Local farmers to start canola harvest this week

first_imgAs for the peas, Kassian says they will be a bit delayed as they need more sun and time to dry up and mature before they are ready to harvest.According to Kassian, some of the fields were hit hard by the unfavourable weather as some had wet spots and even crops knocked down.Environment Canada is calling for mostly warmer temperatures and sun this week, with a chance of showers on the weekend. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With the amounts of rain experienced for most of the summer in Fort St. John and surrounding areas, it looks like farmers are now getting a break in the weather.Kelly Kassian, manager of Viterra in Fort St. John, the crops and fields were affected by the steady rain but are now ready for harvest, starting on canola by the end of this week.“They didn’t mature as fast as we wanted them to because of all the rain and everything but they’re coming along now. We should have some canola start getting swathed down by the end of this week.”last_img read more

Retail inflation at 4month high of 257 in Feb as food prices

first_imgNew Delhi: Retail inflation jumped to a four-month high of 2.57 per cent in February due to costlier food articles, according to official data released Tuesday. The Consumer Price Index-based inflation for January was revised down to a 19-month low of 1.97 per cent from earlier estimate of 2.05 per cent. The retail inflation number for February 2019 is the highest since October 2018 when it stood at 3.38 per cent, the data released by the Central Statistics Office under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) showed. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepFood inflation was lower at (-) 0.66 per cent in February against 3.26 per cent in the same month last year. The retail inflation in February 2018 was at 4.44 per cent. On monthly basis, consumer food price index moved up by 0.15 per cent in February against January 2019. Protein-rich items such as meat & fish and eggs witnessed a quick rise prices at 5.92 per cent and 0.86 per cent respectively in February. Prices of cereal and products went up at 1.32 per cent. Prices of fruits (-4.62 per cent) and vegetables (- 7.69 per cent) continued to decline in February. In January, the prices declined 4.18 per cent and 13.32 per cent respectively. In fuel and light category, the rate of price rise slowed to 1.24 per cent from 2.20 per cent in January.last_img read more

Robben gives up hope of a return against Dortmund

first_imgBerlin: Bayern Munich’s veteran Dutch winger Arjen Robben has admitted he is unlikely to make a fairy-tale return from injury in the Bundesliga club’s top-of-the-table clash against Borussia Dortmund next week. Robben, 35, has been out of action for several months and is set to leave Bayern after a decade of service at the end of this season. An iconic figure at the club, he had hoped to return to fitness in time for the Dortmund game, but now appears to have given up on the idea. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh “I still don’t know whether I will be fit, we will have to see, but I think it is probably unrealistic,” Robben told Munich newspaper Abendzeitung at a charity run in central Munich on Wednesday evening. “I am on the road to recovery, but I am not yet training with the team,” he said. “I think it will take a bit more time. All I can do is keep working hard and fighting to get back on the pitch.” Robben’s last appearance for Bayern was in a 5-1 Champions League win over Benfica on November 27. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later Since then, he has struggled with a thigh injury and ongoing muscular issues. He was expected to return to full fitness after Bayern’s winter training camp in Doha in January, but nearly three months on, he is still out of action. In his 10 years at the club, Robben has become a Bayern legend, scoring 143 goals in 305 appearances and winning 11 domestic titles. His finest moment came at Wembley in 2013, when he fired Bayern to victory in the Champions League final with an 89th minute winner against Dortmund. Even if he is denied a final meeting with old foes Dortmund next week, Robben says he is determined to make another competitive appearance for Bayern before the end of the season. “These are my last two months at a club where I have spent 10 years. I want to play again, to pull on the shirt one more time,” he said. “That is the most important thing for me. I don’t care which game it is.”last_img read more

