Marrakesh – German carrier Air Berlin inaugurated Monday a new route linking the German western city of Düsseldorf to Marrakesh with two weekly direct flights, the Moroccan airports authority (ONMT) announced.The Monday and Friday non-stop flights to Marrakesh will be operated with an Airbus A320, according to the German airline.Connecting flights are available from Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna and Zurich, Air Berlin added, noting that it will be offering an additional flight per week from Dusseldorf to Agadir as of the 2014 winter season. In addition, NIKI, the Austrian subsidiary of the Air Berlin group, will also be starting new routes from Vienna to Agadir as of next winter.Germany is a strategic market for Morocco’s tourism sector as the European country is the world’s second largest pool of tourists (over 50 million).In 2013, more than 55,000 German tourists visited Morocco.
Rabat – Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Choukri reaffirmed Egypt’s attachment to Morocco’s territorial integrity and its support for the autonomy initiative submitted by the Kingdom to put an end to the Western Sahara conflict.Concerning the Western Sahara issue, the Egyptian Foreign Minister reaffirmed Egypt’s attachment to Morocco’s territorial unity and to a UN-brokered solution for this issue, as well as its support for UNSC resolutions on the Moroccan autonomy project and the serious and credible effort by Morocco to move ahead towards the settlement of this conflict, wrote a joint statement on Friday on the occasion of the visit to Morocco by the Egyptian Foreign Minister.Foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar reaffirmed Morocco’s position in support of “the process of democratic change in Egypt and of the road map adopted by the Egyptian people, after the revolution of June 30, to elect democratic institutions starting with a referendum on a new constitution which was approved early 2014, following the election of his excellency president Abdelfettah Al Sissi last June during free and fair elections, mirroring the will of the sweeping majority of the Egyptian people to hold the legislative elections scheduled March 2015,” the statement added.
Casablanca – On Monday the magistrate’s court at the Ain Sbaa First Instance Court in Casablanca delivered verdicts of up to five years imprisonment against nine individuals accused in the Bourgone tragedy lawsuit, named after the Casablanca’s neighborhood where 23 victims perished last summer in the Collapse of Casablanca Buildings.Three of the defendants were acquitted while out on bail, another was sentenced to two years in prison, a third to three years, a fourth to three and a half years, and two of the defendants were sentenced to four years in prison. The final pair of defendants was sentenced to five years. None of the sentenced will have the opportunity of being granted parole.The court fined each of the seven sentenced people 1,000 dirhams and sentenced them to pay a compensation fixed between 20,000 to 300,000 dirhams for civil law petitioners. This lawsuit opened on Oct. 15, 2014. The ten accused include a member of local authorities (moqaddem), town council’s technicians, an engineer, and an employee from the building permit office, in addition to two sons of the owner of a flat under construction at the time of the collapse in which the latter was killed.The charges range from manslaughter, non-compliance with laws related to construction, corruption and forgery of administrative documents.Twenty-three people died and more than fifty were injured on July 11 in the collapse of three apartment buildings due to construction work on the ground floor and illegal building of several additional floors. Edited by Kristina Fried
Taroudant – Following Morocco’s decision to reduce the presence of the UN Mission, known as MINURSO, in the Sahara a majority of the MINURSO staff affected by the decision boarded on Sunday morning a UN aircraft to Las Palamas.According to an airport source in Laayoune, cited by the Maghreb Arab Press MAP, a large number of the civilian component, particularly the political component of MINURSO’s staff have already left Morocco on Saturday Morning.The same source said that the departure of all persons affected the decision made by Moroccan authorities as a reaction to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s recent statements, will be completed on March 20. Amid the escalating row between the Moroccan government and Ban Ki-moon over his recent statements, Morocco decided on Tuesday to impose drastic cut in MINURSO staff and to immediately stop its financial contribution to it.The Permanent Mission of Morocco to the United Nations transmitted on Thursday to the UN Secretariat a list of 84 international civilian members of MINURSO who should leave Morocco within three days.In response to Morocco’s decision, the Algeria-backed separatists warned on Thursday that “the shortest way to the resumption of war” is if the MINURSO ends its mission on the region.The Polisario Front’s U.N. representative, Ahmed Boukhari, told reporters that “If there is no mission, there is a vacuum and an invitation to war.”Ban Ki-moon found himself alone in his feud with Morocco after the Security Council has shown no unanimous support for him.On Saturday, the United States reiterated that its support for the Moroccan autonomy plan for the Western Sahara, which it described as “serious, credible, and realistic” option that could meet the aspirations of the population of the territory.“We continue to support the U.N.-led process to bring about a peaceful, sustainable, and mutually-agreed solution to conflict in Western Sahara,” U.S. mission spokesman Kurtis Cooper said on his Twitter feed.
