Of economic priorities

first_imgThe Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has issued instructions to formulate a detailed action plan for the first one hundred days of the next government, according to some knowledgeable people. Apparently, this set of action plan is meant for the incoming new government, whichever it is. But the presumption is that the guidelines are to follow the manifesto priorities of the ruling party. The move might reflect the current dispensation’s sense of confidence regarding the chances of coming back. Also Read – A special kind of bondAlthough the formal frame of a general action plan in the context of the current situation in the country, if an action plan is prepared under the command of the present outgoing government, the emphasis, understandably, would be on an economic blueprint to be taken up on a basis of priorities of those in power. Obviously, there are some very pressing issues for the country. The better approach should be to draw up an agenda on the basis of the key shortfalls of the present government over its five-year term. From this standpoint, three stark and overwhelming inadequacies stand out. First, the failure to create an adequate number of fresh employment opportunities as promised in the beginning; secondly, the question of farm distress and thirdly, a blueprint for resettling the ailing public sector banks by addressing the question of resolution of their massive portfolio of bad debts over a period of time. Also Read – Insider threat managementNeedless to say, all three are political time bombs. If not handled properly, these are enough to topple any government, let alone set in motion serious socio-political upheaval. Since the present government had faced major criticism for its failure to create its promised number of jobs, fresh strategies will have to be worked out on an emergency basis to tackle some programmes for job creation. Jobs can be created in small and informal sector units and more efforts have to be made to encourage setting up of self-employment projects. Not that this was not realised. The Modi government had started out promisingly with its plans for self-employment projects and also pump in aids for the smallest and informal activities for the creation of employment. However, somehow these got lost midway. The government’s efforts to beef up these activities through the so-called Mudra Bank has come unstuck and a renewed effort would have to be taken up to further enliven it. There has not been even a proper survey of the loan offers for projects facilitated by funding from Mudra Bank. The entire programme was not chiselled properly and then pursued rather half-heartedly. The new government might just take a hard look at the operations of this programme as well and if found unsatisfactory should have the courage to fix a sunset clause for the Mudra Bank. The bane of policymaking in India has been a complete failure to make hard decisions. Projects and schemes which have proved non-starters have still been allowed to linger and continue for self-justification. A related area is to develop a robust employment-unemployment database. The avoidable controversy over holding back some employment data takes us nowhere. That data itself is rather skimpy in nature. A fundamental re-look should be taken to construct a framework for generating updated employment figures. This is very tough, primarily because the biggest volume of employment is in really small and tiny units. The second area of failure has been farm distress. Farmers’ distress is not uniform throughout the country. While in areas farmers have lost their home and hearth following crop failure and weather misfortunes, in other areas farmers have made good returns. Therefore, the farming and agriculture policies should be tailor-made to agro-climatic areas hit by crop failure and other misfortunes. One size does not fit all farms in all regions. It is also essential to diversify the rural economy and develop non-farm activities. More of non-farm activities could help when there are crop failures and bad weather conditions. Agro-processing units at the farm level could thus help create the cushion. For example, while there is currently a very good crop of onion in western India, the prices have crashed causing distress to farmers. These situations could be met not just by talking of debt relief and “Karz Mukti” but by larger investments in these areas for creating storage facilities as also for onion processing units in western Maharashtra, for instance. Onion pastes in super-markets charge high premium when post-harvest onion prices have crashed. In tackling this issue there is a need to be open-minded. Allowing corporate buyers of the crop, including advance purchases and forward contracts could be a guarantee for prices remaining above certain levels. Interesting work is being done by some private bodies, including some promoted by global foundations, in creating higher value in farms and sending out the ripple effect of development in some select areas. Thirdly, the situation of the public sector banks has been bemoaned in the political manifestos ad nauseam. However, it is the link between the politicians and the borrowers, which have ruined our public sector banks. Witness the current drama over bankrupt groups. Politicians have drained the banks and pressurised them into giving loans to powerful groups for their unviable projects. This has been possible mainly for the public sector banks because they are owned by the governments and ruling-party politicians think PSU banks’ money is for them to sequestrate. Among many such examples, both Jet Airways and Bhusan Steels, one closed down the other’s state unknown, are large scale defaulters now. Bhusan Steel’s unpaid dues are reported to be close to Rs 50,000 crore to public sector banks. Yet in most cases of such defaults, it is easy to detect how these promoters have got funds from banks through their political links. There are many other issues before the country which the next government should deal with on a priority basis. But these three are the uppermost and have been political bombshells. These are too serious to be left unattended. (The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Pulwama attack played a role in Azhars listing as global terrorist by

