Trade Facilitation Task Force urged to focus on boosting competitiveness

first_img Electricity Cost of Service Study among the big agenda items at September 11 Cabinet meeting Recommended for you #MagneticMediaNews Related Items:#magneticmedianews Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppKingston, Jamaica, December 19, 2016 – Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, has charged members of the Trade Facilitation Task Force to explore strategies that will enable the country to become more competitive within the Caribbean region and globally.“We must collectively… concentrate immediately without delay on ways of reducing our charges at the port of entry… to remove bureaucracy from the process of both importing and exporting.   I happen to believe that an importer of raw material for the purpose of converting agricultural produce into agro-industry should be at the head of the line,” he said.Minister Samuda was addressing a meeting with members of the body held at the Ministry’s offices in New Kingston recently.  He urged them to be specific in their recommendations and set time frames for which the measures should be achieved. “By so doing, I think the task force can make the greatest contribution with all players on board,” he said.The task force, established under the National Competitiveness Council in the Ministry, is charged with improving the business environment in order to boost trade and enable the country to fully meet its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation.Minister Samuda said the work of the body is critical to achieving economic growth.  He urged that stronger linkages be forged with the critical Ministries and Departments, in order to achieve its objectives as well as redound to the overall benefit of the country.In the meantime, Minister Samuda said agro-processing “is the modern way to go” in order to retain the value of the goods that are produced locally.   He said the role of JAMPRO is critical in maximising the benefit from agro-processing.  “So, it is JAMPRO who must introduce our manufacturers to lucrative markets, not just to get investors to come in and invest but also to search out lucrative markets,” he argued.For her part, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Fayval Williams, urged the task force “to leave no stone unturned” in ensuring that the country’s trade-facilitation processes and systems are modernised and in keeping with 21st -century best practices.  “This is critical if we are to benefit from the renewed global investor confidence and the improved ranking from international rating agencies,” she said.Trade facilitation is an integrated approach to reducing complexities and cost of trade transactions and ensuring that all these activities take place in an efficient, transparent and predictable manner.center_img ALERT # 2 ON POTENTIAL TROPICAL CYCLONE NINE ISSUED BY THE BAHAMAS DEPARTMENT OF METEOROLOGY THURSDAY 12TH SEPTEMBER, 2019 AT 9 PM EDT Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp The Luxury of Grace Bay in Down Town Provolast_img read more

The Breast is Best

first_img Related Items: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Jamaica, September 21, Kingston – Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has reiterated calls for mothers to consider exclusive breastfeeding of their babies for the first six months of life in order to reduce infant mortality and morbidity rates.   He noted that appropriate breastfeeding practices have the potential to lower infant mortality in children five years old and younger by 14 per cent, while appropriate complementary feeding up to two years of age can prevent an additional six per cent of deaths among the age cohort.The Minister, who was addressing the National Breastfeeding Week conference and launch at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on Tuesday (September 19), said the target is for 50 per cent of infants to be exclusively breastfeeding at six months of age.   He noted that in 2005, the rate of exclusive breastfeeding at six months was 15.1 per cent, increasing to 23.8 per cent in 2011.“However, this is still well off course to meet the Global Nutrition Target of at least 50 per cent by 2025,” he said.Dr. Tufton said Jamaica is committed to reducing infant mortality and morbidity, and has agreed to, or has endorsed several international agreements and goals that are aimed at promoting and protecting infant and young child health.   He said that gains are being made, but there is still much work to be done to achieve the targets. He is urging persons to become informed about the benefits of breastfeeding.Research has shown that breastfeeding helps to reduce the risk of childhood asthma and obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) later in life, such as diabetes and heart disease.   Long durations of breastfeeding also protect maternal health by helping to lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancers.Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Winston De La Haye, said National Breastfeeding Week is being observed from September 17 to 23 under the theme ‘Sustaining Breastfeeding Together’ and emphasises that “all sectors, all groups have a role to play in supporting breastfeeding”.He said the objectives of the two-day conference are to highlight the role of infant and young child feeding in the achievement of the sustainable development goals, share current elements of the benefits and impact of breastfeeding and effective strategies for the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.It is in keeping with World Breastfeeding Week 2017, observed by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) in August through partnership with World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), along with civil society groups.Also at the launch were  Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/WHO Representative in Jamaica, Bermuda and Cayman Islands, Dr. Noreen Jack; UNICEF Representative in Jamaica, Mark Connolly; and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Representative in Jamaica, The Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Gillian Smith.Release: JISlast_img read more

Natural Solutions Folds

first_imgInnoVision Health Media this week ceased publication of Natural Solutions magazine. The June 2010 issue will be its last.According to a note posted to the magazine’s Web site, the management team is “working to create an orderly shutdown of this business unit, and most of the staff of the magazine is no longer with the company.” The Web site will not immediately be shut down.“The decision to shut down Natural Solutions was made due to an extremely challenging advertising environment and generally weak market conditions for print publications,” the company says. “The magazine was also unable to secure additional funding to support its overhead.” When contacted by FOLIO:, InnoVision president and group publisher Rob Lutz said the company is in negotiations to potentially sell the magazine. He declined to say who the interest party(s) is or to offer any other specifics.It’s been a tumultuous few years for InnoVision, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November 2008. The future looked brighter for the company, and for Natural Solutions, the following April when the company was acquired for an undisclosed sum by a subsidiary of ACI Capital and American Securities—a pair of middle-market private equity firms. The deal effectively ended InnoVision’s Chapter 11 proceedings.“Our company really struggled the last several years,” Lutz told FOLIO: last year, describing the company as a $5 million business that had at one point been $7 million in debt.InnoVision says the shuttering of Natural Solutions will not affect the company’s other products—including books and medical journals.last_img read more

