Trump Trudeau raise NAFTA brinkmanship muse about walking away from deal

first_imgWASHINGTON – Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau raised their trade brinkmanship to a new level Wednesday with each saying they were willing to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement if they don’t get what they want.Trudeau started the day by branding Trump a rule breaker to argue in favour of keeping a mechanism to resolve trade disputes, while Trump hours later said Canada had more to lose than the United States if the two countries can’t make a deal to preserve the three country NAFTA.“That’s going to be fine for our country,” Trump said. “It won’t be fine for Canada.”The bombast of the two leaders contrasted with the insistence of negotiators that the mood inside the room was constructive as talks hit what is being described as an intense phase. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland went out of her way to praise her counterpart, U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer, saying he was acting with “good faith” and “good will.”“The atmosphere continues to be productive and constructive,” she said Wednesday evening, adding that both countries’ officials would continue negotiating late into the night.“We are making good progress. We continue to get a deeper and deeper understanding of the concerns on both sides.”Negotiations, now in their 13th month, are key to determining the economic and trade relationship among the three North American countries, with many workers’ and industries’ prospects hanging in the balance.At the same time, Trump needs a win on trade ahead of the U.S. midterm elections in November that will test the president’s ability to keep control of Congress.“We’re not going to accept that we should have to sign a bad deal just because the president wants that,” Trudeau told Edmonton radio station CHED.Trudeau offered some of his sharpest criticism of the unpredictable American president, saying that Canada won’t give an inch to Trump’s desire to scrap NAFTA’s Chapter 19 dispute resolution panels. The chapter allows companies to have their differences settled by independent arbiters — something Trump views as an infringement of U.S. sovereignty.“We need to keep the Chapter 19 dispute resolution because that ensures that the rules are actually followed. And we know we have a president who doesn’t always follow the rules as they’re laid out,” Trudeau said.Freeland, when asked about the comments, said she didn’t want to negotiate in public, but added: “I agree with the prime minister in public all of the time, and in private 99.99 per cent of the time … He made some important comments.”The U.S. and Mexico reached a side deal last month, leaving Canada to negotiate separately with the U.S.Trump hinted there might be progress towards a deal with Canada.“I think we’ve come a long way toward them treating us fairly,” Trump said.But other issues have yet to be worked out, including Canada’s cultural exemption in NAFTA. Sources familiar with the Canadian bargaining position say the cultural exemption Canada has insisted on preserving since NAFTA talks reopened remains an 11th-hour sticking point.Part of the disagreement on culture revolves around Canada’s decision to allow the broadcast of glitzy American Super Bowl commercials, a decision that irks Lighthizer.His annual report on barriers to U.S. trade this year singled out the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s decision in 2015 to ban the long-time practice of Canadian advertisers inserting their ads into the Super Bowl broadcast over the more popular American ones.The new rules went into effect in time for the Super Bowl in February 2017.American networks worried that the CRTC’s decision reduced the value of Canadian programming because the amount they pay for Super Bowl rights is determined by how much advertising they can sell in Canada, Lighthizer’s report said.Lighthizer also said American broadcasters operating in border states have complained about Canadian counterparts picking up the U.S. signals and redistributing in Canada without consent. “The United States is exploring avenues to address these concerns,” Lighthizer wrote.Canada and the U.S. need to present an agreed-upon text to the U.S. Congress by Oct. 1 in order to join the deal the Trump administration signed with Mexico. Trump is threatening to move ahead on a deal with Mexico that excludes Canada.The goal of this week’s talks is to reach a deal by Dec. 1 so Congress can give its approval to a revised three-country NAFTA before Mexico’s new president takes office.Freeland wouldn’t guess how much more time negotiators will need to come to some agreement. She compared the trade negotiation to the advice a midwife gave her on giving birth: “You never knew for sure how many contractions it would take to give birth to your child but you knew that each contraction was one contraction closer to the end.“I think that’s where we are.”last_img read more

