RGV to make acting debut with Cobra

first_imgChennai: Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has announced that he will be making his acting debut in his next bilingual project “Cobra”, which he will co-direct with Agasthya Manju. The announcement comes just a week after the release of “Lakshmi NTR”, RGV’s film on the purpose of Lakshmi Parvathi in legendary actor and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao’s (NTR) life. On the occasion of his 57th birthday on Sunday, Varma took to Twitter to announce his next project. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “Ahem! On the occasion of my birthday today, I am debuting as an actor for the first time in my career. I wouldn’t mind if you don’t bless me. Thanks,” Varma tweeted and also shared the first look poster of the film. According to the poster, the film is a biopic based on “the most dangerous criminal ever”. The poster also featured the line, referring to the titular character in the film. “If he’s arrested half the police department will be thrown into jail.” Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna In “Cobra”, RGV plays an intelligence officer called R. In addition to acting, RGV is also co-producing the film in association with DPR. The film also stars KG and Ranga Rao. The rest of the cast and crew are yet to be revealed. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who has worked with Varma on multiple projects, welcomed him to the world of acting. “Finally! Ram Gopal Varma, the ‘Sarkar’ finds his true vocation… Acting! All the best Sircar. Damn, another competition,” he wrote. To this, Varma replied: “Sir your praise makes me feel dead because only dead people are praised this much but thank you for your belief in my new ‘yatra’.”last_img read more

AAP West Delhi candidate files nomination

first_imgNew Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) west Delhi candidate, Balbir Singh Jakhar, who was the last of seven candidates announced by the party, on Thursday became the first to file his nomination in the national capital. The 45-year-old filed his nomination papers in the presence of senior party leaders Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai among others at the District Magistrate’s office in Raja Garden. Jakhar is the President of the Dwarka Court Bar Association and Chairman of the Co-ordination Committee of the All Delhi District Court Bar Association. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder Starting from the West Delhi, the other AAP candidates will file their nominations in the coming days, Rai said. Before filing the nomination, the AAP leaders along with Jakhar held a roadshow in west Delhi appealing to people to vote for the party to take up the demand of full statehood for Delhi. Addressing the public, Sisodia and Rai explained to the people about the importance of full statehood for Delhi. “In 2014, you voted for BJP. Their MPs have not done any work for the city. The BJP promised statehood for Delhi and did not say a word in Parliament about that,” Rai said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings He urged the people to vote for AAP to make the city a full state in just two years. The AAP had in March announced all its candidates for the national capital, where polling will be held on May 12. The AAP has fielded Pankaj Gupta from Chandni Chowk, Dilip Pandey from North East Delhi, Atishi from East Delhi, Brajesh Goel from New Delhi, Gugan Singh from North West Delhi and Raghav Chadha from South Delhlast_img read more

Music has to be a character in the film

first_imgVivek Agnihotri’s directorial The Tashkent Files raises questions about the mysterious death of Former Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Besides the controversial plot and a strong star cast, which includes Naseeruddin Shah, Mithun Chakraborty, Pankaj Tripathi and Vinay Pathak, it’s the music that’s receiving immense appreciation. ‘Satya Manik Afsar’ – team which composed the attention grabbing background score of The Tashkent Files – spoke to Millennium Post about their experience of composing music for the film. Content driven movies like The Tashkent Files aren’t dependent on music and background score unlike the commercial cinema. How difficult is it to compose something which would not only compliment a film with a strong story/plot but also catch attention of the audience? Content driven movies also need music, it all depends on sound design of a movie. According to me, music has to be a part /character of any movie because a well balanced design of sound takes you to the time and space of the story. We get involved into the film not only because of visual, but the music playing in the background holds your mind into the space. Nothing is difficult to compose if the director you are working with is clear as to what is required. Was there any brief given to you by makers on the background score? Vivek Agnihotri told us that the BGM is very important to him and he wants the background music to be one of the characters of the film which is not seen but is there as an emotion. He mostly knew where and what all he wanted and briefed us perfectly time to time, as a result you can see the film grips you totally. Do you feel pressurised while working on a sensitive project like The Tashkent Files, where different people might have subjective opinions? When there are different minds working to make a project successful, it’s normal to have a lot of pressure. But the best part is, we finalise on a common ground only after a lot of discussion. Talking particularly about TTF, there were other factors to consider as well. Satisfying a director like Vivekji, and getting the correct theme for a subject like Shastriji, was indeed very challenging. How important is box office collection for you? Certainly Box office is very important for any project; more than us it is important to the producers and financiers of the film. Because if they will earn then only there will be more films and more work for everyone involved in film trade. What is next on your plate? To name a few, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Karan Singh Grover Jackie Shroff and KK menon starrer Firkie in which we have a song with Ustad Rashid Khan. Also, there is a children’s film Decent boy. Both the movies are in their post production stage right now, and should be released by July/ August. Few more projects are at disscusion stage and of course our regular Ad-films, TV shows and short films for digital platforms keep happening.last_img read more

