Moroccan King Mohammad VI orders military to join battle against coronavirus

Moroccan King Mohammad VI has ordered the mobilization of Royal Armed Forces’ medical resources to help the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus. (AFP)
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Updated 23 March 2020

Moroccan King Mohammad VI orders military to join battle against coronavirus

DUBAI: Moroccan King Mohammad VI has ordered the mobilization of Royal Armed Forces’ medical resources to help the country’s fight against the novel coronavirus.

Under the royal order, the Moroccan armed forces’ medical practitioners would work with their civilian counterparts and share facilities, “in this critical mission”, according to a Royal Court statement from the Moroccan News Agency late Sunday.

Military medics and paramedics will start backing the healthcare system and strengthen the nationwide preventative steps starting Monday.

The King’s order follows recent detection of shortage in some specializations of health care frontliners against the coronavirus, the statement said, as the ruler exhorted military and civilians in the medical industry to work as one.

Morocco on Sunday reported seven new coronavirus cases, bringing the infection to 115. Three patients have recovered wile four succumbed to the disease.

Morocco’s Government Council, which convened on Sunday, meanwhile adopted a draft decree implementing provisions relating to the “state of health emergency” as well as procedures for its implementation, as part of emergency measures to stem the spread of the new coronavirus.

Under this draft law, any violation of the instructions and decisions by the public authorities is punishable by one to three months’ imprisonment and a fine ranging from 300 to 1,300 Moroccan dirhams or one of the two penalties, without prejudice to the heaviest criminal penalty, the statement added, noting that the measures taken do not hinder the continuity of public services offered to citizens, the Moroccan News Agency reported.

Morocco earlier banned private and public transport between cities, starting on Saturday, March 21 at midnight, as part of the “state of health emergency”, declared by the country.


Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

In this file photo taken on December 04, 2018, Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice (portrait L), who was abducted in Syria more than six years ago, speak at a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2020

Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

  • In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump personally wrote to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad about the case of journalist Austin Tice, who has been missing since 2012, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
“The US government has repeatedly attempted to engage Syrian officials to seek Austin’s release,” Pompeo said in a statement on the eighth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“President Trump wrote to Bashar Assad in March to propose direct dialogue.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.
Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.
In March, Trump said the United States had written a letter to authorities in Damascus, without specifying that he himself had written personally to Assad, who Washington wants out of power. At that time, Trump said he did not know if Tice was still alive.

HIGHLIGHT

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.

“No one should doubt the president’s commitment to bringing home all US citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas,” Pompeo said Friday.
“Nowhere is that determination stronger than in Austin Tice’s case.”
Pompeo said he and Trump hoped there would be “no need for another statement like this a year from now.”
“Austin Tice’s release and return home are long, long overdue. We will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” he added.
A year ago, the US government said it believed Tice was still alive.
His mother Debra Tice said in January that she had “credible information” to that effect, without elaborating.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.