Tamara Pimentel APTN National NewsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau promised his government would find a way to end boil water advisories on First Nations within the next 5 years.It’s an ambitious pledge – and is it possible?In the first of a 2 part series, Tamara Pimentel takes a close look at one Saskatchewan First Nation whose members are living with undrinkable water.They’ve had a boil water advisory for 10 years and people in the community fear for their health.See more on #water in our communities here: #DrinkingWatertpimentel@aptn.ca
Views of Trumps trade adviser carry the day at White House
WASHINGTON – In the squabbling Trump White House, no insider is ever above rebuke and no one blacklisted beyond redemption. Trade adviser Peter Navarro, once barred from sending private emails and spotted skulking in West Wing hallways, has emerged from the chaos ascendant.With his chief ideological rival, Gary Cohn, now headed for the exit, Navarro and his protectionist trade policies are taking centre stage as President Donald Trump prepares to impose the steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that Navarro has long championed.Navarro, a 68-year-old former economics professor whose ideas were once considered well outside the mainstream, joined the Trump campaign in 2016 after one of his books on China happened to catch the eye of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner during an internet search.From the presidential campaign, Navarro made the leap to the new administration to head a new White House National Trade Council. But he was quickly sidelined by chief of staff John Kelly and closely managed by former staff secretary Rob Porter.As alliances shifted and staffers departed, though, Navarro made his move, encouraging Trump to embrace a plan that many economists, lawmakers and White House aides warn could lead to a trade war and imperil U.S. economic gains. Trump signed a pair of proclamations Thursday imposing tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.The president and the combative Navarro share the same hard-line views on trade that were a centerpiece of Trump’s campaign. For decades, both men have accused China of unfair trade practices that have displaced American workers and hobbled the U.S. manufacturing base.“Peter speaks the same language as Trump does on these issues,” said Stephen Moore, a former Trump campaign adviser who is now a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation. “He and Trump agree on an America First policy when it comes to trade and other issues, so he has emerged as a policy force in this administration.”Like Stephen Miller on immigration, Navarro has now become the face of Trump’s trade plan. In interviews since Trump’s surprise promise to impose the sweeping tariffs, Navarro has forcefully defended his boss and minimized any potential negative impact on the U.S.“There’s negligible-to-nothing effects,” he said dismissively on CBS, later accusing the media of hyping prospects of a trade war.Navarro had limited contact with Trump world until early in the campaign, when Kushner was drawn to his book, “Death by China,” while researching China policy. Kushner reached out and Navarro quickly became an economic adviser.Despite his credentials as a Harvard Ph.D. and former professor at the University of California, Irvine, Navarro was less an academic focused on research than a master of controversy writing books such as “The Coming China Wars.” He has professed views that go further even than academic peers who see China’s emergence in the global economy as hurting many U.S. workers.“Trump has unconventional views on many issues. And here was an economist of some acclaim who was validating those positions,” Moore said.Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which represents steel makers, has known Navarro for more than a decade. He described Navarro as “someone who certainly speaks his mind and is not afraid to present ideas and data that are contrarian. And I think way more often than not, he makes a very persuasive case.”Persuasive to like-minded Trump, perhaps, but not to many free-trade-loving Republicans.“I think he’s wrong on a lot of things,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah, who opposes the tariffs.Under Trump’s plan, Canada and Mexico could be exempted from the tariffs based on the outcome of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, a move that could soften the tariff blow.But Navarro is still riding high.He’s been telling friends that he’s seeking Cohn’s National Economic Council director title, according to a person close to the White House who has spoken to Navarro — a move that could spark an exodus of Cohn allies, another person familiar with the thinking of other White House officials said.Early in Trump’s term, Navarro at first was outmanoeuvred by Cohn, the Goldman Sachs president-turned-Trump economic adviser.Cohn-Navarro discussions sometimes turned into shouting matches, occasionally in front of Trump.Navarro, excluded from Trump’s trip to Asia last fall, was sometimes seen walking the West Wing halls at night. In an especially personal blow, he was required to copy in Cohn on all his emails after being accused of trying to circumvent West Wing processes, according to two people familiar with the policy. They spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration roles.The White House regimen included a weekly trade policy meeting in the Roosevelt Room where aides with opposing views could talk through ideas to ensure recommendations brought to the president were fully vetted and legally sound. When Porter left, said one of the people, the process broke down and Navarro and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made their move.Asked on Fox whether he’d conducted “guerrilla warfare,” sneaking around the West Wing and trying to making an end-run around staffers, Navarro dismissed the narrative as a “cheap shot” spread by “all sorts of malicious” leakers.Others said Navarro had bided his time, keeping his head down, persistently building his case. He waited as tariff decision deadlines set by Ross ticked closer, and the White House turned its attention back to trade after deciding to table the divisive issue while it worked on health care and taxes.“For a long time, there were a lot of long knives out to get him,” said Paul, who served as a member of the White House Manufacturing Jobs Initiative before resigning last summer.In the end though, said Paul, “I think it’s pretty clear that the president is siding with the economic nationalists.”___Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Catherine Lucey, Zeke Miller and Alan Fram contributed to this report.___Follow Colvin on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj.
