Zimbabwe abductions: Dozens of protest leaders missing

Alaska GOP scraps 2020 presidential primary, helping Trump

The Alaska Republican Party has canceled holding a presidential primary in 2020.

In a statement Saturday, the party’s State Central Committee passed a rule saying a primary “would serve no useful purpose” because Republican Donald Trump is president.

Earlier this month, Republican leaders in Nevada, South Carolina and Kansas voted to scrap their presidential nominating contests in 2020, erecting more hurdles for the long-shot candidates challenging President Donald Trump.

Canceling primaries, caucuses and other voting is not unusual for the party of the White House incumbent seeking a second term. Doing so allows Trump to try to consolidate his support as Democrats work to winnow their large field of candidates.

Challengers have emerged to Trump, including former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, a former Illinois congressman. Others may join them.

Borrowing money to get life started hard for grads with debt

For many freshly minted college graduates, borrowing money can be a challenge right out of the gate.

The years after graduation are usually a time to pile on debt, whether for that new car, the mortgage for a first home, credit card purchases or any of the other accoutrements that come with starting out in life.

But a significant number of those getting out of college have a high level of student loan indebtedness that could negatively impact their chances of borrowing their way to owning life’s finer things.

A recent LendEDU survey of 10,000 student loan applicants across 300 college majors found that nearly 16% are projected to have a debt-to-income ratio of over 20% when they graduate in four years.

Having to pay more than 20 cents on each dollar earned is bad enough — especially when you consider the low salaries many recent graduates make — but adding debt for automobiles, shelter and credit cards, which will drastically increase the debt-to-income ratio, can make for an impossible situation.

The average student who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2018 wound up owing $28,565, according to LendEDU.

“If you’re making only $30,700 you really can’t make payments toward your student loan debt,” said LendEDU research analyst Mike Brown. “Lenders look at debt-to-income ratios and are probably not going to lend to you, or will do so at a higher interest rate,” he added.

“Younger Americans are not buying houses and not starting new families as a result of this,” he added.

What is this DMV mystery fee?

Dear John: I recently renewed my car registration online.

I received the renewal, which was for two years, and a listing of the charges. The annual fee for my car is $33.25, which came to $66.50 for the two years.

The total charges, which are listed as “additional fees and charges” without explanation were $136.50 — an extra $70 over the registration fee.

I went to the local DMV office to inquire about this. One worker said she didn’t know, and a supervisor said she wasn’t sure but it must be taxes. But she didn’t know what taxes.

I hope you can give me a better explanation for these extra fees. D.M.

Dear D.M.: First, there’s the fee for living in upstate New York rather than in the big city. And then there’s the fee because they knew you would ask about the extra fee. And there’s a tax because they knew you’d reach out to this column.

There’s also the convenience fee for doing it online, which is not refundable just because you had to go to the DMV to ask about the online fees.

Seriously, I reached out to the DMV in Albany and was told “the registration fee can vary based on the weight of the vehicle. We would need more information to be able to answer your reader’s question.”

In short, your vehicle is probably too fat. NYS is worried that it might ruin its fine roads.

Hope that helps. New York is really a “pay-it-and-shut-up” state.

India’s coal import declines about 4% to 19 million tonnes in July

Of the total coal imports in July 2019, non-coking coal shipment was at 12.66 MT, coking coal’s was at 4.17 MT, among others

India’s coal import declined by 3.7% to 18.93 million tonnes (MT) in July this year from 19.67 MT in the same month a year ago.

Of the total coal imports in July 2019, non-coking coal shipment was at 12.66 MT, coking coal’s was at 4.17 MT, among others, according to a provisional compilation by mjunction services, based on monitoring of vessels’ positions and data received from shipping companies.

“Against a modest increase in import in June, volumes during July dropped because of softer demand for power during monsoon with thermal power generation falling 7.2% during the month,” mjunction managing director and CEO Vinaya Varma said.

However, with a fall in coal stock at power stations during July and August, imports may firm up in coming days, Mr. Varma said.

During the April-July period of the ongoing fiscal, the import of thermal coal was up 13.4% to 60.97 MT, against 53.76 MT reported for the same period last fiscal.

For coking coal, the volume imported during April-July of FY’20 was 17.73 MT, slightly higher than 17.25 MT imported during the corresponding period last financial year.

A joint venture between Tata Steel and SAIL, mjunction is a B2B e-commerce company and also publishes research reports on coal and steel verticals.

Zimbabwe abductions: Dozens of protest leaders missing

Police and government fail to make arrests or provide explanation for abductions of protest organisers.

    In Zimbabwe, doctors say they will continue to take strike action, despite the kidnapping of their union leader. Peter Magombeyi, who disappeared during a pay strike last week, has been found alive.

    Obert Masaraure, who runs a teachers’ union, told Al Jazeera he was also abducted three months ago, taken to a secluded area and beaten, for organising a teachers’ strike over pay.

    Activists say dozens of protesters have been abducted since January.

    Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa reports from Harare.