NEW DELHI: Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari Thursday interacted with people through social media which he named “Twitter Chaupal” and answered questions on a range of issues, including full statehood and the Centre’s welfare schemes.During his “Chaupal”, Tiwari hit out at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his government’s “failure” in fulfilling pre-poll promises.The BJP MP said under the Swachh Bharat Mission, 9.5 crores toilets have been constructed to ensure respectable life of the country’s women. He said under the ‘Ujjwala’ scheme, 6.5 crore gas connections have been provided to empower the women and the works done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is being talked about in every ‘chaupal’ of the country.Replying to a question on pollution levels in Delhi, Tiwari said there is such a “negative government” ruling Delhi which is not ready to admit its mistakes.He alleged that the AAP government has “no will power” to take steps to control pollution. Environment cess of Rs 9,000 has been collected from the people of Delhi but it has not been utilised, he said.
New Delhi: Delhi Police on Thursday said that Crime Branch officers from Shakarpur arrested two members of the notorious Naveen Kasana gang on April 1, thus recovering two pistols and several live cartridges.Identifying the arrested as Ravinder (28) and Anil Kumar (23), DCP Crime Ram Gopal Naik said that the two gang members were involved in several cases of robbing jewellers and business-people at gunpoint with their accomplices, Police said that they received a tip-off about Ravinder arranging a meeting with one of his accomplices near Preet Vihar metro station and laid a trap for him on April 1. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderRavinder was apprehended from Preet Vihar metro station following a short chase. Police claimed that upon sustained interrogation, he disclosed the location of one of his accomplices and another member of the gang, Anil Kumar, who was also arrested on the same day. According to police, during sustained interrogation, both the accused confessed to their involvement in robbing a Karol Bagh jeweller off Rs 2 crore and a cloth merchant off Rs 15 lakh near Shalimar Bagh area. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsDuring police questioning, the two finally gave up the location of one of their hideouts in New Govindpura, where one semi-automatic pistol with two live rounds and one country-made pistol with two live cartridges were found. Addressing a press conference, DCP Naik said that the Naveen Kasana gang has been operating in the Trans-Yamuna region since 2010 and efforts were being made to apprehend members since then. Sources familiar with developments said that with the arrests of Ravinder and Kumar, only two members of the gang are left to be apprehended.
NEW DELHI: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has told a television channel that he had “always considered the BJP as a communal party.” Between 1998 and 2009, his Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was an alliance partner of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government. “They (the BJP) were less so (communal) earlier,” Naveen Patnaik said on the previous partnership. He said he discovered the BJP’s “true colours” after communal violence erupted in Kandhamal region in 2009, over which he ended his ties with the BJP. The riots, which broke out in the aftermath of the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, saw local Christians being targeted by mobs. Though no longer a formal member of the NDA, the BJD has lent tacit support to the BJP-led government at the Centre and is expected to be one of the regional parties that the BJP might turn to, should it fall short of numbers.
San Francisco: Facebook has announced long-term investments in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to proactively detect content that violates its policies. “To help us catch more of this problematic content, we’re working to make sure our AI systems can understand content with as little supervision as possible,” Manohar Paluri from Facebook’s AI team said during the company’s F8 conference in San Jose, California, on Thursday. “Advances in natural language processing (NLP) have helped us create a digital common language for translation, so we can catch harmful content across more languages,” Paluri added. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year Facebook has developed a new approach to object recognition called “Panoptic FPN” that has helped AI-powered systems understand context from the backgrounds of photos. “Training models that combine visual and audio signals further improves results,” said Paluri. Facebook is currently facing several probes across the world for privacy violations and the spread of harmful and biased content on its platforms, including WhatsApp. Joaquin Quinonero Candela from Facebook’s AI team said the company is building best practices for fairness to ensure AI protects people and does not discriminate against them a” into every step of product development. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India “When AI models are trained by humans on datasets involving people, there is an inherent representational risk. “If the datasets contain limitations, flaws or other issues, the resulting models may perform differently for different people,” said Candela. To manage that risk, Facebook said it has developed a new process for inclusive AI. This process provides guidelines to help researchers and programmers design datasets, measure product performance, and test new systems through the lens of inclusivity. “For vision, those dimensions include skin tone, age and gender presentation and for voice, they include dialect, age and gender, said the company.
