Vybz Kartel

Dancehall star Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer will remain behind bars. This, after the Court of Appeal on Friday rejected his appeal of his conviction and sentence for the 2011 slaying of his associate, Clive ‘Lizard Williams. The three-member panel of the court, headed by President, Dennis Morrison, Frank Williams and Patrick Brooks, announced the verdictshortly before 10am Friday. They did not immediately offer reasons for their decision. Kartel’s attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson, has indicated that he will be taking the matter all the way to the United Kingdom Privy Council. The decision is a blow to the legions of diehard Gaza fans whohave patiently waited for nearly 10years with hopes of seeing the self-proclaimed‘World Boss’ walk free. While he was convicted in 2014, Kartel has been behind bars since September, 2011. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve 35 years before becoming eligible for parole. His co-accused are Shawn Campbell, also called Shaw Storm, Kahira Jones and Andre St John. They were also sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that they be eligible for parole after 25 years.

In this Loop News file photo, entertainer Vybz Kartel makes a hand gesture ahead of an appearance in a Corporate Area court.

Legions of Gaza fans are anxiously awaiting the verdict of the Court of Appeal judges who will announce the fate of dancehall starAdidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer, and his three murder co-convicts on Friday. “The verdict is to be delivered tomorrow morning at 9am,” attorney Tom Tavares Finson, who led Palmer’s defence team at the trial, told Loop News. It’s expected to be streamed online. “I have no idea what the verdict will be, but what I will say is that it has taken almost 10years for Vybz Kartel to get justice and people wonder why people say the justice system is broken,” Tavares-Finson said. The Court of Appeal last December had indicated that a ruling would be handed down in short order. In the meantime, Kartel, also known as 'World Boss',continues to churn out hits, despite being locked up since 2011. A controversial figure and a superstar in his homeland of Jamaica, the artiste remains in the top spot as the most streamed entertainer out of Jamaica. With bona fide hits like ‘Any Weather’, ‘Beat Dem Bad’, featuring Squash, and ‘Like I’m Superman’, Kartel has shown no signs of slowing down. He, Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones and Andre St John were convicted in 2014 of the 2011 murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams, an alleged associate of theirs. The four men were all given mandatory life sentences, but the ‘Romping Shop’ artiste, who sought no leniency at the sentencing hearing, was ordered to serve 35 years behind bars before being eligible for parole. Campbell, Jones, and St John were each ordered to each serve 25 years before they become eligible for parole.


