Beijing- One of China’s top movie directors has admitted having three children with his current wife, according to a studio media posting, after months of speculation he broke the country’s controversial family planning laws several times.Zhang Yimou, the maker of “Raise the Red Lantern” and “Red Sorghum”, has two sons and a daughter with his current wife, the Yimou Studio said in its verified account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.That would mean Zhang, 62, has a total of four children including a daughter with his ex-wife, potentially violating China’s one-child policy. Zhang “would like to make a sincere apologies to the public for the negative ramifications caused”, said the posting by Yimou Studio, which says it is affiliated to the director.The disclosure comes after months of speculation that he has seven or eight children by three or four women.Yimou Studio dismissed those allegations as “untrue” and threatened to hold the rumourmongers legally responsible.“The false allegations have seriously affected the normal life of Zhang Yimou’s family and led to an egregious impact on society,” said the statement.“We are collecting and sorting out relevant evidence against the rumourmongers and preserve the right to pursue their legal liability.”China has implemented its family planning law for over 30 years, which currently restricts most parents to one child, with exceptions including some rural families whose first child is a girl, ethnic minorities, and couples who are both only children.It has been at times brutally enforced, say rights groups, while officials say it has been a key element of China’s rising prosperity.The ruling Communist Party said last month it would relax the rule by allowing couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child.Family planning officials in the eastern city of Wuxi, where Zhang is registered as living, are investigating, reports in state-run media said.Zhang was willing to cooperate with the investigation and “accept commensurate penalties” according to national laws, said the Sina Weibo posting.If found guilty of breaching the policy, Zhang could be fined around $100,000, according to the per capita urban resident income in Wuxi and the number of children involved, the state-run Beijing News reported Monday.Many of Zhang’s early films were banned in China but he has since become close to authorities and was picked to direct the opening ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.His most recent work, 2011’s “The Flowers of War”, starred Christian Bale and was a historical drama set during the 1937 Nanjing Massacre.
Taroudant – The Moroccan resort city of Ifrane will host from February 28 to March2, 2014 the 2nd annual Ifrane Snow Festival, according to the Moroccan daily Le Matin. The Association “Tourtite” for the promotion of cultural, artistic, sports, and touristism activities and the preservation of the heritage of mountain towns will organize the event in collaboration with the Province of Ifrane which aims to promote the tourism potential of the city.Known as “Little Switzerland,” the Moroccan town of Ifrane will organize the “snow princess” contest to crown “Miss Snow Ifrane 2014,” to highlight the Amazigh region’s diverse culture. This year’s program includes a children’s village complete with a playground and various children’s entertainment activities, an exhibition of local products by various local cooperatives, and medical ? mobile centers? for the benefit of people in rural areas.The event will also feature activities to increase awareness of environmental issues and instill the principles of environmental protection in the minds of the local population and tourists to maintain the city’s ranking as the second cleanest city in the world.Zineb Azira, a litle girl, was crowned Miss Snow of Ifrane at the first Ifrane snow festival held in early February, 2013. The event attracted thousands of visitors, both from Morocco and abroad.Perched on the heights of the Middle Atlas Mountain range in Morocco, the town of Ifrane is a cool resort for Moroccan families and tourist during summer, and a popular winter destination for ski-lovers in winter.Edited by Elisabeth Myers© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or or redistributed
Rabat –A Moroccan woman has been sentenced to flogging and imprisonment after she has allegedly been caught by Saudi Arabian police while offering sex services for money.The court in the Province of Taif has reportedly sentenced the Moroccan woman, a current resident of Saudi Arabia, to four months in prison, flogging and a fine estimated at SAR1000 ($267 U.S. ), as well as the seizure of her cell phone and deporting her to Morocco over adultery charges, according to Erem News.According to the same source, the 40-year-old suspect was arrested after a Saudi Arabian citizen reported her to the country’s Islamic religious police for offering herself to him. The Moroccan woman was apparently chatting with the Saudi Arabian man via Whatsapp, when she reportedly offered her services for a sum of money estimated at SAR 500 ($133 U.S.).The man expressed his undoubted acceptance of her offer and arranged a date. Meanwhile, he secretly coordinated with the Islamic religious police in order to arrest her red-handed, offering herself against money.After having been detained for questioning, the Moroccan woman admitted to offering sex services to Saudi Arabian men for money, stressing that the need of money pushed her to work as a prostitute.During the inspection process, the Islamic religious police detected some pictures of her as well as a sum of money estimated at SAR 1500 ($400 U.S.) in her bag.
