Medical marijuana users set lobbying push on federal cannabis tax proposal

first_imgOTTAWA – Medical marijuana patients are bracing for an uphill battle in their bid to convince the federal government to exempt medicinal cannabis from excise taxes.Their lobbying effort will begin once MPs start debating the government’s budget implementation bill, which in its current form would apply the taxes to all but a small group of cannabis-based drugs.Patients and doctors groups fear that, as a result, those cannabis medications not exempted from the tax will be too expensive for patients who already struggle to make ends meet.They say they are planning to lobby federal officials to change the bill before it becomes law.Gerald Major, president of the Canadian Spondylitis Association, says he and other patient advocates plan to push federal officials for a change, even though the Liberal government has so far refused to budge.“What we can do, and what we will continue to do, is to continue to be at the table, continue to act reasonably and responsibly and try to look for solutions,” Major said.The government says exempting medicinal cannabis could lead to abuse of the existing medical marijuana system.The government wants to tax legal marijuana at either $1 per gram or one-tenth of a product’s price, whichever is greater.The February budget outlined plans to waive that new tax for some cannabis-based pharmaceutical products, including oils that contain low amounts of THC, the primary psychoactive element in marijuana.Jonathan Zaid, founder of Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana, said his advocacy group met ministers, department officials and various MPs to explain the merits of exempting all cannabis-based pharmaceuticals from the excise tax.Zaid said he believed the message had been heard.What was in the budget came as something of a surprise to Zaid and his colleagues.“There is still time before it’s implemented to work within the proposal to make it the best possible for patients,” he said.The Liberals heard concerns about the proposal to apply an excise tax to medical cannabis products through two separate consultations held last year — one by the Finance Department, the other by Health Canada. A summary report of the Health Canada consultations noted most respondents opposed applying excise taxes to medical cannabis products.Major said the taxation proposal could also create two classes of medical marijuana patients: those who can cover the extra costs, and those who will have to decide between their medicine and rent or hydro.“You’re really limiting patients to what they can afford, not what their condition requires,” said Major, whose condition forced him to give up his career as a hedge fund manager six years ago.last_img read more

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Romania tax chief fired amid concerns about budget deficit

first_imgBUCHAREST, Romania — Romania’s prime minister has fired the head of the country’s tax agency amid concerns about the European country’s spiraling budget deficit.Premier Viorica Dancila dismissed Ionut Misa on Thursday. The finance minister in Dancila’s government repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with tax collections under Misa.But critics of the government say Misa, who once served as finance minister himself, is being made a scapegoat for economic policies that resulted in a 26 billion lei deficit ($6.34 billion) during the first 11 months of 2018. The amount represents 2.7 per cent of Romania’s GDP and is more than double the figure for the same period in 2017.The deficit was even lower in 2016, before the Social Democratic Party came to power.Gelu Diaconu, a former tax chief, recently accused the government of manipulating figures to stay within the European Union’s budget deficit limit of 3 per cent of GDP.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Kinder Morgan CEO says political solution needed for Trans Mountain project

first_imgKinder Morgan suspended all non-essential activities and related spending on the project Sunday. The company has set a May 31 deadline for talks with “various stakeholders” to allow the project to proceed.Kean says the opposition by the B.C. government is something that Kinder Morgan can’t resolve and suggested that either the province needs to change its position or the federal government must resolve the impasse.Kinder Morgan has spent about $1.1 billion on the $7.4-billion project so far. CALGARY, A.B. — Kinder Morgan’s chief executive says the company is open to discussing an investment in its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion by the Alberta government if there’s clear assurance that the project can actually be completed.Alberta Premier Rachel Notley suggested Sunday the province could invest in the project to ensure completion of the pipeline expansion to carry Alberta bitumen from the oilsands to an export terminal near Vancouver.Kinder Morgan CEO Steve Kean told a conference call Monday that he’s open to Notley’s suggestion, but there needs to be a clear political signal that there won’t be additional delays to the project.last_img read more