Mamata counters Modis barbs on her describes him as Expiry PM

first_imgDinhata (WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing him as “Expiry PM”, and strongly contested his allegations against her as being a ‘speedbreaker’ in the path of state’s development. Banerjee gave point-by-point rebuttal of charges levelled by Modi at rallies at Siliguri and later at Kolkata’s Brigade ground during the day, to nail the “lies” spoken about performance of her government. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja The war of words between Modi and Banerjee heated up the battle of Bengal in the ongoing general election. Bengal sends a total of 42 members to Lok Sabha, the third largest after Uttar Pradesh’s 80 and Maharashtra 48. Modi kickstarted BJP’s campaing in the state Wednesday launching onslaught on TMC supremo. Banerjee, whose partymen see her a PM candidate, preponed start of poll campaign in the state with a rally at Dinhata in Cooch Behar district to coincide with PM’s public meeting Wednesday. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Describing Modi as “Expiry Babu” and “Expiry PM”, Banerjee questioned what his government at the Centre has done for the welfare of people of the country. She dared him to participate in direct debate with her in television or in a public rally. Claiming that her government in West Bengal has done a lot for the welfare of the people of the state, Banerjee told a public rally here that income of farmers in the state has increased three times under her rule. “I am not Modi,I don’t tell lies,” she said, alleging that the PM has made false claims on performance of TMC government in West Bengal. She claimed that 12,000 farmers committed suicide during Modi rule in the country. The West Bengal chief minister said that her government has implemented several welfare schemes for the people of the state, like ‘Kanyashree’ for girls, ‘Yuvashree’ for the young people. “PM should not lie. You claim to have a 56 inch chest and u are resorting to lies,” she said. Banerjee said that West Bengal has been awarded by the Government of India for being the best among all states in implementing the 100-day minimum work guarantee scheme. “Its not my claim but your government has given the award for the achievement,” the firebrand leader said. Banerjee was termed as a speedbreaker in the path of the state’s development by the PM a couple of hours back in a rally at Siliguri. Rejecting Modi’s claim of doing everything for the welfare of tea garden workers, she said “you had promised to reopen seven closed tea gardens, but you have not done anything.” She said that Modi had promised before the 2014 elections to give every poor person Rs 15 lakhs in their bank accounts, but has not given a single penny. Banerjee also said that the BJP government at the Centre has not done anything for the Rajbanghsis, an ethnic group with a sizeable population in the North Bengal despite having made “tall claims.” Regarding Modi’s accusation that Banerjee has deprived the people of West Bengal of benefits under Ayushman Bharat scheme, she said the PM was seeking all credit for it though the state government had to shell out 40 per cent of the cost of the programme. “Why should I give it to you, I will do it myself,” she said. She said that her government will introduce a scheme that will benefit 7.5 crore people in the state. Charting out achievements and welfare schemes of her government that has been in power in Bengal since 2011, Banerjee said that she has introduced insurance for farmers and waived mutation fees for farmland sales. Livid at the PM’s accusations against her on the Pulwama attacks and the Balakot airstrike in Pakistan, Banerjee said “we are nationalists and not fascists.” She said that the Centre had prior intelligence on a possible terror attack on the CRPF convoy, but despite that the Pulwama incident happened in which 40 troopers were killed. Saying that Modi should not try to teach her nationalism, she said “you had information, but without taking action you led the CPRF jawans to death.” Banerjee said that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has insulted that the Armed forces of the country by terming them as ‘Modi Sena’. She alleged that ‘Modi Sena’ are those who indulge in rioting and assaulting people who do not conform to their ways, and terming the country’s Army the same is an insult to the bravehearts who serve the country. Regarding Modi’s claim that her boat was sinking in Bengal, Banerjee said “Agey Delhi samla, tarpor dekhish Bangla (First manage Delhi and then look at Bengal).” Claiming that the “Chowkidar is acting like a fascist,” she said “you are talking of air strike, you will see voter strike.” She claimed that in Assam NRC, 22 lakh Hindu Bengali voters have been excluded, while 23 lakh Bengali muslims have been left out of the citizenship register in the north-eastern state. The chief minister said that though Modi has assured the Gorkhas in Darjeeling and other places in the state that they have nothing to worry about the NRC, she said that there are several elements in it for the Gorkhas to fear. “Go to Assam to see how many people have died and how many families have been devastated because of NRC,” she said. Banerjee claimed that if the BJP government returned to power in the general elections,they will change the Constitution and there will be no democracy in the country. Claiming that the Modi government intimidates anyone opposing it by raids and other tactics, she dared the PM saying “Catch me if you can, touch me if you can.” “I am also from a Hindu family. ..but I don’t go by your Hinduism. My parents did not teach me this type of Hinduism where you hate people,” she said.last_img read more

