Category Archives: Caribbean News

Daily regional news summary from Cuba!: The source for the latest news throughout Cuba and Caribbean.

Forbes Travel Guide Honors Hospitality’s Finest in 2020 Star Rating Awards

Caribbean News, Latin America News:

ATLANTA, Feb. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Forbes Travel Guide (“FTG”), the global expert on genuine Five-Star service, today presented a galaxy of “Stars” to the world’s most luxurious properties. A record 107 new Five-Star awards have been announced, owing to the company’s significant expansion across 16 countries.

The 2020 awards celebrate 1,898 Star-Rated properties in 73 countries; the full list can be found here. The new awards add 70 Five-Star, 120 Four-Star and 81 Recommended hotels to the annual winners list. Among restaurants, there are 13 new Five-Star, eight new Four-Star and two new Recommended winners. The recipients also include 24 new Five-Star and 22 new Four-Star spas. 

This year sees the most extensive global expansion in Forbes Travel Guide’s 62 -year history. The company spotlights new international markets, including Antigua, the Bahamas, Cambodia, Egypt, Fiji, French Polynesia, India, Jordan, the Maldives, Mauritius, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, the Seychelles and South Africa, many of which achieved the coveted Five-Star honor. 

A total of 432 Five-Star distinctions were awarded to hotels, restaurants and spas, and the top ranking was attained for the first time in Antigua; Bora Bora; Cambodia; Cape Town; Doha; Fiji; Ireland; Johannesburg; the Maldives; Mauritius; Monte Carlo; Moscow; Prague; St. Petersburg, Russia; the Seychelles; and Tahiti.

Four Seasons maintained the prestigious achievement as the brand with the most Five-Star hotels adding 11 new Five-Star hotel awards to its collection. Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, Four Seasons Hotel Moscow and Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, Johannesburg are among some of the additions in newly rated destinations.

Wynn Resorts took an all-star position, dominating the Las Vegas market by earning seven Five-Star awards for Wynn Resorts Las Vegas (Wynn Las Vegas, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, Wynn Tower Suites, Encore Tower Suites, The Spa at Wynn Las Vegas, The Spa at Encore Las Vegas and Wing Lei) and an additional eight for Wynn Resorts Macau (Wynn Macau, Encore Macau, Golden Flower at Encore Macau, Mizumi at Wynn Macau, Wing Lei at Wynn Macau, Il Teatro at Wynn Macau, The Spa at Encore Macau and The Spa at Wynn Macau). Wynn Palace Macau also achieved seven Five-Star awards.

London cemented its position as the global Five-Star capital city with 19 top hotels, including six new additions: Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel; Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square; Rosewood London and The Berkeley. The Egerton House Hotel and The Milestone Hotel & Residences join Hotel 41 to give Red Carnation hotels a triple Five-Star hotel win for the city.

“It’s a privilege for Forbes Travel Guide to honor such magnificent hotels, restaurants and spas from all corners of the globe. Each deserving recipient excels at enriching people’s lives through the power of exceptional service,” said Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide. “Our role at Forbes Travel Guide is to establish our annual star ratings with absolute independence and integrity and champion those at the very top of their game.”

More than 600 Star-Rated winners and invited VIP guests will gather to celebrate at Verified, The Forbes Travel Guide Luxury Summit at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on February 18 and 19. As the recipients of multiple Five-Star awards, the MGM International property will be packed with inspirational speakers and discovery sessions. The event will culminate in a gala dinner hosted by Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei, followed by an exclusive afterglow hosted by Wynn Las Vegas XS nightclub where headline DJ Dillon Francis and other exciting surprises await the 2020 award winners.

For highlights, trends and fun facts from our 2020 Star Awards, click here.

To view the full Star Ratings for 2020, visit ForbesTravelGuide.com.
For a detailed explanation of how Forbes Travel Guide compiles its Star Ratings, click here.

