Martina McBride Bands Against Cancer

Award-winning country superstar Martina McBride has released her 13th studio album, RECKLESS, and also teamed up with Band Against Cancer, the Sarah Cannon Tour.The organization aims to bring awareness to

Frontier Oil Sands Mine project headed for public hearing this fall

CALGARY – A joint federal-provincial review panel says the Frontier Oil Sands Mine project application is now complete enough to advance to a public hearing set to take place as

A bleak future

After four rounds of polling, there is not a single credible voice that confidently argues that Modi wave still prevails. Waves come and go but they go away for definite

CEDA opens office in Fort St John after acquiring Dawson Creek company

first_img“Now with the addition of the Fort St. John office, we are well positioned to meet the increasing demand for our services,” said Joe Loomis, CEDA’s Vice President of Operations for the B.C. Region. “Our new location strengthens our presence in Northeastern B.C. and allows us to be more accessible to our growing client base. We look forward to making a positive contribution to the local economy and giving back to the community,” Mr. Loomis added.CEDA’s new office is located in the 9800-block of 78th St. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – CEDA has announced that it recently opened a new office and shop in Fort St. John as part of its strategy to further expand its reach within the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.The company says its newly-appointed Operations Manager Steven Cooper is overseeing the 10,000 square foot shop, which houses a fleet of pressure and water trucks, tankers, hot oilers, steamers, hydro vacuum and combination vacuum units used to deliver comprehensive industrial cleaning services.In 2017, CEDA entered the B.C. market by acquiring Joe Loomis Trucking in Dawson Creek, and continued to grow its operations through the recent acquisition of Breakthrough Oilfield Services.last_img read more

Registration open for 6th Annual Community 2 Community Poker Ride

first_imgCommunities included in the ride are Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Hudson’s Hope, Dawson Creek, Taylor and Tumbler Ridge.Poker hands cost $30 each while the ride is free for all residents to attend. The ride will also feature a free breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the Pomeroy Sport Centre as well as a barbeque in Chetwynd. Residents interested in registering for the poker ride must sign up at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.The poker ride starts at 9:00 a.m. on August 18th at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Registration is now open for the 6th Annual “Community 2 Community” Poker Ride.The poker ride will see participants motorbiking all around the Peace Region, with half starting in Fort St. John travelling North and the other half starting in Dawson Creek and travelling South. The two groups of bikers will then pass by each other at the halfway point of the ride.Participants will draw a card at every community they visit during the ride. The goal of the ride is to have the best poker hand once they visit each location.last_img read more

Peace Seniors Connect Care need your help

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Christmas is approaching and the group, Peace Seniors Connect & Care needs your help by providing donations that will go directly to the seniors in our community.PSCC is a group of caring people that came together three years ago to touch the lives of seniors in our community. The first year the group helped 86 seniors and this year’s numbers look to be helping 200 seniors as there is a need for this type of campaign.Group Administrator, Vanessa Siemens-Ford says “Seeing the looks on these seniors faces is more then one can handle at some points when on realize that these interactions through the parties we hold may be the only ones they get all year long.” PSCC has asked businesses around FSJ to set out collection bins and now needs the community’s help to fill them by donating items.  These donations will become gifts which will be handed out to seniors this Christmas at Abbeyfield, Peace Villa and Seniors Housing.“I am a very lucky individual. I have 3 of my grandparents still living. 88, 89 and 99 years old! The little things and time spent with them is so important for their health. This is a wonderful way of getting involved.” said Annamari Miles of Harvest Wine OutfittersA list of suggested items you can donate;– small bags of nuts or candy (diabetic candy too)– socks– hand cream– gift cards for Cool Beans (cafe downstairs at the hospital), Wal-Mart, Tim Hortons,  McDonald’s, Shoppers, Grocery stores, etc– hats, toques, mitts– puzzles– playing cards– pajamas, slippers, housecoats– magazines– crossword or word search books– nail polish– scratch or lotto tickets– brain teaser puzzles– Handy Dart passes– lip balm– chocolates, licorice– hair brushes & combs– adult colouring books, crayons, pencil crayons & markers– art supplies– fidget toys– nail clippers and files– change purses– toothbrushes– toothpaste– throw blankets– coffee mugs or teacups– watches– ladies necklaces– calendarsOther items needed for the preparation of gift giving:– gift wrap– tape– gift bags– gift tags– donations of food items for each seniors party, including Abbeyfield, Peace Villa and Seniors HousingPlaces to drop off Donation;Fort Motors: 11104 Alaska Road NorthNEAT: 10003 – 95 AvenueMLA offices: 10104 – 100 StreetHarvest Wine Outfitters: 8221 – 100 AvenueIG Wealth Management (beside Unforgettable Memories )Anna’s Laundry Service: (Taylor 10264 – 100 Street)12-6pm Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri9-2 SaturdaysVanessa Siemens-Ford’s House: 9103 – 87 Avenuelast_img read more