London- Morocco’s ambassador to UK Lalla Joumala was granted, in London, the prestigious 2015 “Diplomat Magazine” Award for her outstanding contribution to diplomacy.This much sought-after prize in London’s diplomatic milieu was awarded to the Moroccan ambassador in recognition of her outstanding efforts to reinforce diplomatic action, said former British ambassador Charles Crawford during the awarding ceremony organized on Monday in the presence of around 80 foreign ambassadors, news outlets representatives and other figures.The “2015 Distinguished Contribution to Diplomacy in London” award is very important as it is granted by foreign diplomats accredited to London, said Crawford, lauding the human and professional attributes of the Moroccan ambassador. This honorary award was granted to Lalla Joumala by her peers for her laudable actions that helped enrich and foster dialogue between Africa and Europe, he noted, surveying the main events initiated by the Kingdom’s ambassador in Great Britain.For her part, Lalla Joumala voiced her pride over this prize which is an honor for Morocco and an encouragement for the Moroccan diplomacy which is tirelessly striving to foster understanding and dialogue between peoples.
Rabat – The office of King Mohammed VI lawyer in Paris Éric Dupond-Moretti was reportedly ransacked during a burglary attempt.According to French media reports, the burglary occurred Saturday at the lawyer’s Paris office on Raspail Boulevard. Éric Dupond-Moretti, the Moroccan monarch’s lawyer, was at the time in Rennes (northwestern France) for an infanticide case.French police investigating the burglary discovered that doors to the lawyer’s office were open and that files were missing. Two computers were also reported stolen. However, Dupond-Moretti told France Info that no sensitive data was stored on the hard drives of the stolen computers. Dupond-Moretti became known to the Moroccan public opinion during the Eric Laurent case in which the latter is accused of demanding 3 million Euros from King Mohammed VI in order not to publish a book that allegedly contained ‘critical revelations’ about the monarchy and its financial affairs.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
Rabat – High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has curtly dismissed a Euro-deputy from the group of European United left concerning false allegations on the situation of human rights in Morocco.“The EU keeps a regular contact with the national council of human rights and its regional delegations, and supports the process of democratic reforms in Morocco in conformity with the new constitution,” Mogherini said in her answer to question by Portuguese Euro-deputy, communist João Ferreira.The EU lauded on several occasions Morocco’s commitment to promoting human rights, upholding democracy and the rule of law and reforming the judiciary.Answering another question on the Morocco-EU agriculture agreement, Mogherini said that the agreement is valid from the international point of view, adding that the European court’s decision does not affect agreements concluded with Morocco. With MAP
Marrakech- Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch held talks on Tuesday with Brazilian counterpart Blairo Maggi on the means to boost bilateral cooperation between the two countries in agriculture.The two sides agreed to set up a joint commission to strengthen bilateral exchanges in this area, Brazilian minister told reporters following these talks.He said that his visit to Morocco is part of the COP22, which is taking place in Marrakech, noting that the two countries share the same interests in the agricultural sector. With MAP
DETROIT — An insurance study shows that owners of five Hyundai and Kia cars and SUVs file fire insurance claims at a rate far higher than the average for comparable vehicles.The Highway Loss Data Institute analyzed claims data from insurers representing about 85 per cent of the U.S. industry. It found that some Hyundai and Kia vehicles equipped with four-cylinder engines have at least double the noncrash fire claim rates than the average of comparable vehicles.The institute began the study after a consumer group found that owners of some Hyundai and Kia models made a higher-than-normal number of fire complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Last week the South Korean brands announced they would recall about 168,000 vehicles to fix a fuel pipe problem that can cause engine fires.Tom Krisher, The Associated Press
Rabat – Moroccan citizens have developed quite the healthy appetite for foreign travel this year. In 2017, Moroccans spent 20 percent more trotting the globe compared to 2016, says Morocco’s Foreign Exchange Office.Year on year, Morocco’s travel expenses are on the rise. During the 11 first months of 2017, foreign travel expenses reached MAD 17.5 billion, compared to MAD 13 billion in 2016, registering a 19.5 percent increase.According to Morocco’s Foreign Exchange Office, this rate is expected to rise even more this December, as many Moroccans prefer to spend their new year’s holidays abroad. Morocco’s travel revenues are also following the same upward trend, with a 6.5 increase from 2016. Rising from MAD 60.3 billion last year to 64.3 billion in 2017, these revenues, while still modest are largely sufficient to absorb the expenses’ increase.According to the Exchange Office, the travel flows’ balance increased by 2.9 percent to MAD 48.5 billion compared to 47.2 billion in 2016.Moroccans favorite foreign destinationsSouthern Europe still leads the list of Moroccans favorite