Grid List

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Tropical
Storm Gaston, located about 1100 miles west of the Cabo Verde

1. A broad area of low pressure centered about 100 miles north of
Puerto Rico is producing gale-force winds over water to the north
of the Lesser Antilles. However, satellite images indicate that
shower activity has become less organized than earlier today, and
the low continues to lack a well-defined center. Although upper-
level winds are only marginally conducive for development, this
system could still become a tropical cyclone during the next couple
of days. Environmental conditions have the potential to become more
conducive for development over the weekend when the system is near
the central or northwestern Bahamas.

Regardless of development, gusty winds, heavy rains, and possible
flash floods and mudslides are likely to occur over portions
of the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and the
southeastern and central Bahamas during the next couple of days.
Please consult products issued by your local meteorological offices
and High Seas Forecasts from the National Weather Service for
further details.

Interests in the northwestern Bahamas and Florida should monitor the
progress of this disturbance. Because of the large uncertainties
regarding this system's development and future track, it is too
early to speculate on what specific impacts might occur in the
northwestern Bahamas, Florida or beyond.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...medium...50 percent
* Formation chance through 5 days...high...80 percent

DATE ISSUED: Wednesday, August 24, 2016                           TIME: 6:00PM

The strong tropical wave which is traversing the region is now west of the Lesser Antilles and moving further away. Winds and seas are abating and that trend is expected to continue through Thursday.  

Therefore, the small craft and severe wind advisories have been discontinued.

The public sector unions still want a workgroup to discuss payment of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for civil servants and teachers (see related story). That can’t be good news for Finance Minister Richard Gibson, who has been trying to keep the budget balanced despite an apparent slowdown of the local economy.

Perhaps that’s why Prime Minister William Marlin didn’t reply to the letter asking for such yet, although Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Unions (WICLU) President Claire Elshot has indications steps are actually being taken to form the committee in question. Mind you, the supposedly-outstanding COLA regards 2013, 2014 and 2015, so to say the unions and their members have been patient would be an understatement at this point.

On the other hand, it’s no secret either that Government’s financial situation is far from rosy. In fact, spending cuts rather than increases are currently the order of the day.

Then again, allowing the issue to remain unresolved is in itself hardly the best policy. This leaves room for continued expectations that might not be realistic in monetary terms.

Elshot is therefore right when she says they can’t keep burying their heads in the proverbial sand. Some kind of firm decision is needed, taking into account existing agreements, rules and regulations, but also the state of the national treasury.

A one-time so-called “lump-sum” retroactive COLA payment of 50 per cent was made several years ago, but the salaries were not indexed accordingly. A similar arrangement may be the answer now, because having this matter drag on much longer will do nobody any good.

A draft amendment to the Civil Code for the recognition of so-called registered partnerships (concubine arrangements) now being handled in Aruba’s Parliament has caused quite some commotion. The law proposal is meant to afford gay couples who still can’t get legally married on the island the same basic rights as wedded heterosexuals.

It’s a controversial matter at best, as much of the predominantly

GEORGETOWN, Guyana--President David Granger has announced that he will take for Cabinet’s consideration, the recommendation made by Chairperson of the National Toshaos Council (NTC), Joel Fredericks, to have a plot of land allocated for the construction of a secretariat for the Council.

NEW YORK, United States--The United Nations (UN) has finally acknowledged that it played a role in an outbreak of cholera in Haiti in 2010 that has since killed about 10,000 people and continues to sicken thousands every year.

PARIS -- More than 14,000 pregnant women in France took Sanofi's anti-epilepsy drug Depakine between 2007 and 2014 even though the risk of fetus malformation was known, according to a study released by France on Wednesday.

NEW YORK-- Luxury automaker Lamborghini expects to at least double production to 7,000 vehicles a year by 2019 once it rolls out a new SUV, but it will not lose its focus on making sports cars, Chief Executive Officer Stefano Domenicali said Tuesday.

NEW YORK-- "Ghostbusters" actress and comedian Leslie Jones' website was hacked on Wednesday and nude photos and personal information including her passport and driver's license were posted, according to media reports.

NEW YORK-- The vast majority of children and teens should have less than six teaspoons of added sugar in their diet each day, according to the American Heart Association.

CHICAGO-- Florida Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday said the federal government has so far not delivered all of the Zika antibody tests and laboratory support he has requested as the state battles the spread of the virus.