Google Assistant launches first celebrity cameo with John Legend

first_imgGoogle also hinted that more celebrity cameos could be on the way thanks to the company’s WaveNet tech — a speech synthesis program that helped bring John Legend to your countertop smart speaker. In the meantime, here is Google’s list of questions you can ask to hear a reply from John Legend: Easter eggs: “Serenade me.” “Sing me a song.” “Are you John Legend?” “Do you know Chrissy Teigen?” “How are you?” “Sing Happy Birthday.” “Tell me a joke.” “Who’s your celebrity crush?” “What’s your favorite song?” “What’s your best pickup line?” “Compliment me.” Ordinary questions: “What’s the weather?” “How far away is the moon?” “What are jazz hands?” “How do you cook bacon in the oven?” “Is there an atmosphere on the moon?” “Is Venus the same size as the Earth?” “Why is the sky blue?” “What’s the temperature outside?” “Do I need an umbrella today?” $99 Smart Home Culture Share your voice Preview • For your consideration: Google Home seeks employment as your family’s Rosie the robot Google Assistant is everywhere at CES 2019: Here’s everything announced so far 6:59 See it Walmart Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) Google Home News • Black Mirror season 5 has three new trailers to stress you out today CNET Smart Home Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house $79 reading • Google Assistant launches first celebrity cameo with John Legend CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Google Almost a year ago, Google announced a bunch of new voice options for the company’s digital helper, simply known as Google Assistant. Singer and songwriter John Legend headlined the group of voices, which were otherwise of the AI-generated variety. The rest launched shortly after the May announcement, and finally, starting Wednesday, Google’s first celebrity cameo for Google Assistant goes live. John Legend’s voice will be available in English in the US on any device with Google Assistant — smart speakers like the Google Home, smart displays like the  Google Home Hub and smartphones. You can enable it in the settings of the Google Assistant app or by telling your device to “Talk like a Legend.” (Here’s more detail on how to give Google Assistant John Legend’s voice.) Note that your default Google Assistant will still respond to most of your queries. John Legend’s voice will respond only to certain relevant questions like, “What’s your favorite music?” as well as some more general ones like, “What’s the weather?” And apparently, John Legend’s voice will be available only for a limited amount of time. $69 Now playing: Watch this: • See It Mentioned Above Google Home Comment Aug 31 • The best coffee grinders you can buy right now See It Google Assistant makes your Android texts smarter Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected How To • Make Google Home get your groceries CNET Smart Home Review • Google Home is better than ever, but you probably shouldn’t buy it 1 24 Photos Tags Crutchfield See All Google Assistant Googlelast_img read more

SpiderMan Far From Home Easter eggs you may have missed

first_img Spider-Man: Far From Home director talks postcredit scene… How to watch every Marvel Cinematic Universe film in the right order Sphero Spider-Man 2:17 TV and Movies Spider-Man: Far From Home had plenty of Easter eggs to catch if you were paying attention.  Sony Pictures Spider-Man: Far From Home wouldn’t be a proper Marvel movie if it wasn’t full of Easter eggs. The subtle references run the gamut from mentions of characters from other Marvel Cinematic Universe films to specific comic book issues related to the film. Here’s a roundup of the Far From Home Easter eggs and what they mean for the MCU.There are plenty of Far From Home spoilers below, so consider this your spoiler warning.  spoilers-mcuWho’s thirsty for Hydro-Man?After the kids survive the Water Elemental’s attack on Venice, one of them mentions a Buzzfeed article reporting on a man named Morris Bench, who has water powers. That’s the same name as Hydro-Man, a Spider-Man villain who can transform his body into water. Bench is considered one of Spidey’s low-tier bad guys who typically runs with groups of other weak villains. BFPPeter’s uncle, Ben Parker, gets mentioned only minimally in the two MCU Spider-Man films, and in Far From Home he only gets a nod when the initials “BFP” appear on a suitcase. The initials reference Uncle Ben’s full name, Benjamin Franklin Parker. In the latest episode of Fat Man Beyond, co-host Mark Bernardin pointed out the suitcase is a metaphor for the “luggage” Peter is carrying over his dead uncle. The “luggage” is then gone by the end of the movie. Earth-616 and 833As referenced in my CNET colleague Roger Cheng’s roundup of our biggest Far From Home WTF questions, Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) says he came from a destroyed Earth-833 to help save Earth-616. Although that proved to be a lie, 616 is the designation for Earth in the Marvel comics. Earth-833 is an alternate universe first mentioned in the Spider-Verse event in the comics as the home of Spider-Man UK. Marvel considers the MCU to be Earth-199999.Betty Brant introduces Phase 4After the “touching” tribute to Tony Stark and Captain America, Betty Brant (Angourie Rice) briefly mentions that “we’re moving on to a new phase of our lives.” The timing is spot on as Phase 4 of the MCU will go beyond the two mainstays in the upcoming films. For those wondering about Brant herself, in the comics, she’s J. Jonah Jameson’s (J.K. Simmons) secretary and one of Peter Parker’s love interests before marrying Mary-Jane Watson. fantastic-four-2005.jpgNow with Cap’ out of the way, Chris Evans can return as Johnny Storm.  20th Century Fox More 4? There’s an advertisement with the numbers “1, 2, 3” and the words “Something big is coming” in the background of one of the shots in the first postcredits scene. This could be another reference to MCU’s Phase 4, but the numbers have circles around them. The number 4 with a circle around it is the symbol for the Fantastic Four, which is now a Disney property. Could this be referencing the superhero team coming back for a third time, but this time in the MCU? Or could that ad simply be a regular New York City ad? Dr. Selvig is a TV starDr. Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård) played a major role in the first two Thor films and the first Avengers film. Since then, the astrophysicist appeared on the educational TV series Nova as indicated by the film choices Peter scanned on the flight to Venice. Dr. Selvig is on the display cover for Nova: Einstein Rosen Bridges. Far From Home postcredits scenes, explained Our biggest Far From Home WTF questions Far From Home is a perfect Avengers: Endgame epilogue Preview • Sphero’s new voice-activated Spider-Man toy sure is chatty Tags 26 Photos More Spider-Man 0 “ASM 212” was written on a boat in Venice and is The Amazing Spider-Man #212, which marked the first appearance of Hydro-Man. A partial license plate near the beginning shows “ASM 463,” which would be The Amazing Spider-Man #4 released in 1963 and was the debut of Sandman. Then there’s “ASM 28965,” or The Amazing Spider-Man #28 that featured the first appearance of Molten Man in 1965. For those paying attention, these four comics featuring the first appearance low-tier bad guys also references the four elementals seen in the film: earth, water, wind and fire. There will likely be more Easter eggs when Far From Home is available to purchase for home viewing in the form of deleted scenes and other content from the film. Originally published on July 8.Update, July 15: Adds background details. Share your voice null Now playing: Watch this: Who owns The Daily Bugle?When J. Jonah Jameson reveals on TV that Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is Spider-Man, off to the side is the logo for The Daily Bugle, which contains its URL TheDailyBugle.net. The address leads to nowhere, but a quick check of the domain on WhoIs shows it’s registered to Sony Pictures. Issues with license platesScattered throughout the movie are license plates referencing the comics. One is “AMF-1562” or Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man’s origin comic released in 1962. Another is “TASM-143,” which would be The Amazing Spider-Man #143. That issue introduced the Cyclone, a low-tier bad guy, but also had a cameo of Gwen Stacy who was killed off in the comics years prior. This would be one of several issues setting up the introduction of the Jackal who cloned both Gwen Stacy and Spider-Man. last_img read more

Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Google Nest Hub

first_img Best all‑around smart display • Angela Lang/CNET Post a comment Nest Google Assistant Amazon Best Buy Facebook Google Lenovo Aug 31 • Alexa can tell you if someone breaks into your house Read Google Home Hub review Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Amazon Echo Show 5 Better for video chat reading • Amazon Echo Show 5 vs Google Nest Hub Aug 31 • Best smart light bulbs for 2019 (plus switches, light strips, accessories and more) CNET Smart Home $100 at Best Buy Aug 30 • iRobot Roomba S9 Plus vs. Neato Botvac D7 Connected Aug 30 • Battling bot vacs: iRobot Roomba S9+ vs Neato Botvac D7 Connected Smart displays have become the latest battleground for virtual assistant products, bringing the voice-activated smarts of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to countertop-sized touchscreens equipped with a microphone, speakers and, in many cases, a video camera for chatting with friends and relatives. The category launched with 10-inch models that usually sold for $200 or more. A second wave of products brought smaller screens, lower prices and more popularity. Here’s a look at some of the best sub-$150 smart displays you can choose from. CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.    0 $65 at Amazon Amazon introduced the smart display category in clunky fashion with the original, sharp-angled Echo Show. A refined update to that 10-inch screen improved matters, but it might be the 5-inch Echo Show 5 that helps Alexa-based smart displays really take off. Among sub-$150 smart displays, the Echo Show 5 sits in the middle of the category in terms of screen size, without sacrificing its capability. It’s larger than the 4-inch Lenovo Smart Clock, but unlike Lenovo’s bedside display, the Echo Show 5 can show pictures from an Amazon or Facebook photo library, it can serve up a control screen for any Alexa-connected smart home devices and, unique to the lower-end displays, it also has a video camera. Amazon hopes a physical shutter you can slide over the lens will mitigate any camera-related privacy concerns. A feature that lets you slap the top of the Echo Show 5 to snooze any alarms is also a nice touch. The Echo Show 5 looks diminutive next to the 7-inch Google Nest Hub (formerly the Google Home Hub). It’s easier to read the Nest Hub’s screen from across your kitchen. On the other hand, the Echo Show 5 takes up a few square inches’ less counter space. That might not matter in a suburban household, but every inch matters in the tiny kitchen of a city apartment. The biggest difference beyond screen size is the fact that the Echo Show 5 has a video camera built into it. The idea is that you will use the camera to conduct video chats with family members and friends who also own an Echo Show device. That sounds harmless enough, but Amazon has come under scrutiny for its privacy policies and its intentions for camera-based facial recognition technology. If the camera makes you feel uncomfortable, a physical shutter built into the Echo Show 5 can obscure the camera lens. That might not be enough to make everyone happy with the idea of the Echo Show 5 as a bedside alarm clock, though, which Amazon clearly has in mind. Lenovo Smart Clock While it’s not as fully featured as either the Amazon or the Nest displays, Lenovo’s $50 Smart Clock is still worth a mention. It doesn’t have a video camera and the display won’t even show photos. Instead, the Smart Clock is designed to sit on your nightstand and give you just the right amount of information to start your day, either through the screen or via Google Assistant. The screen can show you the time, the weather and your personal calendar. You can even give it a whack to put it into snooze mode once the alarm goes off, and it also has a sunrise mode that gradually dials up the brightness on the display. It can show you live video from a Nest Cam if you have one and you can assign smart home scenes to a few programmable buttons, but there’s no smart home control screen like there is with the Google Nest Hub. The Lenovo Smart Clock tries to find the right balance between contemporary features and pared-down bedside tech. It mostly hits the mark, but your phone makes a lot of its features redundant. It’s a good fit if you rely on Google Assistant, but you also want to minimize the presence of screens in your bedroom.  Tags Google Nest Hub When it debuted as the Google Home Hub in October 2018, this 7-inch device invigorated the nascent smart display category for two major reasons. First, its $150 price tag came in $80 under Amazon’s $230 Echo Show. Secondly, Google read the room early in terms of consumers’ suspicion about smart home gadgets and left off the video camera that seemed so key to the smart display concept, at least as defined by Amazon. (Although it had previously allowed third-party, camera-equipped smart displays using Google Assistant to come to market.) With no camera, Google’s smart display can’t rely on the emotional lure of easy video chatting with friends and family to succeed. Yes, it supports a photo feed and it’s hard to resist that steady drip of kid pictures, but this is more than just a digital photo frame. Now called the Google Nest Hub after a rebrand this spring, this 7-inch display isn’t shy about putting forward its interface and the superiority of Google Assistant to win you over. The differences between those core features of the Google and Amazon displays are subtle, but the more you use them the more you notice them. Among other things, the way the Nest Hub can walk you through a recipe and remember the steps you’re on, even when you shift to another task halfway through, is particularly useful. A very well organized control screen for any smart home devices also makes the Nest Hub an accessible, but unobtrusive smart home control center. Amazon’s equivalent page doesn’t have the same depth of options, like organizing your devices by room. Google also introduced a welcome quality of life feature to Google Assistant this spring. When an alarm goes off, you can simply say “Stop,” instead of “Hey Google, stop.” It’s a user-friendly nod to expediency and getting out of its own way that anyone can appreciate.Compared with the Echo Show 5, the Google Nest Hub is too large for most people to accept it as an alarm clock. If you really want a stationary little screen to facilitate video chatting, the Echo Show 5 is also the obvious alternative among the sub $100 screens. Google isn’t ceding video chats entirely to Amazon. The $230 Nest Hub Max comes out in just a few weeks. I’ve found my phone more convenient than digital displays for talking with relatives face-to-digital-face, so I don’t take too many points away for the fact that the Nest Hub lacks a camera. The most important feature for these smart displays, which promise a light-touch way to organize your day, is how much information they can put forward and how easily. Thanks to its overall polish, and the robustness of Google Assistant, the Google Nest Hub is the better device. $100 at Best Buy Chris Monroe/CNET Worth considering $50 at Best Buy Lenovo Smart Clock CNET Smart Home $50 at Best Buy Amazon Echo Show 5 In terms of the next steps for smart displays, most imminent is the $230 Google Nest Hub Max, a higher-end model due out Sept. 9 with a 10-inch screen, a 4K video camera that works as a Nest Cam and can track whoever’s on screen (sounds creepy, but it was cool when we saw a similar feature on the Facebook Portal display) and speakers tuned for better audio output. The rumor mill hasn’t produced much concrete information about what’s next for lower end smart displays. We saw a prototype of a 3-inch E Ink display at CES 2019 built around Google Assistant Connect, a product development program Google is working on that it hopes will add lots of new, simple satellite products to the Google Assistant family. The E Ink display we saw was more of a tricked out Post-It note than anything else, since it lacked a microphone and speakers, and required another Google Assistant device nearby to feed it the time, weather, and other information for easy viewing. Perhaps we’ll see its next iteration, or something similar from Amazon by way of its own Alexa Gadgets Toolkit, at CES 2020.  Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Worth considering Tyler Lizenby/CNET Read Echo Show 5 review $65 at Amazon Google Nest Hub Smart Home Share your voice See All Better for video chat Best all-around smart displaylast_img read more

