New joint report finds high degree of support from First Nations to

first_imgVICTORIA, B.C. — A new report that was conducted by both the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and the First Nations LNG Alliance finds First Nations have a “high degree of support” for the development of an LNG export industry in B.C.The joint report from the First Nations NGO and the Ministry stems from regional engagement sessions that the two organizations hosted last fall. “In fact, many First Nations representatives raised the need to push the remaining projects over the finish line,” adds the report.“We’re releasing the report to show that there is strong and real First Nations support for LNG development in BC,” said Alliance CEO Karen Ogen-Toews. “That means, by definition, responsible development that balances economics and the environment, and respects First Nations rights and title.”According to the report, which was released earlier this week, the issue of poverty and the need for economic and employment opportunities for First Nations was raised on a consistent basis. It adds that many First Nations view LNG projects as an important opportunity to improve poor socio-economic conditions in their communities. “If LNG projects are done in a way that respects First Nation interests, they will be the most safe, environmentally rigorous, and human-rights-compliant projects in the world,” the report added.The report makes four key recommendations that should be implemented by the provincial government: developing an Indigenous labour market strategy to support LNG projects; supporting agreements and mitigate negative impacts of cancellations on First Nations; engaging First Nations on regulatory improvements; and partnering with First Nations during engagement with the LNG industry.“What we really need is for communication and dialogue to continue and to be strengthened,” said Ogen-Toews. “Too many people have been told that First Nations oppose LNG development. That’s not true. Others believe that LNG development is automatically a negative. That’s not true either. As the report points out, many First Nations see LNG projects as a source of jobs and training and careers, and a way to improve poor socio-economic conditions. We need all this, and the report includes important ideas on how to make it happen. The Alliance partnered with BC because we value engagement with and among First Nations on these issues. The report supports the further need for more discussion and engagement. LNG development is not going to happen on its own. It takes a co-operative partnership of industry and First Nations, and with support from government. The engagement sessions supported by the BC ministry have helped show how First Nations are on board with responsible development.The full report can be read below.last_img read more

Firefighters Ball raises over 65000

first_imgWinn added that the atmosphere was extra special this year, especially since the firefighters began their charitable society in 2016 to help residents with travel medical expenses. He added that the vast majority of the money raised will be staying in the local area. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The 10th Annual Fort St. John Firefighters Charity Ball brought in an estimated $65,000 after expenses on Saturday night.Firefighters Charitable Society President Adam Winn said that though the final exact tally isn’t in yet, but that at least $65,000 was raised for two causes at the event, after the ball grossed around $111,000. Winn said that the ball was raising money for the local firefighters charity that supports Fort St. John residents cover travel expenses for medical treatment outside the Peace Region. The ball also raised money for the Firefighters Burn Fund.Winn said that the he was stunned at the amount of money the sold-out event raised, especially considering that the local economy has not quite recovered to levels seen five years ago. For the tenth anniversary celebrations, Winn said that firefighters aimed to make the event more lively than in years past, with live music from CC Brooks and the Roadside Distraction and the Montney Coulees making live music a debut at the ball.last_img read more

FSJ city council approves grant to Peace Country River Rats

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John city council has approved a grant to the Peace Country River Rats to help host the 2019 World Jet Boat Race Championships.Peace Country River Rats had requested that the city funds the race with a $2,500 grant.Council has passed a motion to fund the full amount requested by the group. This funding will help alleviate the cost associated with the hosting of the race.The 2019 World Jet Boat Race will be coming to the Peace on July 10 to 21, 2019.last_img

Wild goat spotted by the Water Station

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – There has been a wild goat spotted travelling about the city of Fort St. John for approximately the past month according to Facebook posts.The goat was last seen close to the highway by the Water Station leaving Fort St John.BC Conservation Officer, Tristan Montjoy shares, to give the goat adequate space and not to approach the goat as it is a wild animal and could act out aggressively. Montjoy does not know why the wild goat is in the area. Motorists are being advised to travel with caution.last_img

