Peshawar: Three security personnel were killed in an IED blast at a check post in Pakistan’s restive northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, police said. The explosives, which were planted close to the check post in Sheva tehsil of North Waziristan District, went off when the levies personnel reported for duty, eye witnesses said. One person was injured in the incident that happened on Saturday. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister K P K Mehmud Khan strongly condemned the blast, saying that the resolve of the government against terrorism can not be suppressed through such acts of cowardice.
Kolkata: A person has been arrested at the Amherst Street police station for allegedly duping a job seeker. The accused identified as Apurbakanta Majumdar.According to the complainant identified as Sabir Ali Khan of Purshura in Hooghly, he used to stay in a mess located at Chhaku Khansama Lane near Sealdah for his studies. Approximately seven months ago Majumdar started staying there as Ali’s roommate. After getting introduced, Majumdar reportedly told Ali that he originally hails from Siliguri and works in a renowned medical company located somewhere in Baghajatin area. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAfter a few days passed, Majumdar told Ali that he can arrange a job for him. He has good relation with the Superintendent of NRS Medical College and Hospital and thus he can help Ali to get a job of assistant facility manager. At that moment one of Ali’s friend was also there and Majumdar also offered him a job. Majumdar allegedly told Ali and his friend to give him some money as it is needed to get the jobs. Though his friend did not gave him money, Ali believed Majumdar and gave him Rs 3.99 lakh in multiple phases. In the meantime Majumdar reportedly asked Ali to go to Sasthya Bhavan at Sector V in Salt Lake and Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) several times for the job. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayOn February 1, Majumdar again told Ali to go to Sasthya Bhavan with all the documents and wait for his call. As per his version Ali went there and waited for several hours but Majumdar did not called him. So Ali called Majumdar and found that his mobile switched off. Immediately, he returned to the mess and found Majumdar had fled with all his belongings. Then he understood that he has been duped but did not lodged any complaint. On Saturday, Ali went to SSKM Hospital for his treatment and saw Majumdar is talking with a person near the emergency gate. He immediately informed the police outpost inside the hospital. Upon being informed, sleuths went to the spot and detained him. As the place of crime committed was under Amherst Street police station’s jurisdiction, Bhowanipore police station intimated the Amherst Street police station. Later, Ali lodged a complaint at the Amherst Street police station and Majumdar was arrested.
If you are bullied at the workplace, it may lead to counterproductive behaviour besides harming your health, warn researchers. The study showed that in some cases this is characterised by a lack of problem-solving and high avoidance coping strategies like drinking alcohol when having a problem and experiencing very frequent negative emotions. “Overall, our results show the need to consider not only exposure to and types of bullying but also their associated consequences,” said Roberta Fida, Professor at the University of East Anglia in England. “In particular, the findings highlight that victimisation is associated not only with health problems but also with a greater likelihood of not behaving in line with the expected social and organisational norms,” Fida added. Bullying is one of the major occupational stresses for employees and the effects can compromise their development and health, as well as interfere with the achievement of both personal and professional goals. In the recently published study, the researchers identified different configurations of victims by considering not only exposure to and types of bullying, but also health problems and bad behaviour. The researchers asked more than 1000 Italian employees about their experiences of workplace bullying, counterproductive behaviour and health symptoms. They were also asked about their coping strategies, negative emotions experienced at work and moral disengagement. “The greater the intensity of bullying and the more the exposure to different types of bullying, the higher the likelihood of engaging in counterproductive workplace behaviour,” said study lead author Fida. “In addition, it is essential to also promote behavioural regulation strategies to reduce moral disengagement, as well as negative behaviour, such as drinking more alcohol.”
Mumbai: Vistara Tuesday said Vinod Kannan will take over as its chief strategy officer from June as the full service carrier prepares to fly overseas. Currently, Sanjiv Kapoor is both chief commercial officer as well as chief strategy officer at Vistara, a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines. “As Vistara accelerates its growth and prepares to take the next leap in its journey of becoming a global brand, certain changes have been introduced in the leadership structure. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework “Strategy and Commercial are cornerstones of any airline’s business, and these two areas will be bolstered to ensure focus on key priorities,” an airline spokesperson told PTI. Kannan from within the Singapore Airlines group will be joining Vistara next month as chief strategy officer, while Kapoor will remain chief commercial officer, the spokesperson said. The domestic carrier is preparing to start overseas flights and has also placed orders for a significant number of planes. Vistara, which has 22 aircraft on its fleet, operates around 140 flights every day. The airline commenced commercial operations on January 9, 2015.
