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Hafiz Saeed barred from leading prayers in Lahore

first_imgLahore: Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) leader Hafiz Saeed has been barred from leading prayers at Lahore’s Jamia Masjid Qadsia as part of the Pakistan government’s crackdown on terror groups, the media reported on Friday. The development on Thursday night comes as Pakistani law enforcement agencies took 121 people into preventive detention and seized 182 madrasas earlier in the day. Police contingents were dispatched to the Jamia Qadsia Masjid to help the administration take control, Dawn news reported citing an informed source as saying. The police also locked the JuD’s and Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation’s (FIF) Chauburji headquarters late Thursday night. The FIF is a charity wing of the JuD. The official said that security had been tightened at the outfit’s Muridke Markaz office where the government has appointed six administrators. The crackdown was launched on Tuesday amid tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad after the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror group claimed responsibility for the February 14 suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 40 CRPF troopers. On Tuesday, the brother and son of JeM leader Masood Azhar along with 42 others affiliated with the banned outfit were arrested. The next day, at least two seminaries and assets belonging to the JuD and FIF were taken over by the authorities.last_img read more

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Fire at Bandhwari landfill site points to untreated waste hazard

first_imgGurugram: Fire at Bandhwari landfill site highlights that not having waste management in place is resulting in dangers piling up at the 30-acre landfill site nestled in Aravallis.The fire was caused on Monday. The main causes of the fire were attributed to the extreme heat caused due to the summer that led the methane gas present in the garbage to catch fire. Despite the assurances that waste at the landfill site will be treated, it is expected that there are 25 lakh tonnes of garbage of Gurugram and Faridabad combined dumped at the site. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe extreme dangers get further added to it has come to fore that leachate (a poisonous liquid substance that emanates from the garbage) has again begun to percolate outside the landfill. Even though the problem was solved on temporary measures, the urgency of finding a long term solution has again been raised with problems resurfacing. After repeated complaints, there can finally be a solution to the challenge of the toxic underground water table at Bandhwari and the areas around it caused due to the leachate of the presence of the 30-acre-landfill site. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsTo tackle this issue, a leachate treatment plant was expected to be set up at an area. At present more than 1,000 tonnes of garbage from Gurugram and Faridabad is discarded daily at the area that is nestled in the green belt of Aravallis. Based on the proposal, the plant will treat more than 100 kiloliters of leachate daily. It will be set up the Chinese company Eco green that has also been entrusted with the responsibility of recycling the waste in the area into the creation of power and other useful forms. As the layout of the projects, works presently are being undertaken. Commissioned in 2008, Bandhwari landfill was created with an objective of segregation and recycling of waste generated from Gurgaon and Faridabad. Set up with an investment of Rs 300 crores the was to operationalise a power plant and plastic recycling at the site. After laying defunct for more than four-and-half years the recycling unit was again set up after a lot of protests. There is criticism that work at the plant has not been carried out the pace as was promised and the waste continues to be dumped as it was done earlier. To reduce the amount of waste being dumped at the site the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram is encouraging composting among various residential and commercial sites.last_img read more

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UP oppn alliances first rally Mayawati says BJP will lose due to

