Cadillac brand will return to Michigan from New York

first_imgDETROIT – General Motors is moving its Cadillac brand headquarters from New York back to Michigan, four years after heading to the big city to become more cosmopolitan.The move to the Detroit suburb of Warren, Michigan, across the street from GM’s giant technical centre, will take place in April.The company said Wednesday the brand’s workers need to be closer to engineers and designers because Cadillac plans to launch a new vehicle every six months for the next three years.The move comes five months after GM ousted Cadillac brand chief Johan de Nysschen, who thought a New York headquarters would give the brand more sophistication when Cadillac moved to New York in 2014. Cadillac sales fell 8 per cent last year but were up 5.4 per cent during the first half of 2018. GM replaced de Nysschen with Steve Carlisle, who ran GM’s Canadian operations.Spokesman Patrick Morrissey said GM learned a lot about the brand in New York, but circumstances changed since 2014 with Cadillac being part of GM’s technology and electric vehicle push. About 70 per cent of the workers in New York were recruited from the city, bringing GM new talent, Morrissey said.All 110 workers at the headquarters in the Manhattan’s SoHo district will be offered jobs in Michigan.De Nysschen was hired away from Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand with much promise and named president of Cadillac in August of 2014. A few months later he moved the brand’s headquarters from Detroit to New York.New York’s economic development agency approved a $1 million grant to Cadillac to help with the $12.7 million renovation of the Manhattan headquarters.Morrissey said GM did not draw down any of the incentive funds “but we are thankful and appreciative of the support we got from New York.”Jason Conwall, spokesman for Empire State Development, New York state’s main economic development office, said the state is disappointed in the move, but understands “this is a business decision being made by GM to co-locate the Cadillac headquarters with the rest of its corporate headquarters.”He confirmed that the state did not disperse any of the $1 million performance grant to GM.last_img read more

