Thursday, May 31, 2012

MIDDLE EAST WRAP: THE FLAME VIRUS

A round-up of the Hebrew newspapers in Israel; covering the major events happening in Israel and the Middle East. Haaretz-Maariv-Yedioth Ahronoth-Israel Hayom-The Jerusalem Post-Ynet-Arutz 7 News-Army Radio-Israel Radio-and Makor Rishon 
On Tuesday, May 29th Israeli newspapers have front-page coverage of the Flame virus, a “cyber-espionage worm” which computer security experts say is designed to collect and delete sensitive information, primarily in Middle Eastern countries.

According to experts at internet security company Kaspersky who first detected the virus, Flame was most likely created by a state actor, and is capable of transferring files, screenshots, audio recordings and keystrokes from infected computers. Kaspersky said this is the “most sophisticated cyber-weapon yet unleashed.” They said the bug had infected computers in Iran, the West Bank, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The company also said that Flame contained a specific element that was used in the Stuxnet worm – which attacked computers used in the Iranian nuclear project and which Tehran blamed on Israel, and which had not been seen in any other malware since.

In Israel’s the first official comments on the virus was from Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon who said cryptically that “Israel has been blessed with a prolific hi-tech sector that opens possibilities in both the business and security fields.”
In an interview done on Army Radio on Tuesday morning, Ya'alon said that several Western countries that possess advanced technologies and see a nuclear Iran as a significant threat could be behind the large-scale cyber-attack that infiltrated thousands of computer systems in Iran and across the Middle East. “Whoever sees the Iranian threat as a significant threat is likely to take various steps, including these, to hobble it,” he said.

Ya’alon agreed with experts’ estimates that only a state could possess the necessary resources to develop such an advanced cyber weapon and noted that Western countries were doing all they could to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. He added that the discovery of the virus, which reportedly attacked 190 Iranian computer systems and hundreds of others across the region, raised awareness of countries’ need to defend themselves from external cyber-attacks. He said that one of the most important decisions passed by the Netanyahu government was the establishment of a national cyber taskforce. “Israel is susceptible to cyber-attacks and is taking measures to protect itself,” said Ya’alon.

The other leading story on all the papers front pages is the announcement by Ankara, Turkey that it has filed indictments against former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and three other former officers who were involved in the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010.

The indictment seeks nine counts of aggravated life imprisonment for Ashkenazi, the former deputy commander of the Navy, Vice-Admiral Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin and former IAF intelligence head Brig.-Gen. Avishai Levy.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon says that the Foreign Ministry's legal department is checking the possibility that the four could be arrested if they enter countries which have extradition agreements with Turkey. Ayalon said that he was doubtful that the indictments would endanger the freedom of the former Israeli commanders in other countries. “They probably cannot visit Turkey, but I believe they can visit other countries. This seems more of a political step than a legal step,” he said.

Yedioth Ahronoth leads with a letter written by 15 regiment commanders who serve in the reserves to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen Benny Gantz, warning that the “government's failures” may soon cause the Reserves to collapse. The letter was sent ahead of a special Knesset session on Israel's reserve forces.

And in regards to the Syrian front, Haaretz leads with an interview with an unnamed leader of the Syrian opposition currently in exile in London, who says that anti-Assad forces in the country know where the regime has stockpiled its chemical weapons and will take control of them the moment that Bashar Assad is overthrown.

And lastly, German President Joachim Gauck began his visit to Israel on Tuesday morning by meeting President Shimon Peres. According to the Times of Israel, Gauck told his host that he shares Israel’s concerns about the Iranian nuclear program and the potential radicalization of the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring. “I understand Israel’s worries, as it is currently still unclear whether the revolts in the Arab countries can last and which direction they may take,” During a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem Gauck said. “My position is clear: the changes in Egypt and the entire region need to lead to more democracy and to the guarding of human rights. Moreover, they need to be combined with a responsible foreign policy, especially toward Israel. I will stand up for that.” In an interview with Haaretz, Gauck said that he views Iran as posing as much of a threat to Europe as it does to Israel.


UPDATE ON BELIZE'S FIRST LADY

Belmopan. Thursday, 31st May, 2012.

UPDATE ON MRS. KIM SIMPLIS-BARROW

Mrs. Barrow remains in the Intensive Care Unit at a Miami hospital receiving treatment for complications with her heart and fluid in her lungs. She is showing signs of improvement and is strengthening. It is expected that Mrs. Barrow will be transferred from the Intensive Care Unit to a regular hospital room in the next couple days. Prime Minister Dean Barrow remains by her side in Miami and is scheduled to return to Belize over the weekend.