Connect with Forbes Travel Guide:
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ForbesTravelGuide
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ForbesInspector
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ForbesTravelGuide

About Forbes Travel Guide:

Forbes Travel Guide is the only global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas. Our anonymous professional inspectors evaluate based on up to 900 objective standards, with an emphasis on exceptional service, to help discerning travelers select the world’s best luxury experiences. The only way to get a Five-Star, Four-Star or Recommended rating is by earning it through our independent inspection process. For more information about Forbes Travel Guide, please visit forbestravelguide.com.

NewsAmericasNow.com

ContourGlobal Inaugurates Innovative Hybrid Power System in Bonaire

Caribbean News, Latin America News:

BONAIRE, Dutch Antilles and LONDON, Feb. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — For seven years ContourGlobal and its client, “WEB” (Water-en Energiebedrijf Bonaire, the island’s electricity and water utility), have collaborated to achieve the holy grail of electricity provision on island nations: more renewable energy, lower costs and around-the-clock reliability.  This common challenge throughout the Caribbean region is now being solved on Bonaire, where ContourGlobal recently inaugurated the extension of its innovative Hybrid Power System joined by representatives of WEB, the island government and other dignitaries and guests.

The Dutch island of Bonaire enjoys strong seasonal winds, peaking from December to June.  Harnessing this extraordinary wind resource enables ContourGlobal to deliver electricity that is lower in cost and carbon emissions than liquid fuel-based alternatives. Because of the intermittency of wind and solar resources, reliable uninterrupted electricity supply requires an innovative solution that can keep the lights on even when wind speeds drop or clouds block the sun.  Utilizing a new state-of-the-art Li-Ion battery with a 6MW/6MWh capacity and power management system supplied by Wärtsilä Greensmith, ContourGlobal is able to maximize wind generation, resulting in reduced costs to WEB by 36% over the last 7 years, decreased CO2 emissions and improved engine efficiency. This has been achieved while maintaining unprecedented levels of reliability including zero blackouts for five straight years.

The hybrid generation system owned and operated by ContourGlobal Bonaire consists of a new battery and digital power management system, the wind farm and newly expanded dual-fuel engines which together supply the entire island’s electricity demand. The new battery storage system supports Bonaire’s grid by injecting active and reactive current to balance decreases in wind speed with a rapid response time of 50-100 milliseconds.  The newly enhanced electricity production system also eliminates the need for the engines to operate at costly low levels of output to support the reliability needs of the electricity grid. Instead, the battery itself can maintain a reliable electricity supply on a second-by-second basis so that during high wind periods the engines can be shut down or used only as a last resort.

Bonaire, the world’s first Blue Destination, is committed to sustainable tourism and has undertaken an ambitious plan to promote 100% sustainable electricity production, including the maximum possible contribution from renewable electricity.  ContourGlobal’s contribution to this plan through its expansion of this unique project was recently recognized by the “Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum” (CREF), which awarded ContourGlobal Bonaire “BEST MICROGRID PROJECT” for 2019.

Joseph C. Brandt, President and CEO of ContourGlobal said, “Our new innovative battery-led hybrid system will move Blue Bonaire one step closer to its ambition of a fully sustainable but still reliable grid.  The success of the project is a direct result of the productive partnership between the teams of ContourGlobal, Wärtsilä Greensmith and ILTEKNO who delivered the project without any Lost Time Incidents in record time and on budget. We look forward to continuing to partner with our client WEB to increase renewable energy production by installing new solar generation and more productive wind turbines.”

For additional information about this innovative power system please see the video embedded here or at https://www.contourglobal.com/asset/bonaire

About ContourGlobal

ContourGlobal is listed on the premium segment of the London Stock Exchange (TKR: GLO) and is an international owner and operator of contracted wholesale power generation businesses with approximately 4.8 GW in operation in 18 countries. ContourGlobal operates a portfolio of 107 renewable and thermal power plants across Europe, Latin America, and Africa utilizing a wide range of technologies.

Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZkLA_5jrhs

NewsAmericasNow.com

Engage Art Contest To Award $100,000 In Cash Prizes

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Engage Art Contest invites artists to submit their original art creations based on and inspired by the Spiritual Battle topic as found in Ephesians 6:10-20.

The Engage Art Contest is a juried competition for original visual art, music video, film and performing arts. Total cash prizes of $100,000 will be awarded in the 2019-2020 Engage Art Contest in North America, including Haiti, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Canada, Mexico, the United States and the Caribbean Islands. There are also significant exposure opportunities for all entrants who follow the contest guidelines.

Categories include:

  • Visual Art including paintings, photography, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and woodworking
  • Film including documentary, short film, drama and more
  • Music Video including all genres of music
  • Performing Arts including dance, spoken word (poetry, monologue, etc.), instrumental music and plays or musicals

Engage Art encourages artists to thoroughly explore the Scripture references and other resources, to carefully consider what they want to express, and to drink deeply at the well of inspiration. Through the Engage Art app available in the Google Play or Mac App store, entrants will have access to ongoing spiritual nourishment and thought-provoking content to nurture the soul and the imagination.

Contestants can learn more about Engage Art or submit entries until May 31, 2020 at https://engageart.org/contest/#art-contest-summary. Complimentary competition posters are available for churches and organizations to post by filling out our contact form at https://engageart.org/contact/ or by emailing info@engageart.org

Engage Art | PO Box 78951 | Charlotte, NC 28271 | United States of America
Phone: +1 (980) 999-1447 | Email: info@engageart.org

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Integration Technologies Partners with RIB Software to Expand Its Global Footprint on Cloud, Digital Transformation and Cybersecurity

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Jan. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Integration Technologies (Intech –  https://www.intechsp.com), a leading Managed Solution and Service provider for Hybrid Data Center, Cybersecurity, and Microsoft Cloud Platforms in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, today announced a majority growth investment from RIB Software and the buyout of Advent-Morro Equity Partners’ long time ownership in Intech.  The investment will enable Intech to globally expand its footprint and leadership.

RIB Software SE (https://www.rib-software.com/en/group/home/), headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany and Hong Kong, China, listed on the prime standard Frankfurt Stock Exchange since 2011, and with more than 1,500 talented staff members and 30 locations worldwide, is the world’s leading provider of Cloud enterprise technology for the building, construction and real estate industries.  In April 2018, RIB and Microsoft announced MTWO – the world’s first vertical cloud platform for the construction and real estate industries, which is expected to grow to USD 14 trillion by 2025 according to a McKinsey Global Institute report. This partnership aims to help companies in the industry achieve productivity gains through digital transformation. To accelerate the international adoption of MTWO technology, RIB is building a global MSP network to leverage Microsoft’s partner communities to attract up to 2 million users in the mid-term.

Intech will work closely with the RIB group and add expertise and scale to the Americas RIB cloud capability. This investment augments the cloud capability for hundreds of American clients in the building vertical with Intech’s strong market position in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, cloud experience, and English / Spanish language capability.

For Intech, this investment reinforces its strategy to be a global leader for Cloud Solution and Services, which in combination with RIB group of companies will benefit customers around the world. RIB will leverage Intech’s footprint throughout the Americas and favorable time zone support capabilities to expand its present Americas cloud team to continue fulfilling the increasing demand for cloud services and accelerate MTWO adoption.

The transaction was facilitated by IT ExchangeNet, a leading Microsoft channel mergers and acquisitions firm.

“The RIB investment in Intech is another exciting development in our drive to build the largest vertical cloud MTWO over the Microsoft MSP network,” said Tom Wolf, Chairman and CEO of RIB. “I was impressed by Henry Gordillo’s growth path, cloud experience and entrepreneurial spirit. RIB will continue to implement its Cloud and GTM strategy during 2020-2021 and integrate MSP partners around the world. We believe that MTWO, the world’s first vertical cloud platform for the construction and real estate industries, is the right option for our target customers.”

