Saturday, December 15, 2018

Australia Still Lacks Anti-Terrorism Cooperation with Morocco


Safaa Kasraoui, a journalist with Morocco World News, reports that Morocco’s counterterrorism strategy has attracted increasing interest among international security services. The efficiency of the strategy led the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) to note that the Australian government does not yet cooperate with Morocco on counterterrorism.

ASPI said that Morocco “portrays the fight against Islamist extremism as a war of ideas that can be won by preaching a tolerant, moderate and non-violent form of Islam.” The institute also recalled that Morocco, which “lies in an unstable region” due to the presence of “Islamist terrorism, ” has not been affected by any terror attack since April 2011 in Marrakech.

The institute said that although Australia takes part in international counterterrorism forums along with Morocco, the two countries have “no bilateral counterterrorism” ties “nor do we have any official counter-terrorism involvement in the Maghreb.”

While no counterterrorism ties have been made yet the Australian Ambassador to Rabat, Berenice Owen-Jones, told Morocco World News that “With the opening of the embassy in Rabat in 2017, Australia and Morocco are set to increase their cooperation on counterterrorism matters, including in global forums.”

Berenice Owen-Jones
Although there is currently no bilateral counterterrorism relation with Australia, Morocco has several international cooperation with several international security services, including the US, Spain, and France.

With Morocco introducing the anti-terrorism strategy and the Central Bureau for Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) in 2015, the North African country received applause and appreciation from several international powers, including the US.

In its 2018 Country Report on Terrorism, the State Department said, “Following the August attacks in Barcelona, Morocco assisted the Spanish investigation and promised to expand cooperation to track terrorists of Moroccan origin radicalized abroad.”

ASPI mentioned Morocco’s counterterrorism cooperation with European countries, saying that “European countries have also worked closely with Morocco, providing counterterrorism training and equipment, and conducting joint operations with Moroccan security forces.”

Morocco was also listed among the least impacted countries by terrorism, according to the 2018 Global Terrorism Index. Morocco ranked 132nd out of 163 in the report, gaining nine places compared to the 2017 report when it ranked 123rd. The ranking makes Morocco safer than the US, France, and Algeria.

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Friday, December 14, 2018

An Aziz Kibari Donkey Reaches Fez!

My donkey (Toby) is now safe and sound on my wall in Fez - thanks to Aziz Kibari


Aziz Kibari is having a solo exhibition at the Casino of La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakesh until December 16th - don't miss it!


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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Damon Arabsolgar in Concert: in Fez


Damon Arabsolgar in Concert: Piano and Voice. Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7 PM. ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Batha, Fez Medina

Born from a Persian father and a German-Italian mother, Damon Arabsolgar plays with the extremes of East and West.

After having toured Italy, Europe, Morocco, the Balkans and Russia he is currently touring throughout Europe and Morocco with his solo act with just a piano and a microphone on stage for a very intimate and raw concert.

His songwriting floats in between life in mid-ocean ridges and surreal stories he encountered during his travels, while the singing follows the extreme dynamics of the music and passes from catchy falsetto to an intimate and baritone with his characteristically unplaceable accent that reveals a melting pot: some new, as-yet undiscovered territory.

This concert, organized by the ALC-ALIF Music Club, is free and open to the general public.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Fez - Cultural Happenings

The last few days have been busy with a number of cultural events taking place, including contemporary dance and a new music group
Left to right - Etienne Gruel, Frédéric Calmès, Faith Barker, and  Léo Fabre-Cartier, 

Gouer Ouled Chaabi is quartet of musicians who have a strong affinity with Morocco and its music. It is unusual as the group members, Etienne Gruel, Frédéric Calmès, Faith Barker, and  Léo Fabre-Cartier, are all non-Moroccans!

According to singer Faith Barker, Gouer Ouled Chaabi is a work in progress. "Fred, Leo, Etienne and I are musicians who love Moroccan music and live or have spent extended periods in Morocco. For this project we have worked together on original songs in Moroccan chaabi styles, including lyrics in darija. Some of the songs playfully talk about things we have come across while living in Morocco, eg the strange things that can happen while you travel in a grand taxi".

Faith Barker in fine voice

Saturday night's concert was the first time they had played together after a brief residence over the previous three days. But, as Faith explains, "Fred, Leo and Etienne have worked together on several storytelling shows and I’ve obviously done the same with Fred and Leo, as well as working with the Hamadcha together".

The performance was a treat, with fine vocals, mesmeric percussion and fine work from Fred and Leo. There was certainly no indication that this was the group's first concert. One highlight was a song inspired by the Hamadcha Sufi Brotherhood which had the audience swaying along and applauding loudly.

Maestro! Leo at work

Gouer Ouled Chaabi plan to continue the project with further concerts and hopefully a recording in 2019, so, watch this space!