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Estimated 230000 gallons of oil spilled in Iowa Train derailment

first_imgThe derailment also caused concern downstream, including as far south as Omaha, Nebraska, about 150 miles (240 kilometres) from the derailment site. The spill reached the Rock River, which joins the Big Sioux River before merging into the Missouri River at Sioux City.Omaha’s public water utility, Metropolitan Utilities District, said it was monitoring pumps it uses to pull drinking water from the Missouri River.Rock Valley, Iowa, just southwest of the derailment, shut off its water wells within hours of the accident. It plans to drain and clean its wells and use a rural water system until testing shows its water is safe.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) DOON, Iowa – An estimated 230,000 gallons (870,619 litres) of crude oil spilled into floodwaters in the northwestern corner of Iowa following a train derailment, a railroad official said Saturday.BNSF spokesman Andy Williams said 14 of 32 oil tanker cars just south of Doon in Lyon County leaked oil into surrounding floodwaters from the swollen Little Rock River. Williams had earlier said 33 oil cars had derailed.Nearly half the spill _ an estimated 100,000 gallons (378,530 litres), had been contained with booms near the derailment site and an additional boom placed approximately 5 miles (8.05 kilometres) downstream, Williams said. Skimmers and vacuum trucks were being used to remove the oil. Crews will then use equipment to separate the oil from the water. “In addition to focusing on the environmental recovery, ongoing monitoring is occurring for any potential conditions that could impact workers and the community and so far have found no levels of concern,” Williams said.Officials still hadn’t determined the cause of Friday morning’s derailment, but a disaster proclamation issued by Gov. Kim Reynolds for Lyon and three other counties placed the blame on rain-fueled flooding. Reynolds visited the derailment site Saturday afternoon as part of a tour of areas hit by recent flooding.Some officials have speculated that floodwaters eroded soil beneath the train track. The nearby Little Rock River rose rapidly after heavy rain Wednesday and Thursday.A major part of the cleanup work includes building a temporary road parallel to the tracks to allow in cranes that can remove the derailed and partially-submerged oil cars. Williams said officials hoped to reach the cars Saturday.The train was carrying tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to Stroud, Oklahoma, for ConocoPhillips. ConocoPhillips spokesman Daren Beaudo said each tanker can hold more than 25,000 gallons (20,817 imperial gallons) of oil.Beaudo said Saturday that the derailed oil cars were a model known as DOT117Rs, indicating they were newer or had been retrofitted to be safer and help prevent leaks in the event of an accident.last_img read more

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Site C viewpoint repaired following damage in late July rainstorm

first_imgAt the time, he said that repairs were anticipated to take about two weeks to perform, but the viewpoint only reopened this past Monday.Conway explained that the reasons BC Hydro delayed re-opening the viewpoint beyond its original estimate were twofold: the Crown Corporation took some time to select the appropriate contractor to do the work to repair the site, and crews also wanted to see how the repaired drainage system would perform.He said that the drainage system performed as designed with no concerns during last weekend’s rain event, which caused officials to reopen the viewpoint.The viewpoint is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. until September 30th. During winter hours (October 1 to April 30) the viewpoint will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – BC Hydro says that just over six weeks after damage during a summer rainstorm forced its closure, the viewpoint above the Site C has now reopened.The Site C project’s Community Relations Manager Dave Conway said a clogged drain resulted in drainage issues at the viewpoint, which caused some water damage to the site during a rainstorm in late July.Conway said that localized water pooling in the viewpoint and some localized erosion near the viewing scopes at the south end of the viewpoint resulted in Hydro closing the site for public safety reasons.last_img read more

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Canadian Natural says oil curtailments work despite rivals complaints

