Innu Elder who is no stranger to standing up for rights and

first_imgTrina Roache APTN National NewsAn Innu Elder says defending his way of life in Labrador doesn’t make him a criminal.Bart Jack was among a group who called themselves land protectors that fought against the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project last fall.He’s now facing criminal charges along with 27 other people.This is just the latest battle the Innu have taken on to protect their Indigenous rights and culture.troache@aptn.calast_img

Crime Stoppers using Cree language to help solve historical missing persons cases

first_imgPriscilla WolfAPTN NewsIt’s a project that has been three years in the making but on Monday, Crime Stoppers sent out a video letter in the Cree “th” dialect through social media to help reach more people who can help solve cases now labelled as historical missing persons cases.The video in Woodlands Cree is part of the Historical Missing Persons Project launched by Crime Stoppers.Constable Ryan Ehalt is with the Saskatoon Police Service and is the coordinator for Saskatoon Crime Stoppers.“We came up with the idea to write social media letters called to those who took the missing,” he said. “There’s going to be a series of letters going out we already released our initial one.”Donna Merasty is a translator – and wrote out the letter in Cree.“With reconciliation it is important that we communicate in a way where people feel more comfortable especially in their own language,” she said.“If they want to speak to somebody in Cree they can phone the police and ask for a Cree translator.”The overall message is powerful and asks Cree speakers if they can help by coming forward with any information that will help solve these historical missing persons cases.“We are hoping we can find a Dene speaking individual who would like to volunteer their time to help with the translation of this letter as will and other languages,” said Ehalt.“We know out of those 131 historical missing persons half of them are Indigenous. We know not all of them have been taken.”pwolf@aptn.calast_img read more

Chief doubts feds can fix Attawapiskats water woes Willow FiddlerAPTN NewsCanada’s Indigenous services minister has a plan to bring safe drinking water back to a northern Ontario first nation.But Attawapiskat Chief Ignace Gull isn’t sure Seamus O’Regan can deliver a new water treatment plant.He says a ‘band-aid’ solution won’t work when the needs run into the millions of dollars.last_img

Algonquin furniture maker asks buyers not to trash his work

first_imgAmber BernardAPTN NewsAn Algonquin craftsman is doing his part to reduce his ecological footprint.And makes sure his customers do the same.Danou Charette asks buyers of his furniture to sign a waiver, promising never to trash his handiwork.He says it’s a way to instill respect for

SaskPower says likely no more carbon capture and storage projects due to

first_imgREGINA – SaskPower says it won’t likely support more carbon capture and storage projects due to costs.President and CEO Mike Marsh says the technology is still worthwhile, but the current economic climate doesn’t warrant moving forward with such projects because the low cost of natural gas makes that a more viable option.SaskPower’s Boundary Dam power plant in Estevan takes emissions from coal generation and stores them.When the $1.5-billion facility opened with much fanfare in October 2014, the goal was to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by one million tonnes annually; in 2016, SaskPower said the plant was on track to capture 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.SaskPower had to pay $7.3 million in penalties to Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE) in 2015 because the plant wasn’t operating enough to deliver all the captured carbon dioxide promised to Cenovus.The Crown corporation must decide next year what options are best to retrofit its last two coal generated units at the plant.Boundary Dam was forced offline several times in 2015. SaskPower’s annual report that year said the power plant faced technical and mechanical issues which “prevented the plant from achieving an acceptable level of reliability and performance.”Premier Brad Wall touted Saskatchewan’s carbon capture and storage technology at an international climate change conference in 2015.(CJME, The Canadian Press)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said spokesman Jonathan Tremblay.last_img read more

