SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik has been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA), said a party spokesman on Thursday. “Malik sahab has been booked under the draconian law, Public Safety Act. He is being shifted to Kot Balwal jail in Jammu,” he said. JKLF strongly condemns this “arbitrary arrest” and use of PSA against a political leader, he added. Malik, who was detained on February 22, was lodged at Kothibagh police station. Earlier, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had also conducted raids at the residence of Malik on February 26. In the aftermath of Pulwama terror attack which claimed lives of 40 CRPF soldiers on February 14, J&K government withdrew security cover of several separatists including Malik, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah and Saleem Geelani.
Srinagar: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said on Wednesday the Modi government had “consciously disenfranchised” the people in Jammu and Kashmir by not holding the Assembly election on time. “Dear @narendramodi Sahib, it is good to see you appealing to famous people to increase voter turnout however at the same time your government has consciously disenfranchised people in J&K by not holding Assembly elections on time,” Abdullah posted on Twitter. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! The former chief minister was referring to Modi’s appeal to several personalities to help increase the voter turnout in the general election. “The right to choose an elected government, as opposed to being governed by a hand picked nominee of the central government, is the hallmark of the sort of democracy you are tweeting about,” the NC leader said, appealing to the prime minister to give the people of the state an opportunity to exercise their democratic right by way of holding the Assembly polls.
New Delhi: Noting that there was serious failure on part of the Uttar Pradesh government to control pollution in western UP rivers, the NGT has directed the state to pay Rs 5 crore as ‘performance guarantee’ to implement the action plan for rejuvenation of the rivers.A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the UP chief secretary to personally look into the issue of availability of potable water to the affected inhabitants of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Bagpath and Ghaziabad districts. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed”In view of serious failure of the state of Uttar Pradesh so far and alarming situation of pollution of the river affecting public health, we find it necessary to require furnishing of performance guarantee in the sum of Rs 5 crore to the satisfaction of the Central Pollution Control Board by Uttar Pradesh to the effect that action plan will be implemented within six months. On failure, the amount will be forfeited,” the bench said. The green panel also asked the chief secretory to provide requisite logistics to the committee, headed by Justice S U Khan (retd) with representatives of the CPCB and the Environment Ministry, so that the committee can oversee the implementation of the action plan to restore the rivers to their original condition. Also Read – 14-yr-old girl raped, strangled to death in UP’s ShamliThe committee, which was formed by the tribunal to submit an action plan, told the NGT that discharge of untreated sewage and industrial effluents in Muzaffarnagar, Shamli, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar is mainly responsible for the pollution of the river. “It found that prosecution was initiated against 118 non-complying industries. Orders for closure were passed against non-compliant industries out of which 28 orders were revoked or suspended. Show cause notices were also directed to be issued to some of the polluting industries,” it noted. The committee informed the tribunal that it could not perform its functions with regard to health check on account of noncooperation of authorities and could not undertake awareness programme in absence of assistance of authorities.
New Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) Tuesday stayed the two notices issued by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to debt-ridden Reliance Communications for cancellation of its spectrum licence for delay in payment. A two-member bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya also stayed the DoT’s letter dated March 20, 2019 to Axis Bank to encash the bank guarantee of Rs 2,000 crore given by the Anil Ambani group firm. The appellate tribunal said the show cause notices to RCom and letter to Axis Bank by the government were against the order passed by it on February 4, when it had granted protection against any asset sale without its permission. “The show cause notices of March 14 and 15 and letter dated March 20, 2019 by DoT is against the direction passed by this tribunal,” the NCLAT said. The appellate tribunal also issued notice to DoT and directed to list the matter on April 8 along with the main case. Earlier on February 4, the tribunal had said that until further orders of the NCLAT or the Supreme Court, no one can sell, alienate, or create third-party rights over RCom’s assets.
