TMC files complaint against BJP for using Khali in poll campaign

first_imgKolkata: Trinamool Congress has written to the Election Commission of India (ECI), protesting against BJP for engaging wrestler the Great Khali during an election campaign in favour of Anupam Hazra, who is contesting from the Jadavpur Lok Sabha seat on the saffron party’s ticket.A complaint lodged with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) raised questions on how a foreign national can take part election campaign for Hazra. The complaint also alleged that BJP is trying to influence the electors by using Khali, who is a national of the United States of America. The wrestler campaigned for Hazra on April 26. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”He (Khali) holds a US citizenship. Therefore, a foreigner shouldn’t be allowed to influence the minds of Indian electors,” reads the complaint. The complaint also says; “Dalip Singh Rana, who is known by the name the Great Khali, was seen campaigning for Anupam Hazra, the BJP candidate from Jadavpur. He was seen campaigning from an open top jeep on the streets of Jadavpur. Rana is not an Indian citizen and holds citizenship under the United States of America. BJP is using Rana’s celebrity status to misguide Indian voters.” Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayIt is also mentioned in the complaint that Khali gave an interview saying that he would be present for Hazra whenever he would be called in. “I have specially come from America to support my younger brother. He is filing his nomination papers. I want to request everyone to cast their votes for him. Do not waste your votes. Anupam is a learned man and he knows your troubles and will be able to serve you better than anyone else,” Khali was quoted in the complaint. During his campaign, Hazra said that Khali is a popular global youth icon and many of his supporters had requested him to do something exceptional. Hence, he thought it was a unique platform to bring in the popular wrestler. The letter alleged that BJP is desperate to win the elections by any means possible. In this case, utilising the help of a non-citizen who has no information about the intricacies of Indian politics or what may be the best option for the Indian electors. Trinamool urged the Election Commission to take action against the BJP candidate in this regard. Additional CEO Sanjay Basu said that they have received the complaint and an inquiry is being conducted into the incident. “We will comment on the issue after we receive a report in this regard,” he added.last_img read more

Cong has lies in its DNA Adityanath

first_imgLakhimpur Kheri (UP): Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Tuesday charged that the Congress has “lies” in its DNA and asked how it will give “Nyay” when it has always done injustice. He also said there is no “dalali” in the BJP government and if funds are given under any scheme, they go straight to beneficiaries. Speaking at an election meeting, Adityanath said, “Congress has lies in its DNA. They say they will give NYAY (justice) …we ask you have always done injustice with the people here. How will you give NYAY now”. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework Adityanath was referring to the “Ab hoga nyay” election tagline of the Congress. The chief minister said if five years of the BJP government are compared with 55 years of the Congress and if two years of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh with 17 years of SP-BSP governments then the BJP will prove to be much better. He also said that during Congress governments, Pakistani terrorists used to behead jawans but now when soldiers are martyred, it is avenged by going inside Pakistan.last_img read more

Vistara to hire 100 pilots 400 cabin crew from Jet

first_imgMumbai: In one of its largest hiring exercise since it began operations over three years back, the premium carrier Vistara is hiring around 500–100 pilots and 400 cabin crew–mostly from the grounded Jet Airways, say industry and airline sources. The grounding of Jet has come as an opportunity for the market to hire readily-available skilled workforce from the licenced categories–pilots, engineers and cabin crew–and deploy them directly into specifics roles, thereby saving time and money on training them, they said. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraAfter unsuccessfully looking for an investor or fresh bank loans for months, Jet Airways had finally on April 17 stopped operations, leaving over 22,000 employees in the lurch. Of these around 1,300 are pilots and over 2,000 are cabin crew. Tuesday was the last day of the two-day recruitment drive for the cabin crew at the Tatas-Singapore Airline-run Vistara, which took place simultaneously in Mumbai and Gurugram, they said. “Vistara, which is likely to begin international operations soon, is in the process of inducting 100 pilots besides 400 cabin crew. Most of the new workforce is expected to come from the grounded carrier Jet,” said a source. A Vistara spokesperson was not available to comment.last_img read more