n this June 21, 2006 file photo, singer-songwriter Bill Withers poses in his office in Beverly Hills, Calif. Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “Lean On Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine," died in Los Angeles from heart complications on Monday, March 30, 2020. He was 81. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Bill Withers, who wrote and sang a string of soulful songs in the 1970s that have stood the test of time, including “Lean on Me,” “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” has died from heart complications, his family said in a statement to The Associated Press. He was 81. The three-time Grammy Award winner, who withdrew from making music in the mid-1980s, died on Monday in Los Angeles, the statement said. His death comes as the public has drawn inspiration from his music during the coronavirus pandemic, with health care workers, choirs, artists and more posting their own renditions on “Lean on Me” to help get through the difficult times. “We are devastated by the loss of our beloved, devoted husband and father. A solitary man with a heart-driven to connect to the world at large, with his poetry and music, he spoke honestly to people and connected them to each other,” the family statement read. “As private a life as he lived close to intimate family and friends, his music forever belongs to the world. In this difficult time, we pray his music offers comfort and entertainment as fans hold tight to loved ones.” Withers’ songs during his brief career have become the soundtracks of countless engagements, weddings and backyard parties. They have powerful melodies and perfect grooves melded with a smooth voice that conveys honesty and complex emotions without vocal acrobatics. “Lean on Me,” a paean to friendship, was performed at the inaugurations of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.“Ain’t No Sunshine”and “Lean on Me” are among Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. “He’s the last African-American Everyman,” musician and bandleader Questlove told Rolling Stone in 2015. “Bill Withers is the closest thing black people have to a Bruce Springsteen.” His death caused a torrent of appreciation on social media, including from former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, who said Withers' music has been a cherished part of her life. “It added to my joy in the good times, and also gave me comfort and inspiration when I needed it most,” she tweeted. Singer José James said, “we need his message of unity now more than ever.” Withers, who overcame a childhood stutter, was born the last of six children in the coal mining town of Slab Fork, West Virginia. After his parents divorced when he was three, Withers was raised by his mother’s family in nearby Beckley. He joined the Navy at 17 and spent nine years in the service as an aircraft mechanic installing toilets. After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles, worked at an aircraft parts factory, bought a guitar at a pawn shop and recorded demos of his tunes in hopes of landing a recording contract. In 1971, signed to Sussex Records, he put out his first album, “Just As I Am,” with the legendary Booker T. Jones at the helm. It had the hits “Grandma’s Hands” and “Ain’t No Sunshine,” which was inspired by the Jack Lemmon film “Days of Wine and Roses.” He was photographed on the cover, smiling and holding his lunch pail. “Ain’t No Sunshine” was originally released as the B-side of his debut single, “Harlem.” But radio DJs flipped the disc and the song climbed to number threeon the Billboard charts and spent a total of 16 weeks in the top 40. Withers went on to generate more hits a year later with the inspirational “Lean on Me,” the menacing “Who Is He (and What Is He to You)” and the slinky “Use Me” on his second album, “Still Bill.” Later would come the striking “Lovely Day,” co-written with Skip Scarborough and featuring Withers holding the word “day” for almost 19 seconds, and “Just the Two Of Us,” co-written with Ralph MacDonald and William Salter. His “Live at Carnegie Hall” in 1973 made Rolling Stone’s 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time. “The hardest thing in songwriting is to be simple and yet profound. And Bill seemed to understand, intrinsically and instinctively, how to do that,” Sting said in “Still Bill,” a 2010 documentary of Withers. But Withers’ career stalled when Sussex Records went bankrupt and he was scooped up by Columbia Records. He no longer had complete control over his music and chafed when it was suggested he do an Elvis cover. His new executives found Withers difficult. None of his Columbia albums reached the Top 40 except for 1977’s “Menagerie,” which produced “Lovely Day.” (His hit duet with Grover Washington Jr. “Just the Two of Us” was on Washington’s label). Withers’ last album was 1985′s “Watching You Watching Me.” Though his songs often dealt with relationships, Withers also wrote ones with social commentary, including “Better Off Dead” about an alcoholic’s suicide, and “I Can’t Write Left-Handed,” about an injured Vietnam War veteran. He was awarded Grammys as a songwriter for “Ain’t No Sunshine” in 1971 and for “Just the Two Of Us” in 1981. In 1987, Bill received his ninth Grammy nomination and third Grammy as a songwriter for the re-recording of the 1972 hit “Lean on Me” by Club Nouveau. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 by Stevie Wonder. Withers thanked his wife as well as the R&B pioneers who helped his career like Ray Jackson, Al Bell and Booker T. Jones. He also got in a few jabs at the record industry, saying A&R stood for “antagonistic and redundant.” Withers also was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005. His music has been covered by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Tom Jones, Linda Ronstadt, Paul McCartney, Sting, Johnny Mathis, Aaron Neville, Al Jarreau, Mick Jagger, Nancy Wilson, Diana Ross. His music has been sampled for BlackStreet’s “No Diggity,” Will Smith’s version of “Just the Two Of Us,” Black Eyed Peas’ “Bridging the Gap” and Twista’s “Sunshine.” The song “Lean on Me” was the title theme of a 1989 movie starring Morgan Freeman. His songs are often used on the big screen, including “The Hangover,” “28 Days,” “American Beauty,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Crooklyn,” “Flight,” “Beauty Shop,” “The Secret Life of Pets” and “Flight.” “I’m not a virtuoso, but I was able to write songs that people could identify with. I don’t think I’ve done bad for a guy from Slab Fork, West Virginia,” Withers told Rolling Stone in 2015. He is survived by his wife, Marcia, and children, Todd and Kori.

Vybz Kartel

Dancehall star Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer will remain behind bars. This, after the Court of Appeal on Friday rejected his appeal of his conviction and sentence for the 2011 slaying of his associate, Clive ‘Lizard Williams. The three-member panel of the court, headed by President, Dennis Morrison, Frank Williams and Patrick Brooks, announced the verdictshortly before 10am Friday. They did not immediately offer reasons for their decision. Kartel’s attorney, Tom Tavares-Finson, has indicated that he will be taking the matter all the way to the United Kingdom Privy Council. The decision is a blow to the legions of diehard Gaza fans whohave patiently waited for nearly 10years with hopes of seeing the self-proclaimed‘World Boss’ walk free. While he was convicted in 2014, Kartel has been behind bars since September, 2011. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve 35 years before becoming eligible for parole. His co-accused are Shawn Campbell, also called Shaw Storm, Kahira Jones and Andre St John. They were also sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that they be eligible for parole after 25 years.