New Delhi: The Income Tax Department has filed as many as 11 charge sheets against corporate aviation lobbyist Deepak Talwar for alleged tax evasion by him and his companies, official sources said Tuesday. They said the prosecution complaints have been filed before a special court here last week under Section 276C(1) (prosecution for wilful attempt to evade tax) and Section 277 (false statement in verification) of the Income Tax Act. While six are fresh complaints, the rest are supplementary charge sheets to the main complaints filed in 2017 by the department against Talwar. These pertain to different assessment years, the sources said. “Investigations have revealed that the accused was the beneficiary of a complex global corporate structure of several entities in different offshore jurisdictions like British Virgin Islands, Mauritius, Singapore, Hong Kong which received funds from foreign entities,” a senior tax department official said, quoting contents of the charge sheets. “A part of such money was also routed back in India for investment through multiple layers in foreign countries,” he added.
Shimla: Hitting out at the Congress for promising to abolish sedition law in its poll manifesto, Union Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday said the legislation will be made more stringent after BJP returns to power at the Centre. At a rally in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district in support of Ram Swaroop Sharma who is seeking re-election from Mandi Lok Sabha seat, he said Indian economy has become on of the fastest growing economy in the world and the IMF has praised the country for its economic growth. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework He also claimed that inflation has been controlled during the five years the BJP’s rule. If voted to power again, the BJP will make the provisions of sedition law more stringent to check anti-national activities, Singh said, adding India has not acquired even an inch of land of any other country but if any other nation tries to do so, India will prevent it at any cost. In its poll manifesto, the Congress has promised to abolish the provision of sedition in the IPC and review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) as well as deployment of the armed forces. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen “The BJP is the only party where a ground-level worker can become a chief minister and even prime minister with his relentless efforts. On the other hand, there is a party which revolves around only a family,” Singh claimed. Ram Swaroop is pitted against Sukh Ram’s grandson Aashray Sharma who has been fielded in the seat by the Congress. Aashray Sharma’s father Anil Sharma recently resigned from the state cabinet but is still a BJP MLA in Mandi Assembly segment. Voting for state’s all four seats — Shimla (SC), Mandi, Hamirpur and Kangra — will take place during the final phase of the Lok Sabha polls on May 19.
CAIRO – A sniper shot dead an Egyptian soldier Wednesday in the lawless Sinai Peninsula where the army has been waging a relentless campaign to root out militants, a security official said.The 20-year-old conscript was killed while training at a military camp in Sheikh Zuwayed, the official said.“He was shot in the head,” the official said, adding the nature of the wound indicated the bullet had been fired from altitude. Egypt’s army has poured troops and armour into the Sinai to crush militant activity which has surged since the military overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3.A subsequent crackdown on Islamists has resulted in more than 1,000 people being killed and more than 2,000 arrested nationwide.Dozens of soldiers and policemen have also been killed in near daily attacks in the Sinai.
Washington – Morocco’s minister of foreign affairs and Cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar, reviewed here on Thursdaywith chairman of the foreign committee at the US House of Representatives, Edward R. Royce, bilateral ties and means to promote partnership between the two countries’ legislative institutions.The meeting was an opportunity to thank the US representative for the letter he addressed to US president Barack Obama, and in which he highlighted the quality of bilateral ties and the importance that Morocco has for the USA.The Moroccan official also renewed during the meeting the excellence of bilateral relations and the importance of the working visit by HM King Mohammed VI to the USA in developing ties and opening new prospects for this partnership. Royce’s letter urged President Obama to seize the opportunity of the Sovereign’s visit to consolidate strategic ties between the two nations at a time Washington is endeavoring to promote a mutually-profitable vision based on consolidation of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in North Africa.Washington should carry on support and assistance to Morocco’s efforts to stabilize and consolidate capacities of the region’s countries, and get more involved in the Sahara issue that continues to stall integration, economic growth and stability in the region, the letter says.
