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Ticks thriving since Ivan

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Your beautiful furry dog may have become the home of hundreds of parasites since Hurricane Ivan.

Ticks are rampant in Grand Cayman at the moment.

‘Everyone is complaining about them,’ said Ms Dione Scotland-Rivero, Veterinary Technician at Island Veterinary Services off Walkers Road. Some dogs have even had to be treated for anaemia the parasites have sucked so much blood out of them.

The dry conditions on Grand Cayman since Hurricane Ivan have provided ticks with good conditions in which to live and they are thriving, said Mr. Steve Smith, owner of Truly Nolen Pest Control.

Ticks are parasites that suck the blood of dogs, cats, horses, goats or cattle. Adult females of some species lay about 100 eggs at a time. Others lay 3,000 to 6,000 eggs per batch. Six-legged larvae hatch from the eggs. The brown tick commonly found on Grand Cayman grows into a big bulging grey parasite filled with blood.

Some pet owners are even experiencing tick infestations in their homes. and Truly Nolen is getting more calls every day from people with this type of problem.

Dealing with a parasite infestation of this type can be problematic as it involves treating the areas the animal frequents along with the animal.

‘The pet needs to be treated with a chemical dip,’ commented Mr. Smith.

‘The inside of the house also needs to be treated, especially the carpets, and the yard needs to be sprayed with chemicals.’

Depending on the severity of the infestation and the area involved, it can take more than one treatment by a pest control company to solve the problem. But afterwards, if the pet gets re-infested it is important to have it re-dipped, especially if the animal roams off your property.

According to Mr. Smith, the ticks can lay eggs in the early stages of their development and these consist of very fine brown looking dirt. The eggs can be layed anywhere: in the animal, or even in your carpet.

Island Vet recommends use of a monthly topical application product such as Frontline or K9 Advantix to try to control the parasites. This, used in conjunction with a good flea or tick shampoo is recommended. Animal dips are also available from Island Vet if other solutions are not working.

‘We know it’s difficult, but we recommend to our clients that they keep up the treatments to their pet and if they have any questions to call us,’ said Ms. Scotland-Rivero.

Some ticks are known to carry illnesses, such as Lyme Disease which can be transmitted to humans, but it is not believed that these types of ticks are present in the Cayman Islands.

Rats climbing the walls after Ivan

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Some residents are experiencing some very unwanted guests in their homes following Hurricane Ivan – rats!

For one local resident watching a dead rat fall from a hole in her kitchen ceiling down onto the kitchen floor is an experience she does not want to relive.

The lady had first heard scuttling in her roof about a month after the hurricane. She then started to smell faeces and alerted her landlord who had traps laid in the roof to kill the rodents. It was a rat in a trap that fell through the ceiling, and another dead rat has been caught in a bedroom. The rats have still not all been killed.

Explains Mr. Steve Smith of Truly Nolen Pest Control, ‘Rodents can get into a house through any opening: if a roof blew off and if the hurricane blew out the vents in the eaves. Many rodents were displaced during the hurricane and they are looking for food and water so make sure your house is secure if you want to avoid getting any.’

Mr. Smith said his company has killed a lot of rodents since the storm, including some in people’s rooftops.

If they are not eradicated from a house when the first signs appear they can multiply and be very destructive, chewing furniture and wires, he said.

Two methods of killing rodents are generally used: the laying of bait to poison them, or glue traps which stop them in their tracks.

‘The problem with bait is that they can die in an area you can’t get to, and then you’ve a dead rat problem,’ he said.

Depending on the population of rats involved, it can take from three days to a week to get rid of a rodent problem professionally.

Guidelines from the Department of Environmental Health state that various conditions can lead to rodent problems including: careless disposal of garbage and dumping of refuse, open discharge of kitchen wastewater, derelict vehicles, overgrown vegetation, dilapidated buildings and discarded pet food left outside.

Signs of rodent infestation include: droppings, gnawing, urine odour, rub marks along walls, burrows in ground and sightings.

In order to rodent-proof your home you should have tight fitting doors, use metal collars around coconut and fruit tree trunks, repair all holes in floors and walls and remove overhanging branches within close proximity to your home.

