Asia welcomed the lunar Year of the Pig on Tuesday with visits to temples, family banquets and the world's biggest travel spree. Celebrations took place throughout the region, from Beijing and Seoul to Hanoi and Singapore. The streets of Beijing and other major Chinese cities were quiet and empty after millions of people left to visit relatives or travel abroad during the year's biggest family holiday. [image_gallery] Families gathered at home for multigenerational banquets. Companies, shops and government offices closed for official holidays that ranged from two days in South Korea to a week in China. ___ Worshippers stood in line for hours at Hong Kong's Wong Tai Sin Temple to welcome the new year by lighting incense. Lana Wong, a prominent Hong Kong actress, wore a pig costume for the event. "My first wish is for world peace," said Wong, 88. "Everyone has food to eat, employment and houses to live in. The elderly also hope the government will take better care of them." ___ In Beijing, performers in traditional Qing dynasty robes strummed zithers for a re-enactment at sunrise of a sacrificial ceremony at the Chinese capital's Temple of Earth park. An actor portraying an emperor bowed before an altar as dozens of people in ceremonial dress behind him. Acrobats and drummers also performed. Vendors sold toys branded with the British cartoon character Peppa Pig, which is enjoying a surge of popularity for the Year of the Pig. "My wishes for new year are a promotion, a raise and finding a boyfriend," said a spectator, Cui Di, a 28-year-old employee of a foreign company. ___ The holiday in mainland China is marked by the biggest annual travel boom as hundreds of millions of people visit their home towns or travel abroad. The railway ministry forecast mainland travelers would make 413 million trips during the three-week period around the holiday. ___ Chinese set off billions of fireworks to celebrate the new year. An explosion at an illegal fireworks shop in southern China killed five people early Tuesday. Investigators said it was triggered by fireworks set off by the shopkeeper outside the shop. ___ In Bangkok, people lit incense sticks and burned paper money and other symbolic offerings for deceased relatives despite government appeals to avoid contributing to smog. Some shopkeepers sold symbolic ballots to burn as offerings following official promises of an election this year, the first after four years of military rule. ___ In the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, visitors left bouquets of flowers at statues of former leaders Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il.

A technically adjusted screen grab from CCTV footage of a murder at a restaurant in downtown Kingston on Friday.

Police in the Jamaican capital,Kingston are searching for a gunman who shot and killed a man at a restaurant on Friday. The incident was captured by CCTV. The deceased man has been identified as 25-year-old Leslie Givans, otherwise called ‘Teely’, of George’s Street in the Kingston 13 area. Police reports are that about 9:55am, Givans was in a restaurant when he was pounced upon by a lone gunmanwho opened gunfire, hitting him several times in his upper body. The assailant then fled the scene. The police were summoned and Givans was taken to hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries at about 11:50amthe same day, a release from the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the police force stated. The 51-second video, which has been slighted adjusted technically,showsthe gunman, sporting a hat, walking inside the restaurant and greeting Givans in a friendly manner. A brief conversation is seen between the two men, but then things changed quickly when the man collared Givans and engaged him in what appeared to be an argument. The hoodlum, whose face was not masked, then reached for a gun and opened fire, hitting Givans twice, with him falling to the ground. Persons inside the restaurant on Princess Street in the downtown area of Kingston then fled the scene along with the gunman. The police are appealing to anyone with information that can assist with their investigations to contact the Central police at 876-922-8860, the police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.