Kolkata: The city and various South Bengal districts may witness a thunderstorm on Wednesday evening, due to the impact of Nor’wester. Some of the South Bengal districts have witnessed light rainfall accompanied with a strong breeze on Tuesday.A MeT department official on Tuesday said that intermittent rains would start in several parts of South Bengal including Kolkata in the evening hours and the intensity of the rainfall may go up on Wednesday. However, during the day the humidity level in some districts may be on the higher side, giving a sense of discomfort to the people. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to the prediction of the weather office, city dwellers as well as those in the districts may also witness a gusty wind accompanied by rains. A heavy thunderstorm has been predicted in the Western districts like Birbhum, West Midnapore and Purulia. East Midnapore and South 24-Parganas may also receive heavy rainfall, the weather office predicted. The people may get some temporary comfort from the scorching summer heat as the temperature may slide down by a few notches following the rains. The weather condition may start improving in the city from Thursday. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayIt may be mentioned here that a thunderstorm had lashed various North Bengal districts on Tuesday morning, resulting in trees being uprooted. Due to the impact of the Nor’wester, thundershower took place in some parts of North Bengal, including Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The sky became overcast in several parts of South Bengal in the afternoon as well. The mercury has started soaring in the past couple of days. On March 22, the city witnessed a sudden turn in the weather due to the advent of first Nor’wester of the season. The weather office prediction says that the maximum and minimum temperature will hover around 35 degree and 23 degree Celsius respectively, in the next few days. The temperature may see a sudden fall during night hours following the evening showers.
Casablanca – Custom officers in Casablanca’s Mohammed V Airport have recently averted an attempt to smuggle $160,000 in two separate operations.Sources from Mohammed V Airport said that two citizens from Hong Kong had attempted to smuggle $78,000 in the first operation that was averted by Custom officers on Thursday. The arrested smugglers were reportedly heading to Guinea.On Friday, a German citizen, custom officers arrested a German citizen who was trying to smuggle $82,000 as he was preparing to board a Paris-bound flight. According to the same sources, the individuals were immediately inspected thoroughly as soon as the airport’s custom officers suspected their behavior.The sums of money they were trying to smuggle were carefully hidden in their travel luggage.
Rabat – A French man and a Swiss man converted to Islam on Friday and Sunday in the Koutoubia Mosque of Marrakesh.The French man took the Shahada (the Islamic declaration of faith affirming the oneness of God and the acceptance of Muhammad as His prophet) in the presence of thousands of worshippers in the Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech.The French convert reportedly decided to change his name to Adam, although Islam does not require new converts to adopt Muslim names. Two days later, John, a 23-year-old Swiss man, proclaimed the Shahada before the Trawaih prayers – the extra prayers performed during Ramadan after the last prayer of the day.Eyewitnesses said that John decided to adopt the name Mustapha.Every year during Ramadan, a number of non-Muslim foreigners announce their conversion to Islam in the Koutoubia Mosque, one of Morocco’s most emblematic mosques.Thanks to its tradition of openness and tolerance, in recent years Morocco has become one of the top destinations for foreigners seeking to learn about and convert to Islam. Every day, foreigners adopt the Islamic faith in different cities of the country.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
Rabat – The New York Times included Morocco’s capital Rabat in its annual list of Places to Go 2015.Rabat, a Unesco World Heritage site since 2012, is ranked 31st out of 52 global destinations recommended by the newspaper to tourists as potential places to visit in the summer of 2015.“Long overshadowed by the Hollywood luster of Casablanca and the storybook Moorish cities Fez and Marrakech, this seaside metropolis is finally in the limelight,” said the prestigious American newspaper in its description of the Moroccan capital. The paper’s travel section cites the opening of the Mohammed VI Museum, the nation’s first art museum, the recently expanded airport and modern tram system as reasons to visit Rabat and experience its “Roman ruins, labyrinthine medieval districts and European-style boulevards.”The New York Times also mentions that the opening of the much-anticipated Ritz-Carlton Resort which is due to open in late 2015, “so Rabat is set for a style infusion, as well.”Milan topped the New York Times 2015 Places to Go list followed by Cuba, Philadelphia, Yellowstone National Park, Elqui Valley, Chile, Singapore, Durban, South Africa, Bolivia, Faroe Islands and Macedonia.
Moscow – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the possibility of using the International Syria Support Group to strengthen Syria’s cessation of hostilities, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.During a phone call on Tuesday, Lavrov and Kerry also discussed the issue of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation, the ministry added.“Lavrov and Kerry continued the discussion of ways to resolve the Syrian conflict through sustainable ceasefire…and support of intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva under UN auspices,” the ministry pointed out.