Suncor refinery restart to ease PetroCanada service station fuel outages
CALGARY – Suncor Energy Inc. says a fuel supply shortage that left some of its Petro-Canada stations in the four western provinces with no gasoline to pump should clear up in the next few days.Stations began running out of fuel about two weeks ago in Edmonton and Calgary, followed by some Petro-Canada outlets in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and B.C.Spokeswoman Nicole Fisher says Suncor’s 142,000 barrel-a-day Edmonton refinery was restarted last week after being shut down for regular spring maintenance and the company is working to resupply the stations.She says the shortage of gasoline and other fuels in Western Canada was made worse because other suppliers were also off line, preventing Petro-Canada stations from using alternative sources.She says she doesn’t know how many stations were without fuel supplies.Fisher says Suncor is apologizing to customers who were inconvenienced by the outages, adding the last time it had such severe shortfall was two years ago in the wake of the Fort McMurray wildfire.“As they ran out, we’ve been working to replenish but some of them haven’t been replenished,” she said. “We do know this is an inconvenience for our customers and we do apologize.”
IBM computer proves formidable against 2 human debaters
SAN FRANCISCO – An argumentative computer proved formidable against two human debaters as IBM gave its first public demonstration of new artificial intelligence technology it’s been working on for more than five years.The new skills show that computers are getting better at mastering human language and speech.The computer made its case for government-subsidized space research by pulling in evidence from its huge internal repository of newspapers, journals and other sources. After delivering opening arguments, the computer listened to a professional human debater’s counter-argument and spent four minutes rebutting it.The company unveiled its Project Debater in San Francisco on Monday. IBM selected possible topics based on whether they were debatable, but neither the computer nor the human debaters knew the topic in advance. Nonetheless, the computer championed the topic fiercely with just a few awkward gaps in reasoning.“Subsidizing space exploration is like investing in really good tires,” argued the computer system, its female voice embodied in a 5-foot-tall machine shaped like a monolith with TV screens on its sides. Such research would enrich the human mind, inspire young people and be a “very sound investment,” it said, making it more important even than good roads, schools or health care.After closing arguments it moved on to a second debate about telemedicine.An IBM research team based in Israel began working on the project not long after IBM’s Watson computer beat two human quizmasters on a “Jeopardy” challenge in 2011.But rather than just scanning a giant trove of data in search of factoids, IBM’s latest project taps into several more complex branches of AI. Search engine algorithms used by Google and Microsoft’s Bing use similar technology to digest and summarize written content and compose new paragraphs. Voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa rely on listening comprehension to answer questions posed by people. Google recently demonstrated an eerily human-like voice assistant that can call hair salons or restaurants to make appointments.But IBM says it’s breaking new ground by creating a system that tackles deeper human practices of rhetoric and analysis, and how they’re used to discuss big questions whose answers aren’t always clear.“If you think of the rules of debate, they’re far more open-ended than the rules of a board game,” said Ranit Aharonov, who manages the debater project.IBM doesn’t try to declare a winner of the debates, but Noa Ovadia, one of the human debaters, said the computer was a formidable opponent even if it made a few too many blanket statements about space exploration being the pinnacle of human achievement.Ovadia, a national debate champion in Israel, said she was impressed by its fluency in language and ability to construct sentences. She said the computer was able to “get to the bottom line of my arguments” and respond to them.Among several outside experts IBM invited to attend Project Debater’s debut was Chris Reed, who directs the Centre for Argument Technology at the University of Dundee in Scotland. Reed said he was impressed by its grasp of “procatalepsis” — a rhetorical technique that involves anticipating an opponent’s argument and preemptively rebutting it.As expected, the machine tends to be better than humans at bringing in numbers and other detailed supporting evidence. It’s also able to latch onto the most salient and attention-getting elements of an argument, and can even deliver some self-referential jokes about being a computer.But it lacks tact, researchers said. Sometimes the jokes don’t come out right. And on Monday, some of the sources it cited — such as a German official and an Arab sheikh — didn’t seem particularly germane.“Humans tend to be better at using more expressive language, more original language,” said Dario Gil, IBM’s vice-president of AI research. “They bring in their own personal experience as a way to illustrate the point. The machine doesn’t live in the real world or have a life that it’s able to tap into.”There are no immediate plans to turn Project Debater into a commercial product, but Gil said it could be useful in the future in helping lawyers or other human workers make informed decisions.
