Ermine Nzotto, mother of twin girls Ervina and Prefina Bangalo, smiles following a successful surgery. (Photos: AP/Riccardo De Luca, Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital)

Doctors at the Vatican-owned paediatric hospital revealed this week that they have successfully separated conjoined twins. Their skulls were fused back-to-back, an exceedingly rare surgery for an equally rare congenital defect. The twins, Ervina and Prefina Bangalo were born two years ago on June 29, in Mbaïki, a town in the Central African Republic, with their heads attached and sharing critical blood vessels around their brains. CHECK OUT THIS CLIP DOCUMENTING ERVINA AND PREFINA'S JOURNEY Such cases of conjoined twins occur once in every two million births or so. The Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital, which is Vatican-owned but operates within the Italian public health system, brought the twins and their mother to Italy soon after their birth. The hospital said the toddlers are recovering well a month after their third and definitive separation surgery on June 5. Video released by the hospital showed the girls waving along to music from their beds, clapping and holding markers. They were celebrating their second birthday in their mother’s arms as hospital staff sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to them in Italian. [image_gallery] The key goal of the surgery was ‘to obtain a separation with the girls in perfect condition… the objective was very ambitious, and we did everything to reach it,’ said Dr Carlo Marras, chief of paediatric neurosurgery at the hospital. Marras led the team that worked for nearly two years planning and executing the separation. At a press conference to announce the outcome of the sisters’ surgery, Marras revealed the prognosis: ‘these girls can have a normal life’ after a phase of rehabilitation. There have been successful separation surgeries in the past of twins joined at the head, but most have been for twins whose heads were fused vertically, at the top. Ervina and Previna’s skulls were joined back-to-back in what is known as ‘total posterior craniopagus’ (tongue-twister, we know). That made the surgery particularly challenging since the back of the head is a far more critical place for blood supply to the brain and drainage of blood away from it, according to Dr Jesse Taylor, head of plastic surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. During his tenure, Taylor has participated in some separation surgeries. ‘It’s one of those configurations that I think a lot of centres, when they see it, say, ‘You know, we’re not sure that this can be done safely,’ he said. ‘The venous drainage tends to be the main limiting step for separability’ in twins connected at the back of the head. He said in typical separation surgeries, doctors can ‘borrow’ some blood vessels to give to each twin. ‘But when it comes to the back of the head, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room for borrowing veins,’ Taylor explained. Marras said that indeed, the most complicated aspect of the Bangalo twins’ separation was to give each child autonomous venous drainage systems — procedures that began with two surgeries in May and June 2019. The final, 18-hour surgery last month to physically separate them involved a team of 30 doctors and nurses, who made use of 3-D imaging and neurostimulators. Before the separation surgery, members of the Vatican hospital’s staff gave the girls mirrors so they could see one another. They knew what each other sounded like, but the mirrors helped them associate facial expressions with their personalities and sounds, Marras said. ‘It was an experience that wasn’t just professional but above all human: To think that you can arrive at something that we had only imagined, with all the possibilities of failure. It was a magical moment…marvellous!’ he said. Marras said there was only one previously known case of a separation of twins conjoined at the back of the head, performed in the US during the 1980s. He said the outcome, in that case, was poor, referring to the 1987 surgery at Johns Hopkins University by a team led by Dr Ben Carson. Both twins suffered serious neurological problems. An Associated Press story from 1989, two years after the surgery, said one of the boys was in a vegetative state and the other had severe developmental delays. In the case of the Bangalo sisters, Marras said the girls so far have suffered no neurological harm. The twins’ mother, Ermine Nzotto, wiped tears from her eyes as she watched a video prepared by the hospital of the twins’ before and after their separation. Nzotto said she never went to school but hopes her daughters would study to become doctors. ‘It’s a joy that I can see my girls run and play like other children. May they tomorrow study and learn to become doctors to save the other children of this world,” she said through an interpreter. She expressed gratitude to Marras, the hospital president and Pope Francis, and said she also hopes that Francis will now baptise her girls. Hospital President Mariella Enoc met the twins soon after they were born during a visit to the Central African Republic and was the driving force behind bringing them to Rome and seeing if they could be separated. She said deciding to do so created ethical and economic questions, since the cost of 1 million euros (US$1.1 million) paid for primarily by the hospital foundation, could have been spent on less-risky procedures that might have benefited more children. But, Enoc said: ‘When you find a life that can be saved, you have to save it.’

