first_imgAPTN National NewsMetis and non-status Indians are in fact “Indians” under the Constitution Act a federal court ruled Tuesday.Which means they are the responsibility of the government.It took years to get to this point, but the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples is calling the ruling a victory.But at the same time national chief of CAP Betty Ann Lavellee said it should not have taken this long.“The federal government has spent 14 years blocking, trying to have the case thrown out,” said Lavellee. “That’s money that actually could have been put towards addressing some of the key issues.”The ruling means Metis can negotiate treaties and issues such as education, health and tax exemptions.“The evidence concerning non-status Indians establishes that such persons were considered within the broad class of ‘Indians,’” said Justice Michael Phelan in his decision. “The situation regarding Metis was more complex.”However, the court didn’t order the government to begin negotiations. So when, and if, that happens remains in question.“Given the declaration of right in respect of s 91(24), one would expect that the federal government would act in accordance with whatever duty arises in respect of any specific matter touching on the non-clarified fiduciary relationship,” he said.There are over 600,000 Metis and non-status Indians in Canada. In 1999, CAP and several other Metis and non-status Indian groups took the federal government to court for discriminating by refusing to give them status under the Constitution Act.They asked the court to rule it didn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case, however the Phelan ruled the argument before the court was valid.“It is no answer for the defendants to say that a case such as this cannot be brought because there is no federal legislation against which to assert an action,” he said. “There is no such legislation because the federal government denies jurisdiction over Metis and non-status Indians.”The legal battle looked at over 800 exhibits, extracted from 15,000 federal documents, beginning from first contact.“The canvas over which the parties have painted the answer encompasses Canadian history virtually from the time of Champlain in Passamaquoddy Bay in 1603 to the present day,” he said.As well, millions of public funds were spent.The court heard the decision over whether to grant Metis status was a “political football” being passed around. The provinces said it was the federal government’s responsibility but the feds also fought that.Minister John Duncan’s office simply said that the decision is under review.“We are reviewing the court’s decision to determine the next steps,” said a spokesperson, adding as the Federal Court stated, this decision is not about “the interpretation or application of particular rights either under the Constitution or under specific agreements, nor is it about Aboriginal rights.”The decision could cost the federal government billions of dollars if future courts side with Metis and non-status Indians.last_img read more

first_imgThe Canadian PressWINNIPEG – A private Jesuit school that is set to open next fall in one of Winnipeg’s poorest inner-city neighbourhoods is already sparking debate. Gonzaga Middle School will follow a Jesuit model used in other cities that incorporates greater support, longer school hours and summer programs. The school also plans to remove barriers for low-income and academically gifted students between Grades 6 and 8 by offering free education. But Larry Morrissette, executive director of Ogijiita Pimatiswin Kinamatwin, an organization that works with youth in gangs, says the Indigenous community was not properly consulted. He says the school goes against the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And he worries the mistakes of the past could be repeated. “Again they’re coming in with the idea that they know better than us,” says Morrissette. “There’s no call in that report that asks for, you know, the Jesuits or any other religious group to come into the city, north end, central, to build schools.” Mark Wasyliw, chairman of the Winnipeg School Division, is also concerned, saying the school will pick and choose certain students, leaving others behind. “We’re interested in building up communities and that means building up all students in a community,” says Wasyliw. Grade eight students who graduate from Gonzaga Middle School will be offered tuition-free education at St. Mary’s Academy or St. Paul’s High School. Wasyliw says that would move youngsters who could develop into community leaders out of the city’s North End. He says the school means well, but funding could be better used to support programs that already exist within the community and school division. “They’re planning to help 60 students within that neighbourhood and what we’re saying is that if you work with us, we could do a lot more with that money and we certainly could help a lot more than 60 students,” says Wasyliw. Gonzaga Middle School principal Tom Lussier has issued a statement promising it will be an inclusive organization. He says the school will be “open to a variety of cultural traditions and expressions of spirituality, including Christian and Indigenous traditions. We want our students to learn and respect their own faith and spiritual traditions, to understand where they come from and who they hope to become.” Lussier says the school supports recommendations from the TRC report, and plans to include Indigenous studies in the curriculum. Manitoba Treaty Commissioner Jamie Wilson is speaking out in support of the school, saying parents should have a choice in how their children are educated. He credits the Jesuits for being the first religious organization to make amends during the Truth and Reconciliation hearings. “What matters most to me is Aboriginal students being given opportunities to graduate and succeed and Gonzaga certainly has earned that reputation today.” Gonzaga has several prominent financial backers, including Mark Chipman of True North Sports and Entertainment.last_img read more

