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Morocco News meets the World

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    tour du Maroc

    Rabat- Organized by Morocco’s Royal Cycling Federation, the 27th annual of the Cycling Tour Du Maroc will take place from April 4th to 13th, with the participation of 120 cyclists representing 17 countries.

    Tour Du Maroc is to kick off in El Jadida on Saturday, April 4th and it will end in Casablanca on Sunday, April 13th. The distance between the starting point and the finish line is about 932 miles (1500 kilometers), divided over 10 stages.

    Besides Morocco, which will be represented by three national teams, the 27th Tour Du Maroc will feature the participation of 20 other teams from 17 countries, including France, Canada, Luxembourg, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, and Libya.

    The most important road bicycle race in Morocco will allow cyclists and viewers to enjoy the diversity of the Moroccan landscape; the cyclists will cross 1526 km in ten stages through the most beautiful Moroccan topography, including mountains, oases and desert.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan


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    Jacob Zuma

    Rabat- South Africa has stepped up its hostile moves towards Morocco in the European Union; South African president Jacob Zuma has withdrawn from the EU-Africa Summit, because the European Union invited Morocco.

    While Algiers is busy promoting Boutaflika’s image in the upcoming elections, South Africa has replaced Algeria in its staunch defense of the Polisario self-proclaimed Saharawi Arabic Democratic Republic (RASD).

    Objecting to the invitation of Morocco and Egypt to the two-day EU-Africa Summit, which opened in Brussels on Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma decided to pull out of the highest-level summit between Europe and Africa.

    Jacob Zuma confirmed on Monday in a government statement that he would not be attending the summit, saying that “South Africa will be represented by the International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane,” according to Business Day Live.

    According to the same source, Pretoria expressed outrage at Morocco's participation in the summit, because Morocco is not a member of the African Union (AU).

    Instead, South Africa and Algeria would like the so-called RASD to replace Morocco in the EU-Africa Summit, because it is an AU member.

    The European Union flatly rejected this request, stating that only countries recognized by the EU and the UN would participate in EU-Africa Summit. This eliminates the RASD, which is recognized by the African Union but not by the European Union and the United Nations, who regard it as disputed territory between Morocco and the Polisario.

    The EU justified its decision to invite Morocco and Egypt, because the summit is called the EU-Africa summit, rather than the EU-AU summit.

    Morocco is represented in EU-Africa summit by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheddine Mezouar. The two-day summit is to bring together African and EU leaders and the leaders of EU and AU institutions to cover issues including migration, trade and aid for peacekeeping.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

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    Aerial view of King Hassan II mosque of Casablanca August 27. The mosque, built on land gained from ..

    Rabat (REUTERS)- Arab Gulf states will invest 6 billion dirhams ($737 million) in tourism infrastructure in the port of Casablanca in the first of a series of such projects, a statement from Morocco's royal cabinet said on Tuesday.

    The states will use their Wessal Capital joint venture, one of the vehicles created by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to support the Moroccan and Jordanian monarchies during the Arab Spring uprisings.

    The fund is focused on tourism development in Morocco and is supported by Qatari fund Qatar Holding, the Kuwait Investment Authority's Al Ajial Investments, Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund Aabar, Saudi Investment Fund and the Moroccan Fund for Tourism Development (FMDT).

    "It is only the first project. Two others in Rabat and Tangiers will follow in coming months," Moroccan tourism minister Lahcen Haddad told Reuters.

    Four Gulf states - Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates - agreed in 2012 to provide aid worth a total $5 billion to Morocco between 2012 and 2017 to build up its infrastructure, strengthen its economy and foster tourism.

    The Wessal Capital funds, worth $3.4 billion, are separate from the aid package, the statement carried by the state news agency said.

    "Wessal Casablanca-Port will completely change the city. There will be hotels, cruising port, marina and an ambitious plan to renovate the old Casablanca's medina," Haddad said.

    "The property base is worth 1.3 billion dirhams."

