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King Mohammed VI issued instructions today via the Royal Office that seeks to facilitate easier travel for Moroccans returning home this travel season. 

According to the statement, King Mohammed VI gave his orders to the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, which has a large role in coordinating travel arrangements for Moroccans that wish to return home. 

The foundation works with the Moroccans Living Abroad (MRE) office during Operation Marhaba to assist Moroccans by providing travel and accommodation aid, medical care, and other essential services.   

The improvements to these various systems “aims to facilitate, during the crossing, all administrative, customs and health formalities” for the massive amounts of Moroccans that will soon be returning. 

Besides the Mohammed V Foundation, King Mohammed VI also specifically requested “diplomatic and consular representations,” representing Morocco abroad, “to facilitate all the consular and administrative steps required,” to make the entry process as seamless as possible for both “Moroccan fellow-citizens and the foreigners wishing to visit Morocco.”

National airlines Royal Air Maroc have already announced its plans to improve travel in coordination with the royal decree. The company released a pricing list for airfare between Morocco and several places including Turkey, Europe, the US, and Egypt. 

The new price list drops the price significantly during the peak travel season, and will be in effect from June 15 to September 30. Ticket pricing will depend on location, as well as family size. A family of four will be able to pay just 97 Euros per round trip ticket from Europe. 

Additionally, Royal Air Maroc announced it would be mobilizing 3 million seats for the MRE, according to local news sources. 

Summertime is a peak period of migratory travel for Morocco, with millions of Moroccans and foreigners travelling into and out of the country. 

King Mohammed VI has made it clear that he would like both air travel and maritime industries to ensure they are charging “reasonable prices that are within everyone's reach,” especially as many more Moroccans are expected to return after the pandemic cancelled Operation Marhaba plans last year.

 

 

 

 

 

source: moroccoworldnews

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ladys West knew from a young age that she didn’t want to be a farmer. But the mathematician, born in 1930 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, still had to help harvest crops on her family’s small farm. The hard work started before daybreak and lasted well into the blistering heat of the afternoon. She hated the dirt but, while she worked, she kept her mind on the building behind the trees at the end of the farm. It was her school, and even then she knew it would be her ticket to freedom.

“I was gonna get an education and I was going to get out of there. I wasn’t going to be stuck there all my life,” West, 89, says firmly, on Zoom in her home in Virginia.

What she could not have guessed was that this focus would shatter the perceptions of black women of the time and even lead to the invention of one of our most widely used inventions – GPS, the global positioning system.

The red schoolhouse, as West’s elementary school was known, was a three-mile walk away, through the woods and over streams. The seven year groups, who were all black, were taught in one room, but West quickly stood out.

Her parents tried to save some money to send her to college, but unexpected bills kept hitting the fund. If West was going to go to college, she needed to find a way to pay for it herself. She tried to put money aside, but became frustrated at how little progress she was making. Then a teacher announced that the state was going to give a college scholarship to the two top students from her year. It was her golden opportunity.

“I started doing everything so that I would be at the top,” West says. “And sure enough, when I graduated from high school, I got one.” The scholarship allowed West to attend Virginia State College, a historically black university.

She didn’t have much time to celebrate. While her tuition was paid, she needed money for room and board. Her parents could help for the first year, but she would need to find funding for the others. She confided in her maths teacher who, after seeing her potential, offered her a part-time job babysitting.

She quickly learned that, while she had been the best in her rural school, she had to put in work to keep up with students from bigger cities. “I was so dedicated that I didn’t care about missing the fun. But now I look back and I should have,” she says before laughing.

She decided to major in mathematics because it was a well-respected subject. It was largely studied by men, but she didn’t take much notice of them. “I knew deep in my heart that nothing was getting in my way.”

After graduating, she became a teacher, saving money for graduate school. She returned to the university a few years later and earned a master’s in mathematics. She briefly took on another teaching position after graduating. Then she was offered a job at a naval base in Dahlgren, Virginia. This made her only the second black woman to be hired to work as a programmer at the base. And she was one of only four black employees.

When she started her job, the navy was bringing in computers. She was hired to do programming and coding for the huge machines. She felt proud that she got the job, but knew the hard work had just begun. Despite her intellectual abilities and career success, West had long wrestled with the feeling that she was inferior. It was this feeling, deeply ingrained and felt, she thinks, by many African Americans, that drove her to work as hard as she could.

She still remembers her first day. The military base was grey, and people were mingling before starting work, laughing and drinking coffee. She met the man who would become her husband, Ira West – but refused to be distracted and at first largely ignored him. “I just got there and I was a serious woman. I didn’t have time to be playing around,” she says.

Her white colleagues were friendly and respectful, but initially didn’t socialise with her outside the office – something she tried not to let get to her. “You know how you know that kind of thing is going on, but you won’t let it take advantage of you? I started to think to myself that I’ll be a role model as the black me, as West, to be the best I can be, doing my work and getting recognition for my work,” she says.

The naval base was its own world, so it felt isolating at times. While West’s office was not racially segregated, a fierce civil-rights battle was unfolding across the country, particularly in the south, partly focusing on segregation. Outside the base, there were sit-ins to desegregate restaurants and places of transport. Her friends from college were deeply involved. West and her husband “supported what they were doing … and kept our eyes on what was developing”.

West was conflicted. She supported the peaceful protests, but was told that she couldn’t participate because of her government work. So she decided to focus on a quieter revolution, one she could continue inside the base. She visited the demonstrations and came back determined to commit herself to her work. She hoped that, by doing it to the best of her ability, she could chip away at the stigma black people faced. “They hadn’t worked with us, they don’t know [black people] except to work in the homes and yards, and so you gotta show them who you really are,” she explains. “We tried to do our part by being a role model as a black person: be respectful, do your work and contribute while all this is going on.”

West did just that. She quickly climbed the ranks and gained the admiration and respect of her colleagues. The work was hard and she had to deal with large datasets. “You had to be particular. You can learn the process, but then you have to really make sure you create the process just right, so everything would come out all right,” she says.

In the early 60s, West took part in an award-winning study that proved “the regularity of Pluto’s motion relative to Neptune”, according to a 2018 press release by the US air force. In 1979, she received a commendation for her hard work from her departmental head. She then became project manager for the Seasat radar altimetry project; Seasat was the first satellite that could monitor the oceans. She oversaw a team of five people. She programmed an IBM 7030 Stretch computer, which was significantly faster than other machines at the time, to provide calculations for an accurate geodetic Earth model. This detailed mathematical model of the shape of the Earth was a building block for what would become the GPS orbit.

While her team laid the groundwork for GPS, West took every opportunity the base gave her. She went to classes in the evening and gained another master’s degree in public administration, this time from the University of Oklahoma.

In 1998, aged 68, after spending more than four decades at the base, West knew it was time to retire, but she was terrified at the thought of not working. So after retirement she intended to focus on her PhD. But then she had a stroke.

“I was just sitting there working on the computer and all of a sudden I started spinning around,” West says. As soon as she left hospital, she started working on her recovery. “I never stopped one moment just to feel sorry for myself and say: ‘Oh boy, I’d never make it.’ I just said: ‘What’s next?’”

