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  • COP22 Meets Targets Exceeds Expectations Mezouar

    Marrakech – The COP22, which runs until November 18th in Marrakech, met targets and exceeded expectations, said Thursday president of the UN climate summit, Salaheddine Mezouar.“This COP is different from all those that preceded it and a demonstration of commitment at all levels, as confirmed by the presence of more than 70 Heads of State and Government” at the High Level segment of this global event, said Mezouar following a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.He also welcomed the commitment of non-state actors and the “achievements” made since the entry into force of the Paris Agreement. Mezouar said that the Conference “marks a turning point in the implementation of the international community’s commitments and in the mobilization of initiatives”.The Moroccan presidency will continue, throughout the next year, its work in favor of mobilizing and facilitating access to finance to help implement projects, he affirmed.The COP22 is meant to operationalize the Paris Agreement, which entered into force on November 4 and accelerate action before 2020 to reduce the impact of climate change, while respecting the human rights set out in the agreement.It is an opportunity to address several themes related to agriculture, food security, energy, forests, industry, transport and water. read more

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  • Morocco Still Dependent on Coal for Energy Production Apicorp

    Rabat – Morocco still depends to a large extent on coal for its energy production, confirms Apicorp Energy Research in its latest monthly report, which sheds light on the energy mix in the MENA region.By placing coal at the heart of its diversification strategy, Morocco made itself an exception as the only country in a predominantly petroleum region that devotes great importance to coal. This orientation often goes unnoticed, according to Apicorp Energy Research, which states that the kingdom’s use of coal is often obscured by major solar and wind projects.Until 2015, coal accounted for 31 percent of the Moroccan energy mix. The research firm revealed in its publication that imported gas and oil account for 22 and 20 percent respectively of domestic energy production, while water and wind are constitute only 15 and 10 percent. Despite a sharp rise of the use of solar energy in energy production, it barely reached 2 percent of the national total. However, Apicorp Energy Research states that “there is every reason to believe that this percentage will increase, taking into account the future development of photovoltaic projects.”To supply its coal needs, the kingdom is still critically dependent on imports, and Morocco is currently strengthening its infrastructure with the construction of new facilities dedicated to import and production.According to Apicorp Energy Research, the total energy production capacity in 2016 reached 9GW, and is expected to increase to nearly 12GW by 2021.Currently, the kingdom has three coal-fired power stations with a total capacity of about 2.5GW, in addition to the two projects carried out in the cities of Safi and Jerada with a combined capacity of 1.7GW.“If existing facilities require coal imports of more than 11 million tonnes per year, the two plants under construction will require additional quantities of approximately 7.8 mt/y,” notes the firm. The contribution of the first Safi unit owned by the Engie. Nareva, and Mitsui consortiums will amount to 1.4GW, as soon as it is commissioned in 2018. The second project of the Jerada power station, built by the Chinese SEPCO, which is expected to be commissioned this year, has a capacity of 318MW.On a global scale, coal continues to dominate the global energy mix. In 2014, its share accounted for 41 percent of energy production worldwide, while gas and renewable energy accounted for 22 and 6 percent.Compared to 2000, when the share of coal was 39 percent, d that of gas was 18 percent, and renewable energy 2 percent, this represents a considerable increase, considering the importance given to renewable energies.Nevertheless, this trend can not persist, believes the firm. “Global efforts to replace coal with gas and renewable energy will have their intended effect. A downward trend in the share of coal in electricity generation is thus inevitable.” read more

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  • Morocco and EU Discuss Amending Agriculture Deal

    Rbat – Talks continue of amending a controversial European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) decision regarding Western Sahara, as Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita met in Brussels on Monday with Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.An EU press release said that the two sides discussed the amendment of the Morocco-EU agriculture agreement, after the European Court of Justice ruled in December 2016 that is not applicable to goods from Western Sahara.The two parties have since held several talks to come to an agreement to “preserve” their partnership, as they said in February when talks kicked off. A meeting in February marked an attempt by Morocco and the EU to alleviate the tension that followed the European court’s ruling, which dealt a strong blow to the relations between the two parties. Soon after the decision, Morocco warned Brussels that cooperation between the two, especially in countering illegal immigration, would be undermined.While Monday’s communiqué did not go beyond the usual diplomatic talk about discussing “common challenges” for Mediterranean and African countries, the meeting took place in a special context.In late November, Ivory Coast will hold the fifth joint summit between the EU and the African Union (AU).Morocco is campaigning to prevent the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) from taking part in the meeting, amid a push from Algeria and South Africa to include their ally on the pretext that it is a member of the AU, despite its absence from previous summits.Algeria’s ambassador to Brussels, Amar Belani, had previously claimed that Polisario representatives will attend the conference, which sources from the EU, speaking to the Moroccan news site Le Desk, denied. read more

