Sunday, April 11, 2021

April 4, 2021    SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) –Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications (Ministry of TEATT), Ludmila de Weever, said over the weekend, that the Ministries TEATT, the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry of VSA), and the Ministry of Justice, will be stepping up controls of businesses making sure that they are adhering to the COVID-19 public health and safety protocols.

The aforementioned directive came out of an emergency Council of Ministers meeting on Good Friday, April 2nd that was called as a result of a major COVID-19 outbreak in the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao).

The UK variant of the COVID-19 virus is wreaking havoc on the ABC islands, forcing Sint Maarten to place travel restrictions as of April 5in order to protect the local population. There are various variants circulating on the island including the UK variant.  On Saturday, Curacao reported over 4000 active COVID-19 cases, 120 persons hospitalized, 44 of them in the Intensive Care Unit, and a death toll of 44 persons.

“Sint Maarten has come a long way since the beginning of the pandemic and the re-opening of our borders and economy nine months ago.  Our current active COVID-19 cases have been low, however, there has been a slight increase that is concerning and is being closely monitored by the Ministry of VSA.

“As a country, we cannot afford to see cases increase as it will result in having to take serious measures to curtail a full-blown outbreak which would, in the end, impact the economy. Therefore, strict compliance and adherence to the public health and safety measures by the business community is needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Even though we have the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, the pandemic is still here, and therefore as a community, we cannot become complacent.  Despite the vaccine, we need to continue to wear masks in public, wash our hands and social distance.

“An increase in active cases in Sint Maarten similar to what is currently taking place in the ABC islands would lead to resources being diverted from the vaccine rollout campaign to managing an outbreak. Sint Maarten does not have the medical capacity to handle a large outbreak. Any resurgence in cases would put in jeopardy a busy upcoming ‘tourism’ summer season and the homeporting of the cruise ship Celebrity Millennium,” Minister of TEATT Ludmila de Weever said over the Easter holiday weekend.

Businesses are expected to follow their COVID-19 Safe Framework business re-opening workplace plans that were submitted last summer regarding operations.  Employees and customers are expected to wear masks and practice social distancing.  In the case of events, crowd control measures must be in place, and compliance is expected at parties that have been marketed. 

Controls will be carried out, and warnings given will be based on the observations of controllers after observing large congregating crowds.  Violations of masks wearing, and other health and safety protocols will result in the ultimate closure of the business with potential reversal of opening times.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

April 10, 2021  BERLIN (AP) — The Australian photographer and actress June Newton — also known under her pseudonym Alice Springs — has died at 97, the Helmut Newton Foundation said Saturday in Berlin. Newton, who was also the wife of the late photographer Helmut Newton, died Friday in her home in Monte Carlo. The cause of death was not given. “We mourn the loss of an outstanding person and internationally recognized photographer,” the foundation wrote on its website. Newton, who was born June Browne in Melbourne, Australia in 1923, trained as an actor and often performed under her stage name June Brunell, the foundation said.

April 9, 2021  -Melissa McCarthy and her husband, filmmaker Ben Falcone, have managed to put out not one but two movies during this global pandemic. It prompts two questions: What did we do to deserve them? And how do we stop it? McCarthy enlists — and immediately wastes — the services of Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer for the superhero buddy comedy “Thunder Force,” a meandering nothing-burger of a film. It’s the fifth team-up between McCarthy and Falcone — they previously did “The Boss,” “Tammy,” “Life of the Party” and “Superintelligence.” It’s clear they’ve gotten progressively worse and McCarthy’s welcome manic, anarchic energy is no longer disarming.

April 10, 2021  LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Prince Charles offered a heartfelt tribute to his “dear Papa” on Saturday as Buckingham Palace offered the broad outlines of a royal funeral that will be attended by the family and broadcast to the world. As Queen Elizabeth II and other relatives mourned, Charles offered a personal video message saying the royal family was “deeply grateful” for the outpouring of support they’ve received following the death Friday of his 99-year-old father, Prince Philip. The heir to the throne said he was touched by the number of people around the world who have shared his family’s loss and sorrow.

April 9, 2021  -The St. George’s and Jamaica College Old Boys Associations of Florida will host their first-ever friendly sound clash on Saturday, April 10. The True Blue Sound Clash of 2021 is replacing the traditional True Blue weekend soccer event held every year. This year marks the 17th year for the South Florida event though it will be held in a different format. The True Blue Sound Clash will be hosted online by VP Records and broadcast on their Facebook page (facebook.com/vprecords/) & YouTube Channel (youtube.com/vprecords) starting at 7:00 p.m.

Business News

April 11, 2021  WASHINGTON (AP) — Two big South Korean electric vehicle battery makers have settled a long-running trade dispute that will allow one of them to move ahead with plans to make batteries in Georgia, a person briefed on the matter says. LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation reached the settlement, ending the need for President Joe Biden to intervene in the dispute, the person said Saturday. The person asked not to be identified because the companies have not yet announced the settlement. No details were available. The U.S. International Trade Commission decided in February that SK stole 22 trade secrets from LG Energy, and that SK should be barred from importing, making or selling batteries in the United States for 10 years.

April 10, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — Alibaba Group, the world’s biggest e-commerce company, was fined 18.3 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) by Chinese regulators on Saturday for anti-competitive tactics, as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over fast-growing tech industries. Party leaders worry about the dominance of China’s biggest internet companies, which are expanding into finance, health services and other sensitive areas. The party says anti-monopoly enforcement, especially in tech, is a priority this year. Alibaba was fined for “abusing its dominant position” to limit competition by retailers that use its platforms and hindering “free circulation” of goods, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced. It said the fine was equal to 4% of its total 2019 sales of 455.712 billion yuan ($69.5 billion).

April 11, 2021  MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former baseball star Alex Rodriguez and e-commerce mogul Marc Lore signed a letter of intent Saturday to buy the Timberwolves and keep the NBA team in Minnesota, owner Glen Taylor said. The agreement, which also includes the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, opens a 30-day window for negotiations to be finalized. If accountants and attorneys for both sides agree, the deal would then need to be approved by the league. The Athletic first reported the $1.5 billion sale.

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