first_imgHolly MooreAPTN InvestigatesThe forced sterilization of Indigenous women and girls in Canada was in the spotlight at an international human rights commission hearing this week.Lawyers Alisa Lombard and Jamesy Patrick, associates with Maurice Law, presented to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on Tuesday, Feb. 27 in Bogotá, Colombia. The principal mandate of the IACHR is to protect human rights in the Americas and conduct investigations in participating countries, which includes Canada.LINK: What is the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)?Lombard told commissioners about the history of forced sterilizations, coerced abortions and other forms of reproductive violence against Indigenous women in Canada.“There is evidence that the forced sterilization of Indigenous women has been a consistent practice in Canada since the 1930’s into modern times.” she told commissioners in a statement obtained by APTN Investigates.LINK: Full statement to IACHRMore than 50 women have come forward to Maurice Law since July 2017, according to the statement.“The cases of these courageous women who have come forward make clear that discrimination and biases have operated with impunity to undermine professional ethics and the standard of care owed to every woman,” Lombard said.She urged the “commission to assist in holding governments and those responsible for decades of force sterilization perpetrated against Indigenous women and girls to account.”Reported harms of Indigenous women and girls include sterility, mental anguish, suicide, hormonal imbalances and a decreased sense of being valued as a woman.The statement also includes a number of requests to the federal, provincial governments, health authorities and regulatory bodies like the colleges of physicians and surgeons to root out racial discrimination and provide training.Health Canada is asked specifically to “ produce an information brochure for health care providers,” to produce “guidance regarding sterilization procedures” and create documents that ensure “proper and informed consent.”Reported cases include coerced abortion and suicideA December 2017 letter requesting the hearing included cases like that of a 15-year old girl who suffered irreparable damage after termination of a pregnancy was performed without proper or informed consent.LINK: Letter of request to IACHR Another example involved a young Indigenous woman who was promised that her children would be returned to her from foster care if she consented to sterilization. She died by suicide 10 months later, according to the request.None of the allegations have been proven in court.Maurice Law now represents 55 women in a class-action lawsuit filed in October 2017 against the Province of Saskatchewan, the federal government, health regions and even the individual physicians involved, alleging forced sterilization.APTN has contacted the federal government for comment. More to come.last_img read more

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – Authorities on Thursday promised a deeper investigation into the YouTube shooter’s past and her anger with the online video website, identified as her motive for attacking the company’s headquarters in California.“This will be a long and very methodical investigation,” said Geoff Caldwell, a police commander in San Bruno, a city just south of San Francisco where YouTube is located.Investigators will likely scrutinize Nasim Aghdam’s movements during the nearly nine-hour drive from her family’s home near San Diego to the YouTube campus, examine the bizarre videos she posted online and look for any messages she may have sent to company officials.Aghdam, an Iranian native in her late 30s, walked through a parking garage into a courtyard at the campus Tuesday and opened fire, police said. She wounded three people before killing herself.She had legally bought the 9mm handgun from a dealer in San Diego in January, and it was registered in her name, Caldwell said. He declined to say where she purchased the weapon.Police have previously said Aghdam went to a gun range before arriving at YouTube. Caldwell declined to identify the range but said employees contacted police after the shooting to report she had practiced there.Officers spent nearly two hours Wednesday at the Jackson Arms Shooting Range in South San Francisco, a few miles from YouTube headquarters.The most seriously wounded victim, a 36-year-old man initially classified as critically injured, was upgraded to fair condition Thursday. Two women who were wounded have been released from hospitals.Aghdam was prolific at producing videos and posting them online. She exercised, promoted animal rights and explained the vegan diet, often in bizarre productions with elaborate costumes or carrying a rabbit.She posted the videos under the online name Nasime Sabz, and a website in that name decried YouTube’s policies, saying the company was trying to “suppress” content creators.“Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!” one of the messages said.YouTube had no comment about any actions related to Aghdam’s videos.Her father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group that he warned police the day before the attack that his daughter was upset with how YouTube handled her videos and might be planning to go to its offices.San Diego sheriff’s Lt. Karen Stubkjaer said Thursday that the father never told deputies that she was a danger to herself or others when he reported her missing.Police in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Mountain View said they spoke to Ismail Aghdam twice after contacting the family to report finding his daughter sleeping in her car early Tuesday. Police say he also never told them she could become violent or pose a threat to YouTube employees.Federal and state investigators have searched two homes associated with the family, collecting evidence.Nasim Aghdam also ran a Farsi-language public channel on the messaging app Telegram, which had 6,000 followers.One video was a tutorial about how to massage buttocks, and another featured a song praising Bahaism, a religion that originated in Iran but is heavily suppressed by the Islamic Republic.People in Iran expressed pity and shock that Aghdam would shoot others in a country that allows more social media freedom. State TV briefly reported the shooting based on international reports.Hossein Naderi, a 23-year-old art student in Tehran, questioned why Aghdam chose to live in America, adding, “I wish I was there to use YouTube freely.”Kimia Shobeiri, 18, suggested the shooting was a ploy to get attention.“She was insane and just wanted to make herself famous,” she said. “With this act she damaged the reputation of Iranians.”___Associated Press writer Michael Balsamo in Los Angeles contributed to this report.last_img read more

