Grande Prairie Mounties still investigating disappearance of 33 yearold woman nine years

first_imgGRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The Grande Prairie RCMP say they’re still investigating the disappearance of a woman nine years ago, and are hoping members of the public might have more information about the case.It was nine years ago Thursday when Jody Hockett was last seen in Grande Prairie. Hockett was last seen entering a white vehicle outside of the York Hotel on February 22, 2009.Hockett is described as Caucasian, standing 5’5” tall, with blue eyes and dyed strawberry blonde hair. When she was last seen she was wearing jeans, a tank top, a black zip-up hooded sweatshirt, and high heeled shoes with fur on them. Hockett was 33 years old at the time of her disappearance. She may also be known by the names “Jody Smith”, “Jodi” or “Jessie”.After years of searching for her, Jody’s family is looking for closure. Police say they are continuing to actively investigate all leads, and urge anyone with any information about Jody Hockett’s disappearance to contact Grande Prairie RCMP Detachment at 780-830-5700. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1.800.222.8477 (TIPS).Photo supplied by RCMPlast_img read more

ELC student helping to raise awareness about the importance of pollination

first_imgPimm also made a presentation to City Council on June 11th and got the City to proclaim the week of June 18th – 24th and Pollinator Awareness Week in Fort St. John. As part of the awareness week, she said that several local businesses including Baked Pastry and Bakeshop, Whole Wheat & Honey Café, and the Fort St. John Library will also be offering bee-related products and educating their clientele about the importance of the fuzzy winged creatures.As for which bee is her favourite, Pimm said it’s a tie between the honeybee and the bumblebee.“I like the honeybee because it’s most well-known for making honey, and I like the bumblebee because it’s so fluffy and big. It’s not supposed to fly, but its wings are just so strong that they can hold them up.” FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A student at the Energetic Learning Campus in Fort St. John is looking to do good for the community by helping to raise the public’s awareness about the importance of pollinators in our lives.Grade 10 student Meghan Pimm said she decided to do something that would involve bees for her ELC Community Project this year. ShePimm said that as part of her project, she went to Robert Ogilvie Elementary and spoke to some of the school’s students in Grades 1 and 3 about the important role that bees play in where our food comes from, before helping the students plant fruits and vegetables. She also approached local stores selling pesticides and got permission to put up signs informing customers of the detrimental effects pesticides have on bee colonies.last_img read more

City looking at future options for water as the community grows

first_imgCity Staff will continue with community consultation before Council makes a final decision.  Staff will also look at grants to help some of the expected costs. The report said the City’s current wells located along the banks of the Peace River are slowly losing capacity and have higher operational costs than originally forecasted twenty years ago. Conservation measures that have taken place over the years such as metering and water efficient toilets have helped save a lot of years of having to build new infrastructure.The current system does already rely on dipping into storage which is “a little Risky,” said Peter Coxon of Urban Systems. ‘This water should be held in reserves for fire or emergency.”Further conservation measures could be implemented including possible water restrictions during the summer.  A new industrial water reuse facility is also being built.  The City received $5 million in grant money for the project, which should be completed in October of 2019.Additional ways to improve or rebuild ways to collect water were presented in the plan. These included upgrading the current water source to looking at other water sources in the area such as Site C. All options presented came with their own sets of challenges yet in terms of Source Option Comparison chart the most favourable option would be a horizontal collection well. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The current water system works hard to meet the City’s needs and will struggle as consumption and water demands grow.At the Committee of the Whole meeting, the ‘Long-Term Water Supply Plan’ was presented to Council by Peter Coxon of Urban Systems and Victor Shopland, General Manager of Integrated Services. The presentation outlined the current infrastructure, water use, projections, goals and future supply.Current water pumps are getting tired and work that has been done previously to upgrade never brought them back to peak capacity.  Victor Shopland, General Manager of Integrated Services, said, “There is less than a week of treated water in case something happens,” In regards to the holding tanks of reserved water. On average 410 litres of water are consumed per person per day in the City of Fort St. John.last_img read more

Supreme Court denies report that two judges met Justice Bobde

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court denied on Sunday a media report that said justices RF Nariman and DY Chandrachud met Justice SA Bobde who is heading an in-house committee inquiring into the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.A statement from the apex court said “this is wholly incorrect” that the two judges met justice Bobde on Friday evening. The statement, which has been issued from the office of the Supreme Court’s secretary general, said that it is most unfortunate that a leading newspaper chose to state that the two judges met Justice Bobde. Further, the statement said that the in-house committee which is deliberating on the issue concerning the CJI deliberates on its own without any input from any other judge of the apex court. A report in a leading newspaper Sunday stated that justices Nariman and Chandrachud had met Justice Bobde and had expressed their view that the three-member committee should not go ahead with the proceeding ex parte. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange frameworkThe former woman employee of the apex court, who has levelled the sexual harassment allegations, has opted herself out from participating in the enquiry raising several grievances, including the denial of permission to have her lawyer during the proceedings. The newspaper has stated that justices Nariman and Chandrachud had suggested for the appointment of an advocate as an amicus curiae for assisting the in-house committee. Besides Justice Bobde, other members in the committee are two women judges of the apex court – justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee.last_img read more

