King of Morocco Islam does not object to profit

Marrakesh – King Mohammed VI  highlighted the importance of Islam as a religion that encourages the “entrepreneurial spirit, personal fulfillment and promotion based on merit.”In his letter read by AbdelIlah Benkirane, Head of government,  to the official opening session of the 5th Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Marrakech, King Mohammed VI stressed on the positive role of Islam regarding fair competitiveness in the world of entrepreneurship.“Our religion does not object to profit. On the contrary, it encourages the entrepreneurial spirit, personal fulfillment and promotion based on merit,” the letter said. The royal message highlighted the example of the institution of the waqf (endowment) as  “an original form of entrepreneurship, which is rooted in our tradition of inter-generational solidarity.”King Mohammed VI called on the governments to instill self-confidence in young people  in order to “overcome the pessimism that has plagued our continent.”The king emphasized the urgent  “need to nurture positive examples and turn success stories into models to emulate” to enable young generations to “believe in their ability to learn and to become entrepreneurs.” read more

Morocco to Promote Rights of Disabled Students

Rabat – The Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development and the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executives’ Training signed, on Thursday in Rabat, a partnership agreement to promote the rights of people with disabilities.The agreement aims at establishing a general cooperation and partnership framework to promote the rights of disabled students, in accordance with the government orientations in this field, mainly through the elaboration and the implementation of an action plan of common interest.The agreement will provide statistical data on the situation of the disabled, identify training needs in this field, give disabled students the opportunity to benefit from technical tools and alternative devices, and involve higher education representatives and professors in activities benefiting people with disabilities. With MAP read more

Tzipi Livni Cancels Visit to Belgium For Facing Possible Arrest

Casablanca – Former Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, cancelled a flight on Monday 23 to Belgium over threat of arrest upon her arrival as she is named in a lawsuit for committing war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza.Tzipi Livni, the former Foreign Minister and current member of the Zionist Union Party cancelled a flight on January 23 to Belgium as Brussels’s prosecutor’s office said that Livni is at the heart of a complaint to the federal prosecutor, filed in 2010.The prosecutor’s office stated that she could be detained or questioned upon her arrival to “advance the investigation,” and unveiled that an arrest could take place. According to Belgian law, the authorities could arrest Livni on Belgian territory in connection with crimes pertaining to the violation of international law, especially as one of the victims holds Belgian citizenship. Additionally, the former Israeli official no longer has diplomatic immunity.Following the massive military operation against the Palestinians of Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, known as Cast Lead Operation, a Belgian pro-Palestinian organization filed a lawsuit in regards to war crimes against several Israeli Military officials, including Livni, involved in the killing of 1,400 Palestinians, most of them children. The United Nations fact-finding mission found out that during the massacre, Israel attempted to target the people of Gaza entirely “as a collective punishment.”Livni was supposed to travel to the Belgian capital to take part in a conference about anti-Semitism in Europe. After being asked about the reasons she canceled the trip, Livni told an Israeli radio that she called off the flight for “personal reasons.”Later, the current Israeli Minister’s spokesperson, Emmanuel Nahshon, attacked Belgium for its engagement in what he called “cynical abuse of the Belgian legal system.”Livni was forced to call off another flight to London in 2009 after a British court issued an arrest warrant against her for crimes in the same massacre. read more

