Like old photos memories fade over time

first_imgLike old photographs, the visual quality of our memories declines over time, according to a study. When people remember the past, they remember it with varying degrees of clarity. Sometimes people remember lots of details about an event, as if they are reliving the moment as it happened, said Maureen Ritchey, an assistant professor at Boston College in the US. Other times, it seems like the memory has faded, and the details are fuzzy, according to the study published in the journal Psychological Science. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainPrevious research has shown that emotionally significant events – like a car accident – are remembered more vividly than everyday events. “We wanted to know whether this feeling of memory vividness is related to not just what is remembered, but how it is remembered – the visual quality of the memory,” Ritchey said in a statement. She said people reported changes to their memories akin to using a filter to edit a picture. “A simple analogy is what happens when you post a photo on Instagram. You are cued to apply a filter that changes the brightness or colour saturation of the image,” Ritchey said. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardIn three experiments, participants studied emotionally negative and neutral images that varied in visual quality – luminance and colour saturation. They then reconstructed the visual qualities of each image in a subsequent test. The findings revealed that memories were recollected as less visually vibrant than they were encoded, demonstrating a novel memory-fading effect, the researchers said. Negative emotions subjects experienced when viewing the images increased the likelihood that images would be accurately remembered but did not influence memory fading. In addition, subjective ratings of memory vividness were lower for less accurate memories and for memories that had visually faded, the team found. These findings provide evidence that the vibrancy of low-level details – such as colours and shapes associated with an event – fade in memory while the gist of the experience is retained. People may remember going to a music festival and watching their favourite band, but the intensity of that sensory experience, including the bright stage lights and strength of the bass, will slowly fade. “We found that memories seem to literally fade: people consistently remembered visual scenes as being less vibrant than they were originally experienced,” said post-doctoral researcher Rose Cooper. “We had expected that memories would get less accurate after a delay, but we did not expect that there would be this qualitative shift in the way that they were remembered,” Cooper said. The fading effect happened less for memories that were rated as subjectively stronger. “We were also surprised to find that emotional memories did not influence the amount of fading, only the likelihood with which people remembered the images at all,” she added.last_img read more

AAP alleges horse trading

first_imgNEW DELHI: Hours after Arvind Kejriwal derided what he called the BJP’s attempts to “buy Aam Aadmi Party leaders”, one of his party lawmakers in Delhi joined the ruling party. AAP senior leader Manish Sisodia slammed BJP claiming that they offered money to buy MLAs. “Earlier, we said that BJP has offered Rs 10 crore to our 7 MLAs and here is the proof,” said Manish Sisodia.The exit has hit AAP just days before voting in Delhi on May 12 for the national election. Earlier this week, AAP leader Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, had alleged that seven lawmakers had been offered 10 crores to switch sides. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesArvind Kejriwal on Friday, had hit out at Vijay Goel for saying that 14 AAP lawmakers were in touch with the BJP and ready to switch. “Modi ji, will you topple every government run by an opposition party by buying lawmakers? Is this your definition of democracy? And from where do you bring so much money to buy MLAs? You have tried to buy our MLAs many times. Buying AAP leaders is not easy,” the Delhi Chief Minister said in a tweet. Vijay Goel had refuted AAP leader Manish Sisodia’s allegation of the BJP offering Rs. 10 crore to lawmakers to switch and said AAP lawmakers wanted to quit their party out of “frustration and humiliation”, so the BJP “did not need to buy them”. “The lawmakers want to leave AAP because the party has strayed from its objectives,” Mr Goel claimed.last_img read more