first_imgDeoband (Saharanpur, UP): BSP supremo Mayawati Sunday slammed both the BJP and the Congress at the first joint rally with SP and RLD here, leas than a week before voting for the first phase of voting. “BJP will lose this election because of policies inspired by hatred.. especially their “chowkidar” campaign… no matter how much the chhote, bade chowkidars try, the BJP will not win,” she said. Addressing the rally in the presence of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and RLD chief Ajit Singh, she said, “The Congress has failed despite ruling for so many years,” Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The BSP chief said, “Our government, instead of giving minimum income support, will give employment to poor people. Indira Gandhi too made a 20-point programme to remove poverty, but was it effective?” She said, “We are silent workers, unlike other parties. Our party performs without making noise, we are silent workers. The Congress too has been making tall claims, haven’t they been given enough chances for decades? They were wiped out from several states. The Nyay scheme is not a stable solution for removing poverty.” Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday At the same time, she said the BJP government has been misusing probe agencies. “Even the people from backward communities are suffering… The divisive thought process of these parties are hurting these communities… At the Centre, or state level… reservation issue for these communities was ignored. These communities are not benefiting from the reservation. They are being exploited. Minorities are also suffering.” Mayawati said corruption has increased at every level. “The Congress was tainted by bofors. BJP government is tainted by Rafale… The BJP government has been misusing probe agencies – CBI, ED – against its rivals. You don’t need to give another chance to them. The parties that have already been given enough chances In the election season, political parties use opinion polls to misguide voters. Do not get swayed,” she appealed to the voters. She assured the electorate that if voted to power, farmers will no longer be in debt. “Sugarcane farmers are suffering in UP… their grievances are being ignored amid empty announcements. When our party was in power, we made sure dues of sugarcane farmers were paid,” the former chief minister said. Mayawati said the BJP’s poll promises have still not been fulfilled. “The ground realities can’t be ignored. BJP will keep endorsing its hawa-hawai (lofty) schemes till the poll results are announced. Thousands of crores have been wasted… That’s taxpayers money… could be used for the poor…If PM was serious about welfare of poor, they would not have been inaugurating schemes after poll dates were announced… they would have performed in five years of tenure. In the last budget… whatever announcements were made by centre are nothing but empty poll promises,” she said. “Now that BJP is panicking, you should know BJP on its way out… and grand alliance will arrive. After Independence, for a long time Congress and BJP were in power… even in the Congress-ruled states, wrongful practices came to notice… so they eventually lost voter base… =========== BJP misusing Pulwama issue, GST & note ban caused huge job loss; don’t allow these people to come back, Mayawati tells Deoband rally.last_img read more

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Google will never sell any personal info to 3rd parties CEO Pichai

first_imgNew York: Google will never sell any personal information of its users to third parties, CEO Sundar Pichai has said, amidst growing global concern over the misuse of personal data by some social media giants. In an opinion piece Tuesday in The New York Times, he also said that privacy cannot be a “luxury good” that is only available to people who can afford to buy premium products and services. The 46-year-old Indian-origin CEO of Google said he believed that privacy was “one of the most important topics of our time.” Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra People today are rightly concerned about how their information is used and shared, yet they all define privacy in their own ways, he said. “To make privacy real, we give you clear, meaningful choices around your data. All while staying true to two unequivocal policies: that Google will never sell any personal information to third parties; and that you get to decide how your information is used,” Pichai said. Pichai said he has seen this first-hand as he talked to people in different parts of the world. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 days “To the families using the internet through a shared device, privacy might mean privacy from one another. To the small-business owner who wants to start accepting credit card payments, privacy means keeping customer data secure. To the teenager sharing selfies, privacy could mean the ability to delete that data in the future,” Pichai said. He noted that privacy was personal, which makes it even more vital for companies to give people clear, individual choices around how their data is used. He said legislation will help companies like Google to work toward ensuring that privacy protections are available to more people around the world. “But we’re not waiting for it. We have a responsibility to lead. And we’ll do so in the same spirit we always have, by offering products that make privacy a reality for everyone,” Pichai said. Ideally, privacy legislation would require all businesses to accept responsibility for the impact of their data processing in a way that creates consistent and universal protections for individuals and society as a whole, he said. He said Google has worked hard to continually earn people’s trust by providing accurate answers and keeping their questions private. “We’ve stayed focused on the products and features that make privacy a reality for everyone,” he said in the opinion piece. “For everyone” is a core philosophy for Google; it’s built into our mission to create products that are universally accessible and useful. That’s why Search works the same for everyone, whether you’re a professor at Harvard or a student in rural Indonesia,” he said. “Our mission compels us to take the same approach to privacy. For us, that means privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services. Privacy must be equally available to everyone in the world,” Pichai underlined. He noted that even in cases where Google offered a paid product like YouTube Premium, which includes an ads-free experience, the regular version of YouTube has plenty of privacy controls built in. Pichai recalled that last week, Google announced significant new privacy features, including one-click access to privacy settings from all its major products and auto-delete controls that allows one to choose how long the person want data to be saved. “And to protect your data from security threats, we just introduced a security key built into Android phones that can provide two-factor authentication,” he said. In the future, Aritificial Intelligence (AI) will provide even more ways to make products more helpful with less data. With increased spending on digital advertising, Google and Facebook have become forces to reckon with as millions of users, especially from emerging markets like India, go online. But multiple instances of data breaches and user information leaks have brought increased scrutiny on many platforms from regulators and governments across the globe. These companies are now walking a tightrope as they attempt to balance user privacy with increased accountability as governments seek greater disclosures and controls over digital platforms.last_img read more