Odisha pegs cyclone Fani loss at 12K cr seeks relaxation norms

first_imgBhubaneswar: Seeking a relaxation in disaster assistance norms, the Odisha government on Wednesday estimated a tentative loss of Rs 12,000 crore due to cyclone Fani that killed at least 64 people and damaged more than 5 lakh dwelling units in the state’s coastal districts.The state government, which has launched a massive restoration work in the cyclone-ravaged areas, in a preliminary report to a visiting inter-ministerial team, said an initial assessment has put the overall loss at approximately Rs 12,000 crore. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghWhile the loss to public properties was to the tune of Rs 5,175 crore, expenditure towards relief and response stands at Rs 6,767.56 crore, the report said. “We have submitted a tentative loss figure to the central team. This amount may increase as the officials will undertake door-to-door survey to access the actual loss caused by the cyclone. The government will prepare a full report on the loss after the completion of the detailed survey,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) B P Sethi said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadIn its preliminary report, the state government has estimated the highest loss in the power sector at Rs 1,160 crore, while the loss in the panchayati raj and the drinking water department stands at Rs 587 crore. “The loss shown in the preliminary report is purely tentative. It will go up as we get a detailed report,” Chief Secretary A P Padhi said after a meeting with the central team, which wrapped up its three-day visit to the cyclone-hit areas. Stating that there has been huge losses to public and private infrastructure in the calamity, Padhi said, “We have urged the central team to consider revising the norms of the NDRF and the SDRF so that the loss in the power sector can be covered.” Padhi said while the NDRF and SDRF norms include assistance for loss due to the damage of 220 KV, 132 KV, 33 KV, 11 KV and low tension power supply, there was no provision for losses in the high tension (HT) power supply. As many as 75 towers have been uprooted by the high velocity winds in Puri district alone and a huge investment is required to make them operational. Vivek Bharadwaj, Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry, who is heading the team, said: “There has been massive destruction to houses, hotels and livelihood means of the affected people. Puri has been severely hit in the cyclone.” Noting that the central government has been assisting the cyclone-ravaged state and will continue to do so in restoration and rehabilitation works, Bharadwaj said there is a need to further strengthen the MGNREGA scheme in order to provide livelihood means to the affected people. He said there has been a substantial loss to betel vines and coconut plantations. “Keeping in view the gravity of the devastation, the Odisha government’s action in providing relief and other assistance to the affected people is praiseworthy,” Bharadwaj said, adding that people have been provided with relief immediately after the cyclone. “The people have been given rice, cash and tarpaulin sheets,” he said. The 11-member central team visited some of the worst-affected areas in Puri, Khurda and Cuttack districts, besides the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) region, during its visit.last_img read more