    Morocco, where tourism accounts for around 8 to 9 percent of the gross domestic product, saw little of the turmoil of the 2011 Arab Spring revolts that ousted autocrats in North Africa such as Tunisia, Libya and Egypt.

    It hit a record 10 million tourists in 2013 and the country expects a further 10 percent rise this year. However, tourism receipts slipped slightly to 57.55 billion from 57.83 billion dirhams in 2012.

    Along with remittances from the 4.5 million Moroccans living abroad, tourism is now Morocco's biggest source of foreign currency, key to a fragile balance of payments.

    Moroccan King Mohammed has kept his distance from Gulf Arab monarchies since his coronation in 1999, making far fewer official visits to the region than his late father King Hassan. However, concern over social unrest has brought Arab monarchies closer. ($1 = 8.1362 Moroccan Dirhams) (Reporting By Aziz El Yaakoubi; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)


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    UNICEF representative in Morocco Regina De Dominicis

    Rabat- Morocco adopted several international conventions and carried out major reforms in several areas to protect and secure children's rights said, Wednesday in Rabat, UNICEF representative in Morocco Regina De Dominicis.

    Presenting the UNICEF's yearly report on the situation of children across the world, Dominicis noted that Morocco undertook legislative reforms seeking to harmonize the country's laws with international conventions which are adopted and ratified by the Kingdom in addition to efforts made concerning health and education to offer children a healthy environment where they can blossom.

    Quoting the report, De Dominicis said that, in Morocco, the schooling rate of kids in elementary schools stood at 99.6% in 2013, against 91.2% in 2008, as for middle schools, the rate reached 85.1% in 2013, against 70.9% in 2008, voicing concern, however, about school dropout.

    The UN official added that 87.7% of children were vaccinated in 2011, voicing satisfaction with the fall in the mortality rate of children under 5 (29 out of 1000 cases) considering that figures were very high a year before.

    The report also documents child labor in Morocco which stands at 8% of kids under 15, and child marriage concerning minors under 15 which reached 3% in 2012.


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    Cairn Energy seeking oil and gas in Morocco (Photo courtesy standard.co.uk)

    London - As a significant proportion of North Africa struggles with political unrest and growing investor uncertainty, Morocco's oil and gas sector has come to the fore, with the arrival of international majors and independents in search of Africa's next big hydrocarbon province, wrote on Wednesday e-paper Investors Chronicle.

    2013 saw a number of significant entrants to both onshore and offshore licenses.

    BP, Chevron, Kosmos and Cairn have all announced new projects or farm-ins in the past six months alone, illustrating a rapid increase in corporate appetite for the region.

    These major players have commenced targeting the country's potentially significant resource base, particularly offshore with more than 10 wells planned this year, it said.

    Advances in prospecting techniques, such as better three-dimensional seismic imaging, and new geologic theories of a link between Morocco and parts of West Africa - and even offshore Brazil - are tempting oil companies to spend hundreds of millions of pounds on high-risk exploration drilling, it added.

    The North African country also boasts some of the most favorable fiscal terms in the world for oil and gas projects, as it currently imports more than 90 per cent of its gas and 99 per cent of its oil, it noted.


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    Melilla,  Morocco Intervenes to Stop Illegal Immigrants, Spanish NGO Indignant

    Casablanca- Units of the Moroccan Auxiliary Forces intervened last week in the Spanish exclave of Melilla to stop an onslaught of illegal immigrants. For a Spanish NGO, the intervention was rather an “invasion.”

    Many Spanish media reported the intervention of the Moroccan Auxiliary Forces in Melilla to stop clandestine immigrants from entering the exclave on Friday, March 28.

    A video made public by the Spanish NGO Prodein described the intervention of the Moroccan forces as an "invasion.”

    The Spanish news agency EFE said the Spanish NGO Prodein condemned the Moroccan soldiers’ intervention in what it described as the "Spanish territory" in Melilla.

    The Moroccan Auxiliary Forces intervened to restrict inflows of clandestine migrants to Melilla, a detail that was downplayed in the video shared by Prodein.

