63 voting in sixth phase

first_imgNew Delhi: Sporadic violence in Bengal and allegations of malfunctioning electronic voting machines in Delhi marked the sixth round of the election, which took place for 59 seats across seven states. The overall turnout was 63.3 per cent.Elections were held in 14 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 10 seats in Haryana, eight constituencies each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, four in Jharkhand and seven seats in Delhi where votes were cast by a number of public figures, including President Ram Nath Kovind, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkWith Sunday’s polling, votes have already been cast in nearly 89 per cent of the 543 constituencies, while the last phase of voting will take place on May 19 for the remaining 59 seats. The Election Commission (EC) announced 63.3 per cent turnout across the states and Delhi, with West Bengal recording over 80 per cent polling and the national capital registering just 60 per cent. Union ministers Radha Mohan Singh, Harsh Vardhan and Maneka Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leaders Digvijay Singh, Jyotiraditya Scindia and Sheila Dikshit as also celebrity contestants Gautam Gambhir, Vijender Singh, Dinesh Lal Yadav ‘Nirahua’, Ravi Kishan and Hans Raj Hans were among several prominent faces in the fray. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygenDelhi saw a dip in its turnout from 65 per cent in 2014, despite a three-pronged contest between the BJP, Congress and AAP with several high profile candidates, while the EC also appeared despondent at the low polling figure even after its concerted efforts to draw the voters to polling booths. In the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh, 54 per cent polling was reported in 14 constituencies. SP president Akhilesh Yadav and Maneka Gandhi are in the fray in the state that sends 80 members to Lok Sabha. In Badohi, BJP MLA Dinanath Bhaskar and four others allegedly beat up a presiding officer in the Aurai assembly segment, accusing the official of deliberately slowing the polling process. In Azamgarh, Akhilesh is trying to retain his father and SP founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s seat against Bhojpuri film star ‘Nirahua’ of the BJP In Bihar, around 59.38 per cent turnout was recorded for the eight Lok Sabha seats. In Sheohar Lok Sabha constituency, a polling officer was killed at a booth in a freak incident of firing by a home guard before polling started. Haryana recorded around 66.30 per cent turnout in 10 Lok Sabha seats and officials said no untoward incident was reported and polling remained peaceful in the state. In Jharkhand, an estimated 64.46 per cent turnout was recorded for four Lok Sabha seat and officials said no untoward incident was reported. Madhya Pradesh, which recorded 59.96 per cent turnout, saw several heavyweights contesting the polls. In Bhopal, Congress veteran Digvijay Singh was locked in a battle with BJP candidate and 2008 Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur. Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is seeking re-election from Guna seat, is locked in a battle with BJP’s K P Yadav. Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his family members exercised their franchise at their native village Jait.last_img read more

Morocco 21YearOld Arrested for Internet Blackmail

Casablanca – Is Oued Zem, a city in Khouribga Province, becoming the capital of digital blackmailing? A 21-year-old man recently appeared in the court of Appeal of Khouribga after being accused of blackmail and extortion via the internet, according to daily Assabah’s issue for the weekend. The suspect allegedly has used pornographic videos to blackmail his foreign victims who come from countries as diverse as Sweden, Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. According to Assabah, the suspect was carrying a Smartphone when he was arrested. The content of the device allegedly unveiled his crimes. In it were found text messages exchanged with the victims.According to the suspect’s own testimony during police interrogations, he carefully chose his victims on the internet, especially on “hot chats” where he was pretending to be a sexy girl. He then incited his victims to undress and took the opportunity to film them.By doing so, the suspect managed to easily earn around MAD 60,000 ($7200) in a few weeks. In addition to his crimes on the internet, the suspect is also accused of corrupting a minor. what is more  alarming is that the arrested suspect is only one among innumerable young Moroccans who are currently engaging in similar criminal activities on the net. According to daily Al Akhbar, the Casablanca police went all the way to Oued Zem to arrest fourteen young people, aged 17-24 years old, who are involved in similar crimes.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Morocco Condemns Terrorist Attacks Against Denmark

