Peace Island likely to reopen later this week

first_imgTAYLOR, B.C. – Officials with the District of Taylor say that Peace Island will likely be reopening later this week after heavy rains caused groundskeepers at Peace Island Park to close the island as a precautionary measure.The District’s Finance Director Mike McPhail said that groundskeepers evacuated campers that were camping on the island at Peace Island Park on Friday due to concerns that rising water levels could leave the campers stranded on the island.McPhail explained that in the end, no one ended up getting stuck on the island, which remains closed until water levels in the Peace River begin to drop after last weekend’s low pressure system dropped anywhere from 60 to 140 mm of rain onto the Peace Region. McPhail said that officials will likely be reopening the island at the Park sometime later this week.last_img read more

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PSAC lowers its 2019 Oilfield Services Activity Forecast

first_imgOn a provincial basis for 2019, PSAC now estimates 2,685 wells to be drilled in Alberta, down from 3,532 wells in the original forecast.B.C.’s well count is expected to be slightly lower from 382 wells to 375 wells.Also for 2019, PSAC is forecasting activity beyond drilling to include maintenance and repair work and site closure activity to cover a broader spectrum of activity that is undertaken by the sector.The Petroleum Services Association of Canada is the national trade association representing the service, supply and manufacturing sectors within the upstream petroleum industry. CALGARY, A.B. – The Petroleum Services Association of Canada has provided a midyear update on its 2019 Canadian Oilfield Services Activity Forecast.PSAC’s forecast for the number of wells drilled in 2019 across Canada is 5,300, which is a drop of 1,300 or 20 percent from the original Forecast of 6,600 in November 2018.According to PSAC, they have based its updated forecast on the average prices natural gas, crude oil, and a U.S.-Canada exchange rate averaging $0.75.last_img read more

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Jaipur man arrested for FB post seeking contract to kill Modi

first_imgJaipur: A 31-year-old man was arrested under sedition charges here on Thursday for uploading a post on social media seeking a contract to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “We had received a complaint about the objectionable social media post on police control room, following which the accused was traced and arrested with the help of cyber cell,” said DCP East Rahul Jain. The accused Naveen Kumar Yadav, a resident of Rewari in Haryana presently living in Triveni Nagar here, had demanded a contract to kill the prime minister, saying he had a full-proof plan. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”Is there anyone who can give me a contract to murder Modi? I have a foolproof plan,” Yadav’s March 26 post read on Facebook. The DCP said the accused during interrogation accepted that he had posted the message on his Facebook wall and also withdrew it after several people raised objection to it. The accused revealed he was unhappy with the work done by the prime minister and the central government and has ideological differences with the PM, the officer said. Bajaj Nagar Police Station In-charge Manvendra Singh said Yadav had previously posted negative content against the PM and the Union government.last_img read more

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Justice Nandrajog sworn in as Chief Justice of Bombay HC

first_imgMumbai: Justice Pradeep Nandrajog was on Sunday sworn in as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.He was earlier Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court. He now succeeds Justice Naresh Patil, who retired as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court on Saturday. Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao administered the oath of office to Justice Nandrajog at a brief ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan here, the governor’s office said in a statement. Rao and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis welcomed Justice Nandrajog by presenting him bouquets of flowers. State Higher and Technical Education Vinod Tawde, Mumbai Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, judges of the Bombay High Court and the Rajasthan HC, retired Chief Justice Mohit Shah a and Lokayukta M L Tahaliyani were present on the occasion. State Chief Commissioner, Right to Services, Swadheen Kshatriya, MPSC senior member Chandrashekhar Oak, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and Mumbai’s Commissioner of Police Sanjay Barve also attended the ceremony. Justice Nandrajog, 61, was enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Delhi in 1981. As a lawyer, he specialised in arbitration, commercial, service and company matters and also land revenue, elections, etc. He served as counsel for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for about six years. Justice Nandrajog was elevated as an additional judge of the Delhi High Court on December 20, 2012. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Rajasthan HC on April 2, 2017.last_img read more

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Choose between honest chowkidar and corrupt naamdar Modi

