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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Windows 8 Consumer Preview today!

Windows 8 Consumer Preview will be released today (29th of February 2012 at 3 pm) in Barcelona, Spain (or 10 am Eastern Caribbean time).

The build will be "8250.0.winmain_win8beta.120217-1520"

Download links will be available on

Windows 8 will be available in both the 64- and 32-bit versions:

Windows 8 Consumer Preview x64 (64 bit) will be “8250.0.WINMAIN_WIN8BETA.120217-1520_X64FRE_CLIENT_EN-US-HB1_CCPA_X64FRE_EN-US_DV5.ISO”

Windows 8 Consumer Preview x86 (32 bit) will be

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dow, S&P hit milestones on confidence, lower oil

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow closed above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008 on Tuesday and the S&P 500 also hit a milestone, as buoyant U.S. consumer confidence data and a sharp drop in oil prices nudged the nearly five-month rally forward.

The S&P 500 closed above 1,370, its May 2011 intraday high, a move that could invite momentum buying as money managers chase performance, though low volumes lately have raised concerns about the rally's longevity.

"I don't see anything technically favoring a downturn right now," said Chris Burba, short-term market technician at Standard & Poor's in New York.

"No doubt (the market) has been overbought since the beginning of February, but in a powerful uptrend, price will continue higher for some time amid overbought conditions."

Technology shares ranked among the best performers, and the Nasdaq was trading at its highest since 2000. Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) shot up 3.7 percent to $8.88 after Intel Corp (INTC.O) said it will sell its stake in two wafer factories to Micron and buy chips from the company.

Intel advanced 1.3 percent to $27.24. The PHLX semiconductor index (.SOX) rose 1.6 percent.

The Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) gained 23.61 points, or 0.18 percent, to close at 13,005.12. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index (.SPX) rose 4.59 points, or 0.34 percent, to end at 1,372.18. The Nasdaq Composite Index (.IXIC) climbed 20.60 points, or 0.69 percent, to finish at 2,986.76.

The S&P 500 is up about 9 percent since the start of the year, largely because of data showing stronger momentum in the economy and signs of progress in managing the euro zone's debt crisis, including a debt deal for Greece.

Low volumes overshadowed the gains, however. With just one trading day left in February, daily volume on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Amex and Nasdaq has averaged 6.89 billion shares. In February 2011, the daily average volume was 7.81 billion.

Tuesday's volume was about 6.4 billion shares on the NYSE, NYSE Amex and Nasdaq.

Consumer confidence in the world's largest economy jumped to a one-year high in February, according to a report from The Conference Board, a private business research group. This indicator is noted because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.

The drop in oil prices from recent highs also relieved worries about the outlook for consumer spending. Brent crude oil futures fell more than $2 to settle at $121.55 a barrel.

Some of the economic optimism was tempered by a government report showing orders for U.S. durable goods in January had the biggest fall in three years. Durable goods, which are generally meant to last three years or longer, range from big-ticket items like aircraft down to consumer goods like refrigerators and even toasters.

Retailers got a lift from the earnings of Office Depot Inc (ODP.N), which surged 18.9 percent to $3.59, and AutoZone Inc (AZO.N), which rose 2.9 percent to $376.41.

Fourth-quarter earnings have been less impressive than in recent quarters, however, with 63 percent of companies beating analysts' expectations, below the average 70 percent beat rate in the last four quarters. Results are in so far for 472 of the S&P 500 components.

Advancing stocks outpaced decliners on the NYSE by about 15 to 14, while on the Nasdaq, decliners beat advancers by about 13 to 12.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Investigative journalism is 'vital', says Lords

By Rowena Mason, Political Correspondent

Investigative journalism is “vital to our democracy” and should be supported through a new fund to promote responsible reporting, an influential group of Lords will say today.

In a new report, the Communications Select Committee is set to argue that Britain needs to protect “responsible, high-quality, investigative journalism” at a time when the media is under unprecedented scrutiny.

Lord Inglewood, the committee chairman, said the news organisations face a number of “profound economic, legal and regulatory challenges”, following the phone hacking scandal that closed down the News of the World newspaper.

