Resource firm planning new NB wells if Tories lift fracking moratorium

first_imgFREDERICTON — A major player in natural gas development in New Brunswick is making plans for new wells if the province’s new Tory government follows through on a pledge to lift a moratorium on fracking.Corridor Resources currently has 32 producing wells in the Sussex area and operates a 50 kilometre pipeline, a gathering system comprising 15 kilometres of pipe, and a natural gas processing facility.The company wants to expand but the previous Liberal government imposed a moratorium in 2014 that prohibits hydraulic fracturing — a process that involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure to fracture shale rock and release gas.The new Tory government has proposed lifting the moratorium in specific areas, like the Sussex region, if there is public support.In a corporate presentation the company says, if the moratorium is lifted, they would drill five vertical evaluation wells, complete three existing wells, identify “sweet spots,” and drill a second round of up to five horizontal wells.The company says with the impending end of Nova Scotia’s offshore production, natural gas will have to come from outside the Maritimes if the New Brunswick deposit is not further developed.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Hostile Husky takeover bid for MEG Energy now expected to succeed as

first_imgCompanies in this article: (TSX:HSE, TSX:MEG, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:CVE, TSX:CNQ)The Canadian Press CALGARY — A CIBC oil and gas analyst says the recent deterioration in crude oil prices makes it unlikely that a better offer will emerge to force Husky Energy Inc. to sweeten its hostile takeover bid for an oilsands rival.Husky reported Tuesday that it had received all necessary regulatory approvals for the takeover of MEG Energy Corp. and is now waiting for shareholders’ response to its offer which expires in mid-January.Analyst Jon Morrison says in a research report that Investment Canada approval of the proposed deal could at one time have prompted the emergence of a rival bidder — and a higher bid — for MEG, but the weakening macro oil economy of the past couple of months makes it unlikely now.He says he doesn’t expect any of the four most likely competing bidders — Imperial Oil Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. — to make a bid.CIBC moved its price target for MEG down from $9.50 to $8.30 per share, with the new target matching the current Husky cash-and-shares offer.The takeover was worth about $3.3 billion when proposed in September but has fallen to about $2.5 billion because of deterioration in Husky’s share price.“While we held the view earlier in the year that there was the potential for Husky to modestly bump the bid to get the deal across the line, given the weakening macro market over the last couple months we no longer believe that to be the case,” said Morrison in his report.last_img read more

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Crews working to extinguish forest fire near the Site C Dam

first_imgThe smoke covering Fort St. John is coming from the fire that is currently uncontrolled.If the current fire suppression doesn’t work, more crews will be brought in to fight the fire Thursday.There is another fire northwest of Fort St. John, that is approximately 100 hectares in size.  The fire isn’t creating a lot of smoke today and crews are working to put out that fire.If you have any information about forest fires in our region, email news@moosefm.ca.  You can also send along any pictures or video as well. UPDATE as of 5:45 p.m. – B.C. Hydro has confirmed the fire is located approximately 3.5km upstream from the Site C Dam project.  At this time there is no concern for the workers on site or the worker accommodation.  Hydro and the B.C. Wildfire Service are monitoring the situation and their first priority is the safety of workers on site and the public.  Hydro was burning waste wood debris on Friday and Saturday near Tea Island.  The cause of Wednesday’s fire is unknown at this time.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Crews from the Forest Fire Service and B.C. Hydro are working to contain a fire near the Site C Dam.The fire broke out on Wednesday and is approximately 4 hectares in size.  Crews from the Forest Service and B.C. Hydro are working to contain the fire and B.C. Hydro has hired a helicopter to help with the suppression efforts.last_img read more

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Woman reported missing in Fort St John

first_imgBrown is described as First Nations, standing 5’4″ tall, with a slim build, and medium-length brown hair.Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to call the Fort St. John RCMP at (250) 787-8100, or Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477 (TIPS). UPDATE – As of 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sadie Brown has been located.  The RCMP would like to thank the public for their help.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John RCMP are asking for the public’s help in the search for a woman who was reported missing last Friday.54-year-old Sadie Brown was last seen at her home in Fort St. John early Friday morning before her roommate left for work. She requires a walker to get around, and is said to suffer from memory loss stemming from a previous medical incident.last_img

