APTN National NewsA Regina coroner’s inquest jury came to a shocking conclusion as to the cause of death of a three-year-old First Nations child.APTN National News reporter Larissa Burnouf has this story.
(Video depicting demonstrators banging on guardrails Friday while RCMP officers block bridge and highway below. Video courtesy of Brian Milliea)APTN National NewsELSIPOGTOG FIRST NATION, NB–Five people were arrested while RCMP officers and cruisers were pelted with rocks as confrontations continued Friday on a New Brunswick highway where a Houston-based energy company is trying to complete shale gas exploration work.Dozens of demonstrators, which are led by Mi’kmaq from Elsipogtog First Nation with support from surrounding Acadian and Anglophone communities, declared victory after SWN Resources Canada’s exploration “thumper” trucks pulled away in the late afternoon.“You could hear the loud cheering from the protectors as the thumpers were turning around,” said one Elsipogtog community member who was on the scene.Some of the people involved in the demonstration do not want to give their names fearing the RCMP and the SWN targets individuals who appear in the media.SWN has faced sustained opposition to its exploration work in the region for months. The Mi’kmaq core bolstering the resistance fears shale gas deposit discoveries will lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and threaten the area’s water.The RCMP shut down Hwy 11 near Richibucto, NB, as the demonstrators confronted police lines and later took to the highway to stop SWN’s thumper trucks. the highway was reopened later in the day.(RCMP block Hwy 11 Friday during demonstrations. Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Clair)SWN obtained an injunction against the demonstrators on Nov. 22 and is seeking an extension next Monday.At least two RCMP K-9 units were witnessed on the scene by Elsipogtog residents and one officer was photographed holding a weapon that fires sock rounds.Videos and photos, along with witness accounts, depicted a heavy police presence at the scene, including unmarked vehicles with Quebec license plates.APTN National News was told in late October that a Quebec RCMP unit was on standby to bolster the police presence in New Brunswick. There are also RCMP officers from Saskatchewan who were involved in negotiations with some of the demonstrators.The police operation, however, continues to be commanded by the RCMP’s New Brunswick J-Division.The RCMP also blocked a bridge passing over Hwy 11 and the demonstrators banged on the guardrails as the thumper trucks rolled past underneath.RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said demonstrators threw “several rocks” at RCMP officers and vehicles and that five men were arrested. Arrested demonstrators have been released this week with a condition they stay at least 1 kilometre away from SWN’s vehicles.“Honestly, even one rock thrown at a member or vehicle to me is not protesting in a lawful, peaceful and safe manner,” said Rogers-Marsh.Rogers-Marsh said this was the first report she’s received of rock throwing since the Oct. 17 raid by RCMP tactical units on a Mi’kmaq-led anti-fracking camp that was blocking SWN’s vehicles in a Rexton, NB, compound.Six RCMP vehicles were torched that day and about 40 people were arrested. The RCMP said it moved in on public safety grounds after receiving reports of weapons at the camp. The RCMP seized three rifles, ammunition and crude explosive devices during the raid, which also freed SWN’s vehicles.Rogers-Marsh also said that some of SWN’s equipment had been recently vandalized.“There has been criminal activity and now with the rock throwing as well we will continue to be in the area to monitor the situation,” said Rogers-Marsh. “It would be irresponsible of us not to be there.”It remains unclear why SWN turned back its exploration trucks Friday. The company did the same thing Thursday after demonstrators marched onto the highway in a similar fashion, but the company states in its affidavit that its trucks passed the protest site “without incident.”The company claims in an affidavit filed as part of its application for the injunction extension that ongoing protests this week had not hampered its exploration work.The affidavit by Christopher Cainsford-Betty, staff operations geophysicist, said SWN has avoided planned protests at its compound in Moncton and that demonstrations along Hwy 11 have failed to impact its exploration work.Cainford-Betty said wind and rain on Wednesday forced the company to end its work prematurely. He said in the affidavit that the company needs about five to six days beyond next Monday to finish about 15 to 20 kilometres of work.“(The injunction) appears to have mostly successfully stopped unlawful activity in and about SWN’s work sites,” said Cainsford-Betty. “The (injunction order) has allowed SWN to proceed with its work.”New Brunswick Premier David Alward has called the ongoing battle between SWN and demonstrators a “beachhead” that could determine the fate of resource development in the province.Some of the demonstrators involved Friday said they still need support to bolster their numbers, but plan to continue hitting the highway to slow down SWN’s work.“Public ignorance and greed muffles the cry for help,” said one of the demonstrators.“You want to know who is leading this protection? The people that walk this earth, my ancestors,” said another Mi’kmaq demonstrator. “It is in our hearts to protect this and our hearts are leading this.”firstname.lastname@example.org
APTN National NewsThe crippling cold snap is impacting Toronto.The city is dealing with major flight delays, street car shutdowns and other mishaps.Some might say the city’s weather only feels like minus 21, but with the recent death of at least one homeless person.APTN’s Delaney Windigo explains why this cold can be deadly.
Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsOn Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first full day in power a federal tribunal smacked Ottawa for breaching its fiduciary obligation to two British Columbia First Nations.The Specific Claims Tribunal (SCT), created to handle First Nation historical grievances over loss of land or mishandling of trust funds, issued a ruling Thursday against Ottawa in a case involving the Blueberry and Doig River First Nations and the Crown’s failure to secure subsurface rights from the province for their replacement reserves.While the case landed on the lap of the tribunal as a result of the previous Conservative government’s decision to reject the claim, it provides an example of the types of complex and historical Indigenous issues the new Trudeau Liberal government will now be forced to handle. The Trudeau government was officially sworn-in on Wednesday.The ruling by Justice Larry Whalen, a part-time judge with the tribunal, found that Ottawa breached its fiduciary obligations by failing to secure subsurface rights when it obtained land from the B.C to give the Dunne-za Cree bands replacement reserves following the surrender of their originally set-aside territory in the mid-1940s.“Canada had believed it had acquired the subsurface rights in the replacement reserves and discovered its error only after issuing mineral exploration permits to a third party,” wrote Whalen in the ruling. “Canada’s failure to investigate the nature and quality of the title it was acquiring on behalf of the band was a breach of fiduciary duty. Canada’s failure to inform the band of the nature and quality of that title, to explain the practical consequences of the reservation of subsurface rights and to consult the band on its wishes under those circumstances constitutes a further breach of fiduciary duty.”Whalen found that Ottawa did nothing to rectify the situation even after discovering its error.Whalen also ordered the start of a case management process to determine compensation to the bands for the loss of those subsurface rights.If it stands, the ruling could end up costing Ottawa up to hundreds of of millions of dollars. A previous Supreme Court of Canada decision on another aspect of this case—the loss of mineral subsurface rights to their original reserve—led to the bands receiving about $147 million in compensation.Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, who was a former Assembly of First Nations regional chief for B.C., will now have to determine whether Ottawa will challenge the ruling through a judicial review before the Federal Court.The federal Justice department has already challenged at least two previous SCT rulings.The ruling also casts a spotlight on the tribunal, which was slowly being squeezed by the Conservative government.The tribunal is severely understaffed and needs additional judges to handle its bulging work load which currently includes about 67 cases. The tribunal is currently operating with only one full-time judge and two part-time judges. Under the legislation that created it, the tribunal was designed to operate with six full-time equivalent judgesThe Conservative government, which created the SCT, refused to appoint additional judges, despite dire warnings from the tribunal’s chair Justice Harry Slade that it was on the brink of failure.The fate of the tribunal, which is a going concern for B.C. First Nations which make up a large portion of specific claims cases, will now be in the hands of Wilson-Raybould.Like many of these specific claims cases, the roots of the Doig River and Blueberry First Nation claim stretch back over the decades.When the Dunne-za Cree people—who lived a nomadic lifestyle hunting, fishing and trapping across a region north of what is known today as Fort St. John, B.C.—adhered to Treaty 8 in 1900 they were given 7,352 hectares of land known as the Montney reserve. They became known as the St. John Beaver Band. While the reserve was set in prime agricultural land near non-Indigenous communities, the Dunne-za chose to continue pursuing their traditional ways of life in territory north of their new reserve.In 1945, the St. John Beaver Band surrendered their reserve to the Crown which promised to provide benefits to the Dunne-za Cree from the sale and lease of the land.The Crown then sold the surface and subsurface rights to the land, which was distributed to veterans coming back from the Second World War. In 1950, the Crown acquired land from the province for the replacement reserves, but did not secure the subsurface rights.By 