UP Suprintendent invigilators booked for aiding mass copying in exam

first_imgMuzaffarnagar: Seventeen people, including superintendent of an examination centre and 14 invigilators, have been booked under Gangster Act for allegedly aiding mass copying at an exam centre here during the Uttar Pradesh board examinations.The accused, including superintendent of the centre Yogender Pal, were arrested during a Special Task Force raid last month when the mass copying was caught during the Class 12th Physics paper. District Magistrate Ajay Shanker Pandey said here Sunday that on the recommendation of the police, 17 people including suprintendent Yogender Pal, 14 invigilators and two others Intakhab and Asher Nafis were booked under the Gangster Act. They were booked Saturday at Bad village under Charthawal police station in the district. The alleged mass copying was caught on February 22 when the STF raided the examination centre upon a tip-off. However, no student was apprehended, police said. Officials said solved examination papers, pistol, mobile and exam guides were also recovered during the raid. A car was also seized.last_img read more

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Detention of foreigners SC directs Assam chief secy to appear before it

first_imgNew Delhi: Expressing unhappiness over inaction in the case relating to detention of foreigners in Assam, the Supreme Court Monday directed the state’s Chief Secretary to appear before it on April 8. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi termed the affidavit filed by the Assam government as “exercise in futility” and sought to know as to how many persons declared foreigners by the tribunal have amalgamated with the local population. “What is the number of declared foreigners who have amalgamated with the local population. This is why we wanted your Chief Secretary to remain present,” the bench, also comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, said while expressing displeasure over the absence of officials. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The apex court then directed the Chief Secretary to appear before it and posted the PIL filed by activist Harsh Mander on the issue for next Monday. The bench was hearing a plea on the condition of detention centres in Assam and the prolonged detention of foreigners there. The court has expressed concern earlier as well over thousands of illegal migrants being kept in detention centres for years in Assam without being repatriated or deported to their countries of origin. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday It had raised several issues connected with the such centres and said the detainees could not be held for an indefinite period. On January 28, the apex court had asked the Centre and the state to provide details of the functional centres in Assam and foreigners detained in them during the last 10 years. On March 13, it had asked the state government to file a detailed affidavit in the matter. It pulled up the Centre and the Assam government over the functioning of foreigners tribunals and the problem of “external aggression” faced by the state due to influx of illegal migrants. “It has become a joke now. The situation has gone too far,” the top court had observed and told the Assam government that it was not been able to deport the illegal migrants to the country of their origin. “You have not done anything. The foreigners tribunals have identified 56,697 persons as foreigners and yet only around 900 persons are in detention centres,” the bench had said. Not satisfied with the replies of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Assam government, the bench had said it would summon the chief secretary and the home secretary of the state to explain the situation. “We are not even told who are the foreigners or who were detected or suspected to be foreigners. Who are the presiding officers in the foreigners tribunals and how many foreigners tribunals are functioning properly in the state,” the bench had asked. Mehta had said that 150 people who have come to India on valid documents need to be deported while 823 people who are mostly illegal immigrants are detained in six detention centres of the state.last_img read more

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Funding from ISA no longer required to be routed under FCRA says

first_imgNew Delhi: The International Solar Alliance (ISA), a world body aimed at providing a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource-rich countries, will no longer be treated as a “foreign source” of funding for Indian NGOs and other entities under the FCRA. The Union Home Ministry officials said the decision has been taken as part of India’s dedicated efforts to assist and help achieve the goal of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The ISA was jointly launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then France President Fran ois Hollande in Paris in 2015. “In exercise of the power conferred by sub-clause (ii) of clause (j) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Foreign Contribution [Regulation] Act (FCRA), 2010 [42 of 2010], the central government hereby specifies that the international organisation, namely, the ‘International Solar Alliance’ shall not be treated as ‘foreign source’ for the purposes of the said Act,” a Home Ministry notification said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday This means funds coming to NGOs and other entities from the ISA will not be governed by the FCRA. The ISA is the first full-fledged treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation headquartered in India (Gurgaon). It is an alliance of 121 solar resource-rich countries, lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. So far, 74 countries have signed it and 52 of them have ratified it to formally join the organisation. According to the ISA website, the vision and mission of the organisation is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource-rich countries where the global community, including bilateral and multilateral organisations, corporates, industry and other stakeholders, can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner. Addressing the first assembly of the ISA in New Delhi last year, Prime Minister Modi said that in the last 150 to 200 years, mankind has depended on fossil fuels for energy needs but nature is now indicating that options such as solar, wind and water offer more sustainable energy solutions. In this context, Modi expressed confidence that in the future, when people talk of organisations for the welfare of mankind established in the 21st century, the International Solar Alliance will be at the top of the list. He said it was a great forum to work towards ensuring climate justice and the ISA could replace the OPEC as the key global energy supplier in the future.last_img read more

