For driving under the influence, a San Juan businessman was fined $5,000and disqualified from using his driving permit for six months. Sharman Ali, 56, appeared before Magistrate Khan in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Sixth Court on Monday to answer to the offence. WPC Lawrence was the complainant (charging officer) in the matter. He was unrepresented by defence counsel, however, he did not waste the court’s time and plead guilty on the first opportunity. The court was told that Ali was held on Fridayafter police intercepted a vehicle along Abattoir Road, Port of Spain, which was driving erratically. Ali was administered a breathalyser test, which he failed. He gave a reading of 107 07µg/mLs. The legal limit is 35µg/mL. As his reading was some 72 µg/mLs over, the court treated the matter seriously, and fined Ali. He has six months to pay the fine or facea default of two months of hard labour. More on this as it becomes available.

A 19-year-old teenager who pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery with violence was sentenced to 14 months hard labour. Christean Marcano, of Tarodale, appeared before Senior Magistrate Jo-Anne Connor on Monday at the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court. He was represented by attorney Annalee Girwar while the State’s interests were represented by police prosecutor Sgt Cleyon Seedan. PC Marshall was the complainant (charging officer) in this matter. The court was told that around 5.45 pm on October 20, 2019, Marcano was in the company of another man who, armed with a firearm, robbed a supermarket. They robbed the owner of the establishment of $10,000 in cash, $200 in phone cards, $150 in cigarettes, as well as a cellular phone valued at $12,000. Another man who was in the building at the time was robbed of a $70,000 gold chain, a $30,000 wristband, and a cellular phone, valued at $2,800. However, Marcano was held shortly after the incident. After submissions to the court, the 19-year-old was sentenced. More on this as it becomes available.


Household chores burn calories according to a UK study.  Vaccuming burns 387 calories.

Cleaning up after kids and doing household chores can burn calories. This, according to a new UK study that broke down the amount of calories parents burn while doing chores around the house. UK retailer Wren Kitchens recently conducted a report into the daily and weekly activities of UK parents, and compared their findings to that ofcalorielab.com, to work out how many calories are burnt during parenting tasks. According to the study, parents burn 1,478 calories on daily activities and 2,374 calories on weekly activities. Daily activities such as carrying a small child, according to the study, burns 259 calories, the equivalent of 218 burpees if you spend an average of 108 minutes doing it per day. Bathing and feeding children burns the second highest number of calories, 245, the equivalent of 206 burpees. Playing with children burns 174 calories while pushing a stroller or walking with children burns 184 calories. Normal household duties burn significant calories as well. Mopping burns 405 calories, followed by vaccuming which could burn 387 calories and sweeping floors which burns 377 calories. Even putting away groceries can lose you some weight with that activity costing you 227 calories and ironing 221 calories.

Marie Kondo with her kids.

Organising guru Marie Kondo has built a reputation and career off of telling us how to be tidy. From packing items in a space-efficient way to cherishing items that spark joy, she has made many of us take a look at our lives and we have found it wanting. Especially those of us who are parents. Keeping your house tidy when you have kids is near impossible. I have tried to fold my five-year-old’s clothes in a neat manner a la Marie Kondo only to return hours later to see the clothes scattered on the floor after his 10th rummage through to change into a ninja/iron man or whatever character he fancied. It turns out that Kondo herself isn’t immune tothe challenges of keeping a neat home with kids. “When I first became a mother, I felt frustrated when I couldn’t tidy my home exactly the way I wanted. Then, after having my second child, I didn’t even have the energy to consider some of my former practices around the house!” the mother of two wrote on her blog KonMari. “Motherhood taught me to be more forgiving of myself. The joy that comes from parenting exceeds any satisfaction that could have come from a perfectly neat home." Kondo wrote a new book to help kids learn the joy of being tidy. Kiki and Jax: The Life-Changing Magic of Friendshipis the story of Kiki, a clutter-loving squirrel, and her friend Jax, a neat owl. The story begins with Kiki, who loves collecting items from stuffed animal friends for her bed to pine cones stashed under it. When Kiki's collection grows so big and so messy that she can't find any of the toys she wants to play with, Jax comes to the rescue. He helps her tidy using the KonMari method which encouragestidying by category, beginning with clothes,books, papers, miscellaneous items,and sentimental items. With the KonMari method, you keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy after thanking them for their service. Kondo has four tips on her blog to help kids learn how to tidy up: teach them that everything has a home, narrate as you tidy up, make tidying playful and realise spatial limitations.


Loop Breakfast Bites is a round-up of the top international stories making headlines. [related node_id='aff94325-d616-453d-bde9-ee9785490aad'] [related node_id='39c30bfc-8ae2-4c1c-b1a3-b80111d024d5'] [related node_id='9914cd66-a74b-4dd0-be5b-3445a8d8ebca'] [related node_id='6c7972bd-33db-49f6-b222-2cb3664c0365'] [related node_id='788f07bc-4b3e-4c48-aba5-7fb763f07bda']

