first_imgThe controversy surrounding sexual harassment accusation against the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi got more complicated yesterday after a special bench of the Supreme Court addressed the affidavit submitted by Advocate Utsav Bains on the same. While a Supreme Court panel headed by Justice S A Bobde issued a notice to the former employee who sent her affidavit to 22 judges alleging sexual harassment, directing her to appear before the court on April 26, matters before the special bench led by Justice Arun Mishra regarding Bains’ affidavit raised eyebrows. Bains’ affidavit unveiled a man, identifying himself as a relative of the former SC employee, offering him up to Rs 1.5 crore to file a false case against CJI. However, when Bains asked him to be specific regarding his relationship with the former employee, the man grew evasive. Bains claimed that he is in possession of reliable information citing a larger plot at play against CJI where vested interests expressed interest in bringing down CJI through a false case which will enforce his resignation. Bains withheld more crucial information which he wanted to convey by filing a second affidavit but was abstained from doing so by Justice Mishra who advised him to pen it down so that there is not even a remote chance of the confidential details getting doctored. Justice Mishra implicitly referred to the recent dismissal of court staffers Manav Sharma and Tapan Chakravarthy for doctoring a court order in a contempt case between Anil Ambani and Ericsson. He further acknowledged the fact that CJI had been courageous and independent in leading SC cases and his nature might have irked some interests. He also observed how CJI’s unprecedented move to sack two court masters – Manav Sharma and Tapan Kumar Chakraborty – for tampering with orders of the Supreme Court in Ericsson’s contempt plea against Reliance Communications and Anil Ambani. Justice Mishra credited CJI with something that no other CJI had done and by his observation, it is natural that this sort of independent behaviour has upset some quarters. The contents of the affidavit submitted by Bains were considered so disturbing that the bench did not reveal its contents to anyone, not even senior counsel Indira Jaisingh. Receiving pertinent advice from the Attorney General (AG) and Solicitor General (SG) present in the court, the bench inquired about credible personnel to discuss this confidential matter behind the closed door. Bains was specifically irked by AG’s constant interest in a Facebook post by him that he will file an affidavit in SC with evidence of “conspiracy against the CJI by a lobby of disgruntled judges, SC fixers, corporate scamsters, and a few corrupt Politicians – All who have meticulously planned the conspiracy to force the CJI to resign as their ‘Corrupt works were not going through in SC”. But AG highlighted how Bains’s affidavit filed in SC has no mention of the alleged lobby of disgruntled judged and corrupt politicians. Twice, AG pursued this and twice Bains had an outburst as he complained that AG was doubting his integrity. Justice Mishra asserted that the materials submitted by Bains alleged that the disgruntled employees of the SC had tried to frame the CJI. Connecting it to what CJI did with the court masters, this was a likely outcome. Also Read – A compounding difficultyWhile Bains’ courage to come up directly before the law (judges) and trust them with the highly sensitive and confidential matter, which he believes would not have been appropriate to be taken to police or CBI reflects the seriousness of the issue. Asserting how CBI in the past has been used as a political tool and Police comes under the state (executive), Bains countered SG’s advice of having the matter probed by SIT. Bains rightly stood on denying the involvement of anyone but law. The independence of the judiciary is under threat as asserted by CJI and given Bains’s disclosure, it seems likely that some conspiracy is there which is yet to see the light of the day. While the Court said that it will decide if privilege can be claimed over the communications between Bains and the alleged conspirators, it remains to be seen what exactly this confidential information is. Bains’s concern over the sensitivity of the issue was rightly reciprocated by the learned bench who will now dig to the root of the issue. This will certainly be instrumental in the alleged accusation against CJI and for “the independence of the judiciary”.last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: The Lok Sabha elections results may be delayed a day due to increased number of VVPAT verifications, sources in the Election Commission said on Tuesday. “As per the previous plan, the results of the elections are scheduled to be declared on May 23. But the results may be delayed and the final results may be declared to May 24 due to increased number of VVPAT verifications,” the official said, requesting anonymity.last_img

first_imgTUNIS – Tunisia’s national assembly on Friday began voting on the long-delayed new constitution, which must be adopted by January 14, the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution.Lawmakers approved, by 175 votes out of the 184 MPs gathered for the session, the title of the charter, which is to be voted on article by article.They were then due to examine the text’s preamble, before scrutinising its 150 articles and 225 proposed amendments, completing a process that would represent a crucial milestone in the country’s democratic transition. For the constitution to be adopted, it must be approved by two thirds of the national assembly’s 217 elected members or put to a referendum.It has taken more than two years to draft the text, mainly because of disagreement between the ruling Islamist party Ennahda and opposition, which has hampered the formation of functioning state institutions.Its adoption should also end the impasse between Tunisia’s divided political factions that has gripped the country since the killing of an opposition MP in July by suspected Islamist militants.last_img read more

