MONTREAL – Bausch Health Companies Inc. posted a net loss of US$873 million in the second quarter as the company formerly known as Valeant Pharmaceuticals experienced a bigger operating loss and a bigger provision for income taxes than last year.The company, which reports in U.S. currency, says it recorded a $138 million provision for income taxes that represented a $343-million increase from the same time last year, when Valeant recorded a tax benefit.Its operating loss for the quarter ended June 30 was $245 million, which compared with a year-earlier operating profit of $175 million.The operating loss was due primarily to an asset impairment linked to the company’s loss of exclusivity on a product.The net loss amounted to $2.49 per share, compared with a loss of 11 cents per share in the second quarter of 2017.Bausch Health’s adjusted net income fell to $327 million from $362 million a year ago, while revenue fell to $2.13 billion from $2.23 billion in the second quarter of 2018.The adjusted net income was above the estimate of $272 million and revenue was above the estimate of $2.06 billion, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The company says its estimate for 2018 full-year adjusted EBITDA earnings has been raised by $50 million to between $3.20 billion and $3.35 billion while its revenue estimate is maintained at between $8.15 billion and $8.35 billion.Bausch Health stock was at $31 per share in early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange, up $1.41 from Friday’s close.Companies in this story: (TSX:BHC)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. Headlines on a previous version said billions instead of millions.
OTTAWA – The Liberals have been told to consider taxing robots that displace workers, letting people pay their tax bill in kind rather than with cash, and work to prevent income inequality before it happens.The ideas are part of a massive government effort to adapt to a rapidly changing workforce and stave off some of the strain it could cause on federal finances.Documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the access to information law provide a window into the ideas the Liberals have been asked to consider as they modernize the social safety net and labour regulations.All the ideas are aimed at preparing federal programs designed six decades ago for the workforce demands in the next six decades.What the Liberals and other governments around the world are trying to respond to is increasing automation, the unbundling of work that can be done online by anyone, anywhere in the world, and more short-term jobs that are the hallmark of the “gig” economy.Sarah Doyle, director of policy and research at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, said the changes will be disruptive and affect some workers more than others, requiring a response to avoid an increase in inequality.“We’re seeing changes happen that very well could become faster and magnified,” she said.“The distribution of the risks and benefits associated with automation, with digitization, with these different large scale trends will not be evenly distributed across the population.”One estimate provided to G7 labour ministers this spring said up to 15 per cent of jobs could be lost to automation over the next two decades. The jobs most at risk are farm and construction workers, accountants, lab technicians and salespeople, according to information provided to a closed-door meeting of top federal officials in December 2017.The professions at lower risk of automation were paramedics, doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, and journalists.The rise of cross-border telework has also meant tasks previously done by domestic workers are unbundled and posted for international workers whose labour costs less, which federal officials worry could depress wages in Canada.Canadian demand for this online work is larger than its share of the international labour force, signalling an area that policy-makers need to probe, said Armine Yalnizyan, an economist who researches the future of work.Workers in this new “gig” economy — marked by more part-time and short-term contract work — are also less likely to pay into the employment insurance system funded by premiums from employers and employees. A June 2017 briefing to Canada’s labour minister said online platforms were “providing new ways to avoid employer-sponsored benefits and other financial burdens.”Federal officials who were part of the discussion expressed concerns that the trend could deal a fatal fiscal blow to the federal social safety net.Avoiding this fate encompasses a range of solutions, according to the documents.The October 2017 brainstorming sessions included recommendations to pay each Canadian a guaranteed minimum income, which would replace various targeted social benefits. Another idea was to allow Canadians to pay their tax bills through non-cash payments like volunteering to do work for the federal government.Rejigging labour rules to give workers more bargaining power could be part of a push towards “pre-distribution” to boost market incomes instead of relying on government benefits to redistribute income and even out inequality.“Increasingly over the last 50 years, we have seen the bargaining position of workers erode and unless there are measures that can actually improve the way in which workers can bargain for themselves, then we are totally reliant on government to fix everything. And that cannot be,” Yalnizyan said.Lifelong learning has also been a key issue to allow workers to repeatedly drop out of the workforce to upgrade their skills and adapt to changing employment needs, particularly those workers who don’t have digital skills and could find themselves replaced by a robot. There was also a proposal to use technological advances, like 3-D printing, to reduce the costs of goods.And as for those robots? Officials suggested taxing technology that displaces a warm-bodied worker, or require that a portion of the automated work be directed toward a social good.The October 2017 brainstorming session report said the range of policy options hadn’t been fully assessed for “usefulness, impact and feasibility.” Instead, the ideas represented “the beginning of a discussion about how to respond to the changing nature of work.”Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said she believed the government was getting close to finding some of the solutions.“It’s not that we haven’t had change in the world of work before. It’s the rapid pace of change I think that is concerning to many Canadians,” she said in an interview.“But I also don’t necessarily have the same doom and gloom…as maybe some of our opposition parties have because I actually think that there are opportunities in the innovation and in the change.”