MANILA – An estimated 3,665 are wounded and hundreds missing in the typhoon which inflicted severe damage on 7,488 villages.The Philippine National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council confirmed the death toll from Typhoon Haiyan as 2,275 with the number of wounded persons at 3,665 in additional to hundreds of missing individuals.Official sources recorded that around 59,733 families or 286,433 people have been evacuated to the 993 evacuation centers established across the country.It was also reported that the typhoon made severe damage on 7,488 villages in seven regions of the country.The Philippine government declared a state of emergency for the region affected by the disaster.
Rabat – The World Bank extended Morocco a loan of USD 200 million to support the country’s policy to develop transparency and governance.The loan will support the completion of major rights and principles of governance contained in the constitution and will serve to consolidate transparency and governance, and increase citizens’ commitment and access to information.The loan agreement was signed this Monday by Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Boussaid, and head of the World Bank’s department for the Maghreb, Simon Gray. The Hakama (governance) program targets the consolidation of transparency and governance in the management of public resources and the promotion of governance through improving the financial control of public enterprises and institutions, improving access to information and modernizing the management of local finance.The two sides also signed a donation agreement, worth USD 4.55 million extended by the WB MENA transition fund to finance a program to support territorial councils.The goal of this program is to develop a sustainable program to give targeted local councils access to decentralized support services and inter-council cooperation institutionalization.
Jerusalem- Israel has hit out at Sweden’s newly elected prime minister Stefan Loefven over his decision to recognise a Palestinian state.“Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that he regrets that the new prime minister was in a hurry to make statements on Sweden’s position regarding recognition of a Palestinian state, apparently before he had time even to study the issue in depth,” Lieberman’s office quoted him as saying, in a statement issued late Saturday.It added that Sweden’s ambassador to Israel, Carl Magnus Nesser, “will be invited for a talk at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem,” but did not say when. “Prime Minister Loefven needs to understand that no statement or act by an external party can be a substitute for direct negotiations between the sides,” the statement said.Social Democrat leader Loefven — who won last month’s general election — said on Friday his country wanted to bolster a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.“A two-state solution requires mutual recognition and the will to co-exist peacefully,” Loefven said in his inaugural address to parliament.This should take place with respect for the “legitimate demands of the Palestinians and the Israelis as regards their right to self-determination and security”, he added.Sweden voted in favour of Palestinian observer status at the United Nations in 2012, which was granted despite opposition from the United States and other countries.Seven EU members in eastern Europe and the Mediterranean have already recognised a Palestinian state, namely Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, Poland and Romania.Non-EU member Iceland is the only other western European nation to have done so.Loefven’s statement was warmly welcomed by the Palestinians but the United States, Israel’s ally, said it was a step too soon.“We believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Rabat – Morocco will participate in the third edition of Wiki Loves Earth from May 1 to 31, 2015, to highlight the country’s natural heritage.The event is an international nature photography competition created in 2013 to illustrate Ukrainian landscapes. It expanded to 15 countries in different regions of the world in 2014, when it officially became an international competition.This year’s Wiki Loves Earth will be the first year Morocco participates. It aims to encourage the development of the country’s natural heritage via Wikimedia projects, mainly the encyclopedia Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons Media. The competition will involve natural areas across Morocco, including national parks and regional reserves, thus encompassing various landscapes and habitats.Everyone is invited to take pictures of nature and post them to www.wikilovesearth.org. The contest is a way to educate Moroccans on their own natural heritage and to create a close link with it. It also aims to make Wikimedia projects known to the public.Last year, participants posted more than 70,000 photos from 15 countries, including Algeria, Brazil, and Germany. Germany had nearly 15,000 photos.At the national level, a local jury will select the 10 best photographs from Morocco. These finalists will qualify for the second phase of the competition, where they will compete with hundreds of other pictures around the world in the international competition. The international jury will then select the best photographs from the global competition.