Undocumented migrants face tough time inside Libyas detention system

first_imgTRIPOLI – Since the fall of Gadhafi, African migrants mainly from Chad, Niger and Mali have been flocking to Libya hoping to get work or a boat to Italy. AA reporter Assed Baig goes to detention centres in Tripoli to meet some of them.Armed men guard the entrance of the zoo in Tripoli, some are dressed in military fatigues, whilst others stand around smoking. Beyond the windy road lies a ‘detention centre’ run by a former militia that now works under the Interior Ministry. The area around the gates of the zoo still has some of its former lustre, designed to attract Libyans to its once scenic grounds.The militia were initially charged with zookeeping, but as the problems in Libya multiplied, so have their responsibilities. They are now charged with dealing with migrants and comb the streets of Tripoli looking for migrants without valid visas or documentation. Commander Said Gars Alaha sits on an old sofa placed in the shade, outside the door to the facility. A small table in front of him, he has a file and an empty cup sitting next to it. Inside, migrants are lined up against the wall.  Uniformed men wearing medical facemasks inspect any documentation the migrants may have whilst asking them questions. Gars Alaha wears a blue uniform with military style black boots.  He has a neatly kept short grey beard and welcomes us warmly.  He is keen to point out that this is a processing facility and that migrants are not kept here for more than 72 hours.“This is not a prison”, he points out to me.None of the guards inside seem to be carrying guns. He tells me that he is upset at foreign journalists twisting the story and making it seem like migrants are being kept with animals.“I am happy for you to look around, as long as you tell the truth,” says Alaha.There are various pick-up trucks and police cars parked around the grounds, including a minibus with caged windows. I am told that this is for transporting migrants to another facility.Inside, the migrants line up, most are Black Africans.  Abdullah, the guard, inspects their passports.  None of the men have a valid entry stamp.  Some do not have passports.  27-year-old Fafuna Musa from Mali, tells me that he came to Libya to feed his family, “I just want to earn money and go home to my family”.  This is a common story told here.  Migrants are unlikely to admit that they will attempt to journey further to Italy.   Most end up working in Libya trying to earn money to feed themselves and their families back home.  Some save up to take the dangerous journey by boat to Italy.   During Gadhafi’s regime numbers of African migrants from Libya were stemmed as Gaddafi asked for money from European countries to prevent a ‘Black Europe’.  Since his fall the levels have increase as lack of security allows smugglers more freedom to operate.The migrants look tired.  Their clothes are ripped and some do not have any shoes.  Most have travelled the desert to get to Libya, a journey that can take up to a month depending on where they are coming from.  Some have travelled from as far-a-field as Nigeria.There is dust and dirt all over their clothes.  Some of these men work on construction sites.  The youngest is 18 years old.Fafuna looks over 50 but tells me he is only 27.  I question him further, and he responds by saying, “Anna miskeen,” meaning “I’m poor” in Arabic.  The guard says the story is always the same and replies, “ I know that all of you are ‘miskeen’.”Some of the migrants are cut and are bleeding.  The guard is quick to tell me that the wounds were caused when the migrants ran from the police.  I ask the migrants to make sure that this is true; they confirm the guard’s version of events.Badara is another detainee, he works in a restaurant and is using his mobile phone to call his boss.  He says that his boss has his paperwork and passes the phone over to the guard so that he can speak to the restaurant owner.  A look of desperation runs across his face as he hopes that his boss will be able to secure his release.  Many businesses in Libya rely on migrant labour.  It is cheap and as in countless other countries Libyan’s sometimes do not want to do the jobs that migrants are prepared to do.I am led through the facility and I spot some blood on the floor.  Again Abdullah is quick to point out to me where the blood has come from.  They have come very aware of the negative publicity that this facility has received recently.Outside in the courtyard Egyptians and Tunisians are queuing at a door to a small room.  Their blood will be tested for any diseases, Abdullah tells me, specifically for HIV and Hepatitis. We are then taken to one of the main detention rooms.  The guard signals for the men to stand up and come to the front.   I stop him; I don’t want orchestrated pictures for the benefit of the media.  He opens the padlock to the iron barred room. I take pictures of young men as they sit on the floor of the room.There are two mats on the floor and I count 12 detainees.  My guide points out to me that they have two air-conditioned rooms, a toilet and bottled drinking water, but this room is not particularly clean.  The men are ushered out and back through to the main hall leading to the entrance, where the get into a van to be taken to another detention facility to which we do not have access.   The commander assures me that those that do not have valid visas, documentation or passports will be repatriated to their countries of origin.Earlier this year Amnesty International said that refugees, asylum seekers and migrants were being held in ‘deplorable conditions’ in Libya.  The human rights organisation visited seven “holding centres” in April and May this year.  Amnesty international said they found “evidence of ill-treatment, in some cases amounting to torture”.  The organisation also said that many foreign nationals were being held in Libya and were subjected to “arbitrary arrests and held for long periods in deplorable conditions at immigration detention facilities described by the Libyan authorities as “holding centres”, with no immediate prospect of release or redress in sight.”We have had no problem accessing this facility, but there are others detention centres and prisons that we do not have access to.  We spoke to a former prisoner of a facility in Khums to the east of Tripoli. He alleged that routine beatings and sexual assault were a common practice.  One detainee told Anadolu, on condition of anonymity, that women were forced to have sex with guards in exchange for their release.However, in this detention centre the guards and commander are keen to point out what they consider to be good treatment of the detainees.   We did not see any of the guards shout or use force whilst we were there.“They eat what we eat,” Gars tells me, referring to the sandwiches and they ate.  “We have women to take care of and check the women.  We do not treat people badly,” he adds.We also visited a detention facility in Sabha, the largest city in the south of the country and usually the first city that migrants arrive in when entering Libya. Although we were allowed on to the facility, we were not permitted to see where the detainees were being kept.  According to the Deputy Commander Al-Medani Muhammed Al-Zarouq there are 600 undocumented migrants being kept at the facility.  A local resident of the city who has seen the facilities told me they were very dirty and difficult to enter because of the smell.  This could be why I was refused entry to see the migrant’s living conditions, 600 people enclosed in a small building, not allowed to leave, in the hot conditions of Libya, is bound to result in terrible conditions.  There was no mention of air-conditioning at the Sabha facility.I was told that the migrants are divided into nationalities and that the majority of are from Niger, Chad and Mali.“We cannot send some migrants back to their countries, like those from Somalia and Eriteria, as they are refugees,” says Al-Zarouq.The undocumented migrants from Niger are sent back to their country in trucks, paid for by the interior ministry he tells me.  I am shown the kitchen of the facility, but am not permitted to take any pictures or speak to the migrants working there.  It seems clean.  There are crates full of freshly cooked packed lunches.  Al-Zarouq opens one for me, pointing out that he, the guards, and the detainees all eat the same food.  Each little box has macaroni and a piece of chicken in it, and I can still see the steam rising from the food.   The rest of the facility seems to be undergoing some renovation.  There are two armed guards standing around, the majority of whom are unarmed.There are many detention centres and prisons spread across Libya.  The number of detainees is unknown at the moment as numbers fluctuate as people are released, repatriated or transferred to other facilities.  Undocumented migrants that are captured face a long detention, repatriation and in some cases physical abuse.  The future of Libya’s prisons and detention centres is uncertain until the government manages to bring everything under control and conform to international standards of transparency and access.As I leave the detention centre in Tripoli I can see some of the migrants praying their noon prayer. They sit on the prayer mats long after their Libyan counterparts have finished praying. Their hands are raised in supplication towards the sky. Their heads tipped down like wilted flowers, they pray for relief, for a way out of this detention centre, for their loved ones at home, and for a miracle. MARCO LONGARI/AFP/GETTY IMAGESlast_img read more