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53 polling in UP till 5 pm

first_imgLucknow: Over 53 per cent polling was recorded till 5 pm in 13 Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, officials said. In Varanasi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a second term, the voter turnout was 52.9 per cent. “Till 5 pm, the turnout (across 13 seats) was 53.19 per cent,” a state election office spokesperson said. According to the data given by the state election office till 5 pm, the highest turnout was 57.80 per cent in Maharajganj, while Ballia reported the lowest turnout of 48.80 per cent. In Gorakhpur, the turnout was 54.80 per cent. Violence erupted in Chandauli Lok Sabha constituency, from where state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Mahendra Nath Pandey is seeking re-election, when supporters of the saffron party and the Samajwadi Party clashed. “The incident was reported from Parahupur Sikatiya village in Chandauli. A police team rushed to the spot and the situation was brought under control,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer B D R Tiwari said. Two election officials deputed at different polling booths in Gorakhpur and Bansgaon constituencies died of sudden illness, officials said. Rajaram, 56, was a polling officer of booth number 381 at Prathmik Vidhyalay Madhopur in Pipraich area in Gorakhpur seat, Assistant Election Officer J N Maurya said. He was rushed to a community health centre where he was declared dead. In the Bansgaon, Vinod Srivastav, 50, deputed at polling booth number 219, died around midnight due to cardiac arrest. He was an employee with the sugarcane department. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was among the early voters in Gorakhpur. “People are fighting this election for nation’s interest and if someone cannot understand this thing, his IQ is questionable. The entire election revolved around Modi ji. With big achievements of his government during the last five years, the BJP will win the election.”Adityanath said after casting his ballot. Union minister Shiv Pratap Shukla, who also exercised his franchise in Gorakhpur, said BJP candidate Ravi Kishan would win by a margin of over three lakh votes and the party would form the government. A report from Chandauli said the fingers of Dalits had been inked before they could actually cast their vote in Tara Jivanpur village under Alinagar police station. Asked to comment on the report, the additional chief electoral officer said: “We have taken cognizance of the entire incident and an FIR has been registered. Prima facie, names of workers of a political party have come to the fore. The administration has assured the people that they do not need to fear.” On death of an election official in Gorakhpur, Tiwari said: “The matter is being probed. If someone is seriously ill, then he is not deployed on poll duty. People submit their requests (for exemption from election duty) and the district administration considers such requests with sensitivity. However, if any untoward incident is to take place, no one can forecast it.” When asked whether there were lack of medical facilities for the election officials, the additional CEO said, “There is proper medical arrangement and first -aid kits have been given to all the poll staff.” The additional CEO also said reports of EVM malfunctioning were reported from some places but polling was not hampered. “We also got reports of poll boycott from certain places in Gorakhpur, Mirzapur, Varanasi and Mau. Officials rushed to those places to pacify the voters,” he said. Polling is underway in Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Deoria, Bansgaon (SC), Ghosi, Salempur, Ballia, Ghazipur, Chandauli, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Robertsganj (SC). Union minister Manoj Sinha is seeking re-election from Ghazipur. The BJP is contesting 11 Lok Sabha seats in this phase, while its ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) is contesting from Mirzapur, currently held by Union minister Anupriya Patel, and Robertsganj. The saffron party has pitted Bhojpuri actor Ravi Kishan from Gorakhpur against Congress’ Madhusudan Tripathi and Rambhual Nishad of the Samajwadi Party. Gorakhpur MP Pravin Nishad, who had won the seat on a SP ticket in bypolls last year, has joined the BJP. The party has fielded him from Sant Kabir Nagar seat. Gorakhpur was represented by Yogi Adityanath in the Lok Sabha from 1998 to 2017, before he became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. The final phase of Lok Sabha polls in the state will decide the fate of eight SP and five BSP candidates. In all, there are 167 candidates in the fray for 13 seats. The highest number of 26 candidates in the fray are from Varanasi, while Bansgaon has the least number of four candidates fighting the polls. The total number of voters who are eligible to cast their votes in this phase is over 2.32 crore. As many as 25,874 polling booths have been set up in 13,979 polling centres, the Election Commission added.last_img read more