SOKOTO, Nigeria-- Nigeria's air force said it had killed a number of senior Boko Haram fighters and possibly their overall leader, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

ACCUMOLI, Italy-- Rescue teams were working through the night to try to find survivors under the rubble that remained of central Italian towns flattened by an earthquake that hit in the early hours of Wednesday, killing at least 159 people.

SEOUL-- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised a test-fire of a submarine-launched ballistic missile and declared it "the greatest success" that put the country in the "front rank" of nuclear military powers, official media reported on Thursday.

BERNE-- Four-times European champions Ajax missed out on the Champions League group stage after losing 4-1 to Rostov as Manchester City and Borussia Moenchengladbach eased through the playoffs on Wednesday.

SOUTHAMPTON - England beat Pakistan by 44 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis scoring method in a rain-affected first one-day international in Southampton on Wednesday.

Dear Queenie,

I’m getting ready to go to college and I have several universities to pick from. My first choice offers all the courses I want to take, but my older brother says he would be offended if I go there because it is his school’s biggest rival.

I don’t know whether it is more important to get the education I want or to keep peace in the family.

Queenie, what do you advise?—Undecided


I advise you not to let your brother’s pettiness keep you from getting the best education you can.

As for your brother, this advice is directed at him: GROW UP!!! Would you really let a silly school rivalry interfere with your sibling’s future? If so, you deserve whatever hurt feelings you suffer.

Dear Editor,

Last week I read an article in The Daily Herald with the headline “Academy focussing on ICT development.” This brought me back to my days at the academy, when phones and other electronic devices were prohibited. However, the school seems to have come a long way in embracing technology by implementing an online portal, where parents can track their child’s progress, and allowing students to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). The school also plans to upgrade its Information Technology (IT) infrastructure to accommodate e-marking for CXC exams and implement a BYOD policy.

These changes are welcomed, but I believe that more can be done at the secondary education level to prepare students for a career in IT. When students are in the second form, they are given a choice: Business or Science. I believe IT should be one of these choices. Information Technology (IT) is a science, but it is not taught as a science at St. Maarten Academy. Both business and science students get the same IT class. Students are taught as computer users, not IT professionals.

I propose that students be given the opportunity to learn how to repair phones, tablets, and computers along with basic networking skills and security pertaining to IT. As an IT professional, I hold several industry certifications, such as the A+ (deals with computer repairs, software, and hardware), Network+ (deals with IT network basics) and the Security+ (deals with IT security basics). These are all certifications that can be done at the high school level.

There is already a vast amount of study material for these certifications, curricula that are updated regularly by CompTIA, and this would provide a worthwhile goal for students to work towards while working on their high school diploma. There are several other benefits for students who chose to do IT in high school such as:

• Students would have 1 to 3 certifications along with their high school diploma after they graduate.

• These certifications would prepare students for a job in the IT field right after graduation.

• If these students choose to further their IT studies at a college or university, most colleges accept these certifications as credit for certain classes, which would reduce tuition and time spent in college.

• Some businesses consider a certification as experience in the IT industry, which would give students a head start in their career.

• Students who chose to study IT in high school, could use their skills to open a business after graduating, or as a secondary source of income.

This idea is not new, there are many high schools that offer IT in the USA and Europe. However, when it comes to technology, St. Maarten has always been lagging behind other countries, even countries we consider less developed. This is evident by the internet speeds advertised and the prices we consider normal. Most people on the Dutch side think 2MBs for $50 is a good deal until they find out they can get 20MB for $45 right across the border.

Both TelEm and UTS only launched 4G last year (2015), a technology that has been around since 2009. Banks don’t allow customers to pay their utility and telephone bills online and ATMs don’t accept deposits, these are all norms in St. Maarten.

Introducing IT in high school would be a great way to jump ahead and embrace the digital future while giving high school grads a real head start. I still remember my first semester in college, many students came from high schools that offered IT, and so they came with a bit more knowledge, experience and a few certifications under their belt. In the end, I graduated at the top of my class, but I had a fair amount of catching up to do.

If this is implemented, students from St. Maarten who choose to study IT will have a much easier transition. Of course, the school will have to do surveys, research, and probably launch this as a pilot program, but ultimately I believe it will be worthwhile.

Ramzan Juman

St. Maarten appoints first STA Director

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OUT-40 Aug 19 2016 TV Week 1








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