MLA Dan Davies voices concerns over Peace Valley OSB Plant closure

first_imgStaff were told the shutdown was due to poor market conditions in Western Canada and the US. “It’s certainly a sad day for Fort St. John and area. Anytime there is a large layoff, it not a good thing and my heart goes out to the employees that are affected by this.”According to Davies, one reason for this closure is due to the fact that B.C. is becoming uncompetitive when it comes to doing business. He also puts part of the blame on the new Forest Amendment Act, Bill-22.“B.C. is just becoming far too uncompetitive. It’s hard to get business done in B.C. Bill-22, that was recently passed, was just another slap in the face against forest companies. It’s really hard to find a compelling reason to come to B.C. and do business.”Davies says Premier John Horgan needs to stop talking and needs to focus on stopping the trend of mill closures.“The Premier needs to just stop talking, he needs to put some decisive things in play, and stop this trend of mill closures, not only here but across the Province.”Sources say the staff were told Thursday morning that the plant would close as of August 9, 2019. Approximately 190 people work at the facility. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With the Peace Valley OSB Plant set to close this summer, the news has many within the community concerned and upset.One of those concerned with this closure is Peace River North MLA Dan Davies.Davies says this news is a sad day for Fort St. John, adding that his heart goes out to those affected by this closure.last_img read more

Chinas Long March3B rocket series complete 300 launches

first_imgBeijing: China’s Long March-3B rocket, regarded as the main stay of the country’s space programme since 1970, successfully completed its 300th launch by putting a new communication satellite into orbit on Sunday. The indigenously-built rocket had send more than 500 spacecraft into space. “This is a milestone for China’s space industry development,” Wu Yansheng, board chairman of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said. The Long March carrier rocket series, developed by CASC, is responsible for about 96.4 per cent of all the launch missions in China. It took 37 years for the Long March rockets to complete the first 100 launches, 7.5 years to complete the second 100 launches, and only about four years to accomplish the final 100, with the average number of launches per year increasing from 2.7 to 13.3 and then to 23.5, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The Long March carrier rockets helped provide launch services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, including Algeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. “Intensive launches have become normal in China, indicating the rapid development of the space industry, the progress of science and technology and the enhancement of national strength,” said Shang Zhi, director of the Space Department of the CASC. China joined the space club on April 24, 1970, when the Long March-1 carrier rocket launched the country’s first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, into orbit. At that time, the carrying capacity of the Long March rocket was only 300 kg. On November 3, 2016, China’s current largest carrier rocket, the Long March-5, made its maiden flight, with its carrying capacity reaching 25 tonnes for low-Earth orbit and 14 tonnes for geosynchronous orbit. The success rate of the 300 launches of the Long March rockets stood at 96 per cent, according to CASC. During the third 100 launches, the Long March rockets sent a total of 225 spacecraft, weighing about 240 tonnes, into space, with a success rate of 97 per cent, reaching a high level in the world, said Shang. From October 1996 to August 2011, the Long March rockets set a world record for 15 years of successful consecutive launches. In 2018, the Long March rockets completed 37 consecutive successful launches, ranking a global first for the highest number of successful launches. A total of 17 types of Long March carrier rockets have been developed and put into use since 1970, ensuring the implementation of a series of key space projects including manned space program, lunar exploration, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and the Gaofen Earth observation project. In addition, the Long March carrier rockets also launched a large number of meteorological satellites, resource satellites and oceanographic satellites, as well as several innovative science satellites including DAMPE to search for dark matter, the world’s first quantum satellite, and an electromagnetic satellite to study earthquakes, playing an important role in promoting the economic, social and scientific development in China, the Xinhua report said. Currently, China is developing new generation medium launch vehicles including the Long March-6A, Long March-7A and Long March-8. A test version of the Long March-5B, which has the largest carrying capacity to low-Earth orbit, has been produced and will be used to launch the modules of China’s space station, according to CASC.last_img read more