CAIRO – Egyptian troops killed a key suspect Tuesday wanted over attacks on the army in the Sinai this year and deadly 2004 and 2006 bombings of tourist resorts, security officials said.Troops killed Mohamed Hussein Mohareb al-Shahir, his son and a third suspected militant in an operation south of the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwayed, the officials said.Another four suspected militants were captured in the operation, part of an intensifying campaign by the army in the restive peninsula which borders both Israel and the Gaza Strip. Shahir was suspected of involvement in a spate of attacks on the security forces in the Sinai in recent months, including an August 19 ambush that killed 25 policemen in the deadliest attack of its kind in years.Security sources said he was also implicated in bombings of tourist resorts in the south of the peninsula that killed dozens of people, among them Israeli and Western holidaymakers, in 2004 and 2006.They said he had issued a fatwa, or religious decree, justifying attacks on the security forces.Jihadist militants have stepped up attacks on security personnel in the Sinai since the army overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July.The army has since poured troops and armour into the Sinai, in an operation which Israel says has its blessing, despite provisions in their 1979 peace treaty setting strict limits on military deployments to the peninsula.
Rabat – On Monday we reported that an Algerian officer fled Algeria and sought Asylum in Morocco. In its edition of Thursday, the Moroccan daily Al Akhbar delivers more details about the circumstances surrounding the request made by the Algerian defector and his arrest on charges of “illegal immigration.” According to the Casablanca-based newspaper, the man known as “Farkhatou Sheikh, was arrested Friday in Morocco at the entry point of the city of Oujda. “He made a number of revelations to Moroccan investigators from the infidelity of his wife, caught in adultery with an Algerian official seconded to the presidency to his troubles with the Head of State to the Polisario and the army.” The Algerian officer, who was promoted in 2008 to the rank of colonel, “reported to the police under a false identity before saying he was an officer in the Algerian Republican Guard who fled Algeria to seek political asylum in Morocco.” According to the same source, Farkhatou Sheikh said that “the infidelity of his wife whom he discovered in the act of adultery with a with an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assigned to the presidential palace “is one of the causes” of his decision to defect and flee to Morocco. “My wife has been exploited to trap the official. We divorced in 2012. I later continued to be under pressure and unfair measures by the security services of the presidency and the intelligence services,” he was quoted by the newspaper as saying. “This injustice has pushed me to hate the Algerian state and think of fleeing to Morocco, something I did via the border where I concealed my real identity,” he added. Commenting on the relations between the Algerian military and the Polisario Front, the Algerian officer said that the Algerian army constantly forms Polisario elements in aviation and artillery before they return to their bases, adding that the Polisario enjoys a privileged status from the Algerian army. He also talked about the deteriorating relations between Moroccan and Algeria, saying that the army receives instructions to be prepared for a potential military confrontation with Morocco. “Senior officers tell us to prepare ourselves, given the deterioration of relations with Morocco,” he was quoted by the same source as saying. He also spoke about the President’s deteriorating health and the military’s hold on power saying that those who hold the power are “Mohamed Tawfik, from the military intelligence, the caid Salah, Chief of Staff and Deputy Minister of Defense.”
Rabat – Weekly magazine Maroc-Hebdo has come under fire after it ran a cover deemed by many as homophobic.The cover depicts two men ‘intimately’ looking at each other in a swimming pool under the headline “Shall we burn homosexuals?”“Sure it’s an individual right. But what about moral and religious values,” the sub-head added. The magazine’s latest issue, which hit newsstands on Thursday, comes few days after the Health Ministry called on authorities to decriminalize homosexuality.The Ministry recommended a policy change in order to reach as many members of the gay community with HIV and other STDs prevention services.The survey has also found a difficulty in fighting against STDs among the gay community, mainly because of social stigma and criminalization of same-sex relationships.The magazine’s cover has caused outrage on social media platforms, with many denouncing what they described as the magazine’s attempts to incite hatred.This is not the first time the magazine runs a controversial front page cover. In 2012, it ran a front page dubbed as ‘racist’ on immigration from sub-Saharan countries with the title “the Black Peril.”Many readers also accused the magazine of ‘stealing’ the photo it used for the controversial page. They claimed it was taken from a gay-friendly Mexican resort page on TripAdvisor.This also comes one week after British rock band and Femen expressed support for the gay community in Morocco.