Janelle Joyeux and one of her custom cakes

Janelle Joyeux from Laborie is the talented baker behind the home-based business Sweet Dreams Custom Cakes operating out of Union. Her cakes aren’t your ordinary tarts and pastries, she crafts delectable cakes that are a work of art. From a cake that is the exact replica of a bucket of Harris Paint to a 3D butterfly cake, scrolling through her Instagram is like visiting a virtual playful art museum, except it’s edible! No, that isn't paint, that's a cake! Janelle has a diploma in architecture, so she naturally merged this skill along with her self-taught baking to form this creative venture. The business started 15 years ago when she designed her daughter’s first birthday cake. Janelle wanted to be unique so she decided to create masterpieces that people would only dream about hence the name ‘Sweet Dreams Custom Cakes’. Each cake is customized to fit her clients' personal preferences. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Sweetdreams Custom Cakes (@sweetdreamscustomcakes) on Jun 22, 2020 at 4:16am PDT When she isn’t baking, Janelle binges on her favorite Food Network shows. She is a huge fan of pastry chef and Food Network personality Duff Goldman and says that he has been an inspiration to her since they share similar stories. The artistic baker reveals that she is passionate about baking because it brings out her creative traits and she is more than thrilled when her customers request cake designs that are challenging. Her ultimate goal is to make her customers happy. Although her business has been greatly affected by COVID-19 since she mainly catered for weddings, the entrepreneur has redesigned some aspects of her business to adapt to the new normal. One ofJoyeux's cake creations alongside her buttercream, soon to be available at a cake shop She has introduced a ‘Covid Cake’ which is a small, fun version of her usual tall cakes. Her biggest challenges as a baker according to her, are the inconsistent availability of her preferred baking products and the unbelievably high prices at the supermarket. The small business owner has launched her very own buttercream product which will soon be available in a cake shop and she also will be introducing her fondant line in the coming months. She advises that anyone who wants to become a baker by profession should get ready to make sacrifices: “It is difficult as a cake baker in StLucia. You will have to sacrifice. Hustle that hustle to get to where you want to be.” Joyeux is currently offering baking classes as an extended part of her business.


The Grantley Adams International Airport (FILE)

The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor Mottleysays that necessary measures are being put in place for COVID-19 imported cases amidst the rolling out of theWelcome Stamp initiative. This initiative allows visitors to work remotely from Barbados for a period of 12 months. She made this statement during a live interviewon theBritish news channel, Sky News. When asked about the concerns of COVID-19 cases being imported, Mottley had this to say: “We are very clear about the processes that we have put in place. We’ve also expanded our hospital capacity to the point where whereas we only had 30 ICU beds in the past, we now have 100 primary and secondary ICU beds and over 120 teritary care”. PM Mottley further stated that the country is ready for anything, but she still does not want the virus in the country. This is why testing is rigorous. “…We are taking a risk-based approach.” This includes different measures being put in place for those countries whichhave a minimal infection rate and those whichhave a higher infection rate. The Prime Minister also made mention of a longer-term program called ‘Manage Migration’. According to the National Population Commission, the population of Barbados has not been replaced since 1980. Reportedly, there are 850,000 fewer persons than this previous time. She believes that similarly to the UK and Canada, Barbados will be able to find a way to implement sustainable migration policies.

