Vancouver man banned from US for pot investments seeks waiver to cross

first_imgVICTORIA – A Vancouver businessman banned for life from entering the United States over his investments in American marijuana companies says he plans to seek a waiver that permits him to cross the border.Canadian Sam Znaimer said he was recently denied entry at a Washington state border crossing by officials who said his investments in U.S. marijuana companies make him ineligible to enter the country.“I spent four hours, four-and-a-half hours at the border station and at the end of that whole process I was told that I’d been permanently banned from entering the U.S.,” he said in an interview.Immigration lawyer Len Saunders said he’s heard about a dozen similar cases recently where Canadians have been denied entry to the United States because of their connections to the marijuana industry.“I’m getting panicked phone calls from Canadian companies who are concerned about their staff being denied entry and liability issues, or about themselves because they are senior executives,” said Saunders, a Canadian whose law practice is based at Blaine, Wash.Saunders said he tells Canadians working with American marijuana companies not to cross the border.“You might as well be doing business with Pablo Escobar, selling cocaine in the U.S.,” he said, adding marijuana is still a so-called schedule 1 substance in the U.S., defined by having no medical use and a high potential for abuse.Znaimer said he’s been investing in numerous business ventures for more than 30 years, including marijuana companies. He said he has participated in public panel discussions about marijuana and has been interviewed in the media.“I’m purely an investor,” said Znaimer.The U.S. Customs and Border Protection office did not comment specifically on Znaimer’s case, but said in a statement that medical and recreational marijuana may be legal in some U.S. states, but it remains illegal under U.S. federal law.The statement said working in the marijuana industry, either in the U.S. or Canada, can still affect a person’s admissibility to the country.“Determinations about admissibility are made on a case-by-case basis by a (customs and border protection)officer based on the facts and circumstances known to the officer at the time,” the statement said.Znaimer said he was told he can’t appeal the border decision, but has another option.“I will apply for a waiver,” he said. “I have no idea what my chances are of getting that. My lawyer is hopeful.”Saunders, who is Znaimer’s lawyer, said the waiver process can take up to one year to complete and cost about US$600 in fees plus legal costs. He said the waivers are not permanent and people will likely have to reapply.Saunders said he started seeing business people being barred from the U.S. in April.“They said he was aiding and abetting the U.S. marijuana industry because of his investments,” he said.Znaimer said Canadians with any ties to the marijuana business in the U.S. should be wary about crossing the border.“One distinction being made is that so far Homeland Security only seems to be interested in Canadians with some involvement in cannabis in the U.S.,” said Znaimer.Jordan Sinclair, a spokesman for Canopy Growth, the world’s largest medical marijuana company, said facing a border ban is concerning, but it hasn’t been an issue with anyone at the Smiths Falls, Ont., company.“We’ve never had any challenges at the border,” he said. “When I’m asked at the border what I do for a living, I tell them I work for a cannabis company, a federally regulated one.”Canopy Growth became the first cannabis-producing company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange last May.Former B.C. health minister Terry Lake, who now works for a Quebec-based medical marijuana company, said it is worrisome crossing the border for Canadians involved in the legal marijuana industry.“I’m hoping to run in the Las Vegas half marathon in November,” he said. “I would like to be able to cross the border without worry.”last_img read more

Aimia reviewing strategic direction reports 217M thirdquarter profit

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:AIM, TSX:AC, TSX:TD, TSX:CM)The Canadian Press MONTREAL — Aimia Inc. says it has launched a review of its future strategic direction as it works to complete the sale of its Aeroplan program.The loyalty rewards company says the board of directors has asked management to present it with alternative visions and plans regarding the company’s future after the sale of Aeroplan.The review came as Aimia reported it earned $21.7 million or 11 cents per share in its third quarter, compared with a loss of $40.3 million or 29 cents per share in the same period last yearRevenue totalled $372.7 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from $350.5 million in the third quarter of 2017.Aimia signed a $450-million deal in August to sell the Aeroplan loyalty program to an Air Canada-led group, which includes TD Bank, CIBC and Visa Canada Corp.The future of Aeroplan had faced questions after Air Canada rolled out plans to start its own loyalty rewards program in 2020 after its partnership with Aimia expired.last_img read more

