Grand Council in Akwesasne taking different path to resolve cannabis issues

first_imgDanielle RochetteAPTN NewsThe council of Akwesasne has decided to take another path towards settling its issues with cannabis stores in the community.This was the decision after two police raids split the community.The stores were raided because they didn’t have a license from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, but instead, they were licensed by a group called the Indian Way Longhouse.Now, despite the different perspectives on the issue, ongoing efforts are being made to encourage a peaceful solution.“We have since been in conversation with various representatives of the community into discuss what a more fullsome collective process would look like for the ongoing development of a framework regulatory for our community to be able to regulate and license the cannabis industry within Akwesasne,” said Abraham Benedict, grand chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.Roger Jock Kanerahtiio has been sitting on the men’s council for 13 years in the Indian Way Longhouse.As one of the representatives of the Longhouse, he denounced the interference of the Akwesasne Mohawk police and other non-Mohawk police on the Cannabis dispensaries.“Two times they were robbed,” he said. “Two times they were set back but they open the next day.“We do not live in a dictatorship we are Onkwehonweh and Onkwehonweh they are free.”Kanerahtiio says that things can be turned around in a positive way.“Communication is the most important thing and I think by working to come to peaceful understanding because basically I see that we can do that without having to say he won or we won or they won you know the people has got to win,” he said.Kanerahtiio is also hoping that the police will cooperate to the ongoing discussions.“I hope we do not see the aggression of the police again I really hope that they see that we are working it out and they need to stay out of the business as we know tensions get high really quick.”There is one thing that everybody agrees on – that some aspects of the cannabis business are good.“We want to create jobs in our community, we want to have small businesses,” said Abraham. “We want to have an economy that supporting our community as well as having a collective benefit for everybody it is just a matter of getting through the framework what the framework will look like.”drochette@aptn.ca@danfromestlast_img read more

CBS News appoints new leader for evening newscast

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – CBS News has appointed Mosheh Oinounou (WAH-noo-noo) as the top behind-the-scenes executive at the “CBS Evening News,” where Jeff Glor recently took over as the anchor.Oinounou replaces Steve Capus as the show’s executive producer. CBS News President David Rhodes said Capus, a former NBC News president who has been the show’s executive producer for the past four years, will be staying at CBS in a role yet to be defined.CBS says Oinounou will be looking for digital extensions to the nightly newscast. He was part of the leadership team for the CBSN streaming service.The “CBS Evening News” generally draws about 7 million viewers a night, placing it third in the ratings to newscasts at ABC and NBC.last_img

The Latest 1 killed 47 injured in France gas protests

first_imgPARIS — The Latest on protests in France against rising fuel taxes (all times local):12:45 p.m.French interior ministry officials say that one protester has been killed and 47 injured as demonstrators block roads around France to protest gas price increases.Police say that three of the injured are in serious condition, according to the ministry. Officials say that 24 people have been arrested and 17 held for questioning.The protests over rising fuel taxes have drawn citizens upset about a host of problems like decreased buying power. An investigation was underway in the death of a protester in the eastern Savoie region, hit by a driver who apparently accelerated in a panic while caught in the demonstration, according to a regional official.Authorities didn’t give a breakdown about how the 47 others were injured during the protests.___8:20 a.m.Drivers in France are planning to block roads across the country to protest rising fuel taxes, in a new challenge to embattled President Emmanuel Macron.Protesters pledge to target tollbooths, roundabouts and the bypass that rings Paris on Saturday. The government is preparing to send police to remove protesters and threatening fines.The taxes are part of Macron’s strategy of weaning France off fossil fuels. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency seen as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties.The protesters have dubbed themselves the “yellow jackets” because they wear fluorescent vests that all French drivers must keep in their vehicles in case of car troubles.Separately, ambulances briefly blocked Paris’ Champs-Elysees on Friday to protest new rules on ambulance financing and put pressure on Macron’s government.The Associated Presslast_img read more

