7phase polls from April 11

first_imgNew Delhi: The suspense over the announcement of dates for Lok Sabha elections came to an end on Sunday as Chief Election Commissioner unveiled the poll dates. As per Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora, the election would be held in seven phases starting from April 11 and ending on May 19 followed by counting of votes on May 23 for all the 543 Lok Sabha seats.Following the repeated demands of opposition parties, the Election Commission will use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs) in all polling stations along with EVMs. As many as 17.4 lakh VVPAT machines will be deployed for the Lok Sabha and simultaneous assembly elections, Arora said, adding that in new SOPs issued, vehicles installed with GPS trackers and mobile-based tracking system for transportation of reserve EVMs and VVPATs will be used. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day”There will be very stringent security norms for storage, handling of VVPATs. After incidents, fresh SOPS have been issued for last mile transportation, including monitoring by GPS, including reserve too,” the CEC said. In a first, the Election Commission has decided to introduce candidates’ photos on the voting machines, in addition to the party name and symbol. “This would eliminate confusion in the minds of voters,” Arora said. However, the Election Commission that ‘failed’ to conduct bypoll for Anantnag parliamentary seat is still not in ‘position’ to hold assembly election in Jammu & Kashmir along with the Lok Sabha poll schedule. There are six parliamentary seats in J&K and elections for all six Lok Sabha seats will be held in 5-phases. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penaltyAccording to the CEC, assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal, Odisha and Sikkim will also be held simultaneously. While announcing the election dates, Arora said, “The model code of conduct would come into immediate effect from Sunday. This time, 10 lakh polling stations would be set as against about nine lakh in 2014 and nearly 90 crore voters would be eligible to vote for 543 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country.” “The first phase will be held on April 11, second on April 18, third on April 23, fourth on April 29, fifth on May 6, sixth on May 12 and seventh phase on May 19. The counting of votes will be on May 23,” Arora said, adding that in the first phase, 91 constituencies will go for polls, 97 constituencies in the second phase, 115 constituencies in third phase, 71 in fourth phase, 51 in fifth phase, 59 in sixth and 59 in the seventh phase. Polling for Lok Sabha seats in the states of Bihar (40), Uttar Pradesh (80) and West Bengal (42) will conclude in seven phases, while there will be single phase polling in 22 states/UTs and the states of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha will witness four-phase elections. In reply to a question on monitoring contents/political advertisements on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, the CEC said, “We would set up control rooms to monitor the contents. There is a case pending in Bombay High Court over the issue. The observation of the HC in the case would bring more clarity. We have also asked candidates to submit their social media details.” Replying to a question on the provision of making arrangements to deposit mobile phones at the polling stations, the CEC said, “There is work in progress and a decision in this regard would be taken very soon.” The assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Andhra Pradesh will be held on April 11, while assembly poll in Odisha will be held in four phases starting from April 11.last_img read more

German MNC Siemens to sack 10000 workers

first_imgFrankfurt: German industrial equipment maker Siemens says it will cut some 10,000 jobs in a major restructuring that will involve spinning off its oil, gas and power generation business and creating new areas of growth. News of the moves to increase profitability and address the struggling power business sent the company’s share price up 4.6 per cent to 107.30 euros (USD 120.20) in morning trading in Europe on Wednesday. The company said it would spin off its division that makes power turbines to increase its entrepreneurial freedom, while embarking on a sweeping cost-cutting effort at its remaining operations. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraThe gas and power division has been under pressure due to a broader trend toward renewable energy such as sun and wind power. Competitors in the power business such as Boston-headquartered General Electric and Japan’s Mitsubishi have struggled as well. Siemens said in the announcement late Tuesday that it would keep a significant stake of less than 50 percent in the spun-off company and would bundle in a majority stake in its renewable energies company. That would create what Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser called “a powerful pure play in the energy and electricity sector” that could offer products across the entire scope of the energy market from a single source. Kaeser also announced sweeping cost cuts to increase profitability at the company’s remaining businesses, which range across factory automation, energy infrastructure such as power grid control, and high-speed trains. The company plans to take out 2.2 billion euros in costs by 2023, in the course of which it will drop some 10,400 positions.last_img read more

