Marlon James

Jamaican author Marlon James' fantasy epic "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" is among TIME magazine's '100 best fantasy books of all time'. The book is a fantastical vision of ancient Africa that has been likened to "Game of Thrones" and is the first of a planned "Dark Star" trilogy by James. "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" traces the story ofwhat happens when a mercenary, called Tracker, is hired to find a missing child who disappeared three years earlier. According to Time magazine, "In a year defined by grim reality, we look to artists to help us understand—and escape. TIME celebrates the best, most captivating and essential fantasy books of all time, dating back to the 9th century." To develop its list, the magazine said it began in 2019 by recruiting a panel of leading fantasy authors, comprising of James himself. The other authors were Tomi Adeyemi, Cassandra Clare, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin, George R.R. Martin and Sabaa Tahi. They all worked together with TIME staff members in nominating the top books of the genre. However, the panelists of authors did not nominate their own works. "The group then rated 250 nominees on a scale, and using their responses, TIME created a ranking. Finally, TIME editors considered each finalist based on key factors, including originality, ambition, artistry, critical and popular reception, and influence on the fantasy genre and literature more broadly," the magazine stated. James, who won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his book 'A Brief History of Seven Killings', was hailed by TIME magazine editor,Elijah Wolfson, for creating a novel that created a new spin on the fantasy genre that he said "haslong been saturated with the myths of Europe". "Marlon James’ fourth novel offers a stunning corrective, drawing instead on African mythology and history for its tropes, character types and narrative renderings," Wolfson wrote. "James identifies as a gay man, and — in another welcome palliative to an often-heteronormative genre — he fills Black Leopard, Red Wolf with characters who span the full spectra of gender and sexual identities and who never once feel anything close to stereotypes. "James crafts a sprawling story of heroism, evil, betrayal and redemption with electric language, all while matching up with the classics of the genre when it comes to grand world-building and intricately designed magical elements that feel entirely of its universe," Wolfson shared. Described as"gripping" and "action-packed", the book has received several awards, including the winner of the LATimes Ray Bradbury Prize, and finalist for the 2019 National Book Award. It has also been named a New York Times Best Seller, anda Best Book of 2019 by The Wall Street Journal, TIME, NPR, GQ, Vogue, and The Washington Post. A graduate of the Wolmer's Boys' School in Kingston, James was also named as one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2019.

A teenage girl who became a sex worker after schools in Kenya were closed in March due to coronavirus restrictions, sits in the rented room where she and others work, in Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, October 1, 2020. The girls saw their mothers' sources of income vanish when Kenya's government restricted movement to prevent the spread of the virus, and now engage in the sex work to help with household bills. (AP Photo/Brian Inganga)

