MONTREAL – Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. shares got a lift Monday after it announced a deal to unload its US$1 billion female sexual dysfunction drug to the company’s former owners for next to nothing.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Valeant’s shares closed up 4.75 per cent to C$15.43 in Monday trading.Under the deal, Valeant will receive a six per cent royalty on sales of Addyi starting 18 months from the signing of the sale agreement. The company declined to estimate how much it expects to realize.The agreement also ends a legal dispute between Valeant and the former owners of Sprout Pharmaceuticals.“Returning Sprout to its former owners will enable us to further streamline our portfolio and reduce complexity in our business,” Valeant chairman and CEO Joseph Papa stated in a news release issued a day before releases its third-quarter results.He said the company’s turnaround efforts are focused on its core businesses, including eye health, gastroenterology and dermatology.Valeant (TSX:VRX, NYSE:VRX) bought Sprout in 2015 for US$1 billion in cash, plus a share of future profits.Addyi is used by premenopausal women to enhance their libidos and improve their sex lives. It comes with a hefty sales price of US$800 per month.In connection with the sale, Valeant will provide a US$25-million loan to fund initial operating expenses. The sale is expected to close before the end of the year.Douglas Miehm of RBC Capital Markets said the transaction isn’t overly surprising given the disappointing sales of Addyi since its launch in October 2015.He estimates sales this year would be less than US$10 million, far less than Valeant’s earlier forecast of up to US$150 million that last year it said it couldn’t achieve.“However, the company will need to write off a large part of the US$836MM in intangible asset value plus contingent consideration associated with the drug, making the optics particularly poor,” he wrote in a report.Valeant shares have plunged since questions about its business model first emerged two years ago, when they traded for more than $300 per share.The company has since faced a string of lawsuits, including one from its former chief executive, as well as swelling debt levels, losses of more than US$2.4 billion and scrutiny over its drug pricing practices.With its recently announced US$125 million debt repayment, Valeant has reached its goal of repaying US$5 billion of debt about four months ahead of its February 2018 target, wrote Neil Maruoka of Canaccord Genuity.
CALGARY – The National Energy Board has ruled in favour of Kinder Morgan Canada in its efforts to bypass Burnaby, B.C., bylaws thatstand in the way of its Trans Mountain expansion project.The NEB order says the company is not required to comply with two sections of the city’s bylaws as it prepares to begin construction in the area.The company had filed a motion to have the NEB overrule the bylaws on a constitutional basis, because it claimed the city was delaying a project the federal government had approved.Burnaby maintained that it was following the standard bylaws process and that the company was to blame for shoddy applications.The NEB says its decision allows the company to start work at its temporary infrastructure site near the Westridge Marine Terminal,and some work at the Burnaby Terminal, subject to any other permits or authorizations that may be required.Kinder Morgan Canada says the $7.4 billion pipeline expansion is already months behind and further delays could threaten the viability of the controversial project.