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US says Europe needs diversity from Russian energy supplies

first_imgBUDAPEST, Hungary — U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry says Europe needs to diversify its energy supplies to cut its dependency on Russia.Perry said Tuesday in Hungary that Russia needs to be prevented from using “energy as a coercive weapon,” like when it sometimes temporarily cuts winter gas supplies affecting mostly eastern Europe.Perry also said the United States has “the perfect right” to maintain sanctions on Russia related to its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.The U.S. has been pushing for Eastern European countries to use American deliveries of liquefied natural gas, but an LNG terminal planned in Croatia which could be used by Hungary has been long delayed.Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said gas is needed to operate industry and heat homes, not for political goodwill or plans.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Toronto and Vancouver most vulnerable to interest rate hikes CMHC

first_imgTORONTO — Canadians living in two of the country’s largest cities may find themselves more “vulnerable” to interest rate increases as personal debt levels in Toronto and Vancouver continue to hit record-levels, warns a report by Canada Mortgage Housing Corp.The housing agency says the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio for those living in Vancouver climbed to 242 per cent in the second quarter, which ended June 30.That means that for every $1 of disposable income, $2.42 is owed. It was similarly high in Toronto, where the DTI is at 208 per cent.This is the highest ratio recorded for both cities for any second quarter since 2015. Nationally, the DTI ratio is 171 per cent.A major contributor to increasing levels of indebtedness is mortgage debt, which accounts for two-thirds of all outstanding household debt in Canada.CMHC says those with elevated debt levels could see their budgets stretched if interest rates continue to rise.“While households may be able to service their debt during periods of low interest rates, some may face challenges when rates rise,” it said in the report. “Highly indebted households have usually few debt consolidation options to respond to increasing debt service costs.”The report noted that higher interest rates means that households could see an increase in the amount required for debt repayment, which could exceed their original budgets.“The increased debt payment burden may come at the cost of reduced consumption, decreased savings or opting to make lower repayments on the principal,” it warned. “Some households might even default on their loans if their incomes are not sufficient to cover higher expenses and credit charges.”CMHC says this could lead to a ripple effect if households begin defaulting on their loans, and banks begin scaling back on the loans they give out.“These negative effects could then impact other areas of the economy,” it said. “Research has shown that recessions in highly indebted countries tend to exhibit a greater loss in output, higher unemployment, and last longer compared to countries with lower debt levels.”The report, which was based on an analysis with data from credit monitoring firm Equifax, Statistics Canada and the Conference Board of Canada, also noted that household debt levels vary widely, and have in fact, gone down in some of Canada’s largest cities.The DTI ratio have decreased in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, Halifax, and Sherbrooke, Que. It is the lowest in Saint John, N.B., where it declined to 106 per cent in the second quarter.Household debt has been identified as a key vulnerability for the financial system by the Bank of Canada, which has raised its key interest rate five times since July 2017. The rate currently sits at 1.75 per cent, with expectations that there will be another hike next year.Since the Great Recession, the central bank has kept interest rates low to help stimulate the economy but that has also helped fuel hot housing markets in undersupplied regions such as Toronto and Vancouver.Follow @LindaNguyenTO in Twitter.Linda Nguyen , The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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EU leaders agree on limited budget to support eurozone

first_imgFRANKFURT — Leaders of the European Union have agreed to press ahead with a common eurozone budget to help the currency union weather future crises. But the proposal appeared to fall short of more sweeping ideas pushed by French President Emmanuel Macron.The leaders said that finance ministers would work out the precise features of the budget and agree on them by June.Macron has pushed for a large eurozone budget that could support member states that run into economic trouble. That would help close a key vulnerability of euro monetary union, which has one currency but 19 different governments.The leaders said in a statement Friday that the eurozone fund would be part of the overall European Union budget, suggesting it is likely to be smaller than Macron’s proposal.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Norway sees boom in electric cars fueled by the government