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Consortium threatens to stop Panama Canal expansion

first_imgA Spanish-led consortium threatened Thursday to halt a massive, $5.3 billion (3.9-billion-euro) expansion of the Panama Canal, which handles five percent of world maritime trade, because of a row over cost overruns.Spanish builder Sacyr, leader of the Grupo Unidos por el Canal consortium, said work will stop unless the canal pays $1.6 billion in cost overruns for work on the 80-kilometre (50-mile) waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.“GUPC has formally informed the Panama Canal Authority that it will suspend work if the failures to comply are not put right within the advised period,” Sacyr said in a statement to Spanish market regulators. The consortium said it had set the canal authorities a 21-day deadline before suspending the project to install a third set of canal locks.The news sent Sacyr shares plunging by more than 18 percent as trade opened on the Madrid stock exchange. By late morning they were down 8.95 percent at 3.43 euros.On Wednesday, Panama canal administrator Jorge Quijano warned that the canal authority would use contractual mechanisms to ensure the completion of the canal expansion.“No matter what kind of pressure is exercised against the ACP (Panama Canal Authority), we maintain our demand that Grupo Unidos por el Canal respect the contract that they agreed to and signed,” he said in a statement quoted by Panama media.A year ago, GUPC demanded an extra payment of $1.6 billion from the ACP due to construction delays.Led by Spain’s Sacyr, the consortium also includes Impregilo of Italy, Belgian firm Jan De Nul and Panama’s Constructora Urbana.It began work on a third set of locks for the canal in 2009 and expects to complete construction in June 2015, already a nine-month delay over the date set in the contract.The new locks will accommodate larger ships with a capacity of 12,000 containers — instead of those with 5,000 containers that are now able to navigate the canal.Some 13,000 to 14,000 ships navigate the canal each year.According to the canal authority, there was a delay of four months shortly after the project began because GUPC had planned to use lower-quality cement that would have prevented the construction from lasting more than 100 years.But Sacyr said the GUPC consortium had submitted justified claims for $1.625 billion in cost overruns due to “unforeseeable” circumstances to the relevant authorities, including the International Court of Arbitration.“GUPC is maintaining communication with the Panama Canal Authority to reach a satisfactory agreement to put an end to the contractual imbalance,” it added.The canal uses a system of locks to raise ships from sea level and enable them to sail through the continental divide.last_img read more

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Morocco Keen To Deepen Bilateral Relations with Portugal FM

lisbon – Our conviction and our ambition is to ensure that relations with Portugal are further enriched and renewed, said Wednesday in Lisbon Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar.“The relations binding the two countries are exceptional thanks to the friendship and serenity that have always marked bilateral relations, enriched by our shared vision for the Mediterranean and the Atlantic regions,” said Mezouar during a press conference with his Portuguese counterpart, Rui Machete.These two dimensions have helped us to think of our partnership in relation to our environment, which requires continuous and ongoing flexibility, the minister said at the press briefing which was attended by Ambassador of Morocco to Portugal, Karima Benyaich.“We are in a context marked by a multiple issues related to peace and security and that are related to the problems of migration, human development, and the current economic juncture,” he added. For his part, Rui Machete said Morocco is an excellent partner for Portugal, describing as exceptional the relations between the two country.He said the meeting with the Moroccan top diplomat, held on the eve of the ministerial meeting of the 5+5 Dialogue forum aims to strengthen bilateral relations, and provides an opportunity to assess the work done in recent months, particularly since his visit to Morocco last January.Mezouar, is to take part, Thursday in Lisbon, in the 11th Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the “5 +5 Dialogue” group. read more

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Muslims Use Sarcastic Hashtag to Dissociate Themselves from ISIS