Tiny coffeeshops help owners save on rent in highcost Toronto Vancouver

first_imgFollow @AleksSagan on Twitter.Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press VANCOUVER — Customers who don’t work in the building that houses Kento Kitayama’s tiny cafe near Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood better be prepared to settle for takeout. He can only take orders through a little window facing the sidewalk. Iktsuarpok Coffee Stand, which opened late last month, has no seating and sparse furnishings. Kitayama could likely stand in the middle of the roughly 17-square-metre shop and reach out to touch the sink, refrigerator and shelving unit, counter, and espresso machine that mark the shop’s boundaries without moving.The cafe reminds the co-owner of how tobacco shops sold goods in his native Japan, but also suits his budgetary constraints. Kitayama and other business owners challenged by high rents in Canada’s two most expensive housing markets are turning to creative solutions in tiny spaces to open cafes that otherwise might not be profitable.For a typical 85-square-metre cafe space in the city, Kitayama said he’d likely pay about $3,000 monthly. That’s unaffordable for his new business.Robust data on average food retail lease prices in Canada doesn’t exist, but some figures help shape a sense of the market.Last October, Toronto’s average commercial lease rate per square foot was $21.31, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board — down 1.1 per cent from the same month in 2017. But that includes all retailers, and the data is part of only 40 total lease transactions that month where the price was disclosed.Three of the four most expensive main streets in Canada are in Toronto and Vancouver, according to an annual report from Cushman & Wakefield. The company tracks nearly 450 of the top retail streets in 65 countries. In June 2018, rents on Toronto’s Bloor Street were $300 per square foot and $100 on Queen Street West. On Vancouver’s Robson Street rents averaged $183.High and rising rents have caused several restaurants in both cities to shutter their doors in recent years.Wild Rice Market Bistro in New Westminster, B.C., served its last patrons on New Year’s Eve.“We are all familiar with our high cost of living which is reflected in higher rents, increasing food costs and the difficulty in recruiting and retaining staff,” proprietor Andrew Wong wrote in a note to customers, adding the restaurant “is no longer viable in our current economic climate.”Lease prices also pose a big barrier to entry for new hopefuls like Kitayama, who have turn to smaller-scale operations in an effort to trim start-up costs.Iktsuarpok Coffee Stand may be the newest diminutive shop, but it’s not the smallest in the country.Joshua Campos believes his less than two-square-metre shop (roughly the area of a twin mattress) may be the smallest in the world. He’s applied for the Guinness world record, but has yet to hear back.The Coffee Lab, which opened about seven months ago, operates out of a window in a small nook of a Toronto building. Floor-to-ceiling glass lets curious passers-by or customers see one staff member prepare drinks inside.Campos, who previously operated a cafe out of a bookstore until the landlord sold the building, noticed a “for lease” sign in the window of what is now his new cafe.The landlord first rejected Campos’s idea, saying the lease sign was for an office space in a different part of the building. But Campos persisted and eventually the landlord caved.“The idea is just to keep the overhead super low,” he said.It came with a few logistical challenges. He had to find smaller espresso machines to fit the space, while maintaining drink quality. Only one staff member can work at a time, and the cold winter slowed business as customers balked at the idea of waiting outside for their caffeine fix.Campos has applied for a patio license and plans to build a roughly five to nine square-metre heated enclosure.Another Toronto coffeeshop, The Nugget, is housed inside a former garage nestled between two buildings.Co-owner Jake Holton rented the attached building to open another location of his pizza chain, Village Pizza, and asked the landlord if they cared if he converted the garage into another eatery.The roughly 15-square-metre cafe opened July 2017, in part to help offset rent for the pizzeria, said Holton.For such a small space, though, the monthly fee is low. Holton operates another coffeeshop, Hub Coffee, that’s considerably bigger with about 25 seats. The Nugget, aptly named for its size, pays about one-sixth in rent in comparison.“It’s not even close,” he said.While cheaper rent may be part of the business plan, these spaces can be a hit with customers because of their unique forms.In the social-media age where Instagrammers hunt for the perfect shot of outrageous food or compelling backdrops, a pint-sized coffeeshop can generate buzz and draw a crowd.“People love it,” said Holton, adding several people stop by daily and coo over the Lilliputian cafe.“People seem to love the novelty of just having like a little walk-up counter.”last_img read more