Petroleum analyst optimistic for the price of oil after government moves
CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The markets are now open and we will soon see if the Alberta government’s actions to cut oil production in the province will help with the price of oil.On Sunday, Rachel Notley announced an 8.7 per cent cutback on production across the province.Dan McTeague is a petroleum analyst.He believes whether or not the government made this move, there would be job losses.“For many companies, this may not be the outcome that they wanted, but spreading around the pain seems to be the only thing you could do with an environment where doing nothing would only lead to further catastrophe.”While this was certainly not the government’s first choice of action, McTeague believes it is the right course of action.“I think jobs would be affected either way,” he said. “We have to look at the absolute carnage in jobs that have taken place up to now. I think it’s short-term pain for long-term gain.”He notes the short term success on the markets will also be heavily impacted by some global moves.He sees the thawing of the trade war between the U.S. and China as a major factor.“There is also a likelihood that OPEC will cut back dramatically on production along with Russia.”
Dinnage pulls out of Premier League chief executive role
LONDON — The English Premier League says its new chief executive has pulled out of the job before even taking up the position.The league issued a statement on Sunday saying broadcasting executive Susanna Dinnage has changed her mind about succeeding Richard Scudamore in running the world’s richest soccer competition, despite being hired for the job in November.The statement said: “Despite her commitment to the Premier League in early November, Susanna Dinnage has now advised the Nominations Committee that she will not be taking up the position of Chief Executive.”The short statement gave no reason for the abrupt turnaround but said the search committee “has reconvened its search and is talking to candidates. There will be no further comment until an appointment is made.”Dinnage was set to become the most powerful female executive in global sports after agreeing to leave her role as global president of Discovery’s Animal Planet brand early next year to succeed Scudamore.In November, she described the role as “the pinnacle of professional sport and the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and inspirational organization is a great privilege.”___More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press
BC sending Forest Firefighters to help in Alberta
two hundred and thirty firefighters (consisting of 10 initial attack crews and 10 unit crews)three agency representativesa 19-person incident management teamfourteen supervisorsThe request for assistance was made through the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, which co-ordinates the mutual sharing of firefighting resources between B.C. and other jurisdictions. All associated costs are covered by the jurisdiction that requested the resources.Considering the current and forecasted fire situation in British Columbia, sufficient personnel and resources remain in the province to respond appropriately to any fire activity here. Crews can be deployed out-of-province for up to 19 days, but can be recalled at any time.The BC Wildfire Service recognizes the importance of sharing firefighting resources given the invaluable assistance Alberta has provided to B.C. during the last two wildfire seasons, which were the worst in the province’s history. KAMLOOPS, B.C. – The Province of B.C. will send 267 wildfire personnel to Alberta to help with firefighting efforts.Firefighters and support staff will start arriving on Wednesday and Thursday and will be deployed as needed in the Province.Of the people being sent, the majority will be firefighters which include the following:
Marrakech: fight at a VIP club between Moroccans and Saudis
Casablanca- There are times when too much excitement turns celebrations into chaotic battlefields. This is what happened in one of Marrakech’s glamorous nightclubs, where fistfights erupted between a group of Moroccans and some Saudi tourists during what was supposed to be a typical, cheerful celebration of New Year. According to Le360, a scuffle broke out between a group of Moroccans and some Saudi tourists on New Year’s Eve, at one of the red city’s VIP clubs. It all started like any typical celebration of New Year at a nightclub—drinks served, spectacular lights, music on, people chatting and dancing—until one of the Saudi tourists neared (a bit too much) a girl accompanying the group of Moroccans. A heated argument between one of the displeased Moroccans and the Saudi tourist abruptly turned into a fight, a bit too fierce for the club’s security to handle. To put an end to the chaos caused by the fight, the security managed to force some of the troublemakers out of the club.Having drunk excessively, one of the Saudi tourists who stayed inside made it rain bottles on the club’s clients, leaving behind a bath of broken glass and blood—more of a battlefield after a chaotic battle. Surely the worst way of ending a year!