Cannabis marketing rules still hazy postlegalization

first_imgTORONTO — Despite strict rules limiting the promotion of now legal recreational pot now in effect, cannabis promotions continue to pop up amid loopholes and a lack of clarity on how the legislation’s grey areas should be applied.Nearly one month on since legalization, there is disagreement in the sector on murky portions of the Cannabis Act governing marketing, with some licensed producers taking a more aggressive approach and others holding back.“The fact that you aren’t seeing that an overwhelming wave yet of those kinds of tactics, to me, demonstrates that there is still uncertainty,” said Rebecca Brown, founder of Crowns Agency, a Toronto-based marketing consultancy focused on the marijuana industry.Canada legalized pot for recreational use on Oct. 17, when strict guidelines governing the plant’s promotion came into force.The blitz of cannabis industry billboards, sponsored concerts and pop-up information kiosks seen ahead of legalization have abated, but marijuana brands can be seen on taxi cabs or on social media — which may or may not run afoul of the law depending on interpretation.The Cannabis Act prohibits promotion of cannabis to young people and ads in places where it can be seen by those under the age of 18.Also barred is the use of endorsements or a depiction of a person, character or animal or marketing which presents “a way of life such as one that includes glamour, recreation, excitement, vitality, risk or daring.”Some companies have run afoul of this particular clause in the Act, Health Canada says.Since legalization, the health agency has reached out to seven regulated parties “to promote an understanding of the new prohibitions relating to the promotion of cannabis… and to bring specific concerns to their attention,” said agency spokesman Eric Morissette.All regulated parties contacted have addressed, or are in the process of, addressing the issues raised, Health Canada added.The government agency would not detail what portions of the Act were violated, but did say “for example” it raised concerns about “promotion using the depiction of persons and promotions that present a product or brand that associates it with a particular way of life, such as a glamorous or recreational lifestyle.”Health Canada said it would not identify the parties involved “provided that they have acted in good faith and taken the necessary corrective measures.” Still, government guidelines on pot promotion also has several exceptions and clauses which, some say, are open to interpretation.One exception allows for promotion using a “brand element” on a “thing that is not cannabis or a cannabis accessory,” if that thing isn’t associated with young persons or “vitality.”To some, this means ads with just a brand name or logo and a website may be allowable on things such as billboards, said Brown.“If you are reading the act plainly or literally, that should be allowed… There are certainly LPs that do feel uncomfortable with that.”Earlier this month, a cannabis ad was seen on a taxicab in Toronto with its brand name and the tagline: “Buds don’t travel high. Drive safely.”The Canadian Marketing Association’s cannabis marketing activities guide says advertising solely with a brand element, without appealing to young people or suggesting a glamorous lifestyle may be allowed, but “proceed with caution and consult legal counsel.”Canada’s largest newspaper publisher Postmedia Network Inc. intends to run ads that fit into the loopholes in the act, said spokeswoman Phyllise Gelfand.Postmedia announced earlier this month that it would stop delivering print editions to schools for fear that sending the papers containing ads directly to students would violate the law. The last newspaper delivery to schools was on Oct. 31, but papers can still be delivered to homes if directly to people over the age of 18, Gelfand said in an email.When asked whether ads with simply a brand element and a website in a newspaper would be considered compliant, Health Canada said it could not comment on a specific situation.“Newspapers available to the public should not generally contain any promotional material, including advertising, related to cannabis,” said Health Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette, noting that any promotion related to pot can only be in a publication that is addressed and sent to someone 18 years of age or older.The exemption was likely designed for things such as T-shirts and hats but more clarity from Health Canada is needed, said Trina Fraser, an Ottawa-based lawyer who advises the cannabis industry.“Certainly, I don’t think it was intended to provide essentially for mass brand promotion through conventional advertising means, even though, again, I think it at most it would be limited to the actual logo or brand name,” said Fraser.Nick Dean, chief executive of Emblem Cannabis, said the pot producer won’t be running ads on billboards on highways or in newspapers but will look to leverage social media influencers, he said.“There’s lots of opportunities for us to still be creative in how we market these brands, post-legalization,” Dean said.Other exceptions include ads in age-gated areas where young people are not permitted.Canopy Growth Corp.’s marketing campaign utilized billboards, concerts and informational kiosks but promotions stopped on the night of Oct. 16, said its co-chief executive Bruce Linton on a recent analyst call. Now, the licensed producer is using ads in age-gated areas, such as posters in bar bathrooms, he said.“We did not receive a letter from Health Canada to say that we were not in compliance,” Linton said.Another exception is in the digital realm where “reasonable steps” must be taken to ensure it cannot be accessed by non-adults. However, it is unclear whether a social media page with a description asking that its followers be adults is a “reasonable step,” the CMA said in its guide.Yet, many cannabis companies continue to post on Instagram, with the phrase “By following, you confirm that you are 19+” on their accounts.The industry desires more guidance from Health Canada on cannabis promotional activities, and more transparency about the warning letters issued thus far, said Fraser.“We don’t know what they were about, who they were sent to or what the basis for the objection that Health Canada took in the letter was… That is limiting us all as an industry from learning and growing.” — with files from Nicole ThompsonArmina Ligaya, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Wednesday is the final day to buy dinner tickets for Ball to

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The fundraising ball for a local 4-year-old with neuroblastoma is happening this weekend, and Wednesday is the final day to pick up tickets to the dinner portion of the event.The Happily Ever After Ball was originally scheduled for August 25th but had to be pushed back to October 6th since Natalie Small would not have been able to attend. The 4-year-old has been battling Stage 4 neuroblastoma since last December, and had a bone marrow transplant too close to the August date.Event co-organizer Kate Hadland said that tickets for the dance portion of the Ball, which starts at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, will be available up to and including the evening of the event for $40. Tickets for the dinner are only available until the end of the day Wednesday from Tenacious Detail on 100th Ave. Those tickets are $65 for adults, $25 for kids aged 6-10, while kids 5 and under get in free.With more time to organize the event, Hadland said in August that the event will feature more auctions and prizes, as well as live music.Organizers Hadland and Janna Gerber have also created a foundation inspired by the Smalls. The Happily Ever After Foundation was designed to help families in the Peace Region when the unexpected happens, with the Foundation’s first fundraiser going towards helping Natalie and her family.For more information on the ball, foundation and how to purchase tickets contact Kate Hadland at (250) 263-4988 or Janna Gerber at (250) 264-7864, or message the Tenacious Detail Facebook page.last_img read more

