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Govt concedes to public pressure: VAT on education removed

first_imgBudget 2018…pensioners get $500 increase…countrywide rates and taxes may increaseBy Samuel SukhnandanAfter months of public pressure from parents, civil society and the Opposition, Government has announced plans to remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) on private education, which will take effect from January 1, 2018.The announcement was made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, during his presentation of Budget 2018 in the National Assembly, who said the decision was based on representations made.Former Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnarine congradulates Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Budget 2018The concerns and protests against the 14 per cent imposition of VAT on private education tuition fees had prompted the Government to meet with parents and guardians in April.However, the decision was never withdrawn, and President David Granger later stated that the imposed VAT was a means by which Government widened its revenue and tax base.The President had explained that Government has to find $30 billion for education and these funds were sourced from taxation. But many persons had argued that it was unfair.Jordan said Government would lose $342 million now that the tax has been removed. “At the same time, efforts will continue by the GRA [Guyana Revenue Authority] to ensure these institutions become tax compliant,” he said.Meanwhile, the Finance Minister also announced that the tributors tax on gold miners has been slashed from 20 per cent to 10 per cent, and they would still be required to file annual tax returns.Jordan said this decision was made following representation by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association (GGDMA), who had also met with the Opposition to raise their concerns.“Both the GRA and the GGMC will intensify their efforts to bring operators in the industry within the tax net. Replacement of the current two per cent of the gross proceeds regime with a sliding scale percentage that is based on the price of gold,” the Minister explained, providing specific guidelines.Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had called on Government to reverse the tax measures implemented by the Government on the mining industry, dubbing the taxation policy “draconian”.Further, Government announced plans to conduct a countrywide valuation exercise to bring all property values up to date; as such, this could mean that rates and taxes may be increased.Minister Jordan told the National Assembly on Monday that the valuation was aimed at helping town councils get sufficient cash to deliver quality services.He noted that “outdated land values must be addressed” and that was one reason for Government allocating $2.9 billion towards helping to prepare for the next local polls due in December 2018.BenefitsDespite these new measures, Budget 2018 contained very few benefits, one being the increase of Old Age Pension from $19,000 to $19,500, a 2.6 per cent increase. Minister Jordan noted that this increase represented an almost 49 per cent rise in just two and a half years.The Minister also reminded that pensioners were relieved from the payment of departure tax, driver’s licence and passport fees. Additionally, he announced that public assistance would be increased to $8000, which represents an approximately 36 per cent increase over the period of two and a half years.Teachers who work in interior locations will also benefit from the new measures to be implemented for Budget 2018, and these include an 80 per cent increase in remote area incentives.The Finance Minister said this increase was aimed at cushioning the impact of the high cost of living in those regions. He noted that ensuring the availability of good teachers was vital for education advancement.In an effort to move and retain teachers in far-flung areas of Guyana, he said the remote area incentive would be increased from $5000 to $7000 and from $9000 to $12,000.AmnestyMeanwhile, companies and individuals will be granted amnesty to file outstanding tax returns in 2018. But Minister Jordan warned that if bogus returns were filed, individuals and companies would be penalised.“Taxpayers who expect to benefit from this amnesty must file true and correct returns. Those found to be in violation will be subject to an audit and the attendant penalties and interest will be applied,” he said.He said all corporate and individual taxpayers who have not yet filed true and correct tax returns and paid their taxes would have between January 1 and September 30, 2018 to do so.He explained that taxpayers who file and pay all principal taxes on or before June 30, 2018, would have all interest and penalties waived. Those, he said, who file and pay all principal taxes between July 1, 2018 and September 30, 2018 would get 50 per cent of interest and penalties waived.In relation to provisional licences, Jordan announced a temporary removal of the administrative procedure to be granted licences mainly for small businesses such as grocery shops and snackettes.“After careful consideration of the current requirements, I propose that a provisional licence be issued for a period not exceeding two years…” he said.The Finance Minister stressed that upon expiration of the provisional licence, no extension would be granted. This measure takes effect from January 1, 2018.last_img read more

