Canada hoping to solve US tariff dispute by G20 meetings at months

first_imgWASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is setting his sights on the end of the month as the next target date for reaching a trade-and-tariff detente with the United States.All three countries are expected to take part in a signing ceremony for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement during the two-day G20 summit, which gets underway Nov. 30 in Buenos Aires — although Canada has warned it will be a low-key, low-level affair if steel and aluminum tariffs are still in place.There’s still time to change that, Trudeau suggested Monday during a news conference in Paris.“I absolutely brought it up,” Trudeau said of his discussions with U.S. President Donald Trump during a dinner Friday organized by French President Emmanuel Macron.One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss details of a private meeting, said the two leaders had a good exchange on tariffs that included Trudeau making clear to the president the tariffs are hurting consumers and producers on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.“The issue of steel and aluminum tariffs continues to be a concern to Canadians, like it is of concern to many American citizens and companies,” Trudeau said.  “This is something that, as I’ve said before and as I related to President Trump, I hope we’re able to solve by the time we meet each other in the G20 in Argentina.”David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said in an interview last week that some high-level talks on the tariff issue have taken place, and that he has extended an invitation to U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer to get formal negotiations back underway.Insiders say the U.S. has been demanding quotas be imposed on Canadian exports, something Ottawa has made clear is a non-starter.MacNaughton and Trudeau have both indicated that if a signing ceremony does take place soon, it won’t include high-level dignitaries like the prime minister or Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland if the tariffs — 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum — remain in place.On the Mexican side, however, there’s an expectation negotiators there are poised to agree to quotas in order to get the deal signed before Dec. 1, which is when incoming president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s new administration could inject an unwelcome element of uncertainty.Resolving the tariff issue with Mexico is the more pressing priority for the U.S., said Dan Ujczo, a trade lawyer and partner with Ohio-based Dickinson Wright.“The actual issue is to ensure that there’s nothing that’s going to stop Mexico from signing this deal before Dec. 1, and giving relief to farm country in the U.S. to Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs,” Ujczo said.“I think Canada’s an afterthought for the U.S. right now in this process.” James McCarten, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Asian leaders push for progress on South China Sea pact

first_imgSINGAPORE — Southeast Asian leaders and China are touting progress in keeping peace in the contentious South China Sea as they work toward a “code of conduct” to govern navigation routes and other activities in the region.Speaking at the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang cited the region’s management of territorial disputes as an example and said the trend was toward greater stability.Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted at “all cost” to set the rules governing behaviour in those seas to avoid trouble.Duterte told reporters that relations between China and its Southeast Asian neighbours were “excellent” and that friction was between Western nations and China. He said a code of conduct was needed to avoid dangerous miscalculations.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Solar industry blames tariffs for cancelled delayed projects

