Despite being declared endangered by the United Nations in 2001, the Garinagu — one of the smallest cultural groups in Belize — has managed to sustain its traditions through music, dance, food and worship. The Garifuna people are descendants of Carib Indians (South American natives who settled on the Caribbean island of St Vincent) and West Africans who were said to have escaped from Spanish slave ships in 1635 and made the island their home. Resistant to the arrival of the British to St Vincent in 1763, the Garinagu fought attempts to use their land for sugar cane plantations and many were killed or imprisoned. Those remaining were exiled to Honduras and eventually migrated by dugout canoe along the Central American coast, reaching Belize in 1802. Today, Garinagu communities make up only 4% of Belize’s more than 325,000 people, and most can be found along the country’s southern coast in the towns of Dangriga and Punta Gorda and the villages of Hopkins, Barranco and Seine Bight. (Lebawit Girma)
Archives for December 2012
by Andrew Walker BBC World Service Economics correspondent
China’s export growth came in below market expectations in November as global demand remained subdued.
Exports grew 2.9% and imports were flat compared to the previous year. Analysts were expecting exports to jump 9%.
The trade data creates some uncertainty about China’s economic outlook.
It contrasts with data released at the weekend which signalled a rebound in the Chinese economy, as factory output and retail sales jumped to eight-month highs.
The weak figures on exports are a reminder – if one were needed – that China remains exposed to the problems in Europe, the United States and Japan. If they perform badly, China’s exports will suffer.
But those other recent figures suggest the slowdown may be just about over.
The most recent industrial output data was rather stronger than expected. It showed a rise of 10.1% in November from a year earlier. Retail sales were also stronger, at 14.9%.
So the latest batch of figures seem to be giving different messages. That may be partly because of the contrast between problems in export markets and a stronger domestic economy.
It is also to be expected that when an economy is at a turning point, different data will point in different directions – some will be upbeat some not.
Zhang Zhiwei of Nomura in Hong Kong, for example, says the disappointing trade news does not change his view that China is on track for a strong recovery in the final quarter of this year because he says growth “is mostly domestically driven”.
But in London, Capital Economics takes more of a glass half empty view.
In a note, the consultancy says “trade data have added to our doubts about the sustainability of China’s rebound”.
Their concern is that the signs of improvement have been driven by “infrastructure spending and little else”.
These divergent views do illustrate one of the biggest questions about the Chinese economy; how quickly can it shift its dependence from exports to Chinese consumers.
With the largest developed economies still relatively becalmed that really does matter for China and for all the raw materials and components suppliers who feed Chinese industry.
China’s economic growth, seen by many as a key driver of the global recovery, slowed to a three-year low of 7.4% in the third quarter.
Weak export growth and little improvement in domestic demand were two of the main factors.
The People’s Bank of China has cut interest rates in both June and July and lowered the amount of cash banks must keep in reserve in an effort to boost lending.
Now, a slew of data has shown glimpses of a recovery and prompted analysts to predict the worst is over.
Here are some of the most promising franchise businesses to own from travel agencies to commercial cleaning services
by Carolyn M. Brown
Party promoter Denise Madison was looking for a complementary business offering for her maturing clientele when she ventured to buy a travel agency in 2008. Disappointed with one franchisor’s offering, she set her sights on Cruise One, a travel franchise that offers cruise vacations.
“I read their plan from A to Z; I was very impressed. I liked the percentages, the bonuses, the incentives. Your biggest job is to book the client. They provide you with all of the marketing materials and updated information,” says Madison, who operates the franchise (www.vivalacruise.com) outside of her day job. Indeed, all CruiseOne franchisees receive five customizable consumer websites to drive online bookings.
Furthermore, “their name carries. So, essentially we brought the brand,” adds Madison, who purchased the franchise along with her business partner and life partner Tania Savigne. Their total investment outlay was around $11,000.
Playing off of an existing events database of thousands of clients, the couple initially geared the business towards lesbians of color. “It is something that was lacking. Gay men have a lot of travel companies that cater to them. But when it comes to the lesbian community, you have only a few. Even then you really don’t see minorities showcased. Of course, we now promote to anyone and everyone,” says Savigne. She adds they still offer special travel showcases for the LGBT community.
The duo books more than 300 group and individual trips a year and generates more than $45,000 annually in commission revenues. “The CruiseOne organization is like a family. Their people are very informative and very supportive,” says Savigne. Besides, it is one of the top franchise businesses that can be run from home.
