Feds unheralded 102B rainy day fund kept for the improbable like cyberattacks

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government committed hundreds of millions of dollars in its recent budget to help reinforce Canada’s cyber defences — but if the effort fails to prevent a major attack, Ottawa can always turn to its little-known $102-billion emergency stash.The rainy day fund of highly liquid assets is available to keep the government running for at least a month should the country ever find itself confronted by a severe crisis, such as a cyberattack that impairs access to financial markets.The assets are held in what the government calls its “prudential liquidity plan,” part of which can be compared to a chequing account that offers Ottawa quick access to the funds, if necessary.A recently released briefing note for Finance Minister Bill Morneau explained details about the unheralded plan.“Canada holds liquidity reserves as a hedge against highly unlikely but potentially disruptive stress events,” said the August 2017 memo, obtained by The Canadian Press via the Access to Information Act.“The (prudential liquidity plan) framework ensures that the government holds sufficient high quality liquid assets to cover a ‘survival horizon’ of at least one month.”The nest egg’s contents are made up of about $2 billion worth of cash balances at the Bank of Canada; $10 billion in cash balances that are auctioned off to financial institutions for durations of typically less than one week so they generate returns; a callable demand deposit of $20 billion at the Bank of Canada; and about $70 billion of foreign reserve assets from Ottawa’s exchange fund account.In last month’s budget, the government earmarked $507.7 million over five years to strengthen the country’s protections and response capabilities in the event of an cyberattack. The investments will support a new national cybersecurity strategy, a new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and the creation of a national cybercrime co-ordination unit by the RCMP.Morneau’s plan also dedicated $2.2 billion over six years to improve the government’s IT services and infrastructure, an investment that includes support for efforts to proactively address cybersecurity threats.“Cyberattacks are becoming more pervasive, increasingly sophisticated and ever more effective,” Morneau’s budget said.“Successful cyberattacks have the potential to expose the private information of Canadians, cost Canadian businesses millions of dollars, and potentially put Canada’s critical infrastructure networks at risk.”The Bank of Canada has also issued warnings about cyber threats. It has said the country’s interconnected banks are vulnerable to a cascading series of attacks, something that could undermine broad confidence in the financial system.The central bank’s governor, Stephen Poloz, has described a severe cyberattack as his worst nightmare. Poloz has said he struggles to even imagine what such an event — and the extent of the resulting damage — might look like.Canada has long maintained a liquidity management framework but, after the events surrounding the financial crisis of 2008, prudential liquidity was highlighted as a key issue, especially for financial institutions.Ottawa decided it was important for the government too and introduced the current framework in its 2011 budget. The government calibrated its one-month target to be similar to international guidelines for large banks that followed the financial crisis.The briefing note to Morneau outlined two objectives of the prudential liquidity plan.The first is to ensure the government can continue operations and meet its payment obligations, even during stress events. The second objective for the plan is that its existence is intended to support market confidence in the government’s debt program.The Finance Department recently completed a comprehensive review of the prudential liquidity plan to ensure it held enough liquidity to cover appropriate government liabilities for at least a month, the briefing note said.Since the federal plan was implemented, the document said provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, have formalized their own liquidity reserves. Other countries, including the United States, maintain similar prudential liquidity reserves, it said.J.P. Koning, a financial writer and monetary policy watcher, has written about Ottawa’s prudential liquidity plan. He says having the plan isn’t harmful for the government but he questions whether it’s needed since Ottawa could always seek extra funds once a crisis occurs.“It seems like perhaps it might be a bit of a waste of time and resources,” said the former banker, who offered one possible explanation.“After the credit crisis, a lot of paranoia set in.”Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