Truck snagged on power lines caused outage for over 500 near Fort

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A semi-truck that snagged power lines caused over 500 residents near Fort St. John to lose electricity on Monday evening.Cpl. Madonna Saunderson with North District RCMP said that officers were called to a report of a collision involving a semi-truck that had snagged onto overhanging power lines on the Rose Prairie Road north of Fort St. John at around 8:50 p.m. Monday. Cpl. Saunderson said that police and BC Hydro crews contained the scene because of live wires that had been brought down by the truck’s impact. No one was injured.Cpl. Saunderson said the cause of the collision is not clear at this point, and wasn’t able to say whether the driver of the semi exceeded the clearance below the lines, or if the lines had sagged below their stated clearance. On November 9th, 2014 a dump truck activated their bucket while driving in Chetwynd, snagging power lines and killing power to over 1,000 customers in that community. Exactly two months later, another transport truck snagged onto the same lines, which had sagged below their stated height after being struck by the dump truck. BC Hydro spokesperson Bob Gammer said that the truck likely snagged onto overhanging phone lines mounted lowest on the poles, but that the force of the impact broke one of the electrical poles holding the lines off the ground. Gammer said that in total, 562 customers south of the Doig Road were without power until 5:20 Tuesday morning.last_img read more

Winter Storm warning remains in place more snow on the way

first_imgHighways are snow covered in areas with slippery sections. Please use caution throughout your travels today and drive to road conditions. Please check DriveBC.ca for current highway conditions.Much the same in the North Peace, with a travel advisory still in place for the Alaska Highway between Wonowon and Fort Nelson.There is also a report of a collision on Highway 2 at the B.C./Alberta border.  Flaggers are on scene directing traffic, but delays should be expected.This photo was sent to Energeticcity.ca of a truck on it’s side on Highway 2 at the B.C./Alberta border.For more on the condition of highways in the Peace, visit www.drivebc.caWarnings3:37 PM PDT Thursday 22 March 2018Winter storm warning in effect for:B.C. North Peace RiverB.C. South Peace RiverHazardous winter conditions are expected. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The B.C. Peace remains under a winter storm warning.  Environment Canada says the Fort St. John Airport has received 14cm of snow since the storm started and the forecast says more is on the way.Anywhere from 20 to 30 cm of snow is expected by late Friday.  A low-pressure system will continue moving across the BC interior tonight, giving a strong easterly flow of moist air over northeast BC. Snow will continue tonight through Friday morning and ease in the afternoon. Additionally, strong northeast winds gusting to 60 km/h will give areas of blowing snow tonight through Friday morning.According to Caribou Road Services, most of the highways in the South Peace are snow covered. Total snowfall amounts of 20 to 30 cm are expected by late Friday.A low pressure system will continue moving across the BC interior tonight, giving a strong easterly flow of moist air over northeast BC. Snow will continue tonight through Friday morning and ease in the afternoon. Additionally, strong northeast winds gusting to 60 km/h will give areas of blowing snow tonight through Friday morning.Consider postponing non-essential travel until conditions improve. Prepare for quickly changing and deteriorating travel conditions.Please continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to ec.tempetepacifique-pacificstorm.ec@canada.ca or tweet reports using #BCStorm.last_img read more