BATTLEGROUND BENGAL

first_imgThe people of West Bengal are witnessing a chain of events hitherto unknown to the state. First, never have people in the state witnessed a prime minister attending more than a dozen election rallies to gain support for her/his own candidates. Second, people in the past have also never seen their leaders harp on religion more diligently than on development; that too with a clear view towards inciting one community against another. Third, neither have citizens of the state seen national leaders of important stature fabricate lies specifically targeting festivals and pitching them against progress. People have also never witnessed such blatant muscle-flexing by politicians to win an election; finally, never have the discerning people of Bengal experienced the heat of a political party that relies entirely on manipulating and spreading canards on social media to gain electoral victory. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have addressed more than a dozen election rallies in West Bengal and in every meeting, they have criticised Mamata Banerjee for supposedly preventing Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja and Ram Navami celebrations in the state. Even Banerjee’s strongest critics living in Bengal are shocked to hear this chosen electoral pitch from prominent national leaders. Exhausted of the deliberate and calculated lies being spread by the ruling party, Trinamool Congress supremo and chief minister Mamata Banerjee urged Modi to brush his homework before addressing political meetings. Accountability to one’s people is clearly a thing of the past. In truth, since assuming charge in 2011, the TMC government has emphasised sufficiently upon popularising Durga Puja, to make this essentially Bengali festival an international event. In fact, the Sangeet Natak Akademi has nominated the inclusion of Durga Puja in UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) for 2020. What is even more, clubs are provided Rs 10,000 to organise Durga Puja and a grand carnival is organised on Red Road prior to immersion. More than one lakh Durga Pujas are held all over the state and it is the most important festival in Bengal with people from across religions and communities playing an active role. In many Durga Puja associations, the president and secretary are Muslims. The poison of communal hate that hasn’t yet crippled Bengal appears to be BJP’s chosen weapon. And, for Saraswati Puja celebrations, more than a crore are held across the state. Bengal can perhaps teach the rest of the country how being religious mustn’t necessarily complement being divisive. The lotus party is fully aware of the extent of Durga Puja celebrations as the income tax department had sent notices to several clubs demanding disclosure of account details post last year’s puja. Banerjee had strongly opposed and both Modi and Shah alleged that she was shielding the puja organisers. But while addressing election rallies, both have deliberately lied that pujas aren’t held in Kolkata to confuse people and spew more hate. Organising grand Ram Navami processions has never been a custom in traditional Bengali culture. The state government had imposed restrictions on carrying maces and swords at religious processions. The ‘Jai Sri Ram’ call, popularised by karsevaks during the pitiful demolition of Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992, had only been a chant for temple walls, never a public slogan. In Bengal, along with the slogan, BJP demanded that its sympathisers be allowed to carry weapons and sketched their walking route specifically through areas dominated by minority communities. Had the state government allowed such rallies to parade through Bengal’s streets, communal tension would’ve surely escalated to riots. However, the government never imposed restrictions on any rally without weapons. This election has been a celebration of lies and BJP’s campaign in Bengal has been no different. Across its campaigns, BJP has rued over the lack of development in Bengal. But, most will agree, what Banerjee has accomplished in eight years can be matched by very few statespersons of today’s time. Her projects have touched all corners of Bengal’s rural belt – under Khadya Sathi, more than 8 crore people have been given rice at Rs 2 per kg, Kanyashree has earned United Nation’s recognition, having assisted more than 60 lakh girl students in pursuing higher education. Further, under Sabuj Sathi, which has also earned global recognition, more than one crore students in state-run and aided schools are being provided bicycles for free. With people bearing direct witness to development in the state, particularly in the construction of roads and infrastructure, the lie-coated speeches of Modi and Shah have failed to create any mentionable impact. Despite its strength, it is indeed surprising that the ruling party has to resort to lies rather than its positive promotion to earn people’s trust. For instance, a sensitive event that took place in Bangladesh was circulated as an event in Basirhat in North 24 Parganas. BJP leaders were euphoric after the party secured 17 per cent vote in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. But in the 2016 Assembly election, polling dropped to 10 per cent and BJP remained satisfied with three MLAs. Dilip Ghosh, party’s state president from Kharagpur Town, Manoj Tigga from Madarihat and Swadhir Kumar Sarkar from Malda South. BJP’s poll percentage in 2016 dropped from 21.12 to 8.84 in Nadia, from 21.43 to 6.60 in North 24 Parganas, from 27.27 to 14.85 in Kolkata, from 18.10 to 9.25 in Hooghly, from 17.62 to 8.96 in Bankura, and from 20.35 to 12.03 in Burdwan. However, BJP leaders never invested enough to strengthen their organisational power; instead, they opted for glittering lies. BJP had organised a nationwide campaign where, by sending an SMS, one could become a primary member of the party. Siddharth Nath Singh, national BJP leader who once looked after Bengal, said that new members would be given training and invited to a brainstorming session. But none of this happened. In Bengal, BJP never made any sincere attempt to train workers at the booth level. Every political party needs around 3,85,000 workers to man the 77,000 odd booths in Bengal. In every booth, political parties have to deploy five workers, including two polling agents, two election agents and one worker who acts as the reliever. Moreover, those who are appointed as polling agents and election agents are expected to know each voter. Leaders of both CPI-M and Congress had said that their party would not be able to field workers in 50-55 per cent booths. However, BJP leaders have asserted that people’s support is with them. But it is not easy. Babul Supriyo was furious that his party could not deploy polling agents in Barabani, where elections were held on April 29. Anupam Hazra, BJP’s candidate from Jadavpur, was found to criticise his party workers for not pursuing the election campaign seriously. Mamata Banerjee has said that BJP will not get more than 150-160 seats and, in Bengal, her party will bag all 42 seats. On January 19, 2019, Banerjee had organised a grand show rally of United India which was attended by leaders of 21 political parties. From the podium, Banerjee raised the slogan in Bengali: “Du hazar unish, BJP finish” (Come 2019 and BJP will be ousted). Across rallies, she has urged voters to cast their choice in favour of secularism and thereby, Trinamool nominees. Banerjee is believed to be a person whose political predictions have rarely gone wrong. But the country will have to wait till May 23 to know if her predictions were well-thought or simply a reflex of the terrible election heat.last_img read more

