Mumbai: Actor Sidharth Malhotra, who has wrapped up shooting his upcoming film Jabriya Jodi, said the romantic comedy film is based on ‘Pakadwa Vivah’ (forced marriage), which is rampant in Bihar. On the basic premise of the film, Sidharth said: “It is a romantic comedy film based in Patna (Bihar). It revolves around the concept of Pakadwa Vivah. We have been shooting for this film since last year. We created a lot of things of Patna in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).” Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaHe is glad to have collaborated with Parineeti again after Hasee Toh Phasee. “I think I haven’t played this kind of role earlier in my career and for Pari (Parineeti Chopra) also, it’s a different world and different role. We are really excited for the film and that’s why we are celebrating with a wrap-up party of the film. The entire crew has worked really hard on this film and hopefully soon, in a month or two, we might release some content of the film,” the actor said. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod KhannaSidharth’s last released film Aiyaary didn’t fare well at the box office. Asked about the pressure he is feeling with the release of Jabariya Jodi, he said: “We are nervous with every film. We are as nervous and as excited with every film.” On the unique title of the film, the director said: “Since it is based on forced weddings that happen in Bihar and in Bihari language, forced means ‘jabariya’. So, that’s how we came up with the title of this film.” When Parineeti was asked if she faced any difficulty in learning Bihari for the film, she said: “I think the good thing was that our director knows that world really well and in his Hindi also, there is a little bit flavour of Patna. So, it was really easy for me and Sidharth (Malhotra) because we used to follow Prashant blindly.”
Madrid: Lionel Messi clinched an eighth La Liga title for Barcelona in 11 seasons on Saturday as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win at home to Levante. The Argentine star struck his league-leading 34th goal of the campaign after coming off the bench for the second half to help Barca wrap up the title with three games remaining. Barca hold a nine-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid, but the Catalans cannot be overtaken thanks to their superior head-to-head record. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuIf Messi can find four more in the three games left, it will be his best La Liga return since his 43 in 2015. His partner, Luis Suarez, has 21 and together, they have scored more than every team in the division except Real Madrid and Sevilla. It is Barca’s 26th league title and nudges them closer to Real Madrid’s record of 33 in Spain. “To win the title with a distance and gap is difficult with the rivals we have. We’ve done it two years in a row,” Barca coach Ernesto Valverde told Movistar. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai Masters”We’re happy and to see people enjoying it makes us proud. But we still have challenges ahead.” Valverde initially left Messi on the bench with Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool in mind, but he replaced Philippe Coutinho at the break at the Camp Nou. Coutinho and Luis Suarez pressed Levante goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez into action early on, the Brazilian coming closest to breaking the deadlock when his free-kick rattled the crossbar shortly before half-time. He was sacrificed for Messi though, and it proved an inspired decision as the Argentine swept in the winner on 62 minutes following a frantic scramble inside the Levante area. The visitors, not yet safe from the threat of relegation, responded and put Barca on the defensive but were denied a last-gasp equaliser when the ball hit the post and rolled into the grateful arms of Marc-Andre ter Stegen. “In the end he scored the goal. He always scores goals everywhere,” Valverde said of Messi, who celebrated winning his 10th league crown. Atletico had delayed Barca’s title party earlier in the day as they scraped past strugglers Real Valladolid 1-0 after surviving late VAR penalty drama. Joaquin Fernandez’s own goal put Atletico ahead midway through the second half, but they had to endure a nervy final few minutes in which Jan Oblak had to be at his best and they survived a late VAR check over what looked like a clear Santiago Arias handball in the area. “It’s controversial, a ball that hits the hand and the referee’s decision is to see if it’s voluntary or not,” said Saul Niguez, whose cross led to their fortunate winner. Diego Simeone’s side are nine points ahead of local rivals and reigning European champions Real Madrid, who travel to Rayo Vallecano on Sunday amid increasing speculation they will respond to a disappointing season by swooping for Eden Hazard and Neymar. “It’s what we deserve, no more, no less. We’ve come so far,” added Saul. “There were moments when we wanted to be first and others that I would say no, that’s what we deserve.” Valladolid meanwhile stay 17th, just one point and a place away from the relegation zone after a match they will feel they were unlucky to lose. Earlier on Saturday, Athletic Bilbao and Alaves did their chances of European football next season no favours with a 1-1 draw in the Basque Country. Seventh-placed Bilbao are five points away from the Champions league places — with Alaves a further three points back — and could also see Valencia and Sevilla take the Europa league further away from them when they take on Eibar and Girona.
