Social media giant Pinterest to open first Canadian office in Toronto on

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – Pinterest is opening its first office in Canada in Toronto at the start of October in an effort to expand its presence outside of the U.S.The San Francisco-based technology company runs an online platform that allows users to create a digital board they can pin aspirational photos to.It says it has 12 million Canadian users, who save 4.5 million photos on the platform daily.Pinterest says it hopes the Toronto office will help spur the business’s international growth and serve local advertisers.The Toronto office will be run by country manager Erin Elofson, who previously led Facebook Canada’s sales team and spent 11 years at Microsoft Canada.Pinterest says Elofson will help the country localize its offerings, including an ad program, which it says advertisers will be able to use to target French-speaking Canadians by the end of the year.last_img read more

Trans Mountain opponent got federal money through Canada Summer Jobs Tories

first_imgOTTAWA, O.N. –  The federal Liberal government found itself taking fire over the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion from opposite flanks Wednesday: accused of helping to finance pipeline protesters on the one hand, and rigging the review system in favour of the project on the other.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer led off question period with the revelation that one of the successful applicants to the government’s Canada Summer Jobs program is a B.C. group looking to hire someone “to help … stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project.”“Does he not realize that he is funding the very groups that are protesting against the project that is in the national interest?” Scheer demanded. “We are talking about taking tax dollars from people who are out of work in the energy sector and giving it to people who are trying to block a project in the national interest.”The B.C. group, Dogwood, however, has been receiving federal money for years, including from the previous Conservative government, Trudeau retorted.“Unlike, apparently, the leader of the official Opposition, we believe in free speech,” he said.“On the issue of this particular advocacy group, it is important to highlight that it was also funded under the Harper government.”The government has been under fire of late over the Canada Summer Jobs program, specifically a new requirement that organizations declare their support for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, including women’s reproductive rights.Scheer tried to needle Trudeau on that count, as well: “There is nobody who believes that the prime minister is committed to free speech when he punishes all those in this country who do not agree with his personal point of view.” Kinder Morgan declared earlier this month it was halting all non-essential spending on the controversial expansion, which has been beset by protests and is at the centre of a fierce dispute between the governments of B.C. and Alberta.The expansion, which B.C. is blocking, would twin an existing pipeline from Alberta’s oilsands to Kinder Morgan’s Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby, B.C., where diluted bitumen would be loaded onto oil tankers for export.Earlier Wednesday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and energy critic Guy Caron released a letter to Trudeau effectively accusing the Liberals of having decided to proceed with Trans Mountain well before the federal review process had completed its evaluation.The letter cites recent media reports suggesting the government’s decision to proceed was a purely political calculation, rather than a decision based on whether or not the project would indeed be in the national interest.“These revelations throw into question the legitimacy of the government’s entire review as they point to an approval based on political interests,” the letter reads.“To address these serious concerns, we urge you to release all relevant documentation associated with the review process, including those subject to cabinet confidentiality.”Caron pressed the issue during question period, but Trudeau waved off the NDP’s concerns.“Under the previous government, the approach of not understanding how important it is to properly consult and engage in acquiring social licence needed to be fixed,” he said.“We actually added additional steps to make the process more rigorous. In fact, we extended the consultation process to ensure we were meeting and exceeding our responsibility to engage with and consult Indigenous people.”Trudeau has been unequivocal in declaring his government’s support for the project _ so much so that he has dispatched Finance Minister Bill Morneau to meet with Kinder Morgan to find a way to ensure the expansion remains financially viable.He has also promised legislation to reaffirm the federal government’s authority in deciding the fate of cross-boundary pipeline projects, although the details of what that bill will look like have not been released.The idea behind Trans Mountain is to get Alberta’s oilsands bitumen to tidewater, opening up new markets for Canada’s oil beyond the U.S., its only real oil customer a situation Trudeau says forces Canada to take a big hit on the price it gets.Fearing the many environmental unknowns that surround diluted bitumen, or dilbit, B.C. wants to restrict the pipe’s capacity until more is understood about how the material might behave in a marine environment, how it can be cleaned up and how a major spill might impact ocean life.B.C. has said it plans to file a court reference by the end of April to determine if it can stop or restrict the flow of dilbit on the grounds of its own jurisdiction over environmental concerns.Many environmental groups fear an increase in tanker traffic out of Burnaby along marine routes that are at times extremely narrow, worsening the risk of a major spill.Trudeau has said he only approved the pipeline in the context of balancing the need for environmental protections with the need for economic growth. The government’s $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan is designed to account for such spills, he said, suggesting the government would make additional investments if need be.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)center_img Trudeau seized on the chance to depict his rival as a kinder, gentler version of his predecessor.“The commitment that this government has made to stand up and defend reproductive rights and the rights of women at every single opportunity is one that sticks in their craw,” he said of the Conservatives.“We will not apologize for ensuring that women’s rights are protected across this country.”Scheer’s question was far from the only Trans Mountain offensive the Liberals faced _ indeed, question period has, of late, been dominated by the project, given what proponents say of its potential economic impact, as well as how it’s likely to influence next year’s federal election.last_img read more

