Saturday, February 27, 2010

Moroccan News Briefs

HM King Mohammed VI Celebrates Prophet's Birthday

On Friday evening, HM King Mohammed VI, accompanied by Prince Moulay Rachid and Prince Moulay Ismail chaired a religious ceremony on the occasion of Eid Al-Mawlid (the birthday of the Prophet). The event was held in the Hassan Mosque in Rabat.

Minister of Endowments and Islamic affairs Ahmed Toufiq gave an address on the activities of the Councils of Ulema (Muslim scholars) and handed the councils' activity report to HM the King.

Then, HM the king handed the Mohammed VI award of merit in Islamic studies and though to Professor Ahmad El-Ghazi El-Husseini, in recongnition of his research in the fields of fatwas, law and Islamic jurisprudence (Fiqh).

The Sovereign also handed the Mohammed VI award of Islamic Studies to Professor Koutb Rissouni.

By the same occasion, HM the King handed the Mohammed VI international award of memorization, declamation and exegesis of the holy Quran to Mohamed Najib Alaoui and the Mohammed VI international award of Quran psalmody to Hicham Al-Adimi.

The Monarch handed the Mohammed VI award of Moroccan calligraphy to Belaid Hamidi, and the Mohammed VI award of excellence in the same art to Professor Ali Dahya.

The ceremony was attended notably by the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the house of Representatives, Speaker of the House of advisors, HM the King’s advisors, cabinet members and other diplomatic, civilian and military figures.

HM the King pardons 448 convicts on Eid Al-Mawlid Acharif

HM King Mohammed VI granted pardon to 448 convicts on Eid Al-Mawlid Acharif (the birthday of the prophet). Twenty four prisoners benefited from a pardon over their remaining prison term, while 351 had their prison term reduced.

Twenty-eight prisoners were granted pardon over their prison sentences, and nine inmates benefited from a pardon over imprisonment terms while fines against them were maintained.

A prisoner was granted pardon over his imprisonment term and had his fine annulled, while fines against 35 convicts were suspended.

Royal pardon is customary in Morocco to mark national and religious holidays.

HRH Princess Lalla Malika hosts dinner on occasion of 50th anniversary of Agadir's reconstruction

Last Friday, HRH Princess Lalla Malika held a dinner in honor of participants in the commemoration of 50th anniversary of the reconstruction of the Atlantic city of Agadir, which was destroyed by a violent earthquake on February 29, 1960.

The rubble of Agadir - photo: Yannick Beunard

The dinner, chaired by HRH Princess Lalla Malika, was attended by Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Aziz Akhannouch, Health Minister Yasmina Badou Social Development, Solidarity and Family Minister Nouzha Skali as well as other civilian and military figures.

As part of the festivities commemorating the 50th anniversary of Agadir’s reconstruction, HRH Princess Lalla Malika, Chairwoman of the Moroccan Red Crescent, also inaugurated a photographic exhibition on the rebuilding of the Atlantic city, featuring pictures of different phases of the city's reconstruction, with a historical outlook on the capital of Souss province from 1600 until 1973.

On the same occasion, HRH Princess Lalla Malika gave a speech where she underlined the steadfast and resolute willingness of HM late King Mohammed V to activate the national solidarity and overall mobilization following the quake.

Agadir was devastated on February 29, 1960 by a violent earthquake which claimed the lives of over 15,000 people and destroyed over 90% of the city’s neighborhoods.

Moroccan poet wins Maghreb Culture Prize

On Thursday in Tunisia, the Moroccan poet Mohammed Bennis was awarded the Maghreb Culture Prize in recognition of his outstanding literary achievements and poetry works.

The award was handed over to the Moroccan poet by Tunisia's President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali during the closing ceremony of Kairouan Festival in presence of several Arab and Islamic personalities.

Born in 1948 in Fez, Mohammed Bennis is a founding member of the House of poetry in Morocco, which he chaired from 1996 to 2003.

He authored over twenty books of poetry, prose, essays and translations. He was awarded in 1993 Morocco's book prize, and received the Italian Prize of Calopezzati of Mediterranean Literature in 2006, in addition to the Atlas translation Prize in 2000.