Smriti Irani accuses Rahul of booth capturing in Amethi

first_imgAmethi (UP): More than 40 per cent people had voted in Amethi till 3 pm on Monday, officials said as acrimony marked the keenly-watched election with BJP candidate Smriti Irani alleging that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi was “ensuring booth capturing”.According to officials, the turnout till 3 pm was 42.18 per cent in the constituency, long considered a Gandhi family turf. Voting began at 7 am. Officials said the maximum turnout was in the Muslim dominated Salon assembly segment which recorded 44.6 per cent polling till 3 pm. This was followed by Jagdishpur with 41 per cent. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghIrani, who crisscrossed the area from early morning, visiting booths to meet party workers, accused Gandhi of capturing booths. “Alert @ECISVEEP Congress President @Rahul Gandhi ensuring booth capturing,” the Union minister said on Twitter. She also tagged a video in which an elderly women is seen alleging that her hand was forcibly put on the ‘panja’ (hand) election symbol of the Congress though she wanted to vote for the ‘kamal’ (lotus), the BJP’s symbol. There is no written complaint on the matter. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadIrani also questioned the absence of the Gandhi scion from Amethi. In his stead, local Congress leaders moved around the constituency. The fierce battle between Gandhi and Irani seemed to push voters to come out to vote despite the scorching heat. Women appeared to outnumber men in the initial hours of voting. Amethi witnessed a bitter battle between the two leaders in the 2014 general elections as well. Gandhi won the seat with a reduced margin of one lakh votes compared to three lakh votes in 2009. There are five assembly segments in the Amethi Lok Sabha constituency — Amethi town, Gauriganj, Jagdishpur, Tiloi and Salon. Of the five assembly segments, four are represented by the BJP and one by the SP. Salon and Jagdishpur are reserved constituencies.last_img read more

GST regime will not significantly reduce deficits of state govts

first_imgSingapore: Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime in India is not likely to reduce the deficits of state governments significantly, amid large and growing expenditure mandates for the social sector as well as capital spending, says a report. According to S&P Global Ratings the institutional framework for Indian states is evolving, but there is structural deficits due to persistent revenue expenditure mismatch. S&P Global Ratings credit analyst YeeFarn Phua in the report titled “Public Finance System Overview: Indian States” noted that the passage of the GST bill in 2017 is a major overhaul of tax structure and will help to widen the tax base and improve revenues of state governments. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra”However, states will continue to run large deficits because a significant part of this imbalance is from the expenditure side. States are unable to cut expenditures because of large and growing expenditure mandates for the social sector as well as capital spending. Therefore, the revenue-expenditure gap will remain large,” said Phua. Further, policy implementation remains sub-par in India, the report noted. Another significant development in recent years has been the adoption of an amended Fiscal Responsibility Management (FRBM) Act, which forms the fiscal framework, in March 2018, the report noted. Under the amended FRBM Act, the government will target a debt-to-GDP ratio of 60 per cent with the split being 40:20 for central government and states. Further, the government will use fiscal deficit as the key operational target, the report said but added that the FRBM committee lacks the authority to mandate its core recommendations.last_img read more

Millions vote in LS battle BJP worker killed

first_imgNew Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi were among the millions who voted on Sunday in the sixth and penultimate round of the Lok Sabha elections in which a BJP worker was killed in West Bengal. Kovind flashed his inked finger after exercising his franchise along with his wife at a polling booth at the Rashtrapati Bhawan as voters trooped to polling booths in large numbers in 59 constituencies across seven states. The polling began at 7 a.m. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework A total electorate of 10.17 crore is eligible to vote in the 14 constituencies of Uttar Pradesh, 10 in Haryana, eight each in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal, seven in Delhi and four in Jharkhand. Nearly 40 per cent of the electorate had voted till 2 p.m. A BJP activist was killed in Jhargram in West Bengal while Trinamool Congress supporters sustained bullet injuries at Keshpur in West Midnapore district as a number of incidents of violence were reported in the state. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen In Uttar Pradesh, where the contest is intense between the BJP and the SP-BSP alliance with the Congress becoming the third factor, street clashes were reported both in Jaunpur and Sultanpur, where Union Minister Maneka Gandhi is the BJP candidate. In this phase, the BJP is defending 45 seats — seven in Bihar, eight in Haryana, all four in Jharkhand, seven in Madhya Pradesh, 12 in Uttar Pradesh and all seven in Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has already voted in Gujarat, urged everyone to vote and added that youngsters should do so in record numbers. “After all, their participation makes the polls even more special.” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah made a similar appeal, saying India needed a “strong government again”. He underlined that the Modi government had transformed India from being a terror-stricken country to one that enemies were now scared of. Rahul Gandhi asserted after voting — he went walking to the polling booth — that his party was set to win the mammoth battle. Accusing Modi of injecting hatred and asserting that the Congress spread love, he said: “Love is going to win.” He declined to comment on the number of seats the Congress could get. “The people will decide that.” Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal voted with his wife after urging voters to reject “hatred”. Sonia Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi also voted in the national capital. Prominent among the 979 candidates include three-time Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who faces state BJP chief Manoj Tiwari in Delhi North East, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav from Uttar Pradesh’s Azamgarh, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh against BJP’s Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur in Bhopal, former cricketer Gautam Gambhir (BJP) in East Delhi against AAP’s Atishi and Olympian boxer Vijendra Singh (Congress) in South Delhi against AAP’s Raghav Chadha and incumbent MP Ramesh Bidhuri. Also contesting are Union Ministers Maneka Gandhi, from UP’s Sultanpur, Radha Mohan Singh from Bihar’s East Champaran, Harsh Vardhan from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk and Rao Inderjeet Singh from Gurugram, Congress General Secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia from Madhya Pradesh’s Guna and former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda from Sonipat. Bengali film hero Deepak Adhikari ‘Dev’ (Trinamool Congress) will lock horns with the BJP’s Bharati Ghosh, a former IPS officer and once a trusted lieutenant of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in Ghatal. The Trinamool had won all the eight seats going voting on Sunday in West Bengal. The seven-phase Lok Sabha elections started on April 11 and will end on May 19. The vote count will take place on May 23.last_img read more

