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Morocco News meets the World

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    Secretary Kerry Addresses Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco (Photo courtesy, US Department of State)

    Rabat - A group of 101 volunteers of the Peace Corps officially took oath on Friday in the presence of US secretary of state John Kerry and youth and sports minister Mohamed Ouzzine.

    The new volunteers will serve in 80 bodies under the youth and sports ministry, including youth homes (Dar Chabab), community-based social centers (CSP) and women's homes across the Kingdom.

    The volunteers had a three-month training in the Moroccan dialect and will spend 2 years in Morocco.

    Speaking on this occasion, Kerry highlighted the contribution of the US Peace Corps program in promoting the values of peace, friendship and tolerance worldwide.

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    Two Suspects Chain a Lawyer in His Office, Steal His Belongings

    Rabat- It seems that the “Tchermil” epidemic has spread to Marrakech, where two men bound a lawyer‘s hands and muzzled his mouth before stealing money and laptops from his office in broad daylight on Thursday.

    Wearing the uniform of a well-known company in Marrakech, two suspects with uncovered faces stormed the office of lawyer Ahmed Aba Darine around 5pm Thursday evening. The office is on Zektouni Street, in the heart of Marrakech.

    According to Al Massaa, suspects armed with white weapons tied the lawyer’s hands with a wired rope and muzzled his mouth with a piece of cloth.

    One of the suspects, who are believed to be between 30 and 36 years old, shouted in the terrified lawyer’s face, saying “look at me carefully… I don’t cover my face like a coward.”

    According to the same source, the suspects stole Ahmed’s safe, which contained MAD 6,000 ($800 USD), as well as many laptops and electronic devices and the lawyer’s cell phone before they ran away.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

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    AC Milan to Sign Morocco’s Taarabt On a Permanent Deal

    Rabat- AC Milan officials have reached an agreement with Queens Park Rangers to make Taarabt’s loan permanent, according to the Club CEO Adriano Galliani, according to Football Italia.

    Galliani announced that the Rossoneri have agreed to permanently secure Adil Rami and Adel Taarabt.

    The AC Milan CEO said that the fees have already been set, but refused to name the deal’s price, saying “We will talk about it in May, when the terms of the loans expire,” reported Football Italia.

    However, Adil Taarabt’s agent said that there is already a deal between the two clubs to sign him at the end of the season for a reasonable, symbolic price, according to FTBPRO news website.

    "It won't be more than €3 million ($ 4.11 million) or €4 million ($ 5.48 million). It would mean something extraordinary if that didn't happen,” said the agent.

    Taarabt, who used to play with Fulham on loan from Queens Park Rangers, has expressed his happiness to stay in San Siro, saying that he was unimpressed with the game in England, according to Football Italia.

    “When you are in London, if you play well and do one stupid thing, only the latter is of any interest. Mario Balotelli knows all too well what happens in England. In Italy, instead, if you do a stupid thing and play really well, then you are still an idol."

    Taarabt concluded, “Is that why I made my mark here? Let’s just say that nobody watches Fulham games, whereas Milan’s matches go all over the world.”

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

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  • 04/05/14--19:32: Are Moroccan Youth Happy?
  • The Moroccan government is taking a new step to meet youth demands for better socio-economic opportunities.

    Rabat- Moroccan youth have been ranked 20th in the Global Youth Well-being Index, released on Friday by the International Youth Foundation and the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. 

    The study, which included 30 countries representing nearly 70% of the world’s youth population aged 10-24, has ranked Morocco in the 20th place, ahead of Ghana, the Philippines and South Africa.

    The index uses a set of 40 indicators that address the overall national environment, youth-specific outcomes, and youths' outlook and satisfaction levels across six interconnected aspects of their lives (domains): citizen participation, economic opportunity, education, health, information and communications technology, and safety and security.

    According to the Global Youth Well-being Index, “Of the four countries in the Middle East-North Africa region, Morocco is third.”

    Among the eight countries in the lower-middle income bracket, Morocco sits third behind Vietnam and Indonesia.

    In Morocco, where young people represent 28% of the total population, the average domain scores indicate youth are more optimistic in citizen participation (19), health (13) and safety and security (11), while they are less optimistic in education (27) and economic opportunities (26).

