Bruce Swedien, a five-time Grammy-winning audio engineer who collaborated with Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, has died. He was 86. His daughter, musician Roberta Swedien, said her father died November16 in Gainesville, Florida, after battling an illness and complications from surgery. The New York Timesreportedthat he tested positive for the coronavirus but was asymptomatic. “He had a long life full of love, great music, big boats and a beautiful marriage,” Roberta Swedien posted onFacebook. “We will celebrate that life. He was loved by everyone.” Bruce Swedien had more than 65 years of music industry experience and was best known for his collaborations on Jackson’s hit albums “Thriller” and “Off the Wall.” He also had recording sessions with some of music's biggest names including Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Duke Ellington and Diana Ross. Swedien, the son of two musicians, landed a position at Universal Studios where he was mentored by the legendary engineer, Bill Putnam. His career rose to new heights when he teamed up with Jones to mix the soundtrack “The Wiz” before both collaborated on Jackson’s 1979 debut album “Off the Wall.” Swedien worked as an engineer on three more albums for Jackson including “Thriller,” “Bad” and “Dangerous.” He won Grammys for those albums in the best-engineered album, non-classical category then two more for Jones’ albums “Q’s Jook Joint” and “Back on the Block.” Jones posted onsocial mediathat he was “devastated” about the news of Swedien’s death, calling him a sonic genius. Swedien is survived by his wife, Bea, of 67 years and two daughters. He was preceded in death by his son.

Spoken Word artist Cyndi Celeste

Poetry for some is just a passing hobby but for Cyndi Celeste it is her lifeblood. She describes herself as an 'arts activist' who uses performance poetry to engage her audiences in critical discourse about society, arts, and culture. Cyndi is also the director of Frenetic Arts, an artist-led nonprofit which offers developmental, networking, and income-earning opportunities to budding poets. The talented young spoken word artist is one of the few who have dared to step into the world of full-time artistry and has reached quite a few milestones already. Performing alongside notable artists such as Adrian Green and The Mighty Gabby, Cyndi whose real name is Cyndi Marshall, recently launched her own spoken word EPCyndicated,which explores black creative and cultural identity. On the heels of a performance at the moving of the Lord NelsonStatue in Heroes Square, she shared some of her thoughts withLoop Entertainmenton her lifein the world of art and how she is using her work to educate, entertain, and guide her audiences to introspection and progressive thought. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cyndi Celeste (@cyndi.celeste) LoopNews:Your album launched a little while now, how has the experience been for you? Cyndi Celeste:Putting out an album of spoken word poetry has been a combination of scary, exciting, and self-affirming. When I decided to do it, and even throughout the production process I had this constant fear of what the response would be because it's not something that a lot of poets in the Caribbean seem to do and I wasn't sure if people would want to hear what I had to say. On the other hand,I enjoyed the process of creating and directing the whole thing because it taught me so much about myself and I got to grow through the project and I think that shows when you hear the album. I've found that I've consistently been called upon in spaces that maybe didn't know about me before and it's really opened new opportunities for me as an artist. LoopNews:What has the feedback from the project been like? Cyndi Celeste:The feedback, in a word, is heart-warming. To know that I've been able to reach people who didn't love the art form before as well as people who love poetry is amazing. I've had people come to me and say that they weren't really die-hard fans of poetry but my work was accessible to them and they enjoyed it, and that, for me, means that I was able to achieve something spectacular. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cyndi Celeste (@cyndi.celeste) LoopNews:What are some of the goals you want to achieve out of this particular project? Cyndi Celeste:In a way, Cyndicated is very personal because it's about me growing and becoming self-aware. But on another level, it's for everyone who needs it as well because it's about identification and representation. The issues I talk about - blackness, language, naming, cultural retention, creativity, humanity - have significance everywhere, but in the voice of a Caribbean, and specifically a Barbadianperson. That's a voice that needs to be heard because we as Bajans are the ones responsible for showing the world who we are and not letting non-Bajans dictate our identity to us. Loop News:What has creating art at a time like this taught you? Cyndi Celeste:This is truly an unprecedented and challenging time for the world, and I think even more so for me because I lost my mother to cancer in March. She is the reason I mustered up the courage to work on a fully-involved project in the first place and lockdown started two days after her memorial service. So, for a while, I could not write anything. But Cyndicated felt like my mother's swansong, and because of that, I felt I needed to finish it for both our sakes. Eventually, it became an outpouring and writing became a healthy coping mechanism for dealing with loss, grief, and everything going on in the world. I started Cyndicated in October 2019 and released it nearly a year later, and throughout that process, I realised that I didn't have to let anyone else dictate my pace or my productivity, and relieving myself of that pressure did the world of good. LoopNews:What would you say to other young and up and coming artists to inspire them? Cyndi Celeste:I still have a long road ahead of me myself, but I've been fortunate to be surrounded by a very supportive network of people. To other young artists, I'd say: "You can do extraordinary things even with very little, you don't need to feel pressured to start out extravagantly -- put yourself out there believing you're worth it and anything is possible". I recorded and produced my whole album for next to nothing.

