Morocco officially restarts compulsory military service

Moroccans aged between 19 and 25 will serve for one year in the armed forces, some 12 years after conscription was abolished. (AP Photo)
Updated 08 February 2019

Morocco officially restarts compulsory military service

  • Draft dodgers face penalties ranging from one month to a year in prison, but exemptions will be made for those who do not meet physical standards and for university students
  • Moroccans are divided over the return of military service — some view it as gainful employment for youths left behind by development, others as a tool to blunt protest movements

RABAT: Morocco on Thursday officially restored compulsory military service, despite complaints from some young people in the North African country.
King Mohammed VI gave “instructions that 10,000 conscripts be called to military service in the current year, before bringing this figure to 15,000 in the next year,” a cabinet statement carried by the MAP agency said.
Moroccans aged between 19 and 25 look set to be called up for one year, according to the legislation that was unveiled in August, some 12 years after conscription was abolished.
The first conscripts will be enrolled in Autumn 2019, government spokesman Mustapha Khalfi said.
Draft dodgers face penalties ranging from one month to a year in prison, but exemptions will be made for those who do not meet physical standards and for university students.
Military service will be optional for women and dual nationals.
Conscripts will be paid between 1,050 dirhams (€96) and 2,000 dirhams (€185) net per month, according to Khalfi.
Moroccans are divided over the return of military service — some view it as gainful employment for youths left behind by development, others as a tool to blunt protest movements.
The palace said its goal is to improve “integration in professional and social life” for young people and boost their sense of citizenship.


Study finds AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructions

Updated 36 sec ago

Study finds AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic instructions

  • Bristol University virology expert David Matthews: The vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness
  • AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, is seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19
LONDON: AstraZeneca’s Oxford COVID-19 vaccine accurately follows the genetic instructions programmed into it by its developers to successfully provoke a strong immune response, according to a detailed analysis carried out by independent UK scientists.
“The vaccine is doing everything we expected and that is only good news in our fight against the illness,” said David Matthews, an expert in virology from Bristol University, who led the research.
AstraZeneca, which is developing the vaccine with Oxford University researchers, is seen as a frontrunner in the race to produce a vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
The first data from late-stage large-scale clinical trials being conducted in several countries around the world, including Brazil, the United States and Britain, are expected to be released before the end of the year.
The vaccine — known either as ChAdOx1 or AZD1222 — is made by taking a common cold virus called an adenovirus from chimpanzees and deleting about 20% of the virus’s instructions. This means it is impossible for the vaccine to replicate or cause disease in humans.
The Bristol researchers’ focus was to assess how often and how accurately the vaccine is copying and using the genetic instructions programmed into it by its designers. These instructions detail how to make the spike protein from the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19.
Once the spike protein is made, the immune system reacts to it, training the immune system to identify a real COVID-19 infection.
“This is an important study as we are able to confirm that the genetic instructions underpinning this vaccine ... are correctly followed when they get into a human cell,” Matthews said in a statement about the work.
His team’s research was not peer reviewed by other scientists, but was published as a preprint before review.