DoEH facts state that one healthy pair of rats can produce 15,000 offspring in one year. Rats can carry diseases such as plague, leptospirosis, trichinosis, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever and many more.

Report any rodent signs in your area to the Department of Environmental Health.

Text messaging made easier

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Cingular Wireless customers in the Cayman Islands can now send text messages to all of their friends and family with wireless phones in the Cayman Islands.

Adding to the cross-carrier SMS agreement signed with Digicel in June, Cingular Wireless Cayman Islands customers can now send text messages to Cable and Wireless customers as well, states a Cingular press release.

The SMS Interconnect agreement signed covers all of the Caribbean markets where Cable and Wireless currently does business. These markets include; Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis,
St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Turks and Caicos.

In addition to being able to send SMS messages to Digicel and Cable and Wireless customers in the Caribbean, Cingular also provides the ability to send and receive SMS messages to more countries around the world.

Since the launch of International text messaging in June of 2004, Cingular has more than doubled the number of supported carriers. Cingular customers can now exchange SMS messages with 137 carriers in 74 countries around the world.

‘This is yet another example of the data leadership offered to our customers in the Cayman Islands by Cingular Wireless’, said Raul Nicholson-Coe, Cayman Islands Cingular Wireless GM.

‘Being able to send SMS messages to anyone in Cayman, regardless of the carrier, is important for our customers and we’re glad to have taken the lead on making this happen. With this last barrier now removed, we believe SMS will become even more popular in our islands.’

Saturday sale for Asian tsunami victims

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Beyond the Horizon, a Grand Cayman shop specializing in Asian art, jewellery and furniture will hold a giant sidewalk sale Saturday at its Galleria Plaza location.

Thousand of items will be up for sale and all money collected on the day will be donated to local charity group Cayman Loves Children.

Cayman Loves Children announced last week that it is forwarding all donations received in the month of January to aid groups working in the field with Asian tsunami victims.

‘We get all of our stock from Asia so obviously we feel very upset about this disaster,’ said Ms Tara Parker, owner of Beyond the Horizon. ‘We will put absolutely everything we have in our warehouse up for sale and the prices will be very low. Every penny that we are paid Saturday we will give to Cayman Loves Children. We want to sell everything we have and we want donations. These are beautiful pieces, not junk. My husband [Mr. Tim Parker] and I feel that this is the best way we can help in this terrible situation.’

Ms Parker said none of the warehouse stock is storm damaged. Included in Saturday’s sale will be pottery, artwork, jewellery, bed throws, clothing, kitchen ware, textiles, cushion covers and much more. The items are from many Asian countries, including India, Indonesia and Thailand.

The sidewalk sale begins this Saturday at 10am and lasts until 5pm. Beyond the Horizon is unable to accept credit cards at this time. Local checks will be accepted. For more information about the sale, phone 946-1498.

The official Cayman Loves Children website is at www.caymanloveschildren.8k.com and donations may be mailed directly to Cayman Loves Children at PO Box 30383 SMB, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands.

The current tsunami death toll is some 150,000. More than 5 million have been left homeless, an estimated one-third of those are children.

Murder charge dropped

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Two people accused of murdering Chad McAllister Bush in broad daylight last 14 February have had the charge against them dropped.

In Grand Court yesterday afternoon, Senior Crown Counsel Adam Roberts advised that Attorney General Sam Bulgin was no longer proceeding against Royden Isaac Robinson, 26, and Sven Brett Connor, 24.

The case received much publicity for two reasons: the death of Chad Bush, 27, was the second fatal shooting in three days in an area of George Town known as Central, and both Robinson and Connor are prisoners who were on a work release programme 14 February (Caymanian Compass, 1 March).

Mr. Roberts advised the court that Mr. Bulgin felt an explanation was needed for entering a formal declaration that the Crown is not continuing the prosecution.

Mr. Justice Alex Henderson gave permission.

Mr. Roberts then detailed the background to the charge, which was laid in February on the basis of evidence obtained from several witnesses.

‘The nature of the evidence gathered included circumstantial evidence as to the relationship between the deceased and one of the defendants and material evidence from a witness. That material evidence was as to the planning of and motive for the murder, the execution of the murder and as to certain admissions made,’ Mr. Roberts said.

