Thursday, May 14, 2015

Moroccan News Briefs #127

Two Moroccans Win Arab Journalism Awards

Sanaa Boukhlis, a former journalist with the weekly Al Maghrib Yaoum won the humanitarian journalism award at the 14th Arab Journalism ceremony.  The awards that took place Wednesday in Dubai. Meryem Bouzaachane from Al Akhbar, was awarded first place in the category Young Journalists.

Sanaa Boukhlis

Boukhlis picked up the award for humanitarian journalism at the event called "Arab Media Forum" chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Moroccan Researcher Wins African Innovation Prize

Moroccan researcher Adnan Remmal won the Grand Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) in 2015 with 100 000. The announcement was made ​​in Skhirat (Morocco) at a ceremony held on 12 and 13 May by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy.

Remmal, biotechnology professor at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez, was honoured for his exhaustive research process, providing farmers an African solution to improve livestock production while taking into account the needs of consumer health.

The researcher, who proposed a natural alternative to antibiotics for livestock, competed with 10 other finalists African innovators who have done research in several areas, including health, environment, technology and agriculture. Initially, some 925 candidates from 41 African countries had been selected.

"My innovation provides farmers with solutions to improve their production ... It is cost effective and can be easily adopted, it gives farmers the opportunity to increase their profits without anti-biotic side effects," said Remmal.

Alex Muriu Mwaura of Kenya won the second prize, while the South African Lesley Erica Scott received the Special Award for social impact, with $ 25 000 each.

System to treat wastewater discharges along Morocco coastline

Yesterday, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, inaugurated an anti-pollution system from SUEZ Environment on the East Coast of Greater Casablanca to treat a number of wastewater discharges into the sea.

The Moroccan coastline, which extends from Casablanca to Mohammedia, serves as one of the most industrialised seaboards in the country and generates large amounts of pollution, principally due to wastewater discharges into the sea. As such, SUEZ is aiming to preserve the Greater Casablanca coastline.

The Anti-Pollution System, developed by Lydec, a SUEZ Moroccan subsidiary, will enable the region to treat 100 percent of the wastewater of the Greater Casablanca region, completing the system already in place in the western part of the country.

The Anti-Pollution System will intercept direct discharges of wastewater on the Casablanca-Mohammedia coastline, pretreat them at the plant at Sidi Bernoussi and pipe them to a sea outfall.

By preserving the 24 km of  coast, the project will contribute to the urban rehabilitation of the city's entire eastern coastline, beautify and revitalising the seaboard, and improving the population's standard of living.

The East Coast Anti-Pollution System will also accept wastewater from the new urban development zones, thus preventing direct discharges into the sea.

The Andalusian Garden in Rabat to Get Makeover

Princess Lalla Hasna, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, this week launched the development works for the Andalusian garden (Mountazah Athani Al Hassan) in order to improve Rabat's green areas.

According to Director of Rabat Development, Abderrahmane Iffarssan, this project aims to create a quality green space for city residents. This is part of the integrated program of development of the capital dubbed "Rabat city light, Moroccan Capital of Culture" that King Mohammed VI launched in May 2014.

The Andalusian Garden is spread over an area of ​​30 ha and includes several parks and sports grounds nearby. The development work will take 12 months for a total cost estimated at 160 million dirhams.

Doubts About Moroccan Pilot's Death

Morocco's army said on Wednesday there was no evidence the pilot of F-16 fighter jet that crashed during air strikes in Yemen has died and searches for him were still under way.

Backed by the United States, a Saudi-led coalition has been conducting air strikes against the Houthis and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26 with the aim of restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

A Moroccan F-16 warplane taking part in the coalition went missing last Sunday but the fate of its pilot remains unclear.

The Houthis' official news channel al-Masirah said on Monday that anti-aircraft guns had downed the F-16 over in the remote Wadi Nashour area in the northwestern province of Saada, a Houthi stronghold bordering Saudi Arabia. There was no news on the pilot in that TV report.

"No formal evidence has confirmed the death of F-16 jet pilot following the crash," the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) said in a statement carried by the state news agency MAP.

However, according to news site Rassd, the Moroccan pilot is reportedly alive and under protection of a Sunni tribe.

A lieutenant from the Saudi-led coalition told the Yemeni website that 26-year-old Air Force Lieutenant Yassine Bohti is in safe hands with the Hamdan tribes allied to the Arab coalition in Ma’rib.

Following the crash of the Moroccan F-16, a special Moroccan commando and a squadron of radar-equipped F-16 warplanes have been reportedly deployed to Yemen to help with the search effort.

Brigadier General Ahmed Al-Assiri from the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen said on Tuesday that a technical fault or human error might of have caused the crash of the Moroccan F-16 warplane.

“We are definitely sure it was not shot down,” Al-Assiri told Agence France Press, adding that the Moroccan pilot was part of a formation and other fighter jets [which] “did not notice any firing from the ground.”

Morocco's Schooling Among "Worst" in the world

According to a report by Morocco World News, Morocco is again in the bottom of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s ranking of school performance across 76 countries.

According to a report released on Wednesday, Moroccan schools are among the “worst” in the world. Morocco is ranked 73 in how well fifteen-year-old students perform in maths and science tests in 76 countries.

The top five places, in the overall rankings based on maths and science, at age 15, are dominated by Asian nations with Singapore in first place, followed by Hong Kong and South Korea. The United Kingdom ranks 20th, and the United States 28th.

“This is the first time we have a truly global scale of the quality of education,” said the OECD’s education director, Andreas Schleicher. “The idea is to give more countries, rich and poor, access to comparing themselves against the world’s education leaders, to discover their relative strengths and weaknesses, and to see what the long-term economic gains from improved quality in schooling could be for them,” he added.

Last February, a group of Moroccan NGOs denounced the “commodification” of education in Morocco through a “growing and alarming privatisation” that “reinforces inequality” regarding the right to an education.

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