Airships in skies would annihilate remoteness for First Nations communities researchers

first_imgAPTN National NewsGetting goods and supplies to remote First Nations like Attawapiskat is a constant challenge.But now, a team of engineers and designers at the University of Manitoba hope they have a solution.They want to resupply fly-in communities by air, but they don’t want to use airplanes.APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler reveals their invention.last_img

New Alberta premier says inquiry not needed on murdered missing Indigenous women

first_img(Alberta Premier Jim Prentice during his campaign to lead the Alberta Progressive Conservative party. Jim Prentice Facebook page/ Victor B. Tucker)APTN National NewsNewly-minted Alberta Premier Jim Prentice says he doesn’t see the need for a public inquiry into the persistently high number of murdered and missing Indigenous women.In his first press conference as premier, Prentice said he has been concerned about the issue since the time he was Aboriginal Affairs minister in the Harper government. Prentice, who also handles the Aboriginal affairs portfolio, said it was time to implement solutions.“I am not convinced an inquiry is what we need to do,” said Prentice. “We have enough information about the problems we are experience, the problems of poverty women are facing…I prefer we get on with solutions rather than studies at this point.”Prentice’s position on the issue breaks ranks with the majority of premiers across the country who have called for an inquiry into the level of violence faced by Indigenous women and girls.According to the RCMP, 1,186 Indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing since 1980.Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said the high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women is not a sociological issue.In response to the outcry for a public inquiry from families, however, the Harper government tabled its plan to combat the violence on Monday. The plan, however, repackaged previous announcements around the creation of a DNA-based missing persons index, funding for the RMCP’s national centre for missing persons, the funding for shelters and of on-reserve anti-violence program.The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) issued a statement Tuesday saying the plan fell far short of what was necessary to end the violence. The FSIN said First Nations only get an average of about $21,000 per year from Ottawa to run their family violence prevention programs.“I have met with affected families and sat with them in court as they relieved horrific details and questions ‘why?’ It is for them that we seek answers,” said Vice-Chief Kimberly Jonathan, in the statement.Liberal Aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett called Ottawa’s plan a whitewash.“This type of political smoke and mirrors is why a national action plan must be rooted in a non-partisan national investigation into why this problem has persisted for decades and why successive governments have been unable to fix it,” said Bennett, in a read more

Red Deer man charged with murder of two Onion Lake Cree Nation

first_img(Violet Heathen pictured on the left and Jeanette Chief pictured on the right. RCMP handout)APTN National NewsA 59-year-old man from Red Deer, Alta., was charged with two counts of first degree murder in connection to the slaying of two women from Onion Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, the RCMP said Thursday.Gordon Alfred Rogers was arrested in Edmonton Tuesday and charged Wednesday with the murders of Jeanette Chief, 48, and Violet Heathen, 49, the RCMP said.RCMP investigators from Alberta’s historical homicide unit and Saskatchewan’s historical case unit identified Rogers as a person of interest on both files after finding a common link in both killings which happened about two years apart.Detectives determined that Rogers new Heathen for several years, but he was not previously known to Chief.The RCMP did not reveal the nature of Rogers’ relationship with Heathen.Rogers is scheduled to make his first appearance before provincial court on April 5 at 10 a.m. in Lloydminster, Alta.Chief was last seen in Lloydminster, a municipality straddling the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, around midnight on June 2, 2007. Her body was found on June 6 that same year in a rural area outside of Lloydminster and her death was determined to be a homicide.Heathen’s body was found near Kitscoty, Alta., on Nov. 7, 2009. She had been last seen in Lloydminster on May 15, 2009.The RCMP released no other information about read more