Dubai sports channel bids to broadcast Morocco’s Football championship
Rabat– Dubai Sports officials announced their desire to buy the broadcast rights of some Albotola matches and Morocco’s Throne Cup.According to Al Massaa, Ali Khalifa Al-Ramthi, Dubai Channels group manager, wants to broadcast Albotola and throne cup on Dubai Sports.According to the same source, a significant number of Dubai sports viewers are from Morocco, and Ali Khalifa‘s attempt to broadcast Morocco’s football matches aims to increase the number of Moroccan viewers. Dubai Channels group manager met the National Television “SNRT” officials today in order to reach a final agreement that will entitle Dubai Sports to broadcast Moroccan football games for the 2014-2015 season.Edited by Jessica Rohan
Terrorism: two people brought before public prosecutor at Rabat appeal court
Rabat – The national judiciary police brought, on Thursday, before the public prosecutor at the Rabat appeal court two people sued in two terrorism-related cases.The first is sued for membership in a banned religious group and holding unauthorized public meetings with recidivism, a legal source said.The second is sued for forming a criminal gang to prepare and commit terrorist attacks and membership in a banned religious group. The two accused will be questioned by the examining magistrate in charge of terrorism affairs.
Morocco, US discuss ways to boost cooperation in field of energy
Rabat – Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment, Abdelkader Amara, held talks Monday in Rabat, with Ambassador of the United States of America in Morocco, Dwight L. Bush Sr., on ways to promote cooperation in the field of energy, including renewable energy.This meeting was an opportunity to discuss several topics including energy and ways to further promote the Moroccan-American cooperation in the energy field as well as the Free Trade agreement, Amara told the press.The two officials also discussed means to expand the prospects of this cooperation toward sub-Saharan countries, given the particular interest shown by HM King Mohammed VI and President Barack Obama toward the continent, he added, noting that Africa suffers from a shortage of equipment in terms of electrification and energy in general. In a similar statement, the American diplomat said he was “very happy” to be in Morocco, a “longtime friend,” deeming as “constructive” the talks with the Moroccan Minister.This meeting also discussed “the opportunities to work together,” Bush said, noting that they also focused on the commitment of His Majesty the King to expanding access to energy.
Morocco, Third Buyer of French Arms
Marrakech – French arms sales grew 30 percent worldwide in 2013 to net 6.3 billion euros, according to a report by RFI. With 585 million euros worth of purchases, Morocco was the third largest purchaser of French arms, after Saudi Arabia with 1.9 million euros, Singapore 651 million euros. This is welcome news to the French arms industry, which lost a bid to sell the French Rafale fighter for Morocco to the US, who supplied Morocco with 24 Block 52 F16s C in 2012 for $2.4 billion.The French arms industry compensated for the loss of the Rafale sale when Morocco purchased the aFrench and Italian joint mission Fremm Frigate. Named the Mohammed VI, the frigate is 142 meters long and weighs about 6,000 tons, according to Defense Industry Daily. They put the cost at about $710 million. The Mohammed VI was built by DCNS in the West of France, starting in 2008 and delivered to Morocco in January 2014. It is manned by 108 crew and officers. The Fremm class frigate has multi-role capabilities, including anti-ship and anti-air missiles and anti submarine warfare with torpedoes.According to the DCNS website, the Fremm frigate can take on several different types of missions, from escort duties to naval gunfire support. As part of a joint task force, a Fremm can accommodate a fleet operations staff and, with an excellent C4ISR capability, can direct warfare in one or several spheres.The Royal Moroccan Navy has also purchased three 98-meter SIGMA class frigates, which were constructed at the Damen yard in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. The frigates are now in service with the Moroccan navy.Given Morocco’s 3,500 km coastline on the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean and increasing security challenges, the development of state-of-the-art naval forces is a priority. Morocco has maintained close links with France and the US for defense purchases.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
House Of Representatives Adopts 2015 Draft Budget In Second Reading
Rabat – The house of representatives adopted, on Tuesday during a plenary session, by a majority and in second reading, the 2015 draft budget.The bill was adopted by a majority of 179 votes versus 75 against, with no abstentions.The 2015 draft budget is based on a growth rate of 4.4 pc, a budget deficit of 4.3 pc, an average oil price of 103 dollars per barrel, an exchange rate of 8.6 dirhams/dollar, a reduction of the balance of payments deficit to 6.7 pc and the creation of 22,000 jobs. The draft bill aims to improve the competitiveness of the national economy, promote private investment, speed up key structural reforms, implement regionalization, reduce social differences and boost employment.
