Thursday, September 11, 2014

Moroccan News Briefs #122

One Million Packages programme assists Moroccan students

To start the new school year HM King Mohammed VI visited  M'Diq and distributed the first of the
 "One Million Packages" which are part of a royal initiative.

HM King Mohammed VI presents school materials to a student in M'Diq

Students of the Omar Ibn Al Khattab school in M'Diq  were told that at the official start of the 2014-2015 school year, the "One Million Packages" that will benefit  nearly 4 million students.

The initiative was first launched by the Sovereign back in 2008 and has been repeated every year since. It aims to provide a strong impetus for the spread of basic education and the affirmation of its mandatory nature and to ensure equal opportunity in education and to fight against the phenomenon of students dropping out.

This initiative, which is estimated to cost around 360 million dirhams, covers all provinces and districts of the Kingdom and benefit students of primary and college education, with priority given to rural areas (63 %).

The initiative "One Million Packages" is part of the national strategy for social support to school children and their families this year with a total budget of more than 2.113 billion dirhams. The strategy also includes a financial support program (778 million dirhams), as well as service improvement for canteens and boarding programs (941 million dirhams) and Transportation (34 million dirhams).

"Marcel Khalife Institute" opens its doors in Tangier

The composer, singer and oud player Marcel Khalife  who hails originally from Lebanon, has left his Paris residence to settle permanently in Tangier.

Marcel Khalife, an artist committed to peace and Middle Eastern music

Marcel Khalife has never hidden his love for the city and is now in the process of finalizing his move there. Khalife has partnered with the Ministry of Culture and the Mayor of Tanger to run a music education institution that bears his name  - The Marcel Khalife Music Institute.

This institute will provide free instruction for students, as well as conducting musicological research to identify and document the traditional and folk music of Morocco.

Hoba Hoba Spirit rocks Washington's Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Hoba Hoba Spirit, famous both for their protest songs and for combining Rock, Gnawa, Rai and Chaabi genres, set the audience alight on the  Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

This was the beginning of the second leg of the band’s month-long Center Stage Tour of the United States.

Hoba Hoba Spirit, a Casablanca-based band, played to a full house last night and incorporating traditional Moroccan instruments such as qarqaba (Moroccan metal castanets) and darbouka (dumbek/drum) into their original rock music. Singing in Darija (Moroccan Arabic), English and French, Hoba Hoba Spirit’s seven members play Morocc’n Roll, a mixture of homegrown roots, rock, and reggae, with the rythmic swagger of North Africa. The band’s energy and irreverance got the crowd on its feet dancing to the North African beat. The band has a repeat performance at Bossa Bistro in DC tonight.

Five killed in road accident near Marrakech

Another drama on Moroccan roads on Wednesday resulted in five fatalities.

Five people were killed and three others were seriously injured Wednesday morning in a traffic accident that occurred in the Douar Tasoufit within the rural commune of Saada near Marrakech.

According to local authorities, the accident occurred at 3:30 am at Road No. 212 from Marrakech to Imintanout. The accident occurred when a tourist minibus struck a tree after deviating from its course. Local sources say that the accident is likely due to speeding.

Three injured were transported to a local hospital and the deceased to the morgue.

First Moroccans head for the Hajj in Mecca

The first 480 Moroccan pilgrims took off this morning from the airport of Rabat-Salé. In all, some 26,000 will perform the ritual of Hajj this year.

The first group of Moroccan pilgrims took off this morning for the flight to Mecca.

"All measures have been taken to ensure the smooth running of this operation (the Hajj)," said Ahmed Tawfiq, Minister of Endowments and Islamic Affairs.

For the 1435 season of pilgrimage, 60 flights over scheduled over the Hajj period and will carry about 26,000 Moroccans who will go to Mecca to perform the ritual of Hajj.

Carrefour to open two new stores in Marrakech

The new Carrefour supermarkets will be its 41st and the 5th Carrefour hypermarket in Morocco.

As of early October 2014, the retail brand will open the first of the hypermarkets in the Targu neighborhood of downtown Marrakech.

Call for creation of armed railway police

WFP calls for the establishment of an armed railway police to ensure the safety of passengers on trains.

Member of Parliament, Abdellatif Ouahbi, has called for the establishment of an armed railway police. He was speaking at a meeting of the committee for basic infrastructure, energy, mining and environment attended by Rebbah Aziz, Minister of equipment, transportation and logistics, Mohamed Najib Boulif, Deputy Minister of Transport and Mohamed Rabie Khlie, CEO of the National Railways (ONCF).

Ouahbi called for the drafting of a law establishing an armed railway police to protect citizens of assaults and robberies in trains, especially when traveling at night. According to parliamentary sources. it also required the installation of technical facilities and equipment, with advanced technology to ensure rail safety as is the case in many countries.

Mohammedia's olympic pool to be restored

Built for the Mediterranean Games in 1983, Mohammedia's  olympic swimming pool is now in a state of disrepair in a city that, sadly, is known for its many unfinished projects.

The remains of the pool

The olympic swimming pool, sports center and recreation room once welcomed young athletes and fans of swimming and water polo, as well as children from poor families. It was an area of ​​freedom and meetings, a place, described by locals as the liveliest in the city.  But that was some time ago. In reality the area has been closed for fourteen years,and the site completely degraded. Local engineers say that all technical equipment is unrecoverable.

The project originally cost 4.818 million dirhams from the coffers of  the urban community of Casablanca and the Mohammedia City Council. The restoration is likely to coat almost the same amount.

Critics say that the closure of the pool has had a negative impact on swimming as a sport and point out that,  in a city where air pollution causes a number of health problems, swimming is a beneficial sport.

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