Marrakech King Mohammed VI Launches LargeScale Railway Projects

first_imgMarrakech – The railway line linking Casablanca and Marrakech has been strengthened thanks to several projects launched by King Mohammed VI, and which aim to provide this major route with modern infrastructure to help it accommodate substantial traffic flow in safety and comfort.The Sovereign launched on Friday several projects aimed at upgrading the Settat -Marrakech route (2nd phase) and developing the railway station of Marrakech, as part of the (2010 -2015) contract program signed between the State and the National Railways Office (ONCF).The 5 billion-dirham projects illustrate, once more, the high interest of the King in developing the transport sector, considered key for local development, economic activity, and the well-being of the population. The second phase of the development project of the Settat-Marrakesh line includes track doubling of the entire existing railway (140 km), the construction of the platform and two 350-long viaducts, laying equipment (track and catenary), and enhancing electrical sub-stations.This project, which cost a sum of MAD 1.8 billion, will help meet the growing demand for passenger and freight transport, ensure better and regular railway traffic flow.Travel time is expected to decrease by 45 minutes between Marrakech and Casablanca, and daily offer will be gradually expanded to 60 trains in the medium term against 18 currently.The project will also serve the future logistics platforms of Sidi Ghanem and Sidi Bouathmane.This project whose first phase (600 million dirhams) was launched in November 2012 by the King, was completed in December 2013, and will contribute to the  creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs during the construction period, and hundreds of permanent jobs by 2017.As for the urban development project of the railway station of Marrakech, it is part of the stations revamping master plan implemented in various cities in the Kingdom.Spanning over 39 hectares, this project provides for the construction of a new multi-purpose urban center, including a residential area, commercial compounds, hotels, offices and parks.Worth some MAD 3 billion, this project will be carried out through the relocation of industrial activities (freight and maintenance) to the sites of Sidi Ghanem and Bouathmane. The project will be ready by 2022.last_img read more

Sisi meets Egypt army brass to quit ahead of poll report

first_imgCAIRO – Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi Wednesday called a meeting of the military’s top council to tender his resignation ahead of a likely presidential bid, state media reported.Sisi’s aides have said the field marshal, who toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July, will contest elections due before the summer.Sisi gathered his belongings in his defence ministry office before starting the meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, the official newspaper Al-Ahram reported on its website. A senior military officer confirmed to AFP that Sisi would resign on Wednesday.The wildly popular field marshal, who is also defence minister, must resign from the army before standing in the election, which he is expected to win.last_img

Kétlyne and Karen Ghebbari FrenchMoroccan Figure Skating Champions

Rabat – Since their early childhood, Kétlyne and Karen Ghebbari, two French-Moroccan sisters, have been amazed by figure skating, the magnificent ice sport.At seven and four years old, respectively, Kétlyne and Karen spent their time figure skating, performing moves and tricks; toe jumps, edge jumps, rotations in the air, loops, and axels.Originally from Morocco, the two champion sisters have already performed across their home country (Morocco), where they won the Moroccan Novice Championship of Figure Skating, organized last May by the Moroccan Association for Ice Sports. In 2011, Kétlyne won the World Figure Skating Champions League and the 2011 International Competition of Figure Skating “Rooster Cup.” Every day after school, Kétlyne and Karen go to their club to practice. The two sisters exercise fifteen hours a week, except for the weekend, which is devoted to their homework. The two sisters say that they do not have time to do other things; they devote all their time to figure skating.Further, the two champions said that for the sake of enhancing their skills, they moved from Valence (France) to Colmar, constantly seeking better coaches.Proud of their Moroccan origins, the two sisters are now aiming to participate in the 2016 Figure Skating World Championship in Austria and win the title for Morocco. Kétlyne and Karen also hope to participate in the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea.“I want develop this sport in Morocco, and I would like one day to participate in the Olympic Games and in the World’s Champions under the colors of my country of origin,” Karen told France 3 Channel.“I am very proud to be Moroccan, and to be French also,” she added. read more