Sun Life expects 200M onetime charge in Q4 due to US tax

first_imgTORONTO – Sun Life Financial Inc. says it will take a $200-million charge related to U.S. tax reform when it reports its fourth-quarter results.The company says the one-time hit is due to the impact of the tax changes on actuarial liabilities, deferred tax assets and liabilities and a one-time tax charge on deemed repatriation of foreign earnings.Late last year, the U.S. cut its corporate income tax rate to 21 per cent, from 35 per cent, as part of an overhaul of its tax laws.The move is expected to lift future earnings, but it also reduced the value of deferred tax assets held on company balance sheets, prompting firms to recognize one-time charges related to the change.Sun Life (TSX:SLF) estimates that it expects the lower tax rate in the U.S. will mean that the tax expense included in its 2018 underlying net income will fall by approximately $130 million.The company is expected to report its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 14.last_img read more

TVA announces solar installations being built for Facebook

first_imgNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee and Alabama will get their largest solar power projects yet, to supply a Facebook data centre with 100 per cent renewable energy.Officials with the Tennessee Valley Authority announced an agreement with two developers to build the electricity providers.John Bradley, TVA’s senior vice-president of Economic Development, said Friday that First Solar in Colbert County, Alabama and NextEra Energy Resources in Lincoln County, Tennessee, will produce 377 megawatts between them to supply Facebook’s data centre in Huntsville, Alabama.Doug Perry, TVA vice-president of Commercial Energy Solutions, says the federal utility plans on investing $8 billion in renewable energy over the next 20 years.last_img read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

first_imgThe Canadian Press Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Down six cents, or 3.11 per cent to $1.87 on 22.5 million shares.Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB). Energy. Up $1.06, or 2.56 per cent, to $42.44 on 19.7 million shares.Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE). Energy. Up 17 cents, or 8.5 per cent, to $2.17 on 11 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down 30 cents, or 4.03 per cent, to $7.14 on 9.1 million shares.Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K). Gold. Down 28 cents, or 6.76 per cent, to $3.86 on 8.1 million shares.Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financials. Up one cent, or 0.05 per cent, to $19.52 on 7.8 million shares. Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (14,264.06, down 152.83 points).center_img Companies reporting major news:Home Capital Group Inc. (TSX:HCG). Down $2.48 or 15 per cent to $14. Home Capital Group says Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is reducing its stake in the mortgage lender to less than 10 per cent. Buffett’s investment firm helped restore confidence in the lender following accusations that it misled investors by acquiring a nearly 20-per-cent stake in Home Capital in 2017. Buffett says with the full repayment of the $2 billion credit line, Berkshire’s investment in Home Capital is now not of a size to justify the firm’s ongoing involvement.Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY). Down $1.12 or 1.2 per cent to $92.68. Royal Bank is denying a report that it was able to read, write and delete users’ messages on the social networking website Facebook. The New York Times has published a story claiming Facebook gave RBC, along with Spotify and Netflix, the ability to see private messages between its users. RBC says it was given permission to send messages to Facebook users from 2013 to 2015 when it offered a mobile app service that enabled customers to send money to their friends through the social network. It says it did not have the ability to see users’ messages.last_img read more

Construction continues at Centennial Park

first_imgCity staff remind residents this continues to be an active construction area, and there is no public access availableThe budget for the project was $5.5 million for the redevelopment of the park to facilitate a new permanent stage, picnic shelter, a pedestrian walkway, formal garden, washroom, and two playgrounds.To view more on Capital Projects, CLICK HERE FORT ST. JOHN. B.C. – The staff of the City of Fort St. John are reminding residents of the ongoing construction at the Centennial Park.Within the next few weeks, crews will be moving into phase 2, which will see the west portion under construction and the east section open for use, shares staff of the City.To prepare for the move, city staff share the Grounds Department have been removing plants from the Formal Gardens for use in other areas of the city.last_img read more

