APTN InFocusHave you ever wondered how an investigative news story comes together? How journalists get to the bottom of complex topics and uncover things that otherwise, wouldn’t come to light?On this addition of APTN’s InFocus, host Melissa Ridgen sits down with the APTN Investigates team to discuss some of their favorite moments and the work behind the camera that audiences don’t get to see.Celebrating its 10th year on the air, APTN Investigates has continually dug deep into stories that mainstream media sometimes misses, or just ignores.The program has won 21 journalism awards in those 10 years, making it one of the best-performing investigative journalism units in the country.Producer, Holly Moore was working with mainstream news agencies when she decided she wanted to cover stories that were more meaningful and do work that would have an impact.“One of the biggest crimes in this country are crimes perpetrated on Indigenous people and there is really is a high level of accountability possible,” Moore said. “So I started to see that Indigenous investigative journalism — (APTN was) the only one doing it.”“You think about the content and my theory is if you’re going to be an investigative journalist in this country, this is where you should be looking for stories.” Moore said.” If you’re truly interested in holding powerful forces to account and you’re interested in giving voices to voiceless people, then everybody should be working”The work of an investigative reporter can be long and tiring. Tracking down leads, confirming tips and navigating government red tape.Christopher Read, the newest member of the investigative team, said it can be a challenge.“In terms of knowing how long to go down a certain rabbit hole before deciding it‘s not going to pay off, especially when you’re looking into a story that happened 40 plus years ago, you can spend a lot of time just calling every person with a certain last name in a phone book in a certain area, that kind of thing,” Read said, of how the process can be complicated.@APTNInFocus
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – When Rohingya Muslims fled persecution and slaughter in Myanmar in past decades, tens of thousands found refuge in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites. This time around, Muslim leaders from the Persian Gulf to Pakistan have offered little more than condemnation and urgently needed humanitarian aid.The lack of a stronger response by Muslim-majority countries partly comes down to their lucrative business interests in Southeast Asia, experts say. Much of the Middle East is also buckling under its own refugee crisis sparked by years of upheaval in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan.More than 500,000 people — roughly half the Rohingya Muslim population in Myanmar — have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh over the past year, mostly in the last month. The United Nations human rights chief has described Myanmar’s military crackdown and allied Buddhist mob attacks as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”Saudi Arabia is already home to around a quarter-million Burmese people who took refuge in the kingdom under the late King Faisal in the 1960s. The kingdom pledged $15 million in aid to the Rohingya this week.As the world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia competes with Russia to be China’s top crude supplier. Expanding its footprint there requires Myanmar’s help.A recently opened pipeline running through Myanmar , also known as Burma, carries oil from Arab countries and the Caucuses to China’s landlocked Yunnan Province. The 771-kilometre (479-mile) pipeline starts at the Bay of Bengal in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state, from where most of the Rohingya have been forced out.In 2011, a subsidiary of state oil giant Saudi Aramco and PetroChina, an arm of China’s state-owned CNPC, signed a deal to supply China’s southwestern Yunnan Province with up to 200,000 barrels per day of crude oil, just under half of the pipeline’s capacity.Saudi Aramco did not immediately respond to a request for comment on shipments through the pipeline.“One could argue that Saudi Arabia is less likely to be outspoken on this (Rohingya) issue because it actually relies on the Burmese government to protect the physical security of the pipeline,” said Bo Kong, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has written about China’s global petroleum policy.The pipeline became operational in April following years of delays. It allows tankers to bypass the Strait of Malacca, cutting typical voyages by about seven days. A natural gas pipeline from Myanmar’s Shwe gas field runs alongside it.Daniel Wagner, founder of consulting firm Country Risk Solutions, said Saudi Arabia is moving ahead with its economic and political agenda in Mynamar and Southeast Asia, yet can still “claim to have stood the moral high-ground” by previously taking in refugees and providing financial aid.“The important point is that natural gas and oil flows through Rakhine state,” he said.Muslim-majority countries have been increasingly promising aid as the number of refugees swells in Bangladesh.Azerbaijan, which also appears to be exporting crude to China through the pipeline, has ordered 100 tons of humanitarian aid to be dispatched.Turkey, which like Iran jostles with Saudi Arabia to be the Islamic world’s centre of influence, has mobilized millions of meals for refugees in Bangladesh and vowed to maintain a refugee camp there. It has also provided clothing, part of more than 150 tons of humanitarian aid supplied overall.Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, has sent at least 40 tons of aid. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently took a swipe at other Muslim countries with business interests in Myanmar, urging them to ramp up pressure on the government there.