    The EFE agency also reported that the Secretary in charge of the organization of the Spanish Socialist Party, Oscar Lopez, said on Monday that his party would request explanations from the Moroccan government on the intervention of Moroccan Auxiliary forces in Melilla.

    But according to the El Pais, the Spanish government delegate in Melilla defended the action taken by Moroccan soldiers to arrest Sub-Saharan immigrants inside Melilla, adding that “this was not the first time Moroccan officers have crossed over to help Spanish authorities ‘rescue’ people trapped between the fences.”

     © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    Cohabitation in Morocco- a Crime or a Fundamental Right

    Rabat - In Morocco, as in most of the Arab world, governments are still refusing to accept the fact that cohabitation based on mutual consent of a sane female and a sane male is one of the fundamental rights of any human being. Most developed countries acknowledge that regulating cohabitation is just absurd. Besides, Moroccans have different morals independent of what unifies them in this country.

    Many Moroccans are living together out of wedlock, or at the very least they are having sexual intercourse before marriage. Ibtissam Lachgar, an activist and co-founder of a campaign group to promote individual liberties, says she lives happily with her boyfriend in her apartment in the centre of the capital, Rabat.

    “I don’t feel my sexual freedom is restricted, even though we’re not married. The neighbors don’t bother me, probably because I own my apartment,” she says. The problem begins, she says, when they travel to other towns and try to stay in a hotel. “It’s impossible; the law forbids it. They ask to see a marriage certificate. So we’re forced to seek alternative arrangements, like staying with friends.”

    Ghassan, a PhD candidate researching Moroccan Drama who lives with his French girlfriend, Fanny, also added, “I don’t need to have a marriage contact in order to prove that I love my girlfriend. If the purpose of the law was to reduce the crime rate, I don’t think that a couple in love that live together under a mutual consent would harm society or it would be considered as a crime by any definition.”

    Furthermore, a study conducted by the Moroccan Health Ministry in 2007 indicated that "36 percent of young Moroccan men have had sex outside marriage, while the number of unmarried young women who have lost their virginity is much lower, at 15 percent," reported AFP.

    The same study showed that the average age of marriage for men is 39 and 26 for women. It goes without saying that Moroccans do have sexual intercourse out of marriage, but the problem is that they prefer to keep such actions hidden due to shame or social traditions. The actual percentage of people having sex before marriage is undoubtedly higher, because not everyone would answer a question like that honestly, since sex out of marriage is illegal in Morocco.

    The hypocrisy is exacerbated by the fact that foreign couples are exempt from this law, or at least they are not a part of the equation. There is no law that actually allows or forbids foreign couples’ booking one room for two adults without a marriage contract. However, there are what we call “conventions,” which can act as a judicial source.

    In addition, the impact of sexual repression affects Moroccans’ Attitude and behaviors. From an academic view, many researchers linked deprivation of physical interaction among youngsters to the eventual development of violent and aggressive behaviors. James W. Prescott examined various cultures and discovered that high volumes of violence are correlated significantly with repression of premarital sexual activity.

    Premarital sexual freedom for young people can help reduce violence in a society, and the physical pleasure that youth obtains from sex can offset a lack of physical affection during infancy.” James W. Prescott said.

    table

    Objectively speaking, sexual repression is also one of the reasons behind the skyrocketing rates of sexual harassment in the Arab world. By observing Egypt, which according to the BBC is the second worst country for women to live in (followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen) we can easily notice that the leading countries for sexual harassment are the same countries that oppress their people when it comes to sexual freedom. In short, sexual repression increases sexual harassment.

    Moreover, the increase of late marriage in Morocco, due to unemployment and the changes in cost of living, has significantly escalated. That is to say, as Moroccan law criminalizes cohabitation. Populace will be sexually unsatisfied, which could lead to many negative behaviors like frustration, depression and violence.

    Imagine if Morocco were a sexually liberated country. People would better understand that mutually consensual sexual consent is not a crime against anybody else.  Youth would be able to enjoy the benefits of companionship and cohabitation without making a financial commitment that is often beyond their means. The legal disparity between foreigners and Moroccans would be reduced.