The choices we make

first_imgThe polls are not far. A subtle realisation of the same exists in the sub-conscience. For a democracy, general elections are more or less a festival. The entire mood of the country changes with the political parties rising from their slumber to proactively advocate either their novel offerings or abject criticism of the current incumbency. The mandate drives the politicos to great extent, sometimes breaking their personal threshold, in order to ascertain that the public is familiarised with their agenda. While the opposition parties carve lucrative sops to capitalise on the shortcomings of the retiring regime, the ruling party graces the opportunity of being in power by spreading its wings and taking the highest flight ever in the entire period hoping it will yield them tremendously. That is natural. The stated behaviour is rather expected. Polls draw out the eclipsed sincerity of the politicos which, otherwise, is expected across the incumbency. Democracy gets to experience permissiveness in all aspects with the people’s voices being heard, development ideas being circulated with full force, lacunae being rampantly tended to, a populist budget and an equally populist manifesto – a range of things presented in the national interest. Such work ethics, otherwise, can catapult any democracy into a fast-progressing one. Alas, that is not how affairs are once the polls culminate and the results provide new incumbency. In between the two extreme ends of the continuum lie the people who, by and large, acknowledge their choice by accepting whatever fraction of the promises have been delivered while simultaneously preparing for another mandate. In thought, our hopes are always aligned towards a choice that yields us more but in reality, it is more like a choice which will hurt us less. Time and again, polls have tinkered our curiosity over what all might be in store for the country, for us, once our choice assumes office. The high hopes with which the public mandate constituted the 16th Lok Sabha, after a long spell of the UPA government, certainly unpacked a series of surprises for us – beneficial or not is subject to perspectives. Fast forwarding to the final days of the current government’s term, a similar disappointment seems to exist in the minds of people as it did back in 2014. Plagued with inconsistencies in its decisions – Rafale, demonetisation, GST, a collective of ambitious schemes, et al – has not augured well for the ruling NDA. Yet, their appetite for pleasing the public seems larger than ever. With one eye on the Lok Sabha polls scheduled this summer, Union Cabinet and Cabinet Committee of External Affairs (CCEA) have jointly undertaken an astonishing 96 decisions in a fortnight pertaining to all sections of society. Farmers, youth, poor, ex-servicemen, central govt. Employees, weaker sections, the decisions are to ascertain that the people don’t repent their mandate five years ago. Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Cabinet and CCEA approved a series of projects which spark the development engine of the country in full swing or at least look to do so. 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas to enhance student enrolment and raise employment opportunity – after being heavily condemned for the pertaining unemployment that has plagued the nation. Three of six metro corridors planned under Phase IV cleared with a project outlay of Rs 24,948 crore – with AAP unhappy over the remaining three which were not approved. Rs 31,600 crore for proposals on investment in 4 power projects likely to be operational by 2023-24. Approval of an ordinance on the changed reservation policy for faculty recruitment in universities and colleges. The list may run down to feature a lot of projects and policy alterations that have been approved in what may be the last meeting of the Union Cabinet. A comprehensive look at it is enough to answer the questions of why, or more precisely, why now. Had these projects and other developments being approved earlier, the need for such hasty decisions would not have been there. And, the public would not have brewed discontent, to whichever extent, in the first place. The massive outlay for development seldom neutralises the controversies that the Centre’s facing, yet an attempt has been made nevertheless, as expected. Discussions would rather not spark over what has been done now since all these projects will be the responsibility of the next government. What the discussions may instead constitute is whether the current government is deserving of another term based on the general attitude evident across their term. Almost everyone knows, thanks to media for those who still couldn’t, the reason behind the Centre’s rampant approval of projects. In such a situation, the existing discontent must be channelised to decide if the other choices are better or not. It is, seemingly, a choice between the lesser evil after all.last_img read more

If you want your child to become chowkidar vote for Modi Kejriwal

first_imgNew Delhi: Taking a dig at BJP’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal said Wednesday that if people want their children to become watchmen, they should vote for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And if they want good education, they should vote for Aam Aadmi Party, he said. Kejriwal, in a tweet in Hindi, said Modi wants the whole country try to become ‘chowkidar’ (watchman). “If people want their children to become chowkidar, they should vote for Modi but if they want their child to get good education and become doctor, engineer or lawyer, they should vote for AAP,” he said in his tweet in Hindi. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder On Saturday, Modi had urged his supporters to take the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ (I too am watchman) pledge, saying he is not alone in the fight against graft and social evils. Since then, the BJP has stepped up its ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign with the prime minister and other party leaders, including its president Amit Shah, prefixing the word ‘chowkidar’ to their names in their Twitter profiles as they sought people’s support in the Lok Sabha elections.last_img read more

