To say that Rizwan Cheema is badly in need of runs is an understatement.
Following his poor showing of 13 runs in the recent Caribbean Twenty/20 cricket competition in which Canada lost all four of its matches, the Pakistani-born all-rounder has been offered a golden opportunity to showcase his skills in a major Twenty/20 competition.
The hard-hitting 33-year-old batsman and useful slow bowler has made history by becoming the first Canadian cricketer to be selected in an international Twenty/20 pro league.
By RON FANFAIR
Canada will wrap up its International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup Twenty/20 qualifier preparations at home without Australian coach Michael Dighton who is back in Tasmania waiting to secure a work permit.
The former Cricket Australia satellite coach, who took up the Canadian assignment last October, spent the Christmas holidays with his wife and two young children "Down Under" before joining the national squad in the Caribbean for the just concluded West Indies Twenty/20 competition.
He flew back to Australia from Barbados after the series.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: The Barbados-based Fast Caribbean Ltd. has been selected to manage a regional ferry service scheduled to come on stream this year, according to this country's Minister of Transport, Devant Maharaj.
Initially, the ferry will carry passengers, vehicles and goods from its base in Trinidad & Tobago to Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Barbados, though the minister says that more routes will be added once the venture is deemed commercially viable.
"Fast Caribbean Ltd., the Barbados-based consortium, will charter from owners Montrose Global a 112-metre wave-piercing catamaran similar to those operating on the Trinidad & Tobago route," Maharaj said.
TRELAWNY, Jamaica: Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Dr. Wykeham McNeill, says his ministry will be looking at ways to use events such as the recent Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival to draw visitors and increase tourism to the country during weak travel periods.
"One of the things we are going to have to focus on and look at seriously is how we are going to use events more effectively to fill the weaker areas in our tourism calendar...especially during September, October and November periods.
KINGSTON, Jamaica: Finance Minister, Dr. Peter Phillips, expects a drop in demand for Jamaican exports as a result of the fiscal challenges facing European countries and the slower-than-expected recovery of the U.S. economy and the rest of the developed world.
Dr. Phillips' assessment comes just days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its growth forecast for the global economy from 4 per cent to 3.25 per cent in 2012.
The minister said the prospect of a deepening global economic downturn means that Jamaica must find ways to boost its economy.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Michel Forst, the United Nations' independent expert on human rights in Haiti, is currently visiting the Caribbean country to conduct an evaluation.
Forst, who arrived on January 31, will meet with the new Haitian authorities, members of parliament, the national human rights institution, representatives of the peacekeeping force, MINUSTAH, and the UN representatives in Haiti, as well as members of the diplomatic corps and civil society before he leaves on February 8.
GEORGETOWN, Guyana: The government has launched a new initiative to woo Guyanese in the diaspora back home in an attempt to boost tourist arrivals by 20 per cent.
The government recently unveiled a "Festival of Colours" package that centres on the country's Holi/Phagwah festival that takes place from March 2 to 9.
Minister of Housing and Water, Irfaan Ali, said this was the first in a series of tourism packages to be unleashed under the "Rediscover Home" Tourism Initiative.
"We are targeting overseas-based Guyanese directly, to come home to rediscover and enjoy the cultural activities in their home... Towards this end, there will be a package available for the week-long activities," Ali said.
By EUGENIA LAST
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Home and self-improvements made on the 5th and 6th will make you feel better about your life and who you are. A change will lift your spirits. Network on the 7th and 8th, and you will encounter an interesting way to utilize your skills. A partnership can help you further your knowledge, experience and goals. Not everyone will be happy with your work or your choices on the 9th and 10th. Before you finalize a decision, review the consequences that are likely to result. Someone you respect will be able to give you a different perspective on a plan you have in the works on the 11th. A compromise may be all it takes to set your plans in motion.
If you are in your fifties and female, you may have cause for concern as you approach the next decade in what would become your retirement years. Women traditionally live longer than men and earn less over their lifetime, leaving them more dependent on government-issued pensions.
In a few weeks, the Stephen Harper government, in its annual budget, is expected to expand on Harper's recent comments in Davos, Switzerland regarding Canada's aging population and changes to the country's Old Age Security (OAS) system.
The word is already out that the government is looking at moving the pension eligibility age to 67, up from the current 65, although those receiving their pension - or close to doing so - will not be affected.
Actresses in Conversation
In celebration of Black History Month, the Canadian Film Centre and Clement Virgo will host an evening in conversation with actresses Pam Grier and Jennifer Beals who will explore their personal experiences and the position of Black actresses in the film industry. The discussion will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 2, at Cineplex Varsity and VIP Cinemas, 55 Bloor Street West, Toronto. Tickets are $20.00 and proceeds go to the CFC Diversity Scholarship.
Tickets can be purchased in advance through T.O. TIX in person, online at www.totix.ca or at the venue the night of the event.
Jamaican Film Screening
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