Bellegardes win will haunt us all says Leon Jourdain
APTN National NewsLeon Jourdain was the dark horse in the race for national chief.The former grand chief of Treaty 3 felt he was the candidate of change.Following his defeat to Perry Bellegarde he made a speech that didn’t pull any punches.APTN’s Dennis Ward has more.
Fire department did not respond to deadly fire because FN 3 months
Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe Loon Lake volunteer fire department did not respond to a deadly house fire Tuesday on a neighbouring First Nation because the band council was three months behind on its fire bill, according to documents obtained by APTN National News.Loon Lake’s fire chief said he received an automated call about the fire Tuesday morning, but didn’t respond because the band had allegedly cancelled their contract with the Loon Lake municipality.Makwa Sahgaiehcan Chief Richard Ben said he thought the band was paying for firefighting.Local RCMP officers were the first responders at the scene of the fire on the Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation which left two young children dead.RCMP officers watched the children’s biological father bring his two-year-old boy and 18-month-old daughter out of the burning home. The two children were pronounced dead at the scene and their grandmother, who was also in the house, was taken to hospital, treated and later released.Documents obtained by APTN National News show the First Nation had a fee-for-service arrangement with the Loon Lake volunteer fire department. The fire department did not respond to the fire because the band was three months behind on their fire bill, according to a letter sent to the band by the Village of Loon Lake. The band was sent the letter on Jan. 30 and it was written by the village administrator.“The band is now well over three months behind on payments for their fire bills,” said the letter from village administrator Laurie Lehoux, who is also the fire department’s bookkeeper. “The Loon Lake Fire Department will not be responding to any fires on the First Nations until this account is paid in full.”The band had entered into a fee-for-service agreement with Loon Lake on Jan. 24, 2013. A clause in the agreement stated that the band wouldn’t receive fire services if it failed to pay its fire bills within 30 days.The band cancelled its retainer agreement for services with Loon Lake in October 2012.The tragedy hit the floor of the House of Commons Wednesday during question period. NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Niki Ashton asked Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt why people on reserves were 10 times more likely to die in a fire than in other communities.“How could this happen?” said Ashton.Valcourt accused Ashton of trying to “score political points from the death of children.” Valcourt said his department was funding fire safety “education and awareness” on email@example.com@JorgeBarrera-with files from The Canadian Press
APTN Investigates Orphans on the Land
John MurrayAPTN InvestigatesAlberta is starting to see the results of decades of industrial activity on the land. Heavy industries like oil and gas have left a mess behind and it needs to be cleaned up.The community of Fishing Lake Métis Settlement (FLMS) has concerns about what industry calls reclamation.Herb Lehr, chairperson of FLMS, said it affects traditional activities.“For us it’s a complete way of living that’s getting devastated here. Our people hunt and fish and they really do sustain themselves off these lands,” he said.Market conditions, court rulings, and a clean-up fund that is billions of dollars short of what is needed leave many wondering what will happen with abandoned and orphaned industry firstname.lastname@example.org@murrjw
Cosmetics giant LOreal buys Toronto augmented reality startup ModiFace
TORONTO – When University of Toronto engineering professor Parham Aarabi first began researching face tracking technology, it never occurred to him that his resulting startup would later be snapped up by the world’s biggest cosmetics company, L’Oreal.In fact, Aarabi thought the initial application of what is now ModiFace’s lip and eye tracking capabilities would be speech recognition in noisy environments, he said.“What happened was I realized, and we initially realized, that this technology had a lot of use for cosmetic simulations,” said Aarabi, ModiFace’s chief executive, in an interview. “For example, showcasing lipstick products, because we had the exact boundary of the lips.”On Friday, 11 years after Aarabi founded the Toronto-based startup, L’Oreal announced it was acquiring ModiFace as part of its digital acceleration strategy.The Paris-based beauty behemoth, whose 34 brands include Maybelline and Lancome as well as its namesake beauty products line, did not disclose financial terms of the acquisition.ModiFace’s technology is already being used by 100 brands and allows customers to try on beauty products such as lipstick or eyeshadow or do skin diagnoses via mobile app, online or in-store augmented reality mirrors. For example, customers can try on different hair colour shades by taking a photo or using their smartphone or webcam’s video capabilities before making a purchase online or at the counter.ModiFace uses artificial intelligence to help track the user’s face and detect where the eyes and lips are, he said. AI is also used to track data, including colour selections and how that pertains to face and eye shape, said Aarabi.The Toronto-based firm will be part of L’Oreal’s Digital Services Factory, a dedicated network to design and develop new digital services for the group’s brands, L’Oreal said.