Harper government denies human rights museum censored Indigenous exhibits

first_imgAPTN National NewsA former curator of Aboriginal content at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is claiming in a new book she was ordered to censor Canada’s dark history with its Indigenous people.That includes removing the term “genocide” from exhibits.But the Harper government has told APTN it’s not true.“That allegation is totally false,” said Conservative MP Rob Clarke on APTN’s Nation to Nation Thursday.APTN’s Jaydon Flett has the story.last_img

Jane Fonda on why she continues to fight

first_imgAPTN National NewsJane Fonda was in Vancouver to show support for those who oppose pipeline expansions in the region.Fonda spoke with APTN’s Tina House about the Hollywood star’s activism and why she feels it’s important to get the message out.Here are some excerpts from that interview.last_img

Attawapiskat Chief takes to social media to warn of 5 more suicide

first_imgWe are grateful for the well wishes for Attawapiskat from around the world as the numbers keep climbing. 5 more children yesterday evening— Bruce Shisheesh (@BruceShisheesh) April 16, 2016It has been a week since the community 700 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay declared due to a rash of suicide attempts by children, youth and elders in the community.In an interview Friday night at a social which was planned by Shisheesh himself, the chief told APTN the community has been overwhelmed with everything.“We’re trying to stay focused and we’re trying to stay positive,” said Shisheesh.The weekend began with a candle light vigil, where about 200 community members gathered at the church and walked around the community, singing and praying along the way.Two years ago Georgina Wesley’s 14-year old son attempted suicide. Her family joined the vigil to support the community.  Wesley said she feels for the families and knows what they’re going through. Wesley wants the children and youth to know people care.“There’s always somebody there to listen, they will be there and hopefully that help comes soon” she said.On Saturday, approximately 40 youth gathered at the community centre, tasked with setting up a youth committee.Sky Koostachin, 21, said the crisis affects everyone in the community and that is why she’s stepping in to offer her help.“I know the responsibilities of the youth committee and I am willing to help drive it to success,” said Koostachin. She said a youth drop-in centre will be a top priority for the committee.Members of the Attawapiskat First Nation march through the community. Photo: Jason Leroux/APTNCommunity member Robert Sutherland is also taking a lead in the creation of the committee.  Sutherland was called to help with security last weekend, when children were brought to the hospital due to suicide attempts. He said the crisis has been a wake-up call.“Some of these kids are close to the age of my kids,” said Sutherland. “I have two boys, five and six, and I started thinking is this how my boys are going to be when they reach their age.”The community is now waiting for a visit from the riding’s member of Parliament Charlie Angus and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Carolyn Bennett.Shisheesh would also like the see Minister of Health Jane Philpott.https://twitter.com/BruceShisheesh/status/721351791489781764“We’re looking for commitment because Attawapiskat is lacking resources to help our young people and that’s why we need the federal government to get on board, the provincial government did their part,” said Shisheesh.afrancis@aptn.ca (The community of Attawapiskat is still dealing with young people threatening to take their own lives. Photo: Jason Leroux/APTN)Annette Francis APTN National NewsATTAWAPISKAT — The Chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation on the shores of James Bay has taken to twitter to announce more suicide attempts by young people in the community.Bruce Shisheesh took to twitter Friday to thank people from around the world for supporting Attawapiskat and then stating “5 more children yesterday evening.”Shisheesh could not be immediately reached for comment.last_img read more