Moroccan Women at Top of Francophone African Businesswomen

Rabat – Moroccan businesswomen dominate Francophone Africa, according to a ranking made by the weekly Jeune Afrique. In their ranking of the 50 most influential businesswomen in the region, Moroccan company executives occupy the top of the pavement, headed by Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun, president of the General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco (CGEM).1. Miriem Bensalah-ChaqrounCEO of Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès S.A., a leading company listed on the Stock Exchange of Casablanca, specialised in water and bottling, Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun holds an MBA in International and Finance Graduate of the University of Dallas and is an alumna of the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris and University Paris IX – Dauphine, France.She is also the CEO of the Holmarcom Group, owned by her family and one of the five largest industrial, commercial and financial groups of Morocco, a board member of Bank Al Maghrib, the National Central and Reserve Bank of Morocco, and Chairperson of the Euro-Mediterranean Center of Mediation and Arbitration.According to the Jeune Afrique, Miriem Bensalah-Chaqroun was destined to become the first president of the CGEM, because “the business world has long recognized her leadership qualities.” “She is a member of the boards of many prestigious companies such as Eutelsat, Suez and the central bank of Morocco, to name a few. In April, she will also be added to those of Renault-Nissan,” notes the publication, stating that many leaders who meet her praise her talents as a negotiator. 2. Mama Tajmouati Mama Tajmouati is Chairwoman & Chief Executive Officer at Société Nationale d’Electrolyse & de Pétrochimie (SNEP). She has been a member of Ynna Holding’s board of directors since its inception and has also been the wife of the late Hajj Miloud Chaabi and his adviser since the founding of the group.Mama Tajmouati is now in charge of the family group. In April 2016 she was unanimously appointed the group’s Chief Executive Officer by the group’s directors after a general meeting. 3. Rita ZniberZniber came third in Jeune Afrique’s ranking as the CEO of Diana Holding, a $3 billion (annual sales) agro-industrial conglomerate. Founded in 1956, the group has diversified businesses working in agriculture, wine-making, bottling of water and soft drinks, trading and distribution.She also established in 1992 the Rita Zniber Foundation, a non-profit organization in Morocco helping orphans find a home. She began in 1982 by helping children abandoned at birth in maternity hospitals. Today, the foundation has two centers that provide a home to 350 children until their adoption.4. Salwa Idrissi AkhannouchOne of Morocco’s most powerful businesswomen and one of North Africa’s wealthiest female entrepreneurs, Salwa Idriss Akhannouch is the founder and chief executive officer of the Aksal Group, a Moroccan leader in luxury goods, department stores and shopping malls.The Aksal Group, which attracts 15 million visitors every year and generates an estimated turnover of 5 billion Moroccan dirhams ($514 million), owns a 50 percent stake in the Morocco Mall, one of Africa’s largest shopping centres, built at a cost of over $240 million in 2007.5. Nadia FettahAfter graduating from the Parisian business school, HEC, Nadia Fettah made her debut at the consulting firm Arthur Andersen. She founded Maroc Invest in 2000, before joining CNIA in 2005. Since then, she has become CEO of Saham Assurances.Ghislane Guedira, Executive Director of Finance and Management Control at the OCP; Ghita Lahlou COB of Saham Santé and Phone group; Ghita Lahlou Executive Director of the Moroccan Equipment, Supply & Import company; Nadia Fassi-Fehri CEO of Inwi; Sarah Kerroumi Ynna Holding’s General Secretary; Lamia Tazi CEO of Sothema; Laila Mamou Wafa Salaf’s Executive Director; and Intelcia’s Deputy Director-General Najat El Jebari occupy the 7th, 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 28th and 29th places of this ranking.This ranking was based on a pre-selection of more than 100 leaders from the largest companies in Francophone Africa, prepared by the editorial staff of Jeune Afrique on the basis of three criteria: the company’s workforce, highlighting its social status, its turnover, highlighting its economic strength; and the supposed influence of the company executive, which reflects both the position it occupies within the organization and its ability to influence economic and political decisions at the national and international levels. read more

Moroccos Alcohol Imports on the Rise

Rabat – Morocco’s imports of alcoholic beverages have increased during the first five months of 2017 to 5,151 tons compared to 4,246 in 2016, according to a report by the Foreign Exchange Office.In its monthly external trade report for May 2017, the office reported that Morocco imported 5,151 tons of “beer, wine, vermouths and other alcoholic beverages,” amounting to more than MAD 239 million between January and May 2017. Imports of alcohol in the first five months of 2017 recorded an increase of MAD 216 million compared to the same period of 2016, which saw the importation of 4,246 tons of these same products.  According to forecasts of the 2017 Finance Law, sales of alcohol are expected to generate more than MAD 1.25 billion of tax revenue in 2017.Wine and spirits are predicted to generate MAD 521 million in taxes and customs duties, while the tax and par-fiscal revenues associated with the consumption of beer will generate about MAD 732 million by the end of 2017. The same source also explained that tobacco imports declined from 6,499 tons between January and May 2016, which generated MAD 703 million, to 5,289 tons and MAD 640 million during the same period in 2017. read more