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New Tesla chair must rein in CEO Musk at key moment

first_imgWASHINGTON – It won’t be an easy job.Whoever becomes the new chairman of Tesla Motors will face the formidable task of reining in Elon Musk, the charismatic, visionary chief executive with an impulsive streak, while also helping Musk achieve his dream of turning Tesla into a profitable, mass-market producer of environmentally-friendly electric cars.Musk is giving up the chairman’s role under a settlement announced Saturday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Besides a new chairman, Tesla was also ordered to appoint two new, independent members to its board. A more assertive board could provide the kind of tighter oversight that many legal experts, and Tesla investors, say is overdue for a company of Tesla’s market value. Shares in the company surged 15 per cent in premarket trading.The settlement stemmed from a lawsuit the SEC filed charging Musk with misleading investors in August with a tweet that said he had “funding secured” for taking the company private.Yet a more forceful board, coupled with a domineering CEO like Musk, could create conflicts at a risky time for the company. Visionary CEOs such as Apple’s Steve Jobs and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey have been forced out by strong boards of directors, though both eventually returned to their companies.Even with the settlement, Tesla faces a daunting array of challenges.The Justice Department has opened its own investigation into Musk’s Aug. 7 tweet, in which he said he would take the company private at $420 a share. The SEC’s lawsuit charged that the tweet, which caused Tesla’s shares to jump, was misleading because he did not actually have the funding lined up for such a move.Tesla is also under heavy pressure to turn a profit because it is burning through $1 billion in cash every three months and, as of the end of June, had just $2.2 billion in the bank.Musk has said the company needs to produce 7,000 cars a week to make money, a target he aimed to reach in the July-September quarter. The company is likely to report production numbers this week and financial results from that quarter in early November.Another concern: About $1.3 billion in Tesla debt is due to be repaid by March, including $230 million in November.Some investors might want more than a new chairman. Tesla has no chief operating officer, a critical No. 2 executive in most companies. That’s a stark contrast to other startups, such as Facebook, where Mark Zuckerberg hired Sheryl Sandberg as a highly influential COO.In the lawsuit filed Thursday by the SEC, the agency said it was seeking to remove Musk from Tesla management altogether. Many investors have argued that keeping Musk as CEO is critical at such a time.“I do not doubt the value of Musk to Tesla,” John Coffee, a Columbia University law professor and corporate governance expert, said. “Without him, they are just a struggling start up that is burning cash at a hopeless rate and is facing a debt refunding crisis in the near future.“Musk is an iconic entrepreneur but he needs adult supervision,” Coffee added.That’s where the new board members come in. The current board, which includes Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk, is widely seen as subservient to Musk. They have publicly expressed support for many recent moves, such as his rejection last week of an early SEC settlement offer.“The board is truly the alpha chapter of the Elon Musk fan club,” said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.Teresa Goody, a former SEC attorney and founder of The Goody Group, a consulting firm, said that many startups begin with a powerful CEO who typically puts “friendlies” on the board.As a company grows and becomes more sophisticated, Goody said, more independent directors are typically brought on board to provide better oversight.“That’s happening a little later in the life cycle of the company in the case of Tesla,” she said.Still, Elon Musk is different than many CEOs because he owns roughly 20 per cent of the company’s stock. That gives him more influence.“In a typical case, the CEO is a high-priced employee” of the board, Gordon said. “Musk will still be more powerful than the board chair.”There will be other constraints on Musk’s behaviour: As part of the SEC settlement, his tweets and other comments will have to be vetted by the company before they can be released to the public.“This humiliation — that Elon can’t go outside unless he’s on a leash — that will bother him the most,” Gordon said. He called it an “extraordinary measure.”Gordon thinks the SEC should have gone further and sought to add as many as four new board members and remove some old ones.Still, Gordon said, “I think this experience has shown him that however smart he is, or however powerful he thinks he is, the government is also powerful too.”Musk may want to keep a close eye on the new chairman, however. Musk himself was the chair of the board, after investing in the company, before firing the chief executive and taking over as CEO___AP Auto Writer Tom Krisher contributed to this story from Detroit.last_img read more