But he said it was important to make sure investigative journalism continues to be at the heart of "the UK’s system of democratic governance and accountability”.

The committee’s report recommends a new fund to help train investigative journalists, potentially funded by fines levied on the media for any breaches of the regulatory code.

It also advises that the Crown Prosecution Service urgently publishes some guidelines to help journalists decide whether an investigation is in the public interest.

The committee will say there is no need to define the meaning of “public interest” in law, but journalists should be given a better idea of what activities could lead to a prosecution.

The Lords claim new guidelines would help media companies navigate their way through the current “inconsistencies and lack of clarity” in law.

Lord Inglewood and the committee will also call on the Government to consider how to help newspapers financially.

“We urge the Government to recognise the financial problems facing newspapers and encourage them to think creatively about any tax breaks or other financial incentives which might help the industry through this difficult transitional stage,” the report will say.

The report also recommends that all public relations practitioners abide by a clear code of behaviour, potentially overseen by a third party.


Monday, February 13, 2012


I thought I was alone in the expression of concern over the scope and magnitude of the celebration of Nobel laureate week.

I’m glad that the “Art gurus” like Adrian Augier and Robert Lee have come out and let their voices be heard about the “whimper” we dub “Nobel laureate Week”.

Adrian described efforts to celebrate our “twin laureate” heroes as “mediocre” and Robert agreed; the latter went further to suggest the staging of more appropriate “Nobel-sized” events in proportion to the magnitude of the “Nobel laureateship” to underline our seriousness!

Indeed, both Adrian’s and Robert’s views point to a need to better “Arts” in St. Lucia and they should be applauded.

Perhaps, the Ministry of Tourism & Creative Industries might wish to consider picking up the slack hinted by Adrian and Robert, and incorporate the idea in its “product development” initiatives for Tourism and the Creative Arts.

As an event planner/manager and cultural activist (myself), my own recommendations would include mega-events like “Poetry on Sab Wisha Beach”, “Boo presents a Musical Tribute to the Walcott & Lewis”, “St. Lucia Calypso goes Nobel”, “Apillo (Sir Dunstan St Omer) recreates the Walcott Phenomenon”, “The Story of Walcott and Lewis in Kweyol” etc.

But would those meet the standard implied by Adrian and Robert? I know their standards are very high! But, I’m also looking at it from a different angle: In terms of our Creative Arts and Tourism industries? Could creative events like those add value to our Arts and Tourism?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Muesli price jumps by fifth in year

The cost of a bowl of muesli has jumped a fifth in a year as the prices of hazelnuts and almonds soared, market researchers have found.

Boxes of Alpen are up by 24p and Dorset Cereals have increased in cost by 47p, according to a survey published in The Grocer magazine.

Researchers blamed the increasing cost of raw ingredients, with the average wholesale price of a tonne of muesli rising by 56 per cent to £608.80 in the past three years.

The price is up 13 per cent on the end of 2010 and 1.2 per cent year-on-year, the survey found.

The biggest single increase was in the cost of almonds, which rose 38.6 per cent year-on-year to £2,404 per tonne, while the price of a tonne of whey powder was up 35.7 per cent to £760 and hazelnuts increased by 32.6 per cent to £5,624 during the same period.

These increases were partially offset by a reduction in the cost of wheat, skimmed milk powder and raisins which fell by 22.2 per cent, 16.5 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively year-on-year.

Manufacturers could reduce the damage of the overall price rise by altering their recipes, The Grocer suggested, but if core ingredients become more expensive over a long period there would be a limit to how much they could do.

The impact is already being felt in supermarkets, the report said, with a 750g box of Alpen Original now costing £2.60, 24p more than this time last year.

An 850g pack of Dorset Cereals Simply Delicious Muesli has risen by 21 per cent from £2.26 to £2.73 during the same period, analysts said.

Nick Barnard, co-founder of breakfast cereal maker Rude Health, said muesli manufacturers were feeling the effect of higher ingredient prices, with oats a particular concern having risen 4.2 per cent to £187.5 per tonne.

He said: "Oats are in increased demand to fulfil the growth in porridge and granola. All the oats in our muesli and porridge are organic – prices have risen and we expect them to continue to."