    And finally, a more open sexual climate might even reduce sexual harassment and violence. Morocco can only benefit by reforming its restrictions on cohabitation. 

    Edited by Manon McGuigan

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    US Secretary Of State John Kerry Arrives In Rabat

    Rabat  -  US secretary of state John Kerry arrived, on Thursday in Rabat, for a visit to Morocco during which he will co-chair with Moroccan foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar the 2nd Morocco-United States Strategic Dialogue.

    This session, themed "strengthening solid cooperation ties between the two countries", is an occasion for both parties to promote their partnership in the political, economic, social, educational and cultural fields, said a statement by the foreign affairs ministry.

    The meeting will open new horizons in bilateral ties, in keeping with recommendations outlined in the joint communiqué adopted following the summit talks held in November 2013 in Washington between HM King Mohammed VI and US president Barack Obama.

    After the strategic dialog first session held in September 2012, the second session comes to illustrate the excellent friendship and longstanding relations binding the two countries that share the same values and same interests.

    The session will also be an opportunity to deepen political consultation on bilateral, regional and international issues.

    Announcing last week the visit by Kerry to the Kingdom, the US state department underlined that "this dialogue, launched in September 2012, underscores our ongoing close cooperation with Morocco and will focus on political affairs, economic and security cooperation, and educational and cultural issues."


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    smuggled

    Rabat- Moroccan customs authorities in Casablanca successfully intercepted a phone trafficking operation on Tuesday, seizing over 10,766 mobile phones that had been illegally imported from China, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).

    Moroccan customs officers grew suspicious of the devices and immediately searched their owner who revealed the whereabouts of other electronic devices, including cameras.

    Officers disclosed that trafficked phones worth an estimated MAD 5 Million were hidden in a tank inside Casablanca Port’s depository.

    This is not the first time trafficking operations have been interdicted. Customs officers spent nine hours inspecting the devices before sending them to a regional customs facility in Casablanca.

    This is not the first time suchtrafficking operations come to naughthave been interdicted.

    The same source added that the success of this operation is the outcome of the strict control measures that have been implemented by Morocco at different crossing points. Moroccan authorities reported that more than 7,000 mobile phones have been smuggled by people through Mohammed V Airport in Casablanca.

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    salaheddine-Mezouar

    Brussels-  King Mohammed VI's far-sighted approach for Africa, which consists of addressing the continent's issues as part of a solidarity-based, sound partnership, was vital during the 4th EU-Africa summit, said, Thursday in Brussels, foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar.

    The King's approach for the problems of peace, security and development in Africa turned out to be pivotal in international forums mainly the EU-Africa summit, themed "investing in people for peace and prosperity", Mezouar told the press.

     When we scrutinize the summit's theme we notice that it is interwoven with the vision of the King Mohammed VI which calls for a solidarity-based partnership with Africa, he said, adding that the conclusions of the summit clearly show that the EU of today understood that it cannot go on perceiving Africa the way it did in the past.

     Mezouar, who represented HM the King in the Brussels summit, noted that Africa is turning the page on the past and looking towards the future and does not need in this prospect a relation based on aid.


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    Washington, American University Launches New Arab World Studies Program

    Washington D.C.- American University celebrated the launch of its new Arab World Studies Program on Monday March 31st in Washington, D.C. 

    Professors, students, and honored guests gathered to celebrate the launch of a new major course of study offered to undergraduates by the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at the American University. 

    Dr. Mohammed Al-Sharif, Ambassador to the League of Arab States, presented the keynote speech, lauding the university for this important development at a critical time in Arab history, marked by revolutions in various countries under the so-called Arab Spring.

    While the results of the Arab Spring are not promisingfor those states affected by it, he said, reforms have been undertaken in anticipation of avoiding revolution in the Arab countries that have not experienced the uprisings, such as Morocco, and such developments address civil rights, legal issues, and womens rights.