Strained US – Canada relationship backs arguments for pipeline say Liberals

first_imgFederal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh disagreed with the notion that a full-fledged Canada-U.S. trade war bolsters the Trans Mountain argument. Canada’s economic future depends on investing in clean energy and technology that will create jobs and economic growth for decades, he said.“Investing potentially upwards of $10, $15 billion of public resources to build one pipeline, one specific project, doesn’t seem to be a vision of what we should be doing with our public resources.”While $15 billion invested in clean energy could make Canada a leader in the sector, spending that money on the fossil fuel industry is “short-sighted,” he added.Last month, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government would buy Kinder Morgan’s existing Trans Mountain pipeline and its associated assets for $4.5 billion and build the expansion itself, selling it back to the private sector once it’s financially marketable. “Well, yeah,” Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr replied when asked if the situation underscores why Canada wants to build Trans Mountain so badly. “I believe that Canadians believe that to have more than one customer for our main natural resource is good for Canada.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inferred the link during question period Tuesday.Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s plan to impose “a limit on oilsands development and a price on pollution” included a pipeline to get oil to markets other than the U.S., he said – “something we can all agree on is probably a good idea, this week.”In a speech at the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary Tuesday, Notley said “it has never been more important for Canada to get a Canadian pipeline built to a Canadian coast for the benefit of all Canadians.”“If the last days and weeks tell us anything, it’s that we, as Canadians, need to take control of our economic destiny,” Notley said.Notley’s comments and her alignment with Trudeau widen the already yawning chasm between her and the federal NDP, which introduced a Commons motion Tuesday calling for Canada not to spend “billions of public dollars on increasingly obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure.” OTTAWA, O.N. – The federal Liberals are pointing to the unpredictable wrath of the American president to further buttress their argument that Canada needs the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to reduce its trade dependence on the United States.The U.S. is currently the destination for 99 percent of Canada’s oil exports – a fact the Liberals cite as evidence in favour of building Trans Mountain, which would allow Canadian bitumen to be shipped to Asia by sea.That argument appears to be getting fresh momentum from U.S. President Donald Trump and his Twitter feed, both of which have been the source of pointed attacks on Canada that have cast a worrying pall over the state of one of the world’s oldest and most enduring trade relationships.center_img Opposition to the pipeline and court challenges from the B.C. government made Kinder Morgan queasy about proceeding with its $7.4 billion investment in the expansion, all but abandoning it unless Ottawa could provide some measure of financial certainty.By Mia RabsonTHE CANADIAN PRESSlast_img read more

Over 3000 customers without power in Fort St John

first_imgFort St. JohnJun 228:10 p.m.Crew status: Not assignedNorth of 79th AVE, East of OLD FORT RD, West of 84th ST, South of 117th AVEView on map2493Under investigationJun 228:19 p.m. Fort St. JohnJun 228:11 p.m.Crew status: Not assignedWest of 116 ST, South of RD 246View on map566Under investigationJun 228:13 p.m. UPDATE as of 9:40 p.m. – B.C. Hydro says it will take until 2:30 a.m. Saturday before power is restored to the remaining 583 customers.  The outage happened Friday night and affected over 3,000 customers.  The remaining 583 customers are mostly in the Clairmont and Grandhaven areas outside of Fort St. John.For more updates on the outage, visit www.bchydro.com/outagesUPDATE as of 9:05 p.m. – Power has been restored to 2,500 customers.  There are still over 600 customers without power.  This outage is mostly affecting Grandhaven and Clairmont.  There is no estimate on when power will be restored.center_img FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Over 3,000 customers in Fort St. John and Grandhaven are without power.The outage started at around 8:10 p.m. Friday and was caused by a downed power line.  As of 8:26 p.m., Hydro has assigned a crew to restore the outages, but there is no estimate on when power will be restored.As we get more information about the outages, we will post updates.  You can also find updates at www.bchydro.com/outagesThe following information is from B.C. Hydro. This was posted at 8:19 p.m.last_img read more

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken

first_imgIngredients Chicken Broth 1/3 cup Oyster Sauce 1 tbsp Soy Sauce 1 tbsp Fish Sauce 2 tsp White Sugar 1 tsp Brown Sugar 1 tsp Vegetable Oil 2 tbsp Chicken Thighs (boneless) 1 pound Sliced Shallots 1/4 cup Garlic (minced) 4 cloves Also Read – PUMPKIN MASH, TAMATAR RASSAThai Chilies (minced) 2 tbsp Fresh Basil Leaves 1 cup Cooked Rice (hot) 2 cup Preparation Whisk chicken broth, oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, white sugar and brown sugar together in a bowl until well blended. Heat large skillet over high heat. Drizzle in oil. Add chicken and stir fry until it loses its raw colour, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in shallots, garlic and sliced chilies. Continue cooking on high heat until some of the juices start to caramelize in the bottom of the pan, about 2 or 3 more minutes. Add about a tablespoon of the sauce mixture to the skillet; cook and stir until sauce begins to caramelize, about 1 minute. Pour in the rest of the sauce. Cook and stir until sauce has deglazed the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until sauce glazes onto the meat, 1 or 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil. Cook and stir until basil is wilted, about 20 seconds. Serve with rice. (Courtesy: www.allrecipes.com)last_img read more