first_img“The first quarter of 2019 is a completely different story … With curtailments imposed by the Alberta government, market order has been established.”The remarks stand in stark contrast to recent comments by CEOs from Husky Energy Inc., Suncor Energy Inc. and Imperial Oil Ltd., who said their refining assets and pipeline contracts had allowed them to profit from steep price discounts on Canadian crude and their removal had made crude-by-rail unprofitable.The CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc., however, said he supports the cuts and his company would increase its rail shipments this year as economics would likely improve.The province imposed production quotas as of Jan. 1 on larger producers designed to keep 325,000 barrels per day of crude off the market and eliminate a glut of trapped oil. The target was cut to 250,000 bpd in February and March and set at 225,000 bpd for April.Canadian Natural, one of the largest oil producers in Alberta, has been required to cut 95,000 bpd this month, said president Tim McKay in an interview.The company is advancing a planned maintenance turnaround at its Horizon oilsands mine into March from April to reduce the impact of the cuts and has been drilling fewer wells than planned, he added. CALGARY, A.B. – Alberta’s crude curtailment plan is working so well to support western Canadian oil prices that it won’t likely be needed for too much longer, say executives at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.Furthermore, the profitability of crude-by-rail shipments to the U.S. Gulf Coast is intact and will encourage more export capacity growth, they added on Thursday.“The Canadian oil market was very rocky in the fourth quarter with dysfunctional marketplace dynamics driving historically high differentials for both heavy and light oil in Canada,” said executive vice-chairman Steve Laut on a conference call to discuss financial results. It also is considering delaying startup of the40,000-barrel-per-day steam-driven Kirby North oilsands project thatis nearing completion, as well as new wells expected to add 26,000bpd of production at its Primrose thermal oil project in northernAlberta.Canadian Natural blamed low oil prices for a net loss of $776 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared with a profit of $396 million a year earlier, but announced a 12 per cent increase in its quarterly dividend to 37.5 cents per share.Its shares climbed by about three per cent to $36.90 by mid-afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange as analysts reported its operating results were largely in line with expectations, though adjusted profit fell short.McKay said Canadian Natural is currently shipping about 14,000 bpd of crude by rail and that may rise.center_img He pointed out that heavy oil at the U.S. Gulf Coast is now trading at a US$2 per barrel premium to New York benchmark West Texas Intermediate, which improves the return from shipping oil there by rail.Last week, Enbridge Inc. announced permitting delays in Minnesota meant its Line 3 replacement pipeline, expected to add 370,000 bpd of export capacity of Canadian crude, won’t open until the second half of 2020, a year later than expected.The project was being counted on to help move Alberta oil but McKay said other factors remain in place, including natural declines in conventional oil output due to lower spending and the Alberta government’s $3.7-billion commitment to lease rail cars to transport up to 120,000 bpd of oil.He said the $9.7-billion Sturgeon Refinery near Edmonton co-owned by Canadian Natural is expected to soon be able to start accepting diluted bitumen for processing, which will eventually divert 80,000 bpd from the export stream.Canadian Natural production in the quarter averaged 1.08 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 1.02 million boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2017.last_img read more

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BJD to field 33 women in LS polls says Patnaik

first_imgBhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Sunday said the BJD would field 33 per cent women among its candidates in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, terming the move a “benchmark for women empowerment” in the country.Making the announcement at a rally in Kendrapara, the Biju Janata Dal president said the “historic step” would lead the way in empowering women. “If India is to lead the world, if India has to compete with countries like America and China and become an advanced nation, women empowerment is the only answer,” he said. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!Patnaik’s decision would mean that the ruling BJD will field women candidates for at least seven out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state. At present, there are three women Lok Sabha MPs from Odisha. The BJD had won 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2014. Patnaik, however, did not make any such announcement for the assembly polls which is slated to be held along with the Lok Sabha polls. Odisha’s 147-member assembly has 12 women MLAs at present. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedIn November last year, a resolution was passed unanimously in the state assembly seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in state legislative assemblies and Parliament. The BJD supremo said he had sent a proposal in this regard to all the national parties and chief ministers. “I call upon all the national parties that they should be true to their words and must follow what they propagate for women empowerment,” he said. Patnaik reminded the crowd that his father and former chief minister Biju Patnaik implemented 33 per cent reservation for women for the first time in the country, in the three-tier panchayati raj institutions and government jobs. The state government enhanced the reservation for women to 50 per cent in panchayats in 2012. Patnaik’s announcement, however, was dubbed by opposition BJP and Congress as a “pre-poll game plan” to woo women voters. Union Minister and BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan said reservation of seats for women is “welcome”, but the timing of the BJD’s announcement, ahead of the elections, is nothing but a “gimmick to grab the votes” of women electors. Terming the move as a “tool” to influence female voters, a senior Congress leader said his party has no objection if women get 33 per cent reservation in state assemblies and Parliament, but the BJD is using it as a “last ditch effort” to get votes as its “popularity has nosedived”. Patnaik had in December last urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate steps to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill, pending in the Lok Sabha. He had subsequently written to the chief ministers of all the states and Union territories seeking their cooperation to secure 33 per cent reservation for women in legislative assemblies and Parliament.last_img read more