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Chinese foreign minister meets Moroccos head of government

first_imgRabat – Morocco’s head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, met here this Monday with visiting Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi over means to consolidate bilateral cooperation. The two officials underscored the quality of Morocco-China friendship ties and expressed resolve to further consolidate the atmosphere of understanding by launching new fruitful cooperation programs.Wang Yi expressed in a statement to the press his country’s admiration for Morocco’s role at the regional and international levels.last_img read more

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Preselection of Teaching Exam Sparks Protests Nationally

Rabat – Immediately after the National Education Ministry announced the names of the candidates who passed the written exam for the Regional Centers for Education and Training, protests and outrage have begun on social media sites and in front of the Regional Centers.According to sources, graduates shared shocking testimonies, describing the results as a serious fraud.Many licensed students failed the exam, and some people claimed that fictional marks and unfair laws were applied. Vigils were organized in front of the Regional Centers on Wednesday, September 16 in most Moroccan cities, after long discussions by non-accepted graduates on Facebook groups. read more

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Morocco Launches COP22 Public Communication Campaign

Rabat – The Steering Committee of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change launched, on Monday, a broad communication campaign to raise citizens’ awareness about the challenges of the fight against global warming to be held next November in Marrakech.The first phase of the campaign, which will run from Aug.1-31, includes a mini-documentary entitled “Just open your eyes,” which aims to raise public awareness about the importance of preserving our natural and environmental heritage.The second phase will start next September and will also be accompanied by a second mini-documentary. To be screened in Arabic, Berber, French, English and Spanish, the mini-documentary is available in TV, film, and web formats to be accessible to the widest number of people.With MAP read more

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Paris Agreement on Climate Change to Enter into Force in 30

Bonn – The UN’s climate change chief Patricia Espinosa has declared the Paris Agreement will enter into force in 30 days, after the two thresholds for triggering the historic agreement were reached.Writing on Twitter, Espinosa said 72 parties representing 56.75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions have now ratified the Paris Agreement, meaning the two thresholds of at least 55 countries covering over 55 per cent of global emissions ratifying the deal have been reached.The landmark means the Treaty will come into effect on November 4th, ahead of this year’s annual UN climate summit in Marrakesh later in the month. Espinosa’s announcement suggests several European countries have lodged official documents with the UN ahead of the EU, as full EU ratification would have taken the share of emissions covered by ratification to around 64 per cent.He has in the past signaled his backing for the Paris Agreement and has said the UN’s focus should now be on implementing the treaty and accelerating climate action through to 2030 and beyond.The full ratification of the Paris Agreement as early as next month and its goal of delivering a net zero emission economy this century surpasses many of the early expectations for the deal. Observers had counselled that the ratification process could take around two years and risked being derailed by the US presidential elections.The move also means the focus of the Marrakesh Summit will now shift to delivering on the goals of the Paris Agreement, including on-going discussions about how to mobilize increased climate finance for developing countries and ensure parties upgrade their national climate action plans in the coming years. Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute, said the international agreement was now “ready for lift off”.“This is a welcome development after years of frustratingly slow progress around the international climate talks,” he said. “In a remarkable display of global cooperation, countries joined hands, demonstrating that they understand the urgent need to accelerate action on climate change.“With the Agreement in full force, countries can shift their focus from commitment to action. We need to increase investment in sustainable infrastructure and accelerate the uptake of renewable energy. We must create more livable, low-carbon cities and expand the supply of land and forests for carbon storage. We must slash food loss and waste, a major source of emissions and a travesty for people who lack enough food. And, we must continue to work at all levels – global, national, cities and communities – to build the political will for this transformation,” he added. read more

