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Advani Jaitley cast vote in Ahmedabad

first_imgAhmedabad: BJP patriarch L K Advani and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley have exercised their franchise in different localities here in Gujarat during on Tuesday’s single-phase Lok Sabha elections in the state.After casting his vote at a polling booth in a school in Shahpur locality, Advani, who is the sitting MP from Gandhinagar constituency in the outgoing Lok Sabha, predicted victory for the BJP in elections. Shahpur area falls under Ahmedabad (West) Lok Sabha constituency. Jaitley, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat, voted at a polling booth set up at Chimanbhai Institute in Makarba locality in the city which is part of Gandhinagar Lok Sabha constituency. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’BJP president Amit Shah is in the fray from Gandhinagar while Ahmedabad (West) MP Kirit Solanki is seeking re-election from the reserved constituency. Advani, who flew from Delhi to Ahmedabad, reached a polling booth at Shahpur Hindi School located in the Muslim-dominated area in the noon with his daughter Pratibha Advani. Solanki also accompanied Advani. They were greeted with slogans of “Jai Bhim” as they emerged from the booth. Before leaving, Advani expressed confidence of BJP winning the elections. “We will win,” he said while refusing to take questions from reporters. In the run-up to the elections, the BJP brass dropped 91-year-old Advani from Gandhinagar contest and instead fielded Shah. Advani has represented Gandhinagar six times. Voting is underway for all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat for which a total of 371 contestants are in the fray. The BJP had won all the 26 seats in the state in the 2014 general elections.last_img read more

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Cyclone Fani leaves 12 dead in Odisha relief work underway

first_imgBhubaneswar: A day after cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ ravaged parts of Odisha, killing at least 12 people, a massive restoration and relief work was launched on war-footing Saturday across 10,000 villages and urban areas, officials said. The extremely severe cyclonic storm, which made landfall at Puri on Friday, unleashed copious rain and windstorm that gusted up to 200 kmph, blowing away thatched roofs of houses, swamped towns and villages, before weakening and entering West Bengal, they said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework The death toll due to the calamity, which stood at eight on Friday, mounted to 12 with four fresh casualties reported from Mayurbhanj district, the officials said, adding, detailed information from many areas was still awaited. All the four people were killed after uprooted trees fell on them at different places in Baripada, the emergency officer of Mayurbhanj district, S K Pati, said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and discussed the prevailing situation in the aftermath of the cyclone’s landfall in the coastal state. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen The prime minister assured continuous support from the central government. “Spoke to Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Ji and discussed the situation prevailing due to Cyclone Fani. Assured continuous support from the Central Government … The entire nation stands in solidarity with all those affected by the cyclone in different parts,” Modi said in a tweet. Though the “extremely severe” cyclone weakened into a “very severe” cyclonic storm in a few hours, it flattened houses with thatched roofs and kutcha houses, uprooted scores of trees, electric poles and mobile towers in coastal Odisha, with the seaside pilgrim town of Puri being the worst hit. Patnaik, after reviewing the situation on Friday night, had said that Puri district suffered huge damage. “Energy infrastructure has been completely destroyed. Restoration of electricity is a challenging task,” he had said. Hundreds of engineers and technicians are working to restore power supply, the officials said. Work is on to restore road communication, thrown into disarray with thousands of uprooted trees blocking the way in innumerable places, Patnaik said. Men and machinery of the NDRF, the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) and fire services swung into action and launched a massive restoration work to bring back normalcy, Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), B P Sethi, said. Odisha Energy Secretary Hemanth Sharma said around 30 lakh power consumers have been affected by the cyclone, which threw electricity distribution infrastructure out of gear in most coastal districts. Restoration work is on in full swing, he said. In Bhubaneswar city itself, over 10,000 electric poles have been uprooted or broken, he said, adding, efforts are on to restore power supply in 25 per cent crucial sectors such as the airport, the railway station and hospitals. Another 25 per cent work will be completed on Sunday and efforts are on to restore complete normalcy at the earliest, Sharma said. The power network had been severely damaged in districts such as Puri, Khurda, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara and Balasore. The Quick Action Team (QRT) of the premier naval training establishment, INS Chilka, was immediately deployed to provide emergency assistance in cutting and clearing trees in some areas, said an official. A naval Dornier aircraft carried out aerial survey and found extensive damaged to vegetation in many places around Puri. Large-scale water inundation was observed in many places, particularly in low-lying areas between Puri and Chilka lake, he said. The chief minister said nearly 12 lakh people were evacuated and shifted to safer locations from about 10,000 villages and 52 urban agglomerations, 24 hours ahead of the cyclone, “probably the largest such exercise at the time of a natural calamity in the country”. The evacuees have been accommodated in over 4,000 shelters, including 880 specially-designed cyclone centres, he said. Cooked food is being served to them for free. The cyclone, after the landfall, passed through Khurda, Cuttack, Jajpur, Bhadrak and Balasore before entering West Bengal, the SRC said, adding, Bhubaneswar city was hit by high velocity winds of around 140 kmph. Telecommunication lines got snapped in several parts of the state capital and other areas. Summer crops, orchards and plantations also suffered huge damage, he said. Around 220 trains on the Howrah-Chennai route have been cancelled in view of passengers’ safety, an East Coast Railway (ECoR) official said.last_img read more