first_imgMohammedia- Moroccan Refining Industry Company “SAMIR” announced on Thursday the signing, with several international banks and oil companies, of a $ 200 million funding contract, covering a period of two years with favorable conditions. The contract was signed with Standard Chartered, Dubai Bank, with the support of BP Oil International London, said SAMIR in a statement, adding that the amount of the transaction was transferred to the accounts of the company on January 7.The statement said that under the short and medium term re-engineering of SAMIR’s finances, the company began, in the second half of 2013, negotiations with several banks and international oil companies to raise 500 million dollars, which will be implemented over several installments. The move aims to improve the cash flow of the company to ensure the supply of raw materials, accelerate repayments of domestic borrowing, and also sign export contracts with international oil companies in a context marked by tough competition.last_img read more

first_imgRabat – The 5th annual Marrakech Biennale brings top graffiti artists for five weekends of live graffiti performance on the walls of Marrakesh.The most famous international artists in the contemporary graffiti scene, Lek, Sowat and Arnaud Liard, will offer graffiti lovers a live performance in the streets of Marrakesh  near the David Bloch gallery on Rue des Vieux Marrakchis.Lek and Sowat are French Graffiti artists; both began their work on the streets of Paris, painting creative graffiti on the ground, between subway trains and in factories or unused parking lots. Now, they are considered the best graffiti artists in the world. According to the Moroccan newspaper L’economiste, each Saturday of the first four weekends a different graffiti artist will paint a work onto one of Marrakesh’s old walls, and on Sunday they will participate in the Sunday Sunset Concerts, painting on the walls of the red room at Café Clock alongside a musical performance.This series of performances will culminate in a final performance, to take place on the last weekend of the Biennale, during which all four graffiti artists will collaborate on a large mural opposite the Biennale office in Marrakech.Edited by Jessica Rohan© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

By Jonathan WalshRabat – The widow of former Islamic State leader Abu Sayyaf was charged on Monday , with  conspiracy relating to the death of US hostage Kayla Mueller.Mueller had travelled to Syria in 2013 to do aid work, but was kidnapped. The 26-year-old American died in February 2015. The Islamic State had claimed her death was the result of Jordanian air strikes on IS locations in Raqqa. Prosecutors allege that Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Baher – also known as Umm Sayyaf, was responsible for her captivity.It is believed that Sayyaf kept Mueller captive for long periods, and she was repeatedly force to have sex with Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Bagdahdi.According to accounts by another hostage who was held at the same time al-Bagdahdi took her as a “wife”, repeatedly raping her whenever he visited.Abu Sayyaf, Umm’s husband and the Islamic State minister for oil and gas, was killed in the same Delta Force raids that she was captured. Umm Sayyaf is currently being held in Iraqi custody following the charges.In a statement published yesterday, Assistant Attorney General John Carlin, Head of the US Justice Department’s national security division, said, “We fully support the Iraqi prosecution of Sayyaf and will continue to work with the authorities there to pursue our shared goal of holding Sayyaf accountable for her crimes.”“At the same time, these charges reflect that the US justice system remains a powerful tool to bring to bear against those who harm our citizens abroad.”The sentiment echoes promises made by US President Barack Obama following Muellers death, when he said, “the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla’s captivity and death.”The President added that the former aid worker “epitomized all that is good in our world.”Edited by Timothy Filla read more

