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Morocco News meets the World

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    Lakome's director Ali Anouzla

    RABAT - Moroccan police on Tuesday arrested the editor of a popular news website for airing a video posted by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb that incites "acts of terrorism" in the kingdom.

    Lakome's director Ali Anouzla was arrested mid-morning,  according to staff running the popular French and Arabic website, with police also seizing computer equipment from his office.

    The arrest follows the publication by Lakome of "a video attributed to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), containing a clear call and a direct incitement to commit acts of terrorism" in Morocco, the public prosecutor said in a statement.

    "Appropriate legal procedures will be applied in light of the investigation," the prosecutor added.

    The video in question, posted on the Internet last Thursday by AQIM and entitled 'Morocco: the kingdom of corruption and despotism,' calls for jihad in the north African country and lashes out at King Mohamed VI, who is pictured being engulfed in flames.

     It is thought to be the first of its kind singling out Morocco since AQIM, the jihadist network's north African franchise, was formed in 2007.

    The YouTube version of the video was removed for breaching the site's policy on violence.

    Its publication by Lakome had already drawn sharp criticism from Morocco's mostly pro-regime media.

    French-language daily L'Opinion called the decision "totally reprehensible," saying that by airing a video message defending terrorism Lakome "guarantees that it receives the widest possible audience."

    Morocco has suffered a number of attacks by Islamist militants over the past decade, the worst of which took place in Casablanca in 2003, when 12 suicide bombers blew themselves up killing 33 people.

    The authorities frequently announce the dismantling of jihadist cells with links to Al-Qaeda.

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    World Bank

    Washington-  The government of Morocco and the World Bank Group have launched the preparation of their new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for the period 2014-2017, the WB says in a press release.

    This strategy will define Morocco’s development priorities and areas of focus for World Bank Group’s support, should it be financial, technical or analytical, the same source adds. 

    Broad consultations will be carried out with public actors, the civil society, the private sector, donors, and other relevant development stakeholders to discuss and help define the areas of such support.

    The outcome of these consultations will ultimately inform the final CPS document, in coordination with the World Bank’s governmental counterparts, before being submitted to the World Bank Board of directors in February 2014.

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    EU and Morocco

    Brussels  -  The Morocco-EU joint parliamentary commission, which met Wednesday at the European Parliament here, called for a well-designed mobility policy.

    The joint commission stressed in its recommendations    that mobility is an extremely strategic element in relations between the EU and Morocco, proposing the implementation of provisions of the Partnership for mobility signed between the two sides last June. The Partnership for mobility provides for facilitating visa procedures for Moroccan citizens.

    The commission also urged for endeavoring to achieve Maghreb integration, given the potential it offers for employment, and promotion of development conditions in the region. The commission members welcomed in this context the setting up of the Maghreban bank for investments and foreign trade.

    MPS member of this commission looked into the advanced regionalization in Morocco and called for speeding up the process which is likely to promote the decentralization of power and financial resources as well as Morocco's development.

    Of economic relations between Morocco and the EU, the commission welcomed the start of negotiations for a complete and deep free-trade agreement and the initialing of the new fisheries protocol.

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    Morocco's Foreign Minister, Saad Dine El Otmani

    Brazilia- Morocco and Brazil signed here on Wednesday a convention for judiciary cooperation in civil affairs, under which they commit to extend each other judiciary assistance in family law, trade law and labor law.

    The convention signed by Morocco's minister of foreign affairs and cooperation Saad Dine El Otmani and Brazilian external affairs minister, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, stipulates that nationals of the two countries will enjoy the same rights in free access to courts, in matters of judiciary procedures and the same rights and duties.

    Moroccan and Brazilians citizens will also be exempted in the host country of any bail, deposit or any kind, associated with their status as foreigners or absence of address or residence in the country.

    El Otmani, who is paying a work visit in Brazil, reviewed on Wednesday with vice-president, Michel Temer and minister of external relations, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, means to consolidate bilateral cooperation in various fields.

