Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ananda Dean - RIP

Nordia Campbell (left), mother of 11-year-old Ananda Dean, is consoled by a family friend after looking at the remains of a body believed to be that of her daughter. The body was found in Belvedere, St Andrew. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

Brutal murder
Headless body found in Red Hills believed to be that of missing 11-year-old girl
TANEISHA LEWIS, Observer staff reporter lewist@jamaicaobserver.com
Monday, September 29, 2008

Nordia Campbell (left), mother of 11-year-old Ananda Dean, is consoled by a family friend after looking at the remains of a body believed to be that of her daughter. The body was found in Belvedere, St Andrew. (Photo: Karl McLarty)

SCREAMS of anguish bellowed throughout the community of Belvedere in Red Hills, St Andrew yesterday as firefighters removed a heavily decomposed body believed to be that of 11-year-old Ananda Dean from a steep precipice along Cypress Drive - miles away from where she was last seen after she went missing almost two weeks ago.

"A she, a she.. Oh God," Ananda's aunt, Tamika Campbell bawled, after viewing the headless remains and then falling to the ground seconds later. Upon hearing the news, Nordia Campbell, Ananda's mother, also fainted at the thought that her daughter may have been brutally murdered.

In memory of Ananda from Dr Lucien Jones

"Knowing doctrine is not the same as knowing God. Knowing God is not possible without knowing Him through Jesus" - Chris Tiegen. " I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering becoming like him in his death..." Phil. 3:1O-11. Only this kind of faith can rescue our nation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

US Ambassador Brenda LaGrange Johnson bats for Jamaica

In her activities and associations, Ambassador La Grange Johnson believes in putting people ahead of politics - no wonder her friends call her "every Democrat's favourite Republican".

by Jean Lowrie-Chin - Jamaica Observer - Mon 29 Sept 08

"The first thing Barbara Walters said to me when she heard I was US Ambassador to Jamaica was, 'Congratulations on Bolt'," relates Brenda LaGrange Johnson. She was seated at the same table with the media veteran for the Tennis Hall of Fame Dinner in New York City earlier this month. "Usain Bolt is a superstar," Mrs La Grange Johnson enthused. "My eight-year-old grandson has been begging me to get him to visit his school."

She feels very blessed to be on assignment in Jamaica for this dynamic phase of our country's history: "Imagine, Jamaica has had eight prime ministers and I have worked with three." She also oversaw the completion of and smooth transition to the new US Embassy buildings in Liguanea, St Andrew, started by her predecessor the legendary Ambassador Sue Cobb.

Braving the initial controversy over the location, Mrs LaGrange Johnson and her predecessor can be proud of this 107,000-square foot complex that is the most impressive modern building in Jamaica. It combines structural strength with environmental aesthetics that have silenced even the most vocal critics. Indeed, the acoustics in the Embassy Atrium have made it a favourite of Jamaica's singers and musicians.

It helps to have a sense of humour. "Here I am, a Republican," says the charming ambassador, "serving in a country and working in a State Department where many are pro-Democrat." She has had 20 years to get used to it: her partner Merle in their New York-based business BrenMer, was a staunch Democrat, yet they continue to be the best of friends.

Admiring her philanthropic spirit as she served causes for the arts, social development and health, Mrs LaGrange Johnson's friends had long known that she would make a fine ambassador. However, various circumstances kept her from applying until 2005, and she relates amazingly that the very day she went to the White House to make her formal application was the day Ambassador Cobb advised of her impending retirement. When offered the post she immediately accepted, recalling fond memories of her honeymoon trip to Jamaica with her husband Howard in 1968. (They have four children and six grandchildren.)

Not only does Mrs LaGrange Johnson know Senator John McCain, he was actually the person, along with Senator Susan Collins, who had introduced her to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The chairman of that committee happens to be Democratic senator and Barack Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, who she recalls was very gracious at the hearing. McCain gave Mrs LaGrange Johnson such a glowing introduction that her son joked to his siblings, "He couldn't be talking about our mother!"

Although she has never met Obama or Palin, the ambassador admires the four candidates. "They are all sacrificing their privacy, putting their lives on the line for their country," she remarks. "I say thank you to these public servants and indeed to those here in Jamaica. I don't think I could do it - I am too sensitive to weather the harsh criticisms directed at political candidates."

Mrs LaGrange Johnson has been enthusiastically working with local inner-city upliftment and education programmes. The USAID-funded Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training (CETT) has been making strides and as a former teacher in her native New York, the ambassador is dedicated to its mission. She has been collaborating with the Prince's Trust on the Rose Town project and at a dinner with Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace this year, assured him that she would continue to participate even after her tour of duty ends.

The US ambassador has also represented Jamaica strongly and positively on the world stage. Last year, just a month after Jamaica was reeling from the blows of Hurricane Dean and a hectic general election, she batted for us in New York City at the prestigious 500 Club annual event.

She assured investors that Jamaica was open for business, quoting from the Doing Business Report that "Jamaica ranked 11 out of 178 nations in ease of starting a business". She cited the examples of "our friend Chris Blackwell who has never stopped investing", Digicel and Joe Lewis of the Tavistock Group who are bullish on Jamaica.

"There is a lot of money to be made in Jamaica," the ambassador told the audience. "You can make a lot of money in Jamaica. A prime sector for big returns is high-end, niche tourism, in specialty areas like retirement, health care and attractions. Wouldn't it be great to re-create the world famous town of Port Royal into a premier cruise destination? Real estate development, financial services, and telecoms are other areas of real promise. The time to invest is now... The early entrants will not only make the biggest difference, but also take home the most profit."