New Delhi: The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has recommended the names of Heena Sidhu and Ankur Mittal for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Asian Games bronze medallist Heena, in 2013, became the first Indian pistol shooter to win a gold medal in an ISSF World Cup finals when she won the 10m Air Pistol event. The 29-year-old has also won a silver medal in the women’s 10m Air Pistol event, and a gold medal in the women’s 25m Air Pistol event. In 2014, she was conferred with the prestigious Arjuna Award. Ankur, on the other hand, had won a gold medal in Double Trap event at 2018 ISSF World Shooting Championships at Changwon, South Korea. He also won a silver medal at the 2017 World Championships. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuIn the 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, he won a bronze medal in the Double Trap Shooting (Men) event. Last year, he was conferred with the Arjuna Award. Earlier, shooters Abhinav Bindra, Anjali Bhagwat, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Vijay Kumar, Gagan Narang, Ronjan Sodhi and Jitu Rai had been conferred with the prestigious Khel Ratna Award. The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) on Monday recommended recently-crowned Asian Champion Bajrang Punia and last year’s Asian Games gold-medallist Vinesh Phogat for the country’s highest sporting honour — the Rajeev Khel Ratna award. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersBajrang and Vinesh’s names were sent by WFI owing to their remarkable performances in the last couple of years. “They (Bajrang and Vinesh) have been recommended for Khel Ratna by the WFI after both of them submitted their applications,” a WFI official confirmed. Besides, the NRAI has also recommended the names of Anjum Moudgil, Shahzar Rizvi and Om Prakash Mitharwal for the Arjuna Award while Jaspal Rana and Ronak Pandit have been recommended for the Dronacharya Award.
El Jadida, Morocco – The Moroccan Commission on National Dialogue & New Constitutional Prerogatives launches Program of “Virtual Consultation”.The Moroccan Commission on National Dialogue & New Constitutional Prerogatives for Civil Society Organizations of Moroccans Residing Abroad has launched a one-of-a-kind initiative that aims at encouraging dialogue among Moroccan citizens living abroad by engaging them in various lawmaking processes and constitutional reforms.Morocco is entering a new era of “participatory rule of law,” reflecting a great leap forward in legislating and lawmaking by engaging stakeholders via the Internet in the drafting and implementation processes for new laws. Moroccan citizens can participate virtually by filling out a questionnaire on-line that can be found on [www.hiwarmadani2013.ma.] The questionnaire is then e-mailed to [email@example.com.]All the findings gathered from the questionnaires will be reported to the National Commission to identify significant issues that need to be given high priority.Participants have a wide range of choices by which they can actively participate in the development of Morocco’s laws and policies. For instance, citizens can send draft legislation, submit petitions, and participate in the evaluation of public policies.Morocco counts on the growing number of Moroccans residing abroad to take part in the active implementation of Moroccan laws.Edited by Elisabeth Myers© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.
Laayoune – A Sahrawi family from the Tindouf camps, composed of six members, currently in Morocco as part of the exchange of family visits between the camps and the Moroccan southern provinces, decided to stay in the motherland and leave for good the said camps, fleeing the suffering endured by Moroccans held captive by the polisario militia on the Algerian territory.The family, made up of the father, mother and four kids, arrived to Laayoune on May 15 coming from the camps of Tindouf (south-western Algeria), as part of the family exchange visits program, brokered by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), local authorities said.During a meting on Tuesday at the Wilaya of Laayoune, the local authorities received this family and congratulated it for taking the choice of staying in Morocco for good. This choice shows the sincere will by families to join their motherland Morocco and flee torture and suffering in the said camps which is denounced by several international human rights organizations.
Tinejdad, Morocco- Muslims around the world celebrated the beginning of Ramadan last weekend, but some in China have been banned from fasting during the holy month, a religious duty that is the 4th pillar or obligation of Islam.The Chinese authorities on Wednesday imposed a ban on Muslim students, teachers, and civil servants in the northwestern province of Xinjiang from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.Following similar restrictions in previous years, the atheist Chinese ruling communist party has barred Muslims in Xinjiang, a mostly Muslim dominant region, from fasting during Ramadan. Home to many ethnic groups, Xinjiang is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China in the northwest of the country with a majority of its population followers of Islam.According to France Agence Presse (AFP), several government departments posted notices on their websites, “banning civil servants, students, and teachers in Xinjiang from taking part in Ramadan fasting.”“Civil servants and students cannot take part in fasting and other religious activities,”the Commercial Affairs Bureau of Turfan city said on its website on Monday, according to AFP. The same source added that the state-run Bozhou Radio and TV University said on its website that it would “enforce the ban on party members, teachers, and young people from taking part in Ramadan activities.”The spokesman for the exiled World Uygur Congress, Dilxadi Rexiti,warned that these “kinds of coercive measures, restricting the faith of Uygurs,”imposed by China,“will create more conflict.”“We call on China to ensure religious freedom for Uygurs and stop political repression of Ramadan,” he added.The Chinese government explained its action as part of its duty to ensure a healthy life for all its citizens. Others regard fasting as part of religious freedom, a fundamental human right guaranteed by constitutions worldwide.