Dubai – The second and final day of the 11th annual World Takaful Conference (WTC) built on yesterday’s highly impactful critical discussions on the state and future of the global Takaful industry. Convened by Middle East Global Advisors and in strategic partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority, WTC is held under the theme “Prudent Practices for Global Growth” and considered to be the world’s most powerful Takaful gathering.This morning, WTC played host to a ratings roundtable that assessed the necessary steps required for Takaful players to build the industry’s financial strength. The session also specifically addressed the ratings perspective of the risk-shifting effect of the use of Qard loans from shareholders to the policyholders’ fund. Following suit was a look at what the Takaful industry would look like in 2020, with a particular look at the whether family Takaful can grow large enough to support the increasing supply of longer-dated sukuk expected in the market. Mahesh Mistry, Director, Analytics of A.M Best mentions, “The lack of differentiation and the associated pricing pressure along with poor distribution networks will be the key challenges for Middle East takaful companies going forward. For the industry to tackle these challenges, the operators will need to adopt suitable strategies and appropriate structures to ensure that the Takaful model employed is balanced, and that it serves the needs of the enormous potential for Shariah compliant insurance, to the benefit of all stakeholders.”The sessions for the afternoon include topics such as innovation and Takaful, the key imperative of risk-based capital and emerging Takaful markets.The WTC audience comprised of high profile guests and dignitaries from Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, Dubai International Financial Centre, Islamic Insurance Association of London, Insurance Authority UAE, PwC, Moody’s, EY, Swiss Re, Munich Re, Noor Takaful, Watania, Emirates RE and many more organisations.WTC is taking place on the 11th and 12th of April in the Dusit Thani Hotel, Dubai. To find out more about WTC, visit www.wtc16.com.
Rabat – The 15th edition of the Mawazine Festival-Rhythms of the World (May 20-28), organized by “Association Maroc-Culture”, kicked off, on Friday in Rabat, with an agenda full of the world’s headliners from the music sphere.The first day was marked by performances given by Arab and foreign stars as Kadim Al Sahir, Chris Brown, Diana Haddad, and Rokia Traoré. Held under the patronage of HM King Mohammed VI, the nine-day fest will offer music-lovers and festival-goers daily musical shows featuring also Moroccan stars.Created in 2001, the fest brought together an audience of over 2 million people during its latest edition.
Toronto – During his visit to the White House for the first time under the Trump administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump discussed the long-standing two-state solution. Trump announced to reporters during their press conference that he was also open to a one-state solution, according to CNN.Covered live on major networks, the meeting of two old friends, Trump and Netanyahu, played out like a weekend visit but still managed to hold a few interesting moments. Approaching their respective podiums, it was difficult not to notice the fraternal glee displayed by both leaders… and it was instantly unnerving. The two went on at length, each in their turn, about their long-standing friendship, almost reveling in the chance to laud each other in front of the world.Soon things took on a more formal tone and questions began to flow from reporters about Trump’s position on the US’ long history of support for a two-state solution that recognizes the Palestinian State.If nothing else, President Trump’s remarks on a two-state versus a one-state solution proved he has a firm grasp of the inane. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like,” he said, according to a report from news agency Reuters.Ultimately, Trump declared himself firmly on the fence, stating he’d be fine with either solution, adding that both parties were going to have to compromise to reach a peace deal. He openly urged Palestinians to recognize the State of Israel but there was no mention of a reciprocal move on the part of Israel toward the State of Palestine.There were glimmers of sternness like Trump suggesting to Netanyahu, “I’d like to see you pull back on settlements for a bit.” For his part, “Bibi” made no such commitment. It is worth noting that talks have been stalled since 2014.According to the same Reuters report, critics and observers feel a retreat from a two-state stance would potentially destroy decades of bi-partisan US policy. Senior member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Hanan Ashrawi said, “If the Trump administration rejects this policy it would be destroying the chances for peace and undermining American interests, standing and credibility abroad. Accommodating the most extreme elements in Israel and in the White House is no way to make responsible foreign policy.”Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, reiterated Palestinian desire to work with the Trump administration, for a two-state solution and in a statement, reminded Trump what is at stake if US support for that solution is taken off the table: “The Palestinian presidency stressed its commitment to a two-state solution and the international law and legitimacy in the way that secures ending the Israeli occupation and [establishing] the Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.”The spectre of the US embassy in Israel moving to Jerusalem was also raised by reporters wanting to know if it was still being discussed, according to the BBC. “As far as the embassy moving to Jerusalem,” President Trump said, “I’d love to see that happen. And we’re looking at it very, very strongly. We’re looking at it with a great care, a great care, believe me. And we’ll see what happens.” What followed was a wince heard around the world.