Taapsee wants to learn pole dancing from Jacqueline

first_imgMumbai: Actor Taapsee Pannu says she wants to learn pole dancing from her Judwaa 2 co-star Jacqueline Fernandez. She said this on a talk show recently. Asked what would she do if Jacqueline was her neighbour, Taapsee said: “I think we’ll be working out together, she works out really crazy. I don’t mind learning pole dancing from her. I know I’ll be horrible at it but I really want to work out with her,” she added. The actor wants to be filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s best friend. “I want to be his best friend and tag along to fancy Hollywood parties. It is my ultimate desire to attend Hollywood parties,” she said. Taapsee worked with Kashyap in Manmarziyaan and is working with him again in a supernatural thriller. At the moment, Taapsee is busy with Saand Ki Aankh, which also features Bhumi Pednekar. It is based on old sharpshooters – Chandro Tomar and her sister-in-law Prakashi Tomar. Chandro, 87, and Prakashi, 82, are from Uttar Pradesh’s Johri village and reportedly took up sharpshooting in their 50s. Chandro, fondly called shooter ‘dadi’, is among the world’s oldest female sharpshooters. Directed by Tushar Hiranandani, Saand Ki Aankh also features Prakash Jha and Vicky Kadian in pivotal roles.last_img read more

Passenger vehicle sales hit speed breaker grow just 27 in FY19

first_imgNew Delhi: Passenger vehicle sales in India rose just 2.7 per cent in 2018-19 as weak customer sentiment led by liquidity crunch, high vehicle prices and uncertainty revolving forthcoming elections put brakes on the sales growth in the segment. According to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Monday, domestic passenger vehicles (PV) sales were at 33,77,436 units in 2018-19 beating the previous record of 32,88,581 units in 2017-18. However, despite new product launches, sales failed to revv up during the second half of the last fiscal which had even prompted the industry body to lower the sales forecast for the PVs from the earlier estimate of 8-10 per cent to 6 per cent. The final figure of 2.7 per cent is even lower than that. “If we look at the positive side then we have continued to grow, though not in high single-digit or double-digits, but low single-digit. Also, it is the highest-ever sales and production in a financial year,” SIAM President Rajan Wadhera told reporters here. Domestic car sales in 2018-19 were at 22,18,549 units as against 21,74,024 units in 2017-18, displaying a growth of 2.05 per cent. Utility vehicles (UV) sales were at 9,41,461 units last fiscal as against 9,22,322 units in 2017-18, a growth of 2.08 per cent. However, exports of PVs were down 9.64 per cent at 6,76,193 units in 2018-18 as against 7,48,366 units in 2017-18. “In the year gone by, we faced many challenges. The biggest being high commodity prices during the year which prompted companies to hike vehicle prices which impacted demand. Further issues like compulsory insurance, liquidity crunch at funding companies impacted the sales,” Wadhera said. With the current fiscal lined up with many challenges, including general elections in the first quarter and transition to BS VI-compliant products later during the fiscal, SIAM said it expected PV sales to grow in the range of 3-5 per cent during the current financial year. “We expect some pre-buying to happen before the transition to BS VI emission norms. Hope it leads to some growth. We firmly believe in India growth story,” Wadhera said. When asked if the industry would be able to achieve the target, he added that with the government’s ongoing infrastructure projects and focus on rural areas expected to continue, growth is expected across both urban and rural areas. During 2018-19, market leader Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) sold 17,29,826 units of PVs at a growth of 5.25 per cent. Rival Hyundai Motor India clocked 5,45,243 units, up 1.68 per cent. Homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra’s PV sales were at 2,45,351 units posting a growth of 2.21 units, according to SIAM data. The industry said it expects two-wheeler sales to grow by 5-7 per cent, commercial vehicles by 10-12 per cent and three-wheelers in the range of 7-9 per cent in 2019-20. In 2018-19, two-wheeler sales rose by 4.86 per cent to 2,11,81,390 units as compared with 2,02,00,117 units in 2017-18. Commercial vehicle sales, on the other hand, rose by 17.55 per cent to cross one million sales in a financial year at 10,07,319 units as compared with 8,56,916 units. Sales across categories rose 5.15 per cent to 2,62,67,783 units in 2018-19 from 2,49,81,312 units in 2017-18. In March, PV sales dropped 2.96 per cent, making it the eighth decline in eight months. The sales stood at 2,91,806 units during the month from 3,00,722 units in the year-ago period. Car sales declined 6.87 per cent to 1,77,949 units during the month as compared to 1,91,082 in March 2018 Motorcycle sales last month slipped 14.27 per cent to 9,82,385 units from 11,45,879 units a year earlier. Total two-wheeler sales in March declined 17.31 per cent to 14,40,663 units as compared to 17,42,307 units in the year-ago month. Sales of commercial vehicles were up marginally to 1,09,030 units in March, SIAM said. Vehicle sales across categories registered a decline of 14.21 per cent to 19,08,126 units from 22,24,224 units in March 2018, it added.last_img read more

