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Cong announces Rs 1 lakh for identity of man seen exchanging money

first_imgAhmedabad: Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Friday said his party would give a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who could reveal the identity of a man seen in a video purportedly exchanging demonetised notes with face value of Rs 5 crore.Speaking at a press conference in the city where he played the video clip for the media, Sibal claimed it was shot in Ahmedabad and that Kamalam, the ruling BJP’s headquarters in Gujarat, was also involved. The grainy video, reportedly shot by journalists here and obtained from a website called www.tnn.world, shows a bearded man exchanging demonetised currency with a face value of Rs 5 crore with new Rs 2,000 notes totalling Rs 3 crore. “The (video) episode happened in Ahmedabad. The person in the video was apparently very close to the BJP. He may well have been a member of the BJP. He, along with others, was running a racket of illegally converting thousands of crores of unaccounted currency after December 31, 2016 (post demonetisation on November 8 that year),” Sibal said. “The process of conversion must have involved politicians, bankers, brokers and others. Those involved in the chain of conversion earned commission of up to 40 per cent,” the Congress leader claimed. “Anybody who can identify the person in the video will be given a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh by the Congress party,” he said, adding that the BJP government had not bothered to probe the video. The video was first released at a press conference on March 26. Hitting back at the time, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the Congress was bereft of real issues and was therefore leaning on “fakery”.last_img read more

Father 2 brothers of Sri Lanka bombings mastermind killed

first_imgCOLOMBO/KALMUNAI: The father and two brothers of the suspected mastermind of Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombings were killed when security forces stormed their safe house two days ago, police sources and a relative of the suicide bombers said on Sunday. Zainee Hashim, Rilwan Hashim and their father Mohamed Hashim, who were seen in a video circulating on social media calling for all-out war against non believers, were among 15 killed in a fierce gun battle with the military on the east coast on Friday, four police sources said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportNiyaz Sharif, the brother-in-law of Zahran Hashim, the suspected ringleader of the wave of Easter Sunday bombings that killed over 250 people in churches and hotels across the island nation, told Reuters the video showed Zahran’s two brothers and father. Three of the people killed in Friday’s gun battle were the same people who were seen in the undated video on social media, in which they discus martyrdom and urge their followers to kill all non believers, police sources said. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsSri Lanka has been on high alert since the attacks on Easter Sunday, with nearly 10,000 soldiers deployed across the island to carry out searches and hunt down members of two local Islamist groups believed to have carried out the attack. Authorities have detained more than 100 people, including foreigners from Syria and Egypt since the April 21 bombings. In the video, Rilwan Hashim is seen calling for all out ‘jihad’, or holy war, while children cry in the background. “We will destroy these non-believers to protect this land and therefore we need to do jihad,” Rilwan says in the video, sitting beside his brother and father. “We need to teach a proper lesson for these non-believers who have been destroying Muslims.” Authorities suspect there may be more suicide bombers on the loose. Defence authorities have so far focused their investigations on international links to two domestic groups they believe carried out the attacks, the National Thawheedh Jamaath and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings, and on Sunday the group said three of its members clashed with Sri Lankan police for several hours in Friday’s gun battle on the east coast before detonating their explosive vests, the militant group’s news agency Amaq said. The group said 17 policemen were killed or injured in the attack, but the Sri Lankan military has denied this. A police source told Reuters two policemen were slightly injured in the battle. Police have said six children were among the other 12 people who died in the gun battle, but have not released further details.last_img read more