Stage set for phase I of LS polls voting in 91 seats

first_imgNew Delhi: Ninety-one Lok Sabha constituencies spread across 18 states and two UTs, including all in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, will go to polls on Thursday in the first phase, with Nitin Gadkari, Kiren Rijiju and VK Singh among several Union ministers in the fray.In Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha, assembly polls to 175, 32 and 28 seats, respectively, will be held simultaneously in the first phase. Voting for 543 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases: April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19. Counting will be done on May 23. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsIn Uttar Pradesh on eight seats, the ruling BJP will clash with the newly-formed SP-BSP-RLD alliance. Seven Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra will go to polls. In Bihar, four Lok Sabha seats will see polling on Thursday. In the North East, of the two seats in Arunachal Pradesh Union Minister Kiren Rijiju is seeking re-election from Arunachal West. Four seats in Assam will go to polls on Thursday. Sixty lakh voters in Odisha will exercise their franchise in the first phase of polls for four Lok Sabha and 28 assembly seats on Thursday. Two seats each in West Bengal, J&K and Meghalaya will see polling in the first phase. Lone Lok Sabha seats going to polls on April 11 include Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar, and Lakshadweep.last_img read more

Heat relief mission State introduces AC tram for daily passengers

first_imgKolkata: The state Transport department has introduced an air conditioned tram for daily passengers in the city.Till now, the air conditioned trams were only used on special occasions such as birthdays of dignitaries and celebration of events. Such trams were hired for some time with a designated charge on hourly basis. “At present, we have only four AC trams in our fleet and we have introduced one of them for daily commuters. It is aimed at providing relief to passengers in the summer months,” a senior official of West Bengal Trasnport Corporation (WBTC) said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe AC tram, which is plying from the end of April, has a fare of Rs 20 per head. At present, the tram is plying in Shyambazar-Esplanade and Nonapukur-Esplanade routes. The tram having a single bogey is perfectly suited for city roads, which is congested due to heavy traffic. In fact a number of tram routes in the city have been affected due to metro project work. The service of the tram is available from 10 am to 7 pm daily. “We are getting a good response and after monitoring the number of passengers for some months. We may roll out one or two more AC trams in future,” the official added. The seating capacity of the tram is 28. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe two special AC trams — Banalata and Charuibeti — that are being used for joyrides particularly during weekends have basic kitchen facilities for making tea, coffee and serving hot snacks. But, the AC tram for daily commuters will not have such facilities. The AC buses have contributed reasonably in boosting the exchequer of the state Transport department particularly during the summer months. “We are hopeful that the AC tram also will also be a hit,” the official said.last_img read more

Tunisia votes for gender equality in new charter

first_imgTUNIS- Tunisia’s national assembly voted on Monday to enshrine gender equality “without discrimination” in its draft constitution, a key step towards safeguarding the most liberal laws in the Arab world on women’s rights.“All male and female citizens have the same rights and duties. They are equal before the law without discrimination,” states article 20 of the text, which was approved by 159 lawmakers out of the 169 who voted.Tunisia has set itself a tight timetable for adopting the long-delayed new charter of January 14, the third anniversary of the overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in the popular revolt that sparked the Arab Spring. Since the 1950s, when it gained independence from France, Tunisia has had the Arab world’s most progressive laws on women’s rights, although men remain privileged notably in the question of inheritance.Some have accused the outgoing Islamist-led government of wanting to roll back those rights.Ennahda, the ruling Islamist party, sparked a storm of controversy in 2012 when it tried to introduce the concept of gender “complementarity” rather than equality into the post-uprising constitution.The new formula was agreed during recent negotiations between Ennahda and the secular opposition aimed at thrashing out a series of compromises and ending the political crisis triggered by the assassination of an opposition politician by suspected Islamist militants last year.Rights groups had expressed reservations about the article on gender equality, arguing that it limits the protection of rights to citizens and not foreigners, and does not specify the prohibited grounds of discrimination.They urged the assembly, in a joint statement last week, to “enshrine the principles of equality and non-discrimination before the law and extend it to anyone subject to the jurisdiction of Tunisian authorities, including both citizens and foreigners”.“Article 20 should specify that discrimination, direct and indirect, is prohibited on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,” said the NGOs, which included Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.Article 45, which would guarantee the protection of women’s rights by the state and the “equality of opportunity for men and women,” has yet to be examined.But women’s rights activists in Tunisia welcomed the provisional approval of article 20.“We wanted to add details that would ban discrimination based on sex or skin colour,” Ahlem Belhaj, former president of the Tunisian Association of Women Democrats, told AFP.“But it is very good news that (gender) equality has been adopted. It was our demand and it’s a victory,” she added.The national assembly looked at the constitution’s “rights and freedoms” chapter on Monday, and earlier approved article 21 stating that “the right to life is sacred” and “nothing can harm it except in certain extreme cases established by the law”.The compromise was criticised for failing to abolish the death penalty, with a proposed amendment to do so rejected, although in practice no execution has been carried out in Tunisia since the 1990s.Different articles on freedom of expression and opinion are also up for scrutiny, which carry weighty significance in a country that only recently emerged from five decades of dictatorship.Examination of the draft constitution has been marked by raucous scenes and interruptions, including for several hours on Sunday, after a deputy claimed he had received death threats because a colleague accused him of being an “enemy of Islam”.The death threats claim came a day after the assembly adopted articles making Islam the state religion but guaranteeing freedom of conscience.Tunisia’s politicians have committed to adopting the draft charter – which must be approved by two-thirds of parliament’s 217 members or put to a referendum – by January 14.Under an accord reached by Tunisia’s divided political factions, members of the assembly must also pass an electoral law and set up a commission to oversee elections this year, whereupon Ennahda’s outgoing premier Ali Larayedh has agreed to hand power to a caretaker government of technocrats.The powerful UGTT trade union, which has been mediating in the political crisis, is insisting that Larayedh step down by Thursday at the latest.last_img read more

