Thursday, December 18, 2014

Moroccan News Briefs #123

A round up of the latest Moroccan news - Moroccan actor Mohammed Bestaoui, dead at 60,  100,000 children out of school,  Morocco reviews its exchange rate system... and more
Moroccan weather causes school disruptions

There are 100,000 children out of school in Morocco at the moment due to the heavy rains that have hit the region and damaged bridges, roads and infrastructure. The Department of Education has identified damage of varying degrees in 1853 schools, of which 1172 are primary schools, 503 annexes, 105 secondary schools and 76 secondary colleges.

"What we see on television is only a thousandth of what is the reality"

"It is difficult to have the exact figures," said Abdellah Kassan in Ouarzazate "There are remote and difficult access villages where everything has been swept away by the rains, isolated areas, flooded schools, people have left their villages en masse," he said, regretting "that we see on television is only a thousandth of what is the reality."

Morocco to review its exchange rates system

Morocco wants to revise its currency basket to put an end to its dependence of the euro. During a recent press conference Abdellatif Jouahri, Governor of Bank Al Maghrib, said,"It may be time to revise our weights,as at the moment Moroccan international trade is split apart equal between euros and dollars."

With the European Union (EU) as the first economic partner abroad, the Moroccan economy has seriously suffered from the crisis in the eurozone. Since June, the governor of the central bank has been examining a revision of the basket of currencies According to analysis by Reuters, Morocco will now want to respond to a recommendation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that recently urged Morocco to adopt a more flexible exchange rate to make its economy more competitive and better able absorb shocks in the system.

Bank Al Maghrib economist Mehdi Lahlou, says it is time to accelerate the execution of this project because of "the weaker euro and lower oil prices on world markets. The bank wants to protect Moroccan exports and gain maximum benefit from the weak oil prices," he said.

Morocco to allow privatisation of television

Minister of Communication, government spokesman, Mustapha El Khalfi says, "It is time for liberalisation of the audiovisual sector in Morocco." The ministry will soon launch a call for expressions of interest to study the issue.

With dissatisfaction at the current public television, commentators say Morocco is finally ready for private television and the Minister says it is only a "matter of time".

In response to a question from the Istiqlal party in the House of Representatives on the delay in opening of private television initiatives. El Khalfi argued that the transition to digital television will promote the liberalisation and the opening up of the sector.

A "jazz piano feast" in Essaouira

Lovers of jazzy rhythms can enjoy great music in Essaouira from the 28th to 30th of December. It sounds like an ideal end to the year - jazz style. Three piano virtuosos, will perform in the enchanting Dar Souiri.

On the menu, Bobby Few plays Thelonious Monk, along with musicians Alain Jean-Marie (self-taught jazz pianist born in 1945 in Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe) and his wife Morena Fattorini and Pity Cabrera. These three concerts will be preceded by poetic digressions by Francoise Atlan. The event will also feature the opening of an exhibition from artist Anne Gorouben.

The venue, Dar Souiri, is a space dedicated to promoting the vibrant arts scene, music and literature, but also a space for exchange and learning: courses of Arabic and French and reading stories for children.

Headquarters of the Association Essaouira -Mogador, Dar Souiri is a beautiful house and well worth a visit. Do not miss its superb library , where consultation of all the works is free. The rooms are available to rent for events including concerts and exhibitions.

Artists in Residence program for 2015

The residency September 2015 in Sefrou and Fez is an opportunity for participating artists to develop cultural understanding through a shared artistic process.

The open AIR residency has at its core the mission to bring multi-disciplinary international artists together and enhancing dialogue and cross-cultural exchange through a variety of arts programmes and cultural events in a unique way. Participants will spend time in the Amazigh (Berber) village of Sefrou and the Imperial City of Fez, the Moroccan capital of crafts as recognised by UNESCO. It is the only remaining intact Medina and the world’s largest car-free urban metropolis.

The residency presents a unique programme of interaction with the artisans of Fez and immersion in contemporary Moroccan culture.

Closing date for submissions is May 15th 2015. For an application forms and more information contact:

Moroccan actor Mohammed Bestaoui,  dies at the age of 60

After being hospitalised for several days in Rabat, Moroccan actor and comedian Mohamed Bastaoui died on Wednesday, at the age of 60.

Mohammed Bastaoui, born in Khouribgha in 1954, left a rich history of success in Moroccan Cinema and Television. He passed away after fighting with a lengthy illness. He started his artistic career playing in theatre with “Masrah al Yaoum” and “Masrah Achams.” Moroccan fans knew him best largely through the series “Dwyer Zman,” and “Janan Karma” by Moroccan director, Farida Bourkia.

Bastaoui worked alongside famous Moroccan directors, including Kamal Kamal, Saad Chraibi, Mohamed Ismail and Fouzi Bensaidi.

 In the opinion of critics, Bastaoui was the star of the Moroccan TV during the last decade. The death of Mohamed Bastaoui represents not only a loss for his family, but also for the whole national artistic family who loses another great friend. الله يرحمك ويعمد روحك الجنة

Finally - a reminder

Today is the 4th anniversary of the day Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in Tunisia, setting off the 2011 Arab uprisings.

Tarek al-Tayeb Mohamed Bouazizi (Arabic: محمد البوعزيزي‎;) was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides.

His act became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring, inciting demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. The public's anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death, leading then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step down on 14 January 2011, after 23 years in power.

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