Oliver Coughlan

Oliver Coughlan, the former CEOof Digicel Pacific Limited, has been appointed to the new role of Chief Executive of Digicel’s operations in the Caribbean and Central America. He will report to Denis O’Brien, Digicel’s Chairman and Founder. This role was previously the responsibility of Jean-Yves Charlier who is stepping down as Digicel Group CEO for family reasons following the recent successful completion of the Group’s deleveraging process. Charlier will remain a director of Digicel in a non executive capacity. Highly respected in the telecommunications sector, Coughlan’s previous role was as CEO of Digicel’s Pacific operations encompassing Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. Hejoined Digicel from edotco Group where he was COO. He previously served as CEO of Digicel Myanmar Tower Company and has also held senior management roles at Esat Digifone where he was CTO/CIO and a member of the Board of Directors for over eight years. “We are grateful to Jean-Yves for stepping into the breach as CEO in January 2019 following the sad and untimely passing of our former CEO. After 18 months of intense travel and achievement for the Group, we totally respect Jean Yves’ decision to be closer to his family in London and to revert to the non-executive capacity in which he joined Digicel in September 2018,"O’Brien said, adding "I have no doubt we will continue to avail of his counsel and input over the period ahead, I wish him well in his relocation back to the UK and I thank him most sincerely for his significant contribution to our business." He continued: “I am very pleased that Oliver Coughlan, who has excelled as CEO of our Pacific operations, will now lead our businesses in the Caribbean and Central America through their next phase of growth. Given his industry and leadership experience, he is a natural choice for this new role and he enjoys the support, respect and best wishes of our board and our 7,000 superb staff.” Charlier, the outgoing CEO, noted: “As a Board, staff and management team, we have achieved a great deal over the past 18 months and in particular, in delivering a strong set of results recently in Q4 FY2020. I am very grateful to Denis and my colleagues across the business for their enormous support during my tenure as CEO and I wish Oliver and the team every success in what I believe will be an exciting period ahead for Digicel.” Meanwhile, Coughlan, CEO, Digicel Caribbean and Central America said: “It is a tremendous honour to lead Digicel in the Caribbean and Central America, where it is a recognised trailblazer. We have superb people, a well invested network and are very privileged to support vibrant dynamic communities across our 26 markets in this region.Given our network and brand strength and our strategic technology partnerships, we are well placed to become the default digital lifestyle provider in these markets - as well as a key economic and societal enabler."


FILE - Actress Naya Rivera arrives at Logo's NewNowNext Awards in Los Angeles on April 13, 2013. Authorities say former “Glee” star Naya Rivera is missing and being searched for at a Southern California lake. Rivera played Santana, a cheerleader in the musical-comedy “Glee” that aired on Fox from 2009 until 2015. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP, File)

Authorities planned Friday to renew the search for "Glee" star Naya Rivera, who is believed to have drowned in a Southern California lake while boating with her 4-year-old son. Rivera, 33, disappeared after renting the pontoon boat for three hours Wednesday afternoon and taking it out on Lake Piru in Ventura County, the Sheriff's Office said Thursday. The lake an hour's drive from Los Angeles was searched by dozens of people, most of them divers, with help from helicopters, drones and all-terrain vehicles. The search to recover Rivera's body continued into the night Thursday before ending for that day. The area where the boat was found is about 30 feet (9 meters) deep. Murky waters heavy with plants made it difficult for divers to see more than about a foot ahead of them, sheriff's Sergeant Kevin Donoghue said Thursday. "If the body is entangled on something beneath the water, it may never come back up," Donoghue said. Rivera played Santana Lopez, a singing cheerleader in 113 episodes of the musical-comedy "Glee," which aired on Fox from 2009 until 2015. She also had recurring roles on "The Bernie Mac Show" and "The Royal Family." Rivera, a Los Angeles resident, had experience boating on the lake in Los Padres National Forest, Donoghue said. Surveillance video taken at about 1 pmWednesday shows Rivera and her son, Josey Hollis Dorsey, leaving on the rented boat. When the boat failed to return, its vendor found the vessel drifting in the northern end of the lake late Wednesday afternoon with the boy asleep on board. He told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming and he got back into the boat but she didn't, according to a sheriff's office statement. The boy was wearing a life vest and another life jacket was found in the boat along with Rivera's purse and identification. Rivera is believed to have drowned "in what appears to be a tragic accident," the statement said. The boy, Rivera's son from her marriage to actor Ryan Dorsey, was safe and healthy and with family members, authorities said. The couple finalized their divorce in June 2018 after nearly four years of marriage. She called the boy, her only child, "my greatest success, and I will never do any better than him" in her 2016 memoir "Sorry Not Sorry." The most recent tweet on Rivera's account, from Tuesday, read "just the two of us" along with a photo of her and her son. It appeared increasingly likely she would become the third major cast member from the show to die in their 30s. Co-star Mark Salling, who Rivera dated at one point, killed himself in 2018 at age 35 after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. Cory Monteith, one of the show's leads, died at 31 in 2013 from a toxic mix of alcohol and heroin. Rivera was engaged to rapper Big Sean in 2013, but their relationship ended a year later. The pair met on Twitter and collaborated musically, with the rapper appearing on Rivera's debut single "Sorry." She married Dorsey a few months later.

