Daily Brief - Friday 17th September, 2021

NEWS

Six more people die of covid19, 272 new cases

Six more people have died of covid19, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. The death toll according to the ministry's 4 pm update, stood at 1,397. Those who died included two elderly men, three elderly women and a middle-aged man with comorbidities. There were 3,932 active cases as at Thursday, including 3,315 people in home isolation. The release said there were 272 new cases reported from samples taken between September 12 and 15. Read more here

‘Expect lower oil prices next year’ predicts US EIA

As Finance Minister Colm Imbert prepares his 2021 budget, the advice from the United States Energy Information Agency (USEIA) is that crude oil prices will decline next year to average US $66 a barrel. In its September Short-Term Energy Outlook the US EIA predicts that slowing demand growth and higher production will lead to a softening of prices towards the end of calender 2021 and into 2022. It said, “In 2022, we expect that growth in production from OPEC+, US tight oil, and other non-OPEC countries will outpace slowing growth in global oil consumption and contribute to Brent prices declining to an annual average of $66/b (barrel).” Read more here

 

POLITICS

Tsoiafatt Angus: EBC should have consulted Tobagonians on realigning boundaries

Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA) political leader Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus has said the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) should have consulted with Tobagonians before deciding to realign boundaries to create 15 electoral districts for the upcoming THA election. On Wednesday, the draft EBC (Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly) (Tobago) Order 2021 was passed in the House of Representatives by a simple majority. It paves the way for a fresh THA election with 15 electoral districts to break the six-six tie between the People’s National Movement and the Progressive Democratic Patriots after the January 25 poll. Read more here

Govt to give away vaccine to other countries

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh yesterday revealed that the Government is currently seeking to donate AstraZeneca vaccines to other countries before they expire. Speaking on TV6’s Morning Edition programme, Deyalsingh said, “At the middle of August I alerted the Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs (Amery Browne) that we will have some AstraZeneca vaccines that we would like to distribute. “We are committed to any country, whether it be Caricom or otherwise, to find a home for these vaccines... so the Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs has been reaching out via his ministry to governments in the region and extra-regionally.” Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Young: Renewables on horizon but oil, gas here for medium term

Energy Minister Stuart Young says although steps are being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, like many other countries, Trinidad and Tobago will not be able to curtail its reliance on oil and gas in the short to medium term. Young spoke on Wednesday during a feature presentation at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Latin America and Caribbean Region's Caribbean Technical Symposium and E&P Summit. Read more here

Government just does not listen says Chamber CEO

With weeks away from the budget, concerns were again raised about the billions owed by Government in VAT refunds to businesses, some of which are struggling to survive amidst economic challenges. CEO of the T&T Chamber Gabriel Faria while speaking at a seminar titled, Pivoting the Caribbean Economy, said manufacturers which are exporting are especially penalised. “Every cycle there are VAT refunds. We have written the Minister of Finance. We have begged to do something to support and we need to understand that the budget is not a strategy plan. It is a bookkeeper’s document,” Faria said. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Over 17,000 private school learners to benefit from education cash grants

THE approximately 17,000 learners in the private school system will now benefit from the $15,000 “Because We Care” cash grant and the $4,000 uniform grant, following an announcement by President Dr. Irfaan Ali, on Thursday, that the grant has been extended to parents with children in private schools. Through this extension, another $320 million will be given out to the parents, and it will add to the $3.3 billion already distributed to the parents of the more than 175,000 learners attending public schools. “The initiative was originally only applicable to parents of children in the public school system, but a number of parents from private schools had asked for the programme to be extended to their children. After consultation, a favourable decision was made,” a statement from the President’s Office noted. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Aukus: US and UK face international backlash over Australia defence deal

The US and UK are facing growing international criticism over a new security pact signed with Australia. The deal - seen as an effort to counter China - will see the US and UK give Australia the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines. But the move angered France, which said it had been "stabbed in the back", while China accused the three powers of having a "Cold War mentality". And the pact has raised fears that it could provoke China into a war. The alliance, known as Aukus, was announced by US President Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Wednesday. While they did not mention China, Aukus is being widely viewed as an effort to counter Beijing's influence in the contested South China Sea. Read more here

Separated from his parents, an infected 4-year-old highlights the human cost of China's zero-Covid policy

Covered from head to toe in a white hazmat suit, a small child carrying a backpack half the size of his body toddles down a hospital corridor and arrives at a CT scan room -- all by himself. "A 4-year-old boy has been infected (with Covid-19), unfortunately," a caption in the video reads. "No accompanying parents. Going to quarantine alone." The scene, captured by a nurse at a quarantine hospital in the city of Putian, the epicenter of China's latest Delta variant outbreak, gripped millions of people when it went viral on Chinese social media this week. "It makes my heart ache," said one of the top comments on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform. "My eyes are getting teary," said another. Read more here

17th September 2021

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