FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. government has released the 2018-2020 Hunting and Trapping synopsis.The synopsis explains the most current rules and regulations hunters must follow when hunting in B.C.The updated rules and regulations are shown below: Licensed Grizzly Bear Hunting is banned in B.C.Hunters are now required to carry all species licenses obtained or held for the current license year, including both cancelled and uncancelled while hunting.“Edible portions” has been redefined to include meat from the neck and ribs, and hunters are now required to remove the edible portions of harvested cougars.Revised requirements to prove evidence of sex and species while transporting harvested big game.Aggregate bag limit of one mule deer buck in regions 3, 4, 5, 6, 7A, 7B, and 8. Prohibition on the use of cervid derivatives (i.e., deer urine) sourced outside B.C. for the purpose of hunting.Backcountry Fort St. John Manager Tammy Drapeau explained that though there are some significant changes in the regulations, hunting in the Fort St. John area will remain pretty much the same.Drapeau added that most of these regulations were put in place to maintain the species and help them reproduce, and that come 2020 residents should expect even more changes.“All its really doing is protecting those species and making sure that they stay maintained. Honestly, they change this stuff daily, and as hunters, we have to check online before every hunt to see things open and close.”The full 2018-2020 Hunting and Trapping Synopsis can be found at: http://www.fishing.gov.bc.ca/synopsis/hunting-trapping-synopsis-2018-2020.pdf.
However, last year the Federal Court of Appeal ruled against the NEB, saying that it must consider whether the pipeline fell under federal jurisdiction.Sawyer has completed the first step in the process in the case against Coastal GasLink, filing an application with the NEB to review which level of government has environmental jurisdiction over the pipeline.If the NEB approves Sawyer’s application, it would then hold a hearing.If Sawyer is successful in that hearing, that would mean a federal review of the pipeline would be required, which could potentially delay construction if LNG Canada goes ahead.Sawyer said he is not outright opposed to LNG, but it needs to be demonstrated that it is in the public interest, which he believes has not been done in the Coastal Gas Link case.Read more at: https://theprovince.com/business/energy/northern-b-c-resident-launches-jurisdictional-challenge-of-lng-pipeline/wcm/f19b30e2-7a8c-4893-b4f6-2cdd24c2b26a SMITHERS, B.C. – A resident of Smithers has launched a jurisdictional challenge against the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which would supply the proposed $40-billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat with natural gas from Northeast B.C.The Province newspaper is reporting that Michael Sawyer, who spent two decades as an environmental consultant in the oil and gas sector in Alberta, is arguing that the $4.7-billion pipeline owned by TransCanada should have faced a federal environmental review instead of a provincial one.Previously, Sawyer launched a similar challenge against TransCanada’s proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline, but that was rejected by the National Energy Board.
The Tsleil-Waututh will also file scientific expert reports with the board as evidence regarding potential impacts from shipping.Chief Maureen Thomas says the expansion violates the First Nation’s laws and poses serious and harmful impacts to Tsleil-Waututh people and culture, as well to as their lands, waters, resources, and way of life.The new hearings are being held after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the original approval for the expansion, saying the federal government didn’t adequately consult with First Nations or consider the impact of tanker traffic on the marine environment.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) NANAIMO, B.C. – The Tsleil-Waututh Nation will be presenting Indigenous oral traditional evidence to the National Energy Board at a hearing in Nanaimo, B.C.A news release says the board is hearing new evidence about the environmental effects of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion including adverse effects of shipping to species at risk such as southern resident killer whales.The traditional oral evidence will focus on potential impacts the project would pose to the Tsleil-Waututh culture and way of life, including their cultural relationships with whales, and how the expansion, if approved, would violate Tsleil-Waututh laws.
GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Grande Prairie RCMP, with assistance from Grande Cache RCMP, responded to a vehicle collision involving three vehicles.RCMP say the incident took place on February 9, at 5:30 p.m., on highway 40 and Archie Way Road, approximately 80 kilometres south of Grande Prairie.Police say a vac truck collided with a pickup truck and a semi-truck at the intersection. The RCMP says the driver of the pickup truck, a 64-year-old male from Saskatchewan, was fatally injured. The driver of the vac truck was transported to hospital with serious, but non-fatal injuries.The RCMP collision analyst assisted with the investigation.Occupational Health and Safety are conducting a separate investigation into the incident.