first_imgOSLO — A silent revolution has transformed driving in Norway.Eerily quiet vehicles are ubiquitous on the fjord-side roads and mountain passes of this wealthy European nation of 5.3 million. Some 30 per cent of all new cars sport plug-in cables rather than gasoline tanks, compared with 2 per cent across Europe overall and 1-2 per cent in the U.S.As countries around the world — including China, the world’s biggest auto market — try to encourage more people to buy electric cars to fight climate change, Norway’s success has one key driver: the government. It offered big subsidies and perks that it is now due to phase out, but only so long as electric cars remain attractive to buy compared with traditional ones.“It should always be cheaper to have a zero emissions car than a regular car,” says Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen, who helped push through a commitment to have only sell zero-emissions cars sold in Norway by 2025. The plan supports Norway’s CO2 reduction targets under the 2015 Paris climate accord, which nations last agreed rigorous rules for to ensure emissions goals are met.To help sales, the Norwegian government waived hefty vehicle import duties and registration and sales taxes for buyers of electric cars. Owners don’t have to pay road tolls, and get free use of ferries and bus lanes in congested city centres.These perks are being phased out in 2021, though any road tolls and fees would be limited to half of what gasoline car owners must pay. Gradually, subsidies for electric cars will be replaced by higher taxes on traditional cars.Registration tax on new cars is paid on a sliding scale with a premium for the amount of emissions produced. Elvestuen pledges that the incentives for electric vehicles will be adjusted in such a way that it does not scupper the 2025 target.“What is important is that our aim is not just to give incentives,” he says. “It is that we are taxing emissions from regular cars.”Using taxes to encourage consumers to shift to cleaner energy can be tricky for a government — protests erupted in France this autumn over a fuel tax that hurt the livelihood of poorer families, especially in rural areas where driving is often the only means of transportation.In this sense, Norway is an outlier. The country is very wealthy after exporting for decades the kind of fossil fuels the world is trying to wean itself off of. Incomes are higher than the rest of Europe, as are prices.Some 36 per cent of all new cars sold are SUVs, which provide safety in the country’s tough winters. Tesla’s SUV, the Model X – the motor of choice for well-to-do environmentally-minded Norwegians – costs around 900,000 Norwegian kronor ($106,000).“Buying a Tesla model X is not much more expensive than buying a standard premium Volvo because gasoline cars are taxed heavily. That is also the reason Teslas sell well,” says Christina Bu, General Secretary of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.The premium gas-powered Volvo XC90 SUV, for example, starts at 919,000 kroner ($107,100) in Norway compared with $47,700 in the U.S.To date, with its longer battery life, Tesla has dominated the upmarket family car space for electric vehicles, but more premium marques are entering the market, like the Audi Quattro e-tron. Demand is still outstripping supply, with Norwegians having to wait up to a year to get their hands on the steering wheels of their new electric vehicles.Norway has pledged to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 per cent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. The country has work to do: by 2017, emissions were up 3 per cent compared to the 1990 baseline. Cutting emissions from road transport will allow Norway to reduce the amount it has to spend buying up emissions certificates from other European countries to meet its target. The savings are likely to run into billions, potentially balancing out the cost of subsidizing electric cars.Norway is looking to China for help in developing the market.China has invested heavily in electric vehicles as it looks to meet its own Paris climate accord commitments, to clean up its choking cities and to get in early in a growing area of manufacturing. In October, 6 per cent of new cars were electric, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, up almost 50 per cent from a year earlier. The market has huge growth potential, experts say, and like Norway, the market boom has relied on government incentives.The hope in Norway is that the sheer size of China’s market will encourage the industry to develop the technology more quickly — improving battery life, for example — and force down prices.Experts say the electric vehicle market needs to develop more for sales to keep growing.Battery life on smaller vehicles is slim and the resale market is untested. Fast battery charging points are slow compared with gasoline pumps, and on Norway’s often empty mountain roads, these points are uneconomical despite government subsidies for the private companies that set them up.Even in city centres, construction of such points has not kept pace with sales. At one station in Oslo, a Tesla driver cracks open his laptop while his car charges. Another, Ida Vihovde, drums her fingers as she waits for a charging station to free up.“If the government put up more of these it would be OK,” she says beside her electric VW Golf. “Right now there are no more chargers so I have to sit and wait.”___Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.Mark Lewis, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Philippine Consul General and team visiting Fort St John this week

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A team from the Philippines consulate in Vancouver, including Consul General Niel Ferrer, will be in Fort St. John this week to provide outreach services for members of the local Filipino community.The first event is taking place on Wednesday, April 11th at Employment Connections, located at Unit 101, 9907 99 Ave. The Philippine Overseas Labor Office will be putting on the information session for Filipinos employed in the area on a temporary basis on renewing their OWWA memberships, and allowing any Philippines nationals who are planning to vacation in the Philippines while working Canada to get an Overseas Employment Certificate. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Program Assistant Janis Nual explained that the OEC is required by Filipinos working overseas who are not permanent residents upon re-entering the country.On April 12th and 13th, consulate staff will offering consular services for all Filipinos who are temporary or permanent residents of Canada living in the North Peace to renew their passports, register as overseas voters, obtain the services of a Notary, or to re-acquire Philippine citizenship and dual citizenship. The consular services will be provided at the Stonebridge Hotel from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both days, and again at S.U.C.C.E.S.S., located at Unit 209, 10142 101 Ave, between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday the 14th. For more information about the outreach program, visit the Facebook event’s page.last_img read more

