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Morocco News meets the World

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    captived

    Casablanca- Two teenage girls who went missing in Marrakech were recently found captivein a house in Casablanca, according to daily Assabah.

    After four days of investigation, Hay Hassani police in Casablanca finally found the two girls, who had been abducted in Marrakech, held captive in a house in Casablanca.

    According to daily Assabahs Wednesday issue, it was thanks to the father of one of the victims that both girls were eventually found. The father had checked his daughters Facebook page and posts to discover that his daughter had been communicating online with individuals from Casablanca.  The father found that the suspects had persuaded his daughter to leave her home in Marrakech and join them in Casablanca, according to the same source.

    The girls father subsequently lodged a complaint against the suspects, and the police then opened an investigation.  Less than 24 hours later, the police had arrested one of the people the girls had been chatting with on Facebook. The suspect subsequently led the police to where the girls were being held captive.  

    The investigation is far from being over, however.  The police suspect the existence of a larger criminal network, specializing in child abduction.

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 This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

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    marmoul

    Taroudant, Morocco- Bouchra Marmoul, the first Moroccan female jockey, will represent Morocco in the seventh edition of the Grand Prix of Prince Moulay Hassan on April 11 at the Casablanca-Anfa racetrack, competing for the prize of Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak.

     A distinguished cavalier recently approved by “la Société Royale d’Encouragement du Cheval (SOREC)” the Royal Company for the Promotion of the Horse, the young woman will race alongside professional jockeys at this prestigious event reserved for the best riders in the world.

     She is “an exceptional woman who marked the history of horse racing the Kingdom,” wrote the Company in their official Facebook page.

    bouchra

    "It is an honor for me to be the first female jockey in Morocco. I trained continuously in recent weeks. Physically, It's a bit hard, but I hope to finish the race in the top five," said Marmoul to h24info.

     Bouchra did well in her first race on Sunday, March 30, at the Rabat-Souissi racetrack, and is now collecting her strength and skills to better represent Morocco in this upcoming challenging event.

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


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    US Congress

    Washington- The Sahara autonomy plan under the Moroccan sovereignty is "serious, credible and realistic," reaffirmed "clearly" US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, William Roebuck, at a hearing in the US Congress devoted to US policy vis-à- vis Morocco.

    "Concerning the Moroccan autonomy plan, we clearly stated that the plan is serious, credible and realistic and is a potential approach that can satisfy the aspirations of the peoples of the Sahara to manage their own affairs in peace and dignity," said the senior U.S. official before the subcommittee in charge of the Near East and North Africa within the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives.

    The U.S. policy towards the Sahara issue "thus remains unchanged throughout the past years," said Roebuck, adding that Washington supports the process led by the United Nations that aims to achieve a peaceful, lasting and mutually acceptable settlement.

    He said Washington also supports "the work done by the Personal Envoy of the Secretary General of the UN and the efforts by the United Nations" on the matter.

    On the other hand, he urged the parties "to work towards a resolution" to end the conflict.


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    Gulf Countries to Form a Military Alliance with Morocco, Egypt, Jordan

    Taroudant, Morocco- More than a year after the Gulf Cooperation Council invited Morocco and Jordan to join a regional grouping before withdrawing their offer, the Gulf countries are now calling for Morocco to join them in a military alliance.

    According to Al Massae, the new military alliance will eventually include the 6 countries of the GCC, as well as Morocco, Jordan and Egypt.

    The GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, has already sent a formal request to the three countries to join the proposed military alliance.

    According to the same source, the GCC countries are considering ways to strengthen their regional grouping in light of the instability in the Middle East.

    Through the military alliance, the GCC seeks to secure the assistance of a total of 300,000 troops from Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. In exchange, the three countries will be provided with financial aid.

    But as things stand in Egypt, whose military leadership is not recognized by Qatar,  it is unclear how successful this military alliance will be. Qatar considers the toppling of former President Mohammed Morsi a military coup. What may make things even harder is the strained relations between some Gulf countries themselves, who have different views regarding the situation in Egypt.