To stop BJP minorities likely to go with TMC in Bengal

first_imgKolkata: Despite nursing a grudge against the state government for its alleged failure to curb communal riots, the minorities in Bengal are likely to vote for the TMC to stop BJP’s march, leaders said. A deciding factor in several Lok Sabha seats in the state, the minorities especially Muslims are likely to vote for the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) which they perceive as a “credible force” unlike the Congress-Communist Party of India (Marxist) alliance, they claimed. “Despite having anger against the state government over various issues including several riots that took place in the state, the minorities will vote for TMC in the state to ensure their safety and security,” Mohammed Kamruzzaman, General Secretary of All Bengal Minority Youth Federation told PTI. “In Bengal, TMC is the most credible force as it is in power, when it comes to fight against BJP,” he added. Kamruzzaman, whose organization has the biggest following among Muslim youths in the state, said that the Congress-CPI(M) seat sharing talks have evoked little hopes as credible alternative among the masses. The Imams of the city, who hold a sway over the large Muslim population here, felt that the minorities should vote for the strongest secular candidate. “We would appeal to the minorities to vote in favour of the strongest secular forces in their respective areas. Efforts should be made to ensure that only secular and democratic candidates win,” Qazi Fazlur Rahman, the Imam, who conducts prayers on Eid at Red Road every year, told PTI. The Red Road Eid prayers witnesses the biggest congregation of Muslims in the state. Rahman’s view was echoed by Shafique Qasmi, Imam of Nakhoda Masjid, the biggest mosque in the city, who stressed that the minorities must ensure that there was no division of their votes and only a secular and democratic force comes to power. The minorities, which comprise nearly 30 per cent of the electorate, are a deciding factor in nearly 16-18 Lok Sabha seats of the state. They are a vote bank that every political party has tried to woo. Parliamentary seats such as Raiganj, Coochbehar, Balurghat, Malda North, Malda South, Murshidabad in north Bengal and seats such as Diamond Harbour, Uluberia, Howrah, Birbhum, Kanthi, Tamluk, Joynagar in south Bengal have very high Muslim population. The TMC presently holds a great influence over the minority votes in the state but several riots that took place in the last four years have angered a section of the minorities. According to Union Home Ministry data released in 2018, communal violence increased sharply since 2015 in West Bengal. While the state recorded 27 incidents of communal violence in 2015, the number almost doubled by 2017 when 58 such incidents were recorded. The recent ones being the Basirshat riots in 2017 and Asansol riots in 2018. The TMC, however, blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for trying to flare up communal passions to serve its own political purpose and expressed confidence that it will repeat its 2014 feat with the help of minorities. “The minorities are very well aware of developmental work that the TMC government has done. Bengal is known for communal harmony but BJP is trying to disturb that for its own political gains,” TMC leader and minister Firhad Hakim said. According to TMC sources, minorities are likely to vote for the party to stop the march of the BJP. Since independence, the minorities in the state voted in favour of the Congress in order to keep outfits like the Hindu Mahasabha and Jan Sangh at bay. However, since the late sixties, they gradually started drifting towards the Left forces, which under the leadership of Jyoti Basu and Promode Dasgupta put up an alternative against the Congress rule in the state. After the CPI(M)-led Left Front came to power in 1977, through its iconic policies of ‘Operation Barga’ – giving land to landless farmers which benefited lakhs including Muslims – cemented its support base among the minorities. Riding on the support of minorities and rural Bengal, the Left Front in 1996 and 2004 had sent the largest bloc of 33 and 34 MPs, respectively, to the Lok Sabha. But things started falling apart for the Left Front after the Sachar Committee report in 2008 painted a dismal picture on the condition of minorities in the state. Adding to their woes was the anti-land acquisition movement in Nandigram and Singur that made the TMC, led by Mamata Banerjee, as the new “saviour” of minorities. Banerjee unseating the 34-year-old Left Front regime in the state but has been accused of appeasing minorities by the BJP-RSS, which emerged as the main opposition in West Bengal. “The policies of the state government were only aimed at protecting the interests of a specific community in the state. This has ignited anger among the majority community which feels only BJP can protect their interests,” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said. Senior CPI(M) leader and MP Mohammed Salim said the assertion by TMC that it is a saviour of the Muslims in the state has fallen flat in the last few years. While Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan said that minority voting pattern would depend a lot on the credibility of the CPI(M)-Congress alliance in the state. “If we are able to put up a credible alternative then we too will receive considerable minority votes. But if we fail to do so, TMC will take away the entire share,” the senior Congress leader said.last_img read more