On 9 September, however, one of the defence attorneys involved sent a fax to the Legal Department. It was a statement dated 2 August and signed by the material witness before a justice of the peace.

‘In this statement the witness indicated that the material information previously given to the police was untrue. According to the witness, the story was made up against the men because she was upset with one of them, who was her boyfriend at the time. The witness also indicated a refusal to testify in court or to amend this new statement,’ Mr. Roberts said.

He noted that 9 September was the date of advisories to prepare for Hurricane Ivan, so the fax was filed and the file put into storage.

After the hurricane and the Legal Department’s move from the Tower Building to new quarters, the matter resumed. In November the witness gave another statement saying that her August statement was true and correct.

The Crown took the view that, because of the seriousness of the situation, further inquiries had to be conducted to determine ‘whether the witness had been influenced, threatened or forced in any way’ to make the retraction statement.

On 20 December, ‘after discussions with the Commissioner of Police and the Legal Department, the witness was contacted by police. She provided a further statement stating that the retraction statement had been given of free will and without force, threats or influence,’ Mr. Roberts said.

‘In the absence of the evidence from this material witness, there would be insufficient evidence to establish a case to the requisite standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt against these two defendants,’ he summarised. ‘The Crown is therefore forced to discontinue the case by entering a nolle prosequi (the formal declaration). The case simply cannot proceed without this witness.’

Mr. Roberts told the court that, because of the seriousness of the matter, the witness will face criminal prosecutions for providing false information to police.

Robinson was represented by Attorney Laurance Aiolfi; Connor by Attorney James Austin-Smith.

Mr. Justice Henderson told the defendants that the charge had been dropped and they were free to go. But it was not immediately clear what their status is.

When they were first brought to court on this charge, the Crown Counsel at the time explained that Robinson had been sentenced in 2000 to 14 years for attempted murder. Connor was sentenced in 1999 to 15 years for manslaughter.

A separate Compass story, based on an interview with the Director of Prisons, explained that an inmate becomes eligible for parole after serving one-third of his sentence and can be considered for work release one year before parole consideration comes up.

The fatal shooting of Chad Bush occurred shortly after 3pm on 14 February, less than 48 hours after the fatal shooting of Joseph Alexander Williams. When the matters first came to court, it was alleged that the second killing was to avenge the first.

The two defendants charged with Joseph Williams’ murder went to trial last month. Damean Dwayne Seymour and Matio Romario Dinall had the charge against them dismissed after the judge found there was no case for them to answer (Compass, 13, 20 December).

Serious crime pledge made

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Methods of investigating and prosecuting serious crime will be re-examined, Attorney General Sam Bulgin announced at the opening of Grand Court yesterday.

He also spoke of the need for a witness protection programme and public education. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, in his address, also remarked on an aspect of the matter.

Mr. Bulgin began by acknowledging ‘the occasional upsurge in certain violent crimes’ during 2004. He described them as ‘incidents that have not only sent shock waves through our community but also stretched the resources of law enforcement agencies.’

He said commendable efforts had been made to bring the perpetrators to justice. However, he was unable to report that the efforts were ‘as successful as we would have wished.

‘This means, therefore, that as a matter of priority the methods of investigating and prosecuting of some of these matters need to be revisited in order to ensure that the confidence of the public in the capacity of its public servants to investigate and prosecute serious crime continues to be at the highest level,’ Mr. Bulgin continued.

He then announced: ‘To this end, all related agencies have pledged to re-examine their approach in the coming year to determine and identify any weaknesses in the various systems and to discuss strategies to enhance crime fighting abilities.’

As to evidence in a case, Mr. Bulgin mentioned both scientific evidence and witness evidence, but emphasised the latter.

‘There is clearly a need to provide witnesses with any necessary protection and the related need, where possible, to support eye witness evidence with scientific and forensic evidence.

‘Commensurate with this is the desire to further sensitise the public to respond to the call for greater community participation in solving crime. Such participation has to be committed and whole-hearted,’ Mr. Bulgin pointed out.