Washington – Once again, Morocco’s diplomatic flaws are in full display for the world to see. Rabat’s lack of a strategy to counter and diffuse the potential political windfall from the United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon visit to Algeria is staggering and confounding.The Polisario leaders have been pushing Mr. Ban Ki-moon to visit their camps for years hoping to score a diplomatic and public relations coup. Now, here they are, celebrating their success while Moroccan are struggling to come up with a response.The Moroccan people are hoping that Ban Ki-moon visit with the Polisario and his description of Morocco’s presence in the Sahara as “occupation” will force a major rethinking of the Royal Palace strategy in the conflict. The Moroccan officials’ decision to ignore this event is having an effect, though probably not the one they intended, since it has boosted Algeria’s arguments. As the Polisario separatists and their Algerian backers celebrate a diplomatic success, Morocco is relegated to a sour complainer without a response. The big question remains whether this misstep would induce people in charge of the Sahara dossier, to create an inclusive, transparent and competent quartet to manage the conflict.In fact, this visit to the Polisario camps in southern Algeria exposes, or re-exposes, a few things about Morocco’s dysfunctional diplomacy:Morocco lacks a blue print and a master plan detailing a strategy on how to manage the United Nations “biased” positions that seem to favor a ‘self-determination referendum” versus Morocco’s Local Autonomy Plan for the Sahara.A good number of Moroccan officials lack basic diplomatic and historical knowledge of the Sahara conflict. It is time to train and re-train Moroccan diplomats, ministers and parliamentarians on the details of the “western Sahara” dossier. They have a deep-seated ignorance of Morocco’s positions and strategy at the United Nations, the European Union and in key world capitals.Even though King Mohammed VI appointed dozens of new ambassadors from a variety of backgrounds, few of them would be able to freely and spontaneously undertake diplomatic initiatives without the blessing of few people in charge. This bureaucratic obstacle hampers the work of ambassadors and demoralized Moroccan activists around the globe.Moroccan diplomats, including ambassadors, are utterly uninformed on procedural grounds making it harder for them to respond Polisario’s maneuvers at internationals forms. This weakness is evident at the United Security Council and the European Court.Algeria, the real power-broker in this conflict, has been weakened strategically due to a fragile petro-economy, internal infighting and political upheaval within the military establishment. Yet, Polisario operators have been playing it well and winning in some cases.Die-hard pro-Algeria Sahrawi activists studied the Moroccan system and have used Rabat’s slow moving and heavily centralized diplomacy to their advantage. Thus, the Royal Palace has to empower Moroccan diplomats to go in the attack when time is opportune without risking reprehension or dismissal.Moroccan officials must dispel the myth that their nation is a roadblock to finding a solution to this conflict. To do that effectively, diplomats and politicians should familiarize themselves with Morocco’s Local Autonomy Plan.  The facade that Algeria and Mauritania are supporting the U.N. efforts while Morocco is opposing must be exposed.Morocco failed to expose Algeria’s role in the perpetuation of the Sahara conflict. Efforts must be redoubled and  focused on showing the world that this dispute is nothing more that and Algerian proxy war and a regional struggle between two neighboring countries, Morocco and Algeria over regional “supremacy”.The U.N. chief’s visit to the region has put Morocco in an awkward position, yet Rabat’s reaction was a dead silence for weeks. This diplomatic absence has created a wave of public indignation among Moroccans inside and outside the country.Furthermore, the Polisario leadership used the U.N. Chief’s visit to make a strong pitch for independence, While Moroccan officials resorted to complaining and criticizing. Such “strategy”, or lack thereof, will have a negative long-term effects on Morocco positions inside the United Nations and outside it.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permissionThe views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy read more