Iran says proposal wins good response in nuclear talks

first_imgIran said Tuesday that its proposal to unblock talks with world powers on its controversial nuclear programme had earned a good response, but declined to reveal what was on the table.“We presented our proposals in a very positive environment and the reaction was good,” senior Iranian negotiator Abbas Aragchi said after an hour-long PowerPoint presentation by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his team.“The climate of the meeting was very good and very constructive. The proposal that we have introduced has the capacity to make a breakthrough in the negotiations,” Aragchi told reporters. “We are very serious. We are not here symbolically, to waste our time. We are serious for target-oriented negotiations,” he added.Aragchi said that all sides had agreed not to reveal any details of the proposal for the moment.Iran’s meeting with the European Union-chaired P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, plus Germany — ends a six-month hiatus over the Islamic republic’s refusal to curb uranium enrichment in exchange for the easing of punishing international sanctions.It is also seen as a test for the administration of new President Hassan Rouhani, who took office in August pledging transparency on the nuclear programme and engagement to eventually lift the international trade embargo that is strangling Iran’s economy.In another sign of the new mood in the often-tense nuclear talks, Iran’s team for the first time delivered its presentation in English, officials said.last_img read more

56 illegal immigrants apprehended in TangierFnideq coastline

first_imgTangier – 56 candidates for illegal immigration were apprehended, on Sunday, at the Tangier-Fnideq coastline, a statement by the Wilaya of Tangier said. The illegal immigrants were planning to use makeshift boats to get to the other shore and were nabbed thanks to the watch mechanism, it added.last_img

Amnesty says Libya soldier tortured to death

first_imgTRIPOLI – Amnesty International alleged Monday a Libyan soldier was tortured to death by members of his own unit, calling on authorities to investigate the case and break with such Kadhafi-era practices.“Hussein Radwan Raheel, 37, who served with the Saiqa Forces, an elite army unit under the ministry of defence, was severely beaten and subjected to electric shocks,” Amnesty said quoting family members.It said the soldier “was tortured to death last week following 10 hours of interrogation by his own army unit” following the disappearance of a military vehicle from the unit’s Tripoli compound. “A forensic report and photos of his body seen by the organisation also indicate he was tortured,” added the watchdog.It called for an independent probe, saying it “fears that a military investigation will lack transparency and independence and will only lead to whitewashing abuse”.Amnesty’s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said torture was widespread under the toppled regime of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, who was killed in the 2011 uprising.She charged that ill-treatment and rights violations still flourished under the rule of Libya’s new authorities who also have “turned a blind eye to abuses by militias”.“Torture and ill-treatment were routinely used by the state to terrorise the Libyan people under Kadhafi’s brutal rule. The Libyan authorities must show that the country has made a clean break with the past by sending a strong message that human rights violations by state officials will not be tolerated,” said Hadj Sahraoui.Libya’s top political authority, the National General Congress, in April passed a law criminalising torture, forced disappearances and discrimination.Amnesty said there had been 20 deaths in custody in Libya between September 2011 and July 2012.It said its delegates toured 27 prisons and detention centres this year, including those run by former rebels, and found torture was widespread in some and systematic in others.Libya has been marred by lawlessness since the 2011 uprising, which much of the unrest blamed on the former rebels who have resisted appeals by authorities to integrate into the regular armed forces.last_img read more