“RIB’s investment in Intech is an exciting next step in our journey towards advanced Managed Cloud Solutions and Services,” said Henry Gordillo, Intech’s Founder and CEO. “Our staff has long-standing capabilities on IT solutions and services and have built leading expertise on Microsoft’s Cloud technologies within our region, which places us in unique opportunity to leverage the significant cloud adoption acceleration we are seeing in the Americas. Our team will work closely with RIB Cloud’s offices in Amsterdam, Singapore, and San Diego to leverage the growing Cloud needs in the Americas.  Joining forces with RIB group, as the leader in this industry, just makes sense for our clients, staff and shareholders. We are excited to leverage this relationship in the cloud market and the construction industry through the distribution and support of MTWO technology on the Microsoft Cloud.

“We are very proud of having been part of the Intech family and to have provided the required growth capital to position Intech as a premier IT provider in Puerto Rico” said Cyril Meduña, Managing Partner of Advent-Morro.  “It’s the classical example of how we back talented local entrepreneurs like Henry to build extraordinary companies.  This investment by a world-renowned company like RIB confirms this and is the natural transition to continue Intech’s growth and global expansion.

About Intech
Founded more than 25 years ago, Intech has a long-standing capability to modernize the digital footprint of organizations.  Our experts design, transform, and manage secure enterprise-grade solutions and services for networks and unified communications as well as for infrastructure and business-critical applications on Microsoft cloud platforms. The portfolio focuses on Azure, Office 365 and Cybersecurity services and solutions.

For more information about Intech, visit: https://www.intechsp.com

About RIB Software
RIB Software is an innovator in building and construction industry. The company creates, develops and offers cutting-edge digital technologies for construction enterprises and projects across various industries worldwide. iTWO 4.0, RIB’s flagship cloud-based platform, provides the world’s first enterprise cloud technology based on 5D BIM with AI integration for construction companies, industrial companies, developers and project owners, etc. With over 50 years of experience in construction industry, RIB Software focuses on IT and engineering and is the pioneer in construction innovation, bringing in new thinking, working methods and technologies to enhance construction productivity. RIB is targeting to transform the construction industry into the most advanced and digitalized industry in the 21st century

For more information, visit: https://www.rib-software.com/en/group/home/

About Advent-Morro
Advent-Morro Equity Partners is Puerto Rico’s leading private equity investment firm and has been managing private equity and venture capital investment funds in Puerto Rico since 1989.  Advent-Morro has invested in over 60 portfolio companies, primarily backing local entrepreneurs to build companies that are known leaders in the respective industries.  Advent-Morro’s portfolio companies employ over 3,000 people in industries such as healthcare, telecommunication, consumer good, finance, entertainment, education, distribution and technology.

For more information, visit: www.adventmorro.com

About IT ExchangeNet
Founded in 1998 by technology CEOs and M&A professionals, IT ExchangeNet is an organized and efficient marketplace for owners of mid-market IT businesses seeking buyers or strategic partners. IT ExchangeNet follows a disciplined and highly targeted process, bringing buyers and sellers together to close deals with transaction values up to $40 million.

To learn more: www.itexchangenet.com

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Parkland announces acquisition of Kellerstrass Oil

News Americas, CALGARY, Alberta, Jan. 16, 2020: Parkland Fuel Corporation (“Parkland”, “We”, “Our” or “Us”) (TSX:PKI) announced today that through its wholly owned U.S. subsidiaries (collectively, “Parkland USA”), it has entered into an agreement to acquire the entities and assets comprising Kellerstrass Oil Company (collectively, “Kellerstrass”). 

Based in Salt Lake City, Kellerstrass is a regional retail dealer and commercial fuel business with branches in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. In addition to highly efficient trucking, routing and distribution practices, Kellerstrass brings a strategic 17-car rail spur and storage assets, commercial card locks and an 84-location dealer business. Kellerstrass will complement and strengthen Parkland’s existing Rockies Regional Operating Center.