Several Deaths Reported After Three Buildings Collapsed in Casablanca

Fez – Three Buildings collapsed early on Friday morning in Borgogne neighborhood in Casablanca.The accident has reportedly claimed the life of several people, at time when members of the fire department (Protection Civile) are battling to save more lives from under the rubble.More than 70 people are reportedly under the rubble. The accident, which took everybody by surprise, happened an hour before dawn while people were sleeping. Two of the buildings were completely flattened. Dozens of police cars and fire trucks were dispatched to the scene of the accident to rescue the victims and determine the cause of the collapse. read more

Moroccan hacker takes down an Investment website of South Africas government

Rabat- South Africa’s state-owned website Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has been hacked and defaced by a Moroccan anonymous hacker.PIC, which is the largest fund manager on the African continent, was hacked on Sunday morning by Moroccan anonymous hacker, going under the name J4R.The hacker replaced the content of the website with the image of a defiant cartoon character, and a message that reads, “Hacked by J4R. Gov’s Attacker! Moroccan Haxor.” The hacker, who presents himself as a Moroccan hacker specialized in attacks against government sites, did not specify his motives.PIC plays a main role in delivering investment returns in line with client mandates and creating a working environment that ensures that the best skills are attracted and retained in South Africa.Moroccan hackers’ attacks on South Africa’s official websites are not new. Last year, Anonymous Hacker group going under the name ‘Moroccan Islamic Union- Mail’ hacked and defaced The National Department of Health- Government of South Africa website.The group also left a message to the government of South Africa saying that “You should know Sahara is Moroccan & will remain Moroccan!!”© Moroco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed. read more

Moroccans to Fly National Flag on Buildings for Green March

Rabat – The Morocco 21 association is calling for the Moroccan people to fly their country’s flag above buildings, shops, and cars on the 40th anniversary of the Green March on November 6.The initiative received a warm welcome on social networks. Whether on balconies, windows, shops or cars, according to the association it is very important that everyone shows his or her enthusiasm to celebrate this symbolic date.Immediately after the association launched its campaign, the initiative went viral on social media, with many Moroccans around the world hailing the idea. Facebook users shared their photos with the Moroccan flag on Facebook and on the page dedicated to the event, which has already about 5,000 likes.The association said that the initiative was well received by Moroccans, who responded by proudly displaying their patriotism in creative ways.The organizers added that if Moroccans continue to show their enthusiasm for the symbolic date, that marks the country regaining its Saharan provinces, they expect that the initiative will strengthen the meaning of the heroic period in citizens’ collective memory.Every November 6, Moroccans celebrate the anniversary of the Green March, one of the largest, longest, and most peaceful marches anywhere in the world.The Green March was a strategic mass demonstration of some 350,000 Moroccans in November 1975, led by the late King Hassan II, to regain sovereignty on the southern regions of Morocco.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