Best 4G data tariff plans for April 2017 Should you opt for

first_img[Representational Image]REUTERS/Shailesh AndradeThe telecom industry in India has taken a dramatic shift over the last few months after Reliance Industries entered the sector with its ambitious Reliance Jio in October 2016 offering free data and calls for six months. Since then, major telecom operators like Vodafone, Airtel, Idea and BSNL have introduced several tariff plans to retain their subscribers and survive the competition.Mobile phone users, irrespective of the network they are in, are benefiting from Reliance Jio effect, as they get more data and free voice calls for less money. However, they could be left confused as new tariff plans keep rolling out every now and then. So, here we give you the best 4G data tariff plans across the networks in India for the month of April 2017:Also read: This is how Reliance Jio’s rivalry with Airtel, Vodafone and Idea unfolded; best tariff plans for 2017Reliance Jio Jio users can avail Dhan Dhana Dhan Offer at Rs 309 and get 1GB of 4G data per day, and unlimited calls (both local and STD) and SMS for 84 days. However, non-prime members have to pay Rs 408 (Rs 99 for membership) for the same benefit.There is also Rs 509 plan that offers 2GB of 4G data per day, and unlimited voice calls and SMS (local and STD) for 84 days. However, non-prime members have to pay Rs 608 (Rs 99 for membership).Bharti AirtelThe Rs 399 plan offers 1GB of 4G data per day (500MB between 12 am and 6 am, 500MB between 7 am and 11 pm) for 70 days. It also comes with 300 minutes of Airtel-to-Airtel calls per day or 1,200 minutes of calls per week and 3,000 minutes of local or STD calls for 70 days.Rs 345 plan comes with 56GB of 4G data or for 28 days or 2GB per day. It also offers unlimited Airtel-to-Airtel local and STD calls for 70 days with a cap of 300 minutes per day and 3,000 minutes of local and STD calls to a different network.Rs 244 plan offers 1GB of 4G data per day and unlimited Airtel-to-Airtel calls for both local and STD for 70 days. However, 10 paise will be charged per minute after crossing the allotted daily use of 300 minutes and 1200 minutes per week. Representational imageReutersVodafone The network offers 1GB of 4G data per day for Rs 352 with a validity of 56 days. Those who opt for this plan will also get unlimited local and STD calls (300 minutes per day and 1200 minutes per week). However, there is no free SMS facility. A man casts silhouette onto an electronic screen displaying logo of Vodafone India after a news conference to announce the half year results in Mumbai, India, November 10, 2015.Reuters fileIdea Cellular The Rs 297 plan comes with 1GB of 4G data per day and is valid for 70 days. It offers unlimited Idea to Idea local and STD calls. It has a daily cap of 300 minutes of call per day and 1200 minutes per week.The Rs 447 plan offers 1GB of 4G data for 70 days. It also comes with unlimited Idea-to-Idea calls both local and STD and 3,000 minutes of calls to other networks. Idea Cellular’s Managing Director Himanshu Kapania speaks during a news conference to announce the company’s quarterly results in Mumbai October 24, 2013.Reuters fileBSNL Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s Rs 249 plan offers 10GB of data per day or 300GB per month at a speed of 2 Mbps for the initial 1GB before falling to 1 Mbps for the remaining 9GB. It comes with unlimited free calls between 9 pm and 7 am (unlimited free calls all day on Sunday). Facebook/BSNL Indialast_img read more

GST Council slashes tax rates on electric vehicles chargers

first_imgRepresentative ImageReutersClose on the heels of Union Budget providing tax relief for buying electric vehicles, the GST Council in its 36th meeting on Saturday cut the tax on electric vehicles (EV) from 12 per cent to 5 per cent effective August 1, 2019.The Council has also slashed rate for EV chargers from 18 per cent to 5 per cent making electric vehicle affordable for the buyers.The twin rate cuts are set to further boost the EV sector. The Budget on July 5 had proposed Income Tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on the loans taken to purchase electric vehicles.”The proposed reduction in the GST rates on e-vehicles coming on the back of the recent customs duty reduction on EVs and parts signifies the governments resolve to go green and reduce the carbon footprint,” said M.S. Mani, Partner, Deloitte India.The Council chaired by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has also exempted hiring of electric buses (of carrying capacity of more than 12 passengers) by local authorities from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).This is a major push to the electric vehicles which has so far seen lukewarm response due to high ownership cost and insufficient infrastructure in the country. Not surprisingly, the share of electric vehicles out of total annual vehicle sales in the country is less than 1 per cent.However, the Modi government is committed to transform the transport sector by promoting the use of green cars and bikes.The government’s think-tank Niti Aayog has put forward plan to shift to e-mobility for two-wheelers (below 150cc) and three-wheelers by 2025.An Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee of the National Mission for Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage headed by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had in May recommended sale of only electric three-wheelers by March, 2023.For two-wheelers below 150cc, the high-level panel proposed March, 2025 as the cut-off date for going fully electric.The GST Council has given relief to composition dealers extending the deadline for furnishing details of the self-assessed tax in Form GST CMP-08 for April-June quarter by one month to August 31.The 36th GST Council meeting was held through video conferencing. The meeting was attended by Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur besides Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance.The Council is headed by the Union Finance Minister and Finance Ministers of States and Union Territories (UTs) are the members.last_img read more

3 workers die after taking chemical in Rajshahi

first_imgMap of RajshahiThree factory workers, who among 10 others fell sick after ‘having poisonous chemical’ on Wednesday night at Dyeingpara village in Godagari upazila, died at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) on Thursday, reports UNB.The deceased are Dulal Hossain, 25, son of Sirajul Islam, Bakul, 36, son of Tafizul Islam and Towhid, 23, son of Yusuf, residents of Dyeingpara village. Officer-in-charge of Godagari police station Hipjur Alam Munshi said ten workers, including the three deceased, of ‘Tim Pharmaceuticals’ took some liquid chemical, used to produce medicine, to home on Wednesday night. They had the chemical mixing with beverage and subsequently fell sick several hours later. As their conditions deteriorated, the 10 workers were taken to RMCH on early Thursday when doctors declared Bakul and Towhid dead. Later, Dulal breathed his last around 2:30pm at the hospital, said OC Hipjur.last_img read more

Several students thrown out of DU hall

first_imgSeveral students of Kabi Sufia Kamal hall of Dhaka University (DU) were allegedly forced out of their dormitory early Friday, reports UNB.Wishing anonymity, a student of the dormitory, said “When we tried to protest at the hall authorities’ decision, the hall provost threatened us to cancel the studentship if we don’t leave the hall immediately.”It is not clear yet how many students were forced to leave the dormitory although some students alleged that 20 students were forced out of the hall.Hall provost Sabita Rezwana Rahman denied the allegation saying, “We called a number of students for investigation and checking their mobile phones.”“They are spreading rumours through fake Facebook accounts. We also called guardians of some students to inform about their daughters’ activities. Three students have been handed over to their local guardians. But we didn’t expel or cancel any student’s seat.”On 10 April, the DU authorities expelled Isha, president of Sufia Kamal hall unit of BCL, as some BCL activists led by Isha allegedly swooped on some residents of the hall, leaving Morsheda Akhter, a 4th year student of Botany department, critically injured.A probe body was formed soon after the incident.Besides, the BCL central executive committee expelled Isha on charge of ‘violating organisational discipline’ and later withdrew it as the organisation also found her innocent.The Dhaka University authorities on Wednesday withdrew its previous order expelling Isha as its probe body found ‘no evidence of torture on a student inside the hall’ by Isha.last_img read more