Marrakech – King Mohammed VI visited, on Wednesday, several historical sites which were revamped as part of the first phase of the El Mellah Neighborhood Urban Upgrading Project, renamed “Hay Essalam,” of the old medina in Marrakech.King Mohammed VI’s visit shows the monarch’s unwavering will to preserve the architectural aspect of the Marrakech old medina, and promotes the historical city’s influence, one of the highly-coveted tourist destinations of Morocco.It is in line with the approach advocated by the sovereign seeking to enhance the intangible heritage, one of the Nation’s main wealth criteria.King Mohammed VI visited the public squares of Sidi Ahmed El Kamel, Lakzadriya (ironmongers), Souikat (market), and Moulay Mustapha and Touma Foundouks (inns), as well as El Mellah Souikat.These historical sites were restored under the global program for El Mellah neighborhood urban upgrading totaling the sum of MAD 194 million.Meant for rehabilitating the El Mellah neighborhood, improving the living conditions of its inhabitants and reinforcing basic infrastructure, this leading program, which is nearing completion by up to 65%, provides in its second phase for the revamping of the Al Miaarra public square, the Borj (grain silo) and the Tazi and Souloubane Foundouks, in addition to the construction of four community facilities for the neighborhood’s old people, women, youth and children.The said project is part of preserving the Jewish component of the Moroccan identity and testifies to the values of tolerance and openness which have always characterized the Kingdom.The global program for El Mellah neighborhood urban upgrading consists of refurbishing run-down buildings, pulling down buildings falling into ruin and impossible to repair, redeveloping public squares, rehabilitating alleys, Foundouks and shops, rebuilding some commercial premises, renewing roofs using wood, fostering tourist routs and restoring facades. Fruit of a partnership between the housing ministry, the Marrakech-Safi region’s wilaya, the Marrakesh commune and the Al Omrane group, the program is aimed at embellishing the urban landscape, improving working conditions for shopkeepers, and eradicating ruinous buildings.It also seeks to preserve some traditional crafts, promote local handicraft products and bolster the sector’s organization.
Rabat – Train services between the Casa Voyageurs, Casa Port, and Ain Sebaa railway stations will be suspended Sunday for 24 hours due to major construction works, announced the National Office of Railways (ONCF).“All trains heading south will start from Casablanca Voyageur railway, while trains coming from the north will end their services at the Ain Sebaa station,” said ONCF.The national railway company will offer busses for the benefit of the passengers who desire to continue their trips between Casa Voyageurs and Ain Sbaa stations. The same source continued that it will reinforce its workforce to intensify the completion of these construction works within 24 hours, instead of 364 hours.The services to be suspended on Sunday will be back to normal on Monday, August 21.The ONCF added that these construction works are part of the large-scale project that has been been carried out for seven months at Casablanca’ railway stations.The construction aims to improve railway traffic in Casablanca, which sees the transit of more than 200 trains daily.
Rabat- Yesterday, the “Malian Spiderman” Mamoudou Gassama, accompanied by his father, met Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.Gassama earned his nickname May 26 in Paris, when he scaled a tall fence and the side of an apartment building to save a four-year-old child dangling from the fourth floor balcony. The boy, left unattended, had apparently fallen from a higher balcony, and managed to grasp onto the railing below. President Keita thanked Gassama for his heroic act, saying “At a moment when… only one person could make the decision, it was you who made it. Of that, we are very proud. The 22-year-old Gassama left Mali in 2013, crossing the Sahara through Burkina Faso, Niger, and Libya, to eventually take one of the many boats from Libya that attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. He arrived to Italy in 2014 but continued his journey to reach his brother, who has been living in France for a number of years. Since his arrival, he had been living in France as an irregular immigrant. Gassama had been living in shoddy migrant lodgings in Montreuil, an area in eastern Paris, with his brothers and cousins. That fateful day, however, has opened a new door of opportunity for the young migrant. After the rescue, French President Emmanuel Macron, met the young man at Elysee Palace to discuss his heroics. “I didn’t have to think, I ran across the road to go and save him,” Gassama said. “I just climbed up and thank God, God helped me. The more I climbed the more I had the courage to climb higher, that’s it.” In reward for his selfless act, Macron gave Gassama an award for his service, made him a naturalized French citizen, and offered him a job with the French fire service. Since he has returned to Mali to meet President Keita, Gassama has had a hero’s welcome. However on June 28, he is due back in France to sign his employment contract. Gassama joins the ranks of another Malian migrant to France, Lassana Bithily, who saved 6 people during a terrorist attack in January 2015. For years, migrants from Africa have been pouring into Europe to find better opportunities. This year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 49,570 have arrived in Europe, and 792 have died attempting the perilous journey.Photo credits: Getty Images