By Loubna SbitiRabat – Everything is interconnected in this world: Breaking free from fossil fuels would also reverse climate change and ease air pollution, yielding a healthy planet with healthy people.The time has come to pay more attention to substantive issues like health, poverty, water scarcity, and climate change. Living in a world where a Hollywood actor’s love life gets more attention than a drought in southern Africa is both dangerous and alarming. This article is intended to inspire citizens all over the world to talk about important problems, which most countries face on a daily basis, and to educate people about the impacts fossil fuels have on the environment and our health.Why are fossil fuels so harmful to our health?The entire world is talking about fossil fuels and their impact on the planet. The situation has been becoming more and more dangerous and climate changes have been more noticeable within recent years. Many companies are attempting to educate and convince the public, across the four corners of the globe, to bring an end to pollution by means of explaining its negative effects on health.Many of the world’s environmental problems are a result of fossil fuel dependence; the phenomenon where reductions in oil and coal use is tied to a perception of significant economic consequences.Fossil fuels are forms of energy derived from decayed remains of plants and animals which were alive millions of years ago during the carboniferous era. Fossil fuels have become the primary energy source used around the world today but their over-consumption by the majority of countries is leading to serious environmental issues such as air pollution and health problems. Negative effects from fossil fuels include: increases in the average global temperature, water and land pollution, thermal pollution, acid rain, impacts to aquatic life, and destruction of natural areas. Furthermore they come with many disadvantages such as high prices, non-renewability and the necessity of maintaining huge reserves.Common knowledge suggests that if a person is to profit from good health, they will first need clean air to breathe. The most compelling reason for people to break free from fossil fuels is the multitude of extremely harmful gases where are released into the atmosphere when they are burned. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons are becoming more numerous in proportion to oxygen. And what’s more menacing is that they are used throughout the world to power everything from cars to lights in the home.The noxious mix of gases creates a nasty overcast commonly referred to as smog. Many medical professionals ceaselessly mention the harmful effects of burning fossil fuels. Although effects are difficult to trace on the individual level, they do exist, nevertheless, and have very negative consequences to our health. And one shouldn’t neglect the damages they cause to the planet.Impacts of fossil fuels on the healthDespite the fact that fossil fuels are among the most widely used forms of energy in the world, all of the gasses found in them can cause certain health problems; especially when they are handled incorrectly.To begin with, Arsenic, found in coal, can cause several health problems, including liver poisoning, cancer, and keratosis of the hands and feet. Mercury, also present in coal, can cause kidney, brain, nerve, and fetal damage if exposure to toxic levels has occurred. Oil vapors are frequently a source of health issues in cases of over-exposure. They can cause rashes or other skin irritations, headaches, vomiting, eye irritation, and difficulty breathing. When affecting patients with lung diseases or asthma these vapors can be deadly. Last on this list, Methane, considered a natural gas, when used inappropriately, can cause serious health problems. It has no taste, color, or odor; making its presence impossible to detect without special equipment. Symptoms of exposure include headache, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty breathing. It also has the potential to deplete oxygen available within a room.Impacts of fossil fuels on the environmentMany environmental problems the world faces today are a result of fossil fuel use. A few of these impacts are global warming, air quality deterioration, oil spills, and acid rain.Air pollution that has become very visible these days. Many people aren’t able to breath clean air which is the most basic and essential right. It is very important to know that most pollutants are produced by fossil fuel combustion; carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and hydrocarbons. To be brief, it can be said that such particulates are contributing factors to acid rain formation and are a cause of many diseases.When the level of carbon dioxide is increased in the atmosphere, our planet becomes warmer. This effect can be seen in the example of February 2016, which was the most abnormally hot month in history. It is clear now that temperatures are increasing due to gases emitted when fossil fuels are burned; especially carbon dioxide, a gas that traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Water pollution is as disturbing as the other topics, because the production, transportation, and use of oil in the fossil fuel industry causes a lot of damage to otherwise clean water.How fossil fuels affect climate change in MoroccoThere is still hope concerning the contributions of Morocco, because this summer the kingdom took a large step toward replacing fossil fuels with clean energy by switching on the world’s largest solar energy plant. Morocco is considered a model in that domain. It has invested a great amount to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels; which, as an action, is very remarkable. When Morocco officially turned on the massive solar power plant Noor, in the Sahara Desert, it kicked off the first phase of a project slated to provide renewable energy to more than a million Moroccans.After all this analysis, the solution jumps out directly. The necessary action is to convert solar, wind, and water into energy because fossil fuels have been shown to be overwhelmingly detrimental to the health of both humans and the planet.Edited by Clint Brooks© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission. read more

New York – American Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is already capitalizing on the Orlando shooting where 50 people were killed and at least 50 others were injured.Reacting to the mass shooting, the real estate mogul, said in Tweet that while he appreciates the congratulations he received for “being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” he wanted “toughness and vigilance” and called on Americans to be “smart.Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016By toughness and vigilance refers to his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States until the government “can figure out what’s going on.” Following the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015, Trump lashed at Islam and Muslims throughout the world by labeling their religion as an ideology that “spreads hatred.“Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine,” Trump said.“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have not sense of reason or respect for human life,” he added.As soon as Orlando police identified the shooter as Omar Mateen, a U.S-born citizen of Afghan descent, the Muslim community in the United States has been expecting Donald Trump to capitalize on the incident just four months ahead of the Presidential elections. Many are saying the shooting is a “gift” to Donald Trump. “After today’s attack on Orlando nightclub, bye bye Clinton… Trump is the next US president… most likely,” Nino Nawfal, owner of an upscale lounge in Manhattan said on his Facebook page. read more

By Tatiana FlowersRabat – The father of a deceased Muslim soldier who supported Hillary Clinton at the Democratic Convention challenged Donald Trump from the podium by asking him, “Let me ask you, have you even read the Constitution?”Khizr M. Khan, the father of Captain Humayun S.M. Khan, stood on stage at the DNC, and continued to challenge Trump, “I will gladly lend you my copy.  In this document, look for the words liberty and equal protection of law.  You have sacrificed nothing and no one,” he said, according Khan’s son was an Army Captain who was killed in Iraq while fighting.  The Muslim-American’s father had spoken on behalf of his deceased son, insisting that if Donald Trump had been President while his son was alive, he would have never had the opportunity to defend America.“Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty-handed.  We believed in American democracy, that with hard work and the goodness of this country, we could share in and contribute to its blessings.  Our son, Humayun, had dreams of being a military lawyer but he put those dreams aside the day he sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers.  If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America,” he said of his son.Khan continued by pointing out that Trump has offended and continuously targeted women, Muslims, and Mexicans.  A ban on Muslims and building a wall around Mexico, which Trump has even started a petition to raise funds for, are at the center of his list of goals should he indeed be elected as President.The full video can be found here. read more