“With its world-class team, technologies and sustained track record in terms of beauty tech innovations, ModiFace will support the reinvention of the beauty experience around innovative services to help our customers discover, try and chose products and brands,” said Lubomira Rochet, L’Oreal’s chief digital officer in a statement. “We at L’Oréal and ModiFace want to pioneer this new page of the beauty industry.”ModiFace now employs nearly 70 engineers, researchers and scientists, who have submitted more than 200 scientific publications and registered over thirty patents.In addition to beauty brands, ModiFace is also being used by the likes of Samsung, which has equipped its newest Galaxy S9 smartphones with its augmented reality technology. Aarabi said ModiFace also has a partnership with virtual bulletin board platform Pinterest, but would not disclose more details as it is not public yet.Even after its 100 per cent acquisition, ModiFace will remain based in Toronto to stay close to the University of Toronto where Aarabi continues to be a professor and where the firm has established research partnerships.Last April, ModiFace invested $4 million to fund student internships and research at the university’s engineering department.“ModiFace became what it is because of the excellent engineering talent in Toronto… It’s a great place to have a tech company. We’re very much not only interested in staying here, but also growing here as well,” said Aarabi.
Huge lightning storms in UK disrupt travel at London airport
LONDON – British meteorologists said thousands of lightning strikes hit the U.K. during a powerful overnight thunderstorm, and a London-area airport reported flight disruptions Sunday after an aircraft refuelling system was damaged.London Stansted Airport said that a lightning strike disabled the fueling system “for a period this morning. Engineers have been on site and have now restored the system, however flights may still be subject to diversion, delay or cancellation.”More than 200 flights were delayed at Stansted. Another 31 departures and 18 arrivals were cancelled, according to FlightStats, which provides data on commercial aviation.London-area airports were busier than usual, since Britain is in the middle of a long holiday weekend, and many schoolchildren also have a half-term break this coming week.Budget airline Ryanair, which has a big presence at Stansted, couldn’t say how many of its flights had been affected at the airport, but was offering full refunds to some.The Ireland-based airline apologized to those affected, but said the disruptions were beyond the company’s control.“A number of flights have regrettably been cancelled at Stansted Airport this morning due to an earlier airport fueling system failure, caused by a lightning strike,” a Ryanair spokesman said. “All affected customers are being contacted and advised of their options of a full refund, a free transfer on to the next available flight or a free transfer on to an alternative routing.”Meteorologist Charlie Powell said information suggested there were “somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 strikes across the U.K. during the overnight period.”
Company that makes Wrangler and Lee jeans will shed its denim
NEW YORK (AP) — The company that makes Wrangler and Lee jeans is breaking off its denim division to focus on its fast-growing outdoor and activewear business as Americans swap out jeans for yoga pants.VF Corp. said Monday the non-denim division would include its other well-known brands, The North Face and Timberland, Altra, Icebreaker and Williamson-Dickie.The preference toward activewear has fueled growth at companies like Lululemon, Under Armour and Nike. Retailers like The Gap and Target have hopped aboard. Even traditional jeans makers have added stretch to their denim to catch up.Despite growing more slowly last year, activewear sales still rose at least 10 percent for the year ended in June, according to NPD Group, a market research firm. In comparison, jeans sales climbed 4 percent for that same period, fueled by women’s denim.The change in what people wear is playing out every quarter at VF. In the most recent quarter, revenue from activewear surged 25 percent and outdoor revenue rose 6 percent. Revenue from denim increased 3 percent.VF expects 6 percent to 8 percent revenue growth in its outdoor business this fiscal year and 13 percent to 14 percent growth in its active division. Revenue in denim is expected to be flat, VF Corp. said last month.The yet-to-be-named outdoor and activewear division is expected to generate annual revenue of around $11 billion. It will move from North Carolina to the Denver area in the next year.VF said it expects the tax-free spin-off of its denim business to generate annual revenue of $2.5 billion. The company that operates the denim and also its outlet businesses, called NewCo, will remain in Greensboro, North Carolina.The separation, which needs final approval from board members, is expected to be completed in the first half of next year.VF shares fell 4 percent Monday to $92.40.