She would eventually finish her dissertation and gain her PhD in public administration and policy affairs in 2000 at the age of 70.

Looking back, West says she didn’t know she was revolutionising technology across the world. “You never think that anything you are doing militarily is going to be that exciting. We never thought about it being transferred to civilian life, so that was a pleasant surprise.”

“We always get pushed to the back because we are not usually the ones that are writing the book of the past. It was always them writing and they wrote about people they thought were acceptable. And now we’re getting a little bit more desire to pull up everyone else that’s made a difference.”

When West watched the film Hidden Figures, a drama about a trio of African American female mathematicians working for Nasa, she finally felt seen. “I really loved the movie and I didn’t know that that was going on with them. But they were doing something similar,” she says. It made her realise there were probably many hidden groups of black women making important scientific contributions across the world.

“I felt proud of myself as a woman, knowing that I can do what I can do. But as a black woman, that’s another level where you have to prove to a society that hasn’t accepted you for what you are. What I did was keep trying to prove that I was as good as you are,” she said. “There is no difference in the work we can do.”

She is appreciative of all the protesters that have come together in recent months to march for Black Lives Matter. “I’m hoping that, from that, we become better people, closer to the reality of who we really are, and the world becomes more united than it is now,” West says.

She hopes the call for justice on the street translates into concrete proposals that support more women and black people in science and mathematics. She wants more to be done to encourage underrepresented groups through scholarships and tailored training programmes.

But while West is incredibly proud of the work she did in helping develop GPS, she doesn’t use it herself – preferring to stick to paper maps. “I’m a doer, hands-on kind of person. If I can see the road and see where it turns and see where it went, I am more sure.”

 

 

 

 

source: theguardian.com

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An odor-based test that sniffs out vapors emanating from blood samples was able to distinguish between benign and pancreatic and ovarian cancer cells with up to 95 percent accuracy, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.

The findings suggest that the Penn-developed tool — which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to decipher the mixture of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitting off cells in blood plasma samples — could serve as a non-invasive approach to screen for harder-to-detect cancers, such as pancreatic and ovarian.

The results of the study were presented at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting on June.

“It’s an early study but the results are very promising,” Johnson said. “The data shows we can identify these tumors at both advanced and the earliest stages, which is exciting. If developed appropriately for the clinical setting, this could potentially be a test that’s done on a standard blood draw that may be part of your annual physical.”

The Penn research team is currently working with VOC Health to commercialize the device, along with others, for research and clinical applications.

The electronic olfaction — “e-nose” — system is equipped with nanosensors calibrated to detect the composition of VOCs, which all cells emanate. Previous studies from the researchers demonstrated that VOCs released from tissue and plasma from ovarian cancer patients are distinct from those released from samples of patients with benign tumors.

Among 93 patients, including 20 patients with ovarian cancer, 20 with benign ovarian tumors and 20 age-matched controls with no cancer, as well as 13 patients with pancreatic cancer, 10 patients with benign pancreatic disease, and 10 controls, the vapor sensors discriminated the VOCs from ovarian cancer with 95 percent accuracy and pancreatic cancer with 90 percent accuracy. The tool also correctly identified all patients (a total of eight) with early-stage cancers.

The technology’s pattern recognition approach is similar to the way people’s own sense of smell works, where a distinct mixture of compounds tells the brain what it’s smelling. The tool was trained and tested to identify the VOC patterns more associated with cancer cells and those associated with cells from healthy blood samples in 20 minutes or less.

The team’s collaboration with Richard Postrel, CEO and chief innovation officer of VOC Health, has also led to an improvement in detection speed by 20-fold.

To expedite the commercialization process, Postrel asserts that “initial prototypes of commercial devices able to detect cancer from liquids and vapors will be ready soon and be provided to these Penn researchers to further their work.”

In related news, researchers from McMaster and Brock universities in Canada are developing a device that lets patients monitor their own bloodfor the unique biomarkers of prostate cancer, pictured below, courtesy of Georgia Kirkos at McMaster.

In a related effort with VOC Health, Johnson, along with his co-investigator Benjamin Abella, MD, a professor of Emergency Medicine, were awarded a two-year, $2 million grant by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences for the development of a handheld device that can detect the signature “odor” of people with COVID-19, which is based off the cancer-detection technology applied in this study.

 

 

source: goodnewsnetwork

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“The country attacks many students from the rest of the continent,” TV5 Monde said.

A TV5 Monde report on medical studies in Morocco has said that students from all over Africa travel to the north African country to pursue their studies.

The report, aired on Sunday, explores how Morocco’s “excellent” universities attract many students from the rest of the continent.

“Morocco is renowned for having excellent medical services,” TV5 Monde wrote on its Twitter.

Souley, a 23-year old Cameroonian who has been studying in Casablanca for 4 years, told the French channel that he is satisfied with the teaching quality at his university.

The Cameronian student said he is studying to become a physiotherapist for top athletes.

“Morocco is one of the five flagship destinations in Africa alongside Tunisia, South Africa, Egypt, and Senegal,” he said of his choice.

Morocco receives every year more than 6,000 new applications, of which more than 80% come from African countries, TV5 Monde said.

The report emphasized the importance of the private sector, saying that Morocco has experienced an increase in both the quality and number of private establishments for medical training and practice.

According to many reports, Morocco has become an important destination for students from across the world.

In 2019, over 12,000 young Africans were enrolled in Moroccan universities and institutes.

Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, unveiled the figures during the 8th annual of the Summit of Students and Youth of Africa.

The Moroccan minister explained that Morocco has trained hundreds of thousands of students from 47 African countries. 

According to Statista, the highest number of students from northern Africa who were registered in Moroccan universities in 2019 hailed from Tunisia and Libya.

 

Source: Morocco World News

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State Department spokesperson Ned Price muddied the waters on the topic of the US’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price commented on the Biden Administration’s ambiguous stance on Western Sahara, during a press briefing on June 9. 

An AP journalist posed the question, “Are we wrong to assume that there is continuity in the U.S. position on the [Western Sahara] issue?”

Price responded on behalf of the Biden Administration and said, “it’s an issue that we have discussed directly with our counterparts in Morocco, our counterparts in Spain, and elsewhere through the region.”

He added, “but I think more broadly, there is a very little continuity, I think it is safe to say, when it comes to our approach to the broader region.” 

The statement on Western Sahara continues months of statements that refrain from issuing a definitive statement on Western Sahara. While US government organizations are recognizing the Trump decision in practice, US rhetoric on the issue has remained stand-offish. 

The response appears strategically vague as the Biden Administration remains hesitant in offering a direct endorsement for Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. 

Political analysts speculate whether or not the lack of a conclusive  endorsement continues to keep the Western Sahara as a point where the US has some strategic leverage over Morocco while continuing bilateral security and trade cooperation.  

Rather than in any way reverse the Trump Administration’s decision to recognize Moroccan sovereignty, the Biden Administration appears to seek to maintain its bargaining chip in MENA policy while also distancing itself from the policy of the previous administration.