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NTPC helps Odishas Central Electricity Supply Utility in postFani restoration work

first_imgNew Delhi: State-owned NTPC Tuesday said it has provided a manpower strength of 350 to Central Electricity Supply Utility of Odisha for restoration work in cyclone affected areas. NTPC has taken a series of measures to provide relief in the cyclone affected areas of Odisha, including early restoration of power and setting up of medical camps, the company said in a statement. “The power giant has provided manpower strength of 350 to the Central Electricity Supply Utility (CESU) of Odisha and 1,000 electric poles to quicken this restoration process,” it said. The company said it has also provided three diesel generator sets – two of them are of 125 KVA capacity, while the third one is of 250 KVA – to reinstate power supply. “NTPC has set up medical camps at two locations in Puri, namely, Penthakata and Chandrabhaga. Each camp comprises of six doctors and five paramedics who are working in coordination with Director Health Services. These medical camps have already been visited by over 250 affected people on the afternoon of May 6,” it added.last_img read more

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April retail inflation gallops to 6month high rate of 292

first_imgNew Delhi: Retail inflation inched up to a six-month high of 2.92 per cent in April due to a spike in food prices, including vegetables, meat, fish and eggs, according to the official data released Monday. Inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was at 2.86 per cent in the previous month and 4.58 per cent in April 2018, the data by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed. The rate of price rise in April is the highest since October 2018 when the rate was 3.38 per cent. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraInflation in the food basket was 1.1 per cent in April, up from 0.3 per cent in March. Prices of vegetables rose by 2.87 per cent against a contraction in March. Fruit prices, however, declined in April compared to the year-ago month. Prices in the fuel and light category moved up by 2.56 per cent in April against 2.42 per cent in the previous month. The Reserve Bank mainly factors in the CPI-based inflation while setting the key policy rates. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysThe Monetary Policy Committee headed by the RBI governor would be meeting early June to decide on its monetary policy. The government has mandated the RBI to maintain retail inflation at around 4 per cent. Commenting on the data, RBL Bank Economist Rajni Thakur said the CPI inflation is moving closer to the inflation trajectory laid out by the RBI’s forecast. Meanwhile, Crisil Research expects the retail inflation to rise 60 basis points (bps) to 4 per cent this fiscal from 3.4 per cent in 2018-19. This base case assumes food inflation rising to 3 per cent from an abnormal low of 0.1 per cent, it added. Deepthi Mathew, Economist, Geojit Financial Services noted that inflation in the country is slowly picking up reaching a six month high at 2.92 per cent for April.last_img read more

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Head of Algeria ruling party attacks powerful intel chief

first_imgALGIERS – The head of Algeria’s ruling party, a vocal supporter of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika seeking a fourth term in April elections, called on the powerful intelligence chief to resign in an interview published Monday.General Mohamed “Tewfik” Mediene, the long-time leader of the DRS military intelligence agency, is considered a towering force in Algeria, whose secretive military elite has dominated the country’s political scene since independence.Bouteflika reportedly took decisive steps to roll back their pervasive influence last year by curbing the prerogatives of the DRS, which analysts said strengthened the president’s hand in his long-running power struggle with the military, ahead of the upcoming elections. But public criticism by senior Algerian officials of the man at the head of the intelligence agency since 1990 is very rare.“If we examine the achievements of internal security in certain important cases, we can see that the agency’s failures have multiplied,” Amar Saidani, secretary general of Bouteflika’s National Liberation Front (FLN), told independent news website Tout sur l’Algerie.“In my opinion, Tewfik should have resigned after these failures,” added Saidani, using the name by which General Mediene is commonly known in Algeria.Notable security failures cited by the FLN leader included the bloody hostage raid on a desert gas plant in January 2013, an attempt on Bouteflika’s life in September 2007 and a deadly attack on the UN headquarters in Algiers later that year.“The presence of internal security in every institution gives the impression that power in Algeria is not in civilian hands,” Saidani said.“Instead of managing the country’s security, this department (the DRS) interferes with the activities of political parties, the judiciary and the press,” he added.Saidani was controversially elected FLN secretary general in August last year, amid strong opposition from some within the ruling party, just a month before Bouteflika was reportedly curtailed the powers of the DRS.Three of the agency’s key units — the army communications bureau, its central security office and its judicial police force — where placed under the control of General Ahmed Gaid Salah, a close Bouteflika ally, according to local press reports that have not been denied.Referring to damaging accusations and corruption scandals that have implicated members of Bouteflika’s inner circle in recent years, notably former energy minister Chakib Khelil, Saidani said the DRS “never stops making up stories about those close to the president.”Contacted by AFP, a member of the FLN’s political office refused to comment on the party leader’s remarks.Saidani announced in November that Bouteflika, 76, was the FLN’s designated candidate in the upcoming presidential polls, despite many in Algeria rejecting the idea given the president’s age and fragile health.Bouteflika has not been seen or heard in public since suffering a mini-stroke last year, and has yet to say whether he will contest the election.last_img read more

