Monday, April 26, 2010

Morocco News Briefs

The Indian music and dance concert presented by Culture Vultures at Riad Lalla Zoubida entranced a large crowd this weekend.

Siross and Yona

photos: Gerard Chemit


The Sony Ericsson WTA Tour starts in Fez today with the Grand Prix of HRH Princess Lalla Meryem at the Henri Lecomte Tennis Academy. There are 32 players competing for a prize of US$220 000.

Carla Suárez Navarro leads the field, the first time she has ever held the No.1 seed at a Tour event (she has been the No.2 seed before though, at Bogotá the last two years). It is the Spaniard's first time playing this clay-court tournament and she hopes her one-handed backhand will take her to her first title, her best previous results being runner-up finishes at Marbella the last two years.

Hot on Suárez Navarro's heels will be Patty Schnyder and Anabel Medina Garrigues, the No.2 and No.3 seeds, respectively. Both Schnyder and Medina Garrigues have won a multitude of Tour titles - Schnyder 11, Medina Garrigues nine - Medina Garrigues is also the defending champion here. Schnyder begins against a qualifier while Medina Garrigues begins with a wildcard.


Two French nationals were killed when a microlight aircraft they were aboard crashed in Morocco on Friday, officials said.

"The two passengers were of French nationality," an official in Ifrane province, 240 kilometres (150 miles) east of Rabat, told AFP, without giving further details.

The microlight was travelling from Ouarzazate to Fez when it crashed near the hamlet of Dayet Oua, striking a house but not causing any other casualties, the official said. An inquiry has been launched into the cause of the accident.


News has just reached us of a house off the Tala'a Kebira in the central medina collapsed late last night, killing several inhabitants. First reports suggested that as many as ten people may have lost their lives. Later reports told of four deaths and six injuries. One of the dead is known to be a young girl. The two-floor house which sheltered two families was in a state of advanced dilapidation, authorities said, adding that a probe was opened to determine the exact conditions of the collapse.


Peace Corps volunteers in Rabat announce the third of their series of Marche Maroc Craft Fairs, which benefit the artisans they work with all over the country.
The Craft Fair will be held May 7-9 at the American Club in Rabat, and attendees need to be on a master list for security reasons. Anyone interested in attending can apply at:


Jewish leaders in Morocco are reportedly unhappy after the government demolished a historic Jewish building, the Benchimol hospital in Tangier.. According to reports from Tangier, the government razed the community-owned structure. The land still belongs to the community.

According to government officials in Rabat, the building was condemned and the demolition had been scheduled for months. The fact that the destruction occurred over Passover left the small Jewish community angered at what they called the government’s “insensitivity.”

Ironically, the demolition was done with the consent of the Jewish community.

An International Symposium on Regionalisation and Sustainable Development will be held on 6 and 7 May at the Palais de Congres in Fez.

Organised by The South North Center in collaboration with the City Council, the Wilaya and the Fez-Saiss Association, the symposium will discuss the advanced regionalisation project proposed by Morocco, as well as take a look at a few international experiences.

In his speech on November 6, 2008, HM King Mohammed VI announced "a process of advanced and gradual regionalisation" for Morocco. On January 3, 2010, he appointed 21 members of the Advisory Commission of Regionalisation, which will reveal its findings toward the end of the year. In that same speech, the monarch wished to "involve all the forces of the nation to the overall design effort for this project."

The objective of this symposium is to review the other experiences of regionalisation, particularly those of Germany, Turkey, Spain, the United States and France and make recommendations on the proposed regionalisation of Morocco. The goal is also to create a network of specialists and experts for further coordination, discussion and reflection on the subject.

Participants in the symposium will be experts, academics and representatives of civil society in Morocco and several countries. See the full programme here.
For more information, contact Dr. Moha Ennaji, Director of the Symposium, at


The Barbary ground squirrel (Atlantoxerus getulus) lives in rocky habitats from sea level to 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) in the Atlas Mountains and is often hard to find. The photograph of the female was taken this week a few kilometres from Zagora. The presence of a fox in the area had the squirrel on full alert.

Photo: Sandy McCutcheon. 

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