When her daughter was 4 years old, Jennifer Jean started a small catering business in Bourdon, a lower-middle-class district of the Haitian capital. Starting with the occasional wedding or corporate meeting, she grew the business into a venture that earned her as much as $1,000 a month, enough to pay bills and send her now-teenage daughter and her 7-year-old son to a good private school. Then the blackouts started, making it impossible to do basic activities. Without refrigeration, she now has to buy ice on the street to keep her prepared food cool. (Photo: In this April 16, 2019 photo, a tanker truck waits to fill up at the Thor terminal where a ship loaded with fuel awaits to unload its cargo in Carrefour, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Through the Venezuelan aid program known as Petrocaribe, Haiti once received roughly 60,000 barrels of oil a day under favorable terms that beat anything on the open market. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery). "Back in the day you were able to take your car out any time of night, 1 a.m. or 2 a.m.," said Jean, who is thinking of migrating to the United States. "Now all the streets are dark. You just don't know what you are going to run into." Through the Venezuelan aid program known as Petrocaribe, Haiti once received roughly 60,000 barrels of oil a day under favorable terms that beat anything on the open market. More than half the costs of the oil, which came at a heavily discounted price, were repayable over 25 years at a 1% interest rate, allowing the government to supposedly use the windfall for economic development. In exchange, Haiti reliably backed Venezuela against the United States in regional forums such as the Organization of American States. But as President Nicolás Maduro's government has struggled with plunging petroleum production and a cratering economy, Venezuela has stopped sending billions in subsidized oil to countries throughout Central America and the Caribbean, including Haiti, where the end of cheap oil has meant a sharp reduction in power. Meanwhile, Haiti's Bureau of Monetization of Development Aid Programs, or BMPAD, quickly ran into its own difficulties. After starting to buy oil on the global market, the bureau said this year that it had run out of operating funds and stopped regularly delivering fuel needed by power station operators to keep the lights on. (Photo:In this April 16, 2019 photo, Johny Legagneur charges phones for clients at his shop in Petion-Ville, Haiti. Johny uses an inverter and generator to charge laptops, smartphones and rechargeable bulbs for a fee. Haiti's Bureau of Monetization of Development Aid Programs, started to buy oil on the global market, but it has now said that it has run out of operating funds and stopped regularly delivering fuel needed by power station operators to keep the lights on. ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)). Now, much of Haiti's population enjoys electricity for just three hours a day. Nighttime activity has ground to a halt as armed robbers hold up street merchants or break into people's homes in darkness. Gas stations have gone empty for days, making it nearly impossible for many Haitians to get to work, run errands or take their kids to school. Hospitals are forced to rely on backup generators. "We can't find gas for our vehicles. Our clients can't come to us. Sales are down in every sector," said businessman Reginald Boulos, whose investment group runs major supermarkets and car dealerships. The fuel crisis is helping push Haiti's economy dangerously close to recession. GDP growth in 2018 was 1.5% — less than half what the government expected. Economists say this year will likely be the same. Annual inflation has also reached an estimated 17%, while a gallon of gasoline sells on the black market for between $6 and $12. (Photo: In this April 16, 2019 photo, street vendors sell juice in Petion-Ville, Haiti. The current fuel crisis is helping push Haiti's economy dangerously close to recession. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery). Fuel distributors are reimbursed by the state to the tune of about 27 cents for every subsidized gallon of gasoline sold to customers. That helps keep the price around $2.50 a gallon. But the cash-strapped Haitian state has gone months without paying subsidies and at one point owed some $71 million, leaving Haitian businesspeople to call for the end of the complicated state-oil purchase structure. The path out is murky at best. When President Jovenel Moise tried to eliminate fuel subsidies on July 6 and raise prices of various petroleum products by 38% to 51%, protesters took to streets across the country calling for him to step down. The decision was quickly reversed, and the International Monetary Fund has since offered the hemisphere's poorest nation a $96 million low-interest loan. Protesters are also enraged by corruption. A Haitian senate investigation found that more than $2 billion in profits from the Petrocaribe program had been wasted or stolen, leading to a months-long citizen campaign calling for more probes and prosecutions. "The shortages are creating panic. The economy is being damaged. The best approach is liberalizing the market and regulating it, to avoid these problems," said Maarten Boute, the CEO of Digicel, Haiti's largest mobile phone network provider. Some other countries in the region have weathered the end of Petrocaribe far better. Jamaica is seeing record economic performance. Cuba, however, is suffering from food and fuel shortages, although not as grave as Haiti's. Moise's administration has asked BMPAD, the finance ministry and private energy companies to suggest ways to further open up the petroleum market. But BMPAD's director, Fils Aimé Ignace St Fleur, says the agency will not give up its role overseeing the importation and wholesale pricing of petroleum in Haiti. "The state reserves the right to intervene directly in the market," he said. But in the district of Bourdon, Jean says her situation is becoming dire. Jean says she can't find gas, the price of a taxi has doubled, and her children often strain their eyes to study in dim light. "Without electricity," she says, "we're in a very difficult situation."