Patliputra LS seat Its a Yadav vs Yadav contest

first_imgNew Delhi: The Patliputra Lok Sabha constituency, which was created after the delimitation of 2008, is set to witness a very tight fight as Lalu Prasad’s elder daughter Misa Bharti, who was fielded as RJD candidate after rejecting the candidature of RJD’s old warhorse in 2014 election, is again in the poll arena to take on Ramkripal Yadav.The prestige of both Lalu Prasad and his son Tejashwi Yadav is at stake as Misa Bharti has been fielded against the ‘wishes’ of Tejashwi Yadav. The RJD had ‘wanted’ to field Maner MLA Bhai Virendra from the high profile Patliputra seat in 2019 polls. Though the contest is Yadav vs Yadav and the best Yadav would win the game. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghInterestingly, even though the Patliputra Lok Sabha seat is a completely Yadav-dominated, Lalu Prasad who had contested in 2009 general elections had faced an unprecedented defeat. Notably, Lalu Prasad had contested from Patliputra seat in 2009 when the BJP’s key ally JD(U) had ‘restricted’ incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi from holding the election rallies in Bihar. In the neck to neck fight, the RJD supremo had faced unprecedented defeat by JD(U) candidate Ranjan Yadav, who had switched his side from RJD. Lalu Prasad had lost the seat by 24,000 votes, while CPI(ML) candidate Rameshwar Prasad, who had secured 36,000 votes, was at the third position. Later on, Ranjan Yadav became a member of BJP in 2015. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad The election of 2014 had become more interesting after Lalu Prasad, who was banned from contesting elections preferred his family member over his old confident and fielded elder daughter Misa Bharti to wrest the prestigious seat. As like Lalu Prasad, Bharti too failed to wrest the seat and lost it to BJP’s Ramkripal Yadav, who had started his political career under the tutelage of Lalu Prasad. Bharti, who faced the defeat by a margin of 40,332 votes, had scored 3,42,940 votes, while BJP nominee Ramkripal Yadav had scored 3,83,262 votes out of the total 9,78,649 votes polled in 2014. According to political experts, the contest is going to be very close as Yadav voters are now stand divided. “Given that both the leaders represent the same community, the best candidate would make it to the final. The circumstances for Misa Bharti have become little favourable in comparison to 2014,” the expert said, adding that during the 2014 polls the sympathy of Yadavs was with Ramkripal as he was being ‘ditched’ by Lalu Prasad. “The situation is all different in 2019 polls as voters of the area are now counting the development works being done by sitting MPs for the community. Voters are judging both the leaders on the parameters of their performance,” the expert said, adding that the contest is all about who has done what in the last 5 years for the area and the community. It’s worth mentioning that Misa Bharti was elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha in June 2016. The Patliputra Lok Sabha constituency has six assembly seats — Danapur, Maner, Phulwari (SC), Masaurhi (SC), Paliganj and Bikram. There are about 5 lakh Yadavs, 3 lakh Bhumihars and 4 lakh Kurmi voters in the parliamentary constituency which has about 16.5 lakh voters. Prior to delimitation, Patna was the Bihar’s capital seat which was divided into two Lok Sabha seats – Patliputra and Patna Sahib. Patliputra comprises of rural areas while Patna Sahib comprises of mostly urban areas.last_img read more

As soon as BJP is ousted from Centre their growth will die

first_imgKolkata: Soon after addressing an election rally in the South Kolkata Lok Sabha constituency, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee gave a brief interview to The Wire’s founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan and its Calcutta-based contributor Himadri Ghosh.In the interview, she discussed the possible outcomes of the election on May 23, accused Narendra Modi of political vendetta and also touched upon how the BJP’s so-called growth will come down drastically once they are ousted from the Centre. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaExcerpts: SV: Well, the 2019 election, Narendra Modi has been the face, the voice, the name that has dominated the campaign. And you have been perhaps the most forthright in directly challenging him. You say no matter what happens, Narendra Modi must go. Why do you believe that this one person’s ouster is so crucial to this election? MB: He’s not only a fascist, he’s an egoist. He has tremendous political vendetta. I used some harsh words today. But they are not harsh words. They are politically strong, bold words. Because, you know, we respect our great son of the soil, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, very much. We are celebrating 200 years this year. But the goons, the BJP goons from the Amit Shah rally, they have totally destroyed Vidyasagar’s statue… These type of people must go from this country. They must go from politics. The politician should know what is politics. Politics means sacrifice. Politics means dedication, determination, devotion. But if you think politics means “goondaism”, hooliganism, fair enough… In a democracy, everybody has the right to speak. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwaySV: Does it worry you that in Bengal, in a very short duration of time, the BJP has emerged as your principal challenger? The Left does not seem to be in the race. MB: Not at all, somebody will be the opposition. In a democratic setup, somebody will be ruling party, somebody will be opposition. I may be number one, but they may be number two, three or four. It is the CPM’s business, that CPM’s goons, they are joining the BJP, because the BJP is giving… to them also. So it is their matter. I don’t mind who will come as the second person. I will certainly try that I must be first. HG: Madam, we have seen for some time, people from the CPM are now marching under the BJP flag. Who do you blame for this? MB: I am telling you, this is not growth. This is absolutely not growth. This happens when the BJP is in power in the Centre. They use the situation. There, they work through agencies, so there is some growth. If the BJP is not in power, then this growth will die in a second. It is temporary. SV: In the event that the BJP falls short by a significant number… how will you… MB: We will not support the BJP. SV: Under any circumstances? MB: No.last_img read more

