New Delhi: Varun Dhawan is expanding his horizon with each of his projects — be it “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”, “October” and the recent release “Kalank”, which has become the highest opener of 2019 so far. The actor says he treats each project as a challenge, and pushes himself to improve his craft. “I am not scared of failure, but each movie is a challenge. I work harder with each project and try and improve my work constantly,” Varun told IANS over an email. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka After back-to-back successes, the actor says experimenting with one’s craft comes as a bigger risk. “It’s definitely a bigger risk because it is a different experience for me. I think that showing your experience is more important and reaching the audience is essential,” added the actor, who is associated with Skybags and features in the “Always a Star” campaign. But he prefers not to think much about failure. “Failure and success come with every occupation and the film industry is no different. I believe that what goes around comes around. Bad things happen, followed by better things.” Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna The younger of the two sons of director David Dhawan, Varun entered Bollywood as an actor with “Student of the Year” in 2012. He worked as an assistant director to Karan Johar on the 2010 drama “My Name Is Khan”. After walking into Bollywood as a student, Varun has graduated after showcasing his calibre with each of his projects. From playing the role of a small town boy from Jhansi in “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”, to getting the act right in dance film “ABCD 2” to the dark and gritty “Badlapur” to the subtle “October” to fun films like “Dilwale”, “Dishoom”, “Main Tera Hero” and “Judwaa 2” — he has aced his performance in each of the projects. Hollywood star Dwayne Johnson has been an inspiration in his life as he navigated the world of glitz and glamour. “Dwayne Johnson was my main inspiration before I stepped into the industry. I have always admired his work and creativity,” he said. Varun is back on the big screen — this time in an intense avatar as Zafar in “Kalank”. The Abhishek Varman directorial, a period drama, registered business of Rs 21.60 crore on the first day, surpassing the opening day collection of “Kesari”, “Gully Boy” and “Total Dhamaal”, and has become the highest opener of 2019 so far. According to trade expert Taran Adarsh, “Kalank”, which opened on Wednesday, is Varun’s biggest opener. Talking about the role, he said: “I would define the entire experience as the most challenging role I have done so far. It was really challenging as I had to do all the stunts by myself like going through a wringer, me banging myself against the wall and jumping off heights.”
Wellington: A judicial inquiry into whether New Zealand’s police and intelligence services could have prevented the Christchurch mosque attacks in which 51 worshippers died began taking evidence on Monday. The royal commission — the most powerful judicial probe available under New Zealand law — will examine events leading up to the March 15 attack in which a lone gunman opened fire on two mosques in a mass shooting that shocked the world. “This is a critical part of our ongoing response to the attack — the commission’s findings will help to ensure such an attack never happens here again,” PM Ardern said.
New Delhi: Air India said on Wednesday it had set up a high-level inquiry to probe a sexual harassment complaint filed against a commander by one of its woman pilots. According to a complaint filed by the pilot, the incident allegedly took place on May 5 in Hyderabad where she was being trained by the commander. “As soon as the matter came to our notice, we immediately set up a high level enquiry,” an Air India spokesperson said. In the complaint, the pilot has alleged that the instructor suggested that the two should have dinner at a restaurant in Hyderabad after the session was over on May 5. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework “We went to (a) restaurant at around 8 pm and this is where my ordeal started…. He started with telling me how depressed and unhappy he was in his married life,” the complainant says in her complaint. “He also asked me how I coped with my husband living away and whether I didn’t need to have sex everyday. He asked me if I masturbated, etc,” she alleged. “At some point I told him I did not want to talk about all this and called a cab.” The pilot alleged that the commander’s behaviour worsened during the half-hour wait for the cab. “I was left shocked at this behaviour and felt extremely uncomfortable, scared and humiliated,” she said. The woman said she felt “morally obliged” to report this matter to the airline so that such behaviour is not repeated with anyone else in the future.