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Wanted criminal nabbed by police

first_imgGreater Noida: The Gautam Buddh Nagar police on late Tuesday night arrested a wanted criminal who carried a reward of Rs 50, 000 on his head following a gun battle in Bisrakh police station area. Police officials said that the accused was wanted in a gang rape incident that happened in year 2014.According to police, the arrested accused has been identified as Rashid alias Bablu, a native of Khurja area in Bulandshahr district. “During routine police checking, the accused was spotted by police who was travelling on a motorcycle. Police signalled him to stop instead he sped up the vehicle and opened fire on police. Police party retaliated and nabbed the accused from Hindon bridge near Sorkha village under Bisrakh police station area,” said a senior police officer.last_img read more

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Delhi Police solves 58 cases with the help of Good Samaritans

first_imgNew Delhi: The community policing of Delhi Police has yielded results as 58 criminal cases have been solved with the help of local people.The law enforcement agency has also rewarded more than 20 persons who helped them in solving several cases. Sources told Millennium Post that there are more than 17,000 local people who are enrolled as members of ‘Public As Eyes and Ears of the Police’ scheme. Till February 24, around 26 criminal cases in East Delhi were solved with the help of members enrolled in the scheme whereas around 10 cases in North West district were solved with the help of common persons after they provided crucial information leading to the arrest of the accused. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderSources further stated that in West ~6 cases, North ~6, Dwarka~4 cases were solved with the help of local people while other districts solved more than 5 cases. Delhi Police has launched a scheme captioned ‘Public As Eyes and Ears of the Police’ with special emphasis to sensitize all the stake holders such as Rehri Patriwalas, Chowkidars, guards, vendors, parking attendants TSR drivers, residents/traders welfare associations etc, to keep a watch and look for suspicious persons and share the information with local police immediately. Regular meetings are held by all the officers to sensitize and motivate them. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAccording to police, more than 20 persons were rewarded by the law enforcement agency. West and North West Delhi were the two districts who have been given highest reward. According to police, more than 14,000 meetings held by Delhi Police under eyes and ears scheme. Different Deputy Commissioner of Police took 81 meetings whereas 613 meetings with ACPs, 2724 meetings taken by SHOs, ATOs took 2179 meetings whereas more than 8000 meetings taken by other staffs. Delhi Police during meetings with their ‘eyes and ears’, i.e. street vendors and shopkeepers ask them to report and suspicious activities in their locality. The Delhi Police’s community policing scheme ‘Prahari’ will also help prevent crime and maintain law and order. Delhi Police another initiative Police Mitra also been a success as more than 1900 people has enrolled themselves with the scheme and same number of people has applied to city police for their enrollment.last_img read more

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Swaraj Thapa files nomination after resigning from GJM Bimal faction

first_imgDarjeeling: Swaraj Thapa, who had resigned from the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (Bimal Gurung faction), filed his nomination from the Darjeeling constituency on Tuesday.Incidentally, GJM (Bimal faction) and the GNLF have extended support to the BJP. Following the announcement of the name of Raju Bista as the BJP candidate for the Darjeeling constituency, Thapa had tendered his resignation from GJM (Bimal faction). Following the filing of nomination, Thapa told media persons: “Niraj Zimba, the GNLF Spokesperson, had called me up and told me that the GNLF had recommended my name to the BJP for the Darjeeling constituency as the fittest candidate. I have decided to contest the election so that people get a strong alternative.” Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThapa, who was a close confidant of Gurung and served as an Advisor at the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, stated: “BJP has fielded a candidate from outside. People are unhappy with the choice. I am sure I will be able to do more than him.” The Gorkhaland issue would be Thapa’s poll plank. “In an electoral process, people should be given a choice of candidates. I am sure I can do much more for the issue than the previous BJP MPs who have won from this constituency,” said Thapa. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayHarka Bahadur Chettri, the Jan Andolan Party president, also filed his nomination on Tuesday. “We had tried to bring the regional parties from the Hills together and field a consensus candidate. When this fizzled out, we decided to contest,” Chettri said. Though the main agenda for Chettri’s party is the Gorkhaland issue, he stated that other issues like drinking water and minimum wage for tea garden workers will also be taken up by the party. “I will carry the voice of North Bengal to the Parliament,” added Chettri. 21 candidates have filed nominations from the Darjeeling constituency. Tuesday was the last day of filing nomination. The constituency will go to polls on April 18.last_img read more