    Despite doing relatively well in three out of the six domains, the study says Morocco achieves bottom tier rankings in the three remaining domains.

    Are Moroccan youth happy

    Overall, the Australian youth have been ranked the happiest in the world, followed by Sweden, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Germany, while the U.S., whose youth, ranked 6th.

    The study authors said they hope to help stakeholders make sense of disparate, often conflicting data on “learning, livelihoods, community or political engagement, health, physical safety, and other aspects of youth well-being.”

    Edited by Jessica Rohan


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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a speech at a peace rally at the Mount Herzel cemetery in Jerusalem on October 16, 2013

    Fez- Israeli citizens are called upon to avoid Morocco for non-essential travel.

    Less than two weeks before the Jewish Holiday Passover, which falls on Monday 14 April, the Israeli government issued a list of 31 countries included on the warning list of countries that Israelis are advised to stay away from or avoid for vacation or non-essential travel.

    The list, which is issued twice a year, includes countries that are illegal for Israeli citizens to travel to (Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon Afghanistan Somalia, Sudan and Libya), in addition to countries where Israelis are advised to stay away form and others that should be avoided for non-essential travel.

    According to the Jerusalem Post, while Tunisia is included in the grouping of countries where Israelis are called upon to stay away from and leave as soon as possible, Morocco is included in a list of countries that should be avoided for non-essential travel.

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    Morocco Ranks 91 in the 2014 Social Progress Index

    Casbalnca- Morocco ranked 91th out of 132 countries surveyed in the 2014 Social Progress Index, released by the non-profit organization, the Social Imperative Progress.  

    The Social Progress Index is based on three main dimensions: basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity. Each of these dimensions is, in turn, divided into four components, and each component is based on three to six indicators.

    The kingdom was ranked 91st after scoring 58.01 out of 100 in social progress. Morocco’s social progress was categorized as fourth level, only one level before the lowest one.

    Morocco scored 71.86 in basic human needs, 62.57 in foundations of well-being, 39.60 in opportunity, 87.74 in nutrition and medical care and 54.56 in water and sanitation.

    New Zealand topped the list of countries scoring 88.4, followed by Switzerland (88.19) and Iceland (88.07). Netherlands ranked 5th scoring (87.37), ahead of Norway (87.12), Sweden (87.08), Canada (86.95), Finland (86.91), Denmark (86.55) and Australia (86.10).

    Austria tops the list of second-level progress countries ranking 11th with a score of 85.11. The United States ranked 16th with 82.77.

    At the regional level, Tunisia topped the list of MENA countries with 62.96, whereas Algeria ranked 87th (59.13).

    Burundi (37.33), Central African Republic (34.17) and Chad (32.60) are in the bottom of the list.

    The 2014 Social Progress Index “reveals striking differences across countries in their social performance and highlights the very different strengths and weaknesses of individual countries.”

    The main factors affecting Morocco’s social growth are adult illiteracy, gender inequality in secondary education, freedom of religion and the biodiversity of habitats, according to the index.

    Morocco "would benefit from a greater investment through the sustainability of ecosystems,” according to the report.  

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    Morocco, Thousands Take to the Street to Protest Austerity Plans (Getty images)

    Casablanca- A national demonstration initiated by three trade unions, namely the Moroccan Labor Union (UMT), the Democratic Confederation for Labor (CDT) and the Democratic Federation for Labor (FDT), was staged on Sunday in Casablanca to protest against the deterioration of the social and economic conditions of the working class and wage-earners, according to Maghreb Arab Press. 

    The demo, held under the theme "a national march to defend the buying power, dignity, freedom and social justice", was attended by leaders of the said unions, political and associations' actors and representatives of trade union organizations in different regions, the same source added.

    Thousands of protesters chanted slogans against the blockade on social dialogue and government's delaying in settling issues relating to workers and wage-earners. They also called for implementing of the agreement dated April 26, 2011, protecting trade union liberties, including workers in the reform of the subsidy and pension system and preserving citizens' purchasing power.

    According to the Associated Press, an estimated 8,000 people heeded the call from the three main labor unions to demonstrate in the country's economic capital.

