Posted by: lisaparavisini | August 18, 2015

Difficult Return to Haiti


Tens of thousands of Haitians and Haitian-Dominicans have fled the Dominican Republic in response to its strict new immigration policy with many settling in squalid camps in neighbouring Haiti, Reuters reports.

Haitian officials estimate the population at four camps in the south of Haiti is at least 2,000 and growing.

According to estimates, as many as 1 million people originally from Haiti live in Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with its impoverished neighbour.

With Dominicans increasingly intolerant of a growing Haitian population on their side of the border, a 2013 Dominican court ruling stripped Dominican citizenship from children born to undocumented immigrants.

The vast majority of those affected are Haitian.

Following an international outcry, the Dominican Congress passed a law allowing some migrants to apply for residency before a June 17 deadline. The government said last month that 289,000 people who had started the process could stay for up to two years.

For others their stay has been cut short, according to local media. The Dominican Republic deported five people of Haitian descent on 15 August, the Listín Diario newspaper reported.

Returnee Haitians in the camps say they either cut their losses and left with their belongings or were intimidated into leaving.

Without homes to return to, many have settled in camps and depend on food and supplies from aid and church groups. Haitian President Michel Martelly has called their plight a humanitarian crisis.

Frantz Pierre Louis, the general secretary of Haiti’s Southeast Department where there are four camps, says officials will try to resettle the camp residents to their home villages or nearby cities.

Government agencies are surveying people to determine where they are originally from in Haiti.

The camps are growing by the day with returnees and, despite the squalid conditions, impoverished Haitians from nearby cities are beginning to show up too in search of food and supplies.

For the original report go to

Draco & Friends In Concert

Rock singer-songwriter and cancer survivor Draco Rosa has collaborated with his nutritionist on a newly published eating guide and cookbook that includes recipes like “Draco’s Super Juice” and “Miracle Salad,” Judy Cantor-Navas reports inthis article for Billboard.

Rosa wrote the book with Nena Niessen, who, like the singer, has been diagnosed with cancer and beaten it, twice.

“This is a book born of our healing from the terrible disease cancer,” Rosa stated in a release about the book, published in Spanish by Penguin Random House imprint Aguilar. El secreto de la vida a base de plantas (The Secret of Life Through Plant-Based Nutrition) has climbed to the top of Amazon’s Spanish language books alternative medicine section since its release on July 28.

Draco Rosa’s Vida, the 2013 Latin Grammy Album of the year, was a personal as well as professional triumph. The album had been recorded with collaborators including Juan Luis Guerra and Ricky Martin after Rosa was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Rosa underwent a stem cell transplant. Upon the album’s release he was cancer free.

After a euphoric tour of concerts that were, literally, life-affirming for both the artist and his audience, the cancer had returned. Rosa went through another round of treatments, and moved his family and his recording studio to Hacienda Horizonte, the coffee plantation he owns in Puerto Rico.

Niessen who is Nicaraguan and lives in Southern California, is known for her “cooking for cancer” classes. She worked with Rosa to change his own diet during his illness. Now the two “want to spread the word about plant-based nutrition as a fundamental weapon in the fight against illness in general and cancer in particular.” The book outlines a healthy vegetarian diet and a plan for detoxing, and explains the nutritional and medicinal properties of specific plants.

“Having been attacked twice by cancer was a blessing and a new awakening,” Rosa said. “We found the way to healthy eating. We don’t pretend to be doctors, we just want to share what we learned, and the benefits that plant-based eating has given us.”

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | August 18, 2015

Panorama lineup of international films announced for ttff/15


Twenty-five feature-length films from world cinema will screen at the 2015 trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff), which takes place from 15–29 September.

This section of films, known as the Panorama section, is comprised of fiction films and documentaries from around the world, including Trinidad and Tobago’s “heritage” countries and regions, which include India, Africa, Europe, China and the Middle East. There will also be films from Latin America and the USA, and—for the first time—Mauritius.

The lineup includes many prestigious titles from the international film festival circuit. One such film is the Indian legal drama Court, directed by Chaitanya Tamhane, which had a prizewinning premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

Also screening will be the Kenyan LGBT-themed portmanteau drama Stories of Our Lives, directed by Jim Chuchu. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and subsequently screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, both to great acclaim.

