Daily Brief - Monday 10th February, 2020

NEWS

TSTT warns: Do not return unknown foreign calls

TSTT is advising customers against returning missed calls from unfamiliar foreign numbers as this appears to be part of a “premium rate scam” designed to incur significant charges to their mobile phones or landline bills. TSTT was responding to posts on social media by several people who received calls apparently originating from the African country of Somalia. Several Newsday newsroom staff also received calls from telephone numbers- +252-7-5001-989/ +252-7-5001-988 which were later identified by caller id as allegedly originating from the Horn of Africa country. Read more here

Brutal Sunday: Seven murdered

Po­lice be­lieve the at­tempt­ed as­sas­si­na­tion of a Rachael Sukhdeo, the wid­ow of slain Ch­agua­nas busi­ness­man Sheron Sukhdeo, led to the mur­ders of a US cit­i­zen and woman in Princes Town yes­ter­day. The dou­ble mur­der yes­ter­day brought the num­ber of peo­ple killed be­tween Sat­ur­day night to Sun­day af­ter­noon to sev­en. Among the vic­tims a 61-year-old Jen­ny Grana­do, an uniden­ti­fied man and woman in Arou­ca, Jules Bruce who was found shot dead in St James, the uniden­ti­fied body of a man found off La­dy Chan­cel­lor Hill. In all, 11 peo­ple were killed yes­ter­day, in­clud­ing four ban­dits who were shot and killed by po­lice af­ter they ter­rorised an Aranguez fam­i­ly. In South Trinidad, homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tors were still gath­er­ing in­for­ma­tion up to late yes­ter­day as they probed the fa­tal shoot­ing of Craig Hoi Pong and Neera Ram­dath of Ra­goo­nan Road, Cha­gaua­nas. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Govt pleads with Opposition to support gambling legislation

The gaming industry is one of the leading outlets for money laundering, National Security Minister Stuart Young said as he spoke during the debate to adopt the report of the Joint Select Committee on the Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill 2016. “One wonders why anyone who wants to stop criminality will be opposed to the proper regulation of this unregulated industry." He added that industry is also being used to fund international terrorism and is a major leak in foreign exchange. Many of the larger casinos are owned by non-nationals, he said, with the profits being paid in US currency and repatriated to the owners' home countries. Read more here

3 PNM general election candidates to go back for screening

Af­ter pub­licly an­nounc­ing can­di­dates for three con­stituen­cies in 2019 the Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment (PNM) has now made a 180-de­gree turn. In a me­dia re­lease sent on Jan­u­ary 27 the par­ty said, "The chair­man ad­vised that the po­lit­i­cal leader is­sued a call for nom­i­na­tions for the 2020 gen­er­al elec­tion for all con­stituen­cies, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ate­ly. The chair­man al­so ad­vised that whilst nom­i­na­tions would be opened from this week, the screen­ing ex­er­cise would com­mence af­ter Car­ni­val 2020." How­ev­er, in Ju­ly 2019 the par­ty re­vealed that Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Clarence Ramb­harat was the par­ty's can­di­date for Ch­agua­nas East. Re­spond­ing to brief ques­tions as he for­mal­ly opened the PNM’s newest con­stituen­cy of­fice at Lendore Vil­lage, En­ter­prise, in Au­gust 2019, Row­ley con­firmed Ramb­harat had been suc­cess­ful­ly screened and would be lead­ing the par­ty’s out­reach in Cen­tral. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Global tourism takes big hit

This should have been a good year for global tourism, with trade tensions gradually easing, certain economies growing and banner events like the Summer Olympics taking place in Tokyo. But the viral outbreak in China has thrown the travel industry into chaos, threatening billions in losses and keeping. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Fishing For Guns - Old Harbour Bay Boatmen Rake In Profits With Drugs-For-Arms Trafficking To Haiti

Smugglers continue to use Old Harbour Bay as a key trans-shipment node in the drugs-for-guns trade with Haiti, reaping huge profits for weapons of war and defying attempts by the security forces to plug one of scores of illegal ports. Three knowledgeable sources who have been involved in the trade of contraband revealed during a Gleaner investigation that gun smugglers travel in boats equipped with powerful engines and laden with up to 3,000 pounds of ganja – and sometimes kilos of cocaine –bartering the drugs for auto-matic rifles and handguns with their Haitian counterparts. Fisherfolk doubling as middlemen have built a seedy network of clients ranging from deep-pocketed businessmen to gang members from Kingston, St Catherine, and St James, who are the sponsors of the expeditions. Read more here

Coalition eyes 99% of Region 10 votes

Declarig that his six-party coalition was aiming for 99% of the votes in the Upper Demerara-Upper Berbice region, President Granger on Sunday listed the many developments across the country, even as he promised to expand the Linden Technical Institute to cater for training in oil and gas as well as opening up more opportunities for young people to be trained and acquire skills to enter the world of work. President Granger was at the time addressing a mammoth gathering of supporters, estimated to be the coalition’s biggest rally thus far this elections season. Held at the Bayroc Community Centre Ground, where the government is currently constructing a modern synthetic athletics track, the Guyanese leader urged the residents to give his coalition 99% of the votes of the region. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Coronavirus claims 97 lives in one day - but number of infections stabilises

The number of people killed by the new coronavirus rose by 97 on Sunday, the highest number of casualties in a day. The total number of deaths in China is now 908 - but the number of newly-infected people per day has stabilised. Across China, 40,171 people are infected while 187,518 are under medical observation. Meanwhile, 60 more people have tested positive on a cruise ship quarantined in Japan - meaning 130 out of 3,700 passengers have caught the virus. The Diamond Princess ship is on a two-week quarantine off Yokohama, after a passenger - who earlier disembarked in Hong Kong - tested positive. The infected passengers are taken off board and treated in nearby hospitals. The new cases mean around a third of all coronavirus patients outside of China were on the Diamond Princess. According to Chinese data, 3,281 patients have been cured and discharged from hospital. On Monday, millions of people returned to work after the Lunar New Year break, which was extended from 31 January to curb the spread of the virus. But precautionary measures remain in place, including the staggering of working hours, and the selective reopening of workplaces. Read more here

Trump weaponizes the Presidency after impeachment victory

Donald Trump is moving fast in the wake of his impeachment trial to use the government to punish his enemies and pursue his political ends, underlining how his acquittal has helped make him one of history's most powerful modern Presidents. Trump has meted out retribution to officials who testified against him in the impeachment inquiry, is making a push to defy Congress in funding his border wall and appears to be seeking new ways to hector former Vice President Joe Biden after facing down a mortal threat to his presidency. He is completing his project of fashioning the office around his own personality. It's unrestrained, unaccountable, often profane, impervious to outside influence and factual constraints of normal governance. The President has established dominance over his party, his Cabinet and his own media complex. He loosened Congress's constraints by refusing to cooperate with the impeachment probe. Read more here

10th February 2020

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