first_imgAhmednagar: Seeking to make the Lok Sabha polls a contest between him and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday asked voters to choose between “imaandar (honest) chowkidar’ and ‘bhrashtachari (corrupt) naamdar”. Gandhi has been hurling the “chowkidar chor hai” jibe at Modi to claim irregularities in Rafale deal, while the PM has been calling the Congress chief as ‘naamdar’ (dynast). “You have to choose between imaandar chowkidar and bhrashtachari naamdar. You also have to choose between heroes of India and supporters of Pakistan,” Modi said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details At a rally here to campaign for BJP-Shiv Sena alliance candidates of Ahmednagar and Shirdi Lok Sabha constituencies, Modi said, “You have to decide the country’s future and which direction will it take in this election.” Modi said in the last five years, people have seen that his government is a strong regime which takes decisions. “You have seen Chowkidar’s government which is strong and takes decisions. Scams and decision-making delays were the order of the day during the remote-controlled government (UPA) earlier,” Modi said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday “During the UPA rule, bomb blasts were frequent in which farmers, middle class people and traders were killed. Blasts happened in trains, buses and stations. But under the Chowkidar’s rule, where are the bomb blasts,” he said. “This is because the Chowkidar has instilled fear in minds of the terror perpetrators that even a single mistake would prove costly for them. The Chowkidar will find them from hell and punish them,” Modi said. Modi asked if people agree with his policy of killing terrorists by going into their territory and killing them. He said the earlier government looked weak “in front of Pakistan and rest of the world”. “Our army wanted to take revenge but the (then) government kept quiet. This Chowkidar gave permission (to army) to kill terrorists by going inside their territory. Are you happy with this strong government,” he said. On the National Conference demanding Prime Minister’s post for Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said, “the Congress and NCP are supporting those who demand that Jammu and Kashmir have a Prime Minister.” “I have no expectation from the Congress since it has stopped thinking about people long ago,” he said. “This sin is the creation of that party,” he added. Modi said NCP chief Sharad Pawar had quit the Congress in the name of the country. “Sharad rao, how can you be silent on the two PM demand. Why are you silent? Is this acceptable to you? “Your party’s name is Rashtravadi but you see the country through a foreign lens after allying with the Congress again. Is the name Rashtravadi in your party to fool people,” Modi said. Reaching out to first-time voters, Modi said,”those born in the 21st century will be voting for the first time. Do you agree with the weak approach of previous governments and their compromising national security? Is this acceptable to you?” Modi said he has been able to work on various development projects, including farmers welfare, because of people’s support. He expressed confidence that the “Modi sarkar” will be re-elected on May 23 when results of the ongoing Lok Sabha polls are declared. Modi said after being re-elected to power, his government would have a separate ministry for water management. He accused the Congress-NCP combine of being enemies of farmers. Modi said the Congress needs to be decisively defeated to ensure poverty eradication, modern infrastructure and development of all sections of society. Continuing his tirade against Rahul Gandhi, Modi linked the IT raids on aides of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, claiming this was “Tughlak Road chunavi ghotala” (election scam). Tughlak Road is the residence of a “naamdar neta” in Delhi where funds are being sent, Modi said. “Child nutrition funds given to Madhya Pradesh government are being used for elections. Habits of the Congress won’t go. The Chowkidar is alert and that is why he could arrest the thieves,” he said. Notably, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s residence as an MP is at 1, Tughlaq Road in New Delhi, while Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s official residence as an MP is 12, Tughlak Lane in the national capital. The Income Tax Department recently conducted raids on close aides of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and Congress leader Kamal Nath and others in four states on Sunday. The CBDT, that frames policy for the I-T department, had said the department has also detected a trail of Rs 20 crore suspect cash allegedly being moved to the “headquarters of a major political party in Delhi” from the house of an important person who lives on Tughlaq Road, home to many VIPs. There was speculation that Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, whose son Sujay is BJP candidate from Ahmednagar, may attend the rally but the Congress leader stayed away from the venue.last_img read more

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CPI Maoist claims responsibility for Dantewada attack that killed BJP MLA and

first_imgRaipur: The outlawed CPI (Maoist) has claimed the responsibility for Tuesday’s attack in Dantewada district, wherein a BJP MLA and four police personnel were killed.The banned outfit also accused the Central government of looting the natural resources of Bastar to benefit corporate houses and selling it to them at throwaway prices. “Our PLGA (Peoples’ Liberation Guerilla Army) had executed the attack (on April 9) and killed Bheema Mandavi and his four security guards. We have also recovered four weapons,” said a purported statement issued by Maoists and being circulated on the social media on Friday. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Police had earlier said that three weapons, including two rifles, of the security personnel were missing after the attack. The two-page statement was issued in the name of Sainath, secretary of Darbha division committee of Dandakaranya Special Zone of Maoists, which had been instrumental in executing several deadly attacks in south Bastar, including the deadly Jhiram valley attack in Bastar district on May 25, 2013, in which top congress leaders were killed. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIn the statement, the Maoists also alleged that the government and the police had been forcibly carrying out road construction and installing mobile towers in the region, despite opposition from local villagers. Police said the authenticity of the statement was being verified. “The authenticity of the Naxal statement is being verified. It is nothing but just a propaganda by Maoists. The banned outfit has no right to justify its act,” state Deputy Inspector General (anti-Naxal operations) Sundarraj P told PTI. Naxals have now weakened and losing their support, which is why they are committing such acts in frustration, he said, adding, “Security forces will give a befitting reply to them.” Despite the Dantewada attack, people came out in large numbers to vote in Bastar Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday which is a victory for democracy, the DIG said. On April 9, Mandavi, an MLA from Dantewada, and four police personnel were killed when Naxals blew up their vehicle with an IED near Shyamgiri village in the district. Despite the attack and boycott from Maoists, 57 per cent voting was recorded in Bastar constituency.last_img read more

