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FinTech hub now boasts of 25 units

first_imgKolkata: The FinTech hub in New Town that was founded by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in 2013, now has 25 units with land being allotted to a leading bank and a noted legal firm recently.”The South Indian Bank was allotted a 0.248 acre land while the noted legal firm has also been allocated the same area. With the Bengal Silicon Valley IT Hub close by and the wave generated by the judicial ecosystem with the first breakthrough ushered in by allotting a plot to the leading advocate and solicitor firm of the state, there has been a unique confluence of Financial-Legal-FinTech-IT Hub in the area,” a senior official of the state Information Technology & Electronics (IT&E) department said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe legal component was added to the FinTech hub in 2014, with setting up of the National Green Tribunal in the vicinity and later, the Calcutta High Court was given a 10 acre plot at the CBD (Commercial Business District), close to the Financial Hub centre. Anita Nandi Ray, Chief Representative India from the city of London’s India Office at Mumbai, joined a group of bankers, financial institutions, FinTech startups, Webel, Webel Technology Limited, HIDCO and PwC officials and senior officers of the IT department at a conference held in HIDCO Bhavan on Wednesday. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayRay appreciated the focus and synergy likely to be created with this unique confluence. She mentioned that with a full Brexit expected to take place in March 2019 or soon thereafter, UK’s Financial Services are showing interest in India with its large market, complex regulations requiring technological interventions to ensure compliance and advanced FinTech payments framework. Ray handed over three recent studies conducted on India-UK Payments landscape, India-UK InsureTech landscape and India-UK RegTech landscape. The IT officials informed that 100 acres of land in the Silicon Valley Hub has already been applied for and expression of interest has already been floated to allot another 27 plots covering an area of about 56 acres for the third phase of the hub. The plots will be allotted on a 99-year lease-hold basis.last_img read more


India conveys concerns to Pak over presence of Khalistani separatists on Kartarpur

first_imgNew Delhi: India on Friday summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner here and conveyed concerns over the presence of several Khalistani separatists in a committee appointed by Pakistan on the Kartarpur Corridor, sources said. India also asked Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah his country’s stand on on key proposals put forward by New Delhi at the last meeting held in Attari to discuss the modalities of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, they said. A Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement said it has been conveyed to the Paksitani side that the next meeting on the modalities of the corridor can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan’s response. The next round of talks were scheduled to be held on April 2 at Wagah border. In order to take forward the infrastructure development for the corridor in an expeditious manner, India has proposed to hold another meeting of technical experts in mid-April to resolve outstanding issues at the zero point agreed to at the last meeting, the statement said. The Indian government remains committed to realising the long pending demand of the Indian pilgrims to visit the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor in a safe, secure, smooth and easy manner, it said. India has asked Pakistan to allow pilgrims to travel on foot, if they wish. It also urged that another 10,000 pilgrims be allowed access on festivals like Baisakhi and Gurupurab. Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district. Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district. Two days later, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the corridor in Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.last_img read more