SuperPark Society gets 15000 grant from PRRD

first_imgThe Society said in its application to the PRRD that the remaining $1,000 cost of the mats and turf will be covered by donations from Tom’s Construction and Rudy’s Hwy Car and Truck Wash.Roemer added that with the grant covering the cost for the mats and turf, all that’s left to fund is the $74,500 climbing unit.“We’re kind of back to square one, everything we’ve had from before was raised through volunteers or donations. Now we’re back to trying to raise $78,000 for the indoor playground climber.”Though $74,500 seems like a hefty toll, the society has also applied for a $50,000 grant from the Northern Development Initiative Trust.The PRRD Regional Board voted in favour of submitting a letter of support for the SuperPark Society’s grant application to NDIT at last week’s Regular Board meeting.Roemer hopes to receive a business permit in September to begin construction on the park. If you would like to learn more or donate to the super park contact Roemer at 250-262-2703 or by email at Npsuperpark@gmail.com. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The North Peace Family SuperPark Society received a grant from the Peace River Regional District nearly two weeks ago.The PRRD’s Rural Budget Administration Committee approved the $15,240 grant, which will fully fund the SuperPark’s safety mats and turf. Society President Jaandi Roemer said that the society was beyond grateful to receive the grant.“It’s extremely important, we wouldn’t be able to do what we’re doing without the financial support from the community,” said Roemer. “We’ve been fundraising for quite a few years but haven’t been able to pull in as much as we would like to have without corporate donations, so those are really important.”last_img read more

Canadian oilfield services firms bringing in more revenue from US operations

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – Analysts say Canadian oilfield services companies with operations in the U.S. are now earning more of their revenue south of the border than they have for at least six years.In a report, AltaCorp Capital says that trend is expected to continue as ongoing oil and gas spending weakness in Canada is balanced against steady activity in the United States.The analysts say that 12 of the largest Canadian energy services companies with U.S. operations earned 54percentt of their revenue in the U.S. in 2018, the first time the percentage climbed above half since at least 2013, when it was just over 40 per cent. They forecast a 16 percent decline in Canadian drilling rig activity this year to an average of 159 active rigs, while the U.S. average rig count will be 1,009, largely flat versus 2017.The survey includes large Calgary-based drilling companies like Precision Drilling Corp. and Ensign Energy Services Ltd., as well as completion firms such as Calfrac Well Services Ltd.The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors reports that the industry relocated 16 Canadian rigs to the U.S. in 2018, up from six in 2017, and is continuing to send rigs south of the border this year.Precision Drilling reported drilling rig working days jumped 36 per cent in the U.S. in the last three months of 2018 compared with the same period of 2017, but fell nine per cent in Canada.last_img read more

Celebration of Life planned for Fire Chief Leo Sabulsky

first_imgCHETWYND, B.C. – A Celebration of Life has been set for Fire Chief Leo Sabulsky.The Celebration of Life is open to the public and planned for Saturday, August 17th, 2019 at 10:00 am to be held at Chetwynd and District Rec Centre Arena located at 4552 North Access, Chetwynd. A longtime member of the B.C. Peace Leo Sabulsky of Chetwynd passed away after battling cancer.  Sabulsky helped to launch Chetwynd’s only radio station Peace FM and later the TV station CHET TV.  Sabulsky was also the Fire Chief for the District of Chetwynd since 1998.If you wish to honour Leo’s name, donations can be made in his memory to the Kordyban Lodge in Prince George or the BC SPCA.last_img read more

Free counselling available for those affected by Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The First Nations Health Authority is now offering free counselling services in British Columbia for anyone who is affected by the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.According to the Health Authority, people of all genders affected by the issue are encouraged to connect to this counselling.To receive counselling, individuals do not need to have status and can live on or off the reserve. This counselling program is administered by FNHA through the Health Benefits team, and counselling is offered by providers who are registered with the Health Authority’s Mental Health Provider List.FNHA says counselling is free to those who need it as all billing from the provider will be paid for by FNHA.The Health Authority’s Mental Health Provider List can be found here.More information on the counselling services can be found on the FNHA’s website.last_img read more

