Ottawa buries official statement criticizing UN conference for giving Indigenous people too

first_imgBy Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsOttawa didn’t think much of the high-profile UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ outcome document and quietly posted an official statement outlining its displeasure in a back corner of its website.The statement is posted under Foreign Affairs’ website for the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations. It’s not easy to find on the website as it’s not highlighted on the front page. It can be found first by clicking through a section on “Canadian Statements” and then the section subtitled “Statements on Human Rights.” The statement also did not make it onto Canada’s UN mission’s Twitter stream.The Assembly of First Nations’ website, however, posted Canada’s statement under “Latest News.”The first ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples ran over two days and ended Tuesday.Canada rejected the conference’s outcome document because it gave Indigenous people too much power over development on their territories. In particular, Canadian diplomats rejected the conference document’s position on “free prior and informed consent,” which is one of the key aspects of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.“Free, prior and informed consent…could be interpreted as providing a veto to Aboriginal groups and in that regard, cannot be reconciled with Canadian law, as it exists,” said Canada’s official statement. “Agreeing…would commit Canada to work to integrate (free, prior and informed consent) in its processes with respect to implementing legislative or administrative measures affecting Aboriginal peoples. This would run counter to Canada’s constitution, and if implemented, would risk fettering Parliamentary supremacy.”The statement also reiterated Canada’s position that the UN declaration on Indigenous rights was merely an “aspiration document” that had no force in Canada.“The government’s vision is a future in which Aboriginal families and communities are healthy, safe, self-sufficient and prosperous within a Canada where people make their own decisions, manage their own affairs, and make strong contributions to the country as a whole,” said Canada’s official statement.The AFN issued a statement blasting Canada for its position for watered down and limited Indigenous rights.“It is deeply concerning…that Canada continues to embarrass itself and isolate itself on the world stage,” said interim AFN National Chief Ghislain Picard. “These actions are not consistent with our much-needed work towards reconciliation between First Nations and the Crown.”Picard said during a press conference Wednesday First Nations also do not equate free prior and informed consent with a veto.The AFN obtained the statement from the Canadian delegation at the conference and then posted on its website.The AFN said it posted the statement for the historical record.“The AFN takes the position that this is important information that is on the record and should be shared with First Nations and others,” said an AFN spokesperson.A Foreign Affairs spokesperson directed APTN National News to the location of the posted read more

Is the Nunavut government turning Clyde Rivers cultural centre into a rehab

first_imgKent DriscollAPTN NewsSome residents in Clyde River, Nunavut are wondering if their cultural centre is going to be turned into a place of rehabilitation for people with drug and alcohol problems.That’s because of a question from Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashook who asked in the legislature if the government was still considering repurposing the facility into a rehab centre.The answer “still considering” is what is getting all the

