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Morocco News meets the World

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    Algerian supporter raising the Polisario flag during Russia vs Algeria match

    By Majid Morceli

    San Francisco- Moroccans are divided between those who are for and those who are against Algeria in the World Cup, and both have their reasons.

    There are those who are willing to look at it strictly from an Arab perspective: they see it as Algeria is an Arab nation and a victory for Algeria is a victory for all Arabs.

    Many others consider Algeria and Morocco the same: they share the same values, traditions, and history. They fault the leaders of the two countries for their conflict.

    However, there are those who reject Pan-Arab ideologies and cannot see themselves rooting for the Algerian team for as long as the Algerian military government remains the hurdle to peace between the Morocco and Algeria.

    When Morocco’s media was busy praising Algeria’s success in the World Cup, the Algerian official media was publishing these articles: “The Moroccan occupation forces manhandled Sunday night Saharawi citizens who went out to celebrate the victory of the Algerian national team”.

    Moroccans watching the Algeria-Russia game were ecstatic when Algeria scored the goal to tie the game. Little did they expect that right after Algeria’s goal, television stations around the world were to show Polisario flags among Algerian fans in the stadium.

    Moroccans should continue to cheer for Algeria for one very important reason: they should not let down the great Algerian men and women like Sofiane Feghouli, the Algerian International player who was not afraid to hold the Moroccan flag to show appreciation for Moroccan fans. Let us be the better men and women.

    Moroccans have two choices: to go as low as some Algerians go or to decide that they will no longer entertain hate and ignorance and be the better people. The choice is obvious, and good will always beat evil.

    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 This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed

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    Rabat-Responding to God’s call to fast the holy month of Ramadan, today some Muslims in different parts of the world started fasting, and others will start tomorrow morning.

    On this very religious and special occasion, the staff of Morocco World News is delighted and glad to wish Muslims in every part of the world a happy and blessed Ramadan.

    May the Almighty bless all of us with mercy, tranquility, forgiveness, good health and longevity.

    We assure our dear readers and followers that MWN will work hard to bring to keep our audience updated and informed about the different aspects of this holy month.

    As we have already done in the past, MWN will publish a series of articles covering all the different cultural and religious aspects of Ramadan in Morocco and other Muslim countries.

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

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    An employee at a money changer counts $100 bills on October 25, 2012 (AFP:File, Noel Celis)

    Geneva - Morocco has attracted 3.36 billion dollars of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2013, a significant increase of 23 percent compared to the previous year, according to a UN report on "World Investment."

    According to the report of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Kingdom is reinforcing its positioning as a hot destination for foreign investment, thanks to an industry with a strong potential.

    It is the manufacturing sector that attracts most foreign investors, followed by the real estate sector, agribusiness and infrastructure, said experts from the Geneva-based UN agency.

    The UNCTAD notes that Morocco has benefited from a strong growth in its FDI in 2013, despite investment slow-down in North Africa, because of the political and social unrest.

    As for outward investment flows from Morocco, they were down 18 pc in 2013 to reach 331 million against 406 in 2012.

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    Rabat, Dutch  Embassy Urges Moroccans To Support the Netherlands Against Mexico

    Rabat- The Embassy of the Netherlands in Morocco called upon Moroccans to root for the Dutch team in its upcoming game against Mexico in the second round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    A placard displayed at the entrance of the Dutch embassy reads in French and Arabic: “Supporter l’equipe de football des Pays Bas” (support the Netherlands’ soccer team).

    The Netherlands has a large Moroccan diaspora. More than 400,000 Moroccans live in the Netherlands, a country that has provided a number of talented players to the Moroccan national team, such as Oussama Saidi, Mounir El Hamdoaui, Nordin Amrabet, Mbarek Boussoufa, Ali Boussabone, and others.

    A number of Dutch-Moroccans chose to play for the Netherlands. Khalid Boulharouz, who played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups with the Dutch, and Ibrahim Afellay, who participated in the 2010 World Cup, are among the most famous players of Moroccan origin who wore the Dutch jersey.

    After their stunning opening game against Spain where they won with a historic score of 5-1, observers consider the Netherlands one of the favorites to win the World Cup. The Netherlands has played three World Cup finals in its history and lost all of them. They lost their first final against Germany in 1974, their second final against Argentina in 1978, and their third final against Spain in 2010.

    Edited by Timothy Filla

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    London  -  Efforts by Morocco to ensure a better management of water resources and the ambitious projects launched by the Kingdom in the field were highlighted by Oxford Business Group (OBG).