US stocks edge lower as tariff threat hits tech stocks

first_imgNEW YORK — U.S. stocks are slipping Tuesday morning as technology companies fall after President Donald Trump said he expects to put more tariffs on imports from China. That could increase the cost of products like laptops and smartphones. Other stocks are also lower after a strong gain the day before. Industrial conglomerate United Technologies is falling after saying it will split up into three smaller companies.KEEPING SCORE The S&P 500 index lost 6 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,667 at 10 a.m. Eastern time. The index jumped 1.6 per cent Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 127 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 24,512. The Nasdaq composite dipped 13 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,069. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slid 6 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,499.MORE TARIFF TURMOIL FOR TECH: Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he expects to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports on Jan. 1. That increase, already scheduled, will raise the tax rate on those products to 25 per cent from 10 per cent. Trump also threatened again to place tariffs on all remaining U.S. imports from China.The administration’s current tariffs have driven up costs for many businesses, but consumers haven’t felt as much of a sting. Another round of tariffs on products like laptops and computers would change that. Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Group of 20 summit in Argentina later this week.Apple gave up 1.2 per cent to $172.55, and chipmakers also fell. Intel fell 1.4 per cent to $46.74 and Microchip Technology lost 2.4 per cent to $73.93.Apple stock has fallen 26 per cent since early October, a drop that wiped out almost $300 billion in value. Apple and Microsoft are now essentially tied for the title of the most valuable publicly traded company in the world. Microsoft hasn’t done any worse than the rest of the stock market in October and November and it was unchanged at $106.47 Tuesday. Apple’s current market value is about $819 billion to $817 billion for Microsoft.NO LONGER UNITED: United Technologies said it will split into three companies now that it has finished its $23 billion purchase of aviation electronics maker Rockwell Collins. The company’s aerospace and defence industry business will keep the United Technologies name, while its Otis elevator business and Carrier air conditioner and building systems unit will become separate companies.The stock fell 6.1 per cent to $120.16.BRISTOL BRUISED: Bristol-Myers Squibb fell after it reported disappointing results from a cancer drug study. The company said the combination of its drugs Yervoy and Opdivo did not impose survival for patients with small cell lung cancer. Bristol-Myers was studying the drug as a maintenance therapy for patients who had already finished a round of chemotherapy.The stock shed 4.6 per cent to $50.32.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.4 per cent to $51.85 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 0.3 per cent to $60.64 a barrel in London.BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.06 per cent from 3.07 per cent.CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 113.67 yen from 113.64 yen. The euro felt to $1.1303 from $1.1328.OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 per cent and the British FTSE 100 slid 0.4 per cent. In France, the CAC 40 lost 0.3 per cent.Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.6 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up 0.3 per cent.____AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAPMarley Jay, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Mamata Opposition biggies question staggered LS polls in Bengal UP and Bihar

first_imgNew Delhi: A day after the announcement of 7-phase poll dates for Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition parties questioned the Election Commission’s decision to spread Lok Sabha polls in the states of West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh over seven phases and alleged that voting has been staggered with a view to enabling extensive electioneering by the ruling NDA’s start campaigner – Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday suggested that the long-drawn Lok Sabha election process was part of the BJP’s “gameplan to disturb” her state. Banerjee, also the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress chief, said the list of candidates of her party will be released on Tuesday. Notably, all the three states – Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh—will witness 7-phase polling. In UP, 41 out of 80 seats (more than 50 per cent) have been squeezed into the last three stages of the election schedule, while the remaining 39 have been spread over four phases before the fasting month for Muslims start. Of them 14 will go to polls on the first day of Ramadan on May 6, another 14 on May 12 and the voting for the remaining 13 seats will be held on May 19. In West Bengal, where the BJP has been trying to gain a foothold to compensate for the possible losses in north India, polling for 42 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases with 24 of them being scheduled for the last three phases (May 6, May 12 and May 19). Similarly, Bihar will see 21 out of a total of 40 seats going for polls in the last three phases during Ramadan. “It is strange that the number of phases over which voting will be held in Bihar is the same as that of the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh where the number of seats is twice as many and in West Bengal too, which has only 42 seats, polling will be held in seven phases,” RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary said.last_img read more