Rabat – The Ministry of Energy, Mining, Water, and Environment organized a ceremony to launch the environmental police on Thursday, 23 February in Rabat.The ceremony, which was led by Hakima El Haite, the Minister Delegate in Charge of the Environment, will involve the handing over of environmental inspector’s cards and the presentation of technical monitoring equipment and vehicles for the environmental police.The creation of regional environmental brigades to protect against environmental damage was first announced in September 2013 by the General Directorate of National Security. The missions of the environmental police, set by Decree No. 2-14-782 of 30 on May 19, 2015, include the raising of awareness of environmental issues and the inspection, research, investigation, verbalization and detection of environmental infringements.The offenses that the environmental brigades will police are as numerous as its mission: deposits of waste on private or public land, possession obsolete products or contraband drugs, transport of dangerous goods without authorization.Offenders may face fines ranging from MAD 100 to MAD 2 million as well as possible imprisonment. Once the infringement has been established by the environmental inspector, this latter is responsible for determining the seriousness of the infringement and the penalty for the infringement.According to the decree, environmental police officers “perform their functions voluntarily, or at the request of the governmental environmental authority, or as part of a national environmental supervisory board set up for purpose of environment protection. “The national control plan in particular aims to identify “sectors and industries, environmental activities, which must be submitted as a priority to environmental control,” adding that an annual report should be sent to the Head of Government.Since November 2013, a brigade of 14 environmental police elements have been deployed in Casablanca, Rabat and Mohammedia. From January to July 2014, 414 offense tickets were registered.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, said that the African Union (AU) is no longer a“hostage” of Polisario agenda, at a press conference on Tuesday, after the AU’s 29th Summit in Addis Ababa.Speaking about Morocco’s participation in the union,the minister said that the kingdom was “satisfied” at the outcome of the Summit.“Morocco is very satisfied about the debates that took place and the decisions that were made,” he affirmed. “We are in a new dynamic,’’ the minister continued, noting that realities of the situation in Western Sahara had been made clear. The AU summit marked the first direct confrontation between Morocco and Polisario Front, along with its sponsor, Algeria, on Saturday.Prior to the meeting of the Executive Council, the Moroccan delegation objected to the use of the term “occupied territories” to refer to Western Sahara, in a report that was submitted to by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and adopted by the Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC).The report called for a delegation to be sent to the territories to evaluate the situation of human rights there.Western Sahara is referred to in AU as Sahrawi Arab Republic (SDR), even though the region is under Moroccan sovereignty.Morocco threatened to block the meeting of the Executive Council unless the text was modified. 16 member states backed Morocco, while six other supported Polisario and Algeria. The ensuing confrontation showed that Morocco’s position would from now on be taken into consideration by the AU.Nigeria mediated between the two parties and a consensus was reached. The modified version stated that that while some delegations had suggested sending a human rights evaluation mission to the territories referred to by the United Nations as Western Sahara and the AU as SDR, the proposal was rejected by other delegations.The modified version indicated a change in the way the AU deals with the issue of Western Sahara, demonstrating that Morocco had succeeded in its tireless campaign to reintegrate into the AU.“This kind of text used to be adopted automatically in the past because some countries saw this organization as an instrument to advance agendas,” explained Bourita. “The organization has been taken hostage.”The foreign minister added that things have changed: “Today, things are clearer.”Bourita stated that the report merely pointed to divergence of positions vis-à-vis the question of Western Sahara and called for a “constructive dialogue” on the issue.“All the provocative terminology such as ‘occupied territories’ and ‘violation of human rights’ has been expunged’’, explained Bourita. “We are more in a United Nations type of discourse which finally respects international legitimacy’’.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI, the Commander of the Faithful, performed Eid al Adha prayers on Friday morning at the Ahl Fez mosque, in Rabat.The sovereign was accompanied by Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan, Prince Moulay Rachid, Prince Moulay Ismail, and Saudi Prince Khaled Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.Upon his arrival at the mosque, the King reviewed a detachment of the Royal Guard who paid their honors. After the feast prayer, the mosque’s imam recalled the story of Prophet Ibrahim with his son Ismail, which demonstrates the some of the valued ideals of Islam: sacrifice and altruism. The imam also said that Eid Al Adha, which crowns the pilgrimage ritual, is an opportunity for all Muslims to thank God for His blessing.