Berlin – German daily “Die Welt” underlined the leadership of King Mohammed VI in the Muslim world and the sovereign’s role in the promotion of peace and coexistence values among peoples.In an editorial on the latest speech by King Mohammed VI on the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People, the German daily stressed that in this regional context which is marked by unrest, Morocco is distinguished by its stability and resilience thanks to a series of reforms initiated under the leadership of the King and the sovereign’s role as commander of the faithful.The paper underscored that the stability prevailing in Morocco, thanks to the role of the King in fighting religious fanaticism, is a shield against obscurantism and withdrawal into oneself. “Die Welt” highlighted, in this regard, the call by the King on Muslims, Jews and Christians to join hands to counter fanaticism. This call was heard beyond the frontiers and was a clear message to all those using Islam for their own interests, it added. read more

Rabat – Former Netherlands striker and manager Marco van Basten is reproaching AFC Ajax’s star, Hakim Ziyech for deciding to play for Morocco.Invited to a Dutch/FOX Sports program, the Kees Table, Basten said that Ziyech made the decision to play for Morocco, while he was an assistant coach of the Dutch national team.“A shame that he did not have the patience,” Basted said.  “He then made the choice to play for Morocco, but it was our greatest right not to select him in that period.” Basten went on to rebuke Ziyech for not waiting his chance to be selected by the Netherlands national team, saying that Ziyech had the choice to choose whether to play for the Netherlands or Morocco. “Now he was ruled out,” of the list of Moroccan players by Morocco’s coach Hervé Renard. The Moroccan team is participating now in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN 2017), scheduled to go until February 5 in Gabon.“Why had he not waited a moment, then he could now play for the Netherlands,” Basten continued. “He was the perfect player for the Netherlands. His market value as an International player for the Netherlands could have been much higher.”Basten noted that Netherlands team officials kept in contact with Ziyech while he was considering playing for Morocco, “We have been in touch with him while he was determined to play for Morocco and said, ‘Yes I want to play for Morocco.’ Danny had also talked to him. I  was sorry that he could not wait.”The decision of Renard to exclude Hakim from participating in CAN 2017 has sparked outrage among Morocco’s national team fans, especially after Ziyech was awarded as Holland’s best player for 2016. read more

Rabat – Faced with a wave of criticism on social media over its recent cover linking Morocco with terrorism, French magazine Jeune Afrique has published an article in its online edition responding to the controversy.The controversial red-color cover, with the headline “Terrorism Born in Morocco,” features a five-pointed star in the middle representing the kingdom’s flag, showed the Moroccan-born suspects of the cell accused of carrying the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.Scores of Moroccans expressed criticism of the cover on social media, and some shared a “counter cover” with the title “Talents Born in Morocco,” showing prominent successful Moroccan figures such as actor Gad El Maleh and writer Leila Sleimani. Their reaction prompted Jeune Afrique to respond. “Bringing to the fore the birthplace of terrorists does not mean stigmatizing Moroccans,” said the magazine’s editor-in-chief François Soudan.The veteran journalist said the interpretations some have given to the cover are the result “of a misunderstanding and have nothing to do with the intentions of Jeune Afrique.”He went on to add that as is common in social media, the critics judged the cover “without taking the trouble” of reading the articles inside.Soudan tried to establish a difference between “Born in Morocco,” which what the title said, and “Made in Morocco,” which, if it had been used, could imply the magazine was stigmatizing the kingdom.He also explained that the three lines bellow the main title of the cover clearly indicates the young terrorist suspects were radicalized in Europe, not in Morocco, and that it was in Europe that they were recruited by the Islamic State group (ISIS).“Our article clearly explains that, except from being their birth place, the Barcelona terrorist had cut all links with the kingdom,” he said.Soudan also brought up the magazine’s editorial, written by himself, which he said it “clearly rejected allegations made by Spanish and British newspapers” which suggested Morocco has been getting rid of its “jihadists” by making it easier for them to immigrate to Europe, as well as the claims that Moroccans have a “genetic predisposition to extremism.”“In any case, we would not have allowed ourselves in making the same allusions which have nothing to do with the reality of a country that we know perfectly well,” said Soudan.The editor-in-chief stated that “Jeune Afrique has always treated the issues related to Morocco without succumbing to the siren song of sensationalism.”As for the counter-cover of successful Moroccans shared on social media, Soudan said this is not “a new exercise” for Jeune Afrique, which had highlighted the success of Moroccans in its previous issues. read more