“There are tens of Muslim countries and governments, some of whom have financial and economic transactions with them,” he said. “If we sit somewhere and engage in condemnations, what is the use of this?”Images of burnt Muslim villages in Myanmar and of traumatized and often barefoot Rohingya women, children and elderly crossing into Bangladesh sparked protests in several Muslim countries.A large rally was held to denounce the crisis in Indonesia, which is working to boost bilateral trade with Myanmar to $1 billion a year.In Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi, tens of thousands protested. Lawmaker Farhatullah Babar of the Pakistan People’s Party has pushed his government to suspend or at least slow the implementation of defence agreements worth hundreds of millions of dollars with Myanmar.He told The Associated Press that an official responded to his request by saying Pakistan is pressing Myanmar through diplomatic channels to stop the violence.“Pakistan should not be seen as strengthening a regime that is using weapons against its own people,” Babar said. He declined to elaborate on the details of the defence agreements.A report by IHS Jane’s in February said Myanmar two years ago bought 16 JF-17 Thunder aircraft, co-developed by Pakistan and China. The defence weekly said Myanmar is now in advanced negotiations with Pakistan for licensed production of the fighter jet’s advanced third-generation variant.The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation held an emergency session on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week to discuss the crisis.The organization, headquartered in Saudi Arabia, issued a lengthy statement earlier this month expressing “grave concern” over the exodus of Rohingya. But unless its member states take tougher action on their own, there is little the OIC can do to pressure Myanmar’s government.Jason von Meding, a specialist in disaster response at the University of Newcastle in Australia, said religious differences are not the only reason Rohingya are being forced out.The government in Myanmar has designated 3 million acres in Rakhine state for development of the area’s rich mineral resources, he said. Farmers and vulnerable minority groups in the state have protested such schemes, calling them land grabs for which they receive little to no compensation.“There’s no question that there is a lot of religious tension and ethnic division in society there,” von Meding said. “The problem is that it’s a convenient excuse for some people to get on with some very dirty political and business dealings behind the scenes.”___Associated Press writers Zarar Khan in Islamabad, Pakistan; Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey; and Nasser Karimi in Tehran contributed to this report.___Follow Aya Batrawy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ayaelb
PHOENIX – U.S. prosecutors levelled charges Thursday against the billionaire founder of an opioid medication maker that has faced increasing scrutiny from authorities across the country over allegations of pushing prescriptions of powerful painkillers amid a drug epidemic that is claiming thousands of lives each year.The fraud and racketeering case against Insys Therapeutics founder John Kapoor came the same day President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency.The case naming Kapoor follows indictments against the company’s former CEO and other executives and managers on allegations that they provided kickbacks to doctors to prescribe a potent opioid called Subsys.In the new indictment, Kapoor, 74, of Phoenix, and the other defendants are accused of offering bribes to doctors to write large numbers of prescriptions for the fentanyl-based pain medication that is meant only for cancer patients with severe pain. Most of the people who received prescriptions did not have cancer.It also alleges that they conspired to mislead and defraud insurance providers who were reluctant to approve payment for the drug when it was prescribed for patients without cancer.U.S. prosecutors in Boston brought the case as they vowed to go after problem opioid makers similar to how they target “cartels or a street-level drug dealer.”“In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies solely for profit,” said Acting U.S. Attorney William D. Weinreb in Boston.A judge set bail at $1 million for Kapoor, saying he must wear electronic monitoring and surrender his passports. Kapoor, who was arrested earlier Thursday, entered court in basketball shorts, tennis shoes and a T-shirt, his long, grey hair disheveled.“He is not guilty of these charges, he intends to fight it vigorously,” defence attorney Brian T. Kelly said outside court. Kelly is a high-profile Boston lawyer and former federal prosecutor who successfully tried imprisoned gangster James “Whitey” Bugler.Kapoor came to the U.S. from India to get his Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry from the University of Buffalo, where the pharmacy school is named for him and his wife to honour their longtime philanthropy.Kapoor, whose worth Forbes estimated at $1.75 billion, also founded a company that operates seven restaurants including the Japanese eatery Roka Aker in Scottsdale.In Massachusetts, former Insys CEO Michael L. Babich and five other former executives and managers are set to go to trial in October 2018 and have pleaded not guilty. The latest indictment brings new charges against Babich and others.Several former Insys employees and health care providers have pleaded guilty to felony charges around the country, including in Alabama and Connecticut. A Rhode Island doctor pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting kickbacks in return for prescribing the highly addictive fentanyl spray.A spokesman for Arizona-based Insys said this week that the company is under new management and has replaced nearly all its original sales staff. It says it takes responsibility for the actions of its former employees.