Saturday, June 28, 2014

Moroccan News Briefs #116

Government to "bury" Grand Taxis?

The government has rolled out a new initiative get rid of Morocco's Grand taxis or "white taxis" as they are called by most people. The taxis are all Mercedes Benz and according to the government a majority of vehicles are "wonky". In addition factories no longer exist in Germany or elsewhere, and have not done so for almost 20 years.

It is estimated that some 55,000 cars are still in service and carry millions of passengers in the four corners of the kingdom, but it is claimed that apart from accidents and fatalities, there big crime is pollution.

The owners and drivers of these taxis can expect compensation from the Benkirane government to acquire new cars that are both quieter and less polluting.

In order to encourage "this burial initiative", the government has signed an agreement with the Renault Dacia Moroccan factory which should lower the price by 10,000 dirhams for each vehicle, which should contain 8 seats instead of the 6 offered by Mercedes currently used.

Funding for this project will be through the reduction "Renault Dacia" 8,000 dirhams its selling price model "Renault Lodgy" (147,000 dirhams for sale) and 10,000 DHs Sales Price Model "Renault Trafic" . For its part, the government will contribute $50,000 DHs for both models.

The renewal of public transport vehicles should have a positive impact on the Compensation Fund, reducing energy costs while increasing the purchasing power of the taxi drivers, and without rising price of service.

"I'm Not A Chandelier! ~ Moroccan Women March For Gender Equality

On Tuesday, Moroccan women protested against Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane's remarks to Parliament, where he suggested that if "women went to work outside, the light went out of their homes"

Earlier this week, Moroccan women gathered outside the Parliament in Rabat to protest against comments made by Prime Minister Benkirane on the role and status of women in modern society. Benkirane, who is head of the Islamist coalition government in Morocco and leader of the Party of Justice and Development (PJD), was condemned by critics and opposition parties for his speech last Tuesday, in which he said:

“Today, there is a problem with the role of women in Moroccan society. If Morocco is to model itself after the European example in regard to the role of women, women won’t find time to get married, to be mothers, or to educate their children. …Don’t you realise that when women went to work outside, the light went out of their homes?” Moroccan PM Benkirane

By claiming that Moroccan women belong in the household rather than in the workplace, he has received harsh criticism from activists, politicians and women’s organisations, and his statements even inspired the Twitter hashtag #AnaMachiTria (“I am not a chandelier“).

Moroccan Economic News

Morocco’s state planning agency said on Thursday that it expected economic growth to pick up to 3.7 percent in 2015, from 2.5 percent in 2014. The semi-autonomous agency, which released its annual figures before the government starts preparing next year’s national budget, forecast a 2014 deficit of 5.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014, above the 4.9 percent predicted by the Islamist-led government.

The agency said the current account deficit would reach 7.4 percent of GDP in 2015, and public debt would rise to 67.6 percent of GDP. The agency said its 2015 forecasts assume a average agricultural harvest and that the government will stick to its investments policy and cut subsidies. It sees inflation rising to 1.7 percent in 2015 from 1.1 percent in 2014, and public debt reaching 67.6 percent of GDP against 66.4 percent in 2014 and 63.5 percent in 2013.

Morocco has gone further than most in the region in making painful changes required by international lenders, such as ending subsidies on gasoline and fuel oil prices and starting to cut diesel subsidies significantly. It has also promised tough decisions on pensions.

Six "jihadists" arrested in Fez 

A terror cell based in Fez that was busted earlier this week by authorities had managed to send at least 10 fighters to Syria, sources told Al Arabiya News Channel.

On Wednesday Morocco’s interior ministry said that police had arrested six people after busting a "terrorist" cell recruiting and sending volunteers to fight alongside Islamists in Syria and Iraq.

Sources told Al Arabiya News Channel’s correspondent that the ‘Fez cell’ had managed to send 10 “jihadists” to Syria. These were sent out to different camps for intensive military training on the use of various weapons, guerilla warfare, kidnapping, as well as rigging vehicles with explosives for later terrorist operations.

The sources said Moroccan jihadists in Syria were being trained to execute suicide attacks in their home country. The cell was luring Moroccans from the cities of Fez and Taza in central Morocco.

In terms of funding, the cell depended on direct assistance from six of its executive members who dealt in smuggling for additional funds in order to send fighters to Syria. The cell also collected money from the jihadist Salafist movement in Fez and from sympathizers from the northwest of the country.

In an unprecedented statement, Ahmad Toufi, the minister of Islamic Affairs, revealed that there was “perfect coordination between the religious and security authorities” on the matter of the Moroccan fighters in Syria.

The youngest member of the cell was allegedly a high-school student aged 17. Other members included a spare parts vendor for cars aged 30, a medical sales representative aged 34, a goldsmith aged 38, an unemployed man aged 39, and an Imam 34 who is a former detainee who has been previously charged in terrorism cases.

Fez Fashion Day

The 3rd edition of the Fez Fashion Day is an event dedicated to the talented fashion designers. It will be held Saturday, June 28, at 19h, Dar Batha, Residence of Artists of the French Institute Fez Morocco site.

For this edition, three designers mark their passage Dar Batha bright, Eric Raisina, France Madagascar, Morocco Kaoutar Yousefi, and I anan, Thailand Morocco, as well as the winners of the New School Style, who will present their work at the end of study under the watchful eyes of these great designers.

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