Six Guyanese, one Jamaican held in Lara robbery

(Trinidad Guardian) – Police have arrested seven foreign nationals and seized items believed to be stolen from the home of batting legend Brian Charles Lara, at a house in El Socorro, San Juan, on Tuesday.

Venezuelans turn to God over power-crisis

CARACAS (Reuters) – Power-rationing has failed. The rains have still not come. So Venezuelan electricity workers are seeking divine help to solve the nation’s power crisis.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Issues unresolved Caricom is examining ways of giving common law spouses the right to move and work freely if their partners take up jobs within the single trading market.

Dutch find cocaine hidden among Valentine roses

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A week before Valentine’s Day, a consignment of cocaine was found hidden among 20,000 roses from Latin America at Amsterdam airport, Dutch authorities said yesterday.

Venezuela offers carrot or stick in energy crisis

CARACAS, (Reuters) – Facing anger at a major  shortfall in electricity supply, Venezuela President Hugo  Chavez promised consumers and businesses big discounts for  slashing energy consumption, but ordered fines if they do not  comply.

Workers protest planned Air Jamaica sale to T&T

(Jamaica Observer) Dozens of Air Jamaica staff and informal commercial importers (ICIs) on Monday staged a protest outside the Air Jamaica building in downtown Kingston over the Government’s plan to sell the airline to Trinidad-owned Caribbean Airlines.

Flag scandal in T&T

(Trinidad Express) Fresh from his address to the nation, embattled Sport Minister Gary Hunt visited a school in Moruga on Monday, but brushed off calls for him to resign over the TT$2 million flag he commissioned at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.

Jamaica orders weapons audit

(Jamaica Gleaner) As part of a wider initiative to determine how many legal guns are in the hands of Jamaicans – police, licensed firearm holders and gun dealers – National Security Minister Senator Dwight Nelson has ordered an islandwide audit.

South American countries seek unity to help Haiti

QUITO (Reuters) – South American leaders deeply divided by political differences may take a break from their usual recriminations today when they meet to discuss the continent’s response to the crisis in quake-shattered Haiti.

Golding calls for audit of Haiti relief funds

(Jamaica Gleaner) – In the wake of the mushrooming of thousands of organisations throughout the region soliciting money for emergency aid in Haiti, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding has called for an audit of all funds collected in Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states.

No knowledge of State witness’s return to T&T

(Trinidad Express) – The National Security Ministry says it knew nothing about the return to Trinidad of former State witness Sean Quamina, who is believed to have been followed back to his New York home and killed on Monday.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Caricom pushes health agenda Caricom wants the United Nations to organise a global summit on the worldwide “epidemic” of lifestyle diseases.

Cuba looks to suburban farms to boost food output

CAMAGUEY, Cuba, (Reuters) – Cuba has launched an  ambitious project to ring urban areas with thousands of small  farms in a bid to reverse the country’s long agricultural  decline and ease its chronic economic woes.

Dubai bank does not have Cash Plus money

(Jamaica Observer) Instead of the Christmas gift he had prematurely promised Cash Plus investors last year, liquidator Hugh Wildman will have to pay legal costs to a Dubai bank he believed was holding US$25 million, allegedly stashed there by Carlos Hill.

Kamla garners support for Opposition Leader

(Trinidad Express) – Meet Kamla Persad-Bissessar: Siparia MP, Political Leader of the United National Congress (UNC) and, according to informed sources, soon to be conferred with the title of Opposition Leader.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Kidnap accused missionaries for court soon Ten American missionaries who have been charged with kidnapping children in Haiti could be called before the courts this weekend or as early as Monday.

Venezuela opposition decries appointment of Cuban

CARACAS, (Reuters) – President Hugo Chavez’s naming  of a heavyweight Cuban official to help fix Venezuela’s  electricity crisis has fired up his opponents at a politically  volatile time for the South American nation.

Revered Jamaican Prof Rex Nettleford dies

(Jamaica Gleaner) – Jamaica lost one of its most revered cultural figures on Tuesday night when Professor Rex Nettleford, vice-chancellor emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and founder of the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC), died, just hours before he would have celebrated his 77th birthday.

OAS asks Venezuela to probe violence at protests

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Organization of American States’ human rights body on Tuesday called on Venezuela to investigate “improper use of force” during clashes that left two dead after the suspension of an anti-government TV station.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Antigua urged to improve its tourism product Tourist destination Antigua and Barbuda is being urged to become more cost effective.

In Cuba, peso makes a comeback, pleasing customers

SANTIAGO DE CUBA (Reuters) – Retail outlets selling everything in Cuban pesos are popping up across the country in what may be the government’s first steps toward phasing out its unpopular two-currency system.

