US court finds Syria liable for journalist Marie Colvin’s killing

Marie Colvin was killed in Homs while reporting on the Syrian conflict. (AP Photo)
Updated 31 January 2019
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US court finds Syria liable for journalist Marie Colvin’s killing

  • Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that the Syrian government engaged in an act of extrajudicial killing of a United States national
  • Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs while reporting on the Syrian conflict

WASHINGTON: A US judge has ruled that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government is liable for at least $302.5 million in damages for its role in the 2012 death of renowned American journalist Marie Colvin while covering the Syrian civil war.
US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said in a ruling made public on Wednesday that the Syrian government “engaged in an act of extrajudicial killing of a United States national.”
Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik were killed in the besieged Syrian city of Homs while reporting on the Syrian conflict.
The lawsuit filed by Colvin’s family in 2016 accused officials in Assad’s government of deliberately targeting rockets against a makeshift broadcast studio where Colvin and other reporters were living and working.
Jackson wrote that “a targeted attack on a media center hosting foreign journalists that resulted in two fatalities and multiple injuries ... is an unconscionable act.” The judge ruled that compensatory damages to be awarded in addition to the $300 million in punitive damages would be calculated at a later date.
A biographical film about Colvin, called “A Private War” and starring British actress Rosamund Pike, was released last year, bringing fresh attention to her career.


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.