Smith-McCrossin... I am sorry if my comments were hurtful.

A woman seeking to lead a conservative party in Canada has apologised for comments she made comparing legalisation of ganja in her state with her view of the laziness of Jamaicans. Progressive Conservative Party leadership candidate Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin made the comments during a debate on the Government’s Cannabis Act. "I am sorry if my comments were hurtful. Had I known that this statement would have caused offense, I would never have made it. These comments do not reflect the views of either the interim leader of the PC Party of Nova Scotia or my caucus colleagues," she said in an apology posted to Facebook. In debateson Tuesday, she said that legalised cannabis would result in the productivity of Nova Scotia reflecting that of Jamaica's economy. "I havea best friend in Amherst who is from Jamaica...she said to me 'Elizabeth, smoking marijuana in Jamaica is completely accepted and there's a completely different work ethic and very low productivity in Jamaica'," she was quoted as saying in the debate. "I think we already have a productivity problem here in Nova Scotia . We do not need something else making it worse." Her comments received widespread criticism and were viewed by some as racist and insensitive. In herapology, she added that, as a registered nurse, she holds strong views about the public health impact of excessive cannabis use. She said her concerns were highlighted elsewhere by former Deputy Prime Minister, Anne McLellan, in her Task Force Report to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Medical Association and Doctors Nova Scotia. "My comments came about as a result of a conversation I had with a friend of mine who is a woman of colour originally from Jamaica. I made a mistake in my choice of words in the House of Assembly and take full responsibility for that,"Smith-McCrossin said. "I would have said the same about the impact of heavy cannabis use on any country, but because of this particular conversation, it happened to be Jamaica. I sincerely did not feel that my comments would be viewed in a negative light, but I was wrong," she continued. "Again, I apologize for my choice of words and any impression left that this was based on someone’s country, race or ethnicity. I am certainly open to meeting individually with anyone offended by these comments to better appreciate their perspective and ensure my words are better chosen in future." For the latest news, download our app athttp://bit.ly/GetALoopJMfor Android; and athttp://bit.ly/GetiLoopJMfor IoS.

(Image: AP: Cuba's Raul Castro (L) enters the National Assembly followed by Miguel Diaz-Canel (R) on 18 April 2018)

A 57-year-old bureaucrat replaced Raul Castro as the president of Cuba on Thursday, launching a new political era as a government led by a single family for six decades tries to ensure the long-term survival of one of the world's last communist states. The National Assembly announced that Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez had been approved as the sole candidate for president. Members of the National Assembly opened the crucial session a day after voting on Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez's nomination as the sole candidate for president. The result was to be officially announced Thursday morning but the result was clear because the assembly approves all executive branch proposals by margins of 95 percent or higher. The 86-year-old Castro will remain head of the Communist Party, designated by the constitution as "the superior guiding force of society and the state". As a result, Castro will remain the most powerful person in Cuba for the time being. His departure from the presidency is nonetheless a symbolically charged moment for a country that has been under the absolute rule of one family since the revolution - first by revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and, for the last decade, his younger brother. ‘Relating to the people’ Raul Castro is stepping down in an effort to guarantee that new leaders can maintain the government's grip on power in the face of economic stagnation, an aging population and increasing disenchantment among younger generations. "I like sticking with the ideas of President Fidel Castro because he did a lot for the people of Cuba, but we need rejuvenation, above all in the economy," said Melissa Mederos, a 21-year-old schoolteacher. "Diaz-Canel needs to work hard on the economy, because people need to live a little better." Most Cubans know their first vice president as an uncharismatic figure who until recently maintained a public profile so low it was virtually non-existent. That image changed slightly this year as state media placed an increasing spotlight on Diaz-Canel's public appearances, including remarks to the press last month that included his promise to make Cuba's government more responsive to its people. "We're building a relationship between the government and the people here," he said then after casting a ballot for members of the National Assembly. "The lives of those who will be elected have to be focused on relating to the people, listening to the people, investigating their problems and encouraging debate." Diaz-Canel gained prominence in central Villa Clara province as the top Communist Party official, a post equivalent to governor. People there describe him as a hard-working, modest-living technocrat dedicated to improving public services. He became higher education minister in 2009 before moving into the vice presidency.


Nine West Holdings Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection, the latest retailer to do so as it attempts to restructure its debt and refocus on its more successful products. The shoe chain said Friday the bankruptcy filing was made to ease the sale of its Nine West and Bandolino footwear and handbag business, and so it can focus more on its growing businesses, which include One Jeanswear Group, The Jewelry Group, the Kasper Group and Anne Klein. Nine West said it has a "stalking horse" agreement — an effort by a bankrupt company to determine the market for its assets — with Authentic Brands Group for the Nine West and Bandolino brands. Nine West joins the many retailers that have sought bankruptcy protection, closed stores or plan to go out of business entirely as more people shop online. Claire's and Bon-Ton filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, after several dozen others did so last year. That includes Toys R Us, which has now started liquidation sales. Owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners since 2014, Nine West was among about two dozen distressed retailers that Moody's Investors Service put on a watch list earlier this year of companies with poor credit ratings or liquidity, weak credit and what it calls challenged competitive positions. Many retailers face similar challenges, including big debt loads. Toys R Us, for instance, was weighed down by $5 billion in debt that hurt its attempts to compete as shoppers moved to Amazon. Nine West Holdings CEO Ralph Schipani called the bankruptcy filing the "right step to address our two divergent business profiles." "Once we complete the reorganization process, our company will have meaningfully reduced debt and interest costs and be well-positioned for the future," he said in a statement. Nine West has received $300 million in financing and has a restructuring agreement with parties that hold or control the vast majority of its secured and unsecured term debt. The company said the financing will give it the cash it needs to maintain its operations during its Chapter 11 process. Authentic Brands Group LLC, backed by private equity and investment groups, has well-known names such as Frye, Juicy Couture and Jones New York. The intellectual property corporation also manages licensing and merchandising for celebrity brands including Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Muhammad Ali.

