A Race Against Time West Africa Fears Further Outbreaks of Ebola

Casablanca – Since the deadly Ebola disease first appeared in late 2013 in West Africa, it has continued to spread throughout Africa.Last week, team leader, Bart Jansesens of the organization, ‘Doctors without Borders’ stated that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was “completely out of control.” The rare virus causes painful bleeding inside and outside the body as well as high fever, difficulty breathing, and rashes.According to the World Health Organization, 467 people have already lost their lives as a result of this virus. There are also other 759 reported cases of infection. For now, no licensed vaccine for the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) is available. Several vaccines are being tested, but none are available yet for clinical treatment. Since the deadly disease first appeared in late 2013 in West Africa, it has spread rapidly. To date, outbreaks have occurred in the three countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The risk of it spreading to other areas is very high, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).The deadly disease causes huge waves of refugees to flee their cities every day, in order to escape from the outbreak. The disease is transmitted through blood and body fluids of infected animals and people and raises fear and panic among the residents. So they would rather run away from the scourge, rather than face it.Isata Sanaoh, one refugee was quoted by the German News channel, RTL as saying: “I ran away from home because of Ebola. A lot of people have died there, including many in my family.” Yet, many refugees unwittingly carry the virus to other parts of the country and controlling the spread of the disease is not in sight.The World Health Organization has called for more doctors to come help prevent the spread. But the lack of doctors is not the only issue. People from West Africa tend to distrust foreigners. Most of them want to take care of themselves at home, which exacerbates the problem because family members or friends become infected from caring for the sick.For the residents of the affected regions, the ebola virus is not just a disease, but an evil curse. People are convinced that Western medicine is powerless. So, the race against time to save lives is a continuous back and forth between clarification of facts and focusing on stopping the spread of the disease.Unfortunately, the governments of West Africa have not invested in their health institutions over the last years. The result is that many citizens are the victims of their own country’s recklessness.On the other hand, authorities have banned the sale and consumption of wild animals in Guiana. Monkeys, bats and snakes are locally considered delicacies, but are also potential carriers of the virus.Those who help fight against the deadly virus face the skepticism of the local population. This is an extremely dangerous conflict situation that costs a lot of lives of more and more people.Many people around the world wonder whether there could be an outbreak in their own countries. In fact, infected travelers can easily spread the disease. However, airline crews are trained to spot the symptoms, so the chances of travelers spreading the virus are being minimized.West Africa is experiencing the worst disease outbreak in its history. Many people have already lost their lives, and desperation has become part of their daily agenda.Although, there is no effective treatment yet, the WHO is focusing on eradicating all the origins and sources of Ebola by cleaning and disinfecting the affected areas.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Morocco Participates in Cairo in Arab Armies Chiefs of Staff Meeting

Cairo – Morocco participates in the Arab armies Chiefs of Staff meeting, which is held in Cairo this weekend.Major General El Houcine Benmimoune on Saturday took part in the second meeting of the Chiefs of staff of Arab armies, to discuss the formation of a joint Arab military force in implementation of the relevant resolution of the Arab Summit hosted by Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh last March.The chiefs of staff are discussing the initial project of protocol to form the force and a memo related to the implementation of the resolution in this regard. They are also considering the measures, and technical and financial mechanisms for this force.They had held their first meeting in Cairo on April 22 during which they stressed the necessity of joint collective action to find solutions to the issues of the Arab region and enable Arab countries to deal effectively with the current challenges.Besides Major General El Houcine Benmimoune, the Moroccan delegation participating in this meeting, is made up of Mohamed Saad Alami, Morocco’s ambassador to Egypt, Permanent Representative of the kingdom to the Arab League, Ahmed Tazi, Director of Mashreq, Gulf and Arab and Islamic Organizations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Colonel Staff Mohamed Lkouti and Colonel Jamal Dridegh. read more