TABER, Alta. – A group with the support of thousands of farmers will appear before the Supreme Court of Canada to oppose a legal ruling that allows energy companies to walk away from unprofitable wells on agricultural land.The court announced Thursday that it will hear from the Action Surface Rights Association in an appeal of the so-called Redwater decision. It allows bankrupt energy companies to abandon wells during bankruptcy proceedings without having to clean up the sites.“It didn’t seem like anybody cared about the landowners’ position,” said Daryl Bennett, a farmer from Taber, Alta., and a member of the surface rights group, which asked the court to let it intervene.“Industry is able to walk away from the requirement to return the land back like it was when they first took it.”The 2016 ruling in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench allows bankrupt energy companies to sever their connection with unprofitable and unreclaimed wells when their assets are sold off for creditors. Since that decision, more than 1,800 wells representing more than $100 million in liabilities have been abandoned.Alberta’s energy regulator, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, the Alberta government and legal scholars have all warned about the consequences of that ruling.Bennett and his neighbours are living with the results. He said friends of his have four wells on their land, two of which have been cut loose.“The company has come in and they’ve said they don’t have to follow any of the terms of the lease any more,” he said. “They (farmers) can’t get a loan on their land because of existing pollution. There’s noxious weeds being spread from lease to lease by the operator. They can do whatever they want.“The land’s not being respected. The landowners aren’t being respected.”Farmers also lose out on promised lease payments. The Orphan Well Association, an industry-funded group that cleans up wells that have been left unreclaimed, can’t keep up with the number of companies walking away.Bennett points out that farmers in Alberta can’t legally refuse an energy company that wants to drill on their land.“The head of the Alberta Energy Regulator has just come out and said the system is broken. If the system is broken, why are you still imposing it on landowners?”Jim Ellis has said the problem lies in federal legislation and a three-year economic downturn that has left many good-faith operators in dire straits. The original judge ruled that federal bankruptcy law takes precedence over provincial environmental rules.Bennett said his group has about 200 members. Its appearance before the court is supported, however, by farm groups across Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as by the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the National Farmers Union.The Alberta regulator has said it will examine the histories of companies and their directors applying for licences to drill a well. Staff will look for evidence of poor regulatory compliance or non-payment of bills such as taxes, royalties and other industry levies.Lawyers for the landowners are to address the Supreme Court on Feb. 15.— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter
WATERLOO, Ont. – The Kraus Group of Companies says it will sell its flooring distribution businesses and shut down its broadloom carpet manufacturing operations in Waterloo, Ont., under court protection from creditors.Documents filed with the court as part of the process say the group’s assets are worth substantially less than what it owes its to main creditors, a total of nearly $148.2 million.Under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act, a court oversees efforts to work out a business plan that’s satisfactory to the creditors of a company.The announcement comes days after the company issued temporary layoff notices to more than 200 unionized employees at Kraus Carpets and Strudex Fibres on Friday.In total, Kraus says 256 employees are affected by closing the manufacturing operations.It’s also seeking court approval for a sale of its flooring distribution business to Q.E.P. Co. Inc. under an agreement signed Tuesday.Kraus chief executive Shawn Davies says that the agreement to sell its distribution business will allow it to continue operating from its head office in Waterloo and continue sales through North America.
MADRID — Spanish prosecutors are charging pop music star Shakira with tax evasion, alleging she failed to pay more than 14.5 million euros ($16.3 million) between 2012 and 2014.The charges Friday allege Shakira listed the Bahamas as her official residence for tax purposes during those years but was in fact living in Spain with her partner, Spanish soccer player Gerard Pique.Prosecutors in Barcelona say her travel abroad was for short periods because of professional commitments, while most of the year she stayed in Spain. They want her to pay tax in Spain on her worldwide income.The Colombian singer officially moved to Spain for tax purposes in 2015.A magistrate will assess whether there is enough evidence to put Shakira on trial.Shakira’s representatives said they had no immediate comment.The Associated Press
BERLIN — Four young men have gone on trial over the brazen theft of a 100-kilogram Canadian gold coin from a Berlin museum.The “Big Maple Leaf” coin, worth several million dollars, was stolen from the Bode Museum in March 2017.Three men, identified only as Wissam R., Ahmed R. and Wayci R., are accused of stealing the coin during the night using a wheelbarrow to haul it away.The fourth suspect, Dennis W., worked as a guard at the museum for a private security firm and is accused of scouting out the scene.German news agency dpa reported the four men, aged between 20 and 24 years, went on trial Thursday in Berlin district court.Investigators believe that the suspects cut up the coin and sold the pieces.The Associated Press
VICTORIA, B.C. – B.C. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver introduced a Private Member’s bill in the BC Legislature that would lower B.C.’s voting age to 16 years old.This is Weaver’s third attempt to introduce the bill, which he said was in response to Elections B.C.’s announcement on Monday that only 56.24 percent of residents between the ages of 18 and 24 voted in the provincial election last May. Only 46.35 percent of voters aged 25-35 cast ballots in that election.Weaver pointed out in a statement today that 16 year-olds in Scotland, Argentina, Austria and Brazil are allowed to vote, and cited evidence from those countries that enfranchising young voters has led to higher levels of voter turnout since the voting age was lowered.“Young British Columbians have the greatest stake in the future of our province; they should have a say in the decisions our politicians make,” said Weaver. “Moreover, research shows that the cognitive skills required to make calm, logically informed decisions are firmly in place by age 16. Young citizens of British Columbia are old enough to drive, pay taxes and sign up for the military. They are also the leaders of tomorrow. They should have a say in the direction we are heading, as they will inherit what we leave behind. B.C. should take this chance to strengthen our democracy and lower the voting age to 16.”