Brazil nuts, cashews, almond kernels, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts are among the items to be affected.

Some U.S. goods on which the Chinese government raised tariffs Monday. 25 PERCENT TARIFFS Most goods targeted for 25 percent tariffs are varieties of pork, for which China is the No. 3 American export market. — PORK Fresh and chilled bone-in pork forelegs and hind legs, chilled whole and half hog heads, pork liver, chopped pork, other fresh and chilled pork — ALUMINUM Scrap aluminum 15 PERCENT TARIFFS Chinese regulators also imposed 15 percent duties on apples, almonds and dozens of types of fruit — FRUIT Apples, fresh or dried; coconut, fresh and dried; bananas, fresh or dried; pineapple; pomegranates; mangos; grapefruit; grapes; watermelon; cherries; strawberries; dried apricots — NUTS Brazil nuts, cashews, almond kernels, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pine nuts — WINE Sparkling wine — HERBS Ginseng — PIPES Stainless steel and alloy pipe used for petroleum or natural gas, multiple diameters


Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac celebrated a major milestone this month after their medical laboratory achieved the international accreditation from the prestigious Joint Commission International (JCI). The accreditation and certification from JCI is recognized as the Gold Seal of Approval for international quality standards for patient care and service delivery. “Faith Hospital is elated to receive such a recognition which shows our excellence in service. In spite of our hospital size, we are considered to be among the world’s best laboratories since we have met international standards and requirements,” said Director of the Sister Islands Health Services, Dr. Srirangan Velusamy. “JCI accreditation signifies that our laboratory has good governance, competent staff, excellent equipment and integration of systems. It also means that our laboratory’s results are accurate and reliable, its operations and services are patient focused with a high emphasis on patients’ safety. The data and information it generates guide us to make confident clinical decisions,” he added. Faith Hospital Laboratory is now the second medical laboratory in the Cayman Islands to be accredited, joining the HSA Pathology Laboratory in Grand Cayman, which was accredited in January of 2015 and reaccredited this year January. To commemorate its significant achievement, the Faith Hospital hosted a celebratory event on April 12,2018. The Minister of Health, Environment, Culture and Housing Dwayne Seymour, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands Juliana O Connor Conolly, Councilor Eugene Ebanks, the Chief Officer of Health Jennifer Ahearn, HSA Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood, HSA Board Chairman Jonathan Tibbetts, board members, staff members and members of the public all attended. Speaking at the event Minister Seymour said, “I am truly delighted that we have met the strict standards required for this accreditation, both at the pathology lab in Grand Cayman and now here at the lab in Cayman Brac. I congratulate Ms. Yearwood and her team for pursuing the vision of JCI accreditation and for all the hard work it has taken to get it in place. Of course, we are now striving to achieve accreditation throughout all of our facilities and I commend the HSA for pursuing this goal.” CEO Lizzette Yearwood praised the efforts of the Faith Hospital staff. “The JCI Laboratory accreditation is an outstanding achievement for the Faith Hospital and I am very proud of their team. The HSA looks forward to, and promises to work ardently towards the many milestones that await us in our commitment to meeting our country’s healthcare needs,” Yearwood said. JCI is one of the most trusted name in accreditation. Their standards represent a worldwide consensus on quality patient care that reflects state-of-the-art health care practices and health care delivery trends. JCI also has a three-year accreditation cycle to ensure that its list of awardees are regularly updated, and that their standards are strictly maintained.

Polished nail salon recently raised CI$600 in support of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre through a campaign to help support women in honour of international women’s month. Salon owner, Cindy Oostvogels said during the month of March they offered 20% off pedicures for every $10 donated to the Crisis Centre. “When one of our clients asked if we would be interested in supporting the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre for the month of March, we knew immediately how we could get involved,” Oostvogels said. “We are grateful to our generous clients for continuing to support the charities we select. Our hope is that this donation will assist those in need and let them know they’re not alone and that the community supports them.” Ania Milanowska, Executive Director of the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre said she is grateful for the donation from Polished and their clients. “It is because of donations such as this that allows the Crisis Centre to provide continued support for women, men and children that are victims of domestic abuse,” Milanowska said. “We have a number of initiatives in which these funds will help support, including our TAYA lounge after-school programme and our goal to open a new purpose built shelter,” Milanowska added


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