1976, oil was discovered beneath the old Montney reserve “to the great benefit of some of the veterans and a petroleum exploration company,” wrote Whalen.By this time, the St. John Beaver Band was now divided into the Blueberry and Doig River First Nations. They took the government to Federal Court over the Crown’s decision to sell-off their old reserve lands’ subsurface rights. The case finally concluded with the financial settlement in the mid-1990s.Doig River First Nation then filed a specific claim against Ottawa over the Crown’s failure to secure subsurface rights to their replacement reserve lands in April 1999. The claim was rejected for negotiation by former Conservative Aboriginal affairs minister Chuck Strahl in 2009.Doig then took the claim to the tribunal which notified Blueberry First Nation it was taking on the case. Ottawa opposed Blueberry’s decision to join.The tribunal ordered the band’s addition to the email@example.com@JorgeBarrera
(The spirit chair at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Photo: Kathleen Martens)Kathleen MartensAPTN News When a murderous stalker killed her parents he took not only her family but her heritage, Falon Farinacci told the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Winnipeg Wednesday.Farinacci was nine-years-old when Andre Ducharme fatally shot Sherry and Maurice Paul in the tight-knit Metis community of Saint Eustache, Man., in 1993.Ducharme was a childhood friend of her father’s who became obsessed with her mother, Farinacci told chief Commissioner Marion Buller.“He was the town bully who went to school with my dad, and an alcoholic,” she said.The double murder shattered her life and that of her two brothers – one of whom died later in life by suicide.Farinacci said she brings her children back to Manitoba – the ancestral home of the Metis in Canada – to visit but it’s not the same.“Something about this pulled me here,” she said. “I hope that me coming and speaking for change means their passing will have meaning. And that’s what I want.”Farinacci has since married and had three children. But she remembers her father being actively involved with the Manitoba Metis Federation.“My dad was a very, very, very proud Metism,” Farinacci said.She said her parents didn’t reveal the problems they were having with Ducharme, whom she said they had a restraining order against.But Maurice did confide in his neighbour and friend, Ken Bowden.“He said if anything happens take care of my kids. I did, as much as I could,” Bowden testified.“The RCMP were very shitty and lazy,” added Bowden, who was critical of how long it took Mounties to deal with the volatile situation that ended in two killings.Ducharme eventually took his own life after shooting Maurice and Sherry Paul in their home with a rifle he’d stolen from his uncle, while their three young children were inside.Her older brother had escaped and run to the Bowdens to call police at midnight, Farinacci said.“The police officer decided to go back to bed. We continued to call for help. No one came.”At 8:30 in the morning, she said her grandfather burst in first followed by police.An inquest into the case helped strengthen Canada’s stalking laws but Farinacci said the crime is still not taken seriously enough.“He was released (from custody on an uttering threats charge) and ordered to stay away. He was released the same day that he killed them,” she said.She said not enough is done, especially for women, noting she herself lives with a fear of death as a result and that it needs to be taken more seriously.Because the impact of the crime still haunts her, Farinacci called for the inquiry to recommend victim services for families – whenever they need them – be it one or 20 years later.She also wonders sometimes whether the lack of timely police response was because the family was Metis.Farinacci was one of 836 families the inquiry says have registered to speak to date – 120 are from Manitoba alone.“Make the changes,” Farinacci told Buller. “No memorial. That’s not going to do anything.”Contact Kathleen here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlotte Morritt-JacobsAPTN News A woman who was found dead in British Columbia this week had contacted APTN News earlier in July about documenting her hitchhiking adventures.The body of 27-year-old Brittany Martel was discovered by a motorist on Hwy 5 south of Merritt, B.C., 127 kilometres west of Kelowna.Her family confirmed the woman’s identity.Martel had disappeared before.In mid-June, she was last seen in West Kelowna, B.C.Family and friends were concerned for Martel’s health and well-being and her cell phone was no longer working.A missing persons report was filed and posted by RCMP which stated that Martel was planning to hitchhike to the N.W.T. and said she may be travelling with a male friend.On July 3 she arrived back home safely in Hay River, NWT.Because Martel travelled often in B.C., APTN reached out to her on Facebook on July 9 to talk about the cancellation of the Greyhound bus routes in Western Canada.She, in turn, contacted APTN and left a voicemail on July 11 saying she wanted to talk about her experiences on the road.