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Morocco News meets the World

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    A Moroccan Football Fan Dies During Celebration of Belgium's Victory

    Taroudant, Morocco- Moroccan-Belgian football fan died of his injuries Wednesday morning after a "violent" fall in Brussels during World Cup celebrations

    After the Belgium Red Devils’ victory over Algeria in the 2014 World Cup, a Moroccan football fan "fell out from a lion statue while celebrating the victory," according to Belgian news website dhnet.be.

    The same source added that the Moroccan national, whose identity has not been revealed, "was in a "very critical state" after he fell to the ground and landed on his shoulder and head.

    The Moroccan-Belgian national was immediately taken to the hospital. He died three hours after the accident.

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 This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

     


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    Hackers Attacked Microsoft without Accessing Files

    Casablanca  - Morocco’s Office of Vocational Training and Labor Promotion (OFPPT) and Microsoft company signed, Thursday in Casablanca, a Memorandum of Understanding on the development of ICT training in the African continent.

    This agreement, part of the implementation of partnerships in the ICT sector and cooperation agreements signed during the official visit of King Mohammed VI in February and March to several African countries, aims to support the work of OFPPT in African countries for the implementation of IT platforms Academy on ICT training and certification, and help these countries to set up and maintain ICT certification centers.

    The two partners will join efforts for the successful implementation of Microsoft IT Academy Program and Certifications to endow African youths with technology skills and promote their employability.

    The agreement was signed by OFPPT director-general, Larbi Bencheikh, and Microsoft Morocco, Samir Benmakhlouf in the presence of vice-president of Microsoft for the Middle East and Africa, Ali Faramawy.


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    Control room of Arabic-language satellite TV channel Alhurra

    By Assim Al Moussaoui

    Nador, Morocco - In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, there have been hostile and racist acts perpetrated against the U.S. Arab and Muslim community as a vengeful and narrow-minded reaction.

    Compounded with this was the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and Iraq in 2003. These events bred extreme negative views in the Arab public towards the American administration and its foreign policy in the Middle East. To counteract such widespread growing detest, US officials resorted to “multimillion-dollar programs under a wide-scale public diplomacy plan to improve America’s image in the Middle East and win the minds and hearts of the Arab people” (El Nawawy, 2006). It is in this context that Al Hurra and Sawa were created. The two stations were supervised by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal entity entrusted with controlling all US international broadcasting, and funded by the US congress.

    From a social psychology point of view, research shows that in order to catalyze change in people’s attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, or behaviors, to produce the desired ones, an influence campaign originator must make the message source look credible, trusted, knowledgeable, and appear to be similar to the target audience environment (Cragin&Gerwehr, 2005). Psychologists label such campaigns as conversion type of influence. Cragin distinguishes three types of influence campaigns depending on the set objectives; these are: compliance, conformity, and conversion. Of the three categories, conversion campaigns are the most effective in creating the expected outcome(s), but necessitate more time and preparation than the others. America’s Al Hurra and Radio Sawa fall into conversion paradigm.

    Al Hurra strives to shape positive attitudes towards the US administration and its foreign policy in the Arab peninsula by attempting to stem the “negative” influence of Al Jazeera. The latter has been identified as the most distorting media source of the American image in the Arab world, especially during the Iraq War television coverage (Seib, 2004). One of the strategies to counteract Al Jazeera’s “negative” influence was to host American officials to explain the official American point of view and position on current issues. Such opportunity was non-existent before the creation of Al Hurra, as Al Jazeera didn’t give as much airtime to American officials as to guests who were critical of US foreign policy.

    Al Hurra’s goal, then, is to beam favorable news about the United States’ policies and present American culture and values to Arab populations. Al Hurra runs programs and documentaries depicting the American lifestyle in order to bridge the cultural misunderstanding gap between Arabs and Americans. Yet, Al Hurra is trapped into an “existential dilemma,” Rugh (2004) claims. On one hand, Al Hurra cannot air news or voices critical of its own creator and, on the other hand, it must deliver free and open discussion of different issues if it is to fulfill its primary mission: winning the hearts and the minds of the Arab public. In an analytical study of Al Hurra’s programming, Seib found that Al Hurra’s journalists tend to voice personal judgments in favor of the US/Western perspective and against the Arab perspective in sensitive issues like Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. Seibs recommends to the BBG the following, “Any news organization that seeks to appeal to an Arab audience but is perceived to be pro-Israeli and an apologist for the American military presence in Iraq will suffer credibility problems.”

