Maya justifies construction of statues in Uttar Pradesh

first_imgNew Delhi: BSP supremo Mayawati on Tuesday defended in the Supreme Court the construction of life-size statues of herself in Uttar Pradesh, saying they represent the “will of the people”.The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, in an affidavit filed in the apex court, said the memorials and statues of herself and other leaders were “intended to promote values and ideals of various sants, gurus, social reformers and leaders among the public and not intended to promote the symbol of BSP or to glorify” her. Mayawati said in her affidavit that her statues came into being “as the will of the state legislature to represent the will of the people”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’She said funds for construction of the memorial and installation of statues were sanctioned through budgetary allocations after approval of the budget by the state legislature. Mayawati also sought the dismissal of a plea, which alleged that pubic funds were misused in the construction of memorials and statues, saying it is politically motivated and a gross abuse of process of court of law. On February 8, the apex court had said that the BSP chief should deposit public money used for erecting statues of herself and elephants, the party’s symbol, at public places in Uttar Pradesh to the state exchequer. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”Ms Mayawati, pay all the money back. We are of the view that Mayawati should reimburse all the money she spent. “We are of the tentative view that Mayawati has to deposit the public money spent on her statues and party symbol to the state exchequer,” the bench had said. The top court was hearing a petition filed in 2009 by an advocate who had alleged that about Rs 2,000 crore was used from the state budget for 2008-09 and 2009-10, when Mayawati was the CM of UP, for stalling her statues and BSP’s symbol at different places. It was contended that public money cannot be utilised for creating own statues and for propagating the political party. On May 29, 2009 the court had issued show cause notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and Mayawati for using the public money for installing her statues and party’s symbol at parks in Lucknow and Noida, adjacent to the national capital.last_img read more

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Rayudu in focus as unstoppable CSK take on Sunrisers Hyderabad

first_imgHyderabad: Having missed the World Cup bus, Ambati Rayudu will be aiming to make a statement when a marauding Chennai Super Kings take on a desperate Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL encounter here on Wednesday. The World Cup snub to Rayudu is the sole disappointment in an otherwise superb tournament so far for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men as they are just a win away from clinching the play-off berth. The Hyderabad right-hander had found some form with a half-century against Rajasthan Royals and the flamboyant batsman, who was seen as a sure-shot No. 4 in the national team, may just channelise the disappointment against a faltering Sunrisers. While CSK sit pretty on top of the table with 14 points from eight games, Sunrisers’ have suddenly gone off the boil with a hat-trick of defeats, including an inexplicable batting collapse against Delhi Capitals in their last game. What has been CSK’s strength despite an ageing team has exactly been Sunrisers’ bane in the matches that they have played so far. While CSK have had plans A, B and C for various situations, Sunrisers have failed miserably whenever their opening pair of Jonny Bairstow and David Warner have failed to perform. Barring Warner’s 400 runs and Bairstow’s 304 runs, the next best is World Cup-bound Vijay Shankar’s 132 runs. The basic problem has been the middle-order where Manish Pandey (54 in six games), Deepak Hooda (47 in six games) and Yusuf Pathan (32 in six games) have been miserable. In fact, Pathan has been surviving on past reputation for years now has not played a match-winning knock for a while now. On the other hand, Dhoni has played various combinations depending on surfaces and more often than not, his teammates have responded pretty well. Whether it was Harbhajan Singh on a very slow Chepauk track or the restrictive Mitchell Santner in away games, most of Dhoni’s strategies have paid off brilliantly. The man who has been a revelation for CSK this season is 40-year-old Imran Tahir with 13 wickets. The South African import has executed his skipper’s plans brilliantly. For Sunrisers to remain relevant in this edition, they need to stop the CSK juggernaut which looks easier said than done.last_img read more