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A union video that identifies replacement workers who crossed the picket line during an ongoing lockout in Gander, N.L., has prompted a debate over the ethics of naming and shaming such workers.The minute-long video titled “meet the scabs” was posted to Unifor Canada’s Twitter and Facebook channels on Sept. 6, showing images and names of workers hired as replacements for the 30 D-J Composites workers who have been locked out of their jobs since December 2016.As of Monday, the Twitter video had more than 700 responses, many of them critical of Unifor’s tactics shaming the workers rather than the employer, with some saying the video amounts to bullying.The comments even came from people apparently sympathetic to the locked-out workers’ cause.User (at)DomatoRecord wrote, “As a member of Unifor I am disgusted by this shameful video. We should be lobbying for laws that forbid employers to hire replacement workers. Not going after the workers, who are probably desperate. How could you, Unifor?”Unifor’s Atlantic regional director, Lana Payne, said the video is one of many ways the union is “stepping up our efforts on all fronts” after almost two years of social media campaigning, letters to the provincial government and negotiations with the American-based employer.Payne said the ad is a response to the employer’s “escalating tactics” to block the union, including hiring enough replacement workers to match the number of those locked out.“My responsibility and our responsibility as a union is to defend our members, and that’s what we’re doing,” Payne said.Payne also questioned why the public has not felt the same outrage for the locked out workers, noting that the provincial Labour Relations Board has found the employer twice violated the provincial Labour Relations Act for failing to bargain in good faith.“They have spent their savings in order to be able to continue to fight, this is how much they believe in this principle,” said Payne. “They should be able to have a union in their workplace, a pretty basic right in Canada, and yet they have had to fight for that right now for 630 days on a picket line.”Some of the online debate has focused on Newfoundland and Labrador’s high unemployment rate, expressing sympathy for the replacement workers trying to make a living.But Payne said there are many jobs available in Gander, and the replacements made a choice to publicly take the locked out workers’ jobs.“These are communities where everybody knows that these folks are crossing the picket line, and I would argue there are jobs in this town. They don’t need to cross the picket line for employment,” said Payne.Payne said the members on the picket line did not participate in making the video, and that the union has not heard from D-J Composites since the latest ads.British Columbia and Quebec are the only provinces in Canada with legislation preventing the use of replacement workers during a strike or lockout. The issue also caught the public’s attention a few weeks ago when workers start striking outside the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.David Doorey, a labour law professor at York University, said studies are inconclusive as to how such legislation affects the duration of a lockout, but said the use of replacement workers in Gander seems to have prolonged the dispute.“It’s very unlikely that this particular lockout would have lasted this long if the employer was banned from hiring replacement workers,” Doorey said in an email.Unifor’s video, while unsettling to many, also has legal precedent. In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that unions have the right to photograph and publish photos of replacement workers.Tom Cooper, a professor of business ethics at Memorial University, said Unifor’s ads should be considered alongside the ethical considerations of minimizing harm.Cooper said naming people involved in labour disputes is not a new tactic, but the permanent and public nature of online videos can do more harm than good in a case like Gander’s for the locked out workers’ cause and the replacement workers’ privacy.“I don’t see this online naming and shaming to be any benefit to the workers in Gander, from kind of a strategic and business ethics standpoint,” Cooper said. “If your strategy is, ‘How do we get this lockout resolved?’, I’m not sure it actually meets that obligation.”Cooper said while Unifor’s actions are intended to protect their members’ interests and their right to a union, in this case the union seems to be falling short of a higher standard to protect the general population’s rights to privacy and a dignified life.“I’m not sure in this case they’re meeting the higher standards,” said Cooper.“They’re about social justice, they’re about human rights, they’re about protecting the rights of individuals, and in this case they’re not doing that. They’re only protecting the rights of one group, which is their members.”
