CVS and Delta fall while Aflac and General Electric jump

first_imgNEW YORK — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday:CVS Health Corp., down $1.13 to $73.37The New York Post reported that a judge might bar CVS from integrating its business with health insurer Aetna.Tailored Brands Inc., down $6.01 to $14.13The apparel company cut its annual forecasts, saying transactions at Men’s Wearhouse stores fell in November and stayed weak.Aflac Inc., up $2.85 to $45.75The insurer confirmed that it’s held talks with Japan Post Holdings about a possible minority investment.General Electric Co., up 49 cents to $7.20An analyst for JPMorgan Chase upgraded the struggling industrial company’s stock to “Neutral.”Delta Air Lines Inc., down $2.72 to $53.55The airline gave a 2019 profit forecast that fell short of Wall Street expectations.Kimberly-Clark Corp., up $4.48 to $118.40High-dividend stocks including household goods makers, utilities and real estate companies outperformed the rest of the market Thursday.Oxford Industries Inc., down $7.57 to $67.24The owner of brands including Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer had a weaker-than-expected third quarter.Macy’s Inc., down $1.04 to $30.80Department stores and other retailers slumped Thursday.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Alaska Airlines flights back in the air after power outage

first_imgSEATTLE — Alaska Airlines flights are back in the air after a nationwide ground stop that was apparently caused by a power outage.The airline says all its flights were grounded between about 4:20 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. after a power outage in the Seattle area, where the airline’s operations are based.Airline spokeswoman Oriana Branon says the power went out around 3:30 a.m. and came back on about an hour and a half later.She says 27 flights were delayed and five were cancelled.She says inconvenienced customers are being offered compensation on a case by case basis.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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CES 2019 Its all about the games and AI

first_img 8K very much a focal point this year at CES. Consumers will find brighter pictures sharper contrast and richer blacks. 8K is becoming more and more consumer economical and Europe, YouTube to name a few are already rolling out 8K content. Any size you can think of can now become reality..but at a price. Samsung – The Wall can be built to any custom size this one pictured is 219” comprised of Micro LED panels the TV can be built to pretty much any specification as long as you have the money. LAS VEGAS — The CES 2019 gadget show is revving up in Las Vegas. Here are the latest findings and observations from Associated Press reporters on the ground as technology’s biggest trade event gets underway.There you go peeps! Official. iTunes on Samsung smart TVs in over 100 countries. #ces2019 #lifeofacameraguy pic.twitter.com/oXnh0NpE3J— Nick Blakeney (@CameraGuyNick) January 7, 2019BRING ON THE GAMESEnough about self-driving cars. A big contingent at the CES 2019 gadget show would rather hear about better video games.Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang got a big round of applause Sunday night when he told a crowd at the Las Vegas tech conference that he’d spend more time talking gaming than autonomous driving.The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker’s computer graphics technology is used in both industries. But it was his unveiling of a new gaming-oriented graphics processor that elicited the biggest cheers.Huang also detailed how his company’s advances in artificial intelligence and a graphics technology called “ray tracing” are helping to generate ever-more-realistic scenery in popular games like Anthem and Battlefield V.This year’s CES is less focused on autonomous cars as last year’s, though there’s ongoing buzz about self-driving innovations. Ride-hailing service Lyft says after launching a self-driving Las Vegas taxi service at last year’s CES, it’s now had almost 30,000 paid rides.A CENTURY-OLD CES FIRST-TIMERYou wouldn’t expect to find the maker of Pampers and Bounty paper towels at the world’s largest technology conference.But here’s consumer goods company Procter & Gamble at CES 2019, showing off heated razors and a toothbrush that uses artificial intelligence. (Sorry if you were expecting self-changing diapers.)Procter & Gamble, which was founded more than 180 years ago, said it’s the first time it has been an exhibitor at CES. The company said it needs to infuse technology into everyday products to keep up with what customers want.Among the goods on display: a waterproof Gillette razor that heats up to 122 degrees; an Oral-B toothbrush that tells you if you’re missing areas when brushing; and a wand-like device called Opte that scans the skin and releases serum that covers up age spots and other discoloration.Counter top dishwasher that uses only a gallon of water and can plug into a simple wall plug. No biggie… My younger self is crying: “Where was this when I lived in my shoebox apartment!!!” #CES2019 #lifeofacameraguy pic.twitter.com/Nav8XfPpMV— Nick Blakeney (@CameraGuyNick) January 7, 2019Although some of the products have been sold in test runs, pricing hasn’t been set yet. But expect to pay a lot more than the ordinary stuff currently on drugstore shelves.center_img ___Follow @Gadget_Guy and @CameraGuyNick from Breakfast Television on CityTv for more on CES.AP reporters Matt O’Brien and Joseph Pisani contributed to this report.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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New wind farm officially opens northwest of Tumbler Ridge