Rabat- In its 2018 annual Freedom on the Net report released on November 1, US-based NGO Freedom House assessed that Morocco is “partially free” in terms of freedom for internet users. Not much has changed since the 2017 report as Morocco maintained its score, 45 out of 100.Freedom on the Net assesses 65 countries, covering 87 percent of the world’s internet users worldwide, and tracks developments in internet freedom each year. Imprisonment of journalists and activistsThe report monitored the internet freedom in Morocco from June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018, noting the Moroccan government’s crackdown on online news channels and imprisoning of journalists and activists for their involvement in the Hirak protests in Al Hoceima.“Moroccan laws on criminal defamation and terrorism continue to pose a threat to free speech. Several online journalists and activists were arrested and imprisoned as part of a crackdown on the Hirak Rif protests,” the report states.The research mentions Moroccan journalist Hamid El Mahdaoui, editor in chief of news site Badil Info. A Moroccan court sentenced El Mahdaoui to 3 years in prison in June for “inciting participation in banned [Hirak] protests” and “threatening national security.”Like Mahdaoui, Abdelkabir Al-Hor, the founder of the online news site Rassd Maroc, was sentenced to 4 years in prison in February on charges of “condoning terrorism and inciting illegal street protests through the outlet’s coverage of the protests.”In June, a court in Casablanca gave sentences ranging from 1 to 20 years for 54 Hirak Rif activists. Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi and three other activists received 20 years in prison for their participation in the “unauthorized” protests.The Hirak movement began in October 2016 after the death of Mohcine Fikri, a fishmonger who was crushed to death in a garbage truck while trying to save his goods that had been confiscated by authorities in Al Hoceima. The incident angered citizens, causing protests across the country, but especially in Al Hoceima province, which condemned Fikri’s death and social disparities in Morocco. Police arrested an estimated 400 activists and protesters involved in the protests in 2016 and 2017.Read Also: Morocco’s Unemployment Falls Slightly, Youth Unemployment at 27.5%Limits on contentThe report also addressed the difficulty of creating a news website in Morocco.It recalls the Ministry of Culture and Communications’ refusal to grant press cards to Mohamed Ezzouak, founder of Moroccan news outlet Yabiladi, and Ali Amar, founder of French-language site Le Desk. The cards were granted seven months later in May 2018. It is illegal for news outlets without press cards to practice journalism in Morocco, according to the 2016 press code.Though the state has strong control over media content, it did not block or filter any political, social, or religious websites and other sites discussing controversial issues such as the disputed territory of Western Sahara, the Amazigh (Berber) minority, or Islamist groups, nor social media sites such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter “over the coverage period.”Still, the state can shut down publications “prejudicial to Islam, the monarchy, territorial integrity, or public order” and issue prison sentences and heavy fines on publishers of infringing content. News criticizing the monarchy does not exist in Morocco, notes the report.The report notes: “Discriminatory allocation of advertising and the repeated prosecution of online news editors impedes the diversification of Morocco’s digital media landscape. Digital advertisers were obliged to pay a 5 percent tax starting in January 2018, stifling an already financially fragile media sector.”The partial freedom given to Moroccan internet users has allowed them to “take advantage of various social media tools to educate, organize, and mobilize people around a wide variety of issues.” That organization was shown in the April boycott campaign that targeted three major companies in the country.Online activism and the boycott campaignThe research recalls the major boycott against high prices which sprouted on April 20 thanks to “online activism.”It all started with Arabic hashtags equivalent to “Let_it_spoil” and “SayNotoHighPrices,” against not only the high prices of Sidi Ali (mineral water), Centrale Danone (dairy products), and Afriquia (gasoline) but also against market monopolization and all forms of price manipulation across the country. The boycott caused a massive controversy in the country and prompted government ministers to repeatedly ask Moroccans to end the milk boycott, particularly. The boycott caused major economic losses for the targeted companies in its early days. Afriquia stations recorded losses of 47 percent in Nador, 25 percent in Al Hoceima, and 39 percent in Casablanca’s Hay Hassani less than a month later, according to newspaper Akhbar Alyaoum.Centrale Danone suffered a net loss of MAD 115 million in the first half of 2018 in comparison to a net gain of MAD 56 million during the same period in 2017.The boycott had largely ended by mid summer.Digital activists also continue to provide a platform for discussion on the Hirak protests.Beyond Morocco, the report states that of the 65 countries assessed, 26 have been on an overall decline in terms of internet freedom since June 2017, compared with 19 that registered net improvements.Egypt and Sri Lanka, followed by Cambodia, Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Venezuela, scored the biggest declines.“A number of governments are moving to regulate social media users as media outlets in order to legitimize further crackdowns on online speech,” Freedom on the Net reported.Egypt ranks third in the world for highest numbers of jailed journalists.
