Story courtesy Nikkei Asian Review: https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Business-Deals/Long-stalled-LNG-plant-revived-as-Asia-ditches-coal TOKYO, JAPAN — The Nikkei Asian Review is reporting that Japan-based JGC Corp and U.S. firm Fluor have won a contract to design and build the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project for an estimated $14 billion.Nikkei has not named sources in its article, but says that LNG Canada should begin liquefying natural gas for shipments to China, South Korea and other Asian markets by roughly 2023. Transporting LNG to Asia takes just eight days from the B.C. North Coast, compared with 20 days from the Gulf of Mexico and 14 from the Middle East.China surpassed South Korea last year to become the second-largest importer by volume, a 50 percent from 2016. Japan ranks as the world’s largest importer, while demand is also growing in India and Southeast Asia.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Volunteers are needed to help residents of the Old Fort.On Sunday, the Peace River Regional District said they would let some residents temporarily enter their homes starting Monday. Local volunteers Jeff Garrison and MP Bob Zimmer were also asked on Sunday to help organize volunteers that will help residents winterize their homes and help move any belongings using riverboats.In a video posted to Facebook late Sunday night, Garrison said “what we are looking for volunteers to provide riverboats, people to help move items. There is nothing we can’t use you for.” If you would like to help, meet at Evangel Downtown Church on Monday night from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Garrison says volunteers will be needed starting on Tuesday.Last week Jeff Garrison and Bob Zimmer lead a group of volunteers to residents in the Old Fort, despite the evacuation order being in place. Following that effort, the Peace River Regional District offered to work with the group once the area became safe to access.
Whole Wheat and HoneyInvestors Group Wealth ManagementA link to the FB Page CLICK HEREA link to the FB Event Page CLICK HERE FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – CODE RED is a week-long feminine hygiene drive from December 17th – 21st, 2018CODE RED is a Campaign that is collecting feminine hygiene products for those in need, these items are often overlooked and are essential for a woman, for one week, once a month.Creator of the campaign Jessica Telizyn is a resident of FSJ who is currently enrolled in University in another Province and was inspired by a ‘Period Club’ at her school, she recognized there is a real need for this type of help in any community. All collected feminine hygiene products are broken into period-packs that will be donated to the Fort St John Women’s Resource Society. The campaign will help women to have access to the tampons or pads they need to get them through the month when in some cases they could be going without feminine hygiene products altogether.Donating can be newly purchased boxes as well as open boxes of pads or tampons that you may have as these items are individually wrapped and are ok to donate. The last day of the drive these packages will be separated to create period-packs, customized bags including the supplies needed to help that individual woman get through her menstrual cycle.Although this drive is focused on feminine sanitary protection, other toiletries will be accepted such as shampoo and body wash.Drop off locations:Comfort & JoyTaylor District Ice Center Concession
Syncrude disputes Swan was being forced back to work too soon.“Syncrude relied upon the available medical reports and medical advice when formulating the gradual return-to-work plan for the plaintiff, and, further, Syncrude had no contradicting medical reports indicating that the plaintiff should not return to Fort McMurray or the Aurora Mine site.”Swan said Syncrude first punished him for joining the program too late and then again for staying in it too long. He was fired last September.Syncrude spokesman Leithan Slade said Thursday the company has nothing to add to its statement of defence “other than that Syncrude greatly values and supports its employees.”Swan said he’ll never work as a first responder again, but he’s exploring retraining options through the WCB.The WCB’s support is helpful, he added, but he is under financial strain. His sister has set up a GoFundMe page for legal and medical expenses.“This is embarrassing, but I’m collecting some bottles and stuff and rolling change,” he said.