Rabat – Morocco is determined to pursue its migration policy in the same spirit of humanitarianism and solidarity, and in respect for human rights, said Wednesday in Rabat minister in charge of Moroccans living abroad and migration affairs, Anis Birou.Morocco is a leader in migration policy, Birou told the press after a meeting of the National Commission for regularization and integration of migrants in Morocco, in accordance with the royal instructions concerning the immediate launch of the second phase of the integration of irregular migrants in Morocco.The presidents of several countries congratulated HM King Mohammed VI for this policy, the minister said at the end of the meeting, the first of this second phase. This phase is taking place in a context where Morocco and Germany are preparing to organize the Global Forum for Migration, he said, pointing out that Germany is a pioneer in this field in Europe, as is the case for Morocco in the south shore.The minister said the commission will hold a meeting with civil society, which, he said, is a key partner in the development and implementation of migration policy in Morocco.The offices of foreigners responsible for receiving requests for regularization under the second phase will be opened as of Thursday throughout Morocco’s provinces and prefectures, he added.This phase will capitalize on the success and achievements of the previous operation, initiated in 2014.King Mohammed VI gave his instructions for the immediate launch of the second phase of integration of irregular migrants, as was expected at the end of 2016.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI sent a message to the third parliamentary forum on social justice, which opened Monday in Rabat, under the theme “The challenges of social and spatial justice and the components of the new development model.”Here follows the full text of the message read out by the King’s advisor Abdellatif Menouni:“Praise be to God,May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin Ladies and Gentlemen,It gives me great pleasure to send you this message at the opening of the third session of your Parliamentary Forum. Since I ascended the throne of my glorious ancestors, I have taken a keen interest in social justice issues and have, therefore, always granted your Forum my patronage.I commend you on choosing “the desired development model and the stakes of social and inter-regional justice” as the theme for this session. Your choice reflects a keen awareness of this topical subject which involves many interrelated issues that call for an innovative, holistic approach. The aim, ultimately, is to find practical, applicable solutions to citizens’ real and pressing problems and to achieve balanced, equitable development for all, in a serene, stable environment.As I have pointed out, what we need to do today is to solve problems and refrain from stopping at the diagnosis phase, however important it may be.Ladies and Gentlemen,In my last address to Parliament, I mentioned the factors hindering our development model and called for it to be revisited, using a collective approach.It has become clear that our model, which contributed to countless tangible economic and social achievements, is no longer able to respond to citizens’ growing demands and needs, nor can it reduce social and inter-regional disparities. It cannot, therefore, help achieve social justice.By calling for a review of that model, we are seeking more than just isolated sectoral reforms, or a reshuffle of certain economic projects and social programs.In fact, we are aiming for an integrated vision to shape not only a model for the achievement of the country’s political, economic and social development, but also a system for full-fledged central and local governance, including the legal system underpinning it. This vision should provide strong impetus for the new model, help overcome obstacles hindering its development and address weaknesses and gaps revealed by past experience.In this regard, all stakeholders should take into account the societal changes occurring in Morocco and, as a result, place the youth issue at the heart of the desired development model. Concurrently, we should ponder the most effective ways to improve the situation of our young people, who are our real asset and the country’s everlasting wealth.I firmly believe that the success of any vision hinges upon a change in mentalities. This is the only way to continue promoting the development the country is witnessing in various sectors and at the same time to set the stage for a new culture based on entrepreneurship, self-reliance and accountability.With the same resolve, we need to focus on reforming public administration. No meaningful economic and social development is possible if public service institutions do not discharge their mission properly in terms of serving the citizen and promoting investment, especially as regions, local governments, investment centers and other parties are playing a growing role in spurring development.At the same time, we should strive harder to engage the public and private sectors in innovative, effective partnerships to promote comprehensive development.I must insist, once again, that revisiting the Moroccan development model is an issue which concerns all Moroccans and all of the nation’s forces – individuals, institutions, political parties, trade unions, civil society and professional institutions.By the grace of the Almighty, Morocco has highly skilled human resources as well as solid, well-established institutions. This means we can embark, in a bold, responsible manner, on a constructive dialogue regarding a development model that satisfies all Moroccans.I want to tell all the stakeholders concerned that they are free to contribute objective ideas and proposals. There are neither limits nor conditions to this broad national debate, provided it is