London: After a turbulent first season at Chelsea, Maurizio Sarri goes into Thursday’s Europa League semi-final against Eintracht Frankfurt savouring some much-needed breathing space. Sarri has spent most of the campaign engaged in a struggle to win over his sceptical players and fans. At one stage, it appeared the Chelsea manager was fighting a losing battle as a miserable run of results sparked reports he was on the verge of the sack. Amid reports that Chelsea’s stars were sick of Sarri’s inflexible game-plan, monotonous training sessions and habit of criticising them through the media, the nadir came in February when Blues goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga refused to be substituted during the League Cup final defeat against Manchester City. Sarri has side-stepped one crisis after another just deftly enough that he has emerged from a bleak winter with his prospects of avoiding the axe looking brighter after Chelsea secured a top four finish in the Premier League last weekend. With a place in next season’s Champions League sealed with a game to spare, Chelsea can turn their attention to winning the first trophy of Sarri’s reign. A 1-1 draw in the semi-final first leg away to Eintracht has put Chelsea in a good position for the return leg at Stamford Bridge. Winning the final, against Arsenal or Valencia in Baku, would strengthen the Italian’s hopes of convincing the Chelsea hierarchy he deserves more time to impose his philosophy on a squad that has so far been unable, or unwilling, to adapt to ‘Sarri-ball’. There remain doubts in some quarters about Sarri’s ability to make his tactics work in the Premier League after the former Napoli manager’s troubled year. Chelsea supporters are still under-whelmed by Sarri, despite their team’s qualification for the Champions League, which is worth at least an estimated? 35 million. At half time of Sunday’s game against Watford they responded to a turgid display with jeers — the discordant soundtrack to Sarri’s woes.
Fez- Two days after US Secretary of State, John Kerry‘s visit to Algeria, Washington issued a communiqué saying that Kerry’s statement at the opening of the US-Algeria Dialogue during his first visit to Algeria earlier this week was distorted. Following the speech delivered by John Kerry, Algeria’s official news agency released a report in which it stated that the United States “expresses its satisfaction with the electoral process in Algeria.”But the US State Department was quick in issuing a communiqué in which it denied that Kerry made such a statement, adding that his speech was distorted and inaccurately translated, which gives the impression that the United States endorse the electoral process and prejudges the transparency of the presidential elections. “There has been some erroneous reporting on Secretary Kerry’s remarks at the Opening Plenary Session. You have the full English transcript of what Secretary Kerry said. However, we would like to provide for you the State Department’s French translation of Secretary Kerry’s statement that is being incorrectly reported,” said the statement of US State Department,” said the communique. The US State Department pointed out that Kerry’s original statement that has been inaccurately translated is: “Lastly, you have an election coming up here in Algeria two weeks from now. We look forward to elections that are transparent and in line with international standards, and the United States will work with the president that the people of Algeria choose in order to bring about the future that Algeria and its neighbors deserve.”© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed
Madrid – The Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry voiced, on Wednesday, its satisfaction with the release of young Sahrawi woman Mahjouba Mohamed Hamdidaf, held captive since last summer in the camps of Tindouf (south-western Algeria).A spokesperson of the Spanish ministry, quoted by “Europapress” news agency, said he was glad of the happy ending of this woman’s story.Mahjouba is currently in Algiers waiting to be brought home to Spain, said the news agency. The young Sahrawi woman, who has been working for the London-based “Marie Curie Foundation Care” and intended to pursue her studies in the British capital, visited last summer the camps of Tindouf in order to see her biological parents.