Morocco to Manufacture Generic Medicine at a Cheaper Price

Rabat – The Ministry of Health is set to authorize the marketing of new generic drugs manufactured in Morocco as part of the implementation of the national policy on drugs and pharmaceuticals.The Ministry has announced that it has authorized a series of generic medicines manufactured in Morocco for the treatment of epilepsy, prostate cancer, sepsis, diarrhea, and cardiovascular.The Ministry indicated that the manufacture of medicine in the country is part of the implementation of the National Drug and Pharmaceutical Policy aimed at providing high-quality, effective, and affordable medicines and encouraging the use of generic drugs. The strategy also aims to give citizens access, particularly the poor, to innovative medicines on a regular and continuous basis and to support the growth of the local pharmaceutical industry, given its strong contribution to national economic development.The ministry recalled that in last June it authorized the commercialization of a generic antiretroviral drug composed of “Tenofovir”, which works against the hepatitis B virus (HBV).This benefits the Moroccan laboratories, the pharmaceutical industry, and people suffering from this disease who can benefit from this new generic drug.This new drug, the first generic drug manufactured by a Moroccan laboratory, is available throughout the Kingdom at MAD 289 per pack. It is marketed abroad at MAD 3,000 notes the same source.“Thanks to the commercialization of these new generic drugs, Morocco is consolidating its the rapeutic arsenal necessary for the management of patients suffering from hepatitis B, which reinforces the ambitions and aspirations of the Ministry of Health to end this disease by 2030,” concluded the Ministry. read more

Reboot Tonga hopes to restore internet access by weekend

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Authorities in Tonga are hoping people will be able to visit Facebook and YouTube again by the weekend as experts repair the vital undersea cable that connects the Pacific nation to the rest of the world.Tonga was plunged into virtual darkness 11 days ago when the fiber-optic cable was severed. Initially the incident wiped out access to the internet almost entirely, and meant people couldn’t even make international phone calls.Limited access has since been restored through a satellite service, but authorities have blocked most people from using social media sites like Facebook in order to preserve precious bandwidth.Residents say they’ve had difficulty doing anything from reading emails to processing credit card payments.Tonga Cable Ltd. says it believes a ship’s anchor cut the cable in multiple places.The Associated Press read more

Agadir to Host 8th Annual Agadir Open Surf Bodyboard Competition

Rabat – The Moroccan Royal Federation of Surf and Bodyboard is organizing the 8th annual Agadir Open 2018 competition, scheduled for March 16-18 at Imourance Beach in Agadir.A  statement by the organizers revealed that more than 260 Moroccan and international surfers will compete for the title of the 8th edition of the competition this year.The event, held in coordination with the Imourane Surf Club and the commune of Aourir, will see the participation of international Moroccan competitors: bodyboarder Ibrahim Iddouch, and pro surfer Ramzi Boukhiam. “The successful organization of previous European and Moroccan championships has emerged as key factors of success contributing to the leadership of Imourane surf club,” which seeks to promote its international reputation, according to the statement.Organizers added that the Agadir Open competition will sponsor international women’s surf and bodyboard competitions for the first time this year, hosted byWave Academy on the Agadir corniche.According to the press release, the events are also sponsored by Agadir’s Regional Council of Tourism and the Souss-Massa region. The Moroccan surf federation is encouraging the Imourane surf club to also host a European surfing competition for junior competitions.The Imourane Surf Club was founded in 2005, by local surfers and bodyboarder enthusiasts. Since then, the club has succeeded in helping surf lovers become national and international surf heroes.The club has previously organized several successful local and international surf events, including past editions of the Agadir Open. read more

Heavy Rain Thunderstorms in Morocco on Thursday and Friday

Rabat – The Directorate of National Meteorology (DMN) has warned of heavy rain, thunderstorms, and strong winds for Thursday and Friday throughout Morocco. DMN issued a special forecast indicating that between 30 and 50 millimeters of rain will fall on Thursday between 3:00 a.m. and noon in the following provinces:  Benslimane, Casablanca, Chefchaouen, El Hajeb, Fahs-Anjra, Kenitra, Khemisset, Larache, M’diq-Fnideq, Mediouna, Meknes, Mohammedia, Nouaceur, Ouezzane, Rabat, Sale, Sidi Kacem, Sidi Slimane, Skhirat-Temara, Tangier-Asilah, and Tetouan. The directorate also expects heavy rains on Thursday between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in Berkane, Figuig, Jerada, Oujda-Angad, and Taourirt. DMN predicted that relatively strong thunderstorms will hit Morocco from 5:00 p.m. Thursday to 3:00 a.m Friday in the following provinces: Benslimane, Berrechid, Casablanca, El Jadida, Kenitra, Khemisset, Mediouna, Mohammedia, Nouaceur, Rabat, Rehamna, Sale, Settat, Sidi Bennour, Sidi Slimane, and Skhirat-Temara.The rain will come with strong winds and hail in a few locations. read more