“We have taken necessary and appropriate steps to prevent past mistakes from happening in the future, and are committed to conducting business according to high ethical standards and the interests of patients,” the company said in a statement Wednesday. “We also continue to work with relevant authorities to resolve issues related to the misdeeds of former employees.”Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said evidence from a congressional probe she launched this year suggested that Insys had “gotten away with fines that amounted to a slap on the wrist for actions that helped fuel a nationwide epidemic that’s claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives.”Kapoor was named the drugmaker’s president and CEO in November 2015 after Babich resigned without explanation.Federal authorities apparently have been investigating the company for some time. In late 2013, Insys said it received a subpoena from the Department of Health and Human Services asking for documents tied to the commercialization of Subsys. Nearly a year later, it received a subpoena from U.S. prosecutors in Boston for documents connected with sales and marketing practices for the drug.In addition to the criminal charges, states have been suing Insys over its marketing practices.Meanwhile, the company has been active in politics, donating $500,000 last year to an Arizona campaign to defeat a ballot measure to legalize marijuana.The company’s stock price has taken a big tumble in recent months amid the legal issues. Insys stock plunged more than 20 per cent Thursday.___Associated Press writers Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON – Donald Trump’s views on trade have taken a battering in a newly released report that was not only published by his own White House, but presented under his own signature.The self-rebuke includes some of his talking points about Canada.The president regularly bemoans a trade deficit with the northern neighbour. Once again Monday, he was complaining about Canadian trade, saying: “We lose a lot with Canada. People don’t know it. Canada’s very smooth. They have you believe that it’s wonderful. And it is, for them. Not wonderful for us.”Far less smooth is the consistency of U.S. messaging.A far more positive story about trade appears in the newly released 2018 White House “Economic Report of the President” — it’s an annual document prepared by the president’s team, with Trump himself signing the introductory foreword.The document smashes at a few of the president’s favoured themes.One involves the supposed trade deficit with Canada. While Trump keeps talking about it, and insisting it exists, the document he signed states the opposite — that Canada is among the few countries in the world with whom the U.S. runs a surplus.The document states this at least three times.For example, it says, “All countries show a (U.S.) services surplus offsetting a goods deficit, with the U.S. running a net bilateral surplus only with Canada and the United Kingdom.”And again: “The United States ran a trade surplus of $2.6 billion with Canada on a balance-of-payments basis.”And once again: “The United States has free trade agreements … with a number of countries — some of which represent net trade surpluses for the United States (Canada and Singapore), and some of which represent deficits (Mexico and South Korea).”There’s more.The report also contradicts the president by stating that trade has helped the U.S. economy grow; that economies are shifting away from manufacturing; that foreign trade is increasingly important to the modern economy; that America has a good record of success in international dispute panels at the WTO; and that you can’t rework trade agreements to fix an import-export deficit.“Trade and economic growth are strongly and positively correlated,” the White House report says.The report does concede that trade deals create winners and losers in a country. States along the border have been the biggest winners in NAFTA, it says. Its general conclusion, however, is that trade creates jobs and wealth; it cites a study that every percentage point increase in trade-to-GDP ratio raises per capita income by between 0.5 and 2 per cent.“(This) is a stunning rebuke of … the president and his trade team,” Scott Lincicome of the pro-market Cato Institute tweeted after the report was released last week.The 563-page document was produced by Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers. He appointed the council.Meanwhile, there are reports in U.S. media that Trump is looking to promote trade hawk Peter Navarro to a more prominent position in the White House.Do these kinds of facts even matter to Trump?That could soon become clearer as he faces major decisions in the next few weeks. One involves whether to continue NAFTA negotiations beyond the spring; another involves whether to impose global steel and aluminum tariffs and whether any tariffs should apply to Canada, the U.S.’s No. 1 supplier.Affected Canadians are watching to see whether he’ll heed his own findings.“We’re all guessing the moves of a non-conventional actor,” said Flavio Volpe of Canada’s auto-parts manufacturers’ association, which has a stake in both the NAFTA and steel decisions.“None of us believe that, if they do the calculus, they’ll see that (punishing Canada) is in their best interest. But of course we’re all modelling in the fact that logic isn’t always the overlord with this administration.”He likened Trump’s modus operandi to that from his former career, as a real-estate developer in the cut-throat New York market. He said the president may have internalized the life lesson that, when there’s stress over the fate of a project, contractors and suppliers can be squeezed for better terms.“Maybe we just have a New York real-estate developer in the White House,” he said.That’s similar to a theory from Edward Alden of the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations. He writes that Trump sees chaos as his ally, because if there’s uncertainty over trade, companies are likelier to build new projects in the U.S.He shared that view in a piece for Politico titled, “The Real Game Trump Is Playing on NAFTA: He isn’t negotiating. He’s stalling for time.”Some economic analysts have even tried to put a price tag on this uncertainty. According to the Bank of Canada, and Scotiabank, a lack of clarity over NAFTA into 2019 could trim foreign investment in Canada and cost it 0.2 per cent of GDP through next year.