Poonam files nomination from Lucknow to contest against Rajnath Singh

first_imgLucknow: Samajwadi Party (SP) nominee Poonam Sinha, wife of actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha who had rebelled against the BJP leadership, on Thursday filed her nomination papers for the Lucknow parliamentary seat from where Union Minister Rajnath Singh is seeking re-election. Accompanied by SP MP Dimple Yadav and Shatrughan Sinha, Poonam filed her papers at the Collectorate as the candidate for the SP-BSP-RLD alliance in the seat, which goes to polls on May 6. Clad in a green saree, the SP nominee, who had joined the party two days ago, arrived at the Collectorate in the afternoon after a road show. Thursday is the last date for filing of nominations for the seat. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Her husband, Shatrughan Sinha, was present during the filing of the nomination as well as the road show, which was taken out from the party office. The road show up till the Collectorate passed through the main market of the state capital where Dimple Yadav was seen waving at the crowd carrying flags of the SP and the BSP. Sinha, who had recently quit the BJP, has joined the Congress and is contesting from the Patna Sahib seat in Bihar. The SP had Wednesday announced the candidature of Poonam Sinha from the prestigious seat. Earlier in the day, accompanied by SP leaders, Poonam Sinha had filed another set of papers at the Collectorate.last_img read more

Metro services affected after electricity connection trips

first_imgKolkata: Metro services were disrupted on Wednesday morning after electricity connection tripped at the Jatin Das Park Metro Station. Since the disruption occurred during peak hours, passengers had to face immense inconvenience reaching their destinations. Services resumed almost after 17 minutes.According to sources, on Wednesday at around 10:40 am, a Dum Dum-bound non- Air Conditioned (AC) rake came to a halt as power supply to it was cut off due to some unknown reason. The motorman tried to start the rake but in vain. Having no other way, the Metro authority cut off the power also to the Kavi Subhas-bound line for necessary repair works. Passengers were also evacuated in the process. Later, engineers of Metro Railway managed to restore the power but what caused the trip is still unknown. Metro authorities stated that at 10.42 am, a non-AC train was held up at Jatin Das Park Metro Station. Power was restored and the train left at 10.59 am. Earlier on Sunday morning, Metro services were disrupted for 10 minutes after water from a sewerage line overflowed and spilt on to the tracks at the Rabindra Sarobar station. According to sources, at around 11:17 am, a Metro rake developed a technical snag and came to a halt just before entering Rabindra Sarobar station. The motorman tried to restart the rake but failed. Immediately, he informed the Metro authorities at the station about the glitch. Within minutes, engineers and other Metro staff went attended to the problem and tried to find out the cause. While doing so, they noticed that the drain located in the middle of the track was filled to the brim. As a result, water had overflowed and reached the track. Immediately, electricity connection to the third rail was cut off and a power block was activated to avoid any untoward incident. After 10 minutes, the track was cleared and power was restored.last_img read more