The Prime Minister and his wife thank everyone for the continued prayers and support.

Office Of The Prime Minister-Belize

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PRAYER SERVICE FOR KIM SIMPLIS BARROW

The general public is invited to a Prayer Service tomorrow, Thursday, May 31 for First Lady Kim Simplis Barrow in Belize City.

Please continue to pray that the Almighty will watch over her, heal her, comfort her, and give her peace at this time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BELIZE'S FIRST LADY HOSPITALIZED IN MIAMI


Kim Simplis Barrow, you’re in my thoughts and in my prayers. I’m hoping for the very best for you and your family.

Dear Friends, we know that social interactions and humor helps a person to get better sooner from an illness.

Please keep in prayer the First Lady of Belize, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow as she is hospitalized in Miami for complications from breast cancer treatment.

We are praying for you Kim as you face a little difficulty from the outcome of your treatment. We are praying for peace, comfort, strength and a complete and quick recovery.



Photo courtesy: twocanview.com

Monday, May 28, 2012

WIFE OF PRIME MINISTER BARROW, KIM SIMPLIS BARROW, HOSPITALIZED IN MIAMI




Prime Minister leaves the country
Belmopan, 28th May, 2012.

The Office of the Prime Minister informs that Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, wife of Prime Minister Barrow, has had to be hospitalized in response to a complication arising out of her treatment for breast cancer.

Prime Minister, the Hon. Dean Barrow will leave Belize today to be by her side during this time.

During the absence of Prime Minister Barrow, the Hon. Gaspar Vega, Deputy Prime Minister will act as Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Barrow is expected to return to Belize at the weekend. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

CROOKED TREE VILLAGE COMMUNITY AWARENESS MEETING



Dear Concerned Villager of Crooked Tree Village:

Our beautiful village was always known for its tranquillity, peaceful, and easy going people. It was a place where families felt safe, and our loved one abroad looked forward to visit. No doubt the recent events of crime in our beloved village have left all of us alarmed about our safety and the possibility of being the target of criminals.

With this in mind, a group of concerned villagers met and have developed a plan of action. It is our hope that we can all work together and take action as an active community to send a strong message to criminals that we will fight back. We will not allow our village nor our villagers to be easy targets. Together with the Area representative Hon. Castro and the Government of Belize, we can restore the peace to our village.

The safety action committee met with villagers and we would like to inform you of the
following steps we would like to implement:

1. Neighborhood Watch: Look out for each other and report any suspicious behavior in
our neighborhood.

2. Immediate installation of Policemen: Hon. Castro promised two policemen will be
assigned to our village as soon residence is identified. One works day shift and the other
night shift.

3. Commitment to build a police station: this will be approved at the next reading of the
national budget.

4. Life Alert: Install a red bulb outdoors to be turned on in case of medical or criminal
emergency. As long as someone sees your red bulb on, they will come over to check if
everything is alright.

5. Cameras: These will be installed in key areas to monitor activity.

6. Flea Market: this will be held once a month. Anyone can come bring any thing they
have to sell except food. It will be from 6am-4pm at the Cricket field. ONLY SECURITY
COMMITTEE WILL SELL FOOD. Look out for flyers announcing the first Flea Market soon.

7. Security Booth: Every night from 8pm to 5am traffic will be monitored by two special
constables. Any suspicious behaviour will be reported to police. In case of emergency
this will also allow us to lock down the main exit with a chain across the road by the first
bridge.

8. Install special constables: We have permission to train up to 10 special constables. We
will send out flyers inviting men without criminal records to apply for this training. It will
be free.

We need your help! We have done the figures, and we will need the support of the churches, the businesses, the village council, the water board and each household to pay the security men that will be at the security booth. We are asking for a small commitment of $1.00 per week or $4.00 per month from each household, and $5.00 per week or $20.00 per month from each business. We will also request a contribution from the management of the water truck, the gas truck, the soft drink truck, and the chicken truck.

Please print, sign and return the form below to any member of the committee. They can also answer your questions.

Respectfully

Salome T. Tillett

(Members: Steve Perriott, Dean Tillett, Darrel Tillett, Rudy Crawford, George Guest, James Dawson, Dale Jex, Jerry Jex, Tess Dawson, Allen Tillett, PC Donald Gillett, Jr.)


Crooked Tree is my village! I want to help! I will support!

I/We (name)..................................................................................... hereby
make a commitment to help to improve the security of Crooked Tree Village.

