AP FACT CHECK Trump myths on dipping oil prices cold snaps

first_imgWASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is wrong when he suggests global warming can’t be happening if it’s really cold outside.He points to a “brutal and extended cold blast” in the Eastern U.S. during Thanksgiving week and wonders aloud to his Twitter followers, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?” In fact, he is confusing short-term weather patterns with longer-term climate change. A scientific report put out Friday by his own administration rejects as folly any notion that a particular plunge in temperatures can cast doubt on whether Earth is warming.Explaining his decision not to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of a U.S.-based journalist, Trump also exaggerates the value of Saudi investments in the U.S. and expresses thanks to the kingdom — then himself — for spurring a recent decline in oil prices. Those claims are off the mark.A look at his recent rhetoric, also covering the courts, midterm elections and more.OIL PRICESTRUMP: “So great that oil prices are falling (thank you President T). Add that, which is like a big Tax Cut, to our other good Economic news. Inflation down (are you listening Fed)!” — tweet Sunday.TRUMP: “Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!” — tweet Wednesday.THE FACTS: Heaping praise on Saudi Arabia, then himself, for lower oil prices is a gross oversimplification. Oil prices, which peaked Oct. 3, have been falling on the realization that U.S. sanctions against Iran would not create a shortage and on fear that slower economic growth internationally will depress energy demand.Although the U.S. is now the world’s biggest oil producer, Saudi Arabia remains the biggest exporter. As a so-called swing producer with the ability to adjust production up or down relatively quickly, it can indeed influence the price of crude. But the market is far more complex than Trump suggests. Canada is actually the leading source of U.S. oil imports, for example, with Saudi Arabia second.___CLIMATETRUMP: “This is the coldest weather in the history of the Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, and one of the coldest Thanksgivings on record!” — tweet Thursday.TRUMP: “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?” — tweet Wednesday.THE FACTS: Trump is conflating weather and climate. Weather is like mood, which changes daily. Climate is like personality, which is long term.The climate is warming, which still allows for record cold spells.On Friday, the White House produced the National Climate Assessment by scientists from 13 Trump administration agencies and outside scientists. It amounted to a slap in the face for those who question whether climate is changing.“Climate change is transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us,” the report says. It details how global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas is hurting each region of U.S. and different sectors of the economy. The report said the last few years have smashed U.S. records for damaging weather, already costing nearly $400 billion since 2015, and projects increased deaths and disease.The White House report swept aside the idea, already discredited, that a particular plunge in temperatures can cast uncertainty on whether Earth is warming. It says more than 90 per cent of current warming is caused by humans: “There are no credible alternative human or natural explanations supported by the observational evidence.”“Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity,” the report says. “Over climate timescales of multiple decades, however, global temperature continues to steadily increase.”In other words, there are cold days in a warming climate.___THE COURTSTRUMP: “Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster. It is out of control, has a horrible reputation, is overturned more than any Circuit in the Country, 79%, & is used to get an almost guaranteed result.” — tweet Thursday.TRUMP: “It would be great if the 9th Circuit was indeed an “independent judiciary,” but if it is why … are so are so many opposing view (on Border and Safety) cases filed there, and why are a vast number of those cases overturned. Please study the numbers, they are shocking.” — tweets Wednesday.THE FACTS: He’s incorrect in suggesting that rulings by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco are reversed by the Supreme Court more frequently than those of any other federal appeals court. His description of the “shocking” number of overturned cases in the 9th Circuit belies the nature of the appeals system.When the Supreme Court hears a case, it is more likely to overturn it than not. It does so about two-thirds of the time.In the last term, the Supreme Court overturned 100 per cent of the decisions of the 1st Circuit in Boston, the 3rd Circuit in Philadelphia and the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati. For the 9th Circuit, 86 per cent were overturned.Over the past five years, the Supreme Court overturned a greater percentage of rulings from the 3rd Circuit (92.3 per cent), the 6th Circuit (85.1 per cent) and the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit (81.8 per cent) than from the 9th (77.4 per cent), according to The Associated Press’ analysis of statistics from the legal website Scotusblog.The 9th is by far the largest of the 13 federal courts of appeals, covering Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. That means that in raw numbers, more cases are heard and reversed from the 9th year in and year out. But that does not make it the most frequently overturned.On Monday, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar, who’d been nominated by Democratic President Barack Obama, temporarily barred the Trump administration from refusing asylum to immigrants who cross the southern border illegally. That set off Trump’s ire. Any appeal is likely to go to the 9th Circuit.Trump’s tweets took issue with an unusual rebuke from the U.S. chief justice, John Roberts. Roberts spoke up for the independence of the judiciary after Trump branded Tigar an “Obama judge” and said “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”___THE ELECTIONTRUMP, on his impact on the midterm elections: “Look at Florida. I went down to Florida. Rick Scott won and he won by a lot. I don’t know what happened to all those votes that disappeared at the very end. And if I didn’t put a spotlight on that election before it got down to the 12,500 votes, he would’ve lost that election, OK? … They would have taken that election