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Florida House okays historic Bill allowing teachers to be armed

first_imgMiami (US): Florida’s House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill allowing teachers to carry firearms — a controversial step whose effectiveness in countering school shootings remains unproven. The aim of the measure, which was previously approved by the state’s Senate and now goes to Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s desk, is the prevention of school shootings such as one that left 17 people dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida in February 2018. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportSupporters of the bill — which permits teachers to carry firearms on school campuses on a voluntary basis after they have completed 144 hours of training — say armed teachers could save lives in the event of a school shooting. But its opponents warn of the danger of accidents among teachers who would effectively be tasked with policing as well as education, and who, in the event of a school shooting, could be mistaken for a shooter by law enforcement. “Arming teachers is a recipe for disaster — a reckless plan which will complicate active-shooter situations,” Representative Val Demings, a Florida Democrat and former Orlando police chief, said of the measure. “The real solution is to keep guns out of the wrong hands,” Demings tweeted.last_img read more

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‘Apex Court rule on NEET flouted’

first_imgKolkata: The Centre’s decision to take two different stands when it comes to holding the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), a nation-wide medical entrance examination, has sparked a row in Bengal with the doctors seeking the intervention of the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Prakash Javadekar and the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in this regard.The Union HRD Ministry has deferred the NEET in Odisha in the aftermath of a massive damage caused by severe cyclone, ‘Fani’ while in the rest of India the exam was conducted on May 5. The experts in the city viewed that according to the norms laid down by the Supreme Court of India, the nationwide medical entrance exam cannot be held in two separate sets of question papers. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAs there is a postponement of exam ordered by the Centre in Odisha, the National Testing Agency (NTA) assigned to conduct the exam will have to set another question paper for Odisha, which will be different from the one the others had to write. This, as some experts have argued, is a gross violation of the Supreme Court order. Some of the city doctors and a few medical aspirants in the morning of May 3 wrote to the Union HRD Minister urging him for a postponement of examination with an apprehension that the cyclone might wreck havoc in Bengal as well. The cyclone eventually entered the state on late night of Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayMay 3. The ‘Fani’ did not however have expected impact in Bengal as the system started losing intensity for want of moisture as it hit the land. Many mud and Kutcha houses in the coastal districts of the state collapsed due to gusty wind. A sizeable number of students coming from the rural areas of the coastal districts faced immense problems while reaching the examination centers on Sunday morning. The doctors also wrote to the Bengal Chief Minister seeking her intervention. Dr Amiya Kumar Maity, one of the doctors, who wrote to the Union Minister for his intervention said: “The merit of the medical aspirants cannot be judged if there are two sets of question papers. In an examination like NEET where nearly 800 candidates securing a same mark, it is extremely difficult to evaluate the answer scripts. Failing to secure even one or two marks can keep a candidate out of the race. The two dissimilar sets of questions cannot do justice to the students.” “Hence a nationwide examination like NEET cannot be conducted in two separate question papers as per the order of the Supreme Court. Various states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana were affected alongside Bengal and Odisha and we therefore urged the Union HRD Minister to postpone the examination across the country,” Dr Maity added.last_img read more

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Morocco: Six Libyans, several women arrested over prostitution charges

first_imgRabat- According to the Moroccan daily Al Akbar in its edition of Monday December 30th, Tangier’s police, in northern Morocco, arrested this weekend six Libyan nationals along with several Moroccan alleged sex workers. The arrest took place in a furnished apartment in the center of the city after police officers were informed about the existence of an apartment devoted to prostitution. According to the same source, the police raided the apartment and found the suspects in an “immoral position”. The operations, which took place in coordination with the Public Prosecutor’s office, led to the arrest of six Libyans and a number of Moroccan alleged prostitutes. Prostitution is illegal in Morocco and is punishable by prison time for all parties involved.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

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Morocco’s Speaker of Lower House Condemns Israeli Assault Against Palestinians

