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(Barbados Today) Despite Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s protestations of innocence, it has emerged that the Ministry of Finance is not entirely blameless in the delay of a settlement to the Colonial Life Insurance Company Ltd (CLICO) and British American Insurance Company (BAICO) Ltd matter, at least in the case of the BAICO transfer.

Barbados TODAY investigations revealed that the Ministry of Finance, Sagicor, which is to take over the BAICO portfolio, and the BAICO judicial manager KPMG, have been engaged in a continuing back and forth which has stalled progress towards a resolution.

The May 30 deadline for the transfer of BAICO’s individual life and annuity policies to insurance giant Sagicor was missed, prompting the judicial manager to propose a new transfer completion date of July 31, 2017.

KPMG also pointed out that recent valuation estimated that Government support would be $88.4 million, as opposed to the previously estimated $90 million.

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(Reuters) - Qatar Airways said it will go ahead with plans to buy a stake in American Airlines Inc (AAL.O) even though the U.S. carrier is ending their code-share agreement.

American announced on Wednesday that it was cancelling code-share agreements with Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways as "an extension of our stance against the illegal subsidies that these carriers receive from their governments." Both Middle East airlines deny they are state subsidized.

American's decision to end the agreements which allow airlines to book passengers on each other's flights, ramps up an acrimonious dispute between U.S. carriers and Gulf competitors over competitive advantages.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Akbar al-Baker said on Thursday he was disappointed by the decision, but it would not affect the Middle East carrier's plans to buy up to a 10 percent stake in American, announced last month.

"Our stock purchase request and filing is going ahead as normal. We had to clarify certain questions of the regulator, which we compiled with," al-Baker told reporters in Doha.

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(Reuters) Google has ramped up its legal firepower as it prepares to do battle with EU antitrust regulators after a landmark 2.4-billion-euro ($2.7 billion) fine and the possibility of a second record sanction before the end of the year.

Alphabet unit Google, the world's most popular internet search engine, is drawing on the expertise of at least five top law firms in Brussels to help it deal with its EU regulatory troubles, people familiar with the matter said.

The EU competition authority hit the company with a 2.4 billion euro ($2.7 billion) penalty last month for unfairly favoring its shopping service.

Antirust regulators are also weighing a record fine against Google over its Android mobile operating system and a third case involves its AdSense for Search platform.

The Luxembourg-based General Court, Europe's second highest, will be the first battleground for Google if, as expected, it challenges the European Commission's June decision and potentially disruptive changes to its business practices.

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BEIJING (Reuters) - Apple Inc on Wednesday said it is setting up its first data center in China, in partnership with a local internet services company, to comply with tougher cyber-security laws introduced last month.

The U.S. technology company said it will build the center in the southern province of Guizhou with data management firm Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co Ltd (GCBD).

An Apple spokesman in Shanghai told Reuters the center is part of a planned $1 billion investment into the province.

"The addition of this data center will allow us to improve the speed and reliability of our products and services while also complying with newly passed regulations," Apple said in a statement to Reuters.

"These regulations require cloud services be operated by Chinese companies so we're partnering with GCBD to offer iCloud," it said, referring to its online data storage service.

Apple is the first foreign firm to announce amendments to its data storage for China following the implementation of a new cyber-security law on June 1 that requires foreign firms to store data within the country.

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(CMC) Three major cruise lines have decided to pullout of the Falmouth pier in northern parish of Trelawny, Jamaica due to concerns over tourist harassment, among other issues.

According to the Mayor of Falmouth , Colin Gager, the pullout of the ships- all subsidiaries of Royal Caribbean, will result in losses of approximately J$5-million per month.

He said the ships brought in close to 10,000 visitors each week.

However the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) says several other cruise lines are still committed to the port.

In a statement the PAJ – that has the responsibility of managing the island’s ports – noted that although the decline in earnings for the destination is noteworthy, it says the summer season generally records an approximately 40 per cent decline in cruise arrivals, compared to the winter season.  It says the 2018 summer season will not see a significant variation, when compared to 2016 and 2017.

According to the PAJ,  issues of harassment and the vending of illegal products is an issue experienced globally at ports.

However, various measures will be implemented to address the problems, the include  the construction of a new dry goods and food produce market, as well as the installation of directional maps across the town. It says an improvement project has also been conducted along Market Street and the Seaboard Street, while Water Square has been adopted and is being maintained.

The PAJ says it has also collaborated with other agencies, including the police and the municipal corporation to reduce harassment and the plying of illegal goods.

Meanwhile, a meeting is scheduled to be held on Monday following the departure of the cruise ships.

Chairman of the National Cruise Council, Michael Belnavis, told  Radio Jamaica that the meeting will discuss strategies to tackle tourist harassment.

“The harassment is straightforward. It’s the aggressive nature in which the drivers are soliciting business from the tourists …..we want to ensure that harassment is dealt with.”