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Paulwell says future of bauxite, alumina sector promising

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Paulwell says future of bauxite, alumina sector promising

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, April 18, 2019

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OPPOSITION spokesman on mining Phillip Paulwell says the bauxite and alumina sector remains positive, despite challenges, as the industry’s future looks promising based on growing global demand.

He said that given these realities, it is alarming that Jamaica is foregoing the levy on bauxite at the point when the country should be ready to reap its benefits.

“We are adamant that this diminishing resource must be managed in the best interest of the Jamaican people,” he said on Tuesday while making his contribution to the 2019/20 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

Paulwell also expressed satisfaction that the Alpart plant has again commenced operations, under the management of Chinese firm, Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO).

“I’m pleased to see renewed life and energy in the towns surrounding the plant. I’m glad with the growing levels of employment and the many corporate contributions to the community. I’m happy for the sharing of technology and training of Jamaicans at Chinese universities. JISCO is indeed making a difference in the Jamaican economy; we are pleased that JISCO has honoured its commitments and I wish them well. We are looking forward to the expansion of the refinery and the installation of new energy system,” he said.

Meanwhile, Paulwell said with United States sanctions on Russian aluminium giant United Company (UC) Rusal, and by extension its Windalco plant, the company should now move to fulfil its undertaking to modernise operations and become a base location.

At the same time, he said he is alarmed at the deteriorating financial position of Clarendon Alumina Production (CAP), which he believes might be a result of escalating increase in the cost of production at the Jamalco alumina plant.

He said the plant has moved from a small operating profit in 2016/17 to losses last year, and another is likely for this year. He also questioned whether the challenges being faced by 55 per cent share partner Noble Group is affecting local operations.

“I urge proactivity, for the Government of Jamaica to assume greater responsibility to bring those costs down and to make CAP a profitable venture,” he said.

Commodities trader Noble, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, reported a net loss of close to US$5 billion in 2017, despite selling many of its assets in a bid to stay afloat. In October 2018, Noble filed for Chapter 15 protection with the US Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York, seeking to establish arrangements with its creditors.

Turning to the issue of resettlement of bauxite lands, Paulwell said the ease with which citizens are displaced must be matched by ease of resettlement.

“It is not beyond us to find a solution to this vexed issue,” he stated, promising to establish a special regime to liberate mined-out bauxite lands for productive purposes, including agricultural production and housing, whenever the Opposition forms Government.

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Today’s Horoscope — July 16, 2019

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Tuesday, July 16, 2019: This year, you often feel as though a situation will go one way but then you see that situation flip to another path. You work well in flux and will need to this year. If single, you could meet someone who makes your heart do flip-flops, but this bond will take a while to form. If you’re attached, don’t lose sight of mutual goals. Keep communication open and non-judgmental. CAPRICORN can be demanding.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): At present, you could feel as though you’re carrying the weight of life’s responsibilities. A seriousness carries you through the day; at the same time, you’re eyeing a self-generated change. Tonight: Do your thing. Stay as mellow as possible.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Be willing to take the next step. If you’re having several disagreements, detach; walk in the other party’s shoes. You’ll get a better grasp of the dynamics of an issue. As a result, resolutions will be more easily achieved. Tonight: Listen, but don’t get yourself in the middle of a lively discussion.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You seem to have an important discussion with a partner, friend, or loved one. The results might not be what you desire because others are on edge at this point in time. You might’ve wanted a change, but not of the variety that could be suggested. Tonight: Say little. Mum would be great.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Rather than getting into a discussion or overly lively talk, defer to a loved one. You might’ve come up with an unusual and creative, yet viable idea. Still, wait a day or two before presenting it. Others might not be particularly centred. Tonight: Go with the flow.

LEO (July 23-Aug 22): How you feel and what you’re able to accomplish might be major concerns at present. Currently, your energy might be fluctuating. This situation will change in several days. Do what you must; then, decide about the rest. Tonight: Soak away stress.

VIRGO (Aug 23-Sept 22): You might have been wanting a more dynamic, creative opportunity. What might pop right now could look like the opposite. Know that you’re in a state of flux. Nothing that happens is written in stone. Tonight: Keep it light and easy.

LIBRA (Sept 23-Oct 22): Your focus surrounds your personal and domestic life. You inevitably have an agenda about what you desire. You might feel somehow threatened by today’s happenings, yet you just opened the window to possibilities. Tonight: Home is where the heart is.

SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21): Even if you find that a disagreement arises, keep a conversation open. You want to stay fluid because more changes are likely; ultimately, they’ll be far better for you. Even if you want to, don’t close someone off! Tonight: Catching up on news at a favourite spot.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21): You could be able to see a personal matter in a different light because of what might be happening around you. Try not to get too attached to a certain path for a certain outcome. Know that there are many ways to reach that goal. Tonight: On the way home, buy a treat.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan 19): You might feel highly energised or totally drained. Today’s eclipse is in your sign and could drain you. What occurs today might not be as important as what happens in a month. Tonight: Remain upbeat.

AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18): You might not be comfortable with your feelings. You would be well-advised to do nothing and try to remain non-reactive. Given time, your perspective could change considerably. Tonight: Get as much R and R as possible.

PISCES (Feb 19-March 20): Keep your focus on a goal. You might note that friends could be volatile or extremely busy. You may choose to be there for them, but at the same time, complete what you want. Tonight: Where your friends are.

 

(c) 2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

 

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Trump moves to end asylum at southern border

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WASHINGTON, (AP) — Reversing decades of US policy, the Trump Administration said yesterday that it will end all asylum protection for most migrants who arrive at the US-Mexico border — the president’s most forceful attempt to block asylum claims and slash the number of people seeking refuge in America.

The new rule, expected to go into effect today, would cover countless would-be refugees, many of them fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. It is certain to face legal challenges.

According to the plan published in the Federal Register, migrants who pass through another country — in this case, Mexico — on their way to the US will be ineligible for asylum. The rule also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.

The vast majority of people affected by the rule are from Central America. But sometimes migrants from Africa, Cuba or Haiti and other countries try to come through the US-Mexico border as well.

There are some exceptions, including for victims of human trafficking and asylum-seekers who were denied protection in another country. If the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties governing how refugees are managed (though most Western countries signed them) a migrant could still apply for US asylum.

Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said yesterday that his country “does not agree with any measure that limits access to asylum”. Mexico’s asylum system is also currently overwhelmed.

Trump Administration officials say the changes are meant to close the gap between the initial asylum screening that most people pass and the final decision on asylum that most people do not win.

Attorney General William Barr said that the United States is “a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed” by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of migrants at the southern border.

He also said the rule is aimed at “economic migrants” and “those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States”.

But immigrant rights groups, religious leaders, and humanitarian groups have said the Republican Administration’s policies amount to a cruel effort to keep immigrants out of the country. Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are poor countries, often wracked by violence.

“This is yet another move to turn refugees with well-founded fears of persecution back to places where their lives are in danger — in fact the rule would deny asylum to refugees who do not apply for asylum in countries where they are in peril,” said Eleanor Acer of Human Rights First.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who has litigated some of the major challenges to the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, said the rule was unlawful and the group planned to sue.

“The rule, if upheld, would effectively eliminate asylum for those at the southern border,” he said. “But it is patently unlawful.”

US law allows refugees to request asylum when they arrive at the US, regardless of how they arrive or cross. The crucial exception is for those who have come through a country considered to be ‘safe’, but the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs asylum law, is vague on how a country is determined safe.”

Right now, the US has such an agreement, known as a “safe third country”, only with Canada.

Mexico and Central American countries have been considering a regional compact on the issue, but nothing has been decided. Guatemalan officials were expected in Washington yesterday, but apparently a meeting between Trump and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was cancelled amid a court challenge in Guatemala over whether the country could consent to a safe-country agreement with the US.

The new rule also will apply to the initial asylum screening, known as a “credible fear” interview, at which migrants must prove they have credible fears of returning to their home country. It applies to migrants who are arriving to the US, not those who are already in the country.

The treaties that countries must have signed according to the new rule are the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. But, for example, while Australia, France and Brazil have signed those treaties, so have Afghanistan and Libya — places the US does not consider safe.

Along with the Administration’s recent effort to send asylum seekers back over the border, Trump has tried to deny asylum to anyone crossing the border illegally and restrict who can claim asylum, and the attorney general recently tried to keep thousands of asylum seekers detained while their cases play out.

Nearly all of those efforts have been blocked by courts.

Tens of thousands of Central American migrant families cross the border each month —many claiming asylum. During the budget year for 2009, there were 35,811 asylum claims and 8,384 were granted. During 2018 budget year, there were 162,060 claims filed and 13,168 were granted.

Immigration courts are backlogged by more than 800,000 cases, meaning many people won’t have their asylum claims heard for years despite more judges being hired.

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New World Bank envoy lauds Jamaica on economic performance

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WASHINGTON, DC, USA —Newly appointed World Bank representative for Jamaica and Guyana Ozan Sevimli has lauded Jamaica on its sterling economic performance, adding that “Jamaica is on the move”.

Paying a courtesy call on Jamaica’s Ambassador to the Unites States Audrey Marks, at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington, DC, last Thursday, he mentioned the work being undertaken in the areas of animation and entrepreneurship, which, he, noted would benefit the youth in particular.

Ambassador Marks congratulated Sevimli on his appointment and encouraged him to focus on two key areas which will drive growth and make a meaningful impact on the Jamaican economy and people.

She mentioned the Jamaica National Youth Corps (coordinated by the Jamaica Defence Force) and the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange as two areas which could benefit from support from the World Bank.

The Jamaican ambassador said she looked forward to working with the World Bank to continue the work on establishing a Diaspora bond.

 

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