The Moroccan minister with a sweet tooth and Benkirane

first_imgRabat- Once upon a time, in the faraway kingdom of Morocco, an Islamist Party leader named Benkirane won the elections of 2011 and formed a coalition government in which he appointed a minister for Administrative Reform named Abdeladim Guerrouj and who was thought to be the youngest minister in Moroccan history. The story has it that this young and promising minister, on the eve of the reshuffle of the government, sensed that he was going to be in charge of another department (i.e. education) and made a big purchase of chocolate to offer to guests on the occasion of the baptism of his first child and made his ministry pay for it on his last day in this department.Abdeladim (meaning the great in Arabic) maybe thought this would go unseen, but unfortunately for him, the minister who came followed him  wanted to start his term with a clean slate. Though from the same party he ordered an inquiry on his predecessor’s financial statement and discovered this gross misconduct. He informed his party leader who conducted an investigation and came to the conclusion that it is indeed a case of embezzlement of public funds. He, in turn, informed his party and threw the hot potato in the lap of the poor Islamist Head of Government Benkirane. In the meantime, the great little minister Abdeladim, with the sweet tooth, has recognized his misconduct but sadly has not resigned, as is the case in many democracies. On the contrary, he is clinging to his seat and the many perks it offers without any shame whatsoever. Oh! I forgot to say that in Morocco, ministers never resign, they are made to resign and this is a very important difference in the cultural ethics of this country.Candy for bitter realityIncidentally, another minister, the socialist Habib El Malki who was in charge of the Ministry of Education some time ago, was known for his daily veracious appetite for expensive chocolate. This minister, without any shame whatsoever had the chocolate delivered to his ministry every morning and the taxpayer paid the bill.It so seems that the Ministry of Education that they are in charge of is so bitter in substance that they have to take some good quality chocolate to sweeten the state of affairs there. Indeed, they are right, after over half a century of independence, Morocco has failed to come up with an acceptable educational system. The Ministry of Education is the most budgetivore (in the sense of carnivore, if you please), as it swallows over 25% of the national budget with very little return. In higher education, over thirteen public universities generate thousands of graduates every year, most of whom end up unemployed. These graduates can be spotted fruitlessly demonstrating near Parliament on an almost daily basis.The great Abdeladim, realizing that he will be in charge of this troublesome ministry, decided to take some chocolate for a good start, maybe taking an example from the socialist minister who made it a rule to start his day with expensive chocolate in order to face the elements. Sadly, the socialist minister achieved nothing with his daily intake of this candy because education, during his tenure, went from bad to worse.As for this poor young minister, great in chocolate intake and small in righteousness, he might face, in the weeks to come, the sack from both his ministerial post and his party position. For he has embarrassed, beyond belief, both his party boss Al Ansar and the Head of Government Benkirane, who has promised over and over to fight corruption.  Baha! Please hand Benkirane a bar of chocolateWill Benkirane sack this young minister to set an example for the rest of his unruly, plethoric team (see my article entitled “Morocco: too much government kills government” published by MWN on 24 January 2014) or will he procrastinate in order to avoid the fall of his coalition. Either decision is bitter for Benkirane. I trust his sidekick Minister of State Baha ought to offer him some chocolate to get on with his bitter tenure. Poor Benkirane. He is receiving a blow after a blow and the last thing he would have wanted is a corrupt minister in his ranks.One of the salient points of his electoral platform was to fight corruption, money embezzlement, and illegal transfer of funds to foreign banks. So far, however, he has shied away from fulfilling any of his promises and, as time goes on, his popularity sinks further and further. By the end of his term he will probably drown completely, the poor soul.Corruption in Morocco is sadly endemic. Many officials consider corruption money as a perk that goes with their office and the same is true of misuse of public funds and embezzlement. Officials use public money at will, with no qualms, because the state is very lax with them if they don’t get caught. Those that are caught face a variety of sentences. Some are punished by imprisonment while others are, at worst, only fired. Furthermore  the state rarely asks them to repay the stolen money, unless it is a truly large sum.In the Moroccan vernacular, language corruption is referred to by the cover term hlawa meaning “a candy or a sweet”. So, if an individual wants something achieved quickly bypass all laws possible, he has to give hlawa money to the official in charge. The chocolate the two honorable ministers paid for with public money is, for them, undoubtedly a perk of their office, no more. They might even think that they did nothing wrong and that is very bad because it means that corruption is deeply ingrained in the Moroccan officials’ psyche, and that is unfortunate.The great Abdeladim Guerrouj, prior to his chocolate episode when he started his ministerial tenure, spoke of transparency and efficiency in practice, now I wonder what he meant and why he used these terms if he was not going to stand by their message. That will remain a ministerial mystery; maybe we will never know what he meant in the first place.The other chocolate minister Habib El Malki, the great socialist in discourse only, of course, was very straightforward in his attitude towards the philistines. Apparently, the first thing he did on becoming Minister of Education, he ordered the employees to use a back door so that he can have the stately front entrance for his exclusive use. He also ordered an elevator built for his own personal use; it cost the ministry millions of centimes. The socialist minister wanted to prove, by all this, that he is special and thus deserves to have chocolate delivered to his office on a daily basis, not paying any attention to possible criticism from the press because of his palace umbrella, bearing in mind that he was always the preferred socialist of the late King Hassan II and his sole interlocutor in the party he belongs to.By not sacking the chocolate minister and not acting on corruption and illegal money transfers abroad, Benkirane is proving to the people who gave him their votes to undertake important changes within the Moroccan political scene that he is, in the end, no different from his predecessors he criticized when he was in the opposition. Benkirane’s various promises to put an end to all forms of corruption and to set up good governance prove to be merely empty promises and hot air, no more.In two years, he will have to face the electorate again in the upcoming legislative elections and the voters will certainly square up against him and his Islamist government will go down history as a government of “much ado about nothing,” that will ultimately go down the drain. The moral of the storyIf you have a sweet tooth in Morocco, better consume Moroccan almond cookies ka’b ghzal “gazelle corns,” with mint tea, they are delicious and safe and by all means stay away from foreign expensive chocolate! It only brings misfortune and bad luck to you and your surroundings. Be warned.The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Ivorian President praises King Mohamed VIs leadership role in Africa