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  • Nabila Mounib Moroccan Youth Emigrate Because of Countrys Thieves

    Rabat- Nabila Mounib has said that the “monopolization” of the country’s wealth causes young Moroccans to choose to emigrate.During a press conference on Tuesday, the head of the Unified Socialist Party (PSU) Nabila Mounib questioned Morocco’s pathway to democracy.Be it high-qualified Moroccans emigrating with the belief that “their country does not encourage scientific research” or unemployed Moroccans seeking jobs abroad, it is all due to “monopoly” and “theft” in the country, Mounib stated. Mounib referred to elections in Morocco, saying that 70 percent of Moroccans prefer not to vote because they see no point in voting, knowing that the elections will only “breed thieves” and “corrupt” individuals.Mounib also addressed the prison sentences given to Hirak activists, saying: “How is it reasonable that we get punished because we demand our rights?”The politician called on Moroccans to stand together and demand the release of the activists sentenced from 1 to 20 years in prison.Hundreds of Moroccans already rallied in protests in cities across the country, including Casablanca, Rabat, and the northern city of Nador, to denounce the “heavy” sentences.Mounib maintained that Morocco deserves a “real democracy” rather than a “fake” one, stating: “We cannot keep watching when the country is at such a disadvantage.” Moroccan youth flee for Western countriesAccording to a study by Moroccan job portal, ReKrute, 91 percent of Moroccan professionals aged 35 and younger are tempted to work abroad, in search of better work conditions and quality of life, including health care and comfort.The study suggests that motivations vary on an individual basis, as many Moroccan companies fall short of employee expectations and do not put strong efforts into winning back the qualified people who have left for other countries like France and Canada.Moroccan news outlet Medias24, indicates that Moroccan physicians and doctors, in particular, experience tough working conditions domestically—being underpaid and under-equipped—which prompts them to emigrate.Many young Moroccans put their lives at risk to cross the Mediterranean to the closest European country with the belief that they could lead a better life.According to a report by Spain’s interior ministry released in August, 10,104 undocumented Moroccans arrived in Spain between 2016 and 2018. The Spanish Ministry of Interior emphasized that more than 250,000 irregular Moroccans are currently living in Spain, with close to 5,000 identified as “unaccompanied minors.”Mohamed Daadaoui, a specialist of North African politics at Oklahoma City University, said that the “Moroccan youth are all too eager to take the risk of crossing [to Europe] given the dire socio-economic situation in Morocco. “Their prospects for jobs and economic empowerment have not improved, especially in the Northern part of the country,” he stated. read more

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  • Marrakech Airport to Acquire Electronic Gates

    Rabat – In partnership with the Kuwaiti aviation services provider, National Aviation Services (NAS), the National Office of Airports (ONDA) will launch the electronic gates technology (E-gates) at the Pearl Lounge in the Marrakech Menara Airport departures area.This initiative, the first of its kind in Africa, will ideally end passengers complaints and the long lines that passengers at the Menara airport face at passport control and immigration desks. These automated self-service barriers which use the data stored in the chip in biometric passports to verify the user’s identity. This will allow eligible passengers to access the Pearl Lounge within seconds, without having to stand in long lines having  their identity checked at reception desks. Travelers can also use vouchers and lounge membership cards to cross the barriers. Read Also: Marrakech Business Aviation Expo: Jordanian and American Companies Sign Agreement for Regional Service Center“As the exclusive lounge operator for the Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA) in Morocco, NAS is responsible for bringing world-class facilities and services to the local airports. Since kicking off operations in the country, we have invested in infrastructure, resources, and training; provided operational expertise, state of the art technology solutions and industry benchmarked services, to launch and manage refurbished lounges across the country. The newly introduced E-gates will help enhance our offerings in the country and amplify our efforts to ensure that Moroccan airports supersede recognized international airports around the world,” Hassan El-Houry, Chief Executing Officer of the NAS group told national aviation services Africa-newsroom.NAS airport Technologies division specializes in the sourcing and development of scalable, cost-effective technology solutions to support airport operations, and maximize financial returns. Pearl Lounge services at airports in the Middle East, India, and Africa afford comfort for first and business class passengers and other travelers. read more

