Saint Lucia took its ‘Inspiration and Travel Tour’ across the United States, visiting Washington, Pittsburgh, New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. From February 9-11 the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston, was home to the Boston Globe Travel Show hosting over 30,000 visitors and 400 exhibitors showcasing the latest destinations updates, tours, accommodation and travel technologies. Saint Lucia’s contingent consisted of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA), local hotel partners, and travel agency representatives. The SLTA unveiled its new Saint Lucia Travel Trade guide, with the destination receiving strong positive interest in and reaction to the new branding platform from both trade professionals and consumers. Saint Lucia’s Trade Sales Manager to the USA, Richard Moss, was on hand to provide introductory training to travel agents. Saint Lucia hotel partners which included Ti Kaye Resort and Spa, Marigot Beach Club and Dive Resort, Hotel Chocolat as well as Coconut Bay and Serenity by Coconut Bay were actively driving sales through the booking agents also present at the event. Piton Award-winning Saint Lucia Specialist, Susan Lange, joined the SLTA team on February 11 and provided an additional sales push to interested travel agents resulting in additional vacation bookings. The ‘Inspiration and Travel Tour’ continued on February 10 and 11, with SLTA attending the Chicago Travel and Adventure Show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Illinois. The show hosted over 24,000 consumers, 583 Travel agents and 96 media personnel over the two days. The Saint Lucia booth received a steady influx of consumer and travel trade professionals interested in the destination “We received very positive feedback from the trade professionals and consumers. Consumers were very happy to learn about the diversity of the island which makes it more than just a romantic getaway,” said SLTA Director of Marketing USA, Kelly Fontenelle – Clarke. Saint Lucia continues its US Inspiration and Travel Tour with the next stop on the west coast at the San Francisco Travel and Adventure Show from February 16 – 18.

Stocks are opening slightly higher on Wall Street as the market caps off a solid week of gains. Health care companies were posting some of the biggest gains in early trading Friday. Drugmaker AbbVie rose 2.3 percent. Homebuilders were broadly higher following a report that new home construction jumped 9.7 percent last month to the highest level since October 2016. D.R. Horton rose 1.1 percent. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,733. The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 39 points, or 0.2 percent, to 25,242. The Nasdaq climbed 6 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,263.

(Image: AP: A customer sits at the bar of the Hotel Capri in Havana on 12 September 2017)

Doctors are releasing the first detailed medical reports about the hearing, vision, balance and brain symptoms suffered in what the State Department has called "health attacks" on US diplomats in Cuba. Still missing: A clear diagnosis of just what happened to trigger their mysterious health problems. All together, the symptoms are similar to the brain dysfunction seen with concussions, concluded a team of specialists from the University of Pennsylvania who tested 21 of the 24 embassy personnel thought to be affected. Whatever the cause, the Havana patients "experienced persisting disability of a significant nature", the Penn team concluded. Cuba has insisted there were no attacks. The Journal of the American Medical Association released the report late on Wednesday, although key findings were first disclosed by The Associated Press in December. The mystery began in late 2016 when US embassy personnel began seeking medical care for hearing loss and ear-ringing that they linked to weird noises or vibrations — initially leading investigators to suspect "sonic attacks". Now, officials are carefully avoiding that term, as doctors involved in the probe wonder whether the sounds were a byproduct of something else that might help explain the full symptom list: memory problems, impaired concentration, irritability, balance problems and dizziness. Wednesday's report makes clear that the findings are preliminary, essentially a listing of symptoms and tests. And important complications remain, including that there's no information to compare the patients' brain or hearing health before they went to Cuba. "Before reaching any definitive conclusions, additional evidence must be obtained and rigorously and objectively evaluated," JAMA associated editor Dr Christopher Muth cautioned in an accompanying editorial. He noted that many of the symptoms overlap with a list of other neurologic illnesses. "It really looks like concussion without the history of head trauma," report co-author Dr Douglas Smith of Penn's Center for Brain Injury and Repair said in a podcast provided by JAMA. He said that sound, heard by 18 of the 21 patients, couldn't be to blame: "There is no known mechanism for audible sound to injure the brain. We have to suspect that it's a consequence of something else." The mysterious case has sent US-Cuba relations plummeting from what had been a high point when the two countries, estranged for a half-century, restored relations under President Barack Obama in 2015. The new report outlined the battery of testing the patients underwent, including some findings that can't be even unconsciously altered, bolstering the doctors' belief that the symptoms were not mass hysteria. At least six people had a change in work performance noted by supervisors and colleagues, the JAMA report found. Viruses or chemical exposures are unlikely, Smith's team wrote, although they couldn't be "systematically excluded". Advanced MRI scans spotted "a few" changes in what are called white matter tracts of the brain in some patients, with three showing more than would be expected for their age, the report said. But the authors acknowledged those abnormalities could be due to something earlier in life. For many the symptoms lasted months, and doctors designed customised rehabilitation therapy that did seem to help.

