RR Reading http://rrreading.com/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 18:08:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://rrreading.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/rrrreading-icon-70x70.png RR Reading http://rrreading.com/ 32 32 New year, new laws: 23 laws come into force on January 1 in Texas https://rrreading.com/new-year-new-laws-23-laws-come-into-force-on-january-1-in-texas/ Mon, 03 Jan 2022 17:33:35 +0000 https://rrreading.com/new-year-new-laws-23-laws-come-into-force-on-january-1-in-texas/

The Texas State Capitol in Austin

From chicken coops to police funding, 23 new laws came into effect in Texas on January 1. Some provide relief for disabled veterans and places of worship while others relate to the creation of municipal management districts.

Here is an overview of these new laws with information provided by the Texas Legislature:

HB 115

Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of certain property owned by a charity and used to provide housing and related services to certain homeless people.

HB 531

Relating to the notification requirements for rented accommodation located in a floodplain.

HB 1197

Relating to the period during which certain land belonging to a religious organization for the purpose of expanding a place of religious worship or building a new place of religious worship may be exempt from ad valorem taxation. This means that a parcel of land contiguous to a parcel of land in a church cannot be exempt for more than 10 years.

HB 1445

Relating to the applicability of sales and use tax to medical and dental billing services.

HB 1689

Relating to reinsurance credit governed by certain covered agreements and ceded to certain assuming insurers.

HB 2237

Relating to the privileges of the mechanic, the contractor or the materialist.

HB 2535

Relating to the valuation for ad valorem tax purposes of real estate that includes certain improvements used for the non-commercial production of food for personal consumption. By law, poultry houses and rabbit pens are excluded from the analysis of the property value of personal property.

HB 2730

Relating to the acquisition of real estate by an entity with eminent state authority and the regulation of easement or right of way agents.

HB 3131

Relating to the information to be included in the certificate of incorporation of a filing entity.

HB 3777

Relating to fees and expenses eligible for the purposes of the franchise tax credit for the certified rehabilitation of certified historic structures.

HB 3788

Related to the training and education of Assessment Review Board members.

HB 3961

Regarding the mandatory posting of information about the state long-term care ombudsperson’s office on the websites of certain long-term care facilities.

HB 3971

Relating to the assessment for ad valorem tax purposes of a residential building located in a designated historic district.

HB 4638

Relating to the creation of certain municipal management districts; give the power to issue bonds; give the power to impose contributions, fees and taxes.

SB 23

Relating to an election to approve a reduction or reallocation of funds or resources for certain county law enforcement agencies.

SB 41

Relating to the consolidation and distribution of State civil justice costs; the increase in certain civil justice costs; authorization fees.

SB 43

respecting residential mortgage lending, including the financing of residential real estate purchases by way of a global mortgage loan; provide licensing and registration requirements; authorizing an administrative penalty.

SB 794

Relating to eligibility for exemption from ad valorem taxation of residential property of a totally disabled veteran.

SB 855

Relating to the electronic dissemination of commercial recordings or audiovisual works.

SB 911

Related to the regulation of restaurants and third party food delivery services, including the issuance of certain alcoholic beverage certificates to restaurants.

SB 1280

Concerning certain provisions of the Securities Act for which a person offering or selling a security may be held liable to a person who purchases the security.

SB 1449

Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of income-producing tangible movable property of a value below a certain amount.

SB 1524

Relating to a pilot sales and use tax rebate program for certain people who employ apprentices.

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Unexplained silence over unexplained wealth – Hafiz Hassan | What you think https://rrreading.com/unexplained-silence-over-unexplained-wealth-hafiz-hassan-what-you-think/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 23:07:57 +0000 https://rrreading.com/unexplained-silence-over-unexplained-wealth-hafiz-hassan-what-you-think/

JANUARY 3 – Malaysia is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The UNCAC is an international instrument to combat the scourge of corruption at the global level.