first_imgNew Delhi: The Pulwama terror attack played a role in designation of JeM chief Masood Azhar as global terrorist by the UN, the Ministry of External Affairs said Thursday, asserting that Pakistan was making claims over the listing to divert attention from the “huge diplomatic” setback it has suffered. The assertion came after Pakistan claimed that it agreed to Azhar’s listing after all “political references”, including attempts to link him to the Pulwama attack, were removed from the proposal to designate him a global terrorist. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework “The designation is not based on the basis of a specific incident, but on the basis of evidence which we have shared with members of the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee, linking Azhar to several acts of terrorism,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperon Raveesh Kumar said at a media briefing. He said the notification broadly covers all terrorist acts. “Elements are being introduced by Pakistan to divert attention from this huge diplomatic setback,” Kumar said. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen Asked whether India offered something to China for Azhar’s listing, he asserted that India doesn’t negotiate on matters related to national security. “Our objective was to ensure designation of Masood Azhar as global terrorist,” he said. The Pulwama terror attack played a role in Azhar’s designation, the spokesperson said, adding that China’s support to Azhar’s listing will contribute to better Sino-India ties. In a huge diplomatic victory for India, the UN Sanctions Committee on Wednesday designated Azhar as global terrorist after China lifted its hold on a proposal to ban him. France, the UK and the US had moved a fresh proposal to declare Azhar as global terrorist by the UN in the wake of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack. However, China put a technical hold on the proposal, blocking it for a fourth time to designate Azhar a global terrorist.India had termed the Chinese move as “disappointing”. On Wednesday, China lifted its hold from the proposal. A UN Security Council (UNSC) designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms embargo. An assets freeze under the sanctions committee requires that all states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of designated individuals and entities. In 2009, India first moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar a global terrorist. In 2016 again, India moved the proposal with the P3 — the United States, the United Kingdom and France — in the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the mastermind of the attack on the Pathankot airbase in January 2016. In 2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UNSC, blocked India’s proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee.last_img read more

As US exits arms treaty its missile sales surge

first_imgGeneva: Washington has signed more than 1 billion in new missile contracts in the three months since it announced plans to withdraw from a key Cold War-era arms treaty, campaigners said Thursday. “The withdrawal from the INF Treaty has fired the starting pistol on a new Cold War,” warned Beatrice Fihn, who heads the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). US President Donald Trump announced last October that his country would leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) agreement concluded between the US and the former Soviet Union in 1987. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportWashington, which accused Russia of violating the treaty through a new missile system, began the official process of withdrawing from the pact in February. Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by saying Moscow would also leave the INF treaty, which is considered the cornerstone of global arms control. In the three months following the October announcement, the US government “proceeded to arrange no less than 1 billion in new missile contracts”, according to a report by ICAN and another anti-nuclear campaign group, PAX. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsThe report detailed over 1.1 billion in new contracts with six mainly US companies. US defence contractor Raytheon saw the biggest windfall, tallying 44 new contracts worth some 537 million. Lockheed Martin meanwhile scooped up 36 new contracts, worth 268 million, while Boeing grabbed four new contracts totalling 245 million, the report found. “Congress should investigate the lobbying roles of Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon who took the lion’s share of these contracts,” Fihn said in a statement. The report authors acknowledged that it was unclear if all of the new contracts awarded between October 22, 2018 and January 21, 2019 were for new nuclear weapon production. “What is clear is that there is a new rush towards building more missiles that benefit a handful of US companies and intend to flood the market with missiles regardless of their range,” they said. At a global level, the report found that governments are currently contracting at least 116 billion (102 billion euros) to private companies in France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Britain and the US for the production, development and stockpiling of nuclear weapons.last_img read more