    While Qatar still does not support the new Egyptian government, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain are supportive of military control over Egypt’s politics and their iron-fisted approach to the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Last month, in an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain decided to withdraw their ambassadors from Qatar because of Doha’s alleged support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Jazeera’s coverage of Egypt since former President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in July 2013.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

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


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    King Mohammed VI

    Casablanca- Police in Tangier arrested a man on Wednesday for stalking the king in an attempt to give him a letter.

    The man was arrested in the November 6th Square in Tangier while he was stalking the king in his car in order to hand him the letter, according to Le360.

    The man was subsequently taken to a police center for interrogation.

    HM the King returned to Tangier two weeks after an initial visit in order to inaugurate a number of developmental projects.

    Two other men, a French national and a Moroccan, were arrested last March after their remote-controlled helicopter was intercepted flying over the royal residence in Dar Bouazza, Casablanca.

    The two men were subsequently released. Their helicopter was confiscated and the memory card it contained was sent to a laboratory to determine whether it had recorded anything inside the royal residence.

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


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    New Video Denounces Recruitment of Young Sahrawis to Polisario Militia

    Casablanca- In a recent video posted on YouTube, a young Sahrawi denounced the recruitment of Sahrawi youth to the Polisario’s armed militia.  

    The video came as a response to another video posted a few weeks ago, in which a Sahrawi called on the Sahrawi population to stand up against the Polisario leadership by defending their rights through a project entitled “A Minute of Truth”.

    The young Sahrawi in the video identified himself as a member of the Sahrawi Movement for Change, which carried out several initiatives through which it denounced the Polisario leadership.

    In the video, the young man condemns the recruitment of young Sahrawi people to the Polisario’s militia, citing his own experience as an example. According to him, he was forced to join the militia when he was 15 years old, and spent 1 year training to use weapons.

    According to the Sahraw whose name was not disclosed, what he experienced as a young soldier in the militia was not an exceptional case. The Polisario requires all Sahrawi children who escaped expatriation to Cuba to spend several years away from their families.

    The young Sahrawi man also demanded that the leader of the Polisario, Mohamed Abdelaziz, and other officials in the Front be replaced.

    This video comes after a series of leaked videos in which young Sahrawis denounce what they describe as the abuses committed by the leadership of the Polisario against dissenting voices in the Tindouf camps.

    In one of the videos posted on YouTube last month, a young  Sahrawi described the dire situation of the population in the camps and called on the international community to find an “urgent resolution” to their long-lasting suffering.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

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


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    Ambassador Gerard Araud and javier bardem

    Taroudant, Morocco- According to Atlasinfo, Gérard Arraud, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations in New York, will leave his position in July. He will be replaced by Jacques Audibert, Director General for Political and Security Affairs at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Ambassador since July 2009, Gérard Arraud was accused by the Spanish actor Javier Bardem, known for his unwavering support for the Polisario, of making a disparaging remark about Morocco.

    Bardem told French media last February that, during a meeting he had held with France’s Ambassador to Washington in 2011, Arraud had commented that “Morocco is a mistress who you sleep with every night, who you don’t particularly love but you have to defend.”

    Bardem’s allegations stirred uproar in Morocco and caused the relations between the kingdom and France to enter a period of turbulence ad tension.

    Following Bardem’s statement and the ensuing diplomatic crisis it caused, the French Ambassador threatened to sue the Spanish actor but did not follow through.

    This incident came few days after a lawsuit was filed by an NGO in Paris accusing Moroccan intelligence chief Abdellatif Hammouchi of “complicity in torture.” A French judge sent 7 policemen to the Moroccan ambassador’s residence to inform Hammouchi, who was believed to be accompanying the interior minister on a visit to Paris, of a summons issued to him by the investigating judge.

    Rabat summoned the French ambassador to reject the torture allegations, protested the lawsuits, and described the alleged comments by France’s UN envoy as “scandalous and unacceptable.”

    Since these incidents, the relations between the two allies have not yet returned to normal. The climate of tension between Rabat and Paris was confounded by the un-diplomatic way in which Morocco’s foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, was treated while he was in transit at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. The Moroccan Minister was subjected to a thorough search by the French customs officers, and was asked to remove his coat, belt and footwear.

    It is unclear, however, whether this change at the head of the Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York is related to Araud’s alleged statement about Morocco, or if it is part of the recent reshuffling of the French government.  

