The World Bank has said it expects global remittances to low- and middle-income nations to fall by $109 billion, or almost a fifth, in 2020 to $445 billion, with most countries confirming this trend in remittance inflows.As Central America’s most unequal country, with a poverty level of68 percent,60 per cent of Honduras'populationworks in the informal sector, with no secure form of employment. With about one million Hondurans living outside the country, the economy relies heavily on remittances from its diaspora, most of which reside in the United States and Spain. Last year, remittancesmade up 21.4 per centof GDP. With the crisis,many Hondurans,mostly employed in the service, constructionand manufacturing sectorslost their jobs in the United States and Spain but remittances were not impacted to the extent that many experts predicted. Central Bank of Honduras (BCH) statistics reflect a year-on-year increase in remittances of 15.2 per cent to 496.3 million dollars this June.Inflowswere most severely affected in March andApril with the declaration of the national coronavirus emergency in Honduras, but remittances have begun to increase once again. In January this year, remittances came to $420.2 million, with a slight improvement to$431 million in February. The lowest levels of remittancesrecorded were in March and April at $368.3 million and $332.7 million respectively.In May, remittances exceeded pre-crisis levels at $451.8 millionwith another jump in June, to$496.3 million. (Before the crisis, Hondurans made up the seventh largest expat population in the Cayman Islands contributing to 7 per cent of the $64,626,957 in remittance outflows during the 3rd quarter of 2019, as tracked by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority). Intuitive and informed economic predictions have suggested thatremittances to theCentral American countrywould crash during the crisis, but this has not been the case. Payments have in fact increasedcompared to the same period in 2019, after a dip earlier this year. For 2020-2021, BCHpredicts a deceleration but not a reduction in the amount of remittances sent to Honduras, from 13.1per cent to 8 and 7 percent in 2020 and 2021, respectively (UNDP). Inflows are expected to rise from $5.562 billion in 2019 to $6.007 billion in 2020 and $6.427 billion in 2021. TheCentral Bank of Honduras(BCH) has also reported a significant increase in bank savings during the crisis. Early in the year, it was estimated that deposits in thefinancial systemwould increase by about 8 per cent, but with mobility restrictions and business closures, this figure has almost doubled. Asof April, the balance of savings deposits of individuals amounted to $5,283 million, 15 per centmore than during the same month in 2019. With regards to aid in the form of remittances and other support, diasporic organizations have provided a great deal of help. Informal efforts such as@unidos.por.honduras, have been incredibly successful. Growth projection recalculations as per the pandemicare also more optimistic than for other countries. According to the UNDP, growth projections have been reduced"from 2.7 per centto 1.5-2.5 per centfor 2020 and between 2-3 per centfor 2021." These impacts are contrary to what experts would have predicted and are not consistent with trends elsewhere in the world. “We understand the economics of migration and how people make decisions in times of crisis a lot less than we thought we did,” said Andrew Selee, the president of the Migration Policy Institute. Honduras has recorded 43,197 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1,377 COVID-19 related deaths as of July 30, 2020.

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Jampro isencouraginglocal professionals in the screen-based industries to register their film projects, including movies, short films, episodic content,documentaries or music videos, at the Jamaica Film Commission before commencing production. The agency says that registration,which is free for local professionals and can be completed online, provides access to permit requests and facilitation services for filmingon streets and otherpublic locations. It also assists with the securing of locations for filming, the advising of stakeholders including the Jamaica Constabulary Force,Municipal Councilsand other special bodies, and advocacy to resolve challenges that may occur before and during production. This is especially crucial for film projects that entail the use of explosives, firearms, (real or fake), animals, aerosol, motor vehicles, or drones. The Jamaica Film Commission is advising persons to visitwww.filmjamaica.comfor more information on how to register their filmproductions, and access benefits like the Productive Input Relieffor duty-free importation of equipment, as well asprofessional development and market access opportunities. Creative professionals in screen-based industries can also access the Guide to Filming in Jamaica, which outlines all the policies and processes required for production, as well as the Return to Set Guidelines, which contains protocol for filming during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Jampro, is an agency the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries. Its mission is to drive economic development through growth in investment and export.

'Queen of Reggae' Marcia Griffiths (centre) being honoured for her contribution to Jamaican music at the Jamaica 58 Independence Spectacular on Thursday. Culture Minister Olivia Grange and Government Senator Tom Tavares Finson share in the occasion.