    Al Hurra’s journalists’ bias towards the US foreign policy agenda at the expense of objectivity and balanced coverage will undoubtedly underscore its core mission. Furthermore, Al Hurra also failed to stick to journalism ethics by not providing opposing views on the aforementioned sensitive issues. In other words, Al Hurra turned into a mouthpiece for the American administration, giving more access to American-friendly commentators while downplaying opposing views to have equal airtime.

    During the Egyptian uprising of 2011, Al Hurra couldn’t find a better opportunity to emphasize that it is not a propaganda machine and to position itself as a neutral arbiter of information. Its bureau in Cairo hosted live talk shows, discussing issues related to the uprising. Brian Conniff, the president of Middle East Broadcasting Network, Al Hurra’s parent company, admitted that the 2011 events in Egypt were the turning point in Al Hurra’s broadcasting history. The station’s reporters did their best to have interviews with protesters who reflected Cairo’s furious streets and squares. Such coverage dressed Al Hurra as a pan-Arab TV channel consistent on how Arabs view the world around them. It successfully melted in the Arab-environment pot. This coverage helped improve the channel’s image among Arab viewers. Conniff commented outright, “[Egyptians’ revolt] enabled us to get over the legacy of being viewed as a propaganda.” Al Hurra ultimately won the 2011 People’s Choice Award as a reward for its professional reporting on the events prior to Mubarak’s resignation, besting Al Jazeera English. Conniff affirms that Al Hurra was awarded such prize due to its commitment to professional journalism: “It [the uprising] provided us an opportunity to cover it as a journalistic event.”

    Radio Sawa

    Another ‘soft’ artillery that the American government fights with in the war of ideas across the Arab world is Radio Sawa. The Middle East Radio Network, the official name of Radio Sawa, is a twenty-four hour Arabic language radio network that started on 23 March 2002, with an estimated budget of $35 million and $100 million startup funding (El Nawawy, 2006). Radio Sawa is overseen by the BBG and funded by the US congress. Radio Sawa is headquartered in Springfield, Virginia, with offices in Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan. Its regional broadcast center is located in Dubai. The official website of Radio Sawa defines its target audience as the “youthful population of Arab- speakers in the Middle East.” For this purpose, and unlike Al Hurra, Radio Sawa’s content is primarily American and Arab pop music, interspersed with periodic news bulletins. Observers, such as Abuminah (2002), El Nawawy (2006), and Djerejian (2003), insinuate that BBG’s officials focused Sawa’s broadcast on entertainment (music) as a ‘bait’ to attract more Arab listeners to be exposed to America’s influence campaigns. El Nawawy wonders if the Arab youth would dismantle the American strategy regarding Radio Sawa: “take the US sound and discard the US agenda.”

    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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    Riad El Fenn is among the most picturesque hotels in Marrakech, along with the Royal Mansour and La Mamounia (photo, Dikenta Dike)

    Casablanca- Forbes magazine has devoted its latest issue’s cover to English business magnate Richard Branson and his luxurious Riad, the Kasbah Tamadot, located in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.

    One night at Branson’s luxurious Moroccan compound costs no less than $3,000. But the experience, according to the American magazine, is breathtaking.

    Richard Brandson, founder of the giant Virgin Group, was ostensibly relishing his vacation in Morocco at his lavish Riad in the Atlas Mountains.

    “It’s warmer than I expected!” Brandson told Forbes’ Zack Greenburg, referring to freshwater of one of Kasbah Tamadot’s irresistible pools.

    Brandson has embarked on an around-the-world tour via balloon, according to Forbes. He started in Morocco, which is for the adventure-lover Branson is the best place to begin.

    “The best place in the world to launch balloons from is Morocco,” he told Forbes. “The weather conditions are perfect, and the jet stream goes right over the top.”

