Washington DC: Scientists, using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon, the US space agency said, an advance that could help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future lunar missions. Measuerments from the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) instrument aboard the LRO of the sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the surface helped characterise lunar hydration changes over the course of a day, according to the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingUp until the last decade, scientists thought the Moon was arid, with any water existing mainly as pockets of ice in permanently shaded craters near the poles. More recently, scientists have identified surface water in sparse populations of molecules bound to the lunar soil, or regolith, NASA said in a statement. The amount and locations vary based on the time of day. This water is more common at higher latitudes and tends to hop around as the surface heats up. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangThese results aid in understanding the lunar water cycle and will ultimately help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions to the Moon, said Amanda Hendrix, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. Lunar water can potentially be used by humans to make fuel or to use for radiation shielding or thermal management; if these materials do not need to be launched from Earth, that makes these future missions more affordable, Hendrix said in a statement. Water molecules remain tightly bound to the regolith until surface temperatures peak near lunar noon. Molecules thermally desorb and can bounce to a nearby location that is cold enough for the molecule to stick or populate the Moon’s extremely tenuous atmosphere or exosphere, until temperatures drop and the molecules return to the surface, the US space agency said. Michael Poston from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Texas, US, had previously conducted extensive experiments with water and lunar samples collected by the Apollo missions. The latest research revealed the amount of energy needed to remove water molecules from lunar materials, helping scientists understand how water is bound to surface materials. Lunar hydration is tricky to measure from orbit, due to the complex way that light reflects off of the lunar surface, said Poston, who is now a research scientist on the LAMP team,. “Previous research reported quantities of hopping water molecules that were too large to explain with known physical processes. I’m excited about these latest results because the amount of water interpreted here is consistent with what lab measurements indicate is possible,” he said. Scientists have hypothesised that hydrogen ions in the solar wind may be the source of most of the Moon’s surface water. When the Moon passes behind the Earth and is shielded from the solar wind, the water spigot should essentially turn off, they noted. However, the water observed by LAMP does not decrease when the Moon is shielded by the Earth and the region influenced by its magnetic field, suggesting water builds up over time, rather than raining down directly from the solar wind.
Houston: Scientists have used artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover two more hidden planets in the data collected by the Kepler space telescope. The technique shows promise for identifying many additional planets that traditional methods could not catch. Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin in the US created an algorithm that sifts through the data taken by Kepler to ferret out signals that were missed by traditional planet-hunting methods. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year The process, described in the The Astronomical Journal, should help astronomers find many more missed planets hiding in Kepler data. “K2 data is more challenging to work with because the spacecraft is moving around all the time,” said Andrew Vanderburg, from UT Austin. This change came about after a mechanical failure. While mission planners found a workaround, the spacecraft was left with a wobble that AI had to take into account. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India The Kepler and K2 missions have already discovered thousands of planets around other stars, with an equal number of candidates awaiting confirmation. The two planets are both very typical of planets found in K2, researchers said. “They’re really close in to their host star, they have short orbital periods, and they’re hot. They are slightly larger than Earth,” said Anne Dattilo, who led the study. Of the two planets, one is called K2-293b and orbits a star 1,300 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius. The other, K2-294b, orbits a star 1,230 light-years away, also located in Aquarius. Once the team used their algorithm to find these planets, they followed up by studying the host stars using ground-based telescopes to confirm that the planets are real. These observations were done with the 1.5-metre telescope at the Smithsonian Institution’s Whipple Observatory in Arizona and the Gillett Telescope at Gemini Observatory in Hawaii. The future of the AI concept for finding planets hidden in data sets looks bright. The current algorithm can be used to probe the entire K2 data set, Dattilo said — approximately 300,000 stars. The method couls also be applied to Kepler’s successor planet-hunting mission, TESS, which launched in April 2018. Kepler’s mission ended later that year.
