IMF Chief Christine Lagarde

IMF boss Christine Lagarde is warning that increasing trade wars and mounting global debt could cripple the world economy. Speaking at the University of Hong Kong, Lagarde said trade tensions between the United States and China could spell an era of protectionism that would threaten the world’s multilateral trade system. “ The multilateral trade system has transformed our world over the past generation. But that system of rules and shared responsibility is now in danger of being torn apart. This would be an inexcusable, collective policy failure,” said Lagarde. US President Donald Trump has called for the imposition of tariffs and points to Germany’s trade imbalance. He has also insisted that China should not be allowed to flood the U.S. market with cheap goods while American firms do not get full access to the world’s highest populated country. “The IMF chief explained : “ Tariffs not only lead to more expensive products and more limited choices, but they also prevent trade from playing its essential role in boosting productivity and spreading new technologies. Countries should steer clear of protectionism in all its forms. “ Let us redouble our efforts to reduce trade barriers and resolve disagreements without using exceptional measures.” Lagarde warned about the world’s escalating public and private debt which now stands at a whopping US$164 trillion dollars of which two-thirds are held by the private sector. Easy liquidity and underwriting together with low interest rates have contributed to a spike in the number of highly leveraged firms. According to Standard & Poor’s between 2011-2017, global non-financial corporate debt grew by 15 percentage points to 96 per cent of GDP. The rating agency is warning that high corporate debt could trigger the next default cycle. “ When debt is this steep and default rates are low, something’s gotta give. A material repricing in bond markets or faster than expected normalization in money market rates could impact credit profiles,” said S&P. Very low borrowing costs has built up more debt than any time since the end of the Great Depression. This has allowed companies to grow faster but makes them vulnerable when borrowing costs increase. Public debt is currently at historic highs – in excess of 225 per cent of GDP. In the last 10 years, emerging economies have been responsible for most of this increase. Speaking earlier this week at the IMF’s World Economic Outlook’s Spring Meeting in Washington, the IMF’s chief economist Maurice Obstfeld, said, “ The present good times will not last for long.” The Managing Director of the IMF said: “ In countries where public debt is already high, careful management of financial terms is critical.” She went on to add that rising indebtedness across Asia and Africa following on from China’s “ Belt and Road Initiative” poses risks to the global economy as smaller countries may be borrowing more money than they can pay back.

In the spirit of giving more, Guinness® revealed a new, premium black and gold label design to the press, for the brand’s Foreign Extra Stout variant (GFES) on Thursday, April 12th. “Someone who consumes Guinness® is made of more, they are unique and eye-catching. Walking along the paths of being distinct and innovative, we thought what better way of standing out, than by highlighting Guinness® iconic harp logo, the second most recognizable in the world.” Said Guinness Brand Manager, Rohan Lovence. The emblem of the Guinness® Harp, one the three elements of the Guinness® Livery, is so iconic, that it named its first lager, Harp, in 1960. The Harp is also the official national emblem of the Republic of Ireland, the birthplace of the founder of Guinness®. The classic, dark-brown bottle which houses the iconic brew features gold foil and the generous swoop of Arthur Guinness’ signature. The Guinness® Harp takes center stage on the new label design. Now enlarged, consumers of Guinness® are given one more reason to stand out from the norm. The Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, which has taste profiles that are sweet, bitter and roasted, is appreciated around the world, especially in the Caribbean. It is brewed and bottled in Saint Lucia, by the Windward & Leeward Brewery.