College towns feel pinch from rental sites like Airbnb

first_imgCAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Time was when renting an apartment in one of this college town’s funky triple-deckers or two-family homes wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.Now, renting in Cambridge can feel like that — something critics say is made tougher by short-term rental websites like Airbnb, through which property owners can make more money renting out apartments or homes by the night instead of a yearlong lease.The debate over services like Airbnb — often criticized for essentially turning apartments into hotel rooms, putting upward pressure on housing costs and driving out longer-term tenants who can’t afford rising rents — has raged for years in major cities. But it is also keenly felt in event-heavy college towns, particularly ones that also are tourist destinations or are near them, like Cambridge, next to Boston.Jennifer McConnell, a high school Spanish teacher who rents out rooms in her Cambridge brownstone through Airbnb, said she’d otherwise have trouble covering her expenses.“It’s been a game changer both financially, because it’s allowed me to stay in my home, but also emotionally because it’s filled up my home with guests,” said McConnell, whose guests included a woman from Germany who stayed for seven weeks while taking a graduate course at Harvard.Short-term rentals have caused enough concern in Cambridge that the city council last month approved new regulations requiring people offering short-term rentals to live in the same building and undergo an inspection once every five years.Picturesque Boulder, home to the University of Colorado, last year began requiring property owners to have a license to rent to visitors. Evanston, Illinois, a Chicago suburb that is home to Northwestern University, also has beefed up rules on rentals of less than 30 days.Massachusetts Lodging Association President Paul Sacco hailed the Cambridge rules, saying they’re needed to prevent “illegal hotels” in the city.Airbnb said it is not to blame for spiking housing costs. Only a small percentage of the Cambridge housing stock — about 140 homes or apartments — are rented through its website for more than 172 nights a year, it said. That’s Airbnb’s estimate for someone who is effectively doing short-term rental as a business.Interest in renting rooms through Airbnb often jumps during graduation or a big football game, said Will Burns, public policy director for Airbnb.Visiting scholars and families of college students also fill rooms. In Cambridge, an annual rowing event on the Charles River also creates demand.In the past 12 months, Airbnb said, there have been 90,000 guest arrivals in Cambridge through its service in the city of about 110,000.Kirsten Rulf, a 36-year-old research fellow at Harvard Law School, said she used Airbnb for two weeks in August 2015 before finding permanent housing. The small, furnished room in a larger apartment cost her $1,500 for 14 nights, she said.“For me that was the best option, because hotels are super expensive, especially in August,” said Rulf, who hails from Mendig, Germany.A tour of Airbnb’s website reveals how much of a draw colleges are — at least according to those trying to rent out rooms.“Perfect spot to visit MIT, Harvard, BU (Boston University),” reads one ad. “The house is within walking distance to the Princeton University Campus,” reads another ad. A third boasts, “Great ‘shotgun’ style apartment on a nice street in New Haven which is a short ( 5min) walk to Yale.”Some institutions, including Boston’s Emerson College, have even busted students for trying to rent out dorm rooms.An agreement on graduate housing at Yale University states that while students are allowed to have guests for short visits, “Guests who pay rent and/or guests found through Airbnb or similar arrangements are prohibited.”In Cambridge, the median rent has soared to a daunting $3,000 a month, according to real estate data provider Zillow. In Boston, which sees its population swell every September when students flock back, the median rent is $2,700.According to Zillow, the median monthly rent in Evanston is nearly $1,700. The rent in Ithaca, New York — hub of the touristy Finger Lakes region and home to Cornell University — is about $1,600, according to the real estate firm Trulia.A 2014 report by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman found “private short-term rentals displaced long-term housing in thousands of apartments” in New York City.McConnell, the Cambridge resident who opens her home to Airbnb clients, said she’s OK with the city’s regulations but isn’t thrilled about the inspections. She said she also doesn’t fault Airbnb for the city’s soaring housing and rental costs.“The middle class person has a hard time finding a place,” she said. “I don’t blame that on Airbnb. People couldn’t afford to rent those places anyway.”last_img read more