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PRRD to allow residents to remove vehicles used for work from Old

first_imgFor more information on the permit, click here.The Regional District is also reminding residents to respect and obey security checkpoints.  The slide is still active and the community remains under an evacuation order.  In a posting on the PRRD website, the District says “Security has been put in place to ensure the security of residences left unattended, and to know the number of contractors that working in the area restoring utilities.  Entry permits can be obtained from the PRRD; this is so that the PRRD knows who is in the evacuation area.” FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District will start to issue permits to residents of the Old Fort so they can remove work vehicles from the community.The PRRD says if you have a 4×4 vehicle that is still in the community of Old Fort that sustains a business, you can contact the PRRD at 250-784-3200 and they will look at issuing entry permits to remove those vehicles.“The passage for getting out of the community location is a 4×4 road, so please take this into consideration before you submit your permit application.”last_img read more

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Northeast BC unemployment rate increased in January 2019

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. saw an increase in January.The unemployment rate in January was 5.5 percent compared to 4.7 percent in December of 2018.January has been the highest recorded unemployment percentage since September 2018 at 5.6 percent, an estimated 39,900 people are employed in a labour force of 42,100. A recent statement made by Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, on the release of the January Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada;“As demonstrated in the newest results, higher wages, low unemployment and good jobs in British Columbia show that people are at the centre of our strong and stable economy.Wages continued to rise in January, with B.C. among the top provinces for year-over-year growth. In the past year, B.C.’s average wages grew by 4.1%, the highest among provinces. In fact, 2018 was B.C.’s highest annual wage growth in the past 10 years.B.C.’s unemployment rate remained the lowest in Canada — for the 17th month in a row — at 4.7%. Private sector jobs have been fuelling employment growth in the province, with an increase of 64,800 in the past year.This means people continue to see the benefit of a high-performing economy following many years of wage stagnation.”B.C.’s economy is expected to outperform the rest of Canada over the next three years. The Economic Forecast Council, a group of bank economists and analysts that are independent of government, estimates that B.C.’s real gross domestic product is expected to grow by 2.6% in both 2019 and 2020. “We’re working hard to nurture a sustainable economy that works for people.”last_img read more

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Grande Prairie RCMP Crime Reduction efforts result in arrests

first_imgCharged was 38-year-old Patrick Edens of Red Deer with traffic Safety Act offences as well as a total of 11 Criminal Code offences. Edens appeared in court on September 9.Also charged was a female youth with possession of a controlled substance. The female youth appeared in September 16. GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – On September 5, at approximately 8:00 p.m., while conducting patrols, the Grande Prairie Crime Reduction Unit located a vehicle with a stolen licence plate.According to RCMP, The CRU unit conducted a traffic stop and as a result of an investigation the driver and one passenger were arrested.During the stop, police seized a small amount of methamphetamine, a loaded restricted firearm with a tampered serial number, $300.00 in counterfeit currency, two cans of bear spray, a machete, two throwing knives and an imitation firearm.last_img read more

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In highstate of preparedness to deal with threat from Pak

first_imgNew Delhi: The Indian Air Force on Thursday said it was in a high state of preparedness to pro-actively engage any perceived threat from Pakistan, in clear indication that underlying tension between the two countries remained.Citing a document of Pakistan’s civil aviation authority, the IAF said the neighbouring country has opened its airspace with Oman, Iran, Afghanistan and China only and the 11 entry and exit points located along Indo-Pak airspace were still closed. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!”The Indian Air Force is in a high state of preparedness, to pro-actively engage any perceived threat in the present security scenario,” the IAF said in a statement. It said a strict vigil in the skies to detect and thwart any act of aggression from Pakistan Air Force is being maintained. Officials said all the frontline IAF bases along India’s western border have been kept on maximum alert. Tensions between the two countries escalated after Indian fighters bombed terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest training camp near Balakot deep inside Pakistan on February 26. Pakistan retaliated by attempting to target Indian military installations on February 27. However, the IAF thwarted their plans. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Kashmir, killing 40 soldiers.last_img read more