Case of cryptocurrency firm QuadrigaCX to return to a Halifax courtroom today

HALIFAX — The bizarre case involving the cryptocurrency firm QuadrigaCX is expected to return to a Halifax courtroom today.The Nova Scotia Supreme Court has been asked to determine which law firms will represent 115,000 QuadrigaCX clients, who are owed as much as $260 million in cash and cryptocurrency.The court-appointed monitor overseeing the search for the money said it recently found more than $900,000 in digital assets.However, Ernst and Young also revealed that someone at QuadrigaCX “inadvertently” shifted about half of those crypto-coins into a site that is now inaccessible to the company.The Vancouver-based exchange was shut down Jan. 28 after the sudden death of its CEO, 30-year-old Gerald Cotten.He led his five-year-old virtual business from a home north of Halifax.The Canadian Press read more

The Latest May Juncker to meet again on Brexit Wednesday

BERLIN — The Latest on the Brexit negotiations (all times local):12:25 p.m.British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker late Wednesday for a latest attempt to find a breakthrough in the stalled Brexit negotiations.EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas made the announcement Tuesday as the slated March 29 departure date for the United Kingdom to leave the EU draws ever closer.May has vowed that she will deliver the U.K. departure from the EU on time, but successive attempts to find a solution have been fruitless. She met with Juncker also earlier this month.___9:15 a.m.EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he can’t rule out that a delayed Brexit could mean the United Kingdom would participate in this spring’s European Parliament election.However, Juncker told German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung in an interview published Tuesday that such a scenario was “difficult to imagine,” saying it would be a “belated joke of history.”Britain is scheduled to withdraw from the European Union on March 29, but the U.K. government is trying to revisit a divorce deal agreed with the EU last year. Brussels is refusing to budge.Juncker told the Stuttgarter Zeitung it’s up to Britain to decide whether it wants to request a delay to the Brexit date, but that it should happen before the newly elected European Parliament gathers in early June.The election takes place May 23-26.The Associated Press read more

The top 10 audiobooks on Audiblecom

Audible.com bestsellers for week ending February 15:Fiction1. Killer by Nature: An Audible Original Drama by Jan Smith, narrated by Angela Griffin, Robert James-Collier, Katherine Kelly, Will Mellor & Thomas Turgoose (Audible Studios)2. Lucky Suit by Lauren Blakely, narrated by Zachary Webber & Andi Arndt (Audible Studios)3. Sovereign by Jeff Hirsch, narrated by Jesse Einstein (Audible Studios)4. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, narrated by the author (HarperAudio)5. Dodge & Twist: An Audible Original Drama by Tony Lee, narrated by Matt Lucas, Stephen Mangan, Michael Socha & Kara Tointon (Audible Studios)6. Mala by Melinda Lopez, narrated by the author (Audible Studios)7. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, narrated by Cassandra Campbell (Penguin Audio)8. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, narrated by Rosamund Pike (Audible Studios)9. The Others by Jeremy Robinson, narrated by R. C. Bray (Breakneck Media)10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 1 by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale (Pottermore Publishing)Nonfiction1. Folsom Untold: The Strange True Story of Johnny Cash’s Greatest Album: An Audible Original Drama by Danny Robins, narrated by the author (Audible Studios)2. Becoming by Michelle Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio)3. Morning Meditations for Daily Magic by MoveWith, narrated by Jeremy Falk (MoveWith)4. 21 Days of Meditation by Aaptiv, narrated by Jess Ray (Aaptiv)5. Take Control of Your Life: How to Silence Fear and Win the Mental Game by Mel Robbins, narrated by the author (Audible Studios)6. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins, narrated by the author & Adam Skolnick (Lioncrest Publishing)7. The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder by Charles Graeber, narrated by Will Collyer (Hachette Audio)8. Sleep Better by Aaptiv, narrated by Jade Alexis (Aaptiv)9. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover, narrated by Julia Whelan (Random House Audio)10. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, narrated by the author (Thomas Nelson Publishers)—–The Associated Press read more