in keeping with the Constitution and with the nation’s immutable values enshrined in it.I expect this collective effort to bring about a profound shift in modes of thinking and in the way we address development issues and manage public affairs. It should signal a real break with practices in which time is wasted, development opportunities are lost, reforms impeded and creativity and innovation stifled.Let us keep in mind that Morocco went through difficult times in the past, as with the structural adjustment programs in the 1980s. Throughout its long history, and building on a sovereign will, our country has always managed to overcome obstacles and rise to the various development challenges facing it, thanks to national mobilization and to the sacrifices and combined efforts made by all Moroccans.Ladies and Gentlemen,By turning the spotlight on a key aspect of the question of social and inter-regional justice, this important forum has touched on an essential dimension of the development model we aspire to craft, namely the social and local dimension.As you know, achieving justice between groups and regions has always been at the heart of my political, economic and social policy. It is the ultimate goal of the initiatives and large-scale projects I have launched. The main objective is to improve the daily life of our citizens, in an environment characterized by justice, equity, human dignity and equal opportunity.These values and principles are enshrined in the Constitution. The aim is to help bring about a society committed to solidarity, in which all citizens enjoy security, freedom, dignity, equality and social justice – one in which rights and obligations go hand in hand.However grand ambitions may be, and whatever commitment one may show, the achievement of social and inter-regional justice remains a long, arduous process in all countries. It requires regular evaluation of outcomes and continuous updating of long-term objectives, as well as the development of implementation means and mechanisms.During its first session, the Forum sought to contribute to this objective through the adoption of the Rabat Declaration on Social Justice. In the same vein, the House of Councilors continued to be engaged in the preparation, on a participatory basis, of the Moroccan model for social and inter-regional justice.I am sure you realize that the achievement of social justice requires that a number of key factors be kept in mind. They need to be addressed in a serious, objective and innovative way, particularly the following:the problem of social and inter-regional disparities and the link with the constraints weighing on the management of tax and social security systems;the issue of universal access to basic social services and facilities, this being one of the pillars of social justice;the need to have institutions that are imbued with the values of solidarity and social justice and that contribute to solving citizens’ real problems and responding to their concerns and urgent demands.Ladies and Gentlemen,These are some of the challenges to be tackled in order to achieve social justice – a goal closely related to the development model used. We are aware of the close correlation between the promotion of development and the efficiency of the administrative system.I am sure you will address these and other issues in a wise, clear-sighted, objective and impartial manner, while being invariably guided by the desire to serve the common good.I hope this session of your Forum will lead to practical proposals and recommendations which will contribute to the formulation of an efficient, effective development model that fulfills the needs of Moroccans, achieves the desired social justice and helps us keep abreast of the changes unfolding in Morocco and the world at large.I wish your conference every success.Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.”
Rabat – France’s national carrier Air France warned customers planning to travel on Saturday, April 7, of possible flight delays or cancellations due to another staff strike over pay involving pilots, cabin crew and ground staff.“Due to the confirmation of the strike for Saturday April 7, our flight schedule for this day will be disrupted,” the company said in a statement.The airline’s management said that some 30 percent of total Air France flights will be cancelled on this day, while it will maintain 75 percent of its long-haul flights, 65 percent of its medium-haul flights in and out of Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport and 70 percent of short-haul flights going to and from the capital’s Orly airport. Some flights departing from or going ahead of Morocco are among the cancellations. The flights Paris-Casablanca (AF1597) and (AF1596) as well as flight Paris-Rabat (AF1358) have been cancelled.The French airline forecasts other disruptions as six other strike days will occur this month, recording the highest cancellation rate since the start of a series of one-day strikes in February.“A call for strike has been issued by several Air France staff unions for Saturday 7, Tuesday 10, Wednesday 11, Tuesday 17, Wednesday 18, Monday 23 and Tuesday 24 April 2018,” the statement adds.This Saturday marks the fifth day of strike, initiated by worker unions who demanded a 6 percent pay rise, which the airline has refused to meet, saying that it cannot offer more than a 1 percent pay rise to staff.“We can’t give out money that we don’t have,” Air France CEO, Jean-Marc Janaillac told RTL radio on Friday, April 6.“I need to ensure Air France has a future, and to go any higher than that would jeopardize the company’s future,” Janaillac said.French daily La Tribune, reported that each strike day costs the company over EUR 25 million, adding that flights disruption will likely dissuade customers to book flights with the company during the upcoming lucrative summer holiday season.