first_imgNEW YORK — The solar industry is blaming tariffs for delays and cancellations of major solar energy projects.An estimated $8 billion worth of utility-scale projects were cancelled or put on hold for the five-year period that ends in 2022, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industry Association and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. The report says 9,000 jobs — mainly in construction and engineering — were either lost or not added because of the tariffs.In January, President Donald Trump imposed tariffs of up to 30 per cent on most imported solar cells used in solar panels, aiming to boost domestic manufacturing. The tariff rate will decline before phasing out after four years.Projects were cancelled during the lead-up to the announcement, when installers, banks and power purchasers did not know how high the tariff would be, according to Dan Whitten, spokesman for the Solar Energy Industry Association, the solar industry’s main trade group.“People kind of deferred planning,” Whitten said. “They decided not to go forward with projects, because of that uncertainty.”But analysts at Wood Mackenzie are expecting many of the delayed projects to come online by the end of the year.About 10 per cent of solar panels installed in the U.S. are made domestically, Whitten said.Tariffs also were imposed on materials such as steel, aluminum and electrical components, adding to the cost of building a solar farm.“The only way that we are able to deliver projects is if we are the lowest cost alternative to what a utility is proposing to build themselves,” said Bret Sowers, vice-president of development and strategy at Southern Current, which builds solar farms mainly in the Southeast. “When you add up all of the tariffs, in addition to the tariffs on solar panels, the solar industry got hit really hard based on the components we use to build our projects.”Southern Current cancelled or delayed about $130 million worth of projects that were planned for 2018 and a similar amount in 2019, Sowers said. The type of panels Southern Current uses are not currently made in the U.S., he said.Cypress Creek Renewables cancelled or delayed $1.5 billion worth of solar projects that were planned for 2018 through 2020 because the higher cost of solar panels made it difficult to compete with other electricity sources, the company said.Despite the tariffs, solar installations held up reasonably well, said Jeff Berman, a director at S&P Global Platts Analytics, in an email. Berman expects the impact to diminish as the tariffs weaken over the next few years. He said a bigger driver of installations will be the federal solar investment tax credit. That tax credit of 30 per cent of the cost of residential or commercial solar systems will drop to 10 per cent for utility and commercial installations and zero out for residential installations after 2021.Representatives from the White House and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Witten notes that even if the tariffs jumpstart manufacturing in the U.S. as the Trump administration intends them to, solar manufacturing is highly automated, so “not many jobs would be created.”Cathy Bussewitz, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Classaction lawsuit filed over Marriott data breach

first_imgGREENBELT, Md. — A group of class-action law firms has filed the largest-to-date lawsuit related to hotel chain Marriott’s data breach.The Daily Record reports that Marriott International Inc. is being sued by 176 plaintiffs from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in federal court. The world’s largest hotel chain confirmed late last year that hackers compiled stolen data from reservation systems used by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. for four years.Marriott said last week that around 383 million guests were affected.The plaintiffs assert Starwood and Marriott failed to identify the breach and notify those affected in a timely manner. Plaintiffs’ attorneys say Marriott should have discovered the breach during its acquisition of Starwood in 2016.The report didn’t include a response from Marriott.___Information from: The Daily Record of Baltimore, http://www.thedailyrecord.comThe Associated Presslast_img read more

200k spent in August petroleum land rights sale

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After the provincial government only netted $27,000 during last month’s petroleum and natural gas land rights sale, August’s wasn’t much better.In Wednesday’s auction, the provincial government netted just $201,872.37 from the sale of a single drilling license, which was one of only three parcels of land on the auction block. The 777-hectare parcel is located near Montney, just north of Fort St. John. Stomp Energy Ltd. purchased the parcel for $259.81 per hectare.So far this year, petroleum land rights auctions have brought in just $59,670,245.38. That number, while still more than the roughly $33.6 million paid for land rights in 2015 and 2016 combined, is still well below the $173 million the Province earned last year. The next petroleum land rights sale is taking place on September 12th, when four drilling licenses and two leases will be put up for auction.last_img read more

Now KMC will be responsible for upkeep of Citizens Park

first_imgKolkata: Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is taking over the maintenance of Citizens’ Park, popularly known as Mohor Kunja, situated on Cathedral Road beside Victoria Memorial.The decision has been approved at the Member, Mayor-in-Councils’ (MMiC) meeting that was chaired by Mayor Firhad Hakim on Saturday. Reliance Industries that had taken over the maintenance of the park in 2015, had written to the KMC a few days ago, expressing its unwillingness to carry on with the park’s maintenance. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers”We are taking over the maintenance of Citizen’s Park as the private company associated with its maintenance is no longer willing to continue its upkeep,” said Debasish Kumar, MMiC (Parks & Gardens). It may be mentioned that Reliance Industries had taken over the park’s maintenance in 2015 and was supposed to maintain the urban park for five years. The civic body had made it clear that they will not be able to do any commercial venture out of the park. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHowever, the company wrote to the Director General of the Parks & Garden department of the civic body, expressing its willingness to move out of the contract. When asked about the reason behind Reliance opting out of the contract, Kumar refused to comment. The park, which had started its journey in 2005, was one of the most vaunted projects of the erstwhile Trinamool Congress board, with Subrata Mukherjee as the Mayor. It was named as Citizens Park.last_img read more