Home-based franchise opportunities exist in various sectors and a wide range of businesses, from pet-sitting and house cleaning to senior care and Internet consulting services. The initial investment for an at-home franchise is often lower than a conventional franchise, anywhere in the $10,000 to $100,000 range. However, some franchises start out for as little as $3,000.
In addition to low startup costs, what makes franchises operated out of the home appealing to would-be entrepreneurs are flexible working schedules and low overhead costs. Since the franchise owner doesn’t need commercial space, at-home franchises typically require little to no inventory.
Some of the most promising home-based industries are experiencing high participation rates among minority franchise owners. Take, for instance, in-home senior care service, which is among the top franchises thanks to a growing trend toward “aging in place,” according to IBSIS World. The $6 billion in-home senior care franchises industry has flourished in the past five years and will continue to rapidly expand through 2017. This is good news for minority franchisees, many of whom are gaining ground in this area through one of the fastest-growing senior care franchise systems in the country, Always Best Care Senior Services.
Minority owners also have a significantly high participation in maintenance and commercial cleaning service franchises operated from home, including JAN-PRO Cleaning Systems. The low cost of entry into the maintenance industry is one contributing factor, reports the National Minority Franchising Initiative.
Before you buy any home-based franchise, get full disclosure. Meaning, would-be ranchisees should thoroughly read the Franchise Disclosure Document, or FDD, which is a document that contains information franchisors must provide to franchisees by law, as regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. Of the 23 items in the FDD, pay careful attention to the earnings claim (which franchisors don’t have to provide, but that lack of disclosure may raise a red flag). What is the initial investment plus franchise fees? What are both franchisor’s and the franchisee’s obligations? Does the franchisor offer financing and/or marketing assistance? Also, look at the FDD to find out the number of franchise units, closures, and current and former franchisee names and contact information. Talk to other franchisees to solicit their feedback. To learn more, contact the International Franchise Association and the American Franchise Association.
B.E Editor’s Choice
Here are five franchises that have relatively low costs, resources, and a
high participation rate of minority owners:
- Always Best Care Senior Services (www.alwaysbestcare.com) provides
non-medical in-home care, assisted living placement services, and skilled home
health care. Startup costs: $39,500 to $90,700.
- CruiseOne (www.cruiseone.com), as part of World Travel Holdings, is the world’s largest distributor of cruise vacations with more than 700 franchise units. Startup costs: $495 to $9,800.
- JAN-PRO Cleaning Systems (www.jan-pro.com) is an international commercial cleaning and janitorial services franchise with more 10,000 units. Startup costs: $950 to $36,500.
- Tutor Doctor (www.tutordoctor.com) provides one-on-one tutoring and supplementary educational support programs to students from kindergartners to adults. Startup costs: $39,700 to $127,000.
- WSI Internet (www.wsicorporate.com) is a leader in providing consulting services to businesses including online marketing strategies, Web design, and Web development. Startup costs: $49,000.
Filmmaker Byron Hurt was so fascinated by Soul Food’s deep roots in Black history that he made a movie about it entitled, Soul Food Junkies. Soul Food Junkies explores the quintessential cuisine, which has made a huge impact on African American health and identity on some. Hurt explores the past present and future of soul food from its roots in West Africa, to it’s journey to the American South, to it’s contribution to the current health crises in communities of color.
“My father had become ill with pancreatic cancer. My sister, my mother and myself really tried hard to get him to change his eating habits so we could help him extend his life,” Hurt told EURweb . “It was very hard for him. In fact, we got into some very tense conversations because I would question him about the food that he was putting on his plate, even after he had become ill.”
In addition to tradition and health, Hurt also looks at the socioeconomics of the standard American diet and how the food industry profits from peddling cheap food, while making healthy options expensive and hard to find. Soul Food Junkies airs on PBS, January 14 (2013), as part of the network’s Independent Lens series.
Each year millions of shoppers struggle to pick the perfect gift without going over their budget.
Restaurant gift cards have been growing steadily each year in popularity for the winter holiday season. A gift card is a flexible present that honors the recipient’s ability to pick their own perfect item. This has made it one of the most given and most wanted items. While gift cards were once limited to relationships that weren’t very close, you can now give these cards or certificates to spouses and children. Instead of trying to guess what they need based on their interests, you can simply hand over a pre-paid card that allows them to make the choice.