Rihanna's Twitter

Prime Minister Mia Mottley has a fan - Rihanna. With billions of fans the world over herself, anentire Navy,Robyn Rihanna Fenty has declaredthat she is, in fact, a fan of her Prime Minister. Prime Minister Mia Mottley this week released a video thanking the Barbadian singer, businesswoman and philanthropist for her generous donation of tablets to the children of Barbados who need the technological tools to access the new online learning platforms. Schools islandwide were closed in March due to COVID-19. In response to the 'Thank you' video, Rihanna tweeted (July 9): "I don’t usually do this, but I’m such a fan of my Prime Minister@miaamormottley ! What an honor to be an ambassador of my country through your leadership! Thank you for taking the time to say these kind words!" Ahead of the May 24, 2018-elections in Barbados, Rihanna had caused some stir on social media when she appeared to endorse Mottley as the candidate deserving of the Prime Minister post. I don’t usually do this, but I’m such a fan of my Prime Minister @miaamormottley ! What an honor to be an ambassador of my country through your leadership! Thank you for taking the time to say these kind words! — Rihanna (@rihanna) July 9, 2020 Sharing the PM's video with her 97.2 million Twitter followers, she also recognised the work that her brother Rorrey Fenty did on this project. "Huge thank you to my brother@RorreyFenty for spearheading this project..." Rihanna, like Prime Minister Mottley also thanked Jack Dorsey'sStartSmallFoundation "for always supporting the@ClaraLionelFdn!" Rihanna's donation to Barbados' children was done through her Clara Lionel Foundation. The two tweets amassed almost 50K likes in just 16 hours. Rihanna also shared the same message on her Instagram at the same time and it has earned almost 2,400 likes and the video of PM Mottley expressing her appreciation has been viewed over 740,000 times. View this post on Instagram I don’t usually do this, but I’m such a fan of my Prime Minister @mamottley ! What an honor to be an ambassador of my country through your leadership! Thank you for taking the time to say these kind words! Huge thank you to my brother @gallest for spearheading this project and to Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall foundation for always supporting the @ClaraLionelFdn ! 💛✊🏿🇧🇧 A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on Jul 9, 2020 at 11:24am PDT


Ermine Nzotto, mother of twin girls Ervina and Prefina Bangalo, smiles following a successful surgery. (Photos: AP/Riccardo De Luca, Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital)