Rabat – German football star, Bastian Schweinsteiger, is confident that his new team, Manchester United is capable of winning the Champions League and even more.According to UK’s Express, the former Bayern Munich’s player, believes his current teammates at United can take the title to Old Trafford.“Of course, first of all we have to do our work. We lost the first match against Eindhoven and, as the manager says, now we have to win the games at home first of all,” he said. The conviction to snatch Europe’s title is not exclusive to the players. In a statement on Monday, Man United’s manager Louis Van Gaal declared his desire to take his club to the top.“I hope [to win the Champions League by 2017] That is realistic because I did it everywhere”, stressed United’s boss who won the title in 1995 with Ajax Amsterdam.Van Gaal went on to add, “Reaching the final is an aim and winning the final is (about) a little bit luck. It is not only quality, it is also luck, and I think Manchester United knows and remembers that fantastically from when they won the Champions League”.On the same note, Schweinsteiger added, “We have to take it step by step. Our strength is the team spirit.”The German international is no stranger to the feeling of winning European titles. In 2013 he won the Champions League with Bayern Munich, the team he played with for 17 years before transferring to the Red Devils in July 2015.
Rabat – Moroccan actress Dounia Boutazout was attacked by a woman on Monday during her visit to a district near Casablanca called Sidi Moumen to obtain an official document.Boutazout said another woman assaulted her while she was at a government office, because the actress allegedly did not respect the queue in place in order to ensure each citizen’s request gets processed on a first-come, first-serve basis.The Moroccan actress – famous for her role on the Moroccan show “The Couple” – suffered two fractures in her nose because of the incident. She is currently being given medical care at the Sheikh Khalifa ibn Zaid hospital in Casablanca. During October of last year, the 34-year-old claimed she was the victim of a traffic accident after another driver on the road had been stressing and insulting her while she was driving. At the time, Boutazout was travelling with her mother. The pair went to Marrakech when they lost their car due to the accident.After the man who had harassed her was arrested and identified, Boutazout dropped her claim.
Marrakech – King Mohammed VI inaugurated, on Friday in Marrakech, the “Mohammed VI” administrative and cultural complex of the ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs. The new complex, which the sovereign named after himself, was constructed pursuant to the royal instructions related to building integrated complexes in all the Moroccan prefectures and provinces in order to spread the religious and cultural heritage and help Ulema (religious leaders) to fulfill their mission of guidance and the promotion of religious and national immutable values.The new complex, the largest in Morocco, is in line with King Mohammed VI’s efforts to enable the endowments to recover their pivotal role they used to play in serving scientific libraries, spreading the Islamic culture and safeguarding the Muslim heritage. The facility, whose architecture and urban design reflect the city’s civilizational wealth, historical greatness and strong spiritual dimension, includes an administrative pavilion housing the head offices of the regional delegation for Islamic affairs, the Ulema local council and the endowments Nedharat (people tasked with sighting the lunar crescent).It also includes a cultural department comprising a reference and cultural activities library (a multidisciplinary library, a computer room, an information room for visually-impaired and hard of hearing people, an audiovisual room, and a children’s area).Additionally, it includes a conference hall comprising an 826-place lecture theater and two seminar rooms sitting 283 people each, as well as an art gallery hosting currently an exhibition of some 80 paintings by Moroccan calligraphers on the theme of Islam teachings and the environment.Built over a surface area of 48,000 square meters for an amount of 238 million dirhams, this administrative and cultural complex is the ideal place to organize religious and cultural events and will help with the community-based management of religious affairs.The facility is part of the multi-dimensional, global and integrated strategy led by the ministry of endowments and Islamic affairs and touching on carrying out similar complexes in the different Moroccan cities.
