Off the Charts More blowout earnings What comes nextOff the Charts More blowout earnings What comes next

first_imgNEW YORK — Forget about “What have you done for me lately?” The big question investors will be asking companies this upcoming earnings season is: What will you do next?Companies are lining up to tell investors how much they made during the last three months of 2018, and the reports get going in earnest this upcoming week with Citigroup and a slew of other banks on deck. Expectations are high, and Wall Street is forecasting a fifth straight quarter where profit growth topped 10 per cent for S&P 500 companies.Markets could use some encouragement following the worst December for stocks since the Great Depression. But investors are likely less interested in companies’ performance over the last three months as what they have to say about the trends for 2019.Economic growth around the world is expected to slow this year, and rising payroll costs could be eating into company profits. Trying to judge the impact on profits, investors will pay more attention to the conference calls that CEOs hold with analysts and shareholders after reporting their quarterly results.“The market is going to be very focused on the calls,” said Ernie Cecilia, chief investment officer at Bryn Mawr Trust. “It’s going to be about revenue expectations and margins more than anything.”Analysts have been expecting profit growth to slow for companies in 2019 following their blowout 2018, when the first year of lower tax rates provided a big, one-time boost. Wall Street has been slashing its forecasts for 2019 profit growth in recent weeksWithout the tax benefit, companies need to either drum up more revenue or extract more profit from each $1 in sales to push their profits higher. And some big name companies have cited pain caused by other challenges, such as the global trade war.Apple, for example, shocked Wall Street when it said this month that China’s economy was slowing more sharply than it expected and slashed its revenue forecast for the final quarter of 2018. Rival Samsung cited weak global demand for chips when it said it expects a roughly 29 per cent drop in operating profit for the fourth quarter.Companies, meanwhile, are finally giving bigger pay raises to their employees. After years of sluggish gains, workers’ hourly earnings rose 3.2 per cent last month for the strongest growth since 2009. While that’s good for workers, it can mean lower profit margins for companies unless they can pass along their cost increases to their customers. Given the slowing economy, that may not be easy.That’s why Wall Street is now forecasting earnings growth for S&P 500 companies to drop by more than half to 7 per cent this year from 20 per cent in 2018. Three months ago, analysts were forecasting a healthier 10 per cent jump in 2019 earnings.Stan Choe, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Pot producers face pushback over odour smell in Ontario farming townPot producers face pushback over odour smell in Ontario farming town