Bypoll in Darjeeling assembly seat on May 19

first_imgKolkata: The by-poll to Darjeeling assembly constituency will be held on May 19 and its votes will be counted along with those of the Lok Sabha seat, the Election Commission said. The assembly seat fell vacant after the sitting MLA Amar Singh Rai of the Trinamool Congress resigned following his nomination by the party to contest from the Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency. Polling for the Darjeeling parliamentary constituency was held on April 18 in the second phase. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja The Election Commission on Friday night said the notification for the by-poll will be issued on April 22. The last day for filing nomination will be April 29 and the last date of withdrawal of candidatures will be April May 2. The by-poll to the assembly seat in north Bengal will be held on May 19 when the last phase of Lok Sabha elections will be conducted in the southern part of the state. “After taking into consideration various factors like, festival, electoral rolls, etc., the Commission has decided to hold the by-election to fill this vacancy,” the EC said in a statement. EVMs and VVPATs will be used in the by-poll in Darjeeling.last_img read more

5th accused in Alwar gangrape case arrested from Mathura

first_imgJaipur: The fifth accused in the Alwar gangrape case has been arrested from Mathura, police said on Thursday, even as opposition parties held protests against the Rajasthan government for allegedly covering up the matter due to the ongoing Lok Sabha polls.A judicial magistrate recorded the victim’s statement on Thursday under CrPc section 164, DSP (Alwar Rural) Jagmohan Sharma said. The accused, Hansraj Gurjar, was arrested Wednesday night, while search for the prime accused, Chhote Lal Gurjar, is still on, the DSP said. Four other accused –Indra Raj Gurjar, Ashok Gurjar, Mahesh Gurjar and Mukesh Gurjar — have been arrested so far, the police officer said. The gangrape evoked sharp criticism from all sections of the society, with political parties protests holding protests in various parts of the state, including Ajmer, Alwar, Swai Madhopur and Churu. They cornered the Rajasthan government for allegedly covering up the matter due to Lok Sabha elections in the state. BJP leaders said went to the Collectorate Circle Thursday to present a memorandum to the district collector, but he was not available. Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Rajasthan government and the state DGP in connection with the alleged rape of a Dalit woman by five men in front of her husband in Alwar. “The NHRC has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that a Dalit woman was allegedly raped by five men after tying up her husband in Thanagaji area of Alwar district in Rajasthan on April 26. Reportedly, despite having registered an FIR in the matter, police did not take any action for four days because of elections on May 6,” the rights panel said in a statement on Wednesday.last_img read more

India and France hold biggest naval exercises

first_imgOn Board French Aircraft: With the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle at the centre, France and India on Friday stepped up their biggest naval exercises as the Indian Ocean’s strategic shipping lanes draw ever more envious eyes.Without naming the Asian giant, India and France worry about China’s growing economic clout and its territorial claims that have caused tensions in the South China Sea. “We think we can bring more stability to a region that is strategic, that has huge stakes, notably for international trade,” said Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas, who commands the French fleet that includes its only aircraft carrier. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe vast majority of trade between Asia and Europe and the Middle East — particularly oil — is carried across the ocean, while internet-communications cables straddle the seabed that is rich with its own oil and gas fields. The 42,000 tonne Charles de Gaulle is one of 12 warships and submarines — six from each country — taking part in the 17th annual exercises off the coast of the Indian resort state of Goa. French authorities say they are the biggest ever since the exercises started in 2001. And the presence of the aircraft carrier, which has just undergone an 18-month refit, is no accident. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadRow after row of Rafale fighter jets were launched to deafening roars off the carrier’s 261 metre (860 feet) runway. India’s traditional dominance in the Indian Ocean faces a growing Chinese shadow with the deployment of warships and submarines along shipping lanes and the construction of a giant network of commercial infrastructure through its Belt and Road initiative, which India strongly opposes. “China is not an aggressive country” in the Indian Ocean, said Rear Admiral Didier Maleterre, the head of French maritime forces in the region. “What you see in the sea around China, the reclamation of land on islands in the Spratleys or Paracels, you do not see that in the Indian Ocean,” he said. The top officer said President Xi Xinping’s building of new Silk Road trade routes, which includes the Indian Ocean, “is a strategy being put in place that is mainly economic, with perhaps a dual purpose.” Malterre did not specify what other purpose, but added that there are “scenarios” in the next 10 to 15 years, “certainly not as big as in the sea off China, but that clearly could lead to tensions.” France annoyed China last month by sending a warship into the Taiwan Straits. The ship was intercepted by the Chinese navy and Beijing made an official protest, while France insisted it was exercising “freedom of navigation”. French diplomats insist there is no link between that incident and the Indian Ocean exercises. The links between India and France “are certainly not a partnership aimed against any country in the region or any power in the world,” said Alexandre Ziegler, French ambassador to India. The Charles de Gaulle is being used again as a projection of French power however. In March, it took part in international operations in the Mediterranean against the Islamic State group. From these exercises, the carrier is to go on to Singapore.last_img read more