“We continue to deliver on our growth strategy and expand our U.S. footprint,” said Doug Haugh, President of Parkland USA. “We expect this acquisition will support the growth of our North America diesel platform, create supply efficiencies and deliver logistical benefits. We are delighted to enter the Idaho market and expand our presence in Wyoming and look forward to welcoming the Kellerstrass team to Parkland.”

This acquisition is at valuation metrics consistent with Parkland’s prior U.S. transactions and will be funded out of existing credit facility capacity. Pro forma the acquisition and reflecting our previously disclosed third quarter results and subsequent acquisition of the assets of Mort Distributing, Inc. and its affiliates, Parkland expects annual run-rate adjusted EBITDA of approximately C$70 million for its USA segment. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. 

About Parkland

Parkland is an independent supplier and marketer of fuel and petroleum products and a leading convenience store operator. Parkland services customers across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean region and the Americas through three channels: Retail, Commercial and Wholesale. Parkland optimizes its fuel supply across these three channels by operating and leveraging a growing portfolio of supply relationships and storage infrastructure. Parkland provides trusted and locally relevant fuel brands and convenience store offerings in the communities it serves. 

Parkland creates value for shareholders by focusing on its proven strategy of growing organically, realizing a supply advantage and acquiring prudently and integrating successfully. At the core of our strategy are our people, as well as our values of safety, integrity, community and respect, which are embraced across our organization.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this news release constitute forward-looking information and statements (collectively, “forward-looking statements”). When used in this news release the words “expect”, “will”, “could”, “would”, “believe”, “continue”, “pursue” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements with respect to, among other things, the successful completion of the acquisition of Kellerstrass and the timing thereof; expected benefits of the acquisition, including potential synergies, organic growth and acquisition opportunities; and expected run-rate adjusted EBITDA of Parkland USA following the acquisition. 

These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements. No assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements included in this news release should not be unduly relied upon. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. Parkland does not undertake any obligations to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements except as required by securities law. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of numerous risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, failure to complete the acquisition of Kellerstrass; failure to satisfy the conditions to closing of the acquisition; failure to achieve the anticipated benefits of the acquisition; general economic, market and business conditions; industry capacity; competitive action by other companies; refining and marketing margins; the ability of suppliers to meet commitments; actions by governmental authorities and other regulators including but not limited to increases in taxes or restricted access to markets; changes and developments in environmental and other regulations; and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of Parkland. See also the risks and uncertainties described in “Forward-Looking Information” and “Risk Factors” included in Parkland’s Annual Information Form dated March 27, 2019 and in “Forward-Looking Information” and “Risk Factors” in the Q3 2019 MD&A and annual MD&A dated February 28, 2019, each as filed on SEDAR and available on the Parkland website at www.parkland.ca 

Annual run-rate adjusted EBITDA is an internally-prepared estimate of annualized adjusted EBITDA which assumes full year contributions from the acquisitions to date. Annual run-rate adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other issuers. See Parkland’s Q3 2019 MD&A and annual MD&A for further information on how Parkland calculates adjusted EBITDA and a reconciliation to the nearest IFRS measure.

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Medicinal Genomics Partners with Analogic Solutions for Distribution of its Cannabis Genomic Breeding, Optimization, and Testing Platform to the Caribbean

Leading local firm driving adoption of biotechnology for yield, safety, and consistency throughout the region

BEVERLY, Mass., Jan. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Medicinal Genomics Corp. (MGC), a pioneer in genomics and blockchain technology to improve the yield, safety, and transparency of cannabis, today announced its partnership with Analogic Solutions as its distributor of record for the Caribbean region. Analogic is headquartered in Trinidad and is at the forefront of supplying the latest cannabis breeding and testing technology to the up-and-coming industry throughout the islands.

Following Jamaica’s lead, many other Caribbean nations, including Trinidad, are also implementing decriminalization reforms and establishing medical and adult use cannabis programs. But just as in many other global nascent markets, including the U.S., regulations lag advances made by science and technology.