Defense Secretary Mark Esper speaks about the coronavirus and illegal drugs in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Washington, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley, listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that Navy ships are being moved toward Venezuela as his administration beefs up counter-narcotics operations in the Caribbean following a US drug indictment against Nicolás Maduro. The announcement came at the start of the daily White House press briefing to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, which has left much of the country in lock-down and which the government warns could cause 100,000 to 240,000 deaths. "The Venezuelan people continue to suffer tremendously due to Maduro and his criminal control over the country, and drug traffickers are seizing on this lawlessness," Defence Secretary Mark Esper said after the president's announcement. The deployment is one of the largest US military operations in the region since the 1989 invasion of Panama to remove GeneralManuel Noriega from power and bring him to the US to face drug charges. It involves assets like Navy warships, AWACS surveillance aircraft and on-ground special forces seldom seen before in the region. The goal is to nearly double the US counter-narcotics capacity in the Western Hemisphere, with forces operating both in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific. Esper said the mission would be supported by 22 partner nations. "As governments and nations focus on the coronavirus there is a growing threat that cartels, criminals, terrorists and other malign actors will try to exploit the situation for their own gain," said Trump. "We must not let that happen." The enhanced mission has been months in the making but has taken on greater urgency following last week's indictment of Maduro, Venezuela's embattled socialist leader, and members of his inner circle and military. They are accused of leading a narcoterrorist conspiracy responsible for smuggling up to 250 metric tons of cocaine a year into the US, about half of it by sea. "If I was just indicted for drug trafficking by the United States, with a $15 million reward for my capture, having the US Navy conducting anti-drug operations off my coast would be something I would worry about," said Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who has been among those calling for a tougher stance against Maduro. Maduro's communications minister, Jorge Rodriguez, called the deployment a "desperate attempt to distract attention from the tragic humanitarian crisis" in the US caused by the coronavirus. In an ironic jab, he said that for "the first time" in decades the US is trying to choke off the supply of cocaine, which he noted mostly comes from Colombia, a staunch US ally. Maduro has blasted the Trump administration's offer of a $15 million reward for his arrest, calling it the work of a "racist cowboy" aimed at getting US hands on Venezuela's vast oil reserves, the world's largest. Others have faulted a US plan, unveiled Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to create a five-member council without Maduro or Guaidó to govern the country until elections can be held within a year. While it’s the first attempt in months by the US to seek a negotiated solution to Venezuela's stalemate, coming on the heels of the indictments many say it has little hope of succeeding and likely to drive Maduro farther away from the path of dialogue. The Trump administration has long insisted that all options are on the table for removing Maduro, including military ones. Still, there's no indication then, or now, that any sort of US invasion is being planned. Rather, the sending of ships fits into a longstanding call by the US Southern Command for additional assets to combat growing antinarcotics and other security threats in the hemisphere. It could also be an attempt to send a message of protection for Maduro's US-backed rival, Juan Guaidó. Maduro's chief prosecutor ordered Guaidó to provide testimony Thursday as part of an investigation into an alleged coup attempt. Guaidó, the head of Venezuela's congress who is recognized as his country's legitimate leader by the US and almost 60 other nations, is unlikely to show up, raising the possibility he could be arrested. The US has long insisted it will not tolerate any harm against Guaidó. In January, another Navy vessel, the USS Detroit, conducted a freedom of navigation operation off the coast of Venezuela in a show of pressure against Maduro. "That presence sends a big statement about US commitment, it sends a big statement to our friends, it reassures them, and then to our adversaries that those are capable performers," Admiral Craig Faller, the head of the US military's Southern Command, said in congressional testimony last month. The report of the planned deployment comes two days after one of Venezuela's naval patrol boats sank after colliding with a Portuguese-flagged cruise ship near the Venezuelan-controlled island of La Tortuga. Maduro accused the ship of acting aggressively and said it was possibly carrying "mercenaries" seeking his ouster. "You have to be very naive to see this as an isolated incident," Maduro said Tuesday night on state TV. But Columbia Cruise Services, the operator of the cruise ship, said the patrol boat fired gunshots and then purposely rammed into the liner at speed. There were no passengers on board and none of its 32 crew members were injured, the company said.