China hits out at abnormal immoral attacks on Huawei

first_imgBrussels: China’s foreign minister lashed out Monday at “abnormal, immoral” attacks on Huawei amid growing concern, led by the US, that the telecom giant poses a security risk to the West. Wang Yi demanded a “fair and just competition environment” for Chinese firms as he met EU foreign ministers and officials for talks in Brussels. His call comes as Washington steps up pressure on allies, particularly in Europe, to shut Huawei out of tenders for fast fifth-generation, or 5G, telecom networks, because of the firm’s ties to the Chinese government. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”China hopes all countries will create a fair and just competition environment for companies of all countries,” Wang told reporters. “What we oppose is groundless accusations out of political purposes and attempts to bring down a foreign company. We think such practices are abnormal, immoral and have no support from other countries.” Huawei strenuously denies allegations its equipment could be used for espionage and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang insisted Friday that Beijing would “never” ask its firms to spy on other nations. A law recently enacted by Beijing obliging Chinese companies to aid the government on national security has added to concerns about Huawei just as European countries begin planning 5G infrastructure.last_img read more

MMA fighter who abducted Ggn doctor to fund movie dream held

first_imgGurugram: The Special task force of Haryana force on Wednesday night arrested five people who were wanted for abducting son of a doctor in Gurugram and demanding extortion of Rs 50 lakhs from the medical practitioner. The five arrested accused have been identified as Jongender w, Shiva, Deepak, Kamal and Amitesh.The accused were held after an encounter with the STF in Rewari. Joginder was the leader of Joginder Panchi jatan gang and had huge prize money placed on his arrest Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAccording to the STF, the gang had arrested had a criminal past and were found wanting in various cases that ranged from murder, attempts to murder, abduction and burglaries in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The law enforcement officials were able to recover four pistils, ten live cartridges and Rs 49 lakhs the amount which they had been able to successfully recover on the kidnapping of the doctor Interestingly Amitesh one of the people who has participated in the Super Boxing League acted in a Bhojpuri film, and recently directed a short film. The police said he wanted money to make a big film and cast himself as the lead. He was arrested along with four other gangsters by the special task force in an encounter on Wednesday night. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAccording to them, he became a member of Panchi gang a few years ago after befriending Joginder Panchi Jatan, the gang leader, whom he met in a Delhi pub. Police in Lucknow said Chaubey was arrested from his Jankipuram house there. Joginder Panchi Jatan, a resident of village Panchi in Sonipat, formed a gang after his brother was shot dead over political rivalry in October 2015. His brother was a former deputy superintendent of police in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a national wrestler, the police said. Jatan is himself a former national-level hockey player and a passionate boxer, said police, adding that he is involved in ATM thefts, carjacking, and loot and dacoity cases registered across the state and the National Capital Region. According to the police, the members of his gang are all mostly former wrestlers and hockey players looking to make quick money. On March 16, the Joginder Panchi Jatan gang kidnapped a 27-year-old doctor who was returning to his house in the city’s Sector 50, after partying with his friends. He stopped the car to relieve himself near a liquor vend in Sector 29 when the accused allegedly kidnapped him at gunpoint and forced him into his car. The family who runs private hospitals in Rewari and Gurugram paid the ransom by March 17 and secured the release of the victim.last_img read more

Volkswagen rolls out 1 millionth car from Pune plant

first_imgMumbai: German auto major Volkswagen, which has been facing headwinds for long and got restructured under its subsidiary Skoda, Friday rolled out the 1-millionth car from its Pune facility, which was commissioned in 2010. The 20,000 cars per annum Pune plant produces four models –the Polo, Ameo and Vento and the Skoda Rapid. Besides meeting the local demand, the facility also exports to some 50 countries across Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”The rollout of the 1-millionth car is an important milestone for us,” said Gurpratap Boparai, managing director, Volkswagen India. The German auto giant, which is the world’s largest auto company by volume, has three direct entities in the country-Volkswagen, Volkswagen Group Sales, and Skoda Auto apart from the luxury car unit Audi India. “We would like to build further following this milestone and work towards higher localisation, ramping up production and manufacturing world-class products for this and other target markets around the world,” Boparai said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostAs part of its Skoda-led ‘India 2.0’ project, which aims at more India-specific cars, the three entities have been proposed to merge into Skoda. The Volkswagen group will be investing Rs 8,000 crore in the country as part of this revival strategy over the years and has already set up a technology centre at the Pune plant to start local development under this. Volkswagen globally represents by 12 brands –Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Scania, Seat, koda, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Man, and Volkswagen Passenger Cars. Meanwhile, in another development, Skoda India has offered an assured buyback scheme for its Superb model range. Made available exclusively through its vehicle finance arm, the scheme will allow the owners of these lower range cars to buy a brand new Superb at low EMIs, the company said. Called koda EasyBuy, the program offers an assured introductory buyback value of 57 percent for a new Superb at the end of the three year contract term.last_img read more