Rabat – Morocco condemned, on Monday, the terrorist attacks that hit the Danish capital this past Saturday and expressed its solidarity with Denmark. The terrorist act, which targeted a cultural center and synagogue claimed the lives of two people and injured four.“Following the armed attack that targeted on Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, a cultural center and a synagogue in the Danish capital, killing two and injuring four, the Kingdom of Morocco expresses its condemnation of this terrorist act, extends its condolences and compassion to the families of the two victims and wishes swift recovery to the wounded, while expressing its solidarity with the Kingdom, government and people of Denmark,” said a statement by the ministry of foreign affairs. “The Kingdom of Morocco reiterates its rejection of all forms of terrorism and acts of violence linked to religious extremism, regardless of the motives and parties behind them, and calls again for the need to avoid stirring tensions about tolerant heavenly religions, offending religious beliefs and despising prophets and messengers,” it concluded. read more

Morocco Becomes Permanent Member of International Federation of Inventors Associations

Geneva – The Union of Moroccan inventors (UIM) has become a permanent member of the International Federation of Inventors Associations (IFIA).Morocco was chosen besides Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Tunisia and Pakistan during the latest meeting of the Executive Committee of the IFIA.Founded in 1968, IFIA is a worldwide nongovernmental organization of inventors’ associations and other inventors’ organizations aiming to connect, to support inventors internationally and to represent their common interests. Today, its membership belongs to more than 80 countries. Its mission is to disseminate knowledge of the innovation development and to promote inventive and entrepreneurial spirit.IFIA enjoys observer status at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as observer status (Special Category – Technology) at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).  IFIA is also a member of the Standing Advisory Committee before the European Patent Office (SACEPO). read more

One Dead 40 Injured in Road Accident in Morocco

Témara –A person was killed and forty others were wounded, ten seriously, in a road accident on Monday morning near the city of Témara, near Rabat.The accident took place at 5.00 a.m. when a bus coming from Agadir and bound for Rabat veered off course due to dense fog, local authorities said.The wounded were rushed to the Rabat Ibn Sina university hospital center to receive the necessary health care and an investigation was opened to shed light on the circumstances of this tragedy, they added. read more

Morocco Participates in SIAL Middle East 2016

Abu Dhabi – Morocco takes part in SIAL Middle East 2016, which opened Monday in Abu Dhabi.This three-day event, attended by 950 exhibitors, is expected to attract nearly 22,000 visitors, according to the organizers.The participation of Morocco for the fourth time at this exhibition is part of the guidelines outlined in the Morocco Green Plan, particularly those relating to solidarity-based agriculture. Known by the quality of its agricultural products, Morocco aims, through its participation in this event dedicated to the agrifood industry, to present the diversified and competitive nature of its products and to strengthen the presence of its agricultural offer in the markets of the Middle East.The Moroccan pavilion is spread over an area of 320 m². It houses 25 stands representing almost 110 cooperatives exhibiting nearly 300 products including saffron, Argan oil, Olive oil, prickly pears, honey and dates. read more

Attacker with Mental Disorders Flees After Stabbing Tetouan Traffic Cop

Rabat – A policeman on traffic duty was assaulted on Sunday evening in the northern city of Tetouan by an individual with a bladed weapon, according to a statement by the Moroccan national security agency.The General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) announced that the policeman had been attacked while performing his duties on a public road by an individual suffering from mental disorders.According to the DSGN, the suspect attacked the policeman from behind, leading the officer to use his gun. The policeman fired at the attacker, who was wounded in his shoulder but managed to escape arrest. The policeman suffered a serious injury and was transferred to a city hospital. His condition has relatively improved, according to the statement.A police investigation under the supervision of the general public prosecutor’s department is underway to establish the circumstances of the incident. read more