Rabat – Running until June 20, the fourth edition of Gallery Arabesque’s “Ayaat” calligraphy exhibition is showing in Central Park Towers, Dubai.The event is a celebration of calligraphy, which is regarded as one of the fundamental elements of Islamic art. Hosted by Central Park Towers, the exhibit showcases 85 artworks from 48 international calligraphers. A selection of original masterpieces in Arabic calligraphy by 12 of the world’s renowned masters will also be featured, alongside juried artworks from 36 rising calligraphers and students, comprising 12 nationalities, spanning the Far East to the West, and selected from over a hundred submissions. The artists featured include international students who have worked alongside Jakarta-based Moroccan calligraphy master Belaid Hamidi. Hamidi scripted the text of eight holy books of the Qur’an and is the first Moroccan calligrapher to script Al-Hilya Al-Sharifa in the Maghribi-Andalusian style since 1996. More than 20 of these works are in art museums and private collections in different countries.Recipient of the King Mohammed VI Award for Moroccan Calligraphy in 2010, and the honor award from the Research Center for Islamic History, Art and Culture in Istanbul 2014, Belaid Hamidi has is a well-respected teacher of his craft.Hamidi’s students in the art show come from diverse backgrounds, including Indonesian (15), Thai (2), Singaporean (1) and Chinese (1).Read Also: Moroccan Government Establishes a New National Art PrizeOther participants in the exhibition include eight students from the Institute of Indo-Islamic Art & Culture in Bangalore – India as well as the UAE, KSA, Iran, Syria, Jordan, India and Pakistan.Among the many visitors admiring the work in the exhibit is the Indonesian Consul-General, Ridwan Hassan, due to the rise of Indonesian calligraphers worldwide steadily gaining prominence in the art world.
Rabat – The Moroccan Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) has arrested a Palestinian national residing in the city of Mohammedia (17 kilometers from Casablanca) suspected of trading with virtual currency, Bitcoin, for terrorist organizattions.In collaboration with the General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), BCIJ arrested the suspect on June 27. The arrest was part of DGSN efforts to combat terrorism and its resources, according to a Directorate statement on Saturday. DGSN’s statement added that the suspect has acquired considerable experience in electronic currency transactions through his own activity on several virtual trading platforms.Read also: DGSN Statistics Show Drop in Crime Rate in Fez for 2019The suspect successfully dealt with many clients through virtual trading platforms, which face fewer restrictions in many countries outside Morocco.DGSN added that the suspect was arrested on July 4, facing charges of “receiving money from the public and carrying out unauthorized transactions.’’Moroccan authorities placed the Palestinian national in pre-trial detention.