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S Korean police apologise for 70yearold island massacre

first_imgSeoul: South Korean police apologised for the first time Wednesday over massacres that killed 10,000 people decades ago and the military expressed deep regret as President Moon Jae-in seeks to re-examine history. On April 3, 1948 members of the communist Workers’ Party of Southern Korea — an ally of the organisation that still rules the North — launched an armed uprising on the southern island of Jeju, attacking a dozen police stations. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US At the time the division of the peninsula had yet to be formalised and the Korean War was still two years away, but the US-supported South was ideologically split following the end of World War II and Japanese colonial rule. The revolt was quickly put down, but while sporadic clashes continued more than 10,000 civilians were killed by South Korean security forces over the next six years, including beyond the end of the Korean War. “We apologise to the innocent people whose lives were sacrificed,” said Min Gap-ryong, the commissioner general of the Korean National Police Agency, at a commemoration of the uprising’s 71st anniversary. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “We promise to be an organisation that only thinks about and works for Korean citizens so that a tragedy like this will never repeat in our future.” The country’s defence ministry also expressed “deep regret” to the victims, while stopping short of a full apology. The Jeju Incident, as the events are known, remains a highly politicised issue in South Korea, as do some other aspects of the country’s post-war history. Some Jeju-based research and NGOs have claimed it was “Jeju people’s resistance against national division and ‘American Imperialism'”. The police apology and ministry’s expression of regret come after left-leaning South Korean President Moon Jae-in has repeatedly spoken on the importance of “setting our history right”. Moon, who brokered talks between Washington and Pyongyang, has stressed the independence struggle against Japan’s colonial rule is at the heart of national identity in both Koreas, while framing the South’s right-wing — who say the victims of Jeju were all communist rebels — as descendants of pro-Japanese collaborators. Last year, Moon became the first South Korean president in more than a decade to attend the annual memorial ceremony on Jeju. At the event he said: “Young people who were falsely accused of being communists during the April 3 Incident defended their country in the face of death. Ideology was nothing more than a cause that justified the massacre.” In 2003 the then South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun — whom Moon served as chief of staff — offered an apology to the victims of the Jeju incident.last_img read more

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Theresa May condemns appalling church attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter

first_imgLondon: British Prime Minister Theresa May Sunday condemned the “truly appalling” multiple blasts at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter, killing over 160 people, including at least nine foreigners. Six near-simultaneous and coordinated explosions rocked three churches and three five-star hotels frequented by tourists as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress. “The acts of violence against churches and hotels in Sri Lanka are truly appalling, and my deepest sympathies go out to all of those affected at this tragic time,” prime minister May said in a statement on Twitter. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “We must stand together to make sure that no one should ever have to practise their faith in fear,” she said. The statement came soon after she called for the UK to stand up for religious freedom in her annual message to mark Easter. No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks. However, most of the deadly attacks in the past in Sri Lanka were carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which ran a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks. However, most of the deadly attacks in the past in Sri Lanka were carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which ran a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.last_img read more