Horgan announced that the deadline for consultation has been extended until May 31, 2019 in order to give Lekstrom time to work with local leaders.“People want to see the continued strength of our resource communities. As we meet a federal obligation to recover caribou, our government has been working to support workers and industry. Today’s announcements are part of that work. Blair Lekstrom has earned the trust and respect of residents in the Northeast. I can think of no one better to consult directly with, and fairly represent, the interests of people here.”Lekstrom’s role will be to consult with community leaders and local stakeholders on the draft agreements, provide input into the economic impact analysis and advise how the Province can meet its obligation to protect southern mountain caribou, while also protecting local jobs and communities.Regional Chair, Brad Sperling, says he is happy that the Government is extending the deadline for public engagement, and that they have appointed Lekstrom to conduct further engagements.“I’m pleased that the Province is taking the time to ensure that local voices are heard. Blair knows the people and the issues in the Peace well, and I’m sure he’ll be able to help find a path forward.”Also while in the area, the Premier had meetings with Chief Roland Willson from the West Moberly First Nations and Chief Ken Cameron from the Saulteau First Nations. DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Premier John Horgan and the Minister of Forests, Doug Donaldson, was in Dawson Creek on Monday to meet with the Peace River Regional District to address the concerns surrounding the Caribou Recovery Draft Agreements.This meeting comes after a week of Town Hall meetings and was the first time for Premier Horgan to visit the Northeast since being elected in 2017.Former MLA and current Dawson Creek Councillor, Blair Lekstrom, will be assisting the Government as community liaison tasked with engaging residents of the Peace Region on draft partnership agreements on caribou recovery. The press conference can be watched here:
OTTAWA, O.N. – The federal Liberal government is teetering on a tightrope this week as it attempts to prove it can balance economic development with environmental protection during the final sitting of Parliament before the fall election.Bill C-69, legislation overhauling national assessments for major resource and transportation projects, began its final ride Monday in the Senate. The upper chamber has to decide if it can accept the bill despite the government rejecting more than half the proposed amendments made by senators last week.The Senate will also be asked this week to reconsider the government’s oil tanker moratorium off the coast of northern British Columbia, after the government accepted a Senate amendment requiring a mandatory five-year-review, but rejected another amendment that would have required an assessment after just 180 days. However Darby, and the other members of the coalition, said the new legislation will scare off investors from proposing any new projects in Canada and is even worse than what is there now. In particular, the coalition is worried the Impact Assessment Act will make for extremely lengthy reviews and assessments that don’t count job creation heavily enough.“It’s too easy for the benefits (of projects) to be lost in the sea of negativity,” said Darby. “Local voices can be drowned out by professional activists from abroad.”But Alberta Sen. Grant Mitchell, who is sponsoring C-69 in the upper chamber, is urging senators to see the bill as a major improvement to the existing system. Mitchell, the government’s liaison in the Senate, said 99 amendments is the highest number of changes the government has accepted from the upper house to a single piece of legislation since those records began being kept in the 1940s.“It’s not going to be lost on senators that this is significant and that this bill has been enhanced because of the work of the Senate,” said Mitchell. “It’s historic.”He said the rhetoric that the legislation is going to mean no new major oil projects will ever be approved in Canada is hogwash because under the legislation every single timeline is shorter than what exists now. He said economic impacts are mentioned 179 times in C-69, where they aren’t mentioned at all in the existing bill.“This is one heck of a bill and I’m voting for it,” he said, in an interview with The Canadian Press.“I think this is the way we will get projects built.”The Senate debate on C-69 began Monday and the vote is expected later this week. On Tuesday, cabinet will meet to decide whether to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion for the second time, after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the 2016 approval citing improper consultations with Indigenous communities and a lack of consideration for the impacts of additional oil tankers on marine life.And all of this comes as the government Monday imposed a time limit on debate to push through its motion declaring climate change a national emergency requiring more cuts to carbon emissions than Canada has already committed to making.The government came under attack from both left and right Monday, with Conservatives demanding the government reject C-69 and explain when construction will begin on Trans Mountain, at the same time as New Democrats were demanding the government reject the pipeline.Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi appeared happy to be seen as coming up the middle by both trying to move Trans Mountain forward following the orders of the Federal Court of Appeal, while putting in place better protections for the environment and Indigenous rights under C-69.“On the one hand we have Conservatives who do not get the environment,” he said. “On the other hand we have the New Democrats who do not get the economy. We are moving forward, building a strong economy, creating jobs for the middle class, and at the same time taking action on climate, ensuring that we are putting a price on pollution, ensuring that we are taking action by phasing out coal, and making sure that we meaningfully engage with Indigenous communities.”Conservatives argue Bill C-69 will make Trans Mountain the last pipeline anyone proposes in Canada as it will scare away investors afraid to bother trying to build projects in the face of assessments they say are unfairly tipped against economic benefits and job creation. The Liberals however argue C-69 is needed because the existing process created by the Conservatives in 2012, gutted environmental protections and is the reason the courts tore up the expansions approval in the first place.A coalition of oil and gas industry groups, chambers of commerce and manufacturers associations are urging the Senate to kill the bill. Initially the Save Canadian Jobs coalition slogan was “Fix Bill C-69” but after the government rejected most of the fixes the Senate offered up, the coalition now says the Senate needs to “Stop Bill C-69.”The Senate made more than 200 changes to the bill, and the government accepted 62 of them entirely, and 37 others in part. The rest were rejected, with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna saying many of them overstepped judicial discretion, limited public participation in the process and made it optional to take into account the impact on Indigenous rights or climate change.Dennis Darby, the president of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, agreed Monday that the existing system “is broken.”