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MoroccanAmerican Musician Rachid Halihal Ambassador of Music and Culture

New York –Rachid Halihal is one of Morocco’s best ambassadors of music and culture. Rachid plays what he refers to as organic music —authentic music that reflects the real spirit, art, and traditions of North Africa and the Maghreb.Rachid Halihal is a world class musician specializing in the music of Morocco, North Africa, and Andalusia.A classically trained vocalist and instrumentalist, he is a virtuoso on the Oud, the predecessor of the lute, and an accomplished violinist.A native of Fez, Morocco, Rachid began his music studies at the age of fourteen at the Conservatory of Music in Fez. He has performed and given workshops internationally throughout Morocco, on the Ivory Coast, in the Arabian Gulf countries, in Finland, Canada, Panama, and throughout the United States. Rachid has played in Saudi Arabia with famous singers such as Mohammed Abdou and Majid Abdallah. In 2000, Rachid was invited to Finland to play for the New Year celebrations with famous Algerian musician Cheb Khaled. Rachid enjoyed Finland so much that he moved there to live for a year. In 2001, Rachid was invited to give workshops and perform concerts in the United States. Since then, he has lived in several places in the U.S., including playing and teaching for seven years in Colorado. Before that, Rachid spent one year in San Francisco teaching and conducting the Arabic music ensemble Aswat.Rachid now makes his home in New York City. He is the Artistic Director of the ensemble Layali Al Andalus, which since its founding in 2006 has performed in a many different venues in New York and elsewhere. Rachid took the ensemble to Washington D.C. in 2011, to perform with the Washington Revels in the Christmas Revels theatre production entitled Andalusian Treasures. In 2012, he collaborated with the Graduate Center at the City University of New York to found and lead a community instrumental and vocal ensemble called the NY Andalus Ensemble.In May 2014, he performed traditional Andalusian oud music for His Excellency Ambassador Rachad Bouhlal, Morocco’s Ambassador to the U.S., at a white tie dinner celebrating Moroccan culture and cuisine at the prestigious University Club in Washington, D.C.“Music brings people together,” says Rachid. “In my ensembles and my teaching all over the world, I have always welcomed people from different origins and different religions.  Arabs and Americans, Muslims and Jews, Christians and atheists, Buddhists and secularists have all played in my ensembles.” He stressed that, “Music can be a [driving] force for understanding and world peace.”Rachid Halihal and Layali el Andalus performing in December 2011, in the Christmas Revels production of “Andalusian Treasures,” at Lisner Auditorium, Washington D.C.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

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HRW Calls for Decriminalization of Adultery in Morocco

Rabat – In the wake of the Hicham Mansouri case, international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Morocco to decriminalize adultery. In a communiqué published on Tuesday, the human rights advocacy group criticized the Moroccan criminal justice system and the law on adultery.This comes after the confirmation of a ten-month prison sentence for Hicham Mansouri, who works for an organization supporting investigative journalism, and his co-defendant, a 30 year-old woman, for adultery. The court also ordered the defendants to pay a total of 40,000 dirhams (US $4,140) in damages to the woman’s husband. According to HRW, “the court had discounted substantial evidence that emerged during the trial.” Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW’s Middle East and North Africa director, said, “the conviction of Mansouri and his co-defendant is a depressing example of so much that is wrong with Morocco’s criminal justice system…it also highlights Morocco’s problematic criminalization of adultery.”“Morocco should decriminalize adultery, a step that would be consistent with its obligation to protect the right to privacy in its 2011 constitution and international human rights law,” HRW said in the communiqué, adding that Morocco “should also ensure the right of defendants to fair trials so that courts don’t inherently give more weight to police accounts of events than to exculpatory evidence presented by the defendants.”Article 491 of Morocco’s penal code calls for a prison term of between one and two years for adultery. It states that adultery can be prosecuted only if the spouse of one of the parties files a complaint. In Mansouri’s case, HRW claims that the woman’s husband filed a complaint to trigger the prosecution, but only after the police had informed him that they had caught his wife in the act.HRW claimed that the police’s handling of the Mansouri case suggests that “motives other than the neutral enforcement of adultery laws may have driven his arrest and prosecution.” Mansouri works for the Moroccan Association for Investigative Journalism, a small group whose president, Professor Maati Monjib, has stirred controversy by directly criticizing the Mekhzen.According to the group, “Mansouri is not the only Moroccan with a political profile recently arrested for alleged adultery.”  El-Mostafa Erriq, a leading member of the Islamist opposition Justice and Spirituality (Adl wa’l Ihsan) movement, and a woman he was visiting were arrested on March 13 and were held in police custody for three days. However, the police released them when Erriq’s wife declined to file a complaint.The NGO claimed  that in both cases, the police did not arrest the accused on the basis of a complaint filed by a spouse. Instead, the police contended that they caught the couple in the act and invited the spouse to file a complaint.“Both cases also highlight the intrusive nature of police investigations into alleged adultery offences. The criminalization of consensual sexual relationships between adults, regardless of their marital status, violates the right to privacy,” Human Rights Watch said. read more