SpiceJet to start 28 daily flights from Apr 26

first_imgNew Delhi: SpiceJet said Tuesday it will start 28 daily flights connecting Mumbai and Delhi with other cities on its domestic network from April 26. Cash-starved Jet Airways suspended operations last week and the government authorities are in the process of allocating the airport slots vacated by the full-service carrier to other airlines, including SpiceJet, amid efforts to increase capacity to meet peak season traffic. SpiceJet said Tuesday the new flights from Mumbai are on the Mumbai-Jaipur-Mumbai, Mumbai-Amritsar-Mumbai, Mumbai-Mangalore-Mumbai and Mumbai-Coimbatore-Mumbai sectors. Moreover, the budget carrier has also enhanced operations with additional frequencies from the city on the routes of Mumbai-Patna-Mumbai, Mumbai-Hyderabad-Mumbai and Mumbai-Kolkata-Mumbai. “SpiceJet will also introduce two new frequencies each from Delhi to Patna and Bengaluru besides three additional frequencies on the Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai sector,” SpiceJet said.last_img read more

Tripura suspends IPS officer 8 TSR troopers

first_imgAgartala: The Tripura government has suspended an IPS officer and eight troopers of the elite Tripura State Rifles (TSR) from service for breaching discipline, an official said here on Tuesday. A Tripura Home Department official said: “Five TSR troopers last week brutally assaulted two of their colleagues, Bhojveer Singh Chouhan and Jaydeep Prashad Tawra, at the 12th Battalion TSR Headquarters in Chakmaghat.” “Chouhan, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, had to admitted to the Govind Ballabh Pant Medical College and Hospital here with severe injuries, while Tawra returned to his home in Rajasthan,” he said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad The official said after the incident came to light on Monday, the government suspended the 12th Battalion TSR Commandant Rati Ranjan Debnath, an IPS officer, and the five troopers. In another incident, three more TSR troopers of the 11th Battalion were suspended and action will be taken against another three for negligence of duty during a protest near Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s official residence on May 17. The TSR, trained for counter-insurgency operations, was launched in March 1984 to deal with terrorism. Seventy-five per cent of its personnel are from Tripura.last_img read more

Latifa Ahrar denies having mimicked Quranic Verses

first_imgCasablanca- In a recent interview with news outlet Hesspress, Moroccan actress Latifa Ahrar denied having mocked the Quran in her previous interview with Hamid Berrada on his show Mais Encore, broadcast on Moroccan channel 2M.  A video of her interview on Mais Encore, in which the controversial actress recited what sounded like altered, mimicked verses of the Quran, has set social media ablaze, as numerous Moroccans harshly attacked the actress with incriminatory comments.Ahrar affirmed that what she recited during the interview was nothing more than poetic lines from the text of one of her theatrical roles, from a scene depicting the reverence reciters of Quran display in their recitation. According to her, the video that sparked the outrage was “cooked up” by someone who fabricated the video in such a way that she appears mocking the holy Book. Latifa Ahrar also seized the opportunity to denounce those who have been accusing her of irreligiousness, saying that “no one is qualified to judge my or others’ religious devoutness.” The Moroccan actress recited the same verses she had shared with Mais Encore’s host, and asked Moroccans to make sure to watch the entire interview, from which the controversial excerpt was taken. © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

