Daily Brief - Wednesday 25th August, 2021

NEWS

Housing, businesses planned for PowerGen Port of Spain site

The former PowerGen Port of Spain power plant will be converted into a residential and commercial complex. Company general manager Surindranath Ramsingh made this comment during a television interview on Tuesday. He said the conversion of the site into a commercial/residential complex forms part of the revitalisation of Port of Spain. The Prime Minister gave information about this project at a Spotlight on Urban Development Forum on November 16, 2020. Read more here

‘Don’t let my experience stop you from taking vaccine’

“I don’t think my experience should discourage anyone from being vaccinated or having their kids vaccinated.” That was the view of Tahirah Mohammed, 17, who suffered a case of anaphylactic shock after getting the Pfizer vaccine on August 18 at the COSTAATT Campus in El Dorado, Tunapuna. “Not everyone is going to react the same way, and not everyone is going to have the same reaction I did.” Anaphylactic shock is a rare but severe allergic reaction that can be deadly if not treated right away. It’s most often caused by an allergy to food, insect bites, or certain medications. It causes the immune system to release a flood of chemicals that can send a person into shock as blood pressure drops and airways narrow - blocking breathing. Signs and symptoms include a rapid, weak pulse; a skin rash; and nausea and vomiting. Read more here

 

POLITICS

UNC has 'open mind' on SoE extension debate – though votes will not count

Although the opposition vote in Parliament will not make a difference as Government seeks a three-month extension of the state of emergency (SoE), the United National Congress (UNC) said it will go into Wednesday’s debate with an open mind. Parliament will be recalled from recess on Wednesday to approve the motion, which requires a simple majority vote for an extension of the SoE declared by President Paula-Mae Weekes on May 15. Read more here

Permissable protests expected as Govt moves to extend SoE

Horn tooting and headlight flashing to protest the State of Emergency (SoE) extension are expected around T&T today, but stopping to do that around the Red House in Port-of-Spain might be a problem. Trade unions that are also against the SoE extension remain firm they’ll be undertaking their planned Freedom Day protest ahead in an innovative way against Government’s modus operandi. Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will this afternoon pilot the motion for the SoE extension until November 30. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

T&T’s net foreign reserves now stand at US$7 billion

Trinidad and Tobago’s net foreign reserves have gotten a boost and now stand over US$7 billion, Finance Minister Colm Imbert has announced. “T&T’s Foreign Reserves have just been boosted by the equivalent of US$644 million, as a result of a global distribution by the IMF of Special Drawing Rights designed to help countries cope with the Forex demands of COVID-19. Our Net Foreign Reserves are now back over US$7 billion,” Imbert tweeted yesterday. “The US$644M in additional SDRs from the IMF gives the Government more flexibility to inject USD into the commercial banking sector for distribution to the public and to make more Forex available through the EximBank to the manufacturing sector and to importers of essential goods,” he tweeted. Read more here

T&T, Canada talk energy

Trinidad and Tobago and Canada have engaged in discussions to explore the development of hydrogen use in this country’s energy sector. Minister of Energy and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young met with High Commissioner for Canada Kumar Gupta on Monday to discuss bilateral arrangements between both countries and energy-related matters. Young expressed Trinidad and Tobago’s willingness and commitment to working with Canada to develop the energy sector, a statement from the ministry said yesterday. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

New call centre to create jobs for over 1,000 Guyanese

With talks underway for the expansion of Midas Incorporated, a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firm, some 1,000 Guyanese are expected to gain meaningful employment. The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Malcom Sobers, on Tuesday said that the firm commenced operations in August 2020, starting with only 20 employees. To date, that figure has moved to over 300 employees. “We started at the end of August 2020 as a BPO company here in Guyana. We started with 20 employees and we are just over 300 with three locations, one in Grove, Lombard Street and New Market Street and we are looking to grow to 1,000 employees by the end of the year,” Sobers related while in the presence of Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, who toured the company’s New Market Street facility on Tuesday. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Covid infection protection waning in double jabbed

Researchers say they are seeing some waning of protection against Covid infections in double-jabbed people. The real-world study includes data on positive Covid PCR test results between May and July 2021 among more than a million people who had received two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine. Protection after two shots of Pfizer decreased from 88% at one month to 74% at five to six months. For AstraZeneca, the fall was from 77% to 67% at four to five months. Waning protection is to be expected, say experts. Read more here

Afghan withdrawal leaves allies to face harsh reality of US's departure from world stage

The sudden fall of Kabul and the Taliban's near-total takeover of Afghanistan has left many of America's long-standing partners wondering what will become of the values-based, US-led international order. While President Joe Biden's withdrawal of troops by August 31 is inevitable, the speed at which the situation descended into chaos, and the White House's lack of contrition and flexibility has left allies spinning. On Tuesday, Biden's fellow G7 leaders, led by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, pressed the US President to extend that deadline in order to get foreign citizens, Afghan people who have aided allied troops and other vulnerable groups out of the country. But Biden stood firm. Read more here

25th August 2021

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