Pak has broken truce 513 times since Balakot strike says Army

first_imgJammu: As many as 513 ceasefire violations by Pakistan have taken place along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir in the past one-and-a-half month and the Pakistan Army has suffered five to six times more casualties than the Indian Army in the retaliatory action, a senior officer said Saturday. The Pakistan Army also used heavy weaponry like mortars and artillery guns in over 100 times during these violations and targeted civilian areas but was given a befitting response by the Indian Army, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of White Knight Corps Lt Gen Paramjit Singh told reporters in Rajouri. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”Almost 513 ceasefire violations happened in the past one-and-a-half month and over 100 times during these violations, the Pakistan Army used heavy weapons like mortars and artillery guns and targeted civilian areas. Only yesterday (Friday), four civilians, including two girls, were injured in Poonch,” the GOC said. However, he said the Pakistan Army is being given a befitting response by the Indian Army. Responding to a question about the casualties suffered by Pakistan in the retaliatory action, he said unlike the Indian Army, Pakistan does not announce the number of its casualties. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”However, as per our sources, the Pakistan Army suffered five to six times more casualties than the casualties on our side,” Lt Gen Singh said. Ten people, including four security personnel, have been killed and nearly 45 others, mostly civilians, injured in the twin districts since India’s preemptive air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 in response to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. On the sniping incidents from across the border, Lt Gen Singh said such incidents had come to a naught over the past several months, especially after the Balakot strike. “Some incidents of sniping took place earlier and accordingly we have taken some measures to strengthen our defence. As per the data this year, only three incidents of sniping by the Pakistan Army were reported from January to February 26 in which one of the fatalities include a civilian porter,” he said.last_img read more

Chaturvedi hits out at party as Cong reinstates errant leaders

first_imgNew Delhi: Perturbed over re-inducting some party leaders who had recently misbehaved with her, Congress national spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi expressed her displeasure over the party’s move and spoke out against the grand old party.In a stinging tweet, Chaturvedi said, “Deeply saddened that lumpen goons get preference in Congress over those who have given their sweat & blood.” Chaturvedi said this while re-tweeting a journalist who attached a photo of a Congress notice that talked about how Priyanka Chaturvedi had recently complained about a few party leaders misbehaving with her. The Congress letter said that the party leaders were suspended following Chaturvedi’s complaint. The letter added that the Uttar Pradesh Congress has decided to grant relief to the leaders and reinstate them following an intervention by Jyotiraditya Scindia, the Congress general secretary in-charge of Uttar Pradesh West. The development left Priyanka Chaturvedi extremely unhappy. “Having faced brickbats & abuse across the board for the party but yet those who threatened me within the party getting away with not even a rap on their knuckles is unfortunate,” Chaturvedi said in her second tweet on the issue. There isn’t much clarity on the actual incident in question. The Congress letter that talks about granting relief to the leaders named by Priyanka Chaturvedi stated that the incident is recent. According to the letter, the incident took place during a press conference that Priyanka Chaturvedi recently addressed in Mathura on the issue of the controversial Rafale deal.As per the letter, during the press conference, the Congress leaders “misbehaved” with Chaturvedi, prompting her to file a complaint with the party. The letter further added that the Congress had suspended the leaders following the complaint but has now decided to reinstate them.last_img read more

Princes memoir The Beautiful Ones to release in October

first_imgLos Angeles: Legendary singer Prince’s unfinished memoir, ‘The Beautiful Ones’, is finally set to be released on October 29. The singer, who died of an accidental opioid overdose at the age of 57 in 2016, had announced the project just weeks before he was found dead at his Paisley Park estate in Chanhassen, Minn. Prince had told an audience in New York City that Random House had made him “an offer I can’t refuse” and that it would start with his first memory. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaThe memoir will be released as a “newly envisioned” book and will feature rare photographs and handwritten lyric sheets to Prince’s most famous songs. Dan Piepenbring, the writer Prince had handpicked to collaborate on the project, will write the introduction. The book is set to cover Prince’s childhood, his early days as a musician, and his journey to international stardom. Among the many archival materials included will be his original handwritten treatment for his movie and album, “Purple Rain”. Random House has described ‘The Beautiful Ones’ as “the deeply personal account of how Prince Rogers Nelson became the Prince we know: the real-time story of a kid absorbing the world around him and creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and the fame that would come to define him.”last_img read more

