Friday, March 22, 2019

Book of the Week...



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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Smuggling of Moroccan Tortoises

A German man tried smuggling three tortoises through Schönefeld Airport in Berlin, according to a press release from the airport's main customs office

The 69-year-old arrived at the airport from Cairo on Feb. 3, 2019 and went through the customs line for travellers who had nothing to register.

Upon inspecting his bags, however, custom officers found a pastry box, which the man explained contained "chocolates."

Upon further inspection, however, officials discovered three living Moroccan tortoises inside the box.

The officers confiscated the animals and placed them in veterinary care in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The tortoises are protected under the multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.


If charged with breaking international species protection law, the 69-year-old man risks a fine of up to €50,000 and up to five years in jail, according to a statement released by Schoenefeld Airport last week.

The customs office said the species is under protection by the the Washington Convention on the Protection of Animals. Breaking these protection regulations can result in fines up to 50,000 euros (or about $56,700) or up to five years in jail, according to the release. It is unclear whether the man, who was left unnamed, was charged.


The Moroccan tortoise (estudo graeca marokkensis) is also known commonly as the spur-thighed tortoise.

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Monday, March 18, 2019

FES FESTIVAL OF WORLD SACRED MUSIC 2019

The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music 2019 runs from June 14 to June 22 with the theme - Fes at the confluence of cultures
Thanks to Helen Ranger we now have the provisional programme*



FRIDAY 14 JUNE
21.00 Bab al Makina A: €60 B: €30
Opening Concert: Fes, Remembering the Future

SATURDAY 15 JUNE
09.00 Prefecture Hall, Batha: Forum
16.30 Jnan Sbil Garden €20
Anuna (Ireland): Sacred Songs of Ireland

21.00 Bab al Makina A: €60 B: €30
Sami Yusuf (UK)

23.00 Dar Tazi: Sufi Night (free; Sufi group to be confirmed)

Samir Yusuf

SUNDAY 16 JUNE

09.00 Prefecture Hall, Batha: Forum
16.30 Jnan Sbil Garden €20
Sahar Mohammadi and Haïg Sarikouyoumdjian (Azerbaijan, Armenia)

21.00 Bab al Makina A: €50 B: €25
Marcel Khalifa (Lebanon)

23.00 Dar Tazi: Sufi Night (free)

MONDAY 17 JUNE
09h00 Prefecture Hall, Batha: Forum
16.30 Jnan Sbil Garden
Bahariyya (Azerbaijan)

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA I
19.00 Dar Adiyel €15
Les Voix Humaines (Canada)

20.30 Jnan Sbil Garden €20
Michelle David and the Gospel Sessions (USA/Netherlands)

22.00 Ben Youssef Complex €15
Areej Sufi Ensemble (Oman)

22.00 Dar Adiyel
Les Voix Humaines (Canada)

23.00 Dar Tazi: Sufi Night (free)

TUESDAY 18 JUNE
16.30 Jnan Sbil Garden €20
Canticum Novum (France)

Canticum Novum

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA II
19.00 Dar Adiyel €15
Dhrupad Fantasia (France)

20.30 Jnan Sbil €20
Carlos Nuñez, Master of the Gaïta Bagpipes (Spain)

22.00 Ben Youssef Complex €15
Meera – Indian Dance

22.00 Dar Adiyel €15
Dhrupad Fantasia (France)

23.00 Dar Tazi: Sufi Night (free)

WEDNESDAY 19 JUNE

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA III
18.00 Ibn Danan Synagogue, Fes el Jdid €15
Kol Colé (Germany)

19.00 Dar Adiyel €15
Svetlana Spajic Vocal Ensemble (Serbia) with Cherifa Kersit (Morocco)

20.30 Jnan Sbil Garden €20
World Youth Baroque Ensemble

22.00 Ben Youssef Complex €15
Obini Bata (Cuba)

22.00 Dar Adiyel €15
Svetlana Spajic ocal Ensemble (Serbia) with Cherifa Kersit (Morocco)

23.00 Dar Tazi: Sufi Night (free)

THURSDAY 20 JUNE
16.30 Jnan Sbil Garden €20
Homayoun Sakhi (Afghanistan)

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA IV
18.00 Ibn Danan Synagogue, Fes el Jdid €15
Kol Colé (Germany)

19.00 Palais Glaoui €15
How Far is the Sun from the Earth? (France)

FRIDAY 21 JUNE
16.30 Jnan Sbil Garden €20
Sona Jorbateh (Gambia)