    Morocco faces a two-fold challenge of dwindling resources and rising demand for water. To combat this, the kingdom has planned several major initiatives to roll out over the next 15 years under a targeted National Water Plan (NWP). The projects, worth an estimated Dh230bn (€20.44bn) in total, will boost water treatment capacity and increase the focus on alternative sources, while supporting a national drive to ensure that areas of the country still without access to potable water are adequately served, the British institute said.

     A large component of the NWP is providing new sources for potable water, to reduce the pressure on the country’s limited aquifers. In May, the Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable (ONEE), the national utility company, signed an agreement with Spanish-based Abengoa, which will see the renewable energy developer invest in Morocco’s planned desalination plant. The project – which is set to become the country’s largest desalination plant once completed – will improve access to potable water in the Agadir region, it added.

     The plant will have the capacity to produce between 100,000 cu meters and 200,000 cu meters of water daily, providing potable water to up to 800,000 people in the Agadir region. The 20-year project will be undertaken by Abengoa and ONEE, together with Moroccan Inframaroc, a subsidiary of Group CDG, it noted.

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    A local resident walks near the devided line between Morocco and the Polisario in the Sahara. AFP

    Rabat - Morocco rejected this Tuesday the African Union's decision to appoint what it called a special envoy for the Western Sahara issue, says a release of the ministry of foreign affairs and cooperation. 

    The release said Morocco "does not, in any way, feel concerned by this unilateral decision", and denied to the AU any "legal ground nor a political base or moral legitimacy to intervene, in any way, in this issue," stressing that the quest of a final political settlement to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara "is the exclusive domain of the United Nations."

    Morocco also argues that "because of its radical and unjustified bias, the attitude of the African Union remains fully anachronistic in this matter."

    It also highlights that the "positions of the African Union are in contradiction with the ongoing UN led process", denying to the AU the right to "claim any role in this issue, while it embraces blindly the positions of the other parties and completely ignores the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council."

    The foreign ministry goes on "The African Union is indeed the only regional and international organization in the world that has integrated a puppet entity, in complete violation of international law and out of step with the position of two thirds of its own members."

    "While the African continent is facing pressing challenges related to peace and development, some parties known for their primary anti-Moroccan attitude, hijack the agenda of the pan-African organization," the release deplores, before calling the United Nations and the Security Council members "to ignore this decision and to support the ongoing facilitation led by the United Nations."

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    UK, Moroccan Rajae Ghanimi nominated for Science Awards 2014

    London -  Moroccan Rajae Ghanimi was nominated in the United Kingdom for the prize of the "Science Awards 2014" granted by the London-based Arabs Group for her book "Le lymphome malin non hodgkinien primitif du rectum", the event organizers said.

     This private group encourages and rewards Arab talents which stood out in the fields of science, architecture & design, arts, tourism industry, TV, music and marketing.

     The prize-awarding ceremony (TAG Awards 2014) will take place on August 30 in the British capital.

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    Morocco, Côte d'Ivoire sign new agreement on agricultural cooperation

     Rabat - Morocco and Côte d'Ivoire signed, on Tuesday in Rabat, a new cooperation agreement on agricultural research, mechanization and rehabilitation of rural roads.

    Signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Sea Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch and his Ivorian counterpart Mamadou Coulibaly Sangafowa, revising the agricultural cooperation agreement signed in 2004 and still in force, this agreement aims to broaden cooperation in the field of the processing and marketing of agricultural products, as well as agricultural subsidies and loans.

    The signing of this agreement is part of the durability of the agricultural relationship between Morocco and Côte d'Ivoire in order to boost trade and investment, training and marketing, Akhannouch told the press after the signing ceremony.

     This agreement is a large-scale project meant to bring closer the two parties and enhance the attractiveness of their relationship in the agricultural field, he added.

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    Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar

    Moscow - Relations between Morocco and Russia have always been driven by the spirit of dialogue on issues of shared interest, said, on Thursday in Moscow, foreign affairs minister Salaheddine Mezouar.

    The minister, who was talking at a joint press conference with Russian peer Sreguei Lavrov, said that the Moroccan-Russian ties have witnessed recently a positive revolution since Morocco have become the top trade partner of Russia in Africa and in the Arab world, adding that the two countries are driven by the same will to further their ties.

    Mezouar met with Lavrov to whom he handed a message from King Mohammed VI to Russian president Vladimir Putin which is part of the relations of mutual respect between the two leaders and confirms the common will to bolster bilateral ties and deepen partnership and political consultations.

    The strategic partnership agreement between the two parties is a real road map for the exceptional relations between Morocco and Russia, said Mezouar, who hoped that these bonds would get stronger at all levels mainly concerning tourism and trade exchanges.

