Daily Brief - Friday 30th April, 2021

TTMA IN THE NEWS

TTMA in favour of new measures

The Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturing Association (TTMA) supports the increased public health measures to clamp down on rising covid19 infections. In a media release on Thursday afternoon, the association noted that an additional 328 infections on Thursday were alarming. It said it supported the increased measures and hoped the public's behaviour would be improved while theyremained in effect. The release also noted that while the manufacturing sector was self-regulating, it anticipated some of its operations to be affected by the measures, as bars and restaurants would be closed. Read more here

 

NEWS

Professor: AstraZeneca vaccine protects against Brazil variant

Concerns continue to be raised about the presence of the Brazilian variant of the covid19 virus in Trinidad and Tobago and whether the AstraZeneca vaccine currently in use will be effective against it. These concerns were also heightened by the fact that the Health Ministry did not know how many cases were present in TT. Speaking during a UWI panel, Covid19 Vaccines: Truths and Untruths, Christine Carrington, professor of molecular genetics and virology at UWI, said the Brazilian variant has a slightly different spike protein from that of the original virus. The spike protein is what the virus uses to cause infection. Read more here

No second doses, govt uses 38,000 jabs to resume vaccination drive

The Prime Minister has announced that the government has rolled back its decision to end the vaccination programme and instead will continue on using the remainder of the vaccines meant to be second doses for those who received their first jabs. Speaking during a news conference in Scarborough, Tobago yesterday the Prime Minister said the government expects the second tranche of AstraZeneca vaccines being supplied through the COVAX facility to arrive in this country next month - May. “ We have confirmation that we are to expect another similar batch coming to us during the month of May. The Ministry of Health advised that they got documentation of that shipment.” Read more here

 

POLITICS

Browne: Trinidad and Tobago is getting compliant with EU tax rules

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Amery Browne was confident that Trinidad and Tobago was progressing towards being removed from the European Union's list of 12 countries deemed non-compliant for tax purposes. He was speaking in the Senate on Tuesday in reply to a listed question by Opposition Senator Wade Mark. The European Council on its website listed the dozen countries or "non co-operative jurisdictions for tax purposes" as American Samoa, Anguilla, Dominica (new), Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, TTo, US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu and Seychelles. The website says the list was a tool against tax fraud/evasion, tax avoidance and money laundering. Read more here

Duke found guilty of making false fire report, plans to appeal

Public Service Association (PSA) President Watson Duke has signalled his intention to appeal his conviction and sentence for making a false fire report in 2017. Duke, who was found guilty of the offence by Magistrate Avion Gill in March, was fined $1,200 during a virtual hearing, yesterday afternoon. Even after his attorneys informed Gill that he intends to appeal, Duke took to social media to announce his decision and maintain his innocence. “When an innocent man does no wrong, who cannot be convicted based on the facts put before the court, could be deemed guilty and forced to pay a $1,200 fine, it is a dark day for justice,” Duke said. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Business groups support new Covid restrictions

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday ordered a wide-scale lockdown affecting many businesses including restaurants, bars, casinos, malls, gyms, spas, cinemas and others. The lockdown will remain in effect until May 23. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Work on $2.3B Eccles-Mandela highway begins

Work has started on the $2.3 billion concrete, four-lane highway from Mandela Avenue, Georgetown to Eccles, East Bank of Demerara (EBD), which is expected to significantly reduce traffic congestion. The infrastructural project, which is slated for completion by December 2021, is divided into six lots: Lot one – Eccles, EBD; Lot two- Agricola; Lot three – Rome; Lot four – Houston South; Lot five – Houston North; and Lot six – South Ruimveldt. Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal has said that land-clearing works at South Ruimveldt were completed, and the contractor was currently surveying and preparing the land for the “hardcore” work, which was expected to begin in one week. Read more here

Swindler confesses to elaborate scheme of funds transfers

The former senior manager at the National Commercial Bank (NCB), who on Thursday admitted to swindling the company out of $34 million, broke down in tears last June when she was confronted by the bank’s internal investigator, claiming that her “back was against the wall”. The Home Circuit Court heard that when the 52-year-old offender was questioned about the illegal transactions in her office at the bank’s Operation Centre at Trafalgar Road in New Kingston, she immediately pushed her laptop away, laid her head on the desk, and started crying, “It is really bad, it is really bad.” Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Al Qaeda promises 'war on all fronts' against America as Biden pulls out of Afghanistan

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary since Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, was killed by US special-operations forces, Seal Team 6, inside his high-walled compound in the Pakistani military college city of Abbottabad. His name and that of his terrorist network, al Qaeda, came to define an era of US reaction and retribution dwarfing any previous counter-terrorism policy. America's "war on terror" is about to enter a new phase as President Joe Biden prepares to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11, but now al Qaeda claims its war with America is far from over. Read more here

Eurozone suffers double-dip recession as pandemic impact continues

The eurozone's economy has fallen back into recession as the impact of the pandemic continues to hit activity. Europe's economies have been set back by a renewed surge in infections this year and Covid-related restrictions. The eurozone shrank by 0.6% in the January-to-March period - the second consecutive contraction, which is a widely-used definition of a recession. It is the second such episode, a so-called double-dip recession, since the onset of the pandemic. However, among the national economies that have reported data so far, that pattern was repeated only by Italy. Other countries reported some growth in one or other of the last two quarters. Read more here

30th April 2021

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