Rabat  –  Morocco’s speaker of the House of Representatives Rachid Talbi Alami denounced, on Thursday, the Israeli policy of aggression against the Palestinian people, as well as the killing and destruction of houses and infrastructure.This policy, which has claimed the lives of 50 victims and hundreds of wounded Palestinians, undermines all efforts to achieve a just peace in the region and triggers a devastating war of which the Palestinian people will be the victim, said Talbi Alami at a joint meeting of the committee of foreign affairs, national defense, endowment and Islamic affairs, and Moroccan expatriates at the lower house, and the committee of foreign affairs, borders, occupied zones and national defense at the house of advisers.He also said that the Parliament is committed to making all necessary efforts at the level of continental, international and regional parliamentary organizations, and with all influential countries to expose Israel’s policy of aggression and force it to immediately halt its offensive and respect its commitments related to international legitimacy. read more

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Moroccan Government Condemns Israeli Assault Against Palestinians

Rabat – The Moroccan government condemned, during its weekly meeting under the chairmanship of head of government Abdelilah Benkirane, the ongoing Israeli assault against the Palestinian people in Gaza.This aggression, which has been going on for 23 days, breaches the spirit and provisions of international agreements and represents a scandalous decline in respecting values, said communication minister, spokesperson of the government Mustapha El Khalfi in a statement at a press briefing following the meeting.The cabinet highlighted the tireless efforts by the Kingdom under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI to stop this attack and avoid its repetition, recalling efforts made in collaboration with brotherly Arab and Muslim countries, whether via the Arab League, whose council of ministers is currently chaired by Morocco, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or in coordination with the international community. The cabinet reaffirmed the active and effective solidarity with the Palestinian people, pursuant to the instructions of King Mohammed VI, Chairman of the Al Quds Committee, in order to defend the just Palestinian causes namely the establishment of a Palestinian State with Al Quds as capital. read more

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Abdellatif Hammouchi Appointed Director of Morocco’s National Security Body

Rabat – King Mohammed VI appointed on Friday in Casablanca Abdellatif Hammouchi new Director of Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security.Abdellatif Hammouchi, head of the Moroccan Internal Intelligence apparatus (DGST), has been appointed the new Director of the General Directorate for National Security (GDNS).Hammouchi has been appointed during a Council of Ministers chaired by King Mohammed VI at the Royal Palace in Casablanca on Friday. Also an adviser to King Mohammed VI on terrorism-related affairs, Hammouchi will replace current director of the General Directorate for National Security (DGSN), Bouchaib Rmail.This is the first in Morocco’s history that the head of the intelligence apparatus is appointed to head the DGSN.Last February, French Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, announced that Abdellatif Hammouchi would receive the French Legion d’Honneur in recognition of his efforts in fighting crime, drug trafficking, as well as terrorism. read more

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Morocco: Women over Twelve Barred from Private Swimming Pool

Rabat – A private swimming pool in the city of Mohammedia has come under fire for telling women over the age of twelve they would not be able to enter the recreational facility.According to this website, a father and his daughters were surprised to find out that the swimming pool is refusing entry to women over twelve.Feeling outraged and discriminated against, the angry father shared a picture of the pool’s ‘general guidelines’ on social media in which it specifies that the facility will not let in, among other things, inflatable objects, dogs and women over the age of twelve. According to the same source, the father decided not to spend the day at the swimming pool despite the fact his daughters are not yet twelve.The father cited lack of gender equality in the swimming pool as a reason behind his decision. He said he is a staunch believer in the right of men and women to be equal.This came to light just few months after it emerged that many hotels and resorts in the city of El Jadida banned burkini in their private pools, with many citing “hygiene reasons”.Ibis Hotel, for example, reportedly banned a woman from swimming in the hotel’s pool while wearing the swimsuit that covers a woman’s entire body.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more

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José Mourinho Admits Going Through the Worst Period in His Career