    The Moroccan official said his visit is meant to assess with Brazilian partners political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries.

     "Since the visit of HM King Mohammed VI in 2004 to Brazil, relations between the two countries have been improving", he added, noting that the Latin American country is today Morocco's 1st economic partner in South American and 3rd customer in the world.

    A new airline will service starting next December Casablanca and Sao Paulo to intensify contacts between the two countries and encourage business operators to invest in Morocco, he went on.

    It was also agreed that the two countries will convene the 2nd session of their joint commission in the first quarter of 2014.

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    Nick Baird

    Casablanca - Morocco is a "top priority" for British businessmen in the region, due to its political stability and strong economic performance despite the global financial crisis, said on Thursday in Casablanca the Chief executive of the "UK Trade and Investment ", Nick Baird.

    "Morocco is a very important market for British companies and investors, given the stability and political reforms that it benefits, in addition to the good economic performance that was achieved despite the international financial crisis and the disruptions in the region, "said Mr. Baird at a conference on Morocco-Great Britain partnership.

    In this regard, he stressed the interest of the British companies in several sectors in Morocco, including finance, energy and industry.

    "We are interested in the development of Casa finance city center as well as by the cooperation in the energy sector, especially that Morocco has under-exploited reserves of oil and gas ", said Mr. Baird.

    Regarding the industry, he said that "there is a strong potential for cooperation between the Moroccan textile industry and British companies", noting that the recent agreement between the United Kingdom and the Canadian aerospace giant Bombardier is " a good example for other companies to settle in Morocco."

    In addition, the British official has noted that the priority given by HM King Mohammed VI to the development of economic relations between Morocco and sub-Saharan nations "offers significant opportunities to forge a strategic partnership with the United Kingdom."

    UK Trade and Investment works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies to look to the UK as their global partner of choice. It has professional advisers both within the UK and across more than 100 international markets.

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    Ali Anouzla's detention

     RABAT - A Moroccan journalist arrested last week for posting a link to an Al-Qaeda video threatening Morocco has been charged with defending and inciting "terrorism", his lawyers said on Wednesday.

    Ali Anouzla, director of the Arabic version of independent news website Lakome, was arrested on September 17 after his website posted a link to the video attributed to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the terror network's North African affiliate.

    Anouzla appeared before a judge at the court of appeal in Rabat on Tuesday evening, where the public prosecutor called for him to be investigated for "defending", providing "material assistance to," and "inciting terrorist acts", the prosecutor's office said.

    He was then formally charged on the basis of those accusations, two of his lawyers said on Wednesday.

    "He is being officially prosecuted and is now in custody," Omar Benjelloun told AFP.

    The journalist was transferred to Sale prison, near Rabat, where prisoners convicted on terrorism charges are held, after being detained at a police station in Casablanca since his arrest.

    Benjelloun said the judge now has five months to complete the investigation, which will be conducted within the framework of Morocco's anti-terrorist law.

    Police arrested Anouzla at his office and seized computer equipment after Lakome posted a link to Spanish newspaper El Pais's website, where the Al-Qaeda video could be watched.

    The 41-minute video, posted on the Internet on September 12 by AQIM and entitled "Morocco: the kingdom of corruption and despotism", calls for jihad in the North African country and lashes out at King Mohamed VI.

    Anouzla's arrest has been denounced by rights groups in and outside Morocco, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, amid calls for his release.

    Moroccan authorities, together with the main political parties and pro-regime media accuse Anouzla and Lakome of giving a platform to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

    The government has also threatened legal action against El Pais.

    Anouzla is an experienced journalist formerly with pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat who is known for sharply criticising state institutions, including the monarchy, effectively a taboo subject in the Moroccan media, and has been prosecuted in the past.

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    UAE aids to Morocco

    ABU DHABI - Oil-rich United Arab Emirates on Wednesday announced $100 million to Morocco in "financial support" to build solar and wind power farms, WAM state news agency said.