The Modi Years

first_img2014 August 15, 2014 PM’s first address to the nation: Speaking from Red Fort, Prime Minister Modi announced the launch of Jan Dhan Yojana, ensuring bank accounts for all Indians. He also officially declared the dismantling of Planning Commission and announced the establishment of a ‘new institution’ (NITI Aayog).October 2, 2014 Swachh Bharat: Launched on Gandhi Jayanti, it intended to build 90 million toilets in rural India at a projected cost of Rs 1.96 lakh crore. The government claims that 30 out of 32 states/Union Territories are ODF now, but there has been a stream of reports stating that the practice is still prevalent and built toilets are inadequately engineered. Also Read – Torpedoing Bengal20152015-2018 Mob Lynching: Mohammad Akhlaq was the first to fall and there seemed to be no stopping. Vigilante groups across the country spread fear in the name of protecting custom. After widespread condemnation, on July 17, 2018, a Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, termed incidents of mob-lynching in India as ‘horrendous acts of mobocracy’.2016November 8, 2016 Demonetisation: It was announced as an effective countermeasure to rampant corruption and penetration of black money into the economy. Poor implementation caused major disruption in the lives of ordinary citizens and black money flourishes unrestricted. Also Read – Educational model of coexistence2017February 15, 2017 India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) successfully managed to launch 104 satellites into space in a single go, a remarkable achievement by ISRO.July 1, 2017 GST roll out by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley caused a paradigm shift in India’s tax system. Hiccups in implementation though still persist.2018January 12, 2018 SC judges’ historic press conference: The judiciary displayed visible cracks when four senior-most judges called a press conference to voice discomfort with Chief Justic Dipak Misra in allocation of cases that could eventually hamper democratic fabric of the nation. March 11, 2018 The International Solar Alliance jointly launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron held its first meeting in New Delhi on March 11, 2018 to contribute to Paris Climate Agreement by actively promoting solar usage.March 6-12, 2018 Kisan March: In March 2018, 25,000 farmers marched from the city of Nashik to Mumbai to demand debt relief, minimum support prices and land rights. And, in late November, 20,000 farmers marched from Thane to Mumbai to demand drought compensation. On October 2, 2018, more than 30,000 farmers came knocking at the doors of India’s capital city, New Delhi.September 6, 2018 Abolition of Section 377 by Supreme Court received applause from across society. For the first time, India’s LGBTQ community will not be subject to harassment by law and police. Society though is yet to evolve.October 2018 CBI crisis: Infighting within CBI became ugly with corruption charges against No 1 and No 2 officers. On January 10, 2019, the selection panel officially removed Verma from his position.NOVEMBER 2018 Indiscriminate pellet gun firing in Kashmir injured a 19-month child who suffered eye injuries – this incident caught international attention and a renewed anger towards India’s inadequacy in Kashmir was realised. The widespread use of pellet guns against protesters in recent years has led to an estimated 3,000 people in the region sustaining eye injuries – locals call it a ‘dead eye epidemic’. 2019February 14, 2019 The Pulwama terror attack, where a truck loaded with explosives rammed into a CRPF convoy, leading to the death of 40 CRPF jawans, was mourned by whole of India. This was soon followed by the Balakot air strikes by India on Pakistan. March 27, 2019 Mission Shakti launched by India to test its A-SAT capacities in space was a success that lent India an entry into the elite club of space powers with proven access to such technology. India is only the fourth country to achieve this status.last_img read more


No hate comments if Modi had done tapasya Priyanka

first_imgNew Delhi: Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that if he had done ‘tapasya’, he would not have made such hate-filled comments. Interacting to reporters after casting her vote along with her husband, Robert Vadra, she said: “If he (Modi) had done even 50 hours of tapasya, he would not have made such hate-filled comments.” She was responding to a question over Modi’s comment in an interview where he said that it was 45 years of ‘tapasya’ (austerities), “not the Khan Market gang or Lutyen’s club” that had contributed to his image. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework The Congress General Secretary, who exercised her franchise at a polling booth in the Vidya Bhawan Mahavidyalaya in Lodhi Estate area, also claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would be ousted from power this time. Citizens of the country were not happy with the BJP government, especially in Uttar Pradesh, she said. “It’s clear that the BJP is losing the elections. I am hopeful that the results in Delhi will also be good,” she said. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen Slamming Modi for not speaking on the poll promises made during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, she said her party’s campaign was not negative as it was of the BJP. “We raked up real issues which were affecting the common people and spoke on their solutions while Modiji kept talking about things that were of no importance.” She also hit out at Modi for not responding to the questions posed by the opposition. “The Prime Minister does not reply to the questions posed at him. He should have answered on promises of giving Rs 15 lakh, providing two crore employments every year and also on the income of farmers. He also remaied silent on the challenge thrown by (Congress President) Rahulji (Gandhi) to debate on issues,” she added. Asked about her son Rehan, who did not come out to vote, she said: “He could not vote as he had gone to London for his exams.” During the nomination filing of her brother brother Rahul Gandhi from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, Rehan and his sibling Miraya were also seen during the road show. The voting on 59 seats across seven seats are underway in the sixth phase. The polling on all the seven seats in the national capital are also underway where the BJP, Congress and the AAP are in a triangular fight.last_img read more