By Radia BenabbouRabat –  Muslims around the world are using the hashtag #MuslimApologies as a way to defend Islam as a peaceful religion and that ISIS’s violent acts do not represent their faith.Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Islam has been a target for several different types of accusations that associate it with terrorism. Muslims around the world have been persecuted and discriminated against just for sharing religious beliefs with a terrorist group. It has been a hard time for Muslims, especially North African immigrants in Europe. It took much effort and commitment to alter—though not completely—this perception of Islam. However, once again, Islam is associated with terrorism due to the notorious acts of ISIS, a terrorist group that claims to have an Islamic background. The world is once again blaming Islam and Muslims as a community for what ISIS is doing, nurturing hatred and contempt against the Muslims of the world.In response to this wave of hatred, a wave of a different kind is being born. The #MuslimApologies is a campaign, led by Muslims of the world, is attempting to shed light on the fact that not all Muslims agree with the violent acts of ISIS. It is a campaign that makes use of sarcasm in order to ridicule the attempts to associate Islam with terrorism.This hashtag is a new trend on Twitter. Muslims from around the world post tweets where they sarcastically apologize for the good things Muslims did for humanity. They apologize for Islam’s positive contributions in the different areas of life. The “apologies” focus mainly on education, scientific discoveries, human rights, and spiritual matters. Along with similar hashtags, this campaign seems to be exposing the world to a different type of Islam: one that is a tolerant, peaceful religion.These are some examples of the tweets:Scientists use the Quran to discover things. I’m sorry that the Quran knows more than humans. #MuslimApologies— x (@jerrysmindx) September 27, 2014now that we’ve seen #MuslimApologies i wanna see #WesternApologies. there’s a lot to apologize for, luckily for you Islam is very forgiving.— Mimi (@xmimia) September 27, 2014#MuslimApologies foreshadows an indigenous rejection of the Politics of Apologetics that has long gripped Muslim-American institutions— Khaled Bey (@KhaledBeydoun) September 27, 2014I’m sorry that I’m in love with a faith that the west tries to water down. #muslimapologies— Sarah ? ???? (@AngelicYemenia) September 27, 2014I’m sorry for being a white Muslim who doesn’t look Arab. It’s confusing, and I’m very ashamed. #MuslimApologies pic.twitter.com/dmz6cMBeug— Liesel Hess (@LieselHess) September 25, 2014I’m sorry the media has brainwashed you to believe that Islam is a religion of evil. Sorry you can’t think for yourself #MuslimApologies— Princess Palestinian (@GazaPrincesssss) September 25, 2014 read more

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Morocco Cuba Reestablish Diplomatic Relations

New York – Morocco and Cuba on Friday decided to re-establish diplomatic relations between the two countries.“In accordance with the High Instructions of HM King Mohammed VI, Morocco on Friday re-established its diplomatic relations with Cuba,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.According to the same source, the decision was made following “a joint statement was signed between the Permanent Missions of the two countries to the United Nations in New York, providing for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level.” The decision was made a couple of weeks after King Mohammed’s private visit to Cuba. It was the Moroccan monarch’s first visit to the country since his coronation in 1999 and the first ever made by a Moroccan king.Since the 1960’s, relations between the two countries were marked by increased tension as a result of Cuba’s decision to side with Algeria during the Morocco-Algerian military conflict of 1963 known as the “Sand War.”And in the 1970’s, Cuba chose again to side with Algeria in its support for the independence of the Western Sahara from Morocco.Morocco severed its relations with Cuba back in 1980 as a result of Cuba support for the Polisario and its stance on the territorial dispute.Analysts regards this move as a major setback for the Polisario, which has for long considered Cuba as the bulwark of its secessionist agenda and among its fiercest supporters at the United Nations.For the past four decades, Cuba has welcomed and trained scores of young Saharawis from the Tindouf camps.The opening of a Moroccan embassy in Cuba and a Cuban embassy in Morocco will enable the two countries to reestablish the channels of dialogue and work for the betterment of the interests of their respective peoples. read more

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Social Media Users Stand with Victims of the Finsbury Park Attack