    "We demand the protection of our standard of living," declared one sign carried by protesters. "No to raising the age or retirement," said another, anticipating controversial planned reforms of retirement benefits.

    Faced with unrest in 2011 during the Arab uprisings, the previous government raised salaries and benefits, nearly bankrupting the country.

    The budget deficit rose to seven percent of GDP in 2012 as subsidy spending rose to $6bn a year.

    Under pressure from international lending institutions, it fell to the newly elected Islamist-led government of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane to end subsidies on gasoline and gradually reduce them on diesel.

    The unions have opposed these moves, saying it hurts low income groups.

    "The government is attacking our standard of living by raising gasoline prices by 25 percent in the last 15 months alone, '' Miloudi Moukharek, head of the Union of Moroccan Workers told the Associated Press news agency ahead of the demonstration. "Reform should not be carried out on the back of the poor."

    On Saturday, Benkirane told supporters the opposition parties were exploiting the union protests for their own ends.

    With agencies

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    Morocco, Three Police Commissioners Dismissed for “Insecurity” King’s Discontent

    Casablanca- Did theTcharmilphenomenon win the war? Police Commissioners in Fez, Tetuan and Casablanca have allegedly been sanctioned by the National Security General Directorate (DGSN) because of rising levels of insecurity in their cities.

    In Casablanca,  the Police Commissioner was allegedly dismissed by the DGSN because of a professional blunder he committed during the Kings recent visit to the economic city, according to news website Yabiladi.

    The feelings of insecurity and anxiety that permeated Fez, Tetuan and Casablanca, stirred particularly by the emergent Tcharmilphenomenon, have mobilized all security services across the three cities. Yet, things seem beyond control for the police. 

    The residents of Fez, which has become another hotbed of crime and wrongdoings, had organized a number of demonstrations against insecurity in their city, which has caused the citys police commissioner to be allegedly dismissed. 

    Yet, the DGSN justified the replacement of the three police commissioners saying they reached retirement age, according to the same source. Why then were they directed to the DGSN rather than their homes?asks Yabiladi.

    Fez and Tetuan are not the only cities that will witness the appointment of new police commissioners. The economic capitals Police Commissioner also seemingly underwent a sort similar to his counterparts in Fez and Tetuan due to an alleged professional blunder he committed during the Kings recent visit to the city, according to the same source.

    Meanwhile, the Casablanca police continue their raids in search for representatives of the notorious "Tcharmil" phenomenon. Thirty suspects have already been arrested over the past four days.

    Edited by Elisabeth Myers

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    Citizens Call For a March Against Criminality In Casablanca

    Casablanca- Local authorities appointed a new security cell specializing in informatics to analyze the terrifying pictures published on the Tshermil Facebook pages in order to determine the phenomenon’s origin, according to Assabah.

    Since the local authorities started pursuing suspects who posted their pictures on the Facebook page Tshermil, over 30 suspects have been arrested.

    The suspects have posted pictures of themselves armed with knives and swords, proudly displaying their loot. The posters alarmed the local population and destabilized the secure feeling of citizens in Casablanca.

    Notably, most of the suspects in the pictures are teenagers, which made the police suppose that there may be movements or organizations behind these pages, attempting to destabilize the the country, according to Assabah.

    Police are interrogating the arrested suspects to find out their motives for posting the pictures, and whether there are social elements encouraging them to post these pictures.

    This security cell will analyze all pictures posted on the “Tshermil” Facebook pages to determine whether the pictures belong to the people in them, or if they were edited via Photoshop by certain organizations in order to terrify the inhabitants of Casablanca.

    “Tshermil” comes from the Moroccan Arabic word “sharmal,” which means “to marinate” in reference to food. Tshermil in this context, though, refers to a criminal gang whose members specialize in extorting people’s belongings by threatening their victims using knives and swords. They are known for wearing expensive athletic clothes and having unusual haircuts.

    Members of Tshermil are known for their hatred towards successful and rich people and for being ruthless with their victims.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

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    bank islamic

     Rabat (Reuters) - Morocco is set to give Islamic finance a second try, counting on closer regulation and a clearer legislative framework to resolve problems which plagued its first attempt.

     Banks in the country began introducing a range of Islamic finance products in 2007, calling them "alternative finance", but they drew little response from the majority Muslim population.