US In Danger Of Losing 2026 World Cup Bid To Morocco

Rabat – On June 13, one day before the official opening of the 2018 World Cup, the FIFA community will gather in Moscow to designate the host of the 2026 edition of football’s ultimate event, this time in a vote casting the voices of all national federations.Just a few months before this much-awaited vote, some American outlets have taken an interest in Morocco’s bid, surprised as they are that the lone North African bidder has tremendously succeeded in recent months to turn the odds in its favor, thus quelling the condescension that some observers and sports outlets initiated when Morocco first announced that it was considering challenging the North American Goliath-like trio.After ESPN and the New York Times, it is now USA Today most recently examined the surprising merits of Morocco’s candidacy. “What if the biggest and most painful upset in United States soccer history isn’t the loss in Trinidad and Tobago in October that cost it a World Cup place? What if it is still to come?” USA Today asked in a recent report, comparing the country’s painful loss to Russia and Qatar to Morocco’s rise in public opinion as a serious contender–and the favorite bid–of many national federations in the FIFA community.The outlet added: “If there is one thing that has made the American soccer community feel fractionally better about the men’s national team’s absence from this summer grand global tournament, it is the idea that hosting the event in 2026 is a lock. The problem is, that it isn’t. Not any longer.”This suggests that the North African “underdog bid,” as some outlets have been calling Morocco’s campaign, has not only dealt a serious blow to the confidence of the USA-Canada-Mexico trio; it has also convinced many in the footballing community that it could beat out North America’s “superior facilities and infrastructures.”An official of one the national federations in the FIFA community, who asked to speak anonymously, has been reported by USA Today as saying that Morocco’s bid is “smart” and “has an answer for everything.” For example, while the North American bid is exhibiting its huge stadiums and the massive media rights-related financial benefits that FIFA might receive should United 2026 win, Morocco has chosen to highlight prospective Morocco 2026 World Cup matches in touristic cities “with historical significance or natural beauty.” Morocco is “putting forward a more aesthetic and cultural spiel,” USA Today said.Considering Morocco’s more favorable viewer-friendly time zone, the Trump administration’s many globally unpopular politicking, and Africa’s important bloc vote leaning toward a second World Cup on the continent, “the tough times for American soccer may continue,” USA today concluded. read more

Atlas Lion Amine Harit Possibly Involved in Deadly Car Accident in

Rabat – Moroccan football player Amine Harit might be in serious trouble. Several local media outlets have reported that the Atlas Lion hit a pedestrian in Marrakech, Friday night, June 29, after racing a car with his teammate Faycal Fajr.  According to these sources, including local Kech 24 and international German media Sky Sports (which specifies not knowing the circumstances of the tragedy or the exact identity of the person who was driving the offending vehicle), Harit’s Mercedes struck a pedestrian, injuring him fatally, in a “hit and run” accident.Local news site Kech 24, which published pictures of the car crash, originally reported that it was Amine Harit’s 14-year-old brother who was driving Harit’s car. The driver was chased by locals, who called the authorities. In an updated version, Kech 24 said that it was Amine Harit who was driving and hit a young pedestrian who was trying to cross the street a few meters from the jurisdiction of Marrakech-Safi.The public prosecution ordered that the Moroccan player’s passport be kept and presented if he wanted to be released before the completion of the investigation. He denied that there was any car race at the time of the incident.The incident resulted in the death of the 28-year-old pedestrian after he arrived at the hospital by ambulance. read more

AP analysis Steel tariffs waived even with tough trade talk

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump talks tough on trade yet his administration granted hundreds of companies permission to import millions of tons of steel made in China, Japan and other countries without paying a hefty tariff.That’s according to an Associated Press analysis of applications for relief from the steel tariff that Trump put in place last year to protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs.The import tax waivers show how pliable his protectionist policies can be. Although China has been the principal target of Trump’s “America First” agenda, he’s also criticized Japan and allies in Europe.The U.S. Commerce Department approved exemption requests from 370 companies for up to 4.1 million tons of foreign steel. Roughly 8 per cent of the total is from China and close to 30 per cent is from Japan.Richard Lardner And Larry Fenn, The Associated Press read more