Greenpeace members arrested for climbing Olympic Stadium tower in Montreal

first_imgMONTREAL – Several Greenpeace members climbed the outside of the Olympic Stadium tower in Montreal on Thursday to protest the federal government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline project.The five climbers, who were equipped with cables and harnesses, ascended partway up the 165-metre-tall structure, which is built at a 45-degree angle.They then unfurled a banner as a message for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, with the sign reading, Stop Pipelines, Don’t Dirty Our Money.They later descended without incident and were arrested by Montreal police.Greenpeace spokeswoman Loujain Kurdi said the climbers wanted to send a message to Trudeau that “climate leaders do not build pipelines.”In a phone interview, she said Ottawa’s decision to spend $4.5 billion to take over the Trans Mountain project goes against its international commitments to reduce emissions.“Instead of spending $4.5 billion of taxpayer money on one pipeline, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could help us build three million electric rechargeable stations,” she said.“For even less than that, for only $3.2 billion, he could fulfil the promise he made last December and ensure that every Indigenous community across Canada has access to drinking water.”She added Trudeau still has time to back out of the deal, since the government and the company have given themselves until this coming Sunday to seek a third-party buyer for the pipeline.Police cordoned off the area below the tower, and tourists and employees were barred from the stadium until around 11:30 a.m.Montreal police spokeswoman Caroline Chevrefils said officers arrested four women and three men between the ages of 26 and 40.Two women were arrested on the ground at around 9:30 a.m., whereas the five climbers were stopped after descending from the structure at around 11 a.m.All seven will be charged with conspiracy and mischief over $5,000 and will be released on a promise to appear, Chevrefils said.The organization carried out a similar action earlier in July when several climbers dangled under Vancouver’s Ironworkers Memorial Bridge for 36 hours to create what the organization called an “aerial blockade,” according to a Greenpeace news release.last_img read more

Business Highlights

first_img___UK’s May wins vote to keep job, Brexit chaosLONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has survived a no-confidence vote called after May’s Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected by lawmakers. The House of Commons expressed confidence in the government by 325 votes to 306, meaning May can remain in office. Had the government lost, Britain would have faced an election within weeks while preparing to leave the European Union on March 29.___Sears staves off liquidation, stores to remain openNEW YORK (AP) — Sears will live on— at least for now. The company’s chairman and largest shareholder won a bankruptcy auction for Sears in New York, averting liquidation of the iconic chain, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. The move, which still needs the approval of a bankruptcy judge, would allow Eddie Lampert to keep open roughly 400 stores and preserve tens of thousands of jobs that come with them.___From travel to IPOs, how shutdown is upsetting US economyWASHINGTON (AP) — Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, projects that after growing for nearly 10 years, the economy might contract in this year’s first quarter if the shutdown lasts through March. Other forecasts are less dire. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, thinks that if the shutdown extends that long, the economy would slow by 0.5 percentage point but would remain on solid footing.___Fed survey finds businesses worried by political uncertaintyWASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve said Wednesday business contacts in many regions of the country are expressing less optimism amid a host of adverse developments, from plunging stock prices to uncertainty about a widening trade war. In its latest report on economic conditions around the country, the Fed said that eight of its 12 regions reported the economy was expanding at a moderate pace as the new year began.___John Bogle, Vanguard founder, dies at 89VALLEY FORGE, Pa. (AP) — John Bogle, investing pioneer and founder of Vanguard Group, who brought index funds to millions of investors, dies at age 89, the company says. Bogle simplified investing for the masses by introducing the first index mutual fund for individual investors in 1976. Vanguard also shook up the industry by ending the company’s reliance on outside brokers by directly marketing its funds to investors without charging upfront fees known as sales loads.___Hyundai, Kia recall vehicles due to increased fire riskDETROIT (AP) — Despite a government shutdown, Hyundai and Kia are moving ahead with a recall of about 168,000 vehicles to fix a fuel pipe problem that can cause engine fires. The problem stems from improper repairs during previous recalls for engine failures. In addition, each automaker also will do a “product improvement campaign” covering a total of 3.7 million vehicles to install software that will alert drivers of possible engine failures.___Sinclair debuts streaming service for its local TV stationsNEW YORK (AP) — Sinclair Broadcast, the nation’s largest owner of television stations, is launching a free, ad-supported streaming service. It will draw on local news, sports and other programs from the 191 TV stations it owns in 89 U.S. markets. The service will also have separate digital channels for movies, sports and even poker and NASA TV. The company joins an ever-growing list of streaming service players, including Netflix, Amazon and upcoming offerings from Disney and NBCUniversal.___Study: Top US firms are diversifying their boards fasterNEW YORK (AP) — A study has found that America’s largest companies added women and minorities to their boards of directors at a faster pace over the past two years, a period when sexual harassment scandals thrust workplace equality into the spotlight. African-American and Asian women made the biggest gains, though their overall numbers remain small. That’s according to the 2018 Board Diversity Census, released Wednesday by the Alliance for Board Diversity and the consulting firm Deloitte.___Big bank rally helps US stocks finish higher; Goldman soarsNEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks finish higher after Goldman Sachs had its best day in 10 years and Bank of America rose the most in seven years as banks and other financial companies report strong fourth-quarter results. Stocks were on track for larger gains before the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. government may bring criminal charges against Chinese tech company Huawei, adding to U.S.-China trade tensions. U.K. stocks ticked lower after Parliament rejected Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal.___The S&P 500 index gained 5.80 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,616.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 141.57 points, or 0.6 per cent, to 24,207.16. The Nasdaq composite rose 10.86 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,034.69. The Russell 2000 index rose 9.48 points, or 0.7 per cent, to 1,454.70.Benchmark U.S. crude added 0.4 per cent to $52.31 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 0.1 per cent to $61.37 a barrel in London. Wholesale gasoline edged up 0.3 per cent to $1.42 a gallon and heating oil rose 1.2 per cent to $1.89 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3.3 per cent to $3.38 per 1,000 cubic feet.The Associated Presslast_img read more

