Photo credit: Morocco is grappling with what is being described as its biggest-ever property scam. Fadel Senna AFP
April 2, 2020
Three stories you need to read today. Compiled and broken down for you by Reporting Morocco student journalists — every day. Brought to you from the School for International Training’s journalism program, Rabat.
Source: France 24
Lede: “Give us our money!”, demands a group of home buyers, standing on land that should by now be finished condos — one of many fictitious projects that together comprise what is described as Morocco’s biggest-ever property scam.
Nut Graf: Adverts on state television had promised dream homes at three for the price of two, while brochures boasted of ornately carved wood finishings and copious marble.
But it was all a fantasy — more than 600 million dirhams (about 57 million euros, $65 million) allegedly disappeared, leaving more than 1,000 buyers out-of-pocket, according to one of the lawyers representing them.
Why this is newsworthy: Moroccan people expecting to have condos and apartments built on land are left empty-handed without help from the government. In a country known for its low wages, it should always be alarming when money just disappears. This was an urban development plan that turned into a scam.
Source: Arab News
Lede: Isolation to keep coronavirus at bay is a tall order for Moroccans like Abdellah, who is supposed to spend days cooped up indoors without sunlight in an impoverished neighborhood of the capital Rabat.
Nut Graf: Ever since a March 20 lockdown, flats in densely populated areas like Takadoum, which is packed with concrete buildings up to four floors high with tiny windows, can feel like virtual prisons.
Why this is newsworthy: The living conditions of the poor make isolation and self-quarantine very difficult because of overcrowding. This is an important step in reducing the spread of the infection, but it is not easy for people living with many family members in tight quarters. Stories like this display how poor people will always be affected the most in global pandemics.
Source: The Guardian
Lede: Scientists have discovered three new species of flying reptiles that lived in the Sahara 100m years ago.
Key Background: The study, published in the Cretaceous Research journal, has revealed a community of pterosaurs that inhabited prehistoric Morocco.
A university spokeswoman said: “The new finds show that African pterosaurs were quite similar to those found on other continents.
Why this is newsworthy: During this period where Coronavirus is dominating the news cycle new discoveries are still being made. It is an uplifting story about scientific discovery in a sea of dark news. After years of extracting dinosaur DNA from the Earth, scientists are still finding more evidence of dinosaurs roaming the Earth.