Sunday, October 28, 2012

Moroccan News Briefs #76

Easyjet announces Stansted - Marrakech flights

EASYJET has announced it will begin flying to Marrakech as part of its new 2013 route launches from London Stansted Airport.

EasyJet will fly year-round flights to Marrakech three times a week on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the inaugural flight taking off on February 15 2013.

The airline will also move their larger A320 aircraft to Stansted which will have 180 seats onboard.

Welcoming the news, Nick Barton, Stansted’s Managing Director, said:“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for both easyJet and Stansted Airport and will provide passengers with even greater choice and more exciting destinations.

“We’re delighted to be seeing a welcome return of Marrakesh as we believe there is a real and significant demand for flights to this destination".

14 migrants drown trying to reach Spain

At least 14 people died when a boat carrying some 70 undocumented migrants capsized in the Mediterranean after setting off from Morocco bound for Spain
Seventeen people were pulled from the water alive off the coast of Alhucemas, Morocco, Spain's Maritime Rescue service said, adding that some of the survivors were in need of "urgent medical assistance." Maritime Rescue took the survivors to Alhucemas.

One of the survivors said 71 people were aboard the flimsy craft when it left Morocco.

Authorities from both countries began searching for the boat on Wednesday after a tip from someone who feared for the safety of a family member aboard the craft. The boat was located by a Maritime Rescue surveillance plane, which lowered a raft to pick up some of those in the water and summoned vessels from both Spain and Morocco to aid in rescue and recovery efforts.

Morocco's inflation on the rise

Morocco's consumer price inflation edged up to an annual 1.2 percent in September from 1 percent in August, the High Planning Authority said on Sunday.

Food prices rose 1.4 percent in the 12 months to the end of September, against 1.5 percent in August. Transport costs went up 5.1 percent year on year in September, the authority said, without elaborating. Fuel prices in Morocco jumped in June.

On a monthly basis, consumer price inflation was 0.2 percent in September, compared with 0.7 percent the previous month.

Morocco in the path of locusts

According to a report carried by Morocco World News, Morocco is threatened with the arrival of locusts from the Sahel in West Africa in a few weeks.

The FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, has urged Morocco to be prepared for the arrival of desert locusts and take steps protect agricultural fields.

Currently, swarms of locusts are feeding in Chad, Mali and Niger. Locust populations have increased an estimated 250-fold as a result of good summer rains. Such numbers can be a real threat to the region.

Keith Cressman, the FAO’s Senior Locust Forecasting Officer pointed out that “Prevailing winds and historical precedents make it likely the swarms, once formed, will fly to Algeria, Libya, southern Morocco and northwestern Mauritania.”

Female locusts, which can lay 300 eggs throughout their lifetime, have, so far, given birth to swarms of tens of millions of locusts, according to the statistics released by FAO.

Lacking the equipment to fight the spread of locusts, the FAO is appealing to Morocco to allow field operations in its fields, thus helping alleviate the damage desert locust will cause.

Cressman added that not having access to some locust breeding grounds can worsen the situation.

The Eiffel Tower continues to embarrass Fez

The construction of an Eiffel Tower 20 meters high in Fez which we reported on in our last News Briefs, continues to cause embarrassment for the citizens of Fez. The issue has been picked up by major news sources and reported with a strong sense of indignation. The tower, being constructed by the mayor, Hamid Chabat, still has some five metres of metal to be added, but the media are scathing, calling it a "pile of steel". Why the mayer should want to raise a monument to the former colonisers, is still a mystery, but suggests it is just a step towards having his own name 'written in golden letters in the history of the city". To be clear, local people are adamant that such a monument does not belong at the heart of Morocco's spiritual capital.

As comments, "In Fez, where unemployment and poverty is one of the highest in Morocco, one wonders how a representative of the people can afford to spend public money to build unnecessary symbols that do not reflect in any way the identity of the ancient city."

Meanwhile... in another country

Prince Ali bin Taj walked into a branch of Arab Bank to cash a cheque. As he approached the cashier he said, "Good morning, could you please cash this cheque for me?"

Jallalludin, the bank's cashier was in attendance: "It would be my pleasure Sir. Could you please show me your ID?"

Sheikh Ali bin Taj: "Well I didn't bring my ID with me as I didn't think there was any need to. I am Sheikh Ali bin Taj, the Prince of all of this fiefdom"

Jallalludin: "I'm sorry, but with all the regulations, monitoring of the banks because of impostors, fraud and forgers, etc. I must insist on proof of identity."

Sheikh Ali bin Taj: "Just ask anyone here at the bank who I am and they will tell you. Everybody knows who I am."

Jallalludin: "I am sorry Prince but these are the bank rules and I must follow them."

Sheikh Ali bin Taj: "I need this cheque cashed."

Jallalludin: "Perhaps there's another way: One day Mohammed Ali came into the bank without ID. To prove he was Mohammed Ali he pulled out his gloves and did the Ali shuffle. With those moves we knew him to be Mohammed Ali and cashed his cheque. And, another time, Mo Farah came in without ID. He pulled out his Olympic medals and ran around the block a hundred times. With the speed with which he finished his run we cashed his cheque. So sir, what can you do to prove that it is you, and only you, the Prince?"

Sheikh Ali bin Taj stood there thinking and finally says: "Honestly, I can't think of a single thing I'm good at."

Jallalludin: "Will that be large or small notes?"

Editorial Note:

For several years The View from Fez  has been a featured Lonely Planet blog and a strong supporter of their Moroccan guide books. Recently the Lonely Planet site encountered a problem and some 1600 stories from The View from Fez vanished. Lonely Planet has apologised and informed us that they are working on the problem. We will let our readers know when the issue is resolved.   


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