Rabat – In the midst of the growing refugee crisis, European Union President Donald Tusk urged member states on Thursday to increase assistance to Morocco and other partners in the region and help them build reception centers for refugees seeking to reach Europe. Speaking at a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Tusk called on EU states to provide more help to countries bordering or close to conflict areas, including Morocco, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon in ensuring protection to those who are in danger.Need to help build reception centres closer to conflict areas & increase assistance to 3rd countries like Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) 3 Septembre 2015The leader of the European Union also highlighted the need to build reception centers in these countries where asylum requests will be handled before reaching the European Union. According to Tusk, the aid for countries outside the EU and the humanitarian efforts to contain migratory flows means that much more money will be needed. “Therefore leaders will need to decide on this as well when we meet in October,” Tusk said.Tusk also urged EU countries to accept at least 100,000 refugees in a bid to cope with the influx of refugees fleeing war and persecution to Europe.“Accepting more refugees is an important gesture of real solidarity. Fair distribution of at least 100,000 refugees among the EU states is what in fact we need today,” he said.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
Rabat – A number of activists gathered yesterday before the parliament building in Rabat to protest the continued existence of the death penalty in Morocco.Lawyer Abderrahim Jamai, the leader of the protest stated a profound reform of the Penal Code is needed” considering that injury to life itself is a crime and “violation of what is most sacred in human rights, the right to life.”Similarly, the president of the Association Marocaine des Droits Humains, Ahmed El Haij stipulates that there will only be justice when the government prominently considers the abolishment of the death penalty. The death penalty exists in the penal code of Morocco primarily as a punishment for crimes resulting in the death of another person, including aggravated murder, abuse, arson, and terrorism. Treason and espionage are also punishable by death.According to the Cornell Law School Death Penalty Database, there are currently 104 prisoners who have been sentenced to death in Morocco and are currently living on death row. Morocco has not carried out an execution since 1993 when Commissioner Tabit was convicted for many counts of rape, assault and barbaric acts.This large gap in executions may indicate an unwritten moratorium on carrying out death sentences since 1993, yet justices still sentence prisoners to death because the penalty still exists in the penal code.
New York – For Muslims in America, especially New Yorkers, the announcement that Eid ul Adha will fall on September 12 was a welcome relief.Many imams and Muslim community leaders were concerned that the Eid would fall on the 15th anniversary of the downing of four buildings of the World Trade Center complex on September 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 people were killed and 6,000 injured in what is noted as the worst terrorist attack in modern history.“At least it doesn’t give an excuse for the Islam haters to falsely claim that Muslims were celebrating on 9/11,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on Islamic Relations told Reuters. “That was the concern.” CAIR, like many Islamic advocacy groups in the United States, has been seeing an uptick in hate crimes against Muslims. There have been numerous reports of hijab-clad Muslimahs being harassed or assaulted, Muslim shopkeepers assaulted, mosques being defaced and slayings.In New York City, Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55 and his assistant Thara Uddin, 64, were both shot execution-style in the back of the head in broad daylight after leaving the mosque in Cypress Hills, a neighborhood in Queens last month. Both were Muslims from Bangladesh and had just finished the afternoon prayer.The lunar calendar month begins with the sighting of the new moon. The Eid al Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of the month of Dhul Hijjah.Muslims worldwide will slaughter sheep, goats, camels or what they can afford to remember the Prophet Abraham’s act of faith in attempting to slaughter his son, Ishmael in accordance to God’s commandment.Nearly 700,000 have traveled to Mecca to observe the rites of Haj, the fifth pillar of Islam, in which all Muslims make the pilgrimage to Mecca in their lifetimes or, at least, make the intention.
Rabat – The death toll probably caused by medical alcohol poisoning in the city of El Hajeb has risen to 10, As many as 10 have now died likely from medical alcohol consumption in the city of El Hajeb, prompting some to question whether the substance should continue to be sold.Local authorities said on Tuesday the death cases due to medical alcohol poisoning have risen to 10. Five more death cases were registered, in addition to the five announced on the day before.On Monday five people, four men and a woman, were declared dead following their consumption of medical alcohol. Some of the five were living on the streets. Some Moroccan media outlets called the incidents “human catastrophe.”Police forced arrested a man suspected of providing the victims with the deadly poison. The man in question was put under police custody for further investigations to determine the causes of the death cases.The number of victims in less than 24 hours raises serious questions on the need to ban the substance.Homeless people are prey to medical alcohol due to their vulnerability, with widespread consumption of the substance occurring.Medical alcohol consumption is not limited to adults, and many children living on the streets are prone to start using the dangerous substance.