I/We are willing to support by making a monthly payment of a minimum of

$.......................... You can send someone to collect from me/us every month.

Print Name of Church/business/family: ..............................................

Sign Name:..................................................

Date: ..........................................................

Thank You

Thursday, May 17, 2012

WEDDING BELLS!

My sister came from Belize yesterday. Her daughter is getting married on Friday in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.


I've been in several weddings and this is the first time I will be going to one on a yacht.

To my niece Clara Wade, I wish you a long and happy marriage. From my experience, I can tell you that the key to a successful marriage is honesty and communications. Be open with your husband even if it is not always what you may want to hear. Once trust is gone, it can take a very long time to regain, if ever at all.

Always be faithful, show respect, and keep the communication line open and clear. When you communicate, clearly explain what is bothering you and then listen to your husband's side without interrupting him. When he is finished, summarize what you heard and empathize even if you don’t agree.

Lastly, keep your sense of humor. “Those who laugh together stay together.” Even when mistakes are made, you need to be able to laugh at each other. Relax, and see you on Friday!!!

Congratulations!! Clara Wade and Andrew Palacios

PRESIDENT OBAMA POP CULTURE TEST: 50 SHADES OF GRAY


President Barack Obama was on The View, where he took a pop culture quiz. Well, the president has never heard of the top selling erotica book, 50 Shades of Grey. What, Mr. President!! This is the book that's saving marriages all across America.
When asked the question, “what is the controversial sex book that’s on millions of women’s bedside tables?” He says that he doesn’t know, but “I’ll ask Michelle when I get home.”
Go out and get it ladies! 50 Shades of Gray. It's changing lives!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MIDDLE EAST WRAP: ODD MIX OF STORIES


A round-up of the Hebrew newspapers in Israel; covering the major events happening in Israel and the Middle East. Haaretz-Maariv-Yedioth Ahronoth-Israel Hayom-The Jerusalem Post-Ynet-Arutz 7 News-Army Radio-Israel Radio-and Makor Rishon 

The front pages of the Israeli newspapers of last weekend was an unusual mix.  

The lead story in Yedioth Ahronoth was a follow-up to the arrest of the mayor of Kiryat Malakhi on rape charges, and reports are that he is also been suspected of sexually abusing more women. 

Haaretz leads with the reaction in Israel to United States President Barack Obama’s support of same-sex marriages, quoting local politicians saying that it will take a long time before gay men and women are allowed to marry in IsraelAnd of the other newspapers lead with the week’s big story – Kadima joining the Netanyahu-led coalition. 

The lead headline in Maariv – which was first reported on Channel 10 on Thursday night – reports that Washington is concerned about the ramifications of Mofaz’s entry into the coalition and that the White House has asked Jerusalem for clarifications – especially regarding the impact of the deal on Israel’s handling of the Iranian threat. According to the report, the United States is worried that Mofaz and his Kadima party’s joining the unity government could result in an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities at any moment.

U.S. officials told Channel 10 that they believe a Likud-Kadima joint government could make a decision about an Israeli attack on Iran at any moment and perhaps even before the U.S. presidential elections in November. The report said that when the Americans believed early elections would be held in Israel in September, they thought it meant the attack on Iran would be postponed at least until after the election. Now, with the stabilization of Israeli politics and the current government likely to end its term on schedule, the situation has changed and the Americans are concerned. According to the report, in order to try and prevent or at least postpone the Israeli decision on the issue, the Americans recently held marathon talks with Israeli officials at all levels.

Haaretz also focuses on Washington’s response to the coalition deal. According to Barak Ravid, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Netanyahu on Thursday and told him that Washington hopes the new, expanded coalition will enable Israel to take steps to advance peace talks with the Palestinians. The Prime Minister's Office published a laconic press statement about the conversation, which said merely that Clinton had congratulated Netanyahu on setting up the unity government. But sources in the U.S. State Department said the conversation went beyond polite congratulations.

According to a senior State Department official, Clinton told Netanyahu that she had been briefed on the main points of his coalition agreement with Mofaz, and she welcomed the clause in which they pledged that the government would ‘advance a responsible peace process.’ She said the United States is ready to support both sides in an effort to achieve a two-state solution.

The report goes on to say that Netanyahu and his advisors finished drafting his letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud 'Abbas this week. The process was delayed somewhat by the prime minister's father's death last week and the subsequent seven-day mourning period, as well as by the fact that the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, was recently hospitalized following a heart attack. An Israeli source said that Netanyahu's envoy, attorney Isaac Molcho, would meet with Abbas in Ramallah next week to deliver the letter. But the document contains no ground-breaking new Israeli proposals: It merely repeats Netanyahu's standard mantra that Israel is interested in resuming negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions.