Godfather of Gnawa Mahmoud Guinia dies at 64

Rabat – Moroccan pioneer of Gnawa music, Mohamed Guinia, died yesterday at the age of 64.Mahmoud Guinia was a Gnawa musician and guembri player, born in Essaouira in 1951. He passed away after fighting with a lengthy illness.“It’s an immense sorrow that I have heard about the death of the icon of Gnawa Music, Maalem Mahmoud Guinia, after he was sick,” Neila Tazi, the founder of Gnawa Festival, stated to news website H24info. “On behalf of the association and the team of the festival I’d like to express my sorrow to his wife Malika and his children Bouchra, Houssam and Hamza as well as his whole family and his fans. May he rest in peace; surely we belong to Allah and to Him shall we return,” she added. Mr. Guinia belonged to an artistic family, which played a major role in developing Gnawa music in Morocco. He is the second son of a legend of Gnawa Music, Maâllem Boubker Guinia, who passed away 15 years ago.His grandfather was from Mali and confronted slavery in Africa’s desert before his father moved to Essaouira with the passion for Gnawa during times when it was a marginalized art known only to be performed by beggars to earn a living.He started playing guembri at the age of 12, and is regarded as a master of fusion music by virtue of his participation in various worldwide festivals in France, Japan, Italy and the US along with Carlos Santana, Adam Rudolph, Will Calhoun, Issaka Sow and Aly Keita.Mr. Guinia often spoke with pride about his ancestors and his journey with Gnawa during the openings of his shows.He concluded a recent edition of Gnawa World Music alongside the Algerian artist Karim Ziad. read more

Video Blindfolded Muslim Man Offers Free Hugs in Nottingham

Taroudante – After the successful trust experiment of an unknown blindfolded Muslim man in Paris, another moving trust experiment, where a young Muslim man blindfolded himself with a sign asking for hugs, has found its way to the UK.To fight against racism and Islamophobia in UK, Yusef Pirot, a 16-year-old British Muslim, stood with open arms for two hours in the middle of Nottingham with a sign saying: “I trust you. Do you trust me? Give me a hug.”The video, showing strangers hugging Yusef, went viral on social media with millions of views.For Yusef, the aim is to spread a message of peace and trust in Nottingham in the wake of the Paris attacks. “I was shocked by the Paris attacks. Why would anyone want to hurt another human being and why would they kill innocent people for no reason?” Yusef said.“The stereotype is not right and these extremists are brainwashed – what they’re doing is not what Islam is about,” he added.The initiative of the young Muslim attracted divided opinions on social media. Some hail him for trying to distance himself from the heinous acts of ISIS, while others accused him of “attention seeking”.“Very brave, however he shouldn’t have to justify himself or his religion because of some extremist actions abroad. We are not all mindless thugs who think all people with brown skin are terrorists,” wrote Facebook user Mark Dack.While Yusef received a lot of hugs from strangers and words of praise and encouragement, he could not escape the insulting words of some racist passersby.“When I was blindfolded I heard a few people saying negative things – one person said to his friend, what would happen if I punched him in the face?” he said. read more

Will the Warriors Chatter the Bulls 70 Wins 12 Losses Record

By Jamal LaoudiWashington, D.C. – In sports, records and achievements play an important role in defining and establishing legacies for both teams and players.The National Basketball Association (NBA) has some interesting records and phenomena, some may even be described as unbelievable.  Case and point, did any player ever won both the scoring title and the Defensive Player of the Year Award in the same season, emphasis on the same season?  “No way?”  That was my initial reaction but, it happened.  If you had to pick a name, you would probably match my pick and name Michael Jordan, and you would be right.  He did so in the 1987-88 season. Here is another one, any player ever scored a triple double in every game for the entire season?  I’ll spare you the suspense and say yes, Oscar Robertson. He did so in the 1961–62 season when he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game.These days, an NBA’s team record is under assault.  The culprit?  The Golden State Warriors. The victim? The Best Single Season Team Records held by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.The 1995-96 Chicago Bulls hold the current record with 72 wins and 10 losses during the regular season.  Actually, they hold the top three best records with 69 wins, 13 losses, and 67 wins 15 losses in the seasons 1996-97 and 1991-92 respectively.As of yesterday, the Warriors are on an impressive run of 26 wins and a single loss.  They are 12-0 at home, 14-1 on the road with 9-1 in the last 10 games with the loss as the 25th game of the season.  Note that by this point in the Bull’s record breaking season, they had 24 wins and 3 losses.  The Warriors are looking well under way.That said, by no means this is a forgone conclusion.  After all, the regular season is long and hard, and lots can happen before you put in 82 games.  The Warriors can partially influence their destiny.  They need to be mindful of the threat of complacency, beware of the fatigue element, and keep players healthy and inline.No doubt the road is long and hard, and they need luck, lots of it in staying injury free.  Could they do it? I don’t know. Do I want them break that record?  Hello no! I am a die-hard Michael Jordan and ’90s Bulls’ fan.  There was much more excitement in the league back then and it was much harder to win. read more