Kolkata: Supriya Chattopadhyay, wife of the state Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, died due to prolonged illness on Thursday.She was 72-year-old and is survived by her husband, two sons and daughter-in-law. She was suffering from kidney ailment for nearly a decade. Chattopadhyay was actively involved in politics since her college days. Chattopadhyay nee Sengupta joined the Chatra Parishad and became one of its leaders in the late 1960s. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja A post graduate in History she was a well-known figure on the College Street campus of Calcutta University. During the Naxal movement when clashes between the Maoists and Chatra Parishad students became frequent, she had played a major role as a Chatra Parishad leader and addressed the students. She was respected by all for her fearlessness. She was a close aide of Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and Subrata Mukherjee. She travelled in Colombo and Russia as a delegate. She was the chairman of the Education cell of Trinamool Congress for a brief period. Chattopadhyay was the political secretary of Bengal Chief Minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray and accompanied him when administrative meetings were held in the districts.
Kolkata: Seven persons were killed after a bus and an SUV collided head-on near Mohammad Bazar in Birbhum on Friday evening, while two persons including a child are still undergoing treatment.According to sources, on Friday evening, a bus was coming from Rampurhat towards Suri. At the same time, an SUV carrying nine passengers was moving towards Rampurhat from Suri. Near Kalikapur village in Ganapur forest, the driver of the SUV lost control and collided head-on with the bus. Hearing the sound of the accident, local residents ran to the spot and found that the passengers of the SUV were badly injured. Mohammad Bazar police station was informed immediately. But before the villagers could act, five persons died on the spot due to the accident. Within a few minutes, police arrived at the spot and rushed the four injured including a child to Suri Superspeciality Hospital, where two persons succumbed to their injuries later. The other two are undergoing treatment but their condition is still critical. After admitting the injured persons, police sent the bodies to the same hospital for autopsy examination. Till Friday night, none of the deceased persons could be identified. It is suspected that the injured and the deceased persons are from the same family. To know their identity, police are trying to locate the vehicle owner through the registration number of the SUV.
Mumbai: Englishman Jos Buttler laid the platform with a rampaging 89 while Shreyas Gopal held his nerve at the death to power Rajasthan Royals to a four-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians in an Indian Premier League encounter here Saturday. This was Royals’ second victory of the season in seven games after losing a last ball thriller to CSK less than 48 hours back. Put into bat, Mumbai Indians rode on a aggressive 81 by South African Quinton De Kock to post an imposing 187/5, but Buttler’s 43-ball knock studded with eight fours and seven sixes set the tone before Royals survived a scare to finish the game in 19.3 overs. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe match was a forgettable one for young West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph (0/53 in 3 overs), who was hammered for eight fours and three sixes and then was injured trying to save a boundary. The 13th over changed the game’s complexion as Buttler smashed two sixes and four fours off Joseph to bring down the equation to a manageable run-a-ball. Buttler first conjured a 60-run opening stand with skipper Ajinkya Rahane (37 off 21 balls, 6x 4; 1×6) to lay the foundation and then added 87 runs for the second wicket with Sanju Samson (31 off 26 balls; 2×4, 1×6). Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterButtler initially played second fiddle to Rahane but then upped his ante once skipper was gone. The Englishman in the eighth over, hit Rahul Chahar for a six, and then in next over, smashed two sixes off Krunal Pandya as he raced to 50 off 29 balls. When Buttler departed in the 14th over, Rajasthan needed 41 runs. But then came the twist in the tale when Mumbai did make a comeback of sorts sending four batsman — Samson, Rahul Tripathi (1), Steve Smith (12 ) and Liam Livingstone (1) — back to the pavilion as Rajasthan slumped to 174.6 from 147/2. However, Shreyas Gopal (13 not out) and K Gowtham (0 not out) held their nerves to take the side home in a tense situation. Gopal hit the winning boundary off Hardik Pandya as celebrations erupted in the Rajasthan camp. Joseph was the costliest bowler having conceded 53 runs in three overs. Earlier, Quinton de Kock hit a belligerent 81 as he powered Mumbai Indians to an imposing 187 for 5 against Rajasthan Royals in their Indian Premier League game here Saturday. South African De Kock was the wrecker-in-chief as he hammered six fours and four sixes in his 52-ball knock and got able support from skipper Rohit Sharma (47 off 32 balls), who made a comeback after missing out the last Mumbai game due to a leg injury. A late cameo from Hardik Pandya (28 off 11 balls), in which smashed three sixes and one fours ensured Mumbai neared the 190-run mark. Earlier, Rohit and De Kock took the opposition attack to the cleaners as the two added 96 for the first wicket. They started the onslaught in the third over amassing 18 runs with the South African hitting a six and four off Krishnappa Gowtham. Then Rohit ripped apart pacer Dhawal Kulkarni, striking three fours, including a splendid cover drive, as Mumbai gathered 14 runs from it. De Kock kept playing shots at will even as Mumbai reached 57/0 after Powerplay period. Then De Kock dispatched spinner Liam Livingstone for two sixes over deep mid-wicket as runs came thick and fast. He raced to his fifty in 34 balls. Rohit, who struck six fours and a lone six, threw his wicket away giving a sitter to Jos Buttler off Jofra Archer. And then Rajasthan made a good comeback removing Surya Kumar Yadav (16) and Kieron Pollard (6) to reduce the hosts to 136/3. Rajasthan bowlers made a splendid comeback as they removed De Kock and Ishan Kishan before the Hardik show. Meanwhile, it was Rohit’s 100th match as captain for Mumbai Indians (including the now defunct Champions League T20 games) and it was Mumbai’s overall 200th match.