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Trev Talks – Chris Gardner of the ICBA and inventor Sterling Roberts

first_imgListen for Trev Talks every Friday at 10 a.m. on Moose FM and shared live on Facebook and Youtube. This week on Trev Talks, Trevor Bolin spoke with Chris Gardner of the ICBA about their fight against the proportional representation referendum in B.C. and he also spoke with local inventor Sterling Roberts.Roberts has created the Q-Plug a way for you to prevent damage to your block heater cord when you forget to unplug it.  For more on the product, click here and visit his website.You can watch the Youtube version of the show above or watch it on Facebook below.last_img

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100 Women who Care Fort St John narrow choice to three for

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The 100 Women who Care Fort St. John Chapter narrowed down the choice of which non-profit organization to donate $10,000 to with a random draw.Women from around the Peace Region nominated non-profits earlier this year that they felt best deserved the donation. The three non-profits still in the running for the money were not revealed as the organization wanted to inform the charities before anyone else.The $10,000 will come from residents around the Peace who donate $100 each to help make a difference. Anyone interested in donating can visit Energetictickets.ca. The three non-profits will have to create a presentation on why they think they deserve the money and the 100 Women Who Care will then decide on who deserves it most.The three remaining candidates will be revealed at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, August 13th where they will work to present on September 11th.last_img read more

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US judge blocks construction of 8 billion Keystone XL pipeline

first_imgMore to come.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) GREAT FALLS, Mont. – A federal judge in Montana has blocked construction of the $8-billion Keystone XL pipeline to allow more time to study the project’s potential environmental impact.The Great Falls Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ order on Thursday came as Calgary-based TransCanada was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana. Environmental groups had sued TransCanada and the U.S. Department of State in federal court in Great Falls.The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta and Montana to facilities in Nebraska.last_img

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Northern Health responds to Hospital Bulletin

first_imgFor non-urgent care, use community health services including making an appointment with your family practitionerRemember, flu season is upon us; check immunizebc.ca for clinic dates.If you have a cold, call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 for advice, or ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms.If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-567-8911. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After a recent request by Northern Health asking residents to only use the ER if needed has people needing clarity as to what to do then.Speaking with Eryn Collins, Communications Officer with Northern Health, she said “We absolutely recognize that the reminder put out to the community December 14th, 2018 in FSJ is used when a Hospital is experiencing a period of higher than normal patient volume. This can depend on the time of year, such as flu season, long weekends and sometimes its a mix of patients in the hospital with complex health care issues that will make the Hospital busier than usual. It is not being said the Hospital is busier because people are coming and using it inappropriately its more of a reminder,” Collins goes on to say “When there are higher than normal patient volumes there are steps the public can take to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital because they will probably experience longer wait times for example if their condition is not urgent.”Emergency rooms are designed to be focused on tending to patients that have an emergency and urgent health care needs such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, broken bones, bleeding and suspected overdoses, situations that require attendance right away. The NH wants the public to know there are other options for getting advice if you truly warrant an emergency room visit. Health link BC is an online tool, as well as calling 811 anytime day or night to receive non-emergency help from registered nurses and health care professionals who can offer trusted advice on managing symptoms at home.Book appointments with family practitioners, it is known some of the public do not have a physician and it can be challenging as well if there is not an available walk-in clinic yet NH does not have a direct role in how these local primary care clinics structure their practices or the availability of their appointments. These are private physician practices although NH does work closely with family physicians recruitment of primary care providers to the community.It is important for the public to contact their local medical clinics and inquire about becoming patients or being put on a waitlist.“In the meantime, it’s about reminding people the Hospital is busier than usual and any unnecessary trips to the Hospital wait longer,” said Collins.Steps the public can take to help avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital include;People who aren’t sure whether their condition would warrant an emergency room visit, or who need health advice can call HealthLink BC (8-1-1), or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists 24/7.For deaf and hearing-impaired assistance (TTY), call 7-1-1.last_img read more

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Support the fight against ALS with the Walk to End ALS

first_imgMonies raised from the walk go towards helping support patients, families and caregivers that are fighting ALS.  The Walk to End ALS is considered the largest volunteer-led fundraiser for ALS Societies across Canada.The Society is encouraging teams to sign up this year and challenge other teams to raise money as well. Through friendly competition will make this year better than the last one.Wanting to end amyotrophic lateral sclerosis fundraising efforts and generous donations support the research. By participating in the walk you can show your support and honour the lives of lost loved ones as ALS Societies offer community-based support to people and families living with the disease.To view the website for online registration; CLICK HERETo view the FB Page; CLICK HERETo view the FB Event Page; CLICK HERE FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The 2019 Walk to End ALS takes place this Sunday, June 2nd, starting at the green space at 100 St and 100 Avenue.Registration for this fundraising walk begins at 10:30 am and the walk commences at 11:30 am.This family-friendly event will have food, music, games, raffles, activities and lots for the whole family to do. The Society shares the walk is about 4km long but the route brings walkers back to the Greenspace multiple of times, if walkers require to shorten their distance.last_img read more