Hard Rock Cafe, Guyana as seen on the company's website.

Hard Rock Café has opened in Guyana. The international-themed restaurant founded in London in 1971, opened its doors at the new Movie Towne, Guyana. The 4,600-square-foot, state-of-the-art cafe fresh brings to Guyana high-quality items from Hard Rock’s menu, including a selection of fan-favourite Legendary Burgers and Hard Rock’s Smokehouse offerings of ribs, chicken, and pork to juicy, tender perfection. In addition to its food, Hard Rock Cafe’s extensive, award-winning drinks menu includes Hurricanes, Margaritas, signature favourites, and Alternative Rock (alcohol-free) beverages, all available in Hard Rock’s souvenir, collectible glassware. Tom Perez, Vice-President of the Americas for the company, told Loop Guyana’s economic outlook made the country an attractive choice for the restaurant. The restaurant is the first of its kind in the South American country which is set to become one of the world’s leading oil producers. Perez said they want to be the ones who open the market because if you do a good job you will own the market. Speaking about the relationship with Movie Towne, Perez said they are very familiar with the entertainment cineplex because they are preparing to open a Hard Rock Cafe in South Trinidad. "We know Derek Chin, the owner of MovieTowne and we knew that he was putting a world-class mall here which was going to be a game changer for Guyana so we thought it would be appropriate to have such a huge investment and have such an icon here,” he said. Perez said being the first casual dining chainin Georgetown, there have been some challenges, namely finding workers who are familiar with working in their industry. “The challenges are thatthe service culture is demanding and finding a talented pool of people who have done that work is challenging. There areno major international casual dining chains so it is hard to get people who understand the level of service we need and expect. That was the biggest challenge,” he said. He said, however, that the positive is that while they didn’t find a big pool of skilled labour, they found a lot of young people who are enthusiastic with the right mindset and willing to learn. He said a training team spent some time working with the 75 Guyanese employees. One of the main features of Hard Rock Café is the live performances that it facilitates. Perez said Hard Rock Café, Guyana will definitely be a place for Guyanese talent to be showcased. “We already had two bands that played there, we opened on Saturday and we had two local bands. This is one of the few stages that there are in Georgetown, we want to become the stage for local Guyanese bands and we have a lot of competitions around Hard Rock likethe international battle of the bands that they will be able to compete in,” he said. The Guyana cafe’s Rock Shop will offer music-inspired items, as well as collectible Hard Rock Cafe merchandise. Fans can acquire exclusive Guyana-specific merchandise and much-coveted signature pins at this retail location. Perez said the merchandise will help to put Guyana out to the world. “One of the most known recognised T’ shirts is a Hard Rock T’shirt and people wear it as a badge of honour so now you will see people walking around with Guyana tees. So Hard Rock comes to your country but your country gets to leave as well,” he said.