first_imgPELHAM, Ont. — David Ireland is frustrated by the “skunk smell” of pot that wafts down from two cannabis cultivation facilities roughly five kilometres away and lingers outside his home, even in the winter.“On hot humid days, it’s worse because they have to vent more often … You wouldn’t be able to open your windows,” he said.The town of Pelham, Ont., where Ireland lives — an hour away from Toronto, near Niagara Region wine country — has become a hotbed for legal commercial pot growers who have snapped up greenhouses and converted them from flowers and vegetables to the more lucrative crop.There are now six licensed marijuana production operations in the community of 17,500 people, and one cannabis company that has expressed interest, according to Pelham Mayor Marvin Junkin.And while the community is receptive to the jobs the companies bring, mounting complaints about odour and light pollution at night have prompted residents such as Ireland to  form a group aimed at keeping the industry in check.As a result, Pelham has banned any new cannabis cultivation facilities and existing ones are prohibited from expanding for one year, under an interim control bylaw put in place on Oct. 15 last year.“Unfortunately, the ones that are here haven’t been the best of corporate citizens,” Junkin said.“It’s a two-edge sword right now,” the mayor said. “As a town we definitely like the jobs…  If they can just meet a little bit more halfway on the emissions, light and odour.” This tension in Pelham highlights the growing pains of the cannabis industry as Canadian pot players ramp up production to meet domestic and global demand while balancing the concerns of the communities where they operate.The Green Organic Dutchman, based in Mississauga, Ont., has also faced resistance in Hamilton where it has a planned greenhouse expansion. Meanwhile, more than 30 Ontario municipalities have decided they do not want cannabis retail stores in their communities ahead of a Jan. 22 deadline.The domestic cannabis industry has exploded in recent years in preparation for legalization of adult-use pot last fall.The cannabis market in Canada, including medical, illegal and legal recreational products is expected to generate up to $7.17 billion in total sales in 2019, according to a recent Deloitte report. Of that amount, legal sales are expected to contribute more than half, up to $4.34 billion, in the first year, Deloitte added.Canada has emerged as the world leader in pot, with companies expanding their global reach as more countries around the world legalize the drug for medical use.The result has been an economic bump in communities such as Leamington, Ont. and Smiths Falls, Ont., helping to fill a void left behind by factories that once produced Heinz Ketchup and Hershey chocolate, said Ryerson University business professor Brad Poulos.“It’s had a huge impact, basically brought these communities back to life,” Poulos said.There were 10,400 people employed in cannabis-related jobs in Canada in November, up 7,500 or 266 per cent from a year earlier, according Statistics Canada.Meanwhile, demand for legal recreational pot since Oct. 17 across Canada continues to outstrip supply, with widespread shortages that provinces and territorial suppliers have warned may last for months.The pushback against the industry in Pelham is a constraint on licensed producers such as CannTrust, hampering their ability to expand and cash in on the current supply crunch.“Overall, we consider this to be a potential negative development as a delay in CannTrust’s ramp to full production would limit its ability to capitalize on the near-term under-supplied Canadian market,” said Bank of Montreal analyst Tamy Chen in a recent note to clients.CannTrust opened a hydroponic facility in Pelham last June, which the company has said is capable of producing up to 50,000 kilograms of pot annually. The producer had also planned to expand the facility, in two phases, which would eventually increase its output to 100,000 kilograms. The company has not yet received the needed permits for the latter phase of its expansion. CannTrust chief executive Peter Aceto said those permit applications were submitted before the Oct. 15 bylaw was passed.However, Pelham’s director of community planning Barbara Weins said a sale transaction related to CannTrust’s planned expansion was not completed before Oct. 15 and therefore the permits could not be issued.The company has taken “significant precautions” to control odour at its Pelham facility and it hasn’t received any smell complaints, Aceto said, but it has been contacted by the county about light pollution.“It’s always been really important to us to be a good member of that community,” Aceto said. “So if there is something that is making people unhappy, we want to remedy it.”In any case, CannTrust is exploring other options to expand its production capabilities, such as outdoor growing, acquiring a licensed producer or buying existing greenhouses in other parts of the country, he said.CannTrust executives met with Pelham’s mayor on Friday and had a “productive” visit, according to Junkin.Leviathan Cannabis Group had announced plans for a greenhouse in Pelham, and has made an exemption application to the town, said its chief executive Martin Doane.The Toronto-based company, which is still awaiting its license from Health Canada, intends to build a sealed greenhouse with full shading to contain odour and light, he said.“Our company empathizes… We don’t want to be lumped in with these earlier-generation facilities.”The light pollution, rather than the pungent aroma, is the most pressing concern, said long-time area resident Josh Miner.“At night, it’s ridiculous… I can walk in my backyard and it’s bright as day,” he said.Still, Miner recognizes the economic boost the industry brings and has positioned himself to benefit from it. His business Fenwick Pie Co. is near one of the cannabis cultivators in Pelham, and has seen an influx of customers as a result.“People do need to realize that heavy industry is dead, or it’s on its way to dying. And if people need jobs — that’s a job,” Miner said.A pungent aroma is a common by-product of any industry, he adds.“The way I look at it, we’ve been an agricultural area forever and I grew up near a chicken farm,” Miner said.“So there’s a negative smell there as well, but nobody has stopped raising chickens.” Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Northeast BC team has record year at Skills Canada ProvincialsNortheast BC team has record year at Skills Canada Provincials