Doctors at the Vatican-owned paediatric hospital revealed this week that they have successfully separated conjoined twins. Their skulls were fused back-to-back, an exceedingly rare surgery for an equally rare congenital defect. The twins, Ervina and Prefina Bangalo were born two years ago on June 29, in Mbaïki, a town in the Central African Republic, with their heads attached and sharing critical blood vessels around their brains. CHECK OUT THIS CLIP DOCUMENTING ERVINA AND PREFINA'S JOURNEY Such cases of conjoined twins occur once in every two million births or so. The Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital, which is Vatican-owned but operates within the Italian public health system, brought the twins and their mother to Italy soon after their birth. The hospital said the toddlers are recovering well a month after their third and definitive separation surgery on June 5. Video released by the hospital showed the girls waving along to music from their beds, clapping and holding markers. They were celebrating their second birthday in their mother’s arms as hospital staff sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to them in Italian. [image_gallery] The key goal of the surgery was ‘to obtain a separation with the girls in perfect condition… the objective was very ambitious, and we did everything to reach it,’ said Dr Carlo Marras, chief of paediatric neurosurgery at the hospital. Marras led the team that worked for nearly two years planning and executing the separation. At a press conference to announce the outcome of the sisters’ surgery, Marras revealed the prognosis: ‘these girls can have a normal life’ after a phase of rehabilitation. There have been successful separation surgeries in the past of twins joined at the head, but most have been for twins whose heads were fused vertically, at the top. Ervina and Previna’s skulls were joined back-to-back in what is known as ‘total posterior craniopagus’ (tongue-twister, we know). That made the surgery particularly challenging since the back of the head is a far more critical place for blood supply to the brain and drainage of blood away from it, according to Dr Jesse Taylor, head of plastic surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. During his tenure, Taylor has participated in some separation surgeries. ‘It’s one of those configurations that I think a lot of centres, when they see it, say, ‘You know, we’re not sure that this can be done safely,’ he said. ‘The venous drainage tends to be the main limiting step for separability’ in twins connected at the back of the head. He said in typical separation surgeries, doctors can ‘borrow’ some blood vessels to give to each twin. ‘But when it comes to the back of the head, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room for borrowing veins,’ Taylor explained. Marras said that indeed, the most complicated aspect of the Bangalo twins’ separation was to give each child autonomous venous drainage systems — procedures that began with two surgeries in May and June 2019. The final, 18-hour surgery last month to physically separate them involved a team of 30 doctors and nurses, who made use of 3-D imaging and neurostimulators. Before the separation surgery, members of the Vatican hospital’s staff gave the girls mirrors so they could see one another. They knew what each other sounded like, but the mirrors helped them associate facial expressions with their personalities and sounds, Marras said. ‘It was an experience that wasn’t just professional but above all human: To think that you can arrive at something that we had only imagined, with all the possibilities of failure. It was a magical moment…marvellous!’ he said. Marras said there was only one previously known case of a separation of twins conjoined at the back of the head, performed in the US during the 1980s. He said the outcome, in that case, was poor, referring to the 1987 surgery at Johns Hopkins University by a team led by Dr Ben Carson. Both twins suffered serious neurological problems. An Associated Press story from 1989, two years after the surgery, said one of the boys was in a vegetative state and the other had severe developmental delays. In the case of the Bangalo sisters, Marras said the girls so far have suffered no neurological harm. The twins’ mother, Ermine Nzotto, wiped tears from her eyes as she watched a video prepared by the hospital of the twins’ before and after their separation. Nzotto said she never went to school but hopes her daughters would study to become doctors. ‘It’s a joy that I can see my girls run and play like other children. May they tomorrow study and learn to become doctors to save the other children of this world,” she said through an interpreter. She expressed gratitude to Marras, the hospital president and Pope Francis, and said she also hopes that Francis will now baptise her girls. Hospital President Mariella Enoc met the twins soon after they were born during a visit to the Central African Republic and was the driving force behind bringing them to Rome and seeing if they could be separated. She said deciding to do so created ethical and economic questions, since the cost of 1 million euros (US$1.1 million) paid for primarily by the hospital foundation, could have been spent on less-risky procedures that might have benefited more children. But, Enoc said: ‘When you find a life that can be saved, you have to save it.’