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Before airing George Stephanopoulos’ interview with former FBI Director James Comey, ABC News made the unusual decision of releasing a full transcript of its nearly five-hour talk, including all the material that was not included in the broadcast.ABC News President James Goldston said in an interview Monday that it was an important example of transparency, and that it had paid off with the transcript becoming by far the most popular item on ABC News’ website.Comey’s interview, the first on the media tour to promote his book “A Higher Loyalty,” was seen by 9.8 million viewers on Sunday night, the Nielsen company said. That’s a good number for the network, which reached 3.6 million viewers in the same time slot the week before with the drama “Deception.”It was less than half of the 22 million people who watched adult film star Stormy Daniels talk on “60 Minutes” last month about her alleged affair with President Donald Trump, which he denies. Comey probably would have drawn more viewers if he gave his first interview to “60 Minutes”; the CBS show reached 10.4 million people on Sunday. But Comey reportedly sought more time on the air for his first interview, and ABC offered the full hour.Trump was apparently one of his viewers — at least for awhile — as Comey described his contacts with the president and said Trump lacked the moral authority to be president. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had seen “bits and pieces of it.”“We didn’t learn anything new,” Sanders said.Comey is on a media tour to promote his book that will include interviews by Jake Tapper of CNN, Judy Woodruff of PBS, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, Bret Baier of Fox News Channel and appearances on Stephen Colbert’s late-night show, “The View” and a CNN town hall.But Stephanopoulos was first. The network released the full transcript of its interview with Comey when the show began airing.Goldston said the decision to post the transcript was made after it was clear the network didn’t have enough time to broadcast all of the material from the interview.“We thought we had an obligation to put everything out there and let people look at it and decide,” he said. “It’s a part of modern journalism.”The decision could make ABC vulnerable to criticism from people who might not have liked the network’s choices about what deserved to be on television and what didn’t. But Goldston said it could have the opposite effect of insulating the network.“We don’t have anything to hide here,” he said. It could prevent people from asking “why didn’t you ask this, when we knew we had asked the question.”It was a lot of material to digest. CNN’s Chris Cillizza jokingly tweeted that he had just gone through the entire transcript line-by-line, and accompanied it with a video of a man collapsing from exhaustion.Al Tompkins, a broadcast news specialist at the Poynter Institute, said it was an unusual decision for a network, since journalism is largely about editing. In this case, seeing the full interview makes it easier to understand the context in which certain questions were asked and answered.“I sure don’t see a downside to it,” Tompkins said.
OTTAWA – Undaunted by expanding trade risks, the Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz raised the interest rate Wednesday and signalled the economy’s resilience is keeping him on a hiking trajectory.The quarter-point increase, the central bank’s first move in six months, brought the rate to 1.5 per cent. It was Poloz’s fourth hike over the last 12 months and marked the first time the rate has been this high since December 2008.The decision, a move that prompted some of the big banks to start raising their prime rates later in the day, arrived in the middle of a trade dispute between Canada and the United States that’s expected to hurt both economies.Poloz made the call even though he warned the economy should brace for larger impacts from mounting trade uncertainty. In particular, the trade impacts were caused by the Trump administration’s recent steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and, in response, Ottawa’s retaliatory duties on U.S. imports.The tariff fight is expected to shave two-thirds of a percentage from Canada’s economic growth by the end of 2020, the bank estimated.Poloz said despite the combined effects of the metals levies, and earlier U.S. tariffs on products like softwood lumber, the bank still projects Canadian growth to average a promising level of two per cent over the next few years, just slightly above its potential and with inflation already on target.The bank expects the negative blow of the trade policies to be largely offset by higher oil prices and the stronger U.S. economy — both of which, on balance, will benefit Canada.Looking ahead, the Bank of Canada is also predicting exports and business investment, which were both stronger than expected in the first three months of the year, to churn out bigger contributions to growth. At the same time, it expects household spending to make up a smaller and smaller share of overall growth due to the dampening effects of higher interest rates and stricter mortgage rules.With the positive outlook, Poloz expects interest rates to continue along their cautious, upward path.