Thursday, November 05, 2009

Moroccan News Briefs

King Mohammed VI to give a speech on Green March anniversary

HM King Mohammed VI will address the nation on Friday evening on the occasion of the thirty-fourth anniversary of the Green March, the Ministry of Household, Protocol and Chancellery, said.

Morocco celebrates every November 6th the anniversary of the march which enabled the Kingdom to recover its southern provinces, the Sahara, from the Spanish rule.

The March attests to the symbiosis between the Throne and the people as well as their common attachment to the Moroccan Sahara.

On November 6th, 34 years ago, 350,000 men and women, carrying the Quran and the national flag as their sole arms, marched through the artificial borders set by the colonial powers to free the southern areas and turn into reality the reunification of the Kingdom.

The Late King Hassan II decided to organize the March after the Hague-based International Court of Justice recognized, on October 16, 1975, the existence of centuries-old legal bonds of allegiance between the Kings of Morocco and the Sahrawi tribes.

Aïcha Ech Channa wins $1 Million Opus Prize

Aïcha Ech Channa, founder and president of an organization that provides services to unmarried women with children in Casablanca, Morocco, is the recipient of the $1 million 2009 Opus Prize.

“The Opus Prize recognizes individuals whose work and story can inspire us to tackle the world’s most deeply rooted problems. They demonstrate what faith, will and vision can do to make our world a better place. They show us change is possible.”

Aicha Ech Channa

The Opus Prize Foundation of Minnetonka, Minn., and University of St. Thomas conferred the award while also recognizing two finalists– Sister Valeriana García-Martín of Bogotá, Colombia, and Father Hans Stapel of Guaratinguetá, Brazil – who each received $100,000 awards.

The honorees were recognized as unsung heroes who have creatively transformed the lives of others through a commitment to service and social entrepreneurship. Recipients will dedicate the award money to further their faith-based humanitarian efforts.

Morocco orders Swedish diplomat out

On Wednesday Morocco ordered the immediate departure of a Swedish diplomat accused of handing official Moroccan documents to Western Sahara-linked "separatists".

Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri summoned Swedish ambassador Michael Odevald to tell him of "a serious breach in diplomatic practice and an unacceptable professional error committed by an advisor at Sweden's embassy in Rabat, Mrs Anna Block-Mazoyer" (Pictured right).

According to an official statement, Block-Mazoyer "gave an official document that was given by the foreign and cooperation ministry to the Swedish embassy in Rabat as part of a diplomatic process to separatist elements linked to Algeria and the Polisario Front. This document then turned up in the hands of enemies of the kingdom's territorial integrity."

The Polisario Front seeks independence for the Western Sahara, a territory annexed by Morocco after Spanish settlers left in 1975.

The statement said that the foreign ministry had organised a briefing on Sahara developments to which diplomats were invited, including from Sweden which currently holds the rotating European Union presidency
"Block-Mazoyer's giving away this official document breaches ethical and diplomatic professional rules so Moroccan authorities demand her immediate departure."

The Swedish foreign ministry confirmed it had been informed of the Moroccan decision.

Morocco undertakes $9 billion solar energy project

Morocco is to undertake an ambitious solar project. Slated to be worth $9 billion it is anticipated to produce 38% of the country’s installed power generation by 2020. According to, Energy Minister Amina Benkhadra announced that the project will have five solar power generation sites throughout Morocco and will produce 2,000MW of electricity by 2020.

At the ceremony to introduce the project to the public, Benkhadra was joined by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Moroccan king. Benkhadra noted that the funding for said project would be a combination of private and state capital. "This is a bold but realistic project. We will guarantee all the technical and financial resources to make it succeed," Benkhadra said, "We look for the most sophisticated technology available in the world to use for this project.”

Because Morocco is the only North African country that does not produce its own oil, it is enthusiastic to find a way to cut its oil and gas imports and has turned to renewable energy for the solution. No date was announced for the start of the solar project.

Tourist arrivals to grow 5 percent

Morocco is expecting tourist arrivals to grow 5 percent this year to a record 8.4 million but revenues will fall a less-than-expected 6 percent, Tourism Minister Mohamed Boussaid said.

Official estimates earlier this year said tourism earnings, Morocco's biggest foreign exchange earner, would decline 15 percent.

"Even with the expected 5-6 percent decline in receipts, our tourism is proving remarkably resilient and its performance is good as the persistent global crisis is projected to cut global tourism demand by 5 percent this year," Boussaid told Reuters in an interview late on Saturday.