Learned a lot in IPL says Englands Jonny Bairstow

first_imgBristol: Wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, who scored a brilliant century in the third ODI which England won against Pakistan, said he benefited a lot from his experiences in the just concluded edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Bairstow was in brutal mode on Tuesday, smacking 128 runs of just 93 balls as England chased down a challenging 359-run target with more than five overs to spare at the County Cricket Ground. His innings was studded with eight fours and four sixes. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju He had a tremendous debut IPL season as he scored 445 runs in the 10 matches he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). “I loved it there (IPL) and learned different things from different coaches and players (including teammate David Warner),” cricket.com.au quoted him as saying after the match. “It’s just little things like game plans. He (Warner) hits in completely different areas… I guess it is method more than anything else,” he added. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters He also explained that the secret behind his piling huge runs in the recent times was playing “strong shots”. “It’s not like we are slogging and playing ramp shots but genuine cricket shots,” he said. England skipper Eoin Morgan also praised Bairstow, saying he alongside Jason Roy (76), set the platform for the team to register their second highest chase in ODIs. Put in to bat, Pakistan rode on a brilliant 151 from opener Imam-ul-Haq as they posted 358/9 in their stipulated quota of 50 overs. “I’m extremely proud. I thought the guys came out and played in the manner that we have done for some time now,” said Morgan. “We thought 358 was pretty on par at this ground and we felt it was a really good batting wicket. “The two boys up front (Roy and Bairstow) were absolutely outstanding and set the platform for the way we wanted to go about the chase,” he added.last_img read more

Economist Piketty to study Kerala model of growth

first_imgThiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said a nodal officer would be appointed to help eminent economist Thomas Piketty to study the state’s model of growth. Vijayan said this after returning from a tour to Europe, where he had a detailed discussion with Piketty. “On my visit to the Paris School of Economics, I had a discussion with Piketty and he mentioned a detailed study of India’s economic situation was not possible as the government was unwilling to share the country’s economic data,” said the Chief Minister. According to Vijayan, Piketty was keen to study the Kerala model of growth if the government shared the state’s economic data. “Since he said that, we have decided to appoint a nodal officer for it,” said Vijayan. “The French economist also expressed wish to visit Kerala and interact with economists and universities here. We have extended an invite to him,” Vijayan said.last_img read more

Morocco Moves up Six Positions in FIFA Ranking

Zurich  –Morocco’s football team moved up six positions in the FIFA world ranking to stand at the 82nd rank. Germany, the World Cup champions, stayed ahead of Argentina, Colombia, Belgium and the Netherlands in an unchanged top five.FIFA top 10: 1. Germany (1725 points).2. Argentina (1538 points)3. Colombia (1450 points)4. Belgium (1417 points)5. Netherlands (1374 points)6. Brazil (1316 points)7. Portugal (1160 points)8 . France (1160 points)9. Spain (1142 points)10. Uruguay (1135 points)

Moroccans in Peru Denounce Ban Kimoons Biased Statements Against Morocco

Lima  –  Members of the Association of Moroccan expatriates living in Peru have denounced biased statements of UNSG Ban Ki Moon on the Sahara.In a statement to MAP, the association expressed its refusal of Ban’s statements and actions during his recent visit to the region, deeming that the UNSG should abide by the principles of neutrality and integrity.While reiterating their unwavering attachment to the Moroccan identity of the Sahara and to the Kingdom’s territorial integrity, the members of the Moroccan community in Peru called on the UN to work in a constructive way and respect the sovereignty of its member states, while avoiding negative actions that could threaten the region’s security and stability. The foreign ministry had underlined, on Tuesday, that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statements are more than a mere Misunderstanding and cannot be justified nor obliterated, reiterating Morocco’s willingness to engage in responsible and constructive dialogue about the crisis provoked by these statements.With MAP read more

