Florida juror denies improperly researching Buju’s case

(Trinidad Express) A Florida juror who voted to convict Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton on drug charges has denied improperly researching the case during trial, in spite of a weekly newspaper’s report that quoted her as saying that she did.

Banton is serving a ten-year prison sentence on two drug charges. The Grammy winner faces an additional five years on a related gun possession charge, but his resentencing hearing was postponed to investigate the report of juror misconduct.

Buju Banton

Banton’s attorneys have filed a motion in Tampa federal court seeking a new trial. If granted, it would be the second mistrial for Banton, whose first trial in 2010 ended with jurors deadlocked. He was convicted in 2011 in his second trial.
US District Judge James Moody reserved decision last Thursday on the defence motion.

Jurors were told during the trial not to do any independent research into the case. Terri Wright, a juror from Banton’s 2011 trial, was quoted in a Miami New Times report as saying that she researched parts of the case, in spite of the judge’s orders not to. “I would get in the car, just write my notes down so I could remember, and I would come home and do the research,” Wright was quoted as saying. New Times reporter Chris Sweeney testified last Thursday that he interviewed several jurors. The Tampa Tribune reports that Sweeney provided the court with a recording of his interview with Wright.

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No amnesty for war rapists: Colombia peace talks turn to women’s rights

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Colombia’s government and FARC rebels have pledged to improve access to land for women and ensure perpetrators of sexual violence, including rape, will not be eligible for amnesty as part of ongoing peace talks to end five decades of civil war.

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Colombia declares end to Zika epidemic inside country

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian health officials declared yesterday that the worst of a Zika outbreak in the Andean nation had passed just 10 months after its arrival, raising questions about how the virus is affecting parts of Latin America differently.

Damage to the MV Xin Fei Zhou

Ship hits wall of Panama Canal, renews design concerns

HOUSTON (Reuters) – A Chinese container ship hit a wall of the new lane of the Panama Canal, a Canal Authority official and a local ship agent said yesterday, the third such incident since the expanded waterway opened one month ago amid design concerns.

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Little enforcement of Jamaica Tobacco Control Act douses its relevance

(Jamaica Observer) It has existed on Jamaican law books for three years now, but the one-time much heralded Public Health Tobacco Control Regulations Act 2013, seems to have virtually gone up in smoke.

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Big battle set for key Clico beachfront property in T&T

(Trinidad Guardian) Battle for No Man’s Land. That is what is shaping up on all fronts—from Government to the Clico owners of the property—as the spotlight continues to increase on one of the last pristine pieces of beachfront in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Died at hospital:
Isaiah Hospedales

T&T student killed for gold chain

(Trinidad Express) A 22-year-old man’s decision to wear a large gold chain while liming with friends on Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook cost him his life early Saturday morning when he was ambushed, shot and killed for his jewelry.

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