US industrial production rose 03 per cent in December

first_imgWASHINGTON — U.S. industrial production increased 0.3 per cent in December, led by the biggest surge in manufacturing in ten months.The Federal Reserve says that that manufacturing output jumped 1.1 per cent last month, the largest gain since February 2018. Automakers drove much of the growth with a 4.7 per cent jump in production.Utility output slumped 6.3 per cent amid an unseasonably warm December. Mining output rose 1.5 per cent on in increased extraction of oil and natural gas.Overall industrial production is up 4 per cent from a year ago.The industrial sector was using more of capacity, in a sign that they might need to invest more in equipment and facilities. Capacity utilization for manufacturers increased 0.7 points to 76.5 per cent, a solid increase though that’s two points below the long-term average.Josh Boak, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Alaska Highway closed north of Highway 29 junction

first_imgUPDATE as of 6:30 p.m. – The highway is open in both directions.5:10 p.m. UPDATE: According to Drive BC, the highway is still closed in both directions and is expected to reopen around 8:00 p.m. A Detour is available by heading North on 271 Road, then west onto 256 Road until Highway 97. If residents are heading south, turn east onto 254 Road, then follow until Montney and turn south onto 271 Road.3:02 p.m. UPDATE: According to YRB North Peace LTD, the highway is expected to reopen at approximately 8:00 p.m. RCMP are still investigating the scene and there is no word yet on if there were any fatalities. Residents looking to travel north must use the detour on 271 Road and the Montney Highway. The detour is shown below: The Alaska Highway is closed at Mile 56 due to a vehicle incident. Estimated to be open at 8pm tonight. Detour available using 271 road and Montney Highway as shown. Check #drivebc for updates. #yxj— YRB North Peace Ltd (@YRBNorthPeace) August 21, 2018 2:10 p.m. UPDATE: According to, officials are currently conducting an assessment at the scene of the crash, which is 15 kilometres north of Fort St. John. At this time, there’s no estimate on when the road will reopen, but an update is expected at 3:00 p.m. A photo from the crash scene shows a number of emergency vehicles are now at the scene. The location of Tuesday's crash. Photo by The location of Tuesday’s crash. Photo by The scene of Tuesday's crash shortly before 2:00 p.m. Photo submitted by Dave Schulz The scene of Tuesday’s crash shortly before 2:00 p.m. Photo submitted by Dave Schulz FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Alaska Highway is closed in both directions north of Fort St. John this afternoon.According to eyewitness reports, the crash happened shortly before 1:20 p.m. on Highway 97 at the Mile 55 marker, just north of the junction with Highway 29.Eyewitnesses say that multiple vehicles appear to have been involved in the crash, including a logging truck that was photographed on its side in the ditch next to the highway.center_img Witnesses are also reporting that the highway is currently closed in both directions.Corporal James Gray with the Fort St. John RCMP said that officers have been dispatched to the collision, and that no other details are available at this time.This is a developing story, and we’ll have an update once we receive more information.last_img read more

PRRD hosting meeting for Old Fort residents at NPCC this Sunday

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District will be holding a meeting this Sunday for residents who have been forced from their homes in the Old Fort subdivision due to a 2-week-old landslide.In an update on its website this afternoon, the PRRD said that it will be holding the meeting on Sunday, October 14th at the North Peace Cultural Centre, beginning at 2:00 p.m.At the meeting, the Regional District says that it will be giving an update of the current slide situation from the geotechnical experts, hear from Red Cross about evacuee support, as well as medium and long-term planning for housing and vehicles. The meeting is only open to residents of Old Fort – general public and media are not allowed to attend.The PRRD also said in this afternoon’s update that it is creating a plan with the Community Liaison Group to assist residents in retrieving items from their homes and prepare buildings for winter. Since Old Fort is still under a strict evacuation order, the implementation of the plan depends on how active the slide is. The slide continues to be monitored closely by the geotechnical team of experts who advise the PRRD. Residents can volunteer themselves or any equipment they have by contacting the Emergency Operations Centre at 250-784-3200.Regional district staff are also reminding Old Fort residents to stay in contact with Emergency Support Services in Fort St. John to get support for any short-term needs. Those needs can include emergency lodgings, food, and rental cars for those with no access to vehicles. All vehicle needs are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.last_img read more