How to participate in the growing number of privacy class actions in

first_imgTORONTO – With Equifax among the latest in the increasing number of privacy class actions being launched in Canada, affected consumers looking to join such lawsuits may be surprised to learn that in many instances they’ve already been opted in.In most provinces in the country, anyone who has the same legal complaint as a plaintiff who launches any type of class action can automatically share in any potential settlements provided they make a rightful claim in time, say legal experts.Not surprisingly, the number of Canadian privacy class actions has rapidly increased within the last six years, according to business law firm Osler.Based on Osler’s internal tracking, the firm says a total of 62 privacy class actions across Canada have been launched since 2005. However, Osler identified only two privacy class actions commenced prior to 2010. That year there were three new privacy class actions, rising to seven in 2011, and 10 in each of 2012 and 2013. Following a slight dip in 2014 and 2015, there were 11 commenced in 2016.Hacking incidents accounted for about one-third of all privacy class actions, with misuse of information by employees and theft or loss of physical media containing personal information also accounting for a significant proportion of privacy class actions.Canadians have already seen their fair share of major privacy breaches this year.Equifax said on Sept. 7 that it fell victim to a massive cyberattack in the summer that may have compromised the personal data of 143 million Americans and 100,000 Canadians. In May, BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada issued an apology to customers after it said nearly 1.9 million customer e-mail addresses and 1,700 names and phone numbers were illegally accessed.According to Osler, nearly half of privacy class actions initiated in Canada have been commenced in Ontario — which is not surprising given that most national class actions are initiated in this province purely for logistical reasons, says lawyer Jeff Orenstein of the class action law firm Consumer Law Group.“That’s where most company’s head offices are, where all the big law firms are,” Orenstein said.But that’s not to say that a class action launched in Ontario will see all Canadians automatically opted in. Residents in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia must choose to opt in, said lawyer Tony Merchant, whose firm Merchant Law Group LLP has launched a class action on behalf of Canadians affected by the Equifax data breach on August.“But everywhere else in Canada you’re a part of the class action unless you opt out,” added Merchant, noting that in most circumstances Quebec is also an opt-out province unless there are certain jurisdictional issues.Residents of B.C., New Brunswick, or Newfoundland and Labrador will only be automatically opted into class actions launched in their own respective provinces.Merchant’s firm has initiated one of at least two Canadian class actions commenced against Equifax.Last week, an Ontario resident proposed a class action in Ontario Superior Court. The lawsuit, represented by law firm Sotos LLP, is seeking $550 million in damages on behalf of Canadian victims of the Equifax hack.Neither Merchant Law or Sotos have had their proposed class actions certified in court yet. Equifax said in a statement that it cannot comment on pending litigation.Both Orenstein and Merchant say it’s important for Canadians to stay on top of class actions if they want to benefit from any potential settlements, as cases can take years to work their ways through the courts.If there is a judgment in favour of a class action, notice is usually given to all eligible parties by publication in various newspapers or by direct mail, providing detailed instructions of what you need to submit and where you need to send your claim.But once a class action has been settled there’s a limited time period in which you can make a claim, after which your rights are wiped out.Orenstein says that even in instances where high-profile class actions are successful, “a five per cent take-up rate is considered impressive.”An easy way to stay on top of class actions is to sign up for updates through the websites of the law firms that launch them so as to not miss out on your right of recovery.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

Massachusetts to continue talks with HyrdoQuebec for Northern Pass project

first_imgMONTREAL – Despite a rejection in New Hampshire, Massachusetts will continue negotiations on a conditional basis with Hydro-Quebec and its American partner Eversource for the Northern Pass project.Hydro-Quebec is counting on the Northern Pass to supply Massachusetts for 20 years, starting in 2020, as part of a historic contract signed with the state in January.It is estimated that the Crown corporation could pocket $10 billion in revenue if an agreement is reached.The project was rejected by the New Hampshire Site Review Board, which refused to grant a licence essential to Northern Pass’s completion in the state.The Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs says talks on the project could end by March 27.In the meantime, conditional negotiations may be conducted for another project, the New England Clean Energy Connect, which would be carried out by Hydro-Quebec and Central Maine Power.That project involves the construction of a transmission line in Quebec to the border with Maine.last_img read more