Bought a 450M painting In NY dont worry about the tax

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – New York collects sales tax on even the smallest items, but it probably won’t collect a cent on a nearly half-billion dollar painting by Leonardo da Vinci.The Italian Renaissance artist’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $450 million (380 million euros) during a record-breaking auction at Christie’s last month by a Saudi prince and appears to be headed for display in a museum.But unless he decides to hang the work in a Manhattan pied-a-terre, or ships it using a certain type of carrier, he’ll likely be spared the roughly $39 million in sales taxes a regular New Yorker would have to pay for buying a work of art at that price at a local poster shop.That’s because the state’s laws are structured so that out-of-town buyers generally don’t get hit with big tax bills. If they did, New York’s status as a global centre for art sales might be jeopardized, an expert said.Christie’s declined to identify the buyer of the 500-year-old artwork, but the Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C., said in a statement Friday that a member of the royal family, Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, had purchased the painting on behalf of the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, so it could be displayed there at the newly opened branch of the Louvre museum.The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both reported Thursday that Bader was actually acting as a proxy for Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.The identity of the owner and ultimate destination of the artwork plays a big role in whether the sale is taxed.If the painting of Christ raising a hand in blessing had been bought by someone who planned to keep it in New York, the buyer would be on the hook to pay an 8.875 per cent state and local sales tax, which on a $450 million purchase would amount to around $39 million (30 million euros), said Jason Kleinman, a lawyer who advises art collectors on the tax consequences of their purchases. That probably won’t happen if the painting is shipped to the Middle East.“We’re not supposed to tax the Saudi guy if he takes the painting outside the U.S.,” Kleinman said. “The caveat is that New York has very particular rules about how a painting needs to be shipped out of the city. If those rules are not abided by, there will be some inadvertent sales tax.”The painting’s buyers could be forced to pay the tax if they hired a specialized fine-art shipper to deliver the painting to Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi. New York state authorities say purchases by out-of-state buyers who use specialized art shippers as opposed to common freight carriers like UPS or FedEx are subject to sales tax.Christie’s advises buyers on its website that it must collect tax on items collected by certain carriers. It also notes that buyers shipping artworks to 10 other U.S. states also would be on the hook for sales taxes.New York has socked art houses in the past for failing to collect sales tax.New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reached a $4.28 million (3.6 million euro) settlement last year with New York’s Gagosian Gallery over unpaid taxes on art sales. As part of that settlement, the gallery created its own shipping division so it could legally avoid incurring tax liability.“We will continue to remain vigilant in order to ensure that art dealers and collectors fully abide by the state’s tax laws,” Schneiderman said at the time.Schneiderman’s office had no comment on the sale of “Salvator Mundi,” Latin for “Savior of the World.”last_img read more

Victoriabased AggregateIQ Data Services denies link to Facebook data scandal

first_imgVANCOUVER – A small Victoria, B.C.-based tech firm has found itself mired in a privacy scandal unfolding in Europe as it faces accusations that it played a role in influencing Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.AggregateIQ Data Services Ltd. is a digital advertising, web and software development company, according to its website.Whistleblowers claim the company is connected to efforts to circumvent election finance rules during the Brexit referendum and played an outsized role in the eventual win for the “leave” side.They say that VoteLeave violated the spending limit rules by donating 625,000 pounds (about C$1.1 million) to the pro-Brexit student group BeLeave, then sending the money directly to AggregateIQ.One of the whistleblowers, Christopher Wylie, claims he helped found AggregateIQ while he worked for SCL, which is the parent company of Cambridge Analytica. Wylie also alleges that Cambridge Analytica used data harvested from more than 50-million Facebook users to help U.S. President Donald Trump win the 2016 election.Wylie told the digital, culture, media and sport committee of the U.K. Parliament that he “absolutely” believed AggregateIQ drew on Cambridge Analytica’s databases for its work on the official Vote Leave campaign.“I think it is incredibly reasonable to say that AIQ played a very significant role in Leave winning,” he said.The campaign appears to have previously verified the company’s role in its success.“Without a doubt, the Vote Leave campaign owes a great deal of its success to the work of AggregateIQ. We couldn’t have done it without them,” reads a quote from Dominic Cummings, a Vote Leave campaign director, on a cached version of AggregateIQ’s website.AggregateIQ did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment and its listed office line went unanswered and did not connect to a voicemail service.The company denies any connection to Cambridge Analytica in a statement posted on its website on March 24 and said it works in full legal and regulatory compliance in the jurisdictions where it operates.“AggregateIQ has never been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL”, reads the statement, adding that it never entered into a contract with Cambridge Analytica or employed Wylie.“It has never knowingly been involved in any illegal activity,” it said. “All work AggregateIQ does for each client is kept separate from every other client.”However, a cached version of SCL’s website shows it once listed a Canadian office located in Victoria. The phone number listed leads to Zackary Massingham, AggregateIQ’s president since 2011, according to his LinkedIn page. He did not respond to a voicemail left at that number.AggregateIQ’s website also previously included a statement defending the company against allegations it used Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data.The company said it “has never managed, nor did we ever have access to, any Facebook data or database allegedly obtained improperly by Cambridge Analytica.” That statement has since been removed from the website.— With files from the Associated PressFollow @AleksSagan on Twitter.last_img read more