Trump drops twostate Mideast deal

first_imgUS President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo:AFPUS President Donald Trump shelved Washington’s years-long quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Wednesday, saying he would back a single state if it led to peace.The new president warmly welcomed Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House and hailed the “unbreakable” bond between their countries.And while he urged Netanyahu to “hold back” from building Jewish settlements for a “little bit,” Trump broke with international consensus insisting on a future that included a Palestinian state alongside Israel.“So I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like,” he said. “I can live with either one.”Trump said he had thought a two-state solution “looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Israel and the Palestinians are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”This change in the US stance was calculated to please Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition.“I think the Palestinians have to get rid of some of that hate that they’re taught from a very young age,” Trump said, echoing Netanyahu’s argument that the Palestinians are not ready for peace.Netanyahu had warm words for the Israeli-US alliance, and hammered home his own prerequisites for peace.“First, the Palestinians must recognize the Jewish state. They have to stop calling for Israel’s destruction,” he said.“Second, in any peace agreement, Israel must retain the overriding security control over the entire area west of the Jordan River.”This region contains the entire West Bank area that would represent the heart of any Palestinian state as conceived in all previous international agreements.Arab capitalsThe previous US administration of Barack Obama had warned Israel that if it did not reach a two-state deal with the Palestinians, it would never reach an accommodation with the Arab world.But Netanyahu insisted he was already developing closer security ties with his Sunni neighbors, who share Israel’s concerns about Iranian subversion and “radical Islam.”And he urged Trump’s administration to get on board.“For the first time in the life of my country, Arab countries in the region do not see Israel as an enemy, but increasingly as an ally,” he told Trump.“I believe that under your leadership, this change in our region creates an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen security and advance peace.”In a joint statement, the two sides proclaimed “a new day” in US-Israel relations and that there was “no daylight” between them.Whatever the view in Cairo and Riyadh, the shift in Washington’s position, which was revealed overnight by a White House official, triggered Palestinian despair and consternation in international capitals.The second-ranking official in the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, denounced it as an attempt to “bury the two-state solution and eliminate the state of Palestine.”And he implicitly warned Israelis that any single nation that emerged would not be specifically Jewish.“There’s only one alternative,” he told a news conference. “A single democratic state that guarantees the rights of all: Jews, Muslims and Christians.”Victory cryThe new US message deliberately echoed the long-standing Israeli position: no peace deal can be imposed from outside and the agenda for talks must reflect the reality on the ground.Naftali Bennett, the right-wing leader of the hardline Jewish Home party and an opponent of any Palestinian state, cried victory.“A new era. New ideas. No need for third Palestinian state beyond Jordan and Gaza. Big day for Israelis and reasonable Arabs,” he tweeted. “Congrats.”But Trump’s decision flew in the face of an international consensus that any final status agreement must be based on a return to Israel’s 1967 border—albeit with land swaps.Just five days before Trump’s January 20 inauguration, the United States was among 70 countries to endorse this vision at a peace conference in Paris.One month before that, Obama’s UN ambassador allowed a Security Council motion that criticized Israeli settlement building to pass without the usual US veto.Addressing a US-Israeli conference in December, the then secretary of state John Kerry called settlements a “barrier” to progress.Under Trump, that vision appears dead, and Washington has aligned itself with Netanyahu’s government and its supporters in the right-wing settler movement.After the White House talks, Netanyahu met with US congressional leaders in the US Capitol, where he addressed Trump’s call to slow settlement expansion.“I think we’ll try to find a common understanding that is consistent with the pursuit of peace and security,” he said.Speaking in Cairo after talks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that “everything must be done” to preserve the two-state solution.France, which organized the January peace conference, was also unimpressed.Its UN ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters “our commitment to the two-state solution is stronger than ever.”Trump has tapped son-in-law Jared Kushner and lawyer Jason Greenblatt to lead peace efforts.Netanyahu had dinner Tuesday with Kushner—a long-time family friend—and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.last_img read more