    Edited by Melissa Smyth

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


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    raped students

    Taroudant, Morocco- The Royal gendarmerie of Taroudant has arrested a schoolteacher accused of raping seven female students, according to the daily Annas issued April 10.

    According to the newspaper, the suspect allegedly forced young female students to watch pornographic films before raping them.

    The parents of the seven victims filed complaints before the office of the public prosecutor in the city of Taroudant in south-eastern Morocco, accusing the primary school teacher for forcing their daughters to watch porn and have intercourse with them.

    The same source added that the seven victims, who were under a psychological shock after the scandal went viral, can no longer attend their classes.

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


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    African Lion 2014, US Marines ‘impressed’ by Moroccans Royal Forces

    Rabat- US Marine officials stated that they were impressed by the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces during Exercise African Lion 14, which was held in Tifnit, Morocco on April 3rd, in order to promote the stability and security of the region.

    Aware of the growing security challenges in the Northern Africa, the US holds Exercise African Lion with Morocco annually, in order to stay ready for  threats to global security.

    This military event, which strives to improve each nation’s ability to operate collectively and develop a mutual understanding of each nation’s military tactics, witnessed the participation of over 150 soldiers of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, and 350 US service members, alongside additional military personnel from European and African partner nations, according to Cample Jeune Globe. 

    The training mission is an annual opportunity for both militaries to learn from each other. “Even with the language barrier, the Moroccans and Marines have been able to work together and effectively communicate with one another,” said 1st Lt. Aaron Anderson, a military police officer with the 2ndMarine Expeditionary Bigade.

    Ensuring proper application of training procedures and effective dissemination of information, the Moroccan Marines, sailors, airmen and soldiers worked in small groups, and divided the training into three stages. It started with fire-team formations and hand-and-arm signals, then immediate-action drills and patrolling, before the classes turned to quick-reaction application scenarios based on the lessons, according to the same source.

    Hailing the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, the 1st Lt. Shane G. Livingstone, a military police platoon commander said ““The Moroccans simply amazed the Marines.”

    “This morning we did a ‘check on learning.’ There’s nothing like being able to watch them pick up and execute everything they learned the day before with speed and accuracy, even after having received a lot of classes the same day,” he explained.

    African Lion 14 is a positive exercise for the Moroccan army. Morocco, which remains a key player in Africa, can invest the new techniques taught in humanitarian aid and other situations that require non-lethal force, as well as to train other countries.

    However, this exercise was not only beneficial for Morocco; the US military learned from the Royal Moroccan Force’s experience as well.

    “This training was good for us, because we’ve learned just as much from the Moroccans,” said Sgt. Keenan M. Kite, with the U.S. Army military police.”

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

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


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    Rachid Belmokhtar

    Fez- The Ministry of Education will soon introduce a “Spanish option” to the international Moroccan high school diploma beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, according to Moroccan news website Alyaoum24.

    The decision came after a meeting on Moroccan- Spanish cooperation in education held last week in Rabat between the Moroccan Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Mr. Rachid Belmokhtar, and the Spanish Ambassador to Morocco, Mr. Jose de Carvajal.

    The new program is intended to "foster the ministry’s policy seeking to diversify high school diplomas by integrating all foreign languages adopted in the Moroccan education programs," said the Ministry in a press release carried by MAP, the state news agency.

    The new baccalaureate will be first adopted in Rabat, Casablanca, Fez, Tangier, Tetouan, Larache, and Nador, where the Spanish cultural center "Cervantes" has a presence, and will gradually be extended to other cities.

    Currently, about ten percent of students chose Spanish as their second language.

    The Education Ministers of the two countries are set to meet in May in Madrid, where they are expected to agree on details on how to implement this agreement.

    Additionally, the Moroccan Education Ministry is working on launching an international Moroccan high school diploma “English option,” as a part of the Ministry's policy to reform the national education system.

    According to the same source, Education professionals criticize the ministry for adopting a similar plan of action as used for the French language, calling for a new strategy to boost the presence of English in Moroccan schools.

    Moroccan Minister of Higher Education Lahcen Daoudi declared in an interview with Alyaoum 24 last month that the Ministry’s policy of continuing with the French baccalaureate is “a dubious solution” to Morocco’s ailing education system, explaining that “French is no longer useful.”