first_imgAccording to Boralex, this is a 15 Megawatt wind farm which includes the installation of four turbines.During construction, there were some 50 specialized workers on site each day.The wind farm is covered by a 40‑year power purchase agreement with B.C. Hydro.The power production of this wind farm is estimated at more than 58,000 MWh, which will enable it to meet the power needs of nearly 5,370 households and prevent 750 tonnes of CO2 emissions. TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – A new wind farm has officially opened on Wednesday near Tumbler Ridge.The Moose Lake Wind Farm, commissioned by Boralex Inc., is located on Crown land approximately 24 kilometres northwest of Tumbler Ridge.This project was developed in partnership with Aeolis Wind Power Corporation, West Moberly First Nations, Saulteau First Nations and the McLeod Lake Indian Band.last_img read more

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Not many people know that Im brother of Ayushmann Aparshakti Khurana

first_imgNew Delhi: Actor Aparshakti Khurana believes the many film-goers are still oblivious to one key fact of his life: that he is the brother of Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurrana. The 31-year-old actor, who started his career as a radio jockey and later became an anchor on Indian television, made a successful switch to films with 2016 blockbuster “Dangal”, featuring Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Zaira Wasim and Sanya Malhotra. He followed up with films like “Badrinath Ki Dulhania”, “Stree” and most recently “Luka Chuppi”. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot Unlike his big brother Ayushmann, who made a debut as a lead hero with “Vicky Donor” in 2012, Aparshakti has mostly played supporting parts in the films, but he is fine with it. “Whenever I meet people, they call me Bittu of ‘Stree’ or Omkar of ‘Dangal’. And I believe not many people know that I’m the brother of Ayushmann. When they do get to know that we are brothers, then sometimes they are shocked and sometimes they say ‘Yeah, you sound so similar’ or ‘you look similar’. Also Read – ‘Vaastav’ gave me the real sense of being an actor: Sanjay Dutt on film’s 20-year anniversary “I think it happens also because we both share different space. His space is completely different than mine. I have had a different journey than he had,” the actor told PTI. Aparshakti says that his career trajectory is also not similar to other Bollywood star kids or brothers, who have almost always been launched as a lead. “My journey is different from other star brothers, kids or sisters. I think that is one of the main reasons that people don’t question me on this. So far, the media and the audiences have not really roped me into the ambit of nepotism. “No one has really come up and said that I have been launched by someone. I’m still playing the friend of a film’s hero. No star kid has ever done this role but I have done it in five films.” The actor says he does not believe in planning anything and he just goes with his gut when it comes to making decisions. “There was a time in my school and college days when I really used to plan and they never shaped up, both at the personal and professional front. And I think whenever you plan things and they don’t happen, then you feel heartbroken. I have stopped planning things. I have stopped planning life, be it personal or professional,” he says. “I don’t really sit down and think like ‘I’ll do these things now.’ I just do things the way I want to do and the way they come to me,” he adds. After “Luka Chuppi”, the actor will be next seen in “Jabariya Jodi”, “Street Dancer” and “Kanpuriye”.last_img read more

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Social media push for antidengue drives

first_imgKolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will embrace social media in a big way to boost its dengue drive this year. People of the city particularly the young generation are very active on social media so planned use of the social media platform is expected to widen the civic body’s reach in creating awareness. The step will help to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.”We will start our campaigns on Facebook and Whats app and for this we have already started discussions with experts associated directly with these social platforms. We are in the process of preparing a strategy for our campaign,” said Deputy Mayor Atin Ghosh, who is also in-charge of Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s Health department. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersThe Health department of KMC has already been undertaking drives to prevent mosquito-borne diseases in the city with special emphasis on visiting households which had witnessed dengue cases last year. The civic body is armed with a map of those addresses across the city. The team from the KMC visited Chatubabu Lane and Ananda Palit Road area under ward 55 which are dominated by slums. We have come across a number of vacant plots which are privately owned or belong to the Kolkata Improvement Trust (KIT) or WAKF land which needs to be cleaned up. We have identified the owners and will soon slap notices to them under Section 496 A of the KMC Act. We will be cleaning up the places but the owners have to pay charges against it,” Ghosh said. The KMC team spoke to patients who had dengue last year and advised them on how to keep their premises clean. The team of KMC’s Health department was accompanied by the ward councillor, borough chairman and officials from the Solid Waste Management department of the KMC.last_img read more