Virtual reality can help people with dementia

first_imgVirtual reality (VR) technology can enhance the quality of life for people with dementia by helping them to recall past memories, reduce aggression and improve interactions with caregivers, says a study. The technology helped patients recall old memories by providing new stimuli difficult to achieve, due to ill health, or inaccessible within a secure environment, said the team from the University of Kent in the UK. These memories not only provided positive mental stimulation for the patients but also helped their caregivers learn more about their lives before care, thereby improving their social interaction. Also Read – The Puja carnival”VR can clearly have positive benefits for patients with dementia, their families and caregivers. It provides a richer and more satisfying quality of life than is otherwise available, with many positive outcomes,” said Jim Ang, Professor at the University of Kent. For the study, the researchers picked eight patients aged between 41 and 88 who are living with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. Each patient used a VR headset to ‘visit’ one of five virtual environments of a cathedral, a forest, a sandy beach, a rocky beach and a countryside scene. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this NavratraThe sessions were monitored with feedback gathered from patients and their caregivers. The patients also demonstrated their own choices during the experiment, with some keen to explore different VEs within a session, while others explored the same environment repeatedly. “With further research it will be possible to evaluate the elements of virtual environments that benefit patients and use VR even more effectively,” Jim Ang added.last_img read more

Resolving insolvency

first_imgBankruptcies are a painful process for businesses, employees, and business partners but are an inevitable consequence of business dynamics and competition. As industries, companies and economic trends evolve, some companies will be left behind and will have to comprehend the bankruptcy in some way or the other. Bankruptcies and related issues have a lot to teach us regarding a speedier resolution of issues, acceptance of bankruptcies as a result of business dynamics and regulations that maximise recovery value. Also Read – Hijacking Bapu’s legacyWhile further economic growth and investment impetus will be essential, the maturity of the business ecosystem to accept bankruptcies as one of the elements of business will be equally important. For the overall economic system, the focus must be on a structured, fair and quick bankruptcy process. While there is short-term pain around bankrupt businesses, a well-structured and expedited resolution process leads to freeing resources tied up in bankrupt companies for deployment in higher growth projects elsewhere and create employment. Also Read – The future is here!With the bankruptcy regime in India evolving and improving, the focus must be on reducing, even more, the time required to resolve bankruptcies for improving the “time value of money”. Given the long-drawn process that bankruptcy proceedings are, even incremental reductions in the time taken to resolve the issues results in significant value addition for creditors and the business ecosystem. While the focus on time-reduction in the bankruptcy resolution process must not be at the cost of propriety, a renewed focus on this is essential. Not only will time-reduction benefit the creditors, but the flow of recovered credit onto the next viable projects in the economy will have a significant impact on credit creation, investments and business sentiment. One of the issues India has had to face in the last five years has been the double whammy of a slowdown in credit growth, and the opportunity cost of lost income for banks as capital stuck in bankrupt projects has not generated the additional revenue that was possible if it were recovered and lent out elsewhere profitably. The slowdown in credit growth due to bankruptcies has been driven by both a reluctance to lend and a reduction in the availability of capital. A lack of lending to both businesses and individuals has resulted in lower investment and lower consumption, trends that will be gradually reversed as bankruptcy resolutions come by. As capital available to lend declined due to unresolved bankruptcies, income earned by banks suffered not only due to non-performing assets (NPAs) but also due to the opportunity cost of not having access to capital that would have otherwise earned income for them. A robust bankruptcy resolution mechanism can help alleviate the problem. Most importantly, avoiding the vicious credit cycle of lower capital availability leading to poor financial returns, which in turns leads to further credit constraints can be avoided through effective