Sexual harassment Ali asks Meesha to face the court

first_imgLahore: A year after singer Meesha Shafi accused Ali Zafar of sexual harassment, the singer-actor recently urged her to face the court as her case against him was dismissed. He even drew a parallel between her and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Ali wrote on Twitter: “Meesha Shafi’s case against me has been dismissed alongside the appeal made against the dismissal. The case in the court is my case against her to pay for damages that her false statement has caused me, which naturally she is trying to run away from.” Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger”I have also filed a case against all the fake and other accounts being used to run a campaign against me on social media. I have been quiet about all this for a year while thousands of disgusting tweets were posted against me, like a campaign every time a big event comes. But it’s time to expose the truth via due process of law for which I urge the FIA to take strict legal action. Meesha had called out the singer last year, accusing him of sexual assault.last_img read more

A bleak future

first_imgAfter four rounds of polling, there is not a single credible voice that confidently argues that Modi wave still prevails. Waves come and go but they go away for definite reasons. Anti-incumbency is no fickle-minded mood change. Once the elections are over, political analysts would split their hair over what made the Modi magic vanish. But the poll observers on the ground are already left with no doubt that the jobs crisis has caused maximum damage to Modi’s prospects in 70 per cent of the seats where polling is over. Also Read – A special kind of bondSome basic problems like poverty and agrarian crises are chronic ones and not all of them turn into poll issues all the time in all elections. While addressing one of her election rallies in UP, when Congress’s charismatic star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi declared that in the five years of Modi’s rule 5 million jobs were lost, tens of thousands who had gathered stood up spontaneously and roared in one voice ‘Modi Hatao!’ The message has obviously sunk well into the popular mind that demonetisation and a ham-handed GST had precipitated a very acute crisis of job losses. Also Read – Insider threat managementIt is not an urban jobs crisis alone, as data reveal the rural jobs crisis is no less severe. The job-crisis for women is acute but it is not a one-sided affair across the gender divide, and men, mostly the main bread-winners in the families, suffer an equally crippling employment crisis as well. The statistics put out even by the official agencies show that the jobs crisis among the youth is mind-boggling. The jobs crisis among the educated might be grave but what is shocking is that the low-skilled millions in informal India are also coming under a creeping employment problem. In short, it is a generalised jobs crisis. When the foremost voice of opposition in a democracy like Priyanka Gandhi comes out with a startling revelation that Modi massacred 5 million jobs in five years, not a single leader of stature in the ruling establishment dares to step out to challenge it. The same finding by the meticulously researched State of the Working India Report 2019 of the eminent Azim Premji University had barely been out a couple of days earlier. Based on CMIE’s large-sample surveys, the report showed that five million people lost their jobs between 2016 and 2018, coinciding with the demonetisation of November 2016 and the introduction of GST in July 2017. Naturally, no one could dare to counter Priyanka. Silence and subterfuges cannot check the shifting preferences of the voters over the burning employment question. The writing on the wall on the employment issue was clear to Modi himself. That was why he stooped down too low to the cheap level of withholding NSSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2017–18 in January 2019, which led to the resignation of two eminent academics from the National Statistical Commission. The PLFS report said that under Modi unemployment had hit a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent. It might look a small number. But going by the 2018 figure of 466 million persons in the Indian labour force, this small figure of 6.1 per cent translates into a big unemployed army of 28.43 million people. Unfortunately, it is a weakness of the otherwise rich English vocabulary that the term unemployment lacks precision and means different categories — those who are part of the labour force and ready for a job but who have never got one as well as those who were already having jobs but have lost them. Or, in other words, it stands for both, a lack of employment and job-losses. To compound the confusion, those who are never part of the labour force are also treated as unemployed in certain contexts. So figures, sometimes, tend to obfuscate the gravity of the problem. Why did Modi lose his popularity among young voters? 30 per cent of young India is neither in jobs nor in education nor training. If 23 million Indian youngsters apply for 89,400 jobs advertised by the Indian Railways, that gives the enormity of the problem of educated youth unemployment. If labour force participation of women in India under Modi had fallen from 16.81 per cent in 2016 to a miserable 10.97 per cent by February 2019, the agony years of demonetisation and GST, the thinking sections of the middle classes disgusted by Modi’s jumlas would naturally start wondering what sort of Shreshth Bharat he and his RSS are trying to build. Even among the 10 per cent women who are coming into the workforce, one in every three women (as against one in every five men) in urban India in the 15–29 age-group were unemployed in 2017–18 as per the NSSO data, and these are mind-boggling figures indeed. Modi flaunts his Mudra, where 40 per cent beneficiaries are supposed to be women and 33 per cent SCs-STs-OBCs. At the end of his term, RBI raises an alarm that 53 per cent of Mudra advances have become NPAs and 75 per cent of the Mudra self-employment ventures have folded up. The figure is 80 per cent for start-ups under Modi’s Start-Up India! Modi’s loyal court statisticians and economists might claim that the overall labour force participation rate in India came down only marginally from 52.9 per cent in 2011–12 to 50.4 per cent in 2015–16. But the starker meaning of these figures is that around half of India still remains out of the workforce. Actually, Priyanka’s and Azim Premji University’s figures do not fully capture the full impact of job losses – manufacturing jobs actually fell in absolute terms from 58.9 million in 2011–12 to 48.3 million in 2015–16, a whopping 10.6 million over a mere four-year period. Statistical jugglery is no answer to a profound livelihood crisis when the future of millions is bleak. A desperate Modi Government could only come up with yet another subterfuge of citing inflated EPFO enrolment, to claim 7–10 million jobs were created in 2017–18. Only later it dawned upon many that these were not new jobs but new enrolment of those already in jobs for the previous 5 years. CMIE’s current survey in 2018, on the other hand, showed that 11 million people with jobs lost them in that very year. BJP’s election manifesto waxes eloquent on 12 major themes and it is no surprise that employment creation is not one of them. It is really astonishing that a party running an incumbent government facing a burning employment question comes out with a poll manifesto that doesn’t offer a single specific promise on job creation. In any case, Modi promised to create 2 crore jobs every year in 2014 and this unmet promise itself has robbed the BJP manifesto of 2019 of any credibility. (The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