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  • King Mohammed VI Inaugurates Princess Lalla Abla Mosque in Tangier

    Rabat – King Mohammed VI, accompanied by his son, Prince Moulay El Hassan, inaugurated a mosque in Tangier and named it “Princess Lalla Abla,” before performing the first prayer in the new mosque on Monday, July 30.The mosque’s name honors the King’s grandmother, Lalla Abla bint Tahar, who was the second wife of King Mohammed V and the mother of King Hassan II.The mosque, built for approximately MAD 26 million, is a part of the integrated redevelopment program of the Tangier-city port area. “Princess Lalla Abla” is located at the end of Avenue Mohammed VI in front of the new fishing port of Tangier that was inaugurated on June 7 by the King. Tangier’s new mosque was built according to Moroccan architectural standards. It has an indoor reception capacity of more than 1,900 people on a plot of 5,712 square meters.“Princess Lalla Abla” has all the necessary amenities for worshipers including two prayer rooms (men and women), housing for the imam and muezzin, shops and an esplanade of 2,720 square meters. read more

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  • DPR Korea UN agencies to vaccinate millions against deadly measles outbreak

    14 March 2007The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) today began a campaign in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), to immunize 6 million children against measles, after the deadly disease broke out last November, affecting 3,500 people and killing two adults and two infants. This first phase of the immunization campaign is being funded by UNICEF and will target children aged 6 months to 15 years. The second phase, planned to start on 10 April, will be funded jointly by UNICEF, WHO and other donors and will aim to reach around 10 million people, aged 16 to 45. In total over 16 million people will be vaccinated.“Measles is highly contagious, but completely preventable,” said UNICEF’s representative in the DPRK Gopalan Balagopal. “For this campaign to be successful we must ensure that every child at risk of measles is properly vaccinated.” Spread through the air, measles is one of the most contagious diseases known.The total cost of the mass immunization will be approximately $6.3 million with the Government covering all operating costs, estimated at an additional $2.5 million. A joint technical team consisting of four experts from UNICEF and WHO are currently in the DPRK to assist in the planning and implementation of the campaign.Since the first measles cases surfaced last November, the disease has been diagnosed in 30 of the DPRK’s 204 counties, while the latest data indicates that 40 per cent of cases are among 11 to 19-year olds and nine per cent among children under the age of five, according to UNICEF and the WHO.After the DPRK Ministry of Public Health declared a nationwide measles outbreak on 16 February, representatives from the public health ministry, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, UNICEF and WHO met in Pyongyang to plan their response.As a result of scaled-up national immunization campaigns in Africa and Asia, worldwide measles deaths have fallen from an estimated 873,000 in 1999 to an estimated 345,000 in 2005 – a 60 per cent reduction globally. Despite this progress, measles still remains a leading cause of vaccine-preventable death among children. read more

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  • Gaza UN agencies say closures of crossings come at a humanitarian cost

    The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that the layoff of 65,000 workers by companies in Gaza, following the lack of supplies there, could affect as many as 450,000 dependents.The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which has identified $30 million worth of emergency projects for Gaza, said that it will provide employment projects worth some 640,000 days of work for unemployed refugees there. UNRWA further endorsed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for Karni crossing to be open to Palestinian commercial imports and exports. 19 July 2007The United Nations today said that the closures of crossing points into Gaza are coming at a terrible cost to people living there. read more

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  • UN expert urges fair trial of those responsible for attempt to abduct

    An independent United Nations human rights expert today urged a full investigation of the recent alleged attempt to abduct children from Chad and fly them to France, and called for a fair trial for those responsible.The Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Juan Miguel Petit, issued a statement in Geneva voicing concern about the recent incidents in Abeché, eastern Chad leading to the arrest of some members of a non-governmental organization (NGO) called “Arche de Zoé/Child Rescue” following its alleged attempt to abduct and transfer 103 children to France for alleged adoption.“I call upon both Chadian and French authorities to fully investigate and shed light about the circumstances surrounding the capture of the children. Those found responsible for violations of the rights of the child must be brought to justice and tried in accordance with international fair trial standards,” he said.“I also call upon all parties to take steps to prevent further abuses, always bearing in mind the best interests of children and to respect the relevant international instruments,” he added, citing various treaties including the Hague Agreement on the Protection and Cooperation in respect of Inter-country Adoption.Mr. Petit also commended the efforts of international humanitarian and national agencies on the ground “which are deploying remarkable efforts to ensure the protection of the children involved, including the immediate provision of basic humanitarian assistance.” 6 November 2007An independent United Nations human rights expert today urged a full investigation of the recent alleged attempt to abduct children from Chad and fly them to France, and called for a fair trial for those responsible. read more