Morocco Should Stay Alert to John Boltons Influence with Trump

Washington D.C. – Less than a week after the roundtable held under the supervision of the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton announced the Trump administration’s plan to confront the threat that China and Russia pose to U.S. interests.Bolton said that the Trump administration wants to stop funding long-term UN peacekeeping operations that have failed to achieve their goals, including the UN peacekeeping mission to the Western Sahara, known as MINURSO.The U.S. official spent more than five minutes discussing the Western Sahara conflict and the failure of the MINURSO mission to reach its objective. Bolton stated that he was disappointed with MINURSO and the Security Council’s inability to resolve the conflict. He used the same language he had used in his memoir “Surrender is Not an Option”, published 10 years ago, in which he sharply criticized the UN’s failure to find a formula that could enable the parties to end the conflict.In his speech at an event hosted at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., Bolton said that the Trump administration would break with the UN’s reluctance to end the conflicts on the agenda of the Security Council.Presenting MINURSO as his “favorite” example of UN missions that have failed to accomplish their end goals, he said that the Security Council has lacked the strong political will needed to introduce a new approach and find a definitive solution to the conflict.According to Bolton, the U.S. emphasized last April the need to renew MINURSO’s mandate for just six months, in order to send a clear message to the parties involved in the conflict and to the Security Council: The U.S. will not allow the UN to continue to handle the conflict without setting clear objectives.Bolton’s tone and the attention he gave to the Western Sahara issue in his speech suggest that he will monitor the issue in the coming months and make sure he leaves his personal imprint on it. There is no doubt that that the United States will put more pressure on the Security Council and the parties to in the conflict to show genuine willingness and readiness to work in a spirit of compromise to reach a mutually acceptable political solution.Need for unprecedented mobilization Moroccan diplomacy should be mobilized more vigorously than ever and should work proactively to prevent any developments that might undermine the efforts Morocco has made in recent years to create a new dynamic that is oriented toward Moroccan interests.John Bolton will undoubtedly seek to accomplish what he failed to do when he was assistant to former UN envoy James Baker and when he served as U.S. ambassador to the UN from 2005 to 2006.In his memoir and on many other occasions, Bolton has made it clear that he was dissatisfied with the U.S. State Department’s bureaucracy, which prevented him from pressuring the parties to the conflict to find a final solution.As the national security adviser working closely with the president in his everyday work, Bolton now has the power and authority he had never before enjoyed to affect U.S. foreign policy orientations in ways that align with his own positions and principles.Bolton is known for having strong and opinionated positions and for his keenness to translate them into real action. Algeria knew that when it hired the public relations firm Keene Consulting owned by David Keene, who is close to Bolton. It was Bolton who drew Keene’s interest to Algeria and the Western Sahara issue 20 years ago.Because John Bolton and David Keene agree on the Western Sahara conflict, one can argue that Keene’s influence, ever since he engaged with Algeria on November 1, is paying off and has been apparent in Bolton’s overtone at the Heritage Foundation.It was striking that Bolton mentioned the referendum in his keynote address, while the Security Council has progressively put this option on the back burner since the beginning of the political process in 2007.This mirrors Algeria and Polisario’s attempt to bring the political process back to the beginning, and push the Security Council once again to recognize that self-determination, as understood by Algeria and Polisario, remains among the options on the table to end the conflict.Consequently, Morocco should act urgently to prevent Algeria from undermining the political process and distancing itself from any involvement in the conflict.Morocco should also reconsider the public relations firms it has hired in recent years and examine their ability to communicate the Moroccan position to U.S. officials. After Algeria made a deal with a close associate of the national security adviser, Morocco should consider hiring a company close to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.Bolton has significant influence within the administration, but Pompeo is also one of the executive’s most trusted cabinet members. Linking with the U.S. secretary of state would bring some balance within the Trump administration regarding Morocco. Pompeo could ensure that no decisions are made that could affect relations with Morocco.At this stage, Morocco does not need people who give compliments or repeat the timeworn fact that Morocco was the first country that recognized the independence of the United States. Morocco needs people who have influence within the Washington D.C. political establishment and who can convince the Trump administration to support Morocco’s political efforts and the concessions it has made since 2007 to pave the way towards a mutually acceptable political solution.Morocco needs to get closer to the U.S. Congress, in particular to the Senate where he has long been unable to convince American legislators of its position on the conflict.The months ahead will likely see unprecedented competition between Morocco and Algeria to garner the support of U.S. foreign policy establishment. How deftly and effectively each of the two countries seek to convince the U.S. government will play a determining role in defining the American position on the conflict next April when MINURSO’s mandate comes up for renewal.Samir Bennis is the co-founder of Morocco World News. You can follow him on Twitter @SamirBennis. read more

Who is Performing at This Years Jazzablanca Festival

Rabat – Casablanca’s renowned Jazzablanca festival is returning for the 14th year in a row from July 2-9. This year, the festival will feature 58 concerts across four stages and two venues. Thousands of visitors will flock to Casablanca, Morocco’s “white city,” for the iconic event.The 14th edition of the festival has 6 big headliners this year – including iconic Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand, who became stars with their 2004 hit “Take Me Out” on July 2. The band released their 5th album, “Always Ascending” in 2014.Next on the list of headliners is Tobagonian singer Calypso Rose on July 3. Since the 79-year-old singer started writing songs over 6 decades ago at age 15, she has released more than 800 songs and recorded more than 20 albums. Rose has earned herself the name “Queen of Calypso,” a rhythmic style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago. Next up is British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka on July 4. Kiwanuka earned fame after supporting Adele on her world tour in 2011, as well as releasing his own number one single and a certified gold album. Kiwanuka was born in London in 1987, to Ugandan parents who fled Idi Amin’s regime in the ’70s. He developed a love of rock music at a young age and cites musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Bill Withers as his influences.In a change of pace on July 5, English electronic group Metronomy is the 4th headliner on the list. The 5-person group is known for its new wave remixes of popular songs, in addition to their 5 original albums. Metronomy is known for their eclectic live performances, featuring dance routines and light shows.Next up, on July 6, is the Al McKay Allstars with their show the “Earth, Wind, and Fire Experience.” The 13-piece ensemble, headed by 71-year-old American funk star Al McKay, has performed their show at some of the biggest jazz festivals in the world since the 1960s.Continuing the theme of funk superstars on July 7, Maceo Parker will be the 6th headliner. Parker began his illustrious musical career in the 1960s when he started working alongside one of the pillars of funk music, James Brown, as a key part of his band. Since going solo in the 1990s, Parker has established himself as a funk icon in his own right.The annual Jazzablanca festival showcases jazz and jazz fusion, attracting musicians from around the globe to Morocco. Last year, crowds totaling 75,000 gathered for a week of festivities in Casablanca, attending concerts in the city’s streets, theaters, and at more intimate venues.Read also: Jazzablanca Festival Calls for Moroccan Performers read more