    According to the American magazine, Branson’s parents, who stayed in Morocco in 1998, were behind his purchase of Kasbah Tamadot, now an incontestable favorite of exotic luxury lovers.

    A swift Google search on Kasbah Tamadot shows how Brandson’s magical retreat easily secures a five-star review in the bulk of travel websites and exotic hotel suggestions.


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    Morocco Royal Gendarmery

    Casablanca- Two female correspondents for the Moroccan TV channel Medi1 were verbally and physically assaulted by security officers (gendarmes) on Thursday, on the highway connecting Casablanca to Bouznika.

    The two correspondents, Fatiha Ouali, a journalist, and Hayat Ziani, a camerawoman, were sent to the scene to shoot a report on the Highway Code as part of the weekly show “Bi Douni Haraj,” broadcast on Medi1.

    The two correspondents’ presence coincided with a car crash that occurred shortly after their arrival to the highway.

    Attempting to tape the car crash scene, the two correspondents were met with hostility from the police officers present there. They were “slapped and kicked, and one of them was pulled by the hair to the ground and humiliated.”

    The journalists’ assistant was also physically assaulted after he intervened to spare his co-workers the police officers’ rage, according to the same source.

    In a press release published on Saturday, the Moroccan Union of Labor (UMT) firmly denounced the alleged assault on Med1’s journalists.

    Edited by Katrina Bushko

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    chabat-benkirane

    Rabat- Following an impassioned speech by Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane before the parliament in which he suggested that a women’s place is in the household rather than in the workplace, Secretary General of the Istiqlal Party, Hamid Chabat, slammed on Friday Benkirane’s remarks. “Benkirane tells Moroccan women stay at home while his wife is working”, said Hamid Chabat.

    Speaking to his supporters during a meeting of the Istiqlal party in Tangier on Friday, Hamid Chabat wondered, “how can the Head of Government tell Moroccan women that their place is in the household rather than in the workplace while his wife works at a private school, offered to them by Driss El Bassri?’’

    Chabat considers Benkirane’s remarks as a blatant contradiction of his actual political stance. He pointed out that despite Benkirane’s belief that women choose not to participate in politics and that he “can’t force them to participate in the political sphere”, he now states that a woman‘s place is in the home as a mother rather than in the workplace.

    Edited by Timothy Filla


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    TV Show’s Nude Scenes Filmed in Morocco Stir Controversy in Colombia

    Casablanca- For many years Morocco has been a favorite photo shoot destination for international filmmakers because of its rich architecture, warm weather, and interesting history. Now Morocco is becoming the trendy place to produce television shows.

    The producers of a popular TV program in Colombia recently chose Morocco to film the show’s 2014 series. However, it caused a controversy in Colombia because of the nude scenes that were filmed.

    As MWN reported in May, the Colombian reality TV game show Desafio Marruecos is being filmed in Fez, Morocco’s spiritual capital. But the producer of the TV show is under criticism for not respecting the culture of the host country.

    According to Colombian TV show “Doble Via”, Dasafio Marruecos is stirring up controversy in Colombia due to the appearance of female and male actors nude while taking a shower. The presenter of the TV show added that the camera filmed both female and male actors naked, which elicited the condemnation of a large number of Colombian viewers.

    “More than 200 viewers wrote to us to condemn this content, which [does not bring any added value to the viewer,” the presenter of the TV show said.

    “Many consider this show to be a family show viewed also by many kids, and it is not right to shamelessly show vulgarity and exhibitionistic scenes,” said another journalist who was reading the complaints of viewers.

    Other viewers said that the nude scenes were disrespectful to the Moroccan women who cover their hair in accordance with their culture.

    “We have listened with attention to our viewers, and they are obviously right, especially those people who argued to us that it is a lack of respect to Moroccan women living in small villages who cover their head, in line with their culture.”

    Other viewers pointed out that the scenes that appeared on the May 29 episode of Desafio Marruecos go against the campaign that has been launched by the channel Caracol, in which it urges men not to harass or abuse women and calls on society not to turn women into a sexual objects.

    Edited by Elisabeth Myers


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    Mr. Choubani, Minister in Charge of Parliament and Civil Society

    Rabat- Mr. Habib Choubani, a member of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) and Minister in Charge of Relations with the Parliament and Civil Society, claimed that the democratic history of Morocco is still very short, stressing that it’s impossible for any government to end corruption in a very short time, even if it was led by prophets.