“Education is critical to the acceleration of our learning curve,” said Lorca Gatcliffe-Farah, Analogic Solutions’ CEO. “We chose MGC because their technology is the most advanced and also because of the human energy that they bring to their relationships. This is a valuable element to us. MGC goes beyond technological rigidity and the predictions of future growth, instead, they are always conscientious of the impact that our collective efforts are having on people’s lives. Our in-house expertise with Genomics coupled with our intent to develop the Caribbean region created the right environment for this partnership to flourish.”

“Unlike many local firms, Analogic has a global perspective on the industry, and as such, are advocates for more education and the latest methods for economically producing clean and consistent products—not simply because regulations mandate it, but because that’s one of the prerequisites for a thriving medical market,” said Brendan McKernan, CEO of Medicinal Genomics. “They also recognize that a lack of regulation supports a thriving illegal market, and how products that are certified to be safe and consistent are the ultimate differentiator, particularly when people’s lives are at risk. Everything about Analogic Solutions makes them the right partner for us.”

Given the ideal growing conditions and abundance of heritage cultivars in the Caribbean, all predictors point to robust growth for the region, which Analogic Solutions is fully intending to capitalize on. “Given the scale of some of our customers’ operations, we quickly realized that we had to offer a full testing and breeding solution,” Gatcliffe-Farah said. “Our customers are importing experts from around the world, and we see the value in improving our offerings and staff to locally achieve the same results.”   

About Analogic Solutions
Analogic Solutions is a Trinidad and Tobago based Company who has been the sole distributer within the Caribbean region for Agilent Technologies’ Genomics, Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis Products Group (formerly Hewlett Packard) since 1998. The Company grew from having two employees at the start to now having three departments consisting of fifteen employees and four support service providers, all involved in the continuous and systematic supply and service of Precision Life Sciences Solutions to our customers within the Caribbean region.  Analogic has also partnered with a host of specialized and reputable Chemical Analysis Solutions Providers in order to meet the goal of giving our customers access to the very best tools, supplies and technological support for their business operations. Recently the Company established a Branch Office in Jamaica which is a part of the continuous development plans that is being pursued for the year 2020 and beyond. 

About Medicinal Genomics Corporation 
Medicinal Genomics Corporation is a pioneer in advancing the genomics of cannabis to build a stronger scientific foundation for cannabis-based products. The company’s unmatched expertise in genetic science helps cultivators, dispensaries and testing laboratories characterize and understand the quality and consistency of cannabis to ensure patients and consumers have access to consistently safe, high quality cannabis. To support their mission, Medicinal Genomics also produces CannMed, an annual gathering of cannabis leaders, dedicated to the scientific advancement of the cannabis industry, and Kannapedia, the world’s most complete public cannabis cultivar database. For more information, please visit www.medicinalgenomics.com.

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The Caribbean’s First Non-Profit Investigative News Network Launches

-CIJN releases four hard-hitting investigations-

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Caribbean Investigative Journalism Network (CIJN) just launched with the unveiling of four deep dive exposés produced by over a dozen Caribbean journalists. CIJN is a project of the Media Institute of the Caribbean (MIC) which is headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica.

The four long-form multimedia investigative stories were led by former Los Angeles Times publisher and editor, Davan Maharaj; former CNN anchor and correspondent, Jim Clancy; senior Caribbean journalist, Wesley Gibbings; and Caribbean-based media executive, Kiran Maharaj.

Maharaj, President of MIC and Co-founder of CIJN, said the CIJN initiative was meant to “create space for our Caribbean region on the global map of quality investigative reporting…. in small island nations we are straddled with the constraints of lack of resources, and the constant fear that our identities will be known and our lives at risk.”

The ISIS story reveals a trail of activities related to the recruitment of Islamist militants by a network of organizations in the twin-island state.

Human Trafficking in Plain Sight explores the sordid realities of human trafficking arising out of the turmoil in Venezuela. The existence of criminal networks working in tandem with corrupt police, immigration authorities and businesses is investigated in harrowing detail.