Mumbai: Pipped at the post by a common nemesis in the past, Bengaluru FC and FC Goa will take another shot at glory when they square off in the final of Indian Super League here Sunday. Both the teams made it to the summit clash, to be played at the Mumbai Football Arean, in rather contrasting manner. Bengaluru had sealed their place in the final for the second successive year with a 3-0 win against NorthEast United FC in the second leg of the play-off, recovering from a 2-1 defeat in the first leg. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open Goa, despite a 1-0 loss to Mumbai City FC in the second leg semi-final, made it to the final on better aggregate, having won the first leg 5-1. Goa were the runners up in 2015, while Bengaluru ended up second best last season. Coincidentally, both the teams had lost to Chennaiyin FC in their respective summit clashes. Going by history, Bengaluru have edge against Goa. In four meetings between the two teams, Bengaluru have won thrice while Goa’s only win came in a tight clash (4-3) last season, in which Bengaluru were down to 10 men after goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was sent off. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgery The in-form Goa will pin their hopes on 36-year-old star striker Ferran Corominas of Spain, who is the leading scorer this season, with 16 goals to his name. Corominas has only got better as the tournament progressed and is in line for his second successive Golden Boot award. A good outing on Sunday will only help his cause. Apart from the strikes, Corominas has seven assists to his credit. He will be a key player along with compatriot Edu Bedia, who has seven goals to his credit and six assists. The duo form a lethal pair and can breach any defence on their day, and Bengaluru’s could be no exception. Two other important cogs in Goa’s wheel are mid-fielders – Moroccon Hugo Boumous, who has five assists to his name, and 26-year old Manipur-born Jackichand Singh. Added to these names, the likes of Brandon Fernandes, Zaid Krouch and Mandar Rao Dessai make Goa a formidable outfit and the Bengaluru defence could come under immense pressure. Goa’s defence would be manned by Mourtada Fall, Mohamed Ali, Carlos Pena, Seriton Fernandes and Lalhmangaih. It would be also interesting to see whether Goa use the services of experienced custodian Laxmikant Kattimani or opt for Naveen Kumar, who also has been quite impressive this season. While Bengaluru’s Indian players are in better form, Goa’s game is heavily dependent on their foreigners, especially Corominas, Ahmed Jahouh and Bedia and if they don’t play well, Goa tend to suffer. For Bengaluru, two important players who have the ability to change the course of a game anytime are Miku and the charismatic Sunil Chhetri. Chhetri has so far netted nine goals and Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat would want him to be at his best and will expect the same from Miku, who has scored five times. Bengaluru will also have high expectations from speedy winger Udanta Singh, who has so far struck five goals. They also have an array of strong mid-fielders and defenders, who will have to be on their toes against an impressive FC Goa forwardline. The southern outfit also has in its ranks India’s vastly experienced custodian Gurpreet, who has made 59 saves this season. He would be more than keen to maintain a clean sheet, but considering Goa’s form it won’t be an easy task.
Mumbai: With three films in her kitty including Romeo Akbar Walter, actor Mouni Roy has managed to make a successful transition from small to the big screen. She says she is always ready to embrace the surprise that life has to offer. “The best part of our journey is that we have to have the will to be surprised by life. I am saying from my personal experience, that if I am thinking too much about the future and running after something, I will miss out on the present,” Mouni said. “So whenever an opportunity came my way, whether it was an acting assignment, dance or singing, I just tried to focus on that,” she added. Starting her career in 2004, Mouni got noticed by the audience for her role in the TV show titled ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’. She went on to appear in shows like ‘Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev’, and ‘Naagin’ before making her Bollywood debut in 2018 with the film Gold. She also has films like Brahmastra, Made in China, and Bole Chudiyan. Recalling her early days, Mouni said: “Initially, I wanted to become an IAS officer but no… it is great that at a very young age, I found my calling and carved my path.” “This is what I want to live for, forever… my dance, my acting are what I want to live for because I am the happiest when I am performing.” “I did explore my dancing skills and I showcase them too. After doing a show like ‘Kyunki…’ and reality TV shows, nobody would have picked up a show like ‘Mahadev’ because it was the character of a Goddess,” she said. Asked how the success of television helped her to enter Bollywood, the actor said: “Probably that is the reason why I got the calls for the look tests and auditions but at the end of the day, it is about my talent.”