Agadir- On November 1st, Germany made history for being the first European country to allow parents to leave the gender box blank. The decision aims to create legal recognition for babies born with a genitalia abnormality that makes it impossible to determine the sex as male or female.This decision will take the pressure off the parents who, in the past, were obliged to decide on a sex of baby forthwith, before even considering future surgery. Not having to pick a gender will also allow these babies, once grown individuals, to choose to be attributed to either sex, or none.” We will have fellow human beings with no sex registered. They can’t be forced into either one of the traditional sexes in these other contexts.” stated University of Bremen law professor Konstanze Plett. Silvan Agius, policy director at Equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people in Europe (ILGA), thinks that this move is an interesting one but does not go far enough. “Unnecessary surgeries will likely continue in Germany with devastating consequences. We live in a world where having a baby classified as ‘other’ is still considered undesirable.” Silvan stated. In 2011, Australia allowed an option for third gender, or “X” in passports as well.While this may be a thoughtful move for the babies of undetermined anatomical sex and their parents, but it could create bureaucratic or travel issues. “Those traveling with “No Gender” papers could encounter difficulties in many other countries”, published SuddeutscheZeitung. “The laws referring to men or women could also be unapplied to the “No Gender” individuals”, the German daily stated. Perhaps, the whole legislation might have to be reviewed.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Fez – Badr Rami, a Moroccan-Syrian musical artist, performed at the Fez Festival for the fifth time and held a press conference to discuss his work afterwards. According to his father, Rami has been talented since a very young age. His family was always passionate abut music and art and at just three years old, he was able to play the Derbouka (a Moroccan drum).While growing up in Casablanca, he performed and participated in celebrations and parties, though he didn’t partake in singing contests. His father is a maestro of a band and his mother is a famous doctor. After he graduated high school, Rami performed in the Festival of Arab Music and then went on to receive a degree in marketing and administrative management. The musician says he looks up to other artists such as Sabah Fakhri and Oum Kalthoum. He believes Morocco is a fertile land for artists to flourish and he is very passionate and proud of the culture and history of his country.Despite his upbringing and fan base, he also has an audience outside of the Arab world. Rami has performed in places such at the Lillie Opera House in France as well as the United States.Rami plans to release a new album by the end of this year.Photo credit: Zoubir Ali
Rabat – Handicraft exports increased by 30.6% this late January compared to the same period in 2016, registering an historic growth for the industry.According to the Ministry of Crafts and Social and Solidarity Economy, this development affected the majority of export products, especially footwear, which saw their export volume triple by January 2016. Regaining their rank of the most exported products, footwear was followed by clothing, which marked a 68% increase and brassware with 66%.Pottery/stone craft and carpet making followed suit with growth rates of 52% and 33% respectively, the ministry disclosed. It added that, in terms of shares, carpets (20%), pottery/stone craft (19.3%) and clothing (16.6%) account for the bulk of the turnover. Moroccan artisanal exports to Arab countries increased exponentially in January 2017, multiplying by a 2.6-fold increase over the same period in the past year. The ministry highlighted that the growth of exports to Japan showed an increase of 80%.In Europe, the volume of artisanal products exports has evolved significantly: Belgium by 65%, Spain 26% and England 7,2%.The US also represented good performance with a growth rate of 58.5% and a 28% share in export turnover. As for exports to African countries, they registered a significant increase of 7.3%, stated the ministry.At the national level, exports of handicrafts passing through the cities of Oujda and Nador marked a sharp increase in January 2017, with sales three times greater than that recorded a year earlier. Casablanca followed with 48%, Fez with 16% and Rabat with an increase of 6.3%.In terms of shares in export turnover, Casablanca and Marrakech qualified as the main exporting centers for Moroccan handicrafts, 72%. Casablanca is positioned to become the country’s future capital of Handicraft Exports.The year 2016 saw a record 16% increase in handicraft exports, a figure that has not been seen by the industry for more than 15 years. This growth has been achieved thanks to Morocco’s tourism boom that has welcomed more than 10 million tourists in the past year alone.