    “Even a government of prophets can’t end corruption in five years, if there was no collective consciousness to engage in the fight against this phenomenon,” said Habib Choubani, while co-chairing a conference Saturday in Madrid.

    “The Moroccan community should have a culture of reform against the culture of corruption-that dominates currently-in order to cope with the phenomenon. Without a counter system, it will be impossible to end corruption even if caliph Omar ibn al-Khattab came to lead the government himself.”

    Habib Choubani claimed that Moroccan history “is still very short, in terms of democracy,” according to Hespress.

     “Even the parliament, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, witnessed many interruptionsandsetbacks during this period, taking into account its major role in the democratic practice.”

    The Minister in Charge of Relations with Parliament and Civil Society went on, “That’s why we Moroccans are still a people who are making their way toward the right direction, in order to build a society with real grounds for a state of law and institutions that preserve the dignity of Moroccans, wherever they are.”

     “This is not ignorance and minimizing all what the kingdom has achieved so far. Moroccan history has also witnessed many reconciliations and reforms, along with these interruptionsandsetbacks. » Choubani added.

    Choubani was speaking at a conference organized by an association of Moroccans living in Spain, held at a hotel in Madrid. He claimed that the years after independence in 1956 "were not entirely  harmonious and comprise of cooperation and construction. By contrast, there were many conflicts and confrontations, because the state wanted to control society."

    “In that phase, society wanted to weaken state. Between the opposing approaches, many opportunities to build Morocco were wasted. Afterwards, Morocco woke up to find itself with a weak state and society.” Choubani concluded, ‘’confrontation was such a disastrous choice by the two groups.”

    Edited by Timothy Filla

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    Morocco, Police Officer Eats Rat Poison to Avoid Paying Child Support (Picture courtesy Al Massae)

    Rabat- Since the beginning of 2014, Morocco has witnessed many cases of policemen committing suicide, an unusual phenomenon in the country. The latest case was registered on Thursday in Fes, when a police officer ate rodenticides in attempt to commit suicide.

    The police officer at the urban authority of Fez refused to abide by a judicial ruling, issued after his divorce proceedings were finished. The judicial ruling obligated him to pay MAD 63 000 ($7,637 US) as compensation to his ex-wife and for child support.

    According to Al Massaa, in order to protect her and her children from a life of poverty, the officer’s wife was forced to go to court and demand the implementation of the judicial ruling. As a result, the court issued another judgment requiring the police officer to pay alimony.

    But the police officer did not accept the judge’s ruling. Instead of paying the alimony to his ex-wife, he ate rodenticides - a rat poison used by the local authorities to kill rodents - in attempt to commit suicide at his house, located in Ben Debab district, Fez.

    According to the same source, the officer was immediately transported to the University Hospital of Fez, where he had his stomach pumped. Currently, He is still under medical observation. Doctors are waiting for his body to react to treatment.

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


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    Sub-Saharan Africa Is a Priority For Morocco

    Rabat- President of the Moroccan Institute of International Relations (IMRI) Jawad Kerdoudi claims that sub-Saharan countries have become a priority to the Kingdom of Morocco for diversifying its economic partners, and for better integration in Africa.

    Citing Moroccan cooperation with sub-Saharan countries as a model of south-south cooperation in the second day of Crans Montana Forum, Kerdoudi highlighted the major role of Morocco in economic development and integration in Africa.

    “Thanks to its strong ties with sub-Saharan countries, Morocco is known worldwide as a model of south-south cooperation. Moroccan business circles are among the most active in Africa. They are key actors in economic development and the major investors, as Morocco is today’s meeting point between sub-Saharan countries and Europe,‘’ Kerdoudi told Morocco World News.

    "During the past ten years, Morocco obviously registered an acceleration of economic and political corporation between the kingdom and the sub-Saharan Africa, because these countries have become a priority to Morocco in order to diversify its Economy,’ he added.