The teenage girls cannot remember how many men they have had to sleep within the seven months since COVID-19 closed their schools, or how many of those men used protection. Painfully, they recall times when they were sexually assaulted and then beaten up when they asked to be paid -as little as $1 -to help feed their families as jobs evaporated during the pandemic. From their rented room in Kenya’s capital, the girls say the risk of getting infected with the coronavirus or HIV does not weigh heavily on them in a time when survival is paramount. “If you get $5 in these streets, that is gold,” says a 16-year-old, seated on the small bed she shares with the 17-year-old and 18-year-old she calls her “best friends forever.” They split the $20 rent in a building where every room is home to fellow sex workers. According to UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, recent gains in the fight against child labourare at risk because of the pandemic. The world could see the first rise in the number of working children since 2000. The U.N. warns that millions of children may be forced into exploitative and hazardous jobs, and school closures exacerbate the problem. Mary Mugure, a former sex worker, launched Night Nurse to rescue girls who followed her path. She says since schools in Kenya closed in March, up to 1,000 schoolgirls have become sex workers in the three Nairobi neighbourhoods she monitors. Most are trying to help their parents with household bills. The youngest, Mugure says, is 11. Each of the three girls sharing a room was raised with several siblings by a single mother. They saw their mothers’ sources of income vanish when Kenya’s government clamped down to prevent the spread of the virus. Two of their mothers had been washing clothes for people who lived near their low-income neighbourhood of Dandora. But as soon as the first local virus case was confirmed, nobody wanted them in their homes, the girls say. The third mother was selling potatoes by the roadside, a business that collapsed because of a new curfew. As eldest children, the girls say they took it upon themselves to help their mothers feed their families. The girls had been spending their free time as part of a popular dance group, and they were paid for gigs. But when public gatherings were restricted, that income ended. “Now I can get my mom $1.84 every day and that helps her to feed the others,” one of the girls says. Elsewhere in Nairobi, single mother Florence Mumbua and her three children- ages 7, 10 and 12- crack rocks at a quarry in the sweltering heat. The work is backbreaking and hazardous, but the 34-year-old Mumbua says she was left without a choice after she lost her cleaning job at a private school when pandemic restrictions were imposed. “I have to work with (the children) because they need to eat and yet I make little money,” she says. “When we work as a team, we can make enough money for our lunch, breakfast and dinner.” In Dandora, 15-year-old Dominic Munyoki and 17-year-old Mohamed Nassur rummage through Kenya’s largest landfill, scavenging for scrap metal to sell. Munyoki’s mother, Martha Waringa, a 35-year-old single parent who also scavenges, says her son’s wages will help pay his seven siblings’ school fees when classes resume. Similarly, Nassur’s mother, 45-year-old Ann Mungai, doesn’t see anything wrong with her son helping with the family’s daily needs. “When he started working, I realized that it is helpful as he does not sit idle at home or play video games that are not beneficial to him,” she says. “But when he goes to work, he earns money that helps us. He also buys clothes such as shirts and shoes for himself.” Phillista Onyango, who leads the Kenya-based African Network for the Protection and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, says with schools closed, parents in low-income neighbourhoods prefer to have children work instead of staying home, where they can slide into drug abuse and crime. Onyango says enforcement of child labour laws has been lax. Kenya’s employment act defines a child as someone under 18. It allows employment of children 13 to 16 for part-time and “light work duties.” Those who are 16 to 18 can work in industry and construction, though not at night. According to a U.S. Department of Labor report last year, Kenya has made “moderate advancement” in eliminating the worst forms of child labour, such as sexual exploitation, but there is still work to be done. Kenya had 85 labour inspectors, probably too few to police a workforce of more than 19 million workers, the report says. Kenya has started easing restrictions on movement and public gatherings due to the country’s relatively low number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and plans a phased reopening of schools this month. But Onyango says many children who started working when schools closed will not return. Sub-Saharan Africa already had the world’s highest rates of children out of school. Nearly a fifth of children between 6 and 11- and more than a third of youth between 12 and 14- do not attend, according to UNICEF. The 16-year-old sex worker and her two friends say they hope they won’t be doing this for the rest of their lives, but they think their chances of returning to class are remote. “Where we come from, we were some sort of role models,” the 16-year-old says. “Our neighbourhood, if you get to 16 without getting pregnant and still in school, then you have made it. Having avoided pregnancies, we were this close to graduating from high school and making history.”


Liverpool celebrate Nicolas Tagliafico's own goal.

Liverpool’s makeshift defense held firm and a fortunate goal earned Jurgen Klopp’s team a 1-0 victory over Ajax on Wednesday in their Champions League opener at the empty Johan Cruyff Area. Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico turned a mishit shot by Sadio Mane into his own net in the 35th minute for the only goal of the match. At the other end, a combination of poor finishing, bad luck, and an acrobatic goal-line clearance by stand-in central defender Fabinho denied Ajax a goal. Liverpool wereplaying without captain and central defender Virgil van Dijk after the Dutchman suffered a serious knee injury in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Everton. Also missing were goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Joel Matip, and Thiago Alcantara. Klopp paired midfielder Fabinho with Joe Gomez in central defense while 19-year-old Curtis Jones got his first Champions League start in the midfield. The hosts should have taken the lead in the 33rd minute when David Neres passed to Quincy Promes, but the Netherlands winger shot too close to Adrian and the goalkeeper stuck out his right foot to save. Just over a minute later, Liverpool werein front when Mane turned away from Perr Schuurs before scuffing his shot that led to Tagliafico's own-goal. Fabinho preserved his team's lead at halftime when he hooked the ball off his goal line after Dusan Tadic had lobbed Adrian in the 44th minute. Liverpool escaped again a minute after the break when Klaassen's powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area beat Adrian but hit the post. “It’s a shame. We deserved a point,” said Ajax midfielder Davy Klaassen. “You have to convert one of those chances.” Mohammed Kudus and 18-year-old Ryan Gravenberch made their Champions League debuts in an Ajax team that had lost several key players from the side that reached the semifinals in 2019. Kudus lasted only six minutes before limping off injured after a tackle by Fabinho and being replaced by Promes. Klopp substituted his entire front three on the hour as Ajax threw players forward in search of the equaliser that never came. In Group D's other match, Atalanta won 4-0 at Midtylland.