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New Brunswicks new finance minister takes aim at reducing net debt

first_imgFREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s new finance minister says that while the province’s finances are improving, there needs to be a change in focus to start reducing the net debt.Ernie Steeves released the second quarter financial results for 2018-2019 today — his first since the Tory minority government took power last month.He says the projected debt of $14.3 billion has almost doubled in the past decade, and warned that the province’s credit rating is at risk of being downgraded unless spending decisions change.Steeves says the previous Liberal government was overspending, but that will change starting with the capital budget to be released next week.He says rather than a shopping list of promises, the capital budget will focus on maintaining the infrastructure now in place.Steeves says all departments have been asked to look for efficiencies as the government begins to repair next year’s main budget.The Tories have vowed to present a balanced budget by 2020, but Steeves says he’s hoping to be able to do it next year.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Roger Ailes film puts focus on Fox after he left

first_imgNEW YORK — More than two years after a sexual misconduct scandal forced Roger Ailes out at Fox News Channel and a year after his death, his ghost walks the halls of the network he built and ran for two decades.Friday’s theatrical release of the documentary, “Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes,” puts his life story in the public eye again. Two other Ailes projects, a feature film from director Jay Roach and a Showtime miniseries, are also in the works.Fox continues to be a financial success, yet questions have been raised about discipline there and whether it has aligned itself too tightly with President Donald Trump.David Bauder, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Highway 97 closed between Dawson Creek and Chetwynd

first_imgDrivebc.ca says the highway is closed due to a vehicle incident between the 277 road and the 275 road approximately 46 km from Dawson Creek.At this time there is no estimate on when the highway will re-open.  Drivebc.ca does not show a detour at this time.If you’re travelling in the area, let us know what you see, email news@moosefm.caHere is full text from Drivebc.caINCIDENTHighway 97 – Highway 97. Vehicle incident between 277 Rd and 275 Rd for 1.8 km (46 km south of Dawson Creek to 47 km north of Chetwynd). Road closed. Assessment in progress. Estimated time of opening not available. Next update time Tue Mar 19 at 10:00 AM MST. Last updated Tue Mar 19 at 8:00 AM MST. (DBC-6313) UPDATE #2 – The RCMP have confirmed the collision is a fatal. For updates on this story, click here.UPDATE – A detour is now available – Small vehicle (Less than 1 tonne) detour via Stuckey Rd and 271 road. Large vehicle detour via Fort St. John or Tumbler Ridge.DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Highway 97 is closed between Dawson Creek and Chetwynd.last_img read more

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Diksha Dagar creates history wins S African Womens Open

first_imgCapetown (South Africa): Diksha Dagar became only the second Indian woman golfer to win on Ladies European Tour after clinching the South African Open, eking out a one-shot victory with a bogey-free final round, here Saturday. Dagar, 18, was trailing by two shots, but pipped the much-experienced Lee Anne Pace with a three-under final round. Dagar follows Aditi Ashok, who in 2016 became the first Indian to win on the LET. Aditi added two more LET wins and now plays on the LPGA. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenDiksha also has ambitions of getting to the LPGA, which on current form looks a strong possibility. Dagar played at the Women’s Hero Indian Open as an amateur and made the cut. Her father, Narinder Dagar, who served in the Army, was on the bag for Diksha. Narinder helped her cope with the trauma of having hearing problems. She has been wearing hearing aids since the age of six. A left-hander, Diksha is well-known for brand of aggressive and fearless golf. Her brother, Yogesh, who is also deaf, also plays golf and has been playing in age-group events. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgeryDagar, who came in off a long flight from Australia, where was Tied-5th at the NSW Open last week, began the week with double bogeys in first three holes. She had one more bogey on the 12th hole and ended the first day with a 76 but scoring was tough on a windy day and she was still inside Top-20. Thereafter she played the next 42 holes without a blemish and finished at five-under 211, while Lee-Anne (72) ended at four-under 212. She rose to second by the end of the second day and finally won the title on the final day. Dagar trailed till late into the back nine. She started one behind and Lee-Anne pulled to two clear with a birdie on 11th but bogeyed the 13th to fall back to five-under. Dagar birdied 15th and 16th and that helped her catch up leader Lee-Anne at five-under. The South African dropped another shot on 17th and Dagar stayed steady and one ahead. As both parred the final hole the Indian won the title. Esther Henseleit (70) of South Africa and Michele Thompson (68) of Australia were tied for third at three-under 212, and Carly Booth (69) of England was fifth at 2-under 214. Dagar, who turned 18 last December, is a silver medallist at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics. She also had a stellar Amateur career during which she also represented India at the 2018 Asian Games and won the 2018 Singapore Amateur title. She also won a Pro event on the Indian domestic Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour, before turning pro at the start of this year.last_img read more