Brazil, others condemn extra EU sugar export

GENEVA (Reuters) – Australia, Brazil and Thailand called yesterday for the immediate withdrawal of an additional export of 500,000 tonnes of out-of-quota sugar by the EU, saying it was illegal under World Trade Organisation rules.

Venezuela, T&T to sign energy trade pact

(Trinidad Guardian) – T&T and Venezuela will soon sign a pact to increase trade in energy products and to develop the oil and gas sectors of both countries.

Muslim leader blasts gays

(Jamaica Observer) – President of the Islamic Council of Jamaica, Mustafa Muhammad, says he agrees with the Sharia law which prescribes death for people who openly flaunt homosexual behaviour.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Haitian vessel blocked A vessel carrying more than 100 Haitians fleeing their country has been intercepted by Turks and Caicos Islands police.

Jamaica banker kills wife

(Jamaica Observer) The St Andrew North police were on Saturday piecing together evidence that could lead to the motive behind a murder and suicide which took place at Waterworks in St Andrew earlier that day and sent shockwaves throughout the financial sector where the couple worked.

Jamaica cops kill 3 in alleged shoot-out

(Jamaica Observer) Police from the West Kingston Police Division on Saturday fatally shot three men who had allegedly engaged them in a shoot-out in Federal Gardens, a tough inner-city community in St Andrew.

Three dead after T&T robbery

(Trinidad Express) Three men are now dead following a robbery at a grill shop in South Trinidad.

After Haiti quake, traders get back to business

PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Reuters) – Garment factories are  spinning out T-shirts again and street markets are packed, but  Haiti’s wrecked capital and damaged port show the huge task  ahead in repairing the economy after a huge earthquake.

Judgment reserved in TCL contempt case against Guyana Govt

(Trinidad Express) – Judgment has been reserved in the matter involving Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) and its subsidiary, TCL Guyana Incorporated (TGI), following hours of legal arguments at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) against the Government of Guyana.

Nettleford unconscious in US hospital

(Jamaica Gleaner) – Vice-Chancellor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Rex Nettleford, has been admitted to hospital in Washington, DC, after collapsing at a hotel in the United States capital Wednesday evening.

S.Africa security minister’s wife arrested

JOHANNESBURG, (Reuters) – The wife of South Africa’s  State Security Minister was arrested yesterday on charges of  dealing drugs, the country’s National Prosecuting Authority  said.

Brazil’s Lula released from hospital, Davos trip off

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is recovering after a brief hospitalization for high blood pressure        but cancelled his trip to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, authorities said yesterday.

Colombia blasts incursion by Venezuelan helicopter

BOGOTA (Reuters) – A Venezuelan military helicopter flew across the border into Colombia and close to an army base on Wednesday, Colombia said, raising tensions in a months-long diplomatic dispute that has choked off bi-lateral trade.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

Caricom youth summit Young people from across Caricom are gathering in Suriname for a two-day summit on youth development opening today.

US contractor still under investigation in Cuba

HAVANA (Reuters) – A US contractor accused by Cuba of distributing illegal communications equipment remains under investigation, and his alleged actions would be considered a “serious crime” anywhere in the world, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said yesterday.

Panday claims thousands of hidden UNC membership cards discovered

(Trinidad Express) – Defeated candidate for United National Congress political leader Basdeo Panday claimed sabotage on Tuesday night after boxes allegedly containing thousands of party membership cards were discovered hidden at the Rienzi Complex, Couva, headquarters.

Venezuela marches continue, Chavez shuffles cabinet

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned yesterday that he may quicken his drive to build a socialist state, as he shuffled his cabinet amid opposition demonstrations sparked by closure of a television station.

Uribe plan for youth to spy on gangs sparks uproar

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombian politicians yesterday blasted President Alvaro Uribe’s proposal that students be paid to spy on violent gangs in the city of Medellin, saying the plan would put young people in danger.

BBC Caribbean News in Brief

PAM going to court The opposition Peoples Action Movement (PAM) in St Kitts and Nevis says it intends challenging the outcome of Monday’s general election in which Prime Minister Douglas’ Labour Party retained power with a slightly reduced majority.

Cuba, US set for migration talks next month

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuban and US negotiators will meet in February for a second round of talks on migration issues since the discussions were renewed last summer, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said yesterday.

Denzil Douglas wins fourth term

(BBC) Prime Minister Denzil Douglas has won a fourth term. The governing St Kitts and Nevis Labour Party is back in power for a fourth successive term after Monday’s general election.

Barbados unwraps growth strategy

(Barbados Nation) A nine-point strategy aimed at bolstering Barbados’ economy and returning real gross domestic product (GDP) growth to the annual average rate of 3.0 per cent by 2012, is to be implemented soon.

Kamla: 13,932; Bas 1,359 votes

(Trinidad Express) Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar won hands down at the UNC internal elections on Sunday, beating fellow contenders, Basdeo Panday and Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, even on their home turf by a large margin.