SC to hear review pleas contempt petition against Rahul on May 10

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said it was “little perplexed” over separate listing, contrary to its order, of the pleas seeking review of its verdict in Rafale case and the contempt plea against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for wrongly attributing to the apex court his “chokidar chor hai” remark against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.A special bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it had made it clear earlier that both the matters would be heard together but despite that, the contempt petition was not listed for hearing along with the review pleas on Monday. The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, was told that the contempt petition against Gandhi was listed for hearing on May 10. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh”We are little perplexed that the two cases are listed on two different dates when the order was that these matters will be heard together,” the bench observed. “This is the problem. There was order for listing both the matters together. We had dictated the order in an open court but it says one case on May 6 and other on May 10. How can this be done?,” it said. After a brief hearing, the bench ordered that the review pleas and contempt petition against Gandhi be listed together for hearing on May 10. “The present matters and contempt petition (criminal)… be listed together on May 10 at 2.00 PM,” the bench said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad”We make it clear that the hearing scheduled for May 10 would be taken up and parties shall make an endeavour to complete the same on the said date. Rejoinder to the replies of Union of India may be filed, in the meantime,” the bench said in its order. At the outset, advocate Prashant Bhushan, who is one of the petitioners in the case along with former Union ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, told the bench that there were three pleas before the court. Bhushan said besides the review plea, there were two other applications — one seeking perjury action against unknown government servants for allegedly misleading the court during the Rafale case hearing earlier and the other for production of certain documents. Bhushan said he would argue on the review plea and application for production of certain documents and the court should allow Shourie to argue on the perjury application. “Where is the connected matter of contempt?,” the bench asked. Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for one of the petitioner lawyers, Vineet Dhandha, referred to the apex court’s April 30 order and said the contempt petition was listed for hearing on May 10. “We had said that both the matters will be listed together,” the bench said. When Bhushan said the court should hear his arguments on the review plea for an hour, the CJI said, “My brother (Justice Kaul) has to take up miscellaneous matters in his court”. After the court dictated the order, Bhushan said that the Centre has not filed reply on the perjury application. Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said no notice was issued to the government on the perjury application. To this, the bench told Venugopal, “Did we issue any notice to the application for production of documents? But, you have filed your reply to this application”. Bhushan also told the court that he would file rejoinder to the Centre’s affidavit which was filed last week. Gandhi had made the contemptuous remark, “chowkidar chor hai”, against Modi, which the apex court had said was wrongly attributed to it. The top court had on April 30 given another opportunity to Gandhi for filing one more affidavit for his remark.last_img read more

Sensex drops 250 pts Nifty below 11450

first_imgMumbai: The benchmark BSE Sensex extended its losing streak by falling over 250 points in early trade Wednesday, led by losses global markets amid rising US-China tension. The 30-share index was trading 205.12 points, or 0.54 per cent, lower at 38,071.51. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty was down 63.65 points, or 0.55 per cent, at 11,434.25. Top losers in early session were RIL, ONGC, Vedanta, NTPC, Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finance, HDFC twins, HUL and SBI, shedding up to 1.57 per cent. On the other hand, Bharti Airtel, PowerGrid, IndusInd Bank, ICICI Bank, Tata Steel, Yes Bank and Sun Pharma were the top gainers, rising up to 0.82 per cent. In the previous session on Monday, the BSE bourse ended 323.71 points, or 0.84 per cent, lower at 38,276.63. The NSE Nifty too dropped 100.35 points to settle below the 11,500 level at 11,497.90.last_img read more

SC collegium recommends Justice V Ramasubramanian as CJ of Himachal HC

first_imgChennai: Justice V Ramasubramanian, the senior-most judge of the Madras High Court, has been elevated as the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court, according to a resolution passed by the Supreme Court collegium. The collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, passed the resolution on May 10. In its resolution, the Supreme Court collegium said, “The office of the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court would be falling vacant, very shortly consequent upon elevation of Justice Surya Kant, Chief Justice of that High Court, to the Supreme Court, in terms of a recommendation made by the collegium on May 8.” Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework Therefore, appointment to that office is required to be made, the SC said. Justice V Ramasubramanian, the senior-most Judge from Madras High Court, is functioning on transfer in Telangana High Court. Having regard to all relevant factors, the collegium is of the considered view that Justice V Ramasubramanian is suitable in all respects for being appointed as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, it said. While making the above recommendation, the collegium has also taken into consideration the fact that at present there is only one Chief Justice from the Madras High Court.last_img read more

