Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, is imploring Jamaicans to be extremely cautious and responsible on the nation’s roads during the festive season.His warning comes against the fact that 303 persons have lost their lives in road crashes since the start of 2017.“I want to appeal to every one of us to behave ourselves in the traffic environment. The speeds recorded in the black boxes that are involved (in road crashes) are frightening,” he said.He noted that pedestrians “are being hit between 38 kilometres per hour and 100 kilometres per hour and they are never able to survive such impacts”.“Too many of our people have been injured or killed because of excessive speed; therefore, as we look forward to this Christmas period, I appeal to every Jamaican to walk, ride and drive for the family and for other persons,” he added.Minister Henry was speaking at the Child Health Initiative and the National Road Safety Council’s (NRSC) Policy Forum at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, December 14.Minister Henry noted that while strides have been made in improving road safety, particularly among pedestrians who are children, “there are more negative behaviours to be arrested”.“We are below the numbers of (road deaths) for the year before, (but) persons are dying needlessly, leaving behind their precious children to grow up without a mother or a father, but more predominantly, without a father, since male casualties account for over 85 per cent of the fatalities. This leaves a negative impact on the social economic stability of the family structure,” he pointed out.He expressed particular concern about the behaviour of motorcyclists. “Already, 88 of them have been killed so far this year. I am calling on them to cut out the dangerous practices on the roads,” he urged.Minister Henry also called on persons who have outstanding traffic tickets to take advantage of the second traffic ticket amnesty now under way, which ends on January 13, 2018.The Child Health Initiative and NRSC Policy Forum involved partnership with the FIA Foundation, an independent charity known for global philanthropy focused on road safety and sustainable mobility.The event, which involved stakeholders from various government entities and the private sector, had the objective of, among other things, examining the Road Safety Act and facilitating discussions towards creating a policy to provide greater protection for children on the roads.Vice Chairman, NRSC, Dr. Lucien Jones, urged motorists to look out for children on the roads.“Road crashes are the global number-one killer of school-age children, especially older children. Here in Jamaica, we will be stepping up our efforts and practical steps to protect our children as they take the journey, often a challenging one, from home to school and back,” he said.FIA Foundation Deputy Director, Avi Silverman, noted that around the world, children are among the most vulnerable on the roads.“We must do all we can to protect them. Jamaica has the potential to make huge progress and to become a global leader in this effort. We’re delighted to be able to support our partners in Jamaica in this fight to save lives. Every life we save is precious, and every child deserves a safe journey to school. We must not fail our children,” he added. Story Highlights Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, is imploring Jamaicans to be extremely cautious and responsible on the nation’s roads during the festive season. “Too many of our people have been injured or killed because of excessive speed; therefore, as we look forward to this Christmas period, I appeal to every Jamaican to walk, ride and drive for the family and for other persons,” he added. He expressed particular concern about the behaviour of motorcyclists. “Already, 88 of them have been killed so far this year. I am calling on them to cut out the dangerous practices on the roads,” he urged.
PEÑAS BLANCAS, Guanacaste — Almost 200 migrants from Africa, Asia and Haiti have set up camp in a small field here, not far from Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua. The conditions are unhealthy: While some have tents, many sleep on the ground with only plastic tarps for protection from the rain.“We eat what people give us. We have no money because it’s been stolen. We live like animals,” Talib, a 39-year-old migrant originally from Angola, tells The Tico Times.In Peñas Blancas, migrants charge their cell phones for a dollar so they can stay in contact with relatives back home or in the United States. For another dollar they can use a bathroom, and for $10 they can rent a small room that keeps them out of the downpours that are a daily occurrence this time of year. Migrants cooking over a fire, Peñas Blancas, June 28, 2016. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico TimesThis is the reality for hundreds of so-called “extra-continental” migrants marooned in Costa Rica on their way north to try to get into the United States.Earlier this week, The Tico Times reported on conditions at the Red Cross camp in Paso Canoas, on Costa Rica’s border with Panama, where a steady flow of undocumented migrants has been showing up daily for the past several months, many of them exhausted from their journey through South America.In Paso Canoas, the government registers migrants and gives them a document that allows them to travel freely through Costa Rica as long as they check in with authorities every 15 days.See also: Deporting 600 migrants back to Africa could be expensive, and impossibleMany continue north to Costa Rica’s northern border, only to find that crossing into Nicaragua is a vastly more difficult task.Nicaragua has maintained a hardline stance against letting migrants without visas pass through the country. Many of the migrants have sought out human smugglers