Every detail will count

first_imgThe Lok Sabha elections are barely a month away and camps of all political outfits are buzzing. Amidst their carefully crafted strategies and populist manifestos lie the issues that will play a pivotal role in steering their ships to shore. The most-preferred choice in a public mandate is the one which understands the ground situation more than anything. The need of the hour is to understand the prevailing situation. While the incumbent bears the responsibility of addressing grievances, others are free to either suggest or criticise – latter being the case most of the times. In the democratic set-up constituted and passed down to the future generations, the concept of opposition was to sit with the government and contribute to the discussions over decisions to be made in the interest of people or nation as a whole. It was certainly not to create an ugly environment by dissenting to the point of humiliating the incumbent over their decision. Maybe that is why the heavily advocated concept of a majority government by BJP is crucial to their vision of India. As evident, the 16th Lok Sabha never had any troubles over decisions simply because of a staggering 282 seats that it had in the 2014 elections. Such a majority gave BJP the power it may not have speculated. The Modi wave reduced Congress to scrap – mere 44 seats in a historic low. Congress has since walked a long way in recovering from such a disaster to be able to once again become the reckoning force it was prior to the Modi wave. Led by yet another Gandhi, Congress’ recent victory in the major states was the first glimpse of the grand old party’s resurgence. But why was Congress able to sideline BJP in the three states of Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh? The answer to this question holds the key to understanding the upcoming elections. Also Read – A compounding difficultyThe ever-dominant Modi wave is still there but BJP lost the three states to their bitter rivals purely on the ground issues. It seemed as if the saffron party’s time at the helm made it accustomed to their wishes more than the public’s. Demonetisation had already hurt the rural population immeasurably. Adding higher MSP’s and poorly implemented farm schemes after a tumultuous outcry of the same did not exactly help. Farmers resort to suicides as the debts grew and grievances were seldom addressed. The compounding distress came back to haunt BJP in the most crucial hour – elections. Understanding this bit of an unaddressed issue transforming into a decisive factor in the public mandate is necessary to draw predictions about the upcoming polls. Though the aforementioned instance was just for the three states – which had agrarian distress as the predominant issue, it is a collective of issues across the verticles of society that will decide who gets to the helm. Each state has its own set of issues, adversities to be precise, that need to be resolved. These did not emerge overnight, they have come to the forefront based on neglect of the government. Take for instance Kerala’s Sabarimala imbroglio or Northeast’s agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Both the regions are embroiled in their respective controversies which, on several occasions, has brought the state to an uncomfortable halt. BJP and Congress have done little to resolve the adversities. In such a situation, regional parties have become the popular choice – making them a key factor in the national narrative. The third front or the federal front which will have to align towards either side to give the general mandate an outcome, should BJP fail to register majority, has become an essential feature of the polls. Of course, BJP is trying to avoid such a circumstance where its claim to the driving seat rests on other’s allegiance while Congress acknowledges their presence and hopeful alliance as the only way to usurp BJP. While half the country suffers from agrarian distress, there are several other state-specific issues such as militancy in J&K, drug abuse in Punjab, unemployment in UP, Jat reservation/agitation in Haryana, et al. Now, while the populist manifestos will certainly highlight these and influence public mandate through sops of all sorts, the voters’ dilemma exists nevertheless since deep down none will cater to the troubles with the eye of resolving them in entirety. If you solve the problem then there is no problem to build your promises on. In such a case, the next best thing is to vote the one with fewer lies or the one who understands the regional issues more. In this context, the narrative of polls might meander depending on the regional powerplay!last_img read more