Rabat – On Saturday, police arrested a man suspected of decapitating a woman in Oued Ifrane in the Middle Atlas.The police arrested the suspect in Toufnit, a town in Midelt Province, Drâa-Tafilalet, Morocco.The suspect is a 38-year-old shepherd in the forests of the Atlas Mountains. He reportedly disappeared suddenly after the crime. His personal connection to the victim, if any, remains unclear. Read Also: Moroccan Authorities Find Woman’s Decapitated Body in IfraneThe body of the 24-year-old Moroccan woman was found on December 28.The woman was a divorcee, mother of a 7-year-old daughter. She was living with her parents.Authorities deployed a helicopter and sniffer dogs during the investigation. The Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie, auxiliary forces and members of the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) chased the suspect.
Rabat – Niska and Damso’s catchy songs entertained the OLM Souissi crowd all night. Two of France’s most successful rappers have succeeded in performing their brilliant rap on Monday, June 25, on the fourth day of Mawazine Festival Rhythms of the World.The French rapper Niska started the show with his famous song “Freestyle PSG”, in front of a crowd in trance, who came together to dance the famous “Charo dance.”Sife ElamineIn his very unique and easily recognizable voice, Niska continued to delight the public with several hits, including “B.O.C.,” “H & M,” and “Versus,” produced in collaboration with the “Prince of the Afro Trap” MHD. Niska has also interpreted his titles “Medellin,” “Love X,” “Salé,” “Favélas,” “Commando,” “La Wewer,” “J’suis dans la baye,” “Tuba life,”—produced with the famous rapper Booba—and “Hunting man,” taking his young audience into a frenzy with his music, that sometimes takes the color of African sounds.Sife ElamineBefore a conquered audience, Niska closed his concert with his famous hit “Résaux,” thrilling his fans who enthusiastically sang along with “Pouloulou,” before sharing an intimate moment with the public, listening to the Moroccan national anthem.Sife ElamineThe Belgian rapper Damso then gratified the hysterical crowd with his “Kietu,” before continuing with his numerous titles “Periscope,” “Lové,” “Report,” “NJ Respect R,” and the famous “Macarena” hit song. Sife ElamineThe Belgian rapper was faithful to his style that stands out with raw lyrics, sometimes tinged with a certain verbal violence and inspired mainly by his personal experience. He also knew how to touch his audience with his sensitivity, through deep melancholic expressions, captivating sweetness, and endearing romance.Sife ElamineThe Belgian rapper, who sang a capella at some points, caught the attention of the public, who never ceased to sing the furiously fascinating words.Sife ElamineAt only 24, Stanislas Dinga Pinto, aka Niska, is one of the most talented rappers of the moment. He rose to fame thanks to his collaboration with Maître Gims on the song “Sapés comme jamais,” released in August 2015. His hit single “Réseaux” won the title of the France’s summer 2017 hit, hoisting him to the top spot of France’s Top Single, Top Shazam, Top Youtube, and Top Streaming.A true star of this new wave of French rappers, Damso, whose real name is William Kalubi, was first spotted by French rapper Booba. He then joined the collective and label 92i and signed at Universal.The rapper released his first album “Low Battery” in 2016, which is certified platinum. His second album Ipséité, released in 2017, was a great success in France and Belgium, and is certified quadruple platinum disc in France and platinum record in Belgium.