Airlift still high on regional agenda

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, Thursday February 9, 2012 – Ministers of tourism and civil aviation across the Eastern Caribbean are meeting today in St Vincent to discuss and devise strategic solutions to tourism and aviation issues and challenges currently confronting the sub-region.

This meeting follows a recent high-level confab in Barbados by the Prime Ministers of the stakeholder governments in Liat Airlines and reflects the high priority that regional leaders continue to place on airlift issues.

Today’s joint meeting is in response to a decision taken at the OECS Council of Tourism Ministers and subsequently endorsed by the OECS Authority in May last year.

The purpose of this meeting, as articulated in the ministerial mandate, is to address matters geared towards improving the attractiveness of the OECS airspace and accessibility of destinations, in order to increase air passenger traffic in the region.

More specifically, the ministers will seek to indentify priority areas for joint action including the development of a Common OECS Air Transport Policy; and the preparation of airlift capacity studies to empirically assess the air service needs of the region, and to guide OECS member states’ efforts at attracting and sustaining airlift.

Another matter to be discussed is the implementation of relevant aspects of the San Juan Accord, which is a set of decisions taken by ministers with responsibility for tourism and international transport of member countries of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in October 2007, when the ministers met to discuss proposals for restructuring the region’s air transport sector, with a view to offering safe, secure and sustainable air services in the Caribbean.

This joint meeting, to be chaired by the prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, is deemed important given that not all ministers of tourism in the OECS are assigned the civil aviation portfolio. Whilst Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis have joint tourism and civil aviation ministerial portfolios, the ministries of tourism and civil aviation are separate in Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Dominica to receive Euro millions over next 2 years

ROSEAU, Dominica, Thursday February 9, 2012 - Dominica expects to receive between 14 and 15.5 million Euros during 2012 and 2013, from the 190 million Euros allocated to the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) nations through the European Commission’s BAM (Banana Accompanying Measures) programme.

Dominican agricultural officials say the country is positioning itself to make maximum use of funds being made available to ten banana-exporting nations by the European Union.

The funding of is intended to provide additional development assistance to help the countries involved adjust to new market conditions, following the erosion of the preferential market access that was previously enjoyed by the ACP group of countries through trade with Europe.

Director of Agriculture Ricky Brumant says under the BAM arrangement, Dominica will seek to make its banana production and exports more competitive, while focusing on other areas of agriculture as well.

Stakeholders in the agricultural sector were meeting on Tuesday, to help ensure that “what we say we are going to do with the money is going to bring to the country maximum benefits”.

Brumant said also that another priority would be to “place the agricultural sector, the banana sub-sector, on a plain that we can enhance competitiveness and of course move our non-banana programmes or crop programmes, production programmes to a level to where it can ensure that we are competitive not only on the regional market but also the international market”.

The agriculture official says the BAM funds being allocated to Dominica will make a significant difference.

“From a government standpoint enhancing trade is important, ensuring food security is important, these are some of the broad areas that we will look at,” Brumant said.

He confirmed that a substantial amount of the available funds is expected to go to the banana industry, to make it more competitive.

“I cannot tell you now how much would go into bananas.  I can tell you that we are prepared to ensure the right production mix between banana and non-banana crops,” the Director of Agriculture told Dominica News Online.

St Lucia first Royal stop

CASTRIES, St Lucia, Friday February 10, 2012 – St. Lucia will be the first port of call by Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Edward, Earl and Countess of Wessex.

The couple is expected to arrive in St. Lucia on February 21 in time for the country’s 33rd independence celebrations.

During their one-day stay, The Royal Highnesses are expected to attend the Independence Day Parade, a cultural dance performance, visit the Association of St. Lucia Headquarters and the St. Lucia School of Music.

They will also attend receptions hosted by the island’s Governor-General and Prime Minister.

The Earl and Countess are expected to leave St. Lucia on February 22. Their itinerary includes visits to Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Montserrat, St Kitts, Anguilla and Antigua as part of the celebrations to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Date Confirmed

Microsoft is set to release a trial version of its touch-centric operating system to everyday computer users.