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Algeria summons Moroccan Ambassador over expulsion of Syrian refugees

first_imgRabat – Algerian Foreign Ministry summoned on Wednesday Abdullah Belkeziz, the Moroccan ambassador in Algiers, to inform him of its rejection of what it called “the allegations of the expulsion of Syrian refugees to the Moroccan territory.”In a statement published by the official news agency , the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ammar Bllani  said “we summoned the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco on Wednesday to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was received by the Secretary General of the Ministry, Noureddine Awam, who expressed the Algerian government’s full rejection of the unfounded allegations mentioned by the Moroccan party on the alleged expulsion by the Algerian authorities of Syrian nationals to the Moroccan territory.”This move comes less than 24 hours after Morocco summoned the Algerian Ambassador to Rabat to express to him Morocco’s “strong disapproval,” following the alleged expulsion by the Algerian authorities to Moroccan territory of more than 70 Syrian nationals. “While calling on Algeria to fully assume its responsibilities, Morocco deeply regrets this inhuman act, especially as it affects women and children in a situation of extreme vulnerability,” read a statement of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.A Video footage aired by the Moroccan channel Al Oula shows official Algerian stamps on the passports of the Syrian refugees, which proves that they have legally entered the Algerian territory before they were expelled to Morocco.©Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

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Father of Palestinian Infant Who Died in Arson Attack Succumbs to

Rabat – The father of the Palestinian toddler who was killed last week by Israeli settlers in the West Bank succumbed to his injuries on Saturday. Saad Dawabsha passed away in hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba where he was being treated for third degree burns.“Saad Dawabsha died and plans are underway for his funeral,” Palestinian official Ghassan Daghlas told AFP. “Before the funeral in the Dawabshas’ home village, a post-mortem will be conducted to provide evidence for a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.”Dawabsha reportedly saved his wife and 4-year-old son. However, he failed to save his 18-month-old infant Ali, who died in an arson attack carried out by Israeli right wing terrorists in the occupied West Bank.His wife Riham Dawabsha and four-year-old son Ahmed are still fighting for their lives in the hospital.On Wednesday, Mordechai Meyer, an Israeli terrorist was given a six-month administrative detention order in connection to his involvement in the killing of the Palestinian toddler. He is from the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim.At a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Cairo on Wednesday, Arab foreign ministers consented to calling on the United Nations to protect the Palestinians from “terrorist crimes” by Jewish settlers.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

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Comedian Gad El Maleh Bartended to Make a Living

Rabat – Famous Moroccan-French comedian Gad El Maleh posted a photo on his Instagram account Wednesday, recalling his early days before his successful career as a comedian when he made his living as a bartender in Canada in 1990.El Maleh appears with two of his colleagues, wearing a shirt and bow tie in the photo.El Maleh indicated that he had worked in many different professions before embarking on his career as a comedian. “I had to make a living …. Barman. Montréal 1990 #Everything is Possible,” El Maleh posted.Meanwhile, El Maleh is planning to perform a show in Moroccan Darija after his successful performances in French and English.In his first interview speaking in Darija as a guest on the France24 Arabic program “Thaqafa” (or “culture”), Gad El Maleh said that the performance may be entitled “Ouled Leblad” (“The Native”). read more

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Spanish Queens Alleged Visit to Ceuta May Anger Morocco

Rabat – Queen Sofia of Spain may visit Ceuta on September 9, according to the local news site El Pueblo de Ceuta.The outlet cited unofficial sources stating that the Queen might make the trip to the city and that there are efforts to get the Minister of Defense, María Dolores de Cospedal, to come as well.The source said nothing is confirmed yet, but affirmed that preparations are underway “in total discretion.” The visit, if confirmed, is likely to anger Morocco as the kingdom still sees Ceuta and Melilla, as well the Chafarinas Islands along the Mediterranean coast, as part of its national territories.Despite a significant improvement in relations between Rabat and Madrid in recent years, the issue of the two enclaves remains a source of contention.Queen Sofia’s last visit to the city was in November 2007 with her husband, former King Juan Carlos. The royal couple paid a visit to both Ceuta and Melilla amid criticism of the Moroccan government.The then-Moroccan prime minister, Abbas El Fassi, said that the kingdom will work “to recover the two occupied cities and the neighboring islands,” asserting that Morocco has “inalienable, legitimate” rights to the territories. read more

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As Wall Street spasmed with fear 401k savers held steady