Grains livestock mixed
Wheat for Mar. was off 10 cents at 5.2275 a bushel; Mar. corn was down 4 cents at 3.8150 a bushel; Mar. oats unchanged at $2.87 a bushel; while Jan. soybeans fell 7.25 cents at $9.0050 a bushel.Beef was mixed and pork was higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Dec. live cattle was off .05 cent at $1.1972 a pound; Jan. feeder cattle was unchanged at $1.4620 a pound; while Feb. lean hogs rose .05 cent at $.6270 a pound.The Associated Press
Charlie Lake fire crews respond to fire at property near Hilltop Road
UPDATE: PRRD Chief Administrative Officer Chris Cvik said that the Charlie Lake Fire Department was called out to the fire at around 3:00 p.m. Thursday. Cvik said that five apparatus and fifteen firefighters responded and immediately began efforts to extinguish the fire. He said that crews were hampered in their efforts by downed power lines and a ruptured gas line, which resulted in the building deemed a total loss.CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story stated that members of the Charlie Fire Department were seen extinguishing the fire at the property shortly before 5:00 p.m., which was when our reporter arrived at the scene. A neighbour of the property where the fire occurred said that fire crews arrived at the scene shortly after they were called.We apologize if the wording of the article implied that the fire department took over an hour to respond to the fire. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – A fire gutted an outbuilding on a rural property west of Charlie Lake yesterday.Energeticcity.ca first received a report of the fire at a home on Dover Avenue near Hilltop Road from a social media post made at around 3:45 yesterday afternoon. Members of the Charlie Lake Fire Department were seen with hoses actively extinguishing the blaze, which was still burning inside the property’s outbuilding.Several small explosions were heard to be emanating from inside the shop while crews worked to extinguish the fire. The property’s owners were able to evacuate safely, but declined to offer comment.Acting Fire Chief Dale Winsted was also unable to comment on what caused the fire or the extent of the damage, saying that the Peace River Regional District would have more information.We’ll have an update on the fire later this morning.
Suits and Boots gearing up for proresource blitz after activists hang from
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After activists hung off the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in Vancouver last week, the organization Suits and Boots is gearing up for a pro-resource blitz all across B.C.Suits and Boots was launched in April by former federal Conservative leadership candidate Rick Peterson to “combat anti-resource propaganda.”In May the organization held a rally in support of Kinder Morgan’s Transmountain Pipeline simultaneously with those held in Fort St. John, Kitimat, Fort Nelson and Smithers. Peterson mentioned that volunteers from his group will start consulting with mayors, councillors, MLAs and MPs to get representatives.The group will consult politicians all across B.C. and speak with members as far north as Mackenzie, Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, and Vanderhoof.“Enough is enough. We can no longer stand by and let this stream of anti-resource propaganda spread like an infectious disease, so we’re gearing up for a pro-resource blitz across B.C. this summer,” stated Peterson.The consulting is expected to start later this week.
AltaGas founder remains mum on sudden resignation of CEO David Harris
CALGARY, A.B. – The chairman of AltaGas Ltd. says its leadership team is “stepping in and stepping up” in the wake of the sudden departure of president and CEO David Harris last week.AltaGas founder and chairman David Cornhill, who is filling in with director Phillip Knoll as interim co-CEOs of the Calgary-based company, said at the start of a conference call he will not take questions about why Harris has left the company.He repeated information in a statement last week that Harris and the board of directors mutually agreed on the resignation in the wake of a non-specific “complaint” that the board is investigating. He says the company has already started the process of finding and hiring a permanent CEO and cautioned that may take some time.Cornhill repeated the complaint is not related to AltaGas’ strategy, operations or financial reporting, but didn’t explain what it was related to or why the company is investigating if Harris’s resignation is final.Harris, who has been with Calgary-based AltaGas since 2010 and its top executive since April 2016, oversaw the company’s $6-billion deal to buy Washington, D.C.-based energy utility company WGL Holdings, Inc., which closed in July.Cornhill founded AltaGas in 1994 and was its CEO until Harris took over.
