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King Mohammed VI has performed Eid al-Fitr prayers in Fez, taking into account COVID-19 preventive measures, including social distancing.

Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan and Prince Moulay Rachid accompanied the King during the prayers.

The prayers took place without a sermon as part of the measures adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Traditionally, the prayers take place in a bigger space, with many participants, including officials.

On Wednesday, King Mohammed VI also sent messages of congratulations to Arab leaders, expressing best wishes to all heads of state of Islamic countries.

Like 2020, Moroccans had to perform Eid prayers at home after the government announced a decision to ban prayers in mosques during the morning of Eid.

The Islamic Affairs Ministry cited the difficulty of ensuring preventive measures, including social distancing.

Morocco also announced the decision to maintain a night curfew and lockdown measures, including movement restrictions between cities across the country.

Morocco records lower case numbers of COVID-19 in recent weeks. Authorities see it important to continue to adopt strict measures to combat the pandemic and new strains.

Morocco acknowledged that the health authorities confirmed cases of the British and Indian strains, warning citizens to take all precautionary measures seriously to avoid a worrying crisis.

Morocco recorded 514,432 COVID-19 cases, including 501, 692 recoveries, and 9,088 deaths as of May 12.

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Tensions between Israel and Palestine are reaching new highs after a night of violence between protesters and security forces in Jerusalem. Israeli security forces fired percussion grenades into the Al Aqsa mosque on the night of Friday, as they attempted to clear protesters that had gathered in front of the Islamic holy site.

Over 205 protesters were injured, as well as 17 police officers after a night of violent clashes.

Tens of thousands had again gathered in front of Al Aqsa mosque for Friday prayers where they were met with a heavy police presence. As the sun went down in Jerusalem, clashes emerged as worshipers used the occasion to protest recent Israeli moves that attempted to increase its grip on East Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine.

Images of shock grenades exploding inside the mosque amid a crowd of screaming worshipers spread rapidly online as Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli police.

Protests decried recent moves by Israel’s government to effectively encircle Palestinian neighborhoods and evict residents from Palestine’s capital in East Jerusalem. 

The international community has warned Israel about the illegality of its attempts to chip away at Palestinian territory by building illegal settlements around Palestinian-majority neighborhoods while evicting local residents.

Online activists have tried to raise awareness about the ongoing Israeli efforts to intimidate and expel local residents in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. They have faced intense censorship from the world’s largest social media companies, with posts being removed and accounts suspended. 

Israeli officials have before bragged about their ability to censor their opposition on these platforms, highlighting that 95% of Israeli requests to censor content are approved.

In the face of online censorship and continued Israeli efforts to expand its grip on Jerusalem, protesters faced off with local police on Friday. With tensions between Israel and Palestine again on the rise, locals appear to feel they have little recourse left in the face of Israel’s repeated violations of international law and a clear disregard for UN resolutions.

 

 

 

 

 

source: morocco world news

Few weeks ago, the Israeli embassy in Morocco was distributing Sadaqa, and now China is doing the same thing.. I am sick & tired to see other countries giving us a handout & Sadaqa ! Moroccans are capable of working and make a decent living on their own. Why such a humiliation ? As Moroccan, I am ashamed and disgusted to see what-is-so-called slavery still exist in 21st century while Morocco has enough resources for all Moroccans to live comfortably.. What we need is to eradicate Corruption/Rachwa, NOT Sadaqa & handout from others !

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The US embassy’s charge d’affaires is satisfied with the cooperation linking his country and Morocco.

The Charge d’Affaires at the US embassy in Morocco, David Greene, discussed the strong bonds between Washington and Rabat in recent remarks.

The diplomat extolled cooperation between his country and Morocco during an interview  on Sunday in a TV program aired by MEDI1 TV.

In the interview, Greene emphasized the quality of the cooperation between his country and Morocco in various fields, including tourism.

Greene said that the tourism sector experienced a “great boom” before COVID-19.

The number of American tourists who visited Morocco before COVID-19 reached nearly half a million, he said. Greene also expressed his hope to see the number grow after the pandemic.

The US diplomat also touted security cooperation between Rabat and Washington, saying the two allies work in this field to preserve stability in the MENA region.

Greene emphasized that Morocco and the US share common interests. He described Rabat as an “important” and a “close” partner for the US in several peacekeeping operations and counterterrorism missions.

The US official also mentioned Morocco’s key contribution to the Atlas Lion program, the largest American military exercises in Africa. The program constitutes a crucial military training opportunity not only for the US but for all of its partners in Africa, he argued.

The US-Morocco joint military exercise is due to take place in June.

This year, more than 700 troops will travel to North Africa to participate in the US-Morocco joint military exercises.

African Lion is the largest military exercise in Africa. The US will send approximately 4,000 service members.

Approximately 5,000 troops from the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, the Tunisian Armed Forces, Senegalese Armed Forces, as well from Italy, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, will participate.

“Moroccan-American security relations largely benefit both countries and the entire region,” Greene said.

His remarks followed similar cooperation talks between Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Blinken held his first phone conversation with Bourita on April 30, celebrating the cooperation the two countries enjoy.

“They discussed opportunities to increase cooperation in Africa to promote economic prosperity and stability and the Secretary highlighted Morocco’s key role in fostering stability in the Sahel and Libya,” a statement from the Department of State said of the discussion.

As well as lauding Morocco’s key role in fostering stability in the Sahel and Libya, Blinken noted Morocco’s role in combating climate change through its renewable energy approach.

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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Morocco celebrated the first annual international day of Argania and members of the UN praised the country’s conservation efforts.

Morocco celebrated its first international day of Argania, a holiday to honor the Argan tree and its unique impact on Morocco’s society and econom

In March 2021, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed May 10 to be the International Day of Argania. Morocco proposed the resolution in early 2021 and 113 member states cosigned. The resolution sought to underline the economic and ecological importance of the Argan tree in Morocco.

In 1988, UNESCO designated a space of more than 2,560,000 hectares as the Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve. In 2014, UNESCO added the Argan Tree to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Since the inauguration of the Green Morocco Plan, the kingdom has worked diligently to employ new practices for sustainability and conservation efforts.  

Morocco’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Omar Hilale, commented on the relationship between the Argan tree and the Green Morocco Plan during a videoconference with the UN.

“We want it to be a catalyst for international cooperation to support the socio-economic fabric of the Argan tree, rural women entrepreneurs, cooperatives, civil society, scientists, and local producers to innovate and strengthen the value chains of Argania,” Hilale said during the meeting.

Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests Aziz Akhannouch also noted that the government plans to plant an additional 50,000 hectares of Argan trees by 2030, in accordance with the Green Morocco Plan.

