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MULLET BAY-- Authorities are presently investigating another missing persons case. Report suggest that a woman and child were last seen swimming in Mullet Bay on Saturday afternoon.

A off duty Fireman noticed the two struggling to come ashore  and decided to go into the water to rescue them. The Daily Herald understands that the fireman was unsuccessful and called police for further assistance.

Police and Coast Guard officers arrived on the seen and immidiately started to search for the persons. Officers found two towels and a car key among other items believed to have belonged to the missing persons, the items where confiscated for further investigation.

Authorities searched the area for two hours before calling off the search. The vehicle was later found by police and towed to police's headquarters in Philipsburg.

Police Spokesman Chief Inspector Ricardo Henson is requesting the public's assistance in identifying the two persons. Anyone with information that can help with this case are urged to call 911.

PHILIPSBURG--World Water Day, as declared by the United Nations on March 22, was also observed by Rotary International as its focus in April as Water and Sanitation Month.

Today’s report that three of the four leaders in talks to form a new Dutch Government agreed to work on solid kingdom ties during a meeting with Aruban Prime Minister Mike Eman is in principle reassuring. After all, there had recently been voices in The Hague calling for a much looser relationship with the Caribbean countries in the future.

VVD, CDA and D-66 are currently negotiating with GroenLinks, but there remain some major policy differences to overcome, particularly with the latter, leftist party. Christen Unie is therefore widely viewed as a possible alternative.

Some people might be surprised particularly with the commitment of caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte, because several of his VVD’s parliamentarians, including André Bosman, have been very critical towards the islands and made what are locally considered controversial proposals like restricting the admittance of their citizens to the Netherlands. There was recently even mention of a separate passport with another colour for inhabitants of the overseas territories.

It must be said, none of these rather drastic suggestions was backed by a majority in the Second Chamber of Parliament and indications are this will continue to be the case. Had anti-immigration party PVV won the elections, things could have turned out quite differently.

Time will tell how and to what extent Rutte, CDA leader Buma and D66 leader Pechtold stick to their word on building up rather than tearing down kingdom relations, but Eman was in any case able to get them to state their intention to do so. A promise made is a promise kept.

The smoking dump has become one of St. Maarten’s most urgent issues, as once again became evident in the last two days. There have even been suggestions that the US or other source markets of the local tourism economy might well consider negative travel advisories due to the health hazard in the future under similar circumstances.

So, it’s not bad enough that fumes from the frequent fires threaten the wellbeing of residents living, working and/or going to school downwind of the landfill, which has clearly surpassed its lifespan. The very livelihood of practically everyone on the whole island is increasingly at stake.

And the problem is not limited to neighbourhoods nearby. The entire Simpson Bay tourism area was shrouded under a cloud of smoke for much of Wednesday evening and – just when people thought the worst was over – the same thing occurred in the Mary’s Fancy/Saunders/St. Peters/South Reward cul-de-sac the next morning.

While what actually prompts these blazes remains a point of contention, it does appear they are often the consequence of human scavenging activities. Efforts were made in the recent past to keep unauthorised persons out, but those in charge are apparently unable to stop them in a structural manner.

Although some informal garbage separation has started, it all seems too little too late. Plans for a waste-to-energy facility have been a topic of discussion for many years, so far without any tangible result.

The small scale does present obvious challenges. However, the same can be said of the French side where they are at least seriously attempting to recycle and properly dispose of their trash. Doing this together would probably be the best way to handle it, but primarily because it involves two separate countries that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

Extracting gas from landfills to produce electricity is a proven technique and possible option, but any such scenario would require Government-owned local utility company GEBE to be fully on board. The question is how much longer the island and its people can really afford to endure an outdated, inadequate and non-environmentally-friendly system of garbage collection and processing.

KINGSTON, Jamaica--Close to 100 Jamaicans could lose their jobs as Scotiabank embarks on a restructuring exercise.

Bank officials confirmed the staff cuts but declined to announce the number.

However, according to President General of Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) Kavan Gayle, about 100 positions would be made redundant by the Canadian bank.

Jamaica Observer reported that the posts were being transferred from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

According to Gayle, the workers to be affected include support staff that deal with certain services right across the region.

The bank justified the move saying the plans were in line with its focus to develop centres of excellence to establish best practices and improve efficiency.

However, Gayle challenged the bank to clarify what it meant by “centres of excellence.”

Meanwhile, Scotiabank assured that it would engage in fair and transparent negotiations with BITU, which represents the majority of the affected employees in the units to be consolidated.

The company assured it would do all in its power to minimise the impact on employees

Three years ago, Scotiabank announced plans to conduct a US $451 million restructuring, which included closures and job losses in the Caribbean.