16Yearold Hind Jamili Canoeing Champion to Represent Morocco in Rio de

Rabat – Canoeing gold medalist Hind Jamili will represent Morocco at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.The 16-year-old female athlete will be the youngest competitor in the canoeing category at Rio 2016, according to Telquel news website.Hind Jamili qualified to the Olympics after her performance at the 2015 African Canoe Slalom Championships in Nairobi last November. She won gold and silver medals at the African Championship in Kenya, which qualified her after finishing 3.27 seconds ahead of her compatriot Celia Jodar, the Olympic Qualifiers website noted.“I saw my coach coming toward me and he jumped in my arms and he said ‘we succeeded’ (…) I called my parents and I knew I was going to the Olympics,” Jamili revealed during a televised interview on 2M.Hind was born in Oyonnax in the Rhône-Alpes region in France. Her mother is from Tangier and her father, from the Kabyle region, in Algeria.“Morocco is my country, I am proud to wear its colors, red and green,” the young athlete said.According to the same source, her coach, David Ikra expressed his joy to coach the Moroccan champion, and praised all the support she receives from everyone.“I am happy to accompany her on this adventure, everyone follows her, her parents, her family, her school, her country; all this is perfect,” Ikra said.Preparing for the Olympics is a unique opportunity for any athlete, yet challenging when combined with a full-time school schedule. Hind is still studying in high school and she will not be able to pass her baccalaureate in 2016, the same source noted.Jamili’s school principal has created a special school-year calendar for her, which will give her more time and allow her to take two years instead of one to finish high school.The canoeing champion will reportedly train for the Olympic Games in France, before going to Rio de Janeiro for final intensive training ahead of the competition.Jamili’s 17th birthday will be an unforgettable day for the Moroccan teenager, for it will coincide with Rio 2016’s opening day on August 5. read more

Foreign Currency Reserves Morocco Near MAD 253 Billion

Rabat – Net international reserves amounted to MAD 252.9 billion as of February 17, an increase of 7.5 percent year-on-year, according to Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) numbers. From one week to the next, these reserves increased by 0.1 percent, says BAM, which has just published its weekly indicators. The bank noted that during the week of February 9-15, the dirham appreciated by 0.53 percent against the euro and depreciated by 0.79 percent against the dollar, according to BAM . During the week of February 16-22, the total amount of Bank Al-Maghrib’s interventions amounted to MAD 13.5 billion, of which 9 billion were injected as 7-day advances through a call for tenders. An amount of MAD 4.5 billion was granted under the support program for the financing of small and medium businesses. According to the BAM, during this period, the interbank rate remained unchanged at 2.25 percent and the volume of trade stabilized at MAD 3.8 billion.On the stock markets, the MASI depreciated by 2.7 percent, BAM explains this evolution mainly by the decrease of the sectoral indices “Banks” by 3.4 percent, telecommunications by 4.8 percent, construction materials by 0.9 percent and real estate by 1.8 percent.As for transactions, they amounted to MAD 663.9 million after MAD 789 million registered a week before.In the central market, the average daily exchange amount was at MAD 128.5 million instead of 136.1 million a week earlier.On a year-on-year basis, the pace of growth of the M3 aggregate declined by 5 percent from 5.2 percent in November 2016. This trend mainly reflects an increase in the fall of deposits to 4.5 percent, after the 1.7 percent rise in the previous month and a deceleration of growth by 6.7 percent in banks demand deposits.On the other hand, net claims on central government saw their decline stop at 1.9 percent after 6.8 percent in November, while net international reserves increased by 12.1 percent instead of 13.1 percent. read more

Suspects lawyer offers condolences at Tunisia terror trial

TUNIS, Tunisia — A lawyer for suspects in the 2015 attack that killed 38 people in a popular Tunisian resort has offered condolences to the victims’ families.Twenty-one suspects, who have all denied any direct role in the attack, attended Friday’s final hearing in the trial. The court will adjourn and the deliberation will last at least 10 hours before a verdict is reached.On June 26, 2015, in the coastal city of Sousse, attacker Aymen Rezgui walked onto the beach of the Imperial Hotel and used an assault rifle to shoot at tourists, then continued onto the hotel pool before throwing a grenade into the hotel.Rezgui was killed about 15 minutes later by police.The Associated Press