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13000 terrorists held in restive Xinjiang says China

first_imgBeijing: China said Monday it had arrested about 13,000 “terrorists” in a massive crackdown against militants in the volatile Uygur Muslim-majority Xinjiang region since 2014, denying criticism that Beijing is “buying” silence of the Muslim world with heavy investments in Pakistan and other Islamic countries. China has faced mounting criticism for the detention of thousands of Uygur Muslims in massive “education camps”. “Since 2014, Xinjiang has destroyed 1,588 violent and terrorist gangs, arrested 12,995 terrorists, seized 2,052 explosive devices, punished 30,645 people for 4,858 illegal religious activities, and confiscated 345,229 copies of illegal religious materials,” a white paper released Monday said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USIt said that some areas in Xinjiang were severely disturbed by terrorism and the infiltration of religious extremism. “For this reason, some people cannot speak, read or write in standard Chinese, have a weak understanding of rule of law, and have difficulty finding employment through a lack of employable skills. As a result, such people are more inclined to be incited or coerced into criminality by terrorist and extremist forces,” it said. China has made significant progress in its counterterrorism and de-radicalisation efforts in Xinjiang, it said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”However, the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism are not gone; their influence can still be felt. And the ‘East Turkistan’ forces are in search of opportunities to create trouble. We still face a severe and complex situation in combating terrorism and extremism in Xinjiang,” it said. Separately, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has denied China is “buying the silence” of Muslim countries with massive investments through the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), of which the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship project. Diplomats from Pakistan and several other Muslim countries, who were recently taken on a guided tour of Xinjiang following allegations of detention of over a million Uygurs, said there was no religious and cultural repression. Asked whether China’s was investing heavily in Muslim countries to buy their silence, Geng told the reporters that the BRI investments had nothing to do with Xinjiang related issues. “China pursues preventive counter terrorism measures. I believe the international community recognises this,” he said. The UN human rights panel said in August last year that it had received many credible reports that about a million ethnic Uygurs in China in “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy”. China defended the camps, saying they are re-education camps aimed at de-radicalising sections of the Uygur Muslim population from extremism and separatism. The US and several other countries, besides UN officials, have expressed concern over the camps. Xinjiang has been in turmoil for the last several years following Uygur protests over large scale settlements of Han Chinese into the resource-rich province. China blames the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) for the violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang and other parts of the country in the last several years. A number of Uygurs reportedly joined Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and were planning to return.last_img read more