“I’m not looking for a handout or to be set up the rest of my life. I’d just like to hold Syncrude accountable and get back to the workforce.” “At no time during the plaintiff’s employment did Syncrude demonstrate an intention not to be bound by the employment agreement. The plaintiff, however, relocated from Fort McMurray to Calgary without notice to Syncrude and subsequently abandoned his employment.”The claims by Swan and Syncrude have not been tested in court.Swan, 44, began working for Syncrude in 2002 as a heavy equipment operator at its mining operations north of Fort McMurray, Alta. Five years later, he joined the company’s fire department, which sometimes responds to calls in the surrounding community.The former firefighter and paramedic has said that no single event triggered his PTSD, but that it built up gradually. He said his symptoms were in full force by the time a ferocious wildfire swept into Fort McMurray in 2016. He was diagnosed a year later.Syncrude said Swan attended an intake screening for a traumatic psychological injury program organized through the Workers’ Compensation Board in October 2017, but he “unilaterally chose not to return” for treatment.Swan explained Wednesday that he joined the program later than Syncrude wanted because his own psychologist wished to ensure Swan was in the right condition for it. CALGARY, A.B. – Oilsands giant Syncrude Canada wants a judge to dismiss a lawsuit by a former first responder who claims he was wrongfully fired following a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.Michael Swan filed the lawsuit in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench late last year seeking damages for lost compensation and benefits, improper paycheque deductions and in lieu of reasonable notice. His also seeks “moral or aggravated damages for bad faith throughout the employment relationship” and punitive damages.“Syncrude denies that the plaintiff was at any time penalized due to his disability or that Syncrude failed to treat the plaintiff with civility, decency, dignity and respect,” the company said in a statement of defence filed last month. He said the program offered structured full-day treatment that included group sessions, exercise and meditation. He said he found it challenging and rewarding.“By the time I was ending it, I had come so far. I was able to talk with people and share my experience, which aids people suffering from PTSD immensely.”In February 2018, Syncrude told Swan he had to return to work within a week, even though his care team and the WCB did not think he was ready, his lawsuit alleges.Swan said he completed the program last summer. While he found it helpful, he said he spent a lot of time there dealing with his anger at Syncrude rather than his PTSD.
Forcible confinementSexual assaultAdminister noxious substanceAssault with a weaponUttering threats against person x 2Unauthorized possession of a firearm x 2Possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunitionTrafficking Cocaine27-year-old Matthew Robert Best of Grande Prairie is facing the following charges:Forcible confinementSexual assaultAdminister noxious substanceAssault with a weaponUttering threats against person x 2Unauthorized possession of a firearm x 2Trafficking CocaineFail to comply with recognizance x 5Possession of Prohibited or Restricted Firearm with Ammunition31-year-old Robert Wade Stewart of Grande Prairie is facing the following charges:Unauthorized possession of a firearm x 2Possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm with ammunitionTrafficking cocaineFail to comply with recognizance x 4Possession of cocaineBest and Forrest remain in custody and are scheduled to appear at Grande Prairie Provincial Court on April 15, 2019.Stewart has been released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear in Grande Prairie Provincial Court on April 24, 2019.The matter is before the courts, and no further information will be released. GRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – The Grande Prairie RCMP General Investigation Section, along with the assistance of ALERT, RCMP Police Dog Services, and Grande Prairie General Duty members made arrests on three males, on March 22, in relation to a sexual assault and forcible confinement investigation.According to Police, drugs and a firearm were located during the arrests.30-year-old Garrett Kenneth Forrest of Grande Prairie is facing the following charges:
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BC Oil and Gas Commission is hosting information sessions on Orphan Sites.The information sessions are for landowners that have orphaned well sites, how they are identified, how risk is managed and how they are restored.Wednesday, April 24th, 2019, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre. For more information on the sessions email; email@example.com or call 250.794.5200
The Monark Group of Surrey now owns the property. Developers Monty Sikka and Mark Catroppa are the founders of the company and in a press release, said they would develop the city’s only master-planned community.The developers are proposing to build single-family, duplex, and row homes along with condominiums and apartments and integrate them with commercial and retail spaces.The new owners, the Monark Group, have not said when construction will start on the property but are currently looking for investors and possible homeowners. You can learn more about the project at www.fortstjohn.com FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Over 207 acres of land in the southeast corner of Fort St. John has been sold to another developer.The Station or as it has been known in the past, Station 44, is a section of land behind the UFA Cardlock along the Alaska Highway in Fort St. John.Since the early 2000’s the property has been bought and sold several times. Each developer has proposed to build a mix of residential and commercial/retail in the area.