Volkan Bozkir, the president of the General Assembly of the United Nations, called Morocco’s policy on protecting Argan trees “a model of best practice for all.”

Bozkir added that the international day of Argania raises “awareness of its [the Argan trees] vital role in maintaining ecological balances, preserving biodiversity and its contribution to sustainable development.”

He underlined the additional economic importance of the Argan tree, stating: “The efforts made by the Kingdom of Morocco have made it possible to protect and expand a sector that now represents 10% of the market share.”

Argan oil is considered Morocco’s liquid gold and its market size was valued at $70.3 million in a report by Grand View Research in 2018. The report predicts the value to increase 20.7% by 2025. 

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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The US government issued emergency legislation on Sunday after the largest fuel pipeline in the US was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack.

The Colonial Pipeline carries 2.5 million barrels a day - 45% of the East Coast's supply of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.

It was completely knocked offline by a cyber-criminal gang on Friday and is still working to restore service.

The emergency status enables fuel to be transported by road.

A total of 18 states have been granted a temporary hours of service waiver for transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined petroleum products to Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Experts say fuel prices are likely to rise 2-3% on Monday, but the impact will be far worse if it goes on for much longer.

Independent oil market analyst Gaurav Sharma told the BBC there is a lot of fuel now stranded at refineries in Texas.

"Unless they sort it out by Tuesday, they're in big trouble," said Mr Sharma. "The first areas to be impacted would be Atlanta and Tennessee, then the domino effect goes up to New York."

He said oil futures traders were now "scrambling" to meet demand, at a time when US inventories are declining, and demand - especially for vehicular fuels - is on the rise as consumers return to the roads and the US economy attempts to shake off the effects of the pandemic.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the ransomware attack was caused by a cyber-criminal gang called DarkSide, who infiltrated Colonial's network on Thursday and took almost 100GB of data hostage.

After seizing the data, the hackers locked the data on some computers and servers, demanding a ransom on Friday. If it is not paid, they are threatening to leak it onto the internet.

Colonial said it is working with law enforcement, cyber-security experts and the Department of Energy to restore service.

 

On Sunday evening it said that although its four mainlines remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational.

"Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring," the firm said.

"We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations."

The temporary waiver issued by the Department of Transportation enables oil products to be shipped in tankers up to New York, but this would not be anywhere near enough to match the pipeline's capacity, he warned.

While DarkSide is not the largest such gang in this space, the incident highlights the increasing risk ransomware is posing to critical national industrial infrastructure, not just businesses.

It also marks the rise of an insidious criminal IT eco-system worth tens of millions of pounds, that is unlike anything the cyber-security industry has ever seen before.

 

In addition to a notice on their computer screens, victims of a DarkSide attack receive an information pack informing them that their computers and servers are encrypted.

The gang lists all the types of data it has stolen, and sends victims the URL of a "personal leak page" where the data is already loaded, waiting to be automatically published, should the company or organisation not pay before the deadline is up.

DarkSide also tells victims it will provide proof of the data it has obtained, and is prepared to delete all of it from the victim's network.

According to Digital Shadows, a London-based cyber-security firm that tracks global cyber-criminal groups to help enterprises limit their exposure online, DarkSide operates like a business.

The gang develops the software used to encrypt and steal data, then trains up "affiliates", who receive a toolkit containing the software, a template ransomware demand email, and training on how to carry out attacks.

The affiliate cyber-criminals then pay DarkSide a percentage of their earnings from any successful ransomware attacks.

And when it released a new software in March that could encrypt data faster than before, the gang issued a press release and invited journalists to interview it.

The gang even has a website on the dark web where it brags about its work in detail, listing all the companies it has hacked and what was stolen, and an "ethics" page where it says which organisations it will not attack.

It also works with "access brokers" - nefarious hackers who work to harvest the login details for as many working user accounts on various services as they can find.

Rather than break into these accounts and alert users or the service providers, these brokers sit on the usernames and passwords and sell them off to the highest bidders - cyber-criminal gangs who want to use them to carry out much larger crimes.

How did the attack occur?

Digital Shadows thinks the Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack has come about due to the coronavirus pandemic - the rise of engineers remotely accessing control systems for the pipeline from home.

James Chappell, co-founder and chief innovation officer at Digital Shadows, believes DarkSide bought account login details relating to remote desktop software like TeamViewer and Microsoft Remote Desktop.

He says it is possible for anyone to look up the login portals for computers connected to the internet on search engines like Shodan, and then "have-a-go" hackers just keep trying usernames and passwords until they get some to work.

"We're seeing a lot of victims now, this is seriously a big problem now," said Mr Chappell.

"Every day there's new victims. The amount of small businesses that are falling victim to this - it's becoming a big problem for the economy globally."

Mr Chappell added that Digital Shadows' research showed the cyber-criminal gang is likely based in a Russian-speaking country, as it seems to avoid attacking companies in the Commonwealth of Independent States - an organisation of the countries of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

 
 
 
 
source: BBC news
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The Chinese rocket has come down.

 

The 23-ton core stage of a Long March 5B boostercrashed back to Earth Saturday night (May 8), ending 10 controversial days aloft that captured the attention of the world and started a wider conversation about orbital debris and responsible spacefaring.

The Long March 5B reentered the atmosphere over the Arabian Peninsula at about 10:15 p.m. EDT Saturday (0215 GMT on Sunday, May 9), according to U.S. Space Command.

"It's unknown if the debris impacted land or water," Space Command officials wrote in a brief update Saturday night.

But some analysts have identified a watery grave for any rocket hunks that managed to survive the intense heat of re-entry. For example, Space-Track.org stated on Twitter Saturday night that the Long March "fell into the Indian Ocean north of the Maldives," an idyllic island chain off India's southwest coast.

The Long March 5B launched the core module for China's new space station on April 28. Instead of ditching safely into the ocean when its work was done, however, the rocket's first stage reached orbit, becoming a piece of space junk just waiting to crash down on its home planet after feeling enough atmospheric drag.

And this was not an isolated incident. The same thing happened last year with a different Long March 5B core, which fell uncontrolled over the Atlantic Ocean off the West African coast. Some large pieces of debris from that reentry apparently made it to the ground in the nation of Ivory Coast, though no injuries were reported.

 

In addition, China's first prototype space lab, Tiangong 1, which was designed to help pave the way for the new space station, had its own space-junk phase after completing its mission. The 8-ton craft fell to Earth uncontrolled in April 2018, burning up over the Pacific Ocean.

Only three human-made objects heavier than those two Long March 5B cores have ever fallen uncontrolled from space, according to astronomer and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell, who's based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. 