Agadir- France’s Moroccan-born minister of Education Najat Vallaud Belkacem has been reportedly planning to file a formal legal complaint over a hoax letter that circulated widely on social media networks supposedly sent from her office urging French towns to offer weekly Arabic-language classes, according to media reports.The letter, complete with fake letterhead and signature, suggests that the minister demanded an official from the Direction des Services Départementaux de L’Education Nationale (DSDEN) to contact town halls to offer a voluntary hour per week to discover the Arabic language.“I strongly advise you to give the green light to this activity which aims at breaking down the linguistic barriers that our children could encounter in the near future,” reads the letter signed in the name of the Moroccan-born minister. Najat Vallaud Belkacem has been subject to harsh criticism from the French far-right for her Moroccan descent following her appointment as the first woman to hold the office of education minister.Weekly newspaper Minute described her as a “Moroccan Muslim” and her appointment a “provocation”.In its response regarding the letter, the ministry said that it does not fall within the Ministry’s preview to offer extra-curricular activities, as these are organized at a local level.The forgers made a series of errors, notably with the description of the ministry itself, which they called the “Ministry for National Education”, instead of the full title of “Ministry for National Education, Higher Education and Research,” the same source went on to add.
By Jonathan WalshRabat – The Independent, one of the most well-known British newspapers, will cease to exist in print format starting in March this year, and will continue only as an online service, the paper’s owner has said.In its prime 25 years ago, around 428,000 copies were being sold per day. Today that figures stands closer to 28,000. What does this mean for print journalism? Is it doomed to a slow, irreversible decline or is this simply a one-off? Can we still write balanced, informed news pieces and gain popularity, or are uninformative ‘shock’ headlines the only means of survival?Some more subdued commentators have claimed that all print media are destined to go the way of The Independent.Speaking on BBC the day before the move was confirmed, Independent co-founder Stepehen Glover claimed this was the beginning of the end for many print news outlets:“The Financial Times and the Guardian could also stop producing print editions within the next few years, and in 10 to 15 years there would not be very many printed newspapers,” he said.Journalism expert Brian Cathcart used his article in the Guardian to back up this view. “No one can say in what order it will happen, but it will happen to the most venerable titles, even to the top-selling Sun and Mail.”From a personal perspective, I believe the change has come around for three key reasons: time, cost and attention span.The Internet age has made the vast majority of people less willing to wait for services when they don’t necessarily need to. Why walk to the local newsstand to buy a newspaper when a potentially more updated version of events is already available online or on your phone?The cost of newspapers is also an avoidable expense. Currently, tabloid paper ‘The Sun’ is the biggest seller in Britain, and costs only 40p. The Independent, on the other hand, costs £1.60.Obviously the Sun can afford this, as the style of journalism they produce is less subtle, and subtlety doesn’t sell. The blatantly inflammatory ‘1 in 5 Muslims’ headline they printed in November of last year, claiming that 20 percent of Muslims sympathize with jihad, is a great example of this. The fear that this was true encouraged sales, as it made people feel unsafe, and they felt they needed to protect themselves. Obviously The Sun had to apologize, as it was revealed the accusation was false, but they knew that even before they published it.More serious news-oriented papers like The Independent cannot print that sort of headline. People would generally have to be interested in the paper before buying it. This makes their job more difficult.For the reasons of time and cost as I stated above, I can’t personally say I buy newspapers other than the occasional purchase of The Independent’s cheaper and more compact sister paper ‘The I’, though even with the same price of 40 pence this doesn’t achieve anywhere near the sales of the Sun. Does this mean that journalism can no longer exist unless it is dumbed down, and informed discussion is dead? Perhaps not.For me, online sources of information such as Twitter, alongside online news, generally popularize the sorts of discussions papers like The Independent encouraged, displaying opinions in new and varied ways.If the death of printed broadsheet journalism is nearly here as so many predict, it is important to see that their function of informing discussion has not become obsolete, but only the format in which they present it.
TORONTO — The Latest on Canada (all times local):12:30 p.m.Canada’s ambassador to China says his message to Chinese authorities is that it’s not in their interest to arrest people and use them as bargaining chips.Envoy John McCallum told reporters on Friday that his top priority is to win the release of two Canadians detained in China and to save the life of a third.China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor in an apparent relation for the arrest of top Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada on Dec 1. China also sentenced another Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, to death Monday in a sudden retrial of his drug-smuggling case.The arrest of Meng on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States has created a growing diplomatic rift between China and Canada. Meng is the chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of its founder.The U.S. wants her extradited to face charges that she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.___10 a.m.Canada’s public safety minister said Friday that the country won’t be deterred by Chinese pressure after China threatened reprisals if Huawei was banned from supplying equipment for 5G networks.There are accusations that the telecom giant is controlled by China’s ruling Communist Party or is required to facilitate Chinese spying. The U.S., Australia, Japan and other governments have imposed curbs on use of its technology.Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Canada has been abundantly clear it will not compromise national security.Goodale said: “It’s a difficult challenge but we’ll not be deterred by what we believe to be right and what we believe to be in the interests of Canada.”The Associated Press
By Safaa KasraouiRabat – Audrey Azoulay, the daughter of of royal advisor Andre Azoulay, is among the nine nominated names for Director-General of United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).The President of the UNESCO’s Executive Board, Michael Worbs officially announced the names of the nine candidates on March 16. Azoulay, born in 1972, is a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and the École Nationale d’Administration. She has, among others, worked at the general direction of media and was magistrate of the Court of Auditors.Four Arab candidates are also nominated for Director-General of UNESCO position, namely Veira El Khoury Lacoeuihe (Lebanon), Moushira Khattab (Egypt), Salah Al Hasnawi (Iraq) and Hamad Ibn Abdulaziz Al Kawari (Qatar).Three other Asian candidates are also competing for this position including Polad Bulbuloglu (Azerbaijan), Pham Sanh Chau (Vietnam), Qian Tang (China).Finally, the last nominated name for the same position is Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria from Latin America.The nine candidates will be interviewed during the 201st session of the Council on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 April.The Director-General of UNESCO will be appointed by the General Conference for a period of four years.