‘It is no good for persons to be giving statements to the police and shortly thereafter to give another statement totally retracting what was initially said. The causal circumstances for such conduct needs to be examined.’

The Chief Justice, whose address will be reported in detail later, commented that several cases had been adjourned on short notice or abandoned because of the absence of witnesses.

He said judges believe that the witness subpoena system works best when the investigating officer remains responsible throughout a case for getting witnesses to court. The judges looked forward to discussing the matter with the Commissioner of Police or his designate as soon a s possible.

Grand Court opens with pomp, circumstance

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The ceremonial opening of the Grand Court for 2005 took place yesterday, with Chief Justice Anthony Smellie inspecting a police guard of honour outside the Law Courts Building before speeches in the courtroom.

These speeches touched on significant events of the past year and concerns or plans in 2005.

As is the custom, proceedings began with Attorney General Sam Bulgin moving the motion for the opening of the court session. Attorney Charles Jennings, president of the Law Society, seconded the motion, as did Attorney Wayne Panton, president of the Caymanian Bar Association.

Senior member of the bar Ramon Alberga QC was also invited to speak before the Chief Justice addressed the gathering.

All speeches will be reported in a later issue of the Caymanian Compass.

Airport shutdown

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A fire engine of the George Town Fire Station overturned near the runway of Owen Roberts International Airport at 10.03am Wednesday, temporarily halting all air traffic to and from Grand Cayman. According to a source at the fire station, a junior driver with 10 years experience with the service was driving the water-laden truck near the runway and tipped over when negotiating a curve. The driver, who was the only person in the vehicle at the time of the accident, was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital by ambulance with what was described as minor injuries. The truck involved was about five years old. New trucks cost about $1 million. Photo: Alan Markoff

Richards is named Acting Solicitor General

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Senior Crown Counsel Cheryll Richards has been appointed to act as Solicitor General, following the departure of Mr. Kurt Defreitas from that post.

Attorney General Sam Bulgin announced the appointment during the opening of Grand Court yesterday. He said Mr. Defreitas had moved on to become Attorney General in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Mr. Bulgin described Ms Richards as ‘an experienced and highly motivated counsel’ and expressed confidence that she would serve well.

Ms Richard is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica. She worked for several years in Turks and caicos, coming to Cayman’s Legal Department in September 1996.

MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Beyond the Sea’

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One of the most genuine tributes ever offered by one artist to another, Kevin Spacey’s “Beyond the Sea” tops the retro fever that has revived Bobby Darin.

Spacey, the actor whose love of Darin’s music began with his boyhood LPs and his late mother Kathleen’s enthusiasm for the singer, stars as Darin. He does a remarkable job singing like him (close enough for a good cigar), and also directed, produced and largely wrote a movie that despite “bio pic” touches is sincere, hip and very entertaining.

OK, the snag issue: Spacey is 45. Darin, who achieved fame as a wet-lipped rocker and then Sinatrafied swinger in his 20s, died at 37 in 1973. Close-ups remind us that Spacey is not boyish. But since Darin disliked his looks (and much of his “Dream Lover” phase), and was a show baby far past his years in talent and attitude, let’s all cut this ultimate Darin fan some slack – and enjoy his enjoyment.

Spacey is a zappy guy. He slaps down the age issue at the start with a quip, when Darin (this is fantasy) makes a career retrospective that opens up his memories. Music powers almost every scene.

Age does squeak when Darin moves from his “Splish Splash” and “Mack the Knife” fame to filming “Come September” with virginal beauty Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth, radiant yet no mere cutie). It was typical of the bravo Darin to make a play for Dee’s mother first as tactical maneuver, but when Spacey performs this ploy (amusingly) the mother does seem more like fair game.

The film tells how Walden Robert Cassotto became hit-maker Bobby Darin, tried to become folk singer Bob Darin, then returned to the clubs and casinos that were his true home before dying of congenital heart illness. Bobby rose from sick kid (appealing William Ullrich) in a scrape-along New York family thick with secrets: He idolized the mother (Brenda Blethyn) who was, as he found only much later, actually his grandmother, while his “sister” Nina (Caroline Aaron), whom he often treated badly, was his real mother.

