Thursday 23 November 2017
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
Morocco has recalled its ambassador after the Algerian foreign minister accused the kingdom's banks of "laundering hashish money" in Africa, in the latest diplomatic spat between the North African rivals. The foreign ministry said it also summoned Algeria's charge d'affaires in Rabat on Friday evening to protest the "very serious statements... concerning the African policy of the kingdom of Morocco." Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel made his comments at a meeting of business leaders in Algiers on Friday, excerpts of which were widely circulated on social media. He was discussing the sharp increase in investment...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
A 1,200-kilometre (750 mile) round bus trip taking about 22 hours: that is the weekly grind faced by families of activists arrested over a protest movement in northern Morocco if they want to see their loved ones jailed in Casablanca. "The families of those detained are exhausted, every week it's the same ordeal," complained Rachid Ahbbad, as he visited his 19-year-old son Bilal who was jailed in June. "Why do they make us go through this suffering?" The Rif region of northern Morocco, a predominantly Berber area, was gripped earlier this year by months of angry demonstrations calling for jobs, development and an end to corruption in the North African kingdom. Originally sparked by the death of a fisherman crushed...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Visitors crowded through the doors Thursday as a museum to legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent opened to the public in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh. The museum's management said 1,000 people thronged through its exhibition halls in the first three hours to get a glimpse of some of Saint Laurent's most iconic creations as they went on display in the city that inspired him. The opening comes just over a fortnight after another museum to the famed French couturier, who died in 2008, began working at the company's former headquarters in Paris. The Moroccan project -- housed in a modernist building of traditional rose-coloured ochre bricks -- was a last labour of love for Saint Laurent's former business and...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
A smart white coat is no proof of being a qualified medical practitioner in Morocco, where fake dentists and other "health professionals" thrive on poverty, sometimes with wretched consequences. "It's all a question of know-how. I inherited mine from my father," Hamid says proudly, sporting a thin moustache and teeth yellowed by thick deposits of tartar. Hamid brandishes his pincers at the heart of the joyous racket of the Sunday market of Beni Yakhlef, a rural town about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the seaside metropolis of Casablanca. About a dozen patients wait their turn under an ancient, ragged sunshade, seated on plastic stools bearing the logo of a renowned brand of soft drink. Hamid cleanses the pincers with bleach,...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
The UN's new envoy for Western Sahara will travel to Morocco at the weekend as part of a regional tour aimed at kick-starting talks on ending the decades-old conflict over the disputed territory. Former German president Horst Kohler will travel to Rabat on Sunday before heading to Algeria and Mauritania, UN sources said. The visit comes ahead of his first report to the Security Council on October 24 on prospects for re-launching negotiations that have been comatose for years. The council adopted a resolution in April that called for a new UN push for talks between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front.
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
Morocco's ambassador to Greece had his diplomatic vehicle stolen on Sunday after a break-in at his residence, Athens police said. The break-in occurred early on Sunday morning in the affluent Athens suburb of Psychiko, an area popular with embassies that is nominally well-guarded. The robbers also stole a few items from the ambassador's residence, a police source said. Reports said the ambassador and his wife were present at the time of the robbery nut were unhurt.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
RABAT (Reuters) - Moroccan authorities said on Saturday they had dismantled a cell linked to Islamic State that was active in eight towns and cities and was planning terrorist operations. Eleven people were arrested. Security forces detained the alleged mastermind of the cell in a safe house in Fez, where they found guns and a large quantity of bullets, materials for making suicide belts, nails and electric wires, according to a statement from the interior ministry. Police also found chemical products that could be used for making explosives, and a “suspicious car”, the statement said. It said one of the suspects was an explosives expert. Those arrested were “planning to carry out dangerous terrorist operations targeting sensitive sites, at the...
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
Residents angered by persistent water shortages in southern Morocco have taken to the streets in a series of "thirsty protests" that has grabbed the attention of the country's king. Since the start of the summer, inhabitants in the region of desert town Zagora have been left parched and furious as water supplies are cut off for hours -- or even days -- at a time. "The situation is critical. It means daily suffering for the people in this region," Jamal Akchbabe, head of an environmental group in the town, told AFP by phone. "Families are going for days without tap water, while others don't have any for several hours each day. And this water is undrinkable." In a bid to...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...
