Thu | Sep 24, 2020

NEWS BRIEFS

Published:Monday | August 10, 2020 | 12:17 AM
Bathers cool off during a hot summer day at the Ripoll river in Sabadell, Barcelona province, Spain, on Sunday, August 9. The hot weather, forecast for up to the mid-80s degrees Fahrenheit, is expected to last for several days across the country.
Bathers cool off during a hot summer day at the Ripoll river in Sabadell, Barcelona province, Spain, on Sunday, August 9. The hot weather, forecast for up to the mid-80s degrees Fahrenheit, is expected to last for several days across the country.

T&T ex-councillor stabbed in taxicab

PORT OF SPAIN (CMC):

The police in the twin-island republic of Trinidad and Tobago are investigating an incident in which a former councillor with the main opposition United National Congress was stabbed late Saturday in Basse Terre Village, Moruga, south of the capital.

The police report that Phillip Gonzales, 58,was sitting in a taxi parked on the main road when a man entered.

It’s reported that a confrontation followed, during which Gonzales was stabbed to the right side of the chest.

The suspect then fled the scene.

Gonzales raised an alarm and was taken to a health facility where he was treated before being transferred to the San Fernando General Hospital.

Atlanta traveller tests positive in Bahamas

HAMILTON (CMC):

An 11th passenger from Atlanta has failed a COVID-19 test in Bermuda, pushing the country’s confirmed cases to 158.

A Ministry of Health spokesman said that the traveller’s result was the lone failure among 774 samples.

Twelve passengers, the first 11 confirmed as returning residents, have failed the test since Bermuda reopened its airport on July 1.

Nine people have died.

Of the 158, five active cases are being monitored by public health officials, but none of the victims is in hospital.

The latest figures came after the government announced it was taking steps to correct what it termed an erroneous classification of the island’s COVID-19 risk status by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The government said that the CDC had classified Bermuda’s risk status as ‘Level 3 — High’.

Guyana instals petro watchdog

GEORGETOWN (CMC):

The Guyana government says it will establish a Petroleum Commission to ensure that the oil and gas sector is not subjected to undue political interference.

“More importantly, we will ensure that every cent of the revenues from the sector is accounted for, as well as every cent of it that is spent,” President Dr Irfaan Ali said at his inauguration ceremony as Guyana’s ninth executive president on Saturday.

Ali told the ceremony that there must be no doubt in the minds of the population that they are the beneficiaries of the oil and gas industry.

Guyana has joined the league of petroleum-producing nations with the official start of oil production at the Liza Phase 1 Development, announced on December 20 last year.

Condolence book for Owen Arthur

The Consulate of Barbados has announced that a book of condolence in memory of Owen Arthur, prime minister of Barbados from 1994 to 2008, will be available for signing at the Regional Headquarters of The University of the West Indies from Monday, August 10, to Wednesday, August 12, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Arthur died at age 70 on Monday, July 27, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

He had been ailing and was admitted to hospital with heart complications.

Congress Trumped as White House lowers jobless benefit

BEDMINSTER, NJ (AP):

United States President Donald Trump has bypassed the nation’s lawmakers as he claimed the authority to defer payroll taxes and replace an expired unemployment benefit with a lower amount after negotiations with Congress on a new coronavirus rescue package collapsed.

Trump’s orders on Saturday encroached on Congress’ control of federal spending and seemed likely to be met with legal challenges. The president cast his actions as necessary, given that lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement to pump more money into the stumbling economy, which has imperiled his November re-election.

Trump moved to continue paying a supplemental federal unemployment benefit for millions of Americans out of work during the outbreak. However, his order called for up to US$400 payments each week, one-third less than the US$600 people had been receiving. How many people would receive the benefit and how long it might take to arrive were open questions.

The previous unemployment benefit, which expired on August 1, was fully funded by Washington, but Trump is asking states to now cover 25 per cent.

Lebanon lawmakers quit in wake of blast

BEIRUT (AP):

Lebanon’s information minister resigned on Sunday as the country grapples with the aftermath of the devastating blast that ripped through the capital and raised public anger to new levels.

The resignation comes after a night of demonstrations against the ruling elite, blamed for the chronic mismanagement and corruption that is believed to be behind the explosion in a Beirut port warehouse. Hundreds of tons of highly explosive material were stored in the waterfront hangar, and the blast sent a shock wave that killed at least 160 people, wounded nearly 6,000, and defaced the coastline of Beirut — destroying hundreds of buildings.

Manal Abdel-Samad said in her resignation letter that change remained “elusive” and that she regreted failing to fulfil the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

Her resignation comes as about half a dozen lawmakers offered their resignation in protest over government performance. Local media also reported that another minister — a close adviser to Prime Minister Hassan Diab — was also expected to resign. Diab met with his Cabinet reportedly to discuss the resignations Sunday, but there were no comments after the meeting.