2014 Exceptional Year for Government Action Official

Rabat – Communication minister, government spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said Thursday that 2014 was an exceptional year for government action thanks to achievements and undertaken reforms.The year 2014 was rich with undeniable accomplishments at the economic, social and organizational levels, said El Khalfi at a press briefing after the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by head of government Abdelilah Benkirane.Economically, this year was marked by stopping oil products subsidies which helped control deficit levels and bring down the subsidy fund budget from 56 billion dirhams in 2013 to 35 billion dirhams in 2014, he underlined, saying that this budget will be further decreased to 23 bln MAD in 2015. Socially, this year witnessed the launch of the dialogue on civil pensions’ reform and a large-scale project on civil society which led to making March 13 a National Day for Civil Society, he said.El Khalfi also recalled the implementation, in the same year, of anti-corruption measures which enabled Morocco to gain 12 points in the Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International.2014 was also marked by the reduction of medicine prices, the implementation of job loss allowance, the adoption of a draft law on compensation for work accidents and the generalization of university scholarships, he said. read more

Morocco Welcomes the International Awareness against Torture

Geneva – Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs Mbarka Bouaida welcomed, on Tuesday in Geneva, the growing international awareness against torture.Speaking at a high level panel held on the sidelines of the 28th session of the Human Rights Council, Bouaida recalled that Morocco, Chile, Denmark and Ghana launched a global initiative against torture on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention Against Torture.The initiative ” aims at promoting the ratification and the implementation of the Convention within ten years,” noted the Moroccan official. Bouaida, who was highlighting the regional and global influence of the initiative, has also briefed the audience on Morocco’s efforts to fight torture with the recent depositing of the instruments of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International United Nations Convention against Torture.In this connection, Bouaida said Morocco is willing to host the second Forum on the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) and to organise regional training seminars in line with the goals set by the initiative. read more

Hamas Calls on Morocco to Reconsider Shimon Peress Visit Next Month

Rabat – Hamas called on Morocco to reconsider an expected visit by former Israeli President Shimon Peres to the kingdom next month.Israel’s former President is expected among attendees of the Clinton Global Initiative Middle East and Africa conference on May 5-7 in Marrakech.The Palestinian movement called on Morocco and all Arab countries to reject all forms of normalization with Israel. “We have hopes that the king and the government of Morocco will reconsider Peres’s visit to their country,” Hamas said in a statement carried by international news outlets.Hamas said that Peres’s visit would only make Israel look better in front of the rest of the world.It added that the visit would open the door for what it described as “perilous” normalization with the self-proclaimed Jewish State.Several Moroccan organizations are also mobilizing against the planned visit of the former Israeli President.The National Group for the Support of Palestine (le Groupement national de soutien à la Palestine) and the Democratic Network for Solidarity with the people (le Réseau démocratique de solidarité avec les peuples) have called on Moroccan authorities to prevent former Israeli President Shimon Peres from visiting the country.The high-profile conference is being organized by the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. read more

