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$11 million heist at Western Union in downtown Kingston

The police were up to this morning still searching for a group of persons who reportedly broke into a Western Union branch on King Street in downtown Kingston on Monday night, and made off with millions of dollars in cash.

Reports are that late on Monday, officials at the money transfer entity closed their doors for the day and left. Later, criminals carried out the heist.

Details of how the break-in took place were still not clear up to press time.

Police did say, however, that they were called to the location the following morning, after the money was found to be missing.

The authorities were tightlipped about the amount of money that was stolen, but sources told Loop News that close to $11 million was taken.

On Tuesday afternoon when a Loop News team visited the branch, security personnel were seen turning away customers from the location, telling them that it was closed for the day.

The Central police are investigating the incident.

Spice becomes 3rd female to top Billboard Reggae chart this year

Since the Billboard Reggae Album chart was created in the mid 1990’s, only 9 female artistes have reached number one. Spice is the third female to top the chart this year.

Spice’s Captured mixtape sold 505 copies in its first week, to enter the chart at pole position. It was released on November 2 via Spice Official Entertainment.

The mixtape features 19 songs including the lead single Black Hypocrisy, which sent tongues wagging over the past few weeks

More about this week’s Billboard Reggae Album chart in tomorrow’s edition

Pastor arrested during church service

A church service was interrupted on Sunday following the arrest of the pastor for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old girl.

A church member, who did not wish to be named, said the congregation was in the middle of a service when the mayhem started.

“We were praying and I saw two officers come to the church door. He (the pastor) was praying at the alter, so the police told one of the ushers to go and call him,” the member said.

The members of the church are now under scrutiny from community members since the young pastor’s arrest, according to the member.

Another member said that she is afraid to leave her home because of the backlash that she is receiving.

“Everything happened so fast and the church just stopped immediately,” said the member. “Dem a tell him seh him must stop talk to that little girl, enuh, and him never did a listen.”

THE STAR learnt that the pastor took the young child out on numerous occasions and even though he was pressed by members of the church to desist from the action, he still continued.

“There were times when he would often be in conflict with the church. One time he even took the child out for her birthday to Carib, and the church was really upset about it,” the member said.

Head of the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Superintendent Charmaine Shand, confirmed that the pastor was taken into custody for the offence of having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16.

Up to press time, he had not been charged.

Reports from CISOCA are that the suspect was contacted by the minor, who told him that she was locked out of school sometime last week.

Shand said that from reports the pastor picked the child up in Half-Way Tree and took her to a house where he had sex with her.

The man, whose name is being withheld pending further investigations, is being questioned in relation to this incident and another involving another minor.

VYBZ KARTEL GUSHES AS HE SHOWS OFF HIS DAUGHTER AMANI

Vybz Kartel took to social media to show off one of his daughter, Amani Palmer.

The Dancehall superstar recently shared two photos of his second daughter on Instagram.

In the first image, Vybz Kartel gushed about his daughter’s attire, commending her choice of outfit while guiding her to be careful not falling in a pool of water.

Vybz Kartel Loves His Daughter Amani Palmer

“Red fit u mi #daughta 😍😍…mine u drop inna di #wata😁#AmaniPalmer👑💍👸,” he wrote.

In the next photograph, the Jamaican entertainer expressed how he’s planning to squeeze Amani whenever he finally meets her.

Vybz Kartel Wants To Meet His Daughter Amani Palmer

“Any day name day mi meet yuh, mi a go squeeeeeeeze u till u blue!!! 🙅‍♀️😂😂😍😍😍 #amani❤👑👸👑❤,” he said.

In 2016, the “Worl Boss” deejay revealed that he’s only a father to two daughters despite rumors being circulated online. Vybz Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Plamer, later disclosed that he has never met his second daughter.

Chinese Ready to Buy Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee

The Chinese Ambassador, to Jamaica Niu Quingboa says Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is a big brand in his country and he believes all the coffee that Jamaica can produce could be bought by China.

The Chinese Ambassador was speaking at the Chinese Benevolent Association recently at the Annual Coffee Symposium. The theme for the symposium was ‘AGRIHOPE the rebirth of Jamaican coffee’. Niu also said he believes Jamaican coffee farmers and exporters should show more interest in the Chinese market.

The coffee farmers had problems with the exporters earlier this year and it seemed as though there was a need for more marketing to be done for coffee. Niu said, “The Chinese are in need of more coffee; as the Chinese social and economic landscape is expanding.” This could be the solution for the problem that the exporters were having earlier.

The Chinese import of Jamaican coffee grew by an annual rate of 26 percent from 2011 to 2016, and it is expected to grow even faster now.

Things could change for the coffee industry as the Chinese are expected to spend US$50 billion on coffee by 2025.

PHOTOS: Elva remembered at cheerful, colourful send-off

It was a festive occasion at the send-off for popular comedian and media personality, Elva Ruddock, at the Karl Hendrikson Auditorium at Jamaica College on Saturday, with only minimal tears being shed.

The event, which had the flavour of a comedy show more than a funeral service, brought out a wide cross-section of the Jamaican society that gathered in their thousands for the final performance of Ruddock.

It was a grand show, with many of the island’s leading comedians breaking the programme to bring laughter to the gathering.

