Daily Brief - Wednesday 7th February, 2018

NEWS

SWRHA falls victim to fake news

A day after Justice Frank Seepersad gave a historic court ruling on the consequences of irresponsible social media posting, the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) said it too has fallen victim to false allegations through social media. A Facebook user posted on his time line on Tuesday: “Pregnant woman just fell down and die in the San Fernando General Hospital since yesterday she waiting on a bed health system is d worst in Trinidad.” Read more here

Cops seize $6.2m in ganja

Two men are expected to appear before a Siparia magistrate after a sting operation by South Western Division police led to the seizure of $6.2 million in compressed high-grade marijuana yesterday. Up to late last evening, investigators led by Sgt Ramsaran, Sgt Richardson, Cpl Harripersad were questioning the suspects. It is believed the drugs had just entered the country through one of the illegal ports and was to be put on the streets in time for the Carnival season. Read more here

Mystery: Dad walks away from home, vanishes

A Tunapuna family needs help in in locating their 60-year-old relative Pularama Ramdhanie, who went missing from his Pasea home around 4.30 am. on Tuesday. Ramdhanie's son Kumar told Express the family awoke to find him missing and was able to view two close circuit cameras that showed him walking along Pasea Extension heading in the direction of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway. “We are at loss at to what led to this because there were no problems at home and he has never shown signs of Alzheimer's or any other illness. This is the first time something like this has ever happened.” Kumar said his father does not drink, smoke or gamble. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Church, charity, school bodies still exempt from Property Tax

It’s official: property used by churches, educational and charitable institutions will continue to be exempt from the Property Tax Government intends to implement this year. Finance Minister Colm Imbert confirmed this yesterday following queries about a clause in new proposed Property Tax legislation which was laid in Parliament last Friday. Also presented was new Valuation of Land proposals to effect the VOL act. Both pieces will be debated later on. Read more here

Sinanan: Road on highway resumes.

Work resumes today on the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway extension to Manzanilla, Minister of Works Rohan Sinanan said yesterday. Speaking before the appeal was filed, he said the Ministry of Works, particularly Nidco and the EMA, had been vindicated by the judgment of Justice Kevin Ramcharan who found all the procedures were followed in the construction on the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway extension to Manzanilla. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Price, TT’s biggest challenge for export competitiveness

The foreign exchange rate is not the biggest hindrance to TT’s export competitiveness, but rather, it’s the country’s ability to match prices and economies of scale against bigger rivals for market share. “It’s not the exchange rate but the international competitiveness of everyone else. It’s the difficulty of keeping our products and services above the bar of the international standard,” Crisen Maharaj, the manager for capacity building and programme financing at ExporTT, said. Read more here

exporTT to help local businesses become more competitive

In order to ensure that exporters are internationally competitive and are capable of entering and expanding operations in new markets, exporTT launched its ExportCompetitiveness Project yesterday. The project includes the use of the Caribbean Export Development Agency's SME diagnostic assessment tool as well. Already 30 companies have joined the project with a possibility of 120 more companies being added. Read more here

Franchises bring business back

Franchise owners Omar Hadeed and Daniel Fakoory are dismissing the view that franchises are absorbing most of this country’s foreign exchange. “But the truth is whether we are here or not people are going to be purchasing online because that’s the way of the future,” Hadeed told Express Business, speaking generally about the impact of local businessmen owning foreign franchises. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Bank Bill Battle - Government MPs Muscle Opposition Into Waiting Another Week To Debate Fee Law

Amid sharp exchanges, sometimes descending into a shouting match, Government lawmakers used their superior numbers yesterday to crush an attempt by the parliamentary Opposition to have a bill, piloted by St Catherine South Member of Parliament Fitz Jackson, taken through all its stages. The bill seeks to amend the Banking Services Act to regulate bank fees. Acting House leader Everald Warmington moved a motion that debate on the bill be suspended. However, the Opposition called for a divide resulting in a vote that saw 30 government members supporting the motion while 21 opposition legislators said 'no'. Eleven members were absent. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

North Korea leader's sister to make landmark visit to South for Olympics

The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is to attend Friday's opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, which are being held in the South, ministers in Seoul say. Kim Yo-jong, a senior Workers' Party official promoted to the politburo last year, will be the first immediate Kim family member to cross the border. Both Koreas will march under one flag at the opening ceremony. The North's participation has been seen as a thawing of bilateral ties. Read more here

Dozens feared trapped in Taiwan after earthquake topples buildings

Dozens of people are missing following a deadly earthquake in Taiwan, with more than 40 feared trapped in a multi-story building tilting perilously in the northeastern city of Hualien. The magnitude-6.4 quake struck 22 kilometers (13 miles) north of the city late Tuesday, killing at least seven people and injuring 258 people. It also damaged bridges and buckled roads in the east of the island. Read more here

7th February 2018

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