By Paul McDougall   InformationWeek
February 08, 2012 05:12 PM

The general public won't have to wait long to get its hands on Windows 8, as Microsoft has confirmed the date on which it will make a trial version of its newest operating system freely available to anyone who wants to download it and kick the tires.

Microsoft will hold an event in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 29 to formally launch Windows 8 Consumer Preview, according to an invitation the company sent to journalists Wednesday. The date and location coincide with the World Mobile Congress, an indication that Microsoft is serious about pushing Windows 8 as a mobile operating system for tablets, as well as for traditional desktops and laptops.

The general public won't have to wait long to get its hands on Windows 8, as Microsoft has confirmed the date on which it will make a trial version of its newest operating system freely available to anyone who wants to download it and kick the tires.

Microsoft will hold an event in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 29 to formally launch Windows 8 Consumer Preview, according to an invitation the company sent to journalists Wednesday. The date and location coincide with the World Mobile Congress, an indication that Microsoft is serious about pushing Windows 8 as a mobile operating system for tablets, as well as for traditional desktops and laptops.

What would you like to see in Windows 8? Read 8 Features That Could Make Windows 8 Great.

Microsoft typically warns users that unfinished software can cause system problems and that users should try it only if they have reasonably advanced computer skills.

Microsoft in September released the Windows 8 Developer Preview along with tools that programmers could use to build apps and get familiar with Windows 8.

The new OS represents the most fundamental redesign of the OS since the debut of Windows 95. For its interface, Windows 8 relies heavily on design elements taken from Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 environment, including Metro themes and Live Tiles. Tiles are blocks of screen real-estate that feed real-time updates from social networks, messaging, e-mail, and other services to the home screen.

Leaked screenshots appear to show that Microsoft has even eliminated the Start button, a familiar Windows navigation tool in past versions, and replaced it with a swipeable area users can touch to bring up various menus.
Such a design is more tablet friendly, and Microsoft has made little secret of the fact that it's counting on Windows 8 to make it a player in the tablet market, which is dominated by Apple and Google-powered devices.

Microsoft has not announced a release date for the final version of Windows 8, saying that it prefers to work from "milestone to milestone." Still, many analysts believe the OS could show up in some consumer products in time for the 2012 holiday season.

Social media are generating tons of data, but that data only becomes truly valuable when examined in context. Attend the virtual Enterprise 2.0 event Social Analytics: The Bridge To Business Value, and learn how social analytics will provide the bridge to unlocking business value. It happens Feb. 16.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Participatory management for Jamaican tourism

Dr. Wykeham McNeill

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday February 2, 2012 – Ordinary Jamaicans will get a say in the management of the tourism product of Jamaica.

This assurance has come from newly appointed Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill, who revealed this week that plans are afoot to re-establish local Resort Boards, to enhance governance within the sector.

In making the announcement, Minister McNeill stressed: “The boards will play a crucial role in ensuring that the management of the sector is more inclusive and participatory. We need to reestablish these boards to ensure that the voices of the people are heard. Once they are reinstated representatives of the resort boards will also be placed on the board of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo.) to ensure they play a role in the development of the sector at that level as well.”

Dr McNeill said the process toward the restructuring and re-establishment of the Resort Boards had begun and he believed that, once revamped, these boards would help significantly in ensuring that the process of developing resort areas is managed properly.”

The minister explained that: “I have realized that there is a disconnect between the administrators within the sector and the people on the ground. Unfortunately the deactivation of the Resort Boards under the previous administration has removed that critical link. We are now holding discussions in a bid to re-engage these stakeholders by reestablishing these boards.”

“The reality is that the resort boards will help to more effectively address many of the concerns shared by community members in resort areas. They will also allow us to better prioritize when addressing the issues affecting the people. Too often we implement policies that don’t really impact the people, hence we need to know what the people want and the resort boards will better enable us to determine this,” he added.

McNeill, who discussed the issue with tourism partners during a Stakeholder Meeting in Negril recently added that “so far our stakeholders have welcomed the move, and those we met with in Negril have underscored that the Resort Boards will empower tourism partners to address issues affecting them at the local level. They also agree that the boards will go a long way in ensuring that we will be working closer as a team, moving forward, which is precisely how we intend to manage the sector.”