Rabat- The British ambassador has shared about his first year in Morocco, saying he would change the driving and the litter in Morocco if he could.Charmed by the Moroccan lifestyle, Thomas Reilly, who has been ambassador to the country for one year, wrote both about the beauty and the challenges he found in Morocco.The official Facebook page of the British Embassy in Morocco shared Reilly’s essay on Thursday.Reilly recalled his first day in Morocco with his family, writing that although he had visited Morocco as a tourist before, he was aware that “the experience of a tourist is quite different to that of a resident.” An abrupt roadway welcomeUpon his arrival in Tangier after a long drive from the UK, he was greeted by a lorry that rear-ended him on the way to Rabat.He wrote: “In retrospect, that was an appropriate introduction to Moroccan roads. The driving in Morocco is fast and furious; often scary. Never dull. You need to keep your wits about you at all times.”Reilly warned that pedestrians can saunter across the road at any point, noting that one “cannot afford to lose concentration for a second” with the large number of donkeys, dogs, cats, trucks, lorries, and mopeds in Moroccan villages.The ambassador described the beauty of natural scenery as he drove to Rabat: “As we drove, I was amazed by its geographical variety – as we left the hills of the Rif behind, the amazing Atlantic coast opened up,” he wrote.He went on describing roadways, the High Atlas Mountains, and Mount Toubkal, which he climbed.“I have climbed Mount Toubkal and looked across, from that snowy, frozen height to the beautiful Atlas range; down into the infinite desert; and back towards the fecund plains around Marrakech.”Rabat’s dam ‘ruined by plastic waste’“Morocco is not perfect – what country is?” The ambassador wrote about the challenges, stating that if he could change two things about Morocco, it would be the driving and the litter.Reilly recently expressed distaste at the litter surrounding the Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah dam in Rabat through a post on his Twitter account.He wrote: “We went this morning for a walk with our dogs near the dam lake [in Rabat], a very beautiful and peaceful place…but the place was ruined by plastic waste, sandwich leftover, bottles and garbage.”“It was honestly appalling, Morocco deserves better than that!” he said.Plastic bags still a problemEnding his essay, Reilly congratulated Morocco on being a leader in banning plastic bags.“Morocco led the world in banning plastic bags and should be congratulated for that leadership, but the plastic scourge legacy (from which many countries are suffering) is more noticeable in Morocco.”Morocco launched the “zero mika” (zero plastic bags) law in July 2016, making it one of the first countries in Africa to impose a ban on plastic bags.However, plastic bags are still manufactured and sold illegally in Morocco. Authorities seized nearly 2.96 tons of banned plastic bags intended for sale in a warehouse in Tangier in March. Reilly rued the fact that the plastic bags and litter make “such a stark contrast to the outstanding natural and historical beauty of the country.” Reilly asserted that he looks forward to his second year as Ambassador to Morocco.“To continuing to build a real partnership of equals between our two countries; to sharing my experiences; and to visiting more places and learning more about this remarkable country,” Reilly concluded.