first_imgOTTAWA – A government-struck panel of industry experts is urging the Trudeau Liberals to create an Own the Podium-style program to help promising companies one day compete internationally — and to end support to those who might only garner participation ribbons.Own the Podium is a federally funded program that supports elite Canadian athletes and is best known for preparing Team Canada ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, during which Canada took home a record medal haul.Companies that participated in a series of what the Liberals call “economic strategy tables” recommended the creation of a similar approach for businesses. They said in the report released Tuesday that the federal government “can no longer sprinkle fairy dust and hope our entrepreneurs will succeed.”The report suggests that the government funnel money to firms with the most growth potential so they can scale up operations, while also allowing lower-performing firms to die because it would “free up tax dollars.”The government’s efforts, it recommended, should target six areas: advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology, health and biosciences, and resources of the future.The report estimates the right set of policies, including tax conditions that match recent corporate tax rate cuts in the United States, could add $318 billion to the economy by 2030. But the experts warn the government must learn to operate at the speed of business and cut the multiple layers of red tape.Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said federal efforts must focus on making regulatory regimes more agile for a shifting landscape — but he warned it will take years for Canadian companies and workers to become more competitive.“There’s no one silver bullet,” Bains said in an interview.“This is a multi-year effort that is going to require multiple policies, multiple programs.”Business leaders from a multitude of sectors, advocacy groups and unions have pressed the Liberals to act quickly on the recommendations. The suggestions also include calls for “better coherence” of government funding programs and for a more-uniform education system focused on skills development — a tall task given the variations between provinces and school boards.A giant of the online world is looking to help the federal government reshape the Canadian education and skills development system to adjust to changing labour force dynamics.Sabrina Geremia, country director for Google in Canada, said the company has spoken with the Liberals about the need to make sure public and private sector efforts work in tandem, and ensure nervous workers are able to access the help they need today and in the future to take part in a digital economy.last_img read more

first_imgATHENS, Greece – Greek banking shares have fallen sharply amid investor fears over lenders’ needs to reduce their large stock of bad loans resulting from the financial crisis.The index of bank stocks closed nearly 9 per cent lower in Athens on Wednesday. Piraeus Bank led the losses, at 20.7 per cent, after reports said it and the National Bank of Greece have pledged to reduce their bad loans more aggressively in coming years.Reducing bad loans can mean writing off assets and booking losses.The Athens Stock Exchange’s general index ended the day’s trading session 2.1 per cent lower.Greek banks have needed to be propped up with money from Greece’s bailout loans since 2010. On Monday, the government lifted restrictions on bank withdrawals that were imposed in 2015.On average, over four out of ten loans issued by Greece’s banks are soured.last_img read more

first_imgVICTORIA — Finance Minister Carole James says British Columbia’s economic growth remains “strong and stable” and the budget is on track to record a surplus in the 2018-19 fiscal year.James says the operating debt, which builds up when tax or other revenue misses spending pledges made in a budget, has been reduced to zero for the first time in four decades.She says the province’s second quarter results for this fiscal year show a projected surplus of $1.35 billion.The Finance Ministry forecasts GDP growth of 2.2 per cent this year, while the value of all goods and services produced by the province is forecast to climb by 1.8 per cent in 2019.James says risks facing the province include a $250-million drop in Crown corporation earnings, mainly due to losses at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, as well as a slowing down of the housing market.To offset those risks, she says a fund that covers potentially volatile revenue changes has been increased by $600 million.“That additional prudence is very critical … to help mitigate any kind of provincial revenue impacts,” she told a news conference at the legislature on Monday.James says RBC and other analysts remain positive about economic growth in B.C., forecasting the province will remain a leader in Canada this year and next, even before the benefits of a liquefied natural gas development in Kitimat are added to projections over the next several months.“Private forecasters expect that B.C.’s economic growth will be strong. In fact, they are predicting that we are going to lead the provincial rankings in 2019,” she said.The 2019-20 budget will be released Feb. 19, along with the third quarterly report.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