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Against the tide Thai floating temple defies coastal erosion

first_imgSamut Chin (Thailand): As sea waters slowly rose around this temple and his neighbours fled inland, Thai abbot Somnuek Atipanyo refused to budge and is today a symbol of the fight to restore the country’s fast-eroding coastlines. A dangerous combination of climate change, industrial farming and rapid urbanisation are endangering the Gulf of Thailand’s coasts, stripping away precious mangrove trees and leaving some buildings like Somnuek’s surrounded by sea water. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USIn the 30 years since the waters started encroaching, most of his neighbours in the fishing village of Samut Chin moved several hundred meters inland to rebuild their wooden homes. Standing in his saffron robes near his monastery on stilts — dubbed the “floating temple” — the 51-year-old monk points out to sea at the spot where the local school once stood. “This temple used to be in the middle of the village,” he tells AFP in Samut Chin, about an hour south of Bangkok. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”If we moved it, people wouldn’t even know there had ever been one here,” he says of the temple, accessible only by a small footbridge today. These shores were once protected by extensive mangrove forests — the Gulf of Thailand boasts some of the largest in the world — a natural defence against coastal erosion thanks to their extensive roots that stabilise the shoreline. But it’s a been a losing battle to preserve them. Mangrove forests have been cleared for extensive development of shrimp and salt farms, along with new houses and hotels that have popped up thanks to a development boom in recent decades. Thailand lost almost one third of its vast coastal mangrove forests between 1961 and 2000, according to a report from the nation’s Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and the UN Environment Programme. Climate change is also having an impact: stronger waves and more ferocious monsoons have wiped out mangroves in the Gulf of Thailand, which is especially vulnerable because its waters are so shallow. “The waves and tides are higher than before,” said Thanawat Jarupongsakul, who advises Thailand’s government on its policy to combat erosion. Asian and Caspian coastlines are the two areas in the world most affected by coastal erosion, according to a study published last year in the scientific journal Nature. It’s a global problem: tens of thousands of square kilometres of land have been lost from coastal erosion around the world — between 1984 and 2015 the equivalent of the surface area of Haiti was lost, the study said. In Thailand a quarter of the country’s shores — or about 700 kilometres (500 miles) — are eroding, some “severely”, according to data shared with AFP by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources. Now there is a push to restore Thailand’s precious mangrove ecosystem through a national voluntary tree replanting scheme, including near Somnuek’s island monastery. On a recent sunny afternoon, scores of people spent the day wading chest-deep in the sea to replant mangrove trees. Clad in headscarves and hats, they gingerly reach down into the water to plant young saplings along lines of bamboo poles that help offer some protection against the waves. “This project is called ‘Planting a forest in people’s hearts,'” said Wason Ditsuwan, who runs the program. Set up in 2016 by Bangkok city authorities, the project has so far replanted 84 acres of mangroves across the country. Wason is hoping his project will succeed where others have failed. Nearly 10 years ago, government adviser Thanawat helped residents in Samut Chin replant mangrove trees but some areas were too far gone to recover. “Even if you plant a lot of mangroves, it cannot help,” he said. Another strategy is to drill pylons of cement into the seabed — and on the shoreline itself — to act as a substitute for the mangrove roots. This has proven successful so far in the tourist town of Pattaya further along the coast, where the pylons have helped to reclaim several metres of beach. But it’s a race to keep up with rapid development along the shore, Thanawat said. As for Somnuek’s stretch of coast, though further erosion has stopped for now, there is little hope his temple will ever see dry ground again. But the flooding has brought one unexpected advantage: dozens of tourists that flock to the so-called floating temple for Instagram-worthy selfies. “The fight against coastal erosion has brought fame,” village head Wisanu Kengsamut said.last_img read more