"Tourism receipts had shrank by 21 percent in the first quarter before recovering in the following quarters. We expect this improvement to continue for the rest of the year in both terms of arrivals and receipts," he said.

Boussaid said Morocco's strategy of building more hotels and facilities as well as liberalising air transport had helped support the industry.

The Mazagan complex, which opened in El Jadida, outside Casablanca, on Saturday night, was part of a government plan to build six resorts with a total of 80,000 beds between 2001 and 2010.

Moroccan Wheat Output May Jump 71%

Morocco will boost wheat output by 71 percent to a record 6.37 million metric tons in the marketing year that started on July 1 after “excellent weather” boosted yields, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Farmers will collect wheat from 2.8 million hectares, down from 2.86 million hectares a year earlier, when production totaled 3.73 million tons, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a report. Imports will drop to 2.1 million tons from 3.2 million a year earlier, FAS said.

Morocco still spared from desert locust

In an earlier report, The View from Fez looked at the growing problem of locusts in the region. Happily we can now report that, according to Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Aziz Akhannouch, for the time being, Morocco is to be spared from the desert locust as most of the locust population is scattered in eastern and north-eastern Mauritania.

Morocco is following the situation closely, and a team of experts has been dispatched to assess the threat and the possible damages, he told MPs at the House of Representatives.

Morocco, in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is following the situation in the Sahel and Sahara region, especially in Senegal and Mali, the minister said, adding that all the required measures were taken in the North African kingdom to face any possibility of invasion.

42 new H1N1 cases confirmed in Morocco

Forty-two new H1N1 cases were confirmed on Thursday in the cities of Casablanca, Tanger, Marrakech, Fès, Benslimane, Oujda and Meknès, the health ministry said.

This takes the total of confirmed cases to 592, including 297 cases in schools, the ministry said in a statement.

All the patients are receiving home care, with medical check-ups, said the ministry, adding that none of the cases is complicated. The ministry made clear that no case of death was documented in the country.

Moroccan magazine raises more than a few eyes

In an article on the Moroccan American website, Moroccan Board, AHMED T.B. writes about a magazine issue that is set to raise debate through the community.

The November issue of Femmes du Maroc – Women of Morocco, a Moroccan magazine that caters to the interests of Moroccan women with a panoply of feminine subjects is bound to turn into lascivious fodder for a misguided and testosterone charged fringe of society, an opportunity for vitriolic religious condemnations and exhortations to aspiring jihadists to perverted religious zealots, and a cause for celebration to post-feminists and advocates of women’s rights. The magazine dedicated its cover to a very pregnant former 2M anchorwoman Nadia Larguet, in the buff, with one hand covering her breast and the other one holding her belly a la Demi Moore on the cover of the August 1991 Vanity Fair. A first in an Arab and a Moslem country. It will certainly spur a vocal public backlash against Mrs. Larguet and Femmes du Maroc. National and international news outlets will cover the story ad nauseam.The issue transcends the aesthetic aspects of pregnancy and nudity. The exclusionary and sometimes castigating treatment pregnant women are subjected to is a leading cause of abortion in Morocco where the number of out of wedlock pregnancies have dramatically risen. The pool of medical doctors performing abortions today has grown exponentially. They charge 3000 Dirhams ($391.00). Additionally, an increased number of women, especially in rural areas where medical oversight is minimal and sometimes non-existent, die from standard pregnancy complications.

Commenting on the issue, Youssef Jounaidi had this to say:

Some of you are outraged, while others are wondering about the purpose of the -- "femmes Du Maroc" cover, with Naked pregnant woman--magazine or the woman. Is money behind this astonishing sacrificial portrait or is it courage? We might not know, but as for now only one thing matters. Something has been exposed in plain sight to the disbelieving eyes of a society that view women as pure sacred flesh. I am so pleased that this women decided to show her well proportioned and beautiful body in a state we all deem as primordial to life. She is not exposing her flesh but rather letting everybody see what women are really, mothers, sisters, daughters and the bearers of human life. Concepts such as this are only superficially understood in Moroccan societies and all moslem societies at large.

You can read more here: Morocco Board

Heading into winter?

The weather in Fez has been unseasonally warm, much to the delight of locals and tourists, however the first few chill nights are upon us.

Autumn in Fez

The next few days will be sunny with the temperatures in the low twenties (Celsius) but nights will plunge to around 6 degrees. Time to rug up.

1 comment:

Kirsty said...

I just love your news briefs. So much that goes on we don't hear about from day to day. Thank you.