Army seeks Defence Ministrys intervention for better ammo

first_imgNew Delhi: The Army has sought immediate intervention of the Defence Ministry to check rising cases of accidents involving battle tanks, artillery and air defence guns due to “poor quality” of ammunition being supplied to it by the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), official sources said.They said the Army has specifically raised the issue with Secretary (Defence Production) Ajay Kumar, saying poor quality of ammunition has been causing damage to a range of key weapons of the Army in the past few years, they said. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghFollowing the Army’s request, the defence ministry examined the issue and found that OFB has not been pro-active in improving quality of the ammunition to contain accidents caused by faulty ammunition, the sources said. The OFB operates 41 ordnance factories across the country and functions under the department of defence production of the ministry of defence. When contacted, the OFB said it supplies ammunition to Indian Army after through inspection by its Quality Control department Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA). Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadIt said all input material are tested in designated laboratories and a series of specific tests are conducted before ammunition is supplied to the Army. The Army also presented a report to the ministry listing incidents of accidents involving main guns of the T-72 and T-90 and the Arjun main battle tanks besides 105 mm Indian field guns, 105 mm light field guns, 130 mm MA1 medium guns and 40 mm L-70 air defence guns, primarily due to faulty ammunition, they said. The Army also cited a number of incidents in which army personnel were injured due to faulty ammunition. Sources said the Army was very serious about the issue and requested the defence ministry take appropriate initiatives to improve quality of ammunition being supplied to the force. OFB said it is “responsible for manufacturing and up to dispatch of ammunition and is not aware of the storage/ handling/ maintenance conditions at Army’s end which are equally responsible for defects/accidents.” “Unlike other products, ammunition is single-use item. For this reason, 100 per cent inspection including dynamic proof cannot be carried out. A principle of Statistical Quality Control (SQC) is employed for final acceptance of ammunition. SQC is inherently associated with both producer’s risk and customer’s risk,” it said. In September 2017, the Army’s long-range ultra-light (ULH) howitzer M-777 was damaged during a field trial in Pokhran and the US manufacturer as well as the Army had indicated that the gun exploded due to faulty ammunition. In August 2017, the defence ministry sacked 13 senior officers employed with ordnance factories after finding their overall performance “unsatisfactory”.last_img read more


SC seeks replies from Centre CBSE on plea for 10 quota in

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought responses from the Centre and CBSE on a plea seeking 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections in the Central Teacher Eligibility Test (CTET), 2019.Besides the Centre and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna also issued notice to the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) and asked them to respond to the petition by July 1, the next date of hearing. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe bench was hearing a plea filed by six petitioners, who are aspiring to participate in CTET 2019 and are seeking a direction that benefits of ‘The Constitution (103rd amendment) Act 2019’ be extended to those belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) of the society. The amendment Act took effect on January 16. Under the amended Act, the Centre has provided for a 10 per cent reservation to citizens from general category belonging to EWS, in addition to already existing reservation policy for benefit of other reserved categories such as Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Class and physically handicapped. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadDuring the hearing on Thursday, the lawyers appearing for the petitioners told the bench that since the amended Act has been passed by Parliament, its benefit must be given to persons from EWS. “If we will get this relaxation, we will qualify in the examination. The amendment is aimed for upliftment of the economically weaker section of the society,” the counsel said. The bench issued notice on the petition and said that it would be heard on July 1. At the fag end of hearing, the petitioner’s counsel said that the Centre may give suggestions on implementing the Act. To this, the bench said, “We are not saying anything on this. It is a policy and such decisions are taken by the government. Policy is not for us to decide. In policy decision we do not interfere unless we see any violation.” The petitioners told the apex court that CBSE published an advertisement on January 23, 2019 for conducting CTET in which benefit of 10 per cent reservation has not been given to EWS candidates. “The CBSE published advertisement dated January 23, 2019 for conducting CTET, 2019 in which this (reservation) benefit has not been given to economically weaker section and therefore the present writ petition is being filed to make sure that people covered under economically weaker section are given similar benefit like other reserved category (SC, ST and OBC) starting with CTET-2019 advertisement,” their plea has said.last_img read more