Rabat – Morocco was elected member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) by the United Nations General Assembly on June 15 in New York. The election enables Morocco to hold a seat on the council for a term of two years beginning on January 2018. The council is one of the UN’s six main bodies and is composed of 54 member states.ECOSOC works to promote economic, social and environmental development by conducting cutting-edge analysis, agreeing on global norms and advocating for progress. Given the south-south cooperation undertaken by Morocco as a core national endeavor, and its long-lasting strategy geared towards the implementation of sustainable development policies, the election strengthens Morocco’s position in the UN in terms of sustainable development.The election represents an opportunity for Morocco to work toward implementing the objectives of its 2030 Sustainable Development project, and will enable it to consolidate its achievements in this area and share them with other countries.
Rabat – For the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), the new public prosecution independence bill “strengthens justice independence in its entirety, and in conformity with the spirit of the 2011 constitution.”The CNDH has now delivered its opinion on the law, which has sparked a controversy in the politico-media scene. On July 24, the Moroccan parliament approved Bill 33-17, making the King’s Attorney General at the Court of Cassation the new head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, independent from any parliamentary oversight or government intervention. Since its introduction into the Parliament on July 6, the bill in question sparked huge controversy from fierce opposition to a rushed approval. The Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) even took matters to the constitutional court, claiming the bill infringed multiple laws and decrees. The comments of the Council chaired by Driss El Yazami focused on the content of the text. From the outset, the CNDH dwelled on the progress and shortcomings of this bill, considering that the draft law “fits in with the criteria of independence of the prosecutor’s office strengthens the independence of the judiciary as a whole in accordance with the spirit and texts of the Constitution.”The CNDH said that the importance of the bill lies in its concern for the hierarchical status of the public prosecutor’s office, to which the law confers the task of ensuring, on behalf of society and in the general interest, the rights and freedoms of individuals and the necessary efficiency of the criminal justice system.The Council also noted that “the draft law is broadly in line with the opinions of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors,” in particular one dated back to December 2014 on “European standards and principles concerning prosecutors.”However, the CNDH criticized the financial independence the bill allows the Attorney General of the King, making the latter the author of the expenses of the prosecution. The Council specified on this matter that its decisions concerning the creation of administrative, financial, and technical structures “must be validated by the Ministry of Finance.”The CNDH advocated for “the clarification of the legal mechanisms of control of the action of the Attorney General of the King.” However, the Council did not detail the functioning of the mechanisms it advocates, nor did it indicate the body responsible for it.El Yazami also recommended “the revision of article 51 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CPC) in accordance with the option of independence of the prosecutor’s office.” The article in question defines the statutes of the Attorney General and the hierarchical relations between the Ministry of Justice and prosecutors.According to the Council, “it would have been preferable for the bill to provide an opportunity for determining the nature and scope of the independence of the prosecutor’s office, and to contain certain general rules concerning the role of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, whose principles of objectivity, fairness, and transparency are linked to the role of the prosecutor’s office.” For El Yazami’s Council, the bill must essentially ensure the protection of suspects, witnesses, and victims, stressing that any instruction issued by the General Prosecutor’s Office must be published in appropriate manner and accompanied of any prosecution in a specific case with sufficient guarantees of transparency and fairness.
Rabat – British police have made a second arrest in connection with the bomb attack on a London Underground train Friday that injured 29 people, according to Associated Press News (AP).British authorities announced on Sunday that the suspect, identified by police as Yahya Farroukh, had been arrested late Saturday night in Hounslow in West London. The 21-year-old defendant is now being held under the Terrorism Act.According to a Facebook profile believed to belong to the suspect, Farroukh comes from the Syrian capital of Damascus. The suspect’s images were published on Sunday by British news outlet The Sun.Another suspect, aged 18, was arrested Saturday morning in the port of Dover, a major ferry port for travel between Britain and France. British police called this arrest “significant.” The second suspect’s identity has not yet been identified but is believed to be an Iraqi refugee, according to CNN.The two arrested suspects had been hosted by a British elderly couple under the name of Ronald and Penelope Jones, said the American news outlet. The elderly couple had been fostering refugees, including children from Afghanistan and Iraq. The family had been honored by Queen Elizabeth II for their fostering services in 2010, awarded with Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBEs) “for services to children and families.According to AP, officials believe that the terror attack at the Parsons Green station “was not the act of a single person, but part of a coordinated plot.”“We are still pursing numerous lines of enquiry and at a great pace,” said Neil Basu, counter-terrorism coordinator for the London police.United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has recommended raising the terror threat to its highest level in order to prevent further attacks.British authorities have also launched an immense armed search in the southwestern London suburb of Sunbury, added AP.People were evacuated from the area and kept away for approximately 10 hours before they were allowed to return to their houses.Following Friday’s attack, the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the explosion.
