Recent Posts

  • OTT platforms increase TVs outreach

    first_imgThe rising popularity of web platforms might steal away the television audience. Do you fear that?No, I don’t fear that at all. In fact, the increasing popularity of web platforms has blurred the line between traditional linear TV and online TV programming; as a result of which viewers are no longer slaves to the TV sets. Now, they are free from the obligation of watching their favourite show at a specific hour, within the four walls of their home. Also Read – The Puja carnivalThis flexibility has, in turn, increased the popularity of TV actors. So it is true that TRP of the television is going down, but the audience is just getting bigger. ‘Web platform gives artistic freedom to actors’. Being a television actor, do you agree that the statement doesn’t stand true for the TV industry? I feel, the content available on the web is unique and interesting, but as an audience, I won’t be comfortable watching many of those web shows with my family. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this NavratraOn the other hand, television offers you more filtered content – which some people might find boring, engaging or even cliché sometimes – but can surely watch it with family (including me). Moreover, I believe every platform has its own audience. Web shows target a specific section of audience and not the general public. Therefore, we as television actors (or TV show makers) come forward to cater to the demands of other sections of the audience who are willing to watch family shows. You are at the peak of your television career. At this point would you be willing to step out of the comfort zone of television and explore other mediums? When you do something for a long time and are aware of the fact that audience has accepted you and love you in that particular way, it becomes a little difficult to step out and try something else. There is a risk involved in it. But I am the kind of person who loves taking challenges. I always try to break the stereotype and do something which nobody else is doing. I don’t want the tag of a TV actor, film actor or web actor. I am an actor and I want to explore each and everything. So right now if you ask me, I don’t mind taking any risk. Nowadays it’s comparatively easier to make a career in acting. Does that create pressure of getting replaced by the emerging talents? Acting has always been an intensely competitive field. It is as difficult to create your niche in the industry as it was a few years back. Definitely, there are a lot of talented people coming in the industry because of which the competition is high, but at the same time, there are a lot of new things coming up, a lot of new mediums emerging. So there is a place for each and every one. Having said that, I believe every actor has their own area of interest. Now, after a few years, I have discovered mine and I know that my only competition is myself. I’m not competing with anyone in the industry.last_img read more

  • Modi running communal campaigns for political gains says Abhishek

    first_imgKolkata: All India Trinamool Youth Congress president Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi whom he accused of running an unabashed communal campaign to gain political dividends in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.While addressing a rally at Aatghora High School Ground in Baduria under Basirhat Parliamentary constituency, Banerjee alleged that Modi has been trying to divide people on religious lines only to win the polls. He, however, asserted that the Prime Minister will suffer a humiliating defeat in the ongoing elections despite his tactically plotted communal cards. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”Modi has been trying to polarise the voters by creating a rift between the people belonging to various religious communities. His main objective is to trigger communal tension across the country. People here in Bengal are peace loving and they would thwart any attempt made by him or his party,” Abhishek added. Attacking the Prime Minister, he said: “He failed to deliver on all the promises he had made during the previous Lok Sabha elections. He promised ‘Achhe Din’ for the people by creating two crore jobs every year. Not a single person has benefitted from him. Instead of carrying out development projects, a party office in Delhi has been built at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore. The Modi government has not given a single penny to the Bengal government in the past five years.” Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAbhishek also criticised Mukul Roy without naming him and said: “All the thieves have taken refuge in the BJP. In the same breath, he also added: “If Madan Mitra had been put behind bars for three years only for taking photographs with Saradha group owner Sudipta Sen, why would Modi not go to jail despite having clicked photographs with Nirav Modi.” Sitting Trinamool Congress MP from Diamond Harbour, Abhishek urged the people of Basirhat to vote for Trinamool Congress so that party chief Mamata Banerjee can play a decisive role in the formation of the government at the Centre. Abhishek is contesting from Diamond Harbour seat. “Don’t cast your vote in favour of CPI(M) or Congress as they would strengthen the hands of the BJP. Help TMC to win in all the 42 seats so that a new government comes to power with Mamata Banerjee playing a crucial role. You have come to the rally in large numbers braving almost 40 degree Celsius which shows that you are with the TMC. This has to be reflected on the day of the election result,” he maintained. Abhishek was campaigning in favour of actor-turned-politician Nusrat Jahan who is contesting from Basirhat on a TMC ticket. He also took part in a road show in his own turf in Diamond Harbour.last_img read more

  • Police may have to give thumb impressions before going for railway station

    first_imgNew Delhi: In upcoming days, the Delhi Police teams who guard the various railway stations in the city may have to give their thumb impressions before going for patrolling.Highly placed police sources said that the plans are going on to increase the visibility of police and also to make sure that personnel are regularly patrolling. Police sources told Millennium Post that in the recent meeting between senior officers of Delhi Police railway unit there was a discussion on the staff’s visibility at different stations. Setting up of biometric machines at various locations was also discussed. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: Javadekar”Through thumb impression, there will be a record of police personnel that when they came for patrolling and when they exit,” added the police source. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railway) Dinesh Gupta said that currently, they are maintaining registers of patrolling team in which they are keeping records of patrolling signed by staffs involved in the activity. “In the details of the register like the timing of patrolling, arrests, recovery is written, so that senior officers can keep the vigil at different stations and also alertness of the staffs,” added DCP Railway. Also Read – Union min Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi L-G lay foundation stones for various projects in DwarkaHe further said that currently, they are also using technology like video calling to keep a tab at various railway stations. When asked about the thumb impression initiative, DCP Railway said that there are some planning but at a very initial stage. “It is in process but not finalized yet,” added DCP Railway. According to Delhi Police Annual Report 2018, the railway police looks after 45 railway stations and approximately 150 kms. track through its seven police stations and two police posts. 19 railway crossings are also located. The railway police has present strength of total 486 police personnel. “With this meager staff, the Railway Police takes all preventive measures to keep the crime and law & order under control including patrolling and strategic picketing. Constant listening with RPF and adjoining police stations of Delhi NCR and other agencies are being kept for better crime prevention and detection,” said Annual Report. The patrolling staff of New Delhi, Old Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin and other Railway Police Stations have been connected with a WhatsApp group.last_img read more