Should we Reject Democracy to Be Able to Drink Whiskey

first_imgRabat- With a matchless spontaneity and an even more commendable honesty, the Algerian singer Khaled said that he supports the candidacy of Abdelaziz Bouteflika for a fourth term, despite all the demonstrations and protests that the country is facing.“At least, with Bouteflika, you can now go out with friends and go in palaces in Algeria,” Khaled said. “You can order a glass of whiskey and drink it. I must say it in the clearest and the most sincerely way of the world.” Khaled doesn’t support the sick candidate for a fourth term because he has a convincing political, economic and social program… No. He supports him because thanks to Bouteflika, he can drink alcohol in public places. This makes Bouteflika a popular candidate because he defends a particular lifestyle based on individual freedom and an open society. The people in Algeria fear these freedoms will evaporate if the president is not reelected.What Khaled said, spontaneously and frankly, is an opinion shared by the Maghreb and Arab elites who avoid declaring this support openly themselves. These people are afraid to see the fundamentalists coming: the great opponents of whiskey in front of (and on behalf of) the Lord– the great enemies of a liberal life.These elites are fighting against any democratic changes in our societies. They fear to see the bearded take positions of power with the hopes to remove certain benefits and freedoms. They hide behind slogans, ideas and attitudes that don’t accurately reflect their fears for their personal freedom, provided by despotic regimes led by secular elites (socialist, liberal or nationalist). So, the secular in our country are struggling against democracy because it could bring in the Islamists. But the latter, unfortunately, represent the majority in these conservative societies.Groups aim to be dictatorial because their despotism is political. The Islamists despotism affects the societal norm, impacting daily routines and personal choices. As between two evils, namely two dictatorships, you need to choose the lesser. Then go with the seculars… So how can we move away from this system that only offers autocratic government or an opposition that is just as much autocratic?There is, of course, a solution, that can be valid only if we consider as a mistake to have to choose between these two camps. What secular and Islamists have retained from democracy is the power of the ballot box, that allows the majority, the day after the elections, to dominate a minority. And this is a serious mistake.Democracy is a package of principles, rules and practices including: protection of individual freedoms, separation and balance of powers, freedom of the press, and rights for minorities…. The system that defends the right of minorities is always democracy, not absolutism.An elected government has no right to ban someone from drinking alcohol, a woman from  going to the beach or a girl from wearing jeans. This comes, indeed, under the individual freedoms. People who know their freedoms and the meaning of democracy can’t accept the guardianship or autocracy, even if it’s religious. This is true that in Afghanistan, Sudan or Iran, a particular way of life is imposed by the political powers by force. But they arrived at the head of their country by violence, coup, revolution, and armed conflict. Not in a democratic way.A large part of the political, cultural and media elites fears or feared the Arab Spring, and  didn’t support the enthusiasm of young people in their respective countries for democracy. These elites feared for their lifestyles and finally chose autocracy and despotism instead of freedom and liberalism.Translated by Nahla Landoulsi. Edited by Saba Naseemlast_img read more

Moroccos Foreign Minister to sue Annas newspaper

Rabat – Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar decided to sue arabic-speaking paper “Annas” for “publishing false information and undermining his honor and dignity,” his defense said on Tuesday. “Upon his return from his working visit in Peru and the Dominican Republic and following a meeting with his lawyers on the case of false allegations against him by Annas newspaper, Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, decided to sue the paper, given the dangerous nature of the accusations that were published, including misleading information that Mezouar is the holder of a French passport,” said the minister’s defense.These accusations, the same source added, are “an affront to the dignity and honor of the minister of foreign affairs and cooperation.” Annas the newspaper has alleged recently that Mezouar holds the French nationality.The Moroccan official denied in a statement the information that he described as “false and devoid of any credibility.” read more

Minister Teaching Foreign Languages Will Not Negatively Impact Arabic

Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of National Education and Vocational Training Rashid Belmokhtar said in a press interview that teaching students foreign languages will not have any negative impact on the status of the Arabic language in the national education system.While stressing the need for development in foreign language instruction, the minister explained that it does not mean marginalizing the Arabic language.He said that the Arabic language has its own privileged position as a constitutional language that no other language can compete with. Belmoktar added that a study conducted by his ministry recently revealed that students’ generally exhibit a subpar command of the Arabic language.“In Morocco, a study in this area had never been done until this last year,” the minister said. “We did this study to understand why [students’ mastery of] the Arabic language is so low.”The minister went on to explain that there is a difference between teaching Arabic and using it as a language of teaching.“We don’t make a clear cut difference between these two objectives,” Belmokhtar said, “and here we make a mistake.”The minister called for a new model for teaching Arabic effectively in a way that would both help students perfect the language technically and teach them to use it communicatively. read more