Former Head of AU Criticizes US for Taking Africans as Slaves

Rabat – Former Head of the African Union, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has voiced his disapproval of the U.S. for taking many African citizens as slaves and not like refugees.During the AU’s two-day summit, which is currently being held in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa,  Zuma criticized U.S. President, Donald Trump’s decision to ban immigration from seven African Muslim-majority countries including , Libya, Somalia, and Sudan.Zuma described Trump’s decision as “one of the greatest challenges,” for the continent, adding that this decision heralded “very turbulent times” for Africa. “The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” said Zuma.For his part, U.N. secretary-general, Antonio Guterres commented on the issue of refugees saying, “African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees. African borders remain open for those who need protection, when so many borders are being closed, even in some of the most developed countries in the world.”Last week, Trump signed several executive orders including one which regarded the construction of the U.S.-Mexico wall, and another delivering a ban on Muslims from so-called “terror prone” countries.Muslims from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen will not be granted U.S. refugee status or visas for the duration of the ban. read more

Burma Rohingya Muslim Survivals Narrate Their Escape from Myanmar

Rabat – Following the Myanmar’s horrific incidents, France Press Agency (AFP) interviewed several Rohingya Muslims who managed to flee to Bangladesh. However, their sides of the story were scarier than those covered by international media.On August 25, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) unleashed a wave of repression against nearly 300,000 members of the Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority, out of the total population of approximately one million.“They were burning the houses. We ran away in order to save ourselves,” Master Kamal, a 53-year old teacher told AFP. Kamal added that he was there when three of his neighbors were killed by the ARSA. The Rohingya, a Muslim minority in western Burma, have accused the Burmese army and extremist Buddhists of being in charge of the violence committed against them.The Rohingya testimonies, however, are difficult to verify due to the restricted access to the Rakhine state, added AFP.For its part, the Burmese government accuses the Rohingya rebels of committing atrocities, including burning their own villages. The UN, however, raises questions about the accuracy of this charge. The Burmese executive also said that the Muslim minority killed people suspected of collaborating with the ARSA.Mohammad Amin, another interviewee, said his family had lived in Aung Sit Pyin village in Rakhine state for three generations.“This is the first time we have fled, and I have never seen such violence,” said the 60-year old witness.He continued that when the shooting broke out, he ran into the jungle, crossing a river to escape the soldiers who were hunting the Rohingya. “On the other side of the river, I noticed that everything was burning,” he explained.During the clash, about 400 people were killed, according to government figures. The UN, however, said that this number is underestimated; adding that the accurate figure is about 87,000.Most of the Aung Sit Pyin refugees stated that they saw people being killed by machetes blows or burned during their frantic escape.A woman under the name Anwara told AFP that she dived into a river with her 4-year old son to escape the fire of the soldiers.She told AFP that she thought she would never meet their other five children again. Her kids had sought refuge in the neighboring hills, and were over flown to her by helicopters.However, her children aged between five and 14 have managed to reach their family and now they are reunited in Bangladesh, added AFP.The same source added that nearly 100 people drowned trying to cross the Naf River, marking the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar, while others managed to cross the river with bullet injuries.Jamal Hussain, a 12-year Rohingya said that his five brothers were killed by a machine gun as they were fleeing Aung Sit Pyin. He added that he could not find his parents or his seven other sisters.“We were all together and all of a sudden they started firing… I could not look back because I thought I was going to die.” read more