US restrictions wont affect 5G plans Huawei

first_imgBeijing: Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Chinese tech giant Huawei, on Tuesday denied that restrictions imposed by the US on its products and supplies will affect the roll-out of 5G technology. In an interview with Chinese state media, Ren said that the decision by some American tech companies to stop selling components and software to Huawei “doesn’t mean much” and added that the company was already prepared to deal with the ban, reports Efe news. “We can make chips as good as those made by US companies, but it does not mean that we will not buy chips from them,” Ren said. Huawei’s founder acknowledged that the clash with the US was inevitable owing to the company’s interest in becoming one of the global leaders of the 5G technology and said that “others will definitely not be able to catch up with Huawei in 5G technologies for two or three years”. “But in our business (5G), Huawei is at the forefront, though when it comes to comparison between countries, we are still far behind the United States,” he added. The Huawei executive also said that his company will not exclude US chips and that Huawei was “very grateful” to the US companies including tech multinational IBM. “Instead, we should grow together. But if there is a supply shortage, we have a backup. In the “peace period”, half of our chips are from the US companies and half from Huawei. We cannot be isolated from the world,” he said. When asked how long the crisis surrounding the company would last, Ren said the question should be directed at US President Donald Trump. “Blame should be directed at US politicians, not companies,” he said. Ren’s remarks comes a day after the US Department of Commerce issued a temporary general license lifting the ban on Huawei and its subsidiaries to prepare for a transition. The Department said in a statement that the decision was taken to grant “operators time to make other arrangements and the Department space to determine the appropriate long term measures for Americans and foreign telecommunications providers that currently rely on Huawei equipment for critical services”. Last week, the US included Huawei in a list of companies and individuals that would be denied access to US technologies. As an outcome of this ban, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has revoked Huawei’s Android license, which means the Chinese telecom giant will lose access to updates to the Android operating system except those available through an open source license and also no longer have access to Google’s proprietary services such as Google Maps. Huawei on Monday said it “will continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those that have been sold and that are still in stock globally”. “We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally,” the company said in a statement. US semi-conductor companies such as Intel, Qualcomm, Xilinx Inc and Broadcom and Germany’s Infineon Technologies as well as American chip manufacturing firms including Micron Technology and Western Digital will also stop supplying components to Huawei in compliance with Trump’s order, which could delay the global roll-out of 5G networks.last_img read more

36 Taliban militants killed in Afghanistan

first_imgKABUL – Afghan Interior Ministry says 15 militants have been seized in operations in several provinces of Afghanistan.At least 36 Taliban militants were killed and 18 others were wounded in joint operations led by Afghan and NATO forces across the country on Monday.Afghan Interior Ministry said 15 militants were seized in operations conducted in Helmand, Paktiya, Wardak, Kandahar, Baghlan and Kunar provinces of Afghanistan.One person was killed in a bomb attack when a bomb placed in a car detonated in the Afghan capital, Kabul.Another bomb attack, in southern Afghanistan killed one person from the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), a NATO-led security mission in Afghanistan.last_img read more

FIFM Moroccan actress prevented from finishing an interview on the red

first_imgMarrakech- A Moroccan actress taking part in the 13th edition of the Marrakech Film Festival was prevented from finishing an interview to the press, according to the Moroccan daily Aujourd’hui le Maroc.Moroccan actress and film producer Mayssae El Maghribi, who lives in the Gulf, was prevented to finish an interview she was giving to an Arabic TV channel. The reason was to allow American actress, Sharon Stone, to have enough room to give interviews to the TV channel present on the red carpet. The 13th edition of the International Marrakech Film Festival kicked off Friday night with a tribute to Sharone Stone. The opening ceremony was attended by a number of renowned figures in the film industry, including Egyptian stars Adil Imam, Yousra and Izat El Alayli.last_img read more