Spacey traces these Freudian knots with some juiced performances (including Bob Hoskins as Nina’s dog-loyal husband, and John Goodman as agent Steve Blauner). It’s both real and sentimental filler. He takes a very retro bounce off Darin’s film career (the Oscar moment is a peach), and packs in the Darin songs to dramatize episodes, as when the courtship of Dee soars along to “Beyond the Sea” (overtured by Charles Trenet’s original, “La Mer”).

There is much crafty blocking on stage sets, and the atmospherics are good for an American idol movie shot mainly in Germany, using German financing. Some dance numbers, while fun, are rather laid-on, and certain life passages ring as deluxe updates on “This Is Your Life” (itself restaged). Darin’s arrogance and sexual piracy are perhaps under-served.

The argument will be made that Spacey is too much a cool customer, that he (born Kevin Spacey Fowler) isn’t Italian and lacks the volatile “show beast” force that made Darin’s stardom such a hot projectile. But he certainly digs Darin, all the way, and deep empathy with a role (united with talent) counts for a lot in acting.

It is curious that Spacey’s touring stage show as Darin has more of the pure Bobby voltage, the club fever. But the film is also a work of devotion and guts. Though pushed along quickly on a trim budget, this is a stunning salute, for Spacey’s love for Darin’s music and his “gotta play the Copa” era is so keen that “Beyond the Sea” surfs on pure affection.

A Lion’s Gate Films release. Director: Kevin Spacey. Writers: Kevin Spacey, Lewis Colick. Cast: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Bob Hoskins, John Goodman, Caroline Aaron, Brenda Blethyn and William Ullrich. Running time: 1 hr., 58 min. Rated PG-13. 3 1/2 stars.

East End shelter closed

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The East End shelter has closed with many of its residents relocated to the government-owned Lyndhurst Apartments.

A total 29 people were being housed at the East End Civic Centre, which shut its doors 20 December. Fourteen people were moved to Lyndhurst, with rental accommodations found in West Bay and North Side for the remaining shelter residents. East End was the last shelter to remain open following the passage of Hurricane Ivan 11-12 September.

Deanna LookLoy, head of the Department of Children and Family Services, said housing still needs to be found for at least 75 families – more than 160 people – throughout the districts who are registered as homeless. Some remain with family and friends while others are in homes that are not fit to live in.

‘We still know of people living in situations that aren’t the best.’

The department is doing assessments of these families and is working with the housing sub-committee of the Cayman Islands Recovery Operation (CIRO) to secure proper accommodation. Some will be housed in the trailer homes that are being brought in as temporary housing, a project spearheaded by CIRO. Cabinet has approved the purchase of 75 trailers. Ten are expected to arrive by the third week of January.

Another two units at Lyndhurst Apartments will be available soon as Public Works is nearing completion of repairs.

LookLoy said a pressing concern is finding housing for four elderly East End shelter residents who are currently at Sammy’s Airport Inn under nursing care. They were relocated to Sammy’s with residents of the Pines Retirement Home who have since returned to the long-term care facility.

LookLoy said the Pines may be an option however it’s still undergoing renovations.

Digicel throws Brac party

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In the first quarter of 2005, Digicel plans to extend pre-paid roaming to other countries, including the US, according to CEO JD Buckley.

He said Digicel already provides roaming to pre-paid customers in other Digicel islands and in the UK, the first telecommunications company to do so.

Mr. Buckley spoke to the Caymanian Compass at the Digicel party on Cayman Brac, held in conjunction with their exclusive dealer on the Sister Islands, Kirkconnell’s Market, and also CB Power and Light Company. He claimed that, nine months after their launch in this country, they are the No. 1 mobile operator in the Cayman Islands and this holds for Cayman Brac also. This is a goal they had reached earlier than their 12-month aim, he said.

Digicel was the major sponsor for the party outside Kirkconnell’s Market Tuesday 21 December, which included bouncy castles, cotton candy and face painting for the children, free dinners for everyone, a free raffle and lots of prizes.

Business on Cayman Brac has been going very well since Digicel’s launch on the island 3 March, said Mr. Buckley.