Spain Moroccan Population Decreases Following the Trend

By Daniela CastroNew York – According to the most recent data, the Moroccan population in Spain decreased 3.03% over 2014, in a context where the total population fell for the third consecutive year.The National Statistics Institute (INE) released on Wednesday its last report on population, based on information from municipal rolls. At January 1, 2015, the total population in Spain dropped 0.31%, a decrease seen since 2012, partly due to the rise in the number of immigrants who are leaving the country. Over 2014, 146,884 Spaniards returned to the country while 293,843 foreigner residents left. Moroccans are the second biggest group by nationality in Spain (750,883), after Rumanians (752,268), and have historically migrated to Spain for economic reasons, mainly looking for jobs in the agricultural and construction sectors, according to Real Instituto Elcano.The Moroccan population in Barcelona – one of the main destinations – has dropped in recent years.  As of January 1, 2012, 141,636 Moroccans lived in Barcelona, but at January 1, 2015 the number fell to 124,470, a 12.11% decrease.Over 2014, Moroccans immigrants between 35 and 39 years of age (102.935) and 30 to 34 (99.933) made up the biggest group by age.Spain is the closest European country to Africa by sea. Across the Strait of Gibraltar, around 10 miles separate Spain from Morocco. Along with France (832,641) and Italy (355,367), Spain is one of the main destinations for Moroccans (521,940), according to figures released by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. read more

The Latest Spain and UK mutually guarantee voting rights

LONDON — The Latest on Britain’s exit from the European Union (all times local):9:55 a.m.The governments of Spain and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement to safeguard voting rights in local elections for their citizens residing in the other country regardless of the way Brexit unfolds.Britain’s Brexit minister, Robin Walker, says the agreement is the first of its kind for Britain with a member of the European Union.Walker was in Madrid for the signing on Monday.Some 300,000 British citizens living in Spain, the largest community outside of the British Isles, and 175,000 Spaniards who are residents in Britain and Northern Ireland will be able to vote and run in local elections that both countries are due to hold in May, officials have said.Spain’s state secretary for EU affairs, Marco Aguiriano, says the agreement will enter force with Britain’s departure from the EU, whether at the end of March as initially planned or later and with or without an agreement between the two sides.___9:45 a.m.European Union nations are vowing not to reopen the draft agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc as they await details of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to break the Brexit deadlock.EU foreign ministers arriving for a regular monthly meeting Monday also insisted they would need a very convincing reason to extend the March 29 departure date.German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas shared the frustration with the British indecision on how to leave the bloc and said that “we now know what they don’t want in London. Now, we finally need to know what it does want.”Several ministers said a reopening of the draft withdrawal agreement was out of the question. Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said “this is the text we all invested ourselves in.”___9:30 a.m.Prime Minister Theresa May is set to unveil her new plan to break Britain’s Brexit deadlock — and it’s expected to look a lot like the old plan decisively rejected by Parliament last week.May plans to brief the House of Commons Monday on how she intends to proceed. There are few signs she will make radical changes to her deal, though she may seek alternations to its most contentious section, an insurance policy to guarantee an open Irish border after Brexit.The EU insists it will not renegotiate the withdrawal agreement.May also faces a battle from lawmakers who are trying to use amendments to rule out the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a deal.Lawmakers are due to vote on May’s “Plan B” on Jan. 29.The Associated Press read more

King Abdullah Muslims Christians and Jews Must Unite to Defeat ISIS

Casablanca – King Abdullah has announced that defeating the ‘global threat’ represented by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) requires the union of Muslims, Christians and Jews. King Abdullah II of Jordan declared in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Company, in conjunction with his visit to Australia with Queen Rania, that everyone should prioritize putting an end to ISIS. He continued, saying that ISIS cannot be overcome “without the help of Christians and Jews, and other religions and other nations.”The Jordanian Monarch explained that Muslims, Christians, and Jews are “actually all in the same trench,” facing what he is calling “religious outlaws.” “This thing is not just located in Syria or Iraq. It’s in Libya — we’re dealing with Boko Haram and Shabab… you have the Al Taliban and actually, in this neck of the woods, you also have your challenges. So, unless we look at this with a global, holistic approach, we’re never going to win,” King Abdullah said.Asked about the result of the US elections, the Jordanian King stated that the US under Trump’s presidency would not be very different in matters of foreign policy.“There will be some changes in policy, but I don’t think to the extent that everybody’s panicking about,” Abdullah said. He also revealed that he spoke with Trump on the phone last week, saying, “I have had the opportunity to speak to President-elect Donald Trump last week. The synergy was very good during our telephone conversation.” read more