Kochi: With memories of last year’s devastating floods still fresh in the minds of people of Kerala, they want the issue of climate change to be a dominant theme of the electoral discourse in the run-up to Lok Sabha polls beginning April 11. A total of 483 people lost their lives in the August 2018 floods, which were the state’s worst in a century. According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the state’s total population was directly affected by the deluge and related incidents. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The residents now want the political parties to take up climate change as one of the main issues in the upcoming general election. “I am 100 per cent certain about the need for climate change to be one of the main discussion points in the impending elections,” said Arun K Nair, a senior management executive with a leading hospital group in Kochi. “As a Keralite who has enjoyed the most optimum climatic conditions for over four decades, the plight of flood victims in other parts of the country was more like a tall tale for me, but only until I witnessed the floods in Kerala last year,” he said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Arun’s relatives, living in nearby Aluva, were among those hit hard by the floods. According to a UN report released last year, which assessed the damage caused by the floods in Kerala, the state would need about Rs 31,000 crore for recovery and reconstruction. Thiruvananthapuram-based writer K S Manu said the floods were a time when people realised the incapacity of politicians as majority of the rehabilitation work was undertaken by young volunteers. He said the deluge was a man-made disaster which was allegedly caused by “an eccentric political decision when more than 22 dams were opened one by one.” The floods not just led to loss of lives, but also loss of property and means of livelihood, he added. Manu alleged that the state government had made a “conscious effort” to divert people’s ire by creating new political issues like the entry of women of menstrual age into Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala. “Justice will be denied to people unless the general political discourse is changed. It should be based on green politics and modern concepts of a welfare society,” he said. Manu also questioned the sincerity of politicians in handling such issues. “Whether it is Left or Right, a natural disaster means funds, and funds mean bribes and misappropriation,” he said. Referring to the failed rehabilitation of victims of 2004 tsunami, which ravaged the south west Kerala coast, Manu asserted that politicians and politics will not change anytime soon. Citing a report released by the IPCC last year — Global Warming of 1.5 C, noted Indian climate expert Chandra Bhushan said a 2 degrees Celsius warmer world will have devastating effects on communities, economies and ecosystems. Bhushan, who is also the deputy director general of New Delhi-based advocacy group Centre for Science and Environment, urged the politicians to listen to the people and take steps to minimise the impact of climate change. In a speech in September last year, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres had referred to the devastating Kerala floods to highlight the urgency of the climate crisis, which, he said, was nearing the point of no return. The UN chief had also emphasised on the need to step up efforts to reverse the course of climate ch
Kolkata: After launching visa application centres in New Delhi and Mumbai, Qatar is all set to open a new centre here. The country also plans to open such centres in Kochi, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Chennai, a statement issued on behalf of Qatar embassy said. At the new visa centre here, people applying for work visa would be able to sign on work contracts digitally, enroll their biometrics and undergo mandatory medical test, all under one roof, thus saving time and making it hassle-free for them, the statement said. The move to get work visa applicants to complete the most essential and critical part of visa processing, in the country of origin, (India in this case), is aimed at guaranteeing prospective employees their rights in a manner consistent with the best international standards, it added. Qatar is known to be a land that understands a traveller and provides the much-needed warmth and friendly embrace that is so important for tourism to flourish.
New Delhi: In the police stations of Delhi, the grievances of complainants were redressed in different manners. Apart from filing FIR, the city police also referred the complaints to other agencies or with proper counselling, cases were compromised between two parties.Police sources told Millennium Post that (till March) more than 7,000 FIRs were registered. As many as 4,351 lost reports were lodged and copies were given to the complainants. More than 1,140 cases were referred to other agencies. “As many as 15,461 cases were compromised after city police properly counselled two parties involved in the case to resolve the matter at initial stage. After mutual understanding, these cases were compromised,” said sources. While other actions were taken in 5,619 cases. Earlier, Millennium Post already reported that more than 45,000 complainants with their grievances visited city police stations till March this year. Sources further told that there were 39,800 complaints which were related to different natures including sexual assault, robbery, kidnapping, hurt, theft, quarrel, cheating, forgery and others came. In a recent meeting, the Police Commissioner reviewed the status regarding handling of complaints at police stations and prompt registration of cases. Sources further added that 31,891 complainants were referred to police officers by Public Facilitation Officers. According to Delhi Police, they have taken a conscious decision to ensure fair and truthful registration of crime and it has helped in devising proper strategies to tackle crime in the city. Along with modern investigative techniques, traditional beat-level inputs played a major role and also in its prevention and detection in organizing resources as per ground in ensuring better service delivery to the citizens. Recently, in a meeting to review the redressal of grievances received through Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS), which was chaired by Chairman, Public Grievances Commission, it was also told that officials should listen to the public and their grievances and not let them wait for so long. Sources further said that more often than not, the grievances are not being heard properly by the police officers, Investigating officers enquiring into the matter or not allowed to meet the SHO and supervisory officers. “One patient hearing to the complainant at the initial stage strengthen the trust of the public in the police,” Deputy Secretary said in the meeting.