Half-time: Reading 0 QPR 0

first_imgMichael Hector went closest to opening the scoring during the first half at the Madejski Stadium.Defender Hector, loaned back to Reading after being signed by Chelsea in September, headed narrowly wide after being found unmarked by Ollie Norwood’s superbly-delivered free-kick.Both sides struggled to create chances, although Junior Hoilett had an effort saved by Royals goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.Moments later, Reading’s Nick Blackman dragged a right-footed shot wide of the far post.Rangers again started without a recognised striker in the absence of Charlie Austin, who is on the substitutes’ bench.Fer returned to the starting line-up following a suspension.QPR: Green, Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Konchesky, Petrasso, Sandro, Faurlin, Phillips, Hoilett, Fer.Subs: Smithies, Angella, Chery, Henry, Luongo, Tozser, Austin.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Oldest Dinosaur Blood Reported

first_imgA thin section of the rib of the 195 million year old dinosaur Lufengosaurus, cut along the length of the rib showing a vascular canal with dark hematite particles. These were probably derived from the iron rich blood cells of the living dinosaur, and would have provided the internal environment for the preservation of collagen. Lacunae, where adult bone cells would reside, are also preserved with dark hematite particles inside them. Credit: Robert ReiszLacunae are channels in bone that carry blood vessels and nerves. What the caption calls lacunae appear in the photo to be intact osteocytes (bone cells), complete with delicate filopodia. The article claims original non-mineralized protein is present.They found evidence of collagen proteins within tiny canals in the rib and concluded they were “probably remnants of the blood vessels that supplied blood to the bone cells in the living dinosaur.“New techniques with synchrotron radiation-based nano-transmission X-ray microscopy (SR-TXM) used by the researchers primarily from Taiwan, with Robert Reisz from Canada, allowed intact imaging without damage. This no longer requires dissolving away the bone, like UNC researchers (Mary Schweitzer and team) had done earlier.Most previous studies had extracted organic remains by dissolving away other parts of the fossil, the team said.With the synchrotron method, this is not necessary, and even older remains may be uncovered without damaging dinosaur bones in future.The article repeats the common assumption that “finding fossilized soft tissue is very rare indeed.” But with the synchrotron method, perhaps scientists will begin seeing more of it, now that they know what to look for. The dinosaur is a Lufengosaurus, a type of long-necked sauropod first discovered in China. Here’s what the open-access paper in Nature Communications says:Various skeletal elements of the sauropodomorph dinosaur Lufengosaurus from the Lower Jurassic (Early Jurassic, Sinemurian, 190–197 Mya) of Dawa, Lufeng County, Yunnan Province, China, were studied in detail; however, surprisingly, it is the rib materials that produced the most significant results (Fig. 1a–m). Adult compact bone (including ribs) is composed of osteons with central vascular canals (Fig. 1b–h) that contain blood vessels and nerves in the living organism and lacunae, or spaces for the adult osteocytes (Fig. 1m).[After describing the imaging techniques, they report:] The results indicate that native collagen was preserved within the osteonal central vascular canals, together with haematite particles that were likely derived, at least in part, from haemoglobin of the dinosaur.Schweitzer’s team had also reported original collagen, but their dinosaur was dated at less than half the age: 80 million years instead of 195 million years. If Schweitzer’s date for preservation was incredible, how much more this far “older” specimen? (Click here for list of articles on Schweitzer’s soft-tissue research.)Update 1/31/17: Not many science sites have reported this stunning find yet, but the BBC News did. Reporter Helen Briggs offered some responses to this “‘startling’ dinosaur protein discovery.” Paleontologist Robert Reisz confirms that they found original material: “We are actually looking at the preservation of the original materials that were in the living organism rather than an impression of the soft tissues that were there.” Scottish dinosaur-hunter Stephen Brusatte was shocked:Stephen Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh, who is not connected with the research, said the discovery was “a jaw-dropper“.“To find proteins in a 195-million-year-old dinosaur fossil is a startling discovery,” he told BBC News.“It almost sounds too good to be true, but this team has used every method at their disposal to verify their discovery, and it seems to hold up.”He did not call into question the date, however, preferring to remain a moyboy and change his assumptions about how long soft material might survive.The paper in Nature Communications suggests the following explanation: “We propose that haematite cementation may have played an important role in the preservation of these organic remains, isolated within the vascular canals by haemoglobin-derived haematite aggregations.” This was the explanation first suggested by the Schweitzer team. Mark Armitage, though, who has done independent studies of intact soft tissue in dinosaur bone, does not accept the idea that iron from hemoglobin can preserve the delicate details he has seen with his electron microscope.Update 2/02/17: The press release from Reisz’s institution, the University of Toronto, includes a photo of the skeleton as found in the ground in China, and also another micrograph of the soft tissue.Think about this: if scientists were already astonished at preservation for 80 million Darwin years, how much more for 195 million? Did the 115-million-year difference even exist? Wouldn’t it be far more credible to think all these dinosaurs lived and perished around the same time?We can’t let the DOPE peddlers get away with revisionism. They’re going to try three main talking points: (1) Protein actually can survive hundreds of millions of years, and these bones prove it, because they are 195 million years old (proof by assertion). (2) Iron from blood preserves original protein. (3) Now that we have dinosaur protein, we can learn more about evolution; isn’t that wonderful?This is what they are already saying. It’s time to turn up the heat on these fake-science peddlers. We know that they were shocked with utter disbelief that any original tissue could last even one million years, let alone 80 or 195 million. It’s not possible. It’s time to wage war on the moyboy myth, armed with this powerful empirical evidence. Who has the science on their side now? (Visited 202 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Another research team finds dinosaur blood in a rib bone. This one breaks records for age, over double previous reports.A headline on Phys.org should be colored blood-red: “Dino rib yields evidence of oldest soft tissue remains.”The rib of a long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur that lived 195 million years ago has yielded what may be the oldest remains of soft tissue ever recovered, scientists said Tuesday.The first photo with the article appears to show spherical dark stains that could be the remains of blood cells and possible osteocytes:last_img read more