Mauritania stages vote boycotted by most of opposition

first_imgNouakchott – Mauritania holds nationwide elections next month overshadowed by a boycott of the entire “democratic” opposition — apart from an Islamist party calling its participation a struggle against “dictatorship”.The mainly-Muslim republic, a former French colony on the west coast of the Sahara desert, is seen by Western leaders as strategically important in the fight against Al-Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, in neighbouring Mali and across Africa’s Sahel region.Around a third of its 3.4 million predominantly Arab-Berber and black African people are eligible to vote in the first parliamentary and local polls since 2006, five years after the coup of junta chiefMohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who was eventually elected in widely-contested polls. At the close of election lists on Friday, around 1,100 candidates were registered to vie for the leadership of 218 local councils dotted across the shifting sands of the vast nation and only 440 for 146 seats up for grabs in parliament.The ruling Union for the Republic is the only party fielding candidates in every constituency, while the next highest representation will be from Islamist group Tewassoul, and then the People’s Progressive Alliance of parliament leader Messaoud Ould Boulkheir.Tewassoul is the only member of the 11-party Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD) coalition, referred to as the “democratic” opposition, contesting the polls, describing its participation as a form of struggle against the “dictatorship” of Abdel Aziz.The rest of the coalition said it would “boycott this electoral masquerade” after talks on how the vote should be run broke down in early October and it dismissed as insufficient a two-week postponement offered by the government.Ahmed Ould Daddah, the president of the COD and leader of the Rally of Democratic Forces, said on Sunday the coalition was considering an “active boycott” to derail the “illegal and unilateral” elections.He announced a march to the capital Nouakchott on November 6, the eve of the launch of the two-week campaign.Following independence from France and the ensuing one-party government of Moktar Ould Daddah, deposed in 1978, Mauritania had a series of military rulers until its first multi-party election in 1992.Abdel Aziz seized power in a 2008 coup and was elected a year later, but the COD has never accepted his rule as legitimate and demanded he make way for a neutral leader to administer the vote.Another section of the opposition known as the “moderates” has decided not to follow the COD, announcing it would participate in the November 23 polls.Its members include the three-party Coordination for a Peaceful Alternative, a key player in Mauritania’s nascent democratic process responsible for negotiating the establishment of an independent electoral commission.It was also behind a move to increase the number of seats in the National Assembly from 95 to 146 and a change in the law which outlawed coups and punished slavery, which is nevertheless still practised in Mauritania.In the run-up to the opening of the campaign, rumours have circulated in Nouakchott that the elections will be postponed in accordance with the request of the opposition.Local media reported that the election commission would not be able to prepare voter cards in time.“This is untrue. All logistical conditions have been met for the vote on November 23,” said Communication Minister Mohamed Yahya Ould Hormah, confirming that vote would go ahead as planned.last_img read more

US halts nonlethal aid to northern Syria

first_imgWASHINGTON- Decision follows an attack last week by the Islamic Front, a radical Islamist group, on the headquarters and warehouses belonging to the Free Syrian Army.White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest Wednesday confirmed reports that the US has suspended nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition in northern Syria.Washington’s decision follows an attack last week by the Islamic Front, a radical Islamist group, on the headquarters and warehouses belonging to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). The facilities in question are now reportedly in the hands of the Islamic Front. “As a result of this situation, as you pointed out, the United States has suspended all further deliveries of nonlethal assistance into northern Syria,” said Earnest.He added that the US is investigating the current whereabouts of its nonlethal aid.“We’re still gathering facts and consulting with General Idris and the Supreme Military Council staff to inventory the status of U.S. equipment and supplies that have been provided to the SMC,” he said.Still, he emphasized that the US would continue to provide the Syrian people with humanitarian aid.The United Kingdom has also halted its deliveries of nonlethal aid following the raid.last_img read more

Morocco Dismantles Criminal Network follower of Extremist Ideas Interior Ministry

Rabat – Moroccan security services dismantled a criminal network follower of extremist ideas whose members perpetrate attacks against citizens. The four members of this network have been involved in several criminal acts using knives, sticks and hoods, said a statement of the Interior ministry.The statement notes that the defendants will be brought to justice after the completion of the ongoing investigations under the supervision of the competent public prosecutor.