    Both consumers and the banks themselves were unfamiliar with the products, while the lack of a detailed legal framework for Islamic finance also kept uncertainty and costs high.

    This time, the environment is different. Morocco's parliament is considering a detailed bill that would regulate Islamic banks and issues of sukuk (Islamic bonds), and its passage - which could occur this year - is expected to prompt some Moroccan banks to establish dedicated sharia-compliant subsidiaries.

    Meanwhile, Morocco's central bank plans to set up a central sharia board to oversee the sector. Sources aware of the plan told Reuters that seven scholars and financial experts had started training to become members of the board.

    The political momentum behind Islamic finance has increased since a moderate Islamist-led government took power through elections in late 2011, and as the government struggles with a large budget deficit; sukuk issues could attract money from wealthy Islamic funds in the Gulf.

    Said Amaghdir, chairman of the Moroccan Association for Participative Finance Professionals, an Islamic finance business association, said the tax treatment of sharia-compliant products would be crucial for the industry's development.

    "We are fighting to get fair taxation for the participative products - that's how their prices would be closer to conventional ones," he said. "It is a matter of political will."

    In its current form, the proposed legislation appears to address the tax issue well. It provides for the use of special purpose vehicles (SPVs), while transfers of real estate between sukuk originators and SPVs would not face double taxation, said Houda Chafil, managing director at Maghreb Securitization, a financial firm.

    This is expected to favour the use of ijara sukuk based on sale and lease-back arrangements.


    As several countries in the Middle East, including Oman and Libya, open up to Islamic finance, Morocco appears to be one of those with the most long-term potential; almost half of the population of about 33 million is believed to be outside the formal banking system.

    A Thomson Reuters study of Morocco, released this month, estimated Islamic banks could account for between 3 and 5 percent of its total banking assets by 2018, or about $5.2-8.6 billion - still far below the proportion of roughly a quarter seen in the developed markets of the Gulf.

    Moroccan banks have expressed cautious interest in the opportunities. AttijariWafa, Morocco's largest bank and the first to establish an Islamic unit, has said it will expand the unit after the bill passes.

    Local lenders BCP, BMCE and BMCI , a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, may launch Islamic units of their own once the legislation is in place.

    BCP, Morocco's second largest bank, aims to open an Islamic subsidiary alongside a partner with Islamic banking expertise, said Laidi El Wardi, BCP's general director for retail banking.

    "First we want the new bank to create its own network, even though it will not be very large. I believe in the next four to five years, we will have at least 60 branches. For the second phase we will start using the conventional bank networks."

    BMCE Bank, Morocco's third largest, is eyeing opportunities in sharia-compliant investment banking, takaful (Islamic insurance) and sukuk, said Mohamed Maarouf, director of participatory development finance at BMCE.

    Foreign banks look likely to play an important role in developing the market; Moroccan authorities may guide them towards partnering local banks rather than establishing fully owned Islamic subsidiaries, bankers believe.

    Gulf banks from Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have expressed interest in entering the market when the bill comes into force, said Lhassane Benhalima, the central bank's deputy head of banking supervision.

    "We remain open-minded in our vision, and joint ventures between local banks and foreign investors are encouraged."

    One banking industry source, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said he expected the Moroccan central bank to approve the creation of only four to six Islamic banks, to avoid crowding in the sector.

    "Most of the Moroccan banks interested in Islamic finance have already started talks with foreigners to make up joint ventures," the source said.

    The ventures will face considerable obstacles, however, in particular a lack of consumer awareness of Islamic financial concepts, seen in consumer surveys conducted by BMCE.

    "I think that it is natural to say that they want Islamic products, but nobody knows what Islamic finance is: they think that Islamic finance is qard hasan (benevolent interest-free loans)," Maarouf said.


    Moroccan officials are also looking to develop Islamic finance in areas outside banking. The Casablanca Stock Exchange is preparing to roll out a sharia-compliant index with around 35 companies, and will seek to list sukuk, said Karim Hajji, general director and chief executive of the exchange.

    In the takaful sector, insurance companies are expected not to be allowed to open Islamic windows and instead will have to set up separate units, a move which could help differentiate the firms in an insurance market that is currently dominated by the largest four firms, the Thomson Reuters study said.