mechanisms. Therefore, an effective bankruptcy redressal system adds significant value to the banking system by both the provision of capital and also additional income on the said capital that can be utilised elsewhere. The recent bankruptcies such as Jet Airways and credit issues that Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) faced has also brought to the fore certain voices advocating for the government to step in to rescue troubled businesses. The focus for the government must be on continually improving the bankruptcy mechanism by reducing the time required for resolutions and addressing issues that the credit ecosystem may face. However, it is not the government’s role to bail out private businesses since we cannot have situations whereby profits are private, and losses are passed on to the exchequer and the taxpayer. Bankruptcies are unavoidable residues of the economy. If handled well they help to cleanse the economy as inefficient businesses fall behind and efficient ones race ahead. The government’s role is that of a facilitator of the overall ecosystem, rather than a capital provider in situations of distress. If done well short-term pain can lead to significant gains for the overall economy down the road.(The author heads Development Tracks, an infrastructure advisory firm. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Posthumous CAF 2013 Legends Prize awarded to late Mehdi Faria

first_imgLagos- The posthumous Legends Prize by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) was awarded to late Mehdi Faria, former selector of the Atlas Lions football team, on Thursday in Lagos, during the ceremony of CAF 2013 Awards. The prize was handed by CAF executive committee to the deceased’s son Youssef Faria.   The former coach of the national football team Mehdi Faria passed away, on October 8, at the age of 80 following a long disease.  The name of Mehdi Faria brings up glorious memories of the Moroccan football in the 80s. He was the coach of the national squad which participated in the 1986 world cup in Mexico and was the first African team to qualify for the second round.last_img read more

Morocco Jailed Activist Student Mustapha Meziani Dies on Hunger Strike

Rabat –  Jailed Moroccan student and far left activist, Mustapha Meziani, died on Wednesday after 72 days of being on a hunger strike in Fez. Moroccan human rights activists are blaming the government for his death.Mustafa Meziani has died after 72 days of a hunger strike in protest of the government’s decision to refuse his demand to be reinstated at the University of Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah in Fez.The Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) has blamed the Moroccan government for the student’s death and earlier this week condemned the Moroccan authorities’ negligence over the health conditions under which Mustafa Meziani was detained. On July 10, Mustafa Meziani was arrested and put surveillance over his alleged involvement in the murder of Islamist student, Abderahim El Hassnaoui.El Hassnaoui had been killed on April 25 during a bloody clash between students from two opposing factions, Al-Tajdid al-Tollabi (OREMA) and Annahj democrati Al Qaidi (or the Democratic Way), on the Fez-Dher Mehrez college campus.Meziani had reportedly denied these charges, and had claimed that his detention was punishment for his activism with the far left group Annahj democrati Al Qaidi. He had decided to go on a hunger strike on July 3 to protest his detention and his exclusion from the university, as well as to demand his right to be reinstated at the university.Meziani was transferred to a treatment room in critical condition on August 4 due to loss of hearing and sight and generally deteriorating health.After Meziani died, Maghreb Arab Presse (MAP) quoted the Fez prison administration as saying that it had done “everything possible to convince him to stop his hunger strike, after he knew that his demand to reinstate to the university had been refused, but in vain.”Meziani’s death has stirred controversy on social media. The activist community has harshly criticized the government. Some of them have accused the Moroccan authorities of persecuting activists who adopt different ideologies to the state institutions’ ideology.A statement issued by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights accused the state institutions of negligence regarding Meziani’s demands. It blamed the head of the government, Abdelillah Benkirane for his death.“We sent an open letter to the head of the government describing Mustapha Meziani’s dangerous health condition before he died, but in vain. It is as if a human being’s life is worth nothing to the Moroccan state, which claims that it respects Human Rights.”© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Islamist PJD Wins Highest Number of Votes in Moroccos Elections