    On the theme of change, he noted that U.S. foreign policy has changed and is focusing more on religion.  For example, Foreign Service officers are now required to take classes in religion with a focus on Islam and Muslims,he said.  Every year the President hosts an interfaith breakfast with dignitaries from around the world.  In addition, there has been a revival of the Middle East peace initiative pushed by the US.” He said that the new Arab World Studies Program will provide a vehicle for further understanding. 

    Dr. John Duke Anthony, President and CEO of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), and recipient of the Medal of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite, Moroccos highest award for excellence, also remarked upon the value of the program in encouraging two-way intercultural and educational exchange and urged the Arab League to develop or partner with such programs to further understanding of Arab society and culture. 

    Professor Randa Serhan, the Director of the new Program and a graduate of the American University of Beirut, explained that the new program is focusing on Arabrather than Middle Eastern studies due to the unique history and culture of the Arabic-speaking countries. 

    Housed in the Department of Sociology, the program takes into consideration the organization of everyday life, literature, film, religion, gender, and history of the region, and will draw upon the resources of other schools within the university, such as the School of International Studies (SIS). Attending the event also was Driss Alaoui, Counselor to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco.

    Edited by Elisabeth Myers

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    kerry

    Rabat- On the eve of John Kerry’s visit to Morocco on Friday, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) has sent an open letter to the U.S. Secretary of State, urging him to raise concerns about the freedom of information in Morocco in his talks with officials.

    The letter contains the abstracts of RWB’s report on Morocco from its Press Freedom Index.

    RWB also called on John Kerry to remind Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Salah Eddine Mezouar of Ali Anouzal’s situation. Anouzal is currently “the subject of controversy in Morocco,” reported RWB.

    Ali Anouzal was arrested last September after he published a video on his website Lakome which the Moroccan government deemed promoted terrorism. Lakome’ remains blocked in Morocco, although Anouzal has petitioned the prosecutor's office to remove the restriction.

    In reference to these judicial proceedings and the censorship of Lakome, RWB stated in the letter that “this isthe result of a political and arbitrary decision and therefore constitute grave violations of the right to freedom of information.”

     In the letter, RWB reminded Kerry that Morocco has been ranked 136th out of 179 countries in the 2013 Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. The organization stressed that “this situation is the source of a number of other concerns that require concrete measures by the authorities in order to improve respect for the right to inform and be informed.”

    Reporters Without Borders said that “Media offenses urgently need to be decriminalized both in the press code (article 41) and in the penal code (articles 179, 54, 65 and 66), but without any resulting increase in the size of fines, which must continue to be proportionate.”

    In this regard, RWB said that the law must “clearly and precisely define these offenses, especially "insults" and "grave insults," which are extremely subjective and give the authorities, especially judges, a great deal of scope for arbitrary decisions.”

    US Secretary of State John Kerry, who paid an official visit to Algiers on Thursday, arrived in Rabat on Thursday evening. He is expected to hold to talks with his counterpart Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar as part of the strategic dialogue between the United States and Morocco.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    kerry and mezour

    Washington-DC-  Human rights in Algeria, Morocco and Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf should have been on the menu of US Secretary of State recent visit to Morocco and Algeria.

    However, and despite the Algerian press intense campaign to link this visit to the UNSC review of the MINURSO mandate, civil and human conditions in the region were, unfortunately, absent during Secretary John Kerry discussions. This omission is yet another diplomatic misstep form the part of the Moroccan diplomacy.

    Morocco should not shy away from addressing its human rights records including the delicate conditions in the “Western Sahara”. Moroccan officials should have asked Mr. Kerry to intervene with the Algerian government to secure an independent investigation into reports of the latest arrests and persecutions of pro-Morocco activists in Tindouf.

    For many Moroccans, including several elected officials native of the Sahara, it has been frustrating to witness the continuous mismanagement of this dossier. As Maghreb observers and journalists reports on Algeria’s dysfunctional presidential campaign, ethnic riots, arrests and harassments of political dissidents and President Bouteflika’s ill health, Moroccan officials look ambivalent to the major impact of such factors on the American policy in the region including the “Western Sahara”.