The adoption of the UNCAC in 2003 sent a clear message that the international community was, and continues to be, committed to preventing and controlling corruption. He should warn the corrupt that betrayal of public trust will no longer be tolerated.

The UNCAC is the affirmation by the international community of the importance of fundamental values ​​such as honesty, respect for the rule of law, accountability and transparency to promote development and make the world a better place for all. .

A historic instrument, the UNCAC introduces a comprehensive set of standards, measures and rules that all countries can apply in order to strengthen their legal and regulatory regimes to fight corruption. It calls for preventive measures and the criminalization of the most widespread forms of corruption in the public and private sectors.

It also obliges member states to return assets obtained through corruption to the country from which they were stolen – a major international breakthrough as the UNCAC provides a framework for effective action and international cooperation.

In his foreword to the UNCAC, then Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote of the provisions it contained:

“These provisions – the first of their kind – introduce a new fundamental principle, as well as a framework for enhanced cooperation between states to prevent and detect corruption and to return the proceeds. Corrupt officials will find fewer ways to hide their illicit earnings in the future.

“This is a particularly important problem for many developing countries where corrupt senior officials have plundered national wealth and where new governments are in dire need of resources to rebuild and rehabilitate their societies. “

Regarding illicit earnings in particular, Article 20 states the following:

“Subject to its constitution and the basic principles of its legal system, each State Party shall consider adopting the legislative and other measures necessary to establish as a criminal offense, when committed intentionally, illicit enrichment, that is, that is, a significant increase in the assets of a public official that he cannot reasonably explain in relation to his legitimate income.

Although Article 20 above recommends that Member States criminalize illicit enrichment, some, including Malaysia, have not yet legislated specifically on the issue. And there is “no unanimously applied definition of illicit enrichment”, although the term there is defined in Article 20 as a “significant increase in the assets of a public official that he cannot reasonably explain. compared to his legitimate income. “

So, based on his research on laws around the world, Andrew Dornbierer offers the following definition:

“The act of illicit enrichment can be broadly defined as the enjoyment of an amount of wealth which is not justified by reference to lawful income.” (Dornbierer, A., 2021. Illicit Enrichment: A Guide to Laws Targeting Unexplained Wealth. Basel: Basel Institute on Governance.)

The expression “not justified by a reference to lawful income” refers to the absence of evidence demonstrating the legitimate or non-criminal sources from which the valued wealth derives (such as salaries, profits from legitimate businesses, retirement payments, inheritances, gifts or even bank loans).

Dornbierer offers a simple example:

If a person worked as a public assessor from 2010 to 2020 and earned a cumulative total salary of US $ 400,000 during that time, but instead had US $ 4,000,000 in their bank account at the end of this period, then if it is not possible for the individual to demonstrate that the additional $ 3,600,000 came from other legitimate sources of income existing during that period (such as a loan from a bank, income from a side business or receipt of an inheritance) then under an illicit enrichment law the court may presume that this unjustifiable increase in wealth does not come from lawful sources and will impose an appropriate sanction , even if no evidence of underlying or distinct criminal activity is presented in court.

Simply put, illicit enrichment is wealth that is not lawful income in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

In his book, Dornbierer appends a compilation of illicit enrichment legislation and other relevant legislation which he categorizes as:

  • Criminal laws on illicit enrichment
  • Qualified criminal laws on illicit enrichment
  • Civil Laws on Illicit Enrichment
  • Qualified laws on illicit civil enrichment
  • Administrative laws on illicit enrichment; Where
  • Other relevant laws
Illicit enrichment is wealth that is not lawful income in the absence of evidence to the contrary.  - Photo by Bernama
Illicit enrichment is wealth that is not lawful income in the absence of evidence to the contrary. – Photo by Bernama

As the above indicates, the book provides a comprehensive guide to illicit enrichment laws and their application to target unexplained wealth and recover the proceeds of corruption and other crimes. The book covers both criminal and civil laws around the world.