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On AAP alliance in Delhi Rahul Gandhi says doors open but time

first_imgAmid the uncertainty over an alliance between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls, Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Monday that a tie-up between the two parties would rout the BJP and offered four of Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats to AAP. The Congress boss nudged his AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal saying that he has to act quickly to seal a poll pact. “An alliance between the Congress & AAP in Delhi would mean the rout of the BJP. The Congress is willing to give up 4 Delhi seats to the AAP to ensure this. But, Mr Kejriwal has done yet another U turn! Our doors are still open, but the clock is running out,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details On Sunday, Delhi chief minister Kejriwal said his party will do anything to “save the country” from Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. An alliance has been elusive so far and talks between the AAP and the Congress have floundered amid conflicting signals. Last week, the Congress had announced that it will contest all seven Lok Sabha seats of Delhi alone. Party in-charge for Delhi PC Chacko blamed the Aam Aadmi Party’s leadership for the failure of not having an alliance against the BJP in the national capital. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Earlier this month, the two parties had restarted talks to discuss the seat sharing formula for the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital. The talks between the two sides derailed after they failed to reach an agreement over seat-sharing in Delhi and Haryana. An earlier attempt to seal a deal fell through after Delhi Congress chief Sheila Dikshit putting her foot down which highlighted divisions in the party. Dikshit met Gandhi over the issue twice and conveyed her message to him.(Inputs from Hindustan Times)last_img read more

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Average airfares stay 1015 high more on nonmetro routes

first_imgNew Delhi: Airfares on domestic routes, especially those connecting non-metro cities, remain high with suspension of Jet Airways flights. The average ticket prices have gone up in the range of 10-15 per cent across various sectors even as airlines like SpiceJet and IndiGo have mounted additional capacity. “The average fare level is higher… in the range of 10-15 per cent,” an Air India executive said. Ankur Bhatia, executive director at diversified travel and hospitality major Bird Group, said that the airfares had risen more in case of short-haul routes such as Delhi-Dehradun on long weekends. But with induction of capacity, the fare is returning to normal level, he said. “In coming weeks, once additional capacity is brought by SpiceJet and Air India, the fare levels would come down further,” Bhatia added. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalFaced with severe liquidity crisis, Jet Airways this week suspended its entire operations causing massive reduction of capacity. “Since no emergency funding from the lenders or any other source is forthcoming, the airline will not be able to pay for fuel orother critical services to keep the operations going. Consequently, with immediate effect, Jet Airways is compelled to cancel all its international and domestic flights,” the airline had said in an official statement on April 17. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostSharat Dhall, COO (B2C), Yatra.com, said that with Jet Airways discontinuing service temporarily, the Indian civil aviation industry has taken a big blow as Jet has been a carrier with a large fleet and the preferred choice for many travellers over many years. “Additionally, with the timing coinciding with the peak summer travel period, demand is likely to be high across all sectors. However, we have confidence that the industry will be able to take on this increased demand with other carriers inducting more aircrafts which should help rationalize airfares which are on the higher side, particularly for last minute travel,” he said. Low-cost carrier SpiceJet is expected to take 30 of the Jet Airways’ grounded aircraft on lease and deploy them on domestic sectors in coming weeks.last_img read more