“It’s evident to us that higher interest rates will be warranted, but of course we’re not in a position to say exactly how much higher or at what rate we might get there,” Poloz told a news conference Wednesday in Ottawa.Poloz stressed the bank will continue with its gradual, data-dependent approach as it moves towards its neutral rate, which his team has pegged between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent.Along the way, the bank will have to keep close watch on another trade-related unknown that many believe would inflict far more damage on the economy: U.S. duties on the automotive sector.U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to slap tariffs on the auto sector, which is made up of highly integrated, cross-border supply chains. The Bank of Canada warned that auto levies would have “large impacts on investment and employment.”The bank, however, didn’t quantify the possible effects of auto tariffs on Wednesday.For one, Poloz said the bank can’t make policy decisions based on “hypothetical scenarios.” He added that the unknowns around trade could also include positive developments such as the successful renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement over the coming months.“We need to base our decision on what we actually know,” he said.Poloz also argued it should be clear that interest rate adjustments are “ill-suited” to counteract all the effects of protectionist measures, given how these trade actions affect multiple areas of the economy.In addition to tariffs, Canadian businesses must also contend with the uncertainty surrounding the stalled talks on NAFTA’s renegotiation.Outside the country, the Bank of Canada has its eye on how widening global trade disputes, including an intensifying battle between the U.S. and China, will affect the world’s economy. It warns that “escalating trade tensions pose considerable risks to the outlook” at the global level.Even with the trade issues, the Bank of Canada is predicting slightly stronger growth for Canada over the next couple of years, according to updated projections released Wednesday in its quarterly monetary policy report.It expects real gross domestic product to grow 2.2 per cent in 2019, up from its April call of 2.1 per cent, and by 1.9 per cent in 2020, compared with its previous prediction of 1.8 per cent. The economy’s growth projection for this year remains at two per cent, the bank said.Many economists anticipate several more hikes this year and in 2019.TD senior economist Brian DePratto wrote in a note to clients Wednesday that the messaging is consistent with a central bank that’s “committed to a rate hike cycle, but leaves sufficient room to adjust to evolving events.”National Bank of Canada experts wrote in a note that Poloz may choose to err on the side of caution when it comes to future hikes because of threats of auto tariffs, which they warned, if applied, would have “unambiguously devastating economic impacts,” particularly in Ontario.Leading up to the announcement, Poloz was widely expected to raise the interest rate following a run of encouraging economic numbers, including the Bank of Canada’s own survey on business sentiment, still-solid job markets and growth in wages.The bank, however, noted in its report that despite “healthy” labour market conditions, employment growth and average hours worked have slowed down compared to last year’s surge. It also said underlying wage growth has been weaker than what would normally be expected in a tightened job market.The country’s inflation rate is expected to rise as high as 2.5 per cent — above the two per cent mid-point of the bank’s target range — due to temporary factors such as higher gasoline prices. It’s expected to settle back down to two per cent in the second half of 2019.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
CALGARY – Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. reported a third-quarter profit of $1.80 billion, up from $684 million a year ago.The oil and gas producer says the profit amounted to $1.47 per diluted share for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with 56 cents per diluted share a year ago.Revenue totalled nearly $5.9 billion, up from $4.47 billion in the same quarter last year.Production in the quarter amounted to 1,060,629 barrels of oil equivalent per day, up from 1,036,499 a year ago.On an adjusted basis, Canadian Natural says it earned $1.11 per diluted share for the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 19 cents per diluted share in the third quarter of 2017.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 90 cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.“The strength of our well balanced and diverse portfolio, combined with Canadian Natural’s ability to effectively and efficiently execute, delivered a strong third quarter for the company,” Steve Laut, Canadian Natural’s executive vice-chairman, said in a statement.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNQ)
The year started with President Donald Trump promising big growth for stocks.In January, he shared excitement over a “big day” on Wall Street. By June, the president was tweeting: “Stock Market up almost 40% since the Election.” When the market hit a record high on Aug. 25, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations U.S.A.!” And there was more excitement on Oct. 3: “The Stock Market just reached an All-Time High during my Administration for the 102nd Time, a presidential record, by far, for less than two years.”Now, as those gains are wiped away, the president is attacking the Federal Reserve for the stock market’s woes — and those tweets are pushing share prices even lower.On Monday, stocks slid an additional 2 to 3 per cent after another Trump tweet-attack on the Fed and an effort by his Treasury secretary to calm investors’ fears that only seemed to make matters worse.The market is now on track for its worst year since 2008 and its worst December since 1931, during the depths of the Great Depression.The market has been roiled for most of the month over concerns about a slowing global economy, the escalating trade dispute with China and another interest rate increase by the Federal Reserve.The past two trading days, however, have been dominated by something else: major losses following tweets from the president criticizing Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and the central bank.Trump’s Monday morning tweet heightened fears about the economy being destabilized by a president who wants control over the Fed.