Police say their investigation is ongoing. Meanwhile the male suspect’s identity has not been released as charges are pending. RYCROFT, A.B. – One man is in custody after leading police on a pursuit that ended in Grande Prairie County.At approximately 1:45 on Thursday afternoon, members of the Spirit River RCMP were dispatched to a report of an armed robbery at a gas station in Rycroft. After leaving the gas station, police said the man gained entry to a nearby home and stole a vehicle. Upon locating the suspect, police attempted to pull him over, causing damage to both vehicles.Officers pursued the vehicle southbound on Highway 2, joined by backup from the Grande Prairie RCMP detachment. The suspect vehicle was eventually immobilized and the 34-year-old man from Blackfalds was arrested without incident. No one was injured during the incident.
LINCOLN, Neb. – The developer of the Keystone XL oil pipeline plans to start construction next year, after a U.S. State Department review ordered by a federal judge concluded that major environmental damage from a leak is unlikely and could quickly be mitigated, a company spokesman said Monday.TransCanada spokesman Matthew John said the company remains committed to moving ahead with the project following years of reviews from federal and state regulators. The company has already started preparing pipe yards, transporting pipe and mowing parts of the project’s right-of-way in Montana and South Dakota, but TransCanada said in court documents it doesn’t plan start construction in Nebraska in the first half of 2019.The report issued Friday from the Trump administration’s State Department drew criticism from environmental groups, who say they’ll continue to fight the project they view as an environmental threat. “The Trump administration sees no problem with building the Keystone XL _ in other news, the grass is still green and the sky is still blue,” said Kelly Martin, a campaign director for the Sierra Club.The updated, 338-page report was released a little more than a month after a federal judge in Montana ordered the U.S. State Department to conduct a more thorough review of the pipeline’s proposed pathway after Nebraska state regulators changed the route.The original environmental impact study was issued in 2014 before Nebraska regulators approved a longer “mainline alternative” route that veered away from the company’s preferred pathway. President Donald Trump approved a federal permit for the project in March 2017, reversing former President Barack Obama’s decision to reject it amid concerns over greenhouse admissions.The report said the $8 billion, 1,184-mile pipeline would have a “negligible to moderate” environmental impact under its normal operations, and continuous monitoring and automatic shut-off valves would help company officials quickly identify a leak or rupture. Additionally, the report said TransCanada has a response plan in place that should mitigate the effects if it’s implemented quickly.“Prompt cleanup response would likely be capable of remediating the contaminated soil before the hazardous release reaches groundwater depth,” the report said.Environmentalists, Native American tribes and a coalition of landowners have prevented the company from moving ahead with construction. In addition to the federal lawsuit in Montana that seeks to halt the project, opponents have a pending lawsuit before the Nebraska Supreme Court. Oral arguments in the Nebraska case aren’t expected until next month. Critics of the project have raised concerns about spills that could contaminate groundwater and the property rights of affected landowners. In Nebraska, a major battleground for the project, opponents are trying to change the makeup of the Nebraska Public Service Commission in hopes of overturning its previous decision to approve an in-state route for the pipeline.The latest State Department report is a draft that must still face public review and comments, but federal officials say they expect to have the final draft ready by December. In court documents from the Montana lawsuit, TransCanada’s attorneys said they believe all the pending lawsuits will be resolved before construction begins.The pipeline would carry up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from Canada through Montana and South Dakota to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would connect with the original Keystone pipeline that runs down to Texas Gulf Coast refineries. The State Department has noted that TransCanada has a lower overall spill rate than average in the pipeline industry.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)