Bangladesh 25th on global terror index

first_imgBangladesh is among the four nations in South Asia that experienced decline in terror attacks.It has improved four notches to the 25th place among 163 countries with a score of 5.697 on the global terrorism index (GTI) 2018 of the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).Last year, the country scored 6.181 and ranked 21st, according to IEP, a global think-tank headquartered in Sydney, Australia.Bangladesh is among the four nations in South Asia that have experienced decline in terror attacks and showed improvement in security alongside Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.The GTI is a report published annually by the Institute for the IEP, and was developed by IT entrepreneur and IEP’s founder Steve Killelea.In Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Myanmar recorded the highest number of deaths from terrorism in 2017 since 2002, it observed.Myanmar positioned 24th declining 13 notches than last year with a score of 5.916 out of 10.The three deadliest terror organisations in the Asia-Pacific in 2017 were the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), New People’s Army and Abu Sayyaf Group. ARSA is active in Myanmar and formed following the Myanmar government’s crackdown on the Rohingya population.Afghanistan, Pakistan and India are among the 10 countries most impacted by terrorism, and these were causing deterioration to South Asia’s GTI score.In Bangladesh, the largest recent terrorist attack took place in 2016, when an armed assault in Dhaka left a number of people dead, the report said, adding that IS later claimed the responsibility for the attack.The report by the Australian think-tank emphasised the need for global investment to ensure national security, citing as example measures to prevent violent extremism in Bangladesh.“In Bangladesh, for example, the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund is supporting training in digital literacy among madrasa students, helping promote critical thinking, and limit the traction and dissemination of online fake news and messages,” the report observed.It highlights that threats to cyber security is the new form of terror adopted by extremist organisations, no one of which can exist without funds.“Terrorism has emerged in cyberspace as a natural response to kinetic security responses and traditional military measures,” the report says.“Financial institutions have long been targets of terrorism, and this is true online as well. In the case of the 2016 Bangladesh Bank heist, malicious programme, likely malware sent through an email, was installed on the bank’s computer system.“The malware then collected passwords and usernames, and deleted evidence of its own presence, rendering it virtually invisible. These stolen credentials were then used to access SWIFT, the most secure global money transfer system. $ 81 million was lost in four transactions,” the think-tank said in the report.last_img read more

IsraelGaza border shooting kills Palestinian teen

first_imgPalestinians, wounded in previous weeks during mass protests against Israeli forces along the border of the Palestinian enclave, dubbed `The Great March of Return`, await medical check-up at the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) clinic in Gaza City on 25 April 2018. AFPA Palestinian teenager has died of his wounds a day after being shot by Israeli forces in clashes along the Gaza border, the Hamas-controlled territory’s health ministry said Saturday.Azzam Oweida, 15, was hit in the head during protests in southern Gaza on Friday, the ministry said.His death brought to four the number of people killed or fatally wounded during a fifth consecutive Friday of protests in which thousands of Gazans have gathered near the heavily-guarded border.Most protesters were peaceful but some threw stones and burned tyres.Forty-five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of what organisers have dubbed the Great March of Return on 30 March, with more than 1,500 wounded.No Israelis have been reported hurt.The Israeli army said around 10,000 people had taken part in “riots” along the border Friday, saying troops responded with “riot dispersal means”.The army has accused Hamas, the Islamist group that runs Gaza and has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, of seeking to use the protests as cover to carry out attacks.The protesters are calling for Palestinians to be allowed back to their historic homelands seized by Israel in 1948.last_img

Leaders of 2 Koreas hold surprise meeting

first_imgSouth Korean president Moon Jae-in shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Presidential Blue House on 26 May, 2018. Photo: ReutersSouth Korean president Moon Jae-in held a surprise meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday to ensure the upcoming high-stakes summit between Kim and US president Donald Trump is a success, South Korean officials said.The unannounced meeting is the latest dramatic turn in a week of diplomatic flip-flops surrounding an unprecedented summit between the United States and North Korea, and the strongest sign yet that the two Korean leaders are trying to keep the on-again off-again summit on track.Their two-hour talks at the Panmunjom border village came a month after they held the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade at the same venue on 27 April and declared they would work toward a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War.”The two leaders candidly exchanged views about making the North Korea-US summit a successful one and about implementing the Panmunjom Declaration,” South Korea’s presidential spokesman said in a statement. He did not confirm how the secret meeting was arranged or which side asked for it.Moon, who returned to Seoul on Thursday morning after meeting Trump in Washington earlier this week in a bid to keep the summit on track as initially planned, for 12 June in Singapore, was due to announce details of the meeting with Kim early on Sunday.One of the photos released by the presidential Blue House on Saturday showed Moon and Kim hugging each other after their meeting at Tongilgak, the North’s building in the truce village. The previous summit was held at the southern side of the border.They were accompanied by South Korean intelligence chief Suh Hoon and his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chol, who is in charge of inter-Korean affairs. Another photo showed Moon shaking hands with Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong.TRUMP HAILS “PRODUCTIVE TALKS”Trump said on Friday that Washington was having “productive talks” with Pyongyang about reinstating the 12 June meeting, just a day after cancelling it.Politico magazine reported that an advance team of 30 White House and State Department officials was preparing to leave for Singapore later this weekend.Reuters reported earlier this week the team was scheduled to discuss the agenda and logistics for the summit with North Korean officials. The delegation was to include White House deputy chief of staff Joseph Hagin and deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel, US officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.Trump said in a Twitter post late on Friday: “We are having very productive talks about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, 12 June, and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date.”South Korean president Moon Jae-in bids fairwell to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as he leaves after their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Presidential Blue House on 26 May, 2018. Photo: ReutersTrump had earlier indicated the summit could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from North Korea saying it remained open to talks.”It was a very nice statement they put out,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’ll see what happens – it could even be the 12th.””We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it,” he said.The comments came just a day after Trump cited Pyongyang’s “open hostility” in cancelling the meeting.THREATS, INSULTSAfter years of tension over Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme, Kim and Trump agreed this month to hold what would be the first meeting between a serving US president and a North Korean leader. The plan followed months of war threats and insults between the leaders over North Korea’s development of missiles capable of reaching the United States.Trump scrapped the meeting in a letter to Kim on Thursday after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by US officials demanding unilateral disarmament. Trump cited North Korean hostility in cancelling the summit.In Pyongyang, North Korean vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea’s criticisms had been a reaction to American rhetoric and that current antagonism showed “the urgent necessity” for the summit.He said North Korea regretted Trump’s decision to cancel and remained open to resolving issues “regardless of ways, at any time.”Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea had appreciated Trump having made the bold decision to work toward a summit.”We even inwardly hoped that what is called ‘Trump formula’ would help clear both sides of their worries and comply with the requirements of our side and would be a wise way of substantial effect for settling the issue,” he said.North Korea also went ahead with a plan to destroy its only known nuclear site on Thursday, the most concrete action yet since pledging to cease all nuclear and long-range missile tests last month.Dozens of international journalists left North Korea on Saturday after observing the demolition of the underground tunnels in Punggye-ri, where all of the North’s six nuclear tests were conducted including its latest and largest in September.Trump’s latest about-face sent officials scrambling in Washington. Defense secretary Jim Mattis told reporters diplomats were “still at work” and said Trump had just sent a note out on the summit, which could be back on “if our diplomats can pull it off.”US State Department spokeswoman Katina Adams declined to give details of any diplomatic contacts but said: “As the president said in his letter to Chairman Kim, dialogue between the two is the only dialogue that matters. If North Korea is serious, then we look forward to hearing from them at the highest levels.”White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters Trump did not want a meeting that was “just a political stunt.””He wants to get something that’s a long-lasting and an actual real solution. And if they are ready to do that then … we’re certainly ready to have those conversations,” she said.last_img read more