    There is also a push to make the management of awqaf (Islamic endowments) more efficient, a process started in 2012 by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs.

    The country's awqaf own about 80,000 pieces of real estate across the country, but these tend to command low rental prices rather than competitive market rates, said Mohammed AlKawrari, awqaf president at the ministry.

    "Moroccan awqaf are old awqaf; we have endowments that are twelve and a half centuries old. We have inherited the old awqaf in the historically rich old cities, such as Fez and Marrakesh," he said.

    The ministry is studying the operations of real estate investment funds and the possibility of engaging private companies to help in the management of some of the properties.

    However, AlKawrari conceded that the ministry faced a challenge: modernising awqaf and maximising their returns while avoiding a hike in rental prices, which could hurt low-income families occupying the properties.

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    Irish Journalist Peaches Geldof Dies, Morocco Among her Works

    Rabat- Peaches Geldof, a TV presenter, journalist, and daughter of pop singer Bob Geldof, died on April 7, 2014 at the age of 25, leaving behind two sons and a husband. Police described her death as “unexplained and sudden.” She had been to Morocco a few years ago to work on a documentary about Islam.

    Geldof visited Morocco when she was 17 years old to experience life with a devout Muslim family as a teenager, which was featured in a documentary titled, “The Beginner’s Guide to Islam.” She stayed with a Moroccan girl, Nadira, and embraced a Muslim lifestyle.  

    In a show called Richard and Judy on the British Channel 4, Peaches described her two-week experience in Marrakesh as “shocking.” She wanted to find answers to questions such as: What is Islam? Why is it misinterpreted by the media and by general people?”

    The host of the show, Richard, brought up the issue of the sacrifice of animals in Islam, which dates back to the time of Prophet Abraham. Peaches explained the ritual of slaughtering sheep on Eid- al-Adha as “they eat the whole of the sheep, like the brain and stuff. It is a religious thing. While here it is just a combat for survival. It is ceremonial and better than mass killings in abattoirs. It is part of their religion”.

    To experience the Islamic appearance for girls, Geldof accompanied Nadira to a local market in the city of Marrakesh, dressed in a white Jelaba and white headscarf. She openly expressed her feelings about being covered, “I feel a bit degraded having to cover up my hair and my whole body in a kind of a shapeless sacs and no one can see how I look, it makes me feel a little bit sad to be honest.”

    Richard inquired if Nadira had shared her feelings about being covered with Geldof during her stay. Gedof confirmed that when Nadira showed her some clothes from the days before she wore hijb, she felt nostalgic for those days. However, she told Geldof, “This is how I looked like, but now my life is for Allah.”

    Geldof added, “It is kind of oppressing but at the same time is admirable because they are doing it for themselves and in the name of God and they are not doing it for men”.

    Geldof’s interest in understanding Islam may have been a bit subjective considering she came from the fashion industry, where the standards of beauty are framed and limited. This shows clearly in her reaction to wearing the Jelaba as feeling “oppressed.” However, she did also point to the fact that, ““women in the West are being exploited because they have to dress in a certain way and purely to titillate men.” 

    Edited by Saba Naseem

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    Casablanca Police Forces in Search of Two Armed Suspects

    Casablanca- With the feeling of insecurity on the rise in some Moroccan cities, city residents have to be more vigilant than ever and to take all necessary precautions to avoid the potential perils such insecurity may brings. Below are four main tips that can keep you out of trouble in a Moroccan city.

    Tip 1: Avoid empty, quiet places in a city!

    Do you prefer to walk when heading somewhere? Fine, but dont act like you know the city by heart and succumb to the temptation of using shortcuts. By “shortcuts” I refer to those narrow, noiseless streets that, albeit time-saving, may also cost you a lot more than arriving late for work. What you perceive as shortcuts are usually the favorite niches for criminals in the city.

    Use crowded, public places—boulevards, squares, large streets—as your safe route to any destination you intend to reach. I prefer to spend ten more minutes looking for the safest way to get somewhere than using unsafe shortcuts in the city and ending up being someone elses prey. You can avoid that.

    Tip 2: Repeat after me…Im not John Cena!

    The streets of Casablanca, for instance, are full of WWE world Wrestling entertainment) moments, but you just want to steer away from undesirable action.