IDEA to organize Regional Youth Forum 2014 in Tunisia

Rabat- Association Internationale pour L’éducation en Débat (IDEA) Middle East and North Africa is set to organize its first Regional Youth Forum (RYF) which will take place from 22 to 27 December 2014 in Tunis, Tunisia.Young people aged 18 to 28, stakeholders and experts from the MENA countries are expected to be part of the event which aims to “rethink the future of the region through viable public policy options in the framework of a debate and policy competition.”The forum will be composed of a debate competition and a policy competition, in addition to workshops and a public discussion panel. Two languages tracks, Arabic and English, are available for participating teams. The teams in each track will compete for two titles: ‘best debating team’ and ‘best public policy proposal’. “The objective of the MENA Regional Youth Forum is to promote youth participation in the democratic process, specifically engaging young people in national and regional decision making processes, and building the capacity of young people in argumentation and debate techniques,” said Radhouan Mejri, Executive Director of IDEA MENA in a press release.12 teams from five members of the MENA region have been selected to participate in the forum. Participants represent ten nationalities from ten institutions (universities or associations) present in eight countries in the region.In the first phase of the program selected teams from each country will attend a debate and public policy training session in their country of residence. Following this training session the teams will draft a policy brief on an issue of their choice that affects youth in the region, as preparation for the Regional Youth Forum in Tunisia.IDEA is a global network of organizations which consist of entities located in the following countries: The Netherlands, the United States, The United Kingdom, Belgium, Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan and Tunisia.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed. read more

Priest Murdered After Hostages Were Held in French Church

By Lauren MorganRabat – Police shoot dead two armed men after they took five people hostage in Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray and are reported to have slit priest’s throat.Two men armed with knives held five people hostage in a church in the Normandy region of France, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, and had reportedly slit the priest’s throat prior to being shot dead by the police. The five people were said to have been a priest, two nuns and two worshippers. French media claimed that one of the hostages managed to escape and was able to raise the alarm to outsiders, with a French interior ministry spokesman stating that one of the hostages was also in a critical condition.Anti-terrorism judges were given the case to investigate, says the Paris prosecutor’s office.The tragedy occurred as France maintain their high alert status just two weeks after a Tunisian male purposely killed 84 people and injured more than 300 by bulldozing a truck through a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day – an attack claimed by Islamic State. read more

Ministry of Higher Education officially recognizes the UIR

By Asmaa BahadiRabat – It’s official: diplomas from the International University of Rabat (UIR) are now equivalent to national diplomas. This comes following the publication in the official listing No. 6485 of July 25, 2016, Decree No. 2.16.244 which grants the university the recognition of the state.UIR, first university established in partnership with the state, has become the only university recognized by the state as part of the 01.00 law on higher education. A complete file containing all required elements and demonstrating all criteria defined by the tender specification was filed to the Ministry at the beginning of August 2015. The Minister of Higher Education assigned a committee of experts to study the application file.In addition to the file submission, UIR’s president and several employees made an oral presentation in front of the commission at the Ministry, and the commission made a technical visit to the University.The National Commission for Higher Education and Coordination (CNCES) approved the committee’s final report on December 28, 2015, consequently giving recognition to the UIR. The University was notified in writing from the Minister of Higher Education during the month of January 2016.According to a statement on this occasion, the University is stepping up its efforts since its establishment in 2010, “to create an excellent educational framework, develop a high-level research, and the lessons taught by highly qualified teaching staff and to offer a friendly environment for the students.” read more

Teachers volunteer to Teach Inpatients in Mohamed VI Hospital in Marrakech

By Layachi EL hadiriMarrakech – The Association of Teachers for Sustainable Development and the Fight against School Dropout (ACEDDLCDS) began its third school year in Mohamed VI University Hospitalization Centre (Mohamed VI UHC) in Marrakech on October 23rd, 2016.Two years ago the association started a project called ‘School in Hospital’, which is considered to be the first of its kind in Morocco. When asked about the project’s goals, Kamal Ouhoud, head of the association, said: “Our project aims to give classes to the bedridden students in the Oncology and Hematology ward and keep up with those students on their return to school.” “The project also provides literacy and numeracy lessons in the House of Life, Marrakech which is an affiliate of Lalla Salma Foundation for Cancer Prevention and Treatment,” he added. Generally, the project was hailed a great success. In 2015, it involved approximately 210 students in The House of Life, Marrakech. Also, about 810 parents and inpatients benefited from the project’s services in the same institution. School in Hospital has expanded this year to take in the maternity and children’s unit in the same hospital, the number of beneficiaries rising in tandem with this.All teachers who are involved in this project are volunteers. “Roughly 90% of them work in state schools and about 10% work in the private sector,” said Mr Ouhoud. In addition to teaching patients and their parents, teachers raise their morale and give them psychological support. Specifically, they help patients, particularly cancer patients, look to the future with hope. Teachers also take part in many extra-curricular activities inside the hospital. They work under the supervision of Zakia Okhaya, the coordinator of the project. She is in charge of teachers’ timetables and she liaises between absent teachers and their substitutes.The association engages in other activities such as providing assistance to students who come from impoverished families, providing them with school supplies at the beginning of every school year. It further provides support for the needy during Ramadan.The opening ceremony of this school year took place in the seminar room of the hospital. The ceremony began with short speeches provided by the director general of Mohamed VI UHC, the director of The House of Life, Marrakech, a space designed to accommodate patients and their families during treatment period, a representative of the municipal council of Marrakech, and the head of the association.The event was marked with a tribute to Moulay Mhamed Alwafai, founder and former head of ACEDDLCDS. During the ceremony, Alwafai was eulogized as the godfather of the association as he rendered a myriad of services to the association in general and to the “School in Hospital” project in particular. read more