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SSC exam papers leaked in Maha, probe underway

first_imgThane: Question papers of three subjects of the Maharasthra State Board’s Class 10 examination have been allegedly leaked in Thane district of Maharashtra, police said on Wednesday. A case was registered in this connection, a police spokesperson said. The state board’s secondary school certificate (SSC) examinations began on March 1. According to the board, the question papers of algebra, geometry and science subjects were allegedly leaked on social media on March 11, 13, 15 and 18, before these SSC exam schedules, in Thane’s Bhiwandi town, the official said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The board in its complaint raised suspicion over two exam co-ordination centres in Bhiwandi, she said. Based on the complaint, a case was registered on Tuesday under IPC Section 406 (criminal breach of trust) and provisions of the Information Technology Act as well as the Maharashtra Prevention of Malpractices at University, Board and Other Specified Examinations Act, the official said. No arrest was made so far, the police said, adding that a probe was underway.last_img read more

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China chemical plant blast death toll reaches 47 now

first_imgBeijing: The death toll in the powerful explosion at a chemical plant in China climbed to 47 on Friday with President Xi Jinping demanding all-out efforts to carry out search and rescue operations. The blast occurred after a fire in a fertilizer factory in a chemical industrial park in Yancheng, Jiangsu province on Thursday, according to the government of Xiangshui county. Forty Seven people have been killed and a further 90 seriously injured, reported state-run China Daily. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USPresident Xi, also the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, demanded all-out efforts to search and rescue victims. Xi, who is on his five-day tour of Europe, said that all-out efforts must be made to search those trapped, and the injured must be timely treated and relief work must be well carried out to maintain social stability. Meanwhile, environment monitoring and early warning should be strengthened to prevent environmental pollution as well as secondary disasters, he said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe explosion affected 16 surrounding enterprises. Open fire has been put out and air pollution indexes are within the allowed range. Xi ordered that the cause of the accident must be identified as early as possible and that authoritative information should be timely released. The Ministry of Emergency Management said 88 people have been rescued from the site of the incident. Eye-witnesses said several workers were trapped after buildings were knocked down by the shockwave stated to be a mild tremor caused by the blast which took place in a pesticide plant. The blast also shattered windows of nearby residential houses. The fire fighter brigade of Jiangsu has mobilised 176 fire trucks with 928 personnel to join the rescue mission, the Ministry of Emergency Management said. A professor of applied chemistry at Beijing University of Chemical Technology, in an interview with CCTV, said the leak of toxic chemicals might have affected the people and environment in the surrounding areas.last_img read more