But it also identified potential long-term market access solutions that could include more oilsands bitumen upgrading and reversing existing import pipelines.Unfortunately, none of those ideas works as a meaningful short-term alternative to new pipelines _ and they face many of the same speed bumps _ says NEB chief economist Jean-Denis Charlebois.“Fundamentally, what this would require is regulatory approvals and significant capital investments because those things cannot occur overnight,” he said in an interview.“First the economics have to be there … then those alternatives need to go through a regulatory process.”A dearth of investment dollars for traditional drilling in Western Canada means there are also fewer dollars available for developing creative options, said Kevin Birn, a vice-president with IHS Energy in Calgary.“I think you will have some creativity but if you really want creativity, they’ve got to see a future for investment in Western Canada,” he said. Here’s a closer look at some pipeline alternative solutions.The diluent dilemmaRaw bitumen at room temperature has the consistency of peanut butter. Below freezing, it’s as hard as a hockey puck.To make it flow in a pipeline, producers mix as many as three barrels of light oil “diluent” for every seven barrels of bitumen _ if one can eliminate or reduce the diluent, it frees up room in the pipeline.In January, the Alberta government announced a $440-million loan guarantee to help Value Creation Inc. build a $2-billion upgrader that would convert diluted bitumen into medium synthetic crude and diesel, both capable of flowing undiluted in a pipeline. The facility is the first in line for up to $1 billion in provincial incentives for partial upgraders, but it isn’t expected to be operating until at least 2022.A report prepared for the province in 2017 suggested that a 100,000-barrel-per-day partial upgrading facility could add $10 to $15 of value to each barrel of bitumen. The report listed 10 pre-commercial technologies that have been tested or proposed for deployment in Alberta.Any plan to reduce diluent must consider the impact on U.S. customers, who have configured their refineries to use diluted bitumen, said Birn.He added diluent will still be needed to deliver the bitumen from the field to the partial upgrader, which means diluent recovery units likely also will need to be built.New technologyNo diluent at all would be required with a new technology to mix and coat bitumen with recycled plastic and form it into solid pucks for shipping in ordinary railcars or shipping containers.An oil company affiliated with the tiny Heart Lake First Nation in northern Alberta is building a $50-million pilot plant to test the “CanaPux” product developed by Canadian National Railway Co.But it’s not known when a commercial facility would follow.Pipeline efficiencyReducing the demand for diluent in Canada could help Enbridge decide on the option to convert its Southern Lights pipeline _ used to import U.S. condensate diluent into Canada _ into a crude oil export pipeline with capacity of about 150,000 bpd, possibly by 2023.Meanwhile, the operator of the biggest oil export pipeline network in Canada is getting creative as it looks at using drag reducing agents inside the pipe and redirecting some downstream U.S. injections to open up long-haul capacity for Western Canada, along with low-cost pipeline and pumping station upgrades.It thinks it could add another 50,000 to 100,000 bpd of incremental export space by mid-year and is studying a potential 450,000 bpd of throughput optimization initiatives.Crude-by-railRail exports rose to a record of over 350,000 bpd in December before falling in January and February after Alberta imposed production cuts to reduce storage and open up space on pipelines.They are on the rise again as Alberta loosens its production quotas and Imperial Oil Ltd. restarts rail shipments it stopped in February.Crude shipped by rail often contains diluent but the NEB notes more oil can be put in each car if the oil isn’t diluted _ although that requires the use of cars that can be heated at the destination dock to drain the bitumen.Meanwhile, Alberta’s NDP government is pressing ahead with plans to add locomotives and railcars to move 120,000 barrels per day of crude, starting at the end of the year _ although the opposition United Conservative Party has vowed to kill the order if it wins the provincial election this week. CALGARY, A.B. – News that permitting issues in the U.S. would delay Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 replacement pipeline project until the middle of 2020 instead of late this year means that yet another boost in oil export capacity has been kicked down the road.With both the Trans Mountain expansion and Keystone XL pipeline projects in court limbo, attention is turning to alternative ideas to expand Canada’s ability to continue to get its oil to market.In a report to Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi last month, the National Energy Board said current pipeline capacity is fully utilized and crude-by-rail infrastructure is operating at or near capacity.
