Rabat, Feb 19 (Xinhua/UNB) -The Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj signed Monday here four agreements to cement bilateral cooperation.
The two foreign ministers inked four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) in the areas of security, housing, investments and youths.
Speaking at a press briefing, Bourita said the signing of these agreements will strengthen the legal framework governing the relations between the two countries.
For her part, the Indian foreign minister stressed that India is committed to developing bilateral relations with Morocco.
Swaraj also met with several Moroccan officials, including the Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani.
Washington, Feb 18 (Xinhua/UNB) - A recent report showed that U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon did not pay federal income taxes in 2018.
Published Wednesday by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the report listed the effective tax rate of Amazon at negative 1.2 percent on its pretax profit at 10.8 billions U.S. dollars in 2018.
"The company's newest corporate filing reveals that, far from paying the statutory 21 percent income tax rate on its U.S. income in 2018, Amazon reported a federal income tax rebate of 129 million U.S. dollars," the report said.
It also mentioned that the company paid no federal corporate income taxes in 2017, as the effective tax rate was negative 2.5 percent on its 5.6-billion-dollar income.
The U.S. think tank suggested that government review current tax laws and stop corporate tax avoidance.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted in March 2018 on Amazon's reported tax avoidance, accusing the company of "causing tremendous loss to the U.S." by using the postal system as "delivery boy."
Beijing, Feb 16 (Xinhua/UNB) -- China's smartphone shipments fell 11.4 percent in January to 32.15 million units, data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) showed Saturday.
Last month, smartphones accounted for 94.4 percent of all mobile phone shipments in the country, according to a report from the CAICT, a research institute under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Overall mobile phone shipments dropped 12.8 percent in January to 34.05 million units, among which 95 percent were 4G phones.
Chinese-brand mobile phones accounted for 94.2 percent of total shipments last month, up from 85.7 percent in January 2018, according to the report.
New York, Feb 15 (AP/UNB) — Amazon abruptly dropped plans Thursday for a big new headquarters in New York that would have brought 25,000 jobs to the city, reversing course after politicians and activists objected to the nearly $3 billion in incentives promised to what is already one of the world's richest, most powerful companies.
"We are disappointed to have reached this conclusion — we love New York," the online giant from Seattle said in a blog post announcing its withdrawal.
The stunning move was a serious blow to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had lobbied intensely to land the project, competing against more than 200 other metropolitan areas across the continent that were practically tripping over each other to offer incentives to Amazon in a bidding war the company stoked.
Cuomo lashed out at fellow New York politicians over Amazon's change of heart, saying the project would have helped diversify the city's economy, cement its status as an emerging tech hub and generate money for schools, housing and transit.
"A small group (of) politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community," he said.
But Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York City's new liberal firebrand, exulted over Amazon's pullout.
"Today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers and their neighbors defeated Amazon's corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world," she tweeted, referring to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
The swift unraveling of the project reflected growing antipathy toward large technology companies among liberals and populists who accuse big business of holding down wages and wielding too much political clout, analysts said.
"This all of a sudden became a perfect test case for all those arguments," said Joe Parilla, a fellow at the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program.
Amazon ultimately decided it did not want to be drawn into that battle.
Amazon announced in November that it had chosen the Long Island City section of Queens for one of two new headquarters, with the other in Arlington, Virginia. Both would get 25,000 jobs. A third site in Nashville, Tennessee, would get 5,000.
The company planned to spend $2.5 billion building the New York office, choosing the area in part because of its large pool of tech talent. The governor and the mayor had argued that the project would spur economic growth that would pay for the $2.8 billion in state and city incentives many times over.
De Blasio said that 48 hours before Amazon's announcement, he spoke with a senior company executive who gave no indication that there was a problem the deal. But Thursday morning, he got a call from an executive just as news started to come out that the deal was dead.
"I was flabbergasted," he told reporters in Boston, where he was taking part in a forum at Harvard's Kennedy School. "I said, 'Why on earth after all the effort we all put in would you simply walk away?'"
In pulling out, Amazon said it isn't looking for a replacement location "at this time." It said it plans to spread the technology jobs that were slated for New York to other offices around the U.S. and Canada, including Chicago, Toronto and Austin, Texas. It will also expand its existing New York offices, which already have about 5,000 employees.
Amazon faced fierce opposition over the tax breaks, with critics complaining that the project was an extravagant giveaway — or worse, a shakedown — and that it wouldn't provide much direct benefit to most New Yorkers.