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Investors demand writeoffs as Jet owes over Rs 11K cr outstanding debt

first_imgMumbai: Prospective investors in the temporarily grounded Jet Airways have asked lenders to take a massive haircut or write-off around 80 per cent outstanding debt of the airline which is more than Rs 11,000 crore, document and sources revealed on Monday. According to industry insiders, nine India based banks and two international lenders are expected to suffer major write-off with one of the interested parties asking for over 80 per cent write-off. The latest figure, which includes the interest accrued on lenders loans, external commercial borrowings and non convertible debentures (NCDs) was revealed after IANS accessed the financial obligations document. These figures exclude liabilities to vendors and employees. Accordingly, the airline owes the largest chunk to its lenders at over Rs 7,000 crore (Rs 7,251 crore). The State Bank of India (SBI), itself, has an exposure of Rs 1,958 crore worth of working capital and term loan on its sheet. The nine lenders are led by the SBI. Another public sector lender Punjab National Bank, follows suit with Jet owing an outstanding of Rs 1,746 crore. Last week, Jet Airways announced temporary suspension of all its flight services as it failed to secure interim funding for maintaining even bare minimum operations. On its part, Jet in a regulatory had said that the SBI told the airline that consortium of lenders are unable to consider the private carrier’s request for critical interim funding. “Since no emergency funding from the lenders or any other source is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel or other critical services to keep the operations going,” the filing said. “Consequently, with immediate effect, Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights. The last flight will operate today (April 17).”last_img read more

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No BCCI representation in Sachin Laxman conflict matter Rai

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) have decided that there will be no representation from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) when Ombudsman D.K. Jain hears the matter of conflict against the Mumbai Indians mentor Sachin Tendulkar and Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor V.V.S Laxman. Speaking to IANS, CoA chief Vinod Rai said that the board in future would only act as point of reference. “BCCI will only act as point of reference to provide the ombudsman with a clear picture on the issues,” he said. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: Rijiju This is after eyebrows were raised since CEO Rahul Johri was present during the meeting of Jain with Delhi Capitals (DC) advisor Sourav Ganguly earlier this month. In fact, Johri had even presented BCCI’s take on the whole issue of conflict raised against the former India skipper for being a part of the board’s Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) as well as being the advisor of DC. Clearly the same protocol will now not be followed when Tendulkar and Laxman present their cases to the ombudsman. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters A senior BCCI official said it was high time that the CoA realised that they were making a mockery of the concept of the Ombudsman by sending BCCI representatives to the hearings rather than just sending reference documents. “Having a representative during the Ganguly meeting with the ombudsman was absurd. The very idea of having an Ombudsman was to ensure an absence of bias in these proceedings which are in the nature of an inquiry. If someone is being sent to the meetings, one might as well do away with the ombudsman because the presentation of those reference points come with an inherent bias. “Say, if the Rahul Johri matter is given to the ombudsman then will he assist as a person of reference? Can you rule out the chance that the reference points that were given (in Ganguly’s matter) were not being given keeping in mind that his own case may come up in the future and knowing that any precedent set there would affect him too? Where is the need for physical reference? Providing documents is enough, and that too when asked for,” the official said.last_img read more

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Algeria blames Morocco for diplomatic impasse

first_imgALGIERS- Algeria’s foreign minister said Sunday that Morocco had caused a diplomatic impasse over the way it responded after his country’s flag was torn down from its consulate in Casablanca. “The Moroccan authorities know exactly what they need to do to get out of this impasse because they got themselves into the impasse,” said Ramtane Lamamra at a news conference in Algiers. On November 1, at a demonstration over Algeria’s stance on Sahara in front of Algiers’ mission, a young Moroccan tore the Algerian flag down. The incident sparked anger in Algiers, and Moroccan authorities said they had been “firm” with the perpetrator, but denied they had apologized.The protester was arrested, and is due to be tried for the incident on November 21, according to Moroccan weekly Tel Quel.But Lamamra said it was an “insult” that “this individual who committed this double crime is welcomed as a hero in certain circles”.Dozens of people had gathered outside the consulate in Morocco’s economic capital to protest comments by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Western Sahara.In a speech read out in Bouteflika’s name at a meeting in Abuja, he said an “international mechanism to monitor human rights in Western Sahara was needed “more than ever”.Rabat in protest recalled its ambassador to Algiers.Morocco’s King Mohammed VI also reacted angrily to the comments, saying his country would not be lectured to, “particularly by those who systematically trample on human rights”, he said, in a clear allusion Bouteflika.Algiers has not responded to the comment, and on Sunday, Lamamra said: “In diplomacy, silence can be very eloquent”.The spat was the latest between the North African neighbors whose decades-old rivalry centers on the Sahara dispute since 1975.With AFPlast_img read more

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King Mohammed VI Pardons 244 Convicts on Occasion of Revolution of