Rabat – “We must be able to complete our country’s achievements despite obstacles,” said Head of Government El Othmani in Casablanca.While speaking Wednesday at the opening of the 14th session of the National Assembly of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), El Othmani said that his government is currently prioritizing education, health, and employment to achieve the targeted reform.During the forum, attended by representatives from several Arab and African countries—including Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Chad, and Mauritania—El Othmani said his government will revolutionize the education sector and will soon announce important procedures in the employment sector. El Othmani added that there are certain political bodies that do not care about citizens’ involvement in politics and try to exhaust all serious attempts to address corruption.El Othmani, who is also the leader of the Islamist PJD, claimed there is a ferocious media war against his party. The PJD attempts to counterattack the so-called media war with the “necessary vigilance.”Additionally, PJD’s national secretary, Mohamed Amzaz, called for “protecting the democratic opinion and facing defections with the necessary determination.” “A real democracy cannot be established with the absence of independency within political bodies,” added Amzazi.Over the course of a week, with one forum per day, the PJD assembly will discuss topics related to democracy, reform strategies, and the Moroccan experience in economy, education, and human rights.Read also: Morocco’s Unemployment on the Rise 2018-2028: ReportRealities on the groundThe three sectors El Othmani says he prioritizes present great challenges to Morocco.According to figures from research group BMI, the current unemployment rate in Morocco is on the rise, up from 9.9 percent to 10.5 percent between 2016 and 2018. The high unemployment rate is due to several factors. First, employment in the agriculture and public sector, which constitute 40 percent of the country’s formal employment, has declined. Secondly, the poor education system has led to high unemployment.In the health sector, the main issue to be addressed is the lack of doctors and nurses, especially in rural areas. Morocco is suffering from a shortage of 32,000 doctors and 64,000 nurses.Health coverage (RAMED) is also an important challenge to be faced. At its launch, RAMED covered 8.5 million beneficiaries; by August 2017, it now must assist more than 12 million beneficiaries.In the education sector, only 71.7 percent of the population can read and write, while just 64.4 percent of the working-age population has completed secondary education or above.Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi has unveiled his new national education plan which focuses on totally reforming the sector. The new plan aims to develop infrastructure and staff, rethink pedagogy, expand student enrollment and accessible education, support students against violence, and reform education in the private sector.
Rabat – FIFA has banned Jibril Rajoub after he called fans to burn Messi shirts and pictures if he played in a (later canceled) Argentina-Israel friendly match in June.According to a statement published by FIFA on Friday, August 25, the head of the Palestinian Football Association’s statements “incited hatred and violence.”Rajoub, according to FIFA, is subject to a 12-month match suspension and a fine of CHF 20,000 for violating Article 53 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, which deals with the incitement of hatred and violence. “The 12-month match suspension imposed on Mr Rajoub entails a ban on taking part in any future match or competition taking place during the given period,” said FIFA.In June, Rajoub requested the Argentinian football federation cancel their national team’s friendly game with Israel. He also called on football fans, supporting the Palestinian cause, to burn Messi’s shirts and photos.Palestinian officials claimed in June that Israel would use the match, expected to feature Barcelona’s superstar Messi, for political motives.“The Israeli government has turned a regular sports match into a political tool. As was widely covered by the Argentinean media, the match will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel,” Rajoub wrote to Argentina’s football federation.“Messi, don’t come. Don’t whitewash the face of racism,” Rajoub said in June.“We call on everyone to burn his pictures and shirts and to abandon him. We still hope that Messi will not come,” he told reporters.The FIFA ban sanctions the head of the Palestinian football federation from attending football games or competitions “in any official capacity, which includes, among others, participating in media activities at stadiums or in their vicinity on matchdays.”