US charges Venezuelan tycoon tied to government for bribery

first_imgBOGOTA — U.S. prosecutors have indicted a Venezuelan media tycoon close to President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government on foreign corruption and money laundering charges.Raul Gorrin became president of Globovision shortly after he and others purchased the popular TV network in 2013 and proceeded to soften its anti-government coverage.In charges unsealed Monday, federal prosecutors in Miami said that starting around 2010 Gorrin allegedly paid at least $94 million in bribes to two Venezuelan officials in exchange for business conducting foreign currency transactions for the government.He’s also accused of paying expenses related to three jets, a yacht and multiple champion horses on behalf of the two unnamed officials.He was declared a fugitive after officials failed to arrest him on the August indictment.Gorrin could not be immediately reached for comment.Joshua Goodman, The Associated Presslast_img read more

UK intelligence chief to make rare public speech

first_imgLONDON — Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service director is set to give a rare public speech detailing the need for “fourth generation espionage” to combat hybrid threats.Alex Younger, known in his role as head of MI6 as “C,” will talk to students at his alma mater the University of St. Andrews in Scotland on Monday.Excerpts released before the speech indicate that he will emphasize the need for human intelligence in a time of artificial experience and increased technological innovation.Younger will discuss the ways in which Britain’s adversaries are using cyber techniques and taking advantage of the “blurred line” between the cyber and physical worlds.MI6 deals with international security threats. The official threat level in Britain is set at “severe,” indicating that analysts believe an attack is highly likely.The Associated Presslast_img read more

NLC hosting Maritime Bhangra Group at first annual charity talent show

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Northern Lights College is going to be bringing the renowned Maritime Bhangra dance group to the Fort St. John for its first annual International Talent for Charity Show next month.The talent show, which is taking place at the Evangel Chapel on April 7th, is being hosted by the College to celebrate the diversity and talents of Peace Region residents. The Maritime Bhangra Group was founded in Halifax two years ago. Since July 2016, the group has raised money for multiple causes, including the ALS Societies of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, as well as the Leukemia Society and Autism NS. The group also performed on Parliament Hill at the Canada 150 celebrations, and has appeared on the CBC’s “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” and “The Rick Mercer Report”.The group will be joined on stage by members of the Fort St. John community who will be helping to raise money for local charities. Each performance will name a charity, and a portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to their chosen group. Tickets are available at the North Peace Cultural Centre, with adult tickets at $30. Student tickets are $20. The talent show is Saturday, April 7, at the Evangel Chapel. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with the show starting at 7:00. For more information, call Cleo at 250-785-6981 ext. 6212 or email cbaker@nlc.bc.ca.last_img read more