Moroccan Ministry of Interior Files Lawsuit Against Chabat over Accusations of

Casablanca – The Ministry of Interior decided on February 9 to file a lawsuit against the accusations of the Secretary-General of the Independent Party (PI), Hamid Chabat, that the “deep state” murdered two politicians. In an article shared in the PI’s official website that created controversy in Morocco, the state was accused of orchestrating the assassination of two prominent politicians, Ahmed  Zaidi and Abdellah Baha who died in Oued Cherrat near Rabat on November 9, and December 7, 2014 respectively.Although the article was deleted from the website, Morocco’s Interior Ministry filed a complaint yesterday against Chabat and his party and called upon the Ministry of Justice to open investigation in this subject-matter. According to the Arabic-language news website, Alyaoum24, the Ministry of Justice has begun an investigation into the allegations following the Ministry of Interior’s request.The article came in response to a media fury surrounding Chabat after his statements on the territorial integrity of Mauritania, which caused uproar inside and outside Morocco.Recently, Rachid Nini, editor-in-chief of the daily newspaper Alakhbar,  wrote an article revealing information relating to the properties of Hamid Chabat, which the PI’s article considered an attack by the “deep state” on Chabat and his party.“But unfortunately, those who think that they control the political game believe that the moment when Hamid Chabat must be gotten rid of has come, which denotes ‘Oued Cherrat methods’ as a purely Moroccan-Moroccan method to destroy those who swim against the current,” said the article, noting that ‘Oued Cherrat methods’ means physical, moral and societal termination of individuals.This is not the first time Chabat has alluded to the probability of being murdered by what he claims to be “undemocratic forces trying to manipulate the political scene in Morocco from behind the curtains.”In an interview with France 24 earlier this month, Chabat stated that he was ready to donate his organs whether his death is “natural or not natural.” read more

Police Disperse AltRight Wing March in Barcelona Amid Clashes with CounterProtesters

Rabat – Friday afternoon at the Las Ramblas area, a Spanish right-wing group marching hours after the Barcelona terror attacks was stormed by a huge crowd of anti-fascist protesters. As violent clashes began to break out, armed riot police were called in to separate the groups.One day after a van ploughed into a crowd on the popular strip, claiming 13 lives and injuring over 100, a few dozen demonstrators gathered outside the La Boqueria public market just off Las Ramblas, according to Spanish news daily El Periodico.The radical organization Falange, an extreme nationalist political group founded in Spain in 1933, calling for a Christian Spain devoid of Muslim influence were reportedly drowned out by the much larger group of anti-fascist demonstrators calling for peace and denouncing racism. Falange took to the streets to “protest Islam” and blame Spain’s immigration policy for the attack. La Falange has blamed the “policies of multiculturalism” and immigration for Thursday’s terror attack on their social media accounts: “No one was fooled into thinking that the policies of multiculturalism and #RefugeesWelcome wouldn’t end like they did in Las Ramblas in Barcelona.” The far-right group were heard chanting slogans such as “Terrorists are not welcome” and “Stop the Islamization of Europe.” Meanwhile, the left-wing Catalan groups Arran and Endavant organized an event near La Boquería to oppose fascism, meeting the hateful slogans with counter-chants of “Nazis out” and “Barcelona anti-fascista,” El Mundo Deportivo reported. Endavant, a socialist group seeking Catalan independence, explained on their Twitter account that they gathered to voice their opposition to the “terror of Daesh and the fascist hatred.”Pictures show demonstrators shouting in each other’s faces and fighting in the streets as tensions boiled over.An anti fascist protester punches a far right demonstrator @AFPOne photograph shows an anti-fascist punching a Falange supporter in the face amid a scuffle in the crowd. The punched man, who was wearing a T-Shirt emblazoned with the far-right slogan, “Do not stop until you conquer,” was later seen with a black eye. Counter protesters jeer at a far right protester @AFP The heat against Muslims and Moroccans in Spain seems to only be boiling up. In Taragone, the Moroccan consulate plaque was sprayed with red paint, while racist graffiti were inscribed on the walls of the city’s mosque: “You are going to die, you f****g Moroccans.” A picture shared on Twitter shows the building of the Moroccan consulate stained with blood, a clear threat against Moroccans in Spain.The two incidents came after the two attacks in Barcelona on Thursday night and Cambrils in the early hours of Friday.In Cambrils, five suspected terrorists were gunned down by police officers during a patrol operation, while four other suspects, of Moroccan origins, are still on the run.The two attacks have renewed fears of reprisals against the Muslim community in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.Left-Wing Protesters Chanting No Fascism No Racism @AFPPolice officers escort members of Falange carrying banner @AFPPolice officers stand guard @AFPFalange abandoned the demonstration @AFP read more