Province introduces new law to help clear minor accidents faster
“Having traffic back up because of a minor collision where nobody was hurt doesn’t help anyone – and worse, it can lead frustrated drivers to take steps that are unsafe,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Today’s increase in the damage threshold for these kinds of crashes is long overdue and will allow people and police officers to move damaged vehicles out of the way without delay.”The threshold increase is effective Friday, March 8, 2019. Police will continue to file a mandatory, written report with ICBC for every crash they attend that results in death or injury.“Police officers will continue to attend collisions involving minor property damage at their discretion – for example, if questions arise about driver impairment or who’s at fault,” said Chief Const. Neil Dubord, chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police traffic safety committee. “However, lifting the threshold for mandatory, written reports when officers do attend will help clear crash scenes much more quickly. In turn, it may lower risks for those working at the scene and motorists alike.” VICTORIA, B.C. – The Province of B.C. has changed the rules to help police clear accidents faster.Currently, officers who attend a property-damage-only collision must complete a written report before any vehicles can be removed from the road if damage exceeds $1,000 (for motorcycles, $600; for bicycles, $100). The Province has now increased that threshold to $10,000 per property-damage-only collision regardless of the vehicle type.
N Korea pulls out of interKorean liaison office
Seoul: North Korea pulled its staff out of an inter-Korean liaison office Friday, Seoul said, weeks after leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with US President Donald Trump ended without agreement. The office in the Northern city of Kaesong was opened in September as the two Koreas knitted closer ties, but the South’s vice unification minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters Pyongyang had “notified the South they are pulling out of the liaison office”. The decision had been taken “in accordance with an order from an upper command”, he said, adding: “They said they didn’t care whether we stayed at the liaison office or not.” Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe South’s President Moon Jae-in was instrumental in brokering talks between the nuclear-armed, sanctions-hit North and Washington, Seoul’s key security ally. Moon has long backed engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, and has been pushing the carrot of inter-Korean development projects, among them the restarting of an industrial zone also in Kaesong and lucrative cross-border tourist visits by Southerners to the North’s picturesque Mount Kumgang. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsBut the sanctions currently in place effectively block their resumption, while a preliminary study for a plan to renovate the North’s decrepit rail system was repeatedly delayed. Questions were even raised over whether supplies provided to set up the liaison office were a sanctions violation. The failure by Kim and Trump to reach agreement in Hanoi last month on walking back Pyongyang’s nuclear programme in exchange for relaxation of the measures against it has raised questions over the future of the wider process. In Vietnam both sides expressed willingness to talk further, but it has since emerged that Washington presented Kim with a wider definition of what it regards as denuclearisation. A senior Pyongyang diplomat told reporters last week that the North was considering suspending nuclear talks with the US. Analysts said Friday’s decision could be a sign Pyongyang felt Seoul was unable to exert sufficient influence on Washington. “With the pull-out, the North is pressuring the South to do more as a middle man between Pyongyang and Washington after it didn’t get the resumption of the Kaesong industrial complex and Mount Kumgang tours,” said Yoo Ho-yeol, professor of North Korean studies at Korea University. “It could be seen as either pressure, or a warning,” he said. “Internally, Pyongyang could use the withdrawal as a propaganda message to its people that it is taking a lead when it comes to inter-Korean relations.” The North has recently summoned several of its top diplomats around the world back to Pyongyang. Cheong Seong-chang, a senior researcher at the private Sejong Institute, said that move and Friday’s pull-out could signal “that the North is considering a shift in denuclearisation strategy and foreign policy”. It was “hard to rule out a hardline statement”, he added. In his New Year speech — a key political event in the North — Kim said without giving details that Pyongyang might see a “new way for defending the sovereignty of the country and the supreme interests of the state” if the US persisted with sanctions. Seoul sought to keep the door open to more contact. “We regret the North’s decision,” vice minister Chun said. “Though North Korea has pulled out, we will continue to work at the liaison office as usual.” The facility opened three months after Kim signed a vague pledge at his first summit with Trump in Singapore to work towards “denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”, and shortly before Moon went to Pyongyang for his third summit with Kim last year.
