Daily Brief - Friday 21st August, 2020

NEWS

Students, parents relieved covid19 SEA exam finally over

It was a long and winding road for Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) students, but at 1 pm on Thursday the exam was finally over. The covid19 pandemic shut down schools, interrupting preparations for the exam, which led to its eventual postponement. It was originally scheduled for April 2. Parents lined the streets in San Fernando and patiently waited for their children to come out of school. Newsday caught up with several students of St Gabriel’s Girls' RC Primary School and San Fernando Boys’ RC Primary School and their parents, who said they were nervous but happy that it was over. Read more here

Hundreds opt for private COVID-19 tests

As more people rush to get tested for the COVID-19 virus, St Augustine Medical Laboratory (STAML) officials said yesterday that within the past month they had been testing hundreds daily as fears of community transmission began circulating. Dressed in a hazmat suit complete with her face mask and face shield as she triaged arriving patients at the St Augustine lab yesterday, STAML deputy director Dr Shari Ramsaran confirmed the increased numbers, as she said people are fearful of contracting the virus. Ramsaran was unable to say exactly how many positive and negative cases they had recorded but said the positive samples are sent directly to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the results are forwarded to the Chief Medical Officer and the figures included in the ministry’s daily updates. Read more here

 

POLITICS

Sinanan plans to work with WASA to bring pothole relief

Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan said one of his priority areas will be working with the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) on dealing with potholes. Speaking to Newsday in a phone interview, he said the ministry had a programme over the last five years and this will be continued. "But we will want to pay more attention to some of the more direct impact projects. (For example) we want to work firstly with WASA to try to bring a lot more relief in terms of the leakage on the roadway which causes potholes. Read more here

Duke shoots down deputy’s apology

Leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) Watson Duke remains resolute that he will not apologise for calling two Tobago women “stink and dutty” during the general election campaign earlier this month. Appearing on a live social media post on Thursday, August 20, Duke said he was merely quoting lyrics from Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin’s 2017 song “Buss Head”, played the song during the live video and quoted the lyrics. “Those words were composed by Machel Montano and Bunji Garlin – you wine to it all the time, they are not my words but I think they are relevant for today. Before you comment on an issue – Know the issue,” he said. Read more here

 

BUSINESS

Agostini’s revenue, profits increase

Agostini’s Ltd has seen an increase of 5.4 per cent in revenue ($2.4 billion in 2019 to $2.6 billion in 2020) and a 0.5 per cent rise in net profit ($122.5 million in 2019 to $123.1 million in 2020) for the nine months ended June 30. The group’s operating profit also climbed by 9.9 per cent moving from $179.9 million to $197.7 million. In the company’s financial report for the period, chairman Christian Mouttet expressed that the only decrease was registered in profits attributable to the shareholders, which fell by one per cent to $89.7 million compared to $90.7 million in the same period in the prior year. Mouttet said: “Excluding the adjustment for the new IFRS standard for leases, profit attributed to shareholders would have been $92.5 million, an increase of two per cent over the prior year.” Read more here

Govt must priortise agriculture

Government must prioritise the development of agriculture as the world faces the uncertainty of the Covid-19 endemic going forward, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Farmers’ Union, Shiraz Khan, has said. Read more here

 

REGIONAL

Oil revenues to strengthen productive sectors

Oil revenues must be used to build the economy of the future which must feature supportive infrastructure such as good transport, deep-water harbours and modern airports as well as to strengthen the productive sectors. This is according to Vice-President (VP), Bharrat Jagdeo, during an online radio programme Thursday evening. He specifically noted that monies from oil resources must be used to strengthen the agriculture, manufacturing and the tourism sectors to make them globally competitive so that years from now Guyana is not totally dependent on oil. Read more here

COVID Cabinet Team To Review 98-Case One-Day Jump

A 98-case jump in COVID-19 cases and a 15th death will concentrate the minds of a Cabinet subcommittee that meets today to review the record one-day increase. New concerns are rising about whether to postpone the September 3 general election as well as delay the reopening of schools four days later. The alarm comes as the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) has deplored as “disheartening” the disregard for the wearing of masks and the observance of social distancing to prevent coronavirus spread. “The leadership of both parties have indicated that their respective supporters will behave responsibly but actions speak louder than words!” said MAJ President Dr Andrew Manning. Read more here

 

INTERNATIONAL

Alexei Navalny: Doctors say Putin critic can't be moved to Germany

Russian doctors say leading opposition figure Alexei Navalny - who supporters believe was poisoned - remains too ill to be moved to Germany for treatment. Mr Navalny has been in a coma since Thursday when he fell ill on a flight and his supporters called the doctors' decision "a direct threat to his life". They cited one report of "a deadly substance" dangerous not only to Mr Navalny but to all around him. Doctors treating him in Siberia said no poison had been found in his system. In a preliminary diagnosis on Friday, they said his condition might be the result of a "metabolic disorder" caused by low blood sugar. Read more here

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern wants to eliminate coronavirus. Is she setting herself up to fail?

In mid-March, as the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold in Europe and the United States, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern presented her country with a choice. They could let coronavirus creep into the community and brace for an onslaught, as other countries around the world had done. Or they could "go hard" by closing the border -- even if that initially hurt the island nation's hugely tourism-dependant economy. Read more here

21st August 2020

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