Madrid: Zinedine Zidane stood for 29 minutes fielding questions but all of them really came down to two: Why now? And, what next? In a packed auditorium in the belly of the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday night, Raul and Roberto Carlos took their seats in the front row while journalists squeezed up against the walls, an hour and a half after the official announcement. Santiago Solari had been sacked as coach of Real Madrid and in his place Zidane would return, 284 days after he had left. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherOn May 31 last year, sitting next to the club’s president Florentino Perez, Zidane had said the team would not keep winning with him in charge. They failed to win without him, first under Julen Lopetegui, the sacked Spain coach, and then Solari, the interim-turned-permanent coach, who watched on as Madrid’s season went up in smoke in six days. Solari’s exit was inevitable but the idea any suitable replacement would take over for 11 La Liga games, with nothing to preside over except the aftermath of a crisis, seemed fanciful. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open”When the president called me the first thing I thought was: go,” said Zidane. Which begs the question: what has changed? Rest may have refreshed motivation, particularly for Zidane, who said himself, “I have never been far away”. He has stayed in Madrid and attended a handful of matches, while three of his sons still play for the club at various levels. For him, the move back might have been less of a leap than it seems from the outside. Yet the greatest lure may be that the team has been failing. For the best coaches, and players, there is always self-belief, a sense that no problem is too big to solve. Zidane knew he would return with more authority than ever, far more even than after he had hoisted a third consecutive Champions League trophy. The suspicion then was that he was just a face, a popular manager to keep the ship steady while star players engineered their own success. As two coaches came and went, Zidane’s stock rose with every chance missed, every seat left empty and every point that Barcelona moved further away. “I returned because the president called me. I love him and I love this club,” he said. “We will change things, for sure, for the years to come.” Zidane could have waited until the summer but the job might not have been available. Jose Mourinho, speaking on his increasingly regular public appearances, seemed eager. Perez was under fire from all directions, from the fans, many of whom blamed the board more than Solari in the newspaper polls, and from the players, led by Sergio Ramos. “The problem is bad planning,” Ramos reportedly shot back during a heated argument with Perez following last week’s defeat to Ajax. A new coach could ease the pressure and one like Zidane, remove it almost completely. “We need to start working on a new glorious era,” said Perez. “That is why we welcome back Zinedine Zidane.” Zidane has three months to decide what needs changing. He arrives under no illusions. Madrid triumphed in Europe but in La Liga last season, Barcelona finished 17 points ahead. Now the gap is 12. “I don’t forget what we won but I also don’t forget the bad things we did all together last year,” he said. The temptation might be to discard a lot and spend even more, but the challenge for Zidane is to find the balance between reform and revolution. A fresh start could bring ousted players in from the cold while progress made by talented youngsters like Vinicius Junior, Sergio Reguilon and Marcos Llorente could quickly be lost. Ronaldo has gone and, while it was unavoidable the team would miss him, others have struggled to fill the void. Gareth Bale and Zidane were barely speaking during the second half of last season and Bale is understood to be less than enthused by the Frenchman’s return. A clean slate is possible but a parting appears more likely. will need to be made too on Marcelo and Isco, who have both endured torrid seasons, while Keylor Navas was once a favourite of Zidane’s, which could spell trouble for Thibaut Courtois. Luka Modric, heavily linked with a move to Italy last summer, may feel it is time for something new. Zidane’s biggest gain is Vinicius, who may not take play again this season as he recovers from an ankle injury, but whose emergence has been Madrid’s one shining light. The 18-year-old has flourished though on the left of a front three, which puts any move for Chelsea’s Eden Hazard in a sticky spot. Neymar or Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain will again be touted. “I would like them both,” Perez said playfully on Monday. For now though, Real face Celta Vigo on Saturday, with a squad reunited and spirits lifted. It is like Zidane has never been away.
