JMMB Group, the regional financial group of companies, has reported $1.12 billion in net profit, which is a 17 per cent increase year-over-year, for the first quarter of 2019. Additionally, the group recorded $5.84 billion in operating revenue, which reflects a 25 per cent uptick over the corresponding prior three-month period. The group’s performance was largely driven by growth in its core business operations, namely: net gains on securities trading; foreign exchange trading gains; fees and commission income; and net interest income. Net gains on securities trading increased by 35 per cent to $2.16 billion, due to an improved outlook for emerging market assets, which resulted in increased trading activities. In addition, foreign exchange trading gains also saw a noteworthy increase of 45 per cent, over the prior year, or $230 million, amounting to $744.67 million. This growth in foreign exchange trading gains was driven by increased trading volume and growth in regional markets. Furthermore, fees and commission income grew by 53 per cent, to $736.67 million; spurred by the significant growth in managed funds and collective investment schemes (CIS) across the JMMB Group. The company also saw a six per cent increase in its net interest income, totalling $2.20 billion, as a result of the strong growth in its loan and investment portfolios. JMMB Group CEO, Keith Duncan, in commenting on the group’s performance over the first quarter, said, “The credible financial performance that we have been able to achieve, reflects our commitment to building out our integrated regional financial partnership strategy in a deliberate way, and underscores our strategic thrust centred on: increased efficiency and effective capital management; improved client experience, in addition to growth of our core revenue and efficient management of cost.” The group said it continues to focus on extracting operational efficiency and synergies from all its entities, placing increased focus on the standardisation of its core operating platforms; processes in a bid to yield greater efficiency and improved client experience. JMMB is aiming to standardise its technology systems and platforms, policies, processes and products across all its banking business lines, over the near term. At the same time, JMMB saw an increase in its operational expenses, over the corresponding period, by 15 per cent, amounting to $3.84 billion. This growth was largely attributed to the continued build-out of commercial banking services in Jamaica, and the expansion of JMMB Express Finance (JEF) in Trinidad & Tobago, which opened its fourth branch in Arima, since launching in September 2018. JEF’s expansion reflects the increased market demand for the financial solutions provided by that consumer financing subsidiary, which seeks to leverage financial solutions predicated on financial inclusion, a fair price and quick response. Expenses were also driven by project-related activities, centred on process optimisation. At the end of the first quarter, the JMMB Group’s asset base totalled $351.39 billion, an increase of $31.35 billion, or a 10 per cent increase, compared to the start of the financial year. This increase was as a result of the larger loan and investment portfolio, and the maintenance of a loan portfolio credit quality that is comparable to international standards. Additionally, the entities across the group remained adequately capitalized, exceeding regulatory capital requirements, with a marginal increase in shareholder’s equity, to $33.99 billion, or a nine per cent increase. During the first quarter, JMMB Group announced its commitment by investing a minimum of US$200 Million in Alignvest Acquisition ll Corporation (AQY), which is a publicly-traded Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation that is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. AQY is currently set to acquire 100 per cent of the ordinary shares of Sagicor Financial Corporation (SFC). Upon the completion of AQY’s acquisition of SFC, AQY and SFC will then collapse into a new single entity (New Sagicor). This will, thereafter, make New Sagicor an associated company of JMMB Group. Duncan outlined that for the next phase of the group’s strategic period (2020/21), the focus will be on expanding market share of core businesses and tapping new markets and market segments, where opportunities arise.

Flight Data Processor at the Kingston Air Traffic Control Centre.