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José Mourinho Secures 200 Wins as Chelseas Coach

New York – José Mourinho was satisfied after Chelsea’s win 2-0 against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Saturday morning. With this performance, the Portuguese reaches 200 victories as Chelsea’s coach.The “Blues” boss spoke to the press following his team’s victory, which he attributed to the confidence his men showed throughout the match.Mourinho said: “[It was] a performance to compensate the lack of confidence and self-esteem”, the team has been suffering over their 4 losses in this season’s Premier League.“The performance was very solid,” he added. ‘The Special One’ believes that “confidence comes with results [and] results bring all the other good qualities” that Chelsea demonstrated at the game. The former Real Madrid coach had words of support for his players saying that they worked compact and together to win.“They are together…they showed that they were ready to fight for a crucial game”, he said.“I just want to say that we won and we deserved [it],” he added.Mourinho was officially sanctioned to pay a €67,500 fine and a one-match ban by the British Football Association on Wednesday for ‘bad conduct’ after he lashed out at the referees accusing them of being “afraid to signal for Chelsea” last September.Following Saturday’s win at Stamford Bridge, the Portuguese boss had words of praise for the referee and said “he was very good”.Chelsea will have the opportunity to garner another victories next Tuesday when they confront Dynamo Kyiv for the Champions League, and next Saturday against West Ham United for the Premier League. read more

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Morocco Only Safe North African Country French Foreign Ministry

New York – The Foreign Affairs Ministry of France ranks Morocco as the only safe country in North Africa for French citizens.According to the French Ministry’s “Centre de Crise et de Soutien” (Center of Crisis and Support) map on “Travel Advice,” which was recently updated following the suicide bombing that shook Istanbul on Tuesday, Morocco is the only recommended country for French nationals to visit south in the MENA region.French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, recommended French citizens traveling abroad to include Morocco in their destinations as its vigilance is considered “normal, according to the “Travel Advice” map published last December 21. The Quai d’Orsay, as the French Foreign Ministry is known for its location in Paris, said that out of 191 countries worldwide, only 40 are considered safe, including Morocco.“The political and security situation allows the organization of professional and tourist trips to Morocco, provided for vigilance, especially when traveling along the southern border with Algeria,” the ministry said in its official website last November.France’s “Travel Advice” map on North Africa ranked Morocco in the “green zone” as the only country with “normal vigilance.”Southern Algeria, Libya and regions in Egypt are in the “red zone” or “formally discouraged” to visit, the French Ministry’s map noted.Northern Algeria and parts of Egypt are in the “orange zone” or “not recommended unless you have a reason” to visit. The same map ranked Tunisia as a country of “enhanced vigilance.”According to the Quai d’Orsay, the most “formally discouraged” countries for French nationals are in the African continent as well war-torn countries in the Middle East, such as Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.In November 2015, the British Foreign Office ranked Morocco as one of the “safest countries in the world,” recommended for British travelers.The same source said that Morocco’s risk for terrorism threats is lower than in some European countries, including France and Spain. read more

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Moroccan Athlete to Run Hardest Marathon on Earth in California