Probe Robert Vadra but also investigate PM Modi Rahul Gandhi

first_imgChennai: Asserting that law must not be applied selectively, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said if his brother-in-law Robert Vadra can be probed so can Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged role in the Rafale deal. He also said economic growth is directly related to the mood of the nation and one cannot expect it to happen in a negative and fearful atmosphere. The Congress will change the mood of the country and make people feel happy and empowered, the Congress chief said while addressing women students at a college here. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day Gandhi, who asked students to refer to him as Rahul, said the law must apply to everybody and not be applied selectively. He said this in response to a question on Vadra, who is being probed in connection with a money laundering case related to purchase of assets abroad and a land case in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district. During his informal interaction with the students, he also brought up the issue of the Rafale deal and reiterated his allegations about the pricing of the aircraft and the process. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penalty “I will be the first person to say it… Investigate Robert Vadra but also investigate Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said. Modi is a “corrupt” man, he bypassed negotiations and ran parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal, Gandhi alleged while responding to the question. The Congress chief said the prime minister should have the guts to face the media and asked why Modi was “hiding”. The BJP and the government have repeatedly rejected the Congress’s allegation of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal. He also alleged that the BJP’s idea is to capture every institution of the country and run them from Nagpur, the RSS headquarters. Gandhi said the Congress would pass the women’s reservation bill if it comes to power. “Don’t see enough women in leadership positions. You cannot have women in power in India until the attitude towards them changes,” he told the cheering crowd. In response to a question, he said he had learnt the lessons of humility and love from his mother Sonia Gandhi. He asked the gathering, “Did you like demonetisation?” When the audience answered, “No”, he said, “I think it’s pretty clear the damage demonetisation did. PM should have taken your advice.” Gandhi, who asked the students to challenge him and “make him uncomfortable”, also questioned whether the prime minister could stand in a large audience and answer people’s questions. Referring to Modi’s policies on Jammu and Kashmir, he said these were setting fire to the state and blamed the Centre for not strategically and systematically handling terrorism. As soon as Modi assumed power, he made a “huge mistake” of forging an alliance with PDP just for the sake of power. “Today Narendra Modi ji’s policies are actually setting fire to Kashmir,” he said, alleging that it was his policies that were allowing Pakistan to carry out terrorist acts in India. Gandhi underscored the need to engage the people of Kashmir and bring them “on our side.” The prime minister’s policies “pushes the people away so you cannot fight terrorism with one off gestures,” he said. Noting that it was “our responsibility” to stop the neighbouring country from carrying out terror strikes and save our people, Gandhi said, “It is not good enough to say that 45 CRPF men died and now we will do something.” He sought to know why the attack (in Pulwama) was not stopped in the first place. Forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying explosives into their bus in Pulwama district. Claiming that the Congress pursued a policy of systematic and strategic approach in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the NDA government had not followed a similar policy. “We actually crushed terrorism,” he said and referred to the “drastic fall” in the number of soldiers and people killed during UPA’s tenure. The Congress followed a multi-pronged approach when it came to power in 2004 and toed both systematic and strategic lines, he said. “And it was successful,” he said adding it led to diplomatic isolation of Pakistan. Gandhi also called his party’s minimum income guarantee scheme a revolutionary idea.last_img read more

Rahman creates India anthem for Endgame

first_imgMumbai: Music maestro A R Rahman has teamed up with Marvel India to create an all-new anthem for Avengers: Endgame in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The track, to be released on April 1, is a treat for Indian fans of the Avengers franchise, which is massively popular in the country. “Being surrounded by Marvel fans in my own family, there was too much pressure to come with something really satisfying and apt for ‘Avengers: Endgame’. I hope Marvel aficionados and music lovers enjoy the track,” Rahman said in a statement. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka”Avengers: Endgame is not just a movie, it’s an emotional journey for fans everywhere in India. An original composition by Oscar winner A R Rahman was the perfect way to celebrate the love for Marvel among fans in the country. This is our small way of thanking the fans here for their extraordinary support,” said Bikram Duggal, Head – Studios, Marvel India. The film is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.last_img read more

Will stick to fiscal prudence lower tax rates if elected Jaitley

first_imgNew Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday said the BJP-led NDA will continue with fiscal prudence and lower tax rates if elected back to power. He further said the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council has cut tax rates on consumption items to 12 or 18 per cent from the highest slab of 28 per cent and lowering rate on cement is next on agenda. “I speak in terms of taxation policies… I’m quite clear in my mind that on two issues at least we had – a lot of good fiscal prudence and we brought the rates down, these are two areas, if we are in power we will continue the same glide path,” Jaitley said while addressing the CII AGM here. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe general elections will be held in phases beginning April 11 and counting of votes will take place on May 23. Jaitley said India’s growth has stabilised between 7-7.5 per cent and irrespective of global trends, domestic consumption is going to increase. “We have come to 7-7.5 per cent (growth rate) range despite the fact that there is no global boom or support of any kind, and we have stabilised at that, you need to graduate further,” he added. The Reserve Bank of India Thursday cut its GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal by 20 basis points (bps) to 7.2 per cent. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe minister said that over the last 5 years the government did not increase tax rates, and in some cases doubled tax base and increased tax collection. “In the last 20 odd months of the GST except for Cement that is because of affordability, … every item of consumption has come down to 18 per cent and 12 per cent category from 28 per cent. So, it is only a matter of time that the last one also comes down,” Jaitley said. Asked what steps would be taken if the government comes to power, Jaitley said, “Wait for a couple of days, when our manifesto comes out, you may find some of the views expressed in that”. The government had revised upwards the fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 fiscal to 3.4 per cent from 3.3 per cent projected in the budget. For current fiscal, which begun on April 1, the fiscal deficit target has been set at 3.4 per cent.last_img read more