Western districts of Bengal to face intense heat spell for two days

first_imgKolkata: The Regional Meteorological Centre on Monday sounded heat wave alert for the Western districts of the state for the next couple of days.Apart from the Western districts, hot and humid conditions will prevail in various South Bengal districts as the mercury is set to rise in the coming days. Scattered rainfall is likely in some parts of South Bengal but such drizzles will not bring any considerable respite from the heat. Districts such as Nadia, Murshidabad, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah will witness high temperature. High humidity along with heat will add to the discomfort in the weather. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe temperature in the Western districts is likely to hover around 35 to 37 degree Celsius in the next 48 hours. RealFeel, which is a measure of the effect of the weather on the human skin, may be slightly higher due to high-level of humidity in the air. According to a senior official of the MeT office, the humidity may shoot up further in all the South Bengal districts. A heat wave situation will prevail in the Western districts such as Purulia, Bankura, Birbhum, West Burdwan, East Burdwan, West Midanpore, Jhargram and East Midnapore. The temperature in these districts may touch 42 degree Celsius. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”A high-humidity level coupled with soaring temperature will affect the lives of residents in South Bengal districts. However, there will be a drop in the temperature during night in the city. There is a possibility of occasional thundershower in the next few days in North Bengal districts,” a weather official said. The official further said: “There will be an intense heat spell in all the Western districts for at least two days. The situation is likely to improve during the weekend. There is a possibility of scattered rainfall in some parts of South Bengal during the evening. However, the rain will not continue for a long time.” Many of the roadside eateries in Esplanade downed their shutters on Monday afternoon due to the scorching heat. People stood in queues to have Lassi and fruit juices to keep themselves hydrated. Swapan Mondal, who runs a roadside food stall in Esplanade, said: “I decided to close the stall on Sunday due to the elections. But unlike other vendors I decided to open the stall on Monday braving the heat because I need to provide for my family and can’t afford to remain shut for two days,” Mondal said.last_img read more


Sina Arrested in Agadir for prostitution and drug possession

first_imgAgadir- Ibtissam, the young Moroccan girl known as “Sina”, was arrested in Agadir on Tuesday for prostitution charges and drug possession.Sina was caught in possession of drugs, according to police sources.Author of a controversial video clip posted on YouTube, “Sinaa” has recently built a notorious household name. According to police sources, the security forces broke into one of the furnished apartments in Agadir where Sinaa was immediately arrested.“Sina” will appear before the General Prosecutor in the coming days.“Sina” has created a sensation in recent weeks after the publication of a video posted on YouTube, where the girl appears singing in a suggestive way that was considered by many as “indecent.” The video, which went viral on YouTube and had reached more than a million viewers in less than a week, had sparked the wrath of a broad proportion of the Moroccan public opinion.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or or redistributedlast_img read more


Jazeera stages solidarity day with Egyptheld staff

first_imgDOHA – Al-Jazeera television on Thursday organised a “global day of action” in solidarity with its four journalists detained in Egypt over accusations of supporting the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.Dozens of staff of the Doha-based satellite news channel staged a five-minute gathering at the network’s headquarters.“It is not a crime to be a journalist,” read banners carried by Al-Jazeera staff, some of them with their mouth taped, an Al-Jazeera journalist told AFP. The channel said protests were held in other cities in support of the campaign.In Khartoum, around 100 Sudanese journalists and activists staged a silent vigil on a street near the office of the satellite channel, an AFP journalist reported.Al-Jazeera declared Thursday a “global day of action” in support of its staff and for media freedom in general.The detained Al-Jazeera staff in Egypt include Australian journalist Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian colleague Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and Baher Mohamed.They have been held since December in a case that has sparked an international outcry.Their trial began in a Cairo court last week, against the backdrop of strained ties between Cairo and Doha, which backed deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and his now-banned Muslim Brotherhood.Morsi was ousted by the army in July.The government has designated the Brotherhood a “terrorist organisation”, although the group denies involvement in a spate of bombings since Morsi’s overthrow.The three journalists are accused of supporting the Brotherhood and broadcasting false reports, charges denied by the television network.A fourth Al-Jazeera journalist, Abdullah al-Shami, has been held since August.last_img read more