896 lakh jobs created in Jan 7648 lakh in last 17 months

first_imgNew Delhi: Net employment generation in the formal sector touched a 17-month high of 8.96 lakh in January, according to the latest EPFO payroll data. The EPFO has been releasing payroll data from April 2018, covering the period starting September 2017. The addition in January was 131 per cent higher as compared with 3.87 lakh EPFO subscribers added in the year-ago month. In September 2017, a net of 2,75,609 jobs were created. Around 76.48 lakh new subscribers were added to social security schemes of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) from September 2017 to January 2019, the data showed. This indicates that these many jobs were created in the formal sector over the past 17 months. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The net EPFO enrolment in January 2019 stood at 8,96,516, which is the highest since September 2017. The EPFO, however, revised slightly downwards its payroll data for December 2018 by 1.8 per cent to 7.03 lakh, against the earlier estimate of 7.16 lakh released last month. It also revised the cumulative job addition data for the September 2017-December 2018 period downwards 6.6 per cent to 67.52 lakh, from the earlier forecast of 72.32 lakh. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The sharpest revision was for March 2018 in the latest report which showed contraction or exit of 29,023 members from the EPFO subscriptions whereas last month’s estimated addition of 5,498 members. The EPFO data showed that the March 2018 figure is negative due to large number of exits reported in March, in view of it being the closing month of the financial year. During January 2019, the highest number of 2.44 lakh jobs were created in the 22-25 years age group, followed by 2.24 lakh in the 18-21 years age bracket. The data of the exited members is based on the claims submitted by the individuals and establishments and the exit data uploaded by employers, whereas the number of new subscribers is based on the Universal Account Number (UAN) generated in the system and those who have received non-zero subscription. The EPFO said the data is provisional as updation of employee records is a continuous process and gets updated in subsequent months. This is age-band wise data of new members registered under the EPFO where the first non-zero contribution received during particular month. For each age-wise band, the estimates are net of the members newly enrolled, exited and rejoined during the month as per records of the EPFO, it added. The estimates may include temporary employees whose contributions may not be continuous for the entire year. Members’ data are linked to unique Aadhaar Identity, it added. The EPFO manages social security funds of workers in the organised/semi organised sector in India and has more than 6 crore active members (with at least one-month contribution during the year).last_img read more

Extortion racket operating from Mandoli Jail busted

first_imgNEW DELHI: Special Cell of Delhi police on Tuesday busted an extortion racket being operated from the Mandoli jail premises and have arrested two henchmen of a Ghaziabad-based gang before they could execute a plan of several murders to establish supremacy in Ghaziabad. They were working at behest of one dreaded gangster Chanderbhan alias Aman Yadav who is currently lodged in Mandoli Jail. The arrested gangsters have been identified as Bal Krishna and Mohd Ateek, both are residents of Khora Colony, Ghaziabad. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDCP Special cell, Pramod Singh Kushwaha said that a team of Special cell was monitoring the activities of illegal arms and ammunition supplies for few days. “Through sources, we got to know that some of the gang leaders lodged in the jail, have been procuring sophisticated weapons to eliminate their rivals and establish supremacy in their area for running extortion network,” said DCP Kushwaha. “Chanderbhan from Mandoli Jail, had tasked his associates to eliminate two persons to establish his authority in Ghaziabad’s Khoda Colony for running a smooth extortion racket. He was passing instructions to his henchmen to execute the killings of two persons whenever they sight them in the area. The henchmen arrested are hardcore criminals and were previously involved in many heinous crimes,” DCP said. Police recovered a stolen sports bike and arms-ammunition intended to be used in the commission of the crime. Following the arrest, a subsequent search of Jail 11 of Mandoli Jail was conducted and a diary containing the details of Ateek was recovered from the gang leader. The 27-year-old gang leader, Chandrabhan, is a school dropout. He was first arrested in 2009 for a murder case.last_img read more