More than 1 lakh Durga pujas are held in Bengal Modi is

first_imgPandua/Joypur/Panchla: Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee termed BJP as the “the greatest danger for the country like 440 volts” and asked people to prevent it from returning to power. She added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is instigating people through his speeches by speaking lies and half-truths.”Wherever Modi is going, he is instigating people through lies. He has alleged that in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress-led government has not allowed Durga Puja. More than one lakh Durga Pujas are held in this state. He does not do any homework and continues to speak lies about Bengal,” she said on Saturday, and added: “He is like 440 volts and you will receive electric shock if you go close to him.” Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkBanerjee addressed three political rallies in Pandua, Joypur and Panchla respectively on Saturday afternoon. She said it is the biggest tragedy that BJP leaders whose hands have blood stains criticised Bengal for having poor law and order situation. “They say, in Bengal people cannot go out because of attacks by anti-socials. All lies. The law and order situation in Bengal has not deteriorated,” she said. Banerjee further maintained: “We did not see any BJP leader during 34 years of CPI(M) rule when the latter had unleashed red terror and thousands of political workers got killed.” Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenShe further added: “I am a Hindu but I do not support BJP’s Hinduism because it divides people and communities. Hinduism talks about love and respect for all. But their Hinduism is different. During Ram Navami, we have never seen devotees moving around with clubs and swords.” Banerjee maintained that “BJP uses Ram to win elections. In the past five years, they have failed to construct the Ram temple and suddenly brought Ram to win elections. BJP divides people and is the most dangerous political party.” She also added that in the past eight years, many places of worship belonging to different religions have been developed and beautification projects in the surrounding areas have been taken up. She claimed that her party has done a lot of developmental work in places of worship like Tarakeswar, Gangasagar, Dakshineswar, Tarapith and Kankalitala. Banerjee alleged that CPI(M) and Congress are helping BJP to counter the TMC. “This is most unfortunate. The anti-socials (harmad) of CPI(M) have now become BJP’s assets whose only purpose is to create trouble in different areas.” Banerjee reiterated that BJP is spending money to buy votes and urged people to inform the police whenever they see anyone distributing money among the voters. She also urged people to cast their votes in favour of Trinamool candidates Dr Ratna Dey Nag in Hooghly and Sajda Ahmed in Uluberia. “Trinamool will play a major role to set up the new government in Delhi and it will be a pro-development, secular government,” she pointed out.last_img read more

For the First Time Moroccan Waved in Polisarios Tindouf Camps

first_imgTaroudant, Morocco – Following the release of a series of videos filmed inside the camps of Tindouf, portraying the suffering of the Saharawis in the Tindouf camps in Algeria, the Sahrawi population started taking definitive actions to change their intolerable situation and break their silence after almost 40-years under Polisario rule.Saharawi demonstrators in the Polisario camps in Tindouf, Algeria waved the Moroccan flags Tuesday and distributed flyers supporting an autonomous Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty, according to the Maghreb Arab Press.“Khat Achahid,” or “Path of the Martyr”, an opposing party of the Polisario Front, said in a statement that, “for the first time in the history of the Polisario, Moroccan flags waved in the Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf, and fliers with expressions supporting autonomy were distributed to people,” according to the same source. “People in the camps woke up Tuesday morning to find Moroccan flags were waving in many places especially on the dunes of sand surrounding the camps,” the same source added.The statement added that “the disastrous situation in the camps, the atrocities of the Algerian military authorities, humiliations they impose on Sahrawis in the camps, confusion, the absence of vision and the economic situation led the Sahrawi youth to this situation.”“Khat Achahid” said that the Polisario armed militia led searches to take down the Moroccan flags and retrieve the leaflets that had been distributed to the Sahrawis in the camps.“The Polisario arrested a group of young people known for their opposition to the corruption of the Raboni leaders who serve only their own interests at the expense of the suffering of people in camps,” the statement added.The young Sahrawi activists of the movement “Youth for Change” called on Sahrawis to “break the gag of silence imposed on them by the Polisario leadership” and called on the international community to find an urgent solution to their unending suffering inside the camps.Edited by Liz Yasliklast_img read more