  • Minister Says Moroccan Needs More Science Students

    Taroudant, Morocco – After various statements made by Lahcen Daoudi, Minister of Higher Education, in which he highlighted the importance of scientific training, the Minister once again would like to see more science baccalaureate students in the Moroccan school system.According to the Minister, having more students enrolled in science branches is “one of the key means to fight against unemployment.”Daoudi, who previously declared that there are “too many graduates in arts and humanities and not enough math and science students,” believes that orienting more students into scientific disciplines “will be one of the key ways to improve employment and the fight against unemployment.” According to Media 24, the Minister said that the number of graduates in science and mathematics has declined by 2% in the 2014 baccalaureate, against a rise of 9% of graduates in arts.For Daoudi, “this is due to the organization of primary and secondary systems that needs to be reformed.”“No economy can absorb such trends,” the Minister said, adding that “we must give mathematics its proper place in the Moroccan educational system.”In addition to his favor of science branches, the minister called several times on the importance of the English language as a key element to science and academic research.In order to make this a priority for science students, the Minister of Higher Education has reportedly signed a circular making it obligatory for science students to master English before they can be admitted to science Universities.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

  • Mohammed VI is the Best King in the World Cheb Khaled

    Rabat – Cheb Khaled, the king of Rai, has hailed Morocco and King Mohammed VI in a press conference held on Sunday, on the sidelines of the ninth annual Rai Festival of Oujda. Cheb Khaled stated that “Morocco is experiencing a real revolution at all levels, to the point that His Majesty the King may God glorify him, became the best king in the world.”“May God prolong his life and protect him for all Moroccans and the Maghreb region,” Cheb Khaled added. The King of Rai received a standing ovation from all journalists attending the press conference, in appreciation of his comments.The author of the famous song “Aicha” also talked about his friendship with King Mohammed VI, saying it is based on respect and cordiality.Cheb Khaled, one of Algeria’s most famous artists who is married to a Moroccan woman, was offered Moroccan nationality by royal decree issued on August 20, 2013.Khaled told Telquel in an interview in 2009 that he had the honor to meet King Mohammed VI when he was still a prince.“When he became king, he did not turn his back on me. Quite the contrary, he has not changed and it touches me,” he explained.“We kept our friendship, because he is a character of my generation, who [has a young mentality]. He often invites me to his house when I’m in Morocco,” Cheb Khaled concluded.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

  • 32 Acts of Islamophobia in France Since Paris Terrorist Attacks

    New York –Acts if Islamophobia in France are increasing following the Paris terrorist attacks.The aftermath of the terrorist attacks that hit Paris on November 13 have had major consequences for the Muslim community all around the world, especially in France where 32  acts of Islamophobia have been registered since last Friday, according to France 24 channel.Muslims are being targeted and blamed for the despicable acts conducted by the so-called Islamic State and other extremists who slander, dishonor and twist the Islamic faith, its Holy Koran and all Muslims. The French Ministry of the Interior has received several complaints of Islamophobia, including degradation of mosques, physical violence and hateful speech toward Muslims.The Observatory against Islamophobia of the French Council of the Muslim Culture (CFCM) “calls on the Muslims of France for caution”, according to LCI news channel.“Eighteen threats, through hate mail or insults” have been recorded, the president of the CFCM Abdallah Zekri said.According to AFP, shortly after the Paris attacks on Friday night that claimed the lives of 130 victims and left 350 others injured, “crosses of dripping red paint” were found at the mosque in Créteil, a commune in the southeastern suburbs of Paris.In Pontivy, Brittany, in northwestern France a North African man was “beaten” by regionalist group during an anti-immigrant demonstration, the CFCM noted.Marseille in the south of France, the country’s second largest city, has seen its share of Islamophobic assaults as well.Following the police raid in Saint-Deni, which thwarted a terrorist attack killing three terrorists, including the alleged mastermind of the Paris carnage, a young woman was brutally attacked at a subway exit in Marseille by a man who called her a “terrorist,” according to AFP.CFCM’s President Zekri condemned these acts of hatred saying: “These Nazi apprentices benefit from these attacks to go after places of worship and women.”“We’ve been unfortunate since January after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, where 50 anti-Muslim acts were conducted, but we see that the situation advances,” he added.“These are cowardly acts, certainly not as strong as those committed at the massacre on November 13,” Zekri told LCI news. read more