Make it womenfriendly

first_imgIn a significant decision, the Bombay High Court has clarified the law on abortion in India. It is legal. Every woman has a fundamental right to her sexual and reproductive autonomy and choose whether to retain her pregnancy or not. But this is not an absolute right, and is subject to certain exceptions in law, as prescribed in The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP Act) which seeks to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners. Section 3 of the Act provides that a registered medical practitioner can terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks, or two registered medical practitioners can terminate a pregnancy up to 20 weeks if they are of the opinion that continued pregnancy would involve a risk to the pregnant woman’s life or cause grave injury to her physical or mental health, or there exists a substantial risk to the child’s health. The MTP Act further allows termination of pregnancy beyond twenty weeks, if the doctor opines that such termination is immediately necessary to save the woman’s life. However, doctors are highly reluctant to conduct abortions beyond 20 weeks without court approval. In most cases, women seeking abortion after 20 weeks have to approach the High Courts or the Supreme Court, who then set up a medical board consisting of a panel of doctors to decide whether abortion could be allowed or not. In Ms. Z v. State of Bihar (2018), a woman was raped in a shelter home, and her request for abortion in 17 weeks was not allowed by the hospital. When she approached the High Court, she was again denied, which was overturned by the Supreme Court. However, she was already 26 weeks’ pregnant by the time her matter was heard in the Apex Court, and she was not allowed to abort. The Supreme Court held that “the duty cast on the authorities under the Medical Termination Pregnancy Act, 1971 is not dutifully performed, and the failure has ultimately given rise to a catastrophe, a prolonged torment”. In the present case, referring to various High Courts and Supreme Court decisions, the Bombay High Court gave certain interim directions for the implementation of the MTP Act. The High Court categorically held that a registered medical practitioner is entitled to terminate a pregnancy beyond 20 weeks if she is of the opinion that such termination is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. But if she opines that there is no immediate danger to the life of pregnant woman, then she is not entitled to terminate the pregnancy beyond 20 weeks without court’s approval, even if such pregnancy may cause grave physical or mental harm or there is a substantial risk to the child. In the latter case, the pregnant woman has to approach the High Court directly to seek permission for termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. The Court further directed the State to set up medical boards in each district in order to examine pregnant women and assess the feasibility of termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. It is argued that though the High Court attempted to clear the confusion regarding termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, by doing so, it has made the law on abortion more difficult for women in India. As noted before, the issue of termination of pregnancy exceeding 20 weeks is a vexed one plaguing the courts for the last many years. The High Court’s distinction between cases with an immediate risk to woman’s life, and those where the same risk is not there, but there’s a substantial risk to her physical/mental health or to the child is a flawed one. The High Court failed to take note that while there may not be an immediate risk to her life, to force her to approach the Courts which would then take their own time to set up a medical board to assess pregnancy would cause irreparable damage to her physical/mental health, especially if there is a delay in adjudicating the matter, like what happened in Ms. Z v. State of Bihar. In many cases, by the time the Supreme Court or the High Courts allowed the termination of pregnancy, several weeks had passed, thereby making it impossible to conduct the termination, and forcing women to bear unwanted pregnancy. It is an irony that a law like MTP that primarily pertains to women’s bodies has not been enacted from women’s rights perspective, but to exempt medical doctors from penalty vis-à-vis offences in the IPC regarding causing miscarriage and causing fetal death. Despite referring to women’s rights to privacy, dignity and autonomy enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, the Bombay High Court failed to make the women’s reproductive autonomy central to the interpretation of the MTP Act. If a pregnant woman seeks to terminate her pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, then her physical/mental health should be of main concern, even if there is no immediate risk to her life. To compel her to get involved in complex bureaucratic procedures of court approval, which includes examination by a medical board, is an affront to her sexual and reproductive autonomy. It is hoped that this rigidity of interpretation is relaxed in the future, and a truly progressive regime on abortion is ushered in this country soon. (The author is an Attorney. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Rahul Gandhi explains what it means to be a good brother

first_imgNew Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who are on the campaign trail for the Lok Sabha polls, met each other at the Kanpur airport in Uttar Pradesh and shared a few light-hearted moments.Posting a video of their meeting on Facebook, Rahul Gandhi wrote: “Was nice meeting Priyanka at Kanpur Airport! We’re headed to different meetings in UP.” “Let me tell you what it means be a good brother. What it means is that I am doing these massive long flights and I am going in a little helicopter squeezed up. And she is doing short flights and going in a big helicopter,” he says in the video, with Priyanka Gandhi laughing and saying “that is not true”. But, I love her, the Congress chief added. The two also posed for photographs with pilots and the airport ground staff. While Rahul Gandhi was in Raebareli and Amethi on Saturday, Congress general secretary in-charge Uttar Pradesh (East) Priyanka Gandhi was in Unnao and Barabanki.last_img read more