ArabAmerican Journalist Denied Uber Service for Being Arab

by Ghita BenslimaneCasablanca — Emmy-nominated journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin claims to have been the victim of discrimination after a DC Uber driver refused to give him a ride allegedly because Eldin was wearing a hat with Arabic writing on it.On December 19, AJPlus Correspondent Ahmed Shihab-Eldin tweeted a screenshot of his latest service message to Uber: EMBED:? pic.twitter.com/VAxNVq8Tvo— Ahmed Shihab-Eldin (@ASE) December 19, 2016“My driver got out of the car and told me not to approach the car the way I did (I was walking fast [because] it’s freezing). He started talking about Terrorism, and that I could be an ‘attacker.’ then yelled at me. This is the third time this happens to me using Uber,” the post said.In an interview with Mic, Eldin said that he was wearing a hat with the word “love” written in Arabic, and quickly ran over to the Uber because of the cold weather.“I’m aware [my hat] is a political statement in a sense, because Arabic is so politicized,” Eldin told Mic.But when he approached the vehicle in a hurry, the driver refused to open the trunk and locked all the doors.According to the same source, Uber is currently investigating the incident and has made sure the driver would be prohibited from accessing the Uber app pending the results of the investigation.News of discrimination against Arabs and Arab Americans in the U.S. has been on the rise, especially since Donald Trump’s election to the presidency.Just today, an Arab-American YouTuber and his friend were kicked out of a Delta Airlines flight for allegedly speaking Arabic on the plane. A video of the incident was viewed by more than 8.8 million people and shared more than 282,000 times on Facebook. read more

Morocco Takes Part in 10th World Future Energy Summit in Abu

Abu Dhabi – Morocco is taking part in the 10th edition of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), which kicked off on Monday in Abu Dhabi at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.The four-day Summit is one of the most influential events dedicated to advancing the use of renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technology.It offers a global platform for pioneers in sustainability and energy sectors at regional and global levels. It will showcase latest studies and techniques regarding efficient use of clean and renewable energy, and will help create new opportunities for businesses.In 2016, the exhibition at the World Future Energy Summit brought together 600 companies from 32 countries and more than 30,000 attendees from 150 countries.

Moroccan Team Does Not Scare Me Says Ivory Coast Goalkeeper Sylvain

Rabat – While the Moroccan football team shone during previous World Cup Qualifiers against its various African opponents, Sylvain Gbohouo, Ivory Coast’s football team goalkeeper has said that the Moroccan football team does not frighten him.The 28-year-old goalkeeper said he will be present in the upcoming World Cup Qualifier match against Morocco, which is scheduled to take place on November 11 in Abidjan.In an interview with Ivorian news outlet Fratmat, the team’s goalkeeper said although his team “recorded poor results lately, we know what we are capable of.” Gbouhouo then asserted that “in all honesty, the Moroccan team does not scare me” despite its excellent performance during previous matches.“[Moroccan coach] Herve Renard is confident due to the results recorded with his selection, but he should be certain that he will see something else on November 11,” said Gbouhuo.On October 7, Morocco defeated Gabon with a hat-trick netted by Khalid Boutaib against the opponent. The Atlas Lions have a one-point lead over the Ivory Coast in its Group C. The upcoming World Cup Qualifier will determine which country will travel to Russia.Morocco made their last appearance at the World Cup competition in 1998. Renard is holding out hope to qualify for the World Cup competition with his selection. read more