  • FrenchMoroccan wins US Woman of Courage award for combatting extremism

    Rabat – A French woman of Moroccan origin won the international “Woman of Courage” prize – awarded annually by the U.S. Department of State – in recognition of her work spreading the spirit of tolerance and combating extremism.Latifa Ibn Ziaten, received the prize along with 15 other women this year during an award ceremony held at the U.S. capital city on Tuesday.Ibn Ziaten is known in France – by both Muslims and non-Muslims – as the mother of one of the French soldiers killed by terrorist Mohammed Merah during a series of shootings in Toulouse and Montauban in March 2012. Merah – a French criminal of Algerian descent – killed 7 soldiers, some of whom were Muslim, and injured five others due to “anti semitic motivations.” After the death of her son, Ibn Ziaten dedicated her time to preventing and alleviating the roots of terrorism present in French suburbs and slums, as well as mosques and prisons.In honor of her son, she founded the Imad Association for Youth and Peace and “uses it as a platform to help young people in troubled communities develop positive identities and a sense of responsibility,” according to the U.S. Department of State.Malaysian transgender rights activist Nisha Ayub was among the winners, marking the first time the prestigious prize was awarded to a transgender woman.Ayub runs Malaysian non-governmental organization Justice of Sisters which funds defense cases for transgender women in courts.In addition, she heads the Seed Foundation, which aids sex workers, transwomen, and HIV/AIDS patients. read more

  • King Mohammed VI Reiterates Moroccos Support for Legitimate Rights of Palestinian

    Rabat – King Mohammed VI sent, on Wednesday, a message to the chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Here follows the full text of the royal message:Your Excellency, Mr. Fodé Seck, Chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People,Ladies and Gentlemen, I should like to extend my warmest congratulations to our sister nation, the Republic of Senegal, for the renewed confidence placed in that country to chair the Committee for a forty-second consecutive term.The trust placed in Senegal by the international community attests to the role played by this sister nation at the global level. Through this mandate, the UN system recognizes Senegal as an important player in the international arena. This is evidenced by the pivotal role Senegal played at the United Nations Organization, which led to the adoption of Security Council Resolution 2334 on 23 December 2016 that deemed that no settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories had any legal validity.I have been in the habit of sending a message to your esteemed Committee on this International Day to reiterate the Kingdom of Morocco’s position as well as its continuing, unwavering support for the historical and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. It gives me pleasure to express, once again, my appreciation to the distinguished Committee members for their sincere efforts to foster awareness of the need to defend the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, uphold legitimacy and set up the independent Palestinian State, with al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital.Ladies and Gentlemen,Last year, I concluded my message to you on a hopeful note: that 2017 would be the year during which the peace process would no longer be in a state of insuperableness and stagnation, and that we would see the light at the end of the long tunnel as far as the Palestinian cause was concerned. It is, however, most regrettable that not only do hopes of peace seem to be fading, but peace itself appears unattainable. As a result, fears of an uncertain future in the region have been growing, especially as the facts on the ground, which the Israeli government confirms with each passing day, point to an intention to lay the two-state solution to rest – a solution which the international community agreed would be the only way to resolve the Palestinian conflict. Those facts on the ground substantiate the principle of a single, apartheid-like state, with two systems.It was my hope and the hope of the Palestinians – indeed of all freedom-lovers around the world – that 2017 would see the end of the Israeli occupation so that efforts could be focused on the practicalities of the peace agenda. However, the other party has sought to divert attention towards secondary matters, which are the natural outcome of a colonial policy and of an intensification of settlement activities, both of which create fertile ground for violence and extremism.Instead of reacting positively to the Arab Peace Initiative and other international initiatives – especially the 2003 Road Map, which was adopted by the Security Council, and the French initiative, which led to the Paris Peace Conference earlier this year, in a bid to salvage the two-State solution – the Israeli Government rejected all of the above without proposing alternatives or constructive solutions to resume negotiations with the Palestinians that would lead to a two-State solution, for two countries living side by side, in peace and security.Ladies and Gentlemen,Every day brings a host of violations perpetrated against the Palestinians in the occupied territories, including the infringement of their right to freedom of movement and expression, more and more arbitrary arrests, prolonged detention without trial and ill-treatment of prisoners, not to mention repeated incursions into many parts of the West Bank. Given these practices, the international community is duty-bound to enforce the international mechanisms for the protection of the Palestinian people.What is indisputable is the fact that the ever expanding construction of illegal settlements is an enemy of peace. Such illegal activities have increased at an alarming rate since the beginning of 2017, not to mention the retroactive legitimization of settlement outposts, in blatant defiance of Security Council resolutions and in violation of all international instruments and resolutions relating to the Palestinian issue. It is therefore legitimate to wonder: Is there still room for the establishment of a Palestinian State that would live side by side with Israel?Maintaining the status quo would undoubtedly constitute a real threat to the Palestinian and the Israeli peoples, and the risks of tension, extremism, incitement of hatred and instability would remain real in the region and the world.We note, with deep concern, the Israeli government’s persistence to allow settlement schemes to continue in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in holy sites in al-Quds. We therefore call on the Security Council and all members of the international community to act swiftly to compel Israel – the occupying power – to respect the legal and historical status of the occupied Palestinian territories.When we refer to the Palestinian State, that naturally includes the Gaza Strip, for it is an integral part of Palestine. This Palestinian territory has been under Israeli siege for a decade. As a result, the pace of reconstruction, following the 2014 Israeli aggression, has been very slow, thereby hindering the development process and driving up the unemployment rate to nearly 60%, according to UN estimates.Ladies and Gentlemen,Last July, in my in capacity as Chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s al-Quds Committee, I sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General, drawing his attention to the Israeli authorities’ continuing and systematic violations in al-Quds and in al-Aqsa Mosque designed to impose new facts on the ground. I called for swift measures to be taken to compel the Israeli government to respect the legal and historical status of al-Quds and the holy sites, and warned against the perils of turning the Palestinian-Israeli political dispute into a religious conflict.A few months later, the Israeli government lifted the ban on visits by members of the Knesset to the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, allowing them to enter the al-Haram al-Sharif in East al-Quds, under the protection of the police. This decision is basically and ultimately designed to pave the way for the spatial and temporal division of the al-Aqsa Mosque, without any regard for international appeals to refrain from changing the legal status of those places.The changes Israel has systematically introduced with respect to the historical status of al-Quds and the al-Aqsa Mosque amount to playing with fire. Indeed, the Israeli practices are likely to arouse sentiments of religiously motivated hostility which could lead to a violent religious conflict. I therefore call once again on Israel to respect the historical and legal status of the holy sites in the city which has been occupied since 1967, and I reiterate our rejection of Israel’s decision to annex it.Ladies and Gentlemen,The division that prevailed, for years, among our Palestinian brothers played into the hands of the Israeli occupation, and the biggest losers are the Palestinians, who have long been yearning for unity and a dignified life.I have stressed, on many occasions, the need to end the state of division and to opt, resolutely and in good faith, for a national unity Government that would shoulder its responsibilities towards the Palestinian people and serve as the sole, credible interlocutor in any endeavor with the international community to end the ordeal and the injustice suffered by the Palestinians.Today, after years of division and scattering of efforts, our Palestinian brothers have concluded a reconciliation agreement. We cannot but welcome that. It is a step in the right direction – one which is likely to help end the state of division and restore the spirit of national unity, as a prelude to fulfilling the Palestinian people’s aspirations for an independent State, with al-Quds as its capital. I hope our Palestinian brothers will continue to consolidate their unity and to close ranks in order to serve the Palestinian national agenda.Ladies and Gentlemen,It goes without saying that the Palestinian cause is the most important issue for the Arab and Muslim world. Allowing it to go unresolved jeopardizes the future of the peoples in the region and is a key driver of extremism and instability. Therefore, it is necessary to break the stalemate and put an end to the uncertainty characterizing the peace process. Moreover, there should be meaningful negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, with a reasonable time frame, in order to end the occupation and reach an agreement that covers all final-status issues. In the meantime, Israel, being the occupying power, must respect the historical and legal status of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the al-Aqsa Mosque Compound and stop all unilateral measures aimed at changing the Arab, Islamic and Christian identity of East al-Quds. Similarly, the 4 June 1967 lines should be considered as the borders of the Palestinian State, and the settlement activities in all occupied Palestinian territories should stop, in compliance with the relevant United Nations resolutions – the latest being Resolution 2334, passed in 2016.My call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian State is an appeal for legitimacy to be upheld and for an end to be put to the injustice inflicted upon the Palestinian people, so they may fulfil their aspirations for freedom, independence and a dignified life, just like the other peoples of the world.The continuation of the occupation is a blot on the conscience of Israel and the international community. The latter has a legal, political, moral and humanitarian responsibility to end the occupation as well as Israel’s illegal practices in the Palestinian territories. Those practices are the main reasons and arguments put forward by terrorist groups to justify their criminal agenda in the region and in the world.Thank you. read more