Arabs Muslims honor Mandelas legacy

first_imgArab and Muslim figures on Friday mourned the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela, noting his cause as an example for the world to follow.Egypt’s presidency released an official obituary statement, reflecting on Mandela’s fight for justice and the struggle to end apartheid.“Egypt had a leading role in supporting the resistance of African countries to reach their freedom and independence. Because of its hard stance against racial discrimination in South Africa, Egypt did not hesitate to cut diplomatic relations with South Africa’s former racist government.” al-Masry al-Youm website quoted the statement as saying. “Leaders like Nelson Mandela, Gamal Abdul Nasser, and the African forefathers who struggled for freedom and independence will forever be a source of inspiration to people, and an example to lead by.“He will remain in the hearts and mind of Egyptians as one of the most prominent symbols of national struggle in the modern world,” added the statement.Ahmad al-Muslimani, presidential advisor to Adly Mansour, publicly commented on Mandela’s death, saying that Egypt and the African continent will always remember him as a lieutenant of pride and glory, reported al-Fagr news website.Cairo feels deep sorrow for the departure of an iconic figure of national freedom and independence, and his cause will always inspire those seeking justice, said the Egyptian official.Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani tweeted: “With a heavy heart, we say goodbye to Nelson Mandela. Surely, his legacy will remain a source of #inspiration and courage for all people.”Pakistan’s former Interior Minister Rehman Malik, like a number of Pakistani figures, also took to Twitter to mourn the Mendela’s loss.“The world has lost Nelson Mandela a great leader and symbol of struggle. May God bless his soul in peace,” Malik tweeted.Solid standPalestinian president Mahmoud Abbas also commented on Mandela‘s death, highlighting the former South African leader‘s stand with the Palestinian cause.“The Palestinian people will never forget his historic statement that the South African revolution will not have achieved its goals as long as the Palestinians are not free,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was quoted by AFP as saying.Influential Palestinian Islamist group Hamas called Mandela “one of the biggest supporters of our cause,” according to Reuters.“Today a great freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela has died, one of the world’s most important symbols of freedom,” Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official, was quoted by Reuters as saying.In the United States, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization in the United States, released a statement to pay tribute to Mandela’s death.“Throughout his life, Nelson Mandela served as an example of strength in adversity to all those fighting for freedom and justice. His legacy of uncompromising perseverance in the face of bigotry and injustice will live on for generations to come,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad in the statement.CAIR‘s statement on the occasion quoted a saying by the Prophet Mohammad: “For every day on which the sun rises, there is a [reward] for the one who establishes justice among people.”Silent prayerSouth African political party group al-Jama’ah called on Muslims to perform a silent prayer for former president Nelson Mandela, reported South African-based news website Independent Online.The pro-Muslim group, founded in 2007, also released a statement reacting to the death of the popular leader.“The greatest gift one can give to a human being is freedom and that is what Mandela did for all South Africans,” The Independent Online quoted al-Jama’ah party leader Ganief Hendricks as saying in the statement.“The party has asked all Muslims to observe all protocols as Muslim leaders from every Arab and Muslim country visit South Africa over the next two weeks to pay their respects to the country and comfort South Africans,” he added.According to Hendricks, the party will be paying tribute to Mandela by feeding the poor and participating in goodwill programs over the next two weeks, reported the news website.Source: Al Arabiyalast_img read more

Israeli Lawmaker Suggests Lack of P in Arabic is Proof Palestine

By Jonathan WalshRabat – Anat Berko prompted widespread ridicule after suggesting during parliamentary debates that there can be no such thing as “Palestine,” based on the fact Palestinian people do not use the letter ‘P’ in Arabic.The 56-year-old member of the ruling Likud party made the comments during a debate in the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) on Wednesday. “As we’ve noted, the letter ‘P’ doesn’t even exist in Arabic, so the borrowed term (Palestine) is worth looking into,” Berko said.Referring to the Roman use of the name ‘Palaestina’ to describe the area, she continued. “The source of the name is clear,” she said.“What? Did everyone hear this? Are you an idiot?” asked Tamar Zandberg, member of the opposition party Meretz.Berko responded, “There’s no ‘P’ sound… Pa pa pa,’ there’s no ‘Pa.’ There’s ‘Fa.’”The name ‘Palaistinê’ was first seen in 5th Century BCE Greek history books, when Herodotus used the name to describe the area between Phoenicia (modern-day Israel, Lebanon and Syria) and Egypt. However, it is commonly pronounced ‘Falasteen’ in Arabic, due to the lack of a ‘P’.The debate itself centered on the Labour Party’s proposal for a two-state solution between Palestine and Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Party chairman Isaac Herzog for only just “waking up” to the non-viability of the two-state solution.In response, Herzog dared the PM to annex the Palestinian territories. “Let’s see what happens then,” he said. read more

Casablanca Ranks Higher than Istanbul in Quality of Life

Casablanca – A new study has published results showing the quality of life index in Casablanca 15 points higher than that in Cairo and even higher than Turkey’s Istanbul. Mercer, the world leading consulting firm behind the ranking, attended a meeting on Monday in Casablanca under the theme “The Mercer approach and the quality of life in Casablanca: an international comparison.”During this meeting, Slagin Parakatil, main researcher at Mercer, highlighted the outlines of the study related to quality of life in Casablanca as compared to 7 other cities in the world including Belgrade, Cairo, Lisbon, Lyon, Istanbul, Mexico City And New York. Findings of this study show that Casablanca’s quality of life is 15 points higher than that of Cairo, 5 points higher than Belgrade and, even more surprising, 2 points higher than that of Istanbul.The study also placed New York 28 points higher than Casablanca in terms of quality of life. Portuguese capital, Lisbon and the French city Lyon hosted a quality of life that is one point higher than of New York.According to French-language news source, Aujourdhui.ma, the study takes into account a number of criteria related to social and political atmospheres.  These include economic and socio-cultural environments, medical and sanitary considerations, schools and education, public services and transport, leisure, consumption level, lodging and natural environment.Mohamed Jouahri, CEO of Local Development Company Casablanca Events and Animations, seized the opportunity to reveal Morocco’s intention to place Casablanca in the world’s top 100 cities, in terms of quality of life, by 2022. He then announced a new collaboration with Mercer in this context:“To achieve this goal, the city, which currently ranks 126th in the Mercer ranking, launched an attractiveness initiative based on a study carried out by the firm to determine the key criteria for the quality of life in Casablanca to enable the decision-making institutions of the metropolis to identify the main levers capable of influencing the standard of living of the white city and its international positioning.” read more