Miami – Chelsea manager, José Mourinho, is not having a successful season and the Portuguese coach admitted to the press that he is going through the “worst” period in his career and would like to go back to winning again.“I define as the worst period in my career with the worst results in my career, which I get it as a fantastic experience. An experience that I don’t want to repeat. I want to finish tomorrow with this experience and start winning matches again,” declared Mourinho from the Chelsea training center.Taken aback by these turbulent circumstances this late in his career, the former Real Madrid coach feels he can still learn from the experience and looks forward to the future. “An experience that is a good experience in my career. I think comes too late, because to come after 15 years is too late… But is something that is helping me to be better, is a great negative experience,” he added.When asked about how he feels to be under pressure, Mourinho did not hesitate to answer, “I like to be under pressure when I am top of the league and the second is one point behind”.“I don’t like the position where we are, but I cope well with it,” he stressed putting an end to those that claim he is not reacting well to the ‘blues’ performance.Nevertheless, the one topic he refused to comment on was his public blowout with former Chelsea medic Eva Carneiro. Mourinho was direct and implied he does have something to say about it, but he will do it when the time is good for him.“For the past two months I didn’t open my mouth and I’m going to keep like this. One day I will speak but I will choose the day”, he said.At the moment “I read and I listen and I watch — and I’m quiet.”Mourinho will get the change to turn this “great negative experience” into a more positive one when Chelsea faces Southampton at Stamford Bridge this weekend. read more

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Two Moroccan Software Teams Win Big at MIT’s Startup Competition

Rabat – Two Moroccan software development teams  – Deep OR and Ostor Lab – won the second and third place awards and associated cash prizes in the ideas track of MIT’s Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition last week. The organizers announced the awards at the end of a four day conference held on the 14th of April in King Abdullah Economic City in Kuwait, according to the competition’s official website.MIT partnered with the Saudi Arabia-based Community Jameel and the Kuwaiti telecom company Zain Group to host the competition, which brought in 76 teams from 15 different Arab countries to participate in performance-enhancing workshops and mentorship sessions. The organizers received 5,957 entries in the competition, which speaks to the growing entrepreneurship field in the Middle East and North Africa.The competition was divided into three tracks – ideas, startups and social entrepreneurship.Deep OR received the second place award in the ideas track for its software providing data analytics and operations information to help companies and non-profits made swift and educated resource allocations decisions, according to Disrupt Africa, a continental news source.Ostor Lab took third place for developing a cloud-based mobile application that detects virus and software malfunction vulnerabilities in the user’s device.The competition profited other North African teams as well. A Tunisian startup won first place and a USD 50,000 cash prize in the social entrepreneurship track for developing an economic leaf-proof flush that withstands frequent use.Last year, the team of Moroccans heading Screen DY, an easy-to-use software development platform, won a third-place prize worth USD 5,000 in the competition.Another startup from the kingdom, Le Perle de la Mer won the second-place award in the entrepreneurship track for its plans to construct a “purification plant” to ensure the safety and healthiness of Morocco’s fishing products.The Enterprise Forum – Pan Arab aims to promote “MIT-style” innovation in the Middle East and North Africa region. The organization is one of 28 Enterprise Forum chapters promoting similar initiatives. read more

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Belgium Hails King Mohammed VI’s ‘Courageous Approach’ to Terrorism

Brussels – Belgium hailed Tuesday the “courageous approach” of HM King Mohammed VI who strongly condemned all forms of terrorism.“The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders hails the speech addressed by King Mohammed VI on the occasion of the Revolution of the King and the People,” the spokesman of the Belgian Foreign Affairs Ministry Didier Vanderhasselt told MAP.“Belgium praises the Sovereign’s courageous approach to condemning all forms of terrorism and jihadism as well as his defense of a tolerant Islam,” the spokesman added. Belgium “intends to continue to actively collaborate with Morocco in the fight against terrorism,” he pointed out.In his speech, the King called on Muslims, Christians and Jews have to close ranks in order to tackle all forms of extremism, hatred and reclusiveness.HM King Mohammed VI also called on Moroccans living abroad to remain firmly committed to their religious values and to their time-honored traditions as they face up to the extremist and terrorist phenomenon which has nothing to do with their culture or background.“I also urge them to maintain their good reputation, to show forbearance in these trying circumstances, to close ranks and to be, as always, staunch advocates of peace, concord and co-existence in their country of residence”, the Sovereign underlined in the speech.With MAP read more