Rhetoric vs. Reality

Price added President Trump’s “broader approach to the region” may be the point on which the two administrations differ, implying that there is indeed agreement on the Sahara dossier. 

The spokesperson’s statements continue the US’ rhetoric while in practice the US continues to formalize its 2020 decision.  This trend was again evident in the State Department’s decision in May 2021 to unarchive the Abraham Accords, signaling the officialization and acceptance of the declaration by the current US administration. 

While the US has subtly officialized its recognition of Moroccan sovereignty by introducing new maps in official US agencies, its rhetoric continues to be evasive and vague. 

It appears the Biden administration is trying to placate domestic audiences by signalling a break with Trump policies in all forms, while avoiding reversing key Trump decisions on the UAE, Afghanistan and Morocco. 

While Biden distances himself from Trump domestically, his administration further ever deeper security cooperation, with Morocco as the US’ most prominent ally with a foothold in both North Africa and the Sahel region. Morocco remains the only major non-NATO with significant political and economic influence in West-Africa amid regional tensions and continued instability.

Economically, Morocco is the only country in Africa to have a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US, which combined with Morocco’s FTA with the EU, makes the country a gateway for international trade. This importance has clearly been recognized in Washington, as the US has invested significantly in the Dakhla region to develop a giant new trade port.

Abraham Accords

Citing President Trump’s Abraham Accords initiative, Price suggested that the Biden Administration’s approach and policies to the region show “quite a bit of discontinuity.” Despite Biden continuing Trump’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, and appearing to respect Trump’s quid-pro-quo agreements with the UAE and Morocco. 

For a domestic audience however, Biden is keen to project change from a historically unpopular US president, even if only rhetorically when it comes to foreign policy.  

One foreign policy initiative that Biden has been reluctant to change US policy is the Abraham Accords, which marked the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and several Arab countries such as Bahrain, Sudan, and the UAE.

Morocco signed up to the Abraham Accords in December 2020, amid a diplomatic trend that was seeing an increasing number of countries voice their support for Morocco’s autonomy plan in Western Sahara. 

A growing number of countries from around the world have demonstrated their unwavering support for Morocco’s sovereignty in the region by building consulates in Morocco’s southernmost cities of Dakhla and Laayoune.

Included in the list of consulates is the US, UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, and a long list of other African nations. 

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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The European Parliament has adopted a highly symbolic resolution in favor of Spain’s position on the Ceuta migration influx incident, yet it does not impose any practical repercussions.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on June 10 slamming Morocco for its perceived role in the sudden influx of migrants into Ceuta in May. The European Parliament’s vote accepted Spain’s telling of events, yet did not include any practical consequences for Morocco, likely against what Spain had hoped for.

The European Parliament adopted resolution 2021/2747 by 397 votes in favor, 85 against as well as 196 abstentions. The resolution claims that Morocco violated the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child by “using minors” in the sudden influx of migrants in Ceuta in May.

Spain had hoped to enlist the EU in its diplomatic spat with Morocco. The result of those efforts is sure to disappoint foreign policy officials in Madrid. 

Europe protecting its own 

The EU took Spain’s biased reporting of the Ceuta crisis without any consideration for Spanish actions regarding its illegal hosting of separatist leader Brahim Ghali, yet still chose for a light-handed and diplomatic resolution that’s clearly designed to ease tensions with Morocco.

While the statement admonished Morocco for its alleged participation in the influx of migrants, for which Morocco has denied any involvement, the lack of real-life consequences for Morocco is evidence of its important role regarding Europe’s border security and foreign trade. 

Madrid’s representatives at the EU had sought to leverage the power of the EU political bloc against Morocco, yet returned from the Strasbourg vote disappointed. The EU appeared to indicate it would accept Spain’s telling of events and admonish Morocco for its perceived role in the event, and then move on to return to the various lucrative trade deals the bloc makes in Morocco.

When push came to shove, the European Parliament appeared to not want to offend too much its trusted douanier on border issues, its detective on terrorism, and its valued partner on trade. That approach contrasted with the EU’s response to Belarus in recent weeks, which is set to result in sanctions on the eastern European nation.

One important conclusion that Morocco is likely to take from the EU resolution is that Spain has been unwilling to resolve the diplomatic crisis in an equal bilateral way. For Rabat, the resolution will be evidence that Spain, instead of starting a dialogue, chose to go to the EU in order to try to pressure Morocco into submission. With that attempt now failed, a resolution in the Spanish-Moroccan diplomatic crisis seems further away than ever.

Symbolic finger-wagging

The European Parliament fully accepted Spain’s telling of events yet still appeared reluctant to confront Morocco in any real way, likely fearful of endangering billions in trade or even losing an important partner that protects Europe’s borders and regularly helps foil terrorist plots on the continent.

The resolution oozed with the neo-colonial, yet inconsequential, finger-wagging often seen from powerful western nations when they have confronted their partners in the developing world over perceived human rights issues. 

According to the statement, the European parliament is convinced that cooperation with countries like Morocco “should be based on the long-term objective of tackling the root causes of irregular migration.” It vows for the EU to help in “strengthening economic development, investment and the creation of new job opportunities, and promoting quality education for all children in the region.”

As long as such EU resolutions aim to simply “reject,” “exclude” or “reiterate,” political points, Morocco can rest assured that Europe needs Moroccan cooperation to the extent that it is unwilling to offend Moroccan tempers. 

Spain’s diplomats at the European Parliament will now have to return to Madrid, having done little to direct the might of the EU against Morocco. Instead, it will likely have reinforced that Morocco’s connections with Europe are not so easily severed for the sake of a bilateral diplomatic spat.

Context

In May, thousands of irregular migrants crossed to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from northern Morocco. The event frustrated Spanish politicians, officials, and media, who accused Morocco of blackmailing Spain amid the crisis between Rabat and Madrid.

The accusations came amid a crisis between the neighboring countries after Algeria and Spain colluded to help separatist leader Brahim Ghali enter Spanish territories.

In response to Spain’s attempts to attribute tension to irregular migration, Morocco’s government argued that the issue is a matter of broken trust.

The government also described the Spanish act as an action against the spirit of cooperation between the two countries.

Today, the European Parliament adopted the resolution, without imposing sanctions on Morocco. The resolution also welcomed Morocco’s decision to facilitate the return of unaccompanied minors who entered Europe illegally.

The second paragraph of the resolution reads that the European Parliament welcomes Morocco’s step to “facilitate the re-entry of all identified unaccompanied children who are on European Union territory irregularly.”

The resolution also called on Spain and Morocco to work together to allow the repatriation of children to their families, which must be guided by the best interest of the child and carried out in compliance with national and international law, in particular, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

The resolution recalled that Morocco has been among the signatories of the convention since 1990.

The adopted resolution also cited the “the principle of family unity and the right to family reunification should always be safeguarded,” calling on Morocco to “uphold its commitments” effectively.

Morocco has repeatedly emphasized commitment and a key role in dealing with irregular migration challenges. The North African country denounced Spain’s attempts to “Europeanize” the crisis.

Bilateral resolution required

Morocco also emphasized that the crisis between Rabat and Madrid must be tackled as a bilateral tension. The Moroccan government also emphasized its key role, emphasizing that it does not to be graded by Spain nor its media.

Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita argued that Morocco’s efforts against human trafficking are based on shared responsibility.

Bourita emphasized that the EU barely covers less than 20% of the costs that Morocco invests to tackle irregular migration challenges.

“A partnership is not a one-way street,” Bourita said, noting the importance of collaboration and shared responsibility in migration management.

The FM also said that Morocco dismantled 8,000 human trafficking cells, 14,000 irregular migration attempts, including 80 operations in Ceuta in the past four years.

The resolution adopted today also applauded Spain’s “efficient and professional response” of  Spain’s security bodies and armies amid criticism and decry from international NGOs and human rights activists.

Spain deployed its army, which used tear gas to disperse migrants that arrived in Ceuta in mid-May.

Videos also showed army personnel preventing migrants, including minors, from leaving the sea upon their arrival in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

Other footage depicted the  Spanish army pushing the migrants to the sea.

Activists condemned Spain’s use of collective deportation of the migrants without assessments. In a debate aired on Al Jazeera, Secretary-General of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles Catherine Woollard  described a situation in which people are “collectively expelled without individual assessment is a situation that is illegal under EU and international law.”

Woollard emphasized that Spain is expected to respect the good reception of migrants and provide them with individual assessments.

Ruth Ferrero,  a lecturer in political science and senior researcher at Complutense University of Madrid, also condemned the situation, describing Spain’s deportation of minors as a “blatant violation of international law.”

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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When Exxon Mobil Corp. decided to get out of a big oil field in Iraq, the government took on the unusual role of salesman. Iraqi officials pitched West Qurna-1 to likely buyers from among Exxon’s supermajor peers, including arch-rival Chevron Corp. There weren’t any takers.

That left Iraq with narrowed options: sell to one of China’s state-backed oil majors, or else buy back Exxon’s stake itself. The sale process remains unresolved but either outcome would stand as a powerful indicator of what’s become of the global oil market. With supermajors from the U.S. and Europe in retreat around the world, national oil champions are set to fill the void.

The supermajors — a group that, in addition to Exxon and Chevron, includes BP Plc, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, TotalEnergies SE, and Eni SpA — are shrinking even while fossil-fuel demand holds strong. These companies are under growing pressure to pay down debt while cutting greenhouse gas and, for some, transitioning to renewable energy. Recent weeks saw Exxon and Chevron rebuked by their own shareholders over climate concerns, while Shell lost a lawsuit in the Hague over the pace of its shift away from oil and gas.

National oil companies, or NOCs, are largely shielded from those pressures. When the owners are governments, not shareholders, there aren’t dissident board members like those now sitting inside Exxon. That means state oil producers like those who populate OPEC+ can be the buyers of last resort for fossil-fuel projects cast off by the shrinking supermajors.

State companies can also gobble market share by simply producing oil that their private-sector rivals won’t. Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. are spending billions to boost their respective output capacities by a million barrels per day each, and Qatar Petroleum is spending more than $30 billion to increase its liquefied natural gas exports by more than 50%. (Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil declined to comment.)

Taken together, NOCs make up just over half of today’s worldwide oil supply. By 2050, Rystad Energy sees that share growing to 65%.

It’s an unmistakable trend that’s drawing heightened attention to some of the largest and most secretive entities in the world. Many government leaders are seeking to lower planet-warming emissions, with nine of the 10 biggest economies staked to net-zero goals. At the same time, these opaque government-sponsored oil producers — insulated in most cases from both investors and environmentalists, and under little obligation to disclose climate data — are taking over the job of filling the millions of barrels consumed each day.

“We hear government officials and NOC officials say, ‘We look at the divestment of international oil companies from some projects as an opportunity for us to grow,’” said Patrick Heller, an adviser at the Natural Resource Governance Institute. “And I do think that’s potentially really risky.”

Some observers worry that campaigns by activists to have oil majors divest from fossil fuels could end up accelerating a shift to government owners who operate with less transparency and, occasionally, worse environmental records. Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, argued in a recent essay that such efforts could result in “unintended consequences” without the necessary drop in demand.

For all the focus on companies like Exxon and Shell, the majors recently accounted for only 15% of the world’s supply of oil, according to the International Energy Agency. Some of them are set to see their production drop, too, in part due to selling off chunks of their existing businesses.

BP has spent the past two years pursuing divestment deals partly to help meet its net-zero goal, and next it plans to sell a stake in an Omani gas block to Thailand’s national energy firm for $2.6 billion. Shell, with its own pledge to zero-out emissions, recently said it would hand back leases to the Tunisian government instead of producing more oil from them. Such deals reach beyond oil and gas extraction: Mexico’s Pemex is set to buy a Texas refinery from Shell. (Pemex declined to comment.)

There’s some cause for optimism. Countries with the most prolific state-backed oil companies have signed on to the Paris Agreement, with some taking their commitment a step further and participating in voluntary coalitions aimed at reducing emissions. The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative counts five national oil companies, including Aramco and China National Petroleum Corp., among its members. That organization requires a target to reduce the average methane emissions per barrel of oil produced by 2025, although this doesn’t ensure that absolute emissions will fall.

To some degree, this is a phenomenon that Exxon has been warning against for years. As BP and Shell have sold off assets in a pivot to renewables, Exxon has said such moves only work to move production — and emissions — elsewhere. Exxon CEO Darren Woods drew criticism from climate activists last year for labeling rivals’ asset sales to lower emissions nothing more than a “beauty competition.” His wider point underscores the long path ahead for the world as it grapples with climate change.

“This is not a company challenge, this is a global challenge,” Woods said in March 2020. “This idea of moving things in and out of the portfolio from one company to the other actually isn't getting us any closer to a solution.”

But Mark van Baal, founder of Follow This, said that by pressuring the majors it’s still possible to drive an overall reduction in emissions—even without directly challenging the NOCs. State-owned entities will follow if majors push ahead on investment in renewable energy, he said, lowering the costs for everyone. “We need the most innovative oil and gas companies to change and put their full weight behind renewables to speed up the energy transition,” van Baal said. “Others will follow.”

 

 

 

source: bloomberg.com

by Rachel Adams-Heard,Laura Hurst, and Kevin Crowley

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We are in the middle of the biggest revolution in motoring since Henry Ford's first production line started turning back in 1913.

And it is likely to happen much more quickly than you imagine.

Many industry observers believe we have already passed the tipping point where sales of electric vehicles (EVs) will very rapidly overwhelm petrol and diesel cars.

It is certainly what the world's big car makers think.

Jaguar plans to sell only electric cars from 2025, Volvo from 2030 and last week the British sportscar company Lotus said it would follow suit, selling only electric models from 2028.

And it isn't just premium brands.

General Motors says it will make only electric vehicles by 2035, Ford says all vehicles sold in Europe will be electric by 2030 and VW says 70% of its sales will be electric by 2030.

This isn't a fad, this isn't greenwashing.

Yes, the fact many governments around the world are setting targets to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles gives impetus to the process.

But what makes the end of the internal combustion engine inevitable is a technological revolution. And technological revolutions tend to happen very quickly.