Transatlantic budget flying gets a reality check

first_imgREYKJAVIK, Iceland — For those hoping for ever cheaper fares on long-haul flights, this month’s takeover of Icelandic airline Wow is not good news.The struggling airline, which specializes in ultra-cheap flights between North America and Europe, was taken over by Iceland’s flagship carrier, Icelandair, for just $18 million. Its rescue is a reality check for an industry hoping to apply the budget flying model to long-haul routes.And for now it means that passengers from, say, Washington will likely have to pay more than the $99 teaser rates previously offered for the six and half-hour trip to the Icelandic capital, which serves as a stopover to mainland Europe.“It simply costs more than $99 to fly between continents and Wow air has not found ways around it,” said Kristjan Sigurjonsson, editor of local travel news site Turisti.While Wow will continue as a separate brand for now, Sigurjonsson says it’s unclear whether Icelandair will have it continue offering such low fares in an attempt to compete with Norwegian Air, which is offering cheap flights at a loss to gain market share.But for now, the numbers don’t add up for budget long-haul flying.Part of the business model for low-cost flying across the Atlantic depends on getting cheaper airport slots, both by departing at odd hours and by flying to smaller cities in the United States. Wow flies to St Louis and Pittsburgh, for example. The low fares, in turn, mean planes are typically full.Wow flies across the Atlantic with single-aisle, narrow-body Airbus A321 jets. Being smaller than a widebody plane makes them easier to fill, an important consideration in keeping down costs per seat. They are also cheaper than two-aisle planes. Wow’s jets are relatively new, meaning they are more fuel-efficient than some competitors’ fleets.However, those savings have been squeezed in the past couple years as oil prices have risen. The U.S. benchmark for oil has risen 50 per cent from late 2016 to a peak of $75 in September this year, before easing back somewhat.For a budget airline like Wow, where margins are already tight, that means a direct hit to earnings. On top of that, wages have been rising sharply in Iceland, where its employees are based.Founded in 2012, the airline expanded fast to 37 destinations and reported up to 60 per cent annual growth in passenger numbers. Its revenue per passenger, however, has not kept up and fell by about 20 per cent in 2017, according to the last earnings report.About 70 per centper cent of Wow’s passengers travel between Europe and North America. Combined with Icelandair, the airlines will carry about 3.8 per cent of transatlantic passengers, according to analysts at Icelandair.Experts say that what budget airlines like Wow lack is the big source of money from transatlantic flying: business travellers. The New York-London route is the most lucrative in the world, thanks to the amount of business travelling done between the two financial hubs. British Airways takes in a reported $1 billion a year between those cities alone.Budget airlines have been trying to tap that market. Wow created a new business-class scheme and in a presentation to investors this year it predicted that would help it make a profit this quarter. Norwegian Air has also offered “Premium class without the premium price,” reportedly with modest success.But it remains to be seen whether companies booking trips will agree to pick budget airlines over established carriers that are often seen as more reliable because they have bigger fleets and deeper pockets.“The established airlines have loyalty programs that hold tight to the most lucrative clients,” said Skarphedinn Steinarsson, former CEO of low-cost carrier IcelandExpress and the director of the Icelandic Tourist Board. “It takes longer to win this group over than the typical bargain-hunter.”For now, it is the flagship carrier coming out on top.Wow founder and CEO Skuli Mogensen urged his staff Monday to “look at this as an opportunity to continue our journey now as a part of a much stronger group”.The charismatic boss, who has in the past mocked Icelandair as “outdated” and used his image to represent the airline, acknowledge defeat with much understatement: “It was not part of the original game plan.”Egill Bjarnason, The Associated Presslast_img read more

German Cabinet approves plan to expand jobseeker visas

first_imgBERLIN — Germany’s Cabinet has approved a plan to expand a system of visas allowing people from outside the European Union to seek jobs as it tries to tackle a shortfall of skilled workers.Ministers also approved Wednesday a plan to resolve the status of rejected asylum-seekers who have found long-term work in Germany and are well-integrated.The limited-period visas, currently available to university graduates, will be expanded to migrants with professional qualifications and German language knowledge. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil said the aim is to have the system, which ministers agreed to in principle in October, take effect at the beginning of 2020.Like many other European countries, Germany is trying to strike a balance between the needs of its labour market, an aging native population and concern about immigration.The Associated Presslast_img read more

BC protesters rally against Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline plan

first_imgSupporters of the pipeline project are scheduled to host their own rally in downtown Vancouver this afternoon.A B.C. Supreme Court judge granted Kinder Morgan an interim injunction Friday aimed at preventing anti-pipeline activists from protesting construction at two terminals in Burnaby.The injunction restricts protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities until Wednesday, when a hearing on the matter will continue.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) BURNABY, B.C. – Indigenous leaders and environmentalists beat drums and sang as they protested Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline in southern B.C. Saturday morning.Members of the Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish and Musqueam First Nations, who led the rally and march in Burnaby, say they want to send a message to government, the company and investors that they do not have consent to twin the existing pipeline.The Trans Mountain pipeline is set to increase the capacity of oil products flowing from Alberta to the B.C. coast to 890,000 barrels from 300,000 barrels.last_img read more