This legal luminary countered the present government in the Supreme Court. The Congress stalwart and former Law Minister Kapil Sibal said that there was certainly a ‘Modi wave’ once, but now it is stagnant like rainwater because Modi has failed to fulfill his promises in the last five years. In an exclusive interview to Millennium Post, Sibal claimed that the present regime will not retain power after May 23. At the same time, he is also unsure of the political alternatives if the Modi government fails to win the people’s mandate. Also Read – A special kind of bond Four phases of Lok Sabha elections are over. It is for the first time a ruling party is claiming facing a ‘divided opposition’. Congress has also joined hands with everybody. What is your observation regarding the phases so far? I think if you really look back to 2014 when they won the Lok Sabha elections, there was a gushing ‘Modi wave’, undoubtedly. But this ‘wave’ got still and does not exist now. Moreover, it is drowning people because otherwise, his campaign would have been based on achievements, about hoe he has brought ‘Acche Din’ for the people of the country and how it has resulted in ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’. But he has forgotten that as he has failed. So in the course of these elections, Modi’s graph is sliding at a fast pace. He is ‘resolving’ issues that have nothing to do with the future of the people of India. He is using Pakistan for domestic politics as well as Kashmir. He is not concerned about relations with Pakistan. If he abuses Pakistan and vilifies the people of Kashmir, he tries to gain sympathy of the people in India, especially the majority community. That is his agenda. He cannot win over people anymore by talking about what he has done in the last five years. Therefore, his graph is going down and he is not going to win this election. Also Read – Insider threat management On the other hand, Congress has also not managed an alliance with all political parties. In Uttar Pradesh, the party has not joined with SP-BSP alliance and believed to keep Brahmin vote intact. In Delhi also the AAP alliance has not really worked out. So naturally, the question arises about who will be the Prime Minister if the opposition comes in the power and what will be nature of the government? These are two separate questions. Firstly, it is assumed that an alliance, as opposed to Modi, is the duty of the Congress party. In my book ‘The Shades of Truth’, in the last chapter, it is written that there is no possibility of a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ in India. From the beginning, there was no possibility. The only way forward is to have state-wise alliances. You might assume that it was Congress party’s duty to have an alliance in states like West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi. But was it not their duty to ask Congress for alliance? I do not think that it is a doable thing at any stage. We were looking for state-wise alliances. But let me talk about our alliances. The alliance partners that we had in 2014, we are still continuing with them – maybe NCP in Maharashtra, RJD in Bihar, in Kerala, in Assam, and even in Tamil Nadu. So our alliance partners are intact and consistent. In addition, we have JD-S in Karnataka and we have some little alliances in Uttar Pradesh. But, over and above, we have foraged alliance with others. If two parties divide 74 seats among themselves and say that we are leaving two seats for Congress, then how do you have an alliance? Remember we never had any alliance with Samajwadi Party and BSP historically. They are basically anti-Congress parties. So the expectation that we have failed in alliance in Uttar Pradesh is a wrong question. Perhaps we are the only national alternatives for BJP and we also have to put up a candidate in those seats with a possibility of winning. As far is Aam Admi Party is concerned, let’s analyse it. AAP according to me was the prime reason for the downfall of UPA. The whole campaign against corruption was targeted at UPA. They made charges which were all false. They used Anna Hazare for their political mileage. They abuse the Congress party every day. What alliance do they want, something in Punjab, x-number of seats in Haryana, a seat in Goa, and a 4-3 distribution in Delhi. What relevance does AAP have in Haryana? He enters into an alliance with JJP in Haryana and tells the Congress party to accept the 4-3 equation. How does Congress accept that? It can’t. How can a national party accept any such equation which is born two-months ago? What is their motive having footsteps outside of Delhi? To increase their political base. So their interest is never alliance with Congress but only to use Congress. It is the responsibility of the anti-Congress parties to give that up and talk to us for an alliance. Now the second part is about the alternative. You can only talk about alternatives when it arises. What happens on May 23, is yet to be seen. When the arithmetic of the poll is before us, then the question of alternative will arise. At this point, it would be foolish of me to speculate the alternatives. We don’t know how the cards are going to be dealt. When we open up the cards and see the equation, we will think about the alternatives. If you really look back at 2004, the fight was between Vajpayee and us. There were no other possibilities. Now there are many possibilities. So, it is not sensible to answer that question right now. On its own, Congress is contesting on more than 350 seats. What is your expectation? Well, it is again very difficult to speculate. Anything I say will have political repercussions when we are in between elections. Another important issue you raised in this election is EVM. The functioning of the Election Commission also. Could you elaborate that for us? We are deeply disturbed the way Election Commission is functioning. It seems that EC has gone soft on some people. In fact, this has some impact on our confidence in a fair election. The problem is with EC, I think they are hesitant of taking any step against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The language used by the Prime Minister, and even the kind of