Study Iberian Population Has Central European North African DNA

Rabat – Two studies of ancient DNA have shown that North Africans inhabited the Iberian Peninsula long before the Muslim conquest.The journal Current Biology published a study on the makeup of the Iberian population between 6,000 and 13,000 years ago. The journal Science published a second study on the origins of the population over the past 8,000 years.The studies proved the presence of North Africans in Iberia from the Bronze Age, when Iberia saw a dramatic genetic shift. Among the 271 ancient Iberians analyzed, researchers found many had DNA from central Europe, including one man buried in a central Spain Bronze Age site called Castillejo de Bonete. The DNA examination of the man’s 4,400-year-old skeleton showed it was from central Europe.They also found a 3,500-year-old skeleton of a local Iberian woman.Researchers discovered that one person buried between 2400 and 2000 B.C. had North African ancestry. After studying the DNA of a woman buried between 2000 and 1600 B.C., the researchers found that she had a North African grandparent. The results only confirm that the Iberian countries were home to migrants from Central Europe and North Africa. read more

Asian markets follow Wall Street higher

BEIJING — Asian markets followed Wall Street higher Tuesday as investors watched for Brexit developments and corporate earnings.Benchmarks in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul gained, while Tokyo and Sydney were little-changed. Southeast Asian markets also gained.On Wall Street, the benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 index eked out a 0.1% gain to extend its winning to streak to eight days, its longest in 18 months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended lower due to another big loss for Boeing Co.Investors looked ahead to developments in Britain’s contentious move toward leaving the European Union, a mid-week meeting by the European Central Bank and the release of minutes from the latest U.S. Federal Reserve meeting.British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to meet European leaders ahead of a Friday deadline for Britain to leave the European Union.British legislators have yet to agree to terms for the divorce from the trade bloc. Economists worry about the drag on the economy if the departure happens without that.“Moderate gains” are likely in Asian markets despite a lack of strong leads, helped by “benign updates from the event risks into the end of the week,” said Jingyi Pan of IG in a report.The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.1% to 3,249.20 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.3% to 30,169.32. Seoul’s Kospi added 0.4% to 2,219.63 and India’s Sensex advanced 0.2% to 38,761.45.Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was off 19 points at 21,780.23 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 shed 8 points to 6,212.80.Southeast Asian markets and Taiwan advanced while New Zealand declined.On Wall Street, the S&P rose to 2,895.77. It climbed to within 1.2% of its record in September. The Dow slipped 0.3% to 26,341.02, and the Nasdaq gained 0.2% to 7,953.88.Boeing slumped 4.4% after saying Friday that it will cut production of its 737 Max plane. Regulators around the world grounded that model after it was involved in two fatal crashes.EARNINGS SEASON: The latest quarterly earnings season is due to start with JPMorgan Chase and other big banks. Analysts are forecasting the first drop in S&P 500 profits in years. They expect corporate profit growth to resume after the weak first quarter.CHINA-US TRADE: China’s official news agency said talks in Washington last week “achieved new progress” but did not say when further discussions will happen. Beijing and Washington are trying to end a tariff war over Beijing’s technology ambitions that has shaken financial markets and darkened the world economic outlook.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 13 cents to $64.53 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract surged $1.32 on Monday to $64.40. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 13 cents to $64.53 per barrel in London. It rose 76 cents the previous session to $71.10.CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 111.35 yen from Monday’s 111.47 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1267 from $1.1264.Joe McDonald, The Associated Press read more