New Delhi: The Indian team management are “not confused” about the composition of the World Cup squad despite their ODI series defeat against Australia as only one slot is up for grabs, said skipper Virat Kohli. Before the start of the series, Kohli had said that a couple of places need to be sealed and now it is down to just one man. While the confusion regarding No 4 slot and second wicketkeeper’s position remain, the skipper said that they are “sorted”. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together”We are more or less sorted,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony adding: “Now, it’s about giving guys their roles and expect them to stand up. We are not at all confused. Maybe there’s just one spot we’ve to discuss.” Kohli said that giving fringe players game time was always an idea and he will not use it as an excuse for not winning the series. “Last three games, the idea was to give fringe guys some (game) time and see how they react. No excuses, we’re expected to raise our standard of cricket. The changes will never be an excuse. We will (still) take a lot of confidence going into the World Cup,” the skipper said. Kohli expects that his players will reflect on the mistakes made during the series and take corrective measures going into the World Cup. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open”It’s good we have had these losses, to correct these at the World Cup. The guys will reflect on this series quite a bit. We have been playing a lot of games on the road. We can be proud of the cricket that we’ve played in the last few months. The series didn’t go well yes, but we’ve played well,” the skipper was all praise for his team. On the series defeat, Kohli was magnanimous in his praise for the Australian side which had “more hunger”.
Noida (UP): As many as 928 elephants have died since 2009 due to reasons like train accidents, poaching, or poisoning while electrocution alone caused over 60 per cent of these deaths, revealed a data obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.Since 2009 till December 31, 2018, 565 elephants have died due to electrocution, according to the data by the Project Elephant Division of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Another 151 elephants died to train accidents, while 150 were poached and killed, the ministry stated in a written response. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Poisoning too claimed the life of 62 elephants, the response added. Noida-based lawyer Ranjan Tomar had sought an year-wise data from the ministry on the number of elephants who have died due to various reasons since 2009. “The total budget outlay for financial year 2018-19 under centrally sponsored scheme ‘Project Elephant’ to protect elephants, their habitat and corridors, to address issues of non-elephant conflicts and welfare of captive elephants is Rs 30 crore, the RTI response stated. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KHowever, the death figure of elephants due to poaching (150) differs from those of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB). The WCCB, responding to an RTI query from Tomar, had stated in January that 429 elephants have been poached and killed since 2008 in the country. Tomar, also a wildlife and rights activist, said the difference was probably because the Project Elephant figures are limited to reserves, while the WCCB data is for the entire country. Project Elephant (PE) was launched by the government in 1992.
A robber fooled a woman on Thursday in Nabi Karim and allegedly stole her bag from an open window of a car while she and her friend were distracted by his accomplice. The concerned police station has registered an FIR in the case. The complainant, who had arrived in Delhi from Mauritius on business, was sitting in the passenger seat of her friend’s car and had stopped at a restaurant on Deshbandhu Gupta Road. While her friend was talking to the restaurant owner, the victim alleged that a man walked up to the car and picked up Rs 220 from the street, claiming it was hers. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder The robber made a run for it as the complainant’s friend was coming back. In the hubbub that followed, an accomplice simply snatched the victim’s bag, which was kept on the back seat of the car, from an open window and dashed. The bag contained Rs 18,000 in cash, the woman’s passport, visa, smartphone, ATM card, and other important documents. This is the second such robbery in Deshbandhu Gupta Road within the last five days. On April 1, three robbers used the same modus operandi to fool a car driver and dash with the owner’s bag which contained Rs 50 lakh in cash and other important documents. This case was also registered at the Nabi Karim police station. Both the robberies took place within 100m of each other on the same stretch of DBG road, according to details in the FIRs accessed by Millennium Post. Police said that they are investigating all possible angles in the aforementioned robberies. They added that they have not ruled out the possibility of the crime being committed by the same group of robbers.