Will support grand alliance at Centre if full statehood demand accepted says

first_imgNew Delhi: After the election, if the grand alliance of the opposition parties form government and the alliance accepts the demand of the full statehood then the AAP will support the Centre, said Delhi AAP convenor Gopal Rai on Thursday. “With time, the opposition is becoming stronger, hence the grand alliance will form the Union Government. The AAP is a part of this alliance and will support the government only if they agree to the demand of granting full statehood to Delhi,” said Rai.On a social media interaction with the citizens, Rai described the full statehood demand as the prime focus of the AAP. Rai also explained the need of the full statehood setting the examples of others states and also by describing the obstruction politics done by the Centre through the LG.”Earlier BJP and Congress also demanded the full statehood but just after the AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal took over the government the Cenre did not do anything about the issue of full statehood. But the AAP will fight till the end to get the full statehood,” he said.The leaders explained that if Delhi becomes a full statehood the state government would be able to provide woman security because the police will come directly under the state government which is now under the Centre. The letter also explained that if Delhi becomes a full state then the government would be able to give jobs to the people and he also said that nearly 2 lakh vacancy is there in the Delhi government. Rai also talked about is how the full statehood would help the people with higher education becomes a full statehood the state government would be able to provide woman security because the police will come directly under the state government which is now under the Centre.The leader also explained that if Delhi becomes a full state then the government would be able to give jobs to the people and he also said that nearly 2 lakh vacancy is there in the Delhi government.last_img read more

CSC to train one lakh youth in core technologies for one year

first_imgNew Delhi: In a major move, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on Friday signed an agreement with Common Services Centers (CSC) to help upskill one lakh young professionals in core technologies over the next year.Under the pact, IEEE will work through CSCs across the country to train the young professionals in skills that align with the government’s Digital India initiative, which in turn will spur jobs in the emerging fields of building or managing data networks and Internet of Things (IoT), the CSC said in its statement. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”The aim of this agreement is to jointly create jobs and bridge the digital divide. IEEE Blended Learning Program (BLP) aims to upskill 1 lakh young professionals across the country in the emerging areas of technology such as the Internet of Things and building Wi-Fi community networks,” said Harish Mysore, senior director IEEE India Operations. On the occasion, CEO of CSC Dinesh Tyagi said, “The BLP certificate programmes are developed in conjunction with industry leaders and vetted by experts to ensure their effectiveness in content and learning experience.” “It is backed by micro-learning modules, application modules and data analytics, ultimately leading to an IEEE certificate, which aims at bridging the skills gap between academic learning and industry needs,” he said.last_img read more

Lenders extend Jet Airways bidders deadline to April 12

first_imgNew Delhi: Lenders of Jet Airways Wednesday extended the deadline for submission of initial bids for stake purchase in the ailing airline to April 12. Cash-strapped Jet Airways has delayed salaries to pilots, defaulted on loan repayments as well as payments to aircraft lessors. SBI Capital Markets, which issued Expression of Interest (EoI) document on April 8, has extended the deadline for submission of initial bids to April 12. Potential bidders can send their queries till April 11. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe deadline for submission of bids was to end on Wednesday. “The qualified bidders will be expected to submit their respective binding bid(s) latest by April 30, 2019 subject to the terms set out under the bid document,” SBI Capital Markets said in a notice posted on its website. The SBI-led consortium of domestic lenders are implementing a debt resolution plan for Jet Airways, whose board approved the plan last month. “While all soft copies of the EoIs are required to submitted by the EoI due date, the hard copies may be submitted by April 16, 2019,” the notice said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostEarlier in the day, SBI Capital Markets issued a set of clarifications related to the EoI document, including that bidders in a consortium need to furnish solvency certificates individually. “Bidders are required to provide the solvency certificate … on their letterhead and certified by managing director/ full time director / CEO of the bidder or a person holding an equivalent position in the bidder,” SBI Capital Markets said in a separate notice. In the case of consortium, each member has to submit solvency certificate, which is a proof of an entity’s financial stability. As part of the debt resolution plan for the full service carrier, the lenders are looking to restructure “existing facilities and infusion of funds by way of loans or acquisition/ subscription of up to 75 per cent of equity share capital of the company”. Shares of Jet Airways declined 1.59 per cent to close at Rs 263.40 apiece on the BSE.last_img read more

