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Blast off!! First Caribbean Mother-Daughter pairing to space

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

 

#AntiquaandBarbuda, August 11, 2023 – The mother and daughter duo from Antigua who after winning tickets through a Virgin Galactic and Omaze sweepstake, went to space on Thursday August 10th, 2023.

They made the trip on Virgin Galactic’s second commercial spaceflight called ‘Galactic 02,’ on the Galactic’s VSS Unity aircraft, and they took off at around 11 am Eastern Standard Time from Virgin Galactic’s launch site in New Mexico.

People from around the world were able to tune in to the launch which was streamed on Virgin’s Website.

Also, the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority had two public watch parties in both Antigua and Barbuda as the country’s first astronauts travelled to space.

The mother is Keisha Schahaff, 46 years old and a health and wellness coach in Antigua, and her daughter, Anastatia Mayers, 18 years old and currently a second-year undergraduate studying philosophy and physics at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

After a successful trip, they are now the first mother-daughter duo to travel to space together, Mayers being the second-youngest person to ever fly out of orbit.

In preparation for the trip, which was around  90 minutes long, they both received hands-on training in New Mexico this past weekend.

Additionally, former British Olympian Jon Goodwin, 80 years old, also joined Schahaff and Mayers, making him the second person ever to fly to space with Parkinson’s Disease.

Hundreds of people came to the watch party at the Antigua Recreation Grounds to see them blast off, which started at 10 am and the support was amazing.

Latrishka Thomas, News Reporter with the Antigua Observer Newspaper gave some insight into what it was like among the crowd.

She expressed that the sense of comradery and patriotism was high and that the waving of the Antiguan flag frequented the event, showing off its beautiful colors.

“The Antigua flag is full of vibrant colors, we just saw a sea of just colors filling the fields, hundreds of individuals just supporting the entire event,” she highlighted.

Thomas further spoke of the excitement which exuded from the people, referencing one person who arrived at 6:30 am, nearly 4 hours before the watch party started.

Additionally, she added that some people said they would never do what Schahaff and Mayers did, but wanted to show up to support and witness the historic event which is expected to “go down in the books for Antigua and Barbuda,” as expressed by Thomas.

The dignitaries who were present at the event were also evidently excited for the occasion, Thomas later stated.

Many dignitaries were present including, Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Rodney Williams, Governor General, members of the opposition, other MPs and  Sir Richard Branson, as well as Jamaican-American Christopher Huie who earlier this year became the 19th Black astronaut.

The Prime Minister, Thomas said, gave a speech as well as Branson, and they exchanged  gifts, as the Prime Minister gave Branson a wooden carving of a boat with Antigua and Barbuda written on it and he, in return, received a model of the spaceship that took the women to space.

Caribbean News

Yellow Fever Outbreak in Region and Beyond, Travellers Warned

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

 

#YellowFever#Caribbean, April 10, 2024 – Reports say there is an outbreak of Yellow fever in the Caribbean according to the Department of Health and official government advice website, Travel Health Pro, and travelers are being warned to be vigilant. The authorities say the outbreak is also in parts of Africa, and Central and South America.

Guyana and Peru so far have seen two cases. Brazil reports the disease in monkeys, an indication that it is spreading across the ccounty. Colombia has seen 3 cases.

In South America, between January 1 and March 18 2024, there have been seven confirmed cases, four fatal.

Yellow fever is spread by mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) and can cause potentially fatal hemorrhagic illness. Fortunately, it can be prevented with vaccination and so the World Health Organisation (WHO) is advising people ages nine months and older, traveling to the affected areas, to get vaccinated.

 

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Caribbean News

Four Year Old Beheaded Trinidad 

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer 

#Homicide#FourYearOld#TrinidadandTobago, April 9, 2024 – Trinidad was left in shock and sorrow with the beheading of a four year old girl, reportedly by her stepfather, early Tuesday April 9, at her home in Arouca, a town in the East-West Corridor of Trinidad and Tobago. The Police informed that when they arrived on the scene, the head of the little girl, identified as Amarah Lallitte, was in one room and her body in another.  

 

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Caribbean News

CariSECURE 2.0 Equipping Youth to Take Charge Against Crime

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Bridgetown, 9 April, 2024 – Amidst rising concerns over citizen security in the Caribbean, a deliberate effort is being made to empower the region’s youth to step into leadership roles and drive change from within. Through a free, online course by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), youth will be equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle pressing security challenges head-on.

The “Youth on the way to Peace and Security” course is being launched regionally as part of CariSECURE 2.0 (CS2.0), which works to reduce youth involvement in crime and trafficking in persons (TIP) in the region. It will run from 16 April – 3 May, with support from InfoSegura.

This course comes at a crucial time when security issues like crime and violence are on the rise in the Caribbean. By the end of the course, participants will have improved understanding of regional security challenges, enhanced leadership skills, and greater opportunity to network with peers and experts around the region, empowering them to take leadership roles in regional conversations and citizen security activities.

Maia Hibben, Project Manager for CariSECURE 2.0, underscored the significance of engaging young people in matters of citizen security.  ” Throughout the life of our project, input from young people has been invaluable,” she said. “Whether it be helping to craft national workplans to reduce crime, developing a roadmap for youth empowerment in the Caribbean, or creating digital solutions to improve crime reporting as planned for this year, youth have proven that their perspectives are indispensable. This course is just another way for youth to strengthen their skills to address regional security challenges.”

By building capacity of young leaders to address security challenges and promote social cohesion, the course contributes directly to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 16, towards Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.

The course will offer lessons in the current mechanisms that impact youth decision making, insight into youth citizen security challenges in the Caribbean, and give practical guidance on the positive roles participants can play in conflict resolution, with complementary webinars, podcasts and practical resources tailored to the English-speaking Caribbean. It is free of charge and open to participants from all backgrounds, regardless of age, nationality, or level of experience. A certificate will be awarded upon completion.

Register for the course by 15 April: escuelavirtualpnud.org/login/index.php?lang=en

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