    The aid is aimed at supporting economic and social development, and supporting the drive to use clean and renewable energy, it said.

    The North African kingdom enjoys strong links with Gulf monarchies.

    The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council invited Morocco and Jordan in May 2011 to join the oil-rich bloc in the midst of Arab Spring uprisings that swept across several countries.

    The move was welcomed by Rabat whose new rapprochement with the GCC led to the signing of a partnership to finance development projects in Morocco worth more than $5 billion over five years.

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    Moroccan-Algerian border

    ALGIERS - Algeria has seized more than 127 tonnes of cannabis smuggled from Morocco in the first eight months of 2013, the head of the narcotics squad announced on Wednesday.   

    "In total, 127,098.875 kilos of cannabis resin... were seized in the first eight months of 2013," said Mohamed Zouggar, cited by official media.

       Zouggar said all the cannabis seized by the Algerian authorities came from Morocco.

       During the same period, 764,333 psychotropic pills of different kinds were picked up and more than 12,500 people implicated in the illegal drugs trade were arrested.

       Hashish hauls are a regular occurrence in Algeria, with its western neighbour being one of the top cannabis producers worldwide and Europe's main source.

       The drug is frequently smuggled across the border, officially closed since 1994, either for export or for local consumption, while subsidised Algerian fuel is smuggled into Morocco.

     In 2012, more than 157 tonnes of cannabis were sized in Algeria, compared with 53 tonnes in 2011, according to official figures.

       In June, Algiers heavily beefed up security along its western frontier, after calling for Rabat's help in combatting illegal cross-border trade.

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    Morocco and Israel flags

    Taroudant- According to an Israeli public agency for statistics, as reported by Yabiladi, Morocco is the seventh African customer of Israel.

     According to an Israeli public agency for statistics, as reported by Yabiladi, Morocco is the seventh African customer of Israel.

    South Africa is Israel’s first customer with $ 339.6 million during the first ten months of 2013, while Egypt comes third with $ 82.2 million.

    According to a note from the Central Bureau of Statistics, a public agency, exports from Israel to the Kingdom, recorded during the month of October, reached their peak, in comparison with the same period last year.

    “They went from only 400 thousand dollars, the same period in 2012, to 18.5 million this year,” says the note.

    “The Moroccan imports from Israel reported in 2012 increased dramatically by 216% while exports grew by 150%, or 42 million dirhams against 20 million in 2006”, said the Istiqlal MP Abdellah Bekkali on July 23, as reported by the same source.

    These commercial exchanges have much benefited Israelis than Moroccans, says the same source.

    The Kingdom imports from Israel mainly agricultural products (tomato seeds, potatoes and insecticides) and agricultural machinery.

    Despite the calls of some associations and political parties to criminalize any normalization with Israel, trading between the two states seems to be doing very well.

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

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    MoRCE.NET family

    Taroudant- After the success of Moroccan Resource Centers of English Network (MoRCE-Net) 1st conference held in Agadir, April 16-19, 2013, the 2nd conference under the theme “Promoting Lifelong Learning through Enhancement Activities and Project Work” took place November 16-18 in Marrakech in collaboration with the Ministry of National Education, the US Regional English Language Office (RELO) and the British Council.

    The event was not only an opportunity for more than 125 teachers from different regions of Morocco to meet and share their best practices in teaching English, but also a historic event that marked the announcement of 100 resource centers in varied locations around the kingdom.

    The event was held as a platform exclusively for ELT professionals (trainers, supervisors and teachers) to share practical and inspiring experiences that will help them create and run efficiently English resource centers in their schools.

    For this reason, the board of MoRCE-NET made it clear in their booklet that “Participation in this conference is limited to ELT professionals who have already established a resource center or have decided to create one”

    This promising national project aims to equip 100 resource centers all over the kingdom with educational equipments, tools and devices that will help the learners develop their linguistic, communicative, and cultural competencies.