away from him.” — interview with “Fox News Sunday,” broadcast on Nov. 18.THE FACTS: Trump is exaggerating the vote margin of Scott’s victory in Florida’s Senate race as being “a lot.” He’s also suggesting without evidence that his own efforts prevented Democrats from engaging in voter fraud.Scott, Florida’s Republican governor, edged out Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the closest Senate race in the nation in the midterm elections — by a margin of 10,033 votes, or 0.12 percentage points. It also was the closest Senate race in Florida since at least 1978, according to the Florida’s Division of Elections website. It required two recounts — by machine and by hand — as mandated by state law due to the razor-thin margins.Trump asserts without evidence that the attention he brought to the Senate race prevented Democrats from “taking” that election from Scott, hinting at voter fraud by suggesting votes “disappeared at the very end.”Despite Trump’s repeated claims after the Nov. 6 election of Florida races being potentially “stolen,” the state agencies charged with investigating potential fraud have said no credible allegations exist. It’s not uncommon for vote tallies to change in the days after Election Day as local officials process remaining mailed and provisional ballots. In Florida, Scott saw some of his lead dwindle after the Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach and Broward counties continued to count votes.___SAUDI ARABIATRUMP: “After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defence contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries — and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business.” — statement Tuesday.THE FACTS: He’s greatly overstating the value of expected Saudi investments in the U.S.The arms package, partly negotiated under the Obama administration, mixes old deals, some new business and prospective purchases that have not been worked out.The Pentagon said last month that Saudi Arabia had signed “letters of offer and acceptance” for only $14.5 billion in military purchases and confirmed Tuesday that nothing further has reached that stage.Those letters, issued after the U.S. government approves a proposed arms sale, specify its terms. Much of that $14.5 billion involves a missile defence system, a contract that appears to have advanced more than other significant investments but not been completed.Moreover, the State Department estimated last year that if the full $110 billion in prospective arms business is fulfilled, it could end up “potentially supporting tens of thousands of new jobs in the United States.” That’s a far cry from the 500,000 to 600,000 jobs that Trump has said the arms deal is worth.Details of the package have been sketchy, with no public breakdown of exactly what was being offered for sale and for how much. The government’s Congressional Research Service has described the package as a combination of sales that were proposed by President Barack Obama and discussed with Congress and new sales still being developed.Meanwhile, there has been no verification from either country that “the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States,” as Trump put it in his statement. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters did not respond to a request to explain the figure.___TRUMP: “Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance.” — statement Tuesday.THE FACTS: This seemingly benign view of Saudi intentions in Yemen does not square with reality on the ground. A Saudi-led blockade is at least partly responsible for widespread starvation in a country where three quarters of the population needs life-saving assistance. It’s the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The U.S. has scaled back support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iranian-backed rebels and is pressing for a cease-fire.The international aid group Save the Children estimated Wednesday that 85,000 Yemeni children younger than 5 have died of hunger and disease since civil war broke out in 2015. The United Nations says more than 1.3 million Yemeni children have suffered from severe acute malnutrition since the coalition went to war against Houthi rebels.___9-11TRUMP: “Of course we should have captured Osama Bin Laden long before we did. I pointed him out in my book just BEFORE the attack on the World Trade Center. President Clinton famously missed his shot. We paid Pakistan Billions of Dollars & they never told us he was living there. Fools!” — tweet Nov. 19.THE FACTS: There was nothing original or clairvoyant in the reference to bin Laden in Trump’s 2000 book. As part of his criticism of what he considered Bill Clinton’s haphazard approach to U.S. security as president, his book stated: “One day we’re told that a shadowy figure with no fixed address named Osama bin Laden is public enemy Number One, and U.S. jetfighters lay waste to his camp in Afghanistan. He escapes back under some rock, and a few news cycles later it’s on to a new enemy and new crisis.”Trump’s book did not call for further U.S. action against bin Laden or al-Qaida to follow up on attacks Clinton ordered in 1998 in Afghanistan and Sudan after al-Qaida bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. attacks were meant to disrupt bin Laden’s network and destroy some of al-Qaida’s infrastructure, such as a factory in Sudan associated with the production of a nerve gas ingredient. They “missed” in the sense that bin Laden was not killed in them, and al-Qaida was able to pull off 9-11 three years later.In passages on terrorism, Trump’s book correctly predicted that the U.S. was at risk of a terrorist attack that would make the 1993 World Trade Center bombing pale by comparison. That was a widespread concern at the time, as Trump suggested in stating “no sensible analyst rejects this possibility.” Trump did not explicitly tie that threat to al-Qaida and thought an attack might come through the use of a miniaturized weapon of mass destruction, like a nuclear device in a suitcase or anthrax.___Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein, Robert Burns and Josh Boak in Washington, Jill Colvin in Palm Beach, Fla., and David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.___Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bdFollow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheckEDITOR’S NOTE _ A look at the veracity of claims by political figuresCalvin Woodward And Hope Yen, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Report Hightech robot on Russian TV was man in suit