Three housing projects in Delhi get clearance trees to be translocated
New Delhi: A government-appointed expert panel has recommended for environmental clearance to three redevelopment projects in South Delhi, which have been lurking over the proposal to fell a large number of trees, after they were revised to translocate trees instead of cutting them.The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MOEFCC) has cleared the revised housing projects in Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar and Kasturba Nagar colonies. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarAccording to the revised plans of these colonies, trees will be translocated/ transplanted instead of being cut, which the environmentalists feel will be a “failure”. In Sarojini Nagar, out of 11,913 trees, 3,500 trees will be translocated and the rest will be retained at the project site. In Netaji Nagar, of the 3,906 proposed trees to be felled, 1,600 are to be translocated and the rest retained. In Kasturba Nagar, 405 will be translocated, and 798 retained, as per the EAC meeting minutes. Also Read – Union min Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi L-G lay foundation stones for various projects in DwarkaThe EAC noted that due to petitions in the Delhi High Court and NGT against redevelopment of seven GPRA (General Pool Residential Accommodation) colonies over felling of trees, including the three colonies which have now been cleared, there was a status quo on these projects since July 2018. “During deliberations, the EAC noted that as per the environmental clearance granted vide dated June 12, 2018, initial activities were taken up but due to writ petitions /PIL filed in the Delhi High Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT) against felling of trees, the High Court had ordered to maintain status quo in redevelopment of all seven GPRA Colonies including Sarojini Nagar on July 2, 2018 and July 26, 2018,” the EAC’s minutes of meeting said. Environment activists, however, said that redevelopment was necessary but translocation was a risky approach. “Redevelopment is needed in Delhi. Translocation is a good move but it has to be carried out cautiously as most of the times it is not successful,” said Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) Chandra Bhushan. He added that while granting clearance for such projects, number of trees to be cut should be reduced and planting of more number of trees must be ensured. “They should reduce the number of trees being cut and keep in mind how will they ensure that the new construction has more number of trees,” Bhushan, deputy director of CSE, said. Speaking on similar lines, lawyer and environment activist Vikrant Tongad said translocation of trees was a “failure” because the weather and soil of the national capital was not supportive of this method. “Translocation of trees is a failure in Delhi. It is rarely successful. An expert agency has to be hired for it. But the government has no policy in place. “Delhi’s weather and soil are not supportive of translocation. Delhi has no space for compensatory plantation,” Tongad said. Another activist was of the view that responsibility has to be fixed while translocating trees. “Condition regarding translocation is a welcome step but authorities must fix responsibility of the builder to ensure that all translocated trees sustain,” he said.
Bouteflika Seeks to Weaken Algerias Department of Intelligence and Security
Rabat – French daily newspaper Le Figaro on Tuesday wrote about the measures taken by Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to weaken the DRS, the French acronym of the country’s spy network called the Department of Intelligence and Security.According to the French newspaper, Bouteflika sacked a number of major generals responsible for internal security, presidential security, as well as the head of the Republican Guard as part of a massive purge of the military.The men in question include Major General Abdelhamid Bendaoud who directed the internal security or counter-espionage service, known as the DSI, Major General Ahmed Meliani who headed the Republic Guard and General Djamel Medjdoub, the head of presidential security. The new head of the DSI was announced as Colonel Abdelaziz. The previous head of Algeria’s fifth military region, General Ben Ali Ben Ali will be in charge of the Republican Guard and General Nasser Habchi will be responsible for Bouteflika’s personal security.Although no official reason was given as the purpose of the purge, but the sacked top intelligence generals are believed to have an eye on the presidency.An advisor to the Algerian President quoted by the French daily has also suggested that the purge was Bouteflika’s way to express dissatisfaction with the work of these services. In addition, that he wanted to strip powers from the all-powerful General Mohamed Mediene, the man who has been at the helm of the DRS for the last 25 years.However, an officer of the National Popular Army (ANP) told Le Figaro that the recent measures are an attempt by Bouteflika to weaken the role of the military intelligence service in the political sphere in preparation for his imminent stepping down, especially as Algerian domestic and foreign policies have for decades been dictated by the government’s secret state intelligence apparatus.Bouteflika had also dissolved the DRS department in charge of the media and the Special Intervention Group (GIS).In 2014, Bouteflika signed a decree to curb the presence of the military intelligence in public institutions and to downgrade his rivals in particular those connected to the DRS.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
Morocco Considers Libyan National Unity Government as Official Sole Interlocutor
Rabat – Moroccan minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar, told Friday Fayyez Al-Sarraj, chairman of the Libyan Presidency Council, the Kingdom of Morocco considers Libyan national unity government as the “official and sole” interlocutor.Mezouar, who received Al-Sarraj following the signing by Libyan parties on Thursday in Skhirat (30 km south of Rabat) of a Libyan political agreement to end the crisis in Libya, stressed that “the Kingdom of Morocco which, under high instructions of HM King Mohammed VI, accompanied the Libyan brothers since the start of the process of inter-Libyan national dialogue in Skhirat, will provide all political, technical and practical support, according to the needs expressed by the government of national unity,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said in a statement.The minister stressed on this occasion that the signature of Skhirat Agreement is “a fundamental step to put Libya on the path to security, stability and development,” saying that “the priority now is to implement the provisions of this agreement, in particular the announcement of the official composition of the government of national unity.” The Kingdom of Morocco calls on all Libyan parties to display a spirit of national consensus and to put Libya’s interests above all considerations, the statement added.The agreement was signed Thursday in Skhirat, by representatives of all parties taking part in the inter-Libyan dialogue, held under the aegis of the UN support mission in Libya, mainly the Tobrouk agreement (recognized by the international community), the National General Congress, called the Tripoli parliament, independent figures and representatives of the civil society.Morocco had hosted several UN-sponsored rounds of talks.