Toronto – China has instituted a ban on Muslim baby names in Xinjiang. The restriction will affect more than 10 million Muslim Uyghurs living in the heavily-militarized region.News of the ban came courtesy of a report from US-backed Radio Free Asia. Critics are calling it the latest in a growing number of restrictions being placed on the Uyghur population in what the government is calling a fight to stamp out “religious extremism.” Ugyhurs are the Muslim descendants of Silk road traders and have been established in the region for centuries.Islam, Quran, Saddam and Mecca are just a few of the names identified, although a full list of the banned monikers has yet to be published. The restriction also prohibits any reference to the star and crescent moon symbol. Any child bestowed a Muslim name at their birth will be denied a household registration, or “hukou.” Without this important document, the child will be denied social services including entry to public school.The Chinese government explained the decision by citing their concern that such names could “exaggerate religious fervor.” Uyghurs, on the other hand, are vigorously claiming discrimination and human rights groups agree.According to the Human Rights Watch China director, Sophie Richardson, “This is just the latest in a slew of new regulations restricting religious freedom in the name of ‘countering religious extremism.’”On April 1st of this year, the Chinese government also outlawed “abnormal” beards and veils in public places and imposed a punishment for anyone caught refusing to watch state television.Richardson called these restrictions “blatant violations” of internationally recognized, basic human rights protecting freedom of religious expression. “If the government is serious about bringing stability and harmony to the region as it claims,” she said, “it should roll back- not double down on- repressive policies.”Uyghurs aren’t the only people targeted by the bans. The government has also issued a “serious warning” to any government official deemed too lenient in his or her support for the restrictions.
Rabat – Morocco’s stocks are closing the month of May in the black. After losing 0.3 percent this Wednesday morning, the MASI Index managed to draw up its shares, closing the session with 11.577 points, and a gain of 0.36 percent.With a MAD 283 million in flux exchanges, the operators quoted at the Casablanca Stock Exchange are registering a greater increase in activity compared to yesterday.The best performers of the session on the Moroccan All Shares were Marsa Maroc, which rose by 0.56 percent, marking highest volume of the day with MAD 86 million. The company is pulling out its MAD 8 dividend tomorrow, June 1. Marsa Maroc is followed by LafargeHolcim, with MAD 31 million in volume and a symbolic increase of 0.05 percent.As for variations, Lydec is at the top of the charts at with a 4.35 percent increase, followed by Taqa Morocco with 3.17 percent, closing on a historic high dividend at MAD 845. At the bottom of the scale, we find IB Maroc and Centrale Danone with respective declines of 3.21 percent and 2.44 percent.Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Casablanca Stock Exchange by 20 to 10 and 13 ended unchanged.On the other hand, crude oil for the month of July’s delivery registered a 1.02 percent decline, down 0.51 points to USD 49.29 a barrel. The EUR/MAD balance was up 0.04 percent to MAD 10.9230, while USD/MAD fell by 0.03 percent to MAD 9.7750. The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.05 percent at 97.28.
Morocco has been hit with the global increases on fuel prices with both diesel and gasoline becoming more expensive. Featured prices at gas stations show that gasoline prices are about MAD 11.7 to 11.8 per liter, while diesel prices are estimated at MAD 10.5 to 10.7 per liter.ODPT Secretary General Mustapha Chaoune told Medias24 that transportation services are paralyzed across the country. He told the news outlet that taxis, passenger buses, and a few freight carriers are on strike in more than 70 provinces across Morocco.Chaoune called on the government to act and break its silence about the increase in fuel prices, which has a large impact on the cost of transportation.He added that “the cost of transportation depends 30 to 35 percent on the price of fuel.” On October 27, the Ministry of Equipment said it would organize a meeting in November between freight haulers and the supervisory ministry to examine diesel prices and its negative impact, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).Earlier this month, truck drivers went on strike over fuel prices. The strike, by drivers who transported fruit and vegetables to Casablanca, caused spikes in prices of fruit and vegetables.Moroccan newspaper Assabah reported that the supply of fruits and vegetables had decreased by 33 percent.The impact of rising oil prices globally has caused several rounds of tension in the past months.In June, the High Commissioner for Planning (HCP) recognized that fuel prices increased by 9.1 percent since their deregulation in 2016.HCP explained the increase in gasoline prices due to the international oil price rising.HCP said that fuel prices continued to rise, reaching MAD 10 per liter at the end of May 2018, compared to MAD 7 at the beginning of 2017.