Marrakech to Host 3rd Oasis Festival

By Safaa KasraouiRabat -The Red City’s Oasis Festival for electro and house music will be back for a 3rd edition September 15 to 17.The event aims to bring together international and national underground electronic talents to celebrate their art. The three-day event will provide attendees with the opportunity to meet up with notable figures of this genre of art.For the first time since its inception, the festival will feature a pre-party, where Moroccan DJ Amine K and Label Player Karmon will perform their music.Kenny Glasgow will also perform with My Favorite Robot during the opening ceremony of the event.German DJ Dettmann will kick off the three-day festival along with the Canadian producer and DJ Richie Hawtin.The second day of the event will feature American DJ Maceo Plex.Nicolas Jaars will perform a line alongside Moodymann during the last day of the festival.Berlin-based, DJ and producer Anja Schneider, Henrik Schwarz, Matthias Meyer, Daniel Avery, Naumel Henrik will also perform their music at the 3rd edition of Oasis Festival.Festival goers will also have the opportunity to enjoy some of the rising names of Moroccan techno and house, such as Mar1, Jazza, and Unes.Away from music, the event will include other several activities, such as yoga classes, live painting, massage sessions, and a spa and swimming pool. read more

Marrakech to Host 15th Annual Officine Expo

Rabat – Marrakech will host the 15th edition of the pharmaceutical fair, Officine Expo, which kicks off February 23.The two-day event, which will take place under the patronage of King Mohammed VI, will gather together more than 4,500 pharmacists, including some 520 from countries around the world.The exhibition is a “true point of reference for South-Mediterranean and African pharmacy,” according to a statement by Officine Expo.The event will be marked by more than 40 roundtables, conferences, workshops, scientific and managerial training sessions.The exhibition, according to the statement, offers the opportunity for “a real rapprochement” between pharmacists, health product suppliers, hygiene specialists and dermo-cosmetology specialists. Countries that will take part in the event include Ivory Coast, France, Benin, Canada, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Algeria, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo, Tunisia, among others. An official delegation representing several Moroccan ministries will also attend.MAP added that the Moroccan pharmaceutical industry is ranked second on the continent. For more than five years, Officine Expo has been involved in an approach that focuses on advancing Africa’s pharmaceutical and beauty healthcare industries.This commitment, according to MAP, is strengthened through the creation of Meeting Pharma Africa, a “true pharmaceutical hub in Africa.” The hub offers a marketplace for the development of B2B, training and expertise in industrial pharmacy. read more

Casablanca Beaches are Now At Public Companies Hands

Rabat – The Casablanca City Council signed four conventions with a public company for environment and beach management to organize beach entertainment programs starting this summer.Starting in May, Casablanca beach-goers will no longer have to worry about paying exorbitant prices to rent an umbrella, table, or chairs, as the Casablanca City Council has decided to bring the beaches, which are overseen by private companies, under public management.The poor conditions caused by mismanagement at the Lalla Meriem, Ain Diab, and Ain Sebaa beaches of Casablanca have caused the City Council to sign a three-year agreement to transfer management to public organizations dedicated to protecting the environment, reported Assabah on Friday. In addition to setting prices higher than necessary, the same source adds that the private management companies did not comply with the government’s decision to divide public space, allotting 30 percent to business owners, while leaving the remaining 70 percent for citizens. read more