By Tatiana FlowersRabat – Mohamad Ahansal from JbelBani, Morocco, has been invited by the United States to run “Badwater,” one of the world’s toughest foot races in America.  The nonstop race comprises 135 miles (217k) of mountainous terrain and it starts in one of the hottest climates in the world, in Badwater, Death Valley, California. The starting point is at 280 feet (85m) below sea level and finishes in Mount Whitney at 8,300 feet (2,530m). Ahansal will run a total of three mountain ranges, spanning 14,600 feet (4,450m) vertically, and 6,100 feet (1,859m) in ascension. On July 18, 2016, he will compete against some of the strongest male and female marathoners in the world, running for an organization called “Hope So Bright,” which raises awareness of autism, affecting one in 10 American children.“I will be doing my very last bit of  training for Badwater here in Morocco with a fast run up our highest mountain. It will be a special run from Marrakech to Toubkal summit 4167m; 78 km with 4000 m+ climbing … We will be leaving on 9 July at 00:00 from Bab Rob in Marrakech if anyone would like to join,” Ahansal told Morocco World News.Ahansal is a five-time champion of Marathon Des Sables, one of the hardest races on Earth and equivalent to six full marathons.He and his brother, Lahcen, who is also an award-winning runner, had not started training until their late teens, but they would unknowingly become conditioned early, growing up in a high altitude with scorching temperatures, and mountainous terrain.  Each day, they ran 7 kilometers to and from school, or 4.3 miles in distance.When Mohamad Ahansal was 17, he ran his first competition against other young men at the Eid Al-Ashor festival. He did not have running shoes, so he wore heavy football sneakers with improper soles. At the starting line, he realized his friends and competitors had proper running sneakers, so he decided to discard his own and run the race barefoot. He finished the race in second place, realizing for the first time, he had a tremendous ability.Although Ahansal is well known for his capability of handling such tough foot races, he acknowledges the difficulty of Badwater.“In a way, it was a crazy decision to sign up. It is almost the same distance, [as Marathon Des Sables] but Marathon Des Sables takes six days and Badwater is non-stop. I have never run this far in one go. Yes, the temperature will be the same, but the quality of the sun will be different. The altitude, the humidity, and the difference between the desert plain and the mountains are all factors. At the start, it is going to be very dry with lots of heat coming up from the ground, and then by the end, you are at high altitude. This is the difficulty,” he said.Ahansal is internationally known for winning noteworthy, difficult races, including Marathon Des Sables, Fire and Ice, and The Iranian Silk Road. He has also created his own multi-stage race, called the Trans Atlas Marathon.Last year, an American, Pete Kolstenick, won Badwater.  This year, Ahansal has a chance at bringing the victory home to Africa. read more

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Moroccos Sofiane Boufal Wins MarcVivien Foé RFIFrance 24 Award

Rabat – Moroccan international footballer Sofiane Boufal was awarded the Marc-Vivien Foé RFI/France 24 Award on Friday as the best African footballer playing in Ligue 1 for the 2015-2016 season.Last May, Boufal was nominated to receive the award’s trophy in Paris but, at that time, he could not accept due to a knee injury. He was then traded to the English club of Southampton.Speaking to France 24, the offensive midfielder, said, “It is with great pride that I receive this trophy, especially as the prize list before me is well supplied with great players,” Boufal said. “This trophy is significant because it is my first big trophy – it will have a special place with me.” Boufal beat out Senegalese Sheik Ndoye and the Algerian Rachid Ghazzal by achieving a successful year and a half with France’s Lille, during which he scored 11 goals.Boufal is the third Moroccan player to be awarded this prize, following in the footsteps of Marouane Chamakh in 2009 and Younès Belhanda in 2012.Boufal also expressed his readiness for the upcoming Moroccan national team’s participation in the 2017 African Cup of Nations (CAN), scheduled to take place this January in Gabon.“I am looking forward to it because it will be my first African Cup. My ambition is to win the CAN,” Boufal said. read more

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Moroccos Economic Growth to Reach 44 in 2017 Unemployment Rate to

Rabat – Morocco’s economic growth is expected to reach 4.4 percent in 2017, while unemployment rates is expected to rise to more than 10 percent, according to Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) forecasts. In 2017, the Moroccan economy is expected to grow more vigorously than in 2016. In a communique published Tuesday, the central bank expected Morocco’s economic growth to witness a healthy jump to 4.4 percent, compared to 1.6 percent in 2016. The BAM however, forecasts this increase to slow down in 2018 and economic growth to settle back down to 3.1 percent. Driven by a rebound in cereal production estimated by the Department of Agriculture at 102 million quintals, agricultural added value would increase by 13.4 percent, while the rate of non-agricultural GDP would improve by 3.1 percent to 3.3 percent, BAM said on Tuesday after its quarterly meeting.In 2018, the recovery in non-agricultural activities would continue with a growth of 3.6 percent and, assuming an average agricultural season, agricultural added value would decline by 0.9 percent, with overall growth falling to 3.1 percent, the Central Bank said.“For the full year of 2017, inflation would average 0.9 percent before accelerating to 1.6 percent in 2018,” while its underlying component is expected to increase to 1, 6 percent in 2017 and 1.9 percent in 2018, “reflecting improved domestic demand and rising inflation among key partners,” says BAM.Unemployment on the riseMeanwhile, the BAM’s report shows that unemployment rate rose by 0.3 points to reach 10.7 percent at the national level and by 0.7 points to 15.7 percent in urban areas. Budget deficit, however, is expected to ease down to 3.6 percent of GDP by 2017 and to 3.4 percent by 2018.As for external trade, the central bank confirmed that the trade deficit at the end of May, which increased year-on-year by MAD 9.1 billion dirhams, was “mainly due to a significant increase in energy bills.”Finally, BAM notes that “the real effective exchange rate has virtually stabilized during the first quarter of 2017, and is unlikely to experience any significant change in the medium term.” Hence, “there should be no devaluation of the Dirham,” says the governor of BAM Abdelatif El Jouhari. read more

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Health Minister to Visit Al Hoceima Health Facilities July 24