‘We’ve seen a fantastic appetite for Digicel services and phones. I firmly believe that Cayman Brackers are really excited about the company. Digicel has fulfilled a need that existed prior to the liberalization of telecommunications in Cayman,’ he claimed.

International rates have been reduced to 20-cents per minute in evenings and weekends for calls to the US, Canada, Jamaica, UK and Ireland and, for the month of January, they are offering special ‘Digi to Digi’ call rates of 5-cents per minute after the first three minutes, instead of the regular 10-cents per minute, across all three islands.

Digicel shares three towers with Cable and Wireless on Cayman Brac and has one of its own. On Little Cayman, the telecommunications company shares the government tower. These are built to withstand major hurricanes, and identical towers on Grand Cayman stood up well to Hurricane Ivan, said Mr. Buckley. The issue for providers was the amount of water brought by the storm damaging equipment at the base, he said.

Lactation expert on island

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Jacqueline Smith recently passed the annual Board Certification examination offered by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and is listed with the National Registries as a Registered Lactation Consultant. An IBCLC or Registered Board Lactation Consultant is identified as a member of the health care team possessing specialized skills and knowledge in lactation management and is qualified to provide skilled technical breastfeeding assistance to mothers and babies experiencing breastfeeding problems, states a press release.

Ms Smith was Cayman’s first Physical Therapist and she established the Physical Therapy department at the George Town Hospital in 1975. She went into private practice in 1980, and owned the Island’s first private physical therapy business, Cayman Nautilus Fitness and Physical Therapy Centre. She is the country’s first Certified Doula with the prestigious Doulas of North America, CD(DONA) and is also the first Lamaze certified Childbirth Educator, LCCE.

She owns and operates RVC Rehab Services, a complete rehabilitation and fitness centre, and Nurturing Birth Experience…before during and after, where she maintains her private/hospital based practice and assists many mother-baby pairs a year.

Ms Smith decided to obtain the IBCLC credential because she has become increasingly recognized on the island for her expertise in providing breastfeeding assistance, and took on the challenge of providing a professional credential to her clients. ‘Being certified by the three gold standard organizations in the world, DONA, LAMAZE and IBLCE gives me great confidence in my dealings with families. I now have the evidence-based information to help my clients make informed decisions about anything to do with birth, baby care and breastfeeding. I just love anything to do with babies and the birthing of a family!’

IBLCEs include nurses, physicians, dieticians, educators, midwives, social workers, lay breastfeeding counsellors and physical and occupational therapists. IBCLCs are ideally skilled to help provide quality breastfeeding care, develop and implement protocols, improve lactation knowledge and skills of other staff and assist their facilities in becoming accredited under the UNICEF Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.

A new car for Desmond

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Mr. Desmond Williams was the winner of a 2004 Ford Explorer from the Jewel of Cayman Lodge premises in Newlands. The Lodge thanks those involved and those who helped to make the event a success.

Chelsea beats Boro

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LONDON – Didier Drogba scored twice in the first 17 minutes and Chelsea boosted its lead to seven points atop the English Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

While Chelsea stretched its unbeaten string to 13, Manchester United escaped with a 0-0 draw against Tottenham after referee Mark Clattenburg declined to allow an 89th-minute goal that television replays clearly indicated crossed the line.

The disputed non-goal came when Man United keeper Roy Carroll allowed a long-range shot from Pedro Mendes slip through his hands. He scrambled to retrieve the ball, but not before it was about a meter over the line.

Tottenham manager Martin Jol called the disallowed goal ‘a disgrace.’

‘This was two foot (over the line),’ said Jol, who said officials were not in position to see the play.

‘I can understand it, but it’s still a disgrace playing football in 2005. We have so much technology in the world and in football you have to watch this after the game. It’s a pity.’

Arsenal also settled for a draw – 1-1 at Highbury against Manchester City. Freddie Ljungberg got the equalizer for the Gunners in the 75th to salvage a point after Shaun Wright-Phillips scored in the 31st. With 16 games to play, the results improved Chelsea to 55 points, seven more than Arsenal and 11 better than Manchester United. Fourth-place Everton is 12 back with 43 points.

Man United manager Alex Ferguson also acknowledged Mendes’ shot was a goal and called for more technology.