Interior Minister Convinces MoroccanJewish Family not to Emigrate to Israel

Rabat – The Moroccan-Jewish couple who wanted to immigrate to Israel following their eviction from an apartment where they had lived for 46 years, have reportedly cancelled their plans to leave the country after receiving a call from the Interior Ministry, Mohammed Hassad, promising them to open an investigation on the subject.The Moroccan-Jewish Family, a man (rabbi) named Shalom Abdelhak and his wife Messody Wizman, (both in their eighties), were kicked out of their Casablanca apartment by what they have described as the “real estate mafia.”The flight of the old rabbi Shalom Abdelhak and his wife Messody was scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m., but it was finally cancelled after the Interior Minister requested them not to leave. According to media reports, the Interior Minister contacted the Moroccan Jewish couple on instructions of the head of government Abdelillah Benkirane.The Moroccan-Jewish Family has been staying for several days with their neighbor Messody Cohen, while their furniture were still kept in their former house.The couple and some of their Jewish neighbors posted a video on YouTube last month, calling on the King Mohammed VI to protect them from their landlord who was threatening to evict them from the apartment where they had lived for almost 50 years.In the video, Shalom said that he had been paying living in this apartment for over 46 years.Throughout this period, he said he had been paying his rent on a regular basis and never had any problems with the owners of the building. read more


Boughaleb El Attar SpanishSpeaking Journalist Becomes Moroccos First Ambassador to Cuba

Rabat – Boughaleb El Atar made history on Sunday when he was elected the first Moroccan ambassador to Cuba after almost four decades of severed ties between the two countriesThe Spanish-speaking journalist has over four decades of experience in journalism and literary and political writing including a  1981 book about the history of the Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla.El Atar’s appointment highlights a shift in Moroccan diplomacy over recent years, that has seen the kingdom extend its hand to its former foes and countries known for their strong support of the Polisario Front and its self-proclaimed Sahrawi Republic. The King and his family’s vacation to Cuba in April was highly symbolic given that in the country is one of Polisario’s staunchest supporters.Cuba has for decades been a strong ally of both Algeria and Polisario. In 1980 Morocco cut ties with Cuba when the latter recognized the separatist group.Shortly after the King’s visit, Morocco and Cuba’s United Nations representatives Omar Hilale and Aynansi Rodriguez Camejo signed an agreement in April to reestablish bilateral relations.The death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro was one of the reasons that prompted the kingdom to try to regain ties with the Caribbean nation. During the 1963 so-called “Sand War” between Morocco and the newly independent state Algeria when tension over the borders drawn by French colonization escalated into direct confrontation, Castro took the side of the latter. When he died in November 2016, Algeria announced eight days of mourning out of respect for the man Algerians saw as a friend and strong ally.The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations explained the move to be part of the kingdom’s new “proactive” foreign policy.This policy has so far proved fruitful, as King Mohammed VI this year managed to regain admission for Morocco to the African Union (AU) after 33 years of absence. Morocco originally left the AU in 1984 , after the so-called Sahrawi Republic was accepted as a member state.Morocco was eager to rejoin the union contain Polisarion inside the continental bloc , and finally did so at the end of January.The kingdom’s new foreign policy is also based on gradually building up strong relations with African countries from across the continent’s different regions, even those with former or current pro-Polisario stances.While it is too early to expect a dramatic change in Cuba’s position vis-à-vis the issue of Western Sahara, reestablishing relations is clearly a first step in Morocco’s attempts to gain a diplomatic foothold in a country that has long been one of Polisario’ strongholds. read more


King Mohammed VI to Spend Summer Holiday in Al Hoceima

Rabat – King Mohammed VI is expected to spend some days in Al Hoceima, the epicenter of months-long protests in the Rif, Moroccan news outlet Medias24 reported.The news website cited an official source which stated that the King will “probably” head to Al Hoceima to spend his usual summer holidays in a beach camp located in the city.The same sources added that military elements, “probably” the usual escort of the King, were seen heading to Al Hoceima on Saturday. While the visit seems to be mainly private, the website noted that the King is known for his surprise visits to places where he is not expected. If the visit goes forward, it will be the first time King Mohammed VI will have come to Al Hoceima since protests started in the city on October 28th last year following the death of local fishmonger Mouhcine Fikir.Since the beginning of the crisis, many, including members of the Hirak (the protest movement in Al Hoceima) have been calling for the King’s intervention to address the situation.During Throne Day last month, the monarch granted pardons for dozens of detained Hirak members. A far larger number of detainees, around 200 according to lawyers, remain in prison where they are being prosecuted on serious charges including “undermining the security of the state” and “undermining people’s loyalty to state institutions.”In his Throne Day speech on July 29, the King addressed the crisis of Al Hoceima head on for the first time.While he noted his appreciation for the security forces, he criticized public officials and political parties for dereliction of their duty to implement development projects in the region and for failing to represent their constituents, such that “law enforcement services have found themselves face to face with the citizens.”“What happened there could actually occur in any other region,” said the King.Edited by Elisabeth Myers read more