Metro train services delayed on Red line

first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Metro commuters had a tough time on Sunday evening as train movement on the Red Line slowed down during peak rush hour due to some issues, which affected the train operation.The commuters complained that the trains were crawling and taking stops for a long duration at stations. Moreover, some of the commuters complained that the trains took over 20 minutes to go from one station to another. Metro officials said the there was Track Circuit (TC) drop between Seelam pur and Shastri park section on ‘UP’ line ( going towards Kashmere Gate) from 5.30 pm to Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehicles6.45 pm. As s result, the train were passing in manual mode in this segment, resulting in little bunching for successive trains during this period, a senior official, DMRC said. Later, the services were retored, he added. “Stranded Metros on the Metro network have become a regular sight,” said Rajesh Kumar, a daily commuter at Pragati Maidan metro station. The train were running on snail pace and it was distressing moments as I was getting late to my work zone, but could not help. After sometime, there was an announcement that train is being delayed due to the technical fault. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: Javadekar”I reached my office 30 minutes late due to slow service,” Rajesh Kumar rued. However, commuters said that there was a delay of more than half an hour in reaching their destinations. “I have been waiting here for last 30 to board on the metro, but the service has been affected due to some technical snag. We are not sure when it will be normalised. I have to reach at Kashmiri Gate metro station, but there is no clue regarding this,” said Mohan Singh, a daily commuter.last_img read more

Turkey starts naval exercise amid Cyprus gas dispute

first_imgAnkara: Turkey’s military launched a major naval exercise on Monday at a time of rising tensions over its plans to explore for gas off the coast of Cyprus. The exercises, featuring 131 vessels, 57 planes and 33 helicopters, began early on Monday, a Turkish defence ministry official confirmed to AFP. They are due to last until May 25 and take place across the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black seas. It follows Turkey’s announcement in May that it would carry out exploratory drilling off Cyprus up to September. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportThe European Union has said that will encroach on Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, while the United States described the move as “highly provocative”. The international community does not recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, proclaimed after troops occupied the top third of the island in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the Greek military junta. The discovery of huge gas reserves in the Mediterranean has fuelled a race to tap the underwater resources. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsTurkey considers the area to be part of its continental shelf and granted exploration licences to Turkish Petroleum in 2009 and 2012. The internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, which rules the rest of the island, has signed its own exploration deals with energy giants Eni, Total and ExxonMobil. Speaking on Sunday, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar insisted Turkey would take all necessary measures to “protect its rights in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, and in Cyprus”.last_img read more

Video Man drops dead while praying in Mosque

Rabat – A man died during prayer at a mosque in Berrechid near Casablanca.In a video posted on YouTube, the mosque’s security cameras recorded the shocking moment the man drops dead while praying Al-Fajr prayer.The incident apparently took place in November. Two men rushed towards the victim who was having a heart attack in what appeared to be at first an attempt to rescue him. They simply moved him aside and continued with their prayer.No one was shown in the video trying to perform CPR or intervene to save the man who was left dying alone against a pillar.The indifference of the mosquegoers towards the man has angered many social media users, describing what happened as the result of “ignorance”. read more

British Gay Couple Denied Stay in Moroccan Hotel

Rabat- A British gay couple was denied access to hotel in Marrakech, according to the Daily Mail.Morgan Hughes and Llyod Innes made a reservation in a four star hotel in Morocco’s top tourist destination.While searching for good deal on a hotel in Morocco, the couple found the Eden Andalou Spa and Resort and called British Airways to inquire about the price and make sure that their reservation was in line with Moroccan law. At first, the company assured them that their reservation posed no problems for them. But a month later, British Airways called them back and informed them that they would not be able to spend their vacation in the same hotel room.The British airline informed the couple that they could still stay in the hotel provided that they stay in separate rooms.British Airways apologized to the gay couple and offered them a full refund of all their expenses.Homosexuality is still a taboo in Morocco and is punishable by law.Moroccan law outlaws same-sex sexual activity with a maximum possible sentence of 3 years and a fine of up to 1,000 Dirhams. read more

Banning Much Loved is a Sovereign Decision Minister

Rabat- Minister of Communications and Spokesperson of the Government Mustapha El Khalfi said banning Nabil Ayouch’s film “Much Loved (Zine li Fik)” from screening in Morocco was a “sovereign decision”. Speaking to news website Al Yaoum24, the Islamist Minister said the ban decision of Nabil Ayouch’s film about prostitution in Marrakech has been taken because “the film undermines the moral values, and dignity of Moroccan woman as well as the image of Morocco.”El Khalfi added that a team from the Moroccan Cinematographic Center (CCM), the country’s film regulatory body, saw Nabil Ayouch’s film at the Cannes international film festival and therefore it decided not to authorize the release of the film in Morocco. Reacting to the controversy that has been caused by the film even before it hits movie theaters, the PJD Minister said that he is a good follower of the debate taking place on social media platforms, adding that he was surprised by the overwhelming support for the ban decision.Clips from the film containing vulgar language have caused a furor among Moroccans who called for the film to be banned.Nabil Ayouch, the film’s director, has also been accused defaming Moroccan women and tarnishing the country’s image.Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