Minister John King and Prime Minister Mia Mottley met with Maria Marshall at Ilaro Court.

Eleven-year-old Maria Marshall has got a big future ahead of her and if she sticks to her 'Little Thoughts on Big Matters' way of thinking, it will be a green future too. Today (November 20), World Children's Day, Prime Minister Mia Mottley met, sat and chatted with the young Harrison College first form student. The World is learning Maria's name since her interview with Orlando Bloom under the UNICEF banner. But who is Maria? Here are some facts about Maria Marshall: 1. She attended Blackman and Gollop Primary School. 2. She remembers that Prime Minister Mia Mottley came to her primary school last year for a visit and she excitedly told Barbados' leader,"You shook my friend's hand". 3. "I like to talk a lot." 4. She likes to play Ark Survival. It's a video game. "I like it a lot. It is about the environment and has in trees, and animals and all those good things." 5. "I love to draw". When the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office responsible for Culture John King asked her what she would like to draw, she said a composition drawing showing the impact of littering with a person incorrectly disposing of a cup and a bird carrying it and it dropping in the ocean and a fish choking on it. "Something like that". 6. She reminds Prime Minister Mottley of one person - "You remind me of Rihanna". The PM complimented her confidence. 7. She wants an army of environmentalists. PM Mottley said: "See! Rihanna has the Navy and you want an army!" 8. When school resumes to some greater sense of normalcy, she would like to ask her principal if she could form a Club at school for people to share their recycling ideas. PM Mottley said she name it "Little Thoughts on Big Matters". 9. Maria has won two awards for her original 'Little Thoughts on Big Matters' video. She won the UNDP SIFF 2019 and a filmmaker award from NIFCA 2019. 10. Her main message to the world is "We only have one environment and one Earth so we must protect it." Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Swedenmay have Greta Thunberg, "and Barbados has Maria!" She told Maria, she wants her to help Barbados win this fight againstclimate change to save the environment. The Prime Minister bumped elbows with Maria and gifted her an Apple iPad tablet. The grateful child accepted the token admitting that she was without this educational tool. Editor's note: An earlier version of this article had said that Greta Thunberg was from Switzerland. It has been edited to reflect her Swedish nationality.