first_imgClearview School students Thomas Copes and Cole Van Der Linden also won gold medals in the Jr. Skills Gravity Vehicle competition, and Nathaniel Janzen did Prespatou School proud with a silver medal in the Jr. Skills Sumo Robot competition.The Dawson Creek Secondary School’s South Peace campus can also now lay claim to five Provincial silver medallists: Matt Larden in Cabinetmaking, Cullen Swedja in Carpentry, Ethan Willms in Photography, and teammates Jordan Girard and Kris Fearon in TV/Video Production.NLC students David Beifort and Yoshan Lavoie won and gold and bronze medal respectively in Electrical Wiring and Aerospace Technology. Gold Medalists Beifort, Stregger, and Van Volkenburg also qualified to join Team BC to compete at the Canadian Skills Competition in Edmonton June 4th and 5th. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Peace Region Skills Canada team is back in Northeast B.C. after competing at the Skills Canada Provincials in Abbotsford this week. The team of competitors was made up of gold medalists from the Regional Skills Competition held at Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek on February 16th, in addition to eight staff and four parents.Out of 30 the competitors from School Districts 59, 60, 81, and Northern Lights College, 15 came home with medals – making it a record year at the competition for Northeast B.C. NPSS students Liam Stregger and Jacob Van Volkenburg took home a gold medal in the Robotics competition, while their fellow classmates Ninaad Rathod and Xinkai Xu won a silver medal. Erica Thomas Schulenburg, who also studies at NPSS, took home bronze in Public Speaking.last_img read more

Province asking feds for help in battle against wildfiresProvince asking feds for help in battle against wildfires

first_imgThe provincial government says that there is currently more than 3,400 wildfire personnel including contractors, municipal firefighters, industry personnel and out-of-province crews from Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, responding to some 600 wildfires currently burning across B.C.Despite this, the provincial government has made the request of the feds, asking for two hundred personnel to perform the mop-up and patrol of fires that have been contained, along with aircraft to reposition wildfire crews and equipment to new fire starts and to evacuate injured personnel and residents in remote areas.“This is an urgent situation, and the safety of British Columbians is our highest priority,” said Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “Due to the increase in the number of wildfires affecting communities and the extreme wildfire behaviour we are seeing, we’re asking for federal assistance for additional resources that may be needed to protect the public, property and infrastructure.”Farnworth is scheduled to give a press conference about the Province’s request at 2:00 p.m. VICTORIA, B.C. – The end of the wildfire season in B.C. still weeks away and with no substantial precipitation in the forecast, the provincial government has requested help from the federal government for its firefighting efforts.As of this morning, the 27 evacuation orders currently in effect had forced approximately 3,100 people from their homes.Another 43 evacuation alerts mean that an additional roughly 17,900 B.C. residents need to be ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.last_img read more

Province and ICBC announce increased treatment for people injured in motor vehicleProvince and ICBC announce increased treatment for people injured in motor vehicle

first_imgVANCOUVER, B.C. – The B.C. government and ICBC announce new regulations for the treatment of people injured in motor vehicle accidents.The province says these changes create a care-based car insurance system in B.C. that will provide increased care. New regulations, coming into effect April 1, 2019, will increase ICBC accident benefits for anyone injured in a crash regardless of fault. Customers will also have access to an expanded list of treatment providers, and updated treatment fees.Christine Bradstock, CEO for PABC says this announcement is positive news. “Working together with ICBC, we see this announcement as positive news for people injured in a motor vehicle accident, as they will have access to enhanced physiotherapy coverage. This is also excellent news for physiotherapists that treat ICBC patients as it allows for early intervention and increased treatment time for patients.”The regulations include updated treatment fees and types of treatments covered by ICBC for both new and existing claims. They also define a minor injury as it relates to payouts for pain and suffering, building on the legislated definition.Treatment protocol guidelines for examination, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of minor injuries to provide more consistent care for people injured in a crash are also included in these changes.For more information on this announcement, you can visit read more