Malaysia’s only entry in the compilation of laws falls into the second category above. This is a qualified criminal law on illicit enrichment because it requires the state to provide a court with evidence of a “reasonable suspicion” or “reasonable belief” that some kind of criminality under investigation. -jacent or distinct has occurred.

The law can be found in section 36 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, 2009 which provides for the power to obtain information, based on an investigation by an official of the Commission. , indicating that a good is owned or acquired by any person. following or in connection with a breach of the Law.

In recent years, a concept has gained ground: unexplained wealth. It refers to valuable assets owned by government officials – or others in positions of power and influence – that are clearly out of step with their publicly declared income or known business interests. (See Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), “What is ‘unexplained wealth’?”)

At the heart of the concept is a very simple mathematical formula: Unexplained wealth = Total wealth minus legally acquired wealth.

Thus, a person whose total wealth is RM 5 million, and whose legally acquired wealth is RM 2 million, can be considered to have unexplained wealth of RM 3 million.

The concept is now a key part of the UK’s Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA) – dubbed the ‘McMafia’ laws after the BBC’s organized crime drama – which introduces new measures to help the forces of the United Kingdom. order to act on corrupt assets.

One of the measures is something called Unexplained Orders of Wealth (UWO).

UWOs give law enforcement authorities such as the National Crime Agency (NCA), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) the ability to seize assets suspected of coming from the proceeds. criminal activity.

A UWO requires the individual, rather than the executing authority, to prove how he or she has accumulated his or her wealth. He must produce evidence to verify the sources of the wealth, failing which the property may be recovered by civil forfeiture.

Orders freezing accounts or provisional (AFO / IFO) can also be taken and criminal penalties imposed. UWOs thus offer law enforcement authorities the ability to confiscate assets without ever having to prove that the assets were obtained through criminal activity.

According to Dornbierer, the two terms – illicit enrichment and unexplained wealth – are currently used interchangeably to refer to the exact same, or an incredibly similar set of circumstances.

Both are controversial legal concepts. Some see them as essential tools in the fight against corruption and other crimes and asset recovery while others see them as a violation of common legal principles. But they have both been effective in fighting corruption and collecting the proceeds of crime.

Dornbierer writes:

“[T]here there is no doubt that [the] laws have remarkable potential in the area of ​​asset recovery. Following the successful application of these types of laws in a number of jurisdictions, it is not surprising that an increasing number of countries are turning to these mechanisms to target corruption and crime in general, and to recover the proceeds. of crime.

Malaysia may not be one of this growing number of countries. But the government of Pakatan Harapan (PH) – to his credit – has considered introducing similar legislation to CFA with similar measures.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said measures such as UWOs would allow the government to seize “extraordinary assets” held by individuals, especially politicians.

“We want to get the government money back, which is why the Attorney General is studying this provision introduced in the UK,” he said during a 2019 budget dialogue session at the Equatorial Hotel.

Nonetheless, Malaysia should send a clear message that it is determined to require officials and individuals in positions of power and influence to ‘explain’ property belonging to them which is clearly out of step with their declared income. publicly or their activities known.

This by asking the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Tan Sri Azam Baki, to break his deafening silence over his alleged possession of millions of publicly traded shares.

It is an unexplained silence.

As Muhammad Mohan, President of Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) said, this will affect the perceptions the rest of the world has of Malaysia and the MACC. These, in turn, will potentially lower indices such as the Corruption Perceptions Index and the Global Corruption Barometer.

* This is the personal opinion of the author or post and does not necessarily represent the views of Malaysian courier.

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RCEP certificates issued to facilitate the flow of international trade https://rrreading.com/rcep-certificates-issued-to-facilitate-the-flow-of-international-trade/ Sun, 02 Jan 2022 11:49:08 +0000 https://rrreading.com/rcep-certificates-issued-to-facilitate-the-flow-of-international-trade/

The photo taken on January 1, 2022 shows containers being unloaded at the Port of Muara, Brunei’s largest deep-water port, in Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei. [Photo/Xinhua]

The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), China’s foreign trade and investment promotion agency, issued RCEP certificates of origin to 69 Chinese companies nationwide on January 1.