Amale Elatrassi talks about Muslim Wolf Rape Forced Exil and Imprisonment

By Hajar ElkahlaouiRabat – Moroccan writer Amale El Atrassi, has described herself as a “Muslim Wolf”. This name is also the title of her memoir about her conservative family’s traditions, culture, and lifestyle.The novel, published in 2013, also tells of her painful and the suffering that she lived because of being raped and having an alcoholic, violent father who profoundly hates women. The 40-year-old writer comes from a family of six children, including the humorist Mustapha El Atrassi, who didn’t want the book to be published.In an interview with Morocco World News, El Atrassi shares her life experiences and plans for the future.What is the main target of your book “Muslim Wolf”?Amale Elatrassi: I wrote this book to help women who had similar experiences. Mine remains atypical but every day, I am contacted by hundreds of women from all social backgrounds. I also started writing, after going through hell, to make my peace with the past.How did you feel while writing the book?Amale Elatrassi: I used to be a girl with borderline personality disorder after my return from Morocco. I had no self esteem. I was broken inside because I experienced violence and sexual abuse. I didn’t believe in me nor in anyone else so I became self destructive.Was your father the main cause of your suffering?Amale Elatrassi: I blame my father Choukri for everything I went through in France and in Morocco. He never showed us affection since our birth. He was furious when he knew his first child was a female. He even blamed my mother for being pregnant with a girl like it was her fault. A year after my birth, Farid was born. He was the only kid he took in his arms. He covered him in kisses. He watched TV with him. When we went to Morocco, my father’s family was so proud of his sons while my sisters and I felt useless like Choukri used to tell us all the time. I used to dress up, to fight, and to climb trees as boys just because my dad always thought that girls should cook and stay home.How was your relationship with your mother?Amale Elatrassi: A close relationship. Unlike my dad, who used to insult and beat us, my mother was protective. A true wolf.How is currently your relationship with your father?Amale Elatrassi: My relationship with my father now is peaceful. He settled in Morocco now and he has another wife and children which I personally don’t aim to know them in person. He calls me once a year. After that I published the book, he called me saying that I didn’t say everything about him and that I could say more.How were you reconciled with your father?Amale Elatrassi: It took me a lot of time and hindsight. I had to work on myself to try to understand the how and the why my father damaged us this much; otherwise I would never make it.Why did you and your sister stay in Morocco?Amale Elatrassi: At a summer vacation in Morocco, my father lied to us. He told us that there was a judicial problem in France he needs to resolve with my mother and my brothers and he will leave me and my sister at our grandmother’s house for two to three months at Douar Doum in Rabat. But in fact, he was abandoning us there. His family was telling us all the time that girls shouldn’t go out and that they should stay home and learn how to cook and to manage a house until they get married. At that time, I was 12 years old. I didn’t want a husband. I just wanted to watch cartoons.How did you revolt?Amale Elatrassi: Three years after, we were watching TV. There was a Michael Jackson show. My sister innocently said how handsome he was. My uncle beat her until she fell on the ground. I knew right away that we can’t stay there. So we decided to flee.How was your experience when you left your family’s home?Amale Elatrassi: We had what mattered most: Hope and freedom. At our family’s house, we had no hope left. We knew if we stayed they will oblige us to get married and that we were not going back to France. After we ran away, we wanted to find a way to go back to France so we went to Agdal, a place where there were a lot of foreigners and diplomats who may help us return to France. We used to hang out in the Crocontic Bar with student of the mission of French-language school Descartes. They were sons of diplomats, of