Rabat – In her new television show, “Hello, Maroc!” American lawyer, MENA consultant, and religious scholar Courtney Erwin demonstrates her mastery of Modern Standard Arabic through storytelling that bridges her experiences between Morocco and the US.Featured on the television station Télémaroc, “Hello, Maroc!” is the first Moroccan television show written and hosted by an American woman in Fusha, or formal Arabic. In 10 episodes, Erwin, or “Coco,” as she’s called in the program, discusses subjects ranging from dreams to violence, gender to heroes. The most striking aspect of the show is its total focus on Erwin; she is the cast, narrator, subject, and oftentimes, the only person seen onscreen. Erwin’s day-to-day life is revealed in sweeping shots of her wanderings—pondering natural expanses and Arabic novels, buying vegetables in the souk, preparing soup in her kitchen. Erwin has worked across the Middle East and North Africa as an outspoken advocate for the universal right to education, spearheading interfaith, peacebuilding, and human rights endeavors. Erwin currently lives in Morocco, where she serves as the Senior Program Specialist at the Mohamedian League of Religious Scholars. She also recently launched an immersive cultural, educational, and spiritual program, Illuminated Tours Morocco, with Dr. Omid Safi of Duke University. Erwin sat down with MWN to discuss her experience studying Arabic, living in Morocco, and filming her first television program.How in the world did you come to write and star in an Arabic television program in Morocco? Erwin: [Laughs] My friend Chama Darchoul is a journalist who writes a column for Al Akhbar, a daily paper owned by Rachid Niny, who recently had launched [the TV channel] Télémaroc and was looking for content. We were talking one day, and Chama proposed the idea.She told me that it could be about anything. I would think of a topic, write out the concept in Arabic, work with my Arabic teacher to correct my mistakes, and then re-edit. It took a very long time. The shows are each about six minutes, but for that short time period, filming alone could take an entire day, while recording my voice-over would take over an hour.I always used the framework of stories because I believe that stories are what connect. So, I would start with a story in Morocco and then link it to the US (or vice versa). Then, I would tie in my lesson-learning from the story, linking the topic to larger themes of mutual recognition and solidarity, love, and acceptance across the two cultures.What are your hopes for the program, in terms of audience and impact?Erwin: The purpose for me is to be a bridge between the two cultures and tell the stories between the US and Morocco. If the audience here in Morocco can connect to the stories and see themselves in the stories, then I’m delighted. When I asked people what they liked about the show, they said that they liked seeing how I see Morocco. And also, how I see America from here. I enjoy “switching people’s shoes” so that they can experience moments that shift their perspectives.Also, I love Arabic so much, and I have spent so much of my life learning it. If I can motivate Moroccans and Americans alike to re-engage with Fusha, and think, “If she can do it, I can do it,” then that is wonderful. I hope I can serve as an example to show non-native speakers that they really can learn and understand formal Arabic.Now that you said “hello” to Morocco, are there other projects, cross-cultural or otherwise, that you have in mind?Erwin: This opportunity appeared because I was in the right place at the right time, and I had a friend with a cool idea who encouraged me to do something I never would have done otherwise, and I am unbelievably grateful to Chama, Rachid Niny, my film and audio crews, and Telemaroc for believing in me…Though I am not pursuing other series, two projects have emerged out of this project. For the first, I would like to, ideally, take these stories, add twenty or so to the collection, and then put them into a book in Arabic…Eventually, I’d love to send the collection to Arabic institutes to serve as fairly easy-to-read and cross-cultural stories for students of formal Arabic. I’m also currently working on another writing project of letters to my father that attempt to connect Islamic civilization to his world, which is the world of an older, more conservative gentleman raised in the Southern states in the US, who may not always have a positive impression of Islam or the MENA region. I’ve written about 13, so far. They are also thematic, and actually, the idea for the show is linked to that [project].Where would you say that you are right now in your Arabic language journey, and where would you like to go this year?Erwin: I think this is the first year that I feel less inhibited when speaking in Arabic, making mistakes and being okay with that. I study two hours every day, five days each week. I’ve been in Morocco for three years now…so, that’s a lot of hours. I recently asked my Arabic teacher, “When I’m speaking, what is the percentage breakdown of the accuracy of my speaking compared to my mistakes?” She said I was about 70 percent accurate and 30 percent inaccurate—like using the incorrect tense or preposition with a verb—but that will come with time… Right now, I’m reading novels and conducting formal correspondences in Arabic. I would say that I probably have 1-2 more years before I obtain a pretty solid