New Delhi: The sarcasm in Ambati Rayudu spelling out his World Cup plans after a munch-debated selection snub isn’t lost on the BCCI but the governing body on Wednesday said it has no plans of sanctioning the batsman. The Hyderabadi, who was ignored in favour of all-rounder Vijay Shankar, on Tuesday created a frenzy by tweeting that he plans to buy 3D glasses to watch the showpiece which begins May 30 in the UK. The 3D reference came a day after chairman of selectors MSK Prasad cited Shankar’s “three-dimensional qualities” to justify his selection. The BCCI brass has taken a note but since it wasn’t a direct criticism of the selection policy, the parent body wants to let it go. “We have taken note of what Rayudu has tweeted. (But) Let’s accept that emotions are running high at this moment. “There is bound to be disappointment and there needs to be an outlet of expression as long as it’s not out of line,” a senior BCCI official said on Wednesday. “He will need some time to soak in the disappointment and it’s understandable. “There is no need for sanctions. Also, he is one of our standbys. If any injury happens there is every chance, he would go,” the official said. Rayudu missed out on World Cup berth after three failures against Australia at home last month. Rayudu’s tweet has got more than 76,000 likes and 12,000 retweets so far. The current selection committee has been largely consistent with its policies but there have been instances in which some players have expressed their disappointment at being snubbed. Karun Nair had spoken about lack of communication after being dropped for the home series against the West Indies having not played a Test in England. Even Murali Vijay was reportedly unhappy at being dropped in the middle of the England series with rookie Prithvi Shaw coming in.
Brussels – The choice of compromise adopted by Morocco to address the regional dispute over the western Sahara continues to gain wider acceptance among the international community, particularly in Europe, which considers Morocco’s autonomy plan a reasonable serious and credible solution to the conflict.EU institutions, organizations and MPs constantly manifest their appreciation for the Moroccan autonomy plan, a conflict-resolution approach that proved successful around the world and represents the most advanced form of self-determination.Since it was presented to the UN and to the international community, this bold, open and flexible plan that shapes the future of the Sahara region within the framework of Morocco’s decentralization project and democratic openness, continues to receive international support.Within the EU, many member states hails Morocco’s efforts in searching a solution to this issue and describe the Moroccan plan as a relevant basis for negotiation in order to find a permanent solution to this conflict in favour of regional stability and integration. Last June, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) underlined in a resolution adopted during a plenary session, the relevant, serious and credible character of the Moroccan autonomy which grants large-scale legislative, executive, judiciary and financial powers to the local population.As for European MPs, the leaders of the main political groups have repeatedly stressed the relevance of the Moroccan proposal.
