Monday, August 12, 2013

Moroccan News Briefs #102

Marrakech ~ Tourism numbers are good

Despite the summer heat, the first half of 2013 is showing that tourism numbers are on the rise.

The Marrakech Regional Tourism Council (CRT) says "Indicators of tourism are actually green. Between January and June 2013 Marrakech recorded growth rates of 21% for arrivals and 17% for nights, for all nationalities.

Hotel occupancy and average stay rate rose from 44% in 2012 to 53%, a gain of 9 points.

However, the Spanish market has experienced a decline due to the economic recession in the Iberian Peninsula. On the other hand, German tourists jumped 27%, while British citizens are up 19%, 11% Italians, Scandinavians 41% and Swiss 31%.

The French market and the domestic market recorded a growth of respectively 12% and 17%.

A Panamanian Embassy to be opened in Morocco by 2014

The Panamanian government plans to open an embassy in 2014 in Morocco to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, said the Panamanian Foreign Minister, Fernando Nunez.

Panamanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fernando Nunez Fabrega.

The decision to open an embassy in Morocco was taken by the Panamanian government with the aim of strengthening trade, investment and diplomatic relations between the two countries, the minister said in a letter to the National Assembly Panama (Parliament).

Mr. Nunez said that Morocco is a gateway to Panama to North Africa with particular reference to achievements in the Kingdom at the strengthening of democracy, economic development and the importance of its infrastructure port. In the same context, the minister said his country also plans to open an embassy in Turkey.

Recently the foreign minister went on the record supporting Morocco over the issue of Moroccan Sahara.

Panama supports the process of negotiations on the Sahara under the auspices of the United Nations in respect of the territorial integrity of the Kingdom, said the Panamanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fernando Nunez Fabrega, quoted on Sunday by the Panamanian newspaper "La Estrella," Nunez Fabrega said that the Moroccan autonomy plan for the southern provinces is "an initiative that should be addressed by the parties in a spirit of openness, pragmatism and realism. The settlement of the conflict over the Sahara is an urgent demand of the international community," as the instability in the Sahel-Saharan region constitutes a "threat" to all the countries in the region, added the Panamanian Foreign Minister.

In addition, the Panamanian minister said that "Morocco, which has made democratic advances, stands out as a model for other Arab countries," expressing his country's willingness to conclude with the Kingdom cooperation agreements in the fields of "agriculture, commercial port and the fight against terrorism."

HM King sends condolence message

Sixteen members of the Royal Guard were killed, 42 others were wounded, eight seriously injured in a bus accident on Saturday between Tetouan and Al Hoceima.

The accident occurred after the driver of the bus lost control of the vehicle when approaching a dangerous curve. The vehicle then dropped from an altitude of 200m, according to the civil protection authorities.

King Mohammed VI sent messages of condolence to the families of the victims and the injured and announced to support the funeral and hospital expenses.

Fez police forced to use firearm

It is unusual for the police in Morocco to use their weapons, however, on Saturday morning a policeman in the Fez Benslimane neighbourhood was forced to use his handgun while attempting to arrest three suspects during a robbery at knifepoint.

It all started when the police tried to stop the assault on an employee of a hotel, attacked by three men trying to steal his phone and money.

The police intervened but the attackers refuse to comply and surrender. Then one of the suspects attacked a police vehicle. The police responded with two warning shots. The criminals refused to surrender and, according to the police version relayed by the official news agency, MAP, one man was shot and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The second suspect was arrested while the third  managed to flee but is the subject of a major search. Judicial police have opened an investigation.

Cinema in Fez

Monday & Friday @ 6pm @ Cafe Clock

 Andalousie Mon Amour  Directed by Mohammed Monsif with Youssef Britel, Muhammed Nadif, Asmae Alhadrami.  The movie is in Darija with French subtitles. (free)

 Hotel Rwanda Directed by Terry George with Xolani Mali, Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo.  The movie is in English with French subtitles. (free)

Islamophobic Australian Political Candidate Forced to Quit ~ Because of Stupidity

A candidate for an extremist political party One Nation has been forced out of running in the next elections in September after making a series of mind-bogglingly stupid remarks.

Stephanie Banister, 27, was campaigning for two days when she made ​​the gaffe during an interview on Australian television Seven Network. Her remarks indicating that she thought "Islam was a country" went viral on the Internet, where she has been nicknamed "Sarah Palin Australian", referring to the clueless former running mate of Republican candidate John McCain in 2008.

"Jews aren't under haram, they have their own religion which follows Jesus Christ" 

But by comparison Stephanie Banister makes Palin look positively intelligent. "I have nothing against Islam as a country, but I really feel that their laws should not be accepted here in Australia," she had said during the interview. The young woman also claimed that only 2% of Australians followed the precepts of "haram". She was apparently referring to the Holy Quran.

She was also totally confused and perplexed by the Jews and had no idea why they ate kosher food. "Jews do not follow haram. They have their own religion that follows Jesus Christ,"she continued. Her gaffe will be news to Jews as Judaism does not consider Jesus as Messiah.

Ms Banister was recently arrested and charged after she plastered stickers on Nestle products in a Brisbane shopping centre saying ''halal food funds terrorism'' The matter is still before a court.

Stephanie Banister became a laughing stock around the country and on Saturday announced that she would not run for a parliamentary seat in the state of Queensland. The young mother of two said she was the victim of an edited interview designed to make her appear to be "a true idiot."

Thankfully, (despite an immigration policy that causes open-minded Australian's to cringe) most Australians are much better informed.

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Anonymous said...

I know she has made some - how would I describe this nicely - little mistakes. But in her defense she doesn't have a lot of experiences in politics and she has been treaten quite harsh by the media. Even here in the Netherlands she has been mocked. Somehow I like this woman. She is just a woman from downunder who tried her way into politics. Maybe next time it will be better, Go girl!

Anonymous said...

No. She was given many chances straight after on other alternative media to redeem herself and she just kept destroying herself. If you're going for an important job, at least learn about your job before you open your mouth!
In this case the media have saved Australians from a racist fool