough to crack against the defending champions at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and held on for the draw that kept both clubs at the top of Group H. The English club scored first with an own-goal by Raphael Varane as the Madrid defender tried to clear a cross intended for Kane, and Ronaldo equalized for Madrid by converting a penalty kick just before halftime after Toni Kroos was fouled. Kane had a great chance to give Tottenham the victory in Madrid but his close-range shot was saved by goalkeeper Keylor Navas midway through the second half in one of the game's best scoring opportunities. "They were going to have chances, it was going to be a tough game," Kane said. "A point at the Bernabeu, you'd take that every day of the week. It shows how far we've come as a team." The unbeaten sides meet again in England in two weeks. "We'll try to win at Wembley. We don't need to change a lot," Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. "We aren't happy as we were at home and we always want to win, but we had our chances." The teams remain tied for the group lead with seven points and the same number of goals scored and conceded. In the other group match, APOEL held Borussia Dortmund to 1-1 at home, leaving both teams with one point each. "This point we earned today means a lot," Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino said. "It may help us advance from the group stage." Tottenham arrived looking for a good performance to show it can compete against the best in Europe. And it was back and forth at the Bernabeu. All eyes were on Ronaldo and Kane, who arrived as the tournament's top scorers after two group-stage matches. Kane had five and Ronaldo equaled him by converting the penalty on Tuesday. Tottenham opened the scoring in the 28th minute after Varane found his own net while trying to clear Serge Aurier's cross directed to Kane, who was not able to get his foot to the ball. Ronaldo's goal came after Kroos was brought down by Aurier inside the area. The Portugal forward sent a firm shot into the corner as Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris went the other way. Ronaldo, who scored twice in each of the team's first two games, was denied by the post on a fifth-minute header, and by Lloris on a pair of dangerous shots in the second half. Kane had already enjoyed a great chance with a first-half header that was stopped by Navas, and then squandered what could have been the game-winner in the 71st after entering the area free from defenders but failing to get the ball past the Madrid goalkeeper. "Today was a game for keepers," said Navas, who was returning from injury. "It's hard to score goals and we tried but we just could not get more today. We wanted a clean sheet, too, but sometimes you can't do anything about it." Lloris also made a brilliant save with his foot after a close-range header by Karim Benzema in the second half. "We were better in the first half and we had some good chances to score," Lloris said. "At this level it's a great feeling to get a good draw."

Holding candles and independence flags, people march on one of the city's main avenues to protest against the National Court's decision to imprison civil society leaders without bail, in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. Spain's top court also ruled Tuesday that a recent independence referendum in Catalonia was unconstitutional, a day after a Madrid judge provisionally jailed two Catalan independence leaders, Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, in a sedition probe.(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Spain's prime minister on Wednesday urged Catalonia's leaders to back down from their bid to gain independence for the region, a day before a central government deadline that could significantly deepen the country's political crisis. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has given Catalan president Carles Puigdemont until Thursday morning to clarify whether he is making the wealthy region independent. The Madrid-based national government is threatening to take the unprecedented step of seizing some or total control of the semi-autonomous region if Puigdemont proceeds with his ambitions of secession. That would likely trigger an explosive reaction in Catalonia. With the clock ticking, Rajoy called on Puigdemont to "act sensibly" and heed the interests of all Spaniards and Catalans. Addressing Puigdemont's party lawmakers in the Spanish parliament, Rajoy said they should try to convince the Catalan leader "not to make any more problems." The tension remained high, however, just weeks after an Oct. 1 referendum in Catalonia which Spain's top court ruled was unconstitutional. About 50 Spanish and Catalan party lawmakers held up posters in parliament demanding the release of two pro-Catalonia independence movement leaders, describing them as political prisoners. The protest lasted around 15 seconds before the lawmakers heeded warnings that they were out of order and sat down. The demonstration was over Monday's jailing of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, leaders of the Catalan grassroots organizations Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultural, in a sedition investigation. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Tuesday in Catalonia, demanding their release.