Rabat – Mohamed Kotbi, the Moroccan banquet waiter at New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel who made headlines in 2011 after he said he was forced by the hotel management to change his name to keep him from “scaring guests,” is reportedly planning to sue the luxury hotel owned by the Hilton company again, and this time for firing him, according to the New York Post.Mohamed, 52, who had worked at the Waldorf Astoria since 1984, previously filed a complaint against the hotel management for religious and racial discrimination. The suit was then settled for $17,500 according to court records.It all started on Sept.13, 2001. Two days after the attacks on the World Trade Center when he was asked by the hotel administration to wear different name tags at work suggesting that his name was “Edgar” and “Hector” in order to prevent guests from being frightened by being served by someone whose name is Mohamed. The Moroccan waiter filed discrimination complaints with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2005 and 2009, the newspaper added.Kotbi said that he sued the hotel not only because of the name changes, but also because the administration did nothing to keep his work colleagues from calling him “terrorist,” “al Qaeda boy,” and other names.“They really destroyed me,” Kotbi told the newspaper. “This was my life. It’s the only job I’ve ever had.”Now, Mohamed Kotbi is planning to file another lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court this week for unlawful retaliation.“If we can’t get justice for our client, we intend to take action in the community and protesting, picketing and rallying in front of the hotel,” Kotbi’s attorney Brad Gerstman was quoted as saying by the NY Post.The Waldorf owners reportedly declined to comment on the issue.Photo by Zandy Mangold
Rabat- Under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, Africa has become a “strategic priority for Morocco’s Foreign Policy,” Minister Delegate to the Foreign Minister Mbarka Bouaida said on Sunday in Rabat.In an address read out on her behalf by Culture Minister Mohamed Amine Sbihi at the Africa day in Morocco, Bouaida recalled that Morocco’s constitution stresses the African belonging of Morocco.“Morocco ambitions to further open up to Africa…especially as Morocco has become a key economic and strategic partner for most African economies, as is evidenced by the exponential rise in direct investments in high-value added sectors such as banking, insurance, telecommunications, energy agriculture and social housing,” she said. Bouaida also pointed out to Morocco’s religious model which champions the values of moderation and tolerance, adding that Morocco is well-placed to benefit Africa from its experience.She said that the partnership advocated by Morocco with African countries is based on promoting regional integration as an efficient tool to boost competitiveness and bolster cooperation.In this respect, “Morocco kept calling for a new Maghreban order by reinvigorating the Maghreban Union”.
Rabat – Morocco is ranked 125 out of 152 countries when it comes to personal, civil and economic freedoms, according to a Canada-based Fraser Institute report.The Human Freedom Index, released earlier this month by the Canadian public policy research group and public-policy think-tanks in Germany and the United States, uses 76 indicators of personal, civil and economic freedoms.The index is based on information taken from 70 different data sources from 2008 to 2012. Morocco has slipped 8 points in the index between 2008 and 2012. However, the freedom index did not take into account the progress of freedoms in Morocco between 2012 and 2014, which is believed to have caused the kingdom’s ranking to deteriorate.Hong Kong topped the rankings followed by Switzerland, Finland, Denmark and New Zealand rounding in the top five. Iran, the democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Yemen ranked last.The index’s editor Fred McMahon said: “the goal of the index is to measure the degree to which people are free to enjoy classic civil liberties — freedom of speech, religion, individual economic choice, and association and assembly”.“We also look at the rule of law, which is essential for freedoms, as well as indicators of crime and violence, freedom of movement, limits on freedom due to sexual orientation, and women’s freedoms,” McMahon added.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission
Rabat – The allegations relayed on pages of social networks claiming that “elements of the auxiliary forces in Imzouren have threatened to collectively abandon their positions,” are false and unfounded, emanate from individuals seeking to mislead the national public opinion, said Thursday the Ministry of the Interior. “Some pages on social networks have reported false allegations and misrepresentations about certain elements of the auxiliary forces in Imzouren who have allegedly threatened to abandon their positions collectively,” the ministry said in a statement. “What has been relayed is unfounded, an obvious lie and an insidious fabrication of facts and events, and is part of the designs of certain individuals seeking to mislead public opinion,” added the same source. Over the weekend, many demonstrations have been reported in the provinces near Al Hoceima, notably in Imzouren and Beni Bouyaach. Solidarity rallies were also held in other northern cities, such as Tangier and Nador, as well as in Rabat and Casablanca on Tuesday. According to a final official account, since Friday, police have made about forty arrests aimed essentially at the core of the “hirak”. Since the start of the “Hirak,” social networks have been another battlefield for the protesters.The Ministry of Interior published on Wednesday’s evening a call for “vigilance” against the dissemination of official information falsely attributed to it on social networks and instant messengers.