Rabat – Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco are two great nations that have exceptional relations, and the presence King Mohammed VI in Abidjan “gives a special radiance to the African Union-European Union Summit,” said Ivorian Minister of Integration, Aly Coulibaly, on Monday.The two “brotherly” countries have managed to set up an exceptional partnership that confirms the presence of Morocco in Africa, Coulibaly told the press commenting on the arrival of King Mohammed VI to Abidjan.“This is an example for Africa that a South-South partnership can work,” said the Ivorian Minister, expressing hope that countries would follow their example. The partnership is a “win-win for both countries. It is bound to strengthen the profit of both nations,” he added.King Mohammed VI is on a working visit to the country a few days ahead of the European Union-African Union Summit in the Ivorian capital.At the Félix Houphouët-Boigny airport, the King was given a warm welcome by Ivorian president, Alassane Dramane Ouattara, who was accompanied by Côte d’Ivoire’s First Lady, Dominique Claudine Ouattara.The Moroccan King was also greeted by Ivorian Vice-President Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Ivorian State Minister in charge of Defense Hamed Bakayoko, the governor of Abidjan’s autonomous district, Beugré Robert Mambé, the mayor of Port-Bouët Commune, and Côte d’Ivoire’s ambassador in Rabat, Idrissa Traoré.This is King Mohamed VI’s second visit to Cote d’Ivoire in 2017, which is a testimony to the importance Morocco gives to further developing its relations with this West African country.According to a survey conducted by the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, Morocco was the top provider of Foreign Direct Investments to Cote d’Ivoire in 2016. With a volume of investments that reached USD 213 Million, Morocco surpassed France, which had traditionally been the top foreign investor in Côte d’Ivoire.
NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Southern Corp. reported better-than-expected results in its fiscal fourth quarter.The Norfolk, Virginia-based company said Thursday it earned $702 million, or $2.57 per share.The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.30 per share.The railroad posted revenue of $2.9 billion in the period, which also topped Street forecasts. Six analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $2.85 billion.Norfolk Southern shares have risen 11 per cent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed slightly more than 5 per cent. In the final minutes of trading on Thursday, shares hit $165.94, a climb of 11 per cent in the last 12 months.The Associated Press
Rabat – After incurring months of heavy criticism for his alleged preference for the North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup, FIFA president Gianni Infantino is now sending messages of objectivity and neutrality ahead of next week’s vote to determine the winning bid.“FIFA can afford whatever the congress decides,” Infantino said on Monday, a suggestion that no one in the FIFA administration would begrudge Morocco its success should the Moroccan bid triumph on June 13.“We have to live with that and to make the best of any decision which is taken,” Infantino added. Last week, the task force published its final assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the two contending bids. Morocco’s bid, which was deemed “sufficient” by FIFA’s committee of technical experts, was declared “fit” to organize a tournament at FIFA standards for the World Cup.The task force, however, ranked the North American bid “significantly higher” in terms of projected financial returns.Asked whether Morocco’s triumph would be more costly for FIFA, Infantino stated that “money is one element, but not the only [one].” According to Infantino, the report only highlighted that a prospective Moroccan triumph would require more investment in construction and renovation.Adamant that the task force was diligent and fair, Infantino reiterated FIFA’s executive board’s neutrality throughout the entire process of the evaluation and scrutiny of the Moroccan and the joint North American bids: “What our task has been is to make sure the process is as objective, as clear as possible and to highlight the pros and the cons of everything.”To national federations, however, Infantino’s message is that voting should be based on merit alone, rather than on any other criteria which the FIFA president described as “subjective.”“I hope when they vote they think what is best for football, definitely not on other subjective criteria that they might have for themselves.”