Abhishek shoots gold in 1st WC final secures Olympic quota

first_imgBeijing: Leading the final from beginning to end, Abhishek Verma secured India’s fifth Olympic quota place in shooting, winning the 10m air pistol gold medal at the ISSF World Cup here Saturday. Shooting in his maiden International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup final, the lawyer-turned-shooter led the field throughout the men’s 10m air pistol event to clinch the top spot with a total score of 242.7. Russia’s Artem Chernousov took silver with a total of 240.4 points in the eight-man final. Korea’s Seungwoo Han finished with a bronze after shooting 220.0 in the final. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuSon of a siting judge, Verma showcased his class in what was only his first ISSF World Cup final. The Indians have sealed five quota places for the Tokyo Olympics so far with young Saurabh Chaudhary clinching one in 10m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year. With this, India have clinched both their quotas in this event. Incidentally, Verma made his World Cup debut in New Delhi but failed to qualify for the final at home. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersIn the Chinese capital on Saturday, Verma shot a total of 585 points to qualify for the final at the fourth spot. He was the only Indian who progressed to the final with Shahzar Rizvi and Arjun Singh Cheema finishing 32nd and 54th respectively. Verma, who had won a bronze medal in the 10m air pistol event during his India debut at the Asian Games, does not have much international exposure, making the feat even more creditable. This was his fourth big final in less than nine months and a third international medal in his very first year. He was on the job from the word go, evident from a score of 97 in his first qualifying series. He shot a 100 in the fourth and finished with 98 and 97 for a qualification round score of 585, his best in a short international career. The total placed him in a comfortable fourth place in the 97-strong field. Park Daehun of Korea topped the field with a 586. The final eight comprised names such as former Olympic champion Pang Wei of China, world championship silver medallist and world number two Artem Chernusov of Russia as well as experienced campaigners and multiple ISSF medallists like Oleh Omelchuk of Ukraine and Yusuf Dikec of Turkey among others. Verma, however, remained unfazed and pulled off a comfortable victory in the end. In the day’s other events, Manu Bhaker was the best-placed Indian shooter after the precision stage of the women’s 25m pistol qualifications round. She shot 291 to be four points behind the leader in 14th spot while Asian Games champion Rahi Sarnobat’s effort of 288 put her in 29th place. Chinki Yadav shot 284 to lie in 57th spot. All three Indians in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions (3P) event also comfortably sailed through their elimination round and will shoot the qualifying round on Sunday, which is also the concluding day of competitions. On Friday, Rajasthan’s 17-year-old teenager Divyansh Singh Panwar on Friday secured India’s fourth Olympic quota place by winning silver in 10m air rifle event. This is India’s fifth 2020 Tokyo Olympic quota after Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela (10m air rifle women), Saurabh Choudhary (10m Air Pistol men) and Divyansh had secured berths in the earlier World Cups and last year’s World Saurabh Chaudhary was fielded in the MQS category earlier in the day to boost the chances of another Olympic quota place for India.last_img read more

EC orders repolling in one booth in West Bengal

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission has ordered repolling in one polling booth in West Bengal’s Bankura parliamentary constituency on May 19, an official said. The constituency had voted in the sixth phase of polls on May 12. As per the notice on Friday, the EC has ordered the repoll in Chhatarkanali Prathamik Vidyalaya that falls under the Saltora assembly segment. The booth will go for the polls from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. along with the seventh phase elections for nine seats. There are 1,936 polling stations in Bankura parliamentary constituencylast_img