    “Creating an English club is the first step to creating a healthy environment for teachers and learners to meet outside of the classroom to practice English,” Mohamed Bakkas,  a teacher of high school, told MWN

    The MoRCE-Net president Mr. Abdellatif Zoubair said that MoRCE-Net is a qualitative addition to the rest of the associations and centers that operate in the field of teaching and learning English in Morocco. Its main purpose is to provide spaces within educational institutions all over the kingdom to engage students in various activities and provide resources for learners in order to help them refine their talents and develop their linguistic, communicative and creative competencies.

     “As a novice teacher, I didn’t have a clear idea about the procedures of setting up an English club and how to efficiently manage it,” said an ELT participant to MWN

     “The workshops and presentations given by professional practitioners were of great importance to me,” she added.

    The participants were very satisfied with the higher level of professionalism in the presentations and workshops of all the speakers, and most of them showed considerable enthusiasm for creating a resource center in their school where they will put into practice the activities and skills they learned during the event.

    Photo credit: Rachid Tagoulla

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

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    trans-saharian film fest

    By Said Hanin

    Zagora, Morocco - Zagora Association for Transaharian Film is organizing its 10th annual International Film Festival of Zagora entitled “Cinema and Minorities”. The event will be held from 19 through 24 November, 2013 in Zagora, Morocco.

    This year’s festival will be chaired by Moroccan writer Tahar Benjloun. In addition to the Moroccan writer, the panel will consist of four other eminent national and international figures of cinema: Eric Garanadou, ex-director of National Center of Cinema and audiovisual of France, Egyptian Azza Lhoussaini, director of African Festival of Cinema in Louksour, Algerian Tahar Hawchi, film director and director of Oriental Film of Geneva and the   Moroccan comedian Fatima Kheir.

    The scheduled program is fraught with significant activities that will inevitably be the subject of attraction for various film buffs from all over the world.

    For the first time since its inception, the 10th edition of the Zagora film festival is introducing a feature film competition. It has also added to the screenplay competition that is held annually on desert-related themes, including: Water, nomadism, ways of life in oasis, mores and habits, Kasbahs, climate change and so on…

    Several countries are expected to take part in this 10th edition of the festival—among which are Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, France, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Russia and The United Arab Emirates…

    Furthermore, France 24 magazine director Ali Oujdana will chair the panel of judges who will be critiquing the media. In addition to Oujdana, the panel will also include Moroccan reporter Ouafae Bennani, Egyptian reporter for Nile TV, Passant Hassan, as well as Moroccan critics Mohamed Chaouki and Ait Omar El Mokhtar.

    The festival also allots space for young people to expose their talents with filmmaking through cinema workshops. The latter will be moderated by experts through film review, documentary film, film editing, decoration and filmmaking… This year, the organizers intend to again meet outdoors—as it has become the tradition of the festival to screen collections of Moroccan and international films in the open air.

    The event is also a propitious occasion for film buffs to watch a cycle of thematic films that address issues in cinema concerning ethnic, cultural, and linguistic minorities. The festival will be followed by a seminar over the same subject animated by expert from Morocco and abroad.

    The 10th Anniversary of the International Film Festival of Zagora will honour two well-known stars of cinema in the Arab world, Moroccan actress Fatima Kheir, who was awarded Best TV Actress in 2012, and Egyptian Abelaziz Makhyoun, who at the current age of 70, has starred in many cinematic works such as Alexandira, Why?, 1976 and History “1986”.

    According to the statement by the  Zagora Association For Transaharian Film, their purpose behind this festival  lays  in “asserting a cinematographic show as a noble entertainment as well as a cultural practice, promoting creativity in regard with art and creating a space where professionals can converge and discuss cinema-related subjects.”

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

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    british council

    Taroudant- The British Council will organize an annual global skills partnership seminar “Bringing the Learning Home 2013”. The seminar, which will be held in Casablanca on November27-28, will focus on international collaboration in the skills sector.