The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) is actively preparing the next generation of Jamaica's aviation professionals through its comprehensive Summer Work Programme. The primary objective of this programme is to give students from varying communities, exposure in a dynamic work environment while introducing them to the possibility of the aviation industry as a future line of work. However, the organisation is also able to benefit from the research, filing/inventory, and IT support services provided by the participants. Each year the JCAA conducts a robust three-week summer programme for over 100 participants between the ages of 16 to 25 who are enrolled in secondary and tertiary institutions. The participants, who hail from various backgrounds, are assigned to learn from and work with different departments in the JCAA including Flight Safety, IT, Finance, and Air Traffic Services. Returning summer students are allowed to rotate to other departments, learning new areas along the way. This summer programme puts on display various career options in aviation, ranging from technical to administrative. While learning about the activities of the JCAA, the students are provided with opportunities to enhance their skills and professionalism with real assignments and subsequent constructive feedback. Commenting on the programme, JCAA Director-General Nari Williams Singh noted, “this year’s summer programme has proven to be a tremendous success. Aviation is one of those fields that get overlooked in schools when careers are being discussed. Although the JCAA has an input in career talks at few schools, the summer programme has given us a greater opportunity to properly introduce students to the world of aviation and give them a glimpse into what it is that we do at the JCAA. The response so far has been amazing and I foresee continued growth for the programme in the years to come”. Deputy Director-General Nichole Morgan, also stated, “the continued success of the JCAA’s summer programme is a clear indication that there is a growing interest in Jamaica’s youth about the aviation industry. Aviation is growing and advancing in Jamaica each year and so it is important to lay the foundations early for those who will become the next generation of aviation professionals”.

Members of reggae band Third World look on as Cindy Breakspeare (centre), mother of Damian Marley, who produced the group's latest album, 'More Work To Be Done', speaks at the launch of the project at Bob Marley Museum on Thursday. Also pictured on stage is media personality Debbie Bissoon, who served as emcee.

After 45 years, multiple GrammyAward-nominated reggaeband Third Worldhas more work to do. The six-member outfit launched their 22nd album, 'More Work To Be Done', at the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston on Thursday. Produced by Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley, 'More Work To Be Done’ is an 11-track effort which features collaborations with Marleyhimself, Chronixx, Busy Signal, Tessanne Chin, Tarrus Riley and Pressure Busspipe. The music featured on the album is drawn from a variety of global genres and is simply classic third World. Founding member and bass guitarist Richard Daley said the effort came out of a desire to keep the flame burning. “After 45 years, you ask yourself are you done? And the answer was a resounding no. There is more work to be done,” he said. Daley said, since the death of acclaimed lead singer William ‘Bunny Rugs’ Clarke in 2014, singer AJ Brown has filled the gap admirably and the band has not missed a beat even though Clarke’s death still smarts. Brown himself is a renowned songwriter and told Loop News that he was proud to have been involved in penning some of the singles on the latest offering. “My time with Third World has been most fulfilling and it is an honour to be able to assist in writing some of the songs on this album. Yes, there is more work to be done,” he told Loop News. The band has already released the single 'Na Na Na' featuring Chronixx, but those in attendance at the launch were all gung ho over the track featuring 'Junior Gong' entitled 'You’re Not The Only One'. Other songs include the title track,'Work To Be Done';'People Of A Different Colour' featuring Pressure; 'Hear Us Out';'Yimmasgan'; 'Island Dreams' featuring Tessanne Chin and Tarrus Riley; and 'Third World Keeps Turning'. The album will be available on compact disc, cassette and vinyl as well as all digital platforms. [image_gallery]

The summer holidayis winding down and you're looking for something to do to unwind and have fun with some friends. We suggest heading to Martha Brae, Trelawnyfor a paintball session at Paintball Jamaica. It's not just about shooting guns and hitting people with coloured bullets. Paintball is an excellent game of strategy, communication and teamwork. Paintball Jamaica was this week's destination for the Loop Weekends Summer Road Trip team. Check out highlights from the visit in the video below.

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus, centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring a disallowed goal during the English Premier League football match against Tottenham Hotspur at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira).