Maroc Export to Organize Arab and African Businesswomen Forum in 2017

Rabat – “Maroc Export” was elected as organizer of the Arab and African Businesswomen Forum for the year 2017, during the board meeting of the Arab Union for Industrial Exports Promotion, under the Arab League.This forum is an opportunity to share viewpoints between Arab and African businesswomen, and an opportunity to highlight their potential and contribution to the commercial development of their countries, said Moroccan exports office in a statement.The Center was also named “Project Leader” for the Arab Training Institute for Arab Market Experts, which will be launched in 2017 and headquartered in Morocco. It will also host the 9th board of directors of the Arab Union for Industrial Exports Promotion, the statement said.Maroc Export is a founding member of the Arab Network for Trade Promotion Organizations (OPC), a network set up on November 22, 2016, in Marrakech, on the sidelines of the 11th edition of the Global OPC Conference. read more

WestJet releases its fourth quarter numbers

Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA) CALGARY — WestJet Airlines Ltd. says it earned $29.2 million in its fourth quarter, down from $47.8 million in the same period a year earlier.The Calgary-based airline says the profit amounted to 26 cents per diluted share for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with 41 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2017.Revenue in the last three months of 2018 totalled $1.19 billion, up from $1.12 billion a year earlier.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 13 cents per share for the quarter and revenue of $1.19 billion, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.For the full year, WestJet says it earned $91.5 million or 80 cents per diluted share, down from $279.1 million or $2.38 per diluted share in 2017.Revenue totalled $4.73 billion for 2018, up from $4.51 billion. The Canadian Press read more

Luxury retailers technology companies push stocks higher

NEW YORK — Stocks rose in early trading on Wall Street Tuesday following strong earnings reports from a range of U.S. companies, led by luxury retailers and technology companies.Ralph Lauren and Estee Lauder surged after reporting earnings that came in well ahead of what analysts were expecting.Apple and Microsoft lifted the technology sector. Agricultural giant Archer-Daniels Midland fell on lower sales.The encouraging earnings reports are driving the market higher, even as economic concerns continue to hang over the market.While corporate profits are still coming in ahead of forecasts, investors are starting to expect a slower pace of growth moving forward.KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index rose 8 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 2,732 as of 10:04 a.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 125 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 25,363. The Nasdaq composite rose 40 points, or 0.55 per cent to 7,388.LOOKING GOOD: Upscale clothing company Ralph Lauren surged on growth in Asia and Europe. The company’s most recent fiscal results beat Wall Streets’ forecasts. More importantly, it raised its forecast despite some fears about an economic slowdown hitting Europe and Asia. The stock rose 11.4 per cent to $127.53.Estee Lauder, which also reported better results and expects growth in Asia, rose 12 per cent to $152.60.ENERGY: U.S. crude oil fell 0.3 per cent to $54.36 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, 0.3 per cent to $62.31 per barrel in London.OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX rose 1.4 per cent. The British FTSE 100 rose 0.2 per cent. France’s CAC 40 rose 1.4 per cent. Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell0.2 per cent. In Asia, most markets were closed for the lunar new year.Damian J. Troise, The Associated Press read more