Rabat – On the occasion of Revolution of the King and the People, King Mohammed VI granted his pardon to 244 people sentenced by the different Moroccan courts, said on Wednesday a statement by the Justice and Liberties ministry.The detained beneficiaries of the royal pardon are 172 and are divided into:– 169 prisoners who had their prison terms reduced. – 3 inmates who had their prison sentences commuted from life imprisonment to fixed prison terms.The free beneficiaries of the pardon are 72 and are divided into:– 14 prisoners who benefited from pardon over their prison sentences or remaining prison terms. – 2 inmates who benefited from pardon over their imprisonment terms while their fines were maintained. – 1 inmates who benefited from pardon over his prison term and fine as well. – 55 prisoners had their fines annulled.  Royal pardon is customary in the North African Kingdom to mark national and religious holidays. read more

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Over 40 Demonstrations Occur Every Day in Morocco CNDH Chairman

Rabat – Chairman of Morocco’s National Human Rights Council (CNDH) Driss El Yazami has announced that the number of demonstrations has increased in Morocco over the past three years.El Yazami, who was speaking at a press conference on this Wednesday in Rabat, revealed that Morocco has seen over 14,000 protests and demonstrations every year since 2013, an average of 40 protests every day.Commenting on these figures, El Yazami said the number of protests and demonstrations has notably increased during 2013, 2014 and 2015 compared to the past decade. The CNDH chairman said that most of these demonstrations took place without authorization from local authorities. However, he said riot police only intervened to suppress protests 303 times in 2014.El Yazami defended Moroccans’ right to protest, saying that taking to the streets in order to demand their rights is a form of expressing citizenship and should not be considered something “dangerous.”“Protests don’t threaten the status of the state. Instead, they demonstrate the maturity of citizens and their awareness of their rights,” El Yazami explained.These figures confirm the findings of a 2014 Human Rights Watch report which revealed that Moroccans have been exercising their rights to hold peaceful marches and rallies to demand political reform and protest government actions since popular protests swept the region in February 2011.The HRW report noted that Moroccan police mostly allowed these protests, but on some occasions in 2013 police dispersed protesters. read more

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Moroccan Writers Condemn Assassination of Jordanian Writer Nahed Hattar

Rabat – The Union of Moroccan Writers on Monday condemned the assassination of Jordanian writer and journalist Nahed Hattar, shot in Abdali, center of Amman.The Union “strongly condemns this barbaric and abject terrorist act”, the Union said in a statement, adding that this assassination is “the culmination of a long process of restrictions, crimes and murders that have touched many of our brightest Arab intellectuals and writers”.Expressing its full solidarity with the family of the victim, the Union noted that “the assassination of this gifted and bold intellectual, known for his unique courage and devotion to freedom and modernity in the Arab world (…), undermines all attempts of emancipation and rationalization”.The Union added that intellectuals “are living in a stifling climate of restriction of freedom of expression and thought”. Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar was shot dead outside a court where he was facing charges for sharing a cartoon deemed offensive to Islam. read more

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Butane Gas Cylinders Still Wreaking Havoc in Morocco

Rabat – The Ministries of the Interior and Energy, Mines, Water and Environment warn of the dangers associated with the misuse of butane gas cylinders.Following the increase in accidents due to the misuse of bottles of butane gas, which usually serious injuries and deaths, as well as lead to material damage, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment have decided to react. In a statement issued this Sunday, the ministries have warned custodians, transporters, sellers and users of butane gas cylinders for domestic or professional use against the danger of certain practices.The statement also mentioned that national awareness campaigns have been scheduled along with joint efforts from provincial and local committees to identify dangerous practices and uses of bottles of butane gas take regulatory action against their perpetrators. Regarding the danger posed by such practices on the safety of citizens and their property, the Ministries of the Interior and Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment called “upon the concerned parties to respect safety measures, and to take the necessary precautions during the storage, transport, handling and use of butane gas cylinders to avoid any incorrect and dangerous practices.”The statement also cited some of these incorrect and dangerous practices, in particular, the storage and transport of butane gas cylinders, full or empty, without respecting the required safety measures.The ministries also warned against the sale and use of deformed or defective butane gas cylinders, the improper connection of butane gas cylinders, and the use of defective valves, piping, and fittings, which may cause gas leakage.The statement also cited the use of matches or lighters to detect possible gas leakage and reheating butane gas cylinders by applying a direct heat source or immersing them in hot water to accelerate the discharge of the gas.These practices also include the use of butane gas cylinders and gas-fired equipment in confined or insufficiently ventilated spaces, the assembly and use of several interconnected butane gas cylinders, usually for professional purposes,; and the use of butane gas cylinders as a fuel source for cars and transport vehicles.The ministries statement came after the gruesome accident of Ain Aouda last week, where a butane gas cylinder exploded in a restaurant, resulting in the death of one woman and injury of 54 other people.One of the victims, a 13 years old girl, passed away this Sunday at Ibnu Ruchd Hospital in Casablanca, after suffering severe burning due to the explosion. Three other children are still receiving treatment at the Children’s Hospital in Rabat. read more