Rabat – Minister of Health El Hossein El Ouardi will make a visit to the health facilities in Al Hoceima on Monday, July 24, with the aim of “learning about the health conditions of the region,” according to a communiqué issued by the health ministry on July 21.“The visit will be an opportunity [for the minister] to learn about the conditions of the health facilities in the region, including the Regional Center for Oncology, which has been equipped with modern biotechnological equipment,” wrote the statement.During his visit, the minister and his delegation will be briefed on the progress made by the projects and health achievements in the region, as well as the rehabilitation and expansion of Mohammed V Hospital in Al Hoceima. The visit will be wrapped up by a meeting with elected officials, parliamentarians, and some human rights activists in Al Hoceima.According to the draft program of the minister’s visit, issued by Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima Regional Directorate of Health, Al Ouardi has scheduled a visit to Al Hoceima’s Oncology center from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m.From 10:30 to 11, the minister will be on visit to the Provincial Hospital Mohammed V in Al Hoceima, which has recently been refurbished.The minister will then head towards the building site of the future Provincial Hospital Center in Ajdir from 11:15 to 11:45.From 12:15 to 1:15, El Ouardi will visit the site of the Hospital of Proximity Imzouren, 20 minutes away from Al Hoceima, as well as the building site of the Urban Health Center and Imzouren’s Espace Jeunes.The minister’s visit will wrap up with a meeting with the local elected representatives and parliamentarians. read more

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Big Shift Unveils its Boom Boom Parody to Celebrate Moroccos Qualification

Rabat – Following the memorable achievement of Morocco’s national soccer team over the Ivorian squad, the Youtube Channel Big Shift has come up with its latest video parody of “Boom Boom” song to show its support for Morocco’s team on their qualification for the 2018 World Cup.The parody went viral on social media and more than 72,000 people have viewed the video since it was released on Youtube after Saturday’s match between the national football team and its Ivorian counterpart.The “World Cup” song was performed by singer Wadie Aamdi with Dr. Black, artists who are known for adding humour and/or a Moroccan flair to every parody they produce. The initial song, entitled “Boom Boom,” was produced by the Moroccan-Swedish hit-maker Nader El Khayat, better known as RedOne, showcasing Morocco’s diversity from the dunes of the desert to the northern city of Tetouan.So much love for the Morocco National team! We’re heading to the 2018 World Cup ???????? BIG SHIFT & DR. BLACK this is an amazing parodie. Also a huge congratulations to Tonga too, @dinahjane97. Mate Ma’a Tonga! pic.twitter.com/WpuPrcbHpH— RedOne (@RedOne_Official) November 12, 2017The tune features a number of world-famous artists besides RedOne, such as Puerto Rican rapper Daddy Yankee, Moroccan-American rapper French Montana, and American singer Dinah Jane.The “Boom Boom” parody follows many other parodies presented on the channel.Singer Wadie Aamdi has already created the Moroccan version of “One Dance” by Drake and “Shape of you” of Ed Sheeran. There was also A parody of “Sorry” by Justin Bieber and many others.At the end of each video, the creative YouTubers invite their followers to propose song titles for future parodies. read more

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Arab Leaders Warn US Against Recognizing Jerusalem Trump Stands Firm

Rabat – Arab leaders including King Mohammed VI have strongly warned US President Donald Trump of the serious political tension that would result from his decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem and thus recognize the holy city as Israel’s capital. Nonetheless, the president appears to stand firm in his decision.For weeks, Trump has been vowing to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to recognize the area as Israel’s capital. While this unprecedented move has been strongly welcomed by Israel, it has sparked an international outcry in the Arab world.After signing a waiver that delayed plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem for six months, he US president is expected on Wednesday to order his aides to move the embassy to Jerusalem as well as to recognize it as Israel’s capital. If Trump recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the US will be the first ever country to do so since the founding of Israel in 1948.In response, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Arab leaders, including King Mohammed VI and King Abdullah II of Jordan, to warn Trump over his decisions.King Mohammed VI addressed a message to Trump expressing his “deep concern” over the plans.“The city of Al-Quds must remain a land of cohabitation and a symbol of coexistence and tolerance for all,” said King Mohammed VI. “The city in not only important for the parties of the conflict, but also for believers in the three Abrahamic religions, due to its unique religious characteristics, its ancient identity, and its great political symbolism.”The Jordanian king said the move would have “dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region.”British news outlet BBC reported that Trump had phone conversations with several regional leaders on Tuesday warning him against moving the embassy. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia told Trump that such plans “would constitute a flagrant provocation of Muslims all around the world.”The Arab leaders’ calls, however, were apparently not heeded by Trump, who is seriously considering to make his decisions public on Wednesday.According to White House Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, Trump was “pretty sold” in his thinking on the issue, reported BBC.Jerusalem, known as Al-Quds in Arabic, is the sacred heart of the world’s religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Both Palestine and Israel have claimed Jerusalem as their capital city. read more

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UNICEF Morocco Has Highest Neonatal Deaths in Maghreb