Algerian Human Rights NGO Denounce Brutal Arrest of SubSaharan Migrants

Casablanca – The Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADHH) has denounced the “brutal arrest of Sub-Saharan migrants prior to their expulsion from Algeria.This came after Algerian authorities arrested 1,400 sub-Saharan migrants in the Algerian capital in less than a week.The NGO estimates 1,400 sub-Saharan migrants arrested in the Algerian capital in less than a week and placed in detention camps in Algiers or taken to Tamanrasset in the extreme south of the country for deportation. The League also notes that these heavy-handed arrests extended to foreigners in normal migration situations in Algeria. These arrests were not followed by any explanation from the authorities and LADDH criticized these detentions as taking the form of a “raid.”In the wake of the hunt for these migrants, a senior Algerian official accused sub-Saharan nationals of spreading AIDS in Algeria. Farouk Ksentini, president of the National Consultative Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (CNCPPDH), has gone so far as to say to a local newspaper that “these diseases are considered habitual and normal in those communities,” referring to the sub-Saharan community in Algeria. read more

Israel Postpones Vote on Construction of New Settlements

By Ayesha UlhaqRabat – The vote to approve the construction of 500 new homes in Jewish settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem has been postponed. The move evidently took place after a call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. The postponement also came after a speech given by US Secretary of State, John Kerry. In the speech, Secretary Kerry made it clear that the UN condemnation of illegal Jewish settlements on occupied land is on a par with American values. It also cemented the US position “the two-state solution is the only way to achieve a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It is the only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state”.A “two-state solution” to the longstanding conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is the objective and end goal of both state leaders, numerous government officials and the majority of international diplomats.It is a widely-held belief that this concept could see the making of an independent state of Palestine, creating a permanent ceasefire and end the ongoing conflict between the parties.The two-state solution concept is enthusiastically backed by the UN, the Arab League, the European Union, Russia and the United states.John Kerry also added that “The Israeli prime minister publicly supports a two-state solution, but his current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements.”Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu has openly stated that he was very dissatisfied with the speech, which he claims to have been “unbalanced” and “obsessively focused” on Israeli settlements.Today, more than 500,000 Jews live in approximately 140 settlements built since 1967, as Israel currently holds control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. These same settlements are viewed as illegal under international law, a position which Israel has consistently challenged.Prime Minister Netanyahu reacted over the weekend by calling the ambassadors of the US and 14 other countries on the Security Council who voted in favor of the resolution. Quite frustrated with the passing of the resolution, he responded by recalling Israel’s ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal, cut financial aid to Senegal and cancelled a visit to Israel by Ukraine’s prime minister. read more

Islamophobia in the US Florida Mosque Target of Arson Attack

Toronto – Another mosque was the target of an arson attack in Florida. This time it was the Daarus Salaam Mosque, also known as the Islamic Society of New Tampa. Early Friday morning an automated fire alarm went off, summoning area firefighters to a fire on the mosque’s doorstep, according to the Huffington Post.It was the third such fire in the Tampa area in less than a year. Worshippers arriving for prayers found their center cordoned off and an investigation underway. It wasn’t long before it was identified as arson, according to the spokesman for the Hillsborough County Fire and Rescue, Corey Dierdorff; “Physical evidence led us to believe it was arson.” Parishioner Shakiel Humayun, described his feelings and those of his community; “The anti-Islamic threats targeting our community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”Wilfredo Ruiz, spokesman for the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) described the fire as another hate crime but expressed gratitude that no worshippers were injured or killed. “Our prayers are with the New Tampa Mosque community; and we a grateful that no one was physically hurt.” CAIR has put up a $5,000 reward for anyone with information about the fire that might lead to an arrest.Dierdorff maintains it is too early to determine if the recent spate of mosque fires in the area are connected. “We’re still in the very beginning stages of the investigation,” he told Huffington Post.CAIR’s executive director, Hassan Shibly, is calling for President Trump to break his ongoing silence about rising anti-Muslim hate crimes and denounce this and other incidents which Shibly calls “terrorist attacks.”Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric before and after his election win is being widely blamed for the sharp spike in anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic hate in the US, all with seeming impunity. According to a Southern Poverty Law Center report, vandalism against Muslim mosques and organizations rose a staggering 400% in 2015, compared with 2014, and the number of anti-Muslim hate groups tripled in 2016.The Trump administration’s refusal to deal with the issue or even acknowledge its existence was on display last week by press secretary, Sean Spicer. When asked a question about the rise in anti-Muslim hate groups, Spicer opted to launch into a tirade about “Islamic terrorism” instead of answering the report’s question.As for the Daarus Salaam Mosque, an online crowd funding page has been started. As of Friday evening, nearly $11,500 of the $40,000 target had already been raised. read more