This combination of photos provided by the U.S. Army and the University of Maryland Police Department shows Richard Collins III, right, and Sean Urbanski. On Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, Urbanski was indicted on a hate crime charge for allegedly stabbing Collins to death “because of his race,” a Maryland prosecutor said. (U.S. Army, University of Maryland Police Department via AP)

A white man was indicted Tuesday on a hate crime charge for allegedly stabbing a black college student to death "because of his race," a Maryland prosecutor said. Prince George's County State's Attorney Angela Alsobrooks announced the grand jury indictment against Sean Urbanski at a news conference in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Richard Collins III was stabbed to death on May 20 at the University of Maryland, days before he was set to graduate from Bowie State University. He had just been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. "We are completely comfortable with the indictment in this case and look forward to taking the case to trial in January," Alsobrooks said, adding that prosecutors took the time they felt was necessary to investigate all the evidence. Authorities analyzed "lots and lots of digital evidence," including evidence from Urbanski's phone and computer data, Alsobrooks said. "There was lots of digital evidence that we could look at to get a sense for the motive in this case," Alsobrooks said, though she declined to elaborate. "Again, we can't discuss in detail without compromising our case what the evidence is in the case, but again the evidence led us to the conclusion that Lt. Collins was murdered because of his race," Alsobrooks added, when reporters asked for further details. Hassan Murphy, an attorney representing the Collins family, commended the decision to bring the hate crime charge. Collins, 23, was visiting friends at the College Park campus of the University of Maryland when the stabbing happened. Authorities quickly focused on the possibility that the slaying was a hate crime, because Urbanski became a member of a racist Facebook group several months before the stabbing. University of Maryland Police Chief said at the time he asked the FBI to assist in the investigation after learning Urbanski belonged to a Facebook group called "Alt-Reich: Nation," where members post disparaging material about African-Americans and others. Officials said Collins was with two friends near a campus bus stop about 3 a.m. when they heard Urbanski screaming and watched him approach them. Urbanski said "Step left, step left if you know what's best for you," according to the charging documents. Collins said "no" before Urbanski stabbed him once in the chest, the documents said. The killing roiled both campuses, which are near each other in suburban Washington. Bowie State is a historically black school. The case increased racial tensions at the flagship campus of Maryland's university system, and the university announced new initiatives to improve how it investigates hate-based incidents. "The Collins family remains in our thoughts, following their tragic loss last May," the University of Maryland said in a statement. "This is especially true today as the prosecution of this senseless crime moves through the criminal justice system." Urbanski, 22, has been held on a murder charge since the stabbing. The former University of Maryland student faces up to life without parole, plus 20 years for the charge of a hate crime resulting in death, Alsobrooks said. William Brennan, Urbanski's attorney, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Lil Rick brought the 'Energy'.

After a night of stiff competition, Lil Rick didn't have to beg as the crowd agreed with the judges' decision to give him the crown for the second year in a row. The top four contestants in the Party Monarch were: 1, Lil Rick (Energy) with 90 points wins Mazda 3 car, $10 000, among other prizes 2,Ras Iley & Grynner (D 2 Ah We) with 82 points, $20 000 3, Mr Dale Mistah Dale (Soca Famaleez) with 70 points, $15 000 4, Mikey (Feting and Brass) with 60 points won $10 000 Stay tuned to Loop News for full details on the competition.

Many agreed that RPB was the clear winner.

RPB has won the Sweet Soca competition at the 2017 Soca Royale. The top four contestants in the Party Monarch were: 1, RPB (Boat Ride) 90 points, winning a Mazda 3 and cash, among other prizes. 2, Nikita (Carry Festival)82 points, $17 500 3, Lil Rick (Blessings)72 points, $12 500 4,Marzville(Give It To Ya)48 points, $9 000 Stay tuned to Loop News for full details on the competition.


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