    Rabat’s inability to leverage the political and security instability in Algeria to win concession from the Americans is incomprehensible. The United States is more concerned with stability and economic developments than human rights. Obama’s foreign policy’s pragmatism and realism opens the door for Morocco to market its Sahara solution once for all.

    Despite Algeria’s leadership crisis, Morocco is struggling to control the Western Sahara agenda on the international scene. More problematically, Rabat’s mute and reactionary attitude cast doubts about Moroccan diplomats’ ability to make the right decisions for the country’s future decisions at the United Nations.

    In fact, it is time for a complete and a drastic review of Morocco’s Sahara policy. A review of Morocco‘s latest diplomatic success reveal that “Royal visits” are the only courses that produce good results. Such structure is unstainable and thus a review of the Moroccan entities in charge of handling this dossier is overdue.

    The “same old approach” has proven ineffective, monotonous and excessively bureaucratic.  Rabat major hurdle in promoting its Sahara positions has been Rabat. A diplomatic and a domestic policy that requires that each and every decision related the Sahara must be made in the capital and by a high level official is doomed to collapse.  Bureaucrats in Morocco must make a clear break with the centralized decision making process in favor for a system based on competent officials with the freedom to take initiatives.

    Despite ample evidences that anger toward the Polisario leadership and the Algerian military is brewing in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria, the Moroccan authorities are unable to take advantage of these events and push for an international, open and unrestrictive investigation of the living conditions in Tindouf. Rabat persistent inability to draw attention to the dire human rights situation in the Algerian run camps is vexing and exasperating for Moroccan nationalists who have been fighting for an internationally recognized Moroccan Sahara.

    As little changes seem to happen domestically, Rabat should worry about “a fatigue syndrome” creeping among some activists who have been crucial to the advancements of the “Moroccan Sahara” agenda at the international level.

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    Moroccan Court

    Casablanca - The Court of Appeals of Casablanca has recently sentenced to death a murderer known as Mediouna’s serial killer. Some of his victims were his relatives, who he killed in order to acquire their possessions.

    The Court of Appeals of Casablanca sentenced serial killer, Abdelaziz Tijari, to death on Wednesday, according to Assabah and Al Ahdath  Al Maghribiya

    Al Ahdath Al Maghribiya recalled how Tijari’s murders were discovered by chance, after he had been apprehended for a fraud case. Police interrogations subsequently revealed that Tijari was behind the murder of his cousin and neighbor.

    Their bodies were found in June 2009, at the bottom of a pit located in a café owned by the suspect. Tijari would also be behind the disappearance of three others including his uncle, who died in 1989, according to the same source.

    Yet, the crimes Tijari committed against his relatives were only the visible part of the iceberg, according to Al Ahdath Al Maghribiya. The suspect’s list of victims goes well beyond that.

    Assabah, on the other hand, explains that Tijari murdered his cousin after he threatened to divulge the truth about Tijari’s crimes. Tijari subsequently stitched a devilish plan to get his hands on his cousin’s house.

    The killer sent a letter to his cousin's wife, in which he informed her, using the name of his victim, that he had left the country and that she needed to complete a transaction on his behalf about the house he obtained. To his dismay, Tijari made a spelling mistake when writing the name of the victim’s wife.

    This spelling mistake, along with the abrupt disappearance of the victim, stirred his wife’s suspicion about Tijari. She then informed the police of her suspicions, who subsequently apprehended the suspect. According to the same source, it took some time before Tijari admitted to his heinous crimes.

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    king receives kerrry

    Casablanca - King Mohammed VI received on Friday at the Royal palace of Casablanca visiting US secretary of state, John Kerry, says a release of the Royal office.

    Kerry is currently on an official visit to Morocco, mainly to co-chair the 2nd session of the "US-Morocco strategic dialog" which is an important component of the exceptional strategic partnership binding the two countries, the release adds.

    Kerry's visit also follows suit to the Royal visit to Washington and to the intensive and diversified actions agreed upon during this trip between HM the King and President Obama.

