TORONTO — BlackBerry Ltd. launches its new BlackBerry Leap smartphone in Canada on Thursday, a lower-priced device for consumers who want a touchscreen, but don’t want to pay the hefty price of an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy handset.It’s the first touchscreen phone from the Waterloo, Ont.-based company since it launched the Z30 more than a year and a half ago.Since then, BlackBerry has focused on releasing models with a keyboard, like the Passport and Classic, as they’ve proven to be more popular with the company’s business-centric customers.Features on the Leap include a 25-hour battery life and an eight-megapixel camera.The company says wireless carriers will offer BlackBerry Leap for free when users sign a two-year contract, or it can be purchased without a contract for $349.BlackBerry considers pulling out of Sweden and cutting 100 jobs in the processBlackBerry to buy WatchDox to bolster data securityHigher-end smartphones, including some alternative BlackBerry devices, tend to be priced in a range from $400 to $900 with a contract, depending on the model.BlackBerry Leap will be available from an array of wireless carriers in Canada, including Rogers, Telus and Bell, as well as Wind Mobile, Sasktel and BlackBerry’s own web store.BlackBerry also announced Thursday that T-Mobile, one of the big U.S. wireless carriers, will begin stocking its BlackBerry Classic model starting next week.
According to information provided by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson to the media over the weekend, the UN chief stated that the UN “does not intend to modify the terms of its mediation, whose purpose is to promote the achievement of a mutually acceptable political solution to this conflict.” The UN has been involved in efforts to find a settlement in Western Sahara since 1976, when fighting broke out between Morocco and the movement known as Frente Polisario, after the Spanish colonial administration of the territory ended. A peacekeeping force, known as the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been in place since 1991, and is currently headed by Mr. Ban’s Special Representative, Wolfgang Weisbrod-Weber. In addition, Mr. Ban’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, has also been involved in the mediation process to help resolve the issue. During the telephone call, Mr. Ban also reaffirmed that Mr. Ross and Mr. Weisbrod-Weber will fulfil their respective mandates promoting the negotiating process and encouraging further improvement of Moroccan-Algerian relations.