Said Naciri Calls Malhama Abtal Al Watan Critics Enemies of The

Rabat- Moroccan actor Said Naciri, who is the director and producer of the ridiculed “Malhama: Abtal Al Watan” music video said Tuesday that the people who mocked his song are enemies of success and enemies of the Moroccan state.In an interview with Moroccan news outlet Ya Biladi, Naciri came to the defense of the Malhama song, describing people who mocked and called it “garbage” and “cringeworthy,” as enemies of their own country, saying that the buzz the music video created signifies its success:“These people who we call reptiles…it should have been enough for them to hear the word ‘king,’ [in the song] it should have been enough that they heard the word nation, and saw a large number of artists. Still, they went and called it garbage. Shame,” Naciri expressed. He added that the “70 percent or 80 percent,” before correcting the latter to “60 percent” of people who encouraged the initiative are the real and original Moroccans.Naciri said that he was not against constructive criticism “because no work can be perfect,” claiming that the celebrities who took part in the music video sang about “depth,” peace, security, and stability, while the ones who mocked them are against national stability: “We should protect our nation from these people who attack similar patriotic works,” he said.Naciri informed the same source that he first presented the music video to the National Society of Radio and Television (SNRT), however SNRT’s CEO Faycal Laaraichi refused to broadcast it. Naciri said he did not know why it was rejected from the first place: “I do not understand why patriotic works done by great artists are not broadcasted on television,” he chastised. Naciri said that there was a press conference about the song that was attended by 150 people: “At first, everyone expressed admiration for the song, but once it was released online, it was attacked,” Naciri said.Malhama financed by FRMF?Naciri told the same source that Malhama had a limited budget, but managed to implement a green screen and new cameras for shooting.In a different statement to the news outlet Medias 24, Naciri informed the interviewer that the Malhama was financed by Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), while refusing to reveal its exact budget. One thing is certain: the costs of the video were not high,  judging by Malhama’s features, as many social media commentators pointed out:#Mal7ama dial lkilo ??#Tfou#Tar9a3 pic.twitter.com/QsUbKrL1oF— K.E (@ANTIJRADA) May 28, 2018Ever since its release on Friday, May 25, the 13-minute-long Malhama music video has attracted more mockery than admiration, contradictory to Naciri’s figures: 70, 80, or 60 percent of people who encouraged the initiative.Malhama is intended to show support for Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid and to encourage Morocco’s Atlas Lions, who will play their first match in the World Cup June 15.Participants in the clip include singers Abderrahim Souiri, Tahour, Abdelali Anouar, Rachida Talal, and Aicha Tachinouite; rising singer Hamza Labyed; model Leila Haddioui; actor Mohamed El Jem; and actress and former Minister of Culture Touria Jabrane. Previously, Naciri vaguely defended Malhama on a post on his official Facebook page with a statement equivalent to the French saying “Chassez le naturel, il revient au galop,” or the English proverb “What’s bred in the bone will come out in the flesh,”describing that which is inherent to a person’s nature. Taking his latest statements into account, Naciri was clearly referring to the people he now calls “enemies of the nation.” read more

NewsAlert Economic growth slowed to 04 per cent annual pace in Q4

More coming.The Canadian Press OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the economy grew at an annual pace of 0.4 per cent in the fourth quarter.The Canadian economy had grown at an annual pace of 2.0 per cent in the third quarter.Economists had expected growth at an annualized rate of 1.2 per cent for the final quarter of 2018, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

Some of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,244.59, up 77.03 points).Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Energy. Up 29 cents, or 6.64 per cent, to $4.66 on 13.2 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down 25 cents, or 1.92 per cent, to $12.78 on 10.6 million shares.The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings. (TSX:TGOD). Health care. Down five cents, or 0.99 per cent, to $5.02 on 9.5 million shares.Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financials. Down 28 cents, or 1.21 per cent, to $22.92 on 8.4 million shares.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Energy. Down 14 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $9.85 on 6.8 million shares.The Bank of Nova Scotia. (TSX:BNS). Financials. Down 30 cents, or 0.41 per cent, to $72.48 on 6.8 million shares.Companies reporting:Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED). Down 80 cents to $61.50. Canopy Growth has acquired AgriNextUSA, in a move to boost its hemp business in the United States. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available. Earlier this year, Canopy was granted a licence by the state of New York to process and produce hemp, a member of the cannabis plant family.Air Canada (TSX:AC). Up two cents to $31.46, WestJet Airlines. (TSX:WJA). Up 28 cents to $19.24. Canada’s two largest airlines have at least one of the optional safety features on their Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft that were reportedly lacking on the jets that crashed in Ethiopia and Indonesia. Air Canada and WestJet Airlines both say they purchased disagree lights used by the aircraft’s software system during flight to avert stalls.Hudbay Minerals Inc. (TSX:HBM). Up five cents to $9.35. Hudbay Minerals has proposed numerous measures to reduce impacts on the environment, including what it says is an “unprecedented” use of dry-stack tailings to secure approval at its nearly US$2-billion copper mine in Arizona. The company plans to squeeze water for reuse from about 528 million tonnes of processed ore, the equivalent weight of close to 5,000 CN Towers, to reduce water use by about half compared with its consumption if it were to use conventional tailings. The Canadian Press read more