UAE Newspaper Israel is a Real Enemy

Rabat – Habib Al Sayegh, editor-in-chief of the UAE daily Al-Khaleej, has condemned all Arab invitations to visit Israel.In a recent editorial, he strongly denounced the suggestion of open relations with the “Zionist state.” He also denounced the justification of Israel’s actions against Palestinians and demanded the boycott of Israel’s advocates.Al-Khaleej is among the oldest newspapers in the UAE. It is published in Sharjah and has always referred to Israel as the “Zionist enemy.” In one article, Al Sayegh said that “voices rise here and there, rushing to Israel, aiming to visit and support it, expressing their sincerest signs of love and loyalty.” “Although we recognize that these voices are few and with limited impact, they are, as is apparent, increasing fast and perhaps the reason is us turning a blind eye,” Al Sayegh added.He also stressed how these voices should not be ignored or overlooked. He continued, “some have even taken shameful positions which no sane person would take.”Arab visits to IsraelLast July, the Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud visited Israel at the invitation of its Foreign Ministry. He was harassed and cursed at while visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City. A video of the incident shows a child spitting at Saud while others yelled at him to leave.Al Sayegh described Saud, “who called himself Saudi media” as miserable when he was expelled from old Jerusalem. For Al Sayegh, the blogger deserved what “Jerusalem Arabs did to him.”The UAE editor-in-chief has criticized a number of figures, such as Anwar Eshki, Saudi Intelligence General, and Abdul Hamid Al-Ghabin, a Saudi writer, who failed, despite great efforts, to promote visits to Israel.Eshki had stated, in May 2018, on BBC that “Palestinians are Saudis, we do not have to defend them… and Israel had never assaulted Saudi Arabia despite being suspected of being an enemy.”Al Sayegh also sharply attacked Kassab al-Otaibi, a former Saudi dissident, and described him as “the worst of all, who dared deny the sanctity and importance of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the importance of Jerusalem as the eternal capital Palestine.”He further wondered “who authorized the normalizers (those in favor of normalizing relations with Israel) to speak on behalf of everyone?” stating that “no one has the right to talk on behalf of all Saudis or people of the Gulf, and then choose whether Israel or Iran is the enemy.”“Israel is a real and natural enemy to us, as it is the enemy of our Palestinian brothers,” he affirmed.Al Sayegh continued, “Israel, which did not fire at us once, is the enemy all Arabs have been united against, even if just with their hearts, conscience, and speech, indifferent to the transformations of the world around them.”“Israel is the 1948 ‘Nakba’ (Palestinian exodus), the 1967 ‘Naksa’, the massacres of Bahr El-Baqar, Qana, Sabra, and Shatila. Israel is the thorn planted in our throats and the strange piece forcibly attached to us.”Al Sayegh concluded by saying, “we dislike Israel, the idea, the project, the danger, the impact, the fear, and the racist religious entity, and we do not want to visit it. We support our Palestinian brothers in Palestine and everywhere.”Israel and the Gulf countries According to The Times of Israel, “though Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE condemned Jerusalem for deadly Gaza clashes, relations have been quietly warming up.” The Israeli news outlet affirmed that despite Arab states resoundingly condemning the killing of more than 50 Palestinians in the Gaza protests of May 2018, “behind the scenes fears over Iran have divided Arab leaders, with some willing to quietly reach out to Israel.”In an article by TheNewsArab, Suzan Quitaz reported that “despite both countries’ (Israel and Saudi Arabia) efforts to keep their relationship as covert as possible, there are well-documented reports indicating extensive behind-the-scenes diplomatic and intelligence cooperation between the two countries, in quest of mutual goals.”In an interview Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave to The Atlantic Magazine in spring 2018, he stated: “there are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace, there would be a lot of interest between Israel and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).” More recently, at the ceremony held on May 14 to mark the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Jared Kushner said “from Israel to Jordan to Egypt to Saudi Arabia and beyond, many leaders are fighting to modernize their countries and create better lives for their people.”“In confronting common threats and in pursuit of common interests, previously unimaginable opportunities and alliances are emerging,” he added.According to The Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development, This week, the UAE participated in “Iniohos 2017,”a joint military exercise with the air forces of Greece, Italy, the United States, and Israel. The UAE also participated in the “Red Flag” exercise in Nevada.“The UAE’s collaboration with Israel goes beyond these multiparty training exercises,” says Mohamed Mohamed, Executive Director of The Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center.“In 2015, Israel established its first diplomatic mission in the UAE in order to represent itself at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is based in Abu Dhabi,” he continued. As the Gulf countries draw closer to the US, and therefore Israel, amid tension with Iran, the Al-Khaleej editorial is not the only voice to call for Arab support in Palestine. Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit also called on Arab countries to support the Palestinian Authority to overcome the stifling economic pressures facing the Palestinian government.Morocco’s positionDespite participating in the Manama conference on the US-led Middle East peace plan known as the “Deal of the Century”, Morocco maintained its “constant” position on the Palestinian cause. During Jared Kushner’s visit to Morocco on July 31, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita emphasized  that the country is steadfast in its stance to support the establishment of “an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.” read more