By Chaymaa Benallouch.Rabat – Social Media users are showing their support of and expressing their sympathy for victims for the Mosque Attack in London.After the London Bridge Attack and the Grenfell Tower Fire, London has witnessed another horrifying attack. This time the targets were Muslims as they were leaving the Mosque. The vehicular attack lead to the death of one person and the injury of 10. Social Media users used many hashtags such as, #WeStandTogether and #FinsburyPark, in which they expressed their condolences and sympathy for the attack that targeted worshipers during Tarawih at the Finsbury Park Mosque, saying that they do not allow hate and terrorism to differentiate them.Jewish voluntary nonprofit organization, Shomrim NE London, showed its support for the victims of the attacks, saying that they stand in solidarity with them.#WeStandTogether in solidarity with the victims of the horrific terrorist attack in #FinsburyPark. Thoughts & prayers with all those affected pic.twitter.com/04kxobdpYN— Shomrim N.E. London (@Shomrim) June 19, 2017Many Members of the Parliament also used the hashtag “#WeStandTogether” to show their support.Horrific to see another terror attack on our streets. Thoughts with those killed, injured and affected#FinsburyParkattack #WeStandTogether https://t.co/nT35qOCHUD— Jim McMahon MP (@JimfromOldham) June 19, 2017Horrendous attack on people because of their Muslim faith near #FinsburyParkMosque. Thoughts+prayers with the victims.#WeStandTogether— Ivan Lewis (@IvanLewis_MP) June 19, 2017Yesterday we joined the #GreatGetTogether for Jo. Today another terrorist attack shows why it matters more than ever that #WeStandTogether— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) June 19, 2017British Boxer, Amir Khan, also used the hashtag and expressed his sympathy toward the victims of this attack.I am really saddened to hear about the attack in #FinsburyPark -I pray for all the victims and their families #WeStandTogether— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) June 19, 2017English television presenter and model, Davina McCall, said “we need a multi faith solution. Where we all come together and stand united against hate.”We need a multi faith solution. Where we all come together and stand united against hate ?? pic.twitter.com/0Fztvb54MD— Davina McCall (@ThisisDavina) June 19, 2017Famous British novelist and author of Harry Potter, JK Rowling, tweeted about the incident in her account, supported the victims and criticized the media, more particularly The Mail, for not describing the attacker as a “terrorist” and using the words “white van driver.”The Mail has misspelled ‘terrorist’ as ‘white van driver.’ Now let’s discuss how he was radicalised. pic.twitter.com/HPw2czZiV9— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 19, 2017In another tweet, she praised the Imam of the mosque who called for people to stay calm and prevented them from harming the suspect of the attack.The extraordinary decency and courage of this act has brought me to tears this morning. I hope this imam gets the recognition he deserves. https://t.co/SR5u6RRHG9— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 19, 2017The attack took place near the Finsbury Park mosque in the center of London. A man drove a vehicle into a group of Muslims as they were leaving the mosque, leaving one person dead and several people injured. read more

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South African Couple Breaks Record Sailing from Morocco to New York

Toronto – Just before 2 p.m. on Friday, South African couple, Riaan Manser and Vasti Geldenhuys, crossed the finish line in Manhattan, New York, ending a six-month long journey that began last December.New Jersey airplane mechanic, Peter Morales, was just looking for a few hours of escape Wednesday afternoon, when he set out in his boat for a spot of fishing and some Coors Light. Then he spotted an unusual sight. It wasn’t the couple who took him by surprise, it was the kayak they were rowing, named “The Spirit of Madiba,” after Nelson Mandela.“It completely took me off my feet,” said Mr. Morales. In fact, the custom-built 23-foot long kayak had been specially designed for Riaan Manser and his fiancée, Vasti Geldenhuys, for their once-in-a-lifetime journey from the coast of Morocco to New York’s Manhattan. Anyone looking at it would call the design space-age. The couple manning the oars looked tired and thirsty so Morales offered them each a beer and some water and ice from his supply, which they accepted gratefully. They handed him a business card identifying themselves as citizens of South Africa and invited him to join them at the 79th Street Boat Basin on Friday to watch them cross the finish line.The South African couple’s record-breaking journey began December 30th on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. Manser is no stranger to adventure, having cycled the entire perimeter of the Africa continent and circumnavigated Madagascar by kayak.He is usually a lone adventurer but decided to invite his fiancée, Geldenhuys, with him on this occasion. In total, the couple spent 133 days on the water. 74 of those days were passed with no land visible in ay direction. After 1.8 million oar strokes, the couple piloted their kayak safely into Manhattan where throngs of press greeted them. True to his word, Peter Morales was also there.“We’ve done a journey that no human beings have done,” Manser told The Times. “Our behinds are very, very sore,” he added. Equally exhausted, Geldenhuys announced “Yes, we’ve had enough of the ocean.” They weren’t too excited to celebrate, however, sharing well-earned embraces.Asked about the overall experience and how it measured up to their pre-launch impressions, Maser said, “We were naïve. We thought the Atlantic would be this calm little pond that you just row across. By the fifth day, we were saying to each other, what is going on? Goodness gracious. It should be a lot calmer. The sea was very, very, very angry.”Despite their self-described naivety, however, there was reason to be proud. “We went one step further than Christopher Columbus,” declared Manser. “That guy stopped in San Salvador and we went all the way to New York!” read more

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Toyotas Nissans global sales fall short of Volkswagens