European Central Bank holds rates as uncertainties grow

FRANKFURT — The European Central Bank has left its policy promises and interest rates unchanged as it weighs looming risks to the economy from Brexit and trade disputes.The bank, the chief monetary authority for the 19 European Union countries that use the euro as their currency, is facing a conundrum: sagging trade and manufacturing are slowing the economy, though an improving jobs market is propping it up.The ECB has joined the U.S. Federal Reserve in pausing the withdrawal of stimulus measures deployed over a decade to bounce back from the global financial crisis, as central bankers around the world ponder which way the economy is headed. The Fed has already started raising rates but has backed off plans for further rate increases in 2019.The ECB’s 25-member governing council was content to stand pat on Thursday, making no changes to its short policy statement. The bank took several steps to support the economy on March 7. Those including extending the date for the earliest interest rate increase to the end of the year and a promise of a new round of cheap loans for banks to help boost their ability to lend to businesses and support growth.Analysts are waiting to hear ECB President Mario Draghi speak at a post-meeting news conference, searching for hints about whether the bank will add more supportive steps in coming months.Some analysts think the bank may eventually push back the earliest date for a first interest rate increase, which currently is not before the end of this year.The bank could also take steps to ease the side effects from its negative rate on deposits it takes from banks. The rate is currently at minus 0.4%, a penalty aimed at discouraging banks from leaving unused funds piled up at the central bank and to take the risk of lending the money instead. Draghi said on March 27 that the bank was looking at ways to mitigate the side effects on bank finances of that particular stimulus measure, but did not accept that the negative rate inevitably hurts bank profits.One way to ease the pain for banks would be to apply the negative rate only to deposits over a certain level. That could help avoid spooking markets by raising the negative rate outright at a time when the ECB is trying to reassure markets that it is not going to prematurely withdraw stimulus at a time of heightened uncertainty.The European economy slowed at the end of last year, held back by weakness in Germany due to troubles in the auto industry and low river levels that blocked transport and hurt production. Several economists see things improving this year — if trade and Brexit risks do not hurt growth. The European Commission forecasts growth of 1.3% for all of 2019. Unemployment is down to 7.8% from a peak of 12.1% in 2013, helping domestic demand for goods and services.Threats to the eurozone were underlined Tuesday when the International Monetary Fund cut its forecast for global growth this year to 3.3% from 3.5%.Slowing trade is a factor. Business confidence has been hurt by uncertainty over whether the US and China will settle their trade disputes or add more tariffs on goods.Another key risk is whether Britain will make a messy exit from the European Union without approval on a withdrawal deal to smooth the process. That could disrupt flows of parts and goods. European leaders were due to meet Wednesday to discuss a possible extension to Britain’s departure, currently slated for 11 p.m. British time on Friday if no extension is agreed.David McHugh, The Associated Press read more

Real Estate Prices Increase in Major Moroccan Cities Steady in Other

Rabat – In 2018, the Moroccan real estate market saw a 4.8% increase in the number of transactions and stagnation of prices overall, according to the annual report of Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM).The residential assets sales increased by 3.3%, while land prices jumped by 8.7%, and those of assets for professional use by 9.6%. Prices remained steady for all three categories, said the report presented Monday, August 19, in Tetouan, before King Mohammed VI, by BAM governor Abdellatif Jouahri.Real estate prices in Marrakech fell by 5.3%– the largest decline since the introduction of the price index in 2006. Residential assets also fell by 2.5%, land by 7.2%, and assets for professional use by 1.4%. The number of transactions showed a downward trend which started in 2015, falling by 15.7%. All three categories recorded a decrease of 19.9%, 0.9%, and 37.6% respectively.In Casablanca, real estate prices increased by 1.3% overall, by 1.5% for residential, and 0.9% for land, while professional property depreciated by 1.2%.Read also: Bank Al-Maghrib Says Morocco’s Economic Risks ‘Generally Moderate’Real estate transactions in Casablanca declined by 3%. The decline was due to the 6.6% drop in residential sales. Land and business property transactions, however, increased by 8.6% and 16.7% respectively. In Tangier, both prices and transactions improved with a rise of 16.3% in residential sales and 1.8% in prices. In Rabat, prices rose by 3.6% after falling by 1.1% in 2017. There was a decline of 3.8% for residential, 8.5% for land, and 1% for professional use properties. Sales increased by 26.1% for residential and 25.8% for real estate, while those for professional property fell by 4.8%. read more