first_imgThis will be Cst. Bojczuk’s third year participating in Tour de North, after she participated in the 2017 and 2016 editions, both times with Cst. Tristan Williams. Cst. Bojczuk has some personal experience with the disease, after her friend beat breast cancer a number of years ago.Sgt. Dave Tyreman said that the Fort St. John community has an incredible history of giving and supporting local causes. 80 percent of the funds raised by Tour de NOrth go to pediatric cancer research, with the remaining 20 percent donated to Camp Goodtimes. In the past 16 years, over 3.2 million dollars has been raised, and over 530,000 kms ridden by Tour de North Riders.Each rider is required to meet a pre-riding fundraising goal. Cst. Bojczuk and Cpl. Owen have planned a couple of events in order to help them in achieving their goals. Their first one is: Asking everyone to put their best foot forward and “Buck Up” for the boot.On August 3rd, the officers will be holding a Fill the Boot drive at the Fort St John Safeway from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., trying to fill an RCMP high brown riding boot with donations.Then on September 5th, the RCMP will hold their annual Jail and Bail at the Fort St John Canadian Tire parking lot from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.Members of the community who have been nominated by their friends, family, and co-workers will be “arrested” and brought to a mock jail where a short mock trial will take place. Bail will be set and the arrested person will then be given time to raise the requested amount from the mock bail hearing. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Two members of the Fort St. John RCMP detachment are gearing up for this year’s Cops for Cancer – Tour de North, which is taking place in just under two months’ time.Constable Rebecca Bojczuk and Corporal Spencer Owen will be hitting the road to raise money for this year’s Tour de North, which is taking place from September 14th – 20th. The group of riders will be travelling over 800 kilometres during that week, riding from Prince George to Prince Rupert while raising money for the Canadian Cancer Foundation and Camp Goodtimes.Cst. Rebecca Bojczuk and Cst. Tristan Williams outside the Fort St. John RCMP Detachment. Photo by Chris Newtonlast_img read more

first_imgPlease continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@canada.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm. Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologists are closely monitoring the situation, and this winter storm watch may be upgraded to a warning as the forecast becomes more certain.Winter storm watch issued for:B.C. South Peace River, B.C. (087310)Current details:A long duration snowstorm is forecast to begin on Thursday…A slow moving frontal system will spread snow across the B.C. central interior beginning Thursday morning. Snow is expected to continue falling Thursday night and Friday and will likely persist over some regions until the front moves into Alberta early Saturday. Current indications suggest that storm total snowfall amounts will range from 15 cm up to as high as 30 cm by Friday morning.Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologists are closely monitoring the situation, and this winter storm watch may be upgraded to a warning as the forecast becomes more certain.Rapidly accumulating snow could make travel difficult over some locations. Poor weather conditions may contribute to transportation delays. DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – A winter storm watch has been issued for the South Peace and Pine Pass.Environment Canada says a slow-moving front will move into Northern B.C. Thursday morning.  The snow could start Thursday night and continue until Saturday with some forecast models showing as much as 30 cm of snow.In Fort St. John the forecast is also calling for a large amount of snow.  The North Peace could see up to 20 cm before the storm is over.last_img read more

first_imgGRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The Grande Prairie RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating 31-year-old Mary Anne Healey.According to RCMP, Healey was last seen in the Grande Prairie area on Friday, May 17.Healey is described as: 5’6″/ 149 lbsBrown HairGreen eyesAnd was last seen wearing black leggings, denim vestThere is a concern for her well-being.If you have any information in regards to Healey’s whereabouts, you are being asked to contact the Grande Prairie RCMP Detachment at 780-830-5701 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.last_img