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Royal Air Force Aerobatic Display Teams Celebrate Royal Air Marocs 60

Rabat – The Royal Moroccan Air Force aerobatic display team, Marche Verte, celebrated the 60th anniversary of Morocco’s airline Royal Air Maroc (RAM) on Saturday in Casablanca.The Royal Moroccan Air Force’s pilots performed complex aerial tricks with their Cap232 aircraft, which fascinated the air show attendees at Casablanca’s cornice, Ain Diab.“This event forms part of the activities undertaken since the beginning of 2017 in order to mark the anniversary of the company, which was found in 1958,” said Saida Najiouallah, RAM’s marketing director, to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). Najiouallah added that the company aimed to share its history and achievements in a lively format with all Moroccans.She continued that the company decided to organize this show in the open in order to strengthen the spirit of openness and proximity that characterizes the relationship between RAM and the Moroccans.Ilham Kazini, the director of development and markets for RAM said that, “the event is a sign of power and strength of RAM, because today the companies that have 60 years of existence are limited due to the constant change in the civil aviation environment, which led to the extinction of several renowned companies.”Throughout the day, many entertainment activities were organized for the benefit of children and teenagers. The evening ended with a musical fireworks show. read more

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SubSaharan Migrants Auctioned at Slave Markets in Libya

By Sana ElouaziRabat – Many sub-Saharan migrants transiting through Libya to gain access to their “European Eldorado” are being sold and auctioned at “slave markets” in Libya, reveals a video made public by the American channel CNN earlier this week.After obtaining a footage of a migrant auction in Libya, the CNN journalists went on a field mission near the capital Tripoli to conduct an investigation and verify its authenticity. The video dating back to last August, featured a number of sub-Saharan African men being auctioned like merchandise.“They are big boys and strong for the work of the farm, 900 … 1,000 … 1,200 … Sold,” says the auctioneer in the video.For LD 1,200 (Libyan dinars), the equivalent of USD 800, one man is then “bought” by a Libyan.In October, the journalists managed to secretly film a similar auction taking place in a region not far from Tripoli in the middle of the night.In the garden of a suburban house, they witnessed the auction of 12 young men from Nigeria, sold to the highest bidder.The transaction was concluded quickly and the “slaves” were handed over to their “masters,” leaving the journalists  in a state of shock.After the auction, the American journalists went to a migrant detention center in Tripoli, where they met Victor, a former slave.“I was sold, like a lot of people here, look at their bodies, they were beaten and sometimes mutilated,” said the young man.“They were so traumatized by what they have been through that they could not speak, and so scared that they were suspicious of everyone they met,” reports CNN.Contacted by CNN’s team about the auction of sub-Saharans, a Libyan official said that they “hear rumors but nothing is happening” in front of them.Following the broadcast of the video, many people have expressed their anger and indignation on social networks over the inhuman practice.The Libyan authorities have assured that they will open an investigation, which was welcomed by many entities.According to CNN, auctions exist at nine locations across Libya, but many more take place each month. Moreover, the auction sites are not all controlled by the the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA).Smuggler are taking advantage of the chaos in Libya to illegally cross the sea to people in exile. According to The Guardian, more than 120,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea so far this year and most departed from Libya bound for Italy.At least 2,385 migrants have died attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean sea since the beginning of this year, said the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). read more

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Ramid Death Penalty and Child Marriage Too Controversial for Moroccos Human

Rabat – According to Mustapha Ramid, the Minister in charge of Human Rights, Morocco is on its way to adopt a “referential” National Action Plan for Democracy and Human Rights (PANDDH), free of any “controversial issues,” namely the death penalty and family law.The minister is finally taking some time off from his legendary feud with former secretary general of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), Abdelilah Benkirane, to refocus somewhat on human rights issues in Morocco.During a meeting with the Supervisory Committee in charge of reviewing the PANDDH in Rabat this Wednesday, Ramid said that “everything related to human rights will be included in this plan, including civil, political, economic, social and other rights.” However, the committee has failed to reach consensus on some “controversial issues,” at least as seen by the Ministry of Human Rights.According to Ramid, the dispute remained stuck on the death penalty, between those who call for its abolition and those who defended  it, as well as other “contentious issues” related to the family law and Morocco’s accession to the Statute of the International Criminal Court.Child MarriageOne of the members of the committee, who chose to remain unnamed, told Morocco World News that in addition to the heated debate on the death penalty, child marriage was at the heart of this dispute.“Many saw the need to remove judge’s powers in reducing the legal age for marriage, fix a legal age for betrothals, and abolish customary marriage,” the source explained.Although the Moroccan Family Code sets the legal age of marriage at 18 years old, it still legislates child marriage through articles 20 and 21 by leaving to the discretion of the judge the power to reduce this age in justified cases. The Moudawana, however, sets no age limit to this reduction, nor does it describes the regulations of these exceptions.Another major legal loophole in the Moudawana is that there is no legal age for betrothal or engagement.For Ramid, who refused the recommendations filed by the United Nations Human Rights Council during Morocco’s 27th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on child marriage back in May, setting up a legal framework to abolish child marriage “is useless.”“We need a real social, economic and cultural reform to be able to fight this issue,” the minister told Morocco World News. “Otherwise, people won’t really care about whether there is a legal framework or not.”Ramid explained that this phenomena is present in many other countries, who like Morocco, set up certain legal criteria to allow minor to marry. “If we don’t open this legislative window to ratify child marriage, we will be forced later on to legislate customary marriage and face its consequence, which most of the time we cannot bare.”Part of the society still uses customary marriage, practiced under the simple reading of the Fatiha. This marriage is a verbal contract. It must be pronounced in the presence of two witnesses but this ceremony does not require the presence of any Adoul or legal representative, and is particularly practiced in mountainous regions where the rate of illiteracy is very high.Customary marriages have no legal value. As a result, young women who are victims of such marriages and abandoned by their husbands do not have access to the legislative protection they would enjoy if they had been married legally. For example, filiation is not covered and no support payments are required.According to MWN’s source, none of these excuses are acceptable: “What Morocco is doing right now is legalizing pedophelia.”As child marriage number reached 40,000 in 2016, according to a study run by the Moroccan association Voice of Amazigh Women, the member of the committee insisted that “criminalizing this scourge is vital.”“The government is the one responsible of protecting its citizens, and mainly its children. We have to start somewhere to abolish [child marriage], and the first step is instoring laws,” he concluded. read more