China has more weapons in US tariff war – but do they

BEIJING — Looking for ways to hit back at Washington as a tariff fight escalates, President Xi Jinping and his economy czar visited a Chinese factory that processes rare earths — exotic minerals used in electric cars, mobile phones and other technology.Rare earths are “an important strategic resource,” the official Xinhua News Agency cited Xi as saying.The message was clear: China’s role as the main global supplier of rare earths used in smartphones, lightweight magnets, batteries and other components is leverage over Washington. And China’s sway could extend much further into the U.S. technology sector, particularly to Apple and other companies that rely on Chinese manufacturing.Until now, Beijing has tried to look restrained in its fight with President Donald Trump over technology and trade. It has responded to U.S. tariff hikes by imposing penalties, but usually on a smaller number of American imports.As the two sides dig in for what may be a long fight, Xi’s visit suggested his government is looking for new ways to pressure Washington to settle. Investors are already fretting that Beijing will eventually try to limit, or even choke off, Apple’s iPhone production and sales in China. That threat has triggered an $80 billion loss in shareholder wealth so far this month.“There is rampant fear that Apple has a target on its back, and China is getting ready to fire,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said.While Beijing has an array of options for disrupting trade, they carry economic and political costs. And there is no guarantee they will work.China’s first retaliatory tariffs aimed to undermine Trump politically by targeting farm states that backed him in the 2016 election. Undeterred, Trump hiked duties on more Chinese imports. Then Beijing hit manufacturers, who lashed out. He pressed ahead.If they want results, Chinese leaders might need to hit him where it hurts, by depressing U.S. stock prices, said Derek Scissors, a China specialist at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.It isn’t clear how that can be done, Scissors said in an email, “but the president is sensitive to extended market weakness.” Apple’s vulnerability to stock-price declines most likely has not gone unnoticed in Beijing.___THE RARE-EARTH WEAPONAccompanied by his top economic adviser and lead trade envoy, Xi visited JL MAG Rare-Earth Co. Ltd. in the southern province of Jiangxi on Monday, according to reports that made no mention of the fight with Trump.Nationalists see China’s position as the biggest miner and processor of rare earths as a potent weapon in disputes with the United States, Japan and other governments.China has about 30 per cent of global deposits but accounts for almost all production. The United States, Australia and some other countries also have rare earths, which include 17 elements such as yttrium and scandium. But their output dwindled in the 1990s, when Beijing flooded global markets with low-cost supplies as it built up an industry to process ores and make lightweight magnets and other products.Now producers of electric cars, smartphones, solar power equipment and other technology rely on China for rare-earth components.In 2010, some people in the rare-earth industry said shipments to Japan were suspended after Tokyo detained a Chinese skipper who rammed Japanese Coast Guard boats in a disputed area of the East China Sea. Beijing denied it was curbing exports in retaliation.The skipper and his crew were released without charges, and nationalists began to view rare earths as a weapon.Still, supply disruptions might alienate customers and energize political pressure to expand rare earths production in the United States and other countries.___POISONING APPLEFew U.S. companies are more vulnerable to the trade war than Apple, which relies on Chinese factories to assemble the iPhones that generate most of its profits. It has also cultivated a loyal following in the country. China is now Apple’s third-largest market after the U.S. and Europe, accounting for 20% of its sales during its past fiscal year.Apple CEO Tim Cook has spent much of the past year straddling the diplomatic channels of both the U.S. and China. He has been to China multiple times over the last 18 months and had at least one meeting with Xi in October 2017 that also included Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He also has met with Trump several times, including at least one time 13 months ago when trade was a top topic, according to a tweet by the president.So far, the iPhone has not been hit by tariffs in either the U.S. or China.“Cook has been a master tactician so far,” Ives said.But the Trump administration’s decision to bar U.S. technology sales to Huawei, one of China’s leading brands, might finally put Apple in the crosshairs.In the most extreme scenario, China’s government could orchestrate raids of the factories assembling iPhones and other Apple products, or impose restrictions that throttle the company’s supply chain in the country.But China could suffer as well. Apple’s Chinese factories employ an estimated 1.4 million workers. In 2017, Apple estimated that its business was responsible for creating and supporting 4.8 million jobs in China, including people who work on apps made for the iPhone and iPad.Any direct assault on Apple would also probably discourage other U.S. companies and investors from putting more money into China, said Michael Hirson, who follows China for the Eurasia Group.“It doesn’t send a very good message if you go after Apple when its CEO has been an advocate for you,” Hirson said.The government could also covertly undermine Apple behind the scenes by encouraging consumer boycotts of the iPhone in favour of homegrown phones from Huawei and Xiaomi. There already have been signs of an Apple backlash in China; a big drop in iPhone sales in China late last year caused Apple to badly miss its financial forecasts for the crucial holiday shopping season.Analysts have estimated retaliatory action from China could trim Apple’s profit by 10 per cent to 20 per cent. That would translate into annual earnings decline of $6 billion to $12 billion, based on Apple’s profit of nearly $60 billion last year.___NEXT STEPSChina has billions of dollars of American imports on which it has yet to impose retaliatory tariffs, but going ahead with that would mean raising the cost of microchips and other technology or raw materials needed by industries Beijing is eager to promote.So far, Beijing has responded to Trump’s tariff hikes on $250 billion of Chinese imports by slapping penalties on $110 billion of American goods. Based on last year’s trade, that leaves about $45 billion. That includes semiconductors and other critical inputs needed by fledgling Chinese tech industries.Beyond tariffs, China can also retaliate through its regulators, who have already turned to disrupting some operations of U.S. companies in China by slowing down customs clearance for their goods or impeding the issuing of their licenses. But the heavily regulated economy gives them plenty of other ways to hurt companies.Taxe, safety, anti-monopoly, environmental and other investigations can tie up managers for months and lead to expensive fines or orders to suspend operations.Business groups say local officials, eager to attract investment, are assuring American companies they are welcome. But those groups also say they have warned member companies to be prepared for pressure from regulators.___Liedtke reported from San Francisco.Joe McDonald And Michael Liedtke, The Associated Press read more