Rabat – The Justice and Development Party (PJD) has seen one of its most successful elections ever, drawing more than 1.5 million votes in 2015’s Municipal and Regional Elections in Morocco.This number was disclosed by Morocco’s daily newspaper Akhbar Al-Yaoum.The same sources said that the PJD obtained the highest number of votes (1.5 million) followed by the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) with over 1 million votes, while the Istiqlal Party obtained less than 1 million votes. In other words, the PJD outperformed PAM by 500,000 votes, but trailed in behind PAM and the Istiqlal Party in regards to total seats won. This can be explained under the Moroccan voting system in which parties with most votes do not take the most seats.Meanwhile, this win is considered such a big achievement for the PJD as the party got only 600,000 votes in the last local elections, which took place in 2009.The election results show that the PJD enjoys a massive popularity in urban areas across Morocco, while PAM and the Istiqlal party have strong backing in the countryside.The Justice and Development Party took the most seats for regional councils with 25% of the total, but fell short in the local councils, which are weighed towards rural areas.The Party of Authenticity and Modernity took 6,655 seats of the local councils, (21%), while the Istiqlal Party took 5,106 seats, or 16% of the total.The results show that the PJD is strongest in areas with higher-educated voters, as it took control of councils in the main cities of Casablanca, Tangier, Rabat, Fez and Agadir with just under 16% of seats — three times what it won in the 2009 local elections. read more

Largest Spanish Agricultural company to Move Its Production to Morocco

Rabat – The Almeria-based cooperative Murgiverde, one of the largest Spanish agricultural companies in terms of turnover, has planned to move to Morocco in search of lower labor costs, according the Spanish News Agency EFE.Manuel Galdeano, the president of Murgiverde, said that some vegetables, like green beans, are no longer being harvested in Almeria or have been reduced to insignificant volumes.The same source added that the Spanish growers have decided to produce tomatoes in Morocco to benefit from the country’s “cheap labor force”, given the fact that tomato growing requires a large number of workers. The president of the Spanish cooperative said that in the case of tomatoes, competition from Morocco “has increased noticeably”, especially since the introduction of the new entry prices for imports.He added that the Almerian grown tomatoes are facing fierce competition as imports from Morocco have grown increasingly higher.Another reason behind the decision of the Almeria-based cooperative is to enjoy the abundance of water in certain regions of Morocco.“Morocco is a country that, in some agricultural areas, has even greater water availability than Almeria”, Galdeano said.Galdeano admitted that the tomato growing conditions in Almeria are not favorable for good production, stating “Here we are not constructing the necessary infrastructure and rains are more scarce every year”.Faced with increasing competition from Morocco, Galdeano said his cooperative has to show “a commitment to innovation, quality and service” in order to cover the expensive labor costs in Almeria, otherwise, “we will face great difficulties in the future”.Morocco is known internationally as one of the largest exporters of tomatoes.Tomatoes constitute one of Morocco’s main fresh agricultural product exports and are a key revenue earner.In recent years, Morocco has exported an average of 414,277 tonnes of tomatoes annually, accounting for 33% of production.Europe remains the kingdom’s primary trading partner in this sector, absorbing about 350,000 tonnes of the crop annually. read more

The White House Announces 5 mln Investment to Promote Girls

Washington DC – The White House announced, Tuesday in Washington, an additional investment of five million dollars to help “overcome the barriers” that hinder girls’ education worldwide.The announcement, made at a ceremony at the Newseum in the U.S. capital on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl, is part of “Let Girls Learn” global initiative, launched in 2005 by U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama to help give girls everywhere greater access to education.According to a statement to the press at this meeting, marked by the presence of young Moroccan and Liberian girls, the White House announced, since the launch of the initiative, nearly 100 commitments that concern the private sector to improve access of girls to education. “Let Girls Learn” Initiative has improved the future of millions of young girls through mobilizing governments, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders, said the White House in this document.It added that since its launch in March 2015, the Initiative has invested, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Peace Corps and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), over a billion dollars in government programs in over 50 countries to help “overcome difficulties that do not allow girls to get the education they deserve.” With MAP read more