As airlines cut more service, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pittsburgh International Airport has closed one of its four runways to shelter in place 96 planes, mostly from American Airlines, as of Monday, March 30, 2020. The airport has the capacity to store 140 planes. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The global economy could shrink almost one per cent this year due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19), a sharp reversal from the pre-pandemic forecast of 2.5 per cent growth, the United Nations said Wednesday. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs warned in a report that the decline could be even deeper if restrictions on economic activities extend into the third quarter of the year and if fiscal stimulus efforts don't support income and consumer spending. By comparison, it said, the world economy contracted 1.7 per cent during the global financial crisis in 2009. “Fears of the exponential spread of the virus — and growing uncertainties about the efficacy of various containment measures — have rocked financial markets worldwide,” the report noted, “with market volatility surpassing its peak during the global financial crisis and equity markets and oil prices plunging to multi-year lows.” In the best-case scenario, the report said, moderate declines in private consumption, investment and exports will be offset by increases in government spending in the seven major industrialized nations and China, leading to global growth of 1.2 per cent in 2020. In the worst-case scenario, it said, global output would3 contract 0.9 per cent, “based on demand-side shocks of different magnitudes” to China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and the European Union as well as a 50 per cent decline in oil prices. This scenario “assumes that wide-ranging restrictions on economic activities in the EU and the United States would extend until the middle of the second quarter,” the report said. It said increasing restrictions on the movement of people and lock-downs in Europe and North America “are hitting the service sector hard, particularly industries that involve physical interactions such as retail trade, leisure and hospitality, recreation and transportation services.” Those sectors account for more than a quarter of all jobs in those countries, and as these businesses lose revenue, unemployment is likely to increase sharply, it said. The report said the negative effects of current economic restrictions in richer developed nations will soon spill over into developing countries, which will see lower trade and investment. The severity of the economic impact — “whether a moderate or deep recession" — will largely depend on the duration of restrictions on the movement of people and economic activities in major economies and on the size and impact of fiscal responses, it said. “Urgent and bold policy measures are needed, not only to contain the pandemic and save lives but also to protect the most vulnerable in our societies from economic ruin and to sustain economic growth and financial stability," said Liu Zhenmin, the UNundersecretary-general for economic and social affairs. The report said fiscal stimulus packages should prioritize health spending to contain the spread of the virus and should provide income support to households most affected by the pandemic. But the outlook remains gloomy. “A sharp decline in consumer spending in the European Union and the United States will reduce imports of consumer goods from developing countries,” the report said. “In addition, global manufacturing production could contract significantly, amid the possibility of extended disruptions to global supply chains.” It noted that several automobile companies have announced large-scale production suspensions in Europe and the United States and many firms worldwide especially in the auto, consumer electronics and telecommunications industries “are facing shortages of intermediate components as exports from China contracted at an annual pace of 17.2 per cent in the first two months of the year.” “More severe and protracted production disruptions would affect a large number of developing economies that are deeply integrated in global supply networks,” it warned. Developing countries, particularly those dependent on tourism and commodity exports, also face heightened economic risks, including an increasing likelihood of “debt-distress” for many commodity-dependent economies, it said. The report said the recent collapse in global commodity prices is compounding the bleak fiscal outlook for many of these countries, which haven’t fully recovered from the after-effects of sharp commodity price declines in 2014-2016. The report said the worsening pandemic is increasing deep-seated economic anxiety. "Even in many high-income countries, a significant proportion of the population do not have enough financial wealth to live beyond the national poverty line for three months, causing many to fear for their economic security," it said.


Leicester City players talk during the last Premier League game before play was suspended because of the spread of coronavirus.

Premier League clubs have agreed to consult their players about taking 30 per cent pay cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic. The proliferation of COVID-19 has seen the majority of global sport grind to a halt, with a meeting of Premier League shareholders on Friday acknowledging England's top flight will not get back under way at the start of May. Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth have placed at least part of their non-playing staff on furlough leave at the United Kingdom government's expense. Health secretary Matt Hancock called on Premier League footballers to "take a pay cut and play their part", with the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) attracting criticism for a lack of action in agreeing such measures. However, clubs will now approach their players about reducing their salaries while football is on hiatus. A Premier League statement read: "The sporting and financial implications for Premier League clubs as well as for the FA, EFL and National League were considered at today's meeting. "In the face of substantial and continuing losses for the 2019- 20 season since the suspension of matches began, and to protect employment throughout the professional game, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 per cent of total annual remuneration. "This guidance will be kept under constant review as circumstances change. The League will be in regular contact with the PFA and the union will join a meeting which will be held tomorrow between the League, players and club representatives." The Premier League also announced that £125million would be advanced to the EFL and National League due to the "severe difficulties clubs throughout the football pyramid are suffering at this time". All leagues overseen by the EFL and National League have been suspended indefinitely. An additional £20m has been committed to support the NHS, communities, families and vulnerable groups during the pandemic. "This includes a direct financial contribution to the NHS and funds to enable clubs to refocus their efforts and develop significant outreach programmes to help communities, including those most in need. This funding will enable both immediate and longer-term support during the crisis," the statement read. "In response to COVID-19,Premier League clubs have been supporting tens of thousands of people in their communities each and every day through targeted activity including donations to foodbanks, telephone calls to the elderly, food parcels delivered to the vulnerable and a wide range of free resources to support wellbeing and education. "Many Premier League clubs are also working closely with their local NHS Trusts to provide valuable support through the provision of resources, volunteers and facilities. Now, more than ever, clubs are playing a vital role to support the wellbeing of those in their communities and alleviate pressure on critical health services. "Working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and the NHS, the wide reach and appeal of the Premier League and our clubs will continue to be used to promote important public health messaging throughout this crisis. "The Premier League would like to reiterate that the thoughts of all our clubs are with all those directly affected by COVID-19​."