    During the audience, HM the King reiterated his deep attachment to the strategic partnership, fruit of a longstanding and multidimensional alliance with the USA. This partnership is based on confidence, solidarity, sharing values, interdependence and the defense of shared interests. It has adapted, evolved and been renewed to meet the two countries' expectations and the mutations of the regional and international context.

    The Royal visit to Washington, on November 22, 2013, opened new perspectives for the prosperity of this strategic partnership, by considerably enriching its agenda and setting a more ambitious course.

    The joint release, adopted during this visit, has helped further intensify consultation on strategic issues, define new cooperation tracks, adapt the existing special instruments and develop other diversified mechanisms, while at the same time, consolidating gains and foundations of a historic alliance between Morocco and the USA.

    The Sovereign recalled that the present regional and international context is confirming the pertinence and the depth of this partnership, which, henceforth, needs to expand and contribute mainly to lasting security and stability, shared economic prosperity and human development in the African continent.

    On his part, the US secretary of state reiterated President Obama's attachment to deepening the singular strategic partnership with Morocco.

    Kerry also reiterated the US will to endeavor with Morocco for the consolidation of peace and stability regionally and internationally.

    Regarding the African continent, the US secretary of state, who appreciated the Sovereign's strong and constant engagement for the causes of the African continent's stability and development, reiterated to the Sovereign invitation to participate in the USA-Africa summit scheduled for next August.

    Kerry further praised HM The King's constructive role and active contribution, in his capacity as chairman of Al Quds Committee, in efforts to reach a fair, final and comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, on the basis of the formula of two states living side by side in peace and security, in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.

    The King, chairman of Al Quds Committee, handed to the US Secretary of state a register of all Israeli abuses in the holy city of Al Quds Asharif, seeking to alter its religious calling and its authentic architecture.

    The meeting took place in the presence of Dwight L. Bush, US ambassador in Morocco, Prem Kumar, director for the Middle East, North Africa and national security, Jonhathan Finer, deputy-chief of state, Fouad Ali El Himma, advisor of HM the King and Salaheddine Mezouar, minister of foreign affairs and cooperation.


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    ambassadors of us and king

    Casablanca -   King Mohammed VI received this Friday at the Royal palace of Casablanca two new ambassadors who presented to the Sovereign their credentials as plenipotentiary and extraordinary ambassador of their country to Morocco, according to MAP.

    The new ambassadors are Dwight L. Bush, ambassador of the United States of America and Ousmane Amadou Sy, ambassador of the Republic of Mali.

    King Mohammed VI, then, received the ambassador of the Republic of Gambia, Lamin Kabba Bajo, who came to bid him farewell at the end of his mission in Morocco.

    The Sovereign decorated Gambia's outgoing ambassador with the Alaouite wissam (2nd grade).

    The ceremony took place in the presence of minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar, and the King's chamberlain, Sidi Mohammed El Alaoui.


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    stop pedophile

    Casablanca- A new pedophilia scandal has surfaced in Morocco. The director of a primary school in Rabat is accused of abusing orphans in his institution on several occasions, Spanish news agency EFE reported on Thursday.

    The director of a primary school in Rabat is at the center of a new pedophilia scandal in Morocco. The director was accused by the Moroccan association Ne Touches Pas A Mes Enfants (Do not Touch my Children), which organizes against pedophilia and child abuse, of having sexually abused several orphaned children at his school.

    According to EFE, the president of the association Do not Touch my Children, Najia Adib, logged a complaint against the director before the Court of Appeals in Rabat.

    Najia Adib also said she had accompanied 12 female victims aged 9 to 11 years old to a police station.  

    According Najia Adib, the alleged pedophile sexually abused his victims by “kissing and groping” them. "These obscene practices took place in a primary school office,” Adib told TV channel Al Aoula.

    "There is a little girl who is really traumatized and needs psychological treatment to get over what she experienced, said Adib.

    “It was she who revealed the situation. She had first talked to her teacher, who did nothing to help her. Instead, the teacher told the little girl that the director was like a father to her and the other students,” added Adib.