Rival Indigenous bidder for the Trans Mountain pipeline cautiously welcomed

CALGARY — The British Columbia director for a First Nations consortium planning to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline says the emergence of a rival Alberta Indigenous bidder raises concerns about weakening his group’s all-inclusive bid.But Shane Gottfriedson of Project Reconciliation says he welcomes the interest and competition from Iron Coalition, an Alberta-based organization co-chaired by Chief Tony Alexis of Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, which is to announce details of its intended bid today.Iron Coalition says it is the only Alberta group mandated by the Assembly of Treaty Chiefs to pursue the stake and is inviting all First Nations and Metis communities in the province to join in.Gottfriedson, a former chief of the Tk’Emlups te Secwepemc First Nation and a former B.C. regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations, says Project Reconciliation’s business model is more “inclusive” because it wants to enlist Indigenous groups from B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan in its $6.8-billion bid for a 51 per cent stake in the pipeline project.Finance Minister Bill Morneau has said the federal government won’t negotiate the sale of the pipeline it bought for $4.5 billion last summer until after construction of its proposed expansion is “de-risked,” without saying what that means. The CBC reported he met with Iron Coalition in March.The government is to make a final decision on whether the delayed expansion can proceed by June 18.“For me, it’s good for them (Iron Coalition). I think we knew going in it would be a competitive field to be involved in,” said Gottfriedson.“At the end of the day, the No. 1 goal is to get the product to the market.”The Canadian Press read more

UN urges Nepal to tackle impunity for sexual crimes committed during conflict

The call made by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-N) comes just days after the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at ending sexual violence in situations of conflict.The resolution demands that all parties immediate stop sexual violence against civilians and begin taking measures, from the training of troops and upholding of military discipline procedures, to protect women and girls.It adds that sexual violence crimes should be excluded from amnesties reached at the end of conflicts, and calls on States to also strengthen their judicial and health-care systems to provide better assistance to victims of violence.“This resolution has important implications for Nepal, where the full extent and impact of sexual violence during the decade-long conflict is not yet known, and where the Government is in the process of designing transitional justice mechanisms,” the Office said in a news release.It has found that survivors face a number of difficulties when speaking up about these crimes, including a lack of medical, legal and psycho-social assistance available for the victims and lack of access to justice. “The authorities have often been reluctant to pursue investigations, or even to accept the lodging of a first information report (FIR), particularly in cases where security force personnel are implicated,” the Office stated.As such, the Council’s resolution “serves as a timely reminder to the Government ofNepal to include the issue of sexual violence when establishing the framework of mechanisms to deliver transitional justice,” it added.The authorities are encouraged to protect and promote the rights of women and increase support for victims of sexual violence, as well as make greater efforts to change the attitudes in society that result in stigmatization of victims. An estimated 13,000 people lost their lives in the country’s civil war which ended with the signing of a peace accord between the Government and Maoist rebels in 2006. 24 June 2008The United Nations human rights office in Nepal has urged the Government to do more to punish perpetrators of sexual crimes committed during the country’s decade-long armed conflict and to support the rights of victims. read more

UN helping Philippines tackle firstever Ebola outbreak in pigs

23 December 2008The Philippine Government has asked the United Nations for help in tackling what appears to be the first publicly reported outbreak of the deadly Ebola-Reston virus in pigs, which has attacked hog farms in the South-East Asian nation. Philippine officials have asked two UN agencies – the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – as well as the World Organization for Human Health (OIE) to send an expert mission to investigate the outbreak, FAO announced today. “Since being informed of this event in late November, FAO, OIE and WHO have been making every effort to gain a better understanding of the situation and are working closely with the Philippine Government and local animal and human health experts,” FAO said in a news release. The experts are conducting field and laboratory tests to find the source of the virus, its transmission, natural habitat and virulence in order to appropriately guide animal and human health protection, according to FAO.Lab reports in late October confirmed that pigs on hog farms in the Nueva Ecija and Bulacan provinces of the Central Luzon region were infected with the Ebola-Reston virus, as well as a highly virulent strain of Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). The tests began in early 2007 when pigs on those farms began dying at a faster rate than usual.PRSS can not be transmitted to humans. The Reston strain of the Ebola virus can infect humans, but no deaths or serious illnesses have been reported to date. Still, officials are taking precautions. Animal handlers and slaughterhouse workers who were possibly exposed to the infected pigs have tested negative for the Ebola-Reston virus and additional tests are underway. The Philippine Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry notified the OIE that all infected animals were destroyed, their remains buried or burned. Healthy pigs in Bucalan are being vaccinated against PRRS. And infected premises have been disinfected and placed under strict quarantine and movement control.Outbreaks of the Ebola-Reston virus in the Philippines first occurred in monkeys during 1989 and 1990, followed by outbreaks in 1992 and 1996.FAO and WHO have advised people to follow good hygiene practices and food-handling measures until experts better understand the disease and how it was transmitted to pigs. Pork from healthy swine is safe to eat as long as it is cooked properly or has met national safety standards during production, processing and distribution. The Philippine Department of Agriculture has advised the Philippine public to buy meat only from sources certified by the National Meat Inspection Service. read more