Musically Yours

first_imgYou shot to fame with Autograph in 2010. From then to now, how will you describe your journey? It has been a journey of almost nine years and it is very difficult to put this experience into words. I have been lucky and blessed! You have also started composing singles that are being produced by SVF Music. How did the decision to do something different come about? I have been doing albums for the last nine years and making a single is not new to me. Like other artistes, I always wanted to have my own album. But things here are not very smooth. Film music takes precedence over other kinds of music. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knotThings changed for me after Autograph. I would have come up with my albums anyway, but I don’t think they would have been equally popular. Autograph has given me a lot. The songs in the movie and the way they were picturised became popular because they were a part of a huge film. I have always been into making albums; I have been doing my own stuff. I write a lot of songs and when I feel like they are not in sync with films or not in line with the theme, I release them as singles or albums. Also Read – ‘Vaastav’ gave me the real sense of being an actor: Sanjay Dutt on film’s 20-year anniversary What kind of response have you been receiving for your singles so far? The response has been very encouraging. We are generally very scared to do Bangla singles and albums. I made an album called Bakyobageesh in 2014 which released along with a song I had composed for Chotushkone. The song from Chotushkone became so popular that my album did not reach a lot of people. It was very unfair! I have decided, the next time I make an album, I will release it at a time when none of my film albums will be around or else it too will face the same fate! But things look brighter now. People are restless and want to listen to something different. That is paving the way for a new genre of music that does not necessarily fit into film narratives. My single Kalboishakhi worked moderately well. We have performed the song live several times. Next came a dance number, Mithye Kotha. No one expected a dance number from me. That song really clicked and the audience started requesting the song at live shows. I had the chance of experimenting with alternative rock, and that is how we created Ish Debashish. The song deals with battling mid-life crisis. There is no movie in Bengal that deals with a subject like that or that has the space for a song like this. Thus, it found a place in my solo project. It also did quite well, not as much as Mitthe Kotha which is more mainstream in its appeal. But we have been performing the song at our concerts. Many singers believe that composing non-film music is more liberating than film music. What do you think? That holds true for many artistes. For me, that is partially true. I don’t exactly compose for films. I write songs on my own. And, if a script or a film comes to me, I usually play the existing songs from my bank. The makers listen to them and take their pick. It is not that a film dictates my song-writing. The makers select my songs for their films. So, the process is different for me and I think it is very liberating. If at all I have to make songs for films, then I am restricted by the characters, the storyline and the situation. If I have Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabitri Chatterjee on screen, I will not have a loud song; I would have a mellow number or maybe just a soft cello or piano playing in the background as a prelude to my song. In a way, it is liberating when I am writing and composing songs for films as well. When it comes to albums, it is completely liberating. In albums, I can use any instrument and there is no restriction on their duration. You have worked in both the Bangla and Hindi music industries. Do you sense any differences? Yes, there is a lot of difference between both these industries. When I am working on a Hindi film, I am making music for audiences who belong to a different demography. It is very difficult to create a tune that appeals to everyone. But, in Bengal, I have a very good understanding of the kind of songs that the Bangla audience will like. Rabindra Sangeet is very popular in West Bengal. But it is not as popular across India. People have tried to translate them in several languages, but they have not worked. Only the national anthem has worked at the national level (Laughs). Bengali and Hindi, as languages, are so different. S D Burman, Salil Chowdhury and R D Burman have crossed boundaries and created everlasting melodies. I try to follow their footsteps. I want to create something similar to what they did. Hindi films become a little difficult for people like us who are starting their journey in this industry. Most songs that you compose do not find a place in films. Last year, I worked on October, which was a fantastic film. I composed a song that was sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. That song became quite popular but it was not there in the film. In fact, there are no songs in the movie. Then, I had also worked in Pink. I composed two songs for it that were not there in the movie. I consider myself lucky that five of my songs were retained in Piku. I had also composed its background score. That was a very fulfilling experience. What are your upcoming projects? Bengal has been very kind to me. I have been offered four to five movies a year and sometimes more. I started this year with Shah Jahan Regency. I am composing music for Srijitda’s Vinci Da. In May, I will be doing Shibu’s (Shiboprosad Mukherjee) Konttho. After that, I have another film of his called Belashuru. I also have Mainak Bhaumik’s Bornoporichoy. So I have my hands full. I think 2019 will be quite musical for me!last_img read more

first_imgJammu: The Jammu-Srinagar national highway was closed on Tuesday following fresh landslides in the Ramban district, traffic department said. The landslides hit Digdol area after which the traffic was halted. “Landslide debris clearance operation is underway and the highway is likely to be restored to traffic in the afternoon,” a traffic official said. “No vehicle will be allowed to move on the highway either from Udhampur or the Banihal side unless the road is declared safe for passage,” he added. The highway had remained closed for two days last week due to a massive landslide in the same area.last_img