LS election will drive BJP out of power Modi will never be

first_imgChopra (WB): Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday said the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will drive the BJP out of power and ensure that Narendra Modi will never again be the prime minister. The Trinamool Congress will help form the next government at the Centre, she claimed and urged the people to vote for it. “This time it is a very important election. This election is to defeat the BJP. It is to drive out the BJP from power … This election is to make sure that Narendra Modi can never be the prime minister of the country again. We must ensure that they (BJP) never come back,” Banerjee said at an election rally at Chopra in Uttar Dinajpur. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “The TMC will form the next government. We will drive out the BJP from the country,” she said urging people to vote for Trinamool Congress. Taking a jibe at Modi, Banerjee said that for the past four-and-half years the prime minister was busy touring foreign countries. “Suddenly he became so conscious about the welfare of countrymen”. “Five years back he was the chaiwala and now he is suddenly the chowkidar. And after the elections people will not find him anywhere. For four and half years he was busy touring the globe and now there is no employment here, farmers have died failing to pay their debts… He was mum when people were lynched. I call him (Modi) dangabaaz (rioteer) and a lutera (looter),” she said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Banerjee said no one from BJP, the Congress nor CPI-M had visited Darjeeling in the past five years, while she had made it a point to visit the Hills almost every month. The Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency is set to witness a keenly-fought contest between the two warring factions of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) — one led by its supremo Bimal Gurung and his one-time protege Binay Tamang. The ruling TMC in West Bengal is yet to win the Darjeeling seat even once since its inception in 1998, while the BJP has emerged victorious twice.last_img read more

Total 86 nominations filed in Delhi so far

first_imgNew Delhi: A total of 38 nominations were filed on Saturday for the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, scheduled on May 12, taking the total to 86. Eight candidates filed their nominations from Chandni Chowk, including two independent candidates, and leaders from lesser known outfits like the Sarvhit Samaj Sewa Party and the Kanshiram Bahujan Dal. Five candidates filed nominations from northeast Delhi parliamentary constituency, including candidates from smaller parties — Republican Party Of India(A) and Satya Bahumat Party. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderNine candidates filed papers from east Delhi, out of whom two were independents. Two candidates filed their papers from New Delhi, including a woman candidate fighting as an independent. Four candidates filed their papers from northwest Delhi, including two independents. Five candidates filed their nominations from west Delhi, including an independent and candidates from lesser known outfits — Proutist Bloc India and Asankhya Samaj Party. Four candidates filed their nominations from south Delhi, including candidates from smaller parties — Hum Bhartiya Party and Mazdoor Kirayedar Vikas Party. Delhi, which has seven parliamentary constituencies, will vote on May 12 and the overall results will be declared on May 23. The seven constituencies are –New Delhi, South Delhi, West Delhi, East Delhi, North East Delhi, North West Delhi and Chandni Chowk.last_img read more

Rainfall in South Bengal to bring respite from heat MeT

first_imgKolkata: People may get a temporary respite from the hot and humid conditions as the Regional Meteorological Centre has predicted moderate to heavy shower in South Bengal in the next 24 hours.According to the weather office, a moderate-intensity thunderstorm may hit various South Bengal districts including Kolkata along with the rain. The storm will not however last for a long time. A sudden thunder shower coupled with a breeze will bring down the temperature in the city and some other South Bengal districts giving a relief to the people who are under the effect of scorching Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Pujasummer heat for the past few days. In the evening of April 21, the city witnessed a light rain coupled with gusty spell of wind. It had provided some relief to the city dwellers but from the next day people again felt the same discomfort. With the mercury hovering around 34-36 degree Celsius in the past couple of days, people are experiencing a sultry weather. A senior official of the Alipore Met office said that various South Bengal districts will receive a moderate to heavy rainfall in the next 24 hours. The intensity of the rain may be slightly higher in the districts of Bankura, Purulia, West Midnapore and Jhargarm. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”A storm with a speed of around 50 km per hour may be sweep through South Bengal along with rains. The temperature may slightly go down giving a temporary relief to the people in the city. The hot and humid condition may continue to affect the people once the rainy spell is over,” an official of the Alipore Met office said. The official also said that a cyclonic circulation formed over Chattisgarh and some cloud cells started moving towards Bengal from Jharkhand side contributing to the thunderstorms and rain across the region in 24 hours. According to the weather office prediction, the maximum temperature may soar again since warm southwesterly wind is blowing into the region. In the wake of fluctuating temperature the city doctors have urged the people to avoid spicy and restaurant foods. People are also advised to avoid direct sun light while on the road. To get some relief from the humid condition the doctors are suggesting people to wear cotton clothes.last_img read more