Puerto Ricolost electricity againon April 18, seven months after Hurricane Maria first knocked out the island’s power grid. For people in some remote rural areas, the blackout wasmore of the same. Their power had yet to be restored. The dangerous fragility of Puerto Rico’s energy systems has put other Caribbeancountries on high alert. Across the region, electric gridsare dated, ailingand overburdened – making it easy work for a powerful passing storm. Caribbean nations also rely heavily onoil and diesel importsto fuel their power plants – a dirty andexpensiveway to produce energy. So even before the 2017 hurricane season, Caribbean governments were trying to integrate renewable energy sources likewind and solar into their existing grids. Now that task seems far more urgent. Tomove beyond fossil fuels, Caribbean countries must transform their energy systems by building in new, greener sources of power. That will also make electric gridsmore resilient to weather extremesbecause they will be decentralized – pulling from a diverse array of power sources. Climate change in the Caribbean Asan environmental scientist working in Jamaica, I recognize many reasons why the Caribbean region must upgrade its outmoded energy systems. Mitigating global climate change, of course, is a big one. Unfortunately, I believe that climate change will also complicate the region’s transition toward renewable energy. The Caribbean is comprised of island nations, which are the world’smost vulnerable placeswhen it comes to rising seas, changing weather patterns and other effects of global warming. (Photo: Dominica after the passage of Hurricane Maria in 2017) The Caribbean is already seeing more weather extremes.Researchsuggests, for example, that northern Caribbean countries like Cuba, Jamaica and the Bahamas have gotten rainier over the past three decades, though historical data is limited. Meteorologists also believe thatclimate change is making hurricanesmorefrequent and powerful over the Atlantic Ocean. The uptick in severe weather is costly. According to the United Nations, the 2017 hurricane season cost Caribbean countries and the United StatesUS$92 billion. Why traditional energy sources need to adapt As the eastern United States and Caribbean brace for apotentially brutal 2018 hurricane season, policymakers are looking for fast ways to strengthen their power grids. Installing more wind, solar and hydropower – the world’smost reliable and common renewable energy options– would seem to be a more obvious step in the right direction. Between 2015 and 2016, the global capacity of these green power sources rose9 percent– nearly half of which comes from the widespread adoption of solar panels. After Maria,technology companies like Tesla saw an opportunityto spotlight their products in wind, solar and geothermal power in the Caribbean. Tesla installed Powerwall solar-powered batteries across Puerto Rico. This technologyhas kept the lights on during blackouts at over 660 locations, thoughexperts cautionthat such solar “microgrids” cannot serve the energy needs of an entire country. The problem with climate change But, in a Caribbean of increasing weather extremes, these green energy systems are themselves vulnerable. Modern wind turbines, for example, were first engineered in Europe – a region that rarelyexperiences Category 5 hurricanes. Wind speeds above 165 mphwould tear the turbines apart. Changing precipitation and temperature patterns in the Caribbeanalso affecthydro and solar power. More rain in the region’s north means fewer sunny days than anticipated. Higher temperatures in other countries suggests increased likelihood of drought, leading rivers to run dry. Climate change is aprofoundly unpredictable process, though. That makes it harder for weather models to correctly identify which renewable energy infrastructure should be built where. Computer models are inherently imperfect planners. Asresearchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently affirmed, plugging in short-term weather data to make long-term atmospheric projections adds “irreducible elements of chaos.” Climate change, which affectsvarious parts of the world differently, makes it even harder to accurately predict future weather scenarios. Comprehensive modeling systems that useLIDAR and other remote-sensing technologiesdo better, but they aretoo expensive for widespread adoption in the Caribbean. The future is now The Caribbean is making progress in planning for a future of more renewable energy, though. Jamaicaaims to install new automated weather stationsthat will collect real-time weather data nationwide. This initiative will help meteorologists across the entire Caribbean better predict future weather, which in turn supports the development of renewable energy systems. So will a new climate model developed by my colleagues at the University of the West Indies. The system, calledSMASH, can aid planners in siting wind farms and predicting the path and severity of the hurricanes that could mangle turbines. [related node_id='21d31cdb-2bb0-490a-94ff-020f2a070763'] A newCaribbean drought atlasfrom Cornell University has compiled climate data going back to 1950. The tool won’t just help sustain food production during dry times; I believe it will also provide engineers precipitation data that’s critical to planning hydropower enterprises. Cutting-edge hydropower plants that run onurban wastewatermay one dayalso address the current limitations of hydropowerin the Caribbean. Many small islands lack the big rushing rivers that allow water to be a meaningful power generator. Wind farms, too, areadaptingto the instability of this changing climate. Once firmly pegged to the ground, turbines can nowfloat thousands of feet above the land, spooled outlike kitesto capture winds where they blow hardest. Floating turbines will also fare better during hurricanes. All of these technologies may eventually help Caribbean countries navigate their way through climate change toward a real renewable energy boom. But the climate change conundrum won’t be solved before the 2018 hurricane season hits. (This article was originally published on The Conversation byMasaō Ashtine,University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.)

A 4.5 earthquake was recorded in the Leeward Islands on Saturday night, according to the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Centre. The Centre said according to a preliminary report, the earthquake occurred around 10:34 pm and was recorded just 72 kilometres north-east of St Kitts and Nevis and 85 kilometres north-west of Antigua and Barbuda. This is the latest of a series of earthquakes: on April 16 a 4.2 earthquake was recorded just 146 kilometres north-east of Bridgetown, Barbados, and less than 24 hours later a 4.4 earthquake was recorded south of Antigua and Barbuda. Details are as follows: DATE AND TIME: 2018-04-21 10:34 pm (Local Time) 2018-04-22 02:34 (UTC) MAGNITUDE: 4.5 LOCATION: Latitude: 17.76N Longitude: 62.27W Depth: 191 km NEARBY CITIES: 72 km NE of Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis 85 km NW of Saint John's, Antigua and Barbuda 186 km NW of Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe If you felt this earthquake, please tell the Centre ( DISCLAIMER: this event has NOT been reviewed by an analyst. It was automatically located by a seismological computational system, therefore, it is a PRELIMINARY result and this may vary when new additional data are processed.