The list of grievances against the project grew as the months wore on, with critics complaining about Amazon's stance on unions and some Long Island City residents fretting that the company's arrival would drive up rents and other costs.
Opposition to the deal was led in the Democrat-controlled state Senate by Michael Gianaris, the chamber's No. 2 lawmaker, whose district includes Long Island City. Initially among the politicians who supported bringing an Amazon headquarters to the city, Gianaris did an about-face after the deal was announced, criticizing the secrecy surrounding the negotiations and the generous incentives.
Earlier this month, Gianaris was appointed to a little-known state panel that could have ultimately been asked to approve the subsidies.
The City Council probably would have had to file a lawsuit to scuttle the deal, which was structured to avoid the land use review process that most projects undergo.
In recent weeks, City Council members held hearings at which they grilled Amazon officials about such things as the company's contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide facial recognition technology.
One City Council leader tried to get Amazon officials to agree to remain neutral in the face of any potential union drive. But an Amazon executive would not give such a commitment.
A Quinnipiac University poll released in December found New York City voters supported having an Amazon headquarters 57 percent to 26 percent. But they were divided over the incentives: 46 percent in favor, 44 percent against.
Construction industry groups and some local business leaders had urged the public and officials to get behind the plan.
Eric Benaim, a realty executive who gets most of his sales and rentals in Long Island City, had led a petition in support of Amazon, drawing 4,000 signatures.
"I woke up this morning and I had no clue this would happen. Zero. This news is a shock, and I'm devastated," he said.
Andrew Ousley, a business owner who lives near the proposed site, said he had been considering moving out before Amazon moved in.
"Now that they're not coming, I'm more likely to stay and see how the neighborhood continues to grow and evolve in a more organic fashion," he said.
France, Feb 14 (AP/UNB) — European aviation giant Airbus said Thursday it will stop making its superjumbo A380 in 2021 for lack of customers, abandoning the world's biggest passenger jet and one of the aviation industry's most ambitious and most troubled endeavors.
Barely a decade after the 500-plus-seat plane started carrying passengers, Airbus said in a statement that key client Emirates is cutting back its orders for the plane, and as a result, "we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production."
The decision could hurt up to 3,500 jobs and already cost the plane maker 463 million euros in losses in 2018, Airbus said.
The end of the young yet iconic jet is a boon for rival Boeing and an embarrassing blow for Airbus, a European economic powerhouse. A pall of mourning hung in the atmosphere Thursday at its headquarters in the southern French city of Toulouse.
It's also sad news for Emirates, which had the A380 as the backbone of its fleet, based out of Dubai, the world's busiest airport for international travel.
Still, Airbus announced Thursday a 29-percent jump in overall profits last year, and analysts said global demand is high enough for Airbus to weather the loss of its iconic superjumbo.
The plane maker reported net profit of 3.1 billion euros over last year, up from 2.4 billion euros in 2017. In addition to the A380 loss, Airbus reported a charge of 436 million euros on the A400M, used by several European militaries.
Airbus said it forecasts similar profits in 2019, in line with growth in the world economy and air traffic.
Emirates announced Thursday that it had struck a deal valued at $21.4 billion with Airbus to replace some A380s with A350 wide-bodies and smaller A330 planes.
"While we are disappointed to have to give up our order, and sad that the program could not be sustained, we accept that this is the reality of the situation," Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman and CEO of Emirates, said in a statement. "For us, the A380 is a wonderful aircraft loved by our customers and our crew. It is a differentiator for Emirates. We have shown how people can truly fly better on the A380."
Emirates long has been the largest operator of the A380. Before Thursday's announcement, it had 162 of the jumbo jets on order.
The A380 has been a favorite of Emirates' passengers, especially those in business and first class, which encompassed the entire upper deck of the airplane and was complete with a bar in the back.
Airbus had hoped the A380 would squeeze out Boeing's 747 and revolutionize air travel as more people take to the skies.
Instead, airlines have been cautious about committing to the costly plane, so huge that airports had to build new runways and modify terminals to accommodate it. The double-decker planes started flying in 2008 and seated more than 500 passengers.
The A380 had troubles from the start, including tensions between Airbus' French and German management and protracted production delays and cost overruns. Those prompted a company restructuring that cost thousands of jobs.
Industry experts initially expected A380s to long outlast the 747, which is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.
When it started taking on passengers in 2008, the A380 was hailed for its roominess, large windows, high ceilings and quieter engines. Some carriers put in showers, lounges, duty free shops and bars on both decks.