Rabat – Nasser Zafzafi, the detained leading activist of the Hirak protest movement in Rif region, has been transferred to the headquarters of the National Brigade of Judiciary Police (BNPJ), lawyer Khadija Rougani, a member of the activist’s defense team, has announced.The lawyer said that Zafzafi’s transfer to the BNPJ’s headquarters is probably related to a letter attributed to Zafzafi that was published by media on Thursday.“To this point, it is not clear why he is under interrogation. The reason could mostly be the letter that circulated,” Rougani said in a statement to Lakome2. Zafzafi has been under detentions in Oukacha Prision in Casablanca. He and dozens of other activists held in Casablanca and Al Hoceima are accused of several heavy crimes including “undermining the security” of the country.On Thursday, online media outlets published a letter attributed to Zafzafi urging the population of Al Hoceima to preserve in their endeavors until their “legitimate demands” are answered.He also warned his follow protesters against violence, calling such actions a betrayal of the movement’s peaceful principles.“He who throws a stone has betrayed Hirak and the detainees, and he who breaks a glass is not [a member] of Hirak,” reads the letter.The General Directorate of the Prison and Reintegration Administration (DGAPR) released a statement later on denying the letter was written by Zafzafi, even though Mohammed Ziane, another member of his defense team, said the letter was indeed written by his client.
Rabat – Shortly after Robert Mugabe stepped down as president of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the newly appointed president has reiterated his country’s “firm” and “principled” support to the so-called Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.According to Zimbabwean news outlet The Herald, Mnangagwa received on Wednesday Mohamed Yeslem Beissat, a special envoy of Brahim Ghali, the so-called Polisario Front leader.The envoy then affirmed that Mnangagwa reiterated his country’s full support and solidarity “that has always linked the Sahrawi Republic with the Republic of Zimbabwe and has always been between Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Polisario Front.” Both sides agreed on strengthening the “precious bonds” that links them, according to the same source.Zimbabwe’s stance on the Moroccan integrity was crystal-clear since Mugabe’s presidency. The return of Morocco to the African Union on January 31 caused the former president outrage. Fifty-four countries voted in favor of Morocco’s return to the African Union. Members who voted against were Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Algeria and Namibia, all known for their firm support for the Polisario Front.The President-elect took office on Friday, November 24, three days after the resignation of Mugabe on November 21.International Community Support For Morocco’s Autonomy PlanMorocco has been committed to finding an accurate political solution to the Sahara issue. In 2006, the kingdom outlined its Autonomy Plan to the United Nations that has long been engaged in the issue to find a peaceful solution to the four-decades conflict.The UN previous resolutions were not as effective as Morocco’s Autonomy Plan initiative, which was endorsed by the international community as well as UN bodies. Unlike Polisario’s moves, Morocco’s Autonomy Plan was commended by many countries since it was brought on the table. In October, 21 Peruvian members of parliament expressed their support in a signed letter to Ricardo Luna, Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.The plan was also welcomed by a series of resolutions issued by the United Nations Security Council since 2017, including resolution 2351 of late April, that described the Moroccan initiative as “serious and credible.”Saint Lucia also reaffirmed its support for the Moroccan plan as a basis for consensual solution to the issue. On November 17, St Lucia’s External Affairs Minister Sarah Flood-Beaubrun reiterated her country’s full support for the autonomy plan, commending King Mohammed VI’s development projects in the Moroccan southern provinces.In October, Qatar and Emirates also expressed their support for Morocco’s Plan, saying that the best solution to end the conflict must respect Morocco’s sovereignty over the region.During the 13th France-Morocco High Level Meeting that took place November 15 and 16, France’s stance on Morocco’s autonomy plan was also highlighted through a final statement issued at the end of the event. France lauded Morocco’s commitment to work with Horst Kohler, the new Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI chaired a council of ministers Monday and appointed 14 ambassadors to primarily Middle Eastern, European, and South American countries.The council was held on August 20, the Day of the Revolution of the King and People. Following the council of ministers, the spokesperson of the Royal Palace, Abdelkader Lamrini, briefed the press on the most important decisions made during the meeting.According to Lamrini, the King’s appointment of ambassadors to represent the kingdom abroad came in accordance with the proposal of Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita. Mohamed Sitri, former ambassador to Jordan was appointed to represent Morocco as the new ambassador to Qatar.Khalid Naciri, former minister of communication, was appointed to represent Morocco as ambassador to Jordan.Youssef Amrani, who holds the position of delegate-minister for foreign affairs, was appointed as Moroccan ambassador to South Africa.Former Ambassador to Austria Lofi Bouachra was appointed as the new ambassador to Russia.The King also appointed Youssef Bella, who served as Moroccan ambassador to Peru, as the new ambassador to Italy.Mohamed Ali Lazrak, secretary