Clan El-Fassi

Original from Fez, the El Fassi family is the descendant of a line of influential Moroccan men. However, its contemporary strain is, at best, controversial. Benefiting from King Mohammed VI’s good graces, El Fassi members have been present in every sphere of the government. From the ex-Prime Minister Abbas el-Fassi, to the delegate Minister of Economic Affairs, through to the Minister of Foreign Affairs… passing through the President of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation or the Executive Director of the National Offices for drinking water and electricity… the family is also present in the top posts of big Morrocan companies. Yet, the Moroccan people question more and more its members competency and merit… Spread the word.

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Education City in Qatar

The Arab States of the Persian Gulf never cease to surprise us. This time, Qatar’s “Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development” has created a 14 square kilometers Education City, which gathers some of the world’s greatest universities in one place. Understanding that an investment in education is essential for a long-term growth, this project aims at offering education from school age to the research level, and allows universities to exchange with each other and other actors. From Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, to Northwestern, to the Weill Cornell Medical College… it is certainly appealing. Check it out!

The Impact of the Indian Wedding Season

Every year, the price of gold increases, peeking up on late September until January. Surprisingly, the reason for that is the Indian Wedding Season, where approximately 10,000 weddings are held and the brides show off their thousands of dollars’ gold jewelries, thus stirring up an explosion in the world demand for the precious metal. Moreover, as last week’s Financial Times argued, “Multinationals are never slow to spot a branding opportunity” and they have well responded to this business shot. From Domino’s Pizza to Costa Coffee, MNC are now offering guests whatever they want, as they try to gain access to this $25 billion a year industry.

Silent Spring

Written in 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring is a book of vision, crucial in making the human society aware of the damages it was inflicting on its planet. It denounced how chemicals were lethal on animals, specially how DDT was killing birds, to the extent that one day we would have a “Silent Spring”. By showing that nature is a cycle, they could become lethal to us too. President J.F. Kennedy created a science advisory committee to investigate the accuracy of her claims, which proved to be correct. Ten years latter, DDT was banned in the US, and many countries followed it. Yet, as DDT is known to be the best repellant against malaria, the struggle continues to find a balance around what is useful for humans but deadly to nature. Carson’s incredible insight created a book which is as true today as it was 50 years ago. If you want to read it, there is an online version!

Hans Kung

Hans Küng is a Progressive Swiss Catholic priest, philosopher, theologian and author. Since the 1960s Küng has been engaged in an intellectual battle with former pope, Joseph Ratzinger whom papacy he described as “Modern Inquisition”. Küng’s distinction in Theology academia is due to his rejection of the doctrine of papal infallibility. He has published dozens of book, amongst the most controversial Infallible? An Inquiry (1971), Dying with Dignity (1980), where he explains why euthanasia is not a sin, and My Struggle For Freedom: Memoirs (2003), a criticism of the Modern Church.

Access versus TRIPs

The 1990s were marked by the battle for the TRIPs campaign i.e. Trade-Related Intellectual Property, driven by big industrial groups, especially pharmaceuticals who argued for the protection of Intellectual Property under the slogan “Patents = Profits = Research = Cure”. Because of the AIDS/HIV epidemic and its expensive treatment, NGOs all over the world started campaigning against TRIPs under the motto “Copy = life”. They were successful as in 2001, the Doha Declaration stated that TRIPs should not prevent states from dealing with public health crisis, and thus permitting them to copy drugs to make generics.

Crowdfunding

In this period of crisis, asking for a bank loan is an idea that most of us put aside. Crowdfunding emerges as an alternative to credit. Used for the first time in 1875 to finance the building of part of the Statue of Liberty, and seen more recently with Barack Obama’s first election campaign, this system can take several forms. However, the most brilliant one is the donation system. You have a project, you share it in a crowdfunding online platform, and you wait for people to help your cause. The project has a budget and a defined space in time to be financed, and if the sum is not gathered in time, one gets the money back. The donation usually comes with a compensation, from being listed in the generics of a movie to be given a small gift. Check it out!

The F-Scale

Have you ever thought how many conservatives there are in your country? If they are a minority or a majority?
In 1947, after two decades of Fascism in Europe and a devastating world war, German sociologist Theodor Adorno, exiled from his country since 1934, taught about it and developed a survey to quantify the amount of fascism in each citizen entitled the F-scale.
Check it out!

Cash For Amendments Scandal

In 2011, the Sunday Times decided to test how easy could European-deputes be bribed by lobbyists. Their undercover journalists pretending to be lobbyists approached 60 Member of the European Parliament (MEP).  Known as the “cash for amendments scandal”, their findings made scandal as four MEPs were recorded accepting monetary compensation in exchange for legislative favors. They are Romanian MEP Adrian Severin, Austrian MEP Ernst Strasser, Slovenian MEP Zoran Thaler and Spanish MEP Pablo Zalba Bidegain. Following the revelations, Thaler and Strasser resigned but Zalba and Severin remain in the EP. Spread the word.