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Senate rejects Prez Trump border emergency as Republicans defect

first_imgWashington: In a stunning rebuke to Donald Trump, a dozen Republican senators broke party ranks and sided with Democrats to terminate the US President’s declaration of a national emergency on America’s border with Mexico. In a 59-41 vote, 12 Republicans joined every Senate Democrat on Thursday in a rare move to block the president’s effort to divert billions in funding to build his long-promised border wall without congressional approval. The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last month backed the measure. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangThe Republicans joined Democrats in voting down the emergency, arguing that the president had exceeded his powers in trying to build a border wall over Congress’ objections, the New York Times reported. Following the vote, President Trump tweeted, “VETO!” Trump slammed the vote, calling it a “Democrat-inspired Resolution”. “I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country,” he said in a tweet. “I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!” Trump said. Also Read – Want to bring back US forces engaged in endless wars: TrumpCongress needs a two-thirds majority of both chambers to override a presidential veto, which is viewed as unlikely in this case. “Never before has a president asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the president then has used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee. Trump had sought to frame the vote publicly as not only a declaration of support for his border security policies but as a sign of personal loyalty, the report said. “It’s pure and simple: It’s a vote for border security; it’s a vote for no crime,” Trump told reporters before the vote, which he declared on Thursday morning on Twitter to be “a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!”. But he could not overcome concerns among Republican senators about the legality of redirecting USD 3.6 billion from military construction projects toward the border wall, even after Congress explicitly rejected the funding request. “I believe the use of emergency powers in this circumstance violates the Constitution,” said Senator Jerry Moran, Republican from Kansas, in a statement. “This continues our country down the path of all powerful executive something those who wrote the Constitution were fearful of,” Moran was quoted as saying. The Republican senators who stood by Trump insisted that there was an immigration crisis at the southern border and that the order was well within the jurisdiction of the National Emergencies Act, which gives presidents wide-ranging latitude to declare a national emergency.last_img read more

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Akhara seeks neutral place for mediation procedure

first_imgNew Delhi: Nirmohi Akhara, one of the original litigants in the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, has requested the Supreme Court to consider moving the mediation panel proceedings from Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh to New Delhi or some other “neutral place” due to the sensitive nature of the issue.It has also said that an amicable resolution would be possible only through “direct dialogue” between the UP Sunni Wakf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara. Besides, it has further requested that two more retired judges of the apex court be appointed to the mediation panel which is exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement of the land dispute. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had on March 8 referred the land dispute case for mediation by a panel headed by former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla for exploring possibility of an amicable settlement. The bench had said that spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a renowned mediator, will be the other two members of the panel of mediators and the proceedings will be held at Faizabad. In its application dated March 25, 2019, Nirmohi Akhara has said that the original parties claiming title — The Panch Ramanandi Nirmohi Akhara Ayodhya and The UP Sunni Central Waqf Board — can be encouraged to have a dialogue under the aegis of the panel of mediators without requiring them to give proposals in writing. Further, the application said: “Due to the sensitive nature of the issue, and other local pressures, this court may consider moving out the mediation proceedings from Faizabad to New Delhi or some other neutral place where adequate and genuine security could be provided to the concerned parties and their representatives to enable them to participate in the proceedings without any threat, persuasion or hindrance.” It said Nirmohi Akhara had participated in proceedings before the mediation panel on March 13 but “the proceedings left a lot to be desired”.last_img read more