general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was appointed as ambassador to Turkey, while Amine Choudri was appointed as ambassador to Peru.Former Ambassador to Italy Hassan Abouyoub was appointed as new ambassador to Romania.Azzedine Farhane, who served as ambassador to Vietnam, was appointed ambassador to Austria, while Yassir Fares was appointed as ambassador to Argentina.Other newly appointed ambassadors are: Jamal Chaibi, ambassador to Vietnam;Zhor El Alaoui, ambassador to Germany; and Rajaa Naji Mekkaoui, ambassador to the Vatican.The King has also appointed Samir Addahre as an ambassador to UNICEF.Loubna Trisha was appointed as director of the Office of Vocational Training and the Promotion of Work (OFPPT) on the proposal of El Ohmani and Minister of Education Said Amzazi.The King also appointed Abdellatif Bardach as the director of the National Electricity Regulatory Authority.
NEW YORK — President Donald Trump’s company is scrapping plans for two new hotel chains announced two years ago, casting blame in part on a hostile political environment.The Trump Organization said Thursday that it will no longer try to open hotels under its Scion and American Idea brands catering to budget and mid-priced travellers, a departure from its focus on luxury hotels. The announcement comes as the company has posted losses at a few of its golf properties and brand experts say it has lost some of its appeal.“We live in a climate where everything will be used against us, whether by the fake news or by Democrats who are only interested in presidential harassment and wasting everyone’s time, barraging us with nonsense letters,” the president’s son, Eric Trump, said in an emailed statement. “We already have the greatest properties in the world and if we have to slow down our growth for the time being, we are happy to do it.”The rollout began with promises of fast success. The company said in March 2017 that nearly two dozen developers had already signed letters of intent to open mid-priced Scion hotels, and was enthusiastic about the future prospects.“It’s full steam ahead,” said Eric Danziger, who oversees the hotel business for the family. “It’s in our DNA.”But the avalanche of deals never materialized, as was the case for its budget-priced American Idea, which was launched a few months later at a party at the Trump Tower in New York.The only developer willing to strike a deal was Chawla Hotels of Mississippi, which planned to open as many as four hotels in the state — but now that is off, too.“In today’s politically charged environment,” hotel consultant Lee Hunter told The Associated Press recently, “everyone is cautious.”The company is also struggling with some self-imposed restraints on expanding its business.When Trump became president, he handed day-to-day control of the company to Eric and his other adult son, Donald Jr. He also agreed his company would not pursue new deals abroad and that domestic deals would be vetted by a lawyer hired to make sure they posed no conflicts with Trump’s presidency.“We walked away from billions of dollars’ worth of deals and ceased virtually all expansion,” said Eric Trump in his statement. “We continue to make tremendous sacrifices and understand the bigger picture more than anyone — our father has the most important and powerful job in the world.”The Trump Organization did not dismiss the possibility that it could revive the new brands someday, perhaps when Trump leaves the presidency.The end of the rollout follows bad news for the company in other areas.Charities have cancelled events at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, his Scottish clubs lose millions of dollars each year and several buildings have stripped the Trump names off their facades.The Trump Organization owns or has licensed its name to 17 golf clubs and more than two dozen hotels and residential buildings around the world.The Trump Organization has also drawn scrutiny in federal probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Michael Cohen’s campaign finance violations. More recently, it is facing blowback from Democrats in Congress for firing long-time workers at several of its U.S. golf clubs for being in the country illegally, raising doubts about its hiring practices amid the president’s vow to crack down on such workers and build a wall to keep more from coming in.The company has said it had no choice but to fire workers once it discovered they were in the country illegally.Bernard Condon, The Associated Press
Rabat – Jilali, 42, a Moroccan immigrant who has been living and working on farms in Italy for 18 years, wanted to spend the last days of his life with his mother and family in Morocco.Back in August, Jilali traveled to Morocco to visit his mother. When he returned to Italy, his health began to deteriorate, and he soon discovered he was suffering from neurological cancer.After Jilali learned that he only had a few months to live, according to his doctor at a hospital in Eboli town, Italy, he wanted to go back to Morocco but knew he could not afford his travel expenses. Read Also: Morocco Opens Low-Cost Anti-Cancer Treatment FactoryA Moroccan cultural mediator in Italy, Fatiha Chakir, learned about his situation and called for charitable people to donate and help Jilali cover his travel expenses to Morocco and even some of his treatment.Jilali was thankful that the donations were even sufficient to cover his medical expenses, especially since his “hospital only opens three days for take-away medicine.”Donations poured in, and Jilali landed safely in Casablanca on Monday. Chakir has shared pictures of Jilali at home with his mother on her Facebook account.The mayor of Eboli, Massimo Cariello, applauded the initiative, saying, according to Italian news outlet La Republica: “We are proud of this wonderful initiative by our citizens.”