Music is like a way of life for me

first_imgRead to know what Jubin Nautiyal has to say about the project, his approach towards music and a lot more: Coming from a small town, what have been your aspirations from music as a career? Music has been more like a way of living life for me. Even if I was not as big as I am now, even if was working in a corporate office, I would still be singing as a hobby. So the idea of pursuing music as a profession was a generic thought. Do you follow a fixed pattern of how a song has to be sung, or try, improvise and modify it at the time of your performance? Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold SchwarzeneggerWhen I go inside the studio to dub a song, I completely leave myself outside. I enter inside as a clean slate. I am not stuck on how I want to sing. Whenever I am working with composers, usually they give me a lot of freedom because they are obviously working with me for my style of singing. But I definitely try to understand how they are composing the song, how they are hearing it, which makes a lot of difference. ‘Cinema shapes the outlook of society’, do you believe it is true for music too? Do you think with music you can bring a change? Also Read – Salman pays tribute to Vinod Khanna on ‘Dabangg 3’ wrap upI believe many times music shapes the outlook of cinema. There are so many films made nowadays that are based on music. There are so many projects for which the director scores the music before going ahead with the script. So, it all goes hand in hand. Sometimes lyrics come first or the melody does. What matters is how everything blends together as a product. What’s new for the fans in your new MixTape project? This time, I have collaborated with Abhijit Vaghani and Shirley Setia. We have recreated three songs – ‘Ik Vaari’, ‘Tum Ho Toh’ and ‘Nadaan Parindey’. They all are nicely composed and we had fun shooting them. I hope my fans enjoy the presentation and music too. What do you feel about T-series’ initiative of recreating songs? I feel T-series’ MixTape is a new way to see Bollywood music all over again. In a time where recreations are enjoyed and celebrated, T-series is bringing about some songs which have had a crazy run when they were released. But again it is coming with such a different expression altogether, with different artists creating its own niche. It’s a unique concept. What are your future plans? I have always been an independent artist. So, this year I want to give some time to independent music.last_img read more

Saad Lemjerred Apologizes to Al Akhbar Photojournalist Who Accused Him of

Azrou – Saad Lemjerred, singer of the famous hit ‘Enty,’ has apologized to a photojournalist. He described the incident as being “regrettable” and thanked mediators for their contribution to end the dispute.“I express my deep regret about what happened, and I think my dispute with Morad Achabi could be set differently, without anger or tension… I do not feel any discomfort in apologizing to Mr.Achabi or to anyone else who could feel aggrieved by my behavior,” he said. The photojournalist accused the singer of aggression. Two versions clashed: Morad Achabi said that the artist attacked him and even tried to hit him with his car; on the other hand, Lemjerred said that he asked the journalist “politely” to delete the pictures.The singer’s agent denies Achabi’s version of the story and claims that the star is “a victim of his own success.” According to Sahifat Anas, the singer hit the reporter with his 4×4 before fleeing. “There is not even 5% of truth in this story. Saad Lemjerred was not the driver, and fortunately there are cameras in hotel Royal Mansour that filmed everything and can prove his innocence,” declared the agent.Achabi revealed the incident’s details to 360, explaining that it all began with a coincidence. “I went to the hotel for an interview when I came across Saad Lemjerred who was taking pictures with his fans. I then approached him to take a picture and introduce myself. When he learned that I am a journalist, he asked me to delete the photos, which I did immediately, but he insisted on deleting them himself,” he said.When the journalist said he couldn’t give him the camera, Lemjerred ordered his escorts to forcibly take it. The journalist eventually chased them to the car, trying to take his camera back, and that’s where the drama, according to his version, occurred.When asked about the details of the incident, Lemjerred’s agent preferred not to utter a word, explaining that “there will be soon a communication on the exact circumstances and consequences.” He describes the story of the journalist as nothing but “slandering and lies.”Who is telling truth?On June 27, Lemjerred’s agent published a press release in which he gives his full version of events, ensuring that the singer is not wanted by the police and that the journalist “had thrown himself on the car driven by another person,” and not Saad Lemjerred.“The star was surprised to see someone photographing him in such a curious and intrusive manner. He then asked him politely to delete some pictures in which he does not look so good. The photographer refused and started insulting Saad Lemjerred.”Edited by Katrina Bushko© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Morocco Says 8 Moroccans Arrested in Turkey Have no Links With