Moroccan Adel Taarabt joins AC Milan on a loan

first_imgRabat – Morocco international player Adel Taarabt has signed for AC Milan.The 24-year old player will be transferred to the Italian club on a loan for the rest of the season.A statement released by AC Milan says that “Adel Taarabt has landed on a private jet to (Milan’s) Linate airport.” The Moroccan international has undergone a medical examination before joining the prestigious Italian club.“I am honoured to be able to play in the best club in the world,” Taarabt told the official website of AC Milan.“I have spoken to (AC Milan coach Clarence) Seedorf and we are both really happy.”“I am a striker and I like to play behind the forwards or even on the left or the right.”“I don’t know personally Balotelli but it’s a great honor for me to be able to play with him,” he added.last_img read more

Egypt moves to take control of independent mosques

first_imgCAIRO- Egyptian authorities decided Tuesday to take control of independent mosques, state news agency MENA reported, in a move aimed at curbing Islamist dissent.The measure aims to further tighten the state’s grip on all mosques in the country, deeply polarised since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.Morsi’s supporters and his Muslim Brotherhood have been targets of a brutal government crackdown since the army ousted him last July. The military-installed government accuses Islamist groups, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, of using mosques to spread their ideology and enroll new recruits.Religious Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar tasked his office with bringing all independent mosques under the ministry’s control within a month, MENA said.Egypt has around 130,000 mosques, of which 10,000 are not under the government supervision, ministry official Sabry Ebada told AFP last month.Morsi’s supporters often stage protests after the weekly Friday prayers.In January, the ministry decided to set a theme topic sent to preachers around the country for the Friday sermon.Scuffles have often erupted between Morsi’s supporters and opponents during the Friday prayers, particularly when the sermon appears to favors one side over the other.In late 2013, the ministry dismissed 55,000 imams (prayer leaders) who didnot graduate from Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious institution in Sunni Islam.The ministry requires imams to receive permission to lead prayers at mosques.last_img read more

Egypt protest leader Abdel Fattah faces trial on March 23

first_imgCAIRO – Prominent Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah will stand trial on March 23 for allegedly participating in a violent protest, state media reported Saturday, amid concerns the military-installed regime is increasingly stifling dissent.Abdel Fattah was a well-known activist and blogger during the 2011 uprising that overthrew strongman Hosni Mubarak, and supported the military’s ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi two years later.But he and other activists have since clashed with the new military-installed government, which has waged an extensive crackdown on both Islamists and secular activists like him. He had been hailed as an “icon of the revolution” by the military-installed presidency after Morsi’s overthrow, before he began protesting against the newregime.Abdel Fattah will face trial with 24 other defendants for a November protest against a clause in the constitution allowing the military to court martial civilians, the official MENA news agency reported.Abdel Fattah is charged with assaulting a police officer during the protest, held in violation of a law that bans all but police-sanctioned demonstrations.Three other prominent secular activists have been sentenced to three years in prison for violating the law.In an appeal hearing last week, the activists alleged they were beaten by policemen for almost 15 minutes before they were ushered into the caged dock at the court room, prompting their lawyers to walk out in protest at their treatment.Many liberal and leftist activists who opposed both Mubarak and Morsi now say they fear rights are being eroded by an emboldened interior ministry that has arrested dissidents and journalists.Egypt is due to hold presidential elections this spring that will likely be contested and won by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who has distanced himself from the practices of Mubarak’s regime.last_img read more