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  • General Assembly committee backs global moratorium against death penalty

    A committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted today to back a resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions with a view to eventually abolishing the death penalty entirely.The Assembly’s third committee, which deals with human rights issues, voted 99 to 52, with 33 abstentions, in favour of the resolution, which states “that there is no conclusive evidence of the death penalty’s deterrent value and that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the death penalty’s implementation is irreversible and irreparable.”The resolution will now go before the full 192-member Assembly for a vote next month. All Assembly resolutions are non-binding.The resolution welcomes “the decisions taken by an increasing number of States to apply a moratorium on executions, followed in many cases by the abolition of the death penalty,” and expresses deep concern that the death penalty continues to be applied in some countries.It calls on nations that do impose the death penalty to ensure they meet internationally agreed minimum standards on the safeguards for those facing execution, and to provide the United Nations Secretary-General with information about their use of capital punishment and observation of the safeguards.Further, the resolution asks countries to progressively restrict the use of the death penalty, such as by reducing the number of offences for which it may be imposed, and calls on those States that have abolished the practice to not reintroduce it.In the past two days, before the resolution was put to a vote by the third committee, more than a dozen proposed amendments to the text were rejected by committee members.The third committee also passed a resolution today, this time by consensus without a vote, calling for the elimination of rape and other forms of sexual violence in all their manifestations, including in conflict and related situations.The text urges States to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence; to end impunity for perpetrators of such crimes; to provide victims with greater access to health care, including trauma counselling; to promote human rights education and conduct public awareness campaigns; and to consider ratifying or acceding to all human rights treaties on the issue, particularly the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol. 15 November 2007A committee of the United Nations General Assembly voted today to back a resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions with a view to eventually abolishing the death penalty entirely. read more

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  • Record number of people make perilous journey to Yemen UN reports

    Fleeing conflict, poverty and drought, more than 74,000 people – a record number – from the Horn of Africa risked their lives this year to make the treacherous journey across the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea to begin their lives anew in Yemen, the United Nations refugee agency said today.This figure is up a staggering 50 per cent from the 50,000 arrivals last year, Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.Refugees and migrants travel in smugglers’ boats under harrowing conditions, he noted. “In some cases they are beaten, raped, killed or just thrown overboard into the shark-infested waters.”The often overloaded and rickety boats sometimes capsize, drowning those on board.Latest UNHCR statistics show that 309 people lost their lives in 2009, while nearly 600 died in 2008, as they tried to reach Yemen.“The mixed migration route through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea is presently the busiest and the deadliest one in the world,” Mr. Mahecic said.While Somalis have comprised the majority of the arrivals in previous years, the number of Ethiopians reaching Yemen has doubled from last year to more than 42,000, while the number of Somalis has remained steady at around 32,000.Virtually all Somalis aim to reach the two reception centres at Mafyaa and Ahwar before traveling to Sana’a and Aden, while most Ethiopians seek job opportunities in Gulf nations.Upon arriving in Yemen, all Somali nationals are automatically recognized as refugees by Yemeni authorities. The country currently hosts 150,000 Somali refugees.People with other nationalities, including Ethiopians, who want to apply for asylum must do so under the refugee status determination procedure carried out by UNHCR.This year, most Ethiopians did not approach the reception centres because they did not intend to apply for asylum. “However, we believe that some of them may have avoided approaching the centres, fearing arrest and detention as those who do not apply for asylum and are found to be in the country illegally could end up in Yemeni detention and are ultimately deported,” Mr. Mahecic said.UNHCR has not had systematic access to Ethiopians detained in Yemen for entering the country illegally, and has been expressing its serious concern over the continued detention and deportation of Ethiopians, who are not allowed to contact UNHCR, with authorities. 18 December 2009Fleeing conflict, poverty and drought, more than 74,000 people – a record number – from the Horn of Africa risked their lives this year to make the treacherous journey across the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea to begin their lives anew in Yemen, the United Nations refugee agency said today. read more

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  • Freedom of movement for peacekeepers in Lebanon must be ensured –UN