  • Moroccan Gay Asylum Applicants Face Abuse and Harassment in Ceuta and

    Rabat – About 30 gay and lesbian Moroccan students have recently applied for gender-based asylum in Spain, joining the ranks of numerous asylum applicants held in the centers enduring “inhuman conditions.”The 30 men and women were placed in reception centers for undocumented immigrants in Melilla, pending the status of their asylum procedures in Spain,  reports Assabah Daily in its January 18 edition.Spanish authorities in Melilla said they have been receiving increasing numbers of asylum applications related to sexual orientation after a high-profile case in 2013 when a gay Moroccan man publicly announced that he is seeking asylum in Spain. However, migrants arriving in the Spanish overseas territories of Melilla and Ceuta seeking gender-based asylum “are exposed to harassment and abuse,” according to Human Rights Watch.“LGBT asylum seekers who fled homophobic harassment and intimidation at home face similar abuse in Ceuta, both at the immigration center and on the street,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.During a visit to Ceuta in mid 2017, Human Rights Watch spoke with three gay men, two from Morocco and one from Algeria, kept at the immigration center pending the approval of their asylum applications.They said that they fled their home countries due to “extreme abuse, physical violence by family members, [and] repeated and widespread societal rejection.”Ahmed, a 29-year-old Moroccan, told Human Rights Watch that he fled Morocco only to experience the same kind of discrimination at the hands of other people staying in the migration center.“They tell me if they see me outside [the center] they’ll beat me,” he said. “They come after me, and I run. One time, in November or December, they hit me.”Another person explained, “I came to Ceuta. I didn’t have any other choice but to ask for asylum. But here it’s terrible. I am desperate. Ceuta is just like Morocco. One time I was at the beach, and a man who was a little older than me offered me a joint. I said no. He wanted to have sex, but I said no, and he threw a rock at me and hit me. I went to the police. At first, they didn’t want to take my complaint. They didn’t do anything.” read more