By Hajare El KhaldiRabat – The Appeal Court in Paris has denied the release of Tariq Ramadan on Thursday, February 22, after a medical report indicated that Islamic theologian’s health was “compatible with his detention.”The renowned Swiss Islamic scholar, grandson of Hassan Al Banna the founder of the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, has been in custody at the Fleury-Merogis prison since February 2 for two separate accusations of rape. After he was taken to hospital for treatment of multiple sclerosis on Friday, his lawyers claimed that his health deteriorated since his detainment, and argued that his condition is incompatible with imprisonment in an attempt to attain his release under bail.The lawyers have offered the delivery of his Swiss passport, paying a deposit of 50,000 euros, and the obligation of presenting every day at the police station.The French court ordered a new medical report and found, on Monday, his health to be compatible with his continued detention. The medical expert also said that Ramadan’s pathologies are unlikely to severely deteriorate.Ramadan fully denies the accusation and deemed them to be part of a “campaign of lies launched by adversaries”, which is a sentiment that was shared by his supporters.The scholar’s supporters have been outraged by his confinement, and claim that the entire matter is part of a “conspiracy” against one of the few celebrated figures of Islam in Europe.On the other hand, others claim that the revelation of Ramadan’s health condition last week as an explicit media strategy by his supporters, and argue that the sharing of the medical news coincided with the release of a video of Ramadan’s wife, Iman Ramadan, in which she claimed that her husband has been wronged by the French justice system.French newspaper Liberation claimed that the release of the new information displays “a diabolically efficient sense of timing by Ramadan’s supporters.”The theologian’s accusers, French activist and author Henda Ayari and another woman that was described by the French media as a Muslim convert suffering from a disability, have both declared to the investigators that they have been lured by the “spiritual master” who mentally controlled them, and described appointments that have, allegedly, turned into violent coerced sexual intercourse.If the charges are confirmed, the scholar will face up to 15 years in prison on the charge of rape, and up to 20 years on the separate charge of rape of a vulnerable person. read more

Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,613.46, up 37.36 points).Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Down 14 cents, or 5.65 per cent, to $2.34 on 21.2 million shares.Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Energy. Down 11 cents, or 2.01 per cent, to $5.37 on 9.1 million shares.Sherritt International Corp. (TSX:S). Materials. Down 10.5 cents, or 28.77 per cent, to 26 cents on 7.9 million shares.Hexo Corp. (TSX:HEXO). Health care. Up 82 cents, or 8.49 per cent, to 10.48 on 7.6 million shares.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Energy. Down 29 cents, or 2.92 per cent, to $9.64 on 7.6 million shares.Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE). Down 26 cents, or 1.89 per cent, to $13.47 on 7.5 million shares.Companies reporting:Bombardier Inc. — Bombardier Inc. said Friday it will follow the urging of Quebec’s financial market regulator and scrap a controversial executive compensation plan. The announcement followed a review by the Autorite des marches financiers that found the plane-and-train maker’s roll-out of its Automatic Stock Disposition Plan in August did not breach securities law, but likely incurred a negative perception. Bombardier said in November, when the investigation was launched, that the plan allows some of its senior executives to sell their vested shares as an added incentive in performance-based compensation, so long as the trades are made by independent securities brokers and in line with trading parameters.Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO). Down 75 cents, or 1.88 per cent to $39.19. Imperial Oil Ltd. raised its dividend nearly 16 per cent to 22 cents per share despite reporting that its first-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago. The increased payment to shareholders came as Imperial reported a profit of $293 million or 38 cents per diluted share for its first quarter. That compared with a profit of $516 million or 62 cents per share in the same quarter last year. Rich Kruger, Imperial’s chairman and chief executive, says Alberta’s mandatory production curtailment order significantly affected the company’s financial performance.Saputo Inc. (TSX:SAP). Down 14 cents to $45.66. Saputo Inc. has signed a deal to buy the specialty cheese business of Lion – Dairy & Drinks in Australia for roughly $265 million. Montreal-based Saputo says the Australian business includes two manufacturing facilities in Tasmania and employs approximately 400 people. The specialty cheese business produces, markets and distributes a variety of specialty cheeses under several Australian brands, including South Cape, Tasmanian Heritage, Mersey Valley and King Island Dairy. It generated about $182 million in revenue in 2018. It is expected to close in the second half of this year.Sherritt International Corp. — Sherritt shares fell after the company reported disappointing earnings blamed on low cobalt prices and complications in Cuba. The Toronto-based miner reported a net loss of $61.8 million for the first quarter, compared with a net loss of $600,000 for the same quarter last year. The losses came after the company saw cobalt prices fall 70 per cent year over year. The Cuban government also paid out less of the foreign reserves it owes the company than expected.The Canadian Press read more