Municipal Executive Allegedly Involved in Sex Scandal with Minors

Casablanca- Another sex scandal has recently surfaced in the Moroccan press, this time apparently involving the president of a rural municipality located in the province of Khemissat.According to the daily Assabah, the police in Khemissat (20 km from Rabat) have started investigations on a sex scandal allegedly involving the president of the municipality of Ait Yadine, who, based on many allegations already directed at him, is believed to be involved in sexual affairs with minor girls.The suspect allegedly took his victims in an executive vehicle to his home, where his sexual affairs mainly took place. According to the same source, a municipal councilor shot a video of the president while he was bringing up his sexual affairs with minors under the influence of alcohol. Ironically, the said councilor is believed tobe implicated in the organization of the suspect’s sexual encounters with the assistance of his lover, a librarian, who left her job and decided to help him deliver minor victims to the home of the president.However, the president of the municipality was the first to rush to the police to lodge a complaint against the author of the video for allegedly blackmailing him.Police subsequently launched an investigation that mainly centered upon the crime of which the president was accused rather than the complaint he had lodged against the councilor, his accomplice in his sexual affairs with minors.Edited by Jessica Rohan© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed. read more

Amazigh of Morocco Want Their Voice Heard

Agadir – Violence erupted in the commune of Tamazzouzt in morocco (a town near Marrakech), as Amazighs (Berbers call themselves “Amazighs,” or free men) refuse to participate in the national census, protesting against discrimination.The boycott of the national census is the result of many years of ignoring the existence of Amazighs in their homeland.Today over half of Moroccans are Berber speakers, and it is more language and culture that differentiate Berbers from Arabs. They choose to push for the recognition of their language and identity not only in the new constitution, but also in everyday life.After King Mohammed VI addressed some of those grievances in the amended constitution, by enacting a reform on March 9/2011, in a major speech to the nation, the Amazigh demands are still not fully satisfied.What are the Amazighs demands?The amended constitution of 2011 was considered as a big achievement to demarcate the Amazigh language alongside Arabic, after a long time of rejection and ignorance.Despite of founding the royal institute of the Amazigh culture(IRCAM), and including the language in the Moroccan educational system, in addition to establishing a Tamazight TV station to set up a solid contact with the Berber audience, the Amazigh movement is still not pleased with these steps the state has taken so far.Activists have also called for a complete involvement of the state in the discussion about teaching Tamazight in schools.Today, Tamazight is taught in the majority of schools in the Moroccan kingdom, but other demands related to language struggle to find their way to activation.Quite to the contrary says El Hamzaoui Tijani, a Member of the Executive Office of the Amazigh Network for Citizenship (Azetta Amazigh): “The government is going in the opposite direction of the democratic management of the multilingualism and the cultural diversity of Morocco”. He saidEl Hamzaoui Tijani, a Member of the Executive Office of the Amazigh Network for Citizenship (Azetta Amazigh)Azetta Amazigh has proposed a bill to the government and parliamentary actors to implement the legislation of Amazigh demands, but they haven’t received any response yet.“We find it very offensive to prevent us as berbers of using Amazigh names for our newborns.” Said Tijani El Hamzaoui.Rachid Raha, the President in charge of International Affairs of the Amazigh world Assembly believes that the coexistence between arabs and amazigh citizens in morocco is highly recommended, and racism and discrimination could eventually tear apart the Moroccan society, and threaten the stability in this country.Rachid Raha, the President in charge of International Affairs of the Amazigh world AssemblyRaha accuses the government of being an obstacle in the path of the activation of the demarcation of Tamazight, instead of giving priority to the implementation of the constitutional reform.“Any procrastinating in the implementation of our rights may have negative effects on the future of Morocco.” Said Rachid Raha.“Arabs and Amazighs to live together has become a supreme national interest that must be taken seriously.” He addedOther activists said that they are stronger more than ever, and they will keep fighting to undergo an intense integration into social and political life.The activists believe that there is still a long way to go to achieve their rights; they want not only to have a comprehensive recognition of their identity, but also to live this victory of a country without any inferiority complex.Activists claim that the demarcation of their identity in Morocco can be a nightmare for all those with ideologies and narrow nationalism, which could be a barrier in the development of their country as they said.Culture remains a diplomatic tool for Amazighs activists: Rachid Bouksim, isan Amazigh activist and the director of the international festival of the Amazigh Film “ISSNI N’ourgh“The Amazigh cultural movement in Morocco is a transnational cultural identity campaign that defends the importance of culture in promoting their identity.Rachid Bouksim, is an Amazigh activist and the director of the international festival of the Amazigh Film “ISSNI N’ourgh” based in Agadir, refuses to accept any financial support of his festival from the state.“I will continue in supporting the Amazigh cinema in my festival, only to prove to the government that our existence alongside Arabs is for the cohesion of this country” He saidSome accuse the Amazigh of attempting to dominate the country culturally and politically, their answer is quite the contrary, their priorities are promoting their culture by artistic production.Activists from the community in Morocco are now quietly campaigning for the Amazigh New Year, Yanayer, to be recognized as a national holiday.What are the Amazigh women’s aspirations?They fight to uncover the unseen about them in a community that doesn’t distinguish their specificity of being amazigh.To be an Amazigh woman is not as easy as we think, that’s what we extract from the statements of Meryam Demnati, an Activist and Researcher at the Amazigh Observatory of Rights and Freedoms.Meryem thinks that Amazigh women are assaulted in their identity, and she believes that they are sidelined in a country of multiple discrimination.They must fight twice as hard, to have their legitimate rights as the rest of Moroccan women and for their rights as Amazigh.“Our situation will not change until it is de-linked from any religion, this question of women must be included in human rights and we refuse the segregation according to sex,” she added.Meryem, as a militant for the amazigh women’s rights, will continue to work in this direction, and she strongly believes that one day Amazigh woman will regain her rights and dignity.Despite the fact that amazigh women have reached high positions such as parliamentary deputy, their existence is still linked to their identity as amazigh and not to the quality of their work.Amazigh women activists find themselves deprived of real participation in the political and the cultural life in morocco.The few rights they have are not even understood by them because they are not written or expressed in their native language.“I am optimistic because of one reason, Amazigh women have an incomparable energy even if illiteracy and the workload still exist in rural areas,” said Meryam DemnatiToday as Amazigh women are more into politics, they are not sufficiently encouraged by men who often overshadow them.“We need to contribute in the management of regional affairs in particular, in this respect, the law should support equal access by women and men to elected offices,” added MeryemWomen, who have seats in the parliament, do not represent their aspirations, they only represent political parties.Meryem as a Long-winded activist refuses to reduce the Amazigh cause in just intellectual preoccupation; she describes it as an existential question of identity in the forefront.“Our rights are deeply linked to the rights of the Amazigh movement, and by achieving the amazigh movement demands we will eventually achieve ours too,” said Meryem.Considering the achievements in the field of promoting democracy, Morocco is in a position today to start establishing an advanced regionalization in managing the different parts of the country, and by respecting the particularity of each area, Morocco will definitely manage its diversity.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