Government Deliberation: A New Round Begins
Rabat – Since it has become obvious that the Istiqlal Party (IP) will potentially be excluded from the coalition government, Secretary General of the National Rally of Independents Party (RNI), Aziz Akhannouch has been quoted by Moroccan journalist saying that “Benkirane presented a proposal for [the RNI] to discuss it with its partners.”Following his meeting with Morocco’s appointed Head of Government on Wednesday morning, Akhannouch said, “It was an important meeting with Benkirane. There is an offer, which I will discuss with our partners, including the Popular Movement (MP) and the Constitutional Union Party.”Regarding the nature of the offer, Akhannouch declined to reveal any details saying instead, “I will disclose it within two days.” The meeting was part of Benkirane’s ongoing mission to form a coalition government and find a solution to resolve what has become commonly known to Moroccans as the “Government Blockage.”The Secretariat General of the Justice and Development party issued a “vague communiqué” Tuesday without revealing anything new regarding formation pertaining to the new government. Scores of Moroccan journalists gathered in front of the headquarters of the PJD, waiting for Benkirane to formally announce whether or not the Istiqlal Party (IP) will participate in the government along with other parties.Last Saturday, at the conclusion of the December 31st council meeting, Benkirane said that he was “waiting for the release of the official statement from the IP before announcing his final decision on the participation of this party in the coalition government.”He also refuted the statement of Akhannouch, saying that he is “the only one who sets a deadline for the announcement of the parties that will participate in the new government, not Akhannouch,”This declaration followed Benkirane’s latest meeting with Akhannouch on December 29th, after which Akhannouch told journalists, “Laenser and I tried to persuade Benkirane to change his opinion about including the IP in the government. Akhannouch continued, “Benkirane now has a deadline to think about whether or not to exclude the IP.”
Gaz Cylinder Explosion Kills 1, Injures 54 in Central Morocco
Ain Aouda (Skhirat-Témara) – A gas cylinder exploded on Monday inside a shop in the weekly market of Ain Aouda (Skhirat-Témara prefecture), killing one person and injuring 54 others, local authorities said.The victim, a woman, succumbed to her injuries after she was rushed to the hospital, while 54 other people were wounded and had multiple degree burns, said local authorities in the Skhirat-Témara prefecture.The injured were rushed to the Sidi Lahcen hospital in Témara and Rabat Avicenne hospital to receive the necessary health care, they added.
