KINGSTON, Jamaica – Dance has long been a potent force among the arts in Jamaica, with pioneering companies such as Rex Nettleford’s National Dance Theatre Company holding a mirror up to society and promoting Caribbean culture.

Now students are taking the genre to a whole new level with powerful, socially relevant performances.

The island’s top high school, Campion College, is one of the institutions leading the way. Now in its seventh season, the school’s Dance Society performed to packed audiences in Kingston in July with its “Roots” production, which addressed issues such as violence against women and the challenges young people face in building confidence and self-esteem.

Comprising riveting choreography, vibrant costumes, ingenious stage sets and an eclectic selection of music, the show at the landmark Little Theatre also marked Jamaica’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Since 2013, Jamaica’s Met Office has been using its Climate Predictability Tool (CPT) to forecast ‘below average’ rainfall or drought across the island. The tool has allowed this northern Caribbean island to accurately predict several dry periods and droughts, including its most destructive episode in 2014 when an estimated one billion dollars in agricultural losses were incurred due to crop failures and wild fires caused by the exceptionally dry conditions.

In neighbouring Cuba, the reputation of the Centre for Atmospheric Physics at the Institute for Meteorology (INSMET) is built on the development of tools that “provide reliable and timely climate and weather information” that enables the nation to prepare for extreme rainfall and drought conditions as well as for hurricanes.

MONTREAL – Reports here say as a surge of asylum-seeking Haitians fleeing the United States amid increasing deportation fears is overwhelming Canadian immigration agencies and has forced the opening of the massive Olympic Stadium in Montreal to temporarily house some of the refugees.

PRAIDA, a government-funded immigrant-support program in Quebec, said it received 1,200 new requests from refugees in July, almost four times the normal monthly total, according to USA TODAY.

“It’s unheard of,” PRAIDA leader Francine Dupuis told the Montreal Gazette.“In 30 years, I’ve never seen this kind of volume or intensity.”

Dupuis said most of the new arrivals are Haitians who fear their temporary resident status in the US will be revoked, reported USA TODAY on Friday.

LONDON – Usain Bolt lost a race. Then he lost another one.

Bolt settled for the bronze medal Saturday in the 100-meter final at the world championships in London, his final competition as a professional track star, according to the athlete himself. It’s the first time in his illustrious career that he’s been beaten in the event’s final at the world championships, or the Olympics for that matter. (He did false start at worlds in the 2011 and was eliminated from competition.)

It’s also the first time Bolt has ever taken home bronze in the 100- or 200-meter event (he placed second in the 200 meters in 2007). Earlier Saturday, he finished second in a semifinal race, also a first for the eight-time Olympic champion. He was still widely expected to turn it on one last time.

Instead, the United States swept the top of the podium, with Justin Gatlin grabbing gold in 9.92 seconds. Christian Coleman took silver in 9.94. Bolt finished 0.01 seconds back, in 9.95 seconds.

Gatlin, who at age 35 has long raced in Bolt’s shadow, reacted emotionally to the victory, letting loose a guttural roar as he saw the result flash on the scoreboard inside London Stadium, where he finished third at the 2012 Games.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Government is hoping that the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) scheduled to be held here from August 17-27 will help take a bite from the crippling foreign exchange deficit.

With some 3,000 artistes from 27 countries expected here for the festival, Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley said it was important to recognize that the cultural industries can bring in much needed foreign exchange.

The authorities anticipate that the refurbished Daphne Joseph-Hackett Theatre, along with the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, will be a CARIFESTA legacy.

Lashley said some people were already expressing interest in using the refurbished buildings, which could then result “in a viable way to build our foreign exchange earning capacity.

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