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India planning to attack Pakistan again this month Qureshi

first_imgIslamabad: Pakistan has “reliable intelligence” that India is planning to attack again between April 16 and 20, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Sunday, amid tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack. Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district in February. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USAmid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1. Addressing a press conference in his home town of Multan, Qureshi said the government had “reliable intelligence that India is devising a new plan”. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “A new mishap could be staged…And its purpose will be to justify their [India’s] offensive against Pakistan and to increase diplomatic pressure against Islamabad,” he alleged. “If it happens, you can imagine the impact of the occurrence on the peace and stability of the region. According to our information, the action could be taken between 16-20 April,” Qureshi said, adding that preparations were being made for the attack against Pakistan. The foreign minister said Pakistan had already briefed the United Nations Security Council’s permanent members over the issue and stated Islamabad’s apprehensions. “We want the international community to take notice of this irresponsible behaviour and reprimand them [India] for taking this route,” he said. He said the Indian action would have impact on peace and stability of the region. The foreign minister also criticised the global community for keeping silent when India violated Pakistan’s territory on February 26. However, Qureshi’s remarks were not taken seriously by the Opposition. The Pakistan People Party (PPP) accused the government of using war threat by India to hide its failures. “The government has failed to deliver and now using the threat of war by India to distract public attention from issues faced by the people,” PPP leader Nafeesa Shah said.last_img read more

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13 killed in Nashik road accident

first_imgMumbai: Thirteen people, including five women and two children, were Monday killed and three injured when a truck overturned on their tempo on the Mumbai-Nagpur Highway in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district, police said.The accident took place in Malkapur at around 2:15, an official said, adding that the deceased were brick-kiln workers who were returning to Anurabad village after buying groceries. “The truck driver lost control after a tyre burst, following which the vehicle veered and fell on top of the tempo, crushing it. Thirteen passengers of the tempo died instantly and three suffered grievous injuries. An accidental death case has been registered and probe is underway,” Superintendent of Police Dilip Patil Bhujbal said. The truck, which had left Kutch in Gujarat on May 18, was ferrying 400 bags of salt to Nagpur, the official said. Among the dead, five are from Anurabad, six from Nagzari and two from Bhusawal, he added. A team has been formed to nab the driver who absconded from the spot, the SP said.last_img read more

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Great Medal of Francophonie awarded to Fouad Laroui

Paris – Moroccan novelist and essayist, Fouad Laroui was awarded the Great Medal of the Francophonie, an annual award established by the French Academy in 1986, according to the recipient.In a statement to MAP, Mr. Laroui said he was very “touched” by the award which “honors all Moroccans.”“It highlights the linguistic and artistic diversity of a country that is open to all cultures and all trends. We must protect this diversity and be proud of it,” he said. The Great Medal of the Francophonie rewards the work of French-speaking persons who contribute to the promotion of the French language in their countries or at the international level.Fouad Laroui received Goncourt prize in 2013 for his novel “The Strange Case of the pants of Dassoukine” read more

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Royal Air Maroc to Launch Direct Flights to China Next June

Fez- An initiative by Royal Air Maroc (RAM) will open flights from Casablanca to China as a way to strengthen ties between the two peoples and promote tourism in Morocco.Flights that link between Morocco and China are currently available via Gulf airlines, but the passengers have to change planes in the Gulf.The RAM flights from Casablanca to China will begin operating next June. The Moroccan company, which has ordered four Boeing 787 Dreamliners to be ready for the new flights, will opeate three flights per week to China.Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism aims to attract 100,000 Chinese tourists by 2020, according to Minister Lahcen Haddad.Morocco is targeting the Chinese market to benefit from its rapidly growing Gross domestic product and the Chinese consumer’s high purchasing capacity, which motivates them to frequently travel internationally, according to the Ministry.The direct flight is expected to make trip easier by decreasing the length of flights and allowing travellers to avoid the trouble of changing planes.Edited by Timothy Filla© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed. read more

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La Mamounia of Marrakech Ranks the Worlds Best Hotel

Rabat – La Mamounia of Marrakech was ranked the world’s best hotel in the UK travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller’s annual reader poll.The Readers’ Travel Awards 2015 questionnaire was posted at www.cntraveller.com from 5 March to 4 May. Readers were asked to choose and rate the best that the travel world has to offer. The readers chose La Mamounia of Marrakech from 100 hotels all over the world, scoring 93.76.In the poll, Italy was chosen by readers as their favorite country to visit, while choosing Paris as their preferred overseas city. Since its founding in 1923, La Mamounia, which is very close to the famous Jamaa El Fna Square, has collected a number of international recognition and awards.It was named the world’s best hotel spa by the same magazine in 2011, hotel of the year in 2010 by Tatler Travel Guide, and Best Resort in 2010 by Travel and Leisure.Displaying Moroccan style, complete with intricate patterns and arabesques based on Berber and Arab-Andalusian architecture, La Mamounia hotel is set in royal gardens, styled with Moorish opulence, with 209 rooms (including 71 suites), gardens, a spa with hammams (Moroccan traditional bath), and three Riads. read more