ExMinister of Haiti Discusses Withdrawal of Recognition of Socalled SADR

Casablanca — Former Haiti Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe discussed, during an interview with Le Matin, the circumstances behind his decision to withdraw recognition of the Polisario during his term. Despite the various pressures placed on Lamothe and his administration following the decision, the ex-minister told Le Matin that he decided to “do justice to Morocco, a country that has a lot of solidarity with us […] following the 2010 earthquake during which we lost more than 250,000 Haitians and had more than 500,000 injured.”Withdrawing recognition of the Polisario was not an easy decision, however. “I won’t hide that some countries even threatened to cut off the aid they gave our country in order to force our hand and force us to reverse our decision,” Lamothe continues. Many pro-Polisario lobbyists, even in Haiti, made their opinions loud and clear. “We have resisted all these pressures,” Lamothe adds.”That said, we have to stay vigilant, because they have a lot of friends in the region and they continue to put pressure to change the way of things.”“Upon my arrival as Prime Minister, we decided to review our relations with different countries,” he concluded. Haiti withdrew its recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in an official statement issued on October 2, 2013 by the Haitian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.“This decision,” the ministry said in the statement, “seeks to facilitate the process aiming at resolving this issue at the UN Security Council and supports the efforts of the Secretary General and his Special Envoy to reach a political, lasting and mutually acceptable solution. read more

Compact II Projects to Strengthen Socioeconomic Development in Morocco MCC CEO

Tetouan – The structuring projects, to be launched under the “Compact II” program of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), administered by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), will undoubtedly strengthen the socio-economic development and encourage investment in Morocco, said, on Saturday in Tetouan, MCC CEO, Dana Hyde.“The major projects to be launched under the Compact II are meant to mitigate two major constraints to economic growth in Morocco: education/training and land sectors, in order to support the structural reforms undertaken by Morocco, promote socio-economic development and encourage private investment with high added value,” Hyde told MAP on the sidelines of the launch of the program.She said that choosing Morocco for the launch of the second Compact is certainly not fortuitous, rather, it is a sign of recognition for the will of the Moroccan government to undertake reforms in the key economic fields for growth and investment, and for the encouraging results achieved under the Compact I. Concerning the Compact II program, Hyde said that it aims to improve the employability of young Moroccans and strengthen the governance and productivity of rural and industrial land, in order to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, promote investment in Morocco and reinforce the skills of young people to become development actors.“Morocco has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the achievement of the MCC’s goals and the implementation of the Compact I projects, and has every chance to succeed in the Compact II, due to the structuring reforms undertaken in several socio-economic areas,” she said, highlighting the “fruitful and exemplary” partnership between the United States and Morocco. read more

Police Arrest Seventh Escapee from Youth Detention in Salé

Rabat – The seventh prisoner who escaped from juvenile detention in Salé 1 prison on Sunday has reportedly been arrested and brought back to the prison, where he will await to be transferred to the Criminal Chamber of Rabat.The six previously arrested escapees were referred to the Criminal Chamber of Rabat’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday and face heavy charges.: conspiracy, insubordination and incitement to insubordination within a penal institution, as well as assaults on prison officials.They were also accused of using weapons, kidnaping, and robbery with violence. The operation for arresting the inmates began immediately after their escape, according to a statement released by Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) on Tuesday.One of the prisoners was arrested near the prison and another one at his family home in Rabat. The other three prisoners were arrested Monday night in the region of Laayayda, outside of Salé.Following this incident, the General Commission for the Management of Prisons and Reintegration issued a communiqué saying that the prisoners pretended to fight among themselves in order to attract the prison guards. When one of the guards attempted to intervene, they assaulted him, taking the keys from him before attacking the other guards to seize the rest of the keys.The guards were immediately transferred to the hospital to receive medical treatment, with one of them in serious condition, according to the commission.Earlier this week, the Commission said that more than MAD 101 million will be invested in video surveillance systems (CCTV) in several penitentiaries. read more