Those three are the 83-ton Skylab space station, which crashed over Australia in July 1979; the 50-ton upper stage of the Saturn V rocket that launched Skylab, which came down over the Atlantic Ocean west of Madeira in January 1975; and the Soviet Union's Salyut 7 space station and attached Kosmos-1686 module, which together weighed about 43 tons and re-entered over Argentina in February 1991. (Sadly, the space shuttle Columbia could also be considered here; the 117-ton orbiter broke apart during its reentry in February 2003, killing all seven astronauts aboard.)

Many people in the space community have criticized China over the Long March 5B incidents, accusing the nation's space program of behaving carelessly, if not recklessly. One such reproval came on Saturday from new NASA chief Bill Nelson.

"Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations," Nelson wrote in a statement posted before the rocket came down.

"It is clear that China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris," he added. "It is critical that China and all spacefaring nations and commercial entities act responsibly and transparently in space to ensure the safety, stability, security and long-term sustainability of outer space activities."

 

 

 

 


source: Mike Wall
@Spacedotcom 

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Despite concerns regarding its unknown landing site, the world has used hashtags to share humor regarding the Chinese rocket.

Today, the BBC reported that debris from the Chinese rocket is expected to fall to Earth this weekend.

The US is monitoring the rocket but still has no plans as to when to shoot it down.

US Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, said on Thursday that his country is hopeful that the segment would land “hopefully in the ocean, or someplace like that” in a place where “it won’t harm anyone.”

Experts believe that the debris from the rocket might reach the Earth by late Saturday or early Sunday.

Amid concerns and projections, social media users took to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, among other platforms to share sarcasm, humor, and funny memes regarding the rogue Chinese rocket.

“We are really confused about what to wait for between Laylat Al Qadr (night of destiny) crescent moon for Eid Al Fitr, or the Chinese rocket,” an Arab internet user wrote on Twitter, using a photo of two Egyptian actors looking for something in the sky.

China launched the Long March 5B rocket in late April to carry the “first module of China’s future space station into orbit,” the BBC reported.

The rocket weighs 22.5 tonnes.

Several experts criticized China for the incident.

Recently, astronomer Jonathan McDowell called China’s negligence “unacceptable” and said, “Since 1990 nothing over 10 tons has been deliberately left in orbit to reenter uncontrolled.”

 

 

 

 

 

source: morocco world news 

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The Chandler Government Index ranks Morocco 33rd for its “attractive marketplace” and an overall global ranking of 61st out of 104 in terms of government capabilities.

The Chandler Good Government Index (CGGI) released its 2021 report, featuring Morocco among the top 40 countries with an “attractive marketplace.

The “attractive marketplace” is one of the CGGI’s pillars or indicators, which help the index make its global ranking.

Morocco’s Attractive Marketplace ranks 33rd, featuring among the 40 top countries.

The global report positions Morocco 61st in the global ranking out of 104 countries. The index dedicated a whole section to discuss Morocco’s growing marketplace.

“The Kingdom of Morocco is the only lower-middle income country to be featured within the top 40 of the Attractive Marketplace Pillar (ranked 33rd in this pillar and 61st overall),” the report said.

The index also highlighted Morocco’s strategic geography, serving both as the gateway to Africa and Europe.

“The Moroccan economy has taken important strides over the last two decades,” the Chandler Good Government Index said.

The report also pointed to Morocco’s attractiveness for foreign investment and the country’s ability to stand firm against the economic crisis that emerged after the Arab Spring.

“Morocco ranked 56th on the Attracting Investments indicator, but there are some notable recent developments that suggest an upward trend in this important area,” the document argues.

Morocco’s agriculture sector “generated growth” as one of the key sectors, according to the report. The sector, which positively impacts employment, contributes to Morocco’s GDP by 19%.

The report also celebrated Morocco’s Green Plan, a project that the North African country introduced to develop the agriculture sector.

In addition to the “attractive marketplace” pillar, the index indicators include “leadership and foresight,” “robust laws and policies,” “strong institutions,” “financial stewardship,” healthcare and social services, as well global reputation and influence.

Alongside the “attractive marketplace”, Morocco also ranks 44th in Global Influence and Reputation.

The pillar assesses countries’ performances in several areas, including international trade, international diplomacy, and nation brand.

Morocco has a diversified list of partners, with which the country has important trade relations.

Online data shows Morocco is the EU’s 21st biggest trade partner, representing 1% of the EU’s total global trade in goods in 2020.

“Morocco is the EU’s biggest trade partner among the Southern Neighbourhood countries, with 25% of the total EU trade in goods with the region,” the EU said.

Morocco also maintains good trade cooperation with Arab and African countries.

The North African country expanded cooperation with partners throughout the world’s continent in terms of diplomatic relations.

Officials and authorities in Morocco frequently hold consultations and exchange meetings as part of foreign bilateral ties.

The North African country also has a good ranking in terms of robust laws and policies, which discuss the rule of law, quality of judiciary, transparency, and regulatory governance.

Morocco ranks 47th in “financial stewardship,” which covers government debt, country budget surplus, spending efficiency, and country risk premium.

Meanwhile, the North African country ranks 79th in terms of “strong institutions,” 63rd in terms of “leadership and foresight,” and 78th in “helping people rise.”

 

Source: Morocco World News.

 

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Ramadan is the ultimate test of resilience and brings out the best of Moroccan society.

Although I have spent nearly two years in Morocco, I have always somehow missed the opportunity to spend Ramadan in-country. This year, I finally have the chance to spend Ramadan in Morocco and experience all the feelings of camaraderie and goodwill that often go hand-in-hand with Ramadan.

Since my initial discovery of Islam and the Moroccan culture, fasting has always seemed daunting. I was fortunate enough to spend a year in Meknes, Morocco where I dove into studying Modern Standard Arabic and subsequently, Islam. I lived with a Moroccan family for a year and got a firsthand look at the festivities of Ramadan during Eid al-Fitr.

Although I’m a Christian, I have always been fascinated by the holy month of Ramadan. My social circle in America consists primarily of Muslims and I’ve had many unique opportunities to partake in Ramadan festivities such as attending ftour at local mosques and Eid al-Adha celebrations. I’ve always dreamed of spending Ramadan in a Muslim country to feel the true spirit of Ramadan.

For me, Ramadan is about feeling closer to God, spending time with loved ones, and of course, fasting.

The first few days of Ramadan in Morocco have been surreal. I knew fasting would be a physical challenge but I did not consider the mental fortitude required to fast from sunrise to sunset. Racing the call to prayer and consuming liters of water at 4:00 a.m is no easy feat but the hardest challenge has been resisting temptation. 

By 5:00 p.m, your body is sounding the alarms for nutrients and water. By 6:00 p.m, one can’t help but count the minutes until the maghreb prayer. 