With the certificates, companies can benefit from preferential tariffs when exporting goods to RCEP member countries. The exports of these companies include mechanical and electrical products, textiles and chemicals. The value of these exports amounted to $ 12 million, and RCEP certificates of origin are expected to help reduce tariffs for affected Chinese companies by $ 180,000, the CCPIT said.

After the entry into force of the RCEP on January 1, more than 90% of trade in goods between member countries will ultimately benefit from zero customs duties. These include the immediate reduction of tariffs to zero and the gradual reduction of tariffs to zero over 10 years.

The measures indicate that member countries will keep their promises to liberalize trade in goods within a relatively short period of time, and this will contribute vigorously to strengthening regional economic integration in East Asia as well as fostering economic recovery and growth. in the post-pandemic era, the CCPIT said. .

Currently, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, New Zealand and Australia have adopted electrical issuance of RCEP Certificates of Origin.

For Chinese companies wishing to export products to these countries, certificates of origin will be issued entirely electronically, and CCPIT will provide online approval and printing services to companies.

For Chinese companies wishing to export products to Brunei, Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia, those countries temporarily do not accept electronic signatures and require manual signatures and stamps on certificates, the CCPIT said.

The CCPIT has issued certificates of origin for various trade agreements and preferential trade agreements. As of December 15, 2021, the CCPIT had issued 1.08 million certificates of origin for Chinese companies, and the number has increased 25.7% year-on-year.

On that date, the value of affected exports reached $ 63.42 billion, up 98.8% year-on-year, and the certificates helped reduce tariffs by at least $ 3.17 billion. for Chinese companies that export goods overseas, the CCPIT said.

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Real estate trends to watch in 2022 | Home & Garden https://rrreading.com/real-estate-trends-to-watch-in-2022-home-garden/ Sat, 01 Jan 2022 19:30:00 +0000 https://rrreading.com/real-estate-trends-to-watch-in-2022-home-garden/

To say that the real estate market has changed and evolved over the past year would be an understatement. In the past 365 days, home prices have skyrocketed. Homeowners’ home values ​​have been climbing higher and higher. Competition for housing has been extremely tough. Investors are taking over properties in all markets, large and small. Buyers who would normally be able to secure homes are valued left and right.

As 2021 draws to a close, the surge in home purchases fueled by the pandemic continues. Homes are still selling well above asking prices in most markets, despite the historically slow real estate season. Buyers are still struggling to find homes in most markets. Cash buying dominates. Most markets still face extremely low levels of housing inventories. And, home values ​​are still skyrocketing for those lucky homeowners who have successfully secured their properties.

With so many unusual trends in the housing market, it begs the question of what will happen with real estate in 2022. Will the markets continue to be on fire? Will the pandemic continue to fuel low interest rates? Perhaps more importantly, what can you expect from the dominant real estate trends over the next year and why?

To help answer these burning real estate questions, the rental platform with option to buy ZeroDown has compiled a list of 10 real estate trends to watch in 2022, using information from real estate agents, forecasting models, brokers and other real estate experts. Here’s what that information showed about the real estate trends for the next year.

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ECC authorizes grant of five essential items for one additional month – Journal https://rrreading.com/ecc-authorizes-grant-of-five-essential-items-for-one-additional-month-journal/ Sat, 01 Jan 2022 02:02:21 +0000 https://rrreading.com/ecc-authorizes-grant-of-five-essential-items-for-one-additional-month-journal/

ISLAMABAD: The cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Friday approved the continuation of untargeted subsidies on five essential food items at outlets in utility stores for just one month – January 2022.

The decision was taken at an ECC meeting chaired by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin.

December 31, 2021 was the deadline for the untargeted subsidy on wheat flour, sugar, vegetable ghee, pulses and rice effective July 1, 2021.

