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Robin + Yellowhammer + Bluebird + Quail + Pelican + Mockingbird = New US Covid Variants could be more infectious

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#USA, February 17, 2021 – Not to be outdone, American Covid-19 has since August 2020 been morphing in order to survive and spread and now seven new variants of itself are created; appearing in at least 30 States and taking on the names of birds for easier distinction.

The Q677P mutation impacts a crucial spike protein of the virus, informed a Forbes.com report by Dr. Robert Glatter. The news article published on Monday February 15 also said due to a lack of peer review, the analysis of the variants is conservative though the suspicion is these new variations will be found to be more contagious.

The advent of another crop of more contagious COVID could spell disaster for our friends and family in the US just as the country is experiencing a downward trend in new cases.  It also has the potential to threaten travel once again; the last string of variants elicited border closures and tougher measures for returning air passengers.

In a string of media reports, the world is learning of the mutations and how broadening genomic surveillance will be the truest gauge of the effect of Robin 1, Robin 2, Yellowhammer, Pelican, Bluebird, Quail and Mockingbird.

From the article: “Robin 1 has now been seen in more than 30 states in the U.S., mostly in the Midwest. Robin 2 appeared in early October from a sample in Alabama, confined mainly to the southeastern U.S. Another lineage, named Pelican, was initially identified in a sample from Oregon, but has later been found in 12 additional U.S states as well as in Europe (Denmark and Switzerland), Australia, as well as in India.

Pelican was the first sub-lineage or variant of particular interest to the researchers because it was found in close to 28% of viral samples from Louisiana, and 11% from New Mexico. The remainder of the Q677P sub-lineages each have less than 100 genetic sequences including Yellowhammer, predominately in the southeastern U.S, Bluebird, in the northeast U.S., Quail found in the southwest and northeast, and Mockingbird, located predominately in southcentral and east coast states.”

Almost five percent of the samples collected at GISAID between August 2020 and February 2021 have been the new variants; a total of 2,327.

One expert, Vaugh Cooper, has offered to CNN that the mutation is particularly worrisome because it is  in the region of the novel coronavirus spike protein which is key for how contagious the virus actually becomes.

Some 27.8 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid19 and as vaccination roll out lags behind spread of the virus, it becomes a concern with the United States as the leading and in many respects the only source market for the Caribbean region including the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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International Community must address conflict between Israel and Iran

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

With tensions between Israel and Iran at an all-time high, a United Nations affiliated group is urging for calm and dialogue as their violent actions can cause tragic devastation on innocent civilians.

According to Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an organisation that is dedicated to promoting peace through civilian-led initiatives, “it is a clear indication that the greatest victims of war are innocent civilians. 

How could those lost lives ever be brought back? What could compensate for the outcry of children and the anguish of the youth in devastated dwellings?,” the group noted in a media statement, adding that  the international community should  take “decisive measures” to address the conflict.

It is also advocating for the establishment of “comprehensive international laws” to safeguard peace for future generations. “HWPL remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering dialogue and reconciliation, offering hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israel and Iran,” the group said.

HWPL is a non-profit organisation, with a mission to promoting peace through education, and advocacy. It has a global network spanning over 170 countries. The organisation works to build bridges of understanding and cooperation, striving towards a world free from conflict and violence.

According to reports in various international media outlets, Iran and its militant partners on April 13 initiated a large-scale attack against Israel through launching several hundred ballistic missiles and drones. The international society expressed concerns over the possibility of war between the two states, since Tehran’s direct attack on Israel was unprecedented.

Experts have pointed out that the attack on Israel was Iran’s response to an airstrike on the Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1, which killed seven military advisers including three senior commanders.

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CTO’s Sustainable Tourism Conference Presents Dynamic Study Tours to Promote Sustainable Practices

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The Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC 2024), slated for April 22-24, 2024 in Grenada, will feature a series of exclusive study tours aligned with the conference theme, The 5 Ps – People, Planet, Prosperity, Purpose and Partnership. These tours have been thoughtfully curated to offer participants an enriching and unique opportunity to delve into innovative sustainability practices and glean insights intended to catalyze transformative action for a more resilient and sustainable Caribbean.

STC 2024 is jointly hosted by the Caribbean Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Government of Grenada, through the Grenada Tourism Authority, and will welcome a wide range of participants, including government officials, tourism professionals, environmentalists, members of the media and researchers.

This valuable addition to the conference will allow participants to visit various sites and interact with local communities, gaining firsthand knowledge of best practices in sustainable tourism management, conservation efforts, and community engagement. 

Study Tour Options:

  • The Underwater Sculpture Park/Grand Anse Artificial Reef Tour: Led by Aquanauts Grenada, guests dive into the intricate ecosystem of the Underwater Sculpture Park and Grand Anse Artificial Reef and learn about sustainable practices aimed at protecting and preserving these vital marine habitats.
  • Grand Etang Nature Tour: Dr. Guido Marcelle, an esteemed botanist, guides participants through the lush rainforests surrounding Grand Etang Lake to explore Grenada’s rich biodiversity and gain valuable insights into rainforest conservation efforts.
  • The Rasta Roots Expedition: Immersive Journey into Rastafari Culture and Lands: Led by Ras Ginga, an elder of the Nyahbinghi Tribe, guests experience the Rastafari culture firsthand, learning about organic living practices and farming practices of Grenada’s Rastafari community, complete with a taste of local culinary delights.
  • Mt. Parnassus Plantation and Cocoa Pod Botanicals: Experts Michael Jessamy and Tricia Simon guide participants through the cocoa and spice plantation, uncovering innovative applications of these crops in cosmetics and health products.

The conference’s diverse program, comprising presentations, panel discussions, workshops, study tours and networking opportunities, aims to foster collaboration and facilitate knowledge sharing to advance sustainable tourism in the Caribbean region.

Event sponsors and partners include interCaribbean Airways; Royal Caribbean International; Silversands Grenada; Six Senses La Sagesse, Grenada’s newest resort; and LINK Strategic Partners, an international strategic communications and community engagement consulting firm with offices across the U.S. and in Manchester, England.

 Visit caribbeanstc.com for further information about the conference and registration details. To learn more about the Grenada Tourism Authority, visit puregrenada.com.

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RTCIPF Observes World Down Syndrome Day

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On March 21st, 2024, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force joined the international, regional and local communities in observing World Down Syndrome Day. 

Officers showed their support by wearing brightly coloured and mismatched socks to raise awareness. 

The head of the Safeguarding and Public Protection Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police Grantley Williams, Training Manager Mrs Odessa Forbes and Media Relations Officer Denyse Renne visited the SNAP Centre and interacted with the students.

In a message to the TCI community, the RTCIPF noted that stereotypes perpetuate stigma and hinder inclusion, preventing individuals from reaching their full potential. 

Instead, the RTCIPF calls for individuals to foster an environment of acceptance and support where everyone is valued for who they are. 

By breaking down barriers and challenging misconceptions, we can create a more inclusive society where individuals with Down Syndrome are empowered to live fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to their communities and, by extension, the TCI. 

As law enforcement officers, we must protect and serve all members of society, regardless of their abilities. 

Let’s work together to ensure that individuals with Down Syndrome are treated with dignity and respect and that their rights are upheld.

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