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Foreigners in Canada are suspended to buy houses for 2 years

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A ban on foreigners buying residential property in Canada took effect on Sunday, aiming to make more homes available to locals facing a housing crunch. Several exceptions in the act allow individuals such as refugees and permanent residents who are not citizens to buy homes.

In late December, Ottawa also clarified that the ban would apply only to city dwellings and not to recreational properties such as summer cottages.

The temporary two-year measure was proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the 2021 election campaign when soaring prices put home ownership beyond the reach of many Canadians.

“The desirability of Canadian homes is attracting profiteers, wealthy corporations, and foreign investors,” his Liberal Party said in its election plank at the time.

“This is leading to a real problem of underused and vacant housing, rampant speculation, and skyrocketing prices. Homes are for people, not investors.”

Following their 2021 election victory, the Liberals quietly introduced the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act.

Major markets such as Vancouver and Toronto have also introduced taxes on non-residents and empty homes.

Despite a recent heyday, the country’s real estate market has cooled for sellers as mortgage rates followed the Bank of Canada’s aggressive monetary policy in a bid to rein in inflation.

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, average home prices have fallen from a peak of more than Can$800,000 (US$590,000) at the start of 2022 to just over Can$630,000 (US$465,000) last month.

Many experts have also said the ban on foreign buyers — who accounted for less than five percent of home ownership in Canada, according to the national statistical agency — would not have the desired effect of making homes more affordable.

Rather they point to a need for more housing construction to meet demand.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation — the national housing agency — said in a June report that close to 19 million housing units will be needed by 2030.

That means 5.8 million new homes must be built, or 3.5 million more than are currently anticipated to be built to meet that demand, it said.

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Fire in Mangaf Workers’ Accommodation Claims 41 Lives

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A devastating fire broke out early Wednesday in a building housing workers in Mangaf, southern Kuwait, resulting in the deaths of at least 41 people, according to Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf Saud Al-Sabah.

During his visit to the site, Sheikh Fahad, who also oversees the interior and defense ministries, criticized real estate owners for their violations and greed, attributing these factors to the tragic incident.

“Unfortunately, the greed of real estate owners is what leads to these matters,” Sheikh Fahad stated.

The blaze was reported to authorities at 6:00 a.m. local time (0300 GMT), according to Major General Eid Rashed Hamad.

“The building was used to house a large number of workers. Dozens were rescued, but sadly, many succumbed to smoke inhalation,” a senior police commander informed state television.

He further emphasized the longstanding warnings against overcrowding in worker accommodations, though he did not specify the workers’ occupations or nationalities.

The fire has been contained, and authorities are currently investigating its cause, officials said.

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Baltimore shipping lane fully reopens after bridge collapse

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The Baltimore shipping lane blocked for more than two months after a cargo ship collided with a major bridge in
March, sending it crashing into the water, fully reopened on Monday, authorities said.

The US Army Corps of Engineers, along with Navy salvage divers, restored the channel to its original dimensions by removing about 50,000 tons of debris from the Patapsco River, a statement from the Key Bridge Response Unified Command said.

The riverbed was certified as safe for transit on Monday.

“We are proud of the unified efforts that fully reopened the Federal Channel to port operations,” said Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“The partnerships that endured through this response made this pivotal mission successful.”

On March 26, the Singapore-flagged M/V Dali lost power and plowed into a support column of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing it to collapse and killing six road workers who had been filling potholes overnight.

The 106,000-ton ship had been headed for Sri Lanka at the time of the accident.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is investigating the incident along with the FBI, has said the ship had two electricity blackouts in the moments before the disaster.

The Dali was refloated last month and towed back into port.

The port of Baltimore is one of America’s busiest ports and a key hub for the auto industry, handling almost 850,000 autos and light trucks last year — more than any other US port, according to state figures.

The full reopening of the shipping channel will allow for two-way traffic, Monday’s statement said.

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PM Sheikh Hasina and Modi Exchange Pleasantries at Swearing-In

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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, exchanged pleasantries following Modi’s swearing-in ceremony this evening.

Foreign leaders, including the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, took turns approaching the podium to congratulate Modi on taking his oath as the Indian Premier for a third consecutive term.

Clad in light purple, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stepped forward to greet Modi, who extended his hand to her. They exchanged a warm handshake and brief pleasantries, inquiring about each other’s well-being.

Modi then escorted Prime Minister Hasina to the banquet hall, guiding her to the dinner hosted by President Smt. Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Prime Minister Hasina, accompanied by her daughter Saima Wazed, entered the Rashtrapati Bhavan as the third foreign leader to attend the oath-taking ceremony.

Top leaders from Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Bhutan, Nepal, Mauritius, and Seychelles were also present at the swearing-in event, which saw a record attendance of over 8,000 dignitaries.

Prime Minister Hasina arrived in New Delhi on Saturday to participate in the ceremony. She is scheduled to depart for Dhaka tomorrow afternoon.

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