to get them across the border, with varying degrees of success.Earlier this week, police in Costa Rica helped dismantle a regional human trafficking ring dedicated largely to smuggling people from Africa and Asia through Latin America to the United States. African and Haitian migrants in Peñas Blancas, June 28, 2016. Álvaro Sánchez/The Tico TimesLittle Africa on the borderSome of the migrants in Peñas Blancas have been in Costa Rica for three months and have run out of money to continue their journey. The going price to hire a coyote to smuggle people into Nicaragua is around $600, migrants here say. But they also say that many of the smuggling offers are a hoax, and migrants frequently end up getting robbed.Still, migrants walk through the streets of Peñas Blancas with backpacks on, hoping that somehow Nicaragua will change its mind and let them continue on their way north.“We live like animals,” a man named Fadwa, who says he’s from the Congo, says in French. “Please let us pass, we want to continue.”Many migrants have told Costa Rican officials that they’re from Congo, but often can’t specify whether they’re from the Republic of Congo or the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo. It’s one of the reasons immigration officials suspect that many are actually from Haiti but hiding their nationality for fear of deportation back to the relatively close island.See also: Migrants flowing through is likely Costa Rica’s new normal, minister saysRegardless of where they’re originally from, many of the migrants started their journey through the Americas in Brazil. The smuggling ring busted this week was purportedly led by a Guatemalan but had links throughout the Americas and abroad.Paying customers were reportedly picked up in Dubai, flown to Brazil and then brought up through the Americas to the U.S. mostly by land. Authorities said that once in Mexico, many of the migrants were forced to smuggle drugs into the U.S.A total of 35 people have been arrested in the trafficking case.See also: On patrol with the Costa Rican Border PoliceThe migrants in Peñas Blancas know the dangers of entrusting their lives to smugglers. They tell of women getting beaten and raped, and migrants getting violently robbed.It’s hard to know how many of these stories are true. Much of Costa Rica’s border with Nicaragua is sparsely populated, and border police can’t possibly monitor the entire territory.But the squalid living conditions of the migrants camped out in Peñas Blancas is undeniable. While the Costa Rican government lobbies for a regional solution to the problem, migrants’ funds are drying up, the resources of the charities that feed them are increasingly strained, and the rains promise to become even heavier in the coming months. Facebook Comments Related posts:Solís touts Costa Rica’s treatment of migrants, refugees Refugee program for Central Americans ‘still on the drawing board’: US official At Mexico-US border, pope decries migrant ‘tragedy’ World Bank: Zika will cost Latin America $3.5 billion in 2016
21st Century Fox has agreed to sell its 39% stake in Sky to Comcast after the US pay TV giant emerged triumphant from an intense bidding process over the weekend.Rupert MurdochWith the move Rupert Murdoch, who is chairman of 21st Century Fox, cashes out his interest in Sky – a company that he launched in the UK nearly 30 years ago.Comcast’s £17.28 (€19.23) per share offer for Sky values Fox’s stake in the business at £11.6 billion. In a statement Fox congratulated Comcast on its pending acquisition.“When we launched Sky in 1989 it was four channels produced from a prefab structure in an industrial park on the fringes of west London,” read the Fox statement.“We bet – and almost lost – the farm on launching a business that many didn’t think was such a good idea. Today, Sky is Europe’s leading entertainment company and a world-class example of a customer-driven enterprise.”Disney, which is in the process of acquiring most of 21st Century Fox’s TV and film assets in a separate US$66 billion deal that was agreed in December, consented to Fox’s sale of its Sky stake.The company said that the Sky deal, combined with the divestiture of the Fox Sports Regional Networks, will significantly reduce the amount of debt it will incur in acquiring 21st Century Fox.Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement that the proceeds from both Sky and Fox Sports Regional Networks will “substantially reduce the cost of our overall acquisition and allow us to aggressively invest in building and creating high-quality content for our direct-to-consumer platforms to meet the growing demands of viewers.”Commenting on Fox’s decision to sell its Sky stake to Comcast, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch described the deal as the close of one chapter and the opening of another.“Nearly 30 years ago Rupert Murdoch took a risk to launch Sky and in the process changed the way we watch television forever,” said Darroch.“His vision and belief has enabled us to grow in to Europe’s leading direct-to-consumer media business and I would like to personally thank him, James [Murdoch] and 21st Century Fox for their consistent support as shareholders, board members and friends.”21st Century Fox had previously moved to take full control of Sky but was eventually outbid by Comcast in a sealed bidding process that concluded at the weekend.Comcast’s bid of £17.28 per share represented a premium of 125% on the company’s price at the end of 2016, just before 21st Century Fox made its initial approach for Sky. Fox placed a final bid of £15.67 per share for Sky.Sky said at the weekend that it was in the best interests of all Sky shareholders to accept the Comcast offer, while Fox’s immediate reaction was to say it would consider its options regarding its own 39% stake in the company.