    ”Although Morocco is the second largest investor in Africa after South Africa, the Moroccan economy is still oriented mainly to Europe. Therefore, it is now a priority for the Moroccan economy to diversify its partners, and focus on sub-Saharan Africa first,” Kerdoudi said.’

    On the other hand, , Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, governor of Niger State in Nigeria, told Morocco World News that the bilateral cooperationbetween Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco is limited to the political aspects.

    “Moroccan-Nigerian bilateral cooperation is focused on the political aspects. In economic terms, our cooperation is still weak,’’ Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu told Morocco World News.

    Regarding the challenges that prevent economic cooperation between the two countries, he said: “When you are dealing with too many African countries, you need to prioritize where you are doing the best that you can. Also, for several reasons, Morocco is not in the African Union. So, whenever it’s convenient for Morocco to join the African Union, it will encourage Nigeria to further its relationships with Morocco.’’

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

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    mezouar

    Rabat- Following the recent rumors that Salaheddine Mezouar , Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a French citizen, Mezouar stresses that he doesn’t have a double citizenships. Allegations that he held French citizenship were brought up to explain his soft reaction during the last diplomatic crisis between Morocco and France.

    On Monday, the Moroccan daily newspaper Annas revealed that Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, has a French citizenship. The newspaper claimed that his dual citizenship explains why he reacted indifferently when high-ranking Moroccan officials were subject to humiliation in France.

    Annas asked why Mezouar did not protest when he was humiliated at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle Airport, where he was forced to remove his coat, belt, and other footwear. The newspaper claimed that “Mezouar did not protest against this humiliation because he is French and respects the law of his country (France). “

    Moreover, the newspaper said that Salaheddine Mezouar , when he was a Minister of Finance and the Economy for the government of Abbas El Fassi, “presented his French passport to agents in an airport in Mexico, but they refused it, and requested his Moroccan passport.”

    Following these claims, Salaheddine Mezouar clarified in a statement to Moroccan news agency MAP that Annas reported “untrue and discredited claims.”

    “I don’t have a French citizenship. I only have the Moroccan citizenship. I am proud of it, and ready to serve my nation and my king,’’ he stressed. Mezouar concluded that this rumor, which has affected his dignity and the external image of the Kingdom, is “a serious deviation from journalistic ethics.”

    Edited by Timothy Filla


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    Abdelilah-Benkirane

    Rabat- American Academic says that Morocco’s PM Uses Power to “Direct Public Consciousness at Particular Concerns” to Boost Party Ratings.

    Following the speeches of the Secretary General of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) and Morocco’s prime minister, Abdelilah Benkirane, in which he called upon Moroccans to boycott Danone yogurt for ten days, an op-ed in the Washington Post opined that Benkirane’s call is an attempt to build support for the PJD, stressing that Benkirane employs the power of his position to direct public consciousness at particular concerns.

    Abdelilah Benkirane called on Moroccans to boycott Dannon products for ten days at a political rally on May 24, after the French-based company had raised the price of its yogurt.

    Ann Wainscott, a Political Science Professor at Saint Louis University, claimed in an article published in the Washington Post on Fridaythat Benkirane’s actions are “better understood as a means of employing the only real power of his position, going public.” She wrote, “The Moroccan prime minister benefits from the ability to direct public consciousness at particular concerns.”

    The author opined that Benkirane did not aspire to influence the company’s pricing policy, given that a ten-day boycott by a small North African country would not have much effect on the mega-corporation. Instead, she said, “It is more about building support for Benkirane’s Justice and Development Party (PJD) than actually harming Dannon.”

    Wainscott stressed that Benkirane seeks cover for his inability to enact reforms by showing his sympathy with Moroccans.

    “The call appears to be an attempt by the prime minister to demonstrate his own sympathy for the everyday struggles of the Moroccan people in the absence of the ability to enact reforms that actually address these challenges,” she stressed.

    Edited by Elisabeth Myers


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    Khloe Kardashian Slams Moroccan French Montana’s Haters (Picture courtesy rapbasement.com)

    Rabat- American celebrity Khloe Kardashian has posted an angry message on Instagram directed at “haters” objecting to her romance with Moroccan-born hip-hop star French Montana.