TOKYO — One of Naomi Osaka’s main sponsors has taken down an online ad campaign that depicts the Japanese tennis player with pale skin after it was criticized as insensitive.Daisuke Okabayashi, a spokesman for Japanese noodle-maker Nissin Foods Holdings, said Thursday that two animation clips, which went up earlier this month, were deleted from the company online site Wednesday.“We as a company put human rights first, and our stance of valuing diversity is unchanged,” he said in a telephone interview. “Whitewashing has never been our intention.”The clips showed a doe-eyed woman in the trademark style of Japanese manga, or comics. Critics said the depiction did not fully reflect Osaka’s biracial background — Osaka has a Haitian father and Japanese mother.Okabayashi said the ads had prior approval from Osaka’s agent.Nissin became Osaka’s corporate sponsor in November 2016.___More AP Tennis: https://www.apnews.com/apf-Tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_SportsThe Associated Press
WATERLOO, Belgium — The leader of Catalonia’s failed secession bid in 2017 who fled Spain to avoid arrest says that the central government will be seeking “vengeance” instead of justice when 12 of his separatist allies stand trial next week.Carles Puigdemont has told The Associated Press at his house in Belgium, where he established residence after fleeing Spain, “we are all supporting them, helping them because they are suffering a terribly unjust and humiliating situation.”He said in the interview Sunday that “the trial is not an act of justice. It will not be an act of justice but rather one of vengeance.”Spanish Supreme Court President Carlos Lesmes has guaranteed that “this is a trial following the highest standards set by the European Union.”___Joseph Wilson reported from Barcelona, Spain.Renata Brito And Joseph Wilson, The Associated Press
MIAMI — A South Florida man has been convicted in a $100 million scheme to defraud a Puerto Rico bank.Court records show that 55-year-old Jack Kachkar was convicted in Miami federal court Monday of eight counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution. His sentencing is scheduled for April 30.Prosecutors say Kachkar served as chairman and CEO of pharmaceutical company Inyx Inc. from 2005 to 2007. Officials say Kachkar caused Westernbank to grant a series of loans in exchange for a security interest in Inyx’s assets in 2005. Evidence showed Westernbank agreed to advance money based on fake customer invoices, which allowed Kachkar to divert tens of millions of dollars.Westernbank declared the loan in default in 2007 and lost more than $100 million, leading to the bank’s insolvency and collapse.The Associated Press
SASKATOON — Nutrien Ltd. says it expects higher deliveries of potash this year but that record crop yields last year and tariff uncertainty between China and the U.S. have put pressure on future crop prices.The trade dispute and pricing pressure helped contribute to expected earnings of between $2.80 and $3.20 per share for this year, below analyst expectations of $3.38 per share according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. The company says a resolution of the trade dispute could give a boost to prices and encourage more fertilizer use, but that the issue continues to create uncertainty in the market.Nutrien says it had net earnings of US$3.2 billion for the quarter ending Dec. 31, compared with a combined net loss of US$76 million for PotashCorp and Agrium Inc. in the same quarter a year earlier before the two merged to form Nutrien.The company says it had adjusted net earnings from continuing operations of US$335 million, or 54 cents per share, slightly off the US$336 million or 55 cents per share expected by analysts according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.It says low potash inventories in China and Brazil, along with slower supply growth, will help boost demand this year even as U.S. inventories are elevated from high rainfall in the fourth quarter. The Canadian Press Companies in this story: (TSX:NTR)
WASHINGTON — Senators grilled CEOs of seven major drug companies on Tuesday over high prescription drug prices that are a drain on Medicare and Medicaid and a burden to millions of Americans. The extraordinary public accounting was a sign that Congress and the White House are moving toward legislation this year to curb costs.As the Finance Committee hearing got underway, Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, pointedly reminded the executives that it’s a crime to provide false testimony to Congress. Some of the companies initially had sought a private meeting to explain their pricing policies, but lawmakers refused and insisted the CEOs appear in public or risk subpoenas.“Without a doubt, drug pricing is a complex issue,” Grassley said in his prepared opening statement. “But I think we should all be asking: Should it be so complex? We cannot allow anyone to hide behind the current complexities to shield the true cost of a drug.”Ranking Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon said in his prepared statement, “You pharma executives are here because the way you do business is unacceptable and unsustainable. Ten companies accounted for half of all profits in the health care sector last fall. Nine of those ten were drug manufacturers.”In statements submitted to the committee, the CEOs said drug development is a risky and costly undertaking and that prices reflect investment in research and development.