Markets Right Now: Strong earnings send US stocks higher
NEW YORK — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):____9:35 a.m.Stocks are opening broadly higher on Wall Street after several companies turned in results that were better than investors were expecting.Hilton Worldwide jumped 5.7 per cent early Wednesday after its earnings and revenue easily beat analysts’ forecasts.Global Payments also rose 2.4 per cent after reporting strong results.Groupon slumped 14.4 per cent after turning in a disappointing quarterly report card.The S&P 500 gained 12 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,756.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 129 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 25,555. The Nasdaq added 35 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 7,447.Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.71 per cent.The Associated Press
Government Urges Moroccans to End Boycott of Centrale Danone
Rabat – Six weeks into a major boycott of three prominent companies because of high prices, the government has officially expressed concerns about the “damaging consequences” of the campaign.The cabinet’s alert, however, has singled out multinational dairy company Centrale Danone, calling on citizens to avoid further damage to farmers and foreign investment in Morocco.The government published a statement on Thursday, saying that it has been following the boycott and Danone’s response, “which is characterized essentially by the decision of the concerned company to reduce its milk orders by 30%, with all its impact on farmers and the agricultural sector.” According to the statement, both Moroccan milk cooperatives and employees have called on the government to intervene.The government then emphasized that the boycott will negatively affect the 120,000 farmers who work for Centrale Danone and care for approximately 600,000 family members.Concerned about farmers or losing foreign investments?While addressing a humanitarian message to help farmers keep their jobs with the company, the government has also expressed fear of losing foreign investment which, according to the cabinet, will have a massive impact on the national economy.“The dairy sector is of great importance in the social and economic system of our country,” reads the statement.Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani also claimed to take a set of initiatives to “improve the purchasing power of citizens and to act with firmness in terms of control of the market and to fight against speculation and monopoly.”In its official statement, the government never mentioned the other boycotted companies: Afriquia gas and Sidi Ali.Why Centrale Danone?In 2014, the Centrale company, called “Centrale Laitière” at the time, allowed Danone to acquire more than 90.86 percent of its shares. Danone had a29.2 percent stake in 2001, and a 46.8 percent stake in 2013.The international giant considers Morocco one of its most important markets, making a turnover of MAD 6.6 billion annually, according to Metis Consulting.Since the launch of the boycott on April 20, Centrale Danone and Moroccan officials have attempted to convince boycotters that the company has not increased prices on its products since 2013.The same statements were echoed from one official to another. One of the first statements defending the company came from Morocco’s Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi, who accused people supporting the boycott of sharing fake statistics.El Khalfi also claimed that Centrale Danone is selling its products at reasonable prices. Minister of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid echoed the statement, recalling the consequences of the boycott on Moroccan farmers.“I am asking Moroccans, who have always been known for their wisdom and rationality, to suspend the boycott of milk.”In an interview with Moroccan television channel Al Oula, Minister of General Affairs and Governance Lahcen Daoudi pleaded that “more than 1,000 employees of this company are now homeless and cannot afford to feed their families during this month of Ramadan.”Daoudi also denied that the company has increased its prices since 2013, emphasizing that Centrale Danone sells its products at the same prices other companies do.According to Daoudi, Morocco is only a small market in Danone’s network. He claimed that the boycott may push the company to look for a more profitable market. “In 2017, we were the continent’s leading foreign direct investment hub. It is not at all sure it is the case this year.”Centrale Danone’s profit margin is ‘0.9%’Daoudi claimed that the company’s profit margin is only 0.9 percent, while others are netting 24 percent. “Again, if the company closes, it is thousands of breeders will end up without resources. It is the income and dignity of these people that we are undermining.”Boycotters, however, are not buying the statements that victimize Moroccan farmers. Instead, people supporting the campaign are encouraging farmers to sell their dairy products independently. Boycotters allege that farmers only make MAD 200 a week, but they could make more if they sold their milk by themselves.None of the officials mentioned having talks with Centrale Danone to lower its prices in order to calm the boycott storm.Boycott ‘without any reason’Daoudi said that the boycott is “without any reason,” and that the “instigators of this movement are playing with fire, especially since this is a sector, namely agriculture, which is vital to our economy and which needs the most encouragement and support.”Government and Centrale Danone officials have also claimed that some people are boycotting without even knowing what it is about.In a recent interview with Media24, General Director of the company Didier Lamblin said: “What concerns us is when we ask people who boycott why they do so, many say they do not know and they are just supporting the boycott.”The chief executive of Centrale Danone confessed that the impact of the boycott is “very significant” and has led to Danone stopping all donations to foundations and freezing investment and recruitment.