Moroccan Actor Escapes Brussels Terrorist Attacks

By Abdelghafour HalimiCasablanca – The Moroccan actor, Amine Ennaji revealed in a Facebook post today that a change of travel plans allowed him to escape potential tragedy, referring to the multiple terrorist attacks in Brussels, two of which took place at its airport, that occurred earlier today. So far, 34 are reported dead as a result of the attacks.The Moroccan actor, who was traveling in Belgium, posted a statement on his Facebook page stating that he was in need of an airplane ticket from Brussels to Casablanca. However, he changed his destination this morning, choosing to take the metro to Amsterdam, where he flew out of Schiphol Airport.Following the attacks, Ennaji wrote in a Facebook post “I was lucky that I flew from Amsterdam this morning.” read more

Benkirane Announces New Program to Encourage Vocational Training

Rabat – The Moroccan head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, announced on Wednesday that a proposal he made that would grow the country’s vocational training programs in order to address imbalances in the educational system has been approved by King Mohammed VI.During a symposium dedicated to the launch of the National Strategy on Vocational Training 2021, Benkirane announced a new program that would allow students to spend half of their time learning concepts in classrooms and the other half in the field learning aspects of their chosen craft or trade.In order to secure the future of Morocco, its citizens must spend time learning practical and productive skills for economic growth, according to Benkirane. “A society cannot just consist of employees in public offices, lawyers, judges, and writers because only a minimal number of them will be enough in the community,” he said, noting that the specified fields are not directly productive for the economy in the way that manufacturing and vocational jobs are.The program has been allocated MAD 65 billion over five years so that it can be implemented, Medias24 reported.The head of the government also pointed out that vocational training has always been a part of the North African country’s culture, citing an old Moroccan proverb that states, “Learning a craft will protect you, and if it does not enrich you with money, it will increase your time on earth.”Vocational training will make Moroccans a “hard currency” inside and outside of the country, he added, as international demand for skilled vocational workers is currently high.“Morocco has a strategy that will allow Moroccans to raise their heads up high in front of the world,” he said. read more

New Israel Jordan Valley Regulation Affect 55K Palestinian Workers

Ayesha UlhaqRabat – More than 55,000 Palestinian workers will be affected by a new Israeli labor regulation that limits their access to court proceedings.In the shabby office of a trade union building in Jericho, occupied West bank, Ismael Abu Rahmeh, a Palestinian laborer, unfurled a receipt from an Israeli court for 1,000 shekels ($260). Towards the beginning of October, Abu Rehmeh paid the entirety of the 1,000 shekels after an Israeli court judge overseeing his case requested him to take care of the legal expenses of his boss, who Abu Rahmeh was accusing of wrongful termination, if he were to lose the case. If in the event that Abu Rahmeh had not paid the extra 1,000 shekels, the case that he had first documented against his employer in 2015 would have been tossed out of court. The original case that Abu Rahmeh was fighting for was in 2014 against an Israeli employer with whom he worked on an agricultural settlement in the Jordan Valley for more than 13 years. However, due to an unfortunate situation where Abu Rahmeh fell and injured his back, his employer dismissed him from the job.Abu Rahmeh did consider dropping the case, as it was a struggle to gather the legal funds, but after thinking long and hard, Abu Rahmeh reluctantly paid the guarantee for the lawsuit to continue. Earlier this year, Israel’s justice ministry brought out the 1,000 shekel guarantee as a part of a new regulation. Prior to this, workers who proceeded with legal action in court paid a regular court fee.Israeli media named this the “Jordan Valley Regulation,” since it was seen by the press to be politically driven to profit immigrants who operate businesses and employ non-Israeli workers in this part of the occupied West Bank.Sawsan Zaher, a lawyer at Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel, has said, “It has a political goal and the goal here is to prevent Palestinian workers from going to court, suing their Israeli employers and obliging their employers, through court orders, to pay them their full wages, minimum wages, vacations and all their rights based on Israeli Labor law”.In the case of Abu Rahmeh, who was given a two-week timeframe to gather the funds, it was a struggle. Thus, he had to use a combination of his savings and money earnt from overtime work to fund this. Abu Rahmeh told Al Jazeera that “It was such a large amount of money. I had to work for long hours in order to save the money to pay this amount. I had set aside money for medication, but I had to use it for the case,” he said.Many Palestinians will continue to suffer due to such unfair legislations. read more