Fort St John and Dawson Creek drop in rankings for 2019 Best

first_imgThe new number one community is Squamish, jumping from number three last year.  The report says Squamish edged out Whistler for the top spot.  “The Sea-to-Sky Corridor owes its strength to several factors, including fast-rising incomes, generous spending on recreation and booming population growth. Squamish edges out Whistler thanks to one of the province’s busiest home construction markets.BCBusiness ranks 46 of the Best Cities For Work based on a number of factors, such as employment rates, annual income, and real estate values.To see the full list of rankings, you can view it here. In 2018, Fort St. John ranked in first for the Best City for Work. Fort St. John now sits at number nine on the list.Meanwhile, Dawson Creek now sits at number 30 on the list; a huge drop compared to when it ranked second in 2018.The report says the drop in rankings could be due to economic factors, such as persistently-low fossil fuel prices which leads to higher unemployment numbers.“Incomes remain strong in the Northeast, but the unemployment rate—although still healthy—is outperformed by much of the province. Population growth and housing starts have also cooled, perhaps because persistently low fossil fuel prices are finally taking their toll. But the relative decline of these communities may speak more to the economic uptick elsewhere in the province than their own shortcomings.”Despite this economic drop, the report expects an economic rebound as fossil fuel and natural gas projects return to the Peace Region within the next year or so.“Recent trends in oil and gas suggest that the Northeast is poised for an economic rebound. With fossil fuel prices gradually rising and the LNG Canada consortium moving ahead with its Kitimat export terminal for liquefied natural gas, the production centres of Fort St. John and Dawson Creek will share in the rewards—as will communities on the North Coast.” FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – BCBusiness has released its 2019 list for the ‘Best Cities For Work’ in British Columbia.Within Northeast B.C. there have been some notable rank changes, particularly to Fort St. John and Dawson Creek.After two years of being in the top three, both cities dropped well below their previous rankings.last_img read more

The High on Ice Winter Festival is underway at Centennial Park

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The High on Ice Winter Festival is underway at Centennial Park.Gates opened at 4:00 p.m., with Opening Ceremonies taking place at the Welcome Wall at 6:30 p.m.Mayor Lori Ackerman will be giving opening remarks to kick-off the 2019 edition of High on Ice. The High on Ice Winter Festival takes place February 15 to the 18 at Centennial Park and at various venues across Fort St. John.The full events schedule can be found here.last_img

Bank loan fraud: ED attaches Rs 483-cr assets of Kolkata business group

first_imgNew Delhi: Assets worth Rs 483 crore of a Kolkata-based group have been attached by the ED in connection with an alleged multi-crore bank loan fraud case, officials said Tuesday. They said the agency has issued a provisional order, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), for attachment of properties of the Tayal group of companies. Sources said the group had availed loans of Rs 524 crore from the Bank of India and Andhra Bank in 2008 which was allegedly defrauded by it using a “maze of shell or illegal companies.” Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja This is the second PMLA case against the Tayal group as it was already being probed by the agency for alleged loan fraud against UCO Bank and assets worth Rs 234 crore of the business group were attached by it in 2016. The agency has also filed a charge sheet in the UCO Bank case before a special PMLA court in Kolkata. “The agency has been able to recover almost the entire amount of loan fraud through these attachments which will now face judicial scrutiny. The role of bank officials in the second case is under probe,” a senior official said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway The ED had taken over the case against the Kolkata based group on the basis of a CBI FIR. “During investigation, it was revealed that the said companies under the umbrella of Tayal group of companies, represented by promoter Praveen Kumar Tayal, were involved in large scale fraud perpetrated on several nationalised banks across the country. “During investigations, it was revealed that the funds received from the banks by the said Tayal group of companies for specific purpose were siphoned off through a maze of fictitious companies and from there to unknown destinations,” the ED had earlier said. The utilisation of funds, as claimed by the said Tayal group of companies were found to be fictitious. From the trail of funds, it is abundantly clear that the said funds were laundered through its group companies, it said. “Nevertheless, the said Tayal group of companies despite having a large amount of liabilities to banks, acquired a number of properties and also placed huge amounts in bank accounts, which are believed to represent the value of the proceeds of crime,” it said in 2016 while describing the modus operandi of the alleged fraud.last_img read more