NEW YORK — While professional traders on Wall Street scrambled to sell stocks amid a fear-fueled, nearly 20 per cent drop for the S&P 500 late last year, most people at home remained relatively calm when it came to their own retirement savings.So say numbers from Fidelity Investments, which show that the vast majority of 401(k) participants continued to sock savings away in their accounts and refrained from the perhaps-tempting choice to abandon stocks and hide out in the safety of cash.Investors held the steadfast approach even as the average 401(k) balance dropped to $95,600 by the end of the year, down 10 per cent from three months earlier. The chief culprit was a fear about a possible recession, which sent the S&P 500 down 19.8 per cent between setting its latest record high on Sept. 20 and hitting a bottom on Christmas Eve.It’s an encouraging sign because stocks have historically provided the best returns over the long term. So, as long as someone is willing to stomach such bouts of volatility and hold on for years, owning stocks is one of the best ways an investor can have a bigger pot to pay for retirement.“The most encouraging thing is that most people didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction, and they continued to save or increased their savings rates” said Jeanne Thompson, senior vice-president at Fidelity. “This is the proof that the messaging has gone through. We’ve come a long way in the last 10 years.”Much of the credit goes to one of the most powerful forces in investing: inertia. People often lean toward making no changes, particularly when it involves something as big and complicated as saving for retirement. Employers and the investment industry have tried to harness that for good by automatically enrolling workers into 401(k) plans, automatically setting them up to increase their contributions each year and automatically placing their savings into target-date retirement funds.That way, if workers take no action with their 401(k) accounts, they’re still saving a portion of each paycheque and putting their money into investments that are appropriate for their age. Last quarter, 99.1 per cent of all 401(k) participants at Fidelity continued to regularly contribute, the highest percentage since early 2011.Target-date funds take care of how to divvy up an investor’s nest egg, and they keep a lot of money in stocks when retirement is decades away and shift to more bonds as time goes on. That allows savers to put the investment decisions on auto-pilot, and only 5.6 per cent of Fidelity’s 401(k) investors changed how their assets were divvied up during the fourth quarter.“The market went down,” Thompson said, “but in terms of employees’ behaviour, it continues to remain incredibly positive.”Stan Choe, The Associated Press read more

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UN Chiefs Western Sahara Report a Breath of Fresh Air for