level.And then?Erwin: I don’t know yet! I always want Arabic to be an essential part of my life. I anticipate living in Morocco for at least half of each year for the rest of my life. Before I moved to Morocco, I lived in Qatar, and it took at least three years before I felt like I understood the nuances of culture there. Personally, I don’t think that I can be effective as a liaison and “translator” across cultures, without living here. In my experience, a week or two every year in a place and reading a lot about it does not provide the same insights. I need to talk to people, eat together, laugh together, tell stories, open up about our dreams and struggles, and spend time in the community in order to understand the community, and allow them to understand me.Do you see yourself as a community builder in Morocco?Erwin: I find myself having conversations with my Moroccan friends, which they might not be able to have with other people due to the constraints of living in one’s own society. In that respect, I think I can help to open up conversations and create a safe space for exchange, and I like that. And that’s what Morocco is for me, as well. I am able to benefit from looking at my life and country in a different way. And rather than being a community builder here alone, I really try to bring the two communities together. For example, the “Hello, Morocco” episode on violence covers discussions of violence here and in the US and how each community sees the other. In this way, I hope to turn the mirror around and generate reflective conversations in society.Is there anything you would like to add?Erwin: We see a number of political tensions and cultural misunderstandings play out between the US and Arabic-speaking countries, and there are not enough non-native Arabic speakers in the US who speak Arabic really well. I should not be such an anomaly. The link between language and culture is so strong; there is no way I could have any understanding of a community without knowing the language. When is season two?Erwin: [Laughs] You’ve got season one. Like so many great HBO and Netflix shows: one season is all you get.
Rabat – Morocco’s investment committee has approved 68 draft agreements and amendments to investment agreements for MAD 57.65 billion.The investment committee held a meeting chaired by Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani on Tuesday, October 23, in Rabat.Morocco’s Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy said in a press briefing after the meeting that the agreements will generate 9,266 direct jobs, Maghreb Arab Press (Map) reported. The committee approved the agreements in two separate meetings, 48 agreements on January 10 and 20 agreements on Tuesday, Elalamy added.Elalamy gave details about the sectors the government will invest in and the forecasted job positions.The industrial sector will receive MAD 21.55 billion, transport and infrastructure MAD 10.91 billion, energy sector MAD 7.79 billion, and tourism MAD 5.98 billion.Elalamy predicts the industrial and tourism projects will create 2,850 jobs each, fishing and agri-food industry 2,038 jobs, and telecommunications 607 jobs.Read also: Morocco’s 2019 Finance Bill Increases Subsidy Fund by 35%Laayoune region receives lion’s shareThe Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region in Western Sahara took the lion’s share of the investment projects at 30 percent, with a total of MAD 17.18 billion, said Elalamy.The Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region received MAD 8.14 billion (14 percent) while the Casablanca-Settat region received MAD 8.07 billion (14 percent). The remaining MAD 11.95 billion (20 percent) of investment projects will be spread to some or all of the nine other regions.Elalamy believes that the new allocation will allow a “gradual” establishment of investment equity between the 12 administrative regions.Elalamy expects the investment projects will generate 2,815 direct jobs (30 percent) in Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra, 2,178 jobs in Rabat-Sale-Kenitra (23 percent), 2,052 jobs in (22 percent) in Casablanca-Settat, and 920 jobs (9 percent) in Marrakech-Safi.Elalamy explained that the state capital in the approved investment projects totaled MAD 36.29 billion (63 percent) while joint-ventures will fund 29 percent of the investment projects.In 2017 the committee approved a total of 51 draft agreements and amendments to the investment agreements, for a total amount of MAD 67 billion, which the government predicted would generate 6,777 direct jobs.Driss Jettou, head of the Court of Auditors, said Tuesday in Parliament, that public investments in 2017 amounted to MAD 188.3 billion, including an MAD 66.8 billion state contribution, an MAD 106 billion contribution by public companies and institutions, and an MAD 15.5 billion contribution by territorial communes.Read also: Benchaaboun: Privatization to Cut Deficit to 3.3% GDP in 2019Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Benchaaboun said Tuesday in a press conference, “The 2019 Finance Bill aims to stimulate a new dynamic in the investment and support business, through a set of measures and initiatives to consolidate ‘confidence’ of business and promote investment.”Benchaaboun indicated that “public investment is intended to be the ‘locomotive’ of the private sector since the 2019 Finance Bill allocated an overall budget of MAD 195 billion for public investment.”