    He added that Morocco is an open gateway to Africa where it ranks second in terms of investment.

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    Fez- Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Salaheddine Mezouar said on Thursday in Moscow that King Mohammed VI would visit Russia in the fall.

    In a statement to Russia’s radio station The Voice of Russia, the Moroccan top diplomat said that the King’s visit will take place in October. The visit was initially scheduled for last June but was eventually postponed. According to the Moroccan Minister, June’s visit was postponed “to allow the sovereign to tackle the deepening of the strategic partnership between Morocco and Russia, something that was not prepared in June.” Mezouar met on Thursday with his Russian counterpart Sreguei Lavrov to hand him a message from King Mohammed VI to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Morocco is Russia’s top trade partner in Africa and the Arab World.

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    Casablanca- Social media sites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn have become unparalleled tools for Moroccans to improve their marketing skills. They also offer a helping hand to small business owners.

    Thanks to social media, many Moroccan companies now enjoy increased growth potential and clients. Besides the conventional mediums such as television, radio adverts or newspapers; social media has become an important element in advancing the Moroccan job market.

    According to the sixth report on social media in the Arab world, Morocco has 7 million registered users on Facebook. This makes it the third country in the Arab world with the highest percentage of users after and Saudi Arabia with 20 and 8.4 million respectively.

    Beyond assessing the sizable number of Moroccan Facebook users, analysis of Moroccans' profiles has determined the average age of Moroccan users as 15-29 years. Even though it is the young generation that has embraced social media the most, Morocco's elderly population also takes advantage of much of what social media has to offer.

    Plenty of restaurants and other small businesses all over the country are indebted to Facebook pages, where clients have access the latest news and can leave feedback. Also, Facebook pages enable business owners to market special events. Before Facebook came to life, many entrepreneurs would spend much-needed resources on flyers that would be thrown away in most cases.

    Not only have restaurants profited from the practicality of social media that everyone has in one way or the other. Young people especially benefit from improved employment opportunities through business-oriented social networking services, such as LinkedIn. Furthermore, many Moroccans are becoming more and more familiar with the English language due to social media and its international nature, which provides many an opportunity to pursue careers abroad or simply learn the international language for their own benefit.

    Social media in Morocco has given the youth an outlet to communicate with the world in ways that was not available to the previous generations.

    Edited by Sahar Kian

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    By Youssef Laaraj

    Fez- Recently, relatively subtle or, rather, unpublicized debate has arisen among educators and politicians over the importance of English as a global language in the Moroccan linguistic market. Some political and business figures have voiced that it is high time the English language replaced, or at least rivaled, French in its supremacy in the educational and economic spheres of Morocco.

    Regardless of the purely educational aspect and significance regarding the Moroccan language policy, it seems that political ideologies fuel the surfacing of such controversial stances and heated debates; it brings practical profit sought by these figures in order to gain the public attention.

    The Istiqlal's Secretary General Hamid Chabat has stated that English is the language of the modern time in all world countries, and that its status must be promoted to be the first foreign language for Moroccans. Along with Chabat, prominent social activist and businessman Noureddine Ayouch called in various political and media meetings for English to be introduced early in public schooling. Needless to say, these calls have demonstrated the importance of English in today’s world.

    English is admittedly the world's most internationally recognized language for communication among people from different parts of the world. It is the Lingua Franca of the globalizing world, and the language of our rapidly developing science and technology. Thus, it appears that these pro-English demands anticipate the dire need for Moroccan graduates to know English—so that they may function effectively in a world that no longer complies with local or national frontiers, but rather is universal in its cultural and economic dimensions. Regardless of the political and ideological affiliations of English proponents, special attention should be paid to this timely controversial issue rather than ignoring these demands for their being politically and materially driven.

    The educational, political, and economic spheres in Morocco must be empowered by the knowledge and use of English to keep abreast with global changes and sustainable development. However, by the same token, national languages and local identity need to be preserved through flexible and interesting educational and media programs that tighten Moroccans to their unique national identity and Arab and Islamic belonging.

    The linguistic variation in Morocco—with Modern Standard Arabic and Amazigh as constitutionally official languages and French being widely used but unofficial—makes the promotion of English quite a complex challenge that needs serious political will and educational reform to accomplish. The social, as well as economic, uprising Morocco has experienced since the beginning of the 21st century seems to miss the point by not giving English the value it merits through its increasing power worldwide. In education, high school students demonstrate mediocre knowledge and lack of mastery of French, despite its being introduced in their early years of schooling.