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92 of World Population Lives with Dangerous Pollution WHO

Geneva – A new WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits.“The new WHO model shows countries where the air pollution danger spots are, and provides a baseline for monitoring progress in combatting it,” says Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General at WHO. It also represents the most detailed outdoor (or ambient) air pollution-related health data, by country, ever reported by WHO.The model is based on data derived from satellite measurements, air transport models and ground station monitors for more than 3000 locations, both rural and urban. It was developed by WHO in collaboration with the University of Bath, United Kingdom.Some 3 million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution. Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly. In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6% of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together.Nearly 90% of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with nearly 2 out of 3 occurring in WHO’s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.Ninety-four per cent are due to non-communicable diseases – notably cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Air pollution also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.“Air pollution continues take a toll on the health of the most vulnerable populations – women, children and the older adults,” adds Dr Bustreo. “For people to be healthy, they must breathe clean air from their first breath to their last.” Major sources of air pollution include inefficient modes of transport, household fuel and waste burning, coal-fired power plants, and industrial activities. However, not all air pollution originates from human activity.“This new model is a big step forward towards even more confident estimates of the huge global burden of more than 6 million deaths – 1 in 9 of total global deaths – from exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. “More and more cities are monitoring air pollution now, satellite data is more comprehensive, and we are getting better at refining the related health estimates.”In September 2015, world leaders set a target within the Sustainable Development Goals of substantially reducing the number of deaths and illnesses from air pollution by 2030. In May 2016, WHO approved a new “road map” for accelerated action on air pollution and its causes.The roadmap calls upon the health sector to increase monitoring of air pollution locally, assess the health impacts, and to assume a greater leadership role in national policies that affect air pollution.WHO air quality model confirms that 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed “WHO’s Ambient Air quality guidelines” for annual mean of particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5). read more

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Moroccan Sovereign Fund and Qatari Bank to Launch MegaTourism Project

Rabat – Moroccan sovereign fund Ithmar Capital and Qatari investment bank QInvest are due to launch three joint mega-tourism projects, according to Moroccan news outlet le360.The news site reports that the two groups have founded a new company, Oryx Capital, with an initial budget of MAD 50 million, in order to carry out the necessary studies and audits to decide if the projects are feasible.News about a joint Moroccan-Qatari investment to promote tourism in the kingdom has been circulating for over a year. In May 2016, Ithmar, formerly the Moroccan Fund for Tourism Development (FMDT), received the approval of Moroccan public authorities to launch such a venture.While it was known that the foreign investor in the project would be a Qatari institution, the exact company was not revealed until le360’s investigation.The media outlet deduced that QInvest is the mysterious company by the fact that Oryx’s managing board includes the Qatari bank’s chief executive officer. The three planned projects, expected to be followed by others, will seek to promote mountain and beach tourism.The first project aims at building a resort with sports and entertainment services around a medina in the mountainous region of Oukaimeden in the Middle Atlas.The second project is an amusement park in the region of Marrakech, while the third project, nicknamed Al Chatii Al Abdyad (The White Beach), will be a sea resort with leisure services catering to both local and foreign visitors.Qatar is seeking to increase its investments in Morocco. In May a joint meeting between Moroccan and Qatari investors in Doha concluded that the kingdom is a “promising investment market.”Mohamed bin Tawar Al Kuwari, vice chairman of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI), said at the time that Morocco offers attractive opportunities for Qatari investors due to its tourism market potential as well as economic privileges granted to foreign investors. read more

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Industrials sector helps boost Toronto stock market US stocks mixed

The Canadian Press Index and currency in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index was higher in late-morning trading, helped by the industrials sector, while trading on U.S. stock markets was mixed.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 22.49 points at 15,230.82.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 65.24 points at 24,510.38. The S&P 500 index was down 2.63 points at 2,636.07, while the Nasdaq composite was up 7.77 points at 7,033.54.The Canadian dollar traded for 74.96 cents US compared with an average of 74.92 cents US on Wednesday.The March crude contract was up 23 cents at US$52.85 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 6.7 cents at US$2.99 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was down US$2.50 at US$1,281.50 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 0.55 of a cent at US$2.65 a pound. read more

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Moroccos Royal Navy Rescue 53 SubSaharan Migrants off Nador