EU rules on Spanish cheese dispute involving Don Quixote

MADRID — Don Quixote’s role in Spanish cheese sales has merited a ruling by the European Union Court of Justice.The court issued its opinion in a Spanish case over the labelling of the country’s famous manchego cheese.The cheese is from Spain’s La Mancha, where the 17th-century novel “Don Quixote de La Mancha,” by Miguel de Cervantes, is set. Under EU law, only cheese from that region can be called “queso manchego.”But a producer in a different region used on its labels illustrations allegedly depicting Don Quixote, his skinny horse and countryside with windmills.The court said Thursday that such images can trigger associations with the protected product in a shopper’s mind. It didn’t say whether the images were unlawful, but told Spain’s Supreme Court that is hearing the case they might be.The Associated Press read more

Head Coach of Dutch Football Team Says Mohammed Ihattaren Cant Play

Rabat – Ronald Koeman, the head coach of the Oranje, the Dutch national football team, has just made plain his desire to do everything in his power to thwart Morocco’s quest to convince Mohammed Ihattaren to play for the Atlas Lions.Ihattaran, the 17-year-old PSV Eindhoven attacking midfielder whose stellar performances for club have sparked a strong interest from Morocco, his country of origin, and the Netherlands, his birth country, is currently at the center of a tense-looking feud between the two national teams.Both countries have recently called up the teenage player for upcoming matches. Morocco’s newly appointed head coach, Vahid Halilhodzic, has picked the PSV Eindhoven player for his list of pre-selected players for the Atlas Lions’ upcoming friendly games in September.For its part, the Netherlands called up the youngster for a spot in its youth squad for the Euro U21 qualifier game against Cyprus on September 10.Amid heightened debates about which side the young prodigy will pick, Koeman is seems confident that the youngster won’t be picking Morocco over the Netherlands. “Ihattaran cannot play for Morocco in September,” he said in an interview.More than a declaration of intent, the Dutch coach’s firm comments, which he made in a recent interview with Dutch outlet Studio Voetbal, came with the suggestion, as MWN previously reported, that the Dutch are in no mood to let go off Ihattaren.Koeman said just as much in the interview, promising that the paperwork will be made tough for Ihattaren should he decide to pick Morocco over the Netherlands.“In case Ihattaren chooses to play for Morocco, he will have to follow some procedures, including filling in a formal request declaring his intention to join Morocco.”The process Koeman describes has nothing to do with the FIFA regulations dictating a player of dual citizenship’s decision to pick between the two countries he is eligible to represent.The process of filling in a formal request is often the last resolve for a player at club level when his ambitions or well being do not dovetail with that of the club he happens to find himself at.This was the case with Brazil’s Philip Coutinho when he decided to leave Liverpool for Barcelona. It is also currently the case for Neymar, who has formally requested to leave France’s PSG for another European giant.But when it comes to choosing the country a player wishes to represent, the player has no obligation to notify the country he is ditching. As long as he has not played for a given country in an official FIFA game, a player is free to choose any national team he wishes to join.In his interview, Koeman, fully aware of the FIFA regulations, seemed to be exerting pressure on Ihattaren to make his final choice “sooner rather than later.” That comment is a direct, deliberate challenge to Ihattaren’s current position.When asked about Morocco’s interest in him in an interview last week, the teenage player suggested he needed time to think before making his decision. “I am much honored to have been preselected [by the Moroccan coach]. It is a beautiful feeling. But I will not make my decision now,” he said.Between a young and promising Dutch squad setting out to emulate, even revive the country’s past, glorious days and the reportedly well-known tendency among Moroccan parents in the Diaspora to convince their children to choose the fatherland, Ihattaren’s will be a tough choice to make.Meanwhile, for all his strong-willed declarations about making it hard for Ihattaren to choose the Lions over Oranje, Koeman seems to understand that, at the end, and regardless of his pressure, the final call will fully be the player’s—and his parents’.“In any case, the decision is entirely up to him and his parents. But he will have to make up his mind sooner rather than later,” said the Dutch coach. read more