doctors and very important people.Did you tell your new friends that you ran away from your family’s house?Amale Elatrassi: No, we didn’t tell them the truth. We told them that my father is a doctor and that he had to travel for work, and he left us with the maid who was mean with us so we had to spend a lot of time outside. They believed us because we could speak French fluently and we wore clean clothes that we stole from rooftops.Where did you spend the nights?Amale Elatrassi: At night, we used to hide at a forest. When one of us is sleeping, the other is watching.These “sons of diplomats and doctors” are the same ones who raped you and your sister?Before answering this question, Amale stops to gently ask her 10 years old daughter to leave the room.Amale Elatrassi: Yes, the six rapists were people we used to eat lunch with. We were drinking alcohol. In the morning, we woke up with messier hair and torn clothes. We understood right away what happened. We didn’t know that these “well educated” people will end up raping us. They had immunity and they also knew that rape is a taboo in Morocco and that we were not going to talk about it.Three days later, you met your mother. How did you feel?Amale Elatrassi: We were crushed. We had no hope left. We lost so much time for nothing. And I felt so much hate toward my father but I was so happy because she was here again. I felt protected.What was the thing that helped you get over your negative feelings?Amale Elatrassi: My four children are the diamonds in my backyards. They are what helped me move on. Without them, I wouldn’t be here today.You’re not an average writer. You started writing your book in jail. How were you inspired to write all your feelings down in paper?Amale Elatrassi: After my return to France, I felt unclean and broken inside. I went to prison four times for being involved in robbery, theft, and fights. I wasn’t afraid of going to prison. It was nothing for me compared of what I went through in Morocco. I knew how the confinement felt like. I thought French prison was idyllic. I watched television, I played sports, and I took computer training.When I first went to prison, at 18 years old, a psychologist within the prison asked me how I was doing. When I told him that I was doing great he was shocked. I refused to talk to him about my past so he asked me to take a pen and papers and start writing down how I feel without showing them to anyone if I don’t want to. I thought it was not going to help but as soon as I started writing, I couldn’t stop. It was hard as I was crying while writing but I felt also released and free from my wounds.How did you decide to stop stealing?Amale Elatrassi: I was pregnant with my first child. I was so proud when I knew that it was a girl: Ines. She now is 20 years old. After her birth, I didn’t want to go back to prison because I didn’t want to lose her. My four children are my loves. They changed my whole attitude. I didn’t want to hurt them like my father did to us. I stopped also the crimes for my husband. He is a great person. He respects women. He was always there for me even at my worst.Are you planning to write other books?Amale Elatrassi: I have a publishing contract at the publishing company Archipel, an exclusive contract for three books. All of them are autobiographies. I am also planning to make a movie. The script is already written. read more

Indias central bank lowers key lending rate to 625 per cent

NEW DELHI — India’s central bank has lowered its key interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 6.25 per cent, a step that is expected to boost the economy.The interest rate is what the federal bank charges on lending to commercial banks. Lower interest rates help borrowers but can also spur inflation. The Reserve Bank of India judged the consumer inflation rate, at 2.2 per cent in December, safe for loosening monetary policy.In a bi-monthly review of the economy released Thursday, the central bank forecast India’s economy will expand at a 7.4 per cent pace in 2019-20, up from 7.2 per cent in this fiscal year. India’s financial year runs from April to March.The central bank said growth was mostly supported by government spending on infrastructure but investment activity was recovering.The Associated Press read more