‘It just adds weight to the point about technology and cameras,’ Ferguson said. ‘I think most people in the game have seen that the progress that has to be made in the game is in television cameras, and I think that proved it tonight.’

‘That could have put them 1-nil in front and won the game for them.’

In two other Premier League games, it was: Birmingham City 1, Bolton 2; Everton 2, Portsmouth 1. In the League Championship – the old first division – Wigan defeated Wolves 2-0.

No. 1 USC wins

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MIAMI – Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart threw a record five touchdown passes Tuesday and the University of Southern California overwhelmed Oklahoma 55-19 in the U.S. college football championship.

The Orange Bowl win assures the Trojans will end the season just as they started: No. 1.

‘I think we proved tonight that we are the No. 1 team in the country without a doubt,’ Leinart said.

The much-anticipated battle of unbeatens, No. 1 vs. No. 2, turned into a coronation for USC, which had to settle for a share of the national championship last year after being left out of the Bowl Championship Series title game.

‘We didn’t expect it to be this easy, but the game went our way from the beginning,’ USC coach Pete Carroll said. ‘I was a little surprised.’

That was no consolation for unbeaten Auburn, the odd team out of the BCS title game this season.

The Tigers (13-0) stated their case with a 16-13 victory over Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl on Monday night and could have done no worse than Oklahoma against Southern Cal. But they finished second in the final Associated Press poll.

USC became the first team to repeat as AP national champions since Nebraska in 1994-95 and joined Florida State in 1999 as the only teams to go wire-to-wire from preseason to post bowls – as No. 1.

‘I think they’re great, and they sure proved it,’ Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. ‘We just got whupped.’

The Trojans wrapped up their 2003 national title three days before the BCS championship game by beating Michigan 28-14 in the Rose Bowl.

USC won’t have to wait for their trophy this season.

With the aide of four Oklahoma turnovers, the Trojans (13-0) ambushed the Sooners (12-1) with 38 points in the final 20 minutes of the first half.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville was on hand to witness the rout in a game he believed his team should have been playing in.

‘It’s a little empty feeling,’ Tuberville said of being at the Orange Bowl. ‘You want to have some kind of recognition.’

The first meeting of Heisman winners couldn’t have been more one-sided. Leinart set an Orange Bowl record with his five scoring tosses and Jason White spent another BCS title game running for his life.

Oklahoma’s Heisman winner finished 24-of-36 for 244 yards with three interceptions and two touchdowns.

Leinart was 18-of-35 for 332 yards and he had the USC band playing ‘Fight On’ all night. The laidback Californian who replaced Carson Palmer became the first Heisman winner to win a national title since Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997.

Leinhart looked nothing like the overrated quarterback for an average offense as Oklahoma defensive end Larry Birdine described him.

He tossed four scores in the first half as the Trojans turned an early 7-0 deficit into a 38-10 halftime lead.

And when the demolition had ended, the Trojans bounced and danced their way to the locker room, grooving in the end zone as Outkast’s ‘Hey Yeah’ blared through Pro Player Stadium. Meanwhile, the Sooners trudged off having already allowed more points in a bowl game than any team in school history.

Leinart shrugged off Birdine’s comment and played great in what could be his farewell to college football. The junior could be a top pick in the next NFL draft.

He also got plenty of help. The Trojans reached a season high for points and turned the game into a USC highlight reel, with Leinart making pinpoint passes and his receivers making spectacular catches.

Steve Smith caught an Orange Bowl record three touchdown, LenDale White ran for 118 yards and two scores and the USC’s defense smothered Oklahoma’s freshman sensation Adrian Peterson.

Peterson, the Heisman runner-up, managed just 82 yards on 25 carries.

Market Watch

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Shares of Continental Airlines Inc. plunged more than 10 percent and other carriers’ stock also fell after the Houston-based airline reported disappointing revenue numbers for December to cap another money-losing year.