Sona Jorbateh 

NIGHT IN THE MEDINA V
18.00 Dar Batha €15
Opera Slam Baroque (France)

19.00 Palais Glaoui €15
How Far is the Sun from the Earth?

21.00 Bab al Makina A: €50 B: €25
The Art of Muwashah, from Aleppo to Fes

23.00 Dar Tazi: Sufi Night

SATURDAY 22 JUNE
16.30 Jnan Sbil Garden
Masters of the Harp (Colombia, Paraguay and Venezuela)

18.00 Dar Batha €15
Opera Slam Baroque

19.00 Palais Glaoui €15
How Far is the Sun from the Earth?

21.00 Bab al Makina A: €60 B: €30
Grand Flamenco Night with José Merce and Tomatito (Spain)

Tomatito

*Notes:
Book passes or tickets on the festival website www.fesfestival/com/2019,
For accommodation, see www.fez-riads.com.
English translation by Helen Ranger.

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Fez Police Arrest 19-year-old Student for ‘Praising’ New Zealand Terror Acts

The Prefectural Police Department of Fez, in close coordination with the services of the Directorate General of Territorial Surveillance, have arrested a 19 year old student from the Institute of Applied Technology, for his alleged support for terrorist acts via publications on social networks.

A statement from the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN) indicates that the suspect posted a publication on his Facebook account in which he excused the terrorist act that targeted the two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The case will be referred to the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) under the Directorate General of Territorial Surveillance, to investigate the criminal acts attributed to the student under the supervision of the prosecutor's office in charge of terrorism.

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

His Majesty King Mohammed VI Condemns Christchurch Attack

His Majesty King Mohammed VI strongly condemned the atrocious terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, in New Zealand, claiming the lives of many innocent people, saying that he was deeply saddened and shocked by this news.

In a message of condolences and compassion to Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand, the sovereign voiced, on his behalf and that of the Moroccan people, his strong condemnation of this evil, racist and terrorist attack against innocent worshipers.

"This is a despicable violation not only of the sanctity of places of worship, but also of the universal human values of coexistence, tolerance and brotherhood," wrote the message.

HM the King extended his sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to the grieving families, and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the bereaved," the sovereign concluded.


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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Protests Over Closure of Desert Camps in Merzouga


The government is dismantling desert camps in the Erg Chebbi dunes of the Sahara, 40 kilometers from the city of Merzouga in eastern Morocco

Morocco World News is reporting that the local government hired workers to help dismantle tourist camps in the Merzouga region, accompanied by approximately 200 military personnel to discourage protests, according to a Morocco World News source. The government allegedly tore down approximately 12 camps last weekend, and the told the rest to vacate the area or be forcibly removed.

One luxury desert camp received notice that it must close but with no details of when or why, the owner told MWN. The camp has bookings until late 2020, which raises the question of what will happen to the guests who have booked or the camp owners with finances at stake.

The camp owner argued that the camps do good for the area and Morocco as a whole. Her business, she said, had “vigorously " promoted Morocco, and specially Merzouga.” She asserted her company had “spent over 3 million dirhams in developing the camp and promoting Morocco.”


Those who have most at stake if the desert camps are shut down are the locals. Thousands of tourists visit the desert camps each year to experience Saharan sand dunes and provide the main source of local employment.

The camp owner MWN spoke to said they “source food locally and employ mostly local staff from the area,” which consists of a team of “42 workers, plus 3 other (sic) at the office.” Cameleers, food suppliers, and tour operators are also going to be affected.

It is of no question that the desert camps help the area economically, so why are they being shut down? Although no official answer has been given yet, either to the media or camp owners, it may be for environmental or security reasons. Concerns have been raised regarding waste and sewage disposal and water usage by the dozens of desert camps in the area.

There is allegedly no differentiation being made by the authorities between the camps that are registered and environmentally conscious and those that are unlicensed, “squatting” on the land and damaging the environment. Will all the camps in Erg Chebbi be given notice that they must close or do authorities have some kind of criteria to allow some camps to stay?

The luxury camp owner told MWN that her camp is a “registered Moroccan company with proper documentation and paying high taxes each month to the Moroccan government. We have proper insurance to run the camp.” She continued, “We have adequate security procedures in place at the camp to ensure the safety of everyone.”

The removal of the camps has received heavy backlash from the locals in Merzouga. On Monday, March 11, hundreds of locals protested the decision at a demonstration. The protesters waved Moroccan flags and carried banners, saying, “No to the unjust negative decisions” and “Together for dialogue for the legalisation and organisation of desert tourism camps.”

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