Uruguayan tennis player Pablo Cuevas.

The decision to push the French Open back to September amid the coronavirus pandemic was rushed and selfish, Pablo Cuevas, the 2008 French Open men's doubles champion,has said. Last month the French Tennis Federation announced the tournament will begin at Roland Garros on September 20, having originally been scheduled to take place from May 24. The new date would see the competition start a week after the US Open in New York comes to an end. It was a movemet with widespread criticism and Cuevas, the world number 60, isbemused by the change, considering the impact it will haveon players. "I think the Roland Garros decision was a bit rushed, perhaps without asking the ATP from what I know," Cuevastold Stats Perform. "Also, it seems they didn't take into account the rest of the tournaments, the rest of the calendar, it was something weird. "Even more in this moment of solidarity, where we must have solidarity, it was something pretty selfish to go forward and set the dates without having any concern for the players and the rest of the calendar. All the players were a bit surprised." While there is still a chance the French Open could be held this year, Wimbledon will not be on the 2020 calendar. The All England Club this week cancelled the tournament, marking the first time since World War Two that the grass-court grand slam will not take place. "About the cancellation of Wimbledon, I think it was something pretty obvious," Cuevas added. "This [coronavirus]is being more serious that what it seemed at the beginning, it's taking a lot to control it, so I think it was a good decision made by the people at Wimbledon." Cuevas expects it to be a long time before life on the ATP and WTA Tours - which are both suspended -can return to normal. He said: "We don't know yet when we'll be able to compete again. It's one of the earliest sports to cancel everything and I think it will be one of the latest to get back because of all the nationalities involved. "Every country must free every airport and flights, so they have to control the pandemic, so that will make us get back after other sports. I don't know when we'll be able to start."


Cayman Islands' Governor Martyn Roper has advised that the key to flattening the curve is through social distancing and testing. And on that note, todayCayman received excellent news. Until now, the stay at homeorders have been followed by the population for the most part, but the country has struggled with the availability of tests. But it now appearsthe government of South Korea may be able to provide Cayman with the reagent capacity to provide200,000 PCR tests. Cayman will also be receiving 1,700 tests via the British Airways flight that comes in on Tuesday. There are currently no further flights scheduled for the near future. The order has already been placed with the South Korean government; however, Cayman is still working on how to get the shipment here. There are a number of options but the British Airways flight arriving Tuesday is currently not an option for delivering the tests from South Korea. Other supplies coming via the air bridge include 190 boxes of gloves, 600 surgical masks and 2,500 isolation gowns. The Chief Medical Officer has also reported that Doctor's Hospital's PCR machine is larger than that of the HSA, and this will complement the testing capabilities of the HSA. PCR tests are considered to be the gold standard for COVID-19 testing. This will make a major positive impact in the Cayman Islands. If those who are found to be positive on a country-wide testing program would self-isolate, then the island could eradicate COVID-19 in a short time frame.

According to the Cayman Islands’ Chief Medical Officer, five new positiveCOVID-19 tests have come back todayout of a total 15 returned.All of these were closely linked(family members, etc.) tothose who were previously found to be positive. Fourof the positives all came from the same household, while10 tested negative. This brings the total positive cases to 28 persons. In all, 265 total tests have been done. The one inconclusive case that went to CARPHA for confirmation has returned positive. This was a case of community transmission. In terms of the positives, 15 tests are clinically better while oneremains an inpatient at the Health Services Authority. Dr Lee is awaiting further information on the health status of the other positive cases as “they might still be in the early days.” At least four cases are associated with community transmissionthus far. Dr Lee has indicated that whether cases are associated with travel or community transmission is now a moot point. Those who test positive are required to stay at home for 14-days and if they do not, the police will get involved.