Should it stay or go Clearing out financial paperwork

Spring cleaning — it’s not just for closets and windows.Paperwork is one of the easiest areas to let a mess build and one of the more challenging categories to tackle. That’s in part because it’s difficult to make a lot of decisions. And the stakes feel higher when it comes to financial documents, said Gretchen Rubin, a happiness expert and author of a new book Outer Order, Inner Calm.“You want to err on the side of safety so it mounts up and it gets more and more confusing and discouraging as it builds,” she said.So here’s some expert help on sorting through it all.KEEP SHORT TERMIt’s okay to hold on to typically tossable items until they prove to be useful, or not.So while you can generally jettison receipts, hang on to them if they are for a gift or if you might want to return the item. Bills also can go bye-bye once they are paid, but it may be worth keeping them until the next billing cycle to make sure payment was posted.One big exception is to hang on to these kinds of items a bit longer if you potentially need them to support taxes, insurance claims or warranties.KEEP MID TERMThere are some items you’ll want to keep for a bit longer, but not forever.This includes things such as warranties until they expire, the title for your car as long as you own it, documents for active loans and insurance policies until they expire, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.Taxes also pose an interesting puzzle. The IRS suggest hanging on to your records for at least three years, because that is how long you have to amend your return and typically the amount of time the IRS has to audit you. However, the IRS says you should keep documents for up to six years if you notably underreported your income and seven years if you file a loss claim from worthless securities or reduction of bad debt. And there’s no statute of limitations for the IRS to take action if you don’t file a return or file a fraudulent one, so if this is your situation, you’ll need those records.For most folks, NEFE says 7 years is enough.KEEP LONG TERMConsider anything associated with a major life event a forever item: birth certificates, death certificates, adoption papers, Social Security cards and proof of marriage or divorce. Other essentials include citizenship documents, proof of military service and passports. There are also your nearly forever items, such as a will or medical directive; replace these when updated.KEEP IT REALIt can be tough to decide what should stay or go. If you are unsure, Rubin suggests considering if you could find this information elsewhere. Most bank or retirement account statements, for example, can be found online.Or try to think through a scenario in which you would actually need it. Can’t think of one? Then it goes.You don’t need a complicated system to organize things and make sure to keep up with regular purges. And make sure to shred, not throw away or recycle, anything with personal information to avoid identity fraud.____Want to suggest a personal finance topic that Quick Fix can address? Email Skidmore Sell, The Associated Press read more

Spokesman Iran to break stockpile limit set by nuclear deal

TEHRAN, Iran — A spokesman for Iran’s atomic agency says the country will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days.Behrouz Kamalvandi made the comment in a news conference carried live on Iranian state television on Monday.He spoke to local journalists at Iran’s Arak heavy water facility.His comments come in the wake of suspected attacks on oil tankers last week in the region that Washington has blamed on Iran and amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S., a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America for the nuclear deal.Kamalvandi acknowledged that the country already quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium.The Associated Press

DPR Korea invites UN nuclear chief four years after leaving nonproliferation pact

23 February 2007More than four years after ordering United Nations inspectors out and withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has invited the head of the UN atomic watchdog to visit for talks next month. “I see this as a step toward the denuclearization of the North Korean Peninsular,” UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters of the invitation, which follows six-party talks in Beijing where the DPRK committed to dismantle eventually all nuclear weapon facilities and materials in return for energy and other aid. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on an official visit to Vienna, Austria, where the IAEA is headquartered, welcomed the move. “This is an encouraging development of the situation,” he said.“I would sincerely hope that the international community, not only the parties to the Six Party process, but the whole international community would encourage such a process of resolving the North Korean nuclear issue as soon as possible,” he added, referring to the diplomatic talks involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, the United States and the Russian Federation.The Secretary-General also voiced hope that Mr. ElBaradei would be able to discuss with the DPRK authorities detailed matters, such as freezing its nuclear facilities and the eventual dismantlement of all nuclear weapons and facilities. Since its withdrawal from the NPT, the DPRK has carried out a nuclear bomb test, which prompted the Security Council to impose sanctions on Pyongyang.“I hope that the DPRK may eventually come back as a member of the IAEA,” Mr. ElBaradei told a joint news conference with Mr. Ban. “We will discuss issues of mutual concern and how we can implement the agreement reached at the six-Party talks about the shut down and eventual abandonment of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, including the reprocessing facility.”He said he looked forward to “seeing the DPRK come back to the Agency as full members where we can not only provide verification but provide also assistance in many areas in terms of nuclear technology and nuclear safety.”Ever since the DPRK ordered the IAEA inspectors out at the end of 2003 and formally withdrew from the NPT and its inspections and other safeguards of fuel diversion from energy generation to weapons production, top UN officials have repeatedly appealed to it to return to the fold. Yesterday Mr. Ban called on Iran, which is embroiled in a dispute with the UN Security Council over its nuclear programme, to learn from “some good lessons” offered by the DPRK’s commitment at the six-party talks “that it is always better, always desirable, to resolve all of the issues through dialogue.” Earlier this week Iran, already under limited UN sanction, ignored a Council deadline to suspend uranium enrichment and faces possible further sanctions. Enrichment can produce fuel either for nuclear energy, which Iran says is its only goal, or for making nuclear weapons, which other countries, including European nations and the United States, maintain is its main aim.Today, Mr. Ban urged the Tehran authorities to be open with the Agency. “They should make everything subject to the verification inspections, and the Iranian Government and authorities should try to convince fully that if they really want to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under the provisions of the NPT, they should make full compliance with the safeguards agreement,” he said. read more