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Moroccan Police Calls to Emergency 19 Jump 30 Percent in 2016

Rabat – Improvements in police infrastructure have led citizen calls to the 19 emergency number to jump by 30 percent in 2016, compared to just one year ago, according to new data released by the General Directorate for National Security (DGSN).Police stations have received and attended to 1,092,115 phone calls from Moroccans this year – a figure that stood at just 775,353 in 2015.The data release on Tuesday comes as part of the DGSN review of security upgrades in the kingdom over the past year. The agency said it aimed to improve the readiness of the national police force while improving the quality and quantity of services it provided to citizens. The DGSN has increased the number of officers on the streets in Morocco, which has boosted communication between the police and the citizenry, caused trust between the two parties to flourish as well, the agency’s statement, published by MAP, said.The number of police departments in fast-growing cities – notably Essouira, Hajeb, Marrakech, and Mahdiya – has also increased over the past year in order to optimize responsiveness in crisis situations.“This strategy has made it possible, through the year 2016, to lay the basic foundations of good governance in the financial and administrative management, and strengthen the integrity of synthesis mechanisms and staff capacity building, which reflects positively on the quality of security services provided to citizens, and contribute to the improvement of readiness and effectiveness in accordance with the operational interests of security,” the DGSN’s statement read. read more

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Polisario Maintains Presence in Guerguerat Defying MINURSOs Resolution

Rabat – For the second time this week, the Polisario violated once again the UN ceasefire agreement in the Guerguerat buffer zone. This Friday, January 5, elements of the separatist group trespassed the restricted area under the eyes of the MINURSO peacekeepers. Two vehicles belonging to the Polisario’s so-called “civilian police” penetrated on Friday, January 5 the Guerguerat zone. According to Moroccan news website Le360 who reported the news, the mercenaries refuse to leave the premises. According to Le360, no incident has been reported so far. However, this new intrusion may worsen the already high tensions in Guerguerat, declared a buffer zone under the ceasefire agreement of November 6, 1991. Read Also: Polisario Violates UN’s Resolution, Enters Restricted Strip Zone of GuergueratThis new provocative action follows that of Wednesday, January 3, when armed elements of the separatist front intercepted a race vehicle of two participants of a desert rally challenge coming from Dakhla. Read Also: Morocco Slams Polisario for Violating UN’s Ceasefire Resolution in GuergueratThe separatist front’s actions are all the more worrying as they come three days before the passage of the Rally Monaco-Dakar, Monday, January 8, on the only road linking southern Morocco to northern Mauritania. According to Le360’s sources, “Morocco did indeed call on the MINURSO to denounce these provocative actions, asking the Mission to put an end to Polisario incursions into Guerguerat.” read more

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Water Ministry to Construct 4 Hill Dams in Moroccos Southern Provinces

Rabat – The Minister Delegate in Charge of Water is looking to develop projects in Morocco’s southern provinces. On Tuesday, Charafat Afilal said that the water administration is firmly committed to pursuing the realization of diverse projects intended to mobilize water resources in the Sakia-El Hamra-Oued Eddahab area.The official voiced her announcement during her visit to Laayoun on Tuesday, January 16. The Minster Delegate checked on development projects launched by King Mohammed VI on the sidelines of the 40 anniversary of the Green March.The structural projects seek to accompany the flow of the rapid development in the southern provinces. “In light of the growth that the region will experience over the next few years, due to the high level of interest King Mohammed VI has in the Saharan provinces, the State Secretariat for Water, as part of its commitment to support the colossal development efforts of the region, will continue the realization of various development projects related to increasing the supply of typical water sources, as well as the use of seawater and the treatment and reuse of wastewater, said Afilal.The official chairs the board meeting of the Sakia-El Hamra-Oued Eddahab Watershed Agency, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).Charafat said that the State Secretariat will soon launch the construction of four hill dams in the provinces of Laayoune, Smara, and Tarfaya with a total capacity of 1.7 million cubic meters.The official said that these dams are the Lamhajib, Sidi Ahmed Rguibi, Kssat and Labouira dams, in addition to the Foum El Oued artificial water supply project. Charafat added that these important hydro projects will mobilize additional resources to ensure that drinking water and livestock watering requirements, as well as groundwater replenishment are all kept to high standards.The Minister Delegate is also launching precautionary measures to protect the southern provinces from flooding. The water department, in collaboration with the Water Basin Agency and all the relative departments, are pursuing the implementation of these protection projects against flooding. Charafat also said that construction will begin soon to rebuild the Sakia El Hama dam, which was affected by flooding caused by heavy rainfall experienced by the region in late 2016.These projects, according to Charafat, are in addition to other projects dedicated to the region, including seawater desalination plants to supply the cities of Laayoune and Tarfaya with drinking water. read more

