Mohand Laenser Benkiranes Government Formation Logic Will Lead to Political Crisis

Rabat – Popular Movement (MP) Secretary-General Mohand Laenser said on Thursday that Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane’s logic for the government formation process “cannot lead to anything but a political crisis because it ignores the principles of symmetry, harmony and trust that should be the cornerstone of any effective and efficient alliance.”Laenser noted that instead of opting for a cabinet reshuffle after winning the October 7th elections, the Justice and Development Party’s (PJD) Benkirane has chosen a full-scale course adjustment – delaying the completion of the formation process.“Benkirane’s preference for the parties of the Kutla – the trusted Istiqlal Party and the Party of Progress and Socialism – does not cancel the incorporation of other parties in the government coalition in order to complete a parliamentary majority,” the MP leader said. “This is making the task of forming a government harder and risks a political crisis.” Morocco still is not in political crisis mode, Laenser said, while encouraging the PJD leader to pursue relationships with the remainder of the political parties with seats in the new legislature.The two Kutla parties have declared their support for Benkirane’s coalition so far, but negotiations with the National Rally of Independents (RNI), led by Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch, and the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) are still ongoing.The government coalition’s seat count now stands at 183 seats – 15 seats shy of a majority. An alliance with either the RNI (37 seats) or the USFP (20 seats) would give the PJD the 198 seats it needs to push its legislative agenda. read more

Crude oil rises to near 94 a barrel as US cold snap

Oil workers stand at a facility site in the desert oil fields of Sakhir, Bahrain, on Nov. 21, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Hasan Jamali by Pablo Gorondi, The Associated Press Posted Jan 7, 2014 3:12 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Crude oil rises to near $94 a barrel as US cold snap expected to boost demand The price of oil rose to near US$94 a barrel Tuesday as unusually cold weather in the U.S. was expected to fuel demand in the world’s largest market for energy.Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery rose 24 cents to US$93.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantil Exchange. On Monday, the contract fell 53 cents to settle at US$93.43 a barrel.Crude prices were bolstered by a cold snap in the U.S., the world’s top oil consumer, as the use of heating oil was expected to surge.Dangerously cold polar air broke decades-old records, spreading Tuesday from the Midwest to southern and eastern parts of the U.S. and Eastern Canada. Many cities came to a virtual standstill, with flights cancelled and schools and businesses shuttered due to the cold.Forecasters said some 187 million people could feel the effects of the “polar vortex” by the time it spreads across the country.Prices were also supported by continuing uncertainty about Libya’s crude exports. Nearly three years after the start of the civil war that ousted Moammar Gadhafi, strikes and protests in the oil industry and conflicts between the government and regional militias have kept output at a fraction of its earlier level of around 1.5 million barrels a day.However, even with the uncertainty in Libya, Iraq and other key oil producers, global supplies are expected to remain ample and keep crude prices under pressure.“Despite these troubles, the supply outlook is robust,” said the Kilduff Report edited by Michael Fitzpatrick. “A test of $92 will likely occur this week, with more losses to follow.”Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was up 62 cents at US$107.35 a barrel.In other energy futures trading: wholesale gasoline rose 3.26 cents to US$2.678 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil was up 2.05 cents at US$2.959 a gallon and natural gas fell nearly a cent to US$4.30 per 1,000 cubic feet.(TSX:ECA), (TSX:IMO), (TSX:SU), (TSX:HSE), (NYSE:BP), (NYSE:COP), (NYSE:XOM), (NYSE:CVX), (TSX:CNQ), (TSX:TLM), (TSX:COS), (TSX:CVE) read more