    French Montana and Khloe Kardashian’s romance has been getting more and more controversial since Montana has been the subject of ongoing rumors and harsh remarks. In an attack on the couple, some said the rapper is only dating Khloe for the fame. But it seems that nobody can stop their ongoing romance.

    Recently, it was rumored that Khloe’s family is very skeptical of the Moroccan-born rapper. Some US magazines claimed that her family made bad remarks about French, and said “being with Khloe means everyone knows who French is now….so he's getting a lot out of it."

    Responding to this rumor Khloe Kardashian posted an Instagram image with a message reading: "You're still going to be criticized, so you might as well do whatever the f--k you want."

    Following Khloe’s post, Hollywood Life magazine reported that Khloe Kardashian has made it clear that “she is no longer concerned with what people think of her, and she’s taking to — where else? — Instagram to prove it! Khloe is happily dating French Montana, and she’s sick of hearing friends, family, and fans tell her how worried they are about her new relationship.”

    Earlier this month, Montana slammed detractors on Twitter: “There will always be haters. The more you grow the more they hate; the more they hate the more you grow.”

    French Montana, originally named Karim Kharbouch, was born in Morocco on November 9, 1984. He is a rapper and CEO of Cocaine City Records. He grew up in Morocco, where he enjoyed football and rapping. At the age of 13 he immigrated with his family to the United States and settled in the Bronx, in New York. He married Deen Kharbouch in 2007, but the two have since split. There have been rumors he is dating Miami rapper Trina.

    Khloe and the rapper began dating in December 2013. The couple were spotted together everywhere, from Miami to South Africa, until they made their romance public in Toronto, where the couple co-hosted the official after-party for the Muchmusic Video Awards.

    Edited by Timothy Filla


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  • 06/25/14--13:26: Reptile On the Run in Rabat
  • Reptile On the Run in Rabat

    Casablanca- Rabat’s spine-chilling reptile is back. After many seemingly mythological narratives of its appearance, Rabat’s notorious crocodile has finally been proven to exist.

    It is believed that the reptile was last seen in the Bouregreg River separating Rabat and Salé. The river has since been sealed off and meticulously searched by maritime and civil security services.

    Salé’s Mayor, Nourredine Lazrak, told the daily Akhbar Al Yaoum that a state of alert was declared in the city as soon as the tourist had reported seeing the reptile in the river.

    According to news portal Al Yaoum 24, Lazrak allegedly affirmed the authenticity of the pictures the tourist had taken of the crocodile. Four fishhooks fixed to the river’s shore were found smashed, thus intensifying the worries of the city's residents and the civil security services, according to the same source.

    Nets were stretched out along the river’s shores, and cameras were placed almost everywhere around it. Maritime and civil security services, along with fishermen, are now on the lookout for the reptile.


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    Moroccan Jokey Dies in Toronto After Being Crushed by Horse

    Taroudant - Moroccan jockey Boudraa Mourad, 42, died early Tuesday after a serious accident while he was doing an exercise on horseback at the Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto.

    The Moroccan jockey was killed in a tragic accident, after his horse, Tawney’s Wish, suffered a heart attack and violently hit the fence.

    According to the video posted on YouTube on June 24, the deceased was trapped beneath the horse and died on the scene after he suffered head injuries.

    “It was unfortunately just a terrible, freak accident,” Jamie Martin, Woodbine Entertainment Group’s executive vice-president of racing, said as he addressed the deceased’s family and friends, writes the TorontoSun. “On behalf of all of us here on the backstretch, we offer our deepest condolences to his family,” he added.

    According to the same source, the Ministry of Labour is investigating the details of this tragic event and “the horse’s remains will be sent to the University of Guelph for a necropsy to confirm suspicions she suffered a heart attack.”

    Boudraa was a well-regarded exercise rider who lived in Canada for several years.

    Edited by Katrina Bushko

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


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    bank islamic

    Rabat- After months of delay, the first house of the Moroccan parliament approved a governmental bill on Wednesday to establish and regulate Islamic banks. The new rules are to regulate the Islamic banking activity and the Islamic debt issues for private companies that respect the principle of Islamic finance.