The ambassador told them that Prime Minister Bruce Golding was "the reformist, whom I refer to as the Sarkozy of the Caribbean. He has emphasised an inclusive Jamaican government, in support of the rule of law and checks and balances."

She is impressed by "his amazing ability as a speaker" recalling his address at last year's Caribbean HIV-AIDS conference just a few weeks after he had been sworn in, where he used few notes and "had every statistic".

Mrs LaGrange Johnson dearly wants to see a reduction in crime and expressed respect for National Security Minister Colonel Trevor MacMillan and Commissioner of Police Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin. National security programmes of successive administrations have received substantial support from her government.

She is entranced by the country's natural beauty, especially the north coast, our mountains and, just a stone's throw from the embassy, Hope Gardens. The Ambassador and her supportive husband are continually "selling" Jamaica. They have chosen north coast hotels for a large reunion while their daughter will be hosting over 100 guests here for her birthday party.

In her activities and associations, Ambassador La Grange Johnson believes in putting people ahead of politics - no wonder her friends call her "every Democrat's favourite Republican".

Monday, September 22, 2008

'Let's all calm down'

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Jamaica Observer - Monday, September 22, 2008

The PNP race is over now, and it is a cold-cold Monday morning for the loser. This column went to press before the results were known. I will not hazard a guess since, while the Don Anderson polls were heavily favouring the incumbent Portia Simpson Miller, Mark Wignall's intelligence on the ground was giving the victory to Peter Phillips. The theft of $3 million cash from the vehicle of Mrs Simpson Miller's campaigner Alston Stewart on Thursday was described as "a blow" to her campaign and caused some interesting speculation.

For Bruce Golding, however, the surprisingly strident campaign gave him a bit of a breather and we heard positive feedback about his tackling of various issues. There were glowing reviews of his update to a real estate audience on his plans to reduce the bureaucracy for building approvals, as well as for his speech to police officers last Thursday on his proposed anti-crime legislation. What was refreshing was his candour about the human rights groups that had been objecting to some of the measures. He said in effect that we should expect such objections and that while he was resolute that the current crime situation warranted a tough response, human rights groups were important to an orderly, law-abiding society.

We have to face the fact, that since the beginning of the year over 1,100 people have been murdered, 147 in August alone. It is a national cruelty that even as our athletes were taking Jamaica higher, criminals stayed low and lethal. Clearly, there has to be tougher legislation to deal with these hardened thugs.

We were on hand to hear the prime minister give an update on post-Gustav reconstruction: "We have major challenges - with all the battering from the global recession, oil prices and food shortages, we could have done without this." But he said he was not losing faith. "I believe Jamaica is special in God's mind and heart," said PM Golding as he thanked corporate donors, "and indeed, He is already providing a way out."

His is a dignified voice, contrasting with the aggressive campaigning on the airwaves. Whether one is a JLP sympathiser or not, we should agree that Jamaica has too many challenges to be distracted, and lucky for us, we have a prime minister who is diligently going about the nation's business - his colleagues wonder if he ever sleeps!

It would be ludicrous to blame the current (that's a pun) hardships on the Golding government after one short year in office. Encountering the silt that just a couple of hours of rain had brought down on our street a few days ago, I can only imagine the destruction in our eastern parishes. Add to that the challenges of every single ministry and we get a good idea of what this government faces.

The Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill came together last week to shore up US banks after the disappearance of two venerable giants, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, and a multi-billion bailout of AIG, the biggest provider of commercial insurance and life assurance in the US. In spite of the heated retorts on the campaign platforms, the two political parties were of one mind that their country's economy had to be pulled back from the brink. As CNN's John King commented, "They are saying, 'Let's all calm down, quiet down and figure what we have to do.'"
Can we depend on the Opposition PNP to realise that this is the only way out of our problems? In the past four decades, Jamaica has been stretched between our two parties like a frayed rope in an unending tug of war. We have been subjected to ridiculous grandstanding in our House of Parliament while the nation's business gets dragged out and unnecessarily politicised.

Let us admit that in the one short year since it has taken office, the Bruce Golding-led government has made some significant initiatives: free tuition for high school students and free health care, the reduction of red tape and the fast-tracking of education, transportation, agricultural and tourism projects. There has not been the level of dislocation of lead persons in government agencies that usually happens when there is a change of administration. Just as Huntley Medley, former press secretary for Prime Minister PJ Patterson, has been performing admirably as executive director of JIS, Marcia Forbes is a solid professional who will not allow politics to interfere with her responsibilities as permanent secretary at the Ministry of Mining and Telecommunications.

We should also never forget that it was a PNP government which established the important offices of the contractor general and the public defender, and facilitated wide-ranging amendments to the Representation of the People Act, giving us a gold-standard electoral system. Unfortunately, politicians continuously devalue the achievements of opposing sides, creating dangerous extremists in their camps.

We the people must now tell our politicians, "No more!" Stop the bickering over your little two-by-two square of power and get to work on what the taxpayer expects you to do: find and implement solutions for food, energy and our environment. Stop trucking your supporters to squat on dangerous gully banks and squalid areas to swell your votes. We are looking to you, government and Opposition, to lead us forward, not backward.

So on whatever side the coin fell for the PNP leadership, let that leadership be reminded that they are being paid to see to the needs of their constituents, not to be seen on television every night. The taxpayers who can barely find the means for energy, water, shelter and food are paying you very handsomely to find ways to improve their standard of living. They are suffering while you are profiling.

The visit of Usain Bolt last Thursday to his Digicel "family" was like a sweet respite from the strife around us. It was great to see grown professional men and women transformed into frenetic autograph-seeking "nuh-lingering" fans. This is the pure joy that comes from our drug-free hard-working athletes. We are capable of so much when we come together with clear minds and clean hands.