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COP22 To Kick Off on Positive Note After Enforcement of Paris…

Rome – The COP22 will start on a positive note few days following the enforcement of the Paris Agreement, said president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Kanayo F. Nwanze.The head of IFAD told MAP that the COP22 will maintain momentum in favor of commitments made at the Paris meeting.The financial aspect will be pivotal for two reasons: on the one hand, mobilizing 100 billion dollars for action in favor of climate is a priority for most developing countries, on the other hand, donors would like to see concrete measures taken to turn this funding into sustainable investment, mainly for vulnerable populations, he noted. “These two visions can be complementary but we can expect a pressing demand for rigorous monitoring of the said funding and its spending,” he said. Regarding the division of resources, the issue of balance between mitigation efforts and adaptation efforts will be also a key element in debates, he said. read more

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Benkirane Decides to Form Coalition Government Without Chabat

Casablanca – Morocco’s appointed head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane, has decided to form the government without the Secretary-General of the Independence Party (IP), Hamid Chabat.Abdelilah Benkirane, Morocco’s appointed head of government and secretary-General of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), who is entrusted with the mission of forming a coalition government, has purportedly decided to cut the Independence Party loose following the statement of its Secretary-General, Hamid Chabat, about Mauritania’s territorial integrity and the domestic and international conflicts it has resulted in.Deliberations regarding the government’s formation, which began in October after the appointment of Benkirane at the head of the government, faced a long ‘blockage’ as the National Rally of Independent (RNI) and other parties said they would only  participate in the government if the IP was left out. Benkirane had promised the IP that they would participate in his government, refusing to give up on it. One source tells Alyaoum24 that current events have put Morocco’s politics in a delicate situation where “any admittance of the Independence Party in the upcoming government coalition may send provocative messages and threaten Morocco’s interests.”The government formation after Chabat’s latest statements now goes beyond Chabat and Akhannouch’s previous objection on his participation, continued the source, noting that “the issue is related to a delicate situation and a moment where Morocco should not be confused.”The source justified Benkirane’s new decision to move on without IP, stating that “when Chabat first came to Benkirane, he was endorsed by the seniors of the party who coordinated with him, which is not the case anymore, after the latest events within the party.”This latest development may put an end to the stagnancy that has characterized the local political scene for almost two months.Chabat’s latest statements, namely saying that Mauritania lies on Moroccan land, created uproar within Morocco and threatened to exacerbate already strained diplomatic relations with Mauritania. This represented a turning point in Morocco’s political scene.Benkirane again met with the RNI Secretary General on December 29 amidst a state of disturbance within the Independence Party, which culminated in a statement released by old and current members of the Party condemning its Secretary General’s blunder. read more

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El Omari Wary of Bernard Levy’s Presence in Morocco, Calls Him…