language used by Amit Shah, the kind of political discourse that has been seen, any other election commission would have assured that they are being castigated. In fact, the pattern in which states go for the poll is questionable. You have one day for Gujarat, one day for Tamil Nadu, Two days for Tripura, any number of days for Bihar, any number of days for Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. It defies logic. I am afraid that the confidence we had on the EC has diminished. The institution has diminished. I have an ideological position on EVMs and the explanation that EC gives. I will assume that there are no faulty EVMs in this country, that the manipulation of EVMs is not possible. If the 21 political parties have expressed they have suspicion on EVMs and you have invested thousands of crores on VVPAT, and then please count 50 per cent VVPATs in every Assembly constituencies to show the election free and fair! That’s all the demand. I assume that everything is fine. You have invested thousands of crores, what is the harm in counting? At least the entire nation would know that the EVMs are not tampered and results are genuine. It further delays the result four to five days – the explanation is illogical. So, on one hand is a genuine democratic result and on the other is the convenience of the EC. You can’t prioritise convenience over assurance. Since you are also a distinguished litigator; we have seen in the last two years, two unprecedented incidents. One, four judges came out in open holding a press conference and the other is the latest one. How do you see these two? We are saddened with such things in public domain. For the CJI presiding over the court, it is not fair for me to make any comment at this stage. There is an ongoing process and we should leave at that. How do you see the last minute decision of not fielding Priyanka Gandhi from Varanasi? She tweeted on Sunday that the entire party and the leadership of the party did not wish for her to contest. She even told earlier that if the party wants her to contest from there, she will contest. When she has already given an explanation, who am I to give an explanation on her behalf! People of Varanasi are extremely unhappy with the Prime Minister. So whether he will lose or win, the time will tell. (Simontini Bhattacharjee is Special Correspondent, MPost)
TEHRAN – Iranian president hails the nuke deal, saying “Constructive engagement, tireless efforts by negotiating teams are to open new horizons”Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday the nuclear deal sealed in Geneva between Iran and the six world powers — US, Britain, Russia, France, China and Germany — on its nuclear program showed that Tehran’s “nuclear rights” have officially been recognized.“Iran’s right to uranium enrichment on its soil was accepted in this nuclear deal by world powers,” Rouhani said during a live broadcast on state Press TV.Welcoming the agreement reached after decade-long efforts, Rouhani said the negotiations were “tough and complicated,” but noted that the Iranian negotiation delegation managed to “prove the Iranian nation’s rightfulness on the international scene.”He highlighted that Iran is eager to start talks immediately on a comprehensive nuclear agreement.“Talks on a comprehensive agreement will start immediately,” said Rouhani, emphasizing that Iran had a strong will towards further talks.Rouhani also spoke well of the easing of the sanctions against Tehran as mentioned in the deal.“World powers have come to the conclusion that sanctions and pressures will prove futile, and as Iran stated from the very beginning, there is no way to reach agreement but through mutual respect and respectful negotiations.”“The structure of the sanctions against Iran has begun to crack,” argued the president of the Islamic republic, saying the sanction policies failed with the fresh nuclear agreement.Rouhani added that stage was set for taking further steps toward safeguarding the Iran’s technical and economic development.In a letter, the Iranian president attributed the success of the talks with the P5+1 group — five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — to the guidelines set out by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, praising Iranian nation’s backing of the Tehran administration.“Undoubtedly, this breakthrough is the result of God’s blessings, the Leader’s guidelines and unwavering support of the Iranian nation,” he said.The Iranian leader also remarked that the deal was possible due to “Iranian people’s vote for moderation,” referring to the June presidential election that brought him to power.“Constructive engagement [and] tireless efforts by negotiating teams are to open new horizons,” Rouhani also said on his Twitter account right after the announcement of the agreement.He also argued that the claims saying Iran wants nuclear weapons were “a historical joke.”After more than four days of intense negotiations at the third round of nuclear talks, Iran and the P5+1 penned an interim deal in Geneva of Switzerland on Sunday morning to freeze Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief to secure that its nuclear power could be used only for peaceful purposes.The historic agreement requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade, foreseeing an initial six-month period that brings boundaries to Tehran’s nuclear program.The main aim of the accord is to give international negotiators time to pursue a more comprehensive pact to roll back much of Iran’s nuclear program.Tehran’s next-generation centrifuges and the Arak reactor, which could begin to produce plutonium as early as 2014, would be halted, along with new international inspections to be implemented throughout the nuclear program.In exchange, Tehran would receive limited sanctions relief, which would add roughly $1.5 billion in revenue from suspended sanctions “on gold and precious metals, Iran’s auto sector, and Iran’s petrochemical exports”.An additional $4.2 billion would be transferred to Iran in installments from Iranian oil sales and Iran will be allowed to transfer $400 million in tuition assistance for Iranian students to international educational institutions.
