"Thank you so much to everyone who came out to Seven Mile Beach to shine with us today!!! Let's show all of the Cayman Islands that we are a community that is #VisiblyStrong!" These were the wor...

Teach your kids what they need to have in the event of a hurricane with the Masters of Prep game. Image credit: JulNichols via iStock

We are in the Hurricane Season and already this year has proven to be more active than recent years with over 20 named storms. The season has been so active thatforecasters have begun using the Greek Alphabet to name storms for the rest of 2020. Hurricanes can be extremely destructive and deadly as we see every year. If you stay at home to ride out the storm, there are some things you need to have handy such as a radio to keep up with important announcements, and a first aid kit. Reinforcing windows and doors isalso important. Thanks to theDigicel Foundation's Masters of Prep game you can teach your kids to identify what they need to do. Masters of Prep is designed to educate children, particularly those with special needs, on how to protect themselves and build resilienceduring common Caribbeandisasters. Captain K, the mascot of the Preparing You programme, under which the game was designed, helps you to recognise potential risks/dangers, know what to do and plan ahead. In the HurricaneScenario, Captain Knavigates his home identifying windows to close around the houseand locating the radio and first aid kit.’ To play,download theMasters of Prep gamefree in the Google Play Store.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett hasannounced that Carnival in Jamaica organisers will forego its annual road march and related activities until April 11, 2021. In a news release late Friday evening, Bartlett expressed:“As the country enters the community transmission phase of the COVID-19 virus, we strongly believe it is in the best interest of our people, to forego hosting our annual carnival celebrations for this year. “We are mindful of the significant economic loss this will have on our country, as this event generates billionsannually, with many small and medium sized enterprises benefitting from the celebrations. However, the Government of Jamaica must continue to put strong measures in place to prevent unnecessary exposure of our people and visitors to the deadly disease,” said Bartlett. The road parade originally scheduled for Sunday, April 19 was first postponed to Sunday, October 25, due to the threat of the spread of the novel coronavirus. The decision to forego hosting the event in 2020 was made after consultation with event organisers and members of Government and is in keeping with current containment measures, the release stated. “Based on all of the professional healthcare advice, taking into account that carnival is not only a local but also an international tourism entertainment product, we have no choice but to reschedule the staging of our Carnival in Jamaica Road Parade from October 25th 2020 to April 11th 2021. This will allow us the time to do what we need to do to have a safe and enjoyable Carnival in 2021,” said Chairman of the Carnival in Jamaicastakeholders committee, Kamal Bankay. He further noted that all of the bands and fetes will honour all tickets and costumes purchased in 2020 for the 2021 staging. A revised Carnival in Jamaica calendar, including all the major fetes will follow in the coming days.

FILE - A man wearing a mask looks at this phone outside the Microsoft office in Beijing, China in a Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 file photo. Microsoft is buying the company behind popular video games The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout. The software giant said Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 that it is paying $7.5 billion for ZeniMax Media, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

Microsoft is buying the company behind popular video games The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout. The software giant said Monday that it is paying $7.5 billion forZeniMaxMedia, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks. Microsoft said it is buying Bethesda in part to beef up its Xbox Game Pass game subscription service, which it says has over 15 million subscribers. Bethesda games, such as Starfield, which is currently in development, will launch on Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or computers, Microsoft said. Microsoft has new consoles debutingon November 10, the Xbox Series X andstripped downSeries S version. It will be competing against Sony's new PlayStation 5 console. R.W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said the deal is part of a wider industry trend of consolidation. Microsoft already owns studios that make popular games including Minecraft and the Halo franchise. "We believe the deal checks a lot of boxes for Microsoft, such as strengthening the Xbox/Games division product portfolio as competition increases, boosting the profile of Xbox subscription services, and providing more content for the company's cloud gaming initiatives," he wrote in an investor note. Microsoft Corp., which is based in Redmond, Washington, expects the deal to close in the second half of fiscal 2021.

FILE - The Symphony of the Seas cruise ship is shown docked at PortMiami, in a Wednesday, May 20, 2020, file photo, in Miami.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Major cruise lines say they will test all passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to boarding as part of their plan for resuming sailing in the Americas. The Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group that represents 95 per cent of global ocean-going cruise capacity, said Monday that its members will also require passengers and crew to wear masks while onboard whenever physical distancing can't be maintained. No date has been set for the resumption of cruising in the Americas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a no-sail order for US waters through September 30. The association's safety plan will now go to the CDC, which will consider it as the agency decides whether to lift the no-sail order. The order has been extended twice since March. The cruise association has issued a voluntary suspension of cruises through October 31. In a conference call Monday, Arnold Donald, the president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, said once the CDC lifts its order, it will probably take cruise lines at least a month to prepare their ships and train crew before they can sail. The safety plan requires testing of passengers and crew, but doesn't specify the types of coronavirus tests that companies must use, CLIA Chairman Adam Goldstein said. It also doesn't make clear that test results must be known before the ship sails. The plan permits limited shore excursions and requires passengers to wear masks and stay apart from other people during those excursions. Passengers who don't comply won't be allowed to reboard. The plan also requires ships to increase the amount of fresh air in their ventilation systems and use advanced filtration methods where feasible. Cruise company executives said the limited resumption of cruising in Europe over the last few weeks has convinced them that cruising can be done safely. The safety agreement is an unusual one in the fiercely competitive industry, which has been seriously shaken by the coronavirus. Hundreds of people fell ill aboard crowded cruises earlier this year before the no-sail order went into effect. Since then, the industry has furloughed thousands of workers. "We all share the same goal, and we're going to get there through collaboration, not competition," said Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Cruise's chairman and CEO.