first_imgMOSCOW — Russian media say a contraption presented by Russian state television as a high-tech robot was in fact a man in a commercially available robot costume.The footage was shot at a high-tech show in the city of Yaroslavl that opened Tuesday, featuring “Boris the Robot.” Forum organizers used Boris to enliven the event, having him dance to a pop song.But a crew for Russian state television apparently thought Boris was real, and used footage of him dancing and speaking as an example of Russian technological prowess.Online TJournal noted the lack of sensors, human-like movements and other discrepancies, and revealed that Boris was in fact a human clad in a costume sold under the name Alyosha by the Russian company Show Robots.The Associated Presslast_img

Richardson International has deal to buy Wesson oil from Conagra Brands

first_imgWINNIPEG — Richardson International Ltd. says it has an agreement with Conagra Brands Inc. to purchase cooking oil brand Wesson and a U.S. production facility for an undisclosed price.The privately held Winnipeg-based company says the acquisition reinforces the growth strategy for its food business and complements its position as a vertically integrated canola processor.Canada’s largest agribusiness says it will “reinvigorate” the brand and plans to invest in the Memphis, Tenn., facility.The Canadian company recently invested $30 million to build an innovation centre focused on product development.The agreement is subject to the usual closing conditions, including regulatory approval and is expected to be finalized in the first quarter.The deal comes nine months after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission moved to block the proposed US$285-million acquisition of Wesson oil by J.M. Smucker Co. over concerns the combination would lessen competition. Smucker had planned to move production to its facility in Ohio.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

House Democrats demand briefing on Russia sanctions decision

first_imgWASHINGTON — The leaders of seven House committees are calling on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to explain why the United States is easing sanctions on companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. It’s one of the first moves of the new Democratic House to scrutinize President Donald Trump’s actions related to Russia.The Democrats wrote to Mnuchin asking about a December announcement that the U.S. would lift sanctions on the aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal and two other companies connected to Deripaska. Mnuchin said that Deripaska would remain blacklisted as part of sanctions targeting tycoons close to the Kremlin, but that the companies would diminish Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control.In their letter, the Democrats say the deal appears to allow Deripaska to keep “significant ownership” of one of the companies.Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Update to fatal crash on Highway 97 south of Dawson Creek

first_imgThe lone driver of the Ford, a 36-year-old man also from the Peace Region, sustained only minor injuries.Police are continuing to investigate the cause of this collision.Anyone with information regarding this collision is being asked to call the Peace Region Traffic Services in Dawson Creek at 250-784-3700, citing file 2019-3847.Police will not be releasing any further information at this time.The Highway was closed and has since reopened. DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Dawson Creek RCMP, Peace Region Traffic Services and Emergency Services responded to a fatal collision this morning, Wednesday, June 5, at approximately 7:50 a.m. on Highway 97 between 229 and 235 Roads south of Dawson Creek.According to RCMP, upon arrival, it was determined that a collision occurred between a northbound Ford F550 service truck and a southbound Jeep Cherokee.RCMP say the lone driver of the Jeep, a 59-year-old woman from the Peace Region, died in the crash.last_img read more