    The event, which will host regional and international skills employers and policy makers from “more than fifteen countries”, aims to “facilitate and develop innovative international skills partnerships in the skills sector between organizations in the UK and around the world,” says the Birtish Council in a press release.

    "Bringing the Learning Home provides invaluable networking opportunities, and acts as a springboard to the further development of international partnerships," Ilham Nasser Al Maskari, Coordinator, Higher College of Technology in Oman, said.

    According to the news release, the program for the seminar includes “sessions on partnership initiation and development; facilitated networking opportunities with key international stakeholders; and the announcement of funding opportunities to support new partnerships with Morocco in 2014.”

    The British Council has been a major partner and sponsor of educational and cultural events and programs organized by different actors in the field of English language teaching and cultural studies in Morocco.

    Roland Singer-Kingsmith, who is organizing the conference, and in charge of managing the British Council's new Skills for Employability program in Morocco, told MWN that the associations and existing project leaders that are working in the education sector in Morocco, more specifically those involved in advancing the English language teaching in the Moroccan schools, “are invited to take part in the seminar which will give  them opportunities to create partnerships with the international skills employers and world stakeholders from more than fifteen countries that will attend the seminar.”

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

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    Ruby and Berlusconi’s Affair, Moroccan Minister Unveils New Facts

    Casablanca- On Monday, Mohamed Moubdie, the Moroccan Minister of Public Service and Administrative Modernization, shared controversial information with Moroccan newspaper Al Akhbar about the affair between Silvio Berlusconi and “Ruby.”

    Moubdie told Al Akhbar that “Ruby was not a minor when she had a sexual affair with the Italian politician.”

    In 2010, Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy, was pronounced guilty of soliciting sex from a Moroccan nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, also known as Ruby Rubacuori, who was said to still be a minor at that time.

    According to Moubdie, he was the one who signed El Mahroug’s birth certificate in 1992, while he was still the president of the municipal council in Fqih Ben Saleh (200 kilometres from Casablanca). Hence, Ruby was not a minor when she had an affair with Berlusconi.

    According to Italian press, Berlusconi’s defense requested that investigations be carried out concerning Moubdie’s controversial statements.

    Souad Sbari, a former Italian lawmaker  called on the prosecutor to intervene in order to elucidate the case and retrieve the original documentation concerning Ruby’s date of birth. Sbai also demanded the Minister testify in the case.

    “It's a story that should not be swept under the carpet, because Italians want to know the truth once and for all about this issue," Sbai told the Italian media.

    Subsequently, the Attorney General of Milan opened investigations on 45 people suspected of perjury in their testimonials concerning Silvio Berlusconi’s affair.

    However, according to daily newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum, Moubdie denied having shared any facts about Berlusconi’s affair with Al Akhbar.

    “I did not unveil any facts about the affair simply because I do not have any information about it,” the Minister said.

    But a recording of the interview conducted with the Minister by Moroccan journalist Bouchra Dou clearly confirms that the official stated that Ruby was not minor when she had an affair with Berlusconi.

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

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    Abdelazim El Guerrouj

    Sidi Ifni, Morocco- Moroccan Minister of Vocational Training Abdeladim El Guerrouj, has been accused of using state funds to make a purchase of chocolate estimated at $4,000.

    After the controversy caused by this accusation, the members of his party decided to stand up for him and rebuke what it described as “the fierce campaign launched to tarnish the reputation of the Minister.”

    The Party of the Popular MovementOn Thursday, the party of the Popular Movement issued a communiqué in which it denied that the Minister made such a purchase.

    The Minister was accused of paying a chocolate bill with state funds on October 10, 2013, while he was in charge of the Ministry of Public Service and the Modernization of Administration.

    The Party explained that the investigation opened by the current Minister of Public Service has proven that state funds were not used to pay the chocolate bill.