The video assistant referee denied Manchester City another crucial late goal in theirlatest wild match against Tottenham as the English Premier League champion dropped points for the first time in theirtitle defense. Gabriel Jesus thought he scored a winning goal in the second minute of injury time at Etihad Stadium, only for VAR — new to the league this season — to rule the ball reached the striker off the hand of Aymeric Laporte as the City defender stretched to head it. The match finished 2-2, with the final whistle greeted with loud boos inside the ground. Rewind four months and almost the exact same thing happened to City, that time in a Champions League match against Spurs. On that occasion, Raheem Sterling had a goal disallowed for offside by VAR in the third minute of injury time, denying City a place in the semifinals. City manager Pep Guardiola didn't drop to his knees and look as crestfallen like he did in April, instead engaging in conversation with Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino in the technical area as confusion reigned around him. Guardiola will wonder how his team didn't win. Twice taking the lead in the first half, through Sterling and then Sergio Aguero, City weretwice pegged back by Tottenham, first by Erik Lamela and then by Lucas Moura 14 seconds after he entered the field as a substitute. The diminutive Brazil winger ran straight toward the penalty area to line up for his team's corner and rose highest — somewhat improbably — to send a glancing header looping into the net in the 56th. Aguero was substituted soon after that goal and exchanged some strong words on the sideline with Guardiola as he sat down. The pair was seen embracing near the end of the match, however, suggesting they patched up their differences. The result leaves City two points behind Liverpool, the team expected again to be theirbiggest rival for the title. Liverpool beat Southampton 2-1 earlier. ADRIAN'S CRAZY WEEK In the space of nine days, Spanish goalkeeper Adrian has made his Liverpool debut as an injury substitute, saved the decisive penalty to win the club the UEFA Super Cup, got injured by a pitch-invading fan, and made an embarrassing error in a Premier League game. To say it has been a roller-coaster start to life at Anfield would be an understatement. Adrian, an offseason signing filling in for the injured Alisson Becker, was a doubt for Liverpool's match at Southampton after a fan slid into the goalkeeper's ankle while the team celebrated his crucial penalty stop in a shootout win over Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday. He was declared fit on the morning of the match and made some good saves before Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino put Liverpool 2-0 up at St Mary's. Adrian ensured there was a nervy finish when he kicked a clearance straight at Southampton striker Danny Ings and saw the ball rebound into the net in the 83rd. Liverpool hung on, though, for a second straight win after beating Norwich. PUKKI PEAKING Teemu Pukki scored a division-high 29 goals to proper Norwich to the second-tier League Championship title last season. He cannot stop scoring in the Premier League, either. After his consolation goal at Anfield on the opening weekend, the Finland striker added another three in dismantling sorry Newcastle as top-flight soccer returned to Carrow Road. "The guys are creating chances — I could have scored more," Pukki said. Newcastle havelost both of theiropening games under new manager Steve Bruce. AUBAMEYANG AGAIN Another striker to have started the season strongly is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has grabbed winning goals in each of Arsenal's first two games. A week after scoring the only goal at Newcastle, Aubameyang led Arsenal to a 2-1 win over Burnley with a shot inside the near post from the edge of the area. He was tied as the top scorer last season with Liverpool attackers Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. The standout player for Arsenal, though, was Dani Ceballos, who is on a season-long loan from Real Madrid. He set up both goals — the first was scored by Alexandre Lacazette — and showed the touch and vision Arsenal has been missing since the departure of another Spanish playmaker, Santi Cazorla. WINS FOR EVERTON, BOURNEMOUTH Everton and Bournemouth got their first wins after opening the season with draws. Brazilian winger Bernard scored in the first half to secure a 1-0 victory for Everton against Watford, while Bournemouth built on a second-minute penalty from Josh King and beat Aston Villa 2-1. Jack Grealish, the Villa captain, has lost a record 20 straight Premier League games, stretching back to when the team was last in the top flight in 2015-16. Brighton and West Ham drew 1-1 in the other match.

Roberto Firmino celebrates Liverpool's second goal.

Liverpool's victory over Southampton on Saturday not only sent the Reds back to the top of the tablebut also matched a club record for successive Premier Leaguewins. Sadio Mane's sublime strike and a second-half effort from Roberto Firmino proved enough to secure the points at St Mary's Stadium, despite a late howler from goalkeeper Adrian gifting Danny Ings a goal against his old club. The resultbrought up an 11th straight top-flight triumph for Liverpool, matching their bestwinning streak in the Premier League,previously set between February and April 2014 under Brendan Rodgers. Jurgen Klopp's side will now have the chance to go one better when they return to Anfield next week, with Arsenal - who have won both of their opening matches - visiting Merseyside.