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The Marrakesh Magic

first_imgWhen you travel to Morocco, for the lure of Casablanca, Sahara or Atlas Mountains, do not forget to reserve some time for Marrakesh – the ‘Dream of Escape’ destination in Maghreb region. A visit to Morocco has no meaning if you haven’t seen Marrakesh. No amount of visits to the beaches and mosques of Casablanca or the presidential palace in Rabat can make up for the character and charm of Marrakesh. Essentially a business city with markets, the city is draped in red colour, built from red sandstone and a shade darker than our Pink City, Jaipur. Also Read – Oman – Beauty with an addressAt the heart of Marrakesh is the UNESCO ‘Masterpiece of World Heritage’ site, ‘Djema el-Fana’, ‘The Courtyard Market’ to the world. Glistening in red sandstone, this huge courtyard is crammed with shops selling spice, oil, leather goods, scarves, Berber carpets etc., ideal for a tourist to trot and shop through a lazy afternoon. But, at sunset, the centre of the courtyard transforms into an arena that will transport you straight to the Arabian Nights. Also Read – CANADA: A traveller’s delightAlthough a few food shops crop up by mid-day, it is only after sundown that smoke billows from a hundred charcoal ovens, filling the space above with flavourful scent of freshly-made kebabs. Djema el-Fana comes alive with delectable eats and street performances; the air is filled with the aroma of bar-be-que as traditional Berber music overwhelms your senses. Let yourself loose and absorb the spectacle of hundreds of jugglers, musicians and performers in colourful dresses; swing your hips or clap in unison. Take a horse-drawn carriage from the entrance of the market and klik-klok your way into the courtyard. It is hard to imagine that this courtyard was a centre for execution in AD 1050, therefore the name. On either side of the pathway lay small sit-outs made of stone, allowing travellers to rest a while in between activities. On the western corner of the courtyard rests a beautiful mosque, with devotees in traditional clothing streaming in and out of its magnificent door. Belief and intrinsic faith in Almighty are written large on their faces as they trudge solemnly, bypassing spice and ‘Tajine’ shops and snake charmers or fired up grills, on their way diligently to prayer. At the courtyard market, meet the French-speaking Berber tribesmen, with sparse beard on their chin and a tiny turban of head gear. They mingle effortlessly with tourists as well as other locals dressed in western clothes. Marrakesh is where tradition meets the modern and then coexists happily. It is normal to see a frisky haired young women side-by-side traditionally dressed Berber men, chatting or sipping tea in the market. Present in the courtyard are also caged birds and monkeys, an assault to western sensibility, but very natural for locals. Pet shop owners often place a bird or an animal on your shoulder, volunteer to take a photo and then ask for a few Dirhams. Walk North of Djema-al-Fanaa, into the winding narrow lanes of Medina, the Central Souks. The aroma of spices, food and leather intermingle and assail you. Shopkeepers are welcoming, yet, not as aggressive as in the Courtyard Market. Interestingly, the hawkers in Marrakesh speak many foreign languages and Medina may well be the best example. You don’t need a map or GPS in Medina; you will not have the time to look at them. Dive in and just let your senses be massaged. By the way, there are a few good massage parlours offering head and foot massages or even a full body coddle with Argan oil. Hammams are a novelty for tourists, as this Turkish sauna pampers you for more than an hour with oil and steam massages. Along the meandering lanes are numerous shops selling pottery, garments and jewellery. Morocco’s medicinal herbs and spices are renowned the world over and also a cash crop for agriculturalists. Nigella or black cumin seed, originally brought from India, is now cultivated in Morocco in abundance. Locals crush these seeds, add honey and eat it to relieve cold and ache. Some even wrap it in a cloth and inhale to ease a blocked sinus. Argan oil, a pain relieving agent and skin toner, is sold in bottles and sprays. Government outlets in Marrakesh offer demonstrations and trials for most herbs and spices. You are sure to buy some of it to cure your chronic ailments, most likely the ever so popular Argan oil. Other prominent scenic tourist attractions are Majorelle Garden, built by French artist Jacque Majorelle. Complete with exotic plants from the desert, the two-acre garden has a villa and a museum of Berber culture. Then there is Bahia Palace or the brilliant palace, surrounded by a garden and a fountain in the centre. Also visible from a distance is the tall tower of Koutoubia Mosque on the south-west side of Medina. The name Koutoubia comes from the Arabic word ‘kitaab’, meaning books, it is a bookseller’s mosque. Whether it is a museum, a mosque or the market, Marrakesh weaves a magic of Arab-Europe architecture that is distinctly different from any city you will have witnessed. The finger-licking lamb meat cooked in Tajine, the cacophony of jugglers and musicians in Courtyard Market, the sights and sounds of Medina and the smiling faces of Berber hawkers – memories of Marrakesh will linger long after you have returned home and ticked off Morocco from your list of ‘places to visit before you die’.last_img read more

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All hail Woods! Trump, Serena, Nicklaus join Tiger Twitter frenzy