Flood watch issued for the Pine River

first_imgUPDATE as of July 22 at 11:30 a.m. – The flood watch for the Pine River has ended.  The Pine River and tributaries have peaked at the 5 to 20 year return period flows. The Peace River and tributaries have peaked yesterday or are peaking today at about the 2 year return period flows. The rainfall is easing and the river levels are receding now or expected to recede later today. No major flood risks are expected in this region recently though small rises of river levels are still possible.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Heavy rainfall in the B.C. Peace has caused river levels to increase.The River Forecast Centre has upgraded the forecast for the Pine River and it’s tributaries to a flood watch.  Based on the current modelling, the Pine River and tributaries are expected to peak at the 10 to 20 year return period flows Saturday night or Sunday morning, similar to peak levels reached in June 2016.  The Peace River is also expected to see moderate increases in water levels. The public is cautioned to stay clear from rivers and the unstable riverbanks during this high water period.Real-Time Hydrometric Data that shows the increase in the river flow of the Pine River at East Pine.The River Forecast Centre is also maintaining a high streamflow advisory for the Peace Region, including the Kiskatinaw, Pouce Coupe and Dawson Creek rivers and their tributaries.The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor conditions and update this advisory as conditions warrant.For more on flooding in Chetwynd, click here.  Caribou Road Services is also working to contain flooding in the South Peace.  Click here for details about that.last_img read more

‘Modi was posing for cameras at the time of Pulwama attack’

first_imgDehradun: Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched his party’s campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Uttarakhand on Saturday, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi was posing for cameras at the Corbett National Park for a documentary when CRPF jawans were being killed in Pulwama.At a rally here, in which BJP veteran and former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri’s son Manish Khanduri joined the Congress, Gandhi also said his party would introduce a scheme of guaranteed minimum income for the poor if elected to power. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!”Immediately after the Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed, the Congress had said it was with the government and the country. I had cancelled all my programmes. “Everyone knows what Narendra Modi was doing when our jawans were being killed in Pulwama. He was posing for the cameras to shoot for a National Geographic documentary,” Gandhi said to loud cheers from a large gathering at the Parade Ground. “Modi shoots for three-and-a-half hours on a day something like Pulwama happens and he still talks about patriotism,” the Congress president added. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedThe ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had rejected the charges when they were first levelled by the Congress. On the issue of the Rafale fighter jet deal, Gandhi reiterated his charge of Modi backing industrialist Anil Ambani in getting a related offset contract, a charge repeatedly denied by the government. “All of you must have heard of Anil Ambani. Can he make an aeroplane? He cannot even make a paper aeroplane as children do,” he said, holding up a piece of paper. “Still, Modi took him along with him as part of his delegation to France to ensure that he got the deal worth Rs 30,000 crore,” he added. Gandhi asked why the defence deal, negotiated by the previous UPA regime at Rs 526 crore per aircraft, was finalised by the Modi government for Rs 1,600 crore apiece. Reiterating the “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief) barb, the Congress president said he had posed four questions to the prime minister in Parliament on the Rafale deal. “The prime minister delivered a long speech lasting one-and-a-half hours in Parliament, but failed to answer even one of my questions. All he did was keep looking up, down and sideways. Why? Because he is guilty,” he said and asked the youth of the state to pose the same questions to Modi when he comes to Uttarakhand for campaigning.last_img read more

Security in Sahel: Bouaida urges common regional approach to fight terrorism

Washington  –  Minister-delegate for foreign affairs and cooperation Mbarka Bouaida called on Tuesday in Washington for a common regional approach to address security challenges in the Sahel and Maghreb region.Bouaida, who was speaking during a meeting organized by the US State Department on security threats in the Sahel and Maghreb, stressed that “only a collective, inclusive and solidarity-based strategy involving all countries concerned is likely to overcome these transnational challenges that jeopardize the future of the entire region”.The Moroccan diplomat underlined the importance of adopting comprehensive, integrated and multidimensional strategies including the economic, social, political, cultural and religious dimensions, stressing the importance of territorial integrity in strengthening regional security. Concerning south-south cooperation, Bouaida reiterated Morocco’s readiness and commitment to share its expertise with African partners in order to achieve the desired goals. read more