Rabat- “On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us,” Jacinda Ardern wrote in a national condolence book for Muslims killed in the terror attack on two Christchurch mosques last Friday, March 15.Ardern was the first to sign the condolence book.On Saturday, March 16, Ardern visited Canterbury Refugee Centre in Christchurch and met the grieving families of the victims, promising to ensure their safety in New Zealand. She also promised to hasten the returning of their deceased loved ones’ bodies to them so they can properly mourn and perform religious burial rites. Muslim families bathe and shroud the bodies of their loved ones and perform prayers.Muslims usually bury their relatives within 24 hours. In the case of the mosque attack victims, their bodies will not be returned until post mortem examinations are carried out.Many New Zealanders showed solidarity with the victims’ relatives, visiting mosques, mourning, and placing flowers on memorials.Photo: ABC News/ Brendan EspositoIn Morocco, the Wydad Casablanca (WAC) football club at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Rabat, recited Al Fatiha, the opening surah of the Qur’an, to express support for the families of the victims.The heinous attacks led people to call for a tightening of gun laws, particularly to add more restrictions to the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle used by the main shooter.Read Also: Suspect Opens Fire in Tram in Utrecht, Netherlands, Injures SeveralArden told TVNZ, a New Zealand television channel, on Monday: “What the public rightly are asking right now is why is it and how is it that you are currently able to buy military style semi-automatic weapons in New Zealand, and that’s the right question to ask.”“There are ways we can bring in effective regulation of firearms that actually target those we need to target, and that is our focus,” she said.Last Saturday, one day after the attack, prosecutors in Christchurch charged with murder the Australian national Brenton Tarrant, 28, identified as the main mosque shooter. He will receive additional charges, said the court.Another shooter, 18, was charged on the same day with “intent to excite hostility or ill-will.”Read Also: New Zealander in Netherlands Visits Mosque to Apologize for Attacks
Rabat – Today, July 23, the UK government appointed an independent advisor to give expert advice on islamophobia, as well as help create a clear definition of the social problem.Imam Qari Asim MBE, Deputy Chair of the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, has been selected for the important role, and he will be joined by a second advisor in due course, according to a press release from the UK government.Asim, along with his team, will draw on a wide range of opinions and work in close collaboration with the cross-government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group to build on the current definitions of Islamophobia, added the statement. Asim expressed his honor in being entrusted with the role, “which will have a far-reaching impact in protecting British Muslims and tackling anti-Muslim hatred.”“To tackle the alarming rise in anti-Muslim sentiment, it is imperative that Islamophobia is defined,” he said.“I am deeply committed to working across Muslim communities and with relevant stakeholders to formulate a legally robust, comprehensive and workable definition of Islamophobia.”The government also pledged to stand by Asim in his work against Islamophobia, agreeing that “there needs to be a formal definition of Islamophobia to help strengthen our efforts against anti-Muslim hatred.”The current government definition, the statement adds, unintentionally undermines freedom of speech, and prevents legitimate criticism of Islamist extremism, or of unacceptable cultural practices.“The government is wholeheartedly committed to ensuring that Muslims are not targeted for hatred, persecution or discrimination,” said Communities Secretary James Brokenshire.“Imam Asim’s appointment marks a further step in helping us to achieve that goal and ensures that we develop an effective definition of Islamophobia which commands widespread support,” he continued.Recent crackdown on IslamophobiaThe appointment of an independent expert is part of ongoing efforts by the UK government to crackdown on Islamophobia.In recent years, the government doubled the Places of Worship Fund, which protects mosques and other places of worship, to £1.6 million. A new £5 million fund has also been allocated to provide security training and consultation on what more can be done to protect faith communities.The crackdown and concentrated efforts are in response to worrying statistics showing a rise in islamophobia. In its 2017 annual report, Tell MAMA, a UK government-funded NGO, logged the highest ever number of anti-muslim incidents since its launch 5 years earlier. The NGO recorded a total of 1,330 anti-muslim acts, defined as vandalism, harassment, and violence, in 2017 alone.