GoT 8 refers back to first season

first_imgLos Angeles: Actor Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark in ‘Game of Thrones’, says the first season of the show plays a huge role in what happens in the eighth and final season of the fantasy drama. Details about the final season of the HBO series are few and far between but the cast has teased a “bittersweet” ending. In an interview with the Entertainment Weekly, Williams said she re-watched the first season. “After reading the scripts I went back and watched season one again because so much of it refers back to that season,” Williams said. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka”There are so many scenes that will look similar. And also I watched just to remind myself of the arc I’ve taken already, she added. Williams said Arya will strive to find normalcy without letting go off her plan to kill Cersei. “This year it’s like she has a dual personality there are so many emotions and memories that come flooding back when you’re with your family and the things that you fight for become very different, yet she’s also remaining on this path to try and kill Cersei,” she said.last_img read more

Holding up the mirror

first_imgI write today to discuss Down To Earth’s 28th anniversary — our dream dare that we can use our pen, our research and information, to make a difference in our world. Down To Earth is not a magazine to make money — then or now. It was, and is, not a produce of commerce; or a product of the market. It was and will remain our means to bring you information about the world around us, about everyday life and of life itself, so that we have the knowledge, which gives us power to make change. Our mission is not hidden in reams of corporate gloss. It is open. It is our dare. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe question, I want to discuss with you is my understanding of our relevance in today’s India; in today’s world. It is a cynic’s world today, where we are seeing as never before the race to the bottom. Countries are showing us their worst sides; leaders are turning into venomous creatures out to polarise people. Real issues are getting lost in the dust and fifth of this virulent discourse, where everybody — all of us — seem “free” only to the extent that we can spill out our vile guts in the now not-so-open social media. There is no societal decorum that puts lines around what can be said in public and what not. Also Read – Insider threat managementSo, have we failed? Should we continue hoping against hope that we can make a difference to public opinion? Can we really keep the focus on the real issues that matter? I believe we must. I also believe that whatever we are seeing in our world today, it is our duty, our job — if you want to call it that — to keep pushing the envelope so that this whimper of real news becomes a scream.I say this particularly as India is in the middle of the Lok Sabha elections. In this 28th anniversary year of Down To Earth, we will get a new government, or we will get the old government as new. Whatever the future, the fact is that we must be there to report on issues that concern our today and tomorrow. In this election, we have seen that the real issues that matter to people — climate change that is driving weird weather to destroy crops; insurance companies that do not provide relief to farmers to cope with this distress; produce that is not getting value to pay for labour of farmers; pollution that is destroying livelihoods and health; and worse, the drought that is crippling large parts of the country — are all out of the frame. Nothing real seems to get our attention anymore. These are not eyeball issues. Social media misses these trends. Politicians today want us to believe that they can afford to forget local issues — issues that matter to their constituents — and still win elections. Elections then are about poisoned words and polarised politics. But I believe — and I hope you will as well — that these issues that I have enumerated will not go away. They cannot be swallowed up or spit out. They are real. They matter. It is our job to bring this news out and to keep working till this news that has been shuttered to the margins, becomes the main. It must. Because it matters to you and to me. It matters to our future. No government likes to be shown a mirror to its failures; no government wants to hear the inconvenient news that its spin doctors want us to believe. But it will remain our job to hold that mirror. And we will do this with all our ability to tell it from the ground; tell it as it happens; tell it truthfully. We do not need courage to do this. We need to make sure that we do not slip and lose your trust. Our mission is to make a difference; our shield is our independence. We will not let you down. I promise. We promise. (The author is Director General of Centre for Science and Environment and the Editor of Down To Earth magazine. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