DOVER, Del. — A federal judge says four former executives for the only financial institution criminally charged in connection with the federal bank bailout program do not have to begin serving their prison sentences while appealing their fraud and conspiracy convictions.The judge on Wednesday granted requests by the former Wilmington Trust executives to remain free on bail during the appeal process, which could take a year or more.The four defendants were convicted last year of hiding Wilmington Trust’s massive amount of past-due commercial real estate loans before the bank was hastily sold in 2011Former Wilmington Trust president Robert Harra and chief financial officer David Gibson were sentenced to six years, while chief credit officer William North was sentenced to 4 1/2 years and controller Kevyn Rakowski got three years.Randall Chase, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — What does it take to kill the Night King?Definitely not a pair of fire-exhaling dragons. The Night King turns out to be flame retardant.Nor does the ability to loop through time and assume control of ravens’ brains help much. Bran Stark pretty much sat helpless beneath the Weirwood tree, waiting to be rescued in a way that was no different than a damsel tied to train tracks in a silent film.Past experience dueling the Night King provided to be of little help. Jon Snow — after multiple showdowns with the blue-ish personification of cold death — was pinned down far away from the action by the Night King’s own “ice” dragon.In the Associated Press’ weekly “Wealth of Westeros” series, we’re following the HBO fantasy show’s latest plot twists and analyzing the economic and business forces driving the story. This week, Arya’s triumphant assassination of the king ice zombie has prompted an appreciation among us for the role of skills, in economics as well as medieval Westeros.Because — SPOILER ALERT — it took skills to kill the Night King.Arya Stark stabbed the Night King into a shattered death. As he held her aloft in a choke hold, Arya deftly dropped a Valyrian steel knife into her free hand and plunged the blade into the Night King’s surprisingly brittle chest.Arya trained for this precise moment for almost the entire duration of the HBO series. It was the kind of outcome that few fans of the show foresaw, unless they internalized the lessons of the 18th Century philosopher Adam Smith, who is known as the “father of economics.”In his 1776 book “The Wealth of Nations,” Smith theorized that the ability to specialize in a distinct set of skills will lead to stronger economic growth. Skilled blacksmiths, tailors, lawyers, doctors, bankers and software programmers not only work more quickly, but they produce a better product. Getting skills requires a combination of time, training and teachers.This was Arya’s advantage.She took fencing lessons in King’s Landing with Syrio Forel (RIP). Orphaned and alone after Ned Stark’s death in the first season, she mastered the art of hiding in plain sight.Arya then sailed east to study how to become an assassin under the tutelage of the faceless men at the House of Black and White. She trained on the long-staff against the cruel waif, learning how to fight while blind-folded.Just before the battle of Winterfell, she commissioned a special staff with a detachable blade in order to compete against the Night King’s army. And careful viewers saw her dagger move against the Night King before, when Arya was mock-fighting Brienne of Tarth in the seventh season.Arya’s time spent learning closely resembles what economists see as one of the best job training methods available: an apprenticeship. The benefits of apprenticeships — in which companies pay workers, typically younger ones, to learn highly-specific skills — have been touted by both the Trump and Obama administrations, a rare area of bipartisan agreement.Roughly 90% of apprentices have jobs after completing their apprenticeships, with average starting pay of more than $50,000, according to a 2015 report by the Obama White House.Naturally, the unemployment rate is lower for workers who are perceived as having more skills. Just 2% of college graduates are unemployed, almost half the rate of people with only a high school diploma.But the United States isn’t investing sufficiently in skills training, even though such a move is touted as conventional wisdom by business and political leaders. A report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that, out of 29 developed countries, the United States spent the second-least amount on training programs, as a percentage of its economy, ahead of only Mexico.It wasn’t always that way.History also shows that, like Arya Stark, skills can help when circumstances get terrible. During the depths of the Great Depression, productivity increased and laid the foundation for an economy that could meet the demands of World War II and then boom afterward.“The resilience of (productivity) growth in the 1930s reflected U.S. success in creating a strong ‘national innovation system’ based on world-leading investments in human capital and R&D,” the economists Gerben Bakker, Nicholas Crafts and Pieter Woltjer concluded in a 2016 paper.It’s the unique skills possessed by Arya and others that might make the difference in the battle to come over control with Westeros. Queen Cersei may have 20,000 mercenaries serving as fresh troops against the battered survivors of the Battle of Winterfell. But … can any of them be stealth assassins?___Follow Josh Boak on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/JoshBoakFollow Paul Wiseman on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/PaulWisemanAPFollow Christopher Rugaber on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/ChrisRugaber___Read more Wealth of Westeros: https://www.apnews.com/WealthofWesterosJosh Boak, Christopher Rugaber And Paul Wiseman, The Associated Press
BEIJING — Air China Ltd., one of China’s three major state-owned airlines, is joining carriers that are asking Boeing Co. for compensation for the grounding of their 737 Max jetliners following two fatal crashes.An employee of Air China’s publicity department said Wednesday the carrier also has asked Boeing for compensation for disruption due to delays in delivery of new aircraft.The employee declined to give his name or details of the claim.Air China becomes the second Chinese carrier to ask Boeing for compensation following state-owned China Eastern Airlines Ltd. last month.China was among the first governments to order carriers to suspend use of the 737 Max in March following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a total of 346 people.The Associated Press