Swiss Flavors Manufacturer Givaudan Opens New Center in Morocco

Rabat – Swiss flavor and fragrance company Givaudan announced it inaugurated Thursday a new $1.22 million “flavours technical and commercial centre” in Casablanca.The center “is part of the Company’s 2020 high growth markets strategy and demonstrates its ongoing commitment to the Maghreb and West Africa regions,” Givaudan said in a statement.The president of Givaudan’s Flavour Division, Louie D’Amico, said: “Our new centre in Casablanca will enable Givaudan to meet the evolving needs of our food and beverage customers for innovative taste and flavour solutions.” With the new center’s strategic location, the Swiss flavor manufacturer will increase its presence in Africa and the Middle East.Read Also: Flavors of Moroccan CuisineFor the first time in Morocco, Givaudan said it “will offer in one location a full range of flavour application capabilities.”The 600-square-meter facility will serve customers in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Malta, Cote d’Ivoire, and Guinea, “in the savoury, beverages, sweet goods, dairy and snacks segments.”The center includes “application labs with specialised technologies, along with commercial spaces for customer taste and smell experiences,” according to the company’s statement.“Through our local presence, customers will benefit from a faster response as well as access to a wider range of Givaudan’s global capabilities in flavours and extracts,” D’Amico stated.Givaudan is a manufacturer of flavors, fragrances, and active cosmetic ingredients. The company was first established in 1895 in Lyon, France, and moved to Geneva in 1898. In 2008, Givaudan became one of the world’s largest companies in the flavor and fragrance industries.Headquartered in Switzerland with over 100 local locations, Givaudan  employs 11,700 people and had a revenue of $5.19 billion in 2018. read more

Investigation Finds Obama Administration Funded Al Qaeda Affiliate

Rabat – An investigation by the Middle East Forum think tank has revealed that the Obama Administration approved a grant of $200,000 to the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), a financier of terror groups that has been linked with Al Qaeda. The investigation uncovered that despite the government’s knowledge of ISRA’s terrorist affiliation, the grant was approved. American taxpayer dollars were knowingly bestowed to the Al Qaeda affiliation, yet uncertainty still surrounds how ISRA was initially authorized as a grantee.In a statement to i24 News, a USAID official said that the USAID partners had the “primary responsibility” to run checks on ISRA, but “did not identify ISRA as an organization subject to US sanctions when it made the initial award.” When asked to comment on the funding, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “As this occurred under the prior administration, the current Secretary of the State, Secretary of Treasury and USAID Administrator had no involvement in decisions surrounding this award or subsequent license.” However, the USAID official told the press that since the Obama administration, the system and the bureaucratic process have changed.  Officials overseeing the agreements have received additional training to avoid reoccurrences and to improve screening of grantees.Read also: 3 Moroccans Selected among Obama Foundation’s Young African LeadersISRA, a known funder of terror groupsIn 2004 the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) listed the Khartoum-based ISRA as a terror-financing group. The designation was based upon ISRA’s strong links to Osama bin Laden and his organization Maktab al-Khidamat (MK) since 1997. By 2000, ISRA had raised $5 million for MK.The US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2014 awarded $723,405 to World Vision, an international evangelical charity for the purposes of “improving water, sanitation and hygiene and to increase food security in Sudan’s Blue Nile State.” Despite ISRA’s affiliations, included in the World Vision grant was $200 000 directed to the ISRA as a sub-grantee. In November 2014, World Vision alerted USAID to the precarious status of ISRA, which had led USAID to “suspend all activities with the ISRA,” according to a USAID official. Consequently, on January 23, 2015, OFAC confirmed that ISRA was an unapproved entity and denied World Vision the license to engage in transactions with ISRA. Despite OFAC’s ruling, World Vision was reluctant to cut ties with ISRA, arguing that with the refusal of their license and inability to distribute grants, their humanitarian efforts were jeopardized. A stalemate followed between World Vision and OFAC, as both USAID and OFAC were unwilling to act on the issue. On May 7, 2015, after “close collaboration and consultations with the US Department of State,” OFAC took the untenable decision to issue a one-time license, which allowed the singular transfer of $115,000 to ISRA. Assessing the system The byzantine unfolding of events led to the conscious transfer of American taxpayer dollars to an Al Qaeda affiliate. A twofold system oversees grants from the US government: all grantees and sub-grantees must register under the Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) and with the government’s System for Award Management (SAM) database.The checks belie the ease with which ISRA was able to become a sub-grantee. ISRA was mysteriously assigned a DUNS number, which did not match with any organization in the SAM database. The void of knowledge and bureaucratic confusion which surrounds ISRA and its mysterious listing reveals blatant flaws within the system.By Isabella Wang read more