Amnesty International gave former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its Ambassador of Conscience Award on Saturday for his kneeling protest of racial injustice that launched a sports movement and might have cost him his job. Onetime San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid presented Kaepernick with the award during a ceremony in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. In his acceptance speech, the award-winner described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the United States as lawful lynchings. Kaepernick first took a knee during the pre-game playing of the American national anthem when he was with the 49ers in 2016 to protest police brutality. "How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, 'freedom and justice for all,' that is so unjust to so many of the people living there?" he said at Saturday's award ceremony. Other players joined his protest in the 2016 season, drawing the ire of US President Donald Trump, who called for team owners to fire such players. In response to the player demonstrations, the NFL agreed to commit 90 million US dollars over the next seven years to social justice causes in a plan. Kaepernick wasn't signed for the 2017 season following his release in San Francisco. Reid, a safety who is now a free agent, continued Kaepernick's protests by kneeling during the anthem last season. Reid has said he will take a different approach in 2018. Amnesty hands its award each year to a person or organization, "dedicated to fighting injustice and using their talents to inspire others." Previous recipients of the award include anti-Apartheid campaigner and South African President Nelson Mandela and Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' right to education even after surviving being shot by Taliban militants.

Sixteen cheerleaders from Barbados have more than one reason to cheer and be proud. Inclusive of two reserves and ranging in age from 10 years old to 18 years old, the team of locals went to Orlando, Florida last month to compete and they did not return empty-handed. According to their manager, the Twisterz All-Stars Cheerleaders are the winners of the Senior Level Ones in the UCA All-Stars Competition, which took place at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Centre. This is the Twisterz's third time in this competition. Three years ago, during their debut, they took one team which placed 11th in their division. The following year, in 2016, they took two teams - Level 1 Juniors and Level 1 Seniors, both teams placed eighth in their divisions. This year they departed Barbados with one team - Level 1 Seniors, and they won their overall division. Additionally, the Bajan girls also won a 2018 Gold Bid Award, which is a prestigious award that qualifies the team to come back and compete in the USA Nationals. As part of their winnings, they also received UCA 2018 Champion jackets and rings. Their Director Coach Denise Bynoe along with the team’s four Admin Assistants headed the team. Watch a video here -

Syrian government forces used warplanes, helicopters and artillery on Sunday to pound districts of the capital held by the Islamic State group, in a bid to enforce an evacuation deal reached with the militants earlier in the week. The militants agreed to give up their last pocket in southern Damascus on Friday but have yet to begin surrendering to government forces and relocating to IS-held areas elsewhere in the country. State-run al-Ikhbariya TV showed thick gray smoke billowing from the IS-held Hajar al-Aswad neighborhood on Sunday, and government warplanes streaking overhead amid heavy bombardment of the area. Hundreds of IS fighters and allied militants are holed up in Hajar al-Aswad and the nearby Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. Residents of Damascus reported hearing loud booms throughout the night and Sunday morning. President Bashar Assad has escalated his military campaign to retake all remaining enclaves in the capital and surrounding areas. The IS-held areas in southern Damascus are the last holdouts, after rebels evacuated the eastern Ghouta suburbs following a fierce government offensive and an alleged poison gas attack in the town of Douma. Chemical weapons inspectors collected samples from Douma on Saturday, two weeks after the suspected gas attack there prompted retaliatory strikes by Western powers on the Syrian government's chemical facilities. The site visit, confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will allow the agency to proceed with an independent investigation to determine what chemicals, if any, were used in the April 7 attack that medical workers said killed more than 40 people. The OPCW mission is not mandated to apportion blame for the attack. Douma was the final target of the government's sweeping campaign to seize back control of eastern Ghouta from rebels after seven years of revolt. Militants gave up the town days after the alleged attack. The Syrian government and its ally Russia denied responsibility for the suspected chemical attack. Meanwhile, rebels have begun evacuating three towns in the eastern Qalamoun region in the Damascus countryside. Al-Ikhbariya TV said that 35 buses left the towns of Ruhaiba, Jayroud, and al-Nasriya on Saturday carrying hundreds of rebels and their families to opposition-held territory in northern Syria. The station said the evacuations would continue for three days. On Sunday, Sweden's Ambassador to the United Nations said that he and other Security Council envoys had agreed to work on a "meaningful mechanism" to work out who was behind the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria. Olof Skoog spoke in southern Sweden after an annual, informal working meeting with the U.N. Security Council ambassadors. The meeting comes just a week after the U.S., France and Britain bombed suspected Syrian chemical weapons facilities, after accusing Assad's government of being behind the attack in Douma.

(Photo: Monica Herndon/Tampa Bay Times)

A family says surgeons at a Florida children's hospital left a needle in their baby's heart. A doctor made the discovery about Amara Le's baby during a follow-up appointment. Le and her fiance rushed baby Katelynn back to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg but the surgeons said there was no needle. Ten days later, the couple says a different hospital found the needle in Katelynn's aorta. All Children's told the Tampa Bay Times that needles have been left in two children since 2016. Hospital CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen acknowledged challenges. The hospital says the mortality rate among heart surgery patients has increased and at least one top surgeon has stopped operating. The hospital has cut its number of operations significantly and stopped performing some complicated surgeries. All Children's settled out of court with the family for $50,000.

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:


Spectr News Theme
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.

Spectr News Theme
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…

Spectr News Theme
August 01, 2018

Chocolate Heritage Month 2018

{"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/PLLEgg4ijDzxjlD34ChLDaVsn7vRWuBCV2.jpg?itok=POy3_UPs","video_url":"","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}

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.