- lowriechin@aim.com

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rebuttal of CERN's safety arguments

Response to my previous blog:

The Origins of the Universe: A Crash Course by Brian Greene in the New York Times

JTankers said...

Brian Green's article is well written and compelling, but it may not be correct. The safety opposition alleges that CERN is misrepresenting the certainty of safety.

A small number of scientists have analyzed CERN's safety arguments in detail and written papers in support or in rebuttal.

Some of the papers were written at the request of CERN and some were written independently. The independently written papers tend to have a common theme, safety is not known.

Most recent papers reviewing Hawking Radiation conclude that black hole evaporation is fundamentally flawed conjecture. For example anti-matter is energy not anti-energy as Dr. Hawking argued more than 30 years ago.

CERN's particle physicists (micro physics) also use astrophysics (macro physics) to conjecture that cosmic rays of higher energy than the LHC prove safety.

But at least one astrophysicist, senior German Physics PHD Dr. Rainer Plaga argues that CERN's safety conjecture does not prove safety.

Another senior German visiting professor of Physics, Dr. Otto Rössler, author of Chao's theories Rössler Attractor and founder of Endophysics, argues that if the Large Hadron Collider creates slow moving micro black holes they may grow rapidly and pose a threat to Earth in years, decades or centuries.

Former cosmic ray researcher, California math champion and Nuclear Safety Officer Walter L. Wagner first discovered flaws with CERN's cosmic ray safety arguments, he filed suit in US Federal Court to require proof of safety before high energy collisions begin.

The flaw with CERN's original safety argument is that micro black holes created by cosmic rays would all pass through Earth and into space at nearly the speed of light.

Micro black holes created from head-on collisions in particle colliders would travel too slowly for all to escape Earth's gravity.

CERN's LHC Safety Assessment Group acknowledged this fact in March 2008, but changed their theory in the disputed 2008 safety report.

A European lawsuit alleging potential danger from the Large Hadron Collider is also pending.

Support the effort to require a safety conference before high energy collisions might begin in weeks or months at LHCDefense.org.

Learn more at LHCFacts.org
September 12, 2008 7:17 PM

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Origins of the Universe: A Crash Course

Published New York Times: September 11, 2008

THREE hundred feet below the outskirts of Geneva lies part of a 17-mile-long tubular track, circling its way across the French border and back again, whose interior is so pristine and whose nearly 10,000 surrounding magnets so frigid, that it’s one of the emptiest and coldest regions of space in the solar system.

The track is part of the Large Hadron Collider, a technological marvel built by physicists and engineers, and described alternatively as heralding the next revolution in our understanding of the universe or, less felicitously, as a doomsday machine that may destroy the planet.

After more than a decade of development and construction, involving thousands of scientists from dozens of countries at a cost of some $8 billion, the “on” switch for the collider was thrown this week. So what we can expect?

The collider’s workings are straightforward: at full power, trillions of protons will be injected into the otherwise empty track and set racing in opposite directions at speeds exceeding 99.999999 percent of the speed of light — fast enough so that every second the protons will cycle the entire track more than 11,000 times and engage in more than half a billion head-on collisions.

The raison d’être for creating this microscopic maelstrom derives from Einstein’s famous formula, E = mc2, which declares that much like euros and dollars, energy (“E”) and matter or mass (“m”) are convertible currencies (with “c” — the speed of light — specifying the fixed conversion rate). By accelerating the protons to fantastically high speeds, their collisions provide a momentary reservoir of tremendous energy, which can then quickly convert to a broad spectrum of other particles.

It is through such energy-matter conversion that physicists hope to create particles that would have been commonplace just after the big bang, but which for the most part have long since disintegrated.

Here’s a brief roundup of the sort of long-lost particles the collisions might produce and the mysteries they may help unravel.

Higgs Particles

One of the mysteries that continues to stump physicists is the origin of mass. We can measure with fantastic accuracy the mass of an electron, a quark and most every other particle, but where does mass itself come from?

More than 40 years ago, a number of researchers, including Peter Higgs, an English physicist, suggested an answer: perhaps space is pervaded by a field, much like the electromagnetic fields generated by cellphones and radio broadcasts, that acts like invisible molasses.

When we push something in the effort to make it move faster, the Higgs molasses would exert a drag force — and it’s this resistance, as the Higgs theory goes, that we commonly call the object’s mass. Scientists have incorporated this idea as a centerpiece of the so-called standard model — a refined mathematical edifice, viewed by many as the crowning achievement of particle physics, that since the 1970s has described the behavior of nature’s basic constituents with unprecedented accuracy.

The one component of the standard model that remains stubbornly unconfirmed is the very notion of the Higgs’ “molasses” field. However, collisions at the Large Hadron Collider should be able to chip off little chunks of the ubiquitous Higgs field (if it exists), creating what are known as Higgs bosons or Higgs particles. If these particles are found, the standard model, more than a quarter-century after its articulation, will finally be complete.

Supersymmetric Particles

In the early 1970s, mathematical studies of string theory revealed a striking step toward Einstein’s unfulfilled dream of a unified theory — a single theory embracing all forces and all matter. Supersymmetry, as the insight is called, is mathematically complex but has a physical implication of central relevance to the Large Hadron Collider.

For every known species of particle (electrons, quarks, neutrinos, etc.), supersymmetry implies the existence of a partner species (called, with physicists’ inimitable linguistic flair, selectrons, squarks, sneutrinos, etc.) that to date has never been observed.

Physicists believe these “sparticles” have so far evaded detection because they’re a good deal more massive than their known counterparts, thus requiring more powerful collisions for their copious production.

A wealth of calculations strongly suggests that the collider will have that power.