“The only problem our economy has is the Fed,” the president tweeted. “They don’t have a feel for the Market, they don’t understand necessary Trade Wars or Strong Dollars or even Democrat Shutdowns over Borders. The Fed is like a powerful golfer who can’t score because he has no touch — he can’t putt!”Peter Conti-Brown, a financial historian at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, said: “We’ve never seen anything like this full-blown and full-frontal assault. This is a disaster for the Fed, a disaster for the president and a disaster for the economy.”Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made a round of calls to the heads of the nation’s six largest banks Sunday and said they assured him they have ample money to finance their normal operations. It was an attempt to calm jitters, but it only raised new concerns about the economy.Most economists expect growth to slow in 2019, not slide into a full-blown recession. In fact, many economic barometers still look encouraging. Unemployment is at 3.7 per cent, the lowest since 1969. Inflation is tame. Pay growth has picked up. Consumers boosted their spending this holiday season.Fed board members are nominated by the president, but they’ve historically made decisions independent of the White House. Trump nominated Powell last year to become chairman.But the president has voiced his anger over the Fed’s decision to raise its key short-term rate four times in 2018. Those measures are intended to prevent the economy from overheating.Trump’s latest remarks only created more uncertainty for already unnerved investors who have seen all of this year’s stock market gains evaporate.“Now we’re having a correction and we’re down for the year, so the narrative people get drawn to is that perhaps his more unpredictable policies are bad for the market,” said Craig Birk, chief investment officer at Personal Capital. “The separation between the president and the Fed, maybe just causes a little more concern than it would have a few months ago.”___AP Economics Writer Josh Boak contributed to this report from WashingtonAlex Veiga, The Associated Press
STRASBOURG, France — European Union Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says the bloc is stepping up preparations for a chaotic no-deal departure of Britain from the bloc after the rejection of the draft withdrawal deal in London left the EU “fearing more than ever that there is a risk” of a cliff-edge departure.Barnier regretted Westminster’s massive rejection of the deal he negotiated with the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May and said that any future deal would still have to include approving the withdrawal agreement.He said Wednesday that “whatever happens, ratification of the withdrawal agreement is necessary. It is a precondition.”He said that a linked political declaration offered “possible options” for further talks.The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Thousands of people lined the streets of Fort St. John for the annual Santa Claus Parade Saturday night.The parade was moved to a new date in 2018. In years previous the parade was scheduled for the third Friday of November. The City felt moving the date and time of the event would be better due to safety concerns with after work vehicle traffic and the Parades proximity to Remembrance Day.After the parade, Councillor Gord Klassen announced the top three floats. Calvary Baptist ChurchFort St. John Figure Skating ClubChild Development CentreThe community also enjoyed free hot dogs from the Sunrise Rotary Club and free coffee from McDonald’s.Thank you to the City of Fort St. John for sponsoring our live video stream of the parade. You can watch above on Youtube or below on Facebook.
Gurugram: In a shocking incident, Novil Anwar, a security guard working in Sheetla Hospital in Gurugram murdered his colleague Jugal Kishore by stabbing him multiple times inside the hospital premises. The incident occurred at around 5 am and the act was caught in the CCTV camera. Novil who is from Ferozabad escaped the incident. The images of him carrying the sharp knife to attack Kishore has been caught in closed circuit television (CCTV).Deceased Kishore (24) also belonged to Aligarh district. He was working as a security guard in the hospital for the last six months. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAccording to the police, the main reason for the murder was the verbal duel which the two had before the crime took place in the early hours of Friday. According to the police, the two were working in the night shift. While Novil was deployed at the main gate, Jugal was working on the third floor of the hospital. Though it has not been confirmed by the officials on what matter the two fought. Ultimately the issue heated up and resulted in Novil stabbing Kishore. According to sources, the formal complaint was registered in the city police at around 8 am. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”Through the CCTV images, a guard can be seen clearly carrying a knife and heading towards the third floor where Kishore was doing his duty. We have formed the teams to get the accused in the case. We are investigating that whether this was a case of pre-planned attack as the accused attacked with his private weapon or was it an incident that occurred in a fit of rage,” said a senior police official from Gurugram police. Jugal Kishore was residing in Begum Kheri with his wife. A father of two-year-old, Kishore was expecting his second child in the next coming days. “Even though it was a case of heated argument, restraint should have been exercised and the mindless killing should not have taken place. Because of this senseless act, the lives of Kishore’s pregnant wife and his two-year-old child have been destroyed forever,” said Murari, the relative of the deceased.
