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Canada freezes out foreign house ownership for two years

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Foreigners wishing to buy homes in Canada will have to wait for a while as the North American country has imposed a two-year ban on foreign property purchases in a bid to curb a market that has left home grown buyers in despair due to unfavourable competition.

The ban which also comes with other measures aimed at protecting homegrown business people, was announced on Monday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, highlighted the huge price increases across Canada’s real estate market where prices have soared by more than 50 per cent in the past two years.

In announcing the ban on foreign home buying and higher taxes for people who sell their homes within a year, the government said both measures, however, hold exceptions, including for permanent residents and foreign students.

According to a recent report in Bloomberg, “home prices in Canada have surged more than 50 per cent over the past two years and the housing market had a record monthly increase in February as buyers acted before rate increases by the Bank of Canada, taking the benchmark price of a home to the equivalent of US$693,000.”

What the ban means for would-be homeowners in Canada, especially migrants from Africa, is they would not be able to purchase houses in the next two years.

And even when the ban expires, owning a home will be more stringent as the country plans to do away with the practice of “blind bidding” where offers are kept secret when someone is selling a home, only for higher bids to spring up to knock out the smaller bids.

The secret bidding is being blamed for accelerating price gains with properties often selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price, leading to a bidding war often won by foreign investors.

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Musings From Abroad

Russia’s African influence grows as envoy claims 1,890 ‘instructors’ in Central African Republic

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The Russian ambassador to the Central African Republic, Alexander Bikantov has revealed that the country’s military presence in the insurgency-plagued African country.

Bikantov said in an interview published on Friday that 1,890 “Russian instructors” were present in the country. He mentioned that a focus of operations for the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenary outfit.

“Today, there are 1,890 Russian instructors in the C.A.R.. The government is interested in increasing their number. Relatively recently, Bangui sent the relevant application to the UN Security Council”. Bikantov was quoted by the state-owned news agency RIA.

Russia’s influence among African countries battling insurgency has been on the rise lately, with solidified ties with West African country, Mali and much more recently its neighbours Burkina Faso. Both countries, which are under military dictators have reportedly engaged Russian mercenaries – the Wagner Group in the bid to overcome the uprising in their territories.

There are however reports of likely cases of crimes against humility by the government of Mali in its fight against terrorism in connection with its engagement with the Wagner group.

Although it is mineral-rich, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world.

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Musings From Abroad

Israel, Sudan advance talks normalise relations

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Following a transfer of power from the military to a civilian government in Khartoum, Israel, and Sudan have finalized a deal to normalise relations.

The Israeli foreign ministry made the revelation on Thursday, noting that the deal was agreed upon during a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to “move forward towards normalising relations between the two countries.”

The visit is the first by an Israeli official acknowledged by Sudanese authorities, though there had been a series of exchanges by officials in recent years.

According to a statement by the Israeli foreign ministry, “… the visit, which was made with the consent of the United States, the parties finalised the text of the agreement.”

“The signing ceremony is expected to take place after the transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government that will be established as part of the ongoing transition process in the country,” it said.

“We definitely look forward to signing the agreement and then to having diplomatic representatives both in Israel and in Sudan,” Lior Haiat, spokesperson for the foreign ministry who took part in the delegation, Cohen told newsmen.

“We are (now) building a new reality with the Sudanese, in which the ‘Three No’s’ will become the ‘Three Yeses’,” he said. “Yes to negotiations between Israel and Sudan, yes to recognition of Israel, and yes to peace between the states and between the peoples.”

In January 2021 Sudan said its then-justice minister Nasredeen Abdulbari had signed the Abraham Accords during a visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

A joint statement issued by the governments of Israel, Sudan, and the United States said that “The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.”

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