Gaza Over 1 Million Children in Unlivable Circumstances

Rabat – Over a million children in Gaza are living in impoverished circumstances due to electricity shortages, causing problems for public health and education, warned Save the Children on Tuesday.The internationa lNGO says Israel’s ongoing land, air and sea blockade of Gaza, which has been in place since 2007, is the primary cause of the electricity shortages.Save the Children also highlights that Gaza’s sole power plant had stopped functioning in April 2017 after exhausting its fuel reserves, since operators could not replenish them due to insufficient funds. The plant, already damaged from Israel’s war on Gaza in 2009, had provided a third of Gaza’s electricity. Most homes in Gaza now have just two to four hours of electricity per day, while some have no one at all. Many children spent the recent Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha in the dark.“While politicians celebrate Eid and sleep in their air-conditioned homes, Gaza’s children are sweating in the stifling summer heat, unable to sleep, play or study”, said Jennifer Moorehead, Save the Children’s Country Director in the Occupied Territories.“We shouldn’t have to be demanding such a basic service as electricity for the children of Gaza. A couple of hours of power a day is just not acceptable in 2017.”Gaza’s schools barely operate at functional levels, with 741 of schools having no electricity, reports Save the Children. Children struggle to sleep, making it harder for them to concentrate in school. Darkness at home often prevents children from completing their homework.“We are different from other countries that have 24 hours of electricity, and their life is not like ours. I have so many dreams. But my main dream is that I could be like other children and live in peace, security, and have electricity,” says Rania, a 13-year-old living in Gaza.Many children’s lives are at risk, with a breakdown of health and emergency services. This prevents treatment of water-borne diseases, which are increasing due to pollution of groundwater sources and the nearby Mediterranean Sea.Due to suspension of sewage treatment cycles, over 108 million litres of untreated sewage fall into the water each day, leavingover 60% of the sea surrounding Gaza polluted with untreated sewage.90% of water sources are too contaminated for human consumption, leaving children with little or no access to clean drinking water. Many cannot take regular baths or showers too, due to non-functioning water pumps.The situation is particularly dire for 15-year-old Ali, who suffers from a form of cerebral palsy, relying on an electric wheelchair.Ali’s mother Yara said:“My son is dying in front of my eyes. He can’t sleep most nights, and suffers from continuous pain. We don’t have enough power to get his electric wheelchair and mattress fully charged. If his wheelchair doesn’t get charged, he suffers psychologically, as he sees people around him move and walk but he can’t. He feels depressed and often fights with other children. When the wheelchair runs out of battery, Ali becomes totally paralysed.”“He also needs constant showers as he is wearing diapers, but there is no water. We don’t get water unless there is electricity. If I don’t change his diapers and wash him regularly he will suffer from skin rashes and other problems. We have not had any tap water for two days. I feel suffocated,” she added.Ali himself said: “I used to enjoy going to the beach to see the sand and the sea, but unfortunately I can’t go there anymore now.”The United Nations warned in 2012 that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020, yet the NGO says the Strip is already “unlivable”.“Sadly, the children of Gaza are caught in one of the most politicised conflicts in the world,” continued Jennifer Morehead. “The continued Israeli occupation and splits within the Palestinian leadership are making life unbearable. If you’re ten years old in Gaza you’ve already witnessed three massive and violent escalations of conflict.”“Gaza’s children are already suffering through a ten-year blockade and the constant threat of conflict. Living without access to basic services like electricity is affecting their family life and mental well-being. We’re seeing increased levels of anxiety, aggression and mood swings.”Save the Children has called for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza, for the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to provide basic services to the children of Gaza, and for the international community to react to the suffering caused by the blockade.The UN reported in July 2017 that 47% of Gaza population’s lives below the poverty line and fails to meet the international standard for food consumption, suffering from moderate to severe food insecurity. Gaza has a 40% unemployment rate, and around 80% of the population depends on humanitarian assistance.In August 2017, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) reported the toll that electricity shortages took on children, especially babies. Babies are cared for in overcrowded neonatal intensive care units – a situation exacerbated by worsening maternal nutrition and increasing rates of premature and low birth-weight babies.In one incident in August, neonatal nurses at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City were forced to provide care to 71 babies in a care unit designed for 43 babies. In this incident, the ratio of staff-to-babies was 1:7, much lower than the UK level of 1:1 or 1:2 during critical care. Faulty electricity backup generators mean nurses must often hand-ventilate babies for up to 50 minutes at a time until power is restored.Please click here to donate to Save the Children’s emergency fund. read more