Rabat – In efforts to promote direct negotiations over the Western Sahara conflict, the United Nations Secretary-General Envoy Horst Kohler has invited the two parties to “separate meetings” scheduled for January 24 and 26 in Berlin, Germany.Akhbar Al Yaoum reported on Monday that Kohler aspires to open a new round of negotiations to find an agreed upon and mutually acceptable solution to the Western Sahara conflict through the talks to be held in Berlin.Moroccan news outlet Le360, quoting an unidentified source, said that the meetings will be “separate.” It has been 10 years now since Morocco and the separatist group held talks. The last meeting of the two parties dates back to January 2008 in New York, where a series of talks, dubbed “the Manhasset negotiations,” were held between the Moroccan government and representatives of Polisario. The previous series of talks were aimed at reaching a mutually acceptable solution to the Western Sahara conflict.According to Akhbar Al Yaoum, Kohler was expected to meet with Polisario’s leader, Ibrahim Ghali, and his representatives at the camps of Tindouf on January 24 and 26. However, according to Moroccan and international press, Kohler wants the meeting to be held in his homeland, Germany.The idea of direct negotiations was welcomed by the separatist front, while Morocco seems “reluctant” to meet with Polisario, an unidentified source told Akhbar Al Yaoum.In recent months, the front has been conducting a series of illegal maneuvers near the Guerguerat buffer zone, moves denounced by Morocco, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, and MINURSO.Kohler promises a new vision that might help to end the conflict between Morocco and Polisario. Earlier this month, the envoy for the Western Sahara met with African officials in order to promote collaborations with African leaders to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the territorial dispute.Kohler held talks with African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, about the conflict between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario.Kohler aims, through this strategy, to provide the African Union with an opportunity to propose solutions that would help to put an end to the conflict.It remains to be seen will be amenable to the new approach adopted by the UNSG personal envoy and whether it will accept any involvement of the AU in the UN-led political process.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Starting next year, those pork chops on a stick can be put on your card.The Iowa State Fair says it will require all food and drink vendors to accept credit and debit cards beginning in 2020.Cash has long been the dominant method of payment for the fried cheese curds, corn dogs and other foods bought by fairgoers. Thirty ATM machines are located on the fairgrounds.But the fair recently informed vendors that they will be required to use Clover cash registers starting next year that accept credit and debit payments. They can begin using them this year.In a letter to vendors, concessions director Mike Nye says research shows people spend more per transaction when using cards and prefer cashless payment options.Fair spokeswoman Mindy Williamson says the system will still allow for cash purchases. She says the change is being implemented over two years to allow vendors to spread out expenses and train employees.The Associated Press
Rabat – Thousands of protesters in Rabat rallied once again on Sunday to denounce the harsh sentences against the 54 detainees of the Hirak movement.More than 6,000 participated in Rabat’s march, including families of the detainees and the Secretary-General of the Unified Socialist Party (PSU) Nabila Mounib. Casablanca witnessed nearly 10,000 demonstrators voicing their protest against the rulings. Demonstrators carried banners saying, “Justice” and “Free the Activists.” and chanted slogans denouncing the security crackdown against the 2016 and 2017 protests.Demonstrations erupted after Al-Hoceima province fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri, was crushed to death by a garbage truck while trying to retrieve confiscated goods.Since a June 26 ruling by a Casablanca court that gave sentences ranging from 1 to 20 years for the Hirak Rif activists, the government received a nationwide backlash.Activists, politicians such as Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, and international NGOs expressed solidarity or protested in Casablanca and Rabat, calling for the freedom of the detainees.Reacting to criticism, several government officials said their hands were tied, emphasizing that the cabinet could not interfere because the judiciary is independent.El Othmani regretted that his government cannot intervene in the Hirak Rif case, because the “judicial power” is an independent authority.All of the detained activists, including Nasser Zefzafi and Nabil Ahamjik, decided to appeal the court’s decision, except Rabie E Ablaq.El Ablaq was on a hunger strike for more than 40 days and suspended the strike just a week ago.
By Intissar FaouziRabat- Morocco’s State Secretary in charge of Water Charafat Afilal has reported that Morocco’s dams are nearly 70 percent full, compared to the 56.2 percent recorded last year.Afilal indicated that there will be no disruption in the drinking water supply over the summer thanks to abundant rain filling most wells, springs, and groundwater sources. Concerning royal instructions, Afilal noted that a budget of MAD 606 million had been allocated to resolve the problem of drinking water supply in 2018.The government’s plan will create temporary solutions to urgent problems until the larger projects dam building and well drilling is complete to ensure continued water supply in remote areas which suffer from drought and are difficult to access.Afilal commented on water quality, saying water distributed through the public network is strictly controlled from its source to consumers in cities and rural areas, through the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE).On the national plan for sanitary liquid waste, Afilal noted that since its adoption, the number of sewage treatments plants has increased from 20 to 122.In 2009, Morocco developed a new water strategy aimed to support the water needs for its economic development plan until 2030. Building dams is part of the plan but will eventually flood some villages.