Hazaribagh: Reiterating its commitment to preserve and promote India’s local culture and traditions, the walls of NTPC’s Pakri-Barwadih (Sikri) Coal Mine office have been adorned with conventional forms of art. The walls, painted with natural colours by the artists, were embellished with Sohari, a prominent tribal art form from the states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Also decorated with Khovar art, the walls depict and illustrate various socio-religious traditions and exemplify social messages that emphasise on the importance of undertaking skill development, the need to empower women, to name a few.
Kolkata: Pawan Singh will contest in the Assembly by-election from Bhatpara seat. The seat fell vacant after Arjun Singh, MLA from Bhatpara, joined the BJP and is contesting from Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat where election will be held on May 6. Pawan is Arjun Singh’s son. The Trinamool Congress has fielded Madan Mitra, former state Transport minister, to fight the Assembly by-poll. Mitra was the MLA from Kamarharti. He has good contacts in North 24-Parganas and because of this, the TMC supremo has nominated him from Bhatpara.
Riyadh- The six energy-rich Arab monarchies of the Gulf are seeking to strengthen ties with China, Gulf Cooperation Council chief Abdullatif al-Zayani said Wednesday after talks with the Chinese foreign minister.Zayani held talks in Saudi Arabia with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and expressed “GCC interest in bolstering friendship and cooperation ties with China,” a GCC statement said.Wang was quoted as saying that Beijing wants to “expand economic, trade and investment relations” with GCC countries and spoke of the “strategic cooperation and relations (it has) with the GCC”.Wang arrived in Saudi Arabia as part of a regional tour during which he also visit Israel, the Palestinian territories, Morocco and Algeria.Saudi media said he will be discussing with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi al-Faisal a “strategic partnership” between Beijing and Riyadh. It did not elaborate.Gulf monarchies are wary of Washington’s reluctance to provide military support to Syrian rebels and for its openness towards their regional archfoe Iran, and are looking to improve ties with other nations. The Sunni-ruled monarchies, like Western powers, fear that Iran may develop nuclear weapons under the cover of its disputed nuclear programme, which Iran insists is for peaceful purposes only.China, and the United States, are among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which along with Germany, negotiated a landmark nuclear deal with Iran.The GCC — Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — has given a cautious welcome to the deal struck in November.
London- Minister delegate for foreign affairs Mbarka Bouaida presented, Tuesday in London, the broad lines of Morocco’s African policy which puts Africa at the center of its diplomatic priorities.Speaking at a working luncheon organized by Morocco’s ambassador to the UK Lalla Joumala, Bouaida underlined King Mohammed VI’s “special interest in developing ties with friendly African countries as part of a solidarity-based and active south-south cooperation.”“Morocco is tirelessly working, under the leadership of HM the King, to reinforce stability, development and prosperity of Africa,” Bouaida told around twenty African ambassadors who were invited to this luncheon. She also recalled the “huge success” of the latest tour of King Mohammed VI to four countries (Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Gabon).This tour was crowned by the signature of 91 agreements on projects meant to promote cooperation on Agriculture, fisheries, social housing, rural electrification, energy, tourism and infrastructure, she said.
Rabat – The Prime Minister sends his greetings to all Muslim communities for the holy month of Ramadan, in Britain and around the world.Full transcriptIt’s the holy month of Ramadan – a time when mosques open their doors, community centers welcome in their neighbors, and even churches and synagogues offer up their spaces as Muslims break their fasts – and people of all faiths and none are often asked to join. Coventry Cathedral is holding its own multi-faith iftar. In Manchester, they’re combining an iftar with England’s European Championships appearance. And homeless shelters up and down the country are holding ‘Iftars with the Homeless’.Of course, fasting is what comes to mind when we think of Ramadan. It’s part of the month that really puts Muslims’ faith to the test – especially during these long, warm days.But there is much more to it.There is all the energy and money people donate to those who are less fortunate and all the extra time spent in prayer and contemplation.Uppermost in all our minds this Ramadan are those whose lives have been torn apart by the twin evils of Assad and Daesh, all those families spending this holy month in refugee camps mourning loved ones; yearning to go back to school or work; wondering when they’ll return home again.Our thoughts – whatever our backgrounds or beliefs – are with them. And we must continue to support the people of Syria and the region, as we work towards a lasting political solution. Because that’s who we are as a country. We won’t walk on by. So this Ramadan, let’s renew our resolve to help those victims.Let’s continue to come together for iftars and community events. Let’s celebrate the proud, multi-racial, multi-faith democracy we live in. To everyone in Britain and around the world – Ramadan Mubarak.