The team’s investigation of heavy Chinese investments in the Caribbean traces the growing influence of the Asian economic giant on regional development. Using supporting data, the story examines the impact of opaque investments in Caribbean mega-projects on a legacy of debt and geo-political influence in the Americas.

CIJN reviews the ill-fated PetroCaribe energy deals with the Caribbean; unravelling details on how an oil alliance founded by Chavez to confront U.S. influence in the Caribbean collapsed into broken deals, dashed hopes and rampant corruption.

Speaking at the launch, Jamaica correspondent, Steffon Campbell, said he saw the regional network of investigative journalists as being capable of seeing “the bigger picture; a regional picture; a transnational picture.”

MIC is a member of the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN), Global Forum for Media Development (GMFD), Institute for Non-Profit News (INN) and the International Press Institute (IPI). Its Advisory Board comprises leading media leaders, journalists and media development players from North America, Europe and the Caribbean.

CIJN stories can be accessed at cijn.org. All content can be freely republished with attribution and without amendment. For more information email: cijninfo@gmail.com.

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Forced Religious Conversion Becomes an International Human Rights Problem

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 20, 2019: On 19 November, the Italian Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR) and the Belgien Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) hosted a seminar on human rights entitled “Intolerance and Discrimination Against New Religious Movements: An International Problem” in Seoul, South Korea.

The seminar was devoted to the protection of the rights of religious minorities with a special focus on forced conversion cases in Korea. Forced conversion, also known as “deprogramming”, is a violation of human rights. Proponents of forced conversion kidnap and detain members of religious groups labeled as “cults” in an effort to compel them to abandon their faith.

More than 80 participants including legal experts, journalists, and civil society representatives reviewed the current situation of forced conversion and discussed solutions to defend the freedom of faith and human rights that have become the norm of the international community.

Massimo Introvigne, Managing Director of CESNUR as well as an Italian sociologist, stressed how, “Korean deprogrammers are specialized pastors from mainstream churches, most of them Presbyterian. The protests that commemorate the victims from forced conversion were mentioned in the 2019 U.S. State Department Report on Religious Freedom. The report cited examples of how forced conversions violated religious freedom in 2018. However, there were new cases of deprogramming even after their death,” he criticized.

Regarding the multi-dimensional strategy to solve such phenomenon, Willy Fautré, Founder and

Director of HRWF stated several suggestions; pointing at the responsibility of the leadership of the Presbyterian Church which tolerates, endorses, and maybe encourages such a practice; developing advocacy at the United Nations and in organizations defending freedom of religion or belief; prosecuting those who encourage people to perpetrate an act of abduction and confinement.

In an open letter, signed by 15 international NGOs including CAP-LC and HRWF, to the South Korean President Moon Jae In on July 24 th , it said, “South Korea may well be the last democratic country in the world where deprogramming is still tolerated” and asked the President to “investigate in-depth accusations of forcible deprogramming, put a stop to this obnoxious practice, and hold those responsible fully accountable.”

As an elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, South Korea vowed “to participate in international efforts to respond to human rights crises around the world.” Seminar participants urged the Korean government to respond to the issue of forced conversion which is still threatening the human rights of its people.

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Canada Life Reinsurance enters into €12bn longevity risk reinsurance agreement with Aegon

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Dec. 19, 2019 /CNW/ -Canada Life Reinsurance is pleased to announce that it has recently entered into a long-term longevity reinsurance agreement with Aegon covering €12 billion of in-force liabilities. Close to 200,000 of in-payment and deferred pensioners will be reinsured by Canada Life Reinsurance under this agreement.

Jeff Poulin, Global Head of Canada Life Reinsurance, commented, “This transaction is the result of a great effort by both our team and Aegon’s team and highlights Canada Life Reinsurance’s strength as a partner for reinsurance longevity transactions globally”.  Derek Popkes, Chief Operating Officer at Canada Life Reinsurance, added “We are delighted to grow and diversify our global longevity portfolio by working with Aegon to deliver a transformational longevity transaction tailored to their specific requirements.  We will continue to innovate and work in partnership with our valued clients to deliver the best risk transfer solutions matching their objectives.”