This revolution will be electric

By my reckoning, the EV market is about where the internet was around the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Back then, there was a big buzz about this new thing with computers talking to each other.

Jeff Bezos had set up Amazon, and Google was beginning to take over from the likes of Altavista, Ask Jeeves and Yahoo. Some of the companies involved had racked up eye-popping valuations.

For those who hadn't yet logged on it all seemed exciting and interesting but irrelevant - how useful could communicating by computer be? After all, we've got phones!

But the internet, like all successful new technologies, did not follow a linear path to world domination. It didn't gradually evolve, giving us all time to plan ahead.

Its growth was explosive and disruptive, crushing existing businesses and changing the way we do almost everything. And it followed a familiar pattern, known to technologists as an S-curve.

 

Riding the internet S-curve

It's actually an elongated S.

The idea is that innovations start slowly, of interest only to the very nerdiest of nerds. EVs are on the shallow sloping bottom end of the S here.

For the internet, the graph begins at 22:30 on 29 October 1969. That's when a computer at the University of California in LA made contact with another in Stanford University a few hundred miles away.

The researchers typed an L, then an O, then a G. The system crashed before they could complete the word "login".

Like I said, nerds only.

A decade later there were still only a few hundred computers on the network but the pace of change was accelerating.

In the 1990s the more tech-savvy started buying personal computers.

As the market grew, prices fell rapidly and performance improved in leaps and bounds - encouraging more and more people to log on to the internet.

The S is beginning to sweep upwards here, growth is becoming exponential. By 1995 there were some 16 million people online. By 2001, there were 513 million people.

Now there are more than three billion. What happens next is our S begins to slope back towards the horizontal.

The rate of growth slows as virtually everybody who wants to be is now online.

Jeremy Clarkson's disdain

We saw the same pattern of a slow start, exponential growth and then a slowdown to a mature market with smartphones, photography, even antibiotics.

The internal combustion engine at the turn of the last century followed the same trajectory.

So did steam engines and printing presses. And electric vehicles will do the same.

In fact they have a more venerable lineage than the internet.

The first crude electric car was developed by the Scottish inventor Robert Anderson in the 1830s.

But it is only in the last few years that the technology has been available at the kind of prices that make it competitive.

The former Top Gear presenter and used car dealer Quentin Willson should know. He's been driving electric vehicles for well over a decade.

How fast will it happen?

The answer is very fast.

Like the internet in the 90s, the electric car market is already growing exponentially.

Global sales of electric cars raced forward in 2020, rising by 43% to a total of 3.2m, despite overall car sales slumping by a fifth during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

 

source: BBC.com by Justin Rowlatt

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There are currently approximately 150 US companies operating in Morocco, which was facilitated by the Free Trade Agreement enacted in 2006.
Trade between Morocco and the US has grown over five times since 2005, a year prior to the enactment of the joint Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The agreement, which was signed in 2004 and enacted on January 1, 2006, aims to increase trade and grow investment opportunities between Morocco and the US. Since the FTA’s inception, bilateral trade between the two countries has increased fivefold, reaching $5 billion (MAD 44.1 billion) in 2019, said David Greene, Charge d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Morocco.

Speaking at the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Morocco-US Free Trade Agreement on June 7 in Casablanca, Greene highlighted that the agreement has facilitated the creation of thousands of jobs and promoted the economic development of both the US and Morocco.

Today there are approximately 150 US companies operating in Morocco, according to Greene, who added that “this investment has supported the development of strategic industry, which has allowed Morocco to place itself in the global supply chain, in advanced and complex markets.”

In 2019, the US imported $3 trillion (MAD 26.5 trillion) worth of goods and services from around the world,  

With “the right orientation and dedication,” Greene said, Moroccan companies could turn the FTA to their advantage, growing their presence amidst US imports. In 2019, US imports totaled $3 trillion (MAD 26.5 trillion) worth of goods and services from around the world, Greene noted. 

While bilateral goods trade between the two countries stood at $925 million (MAD 8.2 billion) in 2005, it had grown over five times by 2019, reaching $5 billion (MAD 44.1 billion).

Overall, in 2019, the total goods and services trade between the two countries reached an estimated $6.6 billion (MAD 58.2 billion). Of these, US exports to Morocco were  $4.3 billion (MAD ) and imports were $2.3 billion (MAD 20.3 billion), according to the Office of US Trade Representative. Morocco is currently the US'  63rd largest goods trading partner. 

 

source: moroccoworldnews

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Israel’s on the cusp of seeing a new coalition government that’s been dubbed the “change bloc”. If that conjures notions of progress, think again.

Superficially, change is afoot. If the proposed coalition secures parliamentary support in the coming days, then Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party will be out of power. Netanyahu is the longest-serving prime minister – 12 straight years in office and 15 in total – since the inception of the Israeli state in 1948. He has defined Israeli politics for over a quarter of a century. So, indeed, any new face in power will seem like a big change. 

Also, among the putative new administration is an Arab party, Ra’am, which professes conservative Islamist beliefs. The inclusion of Palestinians in a governing coalition – albeit with a tiny representation – may seem to herald a more progressive era for Israel’s Arab population, which accounts for a fifth of the total in the Jewish state. 

Mansour Abbas, the leader of Ra’am, says he has won major investment commitments from Jewish coalition partners to develop marginalized Arab communities with better housing and infrastructure. The trouble is those spending promises are not cast in stone, and it is far from certain they will be delivered. There is a sense that the Arab lawmakers were enticed to expedite forming a coalition solely to oust Netanyahu and no guarantee of substance.

In any case, the potential new prime minister is Naftali Bennett, who will rotate the executive seat with Yair Lapid, who leads a so-called “centrist” party. 

Bennett, a former protégé of Netanyahu, is a hardline pro-settler who openly calls for the expansion of illegal occupation and the annexation of Palestinian land. His cabinet will be packed with far-right politicians such as Avigdor Lieberman, who will hold power in the key ministries. Under Bennett, therefore, the Israeli government will hold the same contempt for the so-called two-state solution that American administrations have nominally advocated for Palestinian statehood alongside Israel. That means further encroachment and evictions for already hard-pressed Palestinian communities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Those evictions under Netanyahu – which are illegal under international law – led to the eruption of violence last month, when more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed during 11 days of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza coastal enclave. 

Bennett and several of his would-be ministers hold the same disdain for international law and Palestinian rights as Netanyahu and the Likud party. They are Jewish supremacists who unapologetically govern Israel as an apartheid state in which Arabs are second-class citizens, if citizens at all. Even the so-called secular centrists of Yair Lapid are imbued with a belief in absolute dominance for Israel over Palestinian rights. 

It’s a pipe dream to think that the new administration may lead to any improvement in conditions for Palestinians, either as citizens within the state of Israel or in the besieged territories of Gaza and the West Bank. In fact, their plight is likely to become a whole lot worse. That’s because Netanyahu is playing on racial incitement and national security paranoia. He’s already started vilifying Bennett for “selling out” to Arab enemies and forming a “dangerous left-wing government”. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. 