Rabat – While 300 Sub-Saharans stormed the Melilla border fence, 12 Moroccan soldiers received injuries. Morocco arrested 141 migrants and will repatriate them.One of the 12 was seriously injured in the exercise. All the wounded were immediately transported to the Nador hospital for treatment, according to a military source who spoke to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).One migrant died after falling from the fence and 22 others were injured by the barbed wire. They were also transferred to Nador’s hospital. The Moroccan Ministry of the Interior said that public forces arrested 141 undocumented immigrants during the operation.Spanish authorities gave quite different figures, saying that only 200 migrants reached Spain, while 100 failed to cross.Morocco has decided to repatriate all 141 sub-Saharan migrants who attempted to cross the borders on Sunday, according to the ministry’s statement.On October 20, Melilla also announced it would repatriate 30 Moroccan migrants.According to El Faro de Melilla, the repatriated migrants had been rescued from the sea by Spanish authorities on October 19 and transported to Melilla.In July, at least 600 migrants crossed the border from Morocco to the Spanish enclave Ceuta.By July 30, more than 24,000 migrants entered Europe through the western Mediterranean route from Morocco in 2018.Spain’s Ministry of Interior said earlier this year 38,000 migrants are believed to have entered Spain in 2018.According to the Moroccan director of immigration and border surveillance, Khalid Zerouali, Morocco has aborted nearly 65,000 migration attempts annually since 2016.Morocco’s Minister of Interior Abdelouafi Laftit met with his Spanish counterpart Fernando Grande-Marlaska on Saturday to discuss migration issues in Madrid.
NEW YORK — Producer Dick Wolf’s factory of Chicago dramas is becoming increasingly important for NBC.The Nielsen company said both “Chicago PD” and “Chicago Fire” scored their highest ratings in nearly two years last week with crossover episodes where they shared casts. “Chicago Med” actually had the biggest audience of the triumvirate with 9.1 million viewers, although the other two were close behind.All three shows were among the 11 most-watched programs on prime-time television last week. After the finale of “America’s Got Talent Champions” last week, they were the most popular programs on NBC.The Oscars led ABC to a weekly win in the ratings.The Associated Press
Rabat – Moroccan sports magazine Almountakhab has named Moroccan international football player Hakim Ziyech the “Golden Lion 2018.” Forty journalists, 20 technical executives, and thousands of internet users voted in the magazine’s survey ranking Morocco’s top 10 footballers.The Ajax Amsterdam forward collected 332 points, surpassing Borussia Dortmund’s Achraf Hakimi, who obtained 190 points. Read Also: Dutch Media Award Morocco’s Hakim Ziyech ‘Best Player’ in NetherlandsAl Nasr’s Nordin Amrabat finished third (80 points), ahead of Girona’s Yassine Bounou (58 points), Raja Athletic Club’s goalkeeper Anas Zniti (51 points), Juventus’ Mehdi Benatia (50 points), the CHAN 2018 top scorer Hebei China’s Ayoub El Kaabi (46 points), Al Ahly’s Walid Azaro (24 points), Wydad Athletic Club’s Mohamed Ounajem (17 points), and Al Raed FC’s Ahmed Hammoudan (10 points).Initiated in 2004, the Almountakhab award has for the first time focused on the best Moroccan player. Its previous awards were dedicated to the best players on the African continent.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Assembly voted Wednesday to cap rent increases for many tenants as America’s most populous state faces a housing crunch.A bill, which now goes to the state Senate, would prohibit landlords from raising rent more than 7% plus inflation over the course of a year. The bill would not apply to newer housing or to landlords with fewer than 10 single-family homes and it would expire in 2023.The bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu, said the measure will protect tenants from what he called rent gouging.But the bill faced persistent opposition, including from Realtors, prompting some last-minute concessions narrowing the bill to win over critics.Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom called on lawmakers in his State of the State Address this year to pass legislation protecting tenants.Andrew Oxford, The Associated Press
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s film industry appears to be on the brink of a boom thanks to abortion law controversies in other states and expanded incentives.A recent spike in film production in the state comes as Hollywood targets both Georgia and Louisiana over recently passed restrictive abortion laws, the Albuquerque Journal reports.The political developments are being watched closely in New Mexico, which is poised to benefit even though state officials have said there’s no organized campaign to lure film productions from those states.