Moroccan Doctors Wear Black to Protest Healthcare Conditions
Rabat – Moroccan public sector doctors showed up to work on Wednesday wearing black to condemn working conditions in healthcare.After some doctors resigned en masse, and in response to a call by the Independent Union of Public Sector Doctors, Moroccan healthcare employees declared Wednesday a national day of mourning for the deplorable conditions in Moroccan healthcare. The doctors were also protesting the Ministry of Health’s lack of response to their concerns.Public health employees across Morocco—from Oujda, Tetouan, and Tangier in the north to Sale and Temara on the coast and Fez and Marrakech in the interior—put their usual white uniforms aside to protest an unsuitable working environment which they attribute to a lack of planning, poor governance, and insufficient funding. Zerhouni indicated that most health care facilities in Morocco lack the necessary equipment and infrastructure to meet the needs of Moroccan patients.In October, Moroccan doctors threatened to go overseas to seek better opportunities.The union issued a statement condemning the small percentage of the government’s budget dedicated to the health sector, the shutting down of many health centers,, the lack of infrastructure in many hospitals and health centers, and corruption and irregularities in many hospital centers across the country.
Utah family suffers extreme stalking through service calls
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah family has become the victim of extreme stalking involving unwanted service providers repeatedly being sent to their home.The Deseret News reported Friday that Walt Gilmore’s family in suburban Salt Lake City has been the target since August of a stalker using calls and texts to send a parade of people to the home for legitimate services and illegal activities.Gilmore says up to 20 people per day arrive saying they were called to provide electrical, plumbing and towing services, while others are seeking drugs.Authorities say the person responsible may be using a computer program making calls appear to originate from another number.Gilmore says they have taken out a civil injunction against the person they believe is responsible.Court records indicate the man lives in Hawaii.___Information from: Deseret News, http://www.deseretnews.comThe Associated Press
Venezuelan MP: Morocco’s Western Sahara Autonomy Plan Is Wise Initiative
Rabat – A Venezuelan MP on a working visit to Morocco has thrown his country’s weight behind Morocco’s Western Sahara position, praising Morocco’s Autonomy Plan for settling the territorial conflict.Francisco Sucre, president of the Venezuelan Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, said on Wednesday in Rabat that the international community should give more credit to Morocco’s efforts in finding a definitive end to the decades-long dispute in Western Sahara.“Morocco’s proposal, local autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, is a welcome and wise initiative,” Sucre said, referring to Morocco’s 2007 plan to solve the Western Sahara territorial dispute. The Autonomy Plan seeks to establish a platform of autonomous local governments under Morocco’s watch.For Morocco, the point is to grant Sahrawi locals full autonomy while making sure that they remain connected to their “historical motherland”: Morocco.Closeness with Juan GuaidoSucre, who is known to support opposition leader Juan Guaido, said that Venezuela will unconditionally support Morocco’s plan once the international community intervenes to end President Maduro’s “illegitimate rule.”Referring to Guaido’s stance on Morocco’s plan for Western Sahara, Sucre said, “This is the position that we will defend in international forums and at the UN once we are fully established in our rightful place in Venezuela, after an end is put to the grip of the current regime.”He showed appreciation for Morocco’s support for Guaido, explaining that Venezuela’s Parliament had designated the 35-year-old as interim president on the grounds of power vacancy.Sucre was roundly dismissive of President Nicolas Maduro’s regime. Maduro, he said, won elections that “were not transparent” and were rife with irregularities, including “mass imprisonment or exile of opposition leaders and an abstention rate that reached 82 percent.”Morocco said it would support Guaido’s work to fulfill the “aspirations” of the Venezuelan people shortly after he announced that Maduro’s rule was illegitimate and declared himself interim president.The international community has since been divided, with the EU-US axis calling for the end of the Maduro regime, and countries like Russia, China, and Turkey dismissing international pressure as “interference in Venezuela’s domestic affairs.”For Sucre, ousting Maduro will “save Venezuela’s democracy and benefit the world and the region.”Sucre’s comments come as Morocco takes part in the second Geneva roundtable along with other parties in the Western Sahara conflict.The routable started Thursday, March 21, and is scheduled to end Friday. The UN hopes that the two-day event will pave the way for building trust and brokering the necessary compromises to settle the Western Sahara political stalemate.In recent years, Morocco’s increasingly assertive diplomacy has succeeded in securing international support for its position in Western Sahara.In addition to the French and the US governments, a number of African and Latin American countries have lauded the Autonomy Plan. It however remains to be seen whether Rabat’s turn toward South-South cooperation and versatile diplomacy will eventually pay off as it wishes.