foreign destinations. According to a 2016 study run by travel website Jevoyage.ma, the south of Spain attracts more than 300,000 Moroccan each summer.France and Italy are also popular, and Portugal has been a favorite destination for some years now. “Close to Morocco, all of these countries have the advantage of accessibility, with frequent flights, in both regular and low-cost flights, which explain their success,” says the site.Organized travel seems to be all the rage right now. Moroccan families prefer “all inclusive” clubs, hotels with aqua parks, entertainment centres and apartments. Couples tend to turn to luxury hotels and young singles “are very price-conscious and are more sensitive to bargains, promotions and deals, especially on the internet,” says the site.Annually, in number of travelers, Morocco remains the preferred destination of Moroccan tourists with 54 percent. The kingdom is followed by Turkey with 10 percent, accessible without a visa. Spain comes in third place with 8 percent, followed by France, Italy and Thailand each with 5 percent, Portugal with 4 percent, and finally the United Arab Emirates with 3 percent.In terms of annual growth, Mexico experienced a boom in 2016 with a 77 percent increase, followed by Vietnam with 64 percent, Portugal with 42 percent, and Italy with 28 percent.“The search for a change of scenery becomes a significant feature of the Moroccan traveler, as evidenced by the rise of far-flung destinations such as Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Bali,” the website added.Another type of destination that is gaining more popularity with Moroccan travelers are countries accessible without visas, like Turkey. “56 in total, they include a large number of African destinations, including Côte d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Comores, Gabon and Madagascar,” but also countries in the Middle East such as Lebanon or Jordan.
BRUSSELS — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):9:20 a.m.The leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party has written to Prime Minister Theresa May, spelling out what he wants in exchange for backing the government’s Brexit plan.In the letter, Jeremy Corbyn again demanded permanent British membership in a customs union, which May has repeatedly ruled out.Corbyn told the prime minister she won’t win his backing solely by winning concessions from the European Union on the contentious Irish border issue.The Labour leader said he is seeking “alignment with the union customs code, a common external tariff and an agreement on commercial policy that includes a U.K. say on future EU trade deals.”Corbyn’s position is disappointing some Labour Party legislators who had hoped he would back calls for a second referendum on the Brexit process.___8:25 a.m.British Prime Minister Theresa May is travelling to Brussels in a new attempt to reopen talks with the European Union on the Brexit divorce agreement and will meet with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.With the planned departure date of March 29 closing in, May is expected to be stonewalled by the EU officials when it comes to reopening the legal withdrawal agreement which was already endorsed in November before the U.K. Parliament overwhelmingly rejected it.With the gap between both sides already yawning, Tusk acerbated the frosty climate on Wednesday by wondering aloud what “special place in hell” might be reserved for those who had no idea of how to deliver Brexit.The Associated Press
Rabat – Qatari Diar Real Estate has announced the opening of the first phase of the Al Houara project in Tangier in the second quarter of 2019.Qatari Diar said that the infrastructure of the Al Houara project, which is worth QR 700 million (MAD 1.8 billion), will be completed by the end of 2018, on Tuesday.Qatari Diar CEO Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah said that the project’s first phase includes the construction of a Hilton Luxury Hotel and an 18-hole golf course, reported Gulf Times. Al Houara project is an international beach resort which spans 234 hectares, including 60 hectares of protected forest and 2.5 kilometers of waterfront. It also has 250 rooms and 150 apartments.Al Houara resort is located on the Atlantic coast between Tangier and the nearby city of Asilah.According to the company’s statement, the project “combines authentic Moroccan culture with European culture, and includes hotels, residential villas, a health club, an international golf course, shops and multi-service facilities.”Morocco’s Minister of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicrafts, and Social Economy Mohamed Sajid said that the project is part of Qatari Diar’s strategy to promote continuous development.Sajid also “stressed that the Moroccan government will exert every effort to co-operate with Qatari Diar to make this project a success,” wrote Gulf Times.Qatari Diar made the announcement following a visit by company officials to Morocco, October 1-3. The objective of the visit was to identify the “latest developments” of Qatar’s investments in Morocco and “to follow-up the progress of the Al Houara project.”During the visit, the company officials met Moroccan officials to discuss the project details.Qatar’s ambassador to Morocco, Abdullah Falah al-Dosari, also attended the meetings.Qatari Diar Real Estate company was established in 2005 by the state-owned fund Qatar Investment Authority to support Qatar’s economy and to “coordinate the country’s real estate development priorities.” The company is headquartered northeast of Doha.