Contemporary Dance

Friday night's performance of the 11th edition of the International Festival of Expressive Dance at Complexe Culturel Al Hourria was a delightful mix of styles. In the first section, budding ballet dancers from the Ecole des Arts Classica performed a simple series of steps under the enthusiastic eye of their parents. When the smaller dancers left the stage, the street dancers of Studio X entered, to much applause. A duet between a classical ballet dancer and a hip hop dancer was the highlight, and an unexpected treat.



The second section, with three accomplished contemporary dancers, was a more serious piece. Called Women, it explored perceptions of female identity.

Choreographed by Alham El Morsli, it began with a dancer fighting to get out of a mosquito net. When she eventually succeeded, hair covered her face, and she moved across the stage like a wild creature - clearly representing the primal, primitive aspect of the female psyche.

The second dancer was the extreme stereotype of sexualised femininity, strutting and rolling about the stage, smoking, in a tight red dress and ridiculously exaggerated high heels. Her personae and movements were confronting to some in the audience, who left during this section.


The last dancer wore a long white robe, covered with what appeared to be soft toys. She came across as a girl/child, trapped within a garment that confined her movements.



After changing into identical dark grey tops and lighter grey trousers, the women's movements became freer, and they explored group dynamics, with two dancers "attacking" the third. A transition followed, until they eventually all were dancing together, supporting one another.

It was a considered, reflective piece which raised some pertinent points about stereotypes of femininity versus reality - surprising and pleasing to see it in a Moroccan context.

For further information about Babylon Cult Art Association, CLICK HERE. 





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Friday, December 07, 2018

Tourism in Morocco - the Latest Numbers


A total of 9.7 million tourists visited Morocco between January and October 2017, an increase of + 9% compared to the same period last year, says the Observatoire du tourisme

The number of foreign tourists has increased by 14%, while the arrivals of Moroccans living abroad (MRE) have increased by 5%, says the Observatory of Tourism which has just published its statistics on the Moroccan tourism covering the first 10 months of 2017.

This rise affected the main issuing markets, in particular Germany (14%), Holland (8%) and France (7%), according to the same source. As for emerging tourism markets for Morocco, they maintain their upward trend, with China recording a 203% increase, while Japan, South Korea, the United States and Brazil posted respective increases of 40%. %, 33%, 30% and 51%. The total nights spent in classified tourist accommodation establishments recorded a 15% increase during the first 10 months of 2017 (+ 19% for non-resident tourists and + 8% for residents).

The two tourist hubs Marrakesh and Agadir alone generated 60% of total overnight stays at the end of May, the Observatory said, noting that these two cities experienced an increase of 18% and 12%, respectively.

Other destinations also performed well, especially the cities of Fez and Tangier with respective increases of 37% and 26%. As for the occupancy rate until the end of October 2017, it reached 44%, up 4 points over the same period last year.

In addition, revenues generated by tourism activity by non-residents in Morocco amounted to MAD 59.2 billion (MMDH) at the end of October 2017, compared with MAD 56.1 billion a year earlier, an increase of 5%.

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Thursday, December 06, 2018

Australian Embassy Offers New Services


As of 10 December 2018, the Australian Embassy in Rabat will start providing notarial services - but please note - by appointment only



These services are listed below. When booking the appointment, please select the relevant service that you are seeking to ensure the appropriate officer is available to provide you the service you need.

- Witnessing and taking of affidavits, oaths, or affirmations.
- Witnessing Commonwealth statutory declarations.
- Witnessing applications forms for, and issuing of, Certificates of No Impediment (CNI) to Marriage.
- Perform legalisation of signatures and/or seals through either an authentication or an apostille.
- Certify true copies of certain documents or photographs on Australian documents or documents to be used in Australia only.
- Witnessing signatures on certain documents.

It is your responsibility to obtain the correct instructions from the requesting authority for the notarial services you require from the Australian mission overseas. The Consular Officers cannot advise on other agencies' requirements.

For more information and booking service, please check our website at www.morocco.embassy.gov.au

Australian Embassy Morocco
28 Avenue S.A.R. Sidi Mohammed
Souissi 10105 (BP 45),
Rabat
Morocco
Telephone: +212 (0) 522 85 74 00

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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Fibre Optic brings speed to the Internet in the Fez Medina

Fibre Optic is now available in the Fez Medina! The View From Fez checks it out...


Fibre Optic rocks! Download speeds between 80 and 136 MBS

A few years ago the arrival of ADSL internet in the Medina was seen as something of a miracle. Now Maroc Telecom are offering hi-speed fibre optic. What is equally impressive is the speed with which the installation took place. Five days after requesting connection the technicians arrived and brought the cable up to the house and into the office.

The following day, another technician installed and tested the new modem and had it up and running in under an hour and the speeds were not too shabby.


Being used to stories of network roll-out problems with the NBN in Australia, we think Australia could learn a thing or two.

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