Suncor to spend 14B to replace cokefired boilers with cogeneration units

first_imgCALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. says it will spend $1.4 billion to replace its coke-fired boilers with two cogeneration units at its oilsands base plant north of Fort McMurray, Alta.The company says the units will provide steam generation for its extraction and upgrading operations and generate 800 megawatts of power.The change will also help reduce costs. Suncor says replacing the coke-fired boilers with cogeneration will reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with steam production at the base plant by approximately 25 per cent.Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions are also expected to be reduced by approximately 45 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.The project is expected to be in-service in the second half of 2023.Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Rafale review pleas Rahul contempt petition on May 10

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday said it would hear together on May 10 the pleas seeking review of its verdict on the Rafale fighter jet case and the contempt petition against Congress President Rahul Gandhi for allegedly attributing some remarks to it.A special bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the petitions seeking review of its December 14 last year verdict would come up for hearing on May 10. The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, expressed surprise as to how the review pleas and the contempt petition against Gandhi were listed separately on different dates when it had earlier ordered that both the cases will be heard together. “We are little perplexed that the two cases are listed on two different dates when the order was that these matters will be heard together,” the bench said.last_img read more

8 lions from Guj to be shifted to UP zoo

first_imgAhmedabad: Eight lions from Gujarat will soon be shifted to a zoo in Uttar Pradesh as part of an animal exchange programme, a forest official said on Tuesday.These lions are currently lodged at the Sakkarbaug zoo at Junagadh in Gujarat. “As part of the animal exchange programme, two lions and six lionesses from Sakkarbaug will be shifted to a zoo at Gorakhpur in UP. The Central Zoo Authority has allowed the transfer of eight big cats,” Junagadh wildlife circle’s chief conservator of forests Dushyant Vasavada said. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghHowever, it was not yet decided as to which animal will be transferred from Gorakhpur to Gujarat under the exchange pact, he said. “We are ready for the transfer. Now, it is for the Gorakhpur zoo to decide on the time,” Vasavada said. He said after governments of the two states agreed for the shifting of lions, a proposal was sent to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) which recently gave its nod for it. Sakkarbaug zoo said to be the second oldest in the country — is the nodal centre for providing Asiatic lions to other zoos and safaris in the state and the country. The CZA permits exchange between zoos after checking whether the host has proper health facilities and enclosures for the animals. The Gir wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat is the last abode of Asiatic lions in the world. As per the last census in 2015, there were around 523 lions in the state, mainly in the forest areas of Junagadh, Gir-Somnath, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts.last_img read more

Egypt referendum on draft constitution on Jan 1415

first_imgCAIRO- Egypt said Saturday a referendum on a new draft constitution will be held next month, the first step towards elected rule in a country deeply polarised after president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster.“I call upon you to vote in a referendum on the draft revised constitution on January 14 and 15,” interim president Adly Mansour said in a speech to the nation, accompanied by high-ranking officials and those who drafted the new charter.The new constitution was drafted after the interim military-installed authorities suspended the previous charter written under the Islamist Morsi. Egypt’s first democratically elected president was ousted by the army on July 3.His removal has caused deep divisions amid a sweeping and deadly government crackdown targeting Morsi supporters that has left more than 1,000 people dead and thousands more arrested.Mansour praised the revised draft for its provisions on the “securing of human rights, freedoms and the balancing of powers”.“It is a good start on which to build the institutions of a democratic and modern state,” he said.The revised charter has come under severe criticism from secular movements and rights groups for retaining the powers and privileges of the military.The constitutional referendum is to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections in mid-2014, according to a transition road map outlined by the new authorities.last_img read more

Moroccan hackers take down official websites of South Africas government

first_imgTaroudant- Anonymous Hacker group going under the name ‘Moroccan Islamic Union- Mail’ hacked and defaced The National Department of Health- Government of South Africa website.The hacker group wrote on its Facebook page, “URGENT: Moroccan Islamic Union-mail offered condolences to the Government of South Africa in the departure of “Nelson Mandela” in our own way,” referring to the hack.The hackers defaced the official website of South Africa, replacing its content with a photo of an angry muscled man with the Moroccan flag covering his head and the map of the kingdom on his chest.The group also left a message to the government of South Africa saying that “You should know Sahara is Moroccan & will remain Moroccan!!”The group released the list of hacked website on their official Facebook pageAt the time of writing, the website (http://www.doh.gov.za/ ) is still down.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