For my first ftour, I decided to cook something traditional: harira soup with a side of chebakia. After a long day of work, it was extremely tiring to prepare the tomato-based, traditional soup. However, the first taste was more than worth it as flavors of saffron and chickpeas blended with the sweetness of the chebakia.

The next day, I was lucky enough to be invited to a colleagues house for ftour. As the saying goes, “there is nothing like a home cooked meal.” In the name of tradition, we broke the fast with a date and a glass of milk. Then, we dove into a mound of seffa medfouna prepared by my colleagues mother. Seffa medfouna is the perfect combination of salty and sweet as it features tender, marinated chicken covered by a mound of sweet vermicelli noodles. The dish is topped with cinnamon, crushed almonds, raisins, and powdered sugar and is the perfect meal after a long day of fasting.  

seffa medfouna

Fasting has opened my eyes to a new side of determination. Luckily, fasting in Morocco is made slightly easier by everyone being supportive of each other. The sense of community in Morocco is unparalleled and Ramadan has only heightened the feelings of fellowship, especially when it comes to fasting.

When American friends ask, “Why Morocco?” I always answer, “you simply wouldn’t understand unless you visited, the people are more friendly and welcoming than one could imagine.”

In America, many often fall into a strict daily routine which offers little time for social interaction. However, Moroccans understand the importance of companionship and implement it into every aspect of their lives. What some call tberguig (nosiness), I call caring for one another.

Fasting has been a spiritual journey for me and I look forward to spending each day fasting alongside members of the community. I am grateful to be accepted into Moroccan society with open arms and take pride in knowing I have the unique opportunity to experience Ramadan in Morocco with my Muslim peers.

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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The US pharmaceutical giant cashing in on a pandemic that has killed 3.2m people while failing to help the world’s poor is morally indefensible, and illustrates the corrupt nature of monopoly medicine.

As the New York Times reported, Pfizer generated hundreds of millions in profits in the first quarter of 2021, thanks to its successful Covid-19 vaccine. What’s interesting about the company’s success, however, is that its vaccine is one of just two widely used that are produced on a for-profit basis – and the only one whose manufacturer is not reliant on it to stay afloat. Pfizer’s windfall this year is, in essence, a windfall for monopoly medicine.

Unlike its Western competitors Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, Pfizer decided early to profit from its vaccine. That profit margin hasn’t been disclosed, but it was predicted that this would be in the high 20% range. That means that, of the $3.5 billion brought in by the vaccine this quarter, about $900m is pre-tax profit.

Unlike Moderna, a competitor that uses similar vaccine technology to Pfizer’s, Pfizer is an extraordinarily profitable company already, making $9.6 billion in profits in 2020 before the vaccine had even had a serious impact. Moderna has no other products on the market, so turning a profit on its vaccine is crucial for its operation. Not so for Pfizer.

Pfizer sells its vaccine sales at different rates. The United States, for example, pays $19.50 for each dose, while Israel has reportedly paid $30.The reason all this is morally justifiable, Pfizer has said repeatedly, is that it was never part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed and therefore should be allowed to set its own prices.

However, this is deceptive. BioNTech, the company that actually developed the vaccine, after which Pfizer basically slapped its label on it, received a $455 million grant from the German government and got around $6 billion in purchase commitments from the US and EU. Not only that, but the Pfizer vaccine is based on mRNA technology patented by the National Institutes of Health that was funded by US taxpayers. 

In a nutshell, Pfizer capitalized on a partnership with a then-obscure German biotech company that received German government grants to develop its vaccine based on US taxpayer-funded technology, and then received purchasing guarantees from rich governments that guaranteed billions of dollars in revenue. It managed to privatize all the profits while socializing all the risk in what was a textbook case of how corrupt Big Pharma is. 

But the scope of this monumental corruption really shines through when you consider that this is a once-in-several-lifetimes public health emergency that has killed millions of people. Governments around the world promised a warlike response to the Covid-19 pandemic and yet it’s mostly been just business as usual. 

As I mentioned in my previous piece for RT on Bill Gates, global capitalism has reinforced itself through the pandemic, with Big Pharma being no exception. Intellectual property (IP) laws, which have only been defended in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations by rich countries, are demonstrably a barrier to getting vaccine doses out – and everyone knows it.

Even US President Joe Biden said on the campaign trail in 2020 that he would suspend IP rights to make vaccines more affordable around the globe. 

Absolutely, positively. This is the only humane thing in the world to do,Biden said. (I’m sure the fact that Pfizer was among the companies that handed over a maximum $1 million donation to Biden’s inauguration had nothing to do with his about-face…)

But not only has IP been an issue, but even the general cost and logistics of transporting the Pfizer vaccine has proven a challenge for nations, especially poorer ones, that want to receive it. Yet, somehow, the Pfizer vaccine is emerging as the predominant Covid-19 vaccine shipped by Western countries, while lower-cost, less-intensive vaccines are being discredited. 

Aside from the obvious fact that China’s vaccines or Russia’s Sputnik V are being refused for consideration, are being delayed for review by other countries, or are being conspiratorially attacked by Western media, there does seem to be some kind of bias in favor of Pfizer, even among Western vaccine-makers. 

Consider that Oxford University published a study on April 15 showing that the risk of portal vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the liver) appears to be 30 times higher with the mRNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer (that is, the two for-profit vaccines) than with AstraZeneca’s. Consider also that the risk of cerebral vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the brain) appears to be quite similar with  both AstraZeneca (five in a million) and those mRNA vaccines (four in a million).  

So, while blood-clotting concerns have caused controversy and even the discontinuation of vaccines made by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, any mention of this from mRNA vaccines in the media has been pretty much nonexistent. That’s quite strange. 

Also, headlines trumpet all the time how highly effective Pfizer’s vaccine is, placing huge importance on the percentage of its effectiveness without adding context. As the Vox YouTube channel masterfully explained in a video posted in March, it’s extremely difficult to compare vaccines – especially as they’re being tested in different parts and at different times. 

Pfizer’s chief executive promised to ensure that poorer countries “have the same access as the rest of the world” to its vaccine. But as of last month, wealthy nations had secured more than 87% of the more than 700 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines dispensed worldwide, while poorer countries had received only 0.2%, according to the World Health Organization.

Pfizer has pledged 40 million doses to Covax, the partnership aimed at supplying vaccines to poor countries. But, as the New York Times report points out, that’s less than 2% of the 2.5 billion doses it aims to produce this year.

Now, none of this is to say that Pfizer’s vaccine is not effective and you shouldn’t take it. I received the Pfizer vaccine and will get my second dose on Friday. The best vaccine is the one you have access to. But the problem is that Pfizer’s seems to be getting too much free exposure in the media, despite the fact it's expensive, difficult to transport, and held under IP protections, making it inaccessible to most people in the world right now. 