Egyptians respond to latest Moroccan TV statements

Cairo – Egyptian diplomats should take further political resolutions, expert says.Only 9% of Egyptian youth believe what they see on television channels, according to a survey issued last December by Baseera, an independent poll center in Cairo.The number should not be surprising. Ever since the first uprisings in Egypt in 2011, the Egyptian television channels have shown a strong record of unprofessional and inciting coverage for several political issues. On the regional level, the language of media discourse between Egypt and Morocco has turned into a gossip. Last month, Morocco’s state-owned channels 2M and Alaoula broadcasted a report that harshly criticized Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, describing what happened in egypt as “coup.”The statements were not the first of its kind between Egypt and Morocco. During the same month, Egyptian TV presenter Wafaa ElKilany said in her show on the MBC network that Morocco and Africa are the “land of sorcery.”A couple of months prior to this statement, and during Eid al-Adha Youssef Eid, Secretary General of the Fatwa at Al-Azhar Mosque, said that Morocco’s celebration “is religiously not permissible because it violates Muslim customs and break the consensus.”Many Egyptians however were not aware of the latest statements by the Moroccan state television, while experts believe this was triggered by changes in the political relations between both countries.Yasser Abdul-Aziz, Egyptian media expert said, “this is a strategy Arab governments use when they need to bring certain topics into discussion,” referring to the recent statements by the Moroccan media. “Egypt’s rapprochement to Algeria raised concerns from the Moroccan side,” he added.In July 2014, one month after Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah Al Sisi’s inauguration, a delegation of Egyptian journalists visited the Tindouf camps Algeria. The group included a wide range of journalists who work for both state-run and private news organizations.During their four-days visit, they managed to speak to many of the people living in the Sahara camps of Tindouf, describing their daily lives as “refugees” seeking the basic standard of living, and also reviewing their customs and traditions.Journalists who went on that reporting trip claim they did not intend to provoke negative responses from any side over the other.“I went to this trip in my capacity as a journalist, only trying to bring all voices on an existing issue,” Egyptian journalist Ismail Al-Ashwal. who covered the story for the private Shorouk newspaper. said about the reasons for his visit. “I was very glad to speak to the Moroccan ambassador in Cairo as well and to the United Nations for further comments,” he added.With a tinge of pride, Al-Ashwal said his visit outcome was very fruitful and his report was accurate and impartial. He also said he has not been following any of the comments made recently about such a visit.Abdul-Aziz argues the media should stay away from this issue, and that Egyptian diplomats should instead take further political resolutions and not leave it for an open media battle.Meanwhile, other citizens believe it’s only about the media and it has nothing to with politics.Born to Moroccan parents, currently working in Egypt, Sharif Paget says, “I believe the media does so they can get more people to watch it and then cause controversy and gossip.” He added if people stopped watching it, then they’ll change it to something else.In Morocco, there is a sentiment that people do feel as though what happened in Egypt was a “coup,” according to Paget, despite the Moroccan government’s positive stance towards Sisi.“Such stereotypical statements can absolutely impact the relations between citizens of both countries,” Paget said, referring to the Egyptian statements on Morocco. “It would be best if people stopped tuning into such “gossip,” he added. read more

Technocrats Former Ministers to Join 3rd Version of Benkiranes Government

Rabat – More technocrats and former ministers are expected to join the third version of the Benkirane government.According to Moroccan daily newspaper Al Akhbar on its Monday, April 27th issue, Transportation Minister AzizRabbah and Minister Delegate to the Minister of Transportation Mohammed Najb Boulif are likely to lose their posts in the upcoming government reshuffle.The newspaper cited “strategic mistakes” and “lack of communication and coordination with other public institutions” as the primary reasons behind the removal of the two ministers. The source said the two ministers from the Justice and Development Party (PJD) will be replaced by a technocrat. The next cabinet reshuffle could also see former Foreign Minister Saadeddine El Othmani making a comeback. The chairman of the PJD’s national council is expected to replace late Minister of State Abdellah Baha.The post of Sports and Youth Minister, which has been vacant since the dismissal of former Minister Mohammed Ouzzine in the wake of the Rabat Stadium fiasco, is also expected to be filled by a technocrat.Citing internal source, Al Akhbar newspaper said the Popular Movement Party will select a technocrat for the position of Sports Minister on the condition that he or she meets certain criteria, including “to be well born, rich and to have the blessings of the Mekhzen.” read more