ScarfScandal MP Amina Maelainine There is Cowardice at Moroccos PJD

Rabat – After Morocco’s ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD) sidelined her for association with a scandal, MP Amina Maelainine is intent on setting the record straight. The “disappointed” MP is now exposing what she sees as political “cowardice” at the heart of the PJD.Speaking to France 24 Arabic in her first televised appearance since making headlines for appearing without her traditional Islamic veil in Paris, Maelainine took issue with the lack of conviction in a party she still represents at the Moroccan Parliament.“The PJD is not an angel party,” Maelainine told France 24 Arabic, later suggesting in the interview that she has grown disappointed with how the PJD deals with controversial issues. “I have paid the price of my choices,” Maelainine said. Firing her most lethal verbal shot in the interview, she added, “There is cowardice at the PJD.”On regional politics, Maelainine said that she is very happy with Tunisia’s recent political reforms to grant Tunisian women the same rights as their male compatriots. The suggestion, for somebody who has been adamant about her right to make independent choices, is that she would like to witness the same changes in Morocco.Without appearing to want to resign from her current seat as a PJD MP, Maelainine told France 24 that her political future does not necessarily lie with the PJD. She said she may join a party that is more in line with her convictions.In an earlier reaction on Monday this week, Maelainine defied the PJD leadership, saying that she would not be silenced in her fight.But the France 24 interview is so far Maelainine’s harshest criticism of the entire PJD culture. The comments are not, however, the first time the MP has appeared to reproach her party for a perceived lack of political conviction or coherence.“I know some leading PJD members who are very open on the question of the hijab. Their stances are indeed very liberal. But they can’t openly express their ideas because of party and social constraints,” Maelainine said in a March 9 interview with a Moroccan paper. read more

Air Canada CEOs compensation jumps 28 to 115 million after record revenues

MONTREAL — Air Canada chief executive Calin Rovinescu enjoyed a leap in total compensation to $11.5 million last year, up 28 per cent from $9 million in 2017.Total compensation for the carrier’s top six executives reached $24.9 million in 2018, a 24 per cent jump from $20.1 million the year before, according to the proxy circular ahead of Air Canada’s May 6 annual meeting.Rovinescu’s direct compensation amounted to $8.9 million, with a raise to $10.4 million planned for 2019.The direct compensation comprised a base salary of $1.4 million, share-based and option-based awards of $5.6 million, and a pension value of about $1 million.Rovinescu, who has headed the Montreal-based airline since 2009, also received a bonus of $3.5 million.The pay bump came amidst record revenues of $18.07 billion in 2018, despite a plunge in net income to $167 million from $2.03 billion a year earlier.Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)The Canadian Press read more

Air Arabia Loses Suitcase of Moroccan Researcher After Alleged Insults by

Rabat – Maha Tazi, Moroccan researcher and professor at Concordia University in Montreal announced that she has arrived home. While she is happy to get back to Morocco, Tazi announced that Air Arabia  lost her suitcase at the “Lost & Found” at Terminal 1 of the Barcelona airport.On July 16, Tazi posted on Facebook : “Arrived in Morocco, and my suitcase is lost by Air Arabia. Looking forward to the end of this nightmare.”Read Also: Air Arabia Ground Crew Members Assault Moroccan Researcher in Barcelona AirportShe added that she is still “waiting for news from Air Arabia” about her suitcase. She also urged the company to take concrete action.“It has been three days since the incident with Air Arabia during which I was physically and verbally assaulted. I went home at my own expense, my suitcase is still lost somewhere in Barcelona airport,” she said.In a statement to Morocco World News earlier this week, Tazi said that she was “assaulted” at the airport when attempting to get onboard her scheduled flight to Casablanca.Two members of the ground crew of Air Arabia assaulted the Moroccan-Canadian woman following a discussion due to a  “small excess of weight in her suitcase.”One of the crew members prevented Tazi from boarding the flight and ripped her boarding pass as well as trying to take her passport, causing scratches in her hand.Tazi said that another  Spanish crew member intervened and told her: “We will send you to your f****ing country.”In another Facebook post, the Moroccan researcher has added that Air Arabia has still not found the missing suitcase on the fourth day since the incident. read more