    Earlier this week villagers reportedly staged numerous protests against the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) during a maximum deployment exercise carried out by the mission, which is tasked with monitoring a ceasefire between Israel and Hizbollah.UNIFIL regularly carries out such exercises to ensure the readiness of its troops on the ground. The UN has noted that particular care is taken to minimize disturbance or inconvenience to the local population during the operation, and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are fully informed of the activity, its nature and purpose. “UNIFIL’s freedom of movement was violated and UN troop-contributing countries are quite concerned,” Michael Williams, the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said in a statement following his meeting in Beirut with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.“We must insist that the freedom of movement of UNIFIL is fully respected,” he said. “UNIFIL’s exercise in the area was carried out as part of its normal operations and with full respect of its mandate, and indeed the LAF assisted UNIFIL in defusing tensions.”Mr. Williams added that he and Mr. Berri agreed on the need to work hard to prevent any recurrence of the problems of the past week and that all parties must be involved in trying to defuse these tensions.The two men also discussed the implementation of Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizbollah. It also calls for respect of the so-called Blue Line separating the Israeli and Lebanese sides, the disarming of all militias operating in Lebanon and an end to arms smuggling in the area.The Special Coordinator noted that UNIFIL’s presence and deployment in the south and its close work and coordination with the LAF “provide the backbone for the implementation of resolution 1701 in a way that serves the interests of Lebanon and the stability of the entire region.”UN spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters on Wednesday that UNIFIL is making every effort to talk to the communities and explain to them the nature and purpose of the activity to clear up any misunderstandings they may have. The enhanced deployment operations concluded on 30 June. 2 July 2010The freedom of movement of United Nations peacekeepers serving in south Lebanon must be fully respected, the world body’s top official in the country said today, voicing concern at recent incidents involving protests directed at blue helmets. read more

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  • MasterCard to hike fees for small businesses CFIB

    TORONTO — MasterCard Canada plans to follow Visa’s lead and increase transaction fees for small merchants this summer, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.The CFIB said Friday that the credit card company has disclosed that it plans a 20% increase in its assessment fee to 7.7 basis points on July 1.President and CEO Dan Kelly said that while the increase is smaller than the one announced earlier by Visa, his organization — the largest representing Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses — is still dismayed by the decision.“CFIB is very disappointed that MasterCard is choosing to increase its fees at a time when small firms are struggling with an uncertain economy,” Kelly said in a release.He added that it was particularly surprising that both major credit card brands are upping their fees just before Canada’s Competition Tribunal is expected to rule in its case against the two credit card giants.“Unfortunately, the only competition between Visa and MasterCard is to see who can raise prices the most for merchants and consumers and deliver the highest fees for Canada’s banks,” Kelly said.MasterCard issued an email statement saying it has operated a “seamless and trusted” network for the past 45 years.“We continuously work to balance the payments network so that all parties pay their fair share,” it said.MasterCard said it will continue to work with merchants and institutions that issue the cards to deliver payment methods “that deliver consumers a valuable purchasing experience.”The CFIB is among those arguing against industry rules that require businesses that accept Visa or MasterCard to treat all types of their cards equally, regardless of the cost of processing payments.The CFIB, with 109,000 members countrywide, says shopkeepers and others who accept credit and debit cards as payment need the right to be able to refuse high-cost cards or to add limited surcharges.It also argues Canada’s code of conduct needs provisions for new mobile types of payment, such as by cellphone. Under a settlement reached in the summer, Visa, MasterCard and major banks agreed to pay retailers in the United States at least US$6 billion to settle a long-running lawsuit that alleged the card issuers conspired to fix the fees that stores pay to accept credit cards.Under that settlement, which settled a dispute going back to 2005, U.S. merchants will also be allowed to charge their customers more if they pay with credit cards.The Canadian Press read more

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  • BlackBerry Ltds QNX envisions world where potholes and broken elevators get fixed