    Edited by Melissa Smyth

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


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    kerry and mezour

    Rabat- Morocco and the United States will strengthen their cooperation to fight violent extremism in North Africa.

    Alina L. Romanowski, the Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for the Middle East, stated before the House subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa on Wednesday that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is to continue supporting Morocco financially in order to fight violent extremism in the region.

    Romanowski announced that USAID, boosting U.S. foreign policy objectives and national security interests in Morocco and the MENA region, will enhance the Moroccan-American bilateral ties to include financial support to Morocco “in order to end extreme poverty and to promote resilient, democratic societies while advancing the two countries’ security and prosperity,” according to USAID.gov.

    According to the same source, Romanowski highlighted long history of Moroccan- American corporation and collaboration, saying, “for the past 56 years, we have partnered with the government of Morocco to build a strong bilateral relationship that focuses on promoting economic growth, improving educational opportunities and strengthening the effectiveness of civil society's political engagement.”

    In this regard, the Deputy Assistant Administrator brought to light “the new five-year Country Development Cooperation Strategy,” that affirms this commitment, which was announced during the visit of King Mohamed VI to Washington DC last November

    Explaining the new strategy, Romanowski said that “this strategic plan is developed in collaboration with the Moroccan Government, civil society, and the private sector designed to create a prosperous future for the Moroccan people.”

     “The strategy responds to the needs of Moroccan citizens and focuses on three key objectives,” she added.

    The USAID’s violent extremism program is intended to “target areas of Morocco where youth suffer from social, economic and political disaffection and exclusion, specifically in the cities of Tetouan and Tangier,“ specified Romanowski.

    Romanowski concluded by hailing Morocco’s ongoing efforts to face significant challenges, confirming at the same time that “USAID programs will continue to provide assistance that will increase employment opportunities for Moroccan youth, build the early reading skills of Moroccan children, and advance participatory governance, in addition to countering violent extremist threats and strengthening regional stability and security.”

    Edited by Melissa Smyth


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    tachinouite

    Casablanca- Famous Moroccan artist Aicha Zaiti, commonly known as Aicha Tachinouite, was warmly welcomed by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong during her recent performance there.

    Mr. Leung Chun-ying, Chief Executive of the Executive Council of Hong Kong, recently offered a warm welcome to Moroccan singer Aicha Tachinouite, according to Le360.  While not understanding the language in which Tachinouite sang to the audience in Hong Kong, the attendees enormously enjoyed her performance, according to the same source. 

    Aicha Zaiti was born in 1968 in Inezgane, a town in southern Morocco, near Agadir. During her childhood, Aicha spent her school holidays improvising dance moves and composing songs.

    Later Aicha gave up her studies to devote her entire time and energy to what she loves most, music. Tachinouite (translated the Chinese) is the celebrity nickname her fans have given her because of her somewhat Asian looking facial features.

    Tachinouite is known for wearing very colorful Amazigh outfits during her performances, as well as for her amazing choreography and dance moves and distinctive singing style, all of which distinguish her from other artists in the same genre.

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

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    Quote of Dutch far right politician Geert Wilders

    Casablanca- The association of Dutch Moroccans (SMN) recently expressed concern about the rise in discrimination against Muslims in the Netherlands after a Moroccan woman was recently beaten up in broad daylight in a supermarket Eindhoven, according to NlTimes.  

    Two men in Eindhoven allegedly tore off a Moroccan woman’s niqab and then beat her severaly on Wednesday afternoon, according to the same source.

    The woman was allegedly beaten inside the Plus Supermarket in the Woenselsestraat in Eindhoven.

    According to Amar Nejjar, manager of the Al-Fourqaan mosque in Eindhoven, people witnessed the assault on the Moroccan woman but refrained from intervening. “Witnesses saw it happening but didnt help the woman,” said Nejjar.

    With such violent manifestations of discrimination against Muslims increasingly happening in the Netherlands, Muslims no longer feel secure on the Dutch streets, according to Nejjar.

    According to NLTimes, SMN released a report on similar cases of violence and discrimination taking place in the Netherlands, and called on victims of physical or verbal abuse to lodge complaints with the police.

    At a municipal election campaign rally last month, the right-wing Freedom Party leader Greet Wilders told his that supporters he wanted “fewer Moroccans” in the Hague and the Netherlands.

