Grid List

THE HAGUE--Determined to help St. Maarten’s “little ones” after Hurricane Irma, two women, Dorian Neijs and Tjandra Lake, have initiated a project to provide a childcare facility on

MARIGOT--Grand Case Airport re-opens for commercial flights today, Saturday, just over two weeks after the passing of Hurricane Irma. Since Irma the airport has only been open for military or evacuation flights.

Today’s report that Moody’s has put St. Maarten’s issuer rating “under review” due to the passage of catastrophic Hurricane Irma adds to the increasingly sober picture regarding the immediate future. With 90 per cent of buildings damaged, the reconstruction cost is estimated at more than 100 per cent of the annual gross domestic product (GDP).
However, much will depend on private insurance and external support. Several insurance firms have already indicated that they are financially stable and sufficiently backed by reinsurers to comply with their commitments.
Less positive are indications that more resorts, including some large timeshare properties, may close for the entire winter period. The negative impact of such a development on the tourism economy would be enormous and surpass that of also very destructive Hurricane Luis 22 years ago by far.
Nevertheless, efforts to make the best of the upcoming season with whatever available rooms are left ought to be strongly encouraged. After the widespread flooding and devastation of Hurricane Lenny in November 1999, disaster relief money from the Netherlands was used for – among other things – emergency marketing funds to help get the local hospitality industry back on track and something similar is now certainly called for.
The island faces an extremely difficult year ahead, but all the assistance coming in and the long-term commitment shown by major companies will help its population overcome what is no doubt going to be a time of considerable hardship. As inhabitants have proven time and again in case of huge setbacks, when the going gets tough the tough get going.

That was the front page headline of Monday, September 11, 1995, six days after Hurricane Luis devastated St. Maarten/St. Martin. A similar sentiment reigns since Irma hit the island even harder 22 years later almost to the day.

~ PPP says Govt. must act swiftly to evacuate Guyanese desirous of coming home ~

GEORGETOWN, Guyana--The Guyana Government’s delegation has returned from Antigua, St. Maarten and the British Virgin Islands (BVI), where the Needs Assessment Team was sent in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix, who spearheaded that team, on Thursday met with members of the local media corps and briefed them on some of the relief initiatives Government is currently considering and to provide a first-hand account of the extent of the devastation.

SANTO DOMINGO--Dominican Republic closed most of its ports ahead of Hurricane Maria, but the country's 34,000-barrel-per-day refinery was still running, the government said on Wednesday.

PARIS--When Emmanuel Macron's government delivers the first budget of his presidency on Wednesday, it must convince France's European partners it is serious about cutting spending while reassuring voters they do not face austerity.

BUENOS AIRES--Argentina is behind on at least $700 million in promised subsidy payments to natural gas producers, hurting oil companies at a time when the government is trying to woo more investment in the nation's energy sector.

OTTAWA--Justin Trudeau's choice in socks sparked a light-hearted Twitter competition between the stars of Star Wars and Star Trek after the Canadian Prime Minister sported Chewbacca hosiery during high-profile appearances in New York City this week.

AMSTERDAM--A beaming Syrian refugee called Monjid welcomes guests to Amsterdam's newest hotel, offering them hummus and olives before walking them from the bright pink reception area to their cell.

WASHINGTON--President Donald Trump is considering a new order to replace his soon-to-expire travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries that would be tailored on a country-by-country basis to protect the United States from attacks, U.S. officials said on Friday.

HOUSTON--Communities in Texas and Florida, each swamped by a hurricane within two weeks of one another, are rewriting debris removal contracts and paying millions of dollars more to lure trucks, as subcontractors say costs have jumped.

ERBIL, Iraq--Iraqi Kurds are expected to vote for independence in a referendum on Monday that neighbouring countries and Western powers fear could break up the country and stir broader regional ethnic and sectarian conflict.

FLORENCE, Italy--Prime Minister Theresa May set out a plan on Friday to retain full access to the EU's single market for two years after Brexit to try to reassure business and reset the tone of stalled negotiations with Brussels.

MARSEILLE-- France's Olympic Committee on Friday played down security concerns over next year's winter Games in South Korea, as organisers said athletes' wellbeing was their priority and expressed confidence the event would go ahead.
With tensions on the Korean peninsula threatening to bubble over, the government in Paris on Thursday became the first to publicly raise the possibility of skipping the Feb. 9-25 Pyeongchang Olympics on safety grounds.
North Korea, which conducted a sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3 to global condemnation, said on Friday it might test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to destroy the reclusive country.
"We are monitoring the situation on the Korean peninsula and the region very closely." an International Olympic Committee spokesman said.
"Athletes' safety and security are of course a primary concern for the IOC. This is why ...we continue to be in touch with the heads of state concerned."
"In none of the discussions has anybody expressed any doubt about the Olympic Games 2018," the spokesman said, adding preparations remained on track.
The IOC said it was helping North Korea prepare its athletes for the Games and would cover costs of their equipment if needed.
France's Sports Minister Laura Flessel had said on Thursday if the crisis deepened and athletes' security could not be assured, "the French Olympics team will stay at home."
"We're not there yet," she added, just a week after the IOC awarded the 2024 summer Olympics to Paris.
In a statement on Friday, the country's Olympic Committee did not mention any potential absence from the Games, referring only to the IOC as the focal point of any developments.
"With the safety and the security of the athletes at the top of its priorities, the IOC indicates that nothing at this time leads to believe that the organising conditions of the winter Olympic Games do not comply with these imperatives," it said.
The multi-billion dollar Pyeongchang Olympics will be held just 80 km (50 miles) from the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea, the world's most heavily armed border.
Other winter sports powerhouses said they were monitoring developments but had no plans to miss the event.
Italy's Olympic committee said on Friday that it and other national committees had received reassurances from IOC President Thomas Bach last week at a meeting in Lima.
"We look forward to safe and secure Olympic Winter Games," Italy committee president Giovanni Malagò said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
Waiving participation of the Swiss team "is at the moment not under discussion," one of its Olympic committee officials told Reuters.
The U.S. Olympic committee said it was working with authorities to ensure the safety of its delegation, while Russia said security was each host country's responsibility and China's foreign ministry said it was not aware of any plans for the its Olympic team to not attend.
Sweden also had no plans to stay away.
"I cannot really see it (a situation of not going)," Swedish Olympic council CEO Peter Reinebo told news agency TT.
"It would take an overall assessment of the IOC and the local organising committee, an international decision by the United Nations or a strong general counsel from the Swedish authorities. But none of those (conditions) exists at the moment. We are completely focused on going."
North and South Korea remain technically at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