Israel Hayom runs a two-pronged headline, relating to two of the issues that have been singled out as the new coalition’s greatest challenges: a universal draft law and the evacuation of illegal outposts. The paper says that the draft law will be at the center of coalition discussions next week, but points out that the prime minister has decided not to wait until then to start discussing the outposts.

The prime minister has convened a special deliberation with ministers at his Jerusalem bureau on Friday morning, to discuss the High Court ruling ordering the demolition of homes in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El. Among the ministers attending are two who have been at loggerheads over the settlement issue, Ehud Barak and Moshe Ya'alon, in addition to Benny Begin, who was given responsibility together with Barak to reach solutions to such issues, and the newest cabinet minister, Shaul Mofaz. Also at the meeting was Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

Finally, Channel 10 reported Thursday night that the strained relations between Turkey and Israel may soon be improving. According to the report, behind-the-scenes efforts are coordinated by U.S. officials, who are trying to arrange a meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his Turkish counterpart. One reason for these attempts is the warming relations between Obama and Erdogan. Another reason is that Barak, as well as Mofaz, strongly support normalization of the relations with Turkey.

PM BARROW EXTENDS OLIVE BRANCH TO LORD ASHCROFT

Prime Minister Barrow
Lord Michael Ashcroft
The Dassault Falcon 7X carrying British billionaire Lord Ashcroft had not landed on Belizean soil for a full three years, and with good reason. His million dollar campaign contribution in 2008 to the then opposition United Democratic Party had helped to make Dean Barrow prime minister of Belize, the small, impoverished Central American nation of which Ashcroft had once said, “if home is where the heart is then Belize is my home”. But by 2009, Mr. Barrow had declared Lord Ashcroft – who had once served as Belize’s UN ambassador and been nominated by the Government of Belize for a knighthood – public enemy number one and a “new age colonial master”.

Mr. Barrow nationalized the highly profitable phone company once associated with Lord Ashcroft, enacted ad hominem legislation with stiff jail sentences for anyone seeking to arbitrate against the Belize government anywhere in the world and launched a sustained public relations campaign characterizing Ashcroft, Lord of Chichester, as the enemy of the Belizean people.

It was a risky, reckless move for a country dependent on foreign direct investment and highly vulnerable to external shocks. But Mr. Barrow gambled and rolled the dice, calculating that, if nothing else, expropriation of public utilities would ignite nationalistic fervor and secure his legacy as the great restorer of Belizean pride, dignity and nationalism. In much the same way that George W. Bush framed his presidency with the war on Iraq, so too, Mr. Barrow hinged his first term squarely on the partisan war against the so-called Ashcroft Alliance. Making his rounds on the local radio stations following the taking of the phone company, he declared that if the alliance wanted a war they should “bring it on”.

READ MORE HEREhttp://www.flashpointbelize.com/flashpointarticles/tabid/103/EntryId/141/Ashcroft-Barrow-Detente.aspx

The Prime Minister of Belize Speech delivered on May 12, 2012 at the Radisson Fort George on the 25th Anniversary of Belize Bank. 
Courtesy of twocanview.com



I am happy to have been asked to make some brief remarks on this occasion celebrating the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Belize Bank. That first step ramified, of course, and led later to the establishment of the Belize Bank Group of Companies, so very much a part of the banking and commercial life of our country.

Now twenty five years of unbroken successful operation is an event worthy of note in the life of any business enterprise. But one must also add to this the fact that the Belize Bank has been perhaps the major source of financing for the productive sector in this nation, and that it currently represents some 40% of the banking system. Clearly, then, we are talking about an institution of which, generally, management and staff can be proud.

And there is even more. Because, in truth, the institution is more than 25 years old. Indeed, this 25th anniversary merely represents the length of time during which it has been operating under the Belize Bank name. So that in fact the institution is closer to 110 years old, having been established in 1902 as the Bank of British Honduras. Then in 1912 it became a part of the Royal Bank of Canada, operating as the local branch of this multinational until 1987 when it was bought by the current owners and rebadged as the Belize Bank. It must be with a sense of great satisfaction, then, that the management, staff and clients of this bank look back at its long past, and look forward to its even longer future. 