Washington D.C. – United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, released the advanced copy of his much-anticipated annual report on the situation in the Western Sahara, which was obtained by Morocco World News. The report, the basis for the Security Council’s upcoming decision whether or not to renew the mandate of the UN mission in the territory, known as MINURSO, includes a number of points that will certainly be welcomed by Morocco.The Western Sahara Question is a UN Prerogative Prior to the publication of the report and in light of the meetings that the UNSG personal envoy, Horst Kohler, held with representatives of the African Union and the European Union, many in Morocco feared that these meetings heralded a new approach by the UN to involve other parties in the negotiating process.  Moroccan observers feared that the UNSG was paving the way for the African Union to become a full-fledged stakeholder in the UN-led political process, a position that Morocco has fiercely opposed for years. With the publication of the new annual report, the UNSG leaves no doubt that the United Nations is the only international organization that has the legitimacy and credibility to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable political solution.In paragraph 26 of the draft report, Guterres noted that all the African Union and European Union officials who met with Personal Envoy, Horst Kohler, in recent months, reiterated their support for the Personal Envoy and acknowledged the leadership of the United Nations in the political process.“In these discussions, the interlocutors pledged support for my Personal Envoy’s efforts and acknowledged the lead of the United Nations in the process,” Guterres said.As in previous reports, the UNSG report steered away from mentioning the European Court of Justice rulings on the EU-Morocco Fisheries Agreement. This omission is an apparent setback for the Polisario and Algeria, which have redoubled their efforts in recent years to persuade the United Nations to politicize the issue of the alleged exploitation of natural resources in the territory.UN Concerned about Buffer ZonesThe situation in the buffer zone of Guerguerat also features prominently in Guterres’ annual report. Polisario members have been violating the UN 1991 ceasefire agreement through their illegal armed maneuvers in the region.Guterres reiterated the firm position of the United Nations against the presence of the Polisario in the Guerguerat area. In paragraph 8, the UNSG reaffirmed his appeal of January 6, 2018 for the Polisario to withdraw, such that the flow of commercial and civil traffic is not hindered and such that no action taken could constitute a change in status of the buffer zone.“On 6 January, I expressed deep concern about recent increased tensions in Guerguerat, calling on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid escalating tensions. I also called for regular civilian and commercial traffic not to be obstructed and for no action to be taken that may constitute a change to the status quo of the buffer strip. In a letter addressed to Mr. Ghali and dated 5 January, I requested that the parties refrain from actions that could undermine the efforts of my Personal Envoy to relaunch the political process, while also reiterating my commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict,” he said.While recognizing Morocco’s efforts to avoid escalation in the buffer zone, Guterres expressed in paragraph 80 of his report concerns about “the renewed Frente Polisario presence in Guerguerat, and the challenges such actions by either party may bring to the ceasefire.” He, therefore, called on the Polisario to “withdraw from the buffer strip as they did in April 2017.”Two Details of Great Significance to Morocco In any report of the Secretary General, what matters most is the chapter on “observations and recommendations.” This year’s annual report contains two details that are of great significance.The first detail is the emphasis on Guterres’ call on Algeria to contribute to and increase its engagement in the political process. In paragraph 78 of the draft report, the UNSG stresses the importance that Algeria, along with Mauritania, contribute effectively to the UN-led political process aimed at helping the parties to reach a mutually agreed political solution.“I would like to reiterate the Security Council’s call on neighboring States, Algeria and Mauritania, to make important contributions to the political process and to increase their engagement in the negotiating process,” he said.This year’s language concerning Algeria’s involvement in the process is stronger than previous years when the UNSG limited himself to pointing out that “Algeria and Mauritania, as neighboring countries, can and should make important contributions to this process.”The significance of this year’s language is that it stresses the need for Algeria to be involved in the political process, thus echoing Morocco’s diplomatic position, which has long emphasized that Algeria is a major party in the conflict and should therefore be involved in the UN-led political process.The second detail relates to the concept of self-determination. In paragraph 78 of the report, the UNSG insists that the parties to the conflict should show a spirit of compromise in reaching a political solution, in accordance with the resolutions adopted since 2007. In this paragraph, the UNSG makes no mention of the concept of self-determination, whereas all previous reports referred to this concept when talking about the need to conduct “direct negotiations between the parties, which are to occur without preconditions, in good faith.”“In its resolutions since the beginning of 2007, the Security Council has directed me to facilitate direct negotiations between the parties, which are to occur without preconditions, in good faith, taking into account the efforts made since 2006 and subsequent developments, while working with realism and a spirit of compromise,” Guterres said.This paragraph contrasts starkly with the second paragraph of the “observations and recommendations” of last year’s report in which the UNSG mentioned the concept of self-determination.“In a series of resolutions beginning in 2007, the Security Council has directed the Secretary-General to facilitate direct negotiations between the parties to reach a “mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.” Over the years, the Council has provided ample guidance that the negotiations are to occur without preconditions, in good faith, taking into account the efforts made since 2006 and subsequent developments, and working with realism and a spirit of compromise,” Guterres said in his report published in April 2017.In addition, the report raises serious concerns of the United Nations with regard to the security situation in the buffer zone. It is very significant that these concerns appear immediately after the paragraph where the UNSG expressed his concerns about the Polisario’s repeated maneuvers in Guerguerat.“Further, I remain deeply concerned about security in Western Sahara, in particular in the vast and empty desert expanse east of the berm, where unarmed military observers of MINURSO remain vulnerable to threats by criminal and terrorist groups,” the UNSG said.This statement echoes the efforts that Morocco has made in recent years to draw the attention of the international community to the possibility that the Tindouf camps and the vast areas of the buffer zone may become safe havens for terrorist and criminal organizations.The report, however, falls short of calling for conducting a census in the Tindouf camps to determine the exact number of people living there. For the past several years, Morocco has called on the United Nations to conduct a census in the territory and to shed light on the systematic embezzlement of the humanitarian assistance destined to the population living in the camps.A Need for CautionHowever positive the language of the UN report might appear, Moroccans should not assume that the dynamics of the conflict are in their favor. Moroccan diplomacy has yet to convince the Security Council of the validity of its approach to putting an end to the conflict. What matters most is the resolution that the Security Council will decide on April 30. It remains to be seen whether it will reflect the same language regarding Algeria and Mauritania’s involvement or whether it will settle for using the same language as last year’s resolution.With the appointment of John Bolton, a hawkish American politician known for his sympathy towards the Polisario, as the new National Security Adviser for President Donald Trump, Moroccans would better be served to show some caution. At this juncture, with Bolton scheduled to start his new job on April 9, it would be hard to predict the outcome of UN Security Council deliberations next month about the conflict.Will the UN finally depart from its fixation on the concept of self-determination as necessarily leading to independence? Will it explore other avenues to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable political solution? Will its members admit that a solution to this complex conflict cannot be found based on the same principles of the 1960s and the 1970s? Or will Bolton, known for his support for a referendum on self-determination, weigh in on the deliberations of the Security Council prior to the adoption of the new annual resolution? Will his appointment usher in a new chapter in the UN-led political process?The language of the resolution that will be adopted at the end April will demonstrate to what extent the UN is ready to bring about a political solution to the conflict. read more