By Alexandra GrittaRabat – Chefchaouen (or simply “Chaouen”) is a city located in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. Its buildings appear to be washed in various shades of blue—hence Chaouen’s endearing nickname, “the Blue Pearl” of Morocco. The city has long been known to backpackers for its surreal hiking spots and easy accessibility to hashish (cannabis), which prospers in the dry mountain climate. The city’s relaxing and secluded atmosphere has attracted many tourists seeking to escape their rushed city lives. The origin of the city’s blue color is debated—some maintain the buildings were painted blue to ward off bugs, while others say a Jewish population changed the color of the buildings from white to blue in the 1930s. Blue is a symbol of spirituality and proximity to the sky and heavens. Regardless of origin, it is safe to assume that the blue color is now maintained for both aesthetic and touristic purposes.Things to do in Chefchaouen:Photo credit: Alexandra Gritta/MWNHike up to the Spanish Mosque. The mosque is the best place to appreciate a panoramic view of Chaouen without having to hike very far (about 10 minutes from the start of the trail). The best times to visit are at sunrise and at sunset, when the city is set aglow by the angles of the sun.Photo credit: MWN/Alexandra GrittaPhoto credit: MWN/Alexandra GrittaShopping in the medina (old town). Different regions of Morocco specialize in different goods. If you are planning to shop in Chaouen, take a look at the wool items (carpets, blankets, and clothing). Additionally, there are two popular argan oil shops in the area which sell merchandise ranging from perfumes to shampoos and body oils. Signs are out to help guide tourists to the locations.Photo credit:MWN/Alexandra GrittaCheck out Pizzeria Mandala and Restaurant Assaada. Pizzeria Mandala is an authentic Italian restaurant and one of the most highly rated restaurants in the area. It is very small and quite popular, so go a bit early for either lunch or dinner. Restaurant Assaada offers a wide variety of Moroccan cuisine and is also one of the most highly acclaimed eateries. Photo credit: MWN/Alexandra GrittaPhoto credit: Alexandra Gritta/MWNExplore the old medina. In addition to shops, the old medina contains some very scenic spots that are popular for photography. Part of the fun is hunting for new blue doors, staircases, and walls in different corners of the medina.Photo credit: MWN/Alexandra GrittaHike up to the Akchour Waterfalls. For those more athletically inclined, the hike up from Chaouen to see the Akchour Waterfalls is well worth the effort. It takes approximately two hours to hike up and two to come back down. Swimming in the falls is permitted.If you are looking to vacation in Chefchaouen, here are some important things to be aware of:You might be approached by hashish dealers. Possessing hashish is illegal in Morocco and can result in jail time. Additionally, the government employs undercover police in Chaouen who may approach and claim to offer hashish, but are actually trying to catch dealers. Dealers may target foreigners with offers of hashish, knowing they may not be aware of laws in Morocco. The city is very hilly. As Chaouen is an older city located in the mountains, the majority of the streets are cobbled and unlevel. Appropriate footwear is recommended and travelers with disabilities may want to consider a more accessible destination.Spanish, French, and Arabic are all spoken, but English is less common. While some people in Chefchaouen (particularly shop owners) know a few words of English, you may have some trouble communicating if you do not know basic Arabic, French, or Spanish. Restaurants do typically provide an English version of menus. You only need a couple of days. Unless you are looking to hike extensively around Chaouen, the major attraction is admiring the city’s unique color and shopping for local goods. Some people even experience Chaouen as a day trip.