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Saad Eddine El Othmani Elected New Leader of the PJD

Rabat – The news is finally out, and without surprise, it is Saad Eddine El Othmani who will succeed Abdelilah Benkirane as the new Secretary General of the PJD, with 1006 voices against 912 for his rival, Driss Azami Idrissi. Head to head since the first ballot conducted this morning by the members of the National Council, El Othmani was barely leading the polls with 180 voices against 160 for Azami Idrissi. The 275 voters of the National Council had chosen eight names, six of which withdrew, leaving only El Otmani and Azami Idrissi in the running.For many, El Othmani’s win was to be expected. While this would be his second term after serving from 2004-2008 as head of the PJD, the current Head of the government was assured of the support of his fellow PJD and Executif members. Labeled as “Ministers Coalition” by some Moroccan media, this current represents the elite of the party currently at the head of the governmental coalition. Driss Azami, Mayor of Fes and second runner of this turmoiled race, is deemed close to former Secretary General Abdelilah, who is ending his second (and last) successive mandate as head of the party.A few days before the Congress, the PJD was called upon to vote on a crucial provision: Article 16 of the party’s internal regulations, which limited the terms of the SG to two.The debate around ‘Article 16’ came back to the surface after Benkirane failed to form a government coalition in the aftermath of the October 7th legislative elections, which brought him to the head of the government with 107 seats.The negotiations around the formation of the government, afterwards labeled as the infamous “government deadlock,” lasted over six months. At the end of this impasse, one in which Benkirane lost his seat as head of government, King Mohammed VI had instructed Saad Eddine El Othmani to form a government.Since then, the Othmani wing has been perceived by some members of the party as being very conciliatory towards the Royal Palace, prompting many to renew Benkirane’s term at the head of the party to achieve a certain balance. read more

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Top Moroccan Achievers of 2018