With the majority of food consumed in the Caribbean originating from other countries,new details emerging from China have beenbit troublesome, to say the least. The debate around whether COVID-19 can be transmitted or transported on food has been given new life thanks to the latest reports from China. While scientists continue to study the behaviour of the virus and the risk it poses to both ready to eat and frozen packaged foods, China has released reports that samples of imported shrimp havetested positive for COVID-19. The virus was present on both the inside and outside of the shrimp packaging, said China’s General Administration of Customs. It originatedfrom three Ecuadorian plants, and imports from these processors have sincebeen halted. China has raised alarms about coronavirus and imported foods before. It blamed Beijing’s most recent coronavirus outbreak on possible imported salmon. This resulted in supermarkets removing the fish from shelves and prompted the Chinese to begin testing cold foods and meat imports at various ports. According to an article in Yahoo Finance, Bi Kexin, Director of the Food Import and Export Safety Bureau in the customs department said, “The test result doesn’t mean the virus is contagious but reflects the loopholes in companies’ food safety regulations. Customs will further strengthen control of the origins of imported cold-chain food.” The article states that Chinese officials agree with global experts that imported food poses a low risk of virus transmission, which has led to some confusion as to why China continues to test and halt shipments. The tests are “an important measure to prevent the risk of the virus being transmitted from imported cold chain food channels,” Bi said. “This is a necessary measure taken to protect the health of the people and does not interrupt normal international trade.” Employees in some countries continue to work, despite becoming infected with the virus, raising the risk of food contamination, Bi said. Because there are epidemic clusters at some overseas facilities, China has halted meat imports from a total of 23 plants, including Brazil, the U.K., the U.S. and Germany. China’s customs authorities tested a total of 227,934 samples and hasreported that the rest of the samples were negative. The shrimpthat tested positive was delivered to ports in Dalian and Xiamen and have been destroyed, according to reports.


West Indies' Kraigg Brathwaite, left, hits a boundary during the third day of the first cricket Test match against England at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Friday, July 10, 2020. (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP) (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP).

Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich shared an unbeaten 49-run partnership to get the West Indies out of some bother and into a first-innings lead of 31 over England at tea on day three of the first test at Southampton on Friday. The tourists lost Shamarh Brooks (39) and Jermaine Blackwood (12) soon after lunch to slip to 186-5 in reply to England's 204 all out but recovered through Chase (27 not out) and Dowrich (30 not out) to be in a strong position to build a healthy lead at an empty Ageas Bowl. Captain Jason Holder is among the five wickets in hand as England prepareto take the new ball, with there two quickest bowlers — Jofra Archer and Mark Wood — awaiting their first wickets. James Anderson was involved in both of the wickets in the second session, firstly finding Brooks' edge for a caught behind. Brooks decided to review but UltraEdge showed a clear nick. Five overs later, Anderson took a simple catch at mid-on to remove Blackwood, who tried to launch spinner Dom Bess into the deep. Anderson and Bess both had two wickets in the innings.

England's Stuart Broad, left, wears a disposable pair of gloves as a precaution against the coronavirus during the third day of the first cricket Test match against the West Indies, at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Friday, July 10, 2020. (Mike Hewitt/Pool via AP).

Stuart Broad sought reassurances about his future in England's cricket team after feeling “frustrated, angry and gutted” for getting dropped for the first test against the West Indies. The 34-year-old fast bowler, who has won 138 test caps and sits second on the country’s all-time wickets list, was edged out of the team when England opted for a pace attack of James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in Southampton. Broad had played the previous 51 home tests, dating back to 2012 when he was rested in a dead match, and finished as the team’s top wicket-taker in both the 2019 Ashes series and the away series in South Africa. “I’m not a particularly emotional person but I’ve found the last couple of days quite tough,” Broad said. "To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement — you get disappointed if you drop your phone and break your screen. “I’ve been frustrated, angry, and gutted because it’s quite a hard decision to understand. I’ve probably bowled the best I’ve ever bowled in the last couple of years. I felt like it was my shirt, having been in the team through the Ashes and going to South Africa and winning there.” Broad said he was given “pretty positive feedback going forward” about his status in the squad after asking for clarification from national selector Ed Smith. England's stand-in captain, Ben Stokes, had previously told Broad that selectors were “going with extra pace” at the Rose Bowl. Broad acknowledged that England haveunusually strong field of candidates in the pace department. “We’re in quite a unique position this summer. Very rarely do you get all your bowlers fit like we’ve got at the minute and all your bowlers ready to go,” he said in an interview on Sky Sports. “I felt like I deserved a spot in the team, like everyone else. Chris Woakes, Sam Curran were bowling really well and probably deserve to be in the XI, too. So it is hard to take but also I’m quite pleased I feel frustrated and feel gutted and angry because if I didn’t I’d have a different decision to make." Stokes has said England arelikely to rotate the bowling lineup during the three-match series against the West Indies, with the second and third tests taking place in Manchester.