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Delhis Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday wrote to the Election Commission and the party alleged there have been irregularities in voter card distribution. “The EC must ensure that all these missing voter ID cards along with all the other cards yet to distributed are properly and fairly delivered to rightful recipients at their registered addresses,” said Raghav Chadha, AAP South Delhi candidate.Chadha on Sunday tweeted a photograph of voter identification cards and said that more than 200 of them were allegedly recovered from the roadside in south Delhi’s Badarpur area. “The EC must crack down on this dangerous conspiracy by the BJP immediately within the next few hours by identifying the Election Commission Officers who are acting as BJP agents and have donned Khaki knickers under their uniforms and to identify BJP leaders who are conspiring to snatch away people’s democratic right to franchise,” said Chadha. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderHe also said that the party has also received news from Deoli and Chattarpur that Booth Level Officers and postal workers have left the voter ID cards in the offices of local BJP leaders and BJP leaders are calling people and inviting them over and claiming that they have got their voter ID cards prepared. “Is the BJP the distribution agency of the Election Commission? BJP leaders don’t want to let potential AAP voters vote, or they want to intimidate them to vote for the BJP. This is a concentrated effort to influence the elections and instead ensure biased and unfair elections,” the AAP leader said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsChadha alleged that the EC remained a mute spectator as BJP engineered a massive voter deletion fraud in Delhi. “Now when CM Arvind Kejriwal ensured that votes of those people whose names had been illegally deleted were restored; the BJP is colluding with Booth Level Officers and preventing these voter ID cards from reaching the voters by abandoning them, burying them or destroying them. Today we present these voter ID cards in front you,” said Chadha. He also clarified that even though the abandoned Voter ID cards are in AAP’s possession at the moment, the is no authorised to distribute the same and thus the AAP will submit these with the EC. Describing the situation the AAP leader said, “The shocking discovery of more than 200 voter ID cards yesterday, found lying in garbage dump only a few hundred metres away from Badarpur MLA’s office has exposed the nexus between the BJP, the Booth Level Officers and officers of Postal Department as they work in tandem to ensure that voter IDs of those registered though AAP registration camps are not received by them.”last_img read more

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Turkey raps US for designating Iran Revolutionary Guard as terrorist

first_imgAnkara: The US decision to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization is a dangerous development that could lead to chaos, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday. Speaking at a joint news conference with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Turkish minister also said that U.S. sanctions were harming the people of Iran. The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran, including on its energy sector, last November, after President Donald Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the designation against the Revolutionary Guard with great fanfare last week. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”When we start adding other countries’ armies to terror lists, then serious cracks will occur in the system of international law,” Cavusoglu said. “Trust in the global system will decline and total chaos will ensue.” “Our conscience does not accept that the brotherly Iranian people be punished,” Cavusoglu said of US sanctions on Iran. “Such steps put regional stability, peace, calm and economic development under risk.” Zarif arrived in Turkey after visiting Syria where he met President Bashar Assad. Russia, Iran and Turkey, which back rival groups in Syria’s conflict, have been sponsoring talks in Kazakhstan to try to end the war. Zarif said he would tell Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about his talks with Assad, adding that Iran wants to help Turkey and Syria establish “good relations.” The US designation the first-ever for an entire division of another government adds another layer of sanctions to the powerful paramilitary Iranian force and makes it a crime under US jurisdiction to provide it with material support.last_img read more

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Dont vote for Cong CM Kejriwal to voters

first_imgNEW DELHI: AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister on Wednesday held a roadshow in the Chandni Chowk constituency in support of the candidate Pankaj Gupta. The AAP chief started from Model Town and covered a huge area through this road show. The show ended at the Jama Masjid. This was the first ever roadshow by the AAP chief in Delhi for this Lok Sabha election. “He is not only our supreme leader but also the strength we all carry with us. I am delighted that he came for the roadshow in my support,” said Pankaj Gupta. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesThe voice everywhere throughout the roadshow was for the full-statehood and the works for the Delhi government. The AAP this time will focus on the road shows and this will continue till May 8. After that opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee might join the campaign in support of the AAP. In the roadshow at some points, the Chief Minister addressed the people. “Do not let your vote to get divided therefore do not vote for the Congress party,” said the CM. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarWhile, BJP and Congress would focus on the star campaigners like PM Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi and hold mega rallies throughout Delhi, the AAP observed that the party did not have that much money to hold such major rallies. ‘We are a small party and we do not have that much money to hold mega rallies every day. We believe in personal interaction and door to door campaign which we are doing,” said a senior leader. On Thursday, he would participate in the roadshow of East Delhi candidate Atishi. On May 3 and 4, he would join roadshows of North East candidate Dilip Pandey and South Delhi candidate Raghav Chadha, respectively.last_img read more

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Delhi Metro celebrates 25th foundation day