Centre issues drought advisory to southern and western states

first_imgNew Delhi: With water storage in dams dropping to a “critical” level, the Centre has issued a “drought advisory” to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, asking them to use water judiciously.The advisory was issued to Tamil Nadu on Friday and similar cautionary letters were sent to Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana late last week, said S K Haldar, a member of the Central Water Commission (CWC). Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe drought advisory is issued to states when the water level in reservoirs is 20 per cent less than the average of live water storage figures of the past 10 years. Water falls under the state list and the advisory recommends states to use it for drinking purpose only till the dams are replenished. The CWC monitors water storage available in 91 major reservoirs across the country. According to the figures released on Thursday, the total water storage available was 35.99 billion cubic metres (BCM), which is 22 per cent of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 161.993 BCM. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe figure was at 24 per cent for the week ending on May 9. The situation seems to be grim in western and southern parts of the country. The western region includes Gujarat and Maharashtra. There are 27 reservoirs — 10 in Gujarat and 17 in Maharashtra having a total live storage capacity of 31.26 BCM — under the CWC monitoring The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 4.10 BCM until May 16, which is 13 per cent of total live storage capacity. The storage in 27 reservoirs of these two states during the corresponding period of last year was 18 per cent and average storage of last 10 years was 22 per cent. The situation in Marathwada is particulary critical where the water level in 45 major dams has hit an alarmingly low level. On Tuesday, Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, said rainfall in Vidarbha, Marathwada, west Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will be “poorer than normal”. The southern region includes states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are 31 reservoirs — two of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together, Andhra Pradesh (1), Telangana (2), Karnataka (14), Kerala (6) and Tamil Nadu (6) — under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 51.59 BCM. “The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 6.86 BCM, which is 13 per cent of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 13 per cent and average storage of last ten years during corresponding period was 16 per cent,” the CWC said. Situation seems to be better in the northern region which includes states of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan. There are six reservoirs under CWC monitoring having a total live storage capacity of 18.01 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 8.54 BCM which is 47 per cent of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. The eastern region includes states of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura. There are 15 reservoirs under CWC monitoring having total live storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total live storage available in these reservoirs is 5.04 BCM which is 27 per cent of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs.last_img read more

Morocco Expects An Exceptional Crop Year

Rabat – Morocco is expecting a good harvest this year. Thanks to the best weather and a good distribution of rainfall, the Ministry of Agriculture is optimistic about the outcome of the 2014-2015 crop year.According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Fisheries, the national average cumulative rainfall as of March 13, 2015 amounted to 318.9 mm, a 12% compared to a normal year (285.8 mm) and + 50% compared to last year (212.8 mm).Morocco’s main dams reached 10.29 billion cubic meters of water on December 2, 2014, recording an occupancy rate of 65.7%. Nine dams reached a 100% occupancy rate. The ministry added that the use of certified seeds increased, which will help to improve plant performance. Of the 1.9 million quintals available, 1.45 million quintals were sold, marking a 12% increase from the previous season.The Climatic conditions have created an ideal context for the growth of cereals. Grain planting cover about 5.02 million hectares, or 98% in the current crop year, with soft wheat (42%), barley (33%) and durum wheat (22%). read more

Study Claims 19,333 Prostitutes ‘Work’ in Four Major Moroccan Cities

Rabat- According to recent survey conducted in four major Moroccan cities, over 19,000 women work as prostitutes as of 2011, according to the Moroccan daily Al Akhabr in its May 28 edition.The study, which was commissioned by the Moroccan Ministry of Health in the cities of Rabat, Fez, Agadir, and Tangier, reveals that the majority of the women have resorted to prostitution because of social or economic problems.The study also notes that between 62 and 73 percent of prostitutes have either divorced or lost their husbands before the age of 24, while 2 percent are married. According to the same source, between 300 and 400 sex workers were interviewed in each of the four cities.The study, which did not include Marrakech, which is believed to be a major hub of prostitution, shows that Rabat has the highest number of prostitutes, with 7,333.According to the same study, between 50 and 80 percent of prostitutes live alone, while financially supporting others. The study thus shows that between 45 and 85 percent attend the needs of more than three persons. The survey also shows that the majority of women questioned by investigators claim to have first had sex with their husbands, while 11 to 25 percent admit to having suffered from rape.The survey comes during the heated debate underway in Morocco after the first video clips of the film “Much Loved” were posted on YouTube. The film, which was produced by Nabil Ayouch about the phenomenon of prostitution in Marrakech, caused outrage among many of the Moroccan public public opinion.The controversy surrounding the film prompted the Moroccan Ministry of Communications to ban its screening in the country’s cinemas.“After a CCM group saw the film in an international film festival, it was decided not to authorize the release of the film in Morocco,“ the Ministry of Communications said in a statement on Monday.“The film undermines the moral values and dignity of Moroccan women, as well as all the image of Morocco,” it added. read more