Rabat – Kaoutar Fal, who was arrested in Brussels on suspicion of spying for Moroccan intelligence services and later released, has returned home to Morocco.Fal’s lawyer Julien Hardy told Belgian television channel RTBF that Fal went back to Morocco Monday, July 23.“Mrs. Fal decided to leave Belgium and booked a flight to Morocco that she has already taken. She left on a voluntary basis.” She was not expelled from Belgium, he asserted.The Indictments Division and the Aliens Litigation Council (CEC) spokesman said earlier that she was detained “on the basis of another article according to which she is illegally in the territory, and because she represents a threat to national security.”Fal, of Moroccan nationality, was released by the Indictments Division and the CEC because her detention in a closed center was found to be illegal, Hardy told Belgian news agency Belga last week.Fal was arrested on July 11 and detained in the 127 bis closed center in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium, when she went to Charleroi Airport to pick up her passport. Her passport had been seized during a previous detention.Fal was arrested for the first time on May 29, when she had just landed at Belgium’s Charleroi Airport, she said in a letter.Illegal detentionAccording to the Aliens Office, Belgian State Security had asked that Fal be arrested because she represented a risk to national security. “It is important for us to send her back to Morocco as soon as possible,” said the CEC spokesman.“My client was released by the council chamber which judged her detention in a closed center as illegal. The decision was then confirmed by the CEC on July 9,” Hardy told Belga. “She was released on July 10. But she did not get her passport back which would have allowed her to leave the Belgian territory. On July 11, she was again held in detention.” Kaoutar Fal’s lawyer lodged a new appeal with the CEC because his client suffered “illegal deprivation of liberty,” he told Belgium channel VRT on July 12.“The Aliens Office has taken more than a dozen decisions in total, including two on prohibitions of entry. We contest the legality of this,” said Hardy Monday to RTBF. “Several legal proceedings are underway to this effect and others will be introduced.”
TORONTO — A broad-based rally helped Canada’s main stock index head higher in late-morning trading as U.S. markets also rallied as U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to hold off on raising tariffs on Chinese goods.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 65.52 points at 16,078.53.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 180.28 points at 26,212.09. The S&P 500 index was up 17.98 points at 2,810.65, while the Nasdaq composite was up 70.78 points at 7,598.33.The Canadian dollar traded for 75.89 cents US compared with an average of 75.91 cents US on Friday.The April crude contract was down US$1.46 at US$55.80 per barrel and the April natural gas contract was up 3.4 cents at US$2.773 per mmBTU.The April gold contract was down US$1.10 at US$1,331.70 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 0.10 of a cent at US$2.9505 a pound. Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press
Rabat – Responding to the Algerian prime minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, who implied Morocco wrongly takes credit for couscous, Moroccan Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi stated, “Everyone knows the origins of couscous.” At the press conference following the weekly government council on Thursday, El Khalfi stated “no one can deny” the origins of the dish, implying that couscous is Moroccan through and through. Last week, during couscous-tasting tour at Algiers’ Pasta Production Fair, the Algerian prime minister said: “A neighboring country has taken credit for couscous.” Ouyahia continued: “We have to prove them wrong. We are not saying that couscous is Algerian but Maghrebi. We have to promote Algerian couscous though.”Read Also: Maghreb Seeks to List Couscous as World Cultural Heritage in 2019Couscous is integral to the cultural heritage of multiple Maghreb countries, especially Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. The couscous war, however, is not limited to Maghreb countries. Last February, things escalated when Palestinians and Israelis debated the origins of a couscous salad.It started when a Virgin Atlantic flight offered “Palestinian couscous salad” on their menu, displeasing one Israeli customer, who went as far as calling for a boycott against the airline.The airline described the dish called “maftoul” as: “Palestinian couscous salad inspired by the flavors of Palestine.”Ranting online, the Israeli passenger wrote: “I thought this was an Israeli salad…obviously [Virgin Group founder Richard] Branson showing his true colors…Israelis must boycott Virgin and Israel must ask for an explanation. When I complained the stewardess tried to take back the menu from me.”After the airline changed the name of the dish, omitting the word “Palestinian,” supporters of the Palestinian cause took to Twitter to express their displeasure.Couscous is a North African dish typically made with grains of crushed durum wheat, vegetables, and meat. On Tuesday, Algeria announced that on behalf of the Maghreb countries, it will submit a proposal to list couscous in UNESCO’s World Intangible Heritage List next March.