Rabat – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has unveiled a new report about the troubling issue of newborn deaths around the world on February 20. 2.6 million babies die before turning one month old, with 2 millions of them dying on the day of their birth. And another 2.6 are stillborn. How did Moroccan babies fare?The report started by highlighting the hardships that millions of mothers, babies, and health worker from a round the world go through.  “Imagine for a moment that you are about to give birth. You are at home, accompanied only by a few members of your family. You are in pain, but you have no access to a doctor, nurse or midwife. You know there is a real risk that both you and the baby you have been waiting to meet may not survive the birth. Even if you and the baby survive, you know that the coming days and weeks will be filled with danger,” read the reportNewborn’s death prevention is complicated given the fact that no single drug and intervention can be provided and requires a “system-wide approach”; however, the report maintains that the majority of these deaths could be prevented with a global commitment to newborn survival. “We are failing the youngest, most vulnerable people on the planet – and with so many millions of lives at stake, time is of the essence,” said UNICEFAdditionally, Millions of lives could be saved through basic services such as affordable healthcare, good nutrition, and clean water. All of which are out of reach for many.Morocco ranked fourth in the Maghreb region with a neonatal mortality rate of 17.8 per 1,000 live births. This is especially shocking given the fact that Libya ranked first with mortality rate 7.1 per 1.000 live babies, regardless of the country’s current circumstances. Morocco came one step above Mauritania where the rate is 33.7.Although newborn survival is closely linked to the country’s income level since high-income countries have an average newborn mortality rate 3.3 compared to a rate of 27 in low-income countries, it is by no means the only factor.For instance, Kuwait and the United States of America, both high-income countries, have newborn mortality rate of 4, which is slightly better than lower-middle-income countries such as Sri Lanka and Ukraine, where the newborn mortality rate is 5.Given the high numbers and the frequency in which newborn’s death happen, UNICEF refuses to see it as a mere statistic and insist that each and every one of these deaths is a tragedy that can and must be changed, and aims to save 16 million newborn lives by 2030. read more

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Moroccos PPS Hope to Discuss Kings Dialogue Offer with Algerian Parties

Rabat- In a statement published on Tuesday, November 13, the party said that it decided to “establish contacts” with Algerian parties to support King Mohammed VI’s dialogue initiative that he offered in his Green March speech on November 6.The King said that Morocco and Algeria should work together to normalize bilateral ties, announcing Morocco’s determination to consider “the proposals or initiatives Algeria may want to offer in this regard to break the stalemate in the relations between the two countries.”Besides the PPS, Morocco’s Justice and Development Party (PJD) also issued a statement, emphasizing that its members will visit Algeria to find ways to “overcome all disagreements” that prevent the development of cooperation between Algeria and Morocco. It has been 10 days since King Mohammed VI announced Morocco’s willingness to enter into a dialogue with Algeria. Algeria has not yet issued any official statement regarding the offer, but relied on an anonymous “authorized source” quoted by Algerian media to announce its position on the Moroccan initiative.According to the source cited by TSA, Algeria finds the offer “questionable” and “not sincere.”Several Algerian Islamist parties opposed Morocco’s offer to Algeria.Read Also: US: Morocco-Algeria Diplomatic Normalization Will Improve SecurityTSA reported yesterday that PJD will “act as a representative of the Moroccan government. I think that this approach advocated by this Moroccan party will not lead it to what it wants,” said Mohamed Doubi, the secretary general of Ennahda party .He added that the two countries’ governments should study the possibility of opening the border together. The Morocco-Algeria border has been closed since 1994.The deputy of Algeria’s Front for Justice and Construction party (FCJ), Sliman Chenine, said that Morocco “must first put an end to the tension.”Algerian media and the anonymous “authorized source” said that Algeria would accept Morocco’s offer with conditions.  The first condition is related to Morocco’s position on the Western Sahara conflict. Algeria wants Morocco to remain neutral in the conflict and keep it within the context of the auspices of the United Nations. Morocco backs the UN-led political process, but would object to Algeria’s condition about neutrality because Morocco has been mobilizing its diplomacy internationally to defend its position for four decades. read more

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The Caisse CEO says it will remain a rock for SNCLavalin despite