SRH eye winning start against KKR

first_imgKolkata: Comeback man David Warner would be the cynosure of all eyes when last year’s finalist Sunrisers Hyderabad open their campaign against two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the 12th Indian Premier League here Sunday.Under Warner’s captaincy Sunrisers won their maiden IPL title in 2016 and in 2017 he was the leading rungetter for his team. But the Australian opener missed the last IPL because of last year’s infamous ball tampering episode in Capetown, and is set make his IPL comeback along side Steve Smith. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhWarner will be the most scrutinised player for Sunrisers this season after he was banned for a year over his role in the ball-tampering scandal. While Warner and Smith were banned for a year, young Cameron Bancroft was left out for nine months for his role. And come this year, both Warner and Smith would be hoping to make an impact for their respective IPL sides. Even as his international ban will end on March 28, the left-handed opener is eligible to play in the franchise league and would be hoping to get into his zone to stake a claim in Australia’s World Cup squad. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterWarner went under the knife for an elbow injury in January during the Bangladesh Premier League but made a successful comeback for his Sydney club Randy Petes with a 77-ball century in a one-day game earlier this month. Kane Williamson, who led them to runners-up finish in the Aussie’s absence last season, will continue to captain Sunrisers, a team that is known for its depth and variation in bowling. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead Sunrisers pace department, Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan will be in charge of the spin attack. Sunrisers have traded in Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem and Abhishek Sharma for Shikhar Dhawan, but the it remains to be seen how they overcome the Indian opener’s departure. In KKR’s camp, skipper Dinesh Karthik will look to make most of the IPL opportunity to get the selectors’ attention. Taking charge of the team after Gautam Gambhir’s exit, Karthik led KKR to third place finish following their loss to SRH in the second eliminator last year. KKR have roped in Carlos Brathwaite to go along side Andre Russell, Sunil Narine as they would look to reinforce their batting firepower with Chris Lynn. Team (from): Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Nitish Rana, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, KC Cariappa and Yarra Prithviraj. Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Willilamson (c), Manish Pandey, Martin Guptill, Ricky Bhui, David Warner, Deepak Hooda, Mohammad Nabi, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Abhishek Sharma, Vijay Shankar, Sreevats Gowsami, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Basil Thampi, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem. Match starts: 4pm.last_img read more

Tanu Tomar of Baghpat tops in class 12, Gautam Raghuvanshi in class 10 exams

first_imgAllahabad: Tanu Tomar of Baghpat has notched the first position in the Intermediate examination (class 12) while Gautam Raghuvanshi of Kanpur has topped the class 10th board exams of Uttar Pradesh Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad (UPMSP), the results of which were declared on Saturday.Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has congratulated the successful students and wished them for their bright future. Tanu Tomar has achieved 97 per cent scoring 489 marks out of 500. She belongs to a farmer’s family and was a student of Shri Ram Shiksha Mandir Inter College in Baraut area of Baghpat district. “She has not only bring honours to her family and the school but to the whole district,” principal Rajesh Tomar said. Over 80 per cent students have passed in the class 10 while over 70 per cent have cleared the class 12 examinations. In all over 58 lakh students have registered themselves for this year’s UP board exams.last_img read more

