Friday, April 19, 2013

Moroccan Teenager Afraid after being Falsely Identified as Suspect in Boston Marathon Bombing

Here is a piece from Al-Jazeera English about a Moroccan immigrant who happened to be at the Boston  marathon and was falsely portrayed as a suspect because of how he looks. One paper went so far as to print his photo.  Seems like a case of good ol' American racism mixed with  anti-Muslim bias overwhelming a logical search for the perpetrators .

Teen 'fearful' after portrayal as US bomber

A teenager says he is scared to go outside after he was portrayed on the internet and on the front page of the New York Post as connected to the deadly Boston Marathon bombings.

Photos of Salah Eddin Barhoum, 17, and friend Yassine Zaime were posted on websites whose users have been scouring marathon-finish-line photos for suspects.

The two were also on the Post's front Thursday with the headline: "Bag men: Feds seek these two pictured at Boston Marathon."

The Post reported later on Thursday that the pair were not considered suspects, and the FBI has since identified two other men as suspects in Monday's bombings, which killed three people and injured more than 180.

But Barhoum, a track runner at Revere High School, said he was convinced some would blame him for the bombings, no matter what.

He said he was so fearful on Thursday that he ran back to the high school after a track meet when he saw a man in a car staring at him, talking into a phone.

Barhoum's father, El Houssein Barhoum, who moved his family from Morocco five years ago, said he was worried his son would be shot and fears for his wife and two young daughters.

He said he could not go to his job as a baker in Boston.

In a statement, Col Allan, New York Post editor, said: "We stand by our story. The image was emailed to law enforcement agencies yesterday afternoon seeking information about these men, as our story reported. We did not identify them as suspects.''


Monday, April 8, 2013

Salty Water Threatens Oases Farms in Morocco

Here is a post from by some researchers from Duke University. It discusses water issues in the desert areas of Morocco and some possible upcoming challenges. The original post contains a link to the full study.

Salty water threatens Morocco’s oases farms

Credit: Nathaniel Warner/Duke University

DUKE (US) — Efforts to divert water from mountains in Morocco to irrigate oases farms have dramatically increased the natural saltiness of groundwater.

For more than 40 years, snowmelt and runoff from Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains has been dammed and redirected hundreds of kilometers to the south to irrigate oases farms in the arid, sub-Saharan Draa Basin.

Researchers from Duke University and Ibn Zohr University in Agadir, Morocco, measured dissolved salt levels as high as 12,000 milligrams per liter at some locations—far above the 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams per liter most crops can tolerate.

Dissolved salt levels in the groundwater of the three southernmost farm oases are now so high they endanger the long-term sustainability of date palm farming there.

“The flow of imported surface water onto farm fields has caused natural salts in the desert soil and underlying rock strata to dissolve and leach into local groundwater supplies,” says Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “Over time, the buildup of dissolved salt levels has become irreversible.”