Companies in this story: (TSX:SNC)Julien Arsenault, The Canadian Press MONTREAL — Despite a turbulent short-term horizon, Quebec’s Caisse de depot does not intend to dump SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. amidst the ongoing firestorm.The Caisse — the province’s pension fund manager and SNC-Lavalin’s largest shareholder with a stake of about 20 per cent — delivered a vote of confidence in the beleaguered construction giant Thursday.“The markets have probably overreacted recently,” said Caisse chief executive Michael Sabia of SNC-Lavalin. “This represents an investment opportunity.”In addition to its run-in with the courts, SNC-Lavalin, set to release its fourth quarter results on Friday, has offered up unwelcome surprises for investors since late January by slashing its earnings forecasts twice.The Montreal-based company is facing challenges at a mining project in Chile as well as instability in Saudi Arabia due to diplomatic tensions between Ottawa and Riyadh.The uncertainty comes amidst the company’s ongoing fraud and corruption case in Canada tied to alleged crimes committed in Libya between 2001 and 2011. A conviction could prevent SNC-Lavalin from bidding on federal contracts for up to 10 years.The gauntlet of woes has tanked the company’s share price, which now hovers at around $35 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Asked at a press conference following the Caisse’s annual results, Sabia avoided commenting on the repercussions of a possible criminal conviction.“I think it’s important to understand the significance of the magnitude of change in this company in recent years,” he said. “There was a new board, a new direction. It’s about big changes in culture.”SNC-Lavalin is embroiled in a controversy in Ottawa over allegations that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office pressured the former justice minister to steer federal prosecutors toward negotiations for a settlement agreement with the firm in order to avoid criminal prosecution.Sabia said the Caisse would “be a rock” for SNC-Lavalin and ready to boost its stake in the company, barring any technical barriers.He dismissed the delays in the Chilean mining project as short-term and said the Caisse invests for the long-term, arguing that SNC-Lavalin is well positioned to seize opportunities around the globe.“The world needs billions of dollars in infrastructure investments, not just in emerging markets, but also in developed countries,” Sabia said. “Our job is to identify companies with a lot of potential in the long run. That’s exactly the definition of SNC-Lavalin.”That confidence did not prevent Standard & Poor’s rating agency from lowering the firm’s credit rating, while DBRS placed the company under review with a negative outlook.SNC-Lavalin may also face criminal charges in connection to a contract from the early 2000s to refurbish Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Bridge, court documents show. read more

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Moroccos ONCF Launches a Special Train Program for EidalFitr

Rabat – According to ONCF, The “Eid- al-Fitr Special” is set to be implemented from May 31 to June 9, and it will concern both conventional trains and the high-speed train known as “El Boraq.”In order to facilitate travel, ONCF has also announced the addition of 320 trains each day, as well as an increase in the number of seats to reach 123,000 passengers per day.To avoid overcrowding, The ONCF stated that ticket sales will be closed once the seats are 100% filled. The Office is looking to improve travel conditions by reinforcing the team responsible for receiving and guiding travelers on stations and onboard.Read also: Princess Lalla Zineb Chairs Partnership Between ONCF, LMPEIn that context, and to avoid chaos at the train stations, the ONCF urges its customers to make the following arrangements: Plan trips in advance by obtaining all the necessary information either by contacting their customer service or their website, by consulting their mobile app, “ONCF traffic,” or through their social media outlets. Purchase tickets no later than the day before departure on the ONCF website or directly from the train stations. Purchase round trip tickets to avoid long queues at the station. The Office has a MAD 49 ticket promotion for travelers who will board the “Atlas” trains headed to Marrakech-Casablanca-Rabat-Fez-Tangier-Fez-Oujda-Nador. read more

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Asian shares mixed amid world tensions worries about growth

TOKYO — Asian shares were mixed Wednesday amid growing tensions between the U.S. and the European Union and a dim forecast on global economic growth.Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 dropped 0.5% to 21,687.57. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed, inching up less than 0.1% to 6,223.50. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.1% to 2,216.17. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.2% to 30,103.08, while the Shanghai Composite was up 0.4 per cent at 3,253.88.On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index fell 17.57 points, or 0.6%, to 2,878.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 190.44 points, or 0.7%, to 26,150.58. The Nasdaq composite slid 44.61 points, or 0.6%, to 7,909.28. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks gave up 19.32 points, or 1.2%, or 1,559.68.European indexes also finished broadly lower, giving up early gains, after the U.S. threatened to impose $11.2 billion in tariffs on European products, including cheese, wine and helicopters.The threat from President Donald Trump could make investors even more concerned about trade disputes hurting an already slowing global economy at a time when the U.S. is trying to resolve a trade conflict with China.That spat has already made a list of goods more expensive for consumers and is weighing on an already slowing Chinese economy. Negotiators met again last week and both sides have said they are making progress.Traders also were disappointed to see that the International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for global growth this year. The IMF now projects 3.3% global growth in 2019, matching the weakest year since 2009. The U.S. fared particularly poorly in the report, with growth now expected at 2.3%, down from 2.9% in 2018.Investors will get more clues about the Fed’s intentions Wednesday, when the central bank releases minutes from its latest policy meeting. The European Central Bank will also meet Wednesday.“Amid the sporing of growth and trade tension concerns once again, sentiments in Asia markets have once again been undermined,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.ENERGY:Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $64.23. It fell 0.7% to settle at $63.98 a barrel Tuesday. Brent crude added 21 cents to $70.82 a barrel.CURRENCIES:The dollar fell to 111.15 yen from 111.28 yen Tuesday. The euro inched down to $1.1266 from $1.1277.___AP Business Writer Alex Veiga contributed to this report.Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyamaOn Instagram https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=enYuri Kageyama, The Associated Press read more

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