US asks nations to repatriate jihadists

first_imgAn Iraqi photographer shows a girl a picture taken on his camera at Nafoura square in the al-Zuhur neighbourhood in the eastern part of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on 5 January. AFP File PhotoThe United States urged other countries Monday to bring home hundreds of Islamic State fighters captured in Syria, a delicate issue for allies such as France and Britain as president Donald Trump withdraws troops.Washington drew a line on the jihadists two days before foreign ministers from Europe and the Middle East gather in the US capital for talks on how to fight the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, once the US military presence ends.US allies have been grappling for weeks with what to do with foreign fighters detained in the war-ravaged country by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, who have warned that they may not be able to guard their jails once US troops leave.”The United States calls upon other nations to repatriate and prosecute their citizens detained by the SDF and commends the continued efforts of the SDF to return these foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.”Despite the liberation of ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, ISIS remains a significant terrorist threat and collective action is imperative to address this shared international security challenge,” Palladino said.Another US official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that northeastern Syria had become a “very fluid space.””As events unfold, there are any number of scenarios under which positive control of some of the individuals currently in custody could change,” the official said.He voiced concern that jihadists could then leave Syria for “other, more permissive places around the world from which they could seek to carry forward the fight.”Fears in EuropeTrump stunned Western allies on December 19 by announcing that the United States would pull its 2,000 troops out of Syria, declaring that IS had been defeated.One of the countries most concerned is France, which has been hit by a series of IS-inspired attacks including the grisly November 2015 siege of the Bataclan nightclub in Paris.France — which along with Britain maintains a small deployment of special forces in Syria — last week opened the door to bringing back its citizens, after earlier insisting that the jihadists should be prosecuted locally and not step foot back in France.The French foreign ministry said its goal was to “avoid the escape and scattering of these potentially dangerous individuals” and acknowledged that the situation on the ground was changing with the US withdrawal.A French security source, speaking on condition of anonymity, earlier told AFP 130 people could be repatriated. A second French official said the group included 70 to 80 children held with their mothers.Britain has meanwhile been grappling with what to do with the two surviving members of a quartet — nicknamed “The Beatles” for their accents — who were notorious for videotaped beheadings.Britain has shown no interest in bringing home the Kurdish-jailed pair, Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee el-Sheikh, amid reports they were stripped of their nationality.A report last year said the United States was willing to take them in its military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — an option that would be deeply controversial in Britain, partly due to the US practice of the death penalty.Talk of security zoneThe SDF are worried that, without US troops as a buffer, they will be crushed by neighbouring Turkey — which equates them with Kurdish separatists at home and encouraged Trump to withdraw US forces.Shortly after Trump’s announcement, the SDF warned it would pull back from the battle against IS if Turkey attacked and may redeploy its prison guards.Wednesday’s 79-nation conference in Washington is expected to look further at ways to avoid what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a comment that angered Turkey, warned could be the “slaughter” of Kurdish fighters in Syria.Trump and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan have discussed a “safe zone” which Ankara wants on Syrian territory. European allies are cool to the idea and the Kurdish fighters want the zone to be directly on the border with coalition forces on the Turkish side.Foreign ministers will also hear at the conference from Nobel laureate Nadia Murad, a member of the Yazidi minority in Iraq who was abducted and raped, like thousands of women and girls, by jihadists.Since obtaining freedom, Murad has campaigned for accountability over the atrocities and urged Iraq and other countries to investigate the fate of Yazidi who remain missing.last_img read more

Satellite operator SES has raised €9088 million t

first_imgSatellite operator SES has raised €908.8 million to fund its acquisition of the part of broadband satellite operator O3b Networks that it do3s not already own.SES will issue 39,857,600 million new Fiduciary Depositary Receipts (FDRs) at a price of €19. The number of new FDRs represents 11.6% of the existing number of the company’s total Class A shares.SES will use the proceeds raised to fund the total consideration of USD 730 million to increase its ownership of O3b to 100%. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals which are expected to be completed during H2 2016. SES will also use around US$300 million to repay O3b’s most expensive debt facilities, leading to a reduction in annual financing costs after initially covering any repayment charges.O3b operates a fleet of medium Earth orbit satellites, with 12 currently in orbit and further satellites in the pipeline. The O3b constellation is designed to deliver broadband connectivity in the Ka-band.last_img read more