International Support for Palestinian Prisoners Hunger Strike

Casablanca – More than 1,500 Palestinian prisoners are taking part in a hunger strike to protest their inhumane treatment by their captors, attracting sympathy and solidarity from around the world.The strike was called for by the prominent Palestinian political figure Marwan Barghouti on April 16 in a New York Times op-ed he wrote from his prison cell.The Palestinian prisoners demand dignified prison conditions, more frequent family visits, medical care, and abolishment of solitary confinement, and other basic rights. The support of the international community for these prisoners has picked up steam, spotlighting the unbelievably inhumane prison conditions suffered by Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli colonizing power. Israeli Underworld In its yearly report, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association unveiled figures indicating a serious humanitarian catastrophe in Israeli prisons. 800,000 Palestinians have undergone imprisonment or detention since 1967, accounting for 40 percent of total Palestinian male population. Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained in inside 17 Israeli prisons. Between 2000 and 2014, 8,000 children were arrested. A staggering 90 percent of these have been convicted in military courts. Two hundred of this number have died while in prison.Palestinian prisoners, males and females alike, routinely undergo immense psychological and physical abuse, raging from beating, insults, threats and sexual harassment. Children are tried in military court, including those under the age of 16, whose imprisonment alone stands as a blatant violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).Other expedients to extend the sufferings of the Palestinians to their families include primarily unlawfully captivating Palestinian prisoners inside Israel’s prisons rather than prisons in the West Bank, and imposing a difficult visit application process, with the low rates of approvals.Human rights organizations have long warned of the seriousness of the inhumane conditions in the Israeli prisons, but the loud condemnation of the international community has met the West’s deaf ear. Marwan Barghouti affirmed that the hunger strike is a way to “resist these abuses,” writing:“Hunger striking is the most peaceful form of resistance available. It inflicts pain solely on those who participate and on their loved ones, in the hopes that their empty stomachs and their sacrifice will help the message resonate beyond the confines of their dark cells.”International Condemnation and SolidarityThe international community, which seems more and more outspoken about Israeli oppression and apartheid, has closely followed the news of the strikers inside the Israeli prisons, despite the information blackout that the Israeli Prison Service has enforced. They have placed the strikers under solitary confinement, confiscated their phones, and suspended family visits. In the face of these measures, people from all over the world have expressed their full support for the prisoners on social media.In a social media challenge that has gone viral, people from all the corners of the world post videos of themselves drinking a glass of water with salt, which strikers do to remain conscious and avoid long-term side effects of the hunger, as a show of solidarity with the prisoners. The hashtag #saltwaterchallenge is one of the most trending hashtags on Facebook and Twitter, and the challenge has extended to the real world, as cafés across the West Bank have included salty water in their menus.Other forms of protests include rallies in the West Bank attended by tens of thousands, a sit-in by several members of the European Parliament at the European Parliament building in Brussels, a hunger strike organized by the students of the University of Manchester in the UK that is expected to continue for at least one week, and a rally in Morocco’s Rabat organized by the Labor Union where Israeli flags were set ablaze.The Israeli Minister of Security, Gilad Erdan, who in 2015 called for the legalization of force-feeding, dismissed the hunger strike as “new sort of suicide bombing to threaten the state of Israel.” In an op-ed in the New York Times, he expressed Israel’s unwillingness to listen to the prisoners, whom he branded as “terrorists,” and claimed that the “true motivation behind this strike is political jockeying.” read more

El Omari Calls Leaked Zafzafi Video Total Nonsense

Rabat – Ilyas El Omari, the leader of the opposition Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), has dismissed a video purporting to show Rifian activist leader Nasser Zafzafi in prison.El Omari, who is also the President of the Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, warned against such acts which he described as “completely absurd.”“It is total nonsense. With such deeds, and others much more horrible, we not only crush the hopes of the living but also disturb the tranquility of the dead, on top of whom is the late Driss Benzekri, one of the architects of transitional justice in Morocco,” he wrote in Facebook post. When released on Monday, the video of the detained activist of Al Hoceima’s Hirak protest movement was met with public anger on social media. In it, Zafzafi is seen being asked to show parts of his body, potentially to prove he was not tortured.Supporters of the movement described the video as “degrading.”The video prompted judiciary and penitentiary authorities to release statements on the controversy on Monday.The Crown Prosecutor in Casablanca said that he had ordered an investigation to be opened to establish the truth about the video.The Penitentiary and Reintegration Administration (DGAPR) denied that Zafzafi was filmed in Ain Sebaa 1 prison, where he is currently under detention.Zafzafi and dozens of other detained activists said they were tortured during their arrest and detention for their involvement with Hirak.According to the government, 176 detainees from Rif are currently under preventive detention where they are accused of heavy charges such as advocating for separatism and undermining the security of the state. read more

Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Morocco Because of Violent Passenger

Rabat – A Ryanair plane, flying between London and Tenerife, was forced Saturday, February 24 to make an emergency stop at the airport in Marrakech.According to video shared by the Sun, an unnamed passenger, who spoke with a British accent was caught in camera “ripping off his shirt and threatening to batter the cabin crew.” When the crew members tried to intervene, he began to threaten anyone who would dare to approach him. The captain had to divert the plane and land in Marrakech after the passenger refused to comply with the instructions of the crew.He was handed over to local police.“When hi-vis clad steward told him to calm down, he screamed: “How about you calm down c***? Who’s got a problem with me?”“If one of you f**** tries to take me prisoner one more time I’ll smash your face in,” he said as reported by the Sun.A Ryanair spokeswoman told the British outlet that the passenger “is being dealt with by the police.” read more

Reverend Jesse Jackson Praises Moroccos Role in SouthSouth Cooperation

Rabat – Present at the fourth edition of the Crans Montana Forum, America’s Reverend Jesse Jackson joined the already long lists of prominent international figures who have been saluting Morocco’s role in promoting south-south cooperation.The icon of civil rights movements, who seized the opportunity of his opening speech at the Forum, spoke highly of the role Morocco has played in recent years to defend Africa in international fora.Reverend Jackson also said that an event such as the one Morocco organized in Dakhla is a much-needed step towards the South taking responsibility for itself. The political solutions to reduce the broadening gap between the global North and South, Jesse Jackson argued, should essentially come from the South. He also spoke of Morocco and its recent political reforms as a source of inspiration for others in Africa.In his speech, the civil rights champion put a particular emphasis on Morocco’s investments in sub-Saharan Africa, saying that with an awe-inspiring figure of $4.5 billion, Morocco is a top investor in the continent’s path towards sustainable growth and improved living standards.Jesse Jackson concluded his speech by shedding lights on the scholarships and training possibilities that Morocco has been providing for many fellow African nations. In this regard, Reverend Jackson said that the Kingdom is a “light bearer of African solidarity.” read more

Workers strike at exGE Transportation plant in Pennsylvania

ERIE, Pa. — Workers at the former GE Transportation plant in northwestern Pennsylvania have gone on strike for the first time in a half-century, and a day after completion of a merger between GE Transportation and Wabtec.Employees at the plant now owned by Wabtec (the former Westinghouse Airbrakes Technologies Corp.) hit the picket line in Lawrence Park Township early Tuesday, The Erie Times-News reported.Leaders of UE Locals 506 and 618 said in a statement that they were unable to convince the company to negotiate what they called an “acceptable short term agreement that preserves the wages, benefits, and working conditions” for the 1,700 employees.Scott Slawson, president of Local 506, which represents all but a handful of the striking UE members, said he was especially disappointed that Wabtec would not agree to a 30-day extension of the existing contract.With the merger, members of the UE locals became Wabtec employees and were subject to terms proposed by it including a two-tier wage structure for new employees, mandatory overtime to meet customer demands, consolidation of job classifications and a requirement that at least part of employee vacations be taken during plant shutdown periods.Wabtec, based in Wilmerding, near Pittsburgh, said in a statement that the company was “very disappointed” by the unions’ action, which the company said “hurts their members and the community of Erie.” The company said it offered “a generous proposal” preserving wage rates for current employees and “a competitive 401K plan, comprehensive medical, dental and vision package and accrued personal paid time off.”“No one ever benefits from a walkout,” the company said. “Employees lose wages and the company’s ability to deliver products to customers on time is jeopardized. Wabtec looks forward to returning to normal operations.”The last strike by union members at what was then GE Transportation occurred in 1969 and lasted 102 days. The union has since staged short-term walkouts of several hours but no plant-wide strike.The Associated Press read more