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) celebrated it’s 25th Foundation Day with Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu as the chief guest. The Silver Jubilee celebrations were held at Manekshaw Centre on Friday. Speaking about the popularity that the DMRC has achieved over the past two decades, Vice President Naidu said, Delhi Metro is the pioneer in Metro expansion in the country. It is the symbol of the progress the country has made in the last few years.” The Vice President congratulated Delhi Metro for entering the 25th year and lauded the commendable efforts of DMRC in providing world class services. He urged the urban administrators to focus more on exploring different forms of public transport to decongest the urban space.last_img read more

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Car driver hits Casablanca tramway

first_imgCasablanca- According to the Moroccan daily Aujourd’hui le Maroc a cab driver on Sunday hit Casablanca tramway. The driver, who was allegedly drunk, hit the tramway on Sunday morning before running into a wall.The accident took place at Avenue Hassan II in the center of Casablanca. Accidents in the Casablanca tramway are becoming a common occurrence and the lack of precaution is often the cause. Last August, two people died within 48 hours after they were hit by the tramway.  Since its launch in December 2012, three people were killed after they were hit by the tramway.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

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First Day of Ramadan in North America is Saturday FCNA

New York – According to a press release by the Fiqh Council of North America the first day of Ramadan of this year is June 28.As in previous years, the Fiqh Council of North America bases its decision on astronomical calculations, rather than on the traditional sighting of the moon with naked eyes.The Fiqh Council of North America recognizes astronomical calculation as an acceptable Shar’ia method for determining the beginning of Lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal. FCNA uses Makkah al-Mukarram (Mecca) as a conventional point and takes the position that the conjunction must take place before sunset in Makkah and moon must set after sunset in Mecca. On the basis of this method the dates of Ramadan and Eidul Fitr for the year 1435 AH are established as follows:1st of Ramadan will be on Saturday June 28, 2014.1st of Shawwal will be on Monday, July 28, 2014While the astronomical calculations are accepted by some countries, it is still a hotly debated issue, since many cling to the traditional sighting of the moon with naked eyes, as set out in the Holy Quran.The calculations of the Islamic calendar are based on the lunar calendar, which causes the Islamic months to move in the Gregorian calendar approximately 11 days every year. The beginning of Islamic months may also vary from one country to another depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

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Saàd Eddin El Otmani Autopsy Performed on the Body of the

Rabat – Saàd Eddine El Otmani, chairman of the National Council of Justice and Development Party and former Minister of Exterior Affairs, revealed that an autopsy was performed on the body of the late Abdullah Baha, who died in a train accident in Bouznika last Sunday.After the Moroccan public became suspicious of Baha’s death, Saàd Eddin El Otmani posted via Facebook that an autopsy had indeed been performed on the late minister’s body.Though Facebook users insisted for more detail on the autopsy as well as the postmortem report itself, El Otmani did not relay any more information. The former Minister published this information after reportedly closely following Moroccan social media users who continue to ask for an open investigation into Abdulah Baha’s death. Many find it suspicious that Baha was checking the scene of Socialist Union Party MP Ahmed Zaydi’s death when the train accident occurred.With the Abdulah Baha dying last Sunday and buried the following morning, many question whether one day was enough time to perform an autopsy that yielded accurate results. read more

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Morocco Among Worlds Largest Olive Oil Producers and Exporters

Rabat – Morocco has become one of the world’s major producers and exporters of olive oil, with an annual net production that exceeds 140, 000 tons.Exporting over 45,000 tons of olive oil per year, Morocco has landed 5th in the list of world’s largest oil exporter after Spain, Tunisia, Italy and Greece, said the weekly Maroc Hebdo.Morocco also ranks 5th in the list of the global olive oil producers. Morocco has doubled the net production in six years to 1.5+ million metric tons. It increased from 120,000 tons to 140,000 tons. Morocco produced more table olives than Tunisia in 2012. Morocco produced 100 thousand tons while Tunisia 24 thousand tons, only.The quality of the Moroccan olive oil attracted the attention of the European Union and the United States of America, which became Morocco’s key customers.Olive oil is mostly exported in bulk from Morocco and Tunisia to Spain and Italy who further process it into virgin and extra-virgin olive oil and re-brand it as a product of Spain and Italy. read more