Pfizer has successfully maneuvered our corrupt system to rake in record profits with virtually no risk at all. It’s sad to say, but this happens all the time. However, right now, it’s only artificially prolonging a once-in-a-century pandemic that, I think most of us can agree, is destroying our lives. Let Pfizer’s success this year be a historic reminder of why capitalism and public health are totally incompatible. 

 

Source: RT.com

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The British-Moroccan model Nora Attal stunned the attending fashionistas at Chanel’s Cruise 2021/22 show in Les Baux-de-Provence, southern France, on May 4.

Attal strutted down the catwalk of Carrieres de Lumieres, a series of vast chambers in a white limestone quarry, showcasing several looks from the Parisian luxury brand’s latest collection.

Her first look consisted of an all-black look, with a fringed top, a skirt, and a cape draped over her shoulders. Another look was made up of loose grey dress trousers, a striped black-and-white top, and a patterned, big on the shoulders, open jacket.

In a press release, Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard underlined the core elements of the collection, “Lots of fringes, in leather, beads and sequins, t-shirts bearing the face of the model Lola Nicon like a rock star, worn with tweed suits trimmed with wide braids and pointed silver Mary-Janes.”

Attal started working with Chanel in 2017, and since then she has been a recurring figure for the luxury brand. She also participated in the brand’s 2018 pre-Fall Metier’s d’Art show in Hamburg and again in the Spring 2021 runway presentation.

She has also modeled for Prada, Burberry, Jason Wu, Nina Ricci, Chloe, Celine, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, Hermes, Michael Kors, Fendi, Valentino, Dior, Versace, Alexander McQueen, and other major players in the fashion industry.

Attal told Vogue that she was first spotted when she was 12, but her dad believed that she was too young to go down that path yet. But as she explained, when she was 14, “photographer Jamie Hawkesworth was doing a casting at my school for the JW Anderson campaign. I was chosen along with two of my friends. I was super-excited when I found out because I used to watch America’s Next Top Model and I wanted to do what they did.”

 

Source: Morocco World News.

 

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Islamic holidays are among the most important for Morocco. This is especially true for Eid Al-Fitr, the day that marks the end of Ramadan and involves a huge feast after a month of fasting and praying.

Food is central to the Eid Al-Fitr celebration and Moroccans prepare plenty of cookies and pastries for this holiday. You can try krachel (Moroccan sweet rolls with anise seeds), msemen (square-shaped pancakes), and meloui (round pancakes). Dinner must include lamb or beef with prunes and chicken with preserved lemons and olives. Mechoui, a roasted leg of lamb, is a holiday specialty, while chicken or lamb Bastilla pie is also a must on this day. You will also have a chance to try delicious lamb or beef brochettes-kebabs.

For many Moroccans, Eid Al-Fitr begins at their local mosque with morning prayers. While the first prayer of the day is ordinary, the second one is an extra prayer additional to the common five daily prayers. It is called salat al-Eid and is traditionally held at sunrise. Large groups of Muslims join the 45-minute-long rite at the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakesh, Tangier’s Grande Mosque, and other places.

The rituals are followed by family celebrations held all over the country. For Eid Al-Fitr, children may receive new clothes and small gifts from relatives and family friends. Another tradition for the Eid al-Fitr is Zakat al-Fitr, a charitable donation to the poor. Beginning a few days before or on the day of Eid, every family will donate staple foods like wheat or flour, while other essentials such as money are also common.


 

 

source: rove.me

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The recently accredited China’s ambassador to Morocco, Li Changlin, has begun conducting official business in the country, with the signing of the partnership with the Al Rayane Association.

Changlin began his ambassador work in an official capacity on April 23, upon handing over his official accreditation to Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita. The ambassador’s first efforts in the country are building cooperation with the charitable Al Rayane Association, to launch an operation for the distribution of food baskets to those in need. 

Speaking to LaQuotidienne, the Chinese embassy clarified that it will be mainly participating to ensure “transparency and fairness in the procedure,” and watch over the various stages of distribution, while the Al Rayane Association will work to identify the families in need.

“This signature must be placed in its double context. The first is that of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic which has seriously impacted families in precarious situations. The embassy thus wants to make a gesture of solidarity and comfort towards these families during this holy month of Ramadan which represents the second context,” underlined the ambassador.

Changlin also explained that the embassy is “ready to explore ways and means allowing better collaboration with associations” in the future, so that in the coming years they will be “carrying out major projects in partnership with associations and in collaboration with government authorities for the well-being of local populations.”

The Chinese embassy, in accordance with Morocco’s precautionary measures, will be helping deliver food baskets consisting of soft and hard flour, oil, sugar, lentils, tea, and other essential products.

Changlin is a seasoned diplomat, with a wealth of experience under his belt. He started his career as a government official at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1986. Before coming to work in Morocco, he served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of China to Burundi, between September 2017 to February 2021. From 2014 he worked as Deputy Director General of the Foreign Affairs Bureau of the People’s Government of Anhui Province in China.

“I made my first stay in the Kingdom in 1993-1994. I am extremely happy to return to Morocco, a country for which I have great admiration,” Changlin told the Moroccan daily.

yeah it is so sad to witness such a catastrophe!!

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The ministry called on citizens to abide by all preventive measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its new variants.

The Ministry of Health announced on Monday that it recorded two cases of the Indian COVID-19 variant in the city of Casablanca. 

The ministry said that the cases concern an expatriate and a foreign citizen living in Morocco who he came into contact with.

The statement said that the National Center for Scientific and Technical Research in Rabat confirmed the cases.

The ministry said the two cases and all known contacts “were taken care of in accordance with the international and national protocols.”

The ministry said that it will continue to communicate all information on the developing situation to the public.

The ministry called upon all citizens to continue adhering to the precautionary measures to contribute to the national campaign against COVID-19 and its new variants.

In the past few months, Morocco has suspended flights with India among a score of other countries as part of the efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 variants.

India has witnessed a dramatic increase in cases and deaths since the beginning of March.

The country has been recording over 300,000 cases each day.

Death cases due to COVID-19 also surged to over 2,000 per day.

Morocco tightened travel restrictions and introduced strict preventive measures to limit the domestic spread of COVID-19.

The country continues to impose a night curfew that runs from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m.

The measure is part of Morocco’s state of emergency, which first began in March 2020.

 

Source: Morocco World News.

 

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The 2021 Cadillac Escalade ranks in the top half of the luxury large SUV class, thanks in part to its comfortable ride, massive cargo hold, and refined cabin.

