Authorities provide aid to people in mountainous areas
On Sunday authorities began an operation to provided food aid to some 2,600 people affected by the heavy snowfalls in the remote rural area of Imilchil (south east Morocco). During this operation, 500 packages were distributed, each one containing more than 30 kg of foodstuff.
During the last few days, Moroccan authorities have also organised several operations to provide aid to several zones in the High Atlas with the aim to mitigate the effects of cold weather.
Light earth tremor strikes northern Morocco
The series of earthquakes experienced recently in Morocco continues. The Moroccan Geophysics Institute reported a magnitude 3.6 quake on Sunday morning in the northern province of Chefchaouen.
The quake's epicentre was located in the commune of Ait Beida.
Missionary caught "in flagrante delicto."
On Thursday, in Amezmiz on the outskirts of Marrakech, Morocco's security services arrested a foreign missionary carrying out Christian proselytizing activities "in flagrante delicto," Interior Ministry said.
According to various sources, the missionary had targeted a group of fourteen Moroccans, composed mainly of children and women, with the aim of spreading an evangelist creed in the Kingdom and locate new Moroccan nationals for recruitment.
The operation of the security services took place following information supplied by the public on the organization of a secret meeting to initiate people into Christianity. The Interior Ministry statement added that such actions were aimed at shaking Muslims' faith and undermining the Kingdom's religious values.
The operation resulted in the seizure of teaching material as well as important proselytizing documents, including laptops, video projectors, CD-ROMs and evangelization brochures
Twelve million foreigners enter Morocco's airports in 2009
According to the Tourism Department figures, about 12 million foreign passengers passed through Morocco's airports in 2009. This number is up 5% compared to 2008.
Around 46% of these passengers passed through the Casablanca Mohammed V airport, 23% for Marrakech-Menara airport and 9% for Agadir-Massira.
According to the ministry, the number of tourists visiting Morocco in 2009 reached 8.34 million, up 6% compared to the previous year. The French topped the list with 3.1 million (+4%), followed by the Spaniards with 1.8 million (+10%), the Belgians (469,000, + 12%), the Dutch (443,000, +12%), the Britons (362,000, -7%) and the Italians (318,000, + 11%).
Travelers' Choice 2010 Best Service Award has gone to Riad Laaroussa in Fez. The hotel has a reputation for being one of the top boutique hotels in Africa and this award should further enhance its reputation
Proprietor Fred Sola was very happy with the result and took advantage of the award "to thank everyone who has given us such great support to improve the quality of our service. Your comments are critical to us. We are fully aware that in the service industry, quality is a permanent learning curve and it is never won… but such event gives us the confidence and the strength to carry on with the ambition to serve you better."
Congratulations to Fred Sola and the team at Riad Laaroussa.
Visit Fez and get dumped?
With Valentine's Day fast approaching we thought it worthwhile to pass on a tip for those who are feeling less than romantic. The tip comes from the current Ryanair magazine. The mag lists Fez as one of the best places to come for Valentine's - to dump your lover! They say that the Medina, being such a maze, makes it one of the easiest places in the world to get lost or 'accidentally' separated, should you need some time apart after that difficult discussion. The adventurous should bear in mind most Moroccan buildings have a flat roof - providing you with the opportunity for a James Bond-style chase, during which you can shout 'it's not you, it's me!' while leaping from roof to roof.
The UK Independant recently touched on the same subject: The alleyways of the medina are so sinuous, straitened and overbuilt that there is, quite literally, no view. You never know what is around the next corner as it tilts down towards the river. You barely know where the next corner is. There is no angle that can lead the eye upwards more than 30ft. The rooflines are a mystery. The medina from the air reveals nothing about the medina on the ground. The eye is made useless.
Instead, you navigate by sound and smell. The clangour of hammers on metal leads you into a narrow defile, where brass-beaters and tinsmiths bang their trade. Here a vegetable steam announces the dyers, the streets robed in scarlet cloth hung to dry. A haunting, literally faecal, fleshy, fatty, ammoniacal smell declares that the great and terrifying Chouara Tannery is nearby – but where? Through what doorway, along which grease-skittered cobbles, up which narrow stairs?
We wish you good luck and... er... happy Valentine's Day on the 14th.