International: House votes to repeal Obamacare; now on to Senate

President Donald Trump scored his first big legislative victory on Thursday as the House of Representatives voted to replace Obamacare, in an important step towards achieving one of the Republican party’s top goals since Barack Obama passed his signature healthcare measure seven years ago.

House lawmakers voted 217-213 to pass the Republican healthcare measure. While the bill now moves to the GOP-controlled Senate where it faces obstacles, the vote is a victory for Mr Trump who had ended his first 100 days in office with no big legislation.

FATCA Bill passed in the Senate

The Tax Information Exchange (United States of America) Bill, 2016, also known as the FATCA (Foreign Account Taxpayer Compliance) Bill was passed last night in the Senate without a dissenting vote.

The vote was 29 in favour, none against and 1 abstention.

This follows the unanimous passage of the bill in the House of Representatives on February 23rd 2017, where all 39 MPs who were present on that day, voted in favour of the amended bill.

Imbert: Former Government hid $4.2 billion in losses by Petrotrin

Acting Minister of Energy, Finance Minister Colm Imbert has outlined the debts Petrotrin owes to the state.

The Minister told the Senate Tuesday morning that Petrotrin owes the state royalties amounting to $1.2 billion.

He added that Petrotrin owes the Board of Inland Revenue $1.78 billion.

He told the Senate that the Government only recently found out that the previous government had been hiding losses of $4.2 billion over 5 years.

Video clip below.

Persad-Bissessar challenges AG's "tactics" to allow marriage bill to pass with simple majority

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar is questioning the decision by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to omit the parts of the marriage legislation that needed a special majority, to ensure that it was passed in the Senate last night.

Persad-Bissessar says the AG appears to be legislating "by tactics" and is calling on him to state whether he had Cabinet's permission to do so.

The following is a statement issued by Persad-Bissessar today:

Marriage bill passed in Senate; UNC members abstain

The Senate has passed legislation raising the age of marriage in this country to 18.

The bill was passed after 10 pm Tuesday, with a simple majority.

All UNC members present in the Senate abstained.

Those included Wade Mark, Khadisha Ameen, Gerald Ramdeen and Wayne Sturge

Independent Senator Danayshar Mahabir also abstained.

The legislation, known as the Miscellaneous Provisions (Marriage) Bill was passed by a margin of 23 for, none against, five abstentions.

The legislation now moves to House of Representatives for debate.

Suspended Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff defends herself as impeachment trial begins

Suspended President Dilma Rousseff told the Senate on Monday the future of Brazil was at stake in her impeachment trial as her conservative opponents were using trumped-up charges to oust her and roll back the social advances of the past 13 years.

The leftist leader, appearing before the Senate to defend herself in a process expected to remove her from office this week, said Brazil's economic elite and political opposition had sought to destabilize her government since her 2014 re-election.

Gerald Hadeed replaces Vasant Bharath in the Senate

President Anthony Carmona, on the advice of Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has appointed former Tourism Minister Gerald Hadeed as a Senator to fill the void left by the resignation of Senator Vasant Bharath.

Bharath resigned as a senator on November 11th after declaring his intention to run for the post of political leader of the UNC, in the Internal Elections won by Kamla-Persad-Bissessar on Saturday.

Hadeed was sworn in following an announcement by Senate President Christine Kangaloo just before the Senate broke for lunch today.