Rabat – The professional time for goods and market services production accounts for 3 hours and 20 minutes of the day of a Moroccan aged 15 and up, that is 26 minutes more than a French of the same age, according to a national survey on time use conducted by the High Planning Commission (HCP).The time of professional activities for Moroccans aged 25-29 is 4 hours, for those aged 15-24 is 2 hours 22 minutes and for people aged 60 and up is 2 hours, said the HCP head Ahmed Lahlimi Alami who presented, on Tuesday in Rabat, the 2011-2012 nationwide survey’s results in a press conference.Lahlimi said that this survey, based on a sample of 9200 families, enabled to determine daily jobs of all segments of Moroccan households (women, men, children), as well as their nature and volume in 24 hours. In addition to professional activities, this survey is divided into four categories: “physiological time, domestic time, time for educational and training activities and free time,” he added.Concerning the physiological time, which stands for 10 hours and 36 minutes and 44% of Moroccans’ day, the survey noted that Moroccans sleep 52 minutes less than the French and 20 minutes more than Tunisians.Regarding educational and training activities mainly for pupils and students, it account for 3 hours and 45 minutes for kids aged 7-14, 1 hour and 41 minutes for youngsters aged 15-24 and 3 minutes for people aged 25 and up, a national average of 61 minutes, the survey showed.As for free time, it amounts to an average of 6 hours and 40 minutes, which represents 28% of a Moroccan’s regular day.MWN with MAP read more

New York – Morocco ranked African champion of international tourism in 2015.The African Development Bank (AfDB) published its third annual continental tourism report on Wednesday, in which Morocco registered the highest number of international tourist arrivals in 2014.According to the Africa Tourism Monitor 2015, a joint publication of the African Development Bank (AfDB), New York University Africa House, and the Africa Travel Association (ATA), for its second consecutive year, Morocco maintained its record of over 10 million tourist arrivals. The North African country recorded 10.2 million international tourist arrivals in 2014 compared to 10.05 million in 2013.Morocco ranked ahead of South Africa with 9.5 million tourists, Egypt with 9.1 million and Tunisia with 6.7 million international arrivals.According to the African report, which studied tourists’ arrivals from March 2014 to March 2015, Morocco received 28 percent of international tourists who visited Africa.South Africa was in second place with 24 percent of the totalnumber of arrivals, while Egypt took the third spot with 17 percent of Africa’s tourism, in the same period.In terms of employment, Africa tourism generates 20.5 million jobs, including direct, indirect and induced types of employment supporting the travel and tourism industry, the report revealed.Among Africa Tourism Monitor’s list of Top 10 African Countries for Total Employment (Direct, Indirect, Induced) in the Tourism Industry for 2014, Morocco ranked fourth place with 1.74 million jobs, ahead of South Africa (1.50 million).Egypt ranked number one in tourism industry employment with 2.94 million jobs, followed by Ethiopia (2.29 million) and Nigeria (2.2 million).Morocco’s leading tourism figures coupled with its top safety ratings have placed the North African country as one of the top travel destinations for tourists worldwide.The French and British Foreign Ministries recommend Morocco in their list of safe countries for British and French nationals to visit.Five-star accommodations, entertainment that meets and exceeds global standards, the uniqueness of its terrain, rich history, culture and hospitality par excellence are just some of the many qualities that place Morocco among leaders of the travel and tourism industry.“These rankings mean that Morocco is becoming a full-fledged destination, highly competitive, but also a leader when it comes to innovative and sustainable solutions to tourism development issues,” Moroccan Minister of Tourism Lahcen Haddad said in a statement to Morocco World News.The 2015 report was themed “Unlocking Africa’s Tourism Potential,” in terms of investment, sustainability, development, business partnerships, and economic growth.Africa Tourism Monitor illustrates how the travel and tourism industry involves local communities to participate and thrive in these sectors.The same report informed that international tourism in Africa is mainly driven by the United States (22 percent), the United Kingdom (19 percent) and France (17 percent), representing nearly 60 percent of the total of arrivals in 2015. read more