    Lawmakers in the first house voted unanimously in favor of the law. “It was passed by 75 votes, with no one against, while 19 opposition deputies did not vote,” reported Daily Attajdid newspaper. The bill allows foreign banks as well as local lenders to set up Islamic banks in the kingdom of Morocco. Under the new law, Islamic Banks can provide their services to customers in three modes.

    The first is Mudaraba, which is a contract that offers specialist investment by a financial expert in which the bank and the customer shares any profits.

    The second mode is Ijara, a contract that entitles the bank to buy an item for a customer and then lease it back over a specific period.

    The third mode called Musharaka is a partnership contract whereby an Islamic bank and its clients can invest in a project. Under this partnership, profit sharing terms must be agreed in advance, and losses must be pegged to the amount invested.

    Under the new bill, a new committee is to be set up by the Moroccan central bank with a government body of scholars which will be in charge of overseeing the conformity of the Islamic Banks’ activity to the Sharia Islamic law.

    Although the bill has been approved by the majority of the deputies in the first house of the Moroccan parliament, it must still pass the second house in a final vote in the coming weeks.

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

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    A Beautiful old house in the Medina of Fez. Photo by Morocco World News

    Casablanca- Morocco ranked 67th in the very first edition of the Good Country Index, conceptualized by policy adviser Simon Anholt.

    The Good Country Index was created, according to Anholt, “to measure what each country on Earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away.”

    The Kingdom of Morocco ranked 67th out of 125 countries, ranking ahead of Egypt (68th), Turkey (79th), India (81st), Saudi Arabia (92nd), China (107th) and Algeria (111th).

    However, the kingdom secured different ranks in several areas constituting the focus of the Index: Science and Technology (68th), Culture (90th), Int'l Peace and Security (76th), World Order (50th),

    Planet and Climate (85th), Prosperity and Equality (57th), and Health and Wellbeing (40th). Each of these realms also comprises subcategories on which each country is assessed.

    Three European countries secured to the top ranks: Ireland (1st), Finland (2nd), and Switzerland (3rd). Each of these countries clearly secured high ranks in each of the aforementioned facets covered by the Index. For instance, Ireland ranked 1st in Prosperity and Equality.

    The data used to rank countries was retrieved from the U.N. and other international organizations. According to the GCI’s official website, “each country [was given] a balance-sheet to show at a glance whether it’s a net creditor to mankind, a burden on the planet, or something in between.”

    The GCI makes it clear that the featured countries are assessed not in terms of what they “do at home,” but the countries’ “responsibility to the wider world."

    Edited by Timothy Filla

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

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    Mohamed Moubdi

    Seoul - Moroccan Minister-delegate for public service and administration modernization, Mohamed Moubdi, received Thursday in Seoul, the first United Nations Public Service Award given to Morocco in the category of "promoting gender responsive delivery of public services" at the African level.

    This recognition rewards the efforts of the ministry of economy and finance in the field of the integration of the gender perspective in the process of budget preparation and implementation, said a statement from the ministry of public service and administration modernization.

    The United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service. It rewards the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide in four categories.

    The award's categories include "improving delivery of public services, "fostering participation in public policy-making decisions through innovative mechanisms", "promoting whole-of-government approaches in the information age", and "promoting gender-responsive delivery of public services."

    Besides Morocco, Brazil (Representing Latin America and the Caribbean), Thailand (Representing Asia Pacific) and Oman (representative of West Asia) were awarded the United Nations Public Service, presented on the sidelines of the 2014 United Nations Public Service Forum held in Seoul, South Korea on June 23-26.


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    Mohamed Choukri and the Wretched of the Earth

    By Wafa Idmessaoud

    Agadir - Born during a drastic famine in the Rif in 1935, Mohamed Choukri migrated with his parents to the city of Tangiers in 1942 where he lived most of his life. He held a variety of jobs—such as a shoe shiner, a smuggler, a greengrocer, a male prostitute, among others—to supplement his tyrannical father’s weak income. In 1955, at the age of twenty, Choukri managed to procure a place at a school in the town of Larache, where he finally decided to take up reading and writing. Accordingly, he managed to pull himself out of the vicious circle of dehumanization and ended up becoming a teacher at a high school in Tangiers. Later, he became one of the most well-known and widely-read writers in Morocco and overseas. His early experiences provided him with material for his first and successful project: Al Khubz Al Hafi (For Bread Alone), which was written in 1972 but not published in Arabic till 1982.