SAMOA New partnerships seek to protect worlds oceans

Fishermen in coastal Samoan villages say there are less fish than there used to be and worry that the fish populations will soon disappear altogether, but participants at a United Nations conference on forming partnerships with small island developing states are vowing to prevent that from happening. Tolo Aeau fishes for swordfish in the Pacific, which is less than a minute’s walk from his home in Luatuanu’u, eastern Samoa. He fishes to break up routine of his chicken or beef dinnrs. But the most frequent fishermen on this part of the beach, which survived the 2009 tsunami, are people from outside the village who often sell the catch. “Big difference because the last couple of years we found fish before the reef. Now if you don’t go far, you won’t find any,” Mr. Aeau told the UN News Centre. “It’s a big worry. What will happen in the next 10 years.” The waters off the Pacific Islands region cover around 40 million square kilometers, the equivalent of about one-third of the world’s surface area. The waters have some of the largest stocks of tuna, as well as sharks, billfish, marine mammals and turtles. To illustrate just how much these natural resources are worth, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that of the 2.4 million tonnes of tuna caught in the Western Pacific Ocean, 1.4 million have been taken from this region at a value of $2.8 billion. “SIDS [Small Island Developing States] are basically environment based economies, they depend heavily on fisheries and tourism. So they depend on their environment assets and that is where the opportunities lie for them,” explained Kaven Zahedi, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). This is the basis of so-called ‘green-blue economy.’ Green economy is an economy where the natural assets are considered as part of the decision making process. Blue economy is one where most of those assets happen to be marine based assets. “In the context of SIDS, we are really talking about the same thing,” Mr. Zahedi said, speaking on Wednesday from the sidelines of the Third International Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa. The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) – which involves UNEP, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) – is supporting 30 countries over the next six years to build national green economy strategies. “Unless you have commitment from the highest levels in the country, it’s simply not going to happen,” Mr. Zahedi said. PAGE, which was launched last year, established a partnership at the conference to, among other things, show Governments what type of technology can be used or what models can from other regions could be replicated here. The partnership is among the more than 300 others which are being announced before the conference wraps-up later today. “I think more than anything, we help to point out the possibilities that exist. Because in a way we’re talking about a different mindset, a different economy, and we need to instill the confidence in countries that it is possible, that decision is theirs for the taking,” he noted. Some of the environmental challenges islanders face are localized, such as habitat destruction or waste management, but others are more global, like rising sea levels and frequency of weather events linked to climate change. “When I look at the issues at stake, in terms of food security, shoreline protection, economy, livelihoods, cultural identity, I think there’s so much value there, so why are we not able to harness 1 per cent of the value,” oceanographer Jan Newton said while on break from the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue on ‘Oceans, Seas and Biodiversity.’ The partnership dialogue is one of six sessions with representatives of government, the private sector and civil society, organized as part of the official conference. Dr. Newton is a member of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) which announced its own partnership at the conference, with a series of institutions, including the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project. One of the goals of the partnership is to acquire and exchange biogeochemical data that can be used in modeling ocean acidity and its impact. Ocean acidification and climate change are closely linked, both caused by increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. One-third of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere went into the oceans, raising the acidity of the waters by 30 per cent and changing the oceans chemistry. For example, ocean acidification is responsible for corals turning white, and why oysters have increasing problems forming a hard shell. The data from this new partnership has very practical applications for local communities and fisherman. Shellfish grower, Mark Wiegardt, who works with Dr. Newton likened such data to putting headlights on a car, “you can see where you’re going. “ Dr. Newton also took part in an international pre-conference workshop on ocean acidification, which was held aboard the Pacific Jewel in the Apia harbor on 28 and 29 August, and whose report was shared at the partnership dialogue. The workshop, organized by the Governments of New Zealand and the United States, was meant to create networks ocean acidification networks for the Caribbean, Pacific Islands and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea, among people who would have had no ways of meeting to meet and plan. The topics discussed in Samoa will resurface later this month at the Secretary-General Climate Summit at the UN Headquarters on 23 September. In Luatuanu’u, Mr. Aueu is optimistic all this attention will translate into real action, “High tide, earthquakes. I hope they will stop these things from happening. I hope they will make lives better for us.” read more

Warning over first case of supergonorrhoea acquired in the UK

Dr Nick Phin, Deputy Director of the National Infection Service at Public Health England, said:“Although these two cases of extensively resistant gonorrhoea have been successfully treated, contact tracing is underway to ensure there is no onward spread. This is a timely reminder of the importance of avoiding getting or passing on gonorrhoea. Both cases were resistant to both the standard drugs used to treat the infection, but have now been successfully treated, with one having to go on a drip, officials said.They said there was so far no evidence of links between the two cases, or with the case from last year.Previous sexual partners of both women are now being traced.It follows warnings that resistance to the key drugs is growing across the world, including in the UK. Latest figures suggest that more than 2,000 deaths a year in the UK can be attributed to antibiotic-resistant infections.Surveys suggest that around four in ten people expect to be prescribed antibiotics when they visit their GP for illnessses such as coughs and colds, even though the vast majority are caused by viruses, and will not be helped by drug treatment. The chief medical officer has warned that without action to cut reliance on antibiotics, Britain could end up in “the dark ages” where common operations become too dangerous to perform. Without antibiotics, 3 million operations such as caesareans and hip replacements could become life threatening, health officials warned. Health officials are warning of the first case of super-gonorrhoea which has been found to be acquired in the UK.The case involving a heterosexual woman, follows growing concern about the rise of drug-resistant sexually transmitted diseases across the world.Last year officials warned that a Briton had contracted the “world’s worst ever” case of super-gonorrhoea.The case occurred after the man had a sexual encounter with a woman in south-east Asia.But the latest case was acquired in the UK.Public Health England (PHE) issued the alarm about two cases, both involving heterosexual women living in Britain.One of the women appears to have acquired the disease in Europe, officials said, but the other case was acquired in the UK, though officials say the woman had links to Europe. “Everyone can substantially reduce their risk by using condoms consistently and correctly with all new and casual partners. Anyone who thinks they may have been at risk of getting an STI (sexually transmitted infection) should seek an STI screen at a sexual health clinic.”Gonorrhoea can lead to infertility if left untreated and is known to cause symptoms including unusual discharge and inflammation.Roughly one in 10 men and more than three quarters of women show no recognisable symptoms when infected with the disease.Cases of gonorrhea have risen by 22 per cent in one year, with almost 45,000 diagnoses in 2017, figures for England show.And diagnoses of syphilis are at their highest level for nearly 70 years, with 7,137 cases last year.  The figure is a 20 per cent rise on the previous year, and more than twice that recorded in 2012. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more