The Police High Command said it has directed its internal investigating body, the Inspectorate of Constabulary (IOC) – to probe a video clip being circulated on social media, depicting members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in an altercation with members of the public. The video in question, which was published by the Jamaica Gleaner on Tuesday, shows two cops in an altercation with members of the public, after they attempted to arrest a man for littering. The media house also reported that one of its photographer was pepper sprayed while recording the arrest. The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) has since condemned the behaviour of the cops, and has also called for an immediate investigation by INDECOM.INDECOM is an independent body that investigates concerning actions by members of the security forces and other agents of the state that result in death or injury to persons or the abuse of the rights of person. The PAJ, in a release on Wednesday described the incident as “blatant abuse of force by the police”. The newspaper reporter, Rudolph Brown reported to the PAJ that while in the Cross Roads area, he witnessed a commotion apparently caused by attempts by the police to arrest a man. He started to use his phone to record the incident. On being told to stop by the police sergeant on location, he said he clearly identified himself as a member of the media, both verbally and by showing his company ID card which was around his neck. Brown said he continued to record the proceedings and heard the police sergeant tell a constable to pepper spray him. The photographer reported that police constable sprayed pepper spray directly into his eyes, causing him severe pain and distress, which continued for hours and worsened later in the evening. In the meantime, the High Command is asking persons who witnessed the incident and those involved to contact the IOC at 906-5325 or 754-8217. The original maker of the video is being urged to get in touch with the IOC to help facilitate the investigations, theConstabulary Communication Networksaid in a release on Wednesday. The release said the JCFis committed to delivering professional services to members of the public as it"seeks to create safer communities and is reminding citizens of their rights and responsibilities when they are stopped or are being apprehended by the Police under the Code of Conduct for Police-Citizen Relations in Jamaica."

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, battles for the ball with Eibar's Anaitz Arbilla during their Spanish La Liga football match  at Ipurua stadium, in Eibar, northern Spain, Saturday, Feb.17, 2018.

Lionel Messi helped set up two goals to beat 10-man Eibar 2-0 on Saturday as Barcelona warmed up for their visit to Chelsea in the Champions League. Barcelona broke its mini-skid of back-to-back draws to remain unbeaten in the Spanish league through 24 rounds and extend its advantage over second-place Atletico Madrid to 10 points. Barcelona visits Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in the opening leg of their round-of-16 tie. Messi threaded a weight-perfect pass past three defenders to leave Luis Suarez all alone in the 16th minute. Suarez used a feint to bring goalkeeper Marco Dmitrovic to the turf before netting his 17th goal in the competition. Only Messi, with 20, has more in La Liga this season. Messi played a big part in Jordi Alba's goal in the 88th, when he forced a save from Dmitrovic and Alba was free to finish it off. Suarez's goal came against the flow of the match. Pressing up the pitch and setting a fast pace, Eibar forwards Fabian Orellana, Takashi Inui and midfielder Joan Jordan threatened the visitors on several occasion in the first half. Orellana went the closest for the Basque club when he looped a shot over goalie Marc-Andre ter Stegen, only for the ball to hit the crossbar in the 19th. Messi also sent a ball off the woodwork in the 37th after another of his passes sprung Suarez, who returned the ball to this partner. Orellana damaged his team's chances of a comeback when he earned bookings in the 57th and 66th. The first card was for a a needless tackle that cut down Andres Iniesta. Orellana compounded that mistake when he batted a ball into the air with play stopped and the referee waiting for Eibar to return the ball to Barcelona to take a free kick. Eibar coach Jose Luis Mendilibar was also sent off minutes later for protesting when the referee did not book Suarez for lightly kicking the ball after play had stopped for an offside call. Despite playing a man down, Eibar still managed to make Barcelona work. Inui had two attempts that required saves from Ter Stegen until Alba secured the three points. The loss was only the second for Eibar in its last 13 matches. The small club, which has been among the best teams in Spain over the past three months, remained in seventh place.