In the meantime, the wily politician is facing three corruption charges in a case that was opened in 2016 but the prosecution of which has been delayed by legal tactics and, more recently, the pandemic. If convicted, the 71-year-old could face serious jail time. Consequently, he is sure to pull every lever to sabotage the shaky new coalition in order to get back into power and, possibly, seek legal immunity from parliament. While that immunity is not guaranteed, if granted, it could further delay his trial by many months. 

Bennett, for his part, in order to keep his far-right supporters on board and stave off Netanyahu’s cynical accusations, will ramp up the hardline policies against Palestinians. The settler movement thus has a green light to push ahead with evictions of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem, as do Jewish extremists in excluding Arabs worshipping at Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site for Muslims. These flash-point issues are what ignited the onslaught on Gaza three weeks ago. 

More ominously, the Bennett-led government may be tempted to escalate provocations against Iran or Syria to try to appease the extreme right underpinning his cabinet. The toxic politics of Israel mean there are no good options with any of the existing parties. It is a state premised on oppression. Jockeying for power inevitably means baiting petty rivals over “national security,” which will only lead to more oppression for Palestinians, and in the worst-case scenario, the incitement of a regional war. 

 

Source: RT.com

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Over the years Algeria has turned a deaf ear to Morocco’s consistent calls for dialogue and regional peace. Instead, Algerian officials continue to escalate diplomatic maneuvers against Rabat.

Algeria’s President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has made another series of hostile remarks against Morocco and its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

In a recent interview with French newspaper Le Point, Tebboune said that, given the choice between independence and integration within Morocco, Moroccans living in Western Sahara will vote for "independence because they will no longer want to be the subjects of Morocco’s King."

“It is paradoxical to have a Moroccan majority and to refuse the self-determination vote,” he said. Tebboune also spoke about “a break” between Algeria and “the monarch.”

When asked about Western Sahara, the Algerian president took a direct swipe at King Mohammed VI and the US' decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

“How can you think of offering a monarch an entire territory, with all its population?” Tebboune said, appearing to suggest, falsely, that the region and its inhabitants have no connection - historical, legal, or sociological - to Morocco. 

Tebboune added that the US recognition “does not mean anything.”

“We cannot go back, verbally, on everything that was done by Washington to please a king.”
 Since December 2020, when former President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, Algerian officials have been overtly and secretly maneuvering against the move.

After Trump’s departure from the White House, Algeria activated its US lobby to urge President Joe Biden to reverse the proclamation.

The Algerian president’s remarks against Morocco are neither surprising nor the first instance of overt Morocco-bashing by Algeria in the past few months.  

Algeria’s politico-military establishment has long shared hostile sentiment against Morocco, constantly interfering in Moroccan domestic affairs and smearing the country despite successive Moroccan governments’ history of good faith and support towards Algeria. 

As many historians and watchers of Maghrebi politics have attested over the years, Morocco offered tangible and crucial support to Algeria during its independence war against the French colonists.

But Algeria soon forgot Morocco’s efforts and, in its quest for unrivaled dominance over the Maghreb, has consistently pulled the trigger against Morocco’s commitment to brotherly bonds and solidarity.

Amid the withdrawal of colonial powers from North Africa, which took place gradually in the 1950s, France used the mineral rich lands between Tindouf and Bechar as a bargaining chip in Algeria’s independence war.

France ruled that the resource-rich region would be part of French Algeria in  1952. The French protectorate struggled to retain control of Algeria in 1956, and offered the return of the Tindouf-Bechar region to newly independent Morocco -- on condition that Rabat ended its support for the Algerian struggle.

However, Morocco’s late King Mohammed V declined France’s deal in the belief that the matter of Tindouf-Bechar stretch would be settled between Morocco and its “Algerian brothers” once they gained their independence.

The exiled Algerian government agreed to Morocco’s terms. But after Algeria finally gained its independence, a new power emerged in the form of President Ahmed Ben Bella. The new government declared all previous agreements with Morocco null and void.

Despite Algeria’s ill intentions and despite its reluctance to continue to promote separatism against Morocco, Rabat has continued to extend an amicable hand to Algiers, urging for a much-needed political consultation to end decades of political stalemate between the two countries.

In his 2018 Green March speech, for instance, King Mohammeed VI said Morocco remains committed to the post-independence dream of a unified and strong Maghreb. The King urged Algeria to engage in an “open and frank dialogue.” He argued that the prolonged political rivalry between Rabat and Algiers does not benefit North Africa and only precludes the region from becoming the economic powerhouse it could be.

Not only would such a dialogue result in the restoration of full diplomatic ties and the reopening of the borders between the two neighboring countries, he stressed, it would allow two leading Maghrebi countries to transcend their divergences and focus on making the region a better place for its peoples.

Algeria, however, has turned a deaf ear to Morocco’s call and continued to escalate diplomatic maneuvers against the country. 

One such move came earlier this week, when, after arranging for Polisario’s Brahim medical stay in Spain, President Tebboune visited the Polisario leader upon his return from Spain. During the visit, Tebboune said of Algeria's continued support for Polisario’s separatism: “Truth causes are Algeria’s priority.”

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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Often called the classical music of Morocco, Andalusian music originated in the Iberian Peninsula between the 9th and 15th centuries and is today an elite form of Moroccan music.

"This music is one of the most compelling vestiges, and, at the same time, one of the least known by the west, of the refined Hispanic-Moroccan civilization, born of the fusion of Moroccan and Andalusian cultures and of which Morocco became the primary heir." - Younes Chami, Les Nawbas de la Musique Andalouse MarocaineVol. II, Translated from French
 
Andalusian music is one of the oldest music genres of Moroccan music. Developed as a fusion of Hispanic-Arab musical styles around the 9th century, Andalusian music spread across North Africa in the 1400s, following the expulsion of Muslims from Spain. Andalusian music is found today across North Africa, but most notably in Morocco and Algeria. The music is extremely structured and performed by Andalusian orchestras.

History and Origins of Andalusian Music

The creation of Andalusian music as practiced in modern Moroccan music is today contributed almost completely to one man, Ali ibn Nafi, often called Ziryab. His arrival in Cordoba in 822 sparked a wave of musical revolution in Al-Andalus, which led to the creation of modern Andalusian music. Ziryab had studied in Baghdad, but according to legend was forced to leave the city after his teacher became jealous of his prodigious ability. Ziryab became a musician in the Umayyad court, at the center of Al-Andalus, and soon his style of singing supplanted that of the other court musicians. 
"The early Andalusians sang in the Christian style, until the arrival of the grand master Ali Ibn Nafi, nicknammed Ziriab... He showed them songs they had never heard before. His style of singing was soon imitated, to the exclusion of all other styles." - Ahmad at-Tifachi: Mout'at al-asma'
 
Ziryab's style combined the traditions he learned in Baghdad with his own inventions to create what is today known as Andalusian music. Ziryab's innovations included adding a fifth string to the lute to expand its range and creating strings out of lion-cub intestines. Ziryab also created a conservatory in Cordoba, facilitating the continuation his musical innovations.   
Andalusian music spread to Morocco by the 10th century. With the rise of the Berber Almohad Caliphate in the 12th century, Andalusian music was suppressed, as the Almohads discouraged music as impious. Music in Morocco was confined to madihs(hymns honoring the Prophet Mohammed), but Andalusian music remained an influence on the madihs. This musical focus on piety continued more or less until the rise of the Alawite dynasty. 
 