Another acclaimed Berlin selection, Anna Muylaert’s Brazilian domestic-worker comedy-drama The Second Mother, will screen at ttff/15. So to will Zhou Hao’s The Chinese Mayor, a political documentary that bowed at the Sundance Film Festival.

Amy, Asif Kapadia’s Cannes-premiering study of the life and death of British singer Amy Winehouse, is also a ttff/15 selection. And Tales of the Grim Sleeper, acclaimed documentarian Nick Broomfield’s investigation of the crimes of a serial killer in Los Angeles, will be presented at the ttff/15 by Broomfield himself, who will lead a masterclass at the Festival.

All of these films, and most of the others in the Panorama section, will be making their Caribbean premiere at the ttff/15. For the full lineup, visit

Today’s announcement of films adds to the lineup already announced for the ttff/15: the opening night film (Haitian documentary Sweet Micky for President) and the feature-length and short Caribbean films screening in and out of competition. The experimental and avant garde films of the Festival’s New Media section will be announced soon.

The ttff celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities. The ttff is presented by Flow and given leading sponsorship by bpTT, and supporting sponsorship by RBC Royal Bank, The National Gas Company, National Lotteries Control Board, Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism, the Embassy of the United States of America and FilmTT.


Echoing artist Miguel Luciano, who reminds us that today is a special day, we say “Happy Birthday, Roberto Clemente!” And just in time for his birthday (born August 18, 1934; died December 31, 1972), the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery will now include an iconic photo of this great figure in baseball history. [Also see previous post Roberto Clemente Birthday and Biography: Remembering Hall of Famer Pioneer, Humanitarian, Puerto Rican Great.] The portrait (shown above via Getty Images) is by Teenie Harris. David Browne (CBS Sports) reports:

An iconic photo of Clemente will hang in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery as part of its “Recognize” series, the institute announced Tuesday. Clemente’s portrait, taken in 1960 by Charles “Teenie” Harris, won a popular vote at Smithsonian online over Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1934, Clemente was a transcendent Latino pioneer in Major League Baseball. He came to the majors at age 20 in 1954 but didn’t gain stardom until his sixth season in 1960, when the Pirates won the World Series. Clemente skyrocketed from there.

He was the first Latin American/Caribbean-born player to win a World Series as a starting player, the first to win be named Series MVP and the first to receive a NL MVP Award. A 12-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, his defense (notably his arm) was as much of a calling card as his bat, though he also won four batting titles. His offensive game seemed to improve as he aged. In his final season, 1972, he batted .312 with an .845 on-base plus slugging.

Clemente’s death is as famous as his life: Known for his humanitarian efforts, Clemente died in an airplane crash on the way to Nicaragua. He was on a mission to aid earthquake survivors. Clemente had been expected to keep playing. And helping others. [. . .]

[Teenie] Harris, who died in 1998, led an unparalleled life himself. A semi-pro ballplayer as a young man, he also co-founded the Pittsburgh Crawfords, a prominent Negro League team, and later became a photojournalist, documenting the lives of African Americans in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh Courier and other publications. The honor of Clemente’s portrait hanging in the Smithsonian belongs to Harris as much as it does Clemente.

As for a moving picture of Clemente’s life, one is said to be in the works. It would be based on David Maraniss’s book, “Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero.” A short and rarely-seen biography — “Roberto Clemente: A Touch of Royalty,” narrated by Jose Ferrer and produced by Donald Fedynak — is heretofore the best-filmed story of Clemente’s life.

For full article, see

bocas brooklyn the word is fresh

As shown above, on September 17, 2015, the Bocas Lit Fest will host an event at the Brooklyn Book Festival (as part of the BBF’s Bookend program) featuring a lineup of exciting new Caribbean poets. Hosted by Nicholas Laughlin (NGC Bocas Lit Fest Programme Director), the event—“The Word Is Fresh”—features Vladimir Lucien, Typhanie Yanique, Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, and Sassy Ross.

For more information, see

marlon-jamesThe Brooklyn Daily Eagle recently announced the six authors chosen for the St. Francis College Literary Prize shortlist. Among them is Jamaican author Marlon James (A Brief History of Seven Killings). The winner of the $50,000 St. Francis College Literary Prize will be announced at the Brooklyn Book Festival gala on September 19 at 6:00pm.