BEIJING — China says U.S. trade negotiators will arrive in Beijing late Thursday afternoon and start the new round of talks with a working dinner.Chinese commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said the discussions are expected to last for a full day Friday.The talks are aimed at ending a tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions amid official suggestions they might be making progress.Thursday’s meeting is the latest in a rapid-fire series of exchanges seeking to end a conflict that is disrupting trade in goods from soybeans to medical equipment.President Donald Trump expressed optimism last week, saying, “we’re getting very close.”The dispute erupted after Trump raised duties last year on Chinese imports in response to complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology.The Associated Press
Rabat – Thousands gathered in the streets of Algiers’ Belcourt quarter on Saturday, chanting and singing, some draped in the bright hues of the Algerian flag. Such crowds are a familiar sight for Algeria, which has been rocked by anti-government protests since February, but Saturday’s march was not a demonstration but a funeral procession—that of Abbassi Madani, an exiled Islamist leader who died in Qatar on April 24. He was 88 years of age.Abbassi Madani founded the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) political party, which in 1991 seemed poised to come to power in Algeria. Instead, the military dismantled the organization, incarcerating Madani and other leaders and hurtling the nation into a decade-long civil war. Both hailed as a champion of traditional Algerian values and decried as the instigator of a bloody conflict, Madani has long been a divisive figure for Algerians. But such public emotion at his funeral aired questions about the place of Islamism in the uncertainty of a post-Bouteflika Algeria. A unifying leaderMadani was born in 1931 in Sidi Okba, a small municipality in northwestern Algeria where Okba ibn Nafi, the leader of the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, is buried. Madani’s father, an imam, initially enrolled him in a religious school. He later got a French education.For an opposition leader, Madani was full of contradictions. He was a staunch Islamist but also Western-educated, obtaining a doctorate from the University of London in 1980. He was a revolutionary and veteran of the 1954 Algerian War but later a professor at the University of Algiers. And though he had once been a National Liberation Front (FLN) loyalist and a childhood friend of revolutionary leader Larbi Ben M’hidi, by the 1980s, he was set against the FLN’s one-party rule. “We entered an era of despair, failure, and disaster [after the FLN came to power],” Madani said in a 1990 interview. “The Algerian state of 1962 had nothing to do with what had been conceived on the first of November 1954, for which we had taken up arms: An independent state founded on Islamic principles.”For years, Madani petitioned Houari Boumediene’s government to adopt Islamic law, creating, in 1963, the Islamic group Al-Qiyam, the forerunner of the FIS. For years, its calls saw few results. But in 1982, Madani led an Islamist demonstration on the campus of the University of Algiers that amassed thousands. Though he was arrested, it was a critical sign of change. Islamism was gaining momentum in Algeria.The preacher and the veteranMadani, a war veteran, a respected professor, and an unwavering moderate, had by the late 1980s the respect of Algeria’s moderate Islamists—the pious business classes and older generations. But Islamism in Algeria at the time was fractured and diverse. He could not unify its more radical elements on his own.In 1989, months after Algeria changed its Constitution to allow multiple political parties to operate, Madani founded the FIS, with Ali Benhadj as his deputy. Benhadj, a charismatic mosque preacher, was far younger than Madani, who was by then in his late 50s. Benhadj gave fiery speeches that appealed to Algeria’s restless youth and lower classes. Under their leadership, the FIS brought together separate Islamist groups in an unsteady alliance. Though its platforms and projects were at times