The Farraga The Traditional Moroccan Pediatrician

By Fatima-Ezzahra MetkalCasablanca – In Morocco, traditional folk medicine is alive, well and coexistent with more modern medicine. Folk medicine is especially prevalent with respect to the health of women and children and used as a remedy when sorcery is at work. Those who practice folk medicine have a special place in Moroccan society.A “farraga,” for example, is the original pediatrician. She is a woman who has been blessed by a former farraga. In other words, she has received “Baraka,” the blessing from an old man or woman who used to perform the same job. Her job? Healing babies. She heals those who cannot sleep at night because they smell or see a work of sorcery, for it is believed that babies are angels who can feel and see things that adults cannot. The farraga also treats babies who have a cough, stomach ache, or those with “big heads” caused by the “evil eye,” according to her.Photo by authorThe tools of her trade are organic eggs, fenugreek, and a bandage for the babies’ big heads. She uses a drink of lavender, thyme, and other herbs for the babies’ cough. She also uses a small thin stick that she heats a little, then dips in tar. After that, farraga starts tapping the baby’s little fingers, toes, and head with the stick, so that the baby will grow up quickly and gain strength.The farraga’s clinic is usually a room in her house. On average, one treatment takes three to four sessions. The frequency of sessions depends on how often the baby meets with people outside the family, especially women, for they are the ones believed to be involved in the practices of sorcery.For this reason, some families tend to hide their babies and do not take them to crowded places. The price of the treatment is not fixed. The farraga will accept any amount of money one might give her, but it is agreed that the treatment runs around ten to twenty dirhams per session.Many people prefer to take their newborns to this traditional “pediatrician.” They claim that modern pediatric medicine cannot help when it comes to witchcraft. The poor often resort to the farraga because they have faith in the “Baraka” that she was purportedly given. Moreover, the treatment costs next to nothing. Some intellectuals consult her after trying a medical pediatrician’s prescription, which usually includes antibiotics. These medications are a double-edged sword that many prefer to avoid for the benefit of the child’s immunization.Thousands of mothers believe in the farraga’s magical healing powers, since she is believed to have enough knowledge and experience to take care of their babies. But the debate goes on as to whether to opt for traditional remedies or modern medicine.Edited by Elisabeth Myers © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