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Tesla 4Q Earnings Snapshot

PALO ALTO, Calif. (AP) _ Tesla Inc. (TSLA) on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter net income of $139.5 million, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier.On a per-share basis, the Palo Alto, California-based company said it had net income of 78 cents. Earnings, adjusted for stock option expense, were $1.93 per share.The results missed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.08 per share.The electric car maker posted revenue of $7.23 billion in the period, which beat Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $7.14 billion.Tesla shares have declined 7 per cent since the beginning of the year. In the final minutes of trading on Wednesday, shares hit $308.77, a drop of 11 per cent in the last 12 months._____This story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on TSLA at https://www.zacks.com/ap/TSLAThe Associated Press read more

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Bruno Mars to Perform at 2018 Mawazine Festival in Rabat

Rabat – American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and dancer Bruno Mars will perform at the 17th edition of Mawazine Music Festival, to be held in Rabat (June 22-30), the event’s organizer Maroc Cultures Association announced on Friday.He is a Grammy Award winner who rose to prominence with his super-hit singles like “Just the Way You Are”, “Grenade”, and “Locked Out of Heaven”.With worldwide sales of over 11 million albums and 68 million singles, he is undoubtedly, one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. Mawazine “World Rhythms” is a music festival that takes place annually in Rabat, featuring many international and local music artists read more

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2500 Moroccan Seasonal Workers in Spain Do Not Want to Return

Rabat- Some 2,500 Moroccan seasonal workers in Spain have declared that they will not return to Morocco.In January, Spain agreed to hire 10,400 Moroccan agricultural workers to pick strawberries and other berries for the April to June harvest season. The agreement was made in a meeting between 18 representatives of agricultural firms and officials from Spain’s General Directorate for Migration.According to the Moroccan-Spanish commission, which had organized the workers’ travel, 2,500 (17 percent) of the workers have declared their wish to stay in Spain, reported news outlet Lakome. The workers were scheduled to return to their home country once the agricultural season ends. During the application process, the Moroccan government had said that it would prioritize seasonal workers who were married, have experience in the field, and were committed to returning to Morocco after the harvest.Many previous Moroccan seasonal farmers in Spain have not returned after the expiration of their contracts and are either living illegally in Spain or have become regularized.The Spanish countryside is home to workers from a number of European and South American countries. Most workers have migrated to Spain from Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Ukraine and Pakistan, along with others from African countries.Read Also: Moroccan Workers Denounce Abusive Spanish Farms in FranceMoroccan female workers report sexual assaultSeveral women working seasonally in Huelva province in Spain filed complaints against their employers for sexual assault in May. The US-based online media company Buzzfeed was the first to recount their stories. Later, several news outlets, including Spain’s El Mundo and El Pais, reported on the conditions of the Moroccan farmers in Huelva.Morocco’s Ministry of Employment also carried out an investigation on the Spanish farms.After a Moroccan-Spanish delegation visited the farms, the ministry maintained that “no specific case of abuse or violation against Moroccan workers was found.”In June, Moroccan and Spanish women rallied in Huelva in a march of solidarity with the seasonal workers, denouncing the alleged sexual assaults.The minister of employment, Mohamed Yatim, said on October 2 that Moroccan-Spanish cooperation on seasonal employment has “positive results.”According to Yatim, Morocco and Spain should revise the employment agreement to allow for “candidate selection procedures to be adapted to new situations and to open up new social rights for seasonal workers, including retirement.” read more

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Study Steep tariff hikes needed for Port of Alaska repairs

