Vancouver most expensive city in Canada – but ranked 107th in the world: Report

Vancouver has surpassed Toronto as Canada’s most expensive city, according to Mercer’s latest cost of living survey. Up thirty-five places from last year, Vancouver (107) has overtaken Toronto (119) to become the most expensive Canadian city in Mercer’s 2017 Cost of Living Survey ranking, followed by Montreal (129) and Calgary (143). Ottawa (152) is the least expensive major city in Canada. “The Canadian dollar has appreciated in value triggering the major jumps in this year’s ranking,” the report said. The survey covers 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative…

We need Tunisia in the fight against ISIS

President Trump’s proposed budget, which cuts financial aid to Tunisia, not only represents a stark departure from the president’s plan to “demolish and destroy” the so-called Islamic State (ISIS), but could have dangerous consequences for Americans and our allies. Slashing military aid to a country on the front lines with ISIS is both misguided and dangerous. The proposed cut is one of the more troubling aspects of Trump’s foreign aid budget, which decreases bilateral aid to Tunisia by 67 percent. The proposal would zero out the foreign military financing account…

‘Green police’ so far best cure for runaway pollution

A Sh5,000 fine is proposed in a Mombasa by-law for failure to pay garbage collectors or dumping at non-designated places.  China has set up an “environmental police” force tasked with enforcing pollution restrictions across Beijing in a bid to improve the city’s notorious air quality. The mayor promised tough measures in the capital’s 16 districts to combat a longstanding, harmful, widespread toxic smog. “Open-air barbecues, garbage incineration, biomass burning, dust from roads—these acts of non-compliance with regulations are actually the result of lax supervision and weak law enforcement,” the mayor…

Arab Reform Initiative Ranks Morocco ‘Most Democratic’ Country in Arab World

 For the fourth consecutive year, Morocco is still at the head of the Arab Democracy Index for 2017.  ‘With a score of 735, the Kingdom leads the list ahead of Tunisia, Jordan, Kuwait and Algeria. The survey was developed by the NGO Arab Reform Initiative, in partnership with the Palestinian Center for Policy Research and Surveys, and a dozen research centers in the Arab world. Results of the survey conducted in ten countries in 2015 show that the fifth Arab Democracy Index names Morocco as the “most democratic” country in…

Tunisia is a Strategic Partner to be Supported

The drastic cuts in assistance to Tunisia contained in the Trump Administration’s FY 2018 budget request send a disappointing message to the small North African country striving to shield its democratic experiment from the threats of terrorism and instability.  The administration’s budget aims to slash US security assistance to Tunisia by 82%—from $82 million (in FY 2016) to $15 million (in FY 2018) as well as reduce economic assistance by a third. The administration’s requested budget is unlikely to stand the test of the legislative process, but in Tunisia—a country…

Tunisia’s Anti-Corruption Drive Threatened By Controversial Amnesty Plans

A major new government crackdown on corruption is being seen by some as political opportunism, amid recent signs of a wavering commitment towards greater transparency. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, quoted in local newspapers, described the country’s struggle against graft as a “long-term war, a sustained policy”. His remarks followed a wave of arrests of prominent businessmen as part of what the authorities have described as an unprecedented campaign against corruption. Tunisians overthrew the corrupt regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, sparking the Arab Spring…

TRADITIONAL FARE: IFTAR WITH DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES

Food is a great way to understand cultures. And today, we explore Tunisia, a country in North Africa. Tunisian cuisine can seem like a very exotic experience to many who are unfamiliar as the ingredients in most dishes are not usually used together in other countries. Tunisian, Ilham Naja Slim gave us a lowdown on her take of the various dishes prepared specially during the holy month. In Tunisia, every dish is cooked different in various homes, she said. Ilham with her husband Dr Slim Zekri and her three children…

Maghreb amid World’s Lowest Performing Trading Blocs – WEF

More than 25 years after its creation, the Maghreb Union, an economic bloc comprising Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya finds itself in a state of paralysis unable of tapping into its economic and trade potential, said the World Economic Forum (WEF) in a recent publication on the region. “The Maghreb, in Northern Africa, is the perfect example of a region whose countries have been unable to find their way to a deeper integration,” said the WEF in an article signed by Wadia Ait Hamza, who deemed that “the Maghreb…

Another sorrowful test for the unity of Tunisians against terrorism

The killing of khelifa Soltani, the brother of Mabrouk Soltani, beheaded in the same awful and terrible way, stole our calm and reassurance in this weekend. The terrorists who carried out the murder chose a symbol when they were plotting their crime to target another member of the same family with this cruelty and atrocity.  Our sorrows and pains are tremendous when we saw the mother of the two martyred victims speaks on the Tunisian TV, crying with sadness and indescribable agony. I felt what happened to this woman is…

Global Peace Index Ranks Morocco 75th Worldwide, 6th in MENA Region

Morocco is one of the most peaceful countries in the Arab world, according to the Global Peace Index 2017 recently published by the international think tank Economics & Peace. Ranked 75th on a total of 163 countries with a 2.004 score, Morocco has gained 15 places since 2016 and currently occupies the sixth position in the MENA region. “Morocco continues to benefit from a broader degree of political and social stability than most of its neighbours in North Africa, and recorded the highest improvement, driven by lower levels of militarisation,”…