Rabat – The event is organized by the Rabat-based Goethe Institute, under the auspices of the German foreign affairs ministry. In a press release shared with Morocco World News, the institute emphasized the “pedagogical” aspect of the cultural events.The concerts, to be performed in Casablanca’s Mohammed VI High School on November 27 and Fez’s Moulay Idriss November 29, will mostly be for prospective German language students and established Germanophiles to have first-hand cultural immersion in German culture.Helgen tour programPrior to performing their two concerts, “the three young German pop musicians from the city of Hamburg will offer a workshop with about 25 German-learning students in both high schools,” the institute’s press release said. It added: “During this educational event, the members of the group will rehearse their songs in German [with students] and talk about German pop music as well as their daily lives as musicians in the country of Goethe.”The two concerts are part of the German foreign affairs ministry’s “Schools, Partners of the Future” (PASCH) initiative. PASCH, the press release explained, envisions promoting the worldwide teaching of the German language and culture.In addition to students from the host high schools in Casablanca and Fez, groups of students from other PASCH schools in Morocco will also be invited to both concerts. PASCH has schools in Rabat (Lalla Aicha and Descartes), Casablanca (Lyautey), Kenitra (Abderrahmane Enacer), and Settat (Ibn Abbad).While the PASCH program traditionally collaborates with leading high schools in countries where it operates, the two concerts in Morocco will also see the participation of students from public schools in Casablanca and Fez.“There will be much fun,” organizers promised.
Like Uber overseas, or its Moroccan counterpart Careem, Goki will pair private drivers with customers who need a ride. Goki’s special feature, however, is that its customers will be parents who need to bring their children to school, to dance class, to a birthday party, or to anywhere within the Rabat-Sale-Temara region.Parents will be able to order a “Goki” driver through the app, who will pick up their child from a specified place, and bring them to where they need to be.Parents will also be able to set up a Goki driver schedule a number of days in advance to fit in with their family schedule. The app will be launched in September and will operate in 30 suburbs in the Rabat-Sale-Temara region, covering more than 60 schools.“Gokidok is in the same price range as buses and taxis, but in comparison to these services, we offer greater flexibility and we save time for children and their families,” Achraf Zelmat, Gokidok’s founder, told online newspaper HuffPost Maroc.The monthly cost of the service will be MAD 1 290 ($132), for one return trip per day.Read also: Moroccan Taxi Ordering App ‘Roby’ Disrupts the Ride-Share IndustryHigh school students will be able to use the service alone, but primary school students will need to be accompanied. Parents will also be able to rate a driver. If a family is satisfied with the service, Gokidok will try to pair the driver with the family more often, to promote a relationship of trust and stability for the child, Zelmat explained.Technology is changing the ride-sharing and public transport industry in Morocco. Careem, which operates like Uber overseas, offers private ride sharing services, competing with the local taxi industry. Other apps, like Heetch, or a more recent competitor Roby, work within the taxi industry, connecting professional taxi drivers with clients.Gokidok is currently the only service designed specifically for children, and may therefore have a niche.
Rabat – Amina Rachid, officially Jamila Ben Omar, was born on 11 April, 1936, in the city of Marrakech. Growing up in the artistic environment of the imperial city, Rachid developed a certain love for the arts, acting in particular. She discovered her talents as an actress while still a student in primary school. When Rachid reached high school, in the 1950s, she had already gained experience as an amateur actress in school plays.In the early 1960s, Moroccan national radio announced their need for new female recruits. Rachid took the offer and made her debut in the field of radio theater, along with her lifelong colleague Habiba El Madkouri, who passed away in 2011. During her years at the Moroccan radio, Amina Rachid met and worked alongside famous Moroccan artists, including Hamidou Benmessaoud, known as Amidou, Hmadi Tounsi, Abderrazak Hakam, Brahim Ahmed Soussi, and Mohammed Thami Gherbi. Rachid started her official acting career in 1962. She played roles