But pride of place in the financial system of Belize as the country’s largest and oldest bank, also carries a heavy responsibility. Management and staff must work extra hard to maintain that coveted number one position. And that work must be undertaken and that position maintained in a manner that sets an example in the best traditions of banking. This means providing top quality advice to clients; it means speed and efficiency in financial transactions; and it means preserving reliability, confidentiality and, above all, stability. Potential borrowers and investors must be confident that at all times the bank will offer effective, hand-holding guidance. And depositors must equally know that their funds are always being studiously safeguarded.

A banking and financial system occupies a crucial place in any economy, and so special rules are put in place for its management and regulation. And any government will hope for smooth and cooperative relations among the entities serving the business community and general public in the financial sector. Even more important, the state will want to see an ordered and mutually supportive relationship between the financial system players and the financial system regulators. It is no secret, though, that in this regard confrontation rather than cooperation has been, in at least one case, too much the Belizean norm in recent times. This is discomfiting all round and a large dose of shared goodwill is now required to address the problem.

The fact is that the regulator has a job to do, and is given financial oversight authority by the laws of the land. On the other hand, that authority should never be exercised in a bull-in-a-china-shop fashion. Sensitivity, as well as firmness, is required. Now nobody is naive enough to expect that the regulatory relationship will never turn adversarial. But the occasions when this happens must be the exception rather than the rule. And a financial system cannot function properly in a climate of unceasing litigation. A way must, therefore, be found out of this thicket, this briar patch.

Global banking standards of prudence and stability must be upheld, but without imposing requirements on institutions that are impossible for them to meet. Of course, where individual institutions have, through past practices, put themselves in especially difficult positions, they must be prepared to take extraordinary measures to extricate themselves. Again, I reiterate that it is always a question of balance. Matters are not helped by certain negative developments in banking worldwide, which have understandably resulted in a regulatory mindset to err, if anything, on the side of caution. In that context it is hard to get away from the general requirement for increasing capitalization in order to reduce risk. The recent financial crisis has seen governments, including those of the United States and the United Kingdom, injecting previously unheard of amounts of capital into private banks. It is a situation that we cannot afford here in Belize. And it is worth remembering that the debacle abroad was in large measure caused by regulators operating in a light touch, almost laissez faire manner, resulting in grossly inadequate supervision.

But the effort to avoid a replication of that scenario in our country is complicated by a reliance on provisioning arrangements that are no longer effective for non-performing loans. So those arrangements needed to be changed. But not in a way as to suck all the air out of the system, depriving both the banking and business sector of oxygen. It must be clear by now that I am asking for some sort of middle ground between commercial banks and the regulator. And striking the right balance is not nearly as Jesuitical an exercise as might first appear. If the ultimate authority of the Central Bank is respected, and the Central Bank in turn is realistic and flexible, a via media can indeed be found.  Government, as the ultimate custodian of the public welfare, is-needless to say-ready to help. So I declare tonight to the Belize Bank that we fully expect it to partner with us, to use its leadership role, its ingenuity and its resources, to help find a way out of the impasse. And that is the note on which I close, congratulating the bank once again as we look to a new beginning that will signal its continuing success; and the expansion of its large and, we hope, always positive footprint.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

MOTHER’S DAY BELIZE- 2012

Mahogany Hall Resort and Restaurant with a view of the Mighty Mopan River
Here we are again, that special time of the year when we're able to treat all those special ladies that gave us life and a whole lot more. So if you're lucky to be near your mother today, have you thought of what to do for her?

Breakfast in bed may be in order, or a well-chosen gift to show her your appreciation for making you what you are today.

If you’re in Belize and thinking of taking her out for a meal to spoil her, the possibilities are endless. Most restaurants and establishments will be making the most of Mother's Day and will be offering specially tailored meals and packages. Of course, it makes sense to take her to her favourite spot, or you can knock her socks off by surprising her at Mahogany Hall Belize.

Mahagony Hall is located on the banks of the Mighty Mopan River, the trade route of the Mayan civilization in the beautiful Cayo District, Belize. They have a three course menu that will sure to please mom. A glass of Sangria will be served on arrival, paired with shrimp cevichi, a whole baked Mayan fish and a seafood surprise. The home-made  key lime pie or a lime sorbet promises a spectacularly sweet ending to your meal. And all this for only BZ$35.00 with reservation or BZ$40.00 at the door.