From 130 to six, the shortlist is out for the $50,000 St. Francis College Literary Prize, one of the richest literary awards in the United States. Authors on the 2015 shortlist are:

Paul Beatty, “The Sellout” (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

Maud Casey, “The Man Who Walked Away” (Bloomsbury USA)

Stuart Dybek, “Paper Lantern” (Farrar, Straus, Giroux)

David Gilbert, “& Sons” (Random House)

Marlon James, “A Brief History of Seven Killings” (Riverhead)

René Steinke, “Friendswood” (Riverhead)

The Literary Prize is awarded to a mid-career author for their third to fifth published book. This year’s jury included authors Sigrid Nunez (“A Feather on the Breath of God”), Erin McGraw (“The Baby Tree”) and Daniel Torday (“The Last Flight of Poxl West”).

“Our jurors have selected an amazing collection of books from a diverse group of authors,” said St. Francis College English professor Ian Maloney, who oversees the Literary Prize. “From a satire about an African-American who wants to bring back segregation [“The Sellout”] to a collection of love stories [“Paper Lantern”] to a small Texas town dealing with an industrial hazard [“Friendswood”], these books each have an originality that can only come from a seasoned writer who is honing the craft over time.”

The other three short list books are about two interconnected families set against a backdrop of New York City and mortality (& Sons), a look at the beginnings of mental health care through one man’s journey (“The Man Who Walked Away”) and a story that spins from the attempted assassination of Bob Marley (“A Brief History of Seven Killings”).

“Mid-career authors face an uncertain future. Will they be able to continue writing, or do they need to venture down a different career path,” said St. Francis College Provost Timothy Houlihan. “With the Literary Prize, we take the defiant stand that good authors need to keep writing. The college puts a great effort behind recognizing these writers and celebrating a rich community of literature in Brooklyn and beyond.”

[. . .] In addition to the Literary Prize, St. Francis also hosts a number of events during the annual Brooklyn Book Festival and welcomes authors to campus throughout the year, most recently Junot Díaz, Stephen King, Peter Straub and Alicia Ostriker.

Margaret Atwood will come to St. Francis College on Oct. 9. [. . .]

For original article, see


Fresh Milk Barbados is seeking proposals from artists working outside of Barbados to apply for their international residency program in late 2015 and Spring 2016. Available dates for the residencies to take place are between November 2 – 30, 2015 and February 29 – March 25, 2016. The deadline for applications is October 2, 2015.

Description:This residency aims to support visual artists, writers and curators by offering a peaceful working space for a minimum of 4 weeks for creative production, the opportunity to interface with contemporary practitioners living and working in Barbados, access to the on-site Colleen Lewis Reading Room, the chance to broaden understanding of the work being produced locally and regionally in the Caribbean, and to strengthen international networks and relationships. For more information on the residency, application process and associated costs, please visit our International Residency Opportunity page.

For original call and more on Fresh Milk, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 18, 2015

First-Ever Salamander in Amber Found in Caribbean


Here’s something for Lisa (my co-blogger, who writes on extinctions in the Caribbean)! Scientists from Oregon State University and the University of California at Berkeley have found fossil of a salamander in the Dominican Republic. It is the first salamander ever to be found encased in amber. The researchers have named the creature Palaeoplethodon hispaniolae; they have just published their findings about the new salamander in the journal Paleodiversity. See excerpts below.

salamander-in-amber-2-150817-360Some 20-30 million years ago, a salamander in what is today the Dominican Republic had a very bad day. But its misfortune has sparked a knowledge trifecta for scientists from Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of California at Berkeley. It’s the first salamander fossil ever to be found encased in amber; it’s from a never-before-seen and now extinct species; and it confirms that salamanders once lived in the Caribbean, a place they are not found today.

The crime scene paints a grim picture for the poor salamander, which was just a baby. It got into a skirmish of some kind and had a leg bitten off, and then it somehow became stuck for eternity in a resin deposit.

The scientists were stunned by their find. “There are very few salamander fossils of any type, and no one has ever found a salamander preserved in amber,” said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus in the OSU College of Science, in a press release. “And finding it in Dominican amber was especially unexpected, because today no salamanders, even living ones, have ever been found in that region.”

The researchers, who have just published their findings about the new salamander in the journal Paleodiversity, have named the creature Palaeoplethodon hispaniolae.

The family in which the salamander belonged, Plethodontidae, is common in North America, especially the Appalachian Mountains. But the newly discovered salamander did not have distinctive back- or front-leg toes (see artist’s conception above). Instead, it had a kind of webbing that might have made it a not terribly expert climber, when compared to some species today, the scientists said. As a result, they say, the salamander may have lived in smaller trees or on tropical flowering plants.