Pros & Cons

  • Expansive cargo space
  • Elegant and high-tech cabin
  • Three rows of roomy seats
  • Well-balanced ride and composed handling
  • Below-average fuel economy for the class

New for 2021

  • Fully redesigned

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade's #3 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Large SUVs category. Currently the Cadillac Escalade has a score of 8.1 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 9 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Is the Cadillac Escalade a Good SUV?

Yes, the Cadillac Escalade is a good SUV. Fully redesigned for 2021, it now runs with the best luxury large SUVs in terms of interior quality, and it has ample seating and cargo space to boot. The highlight of this Caddy's cabin, though, is its dash. It includes three brilliant display screens with crisp graphics, as well as infotainment controls that are easy to use.

The three-row Escalade handles with composure and delivers the serene ride quality you'd expect from a range-topping passenger vehicle. If there's a nit to pick, it's that fuel economy is a little subpar for the class.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Cadillac Escalade?

It's easier to recommend the Escalade than it's ever been. Its base price is very close to that of rivals such as the Lincoln Navigator and Mercedes-Benz GLS, but the Escalade exudes value in comparison, thanks to its long list of standard features. With ample passenger room, lots of cargo space, and some of the best tech in the class, it's hard to beat this Cadillac.

2020 vs. 2021 Cadillac Escalade: What's the Difference?

The Cadillac Escalade is fully redesigned for 2021. Its updates include improved interior quality, more cargo space, and significantly more third-row legroom. Mechanically, a new independent rear suspension results in better handling, and Cadillac introduces a diesel engine option. The revamped Escalade has an almost completely digital dashboard, consisting of three separate displays.

Additionally, the Super Cruise feature debuts in the new Escalade. This partially automated driving assistance system maintains a set distance between the Escalade and other vehicles and traces lane markings to help steer the Escalade. While it might sound fully autonomous, Super Cruise still requires driver involvement. The system will alert you if more attention to the road is needed.

How Much Does the Cadillac Escalade Cost?

The 2021 Cadillac Escalade starts at $76,195 for the base Luxury trim, which puts it in line with the starting prices of several other luxury large SUVs. Other Escalade trims include Premium Luxury ($82,995), Sport ($85,595), and Premium Luxury Platinum and Sport Platinum, which both carry an MSRP of $99,995.

All of those prices are for standard-wheelbase models with rear-wheel drive. You can upgrade any trim to the long-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade ESV for an additional $3,000. Adding four-wheel drive will cost you another $3,000. A four-wheel-drive Escalade ESV can cost in excess of $116,000 when you select the top trim and add most major options.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Cadillac dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Cadillac deals page.

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Cadillac Escalade?

The cost of insuring a Cadillac Escalade will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

Cadillac Escalade Versus the Competition

Cadillac Escalade vs. Lincoln Navigator

For as good as the Cadillac Escalade is, it's hard to top the Lincoln Navigator. The Navigator has spry acceleration from its twin-turbocharged V6 engine, and it has one of the highest towing capacities in the class. The Lincoln is also a little more well-appointed inside, with touches like standard leather upholstery. The Escalade provides a lot more cargo space, however, and both SUVs offer a supple ride, welcoming seating space, and user-friendly technology. If you prioritize utility, buy the Caddy, but the Lincoln is more well-rounded.

Cadillac Escalade vs. Mercedes-Benz GLS

The Mercedes-Benz GLS is one of the most fun-to-drive vehicles in the luxury large SUV class. It has enthusiastic handling and a potent base engine, as well as high-powered engine options. The lineup includes a 483-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 and a 603-horsepower AMG variant. This Benz doesn't sacrifice any ride comfort for its agility, though it can't tow as much as the Escalade. In contrast to the Cadillac's massive cargo capacity and three rows of roomy seating, the GLS has less space for gear and a slightly more cramped third row. Choosing between these two SUVs depends on if you like the performance of the GLS or if you need the added room of the Escalade.

Escalade Interior: Roomy, Swanky, and Futuristic

Escalade Cargo Space

The Escalade's redesign leads to a massive increase in cargo space. It now bests nearly every luxury large SUVfor storage room, even in its standard-wheelbase configuration. In that model, you get 25.5 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seats and 72.9 cubic feet with the third row folded down. Folding all of the rear seats opens up 121 cubic feet of space. Power-folding second and third rows make it easier to access and alter the space.

The extended-wheelbase Cadillac Escalade ESV is even more cavernous. It boasts 41.5 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 94.1 cubic feet behind the second row, and a maximum cargo capacity of 142.8 cubic feet. The ESV model has significantly more cargo space than all of its class rivals.

How Many People Does the Escalade Seat?

The 2021 Escalade is a three-row SUV that comes standard with second-row captain's chairs and seating for seven. In any model, you can bump the seating capacity to eight by switching to a middle bench seat at no cost.

There's really not a bad seat in the house. The front perches are extremely comfortable and welcome you with standard heating and 12-way power adjustments. For more pampering, check the option box for ventilated seats or 16-way power-adjustable and massaging front seats. The second row also has plenty of space for adults to relax and enjoy the trip.

One of the biggest improvements with the revamped Escalade is third-row passenger room. In the standard-length Escalade, there's an extra 10 inches of third-row legroom compared with the 2020 Escalade. The larger Escalade ESV offers an additional 1.7 inches of third-row legroom over the standard model.

Escalade and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the second-row outboard seats.

Escalade Interior Quality

Previous versions of the Escalade were derided for using some low-end cabin materials found in other General Motors SUVs. Not anymore. Every surface in this Caddy is absolutely premium, and it finally feels like a true flagship vehicle for the brand. You have your choice of several leather upholstery options, as well as wood and brushed metal trim.

Escalade Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The centerpiece of the Escalade's interior is a three-screen digital display that measures roughly 38 inches. Together, they combine to create the illusion of an almost fully computerized dashboard.

We'll break it down. There's a 16.9-inch main infotainment screen that has both capacitive touch controls and a knob on the center console. Operation is straightforward, and the system impresses with snappy response times. Cadillac provides standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, providing a leg up on competitors that still require you to plug in your phone to connect.

A 14.2-inch display serves as an instrument cluster. Here you find another cool feature: augmented reality-enabled navigation. It takes video from a front-view camera and overlays directions and commands, presenting it right behind the steering wheel. On the left of the instrument display is a 7.2-inch touch screen that functions as the driver information display.