    TORONTO — Finally, someone might fix those potholes littering your neighbourhood.At least that’s the hope of developers at Ottawa-based QNX Software Systems, who foresee equipping cars with sensors that automatically send data on road conditions — such as potholes — to city officials.“If a car is hitting a crazy bump at a similar GPS location and other cars are doing the same, (the vehicle) can actually share that information with the municipality . . . Wouldn’t it be nice if you could actually prioritize the problems?” asks Derek Kuhn, vice-president of sales and marketing for QNX.QNX, which was acquired by BlackBerry four years ago, wants to lift the veil of mystery how machines can provide detailed information about everyday life.We are able to share things so there can be efficienciesBroken elevators are an annoyance for most people, but QNX sees them as an opportunity. Kuhn says the company’s technology can use sensors inside the elevator to help mechanics determine the problem before they step inside the building and give them the chance to have replacement parts at the ready.“We are able to share things so there can be efficiencies,” Kuhn says.The initiative is the backbone of Project Ion, a development underway at BlackBerry that’s intended provide analytics data for various industries. It’s part of the “Internet of Things” movement, a buzzy phrase used to describe the technology which connects various objects to one network.“It’s the things that we don’t think have any kind of computing brain,” Kuhn says.Still in its infancy, it’s widely expected that more devices used throughout our daily lives — from automobiles to fridges — will be linked on a network which allows remote access and control of information.BlackBerry believes its handsets, QNX’s software, and the security infrastructure between them, can play a major role in building out the next stage in the digital evolution.QNX developed the smartphone operating system that became the platform for BlackBerry 10 phones, but a growing part of its business relies on partnerships with automakers for dashboard “infotainment” systems and what will ultimately be a vehicle that’s connected to the outside world.The company’s software is also frequently used in medical devices to help manufacturers develop some defibrillators as well as patient monitoring and blood analysis systems.Pinpoint accuracy that’s built into QNX software allows variations of the technology to be used in everything from laser eye surgery equipment to autonomous forklifts.Despite its presence in so many different technologies, QNX is still a widely misunderstood company that hasn’t mainstream recognition.“We’re not prone to being a household brand,” Kuhn said. “We’ve just always been behind things that are cool.” read more

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  • Oakville Ont council votes to give heritage status for Glen Abbey

    TORONTO — Glen Abbey, one of Canada’s most famous golf courses, received some protection from potential redevelopment into a residential and commercial complex on Monday night.Town council voted unanimously in favour of designating the golf course — which has hosted the Canadian Open more times than any other — under the Ontario Heritage Act.Glen Abbey owner ClubLink has proposed development that would see the course become a mix of some 3,200 residential units as well as office and retail space.Following the vote before a packed council chamber, Mayor Rob Burton said council had heard the concerns of residents who want to keep the course intact.“I think I can summarize what I heard as people saying that Glen Abbey is Oakville and Oakville is Glen Abbey,” he said.“There’s a lot more to Oakville than Glen Abbey in my humble opinion, but I certainly think there’s a lot of weight in what they said to that effect.”Burton said before the vote that a heritage designation means there are rules to be followed when it comes to preserving heritage attributes of a property, but added there was still “flexibility” and an appeals process.“I do know that heritage is our past and heritage is our future and I know that this town has taken a strong leadership role in the conservation of its heritage resources,” Burton said outside council chambers.Fraser Damoff, a spokesman for the Save Glen Abbey Coalition, a group fighting to stop the development, earlier described the golf course as a “gem” for Canadian golf and part of the town’s identity.Golf legend Jack Nicklaus designed the course, which opened 40 years ago. The Canadian Golf Museum and Hall of Fame and Golf Canada offices are housed on the site, which has hosted the Canadian Open 29 times and is slated to host it again next year.“Oakville as a whole has built around Glen Abbey over the years. It’s been central to the design of the town. Certainly when a lot of people think Oakville, they think of Glen Abbey,” Damoff said.“As other areas of Oakville were swallowed up by single detached homes, it became more and more important for Glen Abbey to stay as it is.”The movement to protect the course was given a boost after the Canadian Open in July, when winner Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela said he wants the club to stay open.“I’m going to be one of the biggest voices to keep this course open, especially if I keep winning here,” said Vegas. “I’ll definitely make a statement on trying to keep Glen Abbey going.”Burton said prior to the vote that the Canadian Open at Glen Abbey has shown off Oakville to the world.“That’s a pretty valuable image and stature for the town of Oakville in the global competition for investment and business,” he said, adding that the golf tournament brings in millions in visitor spending.“It costs us a significant amount of money to host the Open, but we believe that it’s a very good return for our community.”Oakville town council will be considering ClubLink’s application to redevelop the golf course on Sept. 26.——On the web:The town of Oakville’s website features information on the development status for Glen Abbey:http://www.oakville.ca/business/glen-abbey-information.html read more

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  • Diaspora against stability in Lanka