PALO ALTO, Calif. — A week after revealing a huge first quarter loss and the need to raise cash, Tesla is doing just that with CEO Elon Musk buying $10 million in new shares being offered as part of a stock and debt offering that could raise more than $2 billion.Tesla said Thursday that it’s selling $650 million of common stock and $1.35 billion in convertible senior notes due in 2024 in two separate offerings. The company is giving the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 15% of each offering.That would add up to about $2.3 billion before discounts and expenses and if the underwriters fully exercise their options.Last week, Tesla reported its cash balance at the end of the first quarter shrunk by $1.5 billion since December, to $2.2 billion. Musk said during a conference call that Tesla might need to raise capital again.The offering will give it enough liquidity to pay $566 million in notes that mature in November, plus provide cash to expand distribution of Tesla’s Model 3 in Europe and cover any spending needed from softening demand for all three of Tesla’s models in the U.S., Moody’s Senior Vice-President Bruce Clark said Thursday in a statement.Still, Moody’s kept a negative outlook and B3 rating on Tesla debt. That is six notches below investment grade.In a March 30 note, the ratings agency wrote that the Model 3, Tesla’s lowest-price model, currently sells for an average of $55,000. To increase sales, the price has to drop toward $42,000, and to make enough money to pay the bills, Tesla has targeted a 25% gross profit margin on the Model 3, Moody’s said. Currently gross profits on a $42,000 Model 3 are “materially” below 25%, according to Moody’s.“In order to achieve this margin target the company will have to undertake significant reductions in fixed and variable costs associated with the vehicle,” Moody’s wrote. “We expect that it will be a major challenge for Tesla to aggressively increase production/deliveries, shift the product mix toward the $42,000 price level, and simultaneously lower costs enough to achieve the 25% gross margin target.”The Palo Alto, California-based Tesla lost $702.1 million in the first quarter, among its worst quarters in two years. Sales tumbled 31% in the period. Musk predicted another loss in the second quarter but said Tesla would be profitable again by the third quarter.The surprisingly large loss followed the company’s first back to back quarters of profitability.Tesla has lost more than $6 billion since setting out to revolutionize the auto industry. Musk expects that future profits will be driven by rising sales and the arrival of autonomous vehicles dedicated to a new ride-hailing service.Shares of Tesla Inc. closed Thursday up 4.3% at $244.10.The Associated Press
Rabat – The Saudi Ministry of Tourism has announced that women tourists no longer need to follow a dress code while visiting Saudi Arabia.Traditionally, Saudi and foreign women must wear a long black robe, known as an abaya, when they go out in public.Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed al-Khateeb told Reuters that women tourists will not be obliged to stick to abayas. The announcement comes as the country is also starting a new visa program to attract foreign companies to invest in the tourism sector.Al Jazeera said that Saudi Arabia’s goal is to increase tourism earnings to 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.The visa programs, Al Jazeera added, stipulate that tourists can get visas for a fee of $80 (MAD 800) “with no restriction for unaccompanied women as in the past.”“Access to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina is restricted,” according to Al Jazeera.Read also: European Countries Condemn Torture, Lack of Human Rights in Saudi ArabiaThe tourism chief will provide more details on which countries can get the visas later on Friday, but he emphasized that Saudi Arabia is targeting Japan, Europe, the US, and China.Under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has enacted several reforms. The reforms encouraged some Saudi women to defy the dress code.Earlier this month, Saudi Mashael Al Jaoud made news headlines for posing in an orange top and white with high heels, without covering up with an abaya.Al Jaoud was not the only Saudi woman to defy the dress code, as other women launched a campaign to encourage others to go out wearing “Western clothes.”Manahel Al Otaibi, a Saudi activist, said in an online post recently that she has been living in Riyadh for four months without wearing an abaya.The crown prince had previously hinted about a change in the dress code from during an interview broadcast in March 2018 by CBS TV. Mohammed bin Salman had said hinted his country might relax the dress code for women.However, he said, “The laws are very clear and stipulated in the laws of Sharia [Islamic law]: that women wear decent, respectful clothing, like men.”