Ban Kimoons Apology to Morocco Is a Hoax

Rabat – The “information” published on Sunday night by a number of Moroccans websites has turned out to be a hoax.Immediately after it was published, the inaccurate news was shared by thousands of Moroccans, who believed that Ban Ki-moon had ended up admitting that he had gone so far when he described Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara as “occupation.”However, after a thorough research and contacts with diplomats in Rabat and New York, the buzz created by the rumor turned to be a hoax aimed more at bringing traffic to the news websites that published it than keeping Moroccans informed of the latest developments in the dispute pitting Morocco against Ban Ki-moon.A source from the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Morocco World News by phone “it is unlikely that Ban Ki-moon has apologized to Morocco” over the statements he made during his recent trip to the Tindouf camps and Algiers earlier this month. The same source, who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity, added that there was no meeting on the issue this weekend and that Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to have luncheon with members of the Security on Monday.Contrary to the claims contained in the news outlets that published the rumor, during the meeting he held last Monday with Morocco’s Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezoaur, the UN chief did not present his apologies to Morocco. He rather expressed anger with disappointment for the march that was organized on March 13 in Rabat to protest against his statements.Following Ban Ki-moon to overstep his mandate as UNSG and take sides with the Algeria-backed Polisario, Morocco decided to cut the presence of the United Nations in the Western Sahara, known as MINURSO. On Sunday the majority of the 84 personnel affected by Rabat’s decision left the region. read more

Khaled Khateeb Syrian Oscar Nominee Denied US Entry

By Julia CabreraRabat – Syrian Cinematographer, Khaled Khateeb, was booked to travel to Los Angeles on Saturday to attend the Oscars award ceremony for his work on the film “White Helmets,” which went on to win the award for Best Documentary. The 21-year-old was revoked entry after officials found “derogatory information” about him.According to The Guardian, derogatory information is a broad category that may include anything ranging from “terror Connections to passport irregularities.” Gillian Christensen, the Acting Press Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, told The Guardian, “A valid travel document is required for travel to the United States.”Citing a statement from the Trump administration, the Associated Press said that Homeland Security officials decided to stop Khateeb from flying to Los Angeles on the day of his scheduled flight.Khateeb was previously issued a visa to attend the ceremony, but according to the Guardian he needed a passport waiver to enter the country after having been detained in Turkey prior to the day of his flight. Internal US government correspondence obtained by the Guardian indicated that he would not be able to receive the waiver, but did not explain why he had been detained earlier in the week.“White Helmets” is a 40-minute Netflix original focusing on the White Helmet first response rescue workers in Syria, who risk their lives saving victims of the country’s civil war. Khateeb is one of three cinematographers credited in the film, which was directed by Orlando von Einsiedel and produced by Joanna Natasegara. read more

O2M Launches 1st Virtual SecondHand Marketplace in Morocco

By Safaa KasraouiRabat – Digital marketing agency, O2M has launched its first virtual shopping place, Vide-Dressing, offering ready-to-wear clothes for women, April 10 in Morocco.Social network marketplace, ”Vide-Dressing,” has been inaugurated with the aim of encouraging the online purchase, sale and exchange of second-hand clothes. “Developed by the start-up, O2M Digital, this social fashion network has as main objective to make fashion on the Internet more economical and ecological,” O2M said in a press release, before adding that “Vid-Dressing.ma is the border between a social network and a ‘mall’ selling and exchanging second-hand clothes.”Project creators hope to renew the traditional-image of the marketing of online clothing. In contrast to other online second-hand markets in Morocco, Vide-dressing now enables women to exchange articles of similar value for free via the Vide-Dressing platform. Customers will also be able to follow up their best sellers’ activities. Buyers and sellers will communicate with each other instantaneously.Marketing transactions will be carried out directly between the users, which means that the platform will take no commission from the exchanging of products. Customers and sellers will have to communicate with each other in order to agree on methods of payment. read more