  • Exclusive UN Draft Resolution Calls for 6Month MINURSO Extension

    The US, in its capacity as penholder of the resolution, submitted the draft resolution on Western Sahara to all members of the Security Council Friday evening, October 26. After receiving the draft resolution, the 15 members of the Security Council will hold their first meeting today at 2 p.m. in New York (7 p.m. Moroccan time) to discuss the MINURSO mandate.The document, which was obtained by Morocco World News, called for a six-month extension of the MINURSO mandate, instead of the traditional 12-month extension. The draft requested that the MINURSO mandate, set to expire October 31, be extended until April 30, 2019. MINURSO’s mandate was only extended for six months in April 2018.Aside from the issue of the duration of MINURSO’s mandate, the draft resolution added a new operative paragraph in which it calls on the Polisario to refrain from taking any action that might change the status quo in the buffer zone.The Security Council “calls the parties to respect their relevant obligations and assurances, and refrain from any actions that could undermine UN-facilitated negotiations or further destabilize the situation in the Western Sahara, and further calls on the Frente Polisario to fully adhere to its commitments to the Personal Envoy with respect to the buffer strip at Guerguerat and Bir Lehlou,” the draft resolution reads.US wants a quick fixThe rationale for the six-month period, the draft elaborated, is to “emphasize the need to achieve a realistic, practicable and enduring political solution to the question of Western Sahara based on compromise and the importance of aligning the strategic focus of MINURSO.”  UN resources should be channelled to push for an effective and rapid diplomatic process to ensure an end to the decades-long standstill, it added.The move is in line with the US position. Reports earlier this month had indicated that Washington wanted a shorter extension period to pressure the conflicting parties to commit to the UN-led political process. John Bolton, the US national security advisor, is known for his views on keeping MINURSO operational in the disputed territory of Western Sahara. During his 2005-2006 tenure as the US representative to the UN, Bolton said MINURSO was an obstacle rather than a broker to finding a lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the conflict.The length of the ongoing diplomatic stalemate has convinced the current Trump administration that the situation on the ground is “no longer business as usual,” according to diplomatic sources.By requesting a considerable shortening of the UN peacekeeping mission, the US hopes to “nudge the parties back to the negotiating table,” political analyst Sarah Feuer recently wrote in a Washington Institute policy brief.The shift in policy, she contended, “aligns with the Trump administration’s general strategy of disrupting the status quo, including in matters of diplomacy,” to get quick fixes.According to the US, the traditional one-year extension annually granted to MINURSO contributed to its ineffectiveness and prolonged hostility between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front.France at odds with USFrance, however, supported the recommendation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for a one-year extension to the MINURSO mandate in the Western Sahara report he gave the Security Council on October 3.Guterres said a one-year extension would give him and his emissary, Horst Kohler, the time and space to establish conditions to allow the UN-led political process to continue.A source at the United Nations told Morocco World News yesterday that the Security Council would postpone the adoption of a new resolution on the Western Sahara conflict to Wednesday, October 31.The draft resolution was submitted to the members of the Security Council on Friday night. The source said the US was unable to submit the draft resolution earlier last week due to differences with France on the duration of MINURSO mandate.Calls for Algeria, Mauritania to step upThe draft resolution also encourages parties and neighboring countries to the conflict to “demonstrate further political will towards a solution including by expanding upon their discussion of each other’s proposals.”Subsequently, the resolution expressed “full support” for Guterres’ and Kohler’s intention to renew the “negotiation process before the end of 2018,” referring to invitations to Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, and Polisario to engage in a round-table in Geneva.The document noted that all parties agreed to attend the round table December 5-6.The draft also “encourages them to work constructively with the Personal Envoy, in the spirit of compromise, throughout the duration of this process to ensure a successful outcome.”The resolution also called on neighboring countries (without naming them) to “make contributions to the political process.” This might be a diplomatic gain for Morocco as it has been insisting that Algeria must engage in talks to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution to the 42-year-long conflict.In contrast to Morocco’s demands, Algeria considers itself an observer to the conflict.Like any other resolution, the document supported the efforts of Guterres, Kohler, and Special Representative and Head of MINURSO Colin Stewart to find a consensual solution to the conflict.The document also recalled Kohler’s visit to the headquarters of MINURSO and Western Sahara in August.The Security Council is set to adopt the new resolution on Western Sahara on Wednesday, October 31. It remain to be seen whether the members of the Security Council will vote for a six month or a one-year extension for the MINURSO mandate. read more

  • Côte dIvoire Affirms Support for Moroccos ECOWAS Bid

    Rabat – “Côte d’Ivoire is in favor of this accession,” said Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara as he endorsed Morocco’s bid to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) during a recent interview with Jeune Afrique.In his interview, the president underscored the importance for the community to open up to other African nations.According to the president, Morocco’s accession is beneficial, “because we consider that enlarging the economic space is good for growth.” Ouattara also added that the ECOWAS commission has been mandated to study the issue, and two summits have already discussed it.“As far as we are concerned, we are in favor of Morocco’s accession,” he said.He also raised the question of why the community “can’t open up to countries like Morocco, Mauritania or Chad,” adding that such accessions would “be good for all of us and in line with the free trade area of the African continent.”Morocco announced its desire to join the ECOWAS in February 2017. The North African country aims to strengthen the cultural, economic, and diplomatic links uniting Morocco and ECOWAS member countries.In March, Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament Moustapha Cissé Lo announced his support for Morocco’s bid to access ECOWAS at a conference in Rabat held under the title “Towards a Better Movement of People and Goods between African countries.”Cissé Lo said that Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS will undoubtedly add value to the community, asserting that his parliament will “fully play its role in the process of Morocco’s admission to ECOWAS.” read more