“I don’t know that we are necessarily using that as a drawing card, because we are a drawing card,” New Mexico Film Office Director Todd Christensen said.The jump also comes as New Mexico is set to more than double its annual state spending cap on film incentives.In addition, NBCUniversal announced Friday it will build a television and film studio in a warehouse district just north of downtown Albuquerque as it seeks to expand its footprint in one of the fastest-growing film production hubs in the country.The company said it entered a 10-year venture with a developer to reshape an empty warehouse into a studio with two sound stages and offices. The studio will be used to produce shows for broadcast and cable channels.The New Mexico Film Office said the coming Amazon TV series production “The Power” reached out to New Mexico because of Georgia’s political climate.“The Power” will be a 10-part series based on Naomi Alderman’s 2016 novel in which women around the world suddenly gain the ability to electrocute people.New Mexico has on its books a 1969 state law that banned abortion in most cases. But the law became unenforceable after it was superseded by the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.An attempt to scrap the 1969 law failed during the last state legislative session in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Democrats have downplayed the vote and have vowed to try again in the near future.New Mexico was one of the first states to launch a film incentive program in 2003 and upped the ante with a new package of film and TV incentives passed by lawmakers during this year’s 60-day legislative session and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in March.The package raises a 2011 cap on what the state can pay out to film and TV productions from $50 million to $110 million per year, while also authorizing the spending of up to $225 million to pay down an accumulated backlog in film incentives.Film companies receive 25 per cent rebates on qualifying expenditures on goods and services in New Mexico. There is a 30 per cent rebate for some TV shows.In recent months, the New Mexico Film Office has received about two calls a day from production companies asking about the new incentives and possible locations in the state.“We’re getting calls,” Christensen said. “If the script fits, they’ll come here. In some cases, they can change the scripts to fit New Mexico.”Not all legislators are thrilled with the expansion of the state’s film incentive program.State Sen. Mark Moores, a Republican who voted against this year’s bill, said he would be uneasy about using the abortion laws in Georgia and Louisiana as leverage, adding that he has a problem with “out-of-state corporate extortion” on what he described as a social issue.“If we as a state make a political decision for New Mexico that they don’t like in the future, will they extort us like they’re trying to do to Georgia?” Moores asked.___Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.comThe Associated Press
TOKYO — Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday on optimism about trade after President Donald Trump said he will talk with the Chinese leader later this month in Japan.Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 1.7% to finish at 21,333.87. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.2% to 6,648.10. South Korea’s Kospi was also up 1.2% at 2,124.06. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 2.3% to 28,122.20, while the Shanghai Composite added nearly 1.0% to 2,917.76.Markets also got a boost after the head of the European Central Bank said it was ready to cut interest rates and provide additional economic stimulus if necessary.The remarks put the spotlight on the U.S. Federal Reserve, which has its own decision on interest rates scheduled later in the day. Many think the U.S. central bank may be headed for its first interest rate cut in over a decade sometime later this year.On Wall Street, the S&P 500 index climbed 28.08 points, or 1% to 2,917.75. The Dow gained 353.01 points, or 1.4%, to 26,465.54. The Nasdaq jumped 108.86 points, or 1.4%, to 7,953.88.The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies added 17.48 points, or 1.1%, to 1,550.23.It was the second straight gain for the market, extending a strong rebound for stocks in June after a steep sell-off last month.The benchmark S&P 500 is now less than 1% below its all-time high set on April 30. The Dow is 1.4% below its record high set October 3. The Nasdaq is about 2.5% below its record close set on May 3.Trump stirred fresh optimism among investors when he said he will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping at an international summit in Japan. U.S. businesses have implored Trump to stop escalating the trade war and refrain from expanding his tariffs to $300 billion on goods from China.Analysts acknowledged an immediate resolution to the trade conflict isn’t expected, but the confirmation that Trump and Xi plan to talk at the G-20 in Osaka was cause for some optimism while warning that risks remain.