5th International Conference on Jerusalem Opens in Rabat

By Dana LegerRabat – At the opening of the Fifth International Conference on Jerusalem in Rabat, Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has delivered King Mohammed VI’s statement on the challenges in Jerusalem in light of recent developments. The conference, which opened Tuesday, June 26, is jointly hosted by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Morocco upholds Palestinian rightsThe King’s letter condemned the US’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem on May 14 and to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel. “The American decision is a step outside the bounds of international legitimacy; it undermines the frame of reference set by the relevant resolutions, diminishes the stature of the United Nations and puts security and stability at risk in the region and beyond.”The King pledged “Morocco’s full solidarity and its strong commitment to exert all possible efforts to rally international support to uphold the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to an independent State, with East Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital.”The letter said narrow-minded perceptions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, coupled with misleading ideas and actions, have intensified an already complex issue. A need for binding international resolutionsThe King went on to tell of the peaceful demonstrations of the Great March of Return at the Gaza border in which, “Israeli occupation forces reacted to them by firing live bullets directly at the demonstrators, killing dozens and wounding hundreds of unarmed Palestinian civilians.”King Mohammed VI concluded his letter with, “I believe Al-Quds needs greater rallying of diplomatic efforts to secure binding international resolutions that protect the city and safeguard its spiritual, cultural and legal character. It also needs action on the ground to promote development in social and humanitarian fields to help Palestinians resist policies of displacement, eviction and expulsion applied against them.”The opening was attended by Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestinian Minister of Public Works and Housing; Miroslav Jen?a, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs; Fodé Seck, representative of CEIRPP; and Samir Bakr, representative of OIC.The conference will continue until June 28 and is held under the theme “The Question of Jerusalem after 50 years of Occupation and 25 years of the Oslo Accords.” In the following days, the event will include discussions from Palestinian, Israeli, and international experts on East Jerusalem. It will also provide a platform for youth from East Jerusalem to voice their concerns to the international community and for participants to identify actionable solutions to the challenges confronting the youth. read more


Moroccos Mehdi Benatia Linked with a Move to FC Barcelona

The Juventus player has been linked with a move to join Leo Messi’s team as Barcelona is looking to reinforce its defensive line.According to Mundo Deportivo, Napoli’s Raul Albiol and Lokomotiv Moscow’s Benedikt Howedes and Vedran Corluka are all included in Barcelona’s shortlist.Benatia, who is also the captain of the Moroccan national team, has already attracted the interest of big clubs, including l’Olympique Marseille, Arsenal, and AC Milan. Benatia, 31, has spent most of his career in Italy, where he has played for Udinese, AS Roma, and Juventus. He joined the Old Lady on loan from German football giant Bayern Munich in 2016. After his one-year season with Juventus, the Italian football giant converted Benatia’s loan to a permanent deal. In 2017 Juventus signed the Moroccan player with a three-year deal worth €17 million.Earlier this year, France Football voted Benatia best Maghreb player in 2017, ahead of Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez and Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech. read more