Morocco Has Comparative Advantage In Democracy And Human Rights Swedish official

first_imgRabat  –  Morocco has a comparative advantage in terms of promoting democracy and human rights, said, on Wednesday in Rabat, the speaker of the National Diet of Sweden (Swedish Parliament) Per Westerberg.We have a very positive relationship with the Kingdom of Morocco which has a comparative advantage in terms of strengthening democracy and respect for human rights, said Westerberg during a press conference on the sidelines of his two-day visit to the Kingdom. He added that Sweden supports the vision of the United Nations (UN) regarding the Sahara issue, and remains open to any discussion on the prospects in the region.  Economically, Westerberg expressed his country’s will to foster bilateral cooperation and remove obstacles hampering trade exchanges.last_img

Moroccan Refiner La Samir Issues Profit Warning Share Falls by 10

Rabat – Morocco’s refiner of petroleum products La SAMIR issued a profit warning on Wednesday, saying that the fall in oil prices worldwide would hit results despite the 15% increase in local sales and improved margins.“Like other refineries in the world, the strong oil price drop to around $65 from $110 in July will negatively affect the stock’s value in 2014,” the company said in a statement.However, and despite attempts by the Moroccan refiner to reassure shareholders, a sharp decline had been recorded in the company’s share value following the publication of the profit warning. The share price of the La SAMIR at the Casablanca stock exchange fell 10% after the company announced that it anticipates negative results by the end of the 2014 fiscal year, due to the fall of oil prices by almost 40% in six months.69,000 shares were offered for sale at any price and the share moved from 313 Dirhams to 281 Dirhams. read more

Hulu ups price for liveTV service cuts basic package price

NEW YORK — Hulu’s live-TV streaming service will cost $5 more per month, while its traditional video-on-demand service will be $2 cheaper.Hulu with Live TV, a cable-like package with ESPN and a few dozen other channels, will cost $45 a month starting Feb. 26. The Hulu service includes its traditional video-on-demand service, which typically carries episodes of network TV shows the day after it airs.That video-on-demand service itself will now cost $6 a month, down from $8, when bought separately.The new prices take effect Feb. 26.Just a week ago, Netflix said it is raising the price of its most popular plan to $13 from $11. Streaming providers are testing how much consumers are willing to pay as more people seek online options and cut back on expensive cable packages.The Associated Press read more

Casablanca Rabat Rank Below Top 100 Cities to Live Report

Rabat – The New York-based human resources consulting firm, Mercer, featured Rabat and Casablanca in its annual list of the cities with the best quality of life for the third year in a row.Rabat comes in 117th this year, one placement behind last year’s ranking. Casablanca maintained its ranking at 124th.In North Africa, the cities of Tunis and Algiers maintained their position at 114th and 184th respectively. The city of Vienna, Austria topped the list, followed by Zurich Switzerland and Auckland, New Zealand.Munich of Germany ranks the fourth, with Vancouver, Canada taking the fifth.The Mercer firm ranking is based on 39 criteria, including crime rate, infrastructure, access to safe drinking water, and accessibility to public transport. Two hundred and thirty-one cities annually make  the list, which is used to determine expatriate allocations.To classify these cities according to their quality of life, the firm carries out a “comparison of the index of quality of life from one city to another,” according to  Mercer. Subsequently, Mercer ranks its selected cities based on a “score summarizing the differences in quality of life in accordance to its criteria.” read more