Presenters including elder Ivy Raine and band administrator and member Allison Adams-Bull described their family ties to other Indigenous communities along the pipeline route to the West Coast and their concern that their traditional hunting, fishing and gathering of medicinal plants could be affected by a pipeline spill.The federal government bought Trans Mountain and its expansion project for $4.5 billion last summer only to have the Federal Court of Appeal strike down its NEB approval, citing inadequate Indigenous consultation and failure to consider impacts on the marine environment.The NEB’s rehearing is designed to address the latter issue. The oral traditional evidence gathering continues this week in Calgary before heading to Victoria from Nov. 26-29 and concluding in Nanaimo, B.C. from Dec. 3-6. CALGARY, A.B. – A rooftop smudging ceremony where herbs were burned and prayers said served as a proxy for swearing in as the oral traditional evidence gathering part of a National Energy Board reconsideration of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project began Tuesday.Lyne Mercier, the vice-chair of the NEB and chairwoman of the three-member panel hearing evidence, welcomed Indigenous presenters from the Louis Bull Tribe about 80 kilometres south of Edmonton as the first to speak as three weeks of hearings started in Calgary.She said the NEB appreciates that the Louis Bull Tribe has a tradition of sharing knowledge from one generation to another through spoken word, noting that two hours had been set aside for presentations but video evidence could also be submitted if time runs short.
Enbridge said Friday its Canadian Mainline system _ the major oil export route for Canadian oil _ shipped a record average of 2.68 million barrels per day in the fourth quarter, up from 2.59 million bpd in the same period of 2017.Full oil and gas pipelines throughout its Canadian and U.S. network and the addition of new services led to fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations.Adjusted net income for Canada’s largest pipeline operator was $1.17 billion or 65 cents per share in the last three months of 2018, beating analyst estimates of $1.12 billion or 62 cents per share as noted by Thomson Reuters Eikon.A year ago, Enbridge reported adjusted earnings of $1.01 billion or 61 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2017. The project is designed to replace an aging pipeline and restore its original capacity of 760,000 barrels per day, an increase of about 370,000 bpd.“Clearly, this pipeline is critical and it has massive support. With PUC approval, we’ve reached the final permitting and construction phase of the project,” said Monaco on the call to discuss fourth-quarter financial results.“With regulators in all jurisdictions having now approved it, it’s full steam ahead on the remaining project execution phases.”As long as permits are received in time to get construction crews into the field by June, the Calgary based company will be able to put the pipeline in service before the end of the year, said Guy Jarvis, president of liquids pipelines, on the call.Previous challenges by the former governor were set aside by the state utilities commission.A lack of export pipeline space was blamed for steep discounts in western Canadian oil prices last year, leading to production curtailments by the Alberta government that began Jan. 1. Results were enhanced by operating performance, optimization of deliveries on existing pipelines, synergies from the Spectra Energy acquisition and $7 billion of projects brought into service in 2018, it said.The results reflected many of the same influences that led to midstream rival TransCanada Corp. reporting net income of $1.09 billion on Thursday, up from $861 million for the same quarter a year earlier.Enbridge has a $16-billion inventory of projects which are scheduled to come into service between 2019 and 2023. CALGARY, A.B. – Enbridge Inc. is confident that its Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project will come into service by the end of the year in spite of a renewed challenge launched this week by the newly elected governor of Minnesota.On Tuesday, Gov. Tim Walz announced that his commerce department would petition the state Public Utility Commission to reconsider its approval of Line 3 through Minnesota, prolonging a process begun by his predecessor.The $9-billion project to export crude from Alberta to Superior, Wis., where it will connect with pipelines to the U.S. Gulf Coast, is needed by shippers, supported by parties along its route and will create jobs and pay millions in taxes to local governments, said Enbridge CEO Al Monaco on a conference call on Friday.
Greg Pardy of RBC Dominion Securities says oilsands bitumen producers such as MEG Energy Corp. and Cenovus Energy Inc. are likely to post “standout” results given a 16 per cent increase in average Western Canadian Select bitumen-blend prices from the first to the second quarter.Natural gas producers, however, are expected to see more dismal results as Alberta spot gas prices averaged 60 per cent less than in the previous quarter.The earnings parade starts July 24 with Suncor Energy Inc., followed by Cenovus and Husky Energy Inc. the next day.Companies in this article include: (TSX:SU, TSX:MEG, TSX:HSE, TSX:CVE)The Canadian Press CALGARY — Higher oil prices are expected to boost cash flow for Canadian crude producers as they roll out second-quarter results beginning next week, but analysts say the extra money is unlikely to be added to growth budgets.Canadian oil prices steadied in comparison with U.S. benchmarks in the three months ended June 30 following six months of volatility blamed on the failure of pipeline capacity to match growing oilsands output and Alberta’s decision to impose production limits starting in January.Analyst Nick Lupick of AltaCorp Capital says despite current higher prices and expectations of strong prices going forward, producers remain cautious and are more likely to buy back their own shares or raise dividends than increase spending to grow output.