The Canadian Press MONCTON, N.B. — Cannabis producer Organigram Holdings Inc. reported a loss of $6.4 million in its latest quarter as its revenue soared in its first full quarter of adult-use recreational sales.Net revenue totalled $26.9 million, up from $3.4 million.The company says its loss amounted to five cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Feb. 28 compared with a profit of $1.1 million or a penny per diluted share a year earlier.The loss came as sales and administrative costs rose to $2.6 million compared with $1.7 million a year ago.Sales and marketing costs rose to $3.1 million compared with $934,000 in the same quarter last year.Organigram’s loss from continuing operations amounted to $6.4 million or five cents per diluted share compared with a profit of $1.2 million or a penny per diluted share a year earlier. Companies in this story: (TSXV:OGI)
Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,297.55, down 24.20 points).Prometic Life Sciences Inc. (TSX:PLI). Health care. Down one cent, or 20 per cent, to four cents on 14.4 million shares.Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financials. Down 45 cents, or 1.86 per cent, to $23.80 on 9.9 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Down two cents, or 0.93 per cent, to $2.13 on 8 million shares.Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Up four cents, or 0.76 per cent, to $5.33 on 6.9 million shares.Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB). Energy. Up 24 cents, or 0.49 per cent, to $49.41 on 6.9 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Up one cent, or 0.09 per cent, to $11.26 on 6.7 million shares.Companies reporting:Freshii Inc. (TSX:FRII). Down six cents or 2.7 per cent to $2.15. Freshii Inc. plans to launch higher-quality protein ingredients as it attempts to win back customers amid continued negative sales performance. Yet its chief executive is convinced the eatery chain is headed in the right direction. Freshii, which opened its first store in 2005, struggled with trying to do too much at once and suffered from slower-than-expected store growth and shrinking same-store sales, a key retail metric. Its same-store sales for the first quarter fell 0.9 per cent compared to the same quarter the previous year. Its net income plummeted to US$103,000 from $431,000 while revenues rose seven per cent to $5.2 million.Recipe Unlimited Corp. (TSX:RECP). Up 37 cents to $27.57. Recipe Unlimited Corp. says its core first-quarter earnings and same-store sales decreased despite a 12.5 per cent growth in system-wide sales. The company formerly known as Cara Operations says it earned $22.7 million for the period ended March 31, compared with $21.5 million a year earlier. System-wide sales rose to $850.7 million from $755.9 million, primarily due to the addition of The Keg and increases in the retail and catering segment from Swiss Chalet branded products and increases in frozen pot pie sales.Enbridge Inc. — Enbridge Inc. is working with shippers to optimize its Mainline pipeline system in a bid to boost throughput by 50,000 to 100,000 barrels per day. Chief executive Al Monaco said Friday that although its Liquids Mainline System — the largest export option for western Canadian producers — was full and hit a record this quarter, storage levels in Alberta remain “stubbornly high.” Permitting issues in the U.S. have delayed Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement pipeline project until the second half of 2020, a year later than expected. The Line 3 project is expected to add 370,000 barrels per day of export capacity of Canadian crude.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). — Bombardier Inc. is facing a possible ban from World Bank-financed projects after it received a show-cause letter related to a rail equipment deal plagued by corruption allegations. The letter is the latest development in an ongoing investigation into a roughly $340-million contract awarded to a Bombardier-led consortium in 2013 to supply signalling equipment in Azerbaijan. Bombardier says it disagrees with the allegations in the letter, which include accusations the company engaged in delaying practices or obstructive behaviour regarding the audit. The Canadian Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The fatal shooting of a New Mexico man who authorities have said was killed by a ride-share driver early this year stemmed from “a large amount of vomit” in an Uber vehicle, according to court documents.Court documents submitted by the Bernalillo County District Attorney last week said the shooting was prompted by the vomit and an argument over a “clean-up fee,” the Albuquerque Journal reported .Police have said driver Clayton Benedict shot and killed passenger James Porter, 27, after stopping along Interstate 25 in Albuquerque on March 17. Benedict has not been charged and has declined to comment.District Attorney’s Office spokesman Michael Patrick said a charging decision may come in the next few weeks.“Prosecutors are currently going over hundreds of documents and videos,” Patrick said.According to a search warrant affidavit filed seeking information from Uber about Benedict’s trips for the day and other information, Benedict picked up Porter and his friend from the Salt Yard bar on the evening of Saint Patrick’s Day.The friend, Jonathan Reyes, later told police the two had been at the bar since 2 p.m. and although he typically doesn’t drink, that day he had six or seven drinks.Benedict — who had been driving for Uber for the past year and a half — told detectives they were travelling south on I-25 when Reyes vomited in the back seat.