The ECC approved a proposal from the Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority (NAPHDA) for the revision of customer pricing and mark-up subsidy period under Level I of the government’s low-cost housing program. and the inclusion of housing finance companies in the housing finance program. The meeting ordered that there should be no direct involvement of commercial banks in NAPHDA projects.

The meeting approved a proposal from the State Bank of Pakistan on incentives for foreign exchange companies against remitting currencies to the interbank market.

ECC approved Rs 8 billion funds from the government for the Sialkot (Sambrial) -Kharian highway project under the Public Sector Development Program – Rs 4 billion as initial financing of the deficit of viability (VGF) and 4 billion rupees for the overhead costs of the project.

The ECC approved a summary from the Ministry of Industry regarding the gas rate for the operations of SNGPL-based factories – Fatima Fertilizer and Agritech – from October 2021 to January 2022, and to maintain the rate at Rs839 per unit ( million British thermal units).

The meeting approved the issuance of a government sovereign guarantee for the National Commission for Engineering and Science (NECOP) project valued at $ 5.822 million for Lot IV and $ 26.154 million. dollars for Lot V in favor of China Electronics Technology Group, Beijing, to repay the loan in seven years, including the two-year grace period.

ECC approved Energy Ministry summary for issuance of Rs 24.188 billion sovereign guarantee to Habib Metropolitan Bank Ltd and a syndicate of two banks led by United Bank Limited (UBL) for the remaining term of the loan and comfort letter to the lending banks for a new financing arrangement for the LNG-II pipeline infrastructure development project.

The ECC approved a summary submitted by the Ministry of Communication for an extension of the deadline for the National Highway Authority (NHA) to prepare a commercially viable business plan until June 2022 with the same conditions regarding the cash development loan than those decided by the federal cabinet.

The restructuring of the debt of the NHA will be linked to the outcome of the business plan. The ECC ordered the department to submit a regular monthly progress report and prepare the business plan well in advance of the deadline.

The aviation division submitted a summary of the financial challenges of the Roosevelt Hotel (RHC), New York, and PIA Investment Limited (PIA-IL) request for a renewal in principal amount of $ 142 million as well as mark-up payments by the National Bank of Pakistan. for a further period of two years ending on December 31, 2024.

The meeting was informed that PIA-IL is unable to pay the loan principal amount and mark-up payments on behalf of RHC due to its closure / suspension. The ECC discussed and approved the proposal with a directive for the aviation division to prepare a roadmap for a permanent solution to the problem.

The ECC approved, in principle, a summary from the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the overall transition of Libor to alternative benchmarks with a directive that benchmarks to be adopted in the future be submitted to the ECC for approval.

The meeting approved an additional technical grant (TSG) worth Rs 90 million (Chinese grant) for a 1.2 MGD reverse osmosis desalination plant in Gwadar. He also approved a TSG worth Rs 14.621m for the purchase of spare parts for the helicopter maintained by Sindh Rangers, and another TSG for the release of Rs431.880m of funds for the letter of implementation. Project work from Frontier Corps HQ (south), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dera Ismail Khan, funded by the Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Pakistan.

The ECC has approved a TSG worth Rs751.486m in favor of the Ministry of Energy (Power Division).

The meeting advised the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination to review its budget and the demand is expected to be met by reallocating funds in the budget for life-saving medicines for the Afghan people.

The ECC reviewed and approved a summary submitted by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs for granting flexibility to the 19 PNSC subsidiaries from the applicability of public sector companies (Corporate Governance Rules).

The ECC meeting was attended by Minister of National Food Security Fakhar Imam, Minister of Planning and Development Asad Umar, Minister of Industry Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister of Energy Hammad Azhar , Minister of Privatization Muhammedmian Soomro, Minister of Railways Azam Swati, Minister of Maritime Affairs. Ali Zaidi and the federal secretaries.

