Thursday 27 July 2017
(Reuters 07/04/17)
Morocco's surprise delay in announcing its proposed currency liberalization came only because the government needed "further studies" of the plan, Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani said, dismissing speculation that it ran into significant problems. Last week, Morocco's central bank postponed for "a few days" its planned announcement of the first phase of liberalizing the dirham, a key reform backed by the International Monetary Fund. The central back gave no reason for the delay. In a weekend interview on Morocco's two public television channels, Othmani said he met with Finance Minister Mohammed Boussaid and central bank Governor Abdellatif Jouahri to discuss the move to a flexible currency regime and...
(Voice of America 07/04/17)
GENEVA — The U.N. children’s fund warns tens of thousands of malnourished children are at great risk in Yemen, Somalia and South Sudan, which are on the brink of famine. UNICEF reports an estimated 4.7 million children in the cholera-stricken countries are malnourished. Of these, UNICEF spokesman Christofe Boulierac tells VOA, more than one million are suffering from severe acute malnutrition. “Let me remind you that a child who is suffering from severe acute malnutrition are nine times more likely to die of disease than a well-nourished child," he said. "So, having cholera and diarrhea in countries where so many children are so fragile because of malnutrition among other things because of such a bad access to safe water is...
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)
New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach. The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country. "We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI . "Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now." Suliman fled Darfur...
(Agence Ecofin 07/03/17)
What if land was the answer to the protests currently taking place in Al Hoceima ? Well, it seems the government believes so, according to the minister of agriculture, Aziz Akhannouch, who made the announcement while commencing a visit in the region last Thursday. Others issues brought up by the official on that occasion include land property in rural areas which is one of the main sources of conflicts and anger of protestors. “In Béni Amaret, the minister attended a meeting where Karm Tajmouati, head of the national land conservation agency, revealed that all rural lands situated in the Al Hoceima province will be registered by 2021. A decision which falls under a programme launched this year in nine communities,...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(APA 06/27/17)
The African Development Bank (AfDB) provided Morocco a $88 million loan to support its National Programme to Promote the Economic Usage of Irrigation Water (PAPNEEI 2). The scheme’s total cost is $96.9 million of which government provides $8.9 million. The initiative which is to last six years (2017-2022) aims to improve the living conditions of rural populations and agricultural production through the sound and sustainable management of irrigation water. In details, it will cover an area 25,758ha regrouping 10,250 farms in the river basins of Oum Errabia and Loukkos in the North...
(AFP (eng) 06/26/17)
Morocco's king has rebuked ministers over delays to a development programme meant to pump investment into a region rocked by months of protests over unemployment and perceived state neglect. Mohammed VI told ministers Sunday of his "disappointment, dissatisfaction and concern" that the $670 million (600 million euro) programme in the northern Rif region was behind schedule, according to a cabinet statement. He also cancelled the annual leave of ministers involved in programme so they can "monitor" its progress, it said. The Rif's main port, Al-Hoceima, has been rocked...
(AFP (eng) 06/23/17)
Authorities in Morocco on Thursday dismantled a suspected "terrorist cell" linked to the Islamic State group and accused of plotting major attacks on tourist sites, the government said. Four suspected cell members were detained and weapons were seized from them during the arrest operation in the Atlantic coast resort town of Essaouira, said the interior ministry. They had been planning to carry out "large-scale" attacks on "sensitive installations and tourist sites of Essaouira", it said in a statement. The group also intended to "broaden the scope of its terrorist operations to other cities of the kingdom," it alleged. The security services in Morocco have regularly announced the dismantling of IS cells and arrests of suspected jihadist recruiters in the past...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(AFP (eng) 06/22/17)
The leader of a protest movement in northern Morocco was "severely" beaten and verbally abused by police during his arrest, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said Thursday. Nasser Zefzafi -- leader of Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or the "Popular Movement" -- was detained on May 29 in a village 50 kilometres (30 miles) from the city of Al-Hoceima along with two fellow activists. A dozen police officers broke down the door of his house in the early hours of the morning, he told his lawyer at a Casablanca prison, according to a joint statement by the rights groups. "The police broke furniture and windows, and assaulted the three men even though they offered no resistance," it said. "He said he had...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Morocco will begin the process of moving towards a flexible exchange rate system gradually in the second half of this year, the governor of the country's central bank said Tuesday. The North African country has had a fixed exchange rate regime for the dirham since the 1970s. "There will be no devaluation. We are not in a situation of currency crisis," central bank chief Abdellatif Jouahri told reporters. "The International Monetary Fund (which has helped the Moroccan authorities in the process) did not impose anything on us. It is a voluntary decision," Jouahri said. Moroccan media have reported that the full liberalisation of the dirham will take up to 15 years. The World Bank said in a report in April...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Kenya's sports minister Hassan Wario assured the CAF delegation that all five stadiums will be ready at least three months before the competition. The Confederation of African Football has said four out of five Kenyan stadiums fall short of standards for hosting next year's African Nations Championship (CHAN) and has given Kenya until June to upgrade them. An inspection team led by CAF vice-president Suketu Patel said a lot of work needs to be done, but insisted Kenya remained on track to host the international tournament, reserved for players featuring in their domestic league competitions.