My First Time, is casting for four adults roles;Two malesTwo femalesA comedy about four people recounting their ‘first’ times. The show runs in January 2020.Tough! is casting for three roles;Bobby, the guy with big dreams but no idea what they areTina, who is Bobby’s girlfriend and loves him yet is questioning why after recent eventsJill, is Tina’s best friend and has hated Bobby since childhoodTough is a dark comedy featuring three young adults dealing with the growing pains of adulthood. This play will feature in March 2020 and will also be submitted for Zone Festival May 2020. This play features adult content and language.The Outsider, is casting for seven adult roles;Paige Caldwell: A professional pollster. A smart confident woman who sees politics as a series of contests to be won.Dave Riley: The chief of staff to the new governor. Smart, but entirely naïve in the game of government.Louise Peakes: A temp. Friendly, likeable, confident, and completely inept.Ned Newly: The new Governor. Impressive governing ability, complete lack of confidence.Arthur Vance: Overbearing, confident showman! Most experienced and successful political consultant out there.Rachel Parsons: A TV reporter. Straight shooter, honest, and inquisitive by nature.A.C. Petersen: TV camera guy. Quiet working man with no tolerance for idiocy.The Outsider is a comedy about the ridiculous nature of politics. Ned Newly is the ideal candidate for Governor, he has a head for budgets and bills, understands every tiny detail it requires to keep a state running. His only hurdle in the world of politics? Showtime for the play is May 2020 FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Stage North Theatre Society is holding their Auditions for their upcoming show season. With three shows to fill the Society is looking for actors to audition.Drop-in, open auditions for teens and adults are being held this Saturday, August 24th, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and Sunday, August 25th, 12:00 – 6:00 pm. Auditions are being held at the Stage North Space at 11520 East Bypass Road, Fort St John. You do not need prior acting experience to audition for the following roles.The three shows the society is wanting to fill roles for are My First Time, Tough and The Outsider. Season Auditions FB Event, August 24th CLICK HERESeason Audition FB Event, August 25th CLICK HERE
Faizabad (Uttar Pradesh): The Supreme Court-constituted three-member panel on Wednesday held its first meeting in a bid to resolve the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmbhoomi title suit dispute. The panel is headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice F.M.I. Kalifulla, with Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Shriram Panchu as members. Heavy restriction have been imposed on the road leading to the Guest House on the Awadh University campus where the proceedings are taking place. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day Referring the dispute, the apex court court on March 8 said that “utmost confidentiality” should be maintained to ensure success of the process and that it should be completed within eight weeks. Twenty-five litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case along with their counsels appeared on Wednesday before a Supreme Court-appointed mediation panel here, officials said. The Faizabad administration had issued notices to the 25 litigants on behalf of the panel. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penalty The mediation process will take place at a hall at the Faizabad Avadh University, they said, adding that no one has been allowed to enter the area where the mediation is taking place. Heavy security arrangements have been made at the university premises, Faizabad District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said. The three-member panel comprising retired Justice Kalifullah, senior advocate Sriram Panchu and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar arrived here Tuesday, he said The members would be staying in Faizabad for three days as per the programme given by the panel, officials said The panel in a letter has directed the Faizabad administration to ensure foolproof security in and around the venue, and also necessary personal security for the litigants and lawyers, they said.
Bengaluru: Four JD(S) workers from Karnataka, who were on a visit to Sri Lanka, have been killed in the multiple blasts in the island nation, according to Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. “I am deeply pained at the loss of our people in the #colombo attacks. Out of the seven missing after the #TerrorAttack, four have been declared dead…,” Kumaraswany tweeted. The dead are Lakshmana Gowda Ramesh, K M Lakshminarayan, M Rangappa and K G Hanumantharayappa, he said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Three other JD(S) workers have gone missing after multiple blasts, he added. The missing party workers are H Shivukumar, A Maregowda and H Puttaraju, Kumaraswany said. The State Chief Secretary’s office is in constant touch with the Resident Commissioner at Karnataka Bhavan located at New Delhi, he said. The office is also in touch with families of the victims and the missing people for further information on them, the chief minister said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Kumaraswamy said he was deeply pained at the loss of their lives in the heinous attack. “They were also committed workers of our party and their death has brought immense sorrow to us,” Kumaraswamy said. The Karnataka chief minister said he was with their families and prayed to the Almighty to give strength to them and their near and dear ones to bear the grief. A string of eight powerful blasts, including suicide attacks, struck churches and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing over 290 people and shattering a decade of peace in the island nation since the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE. Kumaraswamy had on Sunday strongly condemned the terrorist attack, saying terrorism is an act of cowardice and an attack on humanity. “Terrorism is an act of cowardice and an attack on humanity. I strongly condemn the #TerroristAttack in #Colombo, Sri Lanka, where over 150 people have been killed and more than 300 injured,” he had tweeted.