Bengaluru: Karnataka minister G T Deve Gowda on Wednesday said that his party JD(S)’ workers in Mysuru and elsewhere might have voted for the BJP, underlining the unease between ruling coalition partners. The Congress and the JDS had fought the Lok Sabha elections together, but the seat sharing understanding was marred by differences between members of the two parties which had been bitter rivals before they joined hands to form government. “There were some differences between the two parties. Take Udbur for example. People fought like there any panchayat election. “Those who were in Congress voted for Congress and those in JD(S) voted for the BJP. Similar things happened elsewhere too,” Gowda told reporters in Mysuru. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghGowda added that if the two parties could have combined their strength, there was no scope for the BJP to win even five seats out of 28 in Karnataka. He also pointed out that coalition should have been formalised much earlier for better coordination and results. The statement triggered a strong reaction from the Congress, with its state president Dinesh Gundu Rao saying it was not good for the coalition government. Expressing shock, Rao said, “I am not able to figure out how he (Gowda) had worked during the election because he has given contradictory statements. Such statements are not good for the coalition government.” “Such things would happen because those given responsibility did not work sincerely. There seems to be lack of sincerity,” the Congress leader said. He also junked Gowda’s statement about delay in formalising the alliance. “We formed the coalition much earlier. There was no delay in forming the coalition…” Mpost
Kolkata: Coal India will supply 530 million tonne of coal to the power sector in 2019-20, a 8.6 per cent rise over the previous year. Though the annual production for the current fiscal have not been finalised yet, it is likely to be around 650 million tonne, said sources. “In FY’20, we have assured the government to supply 530 million tonne of coal to the power sector. Supply to the power sector during the last year was 488 million tonne, a rise of 7.5 per cent over 2017-18,” sources said. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraRetaining the focus on power sector, CIL’s share of despatch to power sector has increased to 80 per cent in FY’19 from the level of 78 per cent during the previous two years. Sources said the supply quantity is based on feedback and projections by the government for the power growth. In the wake of thrust to the power sector, the share of coal allocated under e-auction segment has drastically reduced to 12.6 per cent of production from 16.9 per cent in 2017-18 and to the level of 20.5 per cent in 2016-17.
Fez – Monday May 12th was not a normal day for thousands of teachers holding advanced university degrees. They are asking for equal promotion, and temporarily stopped striking in hopes that the Ministry of Education and the trade unions would find a fair solution for the two cohorts (2012 and2013) deprived of promotions based on the degrees they obtained. The result of the long and insincere negotiations between the government and the five trade unions is that eight teachers were sentenced to two months imprisonment, suspended execution by the First Instance Court in Rabat on charges of assaulting a police officer.Instead of responding to the demands of the strikers for the past three months, the Ministry of Education is still complicating the issue. The ministry’s strong desire to deter all forms of protest is meticulously carried out through oppressive methods, and it seems that it has no intentions to solve the issues the protesters present.These teachers obtained their degrees from public universities and made a lot of effort to pursue higher education and research, but now that they’ve graduated, the government is now reneging on its commitments. They are treated like a nuisance to the state and not as precious human resources who are going to develop their country and serve their community effectively. If the government really doubts the qualifications and the competence of these teachers, then it is high time to forbid education in Morocco. It is amazing how these teachers are considered incompetent, and that the ministry needs to test their intellectual abilities, whereas the previous cohorts were competent and got promoted on the basis of the degrees they have. Therefore, to prevent these teachers from asking again for the right to promotion -just like their colleagues- which is guaranteed by the 2011 constitution, the Ministry of Education cleverly resorted to unfair and punitive procedures such as massive wage deductions.In the last February session, thousands of teachers took the promotion exam in spurious and compromised circumstances; there was chaos and disorder in the exam setting. Some found the opportunity to enter the exam room secretly, while others pretended to be teacher trainers, and so on. The issue is that a lot of teachers were not able to take the exam due to the aforementioned conditions, and because they were forced to come back to their workplaces, they were deprived of the exam; though the government promised to launch a second session for those who were not able to sit for the exam in April, so far nothing has been announced.Who is to blame? Is it the trade unions or the Ministry of Education? If the government really wanted to solve the problem and put an end to the inefficiencies in the educational sector, it should start tomorrow, but it seems that teachers in Morocco are doomed to be left behind.Edited by Jessica Rohan© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Salé – The investigating magistrate in charge of terrorism affairs at the Appeals Court of Salé on Friday ordered the detention, in Salé prison, of a former member of the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and his son, judicial sources said.The man, called “Abu Hamza,” and his son are sued for forming a criminal gang to prepare and carry out terrorist attacks within the framework of a collective plot to seriously undermine public order by intimidation, violence and terror, belonging to a banned religious group, and holding unauthorized public meetings.The National Brigade of the Judicial Police had previously referred the two men, from the northern city of Tangier, before the public prosecutor at the Rabat appeals court.