The discovery of sparticles would be a monumental achievement, taking us far beyond Einstein by establishing a deep link between nature’s forces and the particles of matter. Such a discovery also has the potential to advance our understanding of dark matter — the abundant matter that permeates space but does not give off light and hence is known only through its gravitational influence. Many researchers suspect that dark matter is composed of sparticles.

Transdimensional Particles

A tantalizing idea considered since the early part of the last century is that the universe might have more than the three spatial dimensions of common experience.

In addition to the familiar left/right, back/forth and up/down, physicists have contemplated additional directions that are curled up to such a small size that they’ve so far eluded discovery.

For many years Einstein was a strong proponent of this idea. He had already shown that gravity was nothing but warps and curves in the familiar dimensions of space (and time); the new idea posited that nature’s other forces (for example, the electromagnetic force) amounted to warps and curves in additional, as yet unknown, spatial dimensions. Difficulties in applying the idea mathematically resulted in Einstein ultimately losing interest. But decades later, string theory revived it: the mathematics of string theory not only requires extra dimensions but has shown how to resolve the issues that flummoxed Einstein.

And now, remarkably, there’s a chance — albeit a small one — that the collider may find evidence for the extra dimensions. Calculations show that some of the debris produced by the proton collisions may be ejected out of our familiar spatial dimensions and crammed into the others, a process we’d detect by an apparent loss of the energy the debris would carry.

The unknown is just how powerful the collisions need to be for this process to happen, a number itself determined by another unknown: just how small the extra dimensions, if they exist, actually are. The more tightly they’re curled, the harder it would be to cram anything in them and so the more energetic the required collisions.

Should the Large Hadron Collider have the power necessary to reveal extra dimensions of space — to overturn our belief that length, width and height are all there is — that would rank as one of the greatest upheavals in our understanding of the universe.

Micro Black Holes

Now for the possibility that’s generated the fuss.

Recent work in string theory has suggested that the collider might produce black holes, providing physicists with a spectacular opportunity to study them in a laboratory.

The common conception is that black holes are fantastically massive astrophysical bodies with enormous gravitational fields. But in reality, a black hole can have any mass. Take an orange and squeeze it to a sufficiently small size (about a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a meter across) and you’d have a black hole — with the mass of an orange.

Physicists have realized that the collider’s proton-proton collisions might momentarily pack so much energy into such a small volume that exceedingly tiny black holes may form — black holes even lighter than the one theoretically created by the orange, but black holes nevertheless.

Why might one worry that this would be a problem? Because black holes have a reputation for rapacity. If a black hole is produced under Geneva, might it swallow Switzerland and continue on a ravenous rampage until the earth is devoured?

It’s a reasonable question with a definite answer: no.

Work that made Stephen Hawking famous establishes that tiny black holes would disintegrate in a minuscule fraction of a second, long enough for physicists to reap the benefits of having produced them, but short enough to avoid their wreacking any havoc.

Even so, some have worried further that maybe Dr. Hawking was wrong and such black holes don’t disintegrate. Are we willing to bet the fate of the planet on an untested insight? And that question takes us to the crux of the matter: the collisions at the Large Hadron Collider have never before occurred under laboratory settings, but they’ve been taking place throughout the universe — even here on earth — for billions of years.

Cosmic rays — particles wafting through space — constantly rain down on the earth, the other planets and the wealth of stars scattered throughout the galaxy, with energies far in excess of those attainable by the Large Hadron Collider. And since these more powerful collisions haven’t resulted in astrophysical calamities, the collider’s comparatively tame collisions most assuredly won’t either.

Should any of the particles described above be produced at the Large Hadron Collider, from Higgs particles to black holes, corks will rightly pop in physics departments worldwide. But the most exciting prospect of all is that the experiments will reveal something completely unanticipated, something that forces us to rethink our most cherished explanations.

Confirming an idea is always gratifying. But finding what you don’t expect opens new vistas on the nature of reality. And that’s what humans, including those of us who happen to be physicists, live for.

Brian Greene, a professor of math and physics at Columbia, is the author, most recently, of “Icarus at the Edge of Time.”

Physicist: Bolt could have run 9.55 in Beijing

Jamaican set record in Olympics despite showboating for last part of it

updated 10:58 a.m. ET, Fri., Sept. 12, 2008

OSLO, Norway - A physicist has done the math, and says Usain Bolt could have run the 100-meter Olympic final in 9.55 seconds if he had not slowed down to showboat.
“We estimate that he could have finished the race in a time between 9.55 and 9.61,” Norwegian physicist Hans Eriksen said Friday in a telephone interview.

Bolt won the final at the Beijing Olympics last month in 9.69 seconds, shaving 0.03 seconds off the record he set in May.

Eriksen, a physicist at the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of Oslo, said he got the idea to examine just how quick Bolt could have gone after hearing his coach say that the Jamaican could have run 9.52 seconds.

“We saw the final on television and then spent the whole weekend researching,” Eriksen said. “It was fun. We’ve done more serious research work, but this one got far more attention.”

Eriksen and his colleagues analyzed TV footage of the race, focusing on Bolt’s position, speed and acceleration, as well as that of runner-up Richard Thompson.
Both sprinters slowed before the finish line, but Bolt’s chest-beating celebration some 20 meters before the line cut his speed more.