first_imgAugusta (US): President Donald Trump and Barack Obama were among those hailing Tiger Woods on social media after his 11-year major drought was ended by a thrilling and emotional Masters victory on Sunday. “Congratulations to @TigerWoods,” tweeted the US president Trump, who played a round of golf with Woods earlier this year. “A truly Great Champion!” “Congratulations, Tiger!” former president Obama tweeted. “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.” Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhAs Woods went on a charge on the back nine at Augusta National with birdies at 13, 15 and 16 to win by a stroke and claim his 15th major and fifth Masters, social media lit up in a frenzy of congratulations. “I am literally in tears watching @TigerWoods this is Greatness like no other,” tweeted 23-time Grand Slam tennis champion Serena Williams. “Knowing all you have been through physically to come back and do what you just did today? Wow Congrats a million times! I am so inspired thank you buddy.” Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterFellow golfers and former greats of the game were also quick to hail Woods’ achievement in returning to the summit of the sport after multiple surgeries and a string of off-course problems since his 14th major win at the 2008 US Open. Just two years ago his back pain was so bad Woods thought he might never play again, let alone win another major. “Very few people really know what @TigerWoods has been thru to get back to this point,” tweeted four-time major champion Rory McIlroy, who finished in a tie for 21st on Sunday. “So cool seeing him with Tida, Sam, Charlie, Erica and the rest of the team behind 18 green. Couldn’t be happier for him! What a great day for golf!” added McIlroy after an emotional Woods hugged his mother, children and partner Erica Herman after his winning putt. Aged 43, Woods became the second-oldest Masters winner, trailing only Jack Nicklaus who won 46 in 1986. “A big ‘well done’ from me to @TigerWoods!,” said Nicklaus on social media. “I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!” Woods also set a record for the longest gap between Masters triumphs, the 14 years since his last win in 2005 eclipsing the old mark set by South African Gary Player who won his second Augusta crown in 1961 and his third in 1974. “For most an impossible task. But not for you,” said South African legend Player on Twitter. “Congratulations Tiger. So special for you and your family. So great for the game of golf. Simply unbelievable.” Other US Sports stars were quick to join in on Twitter. “A big BIG congratulations to @TigerWoods for winning the Masters!!” NBA icon Magic Johnson tweeted. “The roar of the Tiger is back!” “Congrats Tiger! What a performance,” the New England Patriots’ six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady said. “Greatest comeback story in sports!” said three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry. “Congrats @TigerWoods Let me hold one of those 5 jackets one time!” Woods finally found time to respond to all his well-wishers late on Sunday night. “I can’t thank my family, friends and fans enough for their support. Having my family by my side today is something I will never forget,” he posted on his Twitter feed, @TigerWoods, along with a picture of him wearing his newest of five green jackets. “To not only be able to play again, but to be able to win again, is something I will forever be grateful for. “This jacket sure is comfortable.”last_img read more

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Relics revisited: Victoria Memorial to unveil Tagore’s letters penned in 1920s

first_imgKolkata: Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) is all set to unveil two letters penned by Rabindranath Tagore to Dilip Kumar Roy in the 1920s, to mark the occasion of the legendary bard’s 158th birth anniversary, which falls on May 9.The memorial has a large collection of various literary works of Tagore and every year, it retrieves something and brings it to public display. “These two original letters by Tagore are our ‘Objects of the Month’ for May and they will be put on display at the Prince Hall of Victoria Memorial in the afternoon on May 8, for the first time ever. The two letters will be on display for three weeks,” said Jayanta Sengupta, curator and secretary of VMH. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaDilip Kumar Roy, son of playwright Dwijendralal Roy, was an eminent Bengali musician, musicologist, novelist, poet and essayist. Tagore and Roy shared many stimulating conversations and exchanged many letters, most of them on music and literature. The two letters that will be put on display are the one written on April 3, 1924, which is a warm invitation to Roy to have more conversations with him and another written in verse in a humorous style on January 18, 1928, saying how much the poet misses his company. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe VMH will also hold an illustrated lecture titled ‘New Vistas into Tagorean Theatre’ by Ananda Lal, eminent theatre critic and former Professor of English, Jadavpur University, in the conference hall on May 8. “The world of Tagorean performance is the most under-researched in his huge corpus of work. The Abanindranath Tagore and Gaganendranath Tagore paintings of his theatre art in the Rabindra Bharati Society collection, presently under the care of VMH, are largely unfamiliar to the public and provide many important glimpses into their stage creativity. The lecture will highlight a representative sample of them,” Sengupta added. The talk will also discuss Lal’s recent study of non-Bengali political productions of Tagore, which has unearthed a few unknown but significant interpretations, from the world premiere of Red Oleanders in 1928 to Muktadhara in the Narmada Valley in 1993. The VMH also has an original exercise book in its collection, with writings of Tagore during his stay at Budapest. Tagore’s writings have been popular in Hungary ever since he won the Nobel Prize in 1913 and resulted in many Hungarian poets treading the long journey to Santiniketan. Most of his books have also been translated into Hungarian.last_img read more