Rabat – Officials from the Kawkab Athletic Club of Marrakech (KACM), a football club from the city of Marrakech and crowned champions of Morocco in two occasions (1958 & 1992), have been reportedly treated “rudely” by American actor Tom Cruise who was given previous approval from authorities to film scenes from his big budget production movie “Mission Impossible 5” in the Grand stadium of Marrakech.KACM officials reportedly felt “humiliated” after being unable to park in the parking lot of the Grand stadium, which is technically their own stadium, and were forced to go through a narrow passage in order to access to the grandstand to watch their club’s match against Ittihad Zemmouri de Khemisset, according to le360.ma website.Sonarges, the company in charge of many stadiums throughout the country including the Grand stadium of Marrakech, justified Tom cruise’s step to deny access to the parking lot and to the grandstand saying that it was “out of fear of potential damage of filming equipment,” the same source added.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI launched, on Monday, important road and urban development projects to solve the problems of mobility inside the city of Rabat and in its suburbs and improve the living conditions of local populations for a provisional investment nearing MAD 1.5 billion.An integral part of the 2014-2018 Rabat development integrated program dubbed: “Rabat city of lights, Morocco’s cultural capital”, these projects consist of redeveloping the bypass n1 linking the Casablanca-Rabat highway to that of Rabat-Fez, building an urban bypass n 2 linking the city of Rabat to Sale, burying four 60 KV High Voltage Lines Zaer-Agdal and developing the Abderrahim Bouabid avenue.These projects, will help with the city’s traffic congestion, improve road and people security, and positively impact the environment thanks to the drop in air pollution rate and the reduction of noise pollution. Worth 710 million dirhams, the project of redeveloping the urban bypass n1 will cover 18 kilometers. It will be carried out as part of a partnership between the equipment ministry and the Rabat urban commune. This project provides for redeveloping the existing interchanges, building five tunnels, broadening 2 road structures and turning the bypass into a three-lane road.As for the project of constructing the urban bypass n2 (MAD 520 billion), it will offer the citizens a new crossing of the Bouregreg river, a practical solution to mobility problems between the cities of Rabat and Sale due to the mounting pressure on the Hassan II and Moulay Youssef bridges and the crowding at central crossroads in the two cities.The future bypass will consist of developing an urban 8km-long boulevard, constructing a tunnel at the level of the Mohammed VI avenue crossroads in Rabat, and building an above-ground passage to restore traffic at the crossroads of Zarbia road and Sale.This project will be carried out by the Bouregreg Valley development agency and provides for constructing a viaduct on the Bouregreg river and hydraulic facilities, in addition to developing green areas and planting trees along the bypass.Worth MAD 130 million, the project of burying four 60 KV High Voltage Lines (Zaer-Agdal), which will span 12 months, consists of burying underground the 60 KV High Voltage Lines n73/75 and 77/79 stretching along the Abderrahim Bouabid, Ibn Rochd and Maâ El Aynine avenues.The project of developing the Abderrahim Bouabid avenue (130 mln MAD) concerns broadening the avenue to make it a three-lane road, improving public lighting, setting up urban real estates, and developing green areas.
