Sunday, March 28, 2010

Moroccan News Briefs

Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al Nahyan victim of glider crash in Morocco

Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al Nahyan, chairman of the board of trustees of the Zayed Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works and managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, was a victim of a glider crash, on Friday near the Moroccan capital, Rabat.

The Sheik is a younger brother of the ruler of Abu Dhabi, who is also president of the United Arab Emirates, but is not immediately in line for succession. Reports say the pilot of the glider was rescued and is in good condition. The search for the sheik was continuing. It is believed that the glider crashed in a lake.

The pilot, a Spanish man, was recovering today in a Rabat hospital, said Maria-José Martinez, a representative of the Spanish Embassy in Rabat, referring to the man as a co-pilot.

Moroccan gendarmerie were stationed along roads leading to the lake on Saturday, and security officials barred access to the promontory near where Sheikh Ahmed disappeared.

The lake, near farmland and valleys, is a popular spot for recreation and fishing.

Sheikh Ahmed was 27th on last year’s Forbes list of the world’s most powerful people. He is the chairman of the board of trustees of the Zayed Foundation for Charitable and Humanitarian Works.

He is well known in Oum Azza, a tiny farming village several kilometres from the crash site, where locals say he has often given charity to poor families when visiting.

Maya Gold & Silver Resumes Drilling at the Amizmiz Gold Project

There are hopeful signs for precious metal production in Morocco. Maya released a statement today saying that it was pleased to announce that it had initiated its 2010 drilling program with two drill rigs. The drill program will consist of 35 to 40 diamond drill holes for approximately 6,000 metres. Untested high priority targets remain to be followed-up and a numerous rich gold and silver showings associated to strong IP anomalies discovered recently will be tested.

Hole A-1 is in progress at 175 metres with a 90 degree azimuth and 45 degree dip to test the southern part of the TIQLIT geophysical anomaly.

Guy Goulet, President & CEO said "We are extremely pleased to resume the drilling program on our Amizmiz Project. We also look forward to announce the new drill results from our property".

Moroccan Telco may sell stake

Reuters is reporting that Morocco's second-biggest telecoms firm, Meditel, is in talks with several foreign operators to sell a stake in the company, although no deal has been agreed for now, its managing director said on Thursday.

Meditel, which competes with former monopoly Maroc Telecom, has said it has the know-how to grow on its own after the loss last year of two major investors, Spain's Telefonica and Portugal Telecom.

Their stakes of 32.2 percent each were sold to Moroccan private group and state investment vehicle CDG for $1.15 billion in September. and CDG said at the time they were not ruling out the possibility of a new shareholder if it added to Meditel's value. They also say they are open to a listing of Meditel on the Casablanca stock exchange.

"Of course, we are constantly solicited by foreign operators and responses are made," Meditel's Managing Director Mohamed Elmanjra told reporters during a presentation of its 2009 results in Casablanca.

"Nothing is closed. There are ... talks with lots of foreign operators," he said. "But to say that something is done or signed is not at all the case."

Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (Etisalat) has said it is still interested in Morocco after losing out in the bidding for the Spanish and Portuguese stakes last year.

The Mawazine "battle of the bands"!

According to the online journal Magharebia, judges for fifth Mawazine Generation talent contest are zeroing in on Morocco's up-and-coming musical talent in a first round of eliminations that began March 15th in Meknes.

Musicians are in hot competition for the grand prize: a three-year recording deal, help producing an album and videos, national distribution and the possibility of performing at the 9th Mawazine World Rhythms Festival in May.

Elimination rounds will also be held in Marrakech on March 27th, Agadir on April 3rd, Casablanca on April 10th and Rabat on April 17th. The competition, launched February 15th, has attracted musicians in all genres, including hip-hop, fusion, rap and electronic music.

Morocco and Turkey - announce "sister cities"

Turkey's parliament speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin, who is currently paying a formal visit to Morocco, met with Casablanca's Regional Governor Mohammad Halab. Sahin said, "there have been positive relations between the parliaments of Turkey Morocco. The two countries signed Interparliamentary Cooperation Protocol on March 25."

Sahin also welcomed signing of sister city agreement between Casablanca and Istanbul, "I believe that this agreement will further boost bilateral relations."

Ali Sahin met with Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi of Morocco in capital Rabat on March 25.

Do Moroccans Trust Obama?

Morocco Business News is carrying and interesting report that states that the majority of Moroccans have no confidence in the American President Barack Obama, revealed a survey conducted recently by the research agency Sunergia.

Commissioned by the Moroccan daily L'Economiste, the survey found that 57% of Moroccans do not trust President Obama's rapprochement strategy towards the Arab and Muslim world, against 36%.

The study conducted in February showed that more men distrust the American president than women, as two out of three men's responses were negative, compared to 53% among women.

Concerning the Palestinian cause, most Moroccans doubted Obama's ability to solve this problem, although young people (below 40) were more pessimistic than old ones who were little hopeful.

Moreover, an overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that the Zionist lobby has great influence over American policies in the Middle East.

Thus, more than 80% of Moroccans said that the American administration's submission to the Zionist lobby will prevent any solution to the Middle Ease problem.

It is worth nothing that the survey addressed a representative sample of 603 people through the phone, from all over Morocco.

However, L'Economiste voiced its amazement, in an article titled "Bizarre, Bizarre!", over the fact that at the beginning a third of respondents declined to answer the question concerning America.

It explained that these people answered most of the form's questions except those relating to America and the American president, which pushed the research agency to reconstruct its sample.

"It was an incredible surprise," says the daily on its Wednesday publication, adding that the problem was not a refusal to answer the whole survey and not because it was commissioned by the L'Economiste or conducted by Sunergia.

The problem was simply that they refused to answer the questions concerning America and its policies in the Arab world, it further explained, expressing its inability to understand why.

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