in around 60 plays over her lifetime, she performed more than 3,500 dramas, evening shows, and radio series. Rachid, along with Madkouri, are known as the first women to start an acting career in Morocco, as only men were allowed to participate in theater before, playing both male and female gendered roles at the time.Read Also: Moroccan Iconic Actress Amina Rachid Dies at 83In 1971, Rachid took an acting training course abroad, before she came back to Morocco to become an employee at the National Company of Broadcasting and Television (SNRT), where she met her future husband and life partner Abdellah Chakroun.Chakroun was also an employee at SNRT when he got engaged to Rachid, ten years his junior. He went on to become SNRT’s director, then general manager of the Arab Radio and Television Union, and finally an advisor at the Ministry of Culture.Rachid and her husband Abdellah Chakroun were one of the most famous couples in the Moroccan art industry. During their marriage, which lasted more than 50 years, Rachid always asked her husband for advice when it came to job offers and other decisions. She also accompanied her husband on all his travels, either professional ones or those for medical reasons. Chakroun devoted most of his free time to writing. He wrote many books about theater and culture. He also wrote a biography about his wife, entitled “Amina Rachid: An Actress in Radio, Theater, Television and Cinema”.The artistic couple had two children during their long marriage. After Chakroun’s death in 2017, Amina Rachid’s health deteriorated until she finally slipped away on Monday, August 26.Over the course of her career in plays, movies, dramas and soap operas,Rachid performed in several emblematic movies that became classics of the Moroccan cinema. She starred in “Lalla Hobby” (My Love, 1996), “Fiha lmelh w skarr w mabghatch tmout” (She has diabetes and blood pressure and she does not want to die, 1999), and “Qoloub Mouhtariqa” (Burning Hearts, 2007) to name a few.Some of Rachid’s most famous dramas and soap-operas are “Lwassiya” (The Will, 1999), “Laouni” (2005), and “Hnia, Mbark w Massoud” (2006).During her impressive career, Amina Rachid earned many awards and distinctions in film festivals, including National Cinema Festival (2001), Marrakech International Film Festival (2003), Tangier National Film Festival (2011), and Agadir Laughter Festival (2015). Her latest distinction was on July 23, 2019, in “Ciné Plage” Festival in Harhoura (near Rabat).In 2006, King Mohammed VI decorated Amina Rachid with a medal of the order of the knight, one of the most prestigious medals of honor that Moroccans can receive. The decoration served as reward to Rachid for her leading role in Moroccan arts.Amina Rachid was and will remain a symbol of Moroccan art, who left her mark on Moroccan radio, theater, television, cinema, and more importantly in the shared memory of Moroccan spectators.
Rabat – The government council has adopted yesterday, September 5, in Rabat, two draft decrees presented by the Minister of Labor and Professional Integration. The first draft decree concerns including midwives and rehabilitation professionals in the Obligatory Medical Insurance (AMO) and in the pension system. The second decree aims to include notaries.The government’s spokesperson, Mustapha El Khalfi, revealed that the draft decree concerning midwives and rehabilitation professionals was developed after concertation with all the concerned parties.“Consultations were held with midwives and rehabilitation professionals representatives, in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Professional Integration, National Social Security Fund (CNSS), and National Health Insurance Agency (ANAM),” said El Khalfi. “These meetings allowed the Ministry of Labor to appoint the communication body responsible for exchanging information on midwives and rehabilitation professionals with the CNSS,” added the spokesperson.The Ministry of Health will take care of communicating the necessary information for registering the concerned professionals to the CNSS.The second draft decree, concerning notaries, was developed after concertation with representatives of notaries, in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Labor and Professional Integration, CNSS, and ANAM.The aim of these meetings aimed to find the best way to apply AMO and pension systems on this category of professionals.CNSS is a public establishment that provides services such as familial allocations, medical insurance and pensions. However, many professionals do not benefit from its services, including liberal professionals, freelancers, and people working without contracts.