Tangier Holds The First Moroccan Open Debate Tournament

Rabat – The Moroccan National Debate Team (MNDT) organized the first high school international debate tournament in Morocco on December 27th to 31st in Tangier with teams and judges from France, Croatia, South Africa, Spain, Canada and Morocco.MNDT was the first North African team to participate in the World School Debating Championship (WSDC) held last August in Thailand. This event was a chance for the national team to prepare for the 2015 WSDC in Singapore.The teams battled it out for four days in debates and individual impromptu speaking with topics ranging from the removal of the UN Security Council Veto to western culture being imposed on developing countries by globalization. The event also hosted a culture expo where teams shared aspects of their cultural heritage. By the last day of the competition, the American Language Center High School Debate Team made it to the finals after eliminating Team France in the semi-finals. They faced the MNDT for the Grand Finals at the Tangier-American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) building in a hard-fought debate.The adjudicators came to a final decision and the national team won by a split decision of 2 to 1. Mara Krnic from Team Croatia won the individual impromptu speaking contest.“This tournament was an extraordinary experience. I had the chance to meet truly amazing people,” Mara told MWN. She adds: “the event was well organized and introduced me to a completely new culture.”Zakaria el Jabri from the MNDT won the Best Debater of the event. “It was truly a breath taking experience. The first edition was a complete success and I am sure that it will become one of the world’s prestigious tournaments in the near future,” he said.The Moroccan Open Debate Tournament (MODT) was the first of many editions to come. The organizers hope to be able to attract more teams from the region for the next edition. But for now, there are not too many international events for Moroccan high school students in Morocco.“The MODT represents the history of Morocco in the making. It embodied cultural exchange on an international scale with a brilliant exhibition of talent and intellectual dynamism that is rarely witnessed from the Youth of Morocco. This tournament definitely predicts a bright future where Debate is going to allow the future generations of Morocco to excel beyond our greatest expectations,” said Pearl Sahibdeen, MNDT Assistant Coach and a teacher at the ALC in Tangier.For most, these events are only available abroad and the MODT is a great chance for the Moroccan debaters to compete against international teams and meet stimulating and inspirational people from all over the world. read more

Chelsea Fans Vandalize Coffee Shop Owned by an Arab

Casablanca – A shocking video of Chelsea fans vandalizing a coffee shop went viral on Facebook.The video shows the mob around the wreckage of the coffee shop that was destroyed while boisterously singing their team’s song in unison. An Arab-looking young man, believed to be the owner, is locked up inside the circle formed by the mob, seemingly trying to break loose.According to the Independent, the video, which was released last weekend, took place in Munich in 2012 ahead of the Champions League final. A Chelsea fan then pushes the Arab violently to the ground toward the center, where the debris lays in a huge pile. The man stands up and walks back to his aggressor with a hand gesture as if warning him, but the attacker and other individuals punch him in the face.The thirty-second video ends with another fan with a bottle of alcohol in hand trying to calm the angry gang down, saying, “don’t do this, men!”The video has received numerous comments from Arab viewers. The comments range between utter denunciation of this act of vandalism to accusing the mob of Islamophobia.A commenter states, “In England one cannot suffer injustice even by the Queen. When things cool down, the police will arrest them one after the other and they will pay huge fines for their declared racism.”Another equally ‘Liked’ comment by a male user says, “We, Arabs, have to endure this racism everywhere we go!” read more

Man Stabbed to Death in Messi vs Ronaldo Argument

By Jonathan WalshRabat – A man was stabbed to death in India after arguing with a friend over whether Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo or Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was a better footballer.The incident took place in Mumbai on Sunday morning following birthday party of the victim on the previous night. Inspector Kiran Kabadi told AFP sources that Michael Chukwuma, 21, had subsequently been charged over the killing of Obina Durumchukwu, 34.“The two were discussing football players. One is a fan of Messi and the other was for Ronaldo,” the police inspector said.He continued, “During the conversation, a quarrel broke out. The deceased threw a glass into the face of the murder. The glass broke and caused him small injuries.“After that, the accused took the broken glass and assaulted the victim, who died of heavy bleeding.”The debate between who is more talented between Messi and Ronaldo is a hot topic between football fans. The two have dominated the annual Ballon d’Or Accolade for best footballer since 2008. Portuguese national captain Ronaldo has received the award three times, while Argentinian Messi has won it five times. read more