Moroccan Army Steps Up Activity Along Algerian and Mauritanian Borders Media

Rabat – Starting November 1, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) have begun “strongly reinforcing their presence” along land border crossings with Mauritania and Algeria, “following supreme orders,” reported the daily Al Massae quoting anonymous sources.According to the newspaper, FAR received instructions to bolster its surveillance of the Algerian and Mauritanian borders, which actively serve as smuggling points of people, goods, and weapons.The action reportedly follows higher instructions to put an end to the growing activities of extremist organizations along these borders. Morocco has recently adopted a plan to install “modern monitoring technology” on the Moroccan-Mauritanian border to control the smuggling of weapons and the flow of terrorists from Sahel countries to Morocco, added the daily. At the Algerian border, the military will increase its patrols and start using modern radar and infrared surveillance methods, especially in the Jaradah province.King Mohammed VI, the Supreme Commander of the Royal Armed Forces, appointed more than 15 high ranking officers, joining the ranks of generals and colonels who will take part in “important duties and responsibilities” in the southern region of the country, said the daily.News of the instruction has not been reported by official news agency MAP and is still unconfirmed.Nonetheless, the reported moves come after previous initiatives to better secure Morocco perimeter. Inflows of smuggled goods to Morocco declined in 2016, against a backdrop of increased law enforcement activity and border security, especially on the Algeria-Morocco border. read more

Morocco at Risk of Day Zero Water Crisis

Rabat- A new early warning satellite system reveals dangerous reservoir shrinkages in India, Iraq, Spain, and Morocco, where water in one of its most important dams reached alarming levels.Despite the recent rainfalls, which increased the storage dam capacity up to 58.8 percent, the World Resources Institute (WRI) declared that Morocco might still face a water shortage in the coming summer months and beyond.The alarming report is mostly based on the water shrinkage at Al Massira Reservoir, on the Oum Er-rbia River in Settat Province, which has shrunk by 63 percent between 2015-2017, thus reaching its lowest level since the drought of 2005-2008, which affected more than 700,000 people and decreased grain production by 50 percent. Al Massira, second largest dam in Morocco after Al Wahda, supplies water to the agricultural sector, which absorbs 33 percent of the labor force, in the Doukkala area, Casablanca-Settat region, and other cities. “While the reservoir’s levels keep decreasing, demand for its water keeps increasing,” stated the report.The report predicts that water levels at Al Massira would further deteriorate by the large water transfer project to Marrakech, which is expected to be fully operational in 2018. Climate change is also expected to further diminish water supply, resulting in water stress and competition over scarce resources. According to the World Bank, urban water demand is expected to increase by 60 to 100 percent in most of Morocco’s large cities b 2050. Earlier last month, Morocco’s Head of Government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, declared that the government is in the process of crafting a national water plan through 2050, in order to solve water shortage problems in several regions. read more

Ban underscores urgent need to address humanitarian needs in Zimbabwe

4 December 2008The United Nations and its relief partners must respond quickly to address the humanitarian needs of Zimbabweans and prevent the cholera epidemic from spreading, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a telephone conversation with South African President Kgalama Motlanthe. During this morning’s conversation, they also discussed the political situation in Zimbabwe and the mediation by the South African Development Community (SADC) in the power-sharing talks between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, who heads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).A power-sharing deal on the formation of a new government was reached on 15 September with the help of regional leaders, but outstanding issues remain, jeopardizing the deal’s implementation.Meanwhile, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) today pledged its continued support to Zimbabweans, with the number of suspected cholera cases in Zimbabwe having grown to nearly 13,000 and 570 deaths reported since August.The agency heads the group of heath providers who are responding to the outbreak as well as the country’s wider health challenges.Zimbabwe has appealed for $1.5 million each month to address the cholera problem, get health workers to return to their posts and provide medical supplies. Over $4 million worth of chemicals are also needed to ensure the safety of the country’s water supply.Kits capable of treating 800 severe and more than 3,000 moderate cases of diarrhoea have arrived in Zimbabwe, where 9 out of its 10 provinces have been affected by the cholera outbreak, which has also spilled over into neighbouring South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) yesterday announced that it is stepping up its help for Zimbabwe’s swelling population of children in need, outlining a four-month response plan to deal with the Southern African country’s multiple crises, including a deadly cholera outbreak, the closure of many hospitals and the collapse of the education sector.The 120-day plan yesterday in the capital Harare, and the agency warned that women and children are bearing the brunt of the humanitarian suffering engulfing Zimbabwe, where the economy is largely shattered and severe food shortages have become standard.“Schools and hospitals are closing, while teachers, nurses and doctors are not reporting for duty,” UNICEF acting country representative Roeland Monasch said. “It is UNICEF’s top priority to ensure that Zimbabwe’s children get vital life-saving interventions at this critical time.” read more