Israeli missiles hit Syrian air base: Regime

Flames at the air base outside Damascus after the blasts. (AFP)
Updated 14 January 2017
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Israeli missiles hit Syrian air base: Regime

DAMASCUS: The Syrian regime said on Friday that Israeli missile strikes caused a series of explosions at an air base outside Damascus before dawn.
The airport southwest of the capital is a major strategic air base used mainly by Syrian elite Republican Guards and had been a base used to fire rockets at former opposition-held areas in the suburbs of Damascus. State television did not give any further details.
“In a desperate attempt to support terrorist organizations, Israeli enemy aircraft launched missiles from the north of Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee) at 00:25 am (2225 GMT Thursday),” a military source told the state SANA news agency. “The Syrian armed forces warns the Israeli enemy of the repercussions of this blatant aggression, and insists on continuing the war on terrorism to eliminate it,” the source added.
An AFP correspondent heard several explosions and saw a large fire inside the Mazzeh airbase on the western outskirts of Damascus, with smoke visible across the capital.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said there had been eight blasts around the base as missiles hit ammunition warehouses.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin on Friday refused to confirm whether it would invite the US to Syria peace talks later this month after Washington was excluded from brokering a recent truce in the war-torn country.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that Turkey and Russia had agreed that Washington “should be definitely invited” to talks under their auspices on the war-torn country's political future set to take place in Kazakhstan's capital Astana on Jan. 23.
Asked to comment on the Turkish statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “I cannot say anything about this for now.”
Peskov nonetheless added that Russia is “interested in the broadest possible representation of the parties who have a bearing on the prospects of a political settlement in Syria.”
Last month Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed the hope that the new US administration could “also join the efforts so that we can work in the same direction harmoniously and collectively.”


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 26 April 2019
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.