    Though several explanations can possibly account for this unpleasant fact, students’ attitudes and the complexity of the French Language may be plausible reasons. Author Leila Abou Zeid claimed in a meeting held by the ALC Fez, that many Moroccans, including herself, hold a hostile attitude towards French because of colonization; English, however, is seen to be more likely retained and learned, since students sit for a standardized national exam at the end of their secondary education, and many do far better in proportion to French.

    As Morocco has strengthened its economic exchange with the United States, and with Moroccan commerce being free and open to the international market, learning English has become a prerequisite for all job seekers in both private and public sectors. The globalizing world has made English an ogre that devours all other languages on diverse fronts, such as business, science, and technology. Evidently, this is an unfavorable situation of what might be called language imperialism, as English seats itself on the throne of world languages. However, a hard choice concerning language policy should be made in order to catch up with the wave of economic and scientific revolutions. English is more likely to obtain prestige as Morocco’s first foreign language, as its use is appreciated and even mandatory in sectors such as international trade and scientific research. As Moroccan education, media, commerce, and culture are becoming more and more open to the world, learning and using English is an indispensable requirement.

    English is the first foreign language students in secondary education opt for. This is demonstrated by the huge numbers of students studying English as a foreign language in comparison to the number of students who study others—notably Spanish and German. This fact indicates the need to make English more than just another foreign language complementing students’ professional and academic interests. Students have become aware that their communicational incompetence in French could be substituted with learning English, which is an easier and faster process.

    In the same respect, the Moroccan Ministry of Education has been increasing the recruitment of graduates majoring in English to qualify for teaching positions in high schools across Morocco. In 2009, for instance, the number of English language teachers trained for secondary schools rose to ninety, and one hundred the following year. This escalation went on to attain 400 trainee-teachers for the coming school year, which indicates how critical the need for English language instructors in Moroccan public schools is. Without doubt, English is becoming a powerful language in Morocco for the years to come, and education appears to be the channel of its forceful succession to the Moroccan linguistic platform.

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

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    Bank al-Maghreb and Financial Institutions Open their Doors to 30 000 Students for a Journey in the World of Finance

    Rabat -Bank Al-Maghrib (the central bank), the professional grouping of Moroccan banks and the Central guarantee Fund (CCG) have agreed to start a fund of financial support to very small, small and medium-sized enterprises.

    The fund will "co-finance with other banks operations meant to restore and secure the sustainability of these very small, small and medium-sized enterprises which are deemed viable", says a release.

    It will also consolidate and preserve the said enterprises, particularly exporting ones and those operating in the industrial sector. Intermediate-size enterprises are also eligible for this fund.

    The fund's action will consist in granting a given enterprise a loan of MAD 50 million maximum while the bank's action could take the form of a contribution to finance restructuring existing loans, operation or investment.

    All Moroccan banks will be participating in this co-financing mechanism.

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    After French and Spanish, Morocco to Introduce English Baccalaureate

    Tinejdad, Morocco- The Ministry of Education signed an agreement with British Council Morocco on Friday to introduce an “English option” to the Moroccan International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

    In a ceremony held on Friday in Rabat, the Minister of National Education and Vocational Training, Rashid Ben Moukhtar, signed a new partnership agreement with Martin Rose, the head of British Council Morocco, to establish the Moroccan International Baccalaureate English option.

    Under this agreement, the new baccalaureate will initially be adopted in three high schools in Rabat, Casablanca, and Tangier starting with twelve classes in common core (six in science and six in arts and humanities branches).

    According to the Ministry of National Education, the same accredited programs will be adopted for the English option, with an increase in the allotted time for English language classes and gradually adopting English as a medium of teaching other school subjects.

    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 Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).

    The Ministry has previously introduced the Moroccan International Baccalaureate for both French and Spanish options.

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD) has described this initiative of generalizing the International Baccalaureate for Moroccan high schools proposed by Ben Mokhtar’s department as “a grave violation of the national sovereignty” and “a humiliation of the Arabic language.”

    Edited by Darren Raspa


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    King Mohammed VI Lays Foundation Stone for Construction of Mosque in Rabat

    Rabat - King Mohammed VI laid, Friday at Jnane Nahda neighborhood, the foundation stone for the construction of a mosque.

    With a capacity of 1,000 worshipers, this religious facility will be carried out by the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs for a budget of 7 million dirhams.

    The mosque will be built on an area of 922 m2 according to Moroccan architectural standards. It will mainly include two prayer rooms - one for men and one for women - a Koranic school, and housing units for the Imam and the muezzin.

    The construction of this mosque reflects the King's special care for religious affairs, as well as the government's policy to lend the necessary religious support for the demographic and urban development of the various regions of the Kingdom.