“Hi, this is Brittany Martel calling. I just got your message on Facebook, on messenger and I am interested in, if you are interested in my story of how I went hitchhiking,” said Martel’s message on the APTN’s voicemail.“It is very long, I would tell you day by day what I went through. Yeah, I am interested in telling you what I said.”Listen to the voicemail here:Audio Playerhttps://aptnnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/My-recording-1.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.She left Hay River sometime after this.Martel’s body was discovered July 23 near the Mine Cree Rd according to the police.According to media reports, police weren’t clear on how long Martel had been there.“It’s sort of a catch-22. There is nothing right now to point to it being suspicious but at the same time given where she was found and the circumstances in which she was found and that it does make it suspicious until we rule out a cause of death,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Lorne Wood told the Merrit Herald.Martel was loved by many.Her Facebook timeline was flooded as news reached her home community.Her cousin Jessica Martel wrote on Facebook, “No mother should ever bury her child Im so sorry aunty I don’t wanna let you go bree you were something very special to me and I thought we still had a lot of memories to make”…”Gonna miss you so much big cuz .”APTN reached out to her friends who did not wish to comment until the family had prepared a email@example.com@aptncharlotte
WASHINGTON – U.S. consumers spent less at auto dealers, gas stations and department stores in February, causing overall retail sales to slip 0.1 per cent despite signs elsewhere of a robust economy and the tax cuts signed into law by President Donald Trump starting to take effect.It was the third consecutive month of declining retail sales, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, though they’re still 4 per cent higher from a year ago. Shoppers have opened 2018 with a cold spell after robust spending gains in the months leading up to the holidays. The core retail sales that economists monitor — which exclude autos, building materials, gasoline and restaurants — improved a mere 0.1 per cent in February after essentially being flat in January.So far, the promise of higher take-home pay from Trump’s tax cuts appears to have had little influence on spending for big ticket items such as autos. But many economists expect to see gathering momentum for consumer spending given that the unemployment rate is at a low 4.1 per cent and the benefits from the tax cuts start to filter through the broader economy.“This lull is temporary,” said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services.Michael Dolega, a senior economist at TD Bank, said he anticipates stronger retail sales in March. He noted that much of the decline was at auto dealers, which had been booking sales growth as people replaced vehicles damaged last year by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. He also noted that federal income tax filing season for 2017 had a relatively late start, so people may be spending any refunds later in the year.Still, there may be limits to how much retail sales can rise. Consumers have continued migrating to online outlets such as Amazon and away from traditional department stores, dampening overall sales as the competition to charge the lowest price has increased. Retail sales are increasingly influenced by the aging of the baby boomer generation, who tend to spend less after retirement.Auto sales fell 0.9 per cent last month, while purchases at gas stations tumbled 1.2 per cent. Sales at department stores declined 0.9 per cent.But spending at online and catalogue retailers climbed, as did spending at building materials stores, restaurants and clothiers to offset much of the decline elsewhere.Retailers remain optimistic about a sales rebound. They added a healthy 50,300 jobs in February, according to the Labor Department’s jobs report.