France Campaigns for Morocco 2026 in Moscow

Rabat – President of the French Football Federation (FFF) Noel le Garet campaigned for the Morocco 2026 World Cup bid with the UEFA  members in Moscow.Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid committee had its last chance to present their bid in front of the UEFA (European) football federations on Tuesday morning in Moscow. The committee received help from Le Garet.“I raised my hand to speak and I was the only one to do it,” said Le Garet in front of the federations. He continued to say: “I once again presented the position of France and the friendly relations we have with Morocco, as with most African countries, saying that this may be the time to give back to Africa what it has given to European football.”According to the Frenchman, Morocco can count on “about half” of the 55 associations affiliated with the European group.“People do not reveal themselves totally but that is the trend,” he added.“I cannot imagine not supporting a country so near to us. Africa has only ever hosted one World Cup in all of FIFA’s history (in South Africa in 2010)—that is not a lot. Morocco is ready, even if it does not have some of the resources that it’s adversaries do. France is only one voice, but maybe it can inspire others to also support the Moroccan bid,” said the chief of FFF.France became the first European country to announce its support for Morocco 2026 in April.Former French President Francois Hollande  said during his visit to Morocco in April: “I have every confidence in this bid and France will be on your side.”Morocco asserted that the meeting with the UEFA associations was successful. Voting will take place tomorrow at the 68th FIFA Congress.“Excellent meeting this morning with the UEFA,” wrote member of the Moroccan bid committee Moncef Belkhayat on Twitter.Excellente réunion ce matin avec l’UEFA pic.twitter.com/lvergSKywv— Moncef Belkhayat (@moncefbelkhayat) June 12, 2018 read more

Mustapha Ramid Morocco Is Continuously Developing in Human Rights

Minister of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid has stressed that Morocco is continuously developing in human rights.However, the development has experienced “some ebb and flow,” Ramid said in a meeting on “The Defense Institution and its Position in the National Action Plan on Democracy and Human Rights.”The Tangier Bar Association organized the meeting, which was held Friday. “We are at a significant stage of human rights development because we are laying solid foundations for building a state which respects human rights. We are in the process of establishing protective institutions and guaranteeing laws,” Ramid said.The minister cited such institutions as the National Preventive Mechanism Against Torture and the Authority for Parity and for Fighting All Forms of Discrimination.Ramid stressed that the importance of the national action plan lies in the fact that it is the “only document” whose texts have been approved, whether through direct consultation, correspondence, or contributions by the human rights institutional actors and civil society.The minister noted that ministries, government sectors, national councils, Parliament, judges, lawyers, the media, civil society, political parties, and trade unions all participated in developing the national action plan.The minister also noted that Morocco is the 39th country in the world to develop a national plan for democracy and human rights.The plan, he added, included 216 measures, which were increased to 435 measures after consultation, including those considered controversial, such as the death penalty and abortion.“We are working on an executive plan which will translate the plan into practical procedures with deadlines and will define the actors involved in its implementation,” the minister said.Speaking about the independence of the judiciary, Ramid described it as the “first institution that protects of rights and freedoms.” The minister stressed that defense lawyers are essential partners in judicial security and protecting citizens’ rights.The plan has not yet been published in the Official Gazette, but received the government’s approval in December 2017.Ramid expressed his anger over the 10-month delay in publishing the national plan in the official gazette. As an expression of his resentment, the minister reportedly boycotted the last four government council meetings.“The National Action Plan provides a blueprint for the promotion of the human rights situation, as well as an indicator of the evolution of human rights in Morocco, through a follow-up of the implementation of its measures,” Ramid asserted.Freedom House gave Morocco an overall score of 39/100 for political rights and civil liberties in 2018. read more