Search continues for body at Texas plane crash site

ANAHUAC, Texas — Authorities have been searching a bay off southeast Texas for clues about what caused a Boeing 767 cargo plane carrying Amazon packages to nose-dive into the shallow water, killing all three men on board.A north wind aided searchers by exposing more of the three-quarter-mile debris field left Saturday when Houston-bound Flight 3591, which Atlas Air was operating for Amazon, disintegrated on impact in Trinity Bay, about 35 miles (55 kilometres) east of the city, a sheriff said Sunday night.Crews using airboats and helicopters circled the crash scene, where white chunks of fuselage could be seen above long grass. The muddy landscape has made the process “painstaking,” National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Robert Sumwal said. Deputies and investigators from the FBI and NTSB have been gathering human remains and looking for the plane’s black box, which records flight data and voices in the cockpit.Emergency workers recovered two bodies on Sunday and sent them to a medical examiner’s office for autopsies.A statement from Chambers County Sheriff Brian Hawthorne says he was notified Monday evening that the bodies have been identified as those of Conrad Aska, the 44-year-old first officer and co-pilot of Atlas Air Flight 3591, and Sean Archuleta, a 36-year-old jump-seat passenger.Archuleta, a captain with Mesa Airlines, had been getting a lift back to his home in the Houston area, his friend told the Houston Chronicle . The 36-year-old was a new father and weeks away from starting his “dream” job flying for United Airlines, Don Dalton, Archuleta’s roommate, told the paper.Archuleta’s wife lives in Colombia and was “devastated” by the news of his death, Dalton said.Atlas Air said in a Sunday statement that it has established a program to support the families of the dead and that it has a team, including CEO Bill Flynn, at the crash site to assist investigators.The last previous crash involving a large cargo plane in the United States was in 2016, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman. The landing gear of a FedEx flight collapsed after touching down at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, causing the left wing of the McDonnell Douglas MD-10-10F to catch fire. The plane was badly damaged, but the two crew members were able to evacuate, the spokesman said.___Associated Press writer Bleiberg reported from Dallas.Jake Bleiberg And John L. Mone, The Associated Press read more

Stolen California dog returned after theft video goes viral

RUBIDOUX, Calif. — A California woman is overjoyed after her stolen pet dog was returned with the help of a security video posted on social media.The Orange County Register reports that Melissa Cortez’s pug, Andrew, was returned to her Tuesday by the Spectrum cable company.The newspaper reports that a neighbour’s security video taken midday Monday showed a man who was driving a Spectrum van take the 10-month-old puppy from the yard outside Cortez’s home about 53 miles (85 kilometres) east of Los Angeles.Cortez says she filed a report with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, but the cable company contacted her after two video clips were posted to social media and widely shared.Spectrum says the unnamed employee has been fired.Police say no one has been arrested.___Information from: The Orange County Register, http://www.ocregister.comThe Associated Press read more

Indian Finance Minister Jaitley opts out of new government

NEW DELHI — India’s finance minister, who carried out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic initiatives including tax and welfare reforms, has decided not to join Modi’s new government to be sworn in Thursday, citing health reasons.Arun Jaitley, who underwent a kidney transplant last year, on Wednesday released a letter he wrote to Modi saying he would like to stay away from any responsibility in the new Cabinet.Jaitley was a key figure in the government as well as in handling the affairs of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.He took a three-month break from work last year after undergoing the transplant surgery. In January, he travelled to the United States for a medical checkup.The Associated Press read more

Quartet hopes calm will prevail with Palestinian national unity government – UN

9 February 2007Reacting to the agreement to form a Palestinian national unity Government, the diplomatic Quartet – made up of the United Nations, Russian Federation, United States and European Union – today voiced hope that it would serve to foster calm in the region. In a statement released at UN Headquarters in New York following telephone talks, the grouping welcomed the role Saudi Arabia played in reaching the agreement. “The Quartet expressed hope that the desired calm would prevail.” While awaiting its formation, the Quartet reaffirmed previous pledges of support for a Palestinian government committed to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the Road map, an outline plan that envisages two States – Israel and Palestine – living side by side in peace and security. “Quartet members will meet February 21 in Berlin to continue their consideration of these developments, and to review formation and implementation of the agreement on the government,” according to the statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, High Representative for European Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner. The statement also welcomed a planned meeting between Ms. Rice, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian National Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, set to take place on 19 February. Last night Mr. Ban called the agreement on a national unity government a “very important step forward,” voicing the hope that it “will curb the violence, creating a better future for the Palestinian people.” He also praised King Abdullah for his role in helping to bring it about. read more