U.K. To Deport Muslim Women Who Do Not Learn English

New York – British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that his government will begin to deport Muslim women immigrants who have not learned English after two and a half years of living in the United Kingdom.The British government announced a plan to facilitate the teaching of the kingdom’s official language to the hundreds of thousands of Muslim women residing in the U.K., according to a report by Spain’s 20 Minutes.According to the British government’s official statistics, there are nearly 190,000 Muslim women in England who speak little to no English. Prime Minister Cameron told the press that the incentive aims at better integrating Muslim women into British society, promotes unity and helps combat extremism.The same source noted that the new measure to teach Muslim women English across the U.K. will cost approximately € 26 million and is due to take effect in October.The British leader said that this should not be seen as a punishment to “people who do not speak English” but as a matter to denounce Muslim men who do not allow their wives to study, work and interact socially.According to the Times newspaper, the Prime Minister had previously pointed out that a minority of Muslim men have “bad control” over their wives who suffer discrimination and social isolation.“This is happening in our country and is not acceptable. We should be very proud of our values, our liberalism, our tolerance,” PM Cameron said on Tuesday during an interview with BBC Radio 4.He highlighted that the U.K. has “one of the most multiethnic democracies with many faiths of the world” and that immigrants who want to live there “also have responsibilities.”Currently, British law dictates that the wives of Muslim immigrants who come to the U.K. with a valid marriage visa must demonstrate they speak basic English after five years.However, with the new measure, the allotted time will be shortened by half and if their English skills have not improved, Muslim women will risk deportation, the same source noted.“When people come with a marriage visa, they should improve their English after two and a half years and we will check, and this is important,” Cameron stressed.Former President of the Conservative Party and First Muslim Minister in Cameron Cabinet in the previous legislature, Sayeeda Warsi, criticized the Prime Minister’s new measure targeting Muslim women.“Why should it just be Muslim women who have the opportunity to learn English? Why not anyone who lives in the UK and can’t speak English?” Warsi questioned via Twitter.And why should it just be Muslim women who have the opportunity to learn English? Why not anyone who lives in the UK and can’t speak English— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) January 18, 2016 read more

Belgians Living in Morocco Say They Feel Safer Than in Belgium

Fez- Belgians living in Morocco say that the north African country “is a safe haven amidst a rough sea of turbulences, threats and insecurity, perhaps even safer than Europe these days.”This was the gist of a Belgian TV report on the life of Belgian expatriates in Morocco. The trend of travelling southwards and residing in Morocco has hitherto been common among the French and the Spanish, but it seems ‘the cold country where the sun is hot’ as some tourists describe it has a lot to allure other Europeans.At times when Belgians in Belgium are living in constant apprehensions and fears under the lurking menaces of ISIS terrorist cells, their fellow compatriots in Morocco are cherishing the stability, security and warmth Morocco provides. Belgians in Morocco, the report says, are very well established and their children feel completely safe away from the threats of ISIS. Veronique, a Belgian interviewee living in Casablanca, told the reporter: “We have no problems whatsoever roaming in the streets of Casablanca or even in the Moroccan countryside.” Veronique’s positive attitude was confirmed by Ophelie who stated: “I have the feeling that I am safer and more secure here than in Belgium.”Marine seems satisfied at how easily she integrated in Morocco and at the way Moroccans received her at first. “We felt we were immediately accepted, and I am very sure that it was easier for us to come and live here than it is for a Moroccan to go and live in Belgium,” she stated.According to the report, there are approximately four thousand Belgians living in Morocco who are officially registered at the Belgian consulate. Yet, the true number is much bigger than that, ranging between twenty thousand and forty thousand Belgians.The growing number of the Belgian community in Casablanca encouraged Moroccan private money to sponsor Belgian schools in the country; some are open, others under construction. Etienne Crousse, the director of a Belgian school in Casablanca praises the Moroccan authorities for their efforts to establish security for the Belgians. “The school is protected from all corners by the gendarmes, and this reassures everyone. We have no fears of living here today,” he said.It’s worth noting that Morocco has been very proficient in thwarting ISIS destructive plans in the country after disintegrating a number of terrorist cells across the country, the last of which was last Friday, Feb 19, 2016. The disintegrated cell infiltrated into Morocco through the eastern borders with the aim of wreaking havoc in the country. Yet, the preemptive operations of the Moroccan national intelligence services paid off. read more