Why Are Sahrawi Refugees Denied the Right of Return

By Mustafa Salma Oueld Sidi MouloudRabat – On the occasion of his first visit to the region, will the envoy of the international community ask why Sahrawi refugees are denied the right of return?Collective asylum is considered to be an escape from an armed conflict or circumstantial issues due to ethnic, sectarian, or political conflicts. People often return to their homes or homelands after the threat to their life is removed. Is there still a threat to the Sahrawi families living in the camps on the Algerian soil after 25 years of ceasefire? According to the Polisario Front and Algeria’s theory, the presence of the Moroccan administration in the Sahara threatens the lives of the Sahrawis. They try at every opportunity to incite the Moroccan Sahrawis to plot disturbances in the Saharan cities to confirm their theory.But reality proves the opposite. According to the census of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in the Sahara, which was taken after the cease-fire, the majority of Sahrawis live in the Sahara regions. And thousands returned from the camps to Morocco after the census.The Moroccan administration did not penalize or favor them over the rest of the population. It positively favored the returnees by offering them cash grants, housing and employment to facilitate their integration into society.There are Sahrawis who go on visits from Morocco to the camps in support of the Polisario Front, to meet with its military and security leadership. Then ceremonies are held to honor them before they return to Morocco. However, Morocco does not prevent them from returning back or punish them when they return, except for one case 10 years ago when the individuals were released after just a few months in detention.On the other hand, Polisario’s laws prohibit the inhabitants of the Sahrawi camps from returning to their homeland, and describe the act of return to the homeland, which is a universal and human right, as a crime of treason punishable by more than 10 years imprisonment.Algeria has been involved in the crime of preventing the return of the Sahrawis due to its security control over the borders of the camps. Algeria has arrested many of them during their attempts to flee the camps, and handed them to the Polisario, where many of them spend long years in prison and others have been killed or their fate remains unknown to this day. History shows that the Polisario is the only movement in the world that has never called for the return of its refugees to their land.This raises questions about their true intentions towards the Sahrawis. It also confirms that, in addition to the fact that the Sahrawi refugees are trying to get to the offices of the UNHCR to claim their legal status as refugees, the Polisario is exploiting them, like people who use civilians as human shields.The Polisario’s insistence on keeping the Sahrawis as permanent refugees, despite the end of the circumstances which caused them to be displaced (the armed conflict), demonstrates that the Front intends to keep them hostage to protect the interests of its leaders, including making profits by marketing the misery and suffering of the refugees in the camps.Moreover, these refugees are used by the Front and Algeria to threaten the stability of the region. They are the firewood that the Polisario uses as a threat at every occasion whenever they have a narrow margin of maneuver. They are Algeria’s winning card in its intended conflict against Morocco, an internal means of pressure to continue the meeting of its heterogeneous ruling elites, and a justification for its presence and its international blackmail.The international community should not remain idle in the face of the human tragedy that the Sahrawis have been living in for decades because:– There is no justification for the Sahrawis to remain dispersed;– The Moroccan defensive wall is not the cause of dispersal as the Polisario claims;– Morocco does not prevent them from returning to their land;– It has not been proved that Morocco confiscated Sahrawi property or punished the returnees despite their carrying weapons against Morocco;– The Polisario and Algeria are the ones which prevent and criminalize the return of the Sahrawis to their land and their communication between each other;The international community should help the Sahrawis to return to their homeland and restore their normal lives by putting pressure on the Polisario Front to lift its hand off the Sahrawi civilians and enabling the UNHCR to protect and help them in self-determination in a free and independent manner.Mustafa Oueld Sidi Mouloud is the former chief of the Polisario Police. read more

Air Canada revises schedule for May as Boeing 737 Max remains grounded

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)The Canadian Press MONTREAL — Air Canada has revised its schedule through to the end of May due to the continued grounding of its Boeing 737 Max aircraft.The airline says it expects to cover 98 per cent of previously planned flying for the month through a several measures, including schedule changes and temporary route suspensions.Transport Canada grounded the Boeing 737 Max aircraft last month as part of an international response to the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane on March 10.Air Canada has removed its 24 Boeing 737 Max aircraft from service until at least July 1 for planning purposes.It previously said 98 per cent of the April schedule is covered and now says it’s working to update its June schedule.The airline has been substituting different aircraft on 737 Max routes and extended leases for aircraft that were scheduled to exit the fleet. It is also accelerating the in-take of Airbus A321 aircraft recently acquired from WOW Air. read more

Group asks govt to probe Nissan automatic emergency braking

DETROIT — A U.S. auto safety group wants the government to investigate automatic emergency braking on some Nissan Rogue SUVs, alleging the safety feature makes the vehicles brake when there’s no emergency.The non-profit Center for Auto Safety filed a petition with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seeking the probe. The group says about 675,000 Rogues from 2017 and 2018 should be recalled.Nissan says it has told customers of a software update that improves performance of the automated braking system. But the centre says the campaigns don’t acknowledge the seriousness of the problem and give owners little incentive to get the SUVs fixed.The centre says it found 87 complaints about unintended braking on Rogues in NHTSA’s database. The government says it will evaluate the petition.The Associated Press read more