Search into missing cryptocurrency turns up empty cold wallets Report

HALIFAX — The high-profile search for $190 million in missing cryptocurrency owed to users of the beleaguered QuadrigaCX trading platform has turned up a small amount of digital assets, but the intrigue surrounding the case deepened Friday as investigators pointed to a series of transactions they can’t explain.A report released late Friday by court-appointed monitor Ernst and Young, which is overseeing the creditor protection process for the insolvent trading platform, offered few answers for the firm’s users — owed nearly $260 million in cash and crypto-coins.The monitor’s third report indicated six so-called cold wallets used to store digital assets offline have been found, but all of them are empty.The report said there have been no deposits since April in five of those wallets — besides one recent inadvertent transfer — while a sixth wallet appears to have been used more recently, the report said.The monitor said QuadrigaCX and its affiliated companies were unable to explain why the cold wallets haven’t been used in several months.“The applicants have been unable to identify a reason why Quadriga may have stopped using the identified bitcoin cold wallets for deposits in April 2018,” George Kinsman, senior vice-president with Ernst and Young, said in the report.“However, the monitor and management will continue to review the Quadriga database to obtain further information.”Meanwhile, the monitor confirmed it had also became aware of three other potential cold wallets, but they were also empty.The monitor also found 14 user accounts on the QuadrigaCX platform that were “created outside the normal process,” using a number of aliases.More importantly, the accounts were created internally “without a corresponding customers and used to trade on the Quadriga platform,” the monitor reported.“The monitor was further advised that deposits into certain of the … accounts may have been artificially created and subsequently used for trading on the Quadriga platform.”Transaction data indicates there was a significant volume of activity associated with these accounts, including withdrawals of cryptocurrency to wallet addresses not associated with Quadriga, the report says.The monitor said it remains unclear how the accounts were used and whether the recipients of the withdrawals can be identified.Meanwhile, the monitor has been trying to secure data from the trading platform that includes information about account balances and transactions. That information is stored in the cloud with Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), but the monitor has not been able to gain access to that data because the contract was in the name of the company’s late co-founder, Gerald Cotten.Court documents say Cotten had sole control of encrypted passcodes required to gain access to the company’s offline digital assets.“AWS has indicated that it is unable to provide the monitor with access to the AWS account to permit a copy of the data … to be secured,” the monitor said, adding that consent from Cotten’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, was not enough for Amazon.As a result, the monitor plans to ask Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Michael Wood to step in.The hunt for cryptocurrency has included reaching out to 14 crypto-exchanges where QuadrigaCX or Cotten may have set up accounts.Four of those exchanges responded to the monitor, but only one confirmed it was holding a minimal amount of cryptocurrency on behalf of the insolvent company. Those digital assets were eventually transferred to the monitor.The monitor confirmed that with the successful deposit of several bank drafts into its disbursement account, Ernst and Young now has access to $24.7 million in cash — most of that money from a third-party processor known as Costodian Inc.Another $5.8 million tied up in other bank drafts will be recovered once a corporate entity is restored to handle the transaction, the report says.As well, the monitor has been seeking money from 10 of Quadriga’s payment processors, but has managed to recover only $5,000 so far.Quadriga Fintech Solutions Corp., Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange operating as QuadrigaCX, was granted creditor protection in Nova Scotia last month.The court order on Feb. 5 followed Cotten’s sudden death in India on Dec. 9. The Ontario native launched Quadriga in Vancouver, B.C., in 2013, and ran his virtual business from a home north of Halifax. Brett Bundale and Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press read more

Belize warns UN debate that multilateral trading system is threatened

Global trading relations could fragment into a series of bilateral and regional arrangements unless the world’s countries commit seriously to ensuring that the current Doha round of negotiations is successful, Belize’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly today.Lisa Shoman said the Doha trade talks so far have yielded “harsh consequences for developing countries, particularly those that are commodity and preference-dependent.”She told the annual high-level debate of the Assembly that “fundamental distrust” in international economic relations was threatening the development agenda for poor countries.“The international community must keep development in perspective in the current climate change debate, since economic development better enables countries to tackle climate change.”Ms. Shoman said the recent discussions on climate change and the wider debate about development illustrate the need for “an effective, legitimate multilateral system that is fair and balanced.”She stressed the importance of “responsible leadership” from the world’s countries.“We ask the question: is there a serious commitment to the survival of the multilateral trading system? If the answer is no, we can expect to see even more bilateral and regional arrangements resulting in a movement away from the idea that together we are better at solving our common problems.” 2 October 2007Global trading relations could fragment into a series of bilateral and regional arrangements unless the world’s countries commit seriously to ensuring that the current Doha round of negotiations is successful, Belize’s Foreign Minister told the General Assembly today. read more

Haiti UN mission says situation still tense after violent protests in port

4 April 2008The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti said today that the situation remains tense in the south-western town of Les Cayes after yesterday’s demonstrations over the rising cost of living in the impoverished Caribbean nation led to an attack against the local UN office. A small group of protesters broke into the UN compound, pillaged two containers and damaged the main entry gate after ignoring warning shots from peacekeepers, the mission – known as MINUSTAH – reported, adding that no UN employees were hurt. The protesters also burned shops in Les Cayes and threw rocks and fired weapons at some of the blue helmets during the night. MINUSTAH has dispatched more than 100 extra peacekeepers to Les Cayes to reinforce the existing presence there, while the mission’s top police officers are also in the port town to oversee UN police operations and coordinate activities with the Haitian National Police (HNP). The mission has condemned the violence in a statement and stressed it would continue to support the HNP as it tries to bring calm back to Les Cayes. Meanwhile, the mission has announced that it has opened a library this week in a boys’ detention centre in Delmas, a district of the capital, Port-au-Prince. The library has been set up as part of a project to boost literacy among the inmates. read more