CHISINAU, Moldova — Mouldovans have begun voting in parliamentary elections in the former Soviet republic, in a ballot that could deepen a split between pro-Western and pro-Russian forces.Sunday’s vote in the country wedged between Romania and Ukraine comes amid concerns about endemic corruption and the erosion of democracy. Parties need to win 6 per cent of the overall ballot to enter Parliament.More than 3 million voters are eligible to elect representatives for the next four years to the 101-seart legislature.The incumbent ruling alliance headed by the nominally pro-European Democratic Party has lost support over rampant corruption and falling living standards.The voting system has been changed in what critics say is a ploy to help the two main parties— the broadly pro-Russian Socialists and the Democrats— to carve up influence.The Associated Press
Rabat – In a press statement which EMB shared with Morocco World News, the institution expressed immense solidarity with the victim and “strongly” condemned the assault.“The EMB salutes the lady’s calling on youths to not succumb to the emotions” of helplessness if treated similarly and “to not respond to violence with violence,” EMB wrote.EMB said that it has faith in the Belgian authorities to bring the assailant to justice and condemns his act of violence. Read Also: Police Arrest 4 Planning to Attack New York’s Islamberg Muslim CommunityOn December 30, 2018, the Moroccan hijabi woman was walking down a street in Anderlecht with her daughter when a hooded man passed by and punched her in the face.The incident was caught in the street’s CCTV camera, and the footage went viral on the internet. The Belgian news outlet La Capitale reported that the victim is a 47-year-old woman named Fatiha, who is calling on Belgian authorities to find her attacker.While it was not yet confirmed whether the assault was rooted in Islamophobic malice, commenters deemed it “a shameful act of Islamophobia.”EMB represents the Muslim community in Belgium. It conducts trainings for imams (preachers), supervises local mosques, and takes care of Muslim public cemeteries.
In addition to Laura Prioul and another woman from Saint-Tropez in southern France, several other women declared to the “Sept A Huit” program on French television channel TF1 that Moroccan pop singer Saad Lamjarred had raped them. The Sept A Huit program dedicated a report, called “Saad Lamjarred, star and rapist?” to the singer’s rape scandals on Sunday.The report provided testimonials from Lamjarred’s first French plaintiff, Laura Prioul, who had agreed to speak up in an interview with the Sept A Huit. Prioul, who had already released online her version of the story in a video in 2016, told Sept A Huit that after she posted the video, other women contacted her, saying that they were also victims of Lamjarred, including “a Moroccan woman and an Algerian woman.”.Prioul said that she still continues to receive harsh and insulting messages ever since she posted the video.Read Also: To Boycott or Not to Boycott: How Saad Lamjarred Is Dividing MoroccansSept A Huit reported that its journalists received emails from women who said they were raped by the Moroccan star.Lamjarred’s Saint Tropez accuser, a young French seasonal worker, has declined to speak out about the rape to the media.The report stated that Lamjarred “has been shielded” by Moroccan authorities but still “lost many of his fans.” French news channel LCI described his rape cases as an instance of “omerta” in which there was a conspiracy to protect Lamjarred from facing justice, a circumstance his accusers have denounced.The 33-year-old singer, who has been in and out of jail several times since his first arrest for the sexual assault of Prioul, spent more than two months in southern France’s Draguignan prison, following his second arrest on rape charges last August 26.On December 5, the French judicial system released Lamjarred on probation after he paid a €150,000 bail bond.Following his release, many Moroccan celebrities congratulated Lamjarred through social media posts, welcoming him back. Lamjarred’s first rape accusation came in 2010 in New York. US prosecutors dropped the case when the plaintiff withdrew her testimony.
Rabat – The Moroccan Exporters Association (ASMEX) recently met US Department of Commerce Foreign Commercial Service Officer Nathalie Scharf in Casablanca.The meeting discussed possible future collaborations from a shared profitability perspective, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).“The free trade agreement between Morocco and the US has not been beneficial to Moroccan exporters, given the size of the US market and the complex procedures yet unfamiliar to Moroccan companies,” said ASMEX President Hassan Sentissi El Idrissi, quoted in the statement.“This agreement should be reviewed in such a way as to consider the reality of Moroccan [small and medium-sized enterprises],” he added.US exports to Morocco hiked since the FTA took effectScharf drew attention to the opportunities that the US now offers to Moroccan investors and exporters.She invited Moroccan exporters to join the Select USA Investment Summit in June 2019, an event that will host high-level participants to help establish business relationships and develop economic activities.Both sides proposed ideas to boost Moroccan exports to the US market. One option involves setting up a program to support and refer Moroccan exporters to major US clients.The two parties also jointly proposed signing a tripartite memorandum of understanding between ASMEX, the Moroccan Investment and Export Development Agency (AMDIE), and the US diplomatic representation for the Select USA program.The memorandum would mainly focus on supporting major Moroccan groups whose strategy is to do business in the US and throughout North and South America.The mission would involve organizing seminars to assist American investors in Africa and carrying out Moroccan-American economic missions to Africa, concluded the statement. Read also: Morocco’s Trade Deficit Widens as FDI Drops 2.7%Along with the growing presence of Moroccan businesses in sub-Saharan Africa came a number of tripartite opportunities involving the US.Earlier this month, Morocco and the US held the first session of the Africa working group under the Morocco-US Strategic Dialogue on Tuesday in Washington, D.C. Morocco is the first African country to hold such a meeting with the US.However, questions surrounding fair trade prompted Moroccan exporters to call for a review of the Morocco-US free trade agreement, signed in 2004. Last month, US President Donald Trump commented on Morocco opening its market to US poultry imports in August 2018. Morocco also agreed to allow imports of US beef in December.
