Archive for December, 2011

Arab spring News of the day : Dec 31, 2011

UN chief wants to ensure democracy sought in Arab Spring is sustained in his
Washington Post
UNITED NATIONS — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his second term as chief of the United Nations, wants to help people who rose up in the Arab Spring attain and sustain freedom and democracy. As he embarks on a new five-year term starting New Year’s
Arab Spring becoming an Islamic Revolution
Vancouver Sun
But the overall picture is very different from the promise of the Arab Spring, which saw hordes of educated young people organizing themselves through social media links and taking to the streets demanding western-style democratic reforms. (more…)

The Food of Morocco


The Leonard Lopate Show

Click to play – ListenAddDownloadEmbed / Stream m3u

Paula Wolfert talks about her new cookbook, The Food of Morocco—from tender Berber skillet bread to spiced harira, from chicken with preserved lemon and olives to steamed breast of lamb stuffed with couscous and dates. She explains the essential elements of Moroccan flavor and tells where to get hard-to-find ingredients.


Paula Wolfert


2012: The Year Of Counter-Revolution?


Leon T. Herder
The outgoing 2011 is the Year of the Protester, according to Time magazine. The insurgency targeting the ruling political elites, first in Tunisia, and then in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, has not been confined to the Middle East. Protests have taken place in Spain, Greece, Italy, France, Britain and Israel. And in the United States, the Occupy Wall Street protesters began demonstrating first in New York, and then in Washington, Chicago, and in other cities across the country.

The 2011 global uprisings against the status quo have been compared to the revolutions that swept through Europe in 1848, when working-class socialists and middle-class liberals in Paris, Milan, Vienna, Prague, Budapest and Berlin tried to bring down the old regimes. (more…)

Surfing Trooper Is Riding a Geeky Wave Around the World



By Max Castera

Image: SurfingTrooper,

Surfingtrooper, Bali

As a native of South West France, surfing — the original, water-based kind, not the kind you’re doing right now — has been one of my favorite hobbies for quite some time. My move to the Netherlands and (to be honest) my questionable surfing skills have now made my practice of the sport somewhat challenging!

In any case, I still keep an eye on the surf scene, even if not as much as I do on the geek scene. You can imagine how happy I was when I recently witnessed those two worlds crossing paths! Some anonymous surfer is currently traveling the world, looking for the best waves and visiting geek sanctuaries … Oh, and he also wears a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet the whole time. (more…)

Sarkozy's Moroccan New Year


New York Post

French President Nicolas Sarkozy won’t be spending New Year’s Eve in France. He won’t even be in Europe. The stealthy head of state was spotted “jetting out last night to Morocco to spend New Year’s with wife Carla Bruni and King Mohammed VI at the new royal palace in Marrakech.” Sarkozy, Bruni, and their new French baby are guests “the king and his wife, Princess Lalla Salma” along with other friends and family members who are royal personages. Everyone’s staying in “the new palace” which King Mohammed IV built just after taking the throne in 1999 and is quite proud of. According to a witness on the ground, the mere fact the king and his whole family (and the Sarkozys) are inside has led to widespread hoisting of “The Royal Standard of the King, the red flag with the green star in the center,” which as of this morning is apparently “flying all over Marrakech, a sign the king and his family are in the new palace.” And, again, the Sarkozys (more…)

Morocco's new cabinet held up over key jobs


* New cabinet uncertain a month after polls

* Justice and foreign affairs are main points of disagreement

By Souhail Karam

RABAT, Dec 30 (Reuters) – A bid by the moderate Islamist party PJD to finalise the line-up of a power-sharing cabinet in Morocco has been held up, mainly by opposition from King Mohammed’s circle, sources said on Friday.

PJD (Justice and Development) won most seats in a Nov. 25 election which the king had brought forward by nearly a year in an effort to stave off the revolts sweeping the Arab world.

King Mohammed then appointed PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane as prime minister-designate, allowing him to start talks with coalition partners for a new government. (more…)

The hottest party: Britain warmer than Morocco as country set to enjoy record New Year's Eve temperatures


Mail Online


Britain will enjoy near-record New Year’s Eve temperatures tonight – with parts of the country warmer than Iraq, Morocco and Spain – capping the second-warmest year ever recorded.

Forecasters said today will be as warm as average peak temperatures in May, with a balmy New Year the ‘icing on the cake’ after a year of ‘exceptional’ weather.

The Met Office said mild Atlantic breezes mean many places will see temperatures today 6-8C warmer than yesterday, with all of the UK will enjoying the mercury in double figures.

Waving the year goodbye: Two surfers took advantage of the warmer weather today to catch the last of 2011's surf at Tynemouth Longsands, Tyne and Wear

Waving the year goodbye: Two surfers took advantage of the warmer weather today to catch the last of 2011’s surf at Tynemouth Longsands, Tyne and Wear (more…)

Scientists Hunt for Meteor Crash Clues in 200-Million-Year-Old Murder Mystery


By Aaron L. Gronstal, Astrobiology Magazine | – 4 hrs ago

Mass extinctions are a relatively common theme in the history and evolution of life on Earth, and the most famous one is the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. A plethora of research has been conducted to determine how the dinosaur era ended, generating theories of massive volcanic eruptions, catastrophic climate change and giant impactors from space.

However, much less is known about another remarkable extinction event that occurred roughly 135 million years earlier — an extinction that may have set the stage for the age of dinosaurs .