Howard Baker’s famous question during the Watergate investigations was “What did the president know and when did he know it?” For Donald Trump, add a third question: “What did he do about it?” Your answer to that question can help you decide whether now-GOP President Trump obstructed justice – and should be impeached for it. The first section of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller sets out in detail Putin’s manipulation – or worse – of the 2016 presidential election, in favour of GOP nominee Trump and against his Democratic foe, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Blow by blow, meeting by meeting, bot by bot and e-mail leak by e-mail leak, that part of Mueller’s report details not only the Putin-backed actions but also the Trump campaign’s reactions to them. Sometimes it was denial, as in his answer to the question by Russian operative/spy Maria Butina in Las Vegas. Often, it was glee. Sometimes it was retweeting. Once it was Trump himself egging the Russians on to find and release Clinton’s e-mails. And while Trump’s campaign accepted, and used, the help from the Putin oligarchs, it didn’t conspire to get it, Mueller’s report says. Doing so would have been a federal crime, it adds. Also Read – A special kind of bondAs for Trump himself, he kept denying that Russian aid, until after the election. Then the picture changed – and that’s Part II of Mueller’s report. In public, President Trump continued to deny knowledge of the Russians’ role. In private, he undertook continuous efforts – up to and including telling staffers to lie, firing FBI Director James Comey, and ordering his Special Counsel Dan McGahn, twice, to fire Mueller – to thwart the investigations. Also Read – Insider threat managementIs that obstruction of justice? Trump’s hand-picked successor to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, William Barr, says “no.” Mueller ducked. “We determined not to apply an approach that potentially could result in a judgment that the president committed crimes,” the report says on Page 214. “Fairness counselled against potentially reaching that judgment when no charges can be brought” because of the 1999 Justice Department ruling that a sitting president cannot be indicted. “A prosecutor’s judgment that crimes were committed, but that no charges will be brought, affords no adversarial opportunity for public name-clearing” in a trial. That doesn’t mean Trump gets off scot-free. On that same page, Mueller states: “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards we are unable to reach that judgment. “Accordingly, while this report does not conclude the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” But the data Mueller’s probers produced clearly say otherwise. They include: Trump demanded Comey end the probe and specifically drop the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russian operatives. He also demanded “loyalty” from Comey, at a one-on-one meeting after Trump ordered Sessions out of the room. Comey refused to drop the probe and refused the loyalty oath demand, and Trump later fired him. “In analyzing whether these statements constitute an obstructive act, a threshold question is whether Comey’s account of the interaction is accurate, and, if so, whether the president’s statements had the tendency to impede the administration of justice by shutting down an inquiry that could result in a grand jury investigation and criminal charge…Substantial evidence corroborates Comey’s account,” the report says. Actually firing Comey could chill his successor. “Firing Comey would qualify as an obstructive act if it had the natural and probable effect of interfering with or impeding the investigation.” Firing Comey and Trump’s actions after that “had the potential to affect a successor director’s conduct of the investigation,” even though firing Comey didn’t stop the probe, Mueller reported. “Substantial evidence” indicates Trump fired Comey because of “Comey’s unwillingness to publicly state the president was not personally under investigation.” Mueller said Trump thought the probe harmed his ability to be president, but “other evidence” indicates Trump “wanted to protect himself from an investigation into his campaign.” Ordering White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, twice. Once, Trump called McGahn at home with the order, but McGahn, fearing another Watergate-era Saturday Night Massacre – this time in June 2017 – took no action. Then Trump pushed McGahn through former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Lewandowski shunted Trump’s demand off to the side, and McGahn, having had it, resigned – but not before, in another obstruction try, Trump ordered McGahn to lie about Trump’s demand McGahn fire the Special Counsel. McGahn refused that, too. Firing Mueller “would qualify as an obstructive act” if the firing “would naturally obstruct the investigation and any grand jury proceedings that might flow from the inquiry,” the Special Counsel’s report said. And by this time, Trump knew Mueller was probing him, not just the campaign and the Russians, and could send the whole mess to a grand jury. Trump also tried to get Sessions to divert Mueller’s probe into future potential Russian interference in elections. Sessions refused. Trump constantly trashed Sessions’ decision to stay out of the probe due to his past high Trump campaign posts. Unlike cases where an obstruction