Why Karima Benyaichs Appointment as Ambassador to Spain Is Good for

Rabat – In recent years, King Mohammed VI has strived to change the face of Moroccan diplomacy, and his appointment of Karima Benyaich as ambassador to Spain confirms his efforts to do so.As Morocco’s first trade partner, maintaining a strong relationship with Spain is important for obvious economic reasons. According to Spanish media outlet “Finanzas”, there are 519 Spanish companies operating in Morocco.The two countries are also major security allies and often coordinate to counter terrorism threats – In February Spanish Minister of Interior Juan Ignacio Zoido praised Morocco security services for their role in the arrest of two Moroccan terrorist suspects in Badalona, Catolonia. The aim of Benyaich’s appointment is to strengthen the bond between the two countries and provide positive publicity for Morocco among the Spanish public. A poll by the Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies published on El Mundo in 2014 showed that 14,8% of Spaniards thought that Morocco represents the biggest threat to their country.Benyaich is the firstfemale Moroccan diplomat who has been appointed ambassador to Spain. The 55-year old replaced her brother, Fadel Benyaich, who assumed the role in 2014 from former leading member of the Polisario Front, Ahmed Ould Souilem.Telquel reported that the performance by the former classmate of King Mohammed VI during his three years in the role had been disappointing, evidencing his lack of media appearances.By not taking advantage of public appearances, Fadel both failed to adequately communicatethe role Morocco had played in helping Spain ensure its national security, and failed to explain Morocco’s position concerning the issue of Western Sahara, including during a crisis such as the one in Guerguerarat, which lasted from from August 2016 to the end of April 2017.By contrast, Karima Benyaich’s appointment as ambassador to Spain has high hopes for portraying a positive image of Morocco – the decision to give her the role was endorsed by the King himself, reported Moroccan French language media outlet TelQuel.Benyaich maintained her previous position asambassador to Portugal from 2008, and her presence was instrumental in establishing good relations between Moroccan and Portuguese officials.Her work as ambassador to Portugal was commended to the extent that Portuguese President Marcelo Duarte Rebelo de Sousa requested that she stay inher role as ambassadorto Portugal during a visit to Morocco in 2016.Benyaich was known across Portugal thanks to her media appearances where she promoted the Kingdom to the Portuguese public.The appointment of the Montreal University graduate seems to be another confirmation that Moroccan diplomacy has chosen to be “proactive”, seeking to strengthen ties with friends and improve relations with foes.On Sunday, June 25, King Mohammed VI appointed 13 new ambassadors to several countries. Alongside the appointments of Karima Benyaich as ambassador to Spain and Fadel Benyaich as ambassador to Romania, the appointments of Hamid Chabar to Mauritania and Boughaleb El Attar to Cuba drew much attention.Cuba remains among the countries that supports most Polisario Front. Boughaleb is the first Moroccan ambassador to Havana since the kingdom cut relations with the Caribean country in 1980 following its recognition of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi republic.As for Mauritania, relations with Morocco deteriorated in recent years. The country’s position vis-à-vis the issue of western Sahara turned more in favor of Polisario.Regardless of what happens under Benyaich’s watch as ambassador, Spain’s continued support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan in Western Sahara is of high importance. read more

France 2 to Explore the Life of Moroccan Sultan Moulay Ismail

Rabat – Acclaimed French TV program Secrets of History [Secrets d’Histoire] is putting the spotlight on the founder of modern Morocco in an episode entitled ‘Moulay Ismail: Sun King of a Thousand and One Nights’ to be broadcasted July 20 on France 2.The show’s presenter Stéphane Bern promises to take his audience in an “enchanting journey” to discover Morocco in the 18th century, “returning to the footsteps of the famous Sultan, Moulay Ismail,” announced France 2 in a communiqué.For the first time, Secrets of History will examine the “Sun King of Morocco,” recounting “the story of a sultan, whose brilliant reign is often compared to that of Louis XIV.” “Journeying through the imperial cities and the emblematic cities of Morocco, including Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh, and Rabat, Secrets of History opens the doors of the palaces where the sultan lived and where his might flourished,” added the same source.Known for his political decisiveness on the international political stage, “this sovereign stood up to the greatest European monarchies while preserving the interests of his country.”The episode is also set to shed light on how the story of Moulay Ismail has inspired literature and cinema, giving birth to the famous story of “Angelica and the Sultan.”However, the channel noted that the sultan was also known for his brutal rule. “Cruel and greedy, Sultan Ismail is said to have executed over 20,000 people with his own hands during his 55-year reign,” says the statement, adding that he had an army of 14,000 black slaves. He also enslaved Christians and forced them to serve his Kingdom. read more

