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From new non-stop flights and 'Place Pins' to photo workshops and air bridges

The Broader Picture: Hassan and the Mega-Mosque

ITS MINARET is higher than the great pyramid of Cheops - three times as high as the Statue of Liberty. At 22 square acres it covers an area greater than Angkor Wat. St Peter's basilica in Rome could fit inside the main building and its prayer hall is three times larger than St Paul's cathedral. It is an extraordinary sight, set on a platform of reclaimed land jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, towering like a colossus over the sea and the surrounding slums and buildings of Casablanca. A laser beam at the top of the minaret's 700ft tower can been seen from 30 miles away.

Police chief executed for rape

RABAT (AP) - A former Casablanca police commissioner was executed at dawn yesterday for forcing more than 500 women and young girls into sexual acts that he videotaped. Mohamed Mustafa Tabet was shot by firing squad after final judicial appeals were rejected last Thursday, the Justice Ministry said.

Letter: Hollywood 'chutzpah' over the name game

Sir: Hollywood's chutzpah in claiming ownership of certain words is nothing new (Miles Kington; 'Bloodthirsty beasts on the loose - and dinosaurs as well', 6 July).

Lavish memorial to King's sacred mission: Charles Richards, Middle East Editor, reports from Casablanca on the mosque critics describe as a monument to vanity

A PUTRID air hangs over the soaring square minaret of the mosque which King Hassan II of Morocco is having built on the Casablanca waterfront. It is not the smell of the donations levied on his subjects and compulsorily deducted from their wage packets. It is simply that the mosque, the most lavish in the country, is being built near where city's main sewer disgorges effluent into the Atlantic.

Obituary: Dan Seymour

Dan Seymour, actor: born 22 February 1915; died Santa Monica, California 25 May 1993.

Bunhill: U-turn

IT looked like the end of the road last week for the 36 lorry drivers who, having once braved the Wapping picket lines for Rupert Murdoch, were fighting against dismissal by TNT.

BOOK REVIEW / Fresh light on the framing of the usual suspects: 'The Making of Casablanca' - Aljean Harmetz: Weidenfeld, 15.99 pounds

AS HOLLYWOOD churns out violence, what a pleasure to read about a movie that acquired cult status because it satisfied a hunger 'for political, social and human values that are missing today' - to quote Howard Koch, the writer who gave a political and idealistic dimension to Humphrey Bogart's character, Rick. A pleasure, too, to learn that the refugees desperately seeking exit permits from Peter Lorre in Rick's cafe actually were Jewish refugees from Nazism, cast by the brilliant Hungarian director, Michael Curtiz.

Death demanded

Casablanca (AP) - Prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for Morocco's national police commissioner, on trial for raping hundreds of women and girls and recording the encounters on videotape. The prosecution accuses Mohamed Tabet, 54, of rape of about 600 women and girls, holding them against their will and torturing them.

Moroccan porn videos are a knock-out

Rabat (Reuter) - A lawyer fainted and was taken to hospital for treatment after watching pornographic videos screened at a Casablanca criminal court during the night, the official MAP news agency, said yesterday. The videos were shown in court at the trial of the chief police commissioner, Haj Mohamed Mustapha Tabet.

You dream-maker, you heartbreaker: Audrey Hepburn died on Wednesday at the age of 63. An appreciation by Anthony Lane

'I'VE grown accustomed to her face,' said Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, furious at falling in love - dammit, almost singing in his emotion. But then we all grew accustomed to Audrey Hepburn's face: 'her smiles, her frowns, her ups, her downs . . .'

Obituary: Frederick Danielski

Frederick Danielski, spy and hotelier, died West Palm Beach Florida 7 January, aged 82. Known as 'Mr Casablanca', he spied for the Allies during the Second World War while running several Lisbon night-clubs. Manager of Palm Beach's Colony Hotel from 1965 to 1988.

Travel Update: Travel bookshelf

THE latest in the excellent Odyssey Guide series is Introduction to Los Angeles by Gil Reavill (Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 9.95). It offers some fascinating information. For example, the final scenes of Casablanca were filmed at Glendale airport, which played the role of 'Casablanca Aero-Gare'; the Church of the Recessional in Forest Lawn Memorial Park is an exact replica of the church described in Thomas Gray's 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard'. 'It's hard to tell where Hollywood ends and the DTs begins,' said W C Fields, but Introduction to Los Angeles will help you sort it out.

FILM / Just swingin' and dancin' in the rain: One of the great feel-good movies turns 40 this month. Seeing it afresh, Anthony Lane is ha-ha-happy again

WHEN people say they love old films, how old is old? It can simply mean silent, or shot in black-and-white. Or you can apply a melancholy test: are the stars all dead? If so, it's an old movie. It should be steeped in conventions we find ridiculous, and easily rumbled, yet far more consoling than anything currently on offer. The actual age of the films doesn't really matter, or so one always thought. But recently there's been a rash of birthdays: half-centuries for The Wizard of Oz in 1989 and Casablanca this year. And now, Singin' in the Rain, which turns 40 next week. Things have changed. Old movies suddenly seem so . . . so old.

The Sunday Preview: Film

THE FIVE BEST FILMS

FILM / The end of the world is nigh

Casablanca (U). . . . . . . . . .Michael Curtiz (US)
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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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