BERGEN, Norway- - France's Benoit Cosnefroy won the Under-23 road race at the cycling world championships on Friday after jumping away from the pack late on the demanding 191-km course.
  Cosnefroy powered away from the main pack nine kilometres from the finish and caught Lennard Kamna two kilometres further down the road, before easily beating the German in a two-man sprint.
  Dane Michael Carbel Svendgaard took the bronze when he won the peloton sprint, crossing the line three seconds behind the winner.
  "The team did a perfect job, they allowed me to spare my energy until the last lap, and we know that a championships is won in the last lap," said Cosnefroy, who turned professional with French team AG2R-LaMondiale this year and last week won the Grand Prix d'Isbergues.
  The course was a 10-lap circuit and Cosnefroy laid in wait for most of the race, held in humid conditions, and he made his move just at the right time, benefiting from the help of team mate Valentin Madouas.
  "I was afraid I would end up second again," said 23-year-old Cosnefroy, who finished second in this year's U23 European championships.
  On Friday, he was just too good for Kamna, who last Sunday won the gold medal in the team time trial event with Sunweb.

(Curaçao Chronicle)

I am writing this in English so that my friends in St. Maarten can understand it too, because it seems that the kids we "adopted" here after hurricane Irma had a problem going to school here because they don't understand Dutch or Papiamentu.
Oops, sorry our mistake, but we are working on it to correct that problem. Maybe it's the result of introducing Papiamentu in schools because when I went to school we were forced to speak Dutch and from Dutch we learned the other "living" languages resulting in our ability nowadays to switch from one language to another without a problem. But that's not the point.
Since Hurricane Irma ruined St. Maarten, everybody on the sister islands and in Holland, moved heaven and earth to help even before the hurricane struck St. Maarten. The Dutch marines here were already preparing a week before it hit the island.
In Holland they were collecting money, here the schools, the Chinese community, the wholesalers, supermarkets, even KLM put up extra flights to evacuate people. Curoil paid for the fuel to fly the evacuees over, radio stations Easy 97 and Laser 101 were providing information for the families here.
Everybody was concerned and was involved in helping because direct or indirectly we were connected either by friends or family or by trade. We saw the video clips of the unbelievable devastation and the helpless people and the terrible loss of property and lives. We were all moved and sprung into action.
We also saw the looting and when we realized that people were not taking food or water but flat screen tv's, fridges, scooters and stealing gas from abandoned cars, and our hearts sank. The Dutch marines were the first there after the hurricane hit to reestablish law and order to avoid complete anarchy.
On Facebook somebody put up a video clip claiming to have been kicked out of the place he was staying by the Dutch marines so they could stay there. I knew it was fake the minute I saw that but, there were enough people that used that to air their frustration and make it a racial thing. Later it turned out that I was right and that it was fake and the man was lying.
What really hurt me is, that when I was watching the news on a Dutch channel the prime minister of St Maarten was claiming that the Dutch marines did not do enough and somewhere else I read that they claim that the help came too late and was not enough compared to what the French send over to their part of the island. The two hairs on my head stood straight up and I was really mad, because why don't they mention that if it was not for the Dutch marines, who they have would called for help, the Ghostbusters?
I have learned in my life that no matter what you do to help people there will ALWAYS be some form of criticism on whatever you do to help. I have done so many charity projects and every time I swear that it was the last one because every time I get kicked by bystanders with their hands in their pockets watching me struggle to help others..
The same people that are complaining about the help the Dutch offered and still is offering are the ones that are screaming for the independence of St. Maarten. Now ask yourself where would you be if it wasn't for the Dutch. You should be kissing the ground these people walk on instead of being so ungrateful.
I am sad and disappointed because I know the people of St Maarten are not like that but it is a small group of people that are looking out for their own interest in the middle of this chaos and turmoil. Be strong, remember we are all right behind you, including the Dutch people and marines.

By Arthur Donker

Dear Queenie,
My husband’s mother does not ever want to take care of our two sons, but she is always willing to watch her daughter’s child. What’s more, she expects me to help her daughter find a babysitter for when she can’t take the kid.
Queenie, should I tell her how I feel about all this, or keep my mouth shut for the sake of peace in the family?—Disgusted daughter-in-law

Dear Daughter-in-law,
Could it be that your mother-in-law does not feel up to managing more than one (probably very active) child at a time? Try talking to her (or ask your husband to do so) to find out why she shows such preference.
As for the baby-sitter question, you are not obliged to make any specific arrangements, but you could give your sister-in-law a few phone numbers – for the sake of peace in the family – and let her make her own arrangements.

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