April GST collection gallops to record Rs 1.13 lakh crore

first_imgNew Delhi: GST revenue mop-up scaled a monthly record high of over Rs 1.13 lakh crore in April, an increase of 10 per cent over the collection in the year-ago period, on the back of anti-evasion steps taken by tax officers. Total number of summary sales return GSTR-3B filed for the month of March up to April 30 stood at 72.13 lakh.April 2019 is the second consecutive month when Goods and Services Tax (GST) collection exceeded Rs 1 lakh crore. In March, the mop-up was Rs 1.06 lakh crore. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra”The total gross GST revenue collected in April 2019 is Rs 1,13,865 crore. The revenue in April 2018 was Rs 1,03,459 crore and the revenue during April 2019 is a growth of 10.05 per cent over the revenue in the same month last year,” a finance ministry statement said. The government has settled Rs 20,370 crore to Central GST and Rs 15,975 crore to State GST from Integrated GST as regular settlement. Further, Rs 12,000 crore has been settled from the balance IGST available with the Centre on provisional basis in the ratio of 50:50 between Centre and States. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 days”The total revenue earned by the central government and state governments after regular and provisional settlement in April 2019 is Rs 47,533 crore for CGST and Rs 50,776 crore for SGST,” the statement added. Also, collection in April 2019, which is the first month of the current fiscal, has been the highest since introduction of GST on July 1, 2017. Year-on-year comparison of tax collection data gives a better picture of economic activity. When GST was introduced in July 2017, the monthly collection data was released in the third week of the subsequent month. However, the government streamlined the process beginning 2018-19 fiscal, following which GST collection for a month is released on the first day of the subsequent month. AMRG & Associates Partner Rajat Mohan said the steep rise in tax collections could be assigned to multiple reasons. These include tightening of tax compliance using the mechanism of e-way bills, change in taxation for real estate sector which pushed numerous companies to reverse ineligible ITC in April to save on interest cost, and higher spending decisions taken by the government ahead of general elections. The GST Council in March gave the option to real estate companies to either opt for old rates of 12 per cent (for residential) and 8 per cent (affordable housing) with input tax credit (ITC) benefits. Or, they could opt for new tax rates of 5 per cent for residential units and 1 per cent for affordable housing without the benefit of adjusting the credit on inputs used during construction. The CBIC had then asked the realtors that will be migrating to the new rates to prepare their books of accounts with regard to ITC and repay the over-used credit, if any, to the government in 24 instalments. PwC India Partner and Leader (Indirect Tax) Pratik Jain said increase in tax collection indicates that tax base is increasing gradually with GST getting stabilized, measures such as e-way bills and effective data mining. “One of the reasons for this increase was a push from businesses to their vendors for reporting sales of 2017-18, for which the last date of claiming credit coincides with GST filings for March,” Jain said.last_img read more

Morocco Forges Ahead with Conversion to Electronic Driving Licenses

Taroudant, Morocco- The Ministry of Equipment and Transport has introduced a new procedure to renew driving licenses: the old paper-based driving licenses are being replaced with new electronic licenses.Article 309 of Law No. 52-05 requires all paper-based driving license to be replaced by electronic licenses by the following deadlines established by the Ministry:1. October 1, 2010 to June 30, 2013 — paper-based licenses issued before January 1, 1980; 2. January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2013 — paper-based licenses issued between January 1, 1980 and December 31, 1996;3. From January 1 to December 31, 2014 — paper based licenses issued between January 1, 1997 and December 31, 2002;4. From January 1, to September 30, 2015 — paper-based licenses issued after 1 January 2003.To facilitate the procedure, the Ministry has announced that those wishing to convert their driver’s licenses from paper to electronic, can now make appointments online on the company Assiaqa Card website.The Ministry is urging all citizens who have not yet begun the process of renewing their licenses to book their appointments online in accordance with the schedule to avoid overcrowding at the offices in charge of renewing the driving licenses.The Ministry has also made it possible for citizens to track the progress of their applications via text message (SMS) by texting 3535 any time.Edited by Elisabeth Myers read more