"The Couscous Rocket" ~ Morocco's Man at the Olympics

A while back we reported that Moroccan Alpine skier, the "Couscous Rocket", Samir Azzimani had made huge personal sacrifices in order to make it to the Winter Olympics. Now that his moment has come and gone we decided to let you know how he feels about his moment of glory. It was a moment that unfortunately was missed by all the TV coverage, but nevertheless a huge achievement After his run in the giant slalom piste on Tuesday he took a moment to reflect.

“I’m very proud to be here, to represent Morocco,” he said. “You can see that without money you can achieve a dream, that’s what I want to say. Don’t let anyone steal your dream.”

He had finished 74th, just behind Senegal’s Leyti Seck and one place ahead of China’s Lei Li.

Morocco Moves Closer to Europe

On March 7th and 8th a Morocco-European Union summit will be held in Granada, and according to the Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, the meeting “will open a new phase” in relations between Morocco and the 27-member bloc.

Miguel Angel Moratinos traveled to Rabat to meet with his Moroccan counterpart in order to plan details of what will be the first meeting of its kind since the EU accorded Morocco advanced association status in October 2008.

Moratinos said he was convinced that the summit will furnish “very good results,” a consequence of “the preparation and work done so that the Granada meeting might be a success for Morocco, the EU and, of course, the host country.”

Spain is organizing and hosting the event in its capacity as current occupant of the EU’s rotating presidency.

“It’s going to be the first summit the EU will hold after the approval of the Lisbon Treaty,” the Spanish official noted, referring to the accord that established the first permanent president of the bloc while maintaining the rotating presidency.

“And it’s significant and symbolic that the first summit presided over by (EU) President Herman Van Rompuy, accompanied by (Spanish) Prime Minister (Jose Luis Rodriguez) Zapatero, will be specifically with that great friend and neighbor of southern Europe, Morocco,” Moratinos said.

At a joint press conference with Moratinos, Moroccan Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri announced that his country’s premier, Abbas El Fassi, will head the delegation to the meeting in Granada, after being asked by reporters about the possible presence at the meeting of King Mohammed VI.

Fihri added that “naturally, the prime minister will be the carrier of the vision and the ambition of his majesty with respect to relations between Morocco and the EU.”

In the meeting on Wednesday, Moratinos also discussed with his counterpart the “good period” through which bilateral relations between Spain and Morocco are passing in all areas, including cooperation in the areas of immigration and consular affairs.

On the community level, Moratinos emphasized that the intention of the EU is to increasingly integrate Morocco into the European community to the benefit of the citizens of both the bloc and the North African country.

“Morocco is one of the countries of the European Neighborly Policy and with advanced association status according to which the European Union will make a financial effort,” he said.

Moroccan Economy To Grow by 3.2%

The latest economic outlook issued by the Centre Marocain de Conjoncture (CMC) said that the kingdom's gross domestic product may grow by 3.2 percent this year.

Despite the recent rainfalls, this year's agricultural season will not be as good as the last one, it stressed, adding that the floods caused by these rains would slow the growth of the sector.

Given this situation, the CMC's experts projected that the agricultural added values will see a fall of about 4.3 percent in real terms.

According to the CMC, which is a private economic think tank, this positive atmosphere will also concern other key sectors, such as the mining one which will register a positive development of about 2.5 percent.

However, the construction and public works sector, which has been one of the country's main growth drivers, will decelerate in 2010, growing at a slower pace 5.6 percent, according to the report.

Washington Moroccan American Club 20th Anniversary

Since its inception in March 1990, the Washington Moroccan American Club (WMC) has grown to serve the Moroccan American community nationwide. Over the past 20 years, they have organized and strengthened the Moroccan presence in the cultural, business, government, and even political sectors. The WMC’s 20th Anniversary is a celebration for all Moroccan Americans as they look toward the future and embrace the next generation both in the U.S. and in Morocco.

The Washington Moroccan American Club has set itself a goal of 20 events to celebrate this 20th anniversary in March 2010. To find out full details visit the WMC WEBSITE

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