Three people injured in industrial explosionThree people injured in industrial explosion

first_imgRCMP continue to investigate the incident.  There are no concerns for the safety of the public and no expected travel delays as the incident occurred in a remote location. GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. –  Three people have been injured after an industrial explosion near Musreau Lake.On January 18, 2019, at approximately 2:30 p.m., Grande Prairie RCMP along with emergency personnel responded to an explosion of a compressor building at an oil and gas industrial site west of Musreau Lake, Alberta.   Three individuals who were working near the building were injured as a result of the explosion.  All three of the workers were transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.  last_img

Regional District issues evacuation order for property impacted by Sukunka LandslideRegional District issues evacuation order for property impacted by Sukunka Landslide

first_imgThe Regional District says there will be no entry into the property while the Evacuation Order is in place.For more information, you contact the Regional District at 250-784-3200.For updates, you can visit the Regional District’s website. CHETWYND, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District has issued an evacuation order due to the Sukunka Landslide in Chetwynd.The evacuation order has been issued for the house and surrounding area at 8657 Highway 29 South.According to the District, the occupants self-evacuated on March 23, 2019.last_img

Siddha Group introduces Rooftop SkyplexSiddha Group introduces Rooftop Skyplex

first_imgSiddha Group, Eastern India’s leading real estate developer, recently announced a first-of-its-kind initiative, Rooftop Skyplex, at their projects with Skywalks to give Kolkatans an altogether new movie-watching experience like never before.Siddha Group has always been a pioneer in introducing new dimensions in real estate; be it the longest ever Rooftop Skywalk in the world at an affordable residential project or the Siddha homebuying App and more. Skyplex is an additional feature where Siddha home-buyers can watch movies at the open air Rooftop Skywalks in an amphitheater setting. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainA lot of residential condominiums have introduced the concept of mini theatres at their residential clubs but Siddha Group is going a step forward and introducing Rooftop Sky Theatre experience with Skyplex with modern projection technologies with hi-tech sound system at their Skywalks. “We have always added innovations in our projects which have made home buying and living experience for the customers better. With our Rooftop Skywalks being the talk of the town, we added this extraordinary feature in the form of Skyplex in our Skywalks. Because who wouldn’t love the experience of watching their favourite movies or watching their favourite teams fight it out at the fields, at the rooftop under the sky in the open air. Now-a-days it is all about providing unique experiences and we are sure this is something our customers will look forward to”, said Sanjay Jain, Managing Director, Siddha Group. Siddha will be adding this feature across their affordable Skywalk projects that include Siddha Sky at EM Bypass, Siddha Suburbia on Southern Bypass, Siddha Eden LakeVille on BT Road and Siddha Galaxia at Rajarhat. All the Skyplex are proposed to have a 2K projection and dolby digital sound system. Comfortable sit outs across the amphitheatre will provide ample seating space for the residents.last_img read more

Awareness campaign to prevent diabetic retinopathyAwareness campaign to prevent diabetic retinopathy

first_imgKolkata: A diabetic retinopathy screening camp was conducted by Health and Family Welfare department and eye department of Eastern Railway’s B.R. Singh Hospital in collaboration with IROPA (Indian Railway Opthalmic Physicians Association) and ARC/ AIOS (All India Opthalmological Society) at Sonarpur Health Unit on Wednesday.A total of 104 patients were registered in the camp. About 68 diabetic patients were screened at the camp. All screening tests were done, including fundus photography for documentation . About 29 percent of the screened patients were found to be having some form of diabetic retinopathy. They were counselled and all investigation and treatment protocol advised. All patients were told about the disease, prevention and modalities of treatment. This will result to prevent blindness from diabetic retinopathy. Awareness programme was also conducted for prevention of the disease.last_img read more