    Wilders told supporters they should vote “for a city with fewer problems, and if it’s at all possible, fewer Moroccans”.

    Wilders said “Moroccan scum” should leave the Netherlands, and that Moroccans were over-represented in crime statistics and in the number of people receiving social assistance benefits.

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


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    Moroccan women demonstrate during the celebration of the International Women's Day on March 8, 2013, in Rabat - Copyright - AFP:File. Rabat (AFP)

    Goulmima- It is the new millennium and Morocco has experienced radical change at different levels. minorities gained new rights and emerging social groups openly claimed their place in the Moroccan society.

    Women’s struggle for plain and equal recognition in Morocco continues to occupy public opinion, especially after the passage of the 2011 constitution, where article 19 clearly calls for gender equality  and yet  the implementation of which is taking very slow steps.

    A number of Moroccan women associations are now rolling up their sleeves for another round on April 13th in Rabat to raise their demands. A video released on YouTube by the Civil Coalition for the Implementation of Article 19 in the Moroccan Constitution features a number of Moroccan artists, housewives, students, and teachers calling for Moroccan men and women to join the march on April 13th in order to shift the government’s attention towards the necessity to implement the unprecedented article 19 in Morocco’s 2011 constitution, which openly recognizes gender equality among Moroccan citizens.

    The women in the video communicated their message in Tamazight (including its three dialects) and Arabic:

    Bouazzaoui Farida, a Moroccan artist who is featured in the video, says “I will join the march on April 13th because there are many educated Moroccan women who are qualified for higher positions but remain marginalized.”

    Badrya El Hassani, a Moroccan artist, added “I am a female Moroccan citizen and I will join the march on April 17th because I felt bad when I learned that 62% of Moroccan women are victims of physical violence.”

    Fatima Outarhat, a freelancer journalist, said: “I will participate in the March on April 17th because we want hospitals where women can deliver, it is a shame and a disgrace for women to give birth to their children in hallways.”

    Article 19 of the constitution states:

    “Men and women have equal civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and freedoms as listed in this article and in the rest of the constitution as well as the conventions and international treaties duly ratified by Morocco in conformity with the constitution’s provisions and the kingdom’s constants and its laws. The state shall work towards the establishment of parity between men and women. Therefore, it has assigned a specialized authority to ensure parity between men and women and fight against all forms of discrimination.”

    The Coalition for the Implementation of Article 19 launched a petition on March 17th asking the head of parliament to consider the full implementation of article 19. The petition has collected 1,108 signatures, aiming at 2000. The petition provides a description of the incentives that made the coalition take this initiative, claiming that “Moroccan women face discrimination on a daily basis in terms of judiciary, illiteracy, unequal salaries, precarious situation, physical, sexual and psychological violence, in addition to the limited access to: health care, employment, property ownership, positions of responsibility, elected office, and the continuous promotion of sexist stereotypes. We strongly demand from the Moroccan government, which continues to ignore the various cases representing Moroccan feminist movements, to assume its responsibility to implement the provisions of Article 19 of the constitution in accordance with its prerogatives and obligations granted by the constitution.”

    The coalition calls for immediate implementation of gender mainstreaming authority that is mentioned in the constitution and which has not been instituted, the promulgation of the law that eradicates gender violence in order to protect women’s human rights, the establishment of new public policies to protect the economic and social rights of women and also guarantee better female representation and decision-making positions.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

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


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    Algerian Ali Benflis Wants to Reopen Algeria’s Borders With Morocco

    Rabat- During a meeting in Annaba,Algeria Algerian Former Prime Minister and the independent candidate for Algeria’s presidential election, Ali Benflis, promised on Wednesday to re-open Algeria’s borders with Morocco if he is elected president.

    Using normalization of relations with Morocco as a tool ahead of the April 17th presidential election, Benflis  promised to achieve an open Moroccan-Algerian border at a rally on Wednesday.

    According to the Algerian newspaper Echorouk, Benflis “promised to develop border regions by encouraging investment and the creation of job opportunities”.

    On the 17th day of the election campaign, Benflis said "I promise, if elected, to address the scourge of smuggling by developing the border regions."

    “This scourge can be eradicated through dialogue with the youth,  mobilizing investments, job creation, and facilitating access to housing," he explained.