  • Morocco Urged to Vote on UN Declaration To Protect Peasants Rights

    By Isabella WangRabat – La Vie Campesina, the international movement behind the UN peasants’ rights declaration, has urged Morocco to approve the measure at the UNGA. Next month, the United Nations General Assembly will take a final vote on the “Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas.” Negotiations on the declaration have lasted ten years. After a decade of debate and negotiating, under the guidance of the Human Rights Council, farmers’ unions and peasant associations are now waiting for the decision in New York. La Vie Campesina has urged Morocco to vote. Yabiladi Mohamed Hakach, coordinator of the MENA chapter of La Vie Campesina and member of the National Federation of the Agricultural Sector (FNSA) explained, “This is a very crucial moment for us.” The declaration’s text is created “in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”La Vie Campesina is an international organization which coordinates farmers’ organizations from Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe. It is a coalition of 182 organizations in 81 countries. Why is the declaration important?The declaration sets out to affirm the rights of peasants. It entails the fundamental human rights of peasants and farmers, already recognized by the UN, while also incorporating new rights to protect peasants. The declaration asserts for peasants new rights, including the right to land in article 4, the right to seeds and traditional agricultural knowledge and practice in article 5, the right to the means of agricultural production in article 6, the right to information and agricultural technology in article 7, the freedom to determine price and market for agricultural production in article 8, the right to the protection of local agricultural values in article 9, the right to biological diversity in article 10, and the right to preserve the environment in article 11. The first article of the declaration sets out to create an international definition for “peasant,” differentiating the word from big farmers who focus on investment rather than actually working on the land. In Morocco, peasants, also known as small farmers, constitute a population of approximately 1.5 million people. The number does not include the small professionals who work in sectors involving the rural industry or in other trades in the countryside.  Creating a clear definition for “peasant” helps ensure that a clear set of human rights are applied to peasants, particularly when it comes to lawmaking. The declaration can regulate the parameters and laws applied to peasants and food production. Hakach stated that the declaration will aim to “strengthen the value of food sovereignty and put an end to the various violations that peasants suffer throughout the world.”Many countries now do not have specific laws in areas of food production and food sovereignty. Under the current laws, small farmers under the control of large corporation, unions, or government, can be prevented from choosing the type of agricultural production which best suits their environment. By enabling small farmers to have autonomy, the declaration not only aims to assure the rights and freedoms of the farmers but also aims to enable more effective production.The rights and sovereignty of small farmers has been critical to the drafting process of the declaration. When addressing the challenges which had delayed the treaty, Hakach stated, “The first is related to the parties that have no interest in this declaration being adopted, namely the multinationals and the big decision makers of this world. This vote will be a political decision and we are creating awareness amongst the Moroccan government on this.”He continued, “In addition, another limit is that of the peasant organization. In our country, it was not until last July that the National Union of Peasants was created. In the field, small rural workers have a lot of trouble defending their interests, because we are lacking the organisation [to defend them].Ramifications for MoroccoIf the declaration is successful, it is highly likely that Moroccan agricultural policy will undergo greater reform to assure the rights and benefits of peasants. Faical Ouchen, secretary general of the National Union of Peasants (SNP), one of 17 agricultural unions affiliated to the FNSA, stated that current agricultural policy in Morocco “is mainly based on the Green Morocco Plan (PMV) directed mainly to large farmers.”Consequently, the adoption of the treaty, with or without Morocco’s vote, would lead to reviews in Morocco’s agricultural policy and a greater focus on small farmers. The declaration has garnered support from many other African countries while facing opposition from some European countries.Ouchen highlighted the benefits for small farmers in Morocco. He explained that the declaration “protects them [small farmers] from random expropriations, which especially in Morocco, are operated by mafia real estate agencies and in addition large seed industries who produce non-reproducible seeds. Both of these force small farmers to depend on these large structures.” read more

  • Thousands of protests submitted against New Mexico oil sale

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thousands of protests have been lodged with U.S. land managers in opposition of next month’s oil and natural gas lease sale despite a decision to remove from the offering several parcels near a national park in northwestern New Mexico.Environmentalists say they turned in 33,000 protests to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday, the last day of the protest period.It will be up to the federal agency to review the information ahead of the March 28 sale. The agency earlier this month deferred nine parcels that were within 10 miles (16 kilometres) of Chaco Culture National Historical Park.Aside from ongoing criticism over development in the Chaco region, environmentalists also voiced concerns about parcels up for bid near Carlsbad Caverns National Monument in southeastern New Mexico.The Associated Press read more