Terrorist Threat Hangs Over the Whole Maghreb Region Head of BCIJ

Rabat – The terrorist threat hangs over the whole Maghreb region, particularly given that ISIS has already set foot in Libya, said director of Central Bureau for Judiciary Investigations (BCIJ), Abdelhalk Khiame.The danger does not only concern Morocco, but also “Algeria, which is already suffering from the threat of the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in the south of its territory, in addition to a problem created from nothingness by this country in the Sahara,” Khiame said in an interview published Thursday by the daily “L’Economiste.”“The investigations carried out in this respect revealed the involvement of separatists in terrorist and criminal organizations,” he said, stressing that “Morocco is taking all necessary measures to ensure its security. But the lack of cooperation and coordination with our Algerian neighbors is an opportunity for terrorist organizations to settle in the region.” “We must be clear: the security of our two countries depends on coordination between the Moroccan and Algerian intelligence services,” Khiame said.Referring to the latest terrorist cell dismantled in Morocco, he pointed out that the latter, which was at a very advanced stage in terms of logistics and arsenal of weapons and explosives, planned to create a “climate of psychosis within population”.Concerning Morocco’s strategy to combat indoctrination and recruitment via social networks, the director of BCIJ noted that the legislation is clear, anyone who advocates terrorist acts will be prosecuted.Regarding the risks posed by the return of Moroccans from combat zones, Khiame said that anyone who joined the areas of tension could be prosecuted under a law adopted by Morocco in 2014. read more

European Commission for Fisheries Included Western Sahara in MoroccoEU Agreement

Rabat – European Commission for Fisheries has reaffirmed that Western Sahara and its waters are included in the fisheries agreement between the European Union and Morocco.This came on May 29 in a written response to a question from 13 members of the European Parliament.The members of the European parliament called into question the applicability of the agreement in the Sahara, raising the issue of the consent of the “people of Western Sahara, as well as the legality of the agreement.” The MPs based their question on the European Court of Justice’s decision on December 21 to rule the agricultural agreement as “not applicable” to the Sahara.“The waters off the coast of Western Sahara are included in the fisheries agreement between the Union and Morocco,” said Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and fisheries, in his response to the MPs’ questions.The official also noted that the agreement contains “provisions to ensure that the agreement fully respects international law” and serves the interests of all the populations concerned.He added that these provisions include, among other things, Morocco’s realization of reports on the economic and social effects of the “sectorial support” provided for in the protocol, including their “geographic distribution.”The Council of European Union adopted on May 29 a negotiating mandate allowing the amendment of the agreement between Morocco and the European Union.This mandate aims at applying preferential tariffs provided for in the agreement between Morocco and the EU concerning goods from the Sahara region. read more

Algeria Cancels Arms Deal with Russia Fails Polisario

Rabat – Algeria has once again canceled a major arms deal with Russia due to “the decline in oil prices,” according to Moroccan newspaper Al Massae.Al Massae reports that the Russian arms deal had intended to serve the Polisario Front interests, as the separatist group was eager to receive military equipment and weapons from Algeria to boost its military capacity.According to the newspaper, the decline in oil prices has had a significant impact on the budget allocated for armaments, including funds allocated for the Polisario. The decline in oil prices stymied plans for the separatists’ leader, Ibrahim Ghali, who intended to build a headquarters in the region’s buffer zone of the region and later relocate some of the Tindouf camps in the region.Since taking office as the head of the Polisario Front’s alleged Sahrawi Arab  Democratic Republic (SADR), Ghali started planning to shift the group’s headquarters.. However, Ghali’s plan did not please some members of the separatist group. According to Al Massae, members of the Polisario considers Ghali’s project a waste of public money.Moroccan news outlet Le360, reported that Algeria canceled a similar deal with Russia in December due to the decline in oil prices. Morocco’s eastern neighbor was expected to receive an important shipment of arms, many of which would have been subsequently delivered to the separatist group.One source with Le360 said that the separatist group rejected Algeria’s reasons for canceling the Russian arms deal.  Certain “hawks” within the Polisario alleged that Algeria had refused to renew its arms supplies with the separatist group due to the pressure from French President Emmanuel Macron during his recent visit to Algeria.  The Polisario accused Macron of intervening with Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to cancel the arms contract with the Polisario.On December 6, 2017, Macron visited Algeria in order to discuss the Western Sahara issue. On the eve of his visit, Macron told the Algerian daily El Khabar that he was in favor of opening up a “dialogue between Morocco and Algeria around the Sahara issue,” as “the resolution of this crisis represents a major challenge for the integration of the Arab Maghreb.” read more