This amalgam of technology might seem overwhelming, if only because it can require some time to learn where all the functions are and what appears where. That's a tiny complaint in the face of breathtaking graphics that make it feel like you're piloting a spaceship.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 16.9-inch touch screen, a 7.2-inch digital control panel, a 14.2-inch digital instrument cluster, wireless Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay, a 19-speaker AKG Studio stereo, wireless device charging, Bluetooth, two USB ports, navigation, a Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, and HD Radio
  • Available infotainment features: a 36-speaker AKG Studio Reference surround-sound stereo and a rear-seat entertainment system with two 12.6-inch touch screens
  • Additional standard features: a household-style power outlet, proximity keyless entry, remote start, tri-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener
  • Other available features: a panoramic sunroof, cabin air ionization, and a center console refrigerator and freezer
Escalade Engine

The redesigned 2021 Escalade comes standard with a 6.2-liter V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. This V8 is basically a carryover from the previous generation, and it can also be found in other GM large SUVs and full-size pickups.

This tried-and-true powertrain doles out ample muscle to get the big Escalade moving quickly. However, with the vehicle weighing in at almost 6,000 pounds, you might wish that acceleration felt a little more forceful.

The star of the show is the 10-speed automatic transmission. It easily clicks into the correct gear and helps the engine with appropriate power delivery. Moreover, shifts are almost imperceptible.

A Duramax turbodiesel 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine is newly optional. Horsepower is estimated at 277, but torque output is identical to the base engine at 460 pound-feet.

Escalade Gas Mileage

The 2021 Escalade’s fuel economy is a little subpar for the luxury large SUV class. With the base engine and rear-wheel drive, this Caddy gets an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. When equipped with four-wheel drive, the Escalade gets 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.

At the time of writing, neither Cadillac nor the EPA has provided fuel economy estimates for models with the diesel engine. However, other GM products that use this powertrain return much better gas mileage than the Escalade does with its standard V8.

Escalade Ride and Handling

The Escalade now comes with an independent rear suspension, which leads to a better combination of handling and ride quality than previous models offered. Going around corners no longer feels like a lumbering or unwieldy experience, as body roll is mostly kept in check.

And despite its trucklike, body-on-frame construction, the Escalade traverses even the worst road conditions with poise and comfort. For the most serene driving experience, outfit the Escalade with the optional adaptive air suspension and Cadillac’s Magnetic Ride Control system.

Escalade Towing Capacity

The Cadillac Escalade can tow between 7,400 and 8,200 pounds; that maximum capacity is good for the class. All models come standard with a seven-wire harness and a rearview camera with hitch guidance.

Options include an integrated trailer brake controller, as well as blind spot monitoring for the full length of the trailer. The available Heavy Duty Trailering package includes a two-speed transfer case (4WD models only), an auxiliary trailer camera, trailer tire pressure monitoring, and upgraded engine cooling.

The redesigned 2021 Cadillac Escalade puts up a good fight in the heavyweight luxury large SUV class. It boasts an attractive cabin, sharp technology, oodles of passenger and cargo space, and a posh ride. However, it gets subpar fuel economy estimates for the class, and some critics wish the engine provided a little more oomph.

 

 

 

 

source: Usnews

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After the EU announced its “Digital Green Certificate”, many countries are following suit and plan to require some form of a vaccine passport for post-pandemic international travel. 

The vaccine passport has been the source for global discussion as many weigh the ethics of requiring a new, medical travel document at border crossings. 

Spain aims to be the first European country to require the vaccine passport to allow for easier travel within the EU. The Spanish vaccine passport program will launch in late June and allow European citizens to enter with ease.

Contrary to popular belief, the vaccine passport does not require proof of vaccination but rather serves to standardize the documentation of a COVID-19 negative person.

The passport will come in the form of a mobile app or QR code and will provide proof of vaccination, proof of being recently infected and therefore not contagious, or a recent negative PCR test.

Other countries like the US, the UK, and Canada are weighing up the use of a vaccine passport as they shift into a post-pandemic stage.

Canada’s health minister Patty Hadju declared that the country would develop a vaccine passport system. The minister spoke with CBS radio and commented on the usefulness of a vaccine passport for post-pandemic international travel.

“Canadians need to be able to have the right kind of certification for international travel because, as we know, Canadians will want to travel internationally, and they will want to make sure they have the right credentials to do that from a vaccination perspective.”

In a survey conducted by Ipsos, reportedly 72% of Canadians agree governments should require vaccine passports for travel. Additionally, 71% of Americans agree travelers who wish to enter the US should provide proof of vaccination.

The debate surrounding the use of the vaccine passport in the US has been highly politicized as many conservative Americans view the health document as an infringement of rights.

China announced that travelers that received Chinese vaccines may be allowed easier access at their borders. The Chinese government hopes this initiative will motivate travelers to choose the Sinopharm vaccine or Sinovac vaccine.


As the summer nears and global vaccination campaigns rage on, many travelers remain hopeful that the vaccine passport will be the golden ticket to normalcy in international travel.

 

source: Morocco world news 

 

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Despite the prevailing challenges in the Moroccan education sector, Moroccans cannot help but be proud of the Al Qarawiyyin University in Fez. The historic university was the first-degree granting educational institution in the world,  according to UNESCO and the Guinness World Records.

The university opened in 859, issued a medical bachelor’s degree in 1207AD to a Moroccan doctor Abdellah Bensaleh El-Koutami, who practiced medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary science. 

A committee of three members, including Diae-Eddine Ibn Albaytar, Ahmed Ennabti and Ahmed El-Ichbili, granted the qualification to the doctor.

The diploma was written on deer parchment in Arabic-Andalusian calligraphy.

The content of the degree acknowledges the expertise of the student in the medical field, including veterinary science and pharmacy.

Al Qarawiyyin is one of the most renowned universities across the world for its historic setting, including a mosque and a library.

Fatima A-Fihriya, the daughter of a rich merchant family who immigrated to Fez from the town of Qayrawan in modern Tunisia, founded the university.

Al Fihriyya named the university, library, and the mosque after her hometown of Qayrawan, where she was born in A.D 800.

The university is one of the most influential institutions in history.

The 12th-century library was named among the 100 world’s greatest places in 2018, according to the Times.

The still-operating library is home to some of the world’s most priceless manuscripts, dating back to the 9th century, including an old version of Qur’an, written in Kufic script on the skin of a camel,  and one of the earliest collections of hadiths (accounting the sayings of Prophet Mohammed and his daily practices).

The library also boasts an Arabic version of the Gospel that dates back to the 12th century A.D.and a 12th-century astronomy text and 14th-century text on jurisprudence.

The total number of books and manuscripts in the library is estimated at 30,000.

Renowned scholars and historians, including Andalusi geographer Hassan al Wazzan (Leo Africanus), Jewish philosopher Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides), Islamic philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes), historiographer and thinker Ibn Khaldun all studied at the legendary institute.

Sufi poet and philosopher Ibn Hazm also studied at the university.

The university continues to enrich the knowledge of scholars and students from across the world, in several fields, including astronomy, medicine, Islamic law, and literature.