Kejriwal demands strict action against those behind killing of businessmanKejriwal demands strict action against those behind killing of businessman

first_imgNEW DELHI: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday demanded strict action into the brutal killing of a businessman after he allegedly objected to lewd comments made by some boys on his daughter in west Delhi. The businessman’s 19-year-old son was also injured in the attack. Police identified the accused as Jahangir Khan and his son Mohammad Alam were arrested in the case and two minors were also apprehended. The Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) also issued a notice to Delhi Police on Tuesday seeking details of investigation in the matter. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesKejriwal posted on Twitter, “Delhi Police must take strongest action against the guilty.” Delhi BJP Chief Manoj Tiwari also described the incident as “sad and highly condemnable.” “Sad, highly condemnable. Father protested, to uphold the dignity of his daughter. A brave son did his duty towards his family. Goondaism and urban naxalism have no place in our society. We should all come together and condemn it. Culprits should be punished through fast track court,” Tiwari wrote. Also Read – More good air days in Delhi due to Centre’s steps: JavadekarThe DCW said it “is extremely shocked and perturbed by the gravity of offence committed by the men, the father of the men and the accomplices”. In the notice issued to Deputy Commissioner of Police (West), the women’s panel sought information whether any complaint of harassment, eve-teasing, molestation etc had been received against the accused in the past. The commission has also asked police about the details of the FIR and whether the accused who allegedly misbehaved with the victim’s daughter were booked under appropriate sections of law. They have also sought the current status report on the investigation by May 17. Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Monika Bharadwaj said that businessman son’s Anmol who was injured in the incident did not give his statement on Tuesday. When asked whether the deceased’s family had given any complaint about accused in past, DCP West stated that no such complaints were received. “The attack was not preplanned,” added DCP West. The Delhi Police had kept their personnel at the spot to stop any untoward incident. Investigators said that questioning is going on with the family members including accused’s wife in the case.last_img read more

Laayoune Attorney General informs WGAD on legal rights of prisoners inLaayoune Attorney General informs WGAD on legal rights of prisoners in

first_imgLaayoune – The Attorney General of the King at the Court of Appeal in Laayoune, Abdelkarim Chafai informed the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) on the legal and human rights approach, and the legal rights granted to any prisoner in Morocco.After his meeting with the WGAD which is on a visit to the Kingdom at the invitation of the Moroccan government, Mr. Chafai told the press that he discussed with the members of the delegation the legal and human rights approach as well as the grantees granted to persons held in police custody, including the right to remain silent, to inform their families, legal assistance and the right to contact a lawyer.This meeting was also an opportunity to discuss the issue of guarantees of a fair trial as defined by the criminal proceedings in accordance with international agreements, he added, noting that the new Constitution of 2011 emphasizes the primacy of international treaties over domestic law of the country. The visit of the UN group in Morocco (December 9-18) is part of the openness process of the Kingdom, and its interaction with the mechanisms of the UN system of human rights and its irreversible strategic choice on the matter.last_img read more

MoroccanSwedish Model Under Harsh Criticism for not Observing RamadanMoroccanSwedish Model Under Harsh Criticism for not Observing Ramadan

By Nahla BendefaaRabat – Over the past few days, the Facebook page of Moroccan-Swedish blogger and fashion model Kenza Zouiten has received many of negative comments about her Ramadan habits.Zouiten, who was born to a Moroccan father and Swedish mother, is the owner of one of the most read blogs in Sweden. During the month of Ramadan, she continued posting pictures of her meals on her Instagram and Facebook page. Due to the posts, she has garnered much unwanted attention. Some of the 145,000 people following Zouiten on Facebook felt like she should be held to the same standards as Muslim Moroccans because of the fact that she is half Moroccan. The young model, who is currently on vacation in Ibiza, took to Facebook to express her frustration on June 22.As stated by the model herself, she was raised by her mother, primarily in Sweden. She only lived with her father in Morocco between the ages of two and six. In her post, Zouiten made sure to differentiate between her Moroccan cultural heritage and her faith – which seems to be the main causes of the backlash.Despite the numerous negative comments on the page pushing Zouiten to react, it is easy to see that some people see beyond her belief system. Although expressed differently, there still are people making a call for tolerance and mutual understanding. read more

FAO Says Sea Containers Spread Pests and DiseasesFAO Says Sea Containers Spread Pests and Diseases