is used “to cover up a crime, the evidence did not establish the president was involved in an underlying crime relating to” Russia’s election “interference” – Mueller’s word. “Although obstruction statutes do not require proof of such a crime, absence of that evidence affects the analysis of the president’s intent.” And, finally, Trump committed many of his acts “in public,” Mueller reported. That’s unusual, but, the Special Counsel adds: “No principle of law excludes public acts from the reach of obstruction laws.” All this factual information and more and more detail leave it up to Congress to decide what to do next. Calls are increasing for opening an impeachment investigation of Trump, with the latest, and most-prominent, coming from Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. And House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said on Sunday morning TV news shows that even the redacted – edited – version of the Mueller report shows “plenty of evidence” for obstruction of justice. Nadler’s committee would handle an impeachment investigation and hearings. He’s already asked Mueller to testify. (Courtesy: People’s World The views expressed are strictly personal)
Colombo: Armed police and sniffer dogs guarded mosques in Sri Lanka as Muslims trickled to Friday prayers, with many staying away over fears of revenge attacks after the island’s Easter suicide blasts. Some mosques cancelled prayers, and Sri Lanka’s Muslim affairs minister called on Muslims to pray at home instead, in solidarity with churches that have closed over security fears. Other Muslims have expressed fears that they could be targeted by Islamist hardliners, after the community’s religious leadership said the attackers would not be buried at mosques in the country. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USAmong mosques that did hold prayers on Friday in the capital Colombo, attendance was thin, with some of the few worshippers who did show up saying they wanted to stand up to extremists. “We are sending a message to extremists that we will not be scared or deterred,” said Reyyaz Salley, chairman of the Dawatagaha Jumma mosque in the capital Colombo. “But the main reason we are here is because we want to say a special prayer for the victims of the church bombings,” he added. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsAt least 253 people died Sunday when attackers blew themselves up at three churches and three hotels in coordinated blasts that officials blame on local Islamist group National Thowheeth Jama’ath. The Islamic State group has claimed the attacks. The bombings have been condemned by leaders of Sri Lanka’s Muslim minority but some in the community still fear a backlash from other religious groups. Around two dozen police and other armed personnel guarded the Dawatagaha Jumma mosque, which has been threatened by hardline Islamists in the past because it contains a Sufi shrine, which extremists consider idolatrous. Police prevented people from walking or parking vehicles directly outside after rumours circulating on social media about possible car bomb attacks. Sniffer dogs stood guard as police checked bags and patted down worshippers and journalists before letting them inside.
San Francisco: Global online payments system PayPal is investing $500 million in Uber ahead of the highly anticipated Initial Public Offering (IPO), the media cited the ride-sharing major updated S1 filing. “I don’t think you spend that kind of money unless it’s part of a global strategy to enable these new super-platforms,” Ryan Gilbert, Partner at Venture Capital Firm Propel Ventures was quoted as saying by the CNBC. “PayPal needs to step on the growth gas pedal and these investments will buy the company access to millions of global customers.” Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra Earlier in March, the payments major had invested $750 million in Argentina’s e-commerce giant MercadoLibre. PayPal has been working with Uber providing payment services since 2013 and is its lead processing partner in the US and Australia (but not the only one globally), according to the TechCrunch. Notably, this is the second big pre-IPO investment that Uber has announced this month. The self driving unit of the global ride-sharing major announced a $1 billion investment from Japanese conglomerate SoftBanks Vision Fund, car manufacturer Toyota and automotive component supplier Denso last week. Uber officially filed its IPO process last week with the public filing of its prospectus. It would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “UBER”. According to market sources, the company may provide a price range for its shares later in April and would go public in May.
Bhubaneswar: Three people were killed in separate incidents as cyclone Fani battered the Odisha coast Friday, officials said. A teenager was killed when a tree came crashing down on him at a place within Sakhigopal police station area limits in Puri district. Flying debris from a concrete structure hit a woman in Nayagarh district when she had gone to fetch water, killing her. In Debendranarayanpur village in Kendrapara district, a 65-year-old woman died after suspected heart attack at a cyclone shelter, official information reaching here said. Fani, an extremely severe cyclonic storm lashed the Odisha coast Friday morning, uprooting trees, blowing away thatched huts, and disrupting communication links.