Posted in Dawn, January 1, 2022

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WORLD VISION: Further integration of CARICOM countries cannot wait https://rrreading.com/world-vision-further-integration-of-caricom-countries-cannot-wait/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 22:50:40 +0000 https://rrreading.com/world-vision-further-integration-of-caricom-countries-cannot-wait/

By SIR RONALD SANDERS

(The author is the Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United States and the OAS. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and at Massey College at the University. of Toronto, the opinions expressed are his own).

The tornado destruction of Kentucky, a state in the southeastern United States of America (United States), on December 12, has lessons for the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), at dawn 2022 amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and weakened economies.

One of the lessons is that those CARICOM member states that continue to insist that CARICOM remain “a community of sovereign states”, each pursuing distinct policies – sometimes to the detriment of one another – commit to the way of perdition, because the facts of their situation justify.

Many sovereign CARICOM states would not be solvent without the official development assistance they receive. Their sovereignty is limited by the extent of their financial and economic dependence, which they pay the price for. Curiously, some of them prefer to pay a price to outside powers, rather than pooling their individual sovereignty within a common autonomous authority with their CARICOM partners in order to build their strength and resilience.

Why should people in other American states, like Texas or New York, care about the devastation in Kentucky? After all, Kentucky representatives in the US Senate, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, fiercely resist the US federal government. They want to retain power in the governor and legislature of Kentucky, just as some governments in the CARICOM countries insist on their “sovereignty.”

Kentucky is a state within the Union of 50 states that make up the United States. If the U.S. federal government doesn’t use domestic resources to help Kentucky rebuild, the state will fall into unemployment, poverty, and crime. It would eventually become a failed state. People would flee to find livelihoods elsewhere, and investors would move their money to economies that work. The federal government couldn’t allow Kentucky to fail, not even with people like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul favoring state power over federal authority. If Kentucky were left on its own, it would become a weak link in the American chain, making the country vulnerable and exposing it to security threats.

The federal government has stepped up to provide immediate aid to Kentucky and to commit huge sums of money for its reconstruction and recovery, as the United States is one nation. It is not a group of sovereign states. If the United States were just a community of independent states, like the members of CARICOM, it would not be the greatest economic and military power in the world. Instead, 50 states would exist – some stronger and better endowed than others, but each of them much weaker individually than they are as a single nation, and certainly none of them. they are not a force in the world.

In shaping their independence, the original 13 countries (then the British colonies) debated a union with a strong federal government or a collection of independent and disparate states.

They opted for a strong federal government precisely because they recognized that only by joining their collective resources would they be strong enough to resist England, France, Spain and others. European powers which would have kept them dependent and enslaved.

From the very beginnings of CARICOM, governments, haunted by the collapse of the West Indies Federation caused by ambitious and manipulative local politicians determined to be big fish in small bowls have resisted the Union which would have reduced their vulnerabilities, strengthened their resilience and made them economically stronger.

What is striking about the years 2020 and 2021 is that the greatest success of the “sovereign” states of the Caribbean Community has come from joint institutions and collective action. No CARICOM country would have battled COVID-19 without the Caribbean Public Health Agency; none would have responded quickly enough to natural disasters without the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency; and none would have mobilized insurance relief without the Caribbean Disaster Risk Insurance Mechanism or the emergency resources of the Caribbean Development Bank.

As it stands, despite the help of regional agencies, almost all of them are now in debt and the recovery will be long and difficult, with the exception of Guyana with the addition of oil wealth and gas resources to its traditional resources of agriculture and precious metals.

Recently Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali, speaking to his country’s private sector, said that “regional integration and other ‘fantasies’ cannot be taken seriously until current (trade) barriers exist. are not deleted ”. He’s right about that. CARICOM claims to be a common market, but countries have erected trade barriers against themselves, while opening their markets to the European Union and the UK with little trade benefit in return. After nearly 50 years of existence, CARICOM is still not a common market and is far from a customs union. The much-vaunted “single market and economy” has become a fading aspiration.