The Latest Media freedom campaign launched on G7 sidelines

PARIS — The Latest on the Group of Seven meeting (all times local):1:05 p.m.British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has launched a media freedom campaign alongside international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney from the sidelines of the Group of Seven foreign ministers’ meeting in the French Atlantic resort of Dinard.Hunt said Friday the issue was of “global prominence” following the killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October during the deadliest year on record for journalists “with 99 killed.”Hunt said “democratic countries need to stand together to make it an international taboo … to murder, arrest or detain journalists for doing their job.”Clooney will be Hunt’s Media Freedom special envoy and chair a panel of legal experts that will offer advice to governments who want to strengthen journalists’ rights.___9:40 a.m.The world’s security challenges are at the top of the agenda of foreign and interior ministers of the Group of Seven countries who are gathering in France.Interior ministers in Paris are focusing Friday on environmental crime, including reckless deforestation, waste trafficking and protection of lands and wildlife.They will then detail joint commitments on fighting terrorism and human trafficking in a news conference.Meanwhile, foreign ministers will kick off their two-day meeting in the Atlantic resort of Dinard. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen stayed at home because of domestic duties. Washington sent lower-ranking officials instead.In addition to the U.S., the G-7 includes France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy and the U.K.The Associated Press read more

Heatwave to Hit Morocco with Temperatures Set to Reach 45C

Rabat – The National Meteorological Directorate (DMN) is forecasting a heatwave from Sunday June 30 to Tuesday July 2 in several regions across Morocco.DMN reported in a statement that temperatures will range between 40 and 45 degrees Celsius.The heatwave, according to DMN, will especially affect the regions of Errachidia, Zagora, Tata, Assa-Zag, Aousserd and Oued Eddahab in southern Morocco. Morocco is not the only country to suffer from a heatwave as scourging temperatures have been sweeping others continents, especially Europe.A statement from Meteo France announced on  Friday that it is the first time that France has  experienced a scourging heat exceeding 45 degrees Celsius.The statement was also echoed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).“For the first time on record, France sees a temperature above 45°C. Gallargues-le-Montueux recorded 45,9 °C, and Villevieille 45.1°C this afternoon. In France. in June,” said WMO.For the first time on record, #France sees a temperature above 45°C. Gallargues-le-Montueux recorded 45,9 °C, and Villevieille 45.1°C this afternoon. In France. in June. @meteofrance https://t.co/EfK5t9eCBd #heatwave #climatechange pic.twitter.com/yxGlfmUtms— WMO | OMM (@WMO) June 28, 2019Vox reported that Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium have all issued public health warnings calling on their people to take precautions against this unprecedented heatwave. Health organizations and experts usually advise people to keep themselves hydrated  by drinking a glass of water every 20 miniatures. Limiting exposure to heat, especially for children, an effective precaution to reduce health risks during the heatwave. read more

Morocco Accredits New Private School Majors

Rabat – The global list of state-accredited private institution majors now includes additional options. The ministry accredited the new majors and renewed established courses after their expiry.The global list now includes Business Management (SIST), Entrepreneurship and Economic Intelligence (ESTEM), Graphic and Digital Design (ESDAV), to name a few.The accreditation of the new majors, published in the Official Bulletin (page 5100) on July 18, will expire either in the 2019-2020 academic year or the 2025-2026 year (in the case of private medical schools). Major accreditation means that the related training programs become state-approved. Once all its majors are accredited, the institution can apply for state-recognition of their degree.The application for accreditation is submitted by the owner of the institution to the department in charge of higher education according to a set of specifications.The accreditation procedure is carried out according to a number of conditions. The institution must have a Scientific Council and at least 30% of its teaching staff must be permanent.For management, commerce, and communication majors, one teacher for every 40 students is required for accreditation. One teacher for each 25 students is required for the science and technology majors, while paramedical majors require one teacher for each 10 students.The institutions must also respect national pedagogical methods.Morocco has 202 private institutions for higher education. In the academic year of 2015-2016, 1231 students graduated from Moroccan private universities such as Mundiapolis or Universiapolis. The universities had 7032 students already enrolled and 2153 new students for the same year.In 2016-2017, 6093 students graduated from private schools all around Morocco, 2801 in Casablanca alone.New students enlisted in private schools to study Business and Management, Science and Technology, and Health Sciences increased from 7,912 in 2010-2011 to 10,623 in 2016-2017. 61% of new enrollments (2016-2017) in private institutions were in private schools, with  20% in private universities. 28,493 students were in training in private schools for the 2016-2017 academic year. read more