ITC to expand dairy beverages portfolio

first_imgMumbai: Tobaccos-to-hotels major ITC is planning to expand its dairy beverages portfolio to the rest of the country by the next summer and is eyeing a 5-10 percent market share in the first year of operations. ITC’s food division already offers fruits-based beverages for the past four five years and also dairy-based beverages which have been soft-launched in the South last December. The company entered the ready-to-drink milk-based beverages market with the launch of Sunfeast Wonderz Milk last December. The milkshake market is around Rs 1,000 crore. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra”We would be extending our dairy beverage business and will be launching across the country by the next summer. We expect to clock 5-10 percent of the Rs 1,000-crore market in the first year of operations,” Sanjay Singal, chief operating officer for dairy and beverages unit at ITC said here. Kolkata-based company is also planning to export its dry fruits-based dairy beverages badam milkshake to Dubai and Saudi Arabia. The company had also rolled out packaged milk and curds under its Aashirvaad brand in Kolkata and Bihar. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysSingal said the company would focus only in the Eastern markets for the packaged milk business in the foreseeable future, where there is less competition. ITC Friday launched three fruit beverages under its B Natural brand in PET bottles. It currently sells nine flavours of fruit juices in tetra packs and has a market share of 9-10 percent in the Rs 2,000-crore fruit beverages segment. Singal also said within a month, it will launch vegetable juices and is evaluating opportunities in the water segment.last_img read more

Over 62 turnout

first_imgNew Delhi: Around 62.5 per cent people voted in the fifth round of the national election – up from 61.76 in 2014 – that was marked by sporadic incidents in parts of Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir. This phase, the leanest with polling on 51 seats, was crucial in view of the high-profile candidates.According to the Election Commission, over 57.33 per cent of 2.47 crore eligible people cast their vote in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, where political heavyweights like Congress’ Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Smriti Irani were in the fray. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkIn Rajasthan, 63.78 per cent polling was recorded in 12 seats, while it was 63.88 per cent in seven constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, 57.86 per cent five seats in Bihar and 63.72 in four seats in Jharkhand that went to polls on Monday. The voter turnout was 74.42 in seven seats in West Bengal. In Jammu and Kashmir, 64 per cent polling was recorded in Ladakh but the turnout was barely three per cent in militancy-infested Shopian and Pulwama districts in the final of the three-phase election to Anantnag constituency held amid militant threats and boycott call by separatists in Kashmir. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenMilitants lobbed a grenade towards Rohmoo polling station and set off an explosion at another polling booth in Tral in Pulwama but no one was injured in the two incidents. The overall turnout was 8.76 per cent as against 28.54 per cent in 2014 in Anantnag where 18 candidates are in the fray including PDP president and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti. In the high profile Amethi seat, Union minister and BJP candidate Smriti Irani alleged that her rival and Congress president Rahul Gandhi was “ensuring booth capturing” and also tagged a video on Twitter in which an elderly women alleged that her hand was forcibly put on ‘panja’ (hand) election symbol of the Congress. But the Chief Electoral Officer said the matter was “examined thoroughly and found baseless”. The turnout was 53 per cent in Amethi, 53.68 per cent in Raebareli and around 53 per cent in Lucknow. The BJP had bagged 12 of the 14 seats in 2014 with the Congress winning Rae Bareli and Amethi. In Rajasthan, where polling concluded Monday, an overall turnout of 66.12 per cent in 25 seats was recorded in the two phases. An official said “minor issues related to EVMs were reported at some places” in Madhya Pradesh “but they were sorted out”. Over 8.75 crore electors were to decide the fate of 674 candidates in the fifth phase Monday. With this phase, the election is over in 424 seats and polling in the remaining 118 seats will be held on May 12 and 19.last_img read more

Pleasant morning in city

first_imgNew Delhi: It was a pleasant Monday morning in the city as the minimum temperature settled at 22.8 degrees Celsius, four notches below the season’s average. According to the MeT department, the humidity level recorded at 8.30 am was 49 per cent. The weatherman has predicted partly cloudy skies later in the day. “The skies will turn partly cloudy in the afternoon. The maximum temperature is expected to settle at 38 degrees Celsius,” the official said. On Sunday, the minimum temperature was 23.2 degrees Celsius while the maximum temperature settled at 37.2 degrees Celsius.last_img read more