"Thank you so much to everyone who came out to Seven Mile Beach to shine with us today!!! Let's show all of the Cayman Islands that we are a community that is #VisiblyStrong!" These were the words of thanks from LGBTQIA+ non-profit, Colours Cayman for the show of solidarity by more than 100 Caymanians this past Sunday, who arrived at West Bay public beach dressed dressed in colours of the rainbow, to reject hate and hate speech, particularly of the type that has been recently circulating in Cayman. Families, kids, teachers, a variety of religions and races, the young and the old were all represented at the event. "Wewanted to show that most kids and teens in Cayman, whether LGBTQ or not, don't stand for hate," said sisters, Devon, 13, and Drew, 12, who came out to support the event. "Words cannot capture how inspired I was by today's event," said Billie 'Bee' Bryan, Founder of Colours Cayman, who organized the event entitled, 'Let the Sun Set on Hate.' "The sight of so many people lined up on the beach, side by side, standing loud and proud to face the sun together in solidarity with our LGBQTIA+ community is one that I will not soon forget. And it speaks volumes to the amount of support that we have here." Supporters of the event lined up on the beach, each dressed in a colour of the LGBTQ pride flag and took a photo on the shoreline to commemorate the day, just about an hour before the sun set in the most dramatic presentation. "I applaud those with the courage and strength to come out with us and be visible, as an ally or especially as someone from our marginalised community. I'm well aware that there are many who are still frightened to be seen and for good reason but I hope this peaceful and loving demonstration today assures them that they are accepted and supported here, despite the vitriol that has been so prevalent around our islands recently," said Bryan. There has been much confusion surrounding the difference between hate speech and free speech, in the Cayman Islands, resulting in minimal to nopolicing of online hate speech. Free speech means the right to seek, receive and share information and ideas with others. Hate speech, particularly online, is directed at those targeted as being ‘the other’, often dehumanising them. Hate speech perpetrators often see ‘the other’ as the enemy and a cause of problems in society. If something targets a group or person because of an aspect of their identity, it is Hate Speech.

Longtime instructor and a fixture in the Cayman dance community, Jackie Balls, affectionately known as Miss Jackie, is donating many of the costumes and much of the equipment from her dance school to the University College of the Cayman Islands’ dance programme. Balls is retiring and closing Miss Jackie’s Dance School after a run of 48 years. She plans to bequeath much of her inventory to MoniKa Lawrence, UCCI’s director for the performing arts. The two women have been friends since Lawrence began taking lessons from and doing choreography for Balls about six years ago. “She is phenomenal,” Lawrence said of Balls. “She has a wealth of knowledge that surpasses anyone that I know. I’ve found being around her to be extremely inspirational.” The donation, Lawrence said, will “complete our space.” Currently, the school’s dance studio, located on the second floor of Sir Vassel Johnson Hall, only has a few mirrors and no barres for the dance students. Balls is donating both mirrors and barres to UCCI. “All students will have space and be able to see themselves,” Lawrence said, a critical element in teaching and training dancers. She said she is grateful that Balls chose UCCI as the recipient of the school’s equipment as well as Balls’ choreography work. Balls estimated the donation at $10,000. “I’ve been keeping track of what they do and their love of dance,” Balls said of the programme’s dancers. “I thought they could really use this.” Lawrence said she was humbled by the gesture. “It really is an honour when somebody does that,” Lawrence said. “There are so many other places she could have given it to.” UCCI President and CEO Stacy McAfee said having the equipment will be a boon for UCCI’s dance programme. The donation, she said, is an expression of the ties the university has forged with the community and will allow the performing arts at UCCI to enrich the lived-experience for community members. “DrLawrence and her dancers have become a crucial part of Cayman’s art scene,” McAfee said. “They have performed at important events and venues here on the island as well as abroad, representing UCCI and what we have to offer. The performing arts enrich the student experience and provide rich experiential learning opportunities for students locally and internationally. “Her relationship with Miss Jackie and Miss Jackie’s school is an important part of that,” she added. “For us to be the recipients of Miss Jackie’s legacy is a special honour. Along with that honour comes the responsibility to put her gift to good use and to reach a new generation of dancers.” Lawrence said Balls has been involved with UCCI’s dance progamme for some time. She has provided scholarships for students throughout Cayman, including some who could not afford the fees to take classes at UCCI. She has also provided dance lessons on Saturdays for UCCI students, primarily in Ballset, but also in kick-line dancing. Those students are part of a long line of dancers that Balls as worked with over the years. She opened her school shortly after she and her husband, who works in the banking industry, came to Cayman in 1972. “Friends heard I used to dance,” she said. “They were pestering me to open a school.” Apart from short breaks when her son was born and when the family briefly moved to England, the school has been in operation ever since. For much of that time, she found space on the St. Ignatius School campus. “I was there for 22 years before I opened my studio in Pasadora Place,” she said. She taught all ages of dancers, from little kids to adults. That’s how she met Lawrence, who came to UCCI 10 years ago and began taking classes from Balls four years later. “I’ve grown to love her,” Balls said of Lawrence. “She comes from the same ‘old school’ background that I do.” She said she wants to see the UCCI programme continue. “I wanted, in some way, to keep the interest alive with the senior dancers,” she said. “UCCI students have a passion to want to learn. I’ve really enjoyed teaching them. I’m hoping to keep my hand in and give some master classes.” Lawrence said she would love to see Balls’ influence continue to have an impact. “The whole idea of the arts is passing it on,” she said. “It’s not something you keep to yourself. You want to see it illuminated in others.”