The Latest Buffett doesnt buy in initial stock offerings

OMAHA, Neb. — The Latest on investor Warren Buffett’s comments on a variety of topics (all times local):6:25 a.m.Billionaire Warren Buffett isn’t a fan of initial stock offerings.Buffett said on CNBC Monday that he hasn’t ever bought shares in an IPO for Berkshire Hathaway over the past 54 years.Buffett says that in an IPO, like Uber’s expected offering this week, everyone involved has an incentive to sell the stock. Buffett says he prefers to buy when no one is getting a special commission.___5:15 a.m.Warren Buffett says it’s hard to know how a trade war between China and the United States would affect the economy if President Donald Trump follows through on his latest tariff threat because so many other countries are affected.Buffett appeared on CNBC Monday after holding his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting over the weekend.Trump said over the weekend that he may impose 25 per cent tariffs on more Chinese imports, and financial markets began to plunge. The Dow is down 500 points.Buffett says Trump is making a “nuclear threat” that may bring the Chinese to the table. But it’s impossible to predict the outcome because both countries’ leaders are used to getting their way.The Associated Press read more

Five things to keep in mind following Canadas triumph over Trumps tariffs

OTTAWA — Five things to keep in mind in the wake of Friday’s news that Canada and the U.S. reached an agreement to end punitive American tariffs on steel and aluminum exports:1. The devil is in the details. So far, it’s not clear what concessions Canada made in order to convince a famously stubborn White House to abandon the tariffs, which survived not only the reaching of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement last September, but also its ceremonial signing two months later in Buenos Aires. What, exactly, prompted the self-proclaimed “Tariff Man” to finally stand down? All that’s known is that Canada agreed to “prevent” the import of unfairly subsidized or “dumped” steel, and work with the U.S. to prevent transshipment — foreign steel that moves through either country to the other. Reaching an “agreed-upon process” to monitor metals trading is also part of the deal, which allows the U.S. to reimpose tariffs should import levels spike.2. Next, the new NAFTA. never mind Democratic intransigence on Capitol Hill; the tariffs emerged in recent months as the number-one obstacle to getting the USMCA ratified not only in the U.S., but in Canada and Mexico as well. It’s unknown if the tariff detente will jar loose the long-standing logjam in Congress, where conventional wisdom says many Democrats are reluctant to give President Donald Trump even a whiff of victory as the 2020 election approaches. However, there are signs that opposition may be dwindling: House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, widely seen as holding the fate of the agreement in her hands, sent positive signals about her party’s desire to “get to Yes” after a “productive meeting” earlier this week with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.3. The China conundrum. Canada has been caught in the crossfire between the U.S. and China ever since Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver late last year at the behest of the U.S. Justice Department. Meng, who is caught up in an American indictment that accuses Huawei of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, is awaiting an extradition hearing to determine whether she will be sent stateside to face charges. China has since detained two Canadians on claims of espionage and sentenced a third to death for drug smuggling. Friday’s tariff agreement, which enlists Canada’s help in policing the North American steel market against Chinese dumping, could be seen as pushing Canada even deeper into America’s corner.4. Canada’s election. With voters headed to the ballot box this fall, polls suggest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in trouble. But Trump is deeply unpopular, and the tariffs haven’t helped; Friday’s news will give the governing Liberals the chance to portray themselves as the only party with experience — and success — in dealing with the famously unpredictable and combative commander-in-chief. Look for the hard-charging Conservatives to do their level best to counter that perception when the House of Commons comes back May 27 after next week’s break.5. America’s election. As 2020 approaches, look for Trump to mount a full-court press to get the USMCA ratified in Congress and give him badly needed campaign-trail ammunition. Will the Democrats, who control the House of Representatives and have never been known as free-trade fans, be willing to hand him a victory? Or are they content to fight other, higher-profile battles, wary of the blowback from constituents who want to see the deal passed?The Canadian Press read more

Alaska proposing regulations for pilot hemp program

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska has proposed regulations for an industrial hemp pilot program.A state law passed last year authorized the creation of a program to study the growth, cultivation or marketing of industrial hemp.Anchorage TV station KTVA reports staff at the state Plant Materials Center planted six different strains for the first phase. Center director Rob Carter says because hemp has been illegal, there isn’t a lot of research showing what varieties grow well.Hemp is related to marijuana but has just trace amounts of THC, the chemical found in marijuana that produces a high.Chris and Ember Haynes, who own Denali Hemp Company in Talkeetna, get their hemp seed oil ingredients from Colorado since it’s illegal to grow plants. They hope to participate in the pilot programThe Associated Press read more