By Nahla BendefaaRabat – A young man in Fes was the victim of a ruthless attack by a mob on Monday. They attacked the man because he is supposedly gay. Upon learning that the victim was a homosexual, the offenders beat the young man savagely and treated him as “less than human.”Their beatly nature and ignorance was apparent in their call to Allah; by yelling out “Allah is Great” in Arabic, the mob revealed their poor understanding of Islam. In a video dating back to 2013, Hassan Iquioussen, a Moroccan Imam living in France, discusses the Muslim people’s behavior toward homosexuals and suggests that Muslims should deal with homosexuality away from shunning and demonization of people with different sexual orientation.Iquioussen, a member of the Union of Islamic Organizations of France, is nicknamed “Le prêcheur des cites” (The preacher of suburbs). Born and raised in France, Hassan Iquioussen is of Moroccan descent.In the video, Iquioussen explains that in the Quran, homosexuality is said to be a sin in a clear and concise manner. However, over the course of twenty-seven minutes, Iquioussen struggles to explain to his audience that this does not change the fact that there are pious Muslims who happen to be attracted to the same sex.Iquioussen’s argument is that everyone is a sinner, one way or another. Therefore, it does no good to judge people who sin in a way that may be considered “abnormal.” He compares homosexuality to drinking alcohol and adultery, giving examples of some of the Prophet’s companions; his point: sin and piety are not mutually exclusive.“It is not because you are a pious Muslim that you do not commit any sins at all. In reality, you are a pious Muslim that also happens to commit sins and thus, disobey Allah,” he says.In the video, Iquioussen condemns any kind of violence against homosexuals. “Acting on one’s homosexuality may be a sin, but this does not compel me to go on a crusade looking for homosexuals to lynch,” he says.He also says that it is the duty of good Muslims to maintain the sacredness of the personal lives of Muslims. As such, if you find out someone is indeed a homosexual, the right thing to do is to keep it to oneself instead of disseminating it and subjecting homosexuals to violence.
Rabat – The last match of the 2015 North African Football Union (UNAF) tournament between Raja Casablanca and Libyan Hilal Benghazi started with a fierce riot among Raja fans in “Courva Nor” a place devoted to the fans of Raja.The riot took place immediately after the start of the second half of the match.The stadium seating reserved for the fans of Raja was turned into a bloody battlefield after a verbal offense turned into a physical dispute among a group of the green fans.The fierce riot left so several people injured before the authorities intervened to calm down the angry fans and evacuate the stadium of Mohamed V Complex.The injured fans received first aids and others were admitted to hospitals to receive medical care.Morocco’s Raja Casablanca has been crowned winner of the 2015 North African Football Union (UNAF), after a draw with Libyan Hilal Benghazi in the last match of the tournament on Wednesday.
Rabat – An Iranian film about the Prophet Mohammed’s childhood premiers on Wednesday in 143 movie theaters throughout Iran, according to media reports.The 171-minute film ‘Mohammed, Messenger of God’ is the most expensive film to be made in Iran. It depicts a teenager prophet Mohammed by showing the back of his head.Mohammed Mahdi Heidarian, head of the private Nourtaban Film Industry company, confirmed that his firm had spent $40 million on the epic film. The movie was filmed in Iran with a replica of the Kaaba and Mecca built in the Iranian village of Allahyar, south of the capital Tehran.The film will also open the Montreal World Film Festival on Thursday.The film has come under fire for depicting the prophet, but its director Majid Majidi, 56, said he hopes it will improve Islam’s ‘violent image’.In an interview with AFP in Tehran, the award-winning director said extremists and jihadists such as the Islamic State group “have stolen the name of Islam”.In the Western world, “an incorrect interpretation of Islam has emerged that shows a violent image of Islam, and we believe it has no link whatsoever” to the religion, he said.According to media sources, Majidi and a research team of historians and archaeologists, consulted with Shia and Sunni scholars from several Muslim countries, including Iran, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, and Iraq, to “ensure an accurate portrayal of Muhammad’s childhood”.The film, which is the first part of a trilogy on the life of the prophet, is due to be released in three languages: Arabic, Persian and English.The film “Mohammad, Messenger of God” from Syrian filmmaker Moustapha Akkad also drew criticism in the Muslim world when it was first released in 1976.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