Social Media Users Denounce Saudi Cleric Mohamed al-Arifi’s Lecture in Morocco

Rabat – The lecture of Saudi preacher Mohamed al-Arifi on October 25, in Rabat is stirring controversy in Morocco.Moroccan social media users denounce the event, which will be organized by the Movement for Unification and Reform on October 25, in Rabat under the theme “The Role of the Quran in Shaping the Human Being.”Opponents of the lecture claim that the preacher condones terrorism and supports al-Qaeda in Syria. Accusation against Al Arifi flared up after his statement on Al Jazeera channel in February 2013 when he said that Oussama Bin Laden “was a victim of wide-level character assassination.”During the same interview, the Saudi cleric, who has over 18 million followers on Facebook and almost 13 millions on Twitter, claimed that the terrorist organization “does not tolerate bloodshed.”“These beliefs in fact are not correct. Al-Qaeda members do not tolerate accusing other Muslims of apostasy and they do not tolerate bloodshed. I am not part of al-Qaeda and I do not adopt their thinking, but Allah says: ‘And when you testify, be just,’” Arifi said.“Even al-Qaeda leader Sheikh Oussama Bin Laden, may his soul rest in peace, did not adopt many of the thoughts that are attributed to him today,” he added.After A serious critical backlash from his followers on social media, the religious scholar backtracked and said he was not defending Al Qaeda.“I am not in a position to defend them; I am not one of them, but again ‘when you testify, be just.”Al Arifi made also headlines when called on parents to prevent their daughters from revealing clothes in their presence.The 45-year-old Muslim cleric is known for his constant opposition and condemnation towards inhumane behaviors of ISIS and Bashar al-Assad’s regime.The Unification and Reform (or in Arabic, “Attawhid Wal Isslah”) is a religious movement established in 1996 by Ahmad Raissouni. It is the advocacy part of the current ruling party in Morocco (PJD). read more

Feasibility Study on Morocco-Portugal Electric Interconnection Launched

Lisbon – A ministerial declaration on conducting a technical and economic feasibility study for the electric interconnection project between Morocco and Portugal was inked, on Wednesday in Lisbon, by Moroccan energy minister Abdelkader Amara and Portuguese economy minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral.With a capacity of 1,000 megawatts, this first interconnection, which will help the two countries to exchange electricity, shows the will of Rabat and Lisbon to build together a regional energy hub.The agreement was signed during a ceremony attended mainly by Portuguese state secretary for energy Jorge Seguro Sanches, Morocco’s ambassador in Lisbon Karima Benyaich, director of Moroccan electricity and drinking water office (ONEE) Ali Fassi Fihri and secretary general of the ministry Abderrahim El Hafidi. On this occasion, Amara said he was upbeat about the prospects of this project, underlining that Morocco and Portugal are determined to make headway with this interconnection project, which will be very structuring and link for the first time two countries in the field of electricity.“We have won this bet since the signature of the first agreement during the Moroccan-Portuguese Joint Committee, chaired by the two heads of governments in April 2015,” the minister recalled.The project will also inject electricity from renewable sources to solve the issue of climate change given that 60% of climate imbalance is linked to energy.For his part, the Portuguese economy minister said that the study is an important step to develop a broad partnership in the energy sector and an opportunity to reinforce the internationalization and competitiveness of the Moroccan and Portuguese economies. read more

Morocco: A ‘Darling Bud of May’, British Paper

Rabat – Expert travelers and beauty seekers have known for decades that Morocco, with its gorgeous landscapes and multicultural heritage, is an alluring and enlightening travel destination. For those who didn’t know, the British newspaper Daily Express has mentioned Morocco in its list of “The darling buds of May”, urging travelers to pay the country a visit during the spring month. The website says that the Kingdom is a perfect destination in the month of May, referring to a listing by Australian travel website Lonely Planet. The Kingdom made it to the listing thanks to its “ideal temperature”, marvelous landscapes and flower festival. Daily Express reports that “Marrakech hovers in the high 20°C not too oppressive for wandering the souks; coastal Essaouira is a refreshing 20°C (68°F); and the Sahara is hot (30°C+; 86°F+) but more manageable than July to August (40°C+; 104°F+).” The Daring Buds of May article invited travelers to explore the red city of Marrakech and its “grandmother” Taroudant before wandering into the Atlas Mountains. It also made a special reference to the Valley of the Roses, at the High Atlas Mountains for being “particularly pretty during its mid-May flower festival.” In addition, it highlighted Mount Toubkal which, reaching 13,671 feet high, offers an adventurous hikes for adrenaline junkies and promises an unforgettable experience to whoever visits it.For family excursions, Daily Express turned to the mountain village of Imlil, saying that it is “a good base for shorter, family-friendly excursions into Berber country,” adding that the village could be reached though various roads, while mules could be hired to carry baggage and even lift children.The valleys of Morocco are “vibrantly green,” enjoying warm sunshine and lovely temperature, abd though they get a bit chilly at night, they remain a perfect destination for hikers. read more