Jamaica's rich culture was on displayfor two hours at the National Arena on Thursday with the staging of the Jamaica58 Independence Spectacular for a virtual audience. Under the theme,'Wheel And Come Again', it was a spectacular affair featuring a mixture of musicaland dance performances, and also the honouring of three entertainment stalwarts- Ken Boothe, Marcia Griffiths and Shaggy. Gospel artiste Kukudoo blessed the event with the opening performance before anensembletookviewers on a historical journey withJamaican dance moves of the 1960s. Oliver Samuels and Karriott narrated the dancing. Ken Boothe was thenrecognised with a plaquepresented to him by Culture Minister Olivia Grange before he performed his hits 'The Train Is Coming', 'I'm Gonna Tell You Goodbye' and 'When I Fall In Love'. Marcia Griffiths washonoured following the performance of the dance moves of the 1970s, which were narrated by 'Ity' Ellis and Deon Silvera. The 'Queen of Reggae' then delivered'I Shall Sing', 'Dreamland' and 'Electric Boogie' in aperformance that had fellow artiste Tessanne Chin on her feet rocking. Samuels and Harriott introduced the moves of the 1980s while giving ample descriptions of the estimated $800 million damages done by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 before making way on the stage for Grange to pay tribute to Shaggy with a plaque. Dancehall music of the 1990s were highlighted in another dance section, after Silvera and Ellis recalled Lisa Hanna being crownedMiss Worldin 1993 and Carlene rulingas'Dancehall Queen'. Kemar Highcon then performed'So Saucy' beforeDre Island delivered 'We Pray',his hot song featuring Popcaan. Chevaughn and Agent Sasco did 'Quiet Giantz' in the organisers' effort to show appreciation for the island's security forces and the work they are doing during COVID-19. Richie Stephens opened with 'Winner' before 'Trying To Get To You' and his duet with the lateGarnet Silk, 'Fight Back'. Jimmy Cliff's 'Many Rivers' was done eloquently by Tessanne Chin before she performed a cover of reggae legend Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song'. Christopher Martin paid tribute to his 'Mama' before his version of 'Little Green Apples' and a song about summer body. Koffee was celebrated with a dance as her mega hit'Toast' played in the background. It was in recognition of her Grammy Awards win earlier this year, which makes her the first female and youngest person to win the Reggae Grammy award. Buju Banton, this year's Festival Song winnerwith 'I Am A Jamaican' performed along with his band and backup singers from his studio. After performingthe winning song, Banton delivered'Buried Alive' Like the show started, likewise it closedwith gospel as Kevin Downswell asked the Father to 'Carry Me'. He was then joined by Tessanne, Richie, Beenie Man and other artistes for 'You Make Me Stronger'. The annual IndependenceGrand Gala, which normally takes place at the National Stadium with a capacity crowd, was cancelled this year due toCOVID-19.


US-based reggae band Bonafide wants to inspire the world, especially people of African descent, with itsrecently released ‘Start And Stop’ single with Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley. With the video, which was put out last week Friday, the group uses many of the black struggles in the USA over the years to depict the need for a continuation of the fight, until decisive fixes are achieved. According to leader Jr Roots, the video, which is directed by Tinman, captures the essence of the struggles and it charts the course of black people's fight for equality in the US. The 1992 Los Angeles riots arehighlighted at the start of the video which alsofeatures other race riots including the recent protestssparked by the police killing of George Floyd, a black man. Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin knelt in Floyd’s neck for approximately eight minutes, while he pleaded for his life, before passing out and dying. It sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the country, which spread to the world and was joined by people of all different races. “We keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. Until the world follows through with what is happening we will not get a different result. “What’s going on right now in America is a big thing. We have never seen people come together like this. We hope the people look at this video and say we have to follow through. No more starting and stopping,” Jr Roots said. He said the video, which was shot in both Las Vegas, USA and Jamaica was put together in just under a month and was easily executedbecause of the potency of the lyrics. Additional footage was garnered from the various protests in America over the years. According to Jr Roots, the ending of the video shows that people need to come together and live as one, as it has a white police officer and a black civilian hugging. “Reggae music is change music. Reggae music makes change and this is the time for us, not only in America – but also even in Jamaica, because even the violence that is happening in Jamaica right now – we have to stop. “So we want to do music that talks to people’s soul and show them that there is a better way and we wanted the video to show that only love can save us,” Jr Roots said. Meanwhile, according to Jr Roots, Marley was highly influential in the outcome of the lyrics of the song, which was put together in Stephen Marley’s Miami studio. He said his intention was to do a relationship song, but Marley wanted the lyrics to take the direction that it took. He said that while the video focuses on the American riots over the years, the ‘Start And Stop’ lyrics can be used in any situation. “It can be about everything. It can be about relationship, it can be about what’s going on right now in the world, it can be about not getting close to friends. That’s what Damian Marley wanted it to be about and that’s what it came out to be,” Jr Roots said.