Morocco 240000 students to Benefit From Free Medical Coverage

Rabat – Soumia Benkhaldoun, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Training, said that 240,000 students will benefit from a Government-sponsored medical coverage that is due to take effect starting the next academic year (2015-2016).In an interview with Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the Minister pointed out that 240,000 university students out of 900,000 will benefit from the compulsory medical coverage which will be entirely financed by the government.The new procedure will cost 120 million Dirhams from the state budget, the Minister said. Benkhaldoun added that work is underway to come with a list of students who are eligible to benefit from the medical coverage, saying that this category will have special cards that will allow them to benefit from the medical coverage.First, only university students will benefit from the medical coverage then later it will include students from institutions of higher education and students from vocational training institutions.The operation will be managed by the Caisse Nationale Des Organismes de Prévoyance Sociale (CNOPS) and it is due to take effect starting the next academic year (2015-2016). read more

Former Real Madrids Player Adebayor Converts to Islam

Rabat – Togolese footballer and Tottenham Hotspur forward Emmanel Adebayor converted to Islam.The former Real Madrid player has announced his reversion to Islam at an event in his home country of Togo. A YouTube video shows the 31-year-old striker taking the Shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith that one must utter prior to his or her conversion to Islam.In May, London-based club Tottenham gave the player compassionate leave for the second time during the season to return to Togo to resolve some family issues. The Togo international took to Facebook to write about his family issues and said he had considered to commit suicide at some point.Tottenham are said to be willing to sell Adebayor during the summer transfer window but they are also reported to be concerned about his mental well-being.Adebayor played for many European clubs including, Metz, Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission. read more

Polisarios Security Forces Disobey Orders Causing a Revolt in Tindouf Camps

Rabat – Polisario’s Front security forces in the Tindouf camps have allegedly coordinated an unprecedented act of disobedience, refusing to obey orders from their “Saharawi Minister of the Interior”.Security forces have coordinated this act as a reaction to a decision by the “Saharawi Minister of the Interior” Hama Salama, prohibiting them from operating outside their scope of action, namely the “wilayas” (districts) where they are supposed to be confined.Multiple media reports in the Tindouf camps said Hama Salama made this decision based on suspicions that some of their own security forces were linked to organized crime networks and drug trafficking, as well as the smuggling of weapons and cars. A report by Future Sahara said the security services have refused to implement Hama Salama’scommand.A number of media reports agree this is an unusual rebellion by security personnel against the Supervision Department and, by extension, it is a revolt against the General Secretariat of the Polisario Front.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

MoroccoRwanda Launch Agriculture Partnership Program

Kigali – King Mohammed VI and president of the Republic of Rwanda, Paul Kagamé, chaired, on Thursday in Kigali, the ceremony to launch an agriculture partnership program between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Rwanda.At the Beginning of the ceremony, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Aziz Akhannouch gave before the two heads of states a presentation on the broad lines of this program, which was elaborated in conformity with the Royal Instructions to help Rwanda benefit from Morocco’s experience in terms of small agriculture, mainly the expertize related to the Moroccan Green Plan.“Launched in April 2008, the ambitious Moroccan Green Plan was aimed at turning the agricultural sector into an important lever for socio-economic development,” said Akhannouch. The Minister added that “this strategy has contributed to increasing the income of thousands of small farmers and improving their living conditions.” The Morocco-Rwanda agriculture partnership program is based on sharing the Moroccan expertise to meet the Rwandan potential, said the minister, noting that this program seeks to promote technical cooperation in the fields of irrigation infrastructure and animal health.It is also meant to help Rwandan farmers benefit from the expertise of Morocco’s “groupe Crédit agricole”, the “Mutuelle Agricole Marocaine d’Assurances” (MAMDA) and OCP group regarding, respectively, the integration of small farmers in systems of funding, and of multi-risk insurance and the setting up of a database on soil fertility (fertility card).The minister underlined that Morocco, which will host next November in Marrakech the 22nd conference of parties to the UN framework convention on climate change (COP22), proposes an ambitious initiative on the adaptation of African agriculture and the reinforcement of its resilience to face climate change.Afterwards, the King and the Rwandan head of state chaired the signing ceremony of four agreements on the implementation of the Morocco-Rwanda agriculture partnership program.They are: a memorandum of understanding in the field of agriculture, signed, on the Moroccan side, by agriculture and fisheries minister Aziz Akhannouch, chairman of MAMDA board Hicham Belmrah and president of groupe Crédit agricole’s board of directors Tariq Sijilmassi and, on the Rwandan side, by minister of agriculture and animal resources Géraldine Mukeshimana.The second agreement is a memorandum of understanding to establish a harvest insurance. It was inked by Aziz Akhannouch, Hicham Belmrah and Géraldine Mukeshimana.The third is also a memorandum of understanding in the field of fertilizers between the Rwandan ministry of agriculture and animal resources and OCP. It was inked by CEO of OCP Mostapha Terrab and Géraldine Mukeshimana and concerns an industrial investment in blending units to produce fertilizers adapted to the Rwandan soil and cultivation.The fourth is also a memorandum of understanding between Morocco’s Groupe Crédit Agricole and the Development Bank of Rwanda. It was signed by Tariq Sijilmassi and director general of the Development Bank of Rwanda Alex Kanyankole. read more