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EC calls for FIR against Bharati Ghosh

first_imgKolkata: The Election Commission has directed the district administration of West Midnapore to lodge an FIR against former IPS officer turned politician Bharati Ghosh, who is contesting from Ghatal on BJP’s ticket, as she captured video on her mobile phone inside a polling booth.The Commission has also sought a report from the district election officers on how Ghosh’s security personnel went inside 100 meters of polling booth number 206/207 in Keshpur. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaA security person of Ghosh shot at a Trinamool Congress supporter, identified as Bakhtiar Khan, on his leg at Dogachia area of Keshpur. The incident has sparked tension in the area. The victim was taken to a local hospital. The local Trinamool Congress leaders alleged that the security person had fired following direction from Ghosh. The Election Commission has sought a report on the incident. A large number of Trinamool Congress supporters staged a demonstration in front of Ghosh when she was entering a polling booth in the area. They allegedly pelted stones at her. A security person of Ghosh was injured after being hit by a stone. The rear windscreen of Ghosh’s vehicle was also damaged in the incident. Central force jawans resorted to indiscriminate lathi charge on the TMC supporters. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayGhosh entered booth number 139 at Pipurda in Ghatal and captured videos on her mobile. The Election Commission officials found the footages on the media watch cell and served a showcause notice to the presiding officer, who was eventually removed by the Commission. The District Magistrate was asked to file a report in this regard. The Election Commission also instructed the district administration to lodge an FIR against Ghosh. It may be mentioned that no candidate is allowed to capture video or photo inside the polling station as per EC norm. The presiding officer who was removed, claimed on television camera that he did not know if a candidate can take photographs inside the booth. The Commission may take action against Ghosh after receiving the report from the district administration. Senior Trinamool Congress leader Firhad Hakim said that local people staged a protest demonstration in front of Ghosh only because she and her party tried to create trouble in various places. “BJP has no organisation to fight the electoral battle. Hence they were unable to field agents in polling stations. They were trying to create hue and cry over fielding of polling agents. Ghosh was bringing people from outside as her election agents. Elections were going on peacefully when she tried to create confusion among the people. Her security person fired and a TMC worker was injured. If one tries to terrorise the people, he or he has to face the backlash,” Hakim said.last_img read more

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Morocco to Host the Worlds Largest Solar Parc

Rabat – Morocco has launched an international call for tenders on Tuesday for the completion of the Central Noor IV project located in Ourzazate with a total capacity of 50 to 70 megawatts. The project is part of Noor Solar Power Project, the largest solar power complex in the world. The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) said it will take bids until the end of April for “the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance” of the project.The bids could also include the Noor Laayoune and Noor Boujdour projects in the Sahara with a capacity of about 50 megawatts each, MASEN said in a communiqué. A consortium led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power International has won a $2 billion contract to build two solar power plants in the southern Moroccan city of Ourzazate.ACWA Power is already building a 160MW plant in the first phase of the project.The two plants totaling 350 megawatts are the second phase of the 500MW Ouarzazate project, which aims at producing 2 gigawatts of solar energy by 2020.Consortiums led by Spain’s Abengoa, GDF’s International Power and ACWA Power were pre-selected for the 200 MW (Noor II) tender. The three groups were also pre-qualified for the 150 MW (Noor III) tender, along with another consortium led by Electricite de France (EDF).To finance the plants, Morocco has secured loans of $519 million from the World Bank, 654 million euros from German state-owned bank KFW and the rest from the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Commission and European Investment Bank.The Noor Concentrated Solar Power Project is expected to contribute in Morocco’s efforts to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels by developing its renewable energy resources. read more

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Rio Paralympics 2016 Moroccan Mahdi Afri Wins Bronze in 400m

Rio de Janeiro – Morocco’s Mahdi Afri finished third in the men’s 400m T12 final on Saturday in the Paralympics games in Rio, Brazil.The race was dominated by Cuban Leinier Savon Pineda who crossed the finishing line in a time of 22.23 seconds, ahead of South African Hilton Langnhoven (22.43 sec). Afri finished the race in 22.55 sec.Moroco boasts so far six medals at these games (two golds, two silvers and two bronze).