Does Hajj Money Directly Fund War in Yemen

By Anna SchaefferRabat – The Union of Tunisian Imams have implored their Grand Mufti to issue a fatwa, or religious edict, to discourage Muslims from participating in the Hajj this year in response to violence perpetrated by Saudi Arabia in Yemen. The ever-rising cost of the pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site contributes to the massive riches of the Saudi government, whose usage of that money to fund wars, even massacres, in other Muslim nations goes directly against what numerous outspoken Muslim leaders consider ethical. General-Secretary of the Union of Tunisian Imams Fadhel Ashour said it would be better “to spend this money to improve the conditions of the Tunisian people.” Instead, he said, “It is used to kill and displace people, as is the case currently in Yemen.”The three-year Saudi military campaign “to restore legitimacy in Yemen” has killed more than 14,000 men, women, and children. Millions on the verge of starvation and thousands dead from record-high cholera outbreaks pushed the UN to call the “Yemeni genocide” the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Rather than use Hajj profits to benefit poorer surrounding nations, Saudi Arabia continues to fund the war in Yemen as well as the deadly crisis in Syria. How much profit does Hajj yield?The Qur’an states that practicing Muslims who are able should observe Hajj pilgrimage, the fifth pillar of Islam, at least once during their life; because of the steep costs resulting from both travel and imposed taxes, the trip requires extensive saving for a great number of the millions of believers who travel to the holy site.Al Arabiya reported in 2014 that the average cost for a worshiper from an outside country is approximately USD 5,000. The cost for Tunisians, whose imams have called for abstaining from the 2018 Hajj, is over USD 4,500.According to figures by Al Jazeera, it costs the average person from Malaysia half a year’s salary to complete the Hajj. For someone from Bangladesh, the Hajj costs more than three years’ earnings.Regardless of what nation a pilgrim hails from, their minimum Hajj cost begins at USD 2,000; often, the pricetag soars higher than USD 14,000 for one person. Recently increased taxes add to the head-reeling sum of money—estimated to exceed USD 150 billion per year by 2022—swallowed directly from Hajj profits by Saudi Arabia.Should believers boycott the pilgrimage?Because a considerable share of the fortune contributes to Saudi conflict or weapon acquisition, Muslims worldwide question whether boycotting the Hajj is the best course of action. A developing perception in Muslim nations considers Saudi Arabia’s actions as exploitative, utilizing the holy site to punish its opponents or advance its political ends. One Twitter user encouraged other Muslim countries to follow in the footsteps of the Tunisian imams. He cited “increase of Hajj costs, paying Hajj revenues to the US, using revenues to kill Muslims as in Yemen, [and] Al Saud [House of Saud] role in helping the Israeli occupation” as reasons to take “a strict position and boycott Hajj for this year.”Journalist Kamel Abderrahmani said the pilgrimage has evolved into “one of Saudi Arabia’s commercial pillars.” “In other words, the Saudi God is a business and worship at the same time,” he wrote.Abderrahmani urged all Muslim nations to boycott the Hajj and use the money instead to “build hospitals, schools and universities to protect our children from ignorance and an archaic conception of life and religion.”In contrast to the cries for an anti-Hajj edict in Tunisia, the Tunisian political party Ennahda Movement warned of the potential for a strained Tunisia-Saudi Arabia relationship. “These are isolated and ideological calls that only serve personal purposes,” said an Ennahda statement. Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs Ahmed Adhoum announced 236,000 Hajj applications for 2018 alone. The number of pilgrims whose applications will be accepted by lottery has risen from 10,374 in 2017 to a current count of 10,892. If the Grand Mufti of the Republic in Tunisia issues a fatwa against the pilgrimage, profits made by Saudi Arabia could decrease by more than USD 50 million. read more

Gabonese President Ali Bongo Returns to Morocco for Treatment

Rabat – Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba is back in Morocco to continue his recovery after spending only one day in his country.Anadolu Agency quoted presidential sources who said that Bongo is back in Morocco for medical treatment.Bongo left Morocco for Gabon on Monday. During his visit, Bongo chaired a ceremony of the new government’s swearing-in. On January 13, Bongo, acting from Rabat, appointed Julien Nkoghe Bekale as prime minister. Read Also: Gabonese President Ali Bongo to Address Gabon from RabatBongo’s trip to Gabon followed a failed a coup attempt. On January 7, a group of soldiers seized a state broadcaster and announced their plans against Ondimba.Law enforcement intervened and two rebels were killed while the military retook the national radio office.Ondimba arrived in Morocco first in November 2018 at the invitation of King Mohammed VI after he suffered a stroke in October in Saudi Arabia. read more

US to host Chinese trade delegation starting April 3

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The White House says the U.S. will host a delegation from China led by Vice Premier Liu He for meetings beginning April 3.White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also said Saturday that President Donald Trump is sending U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to Beijing next week to continue trade negotiations with China. They will be joined by deputy U.S. Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish and other senior Trump administration officials.China’s commerce ministry has said Lighthizer and Mnuchin will be in China on Thursday and Friday for the eighth round of trade negotiations.The trade dispute began last year after the U.S. made several complaints, including that China was stealing U.S. trade secrets and was forcing companies to give them technology to access its market.The Associated Press read more