Make it a great day out for the whole family! And here's wishing moms everywhere a very happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

BRUSH WITH A PURPOSE: GREG PALACIO'S "HOMAGE TO ANDY PALACIO"

Press Release, Consulate General of Belize, Los Angeles, California, Monday, May 7, 2012 - Although one of his three large size art work on display is that of President Obama and Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Greg Palacio’s painting entitled “Homage to Andy V. Palacio” created the most conversation during the official opening of his exhibit on Saturday, April 28th, at the office of the Belize Consulate in Los Angeles. With family, friends and supporters in attendance, Greg walked his audience through all sixteen pieces of his works emphasizing the motivation for each.
Palacio has received several awards for his work. He has exhibited his paintings in the United States and in Belize, most notably at: The Findings Museum in San Pedro, California; California State University in Los Angeles; the Rialto Theater in Atlanta; Cambridge University in Boston, Massachusetts; Fields Museum in Chicago, Illinois; El Camino College in Torrance, California; the Pasadena Public Library, and the Bliss Institute in Belize. His work can also be found in private collections and in prestigious institutions, as well as gracing book covers, CD jackets, postcards, calendars, and in books.


He was fascinated by the Conch shell artworks of Gifford “Pacado” Lewis, a Belizean local who ornated the shells with paintings. Drawings and paintings of Bill Flores and Halton Fernandez left an indelible expression on him while growing up. And later, the paintings of Benjamin Nicholas and Pen Cayetano inspired him to become a professional painter.


Cultural Desk Chair, Helen Laurie and her committee members Honorary Consul Linda Lewis-Brown and Kim Hernandez made the second of six receptions a successful one.


Greg Palacio's exhibit can be seen during the Consulate's regular business hours up to May 17: Monday through Thursday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Friday, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. The office is closed for lunch from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, on weekends, and during American and Belizean holidays.
President Obama and Prime Minister Dean Barrow

Friday, May 11, 2012

OMC: OH MY CASHEW

Here is what a Cashew Fruit look like

Mmmmm Cashews...now, every time u say cashew MOST  people think of the nut, then again most people don't know the cashew is a fruit and well let's just say it's interesting. 

The greyish, blackish, green color Kidney Bean looking Seed on the top is actually what produces the cashew nut. But wait, don't just grab this thing and eat it now, it's actually very  poisonous and actually needs to be roasted whole outside in the open because while roasting in a big bathe pan (is what traditionally they roast cashews in) the smoke can also cause severe damage to your lungs. You see it is actually a carcinogen...(its bad).
 But, once roasted the nut is shelled and let me tell you it's delicious and the fruit too (we call it the apple). Now, there's the nut that almost everyone in the world knows, but then there's the fruit...what does it taste like? What is the texture? What the hell do you do with it? OK first question, Cashew is bitter & tart and sweet and really juicy ( the juice staines clothes and doesn't come out beware!). Texture? Stringy, but not too stringy, really juicy, and soft kinda like a soft pineapple...NOW, for the fun part...what do you do with the fruit other than stick it in the fridge for it to get cold on a hot day then eat the sucker!

In Belize Cashew apple makes quite a bit of things. Number 1...Cashew Wine. The most deadliest wine in the country if you ask me. Tastes very sweet, kinda like a port. But, be warned her sweetness is an assassin...the drunk sneaks up on you, you don't even realize you are making an ass of yourself before its too late...then the next day when you wake up,  no hangover, but as soon as you drink a glass of water you'll realize, oh shit...you're drunk again...yep, DRUNK MI TWICE! Other than wine we have stew cashew, jellied cashew, cashew cake, and jellies and cashew sweet...oh its good. But this time I said I'm not going to do something traditional. I'm going to invent my own thing from cashew and I believe I've come up with something clever...I mainly did cashew cake as a Challenge from a cousin, Mike sorry, your cake didn't come out good; let's hope this recipe helps you ;)

OK, so now we know a couple things about the fruit so I decided I'm going to make Cashew Juice. Reason? Well I've never seen anyone make a juice from this juice little fruit, and I was curious. So that being said I hope you're curious as well.

CASHEW JUICE
yummmm....
OK so for the juice you'll need:
25 Cashews (few red ones in there can't hurt the sweetness)
Sugar
Sprite/Beer (optional)
blender, strainer, 2 gallon jugs
Directions:
1. Take seeds off the top of cashews (poisonous and raw, remember). Cut up Cashew Apples  in quarters and place in Blender, then blend until liquid.
2. Place strainer over bowl and pour blended liquid into strainer and mash down with the back of a spoon until only cashew pulp remains. Place pulp in a seperate container. Do this twice.
3. Pour the liquid into a gallon container (should be about 1/4 of the gallon full). Add water until it's filled and add sugar to taste.
4. You can add sprite for an extra little fizz in it, but also try half cashew juice and half Beer...AMAZING!
Now, This next recipe is for my cousin Mikey. You asked for a cashew cake recipe. Here you go...this is my own personal recipe. The traditional Cashew cake is more of a pie than a cake...mine is more of a cake. :) 