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. says it sold 10.59 million vehicles globally last year, fewer than the 10.83 million delivered by German rival Volkswagen AG.Also Wednesday, Nissan Motor Co. said its global sales totalled 5.65 million vehicles last year, while Renault SA of France, which owns 43 per cent of Nissan, recorded global sales of 3.9 million vehicles.Nissan owns 34 per cent of smaller Japanese rival Mitsubishi Motors Corp., which sold 1.2 million vehicles last year.That adds up to 10.75 million vehicles, although that is not the official alliance tally.The numbers released Wednesday underscore intense competition among the automakers.U.S. automaker General Motors Co. was the No. 1 selling automaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008. Its sales have shrunk in recent years.The Associated Press read more

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King Mohammed VI Inaugurates New RabatSalé Bridge

Rabat- King Mohammed VI has inaugurated the urban bypass N2 Highway linking the city of Rabat to Salé over the Bouregreg River. The sovereign named the bridge “Ribat Al Fath.” The project is part of the King’s 2014-2018 Rabat development program launched in 2015 to improve road security and help with the city’s traffic congestion.The new bypass is 8 kilometers long, extending from Tadla Avenue in Rabat to the national highway N6 in Salé. The bypass has a vehicle-carrying capacity of 30,000 cars daily, encompassing 28 percent of the total traffic between the two cities.The bypass also includes a tunnel connecting the Mohammed VI Avenue crossroad in Rabat and an above-ground passage at Zarbia Road in Salé.The project’s construction budget reached MAD 520 billion, carried out by the Bouregreg Valley development agency. read more

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Australia says coal holdups at China ports are not a ban

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Australia’s trade minister says that while there might be some delays in processing of coal shipments at Chinese ports, he has no reason to believe China is banning Australian coal.Simon Birmingham told reporters Friday in Adelaide that he did not see any problem in the relationship between the two countries. His comments followed a report by the Reuters news agency, citing an unnamed port official, that said the northern Chinese port of Dalian had banned imports of Australian coalCoal is one of Australia’s largest exports. The report caused the Australian dollar to briefly tumble and sent officials scrambling.But China’s markets are vital for Australia and relations are sensitive after Australia last year blocked Chinese-owned telecommunications giant Huawei from involvement in its 5G network due to security concerns.The Associated Press read more

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Former Adviser Accuses Saudi Arabia of Approving Assassination of Arafat

Rabat – A former adviser to Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, Bassam Abou Sharif, has said Saudi Arabia allowed the decision to assassinate Arafat.In an interview with Shehab News Agency, Sharif said, “The former US President George Bush spoke with the Saudi regime after a meeting with the former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, during which Arafat’s assassination was discussed, and the Saudi regime agreed.”Sharif added that Saudi Arabia agreed to the assassination of Arafat because he “became an obstacle to peace and the implementation of the Arab peace initiative.” He added that he has documents on the White House meeting between Bush and Sharon.Sharon told the former US president, according to Sharif , that “he could no longer keep his promise of not physically attacking Yasser Arafat because he was (leading terrorism) and collaborating with Hamas, and that Hamas operations would be implemented with the approval of Arafat.”Sharif added that Bush remained silent and nodded his head, approving Sharon’s plan.Following the meeting, Bush contacted his long-time regional partner, Saudi Arabia, and informed them of the decision. Sharif continued that Saudi Arabia agreed.Sharif said that his new book, titled “Assamak Al Malih” (Salty Fish), contains many secrets regarding the assassination of the former president of Palestine and the assassination of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin.Arafat died unexpectedly on November 11, 2004, at the age of 75 at a hospital near Paris shortly after being admitted, due to unknown causes. The cause of his death has been debated since then. There was much speculation that Israel was behind the death of Arafat.The New York Post reported in January of this year that Sharon ordered Yasser Arafat’s assassination. read more

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UN officials call on Chinese business leaders to utilize technology for development