According to the National Restaurant Association, about 32 percent of consumers receive a gift card as a gift over the holiday season. Restaurant gift cards are one of the most popular types to give. Since the recession has had a freezing effect on the dining habits of many Americans, a restaurant gift card allows the recipient to enjoy a nice dinner without worrying about picking up the tab. This is part of a greater trend of interest in experience based gifts rather than giving goods. Experiences have a longer effect on your mood, and can be far less expensive than a new watch or television set for the buyer.
Almost all major chains offer a gift certificate or prepaid card option, including Red Lobster, T.G.I. Friday’s and Outback Steakhouse. Local, independent restaurants also offer these options because they know that it brings in guaranteed business.
U.S. consumers are paying all-time highs for gasoline in 2012, but they are about to get a break for the holiday season: $3 a gallon gas in much of the country.
With U.S. supplies rising and demand fizzling, wholesale prices are sinking fast and will soon be reflected at the pump. Now averaging $3.37 a gallon nationwide, prices are expected to drop to about $3.20 a gallon within the next two to three weeks.
Consumers in many states could find prices at $3 a gallon or even less in many states, says Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service.
“We’ve gone from an industry that was worried about enough gas to one wondering how it will deal with all of this gas,” Kloza says. “And we haven’t seen the bottom yet.”
In California, Oregon and Washington — where motorists were forking out up to $5 a gallon in October due to oil refinery problems that forced long lines and closures at some outlets — there’ll be even greater relief.
One of the most appreciated expressions of gratitude to those who support and assist you in your life all year long is the holiday tip.
Whether it’s your doorman, a favorite server at a restaurant, or the person who shovels or plows your drive so you can get to work every day, a holiday tip is the perfect way to say thank you.
The following is meant to guide you in determining who to tip and how much.
* Newspaper Carrier – If your paper was consistently delivered to your door and not the neighbors and wrapped when it was raining, a tip of $20-$50 is appropriate.
* Mail Carrier – Since government employees are not allowed to accept cash, consider giving a gift card to a local store or restaurant in an amount up to $20.
* Housekeeper – This is one area you don’t want to mess up! You have a special relationship with a service provider who cleans your home or office. Gift bags and gift cards are always nice but if you know your housekeeper can use the money, the standard is tipping what you pay per visit.
* Hair stylist – Your stylist makes you look good every day and your tip should reflect it. Holiday tipping (or gifting) is appreciated but not required. If you do tip, give the cost of your cut, or, at least twice your regular tip (15-20% of the bill). Gift ideas include homemade candy or cookies, wine, a personal item like a toy for your stylist’s beloved dog, or, a gift card from a national on-line retailer like Amazon.com. Remember: A lot depends on how long you’ve been with your stylist – a 20-year relationship trumps someone new.
by Charlotte Evans, BDO Staff Writer
Older people who exercise regularly may reduce their risk of dementia and help keep their minds sharp, a new study suggests.
Physical activity may cut dementia risk by 40 percent and decline of thinking skills by as much as 60 percent, researchers say.
“Over the past three years, this has become a highly consistent finding,” said Dr. Sam Gandy, associate director of the Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center in New York City, who had no part in the study.
“The best thing we can do for ourselves and our patients is to adopt a regular exercise routine,” he said. “This delays or prevents dementia or slows progression so there is some benefit for everyone.”
Dr. Ralph Sacco, chairman of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said this study shows some convincing evidence that physical activity in an older population reduces the risk of vascular dementia. Vascular dementia results from reduced blood flow to the brain, typically because of strokes, and may lead to symptoms such as confusion, depression, agitation and problems with memory, attention or decision-making.
“Physical activity is one of the seven key health factors in the American Heart Association’s definition of ideal cardiovascular health, and can also help to reduce stroke and improve brain health,” Sacco said.
As the U.S. population ages, more emphasis will be placed on ways to reduce dementia and age-related cognitive (mental) decline, he added.
“Staying physically active is not only important to improve heart health, but can also promote better brain health,” Sacco said.
The study was released online Nov. 1 in advance of publication in the December print issue of the journal Stroke.
The investigators, led by Dr. Ana Verdelho, a neuroscience researcher at the University of Lisbon, Santa Maria Hospital in Portugal, had more than 600 men and women in their 60s and 70s undergo brain scans at the start and end of the study to look for changes that indicate declining mental function. Almost two-thirds of the participants took exercise classes, walked or biked for 30 minutes a day three times a week.
During the study, the participants were asked about depression, quality of life and their ability to do common activities.
After three years, the researchers found 90 patients had developed dementia, including 54 with vascular dementia and 34 with the brain-robbing condition known as Alzheimer’s disease. Another 147 displayed problems with mental ability, but not dementia, the researchers reported.