    The Sri Lankan minister said the main reason behind the conflict between Tamil and Sinhalese was cultural gap between the two races, not the economic disparity.Peiris said Sri Lanka has been able to maintain 8% economic growth after the conflict. Peiris claimed that more Tamil political leaders were killed than the Sinhalese leaders by LTTE during the conflicts. From 1983, there was an intermittent insurgency against the Sri Lankan government by the LTTE (also known as Tamil Tigers), a separatist militant organisation which fought to create an independent Tamil state called Tamil Eelam in the north and the east of the island. After a 26-year military campaign, the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, bringing the civil war to an end. External Affairs Minister G L Peiris said that Tamil diasporas are still ‘rigid’ against stability in Sri Lanka even after the end of 26 years of military conflict in the South Asian nation.“During the conflict, there was also fear of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) among the Tamils living inside Sri Lanka,” he said while presenting a paper titled ‘Equity, Opportunity and Empowerment, A South Asian Perspective’ during a discussion in the Bangladesh capital yesterday. “Our army is still involved in rehabilitation works like construction of houses and markets in the conflict torn areas,” he said.At present, the major income generating source of Sri Lankan economy is tourism as the sector has flourished tremendously after establishment of peace, he added. (Gulf Times) read more

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  • Police reject US allegations

    However, the report says there were credible reports that police and security forces tortured and abused citizens. The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) allows for confessions from torture to be admitted as evidence. (Colombo Gazette)CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO The police have rejected allegations of torture of detainees raised in a US human rights report released by the State Department.Acting police spokesman Priyashantha Jayakody said that the police undergo training in maintaining human rights when carrying out their duties. An annual human rights report released by the US State Department has slammed the police in Sri Lanka for alleged torture and abuse of people while in detention.The Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2012 states that in Sri Lanka the law makes torture a punishable offense and mandates a sentence of not less than seven years’ and not more than 10 years’ imprisonment. “There have not been such reports in recent times,” the police spokesman said. He said that if such alleged incidents of torture or abuse of detainees does take place then complaints can be lodged with the Human Rights Commission or raised in Court. read more

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  • New alliance to focus on estate community

    A new alliance, the Tamil Progressive Alliance, which will focus on the estate community, was launched today with the participation of the political party leaders of the alliance.The new alliance consists of the Democratic People’s Front led by Mano Ganeshan, National Union of Workers led by Palani Digambaran and Up-country People’s Front led by V. Radhakrishnan. Ganeshan said that while the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) looks at issues faced by Tamils in the North, there is no one who gives enough focus to the issues faced by the up-country Tamils. As a result, the three Tamil political parties which have the backing of the up-country Tamils, have decided to form an alliance and work together in future. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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  • Defence Secretary assures credible investigations

    Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi today assured credible investigations on various allegations raised against the institutions which operate under him.Hettiarachchi said this when he made his first formal courtesy visit to the Army Headquarters today amid military formalities and a warm reception, hosted by the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva and all serving the Army Headquarters (AHQ). Later speaking to troops he highlighted the importance of applying a strategic ‘security clearance policy’ when it comes to face new challenges at various national levels where the point of view of the armed forces is also understood. “We have issues to face and we can certainly solve those issues pertaining to our institutes by conducting credible inquiries and we are prepared to do so because the devil is not so fierce as we all contemplated. For that all of us have to work as a team and work out modalities,” he said.Underscoring the need to maintain the dignity of the organization, Karunasena Hettiarachchi requested high ranking senior officers to produce more and more skilled officers to the Army since it is the Army that could help the country to be disciplined. During the formal and brief meeting at the Commander’s office, both Karunasena Hettiarachchi and Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva exchanged views on matters of mutual interest and pleasantries. “We are thankful for your commitment for defeat of terrorism and that hard-earned freedom although there are challenges need to be addressed for the benefit of others in our society. It was your discipline that brought about that difference and our ways of thinking and your (military) way of looking at things are different. That is civil society and we need to have a balanced view because the best is to comply and complain,” he said.He said that attitudes and attributes in society have badly deteriorated and an organization, like the army which is not at all political could contribute a lot for their rectification. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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  • One killed 7 injured in expressway accident

    The van in which the woman and several others were travelling in skidded off the road and hit a fence at the 73rd km post along the Southern expressway.The injured were rushed to hospital. (Colombo Gazette) One person was killed and seven others were injured following an accident along the Southern expressway today.The police said that a 28 year old woman was killed in the accident.

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