    City residents are known for having a bad temper and losing their composure quickly. Some of those people you see every day in the street are ticking time bombs, just waiting for  someone to cut the wrong wire for them to blow up—and theres a fine line between anger and crime.

    Other than premeditated crimes in Morocco, other types of wrongdoing may involve fights between two people or more who do not have any criminal intentions or profiles. It may start with a dispute over seats in a café, stadium or on a bus, but it ends with someone being hit on his head with a bottle or being stabbed by someone with a sore ego.

    Calm down and keep your composure even when youre insulted or mocked. It doesn’tt mean youre weak. It rather shows that you have control over your strongest impulses.

    Tip 3: Carry only what you need…and intelligently!

    Why would you go out with 1000 DH in your pockets when youre sure to use only 20 % of the sum?  If you happen to be unlucky enough to have your purse or wallet stolen, you will be sorryWe are more defensive when we carry valuable belongings, and resistance with armed robbers may sometimes translate into tragedies.

    One tip is to have your money dispersedly placed—some in your bag, some in your front, side and back pockets, etc. Never place all your money or valuable belongings in one location. Most women carry their most important belongings in their bags, which risk being easily snatched out of their hands at any moment. 

    As to high-tech, unless youre in a public area, dont you pull out your laptop or tablet randomly anywhere you go. High-tech tools are usually trouble magnets in Morocco. Use them only when you know their use won’t jeopardize your safety.    

    Tip 4: No negotiations with armed robbers!

    We sometimes unluckily run across a bunch of armed robbers who show up from nowhere in a quiet, unpopulated street. Many people in Casablanca, for instance, lose their lives or nearly after they refuse to give those  thieves what they ask for.

    Never negotiate with armed robbers! Yes, there are times when we just have to admit our vulnerability and the fact that resistance can be less wise, and more harmful.

    Edited by Elisabeth Myers

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

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    circumcision celebration in Morocco

    Taroudant, Morocco- According to a new study published on April 4 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the health benefits of infant male circumcision immensely outweigh the risks involved in the procedure.

     “A risk-benefit analysis of conditions that neonatal circumcision protects against revealed that benefits exceed risks by at least 100 to 1 and that over their lifetime, half of uncircumcised males will require treatment for a medical condition associated with retention of the foreskin,” the study confirmed.

    “The benefits of circumcision begin in the neonatal period by protection against infections that can damage the pediatric kidney,” and “that neonatal male circumcision is cost-effective for disease prevention, according to the same study.

    The authors Morris BJ and Wiswell TE conclude that the benefits of circumcision, a common practice in the Islamic and Jewish societies at an early age, include reduced risks of urinary tract infection, prostate cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.

    The lead author, Brian J. Morris, emeritus professor of medical sciences at the University of Sydney said: “Circumcision is a biomedical imperative for the 21st century,” and the procedure carried at an early age is likely to protect the circumcised.

    He added, “Male circumcision is in principle equivalent to childhood vaccination,” and any delay puts the health of the child in danger.

    “Just as there are opponents of vaccination, there are opponents of circumcision. But their arguments are emotional and unscientific, and should be disregarded,” the professor added.

    The study says that the circumcision of newborn boys “should be part of public health policies.”

    In 2012, and for the first time, the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “The preventative health benefits of infant circumcision clearly outweigh the risks.”

    Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, a small fold of skin that covers the tip of the penis. Traditionally, in Morocco, an expert practitioner, a common person who gained his expertise only through practice, performs circumcision at home few days after birth but recently parents entrust their sons to surgeons.

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

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    Tata -  The royal gendarmerie in the province of Tata seized, on Tuesday in coordination with local authorities, one ton and 800 kg of hashish in the village of Aloukoum, in Foum Zgid (150 km from Tata).

     After a two hour-manhunt, members of the royal gendarmerie seized two cars and arrested a drug trafficker while three of his accomplices escaped.

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    moorocoo' oil and gas

    Rabat-  Over five billion dirhams ($614 million) will be invested by private partners in 2014 in the sector of hydrocarbons and mining, Amina Benkhadra, director of Morocco’s national office for hydrocarbons and mining (ONHYM) said on Tuesday in Rabat.