Rabat – Seeing controversial French writer and lobbyist, Bernard Henry Levy, in the northern city of Tangier has made the President of Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima region, Ilyas El Omari, uncomfortable.El Omari, who also serves as the leader of the major opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), has revealed in a Facebook post that he ran into Levy in Tangier.The wealthy French “philosopher” was an unwelcome sight for El Omari and prompted the Moroccan politician to ask about the meaning of his stay in Tangier, with suspicion. Levy is known for his campaign against the Libyan government in 2011 as well as his campaign for support of the NATO military intervention in Libya. “What Bernard Levy is here for in Tangier at this particular time?” El Omari asked, in a clear reference to the ongoing protests in the northern city of Al Hoceima and its surrounding areas.“It is known that this person spends his holidays in tension zones such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and occupied territories,” wrote El Omari. “What is striking is that Bernard Henry Levy is described as ‘war raven’ because death and destruction comes whenever he goes.”He added that the controversial French writer and TV personality “is known for paving the way” for turmoil and armed conflicts, pointing out that Levy came more under the spotlight during “the so-called Arab Spring revolutions.”While he did not establish a direct link between Levy’s presence in Morocco and the ongoing protests in the Rif region, El Omari nonetheless expressed his concern over seeing the pro-Israel author of “La Guerre sans l’aimer,” (War Without Loving It).“I am sharing my question so that I don’t repeat the old story about a Zionist conspiracy, but just to drawn my fellow citizens’ attention,” he said.What El Omari probably did not know is that Levy owned a luxurious mansion worth six-million Euro in Tangier which he put up for sale earlier in July, as several media outlets reported. The French writer is also an habitué of another Moroccan city, Marrakech.“I live part of my time in Paris, part of my time in New York, part of my time in Marrakech. I have too many houses and too many places to be in the world, and alas, the year is only 52 weeks,” he told Bloomberg.While establishing a link between Levy and the protests in Rif might seem a hasty conclusion, what is clear is that the controversial French intellectual enjoys a very bad reputation in the Arab world. read more

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Polisario Maneuvers: Bourita to Hold Talks with UN Officials in New…

Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita is expected to travel to the US to discuss the Western Sahara question with senior UN officials.Following an emergency meeting held on Sunday at the Moroccan parliament, the Moroccan diplomat will pay an official visit to Washington and New York to hold talks with United Nations representatives on the “dangerous” situation as a result of in Polisario’s“illegal actions” in the Western Sahara buffer zones.Amid the escalating situation in the region,  Morocco’s Ambassador to the UN, Omar Hilale, urged the United Nations Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and prevent the Polisario from changing the status quo of the buffer zone Hilale warned the Security Council that these separatist actions constitute a “casus belli”(justification for war).“Morocco will not stand idly by the deterioration of the situation on the ground,” he added.Bourita condemned Polisario’smaneuvers in the buffer zone on Sunday, stressing that the separatist group went even further in its recent provocations in Tifariti and BirLahlou, with the aim of changing the legal and historical status of this area.In addition to defying the United Nations and its 1991 ceasefire agreement through its continuous presence in the restricted buffer zones, the Polisario has announced its intention to relocate the headquarters of its “Ministry of Defense” to BirLahlou, another area in the buffer zone, located located230 kilometers away from the Es-Semara provinces.Sources close to the Polisario reported that it “has started relocating its ‘defense ministry’” and will “complete its actions within a short period.”Meanwhile, the government called on the Security Council to force the Polisario to abide by the terms of the ceasefire, making it clear that all options are open to repel the “provocations” of the Polisario, including the use of military force.Nabila Mounib, General Secretary of the Unified Social Party told Moroccan press on Sunday that if the UN Security Council does not shoulder its responsibility, “all options remain possible, including resorting to a military solution.” read more

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Judge denies Hawaii’s move to get Airbnb host records