Gulf Crisis: Qataris Tease Saudi Arabia with Pictures of Moroccan Milk

Rabat- Pictures of cardboard containers of milk produced by Moroccan companies have gone viral on social media in the Gulf countries.Qatari social media users have shared pictures of the “Moroccan” milk to tease Saudis over the embargo imposed by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain following their decision to sever ties with Qatar over its alleged support of terrorism and undermining of their national security.Morocco and Turkey have both sent food supplies to Qatar to alleviate the sanctions imposed by its sister countries. Rabat and Ankara entertain good relations with Doha. Despite facing this dramatic situation, Qataris seem to have kept their sense of humor.A massive wave of sarcasm spread on social media in the country as a reaction to a comment by a Saudi analyst who said that “the Qatari stomach can’t get used to Turkish food.”Saudi Okaz EIC: “Qatari stomach can’t get used to Turkish food”. This isn’t The Onion,it’s #??????_???????— ??? ?????? (@Reem_AlHarmi) June 12, 2017The pictures of Moroccan milk were widely posted and shared on Twitter along with funny comments.“Moroccan milk has arrived. To your health. I don’t need to remind you of the benefits of Moroccan milk on the Qatari stomach,” reads a tweet.??????? ??? ? #??????_??????? ?? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ???????? ????? ?????? #??? ??? ????? ????? ??? ?????? ??????? ?#??????#Qatar #Maroc— ???? ???? (@lachyab) June 19, 2017Another tweet humorously commented: “After Turkish milk, Moroccan milk is now in the markets. Before you say anything, the Qatari stomach is ready.”In addition to adopting a neutral position vis-à-vis the Gulf crisis, Morocco has sought to mediate between the quarreling states.King Mohammed VI is known to be a personal friend of the leaders of the Gulf countries, and the Kingdom is seen as a major Gulf ally.Earlier in June, the monarch sent the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita as an envoy to the Gulf to mediate the crisis and express Morocco’ support for the Kuwaiti initiative to try to put an end to the unprecedented dispute that threatens to disintegrate the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), seen as the only successful Arab bloc. read more

Exxon: 4Q Earnings Snapshot

IRVING, Texas (AP) _ Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) on Friday reported fourth-quarter net income of $6 billion.The Irving, Texas-based company said it had profit of $1.41 per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to $1.51 per share.The results topped Wall Street expectations, but Exxon does not adjust its reported results based on one-time events such as asset sales. The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.08 per share.The oil and natural gas company posted revenue of $71.9 billion in the period, which missed Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $74.18 billion.Exxon shares have increased 7.5 per cent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased almost 8 per cent. The stock has declined 16 per cent in the last 12 months._____This story was generated by Automated Insights ( using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on XOM at Associated Press read more

Amtrak train stranded with 183 aboard after hitting tree

PORTLAND, Ore. — Workers are trying to free an Amtrak train with 183 passengers aboard that has been stuck since Sunday after hitting a tree that fell on the tracks near Eugene, Oregon.Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train left Seattle for Los Angeles early Sunday but hit a tree in Oakridge, Oregon, about 6:20 p.m. Oakridge is about 45 miles (72 kilometres) southeast of Eugene.Union Pacific spokesman Tim McMahan says crews are clearing the track and were expected to reach the train by 6 a.m. PST Tuesday. He says the train will move back to Eugene and Portland.Amtrak made the decision to keep passengers on the train because electricity is out in Oakridge. Amtrak says there is ample food on board.Passenger Carly Bigby tells KOIN-TV parents have run out of diapers and there is limited cellphone service.The Associated Press read more