In this Aug. 3, 2017, file photo, packages ride on a conveyor system at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Amazon, which is racing to deliver packages faster, is turning to its employees with a proposition: Quit your job and we'll help you start a business delivering Amazon packages. The offer, announced Monday, comes as Amazon seeks to speed up its shipping time from two days to one for its Prime members. The company sees the new incentive as a way to get more packages delivered to shoppers' doorsteps faster. Amazon says it will cover up to $10,000 in startup costs for employees who are accepted into the program and leave their jobs. The company says it will also pay them three months' worth of their salary. The offer is open to most part-time and full-time Amazon employees, including warehouse workers who pack and ship orders. Whole Foods employees are not eligible to receive the new incentives. Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. declined to say how many employees it expects to take them up on the offer. The new employee incentive is part of a program Amazon started a year ago that lets anyone apply to launch an independent Amazon delivery business. It is part of the company's plan to control more of its deliveries on its own, rather than rely on UPS, the post office and other carriers. Startup costs start at $10,000 and contractors that participate are able to lease blue vans with the Amazon smile logo stamped on the side. Overall, more than 200 Amazon delivery businesses have been created since it launched the program last June, said John Felton, Amazon's vice president of global delivery services. One of them is run Milton Collier, a freight broker who started his business in Atlanta about eight months ago. Since then, it has grown to 120 employees with a fleet of 50 vans that can handle up to 200 delivery stops in a day. It has already been preparing for the one-day shipping switch by hiring more people. "We're ready," says Collier.


Harquail Theatre is the venue of the Child Month Talent Expo this Saturday (May 18). Organised by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the show’s exciting line-up of youngsters and young people from across the Cayman Islandsincludes more than a dozen homegrown acts. As well showcasing the artistic talents of singers and dancers, the event will also spotlight virtuoso instrumental performances and impassioned spoken word sets. “May’s Child Month theme is 'Be Strong! Be Brave! Be You!', said DCFS Director,Paulinda Mendoza-Williams. “This weekend’s free talent show will be a stage for nurturing future stars by supporting the performers doing what they do best -be that modern dance or playing the steel pan. I encourage teens, families and other members of the public to come along and support them for what promises to be a wonderful celebration of excellence and accomplishment in our children." Child Month Talent Expo starts at 6.30pm with the doors opening at 6pm.

With speech and language disorders ranking among the most common disabilities in children, parents and caregivers are encouraged to learn the signs and seek FREE evaluation at the Health Services Authority’s Speech Therapy Open Housethis month if they have concerns about their child’s ability to communicate. Complimentary developmental screenings for children and cognitive linguistic screenings for adults will be provided at the FREEevent today(May 17) at 8:30am – 11am at the Cayman Islands Hospital’s Speech Therapy Office (behind the General Practice Building). No appointments are needed. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) evaluate and treat speech and language disorders in both children and adults. HSA’s SLPs Faith Gealey and Raven Williams offer the timely event for families because May is recognised as Better Hearing and Speech Month. The annual observance provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and the life-altering treatments that are available. “Development of strong communication skills is extremely important—and parents anxiously await their child’s first words,” said Ms Gealey. “Yet common misconceptions remain. One is that children generally ‘grow out’ of speech or language difficulties. Unfortunately, this mistaken impression too often delays treatment. Of course, some children are indeed ‘late bloomers,’ yet treatment is frequently necessary, too. "Good communication skills are critical, helping with behavior, learning, reading, social skills, and friendships. It is much easier, more effective, and less costly to treat speech and language disorders early - and May is a great time to educate parents on this important point.” Adults with speech and language disorders, or their loved ones, are also welcome. “Many people may not appreciate their ability to communicate until it’s lost,” said Mrs Williams. “From having your basic needs met to nurturing relationships and earning a living, communication is at the core.” Speech and language problems in adults can result from various causes. They include brain injury, stroke, and diseases that affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. They can also stem from breathing problems, cancers in the head and/or neck region and voice damage. For persons interested in learning more about speech therapy, the SLPs will also host a Lunch and Learn on the topic, 'Speech Therapy Assessments Across the Lifespan'on Tuesday, May 28 at 11:30am - 1:30pm in the Cayman Islands Hibiscus Conference Room. All are invited to attend and Continuing Medical Education credits will be available. Spaces are limited so please RSVP to faith.gealey@hsa.ky to confirm your attendance by Friday,May 24.