Moroccan NGOs Mobilize Against Israels Presidents Visit to Morocco

Rabat- Several local organizations are mobilizing against the planned visit of former Israeli President Shimon Peres to Morocco next month.Israel’s former President is expected among attendees of the Clinton Global Initiative Middle East and Africa conference, which will be held in Marrakech on May 5-7. The high-profile conference is being organized by the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.The National Group for the Support of Palestine (le Groupement national de soutien à la Palestine) and the Democratic Network for Solidarity with the people (le Réseau démocratique de solidarité avec les peuples) have called on Moroccan authorities to prevent former Israeli President Shimon Peres from visiting the country. In an appeal launched last week, the organizations called for the respect of Morocco’s commitment to the support of the Palestinian cause.The preliminary list of expected attendees to Clinton Global Initiative also includes executives from OCP and Coca-Cola, as well as the presidents of Rwanda and Tanzania and senior officials from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and the League of Arab States.The Clinton Global initiative Middle East and Africa aims at connecting governments and nonprofit leaders to address problems affecting host areas. read more

Morocco Arrests Four Suspected Terrorists in Agadir

Rabat – Moroccan intelligence and security services arrested four alleged suspects of an active terrorist cell on December 31 in Agadir.The last operation of 2015 carried out by Moroccan secret services in the fight against terrorism, took place in Morocco’s southern region, according to Yabiladi news website.Authorities arrested four men associated with a criminal network that was allegedly planning to carry out terrorist attacks in several parts of Agadir and its suburbs. According to Moroccan authorities cited by the local press, the arrests occurred at an apartment in the neighborhood of Salam, around 8:00 p.m. local time on New Year’s Eve when the country was on high security alert to protect the holiday festivities.The defendants have been interrogated by intelligence services and the group has been described as “dangerous”.Other arrests took place in the Agadir region on the eve of the New Year, including the detention of a group of Salafis, the same source said.Among the suspects arrested during the end-of-year security mobilization, some were released while about 18 others are still being held, according to a source in the defense of Coordination of Islamist detainees.Moroccan authorities deployed 100,000 members of the military, national security, the Royal Gendarmerie and the Auxiliary Forces, across the entire country on Wednesday to protect the New Year festivities from potential terrorist threats.Last Monday, Moroccan daily Assabah noted that Morocco figured among the list of countries threatened to be a target of ISIS’ chemical attacks on the evening of December 31. ISIS had reportedly named the attack, “the conquest of the New Year!”Morocco’s intelligence and security services have been working around the clock to protect the country and its borders from potential crimes.On December 11, authorities arrested a nine-member terrorist cell that was allegedly planning to carry out similar attacks to those in Paris on November 13.Similarly, a number of terror threats have been successfully thwarted by Moroccan authorities putting the responsible criminals behind bars without any civilian casualties. read more

King Mohamed VI Lays Wreath of Flowers at Monument to the

Beijing – King Mohammed VI, who is on an official visit to China, on Thursday laid a wreath of flowers at the Monument to the People’s Heroes in Beijing.After the national anthems of both countries were played, the king laid a wreath of flowers at the monument.The Monument to the People’s Heroes, which stands in the center of Tiananmen Square north of Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, was erected in memory of the martyrs who gave their lives in defense of the nation during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. With MAP

It is Now Legitimate for Africa to Organize the World Cup

Rabat – Head of Morocco’s Royal Football Federation (FRMF) Fouzi Lekjaa  believes that after Morocco’s four failed attempts to win hosting rights for the World Cup, it is “legitimate for Africa to host the competition for the second time in history.”The chief of the Moroccan football association shared his opinion in an interview with Maghreb TV regarding Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid.“Everyone knows that Morocco is applying on behalf of the continent,” Lekjaa said. Touting Morocco’s assets, Lekjaa mentioned Morocco’s stability in a region that has experienced several crises.“The stability offers a lot of visibility and allows you to move forward.”He also saluted Morocco’s geographical position, recalling that the 12 cities selected to host the games are within a 550-kilometer radius from Casablanca.“We promise a real football party, an opportunity to advance in a noble civilization process, one of the peculiarities of football,” he said.The president of the football federation also touted the significance of football and how Moroccans are passionate about the game.Lekjaa also discussed Morocco’s goal and how the World Cup will develop the country.“Organizing the World Cup will allow us to achieve several goals, including improving health, sports, and football infrastructure,” said Lekjaa.The vote will be held at FIFA’s 68th Congress on Wednesday in Moscow. The congress will allow football federations from around the globe to choose the bid that will best host the tournament.Morocco’s bid committee landed in many countries to introduce its bid in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. read more