Cashew Cake w/ Cashew & Ginger Rum Sauce
Ingredients:
6 cups Pound Cake Mix (The one that you just add water, I know, I cheated on this one)
3/4 Cup Cashew Juice (or 75% of water required)
1/2 water ( or 25% of water required)
1 cup cashew pulp ( we saved it when we made the juice)


Method:
1. Mix everything together in a mixing bowl
2. Get 2 loaf pans (small) grease the sides and bottom and then pour in the Mix.
3. You should have 2 cups of pulp; so take a little bit of pulp and just sprinkle on top of cake and bake at 325 F for as long as the box tells you to cook the pound cake.
Cashew Rum Sauce
Ingredients:
1 Cup Cashew Pulp (or the rest of what you have)
1/2 cup Spiced rum
1/2 cup cashew juice
3tbsp Brown Sugar
1/2 TBSP fresh grated ginger
1/2 Stick butter
Sprinkle of Cinnamon 

Method:
1. In a sauce pan on low, heat melted  butter with the cashew pulp. Let it simmer in butter for about 30 seconds then add Ginger and a sprinkle of cinnamon and simmer for another 30 mins.
2. Raise the heat to medium and cook stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Add spiced rum and simmer for 45 seconds; stir in the cashew Juice and brown sugar. Increase the heat to high and let cook till bubbling. Stir for 10 seconds more and then shut off the fire and let cool. 
Now that you've seen the final product I'd like to just say that the cashew & ginger rum sauce would also be very good on pork chops too. I've never tried it, but I probably will pretty soon. 

If you are going to be in Belize and wondering what to do this weekend you might want to try some really good Belizean cashew concoctions and food wonders. Then head on down or up to Crooked Tree Village (about 30 mins heading north on the Northern Highway) Belize. 

On Saturday and Sunday this weekend Crooked Tree will be hosting the Cashew Festival which could be a fantastic time. Go out and experience this wonderful festival, take the family, take the kids. And most of all Enjoy yourself and your food. 

About the author: Tanya Sizzle Mejia is a blogger and Marketing Officer at Bacab Eco Park in Burrell Boom, Belize. You can visit her blog here Tizzle Sizzles 



BELIZEAN WON WHITLEY FUND FOR NATURE AWARD 2012

Hon. Lisel Alamilla receiving award from Princess Royal, HRH Princess Anne

Hon. Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, is one of the recipients of the 2012 Whitley Foundation Awards. She received the Whitley Fund for Nature award from the Princess Royal at the 2012 Whitley Awards Ceremony, held on the 9th of May at The Royal Geographical Society in London.
Alamilla joins six other nominees from countries like Indonesia, Madagascar, Peru, and Costa Rica in competing for project funding worth £30,000 (US$48,480). The honour recognises the Minister’s work to unite and equip the people who live in the Maya Golden Landscape to match development pressures, including population growth, agricultural change and increased demand for natural resources, with protection for the area’s world-class scenery, wildlife and traditions. The Whitely Foundation granted her the funding, donated by the William Brake Charitable Trust, which she has stated to hand over to the Ya’axche Conservation Trust here in Belize.
The San Pedro Sun would like to congratulate Minister Alamilla on this award and to thank her for all the hard work and dedication that she has given to Belize and its people. We are immensely proud of her and this wonderful achievement. San Pedro Sun

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

CROOKED TREE VILLAGE CASHEW FESTIVAL

Cashew Apple
Does the smell of fresh cashew apple excite you? Well, come on down (or up) to Crooked Tree Village Cashew Festival this weekend.

As they say… you can’t keep a good thing down!!!. The Cashew Festival is a combination of an agricultural sho
w, a musical festival, and family fête – all centered around life in Crooked Tree Village at cashew season time.

Special guest appearance: Kenny G and the New Creations Band under the festival tent all day Saturday and Sunday.

There is sure to be something for everyone, from all you city slickers...to adrenaline seekers...to music lovers...to lover of kids.

For the full weekend line up of events, please listen to LoveFM Belize or KREM Belize or get in touch with the Chairman of Crooked Tree Village at e-mail: guestgeorge@yahoo.com or phone 011-501-255-7046

Dates: Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 May, 2012

Times: 7am – 8pm

http://www.villageviewpost.com/2012/04/whats-up-crooked-tree-cashew-fest-time.html


Photos #2 & #3 Tanya Musso

Monday, May 7, 2012

CROOKED TREE SCHOOL SENT 19 STUDENTS TO SIT THE PSE

All these boys here are Crawford's; four are the grand-children of Mr. David Crawford and the last one on the right; the grand-son of Mr. Danny Crawford.