    For his part, the Minister resorted to court intervention following the information published by the daily Al Akhbar. According to El Guerrouj, this information, "lacks veracity."

    The Minister reiterated that he was completely innocent. “The accusations are false; they have nothing to do with me whatsoever,” he said.

    “We must not forget that any transaction of public administration goes through a number of procedures,” El Guerrouj explained. “My family paid the chocolate bill,“ he added.

    Edited by Katrina Bushko

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

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    Moroccan woman dies after her scarf was allegedly caught in escalator  (Photo courtesy Journaldemontreal)

    Taroudant, Morocco- According to Journaldemontreal, Naima Rharouity a Moroccan woman was found dead Thursday morning in the Fabre metro station in Montreal, in mysterious circumstances.

    The same source added that the exact causes surrounding the death of Naima Rharouity were still unknown.

    The Quebec Montreal Agency (QMI) said that Naima Rharouity, 47, has died after her scarf got snagged in an escalator at a Montreal Metro station and strangled her.

    "What we know now is that the woman's scarf was caught in the escalator. When she bent over to try to get the scarf out, her hair was also caught," Police spokesman Jean-Pierre Brabant was quoted by BBC as saying.

    The Canadian website Canoe said that relatives and friends of Naima Rharouity could not understand how the hijab she was wearing could strangle her since she could remove it quickly when she was stuck.

    ''This is a fabric that is so thin and easy to remove. She could have easily removed it. It does not make any sense to me that she died because of that,'' said a relative, who spoke to Canoe on condition of anonymity.

    Mrs. Rharouity, a mother of two children living in the Villeray district, had recently immigrated to Quebec. She was a volunteer for Project Villeray in the East.

    "She was involved in various activities and helped us to organize large parties to help newcomers to integrate. She loved helping others and was very generous, "said Magdouda Oudjit, director of the Maison de Quartier Villeray organization, which works in collaboration with Project Villeray in Eastern.

    Oudjit added that the Maghrebian community is organizing a fundraising to support the family in this tragedy.

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

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    King Mohammed VI receives Indian FM in Marrakech

    Marrakech- King Mohammed VI received, on Saturday at the Marrakech royal palace, Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid who is on an official visit to Morocco.

    On this occasion, the King commended the fact that India and Morocco are coming closer over the past years as shows this first visit by an Indian foreign minister to Morocco, said a statement by the royal office.

     The sovereign expressed Morocco's resolve to foster friendship and cooperation ties with India, it said.

     Khurshid hailed the positive evolution of bilateral ties economically and regarding investment thanks to the bold and successful reforms by the Kingdom under the leadership of HM the King.

     The Indian official highlighted the promising prospects for reinforcing ties mainly in the field of political consultations, multilateral coordination and human development, it said.

     Several international and regional issues of shared interest were discussed during this meeting as the reform of the UN system and the situation in the Maghreb, the Middle-East and sub-Saharan Africa, the source said.

     The royal audience was attended mainly by foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar, and India's ambassador in Rabat Krishan Kumar.


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    Atlas Lions Crash Mozzambique 4-0 to Qualify for the African Cup of Nations

    Rabat- Now, it is official. The Moroccan national team will play a friendly match against Gabon at the Marrakech Stadium on March 5th, Football Royal Federation said on Friday. 

    However, it hasn’t yet been officially confirmed who is going to be in charge of the Lions in their friendly encounter against the Gabonese Panthers. But sources quoted by Hespress website said that the Football Royal Federation is considering naming one coach from a list comprised of Hassan Benabicha, Abdullah Al Idrissi and Dutch national Pim Verbeek.

    The three coaches will meet members of the Royal Federation next week in order to choose the name who will lead the Moroccan squad in the friendly clash against the Gabonese side, added the same sources.

    The chosen coach will not stay on top of the Moroccan national team for a long time, but only until the election of a new head for the Royal Federation who will name a new coach ahead of the African Cup of Nations to be organized in Morocco next year.