Imlil Murders Sale Court of Appeal Postpones Suspects Hearing to September

Rabat – Sale’s Appeals Court has postponed the appeal process of the 24 suspects involved in the killing of two Scandinavian tourists in the Atlas Mountains. The process due to begin today, August 28 will now take place on September 11.Danish Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, and Norwegian victim Maren Ueland, 28,were beheaded in December 2018  when they were bivouacking at mount Toubkal in the Imlil region, 80 kilometers from Marrakech.On July 18, the same court sentenced the three main perpetrators of the heinous crime to the death penalty. Abdessamad El Joud, a 25-year-old street vendor confessed having to beheaded one of the victims with Younes Ouziad, a 27-year-old carpenter who killed the other girl, while Rachid Afatii, 33, was filming the scene.A fourth individual, Abderrahim Khayali, who was filmed with the three main suspects pledging allegiance ISIS was sentenced to life imprisonment. The video was recorded three weeks before the crime.While the defense lawyers are asking for light sentences for the perpetrators, civil party lawyers are asking for confirmation of the preliminary verdicts.Hafida Mkasaoui, one of the defense lawyers, told Morocco World News on August 28 that the families of the victims appealed the court’s decision on compensation.The court ruled on July 18 that  the claim for compensation from the state for the families of the victims is inadmissible. The court, however, asked for the four main defendants to pay MAD 2 million to the families jointly.Maksaoui said that the appeal request will revive the case.. “As a defense team we also requested an appeal,” Maksaoui said.The defense team are asking for lighter sentences for the suspects. Asked whether they think the court will accept their request, Maksaoui said that it is a “possibility.” read more

Plight of refugees crossing Gulf of Aden draws call to action from

10 July 2007The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) has used a halt in the annual flow of Somali boatpeople travelling across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen to draw attention to their plight and call for more action to help those who endure such harsh journeys. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) has used a halt in the annual flow of Somali boatpeople travelling across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen to draw attention to their plight and call for more action to help those who endure such harsh journeys.UNHCR Jennifer Pagonis told reporters today in Geneva that the flow across the Gulf of Aden “to seek safety or a better life has temporarily halted because seas are too rough to make the crossing in July and August.”Still, each year between September and the following June, “irregular travel to Yemen has also become increasingly difficult as a result of increased crackdowns on smugglers in Somalia’s Bosaso region and heightened security patrols along the Yemen coastline,” she said.For those refugees who do secure a trip, the risks of death or sickness have increased. Because of a need to find new routes, trips are more indirect and take around three days rather than the regular two.The treatment of the refugees by smugglers who have managed to remain active despite the crackdown is increasingly horrendous, Ms. Pagonis noted. After paying $50, many refugees are forced to disembark while still in deep water, where most are then beaten with clubs, drown or are attacked by sharks.The solution lies not only in cracking down on smugglers, but on tackling the root causes of persecution, poverty and conflict that drive so many people to leave their homes and risk such perilous sea journeys, Ms. Pagonis said.Countries receiving migrants should have more help in managing the inflows so that people who need protection can get it and those who do not can return home safely.She stressed that anyone in distress at sea should be rescued, allowed to disembark and given access to proper screening procedures upon arrival.For the first six months of this year, UNHCR has recorded the arrival of 77 smuggling boats carrying more than 8,600 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, mainly Somalis and Ethiopians, across the Gulf of Aden.Although these figures are below those equivalent statistics from the first half of 2006, when over 11,700 people made the journey, the trip has become more deadly: at least 367 people have been killed so far this year, compared to 266 for the same period last year.Ms. Pagonis added that while smuggling in the Gulf of Aden has come to a temporary seasonal halt, it has started again in the Mediterranean Sea.“UNHCR has repeatedly expressed its concerns about the situation in the Gulf of Aden, the Mediterranean and other waters, as some of those who risk their lives making such crossing are refugees and asylum seekers,” she said. The number of irregular arrivals into Italy fell by 31 per cent compared to the first six months of last year, but in June alone 200 people were reported dead or missing reported in the Strait of Sicily.Last year UNHCR presented a Ten-Point Plan of Action on Refugee Protection and Mixed Migration that sets out a number of measures to assist States in dealing with the issue. read more