Daily Brief - Wednesday 9th September, 2020


TT to benefit from $19m solar energy

TT has made another step in reducing its carbon footprint and realising the Paris Agreement toward climate change, with its latest ratification of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) framework agreement. Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis said TT has become a member of the ISA which will chart the way forward for the use of renewable energy by 2021. The ministry said various solar projects were already underway through a partnership with the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme. Read more here

New term a tough challenge for mother of 9

For many parents, it’s challenging to provide for one child. Thirty-three-year-old Crystal Charles has nine children, five of whom are in school. Providing electronic devices for them to access their education in the new school term is therefore a tough prospect for Charles. Her mother assists her in caring for the children while her stepfather is the sole breadwinner. Read more here



PM meets with Tobago leaders

The Prime Minister met for several hours on Tuesday with Tobago MPs Shamfa Cudjoe and Ayanna Webster-Roy, PNM Tobago Council leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine and THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis. The meeting was held at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Blenheim. A post on Dr Rowley’s Facebook page said discussions focused on “matters relating to the operations of the Government in Tobago.” Read more here

Imbert finalises tax breaks on electronic devices

The Finance Ministry yesterday confirmed that legal orders have been done for the removal of taxes on laptops and similar items —and the removal was effective from last Friday. This after consumers were being told by Customs and Excise up to yesterday that no legal order was in place to facilitate the removal of taxes on the devices. The ministry, however, clarified the situation. Finance Minister Colm Imbert has also said that refunds will be made on VAT or Online Purchase Tax on these items that may have been inadvertently charged by the Customs & Excise Division as a result of a manual entry by an importer or an electronic entry that was already in the ASYCUDA system prior to last Friday, but not yet imported as of that date. Read more here



Imbert: Over 74,500 Salary Relief Grants have been paid

The Ministry of Finance has so far paid out 74,549 Salary Relief Grants with a total value of $112 million, Finance Minister Colm Imbert stated in a tweet yesterday. Those payments comprised 28,948 for April, 24836 for May, and 20,765 for June, Imbert stated. In March Imbert announced the establishment of a Salary Relief Grant of $1,500 a month for three months to help cushion the economic impact of the stringent action being taken by the government to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here

Born into public service

It was foreshadowed even before he made the decision—the son of a towering political figure would eventually follow in his father’s footsteps. Read more here



West Berbice protest | Criminal elements unleash terror

A simple protest that started on Sunday night by villagers, calling for justice for the Henry cousins in Number 5 village, West Coast Berbice (WCB) has quickly spread to several other communities and has escalated into violence and looting. Up to press time, there have been confirmed reports of citizens being robbed, beaten, their vehicles vandalised and, in one incident, stolen, all by protesters calling for Justice for the Henry boys. Read more here

COVID Squeeze Closes Spartan Health Club Indefinitely

The popular Spartan Health Club in St Andrew has become the latest causality of the harsh economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Spartan’s Managing Director Mickey Haughton James in a notice to members Tuesday evening, said, the gym will close at the end of September. The COVID-19 protocols implemented by the Government to help contain the spread of the virus seem to have sapped the stamina of the facility, which was opened in 1976. Read more here



US lawmakers want to stop calling Xi Jinping a President. But will he care?

Chinese leader Xi Jinping holds so many titles that he has earned himself a nickname: the "Chairman of Everything." Since taking office in 2012, he has become head of not only the state, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the armed forces, as is normal for the country's leader -- but also of multiple new party super-committees, prompting speculation from international commentators that he is less of a president and more of an autocrat. Now a new bill in the United States Congress wants to strip Xi of the title "President," which most Western governments and English-language news organizations -- including CNN -- refer to him by. Read more here

Coronavirus: Oxford University vaccine trial paused after participant falls ill

Final clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, have been put on hold after a participant had a suspected adverse reaction in the UK. AstraZeneca described it as a "routine" pause in the case of "an unexplained illness". The outcome of vaccine trials is being closely watched around the world. The AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccine is seen as a strong contender among dozens being developed globally. Hopes have been high that the vaccine might be one of the first to come on the market, following successful phase 1 and 2 testing. Its move to Phase 3 testing in recent weeks has involved some 30,000 participants in the US as well as in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. Phase 3 trials in vaccines often involve thousands of participants and can last several years. Read more here

9th September 2020


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