Southampton celebrate Dusan Tadic's winner at West Brom.

West Brom's difficult week off the pitch culminated in disappointing fashion as Alan Pardew's side crashed out of the FA Cup fifth round with a 2-1 defeat to fellow Premier League strugglersSouthampton. Pardew's preparations for Saturday's encounter had been marred by the actions of Jonny Evans, Gareth Barry, Jake Livermore and Boaz Myhill, who were reportedly interviewedby Spanish police after they allegedly stole a taxi during the club'straining camp in Barcelona. Evans and Barrynevertheless startedat the Hawthorns, but the hosts were up against it from the 11th minutewhen Wesley Hoedt capitalised on dreadful defending to volley home from James Ward-Prowse's corner. Jay Rodriguez's early opportunity set the tone for a much-improved second half for the Baggies, but West Brom foundAlex McCarthy in superb form before Dusan Tadic doubled Southampton's tally on the counter. Salomon Rondon's extraordinary strike set up a grandstand finish,AhmedHegazi denied an equaliser by both McCarthy and the crossbar. A levellerwas not forthcoming for West Brom, however, as Southampton held firm to secure their spot in the last eight. Evans, stripped of the captaincy following his alleged indiscretions in Barcelona, was the first to go close for either side,McCarthy making a fine stop to keep out the defender's looping header. West Brom were a goal down two minutes later asHoedt, unmarked from Ward-Prowse's corner, side-footeda cushioned effortinto the bottom-left corner. Southampton could smell blood, and only a last-ditch clearance from Craig Dawson preventedPierre-Emile Hojbjerg doubling their advantage. James McClean finally offered some threat going the other way,the Republic of Ireland international's long-range effort flashing inches wide of the upright. Evans' inclusion was justified prior to half-time, as the Northern Irishman got across to make a vital challenge on Tadic following good workfrom Nathan Redmond. Rodriguez could have made his mark against his former clubjust after the restart, but McCarthy reacted brilliantly to tipthe striker's effort wide. Southampton's goalkeeper was at his best again from the resulting corner,somehow keeping out Dawson's close-range header. But West Brom's rally was dealt a blow in the56th minute, withGuido Carrillo teeingupTadic, who kept his composure to loft a tidy finish overBen Foster. The visitors' two-goal cushion was cut short after just two minutes, however, as Rondon hammered in a venomous volley that gave McCarthy no chance. Hegazi saw his effort clawed off the line by McCarthy as West Brom piled on the pressure, while Matty Phillips should have done better with a strike from the edge of Southampton's box. Egypt defender Hegazi did get the better of McCarthy with 10 minutes remaining, but the woodwork came to Southampton's rescue before Ryan Bertrand cleared Rondon's effort off the line from the rebound as the Saints managed to claim just a fourth away win of the campaign.