ExGE engineer charged with stealing trade secrets for China

ALBANY, N.Y. — A former General Electric engineer and his business partner in China were indicted Tuesday on charges they stole the company’s trade secrets from a New York plant for the Chinese government in what federal prosecutors called “a textbook example” of industrial espionage.The Department of Justice announced that Xiaoqing Zheng, 56, of Niskayuna, New York, and Zhaoxi Zhang, 47, of Liaoning Province, China, were charged with economic espionage and conspiracy for stealing GE’s turbine technologies for China.Zheng was working for Boston-based GE’s power division in Schenectady when he was arrested at his home last summer. FBI agents raided his suburban home and removed computers, cash and other items. Zhang, the business partner, wasn’t charged at the time.Prosecutors allege that Zheng stole computer files dealing with GE’s gas and steam turbines and sent them to Zhang, who’s in China.The thefts are “a textbook example of the Chinese government’s strategy to rob American companies of their intellectual property and to replicate their products in Chinese factories,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers.GE said at the time of Zheng’s arrest that it was co-operating with the investigation.Zheng was arraigned in federal court in Albany on Tuesday and allowed to remain free on the $200,000 bond he posted after his arrest on Aug. 1, 2018. His lawyer, Kevin Luibrand, said he wasn’t commenting on the charges.According to the 14-count indictment, Zheng specialized in sealing technology at GE and used his access to company files to grab proprietary information and email it to Zhang, who is Zheng’s nephew. The two men received financial support from the Chinese government and co-ordinated with government officials to enter into research agreements with Chinese state-owned institutions to develop turbine technologies, prosecutors said.“When such technology is stolen it can be devastating to U.S. businesses and can result in American workers losing jobs,” said FBI Assistant Director John Brown. “China continues to support behaviour that violates the rule of law.”An email seeking comment on the indictment was sent to the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C.President Donald Trump has accused China of using predatory tactics to try to overtake U.S. technological dominance in various industries. Chinese officials have rejected the allegations while complaining that Washington’s aim is to cripple a rising economic competitor.In October, the Justice Department charged an operative of China’s Ministry of State Security with attempting to steal trade secrets from GE Aviation and other aerospace companies. At the time the charges were made in Cincinnati, Ohio, Demers said the case was a “significant economic espionage matter” and the latest proof China is trying to steal information from American companies.Chris Carola, The Associated Press read more

New Jersey awards over 6M in tax credits for film projects

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey called “Action!” on a new film tax credit program Tuesday, approving its first awards totalling $6.2 million for four projects, including a film starring Chazz Palminteri.Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement that the Economic Development Authority approved the awards Tuesday. The approvals are the first since July when Murphy signed the law that succeeded a 2015 film tax credit program that his predecessor, Republican Chris Christie, let expire.“Our diverse population and geography have long kept us on the short lists of studios and location scouts,” Murphy said in a statement. “The addition of this tax credit as well as our continued defence of progressive values put New Jersey on the cusp of becoming one of the premier locations in the nation.”The four projects include “Besa,” featuring Palminteri; a tragic romance called “The Atlantic City Story,” starring Jessica Hecht; a thriller called “Emergence,” set in Kearny, New Jersey, and “Gimme Liberty,” a prequel to the 2014 film “Gimme Shelter” that tells the story of Kathy DiFiore, a New Jersey woman who founded an organization to help homeless women and pregnant teens.“Gimme Liberty” got $3.2 million in awards; “Emergence” won $2.4 million; “Besa” is getting about $470,000; and “The Atlantic City Story” was awarded $77,000.Under the law, films and TV shows can qualify for an award that’s equal to 30% of qualified expenses. Eligibility hinges on one of two criteria: at least 60% of the total budget must be spent through qualified New Jersey vendors, or the project must have more than $1 million in qualified expenses in the state.Legislative estimates say the tax credit program could cost up to $425 million over five years with an uncertain economic benefit to the state, whose budget is perennially strapped.But Murphy has dismissed such criticism, saying that the projects will mean million in jobs and goods and services in the state.Tuesday’s announcement comes as Murphy is feuding with powerful political powerbroker George Norcross over the state’s expiring business tax credits. Norcross and companies linked to him are suing Murphy over a task force the first-term governor appointed to investigate how business tax incentives were doled out.The task force has made an unspecified criminal referral. Norcross has denied any wrongdoing and criticized Murphy’s task force as overtly political.Christie, who left office in 2018, let the previous tax credit program expire in 2015 and vetoed legislative attempts to renew it.He famously criticized the MTV series “Jersey Shore,” opposing $420,000 in credits for the show and saying it perpetuated misconceptions about the state.Mike Catalini, The Associated Press read more