Enhancing Food Security Key to Moroccos Prospects in Agriculture
London – Morocco is working to bolster agricultural sustainability by investing in irrigation and diversifying its crop base, according to Oxford Business Group (OBG).In January HM King Mohammed VI launched a drip irrigation system across 500 ha of land in the town of Saâda in the Marrakech Prefecture, as well as a 100,000-cu-metre irrigation basin in the town of Tamesloht in the Al Haouz Province, the OBG recalled.According to the analysis of the British consulting company, both projects form a vital part of a conversion programme currently being undertaken to establish drip irrigation across 4000 ha of agricultural land in the basin of the N’Fiss wadi – a river valley located in the Marrakech-Safi region. Costing Dh278m (€26m), 2300 farmers are expected to benefit from the project, which also aims to increase water savings by 30% per year, boost the average value of farmland from Dh16,000 (€1500) per ha to Dh40,000 (€3750) and create 480 jobs.The initiative falls under Morocco’s 10-year development plan to tackle water stress: the National Water Saving Plan for Irrigation (Programme National d’Economie et de Valorisation de l’Eau en Irrigation, PNEEI). The PNEEI seeks to equip 550,000 ha with drip irrigation systems by 2020 and save up to 1.4bn cu metres of water annually.
Merkels CDU Wins German Legislative Elections but Faces Challenge from FarRight
By Sana ElouaziRabat – The German national elections have concluded in favor of Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Party (CDU), who won 33 percent of the vote, assuring her a fourth term as chancellor in Germany.However, for Merkel the victory is somewhat hollow, as the CDU received its poorest turnout since 1949, according German TV channel ZDF. The German chancellor recognized shortly after the vote results were announced that she had hoped for “better outcome.” At a press conference following the election, Merkel said, “We must not forget that we are emerging from an exceptionally difficult legislature, so I am pleased that we have achieved the objectives of our electoral campaign.”The elections mark a turning point in the political landscape of Germany, as this is the first time in the country’s postwar era that a populist radical-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), will enter the Budestag, the German parliament. Despite internal rivalries, the AfD has become third-largest party after receiving 13 percent of the vote, making it a sizeable force of opposition to Merkel’s immigration policy.After wining 94 seats in the 709 seat federal parliament, the party has vowed to fight “an invasion of foreigners” into the country, said Alexander Gauland, the co-leader of the AfD.The surprise growth of the AfD is a new challenge for Merkel, who is now seeing backlash from her “generous policy” of welcoming an estimated 200,000 Syrian refugees into the country, which has made her a target for nationalist anti-immigration groups.The AfD was congratulated for its historic win by Marine le Pen, the president of the French National Front. On the other hand, “the relative underperformance” of CDU was “bad news,” according French President Emmanuel Macron, who wishes to seal a strong alliance with Merkel in Europe, indicated French news outlet le Parisien.The German chancellor will now begin forming a new coalition, which will be a challenge given the loss of her coalition partner the Social Democrats. Merkel likely has no option but to seek a coalition with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democratic Party.