Venting his fury over the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump on Sunday asserted that the Obama administration bears some blame for the election meddling, insisted he never denied that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 U.S. campaign and said "they are laughing their asses off in Moscow." In a rapid-fire series of tweets from his Palm Beach estate, the president unloaded over the Russia investigation, days after an indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller charged 13 Russians with a plot to interfere in the U.S. presidential election. Russia was clearly top of mind for the president, while the nearby town of Parkland, Florida, continues to mourn a school shooting that left 17 dead. Trump's schedule for the week, released Sunday, includes a "listening session" with high school students and teachers, though the White House did not immediately provide any information on who would be attending Wednesday's meeting. Students who survived the shooting have focused their anger on the president, urging him and other elected officials to do something about gun violence. Trump focused Sunday on the fact that the Russian effort began in 2014, before he announced his White House run. He said the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, California Rep. Adam Schiff — calling him "Liddle' Adam Schiff, the leakin' monster of no control" — "is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election." Trump appeared to be referring to an interview Schiff did with NBC in which the lawmaker said the previous administration should have set up a "more forceful deterrent" against cyberattacks after the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures. President Barack Obama in late 2016 defended his administration's response to the Russian meddling, also saying he had confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin that September, telling him to "cut it out." Trump has not been seen in public since he arrived at his Florida club late Friday, after a visit to the community shattered by the shooting. That evening, he met with first responders, medical personnel and some victims. He skipped his usual stop at his nearby golf course Saturday, but planned to meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on Sunday at Mar-a-Lago to discuss legislative priorities. Trump used the Florida shooting to criticize the FBI, saying in a tweet late Saturday that the bureau "missed all of the many signals" sent by the suspect and arguing that agents are "spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign." "Get back to the basics and make us all proud!" he said. The FBI received a tip last month that the man now charged in the school shooting had a "desire to kill" and access to guns and could be plotting an attack. But the agency said Friday that agents failed to investigate. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican and frequent Trump critic, called that tweet an "absurd statement" on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. He said the "FBI apparently made a terrible mistake, and people should be held accountable. But we need leadership out of the executive. This is a great opportunity for commonsense steps that can be taken just in the area of background checks.'" In his Russia-related posts Sunday, Trump asserted that he "never said Russia did not meddle in the election," and added: "The Russian 'hoax' was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia - it never did!" The president has repeatedly expressed skepticism over the Russian election meddling. In November, he said he believed the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that there had been meddling. But Trump also said he believed Putin was sincere when he said Russia didn't interfere. Trump also argued Sunday that the ongoing investigations are just what the Russians want, saying: "Investigations and Party hatred, they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. They are laughing their asses off in Moscow. Get smart America!" On Saturday, Trump undercut his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, after he said evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 American election is beyond dispute. Trump tweeted that McMaster left out some details: "General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!" Trump was continuing his efforts to pin Russian collusion on the Democrats and their nominee Hillary Clinton. "Crooked Hillary Clinton, lost the 2016 election," Trump tweeted Sunday. "But wasn't I a great candidate?" Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said it wasn't time to draw such conclusions. "It's hard to say that this didn't affect the outcome. It was an exceptionally close election," Coons said. "I'll remind you one candidate won the popular vote. The other candidate won the electoral vote. But it's not yet clear whether the Russians succeeded in actually changing votes." Trump also raged against law enforcement over an Obama-era payment to Iran. He tweeted that he's "never gotten over the fact that Obama was able to send $1.7 Billion Dollars in CASH to Iran and nobody in Congress, the FBI or Justice called for an investigation!" The Obama administration transferred the money to Iran in 2016, using non-U.S. currency. The administration said it was the settlement of a decades-old arbitration claim between the countries. An initial payment was delivered the same day Tehran agreed to release four American prisoners. The Obama administration eventually acknowledged the cash was used as leverage until the Americans were allowed to leave Iran. Congressional Republicans decried the payment as ransom, which the Obama administration denied.

The Russian delegation at the Pyeongchang Olympics has announced that one of its athletes has failed a drug test. Two Russian state news agencies cited Konstantin Vybornov, spokesman for the "Olympic Athletes from Russia" team, as saying the delegation received an official notification from the International Olympic Committee of the positive test. The IOC later Sunday said it had taken note of Vybronov's statement. Vybornov said a "B'' sample taken from the athlete will be analyzed within 24 hours, but did not name the athlete or the sport involved. A confirmed doping case could be an obstacle to Russia's efforts to have the Russian team formally reinstated in time for the closing ceremony. "Doping testing and sanctioning at the Pyeongchang 2018 is independent from the IOC. Therefore, the IOC cannot communicate on individual cases while the procedure is still ongoing," the IOC said in a statement. "However, we take note of the statement by a spokesperson of the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) delegation." The IOC added that "if the case is confirmed, it will be considered" by the IOC body which would be considering whether to reinstate Russia. The Court of Arbitration for Sport, which rules on Olympic doping cases, said it had not received any notification. "No new case received and no rumors of it so far," Matthieu Reeb, the court's secretary general, said in an e-mail. As part of IOC sanctions for Russian doping at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, athletes from the country had to undergo IOC vetting including an examination of their drug-testing history before being invited to the Olympics. Dozens were rejected. The IOC suspended the national Olympic committee, meaning that Russian athletes are competing in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag in Pyeongchang. The IOC has said Russia could be reinstated for the closing ceremony if it follows IOC rules, including anti-doping regulations. The only other doping case so far at the Pyeongchang Olympics came when Japanese short-track speedskater Kai Saito tested positive for a banned diuretic and was removed from competition. His case is ongoing.

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.