By Alexandra KrauskaRabat – The Spanish Civil Guard announced Tuesday that a large child pornography network was dismantled.Many Moroccan children and teenagers were among the victims of the network. The network had been active in Spain and Morocco since 2000, and the investigation began in May, 2016. Since then, seven people have been arrested. The seven members of the criminal network are from Morocco, France and Spain. According to Spanish news agency EFE, several members of the network were arrested on May 29, and others arrested between July 7 and 25.In the final operation launched by Spanish authorities, one of the group members’ homes was searched. This was where officials believe the victims were kept captive, filmed and exploited. The search found over 1 million photographs, 1,000 pornographic DVD’s, and 28 internet domains used to distribute the child pornography.Officials estimate that there are more than 80 victims, though only 29 have been identified. Spain’s leading newspaper, El Pais, reported that “many [victims] were Moroccan children from disadvantaged backgrounds.”The investigation found that the group had been planning to create a network of sex tourism in Morocco, making their victims available to foreign pedophiles. read more

Rabat – King Mohammed VI has advocated for a bigger role for Africa on the world stage, expressing confidence that the continent will achieve progress, provided efforts are joined by its children.In a speech dedicated to the continent at the 10th World Policy Conference, which kicked off in Marrakech on Friday, the monarch gave further proof that Africa has become central in Morocco’s foreign policy.Africa’s Moment In his speech, King Mohammed VI said that Africa’s voice should be heard globally, and that the continent must assume a bigger role that the one assigned to it today.“Given the recent developments and the clear progress made by Africa, it is of the utmost importance that our continent be front and center of a redesigned world stage,” said the King.The King highlighted a change in Africa’s attitude, pointing to a continent more confident in itself in comparison with the past.“The era of a passive Africa suffering from a complex environment is over. A proactive Africa is replacing a submissive continent.”Africa, for the monarch, has a chance to achieve progress given its enormous potential in terms of both material and human resources.To do so, Africans need to be united, realistic, innovative and set up better policies for a brighter future, stressed the King.“It is our responsibility to foster innovative strategies and ambitious policies which should not only be based on the accomplishments that have already been made, but which should also draw inspiration from successful initiatives at global level.”Africa should not see its abundant youth as a “handicap,” urged King Mohammed VI, but rather as an “asset.”“Today, Africa’s tremendous assets in terms of human capital offer an exceptional opportunity to achieve progress,” insisted the monarch.While pressing for greater achievements, the King noted at the same time global recognition of the recent developments seen by the continent.“The undeniable progress that Africa has made has not gone unnoticed. In fact, it has been followed with growing interest by the international community,” said King Mohammed VI.For Africa to achieve prosperity and meet people’s aspirations, the King called for “inclusive human and economic development programs that are based on a regional or continental vision.”A Roadmap to ProgressWhile the King insisted that Africa has tremendous opportunities to catch up with the developed world and achieve similar goals of progress and prosperity, he nonetheless did not shy away from the challenges facing the continent.The royal speech presented a sort of roadmap to progress. The King advocated for an improvement of public policies in education, health, and vocational training. The main goal behind this is ensuring a better integration of the youth “into the socio-economic fabric” of African countries.Shaping up public policies, suggested the King, can only have a positive impact on “sustained growth that would create jobs and boost productivity.”The modern challenges facing Africa require that Africans change their way of thinking and look for modern solutions to existing problems.In the King’s suggested roadmap, a stress was made on the need for a “constructive debate” to improve local development models and fully exploit the continent’s abundant natural resources.African agriculture – a field in which Morocco has invested with agreements for the kingdom’s Office Chérifien de Phosphates (OCP) to set up industrial units – is a highly promising sector but one in need of modernization.King Mohammed VI called for a transformation of African agriculture “from primary production to agro-industrial value chains.”For Africa to fully make the most of the sector’s potentials, the King called for “revolution” in technology usage in continental agriculture, and a adjustment of “production methods” to make them better fit the local context and be “consistent with the requirements of climate change.” read more

Rabat – Munir El Haddadi is officially out of the competition. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has delivered its verdict, destroying El Haddadi’s dream of wearing the national team’s colors for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.The CAS rejected the request of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) in a hearing held on Monday, without providing an explanation.“The CAS panel in charge of arbitration held a hearing in Lausanne today. After deliberating, the Panel issued its decision, without the grounds. The reasoned award with the grounds will be issued in due course,” the CAS wrote in a statement. Born to Moroccan parents in Spain, El Haddadi represented Spain at the youth level and made a brief appearance as a substitute in an international game against Macedonia with the Spanish national team in 2014.Unfortunately, his substitute appearance may have ruined his chance to represent the Moroccan national football team, according to the FIFA eligibility committee.For months, the FRMF has been attempting to convince the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) to give the 22-year-old the right to represent Morocco.Back in November, the dual Spanish-Moroccan athlete visited FIFA officials in person to appeal that they “defend the rights of binational players.”However, the FIFA Players’ Status Committee rejected El Haddadi’s request to play with the Atlas Lions. FRMF and El Haddadi decided then to appeal to the CAS.  El Haddadi currently plays for the Spanish club Alaves, where he is on loan for the 2017-2018 period. read more