"Indeed, having escaped Ottoman rule, which its neighbors endured for more than three centuries, Morocco was able to preserve its musical heritage from the powerful influence of Turkish music. Morever, being geographically very far from the main artistic centers of the Orient, Morocco lived artistically self-reliant." - Younes Chami, Les Nawbas de la Musique Andalouse Marocaine, Vol. II, Translated from French
 
During the Alawite dynasty (beginning in 1631 and continuing today), Andalusian music resurged, and state sponsorship allowed for the emergence of new students of the genre. Schools founded in Fez and Marrakesh began to teach Andalusian music, and collections of Andalusian music were published for the first time. Nation-wide seminars were also held to discuss the preservation of Andalusian music. 
"The sum effect of this being cast as a repertory that is merely to be preserved and passed on and all of the official overtones of Andalusian music–relating it to the upper class and royal family and its use in government occasions–has meant that for many young Moroccans, and particularly young Moroccan musicians, this is a repertory that’s not particularly appealing... if you’re a creative musician, you don’t choose to become an Andalusian specialist, because you can’t really add. You can become a master performer of this repertory, and it’s a beautiful repertory. I think all Moroccans see it somehow as part of Moroccan identity, but that doesn’t mean that they actually participate in it." - Dwight Reynolds
 
It is unclear how similar modern Moroccan Andalusian music is to the original style developed in Iberia. Over the years, 13 of the 24 original nubahs of which Andalusian music is composed have been lost, but the remaining nubahs seem to remain at least broadly faithful to the original Andalusian tradition.
 
"I started to practice this music more than fifty years ago, in an age when neither oriental music nor Western music had echoed in our artistic circles, and I can affirm that during this half-century, Andalusian music has not changed, despite the large transformations that have occurred in our country on every level."Cheikh Ahmad Labzour Tazi, Professor of Andalusian music, Translated from French

Instruments of Andalusian Music

The primary focus of every Moroccan Andalusian musical ensemble is vocal; every member sings in addition to playing instruments. However, instruments play an important supporting role, and most pieces have significant instrumental sections. The instruments in an Andalusian ensemble can vary greatly from ensemble to ensemble, but below are several of the most common instruments found in an ensemble.

 
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The oud is a five-stringed plucked instrument used in music throughout the Middle East. The oud used in Andalusian music is the Arab oud, which is tuned slightly lower than the Turkish oud. The western cousin of the oud is the lute. 

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The traditional kamenjah is a bowed string instrument played throughout the middle east. It traditionally has three strings, but most modern kamanchehs have four. The kamancheh is less common in modern Andalusian ensembles, having been replaced by the violin in Morocco 
 
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The modern kamenjah is a violin played on the knee, as shown in the picture. The violin was integrated into the ensemble around the 1850's, but has today almost completely replaced the original kamenjah, and is called by the same name. The violin is traditionally tuned to G, D, G'
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The rebab used in Moroccan Andalusian music differs greatly from other rebabs of North Africa and the Middle East; its body is much shorter. It is not to be confused with the rebab used in Berber music. It is a two stringed, bowed instrument.

 
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The qanun is a flat, 26-stringed instrument played throughout the Middle East. The strings are made out of nylon, gut, or metal-wound silk. The qanun is plucked with a pick made out of horn.
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The darbouka, also called the doumbek, is a single-head drum. It is played held under the arm, or held sideways on the lap. Variations of this drum are found across North Africa and the Middle East. 
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The taarija is a hand-held drum, made out of clay, with a goat-skin head. They can also occasionally be made out of metal.
 
Other western instruments now included in Andalusian orchestras include the piano and cello. Occasionally, other instruments such as the clarinet, saxophone, and flute, have been added in, although these instruments are more rarely used. 

 
 
 
source: musicofMorocco.weebly.com
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A new report has highlighted the aggressive social cleansing that is rampant in three London boroughs, and the devastating effect it has on people who are displaced. It seems the working class are not welcome in Britain’s capital.
A new report has highlighted the aggressive social cleansing that is rampant in three London boroughs, and the devastating effect it has on people who are displaced. It seems the working class are not welcome in Britain’s capital.

Gentrification is not a new phenomenon but it is clear that it is out of control in London. 

As with many cities, it is a process the UK capital has been familiar with for some time. Poorer communities have been moved out of neighbourhoods in favour of a ‘better’ class of people for generations, and in the early 1960s sociologist Ruth Glass coined the term ‘gentrification’ as the old Victorian properties of Islington were bought for a song by the affluent middle classes. 

These once-grand houses, which had fallen into disrepair housing society’s poorest, were renovated and modernised, with the aid of local government grants, by many of the middle-class gentrifiers. What had become slums were transformed into million-pound properties and are now among the most sought-after houses in the country, with Islington firmly established as a political, media and cultural enclave. It is no coincidence that Tony Blair, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have all lived in the original gentrified borough. 

The working-class residents who lived in the squalid, overcrowded conditions were moved into newly built council housing, as the consensus between political ideologies after World War II continued. Millions of social housing properties were built around the country, allowing many working-class people to live in dignity for the first time, with indoor bathroom facilities, clean running water and a sufficient number of bedrooms for children and parents to sleep separately.

Today, though, there is no political consensus to provide good, affordable housing for working-class people, just a laissez-faire attitude that it should be left to the market. In fact, we can look back to the early ’60s – with the slum clearances, the high -rises and the council house building – and think, for all the faults, that these were the good old days compared to what is happening now, as was evidenced by a report last week from the Runnymede Trust and CLASS think tank titled ‘Pushed to the Margins’

It describes contemporary gentrification in Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Newham in London that is alarming and aggressive, with working-class people being violently displaced. And what is especially concerning is that it is working-class people from black and Asian communities who seem to be particularly affected.

They are being pushed out to the furthest points of the capital, away from transport links, meaning that if they work in central London their commute for minimum wage jobs becomes ever longer and more uncomfortable, in packed buses and tubes. Contemporary life for working-class people in Britain means longer, more expensive, insanitary commutes. 

This is nothing more than what I call ‘class cleansing’. I undertook extensive research on this process in London between 2013 and 2018 – a five-year ethnography of what happens to working-class people who are being crushed by what is not now ‘gentle’ gentrification, but a horrific Manhattanisation process.

No longer is it the middle class gentrifying parts of Victorian London, but instead we see a global elite army of property developers – aided and abetted by local and national politicians – who are inflicting this ‘class cleansing’.

They are removing working-class people from communities as if they were vermin, with no thought or care of where they go, and there is no real economic or social solution being put forward by any of the mainstream political institutions. Meanwhile, the council estates are being bulldozed to make way for luxury towers soaring into the sky – soulless, lifeless and disconnected from the streets and the people of the city. 