UNs environmental television products to be showcased at industry conference

“We invite TV broadcasters to discover the wealth of material and media services which exists within the United Nations system that they can use to produce a variety of formats from the small screen to mobile devices,” said Caroline Petit of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), who will be attending MIPTV along with representatives of several other UN agencies. Through its award-winning series “UN in Action,” UN Television has produced short documentaries on numerous environmental subjects, including stories on the future of the Aral Sea, the prevention of natural disasters in Kazakhstan, and cleaning up radioactive waste in Serbia. “21st Century,” a newly launched 26-minute monthly magazine, combines narrative storytelling and news reporting from around the world, while DPI also furnishes stories from field missions through its UNifeed satellite transmission. Among the UN system’s many new green projects to be featured is “So You Think You Know About… Climate Change,” a documentary series produced by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the award-winning United Kingdom-based back2back productions in association with BBC World. “Bling: A Planet Rock” is a 90-minute documentary produced by VH1 Rock Docs, Article 19 Films and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Featuring hip-hop artists from the United States and Sierra Leone, it spotlights millions of diamond diggers to help disadvantaged communities and promote conscious consumerism, encouraging the purchase of ‘clean’ diamonds through the power and influence of popular music. Also providing products will be the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Bank and the Millennium Campaign. 13 April 2007The United Nations audiovisual family will offer ‘green’ stories and projects to major international broadcasters as they join MIPTV (Marché international des programmes de television), the leading international television programming marketplace, next week in Cannes, France. read more

General Assembly adopts new agreement to protect worlds forests

The agreement, entitled the “Non-Legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests,” was negotiated in April within the UN Forum on Forests and transmitted to the Assembly following its approval by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).Hailing today’s action by the Assembly, the Director of the Forum’s Secretariat, Pekka Patosaari, said it “significantly advances efforts to monitor the state of the world’s forests and secure long-term political commitment to sustainable forest management.”While not legally binding, the agreement sets a standard in forest management that is expected to have a major impact on efforts to reverse the loss of forest cover, reduce deforestation, prevent forest degradation, promote sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty for people dependent on forests for their survival.“There is much more to this instrument than just protecting trees,” Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said at a special event following the adoption of the Instrument, emphasizing the growing recognition of the role of forests in stabilizing climate change, and protecting biodiversity and ecosystems. “And let us not forget that today, over 1.6 billion people depend on forests for fuel, food, medicine and income. So protecting forests really means fostering sustainable development,” he said.Forests needed to be protected because they were disappearing at an alarming rate, he added, noting that over the past 15 years, more than 3 per cent of the planet’s forests had vanished. “The instrument we have just adopted thus expresses our will to respond to this alarming trend,” he said. The Assembly today also strongly condemned all threats and acts of violence against UN and associated humanitarian personnel. In a resolution adopted soon after a system-wide minute of silence for the 17 UN staff that perished in the terrorist attack on the world body’s offices in Algiers last week, the Assembly expressed its “deep concern” at the dangers faced by such personnel, who operate in increasingly complex situations. In other actions, the Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 2010 the Year of Rapprochement of Cultures, and recommended that, during the course of that Year, appropriate events be organized on interreligious and intercultural dialogue. Also adopted today were texts on the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010); strengthening UN humanitarian and emergency assistance; assistance to the Palestinian people; and assistance to survivors of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.In addition, the Assembly adopted a number of resolutions recommended by its Special Political and Decolonization Committee – also known as the Fourth Committee. 17 December 2007Fifteen years after discussions began on a global approach to protect the world’s forests, which are disappearing at an alarming rate, the General Assembly today adopted a new landmark international agreement to safeguard this critical natural resource. read more

Upcoming World Expo occasion to showcase One UN says head of UN

26 March 2008The head of the United Nations Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 said that the event offers an opportunity to show how the various agencies in the UN system can work together as one and also provides an occasion to promote the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The head of the United Nations Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 said that the event offers an opportunity to show how the various agencies in the UN system can work together as one and also provides an occasion to promote the efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Over 10 UN agencies will take part in the upcoming Expo, which will take place from 1 May to 31 October 2010 and expects to have 70 million visitors.The Expo’s theme – “Better City, Better Life” – is “at the heart of what the UN is doing,” said Awni Behnam, the UN Commissioner General for the Shanghai Pavilion, referring to the quest to achieve the MDGs, eight anti-poverty objectives with a target date of 2015.In an interview with the UN News Centre, he voiced hope that the Pavilion will “show what the UN system is capable of in assisting countries to achieve these targets.”The Expo is also a chance to display how all UN agencies can join forces for a “single mission,” Dr. Behnam noted, with the Pavilion showing how “each organization has its own uniqueness, but all feeding into one aspiration and one hope.”The new Commissioner General, originally from Iraq, served with the UN for nearly three decades and was appointed to this post by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.Citing Dr. Behnam’s “proven leadership in organizing large international events,” Mr. Ban said, “I am confident that your contribution to this endeavour will result in yet another successful participation of the United Nations in an international exposition.”Dr. Behnam, who will be responsible for the UN Pavilion, said he looks forward to working closely with Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the lead agency for coordination of the world body’s participation in the Shanghai Expo. read more