“We don’t mean to say that this is the final and ultimate result,” Eriksen was quoted as saying in New Scientist magazine. “Instead, it’s a fun application and simple physics.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bolt to di worl'! - Ja Observer

Fans squeal in excitement as they reach out to touch the BMW carrying Olympic champion Usain Bolt on Mountain View Avenue in east Kingston yesterday. Bolt, who broke the 100 and 200 m world records at the 29th Olympiad in Beijing last month, came home to a hero's welcome yesterday. Members of Government, including Prime Minister Bruce Golding and minister of sport Olivia 'Babsy' Grange met him on the tarmac at the Norman Manley International Airport and escorted him to the Jamaica Pegasus where he was the subject of press conference. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

Double Olympic champion and World Record holder in the 100m and 200m Usain Bolt gives his now trademark pose after exiting the Virgin Atlantic aircraft on his arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday. At left is Sports Minister Olivia Grange. Bolt received a hero's welcome from excited Jamaicans along the route from the airport to the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. (Photos: Bryan Cummings and Collin Reid)Crowds brave rain to welcome home Olympic champion

Jamaica Observer senior reporter thompsonk@jamaicaobserver.com
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The heavy rains that pelted the island yesterday were not enough to dampen the spirit of hundreds of Jamaicans who lined the streets of Kingston to welcome home Olympic champion Usain Bolt who broke two world records and had a hand in a third at the Beijing Olympics last month.

The skies were black, signalling the fury to be unleashed, but fans were undaunted. For the entire stretch of road between the Norman Manley International Airport and the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston, housewives, grandmothers, pregnant women, professionals, schoolchildren, men, boys and girls stood in the pouring rain, singing Bolt's praises.
Double Olympic champion and World Record holder in the 100m and 200m Usain Bolt gives his now trademark pose after exiting the Virgin Atlantic aircraft on his arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston yesterday. At left is Sports Minister Olivia Grange. Bolt received a hero's welcome from excited Jamaicans along the route from the airport to the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. (Photos: Bryan Cummings and Collin Reid)

Others crowded the corridors and sidewalks outside their offices, congregated on low roof tops or peered through the windows of high rise buildings.

They took time off from work, paused household chores, delayed taking the children home from school and put off their homework. They faced the slanting rain, waded in water which was at times ankle-deep, and many of them trekked all the way from the Palisadoes road to the Pegasus.

"I feel like ah dog wid ten tails," said Jenny Jamieson as she stood at the Harbour View round-a-bout yesterday.

"Mi ah tek mi lunch time now cause mi haffi deh yah so. Mi love Usain Bolt. Him mek Jamaica proud and di way mi proud ah him mi haffi come show mi love," she added, as she paid for a green, black and gold wrist band and a Jamaican flag.
Unlike Jamieson, who took time off work, Joyce Allen, an elderly woman from Yallahs, St Thomas, was home with nothing doing.

"Me hear it on the 12 o' clock news and mi just jump in mi car and come down here," she said. "He's a hero. I have heard so much about him and I just want to see him in person."
And as much as the occasion drew hundreds of fans, it also drew peddlers who made quick cash from the sale of flags, buttons, bracelets, wristbands and even shoes and school bags in the black, green and gold.

"Cho, look how di place black up man. Ah hope him come before the rain enuh," a woman in the growing crowd was overheard saying. She did not have her wish however, as within a matter of minutes, heavy drops sent fans scurrying for cover. Where they did not have rain coats, or where umbrellas where made useless by gusty winds, people used cardboard boxes and pieces of carton or plastic bags.

Then there were others who, apparently caught up in Beenie Man's Heart Attack and Mavado's On The Rock blaring from two vehicles parked nearby, just let the rain soak them.
When at 1:55 pm a van coming from the direction of the airport announced via loud speaker that Bolt's plane had landed, the crowd became ignited, screaming, dancing, shouting. Eager to get the first glimpse of the lankly sprinter, they wandered out into the road blocking traffic from the airport.

By the time the deep burgundy BMW with the word 'Digicel' emblazoned on the hood and back windshield appeared, the crowd was in such a frenzy that the convoy could barely make it through. Fans grabbed onto the sides and jumped onto the hood, trying to get Bolt's attention. Although his car was a convertible, he had to satisfy himself with just an open window since it was pouring.

"Usain, Usain, Usain" chanted a group of students from Donald Quarrie High School.

"To di worl'", others shouted. "Bolt to di worl'".

Buoyed by excitement, the more avid of the fans decided to make the trek to the Jamaica Pegasus where Bolt was to be the subject of a press conference. Some drove, some hitch-hiked, others walked. And all along the route - via Rockfort, Mountain View Avenue, Arthur Wint Drive, Tom Redcam Avenue and Oxford Road - more kept joining.

The Observer caught up with a young man in the vicinity of Excelsior High School on Mountain View Avenue who said he had been following the convoy from the time it left the airport. His white T-shirt, blue jeans and black sneakers were drenched but he didn't seem to mind.

"It more than worth it, baby. It more than worth it," he told this reporter.

Maurice Taylor, an employee of the Companies Office of Jamaica, agreed.

"I wouldn't care if [my bosses are upset that I am out here]. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. This don't happen everyday," he said standing at the corner of Oxford Road and Knutsford Boulevard.

He worked through lunch, he said, so that he could leave early and see history unfold. At 4:30 pm it did.

"This is the second greatest day in history," he exclaimed. "The first was when he broke the 100m record... I woulda like fi bottle da day yah and tek ah sip ah it when mi down," he said, before racing to get "better shots" of Bolt.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Welcome home Usain!!

Welcome home Usain! As I write, the press conference is underway at the Pegasus. There is Usain, sitting beside Prime Minister Golding. He has just enjoyed a tribute from Mavado, moving from his official place to drop a few dance moves and shake the singer's hand.

Now the wonderful Howard Aris, JAAA President is addressing the group. We see the presence of various brands, happy to be associated - the choir Apex in Digicel shirts, Usain in Puma and a welcome sign from Pegasus.