“Development is no longer the sole responsibility of governments and non-governmental organizations,” Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang told a group of more than 40 Chinese executives gathered in New York. “We also need to harness the collective strength of private sector entities in support of our development efforts. We therefore consider you as an indispensable stakeholder in the fight against poverty, illiteracy and disease.” Speaking at a panel on the role of information and communication technology (ICT) to address development problems, Mr. Sha said that “ICT connects the world and can give everyone a voice. It can aid education through distance learning, content creation and teacher training. It can empower women by helping them to acquire new skills, create business enterprises and create wealth.” Sarbuland Khan, the Executive Coordinator of the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development, said the Alliance provides an opportunity for private sector executives from China to express their views on how to minimize poverty in China, India and across the developing world. “You can take advantage of our platform to become more profitable, but also to contribute to the reduction of poverty,” he noted. Participants agreed that bolstering information technology can serve to improve quality of life, and that the provision of training is in the best interest of corporations. Some attendees cited impediments to the spread of technology, such as the lack of appropriate software and computer illiteracy. The panel was part of an all-day meeting, organized by Friendship Across Frontier and the UN Global Alliance for ICT and Development, which brought together Chinese and United States executives to discuss bilateral economic relations, trends in business and technology, and strategies in steering private Chinese companies into the global business arena. 24 August 2007United Nations officials yesterday called on top Chinese executives to utilize information technology to improve the plight of poor people in their home country and around the world. read more

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Global leaders show will for climate change breakthrough – SecretaryGeneral

24 September 2007World leaders have demonstrated the political will necessary to make a breakthrough on climate change, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today as he wrapped up the largest-ever meeting of heads of State or government on the issue. “This has been a groundbreaking, historical event,” he told reporters following the conclusion of the gathering at United Nations Headquarters in New York, which he also characterized as a “sea-change in the response to climate change.”Mr. Ban convened the event in an effort to forge a coalition to accelerate a global response to climate change and build international momentum for the major summit to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in December.That meeting seeks to determine future action on mitigation, adaptation, the global carbon market and financing responses to climate change for the period after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol – the current global framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – in 2012.“Today I heard a clear call from world leaders for a breakthrough on climate change in Bali,” Mr. Ban said in his closing remarks at the day-long event, which drew top officials from over 150 nations, including 80 heads of State or government. “And I now believe we have a major political commitment to achieving that.”Stressing that a post-Kyoto agreement must be in force by the end of 2012, he called for “comprehensive and inclusive” negotiations to take place in Bali.“We have come a long way in building understanding and a new consensus this year. More remains to be done, but this event has sent a powerful political signal to the world, and to the Bali conference, that there is the will, and the determination, at the highest level, to break with the past and act decisively.”Four plenary sessions on the themes of adaptation, mitigation, technology and financing were held simultaneously at the event, entitled “The Future in our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change.”In summarizing the adaptation session, Mr. Ban said that participants voiced solidarity with the most vulnerable nations – in particular, the so-called small island developing states and least developed countries – to the consequences of climate change. Such nations have contributed least to the state of the planet, and yet are most impacted by it.Those who attended this session also agreed on the need to reduce disaster risk and bolster community resilience to extreme weather events through planning and capacity-building, he said.Speakers at the mitigation plenary noted the need for long-term plans of action, with many participants calling for legally binding emission targets.“There is a broad recognition of the need to tackle the root causes of the problem and reverse its effects through decisive action,” the Secretary-General noted. “The current level of effort will not suffice.”On technology, Mr. Ban said that many participants pointed out that technological solutions for pushing forward the goals of adaptation and mitigation already exist. “Effective policy frameworks and cooperation mechanisms can greatly accelerate the deployment of these solutions between and within the North and the South,” he said.Global collaboration must be urgently increased to help developing countries to move towards low carbon and renewable energy, which can in turn spur economic growth, he noted.Additionally, since fossil fuels will be ongoing sources of energy for the foreseeable future, energy efficiency must be improved and new technologies – such as carbon capture and storage – must be sought out.Finally, regarding financing, many participants suggested that tackling climate change need not curtail economic development, the Secretary-General said. Developing countries should be provided with resources for investment and for cultivating their ability to identify and implement the necessary policies to promote sustainable growth.Several speakers called for an enhanced carbon market in developed nations that offers flexibility, allows for a cost-effective transition to low-emissions economies and ultimately provides incentives to developing countries.Mr. Ban also said that the attendees noted that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the only forum to devise solutions to the challenges posed by climate change. “All other processes or initiatives should be compatible with the UNFCCC process and should feed into it, facilitating its successful conclusion.”Also speaking at the event’s closing, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia, which is hosting the upcoming summit, noted that the plenary sessions were “marked by a strong sense of commitment and urgency.”Regarding the upcoming Bali meeting, Mr. Yudhoyono said “there is a public demand for concrete and bold action. Thus, we are looking forward to their principal outcome: a bold global decisions addressing climate change without significantly jeopardizing development efforts.” read more

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