Also, all those who paid tributes in songs and speeches, had those in attendance in stitches, and kept them clapping and laughing as they gave anecdotal references from their interactions with Ruddock.

The comedian had graced countless stages across the island and overseas with her endearing personality, bringing cheers and laughter to many.

She was also a regular on FAME FM’s programme, ‘Full House Friday’, as well as being one of the main characters in local wholesale/retail company, Basco’s daily infomercial on CVM Television.

Ruddock died on October 7 after battling the chronic illness, lupus, for years.

She was afflicted by the autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues.

The disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, including the skin, joints, brain, lungs, heart, blood, cells and kidneys.

On Saturday, the packed auditorium was decked with Ruddock’s pictures and life-size cut-outs at the entrance to greet the colourful dressers.

In fact, according to co-host, Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley, like the cheerful colours of those in attendance, the full funeral programme was done by Ruddock before her death, including a request for no church service.

Before the start of the official funeral programme, the early attendees were treated to a video presentation that charted some of Ruddock’s hilarious moments in her personal life and while working.

It also had some leading figures in the Jamaican society giving tributes.

During the programme, Minister of Culture, Gender, Sports and Entertainment, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, said Ruddock “brought sunshine on a rainy day”, with a wit that was easy, sharp and quick.

Grange said that Ruddock lived her last social media post, which said, “life will not be perfect, but we have to make it work”.

According to Grange, Ruddock left the corporate world to pursue some of the things that make Jamaica and Jamaicans unique, but which are still fighting to get local recognition and support.

Pastor Rowena Lypher-Hinds described Ruddock as not being hypocritical, while “serving laughter and advice” to those around her.

Lypher-Hinds said Ruddock wanted her friends to be comfortable in the mind, and personally placed God at the front of most things that she did. She said Ruddock also had a special love for her father and her family in general.

Aloun NDomet-Asamba spoke on behalf of Ruddock’s friends at Convent of Mercy Alpha Academy, where the comedian went for her secondary education. They friends sent messages to NDomet-Asamba describing their interactions with Ruddock while at school, which NDomet-Asamba read.

Dr Dennis Howard, who spoke on behalf of the RJR Group of Companies, said Ruddock lived a legendary life, which was about serving people.

Speeches also came from Omar Azan of Bashco and Dr Michael Abrahams, as well as various performing groups that Ruddock worked with over the years.

Digicel Rising Stars 2017 winner, Short Boss, and Alex Welcome paid tribute in songs.

No Longer Crucial To Dancehall Jamaica Performances, Reggae Artistes Relevance

Dancehall insiders have claimed that local performances are no longer as crucial to the success of a Jamaican entertainer as before.

According to music insiders, entertainers such as Chronixx and Alkaline are prime examples that artistes no longer need to maintain a heavy local presence to be relevant on the Dancehall/Reggae circuit.

They claim that the traditional thought of being ‘out of sight and out of mind’ is no longer applicable as entertainers are no longer reliant on local performances to promote themselves or reach their core audience.

Chronixx, for instance, has not performed in Jamaica for almost a year, while Alkaline infamously avoided performing in Jamaica for over three years before last year’s New Rules concert.

Despite their hiatuses, the two superstars remain two of the most popular acts charting several hits throughout the calendar year.

Jamaica among top 5 trending destinations listed by Kayak

Jamaica has been listed as one of the top five trending destinations to travel to in January 2019 by international travel website Kayak, says the Ministry of Tourism.

In a recent Kayak report, Jamaica landed at number five among the top ten trending destinations with a 30 per cent increase in year-over-year searches for New Year’s by travellers seeking to visit, the ministry revealed in a statement this morning.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett said this positioning augurs well for the country’s international appeal by visitors and speaks to “The safe, secure and seamlessness of our tourism products and offerings.

“This is an indicator that Jamaica’s tourism remains robust and sought after and we are committed to ensuring that our visitors and locals alike are safe as they enjoy what the island has to offer.”

Kayak.com, sometimes styled as KAYAK, is a popular travel website operated by Booking Holdings.

KAYAK’s website and mobile apps are currently available in over 18 languages and more than 30 local markets, including the United States, the United Kingdom, India, China, and France among many other countries, the ministry shared.

Bartlett added that Jamaica is already poised for another record year of growth in arrivals and earnings.

“I believe that this will only add to our projections. For the first six months of 2018, we recorded a 4.7 per cent increase in arrivals to bring total arrivals for the period to a record near 3million and by the end of the year earnings are expected to reach US3.3 billion dollars.

“We are working aggressively through our agencies to improve and market the product and offerings so as to achieve our 5X5X5 growth targets and attract 5 million tourists by 2021; generate US$5 billion in earnings; increase total direct jobs to 125,000 and add 15,000 rooms,” the minister said.

St Catherine taxi-man reported missing

Thirty-five-year-old Percival Whyte, otherwise called ‘Jason‘, a taxi operator of Quarry Hill, Spanish Town in St Catherine has been reported missing since Wednesday, October 17.

Whyte is of brown complexion, stout build and is about 5 feet 8 inches tall.

Reports are that Whyte was last seen in Braeton, St Catherine wearing a blue T-shirt, blue pants and a pair of black shoes.

Anyone knowing Whyte’s whereabouts is being asked to contact the Spanish Town Police at 876-984-2305, Police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

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