Four years ago, I lived in Tower Hamlets and was part of a housing movement trying to bring attention to the class cleansing occurring in London. I was contacted by a woman who worked in a private lettings agency in North Nottinghamshire, who informed me a woman from the borough of Barking and Dagenham had just turned up at her office with two Ikea bags stuffed with her belongings, and two small children.

She had been sent to Nottinghamshire with no more than an address by the housing official. Since arriving in the UK from Nigeria 10 years previously, she had never lived outside London and over the years had found it impossible to find somewhere affordable and safe to live. She had a Master’s degree, but was unable to put it to use because without a home and stability you cannot find and secure a decent job. That takes headspace and commitment, which you simply can’t have when you are living out of carrier bags, being moved around with two kids. 

Barking and Dagenham Council had an arrangement with a private landlord in North Nottinghamshire to house families that London had no room for. The council had paid the deposit and two weeks’ rent upfront, and the mother and her children were housed in a flat in an old mining village that was remote and had very few services and little public transport. I made contact and visited her, and she told me she desperately wanted to get back to London – she was totally isolated. This poor mother and her children had been cleansed out of London – not good enough, not rich enough, not productive enough for Britain’s capital city. 

Her story did not end well – she became very ill and her children were put into care in Derbyshire, and I lost contact with her about two years ago. But this is not an isolated incident. I have met women and children who have been forced out of many ‘successful cities’ throughout the UK – it is a violent, abusive process and it is the state, local councils and bureaucrats who are inflicting this misery on working-class families without being held to account. 

The former mayor of Newham, Robin Wales, summed it up years ago, when talking about a group of young mothers from the Focus E15 hostel in Stratford as it was being closed down and they were about to be cleansed out across the country. “If you can’t afford to live in Newham, you can’t afford to live in Newham.”

As temperatures soar this week and we see images of rich people floating in sky-high glass-bottomed swimming pools looking down on London, the symbolism of the gap between those at the top of society and those at the bottom has never been so stark. It is unequal, unfair and cruel. For all the talk about coming out of the pandemic and rebuilding society, are working-class people included in this vision? I doubt it.

 

Source: RT.com

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Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Morocco has remained an attractive location for foreign investors due to its political stability, continual developments, and progressive reforms.

Morocco’s Ambassador to Poland Abderrahim Atmoun signed a declaration of intent for new Polish business cooperation in Western Sahara. The new agreement will promote the production of both civil and military transport and logistics equipment for Poland.

Also signing the declaration were representatives from Chimide Polska and Zamet-Glowno, two Polish companies involved in the manufacturing of military-style specialized containers.

Chimide Polska also develops solar panels and structures for target shooting and military exercises. 

The Polish delegates noted Morocco’s stellar track record for development in its southern territories. 

Speaking about his company’s interest in Western Sahara, Krzysztof Teodor Biesiadecki of Chimide Polska lauded Morocco’s “climate of stability enjoyed by the kingdom, its development dynamics, and the audacious reforms launched by HM King Mohammed VI ." Morocco has exhibited a history of political resilience despite regional instability since the 2011 Arab Spring. 

In January 2021, other Polish investors signed business agreements in Morocco’s southern region.

ALUMAST, EV Charge, KZWM Ogniochron, and FlyArgo saw great investment opportunities in the Sahara as Morocco intends to assert itself as the “Gateway to Africa.”

SantanderTrade underlined Morocco’s strengths in foreign direct investments (FDI), describing the country as a “strategic location between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa” and offering a “young and relatively well-trained population.”

Morocco has implemented a variety of development projects in its southern provinces to enhance international interest and investments in the region. 

After former US President Donald Trump recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, many international actors showed interest as well. 

Many partner nations showed their support for Morocco’s autonomy plan by establishing consulates in the southern cities of Dakhla and Laayoune. 

Although Poland only has one consulate in Agadir, the recent increase in Polish interest in the region suggests the European country may someday support Morocco in its quest for more international recognition of its territorial sovereignty. 

Morocco also seeks to benefit economically from FDI’s in Western Sahara as foreign investments accounted for MAD 13.8 billion ($1.56 billion) from January 2020 to November 2020.

Despite the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Morocco continues to welcome new investors from abroad.

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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The UK announced that several countries would be moved to the green list, due to lowered risk of COVID-19

The United Kingdom recently announced that it is planning to move eight countries to its green list, due to these countries presenting a lower risk of COVID-19 for British travellers. 


The list includes Morocco, Finland, Barbados, Malta, Grenada, The Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, and possibly the Greek Islands of Kos, Rhodes and Santorini, according to British outlet the Independent..


British citizens travelling to countries on the green list are not subject to quarantine, but are required to take a COVID test prior to travelling back to the UK, as well as within two days of arrival.


The list of countries mentioned in the Independent’s report was provided by chief executive of the PC travel consultancy, Paul Charles. But the list is unconfirmed as the British government is scheduled to make its first review of the green list tomorrow.


Currently, the Green list includes twelve destinations for British travellers: Australia, Brunei, the Falkland Islands, the Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, and South Georgia. 


Several popular tourist countries for British travellers, such as Morocco, the US, and Canada remain on the amber list, but many airline executives are lobbying for this situation to change. 


Michael O’Leary, CEO of Irish airlines Ryanair, said: “The highly successful UK vaccine rollout has already enabled hundreds and thousands of British families to book their flights to Portugal this summer, and today we call on Grant Shapps [British Transport Secretary] to include all EU countries in the next revision of the UK’s green list.” 

British tourists are among the largest sources of tourist revenue for many places. In countries like Morocco, which made $8.89 billion from tourism in 2019 alone, British travellers are vital to the economy. Prior to the pandemic, Morocco predicted a significant increase in the number of British travellers. The UK’s decision to place Morocco on the green list, and the return of British travelers will be one of the first steps of a return to normalcy within the Morocco travel industry.

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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The Malian woman who gave birth to nine kids last month is recovering, as Moroccan doctors continue to monitor her and her kids.

The Malian woman who gave birth to nine kids last month is doing well, according to hospital spokesperson Abdelkoddous Hafsi. When 25 year old Halima Cisse originally arrived at the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca from Mali, she was expecting to give birth to seven kids. Yet, after undergoing a cesarean section, she unexpectedly ended up delivering another two healthy children.

The babies were seen moving around in the incubators they were placed in after they were born, according to Associated Press reporters at the hospital. Hafsi also reported that all nine kids were gaining weight, and had moved from about 1.1 to 2.2 pounds.

Representatives of the Guiness Book of World records are currently confirming this remarkable feat, as this would make Cisse the world record holder for most living births at once.

After giving birth about 30 weeks prematurely, Cisse was forced to remain in the hospital after suffering from profuse bleeding. Although the condition of the mother and her kids are improving, the hospital still emphasized that they would still be monitoring their condition for “up to two more months,” reports the Daily Mail.

There is speculation from some that the woman may have undergone fertility treatments to artificially have nine embryos implanted. Fertility treatments are commonly used to assist women that have trouble naturally becoming pregnant. 

There have also been issues with this procedure being performed to purposefully carry abnormal amounts of children at once. The most famous example of this is the story of the “Octomom” who gave birth to eight children in 2009, and is the current world record holder for largest number of live births at once. 

 

Source: Morocco World News.

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