In this Dec. 4, 2008 file photo, Aretha Franklin performs during the 85th annual Christmas tree lighting at the New York Stock Exchange in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Three handwritten wills have been found in the suburban Detroit home of Aretha Franklin, months after the death of the "Queen of Soul," including one that was discovered under cushions in the living room, a lawyer said Monday. The latest one is dated March 2014 and appears to give the famous singer's assets to family members. Some writing is extremely hard to decipher, however, and the four pages have words scratched out and phrases in the margins. Franklin was 76 when she died last Augustof pancreatic cancer. Lawyers and family members said at the time that she had no will, but three handwritten versions were discovered earlier this month. Two from 2010 were found in a locked cabinet after a key was located. The 2014 version was inside a spiral notebook under cushions, said an attorney for Franklin's estate, David Bennett. Bennett, who was Franklin's lawyer for more than 40 years, filed the wills on Monday. He told a judge that he's not sure if they're legal under Michigan law. A hearing is scheduled for June 12. Bennett said the wills were shared with Franklin's four sons or their lawyers, but that a deal wasn't reached on whether any should be considered valid. A statement from the estate said two sons object to the wills. Sabrina Owens, an administrator at the University of Michigan, will continue to serve as personal representative of the estate. "She remains neutral and wishes that all parties involved make wise choices on behalf of their mother, her rich legacy, the family and the Aretha Franklin estate," the statement said. In a separate court filing, son Kecalf Franklin said Aretha Franklin wanted him to serve as a representative of the estate in the 2014 will. He is objecting to plans to sell a piece of land next to his mother's Oakland County home for $325,000. Judge Jennifer Callaghan in April approved the hiring of experts to appraise Franklin's assets and personal belongings, including memorabilia, concert gowns and household goods. The Internal Revenue Service is auditing many years of Franklin's tax returns, according to the estate. It filed a claim in December for more than $6 million in taxes. Franklin's star, meanwhile, hasn't faded since her death. She was awarded an honorary Pulitzer Prize in April, cited posthumously for her extraordinary career. A 1972 concert film, "Amazing Grace," was released with much praise from critics. The estate is involved in "many continuing projects ... including various television and movie proposals, as well as dealing with various creditor claims and resulting litigation," Bennett said.

Wedding bells are in the future for actress Scarlett Johansson and Colin Jost of "Saturday Night Live." Johansson's publicist Marcel Pariseau tells The Associated Press Sunday that the private couple is officially engaged after two years of dating. Pariseau says no date has been set for the nuptials. Johansson, 34, was previously married to actor Ryan Reynolds and journalist Romain Dauriac, with whom she has a daughter named Rose who was born in 2014. This is the first marriage for the 36-year-old Jost, who is the co-anchor of SNL's Weekend Update. The couple recently walked the red carpet together at the premiere of "Avengers: Endgame," in which Johansson plays the character of Black Widow.

T&T, Grenada and Barbados have all won gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Barbadoshavewon Gold Medals at the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Showin the United Kingdom. The three islands were awarded gold in the Floral Award category. T&T wonwith a presentation entitled 'Rhythm of Our People', Grenada, with its presentation called 'A Carnival of Exotic Caribbean Blooms' and Barbados with its presentation 'The Charter of Barbados 1652'. Grenada's gold medal is their 15th to date while the Barbados Horticultural Society announced on Facebook that thisgold medal is their 20th. "Guess what folks?! We've done it again! Barbados has won its 20th Gold Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show! Congratulations to the hardworking team! A lengthier post to follow soon....," they posted.

(L-R) Marketing Manager, Banks (Barbados) Breweries Limited, Charles Walcott, Marketing Coordinator Leanne Hall along with performer Jus D and Event Producer Mario Turton.