First Snowfall Blankets Ifrane with 30 Centimeters

Rabat – Sunday’s drop in temperatures throughout Morocco has led to the first snowfall, reaching 30 centimeters in Ifrane.Ifrane, known as Morocco’s “Switzerland,” is not used to seeing snowfall this early before winter. Most snow falls in January.With snow-covered evergreens and steep-peaked houses, Ifrane becomes a winter wonderland with each snowfall. The temperature in Ifrane was -1 degree Celsius yesterday. Locals in the Atlas Mountain villages of Imouzzer, El Hajeb, and Boulemane and the city of Midelt also woke up to snow on the ground.Read Also: In Pictures: Glamorous View of Ifrane Under Snow The National Meteorological Directorate predicts strong winds Monday—from 70 to 90 kilometers per hour—in the regions of Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, Fez-Meknes, Rabat-Sale-Kenitra, Beni Mellal-Khenifra, and Casablanca-Settat.Heavy rains, from 30 to 50 millimeters, are forecasted for Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. in Chefchaouen, Fahs-Anjra, Kenitra, Larache, Ouazzane, Tangier-Assilah, and Tetouan.Rain is also forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday in Al Haouz, Azilal, Beni Mellal, Boulemane, Ifrane, Khenifra, and Midelt.Cold temperatures, between -3 and 10 degrees Celsius, will dominate Al Haouz, Azilal, Beni Mellal, Boulemane, Figuig, Guercif, Ifrane, Jerada, Khenifra, Midelt, Ouarzazate, Sefrou, Taza, and Tinghir.Read Also: Morocco’s Ifrane Among World’s Cleanest CitiesIfrane: A Piece of Switzerland in Morocco read more

King Mohammed VI Offers Royal Pardon to 443 Inmates on Youth

Rabat – King Mohammed VI offered his royal pardon to 443 inmates. The pardoned inmates were  sentenced to prison time by courts across Morocco.The Ministry of Justice announced the news on on August 20, the eve of Youth Day.The  list of the beneficiaries includes 317 detainees. One detainee was granted early release, while 316 prisoners had their prison terms reduced. The royal pardon freed 126 inmates. The  King excused 26 convicts from prison time. The pardon also released six convicts from prison time, however their fines were maintained.The pardon excused a further seven people sentenced to both prison time and fines, while 8 people had their fines annulled.The royal pardon comes after King Mohammed VI granted his pardon to 262 people on the eve of the King and People’s Revolution Day on August 20. The royal pardon is customary in Morocco to mark national and religious holidays. read more