The mass extinction that occurred just before the boundary between the Triassic and Jurassic periods wiped out much of the life on land and in the oceans, leaving the world ripe for dinosaurs to plunder. For astrobiologists, the causes of this extinction comprise one of the greatest murder mysteries of all time. (more…)

CCR: Delahaye leads Schlesser after 1st stage of Africa Eco race


Robb Pritchard, CCR Correspondent

CCR: Delahaye leads Schlesser after 1st stage of Africa Eco race

Stage 1, 29th December
Nador – Tarda (Morocco)
Liaison: 239.40 km – SS: 276, 90 km – Liaison: 106 km

The world is full of necessary evils, things we have to do, places you have to go through to get where you are going, and yesterday that was Spain. Enthusiasm for the way ahead was put on hold when the bus pulled up at 4am ready for a 15 hour haul along the Costa Del Sol. But then in the port of Almeria another archetypical symbol of the way to Dakar was waiting in the form of the ferry that takes the convoy of vehicles from Europe to Africa… from the tarmac to the sea… and suddenly the rather tedious road trip, where over a thousand kilometers was kicked off almost as an afterthought, turns back into an expedition. (more…)

Bamako target the Polisario to avoid a confrontation with Alger


Written by Khalid Ibrahim Khaled

polisario-aqmi-zone.jpgMali, who is facing in its own territory, the terrorist groups Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), controlled by Algerian jihadists, attacks the Polisario.

Given the balance of power, Bamako, instead of coming into direct confrontation with Algeria, which houses the headquarters of the Sahrawi independence movement, preferred to plump for the Polisario leadership. The Malian authorities accuse openly Sahrawi Polisario to use recently and repeatedly, the Malian territory to settle scores with men of AQIM and drug traffickers who are active in the Sahel belt and particularly in the north Mali, difficult to control by the local army. The Algerian security services have not allowed the setback as a result of the removal on their own territory, two Spanish aid workers and an Italian on October 23 in the heavily guarded camp of Hassi Rabun, near Tindouf, highlighted elements of the Polisario to try to free the hostages through their intrusion into Malian territory. (more…)

Arab spring News of the day : Dec 30, 2011

Same old narratives challenge Arab Spring gains
The Daily Star
The Arab Spring was defined by the street.Now, as the dust begins to settle on a momentous year, observers are starting to question the spontaneity of the uprisings, exemplified so beautifully by the iconic image of the young Tunisian fruitseller
“Birth of Arab Spring” Celebrated in Tozeur
Tunisia Live
The theme of this year’s celebration was defined by the phrase, “Here the Arab Springwas born,” commemorating the wave of popular democratic uprisings in the Arabic-speaking world. Talented artists gathered in the southern-Tunisian city from Iran, (more…)

Source: Al Qaeda leader sends veteran jihadists to establish presence in Libya


By Nic Robertson and Paul Cruickshank

(CNN) – Al Qaeda’s leadership has sent experienced jihadists to Libya in an effort to build a fighting force there, according to a Libyan source briefed by Western counter-terrorism officials.The jihadists include one veteran fighter who had been detained in Britain on suspicion of terrorism. The source describes him as committed to al Qaeda’s global cause and to attacking U.S. interests.

The source told CNN that the al Qaeda leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, personally dispatched the former British detainee to Libya earlier this year as the Gadhafi regime lost control of large swathes of the country.

The man arrived in Libya in May and has since begun recruiting fighters in the eastern region of the country, near the Egyptian border. He now has some 200 fighters mobilized, the source added. Western intelligence agencies are aware of his activities, according to the source.

GPS: Rebuilding the ruins of Gadhafi (more…)

U.S. Aid To All Moroccan Regions, Vote Of Confidence Of Congress: Former U.S. Official


Washington – The U.S. economic and development aid intended for all regions of Morocco is a vote of confidence of the United States’ Congress vis-à-vis the Kingdom’s efforts to settle the Sahara issue, said Roger Noriega, former Assistant Secretary of State US.

The U.S. aid to Morocco is part of the 2012 Omnibus Spending Report that President Barack Obama signed last Friday, after its adoption by both houses of Congress.

This bipartisan action of Congress also endorses the progress made by Morocco in the context of consolidating the rule of law and a society more just and inclusive, noted Roger Noriega, whose statements was quoted on Thursday in a communiqué of the Moroccan American Center for Policy, stressing that Morocco has positioned itself as a model for human rights for the entire region. (more…)

Postponement of Cairo International Book Fair frightens publishers


Ahram Online

MENA and Ahram Online

After the cancellation of the Cairo book fair in 2011, publishers fear postponing it in 2012 risks the demise of the Arab world’s oldest and largest book event

Egypt’s culture minister Shaker Abdel-Hamid announced on Wednesday the postponement of the Cairo International Book Fair to February, to avoid its coinciding with the anniversary of January 25 revolution. The decision was met with deep concern amongst publishers. (more…)

Domestic holidays top Expedia list


Travel Weekly

The UK was the most popular destination for British travellers this year, with a 10% rise in bookings on over 2010.

The trend towards domestic breaks is due to continue in 2012 as the trend towards “staycations” continues due to the ongoing economic uncertainty, according to global research by the online travel giant.

New activities such as local culinary tours and cooking classes and the rise of local bicycle schemes such as Boris Bikes in London are getting people exploring cities in new ways.

Spain and Turkey saw hotel bookings grow following the outbreak of disturbances in Egypt and across other North African destinations such as Tunisia and Morocco as people looked for alternative holiday locations for guaranteed summer sun close to home. (more…)

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