Aris is congratulating Coach Glen Mills - he is mentioning World Champs in Berlin next year, and Korea in two years. "Learning as a nation to pull together to unite" - thank sponsors, Government and media, parents, families, JAAA.

While waiting for the conference the TV stations treated us to footage of the victories in Beijing - so very moving.

Now JOA Pres Mike Fennell is speaking - "created history in so many different ways ...filled with pride as a Jamaican ... in the midst ... Jamaica shone as she had never shone before ... Usain not only an outstanding athlete, but a superb entertainer ... brought the crowd alive ... created a sparkle ... can feel proud of the image of Ja ... no negative, only positive ... all other athletes ... wonderful team effort ... Usain - we're looking for more - you haven't peaked yet."

Minister Grange introduced Mr and Mrs Bolt, manager Norman Peart. Special recognition of Glen Mills and Mark Linehan, Digicel CEO.

Don Anderson: of the 205 Chefs de Missions in Beijing, I am the proudest. Privileged - finest bunch of athletes in terms of discipline, focus - ambassadors - stage was set by Usain - 100m - 2nd night of Track & Field - set the stage - every other athlete wanted to emulate - Usain, you were the catalyst - every 50 years, an athlete emerges - a phenomenon - Usain is a phenomenal athlete. Glen Mills "one of the finest coaches in the world". Silk Market - couple of years ago - people didn't know - but now evening before departure - where are you from - Jamaica - Number One! Capture that and take full advantage. Supremely confident individual - 350 journalists - handled himself well - true diplomat.

PM Golding - Want to say to you - don't need to say how happy, how much joy, excitement, pride you have brought to the people of Ja - not for a long time have the Ja people have been as enraptured, excited - you saw it for yourself this afternoon. What you saw was not organised - didn't plan - real event - Oct 3 - said to the media "a little motorcade" - you have captured the hearts of the Ja people - commanded their love -- banging on the window in love and admiration -- not just that you performed well - you did - Carl Lewis broke now record - 1936 - Jesse Owens - never won an individual - power of Trelawny yam - Jamaica is proud of you - not only are we capable but we ARE the best in the world - started putting together the plans to celebrate - won 7 combined - wish Herb McKenley was in that front row - great pioneers who blazed that trail - smiling with pride.

PM Golding continues ... October - massive salute at Stadium - each Olympian spending time in their own communities - not just a four-day celebration - find a meaningful, enduring way to commemorate our success - institutional dev of athlet in particu but sports in general.

PM: Asafa - we have to honour him too - Usain - you are the best in the world - we are proud of the excitement you have brought - when you win - you have earned the right - whether you want to do "Nuh Linger" or "Gully Creeper" - you have earned it - you have brought that spirit alive - Jamaicans are looking to you - send a message, a signal to our young people - they have dreams but fearful they will not materialise - do everything you can to inspire them - will look at a new generation of energy and purposefulness - tribute to coach Glen Mills - if we have the fastest man in the world coached by a Jamaican, we have the best coach in the world - tribute to parents and family - there is a foundation that was laid - parents - love they have shown - success that all of us can claim - many countries in the world that would want to boast about this - Jamaica has it - God Bless You!

Artist Delroy Haye presents a painting of Bold striding on track.

Babsy's request of Usain - "we want the spikes" -

Bolt speaks: "To the world!" Thank you - can't explain how I feel - glad I came home first - thank everybody - continue to keep Ja on top - working hard to keep the country proud - gave his "Lightning Bolt" move

Q&A - USAIN - re criticism - doesn't matter what people say - I go out there and perform for the people. Word to the gunmen - heard [violence]has slowed down - unity right now - keep positive - work hard - find another way - don't resort to violence - didn't come overnight - takes time to get to the top - take time and you'll get there - two best - Tyson and Asafa "I'm looking forward to it - I'm ready - they're looking forward and I am looking forward - they're coming faster - I have a lot more in me - so I'm looking forward to it . Chilling - just happy to be home. Thank my Coach - You're the Greatest!

Labour shortage? Bring in the Jamaicans

Dudley Reid, who worked as an automotive painter in Jamaica, puts his knowledge into practice at Fender's Autobody & Paint in Kelowna, B.C.
(Jeff Bassett for The Globe and Mail)

An agreement between Okanagan College and the island nation is giving students the opportunity to work in high-demand trades

From Globe and Mail

September 8, 2008 at 9:47 AM EDT
VANCOUVER — As a newcomer to Kelowna, B.C., Dudley Reid often gets asked by curious locals where he's from. When he tells them he's from Kingston, Jamaica, more questions usually follow.

"Tell us about Jamaica," they ask him, since it's a rare occurrence in the city to encounter anyone from the distant island country.

Or at least until now.

Mr. Reid, 38, is among the first of hundreds of Jamaican students to attend Kelowna's Okanagan College, recruited to help fill a shortage of skilled workers in the Okanagan and the rest of the province.

Under an experimental, "interprovincial refresher" program, the college expects to train and find job placements for between 300 and 400 Jamaican students this school year in high-demand trades such as culinary arts, automotive collision repair and carpentry.

The sudden influx of students from Jamaica is bringing cultural diversity to the campus and local work force, which has never before had a significant Caribbean population.

"It's definitely changing the cultural landscape," Okanagan College president Jim Hamilton said. "Certainly as you go around the community, we see many more people of Caribbean origin than we ever did before."

About 16 months ago, the college, which has a full-time student population of more than 7,000, didn't have one Jamaican student, he said.

But since it began recruiting students from Jamaica, a country where skilled labour is high but jobs are scarce, the Jamaican population on campus has started to swell.
The unusual relationship between Okanagan College and Jamaica was initiated by Michael Patterson, a Jamaican-born marketing professor at the college.