Tax Exemptions Cost Government MAD 32 Billion in Revenues in 2016

Rabat – Tax exemptions cost the government MAD 32 billion in 2016, according a report on the matter released on the sidelines of the political drama related to the tabled 2017 budget bill.The share of taxed income stood at 15.2 percent in 2016, against 15.6 percent last year, though, as a portion of GDP, revenues remained stable at 3.2 percent, the 2017 Finance Law Project said.The increase in the monetary value of this year’s tax losses stemmed from the heightened exemptions offered to certain sectors, such as housing and military equipment, the two of which saw combined exemptions worth MAD 620 million. The exemption on transferable securities cost MAD 108 million. The tax analysis also shows that revenues from corporate taxes have fallen by over 10 percent, while revenues from the value-added tax (VAT) have risen by over five percent.Accordingly, 43.7 percent of the exemptions benefitted corporations, while 26 percent advantaged Moroccan households.The project also noted that the government would generate over MAD 10 billion from alcohol, gambling and cigarette sales.A total of MAD 1.26 billion of domestic tax revenues in 2016 will come from alcohol, MAD 9.1 billion from cigarettes and MAD 160 million from gambling.Several newspapers criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (PJD) “contradictory moralistic discourse” due to the Islamist identity it has exploited to win elections.Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane, PJD’s Secretary-General, said that the religious orientation of the party does not determine the policies of the government, but added that one can call any government policy truly “Islamic.” read more

Al Hoceima Protests: CNDH Prepares to Mediate Between Protestors and Authorities

Rabat – As seven-month protests in Al Hoceima and its neighboring areas continue to grow, Al Hoceima-Nador regional committee of National Human Rights Council (CNDH) has announced its readiness between protestors and the authorities to find a solution.In a communique issued Thursday, the regional committee urged the authorities not to use power and preserve peace.The committee added that the “crisis” of Al Hoceima came following futile attempts to find a solution to the ongoing protests, calling for a conclusive policy of socio-economic developments for the city based on mutual dialogue. On Tuesday, CNDH president Driss El Yazami, called the protests in Al Hoceima city and its neighboring areas “peaceful” and their demands “legitimate,” speaking on the TV show “Dayf Al Oula”.“We have followed [the protests] from the very beginning,” he said. “More than 99 percent of freedom of speech and protests are guaranteed in the Rif [Al Hoceima region].”El Yazami added that most demonstrations were peaceful except for a case of a protest where some police were put at risk of harm.“However, all that appeared is that the demonstrations are peaceful, carrying social legitimate rights,” he reiterated.Nasser Zafzafi, the most vocal activist and leader of the protests, called the inhabitants of Al Hoceima of a large demonstration on Thursday following the government warned protests in the Rif region against drifting towards “separatism.”The protests in Al Hoceima followed the death of Mouhcine Fikri, the fishmonger who was crushed to death in a trash compactor while protesting the confiscation of his merchandise by authorities on October 28, 2016. read more