    Benfils is not the only candidate to promise to reopen the Algerian border with Morocco. Louiza Hannoune, the General Secretary of the Workers' Party, also promised to be the Algerian “Chavez”, and open borders with Morocco, in a speech on April 6th.

    Echorouk reported in another article that Louisa Hanoun promised in a popular gathering in the house of culture on Saturday, April 6th “to open borders with Morocco if elected President.

    "If you vote for me, I will open the borders with Morocco because our immunity is our neighbors,” she said.

    "We will play the same role that was played by the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and we will build a large Maghreb and unite the Arab peoples and Kabilian Amazigh,” she added.

    The Algerian-Moroccan border has remained closed since 1994, after Algeria was accused of involvement in a bombing in Marrakech in 1994. Since then, Morocco imposed a visa requirement on Algerian citizens, and Algeria decided to retaliate by closing the border with its western neighbor.

    The two presidential candidates promised to allow Moroccans and Algerians to move between the two countries with only national identity cards.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

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


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  • 04/12/14--07:23: My Mom and My Moroccan Dream
  • Moroccan American business owner Mohamed Hajjam

    By Mohamed Hajjam

    Washington- True Story: I was born in Medina Kdima and grew up in Derb Sultan, in Csablanca. To this day, I am proud of being 'Casawi' (native of Csablanca) and 'Weld Mdina Kdima' (from the old part of the city). I grew up like any other kid in Houma (neighborhood). We played in the street and never set foot in a daycare. The beach and pools were free for us wled medina and our favorite pastimes were at the HAMAM and playing all sorts of sports. We knew our limits.

    My mom was a small business owner in the neighborhood and growing up around her work, I had seen her suffer; having to face challenges of all kinds, including corruptions with Mkdadmias (low ranking employees of the Ministry of Interior). At times she had to borrow money to provide my sister and I with the things that make kids happy; often new clothes for Ramadan or other festivities.

    From an early age, I learned the importance of networking. My mom always had this instinct that we will not be in Morocco for long. Knowing this, she held countless dinner parties for my cousins who lived in Europe hoping one day we will join them and move to France or Amsterdam.

    When I moved to the States at age 17, I stayed in touch with my mom, sharing with her stories of spending nights in the New York subway or distributing church flyers in exchange for a meal. My mom was the first to know I had started my first business selling hot dogs. I used to tell her that selling hot dogs in New York was not easy but she replied, "Son, whatever you will do is much better than staying in Houma." I assume my mom considered growing up poor in Morocco to be a shame and that what she saw in my future in Morocco—ending up selling drugs in the streets of Medina Kdima—was not the bright future she wished for me.

    Then I moved to DC and decided to pursue my education with the help of a Tunisian friend—a journey taking 5 years of bartending at night clubs and day time college. Finally, I earned not one but two degrees, the first in my family; one in broadcast journalism TV and the other in IT Systems. All I wanted was to earn my mom's respect and it saddened me that she did not want me to be in Morocco. Again she told me "Son, your future is not in Morocco."

    In 1998 my mom had decided to move to the US and she never returned to Morocco. Having gone through 2 heart surgeries and one pacemaker, I realized she wanted me to be with her in the US because of her health condition. She needed us here and her life depended on us. She was convinced that if she were to stay in Morocco, she would not survive. In fact, her operation cost over $200,000. Thanks to insurance, my mom got 5 star treatment, yet I felt as if we were in the US for one reason: for my mom. Still I wanted to prove to my mom that I could be successful in Morocco. After all, why not? I speak the same dialect and knew for certain that I could succeed. Others had succeeded in Morocco who had also started from scratch.

    When I travel to Morocco I always tell my mom that Morocco has potential and that I saw many people succeeding and making a difference. Now I realize I thought this because I wanted to believe it, not because it was necessarily true. The Fact now I work as cameraman/ correspondent of Moroccan TV channel Al Oula is also good because I tell myself I that did not waste that degree. My mom still did not change her mind. Even though I praise myself for doing noble things which I will be paid for, her response is still “one day you will understand."