Angolans still subject to arbitrary detention other abuses says UN expert group

28 September 2007A United Nations human rights team has reported that Angolans are still being arbitrarily detained, tortured and often denied access to lawyers, following a 10-day visit to the southern African nation. “There is still no effective system in place which can prevent instances of arbitrary detention from occurring,” concluded the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in a statement issued yesterday by its Chairperson Leila Zerrougui. The Group, composed of independent experts, interviewed some 400 detainees during its visits to the capital, Luanda, as well as the cities of Cabinda and Dundo, which were carried out at the invitation of the Government. “The Working Group has received credible allegations in Cabinda that civilians are or were detained incommunicado at military institutions and never produced before a judge,” Ms. Zerrougui stated. “It would like to stress that secret detention puts the persons concerned at risk of ill-treatment, disappearance and other serious human rights violations.” The Group found that a number of detainees at Cacuaco and Viana Prisons in Luanda “showed visible signs of torture.” Among the team’s other findings, Ms. Zerrougui noted that “the right to access to a lawyer and a corresponding legal aid system as guaranteed by the Constitution exists only in theory.” Also, while Angolan law stipulates that those arrested must be presented to a prosecutor within 24 hours, “this rule is virtually never adhered to,” according to information received by the Group. Another issue of concern is the lack of a special system for minors, who according to the country’s laws are criminally liable from the age of 16. “They are treated like adults during the criminal proceedings, and merely receive a lighter sentence than an adult.” In addition, they are regularly detained together with adults at police stations and prisons. The Group also found that prisoners are facing “harsh conditions” in prisons and other detention facilities, citing overcrowded cells and a food and water supply problem. Angola is the third African country visited by the Group, which reports to the UN Human Rights Council, since its creation by the former Commission on Human Rights in 1992. It visited South Africa in 2005 and just concluded a mission to Equatorial Guinea in July. read more

UN envoy discusses Myanmar with Indian officials

During his visit, Ibrahim Gambari met with Indian Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, as well as Foreign Minister Pranab Mukerjee and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon. The meetings were a continuation of consultations held in October in New Delhi between Mr. Gambari and Indian officials, following last summer’s crackdown by the Myanmar authorities on peaceful protesters.“Mr. Gambari is encouraged by these consultations and India’s support for the Secretary-General’s good offices on Myanmar,” UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters in New York.Mr. Gambari, who has travelled to Myanmar twice since the events of last summer, is expected to visit Beijing for consultations with the Chinese Government in February.Earlier this month, Mr. Gambari told reporters that while countries in the region have placed on record their support for the good offices role of the Secretary-General, “there is still more that everybody can do.”All those who have a role to play, both inside the country and outside, should be given the chance to do so in the interest of moving toward “a peaceful, prosperous but democratic Myanmar with full respect for the human rights of its people,” he said. Mr. Gambari has a standing invitation to return to Myanmar but a date for his visit is still under discussion with the Government. 31 January 2008As part of his ongoing efforts to promote democratic change in Myanmar, the United Nations envoy to the South-East Asian nation today wrapped up consultations in New Delhi with Indian officials, who assured him of their continuing support. read more

General Assembly President holds talks with senior German officials

Mr. Kerim met today with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the two men discussed various UN reform initiatives, including proposals to re-shape the size and nature of the Security Council, according to a spokesperson for the Assembly President.They also talked about efforts to achieve the globally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).Yesterday Mr. Kerim met with Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul to talk about economic development in poor countries, climate change, the current global food crisis, UN relief efforts in Myanmar in the wake of this month’s devastating cyclone and the concept of a “responsibility to protect” vulnerable populations from harm.The Assembly President is scheduled to give a lecture tonight in Essen to the Policy Forum of the Ruhr Region on the work of the UN to combat and mitigate the effects of climate change.He travels to Bonn tomorrow to attend a high-level segment of the conference of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. After leaving Germany, Mr. Kerim will then visit Albania for talks with senior officials in the small European country. 27 May 2008Climate change, biological diversity and United Nations reform have been high on the agenda during official talks so far on the current three-day visit to Germany by General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim. read more