Rabat – About 53 sub-Saharan undocumented migrants were aboard, including eight women.The members of the royal navy found 15 dead bodies aboard the boat, which had been drifting for four days after an engine failure.According to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the members of the royal navy brought the migrants back to the port of Nador. In recent years, Morocco has been under constant pressure due to the flow of undocumented migrants who consider Morocco a transit country to reach Europe.The North African country has launched several operations to combat human trafficking networks.Read Also: Spanish Navy Rescues 9 Moroccan Irregular Migrants off the MediterraneanOn October 30, the National Brigade of Judicial Police (BNPJ) arrested 26 suspected members of a criminal network in Oujda and Berkane in northeast Morocco. The recent arrest dates back to November 23 in Tangier when members of Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) dismantled a criminal network involved in irregular migration.In August, Morocco’s government spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said that Moroccan authorities had foiled  65,000 undocumented migration attempts in 2017.El Khalfi said that the number of undocumented migration attempts has increased in recent years, especially since 2016. read more

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Islamic Affairs Minister Represents Morocco at Conference of Traditional Religions

Rabat – The Islamic affairs minister has arrived in Astana, Kazakhstan, to represent King Mohammed VI at the Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions.The two-day event opened on October 10.The Moroccan minister’s participation followed an invitation from Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev to King Mohammed VI. During the event, the Moroccan minister spoke about the role of religious dialogue in promoting peace from a Moroccan perspective. He based his remarks on Morocco’s experience and its moderate Islamic model based on the Maliki doctrine. Maliki is one of the four major doctrines of Islamic jurisprudence within Sunni Islam. Morocco has taken several steps to fight radicalism by ensuring that the practice of Islam remains unified, moderate, and stable.As part of the strategy, the King instructed the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to open centers to train imams and teach the moderate strain of Moroccan Islam.In a recent message of King Mohammed VI read by Head Of Government Saad El Othmani on the sidelines of the 73rd UN General Assembly, the King also emphasized the importance of education to promote coexistence between religions.Astana’s conference is taking place under the theme “Global Leaders for a Secure World.”The conference will discuss several themes, including “World Peace in the 21st Century as a Concept of Global Security,” and “New Opportunities for the Enhancement of Humanity.”Astana Times reported on October 4 that the conference has played “an important role in the rapprochement of cultures and civilisations, in searching for answers to the key challenges of our time” for 15 years.The news outlet reported that the idea for the event was “put forward in 2003 against the backdrop of emerging crisis of the world order after the cold war, unprecedented 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States and military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.” read more

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Algerias interim president Dismisses StateOwned Sonatrachs CEO

Rabat – Algeria’s interim president Abdelkader Bensalah has sacked the CEO of state-owned petroleum company Sonatrach, Abdelmoumene Ould Kadour, Algerian state television reported on Tuesday.The interim president nominated Sonatrach’s head of production and exploration, Rachid Hachichi, as the new CEO of the company.The Algerian interim leader did not state his government’s reasons for sacking Kaddour. But it is possible that the decision was due to Kadour’s close relationship with former Algerian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika who appointed him as the head of Sonatrach in March 2017. Read also: Algeria Risks Economic Crisis Amid Political TurmoilAfter the mass Algerian protests against his re-election for a fifth term, Bouteflika resigned on April 3. But Algerians have also been complaining about the widespread corruption in the country, demanding that all the corrupt officials of the former regime be held accountable.Kaddour’s departure follows the dismissal on April 5 of the Algerian intelligence chief Athmane Tartag.The move is seen as a way to appease Algerians. By appearing to move away from the Bouteflika establishment, the new interim leadership wants to make a statement about its stated commitment to engineering a successful democratic transition. read more

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Unveiling the Truth Behind Tariq Ramadans Rape Allegations