BARCELONA, Spain — The Latest on Spanish Cabinet meeting being held in Barcelona (all times local):10:30 a.m.Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Spanish Cabinet members have arrived in a central Barcelona palace for a weekly Cabinet meeting that has been moved to the Catalan capital despite separatists’ protests against it.Sanchez’s Socialist administration planned the meeting to convey an image of normalcy, but tension remains high in Catalonia despite progress in talks on Thursday with the pro-secession president of the northeastern region.Some scuffles have broken out on Friday in central Barcelona between pro-independence protesters trying to reach the venue of the Cabinet meeting and police trying to stop them.The regional Mossos d’Esquadra police force says that one protester has been arrested for public disorder near the headquarters of Spain’s National Police in a downtown avenue.The meeting normally takes place in Madrid, but Sanchez has vowed to take it to other Spanish cities as a gesture of commitment to decentralization.___7:40 a.m.Catalan authorities say protesters angry about Spain’s Cabinet holding a meeting in Barcelona have blocked a major highway and dozens of roads, disrupting traffic to and from the city.Pro-independence protesters called the protests to show their disgust at Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s decision to lead the weekly Cabinet meeting in Barcelona.Security in the prosperous northeastern region, normally in the hands of the Catalan police, has been reinforced with hundreds of anti-riot officers from Spain’s national police force.Sanchez has agreed with the pro-secession leader of the region, Quim Torra, to work on finding a solution to the political crisis that has festered since Catalonia’s failed secession attempt last year. Their meeting on Thursday was only the second since both took power earlier this year.The Associated Press
The Canadian Press CALGARY — A new report from the National Energy Board says the “primary factor” in recent steep discounts on western Canadian crude is that oil production outstripped export pipeline capacity by about 365,000 barrels per day.The background report was compiled for federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi who has asked the NEB for advice on how to optimize existing pipeline and rail transport.The NEB says it has launched an online forum to gather public input and will meet with pipeline companies, producers, shippers, government officials and other experts in January to gather more answers for the minister.The report notes that about one million barrels per day of nameplate Canadian oil pipeline capacity was added between 2013 and 2016 but there has been no new capacity since then.It estimates that the available pipeline takeaway capacity from Western Canada in September was 3.95 million barrels per day but that oil production had risen to about 4.3 million barrels per day.Discounts narrowed in early December after the Alberta government announced it would impose temporary curtailments of 325,000 barrels per day on the industry starting Jan. 1, a measure designed to draw down storage and restore normal market prices.
Teaming with the help of the Peace River Regional District and Adlard Enviromental, by hosting the free grant writing workshop for farmers is a valuable opportunity to listen to and ask questions of a Grant Writer.This presentation will be an asset to those attending by learning and developing valuable skills, tools and confidence as well as learning what grants are available through the year to for-profit farm businesses to help prepare your own grant proposals.The event is Thursday January 10, 2019, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pmFor more details go to the Facebook Event Page CLICK HERE FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After many conversations between local farmers and NEAT’s Northern Co-Hort, the free Grant Writing Workshop is a response to the information received from these producers.The Northern Co-hort felt there was a need to get an event such as this together after connecting with over 70 Producers in the Region since October. After holding three Northern Connections Farmers Events there was the opportunity for open dialogue and the opportunity to talk about real issues such as how are producers farming, where are they farming, maximizing earning potential and where can producers use support.Bess Legault, Northern Co-hort Coordinator with NEAT shared “The feedback was that farmers were aware there are grants available to a for-profit producer from the Government yet they don’t know how to access the money or how to write the grant.”
Gurugram: In a shocking incident, a 15-year-old girl was raped in Gurugram on the pretext of offering her a lift. The alleged incident took place on Saturday at IFFCO Chowk. The victim was raped by her cab driver. The Gurugram police is investigating the case.The teenager victim, a resident of Mahipalpur area in Delhi, works with food caterers. The victim was allegedly raped by a cab driver on the pretext of offering her a lift. According to police, the victim had gone to work at a wedding on the Old Delhi Road. The victim was accompanied by three other girls. After finishing her work, the victim went looking for transport to return to Delhi. A cab with two people already in it offered them a lift. The four girls entered the car and sat on the back seat. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThe victim alleged that the cab driver dropped the person sitting on the first seat at Shankar Chowk before driving to a secluded area. She added that the cab driver locked the three other women inside the car and then raped her. Following this, he dropped the four women near Mahipalpur and warned them against informing the police. The Delhi Police registered a zero FIR and transferred the case to the Gurugram Police. The police registered a case again at the DLF-2 station. Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was added to the FIR. Gurugram along with its counterpart Faridabad is leading in terms of sexual crimes against minors. In 2017, 106 cases of sexual crimes against minors were reported while in 2016 it was 115.
Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati on Saturday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of wasting public money for self promotion.The former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister tweeted: “Modi was busy mostly in laying foundation stones for various projects. He has spent Rs 3,044 crore on publicity.”Instead, this government could have used this money for education and better medical facilities in every village of backward states like Uttar Pradesh. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day”However, for the BJP, there is no greater emphasis that is needed than on itself.”The tweets of the 63-year-old Dalit leader was in Hindi. “BJP and PM are hell bent on deflecting the attention of people from the failures of their government,” she added.The ruling party at the Centre, which is also at the helm in her state has “miserably failed to address serious issues like unemployment and poverty”, she said. “They run away from any kind of public debate,” she added.Cautioning people from falling into the BJP’s trap, Mayawati said these were mere tactics to divert people’s attention from the real issues in public discourse.The BJP was also “digging up all sorts of skeletons in cupboards” of opposition parties, she pointed out, and condemned the ploy.
Rabat – Morocco’s unemployment rate went up from 9.4 percent to 10.2 percent between the 1st quarter of 2013 and the corresponding period of 2013, says the High Commissioner for Planning (HCP).Unemployed active population rose from 1,077,000 in the 1st quarter of 2013 to 1,191,000 in the same period of 2014 (more 74,000 unemployed persons in urban areas and 40,000 in rural areas), according to the source.Unemployment is higher among the 15-24 age-bracket 20.2 percent.
Rabat – Real Madrid is said to be interested in signing Moroccan international Medhi Benatia during the summer transfer window.According to Sky Sports journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, the Spanish giants are eyeing the Bayern Munich defender as a potential replacement to Manchester United target Sergio Ramos.Sergio Ramos appears more and more likely on his way from the Bernabeu. The World Cup winner is reportedly eager to secure a move to Manchester United this summer. The Red Devils are also said to have lodged a £28m bid for the 29-year-old defender. However, reports suggest Real Madrid is setting the price for their player at whopping 100 million euros.Ramos has two years remaining on his contract with Real Madrid.If rumors are to be believed and Madrid eventually sign Benatia, then the former AS Roma defender will become the first Moroccan ever to play for Real Madrid.
Beijing – Morocco has decided to exempt Chinese nationals form visa requirement to enter the Moroccan territory starting from June 2016.During His talks with President Xi Jinping, on Wednesday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, the Moroccan monarch announced to the Chinese head of State the waiving, as of June 1, 2016, of visa for Chinese nationals, Moroccan Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, told MAP.“The decision, which confirms the vision of HM the King and His will to deepen and diversify the Chinese-Moroccan relations, shows Morocco’s desire for openness and strengthening human, cultural, economic and political exchanges between the two friendly countries,” the minister added. The talks between King Mohammed VI and President Xi Jinping were an opportunity to reaffirm friendship, commitment and sincerity, Mezouar said.The Moroccan minister noted the commitment of both Heads of State to implement the strategic partnership between Beijing and Rabat, signed today between the King and the Chinese President.King Mohammed VI, on an official visit to China, held talks Wednesday with President XI Jinping, followed by the signing of the joint declaration on the establishment of a strategic partnership between the two countries, as well as several bilateral agreements.With MAP
United Nations – The European Union on Monday reiterated its “full support” the process initiated under the aegis of the United Nations to achieve a political settlement to the artificial dispute over the Western Sahara.“We reaffirm our full support to the UN efforts to reach a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution” to the Western Sahara dispute, the EU Representative said before the 4th Committee of the UN General Assembly.In this regard, he added that the European Union “takes note of efforts and developments since 2006 to ensure the implementation of Security Council resolutions” on this issue. He also underlined that the EU encourages the parties and neighboring States to “cooperate with the United Nations to advance the political process, show political will and work in an atmosphere that is propitious for dialogue in order to begin more intense negotiations in good faith and without preconditions”.