    Morocco will witness the drilling of 27 wells in the different sedimentary basins onshore and offshore in 2014, she added according to MAP.

    2014 will be an extremely important year in terms of investment. Over the past year, a growing number of foreign companies showed interest in Morocco, namely the British Petroleum and Chevron, Benkhadra told the press on the sidelines of the 2nd session of the ONHYM board of directors, chaired by head of government Abdelilah Benkirane.

    She said that 2013, which was marked by a growing of drilling for hydrocarbons with the participation of 34 partners, witnessed a global investment of 2.3 billion dirhams, including 58 million dirhams allocated by the state-run body.

    Partners launched the first drilling works. Fours drills were operated in 2013, two in the Gharb, one off the Atlantic ocean in Foum Draa and the last one in Sidi Mokhtar in the region of Essaouira, she said.

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    Mbarka Bouaida, Morocco’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs & Cooperation

    London- Minister delegate for foreign affairs Mbarka Bouaida presented, Tuesday in London, the broad lines of Morocco's African policy which puts Africa at the center of its diplomatic priorities.

    Speaking at a working luncheon organized by Morocco's ambassador to the UK Lalla Joumala, Bouaida underlined King Mohammed VI's “special interest in developing ties with friendly African countries as part of a solidarity-based and active south-south cooperation."

    "Morocco is tirelessly working, under the leadership of HM the King, to reinforce stability, development and prosperity of Africa," Bouaida told around twenty African ambassadors who were invited to this luncheon.

    She also recalled the “huge success” of the latest tour of King Mohammed VI to four countries (Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Gabon).

    This tour was crowned by the signature of 91 agreements on projects meant to promote cooperation on Agriculture, fisheries, social housing, rural electrification, energy, tourism and infrastructure, she said.

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    Six Moroccans Among 36 Journalists Nominated for Dubai Press Club Awards

    Rabat- Six Moroccan journalists have been nominated for awards at the 13thannual Dubai Press Club’s Arab Journalism Awards that take place on June 21, 2014, in Dubai.

    The Club announced the 36 contestants competing for awards in different categories on April 7th, according to local media.

    “There is a fierce competition among the different categories, with 9.3% higher candidatures than previous awards,” according to the director of the Arab Journalism Awards, Mona Bousamra. “Contributions exceeded 4,500 entries breaking the record since the competition started in 1999”  She added that, “There are 11 competing categories, and the committee did not eliminate any of them this year given the high quality of articles that were eligible to compete in each category,” reported local media.

    The Moroccan journalists are competing in two categories: the Arab Journalism Award for Youth and the Award for Humanitarian Press.

    The nominees for the Arab Journalism Award for Youth include:

    Aziz El Hour, a journalist at the Moroccan daily: Al-Akhbar Al-Maghribiya.

    Mohammed Abou Qamar, a journalist at the Palestinian newspaper Arrisala.

    Rajaa Bettaoui, a journalist at the Moroccan daily: Maghreb Al-Yaoum.

    Imad Stitou, a journalist at the Moroccan online newspaper: Hespress.   

    Mohammed Aheddad and Sami El-Moudni, journalists at the Moroccan daily: Massaa Al-Yaoum.

    The nominees for the Humanitarian Press award are:

    Ahmed Mdiyani, journalist at the Moroccan daily: Maghreb Al-Yaoum.

    Nour El Hayat Qwider, a journalist at the Algerian newspaper: Waqt Al-Jazaer.

    Hiba Saleh, a journalist at the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahali Al-masriya.

    The Dubai Press Club was founded by the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Ben Rashed Al-Maktoum, who sought to create a platform for journalists and media professionals to debate issues from different angles and on different levels. The Awards were first launched in 1999 to reinforce the advancement of journalism in the Arab world and recognize journalists who make borders between countries invisible and deliver information honestly and accurately.

    Edited by Elisabeth Myers

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    Two Moroccan-American Kids Allegedly Kidnapped by their Father

    Casablanca- Hind Kettani, a Moroccan residing in the U.S., is in search for her two children allegedly kidnapped by their Moroccan father on November 21, 2011, in New York.

    The two brothers, six-year-old Elias Tahiri and 8-year-old Adam Tahiri, were allegedly abducted by their father, Faysal Tahiri, 38.