Rabat – Secretary General of Authenticity and Modernity Party Announces (PAM) said that his party rules out any coalition with the Party of Justice and Development (PJD) to form a government and continue its legislative agenda from the opposition. In a video posted on PAM’s Facebook fan page marking his first appearance after the announcement of the official results of the 2016 legislative elections, Ilyass El Omari, Secretary General of the PAM, addressed a message to “all Moroccans” announcing that his party will continue moving its agenda from the opposition.“I say to Moroccans, , to whom we presented our legislative agenda that we will not abandon our platform just because we did not come in first. We will defend it from all sides. And today we will defend it from our position in the opposition.” The PAM leader also contended that he does not consider the PJD’s gains in the election as victory.“I don’t call what they achieved a victory; it is not a victory. Because the number of votes does not represent the 33 million Moroccans.”El Omari ’s statement comes after Abdelilah Benkirane, the Secretary General of the Justice and Development Party, told Al Jazeera in an interview that his party will consider a coalition with all the other parties except for the Authenticity and Modernity Party.The PAM gained a total of 102 seats in Parliament as a result of the elections on October 7, securing second position after the PJD, which gained 125 seats.Edited by Elisabeth Myers
Rabat – French President François Hollande welcomed, here Saturday, the success of the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), Held on November 7-18 in Marrakech.Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 16th Francophonie Summit, Hollande also welcomed France’s role in hosting COP21 in Paris, which was subsequently resumed by Morocco.Expressing the mobilization for the Francophone space, the French president called for strengthening cooperation against radicalization in this space. “France supports the establishment of a francophonie network against radicalization to exchange information, share effective practices and implement programs wherever necessary”, he added.Held under the theme “Shared Growth and Responsible Development: Conditions for Stability Around the World and within the Francophonie”, the 16th Summit of Francophonie kicked off Saturday in Antananarivo with the participation of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar, representing King Mohammed VI.The Summit will review themes related to crisis and consolidation of peace in the Francophone world, the promotion of gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls, the prevention of extremism, and the vocational and technical training.
NEW YORK — J.C. Penney will no longer be selling major appliances, ending its three-year run.The Plano, Texas-based department store chain also says on its company blog that furniture will only be available on its website and in Puerto Rico stores.The move marks the first major initiative by the company’s new CEO Jill Soltau to try to turn around J.C. Penney’s business.Sales of appliances will be discontinued as of Feb. 28. The company says it wants to go back to focusing on its heritage of fashion and home furnishings, which carry higher profit margins.Under its former CEO Marvin Ellison, J.C. Penney returned to selling major appliances after 33 years to decrease its reliance on fashion and respond to shifting consumer habits.Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Press
Rabat – The Staffordshire bull terrier, the American Staffordshire bull terrier, the pit bull, the mastiff, the boerboel, and the tosa inu are no longer welcome. The ministries of the interior and of agriculture finalized the law prohibiting the dangerous dog breeds from being imported, trained, possessed, adopted, or exported, as announced in the official government gazette on August 6. The text came into force following its publication. To implement the law, the government has defined a dangerous dog as “any dog that by its race or morphology is characterized by dangerous ferocity to humans.” Any offender is liable to pay a fine of up to MAD 20,000 and serve a six-month prison sentence. Previously, the acquisition, importation, and breeding of some mastiffs and dogs was not regulated. What does the law say?The breed-specific legislation, passed in August 2013, seeks to “protect people against the danger of dogs” and clamp down on the owners of aggressive dog breeds. However, the law does not apply to “dogs used by members of the police force when carrying out their missions.”The law was Morocco’s first legislation seeking to tackle the problem of people being bitten by dogs.If a dog belonging to a dangerous breed is found, the police can seize and euthanize it.The owners of banned dogs without record of biting are required to present their dogs to veterinary services by September 6. Criminal purposes More than 10,000 cases of people being bitten by dogs are registered each year, as well as deaths, especially by dogs used for criminal purposes. These dogs are supposedly used by criminals for illegal purposes such as assault, robbery, rape, and fighting, and by drug dealers seeking to protect themselves or repel inspectors of the narcotics brigade.In the late 1990s and early 2000s, large numbers of the dogs were imported from Europe on the black market. Many came from France, especially after France introduced a law on dangerous dogs in 1999.In reality, the acquisition of a “dangerous” dog is not affordable for many. For example, a pit bull can cost between MAD 2,000 and MAD 5,000. A rottweiler can cost between MAD 5,000 and MAD 10,000.What about the non-dangerous dogs? For other dogs not on the banned list, the owner should declare them to the competent authority and make sure they hold a health record and rabies vaccination. It is preferable for owners to keep their dogs on a leash, muzzle them in public, and prevent them from rummaging through garbage cans. Trade in livestock is subject to authorization. Dogs must be in good condition, maintain certain breed characteristics, and receive veterinarian approval.