By Yasyn MouhirRabat – Moroccan film director Leila Marrakchi has been selected to be one of the members of the jury that will judge film entries for the 37th Cairo International Film Festival to be held November 11-20, 2015.The 37th Cairo International Film Festival has announced the International Jury members for this year’s festival. The prestigious group includes renowned figures in the film industry from around the world.The committee will be chaired by Danish director Bille August. He won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival twice for his movies “Pelle the Conqueror” in 1988 and “The Best Intentions” in 1992, and received the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for “Pelle the Conqueror” in 1989. Thejury also includes French producer Anne-Dominique Toussaint, Georgian director George Ovashvili, Egyptian actress Dalia El-Beheri, Egyptian director Marwan Hamed, and Indian director, actress, and choreographer Farah Khan.This is the first time a Moroccan director has been chosen to be on the jury at the Cairo International Film Festival, which has attracted famous cinema names since its inception under the chairmanship of the late critic Kamal Mallakh, and then the late writer Saad Eddin Wahba.Marrakchi directed a collection of short films before her first long film “Marock” in 2005. Her latest film is “Rock the Casbah,” starring Omar Sharif, Nadine Labaki, Lubna Azabal, and Hiam Abbas.16 films are competing in the 37th CIFF official competition, representing countries from different continents. According to the festival organizers, the 37th CIFF will present new films, as well as films that have caught the attention of critics and those interested in the seventh art.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
By Zainab CalcuttawalaRabat – After five months in a Moroccan prison, Younes Abdurrahman Chekkouri, an ex-Guantanamo Bay inmate, was released on Thursday. Moroccan authorities had incarcerated Chekkouri on conspiracy charges when he arrived in Morocco last September, following his release from the U.S. military prison in Cuba where he had been Detained for nearly 14 years. Chekkouri, who was held without charges at Guantanamo Bay, was given a provisional release as he waits to learn whether he will be charged with “conspiring against national security. The hearing, which has been postponed multiple times is scheduled for February 23. .Khalil Idrissi, Chekkouri’s lawyer, said his release, though impermanent, is “a positive sign.”Pakistani security officers arrested Chekkouri in December 2001 as he attempted to cross the Pakistan-Afghanistan border with other suspected al-Qaida fighters. He was later turned over to U.S. forces.Chekkouri’s U.S. lawyers, affiliated with the human rights group Reprieve, said diplomatic statements by Moroccan officials had guaranteed that he would be released within 72 hours if he were to be arrested upon repatriation. However, Moroccan officials later denied making any assurances.Chekkouri’s release leaves one Moroccan prisoner at Guantanamo Bay – Abdul Latif Nasir, who the Guantanamo Review Task Force (GRTF) recommended for continued detention because he was considered to be a “high risk to the U.S., its interests, and its allies”, a “medium threat for a detention perspective”, and of “high intelligence value”, according to U.S. Department of Defense documents from 2010.The GRTF was created in January 2009, after President Barack Obama issued an executive order requiring a full interagency review of all persons detained at the military prison in order to facilitate its closure. A reassessment of all individuals detained at Guantanamo would further the interests of justice and the American foreign policy agenda, according to the then, newly-inaugurated president.