Côte dIvoire UN helps ease former fighters return to civilian life

6 February 2009The United Nations is helping former combatants and members of self-defence forces to ease back into civilian life in Côte d’Ivoire, which has been divided since 2002 between the Government-held south and opposition-dominated north. The six-month initiative will offer vocational training and assistance for some 1,300 people and set up over 1,000 micro-credit projects, such as cattle farming and retailing activities.Funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, it is a joint scheme of the UN peacekeeping operation in the West African nation (UNOCI), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the non-governmental organization International Office for Migration (IOM).So far, around 10,000 former fighters have been disarmed in Côte d’Ivoire, with an additional 35,000 combatants and 20,000 self-defence group members waiting to be reintegrated. Some 9,000 ex-fighters will be integrated into the army and national police force.Demobilization and reintegration of ex-fighters is an important part of the 2007 Ouagadougou Agreement, the political accord reached in neighbouring Burkina Faso that aims to reconcile the Government and the rebel Forces Nouvelles. read more

Drum beats mark UN remembrance of slave trade

“Break the Silence, Beat the Drum” brought together artists from Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, the Caribbean and the United States, as well as students, diplomats and UN officials, to launch a series of events to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.Designated by the General Assembly in 2007, the Day honours the millions of Africans violently removed from their homelands and cast into slavery. It is estimated that up to 28 million men, women and children were taken from Africa from the 16th to 19th centuries and shipped across the notorious “Middle Passage” of the Atlantic – mainly to colonies in North America, South America and the West Indies.Addressing the event, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that that the elevation this year of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States marks a milestone in the 400-year struggle of the descendants of African slaves for justice, assimilation and respect. He said that although slavery was abolished, the people of African descent around the world must still fight daily against entrenched prejudice that keeps them disproportionately in poverty. In addition, racism and contemporary forms of slavery continue to pollute the world. “It is essential that we speak out loud and clear against such abuses,” he stressed. Last night Mr. Ban launched an exhibit of drums sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Cameroon, in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union, highlighting the significance of drums throughout the slave trade and beyond, from Africa to the Americas. “We must beat the drum to proclaim that whatever our colour, whatever our gender, we are one people, with one common future,” he declared at the opening of the exhibit.As part of the commemoration, Emmy Award-winning musician Peter Buffet and hip-hop star Akon will debut a new song, “Blood into Gold,” at a star-studded concert this evening in the General Assembly Hall, produced by the not-for-profit group Culture Project.“We are delighted that many artists and celebrities have accepted to add their names and voices to this event,” Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka, told a news conference prior to the performance.“Tonight’s performers represent many countries where the slave route either originated or ended, that is from Africa to the Caribbean and the Americas,” he noted of the event, which will bring together over 30 artists ranging from musicians Salif Keita and the Blind Boys from Alabama to actors Whoopi Goldberg and Phylicia Rashad. “I love it when we all come together with all generations, all genres, all countries to create and ignite a positive spark on today’s generation,” Akon told reporters. “I think that it’s very important that we continue to do things like this that kind of reminds us of where we came from and how far we’ve come.” Peter Buffet added that “commemoration is critical, otherwise we’ll forget.” And while the Day celebrates the end of slavery, it is important to keep in mind that modern forms of the scourge, such as human trafficking, continue today, he noted. 25 March 2009The powerful sounds of musicians, drummers and steel bands echoed through the United Nations complex in New York today in a celebration of the world’s common humanity and in commemoration of the victims of the African slave trade. read more