SA delegation attends Africa-Arab summit

first_img19 November 2013 Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane is leading a South African delegation at the third Africa-Arab summit which got under way in Kuwait City on Tuesday. Over 60 leaders are attending the two-day summit organised by the African Union Commission and the League of Arab States. Aiming at strengthening co-operation between the two regions, the summit will focus on trade and investment, infrastructure development, transport, energy, agriculture and food security, and private sector development and co-operation. Other issues on the agenda are increasing the role of women in development, migration, and the need for peace and stability in the two regions. International Relations spokesperson Clayson Monyela said on Monday that South Africa’s participation in the summit was aimed at strengthening the continent’s participation in global issues as an equal partner, as well as gaining support for Africa’s development priorities. “South Africa believes that the summit comes at an opportune time when the African continent is seized with redefining her destiny and role in the globalised world,” Monyela said in a statement. The leaders are taking a mid-term review on the joint action plan, which covers a five-year period from 2011 to 2016, adopted at the previous summit in 2010. The Kuwait Declaration will be adopted at the end of the summit. South Africa’s relationship with Arab states remains cordial, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates being the country’s biggest trading partners. South African companies such as Sasol and MTN have large investments in the Middle East, including in some countries belonging to the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). According to 2011 statistics, trade between the GCC and seven sub-Saharan African countries amounted to approximately US$16.7-billion. GCC-Africa two-way trade increased from about $2.7-billion in 1990 to about $6.8-billion in 2008. Accompanying Chabane at the summit are senior officials from the Department of International Relations and the Department of Trade and Industry. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Ancajas leaves for Texas fight vs Gonzales

first_imgFILE — Jerwin Ancajas. Photo by Mark GiongcoJerwin Ancajas will still train Thursday before taking the night flight bound for Los Angeles.“Time is of the essence,” Joven Jimenez, Ancajas’ trainer told the Inquirer Wednesday. “Jerwin is ready to rumble.”ADVERTISEMENT Bayron, three foreigners share Pradera lead “Hopefully, he’ll hit 118 before our departure,” added Jimenez. “We’ll only do light training in the United States, just to let the sweat out.”Though Ancajas (28-1-1 with 19 knockouts) is tagged the favorite against Gonzalez (21-1, 8 KOs), Jimenez said they’re not lowering their guards and have covered all bases to ensure victory.Finally able to secure tapes of Gonzalez’s fights, Jimenez said they know what to do on fight night.Ancajas hopes to impress in his American debut, also his first fight under Bob Arum’s Top Rank.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding LATEST STORIES NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Ancajas will dangle his International Boxing Federation junior bantamweight crown for the fourth time against Mexican Israel Gonzales on Feb. 3 at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.Jimenez said they will have light training, but no more sparring, in LA before leaving for Texas on Jan. 28.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Jerwin has sparred over 90 rounds and that’s enough,” added Jimenez, who supervised Ancajas’ training camp at their Survival Gym in Magallanes, Cavite.Even Ancajas’ weight is well under control, according to Jimenez, who bared that the 26-year-old pride of Panabo City checked in at 121 pounds after Wednesday’s training session. MOST READcenter_img 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting 2 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self PLAY LIST 03:122 dead in California school attack; gunman shoots self00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises View commentslast_img read more