Dehradun: A tiger was killed in a fight for territorial supremacy with another tiger, said an official at the Corbett Tiger Reserve Saturday. The 10-year-old tiger’s carcass was found with deep injury marks near a water body in the Amdanda forest beat of the Bijrani range Friday, Tiger Reserve Director Rahul said. “The deep wounds on the carcass suggested that it died of injuries sustained in a fight with another tiger over territorial supremacy,” he added.
Marrakech- A man, just released from prison last Wednesday, returned home to his wife only to slash her face and other parts of her body with a razor blade, leaving her seriously injured, according to Al Akhbar daily.The husband attacked his wife, who is a minor, on Sunday morning in Marrakech after a conflict arose between the couple.The wife had been staying at her family’s house when her husband arrived in a taxi to take her to their home. On the way, the couple had an argument, and the girl demanded a divorce. Upon hearing this, the man allegedly attacked her, saying “No one else will marry you, but me,” according to the daily. The wife was taken to Ibnu Tofail Hospital, where she received treatment, including about 30 stitches, for the wounds on her face and several other parts of her body. She remains at the hospital.The husband had previously been sentenced to six months in prison on a conviction of involvement in smuggling minor girls from a Childhood Protection center.The wife was the victim of rape by her now husband one year ago, at the age of sixteen. Afterward, her rapist was forced to marry her to avoid prosecution. “We forgave him, so that he could marry her,” the daily quoted the girl’s mother.The marriage was permissible under Chapter 475 of Morocco’s penal code, which exempted a rapist from punishment if he married the victim. Article 475 was repealed earlier this year after an outcry from feminists and human rights activists.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.
Fez – Many reports indicate a poor reading average in the Arab world. Morocco is no exception; thirty-three percent are illiterate. Adding injury to insult is the lack of public libraries (only 313 in the entire country), a detriment to the Kingdom’s project to fight illiteracy and increase economic opportunities.The New Page Foundation conducted a survey in 2007, and found that fifty-one percent of Moroccans are nonreaders and seventy one percent of them never entered a library.In Fez, libraries are nearly non-existent, though youth desperately need them to brush up their knowledge and also quench their thirst for science. To fill this void, The Fez Association of the Children of the Medina (Association) has created a children library (Check their Facebook page here) in the medina’s heart to encourage and create awareness about the importance of reading and providing activities, such as art workshops. Suzanna Clarke, the author of “A House in Fez” is the library’s co-founder. She has spared no energy in bringing the project to life in hopes of benefitting many children and brightening their future. “Reading will open their minds to other possibilities and ways of living and will enable them to find out how they can get information,” said Clarke in an interview with Morocco World News.Suzanna Clarke, the author of “A House in Fez” is the library’s co founder (R). Cathy Bellafronto, co-owner with her husband of Riad Laaroussa (L).The original idea came from Cathy Bellafronto, co-owner with her husband of Riad Laaroussa. The couple noticed a lack of green spaces and playgrounds in the old Medina where children could spend time. She wanted to help children find alternative outlets, outside of the tedious routine of going to school and then watching TV at home.Cathy discussed the idea with Suzanna Clarke who did not hesitate to get on board with the project although initially she had some concerns like whether children would be interested in coming to the library and read stories. When the library opened, many children wanted to take part, and families were thrilled.Aicha Morelli, one of the daily volunteer story readers.Safae, the librarian, said that the children are very enthusiastic to have a way to unwind. Children sit in a circle and listen to stories told by the librarian and want more. Khadija, 8, who comes daily to the library, said that she is happy to be there because she can read and listen to stories which will help her get good grades in school.The library is mostly financed by the owners of Riad Laaroussa and The View From Fez, and the Association hopes that many people will contribute to keep the project ongoing and expanding.Currently the library cannot cater to the large number of children who want to attend. “Right now we are turning away many children and only 10 are given access in a time, said Bellafronto. “They stay only for one hour to give other children a chance to benefit.”The children also take part in workshops and draw beautiful portraits inspired by the stories they read and hear.Aicha Morelli, one of the daily volunteer story readers.The library is just a start for the Association, which plans to help the Medina become cleaner by turning empty lots into public spaces and playgrounds. But it needs financial support from both citizens and the city council. According to Bellefronto, if people help each other in cleaning the medina and creating projects for children, more people will go back to live there, and the significance of the medina of Fez will be revived.The Medina Children’s Library in Fez. Photo: MWNThe Medina Children’s Library in Fez. Photo: MWN© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