Palestinians announce long-term Gaza truce

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) – The Palestinian leadership said Tuesday they had reached agreement with Israel on a “permanent” halt to seven weeks of bloodshed in and around Gaza although Israel was silent on the claimed deal.There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials, although a Palestinian official said the ceasefire would come into force at 1600 GMT.Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, outlining the deal in a speech in Ramallah, said: “We announce the Palestinian leadership’s agreement to Egypt’s call for a comprehensive and lasting truce, beginning at 7:00 pm (1600 GMT) today.” News of the reported deal came after weeks of Egyptian-led efforts to end the violence, now in its 50th day, the deadliest between Israel and the Palestinians in a decade.The fighting, which began on July 8, has killed 2,138 Palestinians, nearly three-quarters of them civilians, according to UN figures, and 68 on the Israeli side, nearly all of them soldiers.There had been no sign of any letup in the fighting earlier on Tuesday, with 10 Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes and tank shelling, and two dozen people lightly wounded, as Gaza militants fired 98 rockets at southern and central Israel.There have been several short-term ceasefires between the two sides, which brought relief to millions of civilians, but they all broke down in the absence of any agreement on a longer-term truce.The latest collapsed on August 19 as hostilities resumed amid mutual recriminations. The ensuing violence has killed 117 Palestinians and a four-year-old Israeli.Israeli officials were tight-lipped about the claimed truce agreement.Public radio quoted a government source as saying Israel had “not yet responded to the Egyptian proposal” for an open-ended ceasefire.Shuttle diplomacy A Palestinian official in Ramallah told AFP: “The contacts that have been going on have led to a permanent ceasefire, a (deal to) end the blockade and a guarantee that Gaza’s demands and needs will be met.”Ending Israel’s crippling eight-year blockade of Gaza had been a key Palestinian demand in earlier, abortive truce talks in Cairo.The Islamist Hamas movement, de facto ruler of Gaza and a key participant in the Cairo talks, also confirmed a deal had been struck with Israel.“The negotiations ended with an agreement which embodies the resistance of our people and a victory for the resistance,” its exiled deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk wrote on his Facebook page.The arrangement came about after 48 hours of intensive shuttle diplomacy by Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Palestinian delegation to the protracted, on-off truce talks, the Ramallah official said.In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Egypt was expected to make an official announcement about the deal.Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli warplanes kept up their pressure on Hamas with air strikes hitting two high-rise apartment blocks in Gaza City, wounding 40 people.In the first strike, F16 fighter jets fired at least six rockets at a 16-storey complex in the Nasser neighbourhood, in which there were 60 flats and a shopping centre, completely destroying the building and wounding 25.No one was killed because the army warned residents to leave in a pre-recorded message, a witness told AFP.Warplanes then fired on the 14-storey Al-Basha building in Rimal neighbourhood, causing massive damage and wounding 15 people, witnesses and medics said.The Israeli army said it had hit buildings that served as “Hamas command and control centres.”It said it had also targeted two schools in central and northern Gaza from which “low-trajectory fire” had been directed at Israel.‘We escaped by a miracle’ Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum denounced the bombardment of the two tower blocks as “a war crime aimed at terrorising the people”.In response, Hamas militants fired a barrage of longer-range rockets at Israel, although none hit further north than the port of Ashkelon, where a rocket hit a bungalow causing major damage and wounding 21 people.Home owner Yuval Cohen said it was a miracle they had not been killed.“We ran to the children’s room to wake them and while we were running, the rocket exploded in the bedroom,” Cohen told AFP.“We escaped by a miracle. We didn’t even make it to the shelter.” read more

FBI Had Investigated Omar Mateen, Found no Evidence He Was Terrorist

By Kimberly J. AvalosRabat – The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations chief Jim Comey said on Monday that the bureau had investigated and interrogated the Orlando shooter on three occasions over the last three years on suspicion he might have been a radicalized Islamic terrorist, as reported by TIME magazine.The investigation was eventually dropped. The public, then, is wondering why Omar Mateen’s behavior was alarming enough to attract the attention of the FBI but not enough to prevent the massacre of at least 49 people early Sunday at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando.The NYTimes reports that the case began in 2013 when Mateen’s co-workers said he had boasted ties to the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. He was working as a security guard at the St. Lucie Country Courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida, but was removed when the local sheriff heard of the remarks. The security contractor transferred him to work at a residential golfing community, and the sheriff alerted the F.B.I.But government officials said his claim had been dubious from the beginning, according to the NYTimes. Hezbollah is a Shiite group Al Qaeda is Sunni. But agents opened what is known as a preliminary investigation. They secretly followed him and monitored his movements in search of evidence that Mateen was a member of a terrorist group or is planning a specific terrorist attack.The FBI got one extension after the preliminary investigation; they interviewed him twice and dispatched an informant to get close to him, then closed the case after a total of ten months, according to TIME.TIME also reports that the FBI has been increasingly aggressive in its undercover operations, even posing agents as terrorist instigators and drawing potential radicalized Americans into fake plots. Once the would-be terrorists agree to a plot, or to travel to a foreign country in support of a foreign terrorist organization, they are arrested for breaking the laws against providing material support to terrorists.This led to the arrest of 59 men and women in 2015 for supporting ISIS.While some terrorism experts praise the efforts, civil libertarians have criticized them as entrapment, said TIME magazine.However, Mateen’s name resurfaced two months later as an associate of an American who had gone to Syria and become a suicide bomber for an al Qaeda affiliate there.According to Comey, the two had known each other because they attended the same mosque. But Comey said the investigation didn’t reveal any ties of any consequence between the two of them.Yet, in the midst of the massacre Sunday morning, Mateen expressed “solidarity” with the suicide bomber on one of the three calls with 911 dispatchers, Comey said, according to TIME.This still has some wondering if he had been on a watch list, could agents have been alerted to the gun sale.Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates said, “Certainly in retrospect in this case we would have liked to have known about it,” as reported by the NYTimes.However, they couldn’t have stopped him from buying a gun; Congress blocked an attempt last year to give the F.B.I the power to block gun sales to people on terrorism watch lists, according to the NYTimes.However, Yates also told the NYTimes that the Justice Department would consider a new policy in which the FBI is alerted on gun sales to people who were previously under investigation for terrorism.A former senior F.B.I official, James W. McJunkin, said preventing attacks is a fundamentally different mission. read more