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    Egyptian President receives Moroccan Foreign Minister

    Cairo - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi received Saturday at Itihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, foreign minister, Salaheddine Mezouar who conveyed a message from King Mohammed VI to the Head of the Egyptian State.

    During this meeting, Mezouar conveyed the greetings of the King to President Al-Sissi and His wishes for further progress and prosperity to Egypt, expressing the full support of the Sovereign for Egypt to achieve stability and prosperity for the Egyptian people.

    On this occasion, the Minister expressed Morocco's will to bolster bilateral cooperation and strengthen the privileged relations between the two countries through speeding up the process to hold the High Joint Commission, and strengthening the role of the private sector in Morocco and Egypt in order to lay the foundations of an exemplary partnership.

    For his part, president Al-Sissi tasked Mezouar to convey his greetings and esteem to the King, welcoming in this regard the progress made by Morocco in the economic, political reforms, and the stability of the Kingdom during the reign of King Mohammed VI.

    Al-Sissi also praised the active role of Morocco on the African and international levels, stressing that Egypt considers the Kingdom as a key partner on the international and regional levels.

    The two officials also discussed various issues of common interest, the latest developments in the region, including Syria, Iraq and North Africa, as well as the security challenges in the Sahel-Saharan region, and the need to coordinate efforts to address extremism and terrorism.

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    Casabanca- Four Moroccan fishermen were reported missing this week after they shipwrecked off the coast of the Strait of Gibraltar, between Tangier and the Spanish city of Tarifa, according to Spanish newspaper ABC.

    The traditional fishing trawler was carrying seven men originally, but only three were saved by the Moroccan Royal Navy Forces, whereas the remaining four (a technician and two draggers) are still missing, according to the same source.

    The three rescued crew members were immediately taken to Mohammed V Hospital in Tangier to receive necessary treatment. The Moroccan Royal Navy and rescue teams are still searching for the missing four. However, now that 25 hours have elapsed since the four men were reported missing, there is no hope they would have survived the frozen waters of the Strait of Gibraltar, according to the same source.

    According to ABC, a similar incident took place on June 25th, when a fishing trawler carrying six people shipwrecked off the coast of Safi. The six crew members are still missing.

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    Rabat  -  Morocco strongly condemned the two terrorist attacks which targeted on Friday a Saudi security patrol near the border crossing of Al-Wadiaa and a government building in southern Saudi Arabia.

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation said in a statement that "following the two terrorist attacks which targeted a security patrol near the Saudi border crossing Al-Wadiaa and a government building in the south of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Morocco expresses its strong condemnation of this despicable terrorist act aimed at undermining the security and stability of the country and the security of its citizens." "The Kingdom, which extends its sincere condolences to the families of the victims of these attacks, reiterates its full support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the  fight against terrorism, and the preservation of peace and stability," the same source added.

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    Marrakech, 57-Year-Old Pedophile Caught Sexually Abusing a Child

    Casablanca- Another pedophilia scandal recently surfaced in Morocco. Uploaded to YouTube on July 2, a video shows a pedophile caught in flagrante delicto with a 10-year-old child in a house in Marrakech.

    According to Kech24, residents of the village of Sidi Yahya in Marrakech caught the 57-year-old pedophile, who owns a shop in a neighboring area, in a house with a 10-year-old boy.

    The video, allegedly shot on June 22, shows a middle-aged man being slapped by members of an outraged crowd after he was caught molesting a child. The video also shows members of the crowd firing questions at the panic-stricken, half-naked victim.

    More shocking, however, was the statement addressed to the 57-year-old pedophile towards the end of the video by the person who recording the scene: “it would have been okay if we had found you molesting a girl, but it’s just morally unacceptable to do that with a boy.”

    A medical examination subsequently proved that the child was a victim of sexual abuse by the middle-aged pedophile. The latter was arrested soon after a complaint was lodged against him.

    According to the same source, the suspect confessed that he had sexually abused the child several times in exchange of offering him biscuits from his shop. The suspect added that he suffered from homosexual pedophilia since an early age and that he was unmarried.

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    Morocco reinforces security measures applied to flights to USA

    Rabat - Morocco will reinforce, as of Tuesday, July 8, security measures applied to flights bound for the United States from the Mohammed V airport, following a request from the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), said a statement by the ministry of equipment, transportation and logistics.

    The ministry urged travelers of the USA flights to take all necessary precautions to arrive early to the airport and avoid any delay in their boarding.

    These security measures, applied in several countries, are taken to counter possible terrorist threats against the civil aviation's security, said a statement on Monday.

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