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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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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 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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Spanish comedian Juan Joya Borja, whose information laughter brought him global fame, has passed away aged 65.

Better known by his nickname El Risitas, meaning Giggles, the comedian became known on the internet as "Spanish laughing guy".

Following appearances on national television, Borja went viral in 2014 when people started dubbing subtitles over him laughing recounting a story.

He died on Wednesday in hospital, according to local media.

Borja was admitted for health issues last year. In March he thanked fans for organising a fundraising campaign to buy him an electric mobility scooter after one of his legs was amputated.

'El Risitas'

The comedian first found fame about 20 years ago after appearing on television shows presented by Jesús Quintero.

The famous clip of him came from Spanish late-night show Ratones Coloraos, where he was interviewed by the host about his ill-fated experience working as a kitchen helper.

In the clip, uploaded on the show's YouTube in 2007, Borja told Quintero how he once left 20 paella dishes in the sea overnight to clean them, only to return the next morning to find the tide had swept all but one away.

The story left him and the host slapping the desk in fits of uncontrollable laughter - with Borja's signature wheezing and almost-toothless smile stealing the show.

Years later, from about 2014, internet users began re-posting the clip with unrelated subtitles - just like the parodies of a scene from the film Downfall,depicting Adolf Hitler's last days.

Borja was dubbed hysterically laughing in a number of languages at everything from Egyptian politics to the latest Apple product release.

These versions of the videos, as well as the original, have since massed millions of views - cementing Borja's internet renown.

His laughing face remains popular online today, including being used as an emoticon on gaming streaming platform Twitch.

Spanish media personalities and social media users have been paying tribute.

According to ABC Seville, Borja died on Wednesday afternoon at the Virgen de Rocío University Hospital following a "sudden relapse" in his health.

 

source: Morocco world news 

 

 

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Over the last 50 years, two-thirds of the world’s wildlife has been lost. Around 40 per cent of plant species are threatened with extinction and scientists say we may be losing them faster than they can find, name and study them.

Our world exists in a balance and, with so many species lost or disappearing, that balance is under threat. Restoring this natural mosaic of interrelated species is vital to the future health of the planet and our own, say experts.

Tree planting schemes, active conservation efforts, and high tech carbon capture solutions all look to help tackle biodiversity loss and the climate crisis.

But a growing number of people believe that the only way to bring back what we’ve lost is through trusting natural environments to recover themselves- a process called rewilding. For some, it can be a contentious issue with worries about the reintroduction of apex predators like wolves and the Eurasian Lynx.

The progressive conservation movement, however, has found particular resonance with one European nation.

 

WHAT IS REWILDING?

Rewilding is based on the principle that nature knows best when it comes to protecting itself.

But due to the damage we have already done to the natural world, it needs a helping hand to recover to the point where it can do that. Across Europe, we’ve lost massive amounts of native flora and fauna that are essential to keeping our ecosystems balanced.

To rewild our environment, we need to create the correct conditions. This can be done through actions like reintroducing species that have disappeared, allowing forests to regenerate and preventing the fragmentation of rivers.

The theory goes that by giving nature a little push and then stepping back, we can put a stop to the incredible loss of biodiversity and worsening climate crisis.

A classic example of the success of rewilding can be found in Yellowstone National Park in the US. When wolves were hunted to near extinction at the start of the 20th century, their prey multiplied. Elk took over and their exploding numbers overgrazed the land.

It prevented trees like aspen and willow from reaching maturity. That in turn meant songbirds lost their habitat and beavers no longer had materials with which to build their dams. Riverbanks started to erode and water temperatures rose without the natural shade of the trees. The loss of Yellowstone’s wolves had a cascade effect on the park’s entire ecosystem.

Then, in 1995, 14 wolves were captured in Jasper National Park, Canada and transported across the border by wildlife officials. They were acclimated to their new surroundings and then released into the park to replace those lost in the preceding centuries.

Within 20 years, their numbers had boomed and the renewed presence of this apex predator had started to bring balance back to Yellowstone. Now the reintroduction is considered a model for how seemingly small steps like these can help to heal the natural environments we’ve ravaged.

So could steps like these work for another ecosystem suffering from the impact of centuries of humanity’s destructive actions?

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