Marrakesh  – The President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara hailed Sunday in Marrakech the leadership role of King Mohammed VI in Africa.“HM King Mohammed VI has a leadership role in Africa capable of helping the continent meet the challenges it faces”, Mr Ouattara told journalists moments after his arrival to Marrakesh where he will take part to the 9th African Development Forum (October 12-16).The Ivorian president, who said he was “delighted” to be in Morocco, expressed his esteem for the Sovereign who “honoured” Côte d’Ivoire by several visits during the last two years. Concerning his participation to the 9th African Development Forum, Mr. Ouattara noted that the meeting will focus on “issues that are to the future of the African continent”.The President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire arrived Sunday afternoon to Marrakesh and was welcomed by the head of government Abdelilah Benkirane. read more

Gareth Bale Expresses Gratitude to Moroccan Fans

Rabat – Real Madrid winger Gareth Bale expressed his gratitude to Moroccan fans also known as “Madristas” who were present during the Los Blancos Tuesday semifinal clash with Cruz Azul from Mexico.The Welshman, who scored a header during yesterday’s match ended 4-0 for the Whites, wrote on his facebook page that the Moroccan fans in the Marrakech stadium were incredible. Real Madrid managed yesterday in Marrakech Grand Stadium to move to the final round of the FIFA Club World Cup after beating Cruz Azul from Mexico 4-0 scored by Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco. read more

Two Individuals Arrested in Casablanca for Trying to Bribe Police Officers

Rabat – Two individuals were arrested in Casablanca after they tried to bribe police officers.A motorcyclist was arrested at the crossroad of Ibn Tachafin Avenue after he attempted to bribe a law enforcement officer with MAD 50 to avoid penalties for traffic law infringements.A truck driver was also arrested for trying to bribe a police officer. According to police, the truck driver tried to bribe the police officer with MAD 100 after failing to provide the vehicle’s insurance policy and technical examination document.The rise in bribery cases involving police officers has prompted the General Directorate of National Security to circulate a memo urging security forces to crack down on all practices that would harm the credibility of the law enforcement officials.The memo aims to entrench a culture of transparency and professional integrity among security forces and to strengthen governance values.The General Directorate of National Security had also issued a statement stating that citizens are also contributing to the spread of bribery.The statement added that some people are trying to tarnish the image of the security apparatus by luring members of security forces in order to photograph them receiving bribes. read more

Moroccan Woman Swims through Strait of Gibraltar in 4 Hours and

Rabat – Moroccan swimmer Nadia Ben Bahtane has become the first Moroccan woman to cross the Strait of Gibraltar.On Tuesday April 28, the 36-year-old mother of two crossed the Gibraltar channel from Spain to Morocco in an elapsed timing of 4 hours and 18 minutes.A marketing and communication director by profession, Ben Bahtane had undergone a 6-month rigorous training to embark on this adventure. Speaking to Maghreb Arab Agency (MAP), Nadia said she is very proud to achieve this challenge despite her work and family commitments.In 2013, she was named Open Water Swimming Women of The Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA). read more

7 Millions Moroccans Are Addicted to Tobacco

Taroudant- Rachida El Mokrie Al idrissi, head of the National Coalition for the Fight Against Drugs, said on Wednesday that there are “about 7 million smokers in the kingdom which represent one fifth of the population,” with children making up half a million of these.Speaking at a press seminar held Wednesday evening in Rabat, Al Idrissi brought attention to the increasing number of smokers and the smoking legislation in Morocco.Al Idrissi declared that the coalition would raise a note to the relevant bodies including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, and the Head of Government regarding a smoking law that is not applied. The head of the Coalition revealed that there is a significant legislative vacuum in regards to the electronic cigarette, the issue of preventing the sale of cigarettes to minors and around educational institutions, as well as the fact that the Law 91-15 has never been applied so far since its release in the Official Gazette in 1996, to the delight of smokers.Al idrissi called for the necessity to activate the law prohibiting smoking in public places, and also suggested banning cigarette advertisements.To the dismay of victims of passive smoking, the law is not widely implemented. When it is, the fine set by the legislators is very low, argues Al Idrissi.Surprisingly, the penalties of the law range from 10 to 50 dirhams for “anyone who smokes tobacco or tobacco products in places where smoking is prohibited.”The term “public places” refers to cafes, restaurants, public administration offices, meeting rooms, public means of transport, the theaters and cinema, classrooms, conferences, and of course, hospitals and clinics. read more

Moroccos Tighadouini Signs for Five Seasons with FC Malaga

Madrid – Moroccan player Adnane Tighadouini has signed a five-year contract with FC Malaga, which plays in La Liga, the top division of Spanish football, after leaving Dutch club Nac Breda, the Andalusian club announced said Saturday.Tighadouini, 22, scored 15 goals in the last season with his former team, becoming one of the top scorers and players of the Dutch Eredivisie championship.After playing for Dutch clubs FC Volendam and SC Cambuur-Leeuwarden, the Moroccan striker arrived at Nac Breda in January 2014. At the last season, he played 33 games with the team. The Moroccan player has joined his countryman Nordin Amrabat, who has just signed a four-year contract with FC Malaga. read more