Sprint legend Merlene Ottey.

Sprint legend Merlene Ottey is among several sporting figures who are set to receive national awards at the National Honours and Awards ceremony on NationalHeroes' Dayin October. The list of all awardees of national honours was published on Independence Day, August 6. The other awardees are another track and field OlympianDeon Hemmings-McCatty, formerfour-time champion jockey Emilio Rodriquez and three members of the football fraternity - top national female striker Khadija Saw, Dennis "Howard"Bell and Cedella Marley. For her contributions to track and field, Ottey -who represented Jamaica from 1978 to 2000 before switching to Slovenia -will be honoured with the Order of Jamaica, thenation’s fourth highest award.She had previously been conferred with the Order of Distinction. The 60-year-old will now be given the official title of Honourable Merlene Ottey. Ottey has won nine Olympic medals for Jamaica, among them six bronze. She also won 14 World Championships medals, including back-to-back 200m titles in Stuttgart 1993 and Gothenburg 1995. Ottey is the seventhranked 100m sprinter of all-time with 10.74, and fourthranked for 200m with 21.64. She is the current World Indoor record holder for 200m at 21.87 seconds, set in 1993. She is fourth-ranked on the all-time 60m list. She has also been named Jamaican Sportswoman of the year 13 times between 1979 and 1995. Ottey joins fellow sprint iconUsain Bolt as well as sprint coaches Glen Mills and Stephen Francis along with cricketer Courtney Walsh as sports personalities to be bestowed with the Order of Jamaica. Hemmings-McCatty, who won the 400m hurdles at the Atlanta 1996 Games to become the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic gold medal,is to be conferred with the Order of Distinctionin the rank of Commander Class. Hemmings-McCatty, 51, also won two silver medals at the Olympic Games, 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay in Sydney 2000. Hemmings won two bronze and a silver at the World Championships level. Rodriquez, who is sixth on the all-time jockey's list with1,084 winners from 4,411 rides, will be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer Class. He joins fellow jockeys Winston Griffiths, Charles Hussey, George HoSang and Trevor Simpson as riders to have received the Order of Distinction. Twenty-three-year-old Shaw, who was a member of Jamaica's Reggae Girlz who created history on October 17, 2018in the United States by becoming the first Caribbean team to reach the FIFA Women's World Cup,will also receivethe Order of Distinction Order inthe rank of Officer Class. Bell, a former national player and former Reggae Boyz manager, will also be conferred with the Order of Distinction in the rank of Officer Class, while Marley, anambassador for the women's senior team will getthe Order of Distinction (Commander Class, CD). She will berecognised for philanthropy through exceptional contribution to sport development and the national women's football programme.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma (0) takes a backward shot against the Houston Rockets during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP).

The LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers fell to another NBA loss, while Giannis Antetokounmpo starred again on Thursday. Without James (groin), the Lakers suffered a second straight loss, beaten by the Houston Rockets 113-97. James Harden led the way for the Rockets with 39 points on 11-of-19 shooting, while the guard also had 12 assists and eight rebounds at the Walt Disney World Resort. In James' absence, Anthony Davis had a double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers. Coming off back-to-back losses, the Milwaukee Bucks clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference by beating the Miami Heat 130-116. The Bucks recovered from a 23-point deficit to bounce back, with Antetokounmpo finishing with 33 points and 12 rebounds. Khris Middleton also posted 33 points for Milwaukee. Leonard, Lillard in form Kawhi Leonard had 29 points as the Los Angeles Clippers eased past the Dallas Mavericks 126-111. Damian Lillard hit 11 three-pointers in a 45-point haul to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 125-115 win over the Denver Nuggets. A career-high 35 points from Bogdan Bogdanovic guided the Sacramento Kings to a 140-125 success against the New Orleans Pelicans. Cook can't take chance Quinn Cook was unable to make the most of his start for the Lakers. The guard went two-of-12 from the field for just six points in 29 minutes. Thursday's results Sacramento Kings 140-125 New Orleans Pelicans Milwaukee Bucks 130-116 Miami Heat Phoenix Suns 114-99 Indiana Pacers Los Angeles Clippers 126-111 Dallas Mavericks Portland Trail Blazers 125-115 Denver Nuggets Houston Rockets 113-97 Los Angeles Lakers