VANCOUVER — Seabridge Gold Inc. and the Tahltan Nation have announced a co-operation and benefit-sharing agreement linked to the proposed KSM gold and copper mine in northwestern British Columbia.The announcement comes in a joint news release after the First Nation received a 77.8 per cent ratification vote from members, approving the benefits agreement.Seabridge CEO Rudi Fronk says the company believes the agreement provides a long-term, genuine partnership between the project and the Tahltan Nation.He says Seabridge has listened to the nation’s environmental, cultural and economic concerns, and the mine’s design addresses those issues.Tahltan president Chad Norman Day says their government has worked in partnership with Seabridge for more than a decade to move the project from the early exploration stage through to permitting.The mine, located about 65 kilometres northwest of Stewart, has already received environmental approval from both the federal and provincial governments and is expected to operate for more than 50 years. Companies in this story:TSX:SEAThe Canadian Press read more

VATICAN CITY — The Latest on a Vatican summit on climate change (all times local):3:50 p.m.Some of the world’s major oil producers have committed to supporting “economically meaningful” carbon pricing regimes at the end of a Vatican summit on climate change.The companies, including ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, Chevron and Eni, said in a joint statement Friday that governments should set such pricing regimes at a level that encourages business and investment, while “minimizing the costs to vulnerable communities and supporting economic growth.”The CEOs, as well as heads of major asset managers such as BlackRock and BNP Paribas, also called for oil companies to provide clarity for investors about the risks climate change poses to their businesses and how they plan to transition to cleaner energy sources.The joint statement was issued at the end of a closed-door summit and a personal appeal by Pope Francis.___2:05 p.m.Pope Francis is warning oil executives that a “radical energy transition” to clean, low-carbon power sources is needed to stave off the effects of a rapidly warming planet.Francis told the leaders at a Vatican summit Friday that there was still time to avoid the worst effects of climate change but that “prompt and resolution action” is required.The meeting marked the second year that Francis has invited oil and financial sector executives to the Vatican to impress upon them his concern that preserving God’s creation is one of the fundamental challenges facing humankind today. The agenda included talks about energy transition, carbon pricing and transparency in reporting climate risk.Outside the summit a half-dozen protesters held up signs urging the executives to listen to the pope.The Associated Press read more

12 February 2007The United Nations envoy in Nepal today warmly welcomed planned talks between the Government, the country’s indigenous peoples and the southern Nepalese who live in the dispute-wracked Terai region, but he also expressed deep concern at reports of recent attacks against political parties in the west of the country. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative, Ian Martin, who heads the UN Political Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), also reiterated the importance of all Nepalese society being involved in this year’s planned elections, as the Himalayan country seeks to build on last year’s historic peace deal with the Maoists aimed at ending 10 years of civil war.“I am pleased to begin today by welcoming the dialogue that is to take place between the Government team and representatives not only of Madhesi organizations but also of Janajatis,” he said in a press statement, referring respectively to the southern Nepalese or Madhesis and the country’s indigenous people.“The United Nations has stressed the importance of all groups, including women and Dalits (low-cast Hindus) as well as Madhesis and Janajatis, feeling that they will be adequately represented in the historic decisions to be made about the future of Nepal through the Constituent Assembly,” he said, calling on all concerned to promote these legitimate demands through peaceful dialogue.Mr. Martin said that despite the recent disturbances in the Terai, UNMIN remained focused on its core task of managing the arms belonging to the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) and the Government, as stipulated in last November’s peace deal between the two sides. In particular, he said he was satisfied with the monitoring of weapons at Kailali and Surkhet in the west, although there was still work to do.“During this week we will test the installation of 24-hour closed-circuit television surveillance,” he noted. “An urgent issue is the safe disposal or storage of improvised explosive devices – mostly socket bombs – as well as the dismantling of Nepal Army minefields, and we now have two UN experts advising us and beginning discussions with the parties about how to proceed.”Mr. Martin said he expected the number of UN monitors to climb to 66 by the end of this week from the current 48, adding that more equipment would also be arriving soon. He stressed that the UN wanted to see a peaceful, inclusive election, and expressed concern at reports of some voter rolls being seized and of attacks on two political parties in western Nepal.“The United Nations can only regard an electoral process as credible if people of all opinions are able to organize and campaign free of violence or intimidation,” he said. “I am therefore extremely concerned at reports of attacks on two political parties seeking to exercise their rights in Lamjung and Tanahun Districts, respectively, on Saturday.”The envoy said UNMIN and OHCHR (the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) will be closely monitoring the extent to which all parties respect the rights of others. At the same time, he called on them “to agree on an effective independent national monitoring body with which we can work.”The Security Council established UNMIN last month, giving it a 12-month mandate that can be terminated or extended depending on a request from the Government. So far the initial team of monitors have been registering and storing weapons of the former combatants, and have been supported by an Interim Task Force – composed of Nepali ex-servicemen from the Indian and British armies – pending full deployment of the UN mission. read more