contradicting and vague, in a matter of months the party had become spectacularly popular. In 1990, the FIS won Algeria’s local elections—the first free elections since independence. It seemed certain the group would unseat the FLN in the 1992 parliamentary race.But the FIS never gained power. The military, surprised and distressed by the swift success of Islamist parties, launched a coup on January 11, 1992, bringing Mohammed Boudiaf to power and toppling the FIS. Madani and Belhadj were imprisoned. The Algerian civil war had begun.An uncertain mourningMadani had lived in exile in Qatar since 2003, and died in Doha after a long illness, the Algerian Press Service said. Despite initial doubts that Madani would be buried in Algeria, the burial went forward. On the day of Madani’s death, Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani shared his condolences with Madani’s family in a statement on behalf of the Justice and Development Party (PJD).“[Madani] marked the Algerian nationalist movement against French colonization, his significant participation in the development of independent Algeria, and his participation in promoting reconciliation between the brotherly peoples of Morocco and Algeria,” El Othmani wrote. He continued to say that he felt a “deep sorrow” at Madani’s death.Not all were sure of how to mourn the Islamist figure. Oppositionists on Twitter called him an “extremist” and an “enemy to the nation.”But sorrow was visible at Madani’s funeral procession in Algiers and echoed across social media channels on Saturday. For 17 hours, crowds prayed and paid their respects on Mohamed Belouizdad Avenue in Algiers.“[The] funeral will be a barometric gauge for the ongoing Hirak and the Islamists’ role in the power struggle equation,” predicted political analyst Abdennour Toumi on April 26.And for many Algerians, both the mourners and those opposed, the crowd at Madani’s funeral was indeed a reminder of the lingering strength and solidarity of Algerian Islamists. In 1990, the Arabic language publication Qadaya Dawliyah interviewed Madani at the height of the FIS’s power, asking if the FIS would call for protests if the regime blocked the party in the elections. Madani answered no. Thirty years later, as Algeria’s protests entered their 10th week, Madani’s words seemed to echo their calls.“It is rather the regime that will take to the streets now,” he said in 1990. “The Algerian regime is not like other regimes. It is the child of Algeria and must listen to Algeria. If it does not listen to it and does not take to the streets, who is it then?”
CHICAGO — Federal authorities have accused a real estate developer of steering legal work to a powerful Chicago alderman in exchange for a permit and financing for a redevelopment project.The Chicago Tribune reports that 48-year-old Charles Cui, of Lake Forest, is charged in an indictment made public Friday with bribery, official misconduct and making a false statement to the FBI. Alderman Ed Burke isn’t named in the indictment, but it describes him by his titles.The 75-year-old Burke was indicted this year on charges alleging that he tried to shake down a restaurant owner who wanted to build in his ward. Burke denies wrongdoing.When reached by the Chicago Sun-Times , Cui referred a reporter to his attorney but hung up after being asked who that was.Cui is a managing partner of a company that owned property on Chicago’s northwest side.The Associated Press
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia’s prime minister says China has agreed to provide assistance if the European Union implements trade sanctions against the Southeast Asian nation over human rights violations and rule of law issues.Hun Sen announced the assurance Monday on his Facebook page as he was returning from Beijing, where he attended a forum about China’s multibillion-dollar “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative.The EU in February announced it was launching action that could suspend Cambodia’s preferential access to its market because of “severe deficiencies when it comes to human rights and labour rights.” The EU grants duty-free and quota-free access for items other than weapons.Hun Sen also said China — Cambodia’s closest ally — pledged a 600 million yuan ($89 million) military assistance grant.The Associated Press