Rabat – From literature to science to technology, Moroccans young and old have shown the world their talents and skills in 2018.Moroccan child prodigiesNine-year-old Mariam Amjoun shined in the world of literature.Mariam AmjounAmjoun won the 2018 Arab Reading Challenge in Dubai on October 30, outperforming 10.5 million participants from 40 countries. At a young age, Amjoun developed a love for reading which made her the eloquent child she is.The young girl who goes to a public school has read 200 books and participated with 60 books in the reading challenge launched by the Emirati prince, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.Amjoun, who had received a personal call from King Mohammed VI and met with Said Amzazi, the minister of education, has become an inspiration to many. Crowds of Moroccans welcomed her at the airport when she returned from Dubai.“I advise Arab children to read because reading is the lighthouse of civilization,” Amjoun said.Another child prodigy has excelled in mental arithmetics.Eight-year-old Malak Belarbi won first place in a global mental arithmetic competition in Turkey, only a few days after Amjoun received the Arab Reading challenge award in October.Malak BelarbiBy solving 160 problems in 7 minutes, Belarbi received the highest score in the competition.Among other Moroccan children, she competed with children from 30 countries for the prize.Belarbi, who is from Morocco’s port city of Essouira, also goes to a public primary school.Like Amjoun, Belarbi has also become the “pride” of Moroccans.Belarbi said: “I advise children to believe in themselves, and advise parents to encourage and support their children to accomplish their goals.”Idder Motii, an 11-year-old Moroccan, is a self-taught programming prodigy. Idder Motii.At such a young age, he is fluent in three programming languages: Python, C++, and SQL.Motii is also a self-taught English speaker who learned the language from watching movies.Motii became famous after his participation at a Google Developer Group (GDG) event in Agadir early in December.At the event, called DevFest Agadir 2018, Motii was the youngest speaker. He gave a presentation about Python, his favorite programming language.Zakaria Jaiathe, a senior software engineer who met Motii at the event, said that he was so amazed by Motii’s technical background and ability to discuss very advanced topics at such a young age.In the spiritual realm, a teenager has excelled in tajweed, Qur’an recitation.Abdeljalil BouskiAbdeljalil Bouski, won the 16th annual International Competition for Holy Qur’an Memorization, Interpretation, and Recitation in Tunis in mid-December.Bouski outperformed 31 participants from 22 countries.Read Also: A Modern-Day Fatima al-Fihriya: The Woman Who Founded Oujda’s ENCGTop Moroccan adult male achievers Karim Touijer is a model for all Moroccan doctors.Karim TouijerTouijer, a urologist at New York’s MSK Cancer Center and an oncology specialist for 26 years, was named the 2018 Top Doctor in New York by Top Doctor Awards in August.Dr Touijer’s dedication and expertise make him “a very worthy winner of a 2018 Top Doctor Award,” the award statement said.Touijer is known across New York as a specialist in the treatment of patients with genitourinary cancers, including cancers of the prostate, kidney, bladder, and adrenal glands.The renowned doctor told Morocco World News that he performs about four to six prostate cancer surgeries a week and about 150 to 200 each year.Charif Hamidi, 29, is a hardworking Moroccan teacher who strives to make school a better place for children to enjoy learning.Charif Hamidi with studentsThe year 2019 may have more success in store for Hamidi because the British Varkey Foundation nominated him for the prestigious $1 million Global Teacher Prize 2019.The nomination acknowledges Hamidi’s efforts to promote education, build libraries, and improve standards for underprivileged children in Morocco.Hamidi is the founder of an ambitious and innovative project, Education 4.0, that aims to leverage fourth industrial revolution technologies across young populations to empower and develop their creativity.Another talented achiever, Mouad Boukioud, is a Moroccan religious singer who won the 11th annual Munshid Al Sharjah competition.Mouad BoukioudBoukioud won the competition at the final ceremony on December 14. The munshid (religious singer) outperformed 21 talented participants from various countries, including Algeria and Tunisia.Majidd El Bouazzaoui, is an outstanding inventor who won seven distinct awards in Canada and China in 2018.Majid El BouazzaouiBouazzaoui, the founder of the OFEED innovation association, won a gold medal at Taiwan’s International Innovation and Invention Competition (IIIC) in November with an “automatic guidance system of photovoltaic panels” which cleans solar panels without using drinking water.The young inventor has won more than 10 gold medals in China, Canada, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Poland, and South Korea.His OFEED association also won a Korean medal early in November at the international invention exhibition of BIXPO 2018 in Gwangju.Moroccan poet Mohammed Bennis won the 2018 Arab Creativity Award by the Lebanese Cultural Forum in France with only a few days left until 2019.Mohammed BennisThe award recognizes Bennis’ valuable literary works.Born in 1948, the poet published his works in several newspapers all over the Arab world and won several awards throughout his career, including the el Premio Feronia International for literature.Successful Moroccan womenAmong the Moroccan female achievers who shined in 2018 is Ihssane Elidrissi El Hassani who was shortlisted for the highest legal award in England and Wales.Ihsane Elidrissi El HassaniThe London-based Law Society’s Excellence Awards nominated Elhassani in October for the “Woman Lawyer of the Year Category” award, along with 10 others, of more than 90,000 female lawyers in England and Wales.El Hassani, who came from a legal household, grew up in Marrakech and studied law at the Cadi Ayyad University. In 2016, Elhassani became the first female Moroccan lawyer to open her own legal office in England.El Hassani’s encouraging word to all is: ”If you put in the effort, talent and hard work, you will be recognised, regardless of your nationality, skin colour or religion,” she told MWN.Read Also: Belgium’s Solvay Appoints Moroccan Woman, Ilham Kadri, as CEOA brave Moroccan adventurer is also deserving of a tribute.Moroccan mountaineer Bouchra Baibanou finished off 2018 with a life-changing adventure. Bouchra BaibanouBailbanou became the first Moroccan woman to climb the highest peak in the world, Mount Everest. She climbed the 8,848-meter mountain on December 17, sharing pictures on her Facebook.Read Also: Moroccan Woman Wins ‘Best Model of The World 2018’ Title read more

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Maelainine Affair Moroccos PJD on Defensive amid Hypocrisy Accusations