    Since 2006 I have worked very hard to open office of my company AVActions in Morocco. I faced endless challenges, including the banks' refusal to loan us money. I wanted to succeed in Morocco passionately and was patient enough until I was able to come up with the funds myself a couple years ago. Our goal is to replicate our work in the US: event management and audio visual as well as working on other projects creating documentaries. Our inventory is sufficient and we have the potential to get off to a good start given our networks and strong friendships with people I consider my mentors. I felt like I was on the right track. I wanted my Mom to know that it was ok that we were poor and that her son could be successful in Morocco.

    It seems she was right all along. I started working for Moroccan Broadcasting Compnay (SNRT) in the early 90s for free. Then I became an SNRT correspondent which was great since I had freedom to cover more of the stories that were covered only when the SNRT crew was here. I never cared when I would get paid because I loved covering the news and people's success stories. When SNRT delayed our payment due in 2011, I justified it as being part of the system and we would just have to live with it.

    When we heard that SNRT was going through financial issues, we said "it's ok maybe our turn will come." When I visited their offices in Rabat and was told my signature is wrong, I said maybe my Moroccan signature is in need of an update. Yet I sign thousands of checks every year here at my office avactions and was never told that my signature was wrong. When they told me that I had to change the contract, I said ok. In my business in the United States, we get paid in advance a majority of the time and no later than 60 days at other times. Why must we suffer if we decide to invest in Morocco? 

    I use SNRT as a model of how small business owners are affected. For me, the Moroccan dream has been long overdue and although I heard many versions of how it can come true, I now know it is impossible. 

    Today I realize that my mom was talking about the bureaucracy she had to deal with in Morocco. Now I understand that is not being poor that is a shame in Morocco, it is blatant discrimination because you do not belong to certain class. Now I understand that SNRT is just an example of how the bureaucracy is bad (corrupt?).  For those hold sway on the system people like me and my mom are just another Moroccan immigrant. These painful memories of her past were why my mom never wanted to return to Morocco . Now even I am thinking to sell the business in Morocco and move on.

    Edited by Sahar Kian

    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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    Casablanca

    Fez- According to the March-April issue of the American Magazine Weatherwise, Casablanca ranks the 3rd best weather place in the world with best weather year round.

    According the data collected by the Magazine, which are based on the World Meteorological Organization, Viña del Mar, in Chile ranks first followed by Las Palmas, Gran Canaria in Spain, the northwestern coast of Morocco, Sassari, Sardinia (Italy), Barcelona, Lisbon, California, Adelaide (Australia), Coastal Western Cape (South Africa), and Manjimup Region of the Extreme South West Region of Western Australia.

    Referring to weather conditions in the Northwestern coast of Morocco, the author of says: “Strongly moderated by cold currents of the Atlantic Ocean, the weather of the northwestern coast of Morocco experiences little seasonal variability and extremely mild temperatures year round. According to World Meteorological Organization data for Casablanca, which lies in the heart of this region, January experiences an average daily high of 63°F and a mean nighttime low of 45°F.”

    “The warmest month, August, experiences an average daily high of 80°F and a nighttime low of 70°F. Just 5.75 inches of rain, on average, falls on Casablanca during December, the wettest month. July, the driest month, experiences less than half an inch. Severe weather conditions, of all types, almost never descend on this coastline,” he adds.

    The author of the survey cites a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, by Richard Lucas and Nicole Lawless, according to which “people who dwell in sunnier areas tend to be happier than those living in cloudier environments.”


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    maroc

    Casablanca- Launch of  The World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) Race of Morocco 2014, which will open the world championship season for the first time in Marrakech, was officially launched on Thursday in Casablanca.

    The WTTC Race of Morocco was officially launched at Casablanca’s Hyatt Regency Hotel, during a press conference chaired by Abderrahman Zahid, President of Marrakech Grand Prix and Ménara Holding, Mohamed Zahid, General Director of Ménara Holding, and François Ribeiro, Motorsport Director of Eurosport Events.

    The conference, held in the presence of many local media representatives, included four WTCC drivers: the reigning World Champion Yvan Muller of Citroën Total WTCC, Tiago Monteiro of Honda Castrol Team, Rob Huff of LADA Sport Lukoil, and local hero Mehdi Bennani of Proteam Racing, according to Euro sports.

    Marrakesh’s 3-day event is to officially kick off on April 15 at Marrakech’s Circuit Moulay El Hassan and will host 5 racing series and 1 exhibition throughout the weekend.