The Latest GOP lawmakers ask high court to rule on laws

LANSING, Mich. — The Latest on Michigan’s new minimum wage and paid sick time laws (all times local):2:55 p.m.Republican lawmakers are asking the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of their unprecedented strategy to preemptively approve citizen-initiated minimum wage increases and paid sick leave requirements and then water down the laws after the election.The move Wednesday comes a week after a Democratic senator requested Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel’s legal opinion on the manoeuvr. If she determines that the tactic was illegal, the more generous minimum wage and earned sick day laws could take effect March 28, though a lawsuit would likely be filed.It is rare for the high court to issue an advisory opinion, which could pre-empt any court challenge against the laws.Republicans say getting a high court opinion soon would avoid lengthy litigation and clear up the matter for businesses and workers.___10:25 a.m.The Republican-led Michigan Senate is asking the state Supreme Court to rule on the legality of an unprecedented manoeuvr by which citizen-initiated minimum wage and paid sick leave laws were watered down.The Senate on Wednesday sought an advisory opinion from the justices, an attempt to bypass what could be lengthy litigation. The move comes after a Democratic senator asked Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel to advise whether the strategy was constitutional.To prevent the measures from going to the electorate in November, after which they would have been much harder to change if voters had passed them, Republicans legislators preemptively approved them so they could be pared back with simple majority votes and the signature of then-Gov. Rick Snyder.The minimum wage and leave laws take effect next month.The Associated Press read more


Powell tells Congress Fed closely monitoring potential risks

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is delivering his second day of testimony to Congress, this time to the House Banking Committee, now controlled by Democrats.Powell is facing questions from committee members about whether moves to loosen banking regulations could put the financial system at risk. President Donald Trump has made government deregulation a key part of his economic program and has nominated officials to the Fed to push that agenda.Powell’s prepared testimony to the committee is identical to the testimony he delivered Tuesday before the Senate Banking Committee. In it, he says that the Fed intends to take a “patient approach” in determining future hikes to its benchmark interest rate and will be closely watching risks to the economy such as a slowdown in global growth.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press read more


Despite Alleged Sexual Assaults Spain Remains Attached to Moroccan Seasonal Farmers

Rabat – According to El Norte de Castilla, the province of Segovia, northwest of Madrid will offer 268 contract to Moroccan seasonal farmers, who have moved to Spainfor the harvest season.The news outlet reported that the number of Moroccan seasonal workers in Spain reached 20,000, representing an increase of 35 compared to last year.The news outlet added that the workers started arriving in Spain for the campaign in February. The recruitment of Moroccan seasonal workers comes amid sexual assault allegations filed by some farmers in Huelva. The allegations date back to 2018, when a group of Moroccan female seasonal workers filed complaints against managers for allegedsexual abuse in Huelva, Spain.In May, the Provincial Court of Huelva ordered the reopening of the case after closing in it December 2018, without the judge hearing the testimonies of the complainants.In a new documentary aired on Salvados, Moroccan women who worked as seasonal migrants described the conditions they work in. In the interviews, Moroccan women condemned overcrowded living conditions, sexual abuse, and long, irregular hours. In response to the complaints, Morocco’s Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Moroccans Living Abroad and Immigration Affairs signed an agreement to monitor the situation of the Moroccan farmers in Spain.The agreement put in place a joint commission with Spanish authorities to organize visits to the Spanish farms to examine working conditions. read more


Top UN management official outlines priorities stresses highest standards of integrity

5 March 2007Describing the United Nations Department of Management as the “backbone” of the world body, the top UN management official today outlined her priorities for the coming year, namely implementing reforms to improve the organization’s efficiency and accountability, as she also stressed the need to maintain the highest standards of integrity. Under-Secretary-General for Management Alicia Bárcena, who has now been in the post for two months, also told reporters that 98 per cent of those UN staff required to disclose their financial assets under the Ethics Office’s Financial Disclosure Programme have already done so, while the remaining two per cent would have their contracts terminated if they failed to comply. This initiative is also aimed at greater accountability.“The Member States have given us a big amount of tasks already since last year…they approved quite a lot of reforms and that’s why one of the main things that we have to do is implement them. So the major focus of my work at least for this year will be basically implementation,” said Ms. Bárcena at UN Headquarters in New York.“And one of these priorities…is how do we keep the highest possible standards of integrity, ethics, transparency, conduct in this organization, that’s the number one priority for everyone and for that we have to do so many things, from the internal justice system that we are discussing now…the other element of this implementation of the reform is all the area of accountability…how do we become better in terms of accountability?”She emphasized the importance of the Ethics Office, noting also its training role, and also added that new senior managers who come to the UN – including herself – will have to sign an agreement with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, outlining their commitments and roles so that people can measure their performances. She said these would also be made public.Submitting timely budgets and budget proposals is also key for her Department, she said, while also highlighting progress made on the Capital Master Plan, which is aimed at renovating the world body’s New York Headquarters, buildings that for the most part were completed in the early 1950s.Turning to human resources management reforms, she stressed the priority of improving the “administration of justice,” noting that the system currently operating was designed in 1945 for 1,000 or so people, but now there are 55,000 staff. Ms. Bárcena also spoke about the Secretary-General’s emphasis on staff mobility, adding her Department was looking into this.“We know that there are two elements that we need to ensure good mobility, and that is, the conditions of service have to be more or less homogenous so people can really move from one place to the other. And of course, the harmonization of contracts, and that’s a problem that we still have and we hope the Member States will make good decisions…[on this] in the General Assembly.”Further, she said her Department was working closely to assist in the debate with Member States regarding the realignment of peacekeeping operations as proposed by Mr. Ban, and it was also close to hiring a chief to head the information technology office at the UN. read more