Butterfield donates

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Butterfield Bank recently donated $3,460 to The Pines Retirement Home to assist its elderly residents who were displaced after Hurricane Ivan and lost much of their basic comforts. ‘Each year in lieu of an employee gift exchange at Christmas, we donate funds to a charitable cause, and the Bank matches whatever amount we raise. It makes us happy to continue this tradition and to be able to give something back to The Pines this year in particular,’ said Rhonda Serrano, Butterfield Bank’s marketing officer. Shown are Manager of The Pines Sue Nicholson, Pines Resident Sylvia Connor and Marketing Officer Rhonda Serrano presenting the Bank’s donation. Photo: Submitted

More help coming

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Two ships full of Marines and heavy equipment steaming toward Sri Lanka were diverted due to reduced need for aid, officials said Tuesday, and instead bolstered the U.S. task force off western Sumatra, the area hardest-hit by last week’s tsunami. But the highly sensitive nature of the U.S. relief mission in southern Asia was highlighted when a spokesman for Sri Lanka’s rebels, the Tamil Tigers – considered a terrorist organization by Washington – said that the troops were being sent as spies to help put down their insurgency.

U.S. officials insisted that the diversion of two ships had nothing to do with the Tamil Tigers’ allegations, and that rerouting the USS Bonhomme Richard and the USS Duluth followed the Sri Lankan government scaling down its request for help.

Child traffickers

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Indonesia Fearing child-trafficking gangs will exploit the chaos of the tsunami disaster, Indonesia has slapped restrictions on youngsters leaving the country, ordered police commanders to be on the lookout for trafficking and posted special guards in refugee camps.

The moves this week come amid concerns by child welfare groups such as UNICEF that the gangs – who are well-established in Indonesia – are whisking orphaned children into trafficking networks, selling them into forced labor or even sexual slavery in wealthier neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Singapore.

‘I’m sure it’s happening,’ said Birgithe Lund-Henriksen, child protection chief in UNICEF’s Indonesia office. ‘It’s a perfect opportunity for these guys to move in.’

Such trafficking, if true, would vastly deepen the suffering of children already struck hard by the disaster: Indonesia estimates 35,000 Acehnese children lost one or both parents in the disaster.

Fueling the suspicions, many Indonesians are getting mobile phone text messages this week inviting them to adopt orphans from the tsunami-savaged province of Aceh on the island of Sumatra. The messages are being investigated by police.

It’s not clear whether such messages are pranks, real adoption offers or linked in some way to trafficking networks. The Associated Press was unable to get through to phone numbers given on two of the messages. But child welfare experts warn the messages could be a sign that children are being removed from the province, reducing their chances of being reunited with relatives or surviving parents who may be searching for them.

Rumors about possible trafficking are widespread in Indonesia, but officials concede they have little hard evidence of specific cases yet.

Still, a disaster on the scale of Asia’s tsunami catastrophe is a perfect breeding ground for such traffic, experts say. Hundreds of thousands of people have been driven from their homes, children have been separated from their families and the deaths of parents leave their offspring especially vulnerable to criminals.

Making matters worse, the hardest hit area in Indonesia – Aceh – is not far from the port city of Medan and nearby island of Batam, which are well-known transit points for gangs shipping children and teenagers out of Indonesia.

‘This is a situation that lends itself to this kind of exploitation,’ UNICEF director Carol Bellamy told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. ‘Our concern here is … whether these children are frankly turned into child slaves, if you will, or abused and exploited.’

‘They could be put to work – domestic labor, sex trade, a whole series of potential abuses,’ she added.

Bellamy said it was not clear whether any children already had been trafficked, but she couldn’t rule it out. Such smuggling did not appear to be widespread and UNICEF and other agencies were working hard to make sure it didn’t become a bigger problem, she added. Indonesian officials were already taking steps.

The government has temporarily banned Acehnese children under 16 from leaving the country, and national police chief Gen. Da’i Bachtiar said Monday he had ordered provincial commanders around the country, especially in and near Aceh, to be alert to possible child trafficking.

He said police had also placed officers in some Aceh refugee camps, where they were urging people to be skeptical of anyone claiming to be from a charitable group aiding children or saying they are related to an orphan.

Indonesia’s chief detective, Lt. Gen. Suyitno Landung, said police were aware of rumors and news reports that some children had been taken from Aceh, either by traffickers or well-meaning people wanting to find families for them.

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