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Haitian singer Wyclef Jean has penned an open letter thanking President Obama.

Compiled By NAN Staff Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Jan. 18, 2017: Here are the stories making news across the Caribbean, Latin America and its US Diaspora for today, Jan. 18, 2017:


Jamaican police have identified three of the six alleged gunmen who were shot dead Saturday night in a gun battle‎ in the rural St James community of Goodwill, Montego Bay. The men have been identified as Marlon Samuels otherwise called Buju; Dino Pryce alias Shabba; and Oswin Jarrett ‎popularly called Ski Mask. The police say the three were among the most wanted criminals in St James.‎ Police said in a statement they returned fire when they were met with gunshots as they tried to stop a car at a highway checkpoint on Saturday night. Canada’s government warns its citizens to avoid some parts of Montego Bay, namely St. Clavers Avenue and Hart Street, Flankers, Canterbury, Norwood, Rose Heights and Mount Salem.


The government of Antigua and Barbuda has made it clear that none of the allegations made in an article in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper of January 13, 2017, concerning British entrepreneur, Peter Virdee relate to his investment operations there. The government said Virdee’s lawyers released a statement to them saying their client is suspected of being involved in a £100m VAT scam related to carbon trading but their client categorically denies these allegations and has never been involved in carbon trading let alone in any kind of fraud. “While he is happy to co-operate with the authorities he intends to defend himself fully against these allegations and the attempts to extradite him to Germany,” the statement added.


Brazil has seen another prison break. The death toll from a riot in a penitentiary in northeastern Brazil rose to 26 Sunday, increasing the number of prison killings in the country so far this year to more than 120. The riot began around 5 p.m. on Saturday at the State Penitentiary of Alcaçuz, 13 miles from Natal, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, and continued until around 7 a.m. on Sunday, when riot police officers took control of the prison.

The killings reflected the escalation of a deadly gang war that exploded when 56 prisoners were massacred in Manaus, in Amazonas State, on Jan. 1. Four more were killed the next day in another jail in the city and on Jan. 6, after the Manaus massacre, 33 prisoners were found butchered at a prison in Boa Vista in Roraima State, in the far north of Brazil. Four more prisoners were killed in a third Manaus prison after being moved from the site of the first massacre.


A former Haitian senator has to charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. Guy Philippe pleaded not guilty Friday in the Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida. Philippe was arrested on January 5 and flown to the US to stand trial on longstanding charges, after appearing on a Haitian radio show. The case has not yet been set for trial.


Colombian authorities have arrested a former senator for allegedly taking US$4.6 million (3.77 million pounds) in bribes to help Odebrecht SA win a road-building contract, as fallout from a massive corruption scandal continues to bite Latin America’s No. 1 engineering firm.

Otto Bula Bula, a Liberal Party senator until 2002, was tasked by Odebrecht with ensuring a certain number of higher-priced tolls were included in a contract to build the Ocaña-Gamarra highway, Colombia’s Attorney General’s office said late on Saturday. Bula, who was arrested on Saturday, may also have breached foreign currency exchange rules, the statement said. The contract for Colombia’s Ocaña-Gamarra road was awarded to the company in March 2014.


The United States is revoking the so-called “wet-foot/dry-foot” policy for Cuban migrants that has been in place since the mid-1990s. Effective immediately, Cuban nationals who attempt to illegally enter the United States will be subject to removal, consistent with our enforcement priorities. The United States is also ending the special Cuban Medical Professional Parole program. These actions are part of the ongoing normalization of relations between the governments of the United States and Cuba, and reflect a commitment to have a broader immigration policy to treat people from different countries consistently. The Government of Cuba has agreed to begin to accept the return of Cuban nationals who have been ordered removed.


President-elect Donald Trump has warned the United States will impose a border tax of 35 percent on cars that German carmaker BMW plans to build at a new plant in Mexico and export to the U.S. market.

Trump was speaking in an interview with German newspaper Bild, which on Sunday released excerpts of his comments translated into German. A BMW spokeswoman said a BMW Group plant in San Luis Potosi would build the BMW 3 Series starting from 2019, with the output intended for the world market. The plant in Mexico would be an addition to existing 3 Series production facilities in Germany and China.

Venezuela’s government  has slammed the Barack Obama administration’s decision to extend for a second year an executive order declaring a national emergency in the crisis-wracked South American nation.  Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez said Friday’s executive order by the White House cements Obama’s legacy of “hatred” toward Venezuela and constituted a “grave violation of international law” Obama in March 2015 declared a “national emergency” in Venezuela as a prelude to slapping sanctions on seven officials who cracked down and jailed anti-government protesters during a wave of unrest blamed for more than 40 deaths. In extending the executive order for a year, Obama said the human rights situation in Venezuela, including press freedom and arbitrary arrests of opponents, hadn’t improved while corruption was worsening.


The Belize Jaguars ended their game against Panama in their first match of the Central American Cup Friday night in a 0-0 draw.  They, however, lost Sunday night to Costa Rica which scored three goals in the match.


Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean has penned an open thank you letter to President Obama in XXL In it he thanked Obama on behalf of the entire hip-hop community and the country of Haiti.

“…. I know you a real dude. Respect President Obama. Obama out,” he concluded.

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