Casablanca Bans Street Musicians from Place Maréchal

Rabat – Casablanca’s local authorities banned street musicians from performing in Place Maréchal, after confiscating their instruments last week.The wilaya of Casablanca issued a decision restricting street musicians from holding street performances in Place Maréchal in Casablanca, reported Al Massae in its Wednesday, March 15 edition.The decision followed numerous noise complaints of local residents, according to Al Massae. The group of musicians, who have spent proximately eight months performing in Place Maréchal, explained to Al Massae that the locals are actually supportive of the artistic scene in their neighborhoods.They added that they are “only participating with their humble talent in nourishing the artistic sector in Morocco.”Casablanca’s local authorities went as far as to confiscate the artists’ instruments. The musicians affected by this ban were obliged to sign an agreement to no longer play music in Place Maréchal in order to retrieve their instruments.The artists explained that “there is no valid reason to what the authorities did. The least they could have done was to inform us of the decision before taking away our instruments, and unexpectedly prohibiting us from playing music.”Before performing in a public space, artists must now inform local authorities to obtain permission. The Racines Association for Cultural Development in Morocco and Africa has launched a petition to negate the wilaya’s decision. read more

100 Sub-Saharan Immigrants Rescued off Spanish Coast

Rabat – The Spanish maritime rescue team has rescued 100 immigrants who departed from Morocco, including 14 women and four children. They were plucked from the Alboran sea on Sunday. The rescue team received a call from Morocco signaling the possibility of a boat departing from west of Melilla. The boat, which carried 46 immigrants of sub-Saharan origin, including ten women and two children, was eventually found by the ferry, Vronskiy, operating between Algeciras and Tangier-Med port.While the team was in the process of rescuing these passengers, it received a second call from Morocco informing them of the departure of another boat from the coast of Beni Boughafer in province of Nador. The latter carried 54 people of sub-Saharan descent, including four women and two children. They were moved to a port in southern Spain along with the passengers of the first boat. The Mediterranean has become a cemetery for migrants dreaming of reaching Europe.According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 521 immigrants were found dead in the Mediterranean between January 1 and March 5, 2017. read more

Morocco to Participante in Aeronautics International Conference in Montreal

Rabat – Morocco will participate in the 5th edition of the international business convention for the aeronautics and space industries called “Aeromart Montréal.”The Moroccan Export Promotion Center, Maroc Export, is organizing the participation of the Kingdom in this event, in partnership with the Group of Moroccan Aerospace and Space Industries (GIMAS).The event is scheduled from April 4-6 in the Canadian city of Montreal. Moroccan participation is part of the industrial acceleration plan and follows the launch of the first four aeronautical ecosystems in the Assembly, Electrical Wiring and Harnesses (EWIS), Maintenance-Repair & Revision (MRO) and Engineering sectors.This event represents a major meeting point between the actors of the aeronautics sector. It will involve the participation of 800 companies from 28 countries and the organization of more than 11,000 B2B meetings. It will also be marked by the organization of the Global Supply Chain Summit, which aims to help companies of all sizes in the aerospace sector make the switch to Industry 4.0, adds the same source.Morocco Export will join 5 companies and 4 representatives of the aeronautical ecosystems, in addition to organizing a conference for the presentation of the Moroccan aeronautical industry.The objective of this participation is to create strategic partnerships with key players in the avionics and aerospace segments of the aeronautics industry on both the European and American continents. It also represents a valuable opportunity to present Moroccan know-how to several other organizations.The forecast for the aerospace market is very optimistic for the next 20 years, states Maroc Export. Global demand for air transport will increase by an average of 4.7 percent from 2015 to 2033, which represents an estimated 36,800 more aircraft of all sizes, estimated at USD 5,570 billion.The Canadian aerospace industry generated USD 29.8 billion in direct revenues, created 89,000 jobs and contributed USD 13.3 billion to the country’s GDP. More than 70 percent of the sector’s activity is devoted to manufacturing and the remaining 30 percent includes maintenance, repair and overhaul (ERR) activities. Both aerospace ERR manufacturing and services sectors experienced growth in their contribution to GDP between 2010 and 2015, with respective increases of more than 11 percent and 25 percent, says Maroc Export. read more