Paris – The Sahrawi Association of Solidarity for the Autonomy and Sustainable Development Project will organize, on August 8-15 in Nancy (north-eastern France), the first edition of the Sahrawi Festival held under the theme “Sahara: culture, history and belonging.”The event, on the occasion of celebrations marking the Throne Day, embodies the different aspects of the Saharan provinces, along with their civilizational heritage, customs and traditions, the organizers said.It is also meant to spread knowledge about the Hassani culture as an element that makes up the Moroccan civilization and reaffirms the unwavering attachment of Sahrawi population to the glorious Alawite throne.
Taroudant – Soumia Benkhaldoun, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Training, announced on Tuesday in Rabat that baccalaureate holders will have access to the School of Medicine and Pharmacy (Pharmaceutical Studies) this year.Responding to a question posed by the National Rally of Independents (RNI) in the House of Councilors, the Minister said that the ministry will now allow bac holders to enroll in pharmaceutical studies starting in the next academic year.Benkhaldoun said that in order for baccalaureate holders to be admitted they have to meet the standards required by higher educational institutions. The minister added that this decision comes in the context of a broad educational reform initiated in consultation with all stakeholders.Access to pharmaceutical studies had previously been limited only to holders of the General University Studies Diploma (DEUG) in the discipline of “Sciences de la Vie et de la Terre” (SVT), that is, earth and life sciences.
DAVOS, Switzerland — The International Monetary Fund has cut its forecast for world economic growth this year, citing heightened trade tensions and rising U.S. interest rates.The IMF said Monday that it expects global growth this year of 3.5 per cent, down from 3.7 per cent in 2018 and from the 3.7 per cent it had forecast for 2019 back in October.Unveiling its forecasts at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the fund left its prediction for U.S. growth this year unchanged at 2.5 per cent. But it trimmed the growth outlook for the 19 countries that use the euro currency to 1.6 per cent from 1.8 per cent.Growth in emerging-market countries is forecast to slow to 4.5 per cent from 4.6 per cent in 2018. The IMF expects the Chinese economy — the world’s second biggest — to grow 6.2 per cent this year, down from 6.6 per cent in 2018 and slowest since 1990.The World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have also downgraded their world growth forecasts.Rising trade tensions pose a major risk to the world economy. Under President Donald Trump the United States has imposed import taxes on steel, aluminum and hundreds of Chinese products, drawing retaliation from China and other U.S. trading partners.“Higher trade uncertainty will further dampen investment and disrupt global supply chains,” said IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath.Rising interest rates in the U.S. and elsewhere are also pinching emerging-market governments and companies that borrowed heavily when rates were ultra-low in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 Great Recession.As the debts roll over, those borrowers have to refinance at higher rates. A rising dollar is also making things harder for emerging-market borrowers who took out loans denominated in the U.S. currency.Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
Rabat – In order to strengthen the financing available to startups and innovative companies, the Moroccan government has set up an innovation and seed-financing mechanism called “Innov Invest Funds” (IIF) as part of its Caisse Centrale de Garantie (CCG) strategy.The Moroccan government has sought a loan from the World Bank to finance this project to support the Moroccan entrepreneurial ecosystem. In addition to this fund, the CCG has just published a Notice of Expression of Interest to delegate its accompanying role. Hicham Serghini, CEO of the CCG, recently spoke at the Moroccan Capital Investment Association’s (AMIC) annual meeting in Casablanca, explaining that this fund will proceed through equity investments, innovation loans, or even financial aid. “Two to three other funds will be launched in the coming years to support companies in seed stage or venture capital,” Serghini explained, adding that “for pre-seed companies, we will soon launch a labeling for start-up companies’ coaches that can accompany these small businesses with, inter alia, interest-free loans.”The CCG plans to select a maximum of 10 structures based in Morocco for a period of 3 years, each providing specific support services: prospecting, selection and accompaniment. Where appropriate, these structures may also be funding providers. Through this delegation, the CCG will select startup incubators to manage their files. This transfer of power is not at all symbolic, as the CCG also intends to provide them with financial support enabling them to directly award grants or loans of honor.The objective behind the reinforcement of the role of nurseries is to accompany close to 300 project owners and startups, with about 10 projects per structure and per year. This project, along with the Innov Invest Fund, has been financed by a loan from the World Bank.
