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Last updated: 27 November, 2008 - Published 20:55 GMT
 
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BBC Caribbean News in Brief
 
 Patrick Manning (right)
Prime Minister Patrick Manning (right) is expected to announce spending cuts on Sunday night
"Plan for more cuts"

The Trinidad and Tobago government has been told to plan for an even bigger financial black hole than it had forecast.

Last week the government said its budget would experience a shortfall of about US$1 billion, because of the drop in energy prices.

One respected university economist, professor Karl Theodore, says the authorities should add 40 percent to that.

He also said they should hold a tight rein on building projects for up to nine months.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning is due to announce on Sunday just where the budget cuts will fall.

Jamaica launches ad campaign

Jamaica is launching a US$3 million advertising campaign to lure tourists to the island despite a global financial crisis.

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says television and radio ads are targeting the United States, which is traditionally Jamaica's strongest market.

Similar promotions are planned for Canada and Europe.

Jamaican tourism association president Wayne Cummings says bookings for early 2009 have dropped 30 percent.

Mr Bartlett said that despite the trends, he does not expect any major lay-offs in the tourism industry.

Paris lays out Caribbean debt claims

Caribbean countries owe billions to the Paris Club of creditor nations.

For the first time, the Paris-based group of 19 rich nations has disclosed how much it is owed and by whom.

In a statement on its Web site, the Paris Club said it is owed a total of $330 billion.

When it comes to the Caribbean, Cuba tops the list, owing $29 billion.

The Dominica Republic is second with $851 million followed by Jamaica with $482 million.

Haiti is next with $187 million.

Campaigners have long pleaded for forgiveness of the debts of the hemisphere's poorest nation.

Other countries with sizeable debts include Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda.

Amnesty condemns Haiti rapes

A new Amnesty International report condemns rampant sexual violence against Haitian girls and says it often goes unpunished.

The document says most of the 238 rapes reported between January 2007 and June 2008 involved girls under age 18. Some were infants.

The human rights group says girls who are raped are shunned by society and encouraged or threatened into not identifying attackers.

It says armed gangs used rape to intimidate.

The report released Thursday criticises a weak justice system it says fails to protect women.

New Grenada GG is sworn in

Grenada's fifth governor general, former education minister Carlyle Glean, has taken the oath of office, ending an embarrassing episode for the government.

The ceremony was postponed from last week because the instruments of appointment from Buckingham Palace did not arrive in Grenada on time.

Opponents accused the Tillman Thomas administration of incompetence but government said the brief absence of a Governor general did not present a constitutional problem.

Carlyle Glean replaces Sir Daniel Williams who demitted office after serving in the position for 13 years.

Gonsalves wins libel award

The Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, is potentially US$160,000 richer.

That's the total sum the Caribbean Media Corporation said he was awarded, including costs, as a result of a successful libel suit against local radio station, Nice and the host of a talk show sponsored by the opposition.

The broadcast claimed that the Prime Minister used state funds to pay for a family trip to the Vatican to see Pope John Paul in 2002.

Dr Gonsalves denied the charge and said he'd waiting six years to be vindicated.

He promised to donate the money to charity.

 
 
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