2018 Agricultural Campaign Is On the Right Track

Rabat – The Ministry of Agriculture has recently made a statement on the advancement of the 2018 agricultural campaign, praising the “excessive” rainfall levels, and saying that the 2018 agricultural campaign is progressing as planned.The Ministry of Agriculture made the press release in the aftermath of a recent meeting, and which gathered all the important stakeholders and regional agricultural authorities.Participants at the meeting pointed to the “satisfactory” water levels in many regions,  tied to waves of rainfalls that Morocco registered in the last weeks. They also mentioned an overall improvement in the management of dams, which they heralded as positive signs for “favorable” conditions for springtime cultures. Read Also: Taking Morocco’s Economy Beyond the Agricultural Sector“The Kingdom has witnessed important rainfall in recent weeks,” the ministry statement read, as it went on to laud the overall “positive” impact that such rainfall has had on improving the odds of this year’s agricultural prospects. The statement also said that the agricultural campaign, which initially suffered from a  61 percent water deficit in dams,, is now benefiting from a 4 percent excess in water levels, which is even “more than that of a normal year.”“Favorable weather conditions and the rainfalls between December 2017 and March 2018 have allowed a positive evolution,” the press release also said, adding that that “positive evolution” translated into affordable food prices, to the delight of both farmers and customers.The statement concluded by saying that remarkable work is being done to replicate the success with the springtime cultures With 111,000 hectares already sown, the ministry is calling upon farmers to join in the efforts and make the entire endeavor as successful as possible.Read Also: Agricultural Season: Rainfall Deficit Drops as Rain and Snow Continue read more

France Expels Moroccan Imam Accused of Legitimizing Jihad

Rabat- France continues its crackdown on suspected Islamic radicals with the expulsion of the Moroccan Imam, Mohammed Tlaghi, who is accused of calling believers to “pray for jihadists around the world” and to “destroy the enemies of Islam in France and in the world” in many of his sermons, French authorities announced on Wednesday. The deputy imam of the Torcy mosque, located in east of Paris, was deported to Morocco on Wednesday, following his arrest by police services early morning. “He will be taken back to the border under an expulsion order and must take a plane to Morocco during the day,” local authorities said. A deportation committee had issued in December 2017, a statement against expelling the 50-year-old, who had been living in France since 1992. Tlaghi also worked as a professor of mathematics before being suspended from his post by the National Education in France.“He is accused of having violated basic principles of the Republic,” his lawyer, Gilles Devers, said at that time. “If my client receives a notification of the deportation order, we will file an interlocutory liberty in the administrative court of Melun,” Devers added.The decision included sermons held in 2016 and 2017, during which “the two imams of the mosque had explicitly legitimized armed jihad by calling on the faithful to pray for jihadists around the world to destroy the enemies of the mosque in France and in the world.”The French daily, le Parisien, reported that the Torcy mosque, which could accommodate up to 500 worshipers, was the subject of an administrative closure order in April 2017, for being “a place where radicalism and incitement to jihad were advocated.”After the closure order, all Tlaghi’s assets were frozen by the French government. read more