Moroccan FM Saudi Security Is an Integral Part of Moroccan Stability

Rabat – Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has reiterated Morocco’s solidarity with Saudi Arabia after Yemeni Houthis attacked two Saudi oil facilities on September 14.In an interview published on September 26 in Sky News Arabia, Bourita said that the security and stability of Saudi Arabia is an integral part of Morocco’s own security and stability.The minister blamed Iran for the attack, emphasizing that Tehran “unfortunately has not ceased hostilities in the region.” He said that the international community’s past strategy for dealing with Iran made it feel that “it can continue such acts and that regional leadership means attacks and hostilities against the countries of the region.”Subsequently, the foreign minister called for the world to adopt a more effective approach to handle Iranian threats in the region.“The international community must be more effective because it is not an issue between Saudi Arabia and Iran but a threat to regional security that undermines international stability,” he said.Bourita also spoke about Iranian interference in the domestic affairs of several Arab and African countries. Morocco severed diplomatic ties with Iran in May 2018 over allegations of such interference.On May 1 last year, Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it would cut all diplomatic ties with Iran, saying Tehran supported the Polisario Front.The ministry accused Iran of training and arming the Polisario Front through its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah. Bourita has said in several interviews that Morocco has evidence proving Polisario-Hezbollah collusion.In his interview with Sky News Arabia, Bourita called on the international community to standardize its actions and discourse on hostile moves from Tehran.He also emphasized the need for “collective” action to resolve the crisis, including the issue of the nuclear agreement.Bourita’s statement on the attacks echoed a message from King Mohammed VI’s latest message to Saudi Arabia.Earlier this month, the King condemned the Houthi drone attacks ina letter to King Salman of Saudi Arabia.In his letter, the monarch said that the attacks undermine the security and stability of the world.“I assure you of the absolute solidarity of the kingdom of Morocco with Saudi Arabia and its unwavering support against any threat that undermines the country’s security and territorial integrity,” the King said. read more

Alaska borough residents face new heating pollution controls

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Residents of an Alaska borough who burn wood, coal and oil for heat face new air pollution control measures.The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Tuesday that the draft rules released by the state Tuesday are expected to result in additional bans on burning wood and coal in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, as well as higher fuel oil and electric bills.The rules still require the signature of Republican Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer in order to become law.Passage of the rules will require thousands of area homes to switch to No. 1 fuel oil beginning in July 2020, which will increase costs.Officials say the regulations proposed in the State Implementation Plan for air quality are intended to combat particulate pollution and required under the federal Clean Air Act.___Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.comThe Associated Press read more