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French Animation Director Ocelot to Feature Morocco in Upcoming Film

Rabat – Award-winning French director Michel Ocelot is working on an animated film featuring Morocco and Turkey, reported UK-based news outlet Middle East Online (MEO) on Sunday.“The starting point is Morocco … in the 18th century,” Ocelot told Middle East Online at the Meknes International Festival of Animated Cinema (FICAM) taking place from March 22 to 27.The film “depicts… a female doctor who has been listening to tales orated by female storytellers in the palaces where she has been working,” he explained. Ocelot said that cinema can be a powerful inspiration for good or bad.“The guy who committed the massacre in New Zealand did a cinema. The cult of weapons is also a cinema art. I’m sure that when we make a violent movie, it inspires people to kill,” said Ocelot.“People, however, become noble” when they watch “noble” movies, he added.Ocelot said that animated cinema in Morocco needs some work to make it appeal to a global audience while preserving local taste.“The danger is to try to sell Moroccan animated cinema abroad and lose the identity.  You have to be both Moroccan and international,” he said.Ocelot is a self-taught director who kick-started his career in animation movies with the 1998 animation film “Kirikou and the Sorceress.”Last month, Michel Ocelot won the Cesar for Best Animated Film for his film “Dilili in Paris” at the 44th Cesar Award ceremony. Ocelot will present the film at FICAM 2019.“Dilili in Paris” shows the exploitation and enslavement of women at the turn of the 20th century Belle Epoque. “The harm men do to women is worse than wars. We should talk about this taboo,” Ocelot said.FICAM was founded in 2001 and has been under the patronage of King Mohammed VI since 2018. The Aicha Foundation is responsible for its production and the French Institute of Meknes provides artistic direction. read more

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Indias Jet Airways stock falls on report of temporary close

NEW DELHI — The BSE stock exchange in Mumbai has sought clarification from beleaguered Indian airline Jet Airways after news reports said the company planned to temporarily shutter its operations.Following the announcement, Jet Airways stock was off 7.6% at Tuesday’s close.Jet Airways spokesman Gaurav Sahni did not immediately respond to requests for comment.The airline, once India’s largest, reported a net loss in the quarter that ended in December of 5.8 billion rupees, about $83 million.A recovery plan led by government-owned State Bank of India and other creditors has so far been unable to staunch the bleeding at Jet Airways, whose fleet of aircraft has dwindled to 14 from 119 on Dec. 31, when the company first defaulted on some of its more than $1 billion in debt.The Associated Press read more