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A recent study says steep tariff hikes could be on the way at the Port of Alaska if the Municipality of Anchorage has to pay for repairs to the dock.The Alaska Journal of Commerce reports the analysis, prepared by economic consulting firm Parrish, Blessing and Associates Inc., considers how much tariffs on refined petroleum products and cement would have to be raised to cover the cost of borrowing $200 million to pay for replacing the port’s petroleum and cement terminal.The port currently charges a tariff of 15.7 cents per barrel on petroleum products. The analysis says rates would need to be increased by 45 per cent per year until 2023 — when they would reach $1.01 per barrel.The tariff for cement is currently $1.61 per ton. It would increase 39 per cent per year and hit $8.30 cents per ton in 2023.___Information from: (Anchorage) Alaska Journal of Commerce, http://www.alaskajournal.comThe Associated Press read more

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Klobuchar forged record as reliable ally to med tech

MINNEAPOLIS — Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a presidential hopeful, has built a reputation as a champion for consumer safety.The Minnesota Democrat has also advocated for the medical device industry — a big employer in her home state — in ways that complicate her reputation as a consumer defender.A review of Klobuchar’s record by The Associated Press and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that Klobuchar has advanced proposals championed by the medical device industry that some consumer advocates claim would put patients’ safety at risk. They say she has put the industry’s demands above patient safety.Klobuchar counters that she has pushed to improve safety while cutting red tape that slows the approval of medical devices.Amy Forliti Of The Associated Press And Spencer Woodman Of The International Consortium Of Investigative Journalists, The Associated Press read more

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Duchess of Cornwall Wears King Mohammed VIs Gift for the Second

Rabat – Camilla, the UK’s Duchess of Cornwall, attended an early St. Patrick’s Day dinner Wednesday evening at the Irish embassy in London. Camilla shined in her green caftan, a gift from King Mohammed VI she received during a royal visit to Morocco in 2011. She paired the caftan with nude high heels and accessorized with simple drop earrings. The green dress is sequenced with elaborate trimming down the middle in the Moroccan style known as sfifa.It is the second time that Camilla is wearing the exquisite caftan; she first donned the same caftan in an event that her husband, Charles, prince of Wales, hosted at Buckingham Palace in February. After being invited by King Mohammed VI, Prince Charles and Camilla visited Morocco in 2011, an event that reaffirmed the historic relationship between the two countries.Camilla attended a vibrant caftan fashion show at Rabat’s Villa of Arts, during which she expressed enthusiasm for the traditional Moroccan garment. read more

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EUs Pierre Moscovici Vows to Deepen EUMorocco Alliance

Rabat – Morocco’s foreign affairs minister Nasser Bourita met yesterday with the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, Pierre Moscovici, to discuss the future of EU-Morocco relations.During their conversation, the two officials emphasized the “essential strategic” relations between Rabat and Brussels. Morocco is a reliable ally of Europe in Africa and the Arab world, with several conventions and agreements binding the two sides.Rabat and Brussels cooperate on a wide range of topics, mostly in agriculture, fisheries, migration, and anti-terrorism. In recent years, the flow of irregular migrants from Africa to Europe has upgraded Morocco’s standing with many European decision makers. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a recent interview that Morocco’s stability and prosperity are of paramount importance to Europe.Moscovici agrees.During his meeting with Bourita, the EU official drew attention to Morocco’s importance in Europe’s security agenda. He expressed his attachment to the EU-Morocco partnership and said it is a prized relationship that needs to be nurtured with efforts from both sides.Moscovici, who is on a two-day working visit in Morocco running from May 2-3, also met Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani on Thursday. With El Othmani, Moscovici also reiterated his faith in the EU-Morocco partnership.According to a statement from El Othmani’s office, the two officials praised the alliance between Rabat and Brussels. Morocco and the EU, the statement elaborated, “have overcome a series of obstacles while opening new horizons for their strategic partnership in several areas of socio-economic development.”Moscovici and El Othmani pledged to diversify the relations between the two sides to include sectors beyond security and economy, the two major pillars of the current EU-Morocco architecture.In meeting both Moroccan representatives, Moscovici also mentioned the possibility of an EU-Morocco-Africa platform to invest in Africa. The move is part of a broader “Euro-African” project which Brussels thinks will drive economic prosperity and social stability in Africa and curb the wave of African youth migration to Europe. read more

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Canadas banks officially launch SecureKeys VerifiedMe digital identity network