Seeing an opportunity to fill the needs of both local employers and tradespeople in his native country, Prof. Patterson believed the college could help bridge that gap.
"It's a win-win," he said, adding that the college is selecting only highly skilled students who will adjust well to life in Canada. "When you take people in with no skill, people who are desperate ... that is where you get problems, and we're looking for a particular type of people coming in."

In June, the college began training the first group of 37 Jamaican students under the program, including Mr. Reid. Two weeks ago, it started training a second group of 40.

Students in the program are screened by the Jamaican government and the college before they can enroll, ensuring that they have at least six years of experience in the field they intend to study. They then attend 16 weeks of instruction at Okanagan College, broken up by 16 weeks of paid work in the field.

At the end of the training, students take a test to earn their Red Seal certification, which qualifies them as journeymen in Canada. They then have the option of applying to become permanent Canadian residents through a provincial program that accelerates immigration for qualified skilled workers.

Mr. Reid, who worked as an automotive painter in Jamaica, has already completed his first eight weeks of in-class instruction in collision repairs. He is now putting that knowledge into practise at Fender's Autobody & Paint in Kelowna.

"It was just phenomenal the training that went on at the college," Mr. Reid said, explaining that he enrolled in the program to further his skills. "I wanted to expand on my own knowledge of what I do, get some formal training and also see how things are done in a [developed] country."

Although living costs are much higher here, Mr. Reid said his current wage of $23 an hour is "quite a bit more" than what he would earn at home.

Like many of the students, he aims to seek permanent residence when he is finished the program, and apply for his wife and eight-year-old son to join him.
His employer, Norm Cross, said he's happy with his trainee as well.

"It's worked out awesome. He's good at what he does for us, and he filled that void of trying to find people," Mr. Cross said. "There's just not a lot of journeymen tradespeople out there."

In the nearby city of Penticton, auto repair shop owner Ray Steinke said he has also found some relief by employing three of the college's Jamaican students.
Mr. Steinke said he had been looking for three years for skilled employees to work at his shop, without luck.

The Jamaican students have jumped right in, performing major collision repairs, painting and just about every other job that other employees do.
There are, however, some minor cultural differences that the students and their employers have had to work through. Most notably, Mr. Steinke said the Jamaicans use different trade terminology, such as "chassis" to describe the frame of a vehicle or "running board" instead of rocker panel.

Meanwhile, the students have had to adjust to the change in climate and lifestyle in the Okanagan.

"I normally love soccer, but where I'm living there's not much of that going on," said one of Mr. Steinke's student workers, Eric Pickett, 28. "Canadians seem to like volleyball and hockey."

Mr. Reid added, laughing: "I'm not getting enough reggae music."

Cultural differences aside, the community has welcomed the fresh pool of foreign students, Mr. Hamilton said.

And the college is already looking to expand the interprovincial refresher program to other Caribbean locales, including Trinidad, Guyana and Antigua, in the coming years.

And Prof. Patterson, who is also an honorary consular of Jamaica, does not foresee any problems assimilating the inrush. He sees Kelowna as merely a hub from which students will disperse to other parts of the province as they enter the work force, avoiding the creation of what he calls "ethnic ghettos" in the Okanagan.

Besides, he added, the students are eager to adapt to life in Canada. "They love it here," he said. "They think this is paradise. They're willing to work hard."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Bolt's 'unprecedented power'

My Mon
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-08-25 08:07

For me, Jamaican Usain Bolt stole the Olympic show with equal doses of blinding speed and youthful exuberance on terra firma.

Just three bursts of unprecedented power were all he needed to eclipse American swimmer Michael Phelps as the poster boy of the Games - and become the evolutionary benchmark discussed at water coolers and wells alike.

But what is more memorable for me is Bolt's laid-back attitude amid the excess of modern sport.

The sprint triple winner waltzed into the Bird's Nest ahead of the 100m final as if he were strolling along a Jamaican street en route to the corner store.

He hurled his oversized frame out of the blocks a few times to limber up only to swagger back and casually kill some time before running the fastest time in history.

No pensive meditation or elaborate drills, just sheer confidence in his explosive legs.

Long enough to appear behind the pack even while his torso was in front over the first 5m, they whipped him out of the blocks and set up the win and 10.69 record time before he was fully upright.

When he did open up, the 193cm flash resembled a Concorde leaving the runway, only the deafening roar belonged to 90,000 incredulous spectators.

Absolutely sure of himself as the fastest thing on two legs with 30m still to run, he then beat his chest as alpha males have always done.

This later earned him a rebuke from the International Olympic Committee boss, Jacques Rogge.

Sure, the aptly named sprinter hammed up some mythical poses and forgot to press the flesh with his rivals immediately after the final, but this is 2008 and who could begrudge the then 21-year-old for some showmanship at that hormonally charged age.

To his credit though, Rogge tempered his criticism with the admission Bolt is fueled more by youthful exuberance than hubris and the acknowledgment he represented another "dimension in the sprint".

And he may well end up in one if he runs any faster. Which is a frighteningly real possibility considering he pulled up in the 100 and tensed up in the final stages of the 200.

Despite his determination to beat the 12-year-old world record set by US legend Michael Johnson, he was still clowning around with cameras beforehand.

He flirted with them, letting the world know who was No 1 from the bowels of the Bird's Nest, before wiping his head with his hands to insinuate "no sweat" and exploding around the wings of the stadium to his second gold.

He then capped off an unforgettable meet by playing an instrumental role in his nation's 4x100m relay gold.

If there was anything disappointing about Bolt's meet it's that he didn't contest the 400m, an event Johnson believes the Jamaican can also break his record in.