Over 3 Million People March In Rabat to Protest UN Chief

Rabat – More than three million people marched on Sunday in Rabat to protest against the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s statements on the Western Sahara issue.Participants, who came from all the regions of Morocco, condemned comments delivered by the UN Chief on the Sahara issue and chanted patriotic slogans.Since the early hours of Sunday, the unprecedented number of people started pouring to the main areas of the Moroccan capital.This is the most important March that has ever been organized in the city’s history.Photo credit: Morocco World NewsProtesters filled the streets of Rabat after political parties, unions and civil society organizations called for a popular march. Yesterday, an extraordinary session of the Moroccan Parliament was held in Rabat in response to Ban Ki-moon’s unprecedented statements about the Western Sahara.Benkirane stated that the UN chief “dropped his impartiality and neutrality during his visit to the region.” “The United Nations Security General hurt the feelings of Moroccans,” he added.Following his meetings with Algerian officials, as well as with the leaders Polisario, Ban Ki-moon expressed his sympathy with the separatists and described Morocco’s sovereignty over its Saharan provinces (known as Western Sahara) as “occupation.”Tuesday, the Moroccan government reacted to the statements that Ban Ki-moon made during his recent visit to the Tindouf camps.“The Government of the Kingdom of Morocco expresses its strongest protest following the remarks made by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon during his recent visit to Tindouf and Algiers on the Sahara issue,” said a statement released by the Moroccan government on Tuesday.“His comments are politically inappropriate, unprecedented, and contrary to Security Council resolutions,” the statement said. read more

Group of German Muslims Running Sharia Police To Stand for Retrial

Rabat – After a German court acquitted a group of German-Muslims for creating a team of “Sharia police,” a higher court announced on Tuesday a retrial for the group on charges of patrolling the streets and demanding people in clubs to stop selling alcohol and listening to music. The group, led by a German Salafi organization, caused widespread anger after the unofficial police force made rounds in the city of Wuppertal in western Germany. The “officers” also raised signs in English declaring a “Sharia Controlled Zone” as part of their call to end gambling.A local court had ruled in December that it will not pursue charges against the organization for its violations, but a higher court overturned the decision, according to Huffington Post Arabic. Eight of the nine members of the group – all male and between the ages of 24 and 35 – will be prosecuted in the case, which does not yet have a scheduled hearing. When the real German police arrested the group in September 2014, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said “no one had the right to do the police’s work for them.The court that cancelled the previous decision upheld arguments raised by the prosecution’s lawyers, who said the group – known to don orange vests that say “Sharia police” on the back – violated “laws against wearing uniforms with political messages.”The Dusseldorf court said another law, intended to stop militant movements from operating in German streets, could also be applied to this case against the group. It said the “police” uniform signaled a “joint political opinion” for the group, which entails enforcing Sharia law in Germany.The court said the group resembles the “extremist” religious police present in many Islamic countries, without specifying which states it referred to. read more

Moroccos Net International Reserves Rise by 259 as of June 10

Rabat – Morocco’s net international reserves amounted to MAD 244.1 billion until June 10, 2016, recording a 25.9 percent increase on an annual basis, Bank Al-Maghrib said.During the week of June 9-15, 2016, the central bank injected MAD 6 billion.Over the course of this period, the interbank rate was at 2 percent, the central bank pointed out in its weekly indicators. During the same period, the dirham appreciated by 0.54 percent against the euro and depreciated by 0.84 percent against the dollar. read more