Chinese Business Delegation Eyes Investment Opportunities in Morocco

Rabat – Business delegation members from China discussed investments opportunities in Morocco on Monday with several Moroccan officials in Rabat. The delegation met with the president of the Kenitra-Rabat-Salé region, Abdessamad Sekkal, and discussed market opportunities for Chinese projects in the region as well as measures to promote and strengthen business ties between the two countries.The meeting was marked by the presence of Mohammed Khalil, president of the Morocco-China Friendship and Exchanges Association and Ding Houfei, president of Islamic-Chinese Council. The two sides agreed to collaborate to further promote China-Morocco cooperation in different sectors, especially business and investments.During their business gathering, Morocco’s officials and the Chinese delegation signed a partnership framework that will focus on business interactions between the Kenitra-Rabat-Sale region and Chinese companies.Earlier this month, China and Morocco also agreed on the establishment of a joint venture to monitor the construction of residential complexes and industrial firms of the Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City. read more

Qatari FM to Meet US Secretary of State to Discuss Gulf

Washington – Only days after the blockade countries issued their list of demands to Qatar to end the Gulf crisis, Qatari foreign minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani is scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on Tuesday in Washington.Qatar described the list of demands, which it received Thursday from the blockading countries, as unworkable. Citing Tillerson’s earlier urging that the demands be both “reasonable and actionable,” Qatar’s official response was to find them neither.Included in the demands were the complete shutdown of state-funded network, Al Jazeera, a significant scaling down of Qatar’s relationship with Iran and the closure of a Turkish military base in the country. The list of demands came weeks after three Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, announced they were severing all diplomatic ties with Qatar, alleging financial support for terrorist organizations and a relationship to Iran which they found too close for their comfort. The blockade followed this announcement almost immediately. The allegations have since been proven to be unfounded, prompting many to believe the reasons for the blockade to be more closely related to an intense dislike for Qatar’s foreign policy.Bahrain Changes its Opinion on Turkish PresenceMonday was a day for statements on the crisis, starting with Bahrain’s curiously timed reversal on the issue of Turkish increased military presence in Qatar. Originally, Bahrain regarded Turkish military personal in Qatar a non-issue. Now, however, the Bahraini foreign minister, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, describes his country’s official opinion as markedly different:“The disagreement with Qatar is a political and security dispute and has never been about military… But the deployment of troops with their armored vehicles is a military escalation for which Qatar will bear the consequences.”Modest US DefianceRepublican US Senator, Bob Corker, vowed Monday night to withhold his consent regarding any US arms sales to GCC countries until the crisis in the Gulf has been resolved.Any sale of arms is mandated to go through a preliminary approval process before heading to full Congress for a 30-day review period. In his position as Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Corker finds himself uniquely positioned to apply pressure for a resolution.In a letter to US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, with whom he shares a close relationship, Corker stated that “all countries in the region need to do more to combat terrorism, but recent disputes among the GCC countries only serve to hurt efforts to fight ISIS (ISIL) and counter Iran.”Iran Asks Europe to Step Up Pressure for ResolutionSpeaking in Berlin on Monday, Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, urged European countries to use their influence more effectively to intercede in the crisis to bring about a timely solution.Accusing the blockade countries of “punishing Qatar and Iran to deflect attention away from their governments’ handling of their own people,” Zarif said, “When foreign policy becomes a commodity, then purchasing military equipment becomes your yardstick for measuring who is a terrorist and who isn’t a terrorist.”As if to signal his agreement, Zarif’s German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, called the blockade’s list of demands against Qatar “very provocative.” Gabriel made the remark during a speech at an event presented by the European Council on Foreign Relations.Students in an UproarThe blockade, now in its third week, has affected all areas of Qatari life, including students from three of Qatar’s neighbours. Unable to complete their exams, the students have been refused their certificates and had their educational accounts closed. Their school registrations have also been revoked, prompting Qatar’s Human Rights Watch Committee to declare its official objection to the “serious threat” to students posed by the blockade.Al Jazeera Issues its Own ResponseIn an open letter published on Monday, Qatar-funded network Al Jazeera issued its own response to the list of blockade demands, which included the network’s closure.According to the statement, “The attempt to silence Al Jazeera is an attempt to silence independent journalism in the region, and to challenge everyone’s freedom to be heard and to be informed. This must not be allowed to happen”Espousing professional journalistic pride, the network affirmed its determination to carry out “our responsibility of providing reliable information, and giving those we cover a voice.”“We will continue to do our job with integrity. We will continue to be courageous in the pursuit of the truth. And we will continue to respect people’s rights to be heard,” it continued. read more