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(AFP (eng) 06/20/17)
Police have arrested three more members of a protest movement in northern Morocco's neglected Rif region, prompting hundreds of demonstrators to rally demanding their release, activists said Tuesday. Three activists from Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or "Popular Movement", were arrested Monday in the flashpoint northern port of Al-Hoceima, a member of the grassroots group told AFP. Two other activists, one of them a minor, were summoned by the police and told to "sign a pledge vowing not to take part in any future protest", the source said, adding that the pair were later released. Al-Hoceima has been rocked by protests since the death in October of a fishmonger, who was crushed to death in a rubbish truck as he tried to retrieve...
(Others 06/20/17)
Moroccan authorities have arrested more people in relation to anti-government protests in the North African Arab country. Lawyers and rights groups said on Tuesday that more activists had been arrested over involvement in protests across Morocco. “There are arrests on a daily basis,” said Abdessadak Elbouchattaoui, a lawyer, adding that, “On average, there are about four arrests a day, sometimes reaching 10 a day.” Morocco's Ministry of Justice would not comment on reports about the growing number of arrests. It has not updated statements about arrests since June 6, when authorities brought charges against Nasser Zefzafi, the leader of the Hirak al Chaabi or the Popular Movement, which has spearheaded popular protests since the end of May. Ministry officials told...
(Others 06/20/17)
Political demonstrations are rare in Morocco but protests are spreading. Moroccan authorities have arrested more activists involved in the country's biggest political protests since the Arab Spring, lawyers and rights groups said on Tuesday. For months, demonstrators have taken to the streets around the northern city of Al-Hoceima to vent frustration over the economic, social and political problems of a kingdom that presents itself as a beacon of stability in a turbulent region. Political demonstrations are rare in Morocco, where the king remains the ultimate power, but protests have spread to other parts of the country, reaching remote rural towns as well as major urban areas, including Rabat and Casablanca. The Hirak movement was born after the death in October...
(Others 06/20/17)
No member of staff at the Agadir Beach Club in Morocco bothered to help little Sienna Buckley despite her blood being spattered on the floor following an accident, a judge was told today Tuesday. Sienna, then aged only three, was shocked and crying in pain after suffering a large gash to her chin when she fell on a defective ramp at the Moroccan resort. “None of the hotel staff or receptionists offered to help despite the fact that there was a lot of blood on the floor,” the child’s mother Denise Buckley told the Circuit Civil court. Sienna, now aged six, sued through her mum Sunway Travel Limited and Linevana Limited which trades as John Cassidy Travel. She will be...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
Morocco's OCP group denounced Friday a decision by a South African court to hold a Moroccan ship laden with phosphate mined from the disputed Western Sahara pending a trial. The court said it wanted to determine ownership of the cargo of the boat that is being held at Port Elizabeth. The 34,000-tonne vessel from Western Sahara, which was destined for New Zealand, was last month prevented from departing due to a court motion seeking that the vessel return its cargo. The motion argued that the transportation of goods from disputed Western Sahara is illegal and in violation of international principles. "The court has basically found that the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Polisario Front have established, on a prima...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
Human rights defenders issued a joint call Thursday for Morocco to release protesters in Al-Hoceima, a northern city shaken by seven months of demonstrations against the marginalisation of their region. The statement comes a day after a court sentenced 25 demonstrators and suspected members of the grassroots protest movement to 18 months in jail each, according to their defence attorney. On Thursday the Civil Initiative for the Rif, which includes Moroccan human rights organisations and intellectuals, issued a report after conducting a tour of the restive northern region. It called for the release of the protesters so that a dialogue can be started, warning that "otherwise the inhabitants of Al-Hoceima will continue to demonstrate". "Apart from this prerequisite, the government...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
A South African court on Thursday ordered the further detention of a Moroccan vessel laden with phosphate mined from the disputed Western Sahara pending a trial to determine the owner of the cargo. The 34,000-tonne vessel from Western Sahara and destined for New Zealand was last month blocked from sailing off due to a court motion seeking that the vessel return its cargo. The motion argued that transportation of goods from disputed Western Sahara is illegal and in violation of international principles. "The court has basically found that the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Polisario Front have established...

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