“While this certainly is a near-term boost for markets, the question as to what can be resolved by the two leader’s meeting that had not been done so despite months of discussions keeps this as a risk factor,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.Two weeks ago, Fed Chair Jerome Powell set off a rally on Wall Street after he signalled that the central bank is willing to cut interest rates to help stabilize the economy if the trade war between Washington and Beijing starts to crimp growth. Any continued escalations could put the brakes on what is poised to be the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.Investors collectively envision a Fed rate cut by July and possibly further cuts after that. Some even expect a rate cut this week. Many economists, though, think the Fed will wait until September at the earliest to announce its first drop in its benchmark short-term interest rate since 2008 and might not cut again in 2019. A few Fed watchers foresee no rate cut at all this year.ENERGY:Benchmark crude oil rose 27 cents to $54.17 a barrel. It rose 3.8% to $53.90 a barrel Tuesday. Brent crude oil, the international standard, gained 30 cents to $62.44 a barrel.CURRENCIES:The dollar inched down to 108.26 yen from 108.27 yen on Tuesday. The euro rose slightly to $1.1195 from $1.1191.Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press
“Now we must herald the rule of law, and the era of the Afghan citizen,” Mr. Ban stated in his address to an international conference on justice and rule of law in Afghanistan taking place in Rome. Recalling his surprise visit to Afghanistan last Friday, during which he met with the country’s top officials, Mr. Ban said he was “heartened and moved” by their commitment and courage, but also shared their profound concern over the challenges still confronting the war-torn nation. Decades of conflict had left a devastating mark, Mr. Ban noted. “Institutions were destroyed, authority was divorced from legitimacy, and rule of law flowed from little more than the barrel of a gun.” Mr. Ban hoped the conference would result in the establishment of an Afghan-led monitoring and evaluation system for the justice sector. “Much rests on the success of this conference,” he added, noting that the ability of the nascent State to define laws covering domestic, criminal, land, tax, contract and commercial issues will determine the shape of Afghan society for decades to come. “These codes will be the source of justice in a land that has for too long suffered from its absence.” Key to heralding a new era in the Afghan justice system, he said, are aligning the efforts of Afghanistan’s partners with those of the country’s own vision and national traditions. Also crucial were credible Afghan institutions for fostering the rule of law and political will on the part of the nation’s leaders. Mr. Ban also hailed the work of one of Afghanistan’s youngest national institutions, the Independent Human Rights Commission, which had rapidly become the nation’s “voice of conscience.” “Its documentation of human rights abuses ensures that past crimes will not be forgotten. Its promotion of human rights norms brings us ever closer to a day when the law is Afghanistan’s one and only authority,” he stated. The Commission has also documented instances of civilian casualties resulting from the operation of international forces. Mr. Ban stressed that in countering the anti-Government insurgency that has been plaguing the country for some time, Afghan and international forces must act strictly in accordance with international humanitarian law. “However difficult this may prove against a shadowy and unscrupulous adversary, we simply cannot hide from the reality that civilian casualties, no matter how accidental, strengthen our enemies and undermine our efforts.” Mr. Ban highlighted the need to “do better by Afghanistan’s women,” who suffer disproportionately from a failing justice system, declaring that “justice denied to Afghanistan’s women is justice denied to all Afghans.” In recent weeks, Afghanistan has witnessed a string of attacks which constitute some of the worst violence since the fall of the Taliban in 2001, including shootings outside a girls’ school and the murder of prominent female Afghan journalists. “Those who kill or debase women simply because they dare speak their mind, or demand their rights, must find no quarter in a just and free Afghanistan.” Noting that Afghanistan faces real challenges with no immediate solutions, Mr. Ban urged patience as the country emerges from the “shadows of despair” following decades of conflict and travels down the difficult road to peace and prosperity.The high toll on civilians was among the topics discussed by Mr. Ban in his meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai today in the margins of the conference, his spokesperson told reporters in New York.The issue was also raised during the Secretary-General’s meetings with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema and NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.During those meetings, Mr. Ban also discussed the importance of reinforcing international partnership to rebuild Afghanistan’s institutions, as well as the need for transparency, accountability and political will on the part of the Afghan Government to uproot corruption. The Secretary-General is expected to hold a joint press conference today in Rome with President Karzai and Foreign Minister D’Alema. He is expected in Turin tomorrow to visit the United Nations Staff College, before returning to Geneva, according to his spokesperson. 3 July 2007UN Secretary-General today urged Afghanistan’s partners to join with the fledgling democracy as it seeks to lay the foundations of law and order after decades of conflict, declaring that the nation’s “long night of injustice is nearing its end.”