Rome – Oil spills garner much public attention and anguish, but “biological spills” represent a greater long-term threat and do not have the same high public profile, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned.Invasive species arrive in new habitats through various channels, but shipping is the main one, and shipping today means sea containers, FAO underlined in a statement, noting that, globally, around 527 million sea container trips are made each year – China alone deals with over 133 million sea containers annually.“It is not only their cargo, but the steel contraptions themselves, that can serve as vectors for the spread of exotic species capable of wreaking ecological and agricultural havoc.” For example, an analysis of 116,701 empty sea containers arriving in New Zealand over the past five years showed that one in 10 was contaminated on the outside, twice the rate of interior contamination.Unwelcome pests included the gypsy moth, the Giant African snail, Argentine ants and the brown marmorated stink bug, each of which threaten crops, forests and urban environments, the UN agency stressed. “Inspection records from the United States, Australia, China and New Zealand indicate that thousands of organisms from a wide range of taxa are being moved unintentionally with sea containers,” said lead scientist Eckehard Brockerhoff of the New Zealand Forest Research Institute.With MAP read more

King Mohammed VI Arrives in Lusaka for Official Visit to ZambiaKing Mohammed VI Arrives in Lusaka for Official Visit to Zambia

Rabat – King Mohammed VI, accompanied by Prince Moulay Ismail, arrived on Sunday in Lusaka for an official visit to the Republic of Zambia, a new stage of a royal tour that will lead the Sovereign to several African countries.Upon His arrival at the international Kenneth Kaunda airport of Lusaka, King Mohammed VI was welcomed by President of the Republic of Zambia, Edgar Chagwa Lungu.The Sovereign was then greeted by the Chief of the Zambian Police Force, the Commanders of the Zambian Armed Forces, Secretary General of the Patriotic Front, Davies Mwila, Zambian Foreign Minister, Harry Kalaba, Lusaka Provincial Minister, Japhen Mwakalombe, and Lusaka Mayor Wilson Kalumba.The King was also greeted by Presidential officials, members of the Zambian government, representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in Lusaka, Moroccan ambassador to the Republic of Zambia, Saadia Alaoui, and members of the Diplomatic representation. For his part, President Edgar Lungu was greeted by members of the official delegation accompanying the King.During this visit, King Mohammed VI is accompanied by an official delegation including mainly the King’s advisor Fouad Ali El Himma and Foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar.The delegation also includes Minister of Housing and Urban Policy, Nabil Benabdellah, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Aziz Akhannouch, Acting Minister of Tourism, Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Acting Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, and Minister of Health, El Hossaine Louardi, as well as several civilian and military figures.After a brief pause at the Presidential Lounge of the international Kenneth Kaunda Airport in Lusaka, the official procession headed to the residence of the King in the Zambian capital.A warm welcome was given to King Mohammed VI inside the airport where Zambian folklore troops performed traditional songs and dances as a welcome to the Sovereign. read more

Hundreds of Protesters Mourn Death of Imad El Attabi in CasablancaHundreds of Protesters Mourn Death of Imad El Attabi in Casablanca

Rabat – Hundreds people gathered in Casablanca in a demonstration to mourn the death of Imad El Attabi, the Rif activist who passed away on Tuesday in Rabat’s military hospital.On Tuesday night, the demonstrators met in Place Maréchal in Morocco’s biggest city and lit candles in tribute to the deceased activist, who died as a result of a severe head injury during the July 20 March in Al Hoceima.Demonstrators held signs calling Attabi a “martyr” of the Hirak, the protest movement in the Rif region, and of “dignity and social justice.” Photos of the late activist were also held by protesters. Media reports indicate that the Attabi’s brother has refused to take his body until receiving a medical autopsy report. The family also declined an offer by Al Hoceima’s governor to pay for the expenses of Attabi’s transfer to the city and burial.The death of the activist brings to mind the sad memory of Mouhcine Firkri’s death in late October 2016, which sparked the anger of Al Hoceima and the surrounding areas.The Hirak movement started as a reaction to the death of Fikri, who was fatally crushed by a truck compactor as he tried to retrieve fish merchandise which had been confiscated and discarded by law enforcement officers.The protests against Fikri’s death turned into a massive movement with a set of social, economic, and political demands.The Hirak has continued its protests for nine months. Since May, demonstrations intensified as dozens of Rif activists, including key Hirak members like Nasser Zafzafi, were arrested and prosecuted with heavy charges such as “undermining the security of the state.”On July 20, a massive March was called to push for the release of detainees.The march was disrupted by security forces, turning into clashes between protesters and law enforcement elements.El Attabi was hit during the clashes. Police said he was injured by stones thrown by other fellow protestors, while other protesters said he had been hit by a tear gas canister fired by security officers.Following his injury, El Attabi was transported to Rabat. The news of his death is likely to further complicate the relation between Rif and the central government.The Crown Prosecutor in Al Hoceima announced on Tuesday that the National Brigade of Judiciary Police (BNPJ) will open a thorough investigation into the incident to establish the truth and determine who is responsible for Attabi’s death. read more