 

 

source: Morocco world news 

 

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A masterpiece of Arab-Muslim architecture, the Hassan 2 Mosque is one of the most beautiful religious buildings in the world.

Hassan 2 Mosque is actually unique in its architecture and size. With its minaret that rises to 200 m in height and has a 30km laser directed towards Mecca, it is considered to be the highest religious building in the world. The idea of building a large mosque in Casablanca reflects the Royal will to provide the Casablanca metropolis with a great spiritual and civilizational monument of Morocco, giving it a harmonious urban development and allowing it to increase its radiance and influence based on faith, piety and tolerance.

Building the Hassan 2 Mosque 

His late Majesty Hassan II, may God rest his soul, laid the foundation stone of this mosque on 5 Dou Al Kiida 1406 of the Hegira, corresponding to July 11, 1986. The construction works started under the effective and daily supervision of His Majesty Hassan II, who had made sure that this great building reflects the artistic specificities of authentic Moroccan architecture, while highlighting its openness to technological innovations.

Through this architectural masterpiece, His Majesty Hassan II wanted to highlight the importance and value of the Hassan 2 mosque among Moroccans throughout history, just as He wanted to show that this place of worship has played an important role in the promotion of authentic architectural art and the preservation of the civilizational heritage, especially since the Casablanca Hassan 2 mosque reflects the great talents of the Moroccan Artisan.

The building of the Hassan 2 mosque on the Atlantic Ocean inspired by the Qur'anic verse "the throne of God was upon the water" was a pioneering idea intended to invite believers who go to this mosque to remember the greatness of God who created the sea and the sky.

Therefore, the faithful who go there to pray, to praise the creator on firm soil, can contemplate God’s sky and ocean”. This dual relationship between water and land is truly evident in some areas of the mosque that have glass floors allowing worshippers to pray directly over and look upon the ocean.

The design of this work was the result of collaboration between the office of the French architect Michelle PINSEAU and the various Moroccan artisanal bodies that have created and revive by the hand of maâlem (master) beauty and the splendid seal of Moroccan architecture.

Expression of the symbiosis between a king and his people, the realization of this prestigious monument was financed thanks to the participation of all the Moroccan people who voluntarily answered the Royal call, each according to his means and his generosity .

This building was thus inaugurated on the occasion of the celebration by the Muslim world of aid al mawlid 12 Rabi I 1414 AH corresponding to August 30, 1993.

Towering over the ocean, this magnificent structure is easily seen from miles away. Commissioned by King Hassan II on July 9, 1980 and completed on August 30, 1993, the mosque emulates Moroccan culture and identity. A massive achievement and structure, the courtyard surrounding the mosque has the capacity to hold 80,000 people and the mosque itself can accommodate up to 25,000 people. Next to the mosque, rising into the sky, the minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 meters. During the night, laser beams shoot towards Mecca to aid worshippers with the city’s correct direction.

 

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Most people interested in Islamic and Moroccan histories have heard of Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque in Fez, one of the oldest mosques in the Maghreb and home to the oldest continually-operating university in the world. However, the glory of Al-Qarawiyyin may have cast a shadow over Al-Andalus Mosque, a building also of great importance in the history of Fez, Morocco’s oldest imperial city.

The story of Al-Andalus Mosque dates back to the 9th century when Fez was still a young city establishing its foundations. Built in the year 860, only one year after the completion of Al-Qarawiyyin’s foundation, Al-Andalus Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Morocco and North Africa.

Sister buildings

The histories of Al-Andalus and Al-Qarawiyyin mosques are so entwined that the two monuments share the same blood. While Al-Qarawiyyin was built by historical figure Fatima al-Fihriya, her sister Maryam al-Fihriya built Al-Andalus.

The two sisters, originally from Kairouan, in modern-day Tunisia, inherited a fortune after their father Muhammad al-Fihri, a successful merchant in Fez, passed away. To promote the teaching of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) and Hadith (teachings of Prophet Muhammad), which they had extensively studied, the sisters decided to invest their new fortune into building mosques that would also serve as spaces to exchange knowledge.

Al-Andalus Mosque takes its name from the Andalusian refugees who fled Cordoba, in modern-day Spain, after their rebellion against the Umayyads ruling the Andalusian city. In the year 818, Fez welcomed approximately 800 Andalusian families who both helped to build the mosque and used it as a place of worship after its completion.

Through its more than 1,000 years of existence, Al-Andalus Mosque underwent a series of renovations and upgrades. The original construction was modest: It consisted of arcades with seven vaults, two libraries, and a small Sahn, or courtyard, in the middle. Several trees were planted in the mosque’s courtyard, which had access to abundant water through a channel.

Renovations and additions

A few years after its initial completion, the Andalusian migrants built a minaret for the mosque. The square-shaped minaret has simple decorations on its frame and was built to resemble the minaret of Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque. Today, the minaret is one of the few parts of the mosque that remain unaltered from their original construction.

Approximately 100 years after it was built, Al-Andalus Mosque gained importance in Fez after the city’s governor at the time, Obaidullah, made it the city’s site for khutbah, the religious sermon given during the Friday prayer. At the time, the khutbah was not only a religious speech, but had political and social dimensions. It served to unite the people and bring their attention to current issues.

Before Al-Andalus Mosque became a destination for Friday prayers, the khutbah used to be given in Al-Ashyakh Mosque, the first mosque ever built in Fez. The decision to move the khutbah to Al-Andalus was mainly due to the growing population of Fez and the relatively small size of the old mosque.

During the Almohad Dynasty (1147-1248), Al-Andalus Mosque saw the construction of a large gate that overlooks its northern facade. The gate, built between 1203 and 1207 under the orders of the fourth Almohad caliph, Muhammad al-Nasir, is topped by two domes. One dome is made of carved plasters, while the second is built of cedarwood. The gate was also ornamented with a combination of wooden zellige, a form of mosaic tile work, and Persian Qashani decorations.

Under Al-Nasir’s rule, the mosque underwent a complete overhaul. The caliph ordered a series of renovations including the replacement of old stone-made pillars with new ones made of bricks. Only the minaret remained as it was.

Academic destination

During the Marinid Dynasty (1248-1465), a period known as the Golden Age of Fez, Al-Andalus Mosque became a branch of Al-Qarawiyyin University and served as a school to teach the Maliki school of Fiqh.

Between the 13th and the 14th centuries, new schools appeared in the surrounding space, such as the Sahrij Madrasa, which was built to accommodate students who came from distant places to study at Al-Andalus, or the Sab’in Madrasa, which was dedicated to teaching the seven different styles of Quran recitation.

 

This is so terrible, it’s a disaster 😭 when is this going to end😔 poor people!!!!

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