Monday, September 14, 2015

Moroccan News Briefs #132

Eleven Moroccan cities will be administered by the PJD

After the shake-up produced by the recent regional and municipal elections, the picture is becoming clearer as to where the power rests. At least eleven Moroccan cities will be administered by the ruling PJD. These include Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, Agadir, and Tangier

The administrative capital, Rabat, and its neighbouring cities, Salé and Temara will be chaired respectively by Mohamed Sadki, and Jamaa Moatassim and Moh Rejdali, described as the "three tenors" of the PJD.

The city of Marrakech will be managed by Mohamed Larbi Belcaid. former MP of the city.

In the north, the PJD is appointing Mohamed Bachir Abdellaoui President of Tangiers and Mohamed Sefiani in Chefchaouen with Bouanou Abdallah taking charge of Meknes.

In Agadir the mayor will Salah Mallouki who will replace Tariq Kabbaj. The city of Errachidia be administered by Abdallah Hannaoui.

Idriss Azami Al Idrissi will take charge of Fez

Casablanca will now be managed by Abdelaziz Omari, the young Minister for Relations with Parliament and Civil Society.

The former Istiqlal stronghold has changed hands and now the city of Fez, the spiritual capital of the country, will be chaired by Idriss Azami Al Idrissi, Minister for the Budget.

Morocco to Increase Refugee Intake

While dozens of Syrian migrant are trying to cross the border of Melilla, Moroccan authorities have announced they could grant asylum to an additional 500 Syrian refugees.

The minister of communication, Mustapha El Khalfi tmade the announcement in a press conference.

The government spokesman said, without specifying the actual numbers, that "the Ministry of Migration Affairs had held a meeting to evaluate the possibility of accepting a number of Syrian asylum seekers. These cases are being processed by the National Monitoring Committee and Appeals chaired by the national committee of Human Rights (CNDH). " But a ministerial source says that the CNDH had investigated "459 asylum requests, including 126 concerning children."

This would be a first time any Syrian migrant had obtained asylum in Morocco. Previoisly 5250 Syrians had been regularised in the exceptional regularisation operation in 2014. According to the minister in charge of Moroccans living abroad and Migration Affairs, Anis Birou, the numbers primarily concerned women and children.

Rabat to Rome with Ryanair

Ryanair is due to launch a new route linking Rabat to Rome in the summer of 2016.

During a media briefing in Rome on Thursday, Ryanair CEO Micheal O’Leary announced a total of seven new routes from Rome’s Ciampino and Fiumicino airports for the summer of 2016 season, including a route to Rabat

According to O’Leary, flights will be either two or three times a week to Rabat.

Ryanair is the largest low-cost airline in Morocco and the second largest carrier in the key Morocco-European market after RAM, and the biggest carrier at both Marrakech and Fez.

The company is currently operating from Marrakech to Brussels-Charleroi, Dusseldorf, Eindhoven, Frankfurt, Girona, London Luton, London Stansted, Madrid, Marseille, Milan, Paris Beauvais, Pisa, Rome Ciampino, and Sevilla.

From Fes, Ryanair currently operates flights to Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Girona, Marseille, Milan and Paris Beauvais. It added Lille, Nantes, and St. Etienne in 2013.

Extremists Busted in Essaouira

More success for the security authorities as five people suspected of preparing a terrorist plot were arrested on Saturday, September 12, in Essaouira by the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ).

According to a statement from the Interior Ministry, a large arsenal was seized. This included "four automatic pistols, a machine gun, seven tear gas canisters and three electric batons." Authorities also seized a "large quantity of ammunition and suspicious materials that can be used in the manufacture of explosives".

This "terror cell" whose members "adopt the bloody line of the so-called Islamic state terrorist organization" was active in three locations: Beni Mellal, Sidi Allal Bahraoui and Tinzouline, below Zagora, the source said.

They had planned to "commit acts of sabotage targeted in the Kingdom before joining ISIL  camps," the statement added.

Of the five people arrested, three were in a "one of the safe houses in Essaouira," according to the communiqué. The investigation is continuing under the supervision of prosecutors, the statement said the Interior Ministry.

Free Films in Fez

Café Clock is showing two interesting movies this week - Darbareye Elly Directed by Asghar Farhadi with Golshi eh Farahani, Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti. The movie is in Darija with French subtitles.

The Theory of Everything Directed by James Marsh with Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones and Tom Prior. The movie is in English with French subtitles

The films are shown Monday and Saturday at 6pm and entry is free.

Ninth International Women’s Film Festival in Salé

The ninth edition of the International Women’s Film Festival in Salé, organised by the Abi Raqraq Association, will run from September 28 to October 3, 2015.

The festival will host a competition for twelve feature films that deal with women’s issues with entries from Europe, Africa, North America, Latin America, and Asia.

The opening film, The Unbearable Presence of Asmahan from Palestinian director Azza El-Hassan, tells the story of an Egyptian diva's songs that speak to the musical arts of an age gone by.

This year’s festival will also host a forum on this year’s theme:”Female directors, between technical measures and the financial conditions of production”.

During the closing ceremony on October 3, the winners of the following prize will be announced: Grand Prize of the Festival, the Jury Award, Best Female Role Award, and the Award for Best Male Role, and Documentary Film Award.

During this forum, some new Moroccan films will be screened, and two actresses, Egyptian and Moroccan, will be honored for great artistic careers.

The Association Communiqué reports that the International Women’s Film Festival does not seek to re-produce itself, but intends to move forward, regardless of the means available, as it preserves its identity as a festival dedicated to women.

Nkoyen Hwank Dieppe's Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere from Vietnam 

The feature films that will compete for this prize include; Aida MariniIdris, Morocco, 2015. Lesson Kristona Kroziewa and Peter Vahanov, Bulgaria, Greece, 2015. Virgin Under Oath, Laura Bespora, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Albania 2015 Summer Sonkaile, Olanta Kavalleti, Lithuania, France, 2015.  Nahed Ida Banahandi, Iran, 2015  Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere Nkoyen Hwank Dieppe, Vietnam, France, 2015.  Second Mother Anna Mulajri, Brazil, 2015.  Pauline Gets Away. Emily Preezavon, France 2015.  Misting,  Denise Gamza Aarkevin, Turkey 2015. Adrian (mechanist), Rooney Bolioh, Canada, 2015. The Price of Love, Imon Haile, Ethiopia 2014. and Decor, Ahmed Abdullah, Egypt 2014.

Finally - for our Australian expat readers...

You have a new Prime Minister! Malcolm Turnbul has defeated Tony Abbot by 54 votes to 44 in a leadership spill. The former banker and lawyer, who defended Peter Wright in the Spycatcher case, is set to be sworn in as the fifth prime minister in five years after winning a vote of Liberal party MPs and senators.

Turnbull promised to lead a “thoroughly Liberal government” that would explain the challenges facing Australia and “not lecture”.

“I’m very humbled by the great honour and responsibility that has been given to me today,” he said.

Observers say Turnbull read the public mood perfectly and his party realised that Abbot had become so despised by a huge number of voters that he was unelectable in the future.

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