Shakhtar celebrate in Madrid.

Real Madrid suffered a remarkable opening Champions League defeat as Shakhtar Donetsk, missing 10 first-team players due to coronavirus, held on for a 3-2 away success. Wednesday's Group B clash seemed to be set up for a straightforward Madrid win, with Shakhtar clear underdogs even before losing half their squad to COVID-19 in a situation coach Luis Castro described as "a nightmare". But Zinedine Zidane's LaLiga champions were outthought and outfought for 45 minutes at their temporary Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano home as strikes from Mateus Tete and Manor Solomon sandwiched a Raphael Varane own goal to secure a three-goal half-time lead. Madrid also lost at home to Cadiz last Saturday and visit bitter rivals Barcelona in the Clasico this weekend yet at least showed some fight after the break. Efforts from Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior set up a grandstand finish, but Federico Valverde's apparent equaliser in stoppage time was disallowed for offside as Shakhtar survived for a sensational victory. The Ukrainian outfit should have led even before they did as Marlos ran clear and had time to pick his spot but sent an awkward effort into Thibaut Courtois' legs. It was not a miss the makeshift visiting side wasmade to pay for, though, as the teamrepeatedly dismantled a dismal Madrid defence, Tete sliding in an assured finish for the first before having a hand in the next two. Courtois spilled Tete's shot at the feet of Dentinho, prompting Varane into a desperate lunge that succeeded only in turning the ball past his own goalkeeper, and the winger's cute backheel then teed up Solomon to make it three. Madrid were much improved following the restart but still scarcely threatened until Modric's sublime strike, finding the top-right corner from 25 yards. That flicker of hope should have been swiftly extinguished by Tete, yet the star of the first half somehow blasted wide after running onto Viktor Korniienko's cutback. By contrast, Vinicius was clinical at the other end, emerging from the bench to score with his first touch as he stole possession from Marlos and swept into the net. Tete squandered another opportunity, shooting straight at Courtois, and was then just offside before squaring for Marlos to net what Shakhtar thought was a clincher. Valverde's deflected 92nd-minute attempt squirmed past Anatolii Trubin to seemingly deny Castro's men, but Vinicius - stood in front of the keeper - was offside and Madrid were beaten. What does it mean? Crisis looming ahead of Clasico Well, that did not take long. Madrid were crowned LaLiga champions just three months ago and are already facing a potentially make-or-break fixture on Saturday when they make the trip to Camp Nou. If Zidane's men play again as they did in the opening 45 minutes here, when they gave up four shots, all on target and all from inside the box, they are unlikely to find Lionel Messi in forgiving mood. Tete takes centre stage Starting wide on the right, Tete's ability to drift inside and combine with team-mates caused Madrid all sorts of problems. His only key pass was the gorgeous assist for the third, but he was involved in almost every away move. Second-half wastefulness threatened to undo his hard work, yet Tete also defended from the front, making two tackles and an interception, as well as contesting 20 duels. Misery for Madrid's Marcelo A series of right-back injuries have seen Ferland Mendy moved across from the left-hand side of the defence, meaning Marcelo must start. But this was a punishing experience for the veteran. Marcelo was dragged out of position for goals one and three, the victim of much of Tete's best work, although he did make three tackles and timed a late offside trap to deny his opponent on the counter. Key Opta Facts - Real Madrid have lost three consecutive matches in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time since September 1986. - Shakhtar Donetsk are the first Ukrainian side to win against Madrid in the Champions League since Dynamo Kiev's2-0 victory in March 1999. Neither of Shakhtar's two scorers - Tete and Solomon - were born then. - Madrid shipped three first half goals in a Champions League game for the first time since September 2005 against Lyon, and the first time in a home game since February 2000 against Bayern Munich. - Vinicius scored for Madrid just 15 seconds after coming on as a substitute – this is the fastest such goal in the Champions League since 2006-07 (when Opta first collected this data). - Madrid have lost seven of their past eight Champions League matches that have not featured Sergio Ramos. What's next? Madrid simply must respond against Barca in a bid to get their season back on track. Shakhtar, third in their domestic league, go to second-placed Vorksla earlier on Saturday.