Today students in Belize are the sitting the last two subject for the Primary School Examination (PSE), Social Studies and Math. And Crooked Tree Village will be sending 19 students to sit the examinations. This number is down from last year when 24 students sat and all passing to go on to high school. The PSE  is the conclusion of the 8 years of study and hard work before moving on to high school. The students are tested in the areas of Math, Science, English, and Social Studies.

Ministry of Education states that “the examination seeks not to rank students in comparison to other students, but to report what each student has achieved for individual skills.”

Sunday, May 6, 2012

NEWS FLASH: GOB DENIES PM BARROW HEALTH RUMOR

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
Belmopan, Belize 

The Belize Press Office issued a press release to the general public on Friday, May 4, 2012, regarding the health of the Prime Minister of Belize.


The prime minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, is in very good health and is presently in Miami accompanying his wife for medical treatment, the Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement on Friday.
"It has come to this Office's attention that mischievous rumours have been circulating to the contrary regarding his health. On occasions Prime Minister Dean Barrow has experienced a very common medical condition known as vertigo, which causes dizziness," the statement said.
"He has since had a full check-up and received a clean bill of health," the statement said, adding that Barrow continues a healthy exercise routine and has regular check-ups with his doctor.Three weeks ago, the start of Cabinet was delayed by half hour because the prime minister experienced one such episode. As a precaution, the staff called for a doctor to meet with the prime minister."

THE UK WELCOMES BELIZE-GUATEMALA TERRITORIAL DISPUTE REFERENDA


Jeremy Browne, the Foreign Office Minister for Latin America said on May 4th in a press release, that he welcomed the agreement between Guatemala and Belize to hold simultaneous referenda on 6 October 2013 on referring their territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In a press release Mr. Browne said:

“I welcome the agreement, announced last Friday by the Foreign Ministers of Belize and Guatemala, to hold referenda on 6 October 2013 on the question of referring the Guatemala-Belize territorial dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The UK supports the ICJ route as a means to finding a long-term and sustainable resolution which is acceptable to both states.

“The resolution of the territorial dispute continues to be a long-term priority for the UK. Our finding for the Organisation of American States (OAS) office in the Adjacency Zone, and our contributions to the legal fees fund to assist both countries during the ICJ process, confirm our long-standing support. This agreement is an important step towards increasing stability, development and trade in the region.”

The question to be put forward for the referenda is: “Do you agree that any legal claim of Guatemala against Belize relating to land and insular territories and to any maritime areas pertaining to these territories should be submitted to the International Court of Justice for final settlement and that it determine finally the boundaries of the respective territories and areas of the Parties?”

BELIZE PUBLIC SERVICE AWARDS



PM OF BELIZE MEETS WITH CIVIL SOCIETY IN RESPONSE TO CRIME


27th April, 2012-Belmopan


The Prime Minister of Belize, Hon. Dean Barrow, today convened a meeting with civil society to apprise them of the government’s response to the recent increase in gang-related crime and the heightened tensions in Belize City.  


In the meeting, the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Security, the Director of RESTORE Belize, and CEO in the Office of the Prime Minister presented the latest update on the current police operations to ensure citizen security and the way forward for maintaining peace.  The Government then requested the cooperation and support from civil society to promote peace and to address the underlying social conditions which make our Belizean communities vulnerable to crime.


The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Francis Fonseca, and other representatives of the Opposition participated in the meeting as well as representatives from the religious community, the business community, the Crime Control Council, and the National Trade Union Congress of Belize.  All expressed concern for the current levels of insecurity and all agreed that we need to unite as one nation to tackle crime and to resolve the social conditions which make communities vulnerable.  


The Government of Belize was also represented by the Ministers of the Ministry of Human 
Development, Social Transformation, and Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Anthony Martinez and
Minister of State with responsibility for the Gang Truce and CYDP the Hon. Mark King, CEO in the Ministry of National Security, and the Police Department.


It was agreed that the Prime Minister would convene a meeting with this group of civil society representatives at least once per quarter.  The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to the Leader of Opposition for their solidarity and to all civil society representatives for their cooperation.  The Prime Minister of Belize assures the general public that it will continue to invest all necessary resources to keep Belizean citizens safe and to work with all partners in the united effort to restore law and order and maintain peace.


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