Rabat – INWI’s total subscriber base declined by 0.5 million to 11.6 million in the first quarter of 2015, according to Telecommunications Regulatory National Agency (ANRT).Morocco’s third leading telecommunications operator saw a shock fall of 594,000 in its mobile telephony subscriber base during the first three months of 2015. ANRT attributed this decline to the decision to ban anonymous SIM cards.The subscriber base of the two other telecom operators Maroc Telecom and Meditel has also dropped by 65,000 and 69,000, respectively during the same period. Overall, the number of subscriptions in mobile telephony has been reduced by 728,000. According to the same source, Maroc Telecom has 18.1 million clients – or 41.8 per cent of the market share- followed by Meditel with 13.5 million clients (31.1 per cent) and INWI with 11.6 million, or a market share of 26.9 per cent.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI examined Friday proposals on abortion he asked the departments of justice and Islamic Affairs and the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) to prepare.The proposals showed that an “overwhelming majority” of Moroccans want to legalize abortion only in certain cases, including preserving the health of the mother, birth defects of the fetus, incest or rape. Based on these findings, King Mohammed VI gave his instructions to include the proposals in the Penal Code and submit them to the procedure of adoption.King Mohammed VI received Friday, May 15 at the Royal Palace of Casablanca, Mustapha Ramid, Minister of Justice and Liberties, Ahmed Toufiq, Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs and Driss El Yazami, president of the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH), said a statement from the Royal Cabinet. During the royal audience, the two ministers and the president of the council submitted to the King the results of extensive consultations that the Sovereign had asked them to conduct on the issue of abortion, with all concerned parties, adds the same source.These actors have unanimously welcomed the royal initiative and consultative approach ordered by the King to develop a wise and objective opinion while giving priority to the best interests of the family and citizens.These various consultations showed that “the overwhelming majority” leans towards the criminalization of illegal abortion, except in cases of superior force, because of the suffering it inflects and its negative health, psychological and social impacts on the woman, family and the fetus and the entire society.These cases are: when pregnancy is a danger to the life and health of the mother, in cases where the pregnancy is resulted from rape or incest, in cases of severe deformities and incurable diseases that could infect the fetus.Based on this observation, King Mohammed VI gave instructions to the Minister of Justice and Freedoms and the Minister of Health to coordinate among themselves and that they associate medical specialists to translate the findings of these consultations into a draft of legal provisions in order to include them in the penal code and submit them to the procedure of adoption, taking into account both current developments in this area and the precepts of Islam.The King also stressed the need for awareness, prevention, dissemination of scientific knowledge and ethics relating to this subject in order to immunize society against the causes of abortion, the statement said.The audience was attended by the King’s advisers, Fouad Ali El Himma and Abdellatif Mennouni and the Minister of Health El Hossein El Ouardi.
Rabat – Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has bought an $18.5 million flat in New York, fuelling speculation of a future switch to the US to play in the MLS League.30-year-old Ronaldo has been linked with a move to the US when his contract with Real Madrid expires in 2018, following the lead of the likes of Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard who have recently joined New York City for the later stages of their careers.The Portuguese international has paid the massive amount of money for a 2,509 sq. ft flat in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, the 57th tallest skyscraper in Manhattan. The Trump Tower is owned by US billionaire and presidential candidate from the Republican ticket Donald Trump. According to the Trump’s Organization website, “the residential condominiums comprise floors 30 through 68 and are considered one of the world’s elite luxury residences, catering to public figures, athletes, celebrities and other affluent sophisticates.”The luxurious loft was previously the property of Italian real-estate mogul Alessandro Proto, a partner of controversial TV personality Donald Trump.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
Rabat – The American man, who shot Moroccan taxi driver on Thanksgiving Day in Hazelwood, was arrested on Wednesday, police said.Police identified the shooter as Anthony L. Mohamed, a 26-year old man who is under custody.Mohamed was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person. However, police said they are still investigating if they will call the shooting a hate crime, as the Moroccan taxi driver alleges.A report by Post Gazette said surveillance videos lead to his arrest. The suspect was arrested on Wednesday, at his home.Last week, Anthony fired a couple of gunshots against a 38-year-old Moroccan taxi driver, one of which blasted out the back window of his cab and struck him.The Moroccan driver picked Anthony up outside Rivers Casino after midnight. Once inside the cab, Mohamed started speaking about ISIS killing people and mocking the prophet Mohammed, the victim said in a previous statement.The Moroccan taxi driver told police he took the passenger to Hazelwood. Upon reaching his destination, Anthony asked the driver to wait while he got his wallet because he did not have money.Five minutes later, the man came back carrying a rifle in his hand and started shooting at the taxi, as the driver was attempting to drive away.