“We strongly suggest physical activity of moderate intensity at least 30 minutes three times a week to prevent cognitive [thinking] impairment,” Verdelho said in a journal news release. “This is particularly important for people with vascular risk factors such as [high blood pressure], stroke or diabetes.”
Ideally, the American Heart Association suggests men and women should engage in 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
Among study participants, regular exercise was effective regardless of age, education, changes in the brain, or a history of stroke, the researchers noted.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, said it’s known that Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia share risk factors with other chronic diseases, such as coronary disease.
“We have long had reason to believe that the same lifestyle practices that defend against diabetes and heart disease defend against dementia as well,” he said.
This study reaffirms that important association, Katz said.
“The health of the body and brain are indelibly linked, and caring well for the one benefits the other. One may think that exercise is mostly about conditioning muscles, but this study suggests it is just as important for preserving a well-functioning mind,” he said.
by Alexis Garrett Stodghill
From Ebony.com: When the trailer was released earlier this month for Django: Unchained, Black folks didn’t quite know what to make of it. It’s clear it’s a Quentin Tarantino film—the blood shed, the fast-moving dialogue and the James Brown soundtrack are the Tarantino-esque trimmings we’ve all come to love. But it’s wrapped around—and set in—pre-Civil War America.
But a movie set during slavery? Turns out, this isn’t just another slave movie.The film is still shooting right now, but the hero—played by Academy Award winning actor and comedian Jamie Foxx— is a slave who gets his get back.
Foxx plays who we imagined we’d all be should we have lived through such a horrific time. And that’s exactly the kind of film Reginald Hudlin—Tarantino’s producer on this project—has been longing to see. It doesn’t release until Christmas (they’re still filming in New Orleans right now), but six months out, it’s got the kind of buzz that makes Hollywood studio execs ridiculously happy.
Hudlin who along with actress Kerry Washington previewed an extended seven-minute clip of the film at the National Association of Black Journalists convention on Thursday evening in New Orleans—talks with EBONY.com about the movie, slavery and why Tarantino loves telling our stories.
Read the rest of this story on Ebony.com.
by Deborah Easton, BDO Contributing Writer
In a society that seems only to idolize what’s new and young, it can be hard to accept seeing the signs of time on our faces and bodies.
Thankfully, we live in an era of being able to fix, hide or camouflage just about anything. However, one thing remains true, you can lie about your age, refuse to tell your age and even successfully mask your age but in the end, age is about far more than just the way we look.
Examine Your Views on What’s Old
Remember when you were in first grade, your teacher seemed old. In our teens, 20’s were intriguing, yet light years away from anything we could fathom. Life has a way of changing and expanding what we consider old the closer we approach that age. It’s amazing how young 70 seems when you’re in your 50’s.
Separate How You Look From How You Feel
It’s pointless to compete with your younger self. Stop comparing how you look today with how you looked in your twenties. Over time, looks fade. That’s not always the easiest fact of life to make friends with, but one that must be respected. It’s great to celebrate youth and beauty, but be careful to understand that neither of those things define you. Maintaining a fit body by eating well and exercising can help you stay healthy, which is one key to feeling beautiful at any age.
Exercise to Exorcise Self Doubt
Keeping your body agile and in shape helps to keep you looking your best at any age. Yoga and Pilates help to keep the body stretched, toned and limber, while also relaxing the mind. When you’re taking good care of yourself, it shows.
Involvement keeps us young. Volunteer. Mentor a young coworker. Sharing the beauty of who you are is a good way to stay eternally young.
Embrace a New Bliss
Find a new hobby, a new interest, something you’ve wanted to do before but may not have had the time for. Enjoyment and exhilaration never fade. Beware of letting your age dictate your willingness to learn new things and have new exciting experiences.
Accept Yourself, Express Yourself
You’ve earned the right to wear your age proudly. Refuse to accept society’s definition of what’s beautiful. Don’t apologize for those smile lines or crows feet. Don’t be afraid or shy about expressing the fact that you love and totally accept yourself exactly as you are.
Fighting with the notion of getting older is a foolish battle. When you look around, do you find yourself surrounded by friends, a loving spouse, children and grandchildren? Do you see the fruit of things you took time to cultivate over time? Pause to value all of the gifts and blessings in your life. Feel good about feeling good. Thank the Creator for bringing you this far. Celebrate every beautiful sunrise you’ve been graced to see.