Algeria Tops NonTransparent Country in The World US State Department

Rabat – Algeria ranks as the top “non-transparent” country in the world, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2017 report on government fiscal transparency.Although Algeria made significant progress publically publishing its budget documents and obligations, the public information did not provide “comprehensive treatment of allocations to and earnings from state-owned enterprises.”  Nor did it publish an executive budget proposal or end-of-year reports within a reasonable period of time, stated the U.S. State Department.Algerian government kept a number of off-budget accounts, and while they were subject to audit with the results made public, the government apparently made “efforts to reduce the number of off-budget accounts,” according to the report, which assessed the practices of 140 governments. Natural resource contracts or licenses awarded by the Algerian national government “were specified in law and appeared to be followed in practice.”The State Department report indicated that Algeria’s fiscal transparency would be improved if it were to publish its executive budget proposal and end-of-year reports within a “reasonable period of time,” and if “the government provided detailed debt obligations and revenues and expenditures in the budget, including those for state-owned enterprises.”Algeria ranked at the same level as Iraq, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Maldives, Lesotho, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Yemen.In contrast, Morocco is ranked by the report as among “the countries that have met minimum requirements of fiscal transparency for 2017.”Edited by Elisabeth Myers read more

Moroccan Markets to Meet Citizens Ramadan Demands Minister

Rabat – The holy month of Ramadan is just around the corner, and the Moroccan government has started preparing its markets to meet the demands of citizens during the holy month.During a meeting of the Interministerial Commission on Monday, Minister in Charge of General Affairs and Governance Lahcen Daoudi said that Moroccan markets will be supplied with all the necessary products, which will be made available at reasonable prices during the holy month of Ramadan. Daoudi said that the meeting served as an opportunity to evaluate the state of supply in the country, including fruits, vegetables, and cereals to last throughout the month. Daoudi also emphasized the importance of strict monitoring to avoid manipulations, which prevent fair competition in accordance with Law 31-08 enacting consumer protection measures.In March, Moroccan astronomer Hicham El Issaoui predicted that Morocco will observe the holy month of Ramadan beginning May 17, 2018.El Issaoui, who graduated from Dar El-Hadith El-Hassania for Higher Islamic Studies in Rabat, has predicted that Ramadan will begin in Morocco on Thursday, May 17, 2018.In addition to El Issaoui’s Ramadan prediction, some other Middle Eastern sources predict that Ramadan will start on Tuesday, May 15. However, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs will not confirm the official start day until astronomers first observe the crescent moon in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.Ramadan lasts from 29 to 30 days depending on the observance of the crescent moon and on relevant astronomical calculations.Next month, Muslims around the world will take part in rituals, including fasting and nightly prayers.  The Ramadan break-fast, known as ftoor, also serves as a special celebration for families to gather together and share a meal after a whole day of fasting. read more