Rabat – Morocco denied allegations made by the Turkish authorities earlier this week that the eight Moroccans arrested in Istanbul airport were planning to join ISIS.Moroccan General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) categorically denied allegations that the eight Moroccan citizens who were detained at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul and deported earlier this week had extremist ideas, or that they were trying to join terrorist organizations.In a communiqué released on Saturday, the DGSN stressed that the allegations were baseless, adding that they found that the eight citizens were aiming to illegally migrate to Europe through the Turkish territory.Moroccan authorities added that the security investigation revealed that the citizens are not known with any affiliation to any terrorist groups or organizations, nor do they  have any ideas or schemes of an extremist nature at all. Istanbul police said the eight suspects were allegedly planning to sneak into Europe posing as refugees.The eight Moroccans were arrested at Ataturk airport upon their arrival in Istanbul.Turkish Anadolou agency published a hand-drawn picture of an allegedplanned route from Turkey to Germany, via Greece, Serbia, and Hungary. read more

Moroccos Richest Businessman Wants to Build Africas Tallest Tower in Rabat

Rabat – Morocco’s richest businessman, Othman Benjelloune, is said to be planning to build the highest tower in Africa in the heart of Rabat.French-speaking magazine Economie & Entreprises reported on Thursday that Othman Benjelloune, who was recently ranked by Forbes as the richest man in Morocco for the third year in row, is planning to invest more than MAD 1 billion ($100 million USD) in the construction of a 200-meter tower in Rabat.The tower, which is expected to be the largest in Africa, will be built in a very strategic place in Rabat near the the Bou Regreg River, which runs into the Atlantic Ocean between the cities of Rabat and Salé. The building will comprise of 46 stories and house smart offices equipped with the latest technologies. The tower will also include upscale residential complexes and restaurants.Earlier this week, Forbes magazine ranked Othman Benjelloune the richest man in Morocco in its annual billionaires list, with a net worth of $1.9 billion.Othman Benjelloun made his fortune in the insurance sector and banking with “Les Assurances Al Watania” and BMCE. With his company, Finance.Com, he expands his activity in the telecommunications, air transport, and information technology industries. read more

UKBased Research Predicts Rise of ShariaCompliant Credit Cards in Morocco

Rabat – New market research conducted by Timetric expects the rise of contactless payment services (CPS) and Sharia-compliant credit cards in Morocco over the next few years.Centre Monetique Interbancaire – Morocco’s own internal network switch – launched CPS in the kingdom just over a year ago alongside MasterCard, according to the United Kingdom-based business information serviceCPS allows customers to pay for goods or services at a vender through a cell phone, key fob or other device equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near field communication (NFC) without needing to pull out a wallet. Services such as ApplePay and Google Wallet are all part of the global CPS landscape. So far the CPS point of service terminals have only been deployed in Casablanca, but they are expected to reach Rabat and Marrakesh in the coming months. By the end of 2016, Moroccans will be able to take advantage of 6,000 terminals – and by 2017, that number will more than double to 17,000.Mobile point of sale devices, which allow small vendors to accept payments on smartphones and tablets, also spread to Morocco late last year, empowering freelancers and other mavericks to accept credit and debit cards.In June 2014, new banking laws established by the Islamist-run Rabat government allowed foreign financial institutions to enter the financial system to provide Sharia-compliant credit cards to the masses. By the end of the year, the government plans to authorize a total of 10 banks to provide such services.Still, Morocco is largely a cash-bashed society with employees either receiving their salaries in cash or using a bank account merely to store direct-deposited funds – likely to be withdrawn as hard currency at ATMs as needed. read more