US official: Much work remains to reach US-China trade deal

WASHINGTON — A U.S.-China trade agreement is far from being completed and will require much more work, particularly on enforcement, the U.S. official negotiating the pact told a House panel.“Much still needs to be done before an agreement can be reached,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Wednesday. “If we can complete this effort, and again I say if, and if we can reach a resolution on the issue of enforceability, we might have an agreement that enables us to turn the corner in our relationship with China.”Lighthizer also said that his agency is aware that China has not kept many of its past promises.Members of Congress from both parties expressed support for the Trump administration’s confrontational approach and urged Lighthizer to reach a far-reaching agreement.Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press read more

Barclays may cut costs in ‘challenging’ economy

London-based Barclays bank says it may cut costs if “challenging” economic conditions persists throughout the year.The warning came as the bank said Thursday that revenue dropped 2% to 5.25 billion pounds ($6.77 billion) in the first quarter of 2019. Pre-tax profit from Barclays’ corporate and investment banking business fell 30%.Barclays says the “income environment in the quarter was challenging” and it will reduce spending “if this were to persist for the remainder of the year.”The bank says it has already cut bonus and compensation payouts across the corporate and investment bank to reflect the division’s poor performance.Barclays reported quarterly net income of 1.04 billion pounds, compared with a year-earlier loss of 764 million pounds, when the bank set aside 2 billion pounds to cover misconduct.The Associated Press read more

Abandon Jakarta: Indonesia again mulls plan for new capital

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s decades long discussion about building a new capital has inched forward after President Joko Widodo approved a long-term plan for the government to abandon overcrowded, sinking and polluted Jakarta.Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro says Widodo decided at a special Cabinet meeting Monday to move the capital outside of Indonesia’s most populous island, Java.The site for a new capital hasn’t been announced but Palangkaraya on the island of Borneo has often been rumoured as the favoured location.Brodjonegoro said a new capital would require an area of 30,000 to 40,000 hectares (about 74,000 to 99,000 acres) and have a population of up to 1.5 million.Jakarta has a population of about 30 million in its greater metropolitan area.The Associated Press read more

Return Flights of 32,000 Moroccan Pilgrims to Begin on Friday

Rabat – Moroccan pilgrims who finished  the rituals of Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, this year will start returning to Morocco on Friday, August 16.Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported that the first group of Moroccan pilgrims who will return to Morocco will be divided into three flights.The first flight will head to Rabat, while the other two flights will land in Casablanca, the official Moroccan delegation for the 2019 Hajj said. Read Also: Nearly 32,000 Moroccan Pilgrims Perform Hajj Rituals in 2019The pilgrims who are not in a hurry to comeback and will return to Morocco after they have finished Hajj rituals. The final ritual for the pilgrims will be the “stoning of the devil”  ritual at Mina, Saudi Arabia.The act is one of the major rituals in Mina, 5 kilometers to the east of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The ritual marks the end of the Hajj Pilgrimage in Mina.Tens of thousands ofMuslims from different countries worldwide chant “Allah Akbar” (God is great) and throw stones at pillars or “jamrat.” The three pillars, called jamarat, represent Satan in Mina.Pilgrims pelt seven stones at each pillar.The ritual honors the prophet Abraham’s stoning of the devil, who attempted to convince him to disobey God’s order.The prophet’s determination to obey God and sacrifice his son Ishmael overcame the devil’s temptation, according to the Qur’anic account.Just before Abraham sacrificed his son, God provided a male goat to sacrifice instead to honor Abraham for obeying God’s command.Hamou Ouehli, the secretary of state for Rural Development and Waters said that the Moroccan pilgrims performed the Hajj rituals in “peace and serenity and under very normal conditions.” Ouehli led the Moroccan official delegation for pilgrims this year.The number of Moroccan pilgrims who performed the Hajj in 2019, is estimated at nearly 32, 000 pilgrims.Saudi Arabia said that the nu overall number of Hajj this year reached 2,489,406, including 1,855,000 pilgrims from abroad. read more