Daily Brief - Tuesday 28th August, 2018

NEWS

Residents: No immediate threat from Piparo mud volcano

Although the Piparo mud volcano erupted during last Tuesday’s earthquake, those who live closest to it are not afraid of another bigger eruption. Piparo resident, 74-year-old Parbatee Suratt, believes the volcano will not erupt again in her lifetime as it did in February, 1997 destroying homes, covering cars and killing livestock. Suratt lives several hundred feet from the volcanic cones and her front yard is usually a parking spot for outsiders who visit the site. When Newsday visited the volcano yesterday, flags from Hindu prayer ceremonies surrounded the two prominent volcanic cones, which were covered in fresh mud. More mud dribbled from the mouths of the cones and a soft hissing sound could be heard coming from one. Read more here

D-Day for Petrotrin

By the end of today the country will be clearer on the future of the state oil company Petrotrin. Today is D-Day for Petrotrin as the company meets separately with the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) which represents the majority of workers, the National Petroleum Staff Association and the Estate Police Association on the plan for the future of the state company. Yesterday, company officials and Energy Minister Franklyn Khan remained mum on what the restructuring will entail, but union officials expressed concern that workers will be sent home. On Sunday, Energy Minister Franklyn Khan under whose portfolio Petrotrin falls, told the media that today’s discussions are “significant,” because “for the first time we will lay bare what our plans are.” Read more here

Refinery to close

The Government has decided to shut down the refinery of State oil company Petrotrin. The country can no longer afford to continue to refine oil and lose billions of dollars in this process, a senior Cabinet source told the Express yesterday. Read more here

  

POLITICS

Crime, economy the key issues

UNC political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has lamented that crime and the economic downturn continue to be key issues as the nation prepares to celebrate its 56th anniversary of independence. She was addressing an Independence dinner organised by the Let’s Unite foundation at the Embassy Suites, Tampa, Florida on Saturday night. In a wide-ranging speech, she said the nation had come a long way after its independence from Great Britain in 1962 and urged the TT diaspora in the United States and Canada to “keep the fires of hope always burning” despite the country’s present situation. Read more here

All set for President’s first Independence parade

Citizens are expected to turn out in their numbers for President Paul-Mae Weekes’ first military parade in commemoration of the country’s 56th anniversary of Independence at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah on Friday. The parade will also be the first for Stuart Young, as Minister of National Security, and Gary Griffith, as Commissioner of Police. Read more here

Khan: Govt ready for union unrest

Energy Minister Franklin Khan says contingency plans will be put in place to ensure law and order is maintained should there be any attempt at illegal action by unions. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Poultry producers welcome new regional standards

The enforcement of Caricom regional standards for poultry products will have a major impact on local chicken consumers, says Desmond Ali, Executive Director, Caribbean Poultry Association. The major benefit being that consumers will not be exposed to expired chicken products and this would prevent a possible public health hazard. “The whole idea of the standard is to protect the consumer and ensure that the consumer gets an excellent product,” he said. Ali said 90 per cent of local products are sold within 10 days of final production. Read more here

COP leader sees future risk

What measures are there in place to protect this country’s investment given Venezuela’s state of affairs? Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Teacher Shortage! - Schools Lament Lack Of Seasoned Educators For The Classrooms

With less than a week to the start of the new school year, the exodus of seasoned teachers from the classrooms is presenting a fresh challenge for several institutions. Teachers of mathematics and related subject areas are of greater concern, evident by the high volume of advertisements in the newspapers from schools seeking to fill those vacancies. Keith Wellington, principal of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), said this is an issue they have been dealing with for a number of years. "The department [comprised] eight math teachers, and of the eight, four are gone," he told The Gleaner. "Those four left this year (last school term), but this has been an issue for the last seven to eight years. Persons just come and go." Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Air pollution may harm cognitive intelligence, study says

Chronic exposure to air pollution could be linked to cognitive performance, a new study in China suggests. Researchers believe that the negative impact increases with age, and affects men with less education the worst. Over four years, the maths and verbal skills of some 20,000 people in China were monitored by the US-Chinese study. Researchers believe the results have global relevance, with more than 80% of the world's urban population breathing unsafe levels of air pollution. However, while establishing a link between pollution and lower test scores, the study did not prove cause and effect. The study - which includes researchers from Beijing's Peking University and Yale University in the US - was based on measurements of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulates smaller than 10 micrometres in diameter where participants lived. It is not clear how much each of these three pollutants is to blame. Carbon monoxide, ozone and larger particulates were not included in the study. Read more here

Theresa May says no-deal Brexit 'wouldn't be end of the world'

British Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to dismiss concerns raised by one of her own cabinet ministers that the UK could leave the European Union without a deal, saying that such a scenario "wouldn't be the end of the world." May poured cold water on the warnings issued by her finance minister Phillip Hammond after he suggested last week that failure to reach agreement with the EU would have huge economic consequences. Hammond's comments drew criticism from fellow Conservative party lawmakers following his assertion that GDP could fall and borrowing would increase by £80 billion a year by 2033-34 if Britain fell out on orld Trade Organization terms. Hammond said such a move would have "large fiscal consequences." Read more here

28th August 2018

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