VICTORIA — Get ready for higher gasoline prices and shortages in British Columbia and a supply surplus on the Prairies if Alberta Premier Jason Kenney uses a newly proclaimed law to restrict fuel exports to its western neighbour, say industry experts and court documents.“The one wild card factor that we really can’t predict is the political factor: would, in fact, the Alberta government actually put in effect, in practice, the curtailment of gasoline and diesel shipments from Alberta to the West Coast,” Michael Ervin, Kent Group Ltd., senior vice-president, said Thursday.The Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, the so-called turn-off-the taps law, was passed by the former Alberta government a year ago. Kenney’s United Conservatives proclaimed it as law this week and the threat to put the squeeze on B.C. is real, said Ervin, a petroleum market expert.“The possibility of that certainly changed, increased since Premier Kenney has been elected into office,” he said in a telephone interview from Sidney, B.C.Ervin said he expected gasoline prices in B.C. to jump by at least 10 cents per litre if Alberta started restricting fuel supplies. He said oil companies in Alberta may also feel the pinch because their B.C. customers will be cut off, creating a surplus there.The B.C. government immediately moved to have Alberta’s law declared unconstitutional with a legal challenge, claiming “the central purpose and legal effect of the act is to authorize and provide for discrimination against British Columbia in relation to exports of natural gas, crude oil and refined fuels.”An initial hearing is set for May 7 in Calgary.An affidavit filed alongside the statement of claim outlines B.C.’s dependence on Alberta fuel products and the potential impacts of cutbacks.“The threat of refined fuel supply shortages can have rapid price impacts,” Michael Rensing, a B.C. government energy expert, says in the document. He pointed to an anti-pipeline protest in July 2018, where demonstrators hung on lines from a bridge above Burrard Inlet in Vancouver. He said those actions had the potential to cause fuel shortages on Vancouver Island.“They advised me that if the supply of gasoline to Vancouver Island was interrupted for even 48 hours, that could affect the ability of retail gas stations there to remain open,” the affidavit says. “If the volume of refined fuels supplied to B.C. consumers through the Trans Mountain pipeline is significantly reduced, shortages of those products will likely occur.”Rensing’s affidavit says an explosion at an Enbridge natural gas pipeline near Prince George last October saw prices increase by 10 cents within 48 hours. The explosion did not disrupt natural gas supplies to the refinery near Vancouver but the possibility of shortages sent prices upwards, it says.Alberta supplies, directly or indirectly, more than 80 per cent of the gasoline and diesel used in B.C., says the affidavit.“Each day British Columbians consume between 70,000 and 85,000 barrels of gasoline, and between 55,000 and 70,000 barrels of diesel,” says the affidavit. “Approximately 55 per cent of B.C.’s gasoline and 71 per cent of its diesel is imported from Alberta refineries. The majority of these refined fuels are transported to B.C. through the Trans Mountain Pipeline.”Brian Ahearn, vice-president Western Canada for the Canadian Fuels Association, urged Alberta to take a cautious approach on fuel restrictions.“Because certainly the transportation fuels business is a very integrated business with respect to transportation of fuels between Alberta and B.C.,” said Ahearn. “We’re really hoping the government will look at other solutions, other options.”B.C. Premier John Horgan, who’s already facing daily calls to provide relief to $1.70 per litre gas prices in Metro Vancouver, called Alberta’s law regrettable and said the federal government needs to put more fuel in the pipeline.“We’re trying a whole range of factors to reduce costs on people and then the gas price thing comes whack in the middle of that and there’s very little control I have over that,” Horgan said.B.C. Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson said he isn’t buying Horgan’s statements about his inability to reduce gas prices. Wilkinson said Horgan can drop some of the estimated 35 cents per litre taxes on fuel prices in the Vancouver area.“It sounds like we’re being told to suck it up,” he said.B.C. Business Council president Greg D’Avignon said concerns about higher gas prices and fuel shortages are causing widespread concern.“That impacts business,” he said. “It impacts families. It impacts the government. It creates a real crisis.”He urged Kenny and Horgan to step back from the dispute and see the strong bonds between their provinces. “We’re the two most integrated economies in the country, on labour, on trade, on the movement of goods, on investment, and there are huge opportunities of things we could be doing to grow our economies, but the Trans Mountain expansion and this energy conflict is in the way of it,” said D’Avignon.The premiers need to find a solution, he said.“People forget that families, friends and companies move back and forth between Alberta and B.C. everyday,” D’Avignon said. “When B.C. gets a cold, Alberta gets sick and vice versa.” Kenny was in Ottawa Thursday testifying before the Senate’s energy committee about the bill overhauling environmental assessments. He told the committee that Bill C-69 violates Alberta’s constitutional right to regulate its natural resources.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press