With typhoon compounding flood damage in DPR Korea UN steps up relief

25 September 2007With rainstorms and strong winds from last week’s Typhoon Wipha compounding the woes of hundreds of thousands of North Koreans already suffering from August’s floods, United Nations agencies are pre-positioning food for a new distribution and appealing to donors to make up a huge funding shortfall. The floods are reported to have affected close to 1 million people and displaced nearly 170,000 across flood-affected provinces in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), killing 454 people with 156 still missing and over 4,351 injured. The DPRK’s Central Bureau of Statistics reports that some 40,463 houses were destroyed, 133,732 houses submerged and 67,056 badly damaged. In addition, over 8,000 public buildings were destroyed or badly damaged, including thousands of schools and hospitals. At least 10 per cent of the total agricultural land was also inundated. Last month’s UN Flash Appeal for $14.1 million currently stands at 12 per cent funding, with just $1.71 million contributed. A further $4.78 million has been pledged. “Donors are encouraged to convert their pledges into contributions as soon as possible,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest update. Resident UN Agencies and partners continue to expedite aid delivery and close collaboration with the DPRK Government and local communities continues to be strengthened through regular assessments, OCHA reported. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has finalized details with the Ministry of City Management on a rapid two-week assessment of pumping stations cover 20 affected counties and some 70 per cent of those displaced. The Agency is also working closely with the Ministry of Education to provide emergency school supplies, as well as furniture and stationary to the worst damaged schools. Concerns are turning to repairing schools in time for the winter, as some classes are still being held in the open air. Having completed the first round of emergency food distribution and undertaking monitoring missions to more than half their recipient counties, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) is now pre-positioning stocks for a second round of distribution scheduled to start mid-October. The UN World Health Organization (WHO) is working with the Health Ministry to improve the quality and expedite analysis of disease surveillance, while the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is distributing emergency kits for family planning and safe and clean delivery for 300,000 displaced persons. read more


UN agency asks Ukraine to probe murder of Congolese asylum seeker

The United Nations refugee agency has raised asked the Government of Ukraine to investigate the recent murder of a Congolese asylum seeker in the country.“We are shocked by the murder last weekend in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv (Kiev) of an asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” said William Spindler, a spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).The 19-year old asylum seeker arrived in June 2007 in search of international protection and approached the agency’s non-governmental organization (NGO) partner NGO in Kyiv for legal assistance and was officially registered as an asylum seeker.His body was found on the night of 27 January, with numerous knife wounds and police have indicated that there is no known motive. “The United Nations Office in Ukraine, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration have expressed to the Ukrainian authorities their grave concern over this murder and requested that a thorough investigation be conducted, including the possibility that it was a racially-motivated attack, and keep them informed of the outcome of the investigation,” Mr. Spindler said.Last June, UNHCR expressed concern about the rise in attacks on asylum seekers and refugees in Ukraine. In 2007 some 17 persons of concern reported to UNHCR such incidents in Kyiv alone, “including unprovoked attacks, beatings and verbal abuse,” the spokesman said.In January, organizations monitoring the situation noticed an increase in the number of incidents of violence against people of different ethnicity both in Kyiv and in other parts of the country.UNHCR praised the Government for taking steps to address the problem, including appointing a special ambassador to address this problem. 1 February 2008The United Nations refugee agency has raised asked the Government of Ukraine to investigate the recent murder of a Congolese asylum seeker in the country. read more