“At this point the other passenger and Clayton start to go back and forth about a potential ‘clean-up fee,’” the detective wrote in the affidavit. “James is the male arguing/pleading with Clayton not to charge him for a ‘clean-up fee.’”That’s when Benedict said he pulled over and asked the men to get out of the car. He said he ended the ride and gave Porter a review of “one star.”He said Porter slammed the door.Benedict said he fired “an unknown amount of rounds” toward Porter after Porter threatened to run him over with his own car.Last month, the family of Porter filed a lawsuit against Uber and Benedict over the shooting.The San Francisco-based Uber told the Journal in a statement that Benedict no longer has access to the Uber app as a driver.Last year, an Uber driver in Denver was charged with murder in the fatal shooting of a passenger on a Colorado highway. Police have said driver Michael Hancock, 29, shot and killed Hyun Kim, 45, following an altercation in the car. Hancock’s family has said he only shot in self-defence.The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Consumer borrowing accelerated in April to the fastest pace in five months as a rebound in credit card usage offset slower demand for auto and student loans.The Federal Reserve says borrowing increased by $17.5 billion. That is up from March’s $11 billion advance and marks the biggest jump since a $21.7 billion increase last November.Borrowing on credit cards increased by $7 billion after having fallen by $2 billion in March. Borrowing for auto and student loans slowed to an increase of $10.5 billion, down from $13 billion in March. It is the smallest advance since last June.Consumer credit is a key indicator of the willingness of households to increase borrowing to support consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
PITTSBURGH — Shares of Kraft Heinz are up sharply in the first day of trading since the company said that financial misstatements in revealed last month were not quantitatively material.The Pittsburgh company first said in February that it was being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission over its procurement operations. Kraft Heinz Co. said in a regulatory filing in May that several employees within those procurement operations engaged in misconduct and that it would have to restate financial reports for the years 2016, 2017, and for the first nine months of 2018.In a regulatory filing on Friday, Kraft Heinz said because of the qualitative nature of the matters identified in its internal investigation, including the number of years over which the misconduct occurred and the number of transactions, suppliers, and procurement employees involved, the company determined that it would be appropriate to correct the misstatements in its previously issued consolidated financial statements by restating them.The company made adjustments to correct prior misstatements, essentially increasing the total cost of products sold during the time when the misconduct occurred.Shares rose 5% in midday trading Monday.The Associated Press
19 January 2007The top United Nations envoy for Somalia went to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, today for a meeting of the African Union (AU) that is expected to discuss plans for the speedy deployment of a protection force and training mission to back the transitional Government there after it ousted Islamist groups with Ethiopian help. The visit by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative François Lonsény Fall to attend the AU Peace and Security Council follows his trip yesterday to Mogadishu, the Somali capital, where he called on the transitional Government to seize this “rare opportunity” to expand its authority and prevent a resurgence of the warlords who tore the country apart for the past 16 years. “The Council is expected to consider the situation in Somalia and discuss the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1725, which authorizes the creation of a protection force and training mission in Somalia to help protect the country’s Transitional Federal Institutions,” the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), based in Nairobi, Kenya, said. Under the resolution the new force, to be known as IGASOM, is to be set up by the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African group, and have an initial mandate of six months. No countries bordering Somalia will be able to deploy troops.Among the issues on today’s agenda is the need for the AU and IGAD to deploy its forces expeditiously to facilitate the earliest possible withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops currently protecting the transitional Government.Since the ouster of the Union of the Islamic Courts (UIC), which seized control of Mogadishu in June and progressively extended its control, UN officials from Secretary-General Ban down have underscored the historic opportunity the country now has to restore peace and stability to a country that has had no functioning central government since the regime of Muhammad Siad Barre was toppled in 1991.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) signed an agreement today with the soft drink conglomerate Coca-Cola to collaborate on projects to improve community access to water and sanitation in India and Nepal.Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director UN-HABITAT, described the deal with Coca-Cola, India as “an innovative example of how public-private-community partnerships can help meet the challenge of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).”The Goals are a series of eight targets for reducing social and economic ills – including the halving of the number of people without access to clean water and adequate sanitation – by 2015.Today’s agreement includes the setting up of demonstration projects to increase water supply through rainwater harvesting and to better conserve and store water in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. In West Bengal state, 150 schools will be provided with safe drinking water and sanitation. Coca-Cola has also pledged to improve water management and sanitation in selected urban slums and rural areas in neighbouring Nepal.Mrs. Tibaijuka, who signed the agreement with Coca-Cola, India at a ceremony in Nairobi, UN-HABITAT’s headquarters and the site of this week’s session of its governing council, said “clean water and sanitation can make or break human development.” 18 April 2007The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) signed an agreement today with the soft drink conglomerate Coca-Cola to collaborate on projects to improve community access to water and sanitation in India and Nepal.