Kurdish-led administration in Syria sets election dates — official

Members of The Syrian Democratic Forces, and of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD), move through destroyed buildings in Raqa on July 28, 2017. Syrian government troops entered the last Daesh group stronghold in the country's Homs province on July 28 after jihadists began withdrawing, a monitor said. The Syrian Democratic Forces have been fighting for several months to capture the northern city, which has become infamous as the Syrian heart of Daesh's so-called "caliphate." (AFP)
Updated 29 July 2017
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Kurdish-led administration in Syria sets election dates — official

BEIRUT: The Kurdish-led administration in northern Syria will hold elections for local councils and a regional assembly in September, November and January, a Kurdish official said on Saturday on a social networking feed.
Kurdish groups and their allies control swathes of northern Syria in areas held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of militias spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG.
But formal self-government by the Kurds there alarms Turkey, which regards the YPG and the dominant Syrian Kurdish political party as extensions of the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK which has waged a three-decade insurgency against Ankara.
Elections will be held in late summer for bodies running local communities, in November for bodies running larger areas and next January for the region as a whole, the Kurdish official said via a social networking feed.
The dates and rules for conducting the vote were agreed by a council set up in December to form governing institutions and prepare for elections.
The dominant Kurdish groups in northern Syria have carved out self-governing regions since early in the civil war, but they say they are not seeking independence from Damascus.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has tolerated Kurdish control over parts of the country but says he opposes the decentralized federal system they espouse and has described their ruling councils as “temporary structures.”


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 22 min 48 sec ago
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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.