Travellers to Belize will no longer be required to apply for entry or quarantine upon arrival to the country once their PCR tests are negative. These were among the measures Prime Minister Dean Barrowannounced on October 16 as he revealed thefurther relaxation of protocols for entry into Belize. Despite the ease of entry, the requirement to download the Belize Health App and complete the information within 72 hours of arrival in Belize remains mandatory for all incoming passengers, residents and tourists. Barrow announced that the Safe Corridor for tourists has been expanded to include all Gold Standard and Certified entities including hotels, tour operators, restaurants, tourism sites, gift shops, car rentals and taxis. While tourists can therefore move around freely, they are highly encouraged to remain within the safe corridor by visiting and using only those entities that are Gold Standard Certified and the certification is displayed and clearly visible. Tourists are to reserve and stay only at Gold Standard hotels. Therefore, only hotels that are Gold Standard certified are included on the Belize Health App for Tourists to select. The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) will only be promoting and partnering with these properties that have implemented the recommended health and safety protocols to protect guests and have therefore attained Tourism Gold Standard Certification. The Tourism Gold Standard Program that is currently in place for hotels and tour operators will now be offered to other entities within the Tourism Industry including Tourism sites and attractions, Restaurants and gift shops. In addition, car rentals, taxis and other approved transport providers will continue to be offered a Certification under the Tourism Gold Standard program. Visitors areencouraged to visit https://www.travelbelize.org/health-safety for information on the arrival and departure processes.

Anguilla goes into Phase 2 of reopening from Nov 1. The island is COVID-19 free.

Visitors to Anguilla can move around mask free as the island prepares to go into its second phase of reopening. That phase, which will be implemented on November 1, will see hotels, resorts and villas across the island added into the approved and certified accommodations mix for visitors to the island. Anguilla currently has no cases of COVID-19. The island, the only one to hold its Carnival in August,had a total of three cases to date. Hadyn Hughes, Minister of Tourism, said as such the wearing of masks in public is not mandatory on the island. He reassured, however, that the island has a surplus of masks in the event that they are needed. Hughes said they have been very prudent in how they have managed the presence of visitors to the island. Speaking to the Caribbean Tourism Organisation on Tuesday, he saidvisitors are categorised by High Prevalence and Low Prevalence areas based on the spread of the virus in their countries. All visitors to Anguilla must submit a negative PCR test taken withinthree to five days of their arrival and upon arrival, another test will be administered. Hughes said results from that testwill be delivered withinan hour. Tests cost US$100 and can be paid for when bookings are made with the hotels. For those who are visiting from High Prevalence areas for up to 14 days, they will have to vacation in place. However,said Hughes, since Anguilla does not have All-Inclusive Resorts, certified service providers could be used to enjoy activities off-site. Those from Low-Prevalence countries staying longer than 10 days are free to move around once they are cleared after day 10. Everything, Hughes said, is carefully managed. "If you come to Anguilla and stay at one of our properties you can play golf, you can still leave the property, not on your own but through certified ground transportation and you must ensure those bookings are done. ..everything is controlled, it isn't just that you call a taxi, jump in a taxi and going over to the golf course, going on a boat, going over to Scilly Cayor SandyIsland, everything is controlled, everything is by bookings, everything is managed," he said. He said hotel facilities are available through appointments and each hotel has a quarantine facility for those visitors who test positive while on the island. Addressing passengers who have to transit through Sint Maarten, San Juan, St Kitts and Nevis orAntigua, Hughes said if the first port of entry requires a negative PCR test and you don't leave the airport before you arrive to Anguilla, you do not need to show proof of a negative test. You will, however, be tested again once you arrive on the island. This applies to passengers arriving by sea as well. Hughes said while they are late in the reopening process one of the lessons they learnt is not to be too desperate to open. "And even when you are opening you must be vigilant, you must be careful in doing so. We have seen some of the protocols other countries are using and we have been lookingat itand saying hmm this is risky. We have also seen some countries that have open and closed. We don't want to be that, we want to ensure we do this carefully and meticulously, we want toensure everybody is on the same page," he said. He said a tourism sensitisation programme with all service providers will be held to ensure everyone is COVID ready. He said: "We are late in the game but that is by design."