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British Government Urges Its Citizens to Leave Tunisia Immediately

Rabat – The United Kingdom Foreign Office has reportedly urged all British tourists in Tunisia to leave the North African country immediately, citing safety reasons.Following the terrorist attack in Sousse that claimed the lives of 38 people, including 30 Britons, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond urged all the British nationals to leave Tunisia, saying, “a further terroristic attack is highly likely.”The Foreign Office allegedly expressed concerns about the effectiveness of new security measures put in place by the Tunisian government after the Sousse attack. A report by Daily Mail says that the first thousands of British holidaymakers have returned home from Tunisia after the warning was issued on Thursday.The Foreign Office estimated the number of British nationals in Tunisia numbers 3,000 tourists and a few hundred British residents. It said that extra flights have been planned to evacuate them.The British government stated it does not have any information suggesting a specific threat.Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, however, told the BBC that “since the attack in Sousse the intelligence and threat picture has developed considerably, leading us to the view that a further terrorist attack is highly likely.”Philip Hammond stressed that Tunisia hasn’t done enough to enhance security, concluding that “more work is needed to effectively protect tourists from the terrorist threat.”Tunisian officials reacted to this warning, confirming that they are doing all they can to protect Britons and their interests, as well as those of other countries.Multiple reports say that Foreign Office’s decision would affect the Tunisian economy, which relies heavily on the tourism industry. read more

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Lawyer Paris Attacker Abdeslam Did Not Know of Plans to Attack

Rabat – A lawyer for Salah Abdeslam, one of the terrorists behind the Paris terror attacks in November, said his client “did not know of plans to attack Brussels,” which killed at least 31 people and injured over a hundred others on Tuesday.Abdeslam also no longer plans to fight his possible extradition to France, Swen Mary, his lawyer, said on Thursday.Belgian authorities arrested the suspect, a Belgian-born French national of Moroccan descent, last Friday during a raid in the neighborhood of Molenbeek in Brussels – an area known to house a high concentration of people originally from Muslim-majority countries. His capture marked the end of a four-month long international manhunt. Abdeslam was shot in the leg during the raid, officials said in a press conference during which Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said “[the arrest] was a success against terrorism,”During the same event, French President Francois Hollande said further arrests in Belgium and France are expected as the terrorist network in the two countries is “extensive.”“What we need to do is arrest all of those who allowed, organised and facilitated these attacks [in Paris],” Hollande said. “We have realised, without going into details, they are far more numerous than we thought.” read more

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27th Arab League Summit Kicks off in Mauritania

Rabat – The 27th Arab League summit kicked off On Monday in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital. The summit, which is being held in Mauritania for the first time since it joined the Arab League in 1973, will focus on decisive steps to stem the growth of terrorism as well as other political, economic, social and security issues in the interest of Arab peoples.The two-day summit was initially scheduled to hold in Marrakech on March 29th, but based on instructions from King Mohammed VI, Morocco declined the right to host the summit, citing the summit’s portrayal of a false sense of unity in the Arab world. In a statement issued last March, Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Correspondence noted that, “amid the lack of important decisions and concrete initiatives to submit to the heads of states, this summit will be just another occasion to approve ordinary resolutions and to pronounce speeches that give a false impression of unity.”The agenda for the summit will discuss fundamental issues for the Arab world, particularly the Palestinian issue, inter-Arab relations and the crisis in Syria, Libya, Yemen and Iraq, as well as the scourge of terrorism.We must defeat terrorism, it’s a priority,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry before the meeting began.Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar, represents King Mohammed VI in the Summit.The 26th Arab Summit was held on March 28-29, 2015, in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, under the slogan “Seventy years of joint Arab action.” read more

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