Rabat – The controversy surrounding the case of Tariq Ramadan has reached new heights, as the rape allegations against the Reformist scholar have been called into question following an investigation by the Parisian Criminal Brigade (BC).Revealing inconsistencies in his accusers’ stories, the investigation has further complicated the already-divisive legal case by casting into doubt the truth behind the allegations against Ramadan.Ramadan was arrested by French authorities in February of 2018 following a series of rape accusations against him by three separate women. He was released several months later in November after paying 300,000 euros ($340,000) in bail and surrendering his passport to French authorities. Though the charges against Ramadan still persist, the academic continues to deny the allegations against him, condemning the accusations as “campaign of lies launched by [his] adversaries.”Ramadan has also filed lawsuits against his accusers, alleging that their claims amount to slander and defamation.Meanwhile, as Ramadan’s trial remains ongoing, inconsistent testimonies on both sides continue to make the case extremely controversial, both in Europe and around the Muslim world.A Life of ControversyBorn in Geneva, Switzerland on August 26, 1962 to an Egyptian Muslim family, Ramadan’s childhood did not lack exposure to Islam and Islamic theory. The grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al Banna, Ramadan’s upbringing was influenced by the traditionalist views of Sunni Islam espoused by his family.After receiving a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies from the University of Geneva, Ramadan was appointed to a professorship at the University of Notre Dame in the United States in 2004 before his visa was rescinded by the administration of George W. Bush. Under the guise of the “ideological exclusion provision” of the USA PATRIOT Act, Ramadan’s visa to work at Notre Dame was revoked, thus prompting the scholar to resign from his position.Following a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, the US government was ordered to reassess and issue a decision on Ramadan’s visa application within 90 days. However, the government ultimately denied the application, accusing Ramadan of “providing material support to a terrorist organization.”Ramadan was again accused of sympathizing with terrorist organizations in 2007, when he successfully applied for a professorship at the University of Leiden, leading Dutch academics and politicians to condemn the scholar as a “radical Islamist” and a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”The Swiss national also taught as a guest professor of Identity and Citizenship at Erasmus University in Rotterdam until August of 2009, when he was removed from his position due to controversy around a program he hosted on Iran’s Press TV.In September of 2009, Ramadan began working at the University of Oxford as the chair of Contemporary Islamic Studies; however, he has since taken a leave of absence due to his ongoing trial.Throughout his controversial career, Ramadan has maintained a strong presence in the European Muslim intellectual community, though he maintains a number of controversial and reactionary views, primarily attributed to his self-proclaimed position as a “reformist.”However, the worst controversy surrounding Ramadan has been due to recent allegations of rape and sexual violence made against him by several women in France and Switzerland.Rape allegations and ongoing trialIn 2016, the former Salafist and feminist activist Henda Ayari published her autobiography J’ai choisi d’être libre (I Chose to be Free), in which she described an alleged incident of sexual assault years before; however, in the book she did not name a perpetrator.A year later, in October of 2017, Ayari revealed on Facebook that her alleged attacker was Tariq Ramadan. In response, Ramadan denied the accusations and threatened to pursue a lawsuit against Ayari.Days later, a disabled French woman — referred to as “Christelle” — claimed that Ramadan assaulted and raped her in a hotel room in 2009. Not long after, four Swiss women accused Ramadan of molesting and sexually assaulting them when they were children, with one victim claiming that Ramadan made sexual advances on her when she was only 14 years old.Ramadan was eventually detained by French authorities in February of 2018 and was shortly after charged with two counts of rape. A third rape accusation emerged in March of 2018, when a third woman claimed that Ramadan raped her on numerous occassions in France, Belgium, and the UK. Shortly after, a fourth allegation against Ramadan surfaced when an American accused Ramadan of assaulting her in Washington D.C. in August of 2013.Ramadan subsequently admitted to having a sexual relationship with the third woman after the woman presented investigators with a dress stained with Ramadan’s semen. However, Ramadan has insisted that the relationship was entirely consensual.Ramadan has also admitted to extramarital affairs with four additional women, including Ayari and “Christelle.” As with the previously mentioned case, Ramadan has claimed that all of these affairs were entirely consensual.Meanwhile, as investigators attempt to unravel the truth behind the numerous accusations, contradicting stories and lies from all parties have severely complicated matters and made it difficult to determine Ramadan’s guilt or innocence.A web of liesInitially following the accusations against him, Ramadan maintained that he had never had any sexual contact with his accusers, but after text messages between him and his accusers came to light, Ramadan was forced to admit that he did indeed have a sexual relationship with the two women.