Attijariwafa Bank Named African Bank of the Year 2017 in ParisAttijariwafa Bank Named African Bank of the Year 2017 in Paris

Rabat – The Attijariwafa Bank group keeps on picking up prizes left and right. Its latest achievement is the “African Bank of the Year 2017” trophy at the Africa Investment Forum and Awards (AIFA), which was held on November 23, in Paris.For the group, this distinction “welcomes the active role of the Attijariwafa Bank group, as leader in the banking and financial sector in Morocco, in investment banking and market activities, in the development of the national and African economy, given its largest distribution network in Morocco and Africa with a presence in 26 countries on the continent,” said the bank in a statement released on November 30.The trophy was awarded to Vincent Damilo, the Deputy Director General of Attijariwafa Bank Europe, who represented the Group at this ceremony. “More than 400 leaders from the public and private sectors – CEOs, DGs, Investment Directors, International Directors, Experts as well as European and African institutional players – exchanged on the sidelines of this forum, the current and future perspectives of the economic development in Africa,” added the bank.“The African Bank of the Year Award recognizes Africa’s most successful expansion bank on the African continent,” concluded Attijariwafa Bank. read more

Fuel Companies Profits Reach MAD 900 Million Since Deregulation BouanouFuel Companies Profits Reach MAD 900 Million Since Deregulation Bouanou

Rabat – Two versions of a confidential parliamentary report, commissioned to investigate the distribution of fuels in Morocco, have been leaked to the public. The report was debated Tuesday in the House of Representatives’ Finance Committee.One version appears to be about 25 percent shorter than the other, suggesting the original may have been edited. According to Arabic-language news outlet Lacome-2, “A lot of important data has been removed from the final version, especially related to the profits of companies operating in the sector.”What has changed since price liberalization? After Morocco liberalized fuel pricing on December 1, 2015, the government saved MAD 35 billion each year that were previously spent subsidizing fuel, and redirected the savings to social sectors and disadvantaged people, according to the report.In the parliamentary discussion Tuesday, the chairman of the committee, Abdellah Bouanou, noted that the difference between the government’s set prices and today’s prices is nearly MAD 1 per liter. He added, “The Moroccan market annually consumes some 6.5 million tons [of fuel]. So, we easily reach 7 billion dirhams in one year of additional profit.”While the price of crude oil fluctuates widely, consumers are angered by increases in price.Bouanou also claimed that some companies tripled their profits since liberalization. “Their profits went from 300 million dirhams to 900 million dirhams between 2015 and 2016 thanks to the liberalization of fuel prices.”Without taking taxes into account, the cost of gas in Morocco is on the low end of non-oil producing countries. However, taxes do comprise a large portion of the price, at approximately 34.5 percent on diesel and 43 percent on gasoline. Still, the report claims the tax burden is one of the lowest in the world.Does Afriquia have a monopoly?According to the report, there are 20 gas distribution companies in the kingdom, including three multinational companies operating under subsidiaries (Libya Oil, Vivo Energy, and Total). Eleven companies import crude oil directly.Since liberalization, the number of gas stations in the country has increased by 12 percent. According to a summary provided by Medias24, “Afriquia has nearly 22% of the stations followed by Vivo Energy (Shell) with 14% and Total with 12.5%. Petrom, Ziz, Winxo and Libya Oil follow with shares between 7.5% and 8.7%.”Should boycotting consumers be concerned that Afriquia owns more gas stations than any other gas distributor? A US court ruling in United States vs. Aluminum Co. of America proclaimed that owning 90 percent of the market “is enough to constitute a monopoly; it is doubtful whether sixty or sixty-four percent would be enough; and certainly thirty-three per cent is not.”Although consumers may rest easy if Afriquia owns only 22 percent of the gas stations, they should be vigilant of whether it receives preferential treatment from the government that disadvantages competitors, whether it has deceived the parliamentary commission about its market share, or whether its profits were edited out of the final report version. read more