UN tribunal transfers Bosnian Serb convicted over Srebrenica massacre to Finland

Momir Nikolić, 52, became the 26th person to be transferred by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which sits in The Hague in the Netherlands, to another European country to serve out the remainder of his custodial sentence. As a result of agreements signed by countries and the ICTY, men or women convicted by the Tribunal are now serving their sentence in Austria, Germany, Spain, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France and the United Kingdom. Mr. Nikolić pleaded guilty in May 2003 to one count of crimes against humanity (persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds) after prosecutors agreed to drop other charges and Mr. Nikolić agreed to testify in other trials at the ICTY. The trial chamber later sentenced him to 27 years’ jail, but the term was reduced on appeal in March last year. A teacher by profession, Mr. Nikolić was mobilized into the Bosnian Serb forces and rose to become the Assistant Commander for Security and Intelligence in its Bratunac Brigade by 1995. At his trial, the judges found that Mr. Nikolić attended three meetings at which Bosnian Serb military leaders determined the fate of Muslim civilians from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which had been previously declared a UN safe area. The enclave was overrun by the Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995 and at least 7,000 men and boys were murdered, while thousands of women and children were deported to other areas. The ICTY found that Mr. Nikolić recommended possible detention and execution sites, supervised some deportations and separations, and later coordinated the exhumation and reburial of Muslim bodies, this ensuring that key evidence was destroyed and many families still do not know the whereabouts of their murdered relatives. 11 April 2007A senior security and intelligence officer in the Bosnian Serb army who was sentenced to 20 years’ jail for his role in the 1995 massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica will serve the rest of his sentence in Finland after being transferred today by the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. read more

On World No Tobacco Day UN calls for stamping out smoking in

31 May 2007As World No Tobacco Day is celebrated today, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) called for stamping out smoking in the workplace to protect people from second-hand fumes. As World No Tobacco Day is celebrated today, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) called for stamping out smoking in the workplace to protect people from second-hand fumes.Tobacco is the second major cause of death worldwide, and it will kill half of the 650 million people who smoke regularly, the agency said. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of people who have never smoked die yearly from diseased caused by second-hand tobacco smoke.The theme of this year’s Day is “Smoke-free inside: Create and enjoy 100% smoke-free environments.”According to WHO, “neither ventilation nor filtration, alone or in combination, can reduce exposure levels of tobacco smoke indoors to levels that are considered acceptable, even in terms of odour, much less health effects.”The agency debunked myths pertaining to second-hand smoke, stressing that it kills and can also cause serious illnesses.“The right to clean air, free from tobacco smoke, is a human right,” the agency declared, underscoring how the majority of the world’s population – who are non-smokers – have the right to not be exposed to others’ smoke.WHO also pointed out that smoke-free environments help prevent people, including the young, from picking up the habit.World No Tobacco Day is being celebrated across the globe through events ranging from talks to art contests to film presentations.In Nantes, a city in western France, approximately 500 staff members of a hospital – including doctors, nurses and technicians – participated in a football tournament and will commit to not smoking during the work day and to help patients to kick the habit for good.To commemorate the Day in Mingora, Pakistan, lecturers, teachers, journalists, lawyers, traders, doctors, 200 college and school students rallied to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking.Meanwhile in Thailand, health professionals and volunteers held a running and jogging event to alert the public to the impact of tobacco on health. read more

UN health agency helps Uganda respond to case of deadly Marburg disease

At the Ugandan Government’s request the UN World Health Organization (WHO), along with partners in the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), will provide ongoing support in epidemiology, ecological studies, field communications, supplies and logistics, the agency said in a statement today.Containment and control measures implemented so far by the Health Ministry are in accordance with international best practice, it added.A 29-year-old man working in a mine in western Uganda was admitted to hospital on 7 July and died on 14 July, while the disease was confirmed by laboratory diagnosis on 30 July, WHO said.The man had had prolonged close contact with a 21-year-old co-worker with a similar illness to whom he had been providing care. The 21-year-old had developed symptoms on 27 June and was hospitalized with a haemorrhagic illness. He then recovered and was discharged on 9 July.The disease begins with severe diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and chest and lung pains, often leads to severe haemorrhage in the gastrointestinal tract and lungs. There are indications that close contact with bodily fluids of infected people, as in health care or burial, increases the risk of infection, but to date there have been no reported cases among health care workers in Uganda.The worst ever outbreak of Marburg, which occurs very rarely and appears to be geographically confined to a few countries in Africa, killed nearly 250 people in Angola in 2005.The disease, of the same family as Ebola, was first identified in 1967 during simultaneous outbreaks affecting laboratory workers in Marburg and Frankfurt, Germany, and in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. The outbreaks, which involved 31 cases and seven deaths, were subsequently linked to contact with infected monkeys imported from Uganda. 3 August 2007The United Nations health agency is helping the Government of Uganda in outbreak response and containment activities following a confirmed case of Marburg virus disease, a rare but highly fatal haemorrhagic illness with epidemic potential, but there is at present no indication of a need to restrict travel or trade with the East African country. read more