Morocco 5th Most Attractive in Arab World for Foreign Investment SAGIC

Rabat – Morocco ranks first in the Maghreb region and fifth in the Arab world in terms of FDI flows in 2016, worth a total of USD 2.5 billion, representing 7.5 percent of the total foreign investments received in the Arab countries, according to the Arab Investment and Credit Guarantee Corporation (SAGIC).In a study run by the corporation which analyzed 109 country annually, Morocco ranked ahead of Algeria (6th), Tunisia (9th) and Libya (11th). The study entitled “Investment Climate in Arab Countries”, based on 58 indices and factors providing an overview of foreign investment in 109 Arab countries, ranked the United Arab Emirates first in the list with USD 9 billion worth of FDI in 2016, followed by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon. France topped the list of the most important countries investing in Morocco between January 2012 and December 2016, with a total amount of USD 3.5 billion and 83 projects supervised by 77 companies. China came second with USD 2.8 billion, followed by the UAE in third place with USD 2.7 billion.The United States is the fourth largest foreign investor in Morocco with USD 1.8 billion, followed by Spain with 1.6 billion and Italy with USD 1.5 billion.According to the study, investments in Morocco were mainly concentrated on 10 sectors, including renewable energies, real estate, and the automobile industry.Shanghai Chinese Electronic is one of the top five investment companies in the kingdom between 2012 and 2016, followed by Italian Enel, PSA Group and Middle East Development from France, and the Emirati company Ap Mollet Maersk.In terms of new FDI projects, Morocco is ranked 5th on the list with a backlog of USD 6.5 billion, or 7.1 percent, in the Arab world. During the period 2003-2016, Morocco received 888 new projects, creating 241,772 jobs in 698 companies. In first place, Egypt recorded USD 40.9 billion, with more than 44 percent of new projects in the MENA region.The study also showed that Morocco mainly exports electronic appliances, railway products, clothing, fertilizers, and fish. read more

Morocco Denies Media Allegation over Arrest of Saudi National in 2015

Rabat – Morocco’s justice ministry has denied media allegations that Morocco helped “disappear” Saudi Prince Turki bin Mohammed Bandar Al Saud in 2015.The Ministry of Justice issued a statement describing the information as unfounded and misleading.The Rabat Court of Cassation, the only court which handles extradition decisions, rendered Judgement 2209/3 in 2015, approving Morocco’s extradition of the Saudi national to Saudi Arabia. Moroccan authorities arrested Prince Turki at Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport on November 11, 2015, “under an international arrest warrant.”The Saudi prince, a former high-ranking Saudi police officer, was heading to Paris.“This wasn’t a disappearance, as some in the media have described it, but a normal procedure,” Morocco’s justice minister Mohamed Aujjar told AFP.“The two phases, administrative and judicial were respected after his arrest made on the basis of an international arrest warrant,” he added.On October 11, French newspaper Le Monde reported that Prince Turki had been in conflict with the Saudi royal family over a land dispute and had “posted videos on YouTube calling for reforms.”Le Monde claimed that Prince Turki was “discreetly arrested in Morocco by local authorities, then transferred to Saudi Arabia.”The media allegation came in the midst of international uproar over the sudden disappearance of a Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, known for his staunch criticism of Saudi foreign policy decisions. Turkish authorities declared on October 6 that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, four days after his disappearance.British newspaper the Guardian reported on October 8,  “Prince Turki bin Bandar al-Saud, who applied for asylum in France, disappeared in 2015.”The Guardian also published an article on March 29, 2016, about the “disappearance” of Prince Turki.The British newspaper cited a member of the Saudi opposition who was in touch with Prince Turki shortly after he was arrested.“Someone gave Turki bin Bandar the impression Morocco was safe so he went there to do some business and the Moroccan government took him and gave him to the Saudis,” he said.The Moroccan Ministry of Justice stated that Morocco was “surprised at the unverified and misleading publications” by international media.“Morocco wishes to recall that all acts of extradition are always based on a court decision, in accordance with international procedures and in full respect of national legislation guaranteeing the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals.” read more