There is a new party - Deputy Beer Vibez: Festival of Sound,on the Barbados Crop Over 2019 calendar and it is not a 100-per cent soca event. With a venue switch from Daiquiri beach to Kensington Oval, Deputy Beer Vibez will be offering patrons a mix of dancehall, groovy soca and bashment soca. Carrying a CARICOM feel, the event promoters have brought in performers from Jamaica and Trinidad to hit the stage along with local entertainers. Noting the economic situation and the cries of Bajans in the face of inflation and higher bus fares along with increased fuel costs, it will only cost eight Deputy crowns. That is, persons will be able to collect and hand in eight Deputy Beer bottle caps to redeem a Vibez Access pass from the reputable distributors. Speaking at the recent launch held in the Brewmaster's Tavern, Banks Barbados Breweries, Newton, Christ Church, Marketing Manager, Banks (Barbados) Breweries Limited, Charles Walcott said that this event is a gift to their loyal customers. "This equity campaign celebrates and gives back to our Deputy Consumers, without whom it would not have been possible to obtain the success we have in the past five years. [...] That's why access to Deputy Beer Vibez - Festival of Sound is essentially FREE. All patrons have to do to get your free access pass is to exchange eight DEPUTY Beer crowns at select outlets." And he stressed that no one should pay for a Vibez Access pass - no money should be exchanged for entry. This was stressed as well by Marketing Coordinator Leanne Hall. Walcott reiterated for the public that this Festival of Sound "is a celebration of the overwhelming success of the Deputy Beer brand since its launch just over five years ago, and it is a celebration of the people of Barbados, who are fans of music and Deputy Beer, and who have made Deputy a dominant force in the local beer market." The producer of the event, Mario Turton says that persons will be entertained by Trinidad and Tobago's Voice and Kerwin Du Bois; Jamaica's Munga Honourable and Aidonia; and Barbados' Jus D and Mole. They will be supported by DJs Vibe Nation, Hutchy & Sizz, Surfrat and Menace, and Indian and Chris Gayle.


Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is pleased and thankful that Barbados has been removed from the European Union (EU) list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Mottley made the comments followingthe announcement madeby the Council of the EU, and as she addressed a press briefing at Government Headquarters, following the exit of the IMF Mission. Explaining the significance of the removal for Barbados, the Prime Minister said: “It means insurance companies that could have left us will now not do so because they will not be prohibited from doing business in Europe, [as would have been the case] as a result of the blacklist. “This has tangible meaning for us as we go forward. It does not mean that the battle is over because we live in a world where persons will want to continue to extract every competitive advantage that they can.” She added that the imposition of rules and bureaucracy would act as a non-tariff barrier to keep some countries uncompetitive. Mottley said the world was evolving and expressed the view that within the next 20 or 30 years, corporation taxes might not exist in the same way because they were too difficult for governments to track. She opined that governments would tax transactions and assets. “Estonia does not have corporation taxes at all; they tax dividends and…in this battle, you are going to see an evolution in how governments relate to companies and what they can tax because of the ease with which companies can move,” she stated. She noted that the island’s international business sector had evolved over the last 40 years to respond to the changing world. “We had foreign sales corporations in the early 80’s and early 90’s that no longer exist; we had international business companies up until December last year. We have had so many different iterations of vehicles that changed because of the changing environment in the world. Our ability to be nimble, flexible but always sound on the core principles to be a well regulated but competitive jurisdiction, is what will make Barbados different,” she stressed. Mottley thanked all involved, including the Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin, and his team, as well as Ministry of Finance officials for working so diligently to ensure Barbados was removed from the blacklist.

Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes

The Governor of Barbados’ Central Bank says high fuel prices are impinging Barbados’ economic growth, stymieing the country’s competitiveness, and eroding its foreign reserves. Cleviston Haynes addressing the Bank’s 2019 Biogas Conference, which focused on Bio-digestion : Benefits to Barbados, pointed out that in 2008, for example, when oil prices were hovering around US$90 per barrel, the Balance of Payments felt the impact, and, as the cost of fuel imports skyrocketed, shipping costs also rose, pushing up the price of imported goods. “These increasing costs had an inflationary effect, while our valuable foreign exchange was used to help pay for these imports. High oil prices do have ripple effects on us. Consider the savings in foreign exchange, therefore, if we were to move to renewables, harnessing the sun, wind, water, and now biological resources and waste. These savings have the potential to facilitate projects that stimulate greater economic activity and fuel growth,” he told those attending the event which was held in the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle. “Today, the Bank is concerned about the current global uncertainty, created in part by geopolitical tensions, surrounding the price of oil. Significant increases in the price of oil now that we are stabilising the economy represent a distinct downside risk that could offset our economic recovery efforts. Much emphasis has been placed on solar energy but bio-based renewables also represent a win-win. “They have the potential to power the economy while minimising waste and enabling us to make the best use of our resources. They generate energy. They help us to manage our carbon footprint. They boost local agriculture production by supplying organic fertilizers. And they improve our tourism value-added because the oceans and the island is cleaner,” Haynes stated. The governor, while commending the government for accelerating the shift to a 100 per cent renewable energy strategy, suggested the moved had the potential to create more sustainable jobs, with new opportunities for engineers, technicians, technologists, investors and entrepreneurs. He suggested the switch will also lead to new industries and will create the potential for greater investment diversification, as investors look for “green” options for pension funds.