Companies in this story: (TSX:CM, TSX:RY, TSX:BNS, TSX:TD, TSX:BMO, TSX:NA, TSX:RCI.B, TSX:T, TSX:SLF)David Paddon, The Canadian Press TORONTO — Canada’s biggest banks marked the official launch of the Verified.Me digital identity network on Wednesday, following years of development and testing with their partner SecureKey Technologies Inc. The banks see Verified.Me as the beginning of a more secure Canadian identity ecosystem for a world where technology is making it easier for criminals to steal personal data and use it to create false identities.“We think solving this problem — about proving it’s me and making it harder for the bad guy to (pretend to) be me — is a problem of our age that we have to solve,” SecureKey chief executive Greg Wolfond said in an interview.The Toronto-based company is building on the success of its SecureKey Concierge service, in use since 2012, that allows consumers to use their banking credentials to gain easier online access to Canada Revenue Agency services.Verified.Me goes a step further by making it easier for individuals to provide proof of their identity, using the information they’ve already provided to their financial institutions.In essence, the Verified.Me smartphone app connects with participating financial institutions and removes many of the steps that are currently required to establish a person’s identity.The platform also promises to give the users control over what information their banks will share with third parties that use Verified.Me to transact business with consumers. In the long run, that could include applying for a mortgage, renting an apartment or obtaining a driver’s licence.But currently only a limited number of financial products or services are available through Verified.Me.“The current capabilities … on Day 1 are registering their insurance with Sun Life, for example, and checking their credit score with Equifax,” said Greg Elcich, CIBC vice-president for enterprise innovation.“But this is about building out an ecosystem around identity,” he said. “This service will save Canadians time with everyday tasks that they do…That’s the real vision here.”CIBC, Desjardins, RBC, Scotiabank and TD said they’d have Verified.Me running effective Wednesday while BMO Bank of Montreal and National Bank of Canada said they will join the network in the near future.Investors in the Verified.Me consortium include the banks and the Desjardins co-operative, the Telus and Rogers communications companies, the Visa, Mastercard and Discover credit card businesses, and Intel, the semiconductor giant.Rami Thabet, RBC’s vice-president for digital products, said the financial institutions want to build a Canadian digital identity ecosystem.“There are quite a few nuances to how Canadians are accessing digital properties and accessing financial services digitally (that were) a key aspect of the design of the platform and to ensure that it met client needs in the future.”He said Canada’s financial institutions invest heavily in cybersecurity to protect consumer data and privacy.“This has been a core underpinning of the (Verified.Me) platform, where it’s been designed with privacy and security in mind from the get-go,” Thabet said.Andrew McFarlane, managing director of Accenture Financial Services, said the lack of a consumer-friendly identity authentication service has delayed European take-up of newer ways to make payments with electronic devices.“Unless it’s easier and more convenient than using your card, people will continue to use the same payment methods that they have today,” McFarlane said.But the challenge, he added, is to “get the authentication requirements right while still keeping an eye on fraud and making sure you’re still safe and secure.” read more

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UN Drugs and Crime Office partners with Dubai to tackle trafficking and

“Through this project it is envisaged that the Dubai police will have a leading role in reversing increased drug trafficking and drug abuse among young people in the UAE and other States of the region,” said UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa, who endorsed the pact along with Dubai Police Chief Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim.UNODC will help upgrade the Dubai Police Training Centre into a “centre of excellence” for the region-wide transfer of knowledge and the training of law enforcement staff to ensure they have the skills needed to cope with an increased influx of narcotic drugs, the Vienna-based agency said in a news release.The $1.2 million project, fully funded by the Dubai police, will last for two and a half years, starting in April.As part of the project, UNODC will assist Dubai and the UAE as a whole in developing a coordinated national action plan on drug demand reduction. The Office will also help develop and implement national drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention modules for schools and universities to address young people in a way that suits the culture of the Gulf region.“Today’s signing should be seen in the context of an ever-strengthening relationship and engagement between UNODC and the UAE,” Mr. Costa said, voicing appreciation for the “generous support” the country has provided to the agency. 29 March 2007The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Dubai Police today signed a project to tackle drug abuse and illicit trafficking in the United Arab Emirates and regionally. read more

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