Rabat – Islamist MP Amina Maelainine has acknowledged the authenticity of widely-circulated pictures of her without a hijab, compelling a u-turn move from Morocco’s Islamist establishment.When pictures emerged weeks ago depicting Morocco’sJustice and Development Party  (PJD) MP Amina Maelainine in jeans and T-shirt and without her hijab in front of Le Moulin Rouge, a Parisian cabaret, the Islamist MP was adamant that the photographs were “fake” and “fabricated.”Maelainine said the pictures were a montage from Islamism-hostile circles that wanted to defame her, harm her public image, and ruin her political career. According to a recent report from Moroccan outlet Le 360, however, the Islamist MP “has been compelled to recognize that the pictures were real.” Personal is not politicalWithout giving details about what made Maelainine back down from her denials, the newspaper suggested that the controversy had reached a point where both the party and the MP opted for damage control instead of continued denials. Despite the MP’s threats of suing her most vocal “defamers,” critics were adamant that the pictures were real, suggesting that they were ready to go to any length to prove the PJD’s and Maelainine’s “hypocrisy” and “fraud.”So she had to mitigate the damage or get caught in a dispute that would have cost her and the party more than a slightly bruised public image, Le 360 suggested.Read Also:  Moroccans Should Focus on MP Maelainine’s Politics, Not Her ClothesBut even while “confessing,” Maelainine did not bow to critics’ “intrusion” into her private life. Like in her denial post a week ago, she suggested that her public actions as an MP should not interfere with her personal tastes or choices.“Having suffered all these attacks and having seen the robust means deployed to harm my reputation, I am more than ever convinced that the path to militancy must be followed with determination and commitment. The battle should be fought in Morocco or abroad, with or without a veil, for the sake of democracy, freedom, justice, and human rights.”Hijab not a PJD requirementBoth Maelainine’s acknowledgment of the pictures’ authenticity and her defense of her politics and convictions have raised eyebrows in Morocco’s secular and Islamist circles. While secularists tend to feel satisfaction at unearthing the “contradictions of the Islamists,” Islamists are having a hard time processing Maelainine’s latest position. Condemning “extravagant” and “suggestive” clothing is part of Islamist ideology, blending the personal and the public expression of selfhood in one single basket of “virtue” and “religiosity.”But such ideological reckoning was not the most interesting part of the latest developments in the Maelainine affair. The interesting part, should Le 360’s report be confirmed, is the u-turn that the MP’s “confession” has provoked in the PJD establishment.Maelainine is considered to be close to Abdelilah Benkirane, the former head of government and PJD leader who is still a party mogul. According to the newspaper, Benkirane spoke to his protege in the heat of the controversies about her Parisian adventure.Read Also: King Mohammed VI’s Dialogue Offer: PJD Delegation to Visit Algeria“Before anything else, I blame you for failing to come to me first for advice as soon as the scandal broke out,” the PJD mogul reportedly told the MP. Had Maelainine spoken to him first, Benkirane went on, he would have told her that “the choice to veil or not was hers alone.”Whether the pictures were real or not, the former PJD boss elaborated, Maelainine should have responded to her “detractors” that her choice to take off the veil abroad was “no one’s business.” He added: “Tell them that, if your husband does not like that choice, he should ask for divorce; if you owe anyone anything, they should come and claim it; if you violate the law, let them punish you; if you do not respect a party commitment, let them challenge you. But since putting on the veil has nothing to do with any of those, it is a personal matter that depends on you alone.”The “unlikely” support from Benkirane, the newspaper argued, boosted Maelainine’s morale, resulting in the defying militancy and conviction-riddled statement she went on to post on her Facebook. A tale of Islamists vs. leftistsThe Maelainine case is hardly the first time that Moroccans have called out PJD politicians for hypocrisy. In September 2018, interior minister and PJD member Mohamed Yatim came under criticism when he appeared on a Paris street with a young woman. Yatim said the woman was his fiancee, but critics were unimpressed. The PJD minister received backlash for his party’s “bogus” and “self-righteous” platform thriving on “moralization” and “profiteering.”In addition to rising to Maelainine’s defense in their reported meeting aimed at calming the controversy tides, Benkirane tried to minimize the probability of such occurrences in the future. “If my daughter tells me she wants to take off her hijab, I will tell her that the choice is all hers…. I have often said that wearing the hijab is no precondition for being a PJD member. We have even tried to have unveiled female candidates run in elections,” Benkirane said, apparently departing from the morality-obsessed party that the PJD has traditionally been.Read Also:Judge Re-Prosecutes PJD’s Hamieddine as Accomplice in a 1993 MurderBut as PJD’s endorsement of autonomous choices comes amid controversies targeting “important” party members, it is questionable whether critics were listening.The PJD has generally been unapologetic with Moroccan leftists’ lifestyle. And as PJD now calibrates its platform, the country’s leftists are laughing off the party’s “liberal-clothed” statements, reinforcing perception of the Islamist party as “hypocritical.”Nabila Mounib, general secretary of the Unified Socialist Party, said at a party meeting  in Tangier on Wednesday that she was “intrigued” to know what Islamic tenet accepts that women be free in Paris but “wear a bag” in Morocco. “Hypocrites will burn in the ninth chamber of hell,” Mounib said, apparently using PJD’s own reference points to lambast it. “It has become necessary to denounce Islamists’ contradictions. Religion is no one’s property and we cannot accept … that our society be Islamized.” read more

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