CHICAGO — A rising share of older Americans is forgoing the concept of a traditional retirement at the age of 65, a trend that some younger workers aren’t particularly thrilled to see.A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that workers under the age of 50 were significantly more likely to view America’s aging workforce as a negative development when compared with their older counterparts. About 4 in 10 respondents ages 18 to 49 and 44% of the youngest respondents ages 18 to 29 said they consider the trend to be a bad thing for American workers. Just 14% of those age 60 and over said the same.“I don’t think in things like IT and medicine you’re as effective a worker (at 65 years old) as you are at 50,” says Katie Otting, a 29-year-old living in Southern California. “If some 65-year-old is in a position that he’s not ready to quit because he wants a better pension and there’s someone else ready to take that job, they’re not going to replace him.”An aging population, elevated health care costs and lingering financial uncertainty following the Great Recession all are believed to be contributing to America’s steadily graying workforce. Nearly 20% of Americans over the age of 65 were employed or actively looking for work last year, up from less than 12% two decades prior, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.But the increased prevalence of older workers has led some to believe seniors are holding back the country’s economic momentum by remaining in the workforce. Men were slightly more likely than women to cite the aging workforce as a problem for U.S. workers (32% to 27. And about a third (34%) of more affluent respondents earning more than $100,000 annually said the same, slightly more than the 24% of those earning less than $30,000 who said so.By contrast, about 6 in 10 Americans age 60 and over say the trend has actually been a good thing for the economy, compared with 3 in 10 Americans under 30 who think that.About a third of Americans under 50 who have noticed the trend in their own workplace believe the aging workforce has negative implications for their own careers.“One of the myths that’s out there causing younger and older people to butt heads is the idea that ‘Oh, it’s because these older people are on the job preventing me from getting the job I want,’” says Steve Burghardt, a 74-year-old professor of social work at the City University of New York who thinks Americans are “looking for someone younger or someone older to blame” for inequality, job displacement and other economic problems.Research is mixed on the aging workforce’s overall impact on the U.S. economy. Adam Ozimek, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, says his prior research efforts have suggested a growing population of older workers can slow productivity and ultimately hamper wage growth for the rest of the labour market.But he says there’s little evidence to suggest that the presence of older workers is “crowding younger workers out of promotions,” noting that many of the workers who would naturally move up and replace positions currently held by baby boomers are not millennials but rather middle-aged members of Generation X.“In anxious times, we look for scapegoats. And old people are a ready scapegoat, especially if you are forced out of having a public presence or are forced (out of a job),” says Ashton Applewhite, a New York-based writer and ageism activist.The idea that older workers are keeping jobs away from younger Americans, preventing them from moving up the corporate ladder into higher-ranking, higher-paying positions, is not a new one. But economists say it doesn’t have much basis in economic reality.“The more of those seniors continue to work, that means they’re also spending. And that spending helps build a rich economy that gives you jobs and lots of opportunities,” says Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist at employment hub Glassdoor.But Chamberlain and Ozimek say it might be easier to believe older workers are holding back their younger counterparts when looking at the economy on a smaller scale. One particular company, for example, may only employ one chief of marketing. Should that person choose to remain in the workforce until he or she is 80 years old, lower ranking employees may perceive a lack of upward mobility.A comparable job may be ripe for the taking elsewhere, Chamberlain says, but it may be at another company or in another city that would require a move that many employees may be unwilling to make.“They feel like their opportunities are only within that firm,” Chamberlain says. “I think it’s just simple confusion. I think people are mixing up (opportunities) just inside one company versus the overall job market.”Meanwhile, many older workers are coming to terms with the fact that they’ll need to remain in the workforce to keep their heads above water or maintain their current lifestyles. Mitch Rothschild, 61, lives and works in New York City and says he expects he is “probably going to have to work until I die.”He says the aging workforce is less of an economic problem and more of a financial reality to which workers of all ages need to adapt.“Hey, look, I wished I’d been skiing in the Alps since I was 40,” he says. “But you think I’m going to stop working a year from now and rely on Social Security for the next 20 years? No.”___EDITOR’S NOTE — Andrew Soergel is studying aging and workforce issues as part of a 10-month fellowship at The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which joins NORC’s independent research and AP journalism. The fellowship is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.___The AP-NORC Center survey of 1,423 adults was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. It was conducted Feb. 14 to 18 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods and later were interviewed online or by phone.___Online:AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.orgAndrew Soergel, The Associated Press
11 April 2007The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has helped former vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba, whose guards were involved in deadly fighting last month with the Congolese army, to leave the country safely today for medical treatment. The mission, known as MONUC, provided security for Mr. Bemba’s transport from the South African embassy in the capital, Kinshasa, to the airport, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters. Mr. Bemba then took a flight to Portugal, where he is scheduled to receive medical treatment for an old injury. The MONUC move follows a request from Mr. Bemba and Congolese authorities after he was granted permission to leave Kinshasa by the President of the Provisional Office of the Senate. Hundreds of people were killed during several days of clashes in and around the Gombe district of Kinshasa last month between Government forces and Mr. Bemba’s security detail. Last year Mr. Bemba was defeated by Joseph Kabila in the run-off round of landmark presidential elections in the DRC, which is rebuilding after the end of a six-year civil war. MONUC has been involved in discussions with Congolese authorities about the handover of opposition forces, some of whom have taken refuge with the mission in Kinshasa, to Government authorities for reintegration or disarmament.