17 May 2007Though it has interviewed some 200 victims and witnesses of the post-election clashes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations mission there said today that Government cooperation with investigators has been tepid and many witnesses have been intimidated. The April human rights report by the UN Mission in the country (known as MONUC), says that, despite those obstacles, its special investigations team plans to conclude this month its probe into the March violence in the capital, Kinshasa, where hundreds were killed during fighting between Government forces and the guards of unsuccessful presidential candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba.“The team’s work suffered from the refusal of the authorities to grant access to some important locations, such as the compound of former Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba and some military camps,” the report said. “Numerous incidents of intimidation by the intelligence services, police and military in the wake of the violence have also discouraged victims, witnesses, hospitals and medical centres staff and authorities from coming forward or speaking freely with the team,” it added.The Mission also found that police officers were involved in a large number of serious human rights violations, especially in the eastern Kasaï Province. Government troops were also found to have summarily executed civilians and to have engaged in other egregious human rights abuses.It said that members of other armed groups have continued to commit human rights abuses on the populations of North and South Kivu. In particular, reports of attacks by armed Rwandan Hutu militias on villages in area continued throughout the period in review, including allegations of executions, abductions and looting.Also in the Kivus, Mayi-Mayi militias were accused of multiple rapes, mutilations and killings, including the burning alive of three villagers in retaliation for the death of one of their number at the hands of Government forces.Yesterday, the UN Security Council extended the deployment of MONUC to help the DRC consolidate security in the wake of recent violence which follows the end of a six-year civil war, widely considered the most lethal conflict in the world since World War II. read more

Addressing the closing of the session, which began on 25 September and saw the participation of scores of national leaders, Srgjan Kerim thanked delegates for their “insightful” contributions during the debate.“The presence of almost a hundred heads of State and government as well as about 80 ministers for foreign affairs is a mark of the importance the world places on this unique Assembly,” he said. The President also drew attention to the “flurry of diplomatic activity” that accompanied the annual high-level meeting. “We have increased our visibility and the public and media have responded positively.” Reflecting the views of many expressed during the session, he urged action on the theme of the debate: responses to climate change. “The latest reports about the accelerated melting of the Arctic have unnerved the experts. We need to be on high alert,” he cautioned. “You have send a strong political message that the time for talk has passed – that the time for action has begun,” he told those present, declaring that “climate change has become the flagship issue” of the current Assembly session.Reviewing the consensus that emerged during the just-concluded session, he cited wide agreement that adapting to global warming should not limit growth, but rather help achieve sustainable development. “We all agreed that we have common but differentiated responsibilities,” he said, adding that there was broad consensus that the UN “must remain at the centre of the process to reach a global agreement.”Numerous participants, he said, endorsed the idea of a “road map to coordinate the United Nations system on climate change.”Looking to a planned meeting in Bali this December aimed at hammering out a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, which limits greenhouse gas emissions but is set to expire in 2012, he said: “It is now up to you to deliver.”Other issues which received close attention during the debate included the global anti-poverty targets collectively known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); the need for progress on financing for development ahead of the Doha Conference in 2008; and a “broad desire” to achieve consensus on a comprehensive convention against terrorism. Participants also touched on the importance to adherence to international law, human security and the responsibility to protect, and discussed regional hotspots such as the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur and Myanmar. “There is overall agreement that we could make faster progress on all these issues if our multilateral institutions better reflected contemporary realities, underlining the need for better progress on United Nations reform,” he said, citing a need to make the Secretariat more effective and to reform the Security Council. At the outset of the debate, the President had indicated that he wanted to give priority to five priority areas: climate change, financing for development, countering terrorism, the MDGs and management reform. In a statement released by his spokesman today, the President said the General Assembly “is the only forum where these priority issues can be tackled comprehensively and notes that the presence of over 90 world leaders in the debate underscored the importance Member States placed on this unique forum for multilateralism.”In total, 189 Member States addressed the high-level debate, along with two observers: the Holy See and Palestine. A total of 67 heads of State, 25 heads of government, four vice-presidents, 13 deputy ministers, 66 foreign ministers, two other ministers, four deputy ministers and eight chairs of delegation spoke. 3 October 2007The United Nations General Assembly today wrapped up its wide-ranging high-level debate characterized by calls for action to address climate change and other pressing international concerns, the 192-member body’s president said. read more