    The director allegedly used force to carry out the abuse.  "Based on the testimonies we received, the director assaulted several girls before sexually abusing them,” said Mr. Bouchaib Soufi, lawyer for Do Not Touch my Children, according to the same source.

    The director also allegedly blackmailed his victims by threatening to give them bad grades if they did not concede to his demands, according to the same source.

    The director, however, denied all allegations leveled against him, and claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy. "I deny all these allegations, which are based on mere hearsay ,” the director told Al Aoula.

    “If there were really any sexual harassment in the school, it would have been discovered earlier. I have been working in this school for 10 years and no one has ever seen anything from me,” he added.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    casablanca twin

    Rabat- Casablanca is about to experience a tense weekend. In addition to the city’s derby between Raja and WAC of Casablanca that will take place on Sunday, with its accompanying security challenges, a large number of protestors will occupy Casablanca’s on the same day in a march of anger against Benkirane’s social policies.

    Every year on May 1st, syndicates worldwide take to the streets for celebrations with great enthusiasm on the eve of the International Labor Day.

    However, the Moroccan Labor Union (UMT), the Democratic Federation of Labor (FDT), and the Democratic Confederation of Labor (CDT) have chosen to take the streets this Sunday in a march of anger against the social policies of Benkirane’s government.

    March with Political characters

    In addition to the three syndicates, citizens from all the country’s regions will join together in the streets of Casablanca in the protest.

    Additionally, the march will be headed by the General Union for Workers in Morocco (UGTM), whose secretary general Hamid Chabat is the also the head of the opposing Independence party.

    “Thus, the march of anger is to be politically exploited by the Secretary General of Independence party Hamid Chabat, to attack the government,” reported Assabah.

    The government’s “polite” reaction

    On the other hand, Prime Minister and leader of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), Abdelilha Benkirane, was surprised that the syndicates will go on strike before the Labor Day on May 1st.

    Meanwhile, he stressed during a meeting of the PJD’s parliament group that he won’t "antagonize the syndicates because they called for a strike.”

    Derby and the extra Security Challenges

    The march of anger is to take place on Sunday at 8 am in Casablanca. This event will synchronize with a bigger event, Casablanca’s football derby between Raja and Wydade.

    Casablanca’s derby is often preceded and followed by riots, chaos, and clashes between the two teams’ supporters, sometimes provoking police involvement.

    These conditions make it hard for the local authorities to assure the safety of protestors and teams’ supporters in the streets of Casablanca.

    In this regard, the city’s mandate of security has received new security reinforcements from other cities, in order to control the large crowds that will take the streets of Casablanca on Sunday, either for protesting against the government or for supporting Casablanca’s teams. “Local authorities is to allocate five thousands security men to secure the Derby and white protest march,” according to Al Massa.

    Edited by Melissa Smyth

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    surfing in morocco

    Essaouira - A British national died, on Friday, in a surfing accident at the Sidi Kaouiki beach (12 km south of Essaouira), local authorities said. The body of the victim, aged 48, was sent to the morgue of the Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah hospital for autopsy, they added.

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    Moroccan Foreign Minister Greets Secretary Kerry Before Strategic Dialogue in Rabat (Photo courtesy US State Department)

    Rabat- The partnership between Morocco and the USA concerning the American contribution to the implementation of the national integrated youth strategy was sealed, on Friday in Rabat, as part of the committee of education, culture, and interfaith cooperation, convened on the occasion of the 2nd Morocco-USA strategic dialogue.

    According to a statement by the ministry of youth and sports, this partnership is related to the American support for the participatory management the youth department intends undertaking through the councils of youth homes in order to update its prerogatives and meet the new needs of young people in this area.

    This partnership, which is part of the strengthening of cooperation between Morocco and the United States in the areas of education and youth, also includes the support by US partners to the department in terms of increasing the number of sport practitioners, by facilitating access to facilities and sports services and promoting training and coaching. 

    The US party expressed its willingness to support the department's efforts in this area, particularly through sharing expertise, the statement said.


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