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UN refugee agency calls for 400 people adrift off West Africa to

9 February 2007The United Nations refugee agency is seriously concerned about the situation of some 400 people of various nationalities on a ship drifting off the West African coast, who have not been allowed to disembark for several days. The United Nations refugee agency is seriously concerned about the situation of some 400 people of various nationalities on a ship drifting off the West African coast, who have not been allowed to disembark for several days. “At this point in time, the main priority should be to help these people and not let them drift on the high seas in precarious conditions,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Director for Protection George Okoth-Obbo said. “UNHCR urges on humanitarian grounds that people on board this ship be allowed to disembark as soon as possible.” The Spanish Red Cross and the Mauritanian Red Crescent are delivering relief supplies to alleviate the immediate needs of the passengers aboard Marine I, which was spotted by the Spanish air rescue service on 30 January, apparently adrift. A day later a tugboat from the Spanish rescue service approached the ship and has since been accompanying it. The seas off West Africa have seen an increasing exodus of migrants seeking to reach Spain’s Canary Islands with sometimes deadly consequences as rickety boats succumb to the waves. In the first five months of last year alone, 7,400 people reached the islands after undertaking the perilous journey. Thousands of lives have been lost over the last decade in this exodus across the Atlantic Ocean or Mediterranean Sea, according to UNHCR officials. It is not clear whether there are people on board the Marine I seeking asylum. “Measures must be in place to identify persons who wish to seek asylum or may be in need of international protection and to channel such claims appropriately,” Mr. Okoth-Obbo said. In the past, vessels fulfilling their duty to rescue those in peril at sea have encountered problems disembarking those rescued. “This state of affairs can seriously threaten the integrity of the time-honoured humanitarian tradition and legal obligation to assist people in distress at sea,” Mr. Okoth-Obbo added. To help ship captains, ship owners, government authorities, insurance companies, and other interested parties involved in rescue at sea situations, UNHCR and the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) have issued an information leaflet that provides guidance on relevant legal provisions and procedures. read more

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Afghans hit by soaring food prices receive emergency UN aid

6 March 2008The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing emergency assistance to Afghans suffering from food shortages due to the surge in the price of wheat, which has risen by 70 per cent over the past year. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing emergency assistance to Afghans suffering from food shortages due to the surge in the price of wheat, which has risen by 70 per cent over the past year. “Between now and mid-year, WFP aims to reach 2.5 million people in both urban and rural areas of Afghanistan,” said WFP Country Director Rick Corsino. The agency will begin distributions this week, including wheat to 650,000 people in and around the capital, Kabul. The UN and the Afghan Government joined forces in January to appeal for more than $80 million to help those affected by the rise in food prices. So far WFP has received pledges for two-thirds of the $77 million it requested as part of the joint appeal to deliver 89,000 tons of food to the poorest Afghans. The 89,000 tons of food requested in the appeal is on top of the 180,000 tons that WFP plans to distribute this year for nearly 3.7 million people recovering from war, civil unrest and recurring natural disasters. “We must take immediate action to reduce the impact of soaring food prices on poor people in Afghanistan,” Mr. Corsino said. “Distributions will be completed before the main mid-year wheat harvest as we do not want this additional food to discourage Afghan farmers from growing wheat for domestic markets and needs.” The global surge in food prices – up 40 per cent since last June – has also impacted WFP, which says the cost of projects already approved for 2008 has risen by $500 million to reach a total of $3.4 billion. In response, WFP has increased local purchases and is asking international donors for more contributions, to make up for its sharp decline in purchasing power. The agency has also set up an internal task force at its Rome headquarters and is reviewing ways to better target its assistance. At the global level, WFP plans to launch a series of consultations with leading experts in the field of hunger and food security, and has called for a special meeting with key non-governmental organization (NGO) partners to tackle the issue. read more

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