By Katya SchwenkRabat – The 25th annual EMI-Enterprises Forum will take place April 3 and 4 at the Mohammadia School of Engineering (EMI) in Rabat. For a quarter century, the forum has drawn reputed companies to Rabat to recruit Moroccan students and recent graduates seeking employment. It is the flagship event of EMI, a leading technical university and Morocco’s first engineering school. King Mohammed VI has sponsored the event since 1999. In 2018, the event recorded a stunning attendance of 90 enterprises and over 10,000 visitors. The forum puts on roundtables, conferences, and workshops in addition to recruitment events, bringing in CEOs and industry experts to coach students on their job hunts and discuss the event’s broader theme. This year, the theme is “Economic intelligence: a strategic asset for enhancing innovation,” EMI announced in a press release, saying that the topic was at the heart of today’s corporate climate.For Moroccan students, the event offers a chance to connect with potential employers. Morocco’s enduring unemployment problem has frustrated college graduates for years, who often find that a diploma gives them little edge in the job market. Government employment data released February revealed that diploma holders suffered unemployment rates nearly five times higher than those of non-diploma holders (17.115.4 percent compared to 3.5 percent). These numbers have contributed to the exodus of educated professionals from Morocco in search of employment in recent years.Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi said in January that more than 600 engineers leave the country each year for work. For Moroccan companies, EMI’s forum may prove one way to combat the brain drain.
An online auction for a luxury home in Abbotsford, B.C., is drawing attention for its novel approach, which some observers say has potential to inspire new sales even if it doesn’t have any notable impact on the housing landscape.Bidding opens Tuesday on the 12-bedroom, 10-bath restored train power station known as the “Sumas Powerhouse,” which was previously listed for $5 million and has an assessed value of $2.2 million on B.C. Assessment.It’s one of three properties in Canada listed on global firm Concierge Auction’s website. A news release says it’s targeting Chinese buyers and will be sold in co-operation with Re/Max.Scott Pate, a project sales manager with Concierge, said luxury real estate has been a buyers market for quite some time in both the United States and Canada and auctions are a way to give sellers more certainty.“We’ll bring the market to this sale instead of the normal way of selling real estate, which is putting it on the market and waiting for an offer, which could take years and years,” he said.“The market is motivated because there’s a fear of missing out. This auction is going to end on a certain day … so it creates a lot of interest.”Real estate auctions are typical in Australia and New Zealand, but the model is less common in Canada. A real estate agent in Victoria tried the in-person auction approach in 2016 with a property in the city’s upscale Rockland neighbourhood, holding a public auction featuring a pianist playing a grand piano in the ballroom at the event.But local media reported that although 60 people filled the room, only one was an interested buyer so the auction was cancelled. In 2017, the B.C. Supreme Court accepted a $1.8-million offer for the historic mansion in foreclosure.Tom Davidoff, director of the University of British Columbia’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, said online auctions aren’t all that different from the way we buy and sell homes traditionally in Canada, especially in cases where there are multiple interested buyers and a bidding war.That could make it comfortable for Canadian buyers to transition to the model.“It certainly could be a direction the market could go. In segments where the market is slow today, people will try different approaches to move product, so it’s certainly possible,” he said.But beyond creating another way for potential buyers to bid, he said he doesn’t believe there will be an impact on the market in terms of housing prices or competition.“This will have no impact on the market overall,” Davidoff said.In Toronto, On the Block sells real estate both the traditional way and through its online auction platform but doesn’t focus on luxury sales.Co-founder Daniel Steinfeld said online auctions offer a way around some of the frustrations that come with silent bidding wars under the traditional system.As part of the company’s model, buyers must sign agreements to make the value of their bids public while their identities remain protected. Real estate board regulations otherwise prohibit real estate agents from disclosing the substance of competing bids.“Buyers, especially in the Toronto and Vancouver markets, have grown pretty frustrated with the blind bidding approach,” he said.The platform also allows the company to post more information than might be available through MLS listings, like copies of home inspections and agreements of purchase and sale, which makes it less likely for a sale to fall through.The most important factor in a successful real estate auction is the starting price, which can inspire competitive bids, Steinfeld said. So when identifying potential properties for auction, the company interviews the sellers to determine their objectives and market expectations.If the seller has unreasonable expectations about the market value of their property, it’s probably not the right fit for auction.Market conditions matter less, he said.“We have seen in both good and bad market conditions that it can work, it really just comes down to the appropriate pricing strategy,” Steinfeld said.Auction properties are typically first-time listings and the company sets a reserve price, which represents the minimum value at which the seller is obligated to sell.“Once bidding reaches that number, everyone knows for sure that property will sell,” he said.“Then everyone starts to bid quit a bit more because they know at that point that if they win, it’s theirs.” Amy Smart, The Canadian Press