How to Make Moroccan Chicken Pastilla

Rabat – Pastilla is a delicious and unique dish, a crispy pie that combines sweet and salty flavors, it is often served at weddings and celebrations but can be cooked for a special family dinner.The sweet-savoury meat stuffing is enveloped in a thin, crispy pastry called “warqa,” it can be bought in supermarkets as “feuilles de pastilla” or freshly made in the market. The same pastry is used for briwat. There are different forms of pastilla and the traditions vary from region to region. In coastal areas, for example, pastilla is more often made with seafood. Chicken and pigeon are also common fillings. Today we’re going to learn how to make my favorite – chicken and almond pastilla.  It can be quite tricky to get it right, but I promise it’s well worth the effort.Let’s start with the ingredients:2kg of chicken cut into pieces½ kg of onions, finely chopped2 cloves of garlic, minced1 tablespoon of chopped parsley½ tablespoon of chopped cilantro1 teaspoon of ginger powder1 teaspoon of  turmeric powder1 teaspoon of salt½ teaspoon of black pepper1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder2 tablespoon of brown sugarA large pinch of saffron threads1 tablespoon of salted butter¼ cup of oil½ kg warqa sheets (if you can’t get warqa, you can replace with filo pastry sheets.)To prepare the almonds you will need:500g boiled almonds – peeled – fried until  light golden and crushed3 tablespoons of caramelized, condensed milk1 tablespoon of  orange blossom sugar¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powderNow we’re ready to get started:In a large pot, put the chopped onions in oil and add chicken, salted butter, spices, and garlic. Stir and cook for a few minutes.Add water almost to the level of the chicken.Cover the pot and when it comes to the boil, lower the heat to medium and keep stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the chicken pieces are cooked and the meat separates easily from the bones.When the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces to a plate. Add brown sugar and cinnamon cook the sauce still in the pan until the onion is caramelized.When the chicken is cold remove meat from bones and add into the pot to onion and mix well.In a bowl, mix the crushed almonds condensed milk, cinnamon, and orange blossom sugar.Grease the round mold with butter.On the bottom of the dish, place 7 sheets of pastilla well-greased with butter (butter side up), overlapping them like the petals of a flower and leaving the overflow to the outside edges of the dish (about half of the sheet inside the flat, the other half to the outside).Consolidate the bottom of the pastilla with 1 or 2 more sheets placed in the center of the mold.Put a layer of the almond mixture on the sheets using the back of a spoon to spread it perfectly.Put pieces of chicken and onions over the entire surface of the almonds in order to completely cover the mold.Add a layer of almonds on the top.Add another sheet of pastry on top then fold the layers of the pastilla pastry over the stuffing.Arrange 3 new sheets on top and overlap to close the pastilla firmly.Once the pastilla is closed, spread the yolk of an egg on the top.Using a small wooden stick, like a toothpick, put some small holes on the top of pastilla.Put the pastilla in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes (more or less depending on oven). The pastilla should be golden brown and crispy when cookedWhen it is baked, leave to rest (about 5 minutes) then Sprinkle icing sugar over the entire surface Just before serving, sprinkle icing sugar or the surface of pastilla and decorate it with cinnamon and crushed fried almonds. read more

Japan carriers delay sale of new Huawei smartphones

TOKYO — Two Japanese mobile carriers say they are delaying sales of new smartphones from Huawei as they confirm the safety of the Chinese products.Sale of the Huwaei P30 lite, set for May 24, from SoftBank Corp.’s Y! Mobile service was delayed Wednesday, and advance orders were cancelled. KDDI also indefinitely delayed its sales, initially set for late May.SoftBank spokesman Hiroyuki Mizukami said the company wants “customers to feel safe using our products.”Other details were not available. It’s unclear if the sales will proceed.The U.S. government has said Huawei, the No. 2 smartphone brand, is a security risk and restricted technology sales to it and other Chinese telecom gear suppliers.The Japanese government has not taken action against Huawei, whose products are relatively popular here.The Associated Press read more

UNs Kosovo envoy voices concern at apparent attack on monastery

The senior United Nations envoy to Kosovo has voiced concern about a recent apparent attack on the Deçan/Deæani monastery, which he said holds great value for the province’s Serb community, currently outnumbered nine to one by the ethnic Albanian majority.On Friday afternoon, a grenade launcher was found on the hillside overlooking the monastery, and a rocket engine was discovered lodged in one of its outer walls, according to the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). This follows reports of two explosive noises heard by the monks on Friday.The Police and KFOR international forces “are investigating what exactly happened yesterday,” said Joachim Rücker, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Kosovo.“Violence, especially directed at minority communities, is intolerable and impermissible and has no place in Kosovo,” he declared.“The Deæani monastery is a place of immense spiritual importance for the Kosovo Serb community and a treasure for the people of Kosovo and beyond. I expect quick results from the ongoing investigation.”The province has been run by the UN since Western forces drove out Yugoslav troops in 1999 amid fighting and ethnic abuses. A UN envoy on Kosovo’s status, Martti Ahtisaari, has presented a report to the Security Council which says that independence is the only option that will foster a politically stable and economically viable Kosovo. 31 March 2007The senior United Nations envoy to Kosovo has voiced concern about a recent apparent attack on the Deçan/Deæani monastery, which he said holds great value for the province’s Serb community, currently outnumbered nine to one by the ethnic Albanian majority. read more