    This year’s program will feature the participation of Citroen’s legendary driver Sebastien LOEB, who will mark his first race in the WTCC in Marrakesh.

    Edited by Melissa Smyth


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    Morocco Dismantles 'Terrorist cell' That Recruits Combatants for Syria

    Rabat- The Moroccan police have recently dismantled a terrorist cell that allegedly worked to recruit Moroccan combatants for Syria in coordination with other terrorist organizations affiliated with Al Qaeda, says the Moroccan police department.

    "The cell members used to collect donations given by sympathizers of their jihadist orientations to finance the travel of volunteer combatants to Syria, after enrolling them and teaching various precautions that need to be taken, during a meeting held at house dedicated to this end," the police release says.

    The combatants are sent to Syria in coordination with representatives of terrorist organizations affiliated with Al Qaeda, particularly "Cham al-Islam movement, jabhat annosra" and "Addawla al-islamiya in Iraq and Cham."

    The release explains that "it is clear, through the successive dismantling of terrorist cells striving to hire combatants to send them to various tension spots, that Al Qaeda and its allies are resolved to jeopardize Morocco's stability, all the more so as these Moroccan volunteers undergo specialized training in weapons and explosives as well as in suicide-attacks, so that they can, upon return to Morocco, conduct terrorist operations to jeopardize the security and stability of the country."

    The suspects will be referred to justice when the investigation is complete.


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    King Mohammed VI Launches 2014-2018 Program for Urban and Economic Development of Tetouan

    Tetouan- King Mohammed VI launched on Saturday the 2014-2018 program for the urban and economic development of the city of Tetouan, endowed with a budget of 5.5 billion MAD.

    The program, drawn up in conformity with the Royal orientations for the development of the urban landscape of Moroccan cities, aims to promote the socio-economic basis of the city, consolidate its positioning, improve the living conditions of inhabitants and preserve environment.

    The five-year program, building on a systematic participative approach which involved various stakeholders in the city, means to make of Tetouan an attractive and residential city.

    It also seeks to take up urban, economic, social and environmental challenges facing this northern urban conglomeration.

    At the urban level, the landmark program features mainly the consolidation of internal roads and streets, the addition of a second lane to the road linking Tetouan and Chefchaouen, modernization of the public lighting network, reinforcement and renewal of the liquid sanitation, drinking water and electricity grids of the urban commune of Tetouan, of the neighboring rural communes and the urban commune of M’Diq, construction of public squares, creation of parks and building a monitored public landfill site.

    At the economic level, the program includes the completion of the industrial zone, creation of a handicraft compound, upgrading of markets, construction of a fish wholesale market and building of communal equipment (slaughterhouse, fruits and vegetables wholesale market and livestock market).

    To guarantee the safety of population, the program includes burying high-tension electricity lines and building an electric plant and a fire-fighter barracks.

    At the social level, the program for the urban and economic development of Tetouan plans to rehabilitate the port sector by creating the great sports complex of Tetouan, an indoors multi-sports stadium, an indoors swimming pool, a tennis club and two stadiums.

    Regarding the health sector, the program features the creation of a regional hospital, the upgrading of the Saniat R'Mel provincial hospital, the building of two health centers, in addition to reinforcing community social facilities.

    As far as the cultural field is concerned, rehabilitating the national theater, creating a multimedia library and a music conservatory, upgrading two school theaters and legacy restoration are other features of this program.

    Training is another component of the program which features the building of an architecture school, a higher institute of applied technologies, a campus, preparatory classes for engineer schools and restoration of the sciences faculty.

    A particular attention is granted to environmental stakes and sustainability by the program which includes the development of the Oued Martil valley, spanning over the communes of Martil, Azla and Tetouan, through the construction of hotels, residences, leisure spaces, development of a Gulf green, the construction of a marina, the development of the Tamouda plains, island and the "Touibla" park.

     On this occasion, King Mohammed VI chaired the signing ceremony of three conventions on the implementation of the 2014-2018 program for the urban and economic development of the city of Tetouan.

    After the cities of Tangiers, Marrakech and Sale, Tetouan is also endowed with an integrated, balanced and inclusive development program to be on par with international metropolises.


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