GCC Satisfied with Strategic Partnership Between Morocco Jordan

Manama – Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) voiced, on Wednesday in Bahrain, their satisfaction with the progress made on the way of reinforcing the strategic partnership between the Kingdoms of Morocco and Jordan to serve the close fraternal relations between the GCC member states and the two brother countries.In a statement issued following its 37th summit, held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Skheir Palace, under the chairmanship of King of Bahrain Hamad Ben Issa Al Khalifa, the GCC expressed its satisfaction with efforts made by the ministers council and the secretariat general to reinforce strategic partnerships with several countries and international groupings.In this regard, it called for the implementation of agreements concluded during meetings of action groups and joint committees. read more

Moroccan Woman Arrested in Melilla for Filming Distributing Pornographic Videos on

Rabat – A 23-year old woman was arrested for filming, producing, and distributing pornographic videos in Melilla, reported Moroccan daily newspaper, Assabah.The woman was also charged with persuading minors to participate in pornographic films in exchange for money. The defendant spread the obscene videos in private groups through the messaging application WhatsApp.The same source added that the woman had used her mother’s number without her knowledge in order to distribute the sexual content. She was arrested last week after complaints were filed against her by several citizens of Melilla, added Assabah. The authorities managed to put the defendant in custody after a two-week investigation. read more

Nigeria Chamber of Commerce Supports  Moroccan Membership in ECOWAS

Rabat – The Nigerian chamber of commerce announced on Tuesday in Lagos its support of the membership of Morocco for the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS).The Federation also announced that a delegation of Nigerian businessmen will visit Morocco at the beginning of 2018 to strengthen the collaboration between both business communities, according to the Moroccan agency for exports. Not everyone is satisfied with this decision, as a number of Nigerian organizations and unions have opposed the admission of Morocco into the commission. The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)  and the Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA) called on the ECOWAS member countries, their governments and national legislatures not to endorse the application of Morocco to become a member of ECOWAS.Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, has also opposed the admission of Morocco.“We urge the Federal Government to vehemently oppose the move as it would spell doom to the productive sector of the economy,’’ said Frank Udemba Jacobs, MAN President at the Annual General Meeting in Lagos.“Come to think of it, why should they be part of ECOWAS? They are too far, ECOWAS is Economic States of West Africa. Morocco is not part of West Africa and they shouldn’t be part of ECOWAS,” added the MAN president.Despite this opposition, the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, declared through the official news agency of the country that Nigeria had nothing against the membership of Morocco to the ECOWAS, and that the definitive decision would return to the heads of state on December. read more

Royal Air Maroc Buys 4 Boeing 7879 Dreamliner for USD 11

Rabat – Royal Air Maroc is expanding its aircraft fleet. The national carrier has  ordered four 787-9 Dreamliners from Boeing valued at USD 1.1 billion.The order includes two Dreamliners purchased in December 2016 and two purchased this month, revealed the Boeing mediaroom.The ordered  Dreamliners will  bring  Royal Air Maroc fleet of fuel-efficient 787s to a total of nine airplanes, said the mediaroom. “Today Royal Air Maroc has direct flights to 80 international destinations. Thanks to our unique position as a geographic hub and high quality service, we bring customers from all over the world to their destinations,”  Abdelhamid Addou, CEO and Chairman of RAM told the same source.“With more than 850 flights per month to Africa, Royal Air Maroc has the broadest airline presence on the continent,” he said.“With ordering new-generation planes such as the Dreamliners, RAM seeks to be  the leading airline in Africa in terms of quality of service, quality of planes and connectivity.”The flag carrier fleet includes more than 56 Boeing airplanes, including 737s, 767-300ERs, 787s and a 747-400.Boeing is a  joint venture partner of Morocco Aero-Technical Interconnect Systems (MATIS) Aerospace in Casablanca, which builds wire bundles and wire harnesses for Boeing and other aerospace companies.“Expanding the relationship between our companies that began nearly 50 years ago, Boeing is proud to support Royal Air Maroc’s growth plans within Africa and further connect Morocco to the world, ” said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president of Global Sales and Marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. read more