(AFP (eng) 10/13/17)
A fusion of Moroccan traditions and contemporary flair that inspired Yves Saint Laurent, a museum to the famed fashion designer is set to be unveiled Saturday in his beloved Marrakesh. Following three years of work, technicians carried out final checks in a minimalist exhibition hall at the venue in the city that helped shape Saint Laurent's imagination after he first arrived in the 1960s. Iconic creations -- from the black "Le Smoking" tuxedo to the Mondrian dress -- will go on display, with the museum hoping to attract 300,000 visitors in its first year after it opens its doors on October 19. "Marrakesh was a place of inspiration for Yves Saint Laurent," said director Bjorn Dahlstrom as he surveyed the...
(AFP (eng) 10/12/17)
A Moroccan appeals court has struck down a ruling that for the first time recognised a man as the father of a child born outside of marriage. The decision by the Tangiers appeals court sparked anger among human rights activists. A lower Tangiers court had in January ruled that the man was the father of a girl born to a woman that was not his wife, based on DNA tests provided by the mother, a first in the North African country. The father had then been ordered to pay the mother 100,000 dirhams ($10,600, 9,000 euros), although the child was not granted other family rights such as inheritance. The appeals court on Tuesday overturned the judgement and ordered the mother...
(APA 10/12/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the National Company of Transports and Logistics (SNTL) based in Morocco have launched a study to bridge the gap between Morocco and Africa. A press release issued Thursday October 12, 2017 by the ITFC from Casablanca, Morocco, said “this is under the umbrella of the AfTIAS, but is also at the core mandate of the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Programme, which is created for bridging the trade gaps between the Arab and African countries.” According to the release, ITFC a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, signed a partnership agreement with Morocco’s SNTL, under the umbrella of the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States (AfTIAS),...
(Xinhuanet 10/12/17)
Morocco and Russia signed here Wednesday eleven cooperation agreements in the sectors of agriculture, energy, trade, customs services and diplomatic ties. The agreements were signed during a working meeting chaired by the two countries' prime ministers Saad Eddine El Othmani and Dmitri Medvedev. The cooperation agreements are expected to give new impetus to their strategic partnership and expand their cooperation, the ministers said. On this occasion, El Othmani and Medvedev hailed the steady development of bilateral ties, especially in terms of trade. El Othmai deemed trade cooperation between the two countries as generally "satisfactory," stressing that "there is still work to be done" to strengthen the cooperation. Medvedev stressed that "Morocco remains a strategic partner for Russia in Africa and...
(The Associated Press 10/12/17)
What started as an annual marriage festival has become an economic boon for a tiny Berber village tucked into the foothills of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. In recent years, the village has become an attraction for tourists, both foreign and Moroccan, drawn in by local folklore. According to legend, a man and a woman from different tribes fell in love, but were forbidden from marrying. Out of grief, they cried themselves to death, creating the nearby lakes of Tislit and Isli, meaning bride and groom. Poor conditions and harsh geography have led many residents to seek employment in bigger towns, but the annual festival and the tradition surrounding it helps keep the village of 2,000 going. Dozens of couples from places...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/17)
Russia and Morocco hope to cooperate more closely in the energy sector, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said Wednesday during a visit to Rabat. He spoke of a "very promising project to supply liquefied natural gas to meet the needs of the Moroccan economy". "The potential for cooperation is huge," he said during a brief press conference. During his visit the two countries signed deals in the energy, agriculture and hi-tech sectors. "We are discussing further cooperation in the field of nuclear energy or renewable energies," Medvedev said after talks with his Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine El Othmani. Medvedev said the two had also discussed transfers of military and security technology. Russia's energy minister, Alexander Novak, visited Morocco in late...
(AFP (eng) 10/11/17)
In a country where nearly half of people with mental disabilities are unemployed, one restaurant in the Moroccan capital is part of a pilot project tackling the problem. When a customer enters the Hadaf restaurant in the capital's business district, nothing indicates that many of the staff are disabled in any way. Take Amr, an enthusiastic 28-year-old in a crisp white shirt and black trousers. He scouts the street for prospective clients as front of house staff add vases as the finishing touches to tables. "I first learnt in the canteen," Amr said. "Now I take orders from customers in the restaurant -- I like the contact with them, getting to know each other," he added. The experiment was launched...

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