Dakar (Senegal): The World Health Organisation is warning it may not be possible to contain Ebola to the two affected provinces in eastern Congo if violent attacks on health teams continue. In an update Friday, WHO warned that Ebola response activities had been halted for five consecutive days because of the insecurity. In one incident, WHO said that a burial team was violently attacked after they interred an Ebola victim. The area has been destabilised by the presence of Mai-Mai militia fighters, making it impossible for health workers to travel to some areas. That has hampered isolation of sick patients and allowed them to remain in their communities where they have spread the disease to other people. WHO said there now have been 1,069 deaths since the outbreak began in August.
Srinagar: Six militants were killed on Thursday in encounters in with security forces in Shopian and Pulwama districts of Jammu and Kashmir while a civilian and a soldier also lost their lives, police said.While three Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists, a civilian and a soldier were killed in the encounter in Pulwama, three militants were eliminated during a gun battle with security forces in Shopian district, a police spokesman said. “On a credible input, a cordon and search operation was launched this morning by police and security forces at Delipora area in district Pulwama,” the spokesman said. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghHe said as the security forces were evacuating the target house, the hiding militants started firing indiscriminately. “One army jawan Sepoy Sandeep attained martyrdom and one civilian Rayees Dar also lost his life,” the spokesman said. In the retaliatory action, three terrorists were killed and their bodies were retrieved, he said. “They were identified as Naseer Pandith of Kareemabad Pulwama, Umar Mir of Shopian and Khalid from Pakistan,” he said. The spokesman said according to the police records, the slain militants were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit JeM. They were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of terror crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities, he added. “Naseer Pandith had a long history of terror crime records before joining terrorist organization and several terror crime cases were registered against him for planning and executing terror attacks in the area after joining proscribed terror outfit JeM. He was also involved in the killing of a policeman Mohammad Yaqoob Shah of Pulwama in 2018 on the eve of Eid,” the spokesman said. Pandith was also involved in several weapon snatching incidents reported from the area, he said. He said Khalid, who was operating as a JeM commander, was involved in several terror attacks on security establishments and civilian atrocities in the area. Incriminating material including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.
Casablanca – A young woman wrote the Islamic testimony of faith on her body and committed suicide by throwing herself from the roof of her relatives’ house.According to Al Massae, the twenty-six-year-old is the mother of one child, and suffered from mental illness. Before going to visit her relatives in Tiznit, near Agadir, she had lived with her parents in Mohammedia, 30 km north of Casablanca.The deceased, according to the same source, wrote the Islamic testimony on her hand and leg. Her family used her medical records to claim an exemption from autopsy. The gendarmerie observed the place where the victim fell and interrogated the members of her family. After finishing the legal procedure, the body of the victim was taken to the morgue in Tiznit. This incident adds to the mounting number of suicides in Morocco committed for various reasons, mainly early marriage, poor social situations, and mental illness. According to the Ministry of Health, 3 million Moroccans have expressed intent to commit suicide.Edited by Jessica Rohan© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Rabat – Nabila Bakkacha, the Moroccan woman whose identity was mistaken for Paris’ female suicide bomber, received a settlement of US $400,000 from British newspaper The Daily Mail.However, getting the settlement check has allegedly not been a simple thing for the Moroccan teacher. Nabila’s lawyer was arrested in Béni Mellal, in central Morocco, for fraud and breach of trust between him and his client, according to Les Eco.The lawyer was brought before the public prosecutor for having made a deal with a British newspaper, in the case of Nabila Last November, the Daily Mail published photos of the Moroccan woman, and attributed them to