Rabat – With the ongoing boycott campaign in full swing, Moroccan Youtuber Mustapha Swinga has released a video to help the public understand hydrocarbon prices in Morocco. On his Youtube page, “Aji Tfhem (Come and Understand),” he explains it all.In the 17-minute video, posted to his page, the Youtuber uses quantifiable details to explain the relationship between the prices of a barrel of oil and the prices of different types of hydrocarbons.The video illustrates how businesses use different kinds of hydrocarbons and reviews the historical background of oil in Morocco, including the creation and sale of the oil giant, Samir. The “Aji Tfem” video went viral on social media, trending at number 6 on Youtube Morocco, with more than 524,000 views in three days.The video, titled “How to Understand the Prices of Hydrocarbon in Morocco” follows the wave of boycotts by Moroccan citizens against the exorbitant prices of Sidi Ali mineral water, Centrale Laitière dairy products, and Afriquia gasoline company.The boycott campaign has already resulted in significant financial consequences for the companies, as confirmed by recent financial statistics reported by Al-Massae and Akhbar Al Yaoum.With over 80,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel, over 530,000 fans on his Facebook page, and hundreds of thousands of views per video, Mustapha El Fekkak, also known as Mustapha Swinga, has quickly made a name for himself on the web.In less than two years, he has established himself as one of the most influential bloggers in Morocco.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI has reiterated his unwavering support for the Moroccan government’s decision to introduce mandatory military service.On Friday, the military service bill was part of the King’s agenda at the opening of Parliament’s fall session.The King chaired the opening of the first session of the third legislative year, marking the gathering of the tenth legislature. Representatives of both Parliament houses, the House of Councilors and the House of Representatives, were in attendance. Responding to one of the main concerns voiced by some youth, the King said that no one will be exempt from military service irrespective of social status or level of education.“With regard to performing military service, it must be emphasized that all the Moroccan citizens concerned–without exception–are equal, regardless of social background, diploma or education,” said the King.Read Also: Mandatory Military Service: To Some It’s Patriotic, To Others It’s PunishmentThe draft’s approval in August sparked confusion among the public, as the only indication that mandatory service would be reintroduced came just two days prior. Bill 44.18 on mandatory military service says that all Moroccan youth between the ages of 19 and 25 will spend 12 months participating in military service unless they are exempted for extenuating circumstances, such as physical or mental illnesses and those who support their families financially.After the bill was approved, the King issued a statement in support of military service; the statement emphasized that the obligatory service would aim to promote patriotism in youth.In today’s speech, the King reiterated elements of the royal statement, saying that mandatory service will enhance “the sense of belonging to the homeland.”Amid the increasing rate of unemployment, the King believes that military service will help curb the crisis, as it gives access to training “which opens up opportunities for the professional and social integration of qualified conscripts who demonstrate a sense of responsibility and commitment.”Read Also: Mandatory Military Service Might Not Include Moroccan BinationalsArticle 6 of Bill 44.18 on mandatory military service says that conscripts will be awarded grades according to the Royal Armed Forces’ current hierarchy standards. Conscripts will also receive MAD 2,000 each month, but they will not be able to collect the reward until the conclusion of the 12-month period.Glimpse into Moroccan mandatory military service historyMorocco first introduced an 18-month military service on June 9, 1966, in accordance with Royal Decree 137-66. According to the decree, the national military training aimed to enable youth to “contribute effectively and in all circumstances to the defense of their homeland.”At the time, every 18-year-old Moroccan man had to visit the qaid (governor) of his region, who evaluated whether he was qualified for the military. Men with physical illnesses were exempted from participating in the national military training.The measure aimed to increase conscripts’ skills and aid in their contributions “to the development of their country.” Morocco reduced the length of service to 12 months in 1999 and abolished military service completely in 2006.One out of manyReinstating mandatory military service is part of a long list of reforms the King has implemented in search of a solution to the ongoing unemployment crisis in the country.Other reforms focus on education and vocational training, which are “meant to benefit citizens, especially young people, and to enable them to help serve their country.”Vocational training and education have been the main priorities in most recent speeches of King Mohammed VI. He has said that vocational training aims to integrate youth into a new technical sector, and practical applications of the skills they learn will enable them to find employment.“Vocational training is a powerful lever for employment, provided it receives the attention it deserves and so long as it is given a new status as well as a broader scope,” said the King.Read Also: Unemployment: King Urges Government to Create New Vocational Training ProgramsSince it was established in 1974, the Office of Vocational Training and Employment Promotion (OFPPT) has welcomed hundreds of students annually for training in several fields.There are several specializations available through OFPPT, including communications, business, IT, administration, and automotive mechanics. There are public training institutions that offer vocational training throughout the year across the country. According to the King, there should be a balance between theoretical training and practical and workplace training: “It is necessary to work on creating more bridges and links between vocational training programs and general education courses within a unified, integrated system.”