Every year on November 18Haitians around the world celebrate the Battle of Vertières to honor the country's victory and pride. Today, in 2020, it is the 217th Anniversary of The Battle of Vertières. The Battle of Vertières is known as the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution and the final part of the Haitian Revolution under Emperor Jean Jacques Dessalines. According to reports, it was fought on November 18, 1803, between the Haitian indigenous army, and Napoleon's French expeditionary forces, who were openly committed to re-enslave the formerly enslaved people and regain control of the island. The Haitian Revolution leaders fought the expeditionary troops and the French that controlled most of the territory of StDomingue. The only places controlled by the French forces were Môle StNicolas, held by Noailles, and Cap-Français, where, with 5,000 troops, and the French General Rochambeau was at bay. The Battle of Vertières's goal was to take over the land formerly known as Cap-Français to turn it into Cap-Haïtien, the land belongs to Haiti, not the French. During the 21st century, on November 17, 2020, the Haitians across Haiti and across the diaspora have taken to the streets in Haiti to celebrate such victory. Remembering in 1802, the revolutionary leader Toussaint Louverture was captured by Napoleon's troops. From the ship that would lead him to his prison cell, and eventual death, Louverture said: “In overthrowing me, you have done no more than cut down the trunk of the tree of black liberty in St. Domingue. It will spring back from the roots, for they are numerous and deep.” After Emperor Toussaint Louverture’s death, his friend Jean Jacques Dessalines continued the fight for liberty by leading the resistance to the French. On November 17, 2020, according to Werley Nortreus, a Haitian political leader and the founder of Vanyan Sòlda Ayiti and A New Haiti Before 2045 (ANHB 2045), he said on Bon Déjeuner! Radio that November 18is a historic day for the Haitians and Africans, aday that Haitians celebrate the victory of the Battle of Vertières. “The Battle of Vertières's victory honors the value and the character of my fellow Haitians and Africans brothers and sisters across the world. If my ancestors didn't fight the French and the troops, our beautiful city currently known as Cap-Haïtien wouldn't be ours. Not just Cap-Haïtien, so many other cities. Victory belongs to us,”saidWerley Nortreus, a political leader and founder of Vanyan Sòlda Ayiti and A New Haiti Before 2045 (ANHB 2045). After the death of Emperor Toussaint Louverture, his friend Jean Jacques Dessalines continued the fight for liberty by leading the resistance to the French and he won. The battle occurred less than two months before Dessalines' proclamation of the independent Republic of Haiti on January 1, 1804.

The National Insurance Scheme (NIS) is not dragging its feet when it comes to delivering severance payments. In fact, the exact opposite is being done to speedily address these matters, according toLeslie Haynes, QC, Chairman of the NIS. Speaking at the joint press conference on Saturday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Haynes said: "Our mandate is to ensure that those employees are paid. I've heard the General Secretary [of the Barbados Workers' Union, Toni Moore]. I've heard the Prime Minister [Mia Mottley]. And instructions have already been given. . . "Instructions have already been given - look do not wait for a paper for all employees, let us process them every day because we have again an expedited process." Explaining the procedure in place now, Haynes continued saying: "Since the beginning of the year, we came together, we developed some processes which are expedited. Once all papers [are] in place the severance payments will come to the approval of the Board and we are not waiting for one paper for all 65 employees. We plan to ensure that every day the Board approves whatever comes to it. "We have the commitment of the NIS employees who are government employees and they themselves come to the table and of course they come to the Board and say we can't do A or B without compromising the integrity of the system and we say certainly, but do your best that you can do." So he assured the public, namely the former employees of The Club Barbados -- Resort and Spa, that all steps are being taken to make sure their severance payments are made come Independence Day. The Board of NIS is set to meet today, Monday, November 23.


Packages containing bottles and or liquids will not be accepted for posting to the USA during this temporary window. The Barbados Postal Service is still temporarily acceptingmail for posting to the USA until Tuesday, December 15, just no liquids - alcoholic or non-alcoholic. The public is also asked to note that delays in the delivery of mail are to be expected, and that delivery before Christmas is not guaranteed. Mail items destined to Antigua, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Vincent and Canada continue to be accepted. The Barbados Postal Service will continue to deliver all incoming international mail from the USA and other countries; as well as mail posted locally. The public will be notified when regular service to the USA resumes beyond December 15.