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Morocco

Moroccans Vote on Constitutional Reforms

Moroccans are voting on constitutional reforms unveiled last month by King Mohammed amid a pro-democracy uprising. Protesters say the reforms have not gone far enough.On the ballot Friday is a series of proposed changes that would limit the monarch's power while strengthening the office of prime minister and the parliament. The king would choose...

The Case of Rachid Nini: A Test of Press Freedom in Morocco

A leading Moroccan rights lawyer was recently in Washington to bring U.S. attention to the case of a controversial newspaper publisher now serving a one year jail sentence apparently for exposing alleged government corruption and repression. The case coincides with an upcoming constitutional referendum, part of reforms promised by King Mohammed VI...

Demonstrations Expected in Morocco

Demonstrations are expected in Morocco Sunday, after a pro-reform group said King Mohammed's new plan to limit his power does not go far enough.The country's youth-based February 20 Movement called Saturday for nationwide protests, criticizing the monarch's reform proposal for not meeting "demands for a true separation of powers." The February 20...

Study: Connection Between Corruption, Recent Revolutions

A study by Global Integrity, an international nonprofit organization, says corruption risks increased in Egypt, some Middle Eastern, North African and Eastern European nations before this year's popular uprisings that swept the region. Global Integrity Managing Director Nathaniel Heller likened corruption to a black hole when he spoke to reporters...

Africans React to Death of Osama bin Laden

There is mixed reaction in Africa to the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.Osama bin Laden's deadliest strike in Africa was the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that together killed 224 people.Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki said the al-Qaida leader's death is an "act of justice" for the victims of the Nairobi bombing...

Global Press Freedom at Lowest Level in More Than Decade

A U.S.-based group that monitors human rights says the number of people with access to free and independent media has declined to its lowest level in more than a decade. In its newly released annual survey of 193 countries and territories, Freedom House says it rated 68 as "free," 65 "partly free" and 63 as "not free.”The group says during the...

Moroccan Official Blames Al-Qaida for Bombing

Morocco's interior minister says the bomb that killed 16 people in a historic square in Marrakech appears to have been the work of al-Qaida.The minister told reporters late Friday the bomb was detonated remotely, in a style normally used by the terrorist organization.The blast tore the facade off a two-story cafe in Jemaa el-Fna square - a...

Morocco Probes al-Qaida Links to Deadly Bombing

A Moroccan government official says authorities are investigating a possible al-Qaida link to a bombing Thursday in Marrakech that left 16 people dead.Communications Minister Khalid Naciri said Friday that investigators are pursuing all possible leads, including al-Qaida which has an active offshoot in the region.The blast tore the facade off a...

At Least 14 Killed in Morocco Blast

At least 14 people have been killed by an explosion at a cafe in the Moroccan city of Marrakech. A statement from Morocco's Interior Ministry says the blast appeared to be the result of a "criminal act". Officials say at least 20 other people were wounded in Thursday's explosion, and some of the victims are tourists.The explosion tore the facade...

Wheat Rust Threatening Crops in Africa, Asia and Mideast

Scientists met this week to discuss an aggressive new strain of wheat rust disease that has the potential to devastate crops in many parts of the world. It’s been found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Uzbekistan. A meeting has just concluded in Aleppo, Syria, where experts made recommendations to stop the spread of the disease...

Battle Begins for Hosting US Africa Command

As U.S. defense officials begin evaluating future sites for their Africa command, known as AFRICOM, a battle to host the command is brewing among U.S. states and territories.  At a recent hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson sang Atlanta’s praise with hopes the city will become AFRICOM’s future host."We...

Who Are the Rebels Fighting Libyan Government Forces?

Fighter planes and missiles from the international coalition are continuing to hit the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The stated goal is to protect civilians, but many analysts say the international coalition has become, in essence, the rebels' air force. But who exactly are the rebels? In this report from Washington, our correspondent...

Amnesty International: Momentum Against Death Penalty Gains Ground

The London-based human rights organization Amnesty International says momentum against the death penalty is gaining ground around the world.  The assessment is part of the group’s data-based report titled Death Sentences and Executions in 2010. The total number of executions officially recorded by Amnesty International last year was at least 527....

Moroccan King’s Speech Long on Reform Promises, Short on Details?

King Mohamed VI has sometimes been called “the King of the Poor” for the reforms he has instituted in that country since inheriting the throne from his father, King Hassan II,  in 1999.  He instituted wider media freedoms and allowed media to report on corruption; he released political prisoners and amended the country’s penal code to ban torture...

Is Libya Regime Change Ultimate Goal of International Coalition?

Planes from a NATO-led international coalition are continuing to hit forces loyal to Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. The stated goal is to set up a no-fly zone to prevent Colonel Gadhafi from using air power against the Libyans who have risen up against him. The United Nations Security Council resolution established the no-fly zone and also...