(China Daily 08/25/2008 page5)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Newsflash!! Asafa Powell runs 9.72 - second-fastest time ever

Asafa Powell runs 9.72 _ second-fastest time ever _ in 100 meters at Lausanne

By Associated Press
3:09 PM EDT, September 2, 2008

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ Asafa Powell ran the second-fastest 100 meters in the world, clocking 9.72 seconds at the Athletissima Grand Prix meeting on Tuesday.

Powell clocked 9.72 seconds Tuesday to equal the old world record set by fellow Jamaican Usain Bolt in New York last May.

Bolt set the record of 9.69 in winning the Olympic gold medal at Beijing last month. Powell was fifth in that race.

Monday, September 1, 2008

An 'em-Boltened' Jamaica

by Jean Lowrie-Chin
Jamaica Observer
Monday, September 01, 2008

Quick! How will Jamaica take advantage of the huge boost from our Olympics performance? What are the details of the plan? Who will do what and by when? Yes, we are in a hurry to hear these plans unfold. Just as we demanded, "Run Usain, run," we had better get on our golden shoes, pick up the pace and produce the best results.

This effort needs no bandwagoners - we need fast and furious planning committees capable of rolling out not only a four-day celebration, but also vibrant long-term plans to ensure that we remain the sprint capital of the world. We have the gold - now we need the best artisans to make from it a lasting legacy for our country. (The post-Gustav reconstruction will now have to kick in first, but should be no excuse for undue procrastination.)

What a legacy! When we got the estimate for our Beijing trip, we half-jokingly (only half) told our children that they would now have to work and study even harder, because we were about to spend their inheritance. It turns out that Beijing gave them and all Jamaica a legacy far more valuable that any dollars they could receive.

Our great athletes have been featured in a beautiful commercial over the past year, appealing for peace. Watch it again, and look into their eyes. They meant every word. And now they have become the most powerful messengers to our little shottas: a shooting star dies quickly, a real star shines forever. A shooting star has no goal, no aim, no destiny; a real star lights the way for others, takes our breath away in the darkest night and helps to steer our troubled thoughts to shores of hope.

Last Monday, the China Daily ran a big story headlined, "Bolt's heroics arrive just in time". "Athletics got the hero it has been craving for years when Usain Bolt lit up the Bird's Nest with his brilliance," it said. The President of the International Association of Athletics Federation Lamine Diack is quoted as saying that Bolt has had the greatest impact of any athlete in the Games' history: "He is great for our sport, he can help to build up our sport. He was fantastic, we are very privileged to have this."

Chief of Mission for our Olympic Team Don Anderson, said 350 international journalists crowded the media centre at the Olympic Village for a final briefing, clamouring to question Bolt. "Usain handled himself so well that one of the journalists asked if he was a member of Jamaica's diplomatic corps," smiled Don. We heard Bolt being interviewed on CNN and also address the Puma party. This is no airheaded young man - Mr and Mrs Wellesley Bolt, you did a fine job with your son.

We of the negative headlines, we of the violent history, we, Jamaica had a 350-strong press corps hanging on the every word of our athletes, happy to deliver positive headlines for the happiest athlete they had ever met, Usain Bolt.

Behind the scenes, Jamaica Sports Medicine Association representative Pat Lue-Chin said that of the past four Olympic Teams that she has worked with, this team was the fittest. This is no easy level of fitness to achieve: it takes superhuman training to give superhuman results - Usain Bolt's two world records and a third with his awesome teammates, Veronica Campbell's second consecutive Olympic Gold, Melaine Walker's Olympic record, our 100m queens led by Shelly Ann Fraser. I have mentioned the great Glen Mills and Stephen Francis, and I met two other Olympic coaches, Maurice Wilson and Edward Hector, dedicated, unassuming gentlemen.

This Olympic effort has made Jamaica into the biggest little country in the world, and once again demonstrates the power of sports. As I gave a delighted Chinese waitress a Jamaica bracelet ("I will cher-it!" she said with a hand on her heart), I remembered an episode famously named "Ping Pong Diplomacy." A gesture of friendship by Chinese Table Tennis Star Zhuang Zedong who presented a gift to American player Tim Boggan when they shared a bus in Japan in 1971, broke the ice between their two super-power countries. The gesture caught the attention of Chairman Mao Zedong, who decided to invite American President Richard Nixon for an official visit, opening the way for the richest trade relationship in the world.

Jamaica needs no thaw - we have been warm to all nations of the world and now all nations of the world are becoming increasingly warmer to us. So let us be emboldened - or rather, em-Boltened. As he approached the starting block to run his favourite event, the 200 metres, Bolt brushed his head to give a "no sweat" signal. This is the true mettle of the decent Jamaican, who is not afraid of the hard work or close scrutiny.

Fast like Lightning Bolt, let us get going in Jamaica. I agree with Mark Wignall's suggestion to name the stadium in Trelawny in honour of the greatest track athlete of our time. Like the celebration of our first Winter Olympics outing, "Cool Runnings", there is at least one good movie here, though the world would happily embrace a reality show of the athletes preparing for their next outing. We see huge opportunites for sports tourism, races of all lengths for all ages, serious meets and fun runs, original souvenirs which could put money in the pockets of craft workers.

Bob Marley catapulted reggae on to the world stage and still, other reggae greats have not been able to enjoy a secure retirement. Some sportsmen who have kept our flag flying are not doing as well as they should financially. The Bruce Golding-led government has the best opportunity ever - to turn this country around so that those who have brought us glory will never live in penury. The PNP Opposition should allow the country to celebrate and not allow any party battle to rain on our athletes' parade. They ran for one Jamaica - let's give them their wish for peace.