“We recognize that the current state of drug pricing in the U.S. health care system is not sustainable and that patients are facing increasingly high out-of-pocket costs,” AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in prepared remarks. “We believe that these issues must be addressed urgently, and we hope to be a constructive partner in finding solutions.”Tuesday’s hearing marks the first time lawmakers have called the industry’s top executives to account for rising prices. Previous congressional hearings have focused on bad actors who briefly captured national attention, such as former pharma executive Martin Shkreli, who hiked the price of a decades-old infection treatment by more than 5,000 per cent.Besides AstraZeneca, which makes the cholesterol drug Crestor, other companies represented at the hearing were AbbVie, maker of Humira for rheumatoid arthritis and other immune-system conditions; Bristol-Myers Squibb, maker of the blood thinner Eliquis; Johnson & Johnson, maker of Xarelto to prevent blood clots; Merck, maker of Januvia to treat diabetes; Pfizer, maker of Lyrica for nerve pain; and Sanofi, a leading manufacturer of insulin, including the Lantus brand. The drugmakers have collected tens of billions of dollars from government programs in recent years.Grassley said that he’s not interested in “scapegoating” and that Congress intends to respond to the drug price problem in a “measured and effective” way.Democrats say it’s time for Medicare to leverage its purchasing power and directly negotiate prices with the industry, a step most Republicans oppose.The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, but Tuesday’s hearing seemed to mark a change in direction. President Donald Trump’s recurring blasts at drugmakers appear to be closer to finding a pathway to legislation.Drugmakers pointed a finger at other industry players, including middlemen called pharmacy benefit managers, who bargain on behalf of insurers and employers. Rebates paid to middlemen help assure favourable treatment for a medication on an insurer’s list of covered drugs and help keep premiums lower.But the rebates are not passed on to consumers who use the particular medication, and they can face high copays based on the drug’s list price, not the discounted one. Experts say rebates can also create an incentive to keep raising list prices.While list prices are going up, some of the CEOs said the net prices their companies receive after discounts and rebates are stable or sometimes declining.Grassley seemed skeptical of the drugmakers’ argument that high list prices are not really part of the problem.“For a patient taking a drug that has no competition, the list price is meaningful,” he said.The companies offered solutions of their own, some of which echo proposals from the administration or by lawmakers. Among them:— Allow patients to share in rebates when they buy their medication, a policy proposed by the Trump administration.— Place a hard limit on cost-sharing and copays for Medicare beneficiaries in the popular Part D prescription program, a change supported by Wyden.— Make greater use of value based contracts that tie payments for a medication to how well it delivers results.— Promote the introduction of lower-cost generics and biosimilars, competition that brand manufacturers are often accused of impeding.Drug costs are squeezing Americans in a number of ways: New medicines for cancer and other diseases often launch with prices exceeding $100,000 per year even as employers are shifting more pharmacy costs onto workers. Less expensive drugs for common ailments like diabetes and asthma often see price hikes of around 10 per cent annually. Meanwhile some drugmakers have been buying up once-cheap medicines and hiking prices by 1,000 per cent or more.The U.S. system for pricing drugs is notoriously complex. An expert panel assembled by the National Academy of Medicine in 2017 concluded it is “extremely difficult, if not impossible, for outsiders to ‘follow the money.’”Critics say this lack of transparency has created a perverse system in which drugmakers, pharmacy benefit managers and other health care providers all benefit from rising prices.The drug industry’s concerns about government intervention are on the rise. Drugmakers’ top lobbying arm, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, spent a record $27.9 million last year to sway federal decision makers, according to records tallied by the non-profit Center for Responsive Politics. That surpassed the group’s previous biggest spending total of $27.1 million during the 2009 congressional battle over President Barack Obama’s health care law, the Affordable Care Act, sometimes called Obamacare.Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar And Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press
Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Trade and Industry has said the North African country has reached nearly 81 percent of its goal in the Industrial Acceleration Plan (IAP) to offer new job opportunities through industry.The ministry said that, between 2014 and 2018, industries created 405,496 jobs, 49 percent of which are held by women.The automotive industry recorded the strongest job creation. The sector created 116,611 jobs in the time period, representing 28.8 percent of all new jobs in the time period. The ministry said that the sector is still growing. The automotive sector is followed by textiles with 79,300 jobs created (19.6 percent), offshoring with 69,932 jobs (17 percent), and agribusiness with 63,198 jobs (15.6 percent).The metallurgical and mechanical industry created 19,776 jobs or 5 percent, while the building materials industry created 11,302 jobs.Despite the importance of the sector in Morocco, the aeronautics field created only 8,636 jobs.Read Also: Oxford: Vocational Training, Industries to Increase Morocco’s EconomyMorocco’s IAP set a target for the aeronautics sector to create 23,000 new jobs by 2020.In October 2018, the industry ministry argued that the aeronautical industry in Morocco is a promising sector, emphasizing that it is “fast moving,” and counting the international companies that have built plants in Morocco.In addition to listing the most impressive sectors in Morocco’s economy, the study, quoted by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), said that Morocco’s exports increased from MAD 161 billion in 2013 to MAD 240 billion in 2018, an increase of 50 percent in five years.Integration of youths through vocational training, a must“The strong positioning of the industrial sector as a lever for job creation and the professional integration of young people is now strongly supported by the deployment of Vocational Training, driven by King Mohammed VI,” added the ministry.Throughout recent years, King Mohammed VI suggested that vocational training might be an important solution to reduce unemployment and integrate youth into the job market.On Thursday, the King chaired a meeting at the Royal Palace of Rabat, in which Minister of Education Said Amzazi made a presentation about the government’s plans to offer vocational training hubs for youth.Amzazi informed the King of a roadmap for the development of vocational training and the creation of “cities of professions and skills” in every region in Morocco.The cities of professions will include multi-sectoral facilities where youth can receive training on several fields.The Ministry of Industry said that the “roadmap, which restructures the offer of vocational training and equips the 12 regions of the kingdom with ‘Cities of Professions and Skills’ will meet a growing need for targeted profiles in the industrial sectors.”
BEIJING — The Latest on China-U.S. trade talks (all times local):Chinese and U.S. negotiators have wrapped up trade talks in Beijing with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying they were “constructive.”Mnuchin said in a tweet Friday that he looked forward to continuing the talks in Washington next week.The representatives posed for photos at a government guest house in western Beijing but did not comment about the state of negotiations in front of reporters.Neither side provided any details on the status of the talks or said if major progress had been made.Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is due to visit Washington next week to lead Beijing’s delegation to the talks on resolving a dispute over technology and industrial policy. It has resulted in both sides imposing heavy punitive tariffs on each other’s exports.___10:10 a.m.Trade negotiators from China and the U.S. are resuming talks to try to resolve their tariff dispute over China’s technology ambitions.Representatives of both sides arrived Friday morning at a government guest house in western Beijing where they posed for photos but did not comment about the state of negotiations in front of reporters.President Donald Trump expressed optimism about the talks last week, saying, “we’re getting very close.” The chief American envoy, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, said this week questions about details and enforcement remained.Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin attended a working dinner Thursday night with their Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, who is to travel to Washington next week. Talks are due to last the entire day Friday.The Associated Press
Rabat – King Mohammed VI addressed congratulatory messages to word leaders on the eve of Ramadan. Morocco will celebrate the first day of the holy month on Tuesday, May 7.In his messages, the monarch extended to the heads of state of Islamic countries his best wishes of health and happiness, and of further progress and prosperity to their peoples.Moroccans started the first taraweeh prayers today. Taraweeh are extra prayers carried out every night throughout Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, doing drugs, and engaging in any sexual activity, from dawn to sunset.In addition to fasting, Ramadan is also a month that brings Muslims closer to God.After breaking fast or iftar, Muslims, men and women, of all ages head to mosques to perform night prayers, extra prayers performed only during Ramadan.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is taking a fresh look at a long-dead Mississippi flood project that the late Sen. John McCain once called “one of the worst projects ever conceived by Congress.”Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler confirmed Wednesday that his agency is taking a new look at building giant pumps in the Mississippi Delta.The Bush administration had killed the project in 2008, saying the pumps would cause “unacceptable” damage to wetlands and wildlife, and to the economy and recreation.Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says two months of ongoing flooding wouldn’t have been as bad if the pumps had been built.Bryant took a helicopter tour of the flooded area. He tells reporters that he was in Washington this week lobbying the Trump administration to revive the project.Ellen Knickmeyer And Jeff Amy, The Associated Press