Kenya waste dump poses health hazard to children UN agency warns

5 October 2007The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today warned that a large waste dump located in Kenya is posing a serious threat to children living nearby and pledged its assistance to help reduce the hazard. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today warned that a large waste dump located in Kenya is posing a serious threat to children living nearby and pledged its assistance to help reduce the hazard.Citing the results of a study it commissioned of 328 children up to the age of 18 around the Dandora Municipal Dumping Site, the agency said half had concentrations of lead in their blood exceeding internationally accepted levels, while 42 per cent of soil samples recorded lead levels almost 10 times higher than what is considered unpolluted soil. Almost half of the children tested were suffering from respiratory diseases, including chronic bronchitis and asthma.UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said the results were worse than expected. “We had anticipated some tough and worrisome findings, but the actual results are even more shocking than we had imagined at the outset,” he said.He also drew broader conclusions about problems of waste management in poor countries. “The Dandora site may pose some special challenges for the city of Nairobi and Kenya as a nation. But it is also a mirror to the condition of rubbish sites across many parts of Africa and other urban centres of the developing world.”Mr. Steiner said UNEP stands ready to assist the local and national authorities in the search for improved waste management systems and strategies including ones that generate sustainable and healthier jobs in the waste-handling and recycling sectors.The 30-acre large Dandora dumping site receives 2,000 tonnes of rubbish every day, including plastics, rubber and lead paint treated wood, generated by some 4.5 million people living in the Kenyan capital. The study also found evidence of the presence of hazardous waste, such as chemical and hospital waste, on the dumpsite.Every day, scores of people, including children, from the nearby slums and low-income residential areas use the dump to find food, recyclables and other valuables they can sell as a source of income, at the same time inhaling the noxious fumes from routine waste burning and methane fires, UNEP said.“We have been witnessing an alarming situation regarding Dandora children’s health: asthma, anaemia and skin infections are by now endemic. These abnormalities are linked to the environment around the dumping site, and are exacerbated by poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition. Since waste dumping is unrestricted and unmanaged, people are also at risk from contracting blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS,” said Njoroge Kimani, principal investigator and author of the report.According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), a quarter of all diseases affecting humankind are attributable to environmental risks with children more vulnerable than adults. Among children under age five, environmentally-related illnesses are responsible for more than 4.7 million deaths annually. Twenty-five per cent of deaths in developing countries are related to environmental factors, compared with 17 per cent of deaths in the developed world.“The children of Dandora, Kenya, Africa and the world deserve better than this. We can no longer afford rubbish solutions to the waste management crisis faced in far too many cities, especially in the developing world,” said Mr. Steiner. read more

UN anticrime agency to help set up police academy in GuineaBissau

Guinea-Bissau, which faced a brutal civil war during the late 1990s, has become the hub of a new cocaine trafficking route from South America via West Africa to supply the growing demand for illegal drugs in Europe, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “There is an urgent need to tackle organized crime – in the broader context of security sector reform – and to strengthen administration of justice and the rule of law,” the agency stated.The UNODC Regional Office for Brazil and the Southern Cone has facilitated an agreement between Brazil and Guinea-Bissau to create a police academy, which will not only boost the latter’s forces but also support its Government to implement the National Plan to Fight Drugs and Crime.Last November, a senior UN official warned the Security Council that while the prospects for political stability in Guinea-Bissau appear to be good, they are threatened by drug trafficking and organized crime.“Although there seems to be a downward trend in the trafficking of cocaine through West Africa over the past few months, drug trafficking and organized crime remain a significant challenge for stability in Guinea-Bissau and the sub-region,” said Joseph Mutaboba, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s representative in the West African nation.The Council had urged the Government to take the necessary actions to combat drug trafficking and organized crime, and to ensure that the security sector is effective, professional and accountable.The new three-year project, with an investment of $3 million from the Brazilian Agency for Cooperation, will build the technical capacity of local police and help regulate the police force according to internationally recognized standards. UNODC will work with the Brazilian Federal Police Department, which will coordinate activities for the new police academy, to be located in the capital, Bissau. The two groups have been working together since 2008 to train foreign security officials, including 158 officers from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and African Portuguese-speaking countries.The new agreement, noted UNODC, is another example of successful South-South cooperation, through which developing countries help each other to find solutions to common challenges and share good practices. 25 January 2010The United Nations anti-crime agency is supporting efforts to rebuild a safe and stable Guinea-Bissau by facilitating the construction of a training centre for the West African nation’s security forces. read more