  • Ali Squalli Moroccan National Anthem Writer Man of 2018

    Rabat – Moroccan author and poet Ali Squalli Houssaini, who died this year, deserves to be Morocco’s man of the year 2018 because of his great contribution to the Moroccan national identity by writing the national anthem’s Arabic lyrics.Squalli wrote the national anthem in 1969 under the reign of King Hassan II. Before independence in 1956, the anthem was used only as a melody. Even after independence, Morocco continued to use the anthem without lyrics until 1969.Squalli was born in Fez in 1932 and died on November 5 at the age of 86 from an incurable disease. Read Also: Ali Squalli, Author of Moroccan National Anthem Dies at 86Morocco’s Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan and Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani in addition to a number of literary and media personalities attended Squalli’s funeral ceremony.“We have received, with pain, the sad news of the passing of the poet, Ali Squalli Houssaini, may his soul rest in peace,” King Mohammed VI wrote in a condolence letter to Squalli’s family.The King recalled Squalli’s “righteousness, patriotism, and respect and devotion to the Alaouite crown,” and prayed for patience for Squalli’s family.The idea of writing lyrics to the national anthem came after the Moroccan national football team qualified to participate in the World Cup for the first time for the 1970 games in Mexico. Squalli’s lifeSqualli received a bachelor’s degree in literature from Al-Quaraouiyine University in 1951 and later became a professor there.Squalli joined the Royal Cabinet in 1956, in which he was appointed as an advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He then became an associate professor at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in Rabat in 1964. The Moroccan author worked as an inspector general at the Ministry of Education beginning in 1971.  Read Also: King Mohammed VI Mourns Death of Morocco’s Anthem Writer Ali SqualliSqualli also wrote numerous books, especially children’s books. He had also been a member of the Union of Moroccan Writers since 1967.Throughout his career, Squalli achieved various awards for his literary works, including the Morocco Grand Prize in 1982 and the international prize of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia for children’s literature in 1992.What did they say about him?King Mohammed VI described Squalli as one of the “pioneers of modern Arabic literature, the creator of the national anthem who enriched the national library.”Mourning Squalli’s death, El Othmani said the deceased author was known for his true patriotism. The national anthem that Squalli wrote represents “one of the national landmarks that we are proud of,” El Othmani added. Abdelhak El Merini, a Moroccan historian and official spokesperson for the royal palace recommended paying attention to Squalli’s books and collection of poems dedicated to children. They should be “distributed to national educational academies” to spread the messages Squalli wanted to convey children, El Merini stressed.Read Also: In Memoriam: Moroccan Celebrities Who Died in 2018Mustapha El Ktiri, the Moroccan high commissioner of former resistance fighters and members of the Army of Liberation, said that Squally was among the early participants in the Moroccan national movement. El Ktiri continued, Squalli “was among the arrested people in the events of 1944 in the cities of Rabat, Sale, and Fez,” after King Mohammed V sent an official letter to the French colonial authorities demanding independence, known as the manifesto demanding independence. read more

  • Statistics Canada reports retail sales rose 08 per cent in February

    OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in February to $50.6 billion, the first increase since October.Economists had expected an increase of 0.4 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Sales were up in five of 11 subsectors, representing 73 per cent of retail trade.Retail sales at general merchandise stores, which include department stores, warehouse clubs as well as home and auto supplies stores, rose 3.8 per cent, while sales at new car dealers helped motor vehicle and parts dealers sales climb 1.4 per cent.Sales at building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were down 1.6 per cent after posting gains in December and January. Overall retail sales in volume terms were up 0.2 per cent. The Canadian Press

  • MTY Food Group acquires Allo Mon Coco chain of breakfast and lunch

    MONTREAL — MTY Food Group Inc. has signed a deal to acquire Allo! Mon Coco, a chain of breakfast and lunch restaurants.Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.Allo! Mon Coco has 39 franchised restaurants including 38 in Quebec and one in Ontario.MTY says the chain had roughly $57 million in system sales in the last 12 months.The deal includes the Allo! Mon Coco trademark for the world except the United States. Under the deal, MTY will obtain a right of first refusal should the owners of the trademark for the United States decide to sell it.MTY is a franchisor and operator of a broad range of restaurants including shopping mall food court staples such as Thai Express, Vanellis and Manchu Wok, as well as full-service restaurants such as Baton Rouge, Pizza Delight and Scores.Companies in this story: (TSX:MTY)The Canadian Press read more

  • How the major US stock indexes fared Friday

    Stocks closed broadly lower on Wall Street Friday and notched their second-straight weekly loss, as investors were whipsawed by contradictory developments in the Trump administration’s array of trade conflicts.Technology and industrial companies dropped the most. The S&P hasn’t fallen for two consecutive weeks since last year, but it remains about 14% higher so far in 2019.On Friday:The S&P 500 fell 16.79 points, or 0.6%, to 2,859.53.The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 98.68 points, or 0.4%, to 25,764.The Nasdaq composite dropped 81.76, or 1%, to 7,816.28.The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks gave up 21.48 points, or 1.4%, to 1,535.76.For the week:The S&P 500 fell 21.87 points, or 0.8%.The Dow dropped 178.37 points, or 0.7%.The Nasdaq lost 100.66 points, or 1.3%.The Russell 2000 gave up 37.23 points, or 2.4%.For the year:The S&P 500 is up 352.68 points, or 14.1%.The Dow is up 2,436.54 points, or 10.4%.The Nasdaq is up 1,181.01 points, or 17.8%.The Russell 2000 is up 187.20 points, or 13.9%.The Associated Press read more