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Morocco Quranic School in Zemamra Catches Fire Kills Three Students

Rabat – Three young pupils have died after their Quranic School for traditional education in the town of Zemamra caught fire on Tuesday.  Three pupils, aged from 9-14 years old, died on Tuesday after their Quranic School caught fire due to an electrical flaw. The school is located in the same building as the mosque of Salam in the town of Zemamra, southwest of Casablanca.According to one of the students at the school, some of his peers would covertly connect electric wires to sockets to charge their phones at night. This was in defiance of the administration’s decision to remove electricity from the students’ bedrooms by disconnecting the sockets. The move was made after the school’s administrators discovered that the students would spend the night surfing the internet and social media sites, which was negatively affecting their classroom performance. The faulty rewiring started the fire, which escalated due to the flammable materials from which the students’ bedding is made.The student added that the locked down iron door made escape for the pupils impossible and the rescue operation arduous. The number of students who reside in the relatively small building, around 140, also worsened the situation.The elements of the Civil Protection who rushed to the location of the incident managed to extinguish the fire after an hours-long battle. The incident ended with one young student suffocating to death and two others perishing as a result of burns. The victims were immediately transported to the morgue at the regional hospital of El-Jadida city. read more

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Saudi Arabia Wants to Recruit Female Professors from Mohammed V University

By Sana ElouaziRabat – After many scandals broke out due to the cruel treatment of Moroccan maids in Saudi Arabia, the Arabian Kingdom is looking for a different kind of Moroccan female workers.The Saudi Arabian embassy in Rabat has solicited Mohammed V University for a meeting between the faculty representatives and officials from Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University. The Saudi university wants to recruit female professors from Mohammed V University, working in various fields including dentistry, computer science, psychology, fine arts and other domains.Located in Riyadh, Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University is the first and largest public university to be reserved exclusively for women, accommodating up to 60,000 students in total.Despite the Saudi request to recruit female professors, Morocco has always been one of the main countries to supply Saudi Arabia with different kind of jobs, namely maids and domestic servants.Saudi Arabia has long been home to more than two million housemaids from countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Bangladesh and many others.“Husbands takers,” “sex workers” or even “sorcery adepts,” there are just a few of  the assigned labels to Moroccan women living in Gulf countries, even though most of them are trying to nobly make a decent living away from their families.Many foreign workers in Gulf countries, like Saudi Arabia, operate under the sponsorship system known as Kafala, which require foreign workers to have local sponsors and rigidly binds migrants to their employers, enabling the latter to commit abuses, while preventing workers from changing jobs or leaving the country.The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the organization of Human Rights Watch has previously criticized the sponsorship system applicable in the Gulf States and considered it as a comparable to slavery.Last year, many videos flooded social media, showing Moroccan women recounting their ordeal and claiming to have been assaulted and abused in Saudi Arabia.In 2015, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation announced that it will no longer validate maids’ employment contracts in the Gulf state of Saudi Arabia, with an aim to “spare Moroccans” from facing “compromising situations.” read more

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Morocco Supports 41 New Enterprises in 2017

Rabat – Approximately 41,24 enterprises were created in Morocco in 2017, up 3 percent from 2016, according to data from the Trade Registry.The Moroccan Office of Industrial and Commercial Property recorded a growth rate of +3 percent, having issued 73,451 business applications in 2017. These requests were chiefly recorded in three sectors, namely services, trade, and construction.The limited liability company remains the predominant business structure at 50.5 percent, followed by single-partner limited liability companies at 47.8 percent of the total number of business start-ups created last year. In terms of the regional company distribution, the Casablanca-Settat region maintained its first place ranking for the attractive and favorable business region at 36 percent.Rabat-Salé-Kenitra trailed at 15 percent, while the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region and Marrakech-Safi both recorded 11 percent.The rate of sole proprietorships, the simplest business model, also increased by more than 8 percent compared to 2016.38,065 individual companies were registered against 35,118 in 2016, with the highest rate recorded in f Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima at 21 percent, followed by the Oriental region at 16 percent and Casablanca-Settat at 10 percent.Many of these Moroccan enterprises are not limited toMorocco, as their presence has seen an exponential increase in other African markets.According to a joint statement by the Moroccan Association of Exporters (ASMEX) and the American consultancy firm Bearing Point issued in late 2016,  Moroccan enterprises are making  their mark in Cameroon, the Ivory Coast, Mali, and Senegal.According to the same statement, just five years ago “for 86 percent of Moroccan companies surveyed, Africa accounted for less than 5 percent of their turnover.” This year’s data shows that nearly 20 percent of the surveyed Moroccan companies “estimate that Africa will account for more than 50 percent of their total turnover in the next five years.” read more

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