The Latest Students in New Delhi protest for cleaner airThe Latest Students in New Delhi protest for cleaner air

BERLIN — The Latest on global climate protests by students (all times local):8 a.m.In India’s capital of New Delhi, schoolchildren are protesting inaction on climate change and rising air pollution levels that often far exceed World Health Organization limits.Friday’s rallies by students around the world were one of the biggest international actions yet to demand more government action to fight climate change. Protests were underway or planned in cities in more than 100 countries, including in cities as diverse as Hong Kong, Paris, Warsaw, Wellington, New Zealand and Oulu, Finland.The co-ordinated ‘school strikes,’ were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year.___5 a.m.From the South Pacific to the edge of the Arctic Circle, students mobilized by word of mouth and social media are skipping class to protest what they believe are their governments’ failure to take tough action against global warming.The co-ordinated ‘school strikes,’ were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year.Since then, the weekly protests have snowballed from a handful of cities to hundreds, fueled by dramatic headlines about the impact of climate change during the students’ lifetime.Friday’s rallies were one of the biggest international actions yet. Protests were underway or planned in cities in more than 100 countries, including Hong Kong; New Delhi; Wellington, New Zealand; and Oulu, Finland.___For more Associated Press climate coverage, go to Associated Press read more

CAN 2019 Royal Air Maroc Offers Flights to Cairo at MADCAN 2019 Royal Air Maroc Offers Flights to Cairo at MAD

Rabat – The Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Royal Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF), and Royal Air Maroc (RAM) signed a partnership agreement in Rabat on Friday. The three organizations plan to launch a flight program between Casablanca and Cairo for the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).Morocco’s Atlas Lions are currently in training for CAN 2019, which will take place from June 21 to July 19. Royal Air Maroc will schedule more than 82 flights during the first round of the tournament (June 23 – July 1) to allow more than 7,500 fans to follow the national team to Egypt. The airline offers round-trip tickets at a fixed price of MAD 3,000 to attend one match, and MAD 4,000 for fans attending multiple matches.RAM has a track record of supporting Moroccan Football. In May and June 2018 the airline provided 13 aircraft to transport nearly 2,500 Atlas Lions fans to the World Cup hosted by Russia.RAM also chartered 18 exceptional flights in November 2017, connecting Casablanca to Abidjan to allow 3000 supporters to attend the decisive match between the Atlas Lions and Côte d’Ivoire as part of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup.Tickets will be available for sale starting June 15 through  the company’s marketing channels (sales offices, website and call centers), as well as through the national network of travel agencies. read more

EU high court rules against Adidas in trademark caseEU high court rules against Adidas in trademark case

LUXEMBOURG — A European union high court has ruled against German sports apparel giant Adidas’ claim that its famous three stripes, applied in any direction, deserve trade mark protection.The EU’s General Court ruled on Wednesday that the company could not prove that the stripes had a distinctive enough character throughout the 28-nation bloc.Adidas said it is disappointed in the ruling and considering its next options.Three years ago, the EU’s Intellectual Property Office had struck down the registration of the mark on the grounds it was not distinctive enough throughout the bloc. The court backed the assessment.Adidas insisted specific applications of the stripes were not affected by the ruling.The Associated Press