FrenchMoroccan Mounir Mahjoubi Named French Data Secretary

Rabat – Mounir Mahjoubi, the French-Moroccan who led French president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s digital campaign, has been named the State Secretary in charge of Data.The appointment was announced Wednesday, May 17 as prime minister Edouard Philippe revealed the full list of government titles.Mahjoubi joined Macron’s En Marche! campaign in January 2017, following stints running digital communications for Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royale in 2007 and François Hollande in 2012. After working under Hollande as the head of the National Digital Council, a government technology advisory body, he jumped ship to the surprise candidate’s centrist movement.On May 5, two days before the presidential elections, Macron’s campaign was threatened by a last-minute leak of internal En Marche! emails. Mahjoubi had previously accused Russia of employing hacks and fake news to influence the election in the favor of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen. read more

40 Percent of Moroccan Inmates Held in Pretrial Detention

Rabat – The Moroccan Minister of Justice, Mohamed Aujjar, said on Tuesday that some 33,168 inmates are held in pre-trial detention, representing 40 percent of the total prison population. When a member of the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) asked the minister about the issue of pre-trial detention during a preliminary session held in the House of Councillors, Aujjar stressed that the rate of pre-trial detention varies between 40 and 43 percent, despite the ongoing efforts made by the Ministry of Justice to curb the practice.The ministry has also submitted a new Code of Criminal Procedure to the General Secretariat of the Government in order to develop new options for the nation’s penal policy. The code includes alternative measures to the practice of pre-trial detention and custodial sentences, added Aujjar.Reevaluation of penal guidelines, according to the minister, is aimed at utilizing pre-trial detention as an exceptional measure whose implementation is only authorized once other alternatives have been exhausted, other options remain unenforceable, or if the appearance of a conditional release may influence the course of any related trial.Prison Space at CapacityAujjar also said that the total number of detainees in prison nationwide has now reached 82,512. In May 2017, Mohamed Saleh Tamek, the Delegate General of the Penitentiary and Reintegration Administration said that prisons in Morocco no longer have the capacity to house the soaring number of inmates.The Delegate General warned that the overcrowding of prisons is not only obstructing efforts that have been made to create safer and more humane conditions for inmates, but also endangers prison staff. read more

Moroccan Actress Asks People to Support Lamjarred or Stay Silent

Rabat – The Moroccan actress Sanaa Akroud has expressed solidarity with pop singer Saad Lamjarred who is awaiting two rape trials in France.Akroud has joined several Moroccan celebrities who have defended Lamjarred.Akroud, known for her role as “Aicha Dwiba” in the movie of the same name,  took to her Instagram to support the artist, who is awaiting his trials in jail. Akroud shared a long message on October 5 with her Instagram fans with a smiling picture of Lamjarred.Read Also: Nezha Regragui Sues Tunisian Alhiwar Channel for Mocking Saad LamjarredAkroud invited her fans to spread love, and if they could not do that, they could remain silent.She said that the rape allegations were designed to challenge “the reputation and credibility” of Lamjarred’s success.She also said it could be a campaign against Lamjarred because of his success. While promoting the Moroccan dialect of Arabic worldwide, Lamjarred has achieved stardom in the Arab world.She added that the Moroccan singer is faithful to his roots and his country, saying Lamjarred is an “exception” because he shared love.Read Also: To Boycott or Not to Boycott: How Saad Lamjarred Is Dividing MoroccansAkroud also criticized those who claim that Lamjarred has a mental illness or is a drug addict, saying that French courts would have sent him to a clinic then instead of jail.She also denied media rumors that the Lamjarred family had sued the Tunisian channel “Elhiwar Ettounsi’s” director, who had broadcast a comedy show mocking their son.Dressed in orange and chained, the Saad Lamjarred mimic came into the show’s court cursing and intimidating people around him. He stood to face the plaintiff, Laura Prioul, and began an argument in which each tried to defend themselves.In her post, Akroud denied that Lamjarred’s mother and renowned actress Nazha Reguragui sued the program because his family is far from the “culture of hate.”Akroud received both support and condemnation in her post. Some said that she made a good point, while others said that they would unfollow her, expressing surprise about her support for a “rapist.”Saad Lamjarred is facing trials in an October 2016 rape and an August 2018 rape.In early September, a French appeals court issued an order to remand the Moroccan singer to custody, on the prosecutor’s appeal of his prior release on bail. read more