Canada Life Reinsurance offers a range of innovative risk and capital management solutions covering mortality, longevity, health and lapse risks for insurers, reinsurers and pension funds across the U.S. and Europe, including the Netherlands, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Belgium and Ireland.

About Aegon
Aegon’s roots go back 175 years – to the first half of the nineteenth century. Since then, Aegon has grown into an international company, with businesses in more than 20 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Today, Aegon is one of the world’s leading financial services organizations, providing life insurance, pensions and asset management. Aegon’s purpose is to help people achieve a lifetime of financial security. More information on www.aegon.com.

About Canada Life Reinsurance
Canada Life Reinsurance is a division of The Canada Life Assurance Company and certain of its subsidiaries and affiliates. The Canada Life Assurance Company is a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.

About Great-West Lifeco
Great-West Lifeco Inc. (TSX:GWO) is an international financial services holding company with interests in life insurance, health insurance, retirement and investment services, asset management and reinsurance businesses. Great-West Lifeco has operations in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia through Canada Life, Empower Retirement, Putnam Investments, and Irish Life. At the end of 2018, our companies had approximately 24,200 employees, 240,000 advisor relationships, and thousands of distribution partners – all serving our more than 31 million customer relationships across these regions.
Great-West Lifeco and its companies have €1.1 trillion (approximately C$1.6 trillion) * in consolidated assets under administration and are members of the Power Financial Corporation group of companies.

*as at September 30, 2019

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Moore Bahamas Foundation Announces $300,000 in Grants for Hurricane Dorian Relief

New grants are part of conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon’s million-dollar commitment to humanitarian relief and environmental and economic recovery in The Bahamas 

NASSAU, Bahamas, Dec. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — The Moore Bahamas Foundation (“Moore Bahamas”) today announced $300,000 in new grants for Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery, part of $1 million in support pledged by conservation philanthropist Louis Bacon.

The new grants follow Moore Bahamas’ funding for emergency aid immediately after the hurricane and a post-hurricane needs assessment. The grants will help address continuing emergency needs and accelerate recovery of The Bahamas’ spectacular ecosystems and its economy.

“In the wake of Dorian’s destruction, our goal is to support families as they reconstruct the best possible future for themselves and their communities,” said Mr. Bacon, chairman of The Moore Charitable Foundation and Moore Bahamas, its local affiliate. “By supporting environmental restoration and humanitarian relief alike, Moore Bahamas hopes to help the people of Grand Bahama and Abaco get their lives and their economy back on track.”  

Moore Bahamas is supporting organizations that are deploying recovery resources over the next year, including a partnership with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) to conduct ecosystem damage assessments for the maritime and mangrove habitats of Grand Bahama and Abaco.

“The post-storm assessments funded by the Moore Bahamas Foundation will guide how and where to make the most impactful habitat restoration investments,” said Shelley Cant-Woodside, BNT’s Director of Science. “In addition to fueling The Bahamas’ tourism economy, healthy ecosystems play a crucial role in buffering our communities against the effects of future storms.”

A list of grantees is below. A complete list of the 2019 grants made by Moore Bahamas is available here.

Bahamas National Trust (BNT)

Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF)

Friends of the Environment in Abaco (Friends)

GiveDirectly

Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF)

International Medical Corps (IMC)

Paradise Fund

Ranfurly Home for Children

Waterkeepers Bahamas

Waves For Water (W4W)

About The Moore Bahamas Foundation
The Moore Bahamas Foundation, the Bahamas affiliate of The Moore Charitable Foundation, founded by Louis Bacon in 1992, supports organizations committed to marine conservation, working with partners including Waterkeepers Bahamas; The Cape Eleuthera Institute; The Nature Conservancy Caribbean Program – Bahamas; The Bahamas National Trust, and Oceans 5.  Learn more about the Moore Charitable Foundation at www.moorecharitable.org.

Follow: @MooreCharitable

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