But it is not only trade barriers that should be removed. CARICOM and its goals need to be reconsidered, reworked and reoriented. No one should be happy with their current condition; everything should be ready to rearrange it.

It is highly likely that CARICOM governments are still not ready for a more perfect union that could help isolate each CARICOM country from the serious challenges that lie ahead in 2022 and beyond.

However, if the past two decades have proven anything, it is that individual sovereignty is not the answer to economic progress or the resilience of CARICOM member states. Like Kentucky, they lack the financial capacity and resources for effective resilience.

In this regard, the CARICOM Treaty now needs to be revised. The mistakes of its last revision should not be repeated. Implementation mechanisms must be put in place to oversee the completion of a common market, including the free movement of all, just as there is the free movement of capital.

There should also be clear compensation mechanisms for states that dismantle protectionist policies. Countries that cannot adhere to these necessary actions should not delay the integration of others; they should opt out and consider joining later.

If CARICOM is to have meaning in the life of its member countries, further integration cannot wait.

Previous responses and comments: www.sirronaldsanders.com

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Bosnian regional government limits electricity price hike to 20% https://rrreading.com/bosnian-regional-government-limits-electricity-price-hike-to-20/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 14:09:00 +0000 https://rrreading.com/bosnian-regional-government-limits-electricity-price-hike-to-20/

SARAJEVO, Dec.31 (Reuters) – Lawmakers in the Autonomous Bosnian-Croat Federation on Thursday evening passed a bill limiting electricity price hikes to 20% after large companies threatened not to sign new contracts with the dominant electricity supplier EPBiH.

EPBiH has offered new electricity contracts to large steel and metallurgical companies that include price increases of 50 to 200%. Many companies, some of which are Bosnia’s biggest exporters, have said such an increase will shut down their operations.

Bosnia is the only country in the Balkans that exports electricity.

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In an emergency online session on Thursday, the Federation’s parliament amended an electricity law allowing the government to intervene to limit price increases to businesses by more than 20% from the previous year .

The government has said it will act urgently to make the legislation effective.

The EPBiH has warned it would suffer an estimated loss of 85 million Bosnian marks ($ 49.2 million) if the legislation is passed.

($ 1 = 1,726 Bosnian marka)

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Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Jan Harvey

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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MetroWest and Greater Milford housing market to remain challenging in 2022 https://rrreading.com/metrowest-and-greater-milford-housing-market-to-remain-challenging-in-2022/ Fri, 31 Dec 2021 04:34:33 +0000 https://rrreading.com/metrowest-and-greater-milford-housing-market-to-remain-challenging-in-2022/

While exorbitant prices and ruthless bidding wars kept thousands of potential buyers from landing a new home last year, experts say they may have a better chance in 2022.

But it is a big one maybe.

What has been a seller’s market will seep into 2022, as affordability will remain difficult with interest rates and prices continuing to rise, according to Realtor.com housing forecast for 2022. Despite this, the real estate listings website predicts strong growth in home sales over the coming year.

In several communities, sales were very strong in 2021. Until November 30, sales of single-family homes had increased by 14.9% in Framingham (from 545 in 2020 to 626 in 2021), from 20.6% in Marlborough (248-299) and 22.9% (271-333) in Franklin, according to The Warren Group, a Peabody-based real estate and banking data provider.

According to a survey of more than 20 U.S. economics and housing experts, Americans can expect house prices to appreciate slower, inflation to drop but interest rates to rise. 2022, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist and senior vice president of research for the National Association of Realtors.

Locally, the median price of a single-family home sold in Framingham in the first 11 months of 2021 was $ 563,250, up 14.9% from the median of $ 490,000 a year earlier, according to The Warren Group. Natick’s median sale price through November 30 was $ 736,500 (up 5.1%), Marlborough’s $ 480,000 (up 9.1%), Milford’s was $ 440,000. $ (up 10%) and Franklin’s of $ 589,900 (up 16.8%).