Bodybuilding Best Practices during Ramadan

Rabat –People during Ramadan are increasingly into building a better shape, as it coincides with the last month of spring, the perfect time to prepare the summer body.The idea of not eating for 4-5 hours is already terrifying for bodybuilders. Fasting for more than 16 hours is like torturing them mentally and physically.Fasting for many hours makes your body dehydrated and out of energy. Food and water are the body’s main sources of energy; without them people feel weak and tired. Bodybuilding and sports in general require a source of energy like food that contains carbohydrates and natural sugars, such as bananas, oat flakes and sweet potatoes.Throughout Ramadan it is nearly impossible to build muscle. Bodybuilders must dedicate the month to maintain muscularity or losing fat.Even after breaking the fast, it is hard to satisfy your body’s need for protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fat in the same way as normal days.Some people believe that eating from sundown until dawn will help them compensate for the long fasting hours. But they are wrong. Medical research says that testosterone, the male hormone responsible for muscle growth, is released in high amounts during sleep. The more you sleep, the more your testosterone increases.There is a debate between bodybuilders on when to train during Ramadan. Some prefer to train right before f’tour, believing that it is better for muscle growth as they go immediately after to feed their bodies. Others believe that training two to three hours after f’tour is more beneficial.Morocco World News sought the expertise of a Moroccan national and continental champion bodybuilder, Mustapha Bouden, known as “Mustapha Rasta.” He confirmed that training before breaking the fast may bring terrible results to the body. He rather encourages people to train after f’tour.“Many people approach me with questions about how and when to train during Ramadan,” said Bouden, adding that “the perfect timing to train is after feeding your body by two hours,” arguing “during Ramadan the body is out of food and water which mean out of energy.” “People may have a headache while training and may have muscle loss instead,” he said. “In order to grow your muscles, you must feed them properly at least five time a day with meals rich in calories, carbohydrates and protein which is hard to keep up with during Ramadan. If lucky the muscle can be sustained if not lost.”Fasting and fat lossOn the other hand, the 30 days of fasting can be beneficial for losing fat. Given the number of hours of starving, the body starts fueling itself through the glycogene that is stored in the liver and muscles. Once the glycogene is gone, the body breaks down both muscle and fat to refuel itself. To enhance fat loss, consider adding some cardio sessions to your training program and eat a f’tour high in protein and low in carbohydrates.The amount of fat loss will depend on the food eaten and on the amount and type of activities engaged in during the fast.Maintaining muscleThus, to reduce body fat without losing muscle, bodybuilders need a calorie deficit program. By decreasing the amount of calories that your body needs, it will eventually start burning fat.The best way to lose fat while sustaining the muscle is to adopt a carb cycling program, which is recommended by Jamo Nezzar, a retired professional bodybuilder and internationally renowned personal training expert.Jamo Nezzar at 51 years oldCarb cycling is the consumption of carbohydrates through rotations. It alternates between high, medium and low-carbohydrate days. The amount of carbohydrates eaten depends on your training days.If it is a four-day training program (divided into two intense sessions, one rest day and then two moderate sessions, saving the weekend for resting), consider consuming high carbohydrates and protein on intense days, lower the carbohydrates or cut them out during rest-days, and moderate carbohydrate intake in the moderate sessions.Cardio sessions are always necessary, whether a person wants to lose fat or to build muscle, as they helps improve endurance and heart function.This feature is part of an exclusive series at Morocco World News for Ramadan. Also in the series is: 10 Places to Have a Delightful F’tour during Ramadan, 15 Types of People During Ramadan and How Moroccan Pass Their Time during Ramadan. read more

Uganda not Sure About Voting for Morocco 2026

Rabat – While President of Uganda’s Football Association (FUFA) Moses Hassim Mogogo announced his official support for Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid, he said that he does not have the last say when it comes to the interests of his country and the executive committee of FUFA.Uganda’s support for Morocco’s bid is pending approval from FUFA. Mogogo told Uganda Radio on Monday that he “personally” support the Moroccan bid. “I am for our own African brother to win this bid to host the World Cup. But I cannot decide because we shall meet as an executive and make the final decision on who to vote for.” Mogogo added that he believes the continent is ready to host the second African World Cup after South Africa hosted in 2010.“We executive members of the Confederation of African Football decided that since we are Presidents of football back in our countries then we should support the Morocco bid,” he added.The FUFA president has made it clear that the last word on Uganda’s support will come after consultations with the executive committee. If Uganda agrees to vote for Morocco, the kingdom can only hope the promise will last longer than South Africa’s fairweather support.Change of heart?A month ago, the president of South Africa’s Football Association, Danny Jordaan, expressed his full support for the Moroccan bid, saying that the federation will surely vote for the Moroccan bid. However, the government of South Africa took a different stance. South Africa’s Minister of Sports Tokozile Xasa said: “We are very clear that we cannot support Morocco.”The country’s parliament “was very straightforward in this regard, it is the mandate of the country, and it is an obligation for sporting bodies to understand what the country’s agenda is.”Only 14 days remain until the big day when 211 football federations will gather in Moscow to vote for their favorite bid on June 13.Morocco’s bid committee, however, seem to be aware of what may happen during the vote.CEO of the Moroccan bid Hicham El Amrani told the BBC  earlier this month that no one is “forced” to back the Moroccan bid “if he believes that it doesn’t serve the country or the country’s football interest.”“Even if Africa has always acted in unity, unity does not mean 100% of all the member associations, this is part of the democratic process,” he added.Several football federations might have changed their minds and chosen to support the US bid after Donald Trump’s threats. Addressing countries that receive US financial support, Trump said “It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the US bid…” read more