Morocco and Thailand to Strengthen Parliamentary Cooperation

Rabat – During talks with the president of the Moroccan House of Representatives, Habib El Malki,  Don Pramudwinai praised the quality of political relations between the two countries.He stressed that the similarities between both kingdoms would encourage the emergence of economic cooperation in various fields.The Thai Foreign Affairs minister expressed his readiness to support all initiatives in this direction. He then called for the involvement of all stakeholders, including the private sector, in finding opportunities for cooperation. In this regard, Pramudwinai gave the example of the Moroccan-Thai parliamentary friendship group and the positive results of El Malki’s participation in the 40th General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) of the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN).El Malki, on the other hand, affirmed that Morocco’s deep interest in the region of Asia and in cooperation with ASEAN.Announcing that Thai parliamentarians will be invited to an economic promotion day to be held in Morocco, El Malki stressed the importance of the contribution of parliamentary diplomacy in strengthening ties between the two kingdoms.He also hoped that the cooperation agreements being finalized would be concluded as soon as possible and signed during the Head of Thai Diplomacy’ forthcoming visit to Morocco.El Malki further indicated that a memorandum of understanding between the legislative institutions of the two countries has been proposed. The signature of the memorandum is planned for a forthcoming visit of the President of the National Assembly of Thailand, Chuan Leekpai to Morocco.AIPA & ASEAN The ASEAN Interparliamentary Assembly was established in 1977. It has ten permanent member countries and 12 observer countries.The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, is currently the 5th largest economy in the World.  This regional grouping represents 9% of the world’s population, approximately 650 million people.It was established on August 8, 1967, in Bangkok, Thailand. It includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. read more

Intense activity over recent weeks lays foundation for work ahead – Ban

3 October 2007As the United Nations wraps up a period of “active and intense” activity at its New York Headquarters today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sees broad agreement on a number of priority issues as providing a solid basis for important work ahead. The conclusion of the annual debate of the General Assembly today caps off three weeks of activity that began with a series of high-level meetings convened by Mr. Ban on Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Middle East and climate change.Over the course of the past week, Mr. Ban continued his discussions on these and other priority issues during one-on-one conversations with more than 130 heads of State and government, foreign ministers and permanent representatives. “Taken together, he believes that we have established a firm foundation for our work during the year ahead,” Mr. Ban’s Spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters. The priorities are clear, she stated, from the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur and attaining an agreement on global warming that all nations can embrace to reinvigorating efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly in Africa.“And of course we will pursue UN reform… so that we can better deliver – more efficiently and effectively – on all that is increasingly expected of us in this era of proportionately diminishing resources,” Ms. Montas stated.She noted in particular that the climate change meeting, the largest ever gathering of world leaders on the issue, sought to coordinate global efforts to fight global warming under one roof – the UN. “It is a model of how the Secretary General hopes to continue working closely with Member States and the General Assembly in the future,” Ms. Montas said. read more

UN agency resumes repatriation of Sudanese refugees from Kenyan camp

Some 200 refugees from Kakuma camp were flown to the town of Bor, located in Jonglei state in southern Sudan, last week and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today that many more are waiting to join them.At least 8,000 of the estimated 50,000 Sudanese refugees living at Kakuma have registered to return to their homeland, despite recent tensions between the Sudanese Government and the former southern rebels over the implementation of the January 2005 peace accord that ended their long-running civil war.UNHCR said it expects that about 3,000 people will return, either by land or by air, between now and the end of the year, joining the 4,000 who returned before the repatriation programme was halted in August. In total, the agency has supported the return of 70,000 people to southern Sudan since late 2005, while another 90,000 have returned on their own.Returnees were given awareness courses about HIV and AIDS and about the dangers of landmines, while they were also informed about the rights and obligations in southern Sudan, where two decades of conflict have left the region lacking basic infrastructure and services.UNHCR is also conducting programmes in Sudan aimed at easing the reintegration of returnees into their former communities. Activities include mine clearing and building or renovating schools, health centres and boreholes.Mohammad Arif, the agency’s senior repatriation officer in Kakuma, described the mood in the camp as upbeat after it was announced the return programme was resuming.“The refugees are really keen to go back home,” he said. “Some of them have been here for more than 15 years. That is such a long time to be in exile.” 28 November 2007The United Nations refugee agency has resumed its repatriation of Sudanese from a camp in the north-west of neighbouring Kenya after the operation had been suspended for three months because of poor weather and road conditions and insecurity in the return areas of southern Sudan. read more