Counterfeit Medicines Cause 15000 Poison Cases in Morocco Annually

Rabat – Counterfeit medicines and expired pharmacy drugs, some illegally manufactured, are being sold without authorization or prescriptions. The issue has now prompted the Ministry of Health to boost public awareness about the effects and dangers of buying fake medications. Moroccan newspaper Al Akhbar reported in its weekend issue that 15,000 poisonings are recorded every year due to unauthorized medicines.According to the newspaper, the Moroccan Network for the Defense of the Right to Health raised concern and awareness about counterfeit and illegally manufactured medicines and their effects in a recent report featured at the second national meeting of medicines and health products. The meeting is being held under the theme “The fight against falsified medicines in Africa.”The February 24-25 meeting is taking place in Skhirat, a seaside town located between Rabat and Casablanca. The network has raised concerns over the medicines being sold in the absence of control of the National Drug Administration, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Health.According to the Moroccan network, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established three categories of falsified or illegally manufactured medicines: the medicines that contain the correct chemical formula but at a lower dose than labeled, expired medicines and counterfeits that may contain toxic or deadly substances.The same source added that falsified medicines account for 1 percent of products in developed countries, 60 percent of medicines in the poorest countries and between 20 to 30 percent in developing countries.According to WHO, falsified medicines account for 11 percent of all medicines sold in developing countries, noting that these medications kill more than one million people across the world.The Network for the Defense of the Right to Health, according to Al Akhbar, added that Morocco is facing a serious issue involving smuggled medications, especially in the eastern region, southern provinces and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. read more

Ghosn beefs up defence with lawyer famous for acquittals

TOKYO — Former Renault-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn has beefed up his defence team ahead of his trial in Japan by hiring Junichiro Hironaka, a star lawyer with a strong track record for winning rare acquittals in a country where the conviction rate is 99 per cent.Another new attorney on his team, Hiroshi Kawatsu, is an expert on judicial reform who has studied and done research in the U.S.Ghosn, arrested Nov. 19, and charged with falsifying financial reports and breach of trust, says he is innocent.Some prominent cases Hironaka has won are:ICHIRO OZAWA: An influential lawmaker known as the “shadow shogun” for his backroom dealings, Ozawa was charged with false financial reports on political funding, linked to a 2004 land deal. He was acquitted in 2012, while three aides got suspended sentences. Ozawa’s defence argued he was innocent as he had no knowledge of the deal.KAZUYOSHI MIURA: The Japanese businessman was suspected of involvement in the shooting death of his wife in Los Angeles in 1981. Miura was shot in the leg while his wife was shot in the head. Miura’s 1994 conviction was overturned by two higher courts, including a 2003 Supreme Court ruling. Hironaka led the defence in both. Arrested in Saipan, Miura was extradited to the U.S. in 2008 on conspiracy charges since murder charges would have amounted to double jeopardy. He was found dead in his jail cell while awaiting arraignment. The coroner ruled it a suicide.ATSUKO MURAKI: A welfare ministry official, Muraki was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of falsely approving a group to qualify for mail discounts. She asserted her innocence, saying she knew nothing about such a group. She was acquitted in 2010. One of the first women to rise in Japan’s government bureaucratic ranks, she has written books criticizing the Japanese criminal system, drawing on her roughly five months of detention.TAKESHI ABE: The head of a government AIDS research team, in 1996 Abe was charged with professional negligence resulting in death, in a major scandal over the sale of HIV-tainted blood products in 1983-85 that caused 2,000 Japanese, mostly hemophiliacs, to contract the AIDS virus. The blood had not been heat-treated to kill the virus, a procedure that was used in the U.S. but not approved for use in Japan until 1985. Abe denied wrongdoing, saying he didn’t know the products would lead to infection. He was acquitted in 2001 after a four year trial and died in 2004, while facing an appeal.___Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyamaOn Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yurikageyama/?hl=enYuri Kageyama, The Associated Press read more

Putin signs bill punishing those who insult the state

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed bills restricting online media and making a criminal of anyone who insults the state — laws that critics see as part of Kremlin efforts to stifle criticism and tighten media control.A bill passed by the Russian parliament earlier this month introduces fines for publishing materials showing disrespect to the state, its symbols or government organs. Repeat offenders could face a 15-day jail sentence.Another bill envisages blocking anyone who publishes “fake news” online that is perceived to threaten public health and security. It gives those who publish such information a day to correct or remove it. If they fail to do so, prosecutors will move to block them.Putin has signed both bills, according to information posted Monday on the government portal of legal information.The Associated Press read more