Oilpatch AI keeps a wary eye on remote wells after human officials

Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter. Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:HSE)Dan Healing, The Canadian Press CALGARY — From a computer in his downtown office, Jeremy Bernard calls up live video of an oil well site in rural Alberta, clicking to bring up a cluster of small buildings, then a gravel road that leads across snowy pasture.The picture is sharp and the camera can detect motion. But its monitoring effectiveness drops off the instant Bernard, chief operating officer at Calgary-based Osprey Informatics, clicks a button to check another wellsite.Or heads home for the day. Or just stops paying attention.That’s when his company’s artificial intelligence software, Osprey Reach, takes over.The software can be programmed to sift through video data and identify vehicles or people, checking to see if contractors showed up when they said they would and if they stayed as long as their bills indicate.If it detects something amiss, such as an unauthorized vehicle, it can send a text or email, with photos, to the appropriate employee for action.“You can’t analyze video by just looking at it and nobody has time to do that, anyway, particularly field operators,” Bernard said.“We recognized if we were going to take advantage of this data stream, we would have to apply some intelligence to it to look for things our customers care about.”The use of artificial intelligence in the Canadian oil and gas sector, still struggling to recover from the commodity price crash of four years ago, lags the rest of the world, says Lance Mortlock, Canadian oil and gas leader for Ernst & Young.A recent EY report found about 89 per cent of major global oil and gas firms intend to increase investments in digital technology over the next two years, with 42 per cent motivated by the promise of greater efficiency.“I think there’s this perception (in Canada) that it’s unproven, it’s risky, let’s let other sectors and other global oil and gas companies maybe fail and learn and then we’ll be fast adopters later on,” Mortlock said.“That puts our sector behind everybody else and I worry about that.”Canadians have dabbled in initiatives related to robotics process automation but some of the more sophisticated AI, like natural language processing and machine learning, is very rare, Mortlock said.Osprey’s Bernard said the rise of the industrial internet of things or IIOT, which means more devices are able to transmit data, and cloud computing, which allows for increases in processing power and data storage, are spurring artificial intelligence advances.“Edge” computing, meanwhile, refers to the use of small computers in the field to do initial data processing and control how much data is sent to the cloud to control bandwidth access fees, he said.Like Osprey, fellow Calgary-based AI developer Ambyint is helping companies run remote wellsites more efficiently.The company specializes in monitoring and controlling pumpjacks, the “nodding donkeys” of the oilpatch, using the sensors attached to each pump’s electric motor to ensure it is bringing oil to surface as efficiently as possible.“We deploy a piece of hardware — you can think of it like a smartphone — out to the wellsite. We tie into the system out there and it is reading and analyzing data in real time, making certain decisions in the box itself and other data it sends up to the cloud,” Ambyint president Chris Robart said.“So it’s a combination of edge computing and cloud-based computing and analytics to then optimize the system and do things like predictive maintenance.”In a pilot project last year, Ambyint’s system was employed on 60 wells in Husky Energy Inc.’s remote Rainbow Lake oilfield in the northwest corner of Alberta. The resulting savings were estimated at $900,000 per year or $1.48 per barrel.Husky’s response was to install the system on the rest of the eligible wells in the field and begin expanding it to other similar wells in its portfolio.“The Ambyint product allows us to monitor temperatures, pressures, vibration and production from our pumps so that we can understand, working in the office without actually sending someone to the field, what’s going on,” said Jason Hinchliff, Husky’s director of digital innovation.He said Husky is encouraging innovation in its operations in Western Canada, Atlantic Canada and Asia and speedy adoption with a 16-employee multi-disciplinary technology group.In December, Osprey raised $3.75 million to open a new office in Houston, taking on new investors including the venture unit of client Royal Dutch Shell.Ambyint, too, has U.S. sales offices. Each cites the need to access the healthier oilpatch there to fund product development while waiting for the Canadian sector to catch up.Osprey is pursuing new applications to visually detect small or infrequent methane leaks from valves and pipe joints, a timely innovation given Alberta’s vow to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas by 45 per cent from 2014 levels by 2025.It’s also working on ways to integrate its cameras with other kinds of sensors so that when an alarm sounds due to pressure or temperature readings, for example, it can provide synchronized pictures.Ambyint’s Robart says the company wants to expand to other types of oil and gas pumps and other industrial equipment including compressors and wind turbines.Both companies say better monitoring means fewer site visits, resulting in cuts to emissions, labour costs and driving risk.“AI can help you reduce costs, but actually the real value is much further up the scale,” said Mortlock.“It’s about higher quality decisions and building new capabilities by having machines and humans work together.” read more

Forest Service backs Mt Rose ski resort expansion bridge

The U.S. Forest Service has tentatively approved a plan to build two chairlifts and a snow bridge across a state highway southwest of Reno to allow skiers at the Mount Rose Ski resort to access 11 new trails proposed farther down the mountain.Officials for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest released a draft record of decision Monday approving the resort’s expansion planned across 112 acres (45 hectares) north of the Mount Rose Highway.The plan includes a new restroom, water pipeline and 5-million-gallon (19-million-litre) water tank to support snowmaking operations in the Atoma Area.It would prohibit future development of commercial uses across all but about 180 of the 3,446 acres (72 of the 1,394 million hectares) on bordering national forest land. It’s subject to a 45-day public comment to field objections from those who already commented.The Associated Press read more