HONOLULU — A judge on Thursday denied Hawaii’s move to compel Airbnb to hand over a decade of vacation rental receipts as the state examines whether hosts have been paying the equivalent of hotel and sales taxes.Hawaii First Circuit Court Judge James Ashford said the state did not sufficiently show that Airbnb users may have failed to comply with tax laws.In addition, the state did not establish that the information wasn’t available from other sources, he said. Hawaii wants the records to find out which hosts have not been paying taxes involving their vacation rental and bed-and-breakfast listings.Many Hawaii vacation rentals are operated illegally, making tax collection more challenging. In Hawaii, the necessary permits for short-term rentals are issued by counties which have varying regulations. Honolulu, the most populous county, has not issued new permits since 1989. It’s estimated to have 800 legal vacation rental and bed-and-breakfast units and about 10 times as many illegal ones.Airbnb has argued the subpoena amounts to an unprecedented, “massive intrusion” into the private data of 16,000 hosts. Subpoenaing the records would violate state and federal law, the company said.Hawaii is the latest state to tangle with Airbnb. In New York City, a U.S. judge last month shelved a city law that would have required home-sharing platforms to reveal hosts’ names and other information.New York City adopted the law so it could crack down on illegal listings and impose fines.In that case, a U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer ruled that forcing home-sharing platforms to reveal a “breathtaking” amount of information about their businesses seemed unconstitutional. He issued a preliminary injunction halting implementation of the law.Hawaii said in court filings that Airbnb acknowledged in the past its hosts have not all paid taxes. It pointed to legislation Airbnb proposed in previous years that would have allowed it to register as a Hawaii tax collection agent to ensure its hosts do pay their taxes. A court filing from Hawaii’s attorney general said such legislation would not be necessary if hosts were tax compliant.But Ashford said he did not see where Airbnb had made such an admission. He told the state to be careful with the language it uses and “do not exaggerate.”He said the state successfully established that some Airbnb hosts might have violated tax laws, but the question was how many.Kristen Sakamoto, state deputy attorney general, told Ashford that not all hosts would need to have violated tax laws for the state to subpoena the records.Jacob Sommer, Airbnb’s attorney, countered that the standard must be higher.“If you’ve going to ask for 16,000 people’s records, I think you’ve got to show that most have violated the law,” he said.Sakamoto told Ashford the state attempted to narrow its subpoena by talking with Airbnb but found the company unco-operative. She said the state did not know how many hosts the company had in Hawaii until last week when Airbnb filed a response to its subpoena request.“It’s a bit unfair that they hold all the information and are unwilling to work with (the state Department of Taxation) in trying to find a subpoena with a scope that would address the issue of identifying the unknown taxpayers,” she said.Hawaii wants to ensure owners pay transient accommodation taxes imposed on rooms or homes rented for less than six months. It also wants to collect the general excise tax — a levy similar to a sales tax — from rental operators.The state needed the court’s permission to serve the subpoena because its investigation targets a group of taxpayers and not specific individuals.The Honolulu City Council and mayor have been unable to agree on more effective regulations despite several attempts over the years.Audrey McAvoy, The Associated Press read more

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Morocco’s Greenhouse Cultivation Grows Faster Than Spain’s

Rabat – With the help of modern satellite analysis techniques, the Andalusian Council of Agriculture obtained data which shows that Morocco’s greenhouse crop is growing rapidly than Spain’s.The council issued its latest report which emphasized the “strong growth” of greenhouse acreage in Morocco, which increased from 9,000 hectares in 2001 to almost 24,000 hectares cultivated at the end of the last year, Spanish outlet La Voz de Almeria reported on December 10.The greenhouse’s cultivated surface in the North African country is expected to increase to 26,000 hectares at the end of this year, says the council’s report. The illustrated data corresponds only to the Souss-Massa-Draa region, namely the provinces of Agadir-Ida-Ou Tanane, Inezgane-Ait Melloul, Chtouka-Ait Baha, and Taroudant.Read Also: European Parliament’s INTA Adopts Morocco-EU Agriculture DealThe estimates provided in the report indicated a “significantly larger area” when adding other regions known for their abundant agricultural crops such as Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen in Western Morocco and Tangier-Tetouan in Northern Morocco.The strong growth is particularly shown in the provinces of Kenitra, near Rabat, and Larache, near Tangier, where greenhouse acreage has grown from 2,975 hectares of protected crop in 2002 to more than 8,500 hectares in the previous year, up 179 percent.Northern Morocco is the region where growth in greenhouse cultivation is the most notable, especially in areas closer to the ports that the greenhouse vegetables ship from.According to the Spanish report, greenhouse vegetables in these areas are growing much quicker than the rest of the North African country.Morocco is Spain’s largest non-EU fresh fruit and vegetables supplier with a total volume of 321,189 tons worth €507 million, the Spanish federation of fruit and vegetable exporters (Fepex) reported last week.Tomatoes are the most exported agricultural products to the world, mainly to the EU. The UN Statistics Division (UNSD) ranked Morocco fourth in tomato exports in the world at 527 million kilograms in 2017, 7 percent of the world’s total. read more