EU G6 Summit Recognizes Moroccos Help in Migration Terrorism Challenges
Rabat – Morocco and the United States were the only two countries invited to take part in a summit of the European Union’s G6 in Lyon.Morocco’s Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit represented Morocco during a summit of the interior ministers of the EU’s six biggest countries on terrorism and migration.The summit, which kicked off Monday, marks the participation of France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, and Poland. Morocco’s participation represents a recognition of its efforts to tackle border and migration issues as well as terrorism.The two-day summit covered several challenges related to security, terrorism, and the management of irregular migration flows.The talks also discussed ways to ensure stability in the Sahel region, which represents a threat to the world.Several security officials, including Morocco’s head of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) Abdelhak Khiame, have warned the world of the situation in the Sahel, which has become a safe zone for criminal networks.In October 2017, the US pledged financial support to the Group of Five Sahel States (G5 Sahel), Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad, to counter the growing terror threat in West Africa.Morocco’s participation in the G6 aims also to show commitment to its role of handling migration issues in the country and overseas.Read Also: US Touts Partnership with Morocco against Terror ThreatsA transit country for migrants, Morocco is promising to end the threat posed by migration networks and trafficking of humans from Morocco to Europe.Spain is also pressuring the EU to meet Morocco’s demands and provide it with equipment to control migration.Akhbar Al Yaoum newspaper reported on October 8 that Spanish authorities unveiled the existence of a human trafficking network that could traffic 200 Moroccans through family cars at the land border with the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.Read Also: Migration ‘Mafias’ Challenge Government with Free Rides to EuropeThe Moroccan government believes that migration networks are developing strategies to increase migration options from Morocco. After using go-fast boats, now the migration networks are using new methods to elude Spanish and Moroccan security forces.
Unifor reports productive talks with GM on Oshawa jobs suspends public campaign
TORONTO — Unifor says it has suspended a public campaign against General Motors as a result of positive talks with the automaker on preserving jobs in Oshawa, Ont.The union says that while the company has been clear it won’t extend vehicle manufacturing at the Oshawa plant beyond the end of the year, there is potential to transform operations to maintain some employment.Unifor president Jerry Dias, who met Tuesday with senior GM officials, says in a statement that he is much more confident than a month ago that the two sides will find a resolution.GM announced last November that it would end production at the Oshawa plant by the end of 2019, set to affect about 2,600 union workers at the assembly plant.Unifor says productive talks with the company have been ongoing since Feb. 25 and that both sides have agreed to continue talks over the next few weeks.GM has noted that many workers at the plant qualify for retirement, and it has committed to helping workers with job placements and retraining.The Canadian Press
Asian shares advance on USChina trade hopes
SINGAPORE — Asian markets were broadly higher Monday on signs that the U.S. and China were closing in on a trade deal after months of negotiations.The Shanghai Composite index gained 1.7% to 3,243.91. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 1.5% to 22,190.71 and the Kospi in South Korea added 0.7% to 2,249.43.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng picked up 1.1% to 30,245.00, while Australia’s S&P ASX 200 lost 0.1% to 6,244.90. Stocks rose in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia but fell in the Philippines.On Saturday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the U.S. and China were moving closer to an agreement on trade.Speaking on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings, Mnuchin said the U.S. and China had held phone discussions last week and he wasn’t sure if more face-to-face meetings would be needed. He did not give a timeframe for when negotiations might be wrapped up.Mnuchin added that the proposed agreement has seven chapters and will allow both countries to set up enforcement offices to make sure the deal is followed. This fueled hopes that a wide-ranging dispute between the world’s two biggest economies could soon be put to rest.Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that the discussions were “moving forward” and “new substantial progress” was made.“U.S. and China have been actively keeping alive hopes that a trade deal is within reach. This coupled with better-than-expected China data in March led the Shanghai Composite Index to its highest level since March 2018,” DBS Group Research strategists Philip Wee and Joanne Goh said in a commentary.Last week, China reported that its exports in March rose 14.2% from a year earlier. This was a turnaround from a 20.8% contraction in February, signalling stronger global demand. Sales to the American market also accelerated despite President Donald Trump’s tariffs of up to 25% on $250 billion of Chinese goods.On Wall Street, strong gains by banks on Friday led the broad S&P 500 index to its third straight weekly gain. It finished 0.7% higher at 2,907.41.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rebounded 1% to 26,412.30 and the Nasdaq composite advanced 0.5%, to 7,984.16. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks was up 0.4% at 1,584.80.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 24 cents to $63.65 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained 31 cents to close at $63.89 on Friday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 12 cents to $71.43 per barrel in London. It added 72 cents in the previous session to $71.55.CURRENCY: The dollar weakened to 111.99 yen from 112.01 yen late Friday. The euro rose to $1.1315 from $1.1300.Annabelle Liang, The Associated Press