Rabat – In the recent days, videos and pictures of a sub-saharan immigrant protesting against the low-quality service provided by the tramway company of Rabat-Sale are going viral.The immigrant, wearing a shirt with the Benin flag on it, lay down in front of a tramway wagon, saying that he would not move until his demands were met. In one of the videos, he explains the reasons behind his protest.“The tramway company did not inform us that there would be a malfunction today. A large tramway company, in a country such as Morocco, needs to notify people that there will be a malfunction of the tramway system one day before. They did not warn us,” explained the protester. The immigrant then explained his personal situation. He works for a call center in Agdal and his budget is very limited.“I came out of my place with just enough money to renew my transportation card. I don’t even have one dirham on me, not even one cent, look! I don’t have money to go to work,” he said while showing his empty wallet.The protester also shed some light on how the situation had evolved: “We arrived to Hassan bridge and they asked us to get off the tram; because of a malfunction. Why do we have to get off because of an electricity malfunction? It’s not our business. I paid for my transportation card. I don’t have money to pay for a taxi to go to work. They need to find me a solution.”Afterwards, the protester talked about what he saw as a racist comment from one of the bystanders. “I am complaining here and the man over there asked me ‘can you do this in your own country?’ This means that since it isn’t my country, I don’t have the right to talk, even if they step on me!” he exclaimed angrily.The man then expressed his demands: “I won’t move from here until they find me a solution. They need to pay a taxi for me to get to work, and give me a document to justify my late arrival to work.”Finally, the man urged everyone to defend their rights: “This happens because nobody speaks up. When this happens, everyone goes to their occupations and nobody talks about it. If everybody speaks up for their rights, this won’t continue. This needs to stop!”Moroccans expressed their support for the protester, and encouraged all fellow citizens to do the same when their rights are not respected.“If Moroccan citizens did acts like this one, our conditions would improve in many domains, especially trains, public administrations, and hospitals,” commented one Facebook user.“For those who don’t know it, transportation companies are legally bound to provide alternative transportation or a refund, along with a document to prove your late arrival to work or studies,” added another Facebook user in a comment.Tramway delays and malfunctions are not an unusual event in Rabat. Only a few days before this incident, on September 6, a tramway wagon malfunctioned near the National Library. Passengers were compelled to find other means of transportation to get to their destinations. Tramway traffic remained interrupted for more than two hours before getting back to normal.
Rabat – Royal Central reported on September 22 that Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary plans to travel to Morocco in October to take part in the Youth Innovation Summit.Royal Central added that the princess’ two-day visit will start from October 3-4.The Crown Princess will meet with participants in order to “discuss the experiences they have gained in their participation in the Youth Innovation Summit.” The summit will take place from September 30 to October 4 in Rabat.Read Also: Grand Duke, Duchess of Luxembourg Visit MoroccoAccording to the Youth Innovation Summit, the five-day event seeks to bring young people to “the forefront of sustainable development.”The website added that “100 young talents will be selected to work together on creative and innovative solutions to some of Morocco’s biggest social and economic challenges in an Innovation lab.”The event is part of a partnership between the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports; and the United Nations Development Program (UND).