Rabat – The Athens-based airline Air Mediterranean will launch weekly direct flights between Athens and Casablanca starting early November, reports Greek News outlet Greek Reporter.The company will launch three flights per week, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.The new service is intended to increase tourist flow and economic and commercial exchanges between the Morocco and Greece. The Moroccan diaspora based in Greece will now be able to move between the countries directly, especially as Royal Air Maroc has ended its direct services between the two countries due to low profitability.The Athens-Casablanca flights, a journey of approximately 2,900 kilometers, will last between three and four hours and will be operated by a Boeing 373-400.Air Mediterranean has also announced the launch of six other international flightstoLondon, Stockholm, Jeddah, Khartoum, and Iraq, starting November 1.Greek Reporter indicated that ticket prices for all European destinations will start from EUR 85, including airport taxes and other fees.The company willoffer passengers “the fastest possible journey” between Europe, the Middle East, and Africa through Athens, with prices starting at EUR 440, including airport taxes and fees.
Rabat – Saudi Arabia keeps eying Moroccan international footballers. Moroccan footballer Aziz Bouhaddouz has officially joined Saudi’s Al Batin club.Al Batin announced Bouhaddouz’s transfer on Twitter on Wednesday, August 22.???? ?? ???? | ?#?????_???????_???????????? pic.twitter.com/rkkAWGARl6— ???? ?????? ??????? (@albatinclub) August 22, 2018The club wrote that the transfer was signed, owing to the support of Turki Al Sheikh, the president of Saudi Arabian Football Federation. Bouhaddouz, who left FC St Pauli for Saudi Arabia’s Batin, also played with the Atlas Lions in the 2018 World Cup.????? ?? ????? | @Turki_alalshikh????? ????? ?????? “??????”#?????_???????_???????????? pic.twitter.com/KestMSeTCi— ???? ?????? ??????? (@albatinclub) August 22, 2018The footballer, however, scored an own goal against Morocco in its first World Cup game against Iran in the final minutes of the game, which ended 0-1.The Atlas Lions left the tournament after the first round. Many Moroccans felt the team was unlucky in referees’ use of video assistant referee (VAR) in the country’s other two games against Portugal and Spain.Bouhaddouz started his career with FC Dietzenbach and moved in 2004 to play with SpVgg 03 Neu-Isenburg. The footballer then spent three seasons with FSV Frankfurt.Saudi Arabia has shown notable interest in Moroccan footballers lately, convincing Morocco’s star Noureddine Amrabat to join Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr.Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal also signed Achraf Bencharki in January from Wydad of Casablanca. However, the footballer may leave the Saudi team to join France’s RC Lens in the coming days.Saudi Arabia’s Al Wahda also offered MAD 6 million to recruit Moroccan football player Badr Banoune, who plays currently for Raja of Casablanca, Morocco.Recently, Atlas Lion Karim El Ahmadi signed with Al Ittihad Jeddah for a two-year contract.However, Saudi Arabia does not seem to be a favorite destination for Moroccan football fans as they believe that the teams are not strong enough to help them in their careers.
Rabat – With the Security Council set to decide the MINURSO mandate by October 31, the US wants the mission to be extended for only six months.French news agency AFP reported on Thursday that France backed the request of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called on the Security Council to extend the mandate of the UN mission in Western Sahara for one year.“France’s position is to push for a one-year renewal, in accordance with a recommendation of the UN Secretary General,” French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre told AFP. “We believe that the current trend, the current momentum, is positive,” he said during closed consultations at the Security Council.Read Also: Western Sahara: UN Report Asks Polisario to Meet MINURSO in TindoufA source, speaking on condition of anonymity, from the council meeting told AFP the US is calling for a new renewal of only six months.“The United States has been very firm,” the diplomat told AFP.A six-month extension would pressure the parties into resuming talks, as they are doing in December in Geneva, Washington said, added the source.Earlier this month, the personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Horst Kohler, invited Morocco, Mauritania, Polisario, and Algeria for talks in Geneva.Morocco and the front confirmed that they will attend the round-table, while Algeria and Mauritania have not issued any response yet to the invitations.Kohler gave the parties until October 20 to respond to the invitations.Guterres called on the parties to respond to Kohler’s invitations favorably and without preconditions.Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said in a closed meeting in Parliament last week that the Moroccan delegation is not going for negotiations.Read Also: Morocco Accepts UN’s Invitation to Western Sahara Talks in GenevaHe said that Morocco will attend the UN round-table in Geneva to reaffirm its conditions, which emphasize Morocco’s autonomy plan as a just solution to end the conflict.Bourita also stressed that Algeria needs to contribute to the UN-led political process to find a solution for the conflict.For years, Morocco has been calling for Algeria to contribute to the UN-led political process as a main party and not an observer.Algeria hosts tens of thousands of Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps, where they suffer embezzlement of humanitarian aid and malnutrition, according to the latest UN report on Western Sahara.