DETROIT — General Motors plans to sell its shuttered factory in Lordstown, Ohio, to a company that builds electric trucks.President Donald Trump announced the deal Wednesday on Twitter. He also wrote that GM plans to spend $700 million at three locations in Ohio and create 450 additional jobs. He wrote that he got the news from GM CEO Mary Barra.The announcement comes after GM and the Canadian auto workers union reached a deal to save 300 jobs at an Ontario factory that is slated to close by the end of this year.But the remainder of the 2,600 workers at the plant in Oshawa, near Toronto, are still scheduled to be laid off.Tom Krisher, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Nike wants to meet your feet.The sneaker seller will launch a foot-scanning tool on its app this summer that will measure and remember the length, width and other dimensions of customers’ feet after they point a smartphone camera to their toes. The app will then tell shoppers what size to buy each of its shoes in, which Nike hopes will cut down on costly online returns as it seeks to sell more of its goods through its websites and apps.But Nike will also get something it has never had before: a flood of data on the feet of regular people, a potential goldmine for the shoe maker, which says it will use the information to improve the design of its shoes. Nike mainly relies on the feet of star athletes to build its kicks.“Nikes will become better and better fitting shoes for you and everyone else,” says Michael Martin, who oversees Nike’s websites and apps.Nike won’t sell or share the data to other companies, Martin says. And he says shoppers don’t have to save the foot scans to their Nike accounts. But if they do, they’ll only have to scan their feet once and Nike’s apps, websites and stores will know their dimensions every time they need to buy sneakers. Workers at Nike stores will also be equipped with iPods to do the scanning, replacing those metal sizing contraptions.The challenging part for Nike is convincing people they need to measure their feet in the first place. Most think they already know what their shoe size is, says Brad Eckhart, who was an executive at shoe store chain Finish Line and is now a principal at retail consultancy Columbus Consulting,But Nike says it gets half a million complaints a year from customers related to fit and sizing. And it admits what many shoppers have already suspected: Each of its shoe styles fit differently, even if they are in the same size. A leather sneaker may be tighter and require a bigger size. Knit ones may be more forgiving. And shoelaces can throw everything off.Shoe size is “effectively a lie,” says Martin. “And it’s a lie that we’ve perpetuated.”Matt Powell, a sports industry analyst at NPD Group Inc., says the tool might be most valuable for people want to run or play basketball in their sneakers, since the wrong fit can cause injury. But Powell says most people buy sneakers just to walk around in.Still, finding the right size is a problem for shoppers: “There really is no industry standard for what is a size 10,” Powell says.____Contact Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisaniJoseph Pisani, The Associated Press
MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Officials say a fire and subsequent explosion at a Georgia-Pacific paper mill in eastern Oklahoma injured at least five people.Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service operations director Ron Morris says four injured were taken to a hospital with smoke inhalation and undisclosed “minor trauma.” A fifth person was treated at the scene.Georgia-Pacific spokeswoman Karen Cole said two people were still hospitalized Tuesday.The fire and explosion that followed occurred shortly before 10 p.m. Monday at the Georgia-Pacific plant in Muskogee, about 50 miles (80 kilometres) southeast of Tulsa.Cole said firefighters were still trying to determine what caused the blaze and that reports that the fire began on a propane-fueled fork lift are unconfirmed.Fire Chief Mike O’Dell did not immediately return a phone call for comment Tuesday.The Associated Press
12 March 2007Stressing the need to end the suffering in conflict-torn Northern Uganda, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the latest pledges by the parties to hold their fire and voiced hope that formal peace negotiations will soon resume. Stressing the need to end the suffering in conflict-torn Northern Uganda, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the latest pledges by the parties to hold their fire and voiced hope that formal peace negotiations will soon resume.The Secretary-General’s Envoy for areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Joaquim Chissano, yesterday chaired a meeting in Ri-Kwangba, Southern Sudan, with the main parties and participants to the “Juba Peace Initiative,” a process named for the southern Sudanese town which has played host to talks on the issue.Reacting to the latest diplomatic moves, a spokesman for Mr. Ban said he is “is pleased that all parties in attendance, including LRA leader Joseph Kony, reiterated their commitment to peace and stated their readiness to extend the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement to which they are currently bound.”Pointing out that those who have taken part in this conflict bear a responsibility to end the suffering in Northern Uganda, the Secretary-General voiced hope that the discussions begun yesterday “can lead in the near future to a resumption of the Juba peace talks,” spokesperson Michele Montas said.“The Secretary-General looks forward to further discussions on the situation of the LRA-affected areas when his Special Envoy visits New York later this month to brief the Security Council,” she added.Mr. Chissano has been in the region since February carrying on consultations with the rebel group’s leadership and northern Ugandan parties, as well as with concerned regional countries.Thousands of civilians have been killed or abducted since the LRA began its rebellion in 1986, and more than 1.5 million people have become internally displaced in Uganda. Humanitarian operations in southern Sudan, which the rebel group has often used as a base, have been severely disrupted.Mr. Chissano was named in December, 2006 as the Secretary-General’s envoy to help with efforts to speed up negotiations towards a durable peace deal. As part of his mandate, Mr. Chissano, a former President of Mozambique, will liaise with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has indicted Mr. Kony and four other senior LRA figures for war crimes.