“Yes, I happened to have had extramarital affairs,” Ramadan said. “I had ups and downs, times where I was totally consistent with my principles and others where I was more fragile.”Common to the accusations against Ramadan are claims that his behavior was exceedingly violent, a claim which has been corroborated by outside sources after allegations came to light.Shortly following the first allegation, Bernard Godard, an advisor to the French government on Islamic Affairs, admitted that he was aware of Ramadan’s “violent and aggressive” sexuality.“That he had many mistresses, that he consulted sites, that girls were brought to the hotel at the end of his lectures, that he invited them to undress, that some resisted and that he could become violent and aggressive, yes, but I have never heard of rapes, I am stunned,” he told French magazine L’Obs.Records of text messages between Ramadan and “Christelle” also reveal that the scholar apologized to the woman for his “violence.”Ramadan’s initial alibi that he was on a plane at the time when his second accuser claimed the incident took place was dismantled shortly after his arrest.Early on during Ramadan’s trial, the scholar’s lawyers produced an airline ticket which showed that Ramadan allegedly landed in the French city of Lyon at 6:35p.m., undermining “Christelle’s” claim that he had raped her “in the afternoon.”However, Yassine Djemal, a member of the Union of Young Muslims, which organized the conference that Ramadan was in Lyon to attend, claimed that Ramadan’s flight had landed much earlier.“Mr Ramadan was scheduled to arrive in Lyon on October 9, 2009 at 11:15am. A colleague and I picked him up at the airport at around 11:35,” Djemal told AFP.Djemal continued, telling investigators that he also drove Ramadan to the Hilton hotel, which is where “Christelle” reported that the incident took place.Meanwhile, the account of his first accuser, Henda Ayari, has also changed numerous times throughout the course of the investigation. After changing both the date and location of the incident months after initially coming forward, Ayari’s testimony has been heavily scrutinized by both French authorities and Ramadan’s supporters.Additionally, a few months after Ayari changed her account of the incident, photographs surfaced which revealed that she was attending her younger brother’s wedding on the date when the incident allegedly took place.More recently, an investigation by the Paris Criminal Brigade (BC) has cast further doubt on Ramadan’s accusers, with the BC’s conclusions claiming that the allegations are far from reliable.The BC has emphasized a series of implausibilities and lies in the testimonies of both accusers. The BC has also highlighted a series of messages which indicated that any sexual relations which did take place were likely consensual.In one message to Ramadan, Ayari is reported to have written: “You know that I Loved it … I hope you have kept a good memory of me like me from you, even if it was short.”As a result, the BC has argued that the consent expressed in the message undermines the rest of Ayari’s allegations. In addition to these messages, Ayari reportedly sent sexually explicit messages to Ramadan for months after the alleged incident took place.Furthermore, transcripts of wiretaps on Ayari have revealed a conversation in which the accuser reportedly said that if her cell phone was stolen by Ramadan supporters, it would be “extremely compromising for her and for the record.”In a similar fashion, messages from “Christelle” have also surfaced which call into question the truth behind her testimonies, with one SMS reading: “If I did not like I would have left.”Though the message was sent two months before the alleged incident took place, the BC has argued that the message seems to have been sent “after the fact,” and that, as a result, it weakens the reliability of the complainant’s accusation.In 2015, Ramadan reportedly paid 27,000 euros ($33,000) to a Moroccan-Belgian woman, Majda Bernoussi, in order to keep her silent about their alleged five-year affair, which the woman described as “destructive,” condemning Ramadan as a “manipulator.”“Tariq Ramadan is an extremely unhealthy predator and manipulator,” Bernoussi said, “In real life, he is a real barbarian, both intellectually and physically.”For Bernoussi, Ramadan is a “pervert man who uses religion to manipulate and abuse women,” arguing that, when he is not in front of a camera, the Reformist scholar is far from pious.“His ethics, his morals, his faith, he reserves them to the camera. Out of the public eye, he is just the opposite… He believes in nothing and even less in God. He talks about God only when it comes to manipulating us, apart from that, it’s never mentioned and he does exactly what he wants,” she said.Meanwhile, after numerous allegations and lies on both sides, the truth is still far from reach and French authorities are struggling to differentiate between fact and fiction in the case.Though Ramadan has now been released as the investigation continues, many have criticized the French government’s mistreatment of the case, especially in relation to Ramadan’s treatment while being held in prison.Ramadan’s “unconscionable” treatment in prisonDuring Ramadan’s imprisonment, there was widespread outcry over his treatment in the French Fleury-Mérogis prison, where he had been held in solitary confinement for several months.Central to the controversy of his imprisonment was whether or not Ramadan had received adequate medical treatment while detained.Since 2006, Ramadan has suffered from multiple sclerosis, with Ramadan’s lawyer claiming that he had not received adequate medical treatment for his affliction during his time in prison.Ramadan’s sympathizers have also argued that his treatment has not been treated as he would have been were he not an Arab, Muslim scholar, claiming that he has suffered from discrimination due to his heritage and religion. read more

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