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

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    Dr. Khalid Sossey-Alaoui

    Casablanca- Led by Khalid Sossey-alaoui, a Moroccan research assistant at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, a team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (Ohio, U.S.) have made important findings in their studies on ways to tackle triple-negative breast cancer.

    Triple-negative breast cancer is a deadly, extremely aggressive breast cancer subtype. It represents about 20 percent of all breast cancers. Unlike other types of breast cancer, triple-negative breast cancer does not have drugs that target substances in the human body.

    The team of researchers is led by Dr. Khalid Sossey-Alaoui, a Moroccan assistant research professor in the department of molecular cardiology at the Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.

    According to their latest finding, the researchers have found a way to slow down the spread of triple-negative breast cancer by preventing two proteins constitutive of human cells from interacting with each other. 

    The research team is now seeking to collect enough funding to be able to move their research onward, and their leader, Sossey-Alaoui, is confident that his team of diligent researchers is going to reach prominent findings.

    "The first 10 years were trying to understand what’s going on,” Cleveland Clinic’s official website quoted Sossey-Alaoui as saying. “We’re beyond that now."

    In 1990, Khalid Sossey-Alaoui graduated from Hassan II-Ain Chok University in Casablanca with a B.A. in General Biology. He then completed his PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology in Montpellier 2 University in France. He was an Affiliate Member at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center before moving to Cleveland Clinic, where he currently holds the position of a Research Assistant Professor.

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


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    Indian Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid

    Marrakech- Indian foreign minister Shri Salman Khurshid expressed, Saturday, his country's determination to foster cooperation ties with Morocco.

    India wants to foster its cooperation with Morocco in the economic, academic and security fields, in addition to the counter-terrorism area, Khurshid told the press after an audience granted by HM King Mohammed VI at the Marrakech royal palace.

     He said he was honored to meet the sovereign to whom he conveyed the greetings of the Indian president and prime minister.

     He said that his visit to Morocco was very successful and that it opens a new chapter in bilateral ties.

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    article 475

    New Jersey- Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code has finally been amended to correct its abhorrent policy of allowing a rapist to marry his underage victim.

    The amendment not only strikes the second paragraph, which refers to marriage, but it also increases a rapist’s prison sentence to a maximum of five years and 500 MAD in fines. This is, I believe, a much more acceptable consequence for such a repugnant act.

    Although it’s been two years since the suicide of Amina Filali, no longer will rapists receive “get out of jail free” cards. Rape is a serious crime, and should be treated as such. It makes one wonder how article 475 was passed in the first place. The question of rape and virginity is highly debated due to its standing in religion; however, the Moroccan penal code is not based on Islamic jurisprudence and so should not have had any theological influence (if, indeed, this was the argument for the marriage clause).

    Regardless, what does this amendment mean for Moroccan girls? For one, it is a step in the right direction of gender equality. No longer will they be forced into marriages with the person who has both physically and psychologically traumatized them. Men who rape girls will no longer escape the consequences of their actions; instead, they will pay for their maliciousness. With this amendment, victimized girls can take comfort in knowing that their rapist will face justice. But this is only one step in the struggle for women’s rights.

    This amendment, the 2004 Moudawana, and 2011 Constitution have made great strides in gender equality, but there is still so much to be done. Morocco can further protect its women by enacting non-violence and harassment laws. Over the years, the Kingdom has failed to pass laws that penalize violence against women. This is an incredibly important step Parliament must take to ensure that Moroccan women are protected equally under law.

    But even laws will not completely rid Morocco of rape and violence against women: there must be social change at the grassroots level to help close the gender gap. If from an early age men were more inclined to treat women with respect, situations like Amina’s would occur less frequently.

    Sustainable social development must be implemented in order to change the mindsets of young Moroccan men. This could be through education or religious teachings, but the fact is that women’s rights must be perceived as human rights that men must respect.

    Even so, we can now say that Amina’s death was not in vain. Rest in peace, sister.

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

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