    During the last year of his life, Mohamed Choukri suffered from throat cancer, which compelled him to spend several months in Rabat’s military hospital. Nevertheless, he continued to embrace the company of his colleagues, such as Kamal Al Khamleeshi, Hassan Najmi, and Ahmed Berish, till the end of his life. This is apparent through his telling them tales and spreading a mood of joviality and optimism, even on his deathbed. On his last night, Choukri suffered an onslaught of pain causing an internal hemorrhage that took his life on December 13, 2003.

    He passed away after composing a splendid collection of novels initiated by his masterpiece: Al Khubz Al Hafi (For Bread Alone, 1972), Zaman Al Akhtaa (Time of Mistakes, 1992) and Al Souq Al Dakhili (The Inner Market, 1985); two collections of short stories: Majnoun Al Ward (Madman of the Roses, 1979), Al Khaima (The Tent, 1985); a play: Al Saada (Happiness, 1994); a series of his reflections on literature: Ghiwayat Al Shahrour Al Abyad (The Temptation of the White Blackbird, 1998); and his delightful accounts of his encounters with foreign writers, namely Paul Bowles, Jean Genet, and Tennessee Williams.

    As an eminent Rifain writer, Choukri lived to tell a tale that many people would rather not hear: in particular, those who are not accustomed to the type of outrageous truth in the Moroccan literary field. Due to this, the author was accused of being pornographic, delinquent, and homosexual. Al Khubz Al Hafi was banned shortly after its publication in many countries where there are restrictions of freedom of expression. In fact, that autobiography made Choukri the Moroccan writer most subject to attacks and negative criticism. Still other critics refuted the accusation that the work is a “succès de scandale.” For example, Mohamed Berrada considers Al Khubz Al Hafi an “important achievement in the field of Moroccan literature because it concretely shows a lot of issues which constitute common concerns for writers and critics.” Likewise, Najib Mahfoud assumes that autobiographies are given a certain value through the degree of reality they aim to impart to the reader, and any work of art should be estimated on the basis of artistic norms, not by ethical ones.

    More provocatively for many disagreeing critics, Choukri tends to break deep-rooted taboos and unveil the unspoken truth without regard to masks of language, social traditions, or habits and values of religion. Obviously, Al Khubz Al Hafi implicitly shows that ignorance, impoverishment, marginalization and the lack of moral principles are all factors leading humans to street life and delinquency.

    Edited by Katrina Bushko


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    Woman’s Picture Photoshopped in 25 Countries, Moroccan Version Leaves her breathless

    Casablanca- 24-year-old Esther Honig, a journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri, asked forty people from twenty-five countries to edit a photo of her. She says the photo she received from Morocco left her “breathless.”

    The British Daily Mail recently shared some of the photos Esther Honig received. Some of the entries she received, one of which is from Morocco, raised her eyebrows and left her speechless.

    Miss Honig says, of all the entries she received from around the globe, the image from Morocco left her 'breathless'

    “'The way the concept of ‘make me beautiful’ was interpreted in this [the Moroccan] instance left me breathless,” Honig was quoted by Daily Mail as saying.

    In the edited Moroccan image, Honig appears wearing a sky-blue Islamic veil, with Kohl—an ancient eye cosmetic, used by both sexes in Islamic culture—darkening her eyelids, along with a typical Arab make-up style. Her skin color also appears lighter in the Moroccan entry compared to the original image.

    Some of the other countries that took part in this experiment are the U.S., Argentina, the Philippines, Germany, Chile, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia. Entries from each of the countries brought staggeringly different modifications to the original photo with little to no similarities, according to the Daily Mail.

    Sharing what she has learned from this experiment, Honig told the Daily Mail, “I thought I would see more consistency in the images than I did or that some would exemplify commonly known stereotypes. I soon realized that people were pulling from not only their cultural constructs of beauty but also their personal aesthetic choices. There are many different images that leave us to speculate the ideals of beauty.”

    Yet, the most important lesson she learned from the experiment according to her is that “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.”


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