Friday, October 09, 2009

Moroccan News Briefs

Fez Jazz in Riad Festival 2009

« Let the Jazz burn, to each of these terms, for it sets us ablaze… » Leitmotiv of the top of the line of the Fez Jazz in Riad Festival 2009.

The 2009 edition of the Fez, Jazz in the Riads Festival kicks off today and runs until the 11th. Mohamed Kabbaj, President of Spirit of Fez Foundation has this to say about the festival:

Throughout its different activities, the Spirit of Fez Foundation has always succeeded at opening ideas, thoughts, talents, making Fez an intersection of encounters of men and of women of all horizon. The different Festivals of Fez allow us to understand that it is necessary to find refuge in « the otherness », the recognition of the cultural diversity and the safeguard of common values. For this 6th edition of the Fes Jazz in Riad Festival, this is yet another celebration of spirit and heart that the Spirit of Fez Foundation invites you for three straight days of festivities and of encounters.

We have the distinct privilege this year to benefit from the labelling of "DjangodOr, international Trophies of jazz"; which is considered a successful internationalization of the Festival. Furthermore, the DjangodOr are attributed to the best European musicians and soon African musicians. As early as 2010, the first DjangodOr Africa will take place at Ouagadougou to the Burkina Faso and the City of Fez is getting ready to welcome them for its festival in 2011.

Sufi Septuagenarians teach us an essential point: all has a flavour in this earthly world, and it is by this flavour that in all circumstance one can climb back up towards the Principle. You will not be therefore astonished if I say you that the Festival of Jazz of Fez also has a flavour of its own."

Festival of the Atlantic Andalusias

In more festival news, this year's Festival of the Atlantic Andalusias, held in Essaouira, will focus on a Moroccan Jewish musical tradition known as Matrouz, Andre Azoulay, festival chairman and an advisor to Morocco's King Mohammed VI announced on Thursday. This will be the sixth Andalusias Festival.

During the festival, to be held from October 29 to November 1, there will be concerts to gather together "our poets, our musicians and our singers, Muslims and Jews, to sing and dance together". The festival will pay a posthumous tribute to 1950s singer Zohra Fassia, who was a militant for the peaceful coexistence of Jews and Muslims in Morocco.

Evenings of Spanish flamenco and music from India are also on the festival programme.

Mixed Economic Messages from Casablanca Stock Exchange.

Net profits of companies on the Casablanca stock market rose 11 percent in the first six months of 2009, however overall operating profit fell by 5 percent according to local analysts.

The benchmark MASI index has slipped 8 percent from a mid-June high and is little changed since the start of the year when it reached its lowest point in two years.

Morocco's economy remains heavily reliant on an agriculture sector that was boosted by a record grain harvest. This in turn fed into consumer spending and underpinned demand for bank credit.

Tough rules restricting movement of capital mean Moroccan banks are largely cut off from the world's financial markets, helping them shrug off the worst of the global crisis.

Net profit of Moroccan banks rose 6 percent in the first six months of 2009, according to Attijari Intermediation.Export sectors and tourism, both heavily affected by the global downturn, are under-represented on the local bourse.

British Charity sends medical supplies to Casablanca

A 40-foot container in Horton Cross was being loaded with £150,000 of medical equipment on Wednesday, destined for Casablanca. The equipment from hospitals, clinics and manufacturers across the UK will provide support to some of the poorest hospitals in the North African country.

Volunteers from Project Hope carefully loaded pallets with ventilators, ECG machines and for the first time, portable foetal heart monitors powered by a clockwork mechanism. Project Hope has previously delivered aid to Sudan, Kashmir, Bolivia, Cameroon and Ethiopia as well as many other countries desperately in need of medical equipment.

Executive Director Deborah Perreau said: “In Casablanca, there’s a 300-bed hospital with almost no facilities, but it still takes 300 patients per day so we are sending beds, ventilators, wheelchairs and other vital equipment.

“We have received new foetal heart monitors designed by London Neonatal specialist Professor John Wyatt.

“They are powered by a wind-up mechanism so they don’t need electricity, which isn’t always available.”

Physiotherapist Hazel Hare was packing specialist equipment onto a pallet with specific individuals in mind.

“I’m looking for a specific chair for a boy I met out there who is blind and has cerebral palsy,” said Hazel.

“I’ve been out about four times along with other specialists to train local people in the use of the equipment.

“That way we can make sure it gets to where it’s needed most.”

The container will complete its journey from Horton Cross Farm to Casablanca later this month.

Auditions open for the next Star Academy Maghreb

In Morocco, auditions for the next series of Star Academy Maghreb will begin October 17th in Casablanca and will run for two days. Auditions will then move to Tangier on October 20th, followed by Marrakesh on the 22nd. The competition will then move to Algeria, where it will take place in three cities: Algiers on October 25th-26th, Oran on the 28th, and finally in Annaba on the 30th.

According to Nessma TV executive Nabil Karoui's press release, Star Academy Maghreb will begin broadcasting this December, and will continue for 13-14 weeks. The prime-time attraction will be recorded weekly in Hammamet, where large 1,000-square-metre studios "will allow us to invite a large number of fans, unlike the previous shows," Karoui said.

A new feature of this year's Star Academy will be the introduction of young local bands each week to expose them to a wider audience.

The winner of the competition will record a CD, financed by Star Academy management.

Diplomatic bungle bowls Morocco out of cricket.

It has been confirmed that the Moroccan team en route to Malawi was prevented from boarding their transit flight to Blantyre to play in the World Cricket League Africa Division 3 as they were carrying only a fax, rather than visas.

"The Qatari authorities did not let them board since they did not have a formal visa but only a fax stating that visas will be awarded on arrival," a source within Moroccan cricket said

As a result, Morocco were forced to withdraw from the tournament and teams due to play them received a bye. Morocco's next tournament is likely to be the North West Championships, which has been cancelled for this year and now will be played in April 2010.

The Washington Moroccan Club celebrates 20 years.

Since its inception in March 1990, the WMC's foundations have remained solid and its support has grown significantly to include people from all states and all walks of life. During this time, it has remained at the service of its supporters through providing them with the finest events Morocco has to offer in the United States, its friend and ally since 1776. It has also served as a platform for recruiting and rallying Moroccan-Americans, as well as friends of Morocco in sharing their knowledge and love for Morocco. In addition, it has remained at the forefront in supporting political causes that are dear to both native and host countries.

The club's objective is to keep growing and learning from experiences and exposure to new developments in all areas, so as to gain strength and become a voice for all those who love Morocco and want to see it gain popularity and support in the United States.

The WMC will be celebrating the 20th anniversary with 20 events during the month of March 2010. These festivities will include cultural, social, political, and sporting events where the club will partner with various local national, and international organizations. The kick off celebration will take place at the fundraising event "Sahra" in Las Vegas November 21, 2009

100% of the profits will benefit the Children of the Arab World.

More details on the club's website: The WMC

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