Rabat – The 13th International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions opened in Marrakech today. The three-day conference is themed “Expanding the civic space and promoting and protecting human rights defenders, with a specific focus on women: The role of national human rights institutions” according to the state-owned media outlet Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). The meeting’s main goal is to open a debate on national human rights institutions’ (NHRI) role in protecting activists, especially women. It will also look at enhancing civic rights.   UN experts and regional and civil society organizations will be sharing their testimonies, experiences, and practices in various regions. Participants will also try to find sustainable solutions by incorporating societal, political, and economic factors to expose the threats to human rights activists. A declaration will be prepared by the conference drafting committee to share the strategy and action plan relating to the NHRI and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI). The declaration should have a long-term impact on the work of these organizations. The conference is co-hosted by Morocco’s National Human Rights Council (CNDH) along with the GANHR, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). NGOs, human rights activists, and over 300 regional, international, and national institutions’ representatives will participate in the event. read more

Rabat – The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior has launched a campaign to replace local authorities in various Moroccan cities and towns.According to the Ministry of the Interior, the move comes as a follow-up to King Mohammed VI’s instructions to equip Morocco with a modernized and responsive public administration.On Wednesday this week, King Mohammed VI addressed a Royal Order to the Interior Ministry urging it to devise a new system of recruitment of public officials based on “merit, competence, and equal opportunities.” Of the 1,574 people concerned with the ministry’s move to reshuffle administrative representation in cities across the country, some officials been promoted to higher offices, while others have been fired “for grave errors in the exercise of their duties.”In a recent press release, the Interior Ministry explained the reasons for the move in terms of “the necessity to reinvigorate and reorganize” the Moroccan public administration. The move mainly concerns public officials who have worked for four years or more in the same position.According to the statement, the move is a structured shift aiming to bring more dynamism by making public officials more accountable and more responsive to citizens’ demands.“This operation is a partial redeployment measure that will seek to establish a match between positions [in public offices] and skills, fill vacant positions, and meet social and health concerns.”212 officials have been promoted to high public offices, including: 22 former pashas, presidents of city councils, and chairpersons of district councils promoted to secretary-general; 163 caids promoted to pasha and city councilor; and 27 khalifs promoted to caid.Meanwhile, whereas 114 new graduates of the Royal Institute of Administration have been integrated in public offices, 110 former administrative authorities have been punished for both “disciplinary reasons and lack of respect for their mandates and duties as state representatives.” This included cases of revocation, firing, demotion, as well as written reproach and warnings.The statement also pointed out that this “vast operation of administrative reconstitution” is in line with King Mohammed VI’s plan to rebuild the Moroccan administration by promoting excellence and inclusiveness. It said that the main objective remains to ensure a culture of “responsive, accountable, and competent” public service. read more

Rabat – Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most celebrated footballers in history, has not escaped the jaw of the #MeToo movement.The Juventus and Portugal star, 33, who was accused in 2016 of rape by an American woman, Kathryn Mayorga, 34, has accused Real Madrid of being behind the allegations.Ronaldo allegedly claimed that the Spanish club has not been able to get over his brisk departure this summer. He said Madrid has resorted to blackmail and “manipulations” to tarnish his image. Read Also: Las Vegas Police to Reopen Cristiano Ronaldo Rape CaseAccording to Italian daily La Repubblica, the five-time world player of the year is convinced that the recent spiral of negative events—the controversial red card against Spanish side Valencia on September 19, the resurgence of news about the rape allegation, and the ensuing concern from his sponsors—are all the work of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.Since December 2017, even while he still was the top star at Real Madrid, Ronaldo was known to be on bad terms with Perez, La Repubblica noted.Ronaldo left the Spanish side this summer, sparking hordes of speculations about the underlying reasons behind a negative end to nine outstanding seasons with Madrid.Mayorga claims that the Portuguese footballer raped her in June 2009, but Ronaldo has categorically denied the allegations. He said that he has evinced professionalism to everyone who has met him over the years and that his “conscience is clear.”Meanwhile, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has opened an investigation into the matter. Giant sportswear company Nike, one of the Portuguese star’s many sponsors, said that it is “deeply concerned” about the allegation. read more