The team found its all-star specimen in an amber mine in a mountainous region between Puerto Plata and Santiago. [. . .]

For full article and more photos, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 18, 2015

“MACO Caribbean Living” Magazine Wins Silver Sappi Award


MACO—a leading Caribbean magazine and signature brand of Trinidad and Tobago-based Toute Bagai Publishing—has won several awards through the years, earning ongoing success on the international stage. MACO Caribbean Living highlights luxurious and architecturally-outstanding homes, villas and resorts in the Caribbean, as well as the region’s cuisine, art, gardens, and tourism products.

The highly regarded publishers of MACO Caribbean and the United States-based American Printing Company (APC) have come away with a silver award in Sappi’s 18th annual North American Printer of the Year contest, held recently in Boston.

Regarded as one of the world’s most respected recognitions of excellence in printed communications, the Sappi award recognizes innovation and excellence in print across 10 categories for work produced on Sappi papers. Winners were chosen as the most outstanding print submissions from more than 1,500 entries submitted this year.

A panel of distinguished print professionals selected the winning entries based on the overall impact of the piece, degree of difficulty in printing techniques, and technical excellence. The winners of Sappi’s North American Printer of the Year award competed in a variety of categories, including books, brochures, direct mail and cross-channel communications.

Commenting on the achievement, APC’s Account Manager Jo-Anne Walker said the MACO magazine has proven to be a winner once again: “I am extremely proud of this magazine and thankful for our partnership with Toute Bagai Publishing (TBP). Neysha Soodeen, Simone Gillette and their team of expert graphics professionals continue to pull off the best looking and most engaging printed magazine of its kind.”

“I love it, anyone who gets their hands on it loves it! American Printing Company is thrilled with our silver win in the 2015 Sappi Printer of the Year competition. We are honored to continue to have a spot on the list of preferred Sappi printers,” she added.

NeyshaSoodeen-MACOTBP’s Chief Executive Officer Neysha Soodeen [shown at left] was equally elated with their success, noting the award provides “undisputed proof” that the Caribbean can compete globally in the publishing industry.

“We have won this award almost every year for different titles we produce. Sandals Style, a magazine we produce for Sandals Resorts International, has also won a bronze in the same category, while MACO Caribbean Living has won gold and silver numerous times. It’s testament to our consistency of quality. I am still humbled and honored to have won yet again,” Soodeen said. [. . .]

For full post, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | August 18, 2015

Machel Montano Live in London’s Notting Hill Carnival 2015


For one night in London, Trinidadian soca icon Machel Montano will be live in concert—“On My Way”—with his full band. This will take place during the Notting Hill Carnival weekend, on August 28, 2015, at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo, located at 28 Queen Caroline Street, London.

Clear your diary for the ultimate show-stopping concert set to launch Europe’s biggest street festival, Notting Hill Carnival on the 28th of August 2015 at the Hammersmith Apollo, London. Quite simply the only event to attend come Carnival Friday, straight out of the twin island of Trinidad & Tobago and hooking up with Brooklyn born, Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Angela Hunte, 2014 Soul Train Best International performance act, Machel Montano and full band will be in London for one unprecedented night of music.

Best known on these shores for the 2015 hit single ‘Party Done’ and ‘Like a Boss’ (plus a long outstanding library of hits spanning 33 years with well-known collaborations such as Pit Bull, Boyz 2 Men, Wyclef Jean, Morgan Heritage & Shaggy to name a few), Machel Montano will be performing alongside one of contemporary music’s most celebrated and sought after songwriter Angela Hunte who has written some of the chart topping hits such as Nas (“I Can”) and the 2009 top 10 best song “Empire State of Mind”, by Jay Z featuring Alicia Keys. Adding a raw element to the already impressive line-up, winner of the 2015 St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Power and Groovy Soca Monarch titles, Skinny Fabulous will be present to add an energetic streak to what is already slated to be an epic night. Appealing to the groovy crowd, 2015 International Groovy Monarch title holder Olatunji will be on hand to diversify the night adding his own touch of Afro-centric beats and expert dancing moves to the special one-off show on Friday!

More information at Tel: 0844 249 4300 or web:

Contact for tickets:,, and Morris Roots Salon | 07580 984 975.

For original report, see

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