London – The Moroccan National Tourism Office (ONMT) seeks to increase the number of Chinese and Russians tourists visiting Morocco in order to boost the country’s tourism industry. Morocco is turning to new markets like Russia and China to support the country’s large tourism industry following a decline in visitors from traditional source markets, said Oxford Business Group (OBG).Diversification will be key to meeting the goals of Morocco’s Vision 2020, the country’s tourism development plan, which ambitiously aims to attract 20 million visitors and boost tourism revenues to MAD 140 billion (€12.8 billion) by the end of the decade, said OBG in its latest analysis. Last year revenues from tourism decreased 1.4% year-on-year to MAD 58.6 billion (€5.4 billion), with the country welcoming just over 10 million visitors, indicating the magnitude of the task ahead, the same source added.Russian tourists spent only MAD 28 million (€2.6 million) in Morocco last year, but the Ministry of Tourism is increasingly looking to Russia as a priority market, said OBG’s experts.In 2015 there were approximately 40,000 visitors from Russia, well behind the 3.3 million from France, 2.1 million from Spain and 615,000 from Germany, but the ONMT aims to increase that figure to 800,000 by 2020.To support the Ministry’s effort, the country’s national carrier, Royal Air Maroc, which launched direct flights between Moscow and Casablanca in 2011, began service from the Russian capital to the southern resort town of Agadir in the second quarter of this year, said the OBG.It added that the carrier is also in talks to establish direct flights from Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, to both Agadir and Marrakech.Morocco has also embarked on aggressive marketing campaigns, the OBG noted, adding that earlier this year Moroccan tourism authorities hosted representatives of 30 Russian news outlets and 400 Russian travel agencies in Agadir, Marrakech and Casablanca to promote and increase the visibility of the kingdom’s tourist offerings.In recent years, Morocco has launched an ambitious program to attract tourists from other countries, particularly Brazil, China and Russia, Scandinavian countries, Turkey and Germany.During a meeting of the Moroccan National Tourist Office Board of Directors last December, outgoing Minister of Tourism, Lahcen Haddad said that Morocco seeks “to attract 800,000 tourists from the Scandinavian, Turkish, German and Russian markets by 2020.”Haddad went on to add that his Ministry seeks to attract more than 120,000 Chinese and 200,000 Russian tourists by 2020 and turn Morocco into one of the 20 largest tourist destinations in the world.
Casablanca — King Mohammed VI is set to attend the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech starting Monday, November 14.The sovereign was in Senegal for the past week for a friendly visit, where he delivered an historic speech commemorating the Green March and also participated in the signing of four important economic agreements.The COP22 however, which has been taking place since November 7, is also awaiting the monarch’s presence, as he is expected to attend the Africa Action Summit on November 15 and welcome leaders from various African countries. This will be an opportune moment to again convince other African leaders to support Morocco’s re-entry to the African Union. Morocco’s request to re-enter has been in the hands of Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, head of the Union, for well over a month.The king’s presence at COP22 is important as more than 40,000 visitors from all over the world come together to try and put the Paris Agreement into concrete motion.
Rabat – As his congratulatory messages to Muslims at the onset of every religious feast have become habit, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has once again taken to his Facebook page to wish Muslims around the world a joyous Eid al-Fitr.In the nearly one-minute long Facebook video, Trudeau appears surrounded by a group of young people packing food products to be sent to poor Muslims in Canada so that they might share in the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.“There is nothing more Canadian than helping out your neighbors,” Trudeau said in the video, captioning it as follows: “Happy Eid al-Fitr! The community spirit I felt at Ramadan food banks in Montreal and Toronto reminds us all – no matter our backgrounds, we’re in this together.” The video has received major attention. Followers of Trudeau have expressed their admiration for his positions in respecting all residents in Canada, regardless of their religion.A comment from one of them reads, “Trudeau a man who doesn’t fear Muslims and sees them as humans. A man who respects the meaning of culture. A man who doesn’t tolerate hate and ignorance. Love your neighbors like you love yourself. Trudeau has brought back the age of heroes.”In honor of the occasion, Trudeau released a statement Saturday, wishing the Muslim of community of Canada “Happy Aid,” highlighting that it is one of “most important religious holidays” for them.“Tonight at sunset, Muslims in Canada and around the world will celebrate Eid al-Fitr, also known as the festival of breaking of the fast,” he said. “Eid al-Fitr […] marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. It is a time to give thanks for the spiritual growth and the blessings received throughout the holy month.”Trudeau added that on this feast “family and friends gather to attend special morning prayers, exchange greetings and gifts,” underlying the country’s cultural diversity.“Canada’s cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and sources of pride,” he said.