Europe’s first female terrorist, Boulahcen who blew herself up during the November 17 raid in Saint Denis, north of Paris.The British publication later admitted its mistake and tried to reach a settlement with the Moroccan woman.According to the daily, Nabila’s lawyer broke the pact of confidentiality and trust between them, when the newspaper attempted to settle with the Moroccan teacher, through him to avoid a costly lawsuit.A check for US $400,000 (MAD 4 million) was reportedly granted to Nabila’s lawyer as part of the settlement process.The lawyer, according to the same source, refused to make Nabila aware of her settlement money by holding the check from her. He allegedly tried to dissuade her from filing a lawsuit against the British daily.Finally, the lawyer was arrested and prosecuted for fraud and breaking “client-lawyer” trust and confidentiality.On November 22, Nabila claimed spent four hours being interrogated by police in relation to the alleged misuse of her private photos.The young woman told police her photos landed in the hands of an English journalist before making the rounds across the globe.“Journalists visited me at my house, apologizing for having done this. They justify their actions by the resemblance to the real cousin of Abdelhamid Abaaoud,” she told Moroccan media in November.Having lived in France for a while, Nabila befriended a woman with whom she shared some photographs. The woman in question, a so-called Fouzia, later sold Nabila’s photos to English press.
NEW YORK — Intel is changing Robert Swan’s status as interim CEO, to permanent.Swan, 58, has led the chipmaker since June, when CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after the company learned that he had carried on a consensual relationship with an employee. The relationship violated Intel’s non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers.Swan had been the company’s chief financial since 2016 and becomes somewhat of a rarity as CEO of Intel: an outsider. Krzanich had been CEO for five years, and joined Intel Corp. in 1982 as an engineer.Swan had previously worked at General Atlantic LLC, a private equity firm.Swan takes over during a tricky period for Intel Inc. The Santa Clara, California, company recently cut its outlook amid rising trade tensions and a slowing global economy.The Associated Press
Rabat – After his controversial remarks about standard Arabic, Noureddine Ayouch has referred to his critics as “dogs.”Ayouch, a member of Morocco’s Supreme Council for Education, Training, and Scientific Research, is generating rounds of criticism and backlash after strongly defending the use of Darija (Moroccan Arabic) in the Moroccan education system.Activists, scholars, academics, and sociologists heavily criticized Ayouch’s belief that Darija should be included in the education system. In response, Ayouch said that “the dogs may bark but the caravan moves on.”Activists launched a petition on Avaaz.org calling on the government to remove Ayouch from Morocco’s Supreme Council for Education.The petition has generated 7,554 signatures so far.The petition, according to the signatories, aims to suspend Ayouch’s plans “to destroy the principles and moral values and execute the Arabic language.”In his recent interviews with local news outlets, Ayouch said that Darija existed before classical Arabic and that Darija could curb the education crisis in the country.He also said that classical Arabic is not “sacred.”Ayouch told Chouf TV that he called people who insult him and his family dogs, adding that he respects people who criticize him.“I have always supported freedom of expression,” he said.For years, Ayouch has called on the government to include Darija in the education system.In 2016 Ayouch announced that he would launch the first online Darija dictionary in Morocco.Ayouch said that the dictionary aims to give importance to Moroccan Arabic.Promoting Darija in the education system has fuelled controversy in Morocco. The head of government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, made a public statement against the use of Darija in school books for primary education.El Othmani made it clear that he believes Darija cannot be used in education. He said the government is ready to give up on school books with some Darija words after a consultation between the concerned parties.El Othmani said the two official languages in Morocco are standard Arabic and Tamazight (Berber) as recognized by the Moroccan constitution.The head of government also called on Minister of Education Said Amzazi to give an explanation to the public about the use of the Moroccan Arabic in school books.