Wednesday, January 19, 2022

DUTCH QUARTER, Sint Maarten (July 14, 2021) – The valedictorians of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School and Helmich Snijders Hillside Christian School were rewarded with laptops for their academic achievement by Island Gems Charity Foundation. The two valedictorians are both headed to Milton Peters College come the new school year.

Brittany Lake is the valedictorian of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Primary School. She also took home the top honours in mathematics and the Dutch language. She received her laptop from Island Gems Varsha Punjabi and Astrid Plantz-Gartner.

Marianelly Zorrilla Cruz is the valedictorian of Hillside Christian Primary School. She received her laptop from Island Gems Hanisha Alwani and Asha Stevens.

Island Gems Secretary Plantz-Gartner said both valedictorians were very deserving of the rewards for their hard work and commitment to their academics as well as their schools and community. “Island Gems is about making our community better and supporting young people builds on that,” she said.

The laptops were donated to Island Gems by the business community for the silent auction of its annual costume fundraising gala. That event was not held last year due to the pandemic lockdown nor was it held this year because of the still ongoing COVID-19 situation. The all-women’s group thought it best not to keep the electronic devices for another year when those could be used for educational purposes. The two schools were happy to share the names of their top pupils for the special gifts.

Island Gems plans to hold its costume gala in 2022, pandemic restrictions permitting. The foundation opted to err on the side of caution and not hold its gala that brings together some 200 people in one location this year.

“We want to ensure that everyone would have a safe and fun time together and not have to worry about the virus. Just like our regular attendees, the members of Island Gems also miss putting out this fun-filled event and look forward to doing so in the coming months,” said Island Gems President Alita Singh.

All tickets sold for the 2020 gala will be honoured when the gala is held in 2022. “So, hold on to those tickets! Your support means a lot to Island Gems and the projects we support, thanks to your generosity, on both sides of our island,” said Singh.

Island Gems Charity Foundation supports social, educational, and environmental projects on both sides of the island. This foundation is the only one that offers cross-border support to non-governmental organisations and groups. Instead of cash, Island Gems purchases needed equipment and/or services for the projects selected to receive funding; this helps with accountability and ensures assistance is rendered as quickly and as effectively as possible to the community. The funds used to aid the projects are raised at the annual gala, Island Gems’ only fundraising activity. 

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Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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