    Their mother, Hind Kettani, had already posted an announcement on the website and recently created a Facebook page requesting help to find her missing kids.

    According to the details available both on the website and on the Facebook page, a federal arrest warrant for International Parental Kidnapping was issued for Faycal on September 26, 2013.

    The father and the two children are now believed to be in Saudi Arabia. The abductor’s mother, Aziza Ouali Idrissi, was allegedly proven by the FBI to be accomplice with her son.

    The kidnapper’s father, Tahiri Abderrahim, lives in Morocco and runs car rental agencies called Sixt France Car in Casablanca and Marakkech, according to Kettani.

    “It is a cry of intense pain of a mother who was separated from her children,” reads the mother’s post on the Facebook Page she recently created. “I ask every human being to help me find my children,” she says.

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    Plenary meeting of the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development  (UN DESA)

    New York  -  Morocco's inter-ministerial delegate for human rights, Mahjoub El Haiba, is taking part in New York in the 47th session of the UN Commission on population and development (Apr.7-11) "to assess the status of implementation of the program of action of the international conference of population and development, held in Cairo in 1994.

    The week-long forum will assess action taken over the past 20 years to improve people’s lives and address population issues amid changes in ageing, fertility, mortality, migration and urbanization, since the landmark Cairo international conference.

    That conference established that increasing access to health and education, and protecting human rights, especially those of women and teenagers, would help secure a better social and economic future and lead to more sustainable population trends.

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that with the ICPD Program of Action, Governments set out an ambitious agenda to deliver inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. "Over the past two decades, this agenda has contributed to significant advances," he said in a message to the Commission.

    "Fewer people are living in extreme poverty. Gender equality and the empowerment of women are gaining ground worldwide. More people are living longer, healthier lives. More girls are in school. Fewer women are dying in pregnancy and childbirth. There are more laws to protect and uphold human rights."

    Yet, in the midst of this human progress, the continued exclusion of some groups and the potential for serious environmental damage put these gains at risk, Ban continued. Moreover, changing age, household and family structures as well as rapid urbanization and migration pose new challenges for human development.

    "We have an urgent responsibility, to invest in creating opportunities and a supportive environment for innovation and entrepreneurship for persons of all ages, in particular for young people. It is crucial to invest in their health and education and to review legislation, standards and practices that restrict their full participation in and access to sexual and reproductive health services."

    The IPCD Global Review Report, issued by the UN in February, pointed out that much remains to be done on a range of issues, including the enormous inequalities that remain in the realization of human rights and access to vital services, as well as new challenges and opportunities related to population growth, changing age structures, rapid urbanization and migration.

    Since 1994, the global population has grown from 5.7 to 7.2 billion. Despite slowing population growth, UN projections suggest the world’s population could reach 9.6 billion by 2050, with most of the increase concentrated in the poorest countries.

    According to a report prepared by the Secretary-General for the Commission, the current state of the world’s population is one of unprecedented diversity and change, as reflected in new patterns of ageing, fertility, mortality, migration and urbanization.

    According to a news release on the Commission’s opening, older persons are the world’s fastest growing age group. The number of people over age 60 almost doubled between 1994 and 2014, and older persons today outnumber children under the age of five. Globally, the share of older persons is expected to reach 21 per cent by 2050.

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    OCP and food security

    Paris - Four Moroccan groups are listed among North Africa's top ten enterprises for 2014, according to a ranking published by "Jeune Afrique" weekly published in Paris.

    The groups are Samir (oil refining), SNI (national investment company) OCP (phosphates) and Maroc Telecom.

    Samir and SNI also appear in the top 20 list of 500 best enterprises.

    Overall, 77 Moroccan enterprises are listed among the 500 first African groups, representing 15.4pc) for a total turnover of 67.2 billion DH (accounting for 8.89 pc of the 500 companies' income) .

    The weekly also notes that several Moroccan enterprises conquered in 2013 the Sub-Sahara market, including real estate group Addoha and Alliances who took contracts in Cote d'Ivoire and Congo, recalling that the Moroccan GDP progressed last year by 5.1 pc.

    The weekly established its listing after a census and a poll of 10,318 companies.

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