Morocco at the International Book Fair of Quebec

By Hajare EL KhaldiRabat – Morocco will participate as a guest of honor, at the 2018 International Book Fair of Quebec (SILQ), held between April 11-15Moroccan writers, from Morocco and in Canada, and Canadian writers will collectively launch an intellectual and artistic dialogue between the two cultures, announced the Ministry of Culture and Communication. This intellectual gathering will introduce the Canadian public to almost 2000 titles, by Moroccan writers and creators.The book fair will provide a total number of 3500 copies of these books, published by various sources, including nine publishing houses, namely, Afrique Orient, Attaouhidi, Bouregreg, Chaaraoui, En Toutes Lettres, La Croisée des Chemins, Les Frères Slaiki, Marsam, and Tarik Editions, in addition to 14 educational, academic, and governmental institutions. In collaboration with the Council of the Moroccan Community Residing Abroad, the Moroccan Cultural Center in Montreal “Dar Al Maghrib”, the Ministry of Guardianship will also organize a series of cultural activities.Read Also: 25 Books Banned at the 24th International Book Fair in CasablancaThis event will offer a series of roundtables, creative readings, musical poetic performances, and author presentations of recent publications. The Moroccan participants include Abdellah Boussouf, historian and general secretary of the Council of the Moroccan Community Residing Abroad; Asma Lamrabet, Islamic feminist and author of Women and Men in the Qur’an; Fatiha Morchid, poet; Kamal Benkirane, editor, poet, and author of J’ai tué l’hiver; Mahi Binebine, painter and author of Le Fou du Roi; Maria Guessous, winner of the Moroccan women’s literature prize in 2015 for Nous N’irons Pas Tous au Paradis; Moha Ennaji, linguist, writer, and political critic; Mohamed Nedali, author of Triste Jeunesse; Rachid Khaless, author of Cantiques du désert; Soumaya Naamane-Guessous, sociologist and women’s rights activist; and Moroccan-born historian Yolande Cohen.Read Also:Casablanca’s International Book Fair Attended by 520,000 Visitors, Up by 50.72%The program’s sequences dedicated to Moroccan writing and creativity revolve around the themes, “Quebec the Muse, Jazz and Poetry,” “The Position of Literature and Writers in Morocco,” “The Utility of Francophonie for Writers,” “Plural Morocco,” “Women and Islam,” and “Women’s Word, Too.”. A collection of books exhibited by governmental and academic institutions will be donated to the library of the Moroccan Cultural Center in Montreal. read more

Video Emmanuel Macron Receives King Mohammed VI at Elysee Palace

Rabat – French President Emmanuel Macron received King Mohammed VI in an official visit at the Elysee Palace on Tuesday afternoon. A YouTube video published by a fan reveals King Mohammed VI processing across the courtyard of the Elysee, accompanied by royal fanfare. At the palace entrance, the King is greeted by Macron, and the two enter the palace together. The two leaders last met at the One Planet Summit on climate change in Paris in December 2017.This is King Mohammed VI’s first official appearance since he underwent a heart surgery in late February in Paris. The King’s official meeting with his French counterpart comes amid increasing tension in southern Morocco as a result of Polisario’s incursions in the buffer zone, east of Morocco’s defense well, as well as its attempts to change the status quo of the region through the transfer and establishment of part of its militias and its so-called “Ministry of Defense” to the area west of Morocco’s defense wall.France is Morocco’s chief ally and its staunchest proponent in the Security Council negotiations regarding the Western Sahara territorial dispute. As such, it has repeatedly expressed its support for Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for the Sahara, which it considers the “most appropriate” to helping the parties to the dispute to reach a mutually acceptable political solution.  Later this month, the United Security Council will adopt a new resolution to renew the mandate of the UN mission in the territory for one year, and Morocco will certainly count on France to support its efforts aimed at pushing the UN body to adopt a strong resolution  to end Polisario’s attempts to change the status quo of the buffer zone. read more

Moroccos DGSN Establishes Support Units for Women Victims of Violence

Rabat – Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) has introduced support units for women and girls who are victims of gender-based violence.The units, which will be within DGSN administrations, seek to provide psychological support and guidance for the victims of violence.DGSN announced the measure on Thursday, September 26, at the Royal Police Institute in Kenitra, a city north of Rabat. The Moroccan security body emphasized that the measure is part of the implementation of Law 103-13 against gender discrimination.The initiative, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), seeks to “leverage the success of the reception units created in 2007 at the level of judicial police services to receive women victims of violence.”DGSN introduced its new support units during a Canadian-sponsored “study day” on the intersectoral coordination of care for women and victims of violence.“The study was marked by the presentation on the new provisions of law 103-13 as well as on the setting up of cells for the support of women and girls victims of violence,” MAP reported.Morocco enacted Law 103-13 in September 2018 to criminalize sexual harassment, assault in public spaces, and cybercrime.Feminists and activists have long argued that the law contains loopholes.Read Also: After 10 Years of Fighting, Morocco’s Soulalyat Women Find JusticeThe US State Department’s annual report on Morocco’s Human Rights Practices for 2018, published in March, said that the law does not “specifically define domestic violence against women and minors, but the general prohibitions of the criminal code address such violence.”With increasing reports of rape and violent incidents against women, the Moroccan government has urged women to come forward and report such crimes.In July, the Moroccan minister for family, solidarity, equality, and social development, Bassima Hakkawi, unveiled a government-sponsored study that found 93.4% of sexual violence victims have not reported their plight to authorities.The data for the study came from January to March of 2019.As many as 54.4% of women had experienced gendered violence at the time of the survey.The survey stipulated that women aged 25-29 are more often the subjects of violence.The same survey showed that 12.4% of Moroccan women faced sexual assaults in public spaces in the past twelve months. read more