Teacher Trainees to March in Rabat Despite Govts Ban

Taroudant – Teacher trainees plan to march on April 14 in Rabat, despite the governments’ ban.The national coordinating committee of 10,000 teacher trainees from various regional centers are determined to escalate their protests after the government refused to engage in a “fruitful” dialogue concerning the two controversial decrees.The teacher trainees quickly responded to a statement made by Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane banning the march. “As part of its prerogatives measures, the Interior Ministry will take all measures and provisions for the implementation of the government decision,” the statement said.Despite the confirmation of this decision by the Interior Minister, the national coordinating committee said it was determined to organize its march.After a meeting between the protestors’ national coordinating committee and the government on February 4 failed to resolve the conflict, the Minister of Communication announced in late March that the government has suspended contact with the protestors for the time being.An initiative by the Authenticity and Modernity Party and the Socialist Union of Popular Forces a few days ago also did not succeed in its goal of bringing the two parties to the negotiating table.In almost 6 months, Moroccan teacher trainees have boycotted training in its theoretical and practical aspects, protesting two governmental decrees – N: 588-15-2 and N: 589-15-2, which respectively separate teacher training from employment placement programs and cut the amount of the training scholarship in half. read more

Iran Seeks to Improve Relations with Saudi Arabia

Casablanca – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani met with the sultan of Oman on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of a dialogue with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council member states.At a time when an anti-Iran coalition is being formed between the U.S., Israel and Gulf countries, Hassan Rouhani called for an “unconditional” dialogue with Iran’s regional enemy Saudi Arabia as well as other GCC countries.According to the Turkish news agency, Anadolu, the Iranian president delivered this message to the sultan of Oman, Qaboos bin Said al-Said, while visiting Oman’s capital, Muscat. This step by Iran stands at odds with the long-standing enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia based on their battle for influence in the region and the state of indirect war between them in Yemen and Syria.Economic World, an Iranian news agency, reported that “Rouhani’s visit sent important messages in the light of the ongoing instability in the region.” They added that Rouhani passed an “important” message to the Omani sultan — that Iran is ready for a direct and “unconditional” dialogue with Saudi Arabia and the GCC member states.Rouhani said prior to his visit that he seeks to discuss pressing issues in the Middle East in addition to the latest developments in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. He also praised the “prominent Omani role in stopping bloodshed.”As soon as Donald Trump took office in the U.S. last month, U.S.-Iranian relations deteriorated. Earlier this month, Trump’s executive order barring entry to nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries included Iranians. Iran responded by threatening to bar U.S. nationals from entering its soil.Even before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. on Feb. 14, news sources all over the world began talking about an anti-Iran coalition that could bring together the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. read more

FRMF Penalizes Raja Supporters for Marrakech Vandalism

Rabat – On Monday, February 26, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) drafted a penalty against Raja team supporters for pandemonium during the Raja-KACM football match on February 25.Raja defeated KACM by 3-0 during Sunday’s “Botola-Maroc Telecom” for 2016-2017 season, but the triumph did not end well.Supporters of the green team, Raja, started a vehement diatribe with the supporters of the red team, KACM, which resulted in considerable material and financial loss for Marrakech Football stadium. The disciplinary committee of Royal Moroccan Football Federation decided to penalize Raja team supporters for vandalizing the stadium and throwing chairs at other spectators and law enforcement agents, which resulted in 14 injured, according to an announcement by the Crown Prosecutor Mohamed Abd Nabaoui, as reported by Akhbar Alyaoum.FRMF fined the Raja club MAD 50,000 and restricted Raja supporters from attending two upcoming matches.65 supporters of the green team were charged with “vandalism acts” and will face trial. read more