OTTAWA — Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says its net income increased to a more normalized rate in the first quarter as the country’s economy continued to modestly improve.The country’s largest mortgage insurer says it earned $394 million for the three months ending March 31, up from $293 million in the same period a year earlier and compared with $370 million in the first quarter of 2017.Revenue totalled $1.48 billion, down six per cent from $1.58 billion last year. The decrease is largely attributable to lower government funding and a net gain from a significant rebound in equity markets.The agency says economic growth is still expected to pick up but with “less momentum than previously projected” as gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to increase 1.5 per cent this year and by 1.7 per cent in 2020.CMHC says it invested $777 million on behalf of the government to create and support housing for low- and middle-income Canadians, down from $1.02 billion a year ago, provided mortgage insurance for more than 39,000 homes and provided $39 billion in guarantees through mortgage funding activities.Overall arrears were at a rate of 0.3 per cent. The typical CMHC insured borrower had, on average, 7.6 per cent equity and a purchase price of $284,164.It also declared a dividend of $505 million payable to its shareholder, the federal government, which was more than offset by $575 million of comprehensive income. The Canadian Press
“These deplorable outrages again underscore the urgent need for all Iraqis to reject violence and together choose the path of peace and reconciliation,” the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said in a statement issued in the name of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Ashraf Qazi.Terming the attacks “particularly heinous and criminal,” Mr. Qazi – as he has done frequently in the past – again called on the Iraqi authorities to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators. In another development, the UN refugee agency reported that 17 Palestinian men sheltered in a Baghdad apartment building rented by the agency were taken away today by men dressed in Iraqi security force uniforms and driving security vehicles. A relative of one of those taken and a local aid worker said they were later released, but the agency was unable to immediately confirm this. Over the past year the agency has voiced increasing alarm for the Palestinians, who fled to Iraq following the creation of Israel in 1948. Some received preferential treatment under ousted President Saddam Hussein, and they have become targets for attack since his overthrow in 2003. Nearly 20,000 of them have already fled the country. Witnesses said the security men broke into the Palestinians’ apartments at 5 a.m., smashing doors and windows, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Ron Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva. “UNHCR is very concerned and is seeking further information,” he said. Mr. Qazi’s office was also taking it up with senior Iraqi officials, he added.Those taken away and their families had been evicted from their homes in 2003 after the change of regime and were initially housed in tents. There are still an estimated 15,000 Palestinians remaining in Iraq, “living in constant fear of harassment, killings and kidnappings,” Mr. Redmond said.Those who try to leave cannot get proper documents, and hundreds are stuck at the Syrian border. Another group has been stuck in an isolated camp in Jordan since 2003. “It is urgent that international support is found to bring at least a temporary solution for Palestinians from Iraq,” Mr. Redmond said.He noted that UNHCR had already tried, to no avail, to secure them entry into Jordan and Syria, return to the Palestinian territory with the permission of Israel, relocation to other Arab states, and resettlement outside the region. “At the same time, we continue to advocate for better protection of the Palestinian community inside Iraq. But under the present circumstances, return to Iraq is no option unless security is restored. Right now, it’s an untenable situation for the Palestinians and it is deteriorating on a daily basis,” he said. 23 January 2007The top United Nations envoy to Iraq today called on its political and religious leaders to do all in their power to “save the country from sliding further into the abyss of sectarianism” after yesterday’s bombings in Baghdad which killed or injured more than 200 innocent civilians.
1 June 2007The head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) today voiced optimism that upcoming parliamentary elections there will be as peaceful as the recent presidential ballot, and predicted the possible need for a coalition government. The head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) today voiced optimism that upcoming parliamentary elections there will be as peaceful as the recent presidential ballot, and predicted the possible need for a coalition government. “They went much better than any one of us could have expected,” UNMIT chief Atul Khare told reporters in New York today, referring to the two rounds of the presidential election in April and May, which led to the swearing in of President José Ramos-Horta just weeks ago. The biggest challenge following the upcoming parliamentary elections, Mr. Khare said, would be the process of forming a government in the country.“It is abundantly clear to me that with 14 political parties in the fray, possibilities of forming a coalition government would have to be examined very carefully. It appears as practically unlikely that that any political party would get a clear majority,” he stated.He pointed to the need to strengthen the security sector, taking into consideration of the future role of the army and police. Justice, governance and development will also require attention, he said.“We trust that the new government, the new leaders, would be in a position to address these challenges, supported by the United Nations, as they have been over the past several years,” Mr. Khare said. He said agreements recently signed by the parties will facilitate the upcoming polls.The Political Party Accord covers basic principles of governance after the elections, committing all parties to a constructive and inclusive democratic process for the new Government and opposition.The Code of Conduct signed by all political parties commits them, their candidates, their representatives and supporters to accept the results, or to challenge them only in competent courts, and to campaign positively through programmes of action not personal criticism of other candidates.Mr. Khare said the Accord “bodes well for [the] development of a genuine multi-party, liberal democracy” in Timor-Leste.The UN Mission, deployed following an outbreak of deadly violence last year, is helping with all aspects of the 2007 electoral processes, including technical and logistical support, electoral policy advice and verification.