  • UN tourism agency sets up Internet platform for socially conscious travellers

    2 February 2007Socially conscious travellers will now be able to use a secure Internet network to exchange information on ethical tourism that seeks to promote sustainable development and help poor communities around the world under a new project of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). “The time is right to take advantage of new technologies to advance the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics,” the agency’s Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman said of yesterday’s agreement by UNWTO and WISeKey to expand the use of traveller identification and authentication technologies to deliver YouTourist as a unique e-Tourism Social Network. “The explosion of social networks fits perfectly with the spirit of the responsible and sustainable tourism that we are seeking to encourage,” he added of the Code, a blueprint for safeguarding the resources upon which tourism depends and ensuring that its benefits are equitably shared in the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs seek to slash a host of social ills, such as extreme hunger and poverty, infant and maternal mortality and lack of access to education and health care, all by 2015. The UNWTO sets out guiding principles for governments, destinations, tour operators, travel agents, tourism workers, developers, and travellers themselves. Based on WISeKey Digital Identification and Microsoft Cardspace technologies, the new platform allows tourist to connect with one another. YouTourist encourages exchanges of pictures, videos, and comments and gives special communication opportunities for local communities and travel companies involved in the whole chain of tourism development. Crosscutting areas in poverty alleviation can be greatly aided by introducing the type of technology available for travel industry Trusted Social Networks. Digital Identification for secure participation will be a key element. The Trusted Social Network for the Tourism Industry will inter connect to the global information infrastructure provided by agencies offering e-Tourism Services. It will federate participating agencies into a global e-Tourism Portal using Single Sign On technologies. The new project builds on the Public Private Partnership agreement signed last year by UNWTO and Microsoft to use information technology to improve the tourism industry’s competitiveness and quality in developing countries, especially in Africa which at present accounts for only 4 per cent of international tourism. read more

  • New commissioner takes over as head of UN police in Kosovo

    6 March 2007A veteran British police officer with wide experience in international law enforcement has taken over as the new United Nations police commissioner in Kosovo after his predecessor was asked to resign following the deaths of two people in a clash with pro-independence demonstrators in the Albanian-majority Serbian province. Richard Monk, first Director and Senior Police Adviser to the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) from 2002 to 2006, was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to replace Stephen J. Curtis, who stepped down last month. Mr. Ban’s Special Representative in Kosovo Joachim Rücker asked for Mr. Curtis’s resignation after police used rubber bullets against pro-independence demonstrators in the province, which the UN has run ever since North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid brutal ethnic fighting. The demonstration followed the unveiling of UN proposals for the future status of the province, where Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by 9 to 1. The provisional plan, drawn up by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy for the status process Martti Ahtisaari, calls for Kosovo to have the right to govern itself and conclude international agreements, including membership in international bodies, with an international civilian and military presence supervising the new arrangements. But it does not specifically mention independence, which Serbia rejects and which many ethnic Albanians seek. During his time at OSCE Mr. Monk founded and was head of the Strategic Police Matters Unit responsible for capacity/institution-building, particularly in the former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. He also carried out a ‘Study of Policing in Yugoslavia’ that forms the basis of international police aid to Serbia and Montenegro. As Commissioner of the UN International Police Task Force (IPTF) in Bosnia during 1998-99, he was responsible for rebuilding and reforming the police forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2000, he was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Panel on Peace Operations, which reviewed criticisms of past peacekeeping operations. As a police officer for 35 years in the United Kingdom, Mr. Monk served in several senior positions including as Head of Scotland Yard Branches dealing with Crime, Community Affairs and Crime Prevention and as Assistant Chief Constable (Crime) for the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. read more

  • Fourteen nations elected to serve on UN Human Rights Council

    Fourteen countries have been elected to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council after two rounds of balloting among Member States today at UN Headquarters in New York. Angola, Bolivia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Qatar, Slovenia and South Africa were successful after the first round of voting, while Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy were chosen following a second round. Successful countries – which were elected according to a formula that allots seats among regional groups – needed to obtain an absolute majority of the General Assembly’s membership of 192 States. The second round of balloting was restricted to those States which had scored the most votes in the first round without achieving a majority. In the African States group, Madagascar (182 votes), South Africa (175), Angola (172) and Egypt (168) exceeded the majority during the first round, while India (185), Indonesia (182), the Philippines (179) and Qatar (170) won the seats allotted to the Asian States group. In the Latin America and the Caribbean States group, where two seats were up for grabs, Nicaragua (174) and Bolivia (169) were elected. Slovenia, which obtained 168 votes, was the only nation in the Eastern European States category to win a majority in the first round, but in the second round Bosnia and Herzegovina picked up 112 votes. Belarus did not score enough votes in either round. Two seats were available to the Western European and Other States group, and the Netherlands won 121 votes in the opening round, while Denmark and Italy tied on 114 votes. In the second round, Italy scored 101 votes and Denmark obtained 86. Some of today’s successful countries – South Africa, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Netherlands – were actually being elected to their second term after winning a seat during the inaugural elections of the Council last year, when the body was established to replace the discredited Commission on Human Rights. As part of the Council’s formation, some members won three-year terms and others were given one-year terms and allowed to run for re-election again this year. Under Council riles, members serve three-year terms and cannot run for re-election after two consecutive terms. Those elected today will serve three-year terms on the 47-member body. 17 May 2007Fourteen countries have been elected to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council after two rounds of balloting among Member States today at UN Headquarters in New York. read more