A pair of Israeli airstrikes targeted senior Islamic Jihad commanders in Gaza and Syria early Tuesday, escalating Israel's confrontation with Iran across the region and threatening to unleash another devastating round of cross-border violence with Palestinian militants. In eastern Gaza, the Israeli strike killed Bahaa Abu el-Atta and his wife, setting off a furious barrage of Gaza-fired rockets that reached as far as the Tel Aviv heartland as Islamic Jihad vowed further revenge. The military said Abu el-Atta was the mastermind of recent attacks against Israel and the militant group's top commander in Gaza. Meanwhile, Syrian officials said an Israeli airstrike in the capital, Damascus, targeted another Islamic Jihad commander, Akram al-Ajouri, who was not harmed. Syria's state-run news agency said Israeli warplanes fired three missiles at al-Ajouri's home, killing his son and granddaughter. The Israeli military had no comment. The sudden surge in violence looked to awaken Israel's increasingly open conflict with Iran and its proxies in the region. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a series of warnings recently about alleged Iranian aggression. Netanyahu also has been criticized by residents along the southern border and political rivals for a tepid response to recent militant attacks. Netanyahu's Security Cabinet held a lengthy emergency meeting to discuss further action. Afterward, speaking alongside military chief Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Netanyahu said Israel had no interest in escalation but would do everything necessary to defend itself against people like Abu el-Atta, whom he described as an "arch-terrorist" and "the main generator of terrorism from the Gaza Strip." "He was in the midst of plotting additional attacks these very days. He was a ticking bomb," Netanyahu said. The airstrikes come at a tenuous time politically for Israel, as Netanyahu leads a caretaker government after two inconclusive elections. His chief challenger, former military chief Benny Gantz, is currently trying to build a coalition government of his own. Gantz said he had been briefed on the airstrike in advance, calling it "the right decision." A successful military operation could bolster Netanyahu as he seeks to hold onto power — especially if he is indicted on corruption charges. Israel's attorney general is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks, and an indictment would increase pressure on Netanyahu to step aside. Netanyahu has sought to portray himself as the only leader capable of steering the country through its many security challenges. The Gaza airstrike killed Abu el-Atta as he slept at home. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, told reporters that Abu el-Atta was responsible for several recent attacks on southern Israel and was actively planning new ones. "We essentially over the last week have been waiting for the opportune moment to conduct this surgical strike," he said. Conricus said the airstrike destroyed only the floor of the building in the Shejaeya neighborhood, in eastern Gaza City, to minimize "collateral damage." Abu el-Atta's relatives and the Islamic Jihad said the woman killed in the strike was Abu el-Atta's wife and the two wounded were their children. The militant group said the 42-year-old Abu el-Atta was undergoing "a heroic act" when he was assassinated. Abu el-Atta's father said the Islamic Jihad commander had been in hiding in recent weeks fearing he would be targeted. Minutes after the Iran-backed Palestinian group confirmed the death, barrages of rockets were fired toward Israel. Air raid sirens continued to go off throughout the morning as far as Tel Aviv. In one instance, a rocket landed on a highway, just meters (yards) from a passing vehicle. In another, a rocket pierced the roof of a residential home. The military said more than 50 rockets were fired in just a few hours, with 20 intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defence system. There were no Israeli casualties. In response, Israel shut down crossing points into Gaza and reduced the permissible fishing area off the territory's coast to 6 nautical miles. Schools were closed, and people were instructed to stay home in communities stretching from the Gaza border all the way to Tel Aviv, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) away. Public shelters were opened and restrictions placed on large gatherings. Islamic Jihad gets its funding, weapons and guidance from Iran. It often carries out attacks independently of Hamas, the larger militant group that controls Gaza. Conricus described Abu el-Atta as a powerful figure in Gaza who often acts alone without instruction even from Tehran. Israel had no further plans to resume its assassinations of militant leaders — a practice that in the past has triggered heavy fighting. "There was no other choice," Conricus said. But at midmorning, the army said it struck two Islamic Jihad militants from the group's rocket launching unit. It claimed a direct hit but gave no further details. The Gaza Health Ministry said a Palestinian man was killed and another wounded in that strike. The attacks also come at a tense moment for Islamic Jihad's Iranian patrons, who are struggling under crippling US sanctions. Iran's regional influence is also being challenged by unprecedented, economically-driven mass protests in Iraq and Lebanon — two countries where Tehran wields major influence. The protests are creating unrest that Tehran fears would spark a backlash against Iran-backed proxy militias in those countries. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused the US and its regional allies of fomenting the Iraq and Lebanon unrest. In Damascus, a military official said Israeli warplanes fired three missiles toward the Syrian capital, with one being destroyed by Syria's air defences before reaching its target. The two others struck the home of al-Ajouri, the official said. Al-Ajouri's son and granddaughter were killed. A second man identified as Abdullah Yousef Hassan was killed and nine civilians wounded, the unidentified official said according to Syrian state-media. An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the attack destroyed the three-story building in Damascus, located on a main highway about 50 meters (yards) across from the Lebanese Embassy. Israel frequently strikes Iranian interests inside Syria and has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in the course of Syria's civil war, now in its ninth year. Tuesday's attack however was a rare assassination attempt of a Palestinian militant in the Syrian capital. Just this week, Netanyahu appointed hard-line politician Naftali Bennett as Israel's new defence minister to fortify his political base. Bennett has long advocated tougher action against Palestinian militants. But Bennett only formally took office Tuesday and the military said the operation had been planned long in advance. Netanyahu said the Cabinet approved the strike 10 days ago and waited for "a unique window of opportunity to carry out the operation in optimal conditions with maximum chances of success and minimum collateral damage." The operation appeared to have wide backing despite the fraught political climate and Israel's ceremonial president, who has been working to establish a unity government between Netanyahu and Gantz, called for it not to enter the fray. "We stand behind the security forces, who have been working for the success of this morning's operations for a long time," said President Reuven Rivlin. "This is no time for political squabbles." Since Hamas took over Gaza by force in 2007 from the internationally backed Palestinian Authority, Israel and Gaza militants have fought three wars, with the third in 2014 lasting for 50 days. Short-but-frequent spasms of violence have occurred, the latest earlier this month when about 10 projectiles were fired at Israel, which accused Abu el-Atta of being behind them.