The Video that Got Rif Protests Activist Nasser Zafzafi Arrested

Rabat – Last Friday Nasser Zafzafi, the leading activist of Rif protest movement who was arrested on Monday, stormed a mosque and interrupted the Imam giving the sermon in Mosque Mohammed V in Al Hoceima.The Moroccan Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs deemed the intervention a “serious” incident. An arrest order was issued against Zafzafi the same day for “obstructing the right to worship.”The reason given for the disruption of the Friday prayer, an action that many see as “grave and showing no respect to the sanctity of the mosque,” was Zafzafi and his followers’ discontent with the Imam’s warnings against fitna (sedition). Zafzafi and his followers refused the use of this term and described it as intending to discredit the demonstrations that have been going on for seven months to get the government to meet the protesters’ demands. Angry at the content of the Imam’s sermon, he assumed the role of an Imam, giving a politically inspired religious speech inside the mosque.“The Imam is endorsing corruption. They want the Rif to kneel down, they want the Gulf puppets to come and rape our women, rape our children.  I am asking you, do the mosques belong to Allah or to the makhzen (traditional of Moroccan authorities)”, he shouted while his supporters were chanting “Allahu Akbar”.The imam was also the target of his rage, accusing him of cowardice and lying.“If he, who pretends to be an Imam, was brave enough, he would have said the truth”, said Zafzafi.His lashing against the imam prompted a man, probably one of the people in charge of the mosque, to respond by questioning the activist’s qualification to talk about religious matters.“I know better than you, I know better than you… leave him, I will tell you what Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, said. He said, if you see me going astray, straighten me!”, he answered back. “This was the Commander of the Faithful, may Allah be pleased with him, so why can’t we stop this Imam… How do I know? This is what was reported in the books of Sunnah.”Emboldened by the cheers of supporters, he went on with his improvised speech, mixing religion and politics.“Brothers, I swear by Allah, if it wasn’t for our demand for the dignity of the region, and our care for the honor of our women, we wouldn’t be here today to unmask these people.”Zafzafi kept on talking with the same angry tone, pushing aside warnings against sedition, which he saw as a scarecrow to dissuade people from protesting.“Brothers, they keep talking about sedition. What does sedition mean when most of the youngsters cannot provide for themselves? When most of the youngsters were pushed to emmigrate? Now they throw around the word sedition.”The speech turned ultra-religious when he said “Is there any sedition worse than nakedness shown on TV? Is there any sedition worse than Mawazine (music festival) when naked bodies are shown on the national television of a state that calls itself Muslim? We will never tolerate this; we will never kneel to anyone but Allah …”.The leading protest activist went on with his own “sermon” while the faithful who gathered around him, including teenagers, swelled with the religiously rebellious speech, loudly shouting “Allah Akbar”.“Allah has blessed this popular movement and made it great and holy because we are requesting the basic rights necessary for a decent life. And now an impostor has come… as the Prophet, peace be upon him, said “My greatest fear for my Umma (Muslim nation) is misleading Imams. Here there are those imams”, he said.“Brothers, Satan used to fear Omar Ibn Al Khattab, the Commander of the Faithful. He used to say, “if you see me going astray, straighten me.” Now, we are taking our cue from him because we saw this Imam going astray.”Things turned personal when he started talking about himself. “For Allah’s sake, I do not fear the blame of anyone. I only want Allah to be happy with me. You can arrest me, kill me, slaughter me, I have no fear.”He then ended his speech with going back to lashing out at the imam and accusing him of collusion with the authorities against the protesters and their families. He accused the Imam of issuing a fatwa (nonbinding legal opinion by religious expert or institution) against them, when in fact the Imam was delivering a sermon, not a fatwa.“Do you know what this person did (the Imam)?  First of all, according to Sharia, a Fatwa has its own requirements, but he was issuing a Fatwa. He agreed with the makhzen to rape our women, besiege our youngsters, and arrest them in the name of religion when religion has nothing to do with them. Religion fights corruption and tyranny, and we are following the lead of our ancestors. May Allah preserve and protect you.” read more