Scotiabank said it plans to close or downsize 120 branches outside Canada, largely in Mexico and the Caribbean, in a bid to save CA $120 million (US $90 million) annually.

It said it would close down 35 of its 200 branches in the Caribbean and would sever 1,500 full-time employees, including 500 from its international operations. ~ Caribbean360 ~

PARAMARIBO--The Dutch national who escaped from prison earlier this month had help from his younger brother, investigations have indicated. Gerel Lusiano Palm ran from the Duisburglaan Penitentiary on March 3, into a waiting car that has since turned out to be registered in his brother’s name. Neither man has been caught yet.

CURITIBA, Brazil--When government health inspector Daniel Gouveia Teixeira confronted a Brazilian processed meat plant with what he says was evidence of excess use of marrow, bone and other slaughterhouse by-products in food for human consumption, he was suddenly removed as the plant's inspector.

BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT--Russia has the European Union in a bind.

LONDON--Actress Emma Thompson has said she is not taking part in a short "Love Actually" sequel for Britain's Comic Relief charity appeal because it is "too soon" to reprise her role in the romantic comedy after the death last year of co-star Alan Rickman.

NEW YORK--Kanye West has settled a lawsuit by a Hungarian rock singer who accused the hip-hop star of sampling one of his best-known works without permission for the 2013 song "New Slaves".

WASHINGTON/CALGARY, Alberta--U.S. President Donald Trump's administration approved TransCanada Corp's Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, cheering the oil industry and angering environmentalists even as further hurdles for the controversial project loom.

WASHINGTON--President Donald Trump suffered a stunning political setback on Friday in a Congress controlled by his own party when Republican leaders pulled legislation to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, a major 2016 election campaign promise of the president and his allies.

VATICAN CITY--Pope Francis told Europe's leaders on Friday the continent faced a "vacuum of values" as they marked the EU's 60th birthday, condemning anti-immigrant populism and extremism that he said posed a mortal threat to the bloc.

MOSCOW--President Vladimir Putin granted an audience to French far-right party leader Marine Le Pen in the Kremlin on Friday, bestowing a level of international recognition that has so far eluded her in the countdown to France's presidential election.

SPAIN--Diego Costa was among the scorers as Spain strolled to a 4-1 win at home to Israel in a World Cup qualifier on Friday to stay top of Group G.

TEXAS - Phil Mickelson and Marc Leishman were headed for a Saturday showdown in the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship after winning their respective groups in the round-robin phase in Texas.

Dear Editor,

As “reviews” come in from the Sea Trade Cruise Global 2017 (Seatrade), just recently concluded in Fort Lauderdale, we hear much of the same following any conference of this nature. In addition, there has been somewhat of a “to-do,” due to local reports of Members of Parliament attending the Seatrade conference. Firstly, let me make it clear that there was no representation from Parliament as such at the conference.

However, the whole discussion does raise the following questions: What was “our” message at the 2017 cruise conference? What did we learn at the conference? And most importantly, what will be done with this information? Where does Cruise feature in our National Plan or Programme?

As I look out over Great Bay harbour every day (ships or no ships), these questions inevitably pop up.

Like nearly everything else, Cruise is not a lone standing pillar, as strong as it might appear, and no single person or group “owns” this industry. There are so many topics that relate directly or indirectly to the cruise industry and that is why the positioning of Cruise on our national agenda is paramount for the simultaneous discussions on the environment, the infrastructure, energy, waste, health, crime etc.

To give a glaring example: the perils local cyclists face on the St. Maarten roads, now also daunt our (cruise) visitors who wish to make use of alternative means to tour the island. A new niche, I am sure, but this must be stimulated. I hold my heart every day as I see cyclists, especially those unfamiliar with our roads and traffic trying to manoeuvre their way around.

Bottom line: the cruise sector needs a wholesome approach to be effective, separate from the question of how far we can expand the cruise sector due to capacity limits in the complementing fields mentioned above, as well as the fact that several of these fields also offer some potential for growth, such as in the energy and health areas.

Sarah Wescot-Williams

President of Parliament

Dear Queenie,

There’s this guy I dated a few times and then moved on to someone else. Now my best friend is dating him and for some reason it bothers me. I told her how I feel but she’s still dating him.

Queenie, if she is really my friend wouldn’t she stop dating him, knowing how I feel about it?—Annoyed

Dear Annoyed,

Why does this bother you so much? Did this guy do something unforgiveable that made you dump him? If that is the case, you should tell your friend so she knows what kind of guy he really is.

But if you broke it off with him just because the two of you were not well suited to each other, why do you begrudge your friend her relationship with him? If you are really her friend, why are you not glad she has found

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