US MoroccoAlgeria Diplomatic Normalization Will Improve Security

Rabat – King Mohammed VI’s offer came on November 6 as he gave a commemorative speech on the 43rd anniversary of the Green March.The Moroccan monarch called for unity and brotherhood in the Maghreb region, saying that decades of cold diplomacy served no one’s interests in a region with a shared history that faces multiple common security and socio-political challenges.Reacting to King Mohammed VI’s message, the US State Department said that rapprochement between Algiers and Rabat could help de-escalate regional tensions between two important players. MAP, Morocco’s state news agency, quoted the State Department as saying that dialogue and improved diplomatic ties between the two neighbors would lead to significant gains for regional security.“The US Government has urged Algeria and Morocco to recognize that improved relations will help the two countries tackle common bilateral and regional issues such as terrorism, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and economic integration,” the Department of State told MAP.Algeria silent, inflexible despite warm international reactionsKing Mohammed VI’s “frank dialogue” and Maghrebi brotherhood message has garnered positive reactions in Africa and elsewhere.The US’s reading of the regional implications of the royal message echoed reactions by other governments and international bodies.Spain, France, the UAE, Jordan, the African Union and the United Nations Secretary-General were all quick to applaud King Mohammed VI’s move. They hailed the boldness of Mohammed VI’s proposal to set aside decades of hostility and give a chance for peace and diplomatic normalization.The international community’s response has supported the belief that frank dialogue between Algiers and Rabat would also help settle the Western Sahara question. Meanwhile, since the King’s speech, Algeria has shown no signs of readiness to allow the diplomatic overtures Morocco wishes.Earlier this week, Morocco’s ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), announced plans of a trip to Algiers to meet with Algerian political parties.PJD’s statement said that the party hoped to “seek solutions with a view to normalizing bilateral relations and overcoming all disputes that prevent the development of cooperation between the two countries.”But Algerian parties have turned down PJD’s proposal. They argued that necessary steps to facilitate normalization between the two countries should come from governments rather than political parties.“The parties do not have the capacity to make decisions binding on both countries,” said Mohamed Doubi, the secretary general of Algeria’s Ennahda party. read more

Algeria Skepticism greets presidents planned exit

ALGIERS, Algeria — Algerian protesters and opposition leaders are cautiously welcoming President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s planned departure, but say it doesn’t go far enough.Former Prime Minister Ali Benflis and a moderate Islamist movement are among leading voices criticizing the move because it would leave the country’s secretive, distrusted power structure in place.A standoff is also intensifying between Bouteflika’s entourage and that of the powerful army chief, who turned against the president amid mass protests over Bouteflika’s 20-year rule.Bouteflika bowed to mounting pressure Monday and announced he will step down by the end of his term April 28, according to his office. Protesters fear it will pave the way for a hand-picked successor instead of a truly democratic change of power.Students are holding protests in Algiers on Tuesday, and demonstrators are already planning for new nationwide protests Friday.The Associated Press read more

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week:BoC outlookBank of Canada will release its spring Business Outlook Survey on Monday. The central bank’s previous survey in December showed that sentiment had decreased slightly, but remained elevated as responses to almost all the survey questions were holding above their historical averages.March home salesThe Canadian Real Estate Association is expected to release March home sales results on Monday. CREA’s report for February found that the average price for homes was down 5.2 per cent from last year as the number of sales dropped to a 10-year low for the seasonally weak month.Aphria resultsAphria Inc. will hold a conference call to discuss its fiscal third-quarter financial results on Monday. The cannabis company along with rival Aurora Cannabis recently announced they were among the three companies selected by the German government to cultivate and distribute medical pot in the European country.Metro earningsMetro Inc. will release its second-quarter financial results on Wednesday. The grocer’s performance in its most recent financial year fell in line with company expectations, even as it grappled with supplier pressure to raise prices.March inflation numbersStatistics Canada releases its consumer price index for March on Wednesday. The agency’s CPI for February showed that inflation climbed 1.5 per cent compared with a year ago as gains in most spending categories offset lower gasoline prices.The Canadian Press read more

The Latest German government still urging Brexit deal

LONDON — The Latest on Brexit talks (all times local):11:30 a.m.The German government says it still has a “great interest” in Britain reaching a domestic agreement on how to move forward on Brexit, after talks between government and opposition broke down.Martina Fietz, a spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Friday that she can’t comment specifically on the latest development. But she said that the German government’s interest in Britain agreeing how to organize the country’s exit from the European Union and get it through Parliament “is of course still there, and we are watching with interest what is happening in London.”Britain was due to leave the EU on March 29, but the bloc has extended the Brexit deadline until Oct. 31.German Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Breul said “we of course expect from the British side that they use this time frame and don’t face the same situation in October that we had a few weeks ago.”___10:50 a.m.Cross-party talks in Britain aimed at striking a compromise Brexit deal have broken down without agreement.Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn says the talks with Prime Minister Theresa May’s government have “gone as far as they can.”The two sides have held weeks of negotiations to see if they can agree on terms for Britain’s exit from the European Union that can win support in Parliament. The talks began after lawmakers rejected May’s divorce deal with the EU three times.But the Conservatives and Labour differ on how close an economic relationship to seek with the bloc after the U.K. leaves.Britain was due to leave the EU on March 29, but Brexit has been delayed until Oct. 31 amid the political impasse.The Associated Press read more