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  • British national gone missing in Montego Bay

    A British national, 37-year-old Janina Harris of Hattersley, Manchester in the European country, has been reported missing in Jamaica since Friday, March 17.

    Harris is of white complexion, slim build, and is about 165 centimetres (five feet five inches) tall, and walks with a limp.

    Reports from the Montego Bay police were that she was last seen in the second city at about 6:00 p.m.

    This was in the vicinity of Pier One, where she was dressed in an orange blouse, white leggings and a pair of grey heels.

    All efforts to contact her since then have proven futile.

    Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Janina Harris is being asked to contact the Montego Bay Police Station at 684-9080-5, the police 119 emergency number, or the nearest police station.

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  • Gunmen reportedly intercepting calls to taxi companies, posing as cabbies

    Criminals are intercepting calls to taxi companies and pouncing on unsuspecting passengers, a probe by Loop News has found.

    For as little as $2,000, it was revealed, members of the criminal underworld are able to programme radios to hack into the communication system used by hackney carriage companies.

    Gunmen reportedly intercept calls made by the intended victims to the taxi companies, learn the point of pick-up and pounce on the unsuspecting passengers.

    Evidence of this was seen less than two weeks ago when gunmen were able to zoom in on a call made by a woman while she was on the grounds of a well-known taxi company.

    Sources from the company told Loop News that, after intercepting the call, gunmen went to the taxi company, picked up the woman and took her to the Chinese Cemetery along Waltham Park Road in Kingston where they robbed her of her valuables.

    Willard Costly, president of the Hackney Carriage Association, the organization that represents taxi companies that use the two-way radios when contacted, said he was not aware of the development, but said, as a technician, he believed such acts were possible.

    “I cannot say that it is impossible; if a person can buy the radio then they can go and find means and ways to programme the radio, so I know that that would be possible… but to say it is happening, I would not be able to say so,” Costly told Loop News.

    Officials from Spectrum Management Authority (SMA), the national regulator for the radio frequency spectrum in Jamaica, also acknowledged that the development was possible.

    Peter Bartley, representative from SMA told Loop News that act was possible.

    “Yes, it is technically possible if you have the technical knowledge because these radios are available online… so, if you have the money and the technical knowledge, they could be programmed that way,” SMA official Peter Bartley told Loop.

    Radio experts explained that there were encoding schemes on the radios to ensure that only radios using a specific coding scheme could hear communications on a particular frequency, but there could be cases where radios were stolen and persons with knowledge were able to look at the security set-up that the set of radios were using.

    Experts also noted that persons with inside knowledge of the organization could be releasing the data.

    But with the concerns being raised, officials of several taxi companies are advising customers that they could make their own checks to ensure they were taking legitimate taxi cabs.

    A manager at popular company On time Taxi Service said passengers should never try to board taxis that are not marked.

     “Do no board the cab unless the logo is on the vehicle,” the On Time Taxi official told Loop.

     Officials from another company said customers should always try to call back taxi companies they called to verify the name of the driver coming to pick them up and the license plate for vehicles.

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  • Stop consuming corned beef! Gov’t pulls product from shelves

    Gov’t pulls product from shelves, imposes ban on Brazilian imports

    KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries has imposed an immediate import ban on corned beef originating from Brazil.

    The move follows reports from Brazilian authorities that several major Brazilian meat processors have been “selling rotten beef and poultry”. The companies are also alleged to have paid hefty bribes to auditors in exchange for fraudulent sanitary licenses.

    The Brazilian companies implicated by the Brazilian authorities supply 99.5 per cent of the corned beef on the local market.

    Given the gravity of the situation, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda called an emergency meeting this afternoon at the ministry’s Hope Gardens offices, stressing the importance of safeguarding the welfare of consumers.

    Officials from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health, the Consumer Affairs Commission, The Bureau of Standards Jamaica, the National Compliance Regulatory Authority, and the Jamaica Customs Agency attended the meeting. In addition, the ministry has convened a meeting with major distributors and importers of corned beef locally.

    Following the discussions, it was agreed that given the implications for the country’s public health, the following steps are to be taken immediately:

    1. A temporary hold will be placed on all permits for the import of corned beef from Brazil.

    2.  As a precautionary measure, all corned beef currently on the shelves will be withdrawn.

    3. The National Food Recall Committee will meet immediately to determine next steps and inform when it will be safe to consume the product.

    In the interim, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica will conduct chemical test profiles to ascertain the contents of corned beef on the market and the Veterinary Services Division of the Ministry will conduct microbiological and residue tests to ascertain whether contaminants are present in the products on the local market.

    Consumers are also being cautioned not to consume corned beef until further notice.

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  • Quadruple murder at Westmoreland bar

    The Westmoreland police are now probing a quadruple killing which occurred at a bar in the parish Saturday night.

    The identities of the victims have not yet been established.

    Reports are that about 9 pm, the four were at a bar when two men rode up on motorcycles and opened gunfire.

    After the shooting subsided, the four were found suffering from gunshot injuries. They were rushed to hospital where they were pronounced dead.

    More details  later.

     

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  • Concern raised about increased number of Jamaicans being denied entry at US airport

    Concern has emerged among Jamaican officials over a reported increase in the number of nationals who have recently been refused entry at a United States airport.

    Jamaica’s Consul General for Miami, Franz Hall, has cited that a number of Jamaicans who arrived at the Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas, have been denied entry to the US, and had their visas cancelled.

    Speaking on Friday on 'Both Sides of the Story', which is aired on Power 106 FM, Hall said Jamaican authorities are troubled by the development.

    He conceded that immigration officials in any foreign country have the right to determine who they allow into the respective countries. However, he said Jamaica also has a responsibility to ensure that its citizens are treated fairly when they travel abroad.

    Hall's outline follows a case earlier this month, when Veronica Gaubault, a Jamaican woman, complained about treatment she reportedly received at the Hobby Airport.

    Gaubault said US border and customs personnel confiscated and inspected her cell phone, along with a tablet computer and other personal belongings.

    She complained of being held in custody for a period of four hours, and that her US visa was revoked before she was sent back to Jamaica.

    The concern among Jamaican officials relating to increased scrutiny at US airports followed the recent issuance of expanded powers to US border and customs personnel by President Donald Trump.

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