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Western Sahara: UN Special Envoy Begins Tour Amid Polisario Crackdown

Rabat – In the midst of a visit by the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara, Horst Köhler, in Algeria, Polisario critic Mustapha Salma has highlighted atrocities in the Tindouf camps.The UN official is touring the region from June 23 to July  1. During his visit to Algeria, Köhler will meet Polisario representatives in the Tindouf camps, in southwest Algeria. Köhler will also visit Morocco to hold talks with Moroccan authorities on June 28-29 in Rabat.‘Sahrawis are being killed like dogs’ Commenting on Köhler’s visit, Polisario dissident Mustapha Salma heavily criticized Algeria for torturing Sahrawis in the Tindouf camps.Salma made his remarks on a Facebook post on Saturday: “Algeria receives UN envoy with more bodies of Sahrawis, before burying the body of the young man Brahim Salek, who was killed in a Polisario-run prison.”Salma was referring to the death of the  30-year old Sahrawi opponent Brahim Ould Salek Ould Breika, who was allegedly tortured in the infamous D’Heibya prison in Algeria. To date, the victim’s relatives have not been allowed to see Ould Salek’s body, according to Salma.The prison, south of Tindouf, allegedly holds some Sahrawis and dissidents who never received trials.Salma, a former police chief in the Tindouf camps, added that the “killing machine returned to claim the lives of young Sahrawis, and this time by the bullets of the Algerian army.”The dissident claimed that on Saturday the Algerian army “assassinated” Rabas Abdelrahman Yahdeh, another young Sahrawi who studied at an Algerian university.According to Salma, the young Sahrawi was shot while he was in a car in the outskirts of the Laayoune camp near Tindouf with his friends, who “miraculously survived.”“This crime comes on the first day of the visit of the personal envoy in Algeria, which is hosting Sahrawi camps where Sahrawis are being killed like dogs, without anyone lifting a finger,” he said.He added that if such cases occurred in Morocco, the incident would not go unnoticed.Since 2011, Salma has regularly criticized Polisario’s provocative actions, describing the front as losing its influence in the conflict since the 1991 ceasefire agreement.Köhler will visit all MINURSO sitesKöhler’s visit comes on the heels of the violations of the front on May 20 in Tifariti, east of Morocco’s defense wall, to celebrate the “45th anniversary of its armed struggle.” The violation came in defiance of the UN resolution adopted on April 27 by the Security Council. The resolution extended the mandate of MINURSO to six months instead of one year and pressured the Polisario to end the violations of the agreement.The UN Personal Envoy is expected to visit all of the sites under the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) to monitor the ceasefire agreement, including those east of Morocco’s defense wall. read more

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Getting more oil to market in Canada requires more pipelines, NEB says

OTTAWA — The National Energy Board says Canada’s existing export pipelines are running at maximum efficiency and the only way to realistically get more oil to market on pipelines is to build more of them.The board is responding today to questions posed last fall by Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who wanted to know if there was any way to improve the efficiency of pipelines while Canada struggles to expand or get new ones built.Put simply, the board says, the amount of oil Canada is producing has increased while the number of pipelines to carry it has not.The report says moving more oil by rail is also not a “perfect substitute” because doing so is more expensive and complex.It also tells Sohi that while there is room to streamline the system used by oil producers to get access to pipeline space, doing so would only reallocate existing capacity, rather than create more.Sohi’s request to the board came last fall as Canadian oil prices plunged thanks to temporary refinery closures in the midwest, creating a price differential with the U.S. of $50 per barrel.That price gap has since closed to less than $10 a barrel after refineries came back online and the Alberta government imposed a mandatory drop in production.The Canadian Press read more

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