Sunday, April 07, 2013

Moroccan News Briefs #94

Hollande pays tribute to His Majesty King Mohammed VI

During a speech to the Parliament in Rabat on Thursday, François Hollande welcomed the "decisive steps" that Morocco performs "every day" towards democracy.

"The message is simple: France has confidence in Morocco," said the French president, "Your country every day carries decisive steps towards democracy," he added, "All is not as fast as some would like and there are still critical improvements, it is your responsibility, and our duty is to accompany you".

Claiming that Morocco is a country of stability and calm," François Hollande paid ​​"a tribute to the will of King Mohammed VI." He particularly noted the adoption in the summer of 2011, of the new constitution in the context of the Arab Spring, which guarantees in particular, he said, "tolerance" and "recognizes the multiple nature of the Moroccan identity" .

The head of the French government was making his first visit to the kingdom since his election in May 2012. François Hollande spoke of the multiple links and the "deep affection" for the kingdom. "I come on behalf of the whole of France, to tell you how proud I am of the relationship with Morocco," he claimed. A Franco-Moroccan parliamentary forum will be created by the end of the year, which will further unite the countries, François Hollande said.

Tourism in Morocco 2013 - early results mixed

In late February 2013, tourist arrivals at the border of Morocco experienced a change of 0% compared to the same period last year. The statistics from the Tourism Observatory show that after rising 3% in January, a decrease of 3% was recorded in February.

Bed nights have increased by 6%. According to the Observatory, "the main source markets of the kingdom have been mixed" over the period. Tourists from France showed a decrease of 5%. Italians down 3% and German tourists down by 2%.  However tourists from Great Britain increased by 8%.

The big surprise are the  Russians with an increase of an amazing of 136%.

The Ministry of Tourism is optimistic. "We are present in the major global tourism markets and have a plan of attack to maintain our international market share," the Minister Lahcen Haddad said.

Currently, Russia is directly targeted. The country itself is experiencing a major boom in tourism with over 16 million Rusians taking holidays abroad in 2012. This is a market that Morocco expects to attract and the Ambassador in Moscow, Abdelkader Lachhab, says: "to promote Morocco as a destination to Russian clientele requires a strategy that encompasses the efforts of all professionals in the sector."

Air Maroc plane makes emergency landing in Lagos

A passenger plane belonging to Morocco's national airline, Royal Air Maroc, made an emergency landing at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos shortly after taking off on Thursday.

According to local media reports Friday, the plane - carrying 126 passengers - came back to land some 10 minutes after taking off from the airport on a flight to Morocco.

Officials of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) were quoted to have said the pilot contacted the Lagos control tower, requesting for an emergency landing, which was quickly granted by the Air Traffic Controllers on duty.

All the passengers disembarked safely. No reason has yet been given for the incident.

Among the passengers was the National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Malam Mohammed Garba.

Illegal abortions -  doctor jailed

A doctor in Fkih Ben Salah has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for illegal abortion operations. On Thursday the trial court in Fkih Ben Salah condemned a doctor  accused of having conducted  illegal abortions.

The court also prohibited the accused from ever working as a doctor again.  The physician's secretary was sentenced to 5 years six months in prison for the same charge, while four other young girls were sentenced each to one year prison terms.

 Medical devices used in illegal abortion and large sums of money were also seized during the operation during which four women aged between 20 and 28 years were arrested -  three had undergone operations abortion, while the fourth was still on the table under anaesthesia.

Hotdog anyone? After the horse meat scandal...

Hot dog sausages are still available in Morocco. Nearly four years after the case in which a man was jailed for selling dog meat to customers, another scandal has become public, and by pure accident. On Wednesday Casablanca police laid hands on no less than thirty-seven corpses of dogs, slaughtered, skinned and prepared for processing into sausages, to be sold in the old medina of Casablanca.

At least this one is fresh! 

The case was reported Thursday morning by a Moroccan daily, citing police sources. According to them, the dead dogs were found at the back of a Honda vehicle, whose driver is not even a butcher. The man was initially arrested for a traffic breach in Boulevard Zerktouni, Casablanca and would have had, at worst, a traffic ticket. But things went wrong when the policeman decided out of "curiosity", to search the vehicle. The driver confessed that the corpses of small animals were destined for consumption.

An investigation was opened. This new food scandal is far from being an isolated case in Morocco. In January 2009, another individual in Casablanca was sentenced to six years in prison for selling dog meat presented as that of beef to his customers. During the investigation, the man confessed to dog meat mixed with chemicals to mask the smell and color of it. Health authorities have not yet responded to these new revelations.

If you have £1,000* to spare... 

If you are flush with cash at the moment and feeling in a charitable mood... then join Eve Branson and Sir Richard Branson in a weekend of exclusive Polo-themed events in the magnificent surroundings of Marrakech, generously hosted by the Jnan Amar Polo Resort.

The events take place over the weekend of April 26th to 28th.  All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Eve Branson Foundation.

The mission of the Eve Branson Foundation is to improve the lives of women and young girls in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco through access to business, education and health care. The Foundation provides them with educational opportunities, vocational training, work space, tools and other necessary resources to create marketable goods. As a result, these women and young girls have the possibility of becoming economically self-sufficient and able to generate income to support themselves and their families.

*£1,000 is the equivalent of €1,182, US$1,580 or 13,206 Moroccan dhs.

Art and Experimentation in Fez

The latest offerings from the French Institute in Fez provide a platform for the collaborative work of Magali Daniaux and Cédric Pigot. Since their meeting, ten years ago, the joint work of Magali and Cedric has been notable for its combination of experimentation and performance.

 It is cutting edge stuff with a definite predilection for connections between science fiction and documentary, advanced engineering and fantastic tales, heavy materials and fleeting sensations. Videos, sound research, radio plays, all take you to the edge of virtual digital art.


DISTANCE K    Exhibition: 4th to 12th April at the gallery of the Institute
SKIN WEAKENED    From now until 19 April at the space Sidi Mohamed Ben Youssef
Free admission

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I hate to say this but I have my suspicions about at least one hanut's kofte in the Medina. From your story it seems that the only reason the scandal was revealed in Casa was due to finding corpses in a truck. In other words no actual meat inspection. The only way to protect oneself from such scams is to see the leg or other body part before it hits the grinder.