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Atishi hits out at Gambhir over obscene pamphlets against her

first_imgNEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party’s East Delhi candidate Atishi and senior leader Manish Sisodia on Thursday alleged that pamphlets carrying derogatory insults against them were being distributed in Krishna Nagar, Vishwas Nagar and other areas of the constituency, on BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir’s directions. However, Gambhir rubbished the allegation and asked for ‘proof’.Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the language in the pamphlet was “so abusive and low that everybody will feel ashamed while reading it”. In a Press conference, Atishi and the Deputy CM read out the pamphlet. She broke down while reading out a pamphlet thereafter Manish Sisodia read out the remaining part. Atishi said she had welcomed Gambhir when he entered politics but now the BJP has stooped to an “unexpected level”. “Gambhir and his party have shown that they can stoop to any level to win an election…My only question to Gambhir is if they can stoop down to this level to defeat a strong woman, how will they protect women in their area after becoming MPs?” she said. The pamphlet titled “Atishi Marlena – know your candidate” was distributed with newspapers in the area, claimed Atishi. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesIn a tweet, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal raised similar questions: “How can women expect safety if people with such mentality are voted in? Atishi, stay strong. I can imagine how difficult it must be for you. It is precisely this kind of forces we have to fight against.” Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir, a celebrated cricketer turned politician, rubbished the allegation in a series of tweets implying that AAP had concocted the allegations to win and declaring that he was “ashamed” to have a Chief Minister like Arvind Kejriwal. He said if AAP proved its accusation, he would opt out of the election. In his firth tweet, he wrote, “I abhor your act of outraging a woman’s modesty Arvind Kejriwal and that too your own colleague. And all this for winning elections? U r filth Mr CM and someone needs ur very own jhadu to clean ur dirty mind.” Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarIn second tweet, he wrote, “My Challenge no. 2 Arvind Kejriwal and Atishi, I declare that if it’s proven that I did it, I will withdraw my candidature right now. If not, will u quit politics?” The AAP sources said that the party will file a criminal complaint to the police and also move the Election Commission. Meanwhile, the Delhi Commission for Women took suo moto cognisance of the report and issued a notice to the Delhi Police asking them to file an FIR.last_img read more

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SSC aspirant stabbed to death

first_imgNew Delhi: A boy preparing for SSC examination was stabbed to death in North Delhi’s Wazirabad in the wee hours of Monday as he stepped out of his rented accommodation to have a cup of tea at a friends place in the same neighbourhood.28-year-old Shivkant Yadav was talking to his friend on his mobile when it is said that he was intercepted allegedly by two men, who stabbed him multiple times. Since it was 3 am in the morning there was not much movement in the lane and the assailants fled after stabbing him. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe motive of the attack remains unclear as the victim’s mobile phone was found intact. “After getting injured Shivkant Yadav called his friends on phone who came to help him. He was then taken to the hospital by his friend on a two-wheeler. He was later referred to another hospital where he was declared dead. We are waiting for the post mortem report for the final conclusion,” said DCP North Nupur Prasad. According to police, some initial leads through CCTV cameras are being examined. Also Read – Union min Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi L-G lay foundation stones for various projects in DwarkaThe call records of the deceased are also being analysed to know any foul play. Shivkant, a resident of Aligarh came to Delhi in 2014 and was preparing for SSC exams in Wazirabaad. It was during the night he planned to have a cup of tea with his friend who stayed at walking distance in the lane opposite his. The attack happened while he was on move talking to one of his friend on mobile. Police has formed several teams to arrest the accused. The family of the deceased has been informed and the body has been sent for postmortem. Was it a snatching attempt gone wrong due to the victim’s resistance or it had some other angle is a matter of investigation. Cops say that once the assailants are arrested the motive would be clear.last_img read more

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Qatari prime minister starts work visit to Morocco

first_imgRabat- Qatari prime minister and interior minister Cheikh Abdallah Ben Nasser Ben Khalifa Al Thani, started on Sunday a work visit to Morocco. The Qatari official, who is accompanied by a large delegation of cabinet members, was welcome at the airport by head of the government, Abdelilah Benkirane, government members and other officials.The two heads of government will review means to promote and consolidate cooperation between the two Arab countries while Qatari ministers will also meet Moroccan peers.last_img

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Morocco, Gateway To Africa, Says Senior US Official

Marrakesh – US administrator for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Maria Contreras-Sweet hailed Friday in Marrakech Morocco’s important role in Africa’s development, saying Kingdom is a gateway to develop the African continent.On the sidelines of the 5th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (2014GES) in Marrakesh, the senior US official told MAP: “We are so pleased that Morocco came forward to sponsor this event. From the American view, Morocco is the gateway to develop the continent of Africa”.Contreras-Sweet said in Morocco, there are “so many men and women who have wonderful ideas” for entrepreneurial projects which can work both in Morocco and elsewhere in the world. She further highlighted the important contribution of SMEs for economic recovery, noting that two-thirds of the jobs created in the United States are coming from the small and medium business community. read more

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