Struggling dairy farmers push for control of milk supply

JAY, Vt. — Some dairy farmers advocated Tuesday for controlling the supply of milk to increase prices as producers and officials discussed how to support the struggling industry at a two-day summit.Dairy farmers are in their fifth year of low milk prices. Vermont has lost more than 400 dairy farms since 2008, with the total dropping from 1,100 11 years ago to 694 last month. Wisconsin lost 691 dairy farms last year alone.“There is so much at stake if we don’t turn this around for our rural communities,” said Vermont Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts.About 240 people attended the summit in Jay, Vermont, including 125 farmers and the New York agriculture commissioner.The presentations from farmers and industry experts included how to run a dairy in a global market, how to diversify dairy operations, and how local dairies affect local economies.“They buy supplies,” said Tebbetts of the farmers, “they support stores, they’re on the fire department, they are the EMTs, they’re people who volunteering, they’re on select boards, school boards and when a farm leaves some of that goes away.”Some farmers created a petition seeking support for a national milk supply management program to disseminate at the conference.The details of the program have not been determined, but it would set a base level of production for each farm and create incentives for farmers not to overproduce, Kara O’Connor of the Wisconsin Farmers Union. That could be met with opposition since it could raise the price of milk for consumers — even if only a small amount.“We’re inviting people to consider whether consumers might pay a few cents more for a gallon of milk in exchange for saving hundreds of dairy farms per year and paying less in taxes for government dairy programs,” said O’Connor, who spoke at the event.Other groups suggested compensation for farmers for their environmental stewardship; educating consumers about farms, possibly through television segments featuring farmers talking about their operations; and subsidizing farms with tourism dollars.“We have a huge tourism industry,” said farmer Leon Corse. “We need to somehow take some of those tourism dollars to subsidize dairy to get us through this issue that we’re having now because if dairy dies in 20 years we’re going to wish that we had saved it because tourism is going to die, too.”___This story has been corrected to show that this is the fifth year of low milk prices.Lisa Rathke, The Associated Press read more

Spain to Strengthen Its Moroccan Consular Services to Overcome Visa Delays

Rabat –  The Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said in a press conference in Rabat yesterday that Spain is committed to strengthening its consular services in Morocco to face the growing demand for Schengen visas at Spanish consulates throughout the country.Borrell met with Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita in Rabat yesterday, as part of an international forum on strengthening Morocco’s ties with the European Union.Borrell recognized that the Spanish consular services were under pressure from the number of visa applications it received per year. “We are overwhelmed […]. This year we will receive 250,000 visa applications, which is an annual increase of 10% in recent years,” Borell said in a press release following the meeting.“We apologize to the Moroccan citizens for the delays,” he added, reported Moroccan newspaper Maghreb Associated Press.Read also: Schengen Visa: Spain Asks Moroccans for Appointment Fee in AdvanceHe assured that the Spanish consular services would do their best to overcome the delays in processing visa applications, adding that a new appointment request system would be set up to shorten delays.In mid-May of this year, Moroccans applying for a Schengen visa were facing up to six months of wait times for their visa appointments at Spanish consular services.At the meeting with the Moroccan Foreign Minister today, Borrell also emphasized the importance of Spain’s broader commercial relationship with Morocco.“For Spain, the relationship with Morocco is a State policy and is based on the commitment to build a global strategic partnership,” he said. read more

Nissan proposing more board members with Renaults Bollore

TOKYO — Nissan says it is proposing adding Renault’s chief executive, Thierry Bollore, to its board, as well as several outsiders, to strengthen its governance following the arrest of its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn.The Japanese automaker’s proposals announced Friday will be put to a shareholder vote at a meeting set for June.Nissan Motor Co. said it will retain Hiroto Saikawa as its chief executive. It also wants to add Sony Interactive Entertainment’s chairman, Andrew House, Nihon Michelin Tire’s chairman, Bernard Delmas, to the board.Nissan’s proposal calls for an 11-member board, including seven outside directors. The board now has eight members, including Jean-Dominique Senard, chairman at French alliance partner Renault SA, who was approved earlier this year.Ghosn is facing financial misconduct charges. He says he is innocent.The Associated Press read more